Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

USA has influential Committee to Defend our citizen, Julian Assange

January 19, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

How the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Impacts the United States

How the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Impacts the United States, and Why the United States Must Embrace its Entry into Force, Columbia SIPA Journal of International Affairs, ALICIA SANDERS-ZAKRE AND SETH SHELDEN,  JAN 15, 2021   The United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) will enter into force on January 22, 2021, two days following the inauguration of Joseph Biden as the 46th president of the United States. Despite the TPNW’s widespread support throughout the world, the United States has attempted to thwart the treaty’s progress at every step, boycotting the negotiations from the start and urging other countries to withdraw as the treaty neared its entry into force. These efforts have proven unsuccessful. This article explores the implications of the entry into force of the TPNW, with special attention to the United States and how the new Biden administration can play a more constructive role in the international treaty regime.

On January 20, Joseph Biden will become the next U.S. President. Two days later, on January 22, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) will become binding international law. The Biden administration should seize the opportunity to sign this landmark treaty and work toward its ratification, while productively engaging with the new legal regime created by the treaty.

With the TPNW, nuclear weapons will be subject to a global ban treaty for the first time, at last aligning nuclear weapons with other weapons of mass destruction, all already the subject of treaty-based prohibitions. The TPNW provides a framework to verifiably eliminate nuclear weapons and requires its States Parties, i.e., states that have ratified or acceded to the treaty, to assist victims and remediate environments affected by nuclear weapons use and testing. The treaty was negotiated in recognition of the increasing likelihood of use of nuclear weapons, whether intentionally or accidentally, and the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from any such use.

The United States has aggressively attempted to thwart the TPNW despite support for the treaty from more than two-thirds of the world’s states. These efforts have been unsuccessful. If President-elect Biden truly intends “to prove to the world that the United States is prepared to lead again—not just with the example of our power but also with the power of our example,” his administration must reverse the U.S. position on the TPNW.

Past United States Approach to TPNW

Before treaty negotiations had begun, in a 2016 nonpaper the United States urged NATO members to vote against proceeding with the initiative, claiming that such a treaty would “undermine…long-standing strategic stability.” Despite U.S. urging, the resolution to proceed with negotiations was adopted in December 2016 with clear global support. After Donald Trump assumed the presidency, the United States intensified its opposition, publicly dismissing and ridiculing the TPNW while privately pressuring countries not to support it. On the first day of treaty negotiations, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, hosted a press conference outside the room where negotiations were to take place, criticizing the pursuit of a prohibition treaty and questioning if nations participating were “looking out for their people.”

In October 2020, as the treaty approached the threshold of 50 ratifications for its entry into force, the United States sent a letter to countries that had joined the TPNW, restating its “opposition to the potential repercussions” of the treaty and encouraging states to withdraw their instruments of ratification. Once the treaty reached 50 States Parties, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Ford retweeted his remarks from 2018 in which he had called the treaty “harmful to international peace and security.” China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States have consistently issued joint statements disparaging the treaty at various international fora, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference, the United Nations General Assembly, and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) meetings.

U.S. opposition to the TPNW is predicated on the falsehood that nuclear weapons provide security, as well as mischaracterizations about the treaty itself. Despite legal obligations and decades of commitments to bring about a world without nuclear weapons, in truth the United States relies steadfastly upon deterrence doctrines that are incompatible with these obligations and commitments, and it views any threat to the legitimacy of nuclear weapons as a threat to its national security. In clutching to deterrence doctrines, despite recognition—even from conservatives and libertarians—that nuclear weapons offer no military or practical value, U.S. policymakers undoubtedly are influenced also by the trillion dollar industry supporting its nuclear weapon arsenal. They thus have advanced spurious claims about the TPNW’s failings, arguing that the treaty will undermine the NPT, weaken IAEA safeguards, and only impact democracies, all of which are untrue.

These false assertions have been debunked in numerous more thorough examinations, so it suffices to say that the majority of countries do not share U.S. and like-minded states’ concerns about the TPNW

…………Nuclear-armed states aggressively denouncing an initiative with global support impairs unity in other international fora needed to advance other nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation, and risk reduction measures.

Implications of Entry Into Force

U.S. denouncements of the TPNW also ignore the significant impact of this treaty internationally, and on the United States itself. When the TPNW enters into force, States Parties will immediately need to adhere to the treaty’s Article 1 prohibitions, prohibiting them from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, acquiring, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using, or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed in their territories. It also prohibits States Parties from assisting, encouraging, or inducing anyone to engage in these activities.

Under Articles 6 and 7 of the TPNW, States Parties also are obligated to assist victims of and remediate environments contaminated by nuclear weapon use and testing. These “positive obligations” break new ground in international nuclear weapons law. States with affected victims and contaminated lands under their jurisdiction have the primary responsibility for providing assistance, in a nod to state sovereignty and practical facilitation. However, Article 7 requires all States Parties to cooperate in implementing the treaty and, particularly for those in a position to do so, to assist affected states. ………..more https://jia.sipa.columbia.edu/online-articles/how-treaty-prohibition-nuclear-weapons-impacts-united-states-and-why-united-states

January 17, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Environmental dangers of nuclear waste Cumbria, and Kimba, too?

Paul Waldon  Fight to stop a nuclear waste dump in South Australia, 17 Jan 21, 
 Internal documents released by Britain’s Environment Agency (EA) suggests that in retrospect it was a “mistake” to site Drigg Low-Level Waste Repository (LLWR) on the Cumbrian coast because of its vulnerability to flooding. E.U. documents estimate one million cubic meters of radioactive waste from the last 55 years of dumping is going to leak onto the shoreline in as little as a few hundred years from now.
So would this scenario be a “mistake” for Kimba? However, we do know it’s an agricultural region not shore line property and lets not forget Rowan R. did claim ANSTO’s codified high grade waste under the guise of intermediate waste will be a radioactive issue for only 300 years, defying the scientific belief of 240 thousand + years.

January 17, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The Terrifying History of Russia’s Nuclear Submarine Graveyard,

January 17, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Catholics welcome Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Catholic advocates welcome treaty banning nuclear weapons coming into force, Crux, Dennis SadowskiJan 17, 2021, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE 

CLEVELAND — A Holy See-supported treaty banning the possession of nuclear weapons that is coming into force is buoying efforts by nations and nonprofit and church organizations working to abolish such armaments.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons comes into force Jan. 22, three months after the 50th nation ratified the historic document.

Nuclear abolition supporters said the treaty puts the world’s nine nuclear powers on notice that momentum to dismantle arsenals of the world’s most destructive weapons is building.

We have an opportunity to move in a different direction now. We have to convince the nuclear states to take this seriously, to take this as an opportunity to move to a new conversation in the nuclear age,” said Marie Dennis, the Washington-based senior adviser to Pax Christi International’s secretary general.

The treaty resulted from months of negotiations at the United Nations in 2017 led by non-nuclear countries. Dennis described the effort as an example of the Catholic social teaching principle of participation.

“People around the world who live in countries that are not part of the nuclear weapons countries or under the nuclear umbrella have realized more and more clearly that the whole world would be devastated by an exchange of nuclear weapons and the people of the world decided to do something about it,” she explained.

The Holy See was a key participant in the process that led to drafting the treaty, providing encouragement and advice to negotiators, said Jesuit Father Drew Christiansen, a nuclear weapons expert who is professor of ethics and global development at Georgetown University.

He credited Pope Francis for the Vatican’s work on the pact. “I think it’s part of Francis’s agenda to get this out there,” he said. “As Francis begins to elaborate more about this teaching on arms and warfare, he’ll speak out more on this issue.”

The Holy See was the among the first to ratify the treaty, which was approved by 122 U.N. members. Netherlands was the only country to vote against it while Singapore abstained.

The nuclear nations and those under the U.S. nuclear umbrella opposed the measure and played little if any role in negotiations. In addition to the U.S., the countries possessing nuclear weapons are Russia, China, United Kingdom, France, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.

Data from various sources, including the U.S. Department of State and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, show that the nine countries hold an estimated 13,440 nuclear weapons. …….. https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2021/01/catholic-advocates-welcome-treaty-banning-nuclear-weapons-coming-into-force/

January 17, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

21 And 22 January NZ Celebrates Global Nuclear Weapons Ban, 2021

January 16, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Church leaders call on UK to sign nuclear weapons ban treaty

UK is urged to sign UN nuclear-weapons treaty  https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2021/15-january/news/uk/uk-is-urged-to-sign-un-nuclear-weapons-treaty by PAT ASHWORTH, 15 JANUARY 2021   But there is resistance to change, say peace campaigners.

CAMPAIGNERS are urging the UK to sign the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which will come into effect on 22 January.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, with more than 30 Church of England bishops, called on the Government in November to accept the treaty, which, they said, would “give hope to all people of goodwill who seek a peaceful future” (News, 20 November 2020).

It has been signed by 51 states. They will now be required to stop producing, developing, testing, or stationing nuclear weapons, and will be required to help any victims of their testing and use. Their financial institutions will be expected to stop investing in companies that produce nuclear weapons.

The UK, the United StatesFrance, and Russia have not signed the treaty. Clergy and church leaders were reminded in a briefing by the Network of Christian Peace Organisations (NCPO), on Tuesday, of the overwhelming support given to a Lambeth Conference resolution in 1998, which called on the Government and the UN to press for an international mandate for all member states to prohibit nuclear warfare.

Now was the time to fulfil that, Rebecca Johnson, one of the architects of the treaty and a founder member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), said. Nuclear weapons must be known for what they really were — weapons of mass destruction — and the phrase “nuclear powers” must be replaced with “nuclear-armed states”.

The treaty was a legal one, but it would work by persuasion and not by coercion; it was normative in taking away any status attached to hanging on to nuclear weapons, and in labelling as pariahs those who did. “We all need to think about what we can do to bring this treaty into force in our own countries. There is an important job here for faith leaders to do,” she said.

Although the C of E had a blanket policy of not investing in companies with an interest in nuclear weapons, everyone should examine investment practice in their churches, the policy adviser on international affairs for the ecumenical Joint Public Issues Team, Steve Hucklesby, said.

The treaty brought “a very real possibility of a new norm on nuclear weapons across the whole finance and business sectors; but be clear: there is resistance to change,” he continued. Pressure could be applied to banks and pension providers if individuals saw this as something relating to their own lives. “The issue now becomes compliance with an international treaty, to be applied across the whole of an institution’s business.”

An international meeting to be held in Vienna later this year will establish mechanisms for compliance. It will be open to observers from nuclear-armed states, who will not be able to vote but who should be urged to “attend, listen, and learn,” Ms Johnson said. “It is so important for the UK to join sooner rather than later . . . to be at the table.”

Russell Whiting, who chairs Christian CND, described a world in which President Trump, or even Joe Biden, had their finger on the nuclear button, as “an incredibly dangerous place”. The treaty has been declared dangerous by the Prime Minister, and by the former Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond. These governments had “misrepresented” the treaty wherever they went, saying that it would undermine the existing non-proliferation treaty, Ms Johnson said.

The General Synod called for the elimination of nuclear weapons in July 2018, but it stopped short of urging the Government to sign the treaty. The Government’s refusal to do so was described by the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Stephen Cotrrell, then Bishop of Chelmsford, as “hugely disappointing” and “a decision that looks like complacency”. He questioned the billions of pounds spent on Trident (News, 13 July 2018).

The general secretary of the Roman Catholic peace movement Pax Christi, Pat Gaffney, said on Tuesday that RC bishops had issued a statement asking the Government to support the treaty — a move that she described as “a huge step forward, because they have habitually said it undermined the existing non-proliferation treaty. Catholics need to write to their bishops affirming what they are doing.”

The NCPO is holding a service online at 11.30 a.m. on 22 January, to mark the treaty. It will conclude with the ringing of the peace bell at Coventry Cathedral.

January 16, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

 Business case for small nuclear reactors ‘doesn’t fly’

Former U.S. regulator questions small nuclear reactor technology,   Business case for small reactors ‘doesn’t fly,’ says expert on nuclear waste, Jacques Poitras · CBC News Jan 15, 2021   A former head of the United States’ nuclear regulator is raising questions about the molten-salt technology that would be used in one model of proposed New Brunswick-made nuclear reactors.

The technology pitched by Saint John’s Moltex Energy is key to its business case because, the company argues, it would reuse some of the nuclear waste from Point Lepreau and lower the long-term cost and radioactivity of storing the remainder.

But Allison Macfarlane, the former chairperson of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a specialist in the storage of nuclear waste, said no one has yet proven that it’s possible or viable to reprocess nuclear waste and lower the cost and risks of storage.

“Nobody knows what the numbers are, and anybody who gives you numbers is selling you a bridge to nowhere because they don’t know,” said Macfarlane, now the director of the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia.

“Nobody’s really doing this right now. … Nobody has ever set up a molten salt reactor and used it to produce electricity.”

Macfarlane said she couldn’t comment specifically on Moltex, calling information about the company’s technology “very vague.”

But she said the general selling point for molten-salt technology is dubious.

“Nobody’s been able to answer my questions yet on what all these wastes are and how much of them there are, and how heat-producing they are and what their compositions are,” she said.

“My sense is that all of these reactor folks have not really paid a lot of attention to the back end of these fuel cycles,” she said, referring to the long-term risks and costs of securely storing nuclear waste.

Moltex is one of two Saint John-based companies pitching small nuclear reactors as the next step for nuclear power in the province and as a non-carbon-dioxide emitting alternative to fossil fuel electricity generation.

Moltex North America CEO Rory O’Sullivan said the company’s technology will allow it to affordably extract the most radioactive parts of the existing nuclear waste from the Point Lepreau Generating Station.

The waste is now stored in pellet form in silos near the plant and is inspected regularly.

The process would remove less than one per cent of the material to fuel the Moltex reactor and O’Sullivan said that would make the remainder less radioactive for a much shorter amount of time.

Existing plans for nuclear waste in Canada are to store it in an eventual permanent repository deep underground, where it would be secure for the hundreds of thousands of years it remained radioactive………..

Shorter-term radioactivity complicates storage

Macfarlane said a shorter-term radioactivity life for waste would actually complicate its storage underground because it might lead to a facility that has to be funded and secured rather than sealed up and abandoned.

“That means that you believe that the institutions that exist to keep monitoring that … will exist for hundreds of years, and I think that is a ridiculous assumption,” she said.

“I’m looking at the United States, I’m seeing institutions crumbling in a matter of a few years. I have no faith that institutions can last that long and that there will be streams of money to maintain the safety and security of these facilities. That’s why you will need a deep geologic repository for this material.”

And she said that’s assuming the technology will successfully extract all of the most radioactive material.

“They are assuming that they remove one hundred per cent of the difficult, radionuclides, the difficult isotopes, that complicate the waste,” she said.

“My response is: prove it. Because if you leave five per cent, you have high-level waste that you’re going to be dealing with. If you leave one per cent, you’re going to have high-level waste that you’re going to be dealing with. So sorry, that one doesn’t fly with me.”

Macfarlane, a geologist by training, raised doubts about molten-salt technology and waste issues in a 2018 paper she co-authored for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists……….  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/nuclear-waste-reactors-new-brunswick-allison-macfarlane-moltex-arc-1.5873542

January 16, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

”Small Modular Reactors”’- governments are being sucked in by the billionaires’ nuclear club” 

SNC-Lavalin    Scandal-ridden SNC-Lavalin is playing a major role in the push for SMRs.

Terrestrial Energy…..  Terrestrial Energy’s advisory board includes Dr. Ernest Moniz, the former US Secretary of the Dept. of Energy (2013-2017) who provided more than $12 billion in loan guarantees to the nuclear industry. Moniz has been a key advisor to the Biden-Harris transition team, which has come out in favour of SMRs.

The “billionaires’ nuclear club”  …“As long as Bill Gates is wasting his own money or that of other billionaires, it is not so much of an issue. The problem is that he is lobbying hard for government investment.”

Going after the public purse

Bill Gates was apparently very busy during the 2015 Paris climate talks. He also went on stage during the talks to announce a collaboration among 24 countries and the EU on something called Mission Innovation – an attempt to “accelerate global clean energy innovation” and “increase government support” for the technologies.

Gates’ PR tactic is effective: provide a bit of capital to create an SMR “bandwagon,” with governments fearing their economies would be left behind unless they massively fund such innovations.

governments “are being suckers. Because if Wall Street and the banks will not finance this, why should it be the role of the government to engage in venture capitalism of this kind?”

It will take a Herculean effort from the public to defeat this NICE Future, but along with the Assembly of First Nations, three political parties – the NDP, the Bloc Quebecois, and the Green Party – have now come out against SMRs.

January 15, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Scientists must tell the truth on our consumerist, ecology-killing Ponzi culture

Scientists must not sugarcoat the overwhelming challenges ahead. Instead, they should tell it like it is. Anything else is at best misleading, and at worst potentially lethal for the human enterprise. 

Worried about Earth’s future? Well, the outlook is worse than even scientists can grasp , The Conversation, Corey J. A. Bradshaw, Matthew Flinders Professor of Global Ecology and Models Theme Leader for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, Flinders University.  Daniel T. Blumstein, Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, University of California, Los Angeles, Paul Ehrlich, President, Center for Conservation Biology, Bing Professor of Population Studies, January 13, 2021 

Anyone with even a passing interest in the global environment knows all is not well. But just how bad is the situation? Our new paper shows the outlook for life on Earth is more dire than is generally understood.

The research published today reviews more than 150 studies to produce a stark summary of the state of the natural world. We outline the likely future trends in biodiversity decline, mass extinction, climate disruption and planetary toxification. We clarify the gravity of the human predicament and provide a timely snapshot of the crises that must be addressed now.

The problems, all tied to human consumption and population growth, will almost certainly worsen over coming decades. The damage will be felt for centuries and threatens the survival of all species, including our own………

academics tend to specialise in one discipline, which means they’re in many cases unfamiliar with the complex system in which planetary-scale problems — and their potential solutions — exist.

What’s more, positive change can be impeded by governments rejecting or ignoring scientific advice, and ignorance of human behaviour by both technical experts and policymakers.

More broadly, the human optimism bias – thinking bad things are more likely to befall others than yourself – means many people underestimate the environmental crisis.

Numbers don’t lie

Our research also reviewed the current state of the global environment. While the problems are too numerous to cover in full here, they include:…………

A bad situation only getting worse

The human population has reached 7.8 billion – double what it was in 1970 – and is set to reach about 10 billion by 2050. More people equals more food insecurity, soil degradation, plastic pollution and biodiversity loss.

High population densities make pandemics more likely. They also drive overcrowding, unemployment, housing shortages and deteriorating infrastructure, and can spark conflicts leading to insurrections, terrorism, and war.

Essentially, humans have created an ecological Ponzi scheme. Consumption, as a percentage of Earth’s capacity to regenerate itself, has grown from 73% in 1960 to more than 170% today.

High-consuming countries like Australia, Canada and the US use multiple units of fossil-fuel energy to produce one energy unit of food. Energy consumption will therefore increase in the near future, especially as the global middle class grows.

Then there’s climate change.  Humanity has already exceeded global warming of 1°C this century, and will almost assuredly exceed 1.5 °C between 2030 and 2052. Even if all nations party to the Paris Agreement ratify their commitments, warming would still reach between 2.6°C and 3.1°C by 2100.

The danger of political impotence

Our paper found global policymaking falls far short of addressing these existential threats. Securing Earth’s future requires prudent, long-term decisions. However this is impeded by short-term interests, and an economic system that concentrates wealth among a few individuals.

Right-wing populist leaders with anti-environment agendas are on the rise, and in many countries, environmental protest groups have been labelled “terrorists”. Environmentalism has become weaponised as a political ideology, rather than properly viewed as a universal mode of self-preservation.

Financed disinformation campaigns against climate action and forest protection, for example, protect short-term profits and claim meaningful environmental action is too costly – while ignoring the broader cost of not acting. By and large, it appears unlikely business investments will shift at sufficient scale to avoid environmental catastrophe.

Changing course

Fundamental change is required to avoid this ghastly future. Specifically, we and many others suggest:

  • abolishing the goal of perpetual economic growth………..

Don’t look away………

Scientists must not sugarcoat the overwhelming challenges ahead. Instead, they should tell it like it is. Anything else is at best misleading, and at worst potentially lethal for the human enterprise.   https://theconversation.com/worried-about-earths-future-well-the-outlook-is-worse-than-even-scientists-can-grasp-153091

January 14, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Joe Biden and USA nuclear weapons policies

January 14, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

In USA’s desperate health crisis, Trump orders quick development of small nuclear reactors for military use.

Trump orders DoD to explore use of nuclear power for space, Defense News, 

By: Aaron Mehta 12 Jan 21, WASHINGTON — In the waning days of his administration, U.S. President Donald Trump has signed an executive order aimed at pushing the Department of Defense toward quickly developing and producing small nuclear reactors for military use — and to see if they could be used by military space vehicles.

The order, signed Jan. 5 and posted publicly Jan. 12, is not the first time the value of nuclear power for military operations has been studied. There is a long history of the Pentagon considering the issue, which proponents believe could alleviate the department’s massive logistics challenge of keeping fuel moving around the world………

In terms of terrestrial efforts, the executive order requires the defense secretary to, within 180 days, “establish and implement a plan to demonstrate” a micro-reactor at a domestic military installation — in other words, setting up an actual test of a nuclear reactor at a U.S. military location.

However, that doesn’t mean the first test will be on a military base. One location to keep an eye on is the Nevada National Security Site, a Department of Energy location roughly 65 miles from Las Vegas…….

Noted Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists, “the signing of this at the very last minute of the Trump administration suggests someone is concerned [President-elect Joe Biden] might not support the program.”

Specific to space, the order calls for the defense secretary, in consultation with the secretaries of state, commerce and energy as well as the NASA administrator, to “determine whether advanced nuclear reactors can be made to benefit Department of Defense future space power needs” and to “pilot a transportable micro-reactor prototype.”

In addition, the order directs an analysis of alternatives for “personnel, regulatory, and technical requirements to inform future decisions with respect to nuclear power usage” as well as “an analysis of United States military uses for space nuclear power and propulsion technologies and an analysis of foreign adversaries’ space power and propulsion programs.”

……… While the order speeds up the timetable for a test of a nuclear reactor at a military installation, the idea of using nuclear power is hardly a new one for the DoD. In fact, the Pentagon currently has two different development tracts for small nuclear reactors.

The first is “Project Pele,” an effort to create a small mobile nuclear reactor in the 1-5 MWe power range, being run out of the Strategic Capabilities Office. In March 2020, the department awarded three companies a combined $39.7 million to start design work for Project Pele, with plans to select one firm in 2022 to build and demonstrate a prototype.

The second effort is run through the office of the undersecretary of acquisition and sustainment. That effort, ordered in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, involves a pilot program aiming to demonstrate the efficacy of a small nuclear reactor, in the 2-10 MWe range, with initial testing at a Department of Energy site around 2023. If all goes well, the goal is to have a permanent small nuclear reactor on a military base around 2027.

Even if all those timelines are hit, it is unlikely microreactors could proliferate quickly throughout the military……….  https://www.defensenews.com/smr/nuclear-arsenal/2021/01/13/trump-orders-dod-to-explore-use-of-nuclear-power-for-space-systems/

January 14, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Could Trump start a nuclear war?- a satchel, a biscuit and a football

A satchel, a biscuit and a football,     https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/3119714732   , Could Trump start a nuclear war?  By Linda Pentz Gunter, 10 Jan 21, 

All that’s involved is a satchel, a biscuit, and a football.

It sounds so benign, doesn’t it? Like schoolboy games. It’s anything but. If the President of the United States opens that satchel with his biscuit to access the football, that simple action could propel us into Armageddon.

The satchel, which goes everywhere the president does, contains the nuclear “football.” Only the president can open the satchel, using an ID card known as the “biscuit”.

As Time magazine explained it — the first time alarm bells rang around the possibility that an unhinged Donald Trump might “press the nuclear button” — the “biscuit enables him to identify himself to officials at the Pentagon with unique codes letting them know he is authorizing a nuclear strike. He would also need to specify the type of attack he wanted to carry out; the different options are delineated in the nuclear football.

“Once Trump has successfully conveyed his orders, Strategic Command, which has operational control over U.S. nuclear forces, would implement them.”

So while there is no actual nuclear button — Trump’s boasts to North Korea about his big one notwithstanding — it would be all too easy for a petulant madman to start a nuclear war. And we have one in the White House.

No one here needs to be reminded of the eye-stretching scenes of mob violence that unfolded at the Capitol on January 6, egged on by Trump on the day itself, and fueled by the reckless rhetoric and actions of the White House and its Republican lackeys over the past four years.

The events of January 6 in part prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to speak to the “Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike.

“The situation of this unhinged President could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy,” Politico reported Pelosi as saying on Friday.

In a statement issued on January 7, Physicians for Social Responsibility wrote that the scenes of mayhem at the Capitol, brought on by Trump’s “increasingly irresponsible and reckless behavior” should finally “put to rest any doubt about the danger posed by giving any president sole authority for the decision to launch a nuclear weapon. While the incident yesterday did not directly involve that power, President Trump’s alarming conduct demonstrated incontrovertibly why providing a president with the sole authority to launch a nuclear weapon needs to be changed—right now.”

How easy would it be for Trump to launch a nuclear strike? Global Zero explains it, chillingly, in this video, which suggests that starting a nuclear war would be “as easy as ordering a pizza.”

In a January 24, 2018 article in The Straits Times, Mark Fitzpatrick, a nuclear non-proliferation expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Washington, was quoted in an interview he gave to the BBC.

“There are no checks and balances on the president’s authority to launch a nuclear strike,” he said. “But between the time he authorizes one and the time it’s carried out there are other people involved.”

We’ve been saved more than once from nuclear disaster, most notably by Stanislav Petrov, a lieutenant colonel in the Soviet Union’s Air Defense Forces who, on the night of September 26, 1983 just happened to be in charge of monitoring his country’s satellite system that watched for a potential launch of nuclear weapons by the United States. In the early hours, such a launch appeared to have happened.

Petrov had only minutes to decide if the launch was genuine. He was supposed to report the alert up the chain of command. Doing so would almost certainly have led to a counterstrike, triggering a full-on nuclear exchange between the Soviet Union and the U.S. Instead, Petrov decided to check if there was a computer malfunction, later discovered to have been the case. Petrov became known as “the man who saved the world.”

But back at the White House, with only conspiracy-theory believing acolytes left around a man who doesn’t in any case listen to anyone’s advice, we cannot count on there being any Petrovs to save us this time.

Of course, as the PSR statement concluded: “the best way to protect ourselves and the rest of the world from the danger posed by the dysfunctional leadership of a nuclear-armed nation is to eliminate nuclear weapons altogether.

“The incoming Biden administration should embrace the principles of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and lead negotiations that move us toward a nuclear-weapons free world.”

That Treaty will become international law on January 22. Not a moment too soon.

January 10, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Biden urged to give up sole power to launch nuclear weapons

January 10, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Deceitful nuclear propaganda exposed in ”The Wretched Atom”

The Wretched Atom  https://jacobdarwinhamblin.com/books/the-wretched-atom/

Coming in June 2021 from Oxford University Press

A groundbreaking narrative of how the United States offered the promise of nuclear technology to the developing world and its gamble that other nations would use it for peaceful purposes.

After the Second World War, the United States offered a new kind of atom that differed from the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This atom would cure diseases, produce new foods, make deserts bloom, and provide abundant energy for all. It was an atom destined for the formerly colonized, recently occupied, and mostly non-white parts of the world that were dubbed the “wretched of the earth” by Frantz Fanon.

The “peaceful atom” had so much propaganda potential that President Dwight Eisenhower used it to distract the world from his plan to test even bigger thermonuclear weapons. His scientists said the peaceful atom would quicken the pulse of nature, speeding nations along the path of economic development and helping them to escape the clutches of disease, famine, and energy shortfalls. That promise became one of the most misunderstood political weapons of the twentieth century. It was adopted by every subsequent US president to exert leverage over other nations’ weapons programs, to corner world markets of uranium and thorium, and to secure petroleum supplies. Other countries embraced it, building reactors and training experts. Atomic promises were embedded in Japan’s postwar recovery, Ghana’s pan-Africanism, Israel’s quest for survival, Pakistan’s brinksmanship with India, and Iran’s pursuit of nuclear independence.

As The Wretched Atom shows, promoting civilian atomic energy was an immense gamble, and it was never truly peaceful. American promises ended up exporting violence and peace in equal measure. While the United States promised peace and plenty, it planted the seeds of dependency and set in motion the creation of today’s expanded nuclear club.

January 10, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment