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Canada’s indigenous communities must not be guinea pigs for useless Small Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

From the Hill — Small Modular Reactors, The Rossland Telegraph , by Dick Cannings MP on Monday Nov 30 2020,   Earlier this year, Seamus O’Regan, the Minister of Natural Resources said in a speech that “We are placing nuclear energy front and centre… This is nuclear’s moment.” And in discussions around building a new economy after COVID, the government is doubling down on those sentiments.  The latest debates are slightly different from those of the last fifty years as they involve a new technology:  Small Modular Reactors, or SMRs.   Spoiler alert–I don’t necessarily share the Minister’s unbridled enthusiasm for nuclear energy as the answer to all our prayers……..can nuclear power help us in our efforts to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the next few years?  SMRs represent an experimental technology that, according to industry experts, will not be producing power anywhere in Canada for about a decade.  Once the technology matures and SMRs can be produced in quantity, they could theoretically be cheaper than present, very expensive nuclear plants.  But those claims are very difficult to assess.

SMRs are often touted as a solution to get remote indigenous communities off diesel power.  While I am very much in favour of helping these communities find alternate power sources, SMRs do not fit the bill.  These communities want power generation solutions that they can build and manage themselves.  They want alternative power sources now, not in ten years.  And they do not want to be the guinea pigs for brand-new nuclear technology that will likely provide few jobs for local residents and cost significantly more than mature technologies such as solar, wind, and bioenergy.  A Special Chiefs Assembly of the Assembly of First Nations passed a unanimous resolution in December 2018 demanding “that the Government of Canada cease funding and support of the Small Modular Nuclear Reactors program.”

……… [smrs] shouldn’t be relied on by present day governments as the panacea to a clean energy future.  Even the Canada Energy Regulator (formerly the National Energy Board) predicts that SMRs will collectively contribute only the equivalent of half of a conventional hydro dam by 2050.

To reach meaningful targets by 2030 and 2040, we need to double down on technologies we know will get us there…… And energy efficiency efforts alone could get us almost half-way to our targets.  These are the routes to success.https://rosslandtelegraph.com/news/column-hill-small-modular-reactors#.X8Ven2gzbIU

December 1, 2020 Posted by | Canada, indigenous issues, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Why we shouldn’t be talking about nuclear waste “disposal”

All casked up with nowhere to go  https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2020/11/29/all-casked-up-with-nowhere-to-go/ November 29, 2020 by beyondnuclearinternational

Why we shouldn’t be talking about nuclear waste “disposal” By Linda Pentz Gunter, 29 Nov 20 

Let’s get one thing clear right off the bat. You don’t “dispose” of nuclear waste.

The ill-suited, now canceled, but never quite dead radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain was not a “disposal” site.

The radioactive mud being dredged from the sea bed at the Hinkley C nuclear site in the UK, is not going to get “disposed of” in Cardiff Grounds (a mile off the Welsh coast).

When Germany dumped radioactive waste in drums into the salt mines of Asse, it wasn’t “disposed” of.

Taking nuclear waste to Texas and New Mexico border towns and parking it there indefinitely is not “disposal”.

To talk about radioactive waste “disposal” is simply dishonest. It’s disingenuous at best and deliberately misleading at worst.

In Cardiff Bay, that radioactive waste will get “dispersed.” At Asse, the waste leaked out of the barrels and “dispersed” into water that has flooded the site.

At Yucca Mountain, were it to get a renewed green light, water will eventually carry off those radioactive particles, sending them into groundwater and drinking water downstream of the dump.

“Once you have made radioactive waste, then you are looking at long-term isolation, not disposal,” says Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear. “And its cost. And if you are looking to manage the liability of cost, then don’t make it.”

That’s the easiest kind of radioactive waste to “dispose” of. The kind you haven’t made. Because, as Gunter says, “there is no alchemy for radioactive detritus.” Once we’ve made it, it’s with us pretty much forever.

Federal agencies and nuclear corporations continue to wrestle over what to do with the already tens of thousands of tons of high-level radioactive waste (at least 90,000 at last count) generated by America’s commercial nuclear power plants — all casked up with nowhere to go (and a lot of it still in the fuel pools). Because, absent alchemy, that waste is always going to be somewhere, even if we can’t see it.

Once upon a time, the general public understood this. In 1986, when the US Department of Energy was looking for a geological burial site for commercial nuclear waste, it began giving serious consideration to the “granite state” of New Hampshire.

New Hampshire towns — some of which would have been seized and razed by eminent domain to make way for the repository — rose up in opposition. A stunning 100 of them signed a resolution that not only opposed the burial, storage, and transportation of high-level nuclear waste in New Hampshire, but also its production.

A law was eventually passed in New Hampshire that forbade siting a nuclear waste repository in the state, but not banning its generation. The construction of the Seabrook nuclear power plant on the New Hampshire coast progressed, and today the single unit of the two originally planned is duly generating radioactive waste for the state of New Hampshire, with still no place to go.

In fact, the law banning a repository in New Hampshire was quietly, almost covertly, overturned in the New Hampshire state legislature in 2011, a fact uncovered by State Rep. Renny Cushing while writing legislation in 2016. (Cushing is a founder of this country’s first anti-nuclear power group, the Clamshell Alliance, which vigorously opposed the construction of Seabrook.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLeYKkA2V7EA German four-part animation piece, humorously demonstrated the impossibility of disposing of radioactive waste. This is the second segment.

In a characteristically stealthy way, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has ensured there will be no repeat of that New Hampshire defiance. Today, under what was once called the Nuclear Waste Confidence Decision, but is now termed the “Continued Storage of High-Level Waste”, (presumably because no one dare claim any “confidence” about finding a waste solution), an intervention against a reactor license renewal can be disallowed if it is based on contentions challenging the absence of a long-term radioactive waste solution.

This means that our aging fleet of nuclear reactors are free to generate yet more radioactive waste, some of them for another 20 or even 40 years, even though there is still no sign of land when it comes to finding a safe, long-term management plan for what to do with it.

That’s remarkable hubris this far into the nuclear game. Even if one could (very reluctantly) forgive the initial optimistic procrastination — when Fermi achieved the first chain reaction in 1942, but everyone decided the waste problem would be solved later — there is no forgiving it now, 78 years on. That’s more than ample time to have realized that continuing to make more of a lethal substance that you can never dispose of is scientifically and morally reprehensible.

We cannot dispose of radioactive waste. But we can dispose of nuclear power. We should hesitate no longer and do just that.

Linda Pentz Gunter is the international specialist at Beyond Nuclear and writes for and edits Beyond Nuclear International.

November 30, 2020 Posted by | safety, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

It is likely that Trump gove the nod for assassination of Iran nuclear scientist

Observer 29th Nov 2020, As the president lashes out wilfully during his last days in office, it seems likely that he at least gave the nod to this killing. Iran’s leaders, mindful of previous, unexplained killings of its nuclear experts, have been quick to blame Israel for Fakhrizadeh’s death. But American and regional analysts suggest that if Israel was involved, it would only have acted after getting the nod from Trump.

This explanation makes sense for several reasons. Like last January’s assassination of the Revolutionary Guard general Qassem Suleimani, Friday’s outrage is an extraordinarily provocative act. It risks goading Iran into armed retaliation against its most prominent enemies – Israel, Saudi Arabia and US forces based in the region. The assassination, in this sense, is tantamount to a declaration of war.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/nov/29/observer-view-on-donald-trump-and-murder-of-iran-top-nuclear-scientist

November 29, 2020 Posted by | Iran, politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Dismantling Duke Energy’s Crystal River nuclear plant

November 29, 2020 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Closer to nuclear war – as USA tests ICBM intercept

US’ successful ICBM intercept test brings us closer to a nuclear war and proves Moscow’s concerns were well grounded, 17 Nov 20, Rt.com, Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of ‘SCORPION KING: America’s Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.’ He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

The US has long dismissed Russian concerns over the deployment of the Aegis Ashore missile defense system on European soil. This week’s test of the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor against an ICBM has proven Russian concerns correct.

On Tuesday, the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) announced it conducted a test of an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System-equipped Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the USS John Finn, against what was termed a “threat-representative Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) target” using a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA interceptor. The test object was launched from Kwajalein Atoll, in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, toward an area of the Pacific Ocean northeast of Hawaii. According to the MDA, the SM-3 Block IIA missile successfully intercepted its target.

The successful test is but the latest in a series intended to prepare the SM-3 Block IIA missile and its associated systems–the Aegis Baseline-9 Weapons System and Command and Control Battle Management Communications (C2BMC) network–for operational duty as America’s frontline missile defense capability……..


Russia has long held
 that the deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems in Europe represented a major alteration of the strategic balance of power, insofar as it empowered a potential US/NATO nuclear first strike scenario, in which US nuclear-armed missiles would be launched against Russian strategic nuclear forces in an effort to preemptively destroy them. Europe would then avoid the certainty of mutually assured destruction by hiding behind the US missile defense shield, which in theory would be capable of shooting down the handful of Russian missiles that might survive such an attack.  ………..

The combination of low-yield nuclear weapons on board US submarines lurking off Russia’s coast with US destroyers equipped to shoot down Russian ICBMs is the stuff of any Russian nuclear planner’s worst nightmare. Russia will most likely be compelled to reexamine its alert posture to account for the increased possibility that the US may seek to launch a preemptive decapitation attack using low-yield nuclear weapons.

This means that Russia will be compelled to react quickly to any detection event suggestive of such a strike, reducing the time for leaders to consider the possibility of error before giving the order to launch. In short, while the US may claim that the SM-3 Block IIA is a defensive weapon that creates stability in regional and global security, the exact opposite is the case–the SM-3 Block IIA increases the chance for inadvertent nuclear war between the US and Russia. This is never a good outcome. https://www.rt.com/op-ed/507015-icbm-intercept-aegis-russia/

November 29, 2020 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Resuming nuclear testing is unnecessary — and unsafe

Resuming nuclear testing is unnecessary — and unsafe  https://www.deseret.com/opinion/2020/11/29/21720975/letter-resuming-nuclear-testing-is-unnecessary-and-unsafe, By Marc Coles-Ritchie, Salt Lake City , Nov 29, 2020, 

 The U.S. government should not resume nuclear weapons testing at the Nevada Test Site, which would cause harm to us downwind in Utah. As the board chairman of the Mormon Environmental Stewardship Alliance, I urge our senators, Mike Lee and Mitt Romney, to vote against funding for nuclear testing. We call for a prohibition of nuclear testing as passed in the U.S. house.

Our beautiful state of Utah should not again have to suffer the consequence of being downwind of nuclear testing. Over 1,000 nuclear weapons tests were conducted by the U.S. government in the latter half of the 1900s, which had devastating health and environmental consequences. We cannot risk harming more people with new nuclear testing.

There is no military or technical need to resume nuclear testing now. Our government affirms every year through the Stockpile Stewardship Program that our nuclear arsenal is safe and reliable and that testing is not needed.

Any new U.S. testing would likely lead other nuclear weapons states to resume their own nuclear weapons testing — or worse, the use of such destructive weapons. Funding nuclear testing in the U.S. sends a dangerous message to the rest of the world.

November 29, 2020 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Safety dangers of small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs)

Nuclear power isn’t the answer to Nunavut’s energy problems, expert says. Nicole Bogart  CTVNews.ca Writer, @nlynnbogart, November 27, 2020 TORONTO — Despite growing interest from the federal government and nuclear proponents, the Canadian Environmental Law Association warns that the safety implications of small modular reactors (SMRs) may outweigh the environmental pay off.

Theresa McClenaghan, executive director of the Canadian Environmental Law Association, says despite proponents’ claims that Canada’s North is a promising market for the small, transportable reactors, the technology isn’t suited for remote locations.

“They’re very inappropriate for remote locations. They’re very inappropriate for anywhere,” McClenaghan told CTV’s Your Morning Friday.

“You’d be talking about creating new kinds of waste that we don’t already have in Canada… [and] having to worry about very long distance transportation.” ……

The federal government has invested in research into the technology and is set to release an SMR action plan with a focus on Canada’s North by the end of this year.

Alberta, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Ontario have all signed a memorandum of understanding regarding development of small modular reactors…….

McClenaghan says the government is missing key concerns, including the security of the reactors.

“A very serious concern that no one is talking about is non-proliferation risks – and the risk of a diversion of the materials to weapons,” she said.

“That’s a serious risk for any nuclear technology. But especially when you start to distribute the materials like this and have less control, [and] the industry is hoping they can just leave the units without operators.”

McClenaghan adds that despite the industry’s claims that nuclear power doesn’t produce greenhouse gases, the production of SMRs would.

“Nuclear does produce greenhouse gases because you have to mine, transport, and refine. In fact, the full life cycle is two times as much as solar and six times as much as onshore wind,” she explained.

There are also growing concerns about the implications for Indigenous communities in Canada.

The Northwest Territories Energy Strategy is calling for communities to decide. There’s a whole history of decisions being made and imposed in communities. That’s how a lot of the diesel ended up there in the first place,” McClenaghan said, noting that affordable energy remains the biggest rallying cry for these communities.

“I have seen quite a bit of interest in hybrid systems where they can start to reduce the reliance on diesel, but take advantage for the times of year when solar isn’t available.” https://www.ctvnews.ca/climate-and-environment/nuclear-power-isn-t-the-answer-to-nunavut-s-energy-problems-expert-says-1.5207328

November 28, 2020 Posted by | Canada, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

A mock B61-12 nuclear bomb dropped for the first time.

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

n.b This will be illegal under international law, as of January 22

F-35A drops inert nuclear bomb for first time, https://www.flightglobal.com/defence/f-35a-drops-inert-nuclear-bomb-for-first-time/141330.article

By Greg Waldron27 November 2020 The Lockheed Martin F-35A has operated a flight test involving the dropping of a mock B61-12 nuclear bomb.The work took place at the Tonopah Test Range, and was conducted by Sandia National Laboratories. It was the first in a series of tests to assess the type’s ability to drop the weapon.

The aircraft, travelling faster than the speed of sound, dropped the inert weapon from 10,500ft. The weapon hit the designated target area 42s later.

“We’re showing the B61-12’s larger compatibility and broader versatility for the country’s nuclear deterrent, and we’re doing it in the world of Covid-19,” says Sandia executive Steven Samuels.

“We’re not slowing down. We’re still moving forward with the B61-12 compatibility activities on different platforms.”

This was the first time a B61-12 was dropped from the internal weapons bay of a fighter. It was also the first time the weapon was released at a speed greater than Mach 1.

The work follows other tests involving the Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle and Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.

Sandia designs and produces non-nuclear components for the USA’s nuclear stock pile.

“The latest test is a critical piece in the F-35A and B61-12 programme,” adds Samuels. “Aboard the newest fighter, the B61-12 provides a strong piece of the overall nuclear deterrence strategy for our country and our allies.”

November 28, 2020 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Beware the “madness of militarism” – Biden likely to appoint war-loving Michèle Flournoy as Defense Secretary

Hey Joe, Where You Going With That Pentagon in Your Hands?  https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/11/23/hey-joe-where-you-going-pentagon-your-hands

The pernicious and lucrative aspects of military madness are personified in the favorite to be Biden’s Defense Secretary. by Norman Solomon,

By all accounts, the frontrunner to be Joe Biden’s pick for Secretary of Defense is Michèle Flournoy. It’s a prospect that should do more than set off alarm bells—it should be understood as a scenario for the president-elect to stick his middle fingers in the eyes of Americans who are fed up with endless war and ongoing militarism.

Warning and petitioning Biden to dissuade him from a Flournoy nomination probably have scant chances of success. But if Biden puts her name forward, activists should quickly launch an all-out effort to block Senate confirmation.

As the Biden administration takes office, progressives have an opportunity to affirm and amplify the position that Martin Luther King Jr. boldly articulated when he insisted that “I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism.” In the present day, the pernicious and lucrative aspects of that madness are personified in the favorite to be Biden’s Defense Secretary.

Days ago, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) published a detailed analysis under the headline “Should Michèle Flournoy Be Secretary of Defense?” The well-documented answer: No.

Citing “extensive defense industry ties,” POGO provided an overview of Flournoy’s revolving-door career. When she wasn’t oiling the war machine in the Clinton and Obama administrations, Flournoy was profiteering from servicing that machine:

  • “In 2002 she went from positions in the Pentagon and the National Defense University to the mainstream but hawkish Center for Strategic and International Studies, which is largely funded by industry and Pentagon contributions.”
  • “Five years later, she co-founded the second-most heavily contractor-funded think tank in Washington, the highly influential Center for a New American Security. That became a stepping stone to her role as under secretary of defense for policy in the Obama administration.”
  • “From there she rotated­­ to the Boston Consulting Group, after which the firm’s military contracts expanded from $1.6 million to $32 million in three years. She also joined the board of Booz Allen Hamilton, a consulting firm laden with defense contracts. In 2017 she co-founded WestExec Advisors, helping defense corporations market their products to the Pentagon and other agencies.”

Running parallel to Flournoy’s financial conflicts of interest was her long record of advocacy for military conflicts.

“Flournoy was widely considered to have been one of Obama’s more hawkish advisers and helped mastermind the escalation of the disastrous war in Afghanistan,” Arwa Mahdawi pointed out in a Nov. 21 Guardian piece. “She has called for increased defense spending, arguing in a 2017 Washington Post op-ed that Trump was ‘right to raise the need for more defense dollars.’ She has complained that Obama didn’t use military force enough, particularly in Syria. She supported the wars in Iraq and Libya. . .”

The president-elect is hardly in a position to hold such a record against prospective appointees. He has never fully acknowledged, much less renounced, his own roles in advocating for disastrous U.S. wars — most notably and tragically, the war in Iraq.

Biden hasn’t gotten his story straight or come clean about supporting the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. His specious claims that he didn’t really support the invasion have been gross misrepresentations of the historical record. Actually, Biden was the Democrat in the Senate who exerted the most leverage in support of the Iraq invasion, and he did so with public enthusiasm.

The foreseeable dangers of picking Flournoy to run the Pentagon are compounded by Biden’s selection of Antony Blinken to be Secretary of State. It was Blinken who, 18 years ago, served as staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee while its chairman, Joe Biden, oversaw the pivotal and badly skewed two-day hearing in summer 2002 that greased the congressional skids for approving an invasion of Iraq.

Blinken, along with Flournoy, co-founded WestExec Advisors, which the Washington Post’s breaking-news coverage of the Blinken nomination gingerly described as “a political strategy firm.” It was a nice euphemism, in contrast to how POGO describes the WestExec Advisors mission — “helping defense corporations market their products to the Pentagon and other agencies.” The term “war profiteering” would be even more apt.

If past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, there are ample reasons for apprehension about the top of the military and foreign-policy team that Biden has begun to install for his presidency. But realism should not lead to fatalism or passivity.

Extricating the United States from the grip of the military-industrial complex will require massive and sustained organizing. With that goal in mind, a grassroots campaign to prevent Michèle Flournoy from becoming Secretary of Defense would be wise.

November 26, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Canada’s environmental groups join to oppose experimental Small Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

Canadian environmental groups oppose experimental small modular nuclear reactors, https://blackburnnews.com/midwestern-ontario/midwestern-ontario-news/2020/11/24/canadian-environmental-groups-oppose-experimental-small-modular-nuclear-reactors/   By Janice MacKay   November 24, 2020 A number of groups have joined together to ask the federal government to halt its plans to fund experimental new small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs).

The Federal Government is preparing to launch the federal government’s SMR ” Action Plan” within weeks.

The SMR Action Plan is expected to include a strategy to fund and support the development of experimental nuclear reactors by private sector companies, the majority based in the US and UK.

In a media release, dozens of organizations from coast to coast have called the proposed new nuclear reactors a dirty, dangerous distraction from tackling climate change. They include Greenpeace Canada, Friends of the Earth Canada, Ralliement contre la pollution radioactive, Équiterre, the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick, the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility and Northwatch..

The Bloc Québécois, the NDP and the Green Party all oppose the government’s “small” modular nuclear reactor plan.

On November 13, Monique Pauze from the Bloc Québécois stated: “The Bloc Québécois denounces the intention of Ottawa to invest in nuclear energy to the benefit, once again, of the Ontario industrial sector, instead of financing the transition towards clean electricity. The Bloc calls for the abandonment of the anticipated deployment of small modular nuclear reactors. The Federal government is leading Canada towards a wall by betting on nuclear energy that is absolutely not clean.”

NDP natural resources critic Richard Cannings said in a statement: “Many Canadians have concerns about impacts of nuclear energy. When it comes to energy generation there are better ways forward. We have options that are cheaper and safer and will be available quicker. I think we should be supporting the development of energy storage solutions to help roll out renewables like solar and wind on a larger scale instead.”

On November 10, all three Green Party of Canada caucus members issued a statement and signed a letter to Minister O’Regan and Minister Navdeep Bains saying that: “Small nuclear reactors (SMRs) have no place in any plan to mitigate climate change when cleaner and cheaper alternatives already exist. The federal government must stop funding the nuclear industry and instead redirect investments towards smarter solutions. Nuclear fails on many grounds, including on the economics.”

Prof. Susan O’Donnell from the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick said: “Building new nuclear reactors does not belong in a climate action plan. Leading researchers have shown that investing in renewable energy is the best path to net zero and that adding nuclear energy to the mix actually hinders rather than helps.”

Shawn-Patrick Stensil, Director of Programs at Greenpeace Canada, said: “The Liberal government is throwing good money after bad. Hypothetical new nuclear power technologies have been promising to be the next big thing for the last forty years, but in spite of massive public subsidies, that prospect has never panned out.”

The release pointed out the proposed reactors are still on the drawing board and will take a decade or more to develop. If built, their power will cost ten times more than wind or solar energy. The most advanced SMR project to date in the US has already doubled its estimated cost – from $3B to over $6B.

The federal government announced its first SMR grant of $20 million to Terrestrial Energy on October 15.

The environmental groups said they are shocked that the government is funding new nuclear energy development with no parliamentary review, while trying to avoid public scrutiny and debate. They called the consultation process leading to date on the SMR Action Plan a sham. Individuals and groups could only comment on the plan if they first signed on to a statement of principles supporting SMR technologies. They say nuclear power and uranium mining will always be dirty and dangerous. Radioactive waste will have to be kept out of the environment for tens of thousands of years, and there is no known means of achieving that.

November 26, 2020 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

President Joe Biden will have just 16 days from Inauguration Day to rescue the New START Treaty

Biden May Have 16 Days to Stave Off a Nuclear Arms Race,  Preserving the New START treaty with Russia will be one of his earliest missions, Bloomberg, By Peter Coy  , 25 Nov 20, 

The New START Treaty is the last bilateral nuclear arms control treaty between the U.S. and Russia. It’s scheduled to expire on Feb. 5. Assuming the Trump administration doesn’t agree with Russia on an extension—and it hasn’t done so in nearly four years–President Joe Biden will have just 16 days from Inauguration Day to rescue the pact.

If New START is allowed to expire, a nuclear arms race could break out. Retired Navy Admiral James Stavridis, the former supreme allied commander of NATO, wrote in a Bloomberg Opinion column on Oct. 30, that a stop to New START would allow both sides to deploy more nukes of current designs as well as make more advanced systems, “all of which would be very destabilizing.”

Some pressure, right? For insight into what Biden and his team will do, I interviewed Jon Wolfsthal, who served from 2014 to 2017 as a special assistant to President Barack Obama and as senior director for arms control and nonproliferation at the National Security Council. He was also a senior adviser to Vice President Biden on nuclear security and nonproliferation from 2009 to 2012.

Some pressure, right? For insight into what Biden and his team will do, I interviewed Jon Wolfsthal, who served from 2014 to 2017 as a special assistant to President Barack Obama and as senior director for arms control and nonproliferation at the National Security Council. He was also a senior adviser to Vice President Biden on nuclear security and nonproliferation from 2009 to 2012.

Wolfsthal says he’s optimistic about Biden’s chances of staving off a fresh nuclear arms race……….

Biden and his team will have a long list of nuclear weapons problems to deal with, including the rapid growth of China’s

 arsenal. But what to do about New START will have to be at the top of the list. The treaty limits the U.S. and Russia
to deployment of 1,550 long-range nuclear warheads and 700 long-range delivery vehicles each. Russia is willing to
renew the pact for five years without preconditions, but the Trump administration has balked.

………… Wolfsthal says New START, which went into effect in 2011, is flawed but shouldn’t be left to expire, because

it has allowed us to maintain security at lower level of nukes. It least allows us to know how many weapons Russia
has.” Without the verification that New START permits, he says, “there would be claims of a missile gap,” as there
were under Presidents Eisenhower and Reagan. “We’ve seen that movie play out before,” namely in a costly and
dangerous arms race, Wolfsthal says.

Nuclear arms control doesn’t get as much attention as other priorities for Biden’s first 100 days, but nothing is more

 important for the safety of the human race.  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-11-25/biden-may-have-16
-days-to-stave-off-a-nuclear-arms-race

November 26, 2020 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Danger to San Onofre nuclear waste, from ocean’s king tides

November 26, 2020 Posted by | climate change, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant – building of ventilation shaft is halted, due to Covid-19 and planning problems

WIPP: New Mexico regulators halt utility shaft project, cite COVID-19, planning problems, Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus, 25 Nov 20,  Construction of a $100 million utility shaft at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant could be halted after the New Mexico Environment Department denied a request to extend state authorization to build the shaft, citing missed deadlines in the planning of the project and the continued spread in COVID-19 cases at the facility.

The shaft, part of an almost $300 million rebuild of WIPP’s ventilation system, along with a series of fans and filter buildings known as the Safety Significant Confinement Ventilation System (SSCVS), was intended to improve airflow in the WIPP underground and allow for waste emplacement and mining to occur simultaneously along with future expansions of the nuclear waste repository……….

Spike in COVID-19 at WIPP could put workers in danger

NMED also cited a recent rise in COVID-19 cases at WIPP, as the pandemic continued to spread in record-breaking numbers across New Mexico, and the agency’s responsibility to ensure human health is not put at risk by activities under the TA, requesting a plan for COVID-19 mitigation at the facility. https://www.currentargus.com/story/news/local/2020/11/24/wipp-utility-shaft-halted-new-mexico-cites-covid-planning-problems/6397790002/

November 26, 2020 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

NRC approves financially dodgy sale of Indian Point Nuclear Station to Holtec

Sale of NYC-Area Nuclear Power Plant Gets Federal Approval, https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/sale-of-nyc-area-nuclear-power-plant-gets-federal-approval/2742312/, 23 Nov 20, After the plant shuts down in the spring, the current operator plans to transfer its license to another company to dismantle the reactors and clean up the site along the Hudson River by 2033.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved sale of the Indian Point nuclear power plant to a dismantling company without granting requests by lawmakers and environmental groups for public hearings.

The NRC announced Monday that it has signed off on its staff’s recommendation last week to approve Entergy Corp.’s sale of the plant north of New York City to New Jersey-based Holtec International. After the plant shuts down in the spring, Entergy plans to transfer its license to Holtec to dismantle the reactors and clean up the site along the Hudson River by 2033.

The NRC agreed to rescind or modify the transfer after it decides whether to grant New York state and the environmental group Riverkeeper’s requests for hearings about their concerns regarding the sale. New York Attorney General Letitia James has called the Holtec deal “very risky,” questioning Holtec’s financing and experience.

During a Zoom conference Friday organized by the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater environmental group, Assistant New York Attorney General Joshua Tallent said he would like to see money for spent radioactive fuel management set aside in a supplemental fund until the decommissioning is done to reduce the chance that taxpayers are stuck with the tab for cost overruns.

November 26, 2020 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Former CEO of failed V.C. Summer nuclear project pleads guilty to fraud charges

Former SCANA CEO pleads guilty to fraud charges for failed nuclear power project,    https://abcnews4.com/news/local/former-scana-ceo-pleads-guilty-to-fraud-charges-for-failed-nuclear-power-project by Tony Fortier-Bensen, Wednesday, November 25th 2020  COLUMBIA, SC (WCIV)     

The former chief executive officer of SCANA pleaded guilty on Tuesday to fraud charges for the failed V.C. Summer project in Fairfield County.

Kevin Marsh pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of obtaining false property by false pretenses, according to a plea agreement.

The agreement also said that Marsh would serve 18 to 36 months and has agreed to pay $5 million in restitution.

In June, retired SCANA chief operating officer Steve Byrne entered a guilty plea for his actions in relation to the failed nuclear power plant.

The U.S Attorney’s office alleges Byrne and Marsh conspired with other SCANA executives to deceive state and federal government overseers, stock holders and power customers in order to keep funding coming in to build two nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station.

The expansion project cost Santee-Cooper and the defunct South Carolina Electric & Gas over $9 billion before the two entities abandoned the project in July 2017.

In addition, Marsh agreed to waive indictment and arraignment and work with authorities to provide further information on the failed project.

Under the plea agreement, Marsh could be sentenced to serve 18 to 36 months in prison. Marsh has also agreed to pay $5 million in restitution.

November 26, 2020 Posted by | legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment