The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

1983 The world twice at the brink of nuclear war. New book ‘Able Archer 83’

book-able-archer-83How the world reached the brink of nuclear war not once but twice in 1983, The Conversation, November 18, 2016 In the autumn of 1983, at the height of Cold War tensions, the world was only saved from nuclear disaster by the gut feelings of two soldiers during different incidents.

In the first incident, on September 26, a Soviet lieutenant colonel named Stanislav Petrov saw that according to the early-warning system, the Americans had launched numerous missiles against the Russians. He suspected an error and ignored the warnings. His decision to breach protocol and not inform his superiors averted a panicked retaliation.

The second incident is less well known. An American lieutenant general, Leonard Perroots, also chose to ignore warnings – this time that the Soviet Union had gone on high nuclear alert. Like Petrov, he did nothing, and once again may have prevented an accidental nuclear war.

This was the “Able Archer War Scare”, which occurred over ten days in the November of the same year. Recently declassified documents inform Able Archer 83, a new book by the Cold War historian Nate Jones which shows just how close the world came to disaster.

Two tribes

Superpower mutual suspicion was rife in the early 1980s. President Reagan’s notorious “Evil Empire” speech, combined with imminent plans to deploy the Pershing II missile system in Europe, which could destroy Moscow with 15 minutes warning, had made the Kremlin especially paranoid. Was the US preparing a first strike to win the Cold War? The USSR’s ageing and sickly premier, Yuri Andropov, certainly thought Reagan would have no qualms about it. “Reagan is unpredictable. You should expect anything from him,” he told Anatoly Dobrynin, Soviet ambassdor to the US, at the time.

President Ronald Reagan – “Evil Empire” Speech

Another reason the leadership feared a US first strike was Project RYaN, an intricate Soviet intelligence-gathering effort designed to detect preparations for a surprise nuclear attack. It was being kept busy by US aircraft testing Soviet air defence systems by flying towards USSR airspace as part of the PSYOPs (psychological military operations) programme.

The aircraft would deliberately provoke an alert and monitor the Soviet command and control responses, while demonstrating American strength and resolve at the same time. It was an example of the “Peace Through Strength” policy that was seen as vital by Reaganites to help the US emerge from its own perceived era of military weakness under President Carter.

But this US chest-beating led to a resurgence of intense mutual mistrust, with tragic consequences. On September 1 1983, Korean Air Lines flight 007 was shot down by a Russian fighter, killing all 269 passengers and crew. The Kremlin claimed the jet was an American spy plane deep in Russian territory.

In this climate of extreme tension, NATO’s “Autumn Forge” war game season kicked off. NATO war games had been an annual occurrence, but the Soviets feared this particular edition might be cover for a surprise attack.

The final phase of the 1983 series, codenamed Able Archer 83, was different from previous years: dummy nuclear weapons, which looked like the real thing, were loaded on to planes. As many as 19,000 American troops were part of a radio-silent airlift to Europe over 170 flights. Military radio networks broadcast references to “nuclear strikes”.

This sent Project RYaN into overdrive and the Soviets went on high nuclear alert. Warsaw Pact non-essential military flights were cancelled; nuclear-capable aircraft were placed on alert; nuclear weapons were taken to their launch vehicles; and Chief of the General Staff Nikolai Ogarkov descended into a command bunker outside Moscow to coordinate a possible response to a NATO strike……….

Too often, intelligence agencies collect data and fit it into whichever threat hypothesis is in vogue. We should learn from Reagan’s 1983 insight and not wait for the brink of war: in the nuclear age, whatever an adversary’s political goals, we cannot afford to downplay their genuine fears about military posturing.

We have never yet returned to the awful global tensions of 1983, but the rivalries between the world’s three leading powers remain real enough. We need to ensure that we are never again left relying on the gut feelings of one or two soldiers to avoid stumbling into disaster.

November 18, 2016 Posted by | history, resources - print, weapons and war | Leave a comment

“Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power” – latest edition

Book Cover UpBailing out aging nuclear power plants can impact development of renewable energy technologies, Enformable,  17 Oct 2016 “……. “Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power”. The latest edition, issued after the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe began, is available for free, courtesy of the publisher, on my website,

Cover Up was the first of several books I’ve written on nuclear technology. I’ve written thousands of articles, too, and hosted and written many TV programs on nuclear power broadcast on the nationally-aired TV program I’ve hosted for 27 years, Enviro Close-Up.

Since Cover Up’s publication in 1980, I’ve also been on the lecture circuit—including being paired by my lecture agency with a leading advocate of nuclear power, John Sununu, the former New Hampshire governor. I’ve spoken at colleges and universities across the U.S. and also overseas, including making presentations in six trips to Russia in the 1990s and early 2000s as Russia sought to create a new energy program—before Vladimir Putin’s iron fist came down. My last presentation in Russia, a keynote address at a conference in Siberia on nuclear power, in Tomsk, a so-called “atomic city,” a center of Russian nuclear activity, was supported by the U.S. State Department.

I start Cover Up declaring: “You have not been informed about nuclear power. You have not been told. And that has been done on purpose. Keeping the public in the dark was deemed necessary by the promoters of nuclear power if it was to succeed. Those in government, science and private industry who have been pushing nuclear power realized that if people were give the facts, if they knew the consequences of nuclear power, they would not stand for it.”

“Equal to that of the State of Pennsylvania”
For example, although those Brookhaven Lab scientists downplayed the dangers of nuclear power, studies I obtained from BNL itself projected huge and dire consequences of an accident. For example, over and over again in BNL’s report, WASH-740 Update, is the line that “the possible size of the area of such a disaster might be equal to that of the State of Pennyslvania.” This was written a decade before the Three Mile Island accident almost turned that BNL projection into fact.

I reprint in Cover Up this line and many other passages from government documents on the dangers of nuclear power as facsimiles—reprinting the actual documents themselves—so nuclear promoter could not deny them.

Covering up, deception, continue today.

The push for nuclear power has been—and is—a huge con job, one of the biggest the world has ever seen. From the claim of Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Lewis Strauss that nuclear power would be “too cheap to meter,” to the insistence of nuclear promoters through the years that nuclear plants are safe, to what the some nuclear scientists have advanced as the “hormesis” theory—that radioactivity is good for you; it exercises the immune system—the falsehoods run deep. It almost makes the tobacco industry look like pikers.

$7.6 Billion Bail-out Plan
And now we have in New York State a $7.6 billion plan advanced by Governor Andrew Cuomo and supported by the state’s Public Service Commission, the members of which the governor appoints, to bail out four aged upstate nuclear power plants.

The bail-out would be part of a program that includes a “Clean Energy Standard” under which 50 percent of electricity used in New York by 2030 would come from “clean and renewable energy sources”
To subsidize the upstate nuclear plants, there would be a surcharge for 12 years on electric bills paid by the state’s residential and industrial customers. Business owners, because of their larger use of electricity, would be particularly hard hit.

Nuclear power is dirty, dangerous and expensive—very expensive. And these days, nuclear power cannot compete economically.

As Jessica Azulay, program director of the state’s Alliance for a Green Economy, explains about the bailout: “Without these subsidies, nuclear plants cannot compete with renewable energy and will close. But under the guise of ‘clean energy,’ the nuclear industry is about to get its hands on our money in order to save its own profits, at the expense of public health and safety.”

What are the arguments made by the bail-out plan’s promoters?
The four nuclear plants are needed to offset climate change. A nuclear plant doesn’t emit carbon or greenhouse gasses, they say, a key nuclear industry argument in a time of great concern over climate change for nuclear plants nationally and worldwide. What is never mentioned by these nuclear promoters, however, is that the “nuclear cycle” or “nuclear chain”—the full nuclear system—is a major contributor of carbon emissions and greenhouse gasses.

“Nuclear is NOT emission-free!”

As Manna Jo Greene, environmental director of the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, wrote to the state Public Service Commission on this: “Nuclear is NOT emission-free! The claim of nuclear power having ‘zero-emission attributes’ ignores emissions generated in mining, milling, enriching, transporting and storing nuclear fuel.”………

October 19, 2016 Posted by | resources - print | Leave a comment

New book on Surviving the 21st Century – especially threats of climate and nuclear war

book-surviving-21st-centuryCan humanity survive the 21st century? Canberra Times, Julian Cribb, 27 Sept 16 

Humanity is facing the sternest test in our million-year ascent. But this isn’t a single challenge – it’s a constellation of 10 huge man-made threats now combining to imperil our existence.

Society often treats these risks – ecological collapse, resource depletion, weapons of mass destruction, global warming, global poisoning, food insecurity, population and urban expansion, pandemic disease, dangerous new technologies and self-delusion – as separate issues. In reality, they are intertwined: each affects the others. They cannot be dealt with one by one, but must be solved in conjunction – and at species, not national, level…….

WMD: The latest climate models indicate it would only take 50-100 Hiroshima-sized (ie, small) nuclear bombs to end civilisation in a nuclear winter. World stockpiles currently hold around 15,000 weapons; the risk of them falling into terrorist hands is growing; a new arms race is under way. Nuclear conflict remains the most likely route to end civilisation – and eight nations now have the power to do it. As the International Red Cross points out, the only way to banish the spectre of such a conflict is to eliminate all WMDs and their material stockpiles.

Climate’s hidden risk: The release of 2.9 trillion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere and oceans will raise the Earth’s temperature by +5-10 degrees centigrade. We have already released 1.9 trillion tonnes and are adding 50 billion tonnes more a year. The unseen risk is that, as the planet warms, some of the 5 trillion tonnes of frozen carbon locked in the tundra and seabed will vent, causing “runaway” heating. Scientists assess this would render the Earth uninhabitable to most large life forms, including humans. The only answer is to cease using fossil fuels completely and revegetate half the world’s land mass. Green energy is advancing in leaps and bounds and will soon be in a position to take over. Paid off by the 90 companies which dominate fossil fuel production, politicians are hampering this transition…….

September 28, 2016 Posted by | resources - print | Leave a comment

Courage, Resistance, and Existential Peril in the Nuclear Age

Book Courage etcNuclear weapons mess: we’re all in it together but don’t know how to get out alive, WP 

 By Richard Rhodes July 15 Shortly after 4 a.m. on July 28, 2012, an 82-year-old Catholic nun, a Vietnam veteran and a housepainter cut holes in several security fences surrounding a government facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn., where thousands of nuclear bomb cores are stored, walked up to the massive white concrete-and-steel building and splashed its walls with blood. They spray-painted slogans. They hammered concrete chips off the base of a manned guard tower. No one shot them. Six minutes passed before a security van even arrived to investigate.

The story of this shocking peaceful invasion of Oak Ridge, and what followed, anchors Washington Post journalist Dan Zak’s “Almighty,” but the book examines at eloquent length the current state of nuclear security and diplomacy as well. As Zak finds, these appear to be at least as complacent and contradictory as did Oak Ridge security when the nun and her two fellow protesters challenged it in 2012……..

Zak reports not only on the lives of the three Oak Ridge protesters but also on the impact of nuclear weapons testing over the years on the people of the Marshall Islands, where the largest U.S. bombs were tested, and the downwinders of the American Southwest below the continental test site at Yucca Flats, Nev., who believe that their cancers and other serious illnesses resulted from exposure to nuclear fallout. He looks into the lives of the people who live in the city of Oak Ridge and work at the bomb facility in their midst.

He follows the trial of the three protesters from the point of view of the uncomfortable government lawyers who led the prosecution. He profiles Rose Gottemoeller, Obama’s leading U.S. nuclear diplomat, as she tries to untie the nuclear knot incrementally while more than 100 other nations sign an Austrian-initiated humanitarian pledge that commits them to work “to stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons in light of their unacceptable humanitarian consequences and associated risks.”

Zak doesn’t spare what he calls the “nuclear priesthood,” the weapons-makers and suppliers, finding them meeting in Washington during the same 2015 summer when Sister Megan was released from prison. Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman sponsored their annual nuclear-triad conference. On that occasion, Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama referred to Obama’s speech in Prague in 2009 on eliminating nuclear weapons, claiming happily, “I think we can safely say the president’s Prague vision is dead,” and a guest speaker warned of a “relatively new threat to our deterrent” — the same humanitarian movement that is promoting Austria’s pledge………

Like it or not, this question of fundamental equity among nations is the paradox and the core of the nuclear dilemma. The report of the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons stated it even more succinctly in 1996, calling it the Axiom of Nuclear Proliferation: “As long as any state has nuclear weapons, others will seek to acquire them.” And Obama in Prague added a surely true but terrifying corollary: “If we believe that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable, then in some way we are admitting to ourselves that the use of nuclear weapons is inevitable.”

With nuns splashing blood, countries making pledges, diplomats working to reduce the size of world-destroying arsenals, suppliers cheering a new Cold War, Zak demonstrates that we’re all in it together. And he’s honest enough to report as well the hard truth that none of us yet knows how to get out of it alive.

Courage, Resistance, and Existential Peril in the Nuclear Age  By Dan Zak   Blue Rider.  402 pp. $27

July 16, 2016 Posted by | resources - print, weapons and war | Leave a comment

William Perry’s memoir, ‘My Journey at the Nuclear Brink’

Book Journey at Nuclear BrinkOn the Brink of Oblivion  William Perry’s memoir, ‘My Journey at the Nuclear Brink,’ serves as a clarion global warning. US News,  By Mortimer B. Zuckerman | Chairman, Editor-in-Chief June 7, 2016  Our planet today faces two existential dangers: an impending climate catastrophe, and the very real possibility of a nuclear calamity. Both of these dangers arise from human activity and are thus within our capacity to address. And both challenges are interconnected and require a new attitude that recognizes our common interests and need to cooperate. Public awareness and political will must be raised to levels commensurate with the threat.

The warnings about climate change are now part of our public consciousness, resulting in actions being taken that if continued and built upon might possibly stave off this catastrophe or at least reduce its damage. However, the public seems to believe that the danger from nuclear weapons ended with the Cold War.

But former Defense Secretary William Perry’s authoritative memoir, “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink,” is a clear, sobering and, for many, surprising warning that the danger of a nuclear catastrophe today is actually greater than it was during that era of U.S.-Soviet competition…….

Perry describes four ways a nuclear catastrophe could occur: nuclear terrorism; an accidental nuclear war (resulting, for example, from a false alarm); a nuclear war out of miscalculation; and a nuclear regional war

His special concern about the possibility of nuclear terrorism can be seen in the book’s preface, with an unblinking and transfixing account of a most believable scenario in which a terror group detonates a bomb in one of our cities. A seminal expert in worrying about such chilling contingencies, Perry outlines in quite credible steps how a terror group builds and sneaks a bomb into Washington, D.C., a scenario he describes as “a nuclear nightmare” and “all too real.” It is important to experience his powerfully understated dramatization:…….

The point is this: Any of the four scenarios could bring about the worst catastrophe we have ever experienced. Taken together they represent a higher likelihood of a nuclear catastrophe than we faced during the Cold War. (That judgment has also been reached by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which this year noted that its “Doomsday Clock” is at three minutes to midnight, closer to doomsday than they had judged we were for most of the Cold War years.)……..

June 8, 2016 Posted by | resources - print | Leave a comment

New book: Voices from Chernobyl, by Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich

Book Voices from ChernobylChernobyl and the ghosts of a nuclear past A Nobel laureate captures the beginning of the “age of disasters”. New Statesman, BY LUCY HUGHES-HALLETT     17 Apr 16 

THis is not a book on Chernobyl,” writes Svetlana Alexievich, “but on the world of Chernobyl.” It is not about what happened on 26 April 1986, when a nuclear reactor exploded near the border between Ukraine and Belarus. It is about an epoch that will last, like the radioactive material inside the reactor’s leaking ruin, for tens of thousands of years. Alexievich writes that, before the accident, “War was the yardstick of horror”, but at Chernobyl “the history of dis­asters began”.Alexievich, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature last year for her powerful works of oral history, was born in Ukraine and grew up in Belarus. The explosion took place close to her home ground. At once, people began to ask her whether she was writing about it. Others rushed out books of reportage or polemic. She hesitated. What had happened was uncanny, beyond words. There was, she writes, “a moment of muteness”.

Gradually, over many years, she interviewed people whose lives had been affected by the blast. Many have since died. Her book – first published in Russian in 1997 and now issued in a new translation of a revised text – is made up of their testimonies. Her own voice is heard only briefly. Even the prefatory summary of events is a patchwork of extracts from news reports………

Since Chernobyl, there has been Fuku­shima. Neither site has yet been made safe: it seems unlikely they ever will be. We are living in Alexievich’s “age of disasters”. This haunting book offers us at least some ways of thinking about that predicament.

Svetlana Alexievich will be in conversation with James Meek in Cambridge on 31 May. Details:

April 18, 2016 Posted by | resources - print | Leave a comment

The decline of a nuclear city – haunting photos of abandonment – (the nuclear future?)

Atomic City Idaho 2016

Haunting photos of Idaho’s Atomic City, 30 years after nuclear disaster drove everyone away Tech Insider  11 Mar 16 When photographer David Hanson arrived in Atomic City, Idaho in 1986, he knew he was capturing a still-cooling piece of American history.


While the Mountain West boomtown spent the early 1950s thriving on the power generated at the nearby nuclear complex, within a few years a string of nuclear meltdowns had sent the town’s residents searching for safer dwellings. Atomic City — current population: 29 — was left to become a shell of its former self.

Thirty years later, Hanson has finally released his haunting photographs in a book called“Wilderness to Wasteland.”

Here, he walks us through what he saw………

“It seems frightening yet somehow appropriate that the most enduring monuments America will leave for future generations will be the hazardous remains of our industry and technology,” he said.

He envisions an America that, in 150 years, will look upon Atomic City as a failed part of the human experiment to revolutionize the way people live.

March 11, 2016 Posted by | resources - print | Leave a comment

Photo Book – Wilderness to Wasteland: the downfall of a nuclear city

Atomic City Idaho 2016

David T. Hanson: Wilderness to Wasteland Published by Taverner Press
Foreword by Joyce Carol Oates. Introduction by David T. Hanson. Afterword by Miles Orvell.For 30 years, David T. Hanson (born 1948) has made photographs that are widely celebrated for their powerful depictions of the American landscape and its dramatic transformation and despoilment by humans. His newest collection, Wilderness to Wasteland,presents four series of previously unpublished and unexhibited photographs from Hanson’s early work, made between 1982 and 1987. Atomic City documents the former nuclear boomtown in Idaho, site of the world’s first nuclear power plant and first reactor meltdown. The Richest Hill on Earth is a study of the vast copper mines, housing and surrounding wasteland of Butte, Montana. The eponymous series is a dynamic group of aerial and ground-view photographs of hazardous waste sites, while the final series, Twilight in the Wilderness, comprises spectacular night views of industrial sites for power production. Together, these photographs constitute a haunting meditation on a ravaged landscape.

Featured image is reproduced from David T. Hanson: Wilderness to Wasteland.

March 11, 2016 Posted by | resources - print | Leave a comment

Research into baby teeth showed the nuclear cancer link

Book radioactive baby teethRadioactive Baby Teeth: The Cancer Link Paperback  by Joseph J Mangan  In 2001, college administrators entered a remote, musty storage room near St. Louis. Not knowing what was in the room, the group was puzzled to find a large wall with hundreds of long boxes stacked against it. They pulled out one of the boxes, took off the cover, and found —- baby teeth. Quite by accident, the group had unearthed 85,000 baby teeth left over from a study done decades before.

The study had found how much radiation from atomic bomb tests had entered human bodies, by testing teeth. News of the discovery spread like wildfire in newspapers across the country. Coverage focused on the fact that the teeth could answer a critical question – how much cancer was caused by radiation exposure?

In this book, read about the mystery faced by scientists of how much radiation from nuclear weapons and reactors actually infiltrated people’s bodies – and how much cancer it really caused. Learn about the furious opposition researchers faced from government and industry. Discover how the research helped end above-ground nuclear testing, how it challenged the claim that nuclear reactors are safe, and how it exposed an undeniable link with cancer. Joseph Mangano draws on his direct experience and his involvement with scientists and citizens to create a lively, intriguing story – a story that continues today. Mangano is a health researcher, and is Executive Director of the Radiation and Public Health Project, based in New York.

January 7, 2016 Posted by | children, health, resources - print | Leave a comment

Ralph Nader points to a book on America’s renewable energy future

Nader,-RalphRalph Nader: Building a renewable energy future – OpEd December 26, 2015. The U.S. has some big problems that require bold solutions. Unfortunately, books about solutions to our society’s problems are often given short shrift by reviewers or languish on our bookshelves. As I often say, this country has more problems than it deserves and more solutions than it uses. Now comes S. David Freeman. …

In January of 2016, in collaboration with his coauthor, Leah Y. Parks, he will publish a new and important book about our energy future: All-Electric America: A Climate Solution and the Hopeful Future. The book is scathing but optimistic, and manages to be bold while remaining pragmatic. …

Book All Electric America

When All-Electric America comes out … you will have a chance to make yourself knowledgeable about the real avenues available to us to transform our energy infrastructure for present and future generations by moving toward a new renewable energy economy with far more jobs, health, efficiency and security benefits than there are in relying on hydrocarbons and radioactive atoms.

To listen to my interview with David Freeman, visit

January 6, 2016 Posted by | resources - print | Leave a comment

America’s secret plutonium experiments on humans

Then there is the horrifying reality that these experiments were taking place in the shadow of Nazi Germany; some of the scientists involved in the radiation experiments were the very men whose earlier experimental designs had tormented prisoners of concentration camps. Welsome describes Operation Paperclip, conducted under the auspices of the U.S. government. Paperclip imported Nazi scientists and supported their work, helping to confer, in the words of scientist Joseph G. Hamilton, “a little of the Buchenwald touch” on American medicine.

This valuable work represents an elegy to lost ideals, lost health, and lost trust. One can only hope it will serve as a cautionary tale.

Book-Plutonium-FilesThe Plutonium Files: America’s secret medical experiments in the Cold War
 N Engl J Med 1999; 341:1941-1942 December 16, 1999  Harriet A. Washington

The Plutonium Files: America’s secret medical experiments in the Cold WarBy Eileen Welsome. 580 pp. New York, Dial Press, 1999. $26.95. ISBN: 0-385-31402-7

Amid the embarrassments of Monicamania and of multiple public mea culpas, the past few years have not been exemplary ones for American journalism. This fact makes the triumph of The Plutonium Files all the sweeter, because this superlative book is a reminder of the purpose of investigative journalism.

This richly detailed, subtly nuanced history of government-engineered radiation experiments on unwitting Americans is based on the Pulitzer-prize–winning series Eileen Welsome wrote for the Albuquerque Tribune. Welsome’s tenacious and resourceful detective work has unveiled the saga of a sordid, tragic, yet fascinating chapter in the history of American medical science. The book succeeds on many levels. It is a gripping exposé of governmental exploitation and of medicine’s moral failures in an era in which blind trust defined the normal relationship between physicians and patients.

Between April 1945, scant months before the bombing of Hiroshima, and July 1947, the scientists of the Manhattan Project followed the construction of the atomic bomb with a chilling second act: medical experimentation on hundreds of unsuspecting Americans. Continue reading

January 4, 2016 Posted by | civil liberties, radiation, Reference, resources - print, secrets,lies and civil liberties, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Once again the world at the nuclear brink

Book Journey at Nuclear Brink The New Nuclear Arms Race Former Clinton Defense Secretary offers dire warning. The Nation 16 Dec 15  By  Katrina vanden Heuvel

 On a frigid day in February 1994, William Perry was sworn in as President Bill Clinton’s secretary of defense. Perry would take over at the Pentagon during one of the most fluid times in geopolitical history—between the end of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the attacks of September 11, 2001. During his time in office, Perry was one of the architects of a strategy he called “preventive defense,” the goal of which was to reduce global threats rather than just contain them. The greatest threat of all was nuclear, as fears spread about such weapons falling into rogue hands.

 Two decades later, Perry has written a new book, “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink,” in which he offers a dire warning: “Far from continuing the nuclear disarmament that has been underway for the last two decades, we are starting a new nuclear arms race.”

This is not hyperbole. The United States and Russia are acting with increasing belligerence toward each other while actively pursuing monstrous weapons. As Joe Cirincione described in the Huffington Post, the Pentagon plans to spend $1 trillion over 30 years on “an entire new generation of nuclear bombs, bombers, missiles and submarines,” including a dozen submarines carrying more than 1,000 warheads, capable of decimating any country anywhere. In the meantime, President Obama has ordered 200 new nuclear bombs deployed in Europe.

Read the full text of Katrina’s column here

December 16, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, resources - print, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Solar and wind ready and safe for investors, unlike nuclear power

Book Harness the SunSolar or Wind vs. Nuclear
PHILIP WARBURG The writer, an environmental lawyer, is the author of “Harness the Sun”and “Harvest the Wind.”  DEC. 8, 2015  Re “The New Atomic Age We Need” , by Peter Thiel:In his zeal to portray nuclear power as our post-carbon panacea, Mr. Thiel belittles the devastation caused by past reactor accidents.

He also ignores the vulnerability of nuclear plants to sabotage and terrorism, makes no mention of the unsolved nuclear waste dilemma, and blithely declares that “the most fundamental obstacle to the success of nuclear power” is its “high cost.”

While Mr. Thiel, a venture capitalist, says he stands ready to invest in a next generation of unproven nuclear plants, he sweeps aside the wind and solar industries’ remarkable gains of the last decade. He claims that they are not “growing anywhere near fast enough to replace fossil fuels.”

Is he aware that wind power accounted for 28 percent of all new United States electric generating capacity from 2010 to book Harvest the wind2014? Does he know that 40 percent of all new installed power capacity during the first half of 2015 came from utility-scale solar plants?

Notably, that doesn’t even include rooftop solar, which is growing by leaps and bounds and could supply a fifth of our total power needs using technology that is already in widespread use.

What we need is a vigorous, sustained commitment to developing our most promising renewable energy technologies. The last thing we need is a new atomic age.




December 9, 2015 Posted by | resources - print | Leave a comment

New book Green Energy Futures

book Green Energy futuresA clean, green energy future beckons! Ecologist Dave Elliott 5th November 2015 The world could soon be generating all its electricity from renewable sources, writes Dave Elliott, by harnessing diverse technologies for generation, grid balancing and energy storage. Add to that the use of power surpluses to make fuels, and it could even be feasible to make all our energy – not just electricity – renewable. A clean green future beckons…….

Some renewables are now cheaper than conventional sources, even when the cost of providing backup to deal with their variability is included.

When the health costs associated with using conventional energy sources is also included, the comparison is even more favourable: air pollution from burning fossil fuel is a killer.

If the longer term global social, economic and health impacts of climate change are also added in, then most renewables win out across the board, although some may have local impacts, such as visual intrusion, and for some there will be potential land-use conflicts.

We need to decide on priorities, and on issues of scale, although most of these local impacts can be avoided or limited, as I illustrate in my new book Green Energy Futures. That also looks at how the variability of some renewables can be dealt with at low cost, an issue I will focus on here. It often seen as the Achilles heal of renewables.

Harnessing variability Continue reading

November 6, 2015 Posted by | resources - print | Leave a comment

Harrowing account of the survivors of Nagasaki nuclear bombing

book Nagasaki Life After Nuclear War

What made things worse for Japanese doctors who tried to ease the suffering of atom-bomb victims is that information about the bomb and its effects was censored by the American administration occupying Japan

It was bad enough for the Americans to have killed so many people, and then hide the gruesome facts for many years after the war. To forget about the massacre now would be an added insult to the victims. Southard has helped to make sure that this will not happen yet.


‘Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War,’ by Susan Southard, NYT,  By IAN BURUMAJULY 28, 2015 “………..Susan Southard’s harrowing descriptions give us some idea of what it must have been like for people who were unlucky enough not to be killed instantly: “A woman who covered her eyes from the flash lowered her hands to find that the skin of her face had melted into her palms”; “Hundreds of field workers and others staggered by, moaning and crying. Some were missing body parts, and others were so badly burned that even though they were naked, Yoshida couldn’t tell if they were men or women. He saw one person whose eyeballs hung down his face, the sockets empty.”

Gen. Leslie Groves, the director of the Manhattan Project, which had developed the atom bomb, testified before the United States Senate that death from high-dose radiation was “without undue suffering,” and indeed “a very pleasant way to die.”

Many survivors died later, always very unpleasantly, of radiation sickness. Their hair would fall out, they would be covered in purple spots, their skin would rot. And those who survived the first wave of sickness after the war had a much higher than average chance of dying of leukemia or other cancers even decades later.  Continue reading

July 29, 2015 Posted by | history, resources - print | Leave a comment