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

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. 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.


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

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,, 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.

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

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………………….


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

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