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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Trump administration still considering a military attack on North Korea

President Trump’s Top Defense and Diplomatic Chiefs Insist There’s a Military Option for North Korea, Time,  Matthew Pennington / AP, Aug 17, 2017   (WASHINGTON) — America’s diplomatic and defense chiefs sought Thursday to reinforce the threat of possible U.S. military action against North Korea after President Donald Trump’s top strategist essentially called the commander-in-chief’s warnings a bluff.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stressed after security talks with close ally Japan that the U.S. seeks a peaceful solution to the standoff over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. But he said a U.S.-led campaign of economic pressure and diplomacy needs to be backed by potential military consequences.

 Washington is “prepared militarily” to respond, if necessary, he said…..

North Korea’s missile launches “must stop immediately,” Tillerson said. Given the magnitude of the threat posed by the North’s weapons development, he said any diplomatic effort “has to be backed by a strong military consequence if North Korea chooses wrongly.”

“That is the message the president has wanted to send to the leadership of North Korea,” Tillerson said, “to remind the regime of what the consequences for them would be if they chose to carry out those threats.”

Trump last week pledged to answer North Korean aggression with “fire and fury.” He later tweeted that a military solution was “locked and loaded,” after leader Kim Jong Un was said to be considering a provocative launch of missiles into waters near Guam…..

Tensions have since eased somewhat since North Korea said Kim doesn’t immediately plan to fire the missiles. But fears of conflict remain as the U.S. and South Korea next week begin military drills that the North views as preparation for invasion, and as Washington seeks to stop the North’s progress toward having a nuclear-tipped missile that could strike the continental United States……http://time.com/4905989/donald-trump-steve-bannon-rex-tillerson-north-korea/

August 19, 2017 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Is Trump aware of that other imminent nuclear war danger – the standoff between India and China ?

The potential conflict between nuclear powers that Trump barely acknowledges, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/08/18/the-potential-conflict-between-nuclear-powers-that-trump-barely-acknowledges/?utm_term=.bdf29c5159e7   August 18The two most populous countries in the world are dangerously close to armed conflict. Both are fast-growing and ambitious nations with something to prove — and they have nuclear weapons. Yet you’ll find surprisingly little discussion of the issue in Washington, where President Trump’s ongoing controversies and the threat of terrorist attacks (more on the horrific attack in Barcelona later in the newsletter) continue to dominate the discussion.The military standoff between India and China over a remote plateau in the Himalayas has been going on for months now. This week, The Post’s Annie Gowen and Simon Denyer took a look at the complicated dispute, which was sparked by China’s move to build a road in territory claimed by Bhutan, a close ally of India that does not have formal diplomatic relations with Beijing.

Territorial disputes between in the area are far from new — India and China briefly went to war over contest territory in 1962. And much of the present dispute dates back to an 1890 border agreement made between British India and China’s Qing Dynasty, one of a number of lingering problems caused by colonial cartographers.

But experts say the current standoff is the worst in decades and has taken on a different tone than previous flare-ups. “It would be very complacent to rule out escalation,” Shashank Joshi, an analyst with the Royal United Services Institute in London, told The Post. “It’s the most serious crisis in India-China relations for 30 years.”

Both India and China are speaking openly and seriously of armed conflict, with Beijing’s state media striking a indigent and at times uncharacteristically vulgar tone. An English-language video posted by the Xinhua news agency Wednesday accused India of “trampling international law” and “inventing various excuses to whitewash its illegal moves” — before showing a Chinese actor in a Sikh turban who spoke in an insulting Indian accent.

If India and China were to go to war, it would be no small matter. Over 2.6 billion people live in the two nations. Between them, they are estimated to have 380 nuclear weapons (though both China and India subscribe to a “no first use” policy, which should — hopefully — mean they wouldn’t be used in such any conflict).

In a briefing last month, the U.S. State Department urged restraint. During a press briefing last week, spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, “It’s a situation that we have certainly followed closely. And as you know, we have relationships with both governments. We continue to encourage both parties to sit down and have conversations about that.”

The dispute centers not only on the territory in question — an obscure, 34-square-mile area known as the Dolam Plateau that is claimed by both Bhutan and China — but a narrow strip of strategically important Indian land called the Siliguri Corridor. This tract, unaffectionately nicknamed the “chicken’s neck,” connects the bulk of the India with its remote east. Delhi has long feared Chinese troops could cut across the corridor if war broke out, effectively cutting the country in half. It’s not an unreasonable fear, given that the region is just 14 miles wide at its thinnest point; Ankit Panda of the Diplomat once dubbed it a “terrifyingly vulnerable artery in India’s geography.”

It is widely assumed that Washington would side with India in the dispute. Trump is a frequent critic of China, and some in his administration have pushed for tough responses to other territorial claims made by Beijing, such as the ongoing disputes in the South China Sea. Trump called Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on India’s Independence Day this week, which some media outlets interpreted as a gesture of support for New Delhi.

And yet, there is a nagging sense among some in India that Trump won’t have Modi’s back if push comes to shove. “If ever there was a war with China, America would never come to our rescue,” one government official told Indian journalist Barkha Dutt recently, according to a story Dutt wrote for The Post’s Global Opinion section.

Washington also may be diplomatically limited in the region: A number of key State Department positions that would have responsibility for handling an India-China crisis remain unfilled. Another part of the problem is simply the complexity of the issue, which could prove hard to communicate to a leader with seemingly limited knowledge of the world and a notoriously short attention span.

There is also an argument that perhaps Trump should keep his nose out of this. The Post’s Jackson Diehl wrote he didn’t find much enthusiasm for U.S. involvement in the dispute while in Delhi last week. The U.S. president has gained a reputation there for being hotheaded and impulsive — even the drawdown in tensions with North Korea seems to have happened in spite of his involvement, not because of it.

August 19, 2017 Posted by | China, India, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Americans uneasy about Trump’s ability to handle the North Koreasn situation

Americans are afraid of war with North Korea — and of how Trump could handle it,  New polls show Americans are divided on how to handle the North Korea threat , Vox,  by  Aug 11, 2017,

 “…….New polls show a majority of Americans are afraid the US is about to wade into a war with North Korea, but are split on whether America should take military action in the face of increased threats from Pyongyang. At the same time, some of the public’s anxiety is about Trump and his off the cuff handling of the situation. Trump’s approval rating has dipped to historic lows, and Republicans and Democrats disagree sharply on whether they think the president is capable of dealing with North Korea…..

 in the past month, North Korea has successfully completed an intercontinental ballistic missile test that could reach the mainland United States, and American intelligence officials say the country is nearing its goal of being able to fit a nuclear weapon on one of those long-range missiles.

And Trump hasn’t exactly been doing a lot to quell those fears. On Tuesday, Trump appeared to threaten nuclear war, vowing to respond to North Korean threats with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Two days later, the president doubled down, saying of his remarks, “maybe it wasn’t tough enough.” He followed that up with a Friday tweet that the US military solutions were “locked and loaded should North Korea act unwisely.”

As a result, the possibility of war is on a lot of people’s minds.

A new poll from Public Policy Polling released by Axios on Friday morning shows 82 percent of Americans say they are afraid of nuclear war with North Korea. Another poll released by Rasmussen Report on Friday showed 63 percent of voters polled believe the US is now likely to take nuclear action against Kim Jong Un.

Meanwhile, the CBS poll conducted last week revealed 72 percent of Americans were already feeling uneasy about a possible conflict, while another 26 percent said they were confident things would be resolved.

However, the majority of those polled (60 percent), were optimistic the threat from North Korea could still be contained, with another 29 percent saying they believed it required immediate military action……

Another poll conducted by the Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs earlier this month found something similar, with a slim majority of respondents saying they supported military intervention if North Korea attacked South Korea.

The Chicago Council poll is the first time that more than half of Americans voiced support for sending in troops to help South Korea in the event of an attack. However, the same poll found Americans were still reticent to get involved in an armed conflict with North Korea and more likely to support increased sanctions instead.

Amidst the escalation, Americans still don’t have a lot of confidence in their commander in chief.

Just 35 percent of respondents to the CBS poll said they were confident in Trump’s ability to handle the North Korea threat, while 61 percent said they were uneasy. Confidence in Trump’s ability fell largely along party lines, with 76 percent of Republicans saying they were confident, and 31 percent of independents and just 10 percent of Democrats agreeing with them.

Many more people said they were uneasy about Trump, including 87 percent of Democrats, 64 percent of independents, and 22 percent of Republicans……https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/8/11/16131016/americans-afraid-war-north-korea

August 19, 2017 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA interception of nuclear missile could start nuclear war between Russia and America,

North Korea Could Unleash the Unthinkable: Nuclear War Between Russia and America, National Interest,  Dave Majumdar, 18 Aug 17, In the event that North Korea tests another Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) or potentially launches an attack on the United States, the Pentagon could try to intercept those missiles with the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system. However, as many analysts have pointed out, the interceptors that miss their target could reenter the Earth’s atmosphere inside Russian airspace. Such an eventuality could prove to be a serious problem unless steps are taken to address the issue now.

“You should also be aware of the concern that those interceptors fired from Alaska that miss or don’t engage an incoming North Korean ICBM(s) will continue on and reenter the Earth’s atmosphere over Russia,” Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association told The National Interest.

“This carries a nontrivial risk of unintended escalation.”

Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, told The National Interest that the United States should open a dialogue with Russia on the issue immediately.

“Good god, yes,” Lewis said emphatically.

Olya Oliker, director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies agreed.

“We have time now to consult with Moscow, talk about plans, discuss how notification would work,” Oliker told The National Interest.

“This isn’t the rocket science part of all this.”

Indeed, in a recent op-ed, Lewis argues that an American interceptor launch could accidentally trigger a nuclear exchange if the Russians mistook such a weapon for an incoming ICBM.

“We can’t assume that Russia would realize the launch from Alaska was a missile defense interceptor rather than an ICBM. From Russia, the trajectories might appear quite similar, especially if the radar operator was under a great deal of stress or pressure,” Lewis wrote for The Daily Beast.

“It doesn’t matter how Russia’s early warning system ought to work on paper, the reality of the Russian system in practice has been a lot less impressive.”

Joshua H. Pollack, editor of the The Nonproliferation Review and a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, said that the danger is real.

“Whether they actually would enter Russian airspace is probably less important than whether they break the line of sight of Russia’s early-warning radars,” Pollack said…….

Pavel Podvig, an independent analyst based in Geneva who runs the Russian Nuclear Forces research project disagreed with Lewis and Pollack. Podvig noted that the Russian early warning system is in far better shape today than it was during the 1990s. While a GMD launch from Alaska might cause alarm, the Russian philosophy has been to essentially absorb the first initial blows before launching a retaliatory counterstrike.

“The Russian system is built to ‘absorb’ events like this,” Podvig told The National Interest……..

The Russians, however, are not too worried by the prospect of discarded American interceptors landing on their soil. However, Moscow would likely want to be consulted because the interceptors might set off Russia’s ballistic missile early warning system (BMEWS)……..

What is surprising to the Russians is that the United States did not install a self-destruct system on the GMD interceptors to prevent the missiles from landing where they should not……..

the United States should probably consult with Russia about the possibility of intercepting North Korean ICBMs over Moscow’s territory and set up an agreement ahead of time. But even then, during a real intercept attempt, the United States will likely have to count on Russia’s early warning system operating correctly and the Kremlin’s restraint to avoid an unintended nuclear war.

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for The National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @Davemajumdar.  http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/north-korea-could-unleash-the-unthinkable-nuclear-war-21948

August 19, 2017 Posted by | Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

In order to defy Trump, Kim Jong-un will probably target waters near Guam

Ex-CIA analyst Bruce Klinger predicts Kim Jong-un will target Guam to defy Trump. Australian Financial Review, by John Kehoe, 13 Aug 17, Kim Jong-un will probably defy Donald Trump and soon try to land missiles in waters near the US Pacific island of Guam to show off strength and test the US President’s resolve, according to one of the world’s top North Korean analysts.

Ahead of a trip this week to Australia to speak to government officials about the North Korean nuclear crisis, former senior US Central Intelligence Agency officer for Korea, Bruce Klinger, said President Trump could hasten or delay war in attempting to shoot down any missile around the US military island.

“Given the specificity of what North Korea is saying they are thinking of doing and about the number of seconds the flight would take I would think they will launch the missiles towards Guam,” Mr Klinger said in an interview with The Australian Financial Review.

“I don’t think it’s an attack. It would be a very, very provocative demonstration…….

Mr Klinger, who led the CIA’s Korea branch in 1994 when president Bill Clinton nearly went to war with Pyongyang to stop its nuclear weapons program, said it was debatable whether or not the US or its allies should unleash missile defence systems if a North Korean demonstration missile were targeted just outside US territory………

Mr Klinger will visit Canberra and Sydney and consult with government intelligence and defence officials about the rapidly escalating North Korea nuclear weapon crisis.

 He met North Korean officials in Europe earlier this year and recently testified before Congress…….

Unless there was very strong evidence that Mr Kim was about to strike the US, Mr Klinger opposed a preventative US attack and said it could have “catastrophic” consequences for millions of people.

“The President’s trying to demonstrate resolve to our allies and send a signal to North Korea and China,” Mr Klinger said.

“The wording is over the top and distracting.” http://www.afr.com/news/world/asia/excia-analyst-bruce-klinger-predicts-kim-jongun-will-target-guam-to-defy-trump-20170813-gxv3cc

August 18, 2017 Posted by | politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Cancer and other health problems still being caused because of past nuclear explosions

Nuclear explosions from the past are still causing cancer and health problems today https://www.businessinsider.com.au/nuclear-explosion-fallout-cancer-health-effects-2017-8?r=US&IR=T, KEVIN LORIA AUG 18, 2017 

August 18, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pre-emptive attack on North Korea is not an option: get used to N Korea having nuclear weapons

North Korea’s nuclear weapons ‘aren’t going away’, says former US intelligence boss, ABC News Breakfast, 17 Aug 17, 

Gregory Treverton was the chairman of the powerful US National Intelligence Council until he stood down in January, and today said the US may need to back down a bit to avoid conflict.

“We have got to find a way to avoid [war] … That means climbing down on our side,” he told News Breakfast.

“It means, over time, I think [it will be] very, very hard for us, but to recognise those North Korean nuclear weapons aren’t going to go away.

“The best thing we can try and do is cap them, contain them.”

After a week of rising tensions and threats, US President Donald Trump this week praised North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for a “wise and well reasoned” decision not to fire missiles towards Guam. However, Mr Treverton said the threat of war had by no means passed…….

The plain fact is there is no good military option.”

According to Mr Treverton a pre-emptive attack by the US against North Korea was not a feasible option.

He said North Korea had been building hidden facilities and moving its missiles around. And even if the US could target its nuclear facilities, it would still have non-nuclear options that could devastate South Korean targets.

Trump’s diplomacy is ‘erratic’

Mr Treverton said Mr Trump had “painted himself into a corner” after ramping up his threats towards North Korea and that his approach to foreign policy was “really quite erratic”.

“I came to realise that almost nothing he says has any content,” Mr Treverton said.

“It’s really attention, self-aggrandisement, upsetting the apple cart.”……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-17/north-koreas-nuclear-weapons-arent-going-away/8816010

August 18, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The weapons industry is polluting our environment – Potomac River as an example

How War Pollutes the Potomac River, DAVID SWANSON AND PAT ELDER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT, 17 AUG 17,  The Pentagon’s impact on the river on whose bank it sits is not simply the diffuse impact of global warming and rising oceans contributed to by the U.S. military’s massive oil consumption. The U.S. military also directly poisons the Potomac River in more ways than almost anyone would imagine.

Let’s take a cruise down the Potomac from its source in the mountains of West Virginia to its mouth at the Chesapeake Bay. The journey down this mighty waterway details six EPA Superfund sites created by the Pentagon’s reckless disregard for the fragile ecosystem of the Potomac River watershed.

The U.S. Navy’s Allegany Ballistics Laboratory in Rocket Center, West Virginia, 130 miles north of Washington, is a critical source of contamination in the Potomac River. The on-site disposal of explosive metals and solvent wastes contaminates soil and groundwater with hazardous chemicals. The groundwater and soil along the river are laced with explosives, dioxins, volatile organic compounds, acids, laboratory and industrial wastes, bottom sludge from solvent recovery, metal plating pretreatment sludge, paints, and thinners. The site also has a beryllium landfill. An active burning area is still used for waste disposal, sprinkling chemical dust over the river. It’s not good.

Traveling the river 90 miles further south brings us to Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, the Army’s “proving ground” for the nation’s biological warfare program. Anthrax, Phosgene, and radioactive carbon, sulfur, and phosphorous are buried here. The groundwater is laced with deadly trichloroethylene, a human carcinogen, and tetrachloroethene, suspected of causing tumors in laboratory animals. The Army tested ghastly and heinous agents here, like Bacillus globigii, Serratia marcescens, and Escherichia coli. Although the DOD says it ceased biological weapons testing for offensive purposes in 1971, the claim is like the military’s placement of “defensive” missile systems near an enemy’s border.

Fort Detrick also has a history of dumping high levels of phosphorus into its drain system that ultimately washes into the lower Monocacy River, a tributary of the Potomac. In fact, the Maryland Department of Environment has cited the Army for exceeding allowable permit levels. Too much phosphorus in the water causes algae to grow faster than the Potomac ecosystem can handle. It is deadly. The Army is a leading polluter of the Potomac River watershed……..

The Potomac is far from unique. Sixty-nine percent of U.S. Superfund environmental disaster sites are the result of war preparations.

Preparations for war cost over 10 times the money that actual wars do, and cause at least 10 times the deaths. Routine U.S. military war preparations cause deaths by diverting resources from human needs and directly through massive environmental destruction spread all over the world including in the United States, and including in the Potomac.

So-called foreign intervention in civil wars around the world is, according to comprehensive studies, 100 times more likely — not where there is suffering, not where there is cruelty, not where there is a threat to the world, but where the country at war has large reserves of oil or the intervener has a high demand for oil.

The U.S. military is the top consumer of petroleum around, burning more of it than most entire countries, and burning much of it in routine preparations for more wars. There are military planes that can cause more damage with jet fuel in 10 minutes than you can with gasoline driving your car for a year.

All such calculations omit the environmental destruction done by private weapons makers and by their weapons. The U.S. is the leading exporter of war weapons to the rest of the world.

All such calculations also omit much of the damage and all of the details of the human suffering. The U.S. military burns toxic waste in the open, near its own troops in places like Iraq, near the homes of the people who live in the countries it has invaded, and within the United States in many — often poor and minority — communities such as Colfax, Louisiana, and at Dahlgren on the Potomac.

Much of the damage is essentially permanent, such as the poison of depleted uranium, used in places like Syria and Iraq. But this is true in locations all around the United States as well. Near St. Louis, Missouri, an underground fire is moving ever closer to an underground pile of radioactive waste.

And then there is the Potomac River. It flows south between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials in Washington, D.C. on the east, and Arlington, Virginia, on the west, where the Pentagon Lagoon brings the water up to the headquarters of world militarism.

Not only does the home of war making sit near rising waters — rising first and foremost because of the effects of war making, but those particular waters — the waters of the Potomac and of the Chesapeake Bay into which it flows, and the tides of which raise and lower the waters of the Pentagon Lagoon each day — are heavily polluted by war preparations.

This is why we are planning and invite you to join in a kayactivist flotilla to the Pentagon on September 16th. We need to bring the demand of No More Oil for Wars to the doorstep of our leading destroyer of the environment.

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBookhttp://truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/how-war-pollutes-the-potomac-river

August 18, 2017 Posted by | environment, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

TSAR BOMBA – Most Horrific Man-made Explosion in History

Sakharov become an ardent supporter of the 1963 Partial Test Ban, and an outspoken critic of nuclear proliferation and, in the late 1960s, anti-missile defences that he feared would spur another nuclear arms race. He became increasingly ostracised by the state, a dissident against oppression who would in 1975 be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and referred to as “the conscience of mankind”, says von Hippel.

The monster atomic bomb that was too big to use
In 1961, the Soviet Union tested a nuclear bomb so powerful that it would have been too big to use in war. And it had far-reaching effects of a very different kind. By Stephen Dowling, BBC, 16 August 2017, On the morning of 30 October 1961, a Soviet Tu-95 bomber took off from Olenya airfield in the Kola Peninsula in the far north of Russia……

nothing the Soviet Union had tested would compare to this.

TSAR BOMBA – Most Horrific Man-made Explosion in History – USSR Hydrogen Bomb

The Tu-95 carried an enormous bomb underneath it, a device too large to fit inside the aircraft’s internal bomb-bay, where such munitions would usually be carried. The bomb was 8m long (26ft), had a diameter of nearly 2.6m (7ft) and weighed more than 27 tonnes. It was, physically, very similar in shape to the ‘Little Boy’ and ‘Fat Man’ bombs which had devastated the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki a decade-and-a-half earlier. The bomb had become known by a myriad of neutral technical designations – Project 27000, Product Code 202, RDS-220, and Kuzinka Mat (Kuzka’s Mother). Now it is better known as Tsar Bomba – the ‘Tsar’s bomb’……

It was more than a metal monstrosity too big to fit inside even the largest aircraft – it was a city destroyer, a weapon of last resort…… In order to give the two planes a chance to survive – and this was calculated as no more than a 50% chance – Tsar Bomba was deployed by a giant parachute weighing nearly a tonne. The bomb would slowly drift down to a predetermined height – 13,000ft (3,940m) – and then detonate. By then, the two bombers would be nearly 50km (30 miles) away. It should be far enough away for them to survive.

Tsar Bomba detonated at 11:32, Moscow time. In a flash, the bomb created a fireball five miles wide. The fireball pulsed upwards from the force of its own shockwave. The flash could be seen from 1,000km (630 miles) away.

The bomb’s mushroom cloud soared to 64km (40 miles) high, with its cap spreading outwards until it stretched nearly 100km (63 miles) from end to end. It must have been, from a very far distance perhaps, an awe-inspiring sight.

On Novaya Zemlya, the effects were catastrophic. In the village of Severny, some 55km (34 miles) from Ground Zero, all houses were completely destroyed (this is the equivalent to Gatwick airport being destroyed by a bomb that had fallen on Central London). In Soviet districts hundreds of miles from the blast zone, damage of all kinds – houses collapsing, roofs falling in, damage to doors, windows shattering – were reported. Radio communications were disrupted for more than an hour.……

Tsar Bomba unleashed almost unbelievable energy – now widely agreed to be in the order of 57 megatons, or 57 million tons of TNT. That is more than 1,500 times that of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs combined, and 10 times more powerful than all the munitions expended during World War Two. Sensors registered the bomb’s blast wave orbiting the Earth not once, not twice, but three times……

One of the architects of this formidable device was a Soviet physicist called Andrei Sakharov – a man who would later become world famous for his attempts to rid the world of the very weapons he had helped create. He was a veteran of the Soviet atomic bomb programme from the very beginning, and had been part of the team that had built some of the USSR’s earliest atom bombs…….

With such immense power, there would be no guarantee that the giant bomb wouldn’t swamp the north of the USSR with a vast cloud of radioactive fallout.

That was of particular concern to Sakharov, says Frank von Hippel, a physicist and head of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

“He was really apprehensive about the amount of radioactivity it would create,” he says, “and the genetic effects that could have on future generations

“It was the beginning of his journey from being a bomb designer to becoming a dissident.”…….

The Soviets had built a weapon so powerful that they were unwilling to even test it at its full capacity. And that was only one of the problems with this devastating device.

The Tu-95 bombers built to carry the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons were designed to carry much lighter weapons. The Tsar Bomba was so big that it couldn’t be placed on a missile, and so heavy that the planes designed to carry it wouldn’t have been able to take them all the way to their targets with enough fuel. And, if the bomb was as powerful as intended, the aircraft would have been on a one-way mission anyway…..

Tsar Bomba had other effects. Such was the concern over the test – which was 20% of the size of every atmospheric test combined before it, von Hippel says – that it hastened the end of atmospheric testing in 1963. Von Hippel says that Sakharov was particularly worried by the amount of radioactive carbon 14 that was being emitted into the atmosphere – an isotope with a particularly long half-life. “This has been partly mitigated by all the fossil fuel carbon in the atmosphere which has diluted it,” he says.

Sakharov worried that a bomb bigger than the one tested would not be repelled by its own blastwave – like Tsar Bomba had been – and would cause global fallout, spreading toxic dirt across the planet.

Sakharov become an ardent supporter of the 1963 Partial Test Ban, and an outspoken critic of nuclear proliferation and, in the late 1960s, anti-missile defences that he feared would spur another nuclear arms race. He became increasingly ostracised by the state, a dissident against oppression who would in 1975 be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and referred to as “the conscience of mankind”, says von Hippel.

Tsar Bomba, it seems, may have had fallout of a very different kind.  http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170816-the-monster-atomic-bomb-that-was-too-big-to-use

August 18, 2017 Posted by | history, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Still possibility of a non military solution to the USA- North Korean nuclear crisis

Korean leaders, US open door to diplomacy in nuclear crisis, Yahoo News, The Canadian Press, August 16, 2017 SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — North Korea’s military on Tuesday presented leader Kim Jong Un with plans to launch missiles into waters near Guam and “wring the windpipes of the Yankees,” even as both Koreas and the United States signalled their willingness to avert a deepening crisis, with each suggesting a path toward negotiations.

The tentative interest in diplomacy follows unusually combative threats between President Donald Trump and North Korea amid worries Pyongyang is nearing its long-sought goal of being able to send a nuclear missile to the U.S. mainland. Next week’s start of U.S.-South Korean military exercises that enrage the North each year could make diplomacy even more difficult.

During an inspection of the North Korean army’s Strategic Forces, which handles the missile program, Kim praised the military for drawing up a “close and careful plan” and said he would watch the “foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees” a little more before deciding whether to order the missile test, the state-run Korean Central News Agency said. Kim appeared in photos sitting at a table with a large map marked by a straight line between what appeared to be northeastern North Korea and Guam, and passing over Japan — apparently showing the missiles’ flight route.

The missile plans were previously announced. Kim said North Korea would conduct the launches if the “Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions on the Korean Peninsula and its vicinity,” warning the United States to “think reasonably and judge properly” to avoid shaming itself, the news agency said.

The Trump administration had no immediate comments on Kim’s declaration……..

Kim’s conditional tone, however, hinted the friction could ease if the U.S. offered a gesture that Pyongyang sees as a step back from “extremely dangerous reckless actions.”

That could refer to the U.S.-South Korean military drills set to begin Aug. 21, which the North claims are rehearsals for invasion. It also could mean the B-1B bombers that the U.S. occasionally flies over the Korean Peninsula as a show of force…….

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, meanwhile, a liberal who favours diplomacy, urged North Korea to stop provocations and to commit to talks over its nuclear weapons program……..

North Korea’s military said last week it would finalize the plan to fire four ballistic missiles near Guam, which is about 3,200 kilometres (2,000 miles) from Pyongyang. It would be a test of the Hwasong-12, a new missile the country flight-tested for the first time in May. The liquid-fuel missile is designed to be fired from road mobile launchers and has been described by North Korea as built for attacking Alaska and Hawaii. https://ca.ne

August 16, 2017 Posted by | weapons and war | Leave a comment

Americans all too easily accept the idea of a pre-emptive nuclear strike?

The Real Nuclear Option, Americans are disturbingly unbothered by the idea of striking first with nuclear weapons, Slate ,By Fred Kaplan, 15 Aug 17, As President Trump rails against North Korea, threatening to rain down “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it so much as tests another long-range missile, the world can’t help but wonder: Would he really do this? Would he order a nuclear strike, the ultimate fire and fury, against a country that hadn’t attacked us first?

August 16, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Kim Jong Un unlikely to commit nuclear suicide. (but what about Trump?)

Where will Trump and Kim’s nuclear brinkmanship lead?  CBS News, 13 Aug 17, President Trump says the U.S. military is “locked and loaded” in its confrontation with North Korea. But how exactly would all that firepower be used? Here’s David Martin at the Pentagon:Behind the “fire and fury” rhetoric, there is one very hard fact: If the U.S. were to unleash its military power against North Korea, it would result — in Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ words — in “the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.”

Before he retired, Admiral James Winnefeld was the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the number two man in uniform, during the Obama Administration.  He knows that one submarine like the USS Kentucky can by itself carry enough nuclear weapons to annihilate North Korea.

When asked to compare America’s nuclear forces to Korean nuclear forces, Adm. Winnefeld replied, “Well, there’s just no comparison whatsoever.”

Martin asked, “Were Kim Jong Un, for whatever reason, to launch a nuclear weapon against the United States, would he, in essence, be committing suicide?”

“Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, there is just no question that we would undertake a proportional response,” Adm. Winnefeld replied. “But in the case of a nuclear weapon, that proportional response would be overwhelming and would probably mean the end of the Kim regime — and he knows it.”…..

“The North Korean regime has hundreds of artillery cannons and rocket launchers within range of one of the most densely-populated cities on Earth, which is the capital of South Korea,” said Mattis.

Kim — like his father and grandfather before him — has lived under what he believes to be the constant threat of an attack from the south.  That fear (some would call it paranoia) is what is driving his quest for a nuclear weapon.

“He wants to have what we would view as a credible nuclear threat so we won’t attack him,” WInnefeld said, …. he could not be certain a nuclear armed missile would get through the missile defense system, but he could be certain that if he tried, it would be the end of his regime.

“I think At the end of the day,” said Adm. Winnefeld, “two essential facts stand out: The first is, it’s very unlikely that he will ever willingly give up his program. But it’s also very, very unlikely that he will ever use it, as long as we don’t try to overthrow his regime.”

Can the U.S. live with that? It’s up to the commander-in-chief, who has said he will not allow North Korea to threaten America or its allies. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/donald-trump-kim-jong-un-nuclear-brinkmanship/

August 14, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Global suicide – the climate effects of nuclear war with North Korea

Nuclear war with North Korea ‘would be suicidal’, climate experts warn, Mashable BY ANDREW FREEDMAN, 10 Aug 17, It’s winter, 2018, in Iowa, five months after the last of the nuclear bombs detonated across megacities in northeast Asia, from Seoul to Tokyo to Shanghai. Radioactive fallout was the initial concern, but now something else is going awry: the weather.

American farmers accustomed to snow and cold during the winter would be forgiven for mistaking their corn and wheat fields for the Arctic tundra, as temperatures dip well below zero at night, and barely recover above 10 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, under a milky, leaden sky.

Forecasters say the corn and wheat harvest may be significantly shortened this year, and for the next several years. In fact, fears of a famine on an international scale are settling in.

This is what our world could look like just a few months to years after a regional nuclear war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula and spreads to include China and possibly Russia.

 Whether from a deliberate strategy or a terrifying miscalculation, such a war could trigger a global climate catastrophe, experts warn, that is not being factored into leaders’ planning.

Such a war could cause the planet to cool by up to 10 degrees Celsius, or 18 degrees Fahrenheit, with larger regional swings and extremes, according to Owen Brian Toon, a scientist at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The amount of cooling could be far lower, depending on whether the conflict were more limited in scope.

Apocalyptic visions of a so-called global “nuclear winter” were popular during the Cold War when envisioning a U.S. conflict with the then-Soviet Union, but the odds of a regional nuclear war in recent times have jumped higher after President Donald Trump’s bellicose rhetoric toward North Korea on Tuesday. …….

It’s not just national security experts who are horrified by Trump’s words. Trump’s rhetoric, and history of openly considering using nuclear weapons, is also concerning to climate scientists.

 Two researchers, in particular, are taking note of the North Korean threat: Alan Robock, of Rutgers University, and Toon. Robock and Toon are modern day Cassandras, having warned for decades about the potentially ruinous climate change consequences of a nuclear war, most recently focusing on regional conflicts.

Robock has conducted much of the research into the idea of a nuclear winter, whereby a global thermonuclear war vaults so much smoke into the upper atmosphere to block out the sun for years afterwards, causing temperatures to plunge and killing off vital crops and plant and animal species…….

Robock says most people, including high-ranking defense officials, are unaware that a nuclear war occurring halfway around the world from the U.S. could seriously harm the homeland, by altering the climate.

A new little ice age

Simulations in the 1980s, he said, found that temperatures would plunge so far after a U.S.-Soviet nuclear war that high temperatures in the summer temperatures would stay below freezing worldwide. ……..

The modern-day nuclear scenario that Robock, Toon and others have studied closely involves an exchange of nuclear weapons between India and Pakistan, with about 50 bombs of 15 kilotons each, which is less than half of those nations’ nuclear arsenals.

 A 2007 study published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics found that, if these weapons were aimed at the center of large cities, the direct fatalities would be “comparable to all of those worldwide in World War II.”

Such a war would induce massive firestorms in urban areas that could send up to 5 million tons of smoke high into the upper atmosphere, where tiny particles known as aerosols would scatter sunlight, preventing it from reaching the Earth’s surface.

This would turn the planet’s climate sharply colder, despite the effects of human-caused global warming, and impact areas far from the actual fighting. The global cooling from such a regional war could be near 1.25 degrees Celsius, or 2.25 degrees Fahrenheit, studies have shown.

Once in the stratosphere, the particles contributed by the smoke would stick around for a long time, Toon and Robock’s simulations show. Observations after volcanic eruptions and wildfires support the model simulations.

“It circles the globe and stays there for many years,” Toon said. ……..http://mashable.com/2017/08/09/north-korea-nuclear-war-climate-change-winter/#WoP6BE3O6iq4

August 14, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear war danger – GREAT FOR INVESTORS IN WEAPONS!!!

Arms Stocks Soar While Trump, Kim Trade Threats https://sputniknews.com/business/201708121056414815-Trump-Kim-spat-pleases-business/  13.08.2017  US President Trump’s tit-for-tat war of nuclear words with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is good for Wall Street.

Following Pyongyang‘s August 8 pronouncement that it had successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead for its burgeoning ICBM fleet, US President Donald Trump made several inflammatory statements involving the phrase “fire and fury” and, one day later, the stocks of arms builders and weapons manufacturers skyrocketed.

While the stock market has been noted to be on an upswing in recent weeks, last week’s midweek figures were notably down — except for those of weapons manufacturers.

Defense technology companies Textron, General Dynamics, L3 Technologies and Huntington Ingalls all notched gains, while weapons giants Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin saw the highest stock valuation of their history, according to Defense One.

Financial analysts gushing about potential profit quickly alerted investors to developing or planned missile defense interceptor networks and the lucrative firms that design and manufacture those weapons.

Weapons builders and military equipment suppliers are an attractive investment, if you can stomach that your money comes from selling devices that are made specifically to kill people, according to Defense One.

A recent Morgan Stanley analysis of weapons builders has suggested that stocks will rise.

“[W]e expect this intense budget debate over the next few weeks and months to yield positive results,” asserted an L3 Technologies spokesperson only last month.

The business and financial community note that US military spending is on track to top last year, and that increases are likely in the coming months.

“I believe that there is real interest and desire in additional [military] spending which will manifest itself in some more additional funding and budget for defense,” said General Dynamics CEO Phebe Novakovic.

“It’s just a question of how much,” she said.

August 14, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A pre-emptive nuclear strike on North Korea? – catastrophic, and illegal

A Preemptive Strike on North Korea Would Be Catastrophic and Illegal TruthOut , August 12, 2017, By Marjorie Cohn, As Special Counsel Robert Mueller impanels two grand juries to investigate Donald Trump and his associates, and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s home is searched, Trump needs to distract attention from the investigation into his alleged wrongdoing.

North Korea has provided just such a distraction — albeit a potentially catastrophic one.

On Tuesday, Trump stated, “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Friday morning, Trump warned North Korea that the US military is “locked and loaded.”

Trump has learned that bombing other countries enhances a president’s popularity. In April, with 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles, each armed with over 1,000 pounds of explosives, he went from scoundrel-in-chief to national hero virtually overnight. The corporate media, the neoconservatives and most of Congress hailed Trump as strong and presidential for lobbing the missiles into Syria, reportedly killing nine civilians, including four children.

Several hours after Trump’s recent “fire and fury” statement, Pyongyang warned it was “carefully examining” a strike that would create “an enveloping fire” around Guam, the site of an important US military base and home to more than 160,000 people.

North Korea has accused the United States of planning a “preventive war,” saying that plans to mount one would be met with an “all-out war, wiping out all the strongholds of enemies, including the US mainland.” A spokesman for the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army promised, “the tragic end of the American empire will be hastened.”

In an attempt to tamp down fears of all-out war, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said there is not “any imminent threat” from North Korea.

But Defense Secretary James Mattis cautioned that Pyongyang “should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.” And National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said that the White House is considering all options, including “preventative war.”…….

An Attack on North Korea Would Be Dangerous

The Intercept reports that “even a conventional war between the US and [North Korea] could kill more than 1 million people; a nuclear exchange, therefore, might result in tens of millions of casualties.”……

A Preemptive Strike on North Korea Would Violate the UN Charter

A preemptive strike on North Korea would be illegal. It would violate the United Nations Charter, which forbids the use of military force unless conducted in self-defense or when approved by the Security Council…..

Sign a Peace Treaty, End the Korean War

Moreover, North Korea cannot forget the 1950-1953 Korean War, which reduced North Korea’s population of 10 million by approximately one-third. Sixty-four years ago, the United States and North Korea signed an armistice agreement, but the US never permitted the creation of a peace treaty……..

Far from being an intractable foe, North Korea has repeatedly asked the United States to sign a peace treaty that would bring the unresolved Korean War to a long-overdue end.”

A month ago, China and Russia proposed a “freeze-for-freeze” strategy, which would entail North Korea freezing its nuclear and missile testing, and in return, the US and South Korea would end their annual joint military exercises. This proposal, issued in a joint statement by the Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministries after meetings between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, is a diplomatic solution that should be pursued……..

As we stand on the precipice of a disastrous war, these are the right circumstances for Trump to meet with Kim Jong-un. If Trump were to successfully negotiate a peace treaty with North Korea, he would receive plaudits for being a real diplomat. The unthinkable alternative is military action that would cause the deaths of untold numbers of Koreans, Japanese people and Americans. http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/41598-a-preemptive-strike-on-north-korea-would-be-catastrophic-and-illegal

August 14, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment