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Nuclear Ukraine? Amid ‘concerns’ over alleged Russian threat, the world overlooks the real danger

on February 19, 2022, before the start of Russia’s special military operation, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky announced at the Munich Security Conference that Ukraine has the right to abandon the Budapest Memorandum, which proclaimed the country’s nuclear-free status. By Olga Sukharevskaya, ex-Ukrainian diplomat 6 Jan 23 Kiev is capable of building an atomic device, and its leaders often outline such thoughts.

Last year, Western media and high-ranking politicians actively discussed the possibility of Russian troops using atomic weapons in Ukraine. There has even been speculation on the likelihood of a nuclear war breaking out. However, it could be said that the risk is probably a lot higher on the other side of the barricades. 

Ukraine’s Atomic History

Ukraine was a nuclear state after the collapse of the USSR, when 1,700 active atomic warheads remained in the country. Its politicians of that time had the prudence to abandon this status. The weapons were taken to Russia under international control, and their means of delivery were destroyed. Ukraine’s missile silos, with the exception of one which is now a museum near Kiev, were blown up, while its strategic bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons were either transferred to Russia or destroyed.

Despite this, there were still many nuclear specialists in Ukraine, as research into nuclear fission has been conducted in Kharkov since the 1930s. In addition, five nuclear power plants were built in Ukraine during the Soviet years: Zaporozhye, Rovno, Khmelnitsky, and South-Ukrainian, as well as the infamous Chernobyl, where an accident involving a power unit led to an explosion that spewed radioactive fallout throughout Europe.

In addition, uranium is extracted at a deposit in Ukraine’s Kirovograd Region and enriched at a plant in the city of Zheltye Vody. In the 2010s, there were plans with Russia’s Rosatom to build a plant in Ukraine that would produce fuel for nuclear power stations. However, these were abandoned after the Maidan coup in 2014, when the country adopted an adversarial stance towards Russia.

At present, three of Ukraine’s five original nuclear power plants remain under its control. Chernobyl, which continued to generate electricity even after the 1986 accident, was finally decommissioned in 2020, while Zaporozhye, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, has been guarded by Russian troops since last year. It is currently being run by Rosatom but does not produce electricity, largely for safety reasons. This is due to regular rocket and artillery attacks by Ukrainian troops, which have damaged numerous pieces of auxiliary equipment.

Push to Reobtain Nuclear Weapons

It should be noted that not everyone in Ukraine was happy that the country gave up its nuclear weapons. Ukrainian politicians have often failed to hide the fact that their dream of reobtaining nuclear weapons is not so much connected with their country’s security, as the desire to dictate their will to the rest of the world. Radical Ukrainian nationalists were particularly dissatisfied with the abandonment of the country’s nuclear status, and many of their manifestos contain a clause calling for it to be restored.

For example, “the return of nuclear weapons” is specifically cited as a goal in paragraph 2 of the Military Doctrine section in the program statement of the Patriot of Ukraine organization, while paragraph 7 of its Foreign Policy section reads: “The ultimate goal of Ukrainian foreign policy is world domination.” Patriot of Ukraine was created in 2014 by the notorious Andrey Biletsky, who formed it based on the ideology of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion and had dreamed of Ukraine possessing nuclear weapons as far back as 2007.

In 2009, the Ternopil Regional Council, which was then dominated by Oleg Tianibok’s neo-Nazi Svoboda Party (called the Social-National Party until 2004), demanded that Ukraine’s president, prime minister, and head of the Verkhovna Rada “terminate the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 and retore Ukraine’s nuclear status.”

Ukraine’s longing for an atomic bomb especially increased after February 2014. In an interview with USA Today in March of that year, Ukrainian MP Pavel Rizanenko called Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons a “big mistake.” And that was not just the opinion of one MP. Just a few days later, representatives of the Batkivshchyna party, headed by ex-Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko, and UDAR, headed by Kiev’s current mayor, Vitaly Klitschko, including the secretary of the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defense, Sergey Kaplin, submitted a bill on withdrawing from the non-proliferation treaty. Kaplin claimed that Ukraine could create nuclear weapons in just two years because it already had almost everything necessary: The fissile materials, equipment (except centrifuges), technology, specialists, and even means of delivery. In September of the same year, Ukraine’s minister of defense, Valery Geletey, also expressed the desire to develop nuclear weapons.

In December 2018, the former representative of the Ukrainian mission to NATO, Major General Pyotr Garashchuk, announced the real possibility of Ukraine creating its own nuclear weapons. In 2019, Aleksandr Turchinov, who usurped power in Ukraine in February of 2014, called Ukraine’s renunciation of nuclear weapons a “historic mistake.” Following him, in April 2021, the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Andrey Melnik, stated that if the West did not help Ukraine in its confrontation with Russia, the country would launch a nuclear program and create an atomic bomb. And on February 19, 2022, before the start of Russia’s special military operation, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky announced at the Munich Security Conference that Ukraine has the right to abandon the Budapest Memorandum, which proclaimed the country’s nuclear-free status.

Perhaps the most striking statement by a Ukrainian politician was made by David Arakhamia, the head of the Ukrainian parliament’s ruling parliamentary faction, Servant of the People. “We could blackmail the whole world, and we would be given money to service (nuclear weapons), as is happening in many other countries now,” he said in mid-2021.

Range of Possibilities

Is Ukraine technically capable of creating an atomic bomb? Absolutely. Yes, enriching uranium-235 to the purity necessary to set off a chain reaction would cost a lot, primarily to create centrifuges for separating isotopes. However, though this may be the most effective way to separate isotopes, it’s not the only one. The first American bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were created without the use of this technology.

In addition, it should not be forgotten that there are not only uranium, but also plutonium bombs. Breeder reactors are used to synthesize this chemical element, most often using heavy-water reactor technology, and research reactors are capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium. There is presently a nuclear research installation at the Kharkov Institute of Physics and Technology, and a VVR-M reactor suitable for plutonium production at the Institute for Nuclear Research of Ukraine’s National Academy of Sciences in Kiev. ………………………………………..

Nuclear Power on the Brink of Disaster

Just as dangerous is the nuclear power policy pursued by the Ukrainian government.

Ukraine inherited five nuclear power plants with 18 active reactors from the USSR. Three of them located at the Chernobyl NPP were decommissioned by 2000. Five of the six reactors at the Zaporozhye NPP, three of the four reactors at the Rovno NPP, one of the two reactors at the Khmelnitsky NPP, and all three reactors at the South Ukraine NPP have exceeded their original lifespans and received extensions of their operating lives for another 10 to 15 years. 

 The license extensions have sometimes been granted with violations of existing regulations since, after 2015, Ukraine’s State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate stopped cooperating with Russian vendors and has not overhauled reactor vessels, which become brittle after prolonged exposure to neutron radiation. Back in 2015, independent experts noted the critical condition of Reactor 1 of the South Ukraine NPP, which, nevertheless, has had its service life extended until 2025.

Ukraine’s Union of Veterans of Nuclear Energy and Industry sent a warning letter to the government in April 2020, arguing that the country’s nuclear energy sector was faced with a “threatening situation,” which, according to the authors of the letter, could well result in “a new Chernobyl.……………..

That fuel assemblies fabricated by Westinghouse tend to malfunction in Soviet-designed reactors was not a revelation. They have repeatedly caused emergencies at NPPs in Finland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, but that did not deter the Ukrainian leadership. Not even losses of around $175 million caused by using non-standard assemblies persuaded Ukraine against conducting risky experiments with its nuclear assets………….

Emergencies at Ukrainian NPPs became a routine event, and yet Westinghouse assemblies accounted for 46% of all nuclear fuel used in Ukraine by the end of 2018………………………………………………………….

Provocation for Nuclear Escalation

After Russian forces assumed control of the Zaporozhye NPP, it became a target for incessant Ukrainian shelling, sometimes with the use of Western-made multiple launch rocket systems, heavy artillery, and attack drones. The plant sustained significant damage and was forced to stop generating electricity due to the destruction of auxiliary equipment and the threat to the reactors themselves. At the same time, an IAEA mission “was unable” to establish who was firing on the nuclear site, where Russian soldiers were present.

As the Western media was busy whipping up hysteria over the potential use of tactical nuclear weapons by Russia in Ukraine, it transpired that Ukraine was allegedly plotting a provocation of exactly that nature. According to Russian intelligence services, in October 2022, the Eastern Mining and Enrichment Combine in the town of Zheltye Vody and the Kiev Institute for Nuclear Research were in the final stages of developing a dirty bomb on the orders of the Ukrainian government. A missile plant in Dnepropetrovsk built a mock-up of the Russian Iskander missile, which was supposed to carry a radioactive charge and be “shot down” over the Chernobyl exclusion zone. The goal was to accuse Russia of using nuclear weapons and push NATO to retaliate in kind. In other words, to start a nuclear war in Europe.

All these facts mean that present-day Ukraine is arguably  a real threat to nuclear security not just in Europe, but on a global scale. It has everything it would take, from irresponsible people in charge of safety and security at nuclear sites, to the technical capabilities.


January 7, 2023 Posted by | safety, Ukraine, weapons and war | 1 Comment

US President Joe Biden warned AUKUS nuclear submarine deal could come at cost to American fleet2 B1

By defence correspondent Andrew Greene and political reporter Georgia Hitch

Two powerful US politicians have raised serious concerns about the AUKUS pact, warning President Joe Biden the proposal to help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines risked harming America’s industrial base to “breaking point”.

Key points:

  • The senators warned against selling or transferring Virginia-class submarines to Australia
  • A spokesperson for the defence minister says details of the AUKUS deal will be announced in the first half of 2023
  • Canberra’s outgoing US ambassador says “bedding down” AUKUS is biggest challenge for new representative Kevin Rudd

In a leaked letter dated December 21, first obtained by US publication Breaking Defense, the Democratic Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a former Republican colleague outline their anxieties over the ambitious project.

“Over the past year, we have grown more concerned about the state of the US submarine industrial base as well as its ability to support the desired AUKUS SSN [nuclear sub] end state.”

Committee chair, Senator Jack Reed, and Republican Senator James Inhofe warn the White House explicitly against any plan to sell or transfer Virginia-class submarines to Australia before the US Navy meets its current requirements.

“We believe current conditions require a sober assessment of the facts to avoid stressing the US submarine industrial base to the breaking point,” the Senators are quoted as saying………….

Their dramatic intervention comes just three months before the Albanese government unveils its nuclear submarine plan and is the first time members of Congress have raised major concerns about AUKUS, which enjoys bi-partisan support in Washington.

In August a senior US Navy official also warned helping Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines could be too big a burden for America’s already overstretched shipyards. ……………………………………………………… more

January 7, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Indigenous Taiwanese kept in the dark as a massive nuclear waste dump was imposed on their island

No one bothered to inform the residents why the southern tip of their island home was suddenly no longer accessible. All they knew was that the place where women for generations had scoured the craggy tide pools for crabs and where farmers had long tended fields of taro and millet had suddenly been turned into a large construction site.

Rumors began to fly. It was a pineapple cannery. No, it was a cannery for fish. Whatever it was, the locals decided, it would mean more jobs for the islanders.

It was not until years later, in 1980, when a local pastor saw an article buried in the back of a newspaper, that the islanders found out what the site actually was: a massive nuclear waste dump.

New York Times 5th Jan 2023

January 7, 2023 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, Taiwan, wastes | Leave a comment

Under present conditions, a huge loss of the planet’s glaciers will happen in the next 30 years

Half the planet’s glaciers will have melted by 2100 even if humanity sticks
to goals set out in the Paris climate agreement, according to research that
finds the scale and impacts of glacial loss are greater than previously

At least half of that loss will happen in the next 30 years.
Researchers found 49% of glaciers would disappear under the most optimistic
scenario of 1.5C of warming.

However, if global heating continued under the
current scenario of 2.7C of warming, losses would be more significant, with
68% of glaciers disappearing, according to the paper, published in Science.
There would be almost no glaciers left in central Europe, western Canada
and the US by the end of the next century if this happened.

This will significantly contribute to sea level rise, threaten the supply of water of
up to 2 billion people, and increase the risk of natural hazards such as
flooding. The study looked at all glacial land ice except for Greenland and
Antarctic ice sheets.

Guardian 5th Jan 2023

January 7, 2023 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Canada: Pressure tubes at two nuclear reactors deteriorated far too quickly

Early in the summer of 2021, Canada’s nuclear safety regulator received
alarming news. Inspections had revealed that two pressure tubes from
different reactors at Canada’s largest nuclear power plant, the Bruce
Nuclear Generating Station, had deteriorated far more quickly than

This meant the station’s operator, Bruce Power, had violated the
terms of its operating licence. The revelation put the Canadian Nuclear
Safety Commission in a tight spot. How were its leaders to respond?

Globe & Mail 5th Jan 2023

January 7, 2023 Posted by | Canada, safety | Leave a comment

Great Britain produced a record amount of wind-powered electricity in 2022

Great Britain produced a record amount of wind-powered electricity in 2022,
according to the National Grid. More electricity came from renewable and
nuclear power sources than from fossil fuels gas and coal, the second
highest after 2020.

Replacing fossil fuels with green power is a core way
for the world to tackle the impacts of climate change. Sources like wind
and solar are also significantly cheaper and should lead to cheaper bills
in the long-run.

Overall 48.5% of electricity came from renewable and
nuclear power, compared to 40% from gas and coal power stations. On a
single day in November, more than 70% of electricity was produced by wind,
or around 20GW. That’s enough power to heat about 1700 homes for a year.

That record was again broken on 30 December when 20.918GW was generated by
wind turbines. For five months of the year (February, May, October,
November and December), more than half of electricity came from so-called
zero carbon electricity sources renewable and nuclear. And the use of coal
– the most polluting fossil fuel – continued to fall. In 2022 it generated
just 1.5% of electricity compared to 2012 when it was 43%.

BBC 6th Jan 2023

January 7, 2023 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Is Nuclear Fusion Hotter Than the Sun?

Newsweek, BY JESS THOMSON ON 1/6/23

uclear fusion has been the talk of the town lately because of some milestone breakthroughs bringing us closer to a world with the possibility of infinite free energy.

Nuclear fusion is the process by which two atoms collide and fuse, forming another element. The process requires temperatures of up to 27 million degrees Fahrenheit (15 million Celsius). To put that into perspective, the surface of the sun is 9,941 degrees F. The core temperature of the sun is also around 27 million degrees F, while the corona, the outer part, is 2 million degrees Fahrenheit.

Nuclear fusion is most commonly seen when hydrogen atoms combine to form a helium atom, but it is also possible for a number of other periodic elements. During this fusion reaction, huge amounts of energy are released, and this process powers the sun and other stars.

However, for the reaction to occur in the first place, large amounts of energy are needed inside the system to get the atoms to collide. This essentially means that it needs to be very, very hot.

“In the fusion experiment at the National Ignition Facility [NIF], it was reported that it reached 3 million Celsius [5.4 million F],” Carolyn Kuranz, a director of the University of Michigan’s Center for Laboratory Astrophysics and a professor of nuclear engineering and radiological sciences and applied physics, told Newsweek.

Other nuclear fusion experiments have achieved temperatures of up to more than 100 million Kelvin, or 180 million F. Most fusion occurs at the sun’s core (27 million degrees F)……………………………………………………………….

January 7, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

South Korea: Credible nuclear regulation needs independence transparency 6, 2023 

Nuclear regulation should place importance on “independent decision-making” and “ensure total disclosure of information,” including facts concerning the decision-making process.

This principle was established in line with the bitter lessons learned from the dreadful calamity that occurred at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2011. The pledge must not be taken lightly.

Recent revelations have raised serious questions about the nuclear regulator’s commitment to the principle.

The Secretariat of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) held seven closed-door meetings with the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, an agency under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), over Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s initiative to extend the life span of aging nuclear reactors.

The two organizations also held dozens of telephone conversations over the matter.

After the Fukushima disaster, the jurisdiction of regulating nuclear power generation was transferred from the pro-industry METI to the newly created Nuclear Regulation Authority. The NRA is an external organ of the Environment Ministry.

In early October, the NRA instructed its secretariat to review regulations related to the proposal to extend the legal life of reactors. But the secretariat and the agency had begun holding talks over the matter at the end of July. The secretariat did not report these early meetings to the NRA or keep records of the sessions.

When these facts came to light in December, the secretariat categorically denied discussing, coordinating or adjusting nuclear safety regulations during these talks. It contended there was no problem with the “independence and transparency” of the NRA.

During these meetings, however, the energy agency told the NRA secretariat that revisions to laws including those under the NRA jurisdiction were being considered. The secretariat called for the deletion of certain provisions concerning nuclear safety regulations from the envisioned bill while beginning to consider its own bill.

It is difficult to believe that these meetings were not for advance policy coordination or discussions.

Generally speaking, exchanges of information between government organizations are necessary for smooth administrative functioning. But the NRA was separated from the METI, the leading champion of nuclear power generation, to ensure its independence.

It should not be viewed or treated similarly to other ministries and agencies.

NRA Chairman Shinsuke Yamanaka has argued that there is nothing wrong with staff members of the secretariat discussing related issues since the final decisions are made by the NRA.

But the NRA’s code of conduct, which stresses the importance of independence and transparency, states that the NRA performs its duties “together with” the NRA secretariat. The principle should also be applied to the secretariat.

The NRA’s failure to keep track of what was going on within the secretariat raises questions about its governance.

Especially serious is the secretariat’s disregard for the importance of information disclosure, which is vital for assessing and securing the independence of nuclear regulation.

The secretariat has said meetings and discussions with other ministries and agencies are not subject to the rules concerning record-keeping. But the NRA has told the secretariat to keep records of future meetings with other government departments related to nuclear power generation and make public the records.

But telephone conversations will not be covered by this rule. Is this sufficiently effective?

The top three positions at the NRA secretariat have been held by former METI officials since last summer. The NRA’s responses to the proposal to extend the life span of reactors since October have been criticized as “premature” actions even by some NRA members.

If the NRA fails to forthrightly address the suspicions raised by the latest revelations, the credibility of nuclear regulation will be undermined. The NRA should undertake a serious probe into what transpired and publish the findings.

January 7, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Raytheon sells long-range missiles to Romania for war in Black Sea — Anti-bellum

Defense PostJanuary 6, 2023 Raytheon Secures $208M Naval Strike Missile Contract From Romania Raytheon Missiles & Defense has received a $208-million contract to supply Naval Strike Missiles (NSMs) to the armed forces of Romania. *** The amount of mobile coastal anti-ship missile batteries to be delivered to the NATO member wasn’t disclosed. However, the US […]

Raytheon sells long-range missiles to Romania for war in Black Sea — Anti-bellum

January 7, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Defensive and offensive operations: “tank-killers” part of new U.S. $45b arms package to Ukraine — Anti-bellum

Stars and StripesJanuary 5, 2023 US to send ‘tank-killer’ Bradley Fighting Vehicles to Ukraine as part of new aid package The United States will send a new round of aid to Ukraine that includes armored ground vehicles to help Ukrainian troops fight off invading Russian forces, according to the White House and Pentagon. Air Force […]

Defensive and offensive operations: “tank-killers” part of new U.S. $45b arms package to Ukraine — Anti-bellum

January 7, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment