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If Finland joins NATO, it needs a new nuclear weapons policy

Bulletin, By Robin ForsbergAku KähkönenJason Moyer | December 8, 2022

As an aspiring NATO member, Finland must update its nuclear weapons policy. Nuclear weapons are an important pillar of the defensive alliance, which has the official position that for as long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will inherently be a nuclear alliance.

…………… After filing its membership application in May 2022, Finland is now in the midst of its NATO accession process, with only Turkey and Hungary’s approval remaining. In its application, Finland is not seeking any exemptions to its membership and is committing to the alliance fully. This has initiated discussions about its upcoming policy on nuclear weapons.

………………. By applying for full NATO membership without any explicit restrictions, Finland allows itself the opportunity to chart its own decisions on nuclear weapons. But there is one caveat: Under Finland’s current national legislation nuclear weapons are illegal.

……….. By joining NATO, Finland will be allied with countries that have nuclear arsenals—and are prepared to use them if deemed necessary. This aligns with the creed of the alliance: Nuclear weapons are a core component of NATO’s deterrence. This will be the new security reality facing Finland the day it joins the nuclear alliance. Yet, it has not been sufficiently debated what becoming a NATO member will mean for Finland’s approach to nuclear weapons. In part, this is due to interest in both Finland and NATO for a speedy and uncomplicated accession. But there is also a tradition of not debating national strategic security policies in public fora due to the Finns’ high trust in their national authorities. A healthy national debate, however, is needed to improve the understanding of nuclear weapons policies among the Finnish population and their potential impact on Finland’s security.

………… Finland has a history of a strong non-nuclear proliferation policy. In 1968, it was the first country to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and has ever since shown strong support for multilateral non-proliferation and conventional disarmament treaties. But this dogmatism has somewhat wavered in recent years, even before Russia invaded Ukraine.

,……………….. Finland chose to abstain from supporting the treaty [United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW0]…… Experts theorized at the time that Finland abstained from voting not to jeopardize its prospects of joining NATO.

……….. Discussing Finland’s revised nuclear weapons policy is important not to jeopardize the ethics of Finland’s continuous and long-standing support of disarmament and non-proliferation efforts. The debate should also be reflective of the people’s willingness to take part in NATO’s nuclear weapons exercises, activities, or planning.

…… As Finland becomes a party to a nuclear alliance, it must begin the process of updating its nuclear weapons policy.


December 7, 2022 Posted by | Finland, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Another dodgy Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) set up to promote small nuclear reactors

Nuclear SMR developer X-energy to merge with Ares Management-backed SPAC, creating $2B company, Utility Dive, Stephen Singer, Dec. 7, 2022

Dive Brief

  • X Energy Reactor Co., a developer of small modular nuclear reactors and fuel technology, is merging with a special purpose acquisition company backed by private equity firm Ares Management Corp., X-energy announced Tuesday. The deal would establish a combined publicly traded company valued at $2 billion.
  • The company will receive about $1 billion in cash in the trust account of Ares Acquisition Corp., the SPAC, assuming no redemptions by shareholders. Investments and financing commitments include $75 million from Ares Management and $45 million from Ontario Power Generation and Segra Capital Management. 

……………………… X-energy, based in Rockville, Maryland, is advancing nuclear generation through a high-temperature gas-cooled small modular reactor, or SMR, the Xe-100, and its fuel, TRISO-X. The reactor is engineered to operate as a single 80-MW unit and optimized as a four-unit plant delivering 320 MW.

……………………. Edwin Lyman, director of Nuclear Power Safety at the Union of Concerned Scientists, questioned the “fundamental economic justification” for SMRs.

“A small reactor is going to produce more expensive electricity than large ones,” he said.

Backers defend SMRs as benefiting from economies of scale, but that’s not been demonstrated, Lyman said. “It would require a large order book and experience,” he said.

…………………………. At the closing of the deal, which is expected in the second quarter of 2023, the combined company will be named X-Energy Inc. and will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

December 7, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

Ukraine war: Red Cross appeal, Kremlin sees Crimea attack ‘risks’

By Euronews  with AFP, AP, Reuters  08/12/2022

1. Kremlin: Up to Zelenskyy to end Ukraine war

The Kremlin said on Thursday it is up to Zelenskyy to end the military conflict in Ukraine, amid vows by Russia’s president to press on the grinding invasion. 

Ukrainian President Voldymyr “Zelenskyy knows when it may end. It may end tomorrow if he wishes so”, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. 

The Kremlin has long said that Ukraine must accept Russian conditions to end the fighting, demands Ukraine rules out. 

Russia wants Kyiv to recognise Crimea — a Ukrainian peninsula that Moscow illegally annexed [with over 90% residents agreeing in referendum] in 2014 — as part of Russia and give Moscow the land it has captured so far. 

Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian officials have repeatedly rejected those conditions, saying the war will end when the occupied territories are retaken or Russian forces leave them.

2. Kremlin admits ‘risk’ of Ukrainian attacks in Crimea

Russia’s military claims it has shot down a drone near the Sevastapol port which hosts its Black Sea fleet.

Sevastopol Governor Mikhail Razvozhaev said on Telegram that a Russian ship “shot down a UAV over the sea” on Thursday morning.

Russia’s Black Sea fleet was targeted in October in what authorities described as a “massive” drone attack, which damaged one ship and led Moscow to briefly withdraw from the UN-brokered grain deal.

……….. The region has reportedly been hit by several drone strikes in recent months, including one that destroyed a military airfield in August.

The Kerch bridge, which connects the peninsula to the Russian mainland, was also damaged by an explosion that Moscow has blamed on Ukrainian military intelligence.

“There are risks because the Ukrainian side continues to follow its line of organising terrorist attacks,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

……… Deadly explosions have been reported at Russian airbases, located hundreds of kilometres from the Ukrainian border. Moscow blamed Ukraine, which didn’t claim responsibility.

………………………. 3. Ukraine faces ‘significant’ power shortages as Russian strikes persist……………………………….

4. Red Cross calls for more access to Russian and Ukrainian prisoners of war

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has called for more access to visit prisoners of the Ukraine war.

ICRC representatives recently visited prisoners from both sides, amid allegations of abuse and torture.

The delegates were reportedly able to assess the living conditions and treatment of the prisoners and distribute books, hygiene products, blankets, and warm clothes.

But the organisation has expressed frustration that it has not been allowed to visit all POWs, as detailed in the Geneva Convention.

“While the recent visits are important progress the ICRC must be granted unimpeded access to see all prisoners of war repeatedly and in private, wherever they are held,” a statement read.

“We have seen hundreds of POWs, but we still don’t have access to all of them,” a spokeswoman added.

“Families suffer under the burden of not knowing how their loved ones are, whether they are healthy or sick, or even whether they are alive or dead.”………………………………………….. more

December 7, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

US imposes sanctions on six Pakistan companies for unsafeguarded nuclear activities

The US on Thursday designated six companies based in Pakistan on its entity list for unsafeguarded nuclear and missile proliferation activities. 8 Dec 22,

The US on Thursday designated six companies based in Pakistan on its entity list for unsafeguarded nuclear and missile proliferation activities.

The Department of Commerce added as many as 24 companies to the entities list including those from Pakistan, Latvia, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland and United Arab Emirates.

Companies based out of Pakistan are Dynamic Engineering Corporation, EnerQuip Private, Ltd., NAR Technologies General Trading LLC, Trojans, Rainbow Solutions, and Universal Drilling Engineers.

According to a federal register notification, Dynamic Engineering Corporation has been added to the ‘Entity List’ because it poses an unacceptable risk of using or diverting export control items to Pakistan’s unsafeguarded nuclear activities, contrary to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.

Same is the case with Rainbow Solutions, while EnerQuip Private, Ltd., and Universal Drilling Engineers have been added to the list based on their contributions to unsafeguarded nuclear activities and missile proliferation-related activities.

NAR Technologies General Trading LLC and TROJANS have been added to the Entity List under the destinations of Pakistan and the U.A.E., based on their actions and activities that are contrary to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.

Specifically, these companies have supplied and/or attempted to supply items subject to export control to Pakistan’s unsafeguarded nuclear activities and ballistic missile programme.

December 7, 2022 Posted by | Pakistan, safety | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby continues to capture universities

From Rust Belt to Green Belt: Penn State leads nuclear research alliance. Pennsylvania State University, 8 Dec 22,

Led by Penn State, academia, national laboratories and industry have formed the Post-Industrial Midwest and Appalachia (PIMA) Nuclear Alliance to harness carbon-free energy while educating and training the future energy workforce……………………………..

Alliance members include foundational partners University of Michigan Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and the Westinghouse Electric Company. Additional partners include Pennsylvania College of Technology, Idaho National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Morgan Advanced Materials, Pittsburgh Technical, Energy Driven Technologies and Reuter Stokes. Faculty from University of Central Florida, California Polytechnic State University and Cornell University are also participating………………………………

“We aspire to innovate and accelerate the adoption of microreactors – nuclear batteries – and advanced nuclear reactor technology across the regions of PIMA 

December 7, 2022 Posted by | Education, USA | Leave a comment

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.

(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’.

. 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 keeps news on Japan up to date, because our amazing contributor, dunrenard, provides thorough information translated from the Japanese originals.



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


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”.




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       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.


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

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 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 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 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.”

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.

“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.”

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

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

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 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.

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