nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Donald Trump’s team want Energy Department to save the failing nuclear industry

Republican hawk (Trump)Trump Team’s Asking for Ways to Keep Nuclear Power Alive by Mark Chediak and Catherine Traywick, Bloomberg,  December 9, 2016 
  • Nuclear facing increasing competition from gas, renewables
  • Trump team asked Energy Department for ways to help nuclear
  • President-elect Donald Trump’s advisers are looking at ways in which the U.S. government could help nuclear power generators being forced out of the electricity market by cheaper natural gas and renewable resources.

    In a document obtained by Bloomberg, Trump’s transition team asked the Energy Department how it can help keep nuclear reactors “operating as part of the nation’s infrastructure” and what it could do to prevent the shutdown of plants. Advisers also asked the agency whether there were any statutory restrictions in resuming work on Yucca Mountain, a proposed federal depository for nuclear waste in Nevada that was abandoned by the Obama administration.

  • The list of questions to the Energy Department offers one of the clearest indications yet of Trump’s potential plans for aiding America’s battered nuclear power generators. Five of the country’s nuclear plants have closed in the past five years, based on Energy Department data, and more are set to shut as cheaper supplies from gas-fired plants, wind and solar squeeze their profits.

    Media representatives for the Trump transition and Energy Department didn’t immediately respond to calls and e-mails seeking comment. For more on the questions Trump’s team sent the Energy Department, click here.…….https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-12-09/trump-s-team-is-asking-for-ways-u-s-can-keep-nuclear-alive

December 10, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA | 1 Comment

Beyond Nuclear relieved that dangerous Palisades nuclear plant will be shut down

nuclear-dominoeslogo-Beyond-NuclearAnti-nuclear group applauds closing of Palisades nuclear plant   Entergy Corp., has announced in a news release Thursday, Dec. 8, that the Palisades nuclear power plant in Covert Township will close in 2018. (Mark Bugnaski / MLive.com) By Mark Tower | mtower@mlive.com December 08, 2016  COVERT, MI — Kevin Kamps, a representative of the anti-nuclear group Beyond Nuclear, has long called for the closure of the Palisades nuclear power plant near South Haven.

It appears that Kamps will soon have his wish.

Entergy Corp., the plant’s owner, announced the facility’s impending closure in a news release Thursday, Dec. 8. The plant will receive its final load of fuel in 2017 and close permanently on Oct. 1, 2018, according to the company.

Kamps praised the announcement in a news release issued Thursday.

“Entergy’s announcement today that it will permanently shut down the Palisades atomic reactor by Oct. 1, 2018 is most welcome to the large number of Michiganders, and beyond, who have fought so hard, for so long, to get it shut down,” he said……

Kamps pointed to the fact that the plant’s reactor is one of the most “embrittled” nationwide, arguing that keeping it open until 2018 poses serious risks.

“Nearly two more years of operation is a frightening prospect for a catastrophic release of hazardous radioactivity due to pressurized thermal shock fracture of the vessel,” he said. “The good news is that, after permanent shutdown and removal of irradiated nuclear fuel from the reactor core, no more meltdown can happen, and no more high-level radioactive waste will be made.”

The “embrittled” reactor puts it at risk of cracking, prompting the NRC in 2014 to begin a three-year review of results of tests on the reactor.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission determined that the plant operated safely in 2015, but it was under increased NRC oversight for the first three quarters of 2015 due to its failure to accurately calculate radiation doses to workers during an activity in 2014. ……..

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, urged the community to not turn its back on those employees in the coming years.

The plant’s closure will not noticeably impact the power grid, according to Consumers Energy.

After the plant closes for good in 2018, Kamps said area residents and environmental watchdogs should remain vigilant as the facility and dismantled and any lingering contamination is addressed. http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2016/12/anti-nuclear_group_applauds_cl.html

December 9, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

The lengthy process for decommissioning Palisades (or any) nuclear power station

DecommissioningDecommissioning Palisades nuclear plant a lengthy process, NRC says http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2016/12/decommissioning_palisades_nucl.html  COVERT, MI — When nuclear plants open, they are required to provide for their eventual closing.

Entergy Corp., owner of the Palisades nuclear plant in Covert Township near South Haven, had set aside  $384.16 million in 2014, according to the most recent report submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2015. (The next report, due in 2017, will show the numbers for 2016.).

Entergy Corp announced Thursday that it plans to close the Palisade plant in October 2018.

Viktoria Mitlyng, spokesperson for the NRC Midwestern Region near Chicago, said Entergy has 30 days from Thursday’s announcement to formally notify the NRC of its intentions.

Closing nuclear plants is a complicated process with “lots of moving parts,” she said. “Our role as a nuclear safety regulator, is to oversee that process, including the removal of all fuel from the reactor to a “spent fuel pool” withing the facility, to its eventual placement, for an indefinite period, in dry cask storage.”

 The dry cask storage is within the plant’s protected perimeter but not within the building itself, she said.

Throughout the process, Mitlyng said, the NRC requires that security is maintained and that detailed safety protocols are The very last phase of decommissioning requires that radiation levels in the area meet NRC requirements for decommissioning.

There is not yet a site, nationally, for long-term storage of spent fuel, an ongoing policy issue in which the NRC is not involved, Mitlyng said.

Until such a facility is planned – “and there is nothing on the drawing board at this point as far as we know,” she said — spent fuel remains in dry cask storage on site.

The storage is monitored by the NRC.

During final decommissioning, plant is taken apart — all radioactive systems are removed — and the plant has 60 years to get to final phase where the decommissioning is complete and meets NRC requirements.

After the plant is totally decommissioned, only the dry cask storage remains.

Some companies perform decommissioning activities themselves, others hire another company to take down the plant. If that is done, though, the license must be transferred, with NRC approval, Mitlyng said. The NRC also monitors the status of the decommissioning fund, which cannot be used for any other operations, she said.

“I want to emphasize that our responsibility as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is to ensure that a plant is safe, whether in operation or during decommissioning,” she said. “We have inspections for all stages of that process to assure that it is done in a way to protect people.”

Safety requirements do not change, whether a plant is operational or closing, Mitlyng said. “There is no change in the NRCs posture, none at all.”

December 9, 2016 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Donald Trump on the inevitability of nuclear war

TrumpDoes Donald Trump Believe Nuclear War Is Inevitable? The man about to take control of US nukes has a very fatalistic view, Mother Jones,  DEC. 8, 2016 n just seven weeks, a man known for being ill-tempered, thin-skinned, narcissistic, and erratic will take control of the US nuclear arsenal. Donald Trump will have the authority and power to launch any combination of the country’s 4,500 nuclear weapons. At any time and for any reason he deems fit, Trump could destroy a nation and, through miscalculation, the world.

During the presidential campaign, he uttered several troubling statements about nuclear arms. At a Republican primary debate, he botched a question about the nuclear triadAmerica’s system of sea-, air-, and land-based nuclear weaponssuggesting he did not understand the most basic information about the structure of the US nuclear command. (He babbled, “For me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.”) At other points in the campaign, Trump noted he would support allowing Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia to obtain nuclear weapons and indicated he would be open to using such weapons against ISIS and in other conflicts.

What makes Trump’s loose talk—and ignorance—about nuclear weapons particularly worrisome is that in the past, he has taken a fatalistic approach toward the notion of nuclear war. He has spoken as if he believed such a conflagration was almost inevitable. And now he is about to become one of the few humans on the planet who can decide the fate of the Earth……. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/12/donald-trump-nuclear-war-weapons-inevitable

December 9, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Entergy’s troubled Palisades nuclear power plant for early shutdown

nuclear-dominoesFlag-USAEntergy strikes deal with Michigan utility, will shut Palisades nuke plant http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/business/article_40cc55e6-bd4d-11e6-b979-975dba92ca04.html ADVOCATE STAFF REPORT, DEC 8, 2016 

A deal with Michigan’s largest utility will result in Entergy Corp. permanently shutting down the troubled Palisades nuclear power plant in 2018, four years earlier than the New Orleans-based company could have under an earlier contract.

Entergy bought the plant from Consumers Energy in 2007. The original agreement required Consumers Energy to purchase nearly all of the power the plant generated through April 2022. But market conditions have changed substantially since the purchase, with much cheaper power alternatives now available.

 Consumers Energy will pay Entergy $172 million, half the $344 million the Michigan utility expects to save by buying power elsewhere over four years, for an early end to the original deal.

Consumers Energy customers’ costs will drop by as much as $172 million over four years, according to Entergy. Assuming regulators approve, Entergy intends to shut down the Palisades plant on Oct. 1, 2018.

 The plant closure will affect around 600 workers. Entergy will also provide $8 million and Consumers Energy Foundation $2 million over several years to fund economic development efforts for the Southwest Michigan region.

Palisades was shut down eight times between 2012 and 2014, according to Michigan Radio. The plant shut down again in September after part of the turbine generation system, just days ahead of a scheduled maintenance shut down.

December 9, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

President elect Trump: his Cabinet and Climate

climate-denial-floodWhat You Should Know About Trump’s Cabinet & Climate http://www.climatecentral.org/news/trump-cabinet-climate-change-20920 By  November 30th, 2016 As President-elect Donald Trump continues to round out his cabinet and White House staff, his policies and priorities are coming more into focus.

All indications so far point to a bleak future for addressing climate change, or even recognizing it as one of the world’s largest challenges. A number of his cabinet nominees, political appointees and closest advisors are outright climate deniers while others have funded the denial of climate change or are lukewarm on accepting the science.

December 9, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

New York Governor Cuomo under fire for subsidising nuclear power

taxpayer bailoutCritics blast Cuomo’s $7.6B subsidy for nuclear plants, WBFO.org, By KAREN DEWITT, 8 Dec 16,  A long-term energy plan by the Cuomo administration that includes a nearly $8 billion subsidy to two upstate nuclear power plants is being challenged from both ends of the political spectrum, and a lawsuit has been filed to try to stop the deal.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Public Service Commission plans to convert 50 percent of the state’s power sources to renewable energy over the next decade and a half. A controversial part of that program includes a $7.6 billion state-financed subsidy to a company that now runs two New York nuclear power plants ­– Nine Mile Point in Oswego and Ginna near Rochester – and is taking over a third plant, FitzPatrick, also in Oswego.

That has angered environmental groups, who filed a lawsuit, saying the PSC “acted improperly when it mandated a massive subsidy to prop up New York’s aging, failing nuclear power plants as part of the State’s Clean Energy Standard.”

Other progressive-leaning groups, including the New York Public Interest Research Group, also object to the deal.

“In some ways, it’s a straight-up ratepayer issue,” said Blair Horner, NYPIRG’s legislative director.

He said the deal will result in $2.3 billion in increased payments for residential utility customers, and even more for businesses. That’s in a state that already has among the highest utility rates in the nation.

“Roughly 800,000 New Yorkers are already having a hard time paying their existing electric bills,” Horner said. “This isn’t going to make it any better.”

Not only left-leaning groups oppose the deal. Fossil fuel companies like Shell and BP have objected, filing complaints with the PSC. Oil and gas companies would have to essentially help subsidize the deal through the price of zero emission tax credits bought and sold in New York…..http://news.wbfo.org/post/critics-blast-cuomos-76b-subsidy-nuclear-plants

December 9, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Landmark case on climate change looming for USA government

Trump could face the ‘biggest trial of the century’ — over climate change, WP  December 1 A few weeks ago, a federal judge in Oregon made headlines when she ruled that a groundbreaking climate lawsuit will proceed to trial. And some experts say its outcome could rewrite the future of climate policy in the United States.

The case, brought by 21 youths aged 9 to 20, claims that the federal government isn’t doing enough to address the problem of climate change to protect their planet’s future — and that, they charge, is a violation of their constitutional rights on the most basic level. The case has already received widespread attention, even garnering the support of well-known climate scientist James Hansen, who has also joined as a plaintiff on behalf of his granddaughter and as a guardian for “future generations.”

The U.S. government under President Obama, along with several others representing members of the fossil fuel industry, filed to have the lawsuit dismissed. But on Nov. 10, federal judge Ann Aiken denied the motion, clearing the case to proceed to trial. According to Our Children’s Trust, the nonprofit representing the youth plaintiffs, a recent case management conference indicated that the case would likely go to trial by summer or early fall of 2017.

“It’s been called the biggest trial of the century, and it is,” said Mary Wood, a law professor at the University of Oregon and expert in natural resources and public trust law. “Literally, when I say the planet is on the docket, it would be hard to imagine a more consequential trial, because the fossil fuel policies of the entire United States of America are going to confront the climate science put forth by the world’s best scientists. And never before has that happened.”

The odds of success  

Theoretically, the trial’s outcome could have major implications for the incoming Trump administration, which aims to dismantle many of the climate and energy priorities established under President Obama.

Should the plaintiffs prevail, the federal government could be forced to develop and adhere to stringent carbon-cutting measures aimed at preserving the planet’s climate future for generations to come. The only other place such action has ever been ordered by a court is in the Netherlands, where a similar case resulted in a landmark ruling last year requiring the Dutch government to slash its emissions by a quarter within five years…….. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/12/01/trump-could-face-the-biggest-trial-of-the-century-over-climate-change/?utm_term=.d1aa009e5e04

December 9, 2016 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Dozens of canisters of radioactive waste to be repackaged at USA’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

Officials set to repackage radioactive waste in New Mexico, Huron daily Tribune,  Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press, December 1, 2016 ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Isolated in a temperature-controlled storage area at one of the nation’s premiere nuclear weapons laboratories, dozens of containers of radioactive waste similar to one that ruptured in 2014 remain under 24-hour surveillance, awaiting treatment so they can be stabilized and disposed of.

The U.S. Department of Energy announced this week that treatment of the 60 containers is expected to begin next spring following a series of safety assessments and upgrades to the building where the work will be performed…….

The work is one step in a yearslong effort to get the federal government’s multibillion-dollar cleanup program back on track at Los Alamos and other installations around the country where decades of Cold War-era waste — from gloves and tools to clothing and other material —have piled up.

The shipment of that waste to an underground disposal facility in southern New Mexico was put on indefinite hold in February 2014 when a container sent from Los Alamos to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant breached, contaminating a significant portion of the underground storage area……

The incident resulted in an overhaul of policies, costly work to mitigate the contamination, and a multimillion-dollar settlement with the state of New Mexico for numerous permit violations.

The Energy Department had hoped to resume some work at the Waste Isolation Plant by the end of the year. But the agency still needs to submit a readiness report to state regulators for review and an onsite inspection needs to be done.

Even if the site is cleared to begin moving waste into the underground, state officials say shipments will be sent slowly before they are ramped up………All of the work will be done inside an enclosed box in a specially engineered building with filters. Technicians will handle the waste only through gloved ports. http://www.michigansthumb.com/news/article/Feds-prepare-to-repackage-radioactive-waste-in-10646737.php

December 9, 2016 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Roof collapse at USA’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant – more nuclear safety worries

An Albuquerque watchdog group is calling for an additional federal review before WIPP can reopen.
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant outside Carlsbad has been working for nearly three years to recover from a radiation accident in February 2014.

safety-symbol1Waste Isolation Pilot Plant WIPPRoof collapses at WIPP raise new safety questions,Albuquerque Journal By Lauren Villagran / Journal Staff Writer Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 In a salt mine more than 2,000 feet underground where drums of nuclear waste are embedded in enormous rooms – some radiologically contaminated – workers heard a loud noise and saw a spray of salt dust.

It was just before 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 3 at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Still recovering from a radiation accident nearly three years ago, managers of the nation’s only deep geologic repository for defense nuclear waste had just two weeks prior decided to shut down the far south end of the mine after the salt ceiling collapsed in two places.Suspecting a rock fall, workers reported the incident to the Central Monitoring Room on the surface. Managers called for an evacuation of the underground and, following the latest safety protocol, activated the Emergency Operations Center 26 miles away in Carlsbad as a precaution.

The next day, a team of geotechnical and radiological control experts, members of the mine rescue team and a representative from the Mine Safety and Health Administration descended into WIPP. They found a massive area of the ceiling in Room 4 of Panel 7 had crashed: a rock fall two-thirds the length of a football field, eight feet thick.

WIPP is supposed to reopen this month. The U.S. Department of Energy has not publicly changed its position that WIPP will begin putting waste underground in December, a symbolic “end” to a recovery that still will likely go on for years.

There are regulatory hurdles left to clear. WIPP managers are expected to make public the results of a DOE “operational readiness review” this week, which could include corrective actions and could alter the time frame. New Mexico’s Environment Department must also complete a review of safety equipment, procedures and staff training and sign off that WIPP is ready.

But experts say the recent roof collapses inside WIPP – which have injured no one, thanks to precautionary closures of troubled areas – call into question the facility’s ability to handle ground control in a contaminated mine.

At the least, they say, the latest roof fall reduces available real estate underground, including potentially eliminating Room 4. At worst, the inability to keep up with maintenance could threaten worker safety, although WIPP managers frequently repeat that safety is the “highest priority.”……..

The radiation accident drastically reduced ventilation underground, curbing the number of vehicles that can operate. Workers must wear bulky protective clothing and respirators in contaminated areas and thus work more slowly. These and other constraints mean they can’t bolt back the roof at pre-accident rates, and some areas have been left unattended.

Salt was the chosen burial ground for certain types of legacy Cold War nuclear waste because, once filled and closed, the salt will slowly encapsulate the drums forever. But salt’s dynamic nature means WIPP managers are in a race against time – one they have not been winning.

“People have to understand, for WIPP to work it has to be a successful and a safe mining operation,” said Robert Alvarez, a columnist for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and former senior policy adviser to the Energy Secretary in the 1990s in the lead-up to WIPP’s opening. “They are just not out of the woods. But they are under enormous pressure to get this thing open because of all these sites sitting on this transuranic waste.”

Transuranic waste consists of boots, gloves and other materials contaminated during weapons production. Hundreds of shipments of “TRU” waste are piling up at sites around the country, including at Los Alamos and Idaho national laboratories and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina………

Federal review sought

An Albuquerque watchdog group is calling for an additional federal review before WIPP can reopen.
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant outside Carlsbad has been working for nearly three years to recover from a radiation accident in February 2014.
In a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy dated Nov. 21, Albuquerque’s Southwest Research and Information Center and the New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council asked DOE to submit WIPP to a review under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA.
The last NEPA review of WIPP came in 1997 – documents that “are now known to be incomplete, and in some cases, erroneous,” according to the letter.
Specifically, the letter requests NEPA analyses of WIPP’s recovery and its waste disposal plans – such as studies outlining the impacts of an underground fire like the one that occurred days before the radiation release in an unrelated accident – as well as a new analysis regarding the probability and impacts of a hot reaction inside a waste drum like the one that contaminated the facility.
– Lauren Villagran  https://www.abqjournal.com/902842/new-safety-questions-come-up-at-wipp.html

December 7, 2016 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Medical radiation poses risks for nurses

text-from-the-archivesFor patients, unnecessary procedures (usually imaging procedures) and radiation dosing errors represent the bulk of risk from medical radiation, whereas incidental, unintended radiation exposure is the primary concern for nurses and other health care workers…

Radiation safety for patients—and nurses   Oncology Nurse Advisor, Bryant medical-radiationFurlow, October 26, 2011  Diagnostic and therapeutic radiation have prolonged and improved millions of patients’ lives, and represent indispensable and increasingly sophisticated tools in clinical oncology. But medical radiation’s gifts have come at the potential cost of unintended irradiation of patients and health care workers and increased lifetime risks of secondary cancers. This concern has grown with improving patient survival times, particularly among pediatric cancer patients. Continue reading

December 7, 2016 Posted by | health, Reference, USA, women | Leave a comment

US Navy to build a new facility for stranded radioactive nuclear wastes

strandedUS to build $1.6B Idaho facility for warships’ nuclear waste,WNTV.com 6 Dec 16 By KEITH RIDLER Associated Press BOISE, Idaho (AP) – A $1.65 billion facility will be built at a nuclear site in eastern Idaho to handle fuel waste from the nation’s fleet of nuclear-powered warships, the Navy and U.S. Department of Energy announced Tuesday.

Officials said the new facility is needed to keep nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines deployed.

The new construction will be at the Naval Reactors facility on the Energy Department’s southeastern Idaho site that covers about 890-square-miles of high-desert sagebrush steppe. The area also includes the Idaho National Laboratory, considered the nation’s primary lab for nuclear research.

“This action will provide the infrastructure necessary to support the naval nuclear reactor defueling and refueling schedules to meet the operational needs of the U.S. Navy,” the Department of Energy said in a statement.

Officials said site preparation is expected to begin in 2017 with construction of the facility likely to start in 2019, creating 360 on-site jobs. The facility is expected to start operating in late 2024. The Department of Energy formally announced the plan with publication of what’s called a record of decision in the Federal Register. The record of decision made public Tuesday was signed last month by Admiral James F. Caldwell Jr., director of the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program.

The record of decision concludes a lengthy and public environmental process that also looked at continuing using outdated facilities at the eastern Idaho site or overhauling them…..

The Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, a joint Navy and Energy Department organization, has been sending spent Navy fuel to the Idaho site since 1957. It’s transported by rail from shipyards. Dahl declined to describe security at Navy site.

“Appropriate security will be provided for the new facility,” he said.

Officials also declined on Tuesday to describe security measures at the rest of site, but access roads have armed checkpoints and visitors must leave passenger vehicles far from facilities and ride buses into secured areas.

Nuclear waste coming into Idaho prompted lawsuits when state leaders in the late 1980s and early 1990s thought the site was becoming a permanent nuclear waste repository. The lawsuits culminated in a 1995 agreement, then a 2008 addendum, limiting such shipments and requiring most nuclear waste to be removed from the federal site by 2035. The deal applies to the Navy’s spent nuclear fuel.

Under the agreement, fuel waste coming to the new facility after 2035 will only remain for the six years it takes to cool in pools. After that, it’s required to be put in dry storage and taken out of Idaho. However, the nation has no repository for spent nuclear fuel at this time, so where it will go is not clear…..http://www.wbtv.com/story/33941726/us-to-build-16b-idaho-facility-for-warships-nuclear-waste

December 7, 2016 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Will Donald Trump be able to gut U.S. climate policies?

How far will Trump go to gut U.S. climate policies? http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060046632  Evan Lehmann, E&E News reporter ClimateWire: Monday, December 5, 2016 President-elect Donald Trump would have to undertake a herculean political effort to reverse his administration’s responsibility to reduce greenhouse gases, and he might not be able to count on Republicans in Congress for help.

In promising to rescind the Clean Power Plan, Trump is clipping a regulation off at the stem, but the roots would survive to pester his administration with the threat of lawsuits and the likelihood of future rules governing the release of carbon dioxide at U.S. firms, according to experts.

When the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that greenhouse gases are an “air pollutant,” it set in motion a series of actions that could now require Trump to convince the courts that global warming is not adversely affecting humans and the Earth — after the same court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, came to the opposite conclusion in 2012.

That effort would occur if Trump’s U.S. EPA tried to reverse the so-called endangerment finding of 2009, a tick-tock in the bureaucratic record that gave rise to a cascade of regulations on greenhouse gases over cars, power plants, natural gas wells and more in the future. The finding is EPA’s trigger to regulate. Continue reading

December 7, 2016 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry’s legacy – stranded wastes, safety fears, collapsing communities

highly-recommendedAs nuclear plants age, risks rise, telegram.com Christine Legere, Dec 4, 2016

December 7, 2016 Posted by | employment, safety, social effects, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Trump’s chosen US defense secretary questions need for land-based nuclear missiles

missiles s korea museumJames Mattis warned that land-based nuclear missiles pose false alarm danger
Trump’s pick for next US defence secretary has questioned need for US’s ICBMs, which are ready to launch within minutes in event of an attack,
Guardian, , 4 Dec 16, James Mattis, the retired general Donald Trump has chosen to be the next US defence secretary, has questioned the need for land-based nuclear missiles on the grounds they represent a higher risk than other weapons of being launched on a false alarm.

Mattis raised doubts about US nuclear orthodoxy in a statement to Congress in 2015, raising the issue over whether nuclear deterrence should continue to rest on a “triad” of weapon types: land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched missiles and warheads carried by air force bombers. During the campaign, Trump vowed to proceed with current plans to modernise all three legs of the triad, with an estimated price tag of half a trillion dollars over 20 years.

In his remarks to the Senate about US national security priorities, Mattis struck a more sceptical tone. He asked whether the US should declare that the sole purpose of its nuclear arsenal was to deter nuclear attack, a statement that would narrow its purpose and potentially lower the number of warheads required. The present US nuclear posture states that, in some circumstances, the current, 4,500-warhead arsenal has a role in deterring conventional or chemical weapon attack.

“The nuclear stockpile must be tended to and fundamental questions must be asked and answered,” Mattis told the Senate armed services committee. “We must clearly establish the role of our nuclear weapons: do they serve solely to deter nuclear war? If so we should say so, and the resulting clarity will help to determine the number we need.”

“Is it time to reduce the triad to a diad, removing the land‐based missiles? This would reduce the false alarm danger,” Mattis said.

The US has about 400 ICBMs on a “hair-trigger alert”, ready to launch within minutes if early warning systems show an incoming attack. Several former defence secretaries and generals have argued that they should be taken off this state of readiness because of the danger of false alarms, especially in the age of cyber warfare. Some former officials, including William Perry, defence secretary in the Clinton administration, have argued ICBMs should be scrapped altogether.

Perry said he knew Mattis well, having worked for the marine, then a colonel, for three years during Perry’s time at the Pentagon. The two have since taken part in conferences and panel discussions on nuclear weapons and defence.

“He’s very intelligent, a very serious thinker, nothing frivolous at all about him,” Perry told the Guardian. “My view of him is that he will be a solid addition to Trump’s team. He brings an experience in defence and national security that is lacking.”

“More importantly,” Perry said, “he is a man who says what he thinks. He’s not easily intimidated. He is known for speaking truth to power and that will be a great asset in this administration.”

Perry added that, during conversations he had had with Mattis and George Shultz, Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state, the marine general showed a deep understanding of the dangers of nuclear weapons. “I would not expect him to be recommending anything rash with nuclear weapons,” Perry said……. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/04/james-mattis-defense-secretary-nuclear-missiles-trump

December 7, 2016 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment