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MidAmerican shouldn’t waste money studying small nuclear reactors

Small modular reactors and nuclear power represent a dangerous distraction from the changes needed to deal with global warming. Dr. Maureen McCue and Dr. M.V. Ramana, Yet again, MidAmerican Energy has expressed an interest in studying nuclear reactors for Iowa. Earlier, between 2010 and 2013, MidAmerican studied the feasibility of nuclear power for Iowa and concluded that it didn’t make sense. This time around, MidAmerican does not even have to embark on the study. We know already that the newest offerings from the nuclear industry, Small Modular Reactors, or SMRs, carry the same economic and environmental risks as their larger predecessors and make no sense for Iowa, or anywhere else for that matter.

In 2013, the Wall Street firm Lazard estimated that the cost of generating electricity at a new nuclear plant in the United States will be between $86 and $122 per megawatt-hour. Last November, Lazard estimated that the corresponding cost will be between $131 and $204 per megawatt-hour. During the same eight years, renewables have plummeted in cost, and the 2021 estimates of electricity from newly constructed utility-scale solar and wind plants range between $26 and $50 per megawatt-hour. Nuclear power is simply not economically competitive. 

SMRs will be even less competitive. Building and operating SMRs will cost more than large reactors for each unit (megawatt) of generation capacity. A reactor that generates five times as much power will not require five times as much concrete or five times as many workers. This makes electricity from small reactors more expensive; many small reactors built in the United States were financially uncompetitive and shut down early

The estimated cost of constructing a plant with 600 megawatts of electricity from NuScale SMRs, arguably the design closest to deployment in the United States, increased from about $3 billion in 2014 to $6.1 billion in 2020. The cost was so high that at least ten members of Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems canceled their contracts. NuScale then changed its proposed plant configuration to fewer reactors that produce only 462 megawatts at a cost of $5.32 billion. For each kilowatt of electrical generation capacity, that estimate is around 80% more than the per-kilowatt cost of the Vogtle project in Georgia — before its cost exploded from $14 billion to over $30 billion. Based on the historical experience with nuclear reactor construction, SMRs are very likely to cost much more than initially expected. 

And they will be delayed. In 2008, officials announced that “a NuScale plant could be producing electricity by 2015-16.” Currently, the Utah project is projected to start operating in 2029-30. All this before the inevitable setbacks that will occur once construction starts.

Time is critical to dealing with global warming. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, emissions have to be reduced drastically by 2030 to stop irreversible damage from climate change. 

Small reactors also are associated with all of the usual problems with nuclear power: severe accidents, the production of radioactive waste, and the potential for nuclear weapons proliferation. Indeed, some of these problems could be worse. For each unit of electricity generated, SMRs will actually produce more nuclear waste than large reactors. Whether generated by a large or small plant, nuclear waste remains radioactive and dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years. There is no demonstrated solution to permanently isolate this lethal waste, for both technical and social reasons

Most new nuclear reactor designs will rely on water sources for cooling. Nuclear plants have some of the highest water withdrawal requirements; in the United States, the median value for water withdrawal was calculated as 44,350 gallons per megawatt-hour of electricity generated, roughly four times the corresponding figure for a combined cycle natural gas plant. Renewables require little or no water because there is no heat production. Iowa’s lakes and rivers are already challenged by the warming climate, existing power plants, and polluting industries.

In medicine, a basic principle used to guide our decisions is “first, do no harm.” That principle will be violated if Iowa embarks on building SMRs. Small modular reactors and nuclear power represent a dangerous distraction from the changes needed to deal with global warming. Investing in these technologies will divert money away from more sustainable and rapidly constructed solutions, including wind and solar energy, microgrids, batteries and other forms of energy storage, and energy-efficient devices.  


July 22, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

British soldiers used as radiation guinea pigs in nuclear bomb tests in Australia

British veterans ‘ordered to march through smoking craters’ in nuclear bomb tests, Brian Tomlinson claims the state dumped him and his comrades, many of whom died from cancer after being used in a shocking human experiment, Susie Boniface, Reporter, 24 Jul 2022,

A veteran of nuclear bomb tests has told how British ­servicemen were ordered to march through a smoking crater to find how radioactive it was.

Brian Tomlinson said he also had to dig out scientific instruments buried in the contaminated soil and revealed he was left with bleeding ulcers on his palms for two decades.

But he claims the state dumped him and his comrades, many of whom died from cancer in the years after they were used in a shocking human experiment in the Australian outback.

And Brian supports the Mirror’s campaign for a medal for heroes of the nuclear tests in the 50s.

“That place is still radioactive, it’s in the soil for a hell of a long time, so what chance does a human being have?” he said.

“A medal would get us a little bit of recognition for those who took part. It says you’re someone who’s been noticed and not discarded, which is how we’ve felt for so long.”

Last month, Boris Johnson became the first PM to meet veterans, and promised action before October’s 70th anniversary of the first test. His resignation threw it into doubt and campaigners are seeking ­reassurances from Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss that they will do the same.

Brian, now 85, was a sapper sent to Maralinga, South Australia, in 1957 to take part in Operation Antler, a series of three atomic bomb tests designed to help build the more powerful H-bomb.

His troop of Royal Engineers were blended with Australian soldiers, and 40 of them lived for a year inside the blast zone in canvas tents.

The main base, where scientists, top brass, and most troops stayed, was called Maralinga Village. Brian’s unit was 14 miles deeper into the testing grounds, at Roadside Camp. From there, it was just 9 miles to Ground Zero.

Brian, a 20-year-old corporal at the time, said: “Nobody told us what it was all about, or checked us for ­radiation, but every morning we went into the forward area.

We had pneumatic drills, and had to blast down through the soil. There was about 12 inches of earth, red dust, and below that was rock.”

For each of 3 blasts, the crew had to bury dozens of large steel containers 8ft square. Each had instruments inside to measure the explosion, with pipes protruding above ground level. Those closest to the bombs were sandbagged and concreted to protect them from the shockwave.

A few hours after each bomb, Brian and his crew – wearing only shorts, socks, boots and a hat – had to drive back in, remove the sandbags and concrete, and extract the instruments.

Scientists who went with them wore radiation suits and badges, but Brian said for the first two blasts he had neither.

He added: “After the third bomb, we were given little rubber boots, and a white overall, and a dose badge. We were told to walk through the crater. The mushroom cloud was still overhead. The wind had started to push it away. It was only a few hours after, not very long.”

The first two bombs, ­codenamed Tadje and Biak, were one kiloton and 6kts respectively.

But the third, Taranaki, was 25kts, as powerful as the weapon which destroyed ­Nagasaki in 1945.

Brian, of Yate, near Bristol, said: “As you approached the bomb site it was quite amazing, because it was like a bowling green. Everything was green and smooth. It was only when you were on it you realised the heat from the bomb had crystallised the earth underneath it. It was a crust of molten sand, like glass.

“The crater left there was huge. They told us to walk into that, down into the crater, and up the other side, and then check our meters to see how high the dose was.”

Brian said: “When it reached a certain point they told us to come out. It didn’t take long for it to reach that point. We weren’t told at the time what the dose was supposed to be. But it was just as bad as going through the centre of the bomb as soon as it had gone off.”

The first two bombs were detonated on top of 100ft-high towers built by the sappers, but desert sand was sucked into the fireball and fell to the ground as toxic fallout. The third bomb was tethered to barrage balloons 980ft up, supposedly minimising the risk.

But the size of the bomb, and perhaps the fact the same site was used for previous weapons tests, meant there was still fallout.

After they left the crater, Brian was taken to a decontamination area. The men’s clothes were stripped off and taken away, and the men were put through showers.

“We spent 5 or 6 minutes scrubbing away, then put ourselves in this meter, it was like standing on a weighing machine, and you push your hands through these bars to be tested. If a bell rang, you were still radioactive and had to go back in and scrub under your nails, everywhere, in your hair. I had to do it 3 times. They didn’t give us any more information.”

Documented safety measures at Maralinga included wire fences through which sand could easily be blown, and one wooden post barrier that Brian’s unit passed through each morning.

Brian was not checked for radiation while excavating amid the fallout, nor given long-term medical follow-ups. Six years later, he was medically discharged with a duodenal ulcer.

Radiation is known to cause problems with the lining of the gut, and earlier this year a government study reported nuclear test veterans were 20 per cent more likely than other servicemen to die from stomach cancer.

Brian said: “It wasn’t until later I started having skin problems. It would cover me from head to toes, rashes on my back, chest, legs, thighs. They used to come out on the palms of my hands.

“I’d get a little itchy blister in the centre of my palm, it would break and then spread over the fingers. I used to wear white cotton gloves to ease the pain and itching.

“The skin would go hard, then crack and bleed, and it would start all over again. I had that for 20 years, and no doctor could work out what it was.”

Today, cancer patients are warned radiotherapy using beta radiation can lead to radiodermatitis, which causes rashes, skin peeling, and ulceration. It is caused by the decay of isotopes, including plutonium and cobalt-60, both of which were in the Antler bombs.

Brian said: “I would have a constant itch, all over, and had to take cold showers just to stop the itching and have something of a normal life. I got depressed, to the point where I didn’t want to go and see the doctors because they just have me the same old medication and it never did me any good. Then one day, after 20 years, it just stopped, as suddenly as it came.”

Two decades after his discharge, Brian also had an operation to finally cure his ulcer. It involved cutting the vagus nerve, which controls digestion as well as carrying sensory information from the skin’s surface.

“I told all my consultants what was done to me out there in Maralinga, and asked if it was due to fallout. They all denied it,” said Brian. “Nobody’s ever done anything for us nuclear test veterans except withhold information from us.”

Campaigners have asked the Prime Minister for a medal and a service of national recognition at Westminster Abbey to mark the Plutonium Jubilee in 3 months’ time.

A spokesman for the MoD said it was grateful to veterans, and claimed they were well-­monitored and protected. He added: “The Prime Minister met with veterans recently, and asked ministers to explore how their dedication can be recognised. We remain committed to considering any new evidence”


For 40 years, the Mirror has campaigned for justice for the brave men who took part in Britain’s nuclear weapons tests.

The Ministry of Defence has fought back every step of the way.

We have told countless heartbreaking stories of grieving mums, children with deformities, men aged before their time and widows struggling to hold their families together, all while campaigning for recognition.

Two years ago we launched an appeal for a medal for the 1,500 survivors.

For the first time we were able to prove some were unwittingly used in experiments.

Our appeal was backed by then-Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson but his review foundered after he lost his job.

It had only six meetings in two years. They never asked to meet veterans. They never questioned the evidence.

Instead they asked for information from the MoD, which has a track record of denying what its own paperwork later proves.

And as our medal campaign gathered steam, civil servants simultaneously withdrew public documents from the National Archives.

Would anyone working in Whitehall today stay there, if 3 megatons of plutonium exploded south of the river?

The test veterans and their families will never stop fighting. The Mirror will never cease to demand they are heard.

Prime Minister, listen to them. Overturn this disgraceful decision.

July 22, 2022 Posted by | health, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, weapons and war | Leave a comment

EDF’s new demand means that Hinkley Point C will be further delayed, with costs escalating to £34 billion.

 EDF have implicitly admitted that the construction of Hinkley C may take
at least 11 years to finish signalling cost overruns of 70 per cent or
more. Bloomberg reports that EDF is requesting the Government that EDF be
given another 15 months to complete the plant and be fully generating
beyond 2029.

Under the terms of EDF’s contract with the UK Government if
Hinkley C fails to generate power by 2029 it will start losing the amount
of subsidy it can claim. Adding 15 months to this as requested (under a
‘force majeure’ clause) will take us into 2030. Hinkley C construction
was begun seriously in early 2019, meaning a total construction period of
over 11 years.

The plant was supposed to be operating by the end of 2025
according the EDF’ earlier plans. Using the rule of thumb that
construction cost is directly proportional to the length of construction
time this would imply a 70% cost overrun. That could mean a cost rise, in
today’s prices from around the original £20 bn to £34 billion. However,
one should in no way assume this will be all the time that is needed.
Things may well get worse.

 100% Renewables 22nd July 2022

July 22, 2022 Posted by | politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Guardians of the East Coast (Gotec) fight to stop nuclear waste dumping in the sea near holiday resorts UK

 As Boris Johnson forged ahead with plans to triple Britain’s nuclear output in the shift away from a reliance on Russia and fossil fuels, he pledged to build a mini-nuclear reactor in almost every garden across the country.

The outgoing prime minister’s plan was typically bombastic, yet reflected the Government’s ambitious target to deliver up to a quarter of the country’s electricity from nuclear technologies by 2050.

What is less clear, however, is exactly where to put the hazardous waste produced from
reactors. Currently, Britain stores spent nuclear fuel at a number of nuclear sites including Sellafield, in Cumbria, and Sizewell B, in Suffolk.

But these on-land sites are not intended to be a permanent solution to the radioactive material building up as a by-product of Britain’s nuclear programme. The Government’s arms-length body Nuclear Waste Services (NWS) has been tasked with finding a permanent disposal site. Bruce Cairns, chief policy adviser at NWS, says: “We’re talking about a solution that should last hundreds of thousands of years. “What do you trust the most? Do you really want to leave this stuff at the surface, where it is vulnerable to
extreme weather events, climate change, sea level rise, terrorism, war or the breakdown in society?

“Everyone reaches the same conclusion. We just can’t give any guarantees that there will be people on the surface capable of looking after it over those timescales.” Countries worldwide with nuclear programmes are all trying to find ways to store the waste so that it will not endanger future civilisations, with policy makers discussing how to make it completely inaccessible to future populations likely to
speak different languages, hold different values and have access to new technologies. The best way forward, they have decided, is to store the waste in rocks deep underground.

But finding a local area happy to host the site has its challenges, and has come up against opposition. A number of locations in Cumbria are being vetted by the Government, with the communities near Sellafield considered more amenable because they are already better acquainted with nuclear technologies and aware of the economic benefits of the industry.

However, a new entrant has emerged on the east coast. A community group assessing plans for a GDF has been set up in Lincolnshire. The facility’s entrance would be located at a former gas terminal near the village of Theddlethorpe and the popular seaside town of Mablethorpe. Underground tunnels dug out of layers of deep rocks would lead to the underwater site around six miles from the coastline. NWS and other proponents of the site point out that granting a GDF in the area will unlock significant government funding for local projects.

Yet opponents fear it would wreck the local tourism industry. A group called the Guardians of the East Coast (Gotec) are fighting the plans through protests, petitions and coverage in local and national newspapers. Ken Smith, chairman of Gotec, says: “Mablethorpe is one of the east coast’s principle bucket-and-spade holiday resorts. “I imagine that having four square miles of nuclear waste just six miles off the coast is not exactly going to encourage people to send their children along to bathe in the sea.” Local Conservative MP Victoria Atkins has also expressed reservations and held meetings with site organisers.

 Telegraph 23rd July 2022

July 22, 2022 Posted by | oceans, opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Will Australia’s nuclear-propelled attack submarines require weapons grade fuel? By Richard Broinowski, July 24 2022 

Both Britain’s Astute and US Virginia boats use highly enriched weapons-grade uranium fuel in their reactor cells.

The fuel cells last as long as the submarines – about 30 years. The submarines don’t need refuelling during that time. These cells also allow the submarines to remain underwater indefinitely, only restricted by the endurance of their crews, which in turn depends on the amount of food they can carry.

The international nuclear non-proliferation regime could be compromised if other nuclear threshold countries, encouraged by Australia’s nuclear moves, acquire their own nuclear-propelled submarines. In fact, Brazil is already doing so. The bomb-grade uranium fuel could be clandestinely extracted from submarine cores to make nuclear weapons.

Some such countries could be encouraged to arm their nuclear-powered subs with nuclear weapons.

Australians living along our coastline (the majority) would be very uncomfortable if they had to host nuclear submarine bases in their electorates.

Given that Australia has no permanent storage for even low-level uranium waste, the government would find it extremely difficult to find even temporary locations for storing highly toxic and extremely long-lasting spent nuclear reactor cores.

While it is claimed that Virginia or Astute class attack submarines are far superior in speed and quietness to conventionally powered boats, this is untrue.

Most European navies, as well as those of Japan and South Korea, have quieter and nearly as fast conventionally powered submarines. They employ auxiliary air independent propulsion systems that extend their underwater endurance to 21 days or more.

Without the pumps needed to keep reactors cool on nuclear subs, they are much quieter; they are also much cheaper. Australia could purchase or build five or more such boats for the price of one Virginia or Astute boat.

We should not expect early delivery of our subs if the Americans or British are to build them, or even only their nuclear reactors.

We should have purchased Japanese Sohryu class submarines when we had the chance.

Australia would not retain sovereignty over American or British-acquired submarines. It does not have the technology to build its own nuclear propulsion units, and will be heavily reliant on either the British or (more likely) American technology.

This will bind the Navy even more closely to US strategic planning in the Pacific, especially in its plans to confront China.

Both countries are flat out building their own fast attack submarines. It is very doubtful either country would be prepared to make space on their assembly lines to accommodate early delivery of submarines for Australia.

  • Richard Broinowski AO is the author of Fact or Fission: the truth about Australia’s nuclear ambitions.

Listen to the Fuzzy Logic Science Show at 11am Sundays on 2XX 98.3FM.

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July 22, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Russia is using captured Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station as a launch pad for military attacks

Captured nuclear plant doubles as launch pad for relentless Russian rocket
attacks. The Russian army seized the vast facility — the biggest in
Europe, with six 950MW reactors — in the early weeks of its invasion,
destroying a training office during the assault despite the obvious risks
of damaging the plant and radiation leaks. Since then, Ukrainian officials
say, the Russians have stationed 500 troops and heavy weapons within the
perimeter — in breach of International energy conventions — and are
using the reactor blocks to protect against retaliatory fire.

 FT 22nd July 2022

July 22, 2022 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The provocations behind the ‘unprovoked’ war

By Phil Wilayto Jul 23, 2022, ack in 1949, the United States, Canada and 10 Western European countries formed a military alliance called the North Atlantic Treaty organization, or NATO. Washington had decided that the Soviet Union, its wartime ally — the one that had broken the back of the Nazi war machine — now was its peacetime enemy.

By 1990, the Soviet Union and most of its socialist allies were collapsing, the result of internal contradictions and outside pressures. The U.S. was promoting the reunification of Germany — a move opposed by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who still remembered how his country had lost 20 million people to the Nazi invasion, and was not real excited about the prospect of a revitalized Germany.

So U.S. Secretary of State James Baker offered a deal: If Gorbachev agreed to a united Germany, NATO — which, by that time, had grown from its original 12 members to 16 — would promise not to advance one inch eastward. Gorbachev agreed.

Today, each of the 14 new NATO member countries has been to the east. Of the seven countries bordering Russia’s western flank, Estonia, Latvia and Norway already are NATO members. Finland, Georgia and Ukraine have asked to join.

Once that process is completed, Russia’s only western border ally would be Belarus. Every other bordering country would be committed by Article 5 of the NATO Charter to come to each other’s defense in the event of a military confrontation.

And this should worry Russia, why?

In 1999, NATO carried out a 78-day air campaign in Yugoslavia that involved 400 aircraft, 5,000 personnel and the use of cancer-causing depleted uranium munitions……………………………………

Once that process is completed, Russia’s only western border ally would be Belarus. Every other bordering country would be committed by Article 5 of the NATO Charter to come to each other’s defense in the event of a military confrontation.

And this should worry Russia, why?

In 1999, NATO carried out a 78-day air campaign in Yugoslavia that involved 400 aircraft, 5,000 personnel and the use of cancer-causing depleted uranium munitions.

For NATO, combined military expenditures of all 30 member countries in 2021 was an estimated $1.2 trillion — more than 18 times that of Russia.

And even though Russia and NATO have rough parity when it comes to nuclear weapons, it’s just possible that the steady eastward expansion of a steadily growing, hostile NATO might have raised some legitimate security concerns in Russia.

Then, there’s the matter of U.S. support for the anti-Russian Ukrainian coup of 2014. This began as peaceful protests against then-President Viktor Yanukovych for his opposition to closer economic ties with Western Europe. It morphed into a violent uprising in which openly neo-Nazi organizations played a major role.

The U.S. support was not in dispute. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., had traveled to give encouraging speeches to the protesters. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland handed out pastries to the crowds. More importantly, she later openly bragged about how the U.S. had spent $5 billion promoting “pro-democracy” groups in the country.

The coup changed Ukraine in fundamental ways. The new government banned the use of the Russian language for official business, even though 17% of the population was ethnic Russian and some 30% spoke Russian as a first language.

Statues honoring Ukrainian fascists like Stepan Bandera, who had collaborated with the Nazi occuaption, were erected while memorials to Soviet war heroes were taken down. The neo-Nazi organizations were free to roam the streets, attacking anyone opposed to the coup. Those acts of violence included the May 2014 Odessa Massacre, where dozens of people were murdered in the Black Sea port city.

Meanwhile, Ukraine began to operate as a NATO member in everything but name, including carrying out joint military exercises right up to Russia’s border.

None of this is meant to endorse Russia’s war. But since the Biden administration already has given Ukraine $5.3 billion in military aid, it might be a good idea to view the war in a historical context.

And if we do that, “unprovoked” might not be the first word that comes to mind.

Phil Wilayto is editor of The Virginia Defender and coordinator of the Odessa Solidarity Campaign. Contact him at:

July 22, 2022 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Protest against radioactivity-contaminated water, at French nuclear site

  ALERT Cigéo = radioactivity = contaminated water COMMUNIQUE COORDINATION CIGEO/BURE STOP – 23/07/2022,

Small rafts to warn of the danger threatening a large territory!

The Coordination Stop Cigéo organized this Saturday 23/07/2022 a symbolic action in Bar-le-Duc, to make visible what Andra does not show, to tell what Andra is silent about: operating discharges of Cigeo for 150 years, just as those resulting from an underground accident will be impossible to control.

The small wooden rafts, painted with radioactive symbols and arrows, mentioning Cigéo/Bure and Paris and thrown over the water in the Ornain, symbolized the phenomenal danger that threatens water resources, this common good.

Indeed, the water discharges contaminated by the operation of the site or in the event of an accident, would come out in an anarchic way on the sector in a few days, towards Saulx via the losses of Orge, towards Bar-le-Duc via Haironville, towards Saint-Dizier via Ménil-sur-Saulx, towards Joinville, haphazardly… knowing that everything would end up flowing into the Marne. The impacts of Cigeo (1) would not be confined to the ultra-local perimeter as Andra claims, but would be diluted in the hydrographic network towards Paris.

A gigantic site, a scary future
The high water consumption of the site would clearly have an impact on the local resource and its distribution… which worries many municipalities today. What will become of local waterways (fragile natural environments)? What effects on tap water? What are the impacts of chemical and radioactive releases on activities such as fishing, market gardening, etc.? All these simple but essential questions have never been addressed. Afraid to tell the truth?

Cigeo could endanger the territory and beyond, permanently, if the water were to suffer contamination and scarcity. At a time when heat and drought are becoming an agonizing and lasting reality, there is still time to refuse such an impacting project for man and nature and to change course.

Public utility, obtained on a file more than inadequate
Andra repeats that the public utility of Cigéo does not mean authorization of the project. But the recent signatures of the DUP and OIN decrees are incomprehensible, given the lack of figures on the real impact of nuclear storage on water resources and surface waters. Beyond the inadequacy of the data in the DUP file, Andra is postponing the potential conclusions of the research until later, at the stage of the creation authorization application, which according to it, would serve as an application for authorization of rejection. And that is not enough for us!

Everyone at the Bure’lesques festival, August 5-6-7, 2022 in Hévilliers
The question of water from here and water from elsewhere, threatened by nuclear power and its waste, will be at the heart of the conferences and round tables of the Bure’lesques 2022. Three days of exchanges and information but not only! Film screenings, shows, concerts and good food, a rich and beautiful program is announced for this 3 rd edition. ALL INFO on

July 22, 2022 Posted by | France, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Nonsense to say ‘Australia needs nuclear submarines to defend itself’: Australian scholar

Global Times 24 July 22,

After the Albanese government took office in Australia, there have been discussions about a possible reset of China-Australia ties. Global Times (GT) reporter Yan Yuzhu talked to Professor David Goodman (Goodman), director of the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, about his opinions on the reason why there has been hostility in Australia toward China and possible changes in the new government regarding the China policies……………………………..


I think this government is definitely more inclined to deal with sensible diplomacy with China than standing up in public and telling China why it is wrong. That’s a good thing, because talk is always preferable to war. 

Penny Wong is a great foreign minister, as she is listening to people and doing things. She has put a whole new working party in place to see how we can more positively deal with our foreign policy. …………………..

A lot of nonsense is talked such as “Australia needs to have nuclear submarines to defend itself.” It doesn’t work, and there are many opinion influencers who agree with me that this is really not healthy. 

Of course, we don’t want to be attacked by anyone, but when you think about what it would take China to physically attack Australia, including logistic and military challenges, it will be clear that China will not do so. 

But a lot of the defense officials in the past government in Australia are thinking about what we would do as Australians if China “invaded” Taiwan. How crazy. Even people who are anti-China in the UK and the US have said that kind of argument is rubbish, because it is.

What I’d like to see in the bilateral relationship is that the trade ties could ease. The previous government made some statements and criticism about Chinese trade practices which led to bad trade relations between the two countries. I’d like to see them eased. And in my opinion, China has some severe economic problems ahead. It would be in China’s interests to solve them. ………………………………

About Australia’s hostility toward China, one of the reasons is that politicians outside China prefer a threat to exist so that they can use it to mobilize support for themselves. As a result, both China and Russia become the new fashionable threats. 

Besides, it is because of the US and European defense industries who fund one of Australia’s leading think tank that leads the charge against China.

Arms makers of course want there to be a China threat because they can sell more. It’s a logic of capitalism I’m afraid.

As to Australia’s stance toward the US, there is a debate going on in Australia as I mentioned before. I don’t know who the majority supports, but there is a sizable body of opinion that doesn’t think that America is the answer to all our problems. There’s also a lot of discussion in Australia about foreign interference and involvement in the local property market.

July 22, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

EDF to change design of EPR nuclear reactors following troubles of the China one – (making it up as they go?)

EDF to redesign flagship UK nuclear reactors after China shutdown

Company to change way fuel rods are held in place in pioneering EPR generators,
Rachel Millard, 23 July 2022
• The power company charged with driving Britain’s nuclear revolution is to overhaul the design of its flagship new reactor to avoid a repeat of damage to fuel rods that forced a unit in China to shut down. …

July 22, 2022 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

The Great American Military Rebrand

A new defense bill crammed with political pork smashes records, but you likely didn’t hear the news, because War is Good again

Matt Taibbi Jul 21 Fifteen years ago……..A trifecta of scandals……………… exposed an intricate system of legalized payoffs both parties scrambled to oppose.

Earmarks, those handy appropriations tools congressfolk used to slip million-dollar favors into the budget, had been ballooning in number for over a decade and looked so bad upon reveal, “corruption and ethics” became the top issue in the 2006 midterms…………………. In return, the contractor showered the congressman with gifts — helping him finance a mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, a condo overlooking the nation’s capital, exclusive use of a yacht on the Potomac, antiques, private-jet travel and prostitutes.

Fast forward to last week. As January 6th hearings, a presidential fist-bump, and a Kardashian spawn’s gender reveal gobbled attention, the House quietly passed a monster $839 billion defense package. It was “the definition of a bipartisan bill,” chirped Alabama’s Mike Rogers, as 180 Democrats and 149 Republicans joined to smash by tens of billions previous records for military spending. With this already underreported story, just one news outlet, Roll Call, described a “first of its kind” report published by the Department of Defense Comptroller’s office, which revealed at least $58 billion of “congressional additions” above Joe Biden’s budget request.

As former Senate aide and defense budget analyst Winslow Wheeler puts it, these “additions” are “not (all) earmarks under either the House’s or Senate’s shriveled definition of them, but they are all earmarks… under the classic understanding……………. Billions of dollars in weapons the military did not seek, such as more than $4 billion worth of unrequested warships, many of them built by the constituents of senior appropriators.

………………………………..  the actual amount of “additions” is almost surely far higher than $58 billion.

…. Both the triumphant return of the earmark and the enormous defense hike should have been big stories. To put $58 billion (at least) in defense “increases” in context, the amount of overall federal earmarks in 2006, the infamous year that prompted so much outrage, was said to be $26 billion. Meanwhile Biden’s one-year arms increase exceeds the pace of Donald Trump’s infamous $200 billion collective defense hike between 2017-2019. These are major surges past the levels of both pork and weapons spending that had progressives roaring for “change,” yet there’s almost zero outcry now. Why?

It feels like just the latest echo in a prolonged, very successful re-marketing effort…………………

 the U.S. embarked upon what geopolitical analyst Christopher Mott calls the “millennial rebrand of the neoconservative project,” and the Pentagon’s fortunes rose anew. In the Obama years, think-tankers, pundits, and other actors began to push inverted, left-friendly versions of Bush’s rejected military utopianism, this time focusing on using force to achieve social justice aims abroad. It worked, brilliantly……………..(Subscribers only) more

July 22, 2022 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Stiff resistance by fishing unions to Japan’s move to dump Fukushima nuclear wastewater into the ocean.

 The impact of Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami still ripples through
the country as the nation continues the decommissioning process of the
wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In addition to mass
evacuations of the surrounding area, the plant’s meltdown also uncovered
failings by its operator to take proper precautions, resulting in hefty
fines for four former executives.

The latest move involving the failed
plant has brought fresh criticism as Japan’s nuclear regulators approved
a plan to release water from the plant into the ocean, the government said
on Friday. The water, used to cool reactors in the aftermath of the 2011
nuclear disaster, is being stored in huge tanks in the plant, and amounted
to more than 1.3 million tonnes by July. The regulators deemed it safe to
release the water, which will still contain traces of tritium after
treatment, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Plant operator Tokyo
Electric Power Company (Tepco) would face additional inspections by
regulators, it added. Tepco plans to filter the contaminated water to
remove harmful isotopes apart from tritium, which is hard to remove. Then
it will be diluted and released to free up plant space and allow
decommissioning to continue. The plan has encountered stiff resistance from
fishing unions in the region, which fear its impact on their livelihoods.
Neighbours China, South Korea and Taiwan have also voiced concern.

 Irish Independent 24th July 2022

July 22, 2022 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

Greenpeace experts find Chornobyl under Russian occupation – radiation levels much higher than the IAEA estimated

 Russian military occupation at Chornobyl commits crime against the
environment and global science understanding of radiation risks.

This was stated by the Greenpeace experts during the press conference in the Ukraine
Crisis Media Center on July 20. The Greenpeace investigation team has found
radiation levels in areas where Russian military operations occurred that
classifies it as nuclear waste to be at least three times higher than the
estimation by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In April 2022, the IAEA provided very limited data with assurances that radiation levels
were ‘normal” and not a major environmental or public safety issue.

 Ukraine Crisis 20th July 2022

July 22, 2022 Posted by | environment, radiation, Ukraine | Leave a comment

‘Israeli cell planted explosives at nuclear facility,’ Iran media says

Report says cell arrested with ‘powerful explosives’, planned to blow up a ‘sensitive center’ in central Isfahan province — home to nuclear sites and missile bases Ynet| 07.24.22

ranian news website Nour News, which is affiliated with Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, reported that the cell planned to blow up a “sensitive center” in Isfahan province in the center of the country. Isfahan is home to several major nuclear sites, as well as missile bases.

According to other reports, the cell crossed into Iran from Iraq’s Kurdistan region after “months of training” in Africa.

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry did not specify, however, how many cell members were arrested and did not publish details about their nationality.

July 22, 2022 Posted by | incidents, Iran | Leave a comment

War wins the ‘big bucks’ while climate gets the ‘change’

War wins the ‘big bucks’ while climate gets the ‘change’

Murad Qureshi

Wealthy countries claiming to lead on climate change are spending big on military budgets while denying support to developing countries facing devastation from climate-induced events.

July 22, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment