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Trump Approved Cyberattacks on Iranian Missile systems — Mining Awareness +

From Middle East Monitor (MEMO): “Trump approved cyberattacks on Iranian missile systems June 23, 2019 at 9:57 am | Published in: Asia & Americas, Iran, Middle East, News, US US President Donald Trump approved a cyberattack that neutralized Iranian computer systems that activate rocket and missile launches, The Washington Post reported Saturday, citing US officials, […]

via Trump Approved Cyberattacks on Iranian Missile systems — Mining Awareness +

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June 25, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Israel’s Secretive Nuclear Facility Leaking as Watchdog Finds Israel Has Nearly 100 Nukes — NEW POWER

[This revelation highlights the complete hypocrisy of the US and its lapdogs as they fabricate more reasons to start a war of aggression against Iran. It has been well known for nearly half a century that Israel, the most belligerent and aggressive actor in the region, possesses atomic weapons. And now there is evidence that […]

via Israel’s Secretive Nuclear Facility Leaking as Watchdog Finds Israel Has Nearly 100 Nukes — NEW POWER

June 25, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

June 24 Energy News — geoharvey

World: ¶ “Power Purchase Agreements For 1 GW Of Solar Projects Approved In Gujarat” • PPAs for 1 GW of grid-connected solar PV projects tendered and auctioned by the Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited were approved by the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission. The tariffs ranged from ₹2.44/kWh (3.38¢/kWh) to ₹2.68/kWh (3.7¢/kWh). [Mercom India] ¶ “The […]

via June 24 Energy News — geoharvey

June 25, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Donald Trump threatens Iran with ‘obliteration’

Trump warns Iran of ’obliteration like you’ve never seen before’  https://www.politico.com/story/2019/06/23/trump-obliteration-iran-nuclear-weapons-pursuit-1376744, By MARTIN MATISHAK, 06/23/2019

President Donald Trump warned the United States may launch a devastating military attack on Iran unless it comes to the negotiating table and drops its bid to develop nuclear weapons.

“I’m not looking for war, and if there is, it’ll be obliteration like you’ve never seen before. But I’m not looking to do that. But you can’t have a nuclear weapon. You want to talk? Good. Otherwise you can have a bad economy for the next three years,” Trump said during an interview with NBC’s “Meet The Press” airing Sunday.

The president said he’d be willing to sit down with Iranian officials without preconditions.

The comments, made during an interview taped Friday, came the same day Trump confirmed on Twitter that he called off a retaliatory strike on Iran at the last minute Thursday night. He said he decided that the potential cost of human lives was “not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said Thursday it had shot down an American  drone, claiming it had entered Iranian airspace, a claim disputed by the U.S., which has maintained the drone was over international waters. Both countries have since produced what they say is evidence supporting their respective positions.

Trump said the U.S. had a “modest but pretty, pretty heavy attack schedule,” but planes were not in the air when he called off the attack.

The commander in chief said the response now should be increased sanctions on Iran’s economy.

“We’re increasing the sanctions now,” adding the country’s economy has already been “shattered.”

Trump said he believes Iranian officials want to negotiate and that any deal would have to be about nuclear weapons. He also claimed that Iran had violated the nuclear agreement struck by the Obama administration and other world powers. International inspectors have repeatedly declared that Iran has complied with the 2015 deal.

“They cannot have a nuclear weapon,” he said. “They cannot have a nuclear weapon. They’d use it. And they’re not going to have a nuclear weapon.”

Trump also disputed that he sent a message to Iranian leaders through a third country, saying he did not want conflict, dubbing it “fake news.”

However, he also declined to send a message during the interview to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“Wouldn’t be much different than that message,” Trump said.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Hundreds of evacuees and their children continue to suffer from effects of Fukushima nuclear meltdown

‘Fukushima suffering continues’  https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2019/21-june/news/world/fukushima-suffering-continues 
by HATTIE WILLIAMS, 21 JUNE 2019  Eight years since the disaster, NSKK calls for nuclear-free world   
EIGHT years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, hundreds of evacuees and their children continue to suffer from debilitating conditions, Anglican priests told an International Forum for a Nuclear-Free World held in Sendai, Japan, last week.

The Tohoku earthquake, in 2011, triggered a tsunami which caused explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, in Okuma, leading to widespread radioactive contamination and serious health and environmental effects (News, 25 March 2011).

The disaster is estimated to have caused the deaths of about 1600 people out of the 300,000 who were evacuated from the area

The forum was organised by the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK) — the Anglican Communion in Japan — whose General Synod passed a resolution in 2012 calling for an end to nuclear-power plants. A joint statement from the forum, due next month, is expected to encourage churches to join the call for a worldwide ban on nuclear energy, the Anglican News Service reports.

The chair of the forum’s organising committee, Kiyosumi Hasegawa, said: “We have yet to see an end to the damage done to the people and natural environment by the meltdown of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

“This man-made disaster will haunt countless people for years to come. We still see numerous people who wish to go back to their home towns, but are unable to. We also have people who have given up on ever going home.”

The week-long conference at Christ Church Cathedral, Sendai, was attended by bishops, clergy, and lay representatives from each NSKK diocese, as well as representatives from the US Episcopal Church, USPG, the Episcopal Church of the Philippines, the diocese of Taiwan, and the Anglican Church of Korea.

The general secretary of the Sendai Christian relief network Touhoku HELP, Dr Naoya Kawakami, whose church was affected by the tsunami, said: “I have been more than 700 times to meet with more than 180 mothers and about 20 fathers, all of whom have seen abnormalities in their children since 2011. . . Thyroid cancer has been found in more than 273 children, and many mothers are in deep anxiety.”

An NSKK priest, the Revd John Makito Aizawa, said: “Both religiously and ethically, we cannot allow nuclear-power plants to continue running. They produce deadly waste, which we have no way of processing into something safe. More than 100,000 years are necessary for the radiation of such deadly waste to diminish to the level that it was in the original uranium. This alone is a strong enough reason to prohibit nuclear-power plants.”

The partners-in-mission secretary for NSKK, Paul Tolhurst, said: “Driving past the power station and seeing the ghost town around us as the Geiger-counter reading kept going up is something I won’t forget. It was like the town time forgot: they still seem to be living the incident, while the rest of Japan has moved on.”

The forum’s statement is expected to call for a goal of conversion to renewable sources of energy, and set out ways in which a network can be built to take forward denuclearisation.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | health, Japan, social effects | Leave a comment

Russia’s nuclear weapons and the religious connection

BLESSED BE THY NUCLEAR WEAPONS: THE RISE OF RUSSIAN NUCLEAR ORTHODOXY, War on the Rocks, MICHAEL KOFMAN     June 21  2019 Dmitry Adamsky, Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy: Religion, Politics, and Strategy (Stanford University Press, 2019).

Russia’s Federal Nuclear Center, the All-Russian Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF), recently placed a somewhat unusual government tender: It is seeking a supplier of religious icons with the images of Saint Seraphim of Sarov and Saint Fedor Ushakov. Meanwhile, a private foundation, backed by President Vladimir Putin and Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu, has been gathering funds to build a massive temple to the Russian Armed Forces at Patriot Park,. Artisans are crafting a new icon for the temple, while the steps are to be made from melted-down Nazi equipment captured by the Red Army in World War II.

Viewed in isolation, these may seem to be the occasional eccentric habits of a latter-day authoritarian state. However, Dima Adamsky’s new book, Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy: Religion, Politics, and Strategy, demonstrates convincingly that there are indeed important signs being missed all around us, pointing to a longstanding nexus between the Russian Orthodox Church and the country’s nuclear-military-industrial complex.

Adamsky’s groundbreaking book lays out the largely unstudied history of how a nuclear priesthood emerged in Russia, permeated the units and commands in charge of Russia’s nuclear forces, and became an integral part of the nuclear weapons industry. Continue reading

June 24, 2019 Posted by | politics, Reference, Religion and ethics, Russia | Leave a comment

Nuclear power to solve climate change? Too many sound reasons against it.

The 7 reasons why nuclear energy is not the answer to solve climate change, https://www.leonardodicaprio.org/the-7-reasons-why-nuclear-energy-is-not-the-answer-to-solve-climate-change/, Mark Z. Jacobson , Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Director, Atmosphere/Energy Program, Stanford University, 21 June 19  

One nuclear power plant takes on average about 14-1/2 years to build, from the planning phase all the way to operation. According to the World Health Organization, about 7.1 million people die from air pollution each year, with more than 90% of these deaths from energy-related combustion. So switching out our energy system to nuclear  would result in about 93 million people dying, as we wait for all the new nuclear plants to be built in the all-nuclear scenario.

Utility-scale wind and solar farms, on the other hand, take on average only 2 to 5 years, from the planning phase to operation. Rooftop solar PV projects are down to only a 6-month timeline. So transitioning to 100% renewables as soon as possible would result in tens of millions fewer deaths.

This illustrates a major problem with nuclear power and why renewable energy — in particular Wind, Water, and Solar (WWS)– avoids this problem. Nuclear, though, doesn’t just have one problem. It has seven. Here are the seven major problems with nuclear energy:

1. Long Time Lag Between Planning and Operation

The time lag between planning and operation of a nuclear reactor includes the times to identify a site, obtain a site permit, purchase or lease the land, obtain a construction permit, obtain financing and insurance for construction, install transmission, negotiate a power purchase agreement, obtain permits, build the plant, connect it to transmission, and obtain a final operating license.

The planning-to-operation (PTO) times of all nuclear plants ever built have been 10-19 years or more. For example, the Olkiluoto 3 reactor in Finland was proposed to the Finnish cabinet in December 2000 to be added to an existing nuclear power plant. Its latest estimated completion date is 2020, giving it a PTO time of 20 years.

The Hinkley Point nuclear plant was planned to start in 2008. It has an estimated completion year of 2025 to 2027, giving it a PTO time of 17 to 19 years. The Vogtle 3 and 4 reactors in Georgia were first proposed in August 2006 to be added to an existing site. The anticipated completion dates are November 2021 and November 2022, respectively, given them PTO times of 15 and 16 years, respectively.

The Haiyang 1 and 2 reactors in China were planned to start in 2005. Haiyang 1 began commercial operation on October 22, 2018. Haiyang 2 began operation on January 9, 2019, giving them PTO times of 13 and 14 years, respectively. The Taishan 1 and 2 reactors in China were bid in 2006. Taishan 1 began commercial operation on December 13, 2018. Taishan 2 is not expected to be connected until 2019, giving them PTO times of 12 and 13 years, respectively. Planning and procurement for four reactors in Ringhals, Sweden started in 1965. One took 10 years, the second took 11 years, the third took 16 years, and the fourth took 18 years to complete.

Many claim that France’s 1974 Messmer plan resulted in the building of its 58 reactors in 15 years. This is not true. The planning for several of these nuclear reactors began long before. For example, the Fessenheim reactor obtained its construction permit in 1967 and was planned starting years before. In addition, 10 of the reactors were completed between 1991-2000. As such, the whole planning-to-operation time for these reactors was at least 32 years, not 15. That of any individual reactor was 10 to 19 years.

2. Cost

The levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for a new nuclear plant in 2018, based on Lazard, is $151 (112 to 189)/MWh. This compares with $43 (29 to 56)/MWh for onshore wind and $41 (36 to 46)/MWh for utility-scale solar PV from the same source.

This nuclear LCOE is an underestimate for several reasons. First, Lazard assumes a construction time for nuclear of 5.75 years. However, the Vogtle 3 and 4 reactors, though will take at least 8.5 to 9 years to finish construction. This additional delay alone results in an estimated LCOE for nuclear of about $172 (128 to 215)/MWh, or a cost 2.3 to 7.4 times that of an onshore wind farm (or utility PV farm).

Next, the LCOE does not include the cost of the major nuclear meltdowns in history. For example, the estimated cost to clean up the damage from three Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor core meltdowns was $460 to $640 billion. This is $1.2 billion, or 10 to 18.5 percent of the capital cost, of every nuclear reactor worldwide.

In addition, the LCOE does not include the cost of storing nuclear waste for hundreds of thousands of years. In the U.S. alone, about $500 million is spent yearly to safeguard nuclear waste from about 100 civilian nuclear energy plants. This amount will only increase as waste continues to accumulate. After the plants retire, the spending must continue for hundreds of thousands of years with no revenue stream from electricity sales to pay for the storage.

3. Weapons Proliferation Risk

The growth of nuclear energy has historically increased the ability of nations to obtain or harvest plutonium or enrich uranium to manufacture nuclear weapons. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recognizes this fact. They concluded in the Executive Summary of their 2014 report on energy, with “robust evidence and high agreement” that nuclear weapons proliferation concern is a barrier and risk to the increasing development of nuclear energy:

Barriers to and risks associated with an increasing use of nuclear energy include operational risks and the associated safety concerns, uranium mining risks, financial and regulatory risks, unresolved waste management issues, nuclear weapons proliferation concerns, and adverse public opinion.The building of a nuclear reactor for energy in a country that does not currently have a reactor allows the country to import uranium for use in the nuclear energy facility. If the country so chooses, it can secretly enrich the uranium to create weapons grade uranium and harvest plutonium from uranium fuel rods for use in nuclear weapons. This does not mean any or every country will do this, but historically some have and the risk is high, as noted by IPCC. The building and spreading of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) may increase this risk further.

4. Meltdown Risk

To date, 1.5% of all nuclear power plants ever built have melted down to some degree. Meltdowns have been either catastrophic (Chernobyl, Russia in 1986; three reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi, Japan in 2011) or damaging (Three-Mile Island, Pennsylvania in 1979; Saint-Laurent France in 1980). The nuclear industry has proposed new reactor designs that they suggest are safer. However, these designs are generally untested, and there is no guarantee that the reactors will be designed, built and operated correctly or that a natural disaster or act of terrorism, such as an airplane flown into a reactor, will not cause the reactor to fail, resulting in a major disaster.

5. Mining Lung Cancer Risk

Uranium mining causes lung cancer in large numbers of miners because uranium mines contain natural radon gas, some of whose decay products are carcinogenic. A study https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/pgms/worknotify/uranium.html    of 4,000 uranium miners between 1950 and 2000 found that 405 (10 percent) died of lung cancer, a rate six times that expected based on smoking rates alone. 61 others died of mining related lung diseases. Clean, renewable energy does not have this risk because (a) it does not require the continuous mining of any material, only one-time mining to produce the energy generators; and (b) the mining does not carry the same lung cancer risk that uranium mining does.

6. Carbon-Equivalent Emissions and Air Pollution

There is no such thing as a zero- or close-to-zero emission nuclear power plant. Even existing plants emit due to the continuous mining and refining of uranium needed for the plant. Emissions from new nuclear are 78 to 178 g-CO2/kWh, not close to 0. Of this, 64 to 102 g-CO2/kWh over 100 years are emissions from the background grid while consumers wait 10 to 19 years for nuclear to come online or be refurbished, relative to 2 to 5 years for wind or solar. In addition, all nuclear plants emit 4.4 g-CO2e/kWh from the water vapor and heat they release. This contrasts with solar panels and wind turbines, which reduce heat or water vapor fluxes to the air by about 2.2 g-CO2e/kWh for a net difference from this factor alone of 6.6 g-CO2e/kWh.

In fact, China’s investment in nuclear plants that take so long between planning and operation instead of wind or solar resulted in China’s CO2 emissions increasing 1.3 percent from 2016 to 2017 rather than declining by an estimated average of 3 percent. The resulting difference in air pollution emissions may have caused 69,000 additional air pollution deaths in China in 2016 alone, with additional deaths in years prior and since.

7. Waste Risk

Last but not least, consumed fuel rods from nuclear plants are radioactive waste. Most fuel rods are stored at the same site as the reactor that consumed them. This has given rise to hundreds of radioactive waste sites in many countries that must be maintained and funded for at least 200,000 years, far beyond the lifetimes of any nuclear power plant. The more nuclear waste that accumulates, the greater the risk of radioactive leaks, which can damage water supply, crops, animals, and humans.

Summary

To recap, new nuclear power costs about 5 times more than onshore wind power

per kWh (between 2.3 to 7.4 times depending upon location and integration issues). Nuclear takes 5 to 17 years longer between planning and operation and produces on average 23 times the emissions per unit electricity generated (between 9 to 37 times depending upon plant size and construction schedule). In addition, it creates risk and cost associated with weapons proliferation, meltdown, mining lung cancer, and waste risks. Clean, renewables avoid all such risks.

Nuclear advocates claim nuclear is still needed because renewables are intermittent and need natural gas for backup. However, nuclear itself never matches power demand so it needs backup. Even in France with one of the most advanced nuclear energy programs, the maximum ramp rate is 1 to 5 % per minute, which means they need natural gas, hydropower, or batteries, which ramp up 5 to 100 times faster, to meet peaks in demand. Today, in fact, batteries are beating natural gas for wind and solar backup needs throughout the world. A dozen independent scientific groups have further found that it is possible to match intermittent power demand with clean, renewable energy supply and storage, without nuclear, at low cost.  Finally, many existing nuclear plants are so costly that their owners are demanding subsidies to stay open. For example, in 2016, three existing upstate New York nuclear plants requested and received subsidies to stay open using the argument that the plants were needed to keep emissions low. However, subsidizing such plants may increase carbon emissions and costs relative to replacing the plants with wind or solar as soon as possible. Thus, subsidizing nuclear would result in higher emissions and costs over the long term than replacing nuclear with renewables.

Derivations and sources of the numbers provided herein can be found here – https://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/NuclearVsWWS.pdf

June 24, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, climate change, health, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump sent Kim Jong Un an ‘excellent’ letter

North Korea says Trump sent Kim Jong Un an ‘excellent’ letter amid stalled nuclear diplomacy,   abc news, June 23, 2019,

By Associated Press, SEOUL, South Korea — President Donald Trump sent North Korean leader Kim Jong Un an “excellent” letter, the North’s state-run news agency reported Sunday, quoting Kim as saying he would “seriously contemplate it.”

The White House confirmed that Trump had sent a letter to Kim.

“Correspondence between the two leaders has been ongoing,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

It comes after nuclear talks between the U.S. and North Korea broke down after the failed summit between Kim and Trump in February in Vietnam.

The U.S. is demanding that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons entirely before international sanctions are lifted. North Korea is seeking a step-by-step approach in which moves toward denuclearization are matched by concessions from the U.S., notably a relaxation of the sanctions.

Kim “said with satisfaction that the letter is of excellent content,” Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency reported.

“Appreciating the political judging faculty and extraordinary courage of President Trump, Kim Jong Un said that he would seriously contemplate the interesting content,” the agency said, without elaborating.

South Korea’s presidential office said it sees the exchange of letters between Kim and Trump as a positive development for keeping the momentum for dialogue alive……….

Nuclear negotiations have been at a standstill, but Trump recently told reporters he received a “beautiful” letter from Kim, without revealing what was written. In an interview with TIME magazine last week, Trump said he also received a “birthday letter” from Kim that was delivered by hand a day before. ……..

The White House on Sunday confirmed that Trump had sent a letter to Kim ……https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/north-korea-says-trump-sent-kim-jong-un-excellent-letter-n1020721

June 24, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry growth now thwarted in USA

Nuclear Power & Natural Gas Hit A Wall In US: Now What?  https://cleantechnica.com/2019/06/22/nuclear-power-natural-gas-hit-a-wall-in-us-now-what/  June 22nd, 2019 by Tina Casey  Two developments in the US energy landscape this week call into question the “clean energy” status of nuclear power and natural gas, too. In Rhode Island, state officials torpedoed a proposed natural gas power plant after a massive wave of public opposition. Meanwhile, federal officials greenlighted the sale of New Jersey’s Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey to the company Holtec Decommissioning International, which will take it down atom by atom. So, now what?

The Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant

Decommissioning a nuclear power plant is a tricky business. It’s even trickier in the Oyster Creek case because Holtec intends to deep-six the facility in record time. The company credits its proprietary technology with enabling it to beat conventional timelines, though the Sierra Club is among those questioning Holtec’s ability to accomplish the task at a white-hot pace.

How fast? Well, According to our friends over at Energy Central News, by law the plant has a 60-year window for decommissioning. The NRC has already approved a 15-year schedule ending by 2035. Holtec anticipates completing most of the heavy lifting by 2025, with site remediation to follow.

Presumably New Jersey ratepayers have already chipped in for the cost of decommissioning by paying into an $848 million trust fund over the years of the nuclear power plant’s operation. Holtec expects to add another $46 million in investment income to the fund during decommissioning. We say presumably because anything can happen, but that’s the plan.

If all goes well, Holtec will get the job done within that budget. Still to be settled is where to stash the spent fuel. Holtec anticipates building a facility in New Mexico for that, though critics are already raising environmental justice issues.

Nuclear Power Out, Wind Power In

Oyster Creek’s fate was all but sealed years ago, when environmental groups and local stakeholders began drawing attention to its devastating impact on the ecosystem in Barnegat Bay. Fresh waves of residential and commercial development aren’t doing Barnegat Bay any favors either, but Oyster Creek took the #1 slot in the state’s 2010 list of action steps for restoring the 1,350 square mile estuary.

Critics of the closure plan (the plant pumped out its last kilowatts last fall) had been advocating for keeping the plant open while installing new cooling towers to help restore the bay. In past years they had a key ally: the absence of any handy alternative for the plant’s 636 megawatts.

Now they do. New Jersey is finally beginning to tap its massive offshore wind resources. In the latest development on that score, just last Friday the state tapped Denmark-based Ørsted to build a 1,100 offshore wind farm.

If that sounds big, it is. Ørsted’s so-named Ocean Wind project is the largest ever offshore wind procurement for a US state, according to Reuters.

Did you hear the sound of teeth gnashing? That’s probably former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, known for his alliances with fossil industry stakeholders. New Jersey’s offshore wind industry hit the doldrums under the Christie administration, but his final term ended two years ago and now it’s a different ball of wax.

Natural Gas Hits An Offshore Wind Power Wall

Natural gas stakeholders have been hungrily eyeballing the New England market for growth opportunities, but like New Jersey, Rhode Island has set its sights on offshore wind.

Alex Kuffner of The Providence Journal has the scoop. Take it away, Alex:

In a long-awaited decision with far-reaching implications for the state’s energy regime and environment, Rhode Island regulators on Thursday rejected approval of a proposal to build a $1-billion fossil-fuel burning power plant in Burrillville that would be among New England’s largest.

Ouch! Invenergy, the company behind the 1,000 megawatt Clear River Energy Center, has the right to appeal through the courts. However, like nuclear power fans in New Jersey, fossil energy fans in New England are facing a double whammy: local opposition plus the availability of an alternative, that being offshore wind power.

Friday’s ruling came down on the basis of failure to show need, but — as with the Oyster Creek situation — opponents also had a strong environmental argument. Aside from its contribution to the global climate crisis, the project would take up 67 acres of forest in a “vital wildlife corridor.”

The Town of Burrillville also brought its legal guns to bear against the project. That’s interesting because in past times, a large new power plant would get a favorable reception from local stakeholders as a matter of economic development. According to Kuffner, labor unions did support the project but the locals joined a chorus of opposition from environmental organizations.

Speaking of offshore wind as an alternative, Rhode Island is already planning the next phase of its offshore ventures, and Ørsted’s New Jersey project is just part of that state’s 2030 offshore wind energy goal of 3,500 megawatts.

The nearby states of New York and Massachusetts are also working on ambitious renewable energy plans that include offshore wind.

Whither Nuclear & Natural Gas?


Nuclear stakeholders
 are working overtime to focus attention on the zero emissions aspect of nuclear power plants, but as the Oyster Creek closure demonstrates, other environmental considerations can thwart the growth of the nuclear industry here in the US.

Similarly, the Clear River rejection illustrates how natural gas stakeholders are losing their grip on the “clean” title as public awareness grows over both global warming and local environmental concerns.

Though small in size, New Jersey and Rhode Island are having an outsized impact on the US energy landscape. No wonder US natural gas and nuclear energy technology  stakeholders are looking to the export market for relief.

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June 24, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

“It’s absolutely essential to avoid any form of escalation in the Gulf” – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

UN chief says essential to avoid escalation in the Gulf https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/iran-nuclear-deal-sanctions-europe-1.5186743  Thomson Reuters · Jun 23, 2019  
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attends the Lisboa+21 conference in Lisbon, Portugal on Sunday. (Rafael Marchante/Reuters)

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres warned on Sunday that it is essential to avoid “any form of escalation” in the Gulf as tensions continue to rise following the shooting down of an unmanned U.S. drone this week by Iran.

“The world cannot afford a major confrontation the Gulf,” Guterres said on the sidelines of the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth in Lisbon. “Everybody must keep nerves of steel.”

On Thursday, an Iranian missile destroyed a U.S. Global Hawk surveillance drone, an incident that Washington said happened in international airspace. Trump later said he had called off a military strike to retaliate because it could have killed 150 people.

Tehran repeated on Saturday that the drone was shot down over its territory and said it would respond firmly to any U.S. threat.

CBC EXPLAIN    Tensions between the U.S. and Iran are intensifying. What might come next?

Guterres’ comments come a day after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would impose new sanctions on Iran.

“It’s absolutely essential to avoid any form of escalation,” Guterres added.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, politics international | Leave a comment

The danger of the Trump administration accepting the idea of a ‘limited war’

Washington’s mindset sliding back to ‘limited nuclear war’ says Russian Foreign Ministry,  https://tass.com/politics/1065118  23 June 19. 
Statements by the US officials are clearly designed to justify expanding the Pentagon’s arsenal of nuclear weapons to support the projection of military force around the world,” the diplomat said

MOSCOW, In its approaches to the use of nuclear weapons, the United States is returning to the concept of “limited nuclear war” and for this they could be planning to abandon the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), Deputy Director of the Information and Press Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry Artem Kozhin said on Saturday in a statement.

“It causes great concern to reiterate that the United States is going 60 years back in its approaches to nuclear planning, when the ‘limited nuclear war’ between superpowers seemed acceptable to them and seemed to give a chance to win,” Kozhin said. “This, apparently, is connected to the growing signs of Washington’s desire to renounce its obligations under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty,” the diplomat said.

The United States is ready to make low-yield nuclear warheads a means of blackmailing states for global projection of US military power, Kozhin said. “Statements by the US officials are clearly designed to justify expanding the Pentagon’s arsenal of nuclear weapons to support the projection of military force around the world,” the diplomat said. With such actions, the United States reduces the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, the statement said.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Fears that a nuclear Saudi Arabia will destabise the region. Trump’s secret support.

‘Alarm bells’: Saudi Arabia’s nuclear ambitions cast shadow over the region

Analysts fear Riyadh is seeking to develop the technical capabilities that would allow it to quickly pursue nuclear weapons,  Middle Eastern Eye,  By Maysam Behravesh,23 June 2019  “…….  Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman,  continues to receive extraordinary support from US President Donald Trump’s administration. …..Saudi Arabia’s nuclear and missile programmes are bound to have significant regional implications.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

Iran has NO nuclear weapons program

Dear Trump (and the US Media): Iran Doesn’t Have a Nuclear Weapons Program, Common Dreams, by Juan Cole,  23 June 19   “…….Trump is now citing Iran’s non-existent bomb-making as the reason for his breach of the treaty and not mentioning any of the things the hawks mind.

Iran isn’t making a bomb and gave up 80% of its civilian nuclear enrichment program in the JCPOA.

In fact, there have been no US intelligence assessments that Iran had decided to try to make a bomb since Tehran admitted in early 2003 that it had an enrichment program (it was supposed to report the program to the UN under the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Iran had signed).

Uranium comes in nature in two isotopes, U-238 (very common and relatively inert) and U-235 (rarer and much more volatile). In order to use uranium to fuel a nuclear reactor, it has to be enriched to roughly 3.5% of U-235. If it is enriched to 95% U-235, it can be made to blow up in a thermonuclear explosion, as the US did at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Iran knows how to enrich uranium, but has never enriched to levels above what is considered “Low Enriched Uranium.” The cut-off is above 20% U-235. It has a medical reactor that uses 19.5% enriched uranium.

Although the US CIA has not assessed that Iran has during the past decade and a half had a nuclear weapons program, its civilian enrichment capacities were potentially dual use, so that there was always a chance Tehran might decide to militarize.

I can’t get anybody to believe me on this, but Iran is a Shiite theocracy led by an Ayatollah, and Ali Khamenei has given several fatwas (fatwas or considered legal rulings can be oral) in which he has forbidden the making, stockpiling or use of nuclear weapons. Khamenei rules according to Islamic law, which disallows the deliberate infliction of mass casualties on civilian noncombatants in war. Nuclear weapons obviously target the populations of whole cities and so the ayatollahs consider them tools of Satan.

On the other hand, having the world know that you could whip up a nuclear bomb in short order is a form of deterrence against invasion. Japan has that capability. Iran probably had that capability before 2015.

The 2015 agreement attempted to forestall any move by Iran to develop a nuclear weapons enrichment program (again, it has never done so and says it never would).

Still, for the suspicious, the JCPOA took away the option of quick militarization with four steps:

1. Regular UN inspections of sites for signatures of high-enriched uranium or for plutonium

2. Reduction of number of centrifuges to 6,000, which would take a year to make bomb-grade uranium even if they were turned to that purpose

3. The bricking in and abandonment of a proposed heavy water nuclear reactor at Arak. Heavy water reactors can accumulate fissile material for a bomb faster and easier than light water reactors, so Obama and the UN teamp insisted on this step for Iran.

4. The stockpiles of low-enriched-Uranium (LEU) built up for the medical reactor (and which had come to much exceed the actual needs of that reactor) were cast in a form that prevented further enrichment, and much of it was exported.

Under these circumstances, there is no way Iran can make a bomb without everybody knowing it is trying. It would have to kick out the UN inspectors, build thousands more centrifuges under the gaze of US satellites, etc., etc.

So if what Trump wanted was no Iranian nuke, he had that when he was sworn into office in 2017. By breaching the treaty and refusing to reward Iran’s good behavior by ceasing sanctions, Trump put the US on a war footing with Iran.

He has stopped Iran from selling its oil, a form of blockade that probably amounts to an act of war. He is also stopping European concerns from investing in Iran.

It is frustrating that Trump is dancing on the brink of a war for a purpose that had already been attained. This is why it is bad to elect people to high office who have mental health problems. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/06/23/dear-trump-and-us-media-iran-doesnt-have-nuclear-weapons-program

June 24, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Danger of nuclear bomb convoys in Scotland

Safety risks exposed by nuclear bomb convoy exercise in Scotland, The Ferret, Rob Edwards on June 23, 2019  An emergency exercise imagining an explosion spreading radioactive contamination from a nuclear bomb convoy crash in East Lothian was hampered by communication breakdowns that would have put people at risk.

An official assessment of the exercise by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been passed to The Ferret. It reveals that paper masks worn by the emergency services would have failed to protect them from radioactivity leaking from a damaged nuclear warhead.

During the exercise police could not hear the convoy commander over the radio because he was wearing a respirator. Police also missed vital safety information because they failed to invite the commander to briefing meetings, and were criticised by the MoD for being “unfamiliar” with emergency procedures.

Campaigners condemned the exercise, codenamed Astral Climb, for not testing measures for protecting the public. They accused the MoD of failing to learn from mistakes made in previous nuclear bomb convoy exercises. …….

Convoys comprising up to 20 or more military vehicles transport Trident nuclear warheads by road at least six times a year between the Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Coulport on Loch Long, near Glasgow. and the bomb factory at Burghfield in Berkshire. The warheads have to be regularly maintained at Burghfield.

Though they are meant to be secret, the convoys are often photographed, filmed and followed on social media. They travel close to major centres of population such as Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Manchester and Birmingham.

In May 2018 The Ferret revealed that safety problems plaguing the convoys had risen to a record high, with 44 incidents logged in 2017. A report by campaignershas warned that Scotland was “wholly unprepared” to deal with an accident or an attack on a convoy……..

It took more than two years for the MoD to release the report on Astral Climb in response to a freedom of information request by the campaign group, Nukewatch. The MoD apologised for such a “severe delay” and redacted sections of the report to protect “national security” and “personal information”.

The Scottish co-ordinator of Nukewatch, Jane Tallents, accused the MoD of failing to safeguard the public. “The MoD is now conducting convoy accident exercises which don’t even pretend to test any measures to protect the public from a radiation release,” she said.

“In the past more realistic exercise scenarios still stopped short of actual evacuation and sheltering of the public but at least played out on paper how that might be done. For Astral Climb 2016 the MoD imagined a convoy on a back road it never uses nowhere near any population centres.”

She added: “Nukewatch can only conclude that the MoD itself realises that a robust test of emergency procedures would always show that the public would be put at risk. Therefore they have moved to an annual box ticking exercise with the minimum of information being released to the public.”

Tallents urged the Scottish Government and emergency services to demand more transparency. “The scenarios for future exercises should be set by the regulators and civil emergency services to ensure that they are realistic and challenging,” she told The Ferret.

“Of course the best way to protect the public is to stop transporting nuclear warheads on our roads altogether.”…….

The Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (SCND) described the MoD report on Astral Climb as a “massive cause for concern”. Nuclear weapons were a “major threat” to the health and safety of local communities, it warned……

The Scottish Government pointed out that the transportation of defence nuclear material in Scotland was a reserved matter for the MoD. “The Scottish Government expects any such transportation to be carried out safely and securely and has made this expectation clear to the UK government,” said a spokesperson……..https://theferret.scot/astral-climb-nuclear-bomb-convoy-exercise/

June 24, 2019 Posted by | safety, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UFO Sightings Near Nuclear Facilities

Why Have There Been So Many UFO Sightings Near Nuclear Facilities? https://www.history.com/news/ufos-near-nuclear-facilities-uss-roosevelt-rendlesham  

It started in the 1940s, near A-bomb development sites. More recently, something has been stalking nuclear carrier strike groups.
ADAM JANOS   23 June 19,
Why are so many UFOs being reported near nuclear facilities—and why isn’t there more urgency on the part of the government to assess their potential national-security threat?

Those are questions being asked by a team of high-ranking former U.S. defense and intelligence officials, aerospace-industry veterans, academics and others associated with To the Stars Academy of Arts & Science. The team has been investigating a wide range of these sightings—and advocating more serious government attention.

Their investigations are the subject of HISTORY’s limited series “Unidentified.”

Throughout history, unexplained aerial phenomena (UAPs) have shocked, frightened and fascinated sky watchers. And in the last century, more than a few have been reported in military contexts. In late World War II, U.S. airmen called them “foo fighters”: strange orange flying lights by the French-German border. During the Korean War, some soldiers claimed a blue-green light emitting “pulsing rays” made their whole battalion sick with what, to some, resembled radiation poisoning.

Less known: In the last 75 years, high-ranking U.S. military and intelligence personnel have also reported UAPs near sites associated with nuclear power, weaponry and technology—from the early atomic-bomb development and test sites to active nuclear naval fleets.

“All of the nuclear facilities—Los Alamos, Livermore, Sandia, Savannah River—all had dramatic incidents where these unknown craft appeared over the facilities and nobody knew where they were from or what they were doing there,” says investigative journalist George Knapp, who has studied the UAP-nuclear connection for more than 30 years. Knapp has gathered documentation by filing Freedom of Information Act requests to the departments of defense and energy.

“There seems to be a lot of correlation there,” says Lue Elizondo, who from 2007 to 2012 served as director of a covert team of UAP researchers operating inside the Department of Defense. The program, called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), received $22 million of the Pentagon’s $600 billion budget in 2012, The New York Times reported. Elizondo now helps lead To the Stars’ investigations.

The UFO-nuclear connection began at the dawn of the atomic age.

Nuclear-adjacent sightings go back decades, says Robert Hastings, a UFO researcher and author of the book UFOs and Nukes: Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites. Hastings says he’s interviewed more than 160 veterans who have witnessed strange things in the skies around nuclear sites.

“You have objects being tracked on radar performing at speeds that no object on earth can perform,” Hastings says. “You have eyewitness [military] personnel. You have jet pilots.” Witnesses to these incidents are often highly trained personnel with top security clearances. In recent years, their reports are being corroborated by sophisticated technology.

In late 1948, “green fireballs” were reported in the skies near atomic laboratories in Los Alamos and Sandia, New Mexico, where the atomic bomb was first developed and tested. A declassified FBI document from 1950 mentions “flying saucers” measuring almost 50 feet in diameter near the Los Alamos labs. And Knapp has interviewed more than a dozen workers from the Nevada desert atomic test site, where scores of A-bombs were detonated in the post-WWII years. He says they told him UFO activity was so commonplace there, employees were assigned to monitor the activity.

In the 1960s and ’70s, repeated UFO sightings emerged at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, a storage site for nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). At one such alleged sighting in 1967, former Air Force Capt. Robert Salas says several of those missiles became inoperative at the same time base security reported seeing a glowing red object, about 30 feet in diameter, hovering over the facility. Salas, who commanded ICBMs as a launch officer and later worked in the aerospace industry and at the Federal Aviation Administration, told CNN the “missiles began going into what’s called a ‘no-go condition,’ or unlaunchable.”

Observers can only speculate about the origin of these unexplained phenomena. But the repeated proximity to sensitive defense sites connected to our nation’s most powerful weapons has raised the question of whether they might originate from adversaries—known or unknown.

READ MORE: Are UFOs A Threat to National Security? This Ex-U.S. Official Thinks They Warrant Investigation

The Bentwaters-Rendlesham Forest incident

In late December 1980, air-traffic controllers encountered something alarming near Royal Air Force Bentwaters in England. Used by the U.S. Air Force as a European foothold during the Cold War, Bentwaters housed a secret stash of nuclear weapons in 25 fortified underground bunkers.

“We looked up on the radar scope and saw something…not like anything I’d seen before,” Ivan Barker, a U.S. Air Force air-traffic controller working that night, told HISTORY.com.

Barker, a master sergeant who was second in charge at the facility, says he was an 18-year veteran at that point and knew “about every aircraft in the U.S., NATO and the Soviet bloc.” This object, he says, shocked him and his two colleagues that night with its remarkable speed and maneuverability. On radar, it covered 120 miles in a matter of seconds, he said: “It had to be moving Mach 5, 6, 7 or 8—faster than anything other than possibly a missile.”

As he looked up from the radar to view it directly, the craft moved into close range, slowed and then stopped over the base’s water tower: “Like a helicopter hovering, except with a helicopter you get movement up and down. This was stationary. It was between about 1,500 and 2,000 feet high. The thing was…at least a city block…in diameter.”

Barker says it was shaped like a giant basketball, with portholes around the center, from which lights were emanating outward. “I was shocked… There was nothing aerodynamic about it. Basketballs don’t fly.”

Newspaper headlines reporting on the Rendlesham forest UFO report in Suffolk, England.

Geography Photos/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

It stopped over the water tower for only a few seconds, he said, before reversing course and speeding back the way it came in: “It was like—swish!—it’s gone.”

Barker didn’t report the sighting to his superiors. “You don’t understand what the Air Force did to people who reported UFOs,” he says.

Barker’s story dovetails with that of Col. Charles Halt, Bentwaters’ deputy commander at the time. Halt led a patrol that night to investigate strange colorful lights seen descending into nearby Rendlesham Forest. Halt described to Elizondo what he saw from inside the forest: a red light moving horizontally though the trees, “obviously under some kind of intelligent control.” A laser-like beam, he said, “landed 10-15 feet away from us. I was literally in shock.”

Then the beam’s source quickly left, flying north toward the base, says Halt, who audiotaped the incident at the time. “We could hear chatter on the radios that the beams went down into the weapons storage area.”

Later, his commander played the audio for a general, who dismissed the need for further investigation. They were loath to get involved, says Halt.

Navy sightings in the Atlantic and the Pacific

In recent years, sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena have emerged from America’s nuclear navy.

F-18 fighter pilots from the nuclear-powered USS Theodore Roosevelt carrier strike group saw UAPs almost daily for several months between the summer of 2014 and the spring of 2015 while executing training maneuvers along the Eastern seaboard between Virginia and Florida, witnesses told Elizondo.

“Wherever we were, they were there,” says Ryan Graves, an active-duty F-18 fighter pilot from the USS Roosevelt, who holds a degree in aerospace engineering.

The objects appeared in three shapes, Graves says—some were discs, others looked like a cube inside a sphere, while smaller round objects flew together in formation. All lacked visible engines or exhaust systems. Some tilted, mid-flight, like spinning tops, as seen on an infrared video released by the U.S. Department of Defense in 2017. Graves and another F-18 pilot, Danny Accoin, confirm that video, along with one other released by the government, had been shot by their fellow Roosevelt pilots while in the air.

One UAP, Grave says, almost caused a terrifying collision by zipping dangerously between two planes. An aviation flight-safety report was filed, he says, but never investigated.

Graves says the unidentified objects reappeared once the Roosevelt had deployed to its mission in the Persian Gulf.

“It’s hard to find a prosaic explanation for a carrier battle group being shadowed by unidentified aircraft all the way across the Atlantic, to an area of operations overseas in the Middle East,” says Chris Mellon, former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, who now serves as an integral part of the To The Stars team. “It makes an extremely compelling case for the existence of technologies we didn’t think were possible.”

Leon Golub, a senior astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told The New York Times there may indeed be several “low-probability” prosaic explanations for the Roosevelt sightings. They include “bugs in the [radar’s] code for the imaging and display systems, atmospheric effects and reflections [and] neurological overload from multiple inputs during high-speed flight.”

Still, the Roosevelt reports echo those made by Navy pilots undergoing training exercises on the other side of the country. In November 2004 pilots and radar operators from the USS Nimitz carrier fleet saw a 40-foot long tic-tac shaped object flying just above the ocean while flying 100 miles off the coast of California near San Diego. When F-18 fighter jets were scrambled to approach the object, it accelerated, easily outrunning the supersonic Navy craft.

Increasing attention to the topic

Whereas earlier reports were career-killers for military personnel, there is an increasing openness in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill to taking these sightings seriously as potential threats. In April 2019, the U.S. Navy announced that it was updating its guidelines for how pilots and personnel should report unexplained aerial phenomena—making it easier for military members to report sightings to superiors without facing professional stigma and backlash. And Congress, beginning with former Senate majority leader Harry Reid, has taken more interest in being briefed.

George Knapp says that’s more activity than he has seen in three decades. He, and many others, think it’s overdue.

“At the facilities where we were first designing and building nuclear weapons…at the places where we were processing the fuel…at the facilities where we were testing the weapons…at the bases where we deployed those weapons, on the ships…the nuclear submarines… All those places, all the people working there have seen these things,” Knapp says.

“Are they all crazy?” he continued. “Because if they are, they shouldn’t have their hands on nuclear weapons.”

June 24, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, secrets,lies and civil liberties | 2 Comments