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Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton leads us back to the Nuclear Precipice

Back to the Nuclear Precipice, Project Syndicate, Mar 20, 2019 

Long a global leader in efforts to reduce nuclear-weapons stockpiles and limit nuclear proliferation, the United States is now fostering the conditions for a new global arms race. With hawks calling the shots in US President Donald Trump’s administration, a nuclear conflagration in one of the world’s hot spots is becoming more likely.

………. the author of The Art of the Deal has followed the advice of someone who has yet to meet a deal he didn’t want to tear up: Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton. Having already dispensed with the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002, during his tenure in President George W. Bush’s administration, Bolton has used his position in the Trump administration to launch attacks against the INF Treaty and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action(JCPOA) with Iran. Most likely, his next target will be New START. Signed by Obama and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Prague in 2010, that nuclear arms reduction treaty will expire in 2021, barring an agreement on its extension.

With the steady collapse of the international arms-control architecture has come a fresh race to develop new types of nuclear weapons. The potential use of these weapons is now discussed with such frivolity as to foreshadow a return to the darkest days of the Cold War, but one that is even more dangerous, because other countries not subject to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), such as North Korea, have since joined the nuclear club.

During Trump’s first year in office, his incendiary public exchanges with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un brought relations between Washington, DC, and Pyongyang to their tensest point in decades. While Trump has since abandoned his threats of “fire and fury” and given diplomacy a chance, his administration’s approach to North Korea has ignored all of the canons of effective diplomacy. This has given rise to another kind of frivolity: the spectacle of vacuous praise.

In the end, the lack of consensus among US foreign policymakers and the misaligned expectations of the two negotiating parties, combined with Trump’s own improvisations, condemned his recent summit with Kim to failure. A reorganization is now urgently needed, particularly to incorporate the other regional powers and keep Bolton and other hawks in the administration from derailing the process further.

Meanwhile, India and Pakistan, two other NPT non-signatories, recently engaged in a cross-border military confrontation, following a terrorist attack last month in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Once deemed “the most dangerous place in the world” by former US President Bill Clinton, Kashmir is essentially shared between three nuclear powers: India, Pakistan, and China. Not since Pakistan revealed its nuclear capacity to the world in the late 1990s have Indian-Pakistani relations been so tense. Worse, as the latest instability shows, the presence of nuclear weapons is not sufficient to prevent conflict. Instead, it merely raises the risk that quarrels will escalate into existential conflagrations.

Lastly, in the Middle East, the Trump administration has actively sowed the seeds for nuclear proliferation. The decision to abandon the JCPOA was entirely counterproductive, merely reflecting Trump’s blind support for Israel – another NPT non-signatory – and Saudi Arabia. Indeed, the Trump administration is even exploring the possibility of exporting nuclear material to the Saudi regime without putting the necessary safeguards in place.

Apparently, Trump is not bothered by the fact that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has neither ruled out developing nuclear arms nor committed to a strict regime of inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. One false step, though, could plunge the Middle East into a nuclear arms race – truly a worst-case scenario for such a fraught region.

Meanwhile, India and Pakistan, two other NPT non-signatories, recently engaged in a cross-border military confrontation, following a terrorist attack last month in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Once deemed “the most dangerous place in the world” by former US President Bill Clinton, Kashmir is essentially shared between three nuclear powers: India, Pakistan, and China. Not since Pakistan revealed its nuclear capacity to the world in the late 1990s have Indian-Pakistani relations been so tense. Worse, as the latest instability shows, the presence of nuclear weapons is not sufficient to prevent conflict. Instead, it merely raises the risk that quarrels will escalate into existential conflagrations.

Lastly, in the Middle East, the Trump administration has actively sowed the seeds for nuclear proliferation. The decision to abandon the JCPOA was entirely counterproductive, merely reflecting Trump’s blind support for Israel – another NPT non-signatory – and Saudi Arabia. Indeed, the Trump administration is even exploring the possibility of exporting nuclear material to the Saudi regime without putting the necessary safeguards in place.

Apparently, Trump is not bothered by the fact that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has neither ruled out developing nuclear arms nor committed to a strict regime of inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. One false step, though, could plunge the Middle East into a nuclear arms race – truly a worst-case scenario for such a fraught region.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump raised a red flag for the umpteenth time when he suggested that Japan and South Korea should develop their own nuclear weapons as a means of self-defense. This idea couldn’t have been more wrongheaded. Logic dictates that if more countries acquire nuclear weapons, the likelihood of such weapons being used will increase.

The Cold War gave us a glimpse of the risks we run when our single-minded pursuit of some geopolitical interests causes us to lose sight of the most important of them all: international security. As Obama emphasized ten years ago in Prague, the US is the only country ever to have used nuclear weapons, and therefore has an historic responsibility to ensure that they are never used again. For the US to forsake this responsibility and champion a new era of nuclear proliferation would be a tragic outcome. https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/us-trump-nuclear-proliferation-by-javier-solana-2019-03

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March 21, 2019 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Fukushima radioactive water – a million tons, and still coming

Fukushima water headache: 1 million tons and counting http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201903190042.html THE ASAHI SHIMBUN,March 19, 2019The crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant reached an undesired milestone on March 18: Storage tanks at the site now contain more than 1 million tons of radiation-contaminated water.The announcement by the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., came as the utility and the central government continue to weigh water-disposal methods while hearing the concerns of fishermen who fear for their livelihoods.

Toyoshi Fuketa, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, has repeatedly said a decision must be made soon on how to deal with the contaminated water.

“We are entering a period in which further delays in deciding what measure to implement will no longer be tolerable,” Fuketa recently said.

Groundwater becomes contaminated when it flows into the buildings of the three reactors that suffered meltdowns in 2011 following the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. Water that is used to cool the nuclear fuel debris is processed to remove radioactive substances, but the system cannot get rid of tritium.

These problems have forced TEPCO to store the contaminated water in hundreds of tanks installed at the Fukushima plant.

If more storage tanks are constructed, the overall capacity of 1.37 million tons at the site will likely be reached by the end of 2020.

Fukushima fishermen are already on alert for the one option they have already criticized–diluting the water and dumping it into the Pacific Ocean.

The economy ministry in 2016 said that measure could be implemented in the shortest time frame and at a low cost.

Fuketa has also said this is the most realistic option, but he noted that it would require years of preparation.

ome experts said the go-ahead for the dilution measure should have been given at the end of 2018 to start the process before the storage tanks reach capacity.

Economy ministry officials tried to explain various measures being considered at a public hearing in Fukushima in August 2018, including releasing the diluted water into the ocean.

“It will have a devastating effect on fishing in Fukushima,” said Tetsu Nozaki, who heads the Fukushima prefectural federation of fisheries cooperative associations.

Fukushima fishermen have slowly resumed operations since all forms of fishing were prohibited after high levels of radiation were found in fish caught off the Fukushima coast.

Fish auctions restarted at Fukushima ports in spring 2017, but the volume of fish brought in is still only about 20 percent of levels before the 2011 nuclear accident.

The last thing Fukushima fishermen want is an increase of negative publicity about their catches if the diluted water is dumped into the Pacific.

The government has spent about 34.5 billion yen ($309 million) to build a frozen underground earth wall around the three reactor buildings to divert the groundwater to the ocean. The “ice wall” has cut down the flow of groundwater, which at one time reached about 500 tons a day.

But still, groundwater continues to flow into the three reactor buildings at a rate of about 100 tons daily.

(This article was compiled from reports by Chikako Kawahara, Hiroshi Ishizuka, Toshio Kawada and Kazumasa Sugimura.)

March 21, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

The children’s climate fight is a fight against despair

March 21, 2019 Posted by | climate change, election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

Over 1.4 million young people went on strike for climate action

Hong Kong students join global school strike calling for action against climate change

School climate strikes: 1.4 million people took part, say campaigners, Guardian, Damian Carrington, Environment editor @dpcarrington, 19 Mar 2019

Activist Greta Thunberg, 16, says action proved ‘no one is too small to make a difference’  
More than 1.4 million young people around the world took part in school strikes for climate action, according to environmental campaigners.Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish student whose solo protest last August prompted the global movement, said: “We proved that it does matter what you do and that no one is too small to make a difference.”

Children walked out of schools on Friday in 2,233 cities and towns in 128 countries, with demonstrations held from Australia to India, the UK and the US, according to the Fridays for the Future website. Further strikes are planned for 12 April…….https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/19/school-climate-strikes-more-than-1-million-took-part-say-campaigners-greta-thunberg

March 21, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Trump to the rescue of nuclear industry – $3.7 billion in aid for troubled Vogtle nuclear project.

Trump to finalise $3.7 billion in aid for troubled nuclear reactor project  https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/trump-to-finalise-3-7-billion-in-aid-for-troubled-nuclear-reactor-project-119032001089_1.html

The plant is seen as critical to the nuclear industry’s future because existing reactors are struggling to compete with cheap natural gas and renewable energy  Ari Natter | Bloomberg March 20, 2019 

The Trump administration will finalize $3.7 billion in loan guarantees to Southern Co. and its partners who are building a troubled nuclear reactor project in Georgia — the last of its kind under construction in the U.S. — according to two people familiar with the matter.

The guarantees, expected to be announced Friday when U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry visits Plant Vogtle alongside Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Southern Chief Executive Officer Tom Fanning, represents a critical lifeline for the project, which is more than five years behind schedule and has doubled in cost to $28 billion.

The additional help also puts taxpayers on the hook for more money if the project were to collapse. Southern and its partners in Plant Vogtle were already recipients of record $8.3 billion in federally-backed loan guarantees from the Obama administration, but asked the Trump administration to come to their aid amid ballooning costs and setbacks caused in part by the bankruptcy of a contractor, Westinghouse Electric Co.

The plant, near Waynesboro, Georgia, is seen as critical to the nuclear industry’s future because existing reactors are struggling to compete with cheap natural gas and renewable energy. Scana Corp. abandoned its plans to build two reactors in South Carolina after expenses spiraled above $20 billion.

President Donald Trump has made the revival of the coal and nuclear industry a priority. His administration in 2017 announced it would provide a conditional loan guarantee for the Plant Vogtle project.

Representatives of the Energy Department and Southern didn’t immediately respond to requests for comments.

March 21, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | 1 Comment

The climate change “generation gap”

A generation gap, when it comes to climate change?, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, By Dana Nuccitelli, March 15, 2019   “……….A record number of Americans now view global warming as a serious threatand blame human activities as the cause. But there is apparently a generation gap out there when it comes to accepting the scientific evidence. And an ethnic gap, a gender gap, and a gap in political leaning—along with whether one can be considered one of society’s “haves” or “have nots.” So, who are these climate deniers? What is their profile?

A June 2014 Washington Post-ABC News poll asked a nationally representative sample of American respondents several questions about their support for climate policies. Specifically, those surveyed were asked whether they would be in favor of government greenhouse gas regulations that increased their monthly energy expenses by $20 per month. Overall, 63 percent of respondents expressed support for the proposed policy, including 51 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of Democrats.

Interestingly, there was a significant age gap among the responses. For Democrats under age 40, support for the policy proposal was 78 percent, as compared to 62 percent over age 65. Among Republicans, 61 percent under age 50 supported the proposed regulations, as compared to 44 percent over age 50. According to a Pew Research Center survey, younger Americans are also more likely to correctly answer that the planet is warming and that this warming is primarily due to human activities.

……. A recent survey conducted by the National Center for Science Education found that teachers who identified as Republicans, teachers who regarded the Bible as the actual word of God to be taken literally, and teachers who favored libertarian and small-government views, were all less likely to emphasize the scientific consensus on climate change and more likely to air opposing views in the classroom.

Consequently, this survey of US middle and high school science teachers found that while approximately 70 percent of these teachers spent one to two  hours on climate change per course, only 54 percent taught students about the scientific consensus on human-caused global warming. Thirty percent incorrectly characterized climate change as being natural in origin, and 15 percent ignored the origins of climate change or the topic of climate change entirely. Although the survey identified systemic obstacles to teaching about climate change in American classrooms, those obstacles will eventually be overcome, and climate literacy will improve as a result—at least among the younger generation.

Exposure to the opinions of one’s peer group may also help explain the climate age gap, as older men are the most common faces of climate denial. For example, in 2009 the American Physical Society was petitioned by 206 of its members (approximately 0.45 percent of its membership) to change its climate position and reject the expert consensus on climate change. An analysis of the petition signatories by John Mashey found that approximately 86 percent were born before 1950 (compared to approximately 40 percent of the society’s membership as a whole), and 97 percent were born before 1960 (compared to approximately 60 percent of the overall membership). Climate denial conferences are also disproportionately attended by old white men.

But age is not the only predictor of climate change denial.

The climate acceptance ethnicity gap. African- and Hispanic-Americans were also more likely to correctly answer the Pew Research Center climate questions—and to express concern about climate change—than white Americans. ……..

Climate denial caters to a small and dwindling population of old, white, conservative, American men. As with global temperatures, American acceptance of and concern about human-caused climate change is currently at record levels, and is certain to keep rising in the long-term. https://thebulletin.org/2019/03/a-generation-gap-when-it-comes-to-climate-change/?utm_source=Bulletin%20Newsletter&utm_medium=iContact%20email&utm_campaign=GenerationGap_03152019

March 21, 2019 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Irish Council opposes dumping of UK’s nuclear waste in any part of Ireland

Councillors back motion to oppose dumping of nuclear waste, The Impartial Reporter, 18th March A motion to oppose the dumping of any toxic waste in any part of Ireland was passed unanimously by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, however it was not without some political wrangling between Sinn Féin and the DUP.

The motion proposed by Sinn Fein’s John Feely states the Council’s opposition who said that the “dumping of nuclear waste has dire consequences for our environment and also poses a serious health risk to the population”.

Councillor Feely said the geological screening for geological disposal facilities for nuclear waste raised a number of questions such as about how much radiation would reach the surface and water sources.

He added that the proposals by the British Government showed once again “the complete and total disregard” it has for the citizens of “Fermanagh and Omagh, the North of Ireland and all its people”.

Councillor Barry Doherty seconded the motion saying everybody had obligation to ensure future generations have the opportunity to enjoy the area in the same way that people do today and Ireland should not turn into anyone’s dumping ground……..

Councillor Alex Baird said the UUP were happy to support the motion with an amendment to stop anybody dumping toxic waste in Northern Ireland.

Councillors, Shields, McAnespy and Deehan all welcomed the motion, with Councillor Deehan describing the prospect of a disposal facility for nuclear waste in the country as “chilling”…….. https://www.impartialreporter.com/news/17495254.councillors-back-motion-to-oppose-dumping-of-nuclear-waste/

March 21, 2019 Posted by | Ireland, politics international, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

The merits of letting North Korea keep its nuclear weapons, for now

Nuclear North Korea Can Keep Its Weapons, Kim Jong-un may not be willing to denuclearize now, but it’s possible that his calculations could change after some trust has been established and Pyongyang’s relations with its neighbors have become more productive.

National Interest, 20 Mar 111119,  Daniel R. DePetris Follow @DanDePetris on Twitter   Over two weeks removed from a U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi that concluded without even a minor agreement to meet again, North Korean vice foreign Minister Choe Son-hui had some pointed remarks for the Trump administration during a March 15 news briefing in Pyongyang. While she notably left President Donald Trump out of her critiques, Choe tore apart his negotiating team as inept and insincere charlatans worried more about politics than making a mutually-acceptable deal. She accused Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton of deliberately sabotaging the talks with a hardline approach. She questioned why U.S. negotiators let a good opportunity slip from their fingers. And she was unapologetic about Pyongyang’s position, calling its demand for a relaxation of some of the most stringent UN Security Council sanctions a fair payment for the closure of the North’s Yongbyon nuclear research center.

Then came the kicker: Kim Jong-un, Choe said, may decide to suspend the talks with Washington altogether. “On our way back to the homeland, our chairman of the state affairs commission [Kim] said. “For what reason do we have to make this train trip again?” she told the room . “I want to make it clear that the gangster-like stand of the United States will eventually put the situation in danger. We have neither the intention to compromise with the United States in any form nor much less the desire or plan to conduct this kind of negotiation.”

Secretary Pompeo brushed aside the comments the next morning at the State Department, calling them all part of the song-and-dance of high-stakes diplomacy. Coming on the heels of a report in the Washington Post detailing confusion in the Trump administration about how it should proceed post–Hanoi and during a period of increased murmuring on Capitol Hill for additional sanctions on the North Korean economy, the current negotiations appear to be incredibly vulnerable to an irrevocably break.

Trump has three general options going forward. Option one would be to persist with what can best be described as the John Bolton model, where Washington continues to demand immediate, full, and complete nuclear disarmament from Kim in exchange for economic sanctions relief and diplomatic normalization later on. Option two would be the status quo, but with more sanctions slapped on the North Koreans in the hope that more restrictive banking measures and oil quotas will coerce Kim into desperately returning to the table in a far weaker position.

As was vividly demonstrated in Hanoi, the first choice is a road to nowhere—one that would not only eliminate whatever diplomatic opening was available but could very well result in a confrontation neither the United States or North Korea wants. The second choice will likely miss the mark too; as the latest comprehensive report from the Security Council panel of experts dutifully documents, the Kim regime is a master at sanctions evasion. Previous sanctions regimes on North Korea have been regarded as ineffective by UN monitors, and there is no evidence that more Security Council resolutions would be any more impactful on Kim’s wallet than the dozen that came before it (China can single-handedly render sanctions moot). Indeed, if Pyongyang can find loopholes in the three strongest Security Council resolutions enacted since 2017, then it can find loopholes in the fourth.

Fortunately, there is a third option.

For the past quarter-century, U.S. policy has been centered on denuclearization-for-peace. In this policy, the Kim regime can only have peaceful relations with the United States and become a full valve in East Asia’s economic engine if it gives up each and every last nut and bolt of its weapon of mass destruction program—including its chemical and biological weapons stockpiles. Successive U.S. administrations have operated on the same paradigm ever since the North Korean nuclear issue became a top U.S. national-security concern. The only difference across the Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations is the negotiating tactics each administration has used to persuade North Korea to denuclearize. ……….

Rather than denuclearization before peace, the Trump administration should shake up the playbook and reverse the order. Just because the Kim regime will remain nuclear-capable for the foreseeable future does not mean the United States and its allies in South Korea and Japan should have a perpetually hostile relationship with the North. If Washington dealt with a nuclear-capable Soviet Union, China, and Pakistan with cordiality, then Washington can do the same with a nuclear North Korea.

This does not mean the United States has to accept Pyongyang’s nuclear status, its human rights abuses, its illicit arms sales, or its cyberhacking—none of which are conducive to acceptable international behavior. If U.S. security, political, or economic interests are directly at stake, then the Trump administration should not hesitate to defend them.

What this change in approach does require, however, is a Washington that is finally prepared to end its daily fixation on short or even medium-term North Korean nuclear disarmament at the cost of everything else, including an inter-Korean reconciliation process that—if taken to its fruitful conclusion—would lessen the hostility on the Korean Peninsula considerably……..

As a country infinitely stronger and more resourceful than North Korea, the United States can afford to wait for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. What the United States should no longer wait for, though, is an end to seventy years of animosity.

Daniel R. DePetris is a foreign affairs columnist for the Washington Examiner and the American Conservative and a frequent contributor to the National Interest. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/korea-watch/nuclear-north-korea-can-keep-its-weapons-48342

March 21, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Tohoku Electric says donation not a payoff for idle nuclear plant

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN  March 20, 2019 Tohoku Electric Power Co. plans to give an estimated 400 million yen ($3.58 million) to a village that hosts one of its nuclear power plants, but denies it is compensation for losses stemming from the facility’s suspension since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The utility said March 19 it will make a donation to Higashidori, Aomori Prefecture, where its Higashidori nuclear power plant is located, through a corporate version of the “furusato nozei” (hometown tax payment) system.

The company did not disclose the amount, but only said it wants to donate “about half” the maximum amount that the village is allowed to receive under this system. The ceiling for the village is about 800 million yen.

The village government called for Tohoku Electric’s response because the volume of work related to the nuclear plant, such as maintenance, declined due to the suspension and a number of accommodations relying on plant workers have closed.

Satoshi Shimoyashiki, vice manager of Tohoku Electric’s Aomori branch, rejected the notion that the donation was meant as compensation for such economic losses and emphasized that it is being made as “part of corporate social responsibility (CSR).”…….. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201903200054.html 

March 21, 2019 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

UK pledges to fully fund EU nuclear-fusion facility

Britain will pay £60 million to keep the Joint European Torus near Oxford running if negotiations to continue EU funding stall. Nature, Elizabeth Gibney, 20 Mar19,

The UK government has said that it will step in to pay for a European Union-funded nuclear-fusion laboratory near Oxford after 29 March, if European cash cannot be agreed in the next ten days.

The Joint European Torus (JET) laboratory currently has only a short-term funding contract with the European Commission, which will run out on 28 March, the day before Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union. Until now, JET has received around 88% of its funding from EU sources, and the remainder from the United Kingdom. Negotiations with the EU to agree a new contract to fund the facility until the end of 2020 are ongoing, but have stalled in part because of uncertainty over Brexit.

In a statement to Parliament on 13 March, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond promised to front up to £60 million (US$80 million) to run the JET in 2019–20, should no new agreement be reached in time.

The £60 million would cover the whole of the lab’s 2019–20 budget, says Ian Chapman, chief executive of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy near Oxford, which hosts JET. Chapman says that the pledge is effectively an “insurance policy”: he is still optimistic that a contract with the EU will be signed in time, and that the commission will continue to fund JET in the long term. “It’s not the intention on either side for [JET] to become a UK facility. This is to make sure we’re covered and operations continue in every eventuality,” he says. ……

Unless the deal is passed by Parliament, or Brexit is delayed, the United Kingdom will leave the EU without a deal. Although it would be possible for the bloc to keep funding JET in a ‘no deal’ Brexit, it is unclear whether this would happen. A UK government spokesperson said that the funding for JET would come from existing funds earmarked for science. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00930-3

March 21, 2019 Posted by | politics international, technology, UK | 1 Comment

USA pushing mini-nuclear reactors for military reasons

US pursuing mini-nuclear reactors to support military expeditionary capabilities,  Defence Connect, 20 Mar 19, The US military is conducting research into the development of rapidly deployable, container mounted nuclear reactors to support deployed American and allied forces, reducing threats to traditional supply and support convoys…….

The US has initiated a series of programs to develop, test and deploy alternatives to traditional petrol-based fuel systems, particularly for power generation and small-scale manufacturing of key materials like munitions at forward operating bases operating in close proximity to peer-competitors, limiting supply line and convoy exposure to enemy interdiction.  ….. Enter the development of very small modular nuclear reactors (vSMRs), designed to deliver between one and 10 megawatts (MW) for years without refuelling in a rapidly-deployable (road and/or air) package. Both the US Department of Defense and NASA have collaborated on the development of such reactors for use in military and space exploration contingencies.   ………The HOLOS reactor in particular has been designed to support deployed military requirements……..
https://www.defenceconnect.com.au/key-enablers/3737-us-pursuing-mini-nuclear-reactors-to-support-military-expeditionary-capabilities

March 21, 2019 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

EDF Energy extends outages at UK’s Hunterston B nuclear plant

Nina Chestney, Reuters LONDON (20 Mar 19,  – EDF Energy, owned by France’s EDF, has extended outages at two nuclear reactors at its Hunterston B plant in Scotland while it waits for Britain’s nuclear regulator to assess their safety cases.

  • Hunterston B-8 reactor is now expected to restart on April 30, a month later than previously forecast. Hunterston B-7 is scheduled to restart on June 29, compared with a previous date of April 30, according to EDF Energy’s website.
  • In March last year, the two reactors were taken offline to carry out inspections of the graphite core. These confirmed the presence of cracks and showed these were happening at a higher rate than modelled……… https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-nuclear-outages-idUKKCN1R01Q1

 

March 21, 2019 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Democrat presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard calls for end of ‘wasteful wars,’ nuclear tension

Campaigning in Vegas, Gabbard calls for end of ‘wasteful wars,’ nuclear tension, http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2019/03/19/campaigning-vegas-gabbard-calls-end-wasteful-wars-nuclear-tension/March 19, 2019 at 4:48 AM HST – Updated March 19 at 4:48 AM 

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard says her top priorities if she’s elected to the White House in 2020 would be to end military action in countries like Iraq and Syria and to de-escalate tensions with nuclear-armed countries like Russia and China.

The Hawaii congresswoman told a small but diverse crowd in Las Vegas on Monday afternoon that she wants to end what she called “wasteful regime change wars” that are costing the country trillions of dollars and instead spend that money on health care, education and other needs in the U.S.

Gabbard, a 37-year-old combat veteran, was making her first foray into early-nominating state Nevada as a presidential candidate.

She planned to hold a “meet and greet luau” west of the Las Vegas Strip later in the evening.

March 21, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | 2 Comments

Chelsea Manning – an American hero! Daniel Ellsberg explains

March 21, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Are the UK’s cracked Hunterston nuclear reactors safe?

The Ferret 19th March 2019  Plans to restart two cracked and ageing reactors at Hunterston in north Ayrshire have again been delayed as operators struggle to convince regulators they are safe.

EDF Energy, the French company that runs Hunterston B nuclear power station, has postponed the restart date for reactor three by two months to 30 June 2019. The restart of reactor four has been postponed a month until 30 April 2019.

Some 370 major cracks have been found in the graphite core of reactor three, which has been closed down for more than a year since 9 March 2018. There are estimated to be around 200 similar cracks in reactor four, which was closed down on 2 October 2018.

The operational safety limit for cracks imposed by the UK government’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is 350. EDF is now trying to convince ONR that reactors should be allowed to operate with up to 700 cracks.

The proposed restart dates for both reactors have been repeatedly delayed over the last six months. They started generating electricity in 1976 and were originally due to close in 2006 – but EDF wants to keep them going until at least 2023.

Critics, however, reiterated calls for the reactors to shut down permanently. “It really is time for EDF to admit that these stations are well past their sell-by date and need to close,” said nuclear consultant, Peter Roche. “They should start talking to the Scottish Government about providing alternative employment opportunities in Ayrshire, preferably by bringing forward decommissioning and dismantling and developing robot technology.”

Rita Holmes, chair of the Hunterston site stakeholder group chair, said that personally she had no doubt that ONR would take time to scrutinise EDF’s safety cases. “Some people find the delays reassuring because EDF is sparing no expense, leaving no stone unturned, consulting the experts in order to build a robust safety case,” she said.

“Some feel the opposite – if it takes EDF that long to provide a robust safety case then maybe there is something far wrong. The safety case might or might not satisfy the regulator……….
https://theferret.scot/cracked-reactors-force-further-delays-at-hunterston/ 

March 21, 2019 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment