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Ukraine could stage false flag operation on nuclear power plant to force Western intervention

By Ahmed Adel | January 25, 2023

The Ukrainian military are storing Western weapons in nuclear power plants in the hope that Russia will strike them. However, as Russia is unlikely to make this mistake, it cannot be ruled out that Kiev will stage a false flag operation to force direct Western intervention and increase the supply of weapons.

According to the director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergey Naryshkin, HIMARS missiles and other foreign air defence systems, as well as large-calibre artillery ammunition, are deployed at Ukrainian nuclear power plants.

“There is credible information that Ukrainian troops are stockpiling the Western-supplied weapons and ammunition on the territory of nuclear power plants,” Naryshkin said, according to a statement on the intelligence service’s website.

According to the intelligence chief, several cars loaded with “lethal cargo” were delivered by rail to the Rovno Nuclear Power Plant in western Ukraine during the last week of December alone.

“They rely on the calculation that the Russian Armed Forces would not strike nuclear power plants because they realise the danger of a nuclear disaster,” Naryshkin said.

He expressed the hope that no one in Kiev would deliberately think of blowing up the nuclear power plants in a false flag operation. False flag operations are often used by international terrorists, as seen on a frequent basis during the peak of the Syrian war, or by the US to justify their own invasions and interventions.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces often receive weapons that are of very poor quality. This fact alone heightens the risk of an accidental explosion, something that could unleash a nuclear catastrophe and be blamed on Moscow.

Alarmingly, in addition to nuclear power plants, the Ukrainian military also uses residential buildings to house Western weapons. Ukrainian soldiers are fully aware of the fact that the Russian military does not strike civilian populations. The Russian military does not strike at nuclear plants, especially as any spill over can directly affect Russian citizens.

Ukrainian soldiers on the other hand have consistently used civilians as human shields, even before the Russian military operation began in 2022, as reported by the United Nations. The Ukrainian military is desperate for more weapons, tanks, howitzers, and ammunition, and such an incident could unite the West in providing Kiev with what it demands.

Ukraine’s nuclear plants are located near the border with Romania, Slovakia and Poland. Therefore, delivering military equipment from the West is a relatively straightforward process. According to intelligence data, only in the last week of December, several railway wagons with “lethal cargo” were delivered from abroad via the Rafalovka railway station to the Rivne nuclear power plant, located only 170km from the Polish border.

None-the-less, according to Andrei Golovatyuk, a colonel in the Russian army reserve, Moscow will certainly find a way to destroy ammunition and Western weapons stores without endangering the lives and health of the civilian population.

“They are doing this on purpose so that the Russian armed forces cannot shell their weapons depots. But our army will certainly not do that to avoid damaging the nuclear power plant,” he added.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelensky, claimed that his country has never used nuclear power plants to store weapons.

“Ukraine has never stored any weapons on NPP territory, as falsely claimed by Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service. On the contrary, the Russian Federation seized the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and keeps its military there,” he said on Twitter, alluding that a military presence and weapons storage is the same thing.

Podolyak said that Kiev remained “open to inspecting bodies, including the IAEA” and that “Russian lies are aimed to justify their provocations.”

However, it does question what kind of “justification” Russia gets for its military operation by claiming that Ukraine stores weapons in nuclear power plants. Moscow obviously gains no “justification” and rather its justification is hinged on Kiev’s unrelenting fascistic policies towards minorities since 2014.

Rather, it is more likely that Podolyak is making nonsensical statements as Kiev is stunned that their false flag operation cannot be implemented because Moscow has already called it out. The Kiev regime is currently desperate for Western weaponry, particularly tanks, and was likely hoping that a nuclear incident could force the issue, or even better, force a direct intervention.

Podolyak tweeted on January 21 that “Today’s indecision is killing more of our people. Every day of delay is the death of Ukrainians. Think faster.”

However, even if US and German-made tanks start arriving in Ukraine, the situation is already too late for the Ukrainian military because it struggles to maintain a semblance of order in the face of Russia’s unrelenting onslaught. Rather, Kiev is responsible for the death of Ukrainians as it refuses to find a peace with Moscow. Therefore, it cannot be entirely discounted that as Ukraine becomes more desperate, it may resort to reckless measures, such as false flag operations on nuclear power plants.

Ahmed Adel is a Cairo-based geopolitics and political economy researcher.

January 25, 2023 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Nuclear Power | | 1 Comment

Nuclear Ukraine?

Kiev is capable of building an atomic device, and its leaders often outline such thoughts

By Olga Sukharevskaya | RT | January 6, 2023

Last year, Western media and high-ranking politicians actively discussed the possibility of Russian troops using atomic weapons in Ukraine. There has even been speculation on the likelihood of a nuclear war breaking out. However, it could be said that the risk is probably a lot higher on the other side of the barricades.

Ukraine’s Atomic History

Ukraine was a nuclear state after the collapse of the USSR, when 1,700 active atomic warheads remained in the country. Its politicians of that time had the prudence to abandon this status. The weapons were taken to Russia under international control, and their means of delivery were destroyed. Ukraine’s missile silos, with the exception of one which is now a museum near Kiev, were blown up, while its strategic bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons were either transferred to Russia or destroyed.

Despite this, there were still many nuclear specialists in Ukraine, as research into nuclear fission has been conducted in Kharkov since the 1930s. In addition, five nuclear power plants were built in Ukraine during the Soviet years: Zaporozhye, Rovno, Khmelnitsky, and South-Ukrainian, as well as the infamous Chernobyl, where an accident involving a power unit led to an explosion that spewed radioactive fallout throughout Europe.

In addition, uranium is extracted at a deposit in Ukraine’s Kirovograd Region and enriched at a plant in the city of Zheltye Vody. In the 2010s, there were plans with Russia’s Rosatom to build a plant in Ukraine that would produce fuel for nuclear power stations. However, these were abandoned after the Maidan coup in 2014, when the country adopted an adversarial stance towards Russia.

At present, three of Ukraine’s five original nuclear power plants remain under its control. Chernobyl, which continued to generate electricity even after the 1986 accident, was finally decommissioned in 2020, while Zaporozhye, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, has been guarded by Russian troops since last year. It is currently being run by Rosatom but does not produce electricity, largely for safety reasons. This is due to regular rocket and artillery attacks by Ukrainian troops, which have damaged numerous pieces of auxiliary equipment.

Push to Reobtain Nuclear Weapons

It should be noted that not everyone in Ukraine was happy that the country gave up its nuclear weapons. Ukrainian politicians have often failed to hide the fact that their dream of reobtaining nuclear weapons is not so much connected with their country’s security, as the desire to dictate their will to the rest of the world. Radical Ukrainian nationalists were particularly dissatisfied with the abandonment of the country’s nuclear status, and many of their manifestos contain a clause calling for it to be restored.

For example, “the return of nuclear weapons” is specifically cited as a goal in paragraph 2 of the Military Doctrine section in the program statement of the Patriot of Ukraine organization, while paragraph 7 of its Foreign Policy section reads: “The ultimate goal of Ukrainian foreign policy is world domination.” Patriot of Ukraine was created in 2014 by the notorious Andrey Biletsky, who formed it based on the ideology of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion and had dreamed of Ukraine possessing nuclear weapons as far back as 2007.

In 2009, the Ternopil Regional Council, which was then dominated by Oleg Tianibok’s neo-Nazi Svoboda Party (called the Social-National Party until 2004), demanded that Ukraine’s president, prime minister, and head of the Verkhovna Rada “terminate the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 and restore Ukraine’s nuclear status.”

Ukraine’s longing for an atomic bomb especially increased after February 2014. In an interview with USA Today in March of that year, Ukrainian MP Pavel Rizanenko called Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons a “big mistake.” And that was not just the opinion of one MP. Just a few days later, representatives of the Batkivshchyna party, headed by ex-Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko, and UDAR, headed by Kiev’s current mayor, Vitaly Klitschko, including the secretary of the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defense, Sergey Kaplin, submitted a bill on withdrawing from the non-proliferation treaty. Kaplin claimed that Ukraine could create nuclear weapons in just two years because it already had almost everything necessary: The fissile materials, equipment (except centrifuges), technology, specialists, and even means of delivery. In September of the same year, Ukraine’s minister of defense, Valery Geletey, also expressed the desire to develop nuclear weapons.

In December 2018, the former representative of the Ukrainian mission to NATO, Major General Pyotr Garashchuk, announced the real possibility of Ukraine creating its own nuclear weapons. In 2019, Aleksandr Turchinov, who usurped power in Ukraine in February of 2014, called Ukraine’s renunciation of nuclear weapons a “historic mistake.” Following him, in April 2021, the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Andrey Melnik, stated that if the West did not help Ukraine in its confrontation with Russia, the country would launch a nuclear program and create an atomic bomb. And on February 19, 2022, before the start of Russia’s special military operation, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky announced at the Munich Security Conference that Ukraine has the right to abandon the Budapest Memorandum, which proclaimed the country’s nuclear-free status.

Perhaps the most striking statement by a Ukrainian politician was made by David Arakhamia, the head of the Ukrainian parliament’s ruling parliamentary faction, Servant of the People. “We could blackmail the whole world, and we would be given money to service (nuclear weapons), as is happening in many other countries now,” he said in mid-2021.

Range of Possibilities

Is Ukraine technically capable of creating an atomic bomb? Absolutely. Yes, enriching uranium-235 to the purity necessary to set off a chain reaction would cost a lot, primarily to create centrifuges for separating isotopes. However, though this may be the most effective way to separate isotopes, it’s not the only one. The first American bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were created without the use of this technology.

In addition, it should not be forgotten that there are not only uranium, but also plutonium bombs. Breeder reactors are used to synthesize this chemical element, most often using heavy-water reactor technology, and research reactors are capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium. There is presently a nuclear research installation at the Kharkov Institute of Physics and Technology, and a VVR-M reactor suitable for plutonium production at the Institute for Nuclear Research of Ukraine’s National Academy of Sciences in Kiev. Until March 2022, there was a US-built facility in Kharkov that could produce isotopes by irradiating the starting materials with a powerful neutron flux, which could also be used to develop fissile materials for a bomb.

In addition, Ukraine has the technical capability to create a nuclear weapon based on uranium-233, rather than uranium-235, which is usually used. A similar bomb was tested by the US in 1955 during Operation Teapot, and its power was comparable to that of the Fat Man bomb that destroyed the Japanese city of Nagasaki. To obtain uranium-233, it is enough to replace one of the fuel assemblies of a conventional nuclear power plant reactor with a thorium-232 cassette, a supply of which is located near Mariupol, a city that was fiercely defended by Ukrainian nationalists from the Azov regiment earlier this year.

There is another indirect sign that both uranium and plutonium versions of nuclear weapons have been secretly developed at the direction of the post-Maidan authorities. At the beginning of 2021, Ukraine completely banned the export of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) to Russia, as was required by an agreement on its supply by Rosatom. SNF, among other things, is a source of weapons-grade plutonium, which can be isolated from fuel cells that have been in a nuclear power plant reactor.

Nuclear Power on the Brink of Disaster

Just as dangerous is the nuclear power policy pursued by the Ukrainian government.

Ukraine inherited five nuclear power plants with 18 active reactors from the USSR. Three of them located at the Chernobyl NPP were decommissioned by 2000. Five of the six reactors at the Zaporozhye NPP, three of the four reactors at the Rovno NPP, one of the two reactors at the Khmelnitsky NPP, and all three reactors at the South Ukraine NPP have exceeded their original lifespans and received extensions of their operating lives for another 10 to 15 years. The license extensions have sometimes been granted with violations of existing regulations since, after 2015, Ukraine’s State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate stopped cooperating with Russian vendors and has not overhauled reactor vessels, which become brittle after prolonged exposure to neutron radiation. Back in 2015, independent experts noted the critical condition of Reactor 1 of the South Ukraine NPP, which, nevertheless, has had its service life extended until 2025.

Ukraine’s Union of Veterans of Nuclear Energy and Industry sent a warning letter to the government in April 2020, arguing that the country’s nuclear energy sector was faced with a “threatening situation,” which, according to the authors of the letter, could well result in “a new Chernobyl.”

The lack of accountability, which led to the 1986 disaster, does not stop at neglecting the technical condition of the reactors that are not being properly monitored and maintained by their developers. During Viktor President Yushchenko’s administration, the decision was made to replace some of the standard fuel rods in Ukrainian reactors with unlicensed fuel assemblies supplied by Westinghouse Electric Company. In 2012, that experiment led to an emergency shutdown of Reactor 3 of the South Ukraine NPP, after Westinghouse fuel assemblies were damaged due to the specific design features of the American counterfeits.

That fuel assemblies fabricated by Westinghouse tend to malfunction in Soviet-designed reactors was not a revelation. They have repeatedly caused emergencies at NPPs in Finland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, but that did not deter the Ukrainian leadership. Not even losses of around $175 million caused by using non-standard assemblies persuaded Ukraine against conducting risky experiments with its nuclear assets.

The new ‘revolutionary’ government, which came to power in 2014, was quick to plunge into its own experiments with nuclear power together with Westinghouse, which was suffering from financial distress. For the company, which filed for bankruptcy in 2017, the Ukrainian market could have been a much-needed lifeline – however, it wasn’t to be, because it once again emerged that the counterfeit fuel assemblies were dangerous for VVER-type reactors. Emergencies at Ukrainian NPPs became a routine event, and yet Westinghouse assemblies accounted for 46% of all nuclear fuel used in Ukraine by the end of 2018.

These risky experiments went beyond using non-standard fuel assemblies. In the fall of 2014, Kiev sent direct orders to boost electricity production at the South Ukraine NPP by 5 to 7%. To achieve this, three VVER-1000 reactors were supposed to operate in “controlled runaway mode,” and a whole algorithm was developed by Ukrainian and British engineers. It was this type of experiment that resulted in the explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986. A potential disaster was only averted by an ‘Italian strike’ organized by the NPP personnel, who refused to fulfil outsiders’ orders. This might have been what former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen meant when he said: “We have, upon Ukrainian request, sent a small team of civilian experts to Ukraine to assist the Ukrainians in improving security of their civilian nuclear plants.”

‘Revolutionary expedience’ was used as a pretext for a mass exodus of experienced nuclear engineers from Ukrainian NPPs. As Ukrainian MP Viktoria Voytsitska said in 2018, literally all categories of workers were thinking of leaving Ukrainian NPPs, from steam engine drivers and riggers to engineers who controlled reactors and other high-tech equipment.

Provocation for Nuclear Escalation

After Russian forces assumed control of the Zaporozhye NPP, it became a target for incessant Ukrainian shelling, sometimes with the use of Western-made multiple launch rocket systems, heavy artillery, and attack drones. The plant sustained significant damage and was forced to stop generating electricity due to the destruction of auxiliary equipment and the threat to the reactors themselves. At the same time, an IAEA mission “was unable” to establish who was firing on the nuclear site, where Russian soldiers were present.

As the Western media was busy whipping up hysteria over the potential use of tactical nuclear weapons by Russia in Ukraine, it transpired that Ukraine was allegedly plotting a provocation of exactly that nature. According to Russian intelligence services, in October 2022, the Eastern Mining and Enrichment Combine in the town of Zheltye Vody and the Kiev Institute for Nuclear Research were in the final stages of developing a dirty bomb on the orders of the Ukrainian government. A missile plant in Dnepropetrovsk built a mock-up of the Russian Iskander missile, which was supposed to carry a radioactive charge and be “shot down” over the Chernobyl exclusion zone. The goal was to accuse Russia of using nuclear weapons and push NATO to retaliate in kind. In other words, to start a nuclear war in Europe.

All these facts mean that present-day Ukraine is arguably a real threat to nuclear security not just in Europe, but on a global scale. It has everything it would take, from irresponsible people in charge of safety and security at nuclear sites, to the technical capabilities.

Olga Sukharevskaya is an ex-Ukrainian diplomat.

January 6, 2023 Posted by | Militarism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 2 Comments

Will nuclear fusion power save us?

By Dr David Whitehouse | Net Zero Watch | December 14, 2022

“Nuclear fusion breakthrough,” are the world’s headlines today. Eventually we will have free, pollution-free energy. No CO2 emissions, we will be saved. I have lived with the promise of nuclear fusion all my life and it has always been decades away. It’s become something of a bad joke amongst the science community that fusion is always decades away.

Nuclear fusion liberates energy by combining light atoms – isotopes of hydrogen – rather than by using the radioactive decay of large atoms such as uranium and plutonium – nuclear fission. It could have many advantages; the reaction can be switched off (not possible with fission), it uses water as a fuel and produces very little waste. The question is how do you fuse atoms?

Obviously it isn’t easy. Every star in the Universe generates its energy this way but stars are big and places of great pressure and temperature, unlike the Earth. One way is to generate a hot gas of hydrogen isotopes – 100 million degrees or so – and confine it so that the hydrogen nuclei (for it will be ionised) fuse. The heating is done by microwaves and the confinement by a magnetic field, for anything physical would melt. The problem is that the plasma is unstable and so far the reactions are fleeting.

This is the basis of the major multi-national project to develop fusion, the $22 billion International Thermal Experimental Reactor (ITER)project (China, India, Japan, Korea, Europe, US) which is under construction in France and hopes to start tests in 2035 as part of developing the expertise to build a commercial fusion reactor presumably in the unspecified following decades.

Flash and Burn

Yesterday’s announcement involves a different technique. The US National Ignition Facility focuses a burst from a multitude of high-powered lasers on a grain-sized target that compresses to initiate fusion. The announcement by US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm was hailed by the world’s media as a great breakthrough in the developing technique of fusing atoms together, limitless, cheap, green were the adjectives used.

The announcement itself is a puzzle and had the feeling of being some much needed good news to announce. In reality although the experiments referred to took place a few months ago the “breakthrough” results were reported a year ago with the major advance being published in the Journal Nature in 2014. By one analysis 2.05 MJ of energy pumped into the pellet produced 3.15 MJ of energy. This does not include the 322 MJ needed to run the 192 lasers. So the story wasn’t a real breakthrough, just an advance. In any commercial development of this laser technique millions of fuel pellets would be needed for each reactor a year. At present they are tailor-made and cost almost $1 million each.

So why did the story lead some news bulletins? Given the announcement by Granholm it was clearly a story and in the main its coverage was good though some specialist correspondents clearly didn’t know the background and one science editor’s analysis of the event was puerile. I’ll leave it for an exercise for the reader to decide who I refer to.

Green Energy

But should nuclear fusion be part of the green energy debate? It is certainly not going to rescue us anytime soon. But I suppose linking fusion to green energy and the climate debate will help funds flowing.

Some would disagree with me and point to the many small, private companies that want to develop smaller-scale fusion reactors much sooner. They have acquired significant investment, some 30 firms have raised a total of $2.4 billion and General Fusion of Canada says it hopes for a viable reactor in the 2030s. CEOs of such companies see a payoff within a decade but to me it sounds like a sales pitch to attract further investment. Experts will privately say this is very wishful thinking.

In the mid-1990s I gave an after-dinner speech to a society of nuclear fusion scientists. I wondered out loud if the arrival of the first commercial fusion power would be as far in the future as the first hits of the Beatles were in the past. It took 50 years from the steam engine to trains and the same time between the internal combustion engine and cars. Nuclear fusion is a lot more difficult than such simple thermodynamic engines. Perhaps the desire for this energy coupled with advances in artificial intelligence analysis and control systems will speed up its development and the equations of history will be superseded.

A modern society needs high energy density power production systems. Without energy storage renewables are limited. We need fusion energy which has been promised for so long but I think humans will have walked on Mars long before we get commercial fusion power.


Commenter Rick Will says:

They spent $3.5 billion to produce the heating power of 10 grams of coal

They have spent USD3.5bn on the reactor to get a gain of 0.4MJ. Enough to vaporise 100 grams of water. Or equivalent to 10 grams of coal. Baby steps comes to mind. Power was impressive though. It appears the laser is rated at 1PW. Civilisation’s entire electrical generation averages 0.003PW. So the laser would not need to fire often to get a decent power output. But then it only produced a gain [of] 20%. So it would need 5 times the internal generation to that sent out.

I guess they say that these reactions can make big gains once the conditions are right but USD3.5bn to produce what you get out of half a cents worth of coal suggests it is still a big mountain to climb. Maybe within 30 years. Just as the last of the die-hard CO2 demonisers shuffle off.

December 19, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Fake News, Nuclear Power | | Leave a comment

French energy crisis deepens – Bloomberg

RT | December 19, 2022

France faces a greater risk of running short on electricity this winter after the nation’s grid operator, Electricite de France (EDF), extended maintenance halts for several nuclear reactors, Bloomberg has reported.

The utility announced on Monday that the restart of its Penly-2 unit has been delayed from January 29 until June 11, while the reopening of the Golfech-1 unit has been pushed back to June 11 from February 18, according to the outlet.

The halt of the Chattenom-3 reactor has reportedly been prolonged by one month until March 26, and the restart of Civaux-2 has been postponed by more than a month until February 19.

On Friday, EDF announced it would delay the startup of a new nuclear reactor in western France by several months into 2024 due to construction work having been extended. That project is already more than a decade late, according to Bloomberg.

France produces roughly 70% of its electricity from 56 nuclear reactors, of which over 20 are currently shut down, causing a sharp drop in power generation.

EDF warned earlier that longer than planned maintenance halts and repairs on almost half of the nation’s nuclear plants may turn France, which has traditionally been a power exporter, into an importer. The grid operator has also warned of a potential electricity shortfall in the colder months as heating demand rises while the utility grapples with reactor repairs.

This will also add to rising concerns over power supplies to neighboring countries, as France has long been Europe’s largest producer of nuclear energy.

December 19, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Nuclear Power | | 4 Comments

Delay at Finland’s New Nuclear Reactor Imperils Country’s Power Supply

Samizdat – 23.11.2022

Finland’s new Olkiluoto 3 reactor will remain offline longer than expected, and full-scale electricity production will not commence before 2023.

Its owner Teollisuuden Voima announced that an investigation into damage at the already much-delayed reactor’s feedwater pumps will continue for a number of weeks, with a knock-on effect on the schedule of regular electricity production. Due to the ongoing investigation, the exact timeframe for the launch of the reactor remains unknown, but was estimated as the end of January 2022 at the earliest.

During the ongoing investigation, maintenance work will continue at the plant unit’s turbine.

Further delays to regular electricity production at Olkiluoto 3 will have a significant impact on Finland’s electricity self-sufficiency. Since the reactor won’t be operational by winter, energy prices, already elevated as a result of Europe’s energy pinch, are likely to rise even further.

The damage to the reactor is thus a major setback for the cold Nordic nation, whose authorities had already warned of an elevated risk of shortages and even blackouts unless the reactor provides a reliable supply of electricity.

The latest delay increases uncertainty over the country’s power supply this winter, especially in January, national grid operator Fingrid stressed. Earlier this autumn, it predicted a peak electricity consumption in Finland of 14,400 megawatts for this winter, whereas domestic production, even with Olkiluoto 3 included, would only cover 12,900 megawatts.

Olkiluoto 3, a 1,900-megawatt European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR), was granted a construction permit in 2005 and was originally scheduled for completion in 2009. The order made Finland the first Western European nation in 15 years to order a new nuclear reactor, following a protracted nuclear scare driven by the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 and the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986.

However, the project has faced a long stream of delays, technical issues, cost overruns and legal disputes. With a breathtaking price tag of $11 billion already in 2018. Olkiluoto-3 has long been touted as the “flagship of European nuclear energy,” but has taken more than 15 years to complete, cost the Nordic nation dearly and ranks among the world’s most expensive buildings.

Europe’s energy crisis has been aggravated by Brussels’ ill-conceived energy sanctions against Moscow over its special operation in Ukraine. The EU in general has been heavily reliant on Russian fossil fuels, with Moscow supplying some 40 percent of its natural gas and some 27 percent of its imported oil before the conflict.

Nevertheless, despite this substantial level of dependence, the EU issued a blank ‘no’ to Russian fossil fuels as part of its massive sanctions campaign in a bid to “punish” Russia. However, as trouble with finding alternative sources arose, numerous EU nations are now resorting to austerity measures to conserve energy, with authorities issuing grave warnings about rolling blackouts.

November 23, 2022 Posted by | Nuclear Power | | Leave a comment

Ukrainian Troops Shell Zaporozhye NPP, Damaging Strategic Facilities: Official

Samizdat – 20.11.2022

Ukrainian troops subjected the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant (NPP) to massive artillery shelling, damaging strategic facilities, an adviser to the head of Rosenergoatom, a subsidiary of Russian state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom, told Sputnik on Sunday.

“The Ukrainian military launched a massive strike directly at the station. Twelve rockets were fired. It is known that six of them hit the cooling system of reactors, two — hit the dry cask storage [of radioactive waste]. The consequences of the shelling cannot be determined yet since the risk of repeated attacks remains,” Renat Karchaa said.
None of the Zaporozhye NPP personnel were injured, according to Karchaa.

Located on the left bank of the Dnieper River, the Zaporozhye NPP is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe by number of units and output. During the military operation in Ukraine, launched by Russia on February 24, the nuclear plant and surrounding area went under the control of Russian forces and have since been shelled many times. Russia and Ukraine blame each other for the attacks.

An international mission led by IAEA chief Rafael Grossi visited the plant from August 31 to September 5. IAEA observers have since been staying at the plant on a rotational basis. Following the visit by the mission, the IAEA published a report in which it confirmed the shelling of the ZNPP.

November 20, 2022 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

British nuclear submarine caught fire

RT | November 7, 2022

One of the British Navy’s Vanguard-class nuclear submarines was forced to abort a “top secret mission” after it sustained fire damage, according to a Sunday article published by The Sun.

According to the outlet’s sources, it took the efforts of the entire 130-plus crew, including many who were off-duty, to put out an electrical fire aboard the HMS Victorious, which was carrying Trident 2 nuclear ICBMs at the time of the incident.

While the fire was reportedly contained relatively quickly, the emergency situation declared by the ship’s captain forced the ship to shoot to the surface at an undisclosed location in the North Atlantic to vent out toxic fumes.

A Navy source reportedly explained to The Sun that “every seagoing member of the Royal Navy is a qualified fire-fighter,” and that this ensured that British ships and submarines were able to quickly respond to such incidents without affecting operational outputs.

Nevertheless, the damage caused by the fire prompted the submarine’s captain to abandon an unspecified “top secret mission” and order the vessel to return to base at HMNB Clyde in Faslane, Scotland.

The Sun noted that the 30-year-old vessel, which cost over $3 billion, is one of the Royal Navy’s four non-stop nuclear deterrent patrols. A Royal Navy spokesperson told the paper that the incident has not affected the continuous at-sea deterrent, but declined to provide any further details on submarine operations.

November 7, 2022 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power | | 1 Comment

U.S. Stockpiles $290 Million in NIH-Funded Radiation Sickness Drug

By Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D. | The Defender | October 7, 2022

In what pharmaceutical industry publication Fierce Pharma called “a troubling sign of the times,” the Biden administration this week purchased $290 million in anti-radiation drugs.

In an Oct. 4 press release, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS)  Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) announced the purchase of Nplate, a drug used to treat acute radiation syndrome.

ASPR — the federal agency tasked with preparing for disasters and public health emergencies — said the purchase was made “as part of long-standing, ongoing efforts to be better prepared to save lives following radiological and nuclear emergencies.”

HHS did not clarify why it bolstered the government’s Nplate stockpile, other than describing it as “part of our ongoing work for preparedness and radiological security.”

Officials downplayed any connection to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, adding that the purchase “was not accelerated by the situation in Ukraine.”

However, two days after the announcement, amid growing tensions related to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, President Biden said the risk of nuclear “Armageddon” is at its highest since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

The U.S. government in recent months has made several moves signaling a growing level of nuclear preparedness.

For instance, in late September, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity launched a new program, — Targeted Evaluation of Ionizing Radiation Exposure — which will investigate methods to detect low doses of ionizing radiation.

According to The Register, the investigation will work to “build a new understanding of the effects of low-dose radiation” through the use of technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, biomarker discovery and analytical biography.

The Ohio State University, the University of Washington, Areté Associates and Signature Science received grants to conduct the research over a three-and-a-half year period. The research will occur at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Lab and the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute.

Earlier this summer, New York City authorities raised eyebrows with the release of a 90-second nuclear preparedness public service announcement (PSA), which the New York Times described as “bizarre” and as “well watched,” but “not well received.”

At the time, NPR reported that New York City’s emergency management department “wants residents to be prepared if [a nuclear attack] does occur,” but that the PSA left many of the city’s residents “confused.”

Outside the U.S., countries neighboring Ukraine, such as Poland, reportedly began distributing iodine tablets in response to the threat of nuclear fallout related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict as a result of shelling around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

Developed under Project BioShield, with funding from numerous government agencies

Nplate is the trade name for the drug romiplostim, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January 2021 for the treatment of blood cell injuries that result from acute radiation syndrome.

The drug is an artificial protein that promotes the production of platelets — or blood-clotting cells — in the human body.

The drug first received FDA approval in 2008, for the treatment of immune thrombocytopenia, an autoimmune disorder that causes serious bleeding.

Amgen, the drug’s manufacturer, developed Nplate in conjunction with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, under the auspices of Project BioShield, signed into law in July 2004 by then-president George W. Bush.

Project BioShield, which incentivizes private companies to develop vaccines and countermeasures for biological, chemical, nuclear and radiological threats, provided funding for the latest $290 million purchase by the HHS.

BARDA — another arm of HHS — garnered attention in recent years for its extensive deals with COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers and for its promotion of COVID-19 countermeasures.

In 2020, BARDA promised Moderna up to $483 million to “shepherd” its COVID-19 vaccine through the FDA approval process.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) — headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci — also contributed to the development of Nplate.

For instance, during an April 2018 oversight hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, Fauci described NIAID’s involvement in the development and promotion of “radiation/nuclear countermeasure candidates,” including Nplate, for FDA approval under the Animal Rule.

According to the FDA, Animal Rule regulations “allow for the approval of drugs and licensure of biological products when human efficacy studies are not ethical and field trials to study the effectiveness of drugs or biological products are not feasible.”

In the case of Nplate, drugs.com states that the effectiveness of the drug for the purposes of treating radiation exposure “was only studied in animals, because it could not be studied in people.”

Also according to drugs.com, Nplate also is associated with several serious potential side effects, including the increased risk of a blood clot or stroke, an increased risk of developing blood cancers and “harmful effects on your bone marrow that may result in serious blood cell disorders.”

The site states that it is “unknown” if Nplate will cause harm to unborn babies.

Amgen, based in Thousand Oaks, California, describes itself as “A worldwide pioneer in biotechnology.”

The company’s board of directors includes members from The Aerospace Corporation, the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Northrop Grumman, Phillips 66, the University of California and Walmart.

The newly purchased stockpile will remain in vendor-controlled inventory, HHS said.

Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D., is an independent journalist and researcher based in Athens, Greece.

This article was originally published by The Defender — Children’s Health Defense’s News & Views Website under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Please consider subscribing to The Defender or donating to Children’s Health Defense.

October 8, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, Nuclear Power | | Leave a comment

Japan maintains sanctions but boosts its LNG imports from Russia

Japan’s economic woes are compounded by anti-Russia sanctions

By Ahmed Adel | September 20, 2022

Despite being one of the very few non-Western countries to join the US-led sanctions against Moscow, Japan has suddenly tripled the amount of liquefied natural gas (LNG) imported from Russia to solve its energy problem. Although the Japanese government plans to reduce its dependence on Russian gas supplies, it appears that Tokyo cannot immediately give up gas and fuel from the Eurasian country. 

According to the Japanese Ministry of Finance, Japan in August increased the amount of LNG imported from Russia by 211.2% compared to last year. It is noted though that crude oil imports in the same period year-on-year decreased by 20.3%. According to the data, coal imports from Russia in August decreased by 32.6% compared to the same period last year.

In the opposite direction, iron ore imports increased by 44.9%. In addition, Japan increased the number of vegetables and fruits imported from Russia by 154%, but reduced the amount of grain and soybean imports by 94-95%. While the total volume of goods exported from Japan to Russia in August decreased by 24.3% compared to the same period last year, reaching $384 million, the amount of Japanese goods imported from Russia recorded an increase of up to 67.4%, with a value of up to $1.15 billion.

The Japanese want to gradually reduce imports of Russian coal and oil, but Tokyo does not want to cut the amount LNG because this is a gas supply that plays an extremely important role in maintaining the country’s economy. 

At the end of June 2022, the G7, the group of leading industrialised countries in the world, which includes Japan in its ranks, announced a plan to reduce dependence on the supply of gas, oil, and fuel from Russia. However, the sharp increase in LNG imports from Russia to Japan seems to indicate a different truth. Not only Tokyo, but also many Western countries, will find it difficult to end their dependence on Russian gas in the short and medium term.

It is recalled that Japan’s energy self-sufficiency rate is only 11%, much lower than the US’s 106%, Canada’s 179%, and the UK’s 75%. Therefore, if Russia stops selling oil and gas to Japan, Tokyo will face a great risk of energy insecurity.

This month, G7 countries also announced their intention to impose a price cap on Russian oil. However, the EU itself cannot find a common voice on this issue, especially as Moscow has warned that “unfriendly” countries will not have the opportunity to import oil, gas and fuel from Russia if they impose a cap. This is a scenario that Japan wants to avoid. 

According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Japan’s total energy consumption in 2019 is equivalent to 247 million tons of oil, of which natural gas accounts for nearly 8.7%. Renewable energy (other than electricity) accounts for only a very small part, about 0.1% and even tends to decrease slightly over time. In recent years, Japan has not discovered any more natural gas fields of major commercial value. Japan, for its part, only produces about 2 million tons per year.

To meet domestic demand, Japan imported 82.9 million tons in 2018 – from Australia 34.6%, the Middle East 21.7%, and Malaysia 13.6%, but also from host of other countries. In fact, Japan uses LNG mainly for power generation through 37 LNG terminals, with the highest proportion belonging to JERA (42%) and Tokyo Gas (17%).

After the Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown, Japan changed its energy development strategy, focusing on the issue of safety and energy security. Along with that, Japan also strives to further enhance energy efficiency.

In the context of Japan’s limited potential to exploit renewable energy, the use of nuclear power is opposed by many domestic organisations. For this reason, LNG imports became a key strategy for Japan. By 2030, the share of LNG in Japan’s power generation capacity is forecast to reach 27%.

It is noted though that August marked the thirteenth month in a row that Japan has been importing products more than it has been exporting, with about half of the deficit coming from energy imports from the Middle East.

“The weaker yen is boosting (the cost of) imports at a time of surging energy prices. Energy and grain prices have shown signs of stabilizing recently, but the impact of the sharp drop in the yen will continue for a while with a lag,” one analyst told Japanese daily Mainichi.

In this way, Japan’s anti-Moscow sanctions are also affecting its economy, just as it is all across Europe. There is little evidence either that Tokyo is planning to reverse its sanctions, suggesting that its economic woes will continue to be compounded by the self-sabotaging sanctions imposed against Russia.

Ahmed Adel is a Cairo-based geopolitics and political economy researcher.

September 20, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Nuclear Power | , | Leave a comment

Poland receives US nuclear offer

Samizdat | September 13, 2022

The US has sent Poland a proposal to help build six nuclear reactors in the country in a bid to reduce carbon emissions and gradually phase out coal, the Polish Climate ministry announced on Monday.

Delivered to Poland’s Minister of Climate and Environment Anna Moskwa by US ambassador Mark Brzezinski, the proposal suggested that Washington and Warsaw create a detailed bilateral roadmap for the construction project, which is set to be finished by 2040.

“It’s more than a commercial offer, it reflects 18 months of work and millions of dollars spent on analysis and evaluations,” said a spokesperson for the Westinghouse Electric Company, a US firm bidding to take on the project.

US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm called the report “a major step towards Poland’s development of a robust civil nuclear industry that is zero-carbon emitting and will result in another European source of energy that is free from Russian influence.”

“This project has the potential to ensure that the Polish people can receive the safest, most advanced, and reliable nuclear technology available,” the politician added.

The Polish government expects the partner in its nuclear programme to take a 49% stake in the company and assist in managing and financing the plants, after providing the technology for them.

The government in Warsaw will now consider the US proposal, and make a decision before annual talks on technology issues this autumn.

Washington’s offer comes shortly after Poland claimed that it had become the “locomotive of development” for the whole of Europe, while questioning Germany’s supposedly misguided energy policies, which have been left in “ruins”.

“Germany’s policies have inflicted tremendous damage on Europe,” said Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, describing the phase-out of coal and nuclear power as “premature”. The leader also criticized Berlin’s decision to allow the construction of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines, and grilled Berlin for becoming energy dependent on Russia.

September 14, 2022 Posted by | Nuclear Power | , | 3 Comments

Switzerland May Build Radioactive Waste Storage Facility Near German Border

Samizdat – 11.09.2022

The Swiss Federal Office of Energy (BFE) has stated that an area of northern Switzerland near the border with Germany might be used for the construction of a nuclear waste storage facility.

The Swiss government has yet to approve a deep geological repository for spent nuclear fuel and other radioactive waste, due to be located in the region of Nordlich Lagern, north of Zurich.

BFE spokeswoman Marianne Zuend told Reuters that the project was initiated by the National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste (NAGRA), a company which plans to propose the Nordlich Lagern site on Monday.

“This is only an announcement of where they (Nagra) would like to build,” Zuend pointed out, adding that the BFE is overseeing the process.

She also said that “All the details will have to be elaborated now by NAGRA to be put into the official demand that they will submit in about two years’ time to the authorities.”

According to NAGRA, the proposal also has yet to get the green light from the Swiss parliament, with the government not expected to make a final decision on the site until 2029. The construction of the repository may only start in 2045.

AFP news agency, in turn, quoted NAGRA spokesman Felix Glauser as saying that they “chose Nordlich Lagern as the safest site for a deep geological repository.”

He referred to “extensive investigations” that he said “have shown that Nordlich Lagern is the most suitable site and has the largest safety reserves.”

The German Federal Ministry for the Environment has voiced concern regarding NAGRA’s plans, which were also slammed by Christian Kuhn, a member of the German parliament (Bundestag) from Baden-Wurttemberg.

He argued that the proximity of the planned nuclear waste storage site to Baden-Württemberg village in Hohentengen “poses a problem both during the construction phase and during the operation of the repository.”

Right now, there are four active nuclear power plants (NPPs) in Switzerland, which may reportedly continue their operation as long as their safety is guaranteed.

September 11, 2022 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power | , | Leave a comment

Kiev shelling damages roof of nuclear reactor fuel storage

The damaged roof of the nuclear reactor fuel storage at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant. © Telegram / vrogov
Samizdat – August 29, 2022

A Ukrainian strike has hit a reactor fuel storage at the Russian-controlled Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, local authorities said on Monday.

The roof of the building has been damaged as a result of the attack, Vladimir Rogov, the spokesman for Zaporozhye Region’s administration, said on Telegram.

He also posted a photo of a hole in the roof that was supposedly caused by the strike.

The affected storage facility holds fresh nuclear fuel for the reactors of the plant, which is the largest in Europe.

Russia said earlier that a Ukrainian drone targeting the nuclear facility had been shot down.

Moscow has repeatedly accused Kiev’s forces of targeting the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant – which has been under Russian control since March, but operated by Ukrainian staff – with artillery and ‘kamikaze’ drones.

It warned that those attacks could trigger a disaster that would eclipse the 1986 Chernobyl incident. Radioactive material could potentially reach Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Moldova, Belarus, and even Germany in a worst-case scenario.

Ukraine, meanwhile, has claimed that the Russian forces have turned the nuclear plant into a military base and that they’ve been shelling the facility themselves to pin the blame on Kiev.

Russia has repeatedly denied those accusation and urged for international inspectors to visit the site to assess the situation for themselves.

Earlier on Monday, International Atomic Energy Agency head Rafael Grossi announced that such a mission will take pace after all, with IAEA specialists expected to arrive at the Zaporozhye plant this week.

August 29, 2022 Posted by | Nuclear Power, War Crimes | | 2 Comments