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

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Ernie Garcia, elgarcia@lohud.com

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.

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.

Helping the Saudi Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Photo: U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry told reporters in May, he has delivered a letter to Saudi officials demanding they agree to refrain from enriching uranium or separating plutonium in exchange for peaceful U.S. nuclear technology. Credit: energy.gov

By Shannon Bugos

The writer is a Research Assistant at the Arms Control Association, where she contributes research and analysis, reports for Arms Control Today.

WASHINGTON, DC (IDN-INPS) – Saudi Arabia intends to enrich uranium to fuel its planned nuclear power program, the country’s new energy minister said on September 9. The Saudi position could run afoul of a recently disclosed Trump administration policy to seek a Saudi commitment to refrain from such activities in exchange for U.S. nuclear technology.

“We are proceeding with it cautiously.… We are experimenting with two nuclear reactors,” said Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman at the 24th World Energy Conference in Abu Dhabi on September 9. Saudi officials have announced plans to build 16 nuclear power reactors over the next 20 to 25 years at a cost of more than $80 billion. (See ACT, April 2018.) Currently, companies from the United States, Russia, South Korea, China, and France are competing for a contract to build the first two nuclear power reactors, with a Saudi decision reportedly expected by the end of this year.

To receive U.S. nuclear materials or technology, Saudi Arabia would need first to sign a 123 agreement with the United States. Named after the section of the 1954 Atomic Energy Act requiring it, a 123 agreement sets the terms and authorizes cooperation for sharing U.S. peaceful nuclear energy technology, equipment, and materials with other countries.

A 123 agreement can involve what is known as a “gold standard” commitment in which a country forgoes the enrichment of uranium or the reprocessing of plutonium, which are two pathways to making nuclear weapons. The State Department is leading negotiations for this agreement, and once complete, it will require congressional approval.

Those negotiations apparently include a U.S. demand for the gold standard. In September, Energy Secretary Rick Perry sent a letter to Saudi officials outlining the U.S. requirements that Saudi Arabia must adopt an additional protocol to its safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and commit to the gold standard.

“The terms of the 123 Agreement must also contain a commitment by the kingdom to forgo any enrichment and reprocessing for the term of the agreement,” said Perry’s letter, as reported by Bloomberg.

Energy Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette recently spoke in favor of a 123 agreement with Saudi Arabia. “If there’s going to be any transfer of technology, you can’t do it without it,” he said. He did not, however, specifically mention whether the gold standard would be a part of such an agreement.

Negotiations on a 123 agreement have slowed over the past year as Riyadh has refused to relinquish the possibility of enriching uranium. (See ACT, December 2018.) Further complicating the talks were March 2018 remarks by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that “Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.”

Also muddying the situation is an ongoing investigation by the House Oversight and Reform Committee into allegations that top Trump administration officials, such as former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, pushed for U.S. companies to build nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia without a 123 agreement and in potential violation of ethics laws. (See ACT, March 2019.) The committee first revealed its investigation in February 2019 and released a second interim report on its investigation this past July.

Shortly after its first report in February, members in both houses of Congress introduced legislation requiring congressional oversight over any 123 agreement between the United States and Saudi Arabia.

Those bills also state that no 123 agreement with Riyadh should be approved until Saudi Arabia becomes transparent about the death of Jamal Khashoggi, a commentator for The Washington Post, in October 2018. The U.S. intelligence community determined last November that the crown prince ordered the killing of Khashoggi, but U.S. President Donald Trump has defended Riyadh.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), who introduced the House bill alongside Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), told Arms Control Today that “Saudi Arabia’s government isn’t known for its transparency, but on the nuclear issue, the kingdom has been crystal clear: it wants to enrich uranium to have the capability to build nuclear weapons. In light of this, a failure to secure a 123 agreement with gold standard safeguards would be reckless and irresponsible. If you can’t trust a regime with a bone saw, you shouldn’t trust it with nuclear weapons.” [IDN-InDepthNews – 14 October 2019]

Photo: U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry told reporters in May, he has delivered a letter to Saudi officials demanding they agree to refrain from enriching uranium or separating plutonium in exchange for peaceful U.S. nuclear technology. Credit: energy.gov

China Shows Off Her Nuclear Weapons (Daniel 8:8)

BOOM: China Is Showing off Their New, Shiny Weapons of War

Key point: During major holidays, Beijing likes to show off its latest weaponry (and Western intelligence takes notice).

A military parade through Tiananmen Square, part of the Oct. 1 celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, showcased some of the People’s Liberation Army’s never-before-seen weapons systems. With the display, China sent a clear message about how far along the development path its yearslong military modernization drive had taken it.

Among the equipment that was rolled through the streets of Beijing included public debuts of a number of strategic and tactical weapons and systems, from a new assault rifle on the lower end all the way to strategic nuclear weapons. The parade revealed the areas of focus for China in the military sphere.

The DF-41 road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile is the most advanced such missile in the Chinese arsenal. Each DF-41 can carry multiple warheads, has a range of about 13,000 kilometers, and represents a leap in survivability over the older DF-5 due to its mobility. Because it is solid-fueled, it can be launched rapidly, offering less time for adversaries to target it.

The DF-31AG is another solid-fueled road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile in service with the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force. Unlike the more capable DF-41, however, the DF-31AG missile is equipped with a single warhead and has a lesser range: 11,000 to 12,000 kilometers.

The JL-2, a submarine-launched ballistic missile, also made its public debut this year. With a range of about 7,000 kilometers and equipped with a single nuclear warhead, the JL-2 represents the core of the Chinese seaborne nuclear deterrent. Each Chinese Type 094 nuclear ballistic missile submarine carries 12 JL-2 SLBMs.

The DF-26, the so-called “Guam killer” missile due to its ability to reach the island that is home to numerous U.S. military bases, made a repeat appearance in this year’s parade. The DF-26 is a road-mobile intermediate-range missile with a range between 3,000 and 5,500 kilometers. Unlike the DF-41 and DF-31AG, the DF-26 is used in both nuclear and conventional roles. When equipped with maneuverable conventional warheads, the missile could be used to target distant enemy bases as well as enemy ships.

One of the most intriguing new additions to this year’s parade was the DF-17 hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV). With an estimated range of 2,000 kilometers and the reported ability to carry both conventional and nuclear warheads, the DF-17 is able to penetrate even very well-defended targets with a very high speed (in excess of Mach 5) and a maneuverable warhead. The DF-17 is one of the first HGV-type missiles that are entering service among the world’s most advanced militaries.

China revealed for the first time its new DF-100 road-mobile cruise missile during this year’s parade. A significant improvement on the previous CJ-10 cruise missiles, the DF-100 has a range of between 2,000 and 3,000 kilometers and is reportedly capable of flying at hypersonic speeds. Their low-altitude flight path makes cruise missiles harder to detect than ballistic missiles. The combination of range and maneuverability enhances China’s long-range strike capabilities.

This year’s parade marked the debut of the WZ-8 supersonic reconnaissance drone. While not much is known about the drone, it is likely attached to and launched by a larger aircraft such as an H-6 bomber and it then lands on its own following the completion of its mission. The WZ-8 will allow China to improve its ability to gather intelligence over areas that are well protected by enemy air defenses.

On display Oct. 1 was the GJ-2, otherwise known as the Wing Loong 2, an unmanned aerial vehicle used by the Chinese military in a role equivalent to that of the Reaper in U.S. service. Capable of long loiter times and able to carry a large payload of missiles and bombs, the GJ-2 is suitable for persistent surveillance over battlefields, precision strikes on key targets and the ability to support friendly troops in direct fights with an adversary. Its lack of stealth and speed, however, significantly reduce its survivability over heavily defended enemy targets.

China Lifts the Veil on Its Advanced Weaponry is republished with the permission of Stratfor Worldview, a geopolitical intelligence and advisory firm.

The Sobering Stats of the First Nuclear War (Revelation 8 )

Predictive analytics assesses an India-Pakistan nuclear war

A new study, from University of Colorado at Boulder, shows that a nuclear war between India and Pakistan would, over less than a week, kill 50-125 million people. This short persuade of time would exceed the death toll during the entire time period of World War II (a six year period of global conflict).

To arrive at these figures, the researchers used predictive analytics and computer modelling. Inputs into the model included geographies, populations and the statistic that India and Pakistan each possess around 150 nuclear warheads. The model also looked slightly into the future, noting that the number of weapons is expected to rise to more than 200 by 2025.

It is difficult to assess how powerful each bomb would be, given the lack of nuclear testing in recent years. Furthermore, much depends where each weapon is directed. However, it is predicted that each weapon could kill up to 700,000 people. According to lead researcher Dr. Brian Toon: “An India-Pakistan war could double the normal death rate in the world. This is a war that would have no precedent in human experience.”

Beyond the immediate impact, there are risks that a nuclear conflict could plunge the entire planet into a severe cold spell, here temperatures could mirror those seen during the last Ice Age (the theoretical ‘nuclear winter’).

These findings were based on running computer simulations relating to potential effects on the Earth’s atmosphere, with some of the data drawn from readings relating to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in 1945.

In relation to the impact of the weapon son the climate, each weapon fired could release 80 billion pounds of thick, black smoke into Earth’s atmosphere. The loss of temperature is the effect of blocking out sunlight.

The research has been published in the journal Science Advances, with the research paper titled “Rapidly expanding nuclear arsenals in Pakistan and India portend regional and global catastrophe.”

Iran prepares for World War III

Khamenei Calls On IRGC To Get Ready For Ground, Sea, Space Combat

Radio Farda

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei says the designation of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist group by the United States has led to its increased popularity in Iran and abroad.

Khamenei who was speaking during a graduation ceremony at the IRGC’s Imam Hussain Academy in Tehran on Sunday October 13, did not elaborate on the designation, and referred to it as “America showing a hostile frowning face to the revolutionary guards.”

Meanwhile, speaking about his assessment of the IRGC Academy’s performance, he said: “I am proud of the academy’s successes, but I am not satisfied with what it has achieved so far”, insisting that he expects more.

Elsewhere in his speech on Sunday, Khamenei reiterated that the IRGC should have access to modern “defensive, operational and intelligence equipment as well as knowledge of cyberspace” to be ready for combat “on the ground, in the air, in the space, in the sea, at the borders and inside the country.”

Khamenei claimed that before the 1979 revolution, Iran had a stockpile of U.S. made weapons at its disposal but was not allowed to use them or even master the skills required to use them. However, he contradicted himself by saying that Iran under the Shah, was tasked to suppress any opposition to the United States in the region.

“Today,” he claimed, “things are the other way around and the nation makes decisions and acts based on its national interests.”

Deadly protests set stage for the Antichrist

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s deadliest wave of protests since the 2003 ouster of dictator Saddam Hussein has made the country vulnerable to a battle for influence between its two main competing allies, the United States and Iran, analysts say. The anti-government protests that erupted on October 1 echoed the demands that young Iraqis have made over recent years. But the demonstrations played out differently this time, as tensions spiraled between the US and Iran.
“Without this context, Iran would not have intervened,” Iraqi political analyst Munqith Dagher said. Tehran denounced the week of demonstrations that shook Baghdad and southern Iraq as a “conspiracy” that “failed”. This response cost Iran “a lot of credit and support in Iraq, especially among Shiites,” said Dagher. “But it sacrificed that in order to maintain the system in place in Iraq and to guard the country as an asset in negotiations with the United States.”

‘Conspiracy’

The wave of unrest left more than 100 people dead, mostly protesters, and put Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi in a weaker position than ever. Even before this Abdel Mahdi headed an unwieldy government. The coalition includes Shiite populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr-who won the most seats in the last parliamentary elections-and Fatah, the political arm of Hashed al-Shaabi, the paramilitary force dominated by pro-Iran groups.
As protests peaked, Sadr called for the government he helped form to resign. The Hashed took the opposite position, saying it was ready to crush the “conspiracy” aiming to bring down the government. Since then state institutions have been paralyzed by division, effectively preventing concrete responses to protester demands for jobs, services and ending corruption.
Caught in the middle, Abdel Mahdi is “even weaker and more vulnerable to pressure from the largest political blocs,” said Maria Fantappie, an International Crisis Group Iraq analyst. This could favour Tehran, she said, as “the prime minister will be increasingly dependent on Iran’s ally Fatah, which has stood by his side during the crisis”. Polarization is complicating the premier’s pursuit of “a foreign policy aimed at insulating the country from the unfolding US-Iran competition,” Fantappie said.

But in a crisis-ridden and increasingly fractured region, a country like Iraq-which attempts to maintain relations with all, from Iran to the United States, Saudi Arabia to Syria-is a major asset for all. Neither Washington nor Tehran “would like to see the situation spin out of control,” Fantappie said. A stable Iraq is vital for Iran. Stifled by US sanctions, Tehran is committed to maintaining its six billion euro ($6.6 billion) annual exports to Iraq. Likewise Washington needs Iraq to contain the danger of a resurgent Islamic State group, and to keep Iran’s regional influence in check.

‘Pandora’s box’

The danger now, Fantappie said, is that some in the US administration interpret anti-Iran slogans by protesters as evidence of mounting anti-Iranian sentiment overall. US officials who see Abdel Mahdi as indecisive and powerless may even push to replace him in light of the demonstrations, she said.

But this “could be like opening a Pandora’s box, given a stagnating political system, mounting popular frustrations and the perennial difficulty of forming a government” in a country caught between rival powers. The shifts in Iraq’s political arena go beyond the pro-US and pro-Iran camps-other factions have also made moves since the start of the month.

Firebrand Sadr maintains the ability to paralyze the country with sit-ins-as he has done in the past. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq’s highest Shiite spiritual leader, said in his sermon Friday that he “had no interest in any party in power” and only defended “the interests of the people”. Even as calm appears to have returned to Iraq, the protests may yet be rekindled, particularly if public anger grows as videos showing last week’s crackdown continue to circulate online.- AFP

Israel closes the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Israel closes Gaza, West Bank crossings

Trucks are seen at the commercial border crossing Karam Abu Salem after Israel re-opened Karam Abu Salem and Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossings, in Gaza City, Gaza on 12 May 2019. [Abed Rahim Khatib – Anadolu Agency]

October 13, 2019 at 11:35 am

The Israeli occupation authorities on Sunday morning shut down Karam Abu Salem and Beit Hanoun crossings, southeast and north of the Gaza Strip, for Jewish holidays, Palestine Information Center reported.

The administration of Beit Hanoun crossing announced that it would be closed on Sunday for Palestinians, except for emergencies and VIPs, until 2:00 pm.

A complete closure has been imposed on the West Bank since the early morning hours on Sunday and it is set to last until 21 October.

As for al-Karama crossing with Jordan, the crossing will be opened on Sunday at 7:30 am and closed at 10:30 am. On Monday, 14 October, it will be opened at 7:30 am and closed at 5:00 pm.