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Guilty of Journalism

The Political Prosecution of Julian Assange

by Kevin Gosztola 7 Jan 23

From an acclaimed independent journalist, this carefully-documented analysis of the government’s case against Julian Assange and its implications for press freedom acts as a crucial, compelling guidebook to Assange’s upcoming trial.

The legal action against Julian Assange is poised to culminate in a trial in the United States in 2023, and this book will help the public understand the proceedings. The establishment media’s coverage of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition case has focused on his deteriorating health and what CBS News called his “secret family,” but most of this coverage failed to detail the complex issues at stake against Assange.

Guilty of Journalism outlines how WikiLeaks exposed the reality of American wars, the United States government’s unprecedented indictment against Assange as a publisher, and the media’s role in persuading the public to “shoot the messenger.” This new book by Kevin Gosztola, who has spent the last decade covering Assange, WikiLeaks, and the wider war on whistleblowers, tells the full story based on testimony from dozens of witnesses.

It examines abuses of power by the CIA and the FBI, including a spying operation that targeted Assange’s family, lawyers, and doctors. Guilty of Journalism offers a balanced and comprehensive perspective on all the events leading up to what press freedom advocates have called the trial of the century.


January 8, 2023 Posted by | civil liberties | Leave a comment

It’s all about the bomb: why civilian nuclear power is merely a cover for producing more nuclear weapons

Nuclear weapons are a special kind of horror opposed by most rational people around the world.

the IAEA’s bluntly stated mission is to promote nuclear technology.

Like Atoms for Peace, this repackaging of a military activity as a civilian one succeeded in making the endeavor socially acceptable and somewhat self-funding

The nuclear power-nuclear weapons link can only be broken by a ban on both

It’s all about the bomb — Beyond Nuclear International

Why civilian nuclear power is merely a cover for producing more nuclear weapons

By Alfred Meyer, 8 Jan 23,

The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in southeastern Ukraine, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, has the world’s attention right now, and rightly so. For the first time in history, six nuclear reactors and thirty-seven years’ worth of high-level nuclear waste are in the middle of a battlefield in an active war zone—one artillery shell, on site or off, could interrupt the control and cooling of the operational reactor, or the cooling of the waste in storage, leading to a catastrophic release of radiation that could spread throughout the Northern Hemisphere. How in the world can nuclear power reactors be considered clean and safe sources of electricity?

Russia, a nuclear-armed nation that invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, has said that it would use nuclear weapons if needed. And strong allies of Ukraine—the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, all NATO members—are also armed with nuclear weapons.

You likely are aware of what has happened in the weeks since this magazine went to press, and whether or not the world is in the midst of another major radioactive disaster, as happened at Fukushima in Japan in 2011, Chernobyl in northern Ukraine in 1986, and Three Mile Island in the United States in 1979. I assume that if you are reading this, nuclear weapons have not been used in the war in Ukraine. So how has the world ended up in such an existentially threatening situation? Why does the nuclear enterprise have the world’s future so tightly in its grip?

The short answer: nuclear weapons. It is all about the bomb.

In 1939, Albert Einstein wrote to President Franklin D. Roosevelt urging him to pursue nuclear research in the United States. It was crucial, Einstein wrote, to counter Germany’s efforts to harness the magic of radioactivity and develop a super weapon. A few years later, the Manhattan Project was born in secrecy in 1942. A sprawling and tightly controlled academic, military, industrial, and governmental infrastructure was built to accommodate an entirely new industry equal in size to the American automobile industry at the time. Secrecy was so thorough that when Vice President Harry Truman ascended to the presidency on April 12, 1945, upon Roosevelt’s sudden death, he was unaware that the atomic bomb program even existed, much less that it was on the verge of testing a plutonium weapon in July.

During World War II, the United States succeeded in developing atomic weapons, while Germany was defeated before it could do so. Even though Japan was essentially defeated by then, Truman, some three months after he learned that the United States did possess the super weapons, chose to use them. Although the firebombing of Tokyo in March 1945 had burned to death more than 100,000 people and left more than a million people homeless, it did not occasion the global outcry that followed the use of the uranium bomb on Hiroshima, on August 6, 1945, and the plutonium bomb on Nagasaki, three days later. Nuclear weapons are a special kind of horror opposed by most rational people around the world.

However, following the use of nuclear weapons in Japan in 1945, there has been significant ongoing public opposition to them. In the earliest days of the United Nations, there were various efforts to abolish or control nuclear weapons. It was clear that they constitute an entirely different type of military threat that includes the likelihood of ending life on earth as we know it. Abolishing nuclear weapons is the way to end this existential threat.

When World War II hero General Dwight D. Eisenhower became President in 1953, the dilemma for the military, and for Eisenhower, was how to grow the atomic bomb programs, in light of negative public opinion toward the nuclear enterprise. At the same time, the United States wanted to be recognized as the leader of the “free world” in the postwar years. In the early 1950s, the military needed to recast nuclear enterprise activities to appear to be peaceful, beneficial parts of our modern life, very distant from the wartime horrors.

In August 1953, Eisenhower was worried about the Soviet Union’s successful test of a sophisticated hydrogen bomb—which signaled to the United States that the nuclear arms race was officially on. Eisenhower considered delivering a type of “fireside chat” to the American public—or perhaps a “mushroom cloud chat”—to level with citizens about the truly horrific existential threat that nuclear weapons posed to the world.

But by December of that year, a different strategy appeared to take effect. In a now famous speech on December 8, 1953, titled “Atoms for Peace,” Eisenhower proposed to the U.N. General Assembly an international program of sharing “peaceful” nuclear materials and know-how for untold bounty, to encourage development of nuclear programs around the world.

The United States also proposed an international agency under the United Nations to promote and oversee nuclear activities, which today is the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA. While acknowledging the IAEA’s important oversight role, such as inspecting the Zaporizhzhia reactors and fuel pools at this perilous time in history, one should also recognize that the IAEA’s bluntly stated mission is to promote nuclear technology. The first leaders of the IAEA were from the United States, to ensure that U.S. interests were protected.

Nuclear enterprise infrastructure is an outgrowth of World War II. These new endeavors drew international interest in creating the huge nuclear marketplace now in existence. Atoms for Peace—a plan to share nonmilitary nuclear technology with other countries to “win hearts and minds”—placed nuclear materials and reactors in more than forty countries, including Iran. This generated ongoing business for many American nuclear enterprise companies while supporting and expanding the U.S. military’s nuclear infrastructure and capacity in the United States.

Having nuclear activities under the auspices of the United Nations conferred upon them the legitimacy and respect of that international body. While Eisenhower was making his “Atoms for Peace” speech at the United Nations, he was in the middle of planning the largest hydrogen bomb test ever in the United States, the fifteen-megaton “Bravo” test, on March 1, 1954, which was more than 1,000 times bigger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

The generally favorable response to Atoms for Peace was a trifecta for the nuclear enterprise. U.S. nuclear activities were repackaged as the “peaceful” atom and given the patina of social acceptance through United Nations oversight. Eisenhower was lauded as a good leader for sharing the atom with the world, and the U.S. nuclear infrastructure got new business and growth, which supported more U.S. nuclear weapons and nuclear Navy programs.

Atoms for Peace also served geopolitical ends. For instance, one reason the United States provided Iran with a research reactor in 1967 was to saddle that country with significant financial obligations, including paying for ongoing parts, services, and technical support from American companies. These financial obligations would then, theoretically, force Iran to sell more oil on the world market, regardless of OPEC actions, a kind of atoms-for-oil program—but only peaceful atoms, mind you!

As Atoms for Peace was taking shape, a major policy change was made via the Atomic Energy Act of 1954. The top-secret, tightly controlled Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb was a governmental endeavor. Nuclear reactors produce the plutonium needed for atomic bombs. With the passage of this new bill by Congress, the operation of nuclear power reactors by privately owned corporations was allowed.

The Atomic Energy Commission was created in 1946 to promote and regulate the development of this new industry. With the commission led by Wall Street banker Lewis Strauss for five critical years, it is not surprising that the scales heavily favored promotion over regulation. Encouraging private investment in these risky reactor projects was assisted by minimizing regulatory safety and operational demands upon the private operators.

Being the biggest nuclear enterprise on earth encourages the circular, self-sustaining dynamic of the nuclear arms race.

But why was it so important for the U.S. government to develop and subsidize civilian nuclear power? Because it allowed the military, in essence, to spin off its nuclear reactor activities to private financing and corporate operations. Like Atoms for Peace, this repackaging of a military activity as a civilian one succeeded in making the endeavor socially acceptable and somewhat self-funding—although government subsidies are still perennially needed to carry on, and taxpayers are still covering the liability insurance costs of the private corporations. Most importantly, as detailed in a 2017 report by former U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, civilian nuclear power is an “essential enabler” of our national security. The Atlantic Council calculates the value of this contribution to national security to be $42.4 billion a year. Businesses contributing to the nuclear Navy’s supply chain are in forty-four U.S. states.

The essential nature of civilian nuclear power for national security would suggest that if the United States has the largest national inventory of civilian nuclear reactors in the world, then it also has the largest nuclear enterprise infrastructure to support nuclear weapons production and a nuclear Navy.

Being the biggest nuclear enterprise on earth encourages the circular, self-sustaining dynamic of the nuclear arms race. The United States is busy modernizing its nuclear weapons infrastructure to be “strong enough” to negotiate the elimination of nuclear weapons. This is presented as official doctrine in the nonproliferation world. In reality, the United States is actually driving the growing international nuclear arms race.

Atoms for Peace and the nuclear enterprise employ particularly successful advertising campaigns, greatly influencing public opinion and shaping our cultural consciousness of the nuclear world.

Presenting civilian nuclear power as the answer to climate change, as clean and safe electrical generation, or as energy “too cheap to meter” is simply a sales pitch. What is actually delivered by a robust nuclear energy fleet is the capacity for nuclear weapons and a nuclear Navy.

Over the decades, there have been numerous expert critiques of nuclear power, authoritatively debunking these misleading and false promises, yet these critiques seem to have no effect on the trajectory of the nuclear enterprise. I suggest that these sales pitches are diversionary techniques aimed at sapping our energy. It does not matter if nuclear power can really solve climate change, it just has to be seen as an essential part of the solution to attract bright, young talent into what is made to appear as the cutting edge of technology and climate solutions, even though the civilian nuclear power industry worldwide has been in decline since 2002.

To protect ourselves from the dangers of the nuclear enterprise, we need to stop the nuclear weapons and nuclear power reactor programs—a tall order, for sure. But if we seek success in our efforts, we are well advised to understand the forces we are engaging with. It is all about nuclear weapons.

Alfred Meyer is a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility and has worked with communities affected by the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear catastrophes.

January 8, 2023 Posted by | history, spinbuster, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

GUSTAFSON: Russian nuclear power – unsanctioned – is prospering worldwide

INTELLINEWS, By Professor Thane Gustafson in Washington January 8, 2023

As the Western nuclear industry flounders, Russia’s Rosatom is building nuclear power plants (NPPs) on time and under budget around the world, while selling uranium to the US……………….

Russia’s nuclear industry is thriving, thanks mainly to its international business. According to Aleksey Likhachev, CEO of Rosatom, Russia’s nuclear monopoly, Russia is currently at work on 23 nuclear power units in a dozen different countries, including China, India, Belarus, Turkey, Hungary and Egypt. It sold $10bn worth of products abroad in 2022, a 15% increase on the year before, and its current foreign order book stands at over $200bn. Rosatom is actively courting new customers, mostly in the developing world; it offers a “full service” package that covers construction and operation, as well as the supply and reprocessing of nuclear fuel. The Russian government actively supports Rosatom with low-interest financing. In short, Russian nuclear power is on a roll.

But that is not all. In addition to building and operating new NPPs, Rosatom exports enriched uranium to numerous countries around the world, including the US and Europe. (In addition, Rosatom provides services to five EU counties that operate Russian-built NPPs.)  Even though the revenues are not comparable (only about $1bn per year), the fuel exports are key politically. Because of this dependence, Russia’s nuclear industry is not under Western sanctions (as discussed further below), and it is not likely to be so any time soon. At this moment, Rosatom is able to operate without impediment, both at home and abroad; one of the few sectors in the Russian economy to be able to do so.

For both the US and Europe the implications are serious. First, they will continue to depend on Russian enriched uranium for several years more, potentially weakening their common front on sanctions. (Indeed, there have already been substantial disagreements among EU members over their policy toward Russian nuclear power.)

…… . Russia should continue to hold a commanding position in nuclear power for some time to come. …..

…. Putin named a politician, Sergei Kiriyenko, (above)to head the nuclear programme. Kiriyenko had had a mixed career up to that time – including a disastrous five-month stint as prime minister that coincided with Russia’s 1998 financial meltdown – but he turned out to be a talented manager. He regathered Rosatom’s wandering assets under one roof and after seeing off the oligarchs, he brought the industry’s unruly suppliers and contractors to heel. During the next eleven years he built Rosatom into a powerhouse. In 2016, Putin rewarded him with a secret medal and a top job, as Number 2 in the Kremlin’s Presidential Administration, where he is today.

The secrecy was no accident. When Rosatom was created in 2007, it inherited both the civilian NPPs and the military weapons assets. Kiriyenko made vigorous efforts to disentangle the military wing from the civilian, but the separation proved easier to achieve on paper than in reality. Today, the civilian and the military parts of Rosatom remain connected at the hip, as many parts of the nuclear supply chain, beginning with the mining of uranium, serve both military and civilian customers inside Russia.

But the military part was (and is) funded directly by the government, while the civilian part was supposed to be self-supporting. For Kiriyenko, this was a crucial difference. He had begun with ambitious plans for expanding nuclear power inside Russia, but he soon realised that there was little domestic demand for new NPPs in an electricity sector dominated by gas, and so Kiriyenko turned his sights on the foreign market. For this he needed to persuade the international community that Rosatom had become essentially a civilian business, in other words to fashion a new “commercial” image for the company. By and large he was successful, and Rosatom owes its present prosperity largely to the international business he built.

The impact of Western sanctions

Because of its important role as a supplier of uranium and nuclear fuels to NPPs around the world, including the US, Rosatom is not under Western sanctions. The US, in particular, relies on Russia for low-enrichment uranium for its own NPPs. Although efforts are under way to develop substitutes, for the present Rosatom is simply too valuable to sanction.

But even if sanctions were to be imposed, Rosatom’s operations would be largely unaffected by them. Internally, its supply chain, which as mentioned runs from uranium mining to power plant construction and operation, depends very little on the outside. ………….

Rosatom’s international business might be somewhat more vulnerable to sanctions, but so far there is little sign of it. Only one country, Finland, has pulled out of an ongoing project with Rosatom. ………………………….

Multiple challenges ahead

Yet quite apart from sanctions, Rosatom and Russian nuclear power may face multiple challenges ahead. One of them is technological progress. …………

 Russia is the only country in the world to operate nuclear-powered icebreakers and floating NPPs, both of which are powered by small reactors. The Russian experience in designing and building small reactors goes back decades to the Soviet era, and there have been multiple generations of successively improved designs. Rosatom is working on deploying them not only on nuclear icebreakers and floating platforms, but also on land.

…………………….. The key to the future of SMRs, in the longer term, will likely be so-called “Generation IV” reactors, based on revolutionary designs that break entirely from the traditional light-water-reactor technology. But Generation IV is still an immature technology, and the race for leadership in G-IV is only now getting under way.

The more proximate threat to Rosatom’s leading position is Beijing. China has a vigorous nuclear programme, which is entirely independent of Russia…………………………………………

Finally, the ultimate challenges for Rosatom may be safety and reputational risk. Ever since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, the Russian nuclear industry has had an excellent safety record. But the Russian invasion of Ukraine raises a serious new threat. There are four NPPs operating in Ukraine – ironically, all of them of Soviet manufacture. Russian [?] missiles have already landed close to one of them, the Zaporizhzhia plant, which is located close to the current battle line between Russian and Ukrainian forces. Just who is responsible for the safety of the plant is in dispute……………for Rosatom this plan is full of risks. If the plant were damaged and there were radioactive contamination, quite apart from the further suffering this would inflict on the Ukrainian people, for Rosatom the reputational damage would be extreme.

……. The challenges ahead are real, but they will come more from technological changes and rising competition from China, than from sanctions, from which Rosatom in any case remains so far exempt.

January 8, 2023 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, Reference, Russia | Leave a comment

Delay to small nuclear reactors as ministers battle over costs

Sunday January 08 2023, 12.01am GMT, The Sunday Times Harry Yorke

A funding deal for the first fleet of mini nuclear reactors is not expected to materialise for at least another 12 months, amid a row in government over the cost of Britain’s wider nuclear ambitions.

Last year, in order to triple domestic nuclear capacity to 24 gigawatts by 2050 — a quarter of the UK’s projected electricity demand — Boris Johnson set out plans for eight new large reactors alongside the development of small modular reactors (SMRs).

The government also announced the formation of Great British Nuclear (GBN), a body responsible for helping to deliver the next generation of reactors and SMRs by identifying potential sites, developers and investors.

 At present only one plant, Hinkley Point C, is under construction, with the financing and final investment decisions on Sizewell C still pending. However, even though all but one of the UK’s existing plants are set to be shut down by the end of the decade, the government’s nuclear strategy now appears at risk of stalling amid internal disagreements.

In particular, Whitehall sources have revealed that there remains significant uncertainty over the scale of state investment in SMRs. Rolls-Royce, which has created designs for a 470 megawatt SMR and wants to
begin building factories, has called for ministers to enter funding talks and start placing orders. Rolls is understood to be seeking a commitment for four initial SMRs at a cost of about £2 billion each, which it
believes would unlock orders from interested foreign buyers.

But a senior government source said the Treasury would not sign off on any orders or significant funding until the technology had approval from the Office for Nuclear Regulation, which is not expected until 2024.

While the government has already invested £210 million in Rolls’s technology, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is also still assessing whether its competitors, including GE Hitachi, may offer “more viable” alternatives.

Insiders have signalled that the government may opt to launch yet another competition to gather further evidence before any firm deals are struck. More broadly, Treasury ministers harbour big concerns over the
costs associated with GBN, which officials have warned is billions over budget. While officials expect GBN to be announced early this year, after months of delays, the internal wrangling could lead to changes to both the body’s scope and funding.

 Times 8th Jan 2023

January 8, 2023 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

Pentagon pressures NATO allies to boost arms flow to Ukraine

January 8, 2023,  Rick Rozoff Interfax-Ukraine January 7, 2023

USA to seek from its allies to expand military aid to Ukraine – Pentagon

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, (pictured above) in a phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksiy Reznikov, said the United States will convince its allies of the need to increase military assistance to Kyiv, according to the Pentagon.

Austin reaffirmed its commitment to encouraging allies and partners to provide additional air defense systems, combat vehicles and other critical capabilities to support Ukraine.

Arms flow to Ukraine

Date: January 8, 2023Author: Rick Rozoff0 Comments

January 7, 2023

USA to seek from its allies to expand military aid to Ukraine – Pentagon

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, in a phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksiy Reznikov, said the United States will convince its allies of the need to increase military assistance to Kyiv, according to the Pentagon.

Austin reaffirmed its commitment to encouraging allies and partners to provide additional air defense systems, combat vehicles and other critical capabilities to support Ukraine.

At the same time, the U.S. minister said assistance would be provided “as much as needed.”

The Pentagon also said Austin had already discussed with German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht ways to increase assistance in the run-up to the meeting of the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group in Ramstein, Germany.

Austin appreciated Germany’s decision to provide Ukraine with a Patriot air defense battery and Marder infantry fighting vehicles.

According to Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova on her Facebook page, in addition to a new $3.075 billion U.S. military aid package for Ukraine, Washington provides “$682 million in additional foreign military funding to stimulate and compensate for the transfer of military equipment to Ukraine from allies and partners”.

Ukrainian News
January 7, 2023

Defense Minister Reznikov discusses new military aid to Ukraine with Pentagon head Austin

Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov announced that he discussed the details of the new U.S. aid package to Ukraine with his American colleague Lloyd Austin.

We discussed the details of the new U.S. security assistance package for Ukraine and the next Ramstein-style meeting with Lloyd Austin,” Reznikov emphasized.

According to the head of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, this largest the United States’ aid package gives Ukraine “new opportunities to liberate our territory in the east and south.”

January 8, 2023 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Return to studying baby teeth for radioactivity from nuclear weapons and nuclear facilities

St. Louis baby teeth study sparked nuclear test ban 60 years ago

Now, the baby tooth study from decades ago carries new life in the form of a Harvard study.

by: Joey Schneider, Jan 7, 2023

ST. LOUIS – A famous study involving the baby teeth of St. Louis area children helped lay the foundation for a treaty to ban atmospheric nuclear testing 60 years ago.

A group of scientists, led by physician Louise Reed and St. Louis-area professor Barry Commoner, launched the study in December 1958 through the Greater St. Louis Citizen’s Committee for Nuclear Information. The mission: To determine whether radioactive fallout and nuclear energy had a negative impact on children’s health.

From 1958 to 1970, researchers collected more than 320,000 baby teeth of children from various ages, primarily from those in the St. Louis area.

The study followed a 1956 report from the U.S. Public Health Service, which hinted that St. Louis and other Midwestern cities could have alarming levels of radioactivity in water, air and milk following above-ground nuclear tests around the United States. In the decade leading up to that, officials had moved forward with nearly 100 nuclear tests, some that happened above-ground and spurred concerns of exposure, according to the Arms Control Association.

Preliminary case studies determined that children born in 1963 had levels of strontium 90, a radioactive isotope found in bomb fallout, nearly 50 times higher than children born in 1950. A limited study published by Science Magazine in 1961 presented similar findings.

“The immediate radiation danger moved public opinion, which influenced Congress to pass and President John F. Kennedy to implement the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963,” said the Missouri History Museum on the research. “They knew that a by-product of nuclear weapons testing is death-dealing, cancer-causing radiation. Some elemental isotopes last for thousands of years while others decay quickly, but airborne debris drifts for miles from explosions, falling onto food and water.”

Kennedy campaigned for president in strong opposition to nuclear testing, according to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. However, he entered his term at the height of the Cold War and faced mounting pressure after the Soviet Union conducted dozens of above-ground nuclear tests. In 1962, he reluctantly announced that the United States would resume atmospheric testing.

As Kennedy attempted to negotiate a ban on such testing, the findings of the St. Louis baby tooth study came to his attention. Negotiations to end atmospheric radioactive testing, the issue at the center of the baby tooth study, intensified midway through 1963.

By July, Kennedy had reached an agreement with the Soviet Union to exclusively conduct nuclear tests underground. By August, government officials from the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States gathered in Moscow to sign what is officially known as the “Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water” or “Partial Test Ban Treaty.”

“Let us if we can step back from the shadows of war and seek out the way of peace. And if that journey is 1,000 miles or even more, let history record that we, in this land, at this time, took the first step,” said Kennedy on the agreement in a televised speech on July 26, 1963.

The initial baby tooth study continued through 1970. A research team acquired 85,000 of the tested teeth for a 2001 analysis that concluded 12 children who died of cancer had strontium 90 levels twice as high as others alive during the time of research. Some scientists denounce those findings to this day.

Now, the baby tooth study from decades ago carries new life in the form of a Harvard study. Researchers hope to collect tens of thousands and determine a possible connection between metals and cognitive decline at an older age. Harvard neuroscientist Marc Weisskopf launched the study in 2021, and one survey for the project remains ongoing.

According to a report from, Japanese filmmaker Hideaki Ito is also working on a documentary about the original study and visited St. Louis last year for some groundwork.

January 8, 2023 Posted by | children, radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Key US Allies Collaborate On Espionage Laws Considered Harmful To Whistleblowers And Journalists


Since the legislation was passed, Australian Federal Police have raided the homes and offices of journalists who reported on war crimes in Afghanistan and the monitoring of Australian citizens’ communications.

Groups, such as Reporters Without Borders and the National Union of Journalists, wrote to lawmakers and warned that the bill conflated journalism with spying, expanded the definition of classified information, and disproportionately increased the penalty of espionage to life imprisonment.

Many of these new elements align existing laws with the United States Espionage Act, an antiquated law that was adopted over a century ago.

Richard Spence, Jan 5, 2023

Ministers and security officials in Australia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom have coordinated with the United States to develop new espionage laws.

Each of the countries have faced criticism from news media and civil society organizations for proposing laws that will harm journalists and whistleblowers’ ability to report on abuse and corruption in their own and each other’s countries.

These states have close intelligence ties to each other and the United States, and they have played some role in the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whose prosecution is widely recognized as a threat to global press freedom. In fact, disclosures of the kind that Assange published have been cited as what the laws aim to make illegal.

FBI Director Christopher Wray had several days of meetings with “law enforcement partners in the United Kingdom” during July 2022. After these meetings, MI5 chief Ken McCallum promoted the “National Security Bill,” the first change to UK espionage laws since 1989.

The law would purportedly address the perceived threats Wray and McCallum discussed.

McCallum and other intelligence officials’ warnings and suggestions were frequently referenced by parliament members and government ministers who supported the bill when it was debated in the UK Parliament in November 2022.

Priti Patel, when she was UK Home Secretary, said the bill “was designed in close consultation with security services.”

In Sweden, the 2022 Foreign Espionage Act, which was adopted last November, specifically criminalized disclosures that cause “substantial damage” to Sweden’s relations with other countries or organizations. That led reporters to warn that journalists revealing war crimes committed by the US government could be prosecuted.

The Australian espionage bill also defined information that “harm[s] or prejudice[s] Australia’s international relations” as illegal to disclose.

Australia Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) Director Duncan Lewis, who advised the country’s premier on their legislation, was asked at a parliamentary committee hearing, “Is there a connection, in your view, between our diplomatic and economic relations and our national security? In other words, if someone causes harm to our diplomatic relations with a foreign country, like the United States, can that harm our national security?”

“Absolutely,” Lewis responded. “You would need [to] go no further than perhaps the case of [Edward] Snowden to think about that—the enormous damage that was done to various diplomatic relations as a result of the leaks that came out of Snowden.”

The Espionage and Foreign Interference Act of 2018 introduced a range of measures the Australia government claimed were meant to combat Chinese interference.

A collection of media outlets, including The Guardian and News Corp, opposed the law, saying that “journalists and their support staff continue to risk jail time for simply doing their jobs” due to the possibility of being prosecuted for dealing with classified information.  

Since the legislation was passed, Australian Federal Police have raided the homes and offices of journalists who reported on war crimes in Afghanistan and the monitoring of Australian citizens’ communications.

The ASIO gave “extensive operational briefings” on foreign interference to Malcolm Turnbull, when he was Australia’s prime minister, and Turnbull noted their input as he introduced the legislation in Parliament.

ASIO Director Duncan Lewis explained what in part motivated the push to expand the country’s espionage law. “Our international allies and partners with whom we share threat information tell us resoundingly that Australia is not alone in confronting a new threat environment, one that’s different from what we’ve seen before. In ASIO’s view, we must now adjust to this harsh reality.”

Lewis pointed to UK Prime Minister Theresa May who had urged allied powers to do more to “clamp down on the hostile activity of foreign agents.”

During parliamentary debate in the UK, Patel referred to these discussions.

“Let me say something about the legislation we want to introduce. We are learning from other countries, such as Australia—indeed, I had a bilateral meeting just last week. This is also part of the work of Five Eyes,” Patel shared. “A lot of work is being done to look at the institutional impacts of hostile state activity, alongside issues such as foreign agent registration. We want to get this right through future legislation, and that is what we are working on.”

Groups, such as Reporters Without Borders and the National Union of Journalists, wrote to lawmakers and warned that the bill conflated journalism with spying, expanded the definition of classified information, and disproportionately increased the penalty of espionage to life imprisonment.

Many of these new elements align existing laws with the United States Espionage Act, an antiquated law that was adopted over a century ago.

During a Novembr 2021 speech for the right-wing Heritage Foundation on the US-UK alliance, Patel acknowledged this fact.

“We will modernize existing counter-espionage laws to better reflect the contemporary threat; and we will improve our ability to protect official data and strengthen the associated offenses,” Patel declared “Our strategic partnership must continue to address all this activity – which is uninhibited and growing along with all the other threats we see day in, day out.”

The UK’s proposed legislation updates the current espionage laws to now be applicable to non-UK citizens. Press organizations have complained, “The lack of geographic limits and the overly broad definition of the safety and interests of the United Kingdom can extend the reach of the bill across the globe.”

Australia’s new laws also apply outside of the country and like the UK include assisting (or benefiting in the UKs case) foreign entities, leading to criticism that officials are criminalizing those who work with foreign press outlets.

According to the Australian chair of the Five Eyes Law Enforcement Committee, the organization will arrest those who have committed espionage “no matter where those criminals are in the world.”

Swedish military and intelligence officials studied changes to espionage legislation at the behest of the Swedish government and used WikiLeaks’ release of US diplomatic cables in 2010 as an example of a kind of leak that would harm Sweden’s relationship with other countries if it happened today.

Officials also singled out the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US as powers that were important to protect from damaging leaks.

In June 2022, Conservative Party parliamentary member Sir John Hayes asked Damian Hinds, who was the UK minister of state for prisons, parole, and probation, if “a WikiLeaks-type disclosure dressed up as being by a guardian of liberty or some such other nonsense” would be illegal.

“The defenses in part one of the bill provide law enforcement with several options for prosecuting disclosures, where the person is acting for or on behalf of a foreign power or where the disclosure would materially assist a foreign intelligence service,” Hinds responded. “That can include bulk disclosures.”

“To be clear, with this bill, the maximum sentence for an indiscriminate disclosure—a bulk data dump—will be higher than it is today if that act is done for a foreign power or the disclosure would materially assist a foreign intelligence service, even if not procured by that foreign intelligence service itself,” Hinds further stated.

Canada, which is a Five Eyes country like Australia and the United Kingdom, has also followed their lead.  Canadian security officials briefed the press and politicians, claiming that China aims to influence Canadian democracy.

Security officials in Canada have submitted reports to their government requesting new security laws to prevent Canada from becoming a “weak link” amongst its allies.

January 8, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Secret War in the Making: Americans Should Not Die to Defend Taiwan

American Institute for Economic Research Doug Bandow January 2, 2023

The United States might be a democracy in form, but most policies are developed without even a semblance of public participation. For instance, policymakers overwhelmingly believe that the US should go to war with the People’s Republic of China if it attacks Taiwan. President Biden has five times declared that he would back Taiwan militarily. Yet Congress has not voted.

Those predicting conflict believe the hour is late, but some imagine that a tough stance would preclude war. America’s president merely needs to wave his pinky finger, or state his demands, and Chinese Communist Party officials would run screaming back to the leadership compound of Zhongnanhai, never to be heard from again. General Secretary Xi Jinping is, however, made of sterner stuff, buttressed by the People’s Liberation Army, which is rapidly expanding to prevent Washington from treating the Asia-Pacific as coastal American waters.

Even so, many Blob members assume that if Beijing were foolish enough to fight, it would (of course) be defeated. Not so. Any war over Taiwan would be won on the seas, and the PRC is much closer and can more easily reinforce its forces. Breaking a naval blockade would be difficult and would invite full-scale conflict. Beijing now possesses a larger (based on numbers, not tonnage) navy than America. And China is able to concentrate its forces in the Asia-Pacific. Reported the Congressional Research Service: “China’s navy is a formidable military force within China’s near-seas region, and it is conducting a growing number of operations in the broader waters of the Western Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and waters around Europe.”

Geography is a major problem: Taiwan is barely 100 miles off China’s shore, roughly the same distance as Cuba from America. The PRC could rely on two score mainland military bases and enjoy air superiority over the island. Beijing’s strategy would be anti-access/area denial, using submarines and missiles, especially, to keep the US Navy afar.

Washington would have to rely on allied bases, most notably Japan (Okinawa), the Philippines, and South Korea. However, none of America’s friends want to end up as targets of Chinese missiles. The Republic of Korea, confronting a dangerous North Korea, is least-likely to back the US in a war against the PRC. The Philippines is a semi-failed state; a former defense secretary once opined that his nation had “a navy that can’t go out to sea and an air force that cannot fly.”

Which leaves Japan. North Korea’s nuclear turn and China’s rise have caused Tokyo to plan a major increase in defense outlays. That government now notes its strategic interest in Taiwan, but has insisted that nothing said so far commits Japan to go to war with China over the issue. Entry into any war would turn the entire country into a potential target, and reaffirm Tokyo’s status as an enemy of the PRC.

Alas, the US usually loses wargames involving a Taiwan conflict. ………

Equally important, China cares much more about Taiwan than does the US  For the Chinese, the issue is nationalism at its most raw: the island was seized by Japan as war booty more than a century ago. Regaining Taiwan would complete recovery from the so-called “century of humiliation,” during which outside imperialistic powers, including America, effectively humbled and dismantled the moribund Chinese empire.

Taiwan also has obvious military significance. No great power would accept an enemy base so close to its territory. In the event of defeat, China could expect the island to fill with US bases and forces. Washington faced such a possibility with Cuba in 1962 and almost fought a nuclear war with the Soviet Union over the issue.

No surprise, then, that the PRC is serious about forcing reunification. In his talk at the twentieth Chinese Communist Party congress in October, Xi Jinping insisted that “The complete unification of the motherland must be realized, and it will be realized.” Several Chinese diplomats strongly expressed similar views to me after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s ill-considered August visit to Taiwan.

In contrast, in terms of security, Taiwan doesn’t matter one whit to the US.At most, Washington would gain by denying Taiwan to China, inhibiting the latter’s naval activities in the region. But that is no justification for war. Beijing will always be willing to spend and risk more in any fight over the island.

Moreover, a conflict between the US and China might not remain conventional. Never before have two nuclear-armed powers fought a major conventional war. Escalation would be a constant danger. The US could not easily ignore military targets on the Chinese mainland. Attacking China proper, however, would force Beijing to respond by, for instance, hitting American possessions like Guam, at least. The PRC would face even-greater pressure to escalate if it was losing, since Taiwan is an existential interest………………..

The US needs to have a serious debate over Taiwan. Now.

……………… Finally, the US should seek tripartite negotiations to find a modus vivendi to keep the peace in the Taiwan Strait. We might begin with Taiwan downplaying its efforts to assert a separate international identity, the US pledging to forgo a military relationship with Taipei and minimizing efforts to highlight ties with Taiwan, and Beijing reducing military forces targeting the island and agreeing to eschew military action as long as the other parties keep their promises.

Most members of the Washington foreign policy elite have never met a war they didn’t want other Americans to fight. Policymakers managed to blunder through Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya without wrecking the US. A war against China over Taiwan could have far more destructive consequences. It is vital for the American people to participate in the decision-making process over policy toward Taiwan. For their future, and that of their kids and grandkids, the right answer is no to war.

January 8, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Coal Boss Compiles Lastest Nuclear Dump Report for Government who have just Approved his Coal Mine.

Originally posted on Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole: High Level Cronyism and Corruption – Coal and Nuclear Waste Still not raising an eyebrow in the press or by NGOs is the fact that the coal boss Mark Kirkbride is the Government’s key advisor on the dumping of nuclear wastes in big holes. The latest…

Coal Boss Compiles Lastest Nuclear Dump Report for Government who have just Approved his Coal Mine. — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

January 8, 2023 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Australia’s contribution to AUKUS should be a next generation conventional submarine

By Kym Bergmann, 08/01/2023

Sherlock Holmes teaches us that when all possible explanations have been eliminated, the only remaining answer – no matter how improbable – must be correct.  As prospects are diminishing that Australia will be able to receive a nuclear-powered submarine before the 2050s, policy makers are faced with two choices: do nothing, or fast track something that will add significantly to the undersea warfare capabilities of the three AUKUS partners.

The latest development is that two US Senators – one serving and one just retired – Democratic Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee Jack Reed and his Republican predecessor Senator James Inhofe, have warned that the US does not have the capacity to build submarines for Australia.  Previously, Australian officials have dismissed any negative commentary about the nuclear submarine plan as “noise”, but this is getting hard to ignore.

Maybe the report by the nuclear-powered submarine task force due in March will prove the critics wrong, but unless it comes up with a concrete schedule with dates, legally enforceable commitments and so on, Australia needs to have a Plan B.  A document that emphasises intentions, good will, more discussions, dialog, harmonising requirements, committees, and further investigations gets us nowhere.

Even the most vocal critics of conventional submarine technology concede that they nevertheless retain some performance advantages, such as in complex, shallow water littoral environments.  They are also comparatively cheaper to build and – depending on their size and complexity – a nation can acquire at least three conventional submarines for every nuclear-powered boat.

A new generation fleet of Australian conventional submarines could see some of them permanently based in Guam – or even Japan – making an important contribution to USN-led coalition operations in areas such as the South China Sea.  Some could also travel to the UK, though what contribution they could make to joint security from there is unclear, but the gesture might be politically worthwhile.

A commitment to actually doing something to help ourselves would also go over well in Washington.  US figures are reportedly surprised and disappointed at the supine position of Australia, which seems to believe a solution for our defence needs will be handed to us on a platter.  Why should Australia expect the US to solve our submarine problems for us?  First and foremost, this a challenge to be met by the sovereign Australian government and not offshore it like some sort of strategic help line.

The quickest solution for Australia would be to forget about the Collins Life of Type Extension due to start in 2026 and fast track the local construction of the South Korean KSS-III Batch 2 design – now owned by Hanwha – which could see boats in the water from 2030.  These are long-range conventional submarines that achieve a very low indiscretion rate by using lithium-ion batteries and other advanced technologies that were never part of the cancelled Attack class program.  Their endurance could be further expanded by building a resupply base on Christmas Island – surrounded by deep water and easy to protect – that would give them an extra 25% time on station.

Another option would be a Next Generation Collins class – a larger version of the Swedish A26 submarine, similar to the one favoured to be chosen by the Netherlands to meet their need for a long-range oceanic submarine.  A Third Generation Collins in the 2050s could be nuclear-powered, with the involvement of both the US and the UK.  That’s called long term planning and is probably closer to the spirit of AUKUS because it would contribute to sovereign capability.

For all the boosters of nuclear-powered submarines, we say this: unless Australia has a highly skilled construction base, we will be condemned to forever seeking to buy them from the US or the UK – and, as we are witnessing, the chances of that ever happening are receding.  As those two nations learned from the Sea Wolf and Astute programs, without a continuous submarine construction program, the loss of skills can be catastrophic.

The only sure way to guarantee that Australia will be able to build nuclear powered submarines – other than the reactors themselves – is to be able to transition from building large, advanced conventional submarines to something with a different propulsion system. Put simply: those arguing that an interim submarine is too inconvenient are condemning to death the idea of the local build of a nuclear-powered boat.  We will need a skilled, experienced, existing workforce, existing program management and existing local supply chains.

The only sure way to guarantee that Australia will be able to build nuclear powered submarines – other than the reactors themselves – is to be able to transition from building large, advanced conventional submarines to something with a different propulsion system. Put simply: those arguing that an interim submarine is too inconvenient are condemning to death the idea of the local build of a nuclear-powered boat.  We will need a skilled, experienced, existing workforce, existing program management and existing local supply chains.

January 8, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

From the fossil fuel frying pan into the fission fire

“Coal to Nuclear” plan is old thinking at its worst

From the fossil fuel frying pan into the fission fire — Beyond Nuclear International

Another smokescreen that obscures real climate solutions

By Linda Pentz Gunter

They’ve given it a snappy little acronym, one that is perhaps supposed to masquerade as a sort of scientific-sounding calculus — C2N. After the failure of the much-trumpeted “nuclear renaissance” that never was, the nuclear lobby and its federal lackeys have come up with another PR clunker — Coal 2 Nuclear (hence, C2N). In reality, this is less C2N than CPR for an ailing nuclear power industry.

Unfortunately, to arrive at this dangerously out-of-touch scheme, our tax dollars had to be wasted on yet another U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) report. Its conclusion was that, “hundreds of U.S. coal power plant sites could convert to nuclear power plant sites, adding new jobs, increasing economic benefit, and significantly improving environmental conditions.”

Notice the word “could” though. Not “will”. Because it’s more of the same aspirational irrationality that is driving the small modular reactor fantasy in the first place, the version of nuclear power that would supposedly dot the defunct coal plant landscapes.

The DOE study was conducted by Argonne National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Their self-interested conclusions then, come as no surprise.

C2N is enough to make you despair — or confirm your pre-existing suspicions — that our leadership is blind and deaf to the reality of the climate emergency we are facing. They are truly mired in the mud of outdated thinking, clinging to failed and foolish energy plans that have long been supplanted by demonstrably better, faster, cheaper, safer and more workable options, ergo renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation.

More than 3 million of the 7.8 million jobs in the US energy sector are in areas aligned to America’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2050”, reported the World Economic Forum in July 2022. “This means renewable energy jobs in 2021 accounted for around 40% of total energy jobs.”

But no, the DOE would rather spend decades dangling before depressed coal communities the false promise of “new jobs” and “economic benefits” in a phantom new nuclear sector. It’s a con and the worst form of betrayal and guess whose fingerprints are all over this?

With C2N, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia (Democrat in name only and with his pockets full of coal money), is throwing his most deprived constituents under a petroleum-powered bus. He is leading those who need work today down a long and winding road to C2N that will deliver little if anything and nothing anytime soon.

All of this is in line with a collective madness that appears to have taken over significant swaths of human society. In November, UN General Secretary, António Guterres, desperate to steer us away from our final precipice, issued his most strident and urgent warning yet:

“We are in the fight of our lives and we are losing … And our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible,” Guterres said. “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.”

He was speaking at the opening of the COP27 UN climate summit in Egypt, or the “COP-out” as some cynics prefer to call it, given the abject failure of these annual meetings to ensure enforcement of the pledges made, albeit most are still woefully inadequate.

The US DOE meanwhile, prefers to dwell in the dark ages of denial. “A coal to nuclear transition could significantly improve air quality,” the department alleged in its report. But this ignores the fact that nuclear power plants and the nuclear fuel chain routinely release radioactivity, especially dangerous to children. Among more than 60 epidemiological studies worldwide, most found increases in rates of leukemia among children under five living near nuclear power plants. The rates increased the closer children lived to the plant.

And it ignores the fact that air quality could be improved faster and more significantly by shifting from coal to renewables rather than to nuclear, thereby also avoiding the cancer-causing emissions delivered by nuclear power.

Of course, “air quality” would be rendered meaningless if/when one of the C2N plants suffers a serious accident. Such an event would release large amounts of fast-traveling radioactive iodine-131 gas, followed by clouds of heavier radioactive fallout such as cesium and strontium. A major disaster, such as those at Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima in 2011, even released “hot” particles such plutonium into the environment.

This outcome is made even more likely by virtue of the reactor choices for these C2N sites, which include small modular reactors, sodium-cooled fast reactors and very high temperature reactors, all designs vulnerable to fires, leaks, explosions and other major failures.

Needless to say, a C2R program (Coal to Renewables), the most obvious choice staring our federal government in the face, just wasn’t even on the cards. That would have meant relinquishing the stranglehold —and renouncing the pocket-lining dollars — of the big fossil fuel and nuclear corporations. 

As M.V. Ramana and Cassandra Jeffery noted with such precision on these pages, the powers that be are “far more devoted to maintaining the current system for as long as it is feasible,” rather than exploring genuine climate solutions.

C2N preserves that status quo, operating inside a spectacularly failed system that, nevertheless, continues to enrich the already wealthy and preserve the monopoly enjoyed by large, inflexible and already obsolete forms of energy production such as nuclear power.

An argument made by these entrenched establishment forces is that moving from coal to nuclear allows for a continued electricity supply system that is “always on”, reinforcing the myth that base load energy is somehow beneficial.

Nuclear reactors “run uninterrupted,” Maria Korsnick, head of the industry lobbying group, Nuclear Energy Institute, told an audience of Purdue University students in October when stumping for C2N. “Every hour of every day, rain or shine.”

But, as George Harvey explained in CleanTechnica: “Base load power may supply the electricity in the middle of the night in many cases, but power from other sources could be used instead.” Clinging to base load is related to cost, not demand and efficiency.

Already back in 2017, the Brattle Group conducted an analysis for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee — Advancing Past “Baseload” to a Flexible Grid, in which the group concluded that the base load concept was outdated. Base load, it said, has now been left behind by the economics of a changing electricity landscape that have rendered it “no longer very relevant”.

Much more efficient, said the report, is an electricity demand and supply met with high renewable generation. In their graph illustrating this, nuclear power is nowhere to be seen.

And of course, nuclear power invariably doesn’t “run uninterrupted.” It must power down or off during violent storms, droughts or heatwaves, or due to offsite grid instability, and shut down for extended periods during refueling and maintenance. And, as exemplified most recently by France, it can simply break down altogether for extended periods.

If the C2N reactors ever do happen, it will be decades in the future. By then, those who needed the work in the 2020s, falsely promised by C2N, will be retired or deceased. Our coastlines may well be underwater. If we did enough in time to save ourselves, we will be on smart grids using distributed generation. 

“Nuclear energy is going to create incredible new career opportunities all over the country,” Korsnick told the Purdue students. According to the dictionary definition, “incredible” means “not credible; hard to believe”. That about sums it up. 

Linda Pentz Gunter is the international specialist at Beyond Nuclear and writes for and curates Beyond Nuclear International.

January 8, 2023 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Sizewell C: How will the £20billion plant be fully-funded?

Campaigners will have their day in court to challenge the “woeful
decision” to give the go-ahead to the Sizewell C nuclear plant – just part
of a challenging year ahead for the huge project.

The government approved the £20billion-plus twin reactor on the Suffolk coast last summer and has
already pledged £700million of public money towards it along with a levy
on power bills.

But that still leaves huge decisions to be made as to where
the rest of the money will come from and how the power plant – which will
provide electricity for six million homes – will be fully funded.

Ministers say the financial investment decision (FID) will be made in this parliament
– which means in the next two years, though it could come sooner than that.
Construction work on the reactors will start soon after. Early work this
year will continue on the main development site and also to relocate some
buildings at Sizewell B to make room for Sizewell C.

 East Anglian Daily Times 4th Jan 2023

January 8, 2023 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

SMRs – an oversold hype? 8 Jan 23 Writing in the venerable US journal Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Markku Lehtonen takes at look at Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), warning that they may be being oversold.  He says  ‘Despite the boost from the Ukraine crisis, it is uncertain whether SMR advocates can muster the political will and societal acceptance needed to turn SMRs into a commercial success. The economic viability of the SMR promise will crucially depend on how much further down the road towards  deglobalization, authoritarianism in its various guises, and further tweaking of the energy markets the Western societies are willing to go. Moreover, the reliance of the SMR business case on complex global supply chains as well as on massive deployment and geographical dispersion of nuclear facilities creates its own geopolitical vulnerabilities and security problems’.

A key issue for the selling of  SMRs is ease of deployment . Well it may not be as easy as some hope, although the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has recently moved to allow ‘advanced  nuclear plants’ to be built in thickly populated areas. The NRC decision entitled ‘Population-Related Siting Considerations for Advanced Reactors,’ was passed subject to one vote against from Commissioner Jeffery Baran, who said ‘multiple, independent layers of protection against potential radiological exposure are necessary because we do not have perfect knowledge of new reactor technologies and their unique potential accident scenarios… Unlike light-water reactors, new advanced reactor designs do not have decades of operating experience; in many cases, the new designs have never been built or operated before.’  

There may be other ways for NRC to smooth the path ahead .  NIRS/WISE Nuclear Monitor 904, reports on the views of  Dr Ed Lyman, from the US Union of Concerned Scientists, who says SMRs and Advanced Modular Reactors are likely to be expensive and he lists some other possible ways to ‘cut corners on safety & security to cut costs’, that the industry would like NRC to consider. Here are some of them:  

• Allow nuclear power plants to have a ‘small containment-or no physical containment at all’. 

• No offsite emergency planning requirements. 

• Fewer or even zero operators. 

• Letting the plants have ‘fewer NRC inspections and weaker enforcement.’ 

• ‘Reduced equipment reliability reporting.’ 

• ‘Fewer back-up safety systems.’ 

• ‘Regulatory requirements should be few in number and vague.’ 

• ‘Zero’ armed security personnel to try to protect an advanced nuclear plant from terrorists.

We are almost talking about a ‘wild west’  free for all!  Hopefully some sense will prevail. And a more balanced view of possibilities, risks and benefits will be taken, in the US, and also in the UK, where there are plans for developing 20-30 PWR-type SMRs as part of the UK plan to triple UK nuclear capacity by 2050. 

Will it really happen?  There certainly are  a lot of very different ideas being mooted,  beyond just mini-versions of Pressurised Water-cooled Reactors, including sodium cooled fast neutron reactors, molten flouride salt reactors, and high temperature helium cooled reactors. But as I explored in my recent book, looking back how these ideas emerged and were then abandoned in the early days of nuclear experimentation, I’m not convinced that any of the new nuclear, variants large or small, has much of a future. Renewables are arguably a far better bet. And I’m not alone in thinking that SMRs are not the way ahead.

January 8, 2023 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | 1 Comment

Russian computer hacking team targeted 3 USA nuclear weapons facilities

 A Russian hacking team known as Cold River targeted three nuclear research
laboratories in the United States this past summer, according to internet
records reviewed by Reuters and five cyber security experts.

Between August and September, as President Vladimir Putin indicated Russia would be
willing to use nuclear weapons to defend its territory, Cold River targeted
the Brookhaven (BNL), Argonne (ANL) and Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratories (LLNL), according to internet records that showed the hackers
creating fake login pages for each institution and emailing nuclear
scientists in a bid to make them reveal their passwords.

 Reuters 6th Jan 2023

January 8, 2023 Posted by | Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Sizewell C Nuclear Project’s biggest stumbling block is its funding problem.

 Everything you need to know about the future of Sizewell C power station
in 2023.

Sizewell C’s biggest stumbling block surrounds its funding. The
government’s £700 million commitment is merely a small amount of the
estimated final cost, which is likely to run above £25 billion.

In November, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary Grant Shapps
confirmed that the government had bought out China General Nuclear’s stake
in the project. However, it’s reported that around 60 per cent of the
funding is yet to be found. Most of the returns for the investors will come
when they sell electricity to businesses and households around the UK.

However, the government has also said that it will allow investors in new
nuclear to get money through the so-called Regulated Asset Base model.

 Suffolk Live 5th Jan 2023

January 8, 2023 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment