The Awaiting Disaster at Indian Point (Revelation 6:12)

Richard Brodsky: Rethink subsidizing New York’s nuclear power plants

Published 9:46 pm, Sunday, March 27, 2016
One of the enduring untruths about nuclear power is that it is cheap.
The public concern about the consequences of a nuke disaster was always pitted against nuclear energy’s supposed economic benefits. We are bombarded by advertising by the corporations that own nuke plants about how important they are to the economy. However dangerous, whatever the risk of a Fukushima, Chernobyl or Three Mile Island, we can’t afford to close them down.
That myth has been permanently shattered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It’s not cheaper. They can’t operate without a subsidy. And a subsidy they may be about to get. This is all happening in the relative quiet of the state’s administrative bureaucracy.
Cuomo directed the Public Service Commission to come up with an energy plan that addressed climate change. This is a good thing. The consequences of global climate change to New York are obvious to anyone with eyes to see. The PSC has come up with a far-reaching plan, which can fairly be described as smart, bold and innovative. Also a good thing. Part of the plan is financial subsidies of old nuclear power plants. Not so good.
The PSC has properly focused on renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions. Nukes, whatever their economics, have relatively low carbon emissions. But economics, the excessive cost of nuclear power, was about to close the Ginna and FitzPatrick plants upstate. So Cuomo is proposing to subsidize the two plants, keep them open and benefit from their low carbon emissions.
Subsidies for nuclear power? There are better, safer and cheaper ways to meet the carbon reduction goals. And, at the same time, Cuomo remains committed to closing the downstate Indian Point plant. It is excluded from the subsidies, which may be legally difficult to achieve.
If it sounds complicated, it is. The move toward reduced carbon emissions in New York is the right thing to do. But the truth is that operating old, out-of-date nukes is a calculated safety and public health risk, one that is not worth taking. Better to put more emphasis on conservation and other renewable sources like wind and solar power, which are already included in the overall plan.
There are some conclusions to be drawn. We’ve begun to pay attention to the crisis in our transportation infrastructure. There’s a growing sense that we need to invest in roads, bridges and such. We have not paid attention to other vast infrastructure systems, like drinking water, telecommunications and energy.
As good a job as the PSC has done — with the exception of the nuke subsidy — these are too big to leave to administrative agencies. The long predicted crisis for all our infrastructure systems is upon us, and the Legislature and the governor need to elevate, and politicize, the major changes that are coming. The state will inevitably have to commit large sums of money to these systems, and voters should know about and participate in the decisions.
Cuomo stepped forward on a difficult issue, much to his credit. The overall strength of the Cuomo/PSC energy plan is clear. So are the public health and safety dangers of New York’s ancient, costly and technologically risky nuclear plants. The glaring problems of subsidizing nuclear power and the Indian Point anomaly need rethinking.
Richard Brodsky is a fellow at the Demos think tank in New York City and at the Wagner School at New York University

The Growing Risk Of Nuclear Terrorism (Revelation 15:2)

Credit Cristóbal Schmal

The recent attacks in Belgium and elsewhere would have been catastrophic if the terrorists had gotten their hands on nuclear weapons or even a primitive “dirty bomb,” which combines nuclear material with conventional explosives. International efforts to prevent access to such weapons have made significant progress in recent years, but there is still a long way to go.
The Nuclear Security Summit, started by President Obama in 2010, aims to address this problem by encouraging governments to secure and eliminate weapons-usable nuclear materials. The fourth of these meetings begins Thursday in Washington, with more than 50 world leaders, including President Xi Jinping of China, expected to attend, though not President Vladimir Putin of Russia.
In the last six years, such meetings have persuaded 14 countries and Taiwan to give up their weapons-usable plutonium and highly enriched uranium. Twelve others, including France, Russia and the United States, have decreased their stockpiles of nuclear materials. Many states have made nuclear-related facilities more secure and have strengthened cooperation against nuclear smuggling. Nuclear detection equipment has been installed at more than 300 international border crossings, airports and seaports.
But progress is slow, even though the need for enhanced protections has become more urgent, given the concerns that terrorist groups are seeking nuclear technology. More than 1,800 metric tons of nuclear material remain stored in 24 countries, much of it vulnerable to theft, according to former Senator Sam Nunn, co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit advocacy group. An increasing number of countries are pursuing nuclear energy projects, even though they lack the legal, regulatory and security frameworks to ensure that such programs, designed to produce power, not weapons, are protected, he said.
Experts say that many officials do not believe that nuclear terrorism is a serious threat. Even if the chances are small that terrorists will acquire a nuclear weapon, the fact that the potential consequences are devastating should propel summit participants to aggressively plug security gaps
Another effort to focus attention on nuclear threats is more quixotic but still valuable. The Marshall Islands, which decades ago was the site of 67 nuclear tests conducted by the United States, has brought suit at the International Court of Justice at The Hague against nations with nuclear weapons for failing to move toward disarmament, as required by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and international law in general.
The suit was initially filed against all nine nations with nuclear weapons, including the United States, Russia, France, China and Britain, which signed the treaty, as well as India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea, which are not treaty members. But only Britain, India and Pakistan have recognized the court’s jurisdiction and so are the only ones now subject to the litigation. The court is expected to decide later this year whether the suit can proceed. Though no one expects the court to force the nuclear states to disarm, a verdict against them could increase pressure on them to exercise more restraint.
Since the end of the Cold War, the United States and Russia have sharply reduced their nuclear arsenals, but Moscow has rejected further negotiations and both countries are pursuing costly new modernization programs. India, Pakistan and North Korea are also expanding their programs. There are signs that overall stockpiles of nuclear weapons and nuclear material material may again increase. That disturbing trend must be reversed.

Pakistan Rejects Nuclear Requests of Babylon (Daniel 8:8)

Pakistan Rejects US Calls for Curbing Tactical Nuke Weapons

A Pakistani-made Shaheen-III missile, capable of carrying nuclear war heads, loaded on a trailer rolls down during a military parade to mark Pakistan's Republic Day in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 23, 2016.

A Pakistani-made Shaheen-III missile, capable of carrying nuclear war heads, loaded on a trailer rolls down during a military parade to mark Pakistan’s Republic Day in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 23, 2016. 

Ayaz Gul
Pakistan’s top nuclear security advisor has rejected growing U.S. pressure and safety concerns about its production and deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons.

We are not apologetic about the development of the TNWs [tactical nuclear weapons] and they are here to stay,” said Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, an advisor to the so-called National Command Authority (NCA) and a longtime custodian of the country’s nuclear arsenal.

The institutions responsible for planning storage and operational deployments do make sure that “it is so balanced on ground in time and space that it is ready to react at the point where it must react and at the same time it is not sucked into the battle too early and remains safe,” Kidwai told a seminar at Islamabad’s Institute of Strategic Studies.

Response to US

He was apparently responding to last week’s testimony before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee by Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller, where she praised the “excellent” steps Pakistan has undertaken to secure its nuclear arsenal, but said Washington is troubled by the development of battlefield nuclear weapons.
She insisted that battlefield nuclear weapons, by their very nature, pose security threats because their security cannot be guaranteed when they are taken to the field.

“So, we are really quite concerned about this and we have made our concerns known and we will continue to press them about what we consider to be the destabilizing aspects of their battlefield nuclear weapons program,” Gottemoeller said.

Nuclear Security Summit

The tensions come ahead of next week’s Nuclear Security Summit in Washington (March 31 – April 1), where President Barack Obama and other global leaders will discuss terrorism threats related to radiological weapons and review proposed safety measures. Leaders of Pakistan and its nuclear-armed archival India will also attend.

Islamabad’s tactical nuclear weapons have been straining its traditionally rollercoaster ties with Washington since 2011, when Pakistan first tested and began producing its nuclear-capable “Nasr” ballistic missile, which has a range of 60 kilometers (36 miles).

FILE - A Nasr missile is loaded on vehicle during the Pakistan National Day parade in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 23, 2015.

FILE – A Nasr missile is loaded on vehicle during the Pakistan National Day parade in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 23, 2015.

Pakistani officials justify their development of tactical nuclear weapons by citing India’s so-called “Cold Start” doctrine, which they say is aimed at undertaking a quick, punitive, conventional military strike inside Pakistan.

While Pakistan’s long-range ballistic missiles can hit anywhere in India, Kidwai insisted the tactical nuclear weapons have been developed to keep the neighboring country’s conventionally huge military from imposing a limited conflict on his country for achieving “political objectives.”
“It compelled us to plug the gap that existed at the tactical level within the nuclear system,” the Pakistani advisor asserted. He reiterated Islamabad’s “full spectrum” nuclear weapons program is “India-specific” and described the neighboring country as “Pakistan’s only enemy.”

Pakistan-India rivalry

He criticized decades of U.S.-led international moves to penalize Pakistan for developing the nuclear program while “ignoring” Indian advancements.

FILE -A surface-to-surface Agni V missile is launched from the Wheeler Island off the eastern Indian state of Odisha April 19, 2012. India test-fired the long range missile capable of reaching deep into China and Europe, thrusting the emerging Asian power into an elite club of nations with intercontinental nuclear weapons capabilities.

FILE -A surface-to-surface Agni V missile is launched from the Wheeler Island off the eastern Indian state of Odisha April 19, 2012. India test-fired the long range missile capable of reaching deep into China and Europe, thrusting the emerging Asian power into an elite club of nations with intercontinental nuclear weapons capabilities.

Kidwai insisted that the punitive actions might have caused political and diplomatic setbacks to his country but said it has not impacted its efforts to defend the country against another Indian aggression.

“Pakistan would not cap or curb its nuclear weapons program or accept any restrictions. All attempts in this regard… are bound to end up nowhere,” he added.

The Pakistani advisor particularly criticized the American media for being “completely negative, hostile and biased” towards Islamabad’s nuclear program, accusing it of publishing misleading reports and claims that Pakistan possesses the world’s fastest growing nuclear program.

“I think it is politically-motivated because the developments that are taking place in Pakistan are of a very modest level, very much in line with the concept of credible minimum deterrence, and they are always a reaction to an action that takes place in India. So, Pakistan does not have the fastest growing nuclear program,” he said.

UK Prepares For Dirty Bomb In London (Daniel 8:4)

SAS prepare for radioactive dirty bomb in London amid fears of ‘spectacular’ ISIS attack

COUNTER-TERRORISM chiefs have been told to prepare for up to 10 simultaneous attacks amid fears of an Islamic State “spectacular”.

PUBLISHED: 04:39, Wed, Mar 23, 2016 | UPDATED: 07:37, Wed, Mar 23, 2016Images of a bus destroyed in the July 7 bombings
GETTY
 
The SAS are preparing to deal with 10 ISIS terror attacks which happen at once
Specialist troops are also training to tackle a dirty bomb laced with radioactive particles, deadly chemicals or biological agents on the crowded streets of the capital.
 

And the National Crime Agency has been ordered to crack down on firearms to head off the threat posed by British-born jihadis returning from Syria.
Last year’s November 13 attacks in Paris saw a gang kill 130 by carrying out attacks on three separate targets in one evening.The terrorists, including ISIS veterans who had fought in Syria, split into three groups.One cell botched its suicide bomb attacks on the Stade de France during the France v Germany football international, another shot up roadside restaurants while a third massacred 89 at a heavy metal concert at the Bataclan venue.
 A British minister said: “We used to plan for three simultaneous attacks but Paris has shown that you need to be ready for more than that. We are ready if someone tries with seven, eight, nine, 10.”
A bus destroyed in the July 7 bombings
GETTY

The July 7 bombings left 56 people dead in the capital in 2005

Army regiments outside London are already on standby to help the SAS and police cope with a multiple target attack.The army’s counterterrorist bomb disposal unit is also creating a team at Didcot barracks, Oxfordshire, to tackle a dirty bomb.
Islamic State jihadis
IG

Experts fear of a ‘spectacular’ ISIS attack on the streets of London

In recent months London has seen at least two major counter-terrorism exercises including the SAS dealing with mock home-made bombs containing the ingredients of weapons of mass destructionLast November’s Strategic Defence and Security Review said the Armed Forces could deploy up to 10,000 troops in support of police in the event of a Paris attack – though being able to mount an operation on that scale may be a few years away.
Metropolitan Police training for a terror attack
GETTY

Metropolitan Police while training for a terror attack in London

Their roles could range from sealing off areas under attack to helping in manhunts.Late last year David Cameron has said the security services had foiled seven IS plots against the UK in the past 12 months. But the security services are working round the clock to ensure no terrorists get through.