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USA’s nuclear weapons companies need the nuclear weapons race to continue

Eric Sirotkin speaks to RT Int 08012018

North Korea Agreed to Denuclearize, but When Will the US?   Marjorie CohnTruthout 18 June 18 

A powerful economic incentive continues to drive the nuclear arms race. After the Singapore Summit, the stock values of all major defense contractors — including Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and General Dynamics — declined.

Given his allegiance to boosting corporate profits, it’s no surprise that Donald Trump is counterbalancing the effects of the Singapore Summit’s steps toward denuclearization with a Nuclear Posture Review that steers the US toward developing leaner and meaner nukes and lowers the threshold for using them.

The United States has allocated $1.7 trillion to streamline our nuclear arsenal, despite having agreed in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968 to work toward nuclear disarmament.

Meanwhile, the US maintains a stockpile of 7,000 nuclear weapons, some 900 of them on “hair trigger alert,” according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“If weapons are used they need to be replaced,” Brand McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network has argued. “That makes war a growth story for these stocks, and one of the big potential growth stories recently has been North Korea. What the agreement does, at least for a while, is take military conflict off the table.”

Moreover, economic incentives surrounding conventional weapons also cut against the promise of peace on the Korean Peninsula. Eric Sirotkin, founder of Lawyers for Demilitarization and Peace in Korea, has pointed out that South Korea is one of the largest importers of conventional weapons from the United States. If North and South Korea achieve “a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula,” as envisioned by the agreement between Trump and Kim Jong Un, the market for US weapons could dry up, according to Sirotkin.

Even so, US defense spending will continue to increase, according to Bloomberg Intelligence aerospace expert George Ferguson. “If North Korea turns from a pariah state to being welcomed in the world community, there are still enough trouble spots that require strong defense spending, supporting revenue and profit growth at prime defense contractors.” 

The US Lags Behind on DenuclearizationLast year, more than 120 countries approved the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which requires ratifying countries “never under any circumstances to develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” It also prohibits the transfer of, use of, or threat to use nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices.

Since the treaty opened for signature on September 20, 2017, 58 countries have signed and 10 have ratified it. Fifty countries must ratify the treaty for it to enter into force, hopefully in 2019.

The five original nuclear-armed nations — the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China — boycotted the treaty negotiations and the voting. North Korea, Israel, Pakistan and India, which also have nuclear weapons, refrained from participating in the final vote

During negotiations, in October 2016, North Korea had voted for the treaty.

In advance of the Singapore Summit, dozens of Korean American organizations and allies signed a statement of unity,which says:

Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula means not only eliminating North Korea’s nuclear weapons but also denuclearizing the land, air, and seas of the entire peninsula. This is not North Korea’s obligation alone. South Korea and the United States, which has in the past introduced and deployed close to one thousand tactical nuclear weapons in the southern half of the peninsula, also need to take concrete steps to create a nuclear-free peninsula. ………https://truthout.org/articles/north-korea-agreed-to-denuclearize-but-when-will-the-us/

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June 20, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

A nuclear bomb terrorist attack on New York – the sequence of events

What a nuclear attack in New York would look like This Is What a Nuclear Bomb Looks Like (picture of a somewhat rusting ordinary van) Ny Mag. 12 June 18 

If America is attacked, the strike probably won’t come from North Korea. And it will be even scarier than we imagine. …….

There are currently at least 2,000 tons of weapons-grade nuclear material stored in some 40 countries — enough to make more than 40,000 bombs approximately the size of the one that devastated Hiroshima. Stealing the material would be challenging but far from impossible. Russia stockpiles numerous bombs built before the use of electronic locks that disable the weapons in the event of tampering. Universities that handle uranium often have lax security. And insiders at military compounds sometimes steal radioactive material and sell it on the black market. Since 1993, there have been 762 known instances in which radioactive materials were lost or stolen, and more than 2,000 cases of trafficking and other criminal activities.
Once terrorists obtained the uranium, they would need only a small team of sympathetic engineers and physicists to build what is known as a gun-type nuclear bomb, like the one dropped on Hiroshima. A gun-type nuke uses traditional explosives to fire a slug of uranium through a tube directly into another chunk of uranium, fracturing huge numbers of atoms and unleashing a massive amount of energy. Compared to modern nuclear missiles, which are far more powerful and complex, constructing a crude gun-type nuke is fairly straightforward.  …..
The last step in the process — smuggling the weapon into the United States — would be even easier. A ten-kiloton bomb, which would release as much energy as 10,000 tons of TNT, would be only seven feet long and weigh about 1,000 pounds. It would be simple to transport such a device to America aboard a container ship, just another unseen object in a giant metal box among millions of other metal boxes floating on the ocean. Even a moderate amount of shielding would be enough to hide its radioactive signature from most detectors at shipping hubs. Given all the naturally radioactive items that frequently trigger false alarms — bananas, ceramics, Brazil nuts, pet deodorizers — a terrorist group could even bury the bomb in bags of Fresh Step or Tidy Cats to fool inspectors if a security sensor was tripped.
In 1946, a senator asked J. Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist who played a key role in the Manhattan Project, what instrument he would use to detect a nuclear bomb smuggled into the United States. Oppenheimer’s answer: “A screwdriver.” Amazingly, our detection systems have still not caught up to this threat: One would essentially have to open and visually inspect every single crate and container arriving on America’s shores. Once the container ship reached a port like Newark, terrorists would have no trouble loading the concealed bomb into the back of an unassuming white van and driving it through the Lincoln Tunnel directly into Times Square.
 

The Blast

One of the greatest misconceptions about nuclear bombs is that they annihilate everything in sight, leaving nothing but a barren flatland devoid of shape and life. In truth, the physical destruction inflicted by a nuclear explosion resembles that of a combined hurricane and firestorm of unprecedented proportion. Consider one example: A ten-kiloton nuclear bomb detonated on the ground in Times Square would explode with a white flash brighter than the sun. It would be seen for hundreds of miles, briefly blinding people as far away as Queens and Newark. In the same moment, a wave of searing heat would radiate outward from the explosion, followed by a massive fireball, the core of which would reach tens of millions of degrees, as hot as the center of the sun.

When such a bomb explodes, everyone within 100 feet of ground zero is instantaneously reduced to a spray of atoms. There are photos from Hiroshima and Nagasaki showing eerie silhouettes of people cast against a flat surface, such as a wall or floor. These are not, as is sometimes claimed, the remains of vaporized individuals, but rather a kind of morbid nuclear photograph. The heat of the nuclear explosion bleaches or darkens the background surface, except for the spot blocked by the person, leaving a corresponding outline. In some cases the heat released by the explosion will also burn the patterns of clothing onto people’s skin.

Near the center of the blast, the suffering and devastation most closely conform to the fictional apocalypse of our imaginations. This is what it would look like within a half-mile of Times Square: Few buildings would remain standing. Mountains of rubble would soar as high as 30 feet. As fires raged, smoke and ash would loft into the air. The New York Public Library’s stone guardians would be reduced to pebble and dust. Rockefeller Center would be an unrecognizable snarl of steel and concrete, its titanic statue of Prometheus — eight tons of bronze and plaster clad in gold  — completely incinerated. 

Within a half-mile radius of the blast, there would be few survivors. Those closest to the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki have described the horrors they witnessed: People with ripped sheets of skin hanging from their bodies; people whose brains were visible through their shattered skulls; people with holes for eyes. Sakue Shimohira watched her mother’s charred body crumble into ash as she tried to wake her. Shigeko Sasamori’s father cut off the blackened husk of skin all over her face, revealing pools of pus beneath.

As the fireball travels outward from the blast, people, buildings, and trees within a one-mile radius would be severely burned or charred. Metal, fabric, plastic, and clay would ignite, melt, or blister. The intense heat would set gas lines, fuel tanks, and power lines on fire, and an electromagnetic pulse created by the explosion would knock out most computers, cell phones, and communication towers within several miles.

Traveling much farther than the fireball, a colossal pressure wave would hurtle forth faster than the speed of sound, generating winds up to 500 miles per hour. The shock wave would demolish the flimsiest buildings and strip the walls and roofs off stronger structures, leaving only their naked and warped scaffolding. It would snap utility poles like toothpicks and rip through trees, fling people through the air, and turn brick, glass, wood, and metal into deadly projectiles. A blast in Times Square, combined with the fireball, would carve a crater 50 feet deep at the center of the explosion. The shock wave would reach a diameter of nearly 3.2 miles, shattering windows as far as Gramercy Park and the American Museum of Natural History.

All this would happen within a few seconds.

From Van to Tsunami

Five different nukes, and what they would do if unleashed on Times Square.……….http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/06/what-a-nuclear-attack-in-new-york-would-look-like.html

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Donald Trump pledges Israel that he’ll ignore their nuclear weapons

Report: Trump pledges not to pressure Israel on nuclear issue

http://www.israelhayom.com/2018/06/19/report-trump-pledges-not-to-pressure-israel-on-nuclear-issue/?platform=hootsuite

Donald Trump becomes fourth U.S. president to sign letter saying U.S. will not pressure Israel to forfeit its rumored nuclear capabilities, New Yorker reports • Obama aides failed to brief Trump officials on letter during transition, report says.

Israel Hayom StaffIsrael has managed to secure a written pledge from four successive U.S. presidents to safeguard its presumed nuclear deterrent, The New Yorker magazine reported on Monday.

According to uncorroborated reports in the foreign media, Israel has as many as 200 nuclear warheads as part of a presumed military nuclear program dating back to the 1960s. Israel has never publicly acknowledged these reports.

Israel has also pledged not to be the first nation to introduce nuclear weapons in the region.

According to Monday’s report, in the wake of the first Gulf War in the early 1990s, Israel felt that the unwritten understanding struck between President Richard Nixon and Prime Minister Golda Meir in the early 1970s to ensure Israel would never be compelled to denuclearize was insufficient.

Eventually, Israeli policymakers convinced President Bill Clinton to put the Nixon-Meir understandings into writing.

“The first iteration of the secret letter was drafted during the Clinton administration as part of an agreement for Israel’s participation in the 1998 Wye River negotiations with the Palestinians,” said the report, by The New Yorker’s Adam Entous.

“In the letter, according to former officials, President Bill Clinton assured the Jewish state that no future American arms-control initiative would detract from Israel’s deterrent capabilities, an oblique but clear reference to its [alleged] nuclear arsenal.”

The letter was later signed by President George W. Bush. But when President  Barack Obama won office in 2008, Israel was concerned he would hold off on renewing the pledge.

“With Obama, we were all crazy,” an Israeli official was quoted in the report. A former U.S. official is quoted as saying that Obama’s advisers believed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “paranoid” that the U.S. would try to take away Israel’s presumed nuclear weapons, but that “wasn’t our intent.”

Ultimately, Obama signed “an updated version of the letter.”

According to the report, efforts to renew the pledge when President Donald Trump assumed office initially stalled, when Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer made the request in a surprise move in February 2017. When he came to the White House, the Trump officials said they needed more time, but the Israelis “wanted to limit who could take part in discussions of the letter, citing the need for secrecy.”

According to the report, part of the tensions then arose because the White House was not aware of the letters.

“The very existence of the letters had been a closely held secret. Only a select group of senior American officials, in three previous administrations, knew of the letters,” the report said.

When Trump became president, his aides “didn’t find any copies of the previous letters left behind by their predecessors. The documents had been sent to the archives.”

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Israel, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry warn on cancers due to radioactive waste in Coldwater Creek, St Louis County

Radioactive waste in Coldwater Creek increases cancer risk, says federal report, St Louis Public Radio,  • JUN 18, 2018, 

A federal government agency has concluded radioactive contamination in a north St. Louis County creek could cause increased risk of certain types of cancer in residents who live near the north St. Louis County waterway.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s public health assessment, released Monday, states that residents who were exposed to the area around Coldwater Creek had a higher risk of exposure to radioactive contaminants, and thus a higher risk of bone cancer, lung cancer or leukemia. The federal organization is also calling for the public to comment and add to the report through Aug. 31.

Advocates for residents near Coldwater Creek were pleased to hear representatives of a federal agency acknowledge what they have long suspected.

“What they’re saying [is] they confirm our exposure could be linked to our cancer and our illnesses,” community activist Kim Visintine said.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry assesses the risk of hazardous waste sites, among other tasks. It’s part of the Department of Health and Human Services and is based at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in Atlanta.

Radioactive waste generated by the Mallinckrodt Company from work on the

Manhattan Project was stored in an open site close to the creek. Over years, that waste migrated into the dirt in the Coldwater Creek bed. A report from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services found an increased rate of certain types of cancer in the area around the creek.

According to the federal agency’s report, the highest risk for exposure is in children and adults who lived near the creek in 1960s through the 1990s.

“Our evaluation did find an increased risk of some cancer, especially for the past exposures, people who grew up in the area and played very often or frequently in or near the creek,” said Jill Dykin, an environmental health scientist for the agency.

Dykin added the report can’t link individual people’s health problems with exposures, just draw a connection to the risk.

For Visintine, that’s enough. The former north St. Louis County resident and the co-founder of the group Coldwater Creek – Just the Facts said the report confirms years of suspicions.

“It’s one thing for a group of citizens to say there’s an issue, and another thing to actually receive government validation,” Visintine said

She said the federal acknowledgement could pave the way for residents to receive relief from the government through the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, which provides compensation to people whose cancers can be linked to nuclear weapons tests.

“The big thing you’re now eligible for these grants and funds for your community screening clinics, for insurance,” Visintine said. “To even get to that point, to pursue legislation, you have to have the CDC acknowledge there was exposure.

“It’s a big long process and we’ve come a long way but we sure have a long way to go.”

…. ….Representatives of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry will visit St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Florissant on June 27 and 28 to answer questions and elicit feedback on the report and will hopefully receive more information to add to its findings.“We’ve been working with the community and some community leaders through our entire process,” Dykin said. “We actually based a lot if the assumptions we made for how frequently and how long kids played in and along Coldwater Creek on information we got from the community.”

Follow Sarah on Twitter: @petit_smudge  http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/radioactive-waste-coldwater-creek-increases-cancer-risk-says-federal-report#stream/0

June 20, 2018 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Radioactive Pollution At Los Angeles Jewish Camp

Scientists Concerned About Radioactive Pollution At Los Angeles Jewish Camp https://forward.com/fast-forward/403091/scientists-concerned-about-radioactive-pollution-at-los-angeles-jewish/  

Four nationally known scientists are recommending new testing at a popular Los Angeles-area Jewish camp to determine if contaminants at a nearby former nuclear testing site have posed health risks to past and current campers, NBC Los Angeles reported.

The scientists independently reached that conclusion after reviewing various reports of past testing at Camp Alonim and the land it sits on, the Brandeis-Bardin campus, owned by the American Jewish University. The camp is located just below Santa Susana Field Laboratory, which for decades hosted rocket and experimental nuclear reactor testing. The laboratory has long been closed but is still awaiting a full cleanup, according to NBC. Both AJU and state toxics regulators say the land is safe.

“If you looked at this historically and said, ‘Could being at the camp have led to radiation exposure’ the answer is yes,” said Dr. Jonathan Samet, an internationally known radiation expert and dean of the Colorado School of Public Health, one of the scientists interviewed.

Among the key findings from the two-year investigation are that the test results cited by the camp and state regulators are either too old or too inconclusive to definitely say whether children are safe from contamination from the Field Lab. The article also claimed a 2016 study paid for by the camp’s owner, to investigate concerns about contamination, is flawed. AJU also says the camp has no history of growing food for children to eat in the potentially toxic soil, a claim challenged by past staff.

The article originally was planned to appear in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, but according to NBC, the Jewish Journal’s new publisher declined to publish the story.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at fisher@forward.com, or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

 

June 20, 2018 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment

Trump’s plan for new low-yield nuclear weapon – superfluous and dangeroud

Trump Wants a New Low-Yield Nuclear Weapon. But the US Has Plenty Already. UCS 

ERYN MACDONALD, ANALYST | JUNE 18, 2018, The Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), released in February of this year, calls attention to the composition of the US nuclear arsenal and its adequacy as a deterrent. The NPRcalls for a new lower-yield submarine-launched nuclear warhead, arguing that it is needed to “counter any mistaken perception of an exploitable ‘gap’ in U.S. regional deterrence capabilities.” We decided to put together the chart in Fig. 1 to illustrate the range of nuclear weapons alreadyavailable in the US arsenal.

One thing that this visual immediately makes clear is that it would be difficult to perceive any real gap in US capabilities—the existing arsenal certainly does not lack for nuclear options for any occasion……….Labeling such deadly and destructive weapons “low-yield” may give leaders the dangerous impression that using them is not as serious as using a nuclear weapon with a larger yield, and that their use would not lead to full-scale nuclear war. But in reality, no one knows what would happen if a nuclear weapon—of any size—were once again used in war. As Defense Secretary James Mattis has said,

“I don’t think there’s any such thing as a tactical nuclear weapon. Any nuclear weapon used at any time is a strategic game changer.”

The administration’s choice of language in the NPR rationale for the new warhead is also interesting. It does not argue that such a gap actually exists, but that it is concerned that an adversary might mistakenly perceive one. While perceptions are always an important consideration in deterrence, it’s useful to keep in mind the fact that 1) we don’t actually know what our adversaries are thinking, and we’ve been dangerously wrong in past guesses; and 2) trying to ensure that no country could ever possibly perceive that it might have any type of military advantage is how arms races happen. Most relevant in the current situation, it is how the US and Soviet Union ended the Cold War with arsenals of tens of thousands of nuclear weapons each. This type of thinking is not about deterrence, but about “escalation dominance” and “nuclear warfighting,” both of which are even more unstable and dangerous.

Recognition of the particular dangers of low-yield nuclear weapons has, until recently, been widespread and bipartisan among US military and political leaders. Over the past several decades, the United States has eliminated much of its arsenal of low-yield nuclear weapons for this and other reasons. The Trump administration’s new move to develop more of these weapons is a step in the wrong direction that is both unnecessary and dangerous. https://allthingsnuclear.org/emacdonald/trump-wants-a-new-low-yield-nuclear-weapon

June 20, 2018 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A political problem for US Republicans – conservatives hate Trump’s coal and nuclear bailout

Lots of conservatives hate Trump’s coal and nuclear bailout — that’s a big political problem, The Hill, Conservative opposition to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has dominated headlines — losing stalwarts like Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Laura Ingraham stings. However, the Trump administration’s bigger political problem among conservatives could be its controversial proposal to spend billions on a coal and nuclear bailout.

June 20, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Closure of nuclear power stations will not cause increase in electricity prices

Nuclear power shutdowns won’t spike power prices, Science Daily 

Date:
June 19, 2018
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Despite economic woes that could shutter two of Pennsylvania’s nuclear power plants — which generate 6 percent of the state’s power — power prices will remain steady due to low natural gas prices, according to an associate professor of energy policy and economics.

Despite economic woes that could shutter two of Pennsylvania’s nuclear power plants — which generate 6 percent of the state’s power — power prices will remain steady due to low natural gas prices, according to Seth Blumsack, associate professor of energy policy and economics, Penn State.

Owners of both Three Mile Island, near Harrisburg, and Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station, west of Pittsburgh, have cited financial troubles due to historically low electricity prices. Blumsack said rock-bottom power prices are expected to continue for years to come because energy use has plateaued and efficient natural gas power plants — which are nowhere near peak production — have recently come online. That situation is coupled with extremely low natural gas prices.

“There’s just so much extra generation capacity in this region,” Blumsack said. “These nuclear power plants are big, but even if you were to lose these big power plants there’s so much other generation capacity that can produce electricity at costs competitive with the nuclear plants that the market outcomes aren’t going to change and the reliability of the grid won’t be compromised.”

Blumsack studied the impact of the two nuclear power plants coming offline and found wholesale energy prices would rise between 4-10 percent each year over a three-year period if those plants were not replaced. When that lost nuclear capacity is replaced by natural gas, however, wholesale energy prices decline each year by between 9 percent and 24 percent. The more new generation capacity that enters the market, the larger the reduction in wholesale energy costs as long as market prices for natural gas remain low.

The research will be published in an upcoming issue of The Electricity Journal.

Natural gas prices, which are projected to increase only slightly for the next several years, according to the World Bank Natural Gas Price Forecast, would have to increase by 300 percent at Appalachian trading hubs for nuclear power to again be competitive, Blumsack said………

“Overall, electricity demand in the U.S. has not grown in the past decade so you have this combination of no growth in demand and excess power generation capacity,” Blumsack said. “That prompts the market to crash, which causes some players to lose and in this case that appears to be the nuclear power plants.” ….. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180619122409.htm

June 20, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Increasing costs for failed South Carolina nuclear project

Bill for failed South Carolina nuclear project could climb by $421 million, By Thad Moore tmoore@postandcourier.com 19 June 18, The final tab for South Carolina’s failed nuclear power project could increase by $421 million after a state audit found the two utilities behind it owe sales tax on the materials they bought for the unfinished plant.

The bill, obtained by The Post and Courier, includes millions of dollars of interest tacked onto a staggering $410 million claim for back taxes. The assessment covers every item that South Carolina Electric & Gas and Santee Cooper bought for the massive construction project — every bolt, pipe and turbine.

SCE&G and Santee Cooper have said they will challenge the findings of the audit. But the assessment stands to pile onto the failed V.C. Summer project’s already-hefty $9 billion tab. Who will pay for the unfinished reactors all has dominated state politics for much of the last year……..https://www.postandcourier.com/business/bill-for-failed-south-carolina-nuclear-project-could-climb-by/article_c638c31e-733f-11e8-b5f1-7fce3c8afe80.html

June 20, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Inadequate funds to decommission FirstEnergy Solutions

FES nuclear decommissioning funds inadequate, consumer groups tell NRC, When FirstEnergy Solutions closes the Perry nuclear power plant east of Cleveland, the Davis-Besse nuclear plant near Toledo and the Beaver Valley nuclear plant near Pittsburgh it will have up to 60 years to decommission the reactors and clean up the land at a cost of billions of dollars. A coalition of consumer and environment groups is arguing that the decommissioning trust funds are inadequate, that FES will not be able to begin decommissioning for years after the plants are closed and that parent company FirstEnergy Cop. must be held responsible to make up the funding deficit.(Plain Dealer file)

June 20, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Navy Releases Plan to Retest Hunters Point Shipyard for Radiation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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