Tag Archives | nuclear

Noam Chomsky: Why America Is the Gravest Threat to World Peace

Jackie (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Jackie (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Noam Chomsky via Alternet/TomDispatch:

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Throughout the world there is great relief and optimism about the nuclear deal reached in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1 nations, the five veto-holding members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany. Most of the world apparently shares the assessment of the U.S. Arms Control Association that “the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action establishes a strong and effective formula for blocking all of the pathways by which Iran could acquire material for nuclear weapons for more than a generation and a verification system to promptly detect and deter possible efforts by Iran to covertly pursue nuclear weapons that will last indefinitely.”

There are, however, striking exceptions to the general enthusiasm: the United States and its closest regional allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

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What if it happened again? What we need to do to prepare for a nuclear event

As we observe the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it may seem like the threat from nuclear weapons has receded. But it hasn’t; the threat is actually increasing steadily. This is difficult to face for many people, and this denial also means that we are not very well-prepared for nuclear and radiological events.

I’ve been studying the effects of nuclear events – from detonations to accidents – for over 30 years. I’ve been involved in research, teaching and humanitarian efforts in multiple expeditions to Chernobyl- and Fukushima-contaminated areas. Now I am involved in the proposal for the formation of the Nuclear Global Health Workforce.

Such a group could bring together nuclear and non-nuclear technical and health professionals for education and training, and help to meet the preparedness, coordination, collaboration and staffing requirements necessary to respond to a large-scale nuclear crisis.… Read the rest

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Synthesizing Jet Fuel from Sea Water

060318-N-7526R-154 South China Sea (March 19, 2006) Ð Amphibious command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) Sailors look on as a refueling probe crosses over the South China Sea, during a replenishment at sea (RAS) with the Military Sealift Command (MSC) underway replenishment oiler USNS Walter S. Diehl (T-AO 193). Blue Ridge, the 7th Fleet command ship, is currently underway for a regularly scheduled deployment throughout the 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

Everybody already knows that jet fuel can’t melt steel beams.

However, perhaps you didn’t know that a team at the Naval Research Laboratories in Florida has successfully developed a technology that synthesizes jet fuel from only sea water and electricity.

With all of their ships and planes, the navy has a huge need of both diesel and jet fuel. Unfortunately, many of the regions that contain large sources of petroleum, have…how shall I say…political interests highly contrary to those of the United States. So sending an oiler supply vessel to shore to find a petroleum source could be a very hazardous strategic move in a conflict and might leave our ships dead in the water or forced to return home. This strategic achilles heel for the navy is bad, but the fuel is also increasingly expensive (cost of fuel for the navy rose from $0.63/gal in 2000 to $3.75/gal in 2013, and effectively costs over $7.00/gal to deliver to the vessels) not to mention environmentally disastrous.… Read the rest

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New Report Shatters Myth of ‘Nuclear Renaissance’

A solar park in the UK. (Photo: RTPeat/flickr/cc)

A solar park in the UK. (Photo: RTPeat/flickr/cc)

This post was originally published on Common Dreams. See more of Andrea Germanos’ articles here.

If renewable energy advocates need more evidence that solar and wind are better investments than nuclear power, a new report may offer just that.

The findings come from the newly released World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2015, which looks at global nuclear developments over the past year.

Marking a first in five decades, Japan went without nuclear power for an entire year, the report states. And three of the world’s largest economies—China, Germany, Japan—as well as Brazil, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Spain, now all generate more electricity from non-hydro renewables than from nuclear.

In the UK, renewable energy, including hydropower, provided more electricity output than nuclear in 2014.

Global generation from solar was up 38 percent, and wind power increased over 10 percent.

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What really caused the Chernobyl disaster?

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At 01:23:40 on the 26th of April, 1986, Alexander Akimov made his fateful decision and announced that he was pressing the emergency safety button to end a disastrous safety test and shutdown Chernobyl’s fourth nuclear reactor. The control rods began their slow descent into the core. During the few brief moments where Akimov had considered his options, this undoubtedly seemed to him to be the most sensible way to salvage the situation. A significant reason for the core to have become so unstable was that almost all two hundred and eleven rods had been retracted, leaving the men in the room with very little control over the reactor. Given how many backup systems had already been disabled, Akimov should known that there would have been a severe accident either way. Alas, it was, in fact, the worst thing he could have possibly done. Within seconds, the control rods stopped moving and the colossal containment building began to shake.… Read the rest

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Environmentalists Have an Irrational Hatred of Nuclear Power

The first American nuclear reactor of the 21st century, Watts-Barr will soon begin operating west of Knoxville in Tennessee.  This reactor will almost continuously generate 1,150 megawatts of electricity for the next 60 years at $0.06/kWhr, with near-zero carbon emissions (over the same period a coal plant would release 500 million tons of CO2, for reference the US releases 6,526 million metric tons CO2 annually).  With this happy marriage of steadily satisfying consumer demand yet generating very little CO2, one would imagine that greenies everywhere like the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Fund and thousands of other environmental groups would be out in the streets rejoicing and calling for more nuclear plants!  However, it seems that environmental groups roundly and universally decry the vast potential of nuclear technology.  But why?
We in the pro-nuclear community have yet to collate and diagnose the almost-dogmatic hatred of nuclear power in the environmental movement, but it seems to stem from several uninformed but understandable complaints:

1) People seem to widely conflate ‘nuclear power’ with ‘nuclear weapons,’  however the danger of a nuclear explosion occurring at a power plant is the same danger as a 1988 Ford Pinto going 250 mph, that is, not any danger at all.… Read the rest

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Terrestrial Energy Co.: Vanquish the Arrested Future of Nuclear Energy

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 8.42.00 PM

In a Sept 2014 talk at the Economic Club of Canada, Hugh MacDiarmid coolly lays out the groundwork of a new energy future, without the pie-in-the-sky wishes of fusion, the intermittent inadequacy of solar and wind, or the non-renewable carbon emissions of coal, oil, and gas.

Canadian company Terrestrial Energy is on track to make the first commercially viable molten salt nuclear reactor by early next decade, at first supplementing coal but ultimately supplanting it for electricity production. The molten salt reactor (MSR) is a type of Generation 4 reactor with roots in the 1950s at Oak Ridge National Lab and has manifold advantages over existing reactors. The MSR uses a liquid salt loop to contain its fissile material such as uranium, thorium, or plutonium oxides. Since the reaction occurs in liquid fuel, it is literally impossible to melt down, and since it reacts at atmospheric pressure there is no need for a massive reinforced containment vessel.… Read the rest

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The West’s Reckless Rush Towards War with Russia

Are we being hasty in our surmising of Putin’s involvement in the MH-17 tragedy? Chris Martenson seems to think so.

Putins-Covers

via Peak Prosperity:

For reasons that have no rational explanations at this time, the US and Europe have embarked on a concerted program to demonize Putin, ostracize Russia, and bring the world as close to a major conflict as it’s been since the Cold War, a time hardly memorable to many in the current crop of our elected officials.

Within hours of the MH-17 plane crash, the United States pinned the blame on Russia generally, and Putin particularly. The anti-Putin propaganda (and if there were a stronger term I’d use it) has been relentless and almost comically over-the-top (see image above, and those below).

The US and the UK in particular, are leading the charge. Indeed, the UK’s Daily Mail managed to crank out an article on the MH-17 affair within just a few hours on the very same day it occurred with this headline:

The blood on Putin’s hands…

Jul 17, 2014

The world may have averted its gaze towards Israel and Gaza, but this week the rumbling warfare in eastern Ukraine has been erupting into something growing daily more dangerous.

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America’s Love of All Things Nuclear: Starfish Prime

Have you heard of Starfish Prime? In the 1960s, the US government shot a nuclear bomb into space where it detonated. It’s assumed that the blast caused many satellite failures in ensuing months.

via The Huffington Post:

The resulting nuclear explosion in space, reports Discover Magazine, was a pulse of energy so strong it affected electrical circuits, power lines, and streetlights in Hawaii, nearly 600 miles away.

The purpose of this test was, basically, just to see what would happen, notes HowStuffWorks. Specifically, researchers wanted examine how the explosion would affect the Van Allen Radiation Belts — bands of high-energy protons and electrons that follow the Earth’s natural magnetic field — to see if they could be manipulated for national defense purposes.

Scientists learned plenty from the experiment, and bystanders from Hawaii to New Zealand were treated to a view of “rainbow skies,” but according to NPR, this “greatest man-made light show” actually resulted from radioactive particles coming into contact with oxygen and nitrogen in Earth’s atmosphere.

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