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Nuclear Power

Germany One Step Closer To Nuclear-Free Future

Green groups on Friday celebrated as Germany prepared to shut down three of its six remaining nuclear power plants, part of that country's ambitious goal of transitioning to mostly renewable energy by the end of the decade. The nuclear phaseout—which was proposed by the center-left government of former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder at the turn of the century and accelerated under former Chancellor Angela Merkel following the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan—is a key component of a plan by Germany's new Social Democrat, Green, and Free Democrat governing coalition to produce 80% of the country's power from renewable sources by the end of the decade. Renewables accounted for 43% of German electricity consumption through the first three quarters of 2021, down from 48% during the same period last year, according to Clean Energy Wire.

France Has A Nuclear Habit It Just Cannot Kick

On July 28, French President Emmanuel Macron landed in Tahiti and said that France owed a “debt” to French Polynesia. The debt was related to approximately 200 nuclear tests France conducted in the 118 islands and atolls that comprise this part of the central South Pacific, which France has controlled since 1842. These tests were conducted between 1966 and 1996. Macron did not apologize for the environmental and human damage caused by these tests. He remained stoic, acknowledging that the tests were not “clean.” “I think it’s true that we wouldn’t have done these same tests in the Creuse or in Brittany,” he said, referring to parts of territorial France. “We did it here because it was farther away, because it was lost in the middle of the Pacific.”

‘Black Rain’ Victims Finally Win In Court

Just weeks before the 2021 commemoration of the August 6, 1945 US atomic bombing of the city of Hiroshima, a Japanese court ruled that victims of the radioactive “black rain” who were living beyond the officially recognized contamination zone at the time, should be included in the group considered bomb “survivors” or “Hibakusha” and receive the same benefits. A Hiroshima high court acknowledged in its July 14, 2021 ruling that many more people suffered as a result of exposure to “black rain” than have hitherto been recognized as victims. “Black rain” was described in a CNN story as a “mixture of fallout particles from the explosion, carbon residue from citywide fires, and other dangerous elements.

Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Nearly ‘Ended The Japanese State’

What happened at Fukushima Japan 10 years ago, on March 11th, was one of the very worst nuclear power catastrophes in history that was caused when a 9.0 earthquake generated a 45-foot-tall tsunami that slammed into the six-reactor complex. Long story short, over the course of the next several days, three of the reactors melted down. They had been operating on March 11th and they were not able to cool them because the earthquake had destroyed the electric grid, which was the primary source of electricity to run safety and cooling systems. And the tsunami wave had destroyed the emergency backup diesel generators, as well as the seaside cooling water pumps. So, there was no ability to cool the reactors and they melted down. Fortunately, the other three reactors on site were not operating that day or that would have likely led to six meltdowns.

The Push For Nuclear Power In Space

Last week a SpaceX rocket exploded in a fireball at the SpaceX site in Texas. "Fortunately," reported Lester Holt on NBC Nightly News, "no one was aboard." But what if nuclear materials had been aboard? The nuclear space issue is one I got into 35 years ago when I learned from reading a U.S. Department of Energy news letter about two space shuttles, one the Challenger which was to be launched the following year with 24.2 pounds of plutonium aboard. The plutonium the shuttles were to carry aloft in 1986 was to be used as fuel in radioisotope thermoelectric generators RTGs that were to provide a small amount of electric power for instruments on space probes to be released from the shuttles once the shuttles achieved orbit.

The Hegemon Won’t Leave

While the global economy plunges into a recession, actively aided by the coronavirus pandemic, the US is already hatching plans not just for its own recovery, but also the removal of geopolitical rivals like Russia and China. The expectation is probably that many countries will have been weakened by the current crisis. Opponents will be unable to adequately resist, and partners and neutral parties will be forced to take the position dictated to them by Washington. Therefore, to catch everyone off guard, appropriate action strategies must be prepared. Revenge is being planned on several fronts at once, one of which is the global energy sector. While oil prices fluctuate, the US has decided to reshape the nuclear energy market.

If There Is A War In Space, Everybody Loses

Last December, the National Defense Authorization Act that was renewed with bipartisan support in Congress authorized the creation of a new branch of the military, a space force. In January, President Trump appointed the head of that new force, General John Jay Raymond. The US military plans to move 16,ooo military and civilian personnel into that space force. We speak with Bruce Gagnon of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space about what this space force means. He describes how space technology is already being used in warfare, how this area is a new profit center for the aerospace industry and how it is draining critical resources from necessary programs. He also explains that a war in space will create so many problems, that everyone on the planet will be impacted in a negative way.

Switzerland Switches Off Nuclear Plant As It Begins Exit From Atomic Power

The 373-megawatt-capacity plant which opened in 1972 has generated enough electricity to cover the energy consumption of the nearby city of Bern for more than 100 years. In scenes shown live on Swiss TV, at 12.30 pm (1130 GMT) a technician pressed two buttons in the control room to stop the chain reaction and deactivate the reactor, shutting down the plant for good. The closure is the first of Switzerland’s five nuclear reactors to be shuttered following the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan, which triggered safety concerns about nuclear power around the world.

Day 2 Of Trial For Kings Bay Plowshares 7

BRUNSWICK, GA – Today, the second day of the trial of the Kings Bay Plowshares anti-nuclear activists, the government presented the bulk of its case against the seven defendants. Military police officers testified about apprehending the activists and entered numerous photos, banners, the bolt cutters and even a ten-foot piece of the cut fence into evidence. The afternoon was largely taken up with the prosecution presenting segments of GoPro video footage filmed by two of the defendants during the action. Cell phone messages and photos sent by the defendants during the action were carefully examined.

Iran FM Zarif Arrives As Surprise Guest In G7 Venue Biarritz For Nuclear Deal Talks

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif spent about five hours in Biarritz, France, at the sidelines of the G7 summit. He talked with French president Emmanuel Macron, who appeared to want to act as negotiator between Iran and the US. The unscheduled visit at the invitation of Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian came after Zarif met President Emmanuel Marcon earlier this week to discuss the fate of the embattled nuclear agreement. Zarif did not meet with US President Donald Trump or anyone from the US delegation, an Iranian spokesman said.

Unraveling Of Arms Control Agreements Continuing, Last Nuclear Pact’s Future Uncertain

The New START treaty limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads the world’s two biggest nuclear powers can deploy to no more than 1,550, the lowest level in decades. It also curbs the number of nuclear launchers and deployed land- and submarine-based missiles and nuclear-capable bombers they can have. “Some want to extend New START. Some are arguing in favor of creating something new. I’m not sure where it will go,” U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman told the Ekho Moskvy radio station on Wednesday.

A Rogue Regulator Worth Reading

If that unequivocal statement by former Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair Greg Jaczko were the only “confession” he made, it would be powerful enough. But in his recently published book, Confessions of a Rogue Nuclear Regulator, Jaczko rips away the secrecy from the inner workings of the NRC as he experienced it first-hand. This ultimate nuclear insider provides a clear picture of the failings of the captured nuclear agency, the corrosive day-to-day political battles with other commissioners, and the unfolding terror when Fukushima’s nuclear reactors were first shaken, then swamped – and no one could predict what was going to happen next.

The Battle To Stop The Shoreham Nuclear Plant, Revisited

“Shoreham Action is One of the Largest Held Worldwide,” was the headline in The New York Times about an event which happened 40 years ago this month. The article told of how “more than 600 protesters were arrested” on June 3, 1979 at the site of the then under-construction Shoreham nuclear power plant and “15,000 demonstrators gathered” on the beach fronting the plant in the protest of it. That action was important in stopping the Shoreham plant from going into operation—and preventing the Long Island Lighting Company from building a total of seven to 11 nuclear power plants on Long Island.

Nuclear Powers Need To Disarm Before It’s Too Late

The recent military clash between India and Pakistan underscores the need for the major nuclear powers — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, and France — finally to move toward fulfilling their obligations under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).  The Treaty’s purpose was not simply to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, but to serve as a temporary measure until Article VI could take effect: the “cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

Five Year Prison Terms Sought For Former TEPCO Executives For Fukushima

Prosecutors on Dec. 26 demanded five-year prison terms for three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co. over the disaster caused by a tsunami slamming into the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. “It was easy to safeguard the plant against tsunami, but they kept operating the plant heedlessly,” the prosecution said at the trial at the Tokyo District Court. “That led to the deaths of many people.” Tsunehisa Katsumata, 78, former chairman of TEPCO, Sakae Muto, 68, former vice president, and Ichiro Takekuro, 72, former vice president, are standing trial on charges of professional negligence resulting in death and injury in connection to the triple meltdown at the plant in 2011.
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