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Corporate media focusses on ‘new’ nuclear solutions. Are they stupid? Or is it just what they’re paid to write?

The truth is that there are so many faster, simpler, and cheaper new ways to provide energy, conserve energy, and produce genuinely clean energy .

Some examples –  commercially-viable perovskite solar cells,  printable solar cells, production-ready solar-powered car

There are projects like car parking spaces covered with solar panels. The possibility of cooling buildings by mirrors on rooftops is being explored.

The many clean new ways, and old ways, to manage energy don’t get the political and media support that they deserve.

Yet the corporate journalists must know that SMRs are: very Slow, very Costly, very Dirty (produce long-lived wastes, very Dangerous (target for terrorism)

Yesterday I deplored the corporate media’s enthusiastic focus on Small Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) Today they’re at it again. In the UK, “NuCell” SMRs will  be worth “some tens of millions of pounds” to the local economy, and will make Britain “a global leader” – BBC. In the USA they’re a “bold new direction“, and will be “powering everything from homes to factories to transportation – American Opinion editorial .

Last week, it was nuclear-fusion-enthusiasm, but that’s fading away now – it was a useful little distraction from the reality of the sagging nuclear power industry.

However – perhaps I write too soon.

For one thing – NuScam and Rolls Royce – the leading pushers of SMRs have been rather quiet lately. Their propaganda now concentrates on their political gymnastics to get tax-payers’ money out of governments, build dodgy mergers between companies, and adopt systems like SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) – designed to save their skins when it all goes bust.

For another thing – some corporate journalists now dip their toe into the negative side of the SMR story.

Larry Pearl, senior editor for Utility Dive points out the big questions about cost and safety of SMRs. In Canada’s National Observer Cloe Logan concludes her long article with the big question “Are SMRs viable? “Although the plans for these next-generation nuclear units might hypothetically work, their viability hasn’t been proven anywhere.”  Robert Cyran in Reuters is sceptical of any nuclear revival –  “a surging supply of green power is likely to limit any renaissance”.

Of course, all good patriotic corporate journalists stay away from the military connection – the underlying reason for the push for small nuclear reactors


January 4, 2023 Posted by | Christina's notes | 1 Comment

Electromagnetic radiation – cellphones as a health hazard

What to Know About Cellphone Radiation,, by Peter Elkind Jan. 4,2023

To many people, the notion that cellphones or cell towers might present a health risk long ago receded into a realm somewhere between trivial concern and conspiracy theory. For decades, the wireless industry has dismissed such ideas as fearmongering, and federal regulators have maintained that cellphones pose no danger.

But a growing body of scientific research is raising questions, with the stakes heightened by the ongoing deployment of hundreds of thousands of new transmitters in neighborhoods across America. ProPublica recently examined the issue in detail, finding that the chief government regulator, the Federal Communications Commission, relies on an exposure standard from 1996, when the Motorola StarTAC flip phone was cutting edge, and that the agency brushed aside a lengthy study by a different arm of the federal government that found that cellphone radiation caused rare cancers and DNA damage in lab animals.

The newest generation of cellphone technology, known as 5G, remains largely untested.

Here’s what you need to know:

Do cellphones give off radiation?

Yes. Both cellphones and wireless transmitters (which are mounted on towers, street poles and rooftops) send and receive radio-frequency energy, called “nonionizing radiation.” The amount of this radiation absorbed by the human body depends on how close a person is to a phone and a cell transmitter, as well as the strength of the signal the phone needs to connect with a transmitter.  Cellphones displaying fewer bars, which means their connection with a transmitter is weak, require stronger power to communicate and so produce more radiation. Wireless transmitters, for their part, emit radiation continually, but little of that is absorbed unless a person is very close to the transmitter.

What does the science say about this? Is it harmful?

That’s the multibillion-dollar question. Government-approved cellphones are required to keep radiation exposure well below levels that the FCC considers dangerous. Those safeguards, however, have not changed since 1996, and they focus exclusively on the unlikely prospect of “thermal” harm: the potential for overheating body tissue, as a microwave oven would. The government guidelines do not address other potential forms of harm.

But a growing body of research has found evidence of health risks even when people are exposed to radiation below the FCC limits. The array of possible harms ranges from effects on fertility and fetal development to associations with cancer. Some studies of people living near cell towers have also confirmed an array of health complaints, including dizziness, nausea, headaches, tinnitus and insomnia, from people identified as having “electromagnetic hypersensitivity.”

The most sensational — and hotly debated — health fear about wireless radiation is cancer. In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization, cited troubling but uncertain evidence in classifying wireless radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” In 2018, a study by the federal government that was nearly two decades in the making found “clear evidence” that cellphone radiation caused cancer in lab animals. A major study in Italy produced similar results.

Do cellphones pose any special health risks for kids?

Some experts say they do, citing studies suggesting children’s thinner, smaller skulls and developing brains leave them more vulnerable to the effects of cellphone radiation. The American Academy of Pediatrics embraces this concern and has for years urged the FCC to revisit its radiation standards, saying they don’t adequately protect kids. More than 20 foreign governments, as well as the European Environment Agency, urge precautionary steps to limit wireless exposure, especially for children.

What about risks in pregnancy?

A Yale study found hyperactivity and reduced memory in mice exposed to cellphone radiation in the womb, consistent with human epidemiological research showing a rise in behavioral disorders among children who were exposed to cellphones in the womb. Dr. Hugh Taylor, the author of the mouse study and chair of the obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences department at the Yale School of Medicine, told ProPublica: “The evidence is really, really strong now that there is a causal relationship between cellphone radiation exposure and behavior issues in children.”

What does the U.S. government say about cellphone radiation?

The key federal agencies — the FCC and the Food and Drug Administration — have echoed the wireless industry and a number of other groups in rejecting evidence of any “nonthermal” human health risk, saying it remains unproven. The government websites also reject the claim that children face any special risk.

In 2019, during the administration of President Donald Trump, the FCC shut down a six-year review of its 1996 wireless-radiation safety standards. The agency rejected pleas to make the standards more stringent, saying it had seen no evidence its safeguards were “outdated or insufficient to protect human safety.” In 2021, however, a federal appeals court ordered the FCC to revisit the issue, saying the agency had ignored evidence of an array of noncancer harms to humans, animals and the environment, and that its decision to uphold its exposure standard failed to meet “even the low threshold of reasoned analysis.” The FCC has taken no formal action since then.

Why is the issue not resolved?

Determining wireless radiation’s health effects with certainty is difficult. Researchers cannot ethically subject people to endless hours of cellphone radiation to gauge the results. Scientists have to rely on alternatives such as animal studies or epidemiological research, where challenges include getting subjects to accurately recount their wireless use and pinpointing the specific causes of disease or harm. Many health effects of toxic exposure, especially cancer, take years or decades to appear. And the mechanisms of how wireless radiation could affect the body at the cellular level are poorly understood.

Research funding on the issue has also been scarce in the U.S., despite frequent calls for more study. Research (and researchers) raising health concerns have come under sharp attack from industry, and government regulators have remained skeptical. A key FDA official, for example, dismissed the relevance of the federal study that found “clear evidence” of cancer in lab animals, saying it wasn’t designed to test the safety of cellphone use in humans, even though his agency had commissioned the research for that reason.

Linda Birnbaum, who led the federal agency that conducted the cellphone study, said that while proof of harm remains elusive, what is known means that precautions are merited. “Do I see a smoking gun? Not per se,” she told ProPublica. “But do I see smoke? Absolutely. There’s enough data now to say that things can happen. … Protective policy is needed today. We really don’t need more science to know that we should be reducing exposures.”

If I’m concerned about the risk, are there precautions I can take to protect myself and my family?

Because exposure varies dramatically with your proximity to the source of the radiation, experts say a key to minimizing risk is increasing your distance from the phone. This means keeping any cellphone that’s turned on away from direct contact with your body. Don’t keep it in your bra, in your pocket or (especially if you’re pregnant) against your abdomen, they say. And instead of holding the phone against your head when you talk, use a speaker or wired earphones. (Wireless headsets, such as AirPods, also emit some radiation.) Try to avoid making calls when the phone is telling you the signal is weak because that boosts the radiation level. You can also limit exposure by simply reducing how much time you spend talking on your cellphone and texting instead, they say. Using an old-fashioned landline avoids the problem altogether.

January 4, 2023 Posted by | ASIA, radiation | Leave a comment

Los Alamos National Laboratory’s record $4.6B budget will still mostly fund nuclear weapons

Sante Fe New Mexican By Scott Wyland Jan 4, 2023 

Los Alamos National Laboratory’s record $4.6 billion budget for this fiscal year will give officials an unprecedented amount of money for its nuclear weapons program, which still makes up the bulk of the lab’s spending.

The lab’s hefty funding was part of the U.S. Energy Department’s budget request tucked into the recently passed $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package, which will cover the costs of agencies and programs through this fiscal year, ending in October.

Roughly 70 percent of the lab’s funding is for its nuclear weapons program, which includes research, computer testing and pursuing the goal of producing 30 plutonium bomb cores, or “pits,” per year by 2026.

Plans call for Savannah River Site in South Carolina to make an additional 50 pits by 2035. The combined 80-pit goal was established under the Trump administration and is being carried forth by President Joe Biden……………..

This year’s $858 billion military budget is the largest in memory. And the National Nuclear Security Administration, the Energy Department branch that oversees nuclear weapons, received $22.3 billion, a bump from the $20.7 billion it got last year.

………………….. About $1.6 billion of the lab’s new budget is to modernize plutonium operations to prepare for manufacturing 30 pits, an amount that almost triples the most pits the lab has ever produced in a year.

The plutonium funding is a 60 percent increase from last year’s $1 billion, and about five times the $308 million budgeted three years ago.

In an email, a watchdog group called the lab’s ballooning nuclear weapons budget “a staggering amount of money” that was leveraged through world events, such as the war in Ukraine.

“I think the writing should be on the wall that we have entered a new nuclear arms race,” wrote Geoff Wilson, director of the Center for Defense Information at the Project on Government Oversight. “The nuclear spending floodgates have opened in the name of defending against China and a belligerent Russia, and the labs are defense contractors. This is going to be a boom season for them.”

Producing new pits lays the groundwork to create new warheads, Wilson wrote. He noted the lab is developing the first new warhead since the 1980s, the submarine-launched W93.

What’s worrisome about devising new warheads is the computer simulations now used for testing might be rendered obsolete, leading to explosive nuclear testing — banned since 1992 — being revived, he wrote.

The U.S. has the most powerful arsenal in the world and stands little chance of falling behind adversaries, but amping up its weaponry could drive other countries to do likewise, creating a destabilizing effect globally, Wilson wrote.

“I think everyone should be concerned where this sort of escalation could take us, and whether or not this is really necessary for our security, or just going to fund the defense contractor industry base,” he wrote………………………………………..

 the nonweapons programs are a lesser part of the lab’s budget. In several public town halls, lab Director Thom Mason has said the nuclear mission is the primary focus.

One longtime anti-nuclear activist said the race to produce pits at the lab has proved to be more costly and difficult than was initially imagined.

In 2017, the nuclear security agency estimated it would cost about $2 billion total to ramp up pit production, and the costs have already grown to many times that amount, said Greg Mello, executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group.

Mello called the endeavor “a runaway train” that’s unsustainable in the long run and unnecessary.

“It’s a product of successful lobbying,” Mello said. “We don’t need new generations of nuclear weapons.”

January 4, 2023 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

What’s an SMR? Canada’s bet on the contentious next-gen nuclear tech, explained.

National Observer  Cloe Logan | News | January 4th 2023

What is an SMR?

An SMR, or small modular reactor, is a nuclear power unit used to produce energy. As of now, SMRs don’t technically exist; no unit has been fully built. But like nuclear energy in general, the tech is especially polarizing: while many — including the federal government — tout SMRs as a way to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and achieve our climate goals, others say the risk they pose heavily outweighs any potential reward.

SMRs create energy through nuclear fission, similar to traditional nuclear reactors. That process creates heat, which generates electricity but doesn’t create greenhouse gas emissions, unlike fossil fuel energy sources such as coal and natural gas.

What does SMR stand for, and how are they different from existing reactors?

SMR stands for small modular reactor. Here’s a word-by-word definition……………………

Small: SMRs have a smaller energy output compared to traditional nuclear reactors…………..

Modular: According to the federal government, this means the reactors “are factory constructed, portable and scalable.” Compared to traditional nuclear plants, which are built from the ground up, SMRs can be constructed in a central factory and shipped elsewhere as a whole. However, that process will rely on how much demand there is for SMRs and how feasible it is to ship the units once they’re built. Because SMR technology is still in its early stages, this is still to be determined.

Reactor: The type of reactor an SMR uses can vary.

Why do we need SMRs?…………………………………. According to the federal government, SMRs could be used to help achieve our climate goal in three ways: by replacing coal plants, powering heavy industry operations in places like the oilsands and remote mines, and providing electricity for remote communities reliant on diesel.

……………………………… An analysis published in Policy Options found that as of 2018, 24 remote mines reliant on diesel were potential candidates for SMRs by 2030. However, the authors concluded the cost of producing an SMR was too high to justify an electricity demand of this magnitude. Rather, wind and solar are more affordable

The role of SMRs in powering remote, mostly Indigenous communities that now rely on diesel has also been contested. Research has shown SMRs to be one of the least desirable energy options to those communities, who are concerned with being left with nuclear waste and the high costs of SMRs compared to cheaper renewables.

Why are people against SMRs?

Those against SMRs often oppose them for three main reasons:

1. They will be in operation too late to address the climate crisis.

In Canada, the first SMR is supposed to be ready by 2028 for the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station in Ontario. However, some say that goal is unrealistic. An early SMR built by Oregon’s NuScale was originally supposed to generate electricity by 2016, but the completion date has since been pushed to 2029 or 2030. A new report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis described the project as “too late, too expensive, too risky and too uncertain.”

Meanwhile, renewable sources of energy like wind and solar already have technology that is developed and proven.

2. They’re too expensive.

Since SMRs haven’t yet been built, it’s hard to say how much they will ultimately cost, but it’s in the billions. Don Morgan, minister responsible for SaskPower in Saskatchewan, said a small reactor would cost around $5 billion. And the costs of projects underway have often ballooned: the NuScale project went from costing $3.1 billion in 2014 to $6.1 billion in 2020. As a result, the power generated by SMRs is expensive. A 2015 report from the International Energy Agency and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency found electricity costs from SMRs are predicted to be 50 to 100 per cent higher than typical nuclear reactors.

3. They create harmful nuclear waste.

According to research from Stanford University and the University of British Columbia, SMRs are actually set to produce more nuclear waste than conventional plants. As of now, Canada’s nuclear waste is stored on site at facilities, but all of the locations are designed to be temporary. There is no waste disposal plan for nuclear waste from SMRs, and Canada has been struggling with where to dispose of the nuclear waste already created from existing and past reactors for around a decade. The Canadian Environmental Law Association notes: “SMR wastes will also have higher concentrations of radiation and the SMR designs that claim to ‘burn up’ existing radioactive waste will create new, even more toxic waste streams.”

Who is building SMRs in Canada and how far along are they?

In Canada, the federal government is currently backing SMR technology through its action plan, as are the provinces of Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, all of which signed a memorandum of understanding expressing support for SMRs.

According to provincial SMR plans, the first one in operation will be at the Darlington nuclear site in Ontario in 2028. Plans are also underway in Alberta and New Brunswick, where ARC Clean Energy is aiming to have an SMR in operation by 2029, and Moltex Energy says its spent fuel recovery system and reactor will come online in the early 2030s. Four more SMRs will follow between 2034 and 2042 in Saskatchewan.

In the plans, they also note another type of SMRs which would be smaller and have less power generation. Rather than supplying grids, they’re designed “primarily to replace the use of diesel in remote communities and mines.” The plan also notes the nuclear research facility at Chalk River, Ont., which is aiming to be in operation by 2026.

Are SMRs viable?

That is the biggest question surrounding SMRs. Although the plans for these next-generation nuclear units might hypothetically work, their viability hasn’t been proven anywhere. Proponents of the tech don’t let that get them down: they say the proposals are strong and are the key to reducing emissions.

But there is no sign that opponents will back down, either. In Canada, numerous Indigenous, scientific, environmental and citizen groups have called the technology a “dirty, dangerous distraction” from real climate action.

January 4, 2023 Posted by | Canada, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Can nuclear safety protocols be maintained in a poor country like Kyrgyzstan, where corruption is rampant?

The looming fight over nuclear power in Kyrgyzstan, eurasianet Aiday Erkebaeva Jan 4, 2023

On the electricity front, Kyrgyzstan may be reaching the end of the line. Demand is growing relentlessly, and yet the hydropower resources it has relied on historically are yielding diminishing returns.

Burning coal is pushing the country deeper into an ecological crisis, as attested to by the black blanket of smog that suffocates the capital, Bishkek, every winter. 

With those considerations in mind, thoughts have focused ever more on pursuing a nuclear exit. 

An important stride in that direction was taken at the ATOMEXPO-2022 international forum in the southern Russian city of Sochi, where representatives from the Kyrgyz Energy Ministry agreed for Russia’s Rosatom to conduct a feasibility study on installing a small nuclear reactor in Kyrgyzstan.  

What backers of this idea have in mind is a plant powered by a compact nuclear reactor known as RITM-200N. This type of reactor is used at present on three Project 22220-class icebreakers developed by the St. Petersburg-based Baltic Shipyard.

Installation of such a reactor in Kyrgyzstan could happen no earlier than 2028, according to Russian media reports, but Kyrgyz Energy Minister Taalaibek Ibrayev is already speaking optimistically of the prospect. ……….

One reason that a RITM-200N reactor is highly unlikely to appear in Kyrgyzstan before 2028 is that Rosatom, whose subsidiary builds the reactors, operates on the policy that it will not install technology abroad that it has not already implemented in Russia itself. The first onshore installation of a RITM-200N-powered plant is happening at the Kyuchus gold deposit in Yakutia, and completion of that project is not expected for another five years.

It is just as well there is no rush, because finding a suitable site could prove challenging. As energy expert Boris Martsinkevich told Eurasianet, the location must hit the sweet spot: far away from potential areas of heightened seismic activity, but close enough to centers of major electricity consumption, so that the cost of installing new power lines does not make the whole project financially unsustainable. …………………

Stiff opposition is looming

A Bishkek-based environmental group called the Green Alliance laid out its objections in a statement in December. The organization is unmoved by the fact that RITM-200N would be a relatively small reactor.

“It is well known that even small sources of atomic energy and small amounts of radioactive substances can have a negative impact on both the environment and human health,” the alliance said in its statement

In making its case, the Green Alliance borrowed from an argument made by opponents of a RITM-200N plant project in Yakutia, in Russia. Activists there cited the experience of the Bilibino nuclear power station, a small Soviet-vintage plant in a remote northeastern corner of Russia that is said to have been plagued by emergency shutdowns, questions over the nebulous disposal of spent nuclear fuel, and lack of profitability. 

That last point about profitability is one that causes particular concern, since the worry is that cost-cutting could lead to skimping on safety protocols. Where nuclear power is concerned, the stakes are particularly high. 

Green activists suggest instead that more emphasis be placed on exploiting Kyrgyzstan’s hydropower potential to its fullest, and that the authorities also tap into the potential of solar, wind and biomass energy. Even government officials have conceded that much more could be squeezed out of hydropower. …………………………………………

One more elephant in the room is corruption – a problem that no Kyrgyz government has to date been successful in tackling.  

In an interview with RFE/RL’s Kazakh service, Radio Azattyq, environmentalist Dmitry Kalmykov said that graft constituted one of the main arguments against Central Asian countries embracing nuclear power. 

“If there is a high level of corruption in the country, if we constantly have high-ranking officials arrested, as a member of the public, I am going to think to myself: ‘They will build an atomic power plant, and when there is some technical inspection, again there will be corruption,’” Kalmykov told Azattyq last year.

January 4, 2023 Posted by | Kyrgyzstan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Cold War estimates of deaths in nuclear conflict

Bulletin, By William Burr | January 4, 2023

Apprehension about Russia’s war against Ukraine has produced speculation about the possibility of limited Russian nuclear strikes against targets in that country. Especially worrisome is the danger of a local conflict escalating quickly into a major nuclear exchange between Russia and the United States and other NATO countries. However unlikely that prospect, a large-scale nuclear war involving countries with strategic nuclear forces could cause huge numbers of fatalities and injuries in addition to the losses produced by climactic impacts. A recent study in the journal Nature projects a catastrophic 5 billion deaths.

Once nuclear weapons became a significant element in US military force structures and planning, beginning in the late 1940s, government agencies began estimating nuclear war fatalities. Over the years, fatality estimates—usually classified top secret—were embedded in nuclear war plans, strategic force requirements, strategic balance assessments, and arms control decisions. The estimates, which often left out important effects of nuclear detonations, sometimes conveyed the shifting “balance of strength” between the two superpowers. The magnitude of these numbers sometimes shocked US officials, who eventually sought options intended to make nuclear war less catastrophic.

While a considerable number of important estimates from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s have been declassified, government agencies have refused to declassify other fatality numbers, and estimates from the 1980s and beyond remain unavailable. With the war in Ukraine once again raising the prospect of a nuclear war, accurate estimates of such a war’s human impacts are more important than ever. But it is not even clear whether the US government continues to make such estimates.

Cold War calculations. Casualty estimates were part of the war planning effort from the beginning, a recognizable element of ascertaining the impact of nuclear strikes on a given country or set of targets. Estimates made during the late 1940s projected millions of deaths from atomic bombings. By the mid-1950s, with thermonuclear weapons becoming available, deaths in scores of millions became certain. These hydrogen bombs were “area weapons” that could destroy large cities and their surroundings, or large areas around military targets.

With thermonuclear weapons becoming integral to the US arsenal, government officials drew a frightening picture of their effects. In 1959, David Z. Beckler, executive director of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Science Advisory Committee, declared that the radioactive fallout from an all-out US-Soviet nuclear war would cause “enormous” numbers of casualties, but they “would represent only a small portion of the total casualties from all causes (blast, thermal radiation, fire, and local fallout).”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. A “political-psychological” burden. While all the estimates were conjectural, some admittedly were underestimates. The authors of a 1969 study prepared for strategic arms control talks estimated scores of millions of fatalities on both sides but acknowledged that they “underestimat[ed] the resulting fatalities.” They based their appraisals on fatalities caused by explosive blast damage and did not include impacts such as radiation and mass fires, which were certain to cause many more deaths…….

The prospect that decisions to use nuclear weapons would cause tremendous death and ruin troubled US officials. As Deputy Secretary of State Elliot Richardson put it years later, there was a “political-psychological” issue: “the imbalance between [the] ability to inflict fatalities and [the] reluctance to accept or cause large numbers of deaths.” Well before then, US presidents and their advisers had become strongly averse to nuclear weapons use, with the “nuclear taboo” stigmatizing these weapons because of the terrible and disproportionate dangers that their combat use would cause.

Huge casualty estimates and the enormous scale of nuclear strikes influenced President Richard Nixon to seek alternatives to apocalyptic attacks, eventually leading to a 1974 directive calling for options to control escalation and limit the scope and intensity of destructiveness. During the following years, the Defense Department tried to break down the operational plan into smaller attack options (Major, Regional, and Selective) to give the president and command authorities less destructive and possibly more credible options. But into the 1980s the options developed by the planning staff continued to require large numbers of nuclear weapons, despite attempts by presidents to scale back the plans.

Presidents Carter and Reagan successively levied explicit requirements for reduced “collateral damage”—civilian casualties—in their targeting policy directives (Presidential Directive 59 and National Security Decision Directive 13, respectively). While target planners prepared still-classified studies on collateral damage, their impact is unknown. It was not until the late 1980s, when the Cold War was winding down, that the White House and Pentagon officials induced target planners to produce attack options that could reduce deaths and destruction. What planners actually did—for example, whether they adjusted target planning to reduce “collateral” damage to civilians—is highly secret. In any event, it’s unclear whether any estimates of casualties were produced………….

Secrets and risks. The horrifying scale of fatalities estimated during the 1950s through the 1970s were classified for years, only becoming available through archival releases during the 1990s and later. With rare exceptions, nuclear casualty estimates from the 1980s or later years are unavailable. Indeed, in some instances, the Defense Department has refused to declassify estimates in reports from the 1960s and 1970s.

………………………………… The dangers of superpower war and nuclear confrontation declined when the Cold War ended, and both the United States and the former Soviet Union/Russia made significant cuts in their strategic forces. In recent years, with tensions increasing and the future of Ukraine and Taiwan in dispute, risks have risen again…………………

The war against Ukraine presents a newer danger. It can only be hoped that the leaders of nuclear weapon states avoid steps that would make Cold War nuclear casualty estimates more than historical curiosities.

January 4, 2023 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

British-run spy tech powers Ukraine proxy war, putting civilians at risk


Leaked files reveal the Anomaly 6 spy firm is providing intelligence to the British military through a cut-out involved in the Kerch Bridge bombing and other acts of dangerous sabotage in the Ukraine conflict.

On December 6th, The Grayzone revealed how British military and intelligence agencies were deploying technology created by shadowy private intelligence firm Anomaly 6 to illegally spy on citizens across the globe.

The company’s technology effectively transforms every individual on Earth into a potential target for surveillance and/or asset recruitment by monitoring the movements of their smartphone. Anomaly 6 embeds tracking software in popular applications, then slices through layers of theoretically anonymous data to uncover a wealth of sensitive information about a device’s owner.

Anomaly 6’s services are provided to Britain’s soldiers and spies through Prevail Partners, a private military company which The Grayzone has exposed as Whitehall’s arm’s-length cutout for prosecuting its proxy war in Ukraine. The firm has constructed a secret partisan terror army on Kiev’s behalf, and helped plan the Kerch Bridge bombing by Ukraine’s services.

Now, the Grayzone can reveal that Prevail is exploiting Anomaly 6 to provide “decision-enabling intelligence to the UK’s defence and security architecture.”

Files anonymously leaked to this outlet reveal that Britain’s Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) has used Anomaly 6’s technology to monitor and track the movements of Russian military and intelligence personnel in real-time, on both a group and individual basis. Through aggressive harvesting of data, the technology has enabled the planning of military offensives and artillery attacks, assassinations, asset recruitment, and other measures.

The leaked files raise serious questions about whether Anomaly 6’s technology has been used throughout the Ukraine conflict in an array of targeted operations against specific individuals and infrastructure. If it has, Britain bears ultimate responsibility for the outcome of these disturbing actions, which in some cases amount to crimes against humanity.

As The Grayzone has already demonstrated, Anomaly 6 markets its technology as impeccably precise, while it hoovers up massive amounts of private data and targeting innocent individuals, falsely painting them as national security risks. The firm’s ham-handed approach raises the obvious risk of Russian and Ukrainian citizens being misidentified by Britain’s military intelligence apparatus, with dangerous if not deadly consequences. 

British military intelligence tracks Russians ‘in realtime’

By the time Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Anomaly 6 was already providing its surveillance services to the British Home Office through Prevail. Over the course of several months, the firm racked up a multi-million dollar tab.

Anomaly 6 sold its technology to Britain as an innovative means for tracking movements of newly-arrived refugees to the country. Without the migrants’ knowledge or consent, they were steered through “passive data collection gates” as soon as they registered at immigration centres. Their phones were then tagged for monitoring in the hope they could lead authorities to criminal gangs and human traffickers. ………………………..

This connivance is likely to have been completely illegal under data protection laws, and the European Convention on Human Rights.

As soon as Moscow launched its military operation, the British government deepened its involvement with Anomaly 6. London’s Defence Intelligence Agency instigated what it called “Project MATTERHORN”, a six week trial in which Prevail provided Anomaly 6-sourced “location-based commercial telemetry data” in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. ……………………….

It’s not hard to see why Anomaly 6’s services were considered so valuable by the DIA. Files reviewed by The Grayzone include case studies showing how the company’s technology was used both before and after the Russian invasion “to gain a realtime/near realtime understanding of the disposition” of Russian “troops, equipment, and lethal materials.”

For example, Anomaly 6 tracked Moscow’s pre-invasion military buildup, starting in April 2021. By harvesting smartphone data signals generated at a Russian Military training area south of Voronezh, the company identified over 100 devices that had been used at the facility, and was able to determine a clear “pattern of life,” including home addresses (or “bed down locations”), areas and sites frequently visited and workplaces for each user. ……………………………………………………………

Anomaly 6 fumbles targets’ identities, putting innocents at grave risk……………………………………

Though this level of detail seems impressive, Anomaly 6 could well have misidentified at least some of its targets, and even the locations they apparently visited. A leaked Anomaly 6 case study exposed by The Grayzone purports to document the company’s identification of the smartphone of a US-based nuclear physics expert who conducted “multiple trips to North Korea” between March and August of 2019.

Anomaly 6 outlined how it unearthed the academic’s name, address, marital status, employer, and photos of their children, along with the schools and universities they attended, by linking their smartphone to sites they visited across the US. The company believed the academic’s supposed trips to Pyongyang made them either a major counterintelligence hazard, or an intelligence asset ripe for recruitment. 

When The Grayzone contacted the academic, however, they fervently denied they or their smartphone had ever been to North Korea. They may well have been sincere – smartphone geolocation data can be highly imprecise. If so, the academic and their family were placed in the crosshairs of Anomaly 6’s clients on the basis of a badly bungled analysis. In an active war zone, an error like this is likely to cost innocent lives. 

Britain stiffens US resolve at all levels”

On August 20th, Ukraine’s CIA-trained Security Service (SBU) assassinated Daria Dugina, the daughter of nationalist Russian philosopher Aleksandr Dugin, deploying a car bomb to kill her as she travelled through a Moscow suburb. The targeted killing was intended as a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been falsely portrayed in Western media as an avid student of Dugin, despite having never met him.

Given what is known about the operation to assassinate Aleksandr and Daria Dugin, the nature of Anomaly 6’s spyware, and Prevail’s relationship with the SBU, the question of whether the firm’s technology was used to track the pair is ineluctable. 

Whether it also informed the SBU’s Odessa branch when to trigger the truck bombing of Kerch Bridge must be considered as well. The attempt to assassinate Russian State Space Corporation leaders Dmitry Rogozin and Artyom Melnikov while they dined at a Donetsk restaurant appears to have relied on tracking technology much like the kind spun out by Anomaly 6.

Then there are the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion’s death squads which hunt frantically for “collaborators” in formerly Russian-occupied territory. Have they too been granted use of Anomaly 6’s spyware?

These are only a few of the countless scenarios in which Anomaly 6’s technology could have executed. And it is not only London’s DIA that can exploit the company’s wares, courtesy of Prevail. So too can Britain’s Permanent Joint Headquarters, assorted elite military spying units, special forces such as the SAS and SBS, the GCHQ, MI5, and MI6.

Prevail’s involvement in the Kerch Bridge bombing plot amply demonstrates the company’s utter lack of compunction about civilian casualties and clear interest in terrorist acts. It originally proposed going further than what actually transpired, blowing up a ship packed with ammonium nitrate beneath the structure. The company approvingly cited the carnage caused by the 2020 Beirut Blast, which killed hundreds, injured thousands, and inflicted billions in damage, as an example to emulate.

As such, it seems inconceivable the British special forces veterans running Prevail would be anything other than enthusiastic about guiding Kiev’s most violent undertakings, or shy from carrying out such acts themselves.

Washington’s sharing of intelligence with Ukraine is well known, and has proven pivotal to the execution of an array of successful operations and counter-offensive actions. However, the White House claims to observe rigid limits on what it discloses and when, in order to prevent a wider war with Moscow. This has included a ban against providing precision targeting intelligence for senior Russian officials by name.

No such reservations or restrictions appear to exist in London’s case. In fact, the position of much of the British government, intelligence services, and Army appears to be that the proxy war must be escalated as much and as often as possible. Within London’s military-intelligence circles, any exercise of prudence by the Biden administration is seen as a reflection of cowardice.

On December 16th, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak demanded an audit of the progress of the war in Ukraine to date. The disclosure piqued intense fears within Whitehall that the new premier could emulate and thus exacerbate the “caution” of the Biden administration. A nameless source revealed to the BBC at the time London had “stiffened the US resolve at all levels,” via “pressure.”

“We don’t want Rishi to reinforce Biden’s caution. We want him to [keep] pushing in the way Boris did,” they explained.

Senior British military-intelligence veteran Chris Donnelly echoed this perspective in a chilling email sent to Brigadier Julian Buczacki of the British Army’s elite 1st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Brigade just hours after the Kerch Bridge assault. Donnelly was a driving force behind that attack, directing his underlings to draw up blueprints for it. He is also the mastermind of Prevail’s secret Ukrainian terror army. 

Invited to serve as an “expert” high-level advisor in “escalation” to London’s Chief of Defence Staff, Donnelly condemned Biden’s supposedly careful approach to the conflict as “so unwise as to beggar belief,” and “the opposite word to ‘deterrence’.”

With the political leadership in London under unrelenting pressure to accept Donnelly’s radical view of the conflict, it appears almost certain the UK will seek new and more brazen means of provoking Russia into escalating. The forces gathered around Prevail are determined to throw caution to the wind, even if it means tempting a nuclear winter.

January 4, 2023 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

European Energy Crisis: France Close to Electricity Rationing Over Problems with Local Nuclear Plants

PETER CADDLE1 Jan 2023456

France is uncomfortably close to energy rationing as a result of issues it is having with some of its nuclear power plants, a report by The Times has claimed.

The UK newspaper has alleged that Emmanuel Macron’s France is currently coming close to having to ration energy due to a number of its nuclear power plants being taken offline over the last number of months.

If true, the news does not bode well for many countries in Europe that rely upon France for some of their electricity, with both the UK and Germany depending on the country for some of their power.

According to the report published on Sunday, the reduction in the number of nuclear power plants in operation in the country has put extreme strain on the country’s national power grid.

Warmer weather has since meant that, despite supply issues, energy rationing will likely not be needed, though the country’s power watchdog has warned that a sudden cold snap could change this.

“Until January 15, we know that we will have no difficulty,” The Times reports Emmanuelle Wargon, who serves as President of France’s Energy Regulation Commission, as saying.

While the widespread availability of nuclear power has overall been a boon for France at a time when gas and oil have gotten rapidly more scarce in Europe, issues with various plants throughout the country have seen production fall to worryingly low levels in recent weeks.

With dangerous cracks being discovered in a number of major power stations, up to half of the country’s arsenal of nuclear facilities has been taken offline, dramatically reducing the amount of electricity the country can produce.

Although the state quickly deployed a veritable army of engineers to address the problems, temporary damage to production levels nevertheless forced it to pull back on supplying its European neighbours, with the country requesting last month to cut off the UK from French energy exports in the hopes of saving electricity….

January 4, 2023 Posted by | ENERGY, France | Leave a comment

Namibia orders Russian uranium exploration to stop due to environmental concerns

 North Africa Post January 2, 2023

Namibian authorities have ordered Russia’s state atomic energy agency to stop uranium exploration over concerns about potential contamination of underground water.

Namibia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform refused to grant Russia’s Rosatom subsidiary, One Uranium, a water use permit required for mining, saying the company failed to prove its uranium extraction method would not cause pollution. Namibia — the world’s second and Africa’s no. 1 producer of the nuclear fuel — granted Russia’s state atomic energy agency exploration rights in 2019.

The Namibian official Calle Schlettwein said Namibia could not grant One Uranium a permit for uranium mining. The Russian entity still needs a water use permit to begin mining.

Schlettwein said no further permit would be granted because the mining method the company proposed, known as the in-situ leaching, was raising environmental concerns. In situ mining involves recovering minerals by dissolving them in an acid pumped into the ground and then pumping the solution back to the surface.

Schlettwein said farmers in Namibia’s eastern Omaheke region had petitioned against the technique. Although One Uranium’s spokesperson, Riaan Van Rooyen, dismissed the concerns, Namibian activists maintain the mining project is not worth the risk. Rosatom’s subsidiary is expected to appeal Namibia’s decision against the water permit for uranium mining.

January 4, 2023 Posted by | environment, Namibia, Uranium | Leave a comment

Take Japan to court for nuclear water dumping

By Zhang Zhouxiang | China Daily 2023-01-05

The Japanese government had announced in April 2020 that it plans to dump nuclear waste water from its wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean from the spring of 2023.

As the date approaches, and given Japan’s record, it will not be surprising if Japan starts dumping the water any time soon without giving other countries advance notice.

While the action will save the Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company money and trouble, it will also shift the trouble and cost onto other nations, the Pacific ones in particular. There is a precedent here. Years after the United States carried out nuclear tests on the Bikini Atoll, also in the Pacific, from 1946 to 1958, radiation levels there were considered too high to allow resettlement in 1998.

Fishermen from China, the Republic of Korea and other Southeast Asian countries, including from Japan, depend on the waters in the region to make a living. No wonder, Japanese fishermen were protesting the move to dump nuclear waste into the waters.

The US, which Japan always looks up to, has supported Japan’s plan despite studies showing that the region most polluted by the discharge will be the US’ west coast in two years…………

Senior Japanese officials, despite bowing politely at news conferences, have shown no sincerity in negotiating with their Pacific neighbors. When they announced the decision to dump the water into the ocean, they did not ask for understanding from any side except the US.

There is the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and multiple nuclear safety conventions to which Japan is a signatory, but it has helped little. It is time for all sides involved to sue the Japanese government in international courts. Japan cannot do this evil deed and just walk away unpunished.

January 4, 2023 Posted by | Japan, legal | Leave a comment

She’s Spent a Decade Fighting to Ban Nuclear Weapons. The Stakes Are Only Getting Higher


March 2017 was an exhilarating time for Beatrice Fihn. The executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was at the U.N. in New York City for talks with more than 120 countries to negotiate a treaty on banning nuclear weapons. One moment still stands out: Nikki Haley, then U.S. ambassador to the U.N., and a group of diplomats from several NATO countries held a press conference outside the General Assembly to protest the talks.

“It was such a hilarious role reversal,” Fihn tells me when we meet for lunch in New York this fall, referring to all the times nuclear-disarmament activists have been outside the corridors of power. “Now, we were in the driver’s seat.”

Fihn, 40, has been trying to shift these dynamics ever since she took the helm of the Geneva-based ICAN nearly a decade ago. In 2017, the charismatic Swedish lawyer was thrust into the spotlight when she accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for ICAN’s work to draw attention to the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and its efforts to establish the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Now ratified by 68 countries, mostly in the Global South, the ban treaty entered into force in January 2021—the first international legally binding agreement to ban nuclear weapons and associated activities, from testing to development.

However, since then, Fihn feels like things have backslid. Vladimir Putin’s threats have reminded the world that nuclear war is not just a Cold War–era concern. In a March poll, 7 in 10 Americans said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine increased the possibility of nuclear weapons being used anywhere. Polls in Poland and France reflected similar concerns. “There’s so much happening and it’s hard to keep up—a lot of anxiety and awfulness,” Fihn says. Growing great-power competition—from Kim Jong Un’s nuclear tests to China’s rapidly expanding arsenal—raises the stakes for Western democracies, she argues. “Nuclear weapons make us vulnerable to dictators that do not answer to their people.”

Though Fihn announced in November that she would step down as ICAN’s executive director at the end of January, she plans to remain involved and is optimistic about this moment, pointing to progress made after crises in the 1960s and 1980s when the world came to the brink of nuclear war. “People are talking about nuclear weapons more than they have since the ’80s. We have to use this to build a bigger movement—to double or triple in size—so we can set the stage for when the war in Ukraine is over,” she says. “Tomorrow just needs to be bigger than today.”………………………………………………………………………………

The ban treaty offers, in Fihn’s view, a way for countries to express their condemnation of a system that gives a handful of nations a monopoly on nuclear weapons while the rest will only bear their consequences. “Instead of just waiting for them to come to the table, our goal is to change the landscape,” Fihn says. “What can Jamaica do? What can Fiji do? How can they play a role rather than just waiting for the nuclear-armed states to be ready?”

ICAN also brings in ordinary citizens from countries that hold nuclear weapons, where public support for them is low. A 2019 poll of U.S. and Japanese residents found that a majority—64.7% and 75% respectively—wanted their governments to join the ban treaty; a 2020 poll of six NATO states not including the U.S. found overwhelming support for the same…………………………..

Fihn is undeterred. She was 6 months pregnant with her second child when she assumed her role. “I was worried that it would be too much,” she says, “and it’s been really hard, but I’m proud that I dared to take the job.” From Geneva, she has spent years trying to build a broad coalition of students, artists, lawyers, doctors, environmental activists, and racial-justice activists. ICAN now counts 652 partner organizations in 110 countries.

The Nobel Prize offered them a massive boost. “We weren’t heads of state, or big celebrities. We were just random people doing some petitions, seminars, panels, emailing parliamentarians, nagging politicians, holding meetings.

There are no TV shows about negotiators for a reason,” she laughs.

Though Fihn’s husband has often been the main caregiver, her 8- and 11-year-old kids have joined her for some of these meetings. That means they’ve heard more about nuclear weapons than she perhaps wishes. “I never want to lie to them, but I want to make sure it’s manageable for a child,” she says. “I always try to emphasize that nobody has used them since 1945 and that we just want to get rid of them to make sure there are no accidents.”

Nuclear weapons, Fihn says, are “pretty simple: big bomb goes boom.” What she wants to talk about is what happens afterward: the radiation, the firestorms; the cancers, the miscarriages, the stillborn babies; the collapse of health and food systems. What to do with hundreds of thousands of dead bodies. “I hate that our work is often called naive,” Fihn says. “We’re the ones actually talking about what happens if a bomb goes off. Thinking that we can just wait forever and someday the nuclear-weapon states will just agree? That’s naive.”

Fihn believes that amplifying survivors’ stories is critical to building a movement against nuclear weapons. During the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, she shared the stage with Setsuko Thurlow, an ICAN campaigner who was 13 when the U.S. attacked Hiroshima. “The first image that comes to mind is of my 4-year-old nephew, Eiji,” Thurlow said, “his little body transformed into an unrecognizable melted chunk of flesh…To me, he came to represent all the innocent children of the world, threatened as they are at this very moment by nuclear weapons.”

Fihn has also been successful in highlighting their effects on marginalized communities, from U.S. nuclear tests on the Marshall Islands to British ones on Indigenous lands in Australia. “Her work really opened the door to a much wider understanding of what nuclear-weapons testing has meant in different countries,” says Kate Hudson, the General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and a leading anti-nuclear campaigner in Britain………………………………………………………….


January 4, 2023 Posted by | 2 WORLD, PERSONAL STORIES | Leave a comment

Workington Under Seige from New Nuclear Plans — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

River Ehen and the Irish Sea – this is “Moorside” where pro-nuclear fanatics want to put so-called “small modular reactors” which would actually be bigger than the original Calder Hall reactors – photo credit – Radiation Free Lakeland – note the sign “Danger Flood Plain – Risk of Drowning” is not a spoof The Workington […]

Workington Under Seige from New Nuclear Plans — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

January 4, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear power saw multiple gains in 2022, but economic and other questions remain

The first new nuclear units in the U.S. in more than 30 years moved closer to operation while the sector is receiving a boost from the Inflation Reduction Act and bipartisan infrastructure law.

Larry Pearl, Utility Dive, Senior Editor, 3 Jan 2023,

Southern Company’s Vogtle units 3 and 4 moved closer to commercial operation in 2022 while existing nuclear plants are receiving a boost from the Inflation Reduction Act and bipartisan infrastructure law.

………… the sector has been buffeted in recent years by competition from renewables and natural gas.

PG&E’s Diablo Canyon units 1 and 2, scheduled to be decommissioned in 2024 and 2025, respectively, are in line to receive $1.1 billion from the Department of Energy to stay in operation, part of the agency’s $6 billion Civil Nuclear Credit Program.

Meanwhile, small modular reactor developers NuScale and X-energy moved to go public while the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced in July that it had directed its staff to issue a final rule certifying NuScale’s small modular reactor design in the United States – the first SMR design to receive such approval in the U.S.

But rising material prices and interest rates are spurring questions about the cost of NuScale’s planned 462-MW SMR project in Utah……………….

January 4, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Japan’s shortage of engineers and manufacturing capacity sets back its nuclear ambitions

Japan’s ambitions to reboot its nuclear industry risk being set back by a
shortage of engineers and manufacturing capacity that has atrophied in the
decade following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s new policy calls for the construction of new nuclear power
plants, raising hopes for Japanese manufacturers that are working on
smaller reactors and other upgraded nuclear technologies. But the
industry’s nuclear supply chain is under strain, warned industry executives
and experts. The 2011 accident triggered a massive exit of more than 20
manufacturers, including Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Sumitomo Electric

FT 4th Jan 2023

January 4, 2023 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Is EDF using Britain’s “windfall tax” as an excuse to get out of uneconomic Hartlepool and Heysham nuclear reactors?

EDF has complained that the British Government’s windfall tax, introduced on 1 January, may mean an early end for operations at Hartlepool & Heysham 1, but the Nuclear Free Local Authorities believe that these could be ‘crocodile tears’ with the tax providing the perfect excuse for the French-state owned company to bow out of running these increasingly unreliable reactors, which are already way past their close-by date.

In his November statement, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt extended the windfall tax to a charge upon the ‘excess profits’ of all energy generators, including nuclear and renewable generators. Many commercial energy businesses generating electricity from fossil fuels, nuclear and renewable technologies have made significantly increased profits as the wholesale energy price has been pegged to the price of gas, which skyrocketed following the outbreak of war in Ukraine.

Hartlepool and Heysham 1 are two of EDF’s five remaining British plants generating electricity from aging
Advanced Gas Cooled Reactors. Whilst they may be called ‘advanced’, the reactors were installed between 1976 and 1988, and all are well past their operational date. The reactors at both plants were off-line for significant periods, both planned and unplanned, for repairs, maintenance and safety checks. Indeed, EDF Energy reported to the International Atomic Energy Agency that Hartlepool 1 was offline 4,767 hours (equivalent to 198 days), Hartlepool 2 3,534 (147 days), Heysham 1, 3,165 (132 days), and Heysham 2 a
whopping 7,122 (297 days).

NFLA Steering Committee Chair, Councillor Lawrence O’Neill believes that EDF’s threat to shut the reactors in 2024 citing the new windfall tax is in fact hollow:

“Before there was even a hint of a UK government windfall tax, EDF Energy had already announced that
after an earlier lifetime extension they intended to close the Hartlepool and Heysham 1 plants on 2024 so this is clearly just scaremongering. “

The NFLA has raised repeatedly with the Office of Nuclear Regulation that the continued safe operation of these reactors is being compromised over time by the degradation and cracking of the graphite core moderators.

Closure will soon in any case be inevitable as these plants become increasingly uneconomic to run. “You can see from the latest operational figures supplied to the international regulator that the reactors at Hartlepool and Heysham are off-line for significant periods, in two cases for well over half the year. So much for nuclear being a source of reliable baseload

NFLA 3rd Jan 2023

January 4, 2023 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment