Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Conflict resolution – the positive way out of the Ukraine crisis

According to Anatol Lieven, an academic and Ukraine specialist, this is “the most dangerous crisis in the world today; it is also in principle the most easily solved”. A solution exists, drawn up by France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine in 2015, which involves the implementation of the Minsk II agreement. This offers demilitarisation, a restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty including control of the border with Russia, and full autonomy for the Donbas region. The main objection for Kyiv is that autonomy for the Donbas would prevent Ukraine from joining Nato and the EU.

One way through this would be for Nato to declare Ukraine a neutral country and decree that it does not join Nato for at least a decade. In practice, Ukrainian membership of the EU is ruled out for at least a generation because of Ukraine’s corruption, political dysfunction and lack of economic progress.

I’m a conflict mediator. This is a way out of the Ukraine crisis   https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/feb/09/conflict-mediator-ukraine-vladimir-putinGabrielle Rifkind

Instead of ramping up the threats, western nations should be offering Vladimir Putin a ladder to climb down,  The current western narrative on the Ukraine crisis is that Russia is a machiavellian power with an expansionist agenda. That view is shaping our response: we are matching Vladimir Putin’s aggression, meeting strength with strength and threats with threats. But what if we tried to get inside the mind of the enemy, and ask what was motivating the aggression? By doing so, could we break this cycle – and offer Putin a way out, too?

When the USSR deployed ballistic missiles to Cuba in the 1960s, their proximity to the US nearly unleashed a third world war. Sitting in Moscow today, does Putin see being encircled by Nato as an equivalent threat? After all, one of his core demands is that Nato curbs its expansion close to the Russian border, and that Ukraine must not join. Russia claims that the US repeatedly told Soviet leaders it would incorporate Russia into a cooperative European security framework. In practice, Nato emerged as a US-dominated security frame with about 75,000 US troops still on European soil. Great powers always treat with suspicion and hostility the presence of rival great powers on their borders.

Putin was always bitter about the collapse of the Soviet Union. He bided his time, and in 2014 Russia seized Crimea and sent troops into Ukraine’s mostly Russian-speaking Donbas region to support the separatist movement.

Russia today is no benign liberal democracy and President Putin has an intelligence mindset, playing poker, not chess. He is prepared to threaten war, create chaos and spread misinformation to push back Nato from Russia’s borders. Using coercive diplomacy, he has amassed more than 130,000 troops on the eastern border of Ukraine, a continued threat to its sovereignty.

Yet however provocative Russia’s behaviour, western governments have a responsibility not to escalate the threat of war. The consequences of a direct US-Russian confrontation in Ukraine would be catastrophic on all sides. A full-scale conventional war could escalate into nuclear war. Even a limited war would create a ruinous global economic crisis that could destroy for the foreseeable future any chance of serious action against climate change.

I have worked in conflict resolution for the past 20 years and seen the dangers of stumbling into wars, unable to stop or turn back. Selling weapons to a country may look like a principled act in support of an ally but it usually takes them deeper and deeper into the quagmire of conflict. The US and the UK have instigated and been involved in four failed wars this century, but we seem to have failed to have learned the lessons.

There are those who argue that sending military support to Ukraine strengthens Nato’s hand at the negotiating table. Yet there are inherent dangers in this approach – the use of deterrence could be the very thing that escalates the situation.

Washington and London have pledged to increase offensive military aid to Ukraine and have announced arms deliveries, ammunition and anti-tank weapons. The UK is seeking to put itself at the forefront of western efforts to forestall what the prime minister, Boris Johnson, has called the risk of a “lightning war” in eastern Europe.

Germany has been much more sceptical, blocking the transfer of German-made weapons from Baltic states to Ukraine. It has long argued against sending weapons to active conflict zones. Germany has declared that it is prepared to have a serious dialogue with Russia to defuse the highly dangerous situation, arguing that diplomacy is the only viable way.

Whatever western governments feel about Moscow’s behaviour, de-escalating the conflict and giving Moscow a ladder to climb down is in everyone’s interest. We should not underestimate the link between humiliation and aggression. Putin is a very proud man, and smart politics by western governments should offer face-saving gestures if we are serious about avoiding war.

According to Anatol Lieven, an academic and Ukraine specialist, this is “the most dangerous crisis in the world today; it is also in principle the most easily solved”. A solution exists, drawn up by France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine in 2015, which involves the implementation of the Minsk II agreement. This offers demilitarisation, a restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty including control of the border with Russia, and full autonomy for the Donbas region. The main objection for Kyiv is that autonomy for the Donbas would prevent Ukraine from joining Nato and the EU.

One way through this would be for Nato to declare Ukraine a neutral country and decree that it does not join Nato for at least a decade. In practice, Ukrainian membership of the EU is ruled out for at least a generation because of Ukraine’s corruption, political dysfunction and lack of economic progress.

Talks between Putin and France’s President Macron this week were more conciliatory in tone. Macron said: “There is no security for Europeans if there is no security for Russia.” A permanent forum where Russia is welcome is needed to re-examine the post-cold war security system in Europe. This approach to issues such as missile deployments, arms control and transparency around military exercises could ease this conflict. Such a dialogue could create a climate of security cooperation with Russia.

  • Gabrielle Rifkind is a specialist in conflict resolution and the director of Oxford Process

February 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UK government has no idea on what do do with its plutonium trash

Seventy years after the United Kingdom first began extracting plutonium from spent uranium fuel to make nuclear weapons, the industry is finally calling a halt to reprocessing, leaving the country with 120 tons of themetal, the biggest stockpile in the world. However, the government has no idea what to do with it.

Having spent hundreds of billions of pounds producing plutonium in a series of plants at Sellafield in the LakenDistrict, the UK policy is to store it indefinitely—or until it can come up with a better idea. There is also 90,000 tons of less dangerous depleteduranium in warehouses in the UK, also without an end use.

 Counterpunch 10th Feb 2022 https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/02/10/the-legacy-of-britains-dirty-decades-of-nuclear-reprocessing-120-tonnes-of-plutonium/

February 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Practical considerations may hamper Australia’s path to nuclear submarines

Practical Considerations

Notwithstanding the sweeping nature of the AUKUS Partnership and the scope of the Security Agreement itself, a number of practical hurdles remain, including but not limited to the following:

  • It is unclear how and when the parties will decide whether Australian submarines will incorporate either US or UK nuclear propulsion plants.
  • The reactors in both US and UK submarines rely on fuel containing high enriched uranium (HEU); it is unclear how Australia will acquire the HEU necessary to power its fleet.
  • Due to the volume of ongoing, contracted-for work, neither US nor UK shipyards are in a position to easily accommodate the construction of additional submarines in the near term.
  • Balancing export requirements under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the nuclear regulations, determining how and when to license under the ITAR as opposed to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, National Nuclear Security Administration, or other regulations is going to be a challenge.
  • It would not be unusual for the nuclear submarine program to involve some form of offsets which would provide Australian industry an opportunity to contract or subcontract for the provision of various items for the submarines.
  • Financing for the technology transfers and ultimate construction of the nuclear submarines remains an open question. Whether the United States will provide Foreign Military Sales (FMS) or Foreign Military Financing (FMF) may also be discussed.
  • Australian shipbuilders presently have no experience constructing nuclear submarines. Therefore, it is likely that in the event the governments decide to construct Australia’s submarines in Adelaide, such construction would depend on the availability of skilled labor and necessary equipment, presumably sourced from either or both the United States or the United Kingdom. This could raise a number of immigration-related questions for the Australian government.
  • No training pipeline presently exists in Australia to produce nuclear-trained submariners. Australian applicants to the submarine program may need to attend university in the United States or United Kingdom and enroll in those navies’ nuclear power training pipelines. To the extent that it is plant-specific, such training could not begin until it is determined whether the new Australian nuclear-powered submarines will incorporate either US or UK nuclear propulsion plants.

Conclusion

As a result of the AUKUS Partnership, Australia will become the seventh nation to operate nuclear-powered submarines. ………….. However, success will depend on the extent to which the three governments can and choose to identify and resolve practical considerations over several decades to establish a pathway to an Australian nuclear submarine and technology integration.

AUKUS Alliance: US and UK to Help Australia Acquire Nuclear-Powered Submarines

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP  11 Feb 22,

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February 12, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Former UK prime minister urges Australia to lift its game on climate change


Former UK prime minister urges Australia to lift its game on climate change
Theresa May has declared Australia should pick up its climate change agenda “rather more proactively” during the former British prime minister’s first visit.

February 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate projections paint a grim future for WA if emissions not cut

Climate projections paint a grim future for WA if emissions not cutWA faces a grim future of more droughts and floods if climate change continues, but the state government is only beginning to plan to contribute towards global carbon emissions that could minimise the damage.

February 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s biggest wind and battery project lands equity and turbine supply deals — RenewEconomy

Golden Plains wind farm, and a big battery, lands equity deal to finance the project, and a turbine supply and construction deal with Vestas. The post Australia’s biggest wind and battery project lands equity and turbine supply deals appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Australia’s biggest wind and battery project lands equity and turbine supply deals — RenewEconomy

February 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Morrison boosts “Making Positive Energy” pre-election ad splurge to almost $31 million — RenewEconomy

Morrison government more than doubles its spending on pre-election advertising to convince voters it cares about the climate and clean energy. The post Morrison boosts “Making Positive Energy” pre-election ad splurge to almost $31 million appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Morrison boosts “Making Positive Energy” pre-election ad splurge to almost $31 million — RenewEconomy

February 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Stop pretending:” Governments urged to come clean on early coal closures — RenewEconomy

With more coal plants set to close early, the clean energy sector has called on governments to accept the reality of the end of coal. The post “Stop pretending:” Governments urged to come clean on early coal closures appeared first on RenewEconomy.

“Stop pretending:” Governments urged to come clean on early coal closures — RenewEconomy

February 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Setting the record straight on carbon offsets — RenewEconomy

How can an organisation tell a good quality carbon offset from a bad one? When should offsetting be used? And what’s the best strategical approach? The post Setting the record straight on carbon offsets appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Setting the record straight on carbon offsets — RenewEconomy

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Russian Congress of Intellectuals: An Open Letter to the Russian Leadership

Russian Congress of Intellectuals..An Open Letter to the Russian Leadership.  https://johnmenadue.com/russian-congress-of-intellectuals-an-open-letter-to-the-russian-leadership-february-4-2022/ February 4, 2022, By John Menadue, (letter, signed by a lage number of individuals)

Our position is simple: Russia does not need a war with Ukraine and the West. Such a war is devoid of legitimacy and has no moral basis.

There is an ever-increasing flow of alarming news about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine. Reports are emerging about stepped-up recruitment of mercenaries within Russia and the transfer of fuel and military equipment to Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions. In response, Ukraine is arming itself and NATO is sending additional forces into Eastern Europe. The tension is not abating, but rather mounting.

Russian citizens are becoming de facto hostages of a reckless adventurism that has come to typify Russia’s foreign policy. Not only must Russians live with the uncertainty of whether a large-scale war will begin, but they are also experiencing a sharp rise in prices and a devaluation of their currency. Is this the sort of policy Russians need? Do they want war—and are they ready to bear the brunt of it? Have they authorized the authorities to play with their lives in this way?

But no one asks Russian citizens for their opinion. There is no public debate. State television presents only a single viewpoint—that of the warmongers. Direct military threats, aggression and hatred are aimed at Ukraine, the US, and the West. But the most dangerous thing is that the war is being depicted not only as permissible, but as inevitable. This is an attempt to deceive the population, to impose upon them the idea of waging a crusade against the West, rather than investing in the country’s development and improving living standards. The cost of the conflict is never discussed, but the price—the huge, bloody price—will be paid by the common Russian people.

We, responsible citizens and patriots of Russia, appeal to Russia’s political leadership. We openly and publicly call out the Party of War that has been formed within the government.

We represent the viewpoint of those in Russian society who reject war, who consider unlawful the use of military threats and the deployment of a blackmailing style in foreign policy.

We reject war, whereas you, the Party of War, consider it acceptable. We stand for peace and prosperity for all Russian citizens, whereas you put our lives on the line for the sake of political games. You deceive and manipulate people, whereas we tell them the truth. You do not speak in the name of the Russian population—we do. For decades, the Russian people, who lost millions of lives in past wars, have lived by the saying: “if only there were no war.” Have you forgotten this?

Our position is quite simple. Russia does not need a war with Ukraine and the West. No one is threatening us, no one is attacking us. Policies based on the idea of such a war are immoral and irresponsible and must not be conducted in the name of the Russian people. Such a war is devoid of legitimacy and has no moral basis. Russian diplomacy should take no other position than a categorical rejection of such a war.

Not only does such a war not reflect Russia’s interests, but it also threatens the country’s very existence. The senseless actions of the country’s political leadership, which is pushing us in this direction, will inevitably lead to a mass anti-war movement in Russia. Each of us will naturally play a part in it.

We will do everything in our power to prevent this war, and if it begins, to stop it.

Signed,

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February 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Putin reminds everyone that Ukraine joining NATO could lead to nuclear war

As it has amassed military forces on the borders of Ukraine, Russia has proposed two draft treaties, one with NATO and one with the United States, that seek a variety of security guarantees, including one that would prohibit further eastward expansion of NATO and therefore not allow Ukraine to join. The United States and its NATO allies have rebuffed that suggestion even as talks on de-escalating tensions around Ukraine have continued.

Putin reminds everyone that Ukraine joining NATO could lead to nuclear war  https://thebulletin.org/2022/02/putin-says-ukraine-membership-in-nato-would-make-nuclear-war-more-likely/

BSarah Starkey | February 11, 2022  Three days ago, in a jarring answer to a question from the media, Russian President Vladimir Putin said allowing Ukraine to join NATO would increase the prospects of a Russia-NATO conflict that could turn nuclear. Putin’s assertion, made in the context of a complicated hypothetical about an unlikely Ukrainian attempt to take

Crimea back from Russia, came during a joint press conference with the President of France, Emmanuel Macron.

With over 100,000 Russian troops amassed at Ukraine’s border, the conference was originally called to discuss ways to de-escalate the situation. However, about 45 minutes into the meeting, Putin made it clear there were some lines that could not be crossed without severe and possibly even nuclear consequences.

“[T]here will be no winners,” he said, describing a hypothetical future in which Ukraine had joined NATO and then attempted to invade Russian-occupied Crimea, “and you will find yourself drawn into this conflict against your will. You will be fulfilling Article 5 in a heartbeat, even before you know it.”

Article 5 of NATO’s founding treaty says that any attack on a NATO member is an attack on all members. This principle of collective defense, NATO says, is at the heart of its treaty. The only time the article has been invoked was on September 11, 2001, when terrorists attacked the United States.

“Do you realize that if Ukraine joins NATO and decides to take Crimea back through military means, the European countries will automatically get drawn into a military conflict with Russia?” Putin said. “Of course, NATO’s united potential and that of Russia are incomparable.”

Though the Kremlin’s English-language transcript has Putin using, somewhat ambiguously, the term “incomparable,” he also asserted that Russia “is one of the world’s leading nuclear powers and is superior to many of those countries in terms of the number of modern nuclear force components.”

And Putin is correct. In early 2021, Nuclear Notebook authors Hans M. Kristensen and Matt Korda estimated that Russia has a stockpile of nearly 4,500 nuclear warheads, which is more than enough weapons to obliterate countless cities and military facilities, setting massive fires, the smoke from which would send the world into nuclear winter. The United States has about 3,800 nuclear warheads and another 1,750 retired warheads awaiting dismantlement, a force that also has civilization-ending capabilities. The nuclear arsenals of the United Kingdom and France are small by comparison but still powerful enough to cause mass death and environmental damage.

As it has amassed military forces on the borders of Ukraine, Russia has proposed two draft treaties, one with NATO and one with the United States, that seek a variety of security guarantees, including one that would prohibit further eastward expansion of NATO and therefore not allow Ukraine to join. The United States and its NATO allies have rebuffed that suggestion even as talks on de-escalating tensions around Ukraine have continued.

February 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Philippines: the case against coal, other fossil fuels and nuclear power

Building a nuclear power plant will only further burden Filipino consumers economically and expose the country and citizens to more health hazards, contamination and disaster risks.Nuclear energy is the most expensive and most dangerous source of electricity. Contrary to others’ expectations, nuclear will actually cost us so much: fuel, expertise and technologies all have to be imported overseas. That’s aside from the huge costs of dealing with the safety risks and disasters associated with nuclear power plants.

 By Ludwig Federigan, Manila Times, February 12, 2022, The author is the executive director of the Young Environmental Forum and a nonresident fellow of the Stratbase ADR Institute. He ranks 236th among global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) influencers, according to the Taking Action Online. You can email him at ludwig.federigan@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at @WiggyFederigan

GROWTH is difficult to imagine without energy and energy that does not take the needs of future generations into consideration can only destroy and not build………The Philippines has enough renewable resources to meet its power needs but some are unevenly distributed.

Some locations may not be as well-endowed. Geographic features, such as mountains, may cause clouds to appear more often and block sunlight. Others may disrupt wind flows, making it harder to generate electricity from the wind.The solution in such cases is to import power from nearby areas better endowed with renewable sources.

 Given that we can be self-sufficient in renewable electricity nationwide, less endowed areas should not have to look too far to source electricity. This is no different from what we do today when we construct hundred-megawatt and gigawatt-level power plants — these are so widely-spaced apart that they have to export their output to distant  locations, too.

Delivering electricity to localities in need requires transmission and distribution lines. Thus, even where renewables make it possible for more households and communities to consume electricity at the point it is generated, we still need transmission infrastructure to support less endowed localities.The importance given to baseload plants — plants that provide a steady output 24/7 — is an outdated idea. It was useful in the past when renewables were very expensive but is less so today in an era of cheap renewables. It is possible to cope with the variable output of solar panels and wind turbines in the same way that banks cope with the inherent unpredictability of deposits and withdrawals.

The claim that renewable electricity is too expensive to compete with fossil fuels might have been valid a few years ago. It is not so true today. Various case studies have already shown how rooftop solar is cheaper than grid electricity in most parts of the country. Of course, if consumers still think otherwise, then the market for renewables will remain  sluggish.

What is needed at this point is for the policymakers, academics, media and the public to be better informed about the state of prices. This is something that can be done by suppliers and the government. Unfortunately, too many  policymakers, academics and media people still think that “solar is expensive.”

………………The government must do more to support renewable energy (RE). When people say RE is expensive, it’s in large part because it takes so many permits and many years to develop a project in the country. Many of the steps are unnecessary and sometimes are subject to discretion and abuse of public officials. If we cut this red tape, it will decrease the cost and risks of development, allow more local and foreign companies to compete, and reduce costs  for all consumers.

On nuclear power

Building a nuclear power plant will only further burden Filipino consumers economically and expose the country and citizens to more health hazards, contamination and disaster risks.Nuclear energy is the most expensive and most dangerous source of electricity. Contrary to others’ expectations, nuclear will actually cost us so much: fuel, expertise and technologies all have to be imported overseas. That’s aside from the huge costs of dealing with the safety risks and disasters associated with nuclear power plants.

The uranium needed to fuel a nuclear facility will have to be imported as deposits do not exist in the country. Not only will this reduce the country’s energy independence, it will also render the price we pay for power dependent on changes in world uranium prices. Transportation of the fuel is also another cost that has to be shouldered. The costs of building, operating and eventually decommissioning nuclear plants are also much more higher than renewables.Nuclear energy is not clean or truly renewable. While atomic energy can be regenerated, substances such as uranium are finite resources. These materials are also mined, just like fossil fuels, and need further processing before they are  usable. The processing also poses risks for the environment and is likely to contribute to greenhouse gas emissions  rather than mitigate them, as is often claimed by nuclear power proponents…………..

The risk and costs of environmental destruction and the impacts on health and livelihoods outweigh any short-term perceived benefits from nuclear. The government must instead focus on achieving ambitious RE targets and aim for  100-percent RE power generation. We should stop wasting time, money and effort on pursuing nuclear energy, which is a losing proposition for consumers, the economy, and our health and safety. https://www.manilatimes.net/2022/02/12/business/green-industries/the-case-against-coal-other-fossil-fuels-and-nuclear-power/1832623.

February 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Space rocket with NASA satellites launched, but now lost in space

Astra rocket seen spinning out of control at fairing sep, payloads lost

Astra Space launches from Space Coast, but rocket last seen spinning in space

By RICHARD TRIBOU. ORLANDO SENTINEL| FEB 10, 2022 

 Astra Space successfully launched a rocket Thursday for the first time from the Space Coast, but the mission was a failure as the upper stage was last seen spinning in space with its ultimate fate unclear……….   

The plan was to deploy four satellites for NASA a little more than eight minutes after liftoff, but cameras on board ahead of the deployment showed the second stage tumbling in space. 

Speed and altitude data on the stream showed the rocket hit a maximum velocity of nearly 9,700 mph and continued to climb in altitude even after the malfunction, moving from 85 miles altitude when the fairing separated and last seen at around 140 miles altitude and climbing when data cut off on the video.

……………………  This mission, which was the culmination of $3.9 million awarded to the company as part of NASA’s Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 contract was dubbed ELaNa 41, as in the Educational Launch of Nanosatellites.

The four CubeSats lost in space came from the University of Alabama (BAMA-1), New Mexico State University (INCA), the University of California at Berkeley (QubeSat) and NASA’s Johnson Space Center (R5-S1).

The company had looked to complete the first of what is planned to be many launches from Florida. Last week it became the first company to get Federal Aviation Administration approval for a new type of license that combines what previously required multiple licenses.  https://www.orlandosentinel.com/space/os-bz-astra-space-launch-attempt-thursday-20220210-n7bxzytogrd2flsq7j4ajm6xqi-story.html

February 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

February 11 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Gas Crunch Causes Electricity Crisis Despite Record Cheap Clean Energy. Time To Create A Green Energy Pool?” • In the UK and similar nations, the gas crisis is pushing up electricity prices because the wholesale electricity market uses the most expensive power to set the price. Renewables keep getting cheaper, and it’s time […]

February 11 Energy News — geoharvey

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