The Zaporozhye (also spelt Zaporizhzhia) Nuclear Power Plant has become a focal point in the Ukraine war, as any major nuclear incident risks radioactivity release over a vast area. In such an accident, not only Ukraine but large parts of Europe could face radioactive contamination and much higher cancer rates and other diseases. Russia has claimed the Ukrainian side shelled the Zaporozhye plant in July and August and, on August 23, submitted photographic and other documentary evidence to the UN Security Council. Ukraine contends Russia has been shelling the plant even though it is under Russia’s occupation. The Zaporozhye plant in the town of Enerhodar is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, with six 1,000 MW capacity units.
Humanity is, according to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, “just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation.” The warning , made at the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, arrives at a time of alarmingly heightened tensions around the world. Just a few days after Guterres made that statement, Nature Food published a harrowing scientific paper that drove home the UN Secretary General’s message: “Global food insecurity and famine from the reduced crop, marine fishery and livestock production due to climate disruption from nuclear war soot injection.” The paper (which you can read in full here) was written by a handful of leading experts who have spent years studying the potential impact of nuclear war on food supplies. The results are stark.
On Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that the United States is responsible for the halt in Vienna talks aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Iran has transmitted its "clear" message to the United States through Enrique Mora, the European Union coordinator for the Vienna talks, but no new response has been received from them yet. "The United States should make its political decisions. The U.S. is responsible for the pause in the negotiations today, as in the final stages of talks, Washington tries to prevent Tehran from the economic benefits of the JCPOA," Khatibzadeh said, adding that "if the United States makes a political decision, an agreement is available."
A year-and-a-half after a scathing Government Accountability Office (GAO) report revealed that the US Department of Energy (DoE) has no coherent plan in place to manage nuclear waste from weapons manufacturing piling up at more than 150 sites across the country, the DoE has made little progress in developing a safe and strategic plan to handle the waste. Meanwhile, the estimated cost of handling the material is rising steadily — $512 billion at last count — and the federal government hasn’t yet figured out how to pay for it. And, of course, much of the waste will have to somehow remain safely stored for 10,000 years or more, a timeframe even more mind boggling than the size of the debt.
Joseph Carson, an Energy Department nuclear safety engineer originally from Brooklyn, NY, walked into the moral hazard of working for the U.S. government nearly as soon as his career started. The very first program he worked in during the Cold War led to the development of a nuclear weapon that could kill 20 million people in one fell swoop. The alarm bells immediately started ringing as the federal employee considered his work in the context of the engineering code of ethics he’d been educated in. What started as disclosures about the safety of federal workers in 1991–a report his manager immediately threw away–later became charges about reprisals against him for blowing the whistle on his employer.
Delivered on Thursday and printed in Iran’s Tasnim News Agency, the letter comes as Iran makes preparations to return to Vienna for negotiations on reviving the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) next week. “We warn the Zionist regime against any miscalculation or military adventure targeting Iran and its nuclear program,” wrote Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, referring to Israel. Ravanchi said Israel has taken its “provocative and adventurous threats… to alarming levels” in recent months, especially as the Biden administration in Washington continues to slowly press ahead on the Vienna talks. He said the “systematic and explicit threats by the Zionist regime … prove that it is responsible for terrorist attacks against [Iran’s] peaceful nuclear program in the past.”
A major victory for Canada’s First Nations has just been won in Ontario. On January 31, the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) overwhelmingly voted down the proposed deep geological repository (DGR) for storage of low- and intermediate-level radioactive nuclear waste next to Lake Huron. The DGR had long been proposed by Ontario Power Generation (OPG), but in 2013 OPG had committed to SON that it would not build the DGR without their support.
Tehran, Iran - A group of twenty eight US citizens traveled to Iran for a peace delegation from February 23 to March 3 to speak with Iranians and learn about the impacts of US sanctions and withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Agreement. On Monday, February 25, the group met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif who spoke about the nuclear agreement, the sanctions, Iranian foreign policy and more. Below is audio of Zarif's speech and the question and answers afterwards.
A CODEPINK delegation of 30 United States citizens will be traveling in Iran from February 25 to March 6 to express their deep concern to the Iranian people about the effect of the Trump administration’s brutal sanctions, abrogation of the Nuclear Agreement and building a case for war. The delegation is composed of lawyers, journalists, physicians, activists, artists, and other professionals who hope to help move our two nations from a place of hostility and military threats to a place of mutual respect and peace.
By Gavin Bade for Utility Dive. Today, President Trump is poised to release a long-anticipated executive order to roll back the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s signature climate initiative. The order is expected to be accompanied by directives to lift a moratorium on federal land coal leases and to cease the use of the social cost of carbon — all part of a broad campaign to dismantle environmental regulations on the power sector that Trump blames for the decline of the coal economy in the United States. But while rescinding the rules could help slow coal power’s decline in the short term, analysts say it is unlikely to reverse its long-term downturn, mostly due to the economics of natural gas and renewables. That attitude is shared not just by market observers, but by electric utilities themselves.
By Staff of The Japan Times - Toshiba Corp. will cease taking orders related to the building of nuclear power stations, sources said Saturday, in a move that would effectively mark its withdrawal from the nuclear plant construction business. The news comes amid reports Toshiba’s chairman may resign over the massive write-down that has doomed the company’s U.S. nuclear business. The multinational conglomerate said Friday it will review its nuclear operations and spin off its chip business to raise funds in a bid to cover an expected asset impairment loss of up to ¥700 billion ($6.08 billion).
By Gail DeGeorge for Global Sisters Report - In observance of the World Day of Peace January 1, we at Global Sisters Report join in prayer for peace in all regions, for all victims of war and for women religious around the world who dedicate their lives to helping them and to build peace. Sr. Megan Rice, a member of the Holy Child Jesus sisters, was released in May 2015 after serving more than two years in prison for trespassing on a Tennessee uranium enrichment facility. In December 2015, GSR had an interview with Rice about her peacemaking work. Sr. Martha Ann Kirk, a Sister of the Incarnate Word, has researched pockets of tolerance in hostile parts of the Middle East.
By David Mabb for Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists - The HMS Courageous is a 285-foot, nuclear-powered submarine that saw service in the British Royal Navy for about two decades starting in the early 1970s. Decommissioned in 1992 after, among other things, participating in the Falklands War of 1982, it now resides at the Devonport naval dockyard in Plymouth, on the southwest coast of England, where visitors can tour its inner workings free of charge—provided they book in advance and bring their passports for “security” purposes.
By Dawn Stover for Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists - Dwarfed by the ships from the US Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy, and the US Coast Guard that visited Portland, Oregon, for Fleet Week last month, the 30-foot-long Golden Rule looked like it was from another era. And it was. The boat, sporting a 6-foot-wide peace symbol on one of its sails, is the same wooden ketch once crewed by pacifists who tried to sail it to the Marshall Islands in 1958, to protest US atmospheric testing of large nuclear bombs. They were prepared to sacrifice the boat and their own lives in an attempt to stop the tests, which were devastating the islands and sending radioactive fallout around the globe.
By David Swanson in World Beyond War - By the latest count, the nuclear agreement with Iran has enough support in the U.S. Senate to survive. This, even more than stopping the missile strikes on Syria in 2013, may be as close as we come to public recognition of the prevention of a war (something that happens quite a bit but generally goes unrecognized and for which there are no national holidays). Here, for what they’re worth, are 10 teachings for this teachable moment. There is never an urgent need for war. Wars are often begun with great urgency, not because there’s no other option, but because delay might allow another option to emerge.