Archive for the ‘Nuclear’ Category

CRF Mafia’s IAEA Provide Latest WMD Talking Point for Washington and Tel Aviv Hawks

December 7, 2012

U.N. nuclear chief: ‘Alleged weapons testing site was probably sanitized by Iran’…

21st Century Wire says: Yet, in the same breath, the UN and CFR puppet admits, “We cannot say for sure that we would be able find something”

By Joby Warrick
December 7, 2012

The United Nations’ chief nuclear official urged Iran on Thursday to allow inspection of a military base where Iranian scientists are suspected of conducting secret nuclear-weapons research, although he acknowledged that any traces of illicit activity have probably been removed.

The war propaganda never stops: they are dedicating to lying their way into war.

International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano said the nuclear watchdog would try again next week to visit the Parchin military base, a sprawling complex where Iran is thought to have conducted tests on high-precision explosives used to detonate a nuclear bomb.

Iran has repeatedly refused to let IAEA inspectors visit the base, on the outskirts of Tehran. Instead, in the months since the agency requested access, satellite photos have revealed what appears to be extensive cleanup work around the building where tests are alleged to have occurred.

“We are concerned that our capacity to verify would have been severely undermined,” Amano told a gathering of the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. He noted Iran’s “extensive” cleanup effort at the site, which has included demolishing buildings and stripping away topsoil.

“We cannot say for sure that we would be able find something,” Amano said.

Read more at Washington Post

(TRANSLATED IN ENGLISH: ‘A LOAD RECYCLED BULL S**T’)

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U.S. Army Building Mysterious $100 million ‘911’ Nuclear Bunker Project in Israel

November 29, 2012

By Walter Pincus

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to supervise construction of a five-story underground facility for an Israel Defense Forces complex, oddly named “Site 911,” at an Israeli Air Force base near Tel Aviv.

Expected to take more than two years to build, at a cost of up to $100 million, the facility is to have classrooms on Level 1, an auditorium on Level 3, a laboratory, shock-resistant doors, protection from non-ionizing radiation and very tight security. Clearances will be required for all construction workers, guards will be at the fence and barriers will separate it from the rest of the base.

Only U.S. construction firms are being allowed to bid on the contract and proposals are due Dec. 3, according to the latest Corps of Engineers notice.

Site 911 is the latest in a long history of military construction projects the United States has undertaken for the IDF under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program. The 1998 Wye River Memorandum between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has led to about $500 million in U.S. construction of military facilities for the Israelis, most of them initially in an undeveloped part of the Negev Desert. It was done to ensure there were bases to which IDF forces stationed in the West Bank could be redeployed.

As recorded in the Corps’ European District magazine, called Engineering in Europe, three bases were built to support 20,000 troops, and eventually the Israeli air force moved into the same area, creating Nevatim air base. A new runway, 2.5 miles long, was built there by the Corps along with about 100 new buildings and 10 miles of roads.

Over the years, the Corps has built underground hangers for Israeli fighter-bombers, facilities for handling nuclear weapons (though Israel does not admit having such weapons), command centers, training bases, intelligence facilities and simulators, according to Corps publications.

Within the past two years the Corps, which has three offices in Israel, completed a $30 million set of hangars at Nevatim, which the magazine describes as a “former small desert outpost that has grown to be one of the largest and most modern air bases in the country.” It has also supervised a $20 million project to build maintenance shops, hangars and headquarters to support Israel’s large Eitan unmanned aerial vehicle.

Site 911, which will be built at another base, appears to be one of the largest projects. Each of the first three underground floors is to be roughly 41,000 square feet, according to the Corps notice. The lower two floors are much smaller and hold equipment.

Security concerns are so great that non-Israeli employees hired by the builder can come only from “the U.S., Canada, Western Europe countries, Poland, Moldavia, Thailand, Philippines, Venezuela, Romania and China,” according to the Corps notice. “The employment of Palestinians is also forbidden,” it says.

Among other security rules: The site “shall have one gate only for both entering and exiting the site” and “no exit or entrance to the site shall be allowed during work hours except for supply trucks.” Guards will be Israeli citizens with experience in the Israeli air force. Also, “the collection of information of any type whatsoever related to base activities is prohibited.”

The well-known Israeli architectural firm listed on the plans, Ada Karmi-Melamede Architects, has paid attention to the aesthetics of the site design as well as the sensibilities of future employees. The site, for example, will be decorated with rocks chosen by the architect but purchased by the contractor. Three picnic tables are planned, according to the solicitation.

The Corps offered a lengthy description of the mezuzas the contractor is to provide “for each door or opening exclusive of toilets or shower rooms” in the Site 911 building. A mezuza (also spelled mezuzah) is a parchment which has been inscribed with Hebrew verses from the Torah, placed in a case and attached to a door frame of a Jewish family’s house as a sign of faith. Some interpret Jewish law as requiring — as in this case — that a mezuza be attached to every door in a house.

These mezuzas, notes the Corps, “shall be written in inerasable ink, on . . . uncoated leather parchment” and be handwritten by a scribe “holding a written authorization according to Jewish law.” The writing may be “Ashkenazik or Sepharadik” but “not a mixture” and “must be uniform.”

Also, “The Mezuzahs shall be proof-read by a computer at an authorized institution for Mezuzah inspection, as well as manually proof-read for the form of the letters by a proof-reader authorized by the Chief Rabbinate.” The mezuza shall be supplied with an aluminum housing with holes so it can be connected to the door frame or opening. Finally, “All Mezuzahs for the facility shall be affixed by the Base’s Rabbi or his appointed representative and not by the contractor staff.”

What’s the purpose of Site 911? I asked the Pentagon on Tuesday, and the Corps on Wednesday said that only an Israeli Defense Ministry spokesman could provide an answer.

This may be a trend-starter. The Corps is also seeking a contractor for another secret construction project in Israel in the $100 million range to awarded next summer. This one will involve “a complex facility with site development challenges” requiring services that include “electrical, communication, mechanical/
HVAC [heating, ventilation, air conditioning] and plumbing.” The U.S. contractor must have a U.S. secret or equivalent Israeli security clearance for the project, which is expected to take almost 21 / years to complete.

That sounds like a secure command center.

The purpose of Site 911 is far less clear.

Source: Washington Post

BIG ENERGY: WHY THE IEA SHILLS FOR HIGH PRICED OIL

November 27, 2012

Andrew McKillop
21st Century Wire
Guest Columnist

As the global energy game moves into the 21st century, the curtain is beginning with move back, unveiling the true nature of certain international organisations. The implications of this apocalypse should change to way we look at these institutions.

This year’s World Energy Outlook from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IEA), released in November, went further with the two policy obsessions of the IEA, described as “not very fashionable” by the IEA’s Turkish-born chief economist Fatih Birol in a November 15 interview with European Energy Review.

These “new and unfashionable” policy quests are: energy for all at an affordable price; and the struggle to prevent CO2 levels in the atmosphere exceeding 450 ppm (parts per million) by the 2035-2045 period.

The IEA quickly redefines the keyword terms: energy for all means, in particular, oil supplies for the 28 exclusively OECD member countries in the IEA: the IEA’s foundation in November 1974, after the first Oil Shock, by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, laid down the IEA’s mandate of acting to ensure oil supply security for the OECD, and “affordable priced” oil.

For Nixon and Kissinger, the IEA was a second-best. Their original goal was to invade and occupy Saudi Arabia and ensure the free flow of cheap oil, Iraq-style. Their IEA was therefore set as an organization able to confront the Arab oil exporters using guile rather than force, by playing one exporter off against another with a range of different contract types, building up stocks of oil in the OECD countries, and forcing down oil prices.

This has nothing to do with the IEA’s new struggle against global warming – assuming, for starters, that global warming really exists, and is due to human emissions of CO2 from burning fossil fuels – especially coal, not oil. This new obsession of the IEA has however grown to become its single most important policy theme for advising energy ministries and government deciders in the OECD. And “fighting climate change”, according to the IEA is vital and obligatory.

The struggle needs higher energy prices, carbon taxes, emissions trading, carbon offsets and everything we now associate with “carbon finance”. The IEA’s goal for a “sustainable energy future”, and its related goal of “an efficient energy world” by about 2035 are costed by observers (and by the IEA itself) as anywhere up to $45 – $50 trillion in dollars of 2012 value.

Paying for that needs high-priced energy. The IEA is therefore a “price hawk” for oil. This year’s WEO repeats the IEA’s scenario forecast that by 2017 year average oil prices could attain $175 per barrel. We can change the “could” to “should” after reading this year’s WEO.

BACK TO GLOBAL WARMING

Incredible as it can seem to many, freshly re-elected Barack Obama is giving serious thought and attention to banning, or limiting – or taxing – oil and gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing. One part of Obama’s rationale for this is the “possible GHG (green house gas) release from fracking”. Another is a lot more down to earth. Passing a new energy tax, called a carbon tax, in the USA could garner $100 billion in tax revenues for the Federal government in its first year of operation. Cross party support to a carbon tax is growing rapidly in Congress. The extreme low price of gas in the US, due to fracking, provides an easy tax base for adding a new Federal tax and new State taxes.

In the US and soon worldwide, “fracking” has had and will have revolutionary effects on gas supply and gas prices. The drilling process has brought U.S. energy independence within reach – with the important rider that for now rapidly growing shale oil production, this needs $100 a barrel prices.

Some US oil and gas industry leaders remain enthusiastic but cautious that fracking will be fully endorsed by newly re-elected President Obama and by the majority of US state leaders, but this apparent full or majority industry support is belied by the damage to US energy corporation fortunes already produced by “overcheap” natural gas. There is almost no prospect of natural gas prices, in the US, even attaining one-half of gas prices in Europe and Asia. Gas industry hopes, at present, are that the US will have a cold winter, following a hot summer, and this may boost gas prices to around $5 per million BTU, about one-third of European and Asian prices, which prices gas energy in the US at $29 per barrel of oil equivalent. Oil prices still hover around $110 per barrel for Brent.

Open endorsement of fracking from Mr. Obama and state leaders would make fracking the cornerstone of US energy policy for decades to come. Conversely, if for any reason Obama distances himself from fracking, takes a more cautious and pro-environmental line, argues that fracking has a high climate change impact, and is a “disruptive technology” we may expect major changes – in particular a rise of gas prices in the US. The energy price factor is critical, and for Obama the subject of US natural gas has two tax-grubbing opportunity windows: either tax fracking, that is gas production; or tax gas with a carbon tax “to save the climate”, that is gas consumption. The huge difference between oil prices, on one hand, and gas prices on the other show the size of the tax-raising opportunity in the US.

The economic case for fracking is massive. This year’s WEO report however takes a studiedly neutral line on fracking, which reflects the huge range of opinions, in energy ministries of the OECD countries on this subject. US energy sector leaders, and their political friends in both main parties, have now eased off on the “energy independence” claim for fracking. They are now, more than ever, portraying domestic oil and gas production as a key way of generating tax revenues, spurring job creation in “repatriated industries”, cutting the trade deficit and saving the nation from going off the “fiscal cliff.”

The IEA faithfully reflects this emerging realworld consensus of the political elites. World energy prices should be moved up, not down, “to save the planet”, or at least increase state tax revenues and fight the burden of sovereign debt. Keeping oil prices high, worldwide, and keeping gas prices high, outside the US, are easily made conclusions on the IEA’s main policy advise, from this year’s WEO.

WHY HIGH PRICES: THE INDUSTRY ANGLE

The extreme difference between the case for US shale oil production, by fracking, and natural gas production, by fracking, is very simple to explain. US shale oil producers need high oil prices to “keep on frackin”, and claim to believe that oil prices “will not significantly decline” from curent levels around $100 a barrel. Conversely, US gas prices are the lowest since 1992 and set to stay that way. Gas fracking, in the US, has been too successful. Whatever US gas producers, like Chesapeake Corp or Exxon’s gas subsidiary XTO Energy want, it is not cheap gas.

Fiscal cliff reasoning is that tax reform, to be sure, is vital but the US cannot tax its way out of the crisis. Also, there is no way that savings can rise, the US cannot save its way off the cliff. Chasing growth is fine, but the US cannot rapidly grow its way out of the crisis. The alternate and providential way to make recovery feasible, is domestic energy. As the CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce, Karen A. Harbert, has said: “Every dollar that we generate from energy is a dollar that we don’t have to take out of the Defense Department, the entitlement area, or increase taxes, or send overseas.”

Official optimism that Obama and the White House will recognize that remains high.  While many Republicans and some energy industry leaders have doubted his sincerity, Mr. Obama’s campaign voiced strong support for expanded oil and gas drilling throughout his race against Mitt Romney.

The US will overtake Saudia Arabia as the world’s top oil producing country.

The IEA has played its own role by recently predicting that the US will become the world’s largest oil producer by about 2020, overtaking Saudi Arabia and putting the nation on course to be energy self-sufficient by 2030. Due to fracking, US natural gas output has risen by about 25% since 2007, removing any possible outlook of scarcity. Shale oil could or might do the same thing – but only if oil prices stay high.

This new energy reality puts pressure on the Obama administration to fully embrace fracking and avoid taking steps that could hamper it, many analysts conclude. Maintaining high and rising gas output, and bargain basement US gas prices, creates a huge tax window of opportunity. For oil, the situation is a lot more complex, but the goal of increasing US shale oil output sorely needs high-priced oil. Despite some major States – specially New York and California – remaining equivocal on allowing fracking, state level support to fracking has certainly continued to grow.

SQUARING THE CIRCLE

The probable or possible solution, for Obama and for other OECD country leaderships facing the same dilemma, is already on offer from the IEA, in this year’s WEO.

The IEA’s prediction the US can overtake Saudi Arabia by its oil production, due to shale oil, makes little reference to the oil price background for this forecast. The IEA’s commitment to a high-priced oil future is however clear – very few IEA scenarios give an outlook of oil prices declining below about $75 a barrel. Many IEA forecasts paint a picture of year average oil prices hitting as much as $175 a barrel by 2017. This uear’s WEO repeats the IEA forecast of a year average $215 per barrel by 2030. The IEA may be studiedly neutral on fracking, but its oil price outlook is high, very high.

Almost never given coverage in IEA reports and studies, high oil prices are now treated by the IEA as a major long-term – in fact permanent – part of the global energy scene. For national administrations like Obama’s, high oil prices and high turnover and profits for oil producing companies and corporations also have a simple bottom line: high taxation revenue potentials. The European example – several times cited by Steven Chu early on in his job as US Energy secretary – is that car drivers can be forced to pay $8.50 – $9 per US gallon for their fuel (around $378 per barrel), of which as much as 65% goes to the State as oil taxes. The high profits garnered by European oil companies on their home turfs, also generate large State tax revenues, despite the corporate tax hedging and evasion.

To be sure, “high gas(oline) prices” in the US are a politically sensitive subject, as Chu quickly realised, but little by little, US motorists are learning to think in small litres, not big gallons, and pay more for their fuel. Obama’s renewed “personal conviction” that the world faces a crisis of anthropogenic global warming, the recent hot summer, and hurricane Sandy, both in the US, all play strong supporting roles in the elite quest to raise energy prices – and taxes.

The bad example of fracking – slaying US natural gas prices and making major gas companies unable to pay taxes, or even stay in business – can be prevented from “migrating” to oil and killing the Golden Goose of high oil prices. For this to happen, Obama has to act to prevent oil prices eroding too far. Taxing shale oil fracking “to save the planet” is a certainly possible candidate, for his administration’s fiscal cliff-oriented endorsement of fracking and higher gas prices in the US would make the stark, even ridiculous difference between oil prices, and gas prices, less massive.

The IEA certainly hopes so and stolidly continues to forecast high oil prices.

….

Hurricane Sandy: Indian Point Nuclear Facility Forced Shut Down

October 30, 2012

Parts of two nuclear power plant were shut down late Monday and early Tuesday, while another plant – the nation’s oldest – was put on alert after waters from Superstorm Sandy rose 6 feet above sea level

One unit at the Salem plant in Hancocks Bridge, N.J., near the Delaware River, was shut down Tuesday because four of its six circulating water pumps were no longer available, according to PSEG Nuclear. The pumps are used to condense steam on the non-nuclear side of the plant. Another Salem unit has been offline since Oct. 14 for refueling, but the nearby Hope Creek plant remains at full power. Together, the Salem and Hope Creek plants produce enough power for about 3 million homes per day.

The oldest U.S. nuclear power plant, New Jersey’s Oyster Creek, was already out of service for scheduled refueling. But high water levels at the facility, which sits along Barnegat Bay, prompted safety officials to declare an “unusual event” around 7 p.m. About two hours later, the situation was upgraded to an “alert,” the second-lowest in a four-tiered warning system.

Conditions were still safe at Oyster Creek, Indian Point and all other U.S. nuclear plants, said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which oversees plant safety.

A rising tide, the direction of the wind and the storm’s surge combined to raise water levels in Oyster Creek’s intake structure, the NRC said. The agency said that water levels are expected to recede within hours and that the plant, which went online in 1969 and is set to close in 2019, is watertight and capable of withstanding hurricane-force winds.

The plant’s owner, Exelon Corp., said power was also disrupted in the station’s switchyard, but backup diesel generators were providing stable power, with more than two weeks of fuel on hand.

One of the units at Indian Point, a plant about 45 miles north of New York City, was shut down Monday because of external electrical grid issues, said Entergy Corp., which operates the plant. The company said there was no risk to employees or the public, and the plant was not at risk due to water levels from the Hudson River, which reached 9 feet 8 inches and was subsiding. Another unit at the plant was still operating at full power…  Read more

Source: AP

WE ARE BORN INTO A SLAVE SYSTEM

October 15, 2012

You think we’re over exaggerating? Go and work it out for yourself…

….

Triple blow hits UK nuclear revival

October 5, 2012

Link2

The moribund old nuclear reactor at Wylfa, Anglesey. Uncertainty remains over whether a new one will ever be built alongside it.

The drop-out of bidders for nuclear operator Horizon, opposition from the one British community that might host buried nuclear waste, and a damning European report on existing plant safety, all provide new headaches for nuclear supporters.

On the Horizon

Just two bidders have emerged for Horizon, the nuclear company seeking to build two new reactors in Britain, following the expiry of a deadline last Friday for expressions of interest in purchasing the option.

In both cases it is unsure where the hundreds of millions of pounds of investment will come from, that could eventually see a new nuclear power station built on either of the company’s sites, in Oldbury, Gloucestershire and Wylfa, Anglesey.

Last week, three consortiums were expected to throw their hats into the ring: France’s Areva, partnered with China’s Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, both state-owned; one led by Japan’s Hitachi; and Japan’s Westinghouse Electric Co., partnered with China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corp and Exelon, the US power generator.

Areva failed to submit a bid. Hitachi did, and Westinghouse did, but without its Chinese partner, who would have provided substantial experience of delivering nuclear power stations on time and within budget.

Areva’s European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) design is further ahead than Westinghouse’s in the UK’sgeneric design assessment approval process. Westinghouse’ put their process on hold last December.

Its AP1000 nuclear reactor design is, in turn, further on than Hitachi’s Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR), which has yet to be submitted to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), although it is licensed in the US, Japan and Taiwan.

Four ABWRs are already operating in Japan, with a fifth 94% completed.

No AP1000 reactor has yet been completed, although four are under construction in China, and two proposals have been given approval in the US.

Two builds of Areva’s EPR design, in France and Finland, have experienced massive hold-ups and budgetary excesses.

EDF has yet to decide whether to proceed with construction of an EPR plant at Hinkley Point.

The process of approval of the EPR design issues by the Health and Safety Executive can be followedonline here, where it can be seen that the majority of issues have yet to be resolved.

The only other contender for new nuclear power station building in the UK is NuGen, which is owned by GDF SUEZ and IBERDROLA. Their plans to implement 3.6GW of electricity generation at the Moorside site adjacent to Sellafield are also on hold.

Any potential backers for building new nuclear power stations, which would undoubtedly include Chinese money, are waiting for clarity on the level of government support that will be available following the passing of the Energy Bill, currently winding its way through Parliament.

Existing nuclear waste headache

Meanwhile, there is renewed uncertainty also about what to do with Britain’s existing legacy of nuclear waste.

Friday was also decision day for the three Cumbrian councils who represent the only community in the country which has said it might host an underground dump for the country’s most radioactive materials.

Presently, these are stored at Sellafield in cooling tanks above ground.

The leaders of Cumbria county council, and Allerdale and Copeland borough councils, cited their desire to have legally enshrined their right to withdraw from the process at any time, and a “lack of trust” between the public and the government, as reasons for postponing their decision until January next year.

They issued a statement which also throws into doubt the suitability of the chosen site: “One of the biggest concerns for many residents of Cumbria has been whether the geology of the area is suitable for a repository.

“Although a few geologists believe there is already enough evidence to show that West Cumbria’s geology is unsuitable, most of the experts agree that there is not enough definitive information available at this time.”

Managing the UK’s existing nuclear waste already eats up more than half of the annual budget of the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), a proportion which is expected to rise.

The councils will be seeking clarification from DECC on a number of issues.

Nuclear reactor safety questioned

Lastly, a European Commission report released in draft form yesterday says that there are many potentially huge and expensive problems with the safety of the majority of nuclear plants operating in the European Union.

“On the basis of the stress test results practically all [nuclear plants] need to undergo safety improvements,” says the leaked draft. “Hundreds of technical upgrade measures have already been identified.”

This survey was produced in response to the Fukushima accident in Japan last year.

It puts the cost of the safety upgrades at a total of between €10 and €25bn, or €30m to €200m for each reactor.

134 nuclear reactors are in operation in 14 EU countries, of which 111, at 47 plants, have over 100,000 people living within a radius of 30km.

Most worryingly, the report finds that four reactors, located in two different nations, have less than one hour available to restore safety functions if electrical power is lost.

At the other extreme, four countries operate additional safety systems fully independent from the normal safety measures and located in areas well-protected against external events. A fifth nation is considering that option.

The draft report notes that two member states have still not provided information, but does not identify them.

The UK government commissioned its own report on existing British reactors in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, which gave them the all clear.

However the EU report points out that most UK reactors do not have an alternative control room that could be used in the event that the main one became unsafe.

A DECC spokesperson commented that there was no evidence that British nuclear reactors were unsafe, adding that “the government is committed to the principle of continuous improvement”.

The final version of the European report is to be published later this month, and the Commission will make its recommendations shortly afterwards, including proposing laws on insurance and liability to “improve the situation of potential victims in the event of a nuclear accident”.

Environmental campaigners pointed out that, although it is comprehensive and devastating, the report misses out further risks in crucial areas, such as ageing technology, terrorist attacks or human error.

“If this exercise was serious, the Commission should be recommending the closure of unsafe or ageing reactors,” said Rebecca Harms, co-president of the Greens/European Free Alliance at the European Parliament.

Story: David Thorpe, News Editor

Gilad Atzmon tonight on 21st Century Wire TV

September 20, 2012

21st Century Wire host Patrick Henningsen visits with award-winning artist/musician and writer Gilad Atzmon, to discuss a number of significant challenges facing the geopolitical scene today, as Atzmon takes on the Isreali Lobby and raises some difficult questions, as well as some uncomfortable truths regarding Jewish identity politics politics. Episode 3 Premieres this Thursday  at 6pm on PSTV channel 91 in the UK.

….

MY BIG FAT NUCLEAR DIRTY BOMB

August 18, 2011

By Andrew McKillop
21st Century Wire
August 18, 2011

Within the next 15 years as many as 100 industry standard 900 MW nuclear reactors, concentrated in the “old nuclear’ countries will have to be decommissioned, dismantled and made safe – unless the sinister farce of reactor operating lifetime extensions goes on playing.

In some countries, especially Germany, Switzerland and probably Japan this farce has already ended or could end very soon. When it does, nuclear debt will go into overdrive from its already high gear shift setting.

Nuclear power is capital intensive, lives on subsidies, thrives on false hopes and dies in debt.

Putting a figure on how much the nuclear “decomm” story will cost is in fact impossible – and is signalled by the tell-tale anticipative action of nuclear friendly governments, for example the UK, which now sets decomm as an activity that will only need to start a generous or foolhardy 30 or 40 years after the reactor was powered down and removed from the national power grid. Until then, the reactor can stay on the horizon as a contribution to national culture, or something. Decomm periods could or might be as long as 125 years, according to some nuclear apologists: why not 250 years?

PAST THEIR SELL-BY DATE: Old nuke plants are a massive liability for their host countries.

Staying an extra moment in the UK which this month of August 2011 had a three-day low level civil war outbreak, countered by PM David Cameron with the same phlegmatic repressive “courage” as Bashr el Assad facing his own five-month real civil war in Syria, we get an additional glimpse of nuclear power’s real and open-ended risks and costs.

In a real civil war, in any country with real nuclear power plants, who exactly is going to tell us these giant Dirty Bombs will not get hit – possibly as early priority targets for insurgents and anti-government forces?  In that case, what will be the economic costs and sequels of this?

ECONOMIC DISASTER

The keyword “disaster” suffers from overuse and erosion, for example the loss of Michael Jackson is a “disaster” for world culture, but nuclear disaster has a real and known meaning.

While we do not know and will not know the real cost of the Fukushima 4-reactor meltdown because a period of 10 years is about the minimum needed to get a handle on it, the economic damage and loss from the Chernobyl 1-reactor meltdown has been relatively well costed – over the years since it happened in 1986. At a minimum and in today’s depreciating and devaluing dollars, the cost ballpark starts at about $ 250 bn.

To be sure, this is chicken feed relative to the multi trillion-euro and trillion-dollar sovereign debts being juggled in Europe and the USA (or the 1000 trillion yen sovereign debt of Japan), but it concerns real world spending in the real economy. The leverage relation between the real economy, and the high speed fantasy world of sovereign debts, is hard to estimate but we can suggest that $1 spent in the real economy is equal to at least $100 of funny debt fiat money being refinanced, restructured and extended.

Next we add that these two nuclear catastrophes, grave as they were, extreme as they were, occurred a long way from dense urban areas with high value properties and businesses, and millions of residents. The chance of “Nuclear Luck” continuing, with rural-type disasters rather than city region disasters, is not guaranteed – but nuclear power’s extreme high costs and risks are guaranteed, sure and certain.

Worst-case scenarios for nuclear collateral damage in so-called “mature democracies” facing civil war because of political decisions made by the elite to defend their shrinking middle classes, waking up to the reality they are getting poorer, not richer, are relatively easy to construct. We can likely multiply the Chernobyl tab for economic and loss and damage by a factor of four, for city regional nuclear catastrophes of the future, taking the real economy risk of loss to around $ 1 trillion, a respectable number for players like Obama to put through their teleprompters. The impact of this on already so-fragile national finances and economic confidence in the Old Rich/New Poor countries would be, very simply, catastrophic.

RECYCLE, REUSE AND DEFEND THE ECONOMY

Nuclear waste business, as we know, is not business friendly and leads to the very basic reflex of simply dumping a considerable and growing part of the world’s unmanageable nuclear wastes from the current world fleet of around 436 operating civil reactors (depending on how many Japanese reactors are brought back into service).

Proliferation risks are in a decidedly Olde Worlde 1950s-way restricted only to conventional explosive nuclear weapons – totally ignoring both Depleted Uranium weapons using and “recycling” nuclear wastes, value-adding too, and the future Dirty Bombs which with almost no possible doubt will be used in coming civil wars and international wars. Both of these nuclear war options are above all cheap, and of course dirty.

Since the 1991 Gulf War 1 against Iraq, the war against Afghanistan starting in 2001, and second war against Iraq of 2003, at least 2500 tons of Depleted Uranium weapons have been used by the US, UK and France in these delightfully far away and “over the horizon” Indiana Jones type war theaters – causing a conservatively estimated 10 000 cancer deaths, and as many as 50 000 living sufferers of cancer in Iraq and Afghanistan. This has easily calculated economic consequences – when this concerns white democratic middle class sufferers of the same types of cancers: roughly $ 40 000 for a cancer death and $ 25 000-per-year fur surviving cancer sufferers.

To be sure these cancer deaths and injuries are chicken feed in relation to the civilian deaths and refugees caused by the West’s “pre-emptive” attack against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and its virtual stock of Mass Destruction weapons, and revenge crusade against the Taliban for so expertly organizing the demolition of New York’s Twin Towers in 2001, exactly like the ratio of real economy damage cause by nuclear power and the notional debt mountains of the formerly-rich countries. However, total civilian deaths in these two completely illegal wars – probably more than 250 000 – and the real suffering caused to millions by these illegal wars will we can hope some day give way to reparations, which will be payable and due, exactly like debt repayment by the Old Rich/New Poor countries. The “cute idea” of recycling nuclear wastes as DU ordnance will generate the economic damage that these filthy weapons should generate. Those who profit from misery will finally pay.

To be sure, this cozy morality is fine – as long as the sell-by-date for muddling through is way in the future. When it comes home to roost with the very shrinking number of bird numbers – even bird species – this is another kettle of also rapidly depleting open ocean fish.

LOSS AVOIDANCE IS THE ONLY SOLUTION

Turning off the nuclear tap will soon become the only solution. With civil nuclear power plant growth and  proliferation already cancelled in several countries, including Germany, Japan and Switzerland and likely to be placed on hold because of nuclear debt and the sheer un-economic nature of nuclear power in other countries – to be sure with China and India coming very late to the party – we can be sure that Nuclear Nirvana’s murky underside of a Pandora’s Box of evils will soon cause a sea shift in ruling elite thinking.

 Options exist for the rapid removal of nuclear power from the scene. Since 2008, in more than a half of OECD countries exposed to the realities of the sovereign debt crisis, electricity consumption has fallen by double-digit amounts in 3 years. The need for nuclear power is cut by this real world trend. To be sure there are long-term and rising nuclear debts due to accumulated wastes and to the near-term future crisis of reactor decommissioning – which should (in a sane world) only hasten the total abandonment of this failed option for supplying “cheap, clean and safe” power.

The options are better known than ever. The pathology of “we didn’t know” – has worn awfully thin after the Fukushima disaster, and the recent close calls around the Fort Calhoun Nuclear facility in Nebraska. The same applies to Depleted Uranium weapons, so nicely reserved for expert commentators to pontificate on – but which cause cancers and economic loss every day in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 The choices and options are on the table for those who want to admit them. Unfortunately our current political decider elite is congenitally unable to admit them. Soldiering along and muddling through with the deadly, high cost option of nuclear power will continue – but not for long.

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Patrick Henningsen, Janine Bandcroft July 4, 2011

July 4, 2011

21st Century Wire
July 4, 2011

This week: Patrick Henningsen is a UK-based pundit, commentator, online editor, journalist, and founder of 21st Century Wire, a news service launched during the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Summit. The 21st Century Wire is an attempt to, quote; “deliver content that looks squarely at power, its architecture, as well as the seeds of corruption.”

Henningsen is in the United States today, following the burgeoning story of twin nuclear disasters in the making in the heartland that aren’t making the headlines. Tune in to radio show here at 5pm PCT.
And; the Annual Pastor’s for Peace Caravan to Cuba embarked on its 22nd trans-continental pilgrimage to bring goods sanctioned by the United States to that embargoed Caribbean island. Our own two-time Caravanista, CFUV broadcaster, and Victoria Street Newz publisher, Janine Bandcroft accompanied the Canadian contingent from our neck of the words here in the Pacific Northwest to the Peace Arch at Blaine, Washington to see this year’s crew safely across the border. Janine Bandcroft reporting from the crossing with the Pastor’s for Peace Caravan in the second half. And; Janine will join us live at the bottom of the hour to bring us other news from Victoria and beyond. But first, Patrick Henningsen from the waters rising around America’s Midwest nuclear facilities.

Gorilla Radio talks with 21st Century Wire Editor Patrick Henningsen on the first half of the show.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, 104.3 cable, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the website, http://www.pacificfreepress.com.
Check out the GR blog at: http://GorillaRadioBlog.blogspot.com

REVEALED: French Military Air-dropped Arms to Libya Rebels

June 30, 2011

The French military confirmed rumours Wednesday that it had dropped “light weapons” to Libyan rebels earlier this month. The story was reported in French newspaper Le Figaro in early June.

By Alex PARRY / Carlotta Ranieri (video)
AFP
June 30, 2011
The French military confirmed Wednesday that it had air dropped “light weapons” earlier this month to Libyan rebels fighting Moamer Kadhafi’s forces in the highlands south of Tripoli.
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SEE VIDEO REPORT HERE

Earlier, the Le Figaro newspaper and a well-placed non-government source had said that France had dropped several tonnes of arms including Milan anti-tank rockets and light armoured vehicles to the revolt.

But Colonel Thierry Burkhard, spokesman for the French general staff, told AFP that the shipments were essentially light arms such as assault rifles to help civilian communities protect themselves from regime troops.

SARKO: French boss Sarkozy tried to sell Gaddafi a nuclear reactor from Areva, now he's bombing Libya.

Burkhard said France had become aware in early June that rebel-held Berber villages in the Djebel Nafusa highland region south of the capital had come under pressure from the Libyan strongman’s loyalist forces.

“We began by dropping humanitarian aid: food, water and medical supplies,” he said. “During the operation, the situation for the civilians on the ground worsened. We dropped arms and means of self-defence, mainly ammunition.”

Burkhard described the arms as “light infantry weapons of the rifle type” and said the drops were carried out over several days “so that civilians would not be massacred”.

According to Le Figaro, which said it had seen a secret intelligence memo and talked to well-placed officials, the drops were designed to help rebel fighters encircle Tripoli and encourage a popular revolt in the city itself.

“If the rebels can get to the outskirts of Tripoli, the capital will take the chance to rise against Kadhafi,” said an official quoted in the report.

“The regime’s mercenaries are no longer getting paid and are scarcely getting fed. There’s a severe fuel shortage, the population has had enough.”

A well-placed non-government source told AFP that 40 tonnes of weapons including “light armoured cars” had been delivered to rebels in western Libya.

According to Le Figaro the French arms shipments are dropped from planes across the Djebel Nafusa region, where Berber tribes have risen to join the revolt against Kadhafi’s rule and seized several provincial towns.

The crates hold assault rifles, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, it said, and also European-made Milan anti-tank missiles, a powerful addition to the rebel arsenal that can destroy a tank or a bunker.

France has taken a leading role in organising international support for the uprising against Kadhafi’s four-decade old rule, and French and British jets are spearheading a NATO-led air campaign targeting his forces.

Rebel forces are based in Benghazi in the east of the country, and hold a besieged enclave supplied by sea in the western coastal town of Misrata, but have been unable to mount a convincing advance on the capital.