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The AUKUS nuclear submarine deal is a nuclear proliferation danger

The plan to supply Australia with nuclear-powered submarines has met with anger from China and fears that it sets a dangerous precedent, writes Mike Higgins.

The AUKUS nuclear submarine deal is a challenge for the IAEA, Chatham House, 2 JUNE 2023, Mike Higgins

The trilateral security pact between the United States, the UK and Australia, known as Aukus, will be at the forefront of the International Atomic Energy Authority’s board of governors meeting in Vienna from June 5-9.

Rafael Grossi, the IAEA Director General, is due to present a report on the state of the negotiations governing the supply of new nuclear submarines to Australia. At issue is how arrangements for the supply of nuclear material will adhere to a never-before used article of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, or NPT.

Article 14 allows the use of nuclear material when not applied to weapons to be exempt from the usual safeguards and protocols under the NPT. By the early 2030s Australia will buy from the US up to five conventionally armed nuclear submarines and, a decade later, build a new class of nuclear-powered submarine with US and British technology. Approval from the IAEA watchdog is essential for these plans.

China has strongly criticized the agreement, saying, among other things, that the Aukus partnership ‘constitutes serious nuclear proliferation risks’, and that the alliance was forcing its own interpretations of Article 14 to suit its needs beyond the spirit of the NPT. ‘The international community has not reached any consensus on the definition of such military activity and there are huge divergences on the applicability of Article 14,’ said Wang Wenbin, China’s chief foreign ministry spokesperson, in March.

Grossi is expected to elaborate on the implications of the Aukus partnership at the IAEA’s board meeting.
At a Chatham House event in February, Grossi acknowledged the partnership required ‘a special arrangement’ between the Aukus partners and the IAEA, representing a ‘game changer’ for non-proliferation safeguards: ‘This is the beginning of a long road,’ he said.

A dangerous precedent? 

…………………. some experts urge caution over the exercising of Article 14, claiming it sets a dangerous precedent which could lead to nuclear material being diverted into the making of nuclear weapons.

‘My concern is not that Australia is going to remove nuclear material from safeguards and build a nuclear bomb,’ said James Acton, co-director of the Nuclear Policy Programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. ‘But once you normalize the precedent that it’s OK to remove nuclear material from IAEA safeguards you create a much higher risk that other states are likely to do so.

‘For instance, if Iran and Russia were to announce naval cooperation that looked like Aukus, I don’t believe that the US, Britain and Australia would feel comfortable with that on non-proliferation grounds,’ he said.

Other challenges lie ahead for the IAEA in monitoring Aukus. Nuclear submarines at sea may remain out of reach of inspectors for months at a time and nuclear fuel for naval reactors is highly classified − the Aukus partners may be unwilling to give inspectors access to its design or confirm the exact amounts to be used………….


June 5, 2023 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety | Leave a comment

Blinken Dismisses Calls for a Ceasefire, Says US Must Build Up Ukraine’s Military

The Secretary of State called for Washington to continue to put militarism before diplomacy, by Kyle Anzalone 

The US will focus its efforts on arming Ukraine and not attempting to bring the war to a negotiated settlement, America’s top diplomat said. Secretary of State Antony Blinken laid out a plan to massively expand Kiev’s military before talks begin.

In a speech delivered in Finland on Friday, Blinken stated, “The United States – together with our allies and partners – is firmly committed to supporting Ukraine’s defense today, tomorrow, for as long as it takes.” He continued, “We believe the prerequisite for meaningful diplomacy and real peace is a stronger Ukraine, capable of deterring and defending against any future aggression.”

Blinken dismissed the idea of even a temporary pause in the fighting. …………………………

The Secretary of State offered an ambitious vision of Kiev’s future military capabilities. “America and our allies are helping meet Ukraine’s needs on the current battlefield while developing a force that can deter and defend against aggression for years to come.” He added, “That means helping build a Ukrainian military of the future, with long-term funding, a strong air force centered on modern combat aircraft, an integrated air and missile defense network, advanced tanks and armored vehicles, national capacity to produce ammunition, and the training and support to keep forces and equipment combat-ready.”

It is unclear how long it would take to build the deterrence force envisioned by Blinken. American arms stockpiles are dwindling as Washington attempts to transfer Kiev enough military equipment to keep its army fighting. The US additionally has plans to significantly increase arms transfers to Taiwan.

Blinken claimed, “Our support for Ukraine hasn’t weakened our capabilities to meet potential threats from China or anywhere else – it’s strengthened them.” In November, the Wall Street Journal reported, “US government and congressional officials fear the conflict in Ukraine is exacerbating a nearly $19 billion backlog of weapons bound for Taiwan, further delaying efforts to arm the island.”

Additionally, the White House may not have the support it needs in the Capitol for such a massive military buildup in Ukraine. Blinken asserted that “in America, this support is bipartisan.” However, at the beginning of May, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said future support for Ukraine would be contingent on success in Kiev’s long-planned counteroffensive.

Since McCaul’s statement, Ukraine has slowly lost more territory to Russian forces, including Bakhmut. Zelensky committed endless resources to the city in a months-long battle despite the advice from his Western backers. The White House is now preparing for the counteroffensive to fail.

Washington’s strategy, as laid out by Blinken, calls for arming Ukraine and weakening Russia. ………..

However, Gen. Christopher Cavoli, the commander of US European Command, told Congress in April that Moscow’s ground forces are “bigger today” than before Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine last year.

……………………………………………. In April 2022, Biden administration official Derek Chollet admitted that the White House refused to negotiate with the Kremin on Putin’s core concern, Ukraine becoming a member of NATO. “We made clear to the Russians that we were willing to talk to them on issues that we thought were genuine concerns,” Chollet said, adding that the administration didn’t think that “the future of Ukraine” was one of those issues and that its potential NATO membership was a “non-issue.”

June 5, 2023 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

June 2: Nonviolent ecumenical movements call for ratification of the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty

04.06.23 – Italy – Redazione Italia

On the occasion of June 2, Republic Day, associations and organizations from the Catholic world and spiritually based ecumenical and nonviolent movements called at a June 1 press conference for the Italian government to ratify the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as a first step in stemming the war in Ukraine and embarking on a diplomatic path to peace.

“We are in an apocalyptic scenario, today, more than ever, it is necessary that the Treaty be signed because the crest on which we are walking is very dangerous,” said Carlo Cefaloni of the Focolare Movement, opening the press conference at the Chamber of Deputies on behalf of all the movements.

“Tomorrow there will be a military parade, instead we are here to say that we don’t want war; but we really have to decide that,” said Don Renato Sacco of Pax Christi, “because in this last year 2240 billion euros have been invested in armaments; this means that you want war: [therefore] there is a need to choose peace in a strong and determined way.

Also speaking during the press conference was Enkolina Shqau of the Pope John XXIII Association; she stressed that “to say no to war and nuclear weapons is not a matter of being good but of being smart because it is not possible that we still have not learned anything from the disasters of the last century.”

Emanuela Gitto, Vice President of the Youth Sector of Catholic Action stressed that “On the occasion of the June 2 holiday, we want to remember how the Constituent Assembly decided to put the repudiation of war among the founding pillars of our Republic, which is why it is important that the call to silence the weapons and open a true dialogue towards peace starts from these rooms.

“Politics has been lacking in these months, especially a prophetic vision of politics,” said Emiliano Manfredonia, national president of the ACLI, “and so the usual traffickers, including drug and human traffickers have won. Let us commit instead to sign this treaty as a prophetic gesture, as a strong signal to start a real path of peace and to accompany Monsignor Zuppi in this mission of his in Ukraine so that he can really open the necessary paths.”

Maurizio Simoncelli, spokesman for the Italia ripensaci campaign explained that “the Treaty so far has been signed by nations that do not have nuclear production (Translator’s note: They probably mean “nuclear weapons”. Italy hosts nuclear weapons), and it would be nice if instead, Italy was the first to set a good example in this regard because we know that having nuclear weapons does not increase a country’s security, but rather the opposite.”

A number of parliamentarians were also present in the press room of the Chamber of Deputies, including Hon. Paolo Ciani, who wanted to reiterate how important the commitment of politics is “and it is not a credit to European politics that the go-ahead from Strasbourg in these hours will allow the use of PNRR (National Plan for Recovery and Resilience) funds for the production of munitions to be sent to Ukraine.” MP Nicola Fratoianni also commented on the news of the Europarliament vote, saying that “these are acts that have nothing to do with real politics and I am very happy with demonstrations like the

 one you organized today because they are necessary to make the decision-makers change direction.”

Mario Marazzitti of the Sant’Egidio Community wanted to add that “the signing of this document certainly does not serve to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, but it is a first step to lower the fever of war and this mad arms race.”

“Good politics is the one that gets us out of the logic of the market,” said Maurizio Certini of the Giorgio La Pira Foundation, “therefore out of the business related to the production of weapons because we need to make everyone understand that bombs bring insecurity.

At the end of the press conference, representatives of the associations gathered in front of the Montecitorio to display a banner that read For a Republic Free of War and Nuclear Weapons.

June 5, 2023 Posted by | Italy, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Mediterranean now a global heating hotspot

Shortly after Easter this year, in the midst of a historic, multi-year
drought, temperatures in parts of the western Mediterranean climbed a
barely believable 20C higher than seasonal norms, hitting a
record-shattering 39C in southern Spain. And that was in April.

As global heating advances, July and August in the world’s most-visited holiday
destination – pre-Covid, more than 300 million tourists a year headed to
the Med, a figure some predict could rise to 500 million by the end of the
decade – risk becoming unbearable.

The Mediterranean basin is a global
heating hotspot. While the world is now about 1.1C warmer than it was in
the 1970s, the region is already up 1.5C and on course for 3C by the end of
the century (or 5C, in a worst-case scenario). Rising temperatures and more
frequent heatwaves are not the only challenge. Most climate models agree
that in most parts of the world, warmer will also mean wetter – but not in
the Med, where rainfall is set to plunge by between 10% and 60%.

Guardian 3rd June 2023

June 5, 2023 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Unseemly scramble as makers of small nuclear reactors try to con UK government

NuScale joins Rolls-Royce and Bill Gates in race to build UK nuclear
reactors. A US nuclear developer is poised to join the race to build new
reactors in the UK and has urged the government to go faster in picking a
preferred technology.

NuScale, based in Oregon, said it was “very
active” in the UK market and that it would “engage with the activity
around the government’s SMR competition”.

The UK is running a contest to
find suppliers of small modular reactors (SMRs), which hold the promise of
zero-emission, lower-cost nuclear power as they can be made in a factory
and assembled on site. This reduces the vast overheads of large nuclear

NuScale is developing an SMR called VOYGR, which is based on a
traditional nuclear design called a pressurised water-cooled reactor. It is
the first SMR to have been certified by the US Nuclear Regulatory

The UK government has set up a new body, Great British Nuclear
(GBN), to select new projects. It is aiming to settle on winning SMR
designs by the autumn.

Tom Mundy, president of VOYGR services and delivery,
said NuScale would not require development money from GBN as its project
was ready to deploy. “We don’t need the support that has been suggested
… We’re ready to deliver the project much earlier than GBN has
suggested,” he said. “GBN suggests people could start building SMRs by
2030. That means taking a final investment decision then. That’s too late
for us. We have got customers taking final investment decisions much
earlier,” Mundy added. “Let’s get going.”

NuScale’s rivals in the
race include GE Hitachi, also of the US, and Rolls-Royce, which wants to
win an order in its home market. TerraPower, a start-up founded and chaired
by Bill Gates, has also indicated that it wants to build nuclear projects
in the UK. It has a type of SMR called an advanced modular reactor (AMR) in

Times 4th June 2023

June 5, 2023 Posted by | marketing, UK | Leave a comment

Greenland refuses to allow exploitation for uranium

Energy Transition Minerals, formerly Greenland Minerals A/S, has been
informed by Naalakkersuisut that their application for an exploitation
permit in Kuannersuisut has been refused. The ministry announced this in a
short press release on Friday afternoon. Energy Transition Minerals has
applied for permission for exploitation at Kuannersuit in Narsaq,
targeting, among other things, rare earths, zinc and uranium.

Sermitsiaq 2nd June 2023

June 5, 2023 Posted by | ARCTIC, politics, Uranium | Leave a comment

Nuclear energy just helped Finland slash electric costs by a staggering 75% — so why doesn’t the US follow suit? 3 reasons we are cool on the power source

Of course all bets on stability are off in the event of a meltdown — and in terms of catastrophes compared to anything possible with solar or wind, you might also say it’s not even close.

But in the end, nuclear is complicated — and it only takes a tsunami, fat finger on the control panel or mechanical breakdown to once again become reacquainted with the fallout.

Vishesh Raisinghani, Sun, June 4, 2023

The first new European nuclear plant in 16 years has already slashed Finland’s energy bill by three-fourths.

Olkiluoto 3, or OL3, joins two existing reactor units that have powered Finland’s grid for decades. This latest unit adds 1,600 megawatts to the plant’s production capacity — which means 30% of the nation’s electricity will soon come from just one plant on a tiny island in Western Finland.

When the new OL3 unit was fully activated in April, average spot electricity prices fell to €60.55 ($65.69) per megawatt hour. That’s 75.38% lower than the average spot price in December 2022 (€245.98 per megawatt hour).

While its operating company TVO called it “the greatest single climate act in Finland,” others argue that the benefits are hardly worth the risks.

Here’s why most countries are cool on this technology.


High-profile incidents like at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima have severely impacted the reputation of nuclear energy. Even if an overwhelming number of plants are safe, it only takes one accident to render the land around a plant uninhabitable.

In the U.S., “nukes” (as protesting musicians nicknamed them in the 1980s) continue to be unpopular. The number in the U.S. has dropped from a peak of 107 in 1990 to 93 as of 2022, according to the Pew Research Center.

Roughly 1-in-4 Americans say their government should actively discourage nuclear energy production, which could explain why so few plants have been built over the last 10 years. Yet fear is only part of the equation, as the financial bottom line also plays a crucial role in the lack of any nuclear energy embrace.


New nuclear power plants are mostly being built in countries where all infrastructure is cheaper to build. China is currently developing 24 new plants — the most in the world. Meanwhile, India is building eight new reactors. It’s simply cheaper to build plants in these regions.

According to the World Nuclear Association, the overnight cost of building a new plant in China, which assumes no interest payments, is $2500/kWe, while the cost in the U.S. is $6041/kWe (short for kilowatt-electric or one thousand watts of electric capacity). This price disparity is another reason why nuclear power isn’t favored in the developed world — though the causes go far beyond this.


Nuclear power takes several years to deploy — and that’s on the conservative end. A plant can typically be constructed over a period of five years. However, regulatory and financial hurdles could delay these projects along the way. Meanwhile, a typical wind farm can be fully deployed in as little as six months, according to EDF Energy.

The classic example of how mismanaged a nuclear project can get is as close as Georgia. There, the third reactor at Plant Vogtle went online at full capacity in late May but was supposed to start generating power in 2016. It was approved for construction in 2009, and overruns pushed the cost to more than $17 million; combined with a fourth reactor still in the testing phase, the total price comes to a staggering $35 billion.

‘The most reliable source’

Indeed, time and cost ultimately represent the biggest barrier to adoption. Even Finland’s energy experts understand the commercial challenges. “[Nuclear] it seems is not very attractive for the investors,” Jukka Ruusunen, chief executive of Finland’s national grid operator Fingrid, told The National.

However, nuclear power has several non-commercial advantages. Unlike wind and solar, nuclear energy output is stable regardless of weather and sunshine hours. The U.S. Energy Department once called it “the most reliable energy source and it’s not even close.”

Of course all bets on stability are off in the event of a meltdown — and in terms of catastrophes compared to anything possible with solar or wind, you might also say it’s not even close.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also highlighted nuclear’s potential to deliver national security and energy independence. Yet the near catastrophes at the Chernobyl plant during the war almost seem to counteract that fact.

On the upside, Finland’s new nuclear plant has helped it avoid blackouts despite sanctions on Russian energy and could help explain why several other European countries are also now pushing for more nuclear power.

But in the end, nuclear is complicated — and it only takes a tsunami, fat finger on the control panel or mechanical breakdown to once again become reacquainted with the fallout.

June 5, 2023 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Concern over low flying aircraft circling over Hunterston nuclear power station

Concerns have been raised with civil nuclear police over low flying
aircraft over Hunterston. Aircraft apps showed that a Pilatus PC-6/B2-H4
plane repeatedly circled the nuclear power plant – leading to the matter
being raised by a concerned resident at a public meeting this week.

West Kilbride community councillor John Lamb, who was attending the Hunterston
Site Stakeholders Group, asked the civil nuclear police if they were aware
that there was low flying aircraft over the power station zone.

The incident happened on May 25 and the fFlightradar app showed that the plane
travelled across Ayrshire before repeatedly circling Hunterston. Mr Lamb
asked if the Civil Aviation Authority had altered the guidance regarding
the ‘no flight zone’ over Hunterston. Inspector Paul Gilmartin of the Civil
Nuclear Police told the meeting that he was unaware of any reports of low
flying aircraft and the matter had not been flagged up to him.

Largs & Millport Weekly News 2nd June 2023

June 5, 2023 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

EDITORIAL: Government turns a blind eye to lessons from nuclear disaster June 2, 2023 

It appears that the lessons learned from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster have been taken so lightly.

The government and a majority of the Diet are heavily responsible for pushing through a reversal of the nation’s nuclear policies without careful deliberation, shifting from a “reduction of dependence” on nuclear power and heading to its “maximum utilization.”

We must keep asking ourselves whether we can solve the many difficult problems plaguing nuclear power plants and whether they could end up haunting future generations.

This week, a bill related to promoting nuclear plants was passed by the Diet.

The government’s responsibilities and measures aimed at the active utilization are stipulated in the Atomic Energy Basic Law.

The new law also relaxed restrictions on nuclear reactors’ operational periods introduced after the catastrophic disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, opening a path to allowing reactors to operate beyond 60 years if certain conditions are met.

The Asahi Shimbun in its editorials has opposed the bill and called for its reconsideration.

That is because nuclear plants are plagued with a mountain of issues such as the ever-growing nuclear waste and Japan’s nuclear fuel cycle that has reached an impasse, not to mention safety and economic concerns.

And it is unacceptable for the government to reverse its stance to restarting nuclear plants without showing a path to solving the problems.

Now is the time to speed up reforms to make renewable energy a primary power source from the standpoint of the overall energy policy.

Returning to dependence on nuclear plants could lead to going down the wrong path.

The bill was also rushed along as the government adopted the new policy last year after only several months of debate.

The Diet was supposed to do everything in its power to scrutinize the bill from multiple perspectives, but no deep discussions ensued.

We can’t help but be disappointed.

Reasons cited for the about-face were the need for a stable supply of energy and the decarbonization of energy sources.

But how much of a role do nuclear plants actually play in these goals? And why is it necessary to treat them differently?

The government shied away from answering these questions head-on and repeatedly said it was important to pursue all possible options, including nuclear energy.

With several bills covering a variety of issues bundled into the legislation, discussions on concrete measures also wandered off-track.

It had been explained that the limit on the reactors’ operational periods was originally intended to reduce safety risks.

But the government claimed that it decided from the standpoint of the nation’s energy strategy, instead of safety regulations.

Although it was a major shift, the government failed to provide convincing explanations.

After all, numerous questions, including fundamental problems, were left unanswered.

If this stance continues, it will be inevitable for the government to single-mindedly devote itself to the promotion of its new polices on nuclear plants.

The latest policy shift was led by the economy ministry, seriously undermining the principle of separation between “promotion and regulation,” which is the heart of the nuclear policy introduced in light of the Fukushima disaster.

The government seems set to support the restart of nuclear plants and construction of new ones.

However, at the very least, safety procedures and economic benefits of nuclear plants must be thoroughly considered.

And, no matter how many efforts are made, inconvenient realities about nuclear plants won’t disappear.

The government and party members who voted for the bill must keep firmly in mind that they will have to face these realities sooner or later.

June 4, 2023 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Unlimited money to Ukraine is now allowed, through USA’s “Debt Sealing” arrangement.

Debt Ceiling Deal Puts No Limits on Ukraine Aid

Emergency spending that has been used to arm Ukraine is exempt and it could also be used to arm Taiwan

June 2, 2023, By Dave DeCamp /

The debt ceiling agreement reached between the White House and House Republicans places no constraints on spending on the war in Ukraine, a White House official told Bloomberg.

The $113 billion that has been authorized to spend on the war in Ukraine so far was passed as supplemental emergency funds, which is exempt from the spending caps that are part of the debt ceiling deal.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, funding “designated as an emergency requirement or for overseas contingency operations would not be constrained, and certain other funding would not be subject to the caps.” The deal suspends the nation’s debt limit through January 1, 2025.

Hawks in Congress are looking to use emergency spending to increase the $886 billion military budget that was agreed to as part of the deal. The emergency funds could go beyond Ukraine and might be used to send weapons to Taiwan or for other spending that hawks favor as part of their strategy against China.

“We are almost certainly going to need a supplemental for Ukraine, which is, in my view, one of the most pressing defense challenges we have right now,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), according to Roll Call. “And the other obligations flow from China and Taiwan on one hand and Russia and Ukraine on the other.”

Other senators said they favor using the emergency funding to raise military spending altogether. The $886 billion budget is what President Biden asked for 2024, but Republican hawks have blasted the request as “inadequate.”

“Clearly our support for Ukraine will be outside the budget, as it has been in the past, but I’d like to see additional support for our own military in emergency supplementals as well,” said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT).

The Senate passed the agreement, known as the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, on Thursday night in a vote of 63-36, sending the bill to President Biden’s desk. The legislation was passed through the House on Wednesday in a vote of 314-117.

June 4, 2023 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Bellona publishes new report on Ukraine’s besieged Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

It’s something the world nuclear energy community never thought it would see — and thus never prepared for.

June 1, 2023 by Charles Digges

For a year and a half, the world has bourn witness to an unprecedented spectacle: the military occupation of a civilian atomic energy station.

The March 2022 seizure by Russian troops of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Southeastern Ukraine has forced six nuclear reactors and pools of spent nuclear fuel onto the front lines of the biggest land war in Europe since World War II.

It’s something the world nuclear energy community never thought it would see — and thus never prepared for. As a result, the world has watched helplessly as heavy ordinance strikes nail-bitingly close to the plant on a regular basis, repeatedly severing outside power to the facility’s cooling and safety systems.

According to Rafael Grossi, who heads the UN’s atomic energy agency —and who has repeatedly beseeched Moscow and Kyiv to create a non-military safe zone around the plant — the situation is a gamble with radioactive stakes.

“We are rolling a dice and if this continues then one day our luck will run out,” he has said more than once.

Unfortunately, the time has come to ponder just what it would look like were that to happen.

This is the subject of a new Bellona report entitled “The Radiation Risks of Seizing the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.”

In it, we analyze a variety of war-time scenarios that could befall the plant and what the consequences of those might be.

What would happen if any of the plant’s six Soviet-built VVER-1000 nuclear reactors were struck by artillery? Or a missile?  What about the spent nuclear fuel storage pools? What if those were struck? Where would the radioactive fallout from any of these events go?

And perhaps, in light of recent events, the most salient danger — what would happen if the plant was unable to maintain outside power to run reactor cooling systems? Would that amount to Fukushima redux?

We also present a number of recommendations that should be followed in order to keep the plant safe while it continues to be hostage to the aggression.

Among them, we urge the Russian and Ukrainians struggling for control of the plant to keep the reactors in shut-down mode, which would greatly reduce the severity of a radiological accident. We also recommend that no nuclear fuel be unloaded, packed for storage or transported. These are complex technical tasks that cannot be undertaken by a hostage workforce while a war rages on around them.

Above all, we urge a Russian withdrawal from the plant and Ukraine as a whole, for it is not until then that anything like safe operation of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant can be restored.

June 4, 2023 Posted by | incidents, Ukraine | Leave a comment

France, Germany Dispute Over Nuclear Energy Leaves EU Deadlocked on Renewables

  • Paris wants to win greater role for nuclear in energy revamp
  • Disputed law on clean energy is key element of EU Green Deal

Bloomberg ,By Ewa Krukowska, Ania Nussbaum and, Petra Sorge, 3 June 2023

France is seeking to reopen negotiations over a key Green Deal law in an effort to ensure a greater role for nuclear in Europe’s energy transition, a move fiercely opposed by Germany, leaving the talks in deadlock. 

The government in Paris has informed Sweden, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, that it’s seeking changes to an agreement already brokered with other EU entities, according to officials with knowledge of the matter. Such a step would require revisiting talks with the bloc’s parliament and the European Commission ………………………….. (Subscribers only)

June 4, 2023 Posted by | EUROPE, politics | Leave a comment

Warren Report Reveals Vast Pentagon-to-Defense Contractor Lobbying Pipeline

In 2021, there were at least 672 former government officials working for top defense contractors like Lockheed Martin. By Sharon Zhang , TRUTHOUT April 27, 2023

Hundreds of former government officials, including former Pentagon officials, have been funneled through the infamous public-to-private revolving door to take their insider government knowledge to lobby for top defense contractors, a new report from the office of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) reveals.

According to the report released Wednesday, as of 2021, there were at least 672 former officials who were working for the top 20 defense contractors, with the vast majority — 91 percent — in positions lobbying the very government they formerly worked for. Officials who weren’t lobbyists were in top positions as board members or senior executives. The officials include former members of Congress, senior staffers and military officers.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the companies that employed the most former government officials are also the companies who receive the most from the government in contracts. In 2021 and 2022, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Pfizer were the top 5 federal defense contractors in the U.S. — and in 2021 also employed among the highest numbers of “revolving door hires” out of the top 20 contractors, the report found, each with dozens of former government employees.

Hiring former government employees is extremely lucrative for the private sector. This is especially true for lobbying firms, who can benefit greatly from the knowledge and connections brought by former government employees, but is also true for many industries; for instance, there is a well-established revolving door between jobs at the Treasury Department and other tax-related agencies and top accounting firms, an issue Warren has previously raised.

Defense contractors are especially able to take advantage of such lobbying, as Congress and the president regularly approve huge sums of money for defense each year —– more than half of that money typically goes straight to contractors, amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars a year. Over the years, this leads to trillions of dollars in profits for defense contractors.

Warren highlighted the dangers of the revolving door in a hearing in the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Wednesday.

“Why is it they want to hire former Pentagon employees to work for them as lobbyists?” Warren asked Lawrence B. Wilkerson, chief of staff to George W. Bush’s Secretary of State, Colin Powell. “Why is it better to have someone who, for instance, they could hire people whose profession is lobbying, someone who’s lobbied in another field, say for the last 10 years. But they don’t want that — they’ll take somebody who’s never lobbied before, but who’s been employed at the Pentagon. Why is that?”

Wilkerson responded that the former Pentagon official “knows how to work those contacts” within the government and knows what “lies” to tell to sell the company’s services.

“If it’s specific program like the F-35, for example, which I’m somewhat familiar, then you get people who are very familiar with that on the inside, know all about the lies that you’ve been telling the federal government with regard to the program, and will come out and reinforce those lies, deceit, if you will, from their position with your business,” Wilkerson said. “It’s a very insidious, pernicious thing.”

These issues are compounded by the fact that defense spending is rife with fraud and abuse, as those who support reducing the Pentagon budget point out. Despite receiving the vast majority of federal discretionary spending year over year, the Pentagon is the only federal agency to never have passed an audit.

June 4, 2023 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Scientists heat nuclear reactor heated to 100 MILLION degree Celsius – hotter than the SUN (what could possibly go wrong?)

  • British company achieved the milestone using a ‘spherical tokamak’ called ST40
  • Nuclear fusion reactors copy the energy-producing process of stars like our sun


Described as the ‘holy grail’, the milestone was achieved using the ST40 ‘spherical tokamak’ – a ‘cored-apple’ shaped nuclear device in Oxfordshire – and the team is now working on a fusion reactor that can connect to the national grid in the 2030s. 

The milestone is short of the record set by Chinese scientists in 2021, who ran their reactor at 120 million degrees Celsius. ……………………………………………………………………………….

Funded by the UK government, STEP will be located at the existing West Burton power station in Nottinghamshire, it was announced last October………………………………………………………………………………………………………

June 4, 2023 Posted by | technology, UK | Leave a comment

Andrew Little tells nuclear powers New Zealand’s stance isn’t just ‘wishful thinking’

Thomas Manch in Singapore , 3 June 23

Defence Minister Andrew Little has told the nuclear powers that New Zealand’s nuclear-free stance is not “wishful thinking”, and the country will gear up to defend “our free and democratic way of life”.

Little gave a speech on nuclear threats at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a summit held in Singapore, on Friday evening. He told an audience that New Zealand had “clear eyes” about challenges to security and was increasing its military spending.

“Do not confuse my country’s moral clarity with wishful thinking,” he said.

“New Zealanders must be prepared to equip ourselves … to protect our own national security. And we are

“We will stand prepared, and will maintain the military capability necessary to contribute to the rules- based international order and protection of our free and democratic way of life now and in the future.”

Little was part of a panel discussion on nuclear issues that included General Sahir Shamshad Mirza​ of Pakistan, a nuclear state; Kim Gunn​, a South Korean special representative; and Angus Lapsley​, assistant secretary general of the nuclear deterrent alliance Nato.

On the sidelines of the summit on Friday, he also met Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu​, Ukraine’s defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov​, Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and the East Timor Defence Minister Filomeno da Paixão de Jesus.

Speaking at the panel discussion, Little said a range of regional issues, including “destabilising” actions in the South and East China Seas and “Pacific Rim state” Russia invading of Ukraine, had heightened tensions – and increased nuclear threats.

He said there had been a “false” categorisation of “so-called tactical or battlefield nuclear weapons”. Reuters reported last week that Russia was progressing plans to station such weapons in neighbouring Belarus.

“There are no circumstances in which their use could be morally justified,” he said.

”It is not possible to confine all of the effects of the use of nuclear weapons to a period of kinetic engagement or a zone of conflict.”

Little said there was “no ambiguity” in New Zealand’s position on nuclear weapons, and its nuclear ban would remain, including for nuclear-powered vessels. New Zealand’s only formal defence ally, Australia, is planning to obtain nuclear-powered submarines in the coming decades.

“For small, liberal democracies like New Zealand, we do not get to avoid the real-life effects of geostrategic competition,” Little said.

“Our way of life, including the freedoms we cherish … can never be fully safeguarded from the effects of nuclear conflict in a world that tolerates nuclear weapons.”

The Shangri-La Dialogue is the Asia region’s premier defence summit, attended by defence minister and military leaders from 40 countries. It is hosted by London-based think-tank International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Security and access to the event is tight. Singapore has closed the airspace within 1 kilometre of the Shangri-La hotel, and its special police force of Gurkhas from Nepal are guarding the event. There is no space afforded for media in the rooms where delegates are speaking, except for limited photo and video opportunities.

The headline speakers at the event will be Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, giving the keynote speech late on Friday evening, United States defence secretary Lloyd Austin and China’s defence minister Li, speaking on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

June 4, 2023 Posted by | New Zealand, politics international | Leave a comment