nuclear-news

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

Americans Divided on Nuclear Energy

News Gallup poll. BY LYDIA SAAD, 20 May 22

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • 51% of Americans favor, 47% oppose nuclear energy, similar to 2019
  • Recent views contrast with 2004 to 2015, when majorities backed it
  • Republicans and independents in favor, but not Democrats

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans are evenly split on whether nuclear energy should be a source of electricity in the U.S., with 51% in favor and 47% opposed. Three years ago, the two camps were tied at 49%, while in 2016, the majority (54%) opposed nuclear power.

Americans’ relatively limited support for nuclear energy in recent years contrasts with more solid backing from 2004 to 2015, when majorities of between 53% and 62% favored it.

……………………….. As Gallup has found previously, support for nuclear energy also differs sharply by gender, while it varies modestly by education. Older adults are slightly more positive than those younger than 55, but differences by age have been less consistent over time.

  • Sixty-three percent of men versus 39% of women are in favor of using nuclear energy for electricity.
  • Support by education ranges from 57% of college graduates to 50% of those with some college experience and 45% of those with no college.
  • A 57% majority of adults 55 and older favor nuclear energy, compared with half of 18- to 34-year-olds and 45% of those aged 35 to 54.

……………………………….   https://news.gallup.com/poll/392831/americans-divided-nuclear-energy.aspx

May 21, 2022 Posted by | public opinion, USA | Leave a comment

Say No to Nuclear Power.

Our energy future should consist of modern solar, wind, battery and LED/efficiency technologies, not nuclear reactors. https://progressive.org/op-eds/say-no-to-nuclear-power-wasserman-220518/ BY HARVEY WASSERMAN , MAY 18, 2022

Desperate atomic cultists including Bill Gates are now touting small modular reactors. But they’re unproven, can’t deploy for years to come, can’t be guarded against terrorists and can’t beat renewables in safety, speed to build, climate impacts, price or job creation.  

The nuclear power industry has been pushing the fantasy of yet another “renaissance” of nuclear power, based on the absurd idea that atomic reactors — which operate at 571 degrees Fahrenheit, resulting in substantial greenhouse gas emissions and, periodically, explosions — can somehow cool the planet.  

But the fact is that no more big, old-style light water reactors are likely to be built in the United States. And the current 93 licensed reactors in this country (there are 400-plus worldwide) grow increasingly dangerous every day.

As a green power advocate since 1973, I’ve visited dozens of reactor sites throughout the U.S. and Japan. The industry’s backers portray them as high-tech black boxes that are uniformly safe, efficient and reliable, ready to hum for decades without melt-downs, blow-ups or the constant emissions of heat, radiation, chemical pollution and eco-devastation that plague us all.  

In reality, the global reactor fleet is riddled with widely varied and increasingly dangerous defects. These range from inherent design flaws to original construction errors, faulty components, fake replacement parts, stress-damaged (“embrittled”) pressure vessels, cracked piping, inoperable safety systems, crumbling concrete, lethal vulnerabilities to floods, storms and earthquakes, corporate greed and unmanageable radioactive emissions and wastes — to name a few.

Heat, radiation and steam have pounded every reactor’s internal components. They are cracked, warped, morphed and transmuted into rickety fossils virtually certain to shatter in the next meltdown. 

 

Twice-bankrupt Pacific Gas & Electric of California has been found guilty in the 2010 burning deaths of eight San Bruno residents caused by under-maintained gas pipes.  The company was also convicted in the deaths of more than eighty people when its faulty wires ignited whole northern California forests and towns in a series of fires.  

In 2003, the Perry and Davis-Besse power plants’ operators blacked out 50 million homes in southern Canada and the northeastern United States. The FBI has linked them to a $61-million-bribe handed to the majority leader of the Ohio House of Representatives, and possibly tens of thousands more to the former chair of the state Public Utilities Commission. 

The industry’s “regulators” have turned blind eyes to crumbling concrete at the Seabrook and Davis-Besse facilities, whose “hole-in-the-head” defects almost brought Chernobyl to the shores of Lake Erie. When Diablo Canyon’s resident site inspector warned the plant could not withstand a likely seismic shock, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission shut him up and moved him out.  

The industry’s four most recent reactor construction projects include two at South Carolina’s Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station— totally abandoned after over $10 billion was spent — and two at Georgia’s Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, years late and costing more than $30 billion. Plagued by corruption and incompetence, design flaws and labor problems, Plant Vogtle might never open, especially in light of the astonishing advances in renewable and efficiency technologies, which have completely buried any economic or ecological justification for atomic power, new or old.  

Desperate atomic cultists including Bill Gates are now touting small modular reactors. But they’re unproven, can’t deploy for years to come, can’t be guarded against terrorists and can’t beat renewables in safety, speed to build, climate impacts, price or job creation.  

Our energy future should consist of modern solar, wind, battery and LED/efficiency technologies, not nuclear reactors. Let’s work to guarantee that none of them explode before we get there.  

May 19, 2022 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. extends application deadline for nuclear power rescue program

WASHINGTON, May 18 (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Energy said on Wednesday it has extended a deadline by 47 days, to July 5 for nuclear power plants to apply for federal funding to keep them running.

The first stage of the program is aimed at saving two plants, one in California and one in Michigan.

……. The DOE statement came two days after two industry trade groups, Edison Electric Institute and Nuclear Energy Institute, sent a letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm requesting the extension on behalf of their members.

Under the plan, called theCivilian Nuclear Credit (CNC) program, owners of nuclear reactors that are scheduled to retire would get priority for the first portion of $6 billion in available funding. CNC funding comes from last year’s bipartisan infrastructure law.

Entergy Corp’s (ETR.N) Palisades plant in Michigan, which may be eligible for the funding, is due to shut down on May 31.

Entergy said in an email it was committed to shutting the plant after its Chief Executive Leo Denault said in an earnings call in April that there are “significant technical and commercial hurdles to changing course at this point.”

………. The Diablo Canyon facility in California, owned by PG&E Corp (PCG.N), is scheduled to fully shut in 2025. A company spokesperson said on Tuesday the utility had not yet decided whether to apply for the funds. https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/us-extends-application-deadline-nuclear-power-rescue-program-2022-05-18/

May 19, 2022 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

$40 Billion More for the Ukraine War

We love the Ukraine war !!!

$40 Billion More the Ukraine War: A Wakeup Call for Those Who Still Believe in Lesser-Evilism, Anti-War.com, by Ryan Costello , , The US House of Representatives just approved another massive military “aid” package for the Ukraine War. The Biden administration had initially requested $33 billion in new money for the war, but leaders of both parties in Congress, eager to support the war, quickly said this was not enough, and raised the total for this package to $40 billion, a truly staggering total.

The administration had already spent $14 billion before this latest weapons package. The latest spending spree (at a time when many Americans are struggling with crushing debt loads, lack of baby formula and other key supplies, and skyrocketing inflation) brings the total spent in Ukraine in 3 months to $54 billion on the books (not counting all the dark money for the spy agencies). The official annual budget for the War in Afghanistan averaged $46 billion…The sum the US has already spent on this war in a few months is quickly approaching the annual military budget of the entire Russian military.

This money goes to companies like Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, etc. These merchants of death make up the military industrial complex; they promote the permanent war economy, and have a vested interest in ensuring the US continues to engage in and support devastating wars abroad that destroy whole countries and societies, lead to millions of deaths and untold horrors like what we have seen in Yemen over the past few years.

These same corporate and state ghouls are salivating over the profits to be made in a new cold war with China. In this conflict for global dominance they see a shining opportunity to bleed the taxpayers of this country dry, looking to get blood from a stone in our country where the rich pay and big corporations no real taxes, but the middle class and poor are bled dry, being pushed deeper and deeper into debt-peonage and wage slavery by rising tax rates, shrinking paychecks, and red hot inflation (itself a result of the Federal Reserve’s reckless money printing to bailout the banks numerous times since 2008).

And yet not one of the so-called progressive Democrats could find a spine to stand against this weapons package. Not AOC, not Ilhan Omar, not any of them. This is not so surprising when one considers their spinelessness on Yemen (introducing a War Powers Resolution under Trump, knowing he would veto it, bur refusing to do so now that Biden is president), their posturing around Palestine (where they consistently rotate turns supporting more military funding for Israel), and countless other betrayals and hypocrisies.

Of all the “squad” only Cori Bush has released a statement justifying her vote for the bill. The others have remained silent and refused to respond to requests for comment on why they voted to fund the war machine after so many promises (clearly hollow) to end “the forever war.” Bush’s statement, like the entire legacy of the Squad, is a pathetic excuse for progressive politics. First, she claims that this $40 billion in military funding is about “strengthen[ing] the Ukrainian people’s fight against oppression and tyranny.” She makes no mention of the fact that key US leaders from Hillary Clinton to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs have made it clear that they want this war to drag out as long as possible to bleed Russia. 

In the course of such a prolonged conflict, we can only imagine the cost the people of Ukraine will pay. In short, this bill is both about padding the pockets of the military industrial complex and also about sacrificing Ukraine to weaken Russia as a rival to the US and NATO. As many have noted, the US elite are more than happy to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian.

At the end of her statement, Bush includes a hollow note that “The sheer size of the package given an already inflated Pentagon budget should not go without critique. I remain concerned about the increased risks of direct war and the potential for direct military confrontation.” This is akin to helping someone pour gasoline on a fire, and then saying that one remains concerned about the risk of the fire spreading! This is what we can expect from Bush, the squad, and the entire so-called progressive wing of the democratic party…………………..

The time has come to cast aside illusions about our so-called representatives in Washington, to stop believing in the lie of the Democratic Party as the supposed lesser of two evils, and to redouble our efforts to build up a renewed antiwar movement. Likewise, while a few dozen Republicans voted against the $40 billion, this is no reason for optimism that the Republican Party can be a vehicle for real change. During the Iraq War, once the protests swelled in size, many Democrats made court theater by feigning opposition to the war when Bush was president, only to support continued escalations and drone strikes once Obama was elected. As Howard Zinn notes over and over again in A People’s History of the United States, the two parties are part of one unified system of corporate monopoly rule. They exist to co-opt, mislead, and ultimate destroy movements that seek to change this system of oligarchical control of nearly every aspect of our country.

As long as we remain beholden to the Democrat or Republican Party politics, our movements will be gobbled up, defanged, and spat back out; regurgitated as pliant pawns of the corporate state and the military industrial complex, able to offer only the mildest of criticisms, and utterly impotent and unable to stand against the machinations of the megalomaniacs who run this country and are driving us all towards the brink of WWIII.

Ryan Costello is an organizer in New York City with United Against War and Militarism and a member of the Yemen Peace Vigil  https://original.antiwar.com/ryan_costello/2022/05/15/40-billion-more-the-ukraine-war-a-wakeup-call-for-those-who-still-believe-in-lesser-evilism/

May 17, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby happily predicts a bright and beautiful future for new nuclear reactors in Ukraine

Ukraine planning for post-war nuclear power plants, WNN,16 May 2022 Energoatom’s CEO Petro Kotin says that construction work on two new Westinghouse AP1000 units at the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant “will begin as soon as the war is over”.

In an interview with vesti.ua, he said that the agreement signed with Westinghouse covered the construction of five units in total, with the other three units to be distributed at the country’s other existing nuclear power plants.

Kotin said that in addition to those five units “we are looking at new sites. The most promising thing we are working on now is the Chyhyryn site in the Cherkasy region, where a power unit was planned to be built in Soviet times. There was a plot allocated for this and there are good conditions, the population is positive about the construction of such a facility. It is the centre of Ukraine, there is a high-power transmission line nearby, and a lot of water, which is important for a high-capacity nuclear power unit.”

He said that they would also create a garden city out of Orbita, the part-built town that was largely abandoned when the nuclear power plant plans were halted more than three decades ago.

…………………  Kotin said there needed to be rules agreed in cases of such aggression in future against a civilian nuclear facility and agreement on “how to protect it, what actions should be taken by the the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at the international level”. One measure Ukraine has wanted enforced was the adoption of a 30 kilometre non-military zone around nuclear facilities.

…………….. Another issue raised was that Ukraine currently has “a lot of capacity that is in reserve due to the reduction of electricity consumption in Ukraine”, which, he said, could be exported. And, on Monday, Interfax Ukraine reported that Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said at a government meeting Ukraine planned to resume additional power lines with Poland “to export electricity from Ukrainian nuclear power plants…………  https://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Ukraine-planning-for-post-war-nuclear-power-plants

May 17, 2022 Posted by | politics, spinbuster, Ukraine | Leave a comment

New South Korean President plans to reverse the nuclear phaseout policy

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol was formally inaugurated on 10 May.
He is committed to strengthening the nuclear power sector, reversing the
policy his predecessor, President Moon Jae-in of phasing out nuclear power
adopted in 2017. Investing in nuclear energy formed part of the platform on
which Yoon fought the election.

 Nuclear Engineering International 13th May 2022

https://www.neimagazine.com/news/newssouth-korea-expected-to-end-nuclear-phase-out-9696004

May 17, 2022 Posted by | politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

Radioactive: Inside the top-secret AUKUS nuclear submarines deal

A nuclear subs deal would lock Australia more tightly into the US bloc.

Shearer managed to sidestep the Russian roulette of Australia’s vaccine rollout with the help of doctors at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.……….

My sources didn’t put it quite this bluntly, but everyone in the room understood that this was about Australia acquiring the power to pose a direct threat to China’s forces and the Chinese mainland.

 Campbell made a crucial choice by appointing Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead…...

Secret meetings and subterfuge over many months shored up Australia’s “40-year fantasy” of a mighty nuclear marriage with the US and the UK.

SMH, By Peter Hartcher MAY 14, 2022 When Joe Biden was first briefed on Australia’s request for nuclear-powered submarines, he did not say “yes”. He was cautious, even sceptical. Among his doubts was whether Australia was up to it………….

The Australians were asking for the crown jewels in the national security vault. one of America’s remaining decisive advantages over China. The US had shared its nuclear sub secrets with only one nation, Britain, in 1958. Much had changed since.

The transformational power of nuclear-propelled subs is that they could allow Australia to pose a direct threat to the Chinese mainland. For the first time. It had come to that.

With unlimited range because they never need to refuel, and with vertical launch tubes for firing missiles, a nuclear-propelled submarine could stand off China’s coast and threaten it with cruise missiles.

Australia’s existing fleet of submarines, the six diesel-powered Collins class, is equipped with torpedo tubes only. Which means it can fire torpedoes at targets in the water but not missiles at targets on land.

But it had been a 40-year fantasy of Australian governments to get American nuclear propulsion. Canberra had been turned down every time. Indeed, no earlier request had even reached the president’s desk. The US Nuclear Navy, guardians of the technology, had ruled it out of the question.

Now the Australian appeal had the president’s full attention. The briefing paper in front of him ran through the positives and negatives of such an arrangement –it did not contain a recommendation.

On the positive side of the ledger, the top consideration was that it would help counter China. The People’s Liberation Army Navy has the advantage over the US in warfighting on and above the ocean. Arming an ally with nuclear-powered subs would help blunt China’s edge.

Nuclear-propelled submarines “are fast, they have stamina, they bring a whole spectrum of weapons, and if you are China, how are Australian and US forces working together?” poses the former chief of US Naval Operations, retired Admiral Jonathan Greenert.

“You don’t know their sovereign decisions. Your imagination is your biggest nightmare – what could they be doing? They can reposition fast, 25 knots [46km/h] for a full day. If an adversary says, ‘I’ve got a detection of a nuclear sub’, great – when? Two days ago. Then you draw a circle on the map and see where it might be. It’s a big circle.”

The US today has 68 submarines, all nuclear-powered. China has an estimated 76 subs, of which 12 are nuclear-powered. But the US fleet is shrinking as it retires older subs faster than it can build new ones. China’s nuclear-powered fleet is expanding. The AUKUS agreement aims to help Australia acquire eight.

Second, it would cement the alliance with Australia. Just a few years earlier, many in the US foreign policy community including Campbell had tipped Australia to be the ally most vulnerable to China’s influence, that it would “flip” and align with Beijing.

Instead, Australia had “set an incredibly powerful example” for the world in standing up to China, as Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview this year. A nuclear subs deal would lock Australia more tightly into the US bloc.

Third, it would help the US to deter China’s expansion through the Indo-Pacific. It would signal US commitment to the region and to US allies, reassuring other Indo-Pacific nations who might be doubting American staying power. “The president said, ‘this could be quite powerful’,” according to an official who was present.

But on the other side of the ledger, Biden himself raised four big concerns with the Australian request. First was nuclear proliferation. Since the deal with Britain in 1958, Washington, London and Canberra, among others, had signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. If we give the Australians this technology, won’t we be in breach of the treaty, Biden wanted to know?

Second was the response from China. How will Beijing react if we agree to this? Will it provoke Xi Jinping into accelerating his own naval build-up, into getting more aggressive?

Third was Australia’s capability. Would the Australian political system be capable of bipartisan commitment for the decades required? Is Australian politics stable enough? Could Australia afford the price tag?

Fourth, would the US Nuclear Navy be prepared to deliver? This had been the obstacle to every other Australian inquiry. This elite priesthood is the guardian of the fast, stealthy, underwater Doomsday machines that are America’s last line of defence.

America’s nuclear warfighting is structured on a “triad” – ground-based, airborne and undersea forces. The ground-based and airborne forces are the most vulnerable to enemy attack. But even if these are destroyed in a surprise first strike by an enemy, its nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed subs are designed to survive, undetected in the dark depths, to deliver annihilation to the enemy. By guaranteeing “second strike” capability, they deter any adversary from even thinking about launching a first.

Australia was not asking for nuclear weapons; it was content to arm its subs with conventional missiles. And Canberra was not so much concerned about nuclear Armageddon. Australia has entrusted that responsibility to the US, sheltering under America’s nuclear “umbrella”. Australia was feeling threatened by China and wanted the capacity to threaten it in return.

As the discussion around the White House table unfolded last year, other concerns emerged. The group included Secretary of State Blinken, Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Mark Milley.

What if we attempt this three-way agreement with Australia and Britain and it fails? The credibility of all three nations would be damaged. Have the Australians consulted fully with the French about their contract? Do we risk alienating one ally to gratify another?

The meeting broke up without a decision and with big questions needing to be answered. In the meantime, Australia had a contract with Paris – and French President Emmanuel Macron was deeply invested in it………..

In France, national pride and national honour were engaged, not to mention French economics – it was the biggest defence export contract France had signed, and the biggest Australian acquisition. The contract value was $50 billion but adjustments for inflation and extras took the total deal to at least $90 billion.

………………………………… Towards the end of 2019, Morrison started to ask his closest advisers about fallback options, including nuclear-propelled ones.   They told him of the joyless history of Australian requests for nuclear propulsion and that the likelihood of getting the technology from the US or Britain was “very, very low”. And they warned him that Australia would need a civil nuclear industry. Without one, it couldn’t maintain the nuclear reactors that drive the boats. On March 19, 2020, two months after the Audit Office report, the prime minister took the first formal step towards exploring contingencies.

…….  Secretly, he asked the secretary of the Defence Department, Greg Moriarty, for a discussion paper about all the options, including nuclear-propelled ones. He had the result within a fortnight……

Morrison decided to take the next step regardless. In May, 2020, he asked Moriarty and the military co-leader of the Defence Department, Chief of the Defence Force, General Angus Campbell, to form a small, expert group to see whether it was feasible for Australia to acquire and operate nuclear-powered subs. The top-secret exercise was led by the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan.

It came back with the conclusion that it was potentially feasible, but on two conditions. One, it was only possible with the help of the US, Britain or both. This was the only way Australia could operate nuclear-powered subs without setting up a civil nuclear industry to support them.

America and Britain use highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium to run their subs’ reactors. That means the reactors don’t need refuelling for the life of the boat itself, some 30 years.

Two, the same consideration ruled out the French nuclear-propelled sub, the big Barracudas Macron had launched so proudly, as an option. The French use low-enriched uranium, meaning their reactors need to be refuelled every decade or so in a lengthy process called full-cycle docking. This would keep the Australian fleet permanently dependent on Paris.

Moriarty’s opinion was that this would not be a sovereign Australian capability. Unless Australia started its own civil nuclear industry to refuel and maintain the reactors, something which Morrison would not countenance.

Tantalised, Morrison immediately asked Defence to contact the Pentagon to test its assumptions. Through a series of secure video conferences between the Pentagon and Defence’s headquarters on Russell Hill, the US Navy gave a guarded endorsement, summarised by an Australian official: “There’s nothing in your thinking that’s completely implausible”. But there was no enthusiasm from the Americans and certainly no commitment to help.

For the prime minister, this was a “game changer” nonetheless, as he’s described it to colleagues. The revelation: It was possible to have a nuclear-powered attack submarine, or SSN as navies call it, without needing to service the reactor.

To now, Morrison had briefed only two members of his cabinet, Linda Reynolds and the Foreign Affairs Minister, Marise Payne. But now that he envisaged raising the idea with the American president and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he decided to widen the circle.

When he briefed Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, he met an enthusiastic response. He remarked that the politics in the three capitals of Washington, London and Canberra seemed to be in alignment. “You could never do this deal with (the former leader of British Labour) Jeremy Corbyn,” said Frydenberg. “When a gate like this opens, you go through it.”

But what of the multibillion-dollar cost of cancelling the French deal and the far greater cost of building SSNs? “Everything is affordable if it’s a priority,” was the treasurer’s attitude. “This is a priority.”

Morrison then took it to the National Security Committee of his cabinet. This is the overarching mechanism for co-ordinating defence and security and includes top officials and ministers responsible for defence, foreign affairs, home affairs and intelligence. It gave Morrison the green light to take it further. “It was a high level of secrecy because there was no guarantee we could pull it off,” Morrison told colleagues. He didn’t want to disrupt progress with the French toward a conventional sub in case he failed with the Anglo American nuclear option, and end up with neither.

Morrison kept it so tight that the PM’s personal permission was required before any official could be brought into the charmed circle, a top civil servant explained. “So if anything leaked, you knew you’d be personally accountable to the PM himself,” said the official.

………….  Australia then, and now, had no long-range strike capability whatsoever. None on land, none in the air force, none in the navy. The ADF was set up for counterinsurgency wars as part of a US alliance like those in Afghanistan and Iraq, and low-level conflict in the Pacific Islands like the missions in East Timor and the Solomons, but was unprepared for high-intensity warfighting with a capable nation state.

Reynolds tasked the Capability Enhancement Review with recommending the strike power Australia needed. One part was to be the nuclear subs project. Campbell made a crucial choice by appointing Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead………

Eventually, the moment arrived for Australia’s first approach to the Biden White House. ……

In May 2021, the moment came. The director-general of Australia’s peak intelligence assessment agency, the Office of National Intelligence, Andrew Shearer, was planning a routine visit to Washington to consult with his US counterparts. He’d been briefed on the nuclear subs project. Would you like me to broach it with the White House, he asked the prime minister? Morrison agreed. Shearer managed to sidestep the Russian roulette of Australia’s vaccine rollout with the help of doctors at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade………..

Shearer and Campbell had known each other for decades. He explained what Australia wanted. “As China’s capability advances, we need to have submarines capable of meeting it. We need to be able to operate without the risk of easy detection by the Chinese,” Shearer said, according to the participants.

…………..  My sources didn’t put it quite this bluntly, but everyone in the room understood that this was about Australia acquiring the power to pose a direct threat to China’s forces and the Chinese mainland.

Sullivan and Campbell immediately were interested. Biden has described the US rivalry with China as “the competition for the 21st century”. With this request, Australia was choosing sides emphatically.

……………  Shearer emphasised that Australia had no intention of developing a civil nuclear industry or developing nuclear weapons. He said that Canberra was satisfied it could operate the subs while preserving Australia’s strong record on nuclear non-proliferation.

Sullivan and Campbell had lots of questions about Australian technological, personnel and financial capacity but the potential killer at this threshold meeting was Australian politics. “We asked lots of questions about politics,” said Campbell. “Would this be contentious? Would this hold?”

Bipartisan political commitment, Labor and Liberal, was a prerequisite, the Americans said. “This would be a military marriage. It would have to hold over decades.”

………….   when Shearer returned to Canberra he made clear to Morrison and his other colleagues that the White House had set political bipartisanship as a non-negotiable condition. “If Albo says ‘no’, the deal will be dead,” as Australia’s ambassador to Washington, Arthur Sinodinos, put it to colleagues.

……..  the prime minister decided not to brief Labor leader Anthony Albanese for five months. He briefed him on the day before the deal was to be announced in a three-way piece of theatre with Morrison, Prime Minister Johnson and President Biden. It was high stakes on a very tight deadline.

This is part one of a two-part series by Peter Hartcher examining the AUKUS deal. The series concludes on Sunday, May 15.  https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/radioactive-inside-the-top-secret-aukus-subs-deal-20220510-p5ak7g.html

May 14, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics | Leave a comment

The Insanity Of Expanding Nuclear Energy

  https://emagazine.com/the-insanity-of-expanding-nuclear-energy/ Sarah Mosko May 10, 2022

Former nuclear regulatory top dogs from the United States, France, Germany and Great Britain issued a joint statement in January strenuously opposing any expansion of nuclear power as a strategy to combat climate change. Why? There is not a single good reason to build new nuclear plants. Here are ten solid reasons not to.

1. Nuclear is too slow to tackle climate change. The new generation of proposed commercial nuclear plants, so called Advanced and Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), are at best decades away in designing and building. The latest report from the International Panel on Climate Change makes clear that limiting global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) means “achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions globally in the early 2050s.” Wind and solar farms can be up and running in just a few months or years. Renewables can power the world by 2050, according to financial think tank Carbon Tracker.


2. Nuclear energy is too costly. 
Renewables like wind and solar are already the world’s cheapest form of energy, and their prices continue to tumble. By 2019, utility-scale renewable energy prices had already fallen to less than half that of nuclear. Together with lower natural gas prices, there has been little momentum in the United States to construct new nuclear plants for decades. Expanding nuclear power would translate into higher energy costs for consumers.

3. Nuclear is neither carbon-free nor non-polluting. While it’s true that the electricity produced by an operating nuclear plant doesn’t emit carbon dioxide, mining and enrichment of uranium are carbon intensive and pollute the air with potent greenhouse gases called chlorofluorocarbons. Radioactivity releases into air and water from nuclear plants are routine. And, the United States has already accumulated 85,000 metric tons of highly radioactive commercial spent fuel waste, the most dangerous pollutant known to man.

4. The problem of permanent disposal of nuclear waste remains technically unsolvable for the short or long term. Though the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 mandated construction of a permanent deep geologic repository to safely isolate nuclear waste for a million+ years, four decades hence there is literally no progress. Consequently, the nation’s commercial nuclear plants are, for the foreseeable future, de facto nuclear waste dumps.

8. The nuclear meltdowns at Chernobyl, Fukushima, and Three Mile Island demonstrated there is no room for human error or natural disasters when it comes to anything nuclear. Moreover, human civilizations come and go: The Roman Empire lasted short of 1,000 years. Humanity can’t ensure the safety of even our current nuclear reactors let alone ensure that future civilizations will stay clear of nuclear waste dumps for the next million+ years.

9. Nuclear plants are sitting ducks for terrorist attacks, whether still operating or storing nuclear waste. Dry storage canisters are stored onsite in the wide open in so-called Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations. Vulnerability to malfeasance was driven home recently by the ease with which Russia captured both the Chernobyl site and the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant early in the invasion of Ukraine

 10. The idea that SMRs can save the day is magical thinking. SMRs are a completely unproven concept. On the order of ten thousand SMRs would be needed to impact climate change in time. This would create thousands more radioactive dump sites and as many opportunities for both nuclear accidents from human error or natural disasters and weapons proliferation from the plutonium generated by nuclear reactors.

Getting to net zero carbon emissions by the early 2050s requires the greatest reduction in carbon emissions in the shortest time and at the lowest cost. That nuclear can’t deliver on this and should be banned is the outspoken position of the former head of the Nuclear Regulatory commission, Gregory Jazcko.

The “all hands on deck” approach espoused by too many politicians to explain support for new nuclear is blatantly faulty, given that every dollar misspent on new nuclear is a dollar not invested in energy efficiency and faster, cheaper renewables. Expanding nuclear will actually retard progress on solving the climate crisis.

No matter what the misguided motivations of some politicians, our duty as informed citizens is to demand that they abandon the deadly pursuit of new nuclear energy and commit to shutting down our aging nuclear reactors. 

May 12, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics | Leave a comment

Devious nuclear zealots at it again in Ohio – new Bill to lead to subsidising ”next-generation nuclear reactors”

Lyman and Bradford found it odd for HB 434 to follow so soon on the heels of HB 6, the nuclear and coal bailout law at the heart of Ohio’s ongoing corruption scandal.

You’d think after that fiasco the legislature would be a little more cautious,”

Ohio bill would open door to subsidize next-generation nuclear power work, Nuclear power critics say the legislation could amount to a blank check for private companies researching nuclear reactor technology, while supporters say it would create jobs and bring in federal contracts. Energy News Network,  by Kathiann M. Kowalski 10 May 22,

Three years ago, Ohio lawmakers attempted to bail out the state’s aging nuclear power plants with a law to make utility customers pay more than $1 billion in subsidies for those former FirstEnergy plants.

The nuclear subsidies were eventually repealed, but now some lawmakers are pushing legislation to help private companies develop a type of next-generation nuclear technology in the state known as a molten salt reactor.

House Bill 434 does not include any direct funding but would establish a state nuclear development authority meant to attract federal research contracts. It would also be eligible for state economic development funding and would have the authority to acquire property.

Representatives of a Cleveland-based nonprofit organization, eGeneration   [who are they?], testified for the bill and stressed the potential benefits of developing the project in Ohio. Supporters say the technology could generate carbon-free power for centuries using spent fuel depleted at conventional nuclear power plants or by converting thorium into fuel.

Critics see the bill as another attempt by Ohio lawmakers to favor a particular form of generation. They’re also concerned about the potential lack of transparency with state economic development spending, much of which is handled by a group not subject to the state’s public records law. The Ohio Nuclear Free Network calls the bill a “radioactive taxpayer subsidy.”  

What the bill would do

HB 434 would set up an Ohio nuclear development authority with members appointed by the governor after a nomination process resembling that of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. The authority, in turn, would be within the state’s Department of Development……..

The nuclear authority set up by the current bill would seek authority from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or Department of Energy for the research and development of advanced nuclear technology. And it would promote commercialization of that technology, ranging from the manufacture of components to treatment, storage and disposal technology for spent fuel……………………….

Sarah Spence, executive director of the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum, testified in favor of the bill. The group supports energy innovation in Ohio and aims to promote an all-of-the-above strategy, she said. Nonetheless, she said, the group would have concerns if in practice the bill were used to subsidize one or two companies at the expense of others.

An unknown price tag

Under HB 434, the newly formed state nuclear authority would perform “an essential government function [on] matters of public necessity for which public moneys may be spent and private property acquired.” But the bill doesn’t hint how much money might be spent.

Any fiscal impacts wouldn’t be known until an agreement with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or Energy Department is in place, Stein said. 

HB 434’s lack of spending limits is a red flag for critics like Connie Klein, an organizer for the Ohio Nuclear Free Network. An early version of a similar bill introduced by Stein in 2019 would have written eGeneration’s role into the law and let it spend up to $1 million per year

Meetings of the nuclear authority would be deemed public meetings. But the nuclear authority could use staff or experts at the Department of Development, which delegates many activities to JobsOhio, a statutorily created corporation that is exempt from Ohio’s public records law. Funding for JobsOhio comes from Ohio Liquor pursuant to a partnership with the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Liquor Control.

The Department of Development did not return a phone call seeking clarification of what role JobsOhio might play if HB 434 is enacted. 

“It’s hard to know who’s going to be more disappointed — the citizens of Ohio if that bill becomes law and they actually spend any money trying to promote a molten-salt thorium-based reactor, or the promoters of the bill if anyone takes a serious look at how much it would cost actually to incubate a thorium fuel-cycle in Ohio,” said Peter Bradford, a former Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner who has also served as utility regulator in New York.

“Nuclear power’s biggest problem is its cost,” and thorium-based molten salt reactors are more expensive than other designs, Bradford said. “Also, they are at least a decade away from being licensed and building a prototype, which would still have to prove itself to be reliable and economically competitive, which it is unlikely to be able to do.” He estimates it would take about $10 billion to build a prototype, but it probably wouldn’t be able to produce power economically.

Additionally, it’s unclear what, if anything, the bill could actually authorize without a go-ahead from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or the Department of Energy. The nuclear authority couldn’t build a molten salt reactor on its own without a federal go-ahead. Stein said a legislative resolution had requested a delegation of authority from the federal government some years ago, but that has yet to happen.

“It’s not obvious really that [HB 434] does much more than lend comfort to the tub thumpers for thorium or small reactors generally,” Bradford said.

Simply no guardrails’

Ed Lyman, director of nuclear safety for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said that to his knowledge the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has not licensed any authority to a state for licensing a molten salt reactor.

Moreover, Lyman said, “there’s already a lot of work on the federal level” focused on small nuclear reactor designs. Although Elysium Industries has done some limited work funded by the Department of Energy, big players at that level haven’t lined up behind the Ohio bill, Lyman said.

“There isn’t one technology,” for small nuclear reactors, said Jess Gehin, associate laboratory director for the Nuclear Science and Technology Directorate at Idaho National laboratory. The Department of Energy is doing research and working with companies on a range of technologies, including water-cooled and gas-cooled designs, as well as some in the molten salt arena. 

But other designs are closer to coming online than the molten salt reactor envisioned by HB 434’s supporters.

“A molten salt reactor isn’t going to be the next one over the finish line,” Gehin said.

Neither Elysium Industries nor eGeneration responded to requests for comment. Meanwhile, Lyman and Bradford found it odd for HB 434 to follow so soon on the heels of HB 6, the nuclear and coal bailout law at the heart of Ohio’s ongoing corruption scandal.

“There is not even a requirement that there be board members well versed in energy economics or selecting among energy resources or consumer protection or environmental protections,” Bradford said. “There’s simply no guardrails or safeguards against any of the abuses that Ohio citizens or customers have suffered in the last five or six years, which is pretty breathtaking.”

“You’d think after that fiasco the legislature would be a little more cautious,” Lyman said.

HB 434 passed in the Ohio House at the end of March. Hearings have not yet been scheduled in the Ohio Senate’s Energy and Public Utilities Committee. https://energynews.us/2022/05/10/ohio-bill-would-open-door-to-subsidize-next-generation-nuclear-power-work/

May 12, 2022 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Tulsi Gabbard Says Biden Is Risking Nuclear War With Russia Over Ukraine

NewsWeek, BY GERRARD KAONGA ON 5/11/22  Speaking to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on Tuesday night, former Democratic Representative for Hawaii Tulsi Gabbard warned Joe Biden and his administration to take the threat of nuclear war by Russia seriously and said that Russia has been clear it is not ruling out the use of nuclear weapons.

“What [U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin] is not telling the American people is that Russia has also made it clear that if we even get close to ‘winning’ or achieving this mission and goal he has outlined, Russia has said very clearly they will have no other option than to resort to the use of nuclear weapons.

“Starting first with tactical nuclear weapons and, if necessary, escalating to the use of strategic nuclear weapons.

“This is not fear-mongering to point this out, the American people need to know this is the track that this administration has put us on and [that] very dire consequences will occur if we continue down to this path. This is the reality we are facing.”

She also said that the real intention of the U.S. government is not to defend Ukraine but the “destruction of the Russian state.”

A clip of her interview has gone viral on Twitter and has been viewed over 150,000 times.

“The Biden administration policies, words and actions, it has just been made very clear to us what their real goal is and their real goal is the destruction of the Russian state,” she said.

She went on to quote Austin and comments he made in April on Russia and the war in Ukraine………….

Under Russia’s official military deployment principles, the country is allowed to use nuclear weapons when Russia’s enemies are using nuclear weapons or other types of weapons of mass destruction on Russian territories and/or its allies; if Russia receives reliable data on a launch of ballistic missiles attacking its territory or that of Russian allies; if Russia’s critical government or military sites are attacked by the enemy in a way that would undermine nuclear forces’ response actions; or if the country faces an existential threat through the use of conventional weapons. https://www.newsweek.com/tulsi-gabbard-joe-biden-russia-nuclear-weapon-ukraine-tucker-carlson-1705505

May 12, 2022 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Meet the nuclear booster who could unseat an energy appropriator

  E&E

By Timothy Cama | 05/10/202

Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur is likely facing her toughest reelection battle yet from a former nuclear energy worker who has been linked to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol and the QAnon conspiracy theory.

J.R. Majewski, a political newcomer, emerged this week as the winner of a four-way primary to be the Republican nominee for northwestern Ohio’s 9th District, centered in Toledo, in this year’s midterm elections (E&E Daily, May 4).

Kaptur, who chairs the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, has rarely faced a competitive election and is the longest-serving woman in the House with nearly four decades of tenure, owing in part to the strong Democratic lean in her district.

But in the redistricting process, GOP state lawmakers redrew the 9th District to include more rural areas and give Republicans a significant leg up. Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a project of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, rates the race a “toss-up.”

Majewski entered the race a year ago, before the district was made more Republican. But

But redistricting has significantly increased the chances he could go to Congress next year………..

Majewski’s campaign did not respond to requests for an interview. But in other media interviews, he’s cited his 19 years of experience in the nuclear power sector as a qualification to take on issues surrounding “energy independence,”…………

He’s also repeatedly called for the United States to invest more in nuclear power, including improving the licensing regime for new nuclear technologies…………….

Holtec International, which operates in nuclear segments including spent fuel and decommissioning, said in a 2019 Facebook post that Majewski worked for the company. Spokesperson Joseph Delmar said Majewski does not currently work for Holtec but would not provide further details on when he worked there or what his position was.

The Blade reported earlier this month that Majewski is currently an executive at “a company that specializes in safe storage of spent nuclear fuel,” though it’s unclear what company that is. He started his career at the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station near Oak Harbor, Ohio, where he eventually became project manager, according to the campaign website………….

Media reports have linked Majewski to QAnon, and he has expressed sympathy with its adherents and used social media hashtags referring to it. The movement, which is generally supportive of Trump, refers to a broad set of false conspiracy theories accusing politicians and others of satanism, child abuse and other crimes.

A recent CNN review found numerous instances in which Majewski approvingly shared QAnon material and slogans. He changed the “Trump 2020” sign to read “Trump 2Q2Q” for some period of time, the network found……… https://www.eenews.net/articles/meet-the-nuclear-booster-who-could-unseat-an-energy-appropriator/

May 12, 2022 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

US House passes extension of Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.

https://www.knau.org/knau-and-arizona-news/2022-05-11/us-house-passes-extension-of-radiation-exposure-compensation-act KNAU News Talk – Arizona Public Radio | By KNAU STAFF  11 May 22.  The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a short-term extension of a federal law that provides compensation to residents and workers in the West who were exposed to radiation during the Cold War.

The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act is set to expire in July and the two-year extension is designed to give lawmakers more time to craft a long-term solution supporters hope will extend the program until 2040 and broaden eligibility for people known as downwinders.

Tribal leaders in the Southwest want the law to include more uranium industry workers and increase the compensation to those eligible.

The U.S. Senate recently approved the measure and it now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk.

May 12, 2022 Posted by | Legal, politics, USA | Leave a comment

$6 Billion to Keep Uncompetitive Nuclear Plants Alive

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes $6 billion to create a credit program to extend the life of existing nuclear power plants, the largest source of carbon-free energy in the nation. The first deadline to bid for credits is May 19.

Planetizen, May 11, 2022, By Irvin Dawid

“While the Infrastructure Bill is wide-reaching, it includes a number of nuclear energy-related provisions, including support for keeping nuclear power plants facing economic hardship operating and funding for the Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program,” write Amy Roma & Stephanie Fishman for the law firm, Hogan Lovells, on November 15, 2021, the day President Joe Biden signed the bill.

An example of a projected funded through that demonstration program is TerraPower’s (a Bill Gates’ startup) Natrium reactor that will replace a coal plant in Kemmerer, Wyoming (see AP article, Jan. 18, and the Planetizen post when it received the funding from the Energy Department last November shortly after the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act became law.

Civil Nuclear Credit Program

In February, the Energy Department established a $6 billion Civil Nuclear Credit Program to tackle the first issue – extending the life of existing nuclear plants, particularly those that are facing imminent closure largely for economic reasons, by “allowing owners or operators of commercial U.S. reactors to apply for certification and competitively bid on credits to help support their continued operations,” according to their press release on Feb. 11………………………..

Let the Bidding Begin

Two months later, the Energy Department announced that it was seeking applications for the new program.

“The guidance published today directs owners or operators of nuclear power reactors that are expected to shut down due to economic circumstances on how to apply for funding to avoid premature closure,” states their press release on April 19.    

The credit program “aims to give a financial lifeline to plants facing imminent shutdown for economic reasons,” writes Evan Halper for The Washington Post (source article) on April 19.

The first round of credits are set aside for plants that have already announced plans to close. There are at least two such operations in the United States: Diablo Canyon in California and Palisades in [Covert] Michigan.

But the nation still has a sizable nuclear fleet, with 55 plants in 28 states. Most of them have at least two reactors. Many of them have fallen under financial hardship as the prices of renewable energy and natural gas dropped in recent years.

The Office of Nuclear Energy has set May 19 as the deadline for applications 

for the first cycle of civil nuclear credit awards…………………………….  https://www.planetizen.com/news/2022/05/117103-6-billion-keep-uncompetitive-nuclear-plants-alive

May 12, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

UK government’s reckless spending on nuclear submarines is really getting out of control.

(But let’s not worry – they’re being careful with our tax-payers’ money – not wasting any more of it on health, education, welfare – and soft stuff like that)

Barrow: Contracts of £2bn to build nuclear submarines BBC News, 9 May 22,

Contracts worth more than £2bn have been awarded to BAE Systems and Rolls Royce to build the Royal Navy’s largest ever submarines.

It marks the start of the third phase of Britain’s nuclear deterrent submarines project Dreadnought.

Four new submarines with a lifespan of 30 years will be built in Barrow, Cumbria, and introduced from the 2030s…..    Dreadnought submarines will carry the UK’s nuclear weapons and replace the Vanguard class which is currently operating.

The delivery phase three will see the first of the new submarines, HMS Dreadnought, leave the Barrow shipyard to begin sea trials……..

Four Dreadnought class submarines are being built, each weighing about 17,000 tonnes

The Dreadnought Class is the largest submarine ever built for the Royal Navy. Each is the length of three Olympic swimming pools and built to operate in hostile environments.

Eighteen months ago an upgrade at BAE Systems’ shipyard was criticised by the National Audit Office for being nearly two years behind schedule, but the MoD maintained the nuclear deterrent programme was “on track”……. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cumbria-61381970

May 10, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Canada’s Green Party speaks out persuasively against small nuclear reactors

Sask. government criticized over exploration of SMR technology, David Prisciak, CTV News Regina Digital Content Producer,  May 10, 2022 Saskatchewan Green Party Leader Naomi Hunter accused the government of “kicking the climate crisis down the road,” by exploring small modular reactor (SMR) technology in a press conference Monday.

Hunter was present for a Monday morning event in front of the legislature, where she called on the provincial government to scrap its bid to explore SMR technology.

“We do not have the time for fairy tales that take us far into the future,” she said. “We don’t have 10 years to come up with a solution. (Premier) Scott Moe and the Sask. Party, they’re just kicking the climate crisis down the road like they always do.”

Hunter argued that the government’s move towards nuclear energy is not aiding the fight against climate change.

They claim that this is because they suddenly care about the climate crisis and are looking for solutions,” she said. “If that was the case, we would be installing immediate solutions of green energy: solar, wind, geothermal.”

“This province has the best solar gain in all of Canada and we have some of the best opportunities for wind energy.”…………………

Amita Kuttner, the interim leader of the Green Party of Canada, also attended the event in front of the legislature, and criticized the proposed move to SMR technology as the wrong approach.

What you are trading it for is again corporate power,” they explained. “Which is not solving the underlying causes of the climate emergency.”

Saskatchewan is currently in a partnership with British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario to collaborate on the advancement of SMR technology. ……..  https://regina.ctvnews.ca/sask-government-criticized-over-exploration-of-smr-technology-1.5895830

May 10, 2022 Posted by | Canada, politics, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | 1 Comment