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

Rethink Research throws cold water on the Nuclear Energy Institute’s enthusiasm for Small Modular Reactors (SMRs).

 For SMRs to remain competitive there will need to be heavy state-side subsidizes for consumers, as the initial cost of energy produced from them is considerably above wholesale auction prices. boon forecast by NEI, Rethink doubts it, By Connor Watts, 24 Aug 22, Some 19 utilities surveyed by the US Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) says they see potential for up to 90GW of small modular reactors (SMR) within the United States by 2050. This would work out to around 300 reactors producing 731.3 TWh of energy, most of which would come online before 2050. Those numbers look pretty good until you look at current generation figures

During 2021 the US consumed around 790 TWh of electricity from nuclear power plants and 899 TWh from coal plants. The EIA projects that 16GW of nuclear plants will be decommissioned, alongside 69GW of coal plants up to 2050. This means that as much as 95% of potential SMR energy production could be going directly to the replacement of existing facilities.

This leaves only 5GW of remaining demand potential for SMR energy production up to 2050 outside of decommissioning existing facilities, we think even this may be optimistic.

Traditional nuclear plants take upwards of a decade to build and often run massively overbudget, making the energy it does produce once built more expensive as costs are attempted to be recouped.

SMR producers promise to do away with these drawbacks through standardizing their designs to enable factory production. Minimizing cost while shortening production times, theoretically addressing the main weaknesses of traditional reactors.

In practice it’s a little more complicated.

Considering the complexity and risks involved with nuclear power generation, commercial production and design of SMRs remains a slow and meticulous process. This has left many SMR sites still in the planning or design phase years after their announcements, almost competing in deployment time with traditional nuclear plants.

Once a new SMR gets deployed after its design and development period, it will need to be monitored for a few years to inspect for defects and inefficiencies within the design to prevent any mishaps. This is likely to add yet more time to an already long production horizon, adding costs as new units cannot go into production.

The cost savings achieved through modularity and standardization are borne through mass-production and deployment. In a way this is the “gigafactory” approach for nuclear. Considering long initial production times, this will contribute significantly to a short-term increase in the price of nuclear electricity, minimizing its applications where it remains competitive.

SMRs are supposed to come to market at $60 per MWh LCOE – but already wind and solar are considerably below that, and what level will they be at after SMRs arrived on the scene in volume, by say 2030?

For SMRs to remain competitive there will need to be heavy state-side subsidizes for consumers, as the initial cost of energy produced from them is considerably above wholesale auction prices.

Another issue with nuclear power generation is water usage. Earlier this month nuclear plants in France had a rule concerning water discharging waived as heatwaves boiled most of Europe.

Typically, the reactors would reduce their output to minimize damage from discharging hot water into the nearby ecosystems, but this rule has been waived until the 11th of September to ensure energy supplies in the short term. SMRs will also need to use local water supplies as a coolant, which makes them ineffective in a drought.

This can be mitigated through the use of alternative coolants such as liquid metal, gas and molten salt, but many SMR designs currently work similarly to traditional nuclear.

To use the time horizon for SMRs makes them look economically  unfavorable, and while these 19 utilities may genuinely feel they like the idea of more nuclear, their controlling state utilities commission may well have something to say about whether they ever actually get installed.


August 23, 2022 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

Astronauts Going to Mars Will Receive Many Lifetimes Worth of Radiation

Universe Today, In a recent study published in Space Physics, an international team of researchers discuss an in-depth study examining the long-term physiological effects of solar radiation on astronauts with emphasis on future astronauts traveling to Mars, to include steps we can take to help mitigate the risk of such solar radiation exposure. The researchers hailed from the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, India, United States, Italy, Greece, and Germany, and their study helps us better understand the in-depth, long-term health impacts of astronauts during long-term space missions, specifically to Mars and beyond.

Exposure to ionizing radiation is one of the main health risks to astronauts in crewed missions to Mars,” said Dr. Dimitra Atri, a Research Scientist at New York University Abu Dhabi, and lead author of the study. “Going to Mars is going to be humanity’s ultimate adventure in the 21st century — it would be unfortunate if the mission is successful, but astronauts suffer major health issues or even die because of radiation exposure. So, we need to estimate radiation exposure in a very careful way and study its overall impact on human health. It will also help us develop mitigation strategies to keep our astronauts safe.”

To conduct their study, the researchers utilized a computer simulation known as Geant4 with a model human phantom to calculate how each organ of the human body is affected by radiation doses from exposure to energetic charged particles for prolonged periods. These include impacts on an astronaut’s health such as Acute Radiation Syndrome, nervous system damage, and a higher risk of cancer. The CDC defines Acute Radiation Syndrome, also known as radiation sickness or radiation toxicity, as “an acute illness caused by irradiation of the entire human body (or most of the body) by a high dose of penetrating radiation in a very short period of time (usually a matter of minutes).”

Combining their data from the model human phantom with dozens of past medical studies, the researchers discuss the underlying impacts of ionizing radiation on physiological systems, to include the nervous, immune, and skeletal systems, and behavioral effects, along with impacts on genetic material and risk of cancer. They considered a crewed mission to Mars comprising of 600 days in cruise phase to and from the Red Planet and spending 400 days on the Martian surface. While they noted a knowledge gap regarding past medical studies and their own study, they stated radiation limits set by the European Space Agency, Roscosmos, Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, and NASA would be surpassed during a crewed mission to Mars.

“It is a comprehensive study modeling the impact of charged particles — protons, alpha particles, heavier species on a human phantom by using CERN’s charged particle interaction code, said Dr. Atri. “We were able to calculate radiation dose deposited in various organs of the human body. ………….

August 23, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, space travel | Leave a comment

How the USA climate bill will promote the nuclear industry.

What the climate bill does for the nuclear industry, CNBC, Catherine Clifford, AUG 23 20222

Production tax credit for existing nuclear power plants

Production tax credit for advanced nuclear power plants

Investment tax credit for new nuclear power plants

“………………………………………Production tax credit for existing nuclear power plants, Starting in 2024 and running through 2032, utilities will be able to get a credit of $15 per megawatt-hour for electricity produced by existing nuclear plants. If the price of power rises above $25 per megawatt-hour, then the credit will gradually decrease, but it doesn’t phase out completely until energy prices reach around $44 per megawatt-hour, explained Matthew Crozat, the executive director of strategy and policy at the Nuclear Energy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group.

“Every plant is different and some plants have a different revenue model but we can say that this credit will offer a reprieve from the low revenues that had forced more than a dozen reactors to close,” Crozat told CNBC.

To be eligible for the full $15 per megawatt-hour base tax credit, a nuclear power plant operator has to pay workers operating and doing maintenance on the power plant “prevailing wage requirements,” according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Production tax credit for advanced nuclear power plants

Several companies in the United States are working to commercialize new nuclear power plant designs that are meant to be safer and with a smaller capacity, making them ideally cheaper to build and maintain as well.

For example, Bill Gates’ nuclear innovation company, TerraPower, is developing a couple of advanced reactor designs, one of which is going to be built at a retiring coal facility in Wyoming as part of a demonstration program in partnership with the U.S. government.

Advanced nuclear reactors could benefit from the IRA by way of the Clean Electricity Production Tax Credit, a technology-agnostic production credit, which can be applied toward emissions-free power generation that goes online after 2025. The clean energy production credit is for at least $25 per megawatt-hour for the first ten years the plant is in operation, adjusted for inflation. The credit phases out in 2032 or when carbon emissions coming from electricity have fallen by 75% below the level of 2022, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute. The tax credit is increased by 10% for locating the zero-emissions power source where a coal plant previously lived.

Worth noting, there’s another Advanced Nuclear Production Tax Credit already on the books. That tax credit was established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and is for $18 per megawatt-hour for the first eight years that a nuclear power plant is operating, provided the nuclear power plant had not begun construction when the 2005 bill was signed into law, Crozat told CNBC. The third reactor unit of the Vogtle Power plant being constructed in Georgia will be the first power plant to take advantage of the 2005 Advanced Nuclear Production Tax Credit, according to Crozat.

A company can not take advantage of both tax credits — it has to pick. Going forward, the tax credits in the IRA just signed into law will be more attractive. “Since the new production tax credit has been indexed to inflation and last for two additional years, it will be considerably more valuable than the older version,” Crozat told CNBC.

Investment tax credit for new nuclear power plants

New nuclear power plants are eligible for claiming an Investment Tax Credit made available through the new law for facilities that generate energy with zero emissions and that go into service in 2025 or after.

The investment tax credit allows a nuclear power plant to get a tax credit for 30% of what was invested in building the zero-emissions energy production facility, which includes nuclear power plants, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.

The investment tax credit is increased by 10% for locating the zero-emissions power source where a coal plant previously lived. It starts to phase when carbon emissions from the sector are 75% lower than 2022 levels.

Money to spur innovation

The law includes $700 million that will go towards the research and development of high-assay low enrichment uranium (HALEU) fuel sources in the United States through 2026, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington DC-based think tank. That’s important because the advanced, next-generation reactors which are currently being developed by 20 companies in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, depend on HALEU fuel to operate.

The existing fleet of nuclear power reactors in the United States operate on uranium that has been enriched up to 5%. HALEU fuel has been enriched between 5% and 20%. Many advanced reactor designs are smaller builds than conventional nuclear reactors and so to make a nuclear reactor smaller, they need to get more power from smaller quantities of fuel, the Department of Energy says.

“Right now, the only commercially available source of HALEU is from the Russian Federation and the support for HALEU in the IRA signals an understanding that the federal government is needed to jumpstart domestic enrichment capabilities to support the coming wave of new nuclear technologies,” Rampal told CNBC.

It’s also just the first step, Rampal said. The nuclear industry needs multiple billions of dollars to invest in HALEU production over the next ten years, he told CNBC.  

The IRA also includes $150 million for the Office of Nuclear Energy through 2027, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center. That money is for the Department of Energy to invest in its nuclear innovation research at its network of National Laboratories.  ……………………………………..

Tax credits for making component parts

The IRA includes a manufacturing production provision that allows for a tax credit for component parts produced and sold after 2022, according to a summary of the benefits of the IRA for the nuclear industry from the law firm Morgan Lewis.

August 23, 2022 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Emotionless Liz Truss says she would unleash nuclear annihilation if necessary

Emotionless Liz Truss says she would unleash nuclear annihilation if
necessary. The Tory frontrunner told a hustings event in Birmingham that
ordering the use of nuclear weapons is an “important part of being Prime

Mirror 23rd Aug 2022

August 23, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Ukrainian Hit List – targets Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, Daria Dugina,Kissinger and 1000s of journalists

Roger Waters added to Ukrainian Hit List “Pink Floyd” star declared “Enemy of Ukraine” , Deborah L. Armstrong 23 Aug 22

I have written about the Ukrainian hitlist known as Mirotvorets, or “Peacekeeper,” twice before. The first time was in this article about internet censorship, and the second time was when a 13-year-old Ukrainian girl, Faina Savenkova, was added to the list for publicly speaking out against Kiev’s bloody war on Russian-speaking civilians in the eastern part of Ukraine, a region known as the Donbass.

Mirotvorets is a database which lists thousands of journalists, activists, and anyone else who is declared an “Enemy of Ukraine.” Their personal information is published, such as the addresses of their homes, their phone numbers and bank account numbers; anything that can help them be easily located. When the people on this list are murdered, like Italian journalist Andrea Rocchelli was, the word ЛИКВИДИРОВАН, “LIQUIDATED,” written in Ukrainian, is stamped across their picture in big red letters.

And, as of today, Daria Dugina, who was killed in a car bomb explosion in Moscow on Saturday, appears as “liquidated” on the website, adding more credibility to Russia’s assertion that she was assassinated by a Ukrainian nationalist who rented an apartment in the building where Daria lived in order to surveil her prior to her killing. It is believed that she was killed because her father, Alexander Dugin was referred to as “Putin’s brain” and “Putin’s spiritual guide” in western media, though these claims are really just more speculation.

It seems that almost anyone can be added to this kill list. Even Henry Kissinger’s name is on the list despite his long history of Russophobia. But since he dared to air his concerns about how the US is teetering toward war with Russia and China, Kissinger, who once suggested dropping nuclear bombs on Moscow, is now declared an “Enemy of Ukraine.”

………. Why this site is allowed to operate is a good question. But you can access it easily, and even donate money to help the “cause,” if you are sympathetic to Nazis and think that assassinating people for their opinions is a wholesome way to support Ukraine.

The co-founder of “Pink Floyd” is known for his support of imprisoned Wikileaks’ creator Julian Assange, and for his opposition to imperialism and war, as well as for his awesome music, loved by millions around the world.

Waters recently referred to Joe Biden as a “war criminal” on CNN, and said that Biden is “fueling the fire in Ukraine.”

“This war,” the musician stated, “is basically about the action and reaction of NATO pushing right up to the Russian border, which they promised they wouldn’t do when [Mikhail] Gorbachev negotiated the withdrawal of the USSR from the whole of Eastern Europe.”

Waters also said that Crimea belongs to Russia, because the majority of people living on the peninsula are Russian.

The rock star’s views have outraged the pro-NATO crowd and their Nazi friends, as well as the social justice warriors who froth at the mouth in support of whatever the mainstream media declares to be “the current thing.” Waters, who has always been something of a dissident and anti-war, the way all rock stars used to be when rock and roll was still real, is attacked mercilessly by the “woke” crowd, who are intolerant of all who are not in lockstep with their views.

An investigation by the Russian Foundation to Battle Injustice reveals the names of the individuals, corporations and government entities which are believed to be the “organizers, sponsors and curators of the Ukrainian nationalist website.” While Mirotvorets is easily accessible to anyone who likes that sort of thing, this Russian human rights organization is blocked on major social media platforms like Facebook.

In its early days, Mirotvorets published the names of so-called “Russian separatists” (residents of eastern Ukraine) who oppose the Maidan coup and believe it was economically unwise to break off relations with Russia. But later on, the site began publishing the personal data of public figures, journalists, activists and even children.

Mirotvorets became infamous following the murders of two Ukrainian public figures in 2015, whose private information was published on the website. Oles Buzina, a 45-year-old writer and journalist, and Oleg Kalashnikov, a 52-year-old deputy of Ukrainian parliament, were killed just a few days after the publication of their home addresses.

In May of 2016, Mirotvorets publicized the personal data of more than 4,500 journalists and media representatives from around the world who had received permission to work in the territory of Donbass. Investigators say that Mirotvorets’ administrators hacked the database of the Ministry of State Security of the Donetsk People’s Republic and gathered the phone numbers, email addresses and home addresses of foreign journalists whom Mirotvorets accuses of “collaborating with terrorists” because they are covering the war from territories not under Ukrainian control.

The journalists began receiving threatening phone calls and emails and experienced an increase in cyber-bullying and harassment on social networks. The government of Ukraine issued a statement that it had found no violations of the law in Mirotvorets’ actions, even though the human rights organization, “Committee to Protect Journalists,” condemned the site’s doxing of thousands of journalists working in eastern Ukraine.

The US State Department confirmed that the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs was connected to the website, and acknowledged the publication of the journalists’ personal data, but the US government has taken no action to block the website, although many Russian websites and alternative news media have been blocked by social media giants for publishing information about the war in Ukraine which does not line up with official narratives.

And what’s more, there are companies in the US which cooperate with Mirotvorets and provide the website with information.

An analysis of the site’s network protocol by the Foundation to Battle Injustice found that the database uses the technological services of a company in California. And, if you look at the main page of Mirotvorets, you will see the address “Langley County, Virginia.” There are posts on the site from accounts which have names of western intelligence agencies: CIA, FBI, NATO, MI5, NSA……………………………………………………

Under the guise of crowdfunding, investigators say, Mirotvorets receives considerable financial assistance from anonymous donors in the west. Virtually anyone can donate to the site, but the site’s most likely sponsors are Ukrainian nationalists living abroad and people associated with western intelligence agencies who have enormous amounts of taxpayer money at their disposal.

The Foundation to Battle Injustice vows to continue its investigation of Mirotvorets until the website is finally removed.

Meanwhile, I’ll be rocking out to Pink Floyd.

August 23, 2022 Posted by | Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine | 1 Comment

Sacre Bleu: EDF Energy talk of lower bills, whilst planning to generate Britain’s most expensive electricity 24 Aug 22

Last week, EDF Energy called for the incoming British Prime Minister to work with the French-owned energy generator to reduce customer bills, whilst at the same time conspiring in the longer-term to put them up.

EDF Energy, operator of the UK’s nuclear power stations, is building a new power plant at Hinkley Point C that is already many years behind schedule and way over budget. At a whopping estimated cost of £26 billion (based on 2015 prices; actually, with inflation £29 billion today), EDF Energy plans to make a return on its investment for its backers, the French Government, by making its electricity the most expensive ever generated in Britain.

An agreement signed off with the UK Government in 2016 made EDF Energy responsible for meeting the upfront costs of building the 3.2 GW plant but granted them the concession to recoup costs by charging up to an astronomical £92.50 per MW/hour for the electricity Hinkley Point C eventually produces. If electricity does not retail at that price upon commission, British electricity customers will make up the difference with a surcharge on their bills, whether they are customers of EDF or not.

Provision was also made to make this figure index-linked to inflation, meaning the price if generation were taking place today would be an incredible £106 and this can only rise.

Not surprisingly, energy experts derided the deal at the time as outrageously favourable to the generator.

Contrast this with the recent Contracts for Difference round conducted by civil servants with renewable energy generators, where some providers contracted to generate electricity through offshore wind projects for less than £40 per MW/hour.

Nuclear fission is now the most expensive means to generate electricity, is never viable without huge government subsidies, and is fraught with operational and financial risk – and so is not an attractive proposition for private investors.

That is why the UK Government is introducing the RAB (the Regulated Asset Base) model by which to pass on the costs of developing future nuclear projects onto the shoulders of the already-overburdened British electricity customer through the imposition of a new nuclear tax on bills.

The most immediate beneficiary of this arrangement will be, unsurprisingly, EDF Energy which is the government’s approved partner to build the next large-scale nuclear power plant, at Sizewell C in Suffolk.

RAB means no more financial worries for EDF Energy as the Sizewell project invariably ratchets up massive cost overruns, like its forerunner at Hinkley, as the poor suffering consumer will be made to pay them. For the customer, it represents an ever-greater burden at a time when energy bills will continue to go ever higher, and, with colder days and darker nights on the horizon, many will struggle to heat their homes. 

Even customers in receipt of the lowest means-tested benefits, or older customers who will not live long enough to see the Sizewell plant built, will currently be expected to pay their share of the nuclear tax – that is why the Nuclear Free Local Authorities call it ROB, a means to fleece the poor to renumerate industry fat-cats and want to see both it and plans for new nuclear scrapped.

Councillor David Blackburn, Chair of the NFLA Steering Committee said

The Government’s nuclear ROB tax is an outrageous additional burden on the British people who have already seen their bills go through the roof. Rather than wasting a single penny more on the over-expensive and ridiculously-slow nuclear sector, we want to see government ministers invest billions in an emergency programme to retrofit Britain’s cold and damp homes to make them affordable and efficient to light and heat and we want to see investment in a range of renewable technologies to produce the cheaper, greener energy we so desperately need at a fraction of the price and much more-quicker than any nuclear delusion.”

Councillor Blackburn also had a sideswipe at EDF Energy’s senior management, adding:

“Whilst it is commendable that Monsieur Philippe Commaret, Managing Director of Customers at EDF, has called on government for urgent action over energy pricing, can I suggest that this appears to amount to ‘bill-washing’ as it offers nothing practical to reduce customers’ pain?  Rather I suggest his company follow the example show by its French parent by introducing an absolute energy price cap on the bills of British EDF customers as they have in France.  There bills only went up by 4%, on the direction of the principal shareholder of the company, French President Emanuel Macron. It is time for EDF Energy to do the same by its UK customers.”

August 23, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

The Chinese non-threat

China relies on something called soft power discovered by the Chinese long before the rest of us. Pearls and Irritations, By Gregory Clark, Aug 23, 2022

Our resident non-Chinese speaking, non-Chinese informed but bitterly ‘China is expansionist-aggressive’ commentators in the mainstream media in Australia don’t have,or even want to have, any idea about China.

China is accused of aggressive expansionism, over Taiwan and towards its neighbours in general.

It is a curious charge. Almost all of the 178 nations recognising China have formally recognised that legally Taiwan belongs to China. In the recently proclaimed ‘rules based international order’ such formal recognition by so many nations would seem to have some weight.

Yet Beijing has still done little to claim this promised recognition. On the contrary, it still accepts Taiwan’s control over a number of islands in the South China Sea, including some occupied by the Taiwan military a stone’s throw from China’s coast.

Nor is it only Taiwan that enjoys Beijing’s territorial tolerance.

It has done nothing to follow up on China’s strong historical clam to much of Russia’s Far East. Even at the height of China’s strong tensions with Moscow in the 1960’s and ’70’s it barely moved despite constant invitations to do so by Western hawks.
(Taiwan too had criticised Beijing’s inaction).

Amazingly Beijing has done nothing to try to dominate, let alone attack, the vast areas of a Mongolia with rich resources needed by China and with only 3 million people to defend its 4,600 kilometre with China (Taiwan insists Mongolia is China’s territory and strongly criticises Beijing’s inaction.)

The same is true for Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan, central Asian nations which border China and have at times harboured militants that have attacked into China.(Taiwan again criticises Beijing’s inaction.)

Moving down to Pakistan and India, we find Beijing has tolerated borders (the MacMahon Line and in much of Ladakh) imposed by aggressive19th century UK colonial advances far into China’s then nominally controlled, Tibetan-populated Himalayan territories.

True, there have since been disputes with India which took over from the British the large Tibetan populated areas in northern Assam and Ladakh, and wants more. Only when the Indians under Nehru’s forward policy went too far and moved into Tibet across even the UK arbitrarily imposed MacMahon Line did Beijing finally take action.

Even then, and having taught the Indians a lesson, it retreated to the MacMahon Line (a retreat which Taiwan protested, of course).

(As China desk officer in Canberra at the time I know for a fact that the first dispute in 1962 was due to India trying illegally to seize territory north of the MacMahon Line.The Chinese gave us the maps to prove it. The Indians gave nothing.)

Moving further east we find that Beijing, unlike Taiwan, accepts a border with Myanmar that allows Kokang, a large Mandarin Chinese speaking community, to remain in eastern Myanmar. (Taiwan objects to Beijing’s generosity, of course.)

Beijing did nothing to support the many pro-Beijing, Chinese speakers in Sarawak, fighting a losing battle with British and Australian troops while seeking to prevent their 1960’s forcible incorporation into the artificial construct of Malaysia.

Beijing did nothing to maintain the now disappeared 2,000 year colony of Chinese in western Borneo – the Laifang Republic. And as we know tragically it did nothing to protect the one million Chinese and leftwing Indonesian massacred in 1958. Nor did it try to protect resident Chinese from subsequent brutal Indonesian pogroms there .

And finally we come to the alleged Chinese claims against sone minuscule Japanese claimed islands -the Senkaku Islands – in the east China sea. The claims were in fact made by Taiwan, not China; they are supported by China. The islands have no Japanese name; they were discovered and named by Chinese and British explorers. Geographically they are part of Taiwan and lie on the Chinese continental shelf.

Even the US does not recognise Japanese sovereignty.

One wonders whether our resident non-Chinese speaking, non-Chinese informed but bitterly ‘China is expansionist-aggressive’ commentators in the mainstream media have, or even want to have, any idea of any of these details.

By comparison, while China has been doing little in recent decades, the US was quickly trying to take over by force large territories of France, Mexico, Spain (including the Philippines) and even Canada plus a host of islands belonging to other people in both the Atlantic and the Pacific.

In shameful collusion with the UK the US expelled the population of the Diego Garcia island and used it for the bombing of much of the Middle East.

China’s long acceptance of British and Portuguese colonies on its border (India was far less tolerant), its delay in taking over Taiwan (a right granted by every nation recognising Beijing, including the US and Australia), its toleration of Taiwan still occupying militarily the Offshore Islands etc suggests almost a dislike of military action.

Instead it relies on something called soft power discovered by the Chinese long before the rest of us. Convinced of the attractiveness of its culture it long believed with it can automatically draw people to its side without force of arms.

That was before it came up against us militaristic Westerners, happy to invade China and vandalistically destroy the symbols of that culture.


Gregory Clark began his career in Australia’s Department of External Affairs, with postings to Hong Kong and Moscow. Resigning in 1964 to protest at Australia’s participation in the Vietnam War he moved to Japan, becoming emeritus president of Tama University in Tokyo and vice-president of the pioneering Akita International University. He continues to live in Japan and has established himself as a commentator/academic. Between 1969-74 he was correspondent for The Australian in Tokyo.
More on

August 23, 2022 Posted by | China, history, politics international, Reference | Leave a comment

Why the Middle East may be too hot to live in by the end of the century

Why the Middle East may be too hot to live in by the end of the century

Experts say that temperature alone isn’t an adequate measure of the livability of a city – a combination of heat and humidity is. And that’s why the Middle East is far less livable than Europe even at the same temperatures.

August 23, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Resistance by local population thwarts the development of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) in South Korea

“The plan to normalize the operation of the THAAD base, even though the environmental impact assessment has not yet started, means that the government does not even consider a due legal process,”

Tensions mount as gov’t moves to normalize THAAD base operation. August 24, 2022

SEONGJU, South Korea, Aug. 24 (Yonhap) — Tensions are mounting around a U.S. THAAD missile defense unit here, one week ahead of the government’s deadline for normalizing access to the base despite local residents’ opposition.

The Seoul government has pledged to secure unfettered road access to the base in Seongju, around 220 kilometers south of Seoul, by the end of August, as its operation has been hindered by anti-THAAD protesters attempting to block deliveries of goods and equipment to the unit.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system was installed in the southeastern county in 2017 to cope with North Korea’s missile threats.

But the battery has not been running at full capacity, with access restricted to the unit due to protesters and a pending environmental impact assessment.

SEONGJU, South Korea, Aug. 24 (Yonhap) — Tensions are mounting around a U.S. THAAD missile defense unit here, one week ahead of the government’s deadline for normalizing access to the base despite local residents’ opposition.

The Seoul government has pledged to secure unfettered road access to the base in Seongju, around 220 kilometers south of Seoul, by the end of August, as its operation has been hindered by anti-THAAD protesters attempting to block deliveries of goods and equipment to the unit.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system was installed in the southeastern county in 2017 to cope with North Korea’s missile threats.

But the battery has not been running at full capacity, with access restricted to the unit due to protesters and a pending environmental impact assessment.

This May 18, 2021, file photo shows a water truck moving on a road leading to the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) base in Seongju, 217 kilometers south of Seoul, after police dispersed demonstrators opposing the delivery of daily necessities for troops at the missile defense system’s base. (Yonhap)hide caption

Local residents and activists object to the deployment of the THAAD system due to concerns about possible hazards to human health and the environment.

Since May 2021, the remodeling of barracks at the base has been under way and construction materials, workers and daily necessities have been brought to the base by trucks two to three times a week.

Clashes have often occurred in the area between police and demonstrators occupying the road to block deliveries.

Residents and activists are set to step up protests in response to the government’s plan to provide normal overland access to the base by the end of August.

They also plan to hold a joint rally with other organizations in front of the base on Sept. 3, demanding the military halt the construction.

“The plan to normalize the operation of the THAAD base, even though the environmental impact assessment has not yet started, means that the government does not even consider a due legal process,” the task force of anti-THAAD residents and activists said.

The local government has yet to form a group to conduct the environmental impact survey, which is necessary for the THAAD unit to operate at full capacity, due to the resistance from the residents.

“There are no residents willing to participate in the assessment body,” ,” a county official said. “It is difficult for us to persuade the residents, who have been opposed to the base for many years, to join the team.”

August 23, 2022 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, South Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK’s Tory leaders oppose policies that would encourage people to conserve energy

The government has again rejected calls for it to launch a campaign to
encourage households and businesses to save energy, insisting that energy
use remains a “decision for individuals”. Speaking this morning, a
spokesperson for Number 10 declined to be drawn on whether the government
should advise people to save energy, given soaring energy bills and
concerns over energy supplies this winter.

“These decisions, in terms of
energy consumption, remain decisions for individuals,” they said.
“Households, businesses and industry can be confident that they will have
the electricity and gas that they need.” The Guardian also reported this
morning that Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, who is hotly tipped to
become Chancellor if polls prove accurate and Liz Truss is elected Prime
Minister next month, is opposed to proposals that would see the government
call directly on households and businesses to change behaviour to curb
energy demand.

Business Green 23rd Aug 2022

August 23, 2022 Posted by | ENERGY, politics, UK | Leave a comment

China’s record-breaking heatwave, threatening water resources

The southwestern Chinese regions of Chonqging and Sichuan were battling
fires on Tuesday as they awaited a long-anticipated drop in temperatures
over the next week, but the country’s important autumn harvest remained
under serious threat. Officials warned this month that temperatures were
rising faster in China than in the rest of the world and a record-breaking
heatwave has raised concern about its ability to adapt to rapid climate
change and conserve already scarce water resources.

Reuters 23rd Aug 2022

August 23, 2022 Posted by | China, climate change, water | Leave a comment

The world stands on a nuclear precipice – we must avoid catastrophe- Jacinda Ardern

Visitors at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum view a large scale panoramic photograph of the aftermath of the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima Photograph: Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images 25 Aug 22, The world can still step back from the abyss. The nuclear weapon states – the US, Russia, China, France and the UK – must lead the way

In 1945 nuclear weapons were used in armed conflict for the first and only time. 355,000 people were killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki by two nuclear bombs.

Two. That number alone puts in stark perspective the world’s current arsenal of about 13,000 nuclear weapons.

And yet in many ways the 13,000 weapons held globally represents progress; it’s less than a quarter of the more than 63,000 weapons in circulation in 1985 during the cold war.

But what John F Kennedy said in 1961 at the United Nations is as urgent now as it ever was: “We must abolish these weapons before they abolish us.”

Over the more than 50 years since the inception of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty it’s played an important role in lowering the risk of these weapons abolishing us. In addition to the near 80% reduction in nuclear weapons, the treaty has also contributed to keeping a lid on the number of countries acquiring them. More countries have ratified the treaty than any other arms limitation and disarmament agreement.

Right now in New York, there is an opportunity to go even further. And we must.

Our world is at greater risk of nuclear catastrophe than at any time since the height of the cold war. Growing superpower tensions and two decades of stalled progress on arms control have pushed the risk of these weapons closer to reality.

Currently 191 countries are meeting at the UN to renew the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and negotiations are going down to the wire. These talks offer a chance to breathe new life into nuclear disarmament at a time when the world needs that more than ever.

Nuclear catastrophe is not an abstract threat but a real world risk. Nuclear weapons could be deployed in a conflict, as Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has intimated, or they could be deployed by miscalculation or mistake – real possibilities in times of heightened tension.

New Zealand is calling on the nuclear weapons states – the US, Russia, China, France and the UK – to step back from the nuclear abyss, and provide that leadership by committing to negotiate a new multilateral nuclear disarmament framework.

But from one of the best geographical positions in the world to be should nuclear fallout occur, why does New Zealand feel so strongly about this issue?

We are a Pacific nation. Our region bears the scars of decades of nuclear testing, on both the people and the lands and waters of our region. That’s why for 35 years New Zealand has been proudly nuclear-free and an international advocate for a world free of nuclear weapons.

This does not mean we are naive to real world dynamics, nor does our geographic location mean we have the luxury of a moral stance that others do not. In fact, New Zealand’s message – that nuclear weapons do not make anyone safer and no longer have a place in our world – reflects the view of the overwhelming majority of countries. We just need to believe a different approach is possible.

We only have to look back in our history to map a path to a safer future. The lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and of testing in the Pacific, are reminder enough that there is never justification for the deployment of nuclear weapons.

The challenges of agreeing multilateral nuclear disarmament can seem overwhelming. But it’s not a task that can be put off indefinitely.

Right now, the treaty is under stress. It is affected by geopolitical developments including tension between the nuclear weapon states. But, more fundamentally, there is growing scepticism and frustration about the intention of the nuclear weapon states to ever fully implement their nuclear disarmament commitments under the treaty, with those states arguing the global security environment makes doing so too difficult.

If this continues, there is a real prospect of countries losing faith in the treaty – putting at risk both the treaty’s role in progressing nuclear disarmament, and in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons material.

There is a lot at stake in New York this week. Some might say that in the current global environment a new nuclear arms race is inevitable, and with it a further undermining of our nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts. But I cannot accept a logic that suggests insecurity and instability render us incapable of doing the very thing that would help make the world less insecure and less unstable – an idea that the history of the treaty itself shows is false.

There can and should be a different trajectory – one of urgent leadership, of recognition of the nuclear precipice on which we are all standing, and of continued progress in our efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons. It’s not only possible – it’s necessary.

  • Jacinda Ardern is the prime minister of New Zealand

August 23, 2022 Posted by | New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA still importing uranium from Russia -(the nuclear industry rules!) but planning to look for alternatives – in the future

Top DOE nuclear official Kathryn Huff aims for alternatives to Russian nuclear fuel, by Jeremy Beaman, Energy and Environment Reporter & Breanne Deppisch, Energy and Environment Reporter

DOE’S HUFF ON NUCLEAR FUEL SUPPLY: The U.S. is acting with the same initiative on nuclear fuel as the Europeans are with respect to natural gas: develop alternatives to Russian supplies, and do it fast.

The Biden administration is planning a future for the U.S. nuclear fleet sans Russian uranium, now that the West is cutting ties with Russia because of the war in Ukraine.

The power sector could voluntarily stop doing business with Russian uranium providers, as has happened in other industries, or Congress could ban imports as it did with Russian fossil fuels. Legislation currently before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee would ban Russian uranium imports.

Either way, reliance on uranium sourced from Russia poses special energy security and national security risks, said Assistant Secretary of Energy Kathryn Huff, who heads up the Office of Nuclear Energy at the department. Those should be addressed by revamping domestic enrichment services, she told Jeremy.

August 23, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

French nuclear woes stoke Europe’s power prices

Forrest Crellin  Reuters, Vera Eckert  Reuters, 24 Aug 22, PARIS/FRANKFURT, Aug 24 (Reuters) – European power prices are surging to fresh records as France grapples with lower nuclear output, adding further pressure to wholesale energy markets already struggling with vastly lower Russian gas supply.

Technical problems have hampered French nuclear reactors along with summer maintenance and drought has curbed hydroelectric production, another of its key sources of electricity generation.

Power from neighbouring countries is needed to help France handle its nuclear shortage. With gas making up the majority of the deficit, the extra demand is driving prices higher again.

“In France, only half the reactors are running,” said German state secretary in the economy ministry, Patrick Graichen…………………. more

August 23, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

Terrifying nuclear bomb prediction as world tensions rise

As the prospect of nuclear war rises, experts have made a terrifying prediction about what this means for Australia. Jamie Seidel@JamieSeidel, August 16, 2022 

It’s been 77 years since the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It’s been 33 years since the Berlin Wall’s fall and the Cold War’s end.

But the bomb is back.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is making thinly veiled threats. China’s embarking on a massive nuclear weapon-building campaign. And the menace of atomic annihilation coming out of North Korea is so common as to become background noise.

Has the world forgotten how close these weapons can bring us to extinction?

A new study in the science journal 
Nature Foodhas built upon recent lessons from Australia’s and Canada’s catastrophic 2019-20 forest fires to anticipate the impact of nuclear detonation on global food production.

Estimates place the amount of smoke produced by the recent fires as up to 1 teragram (1 trillion grams). Heavier soot ejecta was up to 0.02Tg. Both quickly encompassed the globe – lingering in the sky for months afterwards.

This adds confidence to our simulations that predict the same process would occur after a nuclear war,” reads the research published today (Tuesday, August 16) in Nature Food, from lead author Lili Xia of Rutgers University, along with contributors including Dr Ryan Heneghan of the Queensland University of Technology.

The study’s not without immediate relevance.

The bomb is back……………..

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that “humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation”. Ukraine. Asia. The Middle East. The Koreas. All are experiencing heightened levels of nuclear threats.

With 13,000 nuclear weapons sitting in stockpiles worldwide, the secretary-general warned delegates “the risks of proliferation are growing and guardrails to prevent escalation are weakening”.

“Future generations are counting on your commitment to step back from the abyss.

“This is our moment to meet this fundamental test and lift the cloud of nuclear annihilation once and for all.”

Such a war would reach far beyond the battlefield.

We’re seeing that right now.

The fighting between Russia and Ukraine has disrupted more than 20 per cent of global grain exports – threatening famine in Africa and the Middle East while causing prices to soar globally.

Even a “small” nuclear exchange between Pakistan and India would have catastrophic implications. The handful of weapons both nations possess would kill some 52 million people instantly. They would also eject more than 16 teragrams (16 trillion grams) of soot into the stratosphere.

National borders will not constrain this. Instead, the soot will quickly be picked up by high-altitude jet streams and circle the world.

The result would be a global famine killing an additional 926,000,000 people within two years.

Australia, however, appears to get off relatively lightly. At least at first.

Food for thought

The study, Global food insecurity and famine from … nuclear war soot injection, examines the implications of wars scaling up from 100 warhead detonations through to 4400.

Only Australia and some other southern hemisphere nations would potentially avert starvation.

And that may include the worst-case “all-out exchange” scenario.

Some 360 million would die in the initial blasts. Two years later, an additional five billion would be dead of hunger…………………………… more

August 23, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, weapons and war | Leave a comment