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Neo-Nazi previously implicated in plot to attack nuclear plants now arrested for planning grid sabotage around Baltimore — Beyond Nuclear

Brandon Russell

Beyond Nuclear 7 Feb 23

As reported by the Washington Post, in an article entitled “Duo accused of neo-Nazi plot to target Maryland power stations: Atomwaffen founder Brandon Russell and Sarah Clendaniel allegedly sought to attack substations around Baltimore,” white supremacists are again implicated in playing with radioactive fire.

The article reports:

Neo-Nazi previously implicated in plot to attack nuclear plants now arrested for planning grid sabotage around Baltimore — Beyond Nuclear

Russell, a former Florida National Guard member, is the founder of the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division, which attempted to use violent attacks to spark a race war in the United States. Experts say the group, while small, is dangerous because of its influence on the broader far-right movement to eschew politics and spill blood…

A former Atomwaffen member named Devon Arthurs, who lived with Russell in Tampa, killed two of their roommates in 2017 and subsequently told authorities they had been planning attacks on U.S. nuclear plants and power lines.

See an October 25, 2020 post about Atomwaffen Division’s prior plot to attack nuclear power plants. (Atomwaffen means nuclear weapons in German.)

The Washington Post article reports:

According to prosecutors, their plan was to attack with gunfire five substations that serve the Baltimore area. In conversations about the plot, according to court documents, Clendaniel “described how there was a ‘ring’ around Baltimore and if they hit a number of them all in the same day, they ‘would completely destroy this whole city.”…

Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the FBI field office in Baltimore said Clendaniel and Russell conspired to inflict “maximum harm” to the power grid.

“The accused were not just talking, but taking steps to fulfill their threats and further their extremist goals,” Sobocinski said…

According to prosecutors, they used open-source information on the national infrastructure grid to pick five electrical substations around Baltimore that would, if attacked on the same day, create a “cascading failure” in the system.

Their actions threatened the electricity and heat of our homes, hospitals and businesses,” Sobocinski said.

But a grid failure in Maryland would also carry nuclear power risks. For example, Exelon’s twin reactors at Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant in Lusby, Maryland on the shore of Chesapeake Bay (pictured above) depend on the electric grid for its primary electricity supply to run safety and cooling systems needed to prevent core meltdowns, as well as to prevent overheating of highly radioactive waste indoor wet storage pools. There are backup emergency diesel generators (EDGs) on site, in case the grid is inoperable. But EDGs are themselves notoriously unreliable, and will eventually run out of fuel unless resupplied.


February 6, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Japan Plans to Dump Fukushima Wastewater Into a Pacific With a Toxic Nuclear History

In December, the U.S.-based National Association of Marine Laboratories also announced its opposition to TEPCO’s plans, publishing a position paper that says “there is a lack of adequate and accurate scientific data supporting Japan’s assertion of safety” while “there is an abundance of data demonstrating serious concerns about releasing radioactively contaminated water.”


Pacific Island nations have for decades been grappling with the environmental and health consequences of Cold War-era nuclear testing in the region by the likes of the U.S. and France. Now, they worry about another kind of nuclear danger from neighbors much closer to home.

As concerns over energy security and the desire to transition away from fossil fuels pushes several Asian nations to reconsider once-scrapped nuclear power programs, there is increasing anxiety over how the waste from those facilities—depending on the methods of disposal—might impact the lives of Pacific Islanders.

Notably, in the region, Philippines President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos said in his first address to Congress in mid-2022 that he was open to adding nuclear energy to the country’s energy mix, the Indonesian government said in December it plans to build a nuclear power plant by 2039, and weeks later Japan announced that it plans to ramp up the use of nuclear energy.

Nuclear plants have long been touted as a reliable source of carbon-free energy, though many plants across the world had been shuttered in past decades over worries about the safety of nuclear waste disposal. In this new era of nuclear revival, similar uncertainties abound.

In Japan, one plant that isn’t even operational has become the frontline for the fight between activists seeking safety assurances for waste disposal and operators who are running out of space in on-site tanks to store the wastewater accumulating from keeping damaged reactors cool. Currently, Japan plans to release wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean later this year.

“It’s just horrendous to think what it might mean,” says Henry Puna, the secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), a regional intergovernmental organization that has more than a dozen member countries, including, for example, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Tonga, and Vanuatu. “The people of the Pacific are people of the ocean. The ocean is very much central to our lives, to our culture, to our livelihoods. Anything that prejudices the health of the ocean is a matter of serious concern.”

When a magnitude 9.1 earthquake and tsunami hit off the coast of Japan in 2011, it caused a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Since then, water is being used to cool the damaged reactors and prevent further catastrophe. Now, more than 1.3 million metric tons of radionuclide-contaminated water has been collected on site, and it continues to accumulate, as rain and groundwater seep in. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the plant, says that the storage tanks take up too much space and hinder decommissioning the plant.  Japan initially said that it would begin releasing the water into the ocean in the spring of 2023. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told the media in January that the release target date is now around spring or summer, which appears to be a postponement, according to the Associated Press, due to construction delays on a pipeline and the apparent need to gain greater public support.

The plan has faced widespread opposition. Japanese fishermen, international environmentalists, and other governments in the region, including ChinaSouth Korea, and Taiwan, have all expressed concern. Some of the strongest pushback has come from Pacific Island countries, including from lawmakersformer leaders, regional fisheries management groups, and other organizations. Among those voices is the PIF, which is advocating for more time to deal with questions and concerns. Earlier this year, the PIF appointed a panel of independent global nuclear experts to help inform its members in their consultations with Japan and TEPCO. The experts have stressed that more data are needed to determine the safety of the water for disposal.

“We think that there is not enough scientific evidence to prove that the release is safe, environmentally, healthwise, and also for our economy in the Pacific,” says Puna, who is also the former Prime Minister of the Cook Islands. Until more information is shared and evaluated, he asks that Japan “please defer the discharge of the water.”

…………………………….  there appears to be a major disconnect between TEPCO and others, including the PIF panel of experts—who say that they’re concerned with the adequacy, accuracy, and reliability of the data backing up the decision to release the water.

Robert H. Richmond, a research professor and the director of the Kewalo Marine Laboratory at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, who is one of the panel experts, tells TIME that “the critical, foundational data upon which a sound decision could be made was either absent or, when we started getting more data,” he says, “extremely concerning.” He also casts doubt on if the IAEA is in the best position to assess the risks. “They’re an agency that has a mandate to promote the use of nuclear energy,” says Richmond, “and our mandate is to look after the people, the ocean, and the people who depend on the ocean. And our unanimous conclusion … is that this is a  bad idea that is not defended properly at this point, and that there are alternatives that Japan should really be looking at.”

“One of the biggest surprises to me was the fact that the data was so sparse,” says Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress, scientist-in-residence and adjunct professor at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, who is also on the PIF panel of experts. “There were prolonged gaps in data collection, which suggests that the matter may not have been given the level of attention and importance it deserved.” He adds that only a fraction of the tanks had been sampled, and only a handful of some 60 isotopes were typically measured in the samples—fewer than he would expect for this kind of assessment. (TEPCO says that the analysis done on a sample of tanks so far is just to assess the water’s condition in storage but that, after the purification process, further measurements will be taken on all the treated water before discharge to ensure that only that which meets sufficient standards of safety is released into the ocean).

Some still fear the safety of the treated water, and the far-reaching implications if it’s dumped into the ocean. Puna points out, for example, that the waters of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean produce much of the world’s tuna. If the tuna were to be impacted, it would cause major problems for Pacific nations, for which fisheries are a significant source of income, as well as for consumers globally.

In December, the U.S.-based National Association of Marine Laboratories also announced its opposition to TEPCO’s plans, publishing a position paper that says “there is a lack of adequate and accurate scientific data supporting Japan’s assertion of safety” while “there is an abundance of data demonstrating serious concerns about releasing radioactively contaminated water.”

……………………………………. A scarring past and a new path forward

Other nuclear plants across the globe have released treated wastewater containing tritium. Rafael Mariano Grossi, the IAEA’s director general, said in 2021 that Japan’s plan is “in line with practice globally, even though the large amount of water at the Fukushima plant makes it a unique and complex case.”

But Pacific Island nations have particular reason to be anxious. There is a noxious legacy of nuclear testing in the region, and other countries have historically treated the Pacific as a dumping ground for their waste. The U.S. conducted 67 nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1957—and disposed of atomic waste in Runit Dome, where it’s still stored. That testing led not only to forced relocations, but also to increased rates of cancers. Today there is concern that the dome is leaking and that rising sea levels might impact its structural integrity. France also conducted 193 nuclear tests from 1966 to 1996 at Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls in French Polynesia.

…………………….. Rather than let dumping wastewater into the ocean become the norm, at this juncture for nuclear energy, some say it’s an opportunity to explore different ways of doing things. The panel of PIF experts has proposed several alternative solutions, including treating the water and storing it in more secure tanks to allow the tritium time to decay, or using the treated water to make concrete for use in projects that won’t have high contact with humans.

“This is not the first nuclear disaster and by no means is it going to be the last,” says Richmond. “This is an opportunity for Japan,” he says, “to do the right thing and to invest time, effort, and money into determining and coming up with new ways of handling radioactive waste and setting a new trajectory.”

February 6, 2023 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, oceans, wastes | 1 Comment

Renewables In China Trend Upward While Nuclear Trends Flat.

The blue line at the bottom is nuclear, and not particularly sharp eyes will note that it’s trending to flat. The red line at the top is wind, water, and solar cumulative additions to annual TWh of electricity flowing into China’s grid, and not particularly sharp eyes will note it’s curving upwards.

The natural experiment of renewables vs nuclear continues in China, and it continues to unfold in renewables’ favor. 

Clean Technica, ByMichael Barnard, 7 Feb 23,

I’ve been publishing assessments of the poor performance of nuclear compared to wind and solar in China for years (2014201920212022). My premise nine years ago was a first principles assertion with limited empirical results that wind and solar would radically outstrip nuclear in China. Why? Modularity reducing long-tailed risks, as Professor Bent Flyvbjerg, global expert and go to person for megaprojects, puts it in his new book How Big Things Get Done, where he includes my assessment of the natural experiment.

Subsequent assessments found that was true. Every year, the combination of wind and solar, and usually both individually, outstripped new nuclear generation, both in raw nameplate capacity and in additional TWh of annual generation. But as Professor Mark Z. Jacobson likes to remind us, it’s not WS, it’s WWS, that is wind, water, and solar. And so, today I spent a bit of time looking at hydroelectric generation capacity additions around the world since 2000, which turned out to be almost entirely in China. Of the 132.5 GW of new big hydroelectric projects connected to the grid in the world since 2000, 113 GW were in China. Unsurprising to anyone paying the slightest attention, but still, big numbers.

But what does that mean when added to wind and solar and compared to nuclear, leveraging the 2010 to 2022 data set I already had?…………………………………….

there is an interesting question about all forms of electrical generation, which is what capacity factors they are operating at. China’s wind and solar were historically curtailed by transmission connection challenges, which have been being resolved every year. Last year’s bumper crop of offshore wind, of course, were connected with HVDC to the grid without challenges.

What about hydro? It has different challenges for capacity factors, typically having a spring spate with often far too much water to use for generation, and a fall lull where generation is low. In the case of China, the best data I have at present is from the International Hydropower Association (IHA) which lists 1,355 TWh of electrical generation from 370,160 MW of capacity in 2020. That’s a 42% capacity factor, which I used for the generation.

I was somewhat surprised by this, and would be interested in better data, should anyone have some at hand. What it does mean is that while nuclear added a total of about 243 TWh of net new electrical generation from 2010 through 2022, hydro only added about 229 TWh of new generation. It was an interesting result which I’ll spend a little time assessing in a bit. Of course, wind energy added about 711 TWh of new generation annually over that period and solar added about 474 TWh. Both outstripped nuclear and hydro.

For purposes of wind, solar, and nuclear, I’d been simply presenting the new TWh of generation added each year. But in adding water to the data set, it seemed reasonable to make it cumulative.

In the graph above , the blue line at the bottom is nuclear, and not particularly sharp eyes will note that it’s trending to flat. The red line at the top is wind, water, and solar cumulative additions to annual TWh of electricity flowing into China’s grid, and not particularly sharp eyes will note it’s curving upwards.

Poking at the disparity between additions of actual TWh by renewable generation source a bit more, there are a few things to note.

The first, of course, is that wind and solar siting is much simpler than major hydroelectric siting. They just need flattish areas with good wind and sun, and wind likes ridge lines where flat bits can be made. Big hydro needs a big river with a reasonably significant drop along its length and at least one place where it’s carved a big valley. Meandering rivers like the Mississippi need not apply, although they are much better for inland shipping. The combination means that it’s typically easier to get materials and workers for wind and solar farms to the sites, easier to move construction vehicles around them and the like.

And hydroelectric reservoirs have another reality: you can’t live or work where they are. Unlike solar farms which can simply be built around existing buildings or roads, or wind farms where turbines can be built in the non-productive corners of farm fields, hydroelectric reservoirs displace everybody and everything where they exist. …………………………………

Still, China has managed to construct and attach 16 of them [hydro-electric dams] to the grid since 2000. I was aware of the Three Gorges Dam, of course, but was unaware that it was a small portion of the hydroelectric China had constructed. And while each project’s cost and schedule results vs plans are unavailable, China did succeed in building them.

The natural experiment of renewables vs nuclear continues in China, and it continues to unfold in renewables’ favor.

February 6, 2023 Posted by | China, renewable | Leave a comment

Campaigners claim permit change at Hinkley Point would kill billions of fish

West Somerset Free Press,  6th February 2023 

ANTI-nuclear campaigners have estimated 11 billion fish off the West Somerset coastline could be killed during the operating life of the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

The Stop Hinkley group said the slaughter would arise if EDF was allowed to ‘wriggle out’ of planning conditions which required acoustic fish deterrents (AFDs) to be fitted to water intake heads.

EDF has to date refused to fit the AFDs and is consulting the Environment Agency (EA) with a view to trying to have the condition dropped.

Stop Hinkley spokeswoman Katy Attwater said the 11 billion figure was calculated over the 60-year lifespan of Hinkley C.

She said affected common fish species would include river lamprey, twaite shad, sprat, herring and the common goby, while rarer species which would be killed included salmon, cod, anchovy, John dory, crucian carp, silver bream, and sea lamprey.

Ms Attwater said the fish migrated from the Bristol Channel to nine main rivers, the Ely, Taff, Rhymney, Ebbw, Usk, Wye, Severn, Avon, and Parrett.

She said particularly hard hit would be the elver migration from the Atlantic, with eels being sucked into the Hinkley intakes and only comparatively few making it to the Somerset Levels and other rivers, which would be their homes for the next 20 years before their return journey past the intake heads to travel back to their Sargasso Sea breeding grounds.

Ms Attwater said EDF’s request three years ago to not have to install the AFDs was rejected by the Environment Agency, a public inquiry, and DEFRA Secretary George Eustice.

“Yet, EDF are still trying to wriggle out of it and waste all the time, money, and effort spent by the EA, the Severn Estuary interest groups, and DEFRA to defend one of the most important breeding grounds for British fish,” she said.

The estuary is a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation(SAC) and has been given an internationally important Ramsar site designation………………………………………….

The Environment Agency has launched a five-week consultation on the proposed change to the Water Discharge Activity permit.

February 6, 2023 Posted by | oceans, UK | Leave a comment

The United States and China Still Need to Talk About Nuclear Weapons

Biden and Blinken must not let the spy balloon controversy stand in the way of talks on nuclear crisis management and arms control.

Foreign Policy By Sahil Shah, a Senior Fellow and Program Manager at the Council on Strategic Risks’ Janne Nolan Center on Strategic Weapons. 6 Feb23

Shortly before U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was slated to depart for Beijing on the Biden administration’s first cabinet-level visit, the trip was postponed. The last-minute schedule change came after a Chinese surveillance balloon was confirmed to be floating above sensitive U.S. military sites, including potentially an active nuclear missile silo field in Montana. Over the weekend, the balloon was shot down by a U.S. F-22 fighter jet once the expected debris no longer posed a threat to civilians.

The incident is reminiscent of those that occurred during the Cold War involving the United States and the Soviet Union—and it comes at a time when many are debating whether Washington and Beijing are now headed toward a similar relationship. Blinken’s now-postponed visit was an attempt to follow up on the Biden-Xi meeting at the G-20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, last year. Encouragingly, the summit provided the best recent opportunity for diplomacy between the United States and China—one that could provide some answers on how the two countries can best avoid a “new Cold War” and reduce the risks of unnecessary conflict and inadvertent escalation.

As was true during the Cold War, spy balloons are not the only things looming over the fraught relationship between the United States and China—nuclear weapons are, too. In addition to ever-increasing tensions over Taiwan, it is no secret that China’s ambition for a diversified nuclear arsenal and wider military modernization is accelerating, with Beijing expanding strategic and conventional forces to back up its “wolf warrior” diplomacy.

Since university researchers made it public two years ago that China is developing extensive missile silo fields and Beijing shocked U.S. intelligence services by testing a hypersonic fractional orbital bombardment system just weeks later, there has been a growing conversation on how Washington can adequately deter Beijing. However, there is another side that cannot be ignored: The United States and China must return to talks at the earliest available opportunity to discuss their shared responsibility to reduce the risk of nuclear war through crisis management and arms control.

……………………….. Policymakers in Washington have barely discussed how U.S. policies factor into Beijing’s calculations and, most importantly, how Chinese actions could be positively influenced away from their current arms-race trajectory…………..

February 6, 2023 Posted by | politics international | Leave a comment

Poland might have tax-payer fund its ambitious nuclear plans, -and hope that investors might come in later.

Poland / Could ‘SaHo Model’ Be Way Forward For Financing Warsaw’s Ambitious Nuclear Plans?

NUCNET, By Patrycja Rapacka, David Dalton, 6 February 2023

Proposed scheme could solve problems in nuclear sector related to high risk and high costs of capital.

Poland is showing interest in a “new and innovative” nuclear financing model in which the state assumes the role of investor in the first stages of investment but gradually sells shares in the nuclear company to final investors who are entitled to use electricity for own consumption produced by reactors at cost…… (subscribers only) more

February 6, 2023 Posted by | business and costs, EUROPE, politics | Leave a comment

US announces first transfer of seized Russian assets to Kiev 6 Feb 23 Money confiscated from a Russian businessman will be made available to ‘support the people of Ukraine’

US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Friday the first transfer of assets, confiscated as part of anti-Russia sanctions, to Ukraine to pay for the country’s reconstruction.

The measure affects $5.4 million expropriated from Russian businessman Konstantin Malofeyev on charges of sanctions evasion, according to the top official.

“With my authorization today, forfeited funds will next be transferred to the State Department to support the people of Ukraine,” Garland said, adding that the funds were confiscated following an indictment against Malofeyev, issued last April.

Earlier this week, a federal court in New York allowed prosecutors to confiscate $5.4 million belonging to Malofeyev, paving the way for the funds to be used to help rebuild Ukraine.

In June, millions were seized from a US bank account belonging to Malofeyev, against whom the US Treasury Department announced sanctions in April “for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly” the Russian government.

The businessman, who owns Russian Orthodox Christian channel Tsargrad TV, has been on the US sanctions list since 2014. Malofeyev previously claimed that he had no holdings in the West since then.

In December, US President Joe Biden signed legislation allowing the Department of Justice to transfer some forfeited assets to the State Department to aid Ukraine. US law restricts how the government can use such assets.

February 6, 2023 Posted by | business and costs, Ukraine | Leave a comment

EU’s Top Diplomat Says Iranian Deal Is Only Way to Stop Tehran’s Nuclear Program

Foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell sees no good alternative to reviving the nuclear deal even as the Biden administration shifts focus

KYIV, Ukraine—The European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, is refusing to give up on efforts to rescue the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, even as Tehran cracks down on protesters at home and helps Russia in its war against Ukraine.

On a secure train returning from an EU leaders trip to Kyiv, Mr. Borrell told The Wall Street Journal that critics of his efforts to revive the pact perhaps “don’t value enough” the dangers of a nuclear Iran. …… (subscribers only) more

February 6, 2023 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Poland wants the European Union to push for more investment in nuclear energy

Poland eyes boost for nuclear energy in EU power market reform, Nasdaq February 06, 2023 — by Kate Abnett for Reuters

Poland has urged the European Union to use upcoming reforms to Europe’s electricity market to do more to support investments in nuclear energy, according to a document seen by Reuters.

The European Union is set to propose a power market upgrade next month, to attempt to avoid a repeat of last year when cuts to Russian gas supply sent European power prices soaring, since gas plants often set overall electricity prices in the current EU system.

“We must ensure a positive regulatory environment for investing in all zero- and low emission technologies. This is especially important for nuclear power projects,” Poland said in a paper shared with EU policymakers, adding that nuclear projects typically require high upfront investments.

The call from Warsaw comes as countries are squaring off over the role for nuclear energy in other EU policies. Negotiations this week on new EU renewable energy targets were cancelled amid a disagreement over whether to expand the targets to include hydrogen produced with nuclear power.

February 6, 2023 Posted by | EUROPE, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear news – week to February 7th

Some bits of good newsWhat went right this week: reviving Britain’s ‘lost’ rainforests, Europe embraced slow travel, and the UK’s green sector defied the economic gloom, plus more.Coronavirus. When will COVID stop being a global emergency?

Climate. How Ocean Heat Ends The Human Experiment.   An apology to my grandkids for not fighting in the war of our times.

Nuclear.  What can I say?  Nations. led by the gun-obsessed, belligerent, America – prepare for war, and spend $squillions on nuclear weapons. We all know that Ukraine is a tinder-box of nuclear reactors –   and yet the USA is busily organising for Westinghouse to build a fleet of nuclear reactors there –   because we all know, don’t we, that nuclear power is so safe


ART and CULTURE. Twin threats to the Marshallese.

CLIMATE. Sea level rise will threaten UK coastal towns.   Climate hypocrisy: UAE oil company employees given roles in office hosting Cop28.


Top UK pension funds refuse to invest in Sizewell C nuclear plan, despite government enticements. Nuclear too expensive and not needed

Marketing. Death and Japan’s nuclear shelter salesman.      Ukraine planning for two $5 billion Westinghouse AP 1000 reactors, part of USA marketing a fleet of new nuclear reactors to Ukraine!       South Korea to sell 40 trilion won ($32.55 billion) nuclear power plant to Turkey. China marketing nuclear reactors to Pakistan.

EMPLOYMENT. French nuclear availability reduced by 1.1 GW as strike gets under way– EDF.

ENVIRONMENT. International group of scientists warns nuclear radiation has devastating impacts on ecosystems.

ETHICS and RELIGION. Roundtable: Making nuclear injustice an agenda for change.

HEALTH. Military probing link between nuclear silo work, cancers.

MEDIA. Why the western media is afraid of Julian Assange. The dark truths WikiLeaks revealed w/Stefania Maurizi | The Chris Hedges Report –         Facebook Protects Nazis to Protect Ukraine Proxy War. Celebrities Protect The Interests Of The Empire– Caitlin Johnstone.

OPPOSITION to NUCLEAR Nuclear must not be part of Cromartry Firth freeport vision.



African states meet in South Africa to discuss UN Nuclear Ban TreatyMorocco committed to elimination of nuclear weapons – Envoy speaks at African seminar on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, in Pretoria.

The Last Existing U.S.-Russia Nuclear Treaty Could Soon Fail.  NATO recruits South Korea for war against Russia

Tulsi Gabbard on the Truth of President Zelensky –             Ukraine is sinking. Is the West about to bail outWest Blocked Ukraine Peace Deal, Says Former Israeli PM. 

US Surrounds China With War Machinery While Freaking Out About Balloons. China expresses dissatisfaction and protest over US shooting down civilian airship; US sets bad precedent.     US makes diplomatic move targeting ChinaChina objects to more nuclear sub talks among UK, U.S, Australia. 

 France tries to label nuclear as “renewable” in push to the EU for nuclear-produced hydrogen. 

Iran and the West clash over IAEA report on Fordow nuclear plant. UK, France, Germany, USA urge Iran to meet all reporting obligations on its nuclear facilities. 

USA to set up 4 new military bases in the Philippines. 

RADIATION. Indian Point Expert Forum: Dr. Helen Caldicott –         Australia radioactive capsule: Missing material more common than you think. Missing radioactive capsule found in Western Australia. Bill Gates’ profitable involvement in the nuclear industry, even in radiation detection equipment.

SAFETY. Blasts near Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. Takahama nuclear reactor in Fukui halted after alert goes off, Incompetence in the nuclear submarine industry. Belgium looks to extend lives of oldest nuclear reactors. France approves study on extending nuclear reactors’ life.

SECRETS and LIESTaking up Hilda’s Torch: Robert Green’s account of his contribution to the 1988/9 Hinkley C Inquiry – Iran says France should inform the world how Israel obtained nuclear arms.

SPACE. EXPLORATION, WEAPONSThere’s no planet B. NASA and DARPA are working on a nuclear-powered rocket that could go to Mars.

SPINBUSTER. NewsReal: Chinese Balloon: It’s All About The Optics –

  TECHNOLOGY  GE Hitachi group announce contract for grid-scale small nuclear reactor, requiring large taxpayer subsidy .   Scepticism on the enthusiastic claims about nuclear fusion.

WASTESFrance: what to do as its nuclear waste site risks saturation point?

WAR and CONFLICTAvoiding a Long War- the RAND corporation report. Chris Hedges: Ukraine: The War That Went WrongThe Unwarranted Ukraine Proxy War: A Year Later. The logic behind the terror: Why does Ukraine keep attacking civilian areas in DonetskVictory or Valhalla: NATO troops in “huge war games” 80 miles from Russia.  Pentagon will allow Ukraine to fire long-range missiles at will.

WEAPONS and WEAPONS SALESThis Time It’s Different. A Costly and Prolonged Cold War Now Seems a Certainty. 324 Tanks, Now NATO Readies Warplanes and Entire Domestic Economies for Ukraine. Ukraine’s Tank Problem – a “game changer” – REALLY?Target Crimea: U.S. to send Ukraine missiles with twice previous range . Budget cuts have left UK’s military’s stores bare: General says Britain would run out of ammo in a day if it fought Russia -Britain buying ammo from South Asia to support Ukraine. Aukus- Australia: Biden urged to fast-track research into submarines using non-weapons grade uranium

February 6, 2023 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Pentagon will allow Ukraine to fire long-range missiles at will.

Munitions with 150-kilometer range are part of the newest weapons gift package. 5 Feb 23,

It is up to the government in Kiev to decide how to use new rockets being delivered for the US-supplied HIMARS launchers, the Pentagon said on Friday. The statement is a confirmation that the latest batch of munitions the American taxpayers are funding will include Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDB).

The Boeing-manufactured munitions consist of a rocket motor mated with an airplane bomb, with an estimated range of up to 150 kilometers. While Friday’s announcement listed “additional ammunition” for the HIMARS and “precision-guided rockets,” Brigadier-General Patrick Ryder told reporters that this indeed included the GLSDB, confirming the information leaked to Reuters earlier this week.

Ryder also confirmed that the US won’t stand in the way of Ukrainians using the missiles to strike deep inside Russia.

“When it comes to Ukrainian plans on operations, clearly that is their decision. They are in the lead for those,” he said on Friday. “So, I’m not going to talk about or speculate about potential future operations, but again, all along, we’ve been working with them to provide them with capabilities that will enable them to be effective on the battlefield.”

The GLDSB are produced by Boeing in cooperation with Sweden’s Saab AB, and combine the GBU-39 small-diameter bomb with the M26 rocket motor. It was unclear how many of the munitions the Pentagon intended to send, or whether they would come from the US military stockpile or need to be freshly produced.

Reuters claimed to have seen a Boeing document saying the first deliveries could be “as early as spring 2023.” Meanwhile, Bloomberg cited unnamed officials who said the timeline could be as long as nine months, depending on when the US Air Force issues the contract. Bloomberg also reported the GLSDB order would account for $200 million of the $1.75 billion in the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funding, referring to contracts for weapons and ammunition not coming out of the Pentagon stockpile.

Whenever the missiles actually arrive, Russia has already hinted at how it will respond. On Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin tasked the military with “eliminating any possibility” of Ukrainian artillery strikes on Russian territory. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview on Thursday that Moscow will “push back” the Ukrainian troops to a range at which they will not be a threat.

“The longer range the weapons supplied to the Kiev regime have, the further the troops will need to be moved,” Lavrov said.

Ukraine has used the US-supplied HIMARS launchers against both military targets and civilians in Donbass, Kherson and Zaporozhye. Kiev has repeatedly asked for the MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) rockets, which have a range of some 300 kilometers. 

Moscow has repeatedly warned Washington that providing heavy weapons to Ukraine risks crossing Russia’s “red lines” and involving the US and NATO in the conflict directly. The US and its allies insist they are not parties to the hostilities, but continue to arm Kiev. By the Pentagon’s own admission, the US has committed $32 billion in military aid to Ukraine.

February 6, 2023 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | 1 Comment

NewsReal: Chinese Balloon: It’s All About The Optics, 05 Feb 2023.

The whole world (i.e., the USA) was stunned this week as a Chinese high-altitude balloon dared traverse the USA before being shot down in a stunning and brave military move by an air-to-air missile fired from an F-22 fighter jet over US waters in the Atlantic.

Bullet dodged?

Er, no. As Joe and Niall explain in this NewsReal, such balloons (Chinese, research, ‘spy’ or otherwise) traverse the US and elsewhere on a regular basis. What’s different this time is that ‘someone’ overruled the Pentagon’s initial assessment that this balloon posed no threat to US national security to instead make a REALLY big deal out of it…

February 6, 2023 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Death and Japan’s nuclear shelter salesman

Khrushchev once speculated that the survivors of the apocalypse would envy the dead. I agree.

LEO LEWIS,— 5 Feb 23

The “doomsday clock” maintained since 1947 by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists is many things. An index of our gossamer proximity to annihilation; a metaphor for the human paradox of progress and regression; a near-drained reservoir of hope that the gods will spare us from ourselves. And, of course, a superb marketing tool for any half-decent nuclear shelter salesman.

The Bulletin’s January 24 decision to move the hands of its doomsday clock closer to midnight (signifying global catastrophe) than they have ever been before should, logically, give the bunker business a recession-defying sales spike. The collective shrug it will actually get is more profoundly alarming.

For Hiroki Nakajima, the marketing director of shelter-maker World Net International (WNI), these are comparatively good times. North Korean ballistic missile tests and China’s rising military power, he says, have driven Japanese shelter sales significantly higher than in the past. The fear factor soared after Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine and started issuing explicit nuclear threats. WNI historically used to sell only a couple of $80,000 premium shelters a year; in 2022 that shot up to a still modest 25 — hardly a nation gripped with fear.

Nakajima, whose best customers are the very wealthy and very nervous, says he will consider listing the company on the Tokyo Stock Exchange “as society’s needs require”. He delivers his nuclear shelter sales pitch from a medium-sized warehouse with models arranged by size, blast resilience and interior decor. I am shown into one with eggshell blue padded walls and, optimistically given the post-Armageddon broadcasting constraints, a wall-mounted TV.

We are in the smallish seaside town of Yaizu, a pretty fishing port that looks back on to a snow-capped Mount Fuji and whose placidness contrasts effectively with the mental picture of the horrors that would make a shelter purchase value for money. Nakajima’s marketing strategy includes judicious repetition of the phrase “your whole family will die” wherever appropriate; mostly as the certain outcome of any attempt at self-preservation other than buying a WNI shelter.

As efforts to induce apocalyptic terror go, it is valiant stuff. But he is talking to someone who grew up in Britain in the 1980s: someone who has had his wits scared out of him by far, far more proficient fearmongers. Set against (among others) Threads, The War Game, When the Wind Blows and the Protect and Survive public information films, Japanese shelter marketing feels almost upbeat. As Cold War children we hummed pop songs that were more chillingly referential to nuclear obliteration than the WNI website. And that was when the Doomsday clock was set further from midnight than it is now.

But Nakajima is not without support in his bid to set out the risks. Last month, the Japanese government began considering for the first time what a shelter subsidy scheme might look like, suggesting that its assessment of the nuclear threat has advanced from the general to the specific. Should such a subsidy emerge, says Nakajima, sales could be 100 times what they are now.

I sit for some time in WNI’s cramped showcase shelter, imagining the circumstances that might bring me to this bunker if I ever owned one: the mass extinction beyond its sturdily engineered walls, the irradiated cinders of civilisation blown against its air filter intake, the endless weeks cocooned with whichever loved ones made it in time, mourning those who did not. Nikita Khrushchev once speculated that the survivors of such a war would envy the dead. I agreed, and Nakajima quietly lost a customer.

The faint feeling of absurdity in WNI’s showroom points, obliquely, to a problem with the doomsday clock. Arguably the most potent symbol of humanity’s collective need to change tack, the clock is now set at just 90 seconds to midnight but seems to have lost its capacity to terrify at a time when we should be more terrified than ever before.

For while the clock is most closely associated in the public mind with the threat of nuclear war, it has long been a broader metric of imperilment from all human-made global disaster — a spectrum of risk ranging from climate change, and the denial of it, to microscopic autonomous robots.

The trouble with the clock is that, where once it was a paramount siren, it is now merely one of many alarms telling us that we are doomed. Under cover of that surfeit of fear, the clock has now gone pretty much as far as it can without being right. That is something none of us — even those with the best shelter $80,000 will buy — can afford to see proved.

February 6, 2023 Posted by | Japan, marketing | Leave a comment

Taking up Hilda’s Torch: Robert Green’s account of his contribution to the 1988/9 Hinkley C Inquiry.

4th February 2023

This is an interesting insight both into the Inquiry and the background to nuclear power in the UK.  The information and comments are as relevant today as they were all those years ago. TakingUpHildasTorch.

Hilda Murrell (born in 1906) was a British rose grower, naturalist, diarist and campaigner against nuclear power and nuclear weapons.  She was murdered in 1984 in disputed circumstances.

Having predicted the 1973 oil crisis, Murrell became increasingly concerned by the hazards posed by nuclear energy and weapons. She began to research this highly technical field and in 1978 wrote a paper entitled “What Price Nuclear Power?” in which she challenged the economics of the civil nuclear industry.  After the 1979 US accident at Three Mile Island, she turned her attention to safety aspects and homed in on the problem of radioactive waste, the disposal of which she concluded was the industry’s Achilles’ heel.

In 1982 the Department of the Environment published a white paper on the British Government’s policy on radioactive waste management.  Murrell, now in her late 70s, wrote a critique of it which she developed into her submission “An Ordinary Citizen’s View of Radioactive Waste Management” to the first formal planning inquiry into a nuclear power plant in Britain, the Sizewell B Pressurised Water Reactor in Suffolk.

She was scheduled to present her paper at the Sizewell B Inquiry, but on 21 March 1984 her home in Shrewsbury was burgled and a small amount of cash was taken.  She was then abducted in her own car.  Though the vehicle was soon reported abandoned in a country lane five miles outside Shrewsbury, the Police took another three days to find her body in a copse across a field from her car.  Who killed her – and why – has been the subject of books and films.  The conviction in 2005 of a man for her abduction and murder failed to answer many of the questions surrounding her death.

The reasons for this enduring enquiry are exposed at length in ‘A Thorn In Their Side’, a book published in 2012.  The author is Hilda’s nephew, Robert Green, with whom she had a close relationship and who was a commander in naval intelligence during the Falklands war. He has followed and chronicled the case meticulously.

Was this just a random, bungled burglary by a lone 16-year-old – as the police would have it – or was it an operation involving several individuals on behalf of a government agency, namely the security services?  Read more: The Guardian March 2012

Also see:

February 6, 2023 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Australia radioactive capsule: Missing material more common than you think

By Antoinette Radford, BBC News, 5 Feb 23

The world watched as Australia scrambled to find a radioactive capsule in late January.

Many asked how it could have been lost – but radioactive material goes missing more often than you might think.

In 2021, one “orphan source” – self-contained radioactive material – went missing every three days, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The not-for-profit Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) lists lost and found nuclear and radiological material, and its records include a person in Idaho who stumbled across a radioactive gauge lying in the middle of a road.

The organisation also listed a package containing radioactive material falling off the back of a truck onto a nearby lawn in an undisclosed location – the resident who found it then delivered it to its intended recipient later that day.

And, in 2019, a tourist was detected in St Petersburg airport wearing a radioactive watch, according to the list.

Of the nearly 4,000 radioactive sources that have gone missing since the International Atomic Energy Agency started tracking them in 1993, 8% are believed to have been taken for malicious reasons, and 65% were lost accidentally. It is unclear what happened to the rest.

When properly maintained and handled, radioactive material does not pose a significant threat to humans.

But if a person is directly exposed to the radiation without protection, they can fall severely ill – or even die.

For example, four people died after a canister containing radioactive material was stolen from an abandoned hospital in the Brazilian city of Goiânia in 1987.

A group of men took the canister that contained Caesium-137 (Cs-137) – a radioactive material commonly used in medical settings – thinking it may have some value as scrap metal. As they took it apart, they ruptured the Cs-137 capsule, spilling its radioactive contents onto the rest of the metal.

A junkyard owner who bought the contaminated metal then exposed dozens of friends and family to the radiation after he brought them to see it glow blue in the dark. This included a six-year-old who ate the radioactive powder.

Dozens required urgent medical attention and two nearby towns were evacuated once doctors established their sudden illness was caused by radiation exposure.

The incident was described by the IAEA as among “the most serious radiological accidents to have occurred”.

In 2020, radioactive waste was also found at the home of a former nuclear energy agency employee in Indonesia.

And in 2013, six men were arrested – apparently unharmed – in Mexico for stealing radioactive material from a cancer treatment machine………………………………

February 6, 2023 Posted by | 2 WORLD, incidents, radiation | Leave a comment