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Implications for India if it revokes its No First Use nuclear weapons policy

Nuclear rethink: A change in India’s nuclear doctrine has implications on cost & war strategy

A nuclear doctrine states how a nuclear weapon state would employ its nuclear weapons both during peace and war. Economic Times ET Bureau|, Aug 17, 2019,

“……..  revoking the NFU would have its own costs. First, India’s image as a responsible nuclear power is central to its nuclear diplomacy. Nuclear restraint has allowed New Delhi to get accepted in the global mainstream. From being a nuclear pariah for most of the Cold War, within a decade of Pokhran 2, it has been accepted in the global nuclear order. It is now a member of most of the technology denial regimes such as the Missile Technology Control regime and the Wassenaar Arrangement. It is also actively pursuing full membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Revoking the ‘no first use’ pledge would harm India’s nuclear image worldwide.

Parting away with NFU would also be costly otherwise. A purely retaliatory nuclear use is easier to operationalize. Nuclear preemption is a costly policy as it requires massive investment not only in weapons and delivery systems but also intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) infrastructure. The latest estimates of India’s nuclear weapons by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists point to a small arsenal of 130-150 nuclear warheads even though it has enough militarygrade plutonium to produce 200 warheads.

In fact, when compared with the estimates a decade earlier of 70 nuclear warheads, there has only been a modest increase in India’s nuclear inventory. If India does opt for first use of nuclear weapons and given that it has two nuclear adversaries, it would require a far bigger inventory of nuclear weapons particularly as eliminating adversaries’ nuclear capabilities would require targeting of its nuclear assets involving multiple warheads.  The controversy around the supposed low yield of its Hydrogen weapon test in 1998 further complicates this already precarious calculation.

Similarly, first use of nuclear weapons would require a massive increase in India’s nuclear delivery capabilities. There is yet no evidence suggesting that India’s missile production has increased dramatically in recent times. Moreover, India is yet to induct the Multiple Reentry Vehicle (MRV) technology in its missiles, which is fundamental to eliminating hardened nuclear targets. Finally, India’s ISR capabilities would have to be augmented to such a level where India is confident of taking out most of its adversary’s arsenal. According to a senior officer who had served in the Strategic Forces command, this is nearly an “impossible task”. Finally, India would have to alter significantly its nuclear alerting routine. India’s operational plans for its nuclear forces involve a four-stage process.  Nuclear alerting would start at the first hints of a crisis where decision-makers foresee possible military escalation. This would entail assembly of nuclear warheads and trigger mechanisms into nuclear weapons. The second stage involves dispersal of weapons and delivery systems to pre-determined launch positions. The third stage would involve mating of weapons with delivery platforms.

The last and final stage devolves the control of nuclear weapons from the scientific enclave to the military for their eventual use. Canisterization of missiles has combined the dispersal and mating of weapons into a single step, cutting down the effort required for achieving operational readiness. Even then, this model does not support first use of nuclear weapons as it gives ample warning to the adversary of India’s intentions. There is certainly a need for a reappraisal of India’s nuclear doctrine.

All doctrines need periodic reviews and India’s case is no exception. Given how rapidly India’s strategic environment is evolving, it is imperative to think clearly about all matters strategic. But if Indian policymakers do indeed feel the need to review the nation’s nuclear doctrine, they should be cognizant of the costs involved in so doing. A sound policy debate can only ensue if the costs and benefits of a purported policy shift are discussed and debated widely.  https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/nuclear-rethink-a-change-in-indias-nuclear-doctrine-has-implications-on-cost-war-strategy/articleshow/70718646.cms

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August 19, 2019 Posted by | depleted uranium, India, politics | Leave a comment

Donald Trump caught in a rather serious lie about USA’s “more advanced” nuclear missile technology

Trump tries to brag about ‘advanced’ US nuclear technology and gets immediately called out  https://www.indy100.com/article/trump-nuclear-cruise-missile-advanced-technology-russia-explosion-national-security-9055336

14 Aug 19,by Conrad Duncan  Donald Trump was immediately shut down by experts after he suggested the US had “more advanced” nuclear missile technology than Russia.

On Thursday, five Russian nuclear engineers were killed in a rocket engine explosion, which is thought to be linked to tests for a nuclear-powered cruise missile announced by Vladimir Putin in March 2018.

In his typically tactless style, Trump shared his thoughts on the explosion yesterday by claiming the US was “learning much” from the blast and had even more advanced technology.

Trump’s tweet caught the attention of national security experts because it meant one of two things:

  • Trump had just revealed a secret US nuclear-powered cruise missile programme
  • He was bluffing about a missile programme that the US does not have

It doesn’t exactly take, ahem, a rocket scientist to know that both of those explanations are quite bad.

For example, Michael McFaul, who worked both for the US National Security Council and as Barack Obama’s Ambassador to Russia, had no idea what Trump was talking about.

Michael McFaul   @McFaul
Other experts on nuclear weapons couldn’t find public evidence for Trump’s claim either.
Joe Cirincione   @Cirincione
David Burbach@dburbach
Stephen Schwartz @AtomicAnalyst

In fact, there was once a programme to develop a nuclear-powered cruise missile during the Cold War, called Project Pluto, but the US abandoned it because it was believed to be too dangerous – potentially creating missiles for which there was no known defence.

So if the US does have “more advanced” technology than Russia on this, the president should definitely not be tweeting about it.   Of course, there’s a good chance that Trump is bluffing again about matter that he doesn’t fully understand. It wouldn’t be the first time. 

August 15, 2019 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK’s nuclear waste plans – squabbles in a local Council

Carlisle News & Star 14th Aug 2019 NUCLEAR chiefs in Copeland are split on the creation of controversial
storage vaults for radioactive waste amid “moral” concerns.
The Government launched its search for a host community before Christmas,
prompting the council to come up with a statement that was broadly
supportive of the project but also non-committal in terms of the
authority’s involvement.
But it emerged at a meeting of the borough
council’s Strategic Nuclear and Energy Board (SNEB) this week that panel
members disagreed over the council’s current position. The board heard
that some councillors were “fundamentally” opposed to the very idea of
a multi-million-pound underground Geological Disposal Facility (GDF).
Speaking at the meeting, councillors Sam Pollen and David Banks both
criticised the GDF plans. Mr Pollen said he was not in a position to argue
with experts over the facility but stressed that “morality and ethics”
should also be considered. He questioned the “rush” to develop a GDF
amid concerns over safety and the lack of “retrievability” of the waste
once deposited. The councillor, who works at Sellafield, said the waste was
now stored “extremely safely” on the Sellafield site which he described
as a “big tick in a box for me”.

https://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/17834550.councillors-split-search-n-waste-site/

August 15, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Olympic Games designed to downplay the nuclear crisis in Fukushima

In reality, these Games are about forgetting the nuclear accident itself and with it “the victims of the nuclear accident”

Refugees are currently to be forced by financial pressure to return to areas that have been evacuated after the 2011 triple disaster, despite still significantly increased levels of radiation, as retired nuclear physicist Hiroaki Koide is pointing out. According to him, the fact that even children or pregnant women have to live with a twenty-fold increased limit for annual radiation exposure (from 1 millisievert per year before and up to 20 mSv after the incident), “is something that cannot be accepted at all”.

The Olympics are being organised “so that people in Japan forget the responsibility of the state for the nuclear accident,”

“What’s really dangerous, is that “the athletes will tell the world that Fukushima is safe”

‘Bad for Fukushima, bad for democracy’, Play the Game, By Andreas Singler, 7 Aug 19  

One year before the opening of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo there is considerable resistance to the so-called ‘Reconstruction Games’ in Japan that critics fear will remove focus from the Fukushima disaster and undermine democratic values.

July 24 – one year to go until the opening of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo – may have been a day of joyful anticipation for many who embrace the Olympic Movement. But not all people anticipate this event as cheerfully as the organisers in Japan, a large part of the media and the Government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would appreciate. There was and still is much opposition against the hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020 in Tokyo. Opponents call it both “bad for democracy” and “bad for Fukushima” – the area hit by a nuclear power plant disaster on 11 March 2011 and a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

For those critics, July 24 was a reason to take to the streets against Tokyo 2020. They had announced a rally for this memorable day followed by a demonstration in Shinjuku, one of the most crowded hubs in Tokyo. A leaflet even suggested that the Olympics could be “given back even a year before”. The protest in Tokyo was part of a so-far unique international gathering of ‘NOlympics’ activists from several countries. For eight days, opponents from Tokyo, Pyeongchang, Rio de Janeiro, Paris and Los Angeles discussed the dark sides of the Olympics with critical scholars and alternative media. A press conference was held at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.

The motto ‘the Reconstruction Games’, that the organisers and the Government chose after the 2011 East Japan triple disaster, sounds like sheer mockery, opponents say. Organisers as well as the International Olympic Committee (IOC), including President Thomas Bach, often talk about reconstruction, but hardly ever mention the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster as one of the main reason for the need of such rebuilding. Continue reading

August 10, 2019 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Tokyo Olympics Undermining democratic values

Bad for Fukushima, bad for democracy’, Play the Game, By Andreas Singler, 7 Aug 19″…….Undermining democratic values
Japanologist and literary scholar Donald Keene, who passed away earlier this year aged 96 and who became a Japanese citizen after ‘March 11’ in solidarity with the suffering country, sharply criticised the media for their Olympic coverage of Rio de Janeiro in his Tokyo Shimbun column. Keene mentioned – “as if living in a totalitarian state” – mass media’s nationalistic approach and lack of journalistic distance. “From the very beginning, I was opposed to Tokyo Olympics,” Keene wrote. He was, according to Satoshi Ukai, one of the few public figures in Japan who could still be allowed such a clear-cut opinion. Keene, by birth a US citizen, was a legend among international Japanologists as an annalist, translator and intimate connoisseur of Japan’s golden generation of post-war writers.

“The longer one reflects about Olympics, the bigger the problems appear,” says Ukai. The fact that big celebrations and major disasters both can fuel nationalism and undermine the democratic culture of a country is one of the issues touched upon by US political scientist Jules Boykoff in his lecture on ‘Celebration Capitalism’ during a symposium at Waseda University in Tokyo on 21 July. His theoretical approach that refers on Naomi Klein’s term ‘disaster capitalism’ and covers Olympics in general appears like a blueprint on the conditions in ‘post-Fukushima’ Japan, where there are only a few years between catastrophe and festival event.

A larger number of laws have been adopted in recent years, partly as so-called anti-terrorism measures in the name of Olympic security. Critics call it an attack on the freedom of press, of expression, and of assembly. Those laws, one by one, caused mass protests driven by various social movements. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Joseph Cannataci, criticised an Anti-Conspiracy Act of 2017 in an open letter to Prime Minister Abe. And in a report to the UN Human Rights Committee, Special Rapporteur David Kaye sounded the alarm over the country’s eroding freedom of the press. It is hardly possible to report freely about sensitive issues of Japanese history such as Japan’s role in World War II, the ‘comfort women’ issue or, yet, about the real situation in Fukushima, Kaye reported. In just a few years, Japan dropped from number 11 in 2010 to 72 in 2018 and 67 in the current ranking of ‘Reporters Without Borders’.

Andreas Singler is a German freelance journalist, Japanologist and sports scientist (PhD). In 2018 he published his book ‘Sayonara Nuclear Power. Protests in Japan after ‘Fukushima’’, a portrait of Japan’s anti-nuclear movement. In September 2019, his book ‘Tokyo 2020: Olympics and the arguments of the opponents’ will be published (both in German). Website: https://www.andreas-singler.de  https://www.playthegame.org/news/news-articles/2019/0586_bad-for-fukushima,-bad-for-democracy/

August 10, 2019 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

China’s nuclear policy

August 10, 2019 Posted by | China, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Overwhelming arguments against nuclear power for Ireland

The arguments against nuclear as an energy solution are overwhelming, Irish Examiner, 5 Aug 19,   “……….Tony Lowes, director of Friends of the Irish Environment, accepts that the nuclear question can provoke impassioned responses. “It hits some fundamental terror in people,” he says.

But he says the arguments against nuclear as an energy solution are overwhelming.

“It’s not a renewable fuel for a start — it’s a fossil fuel because you have to mine for uranium — and any efforts made to bring in nuclear energy would be at the expense of actually solving our problems which we have to do through wind and solar.”

Off-shore wind farms are the real answer, Lowes says, both because of the enormous amount of energy available to be harnessed off Ireland’s coasts and because of the growing opposition among local communities to the proliferation of onshore turbines and solar farms.

He is critical of the delays in overhauling the planning and licencing system needed to support offshore. Currently, developers face a mountain of bureaucracy with a multitude of national and local agencies to work through, with sometimes overlapping or duplicated processes.

In late July, the Government finally approved the general scheme of the Marine Planning and Development Management Bill 2019 which promises to clarify and streamline the procedures but, as the official announcement itself pointed out, this replaces the Maritime Area and Foreshore Amendment Bill of 2013.

Six years on and we still have only a general scheme of a bill with a long way to go before legislation is enacted and processes change accordingly.

Meanwhile investors have a number of large-scale project proposals on hold awaiting legislative clarity.

“We’ve known for a long time that off-shore wind is essential. It’s a no-brainer. The blockages to it are just so reprehensible,” Lowes says.

“We don’t have a very clear picture of how the rules for offshore will work and we haven’t addressed it with anything like the urgency we need to which is why we’re talking about nuclear energy. But I think it would be a really fatal mistake to make nuclear part of the energy mix in the long-term.”……

Off-shore wind and solar at times produce a surplus of energy. Battery storage facilities — often looking like a cluster of large office cabinets — can be installed in open spaces to store excess power but already plans for some in this country are facing local opposition.

The excess can also be processed to produce hydrogen that could be used for heating and fuelling vehicles which would take the pressure off the electricity supply at times when the sun is down and winds are light.

The idea works at the experimental level but the challenge is to get it working on a large scale and cheaply enough to make it worthwhile. A breakthrough on that front is imminent, so the energy industry says, but the proof is awaited……

Oisin Coghlan, director of the Friends of the Earth Ireland, however, doesn’t believe a debate on nuclear is necessary or justifiable.

“I think it’s a massive distraction,” he says. “You’d have to change the law and even if Friends of the Earth changed our position and said, you know what, we think nuclear is the solution and we’re going to drop everything and campaign for it for the next 10 years, I don’t think it would make the slightest bit of difference……

Coghlan believes nuclear has as much to do with psychology as technology. “Nuclear appeals to engineers and it appeals to politicians who want big solutions and macho solutions,” he says. ……

“Lagging every attic and double-glazing every window would be far more efficient and far quicker and have none of the hassle but engineers and politicians have been very resistant to this kind of approach.

“They don’t like starting small — putting solar panels on every school and house — because that’s lots of little people doing little things.

But that’s what makes this a societal journey where we all change together. When every school has solar power, while that won’t be enough on its own, it will mean that maybe the parents are less likely to oppose the solar farm planned for down the road because they start to feel like they’re part of the solution.

“I think nuclear is a red herring that appeals to a certain mindset and I think that mindset is outdated. We need to look at decentralised, renewable electricity that many of us are involved in owning, that many of us are involved in supplying and all of us are involved in supporting.”……

For Tony Lowes, here is no argument — nuclear is not an answer. “We were ahead of the game in wind energy 10-15 years ago and we got stuck but we can still transform the energy picture if we get moving again,” he says.

“Bringing nuclear into the conversation is just going to slow us down even more and we don’t have any more time to lose.”

August 6, 2019 Posted by | Ireland, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear power will ‘lumber into extinction,’ ex-regulator says

STEVE SEBELIUS: Nuclear power will ‘lumber into extinction,’ ex-regulator says,    By Steve Sebelius August 3, 2019  For Gregory Jaczko, the nuclear power question comes down to a basic quandary: For a nuclear reactor to be designed, built and operated safely, it has to be small, too small to make it useful as a commercial source of electricity.And given that other, less complicated and risky sources of renewable energy are available, spending time and money on solving the large-scale nuclear issue isn’t necessary, he argues.

Jaczko’s conclusions are controversial, especially in the energy industry, where he ruffled feathers as a former member and chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. But Jaczko, who holds a doctoral degree in theoretical particle physics from the University of Madison-Wisconsin, is convinced the equation is relatively simple.

“The longer you operate nuclear power plants, the more accidents are going to happen,” he said. “The more power plants you upgrade, the more accidents you’re going to have.”……

Jaczko, whose rocky tenure atop the NRC is discussed in his book, “Confessions of a Rogue Nuclear Regulator,” documents his opinions carefully, and suggests that even if nuclear plants could be designed more safely to avoid catastrophic accidents, the expense wouldn’t be worth it because of the availability of cheaper, renewable alternatives such as solar power, wind farms, geothermal plants and the like.

“Today, there’s not a debate anymore because you can solve the climate problem without nuclear,” he said. “So you don’t have to deal with any of these other issues anymore. And you can solve them with things that are cheaper. They do not create the same kinds of challenges.”

And the challenges aren’t just in designing, building and operating nuclear plants safely, or in finding a way to dispose of or reuse the spent fuel from those reactors. They’re also political, he says.

“In hindsight, the Fukushima incident revealed what has long been the sad truth about nuclear safety: the nuclear power industry has developed too much control over the (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) and Congress,” Jaczko writes in his book. “In the aftermath of the accident, I found myself moving from my role as a scientist impressed by nuclear power to a fierce nuclear safety advocate. I now believe that nuclear power is more hazardous than it is worth.”

Other countries are moving away from nuclear power: Countries such as Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and Italy have decided to phase out nuclear power, although it remains the largest source of power in France. After the Fukushima disaster, Japan shut down all of its nuclear power plants, although some have since been restarted.

China, however, is building new plants and adding to its overall nuclear capacity.

Jaczko also makes the point that continued use of nuclear power puts pressure on regulators and the government to find a place to dispose of spent nuclear fuel. Currently, there’s only one target, the Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada, which has seen renewed interest from Republicans during the Trump administration.

But that site has long been opposed by most state officials out of concerns about safety, concerns that have been increased after recent California earthquakes. Not only that, but revelations that the government secretly shipped plutonium for temporary storage to the Nevada National Security Site, and may have mixed in reactive waste products with lower-level waste in other shipments, have stirred serious concerns among Nevada officials.

“As waste piles up, we leave behind dangerous materials that later generations will eventually have to confront,” Jaczko wrote in his book. “The short-term solution — leaving it where it is — can certainly be accomplished with minimal hazard to the public. But such solutions require active maintenance and monitoring by a less-than-willing industry.”

He adds: “There is only one logical answer: We must stop generating nuclear waste, and that means we must stop using nuclear power. I wish that as chairman (of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission) I’d had the courage to say this, but my courage had its limits. I knew the backlash that would come if the chairman of the NRC were to admit our country should stop producing nuclear power.”

But now, like many former elected officials or political appointees, he’s freed from the shackles that responsibility imposed upon his candor. He predicts that nuclear power will “lumber into extinction” in favor of cheaper, safer, cleaner and more readily viable technologies and that “we will likely begin to think of electricity much as we do hot water; as something we make in our homes on demand.”

Contact Steve Sebelius at SSebelius@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0253. Follow @SteveSebelius on Twitter.   https://www.reviewjournal.com/opinion/opinion-columns/steve-sebelius/steve-sebelius-nuclear-power-will-lumber-into-extinction-ex-regulator-says-1818297/

August 5, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics | 1 Comment

Japan’s govt urges Fukushima evacuees to return – in drive to promote 2020 Olympics

Expert says 2020 Tokyo Olympics unsafe due to Fukushima | 60 Minutes

Fukushima: Despite health threats, the Japanese government urges residents to return https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1161500/fukushima-japanese-government-encourages-residents-returnFAMILIES who fled nuclear meltdown in Fukushima are being urged to return to their homes ahead of the Tokyo Olympics., By DAVID PILDITCH, Aug 4, 2019  Alarming levels of radiation up to 20 times higher than official safety targets have been recorded in areas where locals are being encouraged to go back. We found ghost towns eight years after three reactors went into meltdown at Daiichi power plant 140 miles north east of Tokyo in March 2011. Tokyo 2020 is being hailed as the “Reconstruction Olympics” signalling new hope following the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the disaster and left more than 18,000 people dead.

Now evacuees are being urged to return as the global spotlight focuses on the recovery of the region. The government has lifted most evacuation orders and all but a handful of hot spots have been declared safe. 

But parents believe their children are in danger, saying officials are downplaying the dangers and safety is compromised in a cynical attempt to convince the world the crisis is over.

Families have accused the government of speeding up their return to showcase safety standards ahead of the Olympics.

We found once-vibrant communities now post apocalyptic wastelands like something from a Hollywood movie after the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

Schools, shopping malls, supermarkets, libraries and petrol stations lie decaying along with thousands of homes. Many are set behind guarded barricades in exclusion areas known officially as “difficult to return to zones”.

Others lie in areas which the government says are safe to live in but whose few residents – wild boar and monkeys – demonstrate signs of mutation. Along roadsides sit giant black bags containing contaminated soil.

In Tomioka, five miles from the power plant, a school sports hall is scattered with footballs left when children fled.

It’s in stark contrast to arenas being built for the £20billion Games. Fukushima is hosting the first event, a softball match on July 22, two days before the opening ceremony.

The Japanese leg of the torch relay starts on March 26 at a soccer training centre 12 miles south of the crippled plant. The J Village, a base for emergency workers, only fully reopened last month.

In Okuma our Geiger counter sounded furiously, recording four microsieverts an hour. The government safety target is 0.23 microsieverts per hour.

It came days after evacuation orders were lifted for parts of the town which had 10,000 residents. The centre remains a no-go zone and just 367 former residents have registered to go back.

Ayako Oga, 46, who suffered a miscarriage, says: “The Olympics are putting lives in danger. The government is forcing people to leave the public homes they have been in. They are putting a heavy burden on people still suffering mentally and financially.”

In Namie, which had 21,000 residents, evacuation orders were lifted in 2017. It is said 800 people returned but we found desolation, only traffic lights working.

The Wild Boar bar last served a drink on disaster day. Owner Sumio Konno, in a group legal action against the government, says his son, who was five, still suffers nosebleeds. “He is sick all the time,” he says. “Every month he needs to go to the doctor.”

Ryohei Kataoka, of the Citizens Nuclear Information Centre, says: “The government’s insistence in lifting evacuation orders where heightened radiation-related health risks undeniably exist, is a campaign to show that Fukushima is ‘back to normal’ and to try to make Japan and the world forget the accident ever happened.”

August 5, 2019 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Senator Elizabeth Warren causes a stir with her proposal for a “no first use” policy on nuclear weapons

Warren’s pledge to avoid first nuclear strike sparks intense pushback, The Hill

Republicans slammed the proposal as sending a dangerous signal to both allies and enemies about a lack of U.S. resolve — previewing a potential attack line from President Trump should the two face off in the general election.

Some Democrats do back the idea. But others say a “no first use” policy like the one Warren proposed is too simplistic for a complex world……

The United States has long reserved the right to be the first country to launch a nuclear weapon in a conflict.

Former President Obama reportedly thought of declaring a no first use policy toward the end of his tenure, but was talked out of it by advisors who argued it would worry allies and embolden adversaries.

“No first use. To reduce the chances of a miscalculation or an accident, and to maintain our moral and diplomatic leadership in the world, we must be clear that deterrence is the sole purpose of our arsenal,” she said in a November foreign policy speech.

Arms control advocates hold that declaring a no first use policy would improve U.S. national security by lowering the risk for miscalculation.

Warren made no first use a key part of her foreign policy early on in her run.

The speech was delivered before she officially jumped in the race but was considered an early sign she was running.

In January, she introduced the Senate version of a bill to make no first use official U.S. policy. The bill has six co-sponsors, including follow presidential contenders Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Kirsten Gillibrand

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.), a longtime no first use advocate, also introduced the bill in the lower chamber. The House version has 35 co-sponsors, including presidential candidates Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and Tim Ryan (D-Ohio.).

Only Warren, though, was asked to defend the policy at this week’s Democratic debates.

“We don’t expand trust around the world by saying, ‘You know, we might be the first ones to use a nuclear weapon,’” Warren said Tuesday night from the stage in Detroit.

“That puts the entire world at risk and puts us at risk, right in the middle of this,” she said.

She also noted that Trump’s policies, including pulling out of a nuclear deal with Iran, had gotten the world “closer and closer to nuclear warfare.”

“We have to have an announced policy that is one the entire world can live with,” she concluded……..

n response to criticism of the policy, Warren’s campaign sent The Hill seven tweets and articles from nonproliferation advocates in support of Warren. The support included former Defense Secretary William Perry, who tweeted that “our nuclear arsenal is intended to deter a nuclear attack, not to initiate a nuclear war.”

Warren campaign spokeswoman Saloni Sharma added that “our bill sends a clear signal to the world that deterrence is the sole purpose of our arsenal.” https://thehill.com/policy/defense/456006-warrens-pledge-to-avoid-first-nuclear-strike-sparks-intense-pushback

August 5, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iran can follow the Israeli nuclear example, or the Egyptian one

August 5, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics | Leave a comment

Bernie Sanders supports Elizabeth Warren’s ‘no first use’ nuclear policy 

Sanders backs Warren after Liz Cheney attacks ‘no first use’ nuclear policy   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/aug/03/bernie-sanders-elizabeth-warren-liz-cheney-nuclear-no-first-use  

Sanders rejects ‘national security advice from a Cheney’
Congresswoman is daughter of Iraq war architect Dick Cheney  
Lois Beckett @loisbeckett 4 Aug 2019  Bernie Sanders has defended his rival for the Democratic presidential 2020 nomination, Elizabeth Warren, after her policy against pre-emptive use of America’s nuclear weapons was attacked by the daughter of one of the architects of the Iraq war.

Warren reiterated her support for a “no first use” policy on nuclear weapons during the second round of Democratic presidential debates this week.

“It makes the world safer,” the Massachusetts senator said during the debate. “The United States is not going to use nuclear weapons pre-emptively, and we need to say so to the entire world.”

Liz Cheney, a Republican congresswoman from Wyoming, attacked Warren’s policy on Twitter, asking “which American cities and how many American citizens are you willing to sacrifice with your policy of forcing the US to absorb a nuclear attack before we can strike back?”

Cheney is the daughter of former vice-president Dick Cheney, a key advocate of the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States and its allies.

The Bush administration’s primary justification for the pre-emptive war, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and that his regime presented an escalating threat, was discredited after the invasion.

The war in Iraq, now in its 16th year, has resulted in an estimated 200,000 documented civilian deaths from violence, according to Iraq Body Count, although estimates vary widely, particularly estimates that factor in hundreds of thousands of additional war-related civilian deaths. More than 4,000 members of the US military have been killed.

“Taking national security advice from a Cheney has already caused irreparable damage to our country,” Sanders wrote on Friday, in response to Cheney’s attack on Warren.

The Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was 13 years old when the Iraq war began in 2003, also responded to Cheney’s attack on Warren, criticizing Cheney for offering hawkish foreign policy advice “as if an entire generation hasn’t lived through the Cheneys sending us into war since we were kids”.

August 5, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Elizabeth Warren proposed “no first use” policy on nuclear weapons

Warren, Bullock spar over ‘no first use’ nuclear policy, The Hill 

In defending the proposed policy, Warren argued for diplomatic and economic solutions to conflict, saying “we should not be asking our military to take on jobs that do not have a military solution.”

But Bullock opposed that proposal, saying, “I don’t want to turn around and say, ‘Well, Detroit has to be gone before we would ever use that.’”

Warren is the lead sponsor of the Senate version of a bill that would make it U.S. policy not to use nuclear weapons first.

It has long been the policy of the United States that the country reserves the right to launch a preemptive nuclear strike.

Backers of a no first use policy argue it would improve U.S. national security by reducing the risk of miscalculation while still allowing the United States to launch a nuclear strike in response to an attack.

During the debate, Warren argued such a policy would “make the world safer.”

“The United States is not going to use nuclear weapons preemptively, and we need to say so to the entire world,” she said. “It reduces the likelihood that someone miscalculates, someone misunderstands.”

Bullock argued he wouldn’t want to take the option off the table, but that there should be negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons……https://thehill.com/policy/defense/455472-warren-bullock-spar-over-no-first-use-nuclear-policy

August 1, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

40 Ways Ohio Now Proposes Nuclear Suicide

By Harvey Wasserman, 1 August 19
A bought, gerrymandered Ohio Legislature has just handed a much-hated $150 million/year public bailout to two dinosaur nuke reactors primed to explode.
It also bails out two filthy 50-year-old coal burners and guts programs for increased efficiency.
But a possible repeal referendum could reverse all that—-and have a serious impact on the Trumpsters who pushed it—-in the 2020 election.
Here are some basics:
X  The 42-year-old Davis-Besse reactor near Toledo and 33-year-old Perry, east of Cleveland, are both dangerously crumbling.
X  Neither can compete with wind, solar, gas or increased efficiency.
X   Both would shut immediately in a free market environment.
X  Like all nuke reactors, both emit substantial quantities of heat, radiation and carbon.
X  Both threaten the entire north coast and Great Lakes region with a radioactive apocalypse.
X   Neither can get private disaster insurance.
X   Their owner, FirstEnergy (FE) of Akron, is bankrupt.
X   The utility stands to gain some $150,000,000/year at the expense of ALL Ohio electric consumers, not just those in its territory.  .
X   FE’s top seven execs are paid roughly $25,000,000/year; CEO Chuck Jones gets $9,500,000.
X   In 2003 FE blacked out 50,000,000 people.
X   Davis-Besse’s infamous 2002 “hole-in-the-head” came when boric acid ate nearly all the way through the reactor pressure vessel.
X   In 1986 (as the Challenger blew up) Perry became the first US reactor to be damaged by an earthquake; a 4.0 shock recently hit less than 25 miles away.
X    A state-mandated 1986-7 study showed northern Ohio cannot be evacuated from a melt-down…and certainly not amidst an earthquake.
X     Ohio’s North Coast is flat, blown by constant lake-based winds, criss-crossed with transmission lines and good turbine sites near the cities to be served.
X    Local farmers are desperate for the income the turbines would provide.
X   Some $4.2 billion in private capital is poised to pour into the region for wind farms creating thousands of jobs and lowering electric rates.
X   Turbines in Lake Erie, plus land-based wind and solar farms, enhanced by batteries and efficiency, can provide all Ohio’s electricity far cheaper than from nukes and/or fossil fuels, creating far more jobs.
X   But in 2014, with zero basis in health or environmental protection, FE’s bought legislators put in the Ohio Code a setback clause that has killed wind development in the state.
X   Ohio now has far less installed wind capacity than neighboring Indiana, Michigan, New York or Pennsylvania, which have comparable wind resources but no such set-back clause.
X  Ohio is a national leader in manufacturing wind turbine components, virtually none of which are deployed in Ohio.
X  Perry & DB have been repeatedly bailed out dating back at least to 1999, when FE scammed a $9 billion “stranded cost” give-away.
X   It was called a “stranded cost” bailout because FE complained even then the reactors could not compete in an open market.
X    This latest bailout was directly pushed by Trump, at least one of whose co-conspirators personally lobbied key legislators for it.
X   Ohio is roughly 50/50 Republican/Democrat, but the GOP has heavily gerrymandered majorities in both houses of the Legislature.
X  In 2018 FE targeted a dozen GOP legislative primaries, buying at least 11 bailout votes.
X   This latest bailout bill could not have passed without votes from key corporate Democrats.
X  A strong statewide grassroots movement arose to oppose the bailout.
X   An overwhelming majority of testifiers before the Legislature were opposed.
X   A strong majority of the state’s newspapers was also opposed.
X  All were ignored by Democrats and Republicans alike.
X   Efforts are now underway to put a referendum on the fall 2020 ballot.
X   If filed within 90 days, the bailout will be put on hold until the vote.
X   Polls show a strong majority of Ohioans oppose the bailout.
X  If the bailout is on the 2020 ballot, it could encourage a strong opposition turnout that could hurt Trump and help tip the election in a key swing state.
X   But Trump, FE and the nuke industry will spend unlimited millions to defeat it.
X   It’s been widely known since at least 2004 that Ohio’s registration rolls and voting procedures are heavily rigged to favor the GOP and its corporate owners.
X  The longer Perry and Davis-Besse operate the higher the odds they’ll obliterate Toledo, Cleveland and the entire Great Lakes region.
X  Neither has private disaster insurance.
X  FE can’t handle its radioactive wastes, evacuate the region when disaster strikes or credibly maintain the reactors in their current (deteriorating) state.
Should the referendum get on the ballot, it could help take down Trump and save the region from an apocalyptic catastrophe, as well as economic ruin.  Should it fail, the odds on a major nuclear catastrophe along the shores of Lake Erie are too high to contemplate.
The stakes could not be higher.
—————
Harvey Wasserman is co-author of KILLING OUR OWN:  THE DISASTER OF AMERICA’S EXPERIENCE WITH ATOMIC RADIATION (free on line) and SOLARTOPIA!  OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH at www.solartopia.org.

August 1, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. bipartisan lawmakers aim to restrict nuclear deals with Saudi Arabia

U.S. Senate Targets Saudi Nuclear Technology https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/07/30/us-senate-targets-saudi-nuclear-technology-senate-van-hollen-lindsey-graham/

The bipartisan bill follows the revelation that a longtime Trump advisor was pushing for lucrative nuclear deals with Riyadh.

BY ROBBIE GRAMER JULY 30, 2019  A bipartisan group of lawmakers is introducing new legislation aimed at restricting the transfer of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, the latest sign of growing congressional backlash to the Trump administration’s close relationship with the wealthy Gulf nation.

The bill, put forward by Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, would bar the U.S. Export-Import Bank from financing the transfer of nuclear technology and equipment to Saudi Arabia, absent nuclear cooperation agreements, and adopting restrictive international standards to safeguard against nuclear proliferation. The Export-Import Bank plays a key role in funding the export of U.S. nuclear energy equipment and technology abroad.

We should never allow nuclear material to fall into the wrong hands, and certainly the [Saudi] crown prince and this regime have demonstrated they can’t be trusted,” said Van Hollen in a phone interview.

The legislation comes on the heels of a bombshell new report from a House oversight committee that alleges a longtime associate of U.S. President Donald Trump, the wealthy businessman Thomas Barrack, was using his relationships in the White House to advance lucrative business deals on nuclear power in Saudi Arabia and stood to profit from the efforts.

The report, released by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee on Monday, “exposes how corporate and foreign interests are using their unique access to advocate for the transfer of U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Democratic chairman of the committee, said in a statement.

Van Hollen and Graham’s bill, according to a draft obtained by Foreign Policy, would bar the Export-Import Bank from funding such transfers to Saudi Arabia unless Riyadh renounces uranium enrichment and reprocessing, establishes a nuclear cooperation agreement in line with the Atomic Energy Act that regulates civilian nuclear energy, and adopts additional safeguard protocols in line with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Republican Sen. Jerry Moran and Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley are also co-sponsoring the bill.

The legislation would also require the bank to report to Congress details of any agreement on nuclear transfers to Saudi Arabia. One such proposal is already underway. The Export-Import Bank in 2018 received an application to finance U.S. exports for a proposed nuclear power plant in Saudi Arabia, according to an email sent by a senior Export-Import Bank official to Senate staff, obtained by Foreign Policy. “The application is in the early stages of review,” the official wrote in the email.

While Saudi Arabia has plans to develop an extensive nuclear power program, its government thus far “has demonstrated little willingness to accept strong non-proliferation measures” the draft legislation reads.

Critics of the Trump administration say it is not requiring Saudi Arabia to use the so-called “gold standard” in a nuclear cooperation agreement, which requires a foreign country to commit to not using transferred nuclear technology to make nuclear weapons.

Van Hollen said the Trump administration has not been transparent with Congress on its push to transfer nuclear technologies to Saudi Arabia. “This administration’s been secretly moving ahead to try to transfer nuclear technology to the Saudis without appropriate oversight and without appropriate conditions,” he said. When Congress asks for more information, “they’ve been totally opaque, they’ve been dragging their feet, they’ve not been providing information,” he said.

The Trump administration has locked horns with Congress for months over the United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia in the wake of Riyadh’s role in the deadly conflict in Yemen and Saudi officials’ roles in the murder of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year.

 

August 1, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment