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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Nuclear arms industry controls public discussion on weapons – funding “think tanks”

The Sway of the Nuclear Arms Industry Over Donald Trump and Congress Is Terrifying  “The devastation is very important to me.”  Mother Jones his story originally appeared on TomDispatch.com. “……..Another way the nuclear weapons industry (and the rest of the military-industrial complex) tries to control and focus public debate is by funding hawkish think tanks. The advantage to weapons makers is that those institutions and their “experts” can serve as front groups while posing as objective policy analysts. Think of it as intellectual money laundering.

One of the most effective industry-funded think tanks in terms of promoting costly, ill-advised policies has undoubtedly been Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy. In 1983, when President Ronald Reagan first announced his Strategic Defense Initiative (a.k.a. “Star Wars”), the high-tech space weapons system that was either meant to defend the country against a future Soviet first strike or—depending on how you looked at it—free the country to use its nuclear weapons without fear of retaliation, Gaffney was its biggest booster. More recently, he has become a prominent purveyor of Islamophobia, but the impact of his promotional work for Star Wars continues to be felt in weapons contracts to this day.

Just as George W. Bush was entering the White House, another industry-backed think tank, the National Institute for Public Policy, released a report on nuclear weapons policy that would be adopted almost wholesale for the new administration’s first key nuclear posture review. It advocated such things as increasing the number of countries targeted by US nukes and building a new, more “usable” bunker-busting nuclear weapon. At that time, NIPP had an executive from Boeing on its board. Its director was Keith Payne, who would become infamous in the annals of nuclear policy for co-authoring a 1980 article at Foreign Policy entitled “Victory Is Possible,” suggesting that the United States could actually win a nuclear war, losing “only” 30 million to 40 million people. This is the kind of expert the nuclear weapons complex funded to promulgate its views.

Then there’s the Lexington Institute, a think tank that never met a weapons system it didn’t like. Lexington front man Loren Thompson is frequently quoted in news stories on defense issues, but it is rarely disclosed that he is funded by Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and other nuclear weapons contractors.

Just as George W. Bush was entering the White House, another industry-backed think tank, the National Institute for Public Policy, released a report on nuclear weapons policy that would be adopted almost wholesale for the new administration’s first key nuclear posture review. It advocated such things as increasing the number of countries targeted by US nukes and building a new, more “usable” bunker-busting nuclear weapon. At that time, NIPP had an executive from Boeing on its board. Its director was Keith Payne, who would become infamous in the annals of nuclear policy for co-authoring a 1980 article at Foreign Policy entitled “Victory Is Possible,” suggesting that the United States could actually win a nuclear war, losing “only” 30 million to 40 million people. This is the kind of expert the nuclear weapons complex funded to promulgate its views.

Then there’s the Lexington Institute, a think tank that never met a weapons system it didn’t like. Lexington front man Loren Thompson is frequently quoted in news stories on defense issues, but it is rarely disclosed that he is funded by Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and other nuclear weapons contractors.

Examples include Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a former board member at General Dynamics; White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who worked for a number of defense firms and was an adviser to DynCorp, a private security firm that has done everything from (poorly) training the Iraqi police to contracting with the Department of Homeland Security; former Boeing executive and now Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan; former Lockheed Martin executive John Rood, nominated as undersecretary of defense for policy; former Raytheon Vice President Mark Esper, newly confirmed as secretary of the Army; Heather Wilson, a former consultant to Lockheed Martin, who is now secretary of the Air Force; Ellen Lord, a former CEO for the aerospace company Textron, who is undersecretary of defense for acquisition; and National Security Council Chief of Staff Keith Kellogg, a former employee of the major defense and intelligence contractor CACI, where he dealt with “ground combat systems” among other things.

Keep in mind that these high-profile industry figures are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the corporate revolving door that has been installed in the Pentagon for decades, as journalist Lee Fang has documented in the Intercept.

Given the composition of his national security team and Trump’s love of all things nuclear, what can we expect from his administration on this front? In addition to the $1.7 trillion nuclear build-up, Trump’s impending nuclear posture review seems to include proposals for dangerous new weapons like a “low-yield,” purportedly more usable nuclear warhead. He’s spoken privately with his team about expanding the arsenal in a staggering fashion—the equivalent of a 10-fold increase. He’s wholeheartedly embraced missile defense spending, pledging to put billions of dollars more into that overfunded, under-producing set of programs. And of course, he is assiduously trying to undermine the Iran nuclear deal, one of the most effective arms control agreements of recent times, and so threatening to open the door to a new nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

 Unless the nuclear spending spree being pushed by President Trump as the best thing since the invention of golf is stopped thanks to public opposition, the rise of an antinuclear movement, or congressional action, we’re in trouble. The nuclear weapons lobby will again have won the day—just as it did almost 60 years ago, despite the opposition of a popular president and decorated war hero.

And Donald Trump, “bone spurs” and all, is no Dwight D. Eisenhower.

This article was adapted from the author’s essay “Nuclear Politics” in the collection Sleepwalking to Armageddon: The Threat of Nuclear Annihilation, edited by Helen Caldicott. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/11/devastation-very-important-nuclear-weapons-industry-donald-trump-1/

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November 19, 2017 Posted by | media, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster, USA | 1 Comment

How Climate Science Deniers Manufacture Quotes to Convince You the United Nations Is One Big Socialist Plot,

DeSmog Blog, By Graham Readfearn • Wednesday, November 8, 2017 We’re at that time of year when delegations from countries around the world gather for the latest round of United Nations climate negotiations — this time in Bonn, Germany.

For climate science deniers, this is also the time of year to polish up their dodgy climate science talking points and those mythical conspiracy theories about the UN, new world orders, secretive global government plans, and other such illuminati activities.

One recurring feature of these efforts is what’s known as quote mining, where lines are taken out of context to try and discredit people associated with climate science or the UN. If that doesn’t work, then just make up words that people never said.

Here’s how it usually works. The “source” for a particular quote will invariably lead you down a rabbit hole, echoing with the sounds of other climate science deniers quoting the same material. If a misrepresentation occurs in two different places, this does not suddenly make it real.

Rarely, if ever, will the quote be linked to a primary source that might give you some idea of the context, relevance, or the actual date when the quote was supposedly delivered.

At other times, the claimed “quote” turns out not to have been a quote at all, but a piece of reported speech or a headline that someone stuck quote marks around to turn it into a quote. This is not how quoting people works.

But let’s have a look at some of the worst cases. ……. https://www.desmogblog.com/2017/11/07/how-climate-science-deniers-manufacture-quotes-convince-you-united-nations-one-big-socialist-plot?utm_source=dsb%20newsletter

November 13, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby not winning hearts and minds, so a propaganda drive is needed

Public Outreach Is Needed to Gain Support for the Nuclear Power Industry Power Magazine, 11/06/2017  Gary J. Duarte “……….Nuclear proponents must spread the message of the energy source’s value: rebrand, redirect, recycle, and renew……

the benefits of nuclear power far outweigh the perceived problems. Engagement with the public is necessary in order to offset political obstruction. Educated grassroots constituents can raise their voices against political correctness, and point out the sound science and engineering behind nuclear technology…….
Media distribution of information must provide equal time and print to inform both sides of complex issues……..
Aside from the country’s need for a nuclear waste storage garage, new technologies are on the horizon too. Tomorrow’s nuclear players should be utilizing grassroots education to advance their causes. The public needs to be made more aware of small modular reactors (SMRs), lead-cooled fast reactors, and molten salt reactors. The best way to improve public knowledge of these new technologies is through outreach.
In recent years, the U.S. Nuclear Energy Foundation (USNEF) has been one of the loudest nuclear advocacy voices. The group is working to become the go-to source for nuclear technology information. A paradigm shift is necessary, and USNEF is involved in multiple programs to address this through grassroots education.

USNEF provides local presentations, industry presentations, American Nuclear Society workshops, Advanced Reactor Technical Summits, Yucca Educational Symposiums (YES), open invitation tours to the Idaho National Laboratory, print collaterals, and TV and YouTube videos available via website download. The foundation is promoting the same advanced reactor designs and SMRs that the industry is currently pitching to government legislatures, agencies, and others.

The bottom line is that rebranding, redirecting, recycling, and renewing “Atoms for Peace” involves understanding the value and importance of grassroots education, and engaging with the general public to promote the nuclear industry’s benefits.

—Gary J. Duarte is director of the U.S. Nuclear Energy Foundation

November 8, 2017 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Mainstream media mindlessly regurgitates pro nuclear propaganda

Mainstream media in various places continues to regurgitate pro nuclear propaganda without any attempt to examine it critically
In the example below – of course – they didn’t say that the reasons for Bill Gates’ doing this in China:
1. Because China does not have the strict safety regulations that USA has – so Gates can’t do this in USA
2. Because China’s nukes are tax-payer funded – so no worries about getting funding – (in USA there’s quite an outcry about the govt funding nukes)
3. The article made a virtue out of the reactor using ‘waste fuel’ from conventional reactors –  ignoring all the transport safety problems etc.
4 The article brushed over the fact that even this new reactor leaves long-lasting radioactive trash –   smaller in volume, yes, but so toxic that it need equal space to safely store
The article glosses over the fuel “waste uranium”  “depleted uranium” as if that’s fine.
There’s an area that I find ambiguous:
This joint venture aims to design and construct multiple nuclear power plants generating around 1150 megawatts over the next two decades which utilise this fourth generation nuclear technology. ….”    “the reactor would only need eight tonnes of this material to power 2.5 million homes for a year.”
Do they mean that ONE reactor would provide all this power?  They might. But as I understand it, the Travelling Wave Reactor is a small model, that would need to be set up as  a bunch of multiples –  (further making it difficult to market, as a country would have to order them en masse.  I say a country, because apart from Gates and a few mates, private enterprise is unwilling to take this huge financial risk)

Bill Gates and China partner on world-first nuclear technology , Cole Latimer SMH, The Age, and global media outlets, 8 November 17 

Bill Gates’ nuclear firm TerraPower and the China National Nuclear Corporation have signed an agreement to develop a world-first nuclear reactor, using other nuclear reactors’ waste

TerraPower chairman Bill Gates and Chinese premier Li Keqiang signed a joint venture agreement to create the Global Innovation Nuclear Energy Technology company, which will build a Travelling Wave Reactor and commercialise the technology……   http://www.smh.com.au/business/energy/bill-gates-and-china-partner-on-worldfirst-nuclear-technology-20171106-gzfrf0.html

November 8, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Nuclear promoter Michael Shellenberg’s unhappy interview with national broadcaster, but happy with radio shock jock

The pro nuclear Twittersphere was alive with angry comments about the ABC’s interview with nuclear propagandist Michael Shellenberger.

I missed that interview, but apparently the ABC interviewer asked some hard questions.

Shellenberger commented: “fighting to survive a brutal interview by a tough young reporter in Oz On ABC (the Aussie BBC)”

Australia’s own nuclear propagandist, Ben Heard,  commented:  “Shabby interview. Host evidently unfamiliar with topic”

However, those pro nuclear spinners were happy with shock jock Alan Jones on 2GB Alan Jones Breakfast Show.  Jones said:

“Michael has turned on wind and solar with a passion: he’s now advocating for an all-atomic energy future, simply because the latter provides reliable power, whereas the former are a childish nonsense…..

the Finkel review totally ignored nuclear power as an option and pushed harder for more and more renewable energy. So Victoria’s looking at 25% renewables by 2025, South Australia 50%, the ACT 100%, Queensland 50%……

one of the world’s leading new-generation environmental thinkers has said the renewable energy experiment with wind and solar has failed. Michael Shellenberger is a former renewables advocate and adviser to Barack Obama when he was President. [ed. not true. Shellenberger sent an unsolicited  submission to President Obama]  He is now global champion for nuclear energy, which he said was the only option to replace coal and gas on a global scale. ……”

Shellenberger  said:

every major study for the last 40 years finds that nuclear power is the safest way to make reliable electricity. You don’t have the risks that come with coal and fossil fuels, both in terms of mine collapses and air pollution, and the accidents themselves that everyone worries so much about hardly have any impact on people’s lives…

Wind and solar – They’re the worst. Really, all renewables are. The reason is easy to understand, in the sense that the fuels are very dilute, they’re very diffuse, and so you have to cover a huge amount of land with wind and solar……. solar produces huge quantities of toxic waste…… They produce two to three hundred times more toxic waste than nuclear plants, which are the only way of producing electricity that contain all of their potentially harmful waste. Of course it’s been contained so well that nobody has ever been harmed by the radiation from nuclear power waste, ever……

The other problem is that you just end up getting too much wind energy when you don’t need it, like the middle of the night. Solar and wind, it’s like they’re almost set up to destroy cheap, clean, reliable energy.

What happened was that there was a smaller group of anti-human so-called environmentalists that opposed nuclear precisely because it allowed for so much cheap and abundant power, and they thought, “Well, if we’re going to stop the human cancer, we have to cut off its energy supplies.” …..

You’ve got some really crazy anti-nuclear people down there…..

Alan Jones: I’ll tell you something, when you arrive in this country, Michael we’ll have you on again. We can’t hear enough of you. It’s time we had a good healthy dose of common sense,

November 6, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, spinbuster | 1 Comment

The lies and distortions of “nuclear environmentalist” Michael SHILLenberger

The nuclear power industry is having one of its worst ever years. Environmental Progress is warning about nuclear power’s “rapidly accelerating crisis” and other pro-nuclear lobbyists have noted that “the industry is on life support in the United States and other developed economies“.

Is there a future for ‘pro-nuclear environmentalism’? Jim Green, 30 Oct 2017, http://reneweconomy.com.au/is-there-a-future-for-pro-nuclear-environmentalism-94038/

Michael Shellenberger is visiting Australia this week. He has been a prominent environmentalist (of sorts) since he co-authored the 2004 essay, The Death of Environmentalism. These days, as the President of the California-based ‘Environmental Progress’ lobby group, he is stridently pro-nuclear, hostile towards renewable energy and hostile towards the environment movement.

Shellenberger is visiting to speak at the International Mining and Resources Conference in Melbourne. His visit was promoted by Graham Lloyd in The Australian in September. Shellenberger is “one of the world’s leading new-generation environmental thinkers” according to The Australian, and if the newspaper is any guide he is here to promote his message that wind and solar have failed, that they are doubling the cost of electricity, and that “all existing renewable technologies do is make the electricity system chaotic and provide greenwash for fossil fuels.”

Trawling through Environmental Progress literature, one of their recurring themes is the falsehood that “every time nuclear plants close they are replaced almost entirely by fossil fuels”. South Korea, for example, plans to reduce reliance on coal and nuclear under recently-elected President Moon Jae-in, and to boost reliance on gas and renewables. But Shellenberger and Environmental Progress ignore those plans and concoct their own scare-story in which coal and gas replace nuclear power, electricity prices soar, thousands die from increased air pollution, and greenhouse emissions increase.

Fake scientists and radiation quackery

Environmental Progress’ UK director John Lindberg is described as an “expert on radiation” on the lobby group’s website. In fact, he has no scientific qualifications. Likewise, a South Korean article falsely claims that Shellenberger is a scientist and that article is reposted, without correction, on the Environmental Progress website.

Shellenberger says that at a recent talk in Berlin: “Many Germans simply could not believe how few people died and will die from the Chernobyl accident (under 200) and that nobody died or will die from the meltdowns at Fukushima. How could it be that everything we were told is not only wrong, but often the opposite of the truth?”

There’s a simple reason that Germans didn’t believe Shellenberger’s claims about Chernobyl and Fukushima ‒ they are false. Shellenberger claims that “under 200” people have died and will die from the Chernobyl disaster, but in fact the lowest of the estimates of the Chernobyl cancer death toll is the World Health Organization’s estimate of “up to 9,000 excess cancer deaths” in the most contaminated parts of the former Soviet Union. And of course there are higher estimates for the death toll across Europe.

Shellenberger claims that the Fukushima meltdowns “killed precisely no one” and that “nobody died or will die from the meltdowns at Fukushima”. An Environmental Progress report has this to say about Fukushima: “[T]he science is unequivocal: nobody has gotten sick much less died from the radiation that escaped from three meltdowns followed by three hydrogen gas explosions. And there will be no increase in cancer rates.”

In support of those assertions, Environmental Progress cites a World Health Organization report that directly contradicts the lobby group’s claims. The WHO report concluded that for people in the most contaminated areas in Fukushima Prefecture, the estimated increased risk for all solid cancers will be around 4% in females exposed as infants; a 6% increased risk of breast cancer for females exposed as infants; a 7% increased risk of leukaemia for males exposed as infants; and for thyroid cancer among females exposed as infants, an increased risk of up to 70% (from a 0.75% lifetime risk up to 1.25%).

 

Applying a linear-no threshold (LNT) risk factor to the estimated collective radiation dose from Fukushima fallout gives an estimated long-term cancer death toll of around 5,000 people. Nuclear lobbyists are quick to point out that LNT may overestimate risks from low dose and low dose-rate exposure ‒ but LNT may also underestimate the risks according to expert bodies such as the US National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation.

Attacking environment groups Continue reading

October 29, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

What a difference a word makes: Japan weakens its annual anti-nuclear resolution!

The omission of the word ‘any’ implies there could be a case of nuclear weapon use that would not cause inhumane consequences and therefore this type of use might be permitted”

“The Japanese draft resolution looks like one proposed by the United States or any other nuclear weapon states”

Japan waters down text of annual anti-nuclear resolution to imply acceptable use of nukes https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/10/21/national/politics-diplomacy/u-s-pressure-japan-waters-text-anti-nuclear-resolution/#.We0KUo-CzGg, BY MASAKATSU OTA KYODO Japan’s annual diplomatic effort to demonstrate its anti-nuclear credentials and create momentum for disarmament has run into a major obstacle in the form of its most important ally, as well as an atmosphere of division between states possessing atomic weapons and those without them.

A draft resolution recently proposed by the Abe government to the United Nations General Assembly was dramatically watered down under diplomatic pressure from the United States, government sources have revealed.

 Japan, the only nation to have been attacked with atomic weapons, saw the U.S. destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki with two atomic bombs 72 years ago. it has proposed a series of draft resolutions on nuclear disarmament to the General Assembly since 1994.

Last year, its proposed resolution was adopted at the assembly’s plenary session with support from 167 nations, including the United States, while China, North Korea, Russia and Syria opposed and 16 other nations abstained.

In the middle of October, Japan submitted a resolution titled “United action with renewed determination toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons.”

Close examination of the text has found a few major changes from past resolutions.

Since 2010, Japan has drafted annual resolutions that include the same common sentence, which emphasizes “deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons.”

The phrase, “the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons,” has been a keyword used by international movements pursuing a denuclearized world in recent years.

In July, this anti-nuclear campaign culminated in the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations — the first international law that prohibits state parties from developing, testing, possessing and using nuclear weapons in any manner, including “threat of use.”

In the most recently proposed resolution, the government deleted the word “any” from the frequently used phrase, rendering it as “deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use.”

It seems a minor rhetorical change, but the deletion of “any” has raised concerns and sparked severe criticism from nuclear disarmament specialists in Japan.

“The omission of the word ‘any’ implies there could be a case of nuclear weapon use that would not cause inhumane consequences and therefore this type of use might be permitted,” professor Tatsujiro Suzuki, director of the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition at Nagasaki University, pointed out.

“It can’t be helped if Japan will be regarded (by the international community) as an unfit advocate for the abolition of nuclear weapons,” Suzuki said.

“The Japanese draft resolution looks like one proposed by the United States or any other nuclear weapon states,” said Akira Kawasaki, an International Steering Group member of ICAN, or the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

ICAN will receive the Nobel Peace Prize at the end of this year in Oslo for its worldwide grass-roots campaign for the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

During a recent interview, Kawasaki said “the deletion of ‘any’ is so problematic” that several nations which have supported Japan’s annual resolutions in the past may not become a cosponsor of the resolution this year.

That wold pose a serious setback for Japan, which has taken a leading position in the international disarmament based on its strong credentials.

Governmental sources suggested that the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump opposes including the word “any” in the draft resolution, and that Japan made the concession to get Washington’s support for the document.

Trump has indicated a desire to accelerate the modernization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal in light of North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been deepening security cooperation with the United States and repeatedly requested more U.S. security assurances for Japan, including the “nuclear umbrella.”

Another conspicuous change in the latest Japanese resolution is that it urges only North Korea to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty without delay, rather than the eight nations it named for the previous resolutions.

Japan is a key advocate of accelerating the CTBT, which requires ratification by eight nations including North Korea, China and the United States. The U.S. Republican Party is widely known as a strong opponent of CTBT.

“Our new draft resolution is the result of policy considerations for creating a common ground between nuclear weapon states and nonnuclear weapons states for furthering a practical approach (toward nuclear abolition),” said one official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs without specifically explaining why they decided to make the notable changes in the draft resolution.

October 23, 2017 Posted by | Japan, politics international, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

America’s nuclear industry wants to ‘self assess’ for safety, efficiency: that’s not a good idea

Why NRC Nuclear Safety Inspections are Necessary: Columbia Generating Station, UCS,  DAVE LOCHBAUM, DIRECTOR, NUCLEAR SAFETY PROJECT | OCTOBER 17, 2017 The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) adopted its Reactor Oversight Process (ROP) in 2000. The ROP is far superior to the oversight processes previously employed by the NRC. Among its many virtues, the NRC treats the ROP as a work in progress, meaning that agency routinely re-assesses the ROP and makes necessary adjustments.

Earlier this year, the NRC initiated a formal review of its engineering inspections with the goal of making them more efficient and more effective. During a public meeting on October 11, 2017, the NRC working group conducting the review outlined some changes to the engineering inspections that would essentially cover the same ground but with an estimated 8 to 15 percent reduction in person-hours (the engineering inspections and suggested revisions are listed on slide 7 of the NRC’s presentation). Basically, the NRC working group suggested repackaging the inspections so as to be able to examine the same number of items, but in fewer inspection trips.

The nuclear industry sees a different way to accomplish the efficiency and effectiveness gains sought by the NRC’s review effort—they propose to eliminate the NRC’s engineering inspections and replace them with self-assessments. The industry would mail the results from the self-assessments to the NRC for their reading pleasure.

UCS is wary of self-assessments by industry in lieu of NRC inspections. On one hand, statistics might show that self-assessments increase safety just as a community firing all its law enforcement officers would see a statistical decrease in arrests, suggesting a lower crime rate. I have been researching the records publicly available in ADAMS to compare the industry’s track record for finding latent safety problems with the NRC’s track record to see whether replacing NRC’s inspections with industry self-assessments could cause nuclear safety to go off-track.

This commentary is the first in a series that convinces us that the NRC’s engineering inspections are necessary for nuclear safety and that public health and safety will be compromised by replacing them with self-assessments by industry.

Columbia Generating Station: Not so Cool Safety Moves………

UCS Perspective

Under the Atomic Energy Act as amended, the NRC is tasked with establishing and enforcing regulations to protect workers and the public from the inherent hazards from nuclear power reactor operation.

Owners are responsible for conforming with applicable regulatory requirements. In this case, the owner made a series of changes that resulted in the plant not conforming with applicable regulatory requirements for the air temperature within the control room. But there’s no evidence suggesting that the owner knew that the changes were illegal yet made them anyway hoping not to get caught. Nevertheless, ignorance of the law is still not a valid excuse. The public is not adequately protected when safety regulations are not met, regardless of whether the violations are intentional or inadvertent.

This case study illustrates the vital role that NRC’s enforcement efforts plays in nuclear safety. The soundest safety regulation in the world serves little use unless owners abide by it. The NRCs inspection efforts either verify that owners are abiding by safety regulations or identify shortfalls. Self-assessments by owners are more likely to sustain mis-interpretations and misunderstandings than to flush out safety problems.

The NRC’s ROP is the public’s best protection against hazards caused by aging nuclear power reactors, shrinking maintenance budgets, and emerging sabotage threats. Replacing the NRC’s engineering inspections with self-assessments by the owners would lessen the effectiveness of that protective shield.

The NRC must continue to protect the public to the best of its ability. Delegating safety checks to owners is inconsistent with that important mission. http://allthingsnuclear.org/dlochbaum/why-nrc-inspections-are-necessary-columbia

October 18, 2017 Posted by | politics, safety, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Debunking the myths about nuclear fusion – The ITER Power Amplification Myth

The ITER Power Amplification Myth   – By Steven B. Krivit –New Energy Times, 6 Oct 17 

Short link: http://tinyurl.com/y9lvf79j

This is the third of three reports about the claims by representatives and proponents of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). “The Selling of ITER” published on Jan. 12, 2017. “Former ITER Spokesman Confirms Accuracy of New Energy Times Story” published on Jan. 19, 2017.


Abstract (Abstract is Copyleft, duplication permitted but only with attribution and link to original )

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is the largest and most expensive science experiment on Earth today. Public outreach for the experimental fusion reactor, under the direction of Laban Coblentz, the head of the ITER communications office, has led journalists and the public to believe that, when completed, the reactor will produce 10 times more power than goes into it.

It will do no such thing. The $22 billion reactor is designed to produce only 1.6 times more thermal power than it consumes in electric power. Using a more conservative calculation, the reactor will lose more power than it produces. The planned output power of the reactor has been reported correctly, but the input power for the reactor has been widely reported, incorrectly, as 50 megawatts. The actual input power value, rarely discussed publicly, will be significantly larger.

For decades, some proponents of thermonuclear fusion research have used a double meaning for the phrase “fusion power” yet failed to inform the public, the news media, or legislators about the existence of this dual meaning. This ambiguity has caused non-experts to think that power production rates from large-scale thermonuclear fusion experiments show greater technological progress than has actually occurred. As a result, people who are not fusion experts think that ITER will achieve a power production rate, or power amplification, six times larger than its design specification. ITER will produce power at a rate of only two-thirds of the rate it will consume power, when comparing electric power input to equivalent electric power output.

Some fusion proponents have used the secondary meaning of “fusion power” to convince non-experts that the record-setting 1997 fusion experiment in the Joint European Torus (JET) reactor in the U.K. had produced thermal power at a rate of 65 percent of the electric power consumed by the reactor and, therefore, that the reactor had come close to producing power at a rate equal to the rate of power consumed. In fact, in that experiment, the reactor produced power in heat at a rate of less than 2 percent of the power in electricity it consumed. Coblentz and the ITER communications group have used the same double meaning to promote the publicly funded $22 billion ITER reactor, under construction now in southern France.

Fusion research insiders know that the current primary goal of ITER is not to demonstrate power amplification of the reactor. Instead, they know, the main goal is the power amplification of the fusion plasma, a significantly different measurement. Fusion experts say that non-experts understand the distinction, but nearly all evidence, as shown for example in news coverage by The New York Times, Scientific American, Bloomberg, Forbes and BBC News, is to the contrary. The double meaning of the phrase “fusion power” went unnoticed for years and has misled experienced journalists, scientists, members of the public and elected officials…….http://news.newenergytimes.net/

October 7, 2017 Posted by | EUROPE, Reference, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

South Africa – lovely! they have a nuclear power utility educating kids about nuclear power!!!

SA utility educates youth on nuclear ESI Africa, 6 Oct 17 

 Eskom has recently launched its first school’s nuclear debate programme in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province.

The School Nuclear Debate initiative is part of Eskom’s five-year Schools Adoption & Skills Development programme……….“Eskom aims to create awareness about the most important aspects of nuclear power, to bring facts to the fore and to debate, correct myths, fears and misconceptions that may exist regarding nuclear power.”

October 7, 2017 Posted by | Education, South Africa | Leave a comment

From Nuclear Fusion Fraud to Physics Fortune

The ITER Power Amplification Myth Oct. 6, 2017 – By Steven B. Krivit –

Short link: http://tinyurl.com/y9lvf79j

This is the third of three reports about the claims by representatives and proponents of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). “The Selling of ITER” published on Jan. 12, 2017. “Former ITER Spokesman Confirms Accuracy of New Energy Times Story” published on Jan. 19, 2017.

From Fusion Fraud to Physics Fortune
“………..The ITER project, supported by a widespread misunderstanding of its promised results, funded by billions in cash, resources and materials, will not deliver a practical demonstration of fusion power, but merely a scientific demonstration of a sustained fusion reaction. Yet on July 3, 2017, the Chinese Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak reactor already did this, for 101 seconds. When built, ITER will merely do it for four times longer.

Oddly, the quest for practical nuclear fusion on Earth was born out of fraud. The ITER Web site recognizes this, with a page titled “Proyecto Huemul: From Fusion Fraud to Physics Fortune.”

The story began in 1948 in Argentina when Austrian scientist Ronald Richter proposed his idea for a fusion device to President Juan Perón. Perón agreed to fund the concept, and on March 24, 1951, Perón held a press conference at which he announced that his country had achieved practical, controlled nuclear fusion. By 1952, however, after independent investigators reported no evidence to support the claims, the project was shut down. The ITER page calls it “the scientific fraud of the century.”

Yet in 1951, before the Argentinian project was shut down, the project caught the attention of Lyman Spitzer, an astrophysicist at Princeton University. Spitzer, in turn, approached the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and convinced it to fund his own fusion research concept. Thus, the U.S. controlled nuclear fusion era began at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, and the worldwide race for fusion energy began.

Since construction on ITER began in 2007, nuclear fusion news stories have been tagged with titillating headlines about unlimited energy. A CNN story headline is typical: “Is Nuclear Fusion About to Change Our World?” Every incremental step forward in temperature, pressure, or plasma confinement time has been a “breakthrough.” Each breakthrough, according to the news stories, has brought the dream of harnessing the power of the sun on Earth one step closer to reality. Rarely have the stories featured any critical assessment or analysis.

One journalist wrote that physicists at the Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory had “demonstrated” how a new fusion reactor design could lead to the first commercially viable nuclear fusion power plant. The demonstration was merely on paper. The article featured a photo of a reactor. But it wasn’t the reactor described in the article. That reactor hadn’t been built yet.

As the comics below show, the very same Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory — back in 1975 when the DOE was called the Atomic Energy Commission — told journalists it was a big step closer to virtually limitless pollution-free energy thanks to “breakthroughs” in plasma density and temperature.

Then there’s MIT scientist Earl Marmar, who told journalists this year that the technology exists to have fusion energy in 13 years if only it is funded aggressively enough.

Vision and hope are wonderful and necessary components of the human experience. But false hope and worthless promises — laced with misleading claims — do not represent the science accurately. They do not represent the integrity of all scientists involved in the research.

The false idea that the JET reactor produced 65% of the power it consumed has been deeply planted in the minds of the public and journalists. The same goes for the false idea that the ITER reactor will produce 10 times the power it consumes. These two myths serve to misrepresent the status of fusion energy research and, specifically, the ITER project……http://news.newenergytimes.net/2017/10/06/the-iter-power-amplification-myth/#more-44064

October 7, 2017 Posted by | Reference, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

James Hansen – great on climate change – wrong on Generation IV nuclear reactors

The risks……..in fact, thorium has been used to produce fissile material (uranium-233) for nuclear weapons tests.

Waste…. “Even integral fast reactors (IFRs), which recycle most of their waste, leave behind materials that have been contaminated by transuranic elements and so cannot avoid the need to develop deep geologic disposal.”

Generation IV economics…..The US Government Accountability Office’s 2015 report noted that technical challenges facing SMRs and advanced reactors may result in higher-cost reactors than anticipated, making them less competitive with large light-water reactors or power plants using other fuels.

James Hansen’s Generation IV nuclear advocacy: a deconstruction of nuclear fallacies and fantasies http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2989318/james_hansens_generation_iv_nuclear_advocacy_a_deconstruction_of_nuclear_fallacies_and_fantasies.html, Dr Jim Green, 3rd October, 2017 

Climate scientist James Hansen’s claims about Generation IV nuclear concepts simply don’t stack up, argues JIM GREEN Dr James Hansen is rightly admired for his scientific and political work drawing attention to climate change. His advocacy of nuclear power ‒ and in particular novel Generation IV nuclear concepts ‒ deserves serious scrutiny.

In a nutshell, Dr Hansen (among others) claims that some Generation IV reactors are a triple threat: they can convert weapons-usable (fissile) material and long-lived nuclear waste into low-carbon electricity. Let’s take the weapons and waste issues in turn. Continue reading

October 4, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

USA nuclear industry – desperate advertising campaign to win hearts and minds

Nuclear – Power The Extraordinary – New Ad Campaign Touting Marvels of Atomic Technology, Forbes, Rod Adams, 30 Sept 17, The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) announced in early September that was starting a new advertising campaign with completely reimagined creative materials.Using the general tagline of “Nuclear. Power the Extraordinary” the U.S. nuclear industry’s trade organization will be speaking “to the critical role that nuclear technology plays in our lives. With dramatic visuals, the new campaign captures the far-reaching benefits that nuclear technology brings to air quality, economic vitality, public health and exploration of new worlds.”……..

Since taking over as NEI’s President and CEO last year, Maria Korsnick has emphasized the importance of taking a new approach to maximizing nuclear energy’s “immense potential.” She has stressed the need for the industry to advocate for itself.

 “I am truly passionate about the role that nuclear energy can play for our nation and the world. I consider it the unsung hero of our energy mix…My focus is to get nuclear energy recognized as an essential part of the nation’s industrial and electrical infrastructure.”……..

The ads will initially be heard and seen in key state battle grounds like Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York as well as in the Washington, DC area……… https://www.forbes.com/sites/rodadams/2017/09/30/nuclear-power-the-extraordinary-new-ad-campaign-touting-marvels-of-atomic-technology/#5164c1302ef5

October 2, 2017 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Glamour nuclear spruiker Brian Cox – in Cumbria, then Australia

Brian Cox is  a very personable and knowledgeable TV star and particle physics expert. He is also a promoter of the nuclear industry. He is a big fan of plutonium -powered space travel. He’s to tour Australia in November,.

Currently, Cox is in Cumbria, UK, addressing schoolchildren groups, and revving up enthusiasm for science and technology. All good, yes. He enthuses about the opportunity for top jobs in high tech in Cumbria.  Good? Yes, but – where are these future jobs? Well – in the nuclear industry, which is desperately trying to get a new nuclear power station built.

Whitehaven News 29th Sept 2017, Television star Professor Brian Cox says Cumbria has a world-leading industry which warrants talent – but there’s a shortage of scientists and engineers. But he hopes to change that by helping to bring the prestigious Infinity Festival to the area and inspiring hundreds of teenagers to follow their dreams. Professor Cox was the star speaker at today’s festival which was held at West Lakes Academy in Egremont. More than 200 schoolchildren, aged 13 and 14, attended the event from schools across the whole of the county.  http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk/news/Professor-Brian-Cox-visits-Egremont-and-declares-Cumbria-is-a-world-leading-high-tech-industry-941aa057-9b77-46a5-8eac-6e92f0341783-ds

Professor Brian Cox welcomes Cumbria’s nuclear history and future http://www.itv.com/news/border/update/2014-05-30/professor-brian-cox-welcomes-cumbrias-nuclear-history-and-future/The scientist, Professor Brian Cox, has told guests at the opening of a new exhibition in Whitehaven that nuclear power should be an important source of energy in the UK.

Famous scientist argues for ‘stable’ forms of energy, The famous scientist Professor Brian Cox has told guests at the opening of a new exhibition in Whitehaven that nuclear power should be an important source of energy in the UK.

He argues that education is important for accepting nuclear energy: http://www.itv.com/news/border/story/2014-05-30/professor-brian-cox-opens-beacon-museum/

October 2, 2017 Posted by | spinbuster, UK | Leave a comment

Australian nuclear shill Ben Heard’s attacked on renewable energy: refuted by 6 international academics

Response to ‘Burden of proof: A comprehensive review of the feasibility of 100% renewable-electricity systems’ AUTHORS W. Browna,(a) , T. Bischof-Niemz (b)  , K. Blok(c) , C. Breyerc(d) , H. Lund (e) , B.V. Mathiesen (f  )  (Their  university positions are listed at the end of this post) September 2017

Abstract A recent article ‘Burden of proof: A comprehensive review of the feasibility of 100% renewable-electricity systems [by Ben Heard, Barry Brook, Tom Wigley and Corey Bradshaw] claims that many studies of 100% renewable electricity systems do not demonstrate sufficient technical feasibility, according to the authors’ criteria.

Here we analyse the authors’ methodology and find it problematic. The feasibility criteria chosen by the authors are important, but are also easily addressed at low cost, while not affecting the main conclusions of the reviewed studies and certainly not affecting their technical feasibility.

A more thorough review reveals that all of the issues have already been addressed in the engineering and modelling literature. Nuclear power, as advocated by some of the authors, faces other, genuine feasibility problems, such as the finiteness of uranium resources and a reliance on unproven technologies in the medium- to long-term. Energy systems based on renewables, on the other hand, are not only feasible, but already economically viable and getting cheaper every day.

Contents Continue reading

September 25, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Reference, spinbuster | Leave a comment