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While other nations seek conciliation, agreement, the U.S. will declare that all international sanctions are back in force

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

USA DID have a plan to drop 80 nuclear weapons on Nortrh Korea

Yes, The United States DidDraw Up A Plan To Drop 80 Nuclear Weapons On North Korea, In 2017, a war between North Korea and the United States was “much closer than anyone would know,” President Trump claims. The Drive BY THOMAS NEWDICK, SEPTEMBER 18, 2020. 
Current nuclear war plans are among any nuclear-armed military’s most closely guarded secrets. Details of one such attack plan recently became available, however, revealing that the United States envisaged using 80 nuclear weapons in case of war with North Korea. The way this particular detail emerged is also pretty unusual — the associated passage appeared in U.S. journalist Bob Woodward’s book Rage, detailing President Trump’s administration, which was published this week.

This can be read two ways: a potential attack from the North could involve the use of 80 nuclear weapons, or the same number of weapons can be envisaged as a possible U.S. response to a first strike ordered by Pyongyang.

In an interview with NPR, Woodward cleared up any confusion, noting that the 80 nuclear weapons were part of a U.S. attack plan — OPLAN 5027, which would include ‘decapitating’ the North Korean regime of dictator Kim Jong-un.

“I think given North Korea is a rogue nation, they have, as I report, probably a couple of dozen nuclear weapons well-hidden and concealed,” Woodward explained to NPR. The veteran journalist confirmed that the then U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis was worried he might have to issue orders for a nuclear strike on North Korea. “The potential we’d have to shoot to prevent a second launch was real,” Mattis admitted.
“You’re going to incinerate a couple million people,” Mattis told himself, according to Woodward. “No person has the right to kill a million people as far as I’m concerned, yet that’s what I have to confront.” 
According to Woodward, Trump was worried that shooting down a North Korean ballistic missile (nuclear-armed or otherwise) on a trajectory headed toward the United States could prompt a full-scale nuclear attack from the “Hermit Kingdom.” Woodward writes that Trump had delegated authority to Jim Mattis to launch a conventionally armed interceptor missile to shoot down any North Korean missile that might be headed for the United States.

Woodward said that Mattis confided in him that he was not worried that Trump might launch a preemptive strike against North Korea. Instead, the source of his angst was the North Korean leader in Pyongyang.

In fact, such was Mattis’s level of concern that he would sleep in his gym clothes, Woodward claims. “There was a light in his bathroom… if he was in the shower and they detected a North Korean launch.”

There were alarm bells set up in Mattis’s bedroom and kitchen too, and on more than one occasion during the summer of 2017 they sounded the alert, and he entered the communications room in his Washington DC residency. Woodward explains that Mattis’s car was also constantly followed by an SUV with a team equipped to plot the flight path of any incoming missile, whether it was threatening Japan, South Korea, or the United States. If Mattis considered the missile hostile, he had a mobile communications link to issue launch orders to shoot it down. …………

Clearly, the status of a nuclear-armed North Korea provided much pause for thought within the U.S. administration during Mattis’ tenure as Secretary of Defense. That a strike plan against North Korea involving 80 nuclear weapons was discussed between the president and his defense secretary isn’t all that hard to imagine………..

One of the options under consideration in Washington was OPLAN 5015, a nuclear strike to take out the North Korean leadership, which Woodward also refers to, drawing again from his extensive interviews with Trump. Specifically, Woodward mentions “updating” such a plan — after all, Kim Jong-un and his predecessors will have always been priority targets in the case of an all-out war. ………………

September 19, 2020 Posted by | North Korea, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA taxpayers set up by government in the effort to save uneconomic nuclear power

September 19, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Grief in Western America, as inequities, wildfires, and climate change collide

Climate Grief Is Burning Across the American West
Climate change is making wildfires bigger, fiercer, and deadlier, fueling a new kind of despair on the West Coast—and beyond.   Wired  16 Sept 20,
GRIEF HAS SETTLED over the western US, along with the thick haze of smoke pouring from dozens of massive wildfires up and down California, Oregon, Colorado, and Washington. It’s grief over the thousands of structures and at least 33 lives lost so far; grief over another villain conspiring with Covid-19 to lock people indoors; grief that the orange-hued dystopia of Blade Runner is now a reality in smoky San Francisco; grief over losing any sense of normalcy, or indeed a clear future.Enveloping all of those emotions—packaging them into an overwhelming feeling of doom—is climate grief, as psychologists call it, the dread that humans have thoroughly corrupted the planet, and that the planet is now exacting its revenge. Wildfires were around before human-made climate change, but by pulling a variety of strings, it’s made them bigger, fiercer, and ultimately deadlier, creating what fire historian Steve Pyne has dubbed the Pyrocene, an Age of Flames.

By burning fossil fuels, we’ve primed the landscape to burn explosively, and by pushing human communities deeper and deeper into what was once wilderness, we’re provided plenty of opportunities for ignition—and plenty of opportunities for grief as these forces catastrophically combine.

“So much is out of our control,” says Adrienne Heinz, a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, who studies the effects of disasters like wildfires and the Covid-19 pandemic. “We lose our sense of personal agency over how we will live—the decisions are made for us.”

It shifts from grief over what’s happening with our climate—can we feel safe in our own communities?—to despair, the differentiator being that you don’t feel like tomorrow is going to be any better than today,” Heinz adds. “That’s where it gets really dark.”

For the people of Northern California, an exhausting parade of massive wildfires have marched across the landscape over the past several autumns, with many people having to evacuate several years in a row. Last October, the Kincade Fire burned 120 square miles. The November before, the Camp Fire destroyed the town of Paradise and killed 86 people. And in October 2017, the Tubbs Fire obliterated 5,600 structures and killed 22.

“The catchphrase—kind of with a bitterness around here—is, ‘This is the new normal,’” says Barbara Young, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Healdsburg, north of San Francisco, who had to evacuate last month. “And so with that, I think it’s implied that this isn’t going away—our climate is changing. These aren’t flukes, this is the trend. And I think everyone is very clear that this is not a one-off. This is every year now.”  ……………

Thus inequities, wildfires, and climate change collide. Each massive problem on its own is difficult for the human mind to parse, much less all three together. “I am doing a lot of work with people on really increasing psychological self-care, spiritual self-care, physical self-care, and to help that fatigue,” says Young, the therapist in Healdsburg. “And I do think that is connected with climate grief. Finally, maybe we are forced to see how interconnected everything is.”

September 17, 2020 Posted by | climate change, psychology - mental health, USA | 1 Comment

Western Canadians do not want ”Small” nuclear reactors in Sakatchewan

Premier asks Trudeau to support nuclear reactors in upcoming throne speech, Yorkton This Week Michael Bramadat-Willcock – Local Journalism Initiative (Canada’s National Observer) / Yorkton This Week, SEPTEMBER 16, 2020 Premier Scott Moe has sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outlining Saskatchewan’s priorities ahead of the federal throne speech on Sept. 23. In it, he is asking Trudeau to support nuclear development in the province.

Moe wants the development of small modular nuclear reactors, also known as SMRs, in Saskatchewan to be part of Trudeau’s green agenda. ……..

In December, Moe signed a memorandum of understanding with the premiers of Ontario and New Brunswick to work together on further developing the nuclear industry.  ……..

In his letter, the premier also focused on support for the oil and gas sectors, and pushed for pausing the carbon tax.

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear arguments on the federal carbon tax at the same time as the throne speech is delivered. …………

But western Canadians don’t all see eye-to-eye on the deployment of nuclear reactors, even small ones.

Committee for Future Generations outreach co-ordinator Candyce Paul of La Plonge at the English River First Nation earlier told Canada’s National Observer that while they haven’t been consulted on any aspects of the plan, all signs point to the north as a site for the reactors.

On Tuesday, Paul called it ironic that Moe spoke of western alienation from Ottawa when many in the north feel the same way about Regina.

“Trudeau, please represent the people of northern Saskatchewan because Scott Moe does not,” Paul said.

Paul’s group fights nuclear waste storage in Saskatchewan and was instrumental in stopping a proposal that considered Beauval, Pinehouse and Creighton as storage locations in 2011.

“When we informed the communities that they were looking at planning to bury nuclear waste up here in 2011, once they learned what that entailed, everybody said, ‘No way.’ Eighty per cent of the people in the north said, ‘No way, absolutely not.’ It didn’t matter if they worked for Cameco or the other mines. They said, if it comes here, we will not support it coming here,” Paul said in an interview last month. ………..

Paul said the intent behind using SMRs is anything but green and that the real goal is to prop up Saskatchewan’s ailing uranium industry and develop oilsands in the northwest.

“He’s put it right in the letter. His fear is they’re going to put out a green policy that will hurt the oil and gas sector,” Paul said.

“They’ve been looking for a way to bring the tar sands to northern Saskatchewan. We all know the mess that makes. Using small modular reactors is not lessening the carbon impact.”

She said in August that communities around Canada, and especially in the Far North, have long been pitched as sites for SMR development and nuclear waste storage, but have refused.

“None of our people are going to get trained for operating these. It supports people from other places. It doesn’t really support us,” Paul said.

Paul said on Tuesday that SMRs under 200 megawatts are currently excluded from environmental impact assessments, which means a lack of opportunity for public input.

She also said that interconnected water systems in the north would mean pollution would travel quickly into the ecosystem if there was a mishap at a reactor site.

Brooke Dobni, professor of strategy at the University of Saskatchewan’s Edwards School of Business, told Canada’s National Observer in August that any development of small reactors would take a long time.

“It could be a good thing, but on the other hand, it might have some pitfalls. Those talks take years,” Dobni said.

He said nuclear reactors face bigger challenges that have to be addressed before they can go ahead, such as public support for protecting the environment, the high cost of building infrastructure, and containing nuclear fallout and radiation.

“Anything nuclear is 25 years out if you’re talking about small reactors, those kinds of things to power up the city,” Dobni said.

“That technology is a long ways away and a lot of it’s going to depend on public opinion.

“The court for that is the court of public opinion, whether or not people want that in their own backyard, and that’s the whole issue anywhere in the world.”

On Tuesday, Paul asked the federal government to invest in critical infrastructure instead.

“We need money spent in a serious way. Not on small modular reactors that could happen in 25 years. We need things now. To bring us up to the standards in our health system, we need health facilities. The public doesn’t want the government subsidizing industries that are about to go bust. It’s a waste of money,” Paul said.

“We have extreme needs that aren’t being met by industry and never will be met by industry. Trudeau, put the money where you want to make some real reconciliation happen.”

September 17, 2020 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Indigenous woman’s long trek to protest nuclear waste dump, and encourage others.

Concerns about nuclear waste near Ignace, Ont., prompts one woman to hit the pavement , Darlene Necan says not enough Indigenous people raising their concerns over nuclear repository

Jeff Walters · CBC News ·Sep 16, 2020   One woman’s concern over a proposed nuclear waste repository near Ignace, Ont., means she will walk hundreds of kilometres to raise awareness about the project.

For the past decade, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has engaged the Township of Ignace, and eight nearby First Nations to determine if the area is interested in hosting the repository.

Darlene Necan, a member of the Ojibways of Saugeen First Nation in Savant Lake, about 150 kilometres north of Ignace, said she has concerns over what the project could do to the water in the area.

“The amount of people here are very terrified and scared. Nobody will stand up to nothing,” she said.

Necan has so far walked from Ignace to Savant Lake, and plans to continue on to Sioux Lookout, before looping back to Ignace.

“We did meet up with the tourist camp owners along the way,” she said, referring to camp operators on Highway 599.

“They are in support because they said how are we going to invite the Americans or people from other countries to come fish in our nuke waters now. They say stuff like that.”

Necan said many members of her community have not been engaged in any discussion of nuclear waste – but she said that falls at the hands of Chief and Council, not the NWMO.

We’re still at a loss about this nuclear thing, so a lot of people cannot say that we’re in the wrong for standing up to it. We’re at a loss, because the leadership past, have never consulted, we never even consented to it.”…………..

September 17, 2020 Posted by | Canada, indigenous issues, PERSONAL STORIES, wastes | Leave a comment

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigating FirstEnergy over its involvement in the Ohio nuclear corruption scandal

Now the SEC is investigating FirstEnergy and Ohio’s $1 billion nuclear bailout bill: This Week in the CLE, By Laura Johnston, cleveland.comCLEVELAND, Ohio — Who’s investigating FirstEnergy, in relation to the $1 billion nuclear bailout bill?

We’re talking about the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission investigation on This Week in the CLE…….

September 17, 2020 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Decorum be damned. Top science editor spits the dummy with Trump

September 17, 2020 Posted by | media, USA | Leave a comment

Relicensing Turkey Point nuclear station – a striking example of a dangerous action in climate change times

Even more bizarre, under current regulations, nuclear operators can take up to 60 years to decommission a closed plant. Decommissioning is the process by which a nuclear reactor is dismantled to the point that it no longer requires radiation protection measures. In the case of Turkey Point, if the reactors stay online beyond 2050, decommissioning could extend into the next century, when sea level rise due to climate change is predicted to inundate southern Florida.
Nuclear plants and climate change don’t mix. While proponents of nuclear energy often argue that nuclear power is a necessary tool against the climate crisis, nuclear power itself is at risk from climate change.
In this process, major safety and environmental issues have been declared off limits by a regulatory sleight of hand known as the Generic Environmental Impact Statement. In 1996, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission drafted a generic analysis of those environmental impacts it deemed would be the same for every nuclear reactor license renewal. Because the commission determined that this statement addresses a set of designated “generic” impacts, and put the result of that analysis in law, individual applicants for renewed nuclear reactor licenses are not required to address those safety and environmental issues. Rather, applicants only need to supplement that generic impact statement with an analysis of issues categorically designated “site-specific.”  
With climate change, aging nuclear plants need closer scrutiny. Turkey Point shows why. By   Caroline Reiser , September 14, 2020

Last December, two nuclear reactors at Florida’s Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station, located 25 miles south of Miami, became the first reactors in the world to receive regulatory approval to remain operational for up to 80 years, meaning reactors that first came online in the 1970s could keep running beyond 2050.

The ages of the Turkey Point reactors are not unusual; of the 95 reactors currently licensed to operate in the United States, only five are less than 30 years old, while more than half are 40 or more years old. The Turkey Point reactors are a bellwether, just the first of possibly many aging nuclear reactors that will seek permission to stay online well into the middle of the century. Not long after the December decision, in March 2020, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted two more reactors, located in Pennsylvania, the same extensions that it gave Turkey Point.

In pursing these extensions, the US commercial nuclear industry and its supporters collide with the realities of the aging US nuclear fleet and climate science projections. Existing safety and environmental requirements fail to provide the oversight necessary to ensure communities and the environment are protected. As nuclear reactors receive permission to operate for twice as long as originally envisaged, and in a world that, because of climate change, is drastically different from the one they were built for, the insufficiency of the existing regulatory framework is daunting.

A 40-year lifespan? At the beginning of its commercial nuclear power program, the United States designed and licensed reactors with a 40-year projected lifetime. Once the 40-year license is set to expire, regulations require the reactor owner to apply for a renewed license in order to continue operating for an additional 20 years. What the regulations don’t make clear, however, is the number of times a reactor license can be renewed. What Turkey Point received last year was not its first, but its second extension—what regulators call a subsequent renewed license. Continue reading

September 15, 2020 Posted by | climate change, investigative journalism, Reference, safety, USA | Leave a comment

The coronavirus pandemic and the increased safety risks for nuclear reactors

Nuclear Alert: NRC & Nuke Safety In the Time of COVID-19 September 14, 2020  By The Fairewinds Crew

First off, we would like to preface this by saying that the world simply cannot afford a meltdown or nuclear disaster on top of the already traumatic times wrought by Pandemic 2020.

Did you know that nuclear plants close for scheduled refueling every 18-months, meaning that 1/3 of the operating reactors are off-line each spring and fall? For the record, more than three dozen reactors had planned to do so in Spring 2020. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) defines this rather temporary closing as an outage. During these outages, used-up nuclear fuel is replaced, and critical safety inspections are performed.

You may remember, that in early May, Maggie wrote extensively about the numerous safety risks to all of us if the nuclear industry continued operating these reactors during the COVID-19 Pandemic without implementing critical safety protocols and procedures. Along with 86 other organizations from all over the U.S., Fairewinds Energy Education nonprofit cosigned a letter to Vice President Pence and the COVID-19 Task Force detailing significant safety risks that must be addressed. You can read more about that letter and the increased safety hazards here. To date, we have received no response!

When the COVID-19 Pandemic began in late February, atomic reactor operators and owner corporations begged the NRC for special exemptions from regulatory requirements to implement critical safety and security inspections for up to two years! And, in an extreme example of regulatory capture, the NRC has approved all the corporate requested safety inspection delays, handing them out like candy to eager Trick-or-Treaters on Halloween! We know you have heard this before from the Crew at Fairewinds Energy Education, however, let us emphasize again that the federal laws [called statutes] that authorize the NRC, chartered it to protect ‘public health and safety’. Letting the industry continue to ignore critical safety inspections risks public health and safety!

During the past decade, the success in the growth of renewables has caused the nuclear industry to fight tooth and nail to keep operating even though nuclear power plants are much more expensive to operate than sustainable energy sources, and nukes charge much higher rates to consumers. Additionally, the risk of a disaster or other calamity has increased dramatically due to the old age of all current U.S. operating reactors. Instead of moving to solar and wind and shutting down these decrepit reactors, the energy and utility corporations are trying to reduce their higher operating costs by laying off employees and pushing the people remaining to work harder to save money and continue stockholder profit earnings.

Rather than slowing down these Spring refueling outages and allowing more time for inspections and repairs due to the extra burden the COVID-19 Pandemic has put on their employees and contractors, America’s nuclear monopoly has decided to risk ‘public health and safety’ – you remember what the federal law states – by reducing the amount of safety inspections the staff at each reactor was scheduled to perform. We agree that squeezing three or more people into a confined space for an inspection could be a recipe for COVID-19 transmission. However, slowing the inspection down and using fewer people at a time means having the reactor offline [shutdown] for a longer amount of time. In other words, the truth is that any operating schedule delay reduces each corporation’s profits.

Most atomic power reactors earn $1Million dollars in revenue every day. In addition, vice presidents, plant managers, and other corporate functionaries are on special bonus plans equivalent to between 40 and 70% of their salaries in a special year-end bonus. Such huge sums create a unique incentive for nuclear corporate executives to keep the outages as short as possible. When a vice president earns about $500,000, they will receive a $350,000 year-end bonus for meeting corporate goals, especially a short outage. We tend to notice that bonuses of that size cloud one’s judgment. Furthermore, we are reminded of Upton Sinclair when he so aptly said, “it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

Is the risk of a disaster and a major radiation release to the surrounding community worth the extra millions of dollars earned by the corporate owner for starting these reactors up too soon? We don’t believe so.

Despite there being an abundance of available electricity without even using the atomic chain-reaction, the nuclear power operators and their corporate owners as well as the nuclear industry lobby are claiming that delayed testing will not cause a disaster and no nearby communities will be damaged or deal with the radioactive exposure to its residents.

Safety risks obviously increase because critical inspections are being delayed.


September 15, 2020 Posted by | health, safety, USA | 2 Comments

Fires show climate change an existential threat, says Biden 

Fires show climate change an existential threat, says Biden 

14 Spt 20, Dense smog from US bushfires that have burnt more than 2 million hectares and killed 31 people smothers the West Coast, as presidential challenger Joe Biden warns climate change is becoming an existential issue. … (Subscribers only)

September 15, 2020 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

Opinion poll shows unpopularity of nuclear power in the USA.

Nuclear Energy Among the Least Popular Sources of Power in the U.S., Polling Shows
Nearly half of U.S. adults oppose increasing the country’s number of nuclear energy facilities, Morning Consult, BY LISA MARTINE JENKINS, September 9, 2020 
  • 1 in 3 adults think the U.S. should keep current nuclear plants online but not build any new facilities.
  • 16% believe the U.S. should keep existing nuclear plants operational and build new reactors.
  • 29% view nuclear energy favorably and 49% view it unfavorably, making it the most unpopular energy source other than coal.
September 9, 2020 at 3:30 pm ET

But new Morning Consult data shows that 21 percent of U.S. adults believe that the country should both stop constructing new nuclear energy facilities and halt current production, while 33 percent agree that new construction should be stopped but think that existing sites should continue producing energy.

Sixteen percent believes that the country should build more reactors, and just 6 percent says that the country should keep current plants running, build more reactors and promote civil nuclear programs abroad (as the United States has done most recently with Poland).

The Aug. 24-27 survey polled 2,200 U.S. adults and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

The survey results come as the Trump administration pushes the development of nuclear energy both domestically and internationally, investing especially in the development of advanced technology in order to speed nuclear’s adoption amid carbon emission reduction goals coming due.

And Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has also expressed interest in developing advanced technology and leveraging existing nuclear capabilities as part of his wider energy plan released in June. (When contacted by Morning Consult, the Biden campaign did not provide information on the former vice president’s views on nuclear beyond what is included in the publicly available plan.)

And while the popular progressive platform the Green New Deal makes no specific mention of nuclear energy, one of its sponsors, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), said last year that it “leaves the door open on nuclear.”

But even with its political support, when compared with other energy sources nuclear seems to have a bad rap among the general public. As compared with a number of energy sources, coal was the only option respondents regarded less favorably than nuclear, with 24 percent viewing coal favorably and 58 percent unfavorably.

Nuclear energy’s net favorability — the favorable share minus the unfavorable share — is similarly underwater, at minus 20 points; this is nearly 70 points below that of natural gas, a fossil fuel whose emissions contribute to climate change. Zero-emission sources such as solar and wind topped the list, with net favorabilities of 76 and 65 points, respectively. ………

Overall, the survey found that more U.S. adults oppose increasing the number of nuclear facilities in the United States than support doing so, ………..

Overall, the survey found that more U.S. adults oppose increasing the number of nuclear facilities in the United States than support doing so…

September 15, 2020 Posted by | public opinion, USA | Leave a comment

In 2017, USA considered plans to attack North Korea using nuclear weapons

September 15, 2020 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Seabrook nuclear power plant’s license extension upheld, with conditions

Seabrook nuclear power plant’s license extension upheld, with conditions, By Angeljean Chiaramida,  14 Sep 20,

SEABROOK – After nearly a year of analysis, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board upheld the operating license amendment to NextEra Energy’s nuclear power plant in Seabrook.

The board in its 207-page ruling Friday, Sept. 11, however, imposed four additional conditions to address further on the alkali-silica reaction (ASR) concrete degradation issues within the plant’s structures……..

September 15, 2020 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste flyers heading to 50,000 households in Grey-Bruce

September 15, 2020 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment