Eliminate nuclear weapons – or they’ll eliminate us http://www.citizen-times.com/story/opinion/contributors/2016/10/21/guest-columnist-eliminate-nuclear-weapons-eliminate-us/92510602/Will you help end our terrible love affair with nuclear weapons that threatens us all?
Yet the second trend—the combination of mass migration and racist backlash—could push even more polities toward authoritarianism. Migration is also harder to predict than inequality: Wars and exoduses are not as easy to model as flood damage and agricultural yields.
Climate mitigation is a worthy goal in itself. It is all the more important when understood as one more type of long-term anti-fascism.
Donald Trump Is the First Demagogue of the Anthropocene He won’t be the last. The Atlantic, ROBINSON MEYER OCT 19, 2016
“………I want to propose a new way of understanding Donald Trump. He not only represents a white racial backlash, and he has not only opened the way for an American extension of the European far right. Insofar as his supporters are drawn to him by a sense of global calamity, and insofar as his rhetoric singles out the refugee as yet another black and brown intruder trying to violate the nation’s cherished borders, Trump is the first demagogue of the Anthropocene.
We should take Trump at his word when he calls Syrian refugees “one of the great Trojan horses,” or when his son bizarrely describes them as Skittles that “will kill you.” In Europe, Trump’s far-right kin have long blurred the differences between legal immigration, Islamist terrorism, and the refugees fleeting the Syrian War. After the Paris attacks last year, one leader of the French far-right National Front said, “Today, we can see that immigration has become favorable terrain for the development of Islamism.”
This xenophobia is grounded in real-life trends. I will focus on two in particular: moribund economic growth and the mass migration of non-white people. Both will likely intensify as the planet warms. (A third vital trend—the political and cultural upheaval of the U.S. racial hierarchy—will not vary with climate change.)
First, climate change could easily worsen the inequality that has already hollowed out the Western middle class. A recent analysis in Nature projected that the effects of climate change will reduce the average person’s income by 23 percentby the end of the century. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency predicts that unmitigated global warming could cost the American economy $200 billion this century. (Some climate researchers think the EPA undercounts these estimates.)
Future consumers will not register these costs so cleanly, though—there will not be a single climate-change debit exacted on everyone’s budgets at year’s end. Instead, the costs will seep in through many sources: storm damage, higher power rates, real-estate depreciation, unreliable and expensive food. Climate change could get laundered, in other words, becoming just one more symptom of a stagnant and unequal economy. As quality of life declines, and insurance premiums rise, people could feel that they’re being robbed by an aloof elite.
They won’t even be wrong. It’s just that due to the chemistry of climate change, many members of that elite will have died 30 or 50 years prior. Continue reading
Ontario Power Generation has applied for permission to increase the price for nuclear power by 180 per cent over the next decade http://www.nugget.ca/2016/10/21/ontario-power-generation-has-applied-for-permission-to-increase-the-price-for-nuclear-power-by-180-per-cent-over-the-next-decade The following letter is addressed to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.
Many people in Ontario are struggling to pay their electricity bills.
You need to act now to protect us from further price increases.
Ontario Power Generation wants to raise the price for nuclear power in order to operate its nuclear power plant in Pickering and rebuild the one in Darlington.
It has applied for permission to increase the price for nuclear power by 180 per cent over the next decade. And I expect the price will go even higher – as I’m sure you know, no nuclear project in Ontario’s history has delivered on time or on budget. This is unacceptable.
The people of Ontario simply cannot afford to pay for your plans to spend billions of our tax dollars to rebuild outdated nuclear plants. Studies indicate that Ontario can save $600 million to $1.2 billion per year – or $12 to 24 billion over 20 years – by cancelling the rebuild of the Darlington nuclear plant.
Fortunately, we can cancel the Darlington rebuild and still keep Ontario powered up. There is a cleaner, more affordable alternative: We can get the power we need by importing Quebec’s excess clean water power.
This week you are meeting with top cabinet ministers from Quebec. This gives you a great opportunity to sign a deal for a cheaper and cleaner source of electricity.
To make this work, we would have to upgrade transmission lines at an estimated cost of only about $500 million. All told, Ontario would benefit from a return on investment in just a few months. There are few deals in today’s world with such a short ROI.
Moving forward, the province would enjoy $600 million to $1.2 billion in annual savings. We could use this to fund energy efficiency programs that would help people save money by saving energy.
Premier, I know the nuclear lobby is powerful in Ontario. It spends millions on advertising alone. But I implore you to put the people of Ontario first.
In spite of their criticism, neither opposition party with seats at Queen’s Park has a plan to reduce electricity rate increases. Your government has an historic opportunity to change the conversation on electricity rates in Ontario. The question is whether you have the courage to say no to the nuclear lobby and yes to lower cost water power from Quebec.
Premier, I ask you to put the people of Ontario first by signing a power deal with Quebec for low-cost water power.
Leader, Green Party of Ontario
Work starts on new national nuclear college , News and Star UK New National College for Nuclear Northern Hub breaking ground at Lakes College. 18 October 2016
Work on the new £15 million National College for Nuclear, at Lillyhall, started this week.
Set to open next September, the hi-tech facility will become one of two centres. The second will be built at Bridgewater in Somerset.
The Northern Hub, built at the Lakes College site, will feature virtual reality suites allowing learners to experience nuclear installations in a virtual environment, science and radiation laboratories and specialised design and modelling suites.
To mark the occasion, the first sod for the nuclear college was cut at a ground breaking ceremony at the site on Monday.
The region’s industry chiefs turned up to witness the event along with students who will use the college.
The National College for Nuclear will train the next generation of nuclear workers in a range of specialised careers, and aims to train over 7,000 learners across both facilities by 2020………
Chris Nattress, principal of Lakes College, said……
Russia to Continue Assisting India in Developing Nuclear Energy Industry (Sputnik) – Russia will go on providing assistance to India in developing nuclear energy industry, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday after signing a set of documents on cooperation with India as he met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. https://sputniknews.com/news/201610151046360579-russia-india-nuclear-energy/
NUCLEAR WARNING: Cyber risk for power plants over revelation attacks happen ‘all the time’ Express UK , By MONIKA PALLENBERG AND ZOIE O’BRIEN, 14 Oct 16, NUCLEAR power plants across the globe are being hit by cyber attacks “all the time”, Express.co.uk can reveal, after a warning from the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Yukiya Amano revealed hack attempts are becoming “a serious threat” to the plants.
During a trip to Berlin he said a successful hack had the capability to disturb procedures and facilities, which could lead to serious consequences. Attacks on nuclear bases have a long history since many reactors, although built before computers, have been retrofitted.
The IAEA boss said attacks on security are “no imaginary danger” anymore. Mr Amano spoke about “disturbing, but not destructive” attacks, although admitted they had caused “considerable problems”.
Precautionary measures are in place at 23 Korean reactors, who have already fallen victims to data theft.
Although data was not critical, as the company Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power assured, but the security systems had to be strengthened.
However, those familiar with nuclear plants said attacks are frequent………http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/721341/Cyber-risk-nuclear-power-plants-attacks-frequent
THE REAL NUCLEAR THREAT By Lawrence M. Krauss, New Yorker, 13 Oct 16
Donald Trump’s candidacy has been a source of anxiety for many reasons, but one stands out: the ability of the President to launch nuclear weapons. When it comes to starting a nuclear war, the President has more freedom than he or she does in, say, ordering the use of torture. In fact, the President has unilateral power to direct the use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances. Cabinet members may disagree and even resign in protest, but, ultimately, they must obey the order of the Commander-in-Chief. It’s all too easy to imagine Trump issuing an ultimate, thermonuclear “You’re fired!” to China, Iran, or another nation—and perhaps to the whole human race.*……….
Trump….. genuinely seems to be a man who speaks and acts without significant forethought. He’s also someone who—as his debate performances have shown—responds to slights by lashing out against adversaries irrationally and without thinking about the consequences. And Trump has done little to reassure us about nuclear weapons specifically. He has expressed an affinity for massive bombing, proposing to “bomb the shit” out of oil fields in Iraq to counter isis. During a March interview with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, he said that he would consider using nuclear weapons in Europe, of all places. More generally, he’s disengaged from the realities of international affairs……
there’s no such thing as limited use of nuclear weapons. Retaliation and escalation are extremely likely. Even the use of nuclear weapons in a “local” conflict—say, between India and Pakistan—would have disastrous consequences. Millions would die in the initial nuclear exchange, of course. But the residue from the nuclear blasts
would also produce long-term climate changes that would affect global agriculture for perhaps a decade, killing as many as a billion people through starvation. If he acted on his statements, Trump would usher in a chaotic, unpredictable, and dangerous nuclear future.
The fact that Trump has so cavalierly raised concerns about nuclear weapons may have a silver lining. It underscores how dangerous and irrational our nuclear policies already are………
the Non-Proliferation Treaty didn’t just restrict non-nuclear nations from obtaining nuclear weapons but also required nations possessing them to disarm. For as long as we continue to ignore this fundamental reality, we will continue to hover at the brink of Armageddon. It should be impossible for Trump, or any President, to push us over it. http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-real-nuclear-threat
Watchdogs concerned about readiness of New Mexico nuke dump, WP ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A series of recent ceiling collapses at the federal government’s only underground nuclear waste repository has watchdogs calling on officials to ensure safety before moving ahead with a planned reopening later this year.
U.S. Energy Department officials and the contractor that manages the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico will update the public on the collapses during a meeting Thursday evening.
A radiation release forced the closure of the repository in February 2014. Since then, thousands of tons of waste left over from decades of nuclear weapon research and development have been stacking up at sites around the country, hampering the government’s multibillion-dollar cleanup program.
The waste is meant to be entombed in storage rooms carved out of a salt formation deep underground…….
There have been at least three collapses in recent weeks. In one case, chunks of salt dislodged from the ceiling and tore through chain link fencing that was meant to help stabilize the corridors. There were no injuries.
Don Hancock with the Albuquerque-based watchdog group Southwest Research and Information Center said the collapses are no surprise but they raise questions about whether the repository will be ready to reopen in December.
He suggested more collapses could stir up contamination and threaten workers…….https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/energy-environment/watchdogs-concerned-about-readiness-of-new-mexico-nuke-dump/2016/10/13/5f7038d6-9175-11e6-bc00-1a9756d4111b_story.html?tid=twisira
World on dangerous threshold’: Gorbachev warns of nuclear threat amid intl tensions https://www.rt.com/politics/362253-world-is-on-verge-gorbachev/ 10 Oct, 2016 Mikhail Gorbachev has called the current state of relations between Russia and US the “collapse of mutual trust” and urged the sides to resume dialogue and push towards demilitarization and complete nuclear disarmament.
“I think the world has approached a dangerous threshold. I would prefer not to suggest any particular schemes, but I want to say: we need to stop. Dialogue should be resumed. Stopping the dialogue has been the biggest mistake. Now we must return to the main priorities, such as nuclear disarmament, fighting terrorism and prevention of global environmental disasters. Compared to these challenges everything else is a second priority,” Gorbachev said in an interview with RIA Novosti.
“Of course, at this moment it is difficult to talk about moving towards a nuclear-free world, we must honestly admit it. But we should not forget: as long as there are nuclear weapons there is the threat of their use. It could be an accident, a technical malfunction of someone’s evil will – a madman or a terrorist,” the former Soviet leader said.
Gorbachev also reminded that in line with the nuclear non-proliferation agreement all of its signatories must hold talks on nuclear disarmament uniting the eventual full destruction of nuclear weapons.
“The nuclear-free world is not a utopia, but rather an imperative necessity. But we can achieve it only through demilitarization of politics and international relations.”
He said that veterans of international politics, such as the “council of sages” chaired by former UN leader Kofi Annan, understood these problems and he expressed hope that their voices would be heard by modern leaders. At the same time he emphasized that the main responsibility for global security lied on these modern leaders who would make the greatest mistake if they do not use the last chance to return international politics to a peaceful course.
The interview was published on Monday and timed with the 30th anniversary of the USSR-US summit in Reykjavik, which eventually allowed the nuclear arms race to slow down and greatly contributed to the end of the Cold War.
Gorbachev reiterated his position that the Reykjavik summit was a major breakthrough.
“First, we agreed on many issues and second, we managed to look over the horizon, see the perspective of a nuclear-free world,” he said.
“It was very appealing that in the course of our negotiations President Ronald Reagan sincerely spoke about the necessity to rid the world of the weapons of mass destruction. We shared a common position on this issue.”
DA SLAMS MINISTER’S PLAN FOR ESKOM TO TAKE CHARGE OF NUCLEAR BUILD http://ewn.co.za/2016/10/11/DA-slams-Joemat-Petterssons-recommendation-of-Eskom-nuclear-procurement-deal
Tina Joemat-Pettersson said that Eskom is best placed to take over the procurement of the nuclear build.Gaye Davis | about 13 hours ago
CAPE TOWN – The Democratic Alliance (DA) has slammed Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson’s plan to recommend to Cabinet that Eskom take over the procurement for the country’s proposed mega billion rand nuclear build.
Joemat-Pettersson told Parliament’s energy oversight committee that the power utility is best placed to do it.
“I do believe that on the nuclear programme, Eskom has the experience and has operated a world class nuclear power plant in Africa. The only power plant in Africa which is operated by South Africans for South Africans.”
But the DA’s Gordon Mackay has condemned the move, arguing that it’s aimed at giving Eskom free rein and preventing proper parliamentary oversight over the deal.
“Essentially what we’ve done is, we’ve created serious sleight of hand where we’re actually removing oversight of South Africans and of Parliament off the nuclear by making it subject to internal Eskom processes.”
Fiscus will not fund nuclear build programme, Tina Joemat-Pettersson says, BD Live BY LINDA ENSOR, 11 OCTOBER 2016 Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson assured MPs on Tuesday that the fiscus would not fund the nuclear build programme, saying it would be transparent, above board and free of corruption
The minister said the Department of Energy was to propose to the Cabinet that Eskom be the designated procurer for the new nuclear build programme and that the utility’s balance sheet be used to raise funds for the programme.
She said SA’s sovereignty would not be compromised and that the integrity of the programme would be protected against risk. Addressing Parliament’s energy portfolio committee, Joemat-Pettersson stressed that Eskom had the necessary expertise — having operated the existing nuclear plant Koeberg successfully for more than 30 years — to play a central role in the new nuclear build programme.
Eskom would be the owner and operator of the planned new nuclear plants.
In terms of the proposals to be submitted to the Cabinet, the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation would be the procurer for the fuel cycle and multipurpose reactor for the programme. The Cabinet will be asked to designate the department as the programme co-ordinator, Department of Energy officials told MPs.
All three entities would jointly develop a governance framework for the procurement and implementation of the programme.
The committee was told that Joemat-Pettersson would amend the determination under the Electricity Regulation Act to seek concurrence with the National Energy Regulator of SA……..
Mount Aso erupts in a fiery plume rising 11,000 meters THE ASAHI SHIMBUN October 8, 2016 Mount Aso erupted in a towering plume of smoke and ash of around 11,000 meters on Oct. 8, sparking fears that big rocks could land more than 1 kilometer from the crater in Kumamoto Prefecture, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
“It is extremely rare for an eruption column to exceed 10,000 meters,” said Makoto Saito, director of the agency’s Volcanology Division.
As a precaution, the agency immediately raised its alert level from 2, which means entry to areas around the crater is restricted, to 3, meaning access to the entire 1,592-meter-high mountain is restricted.
It was the first time since Sept. 14, 2015, that the precaution level was raised to 3…….http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201610080025.html
What About the Planet?,NYT Paul Krugman OCT. 7, 2016 Our two major political parties are at odds on many issues, but nowhere is the gap bigger or more consequential than on climate.
World War Three will be ‘extremely lethal and fast’: US Army bosses reveal what could happen if the US took on Russia or China http://www.inkl.com/news/world-war-three-will-be-extremely-lethal-and-fast-us-army-bosses-reveal-what-could-happen-if-the-us-took-on-russia-or-chinaOct 6, 2016 t is a chilling vision of war – and one unlike any other ever fought.
US military bosses have revealed their predictions for a major conflict, and say war between nation states at some point in the future “is almost guaranteed”.
Artificial intelligence and smart weapons would be at the fore – with a “modern nation-states acting aggressively” the likely enemy
“A conventional conflict in the near future will be extremely lethal and fast, and we will not own the stopwatch,’ said Major General William Hix on a future-of-the-Army panel at the annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army in Washington, according to Defence One.
“The speed of events are likely to strain our human abilities,’ Hix said.
“The speed at which machines can make decisions in the far future is likely to challenge our ability to cope, demanding a new relationship between man and machine.”
China and Russia are both mustering conventionally massive militaries that are increasingly technological – and forcing the Pentagon to contemplate and prepare for “violence on the scale that the U.S. Army has not seen since Korea,” said Hix .
Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, Army deputy chief of staff for operations, plans, and training said the US faces threats from “modern nation-states acting aggressively in militarised competition.”
“Who does that sound like? Russia?” he said.
War between nation states at some point in the future ‘is almost guaranteed,’ said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley at the same event.
Future adversaries could end the air superiority the U.S. Air Force has provided since the Korean War, Milley said, and anti-access, area-denial capabilities could prevent the Navy from getting to the fight, he warned.
So “land forces will have to enable sea forces,” and the Army ‘is definitely going to have to dominate the air above our battle space,’ he said.
Milley said the Army also must be prepared to engage in cyber warfare, operate without the space-based communications and precision navigation it has taken for granted, and fight in a complex urban setting.
Milley cited a long list of ‘fundamental changes’ confronting the nation and the Army, including the renewed threat from Russia, the growing economic power and military strength of China, an expanding number of fragile nation states, and climate change that could lead to more instability.
“While we’re ready now, we are being challenged,” he said.
If the aim is to deter war, “our Army and our nation must be ready.”
The Army’s future weapons will also need to be better designed, Katharina McFarland, acting assistant Army secretary for acquisition, logistics, and technology said.
“You travel all over the world, don’t you?’ McFarland asked the gathered audience of soldiers, Army civilians, and industry reps.
“You can pretty much get in a car anywhere and drive it.”
“As an engineer, I think in terms of a simple interface – no matter what helicopter, you can get in and operate it.”
St. Lucie Power Plant shut down because of Hurricane Matthew, TC Palm RIVIERA BEACH — The Florida Power & Light Co. shut down its St. Lucie County Nuclear Power Plant in preparation for Hurricane Matthew, but no customers are expected to lose power because of it, a company spokesman said.