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Small modular reactors will not save the day. The US can get to 100% clean power without new nuclear

We can create a renewable electricity system that is much more resilient to weather extremes and more reliable than what we have today.

 https://www.utilitydive.com/news/small-modular-reactor-smr-wind-solar-battery-100-percent-clean-power-electricity/637372/ Nov. 28, 2022, By Arjun Makhijani

There is a widespread view that nuclear energy is necessary for decarbonizing the electricity sector in the United States. It is expressed not only by the nuclear industry, but also by scholars and policy-makers like former Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who recently said that the choices we have “…when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine” are “fossil fuel or nuclear.” I disagree.

Wind and solar are much cheaper than new nuclear plants even when storage is added. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimated the cost of unsubsidized utility-scale solar plus battery storage in 2021 was $77 per megawatt-hour — about half the cost of new nuclear as estimated by the Wall Street firm Lazard. (An average New York State household uses a megawatt-hour in about seven weeks.)

Time is the scarcest resource of all for addressing the climate crisis. Nuclear has failed spectacularly on this count as well. Of the 34 new reactor projects announced for the “nuclear renaissance,” only two reactors being built in Georgia are set to come online — years late at more than double the initial cost estimate, a success rate of 6%. Even including the old Watts Bar 2 reactor (start of construction: 1973), which was completed in 2016 (well over budget), raises the success rate to just 9% — still much worse than the mediocre 50-50 record of the first round of nuclear construction in the U.S., when about half of the proposed reactors were ultimately built. The nuclear industry is marching fast — in the wrong direction.

The much-ballyhooed Small Modular Reactors are not going to save the day. NuScale, the most advanced in terms of certification, had announced in 2008 that its first reactor would be on line in 2015-2016; now the date is 2028 and costs have risen. In the same period, wind and solar generation have cumulatively generated electricity equal to more than the amount 300 NuScale SMRs would produce in 15 years. Nuclear is dismally slow, unequal to the climate challenge.

Simply saying that nuclear is “baseload power” is to recite an obsolete mantra. As David Olsen, a member of the Board of Governors of the California Independent System Operator, which runs that state’s electricity grid, has said: “‘Baseload’ refers to an old paradigm that has to go away.”

It is generally agreed that solar, wind and battery storage cannot address the entire decarbonization problem. They can do the job economically and reliably about 95% of the time. Much of the gap would be on winter nights with low wind when most buildings have electrified their heating and electric cars are plugged in. That’s where working with the rhythms of nature comes in.

Spring and autumn will be times of plentiful surplus wind and solar; that essentially free electricity could be used to make hydrogen to power light-duty fuel cells (such as those used in cars) to generate electricity on those cold winter nights. Surplus electricity can also be stored in the ground as cold or heat — artificial geothermal energy — for use during peak summer and winter hours.

Then there is V2G: vehicle-to-grid technology. When Hurricane Ian caused a blackout for millions in Florida, a Ford F-150 Lightning in “vehicle-to-home” mode saved the day for some. Plugged-in cars could have a dual purpose — as a load on the grid, or, for owners who sign up to profit, a supply resource for the grid, even as the charge for the commute next day is safeguarded.

We are also entering an era of smart appliances that can “talk” to the grid; it’s called “demand response.” The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recognizes it as a resource equivalent to generation when many devices like cars or air conditioners are aggregated. People would get paid to sign up, and on those rare occasions when their heaters are lowered a degree or their clothes washing is postponed by a few hours, they would be paid again. No one would have to sign up; but signing up would make electricity cheaper. We know from experience there will be plenty of takers if the price is right.

All that is more than enough to take care of the 5% gap. No uranium mining, no nuclear waste, no plutonium produced just to keep the lights on.

We can create a renewable electricity system that is much more resilient to weather extremes and more reliable than what we have today. The thinking needs to change, as the Drake Landing Solar Community in Alberta, Canada, where it gets to negative 40 degrees Celsius in the winter, has shown. It provides over 90% of its heating by storing solar energy in the ground before the winter comes. Better than waiting for the nuclear Godot.

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December 31, 2022 Posted by | Reference, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

No new nuclear weapons in Europe!

There are new US nuclear weapons which POLITICO announced could be delivered to US host countries – Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey, as soon as December, replacing the current weapons stationed in those countries. 

The B61-12 warhead is a more advanced warhead from the ones currently stationed in countries hosting US nuclear weapons. It has different yields, from 0.3kt to 50kt, but could be even more destructive if detonated underground, increasing its yield to up to 1,250kt, 83 times the size of Hiroshima-sized nuclear weapons.

December 31, 2022 Posted by | EUROPE, weapons and war | Leave a comment

As France’s nuclear energy sector falters, Britain’s wind and solar power booms

the continued sharp growth of green power in Britain’s electricity mix. Wind farms generated a record 28 per cent of the country’s needs this year, up from 23 per cent last year. Solar generation increased to 5 per cent this year, from essentially zero a decade earlier.

Britain exported more electricity to Europe than ever before this year while wind and solar generation hit all-time highs, according to the first analysis of the year’s power mix. The energy crisis in Europe prompted by
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and safety problems at French nuclear plants resulted in Britain becoming a net exporter of electricity to the Continent for the first time in more than a decade.

Renewable power sources generated in excess of 40 per cent of Britain’s electricity needs for the first
time as both wind and solar output increased, according to the analysis by Imperial College London for Drax Electric Insights and seen by The Times.
Gas-fired power generation also increased, compensating for a sharp drop in imports and helping to supply the rising exports. Soaring gas prices meant power prices were almost twice as high as a year earlier. Iain Staffell, of Imperial College London, lead author of the report, said: “This has been a year like no other for the energy industry.

The public are feeling the pain of high gas prices on their energy bills, even though renewables are
providing the grid with more cheap, green electricity than ever before. The lesson from 2022 is that we need to break our addiction to fossil fuels once and for all if we want lower-cost and more secure energy supplies.”


This reversal was driven by net exports to France, with more than half of the French nuclear fleet forced offline over the summer for maintenance and to repair corrosion and cracking.

Power flows on interconnectors are normally decided by the market, travelling in the direction of the highest
bidder. The analysis also shows the continued sharp growth of green power in Britain’s electricity mix. Wind farms generated a record 28 per cent of the country’s needs this year, up from 23 per cent last year. Solar
generation increased to 5 per cent this year, from essentially zero a decade earlier.

 Times 29th Dec 2022

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/electricity-exports-to-europe-soar-as-wind-and-solar-power-increase-lltkvqkpf

December 31, 2022 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Under pressure from Washington, Japan rearms

U.S. corporate power is the immediate beneficiary of this sharp turn in policy, built on military threats and economic sanctions.

JAPAN REARMS UNDER WASHINGTON’S PRESSURE, Popular Resistance, By Sara Flounders, Workers World. December 29, 2022

A Wake-Up Call To The Antiwar Movement.

The Dec. 16 announcement by Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of a new defense strategy, while doubling military spending by 2027 to implement it, is the largest defense shake-up in decades and a wake-up call to the antiwar movement.

The decision includes openly acquiring offensive weapons and reshaping its military command structure for its expanded armed forces. On Dec. 23, the draft budget was approved by Kishida’s cabinet.

Japan’s dangerous military expansion should set off international alarm bells. This major escalation is taking place based on intense U.S. imperialist pressure. It is the next step in the “Pivot to Asia,” aimed at threatening and surrounding China and attempting to reassert U.S. dominance in the Asia Pacific.

The movements opposing endless U.S. wars must begin to prepare material and draw mass attention to this ominous threat.

The plan to double military spending will add $315 billion to Japan’s defense budget over the next five years and make Japan’s military the world’s third largest, after the U.S. and China. Defense spending will escalate to 2% of gross domestic product, equal to the goal the U.S. sets for its NATO allies. Japan’s economy is the world’s third largest.

The Japanese government plans to buy up to 500 Lockheed Martin Tomahawk missiles and Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM), procure more naval vessels and fighter aircraft, increase cyber warfare capabilities, manufacture its own hypersonic guided missiles and produce its own advanced fighter jets, along with other weapons. The plan shifts from relying solely on missile defense to also embracing “counterstrike” capabilities.

Three key security documents — the National Security Strategy (NSS), as well as the National Defense Strategy (NDS) and the Defense Buildup Program (DBP) — shed some of the postwar constraints on the Japanese military.

Article 9 – a class struggle against military rearmament

Although the U.S. occupation force, after defeating Japan’s military in World War II, imposed a “pacifist” constitution on Japan, for decades now U.S. strategists have pressured Japan’s government to aggressively rearm, and especially to buy U.S.-made weapons, to act as a junior partner to U.S. efforts to dominate the Asia-Pacific region.

Article 9 of the imposed Japanese constitution prohibits Japan from maintaining an army, navy and air force. To get around this, the “Japanese Self-Defense Forces” (JSDF) have since 1952 been treated as a legal extension of the police and prison system. The U.S. occupiers considered the JSDF an essential repressive tool defending capitalist property relations against the workers’ movement.

The decision for aggressive military expansion is in open violation of Japan’s supposedly pacifist constitution……………………………………

Targeting China

Japan’s military expansion fits in with Washington’s aggression aimed at China, the DPRK and Russia. U.S. strategists’ goal is to use the U.S. alliance with Japan, South Korea and Australia, just as it uses the U.S.-led NATO alliance in Europe………………………..

China is Japan’s largest trading partner in both imports and exports. Previous National Strategy Documents said Japan was seeking a “mutually beneficial strategic partnership” with China. Suddenly Japanese strategists started labeling China “the greatest strategic challenge in ensuring the peace and security of Japan.” (U.S. Institute of Peace, Dec. 19)………..

U.S. praise of Japan’s rising militarism

The U.S. media praised Japan’s new security strategy document as a “bold and historic step.” U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan praised the defense spending hike, which “will strengthen and modernize the U.S.-Japan alliance.” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Japan an “indispensable partner” and cheered that the changed security documents reshape the ability to “protect the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world.” (quotes, whitehouse.gov, Dec. 16)

U.S. corporate power is the immediate beneficiary of this sharp turn in policy, built on military threats and economic sanctions………………………………………………………………….

Having goaded Russia into an invasion of Ukraine in a bid to weaken and fragment Russia, the U.S. is next seeking to turn Taiwan into a military quagmire for China. The Biden administration is facilitating Taiwan’s purchase of advanced weaponry from the U.S. and greater diplomatic ties with the island.  https://popularresistance.org/japan-rearms-under-washingtons-pressure-%E2%88%92-a-wake-up-call-to-the-antiwar-movement/

December 31, 2022 Posted by | Japan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Historic Golden Rule Peace Boat On Its Way to Cuba

Veterans For Peace Calls for an End to US Blockade, 30 Dec 22,

The historic Golden Rule anti-nuclear sailboat is on its way to Cuba. The storied wooden boat, which was sailed toward the Marshall Islands in 1958 to interfere with US nuclear testing, set sail from Key West, Florida on Friday morning, and will arrive at the Hemingway Marina in Havana on Saturday morning, New Years Eve day. The 34-foot ketch belongs to Veterans For Peace, and implements its mission “to end the arms race and to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons.”

The five crew members will be joined by Veterans For Peace members who are flying to Havana to participate in an educational Arts & Culture program coordinated by the Proximity Cuba tour agency. The veterans will also be visiting communities that suffered great damage from the recent Hurricane Ian, which destroyed thousands of homes in Pinar del Rio province in western Cuba. They are carrying humanitarian aid for people who lost their homes.

We are on an educational and humanitarian mission,” says Golden Rule Project Manager Helen Jaccard. “We are three-and-a-half months into a 15-month, 11,000 mile voyage around the ‘Great Loop’ of the midwestern, southern, and northeastern United States. When we saw we would be in Key West, Florida at the end of December, we said, ‘Look, Cuba is only 90 miles away! And the world almost had a nuclear war over Cuba.’”

60 years ago, in October 1962, the world came perilously close to a civilization-ending nuclear war during a superpower showdown between the US and the Soviet Union, which had placed nuclear missiles near each others borders, in Turkey and Cuba, respectively. The CIA had also organized an armed invasion of Cuba in a disastrous attempt to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro.

Sixty years later, the US still maintains a brutal economic blockade of Cuba, strangling Cuba’s economic development and causing suffering for Cuban families,” said Gerry Condon, former president of Veterans For Peace, and part of the crew that is sailing to Cuba. “The whole world opposes the US blockade of Cuba and it is time for it to end.” This year only the US and Israel voted No on a UN resolution calling on the US government to end its blockade of Cuba.

Now the US/Russia standoff over Ukraine has once again raised the specter of nuclear war,” said Gerry Condon. “It was urgent diplomacy between US President John Kennedy and Russian leader Nikita Khruschev that resolved the Cuban Missile Crisis and spared the world a nuclear war,” continued Condon. “That is the kind of diplomacy that we need today.”

Veterans For Peace is calling for an end to the US blockade of Cuba, for a Ceasefire and Negotiations to End the War in Ukraine, and for the Total Abolition of Nuclear Weapons.

For more information about the Golden Rule anti-nuclear sailboat, go to www.vfpgoldenrule.org.

For interviews, call or text Gerry Condon at 206-499-1220, or Helen Jaccard at 206-992-6364.

December 31, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Military satellites add to Earth’s orbit, which is already crowded with satellites

Earth’s Orbit Is About to Get More Crowded. Undark, BY SARAH SCOLES, 12.26.2022

The military is launching a fleet of small, interconnected satellites to collect data, track missiles, and aim weapons.

SOMETIME THIS COMING March, a network of 10 small satellites winged with solar panels is scheduled to launch into Earth’s low orbit. Though likely invisible to the naked eye, the satellites will be part of a future herd of hundreds that, according to the Space Development Agency, or SDA, will bolster the United States’ defense capabilities.

The SDA, formed in 2019, is an organization under the United States Space Force, the newly formed military branch that operates and protects American assets in space. And like all good startups, the agency is positioned as a disruptor. It aims to change the way the military acquires and runs its space infrastructure. For instance, the forthcoming satellite network, called the National Defense Space Architecture, will collectively gather and beam information, track missiles, and help aim weapons, among other tasks.

The SDA’s vision both mimics and relies on shifts that started years ago in the commercial sector: groupings of cheap little satellites — often weighing hundreds of pounds, instead of thousands — that together accomplish what fewer big, expensive satellites used to.

Such sets of small satellites are called constellations, and those in low Earth orbit, which circle 1,200 miles or lower above Earth, can send data back and forth quickly. They rely on relatively inexpensive spacecraft that can be replaced and updated regularly. And they are hard to knock out, just like it’s more difficult to shoot down a flock of doves than a large turkey (or sitting duck).

The National Defense Space Architecture’s first spacecraft will launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base, part of the so-called Tranche 0, which will eventually total 28 interlinked satellites. “This tranche is incredibly important as sort of the trailblazer,” said Mike Eppolito, its program director. The launch was originally scheduled for September 2022, then delayed to December because of supply-chain issues, and delayed again until March to fix glitchy power supplies on eight of the satellites.

Now that the military has begun blazing this trail, it will also face the same challenges the commercial sector has recently had to reckon with: crowded orbits, potential collisions, and a sky filled with synthetic electromagnetic signals. Military and intelligence satellites haven’t proliferated at nearly the level of, say, those owned by SpaceX, and astronomers haven’t been paying as much attention to them. But an increased reliance on constellations will result in orbital emissions that can interfere with scientific research, and create an increased potential for collisions.

……………………………………………… Though the Department of Defense had long been interested in the idea of small satellite constellations, it was only when these companies started to link lots of them together — to do the same kinds of jobs that the military had been doing — like taking snapshots of Earth, or providing data connectivity — that the military began to seriously pursue them.

………….. The SDA’s founding vision remains essentially the same. As such, its architecture will consist of multiple layers of satellites, with spacecraft someday in the hundreds. These layers will transport data to share information from different sensors; track missiles; provide an alternative to GPS; and tell weapons where to aim. They will also incorporate data from commercial satellites, said Tournear. The spacecraft being less expensive and more replaceable, the SDA can upgrade them regularly, whereas the older satellites have to wait a decade or more for replacement.

The military can now simply buy that up-to-date technology from companies like Lockheed Martin and York Space Systems……………….

EANWHILE, space-traffic managers and astronomers, already coping with the proliferation of commercial constellations, are figuring out how best to navigate the more-crowded future.

For one thing, the sunlight that reflects off satellites’ surfaces, and the radio waves that satellites often use to transmit data, can show up in telescopes’ sensors back on Earth, marring the signals coming from stars, galaxies, and gases.

According to Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, radio and optical astronomers began voicing concerns as far back as the 1980s, but it was only when SpaceX began launching its Starlink satellites that the issue went from annoying to problematic. Since then, astronomers like Meredith Rawls — a research scientist at the University of Washington and a member of a new international group called the Center for the Protection of the Dark and Quiet Sky from Satellite Constellation Interference — have been working to mitigate constellations’ negative effects on science and the sky’s purity. Yet the group doesn’t comment on military satellites and focuses on commercial constellations.  Defense spacecraft, Rawls said, are “a total blindspot” for her.

“It’s taken 40 years to come to the point where it is a real problem,” said McDowell, who publishes an approximately monthly report of all space launches. Constellations, he noted, can become “a serious problem when you’re talking about not hundreds or even thousands of satellites, but tens of thousands.”

……………… he and others do worry about potential collisions of satellites and space debris with the addition of military constellations. “Even a relatively small number of satellites whose orbits are secret, it’s problematic,” said McDowell, because managing space traffic requires knowing where it actually is.

Leolabs will keep track of the SDA’s objects, but the more satellites are in orbit, the more likely they are to crash — into each other or into the many pieces of litter already up there. “We can help you almost guarantee that you won’t get hit by a piece of trackable debris,” said McKnight of Leolabs. “Unfortunately, there are hundreds of thousands of objects that are too small for us or anybody to see. They can still kill you.”

That means it’s important for the SDA to build spacecraft that can recover from small smashups (and to have a plan for bringing down spacecraft that don’t survive, so they don’t create more debris). “I know that SDA understands how to do that,” said McKnight.

But they also have to contend as well with large pieces of existing space trash — spent rocket bodies the size of school buses, left over from American and Russian launches during the Cold War. “These clusters of massive derelict objects have a much greater debris-generating potential than any of these constellations do,” said McKnight. The constellations’ members, after all, can generally thrust away from danger. “These are small, very agile, very aware, and highly controlled and responsible satellites,” he continued.

But any crash creates tons of fragments (metal shards, bolts, paint chips, solar-panel shivs) that whiz around space, making other crashes even more likely, and creating tons more fragments. If two old rocket bodies hit each other, for example, a huge cloud of debris could come barreling at SDA satellites just as easily as they could Starlink’s. “They could affect these constellations drastically,” said McKnight.

……………………. Even if the military’s satellites don’t present problems on the level of commercial ones, the Department of Defense at the same time supports private proliferation. “It may not be a question of ‘Oh, the military are going to have massive constellations,’ but ‘the military are going to be customers of all of these massive constellations,’” said McDowell. The Air Force, for instance, just gave SpaceX a $1.9 million contract to test out one year of Starlink connectivity in Europe and Africa. And in early December, SpaceX announced a new business arm called Starshield, which will focus on providing satellite-constellation capabilities — like communications and Earth observation — to the government, for national security missions………………….

more  https://undark.org/2022/12/26/earths-orbit-is-about-to-get-more-crowded/?utm_source=Undark%3A+News+%26+Updates&utm_campaign=5717038771-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5cee408d66-5717038771-176033209

December 31, 2022 Posted by | technology, USA | 2 Comments

What the Pentagon Doesn’t Want You to Know About China

WEI YU, Dec 20, 2022, Common Dreams

We must be vigilant about the warmongering lies about China.

Escalating tension with China was a mistake, and building a colossal military budget is doubling down on this mistake.

To encourage Congress to authorize the largest defense budget ever, the Pentagon just released its annual report on China, which dangerously misrepresents the country’s defense strategy. Such deliberate lies about China to drum up justification for more US war spending need to be urgently addressed.

Let’s debunk these lies:

On Nuclear Weapons: The Pentagon reports that China possesses around 400 nuclear warheads with no clear plan on how to use them. If this estimation of China’s arsenal is correct, it’s still trivial compared to the US’s almost 6,000 warheads. China is the only nuclear power with an unconditional “no first use” policy, and has been clear that it only intends to use its nuclear power for assurance and defense. Meanwhile, the United States is the only country to have used nuclear weapons in war and has also flirted with escalating tensions into a nuclear war with Russia this year. Who is preparing for war?

On Global Military Presence: The Pentagon reports that since China established its first overseas military base in Djibouti, it has ambitions to expand its military presence globally. At the same time, the United State has more than 750 military bases in around 80 countries. This includes more than 250 bases in the Asia-Pacific encircling China with 375,000 personnel in the Indo-Pacific Command, while China has no military presence in the Western Hemisphere. Who is preparing for war?

On International Order: The Pentagon reports that China may challenge the US in the international arena. It is true that China is taking the lead internationally in economic development, in technological innovation, and in fighting climate change. Other countries around the world are happy for its support in growing their capacities to be independent of United States hegemony in their regions. China builds relationships through economic cooperation and good diplomacy. In contrast, the United States asserts its global dominance through direct or proxy war, occupation, crippling sanctions, and regime-changing coups. The international order that the United States seeks to maintain is rooted in violence and destruction. Let’s invest in peace, not war!

While the United States is desperately pursuing its outdated policy of enforcing global hegemony, the rest of the world is already moving towards a multilateral sphere, which ensures the greatest chance for peace. Escalating tension with China was a mistake, and building a colossal military budget is doubling down on this mistake. We must be vigilant about the warmongering lies about China. “China is not our enemy” is not a hollow slogan but firm ground that peacemakers stand on.

Ways to Take Action:……………………………. more https://www.commondreams.org/views/2022/12/20/what-pentagon-doesnt-want-you-know-about-china

December 31, 2022 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Civil society groups urge feds to ban reprocessing used nuclear fuel.

Natasha Bulowski / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer, 30 Dec 22,

Canada’s forthcoming radioactive waste policy should include a ban on plutonium reprocessing, a national alliance of civil society organizations says.

Plutonium — a radioactive, silvery metal used in nuclear weapons and power plants — can be separated from spent nuclear reactor fuel through a process known as “reprocessing” and reused to produce weapons or generate energy.

The federal government is expected to release its policy for managing radioactive waste early next year. On Dec. 15, a handful of organizations urged Ottawa to include a ban on plutonium reprocessing because of its links to nuclear weapons proliferation and environmental contamination.

The World Nuclear Association says reprocessing used fuel to recover uranium and plutonium “avoids the wastage of a valuable resource.”

Ottawa has yet to take a definitive stance on the process. A draft policy released last February said: “Deployment of reprocessing technology … is subject to policy approval by the Government of Canada.”

But in 2021, a New Brunswick company, Moltex Energy, received $50.5 million from the federal coffers to help design and commercialize a molten salt reactor and spent fuel reprocessing facility. Commercial plutonium reprocessing has never been carried out in Canada, and we should not start now, according to Nuclear Waste Watch, a national network of Canadian organizations concerned about high-level radioactive waste and nuclear power. The group is among those pushing for a plutonium reprocessing ban.

More than 7,000 Canadians submitted letters including a demand to ban plutonium reprocessing throughout the consultation process, according to a Nuclear Waste Watch news release.

The group points to a 2016 report by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories stating reprocessing would “increase proliferation risk.”

“There is no legitimate reason to support technologies that create the potential for new countries to separate plutonium and develop nuclear weapons,” Susan O’Donnell, spokesperson for the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick, said in Nuclear Waste Watch’s news release. “The government should stop supporting this dangerous technology.”

China, India, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and some European countries, like France, reprocess their spent nuclear fuel.

Canada’s forthcoming radioactive waste policy should include a ban on plutonium reprocessing, a national alliance of civil society organizations says. Plutonium separated from used nuclear fuel can be reused in power generation or nuclear weapons

December 31, 2022 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear, reprocessing | Leave a comment

The Black Radical Position on the Situation in Ukraine 

 

NATO is an illegitimate aggressive structure in the service of Western imperialism and does not deserve any support from African/Black and colonized people.

Crisis or Confusion? A Brief Guide for Black Folk on the Situation in Ukraine, ​​​​​Ajamu Baraka, BAR editor and columnist

African people are already battling against U.S. rightist forces – from the Trump/Republican supporters to the warmongering neoliberal democrats. It would be an affront to our history and people to enter this struggle on the side of empire and NATO.

Within large sectors of the U.S. left, including many elements of the Black left, there is widespread confusion related to the Ukraine “crisis.” Years of anti-Russia propaganda from the US and its NATO allies, and the tendency to abstract the current Ukrainian situation from its historical and geo-strategic context, have created a climate of confusion. This climate has played into the hands of state propagandists and democratic party activists eager to use the Ukraine situation to deflect attention from Biden’s disastrous domestic agenda. 

The situation with Ukraine did not just fall out of the sky in 2021. It has a long history.

But, first, here are some points to frame the discussion:

1. Ukraine is a manufactured crisis. That is, the stand-off between the U.S./ NATO forces and the Russia Federation with the Ukrainians, including the Ukrainians in the Eastern portion of Ukraine (that the media refers to as “pro-Russia separatists”), did not evolve organically but was the result of conscious decisions on the part of the Biden Administration. Less than two months after taking office there were indications that the Biden Administration was signaling to the Ukrainian government that it would support efforts to reincorporate the eastern region (Donbass) by force. This is why we reject any obscurantist references to the “both sides are to blame” position that we see in various statements from peace and Anti-war groups. To be clear: this is not a “pro-Russia” position, but an objective assessment of the dynamics of the situation. 

2. The U.S./EU/NATO Axis of Domination. We see NATO as a criminal military structure whose only purpose is providing the military/material basis for the maintenance and extension of the U.S./EU/NATO Axis of Domination (white power). As a structure of white colonial power, NATO was essential in supporting colonial powers in Africa, including the Portuguese in their military struggles to maintain their colonial holdings in Africa during the initial wave of anti-colonial struggles on the continent. The Obama/Biden administration also used NATO for their attack on Libya in 2011, resulting in the destruction of the most prosperous and revolutionary state on the continent. All peace loving people should call for the dismantling of NATO. 

3. Ukraine and U.S. Doctrine of “Full Spectrum Dominance.” Evidence suggests that the latest military coups in Africa have the fingerprints of AFRICOM all over them. While the focus on Ukraine is of utmost importance, we must also recognize the U.S. commitment to the global doctrine of “Full Spectrum Dominance” and its utilization of a “military-first” strategy to achieve continued U.S. global dominance. Therefore, unlike a number of peace and Anti-war groups that abstract Ukraine from that context, we argue that the coup in Ukraine and the attempt to create the conditions for the expansion of NATO into Ukraine must be seen as an aspect of U.S. imperialist strategy and, therefore, must be vigorously opposed by all anti-imperialists. For African peoples, the U.S./EU/NATO Axis of Domination represents the greatest threat to peace, human rights, and social justice on the planet today. It is absurd for any African to embrace the agenda of empire by giving credence or legitimacy to the crude mobilization of public opinion for conflict on behalf of NATO and the white supremacist, colonial/capitalist protect. 

4. Ukraine Reflects the continuous right-winged nature of European and European American Politics. In a 2018 article in The Nation, Stephen Cohen detailed  the social and political impacts of the 2014 right-wing coup in Ukraine:

…storm troop-like assaults on gays, Jews, elderly ethnic Russians, and other “impure” citizens are widespread throughout Kiev-ruled Ukraine, along with torchlight marches reminiscent of those that eventually inflamed Germany in the late 1920s and 1930s. And that the police and official legal authorities do virtually nothing to prevent these neofascist acts or to prosecute them. On the contrary, Kiev has officially encouraged them by systematically rehabilitating and even memorializing Ukrainian collaborators with Nazi German extermination pogroms and their leaders during World War II, renaming streets in their honor, building monuments to them, rewriting history to glorify them, and more. 

This is the nature of the government in Ukraine that the Biden Administration along with the corporate press, deranged Black people, and a confused left are supporting.  

Below is an alternative set of facts and analyses related to the Ukraine crisis, a “crisis” deliberately generated to divert attention away from the Biden’s administration inability to provide capitalist stability. 

The unfolding of events in Ukraine that are relevant for Africans

1)  The full responsibility for the dangerous crisis unfolding in Ukraine has its genesis in the illegal policies of the U.S./EU/NATO “Axis of Domination” beginning in 2014. As the Black Alliance for Peace reported , it was clear even from statements attributed to Obama officials that, “During the latter part of 2013 until February 2014, the Obama/Biden administration gave material support and encouragement to anti-democratic right-wing elements in Ukraine to execute ‘regime change.’” Therefore, the U.S. was deeply implicated in the coup of February 2014 that overthrew the democratically elected president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. 

2) The coup government was infected with Ukrainian ultra-nationalists and with political ties to literal fascists such as the “Right Sector” and the Azov battalions . The coup plunged Ukraine into crisis because substantial sectors of Ukrainian society did not support it, especially sections of predominantly Russian speaking Ukrainian citizens in the Eastern portions of the nation. Those Ukrainian citizens rejected the legitimacy of the coup government and began to voice support for independence from the neo-Nazi government that took power.  The response from the illegal coup regime was to label its own citizens “terrorists” and attack the Eastern portions of the country militarily. In other words, they attacked their own citizens – a crime that the Obama administration pretended was the excuse for U.S. subversion in Syria. 

3) The Azov Battalion played a major combat role in the attacks by the coup government against Ukrainian citizens who opposed the coup. The Azov Battalion is avowedly “partially” pro-Nazi, as evidenced by its regalia, slogans, and programmatic statements, and as well-documented  as such by several international monitoring organizations. The Azov Battalion was incorporated into the National Guards of Ukraine, the armed forces of the Ukrainian state, and today is reported to be being trained by U.S. Special Forces.

4) After suffering military defeats at the hands of the peoples in Eastern Ukraine that had subsequently declared themselves independent of the coup government, an agreement between Donbas and the coup government was arrived at that became known as the Minsk II agreement. Terms of the agreement included a commitment to a ceasefire along with relative autonomy for Donbas (Eastern Ukraine). The agreement avoided all-out war and provided a degree of “stability” until the Biden administration came back to power. 

Back in power, Biden and the democrats who have now reclaimed the mantle of the party of war, began to encourage Ukraine authorities to ignore the Minsk II agreement and to forcefully retake control of Donbas. Even more dangerously, the U.S. and some European powers began to indicate that Ukraine might be invited to become a member of NATO. If Ukraine becomes a member of NATO, this could allow a nuclear armed NATO to be positioned right on the borders of Russia. Russia is rightly concerned about this security risk at its border. 

The Black Radical Position on the Situation in Ukraine 

NATO is an illegitimate aggressive structure in the service of Western imperialism and does not deserve any support from African/Black and colonized people. Moreover, all social forces committed to peace should demand that NATO be dismantled. The Ukrainian crisis is yet another example of the delusional policies being pursued by U.S. rulers unable to accept the changed circumstances in the world today that limits their ability to impose their interests on peoples and nations without consequences. 

As an African people involved in an existential battle in the U.S. against rightist forces, from the Trump/Republican supporters to the warmongering neoliberal democrats, with both committed to global “Full Spectrum Dominance” (white power), it would be an affront to our history and people to enter this struggle on the side of empire and NATO.  

Ajamu Baraka is the national organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace and was the 2016 candidate for vice president on the Green Party ticket. Baraka serves on the Executive Committee of the U.S. Peace Council and leadership body of the United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC) and the steering committee of the Black is Back Coalition. He is an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report. He was awarded the US Peace Memorial 2019 Peace Prize and the Serena Shim award for uncompromised integrity in journalism.

December 30, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Growing climate, nuclear risks spark doomsday fears

Past year has prompted warnings of armageddon amid war in Ukraine and concerns over higher rate of warming, but has also seen COVID pandemic recede and other positive signs

https://www.timesofisrael.com/growing-climate-nuclear-risks-spark-doomsday-fears/ By SHAUN TANDON 29 Dec 22, WASHINGTON (AFP) — For thousands of years, predictions of apocalypse have come and gone. But with dangers rising from nuclear war and climate change, does the planet need to at least begin contemplating the worst?

When the world rang in 2022, few would have expected the year to feature the US president speaking of the risk of doomsday, following Russia’s threats to go nuclear in its invasion of Ukraine.

“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis” in 1962, Joe Biden said in October.

And on the year that humanity welcomed its eighth billion member, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the planet was on a “highway to climate hell.”

In extremes widely attributed to climate change, floods submerged one-third of Pakistan, China sweat under an unprecedented 70-day heatwave, and crops failed in the Horn of Africa — all while the world lagged behind on the UN-blessed goal of checking warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

Biggest risk yet of nuclear war?

The Global Challenges Foundation, a Swedish group that assesses catastrophic risks, warned in an annual report that the threat of nuclear weapons use was the greatest since 1945 when the United States destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in history’s only atomic attacks.

The report warned that an all-out exchange of nuclear weapons, besides causing an enormous loss of life, would trigger clouds of dust that would obscure the sun, reducing the capacity to grow food and ushering in “a period of chaos and violence, during which most of the surviving world population would die from hunger.”

Kennette Benedict, a lecturer at the University of Chicago who led the report’s nuclear section, said risks were even greater than during the Cuban Missile Crisis as Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared less restrained by advisors.

While any Russian nuclear strike would likely involve small “tactical” weapons, experts fear a quick escalation if the United States responds.

“Then we’re in a completely different ballgame,” said Benedict, a senior advisor to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which in January will unveil its latest assessment of the “doomsday clock” set since 2021 at 100 seconds to midnight.

Amid the focus on Ukraine, US intelligence believes North Korea is ready for a seventh nuclear test, Biden has effectively declared dead a deal on Iran’s contested nuclear work and tensions between India and Pakistan have remained at a low boil.

Benedict also faulted the Biden administration’s nuclear posture review which reserved the right for the United States to use nuclear weapons in “extreme circumstances.”

“I think there’s been a kind of steady erosion of the ability to manage nuclear weapons,” she said.

Charting worst-case climate risks

UN experts estimated ahead of November talks in Egypt that the world was on track to warming of 2.1 to 2.9 C — but some outside analysts put the figure well higher, with greenhouse gas emissions in 2021 again hitting a record despite pushes to renewable energy.

Luke Kemp, a Cambridge University expert on existential risks, said the possibility of higher warming was drawing insufficient attention, which he blamed on the consensus culture of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and scientists’ fears of being branded alarmist.

“There has been a strong incentive to err on the side of least drama,” he said.

“What we really need are more complex assessments of how risks would cascade around the world.”

Climate change could cause ripple effects on food, with multiple breadbasket regions failing, fueling hunger and eventually political unrest and conflict.

Kemp warned against extrapolating from a single year or event. But a research paper he co-authored noted that even a two-degree temperature rise would put the Earth in territory uncharted since the Ice Age.

Using a medium-high scenario on emissions and population growth, it found that two billion people by 2070 could live in areas with a mean temperature of 29 C (84.2 F), straining water resources — including between India and Pakistan.

Cases for optimism

The year, however, was not all grim. While China ended the year with a surge of COVID-19 deaths, vaccinations helped much of the world turn the page on virus, which the World Health Organization estimated in May contributed to the deaths of 14.9 million people in 2020 and 2021.

December 30, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Physicists push for nuclear science education. Their environmental colleagues not so sure

‘Cherish’ the power: Physicists issue call to arms over nuclear skills gap

Associate Professor Tilman Ruff, founder of the Nobel prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, said he feared the nation’s universities were becoming “academic prostitutes” for the nuclear industry – particularly firms that make nuclear weapons.

“The organisations that have historically funded nuclear research at universities have been those with interests in either uranium mining and nuclear power, or nuclear weapons. That’s the problem. There’s not big amounts of money in the more socially constructive areas.”

 https://www.smh.com.au/national/cherish-the-power-physicists-issue-call-to-arms-over-nuclear-skills-gap-20221228-p5c92s.html By Liam Mannix, December 28, 2022

Australia’s physicists say we must learn to cherish nuclear science and invest in training a new generation of experts to run satellites, quantum computers and submarines.

But their colleagues in environmental science are wary of what such an investment might produce.

Australia’s physicists say we must learn to cherish nuclear science and invest in training a new generation of experts to run satellites, quantum computers and submarines.

Australia has committed to buying or building a fleet of American or British-designed nuclear submarines, with the first expected to be in the water late next decade.

They will probably require a crew and workforce of nuclear engineers, technicians and scientists – but Australia lacks a civil nuclear industry.

The nation is already struggling to fill key nuclear safety positions, let alone produce a new workforce, says Dr AJ Mitchell, senior lecturer in the Australia National University’s Department of Nuclear Physics and Accelerator Applications.

“The need is urgent. The captain of our first nuclear submarine is probably already in secondary school today,” he said. “This must be a sovereign capability. And it needs to start yesterday.

“We need to make people understand that ‘nuclear’ is not something to be scared of, but rather to cherish and appreciate.”

Mitchell is leading the development of a national vision for nuclear science, a project launched this month at the Australian Institute of Physics Congress in Adelaide. The strategy includes a national program of nuclear science education.

Nobel laureate and Australian National University vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt made waves last month when urged Australia not to “drag its feet” on the nuclear submarines issue.

The boats represented “one of the biggest training and workforce development challenges Australia has faced”, he said.

That warning adds to pre-existing concerns about the training of engineering and science graduates generally.

Australia has been slowly increasing its number of new engineers, but most of the workforce growth is from overseas labour, according to a report by Engineers Australia.

Fewer students are studying advanced mathematics or physics in year 12, while applications for engineering courses at university fell between 2010 and 2015. Australia has the third lowest number of engineers as a proportion of graduates among developed countries.

Changes to the way engineering courses are funded led the Group of Eight – a coalition of the country’s top research universities – to declare this year that the Australian model for the university education of engineers was “broken” and could not deliver enough skilled engineering graduates to meet the government’s infrastructure investment.

But not all scientists share a conviction that nuclear physics and engineering need investment.

“There is already controversy about the nuclear submarines deal, and anxiety in our region about some sort of arms race and nuclearisation,” said Associate Professor Peter Christoff, a climate policy researcher at the University of Melbourne and former assistant commissioner for the environment in Victoria.

“Significant funding for research into nuclear physics and engineering would send precisely the wrong signals to our regional neighbours and increase their anxieties that what we’re seeing is precisely the start of that nuclear arms race.”

Associate Professor Tilman Ruff, founder of the Nobel prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, said he feared the nation’s universities were becoming “academic prostitutes” for the nuclear industry – particularly firms that make nuclear weapons.

“The organisations that have historically funded nuclear research at universities have been those with interests in either uranium mining and nuclear power, or nuclear weapons. That’s the problem. There’s not big amounts of money in the more socially constructive areas.”

December 30, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Education | Leave a comment

How did the US nuclear industry fare in 2022?

Nuclear plants big and small are getting support from the feds. Still, problems persist — TerraPower can’t source fuel, Oklo and NuScale are tangled in red tape, and more.

Canary Media 28 December 2022 Eric Wesoff

The U.S. nuclear power market continued to sputter in 2022 as it faced regulatory, technical and financial setbacks — despite solid support from the federal government. 

This mirrors the global nuclear scene; plant closings and construction delays have resulted in nuclear falling to just 9.8 percent of global power generation in 2021, its lowest level since the 1980s, according to the World Nuclear Industry 2022 annual report.

The United States generates more nuclear power than any other country in the world, with about 95 gigawatts of capacity, followed by China, but construction of new plants has been plagued by cost and schedule overruns, as well as an inability to keep up with the plunging costs of natural gas and renewable energy sources. Still, nuclear power provides a crucial 20 percent of U.S. electricity from the 92 light-water reactors that were built in a seemingly unreplicable construction binge in the 1970s and ​‘80s.

Some of these plants are struggling financially, many are approaching their decommission dates, and the only new large reactors constructed in recent memory, at the Plant Vogtle in Georgia, have been calamitous money pits brimming with incompetence and even fraud.

Here are the U.S. nuclear industry’s highs and lows from 2022. 

Diablo Canyon lives

Diablo Canyon, California’s last remaining nuclear plant, was granted up to $1.1 billion in support from the U.S. Department of Energy in November, which might allow the two-reactor plant to remain in business. ……………..

Still, Diablo faces a reckoning with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission regarding its license, as the plant must now confront years of deferred maintenance in the run-up to its anticipated retirement. 

Fuel loading at Vogtle

On October 17, Georgia Power reported that ​“fuel load” into the Plant Vogtle Unit 3 reactor core had been completed, marking an overdue milestone in the bumpy journey of getting two new reactors at this power plant up and running. During the fuel-loading process, technicians and operators transferred scores of fuel assemblies one by one to the Unit 3 reactor…………………….

On December 7, Vogtle’s Unit 4 completed cold hydro testing, the penultimate step before hot functional testing, which is scheduled to begin early next year. 

The two units are the first new nuclear units to be built in the U.S. in more than three decades — and they haven’t made nuclear power look good. The project is six years overdue and will cost utility customers over $30 billion, more than double the original price tag. DOE’s Loan Programs Office provided more than $12 billion in loan guarantees to help complete Vogtle’s expansion.

DOE and IRA love nuclear power

The Biden administration is committed to maintaining the existing nuclear fleet and bringing innovative, new nuclear-reactor designs to market.

The Inflation Reduction Act provides generous production credits for existing nuclear plants and added premiums for meeting prevailing-wage requirements. These credits offer a potential $30 billion lifeline to struggling plants at risk of early retirement. 

The IRA also provides a tax credit for advanced nuclear reactors and a credit of up to 30 percent for microreactors, while devoting $700 million to support the development of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU), the highly enriched fuel used in many advanced nuclear reactors. 

This funding is in addition to the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $6 billion Civil Nuclear Credit program, which lets existing U.S. reactors bid on credits to help support their continued operations. The DOE’s Loan Programs Office also has $11 billion in funding for nuclear plants and nuclear supply chains, according to Jigar Shah, director of the office. 

………………………….. TerraPower and dozens of other advanced nuclear startups require a concentrated form of fuel — HALEU. But the only current commercial supplier of HALEU is Tenex, a Russian state-owned company. That wasn’t a great situation even before Russia invaded Ukraine.

In mid-December, TerraPower announced that it has pushed back the planned start date for its reactor because depending on HALEU sourced from Russia had become an unworkable business plan. ​“Given the lack of fuel availability now, and that there has been no construction started on new fuel enrichment facilities, TerraPower is anticipating a minimum of a two-year delay to being able to bring the Natrium reactor into operation,” said CEO Chris Levesque.

The world’s fleet of light-water reactors runs almost entirely on fuel enriched to 3 to 5 percent U-235, which is classified as low-enriched uranium (LEU). In contrast, the vast majority of non-light-water reactor designs in development, like TerraPower’s, run on enrichments of 5 to 20 percent (HALEU).

X-energy goes public via SPAC

X-energy, a developer of small modular nuclear reactors and fuel, is going public through the magic of a merger with Ares Acquisition Corporation, a publicly traded special-purpose acquisition company…………… Once the disreputable domain of pink-sheet over-the-counter stocks, SPACs have become an acceptable way for companies to go public without the burden of revenue or the actual due diligence most public companies go through. ………………………………………………..

NuScale’s NRC blues………….

https://www.canarymedia.com/articles/nuclear/how-did-the-us-nuclear-industry-fare-in-2022

December 30, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

US spies pushed Twitter to censor ‘anti-Ukraine narratives’ – media

more

 https://www.rt.com/news/568879-twitter-files-cia-collusion/ 28 Dec 22

New batch of of files exposes collusion with ‘other government agencies’.

The Pentagon, CIA and other US intelligence and law-enforcement agencies became increasingly “more aggressive” with takedown requests, the latest trove of Twitter files has revealed. The documents suggest the agencies were effectively pushing the platform to censor foreign-policy stories that ran against the Washington-approved narrative.

The files show the FBI acting as doorman to a vast program of social media surveillance and censorship, encompassing agencies across the federal government – from the State Department to the Pentagon to the CIA,” journalist Matt Taibbi wrote in the Christmas Eve edition of the Twitter Files, released with the blessing of the social media platform’s owner, Elon Musk.

Thousands of censorship requests flowed to Twitter from what were termed OGA” in the documents, or “Other Government Organizations,” through the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force. 

Twitter executives often struggled to validate government claims, but were under constant pressure to find evidence to blame any foreign actor, Russia in particular.

“Found no links to Russia,” an unnamed analyst said in one of the emails, later suggesting he could “brainstorm” to “find a stronger connection.” Former Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth admitted in another instance that he’d found “no real matches using the info.”

Internal communications show that Twitter had been getting so many requests that its executives had to improvise a system for prioritizing them. The feds had dedicated personnel tasked with tailoring takedown requests to Twitter’s policies for faster processing, which the execs acknowledged as “odd,” but even then the company often struggled to justify censorship.

“Many people wonder if Internet platforms receive direction from intelligence agencies about moderation of foreign policy news stories. It appears Twitter did, in some cases by way of the FITF/FBI,” Taibbi wrote. At least some of these directives originated at the CIA, according to former agent and whistleblower John Kiriakou, who said he “recognized the formatting.” 

The feds sometimes sent massive batches of over 1,000 accounts lined up for “digital execution,” with only a brief explanation of the alleged problems. On multiple occasions they accused “Russian agents” of directing accounts that highlighted “predominantly anti-Ukraine narratives” or documented “purported rights abuses committed by Ukrainians.”

Another intelligence assessment sent to Twitter claimed that accounts spreading information about “neo-Nazis” in Ukraine were part of a Kremlin-controlled propaganda campaign and must be banned. 

In what Taibbi called a damning admission,” an unnamed former CIA-turned-Twitter executive once noted that the “government partners” were getting increasingly “aggressive” with their takedown requests.

In what Taibbi called a damning admission,” an unnamed former CIA-turned-Twitter executive once noted that the “government partners” were getting increasingly “aggressive” with their takedown requests.

“Due to a lack of technical evidence on our end, I’ve generally left it be, waiting for more evidence,” he said about the InfoBRICS account. He further argued that since “BRICS is an inherently Russia-dominated economic organization” it was “always likely…directed by the Kremlin.”

“Our window on that is closing, given that government partners are becoming more aggressive on attribution and reporting on it…I’m going to go ahead with suspension and marking the domain UNSAFE.”

Spearheaded by Taibbi in cooperation with fellow reporters Bari Weiss, Lee Fang, and others, the Twitter Files have shed light on several controversial decisions made by the company, including material surrounding the suspension of ex-President Donald Trump, the practice of shadow banning, as well as a site-wide ban on a New York Post report about the foreign business dealings of Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden.

The files also explained how the US intelligence community worked hand-in-glove with the platform to flag speech for suspension that the US government deemed “misinformation,” and showed how the FBI and Twitter locked horns over the agency’s claims of increased activity by ‘propaganda’ bots, of which Twitter said it found no evidence.

December 30, 2022 Posted by | media, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Every social media firm censors for US government – Musk

Platforms remove content at the “explicit direction” of US federal agencies, the Twitter CEO has claimed.

Rt.com 28 Dec 22,

All social media platforms work with the US government to censor content, Twitter CEO Elon Musk claimed on Tuesday. Documents released by Musk following his purchase of Twitter showed that the platform colluded with the FBI, CIA, Pentagon and other government agencies to suppress information on elections, Ukraine, and Covid-19.

“*Every* social media company is engaged in heavy censorship, with significant involvement of and, at times, explicit direction of the government,” Musk tweeted, adding that “Google frequently makes links disappear, for example.”

Musk was referring to internal Twitter communications published by journalist Matt Taibbi with his approval, which suggested that the platform’s senior executives held regular meetings with members of the FBI and CIA, during which the agencies gave them lists of “hundreds of problem accounts” to suspend in the run-up to the 2020 election.

In addition to Twitter, the government was in contact “with virtually every major tech firm,” Taibbi claimed“These included Facebook, Microsoft, Verizon, Reddit, even Pinterest.” CIA agents “nearly always” sat in on meetings of these firms with the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force, Taibbi claimed, explaining that although this task force was convened to fight alleged election interference by foreign states, it made “mountains of domestic moderation requests.”

lawsuit filed earlier this year by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana alleges that officials from no fewer than 12 government agencies met weekly with representatives of Twitter, Facebook, and other Big Tech firms in 2020 to decide which narratives and users to censor, with topics ranging from alleged election interference to Covid-19…………………………….
 https://www.rt.com/news/569016-musk-social-media-censorship/

December 30, 2022 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | 2 Comments

TODAY: The growing influence of the nuclear lobby on education

It’s one thing for the nuclear lobby to pour money into universities in the USA and UK, to set up prestigious-looking nuclear departments. That’s one way to gain the respectability, approval and awe that the nuclear priesthood crave.

The original scientists of the Manhattan atomic bomb project enjoyed adulation (for a while) when everyone was encouraged to think that their brilliant device saved the world from Hitler. But that adoration faded as it transpired that Japan would have surrendered anyway, and the war in Europe was over, months before the “wonderful” bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

To assuage their guilt, most nuclear scientists enthusiastically embraced “Atoms for Peace” – and off and away went the public story that nuclear power is so good. The nuclear priesthood, being highly technical and male – developed a mindset, a reductionist point of view – the idea that technical achievement is all-important, and side issues like radiation effects, biology, environment, ecology, health, economics, history, criminal connections, are – well – just side issues.

But dammit! Those side issues just keep on coming up. Perhaps this is because the universities have been teaching too much of that other girlie “soft” stuff. So we need not just more more Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – but Nuclear Science now too!

Australian journalist Liam Mannix, covers this new nuclear lobby push in his article ‘Cherish’ the power”, and points out that the uranium and nuclear industries have much more money to push for their interests, than do those “more socially constructive areas”.

The previous government in Australia determinedly downgraded humanities studies. Perhaps this is a worldwide trend. Anyway there is a saving grace for increasing STEM education – it gives girls and women that necessary knowledge – traditionally reserved for males. They, and men who can think, can gain the knowledge they need, to better evaluate pro nuclear propaganda.

Perhaps the world does need more nuclear scientists – there will be much need for them, in the marathon tasks of dismantling the toxic nuclear power/nuclear weapons industry. But we surely need also more humanities education, to understand and face the crises coming upon the world.

December 29, 2022 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment