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Radioactive Scare at Hanford Nuclear Site in Washington State

Wed, May 10

“This is incredibly deadly material. It’s like having Fukushima sitting in your backyard ready to go off,” a lawmaker asserted of the nuclear waste site.

https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/radioactive-scare-at-hanford-nuclear-site-in-washington-state-940936259981

https://www.nbcnews.com/widget/video-embed/940936259981

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July 14, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

#Ireland makes history! 1st country in the world to #divest from #fossilfuel!

 

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Ireland became the first country in the world to divest from fossil fuels!

We heard over and over again from TDs yesterday, just how important your actions were to keep this issue on their agendas. Well done!

We have been on this journey together for 3 years, and we won! We wanted Ireland to recognise that the use of fossil fuels must be phased out.  We wanted them to stop investing money against our interests, against our environment and against the livelihoods of families and communities Trócaire works with around the world.

Climate change is one of the main drivers of poverty and hunger in developing countries. Yesterday, Ireland took a very important step to turn around its shameful record on climate action. Only last month a report ranked Ireland second last within the EU, for its persistently poor performance on climate action.

TDs mentioned the ‘seismic shift’ which has taken place in the Dáil since this Divestment journey started. Yesterday was a ‘seminal moment’ that sees Ireland taking the lead on the world stage in its decision to move away from fossil fuels.

We wanted Ireland to make this historic decision to divest and for the decision to be the launch pad for greater ambition on climate action, and from what we heard from across the political spectrum yesterday, we achieved that goal!

The Bill must now go through the remaining stages in the Seanad, which we expect will happen fast, as the Bill has the support of all political parties.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you for staying with us on this journey, for all your actions, for raising your voice and for being part of making history!

Joanne McGarry
Campaigns Manager – Trócaire

July 13, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FALLOUT: Int’l Nuclear Disasters, Lies & Secrecy with Author Fred Pearce – NH #368

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FALLOUT: Disasters, Lies and the Nuclear Age by Fred Pearce
includes, of course, Chernobyl, pictured here immediately after the disaster began.

Listen Here:

http://nuclearhotseat.com/2018/07/11/fallout-author-fred-pearce-intl-nuclear-disasters-lies/

 

This Week’s Featured Interview:

  • Fred Pearce is an English journalist based in London. He is a science writer, reporting on the environment, popular science, and development issues from 64 countries over the past 20 years, and specializes in global environmental issues, including water and climate change. His latest book is FALLOUT: Disasters, Lies and the Nuclear Age.

Numnutz of the Week (for Outstanding Nuclear Boneheadedness):

NO!  Put away the cell phone and get back in the car!  Selfies in the Fukushima radiation zone are never a good idea!

Photo by U. G. Kaneko.  Used with permission.

Action Links:

  • COMMENT TO THE NRC!  David Lochbaum, Director, Nuclear Safety Project, Union of Concerned Scientists, requests comments – open until July 23 – on preventing nuclear plant owners from conducting unreviewed and unapproved fuel experiments on-site at your local neighborhood nuclear reactor.  Of course the NRC makes it harder than it should be to comment:
    • Go to:  www.regulations.gov
    • Enter “NRC-2018-0109” in the Search window and CLICK
    • Type your comments in the Comment box. Alternatively or additionally, upload a file with comments by clicking on the CHOOSE FILES icon.
    • The form asks for your name. You have the option of providing your contact information or not doing so.
    • After filling out comments and contact info, click on the CONTINUE icon.
    • The next page will tell you that your comment has been submitted and give you a receipt number. You may elect to have the receipt emailed to you.
  • More information on this issue, to guide your comments, is available if you CLICK HERE.

July 13, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

#TEPCO throwing money to the wind! FOR #NUCLEAR

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Tokyo electric power is responsible for the nuclear power accident and can’t afford to support Japan Nuclear power costs

“Tokai ( 1 minutes )” (1 minutes 40 seconds) Video

[NHK] a shareholder of Tokyo Electric Power Co Ltd. has given the intention to support the cost of safety measures in Japan’s nuclear power plant, for the re-operation of tokai second nuclear power plant. I have appealed to the court for a provisional disposition.

In Ibaraki Prefecture, tokai THE second nuclear power plant is in fact, on the 4th of this month, to be reviewed by the Government, and Tokyo Electric Power Co Ltd. Will Support 1,740 billion yen for safety measures. It shows the intention.

As for this, 3 shareholders of Tokyo electric power were not able to expect to recover from the management of Japan’s original [phone], and tepco was a connected to the nuclear power accident and could not afford to support Japan. I appealed to Tokyo District Court for the president and Vice President of Tokyo electric power to give up their support.

Hiroyuki Kawai, who served as an agent of a shareholder who had filed a meeting, was damaged by the tokai second nuclear power plant, and the central part of the capital area and the center of the country were damaged. I have criticized the support of Tokyo electric power, and it is an act of throwing money away. ‘

Source Japanese only https://www3.nhk.or.jp/lnews/mito/20180712/1070003202.html

Other info about TEPCO

TEPCO Energy Partner to offer up to 8% cheaper gas rate from July …

Where is TEPCOs billions?

what about the victims compensation? https://nuclear-news.net/2017/11/14/where-is-tepcos-billions-what-about-the-victims-compensation/

Tepco1

People who evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture have not only been exposed to radiation, but to prejudice and misunderstanding regarding compensation that they may or may not have received. The truth about Fukushima nuclear disaster compensation March 2017

July 13, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

#OPCW findings regarding #Douma #nervegas attack: Grim reading for Western ideologues

“One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived,” Niccolo Machiavelli wrote.

The famed Renaissance-era philosopher’s sage words describe to a tee the allegation that Syrian forces attacked the city of Douma, 10km northeast of Damascus, with nerve gas on April 7, 2018.

Even more seriously, not to mention condemnatory, is the way this lie – fashioned by Salafi-jihadist extremists, who at the time were struggling to hang on in a part of the country they’d been occupying for the best part of seven years in the face of a determined campaign by the Syrian Arab Army with Russian support to liberate it – was allowed to take the West on a collision course with Russia, when the Trump administration, supported by France’s Emmanuel Macron and Britain’s Theresa May, decided to launch a missile strike against Syria on the back of it.

Not since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 has the world come so close to WWIII as it did then. And it was only down to astute leadership in Moscow, the willingness of the Russian government to accept a temporary loss of face in refusing to respond to what was an act of naked aggression by Washington and its allies, that disaster was averted.

The findings of the OPCW’s interim report, produced on the back of its on-site investigation into allegations that a nerve gas attack took place in Douma on April 7, make grim reading for the army of morally bereft Western ideologues and their apologists who’ve made a career out of defending the indefensible. Or at least, that is, they should make grim reading.

To wit:

“The results show that no organophosphorous nerve agents or their degradation products [emphasis added] were detected in the environmental samples or in the plasma samples taken from alleged casualties.”

When Churchill opined, as only a dyed-in-the-wool imperialist such as he was could, that, “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies,” he penetrated the fog of obfuscation and propaganda that has always been employed to confuse the public mind over the unending wars of conquest and domination unleashed by the West in the course of its blood-soaked history.

When it comes to Syria, those lies have been legion, framed in such a way as to make that which is unreal appear real and that which is real appear unreal. We have thus been invited over the years of this brutal conflict to believe that bands of Western backed religious sectarian fanatics – intent on the mass slaughter, enslavement, and extirpation of a non-sectarian secular society – are actually Jefferson democrats in disguise, fighting oppression in the name of liberty. We have been asked to accept that those fighting and dying to prevent Syria entering the abyss are evil while those fighting to push Syria into the abyss are virtuous.

It is interesting to ponder at this juncture how for neocons and assorted other regime-change Western extremists the world is reduced to a giant chessboard upon which non-Western nations, governments and peoples are no more than pieces to be moved around, removed and replaced at their whim. It suggests a Manichean worldview that has been lifted from those old B Western Hollywood movies – a cultural fare which has supplanted reality in the minds of people intoxicated with a sense of their own exceptionalism.

This exceptionalism has wrought, over the decades in which Western hegemony has held sway, more chaos, mayhem, carnage, and dislocation than any number of natural disasters.

It is why, just as the conflict in Vietnam was more than the sum of its parts in terms of its wider significance and importance, so it is with the conflict that’s been raging in Syria in our time. This conflict is not and has never been primarily a civil war, or even a regional war. It has been and remains primarily an anti-imperialist struggle with the outcome assuming world-historical importance as a consequence. And, to be sure, this outcome is reflected in the vast ocean of propaganda, lies, untruths, and distortion that has been unleashed in support of regime change and military intervention.

Never mind the former Yugoslavia, never mind Iraq, and never mind Libya; the ease with which this propaganda machine rolls on from one country and society, destroyed under its tracks, to the next is redolent of a beast whose appetite for domination is completely insatiable.

Thus in Syria, this beast is being slayed not only in the interests of a Syrian people whose suffering and sacrifice has been inordinate – supported by Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah in an example of internationalism which in the last analysis is the only antidote to Western hegemony capable of breaking its asphyxiating grip militarily, economically, culturally, and geopolitically. It is also being slayed in the interests of a world suffering under the dead weight of a Pax Americana which for far too long has gone unchallenged.

Douma will forever stand as a milestone in the moral degeneracy of those handsomely remunerated champions of regime change who colonize the opinion columns of mainstream newspapers, the vast network of neoconservative think tanks made up of privately educated cranks and crackpots whose dishonesty is only exceeded by their mendacity, and those who occupy the corridors of power in Western capitals.

They are the very people Shakespeare had in mind when he wrote, “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”

John Wight has written for a variety of newspapers and websites, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/432668-douma-syria-opcw-report/

July 13, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Downfall Of U.S. Nuclear Power

A new, shocking report by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Engineering and Public Policy (EPP), Harvard University, and the University of California San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy discovered that the U.S. nuclear power industry could be on the verge of a collapse — a reality that many have yet to realize.

Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), “US nuclear power: The vanishing low-carbon wedge” examined 99 nuclear power reactors in 30 states, operated by 30 different power companies. As of 2017, there are two new reactors under construction, but 34 reactors have been permanently shut down as many plants reach the end of their lifespan.

We’re asleep at the wheel on a very dangerous highway,” said Ahmed Abdulla, co-author and fellow at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UC San Diego. “We really need to open our eyes and study the situation.”

For more than three decades, approximately 20 percent of U.S. power generation has come from light water nuclear reactors (LWRs). These plants are now aging, and the cost to service or upgrade them along with fierce competition from Trump’s economic order to prop up failing coal and heavily indebted shale oil/gas companies make nuclear power less competitive in today’s power markets.

In return, the American shale boom could trigger a significant number of US nuclear power plant closures in the years ahead, the researchers warned. The country is now at a critical crossroad that it must abandon nuclear power altogether or embrace the next generation of miniature, more cost-effective reactors.

The researchers noted that small modular reactors might play a significant role in US energy markets in the next few decades. This new design would effectively swap out the current aging, LWRs that the Atomic Energy Commission allowed to rapidly expand across the country in the 1960s and after. The researchers described several scenarios where new nuclear power plants could be used to back up wind and solar, produce heat for industrial processes, or serve military bases.

Given the current market structure and policy dynamics, the researchers were not convinced that nuclear power would be competitive in the future power market.

While efforts continue to advance batteries for storing electricity from solar and wind, utilities have made an impressive push into natural gas. As of 2018, fossil fuel now produces nearly 32 percent of US power.

Given the impending collapse of the nuclear industry, the researchers questioned whether renewable energy would be enough to offset losses from retiring nuclear power plants.

“The reality is you cannot actually replace 20 percent of the need with wind and solar, unless you want to wallpaper every square inch of many states,” said Christian Back, vice-president of nuclear technologies and materials at General Atomics. “It’s not efficient enough.”

Back said with the right political support, nuclear reactors operating today could be retrofitted to increase safety and lifespan, while smaller, more cost-effective ones could be strategically placed on the grid.

“This is a situation like Nasa when you’re putting someone on the moon where the government needs to recognize the long-term benefit and investment that’s required and help support that,” Back added. “This is where political will matters.”

Researchers also suggested that many civilians overlook nuclear energy and do not realize the urgency of the situation.

In the article’s conclusion, the researchers warn, “It should be a source of profound concern for all who care about climate change that, for entirely predictable and resolvable reasons, the United States appears set to virtually lose nuclear power, and thus a wedge of reliable and low-carbon energy, over the next few decades.”

Is the Era of Nuclear Power Coming to an End?

By Zerohedge.com

Source https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Nuclear-Power/The-Downfall-Of-US-Nuclear-Power.html

July 13, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Plotting Crazy Japan’s Energy Future

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On July 3, the Cabinet of the Japanese government approved the country’s 5th Strategic Energy Plan after receiving the final draft the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). The plan is significant as it sets forth the government’s approach to energy policy for the future and is considered one of the key documents indicating the government’s direction with respect to national energy supply and energy markets. It is closely watched by the corporate and civil sectors alike both home and abroad.

The Japanese government is required by law to reevaluate and issue a strategic energy plan at least every three years and, while it is not a binding legal instrument, it has become a de facto policy tool that has been followed by the various government agencies and departments in each of its iterations. It also serves as a market signaler and seeks to provide long-term certainty to energy market participants and allay any fears of a sudden policy shift.

Future Energy Mix

A key element of the strategic energy plan is the government’s future energy mix predictions, with the current benchmark date being 2030. In the plan, METI maintained the same energy source ratio for 2030 as it had outlined in the previous strategic energy plan in 2013 and in its long-term energy supply and demand outlook issued in 2015. The desired energy ratios set forth a balanced approach to the full range of power generation options, including both renewables (22 to 24 percent) and nuclear (20 to 22 percent).

Note: The percentages provided in the Plan for Renewable Energy and Nuclear Energy were 20-22 percent and 22-24 percent, respectively.  For the purposes of this chart, the higher of the range of percentages has been used.

While the ratios have remained the same, what is new is that renewable energy sources were designated as a “main source of power generation” for the first time.  Some see this as a major shift in government policy that recognizes that in the future renewable energy has a role to play as a baseload power source and not only as auxiliary power. As it currently stands, renewable energy in Japan accounted for 15 percent of the energy mix in 2017, up from 10.7 percent in 2010. Renewable energy proponents are encouraged by the upward trend in market penetration but also consider that Japan could do more to extend the 20-22 percent target for 2030, especially as the renewable energy target is significantly lower than similar targets set by other G7 countries.

The Future Challenge of Nuclear and Coal Power

The plan makes it abundantly clear that the Japanese government still sees nuclear power as playing a significant role in the energy market as well as being an important method of meeting its environmental commitments. However the resumption and expansion of the nuclear power industry in Japan remains controversial.

Following energy demand predictions, to reach the proposed level of nuclear generation in the overall energy mix, it becomes clear that new nuclear reactors will need to be constructed in addition to all of Japan’s existing nuclear reactors being restarted and having their operational life extended.

The stigma of nuclear power runs deep and strong as reconstruction efforts from 2011 are still underway and fearful local communities have successfully campaigned to block the restarting or construction of new reactors. Cases have been filed with respect to most nuclear power plants, with residents and citizen groups seeking injunctions from the courts to block any decision to restart the reactors. Multiple suits are underway across the country with appeals being heard on a regular basis but no conclusive position has yet been determined. In addition to grassroots movements, prefectural governors have openly come out in opposition to the national government’s plans to restart the reactors in a bid to gain public favor as local election season begins.

Clearly, this level of opposition puts the government’s proposed energy mix in jeopardy as questions are raised over whether the government will be able to implement the measures necessary to reach the proposed percentages.

In such a climate of uncertainty over the future of the nuclear industry, utility operators too are skeptical. In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, nuclear reactors were shut down and utility companies turned to large-scale thermal coal power plants to make up the shortfall. As a result, as the share of nuclear power fell from 28.6 percent in 2010 to nil in 2014, thermal coal power rose from 25 percent to 31 percent over the same timeframe. In the last two years to date, eight new power plants have come online and 36 new projects are scheduled to come online in the next decade, which will increase total coal power generation capacity by approximately 40 percent.  The upward trend in coal generation is at direct odds with the Plan’s forecast of coal generation falling from its current share of approximately 30 percent to only 26 percent of total energy generation.

This too is out of step with other major economies around the world such as the U.K., which plans to shutter all coal-fired power plants by 2025, and France, a former nuclear power heavyweight, which plans to cease coal power generation by 2021.

With that in mind, similar to the nuclear industry, the feasibility of increased coal generation is being questioned. International and domestic pressure is mounting for a more balanced approach to be adopted. Environmental groups, using the Paris Agreement as justification for their opposition, and local citizen groups have been mobilizing against the construction of new coal power plants. Local citizen groups in Chiba and Hyogo Prefectures have recently successfully forced utility operators to completely abandon construction plans for several new large scale power plants. Three of Japan’s mega-banks, Mizuho, Mitsubishi-UFJ Bank, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, also released over the past two months new lending policies that will significantly restrict the amount of finance that they will make available for new and existing coal generation projects.

While the Strategic Energy Plan is designed to give energy market participants policy certainty, the latest iteration has thrown up more questions than answers. The feeling is that the pro-nuclear and pro-coal position of the ruling government is out of step with what is practically achievable given the changing community and business landscape. Maintaining the status quo of the 2014 and 2015 predictions is intended to give a sense of continuity but, given concerns over changes in context and evolving situations that may pose significant problems to the achievement of those targets, doing so may have instead only contributed to an already unpredictable outlook.

Peter Bungate is an Australian corporate lawyer working in Japan since 2014, specializing in energy markets and policy both domestic and international.

https://tribunecontentagency.com/article/plotting-japans-energy-future/

Crazy for Loving You – Patsy Kline video – Listen while reading, recommended 🙂

July 13, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

US Legislator: citizens ‘deserve to have answers’ about #nuclear facility

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A state legislator says he isn’t getting any answers out of the administration of Gov. Susana Martinez to questions on a proposed interim storage site for spent nuclear fuel in southeast New Mexico.

Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, chairman of the Legislature’s Committee on Radioactive and Hazardous Materials, sent nearly 60 questions to the heads of several state departments in April.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A state legislator says he isn’t getting any answers out of the administration of Gov. Susana Martinez to questions on a proposed interim storage site for spent nuclear fuel in southeast New Mexico.

Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, chairman of the Legislature’s Committee on Radioactive and Hazardous Materials, sent nearly 60 questions to the heads of several state departments in April.

Only one responded.

“It raises the obvious conclusion that this governor and her administration have done no analysis on this project,” Steinborn said. “The citizens of the state deserve to have answers on our state’s ability to handle this facility.”

The senator wrote in a July 9 letter to the governor that the New Mexico Environment Department did respond to his questions, “but without providing substantive information on the issues raised.”

The Environment Department provided that letter to the Journal.

In it, department Secretary Butch Tongate wrote NMED would review the Environmental Impact Statement currently in progress at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission “and provide comments to the NRC as necessary.”

“The Senator’s questions should be directed to the NRC — the agency overseeing the process,” said NMED spokeswoman Katy Diffendorfer in an email.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1195897/legislator-citizens-deserve-to-have-answers-about-nuclear-facility.html

July 13, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Foreign construction of nuclear power plants could ruin Russia

Nuclear power station, Sergei Kirienko in foreign countries are financed by russiansociety “peaceful atom” victoriously marching across the planet, capturing investment in new areas. And to payfor it to have ordinary Russians. What do experts think about this? How soon will “explode”?…

Expensive toys Sergei Kiriyenko

Author – Nadezhda Popova

The Russian “peaceful atom” victoriously marching across the planet, capturing investment in new areas. In addition to the European countries – Hungary, Finland, Bulgaria, Atomstroyexport comfortably in the Islamic Republic of Iran has announced the construction of the second unit of the Bushehr NPP. The Turks look forward to the start of construction of NPPs of Russian design “Akkuyu”. New units Atomstroyexport is building in a big way in India at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, the correspondent The Moscow Post.

Already filled Playground for the new rooppur NPP in Bangladesh. A few days ago, a powerful signed an agreement with China on the construction of four new power units. All the construction is going at the expense of Russia and Russians. Your coins yet only offers Tehran . Beijing promises that the new NPP will be entirely paid by the Chinese side.

What are the billions spent on the construction of overseas nuclear power plants? Rosatom gives loans to the countriesin which it sells its nuclear projects. In total, Turkey, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Finland has already received more than $ 100 billion at 3% per annum. This money, incidentally, are withdrawn from the budget of the Russian Federation. And when is the deadline on the loan, which Moscow provided Minsk on the construction of NPP “Ostrowiec” in Belarus? 50 years later, in 2068! When it is alive it will not Sergei Kiriyenko, neither Dmitry Medvedev nor Alexander Lukashenko.

Note, that in Russia continue to operate the old dangerous nuclear reactors of the Chernobyl type. Today, 11 such reactors are working at the Leningrad, Kursk and Smolensk NPPs. But those old work horse nobody thinks to stop, although out of them for a long time spilling sand, or rather graphite. Why new nuclear power plants are being built EN masse for cordon? Yes, even at the expense of poor Russians?

The risks are monstrous

-Agreement on the construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power station was signed by Moscow and Ankara in 2010, reminds the doctor of technical Sciences, in the recent past-the Deputy Director on science Institute of nuclear engineering, Professor Igor Ostretsov. – The contract involves construction of four power units of 1,200 megawatts. But why the credit for the nuclear project with a payback period of 30 years is issued for such a long period of just under 3% per annum.

Former Deputy Minister for atomic energy, doctor of technical Sciences, Professor Bulat Nigmatulin also can not conceal his indignation:

– Russian export projects for nuclear power plants promoted by those loans that we give to our foreign partners. And give in unfavorable conditions, with high risks of non-repayment of funds. What countries issued these loans? Not too economically developed, the problem on the state of the economy. In India we are stuck in political and environmental reasons, which worsened after the events at Fukushima in Japan. Of special note is the Turkish project of “Akkuyu”. This project requires a very close attention!

Continue reading

July 12, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

How to Reduce Nuclear Risks in Helsinki

The Trump-Putin summit is an opportunity to stop this dangerous drift. Reaffirming that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, the United States and Russia could agree to specific steps at Helsinki to reduce nuclear risks.

First, begin discussions on how to increase decision time for leaders to reduce the risk of a false warning of a nuclear attack or a nuclear accident or miscalculation. Right now, both the US and Russian presidents may have only a few minutes to assess whether warning of a possible nuclear attack is real, and to decide whether to use nuclear weapons in response. Both the United States and Russia—and Europe—would be much safer if we could agree on steps to increase decision time to a few hours or a few days. A clear directive by the two presidents to their military leaders to work to develop options to achieve this goal would be a powerful signal to the American people, to the Russian people and to the world.

Second, begin discussions on reducing and managing cyber nuclear risks. The threat of a cyber intrusion to nuclear facilities, strategic warning systems, and nuclear command and control increases the probability of accidents, miscalculations, or blunders. Possible cyber-attacks leading to the theft of nuclear materials, nuclear sabotage, or false warning of a missile attack are the most frightening and potentially consequential aspect of the cyber threat. Developing clear “rules of the road” to reduce cyber nuclear risks is imperative.

Third, work jointly to restart bilateral crisis management dialogue, including among uniformed military leaders in charge of nuclear forces, and multilateral crisis management dialogue throughout the Euro-Atlantic region, to reduce military risks. Continuing curtailment of military-to-military and crisis management dialogue increases the risk of the ultimate “lose-lose” scenario:  a military conflict. We must work together, including our militaries, to increase transparency and trust.

Fourth, work jointly to preserve and extend existing agreements and treaties, including the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and New START Treaty. These two agreements are crucial to sustaining transparency and predictability.  In the absence of these agreements, there will be no regulations on nuclear forces, exacerbating today’s already high risks.

https://www.w3livenews.com/News/ReadArticle

July 12, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Germany, China reaffirm their support for Iran nuclear deal

Tehran :Germany and China have reiterated that they are committed to the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries following the United States’ withdrawal.
Speaking alongside visiting China’s Premier Li Keqiang , Chancellor Angela Merkel said the nuclear accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was well-negotiated. The Chinese premier also warned against the unforeseeable consequences if the deal falls apart.
“We remain committed to the nuclear agreement. We think it was well negotiated,” Merkel said. “There is more that needs to be negotiated with Iran, but we think it is better to stay in the agreement.”
However, Merkel implied that Berlin could do little to protect international companies against punitive US measures, adding that it is up to individual firms to decide if they want to invest in Iran.
Earlier in the day, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hua Chunying, expressed Beijing’s resolve to continue efforts to safeguard the achievements of a 2015 nuclear agreement, putting forward a five-point proposal.
“Facing the complicated and stern situation at present, China clearly put up a five-point proposal emphasizing in particular that international rules should be observed, major countries should show their due integrity and sense of responsibility, unilateral sanctions can only run counter to one’s desire and should be abandoned, and dialogs and consultations should adhered to a constructive approach in discussions about issues of common concerns,” Hua said.

https://www.thekashmirmonitor.net/germany-china-reaffirm-their-support-for-iran-nuclear-deal/

July 12, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Russian MoD accuses Americans of violating INF Treaty and following Neo-colonialist Policy

MoD: US Violates INF Treaty by Deploying MK-41 Launchers for Tomahawks in Europe

11.07.2018

In an interview with Il Giornale newspaper, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu commented on the issues of US strategy in Iraq and Libya, the US violating the INF Treaty, Russia-US relations, the Ukrainian crisis and war in Syria.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The United States is violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) by deploying in Europe missile defense system, whose launchers might be used for firing Tomahawk cruise missiles at the European part of Russia’s territory, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in an interview released on Wednesday.

“We have repeatedly and publicly made it clear in all major international fora that it is the United States that is directly violating the INF Treaty, having installed, during the deployment of a missile shield in Europe, its MK-41 vertical launching systems, which might be used for the launch of Tomahawk cruise missiles. The destructive radius of these missiles covers almost all the European part of Russia’s territory,” Shoigu told Italy’s Il Giornale newspaper.

Shoigu added that, at the same time, it was Russia that was accused of alleged violations of the treaty.

“The US party is currently preparing its withdrawal from the INF treaty. The reason for such a step is the alleged violations of the treaty by Russia. But there are no facts, only claims,” Shoigu said.

US Strategy in Iraq, Libya

The United States is implementing the strategy of neocolonialism, which has already been tested in Iraq and Libya, Shoigu said.

“It is about the neocolonialism strategy, which has already been tested by the United States in Iraq and Libya and which consists in supporting any, even the most barbarous ideologies in order to weaken legitimate governments,” Shoigu told Italy’s Il Giornale newspaper.

According to the minister, the United States also stages attacks with the use of weapons of mass destruction or humanitarian disasters and, at the final stages, uses military force to create “manageable chaos,” which enables the transnational corporations to extract the existing assets to the US economy.

“Russia, which advocates the equal and mutually beneficial cooperation with all the countries within the concept of multipolar world, will always be an obstacle for such strategies’ implementation,” Shoigu stressed.

“I am convinced that any issues can and should be settled without the use of military force. I have repeatedly invited the Pentagon’s head to discuss the existing problems of the global and regional security, including the fight against terrorism. But the United States is not ready for such a dialogue,” Shoigu told Italy’s Il Giornale newspaper.

“There is only one communication channel between our general staffs now, which is used in negotiations, including at the level of the chiefs of general staff, aimed, first of all, at preventing the military activities of Russia and the United States from turning into a military conflict between our nuclear powers,” Shoigu said.

Recuperating Russia Viewed by West as Threat to US Dominance

Western countries view recuperating Russia not as an ally but as a threat to the dominance of the United States, Sergei Shoigu stressed.

“Today recuperating Russia is being viewed not as an ally but as a threat to the US dominance. We are being accused of some aggressive plans with regard to the West, which, in turn, continues to deploy new forces near our borders,” Shoigu told Italy’s Il Giornale newspaper.

Among such unfriendly steps of the West Shoigu mentioned the recent decision of NATO to establish two new commands, responsible for the protection of maritime communication and the prompt movement of the US troops to Europe, and the increase of the alliance’s contingents in the Baltic states, Bulgaria, Poland and Romania from 2,000 soldiers to 15,000.

Russia-US Tensions

“We often hear from the US that the crisis in bilateral relations has been provoked by Russia’s alleged aggressive actions on the international arena. However, we are firmly convinced that tensions in our relations have been artificially fueled all this time by those US elites, who believe that the world is divided into the US [part] and the wrong [one],” Shoigu told newspaper.

Shoigu added that it was the United States that in recent years had unilaterally broke key agreements, which formed the backbone of the global security. The defense minister pointed to Washington-initiated NATO expansion toward Russian borders, despite the promises that were given to the Soviet leadership during Germany’s reunification.

“For over 25 years we have been deluded by [claims saying] that there have been no promises, until the National Security Agency declassified archives with the documents of that period, in which it has been set out literally,” Shoigu said.

Shoigu has called on the United States, in particular, to explain why US military bases were edging closer to Russia.

“I, as president of the Russian Geographical Society, have for a long time wanted to present the US colleagues with a globe so that they would look at it and explain to us, why the ‘US adversaries’ designated by them are located in the Middle East and East Asia, while all their military bases and groups are nearing Russia’s borders,” the minister told the newspaper.

Russian officials have repeatedly expressed concern over NATO’s move closer to Russian borders. In May, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, regarding Poland’s wish to have a permanent US military base in the country, that NATO’s advance toward Russian borders did not contribute to the overall stability and security. Peskov added, however, that the decision to host a NATO base was for a hosting country to make.

Syrian Settlement

Iran and Turkey are playing key roles in stabilization of the situation in Syria, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in an interview released on Wednesday.

“Iran, along with Turkey, has historically been one of the main actors in the region and plays a key role in stabilization of the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic,” Shoigu stated.

The United States has not allocated any funds to support civilians in Syria affected by the war, Shoigu said.

“Affirming its ‘noble’ objectives and ‘good’ will, the United States has not allocated a cent to provide real assistance to Syrian civilians devastated by long years of war,” Shoigu added.

According to the minister, dozens of civilians continue to be killed by munition and mortars left in liberated Raqqa after massive bombings by the US-led international coalition.

Crisis in Ukraine

The armed rebellion in Ukraine in February 2014 were preceded by all signs of the United States waging a “hybrid war,” Russian Defense Minister stated.

According to Shoigu, the “hybrid actions” refer to various forms of pressure, short of military force, employed by one state against another one, including control over mass media, economic sanctions, the activities in cyberspace, fostering domestic unrest, and the use of specialized groups and specialists to carry out terrorist attacks, subversion and sabotage acts.

“Since the 1990s, these methods have been actively used by the United States in former Yugoslavia, Libya, [Russia’s] Chechen Republic and, most recently, in Syria. All the signs of the ‘hybrid war’ were apparent in Ukraine ahead of the armed rebellion in February 2014, with the European countries’ passive participation in these ‘hybrid actions,’” Shoigu stressed.

The necessary prerequisites for carrying out such campaigns include control of media with a global reach, possessing superior telecommunications and information technologies, a firm hold on global financial systems and an experience in deploying special forces in other countries, according to the Russian defense minister.

“What countries, other than the United States and the United Kingdom, have this kind of potential?” Shoigu said.

The defense minister added that London and Washington tested these methods in Iraq during the 1990-1991 Gulf War.

“This is an important detail, because there had been the necessary technologies when the Soviet Union and a bipolar world existed, but there had been no opportunities. And, by the way, the US president at the time [of the Gulf War] was none other than George H. W. Bush, former director of the CIA,” Shoigu said.

In February 2014, following months of protests over President Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign an EU association agreement, the Ukrainian government was toppled. Two regions in the southeast of Ukraine refused to recognize the new government, which they believed had come to power as a result of the coup. The central authorities and the southeast of Ukraine have been locked in conflict ever since.

Published at https://sputniknews.com/russia/201807111066247155-us-inf-treaty-violation-tomahawks/

July 12, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

PETITION! Say NO to the Federal Plan to Dump & Store Nuclear Waste in South Australia!!

FRONTPOSTACRD_message_to_minister.jpg

Dear Minister Canavan

CC: Flinders Ranges Council, Kimba District Council, SA Government

I write in opposition to the Federal Government’s nuclear waste plans in South Australia.

We don’t want to risk the regions’ rich heritage or industries like tourism and farming. SA has laws that make the development of a nuclear waste dump and store illegal and it has not been proven that this plan is needed.

This process has caused great divisions in the affected communities.

I urge your government to take an evidence-based approach to the management of Australia’s nuclear waste. Please stop the current plan and start an open assessment of the full range of future options.

I say no to the federal plan to dump and store nuclear waste in SA.

Petition link here;

https://www.conservationsa.org.au/petition_to_minister_canavan?utm_source=NDA+and+CCSA+nukes+july+18&utm_campaign=b539922a0d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_07_09_05_00&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e1b69c186a-b539922a0d-184223429

July 12, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Olympics: Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay to start in Fukushima

(Mainichi Japan)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Tokyo Olympic organizers said Thursday the torch relay for the 2020 Games will start on March 26 that year in Fukushima Prefecture, which was heavily hit by the 2011 earthquake-tsunami-nuclear disaster.

The plan was approved in a meeting attended by top metropolitan government officials after a proposal to start the torch tour in the northeastern Japan prefecture.

“With Fukushima named the starting point of the torch relay, (the relay) will be a symbol of the Olympics of recovery,” said reconstruction minister Masayoshi Yoshino.

“We want to use this as a global showcase for Japan’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake. In order to restore livelihoods in the disaster-struck areas, we hope that victims take part (in the relay) as torch runners,” he said.

Tokyo Olympic organizing committee President Yoshiro Mori stressed that the committee had tried to formulate the torch relay plan by listening to various ideas.

“It’s not possible to figure out the plan which would absolutely be the best. We agreed to do it with the disaster-hit areas and their recovery in mind,” he said.

Organizers were considering starting the sacred flame relay, which is expected to run for 121 days, in either the disaster-affected areas or in Okinawa Prefecture, the starting point of the torch relay for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

People in Fukushima Prefecture welcomed the torch relay plan, which the prefecture sees as a good chance to raise the profile of its recovery all over the world.

“We are grateful that they have considered the feelings of the disaster victims,” said Jun Suzuki, an official of the prefecture’s Olympic and Paralympic Games promotion office, adding, “I believe it will be an opportunity to encourage Fukushima people.”

Masamichi Matsumoto, a storekeeper who was evacuated from the town of Futaba, near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, to Iwaki city in the prefecture, rejoiced at the announcement, saying, “Memories of the disaster are wearing thin as more than seven years have passed, but it is the utmost delight for us to have an occasion to attract (worldwide) attention.”

“We expect the (torch) relay will bring about great excitement in the devastated areas,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference.

The torch relay will visit all of Japan’s 47 prefectures and end on July 24, 2020, with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron during the Games’ opening ceremony at the National Stadium in Tokyo.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20180712/p2g/00m/0sp/064000c

July 12, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Scientists assessed the options for growing nuclear power. They are grim.

That’s profoundly concerning for climate change.

Is nuclear power going to help the United States decarbonize its energy supply and fight climate change?

Probably not.

That is the conclusion of a remarkable new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in early July — remarkable because it is not written by opponents of nuclear power, as one might expect given the conclusion. The authors are in fact extremely supportive of nuclear and view its loss as a matter of “profound concern”:

Achieving deep decarbonization of the energy system will require a portfolio of every available technology and strategy we can muster. It should be a source of profound concern for all who care about climate change that, for entirely predictable and resolvable reasons, the United States appears set to virtually lose nuclear power, and thus a wedge of reliable and low-carbon energy, over the next few decades.

Still, despite their evident belief in the need for nuclear power, the researchers are unable to construct a plausible scenario in which it thrives. And it’s not for lack of looking — the paper is a methodical walk through the possibilities for both existing and new nuclear technology. The researchers really want it to work. They just can’t see it happening.

It’s a relatively short paper; let’s quickly hit the important takeaways.

The existing nuclear fleet is shrinking

Existing nuclear plants in the US are having a rough time, getting undercut on energy markets by cheaper natural gas and renewables. A wave of retirements is underway that is probably going to take around 10 GW of nuclear capacity offline.

A handful of states have taken measures to keep nuclear plants open (see this post), but doing so requires “expensive refurbishment and careful regulatory consideration,” the authors write, and will only “slow, not reverse, the losses.”

So then what about new plants?

Existing nuclear plant technology is a dead end

Existing nuclear plants are light-water reactors (LWRs), which were always intended to be the first generation of nuclear plants. But subsequent generations have not materialized, and we’re still mostly dealing with LWRs.

Attempts to build new LWRs in the US have been a fiasco, ending up canceled (as in the beleaguered Summer plant in South Carolina, which was 40 percent complete) or endlessly delayed and over-budget (as in the new Vogtle reactors in Georgia).

The researchers are blunt about the prospects for new plants based on existing technology:

There is no reason to believe that any utility in the United States will build a new large reactor in the foreseeable future. These reactors have proven unaffordable and economically uncompetitive. In the few markets with the will to build them, they have proven to be unconstructible. The combination of political instruments and market developments that would render them attractive, such as investment and production credits, robust carbon pricing, and high natural gas costs, is unlikely to materialize soon.

And it’s worth noting that those political instruments and market developments, if they did manifest, would also benefit nuclear’s low-carbon competitors, which are already kicking its ass.

What about advanced, non-LWR designs?

Advanced nuclear plant designs are not happening

The agency responsible for shepherding advanced nuclear designs to commercial viability is the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Nuclear Energy (NE).

The researchers did a close analysis of NE’s efforts, “using budget data acquired through the Freedom of Information Act and semistructured interviews with 30 senior nuclear energy experts.”

What they found is that NE has spent about $2 billion pursuing advanced designs since the late 1990s, with “very little to show for it.” Funding is inadequate, half of it goes to maintain existing testing infrastructure, it varies from year to year, and it’s spread shallowly across several technologies and research labs.

“In interviews with leaders across the enterprise,” they write, “those associated with the DOE and the national laboratories expressed either alarm or despair at the trajectory of advanced fission innovation in the United States.”

Theoretically, this decade-plus record of dysfunction could be turned around with “more competent stewardship of nuclear innovation, substantially greater appropriations, and a change in energy markets,” but all those, they note, are “very heavy lifts.”

The one bright spot in the advanced-nuclear area is TerraPower (Bill Gates’s nuclear startup), which has had some limited success getting licenses and testing from the feds, but in general “has found it remarkably challenging to build or secure access to the range of equipment, materials, and technology required to successfully commercialize its innovative design” — so challenging, in fact, that it’s now partnering with China.

The authors conclude that advanced fission designs have no hope at all of commercializing in the US by mid-century, which is when the US economy needs to be decarbonized.

Small modular reactors to the rescue? Maybe not.

The other great hope of the industry is factory-built small modular reactors (SMRs), which are — or will be, it is hoped — faster and cheaper to build than giant plants because they are smaller and built from standardized parts. They can be deployed incrementally, matched to energy demand in particular times and places, and are meltdown-proof without human intervention.

Several companies, most notably NuScale (which has already submitted its design to the feds), are trying to develop light-water SMRs. NuScale wants to build a test reactor on the grounds of the Idaho National Laboratories and more than a dozen companies have inquired about doing the same.

So, with already-proven technology and lower construction costs, are SMRs the key to saving nuclear in the US?

Using “a combination of engineering economic analysis and the use of structured procedures to elicit expert judgments,” the researchers took a close look at SMRs. Indeed, they “expended much effort in developing plausible scenarios of how an SMR domestic market might develop.”

The results? Grim. Under every plausible scenario, power from SMRs is (and remains, even with subsequent generations of the tech) substantially more expensive than power from competitors. So they probably can’t compete directly in power markets.

The researchers also examine four indirect ways that SMRs could build a market:

Industrial process heat: One alternative is to use SMRs to generate heat rather than power, for use in industrial applications that require high temperatures. The researchers find a substantial market exists for such heat, but when the costs of SMRs are compared to the cost of alternative heat sources (like natural gas), “the number of potential customers falls precipitously.”

Also, private companies (unlike utilities) can’t pass costs on to customers, so they’re less likely to take a chance constructing unfamiliar tech that still faces unresolved siting and regulatory issues. “When it comes time to sign contracts and pour concrete,” they conclude, “it is highly unlikely that any industrial customer would opt for a light water SMR.”

Power + desalination: Another frequently discussed alternative is to use SMRs as a kind of hybrid. The thing about nuclear plants is that they need to run more-or-less constantly; it’s expensive and inefficient to turn them on and off. But on-and-off power is what’s needed to flexibly complement variable renewable energy.

So the idea is to run SMRs constantly; when power is needed, they would provide power, and when it’s not, they would desalinate water. But after a close examination of the water situation in the US, the researchers found that there are only a few niche markets where desalination might be needed in the next few decades. And where they exist, desalinating with natural gas is much, much cheaper. This is likely another dead end, at least in the relevant time frame.

Military bases: Another thought is that SMRs might be used to power military bases — that the US military might serve as a kind first customer, helping SMRs scale up. The authors deem this “both unwise and unlikely to succeed.”

It is unlikely to succeed because the unique design requirements for the military are likely to yield an SMR too expensive for commercial viability. It is unwise because using the military as a tool to revive a particular industry is a Pandora’s box of political and ethical issues.

Plus, as they note, defaulting to the military to save nuclear is tantamount to admitting commercial defeat — not something likely to inspire market confidence.

SMRs for export: The final idea tossed around to jumpstart SMRs is building them for export. The idea is that other countries will have political and energy systems more amenable to nuclear. And the authors’ analysis supports the notion that there’s a global market for “many hundreds of light water SMRs.”

But there are substantial barriers. For one thing, many of the potential customers face “economic, political, and institutional realities” that render them unprepared to handle nuclear power at scale, and likely unwilling to accept close oversight by the US.

Aside from that, most decarbonization in the world will need to come from a select few big countries, and most of those countries are already nuclear-capable and unlikely to import hundreds of power plants from a geopolitical rival. “We remain skeptical that a US industry of factory-manufactured SMRs could be built primarily on the basis of exports,” they conclude.

In short, there don’t seem to be any viable markets to scale SMRs up. Consequently, “several hundred billion dollars of direct and indirect subsidies would be needed to support their development and deployment over the next several decades.”

On top of that, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission would need to radically update and revise its regulatory review process. On top of that, the US would need to commit to total decarbonization, clearly and unequivocally enough to give markets confidence that carbon prices will reach and exceed $100/ton. And this would all have to happen soon, in the next few years.

“All these developments are possible,” they note, “but we believe they are most unlikely.”

There’s probably not going to be a nuclear wedge

So let’s review. Current, giant LMR reactors aren’t going to get built in the US — they have proven economic and political suicide. Even keeping current plants open will require extraordinary interventions. Advanced fission is unlikely to commercialize in the next few decades. And SMRs currently face grim market prospects. They are unlikely to mature and scale up without hundreds of billions in subsidies, substantial reform at NE and NRC, and a high, secure national carbon price.

It’s not impossible to imagine a high carbon price in coming decades, or natural gas prices rising, and SMRs finding success in niche markets. And it’s certainly possible to imagine failing to fully decarbonize by mid-century and needing nuclear to finish the job. The researchers are blunt about what would be needed for nuclear to be ready by then.

To assure that we have safe and affordable advanced reactor designs that can be deployed at scale by midcentury, the United States will need to dramatically increase and refocus the budget of the DOE’s NE toward advanced reactor development. Perceptive and ruthlessly pragmatic program officers will need to be recruited: ones with a sense of the mission’s urgency. The government would have to sustain that higher level of support in the face of constant short-term political pressures and, undoubtedly, organized opposition from advocates of other generating sources. Part of that increased budget would have to be dedicated to building new infrastructure, such as fast-flux test facilities and other system test beds. Even with a higher budget, surge funding may be needed in some years to support demonstration reactor development and program leadership would eventually have to focus on moving two or three systematically chosen designs to the point of commercialization.

“Perhaps these things can happen; the United States is no stranger to ambitious undertakings,” they conclude, “but it will take both vision and a level of commitment that are sorely lacking today.”

Nuclear proponents might reasonably respond that, yes, nuclear cannot contribute to decarbonization without substantial policy help. But decarbonization by mid-century will be impossible without substantial policy, period. No combination of technologies can scale up fast enough without help.

But renewable energy technologies seem to be on a trajectory toward subsidy independence (though plenty of policy and regulatory barriers to advanced energy tech remain). They are falling in cost at ridiculous rates — not just wind and solar, but storage, EVs, and other grid-edge technologies as well. Policy can accelerate their progress, or impede it, but at this point it cannot stop them. They have a momentum of their own, purely on economics.

Nuclear is in a different situation. Its current trajectory is decline; it needs lots and lots of new policy and public money to reverse that trajectory. That is a much more difficult political lift. And like the authors of the PNAS paper, I don’t have much faith that it will get done. For better or worse, renewable energy is the name of the game for the next few decades.

https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/7/11/17555644/nuclear-power-energy-climate-decarbonization-renewables

July 12, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment