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Safety of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant hangs in the balance

Guardian, Julian Borger 13 Dec 22,

Shelling near the six-reactor facility plus a shortage of workers and uncertain backup power could be making it the most dangerous place on Earth…….

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant’s silhouette – with its two fat cooling towers and the row of six squat blocks – has become globally familiar since it was dubbed the most dangerous place on Earth: six nuclear reactors on the frontline of a catastrophic war.

On a fairly typical night last week, the Russians on the left bank of the river fired 40 shells and rockets into Nikopol, a town on the Ukrainian-held right bank, falling on its rows of krushchevky, five-storey blocks of flats built for factory workers in the 1960s and named after the Soviet leader of the time.

After 10 months of war, the blocks are half empty, so there are fewer people to kill. The only reported casualty on this particular night was a 65-year-old man who was taken to hospital, and whose flat now afforded such a comprehensive view of the power plant.

By the next morning, the repairs had already begun. An electrician restored power to the rest of the building, and two men were in the remains of the apartment itself, sweeping up and putting chipboard in place of absent walls.

There were four loud bangs as the Ukrainian army guns on the nearby riverbank opened fire on Russian positions and, a few minutes later, Nikopol’s air sirens sounded in anticipation of a Russian response, though none was forthcoming that morning.

The basements of the krushchevky have been turned into shelters with beds and school desks but most of the remaining population are so inured to bombardment, they just carry on with their day.

The Ukrainians insist they are extremely careful about what they shoot at, even when they receive fire from the vicinity of the Zaporizhzhia plant. On Thursday, the Ukrainian nuclear power company, Energoatom, accused Russia of bringing Grad multiple launch rocket systems near reactor number 6, which is near the area of where spent nuclear fuel is kept. The likely aim, Energoatom alleged, was to shell Nikopol and the nearby town of Marzanets, using their position as cover.

The walls of the reactors are thick enough to withstand artillery fire, but a direct hit on the spent fuel containers could well lead to the release of radioactive material into the atmosphere. Since seizing control of the power station in March, the Russians have begun building a concrete shelter over the spent fuel, but Ukrainian officials say it is being done without following the normal international safety protocols.

Earlier in the week, Russia’s defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, accused Ukraine of “nuclear terrorism”, saying its armed forces had fired 33 large calibre shells at the Zaporizhzhia plant over the previous two weeks. The most recent report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has four inspectors at the Russian-occupied site, said last Friday there had been no shelling of the plant since 20 November, although artillery fire had landed in the vicinity………………………………………..

It was not possible to verify Kotin and Orlov’s accounts of the shelling, or the counter-claims from Moscow. Satellite imagery however, has confirmed that the Russian army is storing military equipment inside the plant.

The IAEA inspectors on site could theoretically determine the trajectory of incoming rockets or shells but such detective work is not within their mandate. The agency is negotiating the creation of a security no-fire zone around the reactors, but Kyiv is insisting Russia must first withdraw all its weapons and armour from the power station, something Moscow has not so far agreed to.

Meanwhile there is a parallel safety threat from within the plant itself: the steady attrition of its workforce over the 10 months of the conflict. Many key workers have left because of the danger to their families or because they refused to work for the Russians. Of the 11,000-strong workforce before the full-scale invasion, just 4,000 are left. In an attempt to stop the exodus, the Russians have circulated lists of plant staff to all military checkpoints in the region with orders they are not be allowed to leave, but it has been too late to stop a major outflow.

“In some cases, there’s only three people to cover a seven or eight-person shift,” Orlov said. “People don’t have enough rest. It causes exhaustion.”

Operating under armed occupation adds to the stress. The workers still at the plant are under constant pressure to sign contracts with Rosatom, the Russian energy company, signifying acceptance of Moscow’s control.

Melynchuk said there were just enough staff left to maintain the plant in its current state of suspended animation, with all the reactors shut down, and two of them deliberately kept hot, to provide heating for Enerhodar.

But keeping reactors in this hot standby mode is a difficult and delicate process, adding to the burden on the operators. The situation could get worse still. The Zaporizhzhia plant is currently connected to the Ukrainian grid, but there have been times the transmission lines have been brought down by shelling, forcing the power station to fall back on diesel generators to keep the cooling system running and prevent the reactor vessel from meltdown.

If the connection to the grid was severed again, it would add to the pressure on the overstretched workforce and on the generators, which were only designed as a temporary backup. They will need maintenance and no one knows how much diesel fuel the plant has left. Once the diesel generators failed, meltdown would begin in a matter of hours………


December 13, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | 1 Comment

INTERVIEW: Ukraine has lost the war, it just isn’t over yet, says Col

“INTERVIEW: #Nato sabotaging the #NordStream2 pipeline and firing missiles 400 miles into #Russia is insanely reckless and risks provoking nuclear armageddon 9 Dec 22

December 13, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Military Groomers Are Increasingly Infiltrating US High Schools

Caitlin Johnstone more 3 Dec 22.

Protect your kids.

New York Times report has found that enrollment in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC), a Pentagon-funded program designed to groom children for military service, is increasingly becoming mandatory in US high schools.

“J.R.O.T.C. programs, taught by military veterans at some 3,500 high schools across the country, are supposed to be elective, and the Pentagon has said that requiring students to take them goes against its guidelines,” the report says. “But The New York Times found that thousands of public school students were being funneled into the classes without ever having chosen them, either as an explicit requirement or by being automatically enrolled.”

“While Pentagon officials have long insisted that J.R.O.T.C. is not a recruiting tool, they have openly discussed expanding the $400 million-a-year program, whose size has already tripled since the 1970s, as a way of drawing more young people into military service. The Army says 44 percent of all soldiers who entered its ranks in recent years came from a school that offered J.R.O.T.C.,” the Times reports.

And before you ask, no, the Pentagon’s grooming program is not being forced on kids in Malibu and the Hamptons.

“A vast majority of the schools with those high enrollment numbers were attended by a large proportion of nonwhite students and those from low-income households,” the Times reports, naming Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Oklahoma City, and Mobile, Alabama as cities where high schools are funneling kids into the program en masse.

Defenders of mandatory JROTC enrollment reportedly cite the need to “divert students away from drugs or violence” and “the allure of drugs and gangs” in urban areas, as though corralling them into the single most violent gang on Earth is a deterrence from violence and gangs. Grooming students to go kill foreigners for crude oil is not my idea of a healthy diversion from youthful error, but maybe that’s just me.

This would probably be a good time to remind readers that poverty in the United States is one of the Pentagon’s most effective recruiting tools, with Army officials explicitly acknowledging that young people’s inability to afford a college education on their own is responsible for their success in meeting recruitment goals, and US lawmakers warning that helping people pay off crushing student debt will hurt recruitment. US military recruiters have an established record of targeting poorer schools, because impoverished communities often see military service as their only chance at upward mobility

The New York Times describes a cult-like environment in these JROTC programs where “parents in some cities say their children are being forced to put on military uniforms, obey a chain of command and recite patriotic declarations in classes they never wanted to take,” with special textbooks which “at times falsify or downplay the failings of the U.S. government.” And if even The New York Times believes you’re falsifying and downplaying the failings of the US government, it’s got to be pretty bad.

Victims of the military grooming program told the Times that they were put in frequent contact with military recruiters who pushed the idea of enlisting to pay for college, with one student saying a male recruiter “still texts me to this day” even well after graduation.

I’m not sure how American parents could possibly read of such things without being intensely creeped out.

Every day I see US conservatives mindlessly bleating about “groomers” in the LGBT community trying to turn children into sexual deviants, claiming kids are being “indoctrinated” in school by learning about gay marriage and respect for trans people, but none of them seem to have any problem with the real-life indoctrination and grooming kids are subjected to by the most murderous and depraved institution in the world.

December 13, 2022 Posted by | Education, USA | 1 Comment

US Nuclear Bomber Erupts In Flames After Emergency Landing; US Air Force Confirms Mishap With B-2 Spirit Dangwal, December 12, 2022

On December 10, a USAF B-2 Spirit stealth bomber made an emergency landing due to an in-flight emergency at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.

The incident occurred at Whiteman AFB in Missouri, which serves as the primary base for the fleet of only 20 B-2s currently operating. The news first appeared on the internet and was subsequently verified by the US Air Force. 

A fire broke out following the landing. However, the damage suffered by the aircraft is still unclear. A base spokesperson confirmed that Whiteman’s fire department suppressed the flames. 

The 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs office said, “A US Air Force B-2 Spirit experienced an in-flight malfunction during routine operations today and was damaged on the runway at Whiteman Air Force Base after it completed an emergency landing.”

Meanwhile, Whiteman Airbase recently released a video displaying the readiness of the B-2 bomber fleet. A few weeks ago, the Air Force also published images of an unprecedented “elephant walk” of eight B-2s taxiing on the runway.

The latest incident looks to be similar to a B-2 emergency landing that took place at the same base in September 2021. The B-2 involved in that incident had its left wing down on the ground after skidding off the runway during an emergency landing.

December 13, 2022 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

UK government ‘s announcement was NOT yet a funding decision for Sizewell C nuclear, just an exclusion of China from the project

 Steve Thomas: The UK government’s announcement of November 29, 2022 on
funding the Sizewell C nuclear power project was widely reported as a
decision to invest in the plant and to complete the exit of China General
Nuclear (CGN) from the project.3

However, close examination of the press
releases by the Government4 and by EDF5 suggest it was no more than the
long-anticipated buying out of China General Nuclear from the project and
funds to allow the development of the project to the point of a Final
Investment Decision (FID).

The budget set up by EDF and CGN to fund this
phase of the project appears to be spent and new funds were needed if the
project was not to stall. Nevertheless, this announcement has important
implications not only for the Sizewell C project but also for the Hinkley
Point C and Bradwell B projects and for the nuclear stations expected to
follow Sizewell C.

 Stop Sizewell C 12th Dec 2022

December 13, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear fusion – if it eventually works – will require many hundreds of millions of dollars

 ‘It’s one of the biggest results of science in the past 20-30
years’. But turning the newest breakthrough at a U.S. Energy Department
lab into abundant, carbon-free power may require hundreds of billions of
dollars. And many technical hurdles await.


 Politico 12th Dec 2022

December 13, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Researchers claim a breakthrough in nuclear fusion, but that does not mean fusion as an energy force any time soon.

 Researchers have reportedly made a breakthrough in the quest to unlock a
“near-limitless, safe, clean” source of energy: they have got more
energy out of a nuclear fusion reaction than they put in. Nuclear fusion
involves smashing together light elements such as hydrogen to form heavier
elements, releasing a huge burst of energy in the process. The approach,
which gives rise to the heat and light of the sun and other stars, has been
hailed as having huge potential as a sustainable, low-carbon energy source.

However, since nuclear fusion research began in the 1950s, researchers have
been unable to a demonstrate a positive energy gain, a condition known as
ignition. Now, it seems, the Rubicon has been crossed.

But experts have
stressed that while the results would be an important proof of principle,
the technology is a long way from being a mainstay of the energy landscape.
To start with, 0.4MJ is about 0.1kWh – about enough energy to boil a
kettle. “To turn fusion into a power source we’ll need to boost the
energy gain still further,” said Chittenden. “We’ll also need to find
a way to reproduce the same effect much more frequently and much more
cheaply before we can realistically turn this into a power plant.” And
there is another point: the positive energy gain reported ignores the 500MJ
of energy that was put into the lasers themselves.

 Guardian 12th Dec 2022

December 13, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, technology | Leave a comment

France wants to cut its electricity exports to UK as its aging nuclear reactors are limited, with maintenance issues

 France requests electricity exports to UK are cut as Europe’s energy
crisis deepens. France and Britain exchange energy across the Channel via
interconnections, but France’s nuclear power output has taken a hit in
recent months. France’s electricity network operator RTE has reportedly
asked the National Grid if it could slash its scheduled exports to Britain
in half between 8am and 9am this morning. It is said it struggled to cope
with surging demand amid its own power issues, and cold temperatures. The
power output issues were reportedly brought on by a lethal combination of
the plunging mercury, strikes across its nuclear sector and delayed
maintenance on its fleet of ageing nuclear reactors.

 Express 12th Dec 2022

December 13, 2022 Posted by | ENERGY, France | Leave a comment

Mini nuclear reactor firms battle it out in UK for approval and government support

Rolls-Royce rivals gear up for mini-nuke race as power system creaks.
Nuclear power is seen as essential to protect Britain from future energy
shocks. Rolls Royce has long been at the vanguard of Britain’s nuclear
industry, with more than half of the UK’s £385m fund to support advanced
projects in the field allocated to Rolls’s mini-nukes programme.

But the
company’s dominance is now being challenged by a new breed of scrappy
start-ups who believe their technology could make Britain a world leader in
nuclear power. “You should have another viable alternative that you’re
supporting,” says Rick Springman, an executive at US mini-nuke company
Holtec. “When you invest in stocks, do you put all your money in one

Nuclear power is seen as central to the UK’s goal of meeting
its Net Zero targets, improving energy security and reducing its reliance
on Russian oil. Last month, Rolls said its small modular reactors (SMRs),
or so-called mini-nukes, could supply a fifth of the UK’s total
electricity capacity to homes across England and Wales by the end of the
decade. The reactors use existing nuclear technology on a smaller scale
than traditional power plants. Each can generate about 470MW of power and
last at least 60 years. The Government has picked eight sites for new
nuclear projects including Sellafield in Cumbria and Bradwell, Essex, to
place new projects. Other sites such as Trawsfynydd in the Snowdonia
national park are also being considered. Rolls-Royce has chosen four it
would like to build on, earmarked for their existing infrastructure and
connections to the grid.

Rivals want access to these initial sites to prove
their power stations work. Proof that they can power the grid in the UK
could open up opportunities to launch projects abroad. They believe their
technology offers advantages.

London-based Newcleo, for instance, wants to
use some of the UK’s plutonium stockpile for fuel and Last Energy’s
design aims to use more off-the-shelf components, offering a speedier
build. Meanwhile, Holtec is developing a reactor which can be cooled in an
emergency without external power. While Rolls is planning 470MW reactors,
equivalent to more than 150 onshore wind turbines, Holtec plans 160MW
units. Holtec’s reactor could share a site with Rolls-Royce or another

The forthcoming Hinkley Point C, with power of 3.2GW, is on a
160 hectare site. By comparison, a single Holtec reactor will occupy six
hectares, or about 10 football pitches. The push for approvals comes as
deals elsewhere are signed elsewhere. GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy signed a
deal last year with Canada’s Ontario Power Generation to deliver one of
its BWRX-300 units which could be online as early as 2028. Deals for GE to
build 10 more in Poland followed weeks later. In February, French President
Emmanuel Macron agreed €1bn of funding for EDF’s Nuward SMR which could
be generating electricity by 2030.

Last Energy wrote to the Parliamentary
committee to say that “excessive Government funding for early stage
development activities” can crowd out “entrants and innovation,” and
that having a preferred supplier – a status Rolls-Royce enjoys in the UK –
may limit the field.

 Telegraph 12th Dec 2022

December 13, 2022 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear news – week to 13 December.

A bit of good news – Once devastated Pacific reefs see amazing recovery.

Coronavirus.  COVID is running rampant in China and its hospitals are overwhelmed.  Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Weekly Epidemiological Update

Climate.          Climate Honesty – Ending Climate Brightsiding, ( but also including revolutionary technology – mirrors to reflect the sun’s energy back into space). Climate change could force 1.2 billion to move by 2050. Is the world even remotely ready?

Nuclear.  Is the West playing some sort of Russian roulette with the war in Ukraine?   Supplying Zelensky with long range missiles, that Ukraine is now using to target sites within Russia –    this amounts to some sick sort of game of chicken.   How far can we push Putin into using even more devastating methods against Ukraine?   Of course nobody’s going to use “tactical” supposedly sorta “little”” nuclear weapons, are they? 

Do the men who run the world ever consider the psychology of the macho military men who are mad keen to use the most powerful weapons?  So much easier and quicker to make such a decision , compared with the dreary task of negotiating an end to the horror, an end which would mean conceding to some of Russia’s not unrealistic demands.  Meanwhile Zelensky and co are being bolstered with all sorts of honours and acclaim – encouraged to continue in their ultranationalistic  and probaly suicidal dream of complete victory over Russia.


CIVIL LIBERTIES. Biden faces growing pressure to drop charges against Julian Assange.

ECONOMICS. Another dodgy Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) set up to promote small nuclear reactors

EDUCATION. Nuclear lobby continues to capture universities

ENERGY.  Every home and community could be a power station’: the Nuclear Free Local Authorities’s future renewable energy vision for Wales. How to scale rooftop community solar in cities, UK policy changes: windfalls and renewables.

ENVIRONMENT. ‘Humanity has become a weapon of mass extinction‘. Past time for action — France should clean up atomic mess in Algeria. Commitments to nuclear HS2 and Sizewell C undermine UK Government promises on climate.


LEGAL. Revealing He Too Had Manning Leaks, Ellsberg Dares Justice Dept to Prosecute Him Like Assange

NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY. ‘New’ Nuclear Reactors Will Make Us a Guinea Pig Nation. Will small modular reactors seed a nuclear renaissance? THE ROBOTS OF FUKUSHIMA: GOING WHERE NO HUMAN HAS GONE BEFORE (AND LIVED).

OPPOSITION TO NUCLEAR. Ineos Grangemouth refinery: Anti-nuclear campaigners will put up a huge fight against any attempt to build small nuclear reactors – Dr Richard Dixon.


POLITICS INTERNATIONAL and DIPLOMACY. Macron: Russia Needs Security Guarantees ‘Essential’ To Ending The War. USA and UK welded together firmly in the grip of the nuclear lobby, with their Small Nuclear Reactor folly. UN: Israel must take ‘immediate steps’ to give up nuclear weaponsJapanese prime minister may seek in-depth nuclear abolition talks at Hiroshima G7 summit.

SAFETY.Why nuclear-powered France faces power outage risks. France: EDF extends nuclear outages by up to 42 days. Finland warns of power outage risk over nuclear plant startup delay – Olkiluoto 3 reactor unreliable?       Slovakia’s new nuclear power plant delayed due to a technical fault.           US imposes sanctions on six Pakistan companies for unsafeguarded nuclear activities.          TVA sends calendars to households near nuclear plants with preparedness tips in case of emergencies.

SECRETS and LIES. How the Global Spyware Industry Spiraled Out of Control.

SPINBUSTERWatch Stella Assange Slap The Mustache Off John Bolton’s War Criminal Face.

WASTES. The world’s deepest nuclear clean-up – the Dounreay shaftNuclear waste permit ‘more stringent’ New Mexico says as feds look to renew for 10 years.

WAR and CONFLICTNATO Chief Voices Fear Of War With Russia While US Greenlights Drone Strikes On Russian Territory.   Putin: Nuclear risk is rising, but we are not mad.      Ukraine war: Red Cross appeal, Kremlin sees Crimea attack ‘risks’.        Maligned in Western Media, Donbass Forces are Defending their Future from Ukrainian Shelling and Fascism.     PETER HITCHENS: The arrogance and folly in Ukraine that could yet send us hurtling towards nuclear catastrophe.’         Warfare Development Conference: NATO touts successful operations on four continents

WEAPONS INDUSTRY. Are the bombs are back in town? US atomic weapons in Britain would make nuclear war more likely. U.S. provides more missiles to Ukraine in new $275 million arms package Weapons interoperability and “sovereignty”: Polish state bank backs purchase of $4b more in U.S. arms . What could possibly go wrong?

December 13, 2022 Posted by | Christina's notes | 6 Comments