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Nuclear power in Ukraine: what would happen if Zaporizhzhia was hit?

The most likely risk scenario is a breach of spent fuel held in canisters or cooling ponds outside of the reactor core containment structure. This spent fuel is still highly radioactive and vulnerable to missiles, shells and rocket strikes which could spread radiation directly or start fires spreading radiation. An impact by an aircraft is also a significant risk due to the highly inflammable aircraft fuel onboard.

Scientists for Global Responsibility, Dr Philip Webber, 22 Jan 23

The Zaporizhzhia region in south eastern Ukraine houses the largest nuclear power station in Europe – the Zaporizhzhia NPP – one of the ten largest such plants in the world. It is currently in an intensely fought war zone. Dr Philip Webber, SGR, explains some of the risks of radiation releases that this poses, both nationally and internationally.

Article from Responsible Science journal, no.5; advance online publication: 15 December 2022

About the Zaporizhzhia site

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant [1] is part of a huge industrial complex some 8km square. It houses six large (1 gigawatt or GW) VVER-1000 Russian designed and built nuclear power reactors, [2] three thermal (coal- and gas-powered) power stations, and the purpose-built city of Enerhodar, which was built in 1970 to house 11,000 power plant workers and a total population of around 53,000. [3]  Before the war, the nuclear plant supplied about 20% of Ukraine’s electricity – widely used for heating in large apartment blocks. The reactors’ containment structures [4] house the nuclear core and used or ‘spent’ nuclear fuel in cooling pools. After five years, this spent fuel is transferred to dry storage casks nearby, which are air-cooled. In addition, huge external cooling ponds – which are continuously sprayed with water – store many older used nuclear fuel rods. The three thermal plants were shut down in May 2022 having run out of fuel due to the Russian invasion.

The Zaporizhzhia power site is much larger than the biggest UK nuclear sites such as Sellafield or Hinkley Point – either of these would fit within just the area of the cooling ponds at Zaporizhzhia. The entire complex is situated on a flat promontory on the south-east bank of the Dnipro River which is 5km wide at that point. [5]  The site is 50km south west of the city of Zaporizhzhia, also on the south bank of the Dnipro. Kherson is about 150km to the south west – but on the other bank of the river.

Under occupation

The reactor site has been occupied by Russian military forces since March 2022 – with Ukrainian forces in control of the opposite river bank. The original Ukrainian Energoatom plant operators are being forced to keep working there under conditions of extreme stress. These stresses include excessively long shifts, extreme concerns about family safety, and even the arrest of the plant chief. Various parts of the site have been hit by artillery shells and warheads from rocket-launched missiles over several months. Photographs show cratering and rocket tubes embedded in the ground. Both sides accuse the other of deliberately targeting and hitting the plant site. As a result of major safety concerns, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has placed monitoring teams at the site and nearby, but sourcing reliable information remains extremely difficult. [6]

The local electricity grid is very extensive and extremely vulnerable. Before the war, several high voltage (HV) power lines extended east from the nuclear and thermal plants to what is now Russian-occupied Ukraine via extensive electricity sub-stations, whilst one large HV line connected directly across the Dnipro to the opposite bank – under the control of Ukraine – via Marhanets just 15km away. Artillery shells can easily be fired over 40km whilst rocket launchers can reach even further, so the entire area is within range of both Russian and Ukrainian forces. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the IAEA continue to report that connections to the electricity grid keep being destroyed by artillery shelling which are then intermittently repaired. Repairs are very difficult owing to a severe shortage of supplies such as power transformers, insulators, cabling and HV circuit breakers. So far, neither the containment buildings for the reactors, nor the spent fuel assemblies in canisters, nor the large cooling ponds appear to have been seriously breached, but there is no guarantee this will continue to be the case.

The plants remain in a highly contested conflict area. The IAEA and UN have called for the plants to be placed in a demilitarised safety zone. No such zone has yet been set up. It is perhaps worth saying that any such demilitarised zone would have to include the city of Enerhodar because of its intimate connection and proximity to the nuclear power plants and power lines that traverse the entire area. Creating such an exclusion zone at the centre of a high intensity war zone is extremely difficult and has been rarely achieved in other conflicts.

Emergency shutdown

It is extremely difficult to secure a reliable picture of what is actually going on at the Zaporizhzhia power generation site……………………………

What if the cooling fails?

Any nuclear reactor, for safe operation, needs to be connected to an electricity supply to provide a reliable source of emergency core cooling power. Without such active cooling from pumped water, the reactor core will eventually overheat to dangerous levels. Outside the reactor cores, radioactive decay in spent fuel continues, releasing heat inside the reactor containment structure, the dry storage casks, and the external ponds. Any failures of, or threats to, electricity supplies create serious emergency situations. Because of this danger, each reactor has emergency diesel-fired electricity generators with around 10 days of fuel. [8]  Ultimately, without active cooling powered by the grid, and once back-up diesel generators run out of fuel, core temperatures would rise uncontrollably. This would lead first to hydrogen gas release, then explosions, and ultimately, runaway core meltdowns breaching the core containment.

This is what happened at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan in 2011 [9] – when the cores in three reactors could not be cooled, large volumes of hydrogen gas were released into the containment structures, which then exploded, releasing highly radioactive materials into the environment – mainly as gases and vapours. After a few days, the reactor cores reached the melting points of the nuclear fuels and these highly radioactive molten materials burned down through the lower regions of the reactor vessels. This situation also has similarities with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster – the site of which is now part of Ukraine (and was occupied briefly by Russian troops early during the invasion).

In a reactor core of 1GW size, as those at Zaporizhzhia, if the cooling system breaks down, hydrogen explosions would occur after 8 to 12 hours. After about two days, the reactor core would become hot enough to burn through the base of the reactor vessel. [10]

Cooling for the reactor cores and spent fuel storage relies on several factors: a reliable supply of water; a reliable supply of power for the cooling pumps; working pumps; and staff to conduct any repairs and maintain the cooling systems. Without a reliable connection to the electricity grid, the only source of power for the pumps are, as mentioned, the back-up generators. With all of these factors now under threat, the risk of a reactor containment breach due to cooling failure is high. [11]

Other risks result from the ongoing conflict. Whilst an artillery shell or conventional cruise missile strike is unlikely to breach the reactor core containment directly, the threat is much greater to the integrity of over 3,000 spent fuel assemblies stored locally in concrete containers. Artillery, or a cruise missile could easily breach any of these containers releasing highly radioactive materials. This in turn could make part of the site – for example, cooling circuitry or fuel supplies – too dangerous to manage, which would lead to an even more serious core failure.

The possible effects of a nuclear disaster

There are a wide range of possible disaster scenarios.

Firstly, considering a meltdown of one or more reactor cores, the most comparable reactor accident so far has been the Fukushima plant radiation releases following the Great East Japan Earthquake and its subsequent tsunami in 2011. This led to an initial obligatory exclusion zone of 20km radius around the plant with 30km radius stay-at-home and no-fly zones and finally a larger zone extending 40km to the north west. Within a year, some people were permitted to return home within the 20km zone, whilst others with higher radiation levels were restricted for five years after the disaster, and a 30-year clean up period was envisaged. The Fukushima experience however does not give one high confidence that future nuclear disasters may be better managed……………………….

A further difficulty arising from the conflict is that emergency responses such as evacuation of population, distribution of iodine tablets or provision of emergency medical treatment would be very difficult to coordinate, especially as no one authority would be able to take charge of the situation………….

The most likely risk scenario is a breach of spent fuel held in canisters or cooling ponds outside of the reactor core containment structure. This spent fuel is still highly radioactive and vulnerable to missiles, shells and rocket strikes which could spread radiation directly or start fires spreading radiation. An impact by an aircraft is also a significant risk due to the highly inflammable aircraft fuel onboard.

What if a nuclear weapon were used?

The worst possible scenario is nuclear strike on a reactor.  A direct strike by even the smallest nuclear warhead, for example, a 10 kilotonne (kT) ‘tactical’ nuclear warhead – smaller than that dropped on Hiroshima in World War II – would breach the core containment and spread the highly radioactive materials inside. A strike missing the core containment would spread the large amounts of spent fuel stored nearby. A 10kT nuclear blast and fireball would create a 1km radius zone of major destruction, a crater 25m deep and carry radioactive materials into a cloud of 8km altitude and 3km across depositing them underneath and downwind as fallout.

The reactor waste products contain long-lasting radioactive isotopes such as caesium and strontium which are readily absorbed into the body or into crops contaminating farmland. This would create a major radiation problem tens to hundreds of times worse and much longer-lasting than the nuclear weapon alone. [13]

At Zaporizhzhia, the large amounts of spent fuel storage make this risk even worse. Fallout would create a lethal radiation risk across the entire plant site and city of Enerhodar. …………………… a completely unmanageable evacuation requirement in peacetime let alone in the middle of an intense war. Depending on the dose rates, some areas may need to be avoided for years to decades………………………………….

Impacts in a war zone

Both the risk of a nuclear disaster and the consequences of it are multiplied in a war zone. In Ukraine, the population are already suffering intense pressure, strain and casualties due to direct impacts such as widespread Russian bombardment with artillery and missiles…………………………….

The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the existence of nuclear plants in any war zone creates a whole new range of risks and dangers ………………….. The other three Ukraine reactor sites are also at high risk due to damage to the electricity grid and have already been subject to emergency shutdown due to such damage…………..more



January 24, 2023 Posted by | Reference, safety, Ukraine | 2 Comments

New NASA Nuclear Rocket Plan Aims to Get to Mars in Just 45 Days

Science Alert23 January 2023, By MATT WILLIAMS, “…………………………. A few years ago, NASA reignited its nuclear program for the purpose of developing bimodal nuclear propulsion – a two-part system consisting of an NTP and NEP element – that could enable transits to Mars in 100 days.

As part of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program for 2023, NASA selected a nuclear concept for Phase I development. This new class of bimodal nuclear propulsion system uses a “wave rotor topping cycle” and could reduce transit times to Mars to just 45 days………………………….

Nuclear-Electric Propulsion (NEP), on the other hand, relies on a nuclear reactor to provide electricity to a Hall-Effect thruster (ion engine), which generates an electromagnetic field that ionizes and accelerates an inert gas (like xenon) to create thrust. Attempts to develop this technology include NASA’s Nuclear Systems Initiative (NSI) Project Prometheus (2003 to 2005)………………………………………..

A transit of 45 days (six and a half weeks) would reduce the overall mission time to months instead of years. This would significantly reduce the major risks associated with missions to Mars, including radiation exposure, the time spent in microgravity, and related health concerns.

In addition to propulsion, there are proposals for new reactor designs that would provide a steady power supply for long-duration surface missions where solar and wind power are not always available………….. more

January 24, 2023 Posted by | space travel, USA | 1 Comment

As the war rages on and military spending booms, the US arms industry is a big winner in Ukraine

ABC News, By Annika Burgess  21 Jan 23

As the war in Ukraine heads towards the one-year mark, so far there has been only one clear winner — the US arms industry. 

There is no way Ukraine would have been able to hold out against Russia without American weapons.

But as the conflict rages on, there have been accusations from some EU officials that the US is profiting from the war through weapons sales and gas prices. 

Meanwhile, analysts have warned of excessive spending and the US military-industrial complex (MIC) expanding beyond what is needed in response to Ukraine. 

Defence budgets are also booming worldwide as countries replenish stocks sent to Ukraine and try to boost military capabilities in the face of mounting security threats.

Ultimately, the US defence contractors are set for a bonanza.  ……..

What are the issues with the MIC?

The military-industrial complex is a term coined during the Cold War to describe the relationship between a government and defence industry contractors that lobby for increased military spending.

A country’s MIC has the potential to exert influence over government policy, especially if there are legislators who can benefit from the partnerships.

In the US, there is a wider vested interest in keeping the industry thriving, especially for local economies that are highly dependant on defence contractors for jobs. 

Charles Miller, senior lecturer at the ANU’s school of politics and international relations, said about 800,000 jobs are directly tied to the sector.

“The local economy is highly dependent on defence contractors for its economic wellbeing,” Mr Miller told the ABC.

“And that’s not the Raytheons or the Boeings themselves, but what’s called the secondary contractors — that is, the people and the companies that make a living by servicing them.”

Former US president Dwight Eisenhower warned of the rise of the MIC and its threat to democracy in his 1961 farewell address.

“He viewed it as a huge problem,” Bill Hartung, a defence analyst at the US Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, told the ABC.

“Although, he did say in the Cold War-era large military sales were necessary, but the question was how to control it, and what democratic guardrails could be put in place.”

Today, there doesn’t seem to be the same level of concern.

The MIC was already a “powerful force”, and in response to Ukraine the US has stripped away many safeguards to protect against waste and price gouging, Mr Hartung said.

He added that a lot of changes being discussed will last far beyond the war in Ukraine.

“The United States is kind of seizing this moment to try to get out a bunch of things that have been on their wish list for years, like committing to multi-year procurement of weapons,” Mr Hartung said.

“All of which will probably make it easier for those companies to rip off the government, because there will be less negotiation over prices and the inclination to just push things out the door.”………………………………….

Who are the biggest winners? 

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, the US and its NATO allies have been throwing tens of billions of dollars worth of military aid Ukraine’s way.

The United States alone sent around $US21.3 billion ($30 billion) in security assistance to Kyiv last year.

Contracts have been rolled out thick and fast to speed up weapons production and fill supply gaps.

And there are a small number of companies in the highly consolidated industry that are reaping the rewards.

Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing and Northrop Grumman — all from the US — are among the top contractors.

They also produce some of the most in-demand and expensive weapons being sent to Ukraine.

The conflict has sent their stocks surging, with the share price of Northrop Grumman increasing 40 per cent by the end of 2022, while Lockheed Martin’s was up by 37 per cent.

In October, the Pentagon announced $US1.2 billion in contracts were underway to replenish US military stocks for weapons sent to the battlefield.

Production for Lockheed Martin’s popular Javelin anti-tank missiles — dubbed “Saint Javelin”, the protector of Ukraine — increased from 2,100 to nearly 4,000 per year.

While production for its High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) shot up from 60 to 96 units a year. 

The US upped the ante further in November, awarding Raytheon — which also co-produces Javelins — a $US1.2 billion contract for another six National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) for Ukraine.

Soon after, Lockheed Martin won a $US7.8 billion contract modification for F-35 aircraft, and $US431 million to deliver new HIMARS and support services for the US Army and its foreign allies.

Australia this month also announced it was purchasing 20 HIMARS and associated hardware for $558 million.

Global defence spending boom

Last month, the US Senate passed a funding bill that included a record $US858 billion in annual defence spending — up from $US740 billion the previous year.

It was $US45 billion more than what was proposed by President Joe Biden.

The bill includes funding for Taiwan and Ukraine, allowing the Pentagon to buy massive amounts of high-priority munitions using multi-year contracts — both to help Kyiv fight Russia and to refill US stockpiles.

“It’s surprising how much it has gone up,” Mr Hartung said.

Hanna Homestead, a policy associate from the Center for International Policy (CIP) — a US-based group monitoring military spending and weapons — said contractors were already receiving a staggering amount.

“In 2020, Lockheed Martin got more money through federal contracts than the Department of State and USAID combined,” she told the ABC.

Allies like Japan have also announced historic surges in defence spending.

Last month, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he was boosting Japan’s 2023 defence budget by 20 per cent in the face of regional security concerns and threats posed by China and North Korea.

It includes around 250 billion yen ($3.16 billion) to buy Lockheed Martin fighter jets. 

Japan’s major military reform plan will see it double defence spending to 2 per cent of GDP by 2027, using a spending target that follows the NATO standard.

Meanwhile, some NATO countries are pushing for a greater defence commitment in response to the Ukraine conflict, saying the benchmark of 2 per cent of GDP should be the bare minimum.

‘That’s just the way it is’

Many believe the US arms industry doesn’t have a great reputation.

“They continue to arm repressive regimes like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the Philippines and Algeria that have horrific human rights records and have engaged in destabilising activities,” Mr Hartung said. 

He also accused companies of “pure profiteering” when it came to Ukraine, saying they are buying back their own share market stocks to boost the prices at a time when they claim they need more money.

“[This] has nothing to do with making anyone safer,” Mr Hartung said. 

“In general, the chaos of war makes profiteering easier. 

The European Union’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell has accused the US of profiting from high gas prices, weapons and trade while its allies suffer.

However, Ms Homestead said it was still a small amount of companies getting the bulk of the benefits, which doesn’t necessarily trickle down. 

“It’s really the private companies that are profiting, I wouldn’t say the US government is profiting,” she said. ………………………………………….

January 24, 2023 Posted by | business and costs, Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

2022 saw the slow demise of the Bradwell B nuclear plan

That was the Year That Was…

Andy Blowers summarises the past year for the Bradwell B project in the BANNG column for the January 2023 edition of Regional Life

A year is a short time in the glacial progress of a nuclear power station as it slowly moves through the various hurdles until it falls or proceeds eventually to the point where it goes critical and its long-term legacy becomes eternal and irreversible. So, with Bradwell B’s faltering progress over the past seven years until its fall last year. It may seem, in the words of Charles II, that it has been ‘an unconscionable time a-dying’, but the year just ended has witnessed the slow demise of Bradwell B.

Bradwell B entered 2022 with diminishing prospects. From the moment in early 2020 when it disclosed its preposterous plans to an outraged public, it had struggled for credibility. It’s true that in 2021 the Chinese-designed reactors gained Generic Design Approval (GDA) from the UK regulatory authorities. But, also in 2021, CGN (China General Nuclear Power Group) announced it was pausing its activities indefinitely. No doubt this was, in part, a result of the overwhelming and sustained opposition from BANNG, BAN, local councils and communities that it had encountered over the years.

During 2022 any lingering hopes for the project appeared to vanish amid deepening fears about Sea Level Rise and destructive impacts on our vulnerable coast. And it became clear that Chinese participation in UK nuclear projects was unwelcome for reasons of national security. By the year’s end, CGN informed stakeholders that it was effectively decommitting from its activities on the site with no plans for resumption.

It’s over. Let it go…

So, Bradwell B is over and we can let it go. But the threat of new nuclear at Bradwell will remain as long as the Government categorises the site as ‘potentially suitable’. Other developers may try to muscle in and we know that Rolls Royce has made a ranging shot at Bradwell as a ‘deployable site’ for its non-existent Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). It must be finally and unequivocally demonstrated that the Bradwell site is utterly unsuitable for the deployment of nuclear development, whether big Gigawatts (GW) or big SMRs That has been the nub of BANNG’s campaign over many years and it remains so as we enter 2023.

January 24, 2023 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Ukraine says situation deteriorating at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

Ukraine says situation deteriorating at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.
Ukraine’s energy minister said on Friday the situation at the Russian-held
Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station was deteriorating because of the
psychological state of its Ukrainian staff and the condition of equipment.
The Ukrainian staff have remained at the plant in southeastern Ukraine
since Russian forces captured it last March, soon after Moscow’s invasion.

Reuters 20th Jan 2023

January 24, 2023 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

The first breach of 1.5°C will be a temporary but devastating failure

The world has already warmed by about 1.2°C since pre-industrial times.
Within the next four years, there is a 48 per cent chance temperatures
could breach the 1.5°C threshold for the first time, according to the UK
Met Office.

At most, the world has nine years until breaching 1.5°C for at
least one year is inevitable, according to the Global Carbon Project. It
would be a totemic milestone. The 1.5°C target has become a guiding light
for the climate movement, after it was included as a “stretch goal” in
the 2015 Paris Agreement.

In the document, the world’s nations promise to
limit any global rise in average temperatures to “well below” 2°C and
to strive for warming of no more than 1.5°C. That inclusion of 1.5°C in
the agreement – fought for by campaigners and small island states at risk
of rising seas – focused scientific minds.

In 2018, the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change published a report on the projected impact of
exceeding the 1.5°C target, which warned that warming beyond this level
would be far more damaging than first thought.

New Scientist 16th Jan 2023

January 24, 2023 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

French nuclear safety needs review ahead of reactor lifespan extensions, newbuilds. PARIS, Jan 23 (Reuters) – France’s nuclear safety needs a global and systemic review as President Emmanuel Macron’s government prepares to extend the lifespan of the existing fleet while planning to build new reactors, nuclear agency ASN said on Monday.

Bernard Doroszczuk, head of the French nuclear safety watchdog, also told a news conference that utility EDF (EDF.PA) must explain by end-2024 how it plans to extend the life of its nuclear plants up to or beyond 60 years, in order to formulate a first position on the issue within a further two years.

Doroszczuk said a nuclear safety review needs to anticipate the effects of ageing on nuclear installations as well as new challenges posed by climate change.

The government plans to present new energy and climate legislation this summer that will serve as the legislative framework for plans announced by Macron in February 2022 to start construction of at least six new EPR 2 nuclear reactors and to extend the lifespan of as many reactors as possible.

“We need to identify for which components there may be a limit to their operating lifespan,” Doroszczuk said, adding that some components, such as the reactor vessel and the reactor building, cannot be replaced while other components are hard to replace.

“This is not something that can be worked out on the back of an envelope, we cannot decide in a few months whether it is feasible to go beyond 60 years,” he said.

As well as better anticipating the long-term consequences of climate change on the current and future fleet, ASN also wants the new climate and energy law to tackle the issue of treatment and recycling of spent nuclar fuel.

During last year’s heatwave, the watchdog had to grant waivers in order to let certain reactors continue to operate – which had not happened since 2003.

The agency added that EDF unit Framatome had asked it to delay the replacement of the vessel cover of the EPR reactor under construction in Flamanville so it coincided with the first fuel reloading rather than replacing it at the end of 2024 as currently planned.

ASN said that the safety of French nuclear installations overall in 2022 was satisfactory, despite corrosion problems detected on some reactors.

January 24, 2023 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

U.S. officials advise Ukraine to wait on offensive, official says

By Steve Holland Reuters 20 Jan 23

Senior U.S. officials are advising Ukraine to hold off on launching a major offensive against Russian forces until the latest supply of U.S. weaponry is in place and training has been provided, a senior Biden administration official said on Friday.

The official, speaking to a small group of reporters on condition of anonymity, said the United States was holding fast to its decision not to provide Abrams tanks to Ukraine at this time, amid a controversy with Germany over tanks.

President Joe Biden, who approved a new $2.5 billion weapons package for Ukraine this week, told reporters at the White House, “Ukraine is going to get all the help they need,” when asked if he supports Poland’s intention to send German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine.

Comment: US advises Ukraine not to squander scarce resources.

The US believes that Ukraine should “refocus” on preparations for a new offensive, suggesting fierce battles for the eastern city of Artyomovsk (called Bakhmut by Ukraine) may be “hampering” Kiev. The comments cut against months of Western media reports that described the town as a key, strategic area.

The aid includes a large number of artillery rounds, munitions for the US-supplied HIMARS multi-launch rocket platform, and, for the first time, Stryker combat vehicles – but no tanks. A small number of Ukrainian troops are also undergoing training at a US base in Germany, with some learning how to operate the Patriot missile defense battery authorized for Kiev in December.

The official allegedly said that Western weapons that will be needed for a “mobile offensive force” for future battles are currently “pouring into Ukraine,” adding that Kiev should not waste its limited resources on the “strategically unimportant target,” according to Reuters.

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

NATO activating space war center in France — Anti-bellum

NATOAllied Command TransformationJanuary 20, 2023 One More Step for NATO’s Space Centre of Excellence The signing ceremony for Operational Memorandum of Understanding of the NATO-accredited Space Centre of Excellence recently took place at the French Ministry of Defence in Paris, France. This event is both the commencement of the NATO Space Centre of Excellence’s journey […]

NATO activating space war center in France — Anti-bellum

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Demonstrators gather in Hamburg against threat of nuclear confrontation in Ukraine By Kristina Jovanovski   23/01/2023

A call for peace. The International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) demanded all nuclear weapons to be destroyed as they demonstrated in front of Hamburg’s city hall on Sunday.

The Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning organisation began in the 80’s by US and Soviet doctors against the nuclear arms race. The protesters are now concerned the war in Ukraine increases the risk of such weapons being used.

‘No first use of nuclear weapons’

Angelika Claussen is the Co-Chair at the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and said the main players in the current conflict must declare their intentions:

“Especially for the biggest nuclear weapon countries, Russia and US, which is also involved indirectly in the war, they have to declare that they will not use nuclear weapons in this war. No first use of nuclear weapons.”

This protest is marking the two-year anniversary of a UN treaty banning the use of nuclear weapons. It’s believed that Russia could deploy tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine.

But experts at a conference leading up to this demonstration said there is no such thing as a small nuclear weapons. It’s not just weapons that worry the campaigners.

They also talked about the threats of nuclear energy, and the potential damage from possible accidents from power plants around the world. International experts are pushing for a protection zone around Ukraine’s largest plant at Zaporizhzhia.

“To enforce some sort of zones around them so that they are not in any danger of being hit by missiles, bombs or shelling so that would minimize the risk,” Linda Gunter from Beyond Nuclear International said. “But again it won’t remove the risk entirely because meltdowns can still happen from loss of power, human error,” she added.

Another group of experts will highlight the risks of nuclear weapons on Tuesday.

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Accident at Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant ‘still cannot be excluded’: IAEA 

EuroNews, By Méabh Mc Mahon   23/01/2023

The threat of a nuclear accident in Ukraine is still very high, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told Euronews on Monday.

Rafael Mariano Grossi, who met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnsky last week during a visit to the war-torn country, described the situation around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as very precarious and said that reaching a deal on the establishment of a safe zone is tricky as the military are involved in the talks.

“We did have situations where this facility was shelled, attacked directly. There is still a lot of military activity around. So it cannot be excluded that this happens again,” Grossi told Euronews.

“So before it does, we can take an interim practical measure, which would be to exclude this huge facility from a military action attack,” he added.

Grossi spoke from Brussels where he briefed European Union foreign affairs ministers on the situation on the ground. He will also provide an update to the European Parliament on Tuesday.

The IAEA has a team on the ground monitoring the nuclear plant, which is not producing energy at the moment and is under the control of Russian forces. Similar IAEA missions are also stationed at the other Ukrainian nuclear power plants in Rivne, Khmelnytskyi and Chornobyl.

Grossi is to visit Moscow in early or mid-February for a face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. ……………………. more

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ukraine steps up preparations for new nuclear reactors (NO this is not a joke!)

WNN 23 January 2023

The Cabinet of Ministers in Ukraine has given the go-ahead to begin work on project documentation for the construction of two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant.

Ukraine’s Minister of Energy, Herman Halushchenko, said the decision was a key moment for the country.

He said: “The Cabinet of Ministers decided that we are starting to develop technical documentation for a new type of reactors that have never been built in Ukraine. In other words, we have ended the era of the creation of nuclear energy based on Soviet technology.”

According to the country’s energy’s ministry, the target date to complete construction and start-up of the two power units at Khmelnitsky is 2030-2032, subject to the impact of the current war. It estimates the cost of each unit at about USD5 billion. Then cabinet decision means that a technical and economic feasibility study and other project documentation can be taken forward……………………………………….

In June last year, Energoatom agreed to increase from five to nine the number of Westinghouse AP1000 reactors to be built in the country, which will include unit 5 and unit 6 at Khmelnitsky, plus a switch to supply all of the country’s nuclear fuel………………………….more

January 24, 2023 Posted by | politics, Ukraine | Leave a comment

This week’s nuclear news

Some bits of good news. Eight things that went right this week, including big energy and health wins. Once Biologically Dead, the River Mersey in England is “Best Environmental Story in Europe”.

Pandemic. The world needs a COP-like process for pandemic preparedness

Climate.  A few pieces of good news on climate change (and a reality check)

Nuclear.  Am I the only one who thinks that it’s a bit bizarre to see the World Nuclear News bragging about new nuclear reactors going ahead in Ukraine –     just as the IAEA staff are tearing their hair out about the dangers of nuclear reactors in Ukraine?

Christina notes: Nuclear toys for the boys. What fun! To ramp up militarism, (and the USA weapons corporations) the US Congress might decide to dump Regulations on Traffic in Nuclear Weapons.

CLIMATE. The first breach of 1.5°C will be a temporary but devastating failure. Absurd that we listen to those causing the climate crisis’ in Davos, says Greta ThunbergThe ‘all-of-the-above’ story used to sneak nuclear power in as a climate-action technology along with renewables . Suffolk: Sizewell C nuclear ‘should not get licence’ due to coastal erosion.

CIVIL LIBERTIES. UK police powers increased, to shut down climate protestsUK govt to tighten anti-protest restrictions, despite criticism from human rights groups .

ECONOMICSAs the war rages on and military spending booms, the US arms industry is a big winner in Ukraine.    Marketing: South Korea keen to market nuclear technology to United Arab Emirates, and missile technology, too. Poland’s energy company agrees to buy France’s NOT YET DESIGNED so-called “small” Nuward nuclear reactor!  

The British government’s Regulated Asset Base – the test case for reviving its nuclear power dream. “Great British Nuclear “- it’s high time that they came clean on what this will cost.       David Schlissel: Small modular reactor project likely to end badly for Utah utilities.

EMPLOYMENT. The French nuclear sector up against the wall in terms of recruitment.

ENERGY. Germany aims for faster expansion of wind energy, not nuclear. Prolonged outages of France’s nuclear reactors. Renewable energy is the only credible path forward -António Guterres. Four separate reports show that the UK could save over €120 bn by 2050 by switching to a renewable energy strategy.

HEALTH. Investigation underway after nine nuclear missileers develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

LEGAL. Fukushima: court upholds acquittals of three Tepco executives over disaster. UK High Court to hear challenge against plans for Sizewell C nuclear station

NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY. The Nuclear Fallacy: Why Small Modular Reactors Can’t Compete With Renewable Energy. U.S. approves design for NuScale small modular nuclear reactor, but significant problems remain.

OPPOSITION to NUCLEARDemonstrators gather in Hamburg against threat of nuclear confrontation in Ukraine.


POLITICS INTERNATIONAL and DIPLOMACYThe Problem With Primacy – America’s Dangerous Quest to Dominate the Pacific.     Diplomatic Cables Show Russia Saw NATO Expansion as a Red Line. Pacific islands urge Japan to delay release of nuclear plant waste water.


SECRETS and LIES. Man arrested on suspicion of terror offences after uranium found at Heathrow.

SPACE. EXPLORATION, WEAPONSNATO activating space war center in France. New NASA Nuclear Rocket Plan Aims to Get to Mars in Just 45 Days

SPINBUSTERA bit of panic in the UK small nuclear reactor lobby?

TECHNOLOGY. Canadian MP Charlie Angus Questions the Claims of SMRs (Small Modular Reactors)


      WAR and CONFLICT. US may assist Ukrainian strikes on Crimea – NYT.       Ukraine: Is the Hammer About to Fall?.

WEAPONS and WEAPONS SALES. CNN: Ukraine Has Become a ‘Weapons Lab’ for Western Arms . Ukraine Narrative Fraying, But Weapons Will Continue To Flow. Ukraine war boon/boondoggle for U.S. arms makers, Pentagon’s warfighting capabilities.        Germany Says US Must Lead Way On Tanks For Ukraine, As Republican Party Also Piles On Pressure         Nuclear Notebook: United States nuclear weapons, 2023.

Nuclear submarines deal an exercise in futility and should be sunk.   Push in US Congress to exempt Australia from International Traffic in Arms Regulations, so that it can import nuclear submarines.

 Plutonium Pit Bomb Plans Excoriated by General Accounting Office.  Pentagon can’t account for $220 billion in govt property, fails fifth audit. US Installs New Nukes in Europe: As Destructive as 83 Hiroshima Bombs.    

The US has a new nuclear proliferation problem: South Korea. The Disastrous Downsides of South Korea Building Nuclear Weapons. It comes down to weapons.

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment