Why New York City Will Be Shut Down At The Sixth Seal

Indian Point tritium leak 80% worse than originally reported

Published time: 10 Feb, 2016 22:12Edited time: 11 Feb, 2016 01:51

New measurements at the Indian Point nuclear power plant in upstate New York show levels of radioactive tritium 80 percent higher than reported last week. Plant operator insists the spill is not dangerous, as state officials call for a safety probe.

Entergy, which operates the facility 25 miles (40 km) north of New York City, says the increased levels of tritium represent “fluctuations that can be expected as the material migrates.”

“Even with the new readings, there is no impact to public health or safety, and although these values remain less than one-tenth of one percent of federal reporting guidelines,” Entergy said in a statement.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo raised an alarm last Saturday over the reports of groundwater contamination at Indian Point, noting that the company reported “alarming levels of radioactivity” at three monitoring wells, with “radioactivity increasing nearly 65,000 percent” at one of them.

The groundwater wells have no contact with any drinking water supplies, and the spill will dissipate before it reaches the Hudson River, a senior Entergy executive argued Tuesday, suggesting the increased state scrutiny was driven by the company’s decision to shut down another nuclear power plant.

“There are a number of stakeholders, including the governor, who do not like the fact that we are having to close Fitzpatrick,” Michael Twomey, Entergy’s vice president of external affairs, said during an appearance on ‘The Capitol Pressroom,’ a show on WCNY public radio.

The James A. Fitzpatrick plant is located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, near Oswego, New York. Entergy said it intended to close the plant once it runs out of fuel sometime this year, citing its continued operations as unprofitable.

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant on the Hudson river © wikipedia.org

‘65,000% radioactivity spike’: New York Gov. orders probe into water leak at Indian Point

“We’re not satisfied with this event. This was not up to our expectations,” Twomey said, adding that the Indian Point spill should be seen in context.

Though it has never reported a reactor problem, the Indian Point facility has been plagued by issues with transformers, cooling systems, and other electrical components over the years. It currently operates two reactors, both brought on-line in the 1970s.

In December, the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission allowed Entergy to continue operating the reactors, pending license renewal. The facility’s initial 40-year license was set to expire on December 12, but the regulators are reportedly leaning towards recommending a 20-year extension.

By contrast, Reactor 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Pripyat, Ukraine was only three years old when it exploded in April 1986. To this day, an area of 1000 square miles around the power plant remains the “exclusion zone,” where human habitation is prohibited.

The tritium leak at Indian Point most likely took place in January, during the preparations to shut down Reactor 2 for refueling, according to Entergy. Water containing high levels of the hydrogen isotope reportedly overfilled the drains and spilled into the ground.

According to Entergy, tritium is a “low hazard radionuclide” because it emits low-energy beta particles, which do not penetrate the skin. “People could be harmed by tritium only through internal exposure caused by drinking water with high levels of tritium over many years,” an Entergy fact sheet says.

Environmentalist critics are not convinced, however.

“This plant isn’t safe anymore,” Paul Gallay, president of environmental watchdog group

Riverkeeper, told the New York Daily News. “Everybody knows it and only Entergy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission refuse to admit it.”

32 Palestinians wounded outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

32 Palestinians wounded in border clashes: Gaza ministry

AFPFebruary 1, 2019, 4:17 PM GMT

Palestinian paramedics evacuate a protester near the fence separating the Gaza Strip from Israel, east of Gaza City, on February 1, 2019 (AFP Photo/SAID KHATIB)

Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) – Thirty-two Palestinians were shot and wounded by Israeli troops in renewed clashes along the Gazap border Friday, the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave said.

Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said in a statement they were shot during protests along the border, but none were reported to be in a life threatening condition.

The Israeli army said approximately “10,000 rioters and demonstrators” gathered in different locations along the fence separating the Gaza Strip from Israel.

“The rioters are rolling tyres and hurling rocks at (Israeli) troops,” a spokeswoman said, adding a number of explosive devices were thrown towards the Jewish state’s forces.

Palestinians have for nearly a year gathered at least weekly in various spots along the Gaza border for often-violent protests.

They want to be able to return to the homes their families fled in the war surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948, and they are calling for an end to a blockade of Gaza.

At least 246 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since March 30, the majority during border protests but also by tank fire and airstrikes.

Two Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period.

The Problem of Pakistani Terrorism

India’s problem is Pakistan, which promotes terrorism, and not Afghanistan, says Shivshankar Menon

PTI

Former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon said the “problem” lay in the political needs of some people on the both sides to maintain a certain level of control, antagonism and hostility.

The top diplomat, who also served as Foreign Secretary and India’s ambassador to China, rejected the claim that there was a direct link between economics and peaceful bilateral relationship.

India’s problem is Pakistan which not only promotes terrorism from its own soil but also trains terrorists in Afghanistan, former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon has said. The top diplomat, who also served as Foreign Secretary and India’s ambassador to China, rejected the claim that there was a direct link between economics and peaceful bilateral relationship.

“An economically strong or weak Pakistan does not matter. Pakistan was doing well economically in the 60s and 70s. It has been doing miserably for the last 15 years, we still don’t have good relations with it,” Menon said Saturday at the Jaipur Literature Festival.

 

“All we want is Pakistan to be at peace with itself. Thank you. We want to get on with our lives. We have better things to do,” he said. Menon said the “problem” lay in the political needs of some people on the both sides to maintain a certain level of control, antagonism and hostility.

“For the Pakistan Army it is obvious because it helps them to have a say in the politics, budget and in the Pakistani imagination that they are the defenders of the country,” he said. “India does not face an Afghan problem. We have a Pakistan problem. The terrorists are coming from there. The terrorists who are even trained in Afghanistan are by Pakistan or the ISI,” Menon said. He, however, said the military action was not the solution to settle the longstanding problem. “I don’t think there is a military solution to the Indo-Pak problem. Ever since we both went overtly nuclear, it has stabilised the situation and pushed the level of violence down. We fought three wars in the first 25 years and we haven’t fought since and that is when nuclear programmes took off, ” the former NSA said. He was participating in a panel discussion alongside Pulitzer Prize winning American author and academic Steve Coll and US journalist and author Peter Bergen.

Menon said while other countries have a “common interest’ in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s interest lies in promoting terrorism in the war-ravaged country. The veteran diplomat said the US might change its behaviour after the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, but not Pakistan as the problem is intrinsic to Islamabad’s structure.

Prime Minister Modi visited Pakistan in December 2015 but the terror attacks by Pakistan-based militants in Pathankot in January 2016 and then in Uri in September strained the ties between the two countries. India cancelled the foreign minister-level meeting with Pakistan to be held in New York last year, citing the “brutal” killing of three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the release of the postal stamps by Islamabad “glorifying” Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani.

Pakistan’s powerful military has always played a crucial role in the country’s politics. The army has ruled Pakistan for more than 33 years in the country’s 70-year history.

Babylon and Russia Start a New Nuclear Race

US leaving INF Treaty nuclear deal with Russia could start arms race – Vox

Alex WardFebruary 1, 2019 9:15 am

The US is withdrawing from a nuclear arms treaty with Russia. An arms race might be next.

RIP, INF.

• By Alex Ward

• on February 1, 2019 9:15 am

President Donald Trump on January 25, 2019. Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

The Trump administration just announced it will officially withdraw from an aging nuclear missile treaty with Russia, a move that could kick-start an arms race and threaten the European continent — but also allow the US to better prepare for a war against China.

On Friday morning, President Donald Trump issued a statement that put the final nail in the coffin of the Cold War-era agreement, finalizing a decision that many experts — both happily and nervously — expected for months.

“Tomorrow, the United States will suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty and begin the process of withdrawing from the INF Treaty,” Trump said. “For arms control to effectively contribute to national security, all parties must faithfully implement their obligations.”

In a press conference around the same time, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “Russia has jeopardized United States security interests, and we can no longer be restricted by the treaty while Russia shamelessly violates it.”

This is a big deal. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in December 1987. The agreement prohibited Washington and Moscow from fielding ground-launched cruise missiles that could fly between 310 and 3,420 miles.

Both countries signed the agreement as a way to improve relations toward the end of the Cold War. However, both sides still could — and since have — built up cruise missiles that can be fired from the air or sea.

The problem is that Russia has clearly violated that agreement in recent years. In 2014, the Obama administration blamed the Kremlin for testing a ground-based cruise missile in direct violation of the accord. (Russia says the US has violated the agreement too, a charge the US denies.) NATO, the US-led military alliance formed to thwart the Soviet threat, said last December that Russia violated the treaty’s terms.

And partly after seeing Russia announce the construction of hypersonic cruise missiles last year, the Trump administration took the final step: It would leave the deal Moscow wouldn’t stick to.

So last October, Trump proclaimed the United States would leave the treaty, adding that he would give Russia 60 days — until February 2 — to come back into compliance. That led to months of hurried negotiations between Washington and Moscow to compel Russia into compliance again, but neither side caved. Now the US will officially leave the deal in six months, giving Russia a short amount of time to adhere to the agreement once more and change America’s mind.

That’s unlikely to happen, though. Which means that in only a few months, the Trump administration will have ended a decades-long pact that softened the rough edges in the US-Russia struggle for military superiority — and could reignite Cold War tensions once more.

Why it was a good idea to leave the INF Treaty — and why it wasn’t

Experts I spoke with last October about the prospects of the INF Treaty’s demise unanimously agreed that Russia has violated the agreement and that the US needed to do something about it. Where they differed, though, was over how to do that.

The answers fell into two camps: those who felt the US should try to coerce Russia into compliance with what they say is a historic and useful treaty, and those who said the US should leave the treaty entirely because it’s hurting America’s security.

Let’s take each in turn.

Why the US should have stayed in the INF Treaty

Having the treaty in place reduces tensions between the US and Moscow, some experts say, mostly because both countries destroyed about 2,600 ground-based cruise missiles in total, along with their corresponding launchers, as a result of the treaty.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 1, 2018.

Ricardo Ceppi/Getty Images

That was particularly important for Washington’s allies in Europe, who were directly threatened by Russia’s stockpile. “Living in Europe, they care about INF more than anyone because they are within INF ranges,” Heather Williams, an arms control expert at King’s College in London, told me.

But it seems Trump made the announcement that he would be pulling the US out of the treaty before consulting with America’s European friends — and they’re not happy about the decision. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas last October called it a “regrettable” move, saying that the treaty is “an important pillar of our European security architecture” and that the US decision “raises difficult questions for us and Europe.”

Experts also point out that leaving the agreement will do little to make Russia want to abide by it. “Punching out isn’t going to bring them into compliance, and now lets them justify a buildup even more while painting us as the bad guys,” said Vipin Narang, a nuclear expert at MIT.

These are legitimate worries. It’s possible Russia could have been even more brazen in its development of ground-based cruise missiles, and that remaining a signatory in the agreement somewhat curbed Moscow’s ambitions. But if the US tears up the deal, Russia could openly and more quickly build up its arsenal — all while claiming the US made it okay to do so.

That could kick-start a new arms race between the two countries, where each side would try to one-up the other with better weaponry. Washington and Moscow would grow their arsenals of ground-launched cruise missiles. That, along with other issues in the relationship, could potentially put both countries on the path to war, many worry.

There are ways to pressure Russia to comply with the agreement, experts told me. Here’s one idea from James Miller, the top Pentagon policy official from 2012 to 2014: The US should develop cruise missiles that carry nuclear weapons and can be launched at sea.

Remember: The INF treaty doesn’t prohibit the US from fielding and testing cruise missiles that can be shot from planes, ships, or submarines — only land. Increasing America’s stockpile of those other weapons, then, might pressure Moscow financially and militarily to come to the table to discuss a way to improve the accord for both sides.

But if Trump leaves the deal, the US will lose any and all leverage with Russia on this issue.

Why the US was right to leave the INF Treaty

Other experts are equally passionate that leaving the agreement was long overdue. The main reason, they say, is that America should have these weapons if other countries won’t stop building them.

Chinese military vehicles carrying anti-ship ballistic missiles, potentially capable of sinking a US Nimitz-class aircraft carrier in a single strike, on September 3, 2015.

Andy Wong-Pool/Getty Images

“[T]here was no hope of getting Moscow to return to compliance,” Matthew Kroenig, a nuclear expert at the Atlantic Council think tank, said in an October 2018 interview with his organization. “It doesn’t make sense for the United States to be unilaterally constrained by limits that don’t affect any other country.”

Having ground-launched cruise missiles may not actually be all that useful for combating Russia nowadays, these experts say, but they are necessary to fight off the growing military threat from China. That’s an argument that John Bolton, who became Trump’s national security adviser in April, made for years when he was a pundit outside of government.

The case has merit. According to a 2018 Pentagon report, Beijing has vastly improved its cruise-missile arsenal, which would likely make it harder for US warships to approach the country’s coast during a fight. Experts say that puts the US at a massive disadvantage and should be promptly reversed.

Eric Sayers, a defense expert at the Center for a New American Security, told me it wouldn’t be too hard to place cruise missiles on the ground near China — like in Japan or the Philippines — as long as those countries agree to it. The US could also deploy longer-range cruise missiles along China’s periphery to fend off Beijing’s ships.

What’s more, he continued, those weapons are cheaper overall than their air or sea variants because they are usually launched from trucks. Planes, ships, and submarines are complex to build and very expensive to maintain, making land-based cruise missiles a good option.

In effect, those who applaud the US for leaving the INF Treaty say the US has missed out on a vital weapon to safeguard the country. “There’s a reason China and others have them and there’s a reason Russia is developing them,” said Rebeccah Heinrichs, a nuclear expert at the Hudson Institute. “Those who confidently insist we don’t need them are spitballing.”

John Bolton is dismantling global arms control

The Trump administration’s dismantlement of decades of arms control work just so happens to correlate with Bolton’s time at the White House.

Bolton has been very open about his dislike of arms control agreements for years. In his 2007 book, Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations, he spends dozens of pages railing against what he calls the “arms control theology” that “had been painstakingly developed during the Cold War, and kept on life support during the Clinton presidency by devotion and prayer rather than hard reality.”

National Security Adviser John Bolton on January 28, 2019.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

It’s therefore no real surprise that the Trump administration has withdrawn from multiple arms control agreements during Bolton’s six months as national security adviser. For example, in May 2018, the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, which the Obama administration put in place to constrain Tehran’s path to a nuclear weapon. But Bolton — and Trump — felt that it didn’t go far enough, and ultimately decided to pull out of the deal.

Bolton is currently in Moscow to meet with top Russian leaders, and this issue will certainly come up. Arms control came up when Bolton was in Russia four months ago, when he and his counterparts discussed extending the New START nuclear treaty between the United States and Russia for another five years. That agreement came into effect on February 5, 2011, with the goal of limiting the size of the American and Russian nuclear arsenals, the two largest in the world.

At the time, three sources familiar with Bolton’s thinking told me that he was “very upset” he had to discuss extending the agreement when he spoke to Putin about it. Before joining the administration, Bolton called the accord “unilateral disarmament” by the United States.

Some experts worry that Trump’s announcement about the INF Treaty means New START may soon die. Bolton, however, would likely celebrate that move.

Welcome to the Age of Nuclear Endtimes (Revelation 16)

Welcome to the New Age of Nuclear Instability

The good news is that the downward spiral can be stopped.

Feb. 1, 2019

By Rachel Bronson

Dr. Bronson is the president and chief executive of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced today that the United States will withdraw in 180 days from the treaty, which has been a centerpiece of nuclear arms control since the Cold War.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced today that the United States will withdraw in 180 days from the treaty, which has been a centerpiece of nuclear arms control since the Cold War.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement on Friday that the United States is suspending the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty should worry everyone. The I.N.F. is a landmark treaty and it has made the world a safe place. It was the first nuclear agreement to ever outlaw an entire class of weapons.

The Trump administration has dismissed the I.N.F. as irrelevant because Russia has abrogated its commitment to it by developing a treaty-busting cruise missile of its own. The Russians, for their part, claim that it is the United States that started this race to the bottom by announcing its withdrawal from the Antiballistic Missile treaty in 2001 and building missile defense systems near Russia’s borders. Regardless, it should be kept in place.

The turn away from arms control agreements is not happening in a vacuum. The National Nuclear Security Administration, the part of the Department of Energy that oversees weapons production, announced this week that it has begun production of a new low-yield nuclear weapon that is about one-third as powerful as the bomb used on Hiroshima. These bombs are considered by some “small enough to use.” It could be ready for deployment by the end of the year.

Welcome to the new age of nuclear instability. This is a perilous time in which agreements that have restrained the most dangerous weapons on the planet are dissipating and threatening new technologies — including cyberweapons that could attack nuclear command and control systems — are advancing quickly. The likelihood of a nuclear accident or blunder seems to be growing by the day.

Major nuclear powers are now investing heavily in their arsenals. Pakistan has the fastest-growing arsenal on the planet; the United States plans to spend more than $1.2 trillion over the next 30 years on weapons that increase the targeting and kill capability of strategic nuclear weapons; China, too, continues to modernize its nuclear forces, seemingly intent on creating a second-strike nuclear capability with investments in platforms based on land, air and sea.