nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

The week in nuclear news

A bit of good news –  this  week Vienna, Austria, is hosting the First Meeting of States Parties, UN member states that have agreed to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Over 100 governments will participate. The great majority of the world’s representatives — 122 countries — voted their approval of the TPNW in 2017, and 62 have since ratified it. The treaty has entered into force, and only the tiny minority of nuclear-armed governments and their military allies continue to reject it. In the midst of all the doom and gloom news, we need to remember that thousands of people in many nations are working for a better world.


Otherwise – the week has been a perfect storm of awful news. The coronavirus pandemic has not gone away – far from it!  Global heating is striking – the poles are melting at a fast rate, floods in India and Bangladesh, extreme heat in Europe, wildfires in Germany, Greece, Spain and New Jersey. USA.   USA and UK determined to punish Julian Assange forever –   let that be a warning to any journalist who exposes USA military atrocities !

Assange Is Doing His Most Important Work Yet. The UK’s Decision to Extradite Assange Shows Why The US/UK’s Freedom Lectures Are a Farce.

The deteriorating nuclear order. The Nuclear Weapons Treaty Ban in the Footsteps of 1982’s Million-Person March.

Nuclear-armed nations spent $82.4bn on weapons in 2021From all continents: mercenaries from 55 nations serving in Ukrainian army.

Pope Francis again says that the West provoked or failed to prevent Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Rosatom Exemption: How Russia’s State-Run Nuclear Giant Has Escaped Sanctions.

Bank group accused of exploiting loopholes and ‘greenwashing’ in climate pledge.

UKRAINE. The US-led bloc is unwilling to fight Russia directly and treats Ukraine as a proxy, Dutch PM admits. Ukraine vows to reclaim Crimea with US weapons. Ukraine killing civilians in ‘unprecedented’ shelling on Donetsk ignored by Western media and politicians. Profit in a time of war? The madness of more reactors (from Westinghouse) in Ukraine.

EUROPEAnger that European Parliament may consider ”greenwashing” nuclear and gas. Two European Parliamentary committees oppose inclusion of nuclear power and gas as environmentally sustainable.

HUNGARY. Hungarian Greens: nuclear energy ‘severely pollutes the environment.

FRANCE. France’s nuclear output lowers, as climate change affects cooling water systems of reactors. A storm of unexpected problems swirls around France’s beleaguered nuclear fleet.

ANTARCTICA. Antarctic “doomsday glacier” melting at faster rate than in past 5,500 years.

UK. 

JAPAN. Japan gov’t to skip 1st U.N. nuclear ban meeting next week. 

Court rules Japanese government not responsible for Fukushima nuclear disaster damage.  Plaintiffs slam Supreme Court ruling.    Commentary] Class Action Lawsuit over Nuclear Power Plant Accident: One Dissenting Opinion What are the Key Points of the Supreme Court Decision?    Evacuated Fukushima villagers return home, but not without worries.    Radioactivity in fish and shellfish samples from the west coast of Canada after Fukushima (2011-18).    

Apprehension in Japan, about the idea of getting nuclear-powered submarines.

KAZAKHSTANTreaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as New Instrument in Nuclear Disarmament Process. Kazakhstan FM calls for elimination of all nuclear weapons by 2045.

USA. 

CANADA.The world’s nuclear powers need to come to the table to try and change the course of history.  

AUSTRALIA. Can Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese save Julian Assange? 

June 20, 2022 Posted by | Christina's notes | 1 Comment

The world’s nuclear powers need to come to the table to try and change the course of history

JOHN POLANYI, GLOBE AND MAIL, JUNE 18, 2022   John Polanyi is a Nobel laureate at the University of Toronto who has written widely on the dangers of nuclear war.

The UN Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons is law for 61 states, and it awaits ratification in 28 more, totalling almost half the countries in the world. The first meeting of these states is scheduled to take place in Vienna later this week.

Missing, however, will be every country with a nuclear weapon. Canada, a member of NATO, will also be among those not present.

This is inconsistent with our history. Was it merely by chance that Canada opposed stationing any nuclear weapons on its soil? Was it also by chance that, after a countrywide debate in 2005, we rejected the protection of U.S. national missile defence?

It seems far likelier that Canadians take a longer view of our security, believing that the better path lies in international restraint, given the devastating power of nuclear weapons. Our first priority should be to support the United Nations when it calls for the prohibition of the most destructive weapons the world has ever known.

So why, then, have we failed to support the TPNW? Is it because of conventional thinking in a transformed world?

In a single century, the nuclear age has already passed through three phases: It began with a U.S. nuclear monopoly, which was then transformed into bilateral U.S.-Soviet deterrence, and now stands at the brink of an era of multiple superpowers.

 . But it all began with science……………………………..

Today, the bipolar standoff is an even more fraught multipolar one. Satellite observation shows China approaching nuclear parity with the U.S. and Russia, and so we must prepare for a world in which one superpower tries to deter two. Can three gunmen – two of them dictators, all with a strong incentive to shoot first – survive this Wild West shootout? The stakes have never been so high, since soot from nuclear war can bring nuclear winter.

The nuclear powers have responded by speaking of “modernization,” introducing a lexicon of AI, hypersonics and cyber. But the fact is, our future depends instead on the visionaries of the new treaty, blocking the path to war with clearly criminal weapons. The Vienna meeting gives us the opportunity to change course. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-the-worlds-nuclear-powers-need-to-come-to-the-table-to-try-and-change/

June 20, 2022 Posted by | Canada, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Predictable monstrosity: UK approves Assange extradition

 https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/predictable-monstrosity-uk-approves-assange-extradition,16482, By Binoy Kampmark | 20 June 2022,

The only shock about the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel’s decision regarding Julian Assange was that it did not come sooner. 

In April, Chief Magistrate Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring expressed the view that he was ‘duty-bound‘ to send the case to Priti Patel to decide on whether to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to the United States to face 18 charges, 17 grafted from the U.S. Espionage Act of 1917.

Patel, for her part, was never exercised by the more sordid details of the case. Her approach to matters of justice is one of premature adjudication: the guilty are everywhere and only multiply.  When it came to WikiLeaks, such fine points of law and fact as a shaky indictment based on fabricated evidence, meditations on assassination, and a genuine, diagnosed risk of self-harm were piffling distractions. 

The U.S. Department of Justice would not be denied.

Under the Extradition Act 2003,’ a nameless spokesman for the Home Office stated, ‘the Secretary of State must sign an extradition order if there are no grounds to prohibit the order being made. Extradition requests are only sent to the Home Secretary once a judge decides it can proceed after considering various aspects of the case.’

Evidently, overt politicisation, bad faith, and flimsy reassurances from the U.S. Department of Justice on how Assange will be detained, do not constitute sufficient grounds. 

But the cue came from the courts themselves, which have done a fabulous job of covering the U.S. justice system with tinsel in actually believing assurances that Assange would not be facing special administrative detention measures (SAMs) or permanent captivity in the ADX Florence supermax in Colorado. 

The statement read:

‘In this case, the UK courts have not found that it would be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process to extradite Mr Assange.’

In such a scatterbrained and amoral cosmos that marks decision-making in the Home Office, no mention has been made of the surveillance operation against the publisher in the Ecuadorian embassy, orchestrated at the behest of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). None, either, of contemplated abduction or assassination, or the frail mental health Assange finds himself.

As late as 10 June, a letter from the group Doctors for Assange, comprising 300 doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists, noted that the Home Secretary’s ‘denial of the cruel, inhuman treatment inflicted upon Assange was then, and is even more so now, irreconcilable with the reality of the situation’.

In April, an umbrella grouping of 19 organisations dedicated to press freedom and free speech urged Patel, in reviewing the case, to appreciate that Assange would “highly likely” face isolation or solitary confinement in the U.S. ‘despite the U.S. Government’s assurances, which would severely exacerbate the risk of suicide’.

The co-chairs of the Courage Foundation’s Assange Defense Committee, Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg and Alice Walker, reflected on the depravity of the order in a statement

They wrote:

‘It is a sad day for western democracy. The UK’s decision to extradite Julian Assange to the nation that plotted to assassinate him – the nation that wants to imprison him for 175 years for publishing truthful information in the public interest – is an abomination.’

As for the UK, it had:

‘… shown its complicity in this farce, by agreeing to extradite a foreigner based on politically motivated charges that collapse under the slightest scrutiny.’

Amnesty International expressed similar views, as did Reporters Without Borders. There was even concern from Conservative MP David Davis, who expressed his belief that Assange would not “get a fair trial.” The extradition law was, as matters stood, lopsided in favour of U.S. citizens.

Under the arrangement, individuals crossing the channel will receive one-way tickets to Rwanda to have their claims processed without the prospect of settling in the UK. The Rwandan Government, hostile to contrarians, the rule of law and refugees, will be subsidised for their pain and labour.

To this sadistic streak can be added her admiration for the Espionage Act being used to prosecute Assange. This fact should have disqualified her in any country operating under the rule of law. Even as Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced a Conservative no-confidence vote this month, Patel’s National Security Bill passed its second reading in Parliament. 

The bill articulates an offence of ‘obtaining or disclosing protected information’ that includes ‘any information… which either is, or could reasonably be expected to be, subject to any type of restrictions of access for protecting the safety and interests of the UK’.

In a polite nod of deference to U.S. law, the proposed law states that an offence is committed when a person ‘obtains, copies, records or retains protected information, or discloses or provides access to protected information’ for a purpose ‘that they know, or ought reasonably to know, is prejudicial to the safety or interests of the United Kingdom’ and if ‘the foreign power condition is met’

The requirement is that the act is ‘carried out for or on behalf of a foreign power’, including instances where ‘an indirect relationship’ exists.

Assange has 14 days to appeal this insidious rubber-stamping of judicially sanctioned brutality. His legal team are hoping to use the High Court as the route to highlight the political dimension of the case and draw attention back to the way the extradition law was read.

If the defence fails, Assange will be sent across the Atlantic, entrusted to officials, some of whom considered murdering him, to be made an example of. 

It will be the clarion call to regimes across the world that punishing a publisher is something supposed liberal democracies can do as well, and as deviously, as anybody else. 

June 20, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | 1 Comment

If Australian Prime Minister Albanese asks for Assange’s freedom, Biden has every reason to agree: Bob Carr

The Age, 20 June 22, “…………………….. It was the Trump administration – probably at the insistence of then-CIA chief Mike Pompeo – that pursued Assange’s extradition. The Morrison government declined even the faintest whinny of protest. It was as if we were not a sovereign government but some category of US territory like Puerto Rico and an Australian passport holder didn’t rate protection from the vengeful anger of one corner of the American security apparatus. A France or Germany – a New Zealand  would not have been as craven.

Here lies Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s most potent argument as he proceeds to winkle out of the Biden administration a decision to quietly drop its pursuit of Assange, even after Britain announced on Friday that it had approved his extradition to the US. Albanese can say that, to Australian public opinion, it looks like one rule for Americans, another for citizens of its ally.

Albanese can gently remind Washington that President Barack Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning. That is, he lifted her sentence for gifting to Assange the material that he published on Wikileaks in 2010. This was the collateral murder video that showed soldiers in a US Apache helicopter mowing down civilians with their automatic weapons in Iraq in 2007. The video exposed America’s lack of rules of engagement but, more than that, tore away the justification for the neocon high adventure of the Iraq war.

Manning, the American who slipped the material to Assange, goes free while the Australian who published it faces extradition, trial in Virginia and the rest of his life in cruel confinement in a high-security prison, likely on the plains of Oklahoma.

Albanese doesn’t have to state – because the Americans know it – that we are a darn good partner. A request on Assange is small change in such an alliance relationship. We host vital US communication facilities that likely make Australia a nuclear target. We host ship visits, planes and marines, about which the same baleful point could be made. And, as the capstone, we are spending about $150 billion purchasing US nuclear submarines……………..

In the context of Australia’s role as an ally – the heft we deliver for the US empire – a decision to let Assange walk free rates about five minutes of President Biden’s Oval Office attention. ………………….

The military in the US and Australia have had to admit no lives were lost because of Assange. But we wouldn’t have heard of serious war crimes in a counterproductive war were it not for the haggard prisoner in Belmarsh.

Our new prime minister can say: “We’re not fans of the guy either, Mr President, but it’s gone on long enough. We’re good allies. Let this one drop.“

And if Albanese asks, my guess is America will agree.  https://www.theage.com.au/national/if-albanese-asks-for-assange-s-freedom-biden-has-every-reason-to-agree-bob-carr-20220619-p5autd.html

June 20, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties, politics international | Leave a comment

Hungarian Greens: nuclear energy ‘severely pollutes the environment

Hungarian Greens: nuclear energy ‘severely pollute the environment’,    https://dailynewshungary.com/hungarian-greens-nuclear-energy-severely-pollute-the-environment/   18 June 22  Opposition LMP, as a member of the European Greens party group, called on Hungarian lawmakers in the European Parliament not to support “labelling nuclear energy and natural gas green”. Co-leader of the party Erzsébet Schmuck told an online press conference on Friday that she had written a letter jointly with László Lóránt Keresztes, head of parliament’s sustainable development committee, asking all Hungarian MEPs not to give their support.

She said that a resolution would go before the EP in July and the European Commission had submitted an amendment proposal to this resolution “under pressure” from the nuclear energy and natural gas lobby.

The resolution will serve as a guideline to investors concerning what sustainable projects to invest in, she said. Approving the amendment proposal would be a great drawback to Europe’s green transition plan, going against the target to achieve climate neutrality by the middle of the century, she added.

Schmuck said that these sources of energy severely pollute the environment. The EP’s economic and environmental protection committees have not supported the amendment, “but we have not yet won the battle and the unscrupulous pushiness of the nuclear and fossil energy lobbies must be reined in now,” she said.

June 20, 2022 Posted by | EUROPE, politics | Leave a comment

‘Revolting’: Senate Panel Adds Another $45 Billion to Biden’s Military Budget

Time and again, Congress funnels billions in additional funds to costly weapons programs, war, and defense contractors, while claiming that human needs would ‘cost too much,'” said Weissman. “Most Americans oppose efforts to rocket-launch military spending towards a trillion dollars per year. Lawmakers should reject this and champion human-centered spending instead.”

 https://www.commondreams.org/news/2022/06/17/revolting-senate-panel-adds-another-45-billion-bidens-military-budget “The Pentagon’s ever-growing budget is quite simply a theft from American people enriching some of the wealthiest corporations in this country,” said one critic. “It’s disgraceful.”

KENNY STANCIL June 17, 2022    Progressives responded with disgust after the Senate Armed Services Committee voted Thursday to tack an additional $45 billion on top of President Joe Biden’s already massive military spending request, bringing the total proposed budget for the coming fiscal year to a staggering $857.6 billion.

The Biden administration’s March request for $813 billion in military spending for Fiscal Year 2023 represented a $31 billion increase over the current level of $782 billion, which is already unprecedented.

During its closed-door markup of the National Defense Authorization Act this week, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved a bill with a topline budget of $847 billion—$817 billion of which is earmarked for the Pentagon. An additional $10.6 billion in national military spending falls outside the Senate panel’s jurisdiction. The House is expected to make its own push to further boost military spending for the next fiscal year.

William Hartung, a senior research fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, called the Senate panel’s decision “misguided.”

“The administration’s proposal is already higher than spending at the peaks of the Korean and Vietnam Wars and over $100 billion more than at the height of the Cold War,” Hartung said in a statement. “Throwing more money at the Pentagon will not make us safer—it will just divert funds from addressing other urgent challenges like pandemics and climate change that put millions of Americans at risk.”

Monica Montgomery, a research analyst at the Council for a Livable World, pointed out that the Senate committee’s proposed $45 billion increase in military spending is equivalent to Biden’s entire budget request for climate programs, demonstrating how “Congress will value militarism and defense contractors over a livable future.”

If Congress truly wants to keep people safe, they must start by rejecting this increase and investing taxpayer dollars in human wellbeing, instead,” Tori Bateman, policy advocacy coordinator at the American Friends Service Committee, said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.)—co-chairs of the Defense Spending Reduction Caucus—introduced the People Over Pentagon Act of 2022, which proposes cutting Pentagon spending for the next fiscal year by $100 billion and reallocating those funds toward threats facing the nation that “are not military in nature,” such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the climate emergency, and worsening inequality.

Although a majority of U.S. voters are opposed to military spending in excess of $800 billion, earlier efforts to slash the Pentagon’s budget have failed to gain enough support to pass the House or Senate thanks in part to lawmakers who receive significant amounts of campaign cash from the weapons industry, which benefits from constantly ballooning expenditures.

Roughly 55% of all Pentagon spending went to private sector military contractors from FY 2002 to FY 2021, according to Stephen Semler of the Security Policy Reform Institute. “If this privatization of funds rate over the last 20 years holds,” Semler wrote in December, arms dealers will gobble up an estimated $407 billion in public money in FY 2022.

n the words of Win Without War president Stephen Miles, “The Pentagon’s ever-growing budget is quite simply a theft from American people enriching some of the wealthiest corporations in this country.”

Julia Gledhill, an analyst at the Project on Government Oversight’s Center for Defense Information, concurred.

“Increasing the Pentagon budget beyond President Biden’s request isn’t just irresponsible—it’s a slap in the face to American taxpayers,” said Gledhill. “Year after year the Department of Defense demonstrates its lack of fiscal discipline, failing financial audits and sinking money into weapon programs that do little more than enrich defense contractors.”

“This $45 billion increase isn’t about national security or the American people,” she added. “It’s about funneling money into the military-industrial complex.”

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters Thursday that inflation was “the first consideration” in increasing the topline. He also cited the need to support Ukraine, replenish weapons sent to aid the country’s fight against Russia, and fund military priorities not included in Biden’s Pentagon request, Politico reported.

The committee’s ranking Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma hailed the proposed spending hike as “everything I hoped for.”

Experts, meanwhile, have documented how military spending has never moved in tandem with inflation. They have also warned that the nearly $60 billion worth of weaponry that Ukraine has already received from the U.S. is more likely to intensify the war than to advance peace, with arms manufacturers among the only beneficiaries of such prolonged suffering.

The Senate Armed Services Committee’s move to increase U.S. military spending comes despite the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan following 20 years of war.

The more we spend on war & military, the less we have to invest in urgent human needs. This is a policy choice.

Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen—a progressive advocacy group that is pushing the U.S. to ramp up vaccine manufacturing and inoculate the world against Covid-19 with an investment of just $25 billion, or roughly 3% of the nation’s annual military budget—said that “the Senate Armed Services Committee’s choice to defy both the president and public opinion and flood the Pentagon with more money is outrageous.”

“Time and again, Congress funnels billions in additional funds to costly weapons programs, war, and defense contractors, while claiming that human needs would ‘cost too much,'” said Weissman. “Most Americans oppose efforts to rocket-launch military spending towards a trillion dollars per year. Lawmakers should reject this and champion human-centered spending instead.”

June 20, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A storm of unexpected problems swirls around France’s beleaguered nuclear fleet.

Ed note: and that’s not counting the damaging effect that climate change’s heat wave is doing to the reactors’ cooling systems !!

French Nuclear Power Crisis Frustrates Europe’s Push to Quit Russian Energy. France typically exports electricity, but now it risks blackouts and a need for imported power because of problems at the state nuclear operator. Around half of France’s atomic fleet, the largest in Europe, has been taken offline as a storm of unexpected problems swirls around the nation’s state-backed nuclear power operator, Électricité de France, or EDF.

EDF, already 43 billion euros (about $45 billion) in debt, is also exposed to a recent deal involving the Russian state-backed nuclear power operator, Rosatom, that may heap fresh financial pain on the French company. The troubles have ballooned so quickly that President Emmanuel Macron’s government has hinted that EDF may need to be nationalized.

The few new nuclear reactors that EDF has built have been dogged by huge cost overruns and delays. An EDF-made pressurized water reactor at Hinkley Point, in southwest England, won’t start operating until 2027 — four years behind schedule and too late to help Britain’s swift turn from Russian oil and gas. Finland’s newest EDF nuclear power plant, which started operating last month, was supposed to be completed in 2009.

 New York Times 18th June 2022

June 20, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kazakhstan FM calls for elimination of all nuclear weapons by 2045

Kazakhstan FM calls for elimination of all nuclear weapons by 2045  https://news.am/eng/news/707992.html, 19.06.2022

The world is now in crisis, the risk of using nuclear weapons is very high, and what is happening in Ukraine and mutual threats are prompting a ban and elimination of nuclear warheads. This statement by Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi was published on the ministry’s official Telegram channel on the eve of the first meeting of states parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which will be held next week in Vienna, BB-CNTV reported.

“The current military conflict on the territory of Ukraine, talk about the return of nuclear weapons and mutual threats to use nuclear weapons make us, more than ever before, think about the collective vulnerability of humanity and the urgent need to ban and eliminate these deadly weapons,” the minister said.

He called on all countries of the world to develop a phased plan that would allow the complete elimination of nuclear weapons by the UN centenary—by 2045. According to Tleuberdi, the corresponding agreements could be reflected in the final documents of the first conference of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The Minister referred to the data of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who earlier said that about 13,400 nuclear warheads are now dispersed around the world, and the threat of their use has become “more real than in the darkest days of the Cold War.”

“Kazakhstan’s practical contribution to nuclear disarmament gives the moral right to continue calling on peoples and governments to redouble their efforts to rid our planet of the threat of nuclear self-destruction,” Tleuberdi stressed.

Having inherited a significant part of its nuclear arsenal after the collapse of the USSR, Kazakhstan voluntarily renounced the position of a nuclear power and in 1993 joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) with the status of a state that does not possess nuclear weapons.

The Treaty was developed in support of the NPT and fully complements its current importance in strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation regime, the peaceful use of atomic energy and, in general, ensuring international security, the press service of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry specified.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entered into force in January 2021.

June 20, 2022 Posted by | Kazakhstan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Could the Orca Autonomous Submarine Forever Change Nuclear War?

An Orca submarine hitting the waters in Huntington Beach, California in April 2022 has likely caused a ripple effect already across the world.

National Interest, by Akash Shah, 19 June 22,  The U.S. Navy has conducted the first in-water test of its Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (XLUUV) “Orca,” marking a big step toward the future of naval warfare. The idea of an unmanned undersea vehicle in itself is not ground-breaking per se, but the sheer size, payload capacity, and artificial intelligence-driven autonomy are what make Orca-class a game-changer. The eighty-five-foot-long autonomous underwater system is purpose-built to carry out missions such as underwater surveillance and mine laying operations. The U.S Navy intends to enhance the role and capabilities of Orca-class submarines in the future which includes anti-surface, anti-submarine, and electronic warfare missions. An Orca submarine, capable of operating autonomously underwater for thirty days, hitting the waters in Huntington Beach, California in April 2022 has likely caused a ripple effect already across the world.

Although still in the early phase of operation, the possibilities platforms like Orca offer to militaries are likely to impact and reconfigure maritime warfare……………..It might be tempting for some countries to arm underwater platforms like Orca with nuclear warheads in the future………….   some psychological and technical constraints might not let the idea of autonomous unmanned nuclear submarines turn into a reality.

Just the idea of an AI-based robot submarine having the discretion to decide when to launch is absurd, to say nothing of all the things that could go wrong. I asked a high-ranking, retired Pakistani military official, who was closely associated with Pakistan’s nuclear program during his service, whether he sees any underwater autonomous platforms to be used in nuclear conflicts down the road. He instantly replied, “No! Nukes are too serious a business and would never be left at the whim of an AI platform, irrespective of whatever new technology emerges.”

Furthermore, AI systems are trained on huge caches of real-life data pertinent to the domain they are being trained for and actual data of a nuclear conflict is practically non-existent. The only nuclear raids at the end of World War II were not a conflict between two nuclear states and hence serve no purpose regarding second strikes. Based on these premises, it could be said with a higher degree of certainty that no rational international actor would combine a completely autonomous platform with the nuclear warheads. 

One of the crucial elements of a secure second-strike capability is an early warning of incoming nuclear missiles and launch platforms being communicated to strike back. However, communication with a submerged vessel is one of the most challenging aspects of underwater warfare. The stealth feature of a submarine is only viable if it is underwater as the probability of detection and interception increases when it is closer to the surface. This conundrum of communication while maintaining stealthiness is somewhat addressed by using the extremely low frequency of 3 Hz to 30 Hz.

However, in the case of autonomous unmanned submarines carrying nukes, one can never be sure if the transmitted message is conceived in time and in the manner it was intended. When compared with the potential for autonomous underwater platforms to enhance a country’s deterrence capabilities, the risk and cost, if things go wrong, are simply too high.   https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/could-orca-autonomous-submarine-forever-change-nuclear-war-203085

June 20, 2022 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

The nuclear industry ramps up its lobbying of Scottish Members of Parliament

Campaigners accused the nuclear industry of “getting desperate” and “flogging a dead horse” by launching a “propaganda offensive”. Scotland did not need to build any more nuclear stations, they said…....

“The Scottish Government is absolutely clear in its opposition to the building of new traditional nuclear fission energy plants in Scotland under current technologies,”

Industry lobbies MSPs to back nuclear power,  The Ferret, Rob EdwardsJune 19, 2022

The UK nuclear industry has stepped up its lobbying of MSPs in a bid to get the Scottish Parliament to reverse its opposition to the building of new nuclear power stations.

An investigation by The Ferret has revealed that nuclear energy companies and their lobbyists have talked up the industry’s potential benefits to ministers, Tory, Labour and SNP MSPs at six meetings in 2021 and four so far in 2022.

According to the Scottish Parliament’s lobbying register, there were no pro-nuclear lobbying meetings in 2020, three in 2019 and four in 2018. There is only one recorded lobbying meeting by an anti-nuclear group since 2018.

Campaigners accused the nuclear industry of “getting desperate” and “flogging a dead horse” by launching a “propaganda offensive”. Scotland did not need to build any more nuclear stations, they said…….

In April Boris Johnston’s government at Westminster gave nuclear power a major boost by announcing plans to deliver as many as eight new reactors over the next eight years. But since 2005 successive Scottish governments have opposed building any north of the border.

Now nuclear companies and their backers are putting Scottish politicians under growing pressure to change their minds. At two meetings in May and two in April 2022, they lobbied MSPs in Holyrood on the “opportunities” of nuclear power.

On 24 May the UK Nuclear Industry Association arranged a full day of “engagement with the Scottish Parliament”. This included lunch and a series of pro-nuclear presentations at the upmarket Signet Library hosted by Edinburgh corporate energy lawyers, Castletown Law, as well as an evening reception in the parliament.

For the lunchtime meeting Castletown produced a 16-page brochure entitled ‘The Importance of Nuclear Power to Scotland’. This was aimed at “trying to put right some of the misrepresentations on nuclear power generation”. 

One of its authors was Castletown’s principal, Simon Stuttaford, who used to work for the nuclear industry. His co-author and fellow principal was Andrew Renton, who has accused the media of being “indoctrinated” by anti-nuclear lobbying. 

Castletown Law is a member of the UK Nuclear Industry Association, which also invited MSPs to a “nuclear energy reception” at Holyrood at 6pm on 24 May. Politicians were offered meetings during the day with the association’s chief executive and former Labour energy spokesperson, Tom Greatrex, to “discuss nuclear energy matters in more depth”.

The meetings on 24 May have not yet been recorded in Holyrood’s lobbying register. The nuclear association said it was “in the process” of declaring them.

The register does record two lobbying meetings in April by Stonehaven Campaigns, a London-based communications consultancy working on behalf of the Sizewell C Consortium, an industry group backing a new nuclear power station at Sizewell in Suffolk. 

On 20 April Stonehaven’s James English met three Conservative MSPs at Holyrood — Liam Kerr, Brian Whittle and Sue Webber. On 27 April the company’s Angus Boobbyer talked to Conservative MSP, Oliver Mundell, via a video link.

The purpose in both cases was said to be “to discuss the current state of play of Scotland’s nuclear industry and raise the opportunities on offer for the country following the release of the UK Government’s Energy Security Strategy

The French nuclear company, EDF Energy, recorded four meetings in 2021 in the lobbying register. On 16 December three company officials talked via video to the Cabinet Secretary, Michael Matheson, on “nuclear’s omission” from the Scottish Government’s Just Transition Commission, which is working on how to fairly reduce Scotland’s climate pollution.

On 8 November 2021 EDF met four Labour MSPs at a “roundtable event on nuclear in Scotland” to make the same point. The meeting took place at Scottish Labour’s headquarters in Glasgow, and included the party leader, Anas Sarwar, as well as Daniel Johnson, Paul Sweeney and Martin Whitfield.

EDF also met two of the Labour MSPs, Sweeney and Whitfield, at Torness nuclear power station in East Lothian on 20 September 2021. On 23 September the company lobbied Conservative MSP, Liam Kerr, on nuclear plans at a video conference.

Caithness Chamber of Commerce has registered two lobbying meetings about nuclear power. On 27 September 2021 it met with the local SNP MSP, Maree Todd, at a hotel in Thurso to raise “concerns regarding SNP/Scottish Government energy policy with regards to nuclear”. 

On 18 January 2021 the chamber lobbied the trade minister, Ivan McKee, about the nuclear industry during a video conference. The Dounreay nuclear complex, which is currently being decommissioned, is situated in Caithness.

The one anti-nuclear lobbying meeting on the register took place on 20 January 2022. The environmental campaign group, Greenpeacetalked to the Scottish Greens political advisor, Harry Huyton, via video link “about nuclear power”.

The Greens energy spokesperson, Mark Ruskell MSP, pointed out that there had been a “longstanding consensus” in Scotland against investing in new nuclear plants. “Only those with a vested interest in this industry would advocate investing in these white elephants,” he said.

The former Scottish Labour leader, Richard Leonard MSP, accused the industry of spending heavily on propaganda. “MSPs must resist the latest push for us to reverse parliament’s opposition to nuclear expansion,” he told The Ferret.

According to Glasgow SNP councillor and convener of the nuclear free group of local authorities in Scotland, Feargal Dalton, the nuclear industry was “getting desperate”. The industry was trying to “get its foot in Scotland’s door” before everyone realised that the country could be run on 100 per cent renewables, he warned.

He added: “I am confident that the Scottish Government will stick to its guns, and in a couple of years’ time England and Wales will be wondering why they ever gave nuclear power so much air time.”

The veteran environmental campaigner, Dr Richard Dixon, attacked the nuclear industry for making “false claims” about costs and radioactive waste. “Despite the obvious futility, the nuclear industry continues to flog its dead horse,” he said.

The industry describes nuclear power as “zero carbon” and regards its expansion as vital to combat climate change. But critics say the technology is costly and creates toxic waste – and that renewables and energy efficiency are faster and cheaper solutions to the climate emergency…………………………

One of EDF’s nuclear stations at Hunterston in North Ayrshire was closed down in January 2022 because of spreading cracks in its graphite core. The other station at Torness in East Lothian is due to be closed down in 2028, two years earlier than previously planned……………..

The Scottish Government argued that new nuclear plants could take decades to become operational and would be expensive. “The Scottish Government is absolutely clear in its opposition to the building of new traditional nuclear fission energy plants in Scotland under current technologies,” said a spokesperson.

“We believe that significant growth in renewables, storage, hydrogen and carbon capture provides the best pathway to net zero by 2045, and will deliver the decarbonisation we need to see across industry, heat and transport.”

Castletown LawStonehaven Campaigns and Sizewell C Consortium did not respond to requests to comment.  https://theferret.scot/industry-nuclear-power-lobbying-msps/

.

June 20, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In the Middle East Biden walks in Trump’s footsteps and will repeat his failure

Committing American lives to defend these Arab dictatorships is far more scandalous than an embarrassing presidential handshake with the Saudi crown prince. Biden will in one swoop break his promises of bringing troops home from the Middle East, making Saudi Arabia pay a price and ending the war in Yemen.

Committing American lives to defend dictatorships is far more scandalous than engaging with MBS.

June 18, 2022, By Trita Parsi, MSNBC Opinion Columnist

All the latest headlines about President Joe Biden’s July trip to Saudi Arabia focus on a deal to push down gas prices. In reality, he is making a much more sinister and dangerous calculation than most realize: He is reportedly planning to offer the dictators in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — where all but two of the 9/11 terrorists came from — a defense pact that commits American lives to defend their regimes. What could go right?

When Biden ran for the White House, he pledged to break with then-President Donald Trump’s Middle East policy: bring U.S. troops home from the Middle East, renew the Iran nuclear deal, end the war in Yemen, and “make the Saudis the pariah that they are.” But after refusing to take necessary steps to return to the Iran deal, and with rumors abounding that he is about to offer the UAE and Saudi Arabia a defense pact, Biden’s policy is increasingly looking like a continuation of Trump’s Middle East strategy.

Biden isn’t just forgiving Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his direct role in the beheading of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in return for a Saudi promise to pump more oil. As Biden admitted last week, this Middle East trip is about regional security — and that of Israel in particular. “The commitments from the Saudis don’t relate to anything having to do with energy,” Biden told reporters June 12. “It happens to be a larger meeting taking place in Saudi Arabia. That’s the reason I’m going. And it has to do with national security for them — for Israelis.”

Rumors have been circulating in Washington for months that Biden is seeking to expand Trump’s signature foreign policy initiative — the Abraham Accords — which normalized diplomatic relations between Israel and Bahrain and the UAE; Biden wants to bring Saudi Arabia into a similar kind of arrangement with Israel. Details are beginning to leak of how he will try to get Saudi Arabia to take critical steps toward recognizing Israel. And the most alarming one is that the United States is offering a major security pact to the autocratic regimes in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

According to a source close to the ruler of the Emirates, this would be a “binding strategic defense cooperation pact” that goes beyond anything the U.S. has agreed to in the region before. A former Biden adviser, David Shapiro, confirmed to Newsweek magazine that Saudi Arabia was looking for assurances that the U.S. will “retain significant military presence in the region to help Saudi Arabia address the threats it faces from Iran,” as well as to take Saudi Arabia’s side in its gruesome war in Yemen.

Committing American lives to defend these Arab dictatorships is far more scandalous than an embarrassing presidential handshake with the Saudi crown prince. Biden will in one swoop break his promises of bringing troops home from the Middle East, making Saudi Arabia pay a price and ending the war in Yemen.  https://www.msnbc.com/opinion/msnbc-opinion/biden-s-saudia-arabia-trip-looks-it-ll-be-terrible-n1296410?mc_cid=7ac227cbe0&mc_eid=310a2c4b2c

June 20, 2022 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

The Guardian’s direct collusion with media censorship by secret services exposed

WSWS, Thomas Scripps, 22 June 2019, Minutes of Ministry of Defence (MoD) meetings have confirmed the role of Britain’s Guardian newspaper as a mouthpiece for the intelligence agencies.

Last week, independent journalist Matt Kennard revealed that the paper’s deputy editor, Paul Johnson, was personally thanked by the Defence and Security Media Advisory Notice (or D-Notice) committee for integrating the Guardian into the operations of the security services.

Minutes of a meeting in 2018 read: “The Chairman thanked Paul Johnson for his service to the Committee. Paul had joined the Committee in the wake of the Snowden affair and had been instrumental in re-establishing links with the Guardian.”

D-Notices are used by the British state to veto the publication of news damaging to its interests. The slavish collusion of the mainstream media ensures that such notices function as gag orders.

Johnson joined the committee in 2014 and evidently excelled in his performance. A separate set of minutes from the first meeting attended by Johnson records the Guardian’s close collaboration with military officials.

Under a section detailing “advice” given by the intelligence agencies to the media, the document reads “most of the occurrences and requests for advice were related to further publications by The Guardian of extracts from the Snowden documents. The Secretary reported that the engagement of DPBAC [Defence Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee] Secretariat with The Guardian had continued to strengthen during the last six months, with regular dialogues between the Secretary and Deputy Secretaries and Guardian journalists.”

In September 2014, the Guardian allowed the former head of GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) Sir David Omand to publish an article titled, “Edward Snowden’s leaks are misguided—they risk exposing us to cyber-attacks.”

He declared, “Journalists are not best placed to identify security risks; we have to trust those who oversee the intelligence-gathering.”

In 2016, Paul Johnson used an unprecedented interview with a serving head of MI5, Andrew Parker, to propagandize for the antidemocratic, British warmongering interests .

These facts are damning proof of the Guardian’s total integration into the propaganda wing of the MoD following its involvement in the WikiLeaks and Snowden files releases. Indeed, the work of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange has served to expose and confirm the deep ties of the entire mainstream media to the military-intelligence complex.

The Guardian has been viewed historically as the voice of British liberal dissent, critical of the worst excesses of British capitalism at home and abroad. But it has always acted as a political policeman—filtering the news “responsibly” and channelling the resulting anger into impotent moral appeals to the state and other authorities. Its dealings with Assange and Snowden transformed political allegiance into direct subservience. Its liberal, critical pretensions unravelled in a matter of a few months.

When Assange looked to the Guardian and other papers internationally such as the New York Times to publish the Afghan and Iraq war logs and secret US diplomatic cables in 2010, the editors’ main concern was damage control. Within a month of an initial publication of documents, the Guardian had broken off relations with Assange—publishing an infamous December 17 editorial “WikiLeaks: the man and the idea.” It stated that the Guardian had only agreed to publish “a small number of cables” to control the political fall-out from the details of murder, torture, espionage and corruption they revealed and give it the opportunity of “editing, contextualising, explanation and redaction.”

The main purpose of the editorial was to support Assange’s extradition to Sweden on trumped-up allegations of sexual misconduct relating to a trip to that country a few months earlier………………………………..

One of Assange’s persecutors-in-chief, Luke Harding, enjoys the most intimate relations with the security services. His notorious November 2018 fabrication, claiming Assange held meetings with US President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, was published in the Guardian just two weeks after Johnson was thanked for “re-establishing links” with the MoD. The story was widely cited and formed a keystone of the efforts, spearheaded by the Democrats in the US, to present WikiLeaks and “Russian interference” as the causes of Trump’s 2016 election victory……. https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/06/22/guar-j22.html

June 20, 2022 Posted by | media, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Georgia cooperatives move to freeze nuclear costs at $8.1B

 Seattle Times, June 18, 2022  By JEFF AMY. The Associated Press, ATLANTA (AP) — One of the owners of a nuclear power plant being expanded in Georgia says it’s shifting overruns to Georgia Power Co. in exchange for giving up a sliver of its ownership.

Oglethorpe Power Corp. which provides power to 38 electric cooperatives, said Saturday that it has exercised a contractual option to freeze its costs for Plant Vogtle at $8.1 billion.

Oglethorpe Power said it would save members at least $400 million. In exchange, Oglethorpe’s ownership share of the two new reactors being built at the plant east of Augusta would fall from 30% to 28%. That would bump Georgia Power’s share of ownership from 45.7% to 47.7%.

Associated Press calculations show the plant will cost at least $30.34 billion.

If costs rise further, Oglethorpe would save more, but give up a larger share of its ownership.

Georgia Power officials have said they don’t expect regulators with the Georgia Public Service Commission to approve customers paying further costs. That means shareholders of Georgia Power’s parent — Atlanta-based Southern Co. — would pay.

Oglethorpe, Georgia Power and Vogtle’s two other owners — the Municipal Electrical Authority of Georgia and the city of Dalton — have been arguing over Georgia Power’s obligations to start absorbing more costs.

It was supposed to begin after more than $2.1 billion in overruns had occurred following a 2018 agreement. Oglethorpe says costs have risen by $3.4 billion since then. But Georgia Power has said COVID-19 was an act of God that drove up costs and delayed work, and it shouldn’t have to pay for that slowdown.

Southern Co. has acknowledged it will have to pay at least $440 million more to cover what would have been other owners’ costs, and has said another $460 million is in dispute……………………

The 2018 escape hatch was written when Oglethorpe threatened to withdraw from the project, which could have led to its cancellation. Georgia Power first agreed to pay increasing shares of Vogtle’s cost beyond a certain point, costing Georgia Power $180 million without affecting others’ ownership shares. Then the co-owners can freeze costs in exchange for owning less of the generating capacity.

…………….   Some of Oglethorpe Power’s cooperatives have already been charging their members for Vogtle’s construction costs. Oglethorpe President and CEO Michael Smith said the cooperatives remain “deeply invested in the success of these nuclear units” but said 4.4 million member owners had to be protected. Unlike Georgia Power, cooperatives don’t have shareholders to fall back on.

………….  Vogtle’s $30.34 billion cost doesn’t include $3.68 billion that original contractor Westinghouse paid to the owners after going bankrupt, which brings total spending to more than $34 billion.

Vogtle is the only nuclear plant under construction in the United States, and its costs could deter other utilities from building such plants………….

The municipal utility in Jacksonville, Florida, as well as some other municipal utilities and cooperatives in Florida and Alabama are obligated to buy power from the plant……………….   https://www.seattletimes.com/business/georgia-cooperatives-move-to-freeze-nuclear-costs-at-8-1b/

June 20, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Profit in a time of war? The madness of more reactors (from Westinghouse) in Ukraine

in the middle of all this, Ukraine is busy making business deals with a bankrupt American nuclear company with a lamentable track record of cost over-runs, technical challenges and long delayed completion times. 

The madness of more reactors in Ukraine https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2022/06/19/profit-in-a-time-of-war/

Profit in a time of war? — Beyond Nuclear International Westinghouse lands in Ukraine to ink new nuclear deal
By Linda Pentz Gunter
You might think that being in the middle of a war, the last thing you would be contemplating is building more nuclear power plants. But that hasn’t stopped Energoatom, the Ukrainian state nuclear operator. 
Earlier this month, Energoatom inked a new agreement with Westinghouse of all companies, the American corporation that went bankrupt trying to build four of its AP1000 reactors in South Carolina and Georgia. The two in South Carolina were canceled mid-construction, while the pair in Georgia are years behind schedule and billions of dollars over-budget.

But like a good corporate vulture, Westinghouse has swooped into Ukraine, to grab a golden opportunity. Already the supplier of nuclear fuel to almost half of Ukraine’s reactors, the company now plans to increase that commitment to all 15, replacing Russia’s Rosatom; to establish a Westinghouse Engineering and Technical Center; and, craziest of all, build nine new AP1000 reactors there. 

Westinghouse already has the contract to build more reactors at the 2-reactor Khmelnytsky nuclear power plant, which remain partially complete. Under the deal, Westinghouse will work first on Khmelnitsky 3, which is 75% complete, before taking on the 25% complete unit 4. Talks this month also evaluated Westinghouse building two more reactors at the site.

Fifteen operational reactors in a war zone — seven of them are apparently still running in Ukraine — is already risk enough. If even one of those reactors were fully breached, or its fuel pool caught fire or suffered an explosion — whether from an attack, accident, or meltdown due to gird failure — the amount of radioactivity released would dwarf the 1986 Chornobyl disaster. 

Chornobyl Unit 4 was a relatively new reactor when it exploded on April 26, 1986, releasing potentially as much as 200 million curies into the environment. At least 100,000 square kilometres (39,000 square miles) of land was significantly contaminated with radioactive fallout. As much as 40% of Europe beyond Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, received fallout from the disaster. Certain plants and animals — including in Germany, Lapland and, until recently, the United Kingdom—remain unsafe to eat, even today.

The contamination from Chornobyl, and the resulting and widespread health effects, will endure potentially indefinitely. And all of that, as Scientists for Global Responsibility’s Phil Webber said in a recent webinar, would “look like a tea party” compared to the devastation unleashed should one of the older Ukrainian reactors suffer a catastrophe during this unforgivable war.

We’ve already seen the six-reactor Zaporizhzhia site attacked and a fire break out, mercifully not in one of the reactors or fuel pools. Zaporizhizhia will now likely remain permanently occupied by the Russians as they move deeper into Ukrainian territory from the east.

More recently, there have been incidences of Russian missiles flying low — too low — first over the six-reactor Zaporizhzhia site and then over the three reactors at the South Ukraine nuclear power plant. The humanitarian catastrophe that is already unfolding in Ukraine would be magnified beyond imagination were one of those missiles to malfunction and hit a nuclear plant  — I use the term ‘malfunction’ because we still rest on the assumption that even Putin would not be reckless enough to deliberately order an attack on a nuclear reactor. But we can’t count on it.

And yet, in the middle of all this, Ukraine is busy making business deals with a bankrupt American nuclear company with a lamentable track record of cost over-runs, technical challenges and long delayed completion times. 

All of this is testament to the misplaced caché still held by anything nuclear. Somehow, the possession of both nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants is seen as holding prestige. Indeed, Energoatom announced this latest Westinghouse deal thus: “Every such event in energy too brings the victory of Ukraine!”

It’s not really clear what, if anything, will bring victory to Ukraine and at what price. But building more nuclear power plants there only achieves one thing: putting the people of Ukraine in even greater danger, war or not. Reactors are vulnerable to failure and they make deadly radioactive waste, lethal for tens to hundreds of thousands of years. There is nothing victorious in perpetuating that. Just utter folly.

June 20, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

New Mexico, work for peace and well-being, not nuclear weapons

Let’s try to imagine what $9.4 billion could do for New Mexicans in one year: Hire hundreds of new teachers, help protect us against increasing wildfire threats, secure precious water resources, provide medical care for the poor and clean up contamination from past nuclear weapons production. Instead, it is going to nuclear weapons forever, even as the chances of potential nuclear war are increasing and we already have global overkill many times over.

New Mexico, work for peace and well-being, not nuclear weapons,  https://www.abqjournal.com/2509231/new-mexico-work-for-peace-and-wellbeing-not-nuclear-weapons.html

BY THE MOST REVEREND JOHN C. WESTER / ARCHBISHOP OF SANTA FE
SUNDAY, JUNE 19TH, 2022 
 My Archdiocese is named Santa Fe for the “Holy Faith” of St. Francis, patron saint of the environment and tireless promoter of peace. Pope Francis took his papal name from that revered saint and has explicitly called for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Yet ironically, two of the nation’s three nuclear weapons labs – Los Alamos and Sandia – are located within the Archdiocese. That is why 40% of the DOE’s national nuclear weapons budget of $16.5 billion will be spent in New Mexico alone, double that of any other state. In addition, New Mexico has the largest repository of nuclear warheads in the United States, with up to 2,500 warheads held in reserve at the Kirtland AFB just south of the Albuquerque Sunport.

The New Mexico congressional delegation has always historically supported the nuclear weapons industry in the name of jobs, jobs, jobs. This needs to be critically examined and questioned, both morally and practically. Why is it that New Mexico consistently ranks near the bottom of all 50 states in key socio-economic indicators? Does the nuclear weapons industry really benefit New Mexicans as a whole? The facts indicate no.

For example, during the nearly 80 years the nuclear weapons industry has been in the Land of Enchantment, Census Bureau data show that New Mexico slipped in per capita income from 37th in 1959 to 49th in 2019. Last year U.S. News and World Report gave New Mexico a best-state-to-live-in ranking of third from the bottom and dead last in education. According to the N.M. Human Services Department, we have the highest percentage of seniors living in poverty and the second-highest rate of overall poverty, suicide and food insecurity among children. The Land of Enchantment was recently ranked 49th among all states in overall child well-being. Not coincidentally, New Mexico’s population is 63% people of color who disproportionately bear the negative impacts of poverty.

Let’s try to imagine what $9.4 billion could do for New Mexicans in one year: Hire hundreds of new teachers, help protect us against increasing wildfire threats, secure precious water resources, provide medical care for the poor and clean up contamination from past nuclear weapons production. Instead, it is going to nuclear weapons forever, even as the chances of potential nuclear war are increasing and we already have global overkill many times over.

The Vatican itself has evolved from conditionally accepting nuclear weapons as necessary for “deterrence” to now declaring even their possession as immoral. This is because nuclear weapons indiscriminately kill everybody, and the nuclear powers have made zero progress toward the disarmament they promised to pursue in the 1970 NonProliferation Treaty. In fact, they are going backward with Russia’s current nuclear saber-rattling and the U.S.’ $1.7 trillion nuclear weapons “modernization” program. But in truth, neither country ever had just “deterrence.” Instead, they spent enormous sums on nuclear warfighting capabilities, which is why we have thousands of nuclear weapons instead of just the few hundred needed for only deterrence.

Given today’s increased dangers, I quote President Reagan, “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. The only value in our two nations possessing nuclear weapons is to make sure they will never be used. But then, would it not be better to do away with them entirely?” Defense Secretary Robert McNamara said of the Cuban Missile Crisis, “Rationality will not save us. … It was luck that prevented nuclear war.”

Let’s not count on our luck holding out – let’s abolish nuclear weapons as both President Reagan and Pope Francis have directed us toward. In turn, New Mexicans should direct their congressional representatives to lead us toward that promised land while encouraging life-affirming jobs instead.

June 20, 2022 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment