International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

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Amber G.
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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Amber G. » 11 May 2014 08:26

... Nuclear energy many come back to Japan...

Nuclear energy has been highlighted as a key area for increased cooperation between the UK and Japan in a joint statement issued at the receent visit to the UK by Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe..

"Both countries believe that nuclear energy provides a consistent and affordable source of energy, and has a key role to play in the future low carbon energy mix. The UK and Japan are working together with other G7 partners to enhance energy resilience worldwide, through promoting a diverse, low carbon energy mix and integrated energy markets"

Statement from the UK Department of Energy .. :!: .

And this from France:

A similar joint statement by prime minister Shinzo Abe and President Francois Hollande came during PMs visist to France :!:

(Interesting part was that Shinzo Abe named the Astrid (Advanced Sodium Technological Reactor for Industrial Demonstration) as one project (where Japan and France work together)

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Amber G. » 11 Jun 2014 20:20

US came very close to a hydrogen bomb accident in 1961. Very scary. New declassified reports confirm..

(The news is all over, here is a report from Washington Post..

Nuclear bomb nearly exploded over N.C. in 1960s
There are few things in this world that can change the course of history faster than a nuclear bomb exploding. The devastation is immediate and lasts for years.

That makes the latest details to emerge about a Jan. 24, 1961, incident involving two nuclear bombs all the more jarring. A B-52 bomber broke up in the sky over North Carolina, and one of the two bombs on board was in the "armed" setting by the time it hit the ground near Goldsboro, North Carolina, according to a newly declassified report published Monday by the National Security Archive. If the switch had not been damaged by the impact of the crash, the weapon could have detonated, the report said.

The so-called "Goldsboro incident" received widespread attention in the fall, when details about the incident were published in a new book, "Command and Control," by Eric Schlosser. And it sounds just as ominous as described Monday by Bill Burr of the National Security Archives.

"The report implied that because Weapon 2 landed in a free-fall, without the parachute operating, the timer did not initiate the bomb's high voltage battery ("trajectory arming"), a step in the arming sequence," Burr wrote. "For Weapon 2, the Arm/Safe switch was in the "safe" position, yet it was virtually armed because the impact shock had rotated the indicator drum to the "armed" position. But the shock also damaged the switch contacts, which had to be intact for the weapon to detonate."

Burr concluded:

"Perhaps this is what Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara had in mind, a few years later, when he observed that, 'by the slightest margin of chance, literally the failure of two wires to cross, a nuclear explosion was averted.'"

Three U.S. Air Force personnel in the B-52 died after the plane broke up that day. They were Sgt. Francis Roger Barnish, Maj. Eugene Holcombe Richards, and Maj. Eugene Shelton.

Bomb 1 was kept buried, as when it fell it went many feet underground, Pu and Uranium and all and is still there.. .inside thousands of tons of concrete poured later on.. bomb 2 was found out by a farmer, whose backyard the thing landed.. its impact softened by a parachute...

Added later:

(The above has some interesting links and information ... from archives from newspapers ..etc..

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Gerard » 24 Jun 2014 06:24

U.S. Eliminates Multi-Warheads on All Ground-Based Nuclear Missiles
"This was the last Minuteman 3 in the Air Force to be 'deMIRVed,' and this is a major milestone in meeting the force structure numbers to comply with the New START requirements," Steve Ray, a member of Air Force Global Strike Command's missile maintenance division, said in a released comment.

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby gunjur » 14 Jul 2014 20:24

Apologies if already posted.

Russia, Saudi Arabia to Sign Civilian Nuclear Cooperation Deal

A long read.

AQ Khan says North Korea paid bribes for Nuclear know-how - WaPo
The founder of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb program asserts that the government of North Korea bribed top military officials in Islamabad to obtain access to sensitive nuclear technology in the late 1990s.

Abdul Qadeer Khan has made available documents that he says support his claim that he personally transferred more than $3 million in payments by North Korea to senior officers in the Pakistani military, which he says subsequently approved his sharing of technical know-how and equipment with North Korean scientists.

Khan also has released what he says is a copy of a North Korean official’s 1998 letter to him, written in English, that spells out details of the clandestine deal.

Some Western intelligence officials and other experts have said that they think the letter is authentic and that it offers confirmation of a transaction they have long suspected but could never prove. Pakistani officials, including those named as recipients of the cash, have called the letter a fake. Khan, whom some in his country have hailed as a national hero, is at odds with many Pakistani officials, who have said he acted alone in selling nuclear secrets.

Nevertheless, if the letter is genuine, it would reveal a remarkable instance of corruption related to nuclear weapons. U.S. officials have worried for decades about the potential involvement of elements of Pakistan’s military in illicit nuclear proliferation, partly because terrorist groups in the region and governments of other countries are eager to acquire an atomic bomb or the capacity to build one.

Because the transactions in this episode would be directly known only to the participants, the assertions by Khan and the details in the letter could not be independently verified by The Washington Post. A previously undisclosed U.S. investigation of the corruption at the heart of the allegations — conducted before the letter became available — ended inconclusively six years ago, in part because the Pakistani government has barred official Western contact with Khan, U.S. officials said.

By all accounts, Pakistan’s confirmed shipments of centrifuges and sophisticated drawings helped North Korea develop the capacity to undertake a uranium-based route to making the bomb, in addition to its existing plutonium weapons. Late last year, North Korea let a group of U.S. experts see a uranium-enrichment facility and said it was operational.

The letter Khan released, which U.S. officials said they had not seen previously, is dated July 15, 1998, and marked “Secret.” “The 3 millions dollars have already been paid” to one Pakistani military official and “half a million dollars” and some jewelry had been given to a second official, says the letter, which carries the apparent signature of North Korean Workers’ Party Secretary Jon Byong Ho. The text also says: “Please give the agreed documents, components, etc. to . . . [a North Korean Embassy official in Pakistan] to be flown back when our plane returns after delivery of missile components.”

The North Korean government did not respond to requests for comment about the letter.

Jehangir Karamat, a former Pakistani military chief named as the recipient of the $3 million payment, said the letter is untrue. In an e-mail from Lahore, Karamat said that Khan, as part of his defense against allegations of personal responsibility for illicit nuclear proliferation, had tried “to shift blame on others.” Karamat said the letter’s allegations were “malicious with no truth in them whatsoever.”

The other official named in the letter, retired Lt. Gen. Zulfiqar Khan, called it “a fabrication.”

The Pakistani Embassy in Washington declined to comment officially. But a senior Pakistani official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity “to avoid offending” Khan’s supporters, said the letter “is clearly a fabrication. It is not on any official letterhead and bears no seal. . . . The reference to alleged payment and gifts to senior Pakistani military officers is ludicrous.”

There is, however, a Pakistani-Western divide on the letter, which was provided to The Post by former British journalist Simon Henderson, who The Post verified had obtained it from Khan. A U.S. intelligence official who tracks nuclear proliferation issues said it contains accurate details of sensitive matters known only to a handful of people in Pakistan, North Korea and the United States.

A senior U.S. official said separately that government experts concluded after examining a copy of the letter that the signature appears authentic and that the substance is “consistent with our knowledge” now of the same events. Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the diplomatic sensitivity of the allegation.

Olli Heinonen, a 27-year vet-eran of the International Atomic Energy Agency who led its investigation of Khan before moving to Harvard’s Kennedy School last year, said the letter is similar to other North Korean notes that he had seen or received. They typically lacked a letterhead, he said; moreover, he said he has previously heard similar accounts — originating from senior Pakistanis — of clandestine payments by North Korea to Pakistani military officials and government advisers.

The substance of the letter, Heinonen said, “makes a lot of sense,” given what is now known about the North Korean program.

Jon, now 84, the North Korean official whose signature appears on the letter, has long been a powerful member of North Korea’s national defense commission, in charge of military procurement. In August, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed financial sanctions on his department for its ballistic missile work.

According to Khan, in the 1990s, Jon met then-Pakistani President Farooq Leghari, toured the country’s nuclear laboratory and arranged for dozens of North Korean technicians to work there. Khan detailed the payments Jon allegedly arranged in written statements that Henderson, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, shared with The Post. Henderson said he acquired the letter and the statements from Khan in the years after his 2004 arrest by Pakistani authorities.

Henderson, who has written extensively about Khan, said he provided the letter to The Post because he lacked the resources to authenticate it himself.

He said the letter and the statements constitute new evidence that Khan’s proliferation involved more-senior Pakistani officials than Khan himself. Khan has been freed from home detention but remains under round-the-clock surveillance in a suburb of Islamabad, where the government has recently threatened him with new sanctions for illicit communications.

Some of Khan’s past statements have been called into question. Pakistani officials have publicly accused Khan — who is still highly regarded by many in his country — of exaggerating the extent of official approval he received for his nuclear-related exports to North Korea, Libya and Iran. In 2006, then-Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf accused Khan of profiting directly from nuclear-related commerce.

Although Khan “was not the only one who profited from the sale of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons technology and components . . . by Pakistani standards, his standard of living was lavish,” and the disclosure of his private bank account in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates — with millions of dollars in it — was highly suspicious, said Mark Fitzpatrick, an acting deputy assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation during the George W. Bush administration.

Khan says the bank account was used by associates and a charity he founded, and the Pakistani government never asked him to return any money. He said that in 2007 — six years after his formal retirement and complaints of financial hardship — Musharraf arranged for a lump-sum payment equivalent to $50,000 and a monthly pension of roughly $2,500, which Khan says “belied all those accusations and claims.”

Although U.S. officials disagreed for years about North Korea’s uranium-enrichment capability, the dispute was settled in November when the Pyongyang government invited Siegfried Hecker — a metallurgist who formerly directed a U.S. nuclear weapons laboratory — to see a newly renovated building at Yongbyon that housed more than 1,000 enrichment centrifuges.

Hecker said in an interview that although the government did not disclose their origins, their size, shape and stated efficiency were close to a centrifuge model, known as the P2, that Khan obtained illicitly from Europe. Khan has said that he helped give North Korea four such devices.

“The combination of the Pakistani design, the Pakistani training and the major [Pakistani] procurement network they had access to” allowed North Korea to “put the pieces together to make it work,” Hecker said.

According to Khan’s written account, the swap of North Korean cash for sensitive Pakistani technology arose during a squabble in 1996 over delays in Pakistan’s payment to North Korea for some medium-range missiles. U.S. officials said they had heard of this dispute.

In the letter, Jon first thanks Khan for his assistance to North Korea’s then-representative to Islamabad, Gen. Kang Tae Yun, in the aftermath of a bizarre shooting incident in which an assailant supposedly gunning for Kang accidentally killed his wife. But the heart of the letter concerns two key transactions: the provision of a kickback to speed the overdue Pakistani missile-related payments and additional payments for the nuclear-related materials.

Khan, in his written statements — including an 11-page narrative he prepared for Pakistani investigators while under house arrest in 2004 that was obtained by The Post — said the idea for the kickback came from a Pakistani military officer.

Khan said Kang responded by delivering a half-million dollars in cash in a suitcase to a top Pakistani general, who declined it. Khan said Karamat, a more senior officer at the time, then said: “I should arrange with Gen. Kang to pay this money to him for some secret [Pakistani] army funds. He would then sanction the payment of their outstanding charges.”

“I talked to Gen. Kang, and he gave me the $0.5 million in cash, which I personally delivered” to Karamat, Khan wrote. He says this payment only whetted the army’s appetite, however: Karamat, who had just become chief of the army staff, “said to me that he needed more money for the same secret funds and that I should talk to Gen. Kang.”

Kang then started bargaining, saying that his superiors “were willing to provide another $2.5 million, provided we helped them with the enrichment technology,” Khan wrote.

Once the details of that assistance were worked out, Khan wrote, “I personally gave the remaining $2.5 million to Gen. Karamat in cash at the Army House to make up the whole amount.” Khan said he transferred all the funds on two occasions in a small canvas bag and three cartons, in one case at the chief of army staff’s official residence.

On the top of one carton was some fruit, and below it was $500,000 in cash, Khan wrote in a narrative for Henderson. Inside the bag was $500,000, and each of the other two cartons held $1 million, Khan wrote.

If the account is correct, the ultimate destination of the funds in any event remains unclear. Pakistani officials said in interviews that they found no trace of the money in Karamat’s accounts after an investigation. But the military is known to have used secret accounts for various purposes, including clandestine operations against neighboring India in the disputed Kashmir region.

Karamat said that such a delivery would have been impossible and that he “was not in the loop to delay, withhold or sanction payments” to North Korea. He called the letter “quite mind-boggling.”

The letter also states that Zulfiqar Khan, Karamat’s colleague, received “half a million dollars and 3 diamond and ruby sets” to pave the way for nuclear-weapons-related transfers. Zulfiqar Khan, who later became the head of Pakistan’s national water and power company, was among those who had witnessed the country’s nuclear weapons test six weeks before the letter was written.

Asked to respond, he said in an e-mail that he considered the entire episode “a fabrication and figment of imagination,” and he noted that he had not been accused of “any sort of dishonesty or irregularity” during 37 years as a military officer. He denied having any connection to North Korean contracts.

The senior Pakistani official said that Karamat and Zulfiqar Khan were “amongst the first to initiate accountability” for Abdul Qadeer Khan and his colleagues, and that implicating them in illegal proliferation “can only be deemed as the vengeful reaction of a discredited individual.”

In the letter, Jon requests that “the agreed documents, components” be placed aboard a North Korean plane. He goes on to congratulate Khan on Pakistan’s successful nuclear test that year and wish him “good health, long life and success in your important work.”

The Pakistani intelligence service interrogated Karamat in 2004 about Khan’s allegations, according to a Pakistani government official, but made no public statement about what it learned. Musharraf, who oversaw that probe, appointed Karamat as ambassador to Washington 10 months later, prompting further scrutiny by the U.S. intelligence community of reports that Karamat had arranged the sale of nuclear gear for cash.

Those inquiries, several U.S. officials said, ended inconclusively at the time because of Karamat’s denial and Washington’s inability to question Khan.

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby VinodTK » 16 Jul 2014 04:20

'International embargoes in 1974 boosted India's nuclear research'
GUWAHATI: RK Sinha, the chairman of Atomic Commission and secretary in the department of atomic energy (DAE), recently said the challenges arising from the international embargoes following India's 1974 atomic tests were converted into opportunities for nuclear research in the country.

Sinha was here to inaugurate the Bhabatron 2 Telecobalt facility at the Dr Borooah Cancer Institute, where he also delivered an oration commemorating the sixth Dr KC Borooah Foundation Day on the 'Progress of the DAE in the last 60 years'.

Claiming that India is second to none in nuclear technology, he said, "After the embargoes, India developed its indigenous technology". Sinha sees this as beneficial to our "long term goals" as it provided the opportunity to improve research and application in health care, food, agriculture, power sectors and others, lessening foreign dependency. Sinha, an expert in nuclear reactor technology, also emphasized the use of the abundantly available thorium over uranium, which is scarce in the country. Sinha, along with another scientist, isthe key designer of the Advanced Heavy Water Reactor that uses thorium. He has also designed a high temperature hydrogen generating reactor, utilizing the 'fuel of the future'.

"We have 21 operational nuclear reactors, six are under construction, and 17 are being planned. Our strategies are long term visions, human resources, delivery focused R&D, and self reliance," said Sinha.

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Philip » 16 Jul 2014 04:47
2,000 bombs a year? Japan’s plan to reopen nuclear reprocessing plant stirs concern
Published time: July 14, 2014
Reactivating a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant could provide Japan with enough plutonium to produce up to 2,000 atomic bombs a year, a US expert has warned. The “reckless” move could destabilize the region, as Japan’s neighbors rush to compete.

Henry Sokolski, executive director at the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, urged the House Foreign Affairs committee to hinder the reopening of the nuclear reprocessing facility in Rokkasho, North Japan.

The plant itself was supposed to begin operations in October 2013, but its reactivation was delayed by new safety regulations. The operators of the facility, which, according to the IAEA, has an annual capacity of 800 tons of uranium, or 8 tons of plutonium, say it should be up and running by this October.

Allowing the reactivation of the plant would be “insulting” and “reckless,” especially when South Korea is not allowed to reprocess or enrich nuclear fuel, the US expert said, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

"If Japan ever decided to open its large reprocessing plant at Rokkasho, it would be producing roughly 2,000 bombs' worth of nuclear weapons-usable plutonium a year," Sokolski told the committee in a hearing last week. "This would almost certainly prompt South Korea to initiate nuclear enrichment or reprocessing of their own as a hedge or weapons option."

Japan abandoned nuclear power following the March 2011 earthquake-triggered tsunami with caused multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant. However, the Japanese government has decided to start reactivated the countries 48 reactors because of an energy shortfall. Sendai nuclear power plant in the southern Kagoshima Prefecture has just cleared an initial safety hurdle, an essential step in the reactivation process.

Washington has banned Seoul from enriching and reprocessing nuclear fuel because of proliferation concerns. The Korean government is currently pushing for a renegotiation to the agreement and wants the right to carry out so-called “pyroprocessing” – a reprocessing technology.

"We say we want South Korea not to enrich or reprocess. Yet we have encouraged Japan to do so," Sokolski said.
Sokolski warned that China would react to the reactivation of the facility and any action they would take would "likely challenge not only Japan's and South Korea's security, but our own treaty commitment to defend our Asian allies.”

For these reasons, Sokolski believes Congress should pressure the US government into encouraging Japan to rethink its nuclear plans by calling for a renegotiation of the US-Japanese nuclear cooperative agreement.

Tensions between Japan and its neighbors have been building recently after the government’s decision to reverse a key article in the constitution effectively allowing the country to go to war. Japan had previously been a pacifist country, meaning that its armed forces are technically domestic self-defense units, and cannot participate even in UN-backed conflicts, other than as peacekeepers.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the changes were necessary as Japan’s previous pacifist approach had emboldened its adversaries.

China reacted immediately to the landmark reinterpretation of the Japanese constitution, demanding that Tokyo respect the security concerns of its Asian neighbors.

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby gunjur » 01 Sep 2014 20:28

Apologies if already posted on BRF

Newly declassified documents reveal how U.S. agreed to Israel's nuclear program
The Obama administration this week declassified papers, after 45 years of top-secret status, documenting contacts between Jerusalem and Washington over American agreement to the existence of an Israeli nuclear option. The Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP), which is in charge of approving declassification, had for decades consistently refused to declassify these secrets of the Israeli nuclear program.

The documents outline how the American administration worked ahead of the meeting between President Richard Nixon and Prime Minister Golda Meir at the White House in September 1969, as officials came to terms with a three-part Israeli refusal – to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty; to agree to American inspection of the Dimona nuclear facility; and to condition delivery of fighter jets on Israel’s agreement to give up nuclear weaponry in exchange for strategic ground-to-ground Jericho missiles “capable of reaching the Arab capitals” although “not all the Arab capitals.”

The officials – cabinet secretaries and senior advisers who wrote the documents – withdrew step after step from an ambitious plan to block Israeli nuclearization, until they finally acceded, in internal correspondence – the content of the conversation between Nixon and Meir is still classified – to recognition of Israel as a threshold nuclear state.

In fact, according to the American documents, the Nixon administration defined a double threshold for Israel’s move from a “technical option” to a “possessor” of nuclear weapons.

The first threshold was the possession of “the components of nuclear weapons that will explode,” and making them a part of the Israel Defense Forces operational inventory.

The second threshold was public confirmation of suspicions internationally, and in Arab countries in particular, of the existence of nuclear weapons in Israel, by means of testing and “making public the fact of the possession of nuclear weapons.”

Officials under Nixon proposed to him, on the eve of his conversation with Meir, to show restraint with regard to the Israeli nuclear program, and to abandon efforts to get Israel to cease acquiring 500-kilometer-range missiles with one-ton warheads developed in the Marcel Dassault factory in France, if it could reach an agreement with Israel on these points.

Origins of nuclear ambiguity

Israel’s policy of nuclear ambiguity – which for the sake of deterrence does not categorically deny some nuclear ability but insists on using the term “option” – appears, according to the newly released documents, as an outcome of the Nixon-Meir understandings, no less than as an original Israeli maneuver.

The decision to release the documents was made in March, but was mentioned alongside the declassification of other materials less than a week ago in ISCAP, which is headed by a representative of the president and whose members are officials in the Department of State, Department of Defense and Department of Justice, as well as the intelligence administration and the National Archive, where the documents are stored.

The declassified material deals only with events in 1968 and 1969, the end of the terms of President Lyndon Johnson and Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, and the beginning of the Nixon-Meir era. However, it contains many contemporary lessons. Among these are the decisive nature of personal relations between a president like Obama and a prime minister like Benjamin Netanyahu; the relationship between the diplomatic process of “land for peace,” American guarantees of Israeli security in peace time, supplies of weapons to Israel and Israel’s nuclear status; and the ability of a country like Iran to move ahead gradually toward nuclear weapons and remain on the threshold of military nuclear weapons.

In the material declassified this week, one document was written by senior officials in the Nixon administration in a working group led by National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, exploring the nature of the Israeli nuclear weapons program known as “NSSM 40.” The existence of the document and its heading were known, but the content had so far been kept secret.

The document was circulated to a select group, including Secretary of State William P. Rogers, Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird and CIA director Richard Helms, and with the knowledge of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Earle Wheeler. In it, Nixon directed Kissinger to put together a panel of experts, headed by Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Sisco.

The experts were asked to submit their intelligence evaluations as to the extent of Israel’s progress toward nuclear weapons and to present policy alternatives toward Israel under these circumstances, considering that the administration was bound to the pledge of the Johnson administration to provide Israel with 50 Phantom jets, the diplomatic process underway through Rogers, and the aspiration to achieve, within the year, global nonproliferation – all while, simultaneously, Israel was facing off against Egypt on the Suez Canal during the War of Attrition.

The most fascinating parts of the 107 pages discuss internal disagreements in the American administration over how to approach Israel – pressure or persuasion, as Sisco’s assistant, Rodger Davies, put it in the draft of the Department of State document. Davies also formulated a scenario of dialogue and confrontation with Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Yitzhak Rabin, the IDF chief of staff during the Six-Day War, who continued to sign his name using his military rank of Lieutenant General.

The documents are an intriguing illustration of organizational politics. Unexpectedly, the Department of State’s approach was softer. It opposed threats and sanctions because of the fear of obstructing Rogers’ diplomatic moves if Israel hardened its line. “If we choose to use the maximum option on the nuclear issue, we may not have the necessary leverage left for helping along the peace negotiations,” Davies wrote.

The two branches of the Pentagon – the civilian branch headed by Laird, his deputy David Packard (a partner in the computer manufacturer Hewlett-Packard, who objected to a previous sale of a super-computer manufactured by Control Data to Israel, lest it be used for the nuclear program) and their policy advisers; and the military branch headed by Gen. Wheeler – were more belligerent. Laird fully accepted the recommendation of the deputy secretary of defense in the outgoing Johnson administration, Paul Warnke, to use supplying the Phantoms to leverage far-reaching concessions from Israel on the nuclear issue.

Packard’s opposite number in the Department of State – Rogers’ deputy, Elliot Richardson – was Packard’s ideological ally in reservations regarding Israel. However, Sisco’s appointment, rather than an official from the strategic section of the Department of State, which agreed with the Pentagon, steered the recommendations of the officials toward a softer stance on Israel.

There was also an internal debate in the American administration over the extent of Israel’s progress toward a nuclear weapon. The Department of State, relying on the CIA, strongly doubted the evidence and described it as circumstantial in light of the inability to collect intelligence, including during the annual visits to the Dimona facility. As to conclusive evidence that Israel had manufactured a nuclear weapon, Davies wrote, “This final step is one we believe the Labor Alignment in Israel would like to avoid. The fierce determination to safeguard the Jewish people, however, makes it probable that Israel would desire to maintain the ultimate weapon at hand should its security again be seriously threatened.”

The Department of Defense, based on its intelligence agency, was more decisive in its evaluation that Israel had already attained nuclear weapons, or would do so in a matter of months.

Rabin, with his military aura and experience in previous talks on arms supplies (Skyhawks and later Phantoms) with the Johnson administration, was the key man on the Israeli side in these discussions, according to the Americans. This, even though the decisions were made in Jerusalem by Meir, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, Foreign Minister Abba Eban and their colleagues, who were not always happy with Rabin’s tendency to express his “private” stances first and only then obtain approval from Jerusalem.

The Johnson and Nixon administrations concluded that, in talks with Rabin, it had been stated in a manner both “explicit and implicit” that “Israel wants nuclear weapons, for two reasons: First, to deter the Arabs from striking Israel; and second, if deterrence fails and Israel were about to be overrun, to destroy the Arabs in a nuclear Armageddon.”

The contradiction in this stance, according to the Americans, was that Israel “would need a nuclear force that is publicly known and, by and large, invulnerable, i.e., having a second-strike capability. Israel is now building such a force – the hardened silos of the Jericho missiles.”

However, “it is not really possible to deter Arab leaders – and certainly not the fedayeen – when they themselves represent basically irrational forces. The theory of nuclear deterrence that applies between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. – a theory that requires a reasoned response to provocation, which in turn is made possible by essentially stable societies and governments – is far less applicable in the Near East.”

Four years before the Yom Kippur War in October 1973 and the general scorn for Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, the Nixon administration wrote that Israel “would never be able to rule out the possibility that some irrational Arab leader would be willing to sustain great losses if he believed he could inflict decisive damage on Israel.”

Sisco and his advisers worried that a threat to cut off arms supplies “could build military and psychological pressures within Israel to move rapidly to the very sophisticated weaponry we are trying to avoid.”

According to the documents, the Nixon administration believed that Israel’s acquisition of nuclear weapons would spur the Arab countries to acquire their own such weapons within 10 years, through private contracts with scientists and engineers in Europe. Moreover, “deeply rooted in the Arab psyche is the concept that a settlement will be possible only when there is some parity in strength with Israel. A ‘kamikaze’ strike at the Dimona facilities cannot be ruled out,” the document states.

The Nixon advisers concluded that, all things considered, “we cannot force the Israelis to destroy design data and components, much less the technical knowledge in people’s minds, nor the existing talent for rapid improvisation.” Thus, Davies wrote in July, two months before the Nixon-Meir meeting, the lesser evil would be to agree for Israel to “retain its ‘technical option’” to produce nuclear weapons.

“If the Israelis show a disposition to meet us on the nuclear issue but are adamant on the Jericho missiles, we can drop back to a position of insisting on non-deployment of missiles and an undertaking by the Israelis to keep any further production secret,” Davies added.

The strategic consideration, mixed with political considerations, was persuasive. The draft of Meir’s unconditional surrender – formulated in the Pentagon without her knowledge in her first month in office – was shelved, and the ambiguity option was born and lived in secret documents until the Obama administration made them public, for reasons (or unintentionally) of their own.

Israel's Nuclear Program -US Archive PDF document

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby wig » 25 Sep 2014 08:11

Technology revolution in nuclear power could slash costs below coal- A report by UBS said the latest reactors will be obsolete within two decades

The cost of conventional nuclear power has spiralled to levels that can no longer be justified. All the reactors being built across the world are variants of mid-20th century technology, inherently dirty and dangerous, requiring exorbitant safety controls.

This is a failure of wit and will. Scientists in Britain, France, Canada, the US, China and Japan have already designed better reactors based on molten salt technology that promise to slash costs by half or more, and may even undercut coal. They are much safer, and consume nuclear waste rather than creating more. What stands in the way is a fortress of vested interests.

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report for 2014 found that 49 of the 66 reactors under construction - mostly in Asia - are plagued with delays, and are blowing through their budgets.

Average costs have risen from $1,000 per kilowatt hour to around $8,000/kW over the past decade for new nuclear, which is why Britain could not persuade anybody to build its two reactors at Hinkley Point without fat subsidies and a "strike price" for electricity that is double current levels.

All five new reactors in the US are behind schedule. Finland's giant EPR reactor at Olkiluoto has been delayed again. It will not be up and running until 2018, nine years late. It was supposed to cost €3.2bn. Analysts now think it will be €8.5bn. It is the same story with France's Flamanville reactor.

We have reached the end of the road for pressurised water reactors of any kind, whatever new features they boast. The business is not viable - even leaving aside the clean-up costs - and it makes little sense to persist in building them. A report by UBS said the latest reactors will be obsolete by within 10 to 20 years, yet Britain is locking in prices until 2060.

The Alvin Weinberg Foundation in London is tracking seven proposals across the world for molten salt reactors (MSRs) rather than relying on solid uranium fuel. Unlike conventional reactors, these operate at atmospheric pressure. They do not need vast reinforced domes. There is no risk of blowing off the top.

The reactors are more efficient. They burn up 30 times as much of the nuclear fuel and can run off spent fuel. The molten salt is inert so that even if there is a leak, it cools and solidifies. The fission process stops automatically in an accident. There can be no chain-reaction, and therefore no possible disaster along the lines of Chernobyl or Fukushima. That at least is the claim.

The most revolutionary design is by British scientists at Moltex. "I started this three years ago because I was so shocked that EDF was being paid 9.25p per kWh for electricity," said Ian Scott, the chief inventor. "We believe we can achieve parity with gas (in the UK) at 5.5p, and our real goal is to reach 3.5p and drive coal of out of business," he said.

The Moltex project can feed off low-grade spent uranium, cleaning up toxic waste in the process. "There are 120 tonnes of purified plutonium from nuclear weapons in Britain. We could burn that up in 10 to 15 years," he said. What remained would be greatly purified, with a shorter half-life, and could be left safely in salt mines. It does not have to be buried in steel tanks deep underground for 240,000 years. Thereafter the plant could be redesigned to use thorium, a cleaner fuel.

The reactor can be built in factories at low cost. It uses tubes that rest in molten salt, working through a convection process rather than by pumping the material around the reactor. This cuts corrosion. There is minimal risk of leaking deadly cesium or iodine for hundreds of miles around.

Transatomic Power, in Boston, says it can build a "waste-burning reactor" using molten salts in three years, after regulatory approval. The design is based on models built by US physicist Alvin Weinberg at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the 1960s, but never pursued - some say because the Pentagon wanted the plutonium residue for nuclear warheads.

It would cost $2bn (overnight cost) for a 550-megawatt plant, less than half the Hinkley Point project on a pro-rata basis. Transatomic says it can generate 75 times as much electricity per tonne of uranium as a conventional light-water reactor. The waste would be cut by 95pc, and the worst would be eliminated. It operates in a sub-critical state. If the system overheats, a plug melts at the bottom and salts drain into a cooling basin. Again, these are the claims.

The most advanced project is another Oak Ridge variant designed by Terrestrial's David LeBlanc, who worked on the original models with Weinberg. It aims to produce power by the early 2020s from small molten salt reactors of up to 300MW, for remote regions and industrial plants. "We think we can take on fossil fuel power on a pure commercial basis. This is a revolution for global energy," said Simon Irish, the company's chief executive.

Toronto-based Terrestrial prefers the "dry tinder" of uranium rather than the "wet wood" of thorium, which needs a blowtorch to get started and keep going, typically plutonium 239. But it could use either fuel.

A global race is under way, with the Chinese trying everything at the Shanghai Institute of Nuclear and Applied Physics, reportedly working under “warlike” pressure. They have brought forward their target date for a fully-functioning molten salt reactor - using thorium - from 25 to 10 years.

Ian Scott, at Moltex, originally planned to sell his technology to China, having given up on the West as a lost cause. He was persuaded to stay in Britain, and is talking to ministers. "The first stage will cost around £1bn, to get through the regulatory process and build a prototype. Realistically, only the government can do this," he said.

A state-venture of such a kind should not be ruled out. The travails of Hinkley Point show that the market cannot or will not deliver nuclear power on tolerable terms. The project has degenerated into a bung for ailing foreign companies. We have had to go along with it as an insurance, because years of drift in energy policy have left us at an acute risk of black-outs in the 2020s.

There is no reason why Britain cannot seize the prize of molten salt reactors, if necessary funded entirely by the government - now able to borrow for 10 years at 2.5pc - and run like a military undertaking. A new Brabazon Committee might not go amiss.

The nation still has world-class physicists. The death of Britain's own nuclear industry has a silver lining: there are fewer vested interests in the way. We start from scratch. The UK's "principles-based" philosophy of regulation means that a sudden pivot in technology of this kind could be approved very fast, in contrast to the America's "rules-based" system. "I would never even think of doing it in the US," said Dr Scott.

It would be hard to argue that any one of the molten salt technologies would be more expensive than arrays of wind turbines in the Atlantic. Indeed, there is a high likelihood that the best will prove massively cheaply on a kW/hour basis.

Such a project would kickstart Britain's floundering efforts to rebuild industry. It would offer some hope of plugging a chronic and dangerously high current account deficit, already 5pc of GDP even before North Sea oil and gas fizzles out. It is fracking on steroids for import substitution.

Britain split the atom at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge in 1911. It opened the world's first commercial reactor at Calder Hall in 1956. Surely it can rise to the challenge once again. If not, let us cheer on the Chinese ... -coal.html

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby chaanakya » 09 Oct 2014 10:29

Oil rig evacuated after ship carrying radioactive waste drifts

An oil platform has been evacuated after a ship carrying radioactive material caught fire and began drifting in the Moray Firth.

The MV Parida was transporting a cargo of cemented radioactive waste when a fire broke out in a funnel.

The blaze was extinguished, but 52 workers were taken from the Beatrice platform by helicopter as a precaution.

By 22:00 on Wednesday, the ship had been towed to a "secure pier" at the Port of Cromarty Firth.

Its 15 crew were not harmed during the fire and it was understood the cargo was not damaged.

Most people, like me, may not be comfortable with the idea of a vessel carrying nuclear waste waiting for a weather window to sail through our waters”

Richard Lochhead Environment Secretary Ministers said the Scottish government was "closely monitoring" the incident.

Dounreay Site Restoration Limited has confirmed the waste was from Dounreay, an experimental nuclear power plant near Thurso which is being decommissioned.

The material, which was sent to Dounreay from Belgium for reprocessing in the 1990s, was being shipped back to Belgium.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) said the Parida was carrying two containers called flasks each holding three 500-litre drums of intermediate level waste.

The NDA said the ship and its cargo had been categorised at the lowest level of safety concern.

It described Tuesday night's event as a "marine incident and not a nuclear incident".

The coastguard were alerted at about 20:00 on Tuesday as the Danish registered Parida was taking a cargo of radioactive concrete from Scrabster to Antwerp in Belgium.

The platform staff were flown to RAF Lossiemouth shortly before midnight. Parida was about seven miles from the Moray Firth platform at the time.

Dounreay's nuclear waste

In 2011, it was announced that more than 150 tonnes of intermediate level waste would be transported back to Belgium in 21 shipments over the next four years. The Belgian material had been at Dounreay for reprocessing, but is being returned because the Scottish site is being decommissioned and demolished.
Also in 2011, bosses at Dounreay started discussion on the return of several hundred tonnes of waste to customers in Australia and Germany.

The BBC Scotland news website's Highlands and Islands reporter Steven McKenzie has been looking at how Dounreay's toxic leftovers are being handled.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said the Scottish government was "closely monitoring" the incident.

He said: "Most people, like me, may not be comfortable with the idea of a vessel carrying nuclear waste waiting for a weather window to sail through our waters.

"While these vessels are built to cope with extreme weather, if they break down they drift and that is a fact we have to think about here.

"It is a serious incident and I think we need to review how we regulate the transportation of nuclear waste in our waters. That is the responsibility of the Office of Nuclear Regulation and I will be speaking to UK ministers about it."

WWF Scotland, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and SNP MSP Rob Gibson have raised concerns about radioactive waste being transported by sea

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby pankajs » 15 Oct 2014 17:59

I remember watching one video where someone was claiming that US DOD is working on something big in unconventional energy that could potentially change the current energy scenario and have a very positive impact on the climate change issue. This is HUGE if true. ... EM20141015
Lockheed says makes breakthrough on fusion energy project
Lockheed Martin Corp said on Wednesday it had made a technological breakthrough in developing a power source based on nuclear fusion, and the first reactors, small enough to fit on the back of a truck, could be ready in a decade.

Tom McGuire, who heads the project, said he and a small team had been working on fusion energy at Lockheed's secretive Skunk Works for about four years, but were now going public to find potential partners in industry and government for their work.

Initial work demonstrated the feasibility of building a 100-megawatt reactor measuring seven feet by 10 feet, which could fit on the back of a large truck, and is about 10 times smaller than current reactors, McGuire said.

In recent years, Lockheed, the Pentagon's top supplier, has been increasingly involved in a variety of alternate energy projects, including several ocean energy projects, as it looks to offset a decline in U.S. and European military spending.

Lockheed's fusion energy project could help in developing new power sources amid increasing global conflicts over energy, and as projections show there will be a 40 percent to 50 percent increase in energy use over the next generation, McGuire told reporters.

If it proves feasible, Lockheed's work would mark a key breakthrough in a field that scientists have long eyed as promising, but which has not yet yielded viable power systems. The effort seeks to harness the energy released during nuclear fusion, when atoms combine into more stable forms.

Lockheed sees the project as part of a comprehensive approach to solving global energy and climate change problems. Compact nuclear fusion would also produce far less waste than coal-powered plants, and future reactors could eliminate radioactive waste completely, the company said.

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Tanaji » 16 Oct 2014 17:28

The above report has holes.. It talks about existing fusion reactors aboard submarines and ships which leads to me wondering if the author really understand the difference between fusion and fission. Mind you, a fission reactor in the space they mention is no mean feat of engineering itself.....

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Tanaji » 16 Oct 2014 17:52

Ok this one has more info ... or-details

Looks like fusion

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby chaanakya » 28 Oct 2014 15:18

Japan nuclear plant gets approval to restart, over 3 years after Fukushima

A town in southwest Japan on Tuesday approved the restart of a nuclear power station, another step forward in Japan's fraught process of reviving an industry left idled by the Fukushima catastrophe in 2011.

Satsumasendai, a town of 100,000 that hosts the two-reactor Kyushu Electric Power Co plant, is 1,000 km (600 miles) southwest of Tokyo and has long relied on the Sendai plant for government subsidies and jobs.

Nineteen of the city's 26 assembly members voted in favour of restarting the plant while four members voted against and three abstained, a city assembly member told Reuters. The restart is unlikely until next year as Kyushu Electric still needs to pass operational safety checks.

All 48 of the country's nuclear reactors were gradually taken offline following Fukushima, the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. An earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi plant, 220 km (130 miles) northeast of Tokyo, sparking triple nuclear meltdowns, forcing more than 160,000 residents to flee from nearby towns and contaminating water, food and air.

Japan has been forced to import expensive fossil fuels to replace atomic power, which previously supplied around 30 % of the country's electricity. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government is pushing to restart nuclear reactors, but has said he will defer to local authorities to approve a policy that is still unpopular with large swaths of the public.

The restart divided communities nearest to the plant, pitting the host township that gets direct benefits from siting reactors against other communities that do not reap the benefits but say they will be equally exposed to radioactive releases in the event of a disaster. In Ichikikushikino, a town less than five km (three miles) from the Sendai plant, more than half the 30,000 residents signed a petition opposing the restart earlier this year.

In the lead-up to the local vote, officials held town halls in neighbouring towns to explain the restart, where some residents complained that the public meetings were restrictive and did not address concerns about evacuation plans.

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby arun » 01 Nov 2014 21:50

Mystery drones breach airspace above French nuclear sites :

Unidentified drones big enough to carry explosives have flown over as many as seven nuclear power plants around France in the past three weeks, it has emerged.

Electricité de France (EDF), the state-owned operator of France’s 58 nuclear reactors across 19 sites, has filed a legal complaint against persons unknown following the flights over seven sites.

From here:

The Telegraph

Subsequent article datelined the next day i.e. 31st Oct. reports yet more drones overflying nuclear power plants in France:

More drones spotted over French nuclear power stations

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Gerard » 28 Dec 2014 05:21

‘Nuke trains’ with up to 30 Yars missiles rolling out from 2018 – Russian defense source
A Russian military source outlined the capabilities of Barguzin strategic missile train. The country may roll out five such disguised mobile launch platforms each carrying six RS-24 Yars missiles in five years.

A ‘nuclear train’ – properly called BZhRK, short for ‘combat railway missile complex’ in Russian – is a mobile platform for transporting and launching strategic nuclear missiles. Similarly to nuclear submarines, such trains are hard to wipe out in a preemptive strike because of their mobility and ability to be disguised as regular freight trains.

The Soviet Union had 12 such nuclear trains, each carrying three RT-23 Molodets (SS-24 Scalpel in NATO disambiguation) missiles, but they were released from combat duty after Russia and the US signed the START-2 treaty in 1993 and eventually decommissioned.

Last year the Russian military said that nuclear trains – which are no longer banned under the New START treaty – would be revived.

Nuclear submarines of Borei class to become guarantors of Russia’s security — deputy PM
Nuclear-powered submerging cruisers (submarines) of the Borei class will be the main guarantors of Russia’s security, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Thursday at a gala ceremony where the Generalissimo Suvorov submarine was laid down.

Second New Russian Nuclear Submarine Leaves For Service
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin attended a ceremony that saw the second of Russia's new Borei-class 955 nuclear submarines set off for active service.

The "Vladimir Monomakh," capable of carrying 16 of Russia's Bulava Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, left the northern port of Severodvinsk on December 26.

Rogozin said, "Combat ships like this one will be the biggest guarantors of our security, invincibility, and freedom."

Another of the Borei 955 class, the "Yury Dolgoruky, is already in service.

The Sevmash shipbuilder that produces Russia's submarines said the third of the trio -- the "Aleksandr Nevsky" -- would be setting out to sea soon.

At the departure ceremony for the "Vladimir Monomakh," Sevamash announced the start of construction on a third of the Borei-955A submarines -- the "Generalissimus Suvorov."

Construction on the "Knyaz Vladimir" and "Knyaz Oleg" Borei-955A submarines started in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Gerard » 28 Dec 2014 20:46

A former ground zero goes to court against the world's nuclear arsenals
In its first written arguments, presented to the court this month, the Marshall Islands contended that the nuclear powers had violated their legal obligation to disarm. Specifically, the arguments said, by joining the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, five countries — the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China — undertook to end the arms race “at an early date” and to negotiate a treaty on “complete disarmament.”

Three other nuclear nations that did not agree to the treaty — India, Israel and Pakistan — and a fourth that withdrew from it — North Korea — are required to disarm under customary international law, the Marshall Islands’ case claims. The existence of Israeli nuclear weapons is universally assumed, but Israel has not acknowledged having them.

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Philip » 05 Jan 2015 12:59 ... ar-rivalry

US and Russia in danger of returning to era of nuclear rivalry
American threats to retaliate for Russian development of new cruise missile take tensions to new level

Julian Borger, diplomatic editor
The Guardian, Sunday 4 January 2015 18.00 GMT

A Russian nuclear-powered submarine at the Murmansk naval base. Photograph: Fedoseyev Lev/Itar-Tass Photo/Corbis
A widening rift between Moscow and Washington over cruise missiles and increasingly daring patrols by nuclear-capable Russian submarines threatens to end an era of arms control and bring back a dangerous rivalry between the world’s two dominant nuclear arsenals.

Tensions have been taken to a new level by US threats of retaliatory action for Russian development of a new cruise missile. Washington alleges it violates one of the key arms control treaties of the cold war, and has raised the prospect of redeploying its own cruise missiles in Europe after a 23-year absence.

On Boxing Day, in one of the more visible signs of the unease, the US military launched the first of two experimental “blimps” over Washington. The system, known as JLENS, is designed to detect incoming cruise missiles. The North American Aerospace Command (Norad) did not specify the nature of the threat, but the deployment comes nine months after the Norad commander, General Charles Jacoby, admitted the Pentagon faced “some significant challenges” in countering cruise missiles, referring in particular to the threat of Russian attack submarines.

Those submarines, which have been making forays across the Atlantic, routinely carry nuclear-capable cruise missiles. In the light of aggressive rhetoric from Moscow and the expiry of treaty-based restrictions, there is uncertainty over whether those missiles are now carrying nuclear warheads.

The rise in tension comes at a time when the arms control efforts of the post-cold-war era are losing momentum. The number of strategic nuclear warheads deployed by the US and Russia actually increased last year, and both countries are spending many billions of dollars a year modernising their arsenals. Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and a failing economy, Vladimir Putin is putting increasing emphasis on nuclear weapons as guarantors and symbols of Russian influence. In a speech primarily about the Ukrainian conflict last summer, Putin pointedly referred to his country’s nuclear arsenal and declared other countries “should understand it’s best not to mess with us”.

The Russian press has taken up the gung-ho tone. Pravda, the former mouthpiece of the Soviet regime, published an article in November titled “Russian prepares a nuclear surprise for Nato”, which boasted of Russian superiority over the west, particularly in tactical nuclear weapons.

“The Americans are well aware of this,” the commentary said. “They were convinced before that Russia would never rise again. Now it’s too late.”

Some of the heightened rhetoric appears to be bluster. The new version of the Russian military doctrine, published on 25 December, left its policy on nuclear weapons unchanged from four years earlier. They are to be used only in the event of an attack using weapons of mass destruction or a conventional weapon onslaught which “would put in danger the very existence of the state”. It did not envisage a pre-emptive strike, as some in the military had proposed.

However, the new aggressive tone coincides with an extensive upgrading of Russia’s nuclear weapons, reflecting Moscow’s renewed determination to keep pace with the US arsenal. It will involve a substantial increase in the number of warheads loaded on submarines, as a result of the development of the multi-warhead Bulava sea-launched ballistic missile.

The modernisation also involves new or revived delivery systems. Last month Russia announced it would re-introduce nuclear missile trains, allowing intercontinental ballistic missiles to be moved about the country by rail so they would be harder to target.

There is also mounting western anxiety over Russian marketing abroad of a cruise missile called the Club-K, which can be concealed, complete with launcher, inside an innocuous-looking shipping container until the moment it is fired.

However, the development that has most alarmed Washington is Russian testing of a medium-range cruise missile which the Obama administration claims is a clear violation of the 1987 intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) treaty, the agreement that brought to an end the dangerous standoff between US and Russian cruise missiles in Europe. By hugging the contours of the Earth, cruise missiles can evade radar defences and hit strategic targets with little or no notice, raising fears on both sides of surprise pre-emptive attacks.

At a contentious congressional hearing on 10 December, Republicans criticised two of the administration’s leading arms control negotiators, Rose Gottemoeller of the State Department and Brian McKeon of the Pentagon, for not responding earlier to the alleged Russian violation and for continuing to observe the INF treaty.

Gottemoeller said she had raised US concerns over the new missile “about a dozen times” with her counterparts in Moscow and Obama had written to Putin on the matter. She said the new Russian cruise missile – which she did not identify but is reported to be the Iskander-K with a reach in the banned 500-5,500km range – appeared to be ready for deployment.

The Russians have denied the existence of the missile and have responded with counter-allegations about American infringements of the INF treaty that Washington rejects.

McKeon said the Pentagon was looking at a variety of military responses to the Russian missile, including the deployment of an American equivalent weapon.

“We have a broad range of options, some of which would be compliant with the INF treaty, some of which would not be, that we would be able to recommend to our leadership if it decided to go down that path,” McKeon said. He later added: “We don’t have ground-launched cruise missiles in Europe now, obviously, because they are prohibited by the treaty but that would obviously be one option to explore.”

Reintroducing cruise missiles into Europe would be politically fraught and divisive, but the Republican majority in Congress is pushing for a much more robust American response to the Russian missile.

The US military has also been rattled by the resurgence of the Russian submarine fleet. Moscow is building new generations of giant ballistic missile submarines, known as “boomers”, and attack submarines that are equal or superior to their US counterparts in performance and stealth. From a low point in 2002, when the Russian navy managed to send out no underwater patrols at all, it is steadily rebounding and reasserting its global reach.

There have been sporadic reports in the US press about Russian submarines reaching the American east coast, which have been denied by the US military. But last year Jacoby, the head of Norad and the US northern command at the time, admitted concerns about being able to counter new Russian investment in cruise missile technology and advanced submarines.

“They have just begun production of a new class of quiet nuclear submarines specifically designed to deliver cruise missiles,” Jacoby told Congress.

Peter Roberts, who retired from the Royal Navy a year ago after serving as a commanding officer and senior UK liaison officer with the US navy and intelligence services, said the transatlantic forays by Akula-class Russian attack submarines had become a routine event, at least once or twice a year.

“The Russians usually put out a sortie with an Akula or an Akula II around Christmas … It normally stops off Scotland, and then through the Bay of Biscay and out over the Atlantic. It will have nuclear-capable missiles on it,” he said.

Roberts, who is now senior research fellow for sea power and maritime studies at the Royal United Services Institute, said the appearance of a periscope off the western coast of Scotland, which triggered a Nato submarine hunt last month, was a sign of the latest such Russian foray.

He said the Russian attack submarine was most likely heading for the US coast. “They go across to eastern seaboard, usually to watch the carrier battle groups work up [go on exercises].

“It’s something the Americans have been trying to brush off but there is increasing concern about the American ability to … track these subs. Their own anti-sub skills have declined, while we have all been focused on landlocked operations, in Afghanistan and so on.”

The Akula is being superseded by an even stealthier submarine, the Yasen. Both are multipurpose: hunter-killers designed to track and destroy enemy submarine and carrier battle groups. Both are also armed with land-attack cruise missiles, currently the Granat, capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

On any given sortie, Roberts said, “it is completely unknown whether they are nuclear-tipped”.

A Russian media report described the Akula as carrying Granat missiles with 200-kilotonne warheads, but the reliability of the report is hard to gauge.

The US and Russia removed cruise missiles from their submarines after the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction treaty (Start), but that expired at the end of 2009. Its successor, New Start, signed by Obama and the then Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, in 2010 does not include any such limitation, nor does it even allow for continued exchange of information about cruise missile numbers.

Pavel Podvig, a senior research fellow at the UN Institute for Disarmament Research and the leading independent analyst of Russian nuclear forces, said: “The bottom line is that we don’t know, but it’s safe to say that it’s quite possible that Russian subs carry nuclear SLCMs [submarine-launched cruise missiles].

Jeffrey Lewis, an arms control expert at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and founding publisher of, believes the JLENS blimps are primarily a response to a Russian move to start rearming attack submarines with nuclear weapons.

“For a long time, the Russians have been saying they would do this and now it looks like they have,” Lewis said. He added that the fact that data exchange on cruise missiles was allowed to expire under the New Start treaty is a major failing that has increased uncertainty.

The Russian emphasis on cruise missiles is in line with Putin’s strategy of “de-escalation”, which involves countering Nato’s overwhelming conventional superiority with the threat of a limited nuclear strike that would inflict “tailored damage” on an adversary.

Lewis argues that Putin’s accentuation of Russia’s nuclear capabilities is aimed at giving him room for manoeuvre in Ukraine and possibly other neighbouring states.

“The real reason he talks about how great they are is he saying: ‘I’m going to go ahead and invade Ukraine and you’re going to look the other way. As long as I don’t call it an invasion, you’re going to look at my nuclear weapons and say I don’t want to push this,’” he said.

With both the US and Russia modernising their arsenals and Russia investing increasing importance its nuclear deterrent, Hans Kristensen, the director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, said we are facing a period of “deepening military competition”.

He added: “It will bring very little added security, but a lot more nervous people on both sides.”

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Bade » 03 Feb 2015 01:12

Pakistan’s nuclear Taj Mahal
Inspired by the promise of Atoms for Peace, the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology eventually succumbed to the demands of the country’s nuclear weapons program.

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Amber G. » 03 Feb 2015 03:25

^^^ Thanks for pointing to this Physics today article. Very nice and historically very accurate article.... The real hero's (Like Salam and Usmani) were replaced or even disowned by Paki's and instead of having a "future MIT" the program morphed into eating grass and designing bums.

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Bade » 03 Feb 2015 06:19

I had not realized that Abdus Salam was instrumental in setting up this institute even before the one in Trieste. I had heard he had a visiting stint at tifr (?), need to check on that to be sure.

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby wig » 10 Feb 2015 10:54 ... 16482.html

the sailors of the USS Ronald Reagan were exposed to nuclear fallout from Fukushima when the Aircraft Carrier steamed towards it on a humanitarian mission. The sailors reported a metallic taste which signified that they were sailing through a cloud of radioactive fallout. Many of the sailors have since developed cancers.

'Uncertain Radiological Threat': US Navy Sailors Search for Justice after Fukushima Mission
On March 11, 2011, the American aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan received orders to change course and head for the east coast of Japan, which had just been devastated by a tsunami. The Ronald Reagan had been on its way to South Korea when the order reached it and Captain Thom Burke, who was in charge of the ship along with its crew of 4,500 men and women, duly redirected his vessel. The Americans reached the Japanese coastline on March 12, just north of Sendai and remained in the region for several weeks. The mission was named Tomodachi.
The word tomodachi means "friends." In hindsight, the choice seems like a delicate one.

Three-and-a-half years later, Master Chief Petty Officer Leticia Morales is sitting in a café in a rundown department store north of Seattle and trying to remember the name of the doctor who removed her thyroid gland 10 months ago. Her partner Tiffany is sitting next to her fishing pills out of a large box and pushing them over to Morales.

"It was something like Erikson," Morales says. "Or maybe his first name was Eric, or Rick. Oh, I don't know. Too many doctors." In the last year-and-a-half, she has seen oncologists, radiologists, cardiologists, blood specialists, kidney specialists, gastrointestinal specialists, lymph node experts and metabolic specialists. "I'm now spending half the month in doctors' offices," she says. "This year, I've had more than 20 MRTs. I've simply lost track."

She swallows one of the pills, takes a sip of water and smiles wryly.

It was the endocrinologist who asked her if she had been on the Ronald Reagan. During Tomodachi? Yes, Morales told her. Why?

The doctor answered that he had removed six thyroid glands in recent months from sailors who had been on that ship, Morales relates. Only then did Morales make the connection between the worst accident in the history of civilian atomic power and her own fate.

The Fukushima catastrophe changed the world. Nuclear reactors melted down on live television and twice as much radioactive material was released as during the Chernobyl accident in 1986. The disaster drove 150,000 people from their towns and villages, poisoned entire landscapes for centuries and killed hundreds of thousands of farm animals. It also led countries around the world to rethink their usage of nuclear energy. Fukushima is more than just a place-name, it is an historical event -- and it would seem to have changed the life of Leticia Morales as well.

It has been a painful experience, and not just because of the poor state of her health. It has also put her into conflict with her deepest convictions. The military she serves has told her that her mission on the coast of Japan was not dangerous to her health, but she is sick all the same. Morales joined the Navy when she was 19-years-old to give her life structure and a purpose, as she says. She spent a significant chunk of her youth in homes and at foster families because her mother was not able to care for her and her siblings. She only got to know her father as a grown woman. After joining, she went to basic training in the Nevada desert and then headed out onto the water.

Nice to Be Needed

Since 2008, she has been responsible for the flight deck on board the Ronald Reagan and about 100 sailors. The ship is a floating city, one with room for 100 planes below its decks. Its home port is San Diego, California, but Morales is stationed not far from Seattle in the state of Washington. She has spent a significant portion of her life on the world's oceans and has sailed past the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, China and Malaysia.

Usually, the crew only learns where they are headed once the ship has already cast off and headed out to sea. But the destination doesn't often change the routine on board, one focused primarily on training exercises and ship maintenance. Indeed, the missions are primarily intended to show the world that they are there, drawing US borders through the high seas. As such, says Morales, it is particularly nice to actually be needed from time to time.

The Ronald Reagan left San Diego on Feb. 2, 2011, heading for Busan, South Korea for a scheduled stop. It was still early in the vessel's semi-annual trip around the globe when Captain Thom Burke broke the news over the ship's PA system that a tsunami had struck Japan. He said the ship was heading for the Japanese coast to provide humanitarian assistance.

Morales hadn't felt anything, of course, with the open seas gliding smoothly under the ship. Furthermore, she had participated in a similar humanitarian mission after a deadly typhoon had struck the Philippines in 2008, so the diversion to Japan was nothing new for her. "It's what we do. We help," she says.

At first, she knew nothing about the explosions at the Fukushima nuclear power facility, but says that, during the journey up the coast, she experienced a metallic taste in her mouth. Others noticed it too and Morales says the sailors even exchanged concerned glances. People exposed to radiation often complain of such a metallic taste and Morales now believes that this was the moment when they sailed through the cloud of nuclear radiation that Fukushima sent out over the Pacific.

Nothing to Regret

On the morning of March 13, the USS Ronald Reagan reached the Japanese coast and saw the unimaginable devastation for the first time, with houses, cars and debris floating in the water. There were also dead bodies.

Morales gets tears in her eyes when she remembers the suffering she saw. But it also serves to remind her that the mission was worth it, that she and her fellow soldiers did what they could to help and that she has nothing to regret.

Not long after their arrival, they learned of the explosions at Fukushima, but Captain Burke assured them that they weren't in danger. People back home, though, were more concerned and Morales began receiving worried emails from her father. He had spent years working at a nuclear power facility and had conducted radiation experiments with dogs -- beagles, she says. Her father warned her not to go up on deck, to drink only bottled water and to take potassium iodide tablets.

Still, when volunteers were being sought to help load goods onto an aid helicopter bound for the mainland, Morales joined in, as did the others in her unit. That's what they do. They help.

They did their best not to worry about the invisible danger, but there were occasions when it couldn't be avoided. After they had been stationed off the coast for a few days, for instance, they were suddenly told over the PA system to stop drinking tap water and stop showering. Morales also learned that her partner, who was stationed in southern Japan at the time of the tsunami, had been evacuated with her unit to Guam, an island in the middle of the Pacific located a very long way from the destroyed reactor. But the Ronald Reagan remained and the captain gave the all-clear the next day, saying that tests had come back negative. Morales continued working with her unit on deck and they forgot their concerns. "I don't think that Captain Burke would knowingly put us in danger," she says. "The Navy would never do such a thing. They didn't know any better either."

In the Defense Department report submitted later to Congress, it says that the ship had never been closer than 100 nautical miles to the coast. But that's nonsense, Morales says. She trusts her recollections and says that they had actually operated quite close to the coastline. Only in April did they leave Japan's east coast for Sasebo in the far southwest of the country before heading to Thailand and then to Bahrain. On July 10, 2011, they arrived home once again; it was Morales' 32nd birthday. Two weeks later, she was promoted and her salary jumped by $400 per month.

It was summer in Washington when she arrived home and she would have largely forgotten about the mission in Japan if it hadn't been for the pesky forms she had to fill out: How long were you outside? Where were you exactly?

She wrote: I was always on the flight deck. The whole time.

'Uncertain Radiological Threat'

The last message she got from her ship's captain came via Facebook. He thanked his crew for the great mission, particularly for the Japan segment. "We have the pride that comes with superbly conducting one of the most complex humanitarian relief operations in history. Not only did we work through debris fields, cold and icing conditions, but we did not waver amidst an uncertain radiological threat. (...) We overcame our fear and we did our job superbly. Tomodachi was the highlight," he wrote. The message was posted on Sept. 8, 2011.

In May 2013, Leticia Morales suddenly began suffering dizzy spells. Her arm swelled up, her right hand looked like a baseball mitt and she had tunnel vision, she says. Doctors made computer scans of her brain and took numerous blood tests. Her general practitioner told her that there was something serious going on, but they weren't sure what it was.

The kidney pains began around Thanksgiving, 2013. Again, the doctors didn't know what was causing it, but they found a tumor in her liver. In January 2014, a doctor told her that the problem was focused on her spine and in February, they found a malignant growth in her thyroid gland.

Morales began doing some research and found that many of the symptoms she had been suffering matched up with those experienced by people exposed to radiation. "Some of the doctors I visited confirmed as much," she says. "But they couldn't confirm that I had become exposed while on board the Reagan. They couldn't, or didn't want to. What do I know?"

In the summer of 2014, she began experiencing cardiac arrhythmia and that autumn, they found metastases in her breast.

In the meantime, the Defense Department had presented Congress with the results of a study focusing on the Navy's part of Operation Tomodachi. The study concluded that even those sailors who had spent the whole time on USS Ronald Reagan's flight deck had not been exposed to dangerous levels of radiation. The report also found that their exposure to contaminated water during the mission did not exceed the total radiation experienced by passengers on cross-country airline flights. Furthermore, the report found, cancer caused by radioactivity develops much slower than that experienced by the ill sailors.

A Pentagon representative thanked Congress for its interest in the health of military personnel and said they had checked everything but found nothing suspicious.

Letitia Morales, meanwhile, was left with an endocrinologist whose name she couldn't remember, her thick medical files and the stories of a couple of other comrades on the flight deck who had also fallen ill.

A Serious Case of Hepatitis

But she also learned of a class-action lawsuit being prepared by two attorneys in California. They hoped to sue Tepco, the company that operated the nuclear facility at Fukushima, in the name of the 70,000 US soldiers and sailors who had spent time near the site of the accident. Morales contacted the lawyers, but it was important to her that the lawsuit was not aimed at the Navy. She is a soldier, after all, and wanted to remain loyal. She may have lost her health, but she hadn't lost her purpose in life.

The attorneys explained to her that it wasn't even possible to sue the military in America due to the Feres Doctrine, a Supreme Court ruling from the 1950s. It stipulates that soldiers cannot hold the state responsible for injuries or death resulting from military service. Reassured, Morales added her name to the class-action suit.

Those from her unit who had also become ill joined as well. Some of them live not far away from her in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, a region where Leticia and Tiffany feel comfortable as a lesbian couple. Last year, they bought themselves a brand new house in a neighborhood where the streets are named after US presidents and trees. Washington is a healthy, liberal state, a place where residents can legally buy marijuana just as they can Bud Light.

Brett Bingham, one of Morales' petty officers, lives in a brand new house of his own nearby. He has the neck of a football player, a smile like Channing Tatum, young children, several dogs and a three-car garage. The fourth is parked on the street. He donates blood twice a year.

Last year, though, shortly after making a regular donation, he received a letter from the blood bank telling him to call them immediately. They told him that he had a serious case of hepatitis and asked him if he takes drugs or otherwise might have used a contaminated needle. Bingham said no and consulted a doctor, who told him that he might be suffering from so-called "radiation hepatitis," a radiation-induced affliction of the liver that comes and goes. They performed a second examination and then a third before declaring him healthy. Still, he was no longer allowed to donate blood.

Ron Wright, a 24-year-old who joined the Navy in 2010, lives a few streets away. The voyage to Japan was his first mission abroad on an aircraft carrier and, the way things currently look, likely his last. He remembers standing with Morales' crew on the flight deck, the cold and the snow. But he also remembers the protective clothing they received after a few days: pants, jackets and booties to cover up their normal boots.

When they went down below decks following their shift, they would be scanned and they had to turn in the things that were deemed to be contaminated which were then burned and, Wright believes, dumped into the sea. Once, he even had to turn in his pants and, he still recalls, walk through the ship in his underwear. Everyone laughed, as did he. It seemed like a joke at the time. "They always told us that we were safe," Wright says.

Constant Companions

One month later, his testicles swelled up to the size of tennis balls, as he describes it, and the pain was unbearable. They were still in the Sea of Japan and a doctor on board recommended that the young sailor be flown out, partially because he didn't know what Wright was actually suffering from. Instead, he was given pain killers. And the treatment still hasn't changed: Neurontin and Percocet are his constant companions.

"When I asked if it might have something to do with the radiation from Fukushima, a doctor told me pretty gruffly no," Wright says. "He showed me some inquiry report from the Defense Department, but the pain didn't stop. I have been operated on seven times, always in military hospitals. Nothing has helped. There has been no diagnosis, just the pills."

Wright was unable to return to active service before the four years he had committed to expired. Now, he simply sits at home waiting for his next doctor's appointment. Mostly, he spends his time sitting in the kitchen, where he can look out the window at the forest, his dog at his feet. During a recent visit, his girlfriend was sitting on the sofa in the living room staring at her smartphone.

"What are you guys talking about?" she calls over at some point.
"About my balls," Wright says.
"Ah, okay," she says, without looking up from her phone.

The only sailor from Morales' unit who received a clear diagnosis is Theodore Holcomb. He had cancer of the parathyroid gland and it killed him in April of 2014. He is the first casualty of the aid mission Tomodachi.

Morales only learned from Holcomb's ex-wife how sick her fellow soldier was after he was too sick to talk on the phone. Holcomb never did talk much, particularly not about his problems, Morales says, but he was one of her most reliable seamen. He lived a long way away in North Carolina with his wife and then, later, with a friend in Reno, Nevada where he died.

"I think he was pretty messed up at the end," Morales says, "and I don't just mean his health."

They all only know each other from the ship. They live together for half a year and then they go their separate ways, to the furthest flung corners of the US. Most of them had to deal with their health problems all by themselves.

Left Without a Job

Theodore Holcomb died in the arms of his best friend Manuel Leslie. The two knew each other since the sixth grade and joined the Navy together. When Leslie got married, Holcomb was his best man and when Holcomb got married, Leslie returned the favor. Neither one of the marriages was destined to last. The Navy kills relationships, Leslie said, the women have to be alone so long.

In January 2013, Theodore Holcomb turned up at Leslie's house on the outskirts of Reno with a suitcase. The Navy hadn't extended his enlistment -- Holcomb had served for 14 years, but a pension only kicks in after 15. He was thus left without a job and his wife and daughter lived thousands of miles away. He had no idea what to do next. Leslie, who had left the Navy in 2006, could only imagine what his friend was going through.

Holcomb moved into the guest bedroom and the two unemployed veterans lived like school boys in a never ending summer vacation. Or like retirees. They spent a lot of their time outside, often going hunting together. Slowly, Holcomb left his life on the water behind and became used to his new reality. It took at least a year before his friend began to accept that it wasn't his fault he had been discharged, Leslie says.

And then, Holcomb got sick.

Shortly before Christmas of 2013, he suddenly had trouble breathing and the doctors told him in January that he had thymus cancer. The thymus is a gland located behind the breast bone and thymoma, as cancer of the gland is called, is extremely rare. One of the risk groups for this sort of cancer, however, includes those who have been exposed to radiation. Holcomb was 35 when he was diagnosed with cancer and chemotherapy began immediately. He lost over 10 kilograms (22 pounds) in a single month, Leslie says. Normally, thymus tumors grow slowly, but in Holcomb's body, the cancer spread extremely quickly.

Manuel Leslie drove back and forth to the hospital and organized a spot in a palliative care center once the end was near -- a nice place with a rose garden where the two ex-soldiers in their 30s could sit waiting for death. Just before he passed away, Holcomb forgave his wife, but he still didn't want her or his daughter to visit, preferring that they remember him as a strong man rather than, as Leslie says, the scarecrow he had become. Still, he wanted the opportunity to wish his daughter a happy fifth birthday. Leslie held the phone for him.

The girl said: But my birthday isn't for another five days, daddy.
I know, Holcomb replied.
He died that night. Manuel Leslie was sitting next to his bed.

Day in Court

He was cremated and his ashes were divvied up. His ex-wife in North Carolina received a third of them, as did his parents in California. His friend in Reno got the remaining third and he keeps the urn, a box made of cherry wood, on the mantel of his fireplace.

Leslie is sitting in the cafeteria of a department store in the desert 10 miles outside Reno. He is a short, stocky man who visited 26 countries while in the Navy, but now he is taking care of his parents, who are also suffering from cancer. The department store is dedicated to hunting and behind him are gun safes and mounted animals: antelopes, wolves and grizzly bears, but also elephants, lions and rhinos. Men and their children are standing in front of glass display cases and ogling machine guns worth $15,000.

Manuel Leslie hates the Navy, but he also loves it. It destroys lives, but it also saves them. It is both the meaning and the curse of his existence. His best friend became terminally ill because of his participation in a mission to help Japan. His grandfather was stationed on Hawaii with the Navy at age 16 when the Japanese attacked. He himself spent the best year of his life in Tokyo.

Leslie is now the executor of his friend's will, though there are really only two things that he has to do. One is keeping in touch with Holcomb's daughter. The other is ensuring that his friend gets his day in court. Leslie is representing his friend in the class-action lawsuit against Tepco, Toshiba, Hitachi, Ebasco and General Electric, all of which had a hand in operating or constructing the reactors at Fukushima.

The suit is being led by Paul Garner, an attorney who has already spent much of his life going after the companies for the damage they have done to the environment, for their violations of human rights or for making people sick. He is in his late 60s, is overweight and wears a sweaty red shirt. From the few hairs on his head, he has managed to create a thin braid. And he arrives to our meeting over one hour late.

He says that his old Mercedes wouldn't start, so he had his brother Bob -- a small, jumpy man in a Hawaiian shirt -- give him a lift. When the brothers walk into the deserted restaurant on the outskirts of Palm Springs, they don't look like two men preparing to file a billion-dollar liability suit.

But they were the first.

Screwing People Who Screw People

Bob Garner, who was part of Robert Kennedy's campaign team in the 1960s and who has been working on a great American book of poetry since then, met the father of Lindsey Cooper two years ago at a gas station in the desert. Cooper had been on board the USS Ronald Reagan during its voyage to Japan and the father told Garner that his daughter had come down with a thyroid complaint and that he knew of other sailors who had likewise become sick. Bob told his brother Paul about the meeting who then told his partner Charles Bonner, who runs a small legal practice in Sausalito.

The two know each other from the civil rights scene: Garner is a Jew from New York and Bonner is a black man from Alabama. In their free time, the two old men sit on Bonner's dock on a lake in the Californian mountains drinking wine and singing Pete Seeger songs. In their professional lives, the have sued companies like Chevron, Exxon and Shell. They were unimpressed by the report compiled on the Ronald Reagan by the Defense Department. Their motto is: We screw people who screw people.

Paul Garner sets a thick, greasy file folder on the table. After looking into the case, they contacted over 500 sailors who had become ill after the mission in Japan. Two-hundred-fifty of them answered and their stories form the backbone of the case they hope to argue before the court. Garner orders a soup and a sandwich and quotes from the dramatic stories told in his binder: The woman sailor who gave birth to a sick baby; the seaman who was told by the doctors that he had a genetic defect although his twin brother, a civilian, is completely healthy; the seaman who went completely blind after returning from Japan. There is another story of a seaman who was stationed in Japan with his family and became ill with leukemia. There is the Navy airplane mechanic who is suffering from an unexplained loss of muscle mass.

Garner runs down the list of illnesses and symptoms, a variety of different forms of cancer, internal bleeding, abscesses, tumors, removed thyroid glands, gall bladders extractions and birth defects. His brother Bob interrupts: "All that suffering, the pain. Those pigs." As Bob Garner holds forth on the fates of the sick sailors, he quotes Martin Luther King and Marx; he talks about how Hillary Clinton was ensnared in the military-industrial complex during her term as secretary of state. He compares Vietnam with Afghanistan.

"The ship is named Reagan. Reagan himself was a spokesperson for General Electric in the 1950s. You just have to add one to one," Bob Garner says. Will you finally shut up, his brother Paul interjects.

Moral Support

Paul Garner too wants to unmask capitalism. He too wants justice and compensation for the sailors who were aboard the USS Ronald Reagan. He wants to show just how strong the global atomic energy lobby is. He wants the trial to become a stage on which Bonner and Garner can show just how recklessly we are treating our planet.

It will be difficult to prove that their clients received unhealthy doses of radiation during the mission and became ill as a result. It may even be impossible. Lots of money will be at stake, but first of all, they have to convince a district court in San Diego that they can proceed with the lawsuit in the first place. Their first attempt was denied.

Paul Garner had asked the sick sailors to come to San Diego for an August hearing as moral support. Most, though, didn't dare show up, not even those who live in the city. Lindsey Cooper, for example. The woman who started the whole thing was torn apart on a CNN program by atomic energy experts and was later mocked on conservative radio shows. She doesn't want to relive the experience.

Kristian William, a helicopter pilot from Texas who flew aid goods from the Ronald Reagan to the Japanese mainland, suffers from cancer of the parathyroid gland, a rare form of cancer that is usually triggered by a high dosage of radiation. But he still doesn't want to go public with his suffering, he says on the telephone, because he is more afraid of being misrepresented in the media than he is of the cancer itself. Even Leticia Morales, the chief of the Ronald Reagan flight deck who encouraged her fellow soldiers to join the class-action suit, stayed away from the San Diego court. She didn't want to be photographed, she said. She is, after all, a soldier.

Coverage of the USS Ronald Reagan has been astoundingly limited. Here and there, the fate of an individual seaman makes it into the local news, but then it's gone again without anyone connecting the various cases. The Navy says it doesn't want to comment on an ongoing case. The Defense Department refers to the report compiled for Congress.

The sailors themselves don't want to be both ill and humiliated. They don't want to stand up to the Navy, their Navy, their country. The United States is a country that values its military, but it is also a country of lawyers. The soldiers have become trapped between these two fronts.

Nobody's Left Behind

Paul Garner told them that it took 20 years before the military recognized that Agent Orange, which was used liberally in Vietnam, was harmful to health and even life threatening. Twenty years is a long time.

In the end, only a single sailor from the USS Ronald Reagan appeared before the court in San Diego: Steve Simmons. A lieutenant in the Navy, Simmons is now confined to a wheelchair. A sticker on his wheelchair reads: Nobody's left behind.

At the beginning of June, 2014, Simmons was honorably discharged from the Navy for medical reasons at the Navy Memorial in Washington, DC. He wore his white dress uniform for the occasion and thanked the Navy for 17 great years, adding that he would have liked to remain in service for 30. Few people attended the event -- just one other wheelchair-bound serviceman who Simmons had met in the hospital and Nancy, his wife, who he had met over a dating-website belonging to his church. After his discharge, he moved with her and her four children to Utah, not far from Salt Lake City. The climate there is better for him than damp Washington DC, where he used to live. They built a ramp into their new house to make it wheelchair accessible.

Simmons got up at 4 a.m. so as to be on time for the court hearing that day, flying from Salt Lake City to San Diego via Los Angeles before driving to the courthouse in a rental car. After the hearing, he was to fly back home -- a round trip that cost him and his wife $700. But it is important for him. He finally wants some certainty.

Simmons' complaints began one year after he returned from Japan. His muscles began to fail and his hair started falling out by the handful. He got migraines, experienced bloody discharges, became incontinent and his fingers turned yellow, even brown on some days. His feet are now dark red in color and he experiences whole-body spasms; his liver test results are comparable to those of an alcoholic. Four years ago, he competed in triathlons and hiked in the mountains. Now, he can no longer walk -- and nobody can tell him why.

On his darkest days, Simmons finds himself leaning toward conspiracy theories -- toward the notion that a diagnosis has not been provided because it would require an admission that his suffering is caused by exposure to radioactivity. That, though, would mean that the Defense Department reports were intentionally inaccurate. He says there was one doctor who told him it was better that he didn't know what was making him ill. Early on, he was in a military hospital in Washington DC together with three other men who had similar symptoms, he says. They had served on nuclear-powered submarines, but they disappeared from one day to the next, and when he asked what happened to them, everyone acted as though they had never been there in the first place.

Ship of Ghosts

Simmons doesn't believe that the Navy is behind it, nor does he doubt the stated motives of their mission to Japan. He has participated in two tsunami-related aid missions and says he would join a third as well, were he able to. He says he frequently met Captain Burke at senior officer meetings during the critical period of their mission off the coast of Japan and says that he seemed concerned, but not heedless.

What bothers him, he says, is how quiet Burke has now become. Simmons believes his former captain is staying silent so as not to jeopardize his career. He is now in the Pentagon and would like to become an admiral, Simmons says.

"Personal, diplomatic and economic interests are all at stake," Simons says. "They're leaving us alone. They're closing their eyes, keeping quiet and waiting for it to blow over. There are sick soldiers everywhere, many in the hospital in San Diego, or in the medical center in Hawaii. They are ordinary folks who are poorly insured, with family and kids. Loyal and scattered. Most of them don't know how to react. Those who raise their voices are denounced in the Internet for being unpatriotic. You have to put up with a lot," Simmons says.

That is why he wanted to go to the court proceedings in San Diego. He sees himself as their representative.

When he rolled into the courtroom, he saw the lawyers from a large Los Angeles firm on one side of the room together with their teams of researchers. On the other side, he saw Paul Garner and Charles Bonner, the two civil rights veterans. In front, the judge seemed to eye Garner's shirt and hair-do with skepticism. Simmons says he'll never forget the self-satisfied smirks of the Tepco lawyers in their $3,000 suits.


The judge didn't ask Simmons a single question, so he remained silent. But Paul Garner built him into his speech, using Lieutenant Simmons as the face of suffering and speaking of him as an American hero and a pioneer. With Simmons' help, Paul Garner was able, during the 90 minutes available to him, to erase the grins from the faces of the industry lawyers from Los Angeles.

The court decision came in the mail a few weeks later. The class-action lawsuit, the court ruled on Oct. 28, may proceed. Oral arguments are scheduled to begin on Feb. 26.

The complaint is 100 pages long and contains the names of 247 sick sailors along with details pertaining to reactor construction, water samples taken, Navy tactics and Japanese politics. It assails company greed just as it does the negligence of those who built the Fukushima reactors -- and goes on to censure global politics and the cynicism of humankind. A kind of Old Testament fury infuses the text, and the complaint is so sweeping that it almost loses track of its true target. The USS Ronald Reagan appears therein as humanity's last ship. An aircraft carrier. A ship of ghosts.

Amber G.
BRF Oldie
Posts: 7186
Joined: 17 Dec 2002 12:31
Location: Ohio, USA

Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Amber G. » 10 Feb 2015 21:34

wig wrote:

the sailors of the USS Ronald Reagan were exposed to nuclear fallout from Fukushima when the Aircraft Carrier steamed towards it on a humanitarian mission. The sailors reported a metallic taste which signified that they were sailing through a cloud of radioactive fallout. Many of the sailors have since developed cancers.

Wig and others, I have posted this before many times, but it needs to be repeated again.

1. There were MANY stories like this, in the past and in the present, and some of these are in reputable papers.

2. I think it is nothing but shameful (and disgraceful) for news paper to report it without presenting the scientific view point to give a reader some perspective. The quotes of "victims" and pseudo/fake scientists are quoted without any mention of real science hoping that innuendo (or lack of other view point) will make the fake claims more valid. (For example, they will mention that a) that there was radiation, b) Many developed some cancer c) some (non scientists) believe that "that" radiation caused cancer d) some unrelated ( hundreds of times and different kind of radiation) correlation between cancer and radiation -
BUT THEY WILL LEAVE IT OUT that they found NO EVIDENCE that any scientist thought if that radiation caused any of that cancer)

3. For Fukushima, the cases of hundreds of thousands of people who have been exposed, have been followed since 2011 and very carefully studied. There is NO EVIDENCE that a SINGLE cancer (or death) has occurred due to the radiation released.

4. This is consistent with last 60 Years+ study, both in Lab, and followup of the exposed people, that there is NO evidence that low exposure (even 100x times more than what the sailors above received) has caused any (additional) cancer.

The reason these people can scare the general public is because -
1 - Most do not have much knowledge of radiation and cancer etc..
2 - Cancer is quite common.. about 20% people will die (in next 50-60 years) because of it . (Effect due to Smoking, for example, has statistical effect - effect due to low radiation, if there is any, has not been able to be measured)

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Tuvaluan » 10 Feb 2015 21:43

Thanks for your persistence, Amber G. The repetition of this nonsense over and over and every few months is quite tiresome, but looks like repeating what you said over and over everytime the canards start spreading is the only way.

This instructive chart from xkcd is always useful to convince people:

Instructive to compare the amount in Fukushima exclusion zone (1 msV -- same as three mile island) to the amount of allowed YEARLY dose exposure of US radiation workers (50 msV). Two fukushima plant workers received 180 msV and are the only ones known to have received a life-threatening exposure.

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Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Tuvaluan » 26 Feb 2015 06:59

Sounds more sensational that factual -- this happened many years ago, and Al Jazeera finds it newsworthy now.

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby anmol » 26 Feb 2015 08:05

Regional Nuclear Dynamics

George Perkovich |

Testimony February 25, 2015 Subcommittee on Strategic Forces of the Senate Armed Services Committee


The most immediately pressing objective of U.S. policy should be to apply vigorous, creative diplomatic and political energy to prevent another crisis between India and Pakistan, and if one cannot be prevented, to manage it with minimal escalation.

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Donnelly, members of the subcommittee, it is an honor to testify before you. I have worked on nuclear-weapons-related issues since 1982, first with a focus on the Soviet Union, then, after 1992, on India, Pakistan and Iran, and I have written extensively on each of these countries’ nuclear programs and policies. Over the past ten years I also have analyzed nuclear dynamics in Northeast Asia, particularly Chinese and Japanese perspectives on them.

Because time here is short and the range of topics you have asked my colleagues and me to address is extensive, I have concentrated my testimony on what I think are some cutting-edge strategic challenges in Northeast Asia and South Asia that need to be more creatively addressed by U.S. policy-makers. These are problems to which no one has tidy, feasible solutions—that is, solutions that would change to our complete satisfaction the military capabilities and behaviors we want other states to change, and thereby significantly reduce risks of conflict that could escalate to the use of nuclear weapons. This is largely because the other states involved have different interests and objectives than the United States does and will search for ways to pursue them. Knowing that they cannot compete directly and symmetrically with U.S. conventional and strategic forces, these states will often seek to develop and apply asymmetric capabilities and strategies to balance U.S. power. This is especially true of two of the states under consideration – the DPRK and China – whose governments fear the United States seeks ultimately to displace them. The challenge, then, for the United States and these states is to achieve tolerable stability, avoid escalatory warfare, and establish ways of getting along through political-diplomatic processes backed by balances of power.

I have divided my testimony into five key points that describe the regional dynamics at play and suggest priority policies the United States could pursue to mitigate instabilities and risks of nuclear escalation.

1. Complex causal dynamics drive the threat perceptions and nuclear requirements and policies of states in Northeast Asia and South Asia.

This is an analytic and conceptual point that must be recognized if the United States and others are to devise policies and deploy capabilities that will improve security and ameliorate instability in these two inter-related regions. Setting North Korea to the side for a moment, it may help to conceptualize the Northeast Asian and South Asian nuclear “system” in the form of two strategic triangles that are connected by a common node, which is China. The following diagram represents this idea.

The first triangle includes the U.S., Russia and China. Each of these state’s nuclear requirements and policies (as well as non-nuclear instruments of force, deterrence and coercion) affects and is affected by the other two states. For example, the United States has long seen Russia as a benchmark for determining U.S. nuclear posture and policy, and recently has factored China more heavily into policy calculations, including regarding strategic conventional weapons, cyberwarfare capabilities, and ballistic missile defenses. China in turn calculates its strategic military requirements and options by reference to current and potential threats that it perceives emanating from the U.S., and to a lesser extent from Russia.

The second triangle includes China, India and Pakistan. India seeks strategic capabilities to deter major aggression from China and Pakistan today and in the future. Many of the delivery systems and nuclear warhead capabilities India seeks are intended to increase its capacity to deter China, whose current and future capabilities in turn are driven in large part by perceptions of threat from the United States. Pakistan then seeks nuclear and other capabilities to balance what it perceives India to be acquiring. Many Indian analysts perceive that China is assisting Pakistan’s strategic acquisitions, so India seeks not only to balance China, but also to balance the gains Pakistan may achieve in cooperation with China. For its part, Pakistan increasingly perceives the United States and India to be cooperating in buttressing Indian military capabilities with which Pakistan must contend.

From the perspective of the United States, the main takeaway from this depiction of the strategic force dynamics involving these states is that policies, capabilities, and operational plans we develop to affect one of these states may cause others also to react in turn.

For example, a former commander of India’s strategic forces recently explained to me that “what the United States does to extend deterrence to its allies in East Asia affects China which then acts in ways that challenge India. The Chinese note and build up capability, strategy and philosophy to deal with what the United States is doing. The Chinese have deployed large numbers of conventionally armed ballistic missiles and cyber capabilities, and anti-satellite weapons to deny U.S. forces access into areas sensitive to them, primarily around Taiwan. Those capabilities could be used against India, too.”

Pakistanis constantly assert that the so-called U.S.-India nuclear deal could significantly boost India’s stockpile of fissile material that could be used to build up its nuclear forces. Similarly, they say, potential U.S. cooperation with India on ballistic missile defenses could require Pakistan to further increase the numbers and diversity of its missile armory and nuclear warhead inventory.

Of course, much the same could be said about China’s cooperation with Pakistan and Russia’s cooperation with India. This is not to suggest that the United States and these other states should desist from all such policies and activities. Rather, the point is that these policies and activities are inter-related more than is commonly recognized. If strategic instability is going to be redressed in Northeast and South Asia, each state, including the United States must be more willing than they heretofore have been to acknowledge and address how their own capabilities and actions affect the others. Among other things, this means that prospective policies must be considered in a regional context, not merely a bilateral one.

2. Regarding China, the most fundamental challenge for U.S. policy is to engage Beijing in tempering several forms of security dilemmas and affirming that neither state will initiate the use of force to change the territorial status quo in Northeast and South Asia.

In John Herz’s famous words (at least amongst wonks), the security dilemma is “A structural notion in which the self-help attempts of states to look after their security needs tend, regardless of intention, to lead to rising insecurity for others as each interprets its own measures as defensive and measures of others as potentially threatening.”

The United States and China confront security dilemmas of their own making in at least three domains.

One pertains to concerns of the United States and its protectorates – most acutely Taiwan and Japan – that China may use its growing economic and military power to coerce them in territorial and political disputes. China, for its part, has countervailing concerns that the United States and its allies may seek to apply military power to advance their preferred positions vis-à-vis China, particularly in case of a crisis over the political evolution of Taiwan as it relates to China. (China has a deeper concern that the United States seeks to subvert its political order and foster democratization. It is difficult for the United States to convince Chinese leaders that while we desire political change in their country we do not intend to use our military capabilities and policies to bring this change about). The famous “three communiques” issued by the United States and China between 1979 and August 19821 created a modus vivendi on these questions related to Taiwan, but both countries remain wary that it could be fragile. Each side in this security dilemma builds military power, and, in the U.S. case occasionally sells arms to Taiwan. Each also sometimes makes political declarations intended to preserve its defensive positions, but which the other side may interpret as expressions of intent to change the status quo.

A second security dilemma arises from each side’s build-up of non-nuclear forces—conventionally-armed ballistic missiles, naval and air forces, ballistic missile defenses, and cyberwarfare capabilities—which each justifies as means to defend against the presumed offensive intentions of the other. This dynamic creates arms race instability, whether of a symmetric or asymmetric nature. For example, China for years has steadily augmented its arsenal of conventionally-armed ballistic missiles and anti-satellite weaponry to offset the United States’ superior naval power projection capabilities. The United States’ ongoing ballistic missile defense program can be seen as an effort to maintain a long-standing asymmetric advantage in the nuclear domain, and as a way to offset China’s build-up of conventionally armed ballistic missiles. Both states, led by the United States, are developing conventional prompt-strike weapons. Additionally, the United States and China both are engaged in a cyberweapon arms race, with China trying to catch up to the United States.

A third security dilemma exists in the domain of nuclear policy. China fears that the United States seeks to acquire means to negate its nuclear deterrent, through some combination of offensive nuclear forces, future hypersonic conventionally-armed missiles, ballistic missile defenses, and cyberwarfare capabilities.

China is assessed to possess approximately 250 nuclear warheads. It is assessed to deploy between 50-75 ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons to the United States, and another approximately 60 intermediate range ballistic missiles suited for use against India, Japan or Taiwan. By comparison the United States’ operationally deploys 2,200 nuclear weapons. China is estimated to possess an additional 16 tons of highly-enriched uranium and 1.8 tons of non-civilian separated plutonium, compared to the United States’ stockpile of 604 tons and 87 tons, respectively. The United States and its protégés fear that China may someday add dramatically to its nuclear forces in ways that would undermine – along with conventional anti-access area-denial capabilities – the American deterrent extended to Taiwan and Japan. Each side in this competition does not adequately acknowledge how its own actions drive the other to take the actions that it sees as threatening.

To deal with these challenges, the United States does not need more or different nuclear forces than it already possesses and plans to possess after implementation of the New Start Treaty with Russia. In terms of capabilities, the greater imperative is to acquire and/or deploy non-nuclear instruments to preserve the United States’ capacity to quickly defend its protectorates against and to deter Chinese actions to initiate changes in the territorial status quo in the region. Such potential Chinese actions are very unlikely to involve its nuclear forces, and it is thus in the U.S. interest to counter with strong, symmetrical conventional capabilities.

A more immediately pressing need is to motivate Chinese leaders to join the United States and, where appropriate its allies, in articulating and authenticating policies that would reassure all sides in these security dilemmas that they will not initiate the use of force to change the territorial or political status quo or to otherwise coerce each other. To this end, it will be necessary for Chinese officials to understand the concept of the security dilemma and recognize how their words and deeds sometimes exacerbate it.

With regard to nuclear policy, the key dilemma concerns first-use of nuclear weapons. Retaliatory use of nuclear weapons is a comparatively straightforward proposition; the destabilizing factor is the prospect that the United States or China would initiate attacks—by nuclear, conventional, or cyber means—on the other’s nuclear deterrent forces and/or their command and control systems. The United States would be wise to overcome its politically motivated reluctance to assure China that it will not seek to negate China’s nuclear deterrent. Washington should do this out of recognition that mutual nuclear vulnerability is a fact of twenty-first century life with China, and attempting to negate this fact through a combination of new offensive and defensive systems would not succeed at a cost that the United States would find acceptable to itself. The language authored by a 2009 Council on Relations Task Force on U.S. Nuclear Policy chaired by William Perry and Brent Scowcroft could be a model: “mutual vulnerability with China—like mutual vulnerability with Russia—is not a policy choice to be embraced or rejected, but rather a strategic fact to be managed with priority on strategic stability.’”

For its part, China should be motivated to reciprocate constructively by clarifying that as long as U.S. policies and military capabilities reflect this assurance China will not significantly increase its nuclear weapon arsenal and threaten to use force to alter the territorial status quo and/or resolve “the Taiwan question.”

Such declarations of fundamental policy would not preclude the United States, China, or other states from modernizing and bolstering their strategic offensive and defensive capabilities, but they would provide a framework within which each party could explain to the other how its actions are not inconsistent with fundamentally defensive intentions and assurances. This would be constructive on its own terms, and could eventually create conditions for possible negotiation of arms limitations.

3. One of the most complicated challenges facing U.S. policymakers today is to reassure Japan that the United States has the resolve and capabilities to defend it against armed attack from China or any other state.

Extended deterrence is never easy to provide or depend upon. The protégé often will fear that its protector will abandon it. At other times, the protégé may fear that the protector will entrap it in a war that the protégé would otherwise seek to avoid. The guarantor, on the other hand, must convince the protégé as well as the adversary that the guarantor will put its soldiers and citizens and treasury at risk in order to defend another. This is especially problematic insofar as the protégé may itself act in ways that instigate a potential conflict, raising legitimate questions about whether the guarantor should or would invite the costs of coming to its defense in such a situation.

Extended deterrence is often conflated with extended nuclear deterrence. While it may be tempting to believe that the potential use of nuclear weapons always strengthens extended deterrence, the issue is problematic. Potential use of nuclear weapons in an escalating conflict can indeed strengthen the potency of the guarantor’s deterrent against a potential aggressor. But the very destructiveness that this portends also can weaken the resolve of the guarantor state’s population (should we trade Los Angeles for Taipei?) as well as the protégé’s population (if the United States uses nuclear weapons on China, China will respond first by targeting nuclear weapons at Japan). These possible reactions may tempt a potential aggressor into thinking that the mere threat of aggression that could escalate to nuclear use can split an alliance, or demonstrate the guarantor’s weak resolve, constituting a bluff that may be called.

On the other hand, if the guarantor’s resolve is unquestioned in the face of a countervailing nuclear threat, nuclear moral hazards may be created. Like a finance company whose managers believe that the government will bail them out if they face ruinous losses, the protégé may take unwise risks in its policies toward its adversary, feeling that the nuclear threat proffered by the guarantor will deter the adversary from reacting forcefully. The protégé also may under-invest in non-nuclear defensive capabilities that would otherwise obviate the need to resort to nuclear threats to deter the adversary, like a bank that does not maintain conservative levels of reserves to cover its commitments.

This sort of hazard has long affected the United States’ relations with its NATO allies, most of whom do not meet their commitments to devote two percent of their GDP to defense. Japan, too, has not always carried its full share of the defense burden with the United States. Its defense spending declined between 2002 and the arrival of the new Abe government in 2013. Now Japan is pursuing plans for an increase in procurement of major systems, and the United States and Japan have intensified exercises and other cooperative activities to solidify defense in the East China Sea. Still, the national government in Tokyo has not successfully overcome local governments’ reluctance to cooperate in relocating U.S. military bases on Okinawa. It is common in Washington to hear complaints that an administration is not doing enough to reassure Japan of the United States’ commitment to defend it; it is less common to hear of even private congressional remonstrance to Japanese officials that they should do more to buttress the alliance materially and diplomatically (vis-à-vis Japan’s neighbors). A careful complementarity is required to match increases in defense preparedness with political and diplomatic sensitivity to the concerns this can cause in states that experienced Japanese aggression in the 1930s.

These considerations can be applied to the issue that currently poses the greatest risk of potential conflict involving Japan and China, and implicating the United States as Japan’s protector. There is a cluster of islands and rock outcroppings in the East China Sea that Japan calls the Senkaku Islands and China calls the Diaoyu Islands. Japan incorporated the islands under the administration of Okinawa, in January 1895, during the first Sino-Japanese War. The United States took control of these outcroppings as a result of World War II, and returned them to Japanese control in 1972. China disputes Japan’s right to sovereignty over these islands. The United States does not offer a judgment on the disputed claims to sovereignty, but says that the islands fall within the territory the United States is obligated by treaty to help Japan defend. The Japanese government in late 2012 bought the islands from a private owner, explaining that it did so to prevent the nationalist governor of Tokyo from acquiring and developing them. Reflecting the logic of security dilemmas, China intensified its contestation over the issue, and deployed naval vessels and aircraft around and over the islands in order to manifest its claim and pressure Japan to proceed carefully. A non-trivial risk now appears that either state could act physically to change the status quo on or around these islands, and/or that the naval vessels or aircraft could collide, as happened with a Chinese fishing vessel and a Japanese Coast Guard ship in 2010. Such collisions could create a severe crisis that the highly nationalistic Chinese and Japanese governments could find difficult to de-escalate.

Were such a crisis to occur when China and Japan are led by strength-projecting nationalistic figures, the United States would face excruciatingly complex challenges. The first priority would be to resolve the crisis diplomatically. But this could be very difficult to do, depending on the circumstances. Japan and China would dispute whose actors and actions were to blame for the precipitating action. If the United States did not take its ally Japan’s side, whatever the merits of the case, some faction in Washington would decry the abandonment of an ally. And, if Japan were at fault and the United States did not acknowledge this for political-diplomatic reasons, China would become even more determined to press its claims on this dispute and others that involve U.S. allies. If evidence held that China was at fault, the political-diplomatic position of the United States would be simpler, but then the United States and Japan would likely find themselves in a potentially escalating conflict with China.

In either case, the United States and Japan would need to have the conventional military means to prevent China from creating new “facts on the ground,” for example by physically taking control of the islands. Failure to ensure this initial defense could create a situation where the United States and Japan would feel compelled to fight China to reverse its gain. Such a conflict could escalate and expand to a wider naval battle or blockade contest as each leadership would feel its credibility and political survival at stake. Were the United States and Japan not prevailing, someone in Washington or Tokyo would at least raise the prospect that the conflict could escalate to the use of nuclear weapons. After all, that’s how nuclear deterrence is supposed to work. Yet, would even implying a nuclear threat be advisable and therefore credible? Would and should the United States be willing to risk nuclear war over uninhabited rocks in East Asia that 99 percent of the American people have never heard of and could not find on a map? Recall, the issue here would be first-use of nuclear weapons: if China, despite its commitment and force posture of no-first-use, took steps signaling that it would break the nuclear taboo, U.S. recourse to retaliatory nuclear weapons reasonably would be on the table. But threatening to initiate the use of nuclear weapons in conflict that erupted over these disputed outcroppings—no matter how far it escalated—would constitute a profound over-reaction.

Japanese leaders and citizens may not appreciate this analysis. They may prefer to over-rely on the magic of nuclear deterrence. But statesmanship requires realism, dealing with facts and assessing strategic risks. Japan and the United States must recognize the imperative of developing and deploying diplomacy and conventional military power to prevent efforts by anyone to forcibly change the status quo surrounding this territorial dispute. The combination of clear commitments not to upset the status quo and demonstrable non-nuclear means to prevent anyone else from physically changing it constitutes the strongest possible extended deterrent, for it reaffirms a fundamentally defensive posture that augments national and international resolve.

The current and projected nuclear arsenal of the United States is more than sufficient to perform the physical requirements of extending nuclear deterrence to Japan against China. Nor is it evident that “strengthening” U.S. declaratory policy regarding the use of nuclear weapons would enhance (and not otherwise undermine) the feasibility and durability of the extended nuclear deterrent.

4. North Korea will not in the foreseeable future agree to relinquish all of its nuclear weapons and related capabilities. The near-term imperative should be to negotiate constraints on the buildup of DPRK nuclear capabilities and enforceable commitments not to transfer them to others.

Japanese and South Korean leaders are politically and psychologically unprepared to negotiate anything less than complete DPRK disarmament, for complex reasons. This in turn intensifies political pressures on any American administration not to deviate from this stated objective. This motivates North Korea to demand an exorbitant price for cooperation, which its interlocutors doubt the DPRK will fully implement in any case.

A more realistic alternative would be to bargain for incremental steps by the DPRK to stop increasing its nuclear stockpile and to eschew proliferation of nuclear materials and know-how to other actors. These forms of restraint by the DPRK could be more achievable at a lower price than the DPRK seeks for the illusory objective of total nuclear disarmament.

Acknowledging that DPRK will retain some nuclear weapons for the foreseeable future offends our sense of virtue, as does embarking on what amounts to a protection-racket arrangement to pay the DPRK for not damaging the neighborhood. But the perfect may be the enemy of the somewhat tolerable here: by acknowledging that the DPRK would retain a limited nuclear capability to satisfy its regime’s need to deter U.S. and other efforts to displace it, the United States and other negotiating parties would strengthen their leverage to obtain North Korean cooperation in mitigating its other threatening behaviors. Arguably, this is the best outcome that might be achieved today.

For such an adjustment in negotiating objectives to be sustainable, the United States, Japan, South Korea, China and Russia would need to devise a formula that would affirm their ultimate goal to be the creation of a regional security environment free of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. Such a goal is necessary to satisfy the political-psychological needs of South Korea and Japan. Yet, the prospect of freeing the Korean Peninsula of all nuclear weapons and (still to be defined) supporting infrastructure would be more realistic after the relevant parties had incrementally built mutual confidence by stopping the expansion of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal and infrastructure and authenticating that the DPRK was not transferring weapons, material, and know-how to others.

In terms of U.S. nuclear force requirements and posture, the nuclear threat posed by the DPRK is a lesser-included challenge that can be more than adequately covered by nuclear (and non-nuclear) forces that the United States will retain as part of its larger requirement to deter Russia and China.

5. India and Pakistan will continue to augment their nuclear arsenals. The imperatives now are to prevent another major terrorist attack from Pakistan against India and reduce the risks of escalation to nuclear war.

South Asia is the most likely place nuclear weapons could be detonated in the foreseeable future. This risk derives from the unusual dynamic of the India-Pakistan competition. The next major terrorist attack in India, emanating from Pakistan, may trigger an Indian conventional military riposte that could in turn prompt Pakistan to use battlefield nuclear weapons to repel an Indian incursion. India, for its part, has declared that it would inflict massive retaliation in response to any nuclear use against its territory or troops. Obviously, this threatening dynamic—whereby terrorism may prompt conventional conflict which may prompt nuclear war—challenges Indian and Pakistan policymakers. India and Pakistan both tend to downplay or dismiss the potential for escalation, but our own history of close nuclear calls should make U.S. officials more alert to these dangers. The United States is the only outside power that could intervene diplomatically and forcefully to de-escalate a crisis.

India is believed to possess approximately 90-110 nuclear weapons. It plans to deliver them via aircraft and/or a growing fleet of ballistic and perhaps cruise missiles. Available information suggests it keeps the nuclear bombs and warheads separate from their aircraft and missile delivery systems. With a historically entrenched doctrine of No First Use, and a strict insistence on civilian control over nuclear policy, India plans to mate weapons and delivery systems only when the need for their potential use appears imminent. While India retains significant quantities of plutonium outside of civilian control, which it conceivably could use to dramatically expand its nuclear arsenal, India thus far rejects ideas of nuclear war-fighting and corresponding development of a large nuclear arsenal, much as China does.

Pakistan is estimated to have 100-120 nuclear weapons, with a continually growing capacity to produce plutonium and highly-enriched uranium to expand this arsenal if it chooses to. Pakistan continues to add new missile delivery capabilities to its arsenal. Most noteworthy has been the development of the NASR 60-kilometre range missile, which Pakistan projects as a battlefield weapon to deter Indian ground-force incursions into its territory. Pakistan proffers the threat of initiating nuclear use if and when it would be necessary to defeat what it would perceive as Indian aggression from land, air and/or sea.

India faces two inter-related strategic challenges vis-à-vis Pakistan: to compel Pakistani authorities to curtail the operations of anti-Indian terrorists; and to deter Pakistan from engaging in escalatory warfare if and when India responds violently to a terrorist attack. The new prime minister of India, Narendra Modi came to power with a reputation for strong action, which he and his supporters juxtapose to the perceived weakness of his predecessors. Indeed, Modi’s government recently unleashed the Indian Army to retaliate with disproportionate force against traditional Pakistani artillery shelling across the disputed Line of Control in Kashmir. Senior advisors to the prime minister have said that there should be little doubt he will respond forcefully if India is attacked again by terrorists associated with Pakistan.

The questions are, what strategy (or strategies) and capabilities would be feasible and effective to enable India to motivate Pakistan’s security establishment to demobilize anti-India terrorist groups? If terrorist attacks cannot be prevented, how can India respond to them in ways that minimize risks of escalation that would be unfavorable to India?

Since the major Indo-Pakistan crisis of 2001 – 2002 following a terrorist attack on India’s parliament building, Indians have debated options ranging from Army-centric ground thrusts into Pakistan, precision airstrikes, covert operations, and non-kinetic efforts to isolate and sanction Pakistan.

Clearly, some actions that would most probably satisfy one of India’s multiple domestic and bilateral objectives would lessen the chances of achieving others. For example, satisfying the desire to punish Pakistan could be achieved by a relatively wide range of military actions and international economic sanctions. But the more destructive of possible military actions could raise the overall scale and costs of the conflict to levels disproportionate to the harm done by the initial attack on India, and invite unwelcome international responses. For example, a successful ground campaign into Pakistan would be most likely to prompt Pakistan to use battlefield nuclear weapons to stop Indian forces and compel them to leave Pakistani territory.

No theories in the existing literature or in other states’ practices offer guidance regarding how India could most effectively proceed here. Studies of strategies and tactics to deter and defeat terrorism have not addressed situations when the major antagonists possess nuclear weapons. Theories and case studies of nuclear deterrence and escalation management in a nuclearized environment have not involved cases where terrorists with unclear relationships to one of the state antagonists are the instigators of aggression and the “unitary rational actor” model may not apply. The Indo-Pak competition features both sets of challenges with the added complication that third states—primarily the United States and China—also figure heavily in the calculations of decision-makers.

All of this has implications for U.S. policymakers. Historically and today, the United States has not planned for its nuclear forces to serve deterring or war-fighting roles against Pakistan and/or India. Thus, South Asian scenarios do not figure in calculating the adequacy of U.S. nuclear forces.

However, there are possible scenarios in which the United States could become directly implicated in nuclear crises with Pakistan and/or between India and Pakistan. Pakistan fears that the United States in certain circumstances might conduct military operations to capture or otherwise neutralize Pakistan’s nuclear forces and fissile materials. Indeed, one of the most telling Pakistani reactions to the United States raid that killed Osama Bin Laden was to intensify efforts to hide and secure their nuclear assets. Some of these protective steps could be welcome insofar as they also could help secure Pakistan’s nuclear assets against possible efforts by militant non-state actors or rebelling military units to capture them. This scenario—radicals in Pakistan acquiring nuclear weapons and/or fissile materials—has alarmed successive U.S. administrations. Given fears of nuclear terrorism, it would be reasonable for relevant U.S. government actors to aspire to have the precise intelligence and capabilities required to, in a crisis, locate Pakistan’s nuclear assets and seek to remove or disable them. Whether the United States has the requisite capabilities cannot be gleaned from public sources, but the task would be extremely daunting given the number of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, the volume of its fissile material, and their dispersal to well-hidden and defended facilities.

In any case, while some Pakistani authorities might welcome a successful U.S. operation during an internal Pakistani crisis to keep the country’s nuclear weapon capabilities from falling into the hands of anti-state groups, the possibility of such an operation would generally be seen as deeply threatening to Pakistan. Few would be confident that the United States would only intervene when it might be welcomed; all would worry that the United States might intervene in a very different scenario in which Pakistan was embroiled in a conflict with India. Indeed, the worst nightmare for Pakistani strategic planners is a combined U.S.-Indian effort to negate, or at least degrade, their nuclear deterrent.

This may seem far-fetched today, and I am unaware of scholarly or official analyses of such a possibility. However, I think the following questions suggest that it would behoove the United States government to work discreetly on this problem. If India and Pakistan become embroiled in a major military conflict following a major terrorist attack on India attributed to Pakistan, and the United States detects Pakistan to be readying nuclear forces for use, should the United States intervene to prevent the use of nuclear weapons?

Consider that the United States and India are now self-proclaimed strategic partners, and many thousands of Americans live in India or regularly visit it, reflecting ever-increasing U.S. commercial investments and interests in India. Consider also the large and prominent Indian-American community who feel passionately about their native home and participate ever more actively in American politics. If nuclear weapons were being readied for use, with a real prospect of escalation to nuclear war between India and Pakistan, would U.S. leaders feel they should simply stand back and watch? If, God forbid, nuclear weapons were detonated and Americans were among the casualties, would not Congress demand an inquiry to learn “what did the president know and when did he know it, and why did he or she not act to try to prevent it?” Would there not be an expectation that the government had done contingency planning for such an emergency, given how long Pakistan and India have had nuclear weapons and how central the United States has been in resolving earlier crises between them?

Members of Congress are much better positioned to answer these questions than I am. But I would wager that there is some prospect that U.S. leaders would at least be expected to have prepared for such a contingency, even if the preparations concluded there was little that could be done physically to prevent it.

Indeed, it should be assumed that Pakistani military strategists are thinking of scenarios in which the United States might alone, or in cooperation with India, intervene in a looming nuclear conflict to stay Pakistan’s hand. In this case, Pakistani planners will be considering whether and how they could deter the United States from such intervention. Of course, inviting war, possibly nuclear war, with the United States would be a terrible risk. But in a scenario in which Pakistani military leaders were considering nuclear war with India already, and the United States was seen to be denying this recourse to a perceived existential necessity, this could be a risk that they could be willing to threaten to run.

I close by suggesting that, as in the earlier discussion concerning Northeast Asia, the nuclear challenges in South Asia will not be redressed by more or newer U.S. nuclear weapons or changes in U.S. nuclear doctrine. There is no evidence to the contrary. The most immediately pressing objective of U.S. policy should be to apply vigorous, creative diplomatic and political energy to prevent another crisis between India and Pakistan, and if one cannot be prevented, to enhance the preparation of Indian, Pakistani and American officials to manage it with minimal escalation.

The third communique, in August 1982, states in part: “The United States Government attached great importance to its relations with China, and reiterates that it has no intention of infringing on Chinese sovereignty and territorial integrity, or interfering in China’s internal affairs, or pursuing a policy of “Two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan.” The United States Government understands and appreciates the Chinese policy of striving for a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan question as indicated in China's Message to Compatriots in Taiwan issued on January 1, 1979, and the nine-point proposal put forward by China on September 30, 1981.”

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Shreeman » 26 Feb 2015 08:21

Tuvaluan wrote:Thanks for your persistence, Amber G. The repetition of this nonsense over and over and every few months is quite tiresome, but looks like repeating what you said over and over everytime the canards start spreading is the only way.

This instructive chart from xkcd is always useful to convince people:

Instructive to compare the amount in Fukushima exclusion zone (1 msV -- same as three mile island) to the amount of allowed YEARLY dose exposure of US radiation workers (50 msV). Two fukushima plant workers received 180 msV and are the only ones known to have received a life-threatening exposure.

Amber, Tuvaluan mahodaya,

The field (and its safety) is grossly under-evaluated.

That XKCD image is NOT meaningful, as it doesn't relate to nuclear power generation or any other nuclear usage. Medicinal sources are irrelevant here.
I don't know the purpose for pushing harmlessness of radiation exposure, but it doesn't necessarily have much to do with nuclear power or other meaningful usage. I personally wouldn't understate the risks.

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Tuvaluan » 26 Feb 2015 08:39

Shreeman wrote:I don't know the purpose for pushing harmlessness of radiation exposure, but it doesn't necessarily have much to do with nuclear power or other meaningful usage.

Shreemanji, not claiming radiation is harmless, but there is a lot of hysteria surrounding this -- if you had followed the hysterical claims made in the year after Fukushima, there was just an enormous amount of misinformation. I think it is useful to show that like everything else, there are limits of acceptable exposure to radiation and most people get exposed to such radiation below thresholds of tolerance. XKCD's illustration just gives an approximation of the relative level of risks under different circumstances. Not sure I understand what risk is being understated either by the cartoon or my earlier posts -- please elaborate if you will.

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Shreeman » 26 Feb 2015 09:15

Tuvaluan wrote:
Shreeman wrote:I don't know the purpose for pushing harmlessness of radiation exposure, but it doesn't necessarily have much to do with nuclear power or other meaningful usage.

Shreemanji, not claiming radiation is harmless, but there is a lot of hysteria surrounding this -- if you had followed the hysterical claims made in the year after Fukushima, there was just an enormous amount of misinformation. I think it is useful to show that like everything else, there are limits of acceptable exposure to radiation and most people get exposed to such radiation below thresholds of tolerance. XKCD's illustration just gives an approximation of the relative level of risks under different circumstances. Not sure I understand what risk is being understated either by the cartoon or my earlier posts -- please elaborate if you will.

Like chernobyl, Fukushima will never be properly investigated. There is no point in arguing about what is psuedo science either way. If experience teaches anything, it is to ask for more information, rather than to laugh at tin hats.

The japanese are being ridiculously cagey re. opening up the facts and figures. I note the horrors of Bhopal, there were so many children permanently harmed, and never noticed by ANY publication/study/statistics. Chernobyl had similar issues.

Now, re. the lower end. XKCDs chart is a relative illustration -- only adjectives if you will -- and exactly the same boxes can be labeled from the other end of the scale. It attaches no significance to values, only that these might occur in certain situations. Like how sunlight might give you skin cancer, or looking into the sun might damage your retinas. "Common" is not harmless.

To think than 50 units is something you will rarely experience annually does not count the numerous radiation badges routinely go over the limit for medical workers. We do not understand the long term impact of radiation in regular low doses, and quoting poorly designed studies is no alibi.

The less exposure to ionizing radiation, yes, even below 5 units annually, the better. Screw even the dental x-rays unless you have a history of dental issues. The dentists make a business out of them. Radiation oncology is a very elementary and dare I say weak science. There was a time when people checked shoes sizes with x-rays. Cancer is fun, only until you don't have it.

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Tuvaluan » 26 Feb 2015 09:45

Like how sunlight might give you skin cancer, or looking into the sun might damage your retinas. "Common" is not harmless.

There was a time when people checked shoes sizes with x-rays. Cancer is fun, only until you don't have it.

Yes, I understand what you are saying, but I am not sure there are any easy answers, as opposed to making hard choices, all of which will result in ill effects affecting people....with choices seem to be how many people will be affected and and with what geographical coverage. I think the days of living the simple life may no longer be tenable not least due to the pressures of human population on policy choices and governance. So if people choose carbon fuels, then is it better to pollute the air with carcinogens over a large area, as opposed to pollute people in the vicinity of a nuclear plant -- people are going to die in both cases, and we will never know exactly how many were affected due to these, and that too assuming that these causal factors can be isolated. Is it okay to not make the choices to mass produce energy for millions of people, in order to save a smaller subset of that population from the effects of cancer? And if that is okay, then people without access to energy will make their choices to survive and maybe destroy all green cover to chop wood for fuel, for example. Seems like the answer is to make a choice and change course based on experience if things don't work out.

I remember reading about above ground nuclear tests done decades ago (as an example of an extreme abuse of radioactive materials for the sake of "science"), and nobody is the wiser as to how many died or were affected or what unknown mutation resulted from those tests...but life seems to go on, and the number of people does not seem to go down, and govts. still have to do their is basically ugly any way you slice it. Not sure there any good answers no matter what the choice. Nuclear energy seems to provide lots of energy with localized effects compared to the alternatives, as opposed to air pollution or water pollution, which seems more dangerous as the number of humans increase to massive levels.

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Shreeman » 26 Feb 2015 11:14

Tuvaluan wrote:
Like how sunlight might give you skin cancer, or looking into the sun might damage your retinas. "Common" is not harmless.

There was a time when people checked shoes sizes with x-rays. Cancer is fun, only until you don't have it.

Yes, I understand what you are saying, but I am not sure there are any easy answers, as opposed to making hard choices, all of which will result in ill effects affecting people....with choices seem to be how many people will be affected and and with what geographical coverage. I think the days of living the simple life may no longer be tenable not least due to the pressures of human population on policy choices and governance. So if people choose carbon fuels, then is it better to pollute the air with carcinogens over a large area, as opposed to pollute people in the vicinity of a nuclear plant -- people are going to die in both cases, and we will never know exactly how many were affected due to these, and that too assuming that these causal factors can be isolated. Is it okay to not make the choices to mass produce energy for millions of people, in order to save a smaller subset of that population from the effects of cancer? And if that is okay, then people without access to energy will make their choices to survive and maybe destroy all green cover to chop wood for fuel, for example. Seems like the answer is to make a choice and change course based on experience if things don't work out.

I remember reading about above ground nuclear tests done decades ago (as an example of an extreme abuse of radioactive materials for the sake of "science"), and nobody is the wiser as to how many died or were affected or what unknown mutation resulted from those tests...but life seems to go on, and the number of people does not seem to go down, and govts. still have to do their is basically ugly any way you slice it. Not sure there any good answers no matter what the choice. Nuclear energy seems to provide lots of energy with localized effects compared to the alternatives, as opposed to air pollution or water pollution, which seems more dangerous as the number of humans increase to massive levels.

I tend to believe that there is no reason for panic if a) the excesses of the rich, and b) population explosion for poor/religion can be controlled. Technology is disruptive.

I am not arguing against nuclear technology, just that it is not a panacea. We don't understand enough because real world experience is about as closely guarded as ET secrets. And being lead to accept false choices is not very much fun.

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Amber G. » 09 Mar 2015 06:47

Shreeman wrote:
Amber, Tuvaluan mahodaya,

The field (and its safety) is grossly under-evaluated.

That XKCD image is NOT meaningful, as it doesn't relate to nuclear power generation or any other nuclear usage. Medicinal sources are irrelevant here.
I don't know the purpose for pushing harmlessness of radiation exposure, but it doesn't necessarily have much to do with nuclear power or other meaningful usage. I personally wouldn't understate the risks.

Sheemanji -
The field (and its safety) is grossly under-evaluated.


Only people who keep saying that know very little and feed on people's ignorance to sound scientific..

The field has been studied very well.. more than any other similar issue...

You don't have to take my word for it, just check ANY reputable source... do NECESSARY experiment etc..

Yes, more people believe in astrology but it does not mean astronomers do not know about motion of planets.... In my very humble opinion..

Bottom line: We have 60 years of very good data to understand, But most people are afraid (by their own ignorance and listening to fakes who do not understand science) of -- irrational fear of radiation.

As to "pushing harmless radiation exposure"...

Sorry boss, if you live on earth there is already about 4000 gamma rays hit you on average per second as background radiation ,,Nuclear lobby is not pushing it... As Muller writes in his text book -- to put this irrational fear in perspective.. we are radioactive and our body will be radioactive long after we are dead..

As to "I personally will not understand the risk"..

I think it is duty for every citizen to UNDERSTAND .. (Seriously folks, with good colleges, and internet source it is not difficult to learn )..

I think just saying that "you don't understand" is wrong if by that you mean all others also don't understand...


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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Amber G. » 09 Mar 2015 07:07

Shreeman wrote:[

That XKCD image is NOT meaningful, as it doesn't relate to nuclear power generation or any other nuclear usage. Medicinal sources are irrelevant here.


What's next - a reference chart to explain blood count (and what counts are normal etc) is not meaningful???

Just to point out obvious ..

XKCD image is VERY meaningful. It actually gives perspective for those who want to understand..

No it NOT pronuclear of antinuclear.../sigh/
It just charts, how much radiation typically you get from various sources/ exposes to human body.

It is like telling: Flashlight cell - 1.5 Volt, Car -12 V, House hold current 110 V ... etc..

(And hoping that people will understand that a battery in iPhone will not kill you like a power line)

Hope that helps.

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Amber G. » 09 Mar 2015 08:09

Disclaimer: The posts here are simply to educate fellow brfites. You are encouraged to look at reputable sources. (Nuclear Physics happens to be one of expertise)

Shreemanji - With all due respect, you are making many statements which are false, and to me it looks like you are talking about things which you do not understand.

Sorry to be harsh.. but let me make a few points only. Hope this helps. (Please take any online course, or study the subject to fully understand where I am not very clear or inaccurate)

Shreeman wrote:

The less exposure to ionizing radiation, yes, even below 5 units annually, the better. Screw even the dental x-rays unless you have a history of dental issues. The dentists make a business out of them. Radiation oncology is a very elementary and dare I say weak science. There was a time when people checked shoes sizes with x-rays. Cancer is fun, only until you don't have it.

Few points/comments based on not my opinion but on recognized "facts" (as supported by data) (For me .. it is like astronomy facts -- like earth is a planet of sun vs astrology-- that going to dentist today is harmful because Mars is in Ketu...)

There was a time when people checked shoes sizes with x-rays

Yes, but scientists soon learned. Based on data... we do know (say>100m Sv) will cause harm.

This DOES NOT prove that we still do not know.. No weak science. In fact pretty precise.

(BTW people also sold radium water, radium watches etc.. which were harmful... not to mention people used opium etc..)

There are people who died of radiation poisoning handling radioactive isotopes or electrocuted but many of us handle radioactive isotopes (like in smoke detector , or cat littler) or change flash light battery. :)
(Key point - to understand the quantity)

The less exposure to ionizing radiation, yes, even below 5 units annually, the better. Screw even the dental x-rays unless you have a history of dental issues.

This, to put it mildly, pure ignorance if not irrational fear..

You get >5 mSv if you live in Chennai, or Denver, or inside Rastrapati Bhavan... in fact there are places in Kerala with as much as 50 mSv. The places in Kerala where people are living for thousands of years, have been studied (Many studies.. just do google if more details is needed).. and no extra cancer rates have been found. This is science, not some claim without data.

As to radiation oncology - Again I must say you do not have a clue about its present situation...
Just a small example - Thyroid cancer (stage I and II) is 99+% curable by radiation oncology.

Yes cancer is not fun.. but cutting down on smoking etc helps. Low level radiation (with tons of data) finds no correlation to cancer..


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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Amber G. » 09 Mar 2015 08:22

Tuvaluan wrote:
Shreeman wrote:I don't know the purpose for pushing harmlessness of radiation exposure, but it doesn't necessarily have much to do with nuclear power or other meaningful usage.

Shreemanji, not claiming radiation is harmless, but there is a lot of hysteria surrounding this -- if you had followed the hysterical claims made in the year after Fukushima, there was just an enormous amount of misinformation. I think it is useful to show that like everything else, there are limits of acceptable exposure to radiation and most people get exposed to such radiation below thresholds of tolerance. XKCD's illustration just gives an approximation of the relative level of risks under different circumstances. Not sure I understand what risk is being understated either by the cartoon or my earlier posts -- please elaborate if you will.

Tuvaluan and All..
Nicely said - I encourage you to read what ever you can.. few choices I am sure you will like--

From MIT
Introduction to Radiation - Fukushima in the background ,,

Physics for future president by Muller is a nice book too.

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby Tuvaluan » 03 Apr 2015 07:24

The new safety requirements will have major implications. Capital costs for each nuclear power plant could increase by 10 to 20 percent. Moreover, these plans will likely push Chinese companies to develop homegrown Gen III reactor designs, instead of relying mainly on imported technology. China is constructing four plants with Gen III reactors purchased from the American company Westinghouse, and two with Gen III reactors from France's Areva. By the end of 2013, though, Beijing is expected to start construction on a Gen III reactor of 1,400 MWe based on a proprietary design developed by Chinese scientists.

No mention of what the Chinese "Gen III" reactor fuels are -- why give it the same name as the US and French reactors? Are the french actually allowing the chinese to steal their IPR? Seems that way.

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Re: International Nuclear Watch & Discussion

Postby chaanakya » 14 Apr 2015 12:33


Japan court halts restart of two reactors in blow to nuclear sector

A Japanese court on Tuesday issued an injunction to prevent the restart of two reactors citing safety concerns, in a blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to return to atomic energy four years after the Fukushima crisis.

It is the second court ruling in less than a year against reactors operated by Kansai Electric Power, the country's most nuclear reliant utility before Fukushima.

Local residents had sought an injunction against the No. 3 and 4 reactors at Takahama, arguing that restart plans underestimate earthquake risks, fail to meet tougher safety standards and lack credible evacuation measures.

A court official confirmed the ruling to Reuters, but did not provide details.

Public broadcaster NHK Television said the ruling stated that safety at Kansai Electric's Takahama plant, west of Tokyo, cannot be assured and the regulator's standards "lack rationality."

The ruling places a question mark over Japan's beefed up nuclear safety after Fukushima.

The reactors, located on the coast of Fukui prefecture in western Japan, have met safety regulations set by Japan's nuclear regulator and were expected to be restarted some time this year.

Kansai Electric said it would appeal the decision, but it could mean months, even years of delays and hundreds of millions of dollars in losses for the utility, which is about to report a fourth annual loss since Fukushima.

For Abe, resuming nuclear power - which supplied nearly one-third of Japan's electricity pre-Fukushima - is key to lifting the world's third-biggest economy out of two decades of anaemic growth

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