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Royal Navy officer in charge of submarine’s nuclear weapons, sent back to UK, alleged to be drunk on duty

Royal Navy officer in charge of sub’s nuclear weapons sent back to UK for ‘clocking on after night of drinking’   Lieutenant Commander Len Louw was carrying a bag of barbecue grilled chicken when he arrived for work. Sky News ,By Lucia Binding, news reporter, Monday 19 October 2020 ……….
A Royal Navy officer who allegedly turned up to work after a night of drinking has been sent back to the UK from a submarine in the US.

Lieutenant Commander Len Louw was declared unfit for duty when he arrived at HMS Vigilant to take charge of nuclear missiles last month………..
Lieutenant Commander Louw was responsible for all weapons and sensors on the vessel.  ……

October 20, 2020 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

The biggest radioactive spill in US history

The biggest radioactive spill in US history      How the US poisoned Navajo Nation. By Ranjani Chakraborty and Melissa Hirsch  Oct 13, 2020, (Excellent photography) For decades, Navajo Nation was a primary source for the United States’ uranium stockpile during the nuclear arms race. It was home to more than 700 uranium mines, which provided jobs to Navajo residents. But the mining industry came with impending peril. Cases of lung cancer and other diseases began cropping up in a community that had previously had few of them. Land, air, and water was poisoned. And on July 16, 1979, the mining led to the biggest radioactive spill in US history.

Watch the video above to hear from residents in Church Rock, New Mexico, who’ve lived with the effects of the spill. More than 40 years later, the site still hasn’t been properly cleaned up, and residents continue to face illnesses, tainted water, and the loss of livestock. Today, with the Environmental Protection Agency’s new plan for cleanup, they’re worried it could wipe out their entire community.

If you want to learn more about mining in Navajo Nation, check out Doug Brugge, Esther Yazzie-Lewis, and Timothy Benally’s book on the subject. Or the feature documentary The Return of Navajo Boy by Groundswell Educational Films.

October 19, 2020 Posted by | incidents, indigenous issues, USA | Leave a comment

More reports of drones flying near Paolo Verde nuclear power plant, and others, and over spent nuclear fuel storage sites

Dozens More Mystery Drone Incursions Over U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Revealed, Forbes,    David Hambling– 7 Sept 20, Forbes recently described how a swarm of drones flew in a restricted area at Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant on two successive nights last September. A new cache of documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) reveals how 24 nuclear sites suffered at least 57 drone incursions from 2015 to 2019 – and Palo Verde itself was overflown again in December, despite new security measures.

The documents were obtained by from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission by Douglas D. Johnson on behalf of the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies (SCU). The SCU’s main interest is in anomalous aerospace phenomena, more commonly known as UFOs, but Johnson uncovered a series of incidents involving something less exotic but potentially more threatening: commercial drones.
In the September incidents, a swarm of five or six large drones flew over Unit 3 nuclear reactor at Palo Verde in Arizona for about eighty minutes, a length of time which suggested they were carrying out a thorough survey of the site. The documents released at the time referred to a similar incident at Limerick Nuclear Generating Station in Pennsylvania………….
 We do not know how many involved multiple, simultaneous drone flyovers. At the time the list was generated, three of the incidents were listed as ‘Open’ and five ‘Closed Resolved.’ but the overwhelming majority, 49 of them, were ‘Closed Unresolved.’  This indicates that for 85% of the cases the NRC has no idea who the perpetrators are or what they intended, and has given up on finding them………
Limerick had five drone sightings, Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Cleveland, Ohio had six and Diablo Canyon near San Luis Obispo in California had no less than seven separate incidents from December 2015 to September 2018, all of them unresolved. The scale spread and number of intrusions indicate that this is not a local issue, and that the drone overflight may be carried out by a large, coordinated organization.
While most of the sites were nuclear reactors, there were also three drone incursions over spent nuclear fuel storage sites, including Trojan in Oregon and Rancho Seco in California where radioactive waste is stored in steel canisters inside giant concrete casks………..
 While reactors themselves are protected by thick concrete domes able to withstand the impact of a crashing airliner, the above-ground pools in which spend nuclear fuel is stored may be far more vulnerable. A 2011 report by the Institute of Policy Studies noted that over 40,000 tons of highly radioactive waste is stored in pools, many above ground: “some of the largest concentrations of radioactive material on the planet.” These pools are not heavily protected, but are in light structures similar to big-box stores and car dealerships.

A 2003 report noted how vulnerable such pools were to terrorist action, simply by making a hole in the pool to drain out the cooling water and causing the stored fuel to overheat: “We warned that U.S. spent fuel pools were vulnerable to acts of terror. The drainage of a pool might cause a catastrophic radiation fire, which could render an area uninhabitable much greater than that created by the Chernobyl accident.”

September 8, 2020 Posted by | incidents, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Iran has halted numerous cyber-attacks on its nuclear plants

 Iran halts numerous cyber-attacks on nuclear plants , Middle East News, September 7, 2020

Iran announced that it had stopped a large number of cyber-attacks targeting its nuclear facilities, spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI), Behrouz Kamalvandi, announced yesterday.

In a press release reported by news agencies, Kamalvandi said that the explosion which hit Natanz nuclear facility a few months ago was a result of a terrorist attack.

Kamalvandi added: “The details of the terror attack on Natanz are still at the hands of the security services. We cannot reveal them now.”…….

September 8, 2020 Posted by | incidents, Iran | Leave a comment

Arctic tragedy: the loss of Russian sailors in nuclear submarine accidents

Russia’s ‘slow-motion Chernobyl’ at sea, FUTURE PLANET | OCEANS
By Alec Luhn, 2nd September 2020    By tradition, Russians always bring an odd number of flowers to a living person and an even number to a grave or memorial. But every other day, 83-year-old Raisa Lappa places three roses or gladiolas by the plaque to her son Sergei in their hometown Rubtsovsk, as if he hadn’t gone down with his submarine during an ill-fated towing operation in the Arctic Ocean in 2003.“I have episodes where I’m not normal, I go crazy, and it seems that he’s alive, so I bring an odd number,” she says. “They should raise the boat, so we mothers could put our sons’ remains in the ground, and I could maybe have a little more peace.”

After 17 years of unfulfilled promises, she may finally get her wish, though not out of any concern for the bones of Captain Sergei Lappa and six of his crew. With a draft decree published in March, President Vladimir Putin set in motion an initiative to lift two Soviet nuclear submarines and four reactor compartments from the silty bottom, reducing the amount of radioactive material in the Arctic Ocean by 90%. First on the list is Lappa’s K-159. ……………..

‘Cursed August’

Sergei Lappa was born in 1962 in Rubtsovsk, a small city in the Altai Mountains near the border with Kazakhstan. Though it was thousands of miles to the nearest ocean, he cultivated an interest in seafaring at a local model shipbuilding club, and after school he was accepted into the higher naval engineering academy in Sevastopol, Crimea. Tall, athletic and a good student, he was assigned to the navy’s most prestigious service: the Northern Submarine Fleet.

Following the break-up of the Soviet Union, however, the military went into a decline that was revealed to the world when the top-of-the-line attack submarine Kursk sank with 118 crew on board in August 2000. By this time, Lappa was in charge of the K-159, which had been rusting since 1989 at a pier in the isolated navy town of Gremikha, nicknamed the “island of flying dogs” for its strong winds. On the morning of 29 August 2003, the long-delayed order came to tow the decrepit K-159, which had been attached to four 11-tonne pontoons with cables to keep it afloat during the operation, to a base near Murmansk for dismantling, despite a forecast of windy weather.

With the reactors off, Lappa and his skeleton crew of nine engineers operated the boat by flashlight. As the submarine was towed near Kildin Island at half past midnight, the cables to the bow pontoons broke in heavy seas, and a half-hour later water was discovered trickling into the eighth compartment. But as headquarters struggled with the decision to launch an expensive rescue helicopter, the crew kept trying to keep the submarine afloat. At 02:45am Mikhail Gurov sent one last radio transmission: “We’re flooding, do something!” By the time rescue boats from the tug arrived, the K-159 was on the bottom near Kildin Island. Of the three sailors who made it out, the only survivor was senior lieutenant Maxim Tsibulsky, whose leather jacket had filled with air and kept him afloat.

Yet another nuclear submarine had sunk during the “cursed” month of August, Russian newspapers wrote, but the incident caused little furore compared to the Kursk. The navy promised relatives it would raise the K-159 the next year, then repeatedly delayed the project.

Even after 17 years of scavenging and corrosion, at least the bones of the crew likely remain in the submarine, according to Lynne Bell, a forensic anthropologist at Simon Fraser University. But the families have long since lost hope of recovering them.

“For all the relatives it would bring some relief if their fathers and husbands were buried, not just lying on the bottom in a steel hulk,” Gurov’s son Dmitry says. “It’s just that no one believes this will happen.”

The situation has now changed, however, as Russia’s interest revives in the Arctic and its crumbling Soviet ports and military towns. Since 2013, seven Arctic military bases and two tanker terminals have been built as part of the Northern Sea Route, a shorter route to China that Putin has promised will see 80 million tonnes of traffic by 2025. The K-159 is lying underneath the eastern end of the route………….

September 3, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, incidents, oceans, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference | Leave a comment

UK: Nuclear site evacuated after chemical found 

August 15, 2020 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

All too often the world has narrowly avoided World War 3, due to mistales

concentrating this power within a single individual is a big risk. “It’s happened a number of times that a president has been heavily drinking, or subject to medication he’s taking. He may be suffering from a psychological disease. All of these things have happened in the past,”

ways a country’s own technologies could be used against them. As we become more and more reliant on sophisticated computers, there is growing concern that hackers, viruses or AI bots could start a nuclear war. “We believe that the chance of false alarms has gone up with the increased danger of cyber-attacks,” says Collina. For example, a control system [like Pine Gap] could be spoofed into thinking that a missile is coming, which could mean a president is tricked into launching a counter-attack.

many experts agree that by far the biggest threat comes from the very launch systems that are supposed to be protecting us.

August 11, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, incidents, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Beirut explosion was not an atomic bomb

The Beirut explosion created a huge mushroom cloud and visible blast wave, but nuclear-weapons experts say it wasn’t an atomic bomb. Here’s why. Business Insider , DAVE MOSHER, AUG 5, 2020, 

  • An explosion at a port rocked the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on Tuesday, killing at least dozens of people.
  • As videos of the explosion spread across social-media sites, some observers likened the appearance of a mushroom cloud to that of an atomic bomb.
  • The Lebanese prime minister has said the blast came from a stockpile of ammonium nitrate in a warehouse.
  • Nuclear-weapons experts say the detonation was definitely not triggered by an atomic bomb.
  • Atomic explosions are characterised by a blinding flash of light, a pulse of searing heat, and radioactive fallout, none of which were detected………….

August 6, 2020 Posted by | incidents, MIDDLE EAST | Leave a comment

Fire at the Belleville nuclear power plant reveals the disorganization of EDF

August 4, 2020 Posted by | France, incidents | Leave a comment

Who flew drones over the nuclear reactors?

August 3, 2020 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Mystery over drone swarm above America’s largest nuclear power station

the intruders, as well as establishing that Palo Verde lacks effective drone defenses, may now have highly detailed maps of the facility, showing the exact location of every valve, pipe, switch and control. Perhaps they simply aim to sell these on the dark web to anyone who will pay. Or perhaps they have something else in mind. Either way, it is an alarming demonstration of how easily drone intruders can now go anywhere anytime they wish. 

Drone Swarm’ Invaded Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant Last September — Twice   Forbes Jul 30, 2020, David Hambling

Documents gained under the Freedom of Information Act show how a number of small drones flew around a restricted area at Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant on two successive nights last September. Security forces watched, but were apparently helpless to act as the drones carried out their incursions before disappearing into the night. Details of the event gives some clues as to just what they were doing, but who sent them remains a mystery.

Details of the events were obtained from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by Douglas D. Johnson on behalf of the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies (SCU) using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The SCU’s main interest is in anomalous aerospace phenomena, what other people term UFOs. In this case though the flying objects were easily identifiable as drones, although their exact mission and origin are unknown. Johnson passed the information to The War Zone who give a detailed account.

Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant is the largest in the U.S., producing over three gigawatts, 35% of Arizona’s total power capacity. It supplies electricity to Phoenix and Tucson, as well as San Diego and Los Angeles. It is a critical piece of strategic infrastructure; during the 2003 Iraq War, National Guard troops were deployed to Palo Verde to defend against a possible terrorist threat. In normal times, as with other nuclear installations, it is protected by armed security guards.

The armed guards, gates, fences and barriers were useless on the night of September 29th. According to the official report:

Officer noticed several drones (5 or 6) flying over the site. The drones are circling the 3 unit site inside and outside the Protected Area. The drones have flashing red and white rights [sic] and are estimated to be 200 to 300 hundred [sic] feet above the site. It was reported the drones had spotlights on while approaching the site that they turned off when they entered the Security Owner Controlled Area. Drones were first noticed at 20:50 MST and are still over the site as of 21:47 MST. Security Posture was normal, which was changed to elevated when the drones were noticed.”

The drones departed at 22:30, eighty minutes after they were first spotted.   The security officers estimated that they were over two feet in diameter. This indicates that they were not simply consumer drones like the popular DJI Phantom, which have a flight endurance of about half an hour and is about a foot across, but something larger and more capable. The Lockheed Martin Indago, a military-grade quadcopter recently sold to the Swiss Army, has a flight endurance of about seventy minutes and is more than two feet across. At several thousand dollars apiece minimum, these are far less expendable than consumer drones costing a few hundred. All of which suggests this was not just a prank.

The next night events were repeated:…….

Despite this incident, two months later the NRC decided not to require drone defenses at nuclear plants, asserting that small drones could not damage a reactor or steal nuclear material. It is highly likely that such sites are still vulnerable to drone overflights.

Are such drones a genuine threat to nuclear facilities?…….

their ability to strike pinpoint targets to hit control systems and failsafes. While this would be unlikely to cause a Chernobyl, it might well shut the plant down, taking out 35% of Arizona’s electricity at a stroke. The successful attack on the Abqaiq facility last year, in which about twenty garage-built drones knocked out a heavily-defended oil facility in Saudi Arabia, should be a wakeup call that such unmanned precision strikes are not just the preserve of state actors any more………

the intruders, as well as establishing that Palo Verde lacks effective drone defenses, may now have highly detailed maps of the facility, showing the exact location of every valve, pipe, switch and control. Perhaps they simply aim to sell these on the dark web to anyone who will pay. Or perhaps they have something else in mind. Either way, it is an alarming demonstration of how easily drone intruders can now go anywhere anytime they wish.

August 1, 2020 Posted by | incidents, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Mysterious case of mass drone incursions over America’s most powerful nuclear power plant

The Night A Drone Swarm Descended On Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant, The Drive,  BY TYLER ROGOWAY AND JOSEPH TREVITHICK JULY 29, 2020  

The mysterious case of mass drone incursions over America’s most powerful nuclear power plant that only resulted in more questions and no changes.

While the news has been filled with claims that strange unidentified craft with unexplainable capabilities are appearing over highly sensitive U.S. installations and assets as of late, a much less glamorous, more numerous, and arguably far more pressing threat has continued to metastasize in alarming ways—that posed by lower-end and even off-the-shelf drones. Less than a year ago and just days after the stunning drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s most critical energy production infrastructure deep in the heart of that highly defended country, a bizarre and largely undisclosed incident involving a swarm of drones occurred on successive September evenings in 2019. The location? America’s most powerful nuclear plant, the Palo Verde Nuclear Generation Station situated roughly two dozen miles west to Phoenix, near Tonopah, Arizona.

In a trove of documents and internal correspondences related to the event, officials from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) described the incident as a “drone-a-palooza” and said that it highlighted concerns about the potential for a future “adversarial attack” involving small unmanned aircraft and the need for defenses against them. Even so, the helplessness and even cavalier attitude toward the drone incident as it was unfolding by those that are tasked with securing one of America’s largest and most sensitive nuclear facilities serves as an alarming and glaring example of how neglected and misunderstood this issue is.

What you are about to read is an unprecedented look inside a type of event that is less isolated in nature than many would care to believe.

A Rapidly Accelerating Threat

Continue reading

July 30, 2020 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

India’s nuclear power industry – unsafe and shrouded in secrecy

The alarming safety record of India’s nuclear power plants  In 2016, an emergency was declared when the nuclear plant at Kakrapar was shut down after a major water leak, Syed Zain Jaffery, July 28, 2020

The Indian nuclear power industry is still veiled in confidentiality and opacity while refusing to reveal its safety details. Prominent environmental watchdogs have already voiced apprehensions about safety standards adopted by the nuclear establishment, where technical negligence or poor maintenance is commonplace, and regulatory bodies in India habitually sweep major nuclear accidents under the carpet. The production of nuclear energy is regulated in secrecy by a government body known as the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL).

It is no mystery as to why India is reluctant to establish a completely autonomous and politically neutral nuclear oversight authority to discretely operate from the industry it oversees. The nuclear disaster in Fukushima demonstrated the significance of independent nuclear oversight. India’s persistent refusal to create an independent regulatory body shows a lack of confidence in maintaining standards which are internationally recognised.

New Delhi constituted the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) to adopt international benchmarks and procedures. In reality, however, the AERB is not functioning independently of the Department of Atomic Energy. According to the Indian constitution, the AERB is an authority subservient to the central government via DAE. AERB, being a subordinate body to DAE, has frequently found it challenging to enforce global safety standards on DAE and NPCIL operations. There is a shortage of technical staff and relevant equipment at the AERB, which partially explains why it never implemented a benchmark nuclear safety policy.
The projects related to nuclear energy in India appear to be controversial, with nuclear scientists strangely dying and thousands of Indians chanting slogans against the unabated growth of the nuclear industry without proper safety checks. Locals are not, in most cases, satisfied with the Indian nuclear establishment’s policies and safeguard measures. In pursuit of ambitious nuclear power generation, the government did not even hesitate to open fire on demonstrators protesting against unsafeguarded nuclear power projects. Several radiation fatalities in hospitals near major nuclear power plants have been reported in the last decade.
Additionally, the Indian auditor general has frequently reported that the country’s nuclear programme is unpredictable and unregulated. A parliamentary report has pointed out “serious organisational flaws and numerous failings relative to international norms.” The most important question underlined in the report was the AERB’s insufficient legal status and authority.
The Fukushima catastrophe was a major eye-opener for the countries operating nuclear technologies to generate electricity, but India downplayed the whole incident. Poignantly, India was the first country to declare that the reactors of Fukushima were secure. After the Fukushima accident when global nuclear industry initiated inclusive studies to find out the circumstances that led to the nuclear plant’s failure, the DAE said that the Indian nuclear expansion will continue.

The former chairman and managing director of Nuclear Power Corporation, S.K. Jain, was of the view that,

“There is no nuclear accident or incident in Japan’s Fukushima plants. It is a well-planned emergency preparedness programme which the nuclear operators of the Tokyo Electric Power company are carrying out to contain the residual heat after the plants had an automatic shutdown following a major earthquake.”

This entire episode shows the lack of awareness in India regarding upholding proper safety procedures through a timely tackling of any evolving threats.

After the Bhopal gas tragedy, India has suffered dozens of mishaps in its nuclear power plants which are installed by foreign companies under a very slack liability framework. Indian citizens have been exhibiting their apprehension on the nuclear industry’s poor reactor safety record, and these anxieties have grown since nuclear power plants installed by foreign franchises often contain substandard parts due to faulty manufacturing. In 2016, an emergency was declared when the nuclear plant at Kakrapar in Gujarat was shut down after a major water leak. The nuclear leak in Kakrapar was far more severe than the Indian government had initially claimed.

Alarmingly, Indian nuclear engineers failed to investigate the exact reason for the leakage. The central government unpublicised the incident and did not even allow ordinary citizens to use geiger-counters to measure radiation. Shockingly, New Delhi has prohibited the use of geiger-counters, which is a global norm, under the vague excuse of national security. An on-site emergency at Kakrapar nuclear power plant and the circumstance that led to the major leakage raises many questions regarding Indian nuclear expertise.

When the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was in the opposition, it was the major opponent to civil nuclear expansion in India by citing credible objections on limiting nuclear liability. It also backed the agitators against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant and demanded a comprehensive study for the safety of nuclear plants in Jaitapur. Now in government, the BJP has changed its stance and taken a complete U-turn on the issue.
The BJP government has pursued nuclear power irrationally, without taking into account its destructive potential and has failed to respond to criticism. Alarmingly, international suppliers of nuclear technology are finalising nuclear deals with India without analysing security issues related to nuclear safety in the Indian nuclear industry. These business-oriented nuclear deals will create disastrous consequences for not only Indian citizens but also for the entire region.

Syed Zain Jaffery The author holds a Masters degree from NUST, Islamabad and writes about current affairs and politics.

July 30, 2020 Posted by | incidents, India | Leave a comment

A series of accidents and near misses between surface vessels and submarines in the waters round Scotland.

The National 26th July 2020, IN a crowded field for shocking headlines this past month, readers may not
have noticed news of an alarming near-miss between a Royal Navy nuclear
submarine and a ferry on the Belfast-Cairnryan crossing.

The Maritime Accident Investigation Branch’s recently published analysis of this
incident makes for worrying reading and follows on from a series of
similarly dangerous accidents between surface vessels and submarines in the
waters round Scotland.

July 27, 2020 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

Cause of blast at Iran nuclear site – still shrouded in mystery


Iranian MP: Blast at nuclear site was ’caused by a security breach’   Javad Karimi Qoddousi rules out a strike ‘by an external object’ as the cause of a fire that damaged an advanced centrifuge plant at Natanz
By TOI STAFF  22 July 20, 

A building damaged by a fire, at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility some 200 miles (322 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, in a photo released on July 2, 2020. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP)

An Iranian lawmaker said Wednesday that a recent blast and fire at the Natanz nuclear site was caused by a “security breach.”

MP Javad Karimi Qoddousi, a member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security Committee, ruled out “a strike on the complex by an external object” as the cause of the blast, appearing to deny the possibility of a missile attack or airstrike.

“If it was from the outside, we should have seen shrapnel, but there are absolutely no remnants left on the site,” he said, according to Radio Farda.

Qoddousi did not elaborate on what he meant by a “security breach.” Radio Farda noted the Persian term he used can also be translated as an infiltration of security, suggesting the blast came from inside the building.

The blast, which US media reports have attributed to Israel, damaged an advanced centrifuge development and assembly plant.

According to a New York Times report earlier this month, the blast was most likely the result of a bomb planted at the facility, potentially at a strategic gas line, but that it was not out of the question that a cyberattack was used to cause a malfunction that led to the explosion.

The July 2 Natanz explosion was one of a series of mysterious blasts at Iranian strategic sites in recent weeks, which have once again been largely attributed to either Washington, Jerusalem, or both.
The substantial damage done by an explosion and a fire at an advanced centrifuge assembly plant at Iran’s Natanz nuclear site. (satellite image from Planet Labs Inc. via AP)

Intelligence officials who assessed the damage to the Netanz centrifuge facility told The Times they believed it may have set back the Iranian nuclear program by as much as two years.

A spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry has said that the cause of the Natanz explosion was not yet known, but warned that the country would retaliate severely if it emerges that a foreign entity was involved.

Iran has also called for action against Israel following the damage to the Natanz facility. “This method Israel is using is dangerous, and it could spread to anywhere in the world,” government spokesman Ali Rabiei said, during a press conference on July 7.

July 23, 2020 Posted by | incidents, Iran | Leave a comment