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Today. Nuclear corruption – Ohio as a case study.

You’d think that Ohio would have learned ! In 2020 ”Generation Now” non-profit group created to promote “social welfare” was at the heart of the state’s largest corruption scandal and pleaded guilty to a federal racketeering charge involving House Bill 6.

Well the fake non-profits nuclear promotion groups are at it again, with the shonky eGeneration promoting House Bill 434 which could lead to a tax-payer blank cheque for developing molten-salt thorium-based reactors

An early version of a similar bill introduced by Stein in 2019 would have written eGeneration’s role into the law and let it spend up to $1 million per year.

What happened in Ohio is a clear example of corporate power combined with the growth of “dark money” organizations following the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision to shape public policy decisions. ‘

The speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives and 3 other MPs found guilty in 2020 of  “likely the largest bribery, money laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people of the state of Ohio”

The enormous lobbying effort won the subsidies used dark money–backed organizations that spent millions of dollars to sway voters and politicians.

May 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Insanity Of Expanding Nuclear Energy

  https://emagazine.com/the-insanity-of-expanding-nuclear-energy/ Sarah Mosko May 10, 2022

Former nuclear regulatory top dogs from the United States, France, Germany and Great Britain issued a joint statement in January strenuously opposing any expansion of nuclear power as a strategy to combat climate change. Why? There is not a single good reason to build new nuclear plants. Here are ten solid reasons not to.

1. Nuclear is too slow to tackle climate change. The new generation of proposed commercial nuclear plants, so called Advanced and Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), are at best decades away in designing and building. The latest report from the International Panel on Climate Change makes clear that limiting global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) means “achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions globally in the early 2050s.” Wind and solar farms can be up and running in just a few months or years. Renewables can power the world by 2050, according to financial think tank Carbon Tracker.


2. Nuclear energy is too costly. 
Renewables like wind and solar are already the world’s cheapest form of energy, and their prices continue to tumble. By 2019, utility-scale renewable energy prices had already fallen to less than half that of nuclear. Together with lower natural gas prices, there has been little momentum in the United States to construct new nuclear plants for decades. Expanding nuclear power would translate into higher energy costs for consumers.

3. Nuclear is neither carbon-free nor non-polluting. While it’s true that the electricity produced by an operating nuclear plant doesn’t emit carbon dioxide, mining and enrichment of uranium are carbon intensive and pollute the air with potent greenhouse gases called chlorofluorocarbons. Radioactivity releases into air and water from nuclear plants are routine. And, the United States has already accumulated 85,000 metric tons of highly radioactive commercial spent fuel waste, the most dangerous pollutant known to man.

4. The problem of permanent disposal of nuclear waste remains technically unsolvable for the short or long term. Though the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 mandated construction of a permanent deep geologic repository to safely isolate nuclear waste for a million+ years, four decades hence there is literally no progress. Consequently, the nation’s commercial nuclear plants are, for the foreseeable future, de facto nuclear waste dumps.

8. The nuclear meltdowns at Chernobyl, Fukushima, and Three Mile Island demonstrated there is no room for human error or natural disasters when it comes to anything nuclear. Moreover, human civilizations come and go: The Roman Empire lasted short of 1,000 years. Humanity can’t ensure the safety of even our current nuclear reactors let alone ensure that future civilizations will stay clear of nuclear waste dumps for the next million+ years.

9. Nuclear plants are sitting ducks for terrorist attacks, whether still operating or storing nuclear waste. Dry storage canisters are stored onsite in the wide open in so-called Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations. Vulnerability to malfeasance was driven home recently by the ease with which Russia captured both the Chernobyl site and the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant early in the invasion of Ukraine

 10. The idea that SMRs can save the day is magical thinking. SMRs are a completely unproven concept. On the order of ten thousand SMRs would be needed to impact climate change in time. This would create thousands more radioactive dump sites and as many opportunities for both nuclear accidents from human error or natural disasters and weapons proliferation from the plutonium generated by nuclear reactors.

Getting to net zero carbon emissions by the early 2050s requires the greatest reduction in carbon emissions in the shortest time and at the lowest cost. That nuclear can’t deliver on this and should be banned is the outspoken position of the former head of the Nuclear Regulatory commission, Gregory Jazcko.

The “all hands on deck” approach espoused by too many politicians to explain support for new nuclear is blatantly faulty, given that every dollar misspent on new nuclear is a dollar not invested in energy efficiency and faster, cheaper renewables. Expanding nuclear will actually retard progress on solving the climate crisis.

No matter what the misguided motivations of some politicians, our duty as informed citizens is to demand that they abandon the deadly pursuit of new nuclear energy and commit to shutting down our aging nuclear reactors. 

May 12, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics | Leave a comment

Devious nuclear zealots at it again in Ohio – new Bill to lead to subsidising ”next-generation nuclear reactors”

Lyman and Bradford found it odd for HB 434 to follow so soon on the heels of HB 6, the nuclear and coal bailout law at the heart of Ohio’s ongoing corruption scandal.

You’d think after that fiasco the legislature would be a little more cautious,”

Ohio bill would open door to subsidize next-generation nuclear power work, Nuclear power critics say the legislation could amount to a blank check for private companies researching nuclear reactor technology, while supporters say it would create jobs and bring in federal contracts. Energy News Network,  by Kathiann M. Kowalski 10 May 22,

Three years ago, Ohio lawmakers attempted to bail out the state’s aging nuclear power plants with a law to make utility customers pay more than $1 billion in subsidies for those former FirstEnergy plants.

The nuclear subsidies were eventually repealed, but now some lawmakers are pushing legislation to help private companies develop a type of next-generation nuclear technology in the state known as a molten salt reactor.

House Bill 434 does not include any direct funding but would establish a state nuclear development authority meant to attract federal research contracts. It would also be eligible for state economic development funding and would have the authority to acquire property.

Representatives of a Cleveland-based nonprofit organization, eGeneration   [who are they?], testified for the bill and stressed the potential benefits of developing the project in Ohio. Supporters say the technology could generate carbon-free power for centuries using spent fuel depleted at conventional nuclear power plants or by converting thorium into fuel.

Critics see the bill as another attempt by Ohio lawmakers to favor a particular form of generation. They’re also concerned about the potential lack of transparency with state economic development spending, much of which is handled by a group not subject to the state’s public records law. The Ohio Nuclear Free Network calls the bill a “radioactive taxpayer subsidy.”  

What the bill would do

HB 434 would set up an Ohio nuclear development authority with members appointed by the governor after a nomination process resembling that of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. The authority, in turn, would be within the state’s Department of Development……..

The nuclear authority set up by the current bill would seek authority from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or Department of Energy for the research and development of advanced nuclear technology. And it would promote commercialization of that technology, ranging from the manufacture of components to treatment, storage and disposal technology for spent fuel……………………….

Sarah Spence, executive director of the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum, testified in favor of the bill. The group supports energy innovation in Ohio and aims to promote an all-of-the-above strategy, she said. Nonetheless, she said, the group would have concerns if in practice the bill were used to subsidize one or two companies at the expense of others.

An unknown price tag

Under HB 434, the newly formed state nuclear authority would perform “an essential government function [on] matters of public necessity for which public moneys may be spent and private property acquired.” But the bill doesn’t hint how much money might be spent.

Any fiscal impacts wouldn’t be known until an agreement with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or Energy Department is in place, Stein said. 

HB 434’s lack of spending limits is a red flag for critics like Connie Klein, an organizer for the Ohio Nuclear Free Network. An early version of a similar bill introduced by Stein in 2019 would have written eGeneration’s role into the law and let it spend up to $1 million per year

Meetings of the nuclear authority would be deemed public meetings. But the nuclear authority could use staff or experts at the Department of Development, which delegates many activities to JobsOhio, a statutorily created corporation that is exempt from Ohio’s public records law. Funding for JobsOhio comes from Ohio Liquor pursuant to a partnership with the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Liquor Control.

The Department of Development did not return a phone call seeking clarification of what role JobsOhio might play if HB 434 is enacted. 

“It’s hard to know who’s going to be more disappointed — the citizens of Ohio if that bill becomes law and they actually spend any money trying to promote a molten-salt thorium-based reactor, or the promoters of the bill if anyone takes a serious look at how much it would cost actually to incubate a thorium fuel-cycle in Ohio,” said Peter Bradford, a former Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner who has also served as utility regulator in New York.

“Nuclear power’s biggest problem is its cost,” and thorium-based molten salt reactors are more expensive than other designs, Bradford said. “Also, they are at least a decade away from being licensed and building a prototype, which would still have to prove itself to be reliable and economically competitive, which it is unlikely to be able to do.” He estimates it would take about $10 billion to build a prototype, but it probably wouldn’t be able to produce power economically.

Additionally, it’s unclear what, if anything, the bill could actually authorize without a go-ahead from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or the Department of Energy. The nuclear authority couldn’t build a molten salt reactor on its own without a federal go-ahead. Stein said a legislative resolution had requested a delegation of authority from the federal government some years ago, but that has yet to happen.

“It’s not obvious really that [HB 434] does much more than lend comfort to the tub thumpers for thorium or small reactors generally,” Bradford said.

Simply no guardrails’

Ed Lyman, director of nuclear safety for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said that to his knowledge the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has not licensed any authority to a state for licensing a molten salt reactor.

Moreover, Lyman said, “there’s already a lot of work on the federal level” focused on small nuclear reactor designs. Although Elysium Industries has done some limited work funded by the Department of Energy, big players at that level haven’t lined up behind the Ohio bill, Lyman said.

“There isn’t one technology,” for small nuclear reactors, said Jess Gehin, associate laboratory director for the Nuclear Science and Technology Directorate at Idaho National laboratory. The Department of Energy is doing research and working with companies on a range of technologies, including water-cooled and gas-cooled designs, as well as some in the molten salt arena. 

But other designs are closer to coming online than the molten salt reactor envisioned by HB 434’s supporters.

“A molten salt reactor isn’t going to be the next one over the finish line,” Gehin said.

Neither Elysium Industries nor eGeneration responded to requests for comment. Meanwhile, Lyman and Bradford found it odd for HB 434 to follow so soon on the heels of HB 6, the nuclear and coal bailout law at the heart of Ohio’s ongoing corruption scandal.

“There is not even a requirement that there be board members well versed in energy economics or selecting among energy resources or consumer protection or environmental protections,” Bradford said. “There’s simply no guardrails or safeguards against any of the abuses that Ohio citizens or customers have suffered in the last five or six years, which is pretty breathtaking.”

“You’d think after that fiasco the legislature would be a little more cautious,” Lyman said.

HB 434 passed in the Ohio House at the end of March. Hearings have not yet been scheduled in the Ohio Senate’s Energy and Public Utilities Committee. https://energynews.us/2022/05/10/ohio-bill-would-open-door-to-subsidize-next-generation-nuclear-power-work/

May 12, 2022 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Anti- Russian hysteria

U.S. Plays ‘Dangerous Game’ in Trying to ‘Cancel’ Russia, Ambassador Says

NewsWeek, BY TOM O’CONNOR  5/11/22 MOSCOW’S ENVOY IN WASHINGTON HAS WARNED THAT A GROWING BACKLASH AGAINST ALL THINGS RUSSIA-RELATED IN THE UNITED STATES IN RESPONSE TO THE WAR IN UKRAINE HAS SURPASSED EVEN COLD WAR-ERA LEVELS, TELLING NEWSWEEK THAT NOT ONLY DIPLOMATIC TIES BUT ALSO CULTURAL, EDUCATIONAL AND SCIENTIFIC WERE UNDER UNPRECEDENTED STRAIN.

“The United States has been swamped by a wave of Russophobia fuelled by the media at the instigation of the ruling circles,” Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov told Newsweek. “The situation has taken the worst forms of the anti-communist paranoia and witch-hunt of the McCarthy era.”

He argued that the present state of affairs has sunken below even that of the infamous “red scare” led by late Senator Joseph McCarthy in the aftermath of World War II, as he stated that the scope of targets was now broader.

“Even during the Cold War, our nations continued cultural, educational and scientific contacts,” Antonov said. “I just hope that common sense will prevail and help end the dangerous game of canceling Russia, bordering on the ideas of racial superiority.”…….

Pointing to some recent examples, he said that “anti-Russian hysteria has quickly spread to everyday life.”

Among the more high-profile incidents has been the decision by a number of major musical institutions to drop performances by Russian conductor Valery Gergiev and pianist Denis Matsuev, both prominent supporters of Putin, shortly after the conflict in Ukraine erupted. In some cases, even classical songs have been removed from the bill, including the works of 19th-century composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, renowned for ballets such as “Swan Lake,” “The Nutcracker” and the “1812 Overture.”

Also on the chopping block have been longstanding associations between professionals in the U.S. and Russia. The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates has suspended certification for Russian citizens and the oncology group OncoAlert has severed ties with Russian doctors, both actions taken in displays of solidarity with Ukraine…………………   https://www.newsweek.com/us-plays-dangerous-game-trying-cancel-russia-ambassador-says-1705770

May 12, 2022 Posted by | media, psychology - mental health, USA | Leave a comment

COST OVERRUNS AT GEORGIA NUCLEAR REACTORS OFFER CAUTIONARY TALE 

STATEMENT: COST OVERRUNS AT GEORGIA NUCLEAR REACTORS OFFER CAUTIONARY TALE   https://uspirg.org/news/usf/statement-cost-overruns-georgia-nuclear-reactors-offer-cautionary-tale

Ratepayer funds would be better spent advancing efficiency, renewable energy

For immediate release

WEDNESDAY, MAY 11, 2022  ATLANTA – THE ONLY NUCLEAR REACTORS UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN THE UNITED STATES ARE NOW PROJECTED TO COST MORE THAN $30 BILLION — AND THE PRICE TAG FOR PLANT VOGTLE NEAR AUGUSTA, GEORGIA, DOESN’T EVEN INCLUDE $3.68 BILLION THAT THE PROJECT’S ORIGINAL CONTRACTOR PAID TO THE OWNERS AFTER GOING BANKRUPT.

The $34 billion total is $20 billion more than the original cost estimate of $14 billion. The two reactors under construction are now more than five years behind schedule. Contractor delays, rework projects, the inability to complete tasks on time and the bankruptcy of reactor designer Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC have more than doubled the project’s costs.

Customers of Georgia Power, which owns 46% of the project, are already paying a fee that not only covers a portion of Vogtle’s financing costs, but also feeds the utility company’s profits on the project. The average residential Georgia Power customer will have paid more than $850 in such fees before the project ever delivers power to customers.

In response to the Plant Vogtle debacle, experts from Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center, U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Environment America Research & Policy Center released the following statements:

Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center’s State Director Jennette Gayer said:

“This exercise in futility is playing out and costing our neighbors big bucks while Georgia doesn’t even need nuclear power. Georgia has been the seventh-fastest growing state for solar power  since 2011. Imagine where we would be now if we’d spent the $30 billion we’ve poured into Plant Vogtle into saving energy and getting more of it from truly clean sources. Even a decade ago, it was clear that nuclear power was too slow and too expensive to be our best response to the climate crisis, and that’s even more true today. “

U.S.PIRG Education Fund’s Consumer Watchdog Teresa Murray said:

“The cost overruns and delays at Plant Vogtle should be a cautionary tale to the rest of the country when it comes to building new nuclear reactors. If a project at my house cost more than double the budget and was a half-decade behind schedule, I’d never want to go through that again. Georgia ratepayers have already dished out hundreds of dollars for this misguided project, and electrons aren’t even flowing. Evidence shows that there are cheaper, cleaner and safer ways to keep the lights on than building new nuclear plants.”  

Environment America Research & Policy Center’s Senior Director of the Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy Johanna Neumann said:

“Harnessing America’s renewable energy sources is more efficient and affordable than ever. Investing in energy efficiency remains the cheapest and fastest way to meet our energy needs, and America has vast untapped solar and wind potential. It’s time to stop throwing good money after bad. Regulators and policy makers should put in place goals and drive action toward powering our future with 100% renewable energy.” 

May 12, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Tulsi Gabbard Says Biden Is Risking Nuclear War With Russia Over Ukraine

NewsWeek, BY GERRARD KAONGA ON 5/11/22  Speaking to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on Tuesday night, former Democratic Representative for Hawaii Tulsi Gabbard warned Joe Biden and his administration to take the threat of nuclear war by Russia seriously and said that Russia has been clear it is not ruling out the use of nuclear weapons.

“What [U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin] is not telling the American people is that Russia has also made it clear that if we even get close to ‘winning’ or achieving this mission and goal he has outlined, Russia has said very clearly they will have no other option than to resort to the use of nuclear weapons.

“Starting first with tactical nuclear weapons and, if necessary, escalating to the use of strategic nuclear weapons.

“This is not fear-mongering to point this out, the American people need to know this is the track that this administration has put us on and [that] very dire consequences will occur if we continue down to this path. This is the reality we are facing.”

She also said that the real intention of the U.S. government is not to defend Ukraine but the “destruction of the Russian state.”

A clip of her interview has gone viral on Twitter and has been viewed over 150,000 times.

“The Biden administration policies, words and actions, it has just been made very clear to us what their real goal is and their real goal is the destruction of the Russian state,” she said.

She went on to quote Austin and comments he made in April on Russia and the war in Ukraine………….

Under Russia’s official military deployment principles, the country is allowed to use nuclear weapons when Russia’s enemies are using nuclear weapons or other types of weapons of mass destruction on Russian territories and/or its allies; if Russia receives reliable data on a launch of ballistic missiles attacking its territory or that of Russian allies; if Russia’s critical government or military sites are attacked by the enemy in a way that would undermine nuclear forces’ response actions; or if the country faces an existential threat through the use of conventional weapons. https://www.newsweek.com/tulsi-gabbard-joe-biden-russia-nuclear-weapon-ukraine-tucker-carlson-1705505

May 12, 2022 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Atomic energy chief: Ukraine’s nuclear safety situation ‘far from being resolved’

Russian troops are still occupying Europe’s largest nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia. Politico  BY LOUISE GUILLOT The risk of a nuclear accident in Ukraine is still a source of concern, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Tuesday, calling the situation “far from being resolved.”

Speaking at European Parliament hearing, IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi said the agency’s main “preoccupation” remains Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine’s largest functioning nuclear power plant, which has been under Russian military control since early March.

“We have been living in a very fragile situation,” he said, explaining that the plant is currently run by Ukrainian state nuclear operator Energoatom but occupied by Russian troops.

Grossi added that Russian nuclear experts are also on site, but said their function “is not entirely clear.” Their presence “goes against every safety principle that we have” and creates the “potential for disagreement, for friction, for contradictory instruction,” he warned.

Russian military control of Zaporizhzhia in eastern Ukraine is also raising questions about the status of nuclear material at the site.

Because IAEA experts currently don’t have access to the plant, they can’t perform regular nuclear safeguard activities, including physical inventories and monitoring, according to Grossi.

“Without that we cannot ensure to the international community where the nuclear material is or what’s happening with it,” he said.

He added that IAEA had no evidence that Ukraine had started a nuclear weapons program before the war — contrary to Russian allegations.

“But when I’m confronted with a situation … where we have more than 30,000 kilograms of enriched uranium and a similar amount of plutonium and I cannot go and inspect … the situation with this nuclear material, it is a very real danger and something that should be considered in all its seriousness,” he said.

…………  Talks are ongoing with both sides, according to Grossi. “We’re not at a dead end.”

He added that a group of IAEA experts will make a second trip to the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power plant “very soon” to carry out additional repairs, but that the situation “appears to have been stabilized.”……..  https://www.politico.eu/article/iaea-rafael-mariano-grossi-ukraine-nuclear-safety-situation-not-resolve/

May 12, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Underwater drones herald sea change in Pacific warfare

US, UK, China and Russia are all developing and deploying underwater drones to gain a subaqueous advantage

Asia Times, By GABRIEL HONRADA, JANUARY 12, 2022,

The drones that have changed the complexion of war from the sky are being replicated at sea, as great powers develop and deploy unmanned underwater vessels (UUVs) to gain a strategic edge in the Pacific and beyond.

The United States, United Kingdom, China and Russia are all developing and deploying the vessels, indicating the “dronification” of future maritime warfare……………………………………….

China is also known to be using underwater drones, with Indonesia seizing three Chinese drones labeled “Shenyang Institute of Automation Chinese Academy of Sciences” near South Sulawesi’s Selayar Island in December 2020…………..

The proliferation of underwater drones in the Pacific region is changing the complexion of underwater warfare, as the region’s maritime environment poses unique operational challenges to underwater operations………………………..

, the South China Sea is an ideal proving ground for underwater drones, as they can perform underwater tasks that may be too dull, demanding, dangerous or even dirty for humans.

Underwater drones can be used for bathymetric mapping, alongside recording the thermal, magnetic, and acoustic properties of specific underwater passages to find blind spots where submarines can travel undetected safely.

As such, this capability is particularly suited for use in the South China Sea, which is among the most challenging bodies of water for submarine navigation due to its shallow waters, numerous underwater peaks and sandbars.

The recent collision of the USS Connecticut submarine with an unmapped seamount in the South China Sea illustrates the danger. In addition, these drones can also find submarine hiding spots to serve as staging areas for underwater operations, or sanctuaries to avoid enemy anti-submarine warfare operations………………………………… https://asiatimes.com/2022/01/underwater-drones-herald-sea-change-in-pacific-warfare/?fbclid=IwAR3H-_1sP9YU3U_lQruGuGiRRBHLFX9kOLdbdvXf1zL8pxXgq

May 12, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Underwater drones could be the end of nuclear submarines

Swarming systems are small, lightweight, cheap, numerous—and networked together to cooperate like bees from the same hive.

National Interest, by Sebastien Roblin, 14 Sept 2020, Here’s What You Need To Remember: “Think of a flotilla of 20 low cost Chinese ‘trawlers’ all peacefully ‘catching fish’, but actually acting as a mother-ship each for 200 low-cost mass-produced mini-UUVs…This flotilla could be assisted by the fixed seabed and tethered anti-submarine sonar sensors China is already stringing across East Asian seas.”

After a post-Cold War hiatus, navies across the planet are pursuing new anti-submarine capabilities as a submarine arms race accelerates in the Pacific Ocean. Developing technologies like quantum magnetometers and satellite-based optical sensors are leading to forecasts that submarines may be on the verge of losing their stealthy edge by the mid-twenty-first century.

But swarms of cheap drones both above and below the water (unmanned underwater vehicles, or UUVs) may pose the biggest and most proximate threat to submarines.

Swarming drones are distinct from larger, higher capability (and more expensive) long-range autonomous unmanned vehicles like the Large-Diameter HSU-001 submarine, recently displayed by China, or the Extra-Large Displacement Orca being built for the U.S. Navy.

Swarming systems, by contrast, are small, lightweight, cheap, numerous—and networked together to cooperate like bees from the same hive…………….

Submarine analyst Peter Coates observes in a blog post that underwater swarming drones could particularly improve China’s surveillance capabilities………………………………………………………. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/reboot/underwater-drones-could-be-end-submarines-168940?fbclid=IwAR3_Q9AZnBfcQkRBhcw0De-7fp-yXZPFXjl7uUrErNASeoJ3_zh9jSzYTUs

May 12, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, depleted uranium | Leave a comment

Meet the nuclear booster who could unseat an energy appropriator

  E&E

By Timothy Cama | 05/10/202

Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur is likely facing her toughest reelection battle yet from a former nuclear energy worker who has been linked to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol and the QAnon conspiracy theory.

J.R. Majewski, a political newcomer, emerged this week as the winner of a four-way primary to be the Republican nominee for northwestern Ohio’s 9th District, centered in Toledo, in this year’s midterm elections (E&E Daily, May 4).

Kaptur, who chairs the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, has rarely faced a competitive election and is the longest-serving woman in the House with nearly four decades of tenure, owing in part to the strong Democratic lean in her district.

But in the redistricting process, GOP state lawmakers redrew the 9th District to include more rural areas and give Republicans a significant leg up. Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a project of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, rates the race a “toss-up.”

Majewski entered the race a year ago, before the district was made more Republican. But

But redistricting has significantly increased the chances he could go to Congress next year………..

Majewski’s campaign did not respond to requests for an interview. But in other media interviews, he’s cited his 19 years of experience in the nuclear power sector as a qualification to take on issues surrounding “energy independence,”…………

He’s also repeatedly called for the United States to invest more in nuclear power, including improving the licensing regime for new nuclear technologies…………….

Holtec International, which operates in nuclear segments including spent fuel and decommissioning, said in a 2019 Facebook post that Majewski worked for the company. Spokesperson Joseph Delmar said Majewski does not currently work for Holtec but would not provide further details on when he worked there or what his position was.

The Blade reported earlier this month that Majewski is currently an executive at “a company that specializes in safe storage of spent nuclear fuel,” though it’s unclear what company that is. He started his career at the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station near Oak Harbor, Ohio, where he eventually became project manager, according to the campaign website………….

Media reports have linked Majewski to QAnon, and he has expressed sympathy with its adherents and used social media hashtags referring to it. The movement, which is generally supportive of Trump, refers to a broad set of false conspiracy theories accusing politicians and others of satanism, child abuse and other crimes.

A recent CNN review found numerous instances in which Majewski approvingly shared QAnon material and slogans. He changed the “Trump 2020” sign to read “Trump 2Q2Q” for some period of time, the network found……… https://www.eenews.net/articles/meet-the-nuclear-booster-who-could-unseat-an-energy-appropriator/

May 12, 2022 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Talen Energy subsidiary files for bankruptcy, company still plans nuclear data center, Company says

Cumulus nuclear data center project unaffected by ‘restructuring’ May 11, 2022 By Dan Swinhoe

Talen Energy, which is developing a data center campus at one of its nuclear power stations, has seen one of its subsidiaries file for bankruptcy.

This week Talen Energy Supply (TES), a unit of Talen Energy Corp (TEC) that holds several of its power plants, filed for Chapter 11 protection………………..

The company is aiming to reduce its $4.5 billion debt pile and bring in $1.65 billion in new equity from bondholders. TES has secured $1.76 billion of debtor-in-possession financing (the “DIP Facilities”) led by Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and RBC Capital Markets. The DIP Facilities are comprised of a $1 billion term loan, a $300 million revolving credit facility, and a $458 million letter of credit facility. The $1 billion term loan is being provided by an investor group of leading financial institutions.

The company said the process would “advance carbon-free data center growth initiatives, and maximize value to stakeholders.”  https://www.datacenterdynamics.com/en/news/talen-energy-subsidiary-files-for-bankruptcy-company-still-plans-nuclear-data-center/

May 12, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, ENERGY, USA | Leave a comment

Putin could use nuclear weapon if he felt war being lost – US intelligence chief

 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/10/putin-nuclear-weapons-us-intelligence-avril-haines Julian Borger in Washington, Wed 11 May 2022. Vladimir Putin could view the prospect of defeat in Ukraine as an existential threat to his regime, potentially triggering his resort to using a nuclear weapon, the top US intelligence official has warned.

The warning on Tuesday came in an assessment from intelligence chiefs briefing the Senate on worldwide threats. The prediction for Ukraine was a long, gruelling war of attrition, which could lead to increasingly volatile acts of escalation from Putin, including full mobilisation, the imposition of martial law, and – if the Russian leader felt the war was going against him, endangering his position in Moscow – even the use of a nuclear warhead.

The grim forecast came on a day of continued fighting in the east and south of Ukraine, and Russian missile attacks on the port of Odesa, with the UN conceding that the civilian death toll from the war will probably be far higher than the current official estimate of 3,381.

The director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, told the Senate armed services committee that Putin would continue to brandish Russia’s nuclear arsenal in an attempt to deter the US and its allies from further support for Ukraine. The shift of focus to the east and the south are most likely a temporary tactic rather than a permanent scaling back of war aims, she said.

The Russian leader would not use a nuclear weapon until he saw an existential threat to Russia or his regime, Haines argued. But she added that he could view the prospect of defeat in Ukraine as constituting such a threat.

“We do think that [Putin’s perception of an existential threat] could be the case in the event that he perceives that he is losing the war in Ukraine, and that Nato in effect is either intervening or about to intervene in that context, which would obviously contribute to a perception that he is about to lose the war in Ukraine,” Haines told the committee hearing.

She added that the world would probably have some warning that nuclear use was imminent.

“There are a lot of things that he would do in the context of escalation before he would get to nuclear weapons, and also that he would be likely to engage in some signaling beyond what he’s done thus far before doing so,” Haines said.

That signaling could include a further large-scale nuclear exercise involving the substantial dispersal of mobile intercontinental missiles, heavy bombers and strategic submarines.

The assessment the US intelligence chiefs laid out for the senators suggested that Ukraine was faced with the prospect of a war of attrition. They said Putin intended to conquer the Luhansk and Donetsk regions plus a buffer zone around them, to secure a land bridge to Crimea. He wanted to hold Kherson, north of Crimea, to secure the water supply to the peninsula.

However, his ambitions did not stop there. Haines said there were “indications” that Putin wants to extend the land bridge as far as Transnistria, the Moscow-occupied region of Moldova, thereby controlling all of Ukraine’s Black Sea coast. Haines said, however, that Putin would face an uphill task, and that the extension of the land bridge to Transnistria, including the capture of Odesa, would not be possible without a full mobilisation. She added that the capture of the Donbas plus a buffer zone was unlikely in the next few weeks.

The head of the Defence Intelligence Agency, Lt Gen Scott Berrier, said that the US believed that between eight and 10 Russian generals had been killed so far in the conflict.

Like Haines, Berrier predicted a stalemate, with neither side able to achieve a breakthrough. But a decision by Putin to order a full mobilisation in Russia, ushered in by a formal declaration of war, could change the military balance.

“If they do mobilise, and they do declare war, that’ll bring thousands more soldiers to the fight,” Berrier said. “And even though they may not be as well trained and competent, they will still bring mass and a lot more ammunition.”

Despite all the setbacks, Haines said Putin was probably convinced that Russia ultimately had more stamina than Ukraine and its backers.

“He is probably counting on the US and EU resolve to weaken as food shortages, inflation and energy prices get worse,” she said.

Given Putin’s conviction he could ultimately prevail, and the fact that Ukraine showed no signs of giving in, Haines said US intelligence agencies

 “do not see a viable negotiating path forward, at least in the short term”.

Meanwhile, as the war of attrition continued, the conflict was likely to take “a more unpredictable and potentially escalatory trajectory”.

“The current trend increases the likelihood that President Putin will turn to more drastic means, including imposing martial law, reorienting industrial production, or potentially escalatory military actions to free up the resources needed to achieve his objectives as the conflict drags on, or if he perceives Russia is losing in Ukraine,” Haines said.

The most likely flashpoint in the coming weeks, she added, would be escalating Russian attempts to intimidate the west to stop weapons supplies into Ukraine and possible retaliation for western economic sanctions or perceived threats to Putin’s regime at home.

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

US House passes extension of Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.

https://www.knau.org/knau-and-arizona-news/2022-05-11/us-house-passes-extension-of-radiation-exposure-compensation-act KNAU News Talk – Arizona Public Radio | By KNAU STAFF  11 May 22.  The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a short-term extension of a federal law that provides compensation to residents and workers in the West who were exposed to radiation during the Cold War.

The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act is set to expire in July and the two-year extension is designed to give lawmakers more time to craft a long-term solution supporters hope will extend the program until 2040 and broaden eligibility for people known as downwinders.

Tribal leaders in the Southwest want the law to include more uranium industry workers and increase the compensation to those eligible.

The U.S. Senate recently approved the measure and it now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk.

May 12, 2022 Posted by | Legal, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Company Agrees to Further Tests of Nuke Plant’s Wastewater

The company dismantling a former nuclear power plant along Cape Cod Bay won’t release radioactive water into the bay unless tests confirm local marine life won’t be harmed, U.S. Sen. Ed Markey’s office said Wednesday.The Massachusetts Democrat held a hearing in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on Friday about nuclear safety and security issues, where the decommissioning of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station by Holtec International was discussed.

Markey said Holtec officials assured him they wouldn’t discharge radioactive water from the plant into the bay without the consent of stakeholders. The company followed up with a letter this week to Markey, which his office released…….. 

Local residents, shell fishermen and politicians fiercely oppose discharging the water into the bay. Alternatively, Holtec could evaporate the contaminated water or truck it to a facility in another state.

Local residents, shell fishermen and politicians fiercely oppose discharging the water into the bay ……. https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/company-agrees-to-further-tests-of-nuke-plants-wastewater/2717659/

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

‘Criminalising our right to protest’: UK green groups’ anger over public order bill

‘Criminalising our right to protest’: UK green groups’ anger over public order bill

Measures in Queen’s speech would have outlawed protests that won votes for women and legalisation of unions, say critics

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