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Israeli public opinion makes a US-Iran nuclear deal urgent

Israeli public opinion makes a US-Iran nuclear deal urgent, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, By Doreen Horschig | May 14, 2021   Israel has consistently opposed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that the Biden administration is seeking to revive. The recent diplomatic talks in Vienna have been a welcome opportunity for proponents of the deal. But when progress was reported, Israel allegedly damaged an Iranian military vessel and a few days later caused a power outage at the Iranian nuclear site in Natanz.

Israel believes Tehran never abandoned its ambition to become a nuclear-armed state and that the deal paves the path for realizing this ambition. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his administration have been trying to convince the United States that a return to the JCPOA would be a mistake unless major flaws are addressed.

There are some straightforward reasons why it might be in Israel’s interest to revive the JCPOA, including a reduction of Iran’s installed centrifuges and stockpiles of enriched uranium. But another reason for reviving the deal has received little attention: Israeli public opinion. Not because the public supports the JCPOA (they don’t), but because—as my own recent research found—the Israeli public is highly hawkish and would be supportive of a nuclear first strike against a nuclear-armed Iran.

In other words, the world cannot rely on the Israeli public to avoid atomic warfare in the Middle East. Because of this, the Biden administration needs to redouble its efforts to make sure that the United States and Iran re-enter the nuclear deal. If Iran further develops the bomb and eventually obtains it, Israel’s government has public backing for a nuclear first strike against Iran—which would be both a regional and global disaster. The Israeli public will not provide a constraint if a nuclear strike is being considered………………

Israeli public opinion. Very few recent polls have attempted to identify preferences among the Israeli population for a nuclear strike. To fill this gap, I worked with Midgam—an Israeli research and consulting firm that frequently partners with academics—last summer to survey a nationally representative sample of 1,022 Israeli adults, including both Jews and Arabs. The survey aims to understand the circumstances under which people might support a first strike with a nuclear weapon………..

My survey results confirm a large hawkish majority indeed lurks within the Israeli public. Survey respondents read a government press release presenting a scenario that included an Iranian nuclear threat—and suggesting that an Israeli nuclear strike would effectively destroy an Iranian nuclear facility. The respondents were then asked: “Given the facts described in the article, if Israel decides to strike, how much would you approve or disapprove of this decision?” The findings suggest that 60 percent of Israelis approved of a nuclear first strike on Natanz if they felt threatened by a (hypothetically) nuclear-armed Iran. Even with a reminder of likely Iranian retaliation, approval for a strike was higher (45 percent) than disapproval (38 percent).

When I dug deeper to explore why some people are so supportive of the use of an atomic bomb, my research suggested that Israelis who were reminded of their mortality (through open-ended questions about their own deaths) were significantly more likely to support nuclear use in a first strike than those who were not reminded of death. Though it may seem paradoxical, a theory of psychology called Terror Management Theory predicts just that. It suggests that, when individuals are prompted to think of their own death, they become less risk-averse and increase their support for extreme aggression toward whatever it is that challenges their worldview—a worldview that normally provides a defensive death-denying belief. And what could remind Israelis more of their death than the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran?

This all suggests that the public cannot be counted on to be a constraint on Israeli leadership. Unlike during the Cold War, when people took to the streets to protest the US-Soviet arms race and use of nuclear weapons, there is currently no visible pro-disarmament sentiment in Israel. No public opposition in Israel will put a check on an Israeli nuclear first strike.

To avoid a dire conflict, it is in Israel’s interest to support diplomatic steps. So far, the JCPOA has prevented a trajectory to a nuclear first strike more effectively than counterproliferation measures and withdrawal did. If Israel needs one more reason to sympathize with the JCPOA, here it is: Public hawkishness could be a contributing factor that spirals the country into a nuclear crisis.

……….. If Israel wants to prevent a situation in which a nuclear-armed Iran causes the Israeli citizenry to support a nuclear first strike, then it should get on board with the JCPOA. And the Israeli public’s hawkishness should give the Biden administration an increased sense of purpose and urgency.

The window of opportunity to revive the Iran nuclear deal is closing quickly………………While the deal is not perfect, it’s at least a measure that has shown effectiveness in the past. ……….

May 18, 2021 Posted by | Israel, politics international, public opinion | Leave a comment

Fukushima waste water plan won’t win public confidence, no matter how hard Japan tries

Fukushima waste water plan won’t win public confidence, no matter how hard Japan tries,  Peter Wynn Kirby

  • The nuclear industry’s history of secrecy and cover-ups is only one reason
  • Tepco’s incompetent and at times dishonest handling so far of the 2011 disaster and its aftermath has shattered what’s left of people’s trust.

To exasperated observers, this recalled the nuclear industry’s notorious 1990s mobilisation of Pluto-kun, a puckish cartoon character who drinks plutonium – arguably the world’s most dangerous substance – to demonstrate its harmlessness.

While other nations in the region have registered vociferous opposition to the water release plan, the domestic resistance is telling. A majority of Japanese oppose the plan. For a decade, the fishing industry has laboured, successfully, to show that the seafood it brings to market is safe, giving a wide berth to the plume of radioactive effluent haemorrhaging out of the Fukushima nuclear plant. All these efforts may soon appear to have been made in vain.

As indicated above, the choice of last Tuesday for the announcement seems to have been dictated by politics alone. Did Japan see the Olympics as a feel-good spectacle that could provide cover for the decision? Did US President Joe Biden’s recent pressure on Japan and South Korea to work together on regional security make the timing more palatable? 

Whatever the calculus involved, one thing is for sure: the more Japan tries to make Fukushima Daiichi seem perfectly safe, the more people distrust the message – and the messenger.

As the Japanese proverb goes, “Let the past drift away like water.” Yet with radiation, letting go is not so simple. Even as the Japanese government tries to rid itself of the catastrophic after-effects of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, radioactive traces stubbornly remain. 

Japan announced last week its intention to release about 1.25 million tonnes of waste water collected from the bowels of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. The water to be released into the Pacific Ocean contains tritium, a radioactive hydrogen isotope with a half-life of over 12 years. The unwelcome news has provoked uproar both within Japan and among neighbouring countries

For over a decade, authorities have been engaged in a messy, difficult, frustrating, even Sisyphean task, flushing the ruined footprint of the power station with water to keep the slumped nuclear fuel there from triggering a chain reaction.The meltdowns left parlous uranium fuel in desultory clumps amid the wreckage below. The only way to cool the escaped uranium is to flood the most dangerous areas of the Fukushima Daiichi complex with circulating seawater. Radioactive groundwater and waste water have been stored on-site to avoid contact with humans and the environment.

Ever since, huge water tanks filled with contaminated water have been springing up around the Fukushima Daiichi site like poisonous mushrooms. Now, there are over 1,000 of them. Most rival the size of small Japanese apartment buildings. 

You didn’t have to be a genius to realise that the situation at Fukushima Daiichi was unsustainable. Any child who could do basic maths, or maybe a bit of Minecraft, would have been able to see that, day by day, month by month, the water would increase and the 350-hectare site would have less and less available space.Whatever else you might say about Japanese bureaucrats with regard to nuclear policy, they have very good maths skills. As a result, we can surmise that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s announcement last week was, at root, a question of politics and calculated timing

Not that Japan didn’t attempt to resolve the situation otherwise. Authorities tried a range of strategies, including plugging leaks and creating a gigantic US$300 million ice wall around the site, underground, to stem water flow.

In the end, filtering the waste water was the only workable solution. But Japan had mixed results with this strategy. In June 2011, the first filtration system set up by reviled Tepco – Tokyo Electric Power Co, the company that owned the nuclear power station – broke down after only a few hours. The amount of radioactive Caesium in the water overwhelmed the filters. 

More recently, before a parliamentary commission, Tepco was forced to admit that it had falsely claimed to have treated most of the waste water from the plant. In actual fact, Tepco had properly dealt with only about one-fifth of the waste water.

Astonishingly, this disappointing result stemmed from it not having bothered to change the filters often enough. Even such basic elements of quality control seem to be beyond the capabilities of the Tepco team, which already lives in infamy after having presided over the world’s second most damaging civil nuclear disaster, after Chernobyl. 

Predictably, scientists, officials and industry stakeholders argue that this degree of tritium discharge happens all the time in the nuclear industry – this is more or less true, however perturbing – and suggest that the announced controlled release should therefore present no problem whatsoever.

But the history of the nuclear industry globally is one of military synergies, secrecy, cover-ups, Machiavellian information management, and propaganda-style communication with the public. Indeed, it was striking that on the very same day as Suga’s announcement, Japan’s reconstruction agency released a video depicting tritium in the form of Tritium-kun, a harmless-seeming fishlike creature with blushing cheeks who says tritium release is safe.

April 22, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, public opinion | 2 Comments

Nuclear power is unpopular: promoted only by those with vested interests/

Bellona 12th March 2021,Nuclear advocates point to the development of new technologies, such as small modular reactors, which can be deployed locally, and whose small scale limits the potential for Fukushima-sized accidents.
But while industry supporters, like the UN’s International Atomic Energy Association, point to lessons learned and industry-wide soul-searching since the Fukushima catastrophe, this rosy analysis is landing on the ears of a distrustful and wary public.
“Those talking about atomic power are people in the ‘nuclear village’, who want to protect their vested interests,” Naoto Kan, who was Japan’s prime minister during the Fukushima’s disaster, told a news conference last week, according to Reuters. Aditi Verma, Ali Ahmad and Francesca Giovannini, three scholars from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government who studied theaftereffects of Fukushima, agree. In an opinion piece the three wrote this
month for Nature, the influential US scientific journal, they assert that the nuclear industry has long ago lost touch with the public it is meant to serve.

March 13, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, public opinion | Leave a comment

Opinion poll – 77% of Ayshire public support a total ban on all nuclear weapons.

Poll gives Ayrshire anti-nuclear campaigners a real boost

Ayrshire CND are greatly encouraged by recent polllling which shows that 77 per cent of the public support a total ban on all nuclear weapons.

1 March 2021  Anti-nuclear campaigners across Ayrshire have been given a huge boost in their battle to force an end to the arms race, writes Stewart McConnell.
Ayrshire CND are greatly encouraged by recent polling which shows that 77 per cent of the public support a total ban on all nuclear weapons.

The survey also showed that almost 60 per cent of people want Britain to sign up to the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which came into force last month.

Group secretary Arthur West, pictured, said:  “This recent polling was organised by CND at UK level in conjunction with the professional polling company Survation and the results are hugely encouraging for our campaign to rid this country and our world of the scourge of nuclear weapons.”

Added the Irvine campaigner:  “This poll confirms that people in this country are realising that nuclear weapons are completely useless in responding to modern day threats such as climate change and the current pandemic.

“The government’s own figures show that the cost of maintaining Britain’s nuclear weapons based at Faslane is an eye watering 2 billion pounds a year.

“This is frankly money which could be better spent on decent things like health and education and creating quality jobs in areas such as renewable energy and affordable house building.”

The opinion poll referred to was organised by CND at UK level in conjunction with polling company Survation and was conducted on January 12-13.

March 2, 2021 Posted by | public opinion, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

More than half of public supports UK joining UN ban on nuclear weapons.

The National 22nd Jan 2021, More than half of public supports UK joining UN ban on nuclear weapons.

January 23, 2021 Posted by | public opinion, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

EDF did a small survey of Suffolk community opinion -weighted to favour nuclear industry?

East Anglian Daily Times 17th Dec 2020.   A new survey has been carried out into the attitudes of people in east
Suffolk towards the building of a new nuclear power station on the coast.
The survey was carried out by a company called ICM Unlimited on behalf of
EDF, which is looking to build the Sizewell C station. ICM interviewed a
representative sample of 500 adults in east Suffolk over the phone between
November 5 and November 19.
But opponents of the power station project
dismissed the research as “meaningless”, saying a sample of 500 people – in
an area with a population of 247,000 – was “hardly representative”. All
those that took part in the survey live in the area with data having been
weighted to the population profile of the East Suffolk Council adult

December 20, 2020 Posted by | public opinion, UK | Leave a comment

Sizewell nuclear project: EDF messes Suffolk communities about, with yet another public consultation, after 1200 responses already

East Anglian Daily Times 17th Oct 2020, Campaigners have voiced their frustration at major changes to the Sizewell
C plans which have been submitted just days after more than 1,200
respondents gave their views on the project.
EDF Energy has submitted 14changes to the plans for the £20billion twin reactor nuclear power station
– and a 30-day public consultation is to take place next month.
The main changes involve making more use of rail and sea to deliver construction
materials for the massive project, with an increase in trains and
alterations to the proposed beach landing facility. It was only a few days
ago that the opportunity to comment on the project closed and the Planning
Inspectorate is still verifying each of the 1,287 submissions from people,
businesses, councils and agencies.
Campaign groups say they are horrified
that people are likely now to be asked all over again to submit comments on
EDF’s revised proposals. Stop Sizewell C said it could not believe EDF
had only just realised after years of consultation that Suffolk people
didn’t want a road-led transport strategy for delivery of construction
materials that would put 1,000 HGVs on the roads.

October 19, 2020 Posted by | politics, public opinion, UK | Leave a comment

UK: consultation with 2300 people about radioactive waste dump – only 13 people supported it.

Northern Echo 13th Oct 2020, THOUSANDS of people have written to the Environment Agency over concerns that plans to dump radioactive waste in Teesside will pose a risk to
communities. An application has been made by Augean North Ltd for a low
level radioactive waste permit at their existing Port Clarence site,
between Stockton and Billingham.

The Environment Agency, which held a
consultation which ended in January, published its report yesterday. About
2,300 people took part in the four-month exercise, with only 13 supporting
the application.

The Environment Agency is now considering these in
determining whether to grant the permit, taking into account information
submitted by Augean North. The operator has been asked to provide further
information, with a decision expected to be made by the end of January

Members of the public, as well members of Stockton on Tees Borough
Council and Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council commented on the
socioeconomic impact and the general impact on the area, as well as the
potential impact on regeneration plans. Last year, Tees Valley Mayor Ben
Houchen criticised the plans, which he said were against the interests of
those living in surrounding areas. The report can be viewed by visiting

October 15, 2020 Posted by | public opinion, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

USA Government Accountabilty Office calls for assessment of costs for planned new nuclear warheads

September 24, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, public opinion, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Opinion poll shows unpopularity of nuclear power in the USA.

Nuclear Energy Among the Least Popular Sources of Power in the U.S., Polling Shows
Nearly half of U.S. adults oppose increasing the country’s number of nuclear energy facilities, Morning Consult, BY LISA MARTINE JENKINS, September 9, 2020 
  • 1 in 3 adults think the U.S. should keep current nuclear plants online but not build any new facilities.
  • 16% believe the U.S. should keep existing nuclear plants operational and build new reactors.
  • 29% view nuclear energy favorably and 49% view it unfavorably, making it the most unpopular energy source other than coal.
September 9, 2020 at 3:30 pm ET

But new Morning Consult data shows that 21 percent of U.S. adults believe that the country should both stop constructing new nuclear energy facilities and halt current production, while 33 percent agree that new construction should be stopped but think that existing sites should continue producing energy.

Sixteen percent believes that the country should build more reactors, and just 6 percent says that the country should keep current plants running, build more reactors and promote civil nuclear programs abroad (as the United States has done most recently with Poland).

The Aug. 24-27 survey polled 2,200 U.S. adults and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

The survey results come as the Trump administration pushes the development of nuclear energy both domestically and internationally, investing especially in the development of advanced technology in order to speed nuclear’s adoption amid carbon emission reduction goals coming due.

And Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has also expressed interest in developing advanced technology and leveraging existing nuclear capabilities as part of his wider energy plan released in June. (When contacted by Morning Consult, the Biden campaign did not provide information on the former vice president’s views on nuclear beyond what is included in the publicly available plan.)

And while the popular progressive platform the Green New Deal makes no specific mention of nuclear energy, one of its sponsors, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), said last year that it “leaves the door open on nuclear.”

But even with its political support, when compared with other energy sources nuclear seems to have a bad rap among the general public. As compared with a number of energy sources, coal was the only option respondents regarded less favorably than nuclear, with 24 percent viewing coal favorably and 58 percent unfavorably.

Nuclear energy’s net favorability — the favorable share minus the unfavorable share — is similarly underwater, at minus 20 points; this is nearly 70 points below that of natural gas, a fossil fuel whose emissions contribute to climate change. Zero-emission sources such as solar and wind topped the list, with net favorabilities of 76 and 65 points, respectively. ………

Overall, the survey found that more U.S. adults oppose increasing the number of nuclear facilities in the United States than support doing so, ………..

Overall, the survey found that more U.S. adults oppose increasing the number of nuclear facilities in the United States than support doing so…

September 15, 2020 Posted by | public opinion, USA | Leave a comment


KILDARE OPINION SOUGHT ON NEW BRITISH NUCLEAR PLANT, Kildare Nationalist, SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 06, 2020 UNDER provisions made at the United Nations, submissions are invited from interested parties in Kildare to comment on the development of a new nuclear power station planned for the east coast of England.Under the terms of the 1991 United Nations Convention, the Transboundary Environmental Public Consultation allows citizens in neighbouring nations have their say on certain public and private projects likely to have significant effects on the environment.

For this purpose, the member state of the UN in whose territory the project is intended to be carried out is required to send to its neighbours – no later than when informing its own public – a description of the project and any available information on its possible transboundary impact.

In this case, the Department of Environment, Planning and Local Government (DEPLG) was contacted by the British authorites in July about their plans to build a third reactor at the Sizewell nuclear power campus in Suffolk, to afford Irish citizens their chance to offer an opinion.

The letter from the UK’s Planning Inspectorate states that the Secretary of State has received an application to build two reactor units, giving a total site capacity of approximately 3,340MW, along with associated development required for the construction and operation of the Sizewell C Nuclear Power Station. …….

the Secretary of State decided to notify Ireland as if the development is likely to have significant adverse transboundary effects on the environment in this

State, as provided for in the UN Convention.

All documents related to the application are available to view on the Department of Environment’s website, and at the Planning Department, Kildare County Council – but by appointment only.

Submissions made in relation to the potential transboundary environmental effects of Sizewell C may be made in writing to the Planning Department, Kildare County Council, Aras Chill Dara, Naas, Co. Kildare or by e-mail to by 28 October………….the Secretary of State decided to notify Ireland as if the development is likely to have significant adverse transboundary effects on the environment in this

State, as provided for in the UN Convention.

All documents related to the application are available to view on the Department of Environment’s website, and at the Planning Department, Kildare County Council – but by appointment only.

Submissions made in relation to the potential transboundary environmental effects of Sizewell C may be made in writing to the Planning Department, Kildare County Council, Aras Chill Dara, Naas, Co. Kildare or by e-mail to by 28 October……..

September 7, 2020 Posted by | public opinion, UK | Leave a comment

Survey finds that U.S. Democrats and Republicans both want to phase out land-based nuclear missiles

August 13, 2020 Posted by | politics, public opinion, USA | Leave a comment

Poll shows that Americans favour a no-first-use of nuclear weapons policy

April 28, 2020 Posted by | public opinion, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

44% of Americans oppose a pre emptive strike on North Korea, 33%, mainly Trump supporters, support that idea

June 25, 2019 Posted by | politics, public opinion, USA, weapons and war | 2 Comments

Eight in Ten Support Nuclear Arms Control with Russia, Disagree with Trump Decision to Withdraw from Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

May 21, 2019 Posted by | public opinion, USA | Leave a comment