The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

America’s Environmental Protection Agency gagging its own scientists on climate change

E.P.A. Cancels Talk on Climate Change by Agency Scientists  WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency has canceled the speaking appearance of three agency scientists who were scheduled to discuss climate change at a conference on Monday in Rhode Island, according to the agency and several people involved.


October 23, 2017 Posted by | civil liberties, climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Anti-corruption groups vigourously monitoring South Africa’s secret nuclear Russian talks

All eyes on nuclear plan amid claim of secret Russian talks, Business Live, 
Opposition and anti-corruption groups vow to remain vigilant as news report alleges energy minister deal
 22 OCTOBER 2017 – 19:50 ASHA SPECKMAN Anticorruption bodies and the opposition are closely monitoring developments with SA’s multibillion-rand nuclear build, which may be pushed through despite a lack of capacity in the fiscus.

The urgency for passing the deal has become apparent after a delegation comprising Russian military, police and intelligence allegedly entered the country via Mozambique to coerce President Jacob Zuma into appointing David Mahlobo as energy minister last week, the Sunday Times reported at the weekend.

Mahlobo’s appointment was made even as Zuma’s associates, the Guptas, had allegedly suggested Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi for the position.

According to the newspaper Mahlobo is believed to be the “Russians’ eyes and ears in the South African government”.

“It’s something we take very seriously,” David Lewis, executive director of Corruption Watch, told Business Day. “It’s real global espionage of a huge scale. Given that the Russians have been involved in subverting democracies all over the world, it’s not an implausible story. The record of the Russians across a vast range of matters speaks for itself.”…….

October 23, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Abolish nuclear safety agency – secret advice from its chair, Sean Sullivan, to President Trump !

GOP chair of nuclear safety agency secretly urges Trump to abolish it

Proposal follows radiation mishaps and exposures; Dems oppose the move, By Patrick MaloneR. Jeffrey Smith20 Oct 17, 

The chairman of a panel charged with protecting workers at nuclear weapons facilities as well as nearby communities has told the White House he favors downsizing or abolishing the group, despite recent radiation and workplace safety problems that injured or endangered people at the sites it helps oversee.

Republican appointee Sean Sullivan, a former Navy submarine officer, told the director of the Office of Management and Budget in a private letter that closing or shrinking the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board he chairs is consistent with President Trump’s ambition to cut the size of the federal workforce, according to a copy of Sullivan’s letter. It was written in June and obtained recently by the Center for Public Integrity.

The five-member Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, chartered by Congress, has helped persuade the federal government to impose tighter safety rules and regulations at most of the eight nuclear weapons sites — employing more than 40,000 workers — where nuclear weapons and their parts are produced or stored.

Nonetheless, the nuclear weapons complex in recent years has experienced alarming problems, including the mishandling of plutonium, a radioactive explosive; the mis-shipment of hazardous materials, including nuclear explosive materials;  and the contamination of work areas and scientists by radioactive particles — shortcomings detailed in a recent Center for Public Integrity investigation.

Sullivan’s position is consistent with the longstanding preferences of the large private contractors that produce and maintain the country’s nuclear arms, most of which also contribute heavily to congressional election campaigns and spend sizable sums lobbying Washington. The board and its expert staff are now probing what it considers to be additional safety lapses or deficiencies that would cost weapons contractors millions of dollars to fix.

Three other board members, all Democrats, have said in written complaints about Sullivan’s proposal that he was not speaking for them, and argued that that other government agencies assigned to safeguard nuclear workers and the public near weapons sites are not capable of handling the task by themselves.

A spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget, Jacob Wood, declined to comment about the letter but said no announcement would be made by the White House about the issue until February, when the board’s fate will be decided as part of a Trump administration reorganization and consolidation plan.

Funding for the board’s operation in fiscal 2018 remains in versions of the defense funding bill, and in an effort to block Sullivan’s request, a Senate Democrat has added language to his chamber’s version that would bar the board’s elimination. But the bill is still being discussed between the Senate and House.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Politifact rates Nikki Haley Mostly False on her claim that Congress had no input on Iran nuclear deal

Haley wrongly says Congress had no input on Iran nuclear deal, Politifact,  By Allison Colburn Defending President Donald Trump’s decision to decertify the Iran nuclear deal, United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley said Congress now has a voice on the issue that it didn’t have in the past.

Trump’s decision allows Congress to potentially kill the agreement or tack on new conditions………

Here, we are fact-checking Haley’s claim that Congress was “never allowed” to debate or discuss the agreement.

Congressional responsibility in the Iran deal

Much of the responsibility for U.S. foreign policy falls under the authority of the executive branch. Congress does play a significant role, however, in foreign trade and commerce, immigration, foreign aid, the defense budget and any declarations of war. The Senate authorizes treaties and confirms the president’s cabinet nominees.

To avoid needing Senate approval for an agreement with a foreign power, the president can simply avoid calling the agreement a treaty. The Obama administration said the Iran deal was neither a treaty nor an executive agreement. Instead, the State Department said in a letter that the deal “reflects political commitments” between the seven nations involved.

When the president negotiates a deal that is not deemed a treaty, Congress — if it wants a say on the deal — must convince the president to give the legislative branch the power to approve or block the final deal.

That’s exactly what Congress did when it passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, a bill that had bipartisan support and allowed Congress the right to review any agreement reached in the negotiations. Obama initially threatened to veto the bill but did not.

Senators considered a separate, and ultimately unsuccessful, measure that would have given them the the power to block the agreement through a resolution of disapproval. A procedural vote on the resolution fell short of the 60 votes needed to override a Democratic filibuster.

Despite the resolution’s failure, by passing the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, Congress was able to have some authority and say in the final agreement.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who spearheaded the bill, has touted the legislation for taking “power back from the president” and forcing the executive office to be transparent………

Our ruling

Haley said Congress was never allowed to debate or discuss the Iran nuclear agreement while Obama was in office.

Though Congress had to fight for the right to disapprove of the deal, the passage of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 allowed Congress to not only vote on the deal but to also hold public hearings and debate. The Senate ultimately did not have the votes to block the deal, but the act included a requirement for the president to frequently monitor Iran’s progress in meeting the agreement’s conditions.

So Congress did have input, even if Obama initially tried to avoid it.

We rate this claim Mostly False.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment


PARLY COMMITTEE HEARS OF KICKBACKS, PROCUREMENT IRREGULARITIES AT ESKOM Former Eskom employee Ted Blom sketched broad details about corruption at the parastatal, claiming there are up to a thousand cases, many of them unreported. Rahima Essop , 19 Oct 17  CAPE TOWN – Parliament’s probe into state capture at Eskom has been told about a culture of kickbacks and large-scale procurement irregularities at the parastatal.

Former Eskom employee and self-proclaimed corruption whistleblower Ted Blom briefed the Public Enterprises committee charged with the probe on Wednesday.

Blom and former Eskom CEO Brian Dames were the latest witnesses to appear before the committee.

Blom, who now heads Outa’s energy division, sketched broad details about corruption at Eskom, claiming that there are up to a thousand cases, many of them unreported.

He took the committee back in time and in an astonishing revelation he claimed to have met with Jacob Zuma at his Forest Town home in 2009 to alert him to the irregularities.

Zuma was president of the African National Congress but not yet the country at the time.

Zuma allegedly told him to meet a team of “fixers”, but Blom told Members of Parliament that the group had a different agenda.

“They introduced themselves and the first question was: Given my vast experience of Eskom, over more than 20-odd years, how could I help them to access some of the gravy train?”

Blom left the meeting furious that he was supposedly being roped into a plan to loot the state-owned company. Parliamentarians asked Blom for the names of the so-called “fixers,” which he promised to provide them with at a later stage.

Earlier, Dames told the committee that Minister Malusi Gigaba’s adviser Siyabonga Mahlangu asked him to meet with “some people,”one of whom he assumed was a Gupta brother.

But Dames claims he can’t recall who it was.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Secrecy surrounding meeting of World Association of Nuclear Operators in South Korea

Korea Joongang Daily 17th Oct 2017, The Biennial General Meeting (BGM) of the World Association of Nuclear
Operators (WANO) kicked off in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang, on Monday,
bringing together some 500 nuclear industry experts and leaders from around
the world – but the government kept the meeting’s profile very low.

The biennial event, held at the Hico Convention Center in Korea’s cultural
capital some 340 kilometers (211 miles) southeast of Seoul, has the theme
“Leading Nuclear Safety in a Changing World” and will run for six days.
Speakers include Zhang Tao, president of China National Nuclear Power,
Agneta Rising, director general of the World Nuclear Association and
Vincent de Rivaz, CEO of EDF, the French electricity utility.

On the first day of the event, speeches delivered in panel discussions were not provided
to the press. Not a single placard was hung at the Hico building promoting
the event. Entrance to the convention center was closely regulated. No
press was allowed inside, not even a photographer, one security personnel

The secretive nature of the proceeding was surprising given the
biennial event is often called the “Nuclear Power Olympics” for the
scope of expertise and ideas presented. News reports said state-run Korea
Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) was deliberately avoiding publicity because
of the Moon Jae-in government’s attempt to wean Korea off nuclear power.|home|newslist1

October 20, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Korea | Leave a comment

Russian bribery plot in advance of USA-Russia nuclear deal

FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before controversial nuclear deal Bob Fredericks  The FBI had evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s energy business in the US before the Obama administration approved a deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, a new report said Tuesday.

The feds used a confidential US witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks, The Hill reported.

“The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill.

Russian nuclear officials also sent millions of dollars to the US designed to benefit the Clinton Foundation while then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that smoothed the way for the sale of the US uranium interests.

October 18, 2017 Posted by | Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Are the remains of an experimental reactor buried on the Niagara Falls storage site?

A wide range of radioactive material was dumped cavalierly on site during the Second World War and the decades that followed: plutonium, uranium, thorium, cesium, polonium, strontium, and other dangerous materials. On site today, buried with that steel ball, is what is assumed to be irradiated graphite and almost 4,000 tons of radioactive radium-226, the largest repository in the western hemisphere, representing a staggering quantity of radiation.

—isotopes of plutonium, uranium, cesium, polonium, and other elements that are produced only inside nuclear reactors and by nuclear explosions—

It was known as the Radiological Warfare, or RW, program, and under its auspices scientists studied what materials could best be weaponized, what health consequences they would have on an enemy,

The Bomb That Fell On Niagara: The Sphere Artvoice Weekly Edition » Issue v7n39 (09/24/2008), by Geoff Kelly & Louis Ricciuti

Are the remains of an experimental reactor buried on the Niagara Falls storage site?

This is going to seem complicated and take a long way to get where it’s going. So here’s the gist, right upfront: Possibly, in Lewiston, are buried the remnants of an experimental nuclear reactor dating from the 1940s. This reactor would have been part of a secret program to weaponize poisonous materials—a program with roots in the study of poison gases in the First World War and whose culmination is found today in the use of depleted uranium munitions around the world.

Sure, it sounds like a plot inspired by Dr. Strangelove. But read on.

Amid the radioactive slurry and scrap interred in the 10-acre interim containment facility at the Niagara Falls Storage Site in Lewiston is a curiosity: a hollow industrial steel ball, 38 feet in diameter.

You won’t find that house-sized steel ball on any waste materials manifest, at least not on any manifest released to the public by the US Army Corp of Engineers, which is the site’s caretaker, or the US Department of Energy, which owns the site and the hazardous waste buried there.

The ball exists in aerial photographs taken of the site in the mid 1940s, however, and it appears to have been rediscovered in a 2002 electric resistivity underground imaging study performed by defense contracting giant SAIC.

In those aerial photos, the ball sits some distance from the main cluster of buildings; the nearest structure is a concrete silo, which eventually became a receptacle for high-energy radium wastes, a legacy of local industry’s central role in the Manhattan Project and the Atomic Energy Commission, which produced the first atomic bombs.

The Army Corps say there is no documentary record of the ball having been removed from the site. And the 2002 electric imaging scans suggest that a steel sphere, 38 feet in diameter, just like the one in the photos, is buried about a quarter mile from the ball’s original location, on the developed portion of a vast, former federal reservation called the Lake Ontario Ordnance Works. The LOOW came online officially in 1942, a 7,500-acre facility cobbled together from farm fields by the Department of War. Its initial use, according to the site’s official history, was a TNT factory. That factory closed, however, after nine months, at the height of the Second World War. The factory and all its infrastructure—miles of massive pipes, a water and power grid sufficient to sustain a city of 100,000 people, dozens of industrial buildings—were declared surplus.

The LOOW’s actual uses have been a mystery, whose plots and subplots have been revealed slowly and grudgingly by an unforthcoming federal government. ……..

Various sectors of the vast compound became dumping grounds for toxic radiological and chemical waste produced in Niagara Falls factories, as well as laboratories and reactors nationwide, working first on the atom bomb project and later on other Atomic Energy Commission and defense- and intelligence-related projects. A wide range of radioactive material was dumped cavalierly on site during the Second World War and the decades that followed: plutonium, uranium, thorium, cesium, polonium, strontium, and other dangerous materials. On site today, buried with that steel ball, is what is assumed to be irradiated graphite and almost 4,000 tons of radioactive radium-226, the largest repository in the western hemisphere, representing a staggering quantity of radiation.

Beginning in 1980, these wastes—originally dumped in open pools, seeping out of corroded barrels, or just piled on open ground—were consolidated by the DOE into a temporary containment structure on the 119-acre Niagara Falls Storage Site.

The existence on the LOOW of particularly exotic transuranics (that is, above uranium on the periodic table) and fission materials—isotopes of plutonium, uranium, cesium, polonium, and other elements that are produced only inside nuclear reactors and by nuclear explosions—has begged an explanation for decades. The Army Corps says that these transuranics and fission materials arrived at the LOOW with waste from the Navy’s Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory near Schenectady. But the waste from Knolls doesn’t explain all the transuranics and fission materials found on the LOOW, according to some experts, and it doesn’t explain how widespread and how much.

That steel sphere buried among this collection of radiological waste suggests another, simpler explanation: Could that steel ball—a Hortonsphere, named for the inventor of the process of its fabrication—been a component in an early model of an experimental ball-and-pile reactor? One in which exotic materials were created or irradiated, all in the service of a federal weapons program that sought to find new and lethal applications of the materials created in Niagara Falls for the Manhattan Project and beyond?

“I’d have to say yes,” says Tedd Weyman, of the Uranium Medical Research Centre, based in Toronto.

Occam’s Razor

Weyman is a physicist and his group, UMRC, studies the effects of uranium, transuranium elements, and radionuclides produced by the process of uranium decay and fission. UMRC is especially interested in the health effects of depleted uranium, whether it enters the environment as a result of munitions use or as waste.

Weyman examined the aerial photographs of the ball and silo, the list of transuranics and fission materials found on site, and the electric imaging scan that seemed to show that same ball from the photos buried alongside radioactive waste. He reviewed documents that describe the history of the LOOW site and of Niagara Falls industry over the past 60 or so years: the metals and chemicals and devices created in nearby factories, the experimental programs undertaken by defense and intelligence agencies beginning in the 1940s. He considered the size of the Hortonsphere, which he said is consistent with a ball reactor, and its placement in relation to the silo, which is consistent with the pile in a ball and pile reactor—that is, the source of the reactor’s “fuel” and critical reactions.

Weyman then listened to the explanations the Army Corps offered for the ball and the transuranics and fission products: that the ball was used to store anhydrous ammonia used in making TNT and the transuranics and fission products came from Knolls. He concluded that an on-site reactor was a far simpler explanation.

“They’re fission products,” Weyman says of the residues found on site…..

On the subject of the history of the LOOW site and the environmental dangers it poses, the Army Corps has been less than reliable when discussing the documentary evidence. In 2000, for example, when offered evidence that plutonium-tainted waste from medical experiments conducted at the University of Rochester had been buried on the LOOW site, the Corps denied such evidence existed. Eventually, they allowed both that the evidence existed and that the plutonium-tainted waste had been found on site…….

Occam’s Razor is the principle that the simplest explanation is most often the correct one. There’s that anomaly, exactly the diameter of the ball in question, which is exactly the size and manufacture of a ball reactor vessel. It is interred alongside radioactive waste. It originally sat near a silo, which once stored radioactive waste; a 1944 photo of the site looks like a photo of a ball and pile reactor of that era. And there are transuranics and fission materials buried nearby, as well as irradiated graphite, whose nature, quantity, and location aren’t completely explained by the Knolls hypothesis.

“If it quacks, is it not a duck?” Weyman says. “It’s quacking pretty loud.”……….

It was known as the Radiological Warfare, or RW, program, and under its auspices scientists studied what materials could best be weaponized, what health consequences they would have on an enemy, how best to deliver and disperse radioactive materials to a battle zone, and how much to use. This research was more secretive, but here too the expertise of local industries proved valuable. In a brochure from the postwar era, Bell Aircraft (later Bell Aerospace) bragged of its research in area weapons: that is, devices that disperse materials across a battlefield. Niagara Sprayer (a.k.a. FMC, the Middleport company that manufactured Agent Orange) created specialized compounds and nozzles for spraying agricultural metals, powders, and insecticides.

And over at the LOOW site, there was a mammoth federal reserve on which exotic radioactive wastes were accumulating.

Bob Nichols, the San Francisco-based writer who came to the same conculsion as Weyman about the ball buried on the NFSS, specializes in the history of this second track of research. He draws a straight line that connects the radiological warfare program to American research into poison gases, such as mustard gas and chlorine gas (both of which were produced in Niagara County), during the First World War; that line passes through the Manhattan Project along the way, and continues to the present-day use of depleted uranium munitions, which release a cloud of poisonous ceramicized uranium particles as a form of gas when they vaporize on impact.

Nichols explains that the first track—the building of more and better nuclear weapons—created vast stores of radiological waste materials. “The question back then was what on earth to do with it,” he said………

Whatever took place on the former LOOW site in the first decades of the Cold War may have evolved and—like so many local industries—moved away. But its legacy is in the dirt, air, and water. It’s interred under that clay cap. It’s in the region’s higher-than-expected rates of cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses. History should matter to the Corps as much as it matters to those who live in its aftermath.

For more documents and photographs related to the article, visit AV Daily at

October 16, 2017 Posted by | history, radiation, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump administration is lying about the Iran nuclear deal – says John Kerry

John Kerry says the Trump administration is ‘lying’ about the Iran nuclear deal Boston Globe  By Nik DeCosta-Klipa,12 Oct 17 

By his own description, John Kerry was in “blunt mode” Thursday.

Indeed, the former Massachusetts senator and U.S. secretary of state was unequivocal in his condemnation of President Donald Trump’s reported plans to decertify the Iran nuclear deal this week.

“The administration is lying to the American people, to put it bluntly,” Kerry said during a HUBweek forum Thursday afternoon in Boston, referring to the White House’s criticisms of the landmark 2015 deal, in which certain provisions “sunset” after as few as 10 years.

“The agreement — including the additional protocol with the right to challenge — is lifetime. It’s forever,” he said. Kerry added that there’s no evidence Iran was not complying with the deal and that, if there was, the United States was enabled under the deal to order inspections.

According to Kerry, the current relationship with Iran has come a long way since before the deal……..

Now, Kerry said even top security officials in Israel think the deal is working.

Kerry credited the 159-page deal, which he personally helped negotiate over two years, with the decommissioning of a nuclear reactor in Iran, decreasing the country’s centrifuges from 19,000 to less than 5,000, and lowering its uranium stockpiles from 12,000 kilograms to less than 300 kilograms.

“You cannot physically make a bomb with 300 kilograms,” he said.

Kerry was adamant that there is no “better deal” that Trump could realistically make and said the president was pulling his justification for decertifying the deal out of thin air simply because he “doesn’t like the deal.” Some of the most high-profile critics of Iran — and even reportedly the top security officials in Trump’s own cabinet— have urged the president against his plans to decertify the deal.

“Over eight different times, the International Atomic Energy Agency has said Iran is living up to the deal,” Kerry said Thursday.

Kerry said the International Atomic Energy Agency has said Iran is “living up to the deal” on eight separate occasions and called it “reckless,” “dangerous,” and “irresponsible” for the United States to threaten to leave it now. ….

“What I strongly recommend to Iran, to China, to Russia is that their leader be the adults in the room together with Britain and France and Germany, and that all of them together say, ‘We are going to keep this agreement, because it makes the world safer,’” Kerry said.

Watch the full interview below: [on orginal]

October 14, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

South Carolina’s failed nuclear project – SCANA accuses Santee Cooper of misleading leaders for years

SCANA accuses Santee Cooper of misleading leaders for years in failed nuclear project, South Strand News, By Andy Shain Post and Courier, Oct 11, 2017 

As they fend off lawsuits from workers, ratepayers, contractors and investors, the partners in South Carolina’s failed nuclear project have turned on each other.

South Carolina’s largest company, SCANA, is accusing its utility partner Santee Cooper of misleading state leaders for years about its role in the failed $9 billion project to build two nuclear reactors north of Columbia. SCANA’s top lawyer, Jim Stuckey, made that allegation in a recent letter obtained by The Post and Courier.

Stuckey accused state-owned Santee Cooper of painting an inaccurate picture that minimized its input and oversight on the V.C. Summer plant expansion in an attempt to shift blame for the expensive debacle onto SCANA. Stuckey sent the letter, dated Oct. 4, to Michael Baxley, his counterpart at Santee Cooper.

SCANA, the parent of South Carolina Electric & Gas, also accused Santee Cooper of failing to share a key document ahead of a legislative hearing last month, leaving SCANA officials blindsided and unprepared for lawmakers’ questions…….

October 14, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Donald Trump versus the freedom of the press

Trump finds the First Amendment ‘frankly disgusting’ News by Jordan Freiman / October 11, 2017 Donald Trump on Wednesday continued his ongoing feud with NBC over a report that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the president a “fucking moron” during a meeting at the Pentagon back in July. That comment was reportedly in response to Trump demanding that the U.S. increase its nuclear stockpile 10-fold, an absurd request considering we have plenty of nukes to wipe out every single person on the planet many times over.

Trump, as he did with the initial “fucking moron” report (which has been corroborated by multiple sources), called the nuke story “Fake News.” Defense Secretary James Mattis chimed in to call the latest report “absolutely false” as well, but Trump took things a step further during a press conference on Wednesday.

“That was just fake news by NBC, which gives a lot of fake news lately,” Trump told reporters, claiming he just wanted to make sure the U.S.’s nuclear arsenal was in good shape. For what it’s worth, Trump previously boastedabout how the nuclear arsenal has in fact been “modernized,” despite it not being possible to complete such an undertaking in just six months.

“It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write,” the president of the United States said, “and people should look into it.”

Well, people have looked into it. Turns out we’ve got this whole First Amendment thing which includes freedom of the press.There are obviously limits on that freedom, and those are typically hashed out in court. Under normal circumstances, the president is supposed to uphold the constitution. It’s in the oath of office, after all. Instead, Trump continues to threaten to pull NBC’s broadcasting license.

October 13, 2017 Posted by | civil liberties, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Donald Trump threatens NBC TV Network over its negative coverage of himself

Donald Trump threatens NBC’s broadcast licence over nuclear story he says was ‘pure fiction’ United States President Donald Trump has threatened NBC’s broadcast licences because he is not happy with how its news division has covered him.

But experts say his threats are not likely to lead to any action.

The NBC network itself does not need a licence to operate, but individual stations do.

NBC owns several stations in major cities.

Stations owned by other companies such as Tribune and Cox carry NBC’s news shows and other programs elsewhere.

Licences come from the Federal Communications Commission, an independent government agency whose chairman is a Trump appointee.

Mr Trump said NBC “made up” a story about the President’s plans for the country’s nuclear arsenal.

He tweeted that the broadcaster “made up a story that I wanted a ‘tenfold’ increase in our US nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!”

October 13, 2017 Posted by | civil liberties, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Money for UK’s costly Hinkley nuclear power project is actually funding nuclear weapons

Electricity consumers ‘to fund nuclear weapons through Hinkley Point C’
Scientists tell MPs government is using expensive power project to cross-subsidise military by maintaining nuclear skills,
Guardian, Holly Watt, 13 Oct 17, The government is using the “extremely expensive” Hinkley Point C nuclear power station to cross-subsidise Britain’s nuclear weapon arsenal, according to senior scientists.

In evidence submitted to the influential public accounts committee (PAC), which is currently investigating the nuclear plant deal, scientists from Sussex University state that the costs of the Trident programme could be “unsupportable” without “an effective subsidy from electricity consumers to military nuclear infrastructure”.

Prof Andy Stirling and Dr Phil Johnstone from the Science Policy Research Unit at the university write that the £19.6bn Hinkley Point project will “maintain a large-scale national base of nuclear-specific skills” without which there is concern “that the costs of UK nuclear submarine capabilities could be insupportable.”

Their evidence suggests that changes in the government’s policy on nuclear power in recent years will effectively allow Britain’s military nuclear industry to be supported by payments from electricity consumers.

Last June, MPs passed a motion in favour of replacing four submarines carrying Trident missiles at a cost of £40bn.

 “What our research suggests is that British low-carbon energy strategies are more expensive than they need to be, in order to maintain UK military nuclear infrastructures,” said Stirling.

“And without assuming the continuation of an extremely expensive UK civil nuclear industry, it is likely that the costs of Trident would be significantly greater.”………

This week, the Green MP Caroline Lucas asked the government about the Ministry of Defence and the business department discussing the “relevance of UK civil nuclear industry skills and supply chains to the maintaining of UK nuclear submarine and wider nuclear weapons capabilities”.

Harriett Baldwin, the defence procurement minister, answered that “it is fully understood that civil and defence sectors must work together to make sure resource is prioritised appropriately for the protection and prosperity of the United Kingdom”.

Johnstone said the decision-making process behind Hinkley raised questions about transparency and accountability, saying: “In this ever more networked world, both civil and military nuclear technologies are increasingly recognised as obsolete. Yet it seems UK policymaking is quietly trying to further entrench the two – in ways that have been escaping democratic accountability.”

At a hearing held by the PAC in parliament on Monday, senior civil servants defended the Hinkley deal after a National Audit Office report concluded that it was “risky and expensive”.

The officials admitted that the economic case had become “more marginal” in recent years, as the costs of alternative technologies had fallen……

At the PAC hearing, the Labour MP Meg Hillier asked whether “Hinkley is a great opportunity to maintain our nuclear skills base”.

Lovegrove answered: “We are completing the build of the nuclear submarines which carry conventional weaponry. So somehow there is very definitely an opportunity here for the nation to grasp in terms of building up its nuclear skills. I don’t think that’s going to happen by accident. It is going to require concerted government action to make that happen.”

October 13, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

How America tested radiation on its citizens, during the Cold War.

Cold War radiation testing in U.S. widespread, author claims Three members of Congress are demanding answers after a St. Louis scholar’s new book revealed details of how the U.S. government sprayed, injected and fed radiation and other dangerous materials to countless people in secret Cold War-era testing.

The health ramifications of the tests are unknown. Lisa Martino-Taylor, an associate professor of sociology at St. Louis Community College who wrote “Behind the Fog: How the U.S. Cold War Radiological Weapons Program Exposed Innocent Americans,” acknowledged that tracing diseases like cancer to specific causes is difficult.

 But three congressmen who represent areas where testing occurred — Democrats William Lacy Clay of Missouri, Brad Sherman of California and Jim Cooper of Tennessee — said they were outraged by the revelations.

Martino-Taylor used Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain previously unreleased documents, including army records. She also reviewed already public records and published articles. In an interview, she said she found that a small group of researchers, aided by leading academic institutions, worked to develop radiological weapons and later “combination weapons” using radioactive materials along with chemical or biological weapons.

Her book, published in August, was a follow-up to her 2012 dissertation that found the government conducted secret testing of zinc cadmium sulfide in a poor area of St. Louis in the 1950s and 1960s. The book focuses on the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s.

An army spokeswoman declined comment, but Martino-Taylor’s 2012 report on testing in St. Louis was troubling enough to spur an army investigation. The investigation found no evidence that the St. Louis testing posed a health threat.

Martino-Taylor said the offensive radiological weapons program was a top priority for the government. Unknowing people at places across the U.S. as well as parts of England and Canada were subjected to potentially deadly material through open-air spraying, ingestion and injection, Martino-Taylor said.

“They targeted the most vulnerable in society in most cases,” Martino-Taylor said. “They targeted children. They targeted pregnant women in Nashville. People who were ill in hospitals. They targeted wards of the state. And they targeted minority populations.”

The tests in Nashville in the late 1940s involved giving 820 poor and pregnant white women a mixture during their first pre-natal visit that included radioactive iron, Martino-Taylor said. The women were chosen without their knowledge. Blood tests were performed to determine how much radioactive iron had been absorbed by the mother, and the babies’ blood was tested at birth. Similar tests were performed in Chicago and San Francisco, Martino-Taylor said.

Cooper’s office plans to seek more information from the Army Legislative Liaison, said spokesman Chris Carroll.

“We are asking for details on the Pentagon’s role, along with any cooperation by research institutions and other organizations,” Carroll said. “These revelations are shocking, disturbing and painful.”

In California, investigators created a radiation field inside a building at North Hollywood High School during a weekend in the fall of 1961, Martino-Taylor said. Similar testing was performed at the University of California, Los Angeles and at a Los Angeles Police Department building.

Sherman said he wants a survey of people who graduated from the school around the time of the testing to see if there was a higher incidence of illness, including cancer. He also said he will seek more information from the Department of Energy.

“What an incredibly stupid, reckless thing to do,” said Sherman, whose district includes North Hollywood High School.

Among those who recall the testing is Mary Helen Brindell, 73. She was playing baseball in a St. Louis street in the mid-1950s when a squadron of green planes flew so low overhead that she could see the face of the lead pilot. Suddenly, the children were covered in a fine powdery substance that stuck to skin moistened by summer sweat.

Brindell has suffered from breast, thyroid, skin and uterine cancers. Her sister died of a rare form of esophageal cancer.

“I just want an explanation from the government,” Brindell said. “Why would you do that to people?”

Clay said he was angered that Americans were used as “guinea pigs” for research.

“I join with my colleagues to demand the whole truth about this testing and I will reach out to my Missouri Delegation friends on the House Armed Services Committee for their help as well,” Clay said in a statement.

St. Louis leaders were told at the time that the government was testing a smoke screen that could shield the city from aerial observation in case of Soviet attack. Evidence now shows radioactive material, not just zinc cadmium sulfide, was part of that spraying, Martino-Taylor said.

Doris Spates, 62, was born in 1955 on the 11th floor of the Pruitt-Igoe low-income high-rise where the army sprayed material from the roof. Her father died suddenly three months after her birth. Four of her 11 siblings died from cancer at relatively young ages. She survived cervical cancer and suffers from skin and breathing problems.

“It makes me angry,” Spates said. “It is wrong to do something like that to people who don’t have any knowledge of it.”

According to Martino-Taylor, other testing in Chicago; Berkeley, California; Rochester, New York; and Oak Ridge, Tennessee, involved injecting people with plutonium-239.

She said her book shines a light on the team of mostly young scientists tasked with developing radiological weapons. They worked in a closed world with virtually no input from anyone “who could say, ‘This isn’t right,’ or put some sort of moral compass on it,” she said.

She hopes her book prompts more people to investigate.

“We haven’t gotten any answers so far,” Martino-Taylor said. “I think there’s a lot more to find out.”

October 4, 2017 Posted by | civil liberties, Reference, USA | 1 Comment

Chinese govt owned company refuses to share with UK the security arrangements for nuclear power plant

Chinese firm behind Essex nuclear plant refuses to reveal security information, Guardian, Adam Vaughan, 2 Oct 17 , State-owned company refused disclosure of security arrangements for Chinese plant the Bradwell nuclear station could be modelled on. The Chinese state-owned company planning a nuclear power station in Essex refused to share the security arrangements for a Chinese nuclear plant with the British authorities, it has been revealed.

Inspectors from the UK nuclear regulator visited the China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) in Shenzhen earlier this year, as part of the four-year approval process for the reactor the company wants to build at Bradwell.

A green light from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) would be a huge boost for China’s aspirations for exporting nuclear technology and Bradwell would be the first Chinese reactor to be built in a developed country.

Overall the ONR welcomed the “high level of expertise and commitment” shown by the Chinese, according to a report of the visit on 13-16 March, released to the Guardian under freedom of information rules.

However, CGN said it could not share material about security measures to protect its nuclear plant in Fangchenggang, China, which Bradwell could be modelled on.

“With regard to the sharing of information, such as the security plans for FCG [Fangchenggang] Unit 3, CGN stated that these were protected documents under Chinese regulations,” the UK authorities wrote, in a glimpse of UK nuclear regulation rubbing up against Chinese state secrecy.

But the ONR insisted that it was commonplace for foreign nuclear companies not to share sensitive documents around national security during the UK nuclear approval process, known as the Generic Design Assessment (GDA). It added that it was the arrangements for Bradwell that were relevant, not Fangchenggang………

CGN put up a third of £18bn cost towards EDF’s project to build French-designed reactors at Hinkley Point C in Somerset, in return for developing its own plant at Bradwell in Essex. The Bradwell B project is two thirds owned by CGN and one third EDF.

The government paused approval for Hinkley for several months last year, because of concerns over China’s stake. CGN is becoming an increasing central player in Britain’s atomic plans, having recently confirmed it is considering buying Toshiba’s troubled NuGen project to build a nuclear power station in Cumbria.

October 2, 2017 Posted by | China, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment