New York’s Complacency Will Lead to the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Indian Point (photo: the governor’s office)

Leonard Rodberg & Herschel Specter

New York’s recently-passed Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act has been described as the boldest climate legislation in the nation. It sets demanding milestones for reducing carbon emissions, starting with the 2030 goal that New York state should, by then, derive 70% of its electricity from renewable sources (solar, wind, and waterpower). By 2040, it should derive all of its electricity from “clean” sources, and it should be carbon-neutral in all its uses of energy by 2050.

These goals pose daunting challenges, but within two years the challenge will become even greater when the Indian Point nuclear plant, 36 miles up the Hudson River from New York City, is scheduled to shut down. Governor Cuomo agreed to its closure, even though it is functioning safely and economically, because of fears of a nuclear accident raised by the community around the site. When he agreed to the closure, he made a commitment it would not result in any new carbon emissions. Nevertheless, the operator of New York’s electric grid has made clear that three natural gas-powered generating plants will be fired up to replace the carbon-free electricity flowing from Indian Point. These replacement plants will release 7 million metric tons of greenhouse gases for each year thereafter. The increased greenhouse gas emissions will undermine the new climate law before it even gets started, and the smaller capacity of the gas plants may well lead to shortages of electric power in the coming years.

We have shown elsewhere that attempting to meet the new law’s 2030 goal with only renewable sources would cost more than $100 billion and is completely impractical. However, the language of the new climate law ignores the contribution that nuclear power, which emits no carbon dioxide, can make toward a carbon-free future. Indeed, if Indian Point and other nuclear plants, which already provide nearly a third of New York’s electricity, are kept running, and the governor’s planned expansion of offshore wind takes place, a 2030 goal of 70% carbon-free electricity will be met without any further expenditure. 

There is no need to shut down Indian Point. This facility, which produces a quarter of the New York City Metro region’s electricity, is safe and reliable and can keep going for decades more. The current closure agreement does allow the plant, if necessary, to continue operating through 2024 and 2025. While the current operator, the Entergy Corp., is giving up control of the plant, the New York Power Authority could take it over and continue operating it, as it did safely and efficiently for many years before Entergy came into the picture. In fact, Indian Point should remain operational until such time as new, carbon-free resources can replace it. That way, it can continue to help meet the state’s emission reduction goals.

We recognize that including nuclear energy, along with carbon-free renewable energy sources, in meeting our climate goals will require a major re-evaluation of risk by groups deeply invested in opposing nuclear power. These groups, some of which campaigned for the closure of Indian Point, are concerned that nuclear reactors will suffer accidents that could have catastrophic consequences. In fact, as one of us has explained in a brief guide, this is not possible. Nuclear reactor accidents have led to very few deaths – 28 plant workers and firefighters perished at Chernobyl, along with an estimated 60 deaths from thyroid cancer worldwide — and there were zero fatalities from the Three Mile Island and Fukushima events. Hundreds of thousands have already suffered from the effects of climate change, and millions more are likely to suffer if climate change proceeds as it is on course now.

Keeping Indian Point and other nuclear plants operating while the state builds new, even safer nuclear facilities and installs modest amounts of renewable resources offers the most practical, achievable path for New York to meet its emission goals and offer our children and grandchildren a realistic chance for a carbon-free, stable future.

***

Leonard Rodberg is a physicist who taught climate change and public policy at Queens College/CUNY until his retirement in 2017. Herschel Specter is an engineer who focused on nuclear safety issues in many positions, including at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Last Cold War (Revelation 16)

img_1261A new Cold War

by Editor’s Mail , (Last Updated 12 hours ago)

The changing nature of relations of two nuclear-armed and rival countries the US and China will depict their effects on the world. The strategic and economic shift between Iran and India is also isolating the whole region. In 2016 India and Iran signed multiple deals to uplift the Chabahar port against Gwadar Port. They also signed a different trilateral agreement including Afghanistan and Iran to build an alternate trade route to Central Asia through Afghanistan. Chabahar port was understood as a rival port to CPEC.

Although, continuously lame excuses and citing India’s delay in funding. Ostensibly, India was not investing in Iran due to the fear of sanctions from the USA. After withdrawal from the JCPOA Trump administration announced sanctions on whom; who will keep economic relations with Iran. The recent withdrawal of Iran from bilateral agreements is a new strategic shift to counterbalance the USA and India. It is also to be said that China will invest more than US$400 billion, on more than 20 projects in Iran. Including railway lines, special economic zones, to endorse Chabahar port and on infrastructure.

Additionally, China has  Occupied 640 Sq Km of Indian Territory on the eastern side of Ladakh. It is considered as a big strategic move in South Asia.

Moreover, other countries in South-Asia are moving against India and joining the Chinese led block. The Sino- Iran deal will be favorable for China and other neighboring countries. In return for the investment, Iran will provide fossil fuel oil at a low cost of 30%. However, the Iranian supreme leader in recent year’s meeting with Chinese officials showed great interest in linking Chabahar port with CPEC. It will be a great move to counter India, the USA, and all other hostile neighbors through “String of Pearls” and with “Golden Ring”.

Unfortunately, the new cold war is on the rise. The world is dividing into Alliances and Camps again as they were in WW1 and WW2. The US asks China to close Houston consulate as tension rises. It accused China of ramping up spy operations in the USA. It has also imposed sanctions on 11 Chinese companies over Human Rights violations on Uyghur Muslims. The USA also urges India, its close ally to minimize dependence on China.

These changing regional dynamics, allies, and economic moves will determine the fate of Pakistan. The Rising Dragon (China) and the Shitte Muslims Leader (Iran) both are Pakistan’s neighbors. Any strategic move from both of them will forge its effects in Pakistan. Pakistan needs to adopt deftly diplomacy to save herself from any kind of external aggression. In my view, Pakistani leaders should practice their foreign affairs as a neutral state. Since the war on terror, the Taliban’s insurgency, and terrorism with in the country are huge impediments in Pakistan’s economic progress.

Arslan Ashiq

Kot Adu

Babylon the Great is driving Iran to nuclear weapons

Does Iran really want to build nuclear weapons at any cost? Maybe not – Iran – Haaretz.com

Yossi Melman20:46

Members of the media and officials tour the water nuclear reactor at Arak, Iran, December 23, 2019. Wana News Agency/Reuters

Opinion Does Iran Really Want to Build Nuclear Weapons at Any Cost? Maybe Not

In the past it took nations three to 10 years to build nuclear bombs, yet 30 years since re-launching its nuclear program, Iran hasn’t assembled a bomb. It aspires to be on the threshold

July 13 marked the fifth anniversary of the nuclear accord between Iran and the major powers, which remains in effect until 2025. At about the same time, Iran experienced explosions and fires at missile sites, power stations, industrial plants and, most significantly, at the uranium enrichment plant in Natanz.

The blasts at several of the Natanz buildings were very powerful, badly damaging the advanced centrifuges. The sabotage has been attributed to a secret operation by Israeli intelligence, perhaps in tandem with American intelligence. Various reports say the damage to the centrifuges will delay their development and set back Iran’s nuclear program by about a year.

If the Mossad and Israeli Military Intelligence are responsible for the explosion as well as for other acts of sabotage and fires that may have originated in operations by underground organizations working with them, it is definitely an accomplishment for Israel. But it is a tactical, not a strategic, accomplishment.

Israel and the United States have been waging a covert and overt rearguard battle to disrupt and delay Iran’s nuclear program for decades. The toolbox used in this war, according to different reports, has included blowing up facilities and equipment, assassinating scientists, cyberwarfare, diplomacy, and sanctions that are badly hurting the Iranian economy. Yet despite all the difficulties in its path, Iran has not really been deterred and has continued to pursue its nuclear program, adjusting its pace to the circumstances.

Yet perhaps it’s time to change the concept that Iran aspires to assemble nuclear weapons at all costs. A glance at the history of nuclear weapons manufacture shows that all 11 countries that wished to build bombs did so within three to 10 years. These include the five major powers; Israel (according to foreign reports); India; Pakistan; and North Korea. Two countries, South Africa and Ukraine, voluntarily dismantled their nuclear weapons. It’s hard to work out why Iran, which has extensive scientific knowhow, which surreptitiously obtained nuclear technology and whose scientists and universities are high level, has not been able to build a bomb in 30 years.

Maybe it’s time to infer that Iran could have assembled nuclear bombs long ago, but is not doing so – for reasons it is keeping to itself.

A year and a half after the 1979 Islamic Revolution that brought Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to power, Iraq invaded Iran. For the next eight years, Iran’s leaders were focused on this bloody war that caused a million casualties on both sides, and saw Iraq use chemical weapons against Iranian troops. Developing a nuclear bomb was not at the top of their agenda then. Some reports in Iran, which have not been solidly corroborated, say that Khomeini himself was reluctant to develop nuclear weapons, because he felt it would be counter to Islamic law, which calls to avoid harming innocents.

Whatever the truth may be, after Khomeini’s death in 1989, the nuclear program was restarted by his successor Ali Khamenei. It has continued ever since, despite the attempts by Israel and the United States to obstruct it and despite opposition and condemnation from most of the international community.

When the Iraq war ended, a fierce debate ensued among Iran’s religious, political and military leadership as to what lessons should be drawn from it. The consensus answer was that since Iran’s cities had been bombarded by missiles, the country must develop all types of missiles for various ranges. It did so first with the aid of North Korea and later with its own impressive independent production. Another conclusion was that Iran should develop and produce chemical weapons (this is where the Israeli arms trader Nahum Manbar made his contribution, for which he went to prison) and the countermeasures to monitor and defend against them.

Another conclusion was that Iran should resume its nuclear program that had begun prior to the Revolution by the Shah regime.

In 2015, under pressure from the economic sanctions and under threat by Israel to bomb its nuclear sites, Iran signed the nuclear accord with the five major powers and Germany. The accord, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vehemently opposed, is in force for 10 years. It imposed drastic restrictions on Iran’s nuclear sites, technology and materials, and Iran upheld them.

When it was signed, Israeli intelligence believed Iran was three to six months away from producing its first nuclear bomb, and assessed that the accord pushed this capability three years down the line.

Since President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the accord in May 2018 (the other signatories all still adhere to it) and forcefully renewed the sanctions, Iran has made some measured counter-moves, such as resuming development of advanced centrifuges. These are disturbing violations, but Iran has not withdrawn from the accord and is not “breaking through”  and rushing to a bomb.

While the international and economic pressure, as well as the covert campaign, against Iran should continue, we must also acknowledge that Iran wants to become a nuclear threshold state, and for now is still extremely mixed over whether to build a nuclear bomb.

The Iranian dilemma is as follows: Iran’s leaders look to North Korea and see that a nuclear weapon is a guarantee for the regime’s survival and a barrier against a military strike. But they also know that if Iran builds a nuclear weapon, it will incur the wrath not just of Israel and the West, but also of its friends Russia and China. The economic boycott of Iran will intensify and the general population will be hit even harder. Iran would become a pariah like North Korea and its rivals, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, will be spurred to develop their own nuclear weapons. And this Iranian uncertainty translates into a policy of walking on the brink: Staying a few months to a year away from building a nuclear bomb, but not actually assembling it.

Yet for Israel even a nuclear threshold is a nightmare and this is the reason why Israeli and U.S. intelligence will continue to try to sabotage Tehran’s program.

India’s Nuclear Weapons Arsenal WILL Easily Kill Millions (Revelation 8 )

India’s Nuclear Weapons Arsenal Could Easily Kill Millions

Here’s What You Need To Remember: India’s nuclear triad is a mix of capabilities—free-falling bombs, long-range and quite sophisticated missiles, and sub-launched missiles of unclear capabilities and likely limited range. Still, India is one of the preeminent nuclear powers in the region, behind China.

India’s indigenously developed technology—and a lot of Russian hardware and help—all keep Pakistan and China at bay.

No-First-Use

“An NFU policy essentially constitutes a promise, backed by a survivable nuclear arsenal, to only use nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack,” explained a Carnegie publication. “The logic is simple and effective: you don’t nuke me, and I won’t nuke you. India and China both have declared no-first-use policies, whereas Pakistan and the United States, among others, do not rule out the first use of nuclear weapons in a conflict.” 

Despite India’s formidable nuclear arsenal, India had since 2003 maintained it will not use said weapons of mass destruction first, but strictly in a retaliatory manner for deterrence. 

However, 2019, India called their no first use policy into question when Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said that “Till today, our nuclear policy is ‘no first use’. What happens in future depends on the circumstances.” This curious statement is perhaps an example of deliberate strategic ambiguity.

Triad

India maintains a nuclear triad—that is a three-pronged nuclear weapon delivery system that utilizes a diverse array of means for delivering nuclear payload on target. New Delhi has air-launched nuclear missiles, land-based nuclear missiles, and most recently submarine-launched missiles. 

Air

Air delivery was India’s original nuclear delivery prong. Although speculative, it is believed that Indian SEPECAT Jaguars and Dassault Mirage 2000s are the primary (perhaps only) vehicles capable of delivering nuclear bombs from the air. It is also possible that Indian nuclear bombs are non-precision munitions that rely on impact to detonate. 

Land

From land, India has a formidable missile launch capability intended to deter both China and Pakistan—though China especially rarely acknowledges India’s nuclear missile capability. 

In order to maintain a credible threat against China, India has pursued a strategy of improving their nuclear inter-continental ballistic missiles. This has been often done in tandem with Russia, despite the latter’s partnership with China in other defense-related areas.

The Agni missile family forms the backbone of the land-based nuclear triad. Although the Agni-IV and Agni-V are still in development, once deployed they would comfortably be able to strike Beijing, though the Agni-II and Agni-III are very likely already capable of doing so. 

The jointly Russian-Indian developed BrahMos hypersonic missile may also otentially be able to carry nuclear payload in the future, although this remains unconcrete and speculative. 

Sea

According to a quoted CIA report, “Russia has significantly supported in developing India’s nuclear programmes with technology and equipment, and become a main source of arms for the country,” especially regarding the sea-based part of the triad. 

What India’s sea-based nuclear prong looks like is somewhat speculative as well, although the range of submarine-based missiles will likely be limited to below-1,000 kilometers, or approximately 620 miles. 

Armed and Dangerous

Over all, India’s nuclear triad is a mix of capabilities—free-falling bombs, long-range and quite sophisticated missiles, and sub-launched missiles of unclear capabilities and likely limited range. Still, India is one of the preeminent nuclear powers in the region, behind China. Look to Russia for more developmental help in the future. 

Caleb Larson is a Defense Writer with The National Interest. He holds a Master of Public Policy and covers U.S. and Russian security, European defense issues, and German politics and culture. This article first appeared earlier last year.

Image: Reuters

Russian navy’s new hypersonic nuclear weapon (Daniel 7)

Russian navy to get hypersonic nuclear weapons: Putin

Putin, who said he does not want an arms race, has often spoken of a new generation of Russian nuclear weapons he says are unequalled and can hit almost anywhere in the world. Some Western experts have questioned how advanced they are.

‘Widespread deployment’

Speaking on Sunday in St Petersburg at an annual naval parade that showcases Russia’s best warships, nuclear submarines and naval aviation, Putin said the navy’s capabilities were growing and it would get 40 new vessels this year.

He did not specify when it would receive new hypersonic weapons, but suggested that day was drawing closer.

“The widespread deployment of advanced digital technologies that have no equals in the world, including hypersonic strike systems and underwater drones, will give the fleet unique advantages and increased combat capabilities,” Putin said.

In a separate statement released via Russian news agencies, the defence ministry said testing of the Belgorod, the first submarine capable of carrying the Poseidon drones, was under way and testing of the weapons systems was nearing completion.

“Work is being successfully completed to create modern weapons systems for the navy,” it was cited as saying.

Putin last year threatened to deploy hypersonic missiles on ships and submarines that could lurk outside US territorial waters if the United States moved to deploy intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe.

Washington has not deployed such missiles in Europe, but Moscow is worried it might.

Gazans Prepare for Demonstrations Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Six years after Gaza war, Palestinian victims lament housing crisis

Six years have passed since the last bloody war on the Gaza Strip, but Palestinian Saber Abu Nahl is still moving from one house to another after he lost his home to Israeli airstrikes in the northern Al-Nada neighborhood.

Abu Nahl, who works as a taxi driver, was one of hundreds who lost their homes during the conflict.

He dreams of rebuilding his home again.

“The rent fees overwhelmed me and I dream day and night to go back to home,” said Abu Nahl, 43.

The war launched by Israel against Gaza, which lasted from July 8 till Aug. 26, 2014, destroyed 12,000 housing units and partially destroyed 160,000, of which 6,600 were uninhabitable, according to the Ministry of Works and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in cooperation with the UN Development Program.

More than 1,500 housing units are yet to be rebuilt and their owners are homeless, according to the non-governmental organization People’s Committee to Face the Siege.

Abu Nahl, who supports a family of seven, lives in a modest rental home in Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. The former owner of the house forced him to leave because he could not pay the estimated monthly rent of $117.

Like other homeowners ruined by the war, Abu Nahl was receiving financial aid from the UNRWA as an allowance for the value of rent until they returned to their homes after reconstruction.

However, UNRWA has stopped paying the allowance since 2018. Abu Nahl disagreed with the decision and accused Palestinian forces of breaking promises.

“The UNRWA is lying, the Palestinian factions do not care about us and we are homeless without any horizon,” he said.

“Many days I return to my children with not enough to feed them, so how do I manage their affairs and pay the rent in light of a devastating economic situation?”

Since the 2014 conflict, the Gaza Strip has endured fighting between Hamas and other factions, and Israel.

Nevin Barakat is no better off than Abu Nahl, and despite receiving a new apartment at the beginning of the year, she still feels the painful effects of the war, where she lost her home.

The Al-Nada neighborhood apartment was destroyed, and Barakat, her husband Rami, and her five children took refuge in a school shelter. But an Israeli artillery shell hit the classroom where she was staying, killing her husband and wounding her children.

Although she was happy to move her children to the new apartment, the “ghosts of war” still affect Barakat, who fears another war could displace them again.

“I lost my husband at the age of 37. I want to live in peace and raise my children.” she said.

Osama Drabieh, a member of the destroyed homeowners’ committee in the Al-Nada neighborhood, said: “It is true that most destroyed homes in the neighborhood have been rebuilt, but residents are afraid a new war will bring back the suffering.”

Drabieh, a retired civil servant, returned to his new apartment at the beginning of the year after six long years of separation from his family.

“We have suffered a lot from the burden of destroyed housing and we cannot tolerate any new war that will destroy what has been rebuilt,” he said.

“The impact of the previous war is still visible on our bodies, homes, factories and streets.”

Jamal Al-Khudari, head of the People’s Committee to Face the Siege, said that more than 1,500 housing units have still not been rebuilt after the 2014 war.

More than 500 factories were also severely damaged during the fighting, he said.

“The reality in the Gaza Strip remains difficult, exceptional and tragic,” Al-Khudari said.

Six years after the war, life on the Gaza Strip faces the growing threats of a deteriorating economy, poverty and unprecedented unemployment rates.

Source : Arab News

Babylon the Great Tramples Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Hamas smashes United States interception of Iranian aircraft in Syria’s airspace

MENAFN

(MENAFN) On Friday July 24 the Islamic Hamas movement smashed the United States for cutting off an Iranian civilian airplane in excess of Syria’s airspace.

Hazem Qassem Hamas spokesman in Gaza stated in an emailed press statement that the interception of an Iranian airplane functioned by Mahan Airlines is “a terrorist act that is part of Washington’s plans to control the Middle East.”.

On Thursday July 23 more than 150 passengers on board the Iranian plane were abandoned evening following its landing at Beirut airport subsequent to interception by two United States warplanes, and several passengers wounded.

On Friday July 24 the airplane flew back from Beirut and grounded in Tehran previously.