USA’s Fukushima At The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

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Recent series of Indian Point shutdowns worst in years

Ernie Garcia, elgarcia@lohud.com

BUCHANAN — Four unplanned reactor shutdowns over a two-month period at Indian Point are the most setbacks the nuclear power plant has experienced in years.

A review of unplanned shutdowns from January 2012 to the present showed this year’s events happened within a short time frame, between May 7 and July 8, in contrast with events from other years that were more spread out, according to data released by Indian Point.

So many mishaps at the Entergy-owned plant haven’t occurred since 2009, when one of two units at the Buchanan site experienced a similar series, said plant spokesman Jerry Nappi.

Besides a May 9 transformer failure that spilled some 3,000 gallons of oil into the Hudson River, this year’s shutdowns were prompted by a May 7 steam leak, a July 8 pump motor failure and a June 15 switch yard breaker failure offsite in a Consolidated Edison substation.

If a nuclear plant has more than three unplanned shutdowns in a nine-month period, its performance indicator could be changed by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which results in additional oversight. That’s what happened with Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Mass., after four unplanned shutdowns in 2013.

So far, Entergy said there doesn’t appear to be a pattern to the Indian Point shutdowns.

“You do want to look at these events holistically to see if there is something in common, but you also look individually to see what the causes were,” Nappi said. “A plant shutdown in and of itself is not a safety issue.”

One of the four recent Buchanan shutdowns triggered a special inspection by the NRC and calls to close the nuclear plant by environmental groups and elected officials. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said in the past Indian Point should close, but his office did not respond to a request for comment about whether the recent shutdowns have prompted any state scrutiny.

The NRC is expected to release a quarterly report on Indian Point this month that will address the transformer failure and, by year’s end, is planning an inspection of the transformer and an analysis of transformer issues since 2007.

Besides its transformer-related inquiries, the other three shutdowns have not raised “any immediate safety concerns or crossed any thresholds that would result in additional NRC oversight,” agency spokesman Neil Sheehan wrote in an email.

The unplanned shutdowns at Indian Point and Pilgrim in Massachusetts were mostly preventable, said Paul Blanch, a former Indian Point employee with 45 years of nuclear power experience.

“For this to happen this frequently indicates a deeper problem,” he said. “I believe it’s management oversight in the maintenance of these plants.”

Nappi said the transformer that failed May 9 and caused a fire and oil spill into the Hudson was regularly monitored. Investigators determined the failure was due to faulty insulation.

“The transformer inspection and reviews were in accordance with our standards and industry expectations, yet there was no indication the transformer was going to fail,” Nappi said.

The NRC conducted a separate, but related special inspection into the May 9 incident that focused on a half-inch of water that collected in an electrical switchgear room floor. Inspectors determined a fire suppression system’s valve failed to close properly.

Inspectors noted in their report that Entergy knew about that problem since April 2011 and replaced the valve but didn’t discover the actual cause — a dysfunctional switch — until after the fire.

Indian Point’s Unit 3 was down 19 days May through July, with the transformer failure accounting for 16 days. The shutdowns didn’t cause the public any supply problems because New York’s grid can import electricity from other states and New York has an energy plan to maintain reliability, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The nuclear energy industry judges a power plant on how continuously it produces energy, which is called a capacity factor.

There were 100 nuclear plants in the United States in 2014, a record year in terms of efficiency. In January, the Nuclear Energy Institute announced the U.S. average capacity factor was 91.9 percent.

Indian Point has an above-average efficiency rate. The plant’s Unit 2 and 3 reactors were each online more than 99 percent of the time during their most recent two-year operating cycles. They are currently in the middle of other cycles.

Preparing for New Iranian Deal (Daniel)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump is expected to announce soon that he will decertify the landmark international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, a senior administration official said on Thursday, in a step that potentially could cause the 2015 accord to unravel.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Trump is also expected to roll out a broader U.S. strategy on Iran that would be more confrontational. The Trump administration has frequently criticized Iran’s conduct in the Middle East.

Trump, who has called the pact an “embarrassment” and “the worst deal ever negotiated,” has been weighing whether it serves U.S. security interests as he faces an Oct. 15 deadline for certifying that Iran is complying with its terms.

“We must not allow Iran … to obtain nuclear weapons,” Trump said during a meeting with military leaders at the White House on Thursday, adding:

“The Iranian regime supports terrorism and exports violence, bloodshed and chaos across the Middle East. That is why we must put an end to Iran’s continued aggression and nuclear ambitions. They have not lived up to the spirit of their agreement.”

Asked about his decision on whether to certify the landmark deal, Trump said: “You’ll be hearing about Iran very shortly.”

Supporters say its collapse could trigger a regional arms race and worsen Middle East tensions, while opponents say it went too far in easing sanctions without requiring that Iran end its nuclear program permanently.

Iranian authorities have repeatedly said Tehran would not be the first to violate the accord, under which Iran agreed to restrict its nuclear program in return for lifting most international sanctions that had crippled its economy.

If Trump declines to certify Iran’s compliance, U.S. congressional leaders would have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Tehran suspended under the agreement.

Whether Congress would be willing to reimpose sanctions is far from clear. While Republicans, and some Democrats, opposed the deal when it was approved in 2015, there is little obvious appetite in Congress for dealing with the Iran issue now.

The prospect that Washington could renege on the pact, which was signed by the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, the European Union and Iran, has worried some of the U.S. allies that helped negotiate it.

“We, the Europeans, we have hammered this: the agreement is working,” said a European diplomat who asked to remain anonymous. “We as Europeans, have repeated … it’s impossible to reopen the agreement. Period. It’s impossible.”

French President Emmanuel Macron said last month there was no alternative to the nuclear accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

A senior Iranian diplomat told Reuters on Thursday the end result of Trump’s expected move would be to isolate the United States since the Europeans would continue to support it.

“Many foreign investors told us that they will not be scared away from Iran’s market if Trump de-certifies the deal,” the diplomat said.

Trump has long criticized the pact, a signature foreign policy achievement of his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.

The administration was considering Oct. 12 for Trump to give a speech on Iran but no final decision had been made, an official said previously.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally of Trump, last month said that unless provisions in the accord removing restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program over time are eliminated, it should be canceled.

“Fix it, or nix it,” Netanyahu said in a speech at the U.N. General Assembly annual gathering of world leaders on Sept. 19.

Many of Trump’s fellow Republicans who control Congress also have been critical of the deal.

‘CANNOT ABIDE’

Trump blasted the deal in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, also on Sept. 19.

“We cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program,” Trump said, adding that Iran’s government “masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy.”

Trump is weighing a strategy that could allow more aggressive U.S. responses to Iran’s forces, its Shi‘ite Muslim proxies in Iraq and Syria and its support for militant groups.

Trump’s defense secretary, Jim Mattis, told a congressional hearing on Tuesday that Iran was “fundamentally” in compliance with the agreement. He also said the United States should consider staying in the deal unless it were proven that Tehran was not abiding by it or that it was not in the U.S. national interest to do so.

When Mattis was asked by a senator whether he thought staying in the deal was in the U.S. national security interest, he replied: “Yes, senator, I do.”

Last week, Iran’s foreign minister said Tehran may abandon the deal if Washington decides to withdraw.

A State Department official said the Trump administration was “fully committed to addressing the totality of Iranian threats and malign activities and seeks to bring about a change in the Iranian regime’s behavior.”

The official said that behavior includes ballistic missiles proliferation, “support for terrorism,” support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, “unrelenting hostility to Israel,” “consistently threatening freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf,” cyber attacks against the United States and its allies, human rights abuses and “arbitrary detentions of U.S. citizens.”

”The JCPOA was expected to contribute to regional and international peace and security, and Iran’s regime is doing everything in its power to undermine peace and security,” the State Department official added.

The move also would represent another step by Trump that would undo key parts of Obama’s legacy.

If Trump moves to decertify the accord, it would mark another example of walking away from international commitments as he pursues his nationalist “America First” agenda. He previously announced plans to abandon the Paris climate accord and the ambitious 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, two key Obama achievements.

Reporting by Steve Holland and Yara Bayoumy in Washington; Additional reporting by Jeff Mason, Patricia Zengerle and David Alexander in Washington and Parisa Hafezi in Ankara; Writing by Will Dunham; Editing by James Dalgleish

We Will NOT War Against North Korea

“Beyond the bluster, Kim Jong-Un is a rational actor,” said Yong Suk Lee, the deputy assistant director of the CIA´s Korea Mission Center.

“We have a tendency in this country to underestimate his conservatism.”

“He wants to rule for a long time and die in his own bed,” Lee said at a conference on the CIA at George Washington University.

US politicians including President Donald Trump have repeatedly painted Pyongyang´s strongman as irrational and “crazy.”

But Lee said Kim´s focus is to stay in power, as shown by the brutal murder in Malaysia in February of his half-brother Kim Jong-Nam, which has been blamed on Pyongyang agents.

“All politics is local,” he said of the North Korean milieu.

The country´s long history of being surrounded by greater powers, too, means that the country is constantly on the defensive, and its leaders play that up.

“North Korea is a political organism that thrives on confrontation,” Lee said.

But Kim´s fierce defense of his position and his combativeness against Washington does not mean he will act irrationally now that he has the capacity to fire a nuclear-tipped missile at the United States.

“Waking up and deciding to nuke Los Angeles is not in his interest to survive,” he said.

The Saudi Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Image result for saudi nuclear weaponsRussia, Saudi Arabia may develop nuclear cooperation

TASS

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Khalid A. Al-Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia

MOSCOW, October 5. /TASS/. Russia has certain potential for cooperation in nuclear power with Saudi Arabia, which plans for boosting this energy sector, Russia’s Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak who co-chairs the Russian-Saudi inter-governmental commission told the Russian-Saudi investment forum on Thursday.

“We have a vast potential for developing cooperation in nuclear power. Saudi Arabia plans to launch a major nuclear power program,” he said. “Nuclear power may become one of the basic sources and an extra catalyst for the development of various industries and innovation technologies in Saudi Arabia. Cooperation in that sphere would be a logical confirmation and prolongation of strategic cooperation between our countries.”

Rosatom sent proposals to Saudi Arabia

Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom has sent its proposals to the Saudi party for the construction of a nuclear power plant in Saudi Arabia, head of Rosatom Alexei Likhachev told TASS.

“Of course, we have sent it,” he said, when answering the relevant question.

“I hope that we will reach an agreement on cooperation in peaceful atom and other areas, such as mobile sources of nuclear energy, small and medium-sized power sources, scientific research,” he noted.

“Saudi Arabia has got down to creating its own nuclear power industry. The first step has been taken – a request was sent for a parade of vendors prepared to build a major nuclear power plant,” he said.

Likhachyov said Rosatom hoped for cooperation with Saudi Arabia in building nuclear power plants and in creating mobile power sources.

“I do hope that we will achieve an agreement on interaction in civil nuclear power and along other lines, such as mobile nuclear power sources, small and medium capacity power plants and research,” he said.

In the summer of 2015 Russia and Saudi Arabia concluded an inter-government agreement on cooperation in civil nuclear power. Saudi Arabia’s government approved that treaty.

As he touched upon the new-comers to the nuclear power industry Likhachyov recalled Egypt and Turkey, where the first nuclear power plants would begin to be built soon, and also China and India, whose governments had already coordinated the sites for building their second NPPs.