December 17, 2012 By 310 Comments
The Deputy Prime Minister mounted a vigorous defence of the coalition’s welfare reforms ANDREW WOODCOCK The Independent Dec 17, 2012 Nick Clegg today opened a divide within the coalition Government by calling for the means-testing of a range of benefits for pensioners.
The Government is committed to preserving the universal benefits – such as winter fuel allowance and free bus travel, prescriptions and TV licences – until 2015, and Prime Minister David Cameron has so far resisted pressure from Tory backbenchers to signal he will cut them after the general election. But the Deputy Prime Minister today broke ranks to make clear that Liberal Democrats will “look again” at universal pensioner benefits, arguing that welfare cash “should not be paid to those who do not need it”. “I just don’t think it’s justifiable, when so many people are tightening their belts, to say multi-millionaire pensioners still receive universal benefits across the board,” said the Lib Dem leader. Asked if Mr Cameron backed Mr Clegg on the issue, the PM’s spokesman responded: “The Prime Minister made a commitment to protect those benefits and he believes in keeping his promises.” But there was dissent on the Tory backbenches, as Broxbourne MP Charles Walker said Mr Cameron should be ready to make the universal benefits taxable as income before the election, to show that the older generation are bearing their share of the burden of reducing the deficit. Mr Walker told BBC Radio 4′s PM programme that working people were “pretty sore” at seeing their child benefit and other support withdrawn or reduced, while pensioners’ payments are protected. “Certainly there is going to be inter-generational tension and that tension is going to grow in the months ahead,” he said. “I think this is bound to create ill-feeling and it is something I believe the Government needs to look at and address.” In a keynote speech marking his fifth anniversary as Lib Dem leader, Mr Clegg mounted a vigorous defence of the coalition’s welfare reforms, insisting the Government had an “absolute duty” to ensure the system was fair to all. While acknowledging the changes had at times been “painful and controversial”, he argued that the Liberal Democrats had ensured they were firmly anchored in the political centre ground. When the Conservatives proposed benefit cuts of £10 billion in the Autumn Statement, the Lib Dems had acted as a moderating force, ensuring they were held to £3.8 billion, he said. “When two-thirds of people think the benefits system is too generous and discourages work then it has to be changed, or we risk a total collapse in public support for welfare existing at all,” Mr Clegg told the CentreForum thinktank. “We need welfare protection for people who fall on hard times. Of course. But you cannot ask low-income working people to pay through their taxes for people who aren’t in work to live more comfortably than they do.” In a swipe at Chancellor George Osborne – who said the Government should be there for the “strivers” and not “shirkers” – Mr Clegg said not everyone who cannot find a job is simply being lazy. “Of course, there are some on the right who believe that no-one could possibly be out of work unless they’re a scrounger,” said the Lib Dem leader. “The siren voices of the Tory right who peddle this myth could have pulled a majority Conservative government in the direction of draconian welfare cuts.” The speech came after a bad weekend for the Liberal Democrats, who slumped into fourth place behind the UK Independence Party on 8%-9% in a series of polls. Mr Clegg’s former director of strategy, Richard Reeves, said the “curtain will probably fall” on the coalition before 2015 if the party fails to boost its support. “Next year is the year the Lib Dem strategy – deliver then differentiate – will be tested. A more assertive stance in act two of coalition should mean greater support and more votes. If not the curtain will probably fall on the coalition before 2015,” wrote Mr Reeves in The Guardian. Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman said: “Nick Clegg will try every trick in the book to distance himself from the record of his Government. “But, as ever with the Lib Dems, they say one thing whilst doing another – resulting in a record of economic failure, trebled tuition fees, nurses cut, police axed and millions paying more while millionaires get a tax cut. “Bearing this in mind, what we really should be hearing from Nick Clegg today is a proper apology and a declaration that from now on he will actually stick by the promises he makes.” The threat to universal benefits was denounced by some of those campaigning for the elderly. Ros Altmann, director-general of Saga, said that means-testing “may be a populist headline, but it is absolutely the wrong policy”. Please Read More
August 19, 2011 By 233 Comments
By Andrew McKillop 21st Century Wire August 19, 2011TOO LATE FOR NON-PROLIFERATION The venerable and creaking NPT Treaty, first signed by only 3 States in March 1970 (US, USSR, UK), which now has 189 member state signatories, but even more than in 1970 the treaty- on its face, has no meaning. Only explosive nuclear weapons, that is conventional nuclear weapons, are covered and theoretically limited by the treaty. The treaty makes no mention of Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons, or the vast Dirty Bomb targets of civil nuclear power reactors. This in no way prevents these “Doomsday Machines” being the most daunting nuclear weapons we face, taking account of their annual nuclear waste production, their in-reactor nuclear materials, their fuel rod stores and reprocessing centres, uranium mining wastes, reactor assemblies and nuclear fuels used on the world’s 1100 submarines and surface ships powered by the atom, and the ever-growing numbers and amounts of lost or stolen nuclear equipment and materials. Taking only the world’s presently operating 430-odd civil power reactors (about 441 before Japan’s Fukushima disaster), their annual production of nuclear wastes is around 30 000 tons per year, to be sure much of it defined as low-level, relatively low risk in radiological terms and relatively low risk in chemical toxicity terms. Although exact data is secret, Depleted Uranium weapons production is a major value-adding spinoff from civil power reactor wastes, producing weapons with proven and high carcinogenic effects, and chemical toxicity effects on both humans and animals, but as already mentioned these weapons are not covered by the NPT Treaty. DU – YOU ARE DEAD Annual production of Depleted Uranium weapons, mainly anti-tank ordinance but including others, is as noted secret, but estimates suggest the main producers – the USA, Russia, France, China, the UK (ironically, the five declared nuclear weapons states as defined by the NPT), Germany, India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea and an increasing number of other countries – manufacture about 4000 tons of DU ordnance per year. Stocks are high and rising, due to low and limited use, although the two Gulf wars against Iraq (1991 and from 2003) and the war against Afghanistan (since 2001) have used an estimated 3000 to 3500 tons of DU weapons to date. Small and limited amounts of DU weapons utilisation are reported in the NATO war against the Gaddafi regime of Libya. Cancer deaths due to these radioactive and chemically toxic weapons, especially in Iraq, are estimated to be as high as 10 000 to date, and deaths will certainly continue for decades ahead. Make no mistake: DU is a killer. DU weapon stocks in the USA alone are estimated to be more than 25 000 tons, and world stocks are likely well above 70 000 tons. The so-called attractiveness of DU weapons is directly linked to their origin – wastes from so-called civil nuclear power, used to make weapons of war. The basic material, uranium alloys with various levels of radioactivity and chemical toxicity is above all cheap. Secondly, it has major technical characteristics making it almost ideal for producing anti-tank and anti-building weapons. Uranium metal is heavy and dense. It is easily machined. Being radioactive, it is easy to trace and track, for example during weapons testing and through the industrial production process. But perhaps its main trump card is its incendiary nature – that is very easily catching fire and liberating large amounts of heat, triggering secondary fires, for example in tank and armed vehicle fuel reservoirs, and wall claddings and flooring of targeted buildings. This incendiary, heat-liberating characteristic explains the acronym for the biggest single type of DU ordnance: anti-tank shells and missiles. These are called HEAT ordnance, for High Energy Anti Tank. The usual type of shell or missile is called “discarding sabot”, designating a machined uranium sheath or nose cone on the shell, behind which a titanium or iridium high-strength metal dart is positioned, with the explosive “military payload”, for example pentrite or TNT, placed further behind. When the shell hits the armour of the targeted tank, the uranium alloy cone or sheath explodes, liberating fine dust particles which instantly ignite. The heat liberated massively weakens the armor, through which the dart penetrates, breaching the tank hull, enabling the conventional explosive ‘stage’ of the shell to enter and explode. Typical times needed for this sequence are around 400 milliseconds (0.4 seconds). To be sure, all kinds of other dust particles can also be incendiary – for example rice or wheat dust, able to totally explode and destroy 65 000-ton cargo ships in worst-case explosions, phosphates as used in home-made bombs, and aluminium, magnesium or iron dust and filings as used in fireworks and in weapons, but uranium is extremely incendiary. Also to be sure, generous amounts of the uranium dust do not catch fire, are transported by wind, fall to earth with rain, and enter the food chain and water table – causing decades-long cancer epidemics in most affected areas. Our democracy-loving, human rights-defending political deciders with clean finger nails and a clean conscience, who order the use of these filthy weapons would apparently be unconcerned about that. The image of the mushroom cloud has become part of our cultural lexicon. CIVIL POWER REACTOR DIRTY BOMBS As we know from the Fukushima disaster, and the Chernobyl disaster any industry standard 900 MW light water or other type of reactor using uranium fuel contains a “radiological inventory” roughly equal to 150 Hiroshima-sized atom bombs. Each reactor. Fuel rod stores, and dumps, can radically increase this equivalence, when spent fuel rods are stored, or buried on-site, usually only a few metres under the soil. Depending on the age and type of the reactor, its operational history, and other parameters like spent fuel rod inventories on-site, one single industry standard civil power reactor can be considered equivalent to as much as 250 or 350 Hiroshima-sized bombs in its capacity to kill by radiation poisoning, and totally sterilize hundreds of square kilometres of land – becoming a Total Exclusion Zone for decades ahead. Using HEAT ordnance, or in fact any kind of conventional military ordnance, or unconventional ordnance such as drone airplanes with stand-off missiles, or simply a 50-kilogram explosive charge, no conventional civil power reactor’s core shielding will resist. Attack also targeting the reactor’s cooling systems, and its IT and control centre, will assure almost 98% “target acquisition” as the military jargon puts it, in restricted-audience advertising and promotion of HEAT ordnance. The myth of nuclear deterrence, and the fatuous irrelevance of the NPT Treaty is shown by this. All component parts of the civil nuclear power system are equally vulnerable to conventional military attack, especially spent fuel production and reprocessing, even using 1914-1918 war ordnance, Somali “Technicals” or home-made drone bombs. No country with conventional civil nuclear power has any meaningful national security Of one thing we can be sure: no leading politician in any country using civil nuclear power will admit this basic truth. This curious primitive-minded and schizophrenic separation of civil nuclear power, from military nuclear weapons, is all the more hypocritical and evil when it concerns Western leaders almost proudly using DU weapons against Afghans, Iraqis, or Libyans. This is an open and permanent challenge to attacked people and nations to hit back using “asymmetric” and devastating weapons already positioned in the Oppressor’s country: their civil nuclear Dirty Bombs. When we wake up to a successful asymmetric nuclear weapons attack – to be sure described as an industrial accident, and then later on as a terrorist attack – it will be much too late to whine “but we didn’t know”. Both Chernobyl and Fukushima have provided all we need to know about the weapons potential of so-called civil nuclear power. Thousands of victims of DU-caused cancers in Iraq and Afghanistan can explain to the educated middle class voters of the countries producing and using DU weapons that these are genuine nuclear weapons – which kill by cancer. Understandably, one single case of using this asymmetric nuclear weapon in the Aggressor countries will be worth millions of words and online rantings, and those who voted for producing and using these weapons – either knowingly or not – will have paid the price of their destructive democratic decision. So when will the discussion begin? It should begin now, before it’s too late. -
It is perhaps difficult to understand why our leaders and mainstream media have not fully recognized and discuss openly the real and present danger that nuclear weapons and facilities pose to our communities worldwide.
It is possible that political elites know, but they are perhaps too stupid, or too reckless and arrogant, so they simply ignore what it all means.
We are currently entering the hot zone. The nuclear fuse can easily be lit now with Syria and Iran as prime NATO and Israeli targets. Just like “Mad Dog” Gaddafi suffered a trial by media, few western spectators will have much sympathy for Syria’s Basher el Assad.
Those in the US and Europe who are sworn to protect Israel’s ‘security’ will also have you believe that Iran does have quite long-range missiles.
But what they will not tell you is that Iran could also take out the Dimona bomb-making factory the Zionist militarists are so terribly proud of. Any day of the week, weekends too. The same works in reverse as Israel could also target a nuclear power facility in Iran. Who would blink first?
The same applies to Hezbollah. They aren’t going to like their el Assad “patron” going down the tube. In theory, they could deploy a Scud-type missiles with enough range to hit the Dimona facility.
The environmental and economic blow-back from any such incident would be huge, and in most cases, the regions involved would not be able to recover- ever.
So what are all these massive nuclear arsenals for, if not for military use? Why has depleted uranium already been sprayed via US, NATO, and Israeli munitions across the Middle East and North Africa? Still, no one in the MSM or in our halls of government seems to take the asymmetric nuclear war threat seriously – so far.
April 30, 2011 By Leave a Comment
April 22, 2011 By 288 Comments
By Andrew McKillop 21st Century Wire April 22, 2011 Since its introduction in the 1950′s, the myths surrounding nuclear power have been worked up into a complex web as massive and multiple as the debts and deficits assailing government leaderships and central bankers in most OECD countries, but like these myth-based no alternatives, the nuclear myths are easy to cut back to basics. We can start with the Mother Myth of nuclear power. This is as beguilingly simple as the sequence leading to yet another debt and deficit bailout, with printed money in Europe, the USA or Japan. We are confronted by all-powerful debts in today’s world, and by all-powerful forces in the atom. By intelligently exploiting it we will have ultimate power… In fact arguments about ‘how to use it’ and ‘should we use it’ started even before the world’s first atom bomb was exploded in 1945. How could we use this total power and unlimited energy ? Would it be for good or evil ? How much would it all cost ? COSTS NEVER MATTERED The atom scientists of the 1930s- names we still know today, like Fermi and Einstein, argued about those subjects too. But being scientists, they were not especially concerned by what it would all cost. Only later, with the founding of the UN’s Atomic Energy Agency in 1956 – which is essentially a promotional agency for nuclear power – were the key subjects of entrepreneurial effort and the obligatorily linked need for government subsidies brought into the fray. This was sold as creating a future world where atomic arms will be changed to power plant ploughshares. While atomic weapons were expensive, the ploughshares would be cheap if we spent enough investing in them (so they said). Another handicap for the 1930′s atom scientists that make it hard for them to get an idea how much nuclear power would cost, and which cost several of them their very own lives from cancer death, was that 75 years ago they knew little and therefore cared little about radiation and what it did to living things. The myth of radiation being very ‘interesting’ but not dangerous, was however firmly debunked by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, but not without a last ditch attempt by the occupying Allied Powers to protect it – by arresting and deporting any journalist who talked about radiation deaths. Estimates of radiation deaths from these two bombs vary widely, depending on the cut-off time interval for making an estimate and also hindered by the Allied Powers blackout on radiation deaths, but in total these were likely well in excess of 100,000. Today with the Fukushima disaster making it suddenly OK to openly doubt that nuclear power is clean, safe and cheap, it is easy to find the radiological equivalent of these 6 industry standard BWR power plants and their fuel ponds. Anywhere up to 15 000 times the combined release of radiation from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs. RISKS DON’T MATTER Under a tight shield of commercial and national security, technological complexity and simple disinterest in almost unlimited health and environment security risks the nuclear industry worldwide… has created hundreds of Doomsday Machines. They must never, ever suffer total meltdown, or damage so serious their radiological inventory can escape. If – or rather when – that happens the consequences can only and will only be dire. This central fact has been deliberately and consistently hidden from the general public since the so-called Atomic Age began. This so-called Faustian bargain or Devil’s bet dwarfs even the incredible costs of what is a totally uneconomic source of electricity, but the financial risks of nuclear power are themselves massive – in fact open-ended like the health and environment risks. A PRICE TO PAY: Fukushima’s Faustian drama unfolds. We could or might find excuses for the sequence of events and overlays of hasty and uninformed, irresponsible or technologically arrogant decisions leading to hundreds of Doomsday Machines being stationed around the planet – each one a gigantic dirty bomb. For many, still even today, atomic energy looks like something for nothing, and this alone has attracted generations of charlatans to work the talk circuits in favour of nuclear power. As we know today, the old nuclear nations which first developed atomic energy from the 1950s and 1960s have rapidly ageing and unsure reactor fleets. By the 2020-2030 period dozens of these reactors will have to be taken out of service. And then what ? Industry terminology for this includes the keywords Safestore, dismantling, entombment and sarcophagus – all of which translate to extreme high costs both in the short-term and on a recurring basis. This also assumes there will be linked and secure long-term high level radioactive waste ultimate repositories, such as the constantly abandoned US Yucca Mountain project, abandoned mainly because of its extreme high cost. Trying desperately to keep itself alive at whatever cost and whatever risk to present and future human and other life on the planet, the nuclear industry has retreated into its laager mentality with technology gimmicks ranging from thorium and other non-uranium fuelled reactors, fusion reactors, and fast breeder reactors. Although no commercial – that is non subsidized and large scale – versions of these quick fixes exist, the high-tech sheen on these claimed alternatives is enough to beguile some weak minded, uninformed and gullible persons. Nuclear power should be given another try, they say ! NUCLEAR MERCANTILISM The key sales pitch for nuclear power- that its costs can be recouped rather quickly from the almost free energy and power it supposedly delivers has been shamelessly used to vend these Doomsday Machines, particularly in the emerging and developing countries, from Sudan to Bangladesh, and Ghana to Mongolia. Exactly how to get this energy that will be too cheap to meter remains a shady piece of logic: massive and complex long-term financing vehicles and packages will be needed. While details are shrouded in more than only commercial and financial secrecy – nuclear power’s national security handle is heavily employed to blackout information – this, of course, is the basic strategy is mercantilist. The 46-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group(NSG) comprises of mainly OECD membership, but also includes countries like Argentina, Brazil, China, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Turkey and Ukraine, as well as some other small non-OECD countries but specifically does not include India. This traces to the 1975 founding of the NSG, in the wake of India’s 1974 test explosion of an atom bomb, and the alarmed but confused attempt by leaderships of the old nuclear nations to lock down nuclear technology but also promote nuclear power. The permanent and basic linkage between nuclear weapons, and nuclear power had been made clear for all to see by the Indian test, but business had to go on as usual. By some strange schizophrenia, the same alarmed political leaderships in the old nuclear nations chose to ignore (or simply not know) that with each large-sized civil power reactor they promote, their suppliers contract to house several thousands times more radiation products than those released by the Hiroshima bomb. Setting aside this sheer madness, for the last 10 years and especially since 2005, nuclear mercantilism has rapidly grown as the effective and real mover. This extends far beyond simple market and sales maximising strategy, and the strategy is likely coordinated at high level among the key members of the NSG, who number less than 15 OECD countries. FROM PETRODOLLARS TO URANIUM DOLLARS The sales pitch for nuclear power is that we have to massively invest and spend if we want this unlimited energy. Only then will we touch down in Atomic Nirvana and we will finally have been promised since the 1950′s- energy that is too cheap to meter. Our fuel is uranium and this fuel is very far from rivalling world oil or other hydrocarbons for global turnover, with an approximate value around 13 billion USD in 2010, but as the nuclear industry likes to crow, uranium fuel costs are only around five percent of total operating costs. Uranium supplies are short, and import dependence for most major consumer countries is high. As a result, uranium fuel costs could likely grow, simply due to the permanent supply shortfall of this fuel for reactors and the heavy import dependence of nearly all major users in Europe, Japan and South Korea – incidentally making a mockery of the energy security claim used to sell nuclear energy. Accessing uranium supplies, mainly in Africa and Central Asia is already a bargaining chip for nuclear financial packaging and uranium supply features among the underlying movers in Chinese rivalry with OECD country interests in Africa, and Russian versus Western rivalry in Muslim Central Asia. Creating the debt-and-dependency hook, and recycling uranium dollars is therefore part and parcel of the nuclear sales drive in starkly unprepared low income countries – in the case of Sudan (Darfur is home to one of the three largest deposits of high-purity uranium in the world), a long-term civil war and in many others exposed to serious civil strife. FINANCIAL SHOCKER Until the Fukushima disaster threw a cloud over the so-called Nuclear Renaissance announced by the nuclear industry, this prefigured as many as 100 – 125 reactor sales in emerging and developing countries outside China and India in the 2010-2020 period. Excluding uranium supplies, fuel services (waste and reprocessing), electric power infrastructures and other parts of the nuclear value chain this pre-Fukushima sales target implied a global 10-year turnover value of at least 700 billion USD. With leverage and financial packaging through national debt and currency exchange rate linked paper, this could generate far above 100 trillion dollars in tradable value, and above all potentially re-create the long 1985-2000 period of Third World debt-driven dependence on OECD nation financial institutions and private banks. COPYRIGHT ANDREW MCKILLOP 2011 -
March 25, 2011 By 282 Comments
By Andrew McKillop 21st Century Wire March 25, 2011 What the atomic energy lobby calls The Nuclear Renaissance is advance warning of uncontrolled and runaway financial and economic disaster. This adds on to vastly growing risks of industrial disaster like we have witnessed this month in Japan, nuclear weapons proliferation, and reactors turned into and used as massive Dirty Bombs while their wastes are recycled as Depleted Uranium ordnance. The so-called ‘Nuclear Renaissance’ could or might see as many as 225 new large-size reactors built in as many as 45 countries, through 2010-2020. World uranium demand – already at least 20 percent more than uranium mine supply – could almost double in the same period. Presently almost unknown to the public and ignored by the media, national security and even the concept and present reality of nation states is under threat. Nuclear accidents, nuclear weapons production, and financial disaster triggered by the nuclear subprime asset bubble now under way are direct challenges to the existence of nation states. Nuclear power has ever less credibility as its costs spiral upward, pumping ever growing amounts of taxpayers’ money to feed the beast in every country treading the nuclear path, as is shown by any rational analysis of the nuclear industry’s energy and economic facts. But the real strategic role of civil nuclear power, despite it being able to yield nuclear weapons in “a few screwdriver turns”, is now economic and financial. Fast increasing numbers of civil reactors, uranium mines, fuel fabrication and reprocessing plants, waste fuel centres and “plutonium repositories” across the world have generated a surge of political and corporate, economic and finance sector elite support. Nuclear power is the new “No Alternative”, shading down and crowding out the reality that massive volumes and quantities of nuclear materials, in any country, destroy all reality of national defense and the nation state. The choice is simple: nuclear power or national defence. In the coming decade we will have to choose between the atom and the nation. Conventional war, like conventional nation states is not credible in a world with 45 or more nuclear power using states. Due to certain assured massive destruction of the economy when, or if , large reactors and nuclear installation are hit… conventional war is finished. Do our political leaders know this, as they sign ever bigger reactor and nuclear fuel contracts with a growing list of low income Emerging economy countries? How many politicians are factoring this into their decision making? CHERNOBYL – THE FINAL SOLUTION The world’s civil nuclear power system is a giant-sized Chernobyl-type dirty bomb offering no energy security or freedom from oil. Quantities of plutonium produced worldwide by civil reactors are already about 22 tons a year – enough for more than 2000 Hiroshima-sized bombs every year. By 2020 this could rise to 3500 per year. Oil saving due to the atom is negligible. In a fast growing number of countries both the size and complexity of nuclear installations is also rising fast. Reactor building costs and prices are exploding, with the inflation rate in 2010 close to 25 percent per year. Only a few types of reactor, especially underground or ‘hardened’ military reactors can resist a wide-body airplane crashing on them. Their costs are astronomic as shown by the European EPR, whose proud boast is that it could also resist a wide-body plane crash – at fantastic cost. But almost no reactor of any kind will resist entirely conventional ballistic missiles, conventional artillery shells, conventional anti-tank and anti-building munitions, and infantry launched or drone launched missiles. The reality is inescapable. All are totally vulnerable to operator error and IT safety system failures. Every single one of them is a potential Doomsday Machine. Reactors will also not resist worst-case seismic damage, as the Earth’s tectonic systems shift to a new long-term period of cooling climate and intensified volcanic activity, driving increased numbers of major seismic events. Due to the world’s uranium supply and fuel reprocessing system being totally fossil energy dependent, the vaunted claim of “Low Carbon Nuclear” is more of a marketing myth than the Friendly Atom. NUCLEAR RENAISSANCE We are promised or threatened the so-called Nuclear Renaissance. This is shorthand for a return to the rates of reactor orders and completions closer to those of the nuclear industry’s previous heydays and high times, dating from the first Oil Shock of the 1970s and by overdrive into the early 1980s. At the time and for 10 years one new reactor came on line every 17 days. Uranium prices and reactor construction costs exploded. The result was simple: the nuclear asset bubble imploded. The industry downsized, restructured, forced mergers took place, tens of thousands of jobs were lost – and Big Government, that is the taxpayers, paid for the party. Today, like the 1970s, nuclear power is again promoted as the fast track to energy independence - and for delivering supposedly Low Carbon energy to fight global warming from burning fossil fuels. To be sure, the rationale is bizarre: nuclear energy claims to deliver energy security, but there is massive import dependence for uranium supply in nearly all nations using civil nuclear power systems. This is perhaps because uranium exporter countries are not yet seen as “terror supporting regimes”, not yet accused of overcharging for their uranium exports. This will soon change as uranium prices spike up to unknown peaks. ATOMIC SURPRISES ARE BAD SURPRISES Nuclear boomers dream in print they have the Final Solution to all safety risks, cost limits and uranium fuel shortages, that might or could bar mankind’s route to nuclear powered Universal Prosperity. This essentially cornucopian dream – very ironically – came from the fusion of two supposedly total opposite world views. In the deep Cold War period of extreme American defence of capitalism, and extreme Soviet defence of totalitarian state control, through the 40 years from the late 1940s until 1989, both regimes placed all their military faith in nuclear weapons. Both also linked civil and military nuclear power, then fused them into a nuclear technological utopia. This ideology-spanning facet of the all nuclear solution, joining civil and military in a seamless web of myth, makes it unsurprising that China and India, and other big states, or would-be big states of today are fully embarked in the Nuclear Renaissance. Certainly for the Big 5 UN Security Council declared nuclear weapons states, any pretence that civil nuclear, and military nuclear are not 100% linked and totally interdependent, is a complete farce. All the Big 5 Security Council states started their nuclear story with a fevered race to develop nuclear weapons, then made a few screwdriver turns to spin-off and start their civil nuclear systems - always with fantastic government cash subsidies. Despite this, by a strange form of mass schizophrenia among the political elites of these states, nuclear power is imagined to be cheap and economic – and of course… safe ! Yet, the reality of dirty bomb capability for each and every large sized reactor anywhere on earth, is stoically denied. So as we wait patiently in the shadow of the fallout cloud, the myth of the nation state continues. The permanent denial of civil and military nuclear power being one and the same has likely favoured the most proliferative-possible, most vulnerable-possible civil nuclear systems worldwide, both in the “old nuclear” countries, and in the 15 or more new nuclear states that the Nuclear Renaissance may bring. In any case, the historic reality of international wars started by one nation and fought against another nation is now obsolete. Any nation with sizeable nuclear installations on its home territory is vulnerable to devastating attack using entirely conventional, non-nuclear weapons of the type possessed by dozens of states and nations, today. This reality hides the awesome question: who will look after nuclear power using states when they have suffered economic, political and social meltdown in civil, international, or terror wars ? Who can step in to prevent worst-case damage all the nation’s nuclear plants and fuel facilities? If we ask the key question: “Can we be certain this awesome challenge is understood by our political elites and the opinion formers who control our press and media ?”, and still all we hear is silence, there is no answer. THE END OF NATIONS? The fully globalized economy is described by many as a certain death sentence for the nation state. Nuclear power proliferation sets the exact same No Future full stop for the nation. With a fully developed global nuclear power system the historical trend or social instinct of the nation state has no place and must disappear. To be sure, large nuclear reactors and facilities will surely serve, as they already do for Iran today as last-ditch anti-invasion defence, but they are also prepositioned enemy weapons for hostile opponents not necessarily wanting to invade and occupy. Only to destroy. The asymmetric war potential is almost open-ended. This can inject new themes for the flagging ”Bin Laden industry” of technology-terror potboiler books, films and docu-dramas, but the reality of nuclear power’s threat to the nation state must be addressed. In a civil war, which reactor will get hit, first ? So what are we left with? The linked illusions of the nation state and national security must be abandoned, if the world’s political and corporate elites want to pursue the chimera of cheap and safe atomic energy. Otherwise our leaders will have to stay hopeful and ignore the civil nuclear overkill threat, while they continue to pump state funds into the economic failure of nuclear power. When we wake up to hear the incredible and fantastic worst case has already happened- as we have these last few weeks with Japan’s own major accident, or later because of operator error, or even in the shape of purposeful military or terror attack on large civil nuclear installations, it will be too late – much too late. - Andrew McKillop is guest writer and energy markets analyst for 21st Century Wire. He has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has extensive experience in energy policy, project administration, including the development and financing of alternate energy.
March 18, 2011 By 12 Comments
March 18, 2011 Paul Joseph Watson writes: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health experts do not recommend people in the U.S. take precautionary measures beyond staying informed,” said Obama, which is precisely what those affected by both Chernobyl and the 3 Mile Island accident were told, trust your government, a mistake that led to nearly a million deaths in the case of Chernobyl and a dramatic rise in cancers in the case of 3 Mile Island.
It was also what ground zero workers heard in the days after 9/11, that the air was “safe to breathe,” a contrived cover-up on behalf of the EPA and the White House that led to thousands of crippling illnesses and deaths of firefighters, police and first responders. History tells us that government have habitually lied about radiation, air quality and the true scope of health threats to the American people. Only through the use of private monitoring stations will we be able to confidently gauge the true levels of radiation hitting the west coast, and we won’t know the full extent of the danger Americans face until Monday at the earliest… READ FULL ARTICLE HERE MEDIA BLACKOUT: One of many YouTube reports on the ground getting through from Japan this week.
March 18, 2011 By 320 Comments
Editor’s Note: Following a series of radioactive explosions at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant this past week, authorities have confirmed that large amounts of radioactive particles were released directly into the atmosphere, and are blowing easterly towards the U.S. and later due to hit Europe and Russia. If this worries you, be rest assured that you are not alone. Certain questions linger like, “how much radiation is considered dangerous?”, and “how can nuclear fallout contaminate our food and water supplies?”… These questions are not so easy and straightforward to answer, but you can at least get yourself informed- a process which will enable you to make your own evaluation of the potential risks. Risk assessment is not an exact science, it’s merely an educated guess. If you live in an industrialised nation, radiation is unfortunately a part of your life. Below Shane Connor has compiled an excellent online A-Z Guide for dealing with nuclear fallout and radiation issues. Our advice: Don’t Panic just yet- first take a few minutes and have a thumb through here… Shane Connor March 18th, 2011 Surviving Radioactive Fallout & Radiation Contamination from Japan, Iran or North Korea, Mid-East, South Korea, Pakistan, India, China, Russia, Chernobyl, etc… This guide ‘When An ill Wind Blows From Afar! (Like from Japan Fukushima reactor)’ deals specifically with radioactive fallout that originated from afar, like a Chernobyl in the past, or Iran in the future that’s had its nuclear facilities bombed, releasing radioactive contamination into the atmosphere, or a North Korea gone mad, etc.
This guide provides panic dispelling knowledge so people downwind can more promptly initiate appropriate protective actions, as required. This is the third in the series that begins with The Good News About Nuclear Destruction! that debunks the myths of nuclear un-survivability and What To Do If A Nuclear Disaster Is Imminent! that details the practical methods for American families to protect themselves from nuclear explosion(s) and fallout originating here. America’s next nuclear concerns may not have originated here, but be instead from a nuclear bomb or nuclear release overseas. A Chernobyl-type event affecting people in other countries downwind… READ THE FULL DETAILED REPORT HERE Related: Infowars has some of the only Potassium Iodide in the U.S.
March 16, 2011 By 261 Comments
BBC March 15, 2011Germany has temporarily shut down seven of its nuclear reactors while it reconsiders its nuclear strategy. Chancellor Angela Merkel said that all reactors operational before 1980 would be taken offline, and safety checks carried out on the remaining plants. The move comes after concerns about radiation leaks at a Japanese plant after last Friday’s earthquake. The EU has also reached agreement on “stress tests” of all European nuclear facilities. “We want to look at the risk and safety issues in the light of events in Japan,” the European energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger said. ‘Out of service’ Chancellor Merkel also pointed to the safety concerns behind the German move. ”In light of the situation, we will carry out a safety check of all nuclear plants,” she said. ”Those nuclear power plants which began operation before 1980 will be provisionally shut down for the duration of the moratorium. They will be out of service. ”Safety is the priority. Those are the criteria by which we acted today.” All safety questions would be answered by 15 June, she said. Last year, Germany decided to extend the life of its 17 nuclear power plants by 12 years, but that decision was suspended for three months on Monday. The government had faced growing pressure for the extension to be scrapped. More than a quarter of all German electricity comes from nuclear power. The Swiss government has also suspended decisions on its nuclear programme. Concerns are growing about radiation leaks at a nuclear plant in Japan that has been hit by a third explosion in four days following last week’s earthquake and resulting tsunami. The blast occurred at reactor 2 at the Fukushima Daiichi plant – 250km (155 miles) north-east of Tokyo – which engineers had been trying to stabilise after two other reactors exploded. SEE BBC REPORT HERE
March 16, 2011 By 280 Comments
Paul Joseph Watson Infowars.com March 16, 2011 With Japanese authorities confirming that the third blast at Fukushima’s stricken nuclear plant caused radioactive particles to be released directly into the atmosphere, localized winds are blowing the radiation towards Tokyo, causing many to flee the capital, but the longer term trajectory of upper atmosphere prevailing winds will still send any potential radiation cloud towards the U.S. west coast. Global Jet Stream Map for March 13-21, 2011 Following a third explosion at the plant as well as a fire in another reactor, radioactive material is now leaking directly into the atmosphere at a rate of 400 milliseverts per hour, according to The International Atomic Energy Agency. Anyone who is exposed to more than 100 milliseverts a year risks contracting cancer. Higher than normal levels of radiation have already been detected in Tokyo, with readings up to ten times higher than normal measured in Chiba, which is 15 miles from the capital. Gamma radiation levels in the Ibaraki prefecture, which is just a hundred or so miles north of Tokyo, are 30 times higher than normal. The French embassy, which already advised its citizens to leave Tokyo on Sunday, warns that low level radioactive winds could reach the capital within hours… SEE FULL REPORT HERE
March 15, 2011 By 305 Comments