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Most Americans doubt that the Trump summit will result in North Korea giving up nuclear weapons

Poll: Majority skeptical North Korea will give up nuclear weapons as a result of Trump summit http://thehill.com/policy/international/392677-poll-majority-skeptical-north-korea-will-give-up-nuclear-weapons-as-a, 

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June 18, 2018 Posted by | politics international, public opinion, USA | Leave a comment

Best option for Indian Point nuclear power station decommission and clean up the whole site within a reasonable period, such as 20 years

Indian Point site should be cleaned up as quickly as possible: Column https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/opinion/valley-views/2018/06/17/indian-point-site-should-cleaned-up-quickly-possible-column/699682002/, By Maggie Coulter, Valley Views  June 17, 2018  

June 18, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Hopes for peace following the Trump-Kim summit are likely to be short-lived

The scary truths about Trump’s nuclear summit https://www.engadget.com/2018/06/15/the-scary-truths-about-trump-s-nuclear-summit/ In which Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un compared the size of their nuclear buttons. Violet Blue@violetblue   

In the first summit meeting between the leaders of the United States and North Korea, Donald Trump met with Kim Jong-un, on June 12, 2018, in Singapore. The two leaders smiled warmly, posed for cameras as friends, shook hands, and Trump spoke in glowing terms of admiration about Kim at the news conference.

The summit came after a year and a half of both men terrorizing the world with open threats of thermonuclear annihilation and childish public insults. Trump derisively nicknamed the North Korean dictator “Rocket Man” and called him “fat and short,” while Kim Jong-un called Trump “a mentally deranged U.S. dotard.” This week’s historic meeting was nearly scrapped by Trump in a threatening, yet passive-aggressive letter to Jong-un that tried to make the cancellation look like it was North Korea’s idea.

On behalf of the United States, Trump conceded to Kim the discontinuation of joint military exercises with South Korea and to withdraw troops stationed there; he also gave Jong-un international standing and lavished him with compliments. He echoed North Korean rhetoric, which characterizes the military exercises as “very provocative.”

In response to accusations about giving away the farm for a handful of rocks and rusty Nuka Cola bottle caps, USA Today reported that other than agreeing to a meeting, Trump said “I gave up nothing.”

In return, we got a crazy-vague joint statement wrapped in a PR stunt. All North Korea gave us was a meeting. The signed agreement had no specificsabout denuclearization. The 1 1/2 page document ignored North Korea’s existing stockpile of nuclear weapons, had no verification provisions whatsoever, and failed to address ongoing issues of its attacks, kidnappings, and physical threats on Japan and South Korea.

North Korea has historically avoided true nuclear disarmament, preferring to qualify any agreements instead as denuclearization of the peninsula. “That has always been interpreted as a call for the United States to remove its “nuclear umbrella” protecting South Korea and Japan,” wrote Reuters. The country has promised denuclearization since the 1990s and has repeatedly ignored that promise as a rule.

Emerging from the summit as a victorious bringer of peace on Earth, Trump tweeted that “everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”

It was a stunning concession when Trump announced, “We will stop the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money.” It shocked and baffled South Korea and other allies, the Pentagon, US military officials, and members of the Republican Party. This came hot on the heels of Trump saying it would be better if South Korea and Japan protect themselves.

South Korea and Japan are not feeling the same love in the air as Trump and Jong-un. “His announcement was a surprise even to President Moon Jae-in’s government in Seoul,” wrote Reuters. “One South Korean official said he initially thought Trump had misspoken.” South Korea’s largest newspaper Chosun Ilbo openly worried that the North will keep its nuclear weapons program permanently as a result of Trump’s concessions, describing the summit as “dumbfounding and nonsensical.”

You see, we’ve allied ourselves to help protect South Korea for some pretty big reasons. If, like Trump, you’re encountering a North Korea-US summit with no prep whatsoever, here’s a quick bit of background.

North and South Korea have been divided since 1945; for a short period Russia occupied the North while the US occupied the south; during the war, China aided the north and the US aided the south (we lost 54,246 lives and 7,704 American soldiers are still unaccounted for). The Korean War ended with an armistice agreement but no peace settlement, so technically the war has never ended. American military remains in the South as part of a mutual defense treaty.

Fast forward to 1963 and the world finds out that the North has begun building a nuclear reactor. Then a nuclear weapons program in the 1980s. The first time North Korea committed to denuclearization was 1992’s Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula — though historically, nuclear inspectors have been barred from surveying North Korean facilities.

Earlier this year, a team of Stanford University experts — one who visited North Korean nuclear facilities multiple times — formulated a detailed planfor the dismantlement of the North Korean program with a 10- to 15-year estimate. In statements surrounding the summit, Trump — who has no science advisor — said “I think whoever wrote that [estimate] is wrong.”

Before going into the summit Trump bragged about his lack of preparation and said that he “will know, just [by] my touch, my feel” how to assess Kim Jong-un’s nuclear plan.
Trump, who coasted into the White House on his sole qualification as a dealmaker, came straight to the North Korean denuclearization summit after failing to make a deal about milk with Canada. That was at the G-7 summit in Quebec, to which he arrived late and left early and wholly tanked by withdrawing the US from the signed trade declaration, all while somehow managing to piss off the one country known as the world’s friendliest. He spent the weekend petulantly talking smack about the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, whom he called “very dishonest and weak.”

He ran from G-7 straight into the arms of Kim Jong-un, with whom he seemed genuinely pleased. As a token, Trump commissioned a gift for North Korea’s leader in the form of a fake Hollywood movie trailer about the two of them, starring together, bringing peace and happiness to the world. It included lines like “featuring President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un … in a meeting to remake history.” He played it on an iPad for the dictator in their private meeting. Washington Post reported that when it aired in the press room, journalists assumed the video was North Korean propaganda.

Reuters explained that prior to Trump’s elevation of Kim, he “was an international pariah accused of ordering the killing of his uncle, a half-brother and hundreds of officials suspected of disloyalty.” They added, “The North Korean leader had been isolated, his country accused by rights groups of widespread human rights abuses and under U.N. sanctions for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”

The Washington Post noted the UN’s report “described the country as a ruthless police state where as many as 120,000 people are kept in political gulags under horrific conditions; other prisons, effectively labor camps, hold people for ordinary crimes. Telephone calls are monitored and citizens are punished for watching or listening to foreign broadcasts.”

Now put that in the context of nuclearization. According to U.S. military intelligence, defense experts and North “watchers” (cited in Newsweek), in 2017 it was estimated that North Korea has “enough plutonium stored up to create a minimum of six nuclear weapons, but other estimates were as high as 10 to 16 nuclear weapons.”

So if Kim is a dictator with nukes and very aggressive hackers, there’s no reason to doubt that both Kim and Trump are fine with holding the world hostage under threat of nuclear annihilation for whatever their real endgames really are. Last August Trump warned that any North Korean attack “will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which the world has never seen before.”

For North Korea’s grand finale to its founder’s 105th birthday party in April 2017, it celebrated with a propaganda video showing missiles being launched.

“Eventually the nukes found their target, San Francisco, and exploded in massive fiery eruptions, engulfing the city in flames. The audience appeared to applaud San Francisco’s destruction,” wrote nervous Bay Area press. “The image of flickering flames overlaid shots of an American flag and a military cemetery.”

Let’s just hope they stick to comparing the size of their buttons.

June 15, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. Navy Will Retest Hunters Point Shipyard for Radiation

Navy Releases Plan to Retest Hunters Point Shipyard for Radiation

Officials encourage members of the public to comment on the first of its work plans to collect new radiological data at the shipyard. NBC Bay Area  By Liz Wagner and Rachel Witte, 16 June 18 

The Navy released the first of its work plans on Friday to retest the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard for radiation after it found workers from Tetra Tech, the contractor it hired to identify and remediate contamination, likely falsified part of the cleanup.

Earlier this year Navy officials determined they needed to redo Tetra Tech’s radiological work to be sure the shipyard is clean.

…….. San Francisco supervisor Malia Cohen announced Friday morning that the Navy has also agreed to test another parcel at Hunters Point, Parcel A, for hazardous material. Parcel A is a section of the shipyard where people are already living in new condos……….

Two former Tetra Tech employees were sentenced to prison last month for falsifying radiation data. The company acknowledged the falsification of those records, but stands by its work at the shipyard before and since that time. ……

Absent from any oversight plans are local community members. For years the environmental justice group Greenaction has been calling on a comprehensive community engaged cleanup. While the Navy plans to continue to hold community meetings on the status of the shipyard cleanup, officials said they have no plans for a community oversight board.

The Navy is encouraging members of the public to review and comment on the Parcel G work plan until August 14. The document is available to view online here, or in person at the San Francisco Main Library on the 5th Floor Government Center at 100 Larkin Street or at The Shipyard Site Trailer at 690 Hudson Avenue. Written comments can be emailed to Derek Robinson at derek.j.robinson1@navy.milhttps://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Navy-Releases-Plan-to-Retest-Hunters-Point-Shipyard-for-Radiation-485617081.html

June 15, 2018 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Tough sanctions will remain on North Korea until its complete denuclearisation – says USA

Pompeo says North Korea sanctions to remain until complete denuclearisation, Reuters, Christine KimMichael Martina– 14 June 18, SEOUL/BEIJING – Tough sanctions will remain on North Korea until its complete denuclearisation, the U.S. secretary of state said on Thursday, apparently contradicting the North’s view that the process agreed at this week’s summit would be phased and reciprocal.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued a joint statement after their meeting in Singapore this week that reaffirmed the North’s commitment to “work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”, while Trump “committed to provide security guarantees”.

Trump later told a news conference he would end joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises.

“President Trump has been incredibly clear about the sequencing of denuclearisation and relief from the sanctions,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters after meeting South Korea’s president and Japan’s foreign minister in Seoul.

“We are going to get complete denuclearisation; only then will there be relief from the sanctions,” he said.

North Korean state media reported on Wednesday that Kim and Trump had recognized the principle of “step-by-step and simultaneous action” to achieve peace and denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula.

The summit statement provided no details on when North Korea would give up its nuclear weapons program or how the dismantling might be verified.

Skeptics of how much the meeting achieved pointed to the North Korean leadership’s long-held view that nuclear weapons are a bulwark against what it fears are U.S. plans to overthrow it and unite the Korean peninsula.

……. Kim understood getting rid of his nuclear arsenal needed to be done quickly and there would only be relief from stringent U.N. sanctions on North Korea after its “complete denuclearisation”, Pompeo said.

Moon later said South Korea would be flexible when it comes to military pressure on North Korea if it is sincere about denuclearisation.

Also on Thursday, North and South Korea held their first military talks in more than a decade. The talks followed on from an inter-Korean summit in April at which Moon and Kim agreed to defuse tension and cease “hostile acts”.

Speaking later in the day in Beijing, Pompeo said China, Japan and South Korea all acknowledged a corner had been turned on the Korean peninsula issue, but that all three had also acknowledged sanctions remain in place until denuclearisation is complete.

…… we have made very clear that the sanctions and the economic relief that North Korea will receive will only happen after the full denuclearisation, the complete denuclearisation of North Korea.” https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-usa/pompeo-says-north-korea-sanctions-to-remain-until-complete-denuclearization-idUSKBN1JA07O

June 15, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Huge USA weapons purchase by Saudi Arabia was on condition that USA would KILL THE IRAN NUCLEAR AGREEMENT!

US Promised Saudis to ‘Kill Iran Nuclear Deal’ – Analyst Sputnik News, 14 June18    Saudi Arabia made its defense cooperation with the US conditional on Washington exiting the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, the founder of the Ibero-Persia consultancy firm has said.

The large-scale US arms supplies to Saudi Arabia in May 2017 made it perfectly clear that the sanctions against Iran were coming back and the nuclear deal was dead,” Sharoj Habibi claimed in an interview with Sputnik Mundo.

According to Habibi, the contract for the delivery  of delivery of $350 billion worth of US-made THAAD air defense missile systems to Riyadh was negotiated, among others, by President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

“Obviously, if you let your son-in-law clinch such a deal, this big-time operation is bound to offer very lucrative bonuses,” Habibi noted adding that the Trump family could have earned a very comfortable, though undisclosed, commission from the deal.

He alleged that as part of the contract, the US authorities “promised to do everything possible to kill the nuclear agreement with Tehran, which made it possible for Iran to economically outpace Saudi Arabia and develop its gas producing sector. Iranian gas would effectively sideline America’s Middle Eastern ally, Saudi Arabia,” the expert said.

He added that because Riyadh’s ultimate goal is to  ”control everything that is happening in the Middle East,” it needs to bring the US into play.  With Donald Trump’s arrival inat the White House, he continued, the Saudis jumped on the occasion.

“Therefore, instead of calling Trump crazy or dumb, I would say that he is an unscrupulous or ruthless businessman,” Habibi noted.

During his May 2016 official visit to Saudi Arabia, President Trump signed off on a historic arms delivery deal with Riyadh to the tune of up to $350 billion.

Washington sees the agreement as a means of boosting the Gulf kingdom’s defense capabilities and supporting its efforts to counter terrorist groups operating in the region

…….Iran has been in full compliance with the terms of agreement as verified in 11 inspection reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).On June 8, 2018, President Trump announced that the United States was walking out of the nuclear agreement with Tehran, a decision that has been strongly criticized by other signatories to the deal, including the EU, Russia and China.https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201806141065411103-saudi-us-arms-deal/

 

June 15, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA | 1 Comment

The huge danger to Americans of keeping hundreds of nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert

The US still keeps hundreds of nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert — here’s what it means and why it’s a huge risk https://www.businessinsider.com.au/trump-kim-nuclear-summit-hair-trigger-alert-2018-6?r=US&IR=T, LEANNA GARFIELD

June 15, 2018 Posted by | safety, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Radioactive Particles Found in Homes of Workers at Major US Nuclear Weapons Facility

Radioactive Dust Found in Homes of Workers at Major US Nuclear Weapons Facility,  Radioactive microparticles were detected in the homes of six workers in central Washington state’s Tri-City area who are associated with the Hanford nuclear site, a major Cold War-era plutonium manufacturing facility, scientists have reported. Sputnik News, 14 June 18 

A study published this month in the Journal of Environmental Engineering Science reported that small but still dangerous amounts of radioactive elements were found in dust collected by cloth wipes and vacuum cleaners in order to track the potential spread of radiation from one of the United States’ most notorious nuclear cleanup sites.

The same study also found radioactive particles in the homes of nuclear workers associated with the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and the Rocky Flats Plant in Colorado. All three sites are heavily associated with nuclear weapons production.

It’s believed the particles could have found their way into the homes in a variety of ways, including being attached to workers’ clothing and being stirred up by wind storms and wildfires, which are common in the region, and blown inside.

The tests found radioactive uranium, thorium, plutonium and americium particles that, while innocuous in the external environment, represent a “potential source of internal radiation exposure” if ingested, warns Marco Kaltofen, a civil engineer affiliated with the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts and author of the study, the Seattle Times reported.

Exposure to these materials increases the risk of cancer, the study noted. Plutonium is “fiendishly toxic, even in small amounts,” said Glenn Seaborg, the physicist who discovered the element in 1941, as quoted in a 2011 fact sheet on the Rocky Flats site. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry notes in its public health statement on thorium exposure that the radioactive isotopes can sit in the soil for decades and cause lung cancer if inhaled. Uranium ingestion mainly targets the kidneys, the ATSDR notes, while americium destroys and irradiates bone tissue and can cause bone cancers such as leukemia or lymphoma and damage the thyroid.

“These radioactive particles are tiny and difficult to detect once you get a few inches away, but once inside the body, the distance from our tissue is essentially zero,” Kaltofen explained. While the skin can handle certain amounts of radiation safely, the body’s internal organs have no protection and a tiny amount can prove fatally toxic. Polonium-210, for example, is 250 million times more toxic than hydrogen cyanide, the New York Times reported.

The report’s conclusions come from years of testing coordinated with Hanford Challenge, a Seattle-based organization that has fought for decades for accountability in the federal cleanup of the Hanford site. Kaltofen used an unusual technique that involves both electron microscopy and a specialized X-ray analysis that can detect extremely low levels of radioactive particles. The samples were compared to those taken from the Hanford site, which served as a kind of fingerprint for identifying the particles.

The levels found in the Hanford workers’ homes represented a health risk exceeding that considered acceptable by the International Commission on Radiological Protection’s safety standards.

…….. The Yakama Nation, whose reservation sits only 20 miles from the site, for decades fought turning Hanford into a nuclear waste site, as did other affected tribes such as the Nez Perce and Umatilla nations. Three counties around the Yakama reservation have seen high rates of a rare and fatal birth defect called anencephaly, in which a fetus’ brain and skull fail to fully form, which is believed to be caused by irradiation, Earth Island reported. Higher rates of anencephaly are also associated with sites in Iraq where the US military used depleted uranium rounds during the Iraq War, Iraqi doctors in Basra and Baghdad have noted.

Indigenous nations in Washington aren’t the only ones negatively affected by the US nuclear weapons program: decades of uranium mining in the Navajo Nation have caused extensive irradiation of the countryside, creating a disease known as Navajo Neuropathy, NPR reported. One spring in northeastern Arizona was reported in 2015 to have uranium levels “at least five times greater than safe drinking water standards” by a study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The contamination caused the early deaths of many children who drank from the spring or whose mothers drank the water while pregnant. https://sputniknews.com/us/201806141065421254-Radioactive-Dust-Found-US-Homes/

June 15, 2018 Posted by | radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Guam wants inclusion in radiation exposure compensation program: U.S. Senate considering this

S Senate panel to hear Guam’s inclusion in radiation exposure compensation program http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/105237-us-senate-panel-to-hear-guam-s-inclusion-in-radiation-exposure-compensation-program, 15 Jun 2018, Mar-Vic Cagurangan – For Variety HAGÅTÑA — Guam is getting close to achieving its long quest for inclusion in the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.

June 15, 2018 Posted by | OCEANIA, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Moving radioactive sludge from near Columbia River to the middle of the Hanford nuclear site

Major Problems at Hanford Nuclear Waste Site – King 5 Reports

Hanford workers move radioactive sludge to new storage facility https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/hanford/hanford-workers-move-radioactive-sludge-to-new-storage-facility/281-564101443

Workers will pump radioactive sludge to an adjacent building near the Columbia River, where it will be packaged and transported to the middle of the Hanford site.  Allison Sundell, June 13, 2018 

June 15, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

A very hard project – Trump trying to bail out coal and nuclear power

Trump Wants to Bail Out Coal and Nuclear Power. Here’s Why That Will Be Hard.   NYT, 

June 15, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected Trump Administration’s plan to rescue coal and nuclear industries

Massive FERC Flop For Plan To Save Coal & Nuclear Power Plants, Clean Technica, June 13th, 2018 by Tina Casey 


The Trump Administration has devised a new plan for saving the nation’s aging fleet of coal and nuclear power plants, but so far it has been going over like a lead balloon. At a Senate hearing yesterday, all five members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave it the thumbs down.

Wait — what? Did you really think there was a chance the plan get the seal of approval from any of the FERC commissioners? Come to think of it, maybe. After all, the FERC Chairman himself was appointed by President* Trump. So, what went wrong at yesterday’s hearing?

What’s The Plan, Stan?

The new plan leverages the Energy Department’s authority to keep the electricity flowing under the federal Power Act. Here’s an explainer from the agency (emphasis added because that’s the important bit):

Under FPA section 202(c) during the continuance of a war in which the United States is engaged or when an emergency exists by reason of a sudden increase in the demand for electric energy, or a shortage of electric energy, or of facilities for the generation or transmission of electric energy, or of the fuel or water for generating facilities, or other causes, the Secretary of Energy may require by order temporary connections of facilities, and generation, delivery, interchange, or transmission of electricity as the Secretary determines will best meet the emergency and serve the public interest.

Fair enough. The question is whether or not an emergency exists, and at yesterday’s hearing the FERC commissioners couldn’t find anything in that long list of section 202(c) emergencies that would apply to the nation’s fleet of coal and nuclear power plants.

Meet The New Plan, Same As The Old Plan

More to the point, November’s midterm Congressional elections are fast approaching, so anything that looks like a taxpayer bailout is doomed to fail.

CleanTechnica predicted as much in a piece published Monday morning, before yesterday’s Senate hearing got under way………https://cleantechnica.com/2018/06/13/massive-ferc-flop-for-plan-to-save-coal-nuclear-power-plants/

June 15, 2018 Posted by | public opinion, USA | Leave a comment

The nuclear power industry is dying under its own weight.New small nuclear reactors too costly, too late

Nuclear Power Won’t Survive Without A Government Handout, Five Thirty Eight, By Maggie Koerth-Baker  14 June 18Once upon a time, if you were an American who didn’t like nuclear energy, you had to stage sit-ins and marches and chain yourself to various inanimate objects in hopes of closing the nation’s nuclear power plants. Today … all you have to do is sit back and wait.

June 15, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

USA Federal nuclear weapons facilities are getting systems to disable drones

Federal nuclear weapons plants getting capability to disable drones,https://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/local/tennessee/2018/06/14/federal-nuclear-weapons-plants-getting-capability-disable-drones/702654002/Staff and Wire reports  June 14, 2018 

June 15, 2018 Posted by | safety, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Natural Resources Defense Council warns against closing Hanford’s underground nuclear waste tanks

Hanford watchdog warns against closing underground tanks http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/hanford/article212957659.html, BY ANNETTE CARY, acary@tricityherald.com, RICHLAND, WA , 14 June 18

A Hanford watchdog group is objecting as the Department of Energy takes the first step toward a plan to fill underground, radioactive waste storage tanks with concrete-like grout and leave them permanently in place. The C Tank Farm, which would be closed first, has not had enough radioactive waste removed to have tanks filled with grout, said Tom Carpenter, executive director of Seattle-based Hanford Challenge.

“This would be a serious setback for the cleanup at Hanford if the DOE is allowed to turn Hanford into the nation’s high-level nuclear waste dump,” Carpenter said. “This will be challenged.”

Geoffrey Fettus, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that “the people of the Pacific Northwest deserve better, and we’ll be there with them opposing this unsound and unsafe effort.”

June 15, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment