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Caitlin Johnstone sheds a critical gaze on media reporting on Ukraine, and asks why Julian Assange is criminalised for revealing military atrocities.

If it seems a bit hypocritical to you that the empire is blasting us in the face all day with narratives alleging Russian war crimes while that same empire is imprisoning a journalist for exposing its war crimes, that’s because it absolutely is hypocritical.

If something looks wrong about the fact that we’re about to watch a judge sign off on Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States for practicing journalism while that same United States keeps pushing out narratives about the need to protect Ukraine’s freedom and democracy, that’s because it should. 

If It Feels Like You’re Being Manipulated, It’s Because You Are,
more Caitlin Johnstone, 11 Apr 22,
If you’ve got a gut feeling that your rulers are working to control your perception of the war in Ukraine, it is safe to trust that feeling.

If you feel like there’s been a concerted effort from the most powerful government and media institutions in the western world to manipulate your understanding of what’s going on with this war, it’s because that’s exactly what has been happening.

If you can’t recall ever seeing such intense mass media spin about a war before, it’s because you haven’t.

If you get the distinct impression that this may be the most aggressively perception-managed and psyop-intensive war in human history, it’s because it is.

If it looks like Silicon Valley platforms are controlling the content that people see to give them a perspective on this war that is wildly biased in favor of the US narrative, it’s because that is indeed the case.

If it seems like a suspicious coincidence that Russiagate manufactured mainstream consent for all the same shady agendas we’re seeing ramped up now like cold war brinkmanship against Moscow, internet censorship, and being constantly lied to by the mass media for the greater good, it’s because it is a mighty suspicious coincidence.

If it seems weird to you that so many self-styled leftists are responding to this war by fanatically supporting the extremely dangerous unipolarist geostrategic agendas of the most powerful empire that has ever existed, that’s because it is weird. Really, really, really weird.

If it seems a bit hypocritical to you that the empire is blasting us in the face all day with narratives alleging Russian war crimes while that same empire is imprisoning a journalist for exposing its war crimes, that’s because it absolutely is hypocritical.

If something looks wrong about the fact that we’re about to watch a judge sign off on Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States for practicing journalism while that same United States keeps pushing out narratives about the need to protect Ukraine’s freedom and democracy, that’s because it should. 

If you’re beginning to get the nagging sense that the mainstream consensus worldview is a construct manufactured by the powerful, for the powerful and everything you were taught about your nation, your government and your world is a lie, that’s definitely a possibility worth considering.

If it’s starting to seem like we’re all being manipulated at mass scale to think, act and vote in a way which benefits a vast power structure that rules over us while hiding its true nature, I’d say that’s a thread worth pulling.

If you’ve a sneaking suspicion that the lies might go even deeper than that, right down to deceptions about who you fundamentally are and what this life is actually about, that suspicion is probably worth exploring.

If you’re feeling a bit like Keanu Reeves in the beginning of The Matrix right before the veil gets ripped away, I’d recommend following the white bunny and seeing how deep that rabbit hole goes.

If it has occurred to you that humanity needs to wake up from the matrix of illusion before our sociopathic rulers drive us to extinction via environmental catastrophe or nuclear armageddon, then your notes match my own.

 If you believe it’s possible that these existential crises we’re fast approaching may be the catalyst we need to collectively rip the blindfold from our eyes and begin moving in a truth-based way upon this earth and creating a healthy world, then we are on the same page.

If there’s something in you that whispers there’s a good chance we make it despite the long odds we appear to be facing, I will tell you a secret: I hear it too.

April 12, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media, spinbuster | 1 Comment

Russian soldiers received ‘shocking amount’ of nuclear exposure at Chernobyl site – some may have less than a year to live.

Ukraine says Russian soldiers stole potentially deadly radioactive substances from Chernobyl,

more –

Russian forces who occupied the Chernobyl nuclear plant stole potentially deadly radioactive substances from research laboratories, Ukraine’s State Agency for Managing the Exclusion Zone says. 

Key points:

  • Ukraine recently took back control of the Chernobyl site
  • Ukraine’s energy minister says some Russia soldiers have less than a year to live
  • Chernobyl plant staff have just been rotated for the second time since Russian forces seized the facilities

Moscow’s troops seized the defunct power plant on the first day of their invasion of Ukraine on February 24. They occupied the highly radioactive zone for over a month, before retreating on March 31.

The agency said on Facebook that Russian soldiers pillaged two laboratories in the area.

It said the Russians entered a storage area of the Ecocentre research base and stole 133 highly radioactive substances.

Even a small part of this activity is deadly if handled unprofessionally,” the agency said.

‘Shocking’ amount of nuclear exposure

Earlier this week, Ukraine’s energy minister German Gulashchenko said Russian soldiers exposed themselves to a “shocking” amount of nuclear radiation, saying some of them may have less than a year to live.

“They dug bare soil contaminated with radiation, collected radioactive sand in bags for fortification, breathed this dust,” Mr Gulashchenko said on Facebook on Friday after visiting the exclusion zone.

“After a month of such exposure, they have a maximum of one year of life. More precisely, not life but a slow death from diseases. “Every Russian soldier will bring a piece of Chernobyl home. Dead or alive.”

He said Russian military equipment was also contaminated.

“The ignorance of Russian soldiers is shocking.”

The Chernobyl power station was the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986.

Situation ‘far from normal’

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Ukraine had been able to rotate staff at the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear plant for only the second time since Russian forces seized the facility early in the war.

They had to be transported to and from the site by water, with the Pripyat River being the only way for people living in the city of Slavutych to currently reach the plant.

The nuclear agency said the situation around Chernobyl, site of a 1986 nuclear disaster, “remained far from normal” after Russians departed at the end of March.

Ukrainian officials told the agency on Sunday that laboratories for radiation monitoring at the site were destroyed and instruments damaged or stolen.

The automated transmission of radiation monitoring data has been disabled.

April 12, 2022 Posted by | health, Ukraine | Leave a comment

The US-Australia-UK pact seems determined to pursue great power competition at the risk of real conflict.

APRIL 11, 2022

Written by
Sarang Shidore

The leaders of the United States, United Kingdom and Australia — the three nations that form the AUKUS security grouping— have issued a joint statement recently on deepening their cooperation to include new technologies. The statement spoke of “new trilateral cooperation on hypersonics and counter-hypersonics, and electronic warfare capabilities, as well as to expand information sharing and to deepen cooperation on defense innovation.” 

AUKUS is an explicitly military pact announced in September 2021 aimed to counter China in the Asia-Pacific. It has been generally portrayed as an agreement to transfer highly sensitive nuclear submarine technology to Australia and equip Canberra with such craft. Since then, the submarine plans have made some progress, with the Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information Agreement signed by the three countries, which allows sharing of sensitive data. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also announced the earmarking of an additional base for nuclear submarines on the country’s east coast. 

But AUKUS is as much, or even more, about other defense technologies such as cyber, artificial intelligence, quantum physics, and others to which hypersonics is just the latest addition. The likely reason for adding the latter is China’s own progress in this technology, with a recent test that was seen in the United States as a breakthrough. The United States is widely considered to be behind China and Russia in hypersonic technology. However, Washington is very much implicated in Chinese advances. The United States probably sparked China’s drive for hypersonics when it withdrew from the bedrock Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty in 2001.

Last year, I wrote about the dangers and risks AUKUS presents to the stability and security of Asia. These include setting a poor precedent for curbing nuclear proliferation, problematic weaponization of norms and values claims, the perception of an Anglo-Saxon club in Asia, and risks of sparking a new arms race. Deterrence has a place in any U.S. approach toward China, but the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy is heavy on deterrence and light on reassurance. The inclusion of hypersonics in AUKUS is simply another sign that we have entered a world of decreasing safeguards against chances of great power conflict with all its potential to go nuclear. Nuclear war, more than the rise of China, is a core and existential threat to the United States.

Last year, I wrote about the dangers and risks AUKUS presents to the stability and security of Asia. These include setting a poor precedent for curbing nuclear proliferation, problematic weaponization of norms and values claims, the perception of an Anglo-Saxon club in Asia, and risks of sparking a new arms race. Deterrence has a place in any U.S. approach toward China, but the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy is heavy on deterrence and light on reassurance. The inclusion of hypersonics in AUKUS is simply another sign that we have entered a world of decreasing safeguards against chances of great power conflict with all its potential to go nuclear. Nuclear war, more than the rise of China, is a core and existential threat to the United States.

April 12, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

No country in the world has worked out what to do with its old dead, radioactive, nuclear submarines

In light of Boris’s new enthusiasm for lots of Rolls-Royce’s so-called “mini-nukes” to generate electricity, it should be better known that the Ministry of Defence has not scrapped any of its 21 similarly Rolls-Royce-powered old nuclear submarines, berthed for up to 40 years.

It has made a start dismantling the hull of one, but there are still no plans for dealing with the reactors beyond burying them. Indeed, no country in the world has properly made safe a worn out mini-nuke-powered ship or submarine.

 Guardian 10th April 2022

April 12, 2022 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear risks, the war in Ukraine, and Australia’s significant contribution to these dangers

The war in Ukraine: Nuclear power, weapons and winter, Pearls and Irritations, By Jim Green, Apr 11, 2022,

Six weeks into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the death and destruction has been devastating. In addition, the targeting of nuclear power plants by Russia’s military has raised the spectre of a nuclear disaster.

The Russian military’s seizure of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant ‒ at a time when at least one of the plant’s six reactors was operating ‒ was the most dangerous incident. The partial loss of power to the plant further raised the risk of a disaster.

To say that the seizure of the Zaporizhzhia plant was reckless would be an understatement. Dr. Edwin Lyman from the Union of Concerned Scientists summarised the risks:

“There are a number of events that could trigger a worst-case scenario involving a reactor core or spent fuel pool located in a war zone: An accidental ‒ or intentional ‒ strike could directly damage one or more reactors. An upstream dam failure could flood a reactor downstream. A fire could disable plant electrical systems. Personnel under duress could make serious mistakes. The bottom line: Any extended loss of power that interrupted cooling system operations that personnel could not contain has the potential to cause a Fukushima-like disaster.”

The Russian military also seized control of the Chernobyl nuclear plant, the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident. Workers were held hostage for 25 days. Off-site power was lost for five days, but generators supplied the necessary power to cool nuclear waste stores. It has been difficult to extinguish forest fires in the contaminated Chernobyl Exclusion Zone due to military conflict.

Several other nuclear facilities have been hit by Russian military strikes, including a nuclear research facility at the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology, and two radioactive waste storage sites.

At the time of writing, there haven’t been any major radiation releases resulting from Russia’s invasion. But the risk remains, and the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi continues to express “grave concern” and to note that “an accident involving the nuclear facilities in Ukraine could have severe consequences for public health and the environment.”……………….

The risk of nuclear warfare is low, but it is not zero. It doesn’t help that NATO and Russian military doctrines allow for the use of tactical nuclear weapons to fend off defeat in a major conventional war. It doesn’t help that some missiles can carry either conventional weapons or nuclear weapons, increasing the risk of worst-case thinking and a precipitous over-reaction by the adversary.

And it doesn’t help that Putin’s statements have included threats to use nuclear weapons, or that a referendum in Belarus revoked the constitution’s nuclear-weapon-free pledge, or that Belarusian president Aleksander Lukashenko joined Putin to watch the Russian military carry out a nuclear weapons exercise, or that Lukashenko has said Belarus would be open to hosting Russian nuclear weapons.

Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, points to other concerns:

“Russia and Belarus are not alone in their aggressive and irresponsible posture either. The United States continues to exploit a questionable reading of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) that prevents states from ‘possessing’ nuclear weapons but allows them to host those weapons. Five European states currently host approximately 100 US nuclear weapons: Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Turkey.”

In a worst-case scenario, the direct impacts of nuclear warfare would be followed by catastrophic climatic impacts known as ‘nuclear winter’. Earth and paleoclimate scientist Andrew Glikson noted in a recent article:…………………….

The myth of the peaceful atom

Russia’s deliberate and accidental strikes on nuclear sites in Ukraine aren’t the first attacks on nuclear facilities by hostile nation-states……….

For decades, the nuclear industry and its supporters denied and trivialised the connections between ‘peaceful’ nuclear programs and weapons proliferation. But nuclear power has been in such a desperate state in recent years that the industry now acknowledges and even celebrates the connections between power and weapons. Those connections are said to justify greater taxpayer bailouts and subsidies for nuclear power programs in the UK, the US, France and elsewhere.

In the UK, Rolls-Royce is promoting small modular reactors (SMRs) on the grounds that “a civil nuclear UK SMR programme would relieve the Ministry of Defence of the burden of developing and retaining skills and capability”. French President Emmanuel Macron said in a 2020 speech that without nuclear power there would be no nuclear weapons, and without nuclear weapons there would be no nuclear power (“Sans nucléaire civil, pas de nucléaire militaire, sans nucléaire militaire, pas de nucléaire civil”). In the US, the Nuclear Energy Institute argues that a failure to provide further subsidies for nuclear power would “stunt development of the nation’s defense nuclear complex”…………………………..

Australia’s contribution to global nuclear risks

Australia has uranium export agreements with all of the ‘declared’ nuclear weapons states, all of them breaching their disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; countries with a history of weapons-related research based on their civil nuclear programs; countries that have not ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; countries expanding their nuclear weapons capabilities; and undemocratic, secretive states with appalling human rights records.

Australia’s uranium export agreements with Russia and Ukraine were much of a muchness: federal parliament’s treaties committee issued strong warnings about the inadequacy of nuclear safeguards, the government of the day ignored those warnings, and no-one has any idea about the security or whereabouts of Australian uranium and its by-products in Russia or Ukraine.

Australian governments, and uranium companies operating in Australia, also contribute to global nuclear risks by exporting uranium to countries with lax safety standards and inadequate nuclear regulation. The most dramatic illustration of that problem is the fact that Australian uranium was in the poorly-managed, poorly-regulated Fukushima reactors during the explosions, meltdowns and fires in March 2011.

Ukraine provides another example. Even before the Russian invasion, Ukraine’s nuclear industry was corrupt, regulation was inadequate, and nuclear security measures left much room for improvement.

Australia also contributes to global nuclear risks because of the bipartisan support for the US alliance and ‘extended nuclear deterrence’. As a result, Australia routinely undermines global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament initiatives. A case in point is Australia’s efforts to undermine the UN’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and the government’s refusal to sign or ratify the treaty.

And the Australian government’s pursuit of submarines powered by weapons-useable, highly-enriched uranium undermines global non-proliferation efforts. If it’s okay for Australia’s military to have access to weapons-useable nuclear material, then it’s okay for the world’s other 190-or-so countries to have access to weapons-useable nuclear material. What could possibly go wrong?

 Detailed information on nuclear threats resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is posted at

April 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What should America do with its nuclear waste?

What Should America Do With Its Nuclear Waste?

Currently there are about 80 locations in 35 states where spent fuel is being stored, with no long-term plans for disposal., WP, By Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow  1 Apr 22
,  ”……………………………………….. (closure of SanOnofre nuclear power station)   Magda and other activists realized that all of the high-level radioactive waste that had accumulated at the plant over the course of its lifetime — 1,600 tons of spent fuel rods — would remain at the site for the foreseeable future. Although the federal government is legally responsible for disposing of commercial spent nuclear fuel in a permanent underground repository, there has been no plan for fulfilling that obligation since the Obama administration halted the project at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain in 2010. There are currently about 80 locations in 35 states — mostly at operational and decommissioned nuclear plants — where spent fuel is being stored indefinitely.

Since the San Onofre plant shut down, Magda has been trying to get the spent fuel moved to a more suitable site and to ensure that, until then, it is stored as safely as possible. As of 2017, she has represented her local chapter of the Sierra Club on the Community Engagement Panel, an entity established by SCE that holds quarterly meetings with the public. In her garage, she showed me a gray filing cabinet with four vertically stacked drawers, her granddaughter’s teal bike propped up against the side. The drawers contain hundreds of manila files with hand-scrawled labels: ……….  In addition to earthquakes and tsunamis, Magda and other activists are worried about coastal erosion and sea level rise caused by climate change. “We can’t leave it here,” Magda says.

The question of what to do with the nation’s spent nuclear fuel has recently garnered renewed attention. This is thanks in part to U.S. Rep. Mike Levin (D-Calif.), who represents the district encompassing San Onofre and has taken up the cause as one of his signature issues. An environmental lawyer by training, he told me he ran for Congress partially to make progress on reviving the nation’s stalled efforts. In January 2019, he established a task force of local stakeholders to study the situation at San Onofre. He has also co-founded the bipartisan Spent Nuclear Fuel Solutions Caucus, with Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), and introduced the Spent Fuel Prioritization Act, which would ensure that the material is moved first from the most sensitive locations, including San Onofre.

Among scientific experts and government officials, there is broad consensus that the optimal solution is to eventually bury nuclear waste in a deep geological repository. But that is a long-term goal, and in the near future, Levin and many others are pushing for “consolidated interim storage.” This would mean that the spent fuel scattered at sites across the country would be moved to one or more facilities, in appropriate settings, that would be devoted entirely to safely storing the fuel until a geological disposal facility is ready.

There is also agreement, of a limited sort, between many nuclear opponents and supporters on the importance of addressing the waste issue. But for many opponents, such as Magda, the waste is a reason to abandon this form of energy altogether. ……………..

Despite recent momentum to break the spent fuel impasse, the obstacles are considerable. “Frankly we have a real problem in the U.S., not just at San Onofre,” Levin told me. “San Onofre is just the symptom, with 9 million people within 50 miles and two earthquake faults and rising sea level. The actual problem is that we’ve got nowhere to move it to.”

………….  The 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act was the first major law to address spent nuclear fuel, and assigned the federal government the task of constructing and operating such facilities. By that time, there were dozens of commercial nuclear plants that had been accumulating spent fuel and storing it on-site with no plans for disposal. According to the law, the Department of Energy was required to move promptly to site two geological repositories for permanent disposal.

In 1987, however, amendments to this law identified only a single location: Yucca Mountain, about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The selection was based on the Energy Department’s assessment of the site’s geological features and was also thought to reflect political dynamics at the time. In the state, the legislation became known as the “Screw Nevada Bill.” Nevada’s powerful long-serving senator, Harry M. Reid, made it his mission to see that this repository would never come to pass. In 2010, the Obama administration announced that it would withdraw the license application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the project. “We’re done with Yucca,” Carol Browner, President Barack Obama’s energy adviser, said. (The United States does have a deep geological repository for defense waste, in New Mexico, but not for commercial spent fuel.)

Meanwhile, Obama’s secretary of energy convened the bipartisan Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future to devise a new strategy. The commission issued a report in January 2012. “The overall record of the U.S. nuclear waste program has been one of broken promises and unmet commitments,” the report stated.

The report’s first recommendation, highlighting its importance, was a “consent-based approach to siting future nuclear waste management facilities” for both permanent underground disposal and temporary aboveground storage. That is, instead of selecting sites based strictly on physical characteristics, the new approach would solicit volunteers, and engage communities, states, tribes and other stakeholders to obtain their approval before proceeding with plans…………

The spent fuel at San Onofre is stored in 123 canisters, in what’s called an independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI, pronounced “ISSfuhsee”). Contrary to the popular impression of nuclear waste as green goo, the fuel rods consist of solid pellets, each slightly larger than a pencil eraser. The fuel rods, bundled into fuel assemblies, were retrieved from the reactors over the course of decades. After cooling for at least five years in pools of water, they were transferred into stainless-steel canisters, with walls five-eighths of an inch thick. Workers then transferred the loaded canisters, each of which weighs 50 tons, to a concrete pad overlooking the ocean and lowered them into stainless-steel cavities beneath the pad’s surface………….

the ongoing demolition of the plant — major decommissioning work is expected to continue through 2028 — as well as the construction of a rail yard. It was a reminder that radioactive spent fuel is not the only kind of waste produced by nuclear plants: Millions of pounds of metal and steel, and tens of thousands of titanium tubes, will eventually be loaded onto rail cars and shipped away, some to be recycled, some to a landfill. One day, according to the plan, the spent fuel will be shipped away on this rail line as well, though no one knows to where……………………………….

The 1957 National Academy of Sciences report stated, “Unlike the disposal of any other type of waste, the hazard related to radioactive waste is so great that no element of doubt should be allowed to exist regarding safety.” Being in the same room with unshielded nuclear waste, fresh out of the reactor, could very quickly give you a fatal dose of radiation……………………………………

Magda points out that for real progress to occur, the law needs to change so that Yucca Mountain is not the only permissible site for a permanent repository. Levin has not yet introduced legislation to change that, but he told me he plans to. One arguable reason for optimism is that an improved waste management strategy, unlike so many other causes, has bipartisan support. “Nuclear waste doesn’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican,” Levin says………………………..

April 12, 2022 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

UK’s energy strategy ”cowardly and incoherent” – solar and onshore wind are the practical options

Michael Grubb: The writer is professor of energy and climate change at
University College London and was former senior adviser to energy regulator

The UK energy strategy is both cowardly and incoherent. The defining
feature of the UK energy strategy is its incoherence. It does not know what
problem it is trying to solve – and thus it does not solve any. By
failing to boost energy efficiency and kicking the only possible short-term
supply option – that of cheap onshore wind – into the long grass, it
most certainly will not help those struggling with energy bills in the
coming winters.

Offshore wind is the great success story of the past decade
and capacity has grown sharply in recent years. The strategy increases the
offshore target for 2030 from 40GW to 50GW. That’s very ambitious but
possible. But offshore wind involves big and complex kit from only a few
suppliers, it usually takes three to five years from bid to completion, and
the pace of expansion could stress supply chains and drive up costs. If it
were all concentrated in the North Sea, there would be immense challenges
for the grid – both in transmission and in managing the peaks and
troughs. Wind is best when distributed more widely.

The most cowardly failure concerns onshore wind. It is not only our cheapest energy resource
– it typically costs about a third to a quarter of what people will soon
be paying for their electricity – but it is, with solar, the only one
that could make a dent in the short term. The strategy outlines a plan for
nuclear to 2050, kicked off with one new plant to be funded before the next
general election. If it takes an energy crisis to actually make a decision,
so be it, but it will not help solve the crisis.

Nuclear is not only slow
and expensive, it would need to be flexible to ramp up and down with the
swings of demand, wind and solar. This further undermines the economics.
Launching a 30-year plan for nuclear also raises the question – why
can’t the government set out even a coherent 30-month plan for energy

 FT 10th April 2022

April 12, 2022 Posted by | politics, renewable, UK | Leave a comment

No community in the UK has agreed to host a nuclear waste facility

Under normal conditions, generating nuclear power produces hazardous
radioactive waste. This needs to be safely managed and stored for hundreds
of years.

However, a House of Lords paper from October 2021 said the issue
of nuclear waste remains “unresolved in the UK”. It is currently stored in
temporary facilities that are not designed for the permanent storage of
“high-level” radioactive waste.

The Government’s preferred solution is
“geological disposal” – placing waste deep in a rock formation that would
prevent radioactivity from escaping. However, no community has agreed to
host such a facility.

 National World 8th April 2022

April 12, 2022 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Canada’s Federal Budget Funding for New Nuclear Reactors a ‘Climate Throwaway’       version en français:

Toronto (April 11 2022) – The 2022 federal budget’s investment in unproven nuclear reactor designs, dubbed Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), is being called a “climate throwaway” by civil society groups. Just days after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its starkest report yet urging aggressive climate action, the federal government is choosing to invest in yet-to-be proven technologies that miss the mark for halving emissions by 2030.

SMRs refer to a set of proposed nuclear technologies, designed to produce up to 300 megawatts of electricity. They are promoted for both the electric grid and for remote, off-grid communities to replace diesel reliance and to power resource extraction projects.

120+ civil society groups from coast to coast to coast including the Green Budget Coalition have asked the federal government to reallocate funds for SMRs into cost-effective, socially responsible, renewable energy solutions available now.

The budget dedicates $120 million over five years for SMRs:

●      Approximately $70 million of the budget is for research, geared to waste minimization.

This could include the reprocessing of used nuclear fuel, a chemical process for extracting plutonium from used radioactive fuel waste. Reprocessing is not currently used in Canada and it raises many proliferation and security concerns. Plutonium is a dangerous material not found in nature.  Reprocessing is in no way a solution to reducing radioactive waste, it simply redistributes the highly radioactive fission products into different waste streams. With the fission products removed, the remaining materials are much more susceptible to being stolen or used in nuclear weapons.

●      Approximately $50 million to build capacity within Canada’s nuclear regulator to regulate SMRs.

Investment in regulatory processes will not remedy the fact that SMRs have been removed from the federal impact (environmental assessment) process. SMR projects are only required to undergo a narrow licensing process, conducted by Canada’s nuclear regulator. Their expertise and regulatory framework is not equivalent with impact assessment law, which requires an upfront examination of ecological, socio-economic and sustainability impacts spanning the duration of the project.

The budget also includes two other provisions potentially applicable to SMR projects:

●      A new tax credit of up to 30% for net zero technologies such as battery storage and clean hydrogenNuclear projects should be ineligible for this tax credit as they are not cost-competitive with renewables and as has been previously pointed out, nuclear-powered hydrogen is not renewable hydrogen. Any application for this tax credit must also be required to transparently demonstrate the project’s economic viability.

●      Continuing the $8 billion Net Zero Accelerator initiative for projects with the potential to substantially reduce emissions by 2030 and support the goal of net-zero by 2050. SMRs are in the earliest of planning phases and anticipated dates for operation are well into the 2030s. This, coupled with the nuclear sector’s trend of construction delays and cost overruns, should make SMR projects ineligible as they cannot contribute to meeting the most urgent of climate targets, which requires halving emissions by 2030.

April 12, 2022 Posted by | Canada, politics | Leave a comment

Johnson’s ‘nuclear fantasy’ will not reduce rising fuel bills or rising temperatures- UK’s Nuclear Free Local Authorities

Johnson’s ‘nuclear fantasy’ will not reduce rising fuel bills or rising temperatures

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities are ‘incredulous’ that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the UK Government remains wedded to a new Energy Security Strategy that will rely in large part upon the development of 24 GW of new nuclear generation capacity to power Britain, when a plan involving mass investment in renewables and a reduction in electricity demand through retrofitting the nation’s homes with insulation would have been far cheaper and quicker to deliver.

In response to the government’s commitment to build the equivalent of eight new large nuclear power stations by 2050, NFLA National Chair, Councillor David Blackburn said:

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities are ‘incredulous’ that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the UK Government remains wedded to a new Energy Security Strategy that will rely in large part upon the development of 24 GW of new nuclear generation capacity to power Britain, when a plan involving mass investment in renewables and a reduction in electricity demand through retrofitting the nation’s homes with insulation would have been far cheaper and quicker to deliver.

“It defies common sense that the current government is turning to a technology that is too slow to install, too costly to build, remains risky to operate and vulnerable to military and terrorist attack, and leaves a toxic legacy of radioactive waste that has to be safely stored for 100,000 years.”

“In the past, we were told that nuclear-generated electricity would be too cheap to meter customers for. The reality is very different.  The plan means building eight power plants the size of Hinkley Point C within 30 years.  Hinkley Point C is already costing £23 billion and is years behind schedule, with operator EDF about to announce a further hike in the cost and a further delay in delivery.”

“Nuclear power projects are notorious for being delivered way behind schedule and massively over cost. British taxpayers will end up being saddled with this extra cost as the government has just passed the Nuclear Energy (Financing) Act making them liable for the charges.”

All of the plants will rely on a massive subsidy from the British taxpayer and ultimately the taxpayer will also pick up the bill for decommissioning the new plants at their end of their operating lives and for managing and storing the resultant radioactive waste for tens of thousands of years.

In addition to increasing energy bills and being delivered far too late to make a favourable impact in the fight against climate change, Boris Johnson’s ‘big bet’ on nuclear will not improve the nation’s energy independence.

Added Councillor Blackburn:  “Nuclear power plants rely on uranium all of which is sourced overseas, with Russia being a major supplier to the world market, and most of the plants will be reliant on foreign reactor designs, one with a dubious safety record, and built and run by foreign-owned operators.

“EDF Energy, the main player, is a company owned by the French state, and newer players to the market are American owned, including one involving billionaire entrepreneur, Elon Musk. The only UK business, Rolls Royce, which is developing the so-called Small Modular Reactor, is backed by French private money and funding from a Qatari sovereignty fund.

“The NFLA cannot see how nuclear in any way promotes Britain’s energy independence.”

The NFLA is therefore bitterly disappointed that the new strategy did not instead commit to a national programme of retrofitting insulation to Britain’s homes and to providing further funding to support domestic electricity micro-generation, both of which would have reduced energy demand and reduced customers’ fuel bills, as well as to a far greater investment in a range of renewables to generate power, particularly onshore wind projects and tidal power which remain largely neglected despite their huge potential and public support.

“We advocate an emergency national programme of retrofitting homes with insulation to reduce heating bills and energy demand, and to improve public health; a greater emphasis of new and existing homes generating their own power for domestic use; and a huge public investment in a range of renewable technologies to provide domestically-generated, reliable, sustainable electricity. This can be done much more quickly and much more cheaply than continuing to indulge in this nuclear fantasy,” concluded Councillor Blackburn.

In response to the government’s commitment to build the equivalent of eight new large nuclear power stations by 2050, NFLA National Chair, Councillor David Blackburn said: 

April 12, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

 Nuclear energy a useless distraction for UK – Green Party MP Caroline Lucas

 Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has slammed the Tory government and accused
them of being “held hostage” by right wing backbench MPs on wind power.
She made the comments on the BBC’s Sunday Morning show following the
publication of the government’s Energy Security Strategy earlier this

In an interview with Sophie Raworth, Lucas was scathing about the
government’s strategy. She branded the strategy’s focus on nuclear
energy a “distraction from what this energy strategy should have been
about, which is to have put energy efficiency and energy saving right at
its heart,” and said that nuclear is “simply not a solution that can be
fast enough to get us out of the energy crisis that we face right now.”

Instead of expanding nuclear, Lucas called for “a massive expansion –
for example – of onshore wind, which was completely lacking in the
government’s strategy this week. That’s quite extraordinary, given that
it’s the cheapest form of energy, that it has massive popularity in the
country.” She continued by accusing the government of being “held
hostage” by backbench MPs on onshore wind. Lucas said, “basically
we’ve got a government held hostage by a handful of its backbenchers who
don’t think wind farms are sightly. Well, that is not the way we should
be designing our energy policy in this country.”

 Bright Green 10th April 2022

April 12, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Planning advises rejected Wylfa as unsuitable for nuclear development. No wonder Boris Johnson wants to ”cut red tape”

I would argue that we do not need new nuclear power at all. It is
costly, dangerous, slow and unsuitable as an adjunct to renewables. We
certainly don’t need it in Wales. In 2021, planning inspectors advised
that the Wylfa Newydd development (What might the UK energy strategy
contain and how feasible are options? 6 April) should be rejected due to
its impact on the local economy, housing stock, local ecology, nature
conservation and the Welsh language.

Yet still politicians say it’s the best place for a new nuclear power station. No wonder Boris Johnson wantsto cut the “red tape” of the planning process. He cannot be allowed to.

 Guardian 10th April 2022

April 12, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Not all trade with Russia is stopped – Finland’s still getting nuclear power project built by Russia.

Rosatom subsidiary will proceed with Finnish nuclear project, By Anne Kauranen,  HELSINKI, April 11 22 (Reuters) – Russia’s state-owned nuclear power supplier Rosatom and its Finnish unit RAOS Project will proceed with a planned nuclear plant in Finland, RAOS said on Monday, despite uncertainty over government permits since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. … (subscribers only)

Reporting by Anne Kauranen; Editing by David Goodman and David Holmes

April 12, 2022 Posted by | Finland, politics international | Leave a comment

San Onofre’s not the only nuclear worry – there are “nuclear materials events” — lost or stolen radioactive material, radiation overexposures, leaks, and more.

Worried about nuclear waste at San Onofre? Other danger lurks

GAO sounds alarms about dirty bombs fashioned from small amounts of medical, industrial material  Experts in protective gear prepare to sweep the University of Washington Research and Training Building after the accidental release of radioactive cesium-137 in 2019. (U.S. Government Accountability Office)

By TERI SFORZA | | Orange County Register: April 11, 2022

In one doomsday scenario, rocket attacks on the nuclear waste stored at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station send plumes of dangerous radiation skyward.

Critics in Southern California spend a lot of time worrying about the safety of the 3.6 million pounds of spent fuel entombed on the bluff above the blue Pacific — but the U.S. Government Accountability Office fixes its gaze on more mundane, and perhaps more terrifying, scenarios involving much smaller amounts of nuclear material routinely used by businesses, hospitals, universities and the like.

“The risks of an attack using a dirty bomb — a weapon that combines a conventional explosive, like dynamite, with radioactive material — are increasing and the costs could be devastating,” said the GAO in a snapshot released Tuesday, April 5.

“For example, weaknesses in Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing for radioactive materials make it too easy for bad actors to obtain them, and NRC’s security requirements don’t account for the potentially devastating effects of a dirty bomb, such as billions of dollars in cleanup costs and deaths from chaotic evacuations.”

More than 2,000 “nuclear materials events” — including lost or stolen radioactive material, radiation overexposures, leaks of radioactive material and more — were reported by the NRC between 2010 and 2019, the GAO found.

In  April 2019, an Arizona technician was arrested after stealing three radioactive devices from his workplace. According to a court filing, the technician intended to release the radioactive materials at a shopping mall, but was stopped before he could do any harm.

An accident at the University of Washington in 2019, involving a small amount of material, required clean-up and other costs of $150 million for one building alone, the GAO said.

In 2016, the GAO created a fake company to get a license for radioactive materials. GAO altered the license “and used it to obtain commitments to acquire a dangerous quantity of material.”

“The number of incidents of thefts, lost shipments, and careless mishandling are outrageously large,” said Edwin Lyman, director of nuclear power safety for the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit NRC watchdog

Even though very few of these lead to significant radiological consequences to the public, the NRC’s lax requirements fall short of best practices.”

Common stuff

Radioactive material is used in many medical and industrial settings in Southern California and throughout the nation. Small amounts help create images of organs, so doctors can find, identify and track tumors. Radioactive materials are used to kill cancer cells, shrink tumors and alleviate pain.

But security is an increasingly acute issue, the GAO said.

In 2018, the GAO reported that officials at U.S. airports had not verified the legitimacy of all licenses for imported radioactive materials.

“GAO has repeatedly found potential security weaknesses at medical and industrial locations storing such materials in the U.S.,” it said in one of many reports on the issue over the past several years.

“For example, in 2014, GAO reported that an individual had been given unescorted access to high-risk radioactive materials, even though he had two convictions for terroristic threat. Furthermore, small quantities of radioactive materials located within the same facility are not subject to enhanced security requirements that the total amount would be required to meet.”……………………………

Lyman, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, acknowledged that the NRC has taken some action to address the most egregious problems the GAO has identified over the years, but has not gone as far as many want.

“I do support the effort for better tracking and security of radioactive sources,” Lyman said………………….

April 12, 2022 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Today: Should the responsibility for nuclear pollution stop at a nation’s border?

I was prompted to think about this question, as I read this morning about Denmark deciding to buy two million iodine tablets to protect people in the event of a nuclear accident in a nearby country.

I mean – Denmark doesn’t have any nuclear reactors.

Denmark has neighbouring countries that do have nuclear reactors, Sweden and Germany. And there are nuclear-powerd ships travelling in Danish waters.

Ukraine has nuclear reactors over 900 km from Denmark. And we’re all rather worried about them. A nuclear catastrophe there would pollute a large swathe of Europe, – as we already learned, with the nuclear accident in Chernobyl in 1986.

So – Denmark’s government worries about Ukraine, and maybe should be worried about a number of nuclear-reactor countries, much closer ones.

In the nuclear csatastrophe world – that we are all desperately hoping to avoid – ”national sovereignty ‘ suddenly doesn’t seem to mean much.

April 12, 2022 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment