Australia Guaranteed To Be One Of Ten Nuclear Horns (Daniel 7:7)

Nuclear Taboo Under Review in Uranium-Rich Australia
Australian Nuke Test in 1960s for UK

Australian Nuke Test in 1960s

5:00 PM MST
February 11, 2015

(Bloomberg) — While Australia is home to the world’s largest uranium reserves, it has never had a nuclear power plant. Now, amid growing concerns over climate change, the government is weighing whether to reverse its long-held ban.
 
The state of South Australia, where BHP Billiton Ltd. operates the Olympic Dam mine, is setting up a royal commission to evaluate nuclear power’s impact on both the region’s economy and its carbon emissions. At the same time, the federal government is set to release within months an extensive report on energy that will explore the issue further.
Those reports will follow Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s comments in December that global warming has made the issue worth revisiting. It’s a significant shift in a nation where grassroots resistance to nuclear energy dates back to the 1960s. Still, any push to introduce nuclear power would face legal and political hurdles from community groups.

“This is going to open the door to a proper informed debate and a comparison of nuclear against other low emissions technologies,” said Tony Irwin, director of SMR Nuclear Technology Pty, a Sydney-based company that’s developing technology for small reactors.

The Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 tilted global public opinion against nuclear power, and Japan and Germany shuttered nuclear facilities.

Four years later, interest in nuclear power has been revived, in part because it has no greenhouse gas emissions. Kyushu Electric Power Co. has received approval to restart two reactors in Japan, while China is renewing its atomic ambitions with five reactors set to start construction this year.

Coal and Gas

While Australia exports uranium to nations including the U.S. and Japan, abundant coal and natural gas have precluded any pressing economic need in the past for nuclear power.

Coal, though, is now under fire because it’s the biggest man-made source of greenhouse gases. Abbott said in December that nuclear power should be considered to help reduce carbon emissions, calling it the “one, absolutely proven way of generating emissions-free baseload power.” Abbott is a member of the Liberal Party, part of the ruling coalition with the National Party.

Envoys from 190 nations — including Australia — will meet at United Nations-sponsored talks in Paris in December to draw up carbon-dioxide emission limits. The current goal calls for policy makers to keep global warming increases to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century.

“The world has a CO2 problem,” said Alan Finkel, president of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, a group with more than 800 scientists and engineers. “We need large-scale solutions. There is some awareness that nuclear, if well managed and well regulated, can significantly contribute at scale to reducing CO2 emissions.

‘Open Mind’

South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill also cited climate change when he announced the creation of a commission to study all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle on Feb. 8.

“I have in the past been opposed to nuclear power — all elements of it,” Weatherill told reporters. “I now have an open mind about these issues.” The involvement of Weatherill, a member of the Labor Party, means both sides of Australia’s political scene are examining this issue.

A domestic nuclear-energy industry would boost demand for uranium, which has surged 36 percent to $38.20 a pound from a low of $28 in May, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Australia has 31 percent of the known reserves, according to the World Nuclear Association, and is the third-biggest producer, behind Kazakhstan and Canada.

Uranium traded at $67.50 a pound before the earthquake and tsunami that crippled Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima nuclear power plant and triggered the worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

‘Probably Valid’

Creating the South Australian commission is “probably valid, given we are a supplier of uranium to the global market,” Andrea Sutton, chief executive officer of Energy Resources of Australia Ltd., said by phone. The Darwin, Australia-based company is controlled by Rio Tinto Group, and produces uranium at the Ranger mine in the Northern Territory.

The Australian government believes all energy options, including nuclear, should be part of any discussion about the country’s future energy mix, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said in an e-mailed response to questions.

There are significant hurdles to introducing nuclear power in Australia, said SMR Nuclear’s Irwin, who once operated eight reactors for British Energy Group Plc and also teaches at the Australian National University. Perhaps most significantly, there are federal prohibitions against the technology.

Conservation Council

A move toward nuclear energy would also face opposition from environmental and community groups. The Conservation Council of South Australia criticized the South Australia review, saying the state should focus on renewable energy instead.

The nuclear debate in Australia isn’t new, and it’s easy to look at history and come to the conclusion that there’s “very little likelihood that anything is going to happen,” according to the Australian Academy’s Finkel.

“The confluence of big environmental considerations, economic opportunity and new technology coming down the line might invigorate the debate,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Paton in Sydney at jpaton4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew Hobbs at ahobbs4@bloomberg.net Lars Paulsson, Will Wade

Babylon Preparing For Armageddon (Revelation 16:16)

After neglect, U.S. nuclear force seeing improvement: officials

Air Force Stealth Nuclear Bomber

Air Force Stealth Nuclear Bomber

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D.

(Reuters) – Renewed focus on the U.S. nuclear force after several scandals last year is improving conditions for airmen, but more work must be done, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said on Wednesday after an icy tour of the only U.S. missile and bomber base.

Work said missile launch officers and maintenance workers he met at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota were seeing the result of improvement efforts, including a deep cleaning of underground missile launch capsules and the purchase of new equipment.

But some parts of the nuclear force were still using floppy computer disks and 25-year-old computer technology, Work said after a tour of the base, where temperatures around 2 degrees Fahrenheit (-16 Celsius) were accompanied by blistering winds.

“Nothing is better than being able to look the troops in the eye, and the officers, and hear what they’re saying,” Work said. “It was really good to put eyes on target. We still have work to do.”

He said the morale of the troops he spoke to was good and they were seeing the impact of increased spending, including a rise in staffing levels. But he said they wanted to know whether the investments would continue.

Work’s visit to the base, the only U.S. facility housing both nuclear missiles and bombers, came a week after the Pentagon rolled out a 2016 budget that calls for $8 billion in new spending on the nuclear force over the next five years, including about $1 billion for the 2016 fiscal year.

Arms control groups have criticized the Obama administration for proposing a $534 billion Pentagon base budget that includes new spending on the nuclear arms.

“The administration’s budget request is deeply disappointing and a lost opportunity to make common sense adjustments to the current nuclear weapons spending trajectory,” said Kingston Reif, an analyst with the Arms Control Association.

But two reviews ordered by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last year concluded the force was plagued by a culture of over-inspection and micro-management, as well as a “consistent lack of investment.”

Hagel ordered reviews after a spate of incidents, including cheating on proficiency exams by missile launch officers and the sacking of the head of the force for drunkenness and bad behavior during an official visit to Moscow.

Hagel said he would seek a 10 percent increase in funding for the nuclear force, which cost about $15 billion annually. The funding request for 2016 fell slightly short of that figure, but the five-year amount was higher.

(Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

Saudi Arabia The Tenth Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7:7)

Nuclear Nuances of Saudi-Pakistan Meeting
Saudis' Parade Nuclear Bomb

Saudis’ Parade Nuclear Bomb
on February 12, 2015 at 10:00 AM
 

The visit by the chairman of Pakistan’s Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee will likely prompt concern in Washington and other major capitals that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have reconfirmed an arrangement whereby Pakistan, if asked, will supply Saudi Arabia with nuclear warheads. The main meeting on Gen. Rashid Mahmoud’s itinerary was with King Salman — the topics discussed were reported as “deep relations between the two countries and…a number of issues of common interest.” General Rashid also saw separately Defense Minister Prince Muhammad bin Salman — who presented him with the King Abdulaziz medal of excellence — as well as Deputy Crown Prince and Interior Minister Muhammad bin Nayef and Minister of the National Guard Prince Mitab bin Abdullah. The only senior Saudi absent from the meetings appears to have been Crown Prince Muqrin.

For decades, Riyadh has been judged a supporter of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, providing financing in return for a widely assumed understanding that, if needed, Islamabad will transfer technology or even warheads. It has been noticeable that changes in leadership in either country have quickly been followed by top-level meetings, as if to reconfirm such nuclear arrangements. Although Pakistani nuclear technology also helped Iran’s program, the relationship between Islamabad and Riyadh has been much more obvious.

In 1999, a year after Pakistan tested two nuclear weapons, then Saudi defense minister Prince Sultan visited the unsafeguarded uranium enrichment plant at Kahuta outside Islamabad — prompting a U.S. diplomatic protest. Last year, as Riyadh’s concern at the prospect of Iranian nuclear hegemony in the Gulf grew, Pakistan’s chief of army staff, Gen. Raheel Sharif, was a guest of honor when Saudi Arabia publicly paraded its Chinese CSS-2 missiles for the first time since they were delivered in the 1980s. Although now nearly obsolete, the CSS-2 missile once formed the core of China’s nuclear force. Pakistan’s first nuclear devices were based on a Chinese design.

Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, visited the kingdom January 23 for the funeral of King Abdullah and had also been there a couple of weeks earlier to pay his respects to the ailing monarch. The civilian leader and his military commanders have an awkward relationship — in an earlier term of office, Nawaz Sharif was overthrown in a military coup and sent into exile in Saudi Arabia — but Pakistan’s nuclear program seems above any civil-military partisanship.

The visit by General Rashid comes a day after Pakistan announced the successful flight-testing of its Raad air-launched 220-mile-range cruise missile, which reportedly is able to deliver nuclear and conventional warheads with pinpoint accuracy.

While chairing his first cabinet meeting as prime minister yesterday, King Salman announced there would be no change in Saudi foreign policy. In its own way, today’s top-level meetings with the Pakistani military delegation seem to confirm this statement, adding perhaps an extra awkward complication to the Obama administration’s effort to secure a diplomatic agreement with Tehran over Iran’s nuclear program.

Simon Henderson is the Baker Fellow and director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at The Washington Institute. 
Originally Posted on February 3, 2015
©2015 The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Reprinted with permission.

Too Late To Stop The Inevitable (Revelation 15:2)

As the Iranian Islamic Republic marks its thirty sixth anniversary, the US administration makes ever more clear its will to reach a nuclear deal with Iran at any cost.According to the Washington Post editorial board, in spite of the fact it habitually defends the talks and shuts down objections to them, the latest proposal from US negotiators “raises major concerns” about the probable consequences of inking an agreement along those lines.The apparent change of heart comes in response to reports indicating that the US is on the verge of allowing Iran to keep all or nearly all of its currently operational uranium enrichment centrifuges. The goalposts for an agreement have already been moved at least once. The Obama administration started the negotiating process a year ago with the demand that Iran reduce its stockpile of centrifuges to about 2000, but later more than doubled that figure to 4,500.
 Tehran has shown none of that sort of flexibility. Its proposal today is the same as it was at the beginning: Iran will give up none of its centrifuges over the short term, and will reserve the right to dramatically increase its enrichment capability within a few years after the signing of a final agreement.
We have a serious problem on our hands if this is as far as we can get with Tehran. And the problem is all the more serious if the US proves willing to let it go at that, essentially betraying the entire premise behind bringing Iran to the negotiating table in the first place.
Why would we do that? Well, many of Obama’s critics on this issue, including a surprising number of democratic congressmen, worry that it is because the president has mistakenly conceptualized Iran as an island of stability in the sea of volatility that is the Middle East. Indeed, a previous upsurge in criticism of the president came late last year when it was revealed that he had written at least three personal letters to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei insisting that Iran and the US have common interests and suggesting that the two should partner together in order to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The only way this could be justifiable is if Iran’s stability was not so interwoven with its government’s repressive strength, as wielded both at home and abroad. As it is, this is not like a partnership with another stable democracy, or even with the US’s established allies in the region. Instead, it reflects a policy that says, according to Michael Doran in an editorial in Mosaic Magazine, “To rid the world of rogues and tyrants, one must embrace and soften them.”
This is a fallacy that history proved repeatedly wrong! The embrace of tyranny, theocracy and extremism is fundamentally counter to our values. And not only is it cynically unprincipled; it is painfully impractical. Just consider what our embrace of Iran’s dictatorial leadership has gotten us:
The situation in Iraq and Syria has gotten worse, not better. Iran’s constant presence on the regional battlefields has made local forces subservient to a loose collective of Shiite militias. These may now be fighting ISIL, but they are doing so using the same terror technics as this organisation, turning the entire Middle East into a breeding ground for sectarianism, which encourages recruitment of militants on both sides of the divide.
And that promotion of sectarianism hasn’t been confined to Iraq and Syria by any stretch of the imagination. Just days ago, the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen dissolved the countries parliament, delivering what is presumably the penultimate blow to a stable, pro-Western government in the region, which US forces had been using as a base of operations in an ongoing fight against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, widely considered to be the most dangerous Al Qaeda offshoot.
In series of events that serve almost as a metaphor for what has been going on elsewhere in the region, the ascendance of the Houthi as a competitor to AQAP has actually led to an increase in local terrorist attacks and reprisals by both groups. Meanwhile, missiles and gunfire have been newly exchanged between Israel and Hezbollah, stemming from Iran/Hezbollah joint efforts to take up positions in the Golan Heights, on Israel’s border.

The Washington Post editorial board acknowledged last week that among other “major concerns” about the Obama administration’s approach to nuclear negotiations, critics have called attention to its apparent unwillingness to confront Iran about any of its aggressive expansions into surrounding territories.

It seems clear that, far from contributing to stability in the Middle East, the administration’s soft approach to Iran threatens to spread instability. Perhaps worse still, this policy has helped to reinforce Tehran’s tenuous hold on power, giving it legitimacy and financial rewards in spite of its non-compromise on the nuclear issue, despite the weakening influence of economic sanctions, despite the disaffection of the Iranian people, and despite the organized, international opposition to the regime.

In light of the rising tide of criticism, I remain hopeful that President Obama and his advisors may yet come to understand that the “island of stability” is a myth and that any attempt to ground ourselves with Iran will only result in us drowning in an increasingly turbulent Middle East.

If the president cannot be convinced of this, it will fall to the US Congress to push back against conciliatory gestures legitimizing tyranny. Senate Democrats already gave the president a wide berth when they agreed to delay voting on a new Iran sanctions bill until after the deadline for a framework nuclear agreement in March. I would urge them not to stand down for any longer than that, and to keep up alternative forms of pressure in the meantime, so as not to allow Tehran to make the world a still more dangerous place.

Brussels, 2015-02-11