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#ScottyFromMarketing’s propaganda triumph -nuclear submarines

September 19, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, marketing of nuclear, politics, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New Australia, Britain, and U.S. military alliance—AUKUS— a serious escalation of the new Cold War on China.

‘Anti-China’ Military Pact ‘Threatens Peace and Stability’ in Pacific, Groups Warn

“The announcement of the new Australia, Britain, and U.S. military alliance—AUKUS—represents a serious escalation of the new Cold War on China.”  Common Dreams , KENNY STANCIL, September 16, 2021
 Anti-war advocates are denouncing Wednesday’s formation of a trilateral military partnership through which the United States and the United Kingdom plan to help Australia build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines—a long-term initiative broadly viewed as a challenge to China by Western powers determined to exert control over the Pacific region.

Although Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and U.S. President Joe Biden did not mention Beijing during their joint video announcement of the so-called AUKUS alliance, “the move is widely seen as a response to China’s expanding economic power, military reach, and diplomatic influence,” the Washington Post reported. “China is believed to have six nuclear attack submarines, with plans to increase the fleet in the next decade.”

The Guardian noted that it could take more than a decade for AUKUS to develop submarines propelled by enriched uranium—which allow the attack vessels to operate more quietly and remain deployed for up to five months—”but once at sea, the aim is to put Australia’s currently diesel-powered navy on a technological par with China’s navy, the world largest.”

In addition to “cooperation on naval technology,” the newspaper reported, “the partnership will involve closer alignment of regional policies and actions, and greater integration of the militaries and the defense industries of the three allies,” which “also intend to work together on cyberwarfare and on artificial intelligence capabilities.”

In response to the development, the British chapter of the No Cold War coalition said Thursday in a statement that “the new anti-China military alliance forged between Australia, Britain, and the U.S.—AUKUS—is an aggresive move which threatens peace and stability in the Pacific region.”

According to the coalition of nearly two dozen peace groups, the creation of AUKUS “follows the recent sending of a British warship to the South China Sea in an aggressive and provocative gesture of support for the U.S.’s massive military build-up against China.”

“It should be noted,” the coalition continued, “that New Zealand is not participating in this aggressive military alliance and it’s no nuclear policy means that Australian nuclear-powered submarines will be banned from New Zealand’s ports and waters.”

“It is against the interests of the British people, the Chinese people, and all of humanity for Britain to join the U.S. and Australia in racheting up aggression against China,” No Cold War added. “The world needs global cooperation to tackle shared threats of the pandemic and climate change, not a new Cold War.”

Anti-war progressives from Australia and the U.S. have also condemned the new military alliance.

“It was only a few weeks ago that a generation-long war in Afghanistan came to an end,” Alison Broinowski of the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network, said in a statement shared prior to the official launch of AUKUS. “Instead of reflecting on the pointlessness and horror of U.S. militarism, Australia and the U.S. are already talking about their next military adventure.”

“How can Australia assert an independent and peaceful foreign policy with a military that is so integrated into the U.S.?” Broinowski asked.

During his remarks publicizing the pact, Biden claimed that “we need to be able to address both the current strategic environment in the region, and how it may evolve, because the future of each of our nations, and indeed the world, depends on a free and open Indo-Pacific enduring and flourishing in the decades ahead.”

China Is Not Our Enemy, a project of U.S.-based peace group CodePink, responded by asserting that “if Biden and the Pentagon really want to ‘ensure peace and stability’ in the region, they could simply stop dealing missiles, weapons, [and] nuclear tech to Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan that escalate conflict and threaten global safety.”

Officials in Beijing also criticized the agreement, with China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian reportedly calling the U.S. and U.K.’s decision to export extremely sensitive nuclear technology to Australia an “extremely irresponsible” move that exposes “double standards.”

AUKUS “seriously undermines regional peace and stability, aggravates the arms race, and hurts international nonproliferation efforts,” Zhao added.

Describing AUKUS as a “disastrous” deal, CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin tweeted Wednesday that Australia, the U.K., and the U.S. “are ratcheting up the tension that could easily lead to a nuclear war with China.”

Amid growing concerns that Washington’s increasingly hostile approach to China could escalate into a full-blown military conflict, nearly 50 advocacy organizations in July sent a letter to Biden and members of Congress in which they argued that “nothing less than the future of our planet depends on ending the new Cold War between the United States and China.”

September 19, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France angry about nuclear submarine cancelleation – recalls ambassadors to Australia, USA.

France vents subs anger with recall of Australian, US envoys, AFR Hans van Leeuwen, Europe correspondent Sep 18, 2021 –London | France has issued a diplomatic slap in the face to Canberra and Washington, recalling its ambassadors to vent its displeasure at the cancellation of Australia’s $90 billion submarine contract with state-controlled defence company Naval Group.

The move signals a potentially serious rupture in Franco-Australian relations, after Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian publicly described Australia’s switch to a maritime security pact with the US and Britain as “a stab in the back”.

This exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional gravity of the announcements made on September 15 by Australia and the United States,” Mr Le Drian said in a statement on Friday (Saturday AEST).

“The cancellation of the Attack class submarine program binding Australia and France since 2016, and the announcement of a new partnership with the United States meant to launch studies on a possible future cooperation on nuclear-powered submarines, constitute unacceptable behaviour between allies and partners.”

Mr Le Drian said the “consequences directly affect the vision we have of our alliances, of our partnerships and of the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe”………

Although Australia’s French embassy has issued a statement arguing that the decision was made purely on technical grounds, the French government and commentariat has interpreted it as a political decision – and it will potentially rankle for years to come……

September 19, 2021 Posted by | France, politics international | Leave a comment

AUKUS military agreement – bad timing ahead of Glascow Climate Summit.

 The timing of the new defence deal between the US, UK and Australia has dismayed climate experts, who fear it could have a negative effect on hopes of a deal with China on greenhouse gas emissions ahead of vital UN climate talks.

The Aukus trilateral security partnership has been interpreted as seeking to counterbalance Chinese power in the Asia-Pacific region, and has been likened to a new cold war by China. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson warned the three countries to “respect regional people’s aspiration and do more that is conducive to regional peace and stability
and development – otherwise they will only end up hurting their own interests”.

Tom Burke, founder of the E3G environmental thinktank, said: “This [Aukus announcement] is bad timing ahead of Cop26, as Glasgow is time-critical and it’s hard to see what was critical about the timing of this announcement. It does not appear to suggest that the prime minister is taking Glasgow very seriously. And it exposes the fact that he has not gotmuch to offer ahead of Glasgow.”

 Guardian 16th Sept 2021

September 19, 2021 Posted by | climate change, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Nuclear-powered submarines a ‘terrible decision’ which will make Australia ‘less safe – Australian Greens

Nuclear-powered submarines a ‘terrible decision’ which will make Australia ‘less safe’

Greens leader Adam Bandt has raised concerns over Australia’s acquisition of technology for nuclear-powered submarines from the US and UK, calling it a “terrible decision” which will make “our country less safe”.

While there have been no serious incidences with the UK and US nuclear-powered submarines in their history, Mr Bandt pointed out New Zealand will not allow the nuclear vessels in their waters.

“Australia will be writing a blank cheque, we will be spending untold billions on a fleet of floating Chernobyls,” Mr Bandt told Sky News Australia.

Mr Bandt said Australia was buying “a nuclear reactor in a box” and noted if the US decides to change the technology or withhold support, “we are at their mercy”.

“It’s really concerning the Prime Minister is calling this ‘a forever partnership’, because it means if another Donald Trump comes back in the United States, we are now … a small arm of their nuclear capacity.”

September 19, 2021 Posted by | culture and arts, politics international | Leave a comment

The AUKUS deal and nuclear submarine plan ties Australia in to any American engagement against China

This pact ties Australia to any US military engagement against China,

The announced agreement between the United States, Britain and Australia for Australia to move to a fleet of US-supplied nuclear submarines will amount to a lock-in of our military equipment and forces with those of the US, with only one underlying objective: the ability to act collectively in any military engagement by the US against China.

This arrangement would witness a further dramatic loss of Australian sovereignty, as materiel dependency on the US would rob Australia of any freedom or choice in any engagement it may deem appropriate.

Australia has had great difficulty in running a bunch of locally built conventional submarines. Imagine the difficulty in moving to sophisticated nuclear submarines, their maintenance and operational complexity. And all this at a time when US reliability and resolution around its strategic commitments and military engagements are under question.

If the US military, with all its might, could not beat a bunch of Taliban rebels with AK-47 rifles in pickup trucks, what chance would it have in a full-blown war against China, not only the biggest state in the world but the commander and occupant of the largest land mass in Asia? When it comes to conflict, particularly among great powers, land beats water every time.

It has to be remembered that China is a continental power and the US is a naval power. And that the US supply chain to East Asia would broadly need to span the whole Pacific from its base in San Diego and other places along the American west coast. Australia, by the announced commitments, would find itself hostage to any such a gambit.

There is no doubt about the Liberals: 240 years after we departed from Britain, we are back there with Boris Johnson, trying to find our security in Asia through London. Such is the continual failure of the Liberal Party to have any faith in Australia’s capacity, but, more particularly, its rights to its own independence and freedom of action.

September 19, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international | Leave a comment

Australia’s new nuclear submarines will have dangerous Highly Enriched Uranium, not the Low Enriched Uranium of the French ones.

The United States and UK operate naval reactors in their submarines that are fueled with 93.5 percent enriched uranium (civilian power plants are typically fueled with three to five percent uranium-235) in quantities sufficient to last for the lifetime of their ships (33 years for attack submarines).Having resisted domestic efforts to minimize the use of HEU and convert their naval reactors to LEU fuel, the United States and UK have no alternative fuel to offer. France, on the other hand, now runs naval reactors fueled with LEU. The new Suffren-class submarine, from which the French conventional submarine offered to Australia was derived, even runs on fuel enriched below 6 percent.

Until now, it was the US commitment to nonproliferation that relentlessly crushed or greatly limited these aspirations toward nuclear-powered submarine technology. With the new AUKUS decision, we can now expect the proliferation of very sensitive military nuclear technology in the coming years, with literally tons of new nuclear materials under loose or no international safeguards.

It is difficult to understand the internal policy process that led the Democratic Biden administration to the AUKUS submarine announcement.  It seems that just like in the old Cold War, arms racing and the search for short-term strategic advantage is now bipartisan.

The new Australia, UK, and US nuclear submarine announcement: a terrible decision for the nonproliferation regime

By Sébastien Philippe | September 17, 2021 On September 15, US President Joe Biden, United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison launched a new major strategic partnership to meet the “imperative of ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific over the long term.” Named AUKUS, the partnership was announced together with a bombshell decision: The United States and UK will transfer naval nuclear-propulsion technology to Australia. Such a decision is a fundamental policy reversal for the United States, which has in the past spared no effort to thwart the transfer of naval reactor technology by other countries, except for its World War II partner, the United Kingdom.  Even France—whose “contract of the century” to sell 12 conventional submarines to Australia was shot down by PM Morrison during the AUKUS announcement—had been repeatedly refused US naval reactor technology during the Cold War. If not reversed one way or another, the AUKUS decision could have major implications for the nonproliferation regime.

In the 1980s, the United States prevented France and the UK from selling nuclear attack submarines to Canada. The main argument centered on the danger of nuclear proliferation associated with the naval nuclear fuel cycle. Indeed, the nonproliferation treaty has a well-known loophole: non-nuclear weapon states can remove fissile materials from international control for use in non-weapon military applications, specifically to fuel nuclear submarine reactors. These reactors require a significant amount of uranium to operate. Moreover, to make them as compact as possible, most countries operate their naval reactors with nuclear-weapon-usable highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel.

With tons of weapons-grade uranium out of international safeguards, what could go wrong?

The United States, UK, and Australia are giving themselves 18 months to hammer out the details of the arrangement. This will include figuring out what type of submarine, reactors, and uranium fuel will be required. Similarly, questions about where to base the submarines, what new infrastructure will be needed, how maintenance will be conducted, how nuclear fuel will be handled, and how crews will be trained—among many others—will need to be answered.

Australia has no civilian nuclear power infrastructure beyond a 20 megawatt-thermal research reactor and faces a rough nuclear learning curve. It will need to strengthen its nuclear safety authority so it has the capability to conduct, review, and validate safety assessments for naval reactors that are complex and difficult to commission. 

How long this new nuclear endeavor will take and how much it will cost are anyone’s guesses. But the cancelled $90 billion (Australian) “contract of the century” with France for conventionally powered attack submarines will most likely feel like a cheap bargain in retrospect. Beyond these technical details, the AUKUS partnership will also have to bend over backwards to fulfill prior international nonproliferation commitments and prevent the new precedent created by the Australian deal from proliferating out of control around the world.

Continue reading

September 19, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, safety, Uranium | Leave a comment

Bipartisan House group asks Biden to stop Canada’s Great Lakes nuclear storage plans

Bipartisan House group asks Biden to stop Canada’s Great Lakes nuclear storage plans, The Hill, BY SHARON UDASIN – 09/17/21 01:20 PM EDTRep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) is calling on the Biden administration to stop the Canadian government from storing nuclear waste in the Great Lakes Basin. 

 The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), a nonprofit established by the Canadian government, recently unveiled plans to construct a site that “would permanently store more than 50,000 tons of high-level nuclear waste” in the town of South Bruce, Ontario, Kildee’s office said.

South Bruce, located within the Great Lakes Basin, is about 30 miles east of Lake Huron.

Kildee in a release from his office described high-level nuclear waste as “the most dangerous form of nuclear waste,” and said that if an accident involving such waste occurred in the Great Lakes region, it could take a catastrophic toll on public health in surrounding U.S. and Canadian communities.

“The Great Lakes are central to our way of life, and permanently storing nuclear waste so close to our shared waterways puts our economies and millions of jobs at risk in the fishing, boating and tourism industries,” Kildee said. “People in both the U.S. and Canada depend on the Great Lakes for drinking water, which could be contaminated if there ever was a nuclear waste incident.”

Kildee is offering a bipartisan resolution asking President Biden to work with the Canadian government to stop the plans for the storage. The resolution is co-sponsored by 11 Democrats and nine Republicans from states surrounding the Great Lakes.

“From recreational activities to economic opportunities, the Great Lakes are integral to our daily lives, and a spill of hazardous materials would be devastating to communities across the state,” one of the co-sponsors, Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), said in a statement. “We must continue to urge our Canadian allies to find an alternative storage site for nuclear waste.”

Tribal Chief Tim Davis, of the Michigan-based Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, added his concerns, noting his community’s ongoing work “to eliminate the continuing threat of nuclear waste being deposited into Mother Earth so close to the largest fresh water repository on Earth.”……….

September 19, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, politics international, USA, water | Leave a comment

New Zealand PM says Australian nuclear subs will NOT be welcome in country’s waters

New Zealand PM says Australian nuclear subs will NOT be welcome in country’s waters, 7 News, Ben McKay, 16/09/20

Australia’s planned nuclear submarine fleet won’t be welcome in New Zealand, according to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

The new submarines are the centrepiece of the new AUKUS security tie-up of Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

NZ has been left out of the AUKUS alliance, despite being a member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network, along with AUKUS members and Canada.

The country has been staunchly nuclear-free for decades, earning the ire of treaty partner US by declining visits from its nuclear-powered ships.

“We weren’t approached by nor would I expect us to be,” Ardern said.

“Prime Minister Morrison and indeed all partners are very well versed and understand our position on nuclear-powered vessels and also nuclear weapons.

Australia’s planned nuclear submarine fleet won’t be welcome in New Zealand, according to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

The new submarines are the centrepiece of the new AUKUS security tie-up of Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

NZ has been left out of the AUKUS alliance, despite being a member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network, along with AUKUS members and Canada.

The country has been staunchly nuclear-free for decades, earning the ire of treaty partner US by declining visits from its nuclear-powered ships.

“We weren’t approached by nor would I expect us to be,” Ardern said.

“Prime Minister Morrison and indeed all partners are very well versed and understand our position on nuclear-powered vessels and also nuclear weapons.

That of course means that they well understood our likely position on the establishment of nuclear-powered submarines and their use in the region.”

Ardern said by law, and by a consensus of NZ’s major political parties, nuclear-powered vessels would not be welcome. 

“Certainly they couldn’t come into our internal waters,” she said.

Ardern declined to say whether it would be appropriate for Australia’s new fleet to sail in the Pacific but welcomed interest from the US and the UK in the “contested region”.

“I am pleased to see that the eye is being tuned to our region, from partners that we work closely with.”

Some Kiwi experts believe the AUKUS formation shows an Australian acquiescence to US foreign policy.

“It highlights that much deeper level of Australian integration into US defence and security planning and thinking,” Victoria University professor David Capie told The Guardian.

“New Zealand and Australia were in a different space to begin with and this has perhaps just made that look sharper again.”

Ardern said the new alliance “in no way changes our security and intelligence ties with these three countries”.

NZ’s opposition is less sure, with leader Judith Collins saying other aspects of the defence alliance would be worth involvement.

September 18, 2021 Posted by | New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment

US President Joe Biden appears to forget Scott Morrison’s name (it doesn’t really matter)

US President Joe Biden appears to forget Scott Morrison’s name in embarrassing blunder, Aamer Madhani and Jonathan Lemire, AAP/7NEWS : Thursday, 16 September 2021 

(ED. Biden only wants to sell USA nuclear stuff to any willing buyer. Poor old #ScottyFromMarketing just wants a bit of military glory, leading upm to the Australian election

“”…………Thank you Boris, and I want to thank that fellow Down Under,” Biden said.“Thank you very much, pal! Appreciate it, Mr Prime MinisterAttempting to backtrack, Biden quickly addressed the PM by his name – but unfortunately for Joe, the damage was done ….

September 18, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear-powered submarines have ‘long history of accidents

Nuclear-powered submarines have ‘long history of accidents’, Adelaide environmentalist warns,  ABC By Daniel Keane 17 Sept 21,

The plan to build nuclear-powered submarines in South Australia has alarmed anti-war and environmental campaigners, one of whom says the vessels have a “long history” of involvement in accidents across the globe.

Key points:

  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the nuclear submarines would be built in Adelaide
  • The Greens and other environmental groups say that raises serious public safety concerns
  • SA’s former nuclear royal commissioner says the risks can be managed

Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled a deal to construct the new fleet of at least eight submarines, declaring a new era of strategic alignment with the United States and United Kingdom, and a new trilateral security partnership called AUKUS.

All Australians benefit from the national interest decisions to protect Australians and to keep Australians safe,” Mr Morrison said.

But Friends of the Earth Australia’s anti-nuclear spokesperson Jim Green said the plan was more likely to compromise public safety than enhance it.

I’m worried about the security and proliferation aspects of this, I’m deeply concerned as an Adelaidean. A city of 1.3 million people is not the place to be building nuclear submarines,” he said.

“North-western Adelaide could be a target in the case of warfare. Of course, that’s a very low risk but if it does happen, the impacts would be catastrophic for Adelaide.

“You should build hazardous facilities away from population centres, partly because of the risk of accidents and partly because of the possibility that a nuclear submarine site could be targeted by adversaries.”

Dr Green said the question of what would become of the spent fuel remained unanswered, and there was “a long history of accidents involving nuclear submarines”.

Many — but not all — of those occurred in submarines built in the former Soviet Union, including the infamous K-19, which was subsequently dubbed “The Widowmaker” and became the subject of a Hollywood film.

After its reactor suffered a loss of coolant, members of the crew — more than 20 of whom died in the next two years — worked in highly radioactive steam to prevent a complete meltdown.

Two US naval nuclear submarines — USS Thresher and USS Scorpion — currently remain sitting at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, at depths of more than two kilometres, after sinking during the 1960s.

More than 200 mariners died in the disasters, and neither vessels’ reactors, nor the nuclear weapons on board the Scorpion, have ever been recovered.

Two years ago, 14 Russian naval officers were laid to rest after they were killed in a fire on a nuclear-powered submersible in circumstances that were not fully revealed by the Kremlin.

Dr Green said Australia’s “nuclear power lobby” had “been quick off the mark”, and was already using the Prime Minister’s announcement to push for further involvement with the nuclear fuel cycle, including atomic energy and waste storage.

“The South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle [Royal] Commission, in its 2016 report, estimated a cost of $145 billion to construct and operate a nuclear waste repository,” he said.

“No country in the world has got a repository to dispose of high-level nuclear waste, and the only repository in the world to dispose of intermediate-level nuclear waste, which is in the United States, was shut for three years from 2014 to 2017 because of a chemical explosion.”…………….

September 18, 2021 Posted by | incidents, oceans, technology, weapons and war | Leave a comment

For Australia Buying nuclear-powered submarines now doesn’t make sense strategically, and it doesn’t make sense operationally.

White says Australia is now tied more closely to the US strategy against China, which is aimed at stopping Beijing from challenging American primacy. Australia’s eventual acquisition of eight nuclear-powered submarines is not going to make any difference to Xi Jinping’s calculations.

And if deterrence fails, and we end up going to war, will eight Australian submarines make any difference to the outcome? I don’t think it will,” White says.

Nuclear family: Setting a new course in submarine policy

The acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines promises to transform the Australian navy, but there are some uncomfortable realities Australia must also confront. AFR Andrew Tillett correspondent  ’17 Sep 21
, ‘……………. n Thursday, the Prime Minister unveiling plans to build nuclear-powered submarines in Adelaide with the help of the United States and United Kingdom.

Morrison, who places a high premium on secrecy, had explored the proposal with a tight-knit circle of aides and officials for 18 months. So classified was their work that officials in Defence’s Capability, Acquisition and Sustainment Group, including those overseeing the $90 billion French submarine project, found out the dat before. Morrison effectively destroyed one of the shibboleths of Australian public policy – that nuclear technology falls in the “too hard” basket.

…………….. “This is a big policy shift in Washington, DC,” says Hugh White, Australian National University emeritus professor of strategic studies.

Buying nuclear-powered submarines now doesn’t make sense strategically, and it doesn’t make sense operationally.

The acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines promises to transform the navy – just a handful of countries operate them – but there are some uncomfortable realities Australia must also confront.

…….. A Defence-led taskforce will spend up to 18 months assessing whether the British or American submarine is the best option, along with workforce, shipyard and training needs. The government maintains construction can still start in the latter part of this decade, but the new submarine will be delivered a couple of years later than the French one would have been.

But this is predicated on the project going well. If Australia wants to tinker with the design, that will add time. There are also capacity constraints in the US and UK. Their shipyards are busy and the construction of Australian reactors will need to be squeezed into production schedules.

And despite assurances that reactors will be sealed and Australia effectively just has to “plug” them in, it goes without saying this is technology that has never been used here before. So even a 2040 delivery date may be optimistic.

China challenge

By then, it may be too late. “The challenge we face from China is not a challenge that is going to emerge in the 2050s. It’s happening now. The timeframe is wrong,” White says. “[Buying nuclear-powered submarines now] doesn’t make sense strategically, and it doesn’t make sense operationally.”

White says Australia is now tied more closely to the US strategy against China, which is aimed at stopping Beijing from challenging American primacy. Australia’s eventual acquisition of eight nuclear-powered submarines is not going to make any difference to Xi Jinping’s calculations.

And if deterrence fails, and we end up going to war, will eight Australian submarines make any difference to the outcome? I don’t think it will,” White says.

…… White says he is not against eventually acquiring nuclear-powered submarines but the question Morrison should be asking is what boats best suit Australian objectives, not American.

White says the navy’s priority should be using submarines closer to Australian shores to protect shipping lanes. He says for the cost of 12 French submarines, or eight nuclear-powered ones, Australia could buy 24 Collins class size conventionally powered subs.

“The reason we have been driven towards a big boat is we have decided our most important role is helping the US to hunt Chinese submarines in the South China Sea and East China Sea,” he says. “You would sink more enemy ships with 24 boats than you would with eight nuclear-powered ones.”……………

September 18, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international | Leave a comment

The Australian submarine agreement: Turning nuclear cooperation upside down

The Australian submarine agreement: Turning nuclear cooperation upside down, Bulletin By Ian J. Stewart | September 17, 2021
 The UK and US have announced they will support Australia in development of a nuclear submarine fleet and will provide (conventionally armed) Tomahawk cruise missiles. This is one of those exceedingly rare and exceedingly significant announcements that come along only every decade or so. The announcement literally turns existing precedence and practice on their heads in order to extend traditionally northern hemisphere cooperation to Australia and bolster its role in countering an increasingly assertive China. While much is not yet known, some of the ramifications and implications of this development are discernable.

Before considering the announcement’s specific implications, it is worth reiterating how exceedingly rare and significant it is. Many in the nonproliferation and strategic studies field will draw a parallel between this announcement and the 2005 announcement that the United States would renew civil nuclear cooperation with India. The so-called AUKUS declaration, like the other, was made with the grand purpose of securing an additional strategic ally against the rising China. However, neatly associated with both is also an expectation that domestic industries will benefit from access to a new market.

…. In this announcement, the United States and UK are overturning decades of accepted practice to support the transfer of a strategic capability to another country. The decision is sure to irk China and accelerate the spiral towards a Cold War-style standoff, with renewed strategies of containment against the revisionist power. The initiative has also offended France, which had become closer to the UK and, to a lesser extent, the US on nuclear matters in the last decade or so.

…….  The Australian breakup with France is clearly not a happy one, with the French Embassy tweeting its contempt for how the announcement was made. On Friday, France announced it was recalling its ambassadors to the United States and Australia, calling the US-Australia agreement “unacceptable behavior between allies and partners.”

A second implication is for the nonproliferation regime itself. Much like the announcement of the US-India deal, AUKUS is already dividing the international security community. Many nonproliferation practitioners call foul, on the basis that, on the face of it, the announcement appears to cut across several norms, agreed rules, and accepted practices. The cooperation may be used by non-nuclear weapons states as more ammunition in support of a narrative that the weapons states lack good faith in their commitments to disarmament……..

A third implication involves precedence. There has been constraint in terms of naval nuclear reactor exports for many decades. However, several countries have been working to acquire naval nuclear reactors. Brazil is perhaps the first country that comes to mind. It will be argued by many that AUKUS reaffirms Brazil’s legitimacy in pursuing nuclear-powered submarines.

……….  the British government is almost certainly thinking about it as a means to bolster Rolls Royce. The United States by law and by practice is particularly protective of its reactor technology. As such, the prospect of an independently designed UK reactor being sold to Australia could check a number of boxes.

The agreement may have an additional casualty in UK/French nuclear cooperation. ……..

September 18, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

U.S. generals planning for a space war they see as all but inevitable

U.S. generals planning for a space war they see as all but inevitable, Space News, by Sandra Erwin — September 17, 2021 A ship in the Pacific Ocean carrying a high-power laser takes aim at a U.S. spy satellite, blinding its sensors and denying the United States critical eyes in the sky.

This is one scenario that military officials and civilian leaders fear could lead to escalation and wider conflict as rival nations like China and Russia step up development and deployments of anti-satellite weapons.

If a satellite came under attack, depending on the circumstances, “the appropriate measures can be taken,” said Lt. Gen. John Shaw, deputy commander of U.S. Space Command.

The space battlefield is not science fiction and anti-satellite weapons are going to be a reality in future armed conflicts, Shaw said at the recent 36th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.

U.S. Space Command is responsible for military operations in the space domain, which starts at the Kármán line, some 100 kilometers (62 miles) above the Earth’s surface. This puts Space Command in charge of protecting U.S. satellites from attacks and figuring out how to respond if hostile acts do occur…………

A key reason why the space race is accelerating is that technology is advancing so rapidly, Smith said. A second reason is the absence of “binding commitments on what the operating norms are going to be in space,” she said. “And without that, we’re very likely to have a space war.”

The only foundation of international space law that currently exists, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, is outdated and doesn’t address most space security issues that could set off a war, Smith noted.

The treaty bans the stationing of weapons of mass destruction in outer space, prohibits military activities on celestial bodies and contains legally binding rules governing the peaceful exploration and use of space. But a new set of rules is needed for the current space age, Smith said. “We really haven’t addressed some of the very difficult questions. Can a nation tailgate another nation’s satellite? Is preemptive self defense going to be permissible? Are we going to ban any form of weapons in space?”…….

September 18, 2021 Posted by | space travel, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France: questionable rush to start Flamanville nuclear reactor despite its defects

 By a decree of August 30, 2021, EDF was authorized to operate the Flamanville EPR, under an extremely questionable consultation procedure. This is just one of the many administrative authorizations that the company
must still receive to commission the reactor, but this decision is nonetheless irresponsible. Even though the reactor is still affected by numerous defects, EDF continues its forced march to prepare for its start-up at all costs. We strongly denounce this irresponsible headlong rush.

 Sortir du Nucleaire 9th Sept 2021

September 18, 2021 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment