The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Risk of a military conflict between Moscow and Washington has been overstated

Why a military conflict between Russia and the US is unlikely, Russia Direct, Oct 21, 2016, 
The risk of a military conflict between Moscow and Washington has been overstated. However, both sides should think about prevention mechanisms to minimize the risk of accidents that could lead to an open conflict. The expert community has been crying wolf for a long time now: “War is at the doorstep!” The gloomy predictions indicate that Russia and the United States are at the brink of direct military clashes, as if they were trying to celebrate the 54th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis in some perverse way. However, any conflict, if it happens, will most probably be accidental  the parties are not yet ready for full-scale military confrontation.

In the last few years, Russia has been modernizing its armed forces to replace the outdated Soviet-era materiel and structure. Numerous exercises, trillions of rubles spent, new equipment and combat vehicles emerging out of the blue, and a charismatic defense minister who changed the entire image of the Russian Army and brought back its popularity with society  all these steps provided for the fast (and real) growth of national military might.

However, it remains rather limited in comparison with the overall total potential of theNATO states. Some would say that the alliance is reluctant to take any serious decisions and is nothing more than a paper tiger. Nonetheless, the brainwashing of the last two years has significantly improved the decision-making capacity of NATO and the chances for achieving consensus over the “Russian threat.”

The ability to mobilize quickly strong conventional forces is still low, as NATO generals admit themselves. However, active recent revival of the nuclear sharing arrangements and the consolidation of U.S. troops in various countries of Central and Eastern Europe present enough deterrence against any light-minded action. It is clear that the war will not happen in Europe (and not even in Ukraine with its unpredictable leadership). However, wherever it occurs, NATO forces can eventually be mobilized to help their allies.

Moreover, Moscow has largely been pursuing a defensive policy over the past 16 years. Even now, when “the Russians are (seemingly) coming,” an independent observer would probably notice that the lion’s share of the activities of Moscow are reactive rather than proactive. …….

Two factors raise the probability of an armed clash between Russia and the U.S. One of them is rhetoric. There have been more words than action so far and there is a clear trend nobody is responsible for their words any longer. Any of the statements of the last few months would mean immediate war in the 19th or even in the 20th century. Nowadays, politicians throw thousands of words against each other and the struggle is with the minds and hearts and not with bodies. However, such belligerent rhetoric creates the climate of antagonism and public anticipation of a conflict. As a result, such atmosphere may facilitate prompt steps “in response” to another accident.

The second factor is, paradoxically, the low importance of the regional conflicts. Syria is so far away from Moscow and Washington that the parties do not really care about its future, its population and even its militants. Both Russia and the United States can afford there much more than they could in Ukraine, for instance (where actually none of them cared about the fate of Ukraine, but the proximity of Europe made it more difficult to fight). And such lack of significance may lead to a dangerous neglect of dramatic consequences of any armed clash and make the decision-making process easier to go to war.

Nowadays, Russia and the United States demonstrate wisdom and restraint. Given the current leadership in both countries, the expectations of war will hopefully stay just that expectations. However, the situation may change next year and it would be better for the parties to think about some minimal confidence-building measures and provide for the prevention of accidents, any of which may become fatal, just like an accidental missile launch during the Cold War era.

October 22, 2016 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

America’s Congressional hawks rev up their anti Russia rhetoric

US Hawks Continue Hysteria Over All Things Russia

Amid Rising Tensions, Old Allegations Spark New Panic

by Jason Ditz, October 19, 2016 In 2008, Russia carried out a test of a cruise missile which US officials argued might conceivably violate the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). This was first brought up by US officials in 2014,  during the anti-Russia hysteria surrounding the East Ukraine civil war.

Two and a half years later, tensions with Russia are on the rise again, so officials appear to have decided that the exact same 2008 test is suddenly a huge thing again, with a number of Congressional hawks issuing a letter claiming the Russian test was an “egregious” violation, and demanding that the Obama Administration “impose penalties” on Russia over it.

Russia had threatened to withdraw from the INF over NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe, saying it changed the balance of power in the region. They were also riled by the Bush Administration’s threats to install missile defense along the Russian frontier.

The missiles in question are a multi-stage system Russia designed which are aimed to technically comply with the letter of the treaty, while expanding intermediate range capabilities in ways that the treaty was meant to forbid. The US has made similar developments over the years since 1987.

With US officials riled at Russia over Aleppo, and presenting the fighting in the city as a “holocaust,” they have also brought up several other grievances they have with Russia, accusing them of everything from treaty violations to supporting Donald Trump.

It’s interesting to note, however, that most of the grievances aren’t particularly new, and didn’t have a lot of meat to them the last time they brought them up. The effort seems to be to just keep Russia’s name out there, and always in a negative light.

October 22, 2016 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA wants meeting with Russia Over Missile Treaty Dispute

U.S. Calls For Meeting With Russia Over Missile Treaty Dispute , Radio Free Europe,  20 Oct 16 WASHINGTON — The United States has called for a special meeting with Russia over alleged violations of a landmark Cold War-era arms-control treaty, a policy reversal that echoes deepening U.S. fears about Moscow’s intentions.

The planned meeting of the Special Verification Commission, scheduled in the near future, focuses new attention on concerns about the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF).

The treaty, which bans testing, producing, and possessing ground-launched cruise missiles with ranges between 500 to 5,500 kilometers, eliminated an entire class of missiles from Europe, and set up an extensive system of verification and compliance. The agreement was considered crucial in the thaw between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Two years ago, the United States first asserted that Russia was in violation of the treaty, by developing a missile system that fell within the INF prohibitions. Moscow denied the allegations, and later charged that U.S.-led efforts to install elements of a missile-defense system in Europe were in fact prohibited by the INF.

Since then, U.S. officials have pressed Russia on the alleged violations; at one point, President Barack Obama raised the issue directly with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin……..

October 22, 2016 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The American point of view on USA-Russia crisis over Syria

Throughout her campaign, Clinton has repeatedly called for a no-fly or “safe zone” for Syrian civilians, without providing a detailed explanation as to what that would entail. But her advisors have suggested that it could involve the United States shooting down Syrian aircraft, forcing Russia to choose between defending Assad or working with Washington. In discussing the no-fly-zone idea, Clinton has not acknowledged the presence of an advanced Russian S-400 air defense system in Syria, which potentially could be used against U.S. aircraft enforcing a no-fly zone


Putin Throws Out the Old Nuclear Rules, Rattling Washington, FP, Washington and Moscow used to keep arms control separate from other crises around the world. But that era is over and the next president will have to decide how to deal with it. BY DAN DE LUCEREID STANDISH OCTOBER 16, 2016

   Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear saber-rattling and military brinksmanship have upended the rules that long governed relations between Moscow and Washington, presenting the United States with a dangerous dilemma.

The next U.S president will inherit an increasingly fraught relationship with Russia in which Washington’s attempts to deter Putin have mostly failed. Moscow’s decision this month to pull out of a landmark agreement on disposing tons of weapons-grade plutonium, coupled with reports last week that Russia deployed new nuclear-capable missiles to Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea, underscore how Putin is flexing Russia’s power in new and often unpredictable ways.

U.S. and European officials are increasingly alarmed over Putin’s willingness to risk military confrontation and threaten to use his country’s nuclear arsenal over issues the West sees as unrelated and separate. That makes it devilishly difficult for the United States and its European allies to find an effective response to Putin’s audacious tactics that in recent years range from Russia’s annexation of Crimea, to its air war in support of the Syrian regime, to Moscow’s suspected hacking of America’s presidential election.

“It very much feels like we are entering a very troubled and dangerous phase in this bilateral relationship,“ said Julianne Smith, a former senior Pentagon official who oversaw NATO policy and a former senior advisor to Vice President Joe Biden. “The next president will face some big strategic choices,” said Smith, who now advises Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Europe and Russia.

President Barack Obama’s successor will have to choose from a range of unpleasant and risky options when it comes to handling a resurgent Russia, current and former officials said. A more conciliatory stance, aimed at cutting a grand bargain with Russia focused on Ukraine, would defuse tensions in the short term but at the cost of ultimately emboldening Putin. A more hawkish line — like the one championed by Clinton, who is leading nationwide polls — would risk escalation, with the chance of a military showdown in Syria or the Baltics……….

In the Kremlin’s decree this month declaring Russia would no longer cooperate with the United States on a 2009 agreement to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium, Moscow said it would consider reviving the agreement only if the United States scaled back its military presence near Russia’s border, lifted all sanctions against Russia, and paid Moscow compensation for the economic losses caused by the sanctions.

U.S. officials said they were disappointed by Moscow’s decision and dismayed at what they consider a worrisome pattern of behavior……..
The United States says Russia has flouted a 1987 arms control treaty, negotiated by then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, which called for the elimination of all ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. The treaty helped bring an end to the Cold War and served as a crucial foundation for arms control efforts.
After signing the New START arms control accord in 2010, Russia has rebuffed overtures from Obama during the past six years to negotiate further reductions in nuclear weapons. The treaty expires in 2021, and without a new deal, the gains in arms control over the last 25 years would be endangered. Putin’s government also has backed away from mutual efforts launched in the 1990s to secure nuclear material. In March, Russia declinedto attend the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington…….
Against the sharp deterioration in U.S.-Russian relations, finding a new way to moderate mounting tensions between the two countries will be left to the next U.S. administration. In Syria, Russia’s deployment of fighter aircraft squadrons and artillery in 2015 blindsided the Obama administration, and has succeeded in shifting the tide of the war in favor of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The intervention has enabled Russia to set the agenda in Syria, reducing Washington’s influence and drastically limiting U.S. options for any military action.

When lawmakers last month asked the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, about the possibility of the United States setting up a no-fly zone in Syria, he said it “would require us to go to war with Syria and Russia.”

Throughout her campaign, Clinton has repeatedly called for a no-fly or “safe zone” for Syrian civilians, without providing a detailed explanation as to what that would entail. But her advisors have suggested that it could involve the United States shooting down Syrian aircraft, forcing Russia to choose between defending Assad or working with Washington. In discussing the no-fly-zone idea, Clinton has not acknowledged the presence of an advanced Russian S-400 air defense system in Syria, which potentially could be used against U.S. aircraft enforcing a no-fly zone…………..

October 18, 2016 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA | Leave a comment

People and planet endangered by the Trans Pacific Partnership

TPP would allow firms to turn to secretive international tribunals where they can sue governments for millions or billions of dollars if environmental or other public interest regulations interfere with expected future profits

The TPP undermines sound climate policy. The TPP would ramp up global warming by increasing U.S. coal, oil and gas exports to the world


7 ways the Trans Pacific Partnership threatens people and the planet, FOE USA,  by Bill Waren, senior trade analyst, 13 Oct 16,    The Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal is not so much about trade as it is about deregulation and forcing governments to pay corporations and wealthy investors for the cost of complying with environmental and other public interest safeguards. The TPP broadly restricts the policy space for governments to take effective environmental and climate action.

Unlike most international agreements, tribunals of trade lawyers would effectively enforce the TPP. Such tribunals could impose retaliatory sanctions like higher tariffs on the non-complying countries’ exports or award money damages that can run into millions or even billions of dollars.

Trade tribunals often treat environmental and public health regulations as trade barriers.

Until about twenty years ago, trade deals focused on reducing trade barriers like tariffs and quotas. Today’s trade deals, by contrast, focus on curbing the authority of democratic governments and legitimate courts to regulate the global marketplace. Trade tribunals often treat environmental and public health regulations as trade barriers. Trade deals like the TPP focus on dismantling many regulations that are alleged to interfere with the profits of multinational corporations and wealthy foreign investors.

Multinational corporations have lined up behind the TPP, as have Wall Street banks and Big Oil. But over 1,500 public interest organizations, such as internet freedom groups, faith-based organizations, labor unions, women’s & LBGT advocates and environmentalists, are standing up to oppose TPP……

Here are seven ways that the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal threatens people and the planet:

1) TPP investment tribunals subvert democracy. TPP would allow firms to turn to secretive international tribunals where they can sue governments for millions or billions of dollars if environmental or other public interest regulations interfere with expected future profits. This would discourage government action like restricting oil and gas drilling, imposing pollution controls, and limiting the use of fracking (hydraulic fracturing). TransCanada, for example, is using a similar provision in the North American Free Trade Agreement to sue the U.S. for $15 billion for stopping construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

2) The TPP undermines sound climate policy. The TPP would ramp up global warming by increasing U.S. coal, oil and gas exports to the world. The TPP is designed to protect “free trade” in such dirty energy products shipped out of West Coast ports. The result would be worsened climate change from carbon emissions across the Pacific.

3) The TPP deal threatens bees. …….

4) TPP threatens deregulation of chemical safety standards…..

5) TPP undercuts prudent food safety regulations. ….

6) TPP encourages GMOs……

7) TPP puts family farms at risk. …….

If you want to join the fight against the TPP, contact Bill Waren at

October 14, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Spiral of repeated failure in nuclear sanctions against North Korea

Nuclear conflict with North Korea: a spiral of repeated failure, DW, 9 Oct 16 

flag-N-KoreaNorth Korea carries out a nuclear test; the UN imposes sanctions; North Korea repeats its actions. This cycle has been repeated for 10 years now and has so far proved impossible to break. North Korea has carried out five nuclear tests in the past 10 years. Five times, the UN Security Council has imposed or tightened sanctions. For years now the West has issued similar words of condemnation after each new test. And time and again North Korea has demonstrated that the international community still has not found any way of resolving this nuclear confrontation in the long term. Meanwhile, the cycle of action and reaction continues.

Monday, 9 October 2006

Exactly ten years ago, then dictator Kim Jong Il shocked the world with the first North Korean nuclear test. It was the middle of the night in Europe when the earth shook in the northeast of the country at 10:36 local time. The South Korean secret service estimated that the bomb had an explosive force of 0.55 kilotons. This was considerably smaller than the first atomic bomb ever used in conflict, dropped on Hiroshima in Japan by the United States: That had an explosive force of around 12.5 kilotons. But the message is clear – and the rest of the world is outraged.

US President George W. Bush on 9 October 2006:

“The United States condemns this provocative act. Once again North Korea has defied the will of the international community, and the international community will respond.”

It was the start of a spiral that has continued ever since, with no resolution in sight.

Five days later, the 15 members of the UN Security Council vote unanimously to impose sanctions against North Korea.

UN Resolution 1718, passed on 14 October 2006  The resolution forbids North Korea from carrying out any further nuclear tests or firing any ballistic missiles. It calls upon the country to suspend its nuclear program and return to the negotiation table. Among other things, Resolution 1718 freezes the assets of people involved in the North Korean nuclear program and imposes travel bans on them. It also imposes a trade embargo covering items such as tanks, combat vehicles, large war materials, fighter planes, helicopters and battleships. And, of course, anything connected to the further development of North Korea’s nuclear program………

Friday, 9 September 2016

Just nine months after the fourth nuclear test, North Korea carries out a fifth – and last, to date – on its Punggye-ri test site. It is also the strongest. Foreign experts estimate that it had an explosive force of around 10 kilotons.

US President Barack Obama, 9 September 2016:

“To be clear, the United States does not, and never will, accept North Korea as a nuclear state. […] Today’s nuclear test, a flagrant violation of multiple UN Security Council Resolutions, makes clear North Korea’s disregard for international norms and standards for behavior and demonstrates it has no interest in being a responsible member of the international community.”

The UN Security Council has announced that further sanctions will be imposed.

October 10, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia has suspended its nuclear and energy research agreement with the United States

Russia suspends its nuclear agreement with the United States Lidia Kelly 

Moscow: Russia has suspended its nuclear and energy research agreement with the United States as a countermeasure against Washington for imposing sanctions on Russia over Ukraine.

The Russian government also said on Wednesday it was terminating an agreement between its nuclear corporation Rosatom and the US Department of Energy on feasibility studies into conversion of Russian research reactors to low enriched uranium.

On Monday, President Vladimir Putin suspended a treaty with Washington on cleaning up weapons-grade plutonium, signalling he was willing to use nuclear disarmament as a new bargaining chip in disputes with the United States over Ukraine and Syria.

“The regular renewal of sanctions against Russia, which include the suspension of Russian-American cooperation in the field of nuclear energy demands the adoption of countermeasures against the US side,” the Russian government said on its website.

The agreement on co-operation in nuclear- and energy-related scientific research, signed in 2013, provided the legal framework necessary to expand work between US and Russian nuclear research laboratories and institutes in nuclear technology and nonproliferation, among others.

The uranium agreement, signed in 2010, provided for feasibility studies into the conversion of six Russian research reactors from dangerous highly enriched uranium to more secure low enriched uranium.

The West imposed economic sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014, followed by a pro-Russian insurrection in the east of the country. The breakdown of a ceasefire in Syria, where Russia backs government forces and the West supports rebel groups, has added to tensions.

October 6, 2016 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA | Leave a comment

Diplomacy Is Over As Russia and The U.S. Face Off

U.S.-Russia Ties Crumble Under Weight of Syria, Nuclear Pact, Bloomberg      , 4 Oct 16 

October 5, 2016 Posted by | politics international | Leave a comment

With a list of grievances, Putin suspends nuclear pact with USA

Putin suspends nuclear pact, raising stakes in row with Washington 

 Starting in the last years of the Cold War, Russia and the United States signed a series of accords to reduce the size of their nuclear arsenals, agreements that have so far survived intact despite a souring of U.S.-Russian relations under Putin.

But on Monday, Putin issued a decree suspending an agreement, concluded in 2000, which bound the two sides to dispose of surplus plutonium originally intended for use in nuclear weapons.

The Kremlin said it was taking that action in response to unfriendly acts by Washington. It made the announcement shortly before Washington said it was suspending talks with Russia on trying to end the violence in Syria.

The plutonium accord is not the cornerstone of post-Cold War U.S.-Russia disarmament, and the practical implications from the suspension will be limited. But the suspension, and the linkage to disagreements on other issues, carries powerful symbolism.

“Putin’s decree could signal that other nuclear disarmament cooperation deals between the United States and Russia are at risk of being undermined,” Stratfor, a U.S.-based consultancy, said in a commentary.

“The decision is likely an attempt to convey to Washington the price of cutting off dialogue on Syria and other issues.”

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement on Monday that bilateral contacts with Moscow over Syria were being suspended. Kirby said Russia had failed to live up to its commitments under a ceasefire agreement.

Western diplomats say an end to the Syria talks leaves Moscow free to pursue its military operation in support of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, but without a way to disentangle itself from a conflict which shows no sign of ending.

Russia and the United States are also at loggerheads over Ukraine. Washington, along with Europe, imposed sanctions on Russia after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014 and backed pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine.

List of grievances

Putin submitted a draft law to parliament setting out under what conditions work under the plutonium accord could be resumed. Those conditions were a laundry list of Russian grievances towards the United States.

They included Washington lifting the sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine, paying compensation to Moscow for the sanctions, and reducing the U.S. military presence in NATO member state in eastern Europe to the levels they were 16 years ago.

Any of those steps would involve a complete U-turn in long-standing U.S. policy.

“The Obama administration has done everything in its power to destroy the atmosphere of trust which could have encouraged cooperation,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement on the treaty’s suspension.

“The step Russia has been forced to take is not intended to worsen relations with the United States. We want Washington to understand that you cannot, with one hand, introduce sanctions against us where it can be done fairly painlessly for the Americans, and with the other hand continue selective cooperation in areas where it suits them.”

The 2010 agreement, signed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, called on each side to dispose of 34 tonnes of plutonium by burning it in nuclear reactors.

Clinton said at the time that there was enough of the material to make almost 17,000 nuclear weapons. Both sides back then viewed the deal as a sign of increased cooperation between the two former Cold War adversaries.

Russian officials alleged on Monday that Washington had failed to honor its side of the agreement. The Kremlin decree stated that, despite the suspension, Russia’s surplus weapons-grade plutonium would not be put to military use.

October 5, 2016 Posted by | politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

U.N. atomic agency chief says Iran sticking to nuclear deal

 Reuters 2 Oct 16  Iran has kept to a nuclear deal it agreed with six world powers last year limiting its stockpiles of substances that could be used to make atomic weapons, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told French daily Le Monde.

Confirming the findings of a confidential report by the U.N. agency seen by Reuters last month, IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano said Tehran had observed the deal which was opposed by hardliners inside Iran and by skeptics in the West.

“The deal is being implemented since January without any particular problem,” he told Le Monde in an interview published on Saturday…….

October 3, 2016 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

US tells Pakistan that its nuclear threats to India are not acceptable

Nuclear threat not acceptable, US tells Pakistan,  VARGHESE K. GEORGE, 1 Oct 16  The United States has conveyed to Pakistan that nuclear threats are not acceptable, a senior State Department official who did not want to be named, said. The message was conveyed to Pakistan after its defence minister said twice in the span of a week that his country could use tactical nuclear weapons against India.

“We made that clear to them. Repeatedly,” the official said when asked whether the U.S has conveyed to Pakistan that no nuclear capable country is expected to threaten anyone with the use of nukes. “We haven’t kept the devices that we have just as showpieces. But if our safety is threatened, we will annihilate them (India),” the defence minister of Pakistan had said.

 “It is very concerning, it is a serious thing,” the U.S official said, adding that the U.S has been urging both countries to “pull back and deescalate.” “At the same time we have made it very clear that what happened in the Indian arm base (Uri) is an act of cross border terrorism,” the official added.

The U.S is concerned about the safety of Pakistani nuclear weapons otherwise also, the official said. “The safety of these weapons is always a concern for us. So we are always monitoring it, regardless of what they said on this particular occasion,” he said.

October 1, 2016 Posted by | Pakistan, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

India and Pakistan both looking to an alliance with Russia

Nuclear War: Pakistan, China, Russia Vs India, America Nuclear Warheads USA Morning News 1 Oct 16 “……… Nuclear Warhead Assessment

So if it comes down to an all-out nuclear war between the US-India on one side and China-Russia-Pakistan on the other, here is an assessment of which side is likely to have an upper hand in the war:

  • It has been estimated that China, India, and Pakistan all possess ballistic missile, cruise missile, and sea-based nuclear weapons.
  • Even though China, Russia, and the U.S. possess nuclear weaponry, according to the NPT, they have been banned from building and maintaining such weapons in perpetuity.
  • China has 260 approximate warheads, Russia has roughly 7300 and Pakistan has 120.
  • The USA is lagging slightly behind Russia with 7100 warheads and India currently has 110.

Hence, with Russia currently ahead than all the rest in the nuclear race, both India and Pakistan are looking to Russia to build an alliance with.

October 1, 2016 Posted by | India, Pakistan, politics international, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK may be forced to leave Euratom treaty on nuclear energy, due to Brexit

flag-UKBrexit ‘could trigger’ UK departure from nuclear energy treaty

The UK’s withdrawal from the EU could also force it to exit the Euratom treaty on nuclear energy, ENDS has learned, Guardian, José Rojo for ENDS, part of the Guardian Environment Network. The UK’s withdrawal from the EU could also force it to exit the Euratom Treaty on nuclear energy, ENDS has learned.

The Euratom Treaty, which applies to all EU member states, seeks to promote nuclear safety standards, investment and research within the bloc. Although it is governed by EU institutions, it has retained a separate legal identity since its adoption in 1957.

Brian Curtis, a member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), told ENDS that his Committee had recently consulted the European Commission on whether Brexit would automatically lead to a UK exit of Euratom.

Curtis said the Commission had responded affirmatively, arguing that the Treaty of the European Union (TEU) applies to the Euratom Treaty under article 106 of the latter agreement. This would mean, it said, that the reference to ‘Union’ inTEU’s article 50 – which needs to be invoked by member states wishing to quit the bloc – would apply not only to the EU itself but to Euratom membership as well.

According to EESC, a Euratom withdrawal by the UK – which recently approved the controversial £18bn Hinkley C project – could have major strategic implications for the EU nuclear sector. “But anticipating specific outcomes at this stage is problematic,” the Committee added.

The Commission itself would not comment on the exchange, which took place as the EESC examined the EU’s latest nuclear plan.

The draft Nuclear Indicative Programme (PINC), which was unveiled in April, is the first to be published by the Commission since the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011.

The EESC is required by the Euratom Treaty to give its opinion on such plans before they are finalised. It released its opinion on the latest PINC last week, after adopting it at a plenary vote.

The document praises the Commission for its analysis of investment needs during the entire nuclear fuel cycle and its emphasis on funding for nuclear decommissioning.

However, the Committee adds that the 2016 PINC is half the length of thepreceding plan from 2007 and fails to address key issues faced by EU nuclear energy.

These, it says, include the competitiveness of nuclear amid changes to construction and capital costs, its investment needs in the context of the EU’s Energy Union goals and the speed at which new technologies may be rolled out.

EESC’s opinion was published two weeks ahead of a meeting of the European Nuclear Energy Forum, which will be attended by EU member states and European institutions in Bratislava on 3-4 October.

September 28, 2016 Posted by | politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Pope encourages revival of negotiations over contentious nuclear situation on Koren Peninsula

diplomacy-not-bombsPope concerned over North Korea’s nuclear testing, Crux, Inés San Martín

September 27, 2016 VATICAN CORRESPONDENT   The United States has flown nuclear-capable supersonic bombers over ally South Korea in a show of force meant to cow North Korea after its fifth nuclear test and also to settle rattled nerves in the South.

 “The Holy See supports continued efforts by the international community to revive negotiations over denuclearization and to enable the IAEA to resume its critical role in nuclear verification there,” says Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, Vatican Undersecretary for Relations with States. ROME-Watching the continuing tension on the Korean Peninsula, with North Korea carrying out nuclear tests, a Vatican’s representative has expressed Pope Francis’s concerns to Vienna’s International Atomic Energy Agency.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said on Tuesday that he could confirm that, considering the “delicate situation on the Korean Peninsula,” the Vatican’s Undersecretary for Relations with States, Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, had reiterated in Vienna “the concern of the Holy Father and the Holy See about the continuing tensions in the area on account of the nuclear tests carried out by North Korea.”

Last Tuesday, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) had reported that North Korea had successfully conducted a ground test of a new type of high-powered rocket engine.

Camillieri was speaking as the Vatican representative in the 60th General Assembly of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEG), taking place in Vienna Sept. 26-30.

“We view the situation in the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] with grave concern,” Camillieri said in his remarks. “The Holy See supports continued efforts by the international community to revive negotiations over denuclearization and to enable the IAEA to resume its critical role in nuclear verification there.”

The Vatican representative also said the Church welcomes the IAEA’s participation in the “verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” adding that the Holy See sees this agreement positively…….. Talking about disarmament, he again quoted Francis, but this time from the pontiff’s message to the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in 2014, when the Argentine pope said that spending on these weapons squanders a country’s wealth.

“To prioritize such spending is a mistake and a misallocation of resources which would be far better invested in the areas of integral human development, education, health and the fight against extreme poverty. When these resources are squandered, the poor and the weak living on the margins of society pay the price,” the pope had said in the message Camillieri quoted on Tuesday.

September 28, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, Religion and ethics, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Korea and Japan tempted to develop nuclear weapons, in response to North Korea’s nuclear test?

Will North Korea’s Nuclear Test Tempt South Korea and Japan to Go Nuclear?The latest test may strengthen calls South Korea and Japan to develop their own nuclear weapons. The Diplomat, By Pang Zhongying September 27, 2016  North Korea’s latest nuclear test strengthened the sections of public opinion that approve of obtaining nuclear weapons in South Korea and Japan. The test, then, could bring about a chain reaction and accelerate the pace of Japanese and South Korean efforts to possess nuclear weapons. Under these circumstances, China will face not only a threat from the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, but also the further deterioration of Northeast Asia’s strategic environment.

In my opinion, the biggest challenge posed to China by this North Korean nuclear test is that South Korea’s domestic support for nuclear weapons may increase. Since Kim Jong-un assumed leadership of North Korea — especially this year — public support for possessing nuclear weapons and turning South Korea into a nuclear state has reached a certain scale. South Korea has been protected by the U.S nuclear umbrella, but now more and more people in South Korea want to build up a domestic nuclear deterrent to balance against North Korea.

On July 1, President Park Geun-hye suddenly decided to deploy the U.S. THAAD system in South Korea. In the following two months, domestic voices advocating for possessing and/or developing nuclear weapons have been constantly coming from South Korea. These voices will get even louder after the latest nuclear test in North Korea. It is said that the tested nuclear warhead was miniaturized, but its blast is estimated to be very large. Readings of the seismic activity in North Korea indicate that the test was very successful. Therefore, South Korea is currently enveloped by the sense of a national security crisis and many now believe that it is not enough to only have United States’ nuclear protection. So North Korea’s nuclear test may further stimulate South Korea to acquire nuclear weapons or develop nuclear weapons, which is also a big challenge for the United States………

September 28, 2016 Posted by | Japan, North Korea, politics international, South Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment