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Nuclear Guinea Pigs: NRC’s Licensing of Experimental Nuclear Plants


“Dr. Lyman warns us all once again how largely beholden to the nuclear industry the NRC is. NRC is willing to twist and contort even reasonable safety regulations in ways that cater to nuclear industry desires to a degree that would rival a toy balloon-dog at a children’s party. It is this kind of almost institutionalized acquiescence to industry wants that has led many to believe that NRC stands for Not Really Concerned.” BY KARL GROSSMAN 22 Nov 22,

“Guinea Pig Nation: How the NRC’s new licensing rules could turn communities into test beds for risky, experimental nuclear plants,” is what physicist Dr. Edwin Lyman, Director of Nuclear Power Safety with the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), titled his presentation last week.

The talk was about how the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is involved in a major change of its “rules” and “guidance” to reduce government regulations for what the nuclear industry calls “advanced” nuclear power plants.

Already, Lyman said, at a “Night with the Experts” online session organized by the Nuclear Energy Information Service, the NRC has moved to allow nuclear power plants to be built in thickly populated areas. This “change in policy” was approved in a vote by NRC commissioners in July.

For a more than a half-century, the NRC and its predecessor agency, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, sought to have nuclear power plants sited in areas of “low population density”—because of the threat of a major nuclear plant accident.

But, said Lyman, who specializes in nuclear power safety, nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism, the NRC in a decision titled “Population-Related Siting Considerations for Advanced Reactors,” substantially altered this policy.

The lone NRC vote against the change came from Commissioner Jeffery Baran who in casting his ‘no’ vote wrote “Multiple, independent layers of protection against potential radiological exposure are necessary because we do not have perfect knowledge of new reactor technologies and their unique potential accident scenarios….Unlike light-water reactors, new advanced reactor designs do not have decades of operating experience; in many cases, the new designs have never been built or operated before.”

He noted a NRC “criteria” document which declared that the agency “has a longstanding policy of siting nuclear reactors away from densely populated centers and preferring areas of low population density.”

But, said Baran, under the new policy, a “reactor could be sited within a town of 25,000 people and right next to a large city. For reactor designs that have not been deployed before and do not have operating experience, that approach may be insufficiently protective of public health and safety…And it would not maintain the key defense-in-depth principle of having prudent siting limitations regardless of the features of a particular reactor design—a principle that has been a bedrock of nuclear safety.”

That is just one of the many reductions proposed in safety standards.

“The central issue,” commented Lyman in an interview following his November 17th presentation, “is that the NRC is accepting on faith that these new reactors are going to be safer and wants to adjust its regulations accordingly, to make them less stringent—on faith.”

The key motivation, he said, behind the nuclear industry’s push to significantly weaken safety standards is that the line of smaller nuclear power plants the nuclear industry is now pushing—including what it calls the “small modular nuclear reactor”—is that they are going to be “much more expensive” than the existing light-water nuclear power plants, the most common type of nuclear power plant which are large and are cooled by plain water. Thus, he said, these “advanced” nuclear plants would be more costly to operate than using energy alternatives, “certainly wind and solar.”

And the NRC is complying with the nuclear industry.

It’s a demonstration of one of the alternatives for the acronym for the NRC—Nuclear Rubberstamp Commission.

The list of proposed safety reductions in the PowerPoint portion of Lyman’s presentation under “Cutting corners on safety and security to cut costs,” and what the nuclear industry “wants” in what the NRC calls its “Part 53” assemblage of changes, included, in addition to the already completed alteration of siting criteria:

+ Allowing nuclear power plants to have a “small containment—or no physical containment at all.” Containments are the domes over nuclear plants to try to contain radioactive releases in an accident.

+ “No offsite emergency planning requirements.” The NRC has been requiring emergency planning including the designation of a 10-mile evacuation zone around a nuclear power plant.

+ “Fewer or even zero operators.” The nuclear industry would like advanced nuclear plants to operate “autonomously.”

+ Letting the plants have “fewer” NRC “inspections and weaker enforcement.”

+ “Reduced equipment reliability reporting.”

+ “Applications” for an advanced reactor “should contain minimal information.”

+ “The NRC’s review standards should be lenient.’

+ Letting the plants have “fewer inspections and weaker enforcement.”

+ “Fewer back-up safety systems.”

+ “Regulatory requirements should be few in number and vague.”

+ “Zero” armed security personnel to try to protect an advanced nuclear power plant from terrorists.

Lyman commented: “I could go on and on.”

The Nuclear Energy Information Service’s summary of his presentation stated: “Under

the direction of Congress, the NRC is developing new regulations to facilitate licensing of experimental reactors by relaxing safety security standards and by relying on safety demonstrations that utilize computer simulations rather than experimental data. The major focus of this effort, known as ‘Part 53,’ is being written with an unprecedented level of industry involvement. If ‘Part 53’ is enacted, first-of-a kind reactors would be located in densely populated urban areas without any promise for emergency evacuation, planning, without security forces to protect against terrorist attack, and without highly trained operators—and all without meaningful opportunities for public input”.

In his talk, Lyman referenced a 140-page report of the Union of Concerned Scientists which he authored, issued last year, titled “Advanced” Isn’t Always Better, Assessing the Safety, Security, and Environmental Impacts of Non-Light-Water Nuclear Reactors.

The report states: “Almost all nuclear power reactors operating and under construction today are LWRs, so called because they use ordinary water to cool their hot, highly radioactive cores. Some observers believe that the LWR, the industry workhorse, has inherent flaws that are inhibiting nuclear power’s growth….In response, the US Department of Energy’s national laboratories, universities, and numerous private vendors—from large established companies to small startups—are pursuing the development of reactors that differ fundamentally from LWRs. These non-light-water reactors are cooled not by water, but by other substances, such as liquid sodium, helium gas, or even molten salts.”

These “are sometimes referred to as ‘advanced reactors.’ However, that is a misnomer for most designs being pursued today…largely descend from those proposed many decades ago,” the report continued.

“In part,” it went on, “the nuclear industry’s push to commercialize NLWRs is driven by its desire to show the public and policymakers that there is a high-tech alternative to the static, LWR-dominated status quo: a new generation of ‘advanced’ reactors. But a fundamental question remains: Is different actually better? The short answer is no. Nearly all of the NLWRs currently on the drawing board fail to provide significant enough improvements over LWRs to justify their considerable risks.”

In the report, Lyman extensively examines issues involving each of the NLWR (Non Light Water Reactors) or “advanced” reactors.

David Kraft, director of the Chicago-based Nuclear Energy Information Service, after Lyman’s talk said in an interview: “Dr. Lyman warns us all once again how largely beholden to the nuclear industry the NRC is. NRC is willing to twist and contort even reasonable safety regulations in ways that cater to nuclear industry desires to a degree that would rival a toy balloon-dog at a children’s party. It is this kind of almost institutionalized acquiescence to industry wants that has led many to believe that NRC stands for Not Really Concerned.”

Kraft continued: “Make no mistake about it—while NRC is doing its part to serve nuclear industry needs, we should not lose sight of the fact that it is the aggressive pro-nuclear agenda of the Biden Administration that has unleashed a juggernaut of financial and PR support for new nuclear reactors. Everything from the tens of billions of dollars allocated for new nuclear in the Infrastructure Act and the IRA [Inflation Reduction Act, which establishes a nuclear power production tax credit], to the national dog-and-pony show [the recent U.S. tour promoting nuclear power] of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, demonstrates the administration’s intentions to run roughshod over the objections of the public. We have a hard fight ahead of us.

The Nuclear Energy Information Service is among the safe-energy, anti-nuclear organizations that are challenging the NRC’s effort to change its “rules” and “guidance” to boost “advanced” nuclear plants. Founded in 1981, its website is It plans to soon post through its website a recording of Lyman’s Zoom presentation.

Lyman’s PowerPoint included a slide saying the “NRC is not currently” accepting comments on its plan for changes in its regulations for “advanced” reactors. But, it said, “the public is always free to weigh in” on NRC actions and recommended people attend any public meetings held on the issue.

Lyman joined the Union of Concerned Scientists in 2003 and is based in its Washington, D.C. office. Previously, he was president of the Nuclear Control Institute in Washington. Before that he was a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University’s Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, now the Science and Global Security Program. He earned a doctorate in physics from Cornell University in 1992. He is a co-author of the book Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster.

Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, and is the author of the book, The Wrong Stuff: The Space’s Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet, and the Beyond Nuclear handbook, The U.S. Space Force and the dangers of nuclear power and nuclear war in space. Grossman is an associate of the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion.


November 22, 2022 Posted by | safety, USA | 2 Comments

Costs of NuScam’s Small Modular Nuclear Reactors revised upwards – yet again!

 According to industry reports the builders of the NuScale small modular reactor (SMR) project recently submitted revised cost estimates to their muni and co-op partners. Initial cost estimates were for power to be produced at about $58/MWh. This figure was recently revised upwards to roughly $90-$100/Mwh, a projected price increase of 60-70%.

The causes cited by management for these price increases were twofold: inflation (in material costs, i.e. steel) and higher interest rates. This initial NuScale project located at the federal government’s Idaho National Laboratories in Idaho Falls would consist of six 77 MW reactors with the units slated to enter commercial service in 2029-2030. These estimates of per KWH cost are significantly above those we have seen recently for renewables plus storage.

 Oil Price 21st Nov 2022

November 22, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | 1 Comment

Protecting kids from electromagnetic radiation in school and at home

EWG Nov 22

EWG’s big picture recommendations for wireless devices

  • Default to airplane mode.
  • Increase distance from devices.
  • Turn off when not in use.
  • Used wired devices if possible.

Children are almost constantly exposed to wireless [electromagnetic] radiation, starting as early as the first weeks of life. As they get older, that exposure grows every day, thanks to the widespread use of smartphones, laptops and other wireless devices in the classroom and at home.

Wireless devices radiate radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. Research has raised concerns about the health risks of exposure to this radiation, including harm to the nervous and reproductive systems, and higher risk of cancer. Cell phone radiation was classified a “possible carcinogen” in 2011 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization. The agency said human epidemiological studies showed a link between higher risk of a type of malignant brain cancer and cell phone use.

At home

Parents and caregivers can exert more control over their kids’ wireless radiation exposure at home than at school, and have more latitude to try new ways of using devices.

Getting started

To begin, inventory your home’s electronic devices. ………………………………………….

At night

  • Strongly encourage your child not to sleep near their wireless gadgets. If this isn’t possible – and let’s face it, with teenagers, you may not succeed at wresting the phone or tablet away – try to convince them to place it away from their head instead of under a pillow.
  • Even better, keep electronics out of bedrooms as much as possible, or at least away from beds. This includes TV screens and audio speakers.
  • Use an old-fashioned electric or battery alarm clock that doesn’t connect to Wi-Fi. And get one for your children if they claim to need their cell phone so they can get up in the morning.
  • Move beds away from utility meters or large appliances, which also emit radiation, even if they’re on the other side of a wall.

……………………. Studying, playing and communicating

  • Experts recommend starting a child’s cell phone use as late as practical, considering the family and educational context and needs of each child. The younger kids are, the more vulnerable their bodies are to potentially harmful effects of wireless radiation exposure. 

At school……………………………….

For more information

To find additional resources, advocacy guidance, tip sheets and other useful suggestions, consult the websites of one of these organizations:

  • The Environmental Health Trust’s “Wi-Fi in Schools Toolkit” offers a wealth of resources, including fact sheets and tip sheets, background on the science of EMF exposure, and guidance for parents, teachers and schools. It also has more than a dozen downloadable and printable posters on exposure and sleep, children’s development, and the effects of EMF exposure on breast cancer risk and male reproductive health.
  • An Environmental Health in Nursing textbook downloadable chapter on EMF, courtesy of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, contains useful information, like a detailed explanation of the health impacts of EMF exposure, advocate organizations’ tip sheets, and other valuable resources.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics issued recommendations about EMF exposure.
  • The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition offers a downloadable backgrounder for students and educators on “Cell Phones, Wireless and Your Health,” which includes suggested activities to use in the classroom and as homework. It includes a list of additional websites you may choose to consult.

November 22, 2022 Posted by | radiation | Leave a comment

U.S. speeds up plans to store upgraded nukes in Europe


The United States has accelerated the fielding of a more accurate version of its mainstay nuclear bomb to NATO bases in Europe, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable and two people familiar with the issue.

The arrival of the upgraded B61-12 air-dropped gravity bomb, originally slated for next spring, is now planned for this December, U.S. officials told NATO allies during a closed-door meeting in Brussels this month, the cable reveals…………………………..

The arrival date came as a surprise to some longtime observers, who fear it could further stoke an already dangerous situation in Europe. The announcement at the meeting in Brussels came days before NATO kicked off its annual nuclear exercise, known as Steadfast Noon. The two-week exercise ends Sunday and includes some 70 aircraft. And on Wednesday, Russia held a nuclear exercise that its defense chief described as simulating a “massive nuclear strike” in retaliation for a nuclear attack on Russia, according to the Kremlin………………………………………………………

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also told NATO allies in Brussels this month that the administration’s long-awaited Nuclear Posture Review — which could be released in the coming days — would maintain Washington’s decades-long nuclear declaratory policy of “calculated ambiguity,” the cable reported.

That is a shift from President Joe Biden’s comments during the 2020 presidential campaign, in which he said he would consider changing U.S. policy to state that the sole purpose of atomic weapons is to deter a nuclear attack against America or its allies, a change that nuclear disarmament groups had pushed for.

November 22, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

U.N. Supplied Qatar With Tech to ‘Prevent Nuclear Security Incident’ at 2022 World Cup

Washington Free Beacon, Adam Kredo • November 21, 2022,

The United Nations provided Qatar with equipment and training to prevent “a nuclear security incident” from occurring during the 2022 World Cup, according to the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog group.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which works on proliferation issues across the globe, says it has worked with Qatar’s National Committee for the Prohibition of Weapons for the past year “to thwart any attack involving nuclear or other radioactive material.” The announcement comes as jihadist groups like al Qaeda urge its militant followers “wage jihad” against the tournament as Westerners pour into the country……………

The IAEA says that in the lead up to the games, the organization helped Qatar integrate its nuclear security measures into larger plans that could help disrupt a nuclear or radiological attack. This included providing “comprehensive training to national counterparts on developing and implementing nuclear security measures and on responding to nuclear security events and related emergencies.”

The nuclear watchdog lent Qatar more than 120 radiation detecting devices, including personal radiation detectors, portable backpack detectors, and other instruments that can spot things like a dirty bomb, a crude explosive device that includes radioactive materials.

This is “the first time” the IAEA’s Malaysia-based security center provided such equipment to a country hosting a major public event, according to the IAEA……………………….

November 22, 2022 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, safety | Leave a comment

Nuclear power no solution for Canada’s North West Territory

Nuclear power no solution for the N.W.T., some experts suggest, Liny Lamberink · CBC News · Nov 23, 2022 

When it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions — nuclear power is a divisive option. 

But for Canada’s North, two academics on different sides of the debate agree: small modular reactors, called SMRs, are not an economically feasible way of getting remote northern communities off of diesel-generated power. 

Since 2017, the N.W.T. government has been part of a working group looking at the possibility of SMRs.

John Richards, a fellow at the C.D. Howe Institute, co-authored a paper published last week that said Canada needs to embrace small modular reactors in order to meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals. 

In a transition to cleaner forms of energy, Richards says Canada can’t entirely rely on solar and wind power because it’s intermittent. He said nuclear power can be used in conjunction with those forms of renewable energy to provide a constant supply of energy — when there’s no wind or no sunlight. 

But, he said, he sees it as an option in Saskatchewan or Manitoba — where there isn’t much more potential for hydro. In the small remote communities in the North, he said, small modular reactors would be too expensive. 

Who will build them?

Small modular reactors are nuclear reactors that use fission to produce energy, similar to existing large reactors, but with smaller power capacity. They’re “modular” because they’re designed to be assembled in a factory, transported by flatbed trucks or trains, and installed where needed. The International Atomic Energy Agency defines reactors as “small” if their output is under 300 megawatts. 

Small modular reactors are still in the prototype phase now. Even if they can be built small enough so as not to massively over-supply power in a small remote community, M.V. Ramana — a professor at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia and a critic of nuclear power — doubts a private sector manufacturer will do so. 

Ramana said a manufacturer would want to be guaranteed there’s a market for the technology, and he thinks they’ll be too expensive for remote communities to buy them. According to Natural Resources Canada, a 20 megawatt SMR for the mining industry is expected to cost between $200 and $350 million.

Ramana co-authored a report that found all the remote communities and all the remote mines in Canada would not generate enough demand to serve as an incentive for a manufacturer to build an SMR factory. 

The price of the technology would also drive up the cost of the power it generates. 

“Our estimates showed that the price of electricity from a small modular reactor built in the remote parts of Canada could cost up to 10 times as much as the cost of electricity from diesel,” he said. 

Too much power

During peak demand in the winter months, Yellowknife uses about 34 megawatts of power, according to the Northwest Territories Power Corporation. Elsewhere in the N.W.T., Inuvik’s peak demand is 5.5 megawatts, while in Jean Marie River, it’s just 0.5 megawatts. 

In an emailed statement to CBC News in late October, Ben Israel, a senior co-ordinator with the N.W.T.’s infrastructure department, said the smallest available size of SMR might still be oversized for most of the territory’s remote communities.

Israel said the territory has been part of an SMR working group since 2017, and that it is also participating in an SMR feasibility study being carried out by the Yukon government. 

“Any development of SMR technology in the N.W.T. would first require extensive demonstration of safety and cost-effectiveness in other jurisdictions — as well as education about the technology … before it would be considered as an option by the Government of the Northwest Territories.”

Kevin O’Reilly, the MLA for Frame Lake, said nuclear energy comes up every so often “as some kind of climate crisis saviour” — and he isn’t convinced yet that it would work. 

“If we want to deal with the climate crisis, I think we need to be looking at some fundamental changes in the way we do things and the way we consume and extract energy.”………………………..

November 22, 2022 Posted by | Canada, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhzhia, is maybe the most dangerous place in the world right now.

The plant is in Russian-occupied Ukraine and has been shelled repeatedly since March.

The situation is carefully monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s
nuclear watchdog agency tasked with making sure nuclear facilities are safe
and atomic material is only used for peaceful purposes.

Its director general, Rafael Mariano Grossi, recently inspected the site. “Well, it’s an
unprecedented thing, really, in so many ways,” Grossi told Lesley Stahl for
this week’s 60 Minutes. “This place is at the front line which makes the
whole thing so volatile and in need of an urgent action.” Before the war
the plant supplied 20% of Ukraine’s power.

It’s now largely idle, but the reactors still need to be constantly cooled down with circulating water. If
they over-heat it could lead to nuclear catastrophe within hours.

 CBS 20th Nov 2022

November 22, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Take it from the soup throwers, COP’s a cop-out

Holding the next climate conference in the oil-rich UAE shows how wealthy nations hide behind smug green nimbyism

If you’re enjoying the many hypocrisies flushed to the surface by the
World Cup in Qatar, then allow me to go one better. Next year’s United
Nations Climate Change Conference is to be held in Dubai. Yep, lovely,
green Dubai. A place so committed to environmental stewardship that I once
heard a resident describe the slick, viscous sea between the fronds of the
man-made Palm peninsula as “a bit athlete’s foot-ish”.

The same Dubai that, despite having little oil of its own, is also found within the UAE,
the world’s seventh-largest oil producer and third-largest per capita.

Forget the UAE, though, and come back to Britain. Probably, like me,
you’ve been fuming at environmental protesters these past months, as
they’ve thrown food over artworks, shut down roads and had annoying
names, like “Indigo”. Yet perhaps you’ve also had a latent sense of
guilt nagging at the back of your mind. On a global level, inaction is
still what we get.

Egypt’s Cop27, which finished this weekend, made zero
progress towards keeping the global temperature rise below 1.5C, despite
basically every country on the planet agreeing that we’re in trouble if
we don’t. Instead, discussions focused on the extent to which the richer,
more developed world should be paying “loss and damage” compensation to
the places that climate change affects the most.

Protesters talk often about the grim impacts of warming on “the global south”, and they’re
right. Recent floods in Pakistan, for example, displaced millions of people
and cost the country so many billions of pounds that they might as well
have had Liz Truss as PM for six weeks. Yet it’s also true that the same
poorer countries have the most to lose from future rises too. In effect,
they’re blackmailing the richer world by pointing a gun at their own

From Dubai onwards, this raises the prospect of Cop becoming a forum
that exists not to prevent climate change but rather to argue over who pays
for the damage while it rampages on. This, even while virtually every
individual government that is a part of it has a commitment to keeping the
rise down. Which, in the end, can only lead to a sort of environmental

As in, you sort out your own backyard, if you can afford it,
while also not quite thinking about the effect your consumption or your
exports might have elsewhere. Much like the UAE. Much like us. If this
seems hopeless, that’s because it is. Sorry, but you know it, I know it
and the pink-haired soup-throwers know it too. Indeed, over the past couple
of months I’ve often worried that our swift rage at the imbecility of
Jocasta and Moonstar sticking themselves to a flyover, or whatever, is a
form of very basic displacement activity. It’s so much easier for us all
to condemn them for everything they’re doing wrong than it is for us to
grapple with the big thing they’re entirely right about. Which is that
the governments of the world are bodging this.

 Times 22nd Nov 2022

November 22, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

A billion down the drain for Diablo — Beyond Nuclear

The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant on the California coastline has been granted a $1.1 billion transfusion to keep the aging, uneconomical plant open. The plant, which sits on a major earthquake fault line and has destroyed the indigenous marine environment in Diablo Cove, was scheduled to close its two reactors in 2024 and 2025. …

A billion down the drain for Diablo — Beyond Nuclear

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

Putin touts Russia’s ‘Arctic power’ with new nuclear icebreaker

President vows to develop his country’s nuclear fleet despite current difficulties in Russia’s economy and production.

Aljazeera, 22 Nov 22,

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday touted Russia’s Arctic power at a flag-raising ceremony and dock launch for two nuclear-powered icebreakers that will ensure year-round navigation in the Western Arctic.

Presiding via video link from the Kremlin at the launch ceremony in St Petersburg in northern Russia, Putin said such icebreakers were of strategic importance for the country.

“Both icebreakers were laid down as part of a large serial project and are part of our large-scale, systematic work to re-equip and replenish the domestic icebreaker fleet, to strengthen Russia’s status as a great Arctic power,” Putin said.

The Arctic is taking on greater strategic significance due to climate change, as a shrinking ice cap opens up new sea lanes.

Vast oil and gas resources lie in Russia’s Arctic regions, including a liquefied natural gas plant on the Yamal Peninsula.

The Kremlin chief pledged to develop his country’s nuclear fleet despite current difficulties in Russia’s economy and production, in an apparent reference to Western sanctions over Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine……………………..

The 173.3-metre (569 feet) Yakutia, with a displacement of up to 33,540 tonnes, can smash through ice of up to three metres. It will enter service in 2024.

Two other icebreakers in the same series, the Arktika and the Sibir, are already in service, and another, the Chukotka, is scheduled for 2026.

Putin said a super-powerful nuclear 209-metre icebreaker known as “Rossiya”, with a displacement of up to 71,380 tonnes, would be completed by 2027. It will be able to break through ice four metres thick………………………………….. more

November 22, 2022 Posted by | Russia, technology | Leave a comment

UK recognises veterans of nuclear weapons tests with medals

Aljazeera, 22 Nov 22

The honour comes 70 years after Britain detonated a nuclear bomb in the Indian Ocean.

Seventy years after Britain detonated a nuclear bomb in the Indian Ocean, troops who took part – sometimes unknowingly – in the country’s atomic weapons tests are being recognised with a medal.

The UK government’s announcement on Monday of the Nuclear Test Medal is a victory for veterans and their families, who have campaigned for years for recognition.

Now, many want recognition of the health problems they believe they suffered as a result of exposure to radiation.

……….. Sunak attended the first-ever ceremony for the nuclear veterans at the National Memorial Arboretum in central England, marking the 70th anniversary of the United Kingdom’s first atmospheric atomic test on October 3, 1952.

Operation Hurricane

The detonation of a plutonium implosion device aboard a Royal Navy ship in the Montebello Islands off Western Australia, dubbed Operation Hurricane, made Britain the world’s third nuclear-armed nation, after the United States and Russia…….

The UK set off further nuclear explosions in Australia and ocean territories, including on Christmas Island, over the following years.

Veterans groups say about 22,000 UK military personnel were involved in British and American tests in the 1950s and 60s, many of them conscripts doing postwar national service.

Veterans, scientists and civil servants from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Kiribati who served under British command during the tests between 1952 and 1967 will also be eligible for the UK medal.

Many veterans and their families are convinced there is a link between the tests and health problems they have suffered, and are pressing the UK to hold a public inquiry into the tests.

Some allege they were deliberately exposed to radiation to see how their bodies would react, and claim their medical records were later suppressed.

‘The end of the world’

John Morris, who saw nuclear blasts on Christmas Island as a young conscript in the 1950s, told the BBC earlier this year that “I felt like I had seen the end of the world.”

“I saw right through my hands as the light was so intense,” he said. “It felt like my blood was boiling. The palm trees – which had been 20 miles [32km] away – were scorched.”

Numerous studies over the decades have probed allegations of high cancer rates among the test veterans, and of birth defects in their children, but have failed to establish an ironclad connection with the nuclear tests.

Successive British governments have denied troops were exposed to unsafe levels of radiation.

Alan Owen, founder of the Labrats International charity for atomic test survivors, welcomed the government’s recognition, but said “we want more”………………………………………

November 22, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

‘Dangerous rhetoric’ stoking nuclear tensions: UN chief

more Fes (Morocco) (AFP) 22 Nov 22, – United Nations chief Antonio Guterres warned on Tuesday against “dangerous rhetoric” stoking tensions among nuclear-armed rivals.

Growing divisions are threatening global peace and security, provoking new confrontations and making it all the more difficult to resolve old conflicts,” Guterres told a conference in Morocco.

“Dangerous rhetoric is raising nuclear tensions,” he warned.

“At the same time, we are dangerously close to the edge on the climate, while hate speech and disinformation are proliferating.”

He was talking as Russia’s war in Ukraine neared its tenth month with no end in sight, fanning nuclear fears.

Guterres said “forces of discord” were waking up “old demons” including anti-semitism and Islamophobia.

“In this troubled world, we must ease tensions, foster inclusion and social cohesion, and bring about more united and resilient societies,” he said.

Guterres was addressing a meeting of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, which aims to “galvanise international action against extremism” — the first time the group has met on African soil.

In a declaration adopted on Tuesday evening, the meeting condemned “any advocacy of hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence”.

It also expressed “deep concern about the use of new information technologies… for purposes contrary to respect for human values, good neighbourliness, equality, non-discrimination, and respect for others”, noting the particular vulnerability of children and youth.

The Fez meeting ends Wednesday. The forum’s next edition is to be held in Lisbon in 2024.

November 22, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

Philippines to be America’s nuclear guinea-pig for experimental small modular nuclear reactors?

Philippines’ Makabayan bloc files resolution seeking to probe US-Philippines nuclear energy deal By CNN Philippines Staff.Nov 23, 2022,

 The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives has filed a resolution seeking to investigate the nuclear energy cooperation deal announced by United States Vice President Kamala Harris, citing threats to the health and safety of Filipinos and the environment.

ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro, Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas, and Kabataan party-list Rep. Raoul Danniel Manuel warned that Filipinos may be used as “guinea pigs” for testing nuclear equipment.

Ang mahirap dito baka tayong mga mamamayang Pilipino ang ma-1-2-3 at maging mga guinea pig ng teknolohiyang ito na tine-testing pa lang ng US,” Castro said in a statement.

[Translation: The problem here is that Filipinos may be duped and served as guinea pigs for a technology still being tested by the US.]

According to the White House fact sheet released on Monday, the 123 Agreement, or the nuclear energy cooperation deal, will provide the legal basis for US exports of nuclear equipment and material to the Philippines.

The 123 Agreement also aims to support expanded partnerships on zero-emission energy and nonproliferation of nuclear weapons.

According to Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez, the Marcos administration is considering bringing in US-developed small modular reactors to the country.

“As it is, modular or microreactor nuclear power plants are still at an experimental stage and are only legally being made in US bases. Early this year, the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office announced the construction and testing decision that followed the office’s Environmental Impact Statement work for Project Pele,” Castro said………….more

November 22, 2022 Posted by | Philippines, politics international, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

A new nuclear weapons delivery system is the last thing the US needs

The Hill, BY YINT HMU, – 11/21/22,

As conditions for Russian soldiers deteriorate on the battlefields of Ukraine, we have seen a rhetorical escalation of threats of a nuclear strike from Moscow in response. The risk of a possible nuclear conflict has not been this high since the height of the Cold War decades ago. 

At this moment, we should be doubling down on our efforts toward nuclear arms control. Instead, the United States Congress is trying to develop a new nuclear weapons delivery system we don’t need, and one the Biden administration has emphatically declared it doesn’t want. 

Congress’s pet nuclear boondoggle is known as the nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile (SLCM-N). It’s a Cold War-era idea that was given new life by former president Donald Trump only to haunt us in the year 2022. Nuke-happy, hawkish Democrats teamed up with the GOP and managed to slip $45 million for SLCM-N research and development into this year’s defense budget  the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act, a bill that is now being debated. 

If completed, SLCM-N would essentially do what its name suggests: deliver nuclear warheads from ships, submarines or naval aircraft on a trajectory that makes it hard to track by radar. 

Weapons like the SLCM-N are inherently more dangerous because of their ambiguous nature. These weapons look pretty much like conventional missiles, which are carried by U.S. naval assets around the world. Neither our allies nor our adversaries will be able to tell whether any random ship or submarine is armed with a nuclear weapon. And whenever a ship or a submarine fires a missile, everyone will be left wondering if it’s a nuke or not. The risk of accidental nuclear conflict is exponentially higher with these weapons in play. And they’re not treaty-limited either, which further destabilizes the environment. 

Members of Congress, nuclear non-proliferation groups and anti-war organizations have called for the elimination of the SLCM-N. The Biden administration has also strongly opposed its funding in the NDAA. And in the recently released Nuclear Posture Review, the administration laid out multiple reasons to scrap the SLCM-N program entirely, ranging from the cost of the program to its redundancy with already existing weapon systems.

Still, the SLCM-N is on track to receive its funding. The provision to fund the research and development of the program passed the House, and right now it’s in the Senate as part of the NDAA. But it’s not a done deal yet, and there’s still time for the Biden administration and Senate Democrats to eliminate the program. ………………..

At a time when the world is rightly terrified of tactical nuclear weapon use by Russia, it’s unacceptable for Congress to go rogue and pursue the development of SLCM-N. The Biden administration needs all the credibility it can get to reduce nuclear risk in Ukraine. Congress pursuing a new tactical nuclear delivery system — a destabilizing move at any time — is especially counterproductive now. It’s time for Democrats to step up and end SLCM-N once and for all.

Yint Hmu is a senior associate for digital campaigns at Win Without War. You can follow him on Twitter @yinth_.

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

Videos showing execution of Russian POWs in Ukraine are authentic – New York Times 21 Nov 22

The clips suggest captive troops were “killed at close range,” the American newspaper insists.

The New York Times says it has verified the authenticity of videos that surfaced online last week, showing the execution of captive Russian soldiers by Ukrainian troops. The men “appear to have been shot dead at close range,” according to the newspaper.

The events shown in the clips occurred in the village of Makeyevka in the People’s Republic of Lugansk, earlier this month, the newspaper reported on Sunday.

“The videos… whose authenticity has been verified by The New York Times, offer a rare look into one gruesome moment among many in the war, but do not show how or why the Russian soldiers were killed,” the NYT wrote, adding that what actually happened to the soldiers remains “a mystery.”

However, the outlet noted out that judging by the footage, “at least 11 Russians… appear to have been shot dead at close range after one of their fellow fighters suddenly opened fire on Ukrainian soldiers standing nearby.”

The NYT also cited Dr. Rohini Haar, medical adviser at Physicians for Human Rights, who said that “killing or wounding a combatant, who, having laid down his arms or having no longer means of defense, has surrendered at discretion” is a violation of the laws of international armed conflict………………..

November 22, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, Ukraine | Leave a comment