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“The New Space Race is Going Nuclear”

“The space nuclear industry is flying blind—blinded by its devotion to profit and power,” Gagnon declared. “Their hard hearts have no concern about the negative impacts they might create on Earth, to the people and environment, nor any long-term impacts their high-tech nuclear power ‘visions’ might have in space. Their vision is so myopic, so limited, so tunnel like, because their minds are closed to the idea that space is alive and is an environment that we humans who are on this tiny spinning orb called Earth live in. They are colonizers, much like the long-history of earth-bound colonizers, who have raped and pillaged our lovely planet home. By Karl Grossman, Aug 16, 2022 

“The New Space Race is Going Nuclear” was the title of a recent hour webinar presented by the American Nuclear Society. The U.S. government is pouring money into the development of space nuclear power—for commercial, exploratory and military purposes—as described in the panel discussion featuring five very enthusiastic advocates of using atomic energy in space.

“So, it’s really an exciting time,” said the moderator for the American Nuclear Society, Jeffrey King, a professor of nuclear engineering and director of the Nuclear Science and Engineering Center at the Colorado School of Mines, and also past chair of the society’s Aerospace Nuclear Science and Technology Division.

“It’s actually a time I didn’t expect that we’d end up seeing in my lifetime,” King said. “But we have now multiple companies—everything from government to the large contractors, small companies to start-up companies all interested in space nuclear power and different aspects of space nuclear power. It’s truly an exciting renaissance time for the field.”

As to the impacts of using nuclear power in space, comments made 44 minutes into the webinar were telling. King said “several people asked about,” in questions they sent in, “if anyone could comment on decommissioning plan or briefly what the plan is when we are done with these.”

Brad Rearden, director of the Government R&D Division of x-Energy, a company based in Rockville, Maryland and, previously, for 20 years, with the Reactor and Nuclear Systems

Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, said: “So, at this point, I mean, you’re going to have a reactor that’s potentially stationed on the moon and operating for a decade. You know there’s no [nuclear waste] repository in America. There’s also no repository on the moon. And, so, it’s certainly a policy that needs to be examined. There’s always the possibility of removing it from the Moon at some point for disposal and disposing of it or doing some sort of disposal in place. So, I think it’s a really relevant question and something that certainly needs to be decided on the policy level. We can provide technical answers for that.”

Moderator King followed declaring: “Certainly in lunar you don’t have water, you don’t have wind. You don’t have anything that drives the motion of material and you don’t have an ecosystem that we have to worry about protecting but it is going to be a long-term concern.”

Asked by me in a question about that statement, King wrote back: “Specifically, the moon does not have an ecosystem. While there are what we might consider concerns is terms of leaving things pristine and or long-term human habitat, the moon is sterile and the worry about damaging in ecosystem is largely non-existent.”

And, Sebastian Corbisiero, senior technical advisor in the Nuclear Science and Technology Directorate at Idaho National Laboratory and the leader of the laboratory’s “Fission Surface Power” program, added in the webinar: “I don’t think anything has been officially decided on that. However, I will say that having a reactor on the Moon is less risky than having spent fuel in the vicinity of large population.”

About the webinar, Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, said: “I am reminded by the agents of nuclear power in space how the aerospace industry has viewed outer space during the 40 years I have been organizing on these issues. They’ve maintained that space is vast and limitless and has no real ecosystem or environment that we should be concerned about. So, their philosophy has essentially been ‘full speed ahead’.”

Now today,” Gagnon said, “NASA, the military, and some in the aerospace industry, are worriedly tracking the growing amount of space debris orbiting the Earth. They are beginning to talk about the ‘Kessler syndrome’ that predicts cascading collisions due to increasingly crowded orbits which could at some point make getting a rocket through the debris field encircling our planet nearly impossible.”

So as the nuclear industry cavalierly undertakes their plan for nuclear-powered mining colonies on the Moon, Mars and other planetary bodies they easily brush off any concerns about impacts,” said Gagnon. “As they make plans to test nuclear reactor rocket engines just over our heads in Lower Earth Orbits (LEO) they discount any concerns of environmental impacts if the tests go wrong. They never talk about the Department of Energy laboratories where these nuclear devices are fabricated with a long history of radioactive contamination of workers, local water tables and air contamination.”

“The space nuclear industry is flying blind—blinded by its devotion to profit and power,” Gagnon declared. “Their hard hearts have no concern about the negative impacts they might create on Earth, to the people and environment, nor any long-term impacts their high-tech nuclear power ‘visions’ might have in space. Their vision is so myopic, so limited, so tunnel like, because their minds are closed to the idea that space is alive and is an environment that we humans who are on this tiny spinning orb called Earth live in. They are colonizers, much like the long-history of earth-bound colonizers, who have raped and pillaged our lovely planet home.”

The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space ( founded 30 years ago, in 1992, at a conference in Washington, D.C. is the leading organization internationally challenging the weaponization and use of nuclear power in space. In its description of the August 4th webinar, the American Nuclear Society asserts: “For decades, nuclear energy has played a role, sometimes minor and sometimes major, in humanity’s exploration and research of outer space. Many space experts, scientists, astronauts, and researchers believe that nuclear energy can fundamentally change how we live and work in extraterrestrial environments and that some missions, projects, and endeavors are nearly impossible without the involvement of nuclear technologies. As federal funding is being applied to nuclear projects for various space-based applications and opportunities, an expert panel will discuss how nuclear companies and researchers are poised to capitalize.”

A video recording of the webinar can also be viewed at

Among the panelists was Michael Anness who, as biographies on the webinar website described, “leads the development new nuclear fuel products and services at Westinghouse Electric Company.” He has been a licensed nuclear reactor operator, it says. Anness spoke of space nuclear projects of Westinghouse Electric, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, including “microreactors” that would provide “fission surface power.” Anness said: “I’m kind of a fuel guy so I believe fuel is an enabling platform for space nuclear.”

Also on the panel was Kate Kelly, director for Space and Emerging programs at Lynchburg, Virginia-based BWXT Advanced Technologies and, previously, at BWX was “the Advanced Nuclear Systems Program Manager focused on the development of nuclear project to promote the company’s R&D interests in advanced manufacturing and nuclear thermal propulsion technologies.” She spoke about an “inflection point” on the use of nuclear power in

space having arrived. Said Kelly: “Over the last several years there’s been this re-emerging interest and investment by the government in fission systems for in-space power and propulsion.”

The sixth participant in the webinar was Alex Gilbert who has “expertise in space mining, nuclear innovation, energy markets and climate policy,” says his biography on the webinar website. “As Director of Space & Planetary Regulation at Zeno Power [based in Washington, D.C.], Alex oversees regulatory approvals for space launch, maritime, and terrestrial applications of radioisotope power systems…He was lead author of the U.S. Advanced Nuclear Energy Strategy, which outlined how government and industry can establish U.S. leadership in next generation nuclear reactor markets.”

Gilbert said “we are at a unique moment. I call it a space opportunity.” “He said “we could actually see exponential growth. Right now the space economy is around $400 billion globally. By the middle of the century it could be $4 trillion.” This expansion is a result of factors including a “resurgence in science and exploration and defense activities…and commerce. That is what is driving the interest in space nuclear technologies.” The American Nuclear Society describes itself as comprised of 10,000 members dedicated to “exploring possibilities within the realm of nuclear science and technology.”

King recounted that “I’ve been in and around the space nuclear community for quite a while, ever since 1997, for about 25 years. I remember it was space nuclear that got me into nuclear,” and being told by a nuclear engineer advisor that “space nuclear is going to be the future.”


August 17, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, space travel, wastes | 1 Comment

CIA spying on Assange “illegally” swept up US lawyers, journalists: Lawsuit.

 Newsweek SHAUN WATERMAN ON 8/15/22 CIA surveillance of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange while he was sheltering in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London included recording his conversations with American lawyers, journalists and doctors, and copying private data from visitors’ phones and other devices, violating constitutional protections, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.

The suit – filed on behalf of four Americans who visited Assange – seeks damages personally from then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo for violating the plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure. The suit also seeks damages against a Spanish security firm contracted to protect the embassy, and its CEO, alleging that they abused their position to illegally spy on visitors and passed on the surveillance data they collected to the CIA, which is also named a defendant in the suit.

Legal experts, including a former senior intelligence official, told Newsweek that the allegations in the lawsuit, if proven, show the CIA crossed lines drawn to protect American citizens from surveillance by overzealous intelligence agencies………………………………………………..

The suit cites evidence gathered in a preliminary criminal inquiry by the Spanish High Court, launched after whistleblowers came forward from the Spanish firm hired to provide physical security for the embassy. The firm and its CEO are under investigation for alleged violations of Assange’s privacy and the confidentiality of communications with his lawyers – both of which are guaranteed by EU law.

The plaintiffs in the U.S. suit – filed in federal District Court in New York – are two New York attorneys on the Assange international legal team and two American journalists who interviewed him. A U.S. doctor who conducted medical interviews with Assange about his mental state chose not to join the lawsuit but told Newsweek he was subjected to the same surveillance. The surveillance also swept up visits from a U.S congressman and celebrities such as model and activist Pamela Anderson.

“As a criminal attorney, I don’t think that there’s anything worse than your opposition listening in on what your plans are, what you intend to do, on your conversations. It’s a terrible thing,” said the lead plaintiff, attorney Margaret Kunstler, a member of Assange’s U.S. legal team. “It’s gross misconduct,” she added, “I don’t understand how the CIA … could think that they could do this. It’s so outrageous that it’s beyond my comprehension.”

New York-based attorney Richard Roth, who filed the suit, said, “This was outrageous and inappropriate conduct by the government. It violated the most profound privacy rights” of the plaintiffs and others who visited Assange in the embassy.

And the violation is worse, Roth added, because it included “conversations of an absolutely privileged and confidential nature,” such as those with his lawyers, and the “theft of data” from devices owned by people such as journalists and doctors who rely on confidential relationships with their sources and patients.

“All my conversations with Julian Assange were covered by doctor-patient confidentiality,” said Sean Love, a physician and faculty member at Johns Hopkins, who visited Assange twice in 2017 to conduct a study of the effects of his confinement on his physical and mental health………………………………

The privacy of other American visitors not party to the lawsuit was also violated, according to copies of surveillance material turned over to the Spanish court and reviewed by Newsweek. Every visitor had their passport photocopied and most seem to have their phones photographed. Among the visitors subject to surveillance was then-California GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who was trying to negotiate a deal for a presidential pardon for Assange. .Washington Post reporter Ellen Nakashima’s phone was photographed and a detailed written account of her visit (revealing that she removed the battery from her phone before handing it over) was prepared by embassy security guards. Anderson’s passwords for her email and other accounts were included in surveillance photographs allegedly sent to the CIA, according to disclosures by Spanish whistleblowers.

Email messages sent to Anderson’s foundation requesting comment were not returned.

Apart from the constitutional violations against Americans swept up in the surveillance, the sheer magnitude and sensitivity of the material obtained by U.S. authorities may make it impossible for Assange to get a fair trial, Roth said. In addition to the surveillance, after the Ecuadorian government allowed British police to enter the embassy and arrest Assange, it publicly turned over all his legal papers and computer equipment to the U.S. Department of Justice.

“When a federal prosecutor comes after a lawyer with a search warrant and seizes their devices, there are multiple layers of review and protection for privileged lawyer-client communications,” Roth said. The court might appoint a special master – typically a retired judge or a senior attorney independent of the government – to oversee the process and ensure that privileged communications were segregated from those collected for the prosecution.

“None of that happened here. They just grabbed everything.”

…………………………………………………………………………………. Anyone who visited was required to leave their phones and other electronic devices with security guards at the embassy, according to the lawsuit.

“Julian’s visitors weren’t allowed to bring their devices into the embassy, nothing that could photograph or record or connect to the Internet,” WikiLeaks media attorney Deborah Hrbek, the other attorney suing, told Newsweek. “We turned them over to the security guards. We thought they were embassy personnel. We believed it was a measure to protect Julian.”

In fact, the guards were contractors, working for the Spanish private security firm UnderCover Global. Engaged by the Ecuadorian government to provide security for the embassy and its long term houseguest, UC Global in 2017 began secretly also working for U.S. intelligence, according to the lawsuit, citing evidence compiled by the Audiencia National, the Spanish High Court.

UC Global CEO David Morales returned from a Las Vegas security convention in early 2017, telling colleagues they were now working “in the big leagues,” “for the dark side,” and with “our American friends,” according to whistleblower testimony from former UC Global employees. The testimony says it became clear over the subsequent weeks and months that he was being paid substantial sums of money to share surveillance data with the CIA…………………………………………………………………………………….

The suit is directed against Pompeo personally because U.S. law and the Constitution make it difficult to sue executive branch agencies for damages, said Robert Boyle, a constitutional law attorney who consulted with Roth on the suit.

A 1971 Supreme Court judgment “made it possible to personally sue government officials for violations of certain constitutional rights,” he said……………………………………………

The surveillance revealed by the Spanish courts was likely “the tip of the iceberg,” said lead plaintiff Kunstler. “We happen to have discovered that. Who knows what else they were up to?”

August 17, 2022 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | 1 Comment

Ukraine using very advanced long range rockets to strike Russian air base in Crimea?

The devastation at the Russian air base in Crimea suggests Kyiv may have obtained new long-range strike capability with potential to change the course of the war. The base is well beyond the range of advanced rockets that western countries acknowledge sending to Ukraine so far, with some western military experts saying the scale of the damage and the apparent precision of the strike suggested a powerful new capability with potentially important implications.

August 17, 2022 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

US Deploys Its B-52 Nuclear Bombers At Russia’s Doorsteps As Tensions Soar Between Moscow & Washington By Sakshi Tiwari, August 17, 2022

The United States Air Force is reportedly sending its strategic bombers to Europe, close to Russia, when there is an uptick in military operations against Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory.

The United States intends to deploy its B-52 strategic bombers close to the Russian borders. According to local Russian media reports and speculations on social media, four American strategic bombers are expected to arrive in Europe in the coming days.

There are reports the B-52s have already arrived.

The B-52 bombers will first need to be stationed at a military air base in the United Kingdom. According to Gloucestershire Live, the American long-range bombers deployed in the UK earlier this year will return to Fairford Air Force Base next week.

August 17, 2022 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia admits that explosions in Crimea were the work of Ukrainian saboteurs

New Arms Depot Blast In Crimea An Act Of Sabotage, Kremlin Admits, BY TYLER DURDEN, AUG 16, 2022 

Russia’s Defense Ministry on Tuesday confirmed a rare act of what appears to be a Ukrainian sabotage operation in Crimea. This after video emerged online showing a series of explosions after a fire engulfed a munitions depot there.

“On the morning of Aug. 16, as a result of an act of sabotage, a military storage facility near the village of Dzhankoi was damaged,” the ministry said. “Damage was caused to a number of civilian facilities, including power lines, a power plant, a railway track as well as a number of residential buildings. There were no serious injuries,” it added……………………

Importantly, this comes after a bigger Aug. 9 explosion some 200km inside Crimea at Russia’s Saky air base, in Novofedorovka. That attack, which destroyed multiple Russian jets, vehicles, and an ammo depot, has been subject of intense speculation as Ukraine’s government sent mixed signals in terms of taking responsibility………….

On an official level, the Ukrainian government denied it was behind the earlier Crimea base attack, but officials leaked to both The Washington Post and New York Times that it was a sabotage operation by Ukraine’s special forces.

Moscow had in the immediate aftermath downplayed it as an accident, perhaps seeking to avoid escalation, also possibly not wanting to acknowledge it was vulnerable to such a strike from Ukraine.

So this fresh Aug.16 “sabotage attack” strongly suggests the prior Aug.9 explosion was also a Ukrainian operation. The incident had also set off discussion over whether US-supplied HIMARS rockets could reach that far. If indeed there were foreign weapons systems behind it, it could set the US and Russia on a dangerous path of escalation and collision as the proxy war could fast develop into direct confrontation between superpowers in Ukraine.

August 17, 2022 Posted by | Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Nuclear Free Local Authorities support dry storage for safety at Hinkley plant

In a rare example of synergy, the Nuclear Free Local Authorities has
written in support of a proposal by the developer of Hinkley Point C, EDF
Energy, to change the storage of spent fuel at the new plant from wet to

The NFLA was responding to a consultation called by the Environment
Agency when EDF submitted a request to change one of its agreed operational
conditions relating to storage. The NFLA has always been concerned at the
dangers attendant to storing spent nuclear fuel in cooling ponds and feels
that dry storage is better.

Fuel stored in ponds at nuclear plants in
Ukraine have come under threat in recent months, with fears that
bombardment could release radioactivity. Speaking about the NFLA
submission, Chair Councillor David Blackburn said: “The NFLA remains
opposed to new civil nuclear plants, including Hinkley Point C, but the
reality is that nuclear plants produce waste, and our practical concern is
to ensure that this is stored as safely as possible.

“Our policy on the
storage of nuclear waste differs from that of the UK Government. We favour
the ongoing near-site, near-surface storage of waste, to eliminate the need
for rail transportation and to ensure that waste can be actively monitored,
rather than the government’s preferred ‘dispose and disregard’ approach
of depositing waste in an underground or undersea dump and forgetting about

“The situation at Hinkley Point C may remain unclear for some time.
EDF Energy has announced that the plant will not now be completed until the
summer of 2027 at the earliest, and very possibly later, and the company
will now be required to carry out a redesign of its reactor for safety
reasons following the accident at Taishan-1 in China last year.”

NFLA 17th Aug 2022

August 17, 2022 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Counting the cost of cracking at EDF’s nuclear reactors in France

Nuclear Engineering, 11 Aug, 22,

The full extent of stress corrosion cracking at EDF’s reactors in France has still to be determined. Nonetheless, lower production as plants are re-examined has come at the worst possible time for the company.

On 15 December 2021 EDF announced that it would temporarily shut down two reactors at the Civaux site. The move came after inspections undertaken as part of as Civaux 1’s 10-yearly in-service inspection revealed defect indications close to welds in pipes that formed part of the of the safety injection system (SIS). This back-up circuit allows borated water to be injected into the reactor core in order to stop the nuclear reaction and to maintain the volume of water in the primary circuit in the event of a loss of primary coolant accident.

The discovery illustrated the mixed blessings of a ‘series’ approach to nuclear build, as EDF decided that it should also investigate and, if needed, address the same problem at other reactors in the N4 series, notably at Chooz, where there are four similar reactors. It began an outage at Chooz 2 on 16 December and at Chooz 1 on 18 December.

At that time EDF said the extended outage at Civaux and the closure at Chooz would cost it about 1TWh in lost generation to the end of 2021. But since then the company has found the problem to be more widespread.

ASN (Autorite´ de Su^rete´ Nucle´aire), France’s nuclear safety authority, said analysis on parts of the pipes removed from Civaux 1 had revealed the presence of cracking resulting from an unexpected stress corrosion phenomenon on the inner face of the piping, close to the weld bead. There was worse news for EDF. The ultrasonic inspection, which had been carried out during the plants’ regular 10-yearly outages, is mainly used to detect cracking caused by thermal fatigue. It is less effective at detecting stress corrosion cracking (SCC). That raised the fear that SCC had been present in reactors that had previously been examined by ultrasound and indications of SCC had wrongly been classified as spurious. The re-examination of Chooz B1 and B2 indicated this was indeed the case and there was SCC that needed to be addressed.

All five of the reactors in the initial group have had to undergo additional checks to determine which areas and systems are affected by the stress corrosion phenomenon.

To make matters worse still, checks at Penly 1, during its third 10-yearly outage, revealed indications on the same pipes, which laboratory analysis showed to be SCC, albeit at a smaller scale than at Civaux 1. Unlike the Chooz and Civaux reactors, Penly is not one of the 1450MWe N4 series but a 1300MWe reactor in an earlier French series.

As a result, EDF has returned to the checks previously conducted on all of its reactors to re-examine the results, searching for indications then thought to be spurious but now seen as potential indications of stress corrosion.

May update

In early May, speaking at an investor meeting after the company published results for the three months to the end of March, Regis Clement, EDF’s Deputy Head of Nuclear Generation, provided an update to investors.

He said inspections and examinations had confirmed stress corrosion in sections of piping at Civaux 1, Chooz 1 and Penly 1, where the affected parts will be removed and replaced. EDF had already begun investigations at Civaux 2 and Chooz 2 and now that has been extended to seven more units – Chinon 3, Cattenom 3, Bugey 3 and 4, Flamanville 1 and 2, and Golfech 1. Of these units, Clement said: “Indications have been found during ultrasound inspection process but we are not yet able to establish whether these are minor flaws in the composition of the steel, traces of thermal fatigue or stress corrosion.” Laboratory tests are under way.

In the end, EDF will inspect all its reactors. It expects that process to be completed by the end of 2023 and largely to be carried out during scheduled maintenance outages. Clement said, “At this time more or less 20% of the fleet is undergoing examination” and EDF expected to have a “high level of requirements” in controlling or remedying the problem.

The overall cost of assessing and remedying the problem cannot yet be fully assessed, ……………………….

August 17, 2022 Posted by | France, Reference, safety | Leave a comment

More tax-payer money to USA’s nuclear industry with INFLATION REDUCTION ACT OF 2022


…… The act contains several key provisions that bolster a broad spectrum of new and existing activities in the nuclear industry.

As a targeted benefit to the nuclear industry, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) modifies the Internal Revenue Code (IRC or Code) to allow new production tax credits (PTCs) for existing nuclear plants.

Importantly, the IRA also introduces significant changes to the Code to allow for greater monetization of applicable tax credits, including those that relate to nuclear power. From a practical perspective, these changes may ultimately prove transformative to the nuclear industry in allowing access to the tax equity markets for project financing, which to date has been virtually nonexistent for largely technical reasons.

Finally, the IRA also provides additional funding to establish a domestic supply of High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium (HALEU) fuel, which is needed by many next-generation reactors.


IRA Section 13105 creates a “zero-emission nuclear power production tax credit” in Section 45U of the Code (the Nuclear PTC) aimed at preventing the decommission of existing nuclear plants. The Nuclear PTC is available with respect to existing nuclear plants for electricity produced and sold for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2023, and before December 31, 2032…………………..

Importantly, the credit is unavailable to an “advanced nuclear power facility” that qualifies for the advanced nuclear tax credit in IRC Section 45J (added by the Energy Policy Act of 2005). The advanced nuclear tax credit under Section 45J, which offers a maximum 1.8 cent per kWh credit, continues to be the only currently available generation credit for new nuclear electricity generation facilities not yet placed into service (the new 45Y and 48E zero emissions facility credits, each described below, are only available for facilities placed into service after December 31, 2024).

Although outside the scope of this summary, the limited “allocation” Section 45J credit was refreshed by Congress in 2018, and allocations still remain available for advanced nuclear reactors that are placed into service on a first in line basis (although the IRS has yet to update allocation guidance for the 2018 refresh legislation)……………………………


Along with the tax credits above, the IRA allocated $150 million to the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Nuclear Energy “to carry out activities for infrastructure and general plant projects.” The IRA also allocated money through 2026 to support the development of a domestic HALEU fuel supply. Most advanced nuclear reactor designs require HALEU, a uranium fuel that is more power dense than the fuel used in the current reactor fleet. Currently, the domestic HALEU supply is constrained and much of the current HALEU supply is sourced from Russia. The IRA addresses this issue by allocating $700 million dollars in funding to DOE to develop a domestic HALEU supply chain…………..

The majority of funding, $500 million, will be allocated to environmental impact reduction work and public relations initiatives, and to support collaboration between the National Laboratories and the private sector. Another $100 million will be allocated to research, development, and safety initiatives. Finally, an additional $100 million will directly support HALEU availability for civilian domestic research, development, demonstration, and commercial use. The advanced reactor community has advocated for this kind of support for years, but this is the first big appropriation to support the domestic HALEU supply.

August 17, 2022 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Kishida, ‘PM from Hiroshima’, is Shifting Japan’s Long-Standing Pro-Nuclear Weapons Posture

He has begun a sincere effort to realign Japan’s position from one that supports the maintenance of the US “nuclear umbrella” to one that aims for gradual global nuclear weapons disarmament.

Marcus Donaldson The Wire, 17 Aug 22

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has outlined what appears to be a sincere effort to realign Japan’s position on nuclear weapons – from one that supports the maintenance of the US “nuclear umbrella” to one that aims for gradual global nuclear weapons disarmament.

Previous administrations have been unwilling to challenge the nuclear weapons status quo. Indeed, Tokyo has been a quiet and consistent advocate for nuclear weapons among the non-nuclear powers (as counterintuitive as this may be for the only nation to have been subjected to nuclear weapons attacks).

At present, the United States, Russia, France, China, the United Kingdom, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea are known to possess nuclear weapons arsenals.

In 2016, Japan voted against a UN resolution that would have compelled nations to negotiate the reduction and eventual elimination of nuclear weapons stockpiles. It also chose not to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 2017 – which did eventually pass – and snubbed subsequent invitations to ratify the accord or even to send observers to related diplomatic events.

Japan’s pro-nuclear weapons posture continued, relatively unchanged, into the early months of Kishida’s government. …………………………….

On August 1, Prime Minister Kishida travelled to New York to address the latest Review Conference for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which are scheduled every five years, although this was held two years late due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was the first time that a Japanese prime minister had ever spoken at one of these conferences, usually attended by working-level diplomats.

Kishida began by relating the issue to himself, noting that, “as a prime minister from Hiroshima, I believe that we must take every realistic measure towards a world without nuclear weapons, step by step, however difficult the path may be.”

This phrasing echoed the title of a book that Kishida published in 2020 – Kakuheiki no nai Sekai e (Toward a World without Nuclear Weapons).

In his speech, Kishida declared that “Japan is determined to firmly uphold the NPT as its guardian.” adding that he is working on a five-point “Hiroshima Action Plan” to reduce nuclear weapons risks.

As part of his initiative, Kishida clarified that “Japan supports the dialogue conducted between the United States and Russia for further reductions, and encourages the United States and China to engage in a bilateral dialogue on nuclear arms control and disarmament.” He also emphasised the importance of transparency between nuclear weapons powers, a greater commitment to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and a peaceful solution to conflicts such as that on the Korean Peninsula.

Kishida further announced that Tokyo would make a US$10 million contribution to the United Nations in order to set up a “Youth Leader Fund for a World without Nuclear Weapons,” again making use of the phrase which he seems to be promoting as his own political trademark.

“We must ensure that Nagasaki remains the last place to suffer an atomic bombing,” he declared.

Kishida’s address was well received by the Japanese public. Interestingly, some of the most outspoken praise came from the Japan Communist Party, which viewed the speech as a “landmark success.”

In late 2019,  the Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament conducted a poll which found that about 75% of the Japanese public supported joining the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which the government has so far spurned.

In spite of the popularity of Kishida’s anti-nuclear weapons orientation among the general public, he faces the potential risk of alienating both rightwing forces within his own ruling party as well as some figures within the US government. Indeed, it was reported that Kishida’s own political advisers counselled him not to give the speech in New York and to keep a lower profile on nuclear weapons disarmament issues.

August 17, 2022 Posted by | Japan, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

IAEA reiterates need for all military action to stop near Zaporizhzya Nuclear PP

International Atomic Energy Agency director general Rafael Mariano Grossi
told the UN Security Council on 11 August that the IAEA’s presence at the
Zaporizhzya Nuclear PP in Ukraine, to allow it to carry out important
technical activities in nuclear safety, security and safeguards and at the
same time provide a stabilising influence, is now essential. In a session
to discuss the situation at the plant, which has been occupied by Russian
forces since March, Mr Grossi reiterated his call for all military action
to stop at the site, which came under shell fire on 5 and 6 August.

Modern Power Systems 16th Aug 2022

August 17, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Arctic is warming nearly four times faster than the rest of the world – new research

Arctic is warming nearly four times faster than the rest of the world – new research

Jonathan Bamber

The Earth is approximately 1.1℃ warmer than it was at the start of the industrial revolution. That warming has not been uniform, with some regions warming at a far greater pace. One such region is the Arctic.

August 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant: Analysing safety of nuclear power in conflict zones

Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant ‘not designed to withstand fighting’. A
scientist in Ukraine warns that the reactor at Europe’s largest nuclear
power station is designed to protect against some threats, but not
shelling. One nuclear scientist working in Ukraine, who asked to remain
anonymous, told New Scientist that the reactors at the ZNPP are built to a
more modern design – known as VVER-1000 – than those at the Chernobyl
nuclear power plant, with a better containment structure, but that there
are still risks from nearby fighting.

“Normally, the design of
containment should resist an external impact like the crash of an airplane.
The concrete shell of VVER-1000 containment is about 1.2 metres thick,”
he says. “However, the safety of a nuclear power plant is not only down
to the containment of the reactor itself; it’s also the work of auxiliary
equipment that ensures the cooling of the reactor and spent fuel. We have
to keep in mind that [a] loss of power caused the accident in Fukushima [in
Japan in 2011].”

Aside from the reactor, there is also liquid and solid
radioactive waste stored on site. If damaged during shelling, this could
cause a radiation leak to the environment, the nuclear scientist says.
“The plant is designed to be protected from terrorist threats, but not
[from] military fighting. All should be done to avoid any chance of
fighting, not only at the plant site, but in all the areas around,” he

New Scientist 16th Aug 2022

In March, Russian forces took control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power
plant and its satellite town. Olexiy Kovynyev, independent expert, former
reactor operator and shift supervisor, reflects on the events and what it
meant for the safety of nuclear power in conflict zones.

NS Energy 16th Aug 2022

August 17, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

US launches nuclear-capable Minuteman III in routine test

Key points:

  • The nuclear-capable Minuteman III was launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California
  • The US Air Force said the test launch was not the result of current world events.
  • President Joe Biden’s administration said it would continue to carry out routine operations in the Taiwan Strait ………………………………………………………… more

August 17, 2022 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons: Demand action Louise Lansberry, Seattle Aug. 17, 2022

The article “As risk of nuclear war grows, study warns even a limited exchange would doom billions” [Aug. 15, Nation & World] relays a warning that all too many Americans fail to acknowledge, even if they are remotely aware.

In an attempt to awaken fellow citizens, a group called Citizens for Universal Abolition of Nuclear Weapons is holding a march and rally on Sept. 24, meeting at Cal Anderson Park in Seattle at noon and marching to the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building (

Our members of Congress as well as our president will not act to rid the world of these immoral weapons if we don’t make our voices loud and clear and demand such action.

Louise Lansberry, Seattle

August 17, 2022 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

As Threat of Militarisation Rises, International Community Races to Set Standards for Responsible Behaviour in Outer Space

Cornelis van Haperen | U. Nottingham School of Law, GB, AUGUST 11, 2022

The past decades have seen a growing interest in, and utilisation of, outer space. Ease of access to space has increased alongside the rise of more affordable and small-scale technologies, and as a consequence space has become a congested and competitive environment. This has resulted in an increase in the number of nations with space ambitions, while the proliferation of commercial space platforms and space exploration has also grown, even leading to Elon Musk’s capabilities to support Ukraine in its defense against Russia’s invasion, and the new phenomenon of space tourism. 

No longer is the space domain reserved for the original space-faring nations — the United States, Russia and the emerging global power China. It is also causing the increased militarisation of space (‘arms race’) with a number nations having formed new military commands and armed forces (e.g. Space Command and Space Force: USA, UK, France) and NATO having declared space a war-fighting domain in 2019. 

The proliferation of space objects and debris is resulting in a growing risk of collision and damage, while the activities of certain nations (Russia, China) [ed note – h ha – why not include USA?]pose increased threats and risks of conflict. Western Allies have realized that they rely more and more on space for all military activities, including collective defence, crisis response, disaster relief, and counterterrorism, and depend on information delivered from and through space. Militarily tensions seem to have been on the rise too. There are real concerns among the international rule-based nations about the challenging behaviours of Russia and China [ ha ha why not include USA?] wreaking real havoc in space which even resulted in serious endangerment of the lives of American and Russian astronauts at the International Space Station. 

This article will shed some legal light on the recent announcement by US Vice-President Kamala Harris that the US would refrain from conducting destructive direct-ascent anti-satellite missile testing (i.e. destroying satellites in space). Whilst this seems to firmly place destructive actions at the centre of recent debates, the growing conduct of non-lethal operations such as jamming and spoofing should not be discarded. This article will therefore concentrate more widely on the international legal framework and military use of space. The main issue that will be addressed is whether the increased militarisation of space requires better norms and rules to ensure the responsible and peaceful use of outer space. There will be a brief reflection on the United Nations organisations that are leading efforts to bring nations together in the development of such norms and rules and where the international community is going next. 

Military Use of Space – the Relevant Law?

It seems inherently contradictory to talk about military and weapons in the same breath as outer space. In December 1963, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution recognising the common interest of all mankind in the progress, exploration, and use of outer space for peaceful purposes. These words resembled similar aspirations as defined in the Antarctic Treaty a few years earlier. The main difference was that this Treaty also spelled out the prohibition of military activities whereas resolution 1962 did not. It has therefore been unavoidable that two interpretations of the term peaceful have emerged: one arguing a complete ban of all weapons in space, while the prevailing view does not represent such a prohibition. 

Let’s place the increased militarisation of space in the appropriate context by defining the international legal framework for outer space and reflect on the legal underpinning of military activities within outer space. The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Spaceincluding the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, 1967, better known as the Outer Space Treaty (OST), and four other key treaties, commonly referred to as the outer space legal regime, together provide a legal foundation for ‘the expanding and increasingly complex tasks aimed at the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.’

In addition, the UN General Assembly has defined several principles as well as adopted various resolutions. Article I of the OST states that exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is to be for the benefit of all mankind. Importantly, Article II clarifies that they shall not be subject to national appropriation and thus there can be no claims of sovereignty. The OST further states that the use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be undertaken consistent with international law. This includes the UN Charter and is to conform with the UN’s purposes to maintain peace and security and the promotion of international co-operation. ………………………………………..

Preventing Bad Behaviour: Mitigating Risks of Damage and Threats of Escalation

It is often reported that debris in space is growing exponentially. The logical consequence of the increase in space activities is a growing risk of collisions with space objects, i.e. other satellites, and the creation and proliferation of new debris due to ever more launches. However, whilst some of this risk could arguably be mitigated through more cautious behaviour, there has also been a noticeable growth of capabilities to interfere with systems in outer space or even destroy them, and we have seen an upturn in deliberate malicious acts by actors seeking to affect the space activities of other nations. The most destructive forms are those of kinetic or physical counter-space weapons that directly hit satellites. ……………………………………………………

United Nations and National Leadership

The framework for state action in outer space is now far behind the technological possibilities, developments, and commercialisation of space. Nevertheless, the Proposed Prevention of an Arms Race in Space (PAROS) has been on the United Nations’ disarmament agenda for over four decades. Numerous nations have expressed their concerns about the harmful and damaging effects of this competition for space. While the discussions in the international community have intensified over the past decades these have not yet resulted in binding treaties or measures……………………………………………….. more

August 17, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, space travel | Leave a comment