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TODAY. Nuclear fusion – here’s where history, culture, and nuclear annihilation technology collide

“Had we not pursued the hydrogen bomb,” Edward Teller once said, “there is a very real threat that we would now all be speaking Russian. I have no regrets.”

Edward Teller’s fervour for nuclear weapons was equalled by his zealous hatred of Russia.

So – here we have a man who was both a brilliant thinker in physics, and psychologically harmed by his early experience of the brutal Soviet regime in Hungary.

The Soviet, and later, the Nazi cruelties in Hungary left this young Jewish boy with a lifelong distrust and fear of Russia, and of dictatorships. This all culminated in his belief in mass destruction as the way to go – to threaten, or use against Russia

Hence the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and nuclear fusion. And the USA government is still following Teller’s beliefs today.

The other day, I wrote about the way in which the national alliances are gearing up, just as they did in 1914, to make war inevitable – should there be just one inflammatory incident.

Today, I realise yet again, how the nuclear industry is intrinsically bound with weapons and war. That realisation is because of some new de-hyping of nuclear fusion, by Joshua Frank- Nuclear Fusion Won’t Save the Climate But It Might Blow Up the World.

Over recent weeks, the media has been exultant about nuclear fusion. It will “solve climate change” “provide boundless cheap, clean energy”. At the same time, we’re bombarded with media items about the wonders-to-be of small nuclear reactors, and also about the absolute necessity of nuclear power to save us from global heating.

Even the corporate media has had to mention a few drawbacks of nuclear power – cost, delays, public opposition, safety risks (especially in war zones). Even the corporate media has had to pull back a bit from their glorification of nuclear fusion .

But until Joshua Frank came along, no-one had made clear the whole purpose of nuclear fusion is so that America can develop a weapon that will threaten, intimidate, and possibly annihilate the Russians, or the Chinese.

Joshua Frank asks this question about nuclear fusion – “what’s really going on here?

And he finds that -some clues lie in history – the development of the thermonuclear bomb in 1952 by Edward Teller – in fact, a fission explosion that initiated a fusion reaction..

That’s what the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and its fusion is really all about – creating, at tax-payer expense – Instruments of Death.


January 28, 2023 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Nuclear Fusion Won’t Save the Climate But It Might Blow Up the World

the United States’ first full-scale hydrogen bomb was, in fact, a fission explosion that initiated a fusion reaction.

since first tried out in that monstrous Marshall Islands explosion, fusion has been intended as a tool of war. And sadly, so it remains,

Buried deep in the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s website, the government comes clean about what these fusion experiments at the $3.5 billion National Ignition Facility (NIF) are really all about.

above – Edward Teller – inventor of the thermonuclear fusion bomb – (a man consumed by his fear and hatred of Russia)

they require 100 times more energy to charge than the energy they ended up producing.

Resilience, By Joshua Frank, originally published by TomDispatch 23 Jan 23

.”…………………. the New York Times and CNN alerted me that morning, at stake was a new technology that could potentially solve the worst dilemma humanity faces: climate change and the desperate overheating of our planet. Net-energy-gain fusion, a long-sought-after panacea for all that’s wrong with traditional nuclear-fission energy (read: accidents, radioactive waste), had finally been achieved at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California…………………..

…All in all, the reviews for fusion were positively glowing and it seemed to make instant sense. After all, what could possibly be wrong ……………..

The Big Catch

On a very basic level, fusion is the stuff of stars. Within the Earth’s sun, hydrogen combines with helium to create heat in the form of sunlight. Inside the walls of the Livermore Lab, this natural process was imitated by blasting 192 gigantic lasers into a tube the size of a baby’s toe. Inside that cylinder sat a “hydrogen-encased diamond.” When the laser shot through the small hole, it destroyed that diamond quicker than the blink of an eye. In doing so, it created a bunch of invisible x-rays that compressed a small pellet of deuterium and tritium, which scientists refer to as “heavy hydrogen.

In a brief moment lasting less than 100 trillionths of a second, 2.05 megajoules of energy — roughly the equivalent of a pound of TNT — bombarded the hydrogen pellet,”explained New York Times reporter Kenneth Chang. “Out flowed a flood of neutron particles — the product of fusion — which carried about 3 megajoules of energy, a factor of 1.5 in energy gain.”

As with so many breakthroughs, there was a catch. First, 3 megajoules isn’t much energy. After all, it takes 360,000 megajoules to create 300 hours of light from a single 100-watt light bulb. So, Livermore’s fusion development isn’t going to electrify a single home, let alone a million homes, anytime soon. And there was another nagging issue with this little fusion creation as well: it took 300 megajoules to power up those 192 lasers. Simply put, at the moment, they require 100 times more energy to charge than the energy they ended up producing.

The reality is that fusion energy will not be viable at scale anytime within the next decade, a time frame over which carbon emissions must be reduced by 50% to avoid catastrophic warming of more than 1.5°C,  – climate expert Michael Mann

Tritium Trials and Tribulations

The secretive and heavily secured National Ignition Facility where that test took place is the size of a sprawling sports arena. It could, in fact, hold three football fields. Which makes me wonder: how much space would be needed to do fusion on a commercial scale? No good answer is yet available. Then there’s the trouble with that isotope tritium needed to help along the fusion reaction. It’s not easy to come by and costs about as much as diamonds, around $30,000 per gram. Right now, even some of the bigwigs at the Department of Defense are worried that we’re running out of usable tritium.

…………”tritium, with a half-life of 12.3 years, exists naturally only in trace amounts in the upper atmosphere, the product of cosmic ray bombardment.” – writes Daniel Clery in Science.

…………………… the reactors themselves will have to be lined with a lot of lithium, itself an expensive chemical element at $71 a kilogram (copper, by contrast, is around $9.44 a kilogram), to allow the process to work correctly.

Then there’s also a commonly repeated misstatement that fusion doesn’t create significant radioactive waste, a haunting reality for the world’s current fleet of nuclear plants. True, plutonium, which can be used as fuel in atomic weapons, isn’t a natural byproduct of fusion, but tritium is the radioactive form of hydrogen. Its little isotopes are great at permeating metals and finding ways to escape tight enclosures. Obviously, this will pose a significant problem for those who want to continuously breed tritium in a fusion reactor. It also presents a concern for people worried about radioactivity making its way out of such facilities and into the environment.

Cancer is the main risk from humans ingesting tritium. When tritium decays it spits out a low-energy electron (roughly 18,000 electron volts) that escapes and slams into DNA, a ribosome, or some other biologically important molecule,” David Biello explains in Scientific American. “And, unlike other radionuclides, tritium is usually part of water, so it ends up in all parts of the body and therefore can, in theory, promote any kind of cancer. But that also helps reduce the risk: any tritiated water is typically excreted in less than a month.”

If that sounds problematic, that’s because it is. This country’s above-ground atomic bomb testing in the 1950s and 1960s was responsible for most of the man-made tritium that’s lingering in the environment. And it will be at least 2046, 84 years after the last American atmospheric nuclear detonation in Nevada, before tritium there will no longer pose a problem for the area.

Of course, tritium also escapes from our existing nuclear reactors and is routinely found near such facilities where it occurs “naturally” during the fission process. In fact, after Illinois farmers discovered their wells had been contaminated by the nearby Braidwood nuclear plant, they successfully sued the site’s operator Exelon, which, in 2005, was caught discharging 6.2 million gallons of tritium-laden water into the soil.

In the United States, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) allows the industry to monitor for tritium releases at nuclear sites; the industry is politely asked to alert the NRC in a “timely manner” if tritium is either intentionally or accidentally released. But a June 2011 report issued by the Government Accountability Office cast doubt on the NRC’s archaic system for assessing tritium discharges, suggesting that it’s anything but effective. (“Absent such an assessment, we continue to believe that NRC has no assurance that the Groundwater Protection Initiative will lead to prompt detection of underground piping system leaks as nuclear power plants age.”)

Consider all of this a way of saying that, if the NRC isn’t doing an adequate job of monitoring tritium leaks already occurring with regularity at the country’s nuclear plants, how the heck will it do a better job of tracking the stuff at fusion plants in the future? And as I suggest in my new book, Atomic Days: The Untold Story of the Most Toxic Place in America, the NRC is plain awful at just about everything it does.

Instruments of Death

All of that got me wondering: if tritium, vital for the fusion process, is radioactive, and if they aren’t going to be operating those lasers in time to put the brakes on climate change, what’s really going on here?

Maybe some clues lie (as is so often the case) in history. The initial idea for a fusion reaction was proposed by English physicist Arthur Eddington in 1920. More than 30 years later, on November 1, 1952, the first full-scale U.S. test of a thermonuclear device, “Operation Ivy,” took place in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. It yielded a mushroom-cloud explosion from a fusion reaction equivalent in its power to 10.4 Megatons of TNT. That was 450 times more powerful than the atomic bomb the U.S. had dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki only seven years earlier to end World War II. It created an underwater crater 6,240 feet wide and 164 feet deep…………….

Nicknamed “Ivy Mike,” the bomb was a Teller-Ulam thermonuclear device, named after its creators Edward Teller and Stanislaw Ulam. It was also the United States’ first full-scale hydrogen bomb, an altogether different beast than the two awful nukes dropped on Japan in August 1945. Those bombs utilized fission in their cores to create massive explosions. But Ivy Mike gave a little insight into what was still possible for future weapons of annihilation.

The details of how the Teller-Ulam device works are still classified, but historian of science Alex Wellerstein explained the concept well in the New Yorker:

“The basic idea is, as far as we know, as follows. Take a fission weapon — call it the primary. Take a capsule of fusionable material, cover it with depleted uranium, and call it the secondary. Take both the primary and the secondary and put them inside a radiation case — a box made of very heavy materials. When the primary detonates, radiation flows out of it, filling the case with X rays. This process, which is known as radiation implosion, will, through one mechanism or another… compress the secondary to very high densities, inaugurating fusion reactions on a large scale. These fusion reactions will, in turn, let off neutrons of such a high energy that they can make the normally inert depleted uranium of the secondary’s casing undergo fission.”

Got it? Ivy Mike was, in fact, a fission explosion that initiated a fusion reaction. But ultimately, the science of how those instruments of death work isn’t all that important. The takeaway here is that, since first tried out in that monstrous Marshall Islands explosion, fusion has been intended as a tool of war. And sadly, so it remains, despite all the publicity about its possible use some distant day in relation to climate change. In truth, any fusion breakthroughs are potentially of critical importance not as a remedy for our warming climate but for a future apocalyptic world of war.

Despite all the fantastic media publicity, that’s how the U.S. government has always seen it and that’s why the latest fusion test to create “energy” was executed in the utmost secrecy at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. One thing should be taken for granted: the American government is interested not in using fusion technology to power the energy grid, but in using it to further strengthen this country’s already massive arsenal of atomic weapons.

Consider it an irony, under the circumstances, but in its announcement about the success at Livermore — though this obviously wasn’t what made the headlines — the Department of Energy didn’t skirt around the issue of gains for future atomic weaponry. Jill Hruby, the department’s undersecretary for nuclear security, admitted that, in achieving a fusion ignition, researchers had “opened a new chapter in NNSA’s science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program.” (NNSA stands for the National Nuclear Security Administration.) That “chapter” Hruby was bragging about has a lot more to do with “modernizing” the country’s nuclear weapons capabilities than with using laser fusion to end our reliance on fossil fuels.

“Had we not pursued the hydrogen bomb,” Edward Teller once said, “there is a very real threat that we would now all be speaking Russian. I have no regrets.” Some attitudes die hard.

Buried deep in the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s website, the government comes clean about what these fusion experiments at the $3.5 billion National Ignition Facility (NIF) are really all about:

NIF’s high energy density and inertial confinement fusion experiments, coupled with the increasingly sophisticated simulations available from some of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, increase our understanding of weapon physics, including the properties and survivability of weapons-relevant materials… The high rigor and multidisciplinary nature of NIF experiments play a key role in attracting, training, testing, and retaining new generations of skilled stockpile stewards who will continue the mission to protect America into the future.”

Yes, despite all the media attention to climate change, this is a rare yet intentional admission, surely meant to frighten officials in China and Russia. It leaves little doubt about what this fusion breakthrough means. It’s not about creating future clean energy and never has been. It’s about “protecting” the world’s greatest capitalist superpower. Competitors beware.

Sadly, fusion won’t save the Arctic from melting, but if we don’t put a stop to it, that breakthrough technology could someday melt us all.

January 28, 2023 Posted by | Reference, technology, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear strike chief seeks cancer review of launch officers

Midland Daily News. TARA COPP, Associated Press, Jan. 27, 2023 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top Air Force general in charge of the nation’s air- and ground-launched nuclear missiles has requested an official investigation into the number of officers who are reporting blood cancer diagnoses after serving at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.

The illnesses became publicly known this week after The Associated Press obtained a military brief that at least nine missileers — those officers serving in underground bunkers near silo-based Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles and responsible for turning launch keys if ordered — were reporting diagnoses of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. One of the officers has died.

Gen. Thomas A. Bussiere, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, which is responsible for all of the silo-based and aircraft-launched nuclear warheads, said in a statement to the AP Friday that he has requested that the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine conduct a formal assessment into the reported cancers.

It was not immediately clear if that assessment would be limited to Malmstrom, or if it would include similar nuclear missile facilities at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota and F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming.

“Air Force Global Strike Command and our Air Force takes the responsibility to protect airmen and Guardians incredibly seriously, and their safety and health is always my top priority,” Bussiere said. “While we continue to work through this process, service members and their dependents as well as former service members who may have concerns or have questions are encouraged to speak with their healthcare providers.”…………..

Over the last week, more missileers who served at Malmstrom or their families have reached out to the AP to share their experiences with diagnoses of blood cancer and other types of cancer……………………..

nly about 3,300 troops are based at Malmstrom at a time, and only about 400 of those are assigned either as missileers or as support for those operators. The three bases control a total of 400 siloed Minuteman III ICBMs.

January 28, 2023 Posted by | health, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Zelenskyy demands more sanctions, as Ukraine reels from Russian bombardment; explosions heard near nuclear power plant Ukraine is reeling from the most recent wave of Russian drone and missile strikes Thursday that killed at least 11 people and triggered emergency power outages in 10 regions of the country.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for more sanctions on Russia in his nightly video address, and for a tribunal to address Russian war crimes.

The attacks came a day after Ukraine’s Western allies pledged to send the country battle tanks, opening up a new front in the types of weapons they are willing to provide in the fight against Russian forces.

January 28, 2023 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

US sweetens pot to study siting for spent nuclear fuel By: Associated Press January 27, 2023

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. government has long struggled to find a permanent solution for storing or disposing of spent nuclear fuel from commercial nuclear power plants, and opposition to such a site is flaring up again as New Mexico lawmakers debate banning a facility without state consent.

The state’s prospective ban cleared its first legislative hurdle Tuesday with approval from a key committee. Supporters acknowledge that the bill has a long road ahead, but it does have the backing of Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

State Sen. Jeff Steinborn, the bill’s sponsor, said momentum against New Mexico becoming a permanent dumping ground for the nation’s nuclear waste – including spent fuel from commercial power plants – is growing and he’s cautiously optimistic this is the year that the state takes a legislative stand.

Stenborn said consent should be mandatory and that the federal government should provide states with a significant financial incentive reflecting the risks associated with managing radioactive materials.

New Mexico and neighboring Texas have sued in federal court over two proposed multibillion-dollar interim storage facilities – one in southeastern New Mexico and the other in Andrews County, Texas.

“New Mexico has not been offered anything with this deal,” Steinborn said. “And even if we had, I don’t think any amount of money would convince me that it’s the right thing.”

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved a license for a facility in West Texas in 2021, and the agency plans to make a final decision as early as March on whether to grant a license for the planned storage complex in New Mexico. The two sites would be about 40 miles apart.

Environmental and nuclear watchdog groups have filed their own lawsuits, but a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dismissed all objections opposing the Texas project.

Federal appellate courts elsewhere have yet to rule on the state of Texas’ claims, which focus on whether federal nuclear regulators have authority to license such a facility, or on New Mexico’s claims that regulators did not do enough to vet plans by Holtec International.

The New Jersey-based company is seeking a 40-year license to build what it has described as a state-of-the-art complex near Carlsbad, which already is home to the federal government’s only underground repository for Cold War-era waste generated by decades of nuclear research and bomb-making.

From the decommissioned nuclear plant near the San Onofre Beach in Southern California to plants that have powered communities on the East Coast, spent fuel has been piling up for decades and elected officials in those communities want it shipped elsewhere.

The Biden administration sweetened the pot this month, putting up $26 million for communities interested in studying potential interim storage sites. Biden and his top energy officials have pointed to nuclear power as essential to achieving their goals of producing carbon-free electricity over the next decade.

According to the DOE, nuclear reactors across the country produce more than 2,000 metric tons of radioactive waste a year, with most of it remaining on-site because there’s nowhere else to put it. The federal government is paying to house the fuel, and the cost is expected to stretch into the tens of billions over the next decade, according to a review by independent government auditors.

January 28, 2023 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear-powered rockets to Mars – there are serious safety risks.

No one wants to see nuclear debris raining down on the Florida coast or Disneyland, and that’s not the only possible scenario.

An accident in orbit could potentially drop radioactive material into the atmosphere.

Nuclear powered rockets could take us to Mars, but will the public accept them?

Bob McDonald’s blog: NASA and DARPA are beginning development of a new fission rocket, Bob McDonald · CBC Radio · Jan 27, 2023 

NASA has signed an agreement with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a nuclear rocket that could shorten travel time to Mars by about one quarter compared to traditional chemical rockets. But before nuclear technology is launched into space, there are risks that need to be addressed to ensure public safety…………………….

While the technology of nuclear propulsion is certainly feasible, it may not be readily embraced by the public. The accidents at Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima have left many people skeptical about nuclear safety. And there will be risk.

A nuclear rocket wouldn’t be used to launch a spacecraft from the Earth’s surface — it would be designed to run in space only. It would have to launch into orbit on a large chemical rocket — so the public would have to accept the risk of launching a nuclear reactor on a standard rocket filled with explosive fuel.

And rockets have and will malfunction catastrophically, in what with black humour rocket scientists sometimes call RUD — “rapid unscheduled disassembly.”

No one wants to see nuclear debris raining down on the Florida coast or Disneyland, and that’s not the only possible scenario. An accident in orbit could potentially drop radioactive material into the atmosphere.

Nuclear technology in another form has been used since the very beginning of the space program, just not for propulsion. Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) have provided power to deep space probes for instruments, radios and cameras on a range of missions…………………….

 The U.S. has seen several accidents, including one in 1968 when a launch failure of a Nimbus-1 weather satellite threw its RTG into the ocean. It was recovered intact and the fuel was reused on a later mission.

But there have been more serious accidents. Canadians may remember an incident from 1978, when a Soviet reconnaissance satellite scattered 50 kg of uranium from its nuclear thermal generator over 124,000 square kilometres of Canada’s North.

But a fission reactor is a much more complicated device involving higher temperatures, coolants and more nuclear fuel.

……………………. the engineers face a challenge to ensure that all checks and balances have been made to reassure the astronauts who will fly these machines — and people on the ground — that they can be operated safely before the technology is adopted.

January 28, 2023 Posted by | 2 WORLD, space travel, wastes | Leave a comment

How Would a Nuclear Winter Play Out? 27 Jan 23

It is theorized that a nuclear war can have a cooling effect on Earth because of the dust and smoke a catastrophic event of this magnitude would create. Could humanity survive such an ordeal?

For an event so disastrous and dark, we sure love talking about nuclear war. Whenever there is a tension between the world’s superpowers, the topic seems to pop up again. With the recent war in Ukraine, the possibility of nuclear weapons being used again is on the table and the mass hysteria surrounding it has made a comeback. It’s many depictions in pop culture, like 1964’s Dr. Strangelove and recent Fallout games are now more culturally relevant than ever. 

We still haven’t stopped worrying about the bomb, and considering what might come after a nuclear war, it is highly unlikely that we will stop anytime soon. 

This is Imagine That and today we are going to imagine how a nuclear winter would play out.

Ever since humankind’s most dangerous invention was used in a war when the United States dropped Little Boy and Fat Man on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, humanity has been burdened with the responsibility of wielding enough power to destroy whole cities.

These were devastating events that caused the deaths of nearly 200,000 people and the effects of them were felt long after the war was over. It might seem hard to imagine a worse disaster than this, but sadly, the potential for a bigger disaster is considerably higher now. Currently, there are nearly 12,705 reported nuclear warheads in the world held by 20 different nations. And that number doesn’t even include nuclear weapons that have been considered lost. There are now more than 100 nuclear weapons that are rumored to be missing, some of which are small enough to fit into a backpack.

What makes things worse is the fact that nuclear weapons are now much, much stronger than they were back in 1945. The most powerful nuclear weapon ever tested, the Tsar Bomb, yields a power of 50 megatons. That is 3,333 times more powerful than Little Boy, which was dropped on Hiroshima.

But that’s not even the end of it. A prototype of a different Tsar Bomb is said to have a blast yield of 100 megatons. A bomb so powerful that if it were ever to be dropped on a major city, let’s say London, it would completely wipe it off the map and the effects from the blast would be felt in cities like Cambridge, Oxford, and Brighton.

For a long time, we thought the damage that nuclear weapons cause would be limited to the blast and the radioactive fallout. But this notion changed when a team of scientists including Carl Sagan and J. B. Pollack released their paper, Nuclear Winter: Global Consequences of Multiple Nuclear Explosions. In the paper, the group theorized that the long-term effect of nuclear war might be much worse than we could ever imagine. 

The dust cloud that a 5000-megaton nuclear war might cause and the added smoke coming from the fires in cities was theorized to cause long-term changes in the earth’s atmosphere. The generated dust and smoke can encircle and envelope the earth, limiting the amount of sunlight that reaches the earth’s surface. This would cause a drastic drop in the earth’s temperatures, between 15 to 25 degrees Celsius, causing a nuclear winter. Even without the temperatures dropping, this dust and smoke mass can spell the end of humanity, as without proper sunlight, agriculture will likely come to a screeching halt. 

We might be at the top of the food chain, but the sun is at the bottom of it. This means any plant that gets its energy from the sun and any animal that might feed on these plants, including us humans, will slowly but surely run out of food. Without plants and livestock to feed us, humans that survive a potential nuclear war will depend on food stockpiles. But these supplies are unlikely to get us far. In the early months, remaining humans would have to start relying on hunting and fishing. But even that wouldn’t last long, as without sunlight, the delicate balance of our world’s ecosystem would be disrupted. Wild animals would have a hard time adapting to scarcity of food and drastic changes in the weather would make oceans considerably colder, wiping out the fish population quickly. 

It is theorized that a nuclear winter could last up to 25 years and we don’t know if this would be the end of humanity or not. Because the human kind actually survived an ice age in the past. But this was only possible because Africa was not affected by the ice age as much as the other continents. When you factor in the lack of sunlight, our fate becomes grimmer.

Some people will surely survive a possible nuclear war and the winter that might come after it. There are already fallout shelters all over the world that will be the only safe havens. And they will likely be saved for the richest and most influential people. Which makes you question if we should ever stop worrying. 

Luckily, we are fully aware of the dangers of a large-scale nuclear war nowadays and this fact contributed to the uneasy stalemate between the superpowers. So, maybe the possibility of nuclear winter is almost a good thing. In the end, self-preservation might be the only thing that stops nuclear powers from doing the unthinkable. Because once the genie is out of the bottle, it will be hard to put it back in.

January 28, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rolls Royce wants to make sure that the tax-payer cops the cost of their small nuclear reactor folly

Rolls-Royce calls on government for more clarity on nuclear.

Executives of the engineering giant have cited Britishvolt as an example of a company which committed to a factory without having orders.

Dimitris Mavrokefalidis

Rolls-Royce has urged the government to provide more clear vision of its target to roll out 24GW of nuclear power generation by 2050.

During a session at the House of Commons Welsh Affairs Committee, asked when Rolls-Royce will start the process of building its first Small Modular Reactor factory, Alastair Evans, Director of Corporate and Government Affairs at Rolls-Royce SMR, said: “If you look at the Britishvolt example, that is an example of a company that committed to a factory without orders. We don’t have clarity on orders in the UK.

“So, as soon as we have that clarity that the UK Government wants to deploy Rolls-Royce SMRs, we will be able to get the first factory moving, but our shareholders need that clarity. Britishvolt is a very good example of where you try and run a business and build a factory and get things moving without that certainty, orders and customers.”

A few days ago, company representatives visited the first four sites which have the potential to host 15GW of new nuclear power capacity.

Mr Evans confirmed that once Rolls-Royce receives the green light from the government, then the whole process around the development of its first SMR facility will accelerate.

He said: “That was the purpose of doing our planning processes, getting the selection of our heavy pressure vessel sites – we’ve got 600 people in the Rolls-Royce SMR business today. So we are set up to deliver at pace. We are 600 UK-based workers looking at manufacturing, assembly, lead skills, and module concept. We are ready to go.” 

January 28, 2023 Posted by | business and costs, politics, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

Campaigners fear changes at Hinkley Point C ‘could kill millions of fish every day’

By, January 27, 2023

Campaigners fear millions of fish could be killed every day by the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station near Burnham-On-Sea if owner EDF is allowed to back out of a planning condition.

The Stop Hinkley anti-nuclear group has said this week that EDF Energy had refused to fit acoustic fish deterrents on its two off-shore massive cooling water intake heads.

Stop Hinkley spokeswoman Katy Attwater said EDF now looked to be pressuring the Environment Agency to drop the planning condition which required the acoustic fish deterrent measures.

It comes as the Environment Agency launches a four-week consultation on whether the Hinkley C site’s operational water discharge activity permit should be varied.

Stop Hinkley Spokesperson Katy Attwater adds: “It looks to us very much like the Environment Agency is being forced to make a decision which conservation groups fear will result in the death of millions of fish every day.”

“The Severn Estuary supports some of the most important and protected habitats in the UK, EDF appears to be absolutely determined not to spend the money to install AFD’s and is pressurising the Agency into backing down.”

“This change would be disastrous for the Severn estuary and all the fish species it supports, to breed and travel into its tributaries, nine of the greatest rivers of England and Wales.”

However, Chris Fayers, Head of Environment for Hinkley Point C, told “EDF has decades of experience and data gained from taking cooling water from the Bristol Channel, which shows the activity has an insignificant impact on protected species…………

January 28, 2023 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment

WHO updates critical medicines list for radiological and nuclear emergencies

27 January 2023 Departmental news.

The World Health Organization (WHO) today updated its list of medicines that should be stockpiled for radiological and nuclear emergencies, along with policy advice for their appropriate management. These stockpiles include medicines that either prevent or reduce exposure to radiation, or treat injuries once exposure has occurred…………………………………………………………….. more

January 28, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment