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End of nuclear cooperation waivers could quietly kill Iran deal

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April 25, 2019 Posted by | EUROPE, Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Chelsea Manning is denied bail, by U.S. appeals court

U.S. appeals court denies Manning’s bail request, upholds contempt finding, Sarah N. Lynch, 24 Apr 19, WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning will remain in jail after a federal appeals court on Monday denied her request to be released on bail, and upheld a lower court’s decision to hold Manning in civil contempt for refusing to testify before a grand jury.

The ruling is a blow to Manning, who has been detained since March after she declined to answer questions in connection with the government’s long-running investigation into Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange.

In a comment released by a spokesman, Manning said that while disappointing, the appeals court ruling will still allow her to “raise issues as the government continues to abuse the grand jury process.”

I don’t have anything to contribute to this, or any other grand jury,” Manning added.

Assange was arrested on April 11 at Ecuador’s Embassy in London, after U.S. prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia unsealed a criminal case against him alleging he conspired with Manning to commit computer intrusion.

The Justice Department said Assange was arrested under an extradition treaty between the United States and Britain.

……Manning has tried to fight the grand jury subpoena in the Assange case, citing her First, Fourth and Sixth Amendment rights under the Constitution.

Manning’s lawyer, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, suggested prosecutors were abusing “grand jury power,” and that “the likely purpose of her subpoena is to help the prosecutor preview and undermine her potential testimony as a defense witness for a pending trial.”

Her lawyers have also argued that the courtroom was improperly sealed during substantial portions of the hearing.https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-manning/us-appeals-court-denies-mannings-bail-request-upholds-contempt-finding-idUSKCN1RY14O

April 25, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

How a nuclear apocalypse could be launched: how a president’s power to do this could be restrained

April 25, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

In USA most men support nuclear power, but most women do not.

Americans love clean energy. Do they care if it includes nuclear?

A new poll gets deep into voter preferences on climate policy. VOX, By Nuclear power: The numbers on nuclear power are fascinatingly all over the place. More Republicans than Democrats support it, and more Democrats than Republicans oppose, but not by a ton in either case. The biggest split was not by party but by gender, with 62 percent of men somewhat or strongly supporting it and just 32 percent of women. ……. https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2019/4/23/18507297/nuclear-energy-renewables-voters-poll

April 25, 2019 Posted by | public opinion, USA | Leave a comment

A dangerous mix – LSD drugs and sailors on nuclear aircraft carriers

Here’s Why You Don’t Mix LSD and Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carriers   https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/heres-why-you-dont-mix-lsd-and-nuclear-powered-aircraft-carriers-54002

This can’t be good.

by Task and Purpose, 24 Apr 19, But the fact that these LSD rings popped up in the first place isn’t surprising at all. As I previously wrote, the middle of nowhere is the same kind of boring and awful whether it’s patrolling the Pacific or guarding nuclear silos in America’s heartland.

A sailor assigned to the nuclear reactor department aboard the USS Ronald Reagan admitted to bringing LSD aboard the aircraft carrier, Navy Times reports.

In a copy of a plea deal obtained by Navy Times, Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear Power) 3rd Class Philip S. Colegrove said he “wrongfully” brought the powerful hallucinogen aboard the Reagan while docked at various ports across Japan, as though there’s a right way to bring acid into the heart of a nuclear-powered warship.

The recent guilty pleas from Colegove and Electrician’s Mate (Nuclear Power) 2nd Class Sean M. Gevero bring the total number of Reagan nuclear reactor sailors disciplined in connection to “LSD abuse” aboard the Reagan to four, per Navy Times. A fifth is currently awaiting an Article 32 hearing

Ten other sailors, all from the same department, already faced administrative discipline last year for possessing and distributing LSD in connection to a drug ring aboard the nuclear aircraft carrier

The prevalence of LSD in a critical nuclear-related facility is surprisingly not confined to the Navy: In May 2018, 14 airmen from the Air Force security units at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming tasked with safeguarding nuclear missile silos were disciplined for dropping acid between shifts.

But the fact that these LSD rings popped up in the first place isn’t surprising at all. As I previously wrote, the middle of nowhere is the same kind of boring and awful whether it’s patrolling the Pacific or guarding nuclear silos in America’s heartland.

Anyway, if anyone has any insights into the right way to bring LSD into your (potentially radioactive) place of work, give me a shout — for, uh, science.

This article originally appeared at Task & Purpose. Follow Task & Purpose on Twitter.

April 25, 2019 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear reactors at risk from flooding due to climate change

Flooding linked to climate change puts beaches, nuclear plants at risk   https://www.axios.com/climate-change-flooding-waikiki-beach-nuclear-plants-f2c4da7b-0155-4749-a47d-2e606066ee52.html 22 Apr 19, An increasing risk of flooding across the U.S. from climate change has caused lawmakers — from Hawaii to the East Coast — to consider new measures to protect at-risk areas.

The big picture: The risks span from the nation’s natural jewels to some of its most important infrastructure. Rising sea levels mean that Hawaii’s Waikiki Beach could be underwater within the next 15 to 20 years — and an increasing number of U.S. nuclear plants were never designed to handle the flood risk from climate change.

  • State lawmakers are considering spending millions for a coastline protection program aimed at defending the city from regular tidal inundations, AP reports.
  • 54 of the 60 nuclear plants in the U.S. aren’t prepared for the flood risks expected due to climate change “Nineteen face three or more threats that they weren’t designed to handle,” Bloomberg reports.

April 23, 2019 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Local residents still waiting for old Santa Susana Field Laboratory to be cleaned up

 

As hikers head to Santa Susana Field Lab, residents rally for a cleanup , Daily News, By OLGA GRIGORYANTS | ogrigoryants@scng.com | Los Angeles Daily News April 19, 2019   An Earth Day nature walk sponsored by Boeing Co. near the old Santa Susana Field Laboratory is drawing the scorn of local residents, who say the walk is part of an effort to gloss over the lack of a cleanup in the area after years of Cold War contamination from the rocket engine testing.

The walk includes a tour of the former field laboratory and the landscape around it in a region that includes massive sandstone rock formations, expansive views and oak trees nestled in the hills above the west edge of the San Fernando Valley……

a group of residents and activists plan to show up in the area Saturday to continue efforts calling for a long-promised clean up of contamination at the site that dates back to the Cold War, and to research and testing on the Mercury and Apollo missions. ….

The lab appeared on the map in the 1940s, and about two decades later it became the site of a partial meltdown accident that left the area polluted with radioactive and chemical contamination.

The United States Department of Energy and NASA signed an agreement in 2010, promising to remove all contamination from the site by 2017. The state’s Department of Toxic Substance Control, or DTSC, asked Boeing, which owns a portion of the area, to commit to its own cleanup. https://www.dailynews.com/2019/04/19/as-hikers-head-to-santa-susana-field-lab-residents-rally-for-a-cleanup/

April 23, 2019 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment

Why the USA media covers climate change so poorly

Why is the US news media so bad at covering climate change? Guardian, Kyle Pope and Mark Hertsgaard, 23 Apr 2019
The US news media devotes startlingly little time to climate change – how can newsrooms cover it in ways that will finally resonate with their audiences?

This article is excerpted from a piece published by Columbia Journalism Reviewand the Nation. The Guardian is partnering with CJR and the Nation on a 30 April conference aimed at reframing the way journalists cover climate change.More information about the conference, including a link to RSVP, is here.

Last summer, during the deadliest wildfire season in California’s history, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes got into a revealing Twitter discussion about why US television doesn’t much cover climate change. Elon Green, an editor at Longform, had tweeted, “Sure would be nice if our news networks – the only outlets that can force change in this country – would cover it with commensurate urgency.” Hayes (who is an editor at large for the Nation) replied that his program had tried. Which was true: in 2016, All In With Chris Hayes spent an entire week highlighting the impact of climate change in the US as part of a look at the issues that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were ignoring. The problem, Hayes tweeted, was that “every single time we’ve covered [climate change] it’s been a palpable ratings killer. So the incentives are not great.”

The Twittersphere pounced. “TV used to be obligated to put on programming for the public good even if it didn’t get good ratings. What happened to that?” asked @JThomasAlbert. @GalJaya said, “Your ‘ratings killer’ argument against covering #climatechange is the reverse of that used during the 2016 primary when corporate media justified gifting Trump $5 billion in free air time because ‘it was good for ratings,’ with disastrous results for the nation.”

When @mikebaird17 urged Hayes to invite Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University, one of the best climate science communicators around, on to his show, she tweeted that All In had canceled on her twice – once when “I was literally in the studio w[ith] the earpiece in my ear” – and so she wouldn’t waste any more time on it.

“Wait, we did that?” Hayes tweeted back. “I’m very very sorry that happened.”

This spring Hayes redeemed himself, airing perhaps the best coverage on American television yet of the Green New Deal. All In devoted its entire 29 March broadcast to analyzing the congressional resolution, co-sponsored by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey, which outlines a plan to mobilize the United States to stave off climate disaster and, in the process, create millions of green jobs. In a shrewd answer to the ratings challenge, Hayes booked Ocasio-Cortez, the most charismatic US politician of the moment, for the entire hour.

Yet at a time when civilization is accelerating toward disaster, climate silence continues to reign across the bulk of the US news media. Especially on television, where most Americans still get their news, the brutal demands of ratings and money work against adequate coverage of the biggest story of our time. Many newspapers, too, are failing the climate test. Last October, the scientists of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a landmark report, warning that humanity had a mere 12 years to radically slash greenhouse gas emissions or face a calamitous future in which hundreds of millions of people worldwide would go hungry or homeless or worse. Only 22 of the 50 biggest newspapers in the United States covered that report.

Instead of sleepwalking us toward disaster, the US news media need to remember their Paul Revere responsibilities – to awaken, inform and rouse the people to action. To that end, the Nation and CJR are launching Covering Climate Change: A New Playbook for a 1.5-Degree World, a project aimed at dramatically improving US media coverage of the climate crisis. When the IPCC scientists issued their 12-year warning, they said that limiting temperature rise to 1.5C would require radically transforming energy, agriculture, transportation, construction and other core sectors of the global economy. Our project is grounded in the conviction that the news sector must be transformed just as radically.

The project will launch on 30 April with a conference at the Columbia Journalism School – a working forum where journalists will gather to start charting a new course. We envision this event as the beginning of a conversation that America’s journalists and news organizations must have with one another, as well as with the public we are supposed to be serving, about how to cover this rapidly uncoiling emergency. Judging by the climate coverage to date, most of the US news media still don’t grasp the seriousness of this issue. There is a runaway train racing toward us, and its name is climate change. That is not alarmism; it is scientific fact. We as a civilization urgently need to slow that train down and help as many people off the tracks as possible. It’s an enormous challenge, and if we don’t get it right, nothing else will matter. The US mainstream news media, unlike major news outlets in Europe and independent media in the US, have played a big part in getting it wrong for many years. It’s past time to make amends.

If 1.5C is the new limit for a habitable planet, how can newsrooms tell that story in ways that will finally resonate with their audiences? And given journalism’s deeply troubled business model, how can such coverage be paid for? Some preliminary suggestions. (You can read this story in its entirety at Columbia Journalism Review or The Nation.)

Don’t blame the audience, and listen to the kids. The onus is on news organizations to craft the story in ways that will demand the attention of readers and viewers. The specifics of how to do this will vary depending on whether a given outlet works in text, radio, TV or some other medium and whether it is commercially or publicly funded, but the core challenge is the same.

A majority of Americans are interested in climate change and want to hear what can be done about it. This is especially true of the younger people that news organizations covet as an audience. Even most young Republicans want climate action. And no one is speaking with more clarity now than Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Villaseñor and the other teenagers who have rallied hundreds of thousands of people into the streets worldwide for the School Strike 4 Climate demonstrations.

Establish a diverse climate desk, but don’t silo climate coverage. ……

Learn the science…….

Don’t internalize the spin. ……

Lose the Beltway mindset. …..

Help the heartland…….

Cover the solutions. ,,,,

Don’t be afraid to point fingers. ….

If American journalism doesn’t get the climate story right – and soon – no other story will matter. The news media’s past climate failures can be redeemed only by an immediate shift to more high-profile, inclusive and fearless coverage. Our #CoveringClimateNow project calls on all journalists and news outlets to join the conversation about how to make that happen. As the nation’s founders envisioned long ago, the role of a free press is to inform the people and hold the powerful accountable. These days, our collective survival demands nothing less. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/22/why-is-the-us-news-media-so-bad-at-covering-climate-change

April 23, 2019 Posted by | climate change, media, USA | Leave a comment

ANOTHER FEDERAL JUDGE RULES THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ILLEGALLY ROLLED BACK CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTIONS 

ON EVE OF EARTH DAY, ANOTHER FEDERAL JUDGE RULES THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ILLEGALLY ROLLED BACK CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTIONS  https://www.atg.wa.gov/news/news-releases/eve-earth-day-another-federal-judge-rules-trump-administration-illegally-rolled   Apr 21 2019

AG Ferguson’s 20th legal victory against Trump Administration

OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson released the following statement today after a federal judge in Montana ruled that the Trump Administration illegally revoked an Obama-era moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands, and must comply with a federal law requiring environmental analysis before leasing coal-mining rights on public lands:

“It’s fitting that on the eve of Earth Day, another federal judge slaps down the Trump Administration’s illegal effort to roll back basic environmental protections,” said Ferguson. “The Trump Administration illegally revoked the Obama-era moratorium on leasing public lands for coal-mining even though its Interior Department admitted it did not fully understand the societal and environmental impacts of extraction. This ruling sends a clear message that the federal government cannot take an action that impacts our environment without careful review and deliberation – which, to be polite, is not a strong suit of The Trump Administration.”

Case background

In May 2017, Ferguson filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management over a program to lease coal mining rights on public land, which contributes to significant coal-train traffic through the state of Washington. The lawsuit challenged then-Secretary Ryan Zinke’s decision to restart the federal coal-leasing program without supplementing or replacing its nearly 40-year-old environmental study.

The lawsuit was jointly filed by California, New Mexico, New York and Washington in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, Great Falls Division.

Coal from federal leases following Zinke’s order would be transported by rail across Washington. In particular, coal from the Powder River Basin is shipped to or through the state. According to the Washington Department of Transportation, the baseline number of trains in 2015 numbered 70 per day on some track segments in the state, including multiple coal trains. Diesel exhaust and coal dust from uncovered coal train cars can negatively affect air quality.

Washington has a further interest in the effects of increased coal production and consumption on climate change. Washington experiences many negative effects of climate change, including rising ambient temperatures, a diminished and unpredictable snowpack necessary for water consumption and hydropower generation, and ocean warming and acidification, which is harmful to Washington’s shellfishery.

The AGO’s Counsel for Environmental Protection is handling the case for Washington.

Attorney General Ferguson created the Counsel for Environmental Protection in 2016 to protect our environment and the safety and health of all Washingtonians.

Ferguson has filed 35 lawsuits against the Trump Administration and has not lost a case. Ferguson now has 20 legal victories against the Trump Administration. Eleven of those cases are finished and cannot be appealed. The Trump Administration has or may appeal the other nine, which include lawsuits involving Dreamers and 3D-printed guns. After more than two years of litigation, no court to rule on the merits of the Attorney General’s arguments in a lawsuit against the Trump Administration has ruled against the office.

-30-

The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.

Contacts:

Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; Brionna.aho@atg.wa.gov

April 23, 2019 Posted by | environment, Legal, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Pennsylvania considers subsidising so-called “clean” nuclear energy

April 23, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

A conservative backlash against Trump, as he appoints fossil fuel insiders to federal agencies?

April 22, 2019 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Frida Berrigan’s personal story about nuclear weapons

April 22, 2019 Posted by | PERSONAL STORIES, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

An emerging hopeful trend for US nuclear policy

A new, hopeful moment for US nuclear policy, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, By Joe Cirincione, April 17, 2019  Underneath the daily, depressing headlines, five converging trends offer hope, for the first time in more than a decade, for dramatic positive change in US nuclear policy.

The first trend is the growing recognition that current US nuclear security strategies have failed to make America safer. The policies pursued by President Donald Trump have made every nuclear danger he inherited worse, not better. Military budgets are spiraling out of control, new weapons and new doctrines are increasing the risk of nuclear use, effective treaties and agreements are frivolously discarded, and diligent diplomacy is replaced with narcissistic summitry. Our policies have alienated our allies and, most ominously, the instability of the president has exposed the underlying insanity of a system that gives one person the unchecked power to start a nuclear war that could end human civilization.

It is hard to find a bright spot in the Trump approach to nuclear affairs. The world is fully entrenched in a new arms race, with every nuclear-armed nation producing new weapons. Yet Trump is trying to destroy the accord that rolled back and contained Iran’s nuclear program, and he has seesawed his way to an incoherent North Korea policy. In fact, he and National Security Adviser John Bolton are methodically shredding the entire nuclear safety net of agreements, treaties, alliances, and security assurances constructed by their predecessors over decades.

This torrent of bad news has had one positive impact: It has made crystal clear that the United States needs a fundamentally new, saner nuclear strategy.

The second trend offers hope for developing such a strategy. The November elections brought fresh leadership and energy to the Congress. The House of Representatives can provide a check on a dangerous president and become a proving ground for new ideas and new policies. Leaders old and new are rising to the challenge.

Rep. Adam Smith, a 20-year veteran and now chair of the House Armed Services Committee, wants to “totally re-do the nuclear posture review.” Dozens of senators and members have introduced visionary legislation that could form the planks of a new strategic platform. There will be debates and votes on new weapons, a no first use policy, and efforts to prevent a nuclear arms race by preserving existing treaties.

The presidential campaigns, meanwhile, have started in earnest. Some candidates are already advancing dramatic, alternative security policies to end unjust wars and rethink our nuclear posture. Sen. Elizabeth Warren—who says, “our current nuclear strategy is not just outdated, it is dangerous”—mirrors Smith’s policy priorities with a three-part proposal: No new weapons, more arms control not less, and no first use. Sen. Bernie Sanders told a Fox News town hall April 15, “We have to bring the United States and the rest of the world together to do everything we can to rid this world of nuclear weapons.”

Meanwhile, six candidates have already said that one of their top priorities would be to re-commit the United States to the Iran anti-nuclear deal, including Warren, Sanders, Kamala Harris, Julian Castro, Amy Klobuchar, and Wayne Messam. Many also support negotiations with North Korea—but done with a competent team, a fully staffed State Department, and plans that rely less on summitry and more on diplomacy.

The most important trend, however, is the rise of vibrant mass movements that have translated angry street protests into sustained political action, powered 100 new members into Congress, and now are linking up with the “activist leadership” style of these members and some presidential candidates. Though primarily focused on domestic matters, these organizations are ready to embrace national security in their campaigns for a more just and equitable society. This is precisely the type of grassroots pressure needed to encourage political leaders to break with the nuclear-industrial complex and its outmoded programs and strategies—and then press for the implementation of new policies in Congress and in the White House.

Relatedly, the success of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons campaign indicates that the global appetite for the elimination of these weapons is growing. Allied governments—often in the grip of conservative defense officials who resist changes to nuclear doctrine—may be more receptive to discussion about disarmament, faced with this popular sentiment and the scares Trump’s personality and policies have given them.

Finally, trillion-dollar tax cuts and profligate military spending have brought budget realities home to America.  ….. https://thebulletin.org/2019/04/a-new-hopeful-moment-for-us-nuclear-policy/

April 22, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020, politics | Leave a comment

U.S. Department of Energy seeks new certification for its Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

Exchange Monitor 18th April 2019 , The Department of Energy is seeking another five-year certification from
the Environmental Protection Agency for its Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
near Carlsbad, N.M. The WIPP Land Withdrawal Act requires DOE to seek
recertification every five years to ensure the site’s compliance with
federal radioactive waste disposal requirements, according to an executive
summary of the application.

The package provides new data on the
underground repository, its waste inventory, and key changes since the last
update. The site was first certified for permanent disposal of transuranic
waste in 1998. The Environmental Protection Agency can “modify, revise,
or suspend” the certification, EPA supervisory environmental scientist
Thomas Peake said Tuesday during a two-day meeting in Washington, D.C., of
the National Academies’ Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board.

https://www.exchangemonitor.com/epa-recertification-sought-wipp-2024/?printmode=1

April 22, 2019 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Canada’s Came co Corp slow to clean up groundwater contaminated with uranium at Saskatchewan mill

Saskatoon Star Phoenix 20th April 2019 , Canada’s largest uranium producer says it’s developing a plan to clean
up groundwater contaminated with uranium and radiation four months after it was first discovered at a shuttered mill in northern Saskatchewan.

Cameco Corp. reported in December that a sampling well adjacent to its Key Lake mill “was showing an increasing trend in uranium concentration” after 50,000 litres of water were “released” over the previous year. Carey Hyndman, aspokeswoman for the Saskatoon-based company, said this week that the incident was immediately reported to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

https://thestarphoenix.com/news/local-news/cameco-developing-plan-to-clean-up-contaminated-groundwater-at-key-lake

April 22, 2019 Posted by | Canada, Uranium, water | Leave a comment