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

So-Called Next-Generation Nuclear Power Plants Are Being Oversold

One contender, for example, TerraPower’s 345-megawatt Natrium reactor, received considerable media attention earlier this year when company founder Bill Gates touted it during interviews about his new book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster. According to the UCS report, however, sodium-cooled fast reactors such as Natrium would likely be less uranium-efficient and would not reduce the amount of waste that requires long-term isolation. They could also experience safety problems that are not an issue for light-water reactors. Sodium coolant, for instance, can burn when exposed to air or water, and the Natrium’s design could experience uncontrollable power increases that result in rapid core melting.

There’s little evidence that they’d be cheaper or safer than existing designs

 https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/lsquo-advanced-rsquo-nuclear-reactors-don-rsquo-t-hold-your-breath/By Elliott Negin, Elliott Negin is a senior writer at the Union of Concerned Scientists. July 21

The U.S. nuclear power industry is at an impasse. Since 2012, 11 of the 104 light-water reactors in operation at the time have closed, mainly as a result of aging infrastructure and the inability to compete with natural gas, wind and solar, which are now the cheapest sources of electricity in the U.S. and most other countries worldwide.

One way the industry is trying to reverse the trend is by looking to what it likes to call “advanced” reactors. Despite the name, these designs are largely based on unproven concepts from more than 50 years ago. Unlike conventional light-water reactors, these rely on sodium or molten salt or gas for cooling, and their proponents claim they will be less expensive, safer and more secure than their predecessors. Some claim that these innovative devices will be ready for prime time by the end of this decade.

The U.S. nuclear power industry is at an impasse. Since 2012, 11 of the 104 light-water reactors in operation at the time have closed, mainly as a result of aging infrastructure and the inability to compete with natural gas, wind and solar, which are now the cheapest sources of electricity in the U.S. and most other countries worldwide.

One way the industry is trying to reverse the trend is by looking to what it likes to call “advanced” reactors. Despite the name, these designs are largely based on unproven concepts from more than 50 years ago. Unlike conventional light-water reactors, these rely on sodium or molten salt or gas for cooling, and their proponents claim they will be less expensive, safer and more secure than their predecessors. Some claim that these innovative devices will be ready for prime time by the end of this decade.

This has naturally attracted the attention of Biden administration officials and some key members of Congress, who are looking for ways to curb carbon emissions. But an analysis of non-light-water reactor concepts in development by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has found that these designs are no better—and in some respects significantly worse—than the light-water reactors in operation today. The report’s author, UCS physicist Edwin Lyman, took a close look at the claims developers have been making: that these new devices will burn uranium fuel more efficiently and produce less radioactive waste than existing plants; will reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation; and will be commercialized relatively soon. Those claims, however, do not hold up to scrutiny.

One contender, for example, TerraPower’s 345-megawatt Natrium reactor, received considerable media attention earlier this year when company founder Bill Gates touted it during interviews about his new book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster. According to the UCS report, however, sodium-cooled fast reactors such as Natrium would likely be less uranium-efficient and would not reduce the amount of waste that requires long-term isolation. They could also experience safety problems that are not an issue for light-water reactors. Sodium coolant, for instance, can burn when exposed to air or water, and the Natrium’s design could experience uncontrollable power increases that result in rapid core melting.

In June, TerraPower announced that it would build the first Natrium reactor in Wyoming as part of a 50–50 cost-share program with the Department of Energy. The DOE program originally required the company to have the reactor, still in its early design stage, up and running by 2027. That was recently pushed back a year, but it is still a completely unrealistic timetable. According to the UCS report, if federal regulators require the necessary safety demonstrations, it could take at least 20 years—and billions of dollars in additional costs—to commercialize such reactors, their associated fuel-cycle facilities, and other related infrastructure.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) may have to adapt some regulations when licensing reactor technologies that differ significantly in design from the current fleet. Lyman says that should not mean weakening public health and safety standards, finding no justification for the claim that “advanced” reactors will be so much safer and more secure that the NRC can exempt them from fundamental safeguards. On the contrary, because there are so many open questions about these reactors, he says they may need to meet even more stringent requirements.

Lyman’s report recommends that the DOE suspend its advanced reactor demonstration program until the NRC determines whether it will require full-scale prototype tests before any designs are licensed for commercial deployment, which the report argues are essential. It also calls on Congress to require the NRC to convene an independent commission to review the technical merits of non-light-water reactors and approve only those projects that have a high likelihood of commercialization and are clearly safer and more secure than the current fleet.

Finally, it recommends that the NRC and Congress consider spending more research and development dollars on improving the safety and security of light-water reactors rather than on commercializing immature, overhyped non-light-water reactor designs. Any federal appropriations for R&D and deployment of these reactor designs, Lyman says, should be guided by a realistic assessment of the likely benefits and not based on wishful thinking.

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November 14, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

US and Western officials considering diplomacy as winter looms and Ukraine war cost may rise to $60 billion

The growing belief that there’s no military resolution to the war and the rising hope that Ukraine and Russia move toward starting talks comes as Ukraine needs additional military aid. The White House and Congress are expected to consider additional funds for assistance for Ukraine, potentially $40 billion to $60 billion, NBC News has reported. Some Republicans and Democrats have begun to question whether the U.S. should send additional tens of billions of dollars to Ukraine

Some U.S. and Western officials think neither side can win and see winter as a shot at diplomacy in Ukraine-Russia war

Russia and Ukraine are most likely looking to the slower tempo of battle this winter as a time to reset and refit their forces to be ready for a spring offensive.

nbc news, By Courtney Kube, Carol E. Lee and Josh Lederman 14 Nov 22,

Some U.S. and Western officials increasingly believe that neither side can achieve all of their goals in the Ukraine war and are eyeing the expected winter slowdown in fighting as an opportunity for diplomacy to begin between Russia and Ukraine, officials familiar with the matter say.

Western defense officials question Ukraine’s ability to remove Russian troops completely from occupied areas, and if military operations on the ground stabilize over the winter that could underline that neither side is likely to achieve its goal of controlling the whole country, the officials said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly on matters of diplomacy.

“In the winter, everything slows down,” said a Western official with direct knowledge of military operations. “The potential for talks, we would like to see that happening.”

The official pointed to a statement by Russia’s ambassador to the United Kingdom last week about the potential for negotiations as possible “messaging” toward a diplomatic path.

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan made a surprise visit last week to Kyiv, where he met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and top Ukrainian officials. The White House National Security Council said the meetings were to “underscore the United States’ steadfast support to Ukraine and its people.” But two people familiar with the meetings and a Ukrainian government official said Sullivan did broach the idea of how the conflict can end and whether it could include a diplomatic solution. “He was testing the waters a bit,” a person familiar with the meetings said.

The Ukrainian official said that during his meetings, Sullivan raised the need for a diplomatic resolution to the war and made the point that Ukraine’s leverage would be strengthened — not weakened — if it expressed openness to ultimately negotiating with the Russians. The official said that Sullivan had not tried to pressure Ukraine to enter into negotiations immediately or to take any specific steps. Instead, the official said, Sullivan expressed the view that Ukraine would able to maintain the support of Western allies better if it is perceived as being willing to reach an end to the conflict through diplomacy……………………………………………

………………….. The growing belief that there’s no military resolution to the war and the rising hope that Ukraine and Russia move toward starting talks comes as Ukraine needs additional military aid. The White House and Congress are expected to consider additional funds for assistance for Ukraine, potentially $40 billion to $60 billion, NBC News has reported. Some Republicans and Democrats have begun to question whether the U.S. should send additional tens of billions of dollars to Ukraine. ………..  https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/ukraine-russia-war-winter-diplomacy-rcna56190

November 14, 2022 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine | Leave a comment

USA, Japan, South Korea and a whole heap of companies join in the gamble of NuScam’s small nuclear reactors for Ukraine

The duration of the Ukrainian SMR project is a highly-ambitious two to three years.

the European Union has yet to approve the deployment of the technology. NuScale itself admits that its own SMR plant in Idaho is unlikely to become operational until 2029. 

Ukraine joins Europe’s list of SMR hopefuls, Emerging Europe Yulia Valova 15 Nov 22,

Ukraine is the latest country in emerging Europe to sign up for an SMR project, one which aims to support the country’s energy security and signals a new direction in its energy development policy – decarbonisation.

Ukraine, in partnership with the United States, as well as Japan and South Korea, will participate in a public-private consortium to research and develop small modular reactors (SMRs).

A pilot project was announced this week by US Presidential Special Envoy on Climate Issues John Kerry and Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Galushchenko at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP27, in Egypt.

The pilot project involves the construction of an SMR in Ukraine which, according to the US State Department, will involve the production of environmentally-friendly hydrogen and ammonia and advanced electrolysis technologies.

According to the State Department’s press service, the project builds on existing cooperation in developing nuclear energy capabilities initiated under the US Basic Infrastructure for Responsible Use of SMR Technology programme. 

SMRs are a key part of the US Energy Department’s goal to develop safe [?], clean[?], and affordable[?] nuclear power options. Both Romania and Poland have previously signed agreements to explore the construction of SMRs with US technology.

The duration of the Ukrainian SMR project is a highly-ambitious two to three years. The list of participants includes both leading nuclear companies and research institutes.

In particular, NuScale (which is involved in the Romanian and Polish projects), FuelCell Energy, Clark Seed and Argonne National Laboratory will participate on the American side, with NAEC Energoatom and the State Science and Technology Centre for Nuclear and Radiation Safety representing Ukraine.

Doosan Enerbility, IHI Corporation, JGC Corporation, Samsung C&T and Starfire Energy will also participate in the project…………………….

According to the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) there are around 50 SMR designs and concepts globally. Most of them are in various developmental stages and some are claimed as being near-term deployable……………..

However, while NuScale’s SMR was in August given final certification by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the European Union has yet to approve the deployment of the technology. NuScale itself admits that its own SMR plant in Idaho is unlikely to become operational until 2029. 

November 14, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, politics, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer

As world leaders convene at COP27 to discuss the global decarbonization agenda, they should focus on the technologies that can be deployed rapidly and universally to replace fossil fuels.

As consecutive editions of the WNISR have shown, nuclear power is too slow and too expensive to compete with energy-efficiency measures and renewable energy.

Project Syndicate, Nov 14, 2022 ANTONY FROGGATT

As world leaders convene at COP27 to discuss the global decarbonization agenda, they should focus on the technologies that can be deployed rapidly and universally. That means de-emphasizing nuclear power, which was no longer competitive with solar and wind even before this year’s geopolitical turmoil.

PARIS – Just as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has highlighted Europe’s dangerous dependence on fossil fuels, increasingly frequent and intense climate-driven weather events are highlighting the death and destruction that fossil-fuel dependence has wrought. Understandably, political and public pressure to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, move away from insecure primary energy supplies, and develop new, reliable, secure, and affordable energy sources is at an all-time high. But rather than rushing ahead, we need to consider carefully which options are most realistic, and how they will be deployed and operate in the real world.

Consider nuclear power. With many countries and companies now giving this option a second (or even a third) look, the 2022 World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR) offers valuable insights into how the sector is faring.

While the last 12 months may be remembered as a turning point for the broader energy sector, it won’t be because of the nuclear industry. Nuclear energy’s share of global commercial gross electricity generation in 2021 dropped to 9.8%, which is its first dip below 10% in four decades, barely more than half its peak of 17.5% in 1996. Meanwhile, wind and solar surpassed nuclear for the first time in 2021, accounting for 10.2% of gross power generation.

These diverging trajectories can be seen clearly across every indicator of investment, deployment, and output. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, operating reactors peaked in 2018, both in terms of their number (449) and total capacity (396.5 gigawatts). The IAEA reports that 437 reactors were “in operation” globally at the end of 2021, including 23 reactors that have not generated power for at least nine years, and which may never do so again.

In 2018, when installed nuclear power peaked below 400 GW, solar and wind capacity rose above 1,000 GW, on its way to reaching 1,660 GW by the end of 2021. In just three years, solar and wind added two-thirds more capacity than nuclear at its last peak. Even if nuclear plants usually generate more electricity per unit of installed capacity than wind and solar, the divergence in these numbers is staggering.

In 2021, total investments in non-hydro renewables hit a record $366 billion, adding an unprecedented 257 GW (on net) to electricity grids, whereas operating nuclear capacity decreased by 0.4 GW. Only six new reactors were connected to the grid that year, and half of these were in China. Then, in the first half of 2022, five new reactors went online, two of which were in China. But while China has the most reactors under construction (21, as of mid-2022), it is not building them abroad.

Until recently, that role was taken up by Russia, which is dominating the international market with 20 units under construction, including 17 in seven countries as of mid-2022. Sanctions and potential other geopolitical developments have cast doubt on many of these projects, with a Finnish consortium already canceling construction of a facility based on a Russian design.

Only 33 countries operate nuclear power plants today, and only three – Bangladesh, Egypt, and Turkey – are building reactors for the first time (all in partnership with the Russian nuclear industry). Twenty-six of the 53 construction projects around the world have suffered various delays, with at least 14 reporting increased delays, and two reporting new delays, just in the past year.

For the first time, the WNISR also assesses the risks of nuclear power and war. There has been significant international concern about Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which has been occupied by Russia forces since March 4, 2022. Owing to repeated shelling in and around the area, the plant has frequently lost external power, prompting warnings from the IAEA that the situation is “untenable.” Operating a nuclear facility requires motivated, rested, skilled staff; but Zaporizhzhia’s Ukrainian personnel are under severe stress.

The key challenge now is to maintain continuous cooling for the reactor core and the pool for spent fuel, even after the reactor is shut down. The failure to evacuate heat from residual decay would lead to a core meltdown within hours, or a spent-fuel fire within days or weeks, with potentially large releases of radioactivity.

As world leaders convene at COP27 to discuss the global decarbonization agenda, they should focus on the technologies that can be deployed rapidly and universally to replace fossil fuels. As consecutive editions of the WNISR have shown, nuclear power is too slow and too expensive to compete with energy-efficiency measures and renewable energy.

November 14, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Urging peace with Russia, top US general challenges DC’s proxy war

A series of leaks, including a call for diplomacy from Gen. Mark Milley, show that some US officials are ready for a settlement in Ukraine.

Substack, Aaron Maté Nov 13,

When the Congressional Progressive Caucus was bullied into withdrawing a letter urging diplomacy with Russia to end the war in Ukraine, everyone from neoconservative pundits to Sen. Bernie Sanders came forward to scold them. But now the same call is coming from a source that cannot be so easily ignored, and intimidated.

“A disagreement has emerged at the highest levels of the United States government over whether to press Ukraine to seek a diplomatic end to its war with Russia,” the New York Times reports. Leading the call for talks with Moscow is Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. According to US officials, Milley “has made the case in internal meetings that the Ukrainians have achieved about as much as they could reasonably expect on the battlefield before winter sets in and so they should try to cement their gains at the bargaining table.”

The top US general has made no secret of his stance. “When there’s an opportunity to negotiate, when peace can be achieved, seize it,” Milley declared in a public speech this week.

Milley’s view “is not shared” by President Biden or his National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, the Times claims. Nor by the top US diplomat, Secretary of State Antony Blinken. As one US official explained to CNN, “the State Department is on the opposite side of the pole,” leading to “a unique situation where military brass are more fervently pushing for diplomacy than US diplomats.”

While US “diplomats” oppose diplomacy, White House officials would not be disclosing that Milley, the nation’s highest military officer, is challenging their stance if he were alone. Indeed, the Milley revelation is only the latest in a series of leaks suggesting that, despite the uproar over the progressives’ pro-diplomacy letter, at least some close to the president agree with its message……… more https://mate.substack.com/p/urging-peace-with-russia-top-us-general?utm_source=post-email-title&publication_id=100118&post_id=84024812&isFreemail=true&utm_medium=email

November 14, 2022 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Austria digs in anti-nuclear heels as neighbours build out

 https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/austria-to-continue-anti-nuclear-stance-against-its-neighbours/ Nikolaus J. Kurmayer | EURACTIV.de Nov 8, 2022

The government confirmed that it would uphold its long-held anti-nuclear stance against its neighbours following media reports that Czech plans to build new nuclear reactors near the Austrian border are further ahead than scheduled.

Austria is Europe’s most fervent anti-nuclear country, and its only nuclear power plant never entered operation due to heavy opposition. Vienna is now suing the European Commission for granting the “green” label to nuclear power through the EU sustainable finance taxonomy.

This anti-nuclear stance against neighbouring countries will continue to be developed, said Green Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler, according to Ö1.

Meanwhile, six nuclear reactors in neighbouring Czechia are currently operating and provide about 37% of the country’s electricity. The government plans to have nuclear provide half of the country’s electricity in nearly 20 years, despite a projected general increase in electricity demand.

To achieve this serious nuclear build-out, the Czech government is betting on miniature nuclear power plants, so-called small modular reactors (SMRs). SMRs are far from commercial reality, as none have been built so far.

But Czechia is also looking at two regular reactors in Temelin, which is some 100 kilometres away from Linz, Austria’s third-largest city.

“Temelin is only about 50 kilometres away from the centre of our village”, from which the reactors can be seen from certain rights, Anita Gstöttenmayr, the mayor of a village located at the border, has said. “Something is simply being considered or decided without us being informed,” she added.

Anti-nuclear Austrian towns are now threatening to take the matter to the streets via protests and street blockades.

“It sounds stupid, but we will have to take to the streets again to raise awareness and make a difference,” the mayor added.

Languages: Deutsch

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November 14, 2022 Posted by | EUROPE, politics | 1 Comment

Russia and US hold secret talks in Ankara – Kommersant

 https://www.rt.com/russia/566501-russia-us-secret-talks/ 14 Nov 22, Moscow is reportedly represented by the country’s top spy at the negotiations.

A leading Moscow newspaper claimed, on Monday, that secret US-Russian talks are being hosted by Türkiye. Kommersant, a privately owned title which is known to have good sources in Moscow, reported, citing anonymous sources, that the un-announced meeting was taking place in Ankara.

The outlet alleged that Russia had sent Sergey Naryshkin, director of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) to the talks.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov later confirmed to Russian media that bilateral talks had taken place in Ankara, adding that they were held at the initiative of the US.

CNN claimed that CIA Director Bill Burns had represented Washington at the gathering, citing a “National Security Council spokesperson.”

Earlier this month, Western media reported that top Russian and US officials were engaging in undeclared contacts. According to the Wall Street Journal, US national-security adviser Jake Sullivan has been engaged with Yury Ushakov, a senior foreign policy aide to President Vladimir Putin, and with Nikolay Patrushev, Sullivan’s counterpart in the Russian government.

The White House did not deny the talks, with spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre telling journalists that the contacts focused on “risk reduction.” Meanwhile, Peskov told the WSJ at the time that the British and American press tended to print “hoaxes.”

Türkiye emerged as a principal mediator during the Ukraine crisis. In late March, it hosted Russia-Ukraine talks, during which the two parties made significant progress towards settling on a peace agreement.

The negotiations were reportedly torpedoed by the UK, when then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled to Kiev in April. According to Ukrainian media, he told President Vladimir Zelensky that Western nations would not support the proposed security pact that was discussed with Russia.

Ankara also helped the UN to launch the Black Sea Initiative, an arrangement that allows Ukraine to export its grain via commercial ships. The agreement, which was signed in July, expires on Friday. Moscow has repeatedly stated that it may not agree to a renewal, unless the UN delivers on its promise to facilitate Moscow’s export of Russian grain and fertilizers, which was part of the deal.

November 14, 2022 Posted by | politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

NATO needs enemies to justify its existence – Russia

The bloc’s ongoing expansion is motivated by a desire to manufacture confrontation, a senior diplomat claims

Having an enemy to fight against is essential for NATO’s survival, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko has claimed.

The diplomat added that the bloc’s expansion is largely motivated by the need to antagonize nations so they can fit the role of an enemy.

“NATO is the kind of organization that cannot live without an enemy. If it had none, it would have died,” he was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti news agency on Monday.

“They have declared Asia a zone of the alliance’s interest, pushed the zone of their defense right to the border of China,” he noted.

Grushko said the conflict in Ukraine stems from NATO’s declared intention to eventually accept Kiev as a new member, while ignoring Russia’s national security concerns. The alliance is still trying to bring in Ukraine, he said, adding that he doesn’t believe the US and its allies are acting rationally on the issue.

The NATO leadership claims to have an open door policy, saying that every nation has a sovereign right to choose it as provider of security. Its charter, however, requires all members to approve any expansion, a fact that came to the forefront after Türkiye stalled the accession of Finland and Sweden over their alleged sheltering of terrorism suspects.

The US-led military alliance declared the inclusion of Ukraine as one of its objectives in 2008, dismissing Moscow’s warning that such a move would cross a red line. After the 2014 coup in Kiev, the new Ukrainian government dropped the nation’s neutrality policy and said that joining NATO was its primary goal.

When Russia sent its troops into Ukraine in February, it cited NATO’s clandestine expansion into Ukraine as one of the key reasons. Organization members were training and arming the Ukrainian army and establishing military infrastructure in the country without formally accepting Kiev’s membership bid, Moscow said.

November 14, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

Top Zelensky advisor threatens war with Iran

The GrayZone, ALEXANDER RUBINSTEIN·NOVEMBER 12, 2022,

Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, has called for attacks inside Iran as the country’s drones cause setbacks for the Ukrainian military.

On November 5, Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, has advocated for military strikes on drone production sites located in Iran. President Zelensky echoed Podolyak’s belligerent rhetoric the following day, demanding Iran be “punished” for allegedly supplying drones to Russia. 

Kiev adopted its hostile posture towards Tehran after claiming Russia deployed Iranian-supplied drones to strike Ukrainian civilian infrastructure throughout much of October. 

In an interview with a Ukrainian news outlet on November 5, Podolyak argued that the response to Iran supplying Russia with drones should not be limited to sanctions or even a total trade embargo: “It seems to me that it should not be sanctions or even an embargo, yes a total embargo. It seems to me that it would be possible to carry out specific strikes on the production of drones, ballistic missiles, and so on.”………………………….

Podolyak has been ranked the third most influential Ukrainian by the Kiev-based Focus Magazine.

………………………………………. Though there is no record of any Iranian missile being used in an attack on Ukrainian infrastructure thus far, Zelensky declared, “We are preparing to respond.”

Just as Iranian-made drones appear to have given Russian forces a major boost on the battlefield, the US HIMARS artillery system has enabled significant Ukrainian gains, including the recapture of Kherson. However, no high ranking officials in Russian president Vladimir Putin’s office have similarly threatened the United States, or any of the other 40 countries that provided Ukraine with critical military assistance.  https://thegrayzone.com/2022/11/12/zelensky-threatens-war-iran/

November 14, 2022 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Biden’s Nuclear Policy Fails the Ukraine Test

His administration’s Cold War-style thinking is missing a golden opportunity.

Defense One, BY TOM Z. COLLINA, POLICY DIRECTOR, PLOUGHSHARES FUND, NOVEMBER 14, 2022

Senior Russian military leaders reportedly recently discussed how they might use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, while other Russian officials were suggesting that Kyiv might detonate a “dirty bomb”—suggestions widely dismissed as a setup for a false-flag excuse to escalate the war. And even before all that, President Joe Biden reckoned that the world was closer to “Armageddon” than any time since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis…………………………………….

Cause for concern? You bet. But if you’re looking for new ideas to address Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attempts at nuclear blackmail in Ukraine, you won’t find them in the Biden administration’s new statement on nuclear policy. Known as the Nuclear Posture Review, or NPR, the report is a disappointing defense of the status quo. It breaks little new ground, and it fails to respond to the Ukraine moment. Reading it, you might almost forget that the world is facing the most serious nuclear threat in 60 years. 

Lacking fresh thinking on the Ukraine crisis, the Biden team has fallen back on the old Cold War playbook: when in doubt, build more nuclear bombs. Biden lends his support to essentially all the new nuclear weapons proposed by his predecessor, including a new $260 billion intercontinental ballistic missile and new lower-yield warheads for missiles on Trident submarines. As a candidate, Biden said the Trump administration’s new Trident warheads were a “bad idea,” and that having them would make the U.S. “more inclined to use them.” Now that he’s president, Biden opposes just one Trump-proposed nuke—a new and unneeded sea-launched cruise missile—that will likely win support in Congress anyway due to the administration’s tepid effort to stop it.

Building new nukes we don’t need will not solve the Ukraine crisis, but it could get us into another expensive and dangerous arms race. One of the more troubling assertions in the NPR is that “By the 2030s the United States will, for the first time in its history, face two major nuclear powers as strategic competitors and potential adversaries.” This sets the stage for a future administration to argue, erroneously, that the Pentagon needs a larger nuclear arsenal—say, as big as Russia’s and China’s combined. This could lead to a new arms race with both Moscow and Beijing.

What should we do instead? In the short term, the Biden team needs to talk with Russia’s leaders, as it has started to do. These talks should not yet be about ending the war in Ukraine, but we need to set clear expectations with Russia about preventing the war from going nuclear or spreading beyond Ukraine’s borders. As Biden has rightly said, we must do all we can to prevent direct U.S. conflict with Russia, which would lead to World War III. Biden has so far successfully balanced support for Ukraine while withholding U.S. forces, a no-fly zone, and more sophisticated weapons.

…………………… One of the underappreciated lessons of the Ukraine crisis is that the West would be better off if nuclear weapons were not part of the conflict. Russia might have not invaded if it did not have nukes to hide behind, and the United States could play a bigger role in helping Ukraine if it did not have to worry about Russian nuclear escalation. As Putin is showing, the bomb is a weapon of the weak and only serves to neutralize the U.S. conventional military advantage.

The Biden NPR missed a golden opportunity to update our nuclear policies for a new era. We cannot meet the Ukraine moment with Cold War thinking. President Biden must, and can, do better.    https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2022/11/bidens-nuclear-policy-fails-ukraine-test/379717/

November 14, 2022 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear news in this COP27 week

Some bits of good news – What’s this, some good news on climate change? Positive news: From ‘Global Shields’ to young voices, all the climate wins at COP27 so far. The Times got it right about 5 reasons for hope on climate action, but very wrong on one. 4 signs of progress at the UN climate change summit. Saving theAmazon.

 Coronavirus. Weekly Epidemiological Update.  World Health Organization reports 90 per 

 World Health Organization reports 90 per cent drop in global COVID-19 deaths, even as new variants continue to appear

AUSTRALIA.

Coronavirus. World Health Organization reports 90 per cent drop in global COVID-19 deaths, even as new variants continue to appear.  Weekly Epidemiological Update.

Climate –  miles and miles of COP27 news – not covered here.

Plastic. Your Body Is Partly Plastic. So Is Everything Else.

Nuclear. The human species is really at a crossroads. In all these crises – lies abound. Take the lie that recycling plastic works. No it doesn’t. Recycling plastic exists to enable the oil corporations to keep right on selling oil, and keep the plastics industry going.. COP27 is full of greenwash lies, as fossil fuel lobbyists buy national governments.  But the best lie at COP27 is the one about nuclear power solving climate change.  The only problem it really solves is that it counters and obscures the  public’s bad image of nuclear weaponry –   small nuclear reactors for instance –  totally useless against global heating, but a convenient “nice” step towards nuclear weapons. Makes all the nuclear workers feel better.

CLIMATE.

CIVIL LIBERTIESU.S. House Intelligence Committee questioned about alleged surveillance of Julian Assange.

ECONOMICS

ENERGY. As France’s aging nuclear reactors fail, France may block electricity exports to UKEDF nuclear problems increase risk of winter energy shortages. Incident at France’s Civaux nuclear reactor adds to EDFs problems of stress corrosion cracking in nuclear plants . Is nuclear energy actually sustainable? Ukraine joins in USA’s false story, “clean” energy from the mythical small nuclear reactors.

ENVIRONMENT. Closed Dounreay nuclear site records its highest number of radioactive particles in nearly two decades. Concern over radioactive particles on Dounreay shoreline – poor monitoring of the nuclear clean-up. 

HEALTH. ‘Clear case for inquiry into treatment of men in Britain’s nuclear test programme’.

LEGAL. Maryland Nuclear Engineer and Wife Sentenced for Espionage-Related Offenses.

MEDIA. Massive anti-Russian “Bot Army” exposed by Australian Researchers.

NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY. Surprise surprise- USA co-opts Ukraine to try out small nuclear reactors. Finland plans to continue using Russian nuclear fuel. Ever the optimists… Rolls-Royce chooses four sites for reactor that’s yet to be built.

OPPOSITION TO NUCLEAR . Austria holds the anti-nuclear line. Campaigners seek early end to Chinese involvement at Bradwell. Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament,  International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Global Zero, and Black Lives Matter- the reinvigorated anti-nuclear movement ‘Subpoenas’ Served on US Weapons Manufacturers.

POLITICS. UK government denies reports that the Sizewell C nuclear project is in doubt. German Parliament advised not to extend nuclear power beyond springtime 2023. Germany refuses to build nuclear Uniper plant in Sweden.

POLITICS INTERNATIONAL and DIPLOMACY

SAFETY.

SECRETS and LIES. Corruption exposed: US meddled in Ecuador’s election, using Julian Assange as bargaining chipAzov Nazi speaks to school kids across America.

WASTES. In Suttsu, Japan, residents don’t want nuclear wasteRadioactive Waste Flasks to Share Arnside Viaduct with Walkers and Cyclists ?

  WAR and CONFLICT.

Global majority leads the way on nuclear disarmament: time to reflect that reality here. US flies nuclear-capable B-1B strategic bombers over South Korea. Let’s Be Clear: If WW3 Happens It Will Be The Result Of Choices Made By The US Empire. What Could Nuclear War Mean For Wyoming? Pretty Much The Worst Parts Of The Bible. 

  U.S. long-range missile launch in the Arctic: “We are intentionally trying to be provocative”.  Pentagon exploits post 9/11 laws to wage ‘secret wars’ worldwide: Report. US prolonging Ukraine conflict for profit: Russian envoy. Concealing US Militarism By Making It Sacred. Germany: Pentagon assembles defense chiefs from 50 nations for Ukraine war confab

 ‘Tactical’ Nuclear Weapons Could Unleash Untold Damage, Experts Warn.

 WEAPONS and WEAPONS SALES. G20 leaders to denounce use, or threat, of nuclear weapons – draft (?a pious hypocrisy in opposition to the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty)) Finland denies plans to deploy nuclear weapons in the country once it joins NATO. more. Will expanding Canada’s plutonium interests support the peaceful use of nuclear energy?lear Australia

www.antinuclear.net

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November 14, 2022 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

The USA’s “climate” envoy at COP27 John Kerry is just another nuclear shill

John Kerry, ostensibly the US Special Climate Envoy, but actually yet another nuclear industry shill, used the occasion of the COP first to hold a special press conference to trumpet a $3 billion US nuclear deal with Romania and then announced a small modular reactor partnership with, incredibly, Ukraine.

“We have a viable alternative in nuclear,” Kerry told reporters. Viable? This was duly lapped up by the press without challenge.

John Kerry uses last-chance climate summit to tout nuclear powerhttps://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2022/11/13/the-kerry-copout/

By Linda Pentz Gunter, 14 Nov 22

“Russia’s seizure earlier this year of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear energy facility is shining a new light on the safety and security risks of the atomic export policies of the United States and other technologically advanced countries,” began a promising November 8 article in Roll Call.

However, that light seems to have blinded those in power to any common sense.

What has the alarm over the vulnerabilities of Ukraine’s reactors caught in a war zone actually taught any of them? Let’s start with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“The problem is not nuclear energy,” IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi told the BBC recently. Nuclear power, Grossi said,“can provide a safe, clean source of energy and this is why many countries in Africa and in other places are turning to nuclear.” It’s just war that’s the trouble, Grossi said.

That’s like the gun lobby claiming it’s bad guys, not guns, that do the killing. Sorry, but no. Bad guys without guns can’t shoot people. Broken solar panels and fallen wind turbines can’t release massive amounts of radioactivity. The problem here very definitely IS nuclear energy. Period.

The IAEA position isn’t disingenuous of course. It’s a necessity borne of the agency’s massive conflict of interest, bound, as it is, to further and expand the use of nuclear power across the world. And then enforce safety at plants that are inherently dangerous.

“You will see that nuclear energy has a really solid, very consistent safety record,” said Grossi as the COP27 climate summit got underway in Egypt.

Except of course when there is a war, a prolonged loss of power, a natural disaster, a major human error or a catastrophic technical failure. Then, all of a sudden, having nuclear power plants is, according to Grossi, “playing with fire.”

Will US elected (or appointed) officials take heed of the obvious obstacles presented by nuclear power plants to achieving lasting peace and safety? Of course not. As we wrote here last week, US vice president, Kamala Harris, crowed about selling three Westinghouse reactors to Poland, tweeting that “We can address the climate crisis, strengthen European energy security, and deepen the US-Poland strategic relationship.”

Only the third part is true and is, of course, the basis for the contract in the first place, given Poland’s shared Eastern borders with Russia, Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine.

John Kerry, ostensibly the US Special Climate Envoy, but actually yet another nuclear industry shill, used the occasion of the COP first to hold a special press conference to trumpet a $3 billion US nuclear deal with Romania and then announced a small modular reactor partnership with, incredibly, Ukraine.

“We have a viable alternative in nuclear,” Kerry told reporters. Viable? This was duly lapped up by the press without challenge.

The Romanian debacle-to-be will be funded by the US Export-Import Bank. The Ukraine announcement read:

“Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and Ukraine Minister of Energy German Galushchenko announced a Ukraine Clean Fuels from SMRs Pilot project that will demonstrate production of clean hydrogen and ammonia using secure and safe small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) and cutting-edge electrolysis technologies in Ukraine.”

Then they used the word “clean” again four times in the next paragraph. Which speaks volumes and definitely falls into the “doth protest too much” category.

Meanwhile, some experts in the field are warning against exporting nuclear technology to countries that might become embroiled in a war. Surely that would rule out Ukraine? And most if not all of Grossi’s beloved Africa? And what about Poland and Romania? How can we ever be sure which countries might suddenly find themselves at war? Another world war in Europe seemed unthinkable until February 24, 2022.

“An air raid siren sounded for the first time this morning in the nuclear city of Sosnovy Bor on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland in the Baltic,” wrote Russian activist, Oleg Bodrov, a member of the Public Council of the Southern Coast of the Gulf of Finland (PCSCGF) in a November 8 email. 

“A similar siren would have been heard by 2 million residents of the Leningrad Region,” said Bodrov. “It was a drill in case of war, which was carried out by decision of the authorities of the region.”

The term “nuclear football” is traditionally applied to the black bags containing the “nuclear button” that accompany the US president and vice president at all times. (The third is kept at the White House.) But nuclear power plants are also now proverbial nuclear footballs, being used to deliver a false sense of security but actually putting the countries on whose soil they sit in far greater danger.

Selling US reactors to Eastern European countries clearly has nothing whatever to do with climate or energy needs. “We don’t get to net zero by 2050 without nuclear power in the mix,” Kerry said at his COP press conference. Actually, yes, doing without slow, expensive and dangerous nuclear power is essential if we have any chance whatsoever of achieving net zero (2050 is already too late).

It is ever more apparent that most of our “mediocre politicians,” as Bodrov rightly characterizes them, are not interested in net zero. They are interested in using nuclear power as a nuclear weapons surrogate; in bolstering alliances with Russia’s neighbors in a dangerous move to drive Russia into ever greater political isolation; in propping up failing nuclear corporations like Westinghouse; and in answering their nuclear paymasters in Washington by wasting time and our money on foolish new nuclear plants that are irrelevant to addressing the climate peril we are already in.

Linda Pentz Gunter is the international specialist at Beyond Nuclear and writes for and curates Beyond Nuclear International.

November 14, 2022 Posted by | climate change, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment