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Warship crews—from nuclear aircraft carriers to submarines—are falling victim to COVID-19.

April 6, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health, weapons and war | Leave a comment

EDF’s hypocrisy -Hinkley C nuclear construction continued, despite pandemic, as “essential” work

Bridgwater Mercury 4th April 2020 Roy Pumfrey: WHILE EDF has gone halfway by reducing the number of workers on the Hinkley C (HPC) site, the company seems reluctant to shut HPC down completely (‘HPC construction continues’, Mercury, March 24) due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

An EDF statement talked about reducing worker numbers ‘further as work already in progress is completed’, but was not specific about which work was so critical that it couldn’t be terminated now and how much longer it would carry on.

This is in stark contrast to the situation at Flamanville in France (HPC’s sister station) where EDF has stopped all but essential tasks. EDF hides behind the fig leaf of HPC being ‘a project of critical national importance’.

This is simply no longer justified. If it was okay to stop work for three weeks
over Christmas and the New Year, it must be done now when the stakes are
much higher than a holiday. At the same time, EDF promised to take more
effective measures on social distancing. Photographs of workers grouped in
bus queues and using the canteen but clearly less than 2m apart show that
this is all but impossible.

https://www.bridgwatermercury.co.uk/news/18351121.letter-shut-hinkley-c-now/

April 6, 2020 Posted by | health, spinbuster, UK | Leave a comment

A Roosevelt salutes as Hero – the Captain of Theodore Roosevelt nuclear aircraft carrier

This story says nothing about this being a nuclear-powered ship. But underlying this whole thing is the fact of the (probably necessary) culture of secrecy that surrounds all things nuclear. This is yet another example of how the nuclear culture means that it is “preferable” for people to die, rather than have the truth get out.

Captain Crozier Is a Hero, Theodore Roosevelt, my great-grandfather, would agree.  By Tweed Roosevelt, Mr. Roosevelt is a great-grandson of Theodore Roosevelt and the chairman of the Theodore Roosevelt Institute at Long Island University. April 3, 2020  

On Monday, Capt. Brett Crozier, the commander of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, sent a letter to the Navy pleading for permission to unload his crew, including scores of sailors sickened with Covid-19, in Guam, where it was docked. The Pentagon had been dragging its feet, and the situation on the ship was growing dire.  “We are not at war,” he wrote. “Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our sailors.”

After the letter was leaked to The San Francisco Chronicle, the Navy relented. But on Thursday, it relieved Captain Crozier of his command.

In removing Captain Crozier, the Navy said that his letter was a gross error that could incite panic among his crew. But it’s hard to know what else he could have done — the situation on the Theodore Roosevelt was dire.

Ships at sea, whether Navy carriers or cruise ships, are hotbeds for this disease. Social distancing is nearly impossible: The sailors are practically on top of one another all day, in crowded messes, in cramped sleeping quarters and on group watches.

It is thought that a sailor caught the virus while on shore leave in Vietnam. Once on board, the virus took its now predictable course: First a sailor or two, then dozens, and all of a sudden more than 100 were sick.

Captain Crozier received orders to take the ship to Guam, but he was not given permission to offload most of the sailors. The virus was threatening to overwhelm the small medical crew aboard. There was not much time before sailors might start dying.

The captain felt he had to act immediately if he was to save his sailors. He chose to write a strong letter, which he distributed to a number of people within the Navy, demanding immediate removal from the ship of as many sailors as possible. Perhaps this was not the best approach for his career, but it got results…….

The acting secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly, summarily fired the captain, not for leaking the letter (for which he said he had no proof), but for showing “extremely poor judgment.” Many disagree, believing that Captain Crozier showed excellent judgment. He left the ship Thursday night to a rousing hero’s sendoff………   https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/03/opinion/coronavirus-crozier-roosevelt.html

April 6, 2020 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The current crisis aboard the USS Roosevelt lays bare the dangers of blind obeisance to President Trump.

TRUMP BROKE FAITH WITH CAPT. CROZIER AND ALL OUR SAILORS,  Crooked,  KEN HARBAUGH / APR.3.20  More than a dozen members of Congress on Friday condemned the U.S. Navy’s decision to dismiss the Commanding Officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Earlier this week, in a memo leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle, Capt. Brett Crozier accused the Navy of jeopardizing the lives of his crew, by failing to take swift action to mitigate an outbreak of COVID-19 aboard his ship. “Keeping over 4000 young men and women aboard the TR,” he wrote, “is an unnecessary risk and breaks faith with those Sailors entrusted to our care.” ….

How did we reach this point, with the commanding officer of one of America’s most powerful warships pleading for the lives of his crew? The U.S. Navy, like the rest of America’s military, is rigidly hierarchical. It has to be. Deployed forces must be relied upon to carry out the orders of their commander in chief. From day one, every service member learns the importance of adhering to the chain of command. But what happens when the most unreliable link in that chain is its very first one?

President Trump has demonstrated, time and again, that he has no qualms about using the military to advance his personal political ends. He routinely stages uniformed personnel as props for partisan speeches. He treats deployments like political theater, as when he dispatched elements of the 82nd Airborne to the southern border to stoke fears of an immigrant invasion. And he undermines discipline and unit cohesion, pardoning war criminals convicted by military juries.

The rot may start at the top, but it reaches downwards………..

The current crisis aboard the USS Roosevelt lays bare the dangers of blind obeisance to President Trump. When the COVID-19 virus first began to impact the military’s overseas operations, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper warned commanders not to take any action that might surprise or embarrass the White House, or challenge the president’s messaging about the crisis. For those on board the USS Roosevelt, the downstream effect of that order may well be deadly.  …….

How do we support these leaders, those with the courage to challenge blatantly political directives that needlessly endanger the lives of those they lead? To begin with, we must acknowledge what civilian control of the military actually means. It is not simply allegiance to the president. It requires Congress to perform effective oversight. Now, more than ever, America needs its elected representatives to hold military leaders accountable.

By law, every service member has a right to alert any member of Congress about issues within the military, provided no classified information is exchanged. For those in uniform who may not trust their own representatives, there are plenty of young veterans now in Congress (including one bad-ass female Navy pilot), who have no patience with the sycophancy infecting the Pentagon. Many of these representatives have come to the defense of Capt. Crozier.

Most importantly, the American public must do its part. We must remain alert whenever our armed forces are misused by the president. The American military belongs to us, not him. In his letter, Capt. Crozier alludes to the absurd politics behind the catastrophe unfolding aboard the USS Roosevelt. “This will require a political solution,” he writes, “but it is the right thing to do. Sailors do not need to die.” ………..

Ken Harbaugh is a former Navy pilot and nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives. Follow him on Twitter at @Team_Harbaugh. https://crooked.com/articles/trump-betrayed-crozier-sailors/

 

April 6, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Despite propaganda from nuclear/coal front group, NOW IS the time to talk about climate change

This is exactly the time to be talking about climate change, Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Editor, Green Biz Group, Green Biz,  March 31, 2020 –  I rarely get exasperated from reading environmental business media, but a quote last week in a Bloomberg article about sustainability and the U.S. economic crisis got me headed in that direction.

The quote came from Ted Nordhaus, co-founder of the Breakthrough Institute, a research group whose founders, self-described environmentalists, have made a career out of being gadflies — for example, arguing in favor of nuclear power and natural gas, arguing against putting a price on carbon emissions and claiming that there’s no real limit to the earth’s carrying capacity, or that energy efficiency doesn’t work because of something called the “rebound effect.”

I’ll leave it to you to proceed down the wormhole of websites critiquing the group’s analyses. Suffice to say that the Breakthrough Institute has become a darling of the anti-science, pro-pollution conservative right, which frequently cites its work in order to attack environmentalists and climate scientists and their fact-based policy recommendations.

Here’s last week’s quote, in reference to the notion of integrating climate measures into congressional appropriations as we rebuild the economy reeling from the coronavirus pandemic:

…  he says. “It would be tone-deaf to talk about climate change now.”

It’s a specious ploy often used by conservatives. Following a mass shooting, it’s not the right time to talk about gun control. Following a hurricane, it’s not the right time to talk about climate-exacerbated weather events. Following the police shooting of an unarmed black man, it’s not the right time to talk about race relations and inequality.

Of course, later on, when it’s presumably “the right time,” the public’s fickle attention likely has moved on to other front-burner topics.

Just because a problem isn’t in the news doesn’t mean it somehow has been solved. All of the above challenges remain, pandemic or not. And, to varying degrees, they all need to be kept alive, even amid other pressing priorities.

So, Nordhaus is dead wrong: This is exactly the right time to be talking about climate change.

In fact, we need to be talking unapologetically about climate, the clean economy, renewable energy, resilient food systems, sustainable mobility, the circular economy and the Sustainable Development Goals with more vigor than ever…….https://www.greenbiz.com/article/exactly-time-be-talking-about-climate-change

April 6, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Trump blasts the fired navy captain, Brett Crozier

‘He shouldn’t be talking that way’: Trump rips ousted Navy captain, Politico, 5 Apr 20

The president criticized Capt. Brett Crozier in harsh terms for a letter he wrote to Navy leaders notifying them of a spike in coronavirus cases among sailors on his carrier.  Trump said he fully supported Crozier’s removal….

“I thought it was terrible, what he did, to write a letter. I mean, this isn’t a class on literature. This is a captain of a massive ship that’s nuclear powered. And he shouldn’t be talking that way in a letter,” Trump said……

More than 150 Roosevelt crew members have so far tested positive for Covid-19, the Navy said on Saturday. Forty-four percent of the crew has been tested, while more than 1,500 sailors have moved ashore as a smaller crew remains on board to sanitize the ship and keep its essential systems running.

Democrats in the House and Senate are now asking the Pentagon’s top watchdog to investigate whether Modly acted improperly [in firing Captain Crozier]. In a letter to acting Pentagon Inspector General Glenn Fine, 17 Senate Democrats, led by Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, requested a probe of both Crozier’s firing and the carrier’s outbreak……. ……https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/04/trump-brett-crozier-letter-165020

April 6, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

President Trump supports Navy decision to fire Captain Crozier

Trump Backs Dismissal of USS Roosevelt Captain President criticized Capt. Brett Crozier for writing memo pleading for help dealing with coronavirus outbreak at sea, By Andrew Restuccia,  April 5, 2020,

WASHINGTON—President Trump said he agreed with the Navy’s decision to fire Capt. Brett Crozier, the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, after a memo in which the captain pleaded for help with a coronavirus outbreak at sea leaked to the media.

The president said Saturday that it was inappropriate for Capt. Crozier to write the four-page memo in which he demanded that superiors allow him to take the carrier to the port in Guam to offload sailors stricken with Covid-19, the pneumonialike disease caused by the virus….(subscribers only) https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-backs-dismissal-of-uss-roosevelt-captain-11586042319

April 6, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Noam Chomsky on the urgent need to eradicate nuclear weapons

April 6, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Workers at Limerick nuclear station in fear of getting coronavirus

Workers ‘terrified’ at Limerick nuclear plant amid coronavirus, The Mercury, By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-centurymedia.com @MontcoCourtNews on Twitter nnLIMERICK — Contractors working during a refueling project at the Limerick Generating Station are “terrified” they’re working in a “breeding ground” for COVID-19 and expressed concerns about the company’s safety practices during the pandemic.

“I’m in a constant state of paranoia. In my opinion, it’s just a complete breeding ground, a cesspool for this,” said one man, who spoke on condition of anonymity to MediaNews Group out of fear of losing his job.

The contractor said supplemental workers began showing up at the plant days before a Unit 1 refueling outage began on March 27. Montgomery County officials have said they were informed that up to 1,400 contractors may have been summoned to work on the project as a coronavirus outbreak was taking shape in the county.

The first cases of coronavirus were reported in the county on March 7.

The workers interviewed claimed that social distancing measures of standing at least six feet apart, which have repeatedly been recommended by health officials during the outbreak, were not in place at the plant as they initially reported for their jobs.

From the first day I got there, there were no less than 100 people in the training room being processed. I have pictures from that day of people literally sitting on top of each other, no one enforcing social distancing,” the man said on Friday. “There were computer labs for people to take the tests they need to get into the plant, people sitting at every computer elbow to elbow. So, I’ve been concerned since the minute I walked in there.”

During shift changes, he said, people from both shifts congregated in the break room “standing room only, just packed in there.”

“They did not enforce any social distancing whatsoever until this past Wednesday (April 1) when the news got to the media. That’s when they started enforcing some social distancing,” the man claimed. “Being put at risk like this makes us mad.”…… https://www.pottsmerc.com/news/workers-terrified-at-limerick-nuclear-plant-amid-coronavirus/article_934efb34-76a4-11ea-afbe-17495d88f209.html

April 6, 2020 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Trump’s stringent sanctions on Iran could result in a dangerous backlash

WW3 warning: Donald Trump’s grave error may accelerate Iran’s push for nuclear weaponsDONALD TRUMP’S military errors may spark the next world war conflict as his stringent sanctions on Iran could result in a dangerous backlash.  Express UK By GERRARD KAONGA Apr 5, 2020  Tensions between the US and Iran have remained high for years and the killing of general Qassem Soleimani raised fears of World War 3 in early 2020. Iranian expert of Iran International TV Dr Pupak Mohebali warned Iran’s stockpiling of nuclear-rich Uranium and ignoring the rules of the 2015 nuclear agreement may be a response to Donald Trump’s recent military and political actions. During an interview with Express.co.uk, Dr Mohebali claimed Iran stockpiling Uranium could be linked to the US leaving the nuclear agreement in 2018 and the killing of Qassem Soleimani.

Despite the nuclear war fears, she noted it was unlikely Iran was currently stockpiling in a race to create nuclear weapons, at the moment. ,,,,,,,

Earlier in the interview, Dr Mohebali warned one wrong move from either the US or Iran could result in a major conflict.

She claimed if Iran continued to disobey or withdraw from nuclear treaties it could result in stronger sanctions from the US and potentially military intervention.

She said: “I would not say there is one worst-case scenario but more like a domino effect.

“One problematic decision leads to another and another.

“If Iran was to withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) it could bring further diplomatic isolation.

“It might even lead to more international sanctions on the country or cause the US military to start on Iran.” https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1265072/WW3-warning-world-war-3-Donald-Trump-Iran-news-latest-Pupak-Mohebali

April 6, 2020 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Limerick nuclear station worker tests positive for coronavirus

Limerick nuclear plant worker tests positive, raising coronavirus fears during refueling outage https://www.inquirer.com/business/energy/coronavirus-limerick-nuclear-power-plant-refueling-worker-tested-positive-20200403.html, by Andrew Maykuth,  April 3, 2020  One of about 1,400 contract workers involved with the refueling outage at the Limerick nuclear power plant in Montgomery County has tested positive for COVID-19, which is likely to further raise concerns of local officials who have protested Exelon Generation’s decision to proceed with the annual maintenance event.

Exelon notified county health officials that a contract worker at the Limerick Generating Station tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday night. The worker, who is from central Pennsylvania, was last on site on Monday. The areas that the worker used have been decontaminated and plant employees were notified, the company said in a statement.

Two other full-time Limerick workers were diagnosed recently with COVID-19 at the plant, but they have not been on site since March 20, Lacy Dean, director of communications for Exelon Generation, said in a statement.

April 6, 2020 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Pennsylvania Senators concerned about coronavirus response plan at Limerick nuclear plant

Sen. Muth seeks answers about coronavirus response plan at Limerick nuclear plant, The Mercury By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-centurymedia.com @MontcoCourtNews on Twitter, Apr 2, 2020  

LIMERICK — A state senator who represents parts of Montgomery, Berks and Chester counties called upon Exelon to improve its commitment to worker and community safety during a refueling at the Limerick Generating Station amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Thus far, Exelon has provided an inadequate pandemic response plan, withheld information from county and state officials, and failed to prioritize the safety of its employees, contract workers, community first responders, as well as all residents of the 44th senatorial district and entire region,” Senator Katie Muth (D-44th) wrote in an April 1 letter addressed to Exelon executives. “This is grossly irresponsible as Exelon has brought at least 1,400 workers to the epicenter of Pennsylvania’s Covid-19 pandemic.”…….

Arkoosh said she was “deeply concerned” to learn that a number of the estimated 1,400 contract workers were staying at AirBnBs, private homes, campsites, hotels and other rental units in the Tri-county region, which saw its first cases of coronavirus on March 7.

Muth said she too is concerned and asked Exelon officials to provide a complete list of worker accommodations…….https://www.pottsmerc.com/news/coronavirus/sen-muth-seeks-answers-about-coronavirus-response-plan-at-limerick-nuclear-plant/article_7706e28e-7505-11ea-a590-6307cba4e976.html

April 6, 2020 Posted by | politics, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Covid 19 and government responses are affecting nuclear construction world-wide

April 6, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, politics | Leave a comment

The pandemic is being used by Trump administration to help polluting industries

Trump Administration is using a pandemic to hand out gifts to its favorite polluters

The Trump Administration is using COVID-19 to further its dismantling of environmental protection. Environmental Health News, Peter Dykstra 5 Apr 20, “……… far away from the justifiably wall-to-wall coverage of COVID-19, the Trump Administration is unrepentantly using the pandemic to hand out gifts to its favorite polluters.COVID-19 news deeply saddens me. This other stuff infuriates me.

Last week, the American Petroleum Institute (API) sent a 10-page letter to the White House requesting a loosening of regulations, citing the COVID-19-related crash in oil and gas prices and the threat it posed to the fossil fuel industry. The White House, via Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler, granted their wish list and then some.

Past talk warning against the feds “picking winners and losers” in energy went by the boards.

Five days later, Wheeler issued an order that gave API even more than it asked for, calling for a suspension of any enforcement of EPA regulations if any company, fossil fuel-based or not, or local government can prove that COVID-19 was the cause of its failure to comply.

Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, now the President and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council, called the move “an open license to pollute.”

The EPA required companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions. No more. Because coronavirus.

Wheeler also took the heat off entities forced by court-sanctioned consent decrees to fix pollution problems. Because coronavirus.

EPA cut frackers a break on wastewater discharges. Because coronavirus………. https://www.ehn.org/trump-epa-pollution-coronavirus-2645628019.html

April 6, 2020 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear Plant Transfer to go on Despite Coronavirus Concerns

Nuclear Plant Transfer to go on Despite Coronavirus Concerns  https://www.capecod.com/newscenter/nuclear-plant-transfer-to-go-on-despite-coronavirus-concerns/April 5, 2020 PLYMOUTH, Mass. (AP) — Plans to transfer radioactive spent fuel at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth to steel-lined dry casks will go on as scheduled despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Pilgrim permanently shut down last May and was subsequently sold by Entergy Corp. to Holtec International for decommissioning.

There have been concerns about moving the fuel during the pandemic because some of the workers brought in to do the job were from out of state.

A Holtec spokesman says the company understands the concerns and in response, some workers were sent home and requested to self-quarantine for two weeks prior to beginning the work.

April 6, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment