nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

to 6 December – nuclear news

Some bits of good news :  Greece says its entire electrical grid ran on 100% renewables for the first time.  Efforts to Save Endangered Blue Butterfly Quadruples its Population–but Also Saves a Lupine from extinction.
Coronavirus

(COVID-19): Weekly Epidemiological Update.

Climate.  Nature needs $384 billion a year, and other climate change stories you need to read this week. 
Climate techno-fixes keep planet on ‘palliative care’.


Nuclear
. I’ve been a bit obsessed with Australia this week. The probable nuclearisation of my country could proceed so fast, –  with the enthusiasm of Australian war-mongers, to embrace our role in American plans for a war on China, enthusiasm of American firms to sell nuclear-capable aircraft to us, and News Corpse and the noisy minority extreme Right touting for small nuclear reactors.

Japan is the country often forgotten in the Anglophone media. Our website www.nuclear-news.net keeps news on Japan up to date, because our amazing contributor, dunrenard, provides thorough information translated from the Japanese originals.

AUSTRALIA.

*******************************************************************

CLIMATEClimate change brings risk of flooding to the multi billion pound nuclear project Sizewell C.

ECONOMICS. 

ENERGY. Warning of power cuts for France, as nuclear reactors are working at half capacity. Potential for ‘worrying’ Hinkley Point C delay highlights need for renewables. Europe, weaning off fossil fuels from Russia, but still dependent on Russia for nuclear fuel.

ENVIRONMENT. UK govt goes ahead, with Sizewell nuclear project, despite strong objections on environmental grounds, especially about water use.

LEGALPursuing Assange in a US court could cause even more embarrassment than the WikiLeaks’ publications. European General Court refuses Austria’s appeal against the Commission’s decision to support 2 nuclear reactors for Hungary.

JapanA book titled “Fukushima Daiichi NPP Accident Nakadori Litigation” (published by Sakuhinsha, Inc.) The compensation standards for voluntary evacuees from the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident will finally be reviewed on May 5, and there are concerns about whether the standards will be commensurate with the actual situation.

MEDIANATO Narratives and Corporate Media Are Leading to ‘Doorstep of Doom’

NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY. Ukraine’s nuclear plants 

face uncertain future . 

USA trying to use Philippines as a guinea pig for its unviable small nuclear reactors – and for military purposes. No legitimate reason to support the 

controversial nuclear technology planned for New Brunswick. Talking

 football pitches but not in Qatar.

OPPOSITION TO NUCLEAR. No place for nuclear in NY’s clean energy future.    140,000 signatures of “opposition” to extension of operation period and reconstruction of nuclear power plants Submitted to the government “Reduction of dependence is the voice of the people”.

POLITICS

POLITICS INTERNATIONAL and DIPLOMACY

SAFETY

SECRETS and LIESStolen cryptocurrency has fuelled North Korea’s nuclear program. Could it collapse amid market turmoil? UK government may be covering up the extent of its involvement in the arrest and incarceration of Julian Assange.

SPINBUSTER. China keeps aggressively surrounding itself with US basesExpert panel full of proponents of nuclear power plants to discuss direction on March 28th, extending operation period and developing next-generation models, rushing to conclusion on “Prime Minister’s directive.

WASTES. Nuclear Free Local Authorities call for Community Partnerships to include critics of the UK undersea Geological Disposal Facility plan. Misleading claims about the supposed recycling of nuclear wastes.

WAR and CONFLICTExplosion at Nuclear Airbase Just 150 Miles From Moscow Opens Stunning New Phase of War https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFug2Wf3DcU       Britain’s bunkers offer little chance of survival after a nuclear attack. Imperialist wars—and what could be done about them — IPPNW peace and health blog.

WEAPONS and WEAPONS SALES

WORLD CRISESThe Guardian view on biodiversity collapse: the crisis humanity can no longer ignore.

Advertisement

December 6, 2022 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Explosion at Nuclear Airbase Just 150 Miles From Moscow Opens Stunning New Phase of War

 https://ca.news.yahoo.com/explosion-nuclear-airbase-just-150-140030278.html?guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly90LmNvLw&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAIWRLNCeuWf8zLbyAHudpa3-bw-9tdVPGXTQGuuwYFES0ZvZ9vMH_T1ReFWPUewV2havE1HXpw2FLwviHZMwGaYPc6rE-9JqITke2F7EAKhtWHW-TatTTOYz7jqucsL3elDM0XtRqojhS65XvYofjN94JeobcwQfwI1UM-q-1mBv Barbie Latza Nadeau, Tue, December 6, 2022

Two explosions at major Russian military bases, including the Dyagilevo base near Ryazan just 150 miles from Moscow, mean the war in Ukraine has come right to Vladimir Putin’s doorstep.

The explosions—which were unmanned drone strikes, a senior Ukrainian official told The New York Times—suggest Ukraine wanted to strike fear right in the heart of Russia.

The second explosion struck the Engels-2 base, from which Tu-95 bombers have been pummeling Ukraine’s infrastructure over the last month.

Engels and Ryazan are around 300 to 450 miles from the Ukrainian border, which is beyond the range of any known missiles in Ukraine’s possession, the Times reported.

A fuel truck explosion at the base near Ryazan killed at least three and wounded half a dozen, and damaged Tu-95 bombers and Tu-22M long-range missile bombers, which have nuclear capability.

Video posted on social media suggests that the telltale whistle of a fighter jet or missile can be heard just before the Saratov base explosion, according to the Guardian.

Monday afternoon, several people in Crimea reported hearing explosions there, suggesting a coordinated effort.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov initially confirmed that Putin had been advised of the “situation” but did not speculate on who might be behind it, saying quite unbelievably that he had only “read about it” in the media, according to reporters at a briefing Monday.

The Kremlin later said its forces intercepted the drones, confirming the deaths of three servicemen and damage to two planes in the resulting “fall and explosion of the wreckage.”

Almost immediately after reports, air raid sirens across Ukraine heralded a barrage of missile strikes, with many targeting Zaporizhzhia, where at least two people were reported to have been killed after missiles destroyed several residential blocks. Several cities reported having no electricity or water after Russian strikes.

Roman Busargin, governor of the Saratov region where the Engels-2 base is housed, wrote on Telegram that law enforcement agencies were chasing “information about incidents at military facilities,” adding that, “No emergencies have occurred in the city’s residential areas.”

Ukraine’s interior minister Anton Gerashchenko posted images of the explosions on Telegram, suggesting they were watching closely. “Some sources report that this morning planes based on Engels and Ryazan airfields were scheduled to bomb Ukrainian energy infrastructure yet again,” Gerashchenko wrote Monday morning.

Other officials mused that Russia’s compounding losses are Ukraine’s gain. “The Earth is round—discovery made by Galileo. Astronomy was not studied in Kremlin, giving preference to court astrologers,” Volodymyr Zelensky adviser Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Telegram Monday. “If it was, they would know: if something is launched into other countries’ airspace, sooner or later unknown flying objects will return to departure point.”

December 6, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

No legitimate reason to support the controversial nuclear technology planned for New Brunswick

Producing more plutonium will only exacerbate nuclear proliferation.

This is why a recent report published by the International Panel on Fissile Materials called for a global ban on separating plutonium.

The Canadian government is pushing in the opposite direction, increasing its research capacity to separate plutonium, and funding a company that seeks to export SMRs fuelled by this material.

The nuclear industry’s hope that reactors that can burn plutonium-based fuel will be less expensive has been illusory. Molten salt reactors like the Moltex SMR have a problematic history and investing in them is wasteful.

Separation of plutonium massively increases risk of proliferation, write M.V. Ramana and Susan O’Donnell

 https://nbmediacoop.org/2022/11/26/commentary-no-legitimate-reason-to-support-the-controversial-nuclear-technology-planned-for-new-brunswick/ by M.V. Ramana and Susan O’Donnell, November 26, 2022

NB Power plans to develop new nuclear reactors at Point Lepreau that will use a controversial technology with implications for global security. Provincial and federal government support for this technology–called reprocessing–should end.

At an international conference on nuclear power in Washington, D.C. in October, federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson proclaimed that Canada desires to play a leadership role in nuclear energy and promote its peaceful use around the world. Unfortunately, the leadership role the federal government has chosen involves separating plutonium, which enormously increases the risk of furthering nuclear proliferation.

Earlier in the year, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), a federal Crown corporation, broke ground on a large nuclear research facility. The Advanced Nuclear Materials Research Centre, described as “the cornerstone” of the government’s $1.2-billion expansion of AECL’s Chalk River site, is to feature 12 “new shielded hot cells” and “glovebox facilities” for research on fuel associated with proposed small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs). The shielding and the glovebox are needed to develop some SMR designs that require plutonium as fuel to operate.

One of those SMR designs is being developed by Moltex, a company based in Saint John that received $50.5-million from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. In his Washington address, Wilkinson took credit for investing in Moltex to develop its plutonium-extraction technology that can “recycle CANDU spent nuclear fuel into new fuel.” He said he would like Canada to export such “technology, goods and services” globally.

Another of these designs is the ARC-100, an SMR that will “breed” plutonium. NB Power is planning to apply for a licence to develop the Point Lepreau site for the ARC SMR in June 2023. Both the Moltex and ARC companies have signed agreements with Canadian Nuclear Laboratories to conduct nuclear fuel research at the Chalk River site.

Both companies have also received funding from the New Brunswick government and NB Power. In 2018, they gave $5M each to ARC and Moltex to bring them to the province and set up offices in Saint John. In 2021, the provincial government announced a further $20M grant to ARC.

Will expanding Canada’s plutonium interests support the peaceful use of nuclear energy?

Plutonium is intimately connected with nuclear power since it is created in all reactors when uranium absorbs neutrons. Using a chemical process called “reprocessing,” this plutonium can be separated from the remaining, highly radioactive, byproducts contained in irradiated nuclear fuel. Once removed, the plutonium could be used as fuel in some nuclear power plants.

But countries and individuals could make nuclear weapons with plutonium. Indeed, most people learned about this material first from news of the Fat Man bomb that flattened Nagasaki. The two uses of plutonium lie at the heart of India’s nuclear program. Set up ostensibly for peaceful purposes, India justified acquiring a reprocessing plant in the 1960s by announcing plans to develop reactors fuelled with plutonium. The source of the plutonium was CIRUS, a research reactor gifted by Canada. However, India’s first use of such plutonium was in the atomic bomb exploded in 1974, yet again demonstrating how plutonium separation and nuclear weapons are connected.

Since then, the United States, the country with the most nuclear reactors anywhere in the world, has stopped civilian reprocessing and the use of plutonium as fuel. Unfortunately, other countries didn’t follow suit—specifically, the United Kingdom, France, and Russia. The result: a stockpile of approximately 545 tonnes of plutonium. The Fat Man bomb exploded over Nagasaki used roughly six kilograms of plutonium. It is easy to do the math and calculate how many tens of thousands of nuclear weapons can be fabricated from this stockpile of separated plutonium.

Producing more plutonium will only exacerbate nuclear proliferation. This is why a recent report published by the International Panel on Fissile Materials called for a global ban on separating plutonium. The Canadian government is pushing in the opposite direction, increasing its research capacity to separate plutonium, and funding a company that seeks to export SMRs fuelled by this material.

In 2021, a group of U.S. non-proliferation experts and former government officials and advisers with related responsibilities penned an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressing concerns about the Moltex project. Moltex responded with the argument that the plutonium that would be produced in their proposed process is “impure” and cannot be used in nuclear weapons.

But the Moltex argument has long been refuted, for example in a 2009 report by safeguards experts from six US national laboratories. The reason is simple: any process that allows plutonium from spent fuel to be cleaned up adequately for use as nuclear fuel will make the material almost good enough for use in nuclear weapons; only relatively cheap and easy processing in a “hot cell” is necessary after that. This is why the International Atomic Energy Agency considers all plutonium (with one exception that does not apply to the process proposed by Moltex) as being “of equal sensitivity” when it comes to safeguards.

The open letter also suggested that the government carry out high-level reviews of the non-proliferation and environmental implications of the project. Instead of commissioning such reviews, the Canadian government has funded building an expensive laboratory to work on plutonium, that too at Chalk River, the site where reprocessing was carried out until 1954.

After India’s nuclear weapons test, separating plutonium b

ecame a political liability, and the nuclear establishment has only considered burying irradiated fuel in a deep geological repository. That changed under Trudeau’s leadership in March 2021, when Moltex received $50.5-million.

There is no legitimate reason to support reprocessing technology

The nuclear industry’s hope that reactors that can burn plutonium-based fuel will be less expensive has been illusory. Molten salt reactors like the Moltex SMR have a problematic history and investing in them is wasteful. Vast stores of separated plutonium sit in storage because nobody has built a reactor that can burn plutonium fuel successfully and economically. Concerns about running out of cheap uranium ore that were common in the early decades of the nuclear age have proven mistaken; there is plenty of uranium ore globally to fuel current and proposed nuclear reactors.

Further, a 2016 report from the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories found that there was no business case for reprocessing CANDU fuel, in part “due to its low fissile content,” and the associated costs and risks. The report also noted “significant upfront investment and numerous investments over a long timeframe,” and that reprocessing in other countries has not been commercially successful. Crucially, the report emphasized that reprocessing “would increase proliferation risk.”

Meanwhile, all Canada’s current and proposed plutonium activities have reduced regulatory oversight. In 2019, the Canadian Parliament approved Bill C-69, which allows some small modular reactors and associated nuclear projects below various thresholds, to move forward without being subject to a federal impact assessment.


This is why the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick has petitioned Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault to require an impact assessment for NB Power’s ARC-100 SMR project. Unless Guilbeault requires it, there will be no federal impact assessment of this new plutonium project.

Over six decades of global experience with building nuclear power plants has clearly demonstrated that they are expensive and take years and years to start operating. Electricity from nuclear plants costs far more than from renewable energy sources. Nuclear power, then, cannot be a viable solution to climate change.

Nuclear reactors are also susceptible—albeit infrequently—to severe accidents that lead to long-lasting radioactive particles contaminating large tracts of land. The risk of accidents will increase as climate change worsens and extreme weather events become more common, or in the event of war—as evidenced by the ongoing situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine. There is also no demonstrated way to safely manage nuclear waste for the millennia the radioactive materials take to decay.

Small modular reactors are not going to solve these problems. On the contrary, adding plutonium separation to the Canadian nuclear industry’s repertoire will create a new global security risk and raise legitimate questions about Canada’s stated goal to be a leader in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. There is no legitimate reason to support technologies that create the potential for new countries to separate plutonium and develop nuclear weapons. The government should stop supporting this dangerous technology.

M.V. Ramana is the Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security and professor at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia, and the author of The Power of Promise: Examining Nuclear Energy in India

Susan O’Donnell is the primary investigator of the RAVEN project at the University of New Brunswick, a member of the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick, and an adjunct research professor in the Environment and Society program at St. Thomas University.

December 5, 2022 Posted by | Canada, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Thousands rally in Rome against arming Ukraine

Trade unionists and leftists marched after the new government promised more arms for Kiev next year

https://www.rt.com/news/567650-italy-ukraine-weapons-protest/ 5 Dec 22,

Left-wing demonstrators took to the streets in Rome on Saturday, demanding higher wages and condemning the Italian government for renewing a decree allowing it to send weapons to Ukraine until 2024.

Organized by Italy’s USB trade union and backed by a number of leftist political factions, the protest saw thousands of people assemble at the Piazza della Repubblica and march behind a banner reading “guns down, wages up.”

“The Meloni government is dragging us further and further into a spiral of war with unpredictable outcomes,” the USB wrote prior to the protest. “Italy is evidently a belligerent and active country in the conflict, despite the fact that the great majority of the population is against the war and the consequent sharp increase in military spending.”

Italy’s new prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, issued a decree on Thursday allowing her cabinet to continue sending weapons to Ukraine until the end of 2023 without seeking the formal approval of parliament. Her predecessor, Mario Draghi, was a staunch supporter of Kiev and lost power after a disagreement over arms shipments split the largest party in his coalition government, the Five Star Movement.


The Italian public is split too, with 49% opposing sending weapons to Kiev and 38% in favor, according to a poll taken by EuroWeek News last month. Additionally, 49% of Italians believe that Ukraine needs to make concessions to Russia in the ongoing conflict to speed up the peace process, while only 36% want Kiev to keep fighting.

Last month, another rally in Rome calling for a peace deal to end the Ukrainian conflict drew 100,000 people, organizers said.

December 5, 2022 Posted by | Italy, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Parking Lot B-52: does the escalation of US troops and installations make Australia a bigger target?

we are particularly concerned about what’s going on now and the speed with what’s going on now. As well as about how little we know or are being told.”

Then there is the matter of what is a base, when is a base a base, and whether Australian authorities are kept in the dark about what their US allies are doing.

“If our objective is to be a deputy sheriff to the US, as the 51st state of the Union, then eight nuclear submarines is the answer.”

Michael West Media, by Callum Foote | Dec 5, 2022

The Department of Defence is refusing to confirm how many American troops are stationed in Australia, who pays for it, or even why. The rising deployment of troops and B-52 bombers however, and Pine Gap, make Australia a target in event of war between China and the US. Callum Foote reports.

The Department of Defence has refused to reply to inquiries into how many US military personnel are currently stationed in Australia. It’s not just soldiers, it’s weapons too.

An ABC Four Corners investigation recently revealed that the US is preparing to develop the Tindal air base near Katherine, 320kms south of Darwin, to host up to six nuclear-capable B-52 bombers. Today it was revealed the US is trying to sell Australia the latest American bomber, the B-21 Raider, and rotate the aircraft through Australia. 

Experts fear that the stockpiling of US weaponry in the Northern Territory would make Australia a target in the event of war between China and the US.

Despite the escalating presence of US troops and military hardware on Australian soil however, the Department of Defence has refused to reply to inquiries into how many US military personnel are currently stationed in Australia. Refused to reply full-stop.

We don’t even know who is funding it.

And as Chinese satellites could pick up the deployment of troops and US military installations, the secrecy is unwarranted.

B-52s here for the long haul

According to independent think tank Lowy Institute, B-52s have been deployed in the Northern Territory since at least the 1970s and military personnel training regularly in Australia since 2005. 

The federal government has yet been unclear about the purpose of the deployment of the bombers in Australia. However, experts believe that the rising tensions between China and the US in the South China Sea is cause for alarm.

Alison Broinowski, the president of Australians for War Powers Reform, an anti-war advocacy group, says her network is concerned about the rising militarisation of the Northern Territory.

“We’re all very concerned about this,’’ Broinowski told MWM. ‘’It’s not new of course – the signs of it being planned go back for years. But we are particularly concerned about what’s going on now and the speed with what’s going on now. As well as about how little we know or are being told.”

Broinowski is a former diplomat, academic and author. A significant amount of her opposition to the militarisation of the NT comes down to secrecy.

“The very fact that it was undertaken in secret and would remain secret were it not for revelations from journalists we still wouldn’t know because they are doing this in secret,’’ Broinowski said.

Political commentator and former diplomat Bruce Haigh suspects the oft-cited number of 2500 rotating US troops stationed in Australia doesn’t paint the full picture.

“They give the official figure at 2500 and say that they rotate but I understood that those troops are becoming more permanent.”

To the purpose of the thousands of US marines stationed in Darwin, Haigh says, officially, it’s for joint training exercises with the Australian Defence Force but we don’t know”.

“A lot of money being spent on upgrading these bases hasn’t yet gone through the parliamentary committee system so we don’t know where in the Defence budget this money is coming from.”

Between Pine Gap, Tindal Air Force Base and thousands of US marines deployed in Darwin the exact figure is unknown. The US also has access to almost all Australian military bases with US naval personnel also coming in and out of the Stirling Naval Base in Fremantle, according to Haigh.

Then there is the matter of what is a base, when is a base a base, and whether Australian authorities are kept in the dark about what their US allies are doing.

Broinowski says the government has little oversight of many of the facilities that the US has interested in “although we call them Australia joint facilities they are for all intents and purposes American bases. About which our government knows as little as it used to know in the olden days about Pine Gap”……………………………

According to former submariner and senator, Rex Patrick, government is captured by the Defence Department which is in turn captured by the US. The post-AUKUS treaty decision to jettison the French submarine deal and agree to a bigger program to buy submarines from the US or UK reflects an Australian subsidy for the struggling submarine industries in those countries.

“If our objective is to be a deputy sheriff to the US, as the 51st state of the Union, then eight nuclear submarines is the answer. “If our objective is ‘‘defence of Australia’’, with the ability to forward deploy boats to operating bases in Singapore, Malaysia, Guam or Japan, in support of our allies and friends, then 20 AIP boats is the answer.”  https://michaelwest.com.au/b-52s-in-australia-unknown-american-troops/

December 5, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘A form of self-destruction’: Japan weighs up plan to expand nuclear power

Japan’s prime minister is pushing for as many as 17 nuclear reactors to be switched back on, more than a decade on from the meltdown at Fukushima

Guardian, Justin McCurry in Onagawa, 30 Nov 22,

“…………………………………. In a sweeping change to the country’s energy policy, the prime minister, Fumio Kishida, has announced plans to build next-generation reactors and restart those left idle after the 2011 triple meltdown, in an attempt to end Japan’s dependence on imported fossil fuels and help meet its net zero target by 2050.

Kishida’s “green transformation”, which could include extending the lifespan of existing reactors beyond the current maximum of 60 years, underlines Japan’s struggle to secure an affordable energy supply as a result of the war in Ukraine and a power crunch that has triggered warnings of potential blackouts in Tokyo during this summer’s heatwave.

Most of Japan’s nuclear power plants have remained offline since the Fukushima meltdown, and previous governments indicated they would not build new reactors or replace ageing ones, fearing a backlash from a shaken and sceptical public.

Japan plans for nuclear to account for 20-22% of its electricity supply in 2030, compared with about a third before Fukushima. In 2020 the figure was less than 5%. Just 10 nuclear reactors among more than 30 have been restarted since the post-Fukushima introduction of stricter safety standards.

If Kishida gets his way though, seven additional reactors will be restarted after next summer, including the No. 2 unit at Onagawa, which sustained structural damage from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami but escaped a catastrophic meltdown despite being the closest atomic plant to the quake’s epicentre.

‘A threat to the safety of local people’

The restart has been approved by Japan’s nuclear watchdog and given “local consent” by Yoshihiro Murai, the governor of Miyagi – the prefecture where Onagawa is located.

But many residents argue that contingency plans for potential accidents would put lives at risk.

“The evacuation plans won’t work … they are a threat to the safety of local people,” says Masami Hino, one of 17 residents living within 30km of the plant who last year launched a legal action to block the restart, now scheduled for early 2024.

In the event of a serious accident, 1,000 residents living within 5km of the plant would leave immediately, while 190,000 people within a 30km radius would evacuate in stages, according to the official blueprint.

But many residents argue that contingency plans for potential accidents would put lives at risk.

“The evacuation plans won’t work … they are a threat to the safety of local people,” says Masami Hino, one of 17 residents living within 30km of the plant who last year launched a legal action to block the restart, now scheduled for early 2024.

In the event of a serious accident, 1,000 residents living within 5km of the plant would leave immediately, while 190,000 people within a 30km radius would evacuate in stages, according to the official blueprint.

“How can Tohoku Electric and the prefecture guarantee that an evacuation would go smoothly after something like a major earthquake? It’s impossible,” says Mikiko Abe, an independent member of the Onagawa town assembly who has spent 40 years campaigning for the plant’s closure.

https://a08534b52abfc87ee549e8a8e2fa5800.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-40/html/container.html

“Instead of planning for an evacuation, wouldn’t it be better to live safely in a place where there’s no need to even think about fleeing our homes?”………………………………………….

While pro-nuclear members of the Miyagi prefectural assembly have helped resist calls for a referendum, a poll in April by the local Kahoku Shinpo newspaper found that 56% of residents were “strongly” or “somewhat” opposed the restart.

“All of Japan’s nuclear power plants are on the coast … and this is a country that has earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes,” says Tsuyoshi Suda, a member of local anti-nuclear group Kaze no Kai, as he looked at the plant – complete with a newly built 29-metre high seawall – from a nearby beach.

“For Japan to keep putting its faith in nuclear power plants is like a form of self-destruction.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/nov/30/a-form-of-self-destruction-japan-weighs-up-plan-to-expand-nuclear-power

December 5, 2022 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Workers at hazardous nuclear waste site test positive for drugs

Random testing has been carried out on 741 workers over the past year. Seven
workers at the hazardous Sellafield nuclear waste site have tested positive
for drugs over the past twelve months. Three have tested positive for
alcohol, raising questions over safety at the site Cumbria which manages
spent fuel from Britain’s nuclear reactors.

Four of the positive drugs tests and one of the positive alcohol tests followed random testing,
carried out on 741 workers between November 2021 and November 2022. The
others followed “for cause” testing, where a worker is suspected of
being impaired by drugs or alcohol, carried out on 36 people over the same
period.

The figures were released to The Telegraph following a Freedom of
Information request. It did not reveal what action had been taken against
those who tested positive. Sellafield is considered one of the most
hazardous nuclear sites in the world, according to the Office for Nuclear
Regulation, handling more radioactive material per square meter than any
site in Europe.

Telegraph 4th Dec 2022

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/12/04/workers-hazardous-nuclear-waste-site-test-positive-drugs/

December 5, 2022 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Sizewell C nuclear – a huge black hole for taxpayers’ money

“If the Chancellor is looking for cheap, reliable, energy independence,
he is backing the wrong project, as Sizewell C’s ultimate cost and
technical reliability are so uncertain and building it is reliant on French
state-owned EDF.

Green-lighting Sizewell C also loads more tax onto
struggling households, who would be forced to pay a nuclear levy on bills
for a decade before they could light a single lightbulb. Despite the
Chancellor’s statement, Sizewell C still needs financing, and with at least
a year before it’s decided whether it will finally go ahead, we’ll keep
fighting this huge black hole for taxpayers’ money, when there are cheaper,
quicker ways to get to net zero.”

Stop Sizewell C 3rd Dec 2022

December 5, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

NATO Expands but Original Anti-Russia Mission Is Static 73 Years On

https://strategic-culture.org/news/2022/12/02/nato-expands-but-original-anti-russia-mission-is-static-73-years-on/ December 2, 2022,

The organization is the heir to the throne that was vacated after Nazi Germany’s defeat.

The foreign ministers of the NATO military alliance met this week for a summit in the Romanian capital Bucharest for what was a celebration of the bloc’s expansion.

The anti-Russia rhetoric and hostility were also effervescent. “Russia does not have a veto,” crowed the delegates who swore to “not back down” in supplying even more deadly weaponry to Ukraine in order to strike Russia’s heartlands.

It’s astounding how such ghoulish warmongering can be projected as upholding international law, democracy and human rights.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed in 1949 and arguably marked the initiation of the Cold War when the world was demarcated into a U.S.-led camp and the Soviet Union. Remarkably, only four years prior, those nations were declared allies in the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Thus, within a metaphorical blink of an eye, the Soviet Union would be designated as the “new enemy”. And that was even while the Soviet people were still grieving up to 30 million killed during the war against the Nazi Third Reich. The bloodlust is shocking but revealing.

Four decades later when the Cold War was presumed to be over in 1990 with the political collapse of the Soviet Union, one might have thought that the NATO alliance would also dissolve, having its ostensible core purpose made redundant by history. Far from it, the military organization has doubled its membership to the current 30 nations. Most of the post-Cold War joining nations were former Soviet allies. The eastward expansion of NATO was in direct contravention of assurances given to the last Soviet leaders by their American counterparts. This has been documented and confirmed by honorable U.S. diplomats and scholars like Jack Matlock, John Mearsheimer and the late Stephen Cohen.

The enlargement continues apace with Sweden and Finland set to ratify membership. Other prospective members include Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Russia has long been critical of NATO’s growth, firstly out of principle as a broken promise, and, secondly, due to posing a threat to its national security because the empirical pattern speaks of sinister encirclement. The military alliance positions hostile forces increasingly along Russia’s borders. Given that the United States has abrogated several arms-control treaties since the end of the Cold War, the presence of NATO on Russia’s borders constitutes an existential threat.

Against all the evidence, NATO asserts that it does not threaten Russia. That is a risible insult to intelligence. The relentless expansion of NATO has repeatedly dismissed Russia’s strategic security concerns. The U.S.-led bloc does not build security with Russia. It is driven by building security against Russia and of dividing the continent of Europe into hostile camps as in the Cold War. Indeed, one should conclude that the Cold War never really ended. It just found a reinvention with the demonization of Russia in place of the Soviet Union.

The CIA-backed coup in Ukraine in 2014 was a key part of NATO’s agenda to destabilize and militarize relations with Russia.

The membership of the former Soviet republic was first formally proposed in 2008 along with Georgia. Moscow has continually said such plans were impermissible to its national security. Yet the U.S.-led NATO alliance has pushed on with its plans in a heedless way that can only be described as calculated aggression.

The Kiev regime that was ushered into power by the CIA-orchestrated 2014 coup was a particular provocation. The regime’s veneration of former Nazi collaborators and its rabid Russophobia is an intolerable threat. An unrelenting low-intensity war against the Russian-speaking people of former Ukraine from 2014 to 2022 was weaponized and sponsored by NATO. This week, NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg brazenly admitted that the present war actually began in 2014 with the training and arming of Kiev regime forces by the United States, Britain, Canada and others.

It is therefore clear that the current war in Ukraine is the culmination and manifestation of NATO’s imperialist agenda towards Russia. That agenda never disappeared with the collapse of the Soviet Union. It has only grown evermore intense. It is no coincidence that the dissolution of the USSR was quickly followed by a phase of permanent wars waged by the United States alone or with its NATO partners. The barbaric bombing of former Yugoslavia in 1999 was the organization baring its teeth. There followed bloody wars and illegal interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Ukraine, among other places.

NATO is an imperialist crime syndicate that operates to gratify the geopolitical interests of its leader, the United States. Washington does not want peace or international security. That would be anathema. It needs conflict, tensions and war to satisfy its militarized capitalist economy. It is simply staggering how European nations have prostrated themselves before the diktats of Washington even when that means incurring massive damage to the interests of Europe. Well, to be fair, it is not the people of Europe who are being perverse. It is their so-called leaders who are betraying their interests out of mental servitude to Uncle Sam.

Laughably, while France’s Emmanuel Macron was at the White House this week feasting on roast beef and lobsters with American President Joe Biden, the French at home were being hit with power blackouts because of the U.S.-led NATO energy war against Russia.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov this week said the NATO bloc is still guided by the 1949 foundational mission of “keeping the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down”. The present confrontation in Ukraine and its geopolitical and geo-economic ramifications are proof of that mission. It’s not just about keeping Germans down, it’s about keeping Europe down and under American hegemony. And the pathetic European politicians roll over like a French poodle to oblige.

The NATO organization may have greatly expanded but its imperialist mindset is as static as it was in 1949. The point is that “communism” wasn’t the ideological problem. The ideological problem was and still is American capitalism and its insatiable militarism and imperialism.

The war in Ukraine is proof of NATO’s original sin. The organization is the heir to the throne that was vacated after Nazi Germany’s defeat. Even as the war rages in the Ukraine, the NATO chiefs maintain that the bloc is not a party to the conflict. It seems the bloc has even inherited a Goebbels’ penchant for Big Lies.

December 5, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

U.S. weapons firm Northrop Grumman no doubt salivating as Australia looks to buy its nuclear-capable B-21 stealth bomber

“I’m pretty sure you will see Australia ask for the B-21, and the United States I can tell you, is very interested in selling them to Australia,” 

RAAF Chief Robert Chipman’s visit to United States sparks renewed speculation Australia could purchase nuclear-capable B-21 Raiders ABC News, 6 Dec 22

Regular rotations of America’s newest nuclear-capable stealth bomber, and even a possible future Australian purchase of the B-21 aircraft, are expected to be discussed during high level talks between both nations this week.

Key points:

  • The Defence Department hasn’t confirmed whether US officials have discussed deploying their new stealth bomber to Australia 
  • Defence Minister Richard Marles and Foreign Minister Penny Wong will meet with their US counterparts this week
  • The US Air Force plans to build 100 of the B-21 raiders to replace their aging fleet

At a tightly controlled ceremony in California on Friday, the United States Air Force publicly unveiled the B-21 Raider, in front of an audience that included the Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

The B-21 Raider is the first new American bomber aircraft in more than 30 years, designed to carry both conventional and nuclear weapons, with each plane believed to cost around $1 billion (AUD).

Specific details of the in-development aircraft remain shrouded in secrecy with six currently being produced by US arms company Northrop Grumman and the first flight expected to take place next year…………………………………..

The Defence Department is yet to confirm whether Air Marshal Chipman discussed future deployments of the B-21 to Australia with American officials while in the United States, or an eventual purchase of the long-range aircraft by the RAAF.

Defence Minister Richard Marles, who has previously suggested the B-21 is being examined by Australia in the Defence Strategic Review, has just arrived in the United States for talks with Secretary Austin……………………..

“I’m pretty sure you will see Australia ask for the B-21, and the United States I can tell you, is very interested in selling them to Australia,” says Sydney-based American military author Colin Clark, who writes for the Breaking Defense publication.

“Regardless of whether they are armed with nuclear weapons or are under Australian command, I am almost certain, emphasis on almost, that B-21s will at least rotate regularly through Australia and they may well be based here permanently.”

Retired Air Commodore John Oddie, a former RAAF director-general of aerospace development, also believes the B-21 is eventually destined for Australia……….

The US Air Force plans to build 100 of the B-21 Raiders which will replace the ageing B-1 and B-2 aircraft, and could eventually be used with or without a human crew.

Both the US Air Force and Northrop Gruman have heralded the Raider’s relatively quick development, progressing from contract award to public debut in seven years.  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-12-06/b21-nuclear-stealth-bomber-australian-military/101735190

December 5, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate change brings risk of flooding to the multi billion pound nuclear project Sizewell C.

UK sent nuclear warning as new £20bn site facing risk from increased flooding: ‘Alarming!’

Earlier this week, the UK Government confirmed that £700million of public money will be invested in the Sizewell C nuclear power plant.

 https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1703570/energy-crisis-nuclear-edf-sizewell-c-increased-flooding-climate-change-suffolk By ANTONY ASHKENAZ Nov 30, 2022

Experts have issued a dire warning about the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power plant, as climate change induced flooding could mean that in future, the coastal nuclear site could turn into an island. Earlier this week, the Government confirmed that £700million of public money will be invested power plant, which once built will provide power to the equivalent of six million homes for more than 50 years. However, experts fear that the reactor, which will be built in Suffolk, could be at risk of climate change, as rising sea levels threaten to erode and swallow up the East coast of the UK, Express.co.uk was told. 

Earlier this week, the UK’s former Chief Scientific Advisor Sir David King warned that the new £20billion power plant would be “very difficult to protect from flooding” due to rising sea levels on the Suffolk Coast.

Speaking to LBC, he said: “Part of the British coast that’s most at risk of rising sea level is the east coast and clearly this is very close to the oceans as is Sizewell B, and frankly that is the biggest risk. 

“It would be very very useful if we could see published an analysis of sea level to the end of the lifespan of Sizewell C. It would take us to 2070 and beyond, possibly 2080. 

“I do fear that it’s quite possible that we will have had a one-metre sea level rise by that time, by which time this would be very difficult to protect from flooding. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I would love to see the safety analysis on the basis of rising sea levels.”

Dr Paul Dorfman, an associate fellow from the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex told Express.co.uk: “In 2008, the pro-nuclear group of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers published a report, which says that UK nuclear coastal installations, which specify Sizewell, will be subject to storm surge, climate-induced sea level rise, flooding and potential nuclear islanding.

“Perhaps alarmingly, IME point out that these UK coastal nuclear sites will need considerable investment to protect them against rising sea levels, and even relocation or abandonment.

“Our knowledge about climate now is that rare events then, become the norm today, so basically there are questions of Sizewell being at significant risk. So quite literally, Sizewell is at the frontline of climate change, and not in a good way.”

He also noted that very “reasonable models” of climate change showed that Sizewell within two decades, would be surrounded by flood water once a year.

He said: “If construction goes ahead, clearly they will build in defences. But the idea of a nuclear power plant within a couple of decades being almost entirely cut off by water, and what does that mean for the future.

“Because it’s not just the reactors, it’s also the high-level spent fuel points, and the hot intermediate-level waste stores that are also at risk.”

As part of its energy strategy unveiled in April, which heavily focused on a number of policies that could help weaken Russia’s grip on UK energy prices, the Government set a target of significantly scaling up nuclear so that it will account for 25 percent of the country’s projected electricity demand by 2040.

The strategy noted that Sizewell C is critically important for helping the UK reach its nuclear targets, and it has been engaging in negotiations regarding the project’s construction since January 2021. 

However, Dr Dorfman added: “The other thing is, BEIS, in a statement to Parliament, state that nuclear construction can take 13-17 years. If Sizewell C gets the go-ahead next year at the earliest, we’re looking at first generation by 2040. 

“Firstly, that’s much too late to help with our climate and energy problems. But by the time it’s constructed, it’s likely to be a climate risk.” 

Meanwhile, Alison Downes, from the campaign group Stop Sizewell C told Express.co.uk: ““Future flood risk maps show the Sizewell site as an island, and we’re deeply concerned that planning assessments were not conservative enough in considering the potential for coastal erosion in Sizewell Bay.

“EDF is being forced to plan sea defences the height of 3 double-decker buses, but since this site will carry radioactive material for well over a century, is it a safe and sustainable approach to protecting our children’s future to locate a nuclear power station here? We say no.

December 5, 2022 Posted by | climate change, UK | Leave a comment

Why a new convention to protect nuclear installations in war is a bad idea

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, y Michal OndercoClara Egger | December 5, 2022 In recent weeks, several voices have called for adopting new legal instruments to protect civilian installations from military attacks during conflicts. The prime motivation stems from Russia’s shelling and occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant—Europe’s largest—as part of its ongoing war against Ukraine. This event, combined with Russia’s repeated transgression of international laws of armed conflicts, is said to reveal the weaknesses and inadequacy of existing legal protections.  Such arguments were also aired during the 2020 NPT Review Conference held this summer in New York (after a two-year delay due to the global COVID-19 pandemic) as well as, more recently, in the columns of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Proponents of improved legal protections argue that a new convention is needed because of the ambiguity of existing international laws and the lack of enforcement mechanisms.

Although concerns about the protection of nuclear sites in war settings are wholly justified, the cure proposed might be worse than the disease. First, calls for a new regime reflect a partial reading of the legal and political mechanisms surrounding the protection of nuclear installations during a conflict. Second, because international law and political commitments already protect against attacks on nuclear installations, a new convention could add undesirable complexity with countries picking and choosing their commitments, which ultimately would weaken existing protections. Calls for new legal instruments would also send counterproductive signals in a context where the value of international norms is already challenged at the domestic and global levels.

There are no gaps. Legally, international humanitarian law norms already establish a detailed and unambiguous system of protection to avoid nuclear facilities becoming battlefields or being targeted by military attacks. The obligations of warring parties derive from two sources: They are linked to the general protection applicable to all types of civilian infrastructure in wartime but are reinforced and by specific protections applicable to nuclear power plants.

By default, nuclear facilities are considered civilian infrastructures even if doubts exist about their use, according to the Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions (1977) as well as in contact areas (when military forces or combat operations are in the vicinity of power plants). This consideration is confirmed in the official commentary on the Additional Protocol I published by the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1987. Nuclear facilities are therefore already protected against attacks and reprisals.

………………………………… Overall, the legal protection against attacks on installations “containing dangerous forces” are seen as so fundamental that they are recognized as a part of the customary international humanitarian law, binding states regardless of whether they signed and ratified (or withdrew from) relevant international treaties. For example, the current military legal codes of RussiaIsrael, and the United States (to name a few) all contain such provisions. From the legal perspective, nuclear facilities are on very safe grounds.

…………….  The Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions explicitly provide that nuclear facilities must not be attacked even as part of broader military campaigns, if such an attack “may cause the release of dangerous forces and consequent severe losses among the civilian population” (cited in Article 56(1) of Additional Protocol I). This protection applies against retaliatory action (as cited in Art 56(4) of Additional Protocol I), and legal experts have even argued that such an act falls under the definition of a war crime (Art 85(3) of Additional Protocol I).

……………………………… Fragmentation is dangerous. Not only is a new convention in regard to attacks on nuclear power plants unnecessary; it would be politically and legally damaging. Adopting a new treaty would signal that current norms have become obsolete, making existing commitments irrelevant. ………………………………… more https://thebulletin.org/2022/12/why-a-new-convention-to-protect-nuclear-installations-in-war-is-a-bad-idea/

December 5, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

The complicated politics of nuclear power

Cardinal News, by Dwayne Yancey, December 5, 2022

Feelings about nuclear energy generally split along left-right lines. But while Gov. Glenn Youngkin is pushing nuclear energy in Virginia, it’s left-of-center governments that are now pushing small nuclear reactors internationally and a conservative state legislator in Southwest Virginia who opposes them.

The push to build such small portable reactors – the technical term is “small modular reactor,” or SMR – is pretty widespread, though………………………

It will not surprise you to learn that Americans are politically polarized over nuclear energy the way they are most other things. A Gallup Poll earlier this year found Americans almost evenly split – 51% in favor, 47% against. What’s more interesting, though (or maybe more predictable), is how they split: 60% of Republicans are in favor of nuclear energy, only 39% of Democrats are.

That left-right split is generally true around the world, which a) helps explain why this nuclear proposal is coming from a Republican governor, and b) makes the exceptions so interesting.

Globally, France is an obvious exception. …………….. there has been a general left-right consensus that nuclear energy is an important national priority. Not until the Green Party came along in 1984 was there any significant voice against nuclear power, according to a paper published by Oxford Academic.

Another interesting exception comes just to our north – in Canada, specifically with the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau……… Trudeau has also come down on the side of nuclear power. …………[Four provinces] called for making Canada “a global SMR technology hub” ………………………

Another left-of-center government promoting nuclear energy is our own – the Biden administration.

The Democrats’ so-called climate bill – officially the Inflation Reduction Act – that passed this summer contains numerous provisions promoting nuclear energy. More recently, Biden’s special presidential envoy for climate, John Kerry, has been one of the chief proponents.  In November, Kerry made two announcements that haven’t gotten much attention. First, he announced that the United States will partner with Ukraine on a pilot program to build a “secure and safe small modular nuclear reactor” in Ukraine. Second, he announced plans to help Europeans – particularly in central and eastern Europe – convert coal-fired plants to small modular reactors

……… All these exceptions to ideological orthodoxy have come on the left, but there are some on the right, too. I mentioned that the Gallup Poll found 60% of Republicans in favor – but it also found 37% opposed. One of those Republicans who opposes nuclear power – at least in Southwest Virginia – is Del. Marie March, R-Floyd County. She recently posted on Facebook: “Youngkin wants nuclear micro reactors to be placed in SWVA coal mines. I am very concerned about this new technology and prefer that SWVA isn’t used as the lab rat.

For too long NOVA harvests our taxes and our land. Now they want to use us to harvest power. Right now a Nuclear power plant is being targeted in Ukraine to be bombed. Look at the impact of a nuclear meltdown on generations of people and the ecosystem. We don’t need Geiger counters in SWVA!”

March’s concern about coal country effectively being used as a sort of “sacrifice zone” to generate energy for urban areas isn’t that different from what some liberal groups might say. ……………………

Now, none of this is meant to make a case one way or another on the wisdom of splitting atoms and whether some of that should be done in Southwest Virginia. It is meant to put the proposed SMR in Southwest Virginia in a global context and to show that the politics of nuclear are not always clear-cut. We in Virginia will get to see this play out in the General Assembly (and perhaps beyond). Youngkin has proposed $10 million to go toward research and development of innovative energy technologies, with half of that devoted to nuclear research. That may be exactly what we should expect of a conservative governor. Meanwhile, the liberal government in Canada has invested more than $18 million toward its own nuclear research. Who would have thought that Glenn Youngkin and Justin Trudeau had so much in common, or that Marie March would wind up aligned with Greenpeace?  https://cardinalnews.org/2022/12/05/the-complicated-politics-of-nuclear-power/

December 5, 2022 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Talking football pitches but not in Qatar

thttps://www.nuclearpolicy.info/news/talking-football-pitches-but-not-in-qatar/ 5 Dec 22, Whilst the World Cup action on the pitch in Qatar is the current focus of many millions of fans of ‘the beautiful game’, the UK/Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities are seeking out the answer to a football-related question much nearer to home. 

Rolls-Royce has been talking big about the prospects for its so-called Small Modular Reactors in recent days, but everyone remains confused as to how big the reactor is. Although the intended power output is clear, at 470 MW being roughly compatible with a first-phase Magnox nuclear reactor, various media articles have reported the SMR as occupying a surface area amounting to between ‘one and a half and ten football pitches’.

Football’s world governing body, FIFA, sets international standards for the dimensions of playing pitches based on metres, but even these are at variance. The length of a pitch can be between 90 metres and 120 metres from goal line to goal line and the width between 45 metres and 90 metres.

Quite a difference, so the NFLA decided they want to use Wembley Stadium with a playing pitch of 105 metres by 68 metres as a reference football pitch most people can relate to.

The Chair of the UK/Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities Councillor David Blackburn has just written to Tom Samson, Chief Executive Officer of Rolls-Royce SMR, seeking out the answer.

Councillor Blackburn said “If we do not know how big it is we do not know what we are dealing with, and it is way overdue for Rolls-Royce to provide clarity. With the FIFA standard size of a football pitch being variable, we have gone for Wembley Stadium as a reference most people, whether football fans or otherwise, can relate to. We have asked how many ‘Wembley’s’ will the SMR fill? It is now over to Mr Samson to respond. We shall of course bring you the final score when we have it.”

December 5, 2022 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

Imperialist wars—and what could be done about them — IPPNW peace and health blog

Although all wars are not imperialist wars, it is remarkable how many imperial conquests have occurred over past centuries. Mobilizing their military forces, powerful states and, later, nations carved out vast empires at the expense of weaker or less warlike societies.  Some of the largest and best-known empires to emerge over the millennia were the Persian, the Chinese, […]

Imperialist wars—and what could be done about them — IPPNW peace and health blog

December 5, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment