Archive for the ‘Nuclear Crisis’ Category

TV: Explosion hits US nuclear plant — Officials declare emergency alert

March 23, 2017

Latest Headlines from ENENews

TV: Explosion hits US nuclear plant — Officials declare emergency alert — “Fire shuts down reactor” — Gov’t conducting special investigation, possible “serious safety consequences” — “Atmospheric steam dumps” required (VIDEO)
Posted: 23 Mar 2017 04:40 AM PDT

All forms of ocean life dying in stunning numbers across Pacific

March 20, 2017

Latest Headlines from ENENews

Report: Hundreds of millions of Pacific salmon missing, presumed dead — Gov’t issues emergency order along US West Coast — Japan suffering historic collapse, fish starving to death — All forms of ocean life dying in stunning numbers across Pacific
Posted: 19 Mar 2017 12:40 PM PDT

Message addressed to President Thomas Bach of the IOC

March 13, 2017

Dear Friends,

Conscientious Japanese citizens are bewildered by the widening gap between the ongoing Olympic preparations
and the increasing report regarding the deepening of the Fukushima crisis.The Moritomo School scandal continues to draw nation-wide
attention,reminding us of its similarity with the total breach of the initial commitments by the Tokyo Olympics.
Six years after the 3/11 Fukushima accident,the policy of returning refugees to their home towns based on the 20 milisieverts ICRP standard.
Last week,Japanese television TBS interviewed its vice chairman Jacques Rochard who expressed his surprise that this standard,destined to emergency,
should not have been lowered as initially recommended.It is urgently needed to correct the current policy.
The foregoing is fully supported by the following two articles.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/20/fukushima-a-lurking-global-catastrophe/
https://limitlesslife.wordpress.com/2017/03/12/remembering-6th-anniversary-of-fukushima-march-11-2017/

We are being reminded of Chinese ancient Lao Tsu’s famous saying “Heaven’s venfeance is slow,but sure”.
This is the will of heavens and the earth that is to say,the law of history researched by philosophy.
It does not allow immorality to last long.

Please allow me to count on your support.

With warmest regards,
Mitsuhei Murata
Former Ambassador to Switzerland

Alarm at nuclear plant after radioactive leak — “Damaged fuel in reactor”

March 8, 2017

Latest Headlines from ENENews

Alarm at nuclear plant after radioactive leak — “Damaged fuel in reactor” — Workers immediately evacuated from site — Reactor in “a very special condition”… Dangerous neutron flux in core reported (VIDEO)
Posted: 07 Mar 2017 02:49 PM PST

Officials warn mysterious radioactive cloud is spreading

February 27, 2017

— Authorities ‘baffled’ over release… “Could indicate leak from nuclear plant” — Particles “very radioactive”

Latest Headlines from ENENews

Latest Headlines from ENENews “Smoke billowing” from Japan nuclear plant — Possible fire reported near reactors — TEPCO “has not identified the cause of the incident” Posted: 23 Feb 2017 05:58 PM PST

February 24, 2017

Latest Headlines from ENENews

“Smoke billowing” from Japan nuclear plant — Possible fire reported near reactors — TEPCO “has not identified the cause of the incident”
Posted: 23 Feb 2017 05:58 PM PST

‘Not Just Dumb—Dangerous’: Trump to Force Exit of Nuke Safety Officials

January 10, 2017

Published on
Monday, January 09, 2017
byCommon Dreams

 

Without replacements in line, president-elect demanding immediate resignation of key officials at agency that ‘works to reduce the global danger from weapons of mass destruction’
byDeirdre Fulton, staff writer
60 Comments
Leaving the top posts at the National Nuclear Security Administration unfilled appears to be unprecedented. (Photo: Ploughshares Fund)
Leaving the top posts at the National Nuclear Security Administration unfilled appears to be unprecedented. (Photo: Ploughshares Fund)

President-elect Donald Trump—whose pending control of America’s nuclear arsenal already has many people deeply concerned—has apparently ordered the resignation of two government officials whose role is to ensure that stockpile remains safe and secure.

Citing an unnamed Energy Department official, Gizmodo reported that on Friday, Trump “instructed the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration [NNSA] and his deputy to clean out their desks when Trump takes office on January 20th.”

The NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy that, according to its website, “maintains and enhances the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear explosive testing; works to reduce the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.”

While the exit of political appointees under a new administration is not unusual, what is surprising is Trump’s seeming disregard for positions left unfilled—though the decision is in line with the president-elect’s mandate, reported last week, that all foreign ambassadors appointed by President Barack Obama leave their posts by Inauguration Day, without exception.

Gizmodo reported:

Traditionally, all political appointees of an outgoing presidential administration turn in resignation letters effective on noon of Inauguration Day, January 20. But appointees in key positions—like the people who make sure our nukes work—are often asked to stay on in their roles until a replacement can be found and confirmed by the Senate, helping ensure a smooth transition and allowing our government to continue functioning. In fact, for the entirety of Obama’s first term and into part of his second, the NNSA administrator remained a Bush appointee.

Trump, however, appears determined to immediately push out everyone who was appointed by Obama, regardless of whether or not he has anyone in line for the job. […]

Just as with Obama’s soon-to-be-removed international envoys, Trump has ordered Under Secretary for Nuclear Security Frank Klotz and his deputy, Madelyn Creedon—both Obama appointees—to leave their posts, even if it means no one is in charge of maintaining the country’s nuclear weapons. According to our Energy Department source, Trump’s team has yet to nominate anyone to succeed them. Since both positions require Senate confirmation, if could be months before their chairs are filled. And the vacancies may extend beyond the leadership roles.

Senior reporter Ashley Feinberg wrote: “As far as I can tell, this is unprecedented—January 20 will mark the first time in the NNSA’s 17-year history that it will exist wholly without its appointed leadership.”

And her source told her, “I’m more and more coming around to the idea that we’re so very very fucked.”

On Monday, Ploughshares Fund president Joseph Cirincione tweeted in response to the news:

proxy
Between the Trump transition team’s infighting, incompetence, and high-profile resignations, any decisions that signaled even a modicum of stability for the country would come as a relief at this point. Unfortunately, the nascent Trump Administration isn’t inclined to calm anyone’s nerves. According to an official within the Department of Energy, the Trump transition team has declined to ask the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration and his deputy to temporarily stay in their roles after Trump takes office on January 20th.
gizmodo.com

Late last month, Cirincione—whose group is circulating a petition calling on Obama to “take US nuclear missiles off hair-trigger alert, so that any attempt to use these weapons would take hours or days”—spoke to Democracy Now! about Trump’s incoherent and frightening nuclear policy:

Democracy Now!

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Noam Chomsky: Donald Trump’s Nuclear Expansion Tweet Was “One of the Most Frightening Things I’ve Seen”

December 25, 2016

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Noam Chomsky. (photo: Sascha Schuermann/Getty) go to original article

Noam Chomsky: Donald Trump’s Nuclear Expansion Tweet Was “One of the Most Frightening Things I’ve Seen”
By Rachael Revesz, The Independent
24 December 16

The US and Russia already own more than 93 per cent of nuclear warheads in the world
ne of the world’s most famous scholars said he was “frightened” by Donald Trump’s tweet on “strengthening and expanding” nuclear capabilities in the US.

Noam Chomsky, professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said Mr Trump’s tweet was “one of the most frightening things I’ve seen recently”.

“Putin’s is bad enough,” Mr Chomsky told the Huffington Post, “but at least it has a defensive cast. It’s about Russia’s borders, not Mexico’s.”

Russian president Vladimir Putin also said he wanted to build his nuclear capabilities.

“We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces, especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defense systems,” Mr Putin said, according to Agence France-Presse.

“We must carefully monitor any changes in the balance of power and in the political-military situation in the world, especially along Russian borders, and quickly adapt plans for neutralizing threats to our country.”

Mr Chomsky said the statements from the world leaders could bring about a change to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock, which is an internationally recognised symbol of how close we are to destroying humanity with our own technology – and is due to be updated in 2017. He said the clock might move from three minutes to midnight to “even closer to midnight”.

The professor has been a vocal critic of the president-elect, comparing his campaign pledges and rhetoric to Nazi Germany.

But Mr Chomsky was not the only opposing voice on Mr Trump’s views on nuclear weapons, given the president-elect’s history of dubious statements on the subject.

Mr Trump has previously suggested that South Korea and Japan should obtain their own nuclear weapons, and he has even reportedly asked a foreign policy adviser why the US has nuclear weapons if it does not use them. Mr Trump denied asking the question.

The US owns around 4,600 nuclear warheads and, along with Russia, owns the vast majority of nuclear weapons in the world.

Mr Trump’s tweet, limited to 140 characters, did not give national security experts and advisers much reassurance for anything other than his preference for heated rhetoric.

John Noonan, a Republican national security expert who advised presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, wrote on twitter: “But imagine having to turn launch keys not knowing if we were under attack or it if was b/c foreign leaders said a mean thing on twitter.”

Mr Trump has done little to assure his critics that he has the presence of mind and the steadiness to make a quick decision regarding an imminent nuclear threat.

If a missile was launched from Russia, it would take 30 minutes to hit the White House – and just 12 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean.

_______________

(Japanese translation of the above)

ノーム・チョムスキー:ドナルド・トランプの核拡大ツイートは「私が見た最も恐怖を感じさせるものの一つだ。」

合衆国とロシアはすでに世界の核弾頭の93%を持っている

 世界で最も有名な学者達の一人がドナルド・トランプの合衆国の核能力の「強化と拡大」についてのツイートは「恐怖を感じさせる」と言った。

 マサチューセッツ工科大学のノーム・チョムスキー名誉教授は、ドナルド・トランプの核拡大ツイートは「最近私が見た最も恐怖を感じさせるものの一つだ」と言った。

 「プーチンは十分悪い、が少なくとも防衛的な役割だ。それは(米攻撃の為の)メキシコの国境では無く、ロシアの国境の話だ」とチョムスキー氏はハッフィンポスト紙に語った。

 フランス通信社によれば「我々は戦略的核軍事力、特に現存と予測されるミサイル防衛システムを突破できると信頼できるミサイル複合の軍事能力を強化する必要がある」とプーチンは語った。

 「我々は世界における、特にロシア国境での、力の均衡と政治・軍事状況の如何なる変化も注意深く監視して我が国への脅威を中和する(均衡回復する)計画を迅速に適応させなければならない。」

 チョムスキー氏は世界の指導者達の言明は、我々自身の技術で人類を破滅するのにどれだけ近いかを示す、国際的に認められた象徴である核科学者紀要の「世界破滅時計」は、2017年に更新されることになっているが、変えられる可能性があると言った。彼は真夜中まで三分は「更に真夜中に近くなる」かも知れないと言った。

 同教授は次期大統領とそのナチ・ドイツ的選挙公約や修辞をする選挙運動を声に出して批判してきた。

 しかし、本問題に関する次期大統領の疑問を持たせる言明の経緯からして、核兵器に対するトランプ氏の見解に反対する声はチョムスキー氏に止まらない。

 トランプ氏は以前に、韓国と日本は自分達の核兵器を手に入れるべきだと示唆しており、自分の外交アドバイザーに、核を使わないなら何故合衆国はそれを持っているのかと尋ねたとさえ言われている。トランプ氏はその質問はしていないと否定しているが。

 合衆国は約4千6百発の核弾頭を所有しており、ロシアと合わせると、世界中の核兵器の圧倒的多数を所有している。

 トランプ氏のツイートは、140字にとどまるので、自分の熱発生(煽る)言辞の好み以外に国家安全専門家やアドバイザーに何らかの確認(安心)を与えるものではない。

 大統領候補のジェブ・ブッシュとミット・ロムニーに助言をしていた共和党の国家安全専門家であるジョン・ヌーナンはツイッターで次のように書いている:「しかし、我々が攻撃されたかどうかも知らず、b・cの外国の指導者達がツイッターで意地悪い事を言ったのかも知れないのに、(核弾頭)発射の鍵を渡さなければならないと想像もして見なさい。」

 トランプ氏は自分が気を確かに持っているとか、向かって来る核の脅威に関して即座の判断をする平静さをもっているという(安心の)確証を彼の批判者達に与えることは殆ど何もしていない。

 もしロシアからミサイルが発射されたら、ホワイトハウスを爆撃するのに30分であり、大西洋からだとたったの12分である。

Trump and Putin Both Talking Nuclear Arms Expansion

December 23, 2016

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Anti-nuclear protesters in front of Trump Hotel. (photo: Getty) go to original article

ALSO SEE: A Tense New Battle
Over Nuclear Arms Erupts
Between Donald Trump and His Staff

By Rebecca Kheel, The Hill
23 December 16

he arms-control community is sounding the alarm on President-elect Donald Trump calling for the United States to “greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability.”

“This is a how arms races begin,” warned Joe Cirincione, president of nuclear nonproliferation group the Ploughshares Fund.

On Thursday afternoon, Trump tweeted that “the United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”

A follow-up statement from spokesman Jason Miller said Trump “was referring to the threat of nuclear proliferation and the critical need to prevent it — particularly to and among terrorist organizations and unstable and rogue regimes.

“He has also emphasized the need to improve and modernize our deterrent capability as a vital way to pursue peace through strength,” Miller added.

The United States currently has about 7,000 nuclear warheads. The country is also in the midst of nuclear modernization efforts to replace the aging nuclear force, estimated to cost $1 trillion over 30 years.

The statement did not address what Trump meant by strengthen and expand.

The president-elect’s message prompted a flurry of tweets from everyone from arms control advocates to Hollywood.

“Trump wants to expand our nuclear arsenal,” tweeted actor George Takei. “I think of my aunt and baby cousin, found burnt in a ditch in Hiroshima. These weapons must go.”

Follow
George Takei ✔ @GeorgeTakei
Trump wants to expand our nuclear arsenal. I think of my aunt and baby cousin, found burnt in a ditch in Hiroshima. These weapons must go.
4:03 PM – 22 Dec 2016
10,056 10,056 Retweets 16,905 16,905 likes
“.@realDonaldTrump you are proposing a new nuclear arms race,” the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation tweeted. “The consequences of ‘expanding nuke capability’ could be global disaster.”

22 Dec
Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes
Follow
Nukes of Hazard ✔ @nukes_of_hazard
.@realDonaldTrump you are proposing a new nuclear arms race. The consequences of “expanding nuke capability” could be global disaster.
12:46 PM – 22 Dec 2016
20 20 Retweets 29 29 likes
“.@realDonaldTrump, Reagan & even your friend Nixon knew better,“ tweeted Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). “Nuke arms race = dangerous, expensive & bad for America. True then, true now.”

Follow
Senator Jeff Merkley ✔ @SenJeffMerkley
.@realDonaldTrump, Reagan & even your friend Nixon knew better. Nuke arms race = dangerous, expensive & bad for America. True then, true now https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/811977223326625792
3:44 PM – 22 Dec 2016
478 478 Retweets 784 784 likes
Arms-control groups said it was unclear what Trump meant by expanding and strengthening nuclear capability, but listed several possible scenarios: building more nuclear-capable systems than planned under the current modernization efforts, having nuclear-capable systems carry the maximum number of warheads possible, creating bombs with more kilotons of nuclear power and increasing the number of warheads in the nuclear arsenal, among other possibilities.

Though it remains unclear what prompted the tweet from Trump, the timing raised eyebrows for two reasons.

First, it came a day after Trump met with the chief executives of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, two of the country’s biggest nuclear weapons contractors. They are in competition, along with Northrop Grumman, to build the next generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles for the Air Force, a project expected to cost at least $85 billion.

Second, it came hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin made his own statement about strengthening his country’s nuclear arsenal.

“We need to strengthen the strategic nuclear forces, for that we should develop missiles capable of penetrating any current and prospective missile defense systems,” Putin said at a Russian Defense Ministry meeting, according to Russian news agency TASS.

Neither Putin nor Trump have indicated the statements were coordinated or in response to one another, but arms control groups were alarmed that they came so close together.

“The U.S. and Russia have about 95 percent of all nukes in the world,” Cirincione said. “Everybody else pales in comparison. If two big guys start taking about growing, that’s a signal for every else to start their engines.”

Still, the Ploughshares Fund president said he thinks there could be a “flipside” to the leaders making similar comments around the same time.

Both Putin and Trump have indicated a desire to improve U.S.-Russia relations, and any agreement between the two countries would “almost certainly” include a reduction in nuclear weapons, he said.

“If Trump follows Reagan’s example, this could be the deal of his life,” Cirincione said, referring to President Reagan’s negotiations with Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev that led to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces agreement and laid the groundwork for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

“This could be a statement of intent or it could also be preparing positions in advanced of negotiations,” Cirincione added. “Like everything else with Donald Trump, there are more unknowns than knowns.”

Derek Johnson, executive director of Global Zero, was more skeptical of an eventual agreement between the United States and Russia.

“It’s easy to imagine it not playing out that way, just based on how we’ve seen Trump conduct himself,” he said. “He’s deeply unpredictable, and this is not a space you want unpredictability.

“The No. 1 message here is this cause for serious alarm,” he added.

Johnson interpreted Trump’s tweet as a “rapid response” to Putin.

He added that it validates the concerns people raised during the campaign about giving Trump access to nuclear weapons.

“I’m struck by the literally hundreds of national security leaders and experts, most of them Republican, who warned that this guy cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons,” he said. “This tweet suggests they were right.”

Kelsey Davenport, director of nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association, said the United States’ current modernization efforts are already “unnecessary and unaffordable,” and that expansion would make it worse.

“This not a direction the United States needs to be going now,” she said. “These comments coming from Putin are unsurprising based on Putin’s actions over the last couple months. What is unfortunate is Donald Trump entering into this same vein.”

John Tierney, executive director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, said it’s hard to discern nuclear policy from 140 characters, but called the tweet coupled with Putin’s comments “very, very troubling.”

Tierney said his group will be pressing the incoming administration for more clarity, as well as pressuring Congress to ask questions about the administration’s nuclear policies during confirmation hearings.

“It’s time for Putin and Trump to come to their senses,” he said.

“Between Russia and the United States, that’s 93 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons. That’s more than enough to deter each other and more than enough to destroy all of humanity.”

Court upholds Takahama reactor shutdown order in new blow to nuclear industry

July 13, 2016

TOKYO —

A Japanese court on Tuesday upheld an order to keep two reactors operated by Kansai Electric Power closed, the utility said, helping keep efforts to get the country’s struggling nuclear industry up and running in limbo.

The decision, which backs a petition from residents living near the Takahama nuclear station in Fukui Prefecture, means Kansai Electric must go to a higher court to try and win permission to get the reactors back online

The move marks the latest judicial impediment to utilities’ attempts to restore atomic power after the Fukushima disaster five years ago. Two out of Japan’s 42 operable reactors are running, but a local governor who won election on Sunday has vowed to shut those units down.

While Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is keen to restore a power source that provided about a third of electricity supply before the meltdowns at Fukushima, the public remains deeply skeptical over industry assurances on safety.

Residents have lodged injunctions against nearby nuclear plants across Japan and lower courts have been increasingly siding with them on safety concerns.

Contentious verdicts are usually overturned by higher courts, where judges tend to be more attuned to government policy, judicial experts say.

But with courts and local politicians providing obstacles there may be further impetus for the government to scale back nuclear targets. Japan will cut the emphasis on nuclear in its next energy plan, sources told Reuters in May.

The government has boosted renewable energy output and the population has responded to requests for more energy efficiency. The government is also strongly pushing for higher use of coal, which has soared to record levels.

Japanese utilities have benefited from a plunge in oil and gas prices that have kept costs down after higher imports of fossil fuels helped drive Japan into a record trade deficit in the years after Fukushima.

The Otsu District Court on March 9 ordered Kansai Electric, Japan’s second-biggest utility, to shut down the Takahama reactors in the country’s first injunction to halt an operating nuclear plant.

“Today’s decision … is very regrettable and we cannot accept it,” Kansai Electric said in a statement, adding that it would file an appeal with the Osaka High Court.

An appeal may take about a year and means continued extra purchases of oil, gas or coal to replace nuclear power generation.

A Kansai Electric spokesman said the shutdown of the two Takahama reactors reduces recurring profit by 10 billion yen ($97 million) per month because of higher fossil fuel use and other factors.

Shares in Kansai Electric had ended trading before the court decision. They closed 0.5 percent higher at 977.1 yen, while the broader market rose over 2 percent.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2016.

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