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Russia to test powerful new nuclear weapon

RUSSIA ANNOUNCES PLANS TO TEST NUCLEAR WEAPON CALLED “SATAN II”AFTER YEARS OF DEVELOPMENT, RUSSIA IS READY TO LAUNCH THE POWERFUL NEW NUKES. Futurism,  by DAN ROBITZSKI  7 May 221, Son of Satan,

The Russian military is prepared to launch three tests of its powerful new nuclear weapon, the RS-28 Sarmat, which has earned the nickname “Satan II.”

Tests for the new intercontinental ballistic missile will begin within the next few months, military insiders told TASS, a news outlet owned by the Russian government that refers to the weapon as “invulnerable.” That’s alarming news — while the Sarmat has been under development for years, the fact that it’s now ready for test launches brings us into a dangerous new era of ultra-powerful nuclear weapons……….. https://futurism.com/the-byte/russia-test-nuclear-weapon-satan

May 8, 2021 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Anti-nuclear resistance in Russia: problems, protests, reprisals

Anti-nuclear resistance in Russia: problems protests, reprisals

Standing up to Rosatom

 https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2020/06/21/standing-up-to-rosatom/      June 21, 2020 by beyondnuclearinternational  

Anti-nuclear resistance in Russia: problems protests, reprisals

The following is a report from the Russian Social Ecological Union (RSEU)/ Friends of the Earth Russia, slightly edited for length. You can read the report in full here. It is a vitally important document exposing the discrimination and fear tactics used against anti-nuclear organizers in Russia and details their courageous acts of defiance in order to bring the truth of Russia’s nuclear sector to light.

Rosatom is a Russian state-owned corporation which builds and operates nuclear power plants in Russia and globally. The state-run nuclear industry in Russia has a long history of nuclear crises, including the Kyshtym disaster in 1957 and Chernobyl in 1986. Yet Rosatom plans to build dozens of nuclear reactors in Russia, to export its deadly nuclear technologies to other countries, and then to import their hazardous nuclear waste.

This report is a collection of events and details about the resistance to Russian state nuclear corporation, Rosatom, and other activities that have led to the pollution of the environment and violation of human rights. Social and environmental conflicts created by Rosatom have been left unresolved for years, while at the same time, environmental defenders who have raised these issues, have consistently experienced reprisals.

Nuclear energy: failures and LiesIn the autumn of 2017, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) discovered a concentration of the technogenic radionuclide ruthenium–106 in the atmosphere of several European countries. A number of experts linked the ruthenium release to the Mayak plant in the Chelyabinsk Region2 3, but Rosatom continues to deny this.

On the 8th of August 2019, an explosion occurred during a test of a liquid rocket launcher at a marine training ground in Nenoksa Village of Arkhangelsk Region. The administration of the city of Severodvinsk, 30 km from the scene, reported an increase in radiation levels, but later denied the claim. The Ministry of Emergency registered an increase of 20 times (to2 μSv/h) around Severodvinsk, while the Ministry of Defense reported the radiation level as normal. Only two days later, Rosatom reported that five employees were killed and three were injured at the test site. According to media reports, two employees of the Ministry of Defense were also killed and three were injured, and medical personnel who helped the victims were not informed about the risk of radiation exposure.

Expired reactorsMore than 70% of Russian nuclear reactors are outdated. They were developed in the 1970s and were designed to operate for only 30 years. The lifetimes of such reactors have been extended by twice the design limit. Rosatom’s strategy also includes a dangerous increase of the reactor’s thermal power. Rostekhnadzor (Federal Environmental, Industrial and Nuclear Supervision Service) grants licenses for lifetime extensions without an environmental impact assessment and without public consultations.

Especially worrying are the lifetime extensions of reactor-types with design flaws. Chernobyl–type (RBMK) reactors in Leningrad, Smolensk and Kursk regions are still in operation after exceeding their lifetimes, as well as VVER–types, such as at the Kola nuclear power plant (NPP) in Murmansk region. Neither type has a sufficient protective shell to contain radioactivity in case of an accident or to protect the reactor from an external impact or influence.

For many years, Murmansk regional environmental groups have opposed the aging Kola NPP reactor’s lifetime extension. They have participated in public hearings, have organised many demonstrations, and appealed to and received support from the prosecutor’s office, but this was all ignored by Rosatom.

Activists also called on the governor to shut down the old NPP, but environmental organisations were shut down instead. One such organisation is Kola Environmental Center (KEC) – listed as a Foreign Agent in 2017 – and subject to two trials and fined 150,000 rubles. KEC was forced to close down as a legal entity in 2018, but has continued its environmental work as a public movement.

Decommissioning problemsMost of the Russian nuclear power plants, despite their lifetime extensions, are approaching inevitable closure. Over the next 15 years, the NPP decommissioning process will take place. Currently, 36 power units are in operation at 11 NPPs in Russia, and 7 units have been shut down. While the fuel was removed from 5 of these units, the NPPs have not yet been decommissioned. This process will lead to enormous amounts of nuclear waste. Moreover, sufficient funds for the decommissioning process have not yet been earmarked.

The public organisation, Green World, has worked for many years in Sosnovy Bor, Leningrad Region, a city dominated by the nuclear industry and closed to outsiders. Since 1988, activists of the organisation have opposed dangerous nuclear projects in the Baltic Sea region and have provided the public with independent information on the environmental situation.

Green World has consistently called for the decommissioning of Leningrad NPP and took an early lead in collecting and preparing information on how decommissioning should take place, studying the experience of other countries. They have paid particular attention to information transparency and to wide participation in decision–making, including, for example, former employees of the nuclear industry.

Rather than be met with cooperation, the organisation and its activists have, since the beginning, experienced pressure from the authorities and the dirty nuclear industry. Activists faced dismissal, lawsuits and even attempts on their lives.In 2015, Green World was listed as a Foreign Agent and forced to close. In its place, another organisation was opened – the Public Council of the South Coast of the Gulf of Finland. Activists have continued their work as before under this new name.

Uranium mining protest

In the Kurgan region, Rosatom’s subsidiary company, Dalur, has been mining uranium and the local communities fear an environmental disaster. In the summer of 2019, the state environmental appraisal revealed a discrepancy between Dalur’s documentation and the Russian legislation requirements, but the company started the deposit’s development anyway at the end of 2019.

  • The ‘Dobrovolnoe’ uranium deposit is located in a floodplain of the Tobol river basin. This means that all the water that flows into the river will pass through the aquifer, flushing out radioactive and toxic compounds into the surrounding environment.
  • Since 2017, Kurgan activists have been protesting against the development of the deposit. They have appealed to the authorities and begun protests. One of their videos, ‘Uranium is Death for Kurgan’, has already reached 50,000 views. Several times, activists have tried to start a referendum and demand an independent environmental review, but so far, have received only refusals from the local officials.
  • In February 2018, Natalia Shulyatieva, the spouse of activist Andrey Shulyatiev and mother of three children, died after falling into a coma. Activists believe this occurred in reaction to learning that Dalur had filed a lawsuit against her husband, accusing him of undermining the company’s reputation. The lawsuit was withdrawn following Shulyatieva’s death.

Rosatom Importing uranium waste

In the fall of 2019, environmentalists revealed that radioactive and toxic waste (uranium hexafluoride, UF6) were being imported from Germany through the port of Amsterdam into Russia. This is the waste from the uranium enrichment process which will be sent to the Urals or Siberia and stored in containers above the ground. Thus, under the auspices of a commercial transaction, the German uranium–enriching enterprise, Urenco, avoids its nuclear waste problem,

while Rosatom profits by taking the hazardous waste into Russia.In response to this transaction, the groups Russian Social–Ecological Union, Ecodefense and Greenpeace Russia called on Russian civil society to protest. More than 30 organisations and movements joined the common statement, and various demonstrations have taken place in Russia, as well as in Germany and the Netherlands.

As a result of protests, the question of importing radioactive waste was taken up by the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg and the transportation of the waste was delayed for three months.

However, in March 2020, when people in Russia were further restricted from protests during the COVID–19 virus quarantine, the import of radioactive waste was resumed through the port of the less populated town of Ust–Luga in Leningrad Region. Additional organisations and residents of the Leningrad region then decided to join the earlier anti–nuclear statement and protest.

Following these protests, a number of activists have faced persecution. Novouralsk is a nuclear industry–dominated and closed city of Sverdlovsk region, and is the end destination of the transported uranium hexafluoride. In response to a series of one–person protests, authorities initiated legal cases against three pensioners at the beginning of December 2019. Charges were later dismissed. 

Another example is Rashid Alimov, an expert from Greenpeace Russia, who protested in the center of Saint Petersburg. Later the same day, two police officers together with six other people without uniform detained Alimov in front of his house. He then faced charges and a substantial fine. Charges were later dropped.

Environmental organisations that had previously opposed the import of uranium waste were listed as Foreign Agents. Ecodefense was the first of such, listed in 2014. In 2019, the pressure continued and the organisation’s leader, Alexandra Korolyova, was targeted. Five criminal cases were initiated against her, which forced her to leave the country.

The Mayak plant: Rosatom’s dirty face

The Mayak plant in the Chelyabinsk region is a nuclear waste reprocessing facility, arguably one of the places most negatively affected by the Russian nuclear industry. Firstly, radioactive waste was dumped into the Techa river from 1949 to 2004, which has been admitted by the company. According to subsequent reports by the local organisation For Nature however, the dumping has since been ongoing. As a result, 35 villages around the river were evacuated and destroyed. Secondly, the explosion at the plant in 1957, known as the Kyshtym tragedy, is among the 20th century’s worst nuclear accidents.

One of the first organisations that raised the problem of radiation pollution in the Ural region was the Movement for Nuclear Safety, formed in 1989. During its work, the Movement was engaged in raising awareness, social protection of the affected population, and publishing dozens of reports. After unprecedented pressure and persecution, the organisation’s leader, Natalia Mironova, was forced to emigrate to the United States in 2013. Since 2000, another non–governmental organisation, Planet of Hope, has held thousands of consultations with affected citizens. Nadezhda Kutepova, a lawyer and head of the organisation, won more than 70 cases in defence of Mayak victims, including two cases in the European Court of Human Rights. However, some important cases have still not been resolved. These include 2nd generation victims, cases involving pregnant women who were affected during liquidation, as well as the many schoolchildren of Tatarskaya Karabolka village who were sent to harvest the contaminated crop after the accident.

The state and Rosatom have reacted against the actions of Nadezhda Kutepova, persecuting both her and Planet of Hope. The organisation survived arbitrary inspections in 2004 and 2009, but was labelled a Foreign Agent in 2015 and closed in 2018. After being accused of ‘industrial espionage’ under the threat of criminal prosecution, Nadezhda was forced to flee the country with her children. She nevertheless continues her struggle to bring justice for the victims of Mayak.

Since 2002, the public foundation For Nature has been disputing nuclear activity in the region. The organisation appealed to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation on the import of spent nuclear fuel from the Paks nuclear power plant in Hungary. The court declared the Governmental Decree to be invalid, thus preventing the import of 370 tons of Hungarian radioactive waste.

In March 2015, For Nature was also listed as a Foreign Agent and fined. In 2016, the court shut down the organisation. In its place, a social movement of the same name was formed, and continues to help the South Ural communities.

Struggle against a nuclear repositoryIn the city of Krasnoyarsk, Rosatom plans to build a national repository for high–level radioactive waste. A site has been selected on the banks of Siberia’s largest river, the Yenisei, only 40 km from the city. Environmental activists consider this project, if implemented, to be a crime against future generations and violates numerous Russian laws. Activists are also concerned that waste from Ukraine, Hungary, Bulgaria (and in the future from Belarus, Turkey, Bangladesh, and other countries) could be transported there as well.

The community is understandably outraged, as no one wants to live in the world’s nuclear dump. Since 2013, for more than 7 years, the people of Krasnoyarsk have been protesting. To date, more than 146,000 people have signed the petition to the President of the Russian Federation protesting against the construction of this federal nuclear repository.

Most of the producing nuclear power plants are located in the European part of Russia, but the waste is going to be sent for ‘the rest of its lifetime’ to Siberia. Local activists refer to this, with good reason, as Rosatom’s “nuclear colonisation” of Siberia.

In 2016, Fedor Maryasov, an independent journalist and leader of the protest, was accused of inciting hatred against ‘nuclear industry workers’ as a social group. A criminal case was initiated under the article on extremism. The basis for this accusation was 125 publications on social networks and the press about nuclear topics. The activist’s apartment was searched and his computer seized, along with a printed report on Rosatom’s activities in the Krasnoyarsk region.

The federal security service also issued Maryasov an official warning for treason. Only wide publicity in the media and the active support of human rights lawyers has thus far prevented further criminal prosecution of the activist.

Conclusion: 

Nuclear power is a problem, not a solution.

Despite the nightmare described above, Rosatom is trying to convince us of the nuclear industry’s purity and purported carbon neutrality. In addition, Rosatom is building nuclear plants abroad using money from the Russian Federation’s budget. Nuclear not only won’t save our climate, but will continue to create even more insoluble problems of radioactive waste for thousands of years.

We demand that:

Russia must abandon all further development of nuclear energy. 

Current nuclear power plants should be closed and decommissioned as soon as possible.Current funds from the development of nuclear energy should be redirected to the development of local renewable energy sources, to the restoration of contaminated territories and as support for those affected by the activities of the nuclear industry.

The problem of nuclear waste should be discussed widely, openly and inclusively, with the participation of all interested parties, and decisions should be made democratically, taking into account the principles of environmental justice. 

Pressure on all activists, including environmental defenders and defenders of victims’ rights, should cease immediately.

And finally, Rosatom should be held responsible for environmental pollution and violation of human rights.

The Russian Social Ecological Union (RSEU)/ Friends of the Earth Russia is a non-governmental, non-profit and member based democratic organization, established in 1992. RSEU brings together environmental organizations and activists from across Russia. All RSEU activities are aimed at nature conservation, protection of health and the well-being of people in Russia and around the world. In 2014, RSEU became the Russian member of Friends of the Earth International. Read the full report.

May 6, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Reference, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Restless radioactive remains are still stirring in Chernobyl’s nuclear tomb.

‘It’s like the embers in a barbecue pit.’ Nuclear reactions are smoldering again at Chernobyl  https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/05/nuclear-reactions-reawaken-chernobyl-reactor

By Richard Stone, May. 5, 2021 ,  Thirty-five years after the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine exploded in the world’s worst nuclear accident, fission reactions are smoldering again in uranium fuel masses buried deep inside a mangled reactor hall. “It’s like the embers in a barbecue pit,” says Neil Hyatt, a nuclear materials chemist at the University of Sheffield. Now, Ukrainian scientists are scrambling to determine whether the reactions will wink out on their own—or require extraordinary interventions to avert another accident.

Sensors are tracking a rising number of neutrons, a signal of fission, streaming from one inaccessible room, Anatolii Doroshenko of the Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants (ISPNPP) in Kyiv, Ukraine, reported last week during discussions about dismantling the reactor. “There are many uncertainties,” says ISPNPP’s Maxim Saveliev. “But we can’t rule out the possibility of [an] accident.”

The neutron counts are rising slowly, Saveliev says, suggesting managers still have a few years to figure out how to stifle the threat. Any remedy he and his colleagues come up with will be of keen interest to Japan, which is coping with the aftermath of its own nuclear disaster 10 years ago at Fukushima, Hyatt notes. “It’s a similar magnitude of hazard.”

The specter of self-sustaining fission, or criticality, in the nuclear ruins has long haunted Chernobyl. When part of the Unit Four reactor’s core melted down on 26 April 1986, uranium fuel rods, their zirconium cladding, graphite control rods, and sand dumped on the core to try to extinguish the fire melted together into a lava. It flowed into the reactor hall’s basement rooms and hardened into formations called fuel-containing materials (FCMs), which are laden with about 170 tons of irradiated uranium—95% of the original fuel.

The concrete-and-steel sarcophagus called the Shelter, erected 1 year after the accident to house Unit Four’s remains, allowed rainwater to seep in. Because water slows, or moderates, neutrons and thus enhances their odds of striking and splitting uranium nuclei, heavy rains would sometimes send neutron counts soaring. After a downpour in June 1990, a “stalker”—a scientist at Chernobyl who risks radiation exposure to venture into the damaged reactor hall—dashed in and sprayed gadolinium nitrate solution, which absorbs neutrons, on an FCM that he and his colleagues feared might go critical. Several years later, the plant installed gadolinium nitrate sprinklers in the Shelter’s roof. But the spray can’t effectively penetrate some basement rooms.

Chernobyl officials presumed any criticality risk would fade when the massive New Safe Confinement (NSC) was slid over the Shelter in November 2016. The €1.5 billion structure was meant to seal off the Shelter so it could be stabilized and eventually dismantled. The NSC also keeps out the rain, and ever since its emplacement, neutron counts in most areas in the Shelter have been stable or are declining.

But they began to edge up in a few spots, nearly doubling over 4 years in room 305/2, which contains tons of FCMs buried under debris. ISPNPP modeling suggests the drying of the fuel is somehow making neutrons ricocheting through it more, rather than less, effective at splitting uranium nuclei. “It’s believable and plausible data,” Hyatt says. “It’s just not clear what the mechanism might be.”

The threat can’t be ignored. As water continues to recede, the fear is that “the fission reaction accelerates exponentially,” Hyatt says, leading to “an uncontrolled release of nuclear energy.” There’s no chance of a repeat of 1986, when the explosion and fire sent a radioactive cloud over Europe. A runaway fission reaction in an FCM could sputter out after heat from fission boils off the remaining water. Still, Saveliev notes, although any explosive reaction would be contained, it could threaten to bring down unstable parts of the rickety Shelter, filling the NSC with radioactive dust.

Addressing the newly unmasked threat is a daunting challenge. Radiation levels in 305/2 preclude getting close enough to install sensors. And spraying gadolinium nitrate on the nuclear debris there is not an option, as it’s entombed under concrete. One idea is to develop a robot that can withstand the intense radiation for long enough to drill holes in the FCMs and insert boron cylinders, which would function like control rods and sop up neutrons. In the meantime, ISPNPP intends to step up monitoring of two other areas where FCMs have the potential to go critical.

The resurgent fission reactions are not the only challenge facing Chernobyl’s keepers. Besieged by intense radiation and high humidity, the FCMs are disintegrating—spawning even more radioactive dust that complicates plans to dismantle the Shelter. Early on, an FCM formation called the Elephant’s Foot was so hard scientists had to use a Kalashnikov rifle to shear off a chunk for analysis. “Now it more or less has the consistency of sand,” Saveliev says.

Ukraine has long intended to remove the FCMs and store them in a geological repository. By September, with help from European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, it aims to have a comprehensive plan for doing so. But with life still flickering within the Shelter, it may be harder than ever to bury the reactor’s restless remains.

May 6, 2021 Posted by | incidents, Reference, Ukraine | Leave a comment

France, the most nuclearised country in the world, is poorly prepared for nuclear emergencies.

ANCCLI 4th May 2021, People living near nuclear plants in France are not sufficiently aware of what to do to in the event of a nuclear accident, according to an organisation that collects information on the nuclear industry. The ANCCLI,
which aims to inform ordinary citizens about the nuclear industry, wants better simulation exercises and a more efficient distribution of iodine tablets so that those living and working near nuclear sites are better equipped to deal with any such accident.

“In the country that is the most nuclearised in the world in relation to the number of inhabitants, methods of public protection are unsuitable and insufficient,” says the ANCCLI in a report released on Tuesday. France is home to 19 nuclear power stations run by EDF, as well as nuclear reprocessing sites and nuclear plants used for research. The ANCCLI also expressed concern that local people are not availing of supplies of iodine tablets, which can mitigate the effects of radiation by saturating the thyroid with stable iodine so that it rejects radioactive iodine.

https://www.rfi.fr/en/france/20210504-locals-near-france-s-nuclear-sites-not-prepared-for-accidents-report

ANCCLI’s White Paper 9 – The post-accident: anticipation and preparation,
at the heart of cross-border CLI discussions.

May 6, 2021 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

France’s nuclear emergency plans are inadequate

Europe1 4th May 2021, The French not sufficiently prepared in the event of a nuclear accident. The ANCCLI – responsible for informing the population about nuclear risks – warned Tuesday morning of the ineffectiveness of existing prevention campaigns and calls on the government to review the entire nuclear emergency plan.

https://www.europe1.fr/societe/un-rapport-pointe-limpreparation-de-la-france-en-cas-daccident-nucleaire-4042687

May 6, 2021 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

France desperate to sell its flawed nuclear technology to India, Time for India to cancel Jaitapur nuclear power project.

Time for India to cancel Jaitapur nuclear power project, France keen on flogging its ‘messy’ tech to India Business May 2, 2021  By Ranvir Nayar Media India Group France remains desperate to sell its severely troubled EPR nuclear reactors to India, even though its own project at home and at both the sites outside of France have had severe cost and time overruns and continue to face safety issues.

On March 3, 2021, Electricité de France, EDF, the sole operator of nuclear power plants in France, informed the country’s nuclear safety body, Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN), of a design anomaly on three nozzles of the main primary system of the European Pressurised Reactor that it has been building at Flamanville in north-west France.

The design flaw is serious as the main primary system contains water used to cool the reactor core and transfer energy from the nuclear reaction to the steam generators. The design dates back to 2006 and the nozzles were manufactured in 2011.

https://mediaindia.eu/business/jaitapur-nuclear-france/

May 6, 2021 Posted by | France, India, marketing | Leave a comment

Millions of fish to be destroyed by UK’s new nuclear stations, but Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) is in the pay of nuclear firm EDF.

Climate News Network 4th May 2021, The high fatality rate which the cooling systems of two British nuclear
power stations may impose on marine life is worrying environmentalists, who describe the heavy fish toll they expect as “staggering”.

The twostations, Hinkley Point C, under construction on England’s west coast,
and Sizewell C, planned for the eastern side of the country, will, they
say, kill more than 200 million fish a year and destroy millions more sea
creatures. But the stations’ builders say their critics are exaggerating
drastically.

Objectors to the fish kill had hoped that the UK government
agency tasked with conserving fish stocks in the seas around Britain, the
Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), would be
on their side. They have been disappointed to learn that Cefas is a paid
adviser to the French nuclear company EDF, which is building the stations,
and would raise no objections to the company’s method of cooling them
with seawater.

https://climatenewsnetwork.net/uk-nuclear-plants-will-exact-heavy-fish-toll/

May 6, 2021 Posted by | oceans, UK | Leave a comment

Further delay, more costs, for Finland’s nuclear power station, Fennovoima

Helsinki Times 4th May 2021, THE NUCLEAR POWER PROJECT of Fennovoima in Pyhäjoki, North Ostrobothnia,
is set to be delayed further, writes YLE. The Finnish consortium of power
and industrial companies stated last week that its effort to ensure the
design and licencing materials meet the Finnish standards has taken longer
than expected, predicting that a building permit for the plant could be
secured by mid-2022 instead of 2021.

The construction would therefore start
in the summer of 2023 and the plant start commercial operation in 2029. The
timetable is set forth in a supplement attached last week to the building
permit application the consortium filed with the Ministry of Employment and
the Economy in 2015. Fennovoima, the supplement reveals, has also raised
its cost estimate for the project from 6.5–7.0 to 7.0–7.5 billion
euros, citing its own operational and administrative costs.

https://www.helsinkitimes.fi/finland/finland-news/domestic/19161-finnish-nuclear-power-project-to-be-delayed-further.html

May 6, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, Finland | Leave a comment

Breakthrough Institute comes apart – Michael Shellenger started new nuclear front propaganda group – Environmental Progress

The New Denial Is Delay at the Breakthrough Institute (Part 3)

The DisInformation Chronicle, 5 May 21,

This is Part Three of “The New Denial Is Delay at the Breakthrough Institute,” a three-part series examining the Breakthrough Institute and ecomodernism. In Part Two, we discussed their annual meetings to which they invite climate skeptics and Monsanto propagandists, the odd credentials for many of their affiliates, and their promotion of nuclear energy and GMO agriculture as techno-fixes to electrify and feed the world. To start at Part One, click here.

Months after the Breakthrough Institute released their 2015 ecomodernist manifesto, the declaration’s ideological binding started coming unglued. Breakthrough’s Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger met ridicule trying to sell the manifesto at a public event in England, and the duo later parted ways, as Shellenberger founded a new organization called Environmental Progress to publicize nuclear energy. The split has been somewhat acrimonious as both try to break from a past that neither seems capable of escaping.

The event in England focused on restoring science to environmentalism, and it was there that they planned to sell ecomodernism to British reporters. Conservative MP Owen Paterson, a climate denier who almost halved the UK’s climate preparedness budget when he was environmental secretary, hosted the media event. 

When announcing the press conference, Paterson called on the public to abandon the “relentless pessimism of the environmental movement” and warned in a Telegraph op-ed that “the Green Blob still infests the official bureaucracy with its influence.” Other conference panelists included Mark Lynas, a co-author of the the ecomodernist manifesto, and Matt Ridley, a British science writer noted for climate denial screeds

But after critics argued that the event provided a platform for climate denialists, DesmogBlog reported that Shellenberger dismissed those who warned the group not to participate in a press conference with Paterson.

Fuck you all, we’re going to go to the press conference,” Shellenberger said. “Owen will say his thing, we’re going to say our thing, if people can’t deal with it, fuck ‘em. I’m done with the tribalism on this.” 

Shellenberger’s cavalier attitude did not seem to impress the crowd, however, and many complained that Breakthrough had made the wrong decision by choosing to associate with climate denialists and anti-environmentalists

In a recent interview, Nordhaus explained this strategy as sort of a means to an end. “I’ve given talks to groups of climate skeptics, climate deniers—you know, real climate deniers,” he said. “You can have a variety of viewpoints on this question without having to put a tin foil hat on. And the thing is, you get to the end of those talks and if you go, ‘OK, so who supports nuclear energy?’ Everybody in the room supports nuclear energy.”

Neither Nordhaus nor Shellenberger responded to detailed questions sent by e-mail.

By late 2015, Shellenberger had left the Breakthrough Institute and started Environmental Progress. A photo at the organization’s website shows Shellenberger clad in a yellow t-shirt giving a Ted Talk. The summer after founding his group, Shellenberger partnered with employees of the nuclear energy industry to lead the March for Environmental Hope, which was billed as the “first-ever pro-nuclear march.” 

As part of their march, the group held protests outside the Bay area offices of Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, and attendees included a half dozen Exelon employees, who flew in from jobs working at nuclear reactors scattered across the country. 

Months later, Shellenberger led a pro-nuclear march in Chicago that was said to be inspired by the Civil Rights March on Washington, the Stonewall Riots, and Gandhi’s Salt March. Counter protestors denounced Environmental Progress as “astroturf.” 

When not writing for the Environmental Progress website, Shellenberger sometimes has his views echoed on Spiked, a British website funded in part by the Koch Brothers that traffics in climate denial. He also runs a blog at Forbes where he ridicules climate policy while advocating for nuclear energy. In one example at Forbes, he cited studies by Ed Calabrese, a professor of toxicology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, as proof that fears of nuclear radiation are overblown. Shellenberger’s story picked up on a theme first introduced by the Breakthrough Institute where they interviewed Calabrese about his research.

As reported by The Los Angeles Times and HuffPost Investigations, Calabrese has long excited the tobacco, chemical, and nuclear industries with research called “hormesis” that argues tiny amounts of pollution and radiation are actually good for people. Public health experts have dismissed Calabrese’s hormesis studies as a type of religion, although Trump officials showed interest.

Shellenberger is a propagandist,” said Paul Dorfman, Founder and Chair of the Nuclear Consulting Group and Honorary Senior Research Associate at the University College London. Dorfman said that while some experts can make a case for nuclear energy that he disagrees with, Shellenberger is not one of them. 

“He’s not a scientist. He just comes up with stuff,” said Dorfman. Dismissing the hormesis theory as “quasi science” and “tosh,” Dorfman said there is no safe dose of radiation. “This is a fact. And all the regulatory bodies know this.” ………

To promote his recent book “Apocalypse Never,” Shellenberger added another piece to the canon of environmental apologist lit, with a post on his Forbes blog titled “On behalf of environmentalists, I apologize for the climate scare.” Forbes removed the blog shortly after, which Shellenberger decried as censorship. Nonetheless, Shellenberger references his blogging at Forbes to claim that he is a “leading environmental journalist.” 

But once again, reality diverges from the Shellenberger storyline.

Forbes has long been a breeding ground for industry messaging and corporate propaganda. Back in 1997, Forbes ran a takedown of EPA Administrator Carol Browner, warning the public that she was ignoring science to gain control over American lives. “Watch out for this woman,” read the scary headline splashed across the cover of Forbes magazine, “The EPA’s Carol Browner is exploiting health and the environment to build a power base.” 

The story’s co-author was Bonner R. Cohen, who also operated EPA Watch, a newsletter that Philip Morris described as an “asset” that they established to attack the EPA on second hand smoke. After EPA Watch disappeared, Cohen then joined various climate denial groups, including the Heartland Institute. ………

“We flood the American public with a tsunami of crap every day in the media,” said Gary Schwitzer, an adjunct professor at U of Minnesota School of Public Health, and Publisher of Health News Review. He said Forbes is particularly terrible because it hosts fringe contributors with undeclared industry ties, and who write dreck. This is harmful, Schwitzer said, because it distracts the public from real news: “That’s what really pisses me off.”

“In some ways, it’s just like a fabulous performance art piece that he’s doing right now,” Nordhaus told Drilled News of Shellenberger’s campaign to promote his latest book. “It’s like Andy Kaufman doing environmentalism in a way that environmentalists could sort of see how dogmatic it gets. How sort of shrill it gets, and how angry it gets. How kind of dark and conspiratorial it gets.”

Despite attempts to create space between themselves and Shellenberger, Breakthrough has also helped to prop him up. When both Shellenberger and Bjorn Lomborg published books last year, climate scientists rushed to condemn them. Writing in The Guardian, climate expert Bob Ward dismissed both books as “classic examples of political propaganda.” ………

Breakthrough’s troubling ties to climate denial continue to this day as a member of their board is Reihan Salam, president of the Manhattan Institute. Four years back, 19 Senators took to the Senate floor in a week-long event to denounce the Manhattan Institute and other fossil fuel-funded groups that deny climate science and stymie legislation. According to Exxon Secrets, the Manhattan Institute has received $1.39 million from Exxon since 1992, with $75,000 donated in 2018, the last year for which records are available.

…….. Breakthrough has other links to the fossil fuel industry, through the chair of their advisory board, the heiress Rachel Pritzker. Besides funding the Breakthrough Institute, the Pritzker Innovation Fund supports the Natural Gas Initiative at Stanford University. Other Natural Gas Initiative funders include Anadarko Petroleum, Gulf Energy, The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, ExxonMobil and the American Petroleum Institute. 

………. “If there’s one thing these guys are good at, it is getting the media to move a story for them,” said Kert Davies of the Climate Investigations Center. Complimenting Breakthrough’s skills in public relations, Davies said that their counterintuitive “man bites dog” message gives Breakthrough an advantage over environmental organizations, which keep selling the same tired story.

“They are good at PR,” he said. “It’s where they came from. They’re good PR guys pretending to be policy experts.”https://disinformationchronicle.substack.com/p/the-new-denial-is-delay-at-the-breakthrough-c97

May 6, 2021 Posted by | spinbuster, UK, USA | Leave a comment

Sweden’s nuclear waste problem may mean closure of 5 reactors by 2028

Five Swedish reactors risk closure by 2028 due to tardy nuclear waste decision,  Reuters, 6 May 21Five Swedish nuclear reactors may need to close between 2024 and 2028 because a temporary site for storing spent fuel will soon be full and the government has yet to approve a final waste repository, their operating companies said on Wednesday.

The Forsmark 4 reactor risks closure in 2024, followed in 2025 by Forsmark 3, Ringhals 3 and 4 and finally Forsmark 1 in 2028, the operators said in urgent market messages posted via power exchange Nord Pool.Ringhals is owned by a consortium comprising Vattenfall (VATN.UL) and Uniper (UN01.DE), while Forsmark is owned by the same two companies in addition to Fortum (FORTUM.HE) and Skelleftea Kraft.A Swedish government decision on used nuclear fuel storage must be made no later than Aug. 31 this year to avoid exceeding the permit for the interim storage site a Oskarshamn, the firms added……..  https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/five-swedish-reactors-risk-closure-by-2028-due-tardy-nuclear-waste-decision-2021-05-05/

May 6, 2021 Posted by | Sweden, wastes | Leave a comment

France’s nuclear output slumped – they had to import power

French nuclear output slumps to 6-month low in April, Power, SOPHIE TETREL, Paris, 04 May 2021   (Montel)

 France’s nuclear power generation slumped to a six-month low at 27.1 TWh in April, making it a net power importer for two weeks when cold weather buoyed demand, national TSO data showed on Tuesday.

Nuclear output last month was just 276 GWh or 1% higher than in April last year when it plunged to a record low during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, and it was 4.6 TWh below the level reached in March this year.

Average power plant availability dropped about 9 percentage points month on month to 37.3 GW or 61% of installed capacity in April, due to maintenance and fail… (subscribers only)  https://www.montelnews.com/en/story/french-nuclear-output-slumps-to-6-month-low-in-april/1218663

May 6, 2021 Posted by | ENERGY, France | Leave a comment

How Chernobyl’s radioactive dust blanketed Europe in 1986


Radiation high over Europe after Chernobyl disaster – archive, 1986

3 May 1986: Mainland Europe experiences higher than normal radiation, with Poland, East Germany and Sweden bearing the brunt of contamination 
 Michael SimmonsFrom the Guardian archive Mon 3 May 2021 By dusk last night, every country in mainland Europe had experienced higher than normal radiation as a result of the Chernobyl disaster. Only the Iberian peninsula was still clear, as governments in East and West, having recovered from the initial panic, started to count the medium-term costs.

Changes in wind direction from the epicentre at Kiev created fresh uncertainties throughout the day. The consensus among meteorologists was that the south-east wind which had done its worst earlier in the week in parts of Poland and Scandinavia was now veering towards due east, affecting Greece, Yugoslavia, and south-west Germany.
France reported “a minor increase” in atmospheric radioactivity, while Holland reported yesterday that, for the first time since the disaster, radiation levels were markedly higher than normal. In that country, government plans to air details of a proposed shift to nuclear power in the 1990s were shelved indefinitely.

The brunt of the contamination continued to be borne by the countries closest to the disaster area – notably Poland and East Germany – as well as Sweden, which has been seeking to take remedial measures since the beginning of the week.

The Swedish authorities ordered farmers to keep their cattle indoors – possibly for some weeks – and said people should not drink rainwater or eat wild vegetables or mushrooms. One fear in Stockholm is that the wind could veer back towards Sweden early next week……..

The brunt of the contamination continued to be borne by the countries closest to the disaster area – notably Poland and East Germany – as well as Sweden, which has been seeking to take remedial measures since the beginning of the week.

The Swedish authorities ordered farmers to keep their cattle indoors – possibly for some weeks – and said people should not drink rainwater or eat wild vegetables or mushrooms. One fear in Stockholm is that the wind could veer back towards Sweden early next week…….

Italy yesterday prohibited the sale of salad greens and barred a variety of imports from northern Europe. The Health Minister, Mr Costante Degan signed an order that forbade vendors from selling fresh leafy vegetables.  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/03/radiation-high-over-europe-after-chernobyl-disaster-1986

May 4, 2021 Posted by | environment, EUROPE, history, wastes | Leave a comment

Russia’s Rosatom launches the nuclear lobby’s propaganda push for ”climate change credibility” – ”Atoms For Humanity”

Thousands Join Launch Of Rosatom’s Atoms For Humanity Nuclear Awareness Campaign, By India Education Diary Bureau Admin  May 3, 2021  Moscow: On April 30, over 3200 people from some 40 countries watched Rosatom’s Atoms for Humanity new nuclear awareness campaign launch event. The project is aimed at demonstrating the importance of nuclear technologies in achieving the UN Sustainable Goals through human-centered stories.

The project launch event Why Humanity Needs Nuclear brought together Polina Lion, Chief Sustainability Officer at Rosatom, Sama Bilbao y León, Director General of the World Nuclear Association, Dr. Maher Aziz, member of the World Energy Council, Ben Heard, founder of the Bright New World and Sergio Orlandi and Head of Central Engineering and Plant Directorate at ITER. Heroes of Atoms for Humanity joined the event to share their experiences participating in the campaign.

The [?] esteemed speakers discussed social, economic and environmental benefits of nuclear technologies and their invaluable contribution to solving the most urgent challenges of today and tomorrow.

May 4, 2021 Posted by | Russia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Nuclear anxiety in Luxembourg – expanding their emergency evacuation plan

Lorraine Actu 30th April 2021, Luxembourg. Evacuation, prohibited zone … Here is the emergency plan in
the event of a nuclear disaster in Cattenom. In the Grand Duchy, concern about nuclear power is growing. So much so that the Minister of the Interior of Luxembourg had to explain the emergency plan in the event of a nuclear disaster.

https://actu.fr/grand-est/cattenom_57124/luxembourg-evacuation-zone-interdite-voici-le-plan-d-urgence-en-cas-de-catastrophe-nucleaire-a-cattenom_41490714.html

May 4, 2021 Posted by | EUROPE, safety | Leave a comment

Britain is now undermining the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

ICAN (accessed) 3rd May 2021, Five Ways the UK is Undermining the NPT. The NPT has played an unparalleled
role in curtailing the nuclear arms race and it continues to play a role in keeping the world safe. It is at the centre of international efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, to create a nuclear weapon free world,and to enable access to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.”

But the UK has now taken steps which dangerously undermine this crucial treaty. In its Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, the UK government announced that it will increase the maximum size of its
nuclear arsenal and reduce the information it provides about it.

Having consistently committed itself over the past decade to reducing its stockpile to a maximum of 180 warheads by the mid 2020s, the UK has now raised this limit to 260, an increase of over 40%. At the same time, the UK will no longer release operational stockpile, deployed warhead or deployed missile numbers.

https://www.icanw.org/five_ways_the_uk_is_undermining_the_npt

May 4, 2021 Posted by | politics international, UK, weapons and war | 1 Comment