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EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee want clarity on UK’s nuclear plans after Brexit

House of Lords 19th July 2018 The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee has written to the Minister for Business and Industry, Richard Harrington MP, following an evidence session   with the Office for Nuclear Regulation which considered their efforts to prepare for Brexit.

The Committee has written to BEIS’ Minister for Business and Industry to ask for further clarity on the ONR’s future funding arrangements, and to request regular updates between now and the point of withdrawal to ensure the ONR’s preparation remains on track.

The Committee also asks for an update on negotiations regarding the intended Nuclear Cooperation Agreements with the USA, Canada, Japan and Australia.


July 21, 2018 Posted by | politics international, UK | Leave a comment

U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo accused North Korea of hiding nuclear facilities, enriching uranium

Pompeo accused North Korea of hiding nuclear facilities, enriching uranium: Report , Straits Times, 17 July 18 TOKYO (THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused North Korea of operating secret facilities for the enrichment of uranium when he met senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol during his July 6-7 visit to the country, the Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The US top diplomat’s move appears to underscore Washington’s increasing suspicion that Pyongyang is covertly proceeding with activities that are contrary to denuclearisation, despite its declared commitment to the goal.

It also raises the possibility that even if North Korea starts the process of denuclearisation, the alleged existence of secret facilities will become an issue during the declaration and verification phases.

According to sources knowledgeable about Japan-US-South Korea trilateral talks, Pompeo said at his meeting Kim Yong Chol that Pyongyang was enhancing the production of enriched uranium and also concealing nuclear-related facilities and nuclear warheads.

Citing information that construction activities are under way at a missile plant at Hamhung in the north-eastern province of South Hamgyong to expand the facility, Pompeo stressed that this was not beneficial to US-North Korean relations.

Kim Yong Chol, a top North Korean party official and former spy agency chief with whom Pompeo played a key role in arranging an unprecedented summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12, flatly denied Pompeo’s claim, according to the sources.

Pyongyang has never hidden or operated a secret uranium enrichment site, the North Korean official was quoted as saying.

Kim also reportedly argued that activities at the Hamhung missile plant were part of construction work in preparation for the rainy season, not expansion work.

On July 7, a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman released a statement accusing Washington of showing a “regrettable” attitude at the meeting between Pompeo and the North Korean official……..

July 18, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Japan, U.S. extend nuclear pact amid concern about plutonium stockpile

 KYODO NEWS 17 July 18  Japan and the United States extended on Tuesday a bilateral nuclear agreement that has served as the basis for Tokyo’s push for a nuclear fuel recycle policy.

The pact, which entered into force in July 1988, has authorized Japan to reprocess spent fuel, extract plutonium and enrich uranium for 30 years. As neither side sought to review it before the end of the term, it will remain effective, leaving Japan the only country without nuclear arms that is allowed to reprocess spent nuclear fuel.

But the passing of the initial 30-year period raises uncertainty over the future of the pact, now that it can be terminated anytime six months after either party notifies the other.

The United States is seen as concerned about Japan’s stockpiles of plutonium

………Japan has around 47 tons of plutonium, which is enough to produce about 6,000 nuclear warheads.

Of the 47 tons, around 10 tons were stored in Japan and the reminder in Britain and France as of the end of 2016, according to government data.

In early July, Japan clearly stated for the first time in its basic energy plan that it will trim the amount.

Spent fuel from nuclear reactors is reprocessed to extract uranium and plutonium, which is then recycled into fuel called mixed oxide, or MOX, for use in fast-breeder reactors or conventional nuclear reactors.

But following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, most of Japan’s nuclear power plants remain offline as they are required to pass newly established safety regulations……..

The Rokkasho plant, a key pillar of the country’s nuclear fuel recycling policy, will be able to produce around 8 tons of plutonium a year when fully operational.

July 18, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, Japan, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

European Court of Justice’s ruling gives high-risk nuclear technology with billion-dollar subsidies an unfair competitive advantage.

Rebecca Harms MEP 12th July 2018 ,Rebecca Harms , spokeswoman for the Greens / EFA Group in the European
Parliament , comments on the European Court of Justice’s ruling that the EU
Commission’s decision to grant aid to the United Kingdom for the
construction of a nuclear reactor at the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant
is legitimate .

“The Euratom Treaty is a relic of the past and gives the
high-risk nuclear technology with billion-dollar subsidies an unfair
competitive advantage. The Euratom Treaty does not match the European
requirements for clean energy and fair competition. We must end the
distortion of competition in the European energy market, reform the Euratom
Treaty and rely on the energy transition. ”

Here you will find the report ”
Pathways to a Euratom Reform ” on behalf of the Greens / EFA Group.

July 18, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment

Donald Trump ready to go to war against Iran?

Don’t Let Trump Go to War With Iran Fifteen years after the U.S. entered Iraq, the president is inching us closer to another unnecessary fight. 

July 16, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA, weapons and war | 2 Comments

Japan-US nuclear energy pact set to renew automatically in July 2018  (Mainichi Japan) 

July 16, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, Japan, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Mike Pompeo holds nuclear talks with North Korean officials in Pyongyang

Secretary of state predicts ‘productive’ meeting on his third visit, joking: ‘If I come one more time, I will have to pay taxes here’, Guardian, Julian Borger in Washington and Justin McCurry in Tokyo 7 Jul 2018   

Mike Pompeo and a US delegation held talks in Pyongyang with North Korean officials on Friday, in an effort to make progress towards disarmament and improved bilateral relations three weeks after Donald Trump’s Singapore summit with Kim Jong-un.

The US secretary of state is seeking to persuade the North Korean leadership to take concrete steps that Trump said he was promised in Singapore, including the destruction of a missile engine testing site and the repatriation of remains of US soldiers killed in the Korean war.

Pompeo is also asking for more substantial steps towards disarmament, reportedly including an inventory of the North Korean arsenal of warheads and missiles.

Mike Pompeo and a US delegation held talks in Pyongyang with North Korean officials on Friday, in an effort to make progress towards disarmament and improved bilateral relations three weeks after Donald Trump’s Singapore summit with Kim Jong-un.

The US secretary of state is seeking to persuade the North Korean leadership to take concrete steps that Trump said he was promised in Singapore, including the destruction of a missile engine testing site and the repatriation of remains of US soldiers killed in the Korean war.

Pompeo is also asking for more substantial steps towards disarmament, reportedly including an inventory of the North Korean arsenal of warheads and missiles.

…….. He is under time pressure to produce results by August, when the US and South Korea were due to hold joint military exercises. Those exercises were cancelled on Trump’s orders in Singapore as an up-front concession. Adding to the pressure, the president has repeatedly claimed that the testing site has already been destroyed, and that the soldiers’ remains have been sent back, neither of which has happened.

Trump has also made extravagant claims about what was agreed in Singapore. At a rally in Montana on Thursday, he claimed: “We signed a wonderful paper saying they’re going to denuclearise their whole thing. It’s going to all happen.”

In a joint statement with Trump, Kim agreed to move towards “complete denuclearisation” but that has been a stock phrase in North Korean rhetoric since 1992 and signifies a vague and long-term process of multilateral disarmament on the Korean peninsula. Since the Singapore meeting, satellite images and intelligence leaks have suggested that North Korea is upgrading critical parts of its nuclear programme

……….. The meeting lasted two hours and 45 minutes and Pompeo then had dinner with his senior aides. The next session is due to start at 9am. It is unclear whether Pompeo will meet Kim Jong-un on this trip.

There were reports before Pompeo began his visit, that he might relax the US demand for complete, verifiable, irreversible disarmament (CVID), and settle for mutual confidence-building measures that defused tensions without dismantling the North Korean arsenal.

His spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, denied those reports on Thursday, saying: “Nothing could be further from the truth. Our policy toward North Korea has not changed.

“We are committed to a denuclearised North Korea and Secretary Pompeo looks forward to continuing his consultations with North Korean leaders to follow up on the commitments made at the Singapore summit,” Nauert added………..


July 7, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Concern that Iran might abandon nuclear deal, – package will not fully compensate for U.S. sanctions

Germany says Iran package will not fully compensate for U.S. sanctions, 6 july 18 

VIENNA (Reuters) – Germany’s foreign minister said on Friday world powers would not be able to fully compensate for companies leaving Iran due to new U.S. sanctions, but warned Tehran that abandoning its nuclear deal would cause more harm to its economy.

“We will not be able to compensate for everything that arises from companies pulling out of Iran,” Heiko Maas told reporters before a round of talks among the remaining parties to the deal.

He said he did not think this round of talks would end negatively but it was likely more negotiations would be needed on the issue.

Reporting by Francois Murphy; writing by John Irish; editing by Parisa Hafezi

July 7, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo faces delicate task of negotiating with North Korea on reducing nuclear weapons

Mike Pompeo under pressure to secure nuclear progress in North Korea visit , Guardian Justin McCurry in Tokyo and agencies 5 Jul 2018   Secretary of state faces pressure to establish timeline for denuclearisation as well as duty to reassure regional allies  Weeks after Donald Trump declared the world a safer place following his historic summit with Kim Jong-un, Mike Pompeo is due to arrive in Pyongyang on Friday amid growing doubts over the regime’s willingness to abandon its nuclear weapons.

Unnamed US intelligence officials also concluded that North Korea does not intend to completely give up its nuclear stockpile.

Pompeo will also use his visit to consult and reassure Washington’s allies in the region, with meetings planned with Japanese and South Korean officials in Tokyo on Sunday. Japan has voiced support for the leaders’ Singapore declaration, but reacted cautiously to Trump’s decision to cancel a joint US-South Korea military exercise scheduled for August.

Pompeo must establish how far North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes have advanced before US officials can even attempt to draw up a potential timeline for America’s central demand – their complete, irreversible and verifiable dismantlement [CVID].

At present, the US has no reliable information on where all of North Korea’s production and testing facilities are located or the size of its ballistic inventory.

In a tweet this week, Trump said Washington and Pyongyang had been having “many good conversations” with North Korea over denuclearisation. “In the meantime, no Rocket Launches or Nuclear Testing in 8 months, he said. “All of Asia is thrilled. Only the Opposition Party, which includes the Fake News, is complaining. If not for me, we would now be at War with North Korea!”

Sceptics have pointed out that Kim no longer believes such tests are necessary now that the North has successful developed an intercontinental ballistic missile, and that dismantling North Korea’s missile and nuclear infrastructure represents a much tougher diplomatic challenge that could take years and cost billions of dollars, if it happens at all.

“Denuclearisation is no simple task,” Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, wrote in a commentary. “There is no precedent for a country that has openly tested nuclear weapons and developed a nuclear arsenal and infrastructure as substantial as the one in North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.”

Experts have played down Trump’s upbeat appraisal of his 12 June meeting with Kim in Singapore, where the leaders made a loose commitment to work towards the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and agreed goodwill measures such as the possible return of the remains of US soldiers from the 1950-53 Korean war.

There are signs Pompeo might abandon all-or-nothing demands for CVID and replace them with incremental steps that South Korea has reportedly suggested would be more likely to secure Kim’s cooperation…….

July 6, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iran warns that it may reduce co-operation with IAEA if USA increases sanctions

Iran threatens to cut cooperation with nuclear body after Trump move, Bozorgmehr Sharafedin, -5 July 18 

LONDON (Reuters) – Iran could reduce its co-operation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, President Hassan Rouhani told the body’s head on Wednesday, after he warned U.S. President Donald Trump of “consequences” of fresh sanctions against Iranian oil sales.

In May, Trump pulled out of a multinational deal under which sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for curbs to its nuclear program, verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Washington has since told countries they must stop buying Iranian oil from Nov. 4 or face financial measures.

“Iran’s nuclear activities have always been for peaceful purposes, but it is Iran that would decide on its level of cooperation with the IAEA,” Iranian state news agency IRNA quoted Rouhani as saying after meeting IAEA head Yukiya Amano in Vienna.

“The responsibility for the change of Iran’s cooperation level with the IAEA falls on those who have created this new situation,” he added.

Rouhani said earlier in the day Tehran would stand firm against U.S. threats to cut Iranian oil sales.

“The Americans say they want to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero … It shows they have not thought about its consequences,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by IRNA.

On Tuesday, Rouhani hinted at a threat to disrupt oil shipments from neighboring countries if Washington tries to cut its exports.

He did not elaborate, but an Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander explicitly said on Wednesday Iran would block any exports of crude for the Gulf in retaliation for hostile U.S. action.

“If they want to stop Iranian oil exports, we will not allow any oil shipment to pass through the Strait of Hormuz,” Ismail Kowsari was quoted as saying by the Young Journalists Club (YJC) website.

Major-General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds force, in charge of foreign operations for the Revolutionary Guards, said in a letter published on IRNA: “I kiss your (Rouhani’s) hand for expressing such wise and timely comments, and I am at your service to implement any policy that serves the Islamic Republic.”

Rouhani, in Vienna trying to salvage the nuclear deal, said U.S. sanctions were a “crime and aggression”, and called on European and other governments to stand up to Trump.

“Iran will survive this round of U.S. sanctions as it has survived them before. This U.S. government will not stay in office forever … But history will judge other nations based on what they do today,” he said.

Rouhani told reporters that if the remaining signatories – the Europeans Britain, France and Germany as well as China and Russia – can guarantee Iran’s benefits: “Iran will remain in the nuclear deal without the United States.”

July 6, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Despite Donald Trump’s brash confidence, serious and delicate negotiations will be needed with North Korea

Donald Trump is typically bullish about North Korea nuclear talks – but the hard work begins this week
Analysis: However confident Mr Trump is about nuclear talks with Pyongyang, the hard work is just beginning,
The Independent, Chris Stevenson International Editor, 5 July 28,  “……….In the lead-up to the unprecedented summit between Donald Trump and the North Korean leader in Singapore on 12 June – and in the weeks afterwards – the US president has sought to paint a picture of a problem solved. Indeed this week Mr Trump tweeted that talks were “going well,” and “All Asia is thrilled”.

July 6, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

Russia and China to co-operate in nuclear power build

Russia to build two new nuclear power units in China, 5 July 18 
President Vladimir Putin mentioned that energy is the most important sector of cooperation, in a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the previous month.  Moneycontrol News@moneycontrolcom   Moscow and Beijing may sign agreements to build additional two power units of 1,200-Megawatt units in China by 2026 and 2027, as per reports by Russia’s state nuclear power corporation Rosatom.……. As reported by RT, the two countries are also working together on One Belt, One Road initiative. At this rate of growth, the trade between the two countries is expected to reach the target of $100 billion.

July 6, 2018 Posted by | China, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Tense political situation of mass migration – climate change compound s this problem

A Warming World Creates Desperate People, NYT, By Lauren Markham, Ms. Markham is a freelance reporter who writes about migration and the environment. June 29, 2018 Last year I traveled to southern Guatemala, the source of one of the largest migrations of unauthorized immigrants to the United States in recent years. It’s clear why people are leaving: Guatemala is a country rife with political conflict, endemic racism against indigenous people, poverty and, increasingly, gang violence.

But there’s another, lesser-known dimension to this migration. Drought and rising temperatures in Guatemala are making it harder for people to make a living or even survive, thus compounding the already tenuous political situation for the 16.6 million people who live there.

……….. Long before the unconscionable family-separation catastrophe at our southern border, President Trump had made the battle against illegal immigrants the rallying cry of his campaign and administration. He wants to lock up more immigrants — including toddlers — as a deterrent while casting all new unauthorized immigrants as potential, if not probable, violent criminals. Simultaneously, the president’s team has taken on the environment, doing nearly everything it can to walk back decades of regulation intended to protect our air, water and land. Last June, Mr. Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accord. Meanwhile, Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is doggedly eviscerating the agency he runs.

Today, according to global relief agencies, over 68 million people worldwide have been forced to flee their homes, often because of war, poverty and political persecution. As a writer, I focus largely on issues of forced migration. The hundreds of migrants I’ve interviewed in the past few years — whether from Gambia, Pakistan, El Salvador, Guatemala, Yemen or Eritrea — are most often leaving because of some acute political problem at home. But I’ve also noticed something else in my years of reporting. If you talk to these migrants long enough, you’ll hear about another, more subtle but still profound dimension to the problems they are leaving behind: environmental degradation or climate change.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that since 2008, 22.5 million people have been displaced by climate-related or extreme weather events. This includes tragedies like the widespread famine in Darfur, monsoons and flooding in Bangladesh and the catastrophic hurricane in Puerto Rico. The more out of whack our climate becomes, the more people up and leave their homes. As our world heats up and sea levels rise, the problem of forced migration around the world is projected to become far worse.

And in refusing to take climate change or responsibility for our planet seriously, the Trump administration is encouraging the conditions that will increase unauthorized migrations to the United States and elsewhere.

…….. Many things are exacerbating the effects of the drought in Central America, including pervasive deforestation and farmers overtaxing their land. But according to Climatelinks, a project of the United States Agency for International Development, the average temperature in El Salvador has risen 2.34 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1950s, and droughts have become longer and more intense. The sea has risen by three inches since the 1950s, and is projected to rise seven more by 2050. Between 2000 and 2009, 39 hurricanes hit El Salvador, compared with 15 in the 1980s. This, too, is predicted to get worse………..

Like El Salvador, Gambia, Bangladesh and Guatemala, Ethiopia has been hit hard by climate change, though it is not even in the top 100 emitters of greenhouse gases. But the problem with climate change, of course, is that it is a problem that crosses borders.

The anti-immigrant rhetoric of the Trump administration has made for elaborate and bombastic theater — but with real, and sometimes deadly, human consequences (see again the children separated from their parents at the border). But Mr. Trump means what he says: He wants immigration from poor countries to stop. He sees the problems in those countries as theirs, not ours — never mind the centuries of catastrophic foreign intervention in places like El Salvador and the rest of the Americas, the Arab world and sub-Saharan Africa, or the growing menace of the changing climate.

If President Trump really wants to curb “illegal” migration to the United States for the long haul, he’d better get serious about climate change. The Trump administration can continue to eviscerate the E.P.A. and thumb its nose at global efforts to protect the climate. Or he can work responsibly to try to curb international migration by addressing the challenges of a warming planet.

He can’t have it both ways.

July 2, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, politics international | Leave a comment

After the Trump-Kim summit, North Korea is probaably making more nuclear bomb fuel

North Korea agreed at the summit to “work toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” but the joint statement signed by Mr Kim and Mr Trump gave no details on how or when Pyongyang might surrender its nuclear weapons.

Ahead of the summit, North Korea rejected unilaterally abandoning an arsenal it has called an essential deterrent against US aggression.

Where can North Korea’s missiles reach? 

North Korea likely making more nuclear bomb fuel despite Trump-Kim talks, report says

US intelligence agencies believe North Korea has increased production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites in recent months and may try to hide these while seeking concessions in nuclear talks with the United States, NBC News has quoted US officials as saying.

Key points:

  • Unidentified US officials told NBC North Korea had stepped up production of enriched uranium
  • North Korea may have three or more secret nuclear sites
  • Mr Trump said last week North Korea was blowing up four of its big test sites

Continue reading

July 2, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA’s national security adviser John Bolton says USA has plan to dismantle NK nuclear program in a year

Bolton: US has plan to dismantle NK nuclear program in year , WP ,July 1 Washington The United States has a plan that would lead to the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs in a year, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said Sunday, although U.S. intelligence reported signs that Pyongyang doesn’t intend to fully give up its arsenal.

John Bolton said top U.S. diplomat Mike Pompeo will be discussing that plan with North Korea in the near future. Bolton added that it would be to the North’s advantage to cooperate to see sanctions lifted quickly and aid from South Korea and Japan start to flow.

Bolton’s remarks on CBS’ ”Face the Nation” appeared to be the first time the Trump administration had publicly suggested a timeline for North Korea to fulfill the commitment leader Kim Jong Un made at a summit with President Donald Trump last month for the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula.

Despite Trump’s rosy post-summit declaration that the North no longer poses a nuclear threat, Washington and Pyongyang have yet to negotiate the terms under which it would relinquish the weapons that it developed over decades to deter the U.S. ……..

July 2, 2018 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment