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US and South Korea hold talks on “nuclear sharing”.

the US Council for Foreign Relations highlighted a proposal to establish an Asian Nuclear Planning Group, “mirroring the format of the NATO Nuclear Planning Group, that would provide a platform for South Korea, Japan, and Australia to discuss policies regarding US nuclear forces and the US nuclear planning process.”

What is underway not just in South Korea are high level discussions to integrate US allies throughout the region with the US military as preparations accelerate for a potentially catastrophic war with China that would inevitably involve the use of nuclear weapons.

Peter Symond WSWS 5 Jan 23

The US and South Korea are actively discussing closer collaboration in the deployment and potential use of nuclear weapons, which is part of the far broader US-led military build-up throughout the region. While nominally directed against North Korea, US war preparations including with South Korea are above all aimed at China.

In an interview in the Chosun Ilbo newspaper on Monday, South Korea’s right-wing president, Yoon Suk Yeol, said the discussions had focussed on joint planning and exercises with American nuclear forces. He described the arrangements being discussed as being “as good as nuclear-sharing”—a phrase, he said, that Washington was uncomfortable with……….

When asked at the White House whether joint nuclear military exercises with South Korea were being planned, President Biden flatly declared “no” and made no further comment. However, subsequent comments by American officials make clear that the closer integration of South Korea into US preparations for nuclear war is indeed under way……………………….

The discussions mark a significant escalation in the preparations for nuclear war. While South Korea, a US military ally, was protected by the so-called nuclear umbrella or what is known as “extended deterrence,” Yoon is pushing for a greater South Korean say in the use of nuclear weapons.

In his interview, Yoon declared: “What we call ‘extended deterrence’ means that the United States will take care of everything, so South Korea should not worry about it… But now, it is difficult to convince our people with just this idea.”…………….

Throughout much of the Cold War, the US had hundreds of tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea supposedly to counter a North Korean invasion. The number peaked at 950 during the mid-1960s before declining. In 1991, amid the moves to dissolve the Soviet Union, US President George H.W. Bush announced the return of all tactical nuclear weapons to the US, including those that remained in South Korea.

While Yoon has not publicly repeated his proposals as president, there have already been significant steps to a greater US nuclear presence in South Korea. In a joint press conference last November, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-seop announced plans for the de facto permanent stationing of US nuclear-capable assets in South Korea for the first time since 1991………….

As far as Washington is concerned, the North Korean “threat” is a convenient pretext as its nuclear planning is primarily focussed on war with China. Strategically located close to the Chinese mainland, South Korea is deeply integrated into the US strategy for such a conflict. Not only does it house key US military bases and some 28,500 military personnel but it also has a key anti-ballistic missile system—a recently upgraded Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system—critical in any nuclear conflict.

The US is boosting its nuclear weapons capacity throughout the region with the announcement last year that it will effectively station nuclear-capable B-52 bombers at the Tindal air force base in Northern Australia. At the same time, prior to his assassination last July, former Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, initiated a discussion in ruling circles about stationing US nuclear weapons in Japan, despite enormous popular opposition to such a move.

The Biden administration has already taken steps to strengthen its military alliances in the Indo-Pacific by kickstarting the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or “Quad” with Japan, Australia and India as well as initiating the AUKUS pact with Australia and the United Kingdom, which, in particular, will arm Australia with nuclear-powered attack submarines. At the same time, it has sought to strengthen intelligence sharing between South Korea and Japan, essential in any nuclear conflict.

Broader “nuclear sharing” is also being discussed in US strategic think tanks. A comment published last August by the US Council for Foreign Relations highlighted a proposal to establish an Asian Nuclear Planning Group, “mirroring the format of the NATO Nuclear Planning Group, that would provide a platform for South Korea, Japan, and Australia to discuss policies regarding US nuclear forces and the US nuclear planning process.”

What is underway not just in South Korea are high level discussions to integrate US allies throughout the region with the US military as preparations accelerate for a potentially catastrophic war with China that would inevitably involve the use of nuclear weapons.


January 5, 2023 Posted by | politics international, South Korea, USA | Leave a comment

Before the Bombs Come the Platitudes

By Robert C. Koehler, 4 January 2023

What is democracy but platitudes and dog whistles? The national direction is quietly predetermined — it’s not up for debate. The president’s role is to sell it to the public; you might say he’s the public-relations director in chief:

“. . . my Administration will seize this decisive decade to advance America’s vital interests, position the United States to outmaneuver our geopolitical competitors, tackle shared challenges, and set our world firmly on a path toward a brighter and more hopeful tomorrow. . . . We will not leave our future vulnerable to the whims of those who do not share our vision for a world that is free, open, prosperous, and secure.”

These are the words of President Biden, in his introduction to the National Security Strategy, which lays out America’s geopolitical plans for the coming decade. Sounds almost plausible, until you ponder the stuff that isn’t up for public discussion, such as, for instance:

The national defense budget, recently set for 2023 at $858 billion and, as ever, larger than the rest of the world’s military budget combined. And, oh yeah, the modernization — the rebuilding — of the nation’s nuclear weapons over the next three decades at an estimated cost of nearly $2 trillion. As Nuclear Watch put it: “It is, in short, a program of nuclear weapons forever.”

And the latter, of course, will go forward despite the fact that in 2017 the countries of the world — well, most of them (the vote in the United Nations was 122-1) — approved the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which flat-out bans the use, development and possession of nuclear weapons. Fifty countries ratified the treaty by January 2021, making it a global reality; two years later, a total of 68 countries have ratified it, with 23 more in the process of doing so. Not only that, as H. Patricia Hynes points out, the mayors of more than 8,000 cities all across the planet are calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

I mention this to put Biden’s words in perspective. Does “a brighter and more hopeful tomorrow” ignore the demands of most of the world and include the presence of thousands of nuclear weapons, many still on hair-trigger alert? Does it mean the ever-present possibility of war and the ongoing manufacture and sale of every imaginable weapon of war? Is a near-trillion-dollar annual “defense” budget the primary way we intend to “outmaneuver our geopolitical competitors”?

And here’s another flicker of reality that’s missing from Biden’s words: the non-monetary cost of war, which is to say, the “collateral damage.” For some reason, the president fails to mention how many civilians’ deaths — how many children’s deaths — will be necessary to secure a brighter and more hopeful tomorrow. How many hospitals might it be necessary, for instance, for us to accidentally bomb in coming years, as we bombed the hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan in 2015, killing 42 people, 24 of whom were patients?

Public relations platitudes do not seem to have room to acknowledge videos of U.S.-inflicted carnage, such as Kathy Kelly’s description of a video of the Kunduz bombing, which showed the president of Doctors Without Borders (a.k.a., Médecins Sans Frontières) walking through the wreckage a short while later and speaking, with “nearly unutterable sadness,” to the family of a child who had just died.

“Doctors had helped the young girl recover,” Kelly writes, “but because war was raging outside the hospital, administrators recommended that the family come the next day. ‘She’s safer here,’ they said.

“The child was among those killed by the U.S. attacks, which recurred at fifteen-minute intervals, for an hour and a half, even though MSF had already issued desperate pleas begging the United States and NATO forces to stop bombing the hospital.”

Those who believe in the necessity of war — such as the president — may well feel shock and sadness when a child, for instance, is unintentionally killed by U.S. military action, but the concept of war comes complete with flowers of regret: It’s the fault of the enemy. And we will not be vulnerable to his whims.

Indeed, the dog whistle in Biden’s brief quote above is the calm acknowledgement of U.S. intention to stand up to the dark forces on the planet, the autocrats, who do not share our vision of freedom for all (except little girls in bombed hospitals). Those who, for whatever reason, believe in the necessity, and even the glory, of war, will feel the pulse of the U.S. military budget coursing through his positive, happy words.

When public relations circumvents reality, an honest discussion is impossible. And Planet Earth is in desperate need of an honest discussion about the elimination of nuclear weapons and, God help us, ultimately transcending war.

As Hynes writes: “If the U.S. could once again replace its masculinist power with creative foreign policy and reach out to Russia and China with the purpose of dismantling nuclear weapons and ending war, life on Earth would have a heightened chance.”

How can this become a country with a creative foreign policy? How can the American public move beyond being spectators and consumers and become actual, literal participants in U.S. foreign policy? Here’s one way: the Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal, an online event scheduled for November 10-13, 2023.

As Kelly, one of the organizers, describes it: “The Tribunal intends to collect evidence about crimes against humanity committed by those who develop, store, sell, and use weapons to commit crimes against humanity. Testimony is being sought from people who’ve borne the brunt of modern wars, the survivors of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Gaza, and Somalia, to name but a few of the places where U.S. weapons have terrified people who’ve meant us no harm.”

Victims of war will be interviewed. Those who wage war, and those who profit from it, will be held accountable to the world. My God, this sounds like real democracy! Is this the level at which truth shatters the platitudes of war?

January 5, 2023 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A surging supply of green power is likely to limit any nuclear renaissance.

Green surge is circuit breaker on nuclear revival

By Robert Cyran, 4 Jan 23,

NEW YORK, Jan 4 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Nuclear power received what seem like two plum gifts for 2023. High energy prices and the desire to decarbonize have spurred renewed interest in the technology that provides about 10% of the world’s electricity supply. Yet a surging supply of green power is likely to limit any renaissance.

There are 425 active reactors worldwide, according to the World Nuclear Association, about the same as three decades ago. Plants have opened in places like China and closed in Western countries.

Nuclear plants are expensive to build, and their complexity often causes projects to go way over budget. Plant Vogtle in the state of Georgia will be America’s first since the 1990s when finished in 2023. The $30 billion price tag is twice the initial estimate. Reactor opening delays in Finland and China show difficulties transcend borders.

The cost of a new nuclear power station is around $168 per megawatt hour according to Lazard. An efficient gas plant costs about a third as much, and solar and wind about one-fifth as much. So there’s little incentive to build. Running existing nuclear plants makes sense. A depreciated plant costs around $29 per MWh, reckons Lazard. And power is available rain or shine, day or night.

This reliability is the big reason there are 55 plants under construction, despite the cost, as wind and solar power currently need backup. Yet that appeal is limited. Over the past decade, green power production, excluding hydropower, has grown 15% annually worldwide according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy. Nuclear production was unchanged. China has 22 nuclear reactors under construction, but built renewables about twice as fast.

The price discrepancy keeps widening as wind and solar get cheaper, while nuclear hasn’t budged. Moreover, the cost of storing power in batteries is plummeting. NextEra Energy (NEE.N), America’s biggest deployer of green energy, estimates that by the late 2020s, wind and solar tied to batteries will be about as reliable as other sources during peak hours, but for roughly half the cost of depreciated nuclear or gas plants, and about one-seventh that of a new, small nuclear plant.

Shareholders may yet get some juice from nuclear players like $10 billion uranium producer and wannabe reactor servicer Cameco (CCO.TO). But wind and solar power’s burgeoning advantages have $172 billion NextEra and its rivals looking more plugged in.

January 5, 2023 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment

John LaForge Set to Be First US Activist Jailed in Germany for Anti-Nuke Protests

More than a dozen German anti-nuclear activists and one Dutch campaigner have also been jailed in Germany for protesting U.S. hydrogen bombs housed at Büchel Air Base.

BRETT WILKINS, Common Dreams, Jan 03, 2023

As Russia’s invasion and NATO’s support of Ukraine have heightened nuclear tensions in Europe to their highest level since the Cold War, a Wisconsin peace activist is set to become the first American jailed in Germany for an anti-nuclear protest.

John LaForge, the 66-year-old co-director of Nukewatch, was convicted in December 2021 by the Regional Court in Koblenz, Germany on two charges of trespassing in connection with two 2018 protests against U.S. nuclear weapons at Büchel Air Base near Cochem. LaForge has been ordered to serve 50 days behind bars at JVA Billwerder prison in Hamburg and was also fined €600 ($633).

During one of the demonstrations, LaForge and other activists entered the base, and climbed a bunker likely housing B61 thermonuclear gravity bombs.

LaForge has refused to pay the fine and has appealed his convictions to the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe.

In an opinion piece published last month by Common Dreams, LaForge noted that the $28 billion-per-bomb, variable-yield B61—whose military value U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chair Gen. James Cartwright admitted is “practically nil”—”has 24 to 40 times the destructive power of the U.S. bomb that killed 170,000 people at Hiroshima in 1945.”

As Beyond Nuclear International points out, Büchel Air Base and six other facilities in Europe each house at least 20 B61s “under a controversial U.S./NATO program known as ‘nuclear sharing.’ The U.S. Air Force’s 702nd Munitions Support Squadron maintains the U.S. bombs in readiness for German PA 200 Tornado jet fighter/bomber crews.”

Writing for Counterpunch last year, LaForge asserted that “NATO’s cold-blooded ‘strategic’ preparation for meaningless, genocidal atomic violence is cosmetically presented in defensive, sanctimonious, antiseptic language depicting hydrogen bombs as reasonable, measured, protective security blankets. This is a childishly naïve mindset that the wargamers promote but do not share.”

The Nuclear Register reports:……………….

More than a dozen German activists and Dutch anti-nuclear campaigner Frits ter Kuile have been jailed for Büchel protests.

At the peak of the anti-nuclear movement during the Cold War’s perilous closing decade, hundreds of thousands and even over a million demonstrators would turn out to protests in then-West Germany.

Nukewatch will host a “jail sendoff” for LaForge via Zoom on Thursday, January 5 at 7:00 pm Central European Time, which is 1:00 pm U.S. Eastern Standard Time.

January 5, 2023 Posted by | Germany, Legal | Leave a comment

Editorial: New Mexico right to ask for accounting of nuclear waste BY ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD, JANUARY 4TH, 2023 

“I think there’s this mentality that New Mexico can just be the forever home for all the nation’s waste. It’s an exploitative mentality regarding our state.”

— Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces

It is more than fair, when you house a radioactive waste facility like the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, to ask how much waste from the nation’s nuclear weapons program still needs a home.

Especially when the nation keeps making more.

In the proposed permit for the federal government to continue storing nuclear waste at WIPP in southeastern New Mexico, the New Mexico Environment Department is seeking a full accounting from the U.S. Energy Department of materials still needing to be cleaned up and shipped to WIPP from laboratories and defense-related sites around the country. It also suggests developing another storage site (Hint: How about the $13.5 billion already spent on Yucca Mountain?). And it puts Congress — the same Congress that just approved spending more to make key plutonium components for the nation’s nuclear arsenal, which will also make more radioactive waste — on notice that if lawmakers expand the type of waste accepted at WIPP, the permit will be revoked.

WIPP currently takes transuranic waste from the weapons program contaminated with radioactive elements heavier than uranium — lab coats, rubber gloves, tools and other contaminated debris.

State Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces and head of the Legislature’s radioactive and hazardous materials committee, points out our state has been left to deal with contamination from uranium mining, oil and gas development and the use of toxic firefighting chemicals known as PFAS at Air Force bases. With the proposed permit “it’s good to see our state setting boundaries.”

New Mexico has a long history when it comes to dealing with nuclear weapons and radioactive waste — from the Trinity site at White Sands to Urenco in Eunice, Los Alamos National Laboratory to the Holtec storage project with Hobbs and Carlsbad.

We have smart, capable, highly trained individuals who are experts in these fields.

But they are only as good as the information they are provided, and they deserve a full accounting of what they will ultimately have to deal with.

As Steinborn implies, too often our state has been left to deal with the federal government’s mess (we would add a gold mine spill, an Air Force fuel leak and catastrophic prescribed burns to his list).

The permit is now in a 60-day comment period, and the DOE says it is eager to participate. Here’s hoping they are just as eager to be forthright with what they plan to send to the Land of Enchantment.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

January 5, 2023 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Number of civilians killed in Donbass revealed 3 Jan 2023, Over 4,400 people have been killed in the Donetsk People’s Republic alone since the start of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev

A total of 4,405 civilians have been killed on the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) since mid-February 2022, the Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC), a monitoring group tracking attacks on the two Donbass regions, as well as war crimes committed by Ukraine, said on Tuesday. Over the same time period, as many as 132 children became victims of the ongoing conflict, it added.

Only 636 civilians, including 26 children, were killed on a territory controlled by the DPR before the start of the Russian military campaign in Ukraine, the center said, adding that over 3,700 civilians and more than 100 children were killed on the territory seized by the Russian forces and the Donbass militias during the conflict. 

Almost 4,000 civilians sustained injuries during the conflict, the center said in a Telegram post. At least 87 people, including four children, were injured after tripping on the anti-personnel ‘Lepestok’ (Petal) land mines, the statement added. The mines are typically scattered around an area through remote mining operations. 

The Ukrainian forces launched over 93,500 projectiles at the DPR territory during the conflict, the statement said, adding that the strikes and attacks resulted in the destruction of more than 9,400 residential buildings, 2,285 civilian infrastructure facilities, including 123 hospitals and clinics and 61 critical infrastructure facilities. 

Last weekend, the JCCC also published similar data on the neighboring Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR). In 2022, 169 civilians, including 21 children, were killed there, a statement published on January 1 said. The conflict also left 455 civilians in the region injured, it added. 

The Ukrainian forces used a total of 11,000 pieces of ammunition in their strikes on LPR territory, including 609 US-made HIMARS missiles, the JCCC said. Both the DPR and LPR joined Russia last fall, together with two other former Ukrainian regions – Kherson and Zaporozhye – as the move was overwhelmingly supported at the regional referendums. 

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, brokered by Germany and France, and designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. Former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the 2014 ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

January 5, 2023 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | 1 Comment

US Says ‘All Options’ On Table As Iran Nuclear Talks Remain Deadlocked.

US State Department said Tuesday that nuclear talks with Iran remain dormant and although diplomacy is the preferred approach, other options remain on the table.

 Iran International Newsroom 4 Jan 23

Spokesperson Ned Price said the United States has not observed any change from the Iranian side to warrant a resumption of negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear accord known as the JCPOA. The Biden administration’s 18-month-long diplomatic effort to reach agreement with Tehran arrived at a deadlock in early September.

“We continue to believe that diplomacy is the best way to achieve that goal, but we’ve always been clear we’re not going to remove options from the table, and we’re going to discuss all options with our partners, including, of course, Israel,” Price asserted.

Israeli leaders have repeatedly said that they will use any means for stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons…………………..

The Biden administration has been quick in starting discussion with the new Israeli right-wing government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, a staunch opponent of the JCPOA. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held discussion with the new Israeli foreign minister Elie Cohen in recent days. He told new Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen in a 40-minute phone-call that the JCPOA was finished, and that the US wanted the European Union to step up sanctions against Iran.

Blinken’s reported statement about JCPOA being “finished” echoed President Joe Biden’s remark during an election stomp in early November, when he was heard in a video saying the JCPOA “is dead.”……………….. more

January 5, 2023 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

This man may have saved the world from nuclear war. His story is a heart-pumper.

Even if you don’t know who Petrov was, he might be the reason you’re alive today.

James Gaines 4 Jan 23

In the 1980s, Petrov was a lieutenant colonel in the Soviet Union’s Air Defense Forces. He was in charge of watching the computers at one of the Soviety Union’s nuclear early warning centers. If the Americans wanted to start a nuclear war, Petrov would be one of the first to know.

At this time, the United States and the Soviet Union were embroiled in the Cold War. Each had stockpiled tens of thousands of nuclear weapons and a nuclear war, though horrific, often seemed imminent

Suddenly, in the early morning of Sept. 26, 1983, a siren started to scream. If Petrov’s computer was to be believed, the Americans had just attacked the Soviet Union.

The word “LAUNCH” appeared in bold red letters across Petrov’s computer’s screen. Then it happened again and again — five missiles in all.

Petrov need to react. If a nuclear attack really was incoming, the Soviets only had a few minutes to save themselves and launch a nuclear counter attack of their own.

It was Petrov’s job, his duty, to alert his superiors — but something seemed off.

Petrov sat there, trying to figure out what to do. If the Americans were attacking, why were there only six bombs? Why not the thousands they were capable of? Why weren’t there corroborating reports from ground radar? Plus this particular computer system was new and unproven. It could be a malfunction.

Did Petrov really think this was enough evidence to potentially start a full-scale nuclear exchange? Kill millions of people? It was a heavy weight to bear.

“Nobody would be able to correct my mistake if I had made one,” Petrov later told the BBC.


After a few pregnant minutes, Petrov made his decision.

He picked up the phone and, though he couldn’t know for sure, told his superiors it was a false alarm. His level-headed thinking may have saved millions of lives.

He was right. It was a malfunction.

For his efforts, Petrov’s reward would be a long time coming. In the immediate aftermath, he actually got reprimanded by his superiors. It wouldn’t be until after the fall of the Soviet Union that the world learned just how close we all came to destruction and the one man who saved it.

January 5, 2023 Posted by | PERSONAL STORIES, Russia, weapons and war | 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 5, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Japan to use Self-Defense Forces to guard nuclear power plants

Government thinks critical infrastructure could be targeted, as seen in Ukraine.

Nikkei Asia 4 Jan 23, TOKYO –– The Japanese government will task the country’s Self-Defense Forces with protecting critical infrastructure, such as nuclear power plants, as it plans to respond immediately if civilian facilities become the target of an attack………….

Attacks on critical civilian infrastructure are banned under the Geneva Conventions, which sets the ground rules for the conduct of war. Russia’s strikes have highlighted the need to develop a response.

In Japan’s National Security Strategy, which was approved by the cabinet in December, the government states that measures to ensure the safety of critical facilities will be taken, not only in the event of an armed attack but in the run-up to a crisis that does not lead to such an attack…………

January 5, 2023 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Zelensky Expands Crackdown on Ukrainian Media

by Kyle Anzalone and Will Porter | Jan 2, 2023

President Volodymyr Zelensky has signed a new bill into law which strengthens government control over public access to news in Ukraine. Zelensky has already nationalized the country’s media under martial law powers invoked after Russia’s invasion last year, stoking criticism from press freedom groups.

Signed on December 29, the law expands the Ukrainian broadcast regulator’s powers over news agencies ”dramatically,” now including both print and online sources, according to the Kyiv Independent. The measure requires publications to obtain licenses to operate, and any media org without the proper paperwork can be shut down, the outlet reported, adding that the body handing out the permits will be under Zelensky’s control. 

According to Ukraine’s Institute of Mass Information, under the law, the media regulator is likely to be controlled by the incumbent authorities because its members are appointed by Zelensky and the Ukrainian parliament, where his party has an absolute majority.

In March, Zelensky issued a presidential decree which nationalized Ukraine’s broadcast media, stressing the need for a ”unified information policy” to combat Russian disinformation and voices critical of the government. Around the same time, he also banned a long list of opposition political parties with alleged links to Russia, and has since taken punitive action against Orthodox churches also said to have ties with Moscow, effectively quashing all dissent under martial law powers. 

While Zelensky’s power-grabs throughout the 11-month conflict have largely gone unnoticed in the American mainstream press – which has devoted ample coverage to similar wartime repression in Russia – the New York Times highlighted calls from human rights groups to rescind the law over fears that it will crush the free press. 

”Ukraine will demonstrate its European commitment by promoting a free and independent media, not by establishing state control of information,” said Ricardo Gutiérrez, the general secretary for the European Federation of Journalists.

The Committee to Protect Journalists and other civil rights orgs also slammed the legislation while it was being debated by lawmakers in December. While Ukraine’s legislature agreed to strip away some of the bill’s more extreme measures, the final draft still hands the federal government near total control over Ukraine’s news media.

January 5, 2023 Posted by | media, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Solar power innovation by two British local councils.

Over 100 council car parking spaces in Sudbury and Stowmarket have been
covered with solar panels to help power and reduce carbon emissions at two
council-owned leisure centres. Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils
have finished building solar carports more than 110 of their existing car
parking spaces to help power two of their leisure centres.

They are among the UK’s first rural local authorities to trial the technology, which will
reduce the centres’ reliance on the grid and cut carbon emissions. Seventy
solar carports are located at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre in Stowmarket,
providing up to almost 24% of the centre’s annual electricity demand.

The remaining 40 are located at Kingfisher Leisure Centre in Sudbury, providing
over 16% of its annual electricity demand. Each site also includes battery
storage so excess energy produced during sunnier periods can be saved for
later, as well as eight electric vehicle charging points, including two
rapid chargers.

New Anglia 3rd Jan 2023

January 5, 2023 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Take Japan to court for nuclear water dumping

This file photo taken on February 3, 2020 shows storage tanks for contaminated water at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture.

By Zhang Zhouxiang | China Daily | Updated: 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.

One can imagine the scale of disaster if over 1.3 million metric tons of nuclear waste is dumped into the ocean. As some environmentalists in the Pacific have said, that’s like waging a “nuclear war” on the Pacific people.

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 5, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Ocean discharge of contaminated water from Fukushima nuclear power plant may be delayed from this spring to July

January 4, 2023

The Yomiuri Shimbun reported on the 4th that the start of ocean discharge of treated water from TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is expected to be delayed from the original target of around April this year.

This delay in treated water is due to delays in installation of the discharge port attached to the tip of the undersea tunnel, etc., and TEPCO expects the completion of the discharge facility at the end of June this year, and the discharge of treated water will begin after July, after pre-use inspection. It is likely to become, the media added.

The Japanese government decided at a related ministerial meeting in April 2021 to set the time to start discharging treated water about two years later (from April 2021). Accordingly, TEPCO has set the goal of completing the discharge facility in August 2021 as April 2023.

The plan was to dig an undersea tunnel about 1km off the coast of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, and discharge treated water from the discharge port of the fleet into the sea. TEPCO started full-scale construction of the discharge facility on August 4 last year.

However, the installation of the outlet, which was scheduled for August, was delayed by about three months due to deteriorating weather conditions such as high waves, and was delayed to November 18th. Currently, it is said that the construction of filling the area around the discharge hole with concrete is in progress. TEPCO estimates that this construction alone will take about four months.

About 800m of the total length of the undersea tunnel was completed, and the remaining 200m will be excavated over 2 to 3 months after the completion of the concrete work. According to TEPCO, completion of the discharge facility is expected by the end of June this year.

According to Yomiuri, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is requesting that the construction be carried out so that emission can start as planned, but TEPCO says, “We want to shorten the construction period as much as possible with safety as the top priority.”

‘Treatment water’ is water from which most of the radioactive materials have been removed by purifying the contaminated water after cooling the melted and hardened nuclear fuel in the meltdown accident in 2011. Currently, about 1.32 million tons are stored in more than 1,000 tanks on the site of the nuclear power plant.

During the 3/11 Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, contaminated water was generated as rain and groundwater flowed into the reactor building, where the core nuclear fuel (debris) of the decommissioned reactor melted in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident remained.

Japan calls this contaminated water ‘treated water’ by filtering it through ALPS, but it is said that it is impossible to remove radioactive substances such as tritium (tritium) even after purification.

Source: Donga

January 5, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan must work with the Pacific to find a solution to the Fukushima water release issue – otherwise we face disaster Henry Puna

Based on our experience with nuclear contamination, continuing with ocean discharge plans is simply inconceivable

A worker helps direct a truck driver as he stands near tanks used to store treated radioactive water after it was used to cool down melted fuel at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant

Wed 4 Jan 2023

Over the past 20 months, Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) members have been in dialogue with the government of Japan on its proposed plans to release over a million tonnes of contaminated nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean as announced in April 2021.

I was heartened by the very strong position taken by PIF Members from the outset, that Japan should hold off on any such release until we are certain about the implications of this proposal on the environment and on human health, especially recognising that the majority of our Pacific peoples are coastal peoples, and that the ocean continues to be an integral part of their subsistence living.

We have taken significant steps to work with Japan to understand their position and the rationale underpinning its unilateral decision. As a region, we committed to working with them at the technical level and engaged an independent panel of five scientific experts in key fields such as nuclear power and radiation, high energy physics, marine chemistry, biochemistry, marine biology, and oceanography to provide an independent scientific assessment of the impacts of such a release.

But the discussions this past year have not been encouraging. We have uncovered serious information gaps and grave concerns with the proposed ocean release. Simply put, more data is needed before any ocean release should be permitted. Despite this, Japan is continuing with plans for discharge in the spring of 2023, relying on the next four decades of discharge to figure it out.

Based on our experience with nuclear contamination, continuing with ocean discharge plans at this time is simply inconceivable and we do not have the luxury of time to sit around for four decades in order to “figure it out”.

It is imperative that we work together to ensure a common understanding of the full implications of this activity now, as I fear that, if left unchecked, the region will once again be headed towards a major nuclear contamination disaster at the hands of others. For the sake of present and future generations, now is the time to act to fully understand the impacts of such discharge on the environment and on human health before any decision is made. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to work towards ensuring that their futures are secured and safe. This is our moral and legal obligation.

Together, we must uphold the commitments that we have made through our Treaty of Rarotonga. We are legally bound to keep the region free of environmental pollution by radioactive and nuclear waste and other radioactive matter, and to uphold legal obligations to prevent ocean dumping and any action to assist or encourage dumping by other states.

I am reminded that this conversation is not a new one. Four decades ago, Forum leaders also urged Japan and other shipping states “to store or dump their nuclear waste in their home countries rather than storing or dumping them in the Pacific”. A mere four years after that political statement, in 1985, the Forum welcomed the Japan Prime Minister’s statement that “Japan had no intention of dumping radioactive waste in the Pacific Ocean in disregard of the concern expressed by the communities of the region”.

The decision for any ocean release is not and should not only be a domestic matter for Japan, but a global and transnational issue that should give rise to the need to examine the issue in the context of obligations under international law. Choosing and adopting the appropriate path in terms of international governance is key, and we must pursue every possible avenue including mechanisms available under international law.

We must take the time to closely examine whether current international safety standards are adequate to handle the unprecedented case of the Fukushima Daiichi.

Indeed, the unprecedented nature of this case is of major concern. How we handle this, as a global community, will set a precedent for future actions and responses. , This is particularly important given the climate crisis and growing intensity and scale of natural disasters, which pose significant challenges to the safety of nuclear power plants and infrastructure throughout the world.

Alternative options include safe storage and radioactive decay, bioremediation, and use of treated water to make concrete for special applications.

Before us is a golden opportunity to be proactive and to get it right without waiting for four decades of dumping to unfold. It would be unconscionable for us as a region to once again allow ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of security.

I am not asking that we discontinue the plans to discharge. I am asking that we take the time and work together to ensure scientific rigour in order to receive the assurance of safety needed for people’s health and for sound stewardship of the ocean. I am asking today, what our Pacific people did not have the opportunity to ask decades ago when our region and our ocean was identified as a nuclear test field. I am asking that we take the time to fully consider the implications of these actions on our region before choosing the course of action that is best for all.

Do not disregard us. Work with us. Our collective future and that of our future generations depends on it.

Henry Puna is the Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General

January 5, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment