The Main Cause of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)


Indian Point Energy Center

Nuclear power plant in Buchanan, New York

Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC) is a three-unit nuclear power plant station located in Buchanan, New York, just south of Peekskill. It sits on the east bank of the Hudson River, about 36 miles (58 km) north of Midtown Manhattan. The plant generates over 2,000 megawatts (MWe) of electrical power. For reference, the record peak energy consumption of New York City and Westchester County (the ConEdison Service Territory) was set during a seven-day heat wave on July 19, 2013, at 13,322 megawatts.[3] Electrical energy consumption varies greatly with time of day and season.[4]

Quick Facts: Country, Location …

The plant is owned and operated by Entergy Nuclear Northeast, a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation, and includes two operating Westinghouse pressurized water reactors—designated “Indian Point 2” and “Indian Point 3″—which Entergy bought from Consolidated Edison and the New York Power Authority respectively. The facility also contains the permanently shut-down Indian Point Unit 1 reactor. As of 2015, the number of permanent jobs at the Buchanan plant is approximately 1,000.

The original 40-year operating licenses for units 2 and 3 expired in September 2013 and December 2015, respectively. Entergy had applied for license extensions and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was moving toward granting a twenty-year extension for each reactor. However, after pressure from local environmental groups and New York governor Andrew Cuomo, it was announced that the plant is scheduled to be shut down by 2021.[5] Local groups had cited increasingly frequent issues with the aging units, ongoing environmental releases, and the proximity of the plant to New York City.[6]

Reactors

History and design

The reactors are built on land that originally housed the Indian Point Amusement Park, but was acquired by Consolidated Edison (ConEdison) on October 14, 1954.[7] Indian Point 1, built by ConEdison, was a 275-megawatt Babcock & Wilcox supplied [8] pressurized water reactor that was issued an operating license on March 26, 1962 and began operations on September 16, 1962.[9] The first core used a thorium-based fuel with stainless steel cladding, but this fuel did not live up to expectations for core life.[10] The plant was operated with uranium dioxide fuel for the remainder of its life. The reactor was shut down on October 31, 1974, because the emergency core cooling system did not meet regulatory requirements. All spent fuel was removed from the reactor vessel by January 1976, but the reactor still stands.[11] The licensee, Entergy, plans to decommission Unit 1 when Unit 2 is decommissioned.[12]

The two additional reactors, Indian Point 2 and 3, are four-loop Westinghouse pressurized water reactors both of similar design. Units 2 and 3 were completed in 1974 and 1976, respectively. Unit 2 has a generating capacity of 1,032 MW, and Unit 3 has a generating capacity of 1,051 MW. Both reactors use uranium dioxide fuel of no more than 4.8% U-235 enrichment. The reactors at Indian Point are protected by containment domes made of steel-reinforced concrete that is 40 inches thick, with a carbon steel liner.[13]

Nuclear capacity in New York state

Units 2 and 3 are two of six operating nuclear energy sources in New York State. New York is one of the five largest states in terms of nuclear capacity and generation, accounting for approximately 5% of the national totals. Indian Point provides 39% of the state’s nuclear capacity. Nuclear power produces 34.2% of the state’s electricity, higher than the U.S. average of 20.6%. In 2017, Indian Point generated approximately 10% of the state’s electricity needs, and 25% of the electricity used in New York City and Westchester County.[14] Its contract with Consolidated Edison is for just 560 megawatts. The New York Power Authority, which built Unit 3, stopped buying electricity from Indian Point in 2012. NYPA supplies the subways, airports, and public schools and housing in NYC and Westchester County. Entergy sells the rest of Indian Point’s output into the NYISO administered electric wholesale markets and elsewhere in New England.[15][16][17][18] In 2013, New York had the fourth highest average electricity prices in the United States. Half of New York’s power demand is in the New York City region; about two-fifths of generation originates there.[19][20]

Refueling

The currently operating Units 2 and 3 are each refueled on a two-year cycle. At the end of each fuel cycle, one unit is brought offline for refueling and maintenance activities. On March 2, 2015, Indian Point 3 was taken offline for 23 days to perform its refueling operations. Entergy invested $50 million in the refueling and other related projects for Unit 3, of which $30 million went to employee salaries. The unit was brought back online on March 25, 2015.[21]

Effects

Economic impact

A June 2015 report by a lobby group called Nuclear Energy Institute found that the operation of Indian Point generates $1.3 billion of annual economic output in local counties, $1.6 billion statewide, and $2.5 billion across the United States. In 2014, Entergy paid $30 million in state and local property taxes. The total tax revenue (direct and secondary) was nearly $340 million to local, state, and federal governments.[15] According to the Village of Buchanan budget for 2016–2017, a payment in lieu of taxes in the amount of $2.62 million was received in 2015-2016, and was projected to be $2.62 million in 2016–2017 – the majority of which can be assumed to come from the Indian Point Energy Center.[22]

Over the last decade, the station has maintained a capacity factor of greater than 93 percent. This is consistently higher than the nuclear industry average and than other forms of generation. The reliability helps offset the severe price volatility of other energy sources (e.g., natural gas) and the indeterminacy of renewable electricity sources (e.g., solar, wind).[15]

Indian Point directly employs about 1,000 full-time workers. This employment creates another 2,800 jobs in the five-county region, and 1,600 in other industries in New York, for a total of 5,400 in-state jobs. Additionally, another 5,300 indirect jobs are created out of state, creating a sum total of 10,700 jobs throughout the United States.[15]

Environmental concerns

Environmentalists have expressed concern about increased carbon emissions with the impending shutdown of Indian Point (generating electricity with nuclear energy creates no carbon emissions). A study undertaken by Environmental Progress found that closure of the plant would cause power emissions to jump 29% in New York, equivalent to the emissions from 1.4 million additional cars on New York roads.[23]

Some environmental groups have expressed concerns about the operation of Indian Point, including radiation pollution and endangerment of wildlife, but whether Indian Point has ever posed a significant danger to wildlife or the public remains controversial. Though anti-nuclear group Riverkeeper notes “Radioactive leakage from the plant containing several radioactive isotopes, such as strontium-90, cesium-137, cobalt-60, nickel-63 and tritium, a rarely-occurring isotope of hydrogen, has flowed into groundwater that eventually enters the Hudson River in the past[24], there is no evidence radiation from the plant has ever posed a significant hazard to local residents or wildlife. In the last year[when?], nine tritium leaks have occurred, however, even at their highest levels the leaks have never exceeded one-tenth of one percent of US Nuclear Regulatory Commission limits.

In February 2016, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo called for a full investigation by state environment[25] and health officials and is partnering with organizations like Sierra Club, Riverkeepers, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, Scenic Hudson and Physicians for Social Responsibility in seeking the permanent closure of the plant.[citation needed] However, Cuomo’s motivation for closing the plant was called into question after it was revealed two top former aides, under federal prosecution for influence-peddling, had lobbied on behalf of natural gas company Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) to kill Indian Point. In his indictment, US attorney Preet Bharara wrote “the importance of the plant [CPV’s proposed Valley Energy Center, a plant powered by natural gas] to the State depended at least in part, on whether [Indian Point] was going to be shut down.”[26]

In April 2016 climate scientist James Hansen took issue with calls to shut the plant down, including those from presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. “The last few weeks have seen an orchestrated campaign to mislead the people of New York about the essential safety and importance of Indian Point nuclear plant to address climate change,” wrote Hansen, adding “Sanders has offered no evidence that NRC [U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission] has failed to do its job, and he has no expertise in over-riding NRC’s judgement. For the sake of future generations who could be harmed by irreversible climate change, I urge New Yorkers to reject this fear mongering and uphold science against ideology.”[27]

Indian Point removes water from the nearby Hudson River. Despite the use of fish screens, the cooling system kills over a billion fish eggs and larvae annually.[28] According to one NRC report from 2010, as few as 38% of alewives survive the screens.[29] On September 14, 2015, a state hearing began in regards to the deaths of fish in the river, and possibly implementing a shutdown period from May to August. An Indian Point spokesman stated that such a period would be unnecessary, as Indian Point “is fully protective of life in the Hudson River and $75 million has been spent over the last 30 years on scientific studies demonstrating that the plant has no harmful impact to adult fish.” The hearings lasted three weeks.[30] Concerns were also raised over the planned building of new cooling towers, which would cut down forest land that is suspected to be used as breeding ground by muskrat and mink. At the time of the report, no minks or muskrats were spotted there.[29]

Safety

Indian Point Energy Center has been given an incredible amount of scrutiny from the media and politicians and is regulated more heavily than various other power plants in the state of New York (i.e., by the NRC in addition to FERC, the NYSPSC, the NYISO, the NYSDEC, and the EPA). On a forced outage basis – incidents related to electrical equipment failure that force a plant stoppage – it provides a much more reliable operating history than most other power plants in New York.[31][32] Beginning at the end of 2015, Governor Cuomo began to ramp up political action against the Indian Point facility, opening an investigation with the state public utility commission, the department of health, and the department of environmental conservation.[33][34][35][30][36][37] To put the public service commission investigation in perspective: most electric outage investigations conducted by the commission are in response to outages with a known number of affected retail electric customers.[38] By November 17, 2017, the NYISO accepted Indian Point’s retirement notice.[39]

In 1997, Indian Point Unit 3 was removed from the NRC’s list of plants that receive increased attention from the regulator. An engineer for the NRC noted that the plant had been experiencing increasingly fewer problems during inspections.[40] On March 10, 2009 the Indian Point Power Plant was awarded the fifth consecutive top safety rating for annual operations by the Federal regulators. According to the Hudson Valley Journal News, the plant had shown substantial improvement in its safety culture in the previous two years.[41] A 2003 report commissioned by then-Governor George Pataki concluded that the “current radiological response system and capabilities are not adequate to…protect the people from an unacceptable dose of radiation in the event of a release from Indian Point”.[42] More recently, in December 2012 Entergy commissioned a 400-page report on the estimates of evacuation times. This report, performed by emergency planning company KLD Engineering, concluded that the existing traffic management plans provided by Orange, Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester Counties are adequate and require no changes.[43] According to one list that ranks U.S. nuclear power plants by their likelihood of having a major natural disaster related incident, Indian Point is the most likely to be hit by a natural disaster, mainly an earthquake.[44][45][46][47] Despite this, the owners of the plant still say that safety is a selling point for the nuclear power plant.[48]

Incidents

▪ In 1973, five months after Indian Point 2 opened, the plant was shut down when engineers discovered buckling in the steel liner of the concrete dome in which the nuclear reactor is housed.[49]

▪ On October 17, 1980,[50] 100,000 gallons of Hudson River water leaked into the Indian Point 2 containment building from the fan cooling unit, undetected by a safety device designed to detect hot water. The flooding, covering the first nine feet of the reactor vessel, was discovered when technicians entered the building. Two pumps that should have removed the water were found to be inoperative. NRC proposed a $2,100,000 fine for the incident.

▪ In February 2000, Unit 2 experienced a Steam Generator Tube Rupture (SGTR), which allowed primary water to leak into the secondary system through one of the steam generators.[51] All four steam generators were subsequently replaced.[citation needed]

▪ In 2005, Entergy workers while digging discovered a small leak in a spent fuel pool. Water containing tritium and strontium-90 was leaking through a crack in the pool building and then finding its way into the nearby Hudson River. Workers were able to keep the spent fuel rods safely covered despite the leak.[52] On March 22, 2006 The New York Times also reported finding radioactive nickel-63 and strontium in groundwater on site.[53]

▪ In 2007, a transformer at Unit 3 caught fire, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission raised its level of inspections, because the plant had experienced many unplanned shutdowns. According to The New York Times, Indian Point “has a history of transformer problems”.[54]

▪ On April 23, 2007, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission fined the owner of the Indian Point nuclear plant $130,000 for failing to meet a deadline for a new emergency siren plan. The 150 sirens at the plant are meant to alert residents within 10 miles to a plant emergency.[55]

▪ On January 7, 2010, NRC inspectors reported that an estimated 600,000 gallons of mildly radioactive steam was intentionally vented to the atmosphere after an automatic shutdown of Unit 2. After the vent, one of the vent valves unintentionally remained slightly open for two days. The levels of tritium in the steam were within the allowable safety limits defined in NRC standards.[56]

▪ On November 7, 2010, an explosion occurred in a main transformer for Indian Point 2, spilling oil into the Hudson River.[57] Entergy later agreed to pay a $1.2 million penalty for the transformer explosion.[54]

▪ July 2013, a former supervisor, who worked at the Indian Point nuclear power plant for twenty-nine years, was arrested for falsifying the amount of particulate in the diesel fuel for the plant’s backup generators.[58]

▪ On May 9, 2015, a transformer failed at Indian Point 3, causing the automated shutdown of reactor 3. A fire that resulted from the failure was extinguished, and the reactor was placed in a safe and stable condition.[59] The failed transformer contained about 24,000 gallons of dielectric fluid, which is used as an insulator and coolant when the transformer is energized. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that about 3,000 gallons of dielectric fluid entered the river following the failure.[60]

▪ In June 2015, a mylar balloon floated into a switchyard, causing an electrical problem resulting in the shutdown of Reactor 3.[61]

▪ In July 2015, Reactor 3 was shut down after a water pump failure.[citation needed]

▪ On December 5, 2015, Indian Point 2 was shut down after several control rods lost power.[62]

▪ On February 6, 2016, Governor Andrew Cuomo informed the public that radioactive tritium-contaminated water leaked into the groundwater at the Indian Point Nuclear facility.[25]

Spent fuel

Indian Point stores used fuel rods in two spent fuel pools at the facility.[52] The spent fuel pools at Indian Point are not stored under a containment dome like the reactor, but rather they are contained within an indoor 40-foot-deep pool and submerged under 27 feet of water. Water is a natural and effective barrier to radiation. The spent fuel pools at Indian Point are set in bedrock and are constructed of concrete walls that are four to six feet wide, with a quarter-inch thick stainless steel inner liner. The pools each have multiple redundant backup cooling systems.[52][63]

Indian Point began dry cask storage of spent fuel rods in 2008, which is a safe and environmentally sound option according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.[64] Some rods have already been moved to casks from the spent fuel pools. The pools will be kept nearly full of spent fuel, leaving enough space to allow emptying the reactor completely.[65] Dry cask storage systems are designed to resist floods, tornadoes, projectiles, temperature extremes, and other unusual scenarios. The NRC requires the spent fuel to be cooled and stored in the spent fuel pool for at least five years before being transferred to dry casks.[66]

Earthquake risk

In 2008, researchers from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory located a previously unknown active seismic zone running from Stamford, Connecticut, to the Hudson Valley town of Peekskill, New York—the intersection of the Stamford-Peekskill line with the well-known Ramapo Fault—which passes less than a mile north of the Indian Point nuclear power plant.[67] The Ramapo Fault is the longest fault in the Northeast, but scientists dispute how active this roughly 200-million-year-old fault really is. Many earthquakes in the state’s surprisingly varied seismic history are believed to have occurred on or near it. Visible at ground level, the fault line likely extends as deep as nine miles below the surface.[68]

In July 2013, Entergy engineers reassessed the risk of seismic damage to Unit 3 and submitted their findings in a report to the NRC. It was found that risk leading to reactor core damage is 1 in 106,000 reactor years using U.S. Geological Survey data; and 1 in 141,000 reactor years using Electric Power Research Institute data. Unit 3’s previous owner, the New York Power Authority, had conducted a more limited analysis in the 1990s than Unit 2’s previous owner, Con Edison, leading to the impression that Unit 3 had fewer seismic protections than Unit 2. Neither submission of data from the previous owners was incorrect.[69]

According to a company spokesman, Indian Point was built to withstand an earthquake of 6.1 on the Richter scale.[70] Entergy executives have also noted “that Indian Point had been designed to withstand an earthquake much stronger than any on record in the region, though not one as powerful as the quake that rocked Japan.”[71]

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at Indian Point was Reactor 2: 1 in 30,303; Reactor 3: 1 in 10,000, according to an NRC study published in August 2010. Msnbc.com reported based on the NRC data that “Indian Point nuclear reactor No. 3 has the highest risk of earthquake damage in the country, according to new NRC risk estimates provided to msnbc.com.” According to the report, the reason is that plants in known earthquake zones like California were designed to be more quake-resistant than those in less affected areas like New York.[72][73] The NRC did not dispute the numbers but responded in a release that “The NRC results to date should not be interpreted as definitive estimates of seismic risk,” because the NRC does not rank plants by seismic risk.[74]

IPEC Units 2 and 3 both operated at 100% full power before, during, and after the Virginia earthquake on August 23, 2011. A thorough inspection of both units by plant personnel immediately following this event verified no significant damage occurred at either unit.

Emergency planning

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission defines two emergency planning zones around nuclear power plants: a plume exposure pathway zone with a radius of 10 miles (16 km), concerned primarily with exposure to, and inhalation of, airborne radioactive contamination, and an ingestion pathway zone of about 50 miles (80 km), concerned primarily with ingestion of food and liquid contaminated by radioactivity.[75]

According to an analysis of U.S. Census data for MSNBC, the 2010 U.S. population within 10 miles (16 km) of Indian Point was 272,539, an increase of 17.6 percent during the previous ten years. The 2010 U.S. population within 50 miles (80 km) was 17,220,895, an increase of 5.1 percent since 2000. Cities within 50 miles include New York (41 miles to city center); Bridgeport, Conn. (40 miles); Newark, N.J. (39 miles); and Stamford, Conn. (24 miles).[76]

In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima incident in Japan, the State Department recommended that any Americans in Japan stay beyond fifty miles from the area.[citation needed] Columnist Peter Applebome, writing in The New York Times, noted that such an area around Indian Point would include “almost all of New York City except for Staten Island; almost all of Nassau County and much of Suffolk County; all of Bergen County, N.J.; all of Fairfield, Conn.” He quotes Purdue University professor Daniel Aldrich as saying “Many scholars have already argued that any evacuation plans shouldn’t be called plans, but rather “fantasy documents””.[42]

The current 10-mile plume-exposure pathway Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) is one of two EPZs intended to facilitate a strategy for protective action during an emergency and comply with NRC regulations. “The exact size and shape of each EPZ is a result of detailed planning which includes consideration of the specific conditions at each site, unique geographical features of the area, and demographic information. This preplanned strategy for an EPZ provides a substantial basis to support activity beyond the planning zone in the extremely unlikely event it would be needed.”[77]

In an interview, Entergy executives said they doubt that the evacuation zone would be expanded to reach as far as New York City.[71]

Indian Point is protected by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, including a National Guard base within a mile of the facility, as well as by private off-site security forces.[78]

During the September 11 attacks, American Airlines Flight 11 flew near the Indian Point Energy Center en route to the World Trade Center. Mohamed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers/plotters, had considered nuclear facilities for targeting in a terrorist attack.[79] Entergy says it is prepared for a terrorist attack, and asserts that a large airliner crash into the containment building would not cause reactor damage.[80] Following 9/11 the NRC required operators of nuclear facilities in the U.S. to examine the effects of terrorist events and provide planned responses.[81] In September 2006, the Indian Point Security Department successfully completed mock assault exercises required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.[citation needed] However, according to environmental group Riverkeeper, these NRC exercises are inadequate because they do not envision a sufficiently large group of attackers.[citation needed]

According to The New York Times, fuel stored in dry casks is less vulnerable to terrorist attack than fuel in the storage pools.[65]

Recertification

Units 2 and 3 were both originally licensed by the NRC for 40 years of operation. The NRC limits commercial power reactor licenses to an initial 40 years, but also permits such licenses to be renewed. This original 40-year term for reactor licenses was based on economic and antitrust considerations, not on limitations of nuclear technology. Due to this selected period, however, some structures and components may have been engineered on the basis of an expected 40-year service life.[82] The original federal license for Unit Two expired on September 28, 2013,[83][84] and the license for Unit Three was due to expire in December 2015.[85] On April 30, 2007, Entergy submitted an application for a 20-year renewal of the licenses for both units. On May 2, 2007, the NRC announced that this application is available for public review.[86] Because the owner submitted license renewal applications at least five years prior to the original expiration date, the units are allowed to continue operation past this date while the NRC considers the renewal application.

On September 23, 2007, the antinuclear group Friends United for Sustainable Energy (FUSE) filed legal papers with the NRC opposing the relicensing of the Indian Point 2 reactor. The group contended that the NRC improperly held Indian Point to less stringent design requirements. The NRC responded that the newer requirements were put in place after the plant was complete.[87]

On December 1, 2007, Westchester County Executive Andrew J. Spano, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, and New York Governor Eliot Spitzer called a press conference with the participation of environmental advocacy groups Clearwater and Riverkeeper to announce their united opposition to the re-licensing of the Indian Point nuclear power plants. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of the Attorney General requested a hearing as part of the process put forth by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.[citation needed] In September 2007 The New York Times reported on the rigorous legal opposition Entergy faces in its request for a 20-year licensing extension for Indian Point Nuclear Reactor 2.[87]

A water quality certificate is a prerequisite for a twenty-year renewal by the NRC.[citation needed] On April 3, 2010, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ruled that Indian Point violates the federal Clean Water Act,[88] because “the power plant’s water-intake system kills nearly a billion aquatic organisms a year, including the shortnose sturgeon, an endangered species.”[citation needed] The state is demanding that Entergy constructs new closed-cycle cooling towers at a cost of over $1 billion, a decision that will effectively close the plant for nearly a year. Regulators denied Entergy’s request to install fish screens that they said would improve fish mortality more than new cooling towers. Anti-nuclear groups and environmentalists have in the past tried to close the plant,[citation needed] which is in a more densely populated area than any of the 66 other nuclear plant sites in the US.[citation needed] Opposition to the plant[from whom?] increased after the September 2001 terror attacks,[citation needed] when one of the hijacked jets flew close to the plant on its way to the World Trade Center.[citation needed] Public worries also increased after the 2011 Japanese Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and after a report highlighting the Indian Point plant’s proximity to the Ramapo Fault.[citation needed]

Advocates of recertifying Indian Point include former New York City mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rudolph W. Giuliani. Bloomberg says that “Indian Point is critical to the city’s economic viability”.[89] The New York Independent System Operator maintains that in the absence of Indian Point, grid voltages would degrade, which would limit the ability to transfer power from upstate New York resources through the Hudson Valley to New York City.[90]

As the current governor, Andrew Cuomo continues to call for closure of Indian Point.[91] In late June 2011, a Cuomo advisor in a meeting with Entergy executives informed them for the first time directly of the Governor’s intention to close the plant, while the legislature approved a bill to streamline the process of siting replacement plants.[92]

Nuclear energy industry figures and analysts responded to Cuomo’s initiative by questioning whether replacement electrical plants could be certified and built rapidly enough to replace Indian Point, given New York state’s “cumbersome regulation process”, and also noted that replacement power from out of state sources will be hard to obtain because New York has weak ties to generation capacity in other states.[citation needed] They said that possible consequences of closure will be a sharp increase in the cost of electricity for downstate users and even “rotating black-outs”.[93]

Several members of the House of Representatives representing districts near the plant have also opposed recertification, including Democrats Nita Lowey, Maurice Hinchey, and Eliot Engel and then Republican member Sue Kelly.[94]

In November 2016 the New York Court of Appeals ruled that the application to renew the NRC operating licences must be reviewed against the state’s coastal management program, which The New York State Department of State had already decided was inconsistent with coastal management requirements. Entergy has filed a lawsuit regarding the validity of Department of State’s decision.[95]

Closure

Beginning at the end of 2015, Governor Cuomo began to ramp up political action against the Indian Point facility, opening investigations with the state public utility commission, the department of health and the department of environmental conservation.[33][34][35][30][36][37] To put the public service commission investigation in perspective, most electric outage investigations conducted by the commission are in response to outages with a known number of affected retail electric customers.[38] By November 17, 2017, the NYISO accepted Indian Point’s retirement notice.[39]

In January 2017, the governor’s office announced closure by 2020-21.[96] The closure, along with pollution control, challenges New York’s ability to be supplied.[citation needed] Among the solution proposals are storage, renewables (solar and wind), a new transmission cables from Canada [97][98] and a 650MW natural gas plant located in Wawayanda, New York.[99] There was also a 1,000 MW merchant HVDC transmission line proposed in 2013 to the public service commission that would have interconnected at Athens, New York and Buchanan, New York, however this project was indefinitely stalled when its proposed southern converter station site was bought by the Town of Cortlandt in a land auction administered by Con Edison.[100][101][102] As of October 1, 2018, the 650 MW plant built in Wawayanda, New York, by CPV Valley, is operating commercially.[103] The CPV Valley plant has been associated with Governor Cuomo’s close aid, Joe Percoco, and the associated corruption trial.[104] Another plant being built, Cricket Valley Energy Center, rated at 1,100 MW, is on schedule to provide energy by 2020 in Dover, New York.[105] An Indian Point contingency plan, initiated in 2012 by the NYSPSC under the administration of Cuomo, solicited energy solutions from which a Transmission Owner Transmission Solutions (TOTS) plan was selected. The TOTS projects provide 450 MW[106] of additional transfer capability across a NYISO defined electric transmission corridor in the form of three projects: series compensation at a station in Marcy, New York, reconductoring a transmission line, adding an additional transmission line, and “unbottling” Staten Island capacity. These projects, with the exception of part of the Staten Island “unbottling” were in service by mid-2016. The cost of the TOTS projects are distributed among various utilities in their rate cases before the public service commission and the cost allocation amongst themselves was approved by FERC. NYPA and LIPA are also receiving a portion. The cost of the TOTS projects has been estimated in the range of $27 million to $228 million.[107][108][109][110][111] An energy highway initiative was also prompted by this order (generally speaking, additional lines on the Edic-Pleasant Valley and the Oakdale-Fraser transmission corridors) which is still going through the regulatory process in both the NYISO and NYSPSC.

Under the current plan, one reactor is scheduled to be shut down in April 2020 and the second by April 2021.[112] A report by the New York Building Congress, a construction industry association, has said that NYC will need additional natural gas pipelines to accommodate the city’s increasing demand for energy. Environmentalists have argued that the power provided by Indian point can be replaced by renewable energy, combined with conservation measures and improvements to the efficiency of the electrical grid.[113]

The storm of the Lord‘s anger (Jeremiah 23)

Marco Strengthens Into a Hurricane Ahead of Gulf Coast Strike on Monday

At a Glance

Marco has strengthened into a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.

Marco is expected to strike the Louisiana Gulf Coast on Monday.

Hurricane and storm surge warnings have been issued for a part of the northern Gulf Coast.

Storm surge flooding, localized flooding rainfall and strong winds are the expected impacts from Marco.

Marco has strengthened into a hurricane ahead of its strike on the northern Gulf Coast on Monday, where it will bring storm surge, heavy rainfall and strong winds to parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

A hurricane warning is now in effect for a portion of the Louisiana coast, from Morgan City to the Mouth of the Pearl River. Hurricane conditions are possible by midday Monday in this area.

A storm surge warning has also been issued from Morgan City, Louisiana, to Ocean Springs, Mississippi. This means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving into the coastline.

Tropical storm warnings along with hurricane and tropical storm watches have been issued for other parts of the northern Gulf Coast. New Orleans is currently under a tropical storm warning and hurricane watch.

Watches and Warnings

(A watch is issued when tropical storm or hurricane conditions are possible within 48 hours. A warning is issued when those conditions are expected within 36 hours. )

Happening Now

The center of Marco is more than 300 miles south of Louisiana. It’s located well to the northwest of Tropical Storm Laura, which is a separate system tracking through the Greater Antilles.

Marco is small in size with tropical-storm-force winds extending out up to 70 miles from its center.

Marco’s Current Wind Field

Tropical moisture from Marco is already causing showers and thunderstorms to spread into parts of the Gulf Coast. Rainfall will increase in this area through Monday.

Forecast

Path and Intensity

Marco will approach the Louisiana and Mississippi coast on Monday. It’s not yet certain if the system will plow straight inland and make landfall, or instead turn and drift westward near or along the Louisiana coast.

Current Information

(The red-shaded area denotes the potential path of the center of the tropical cyclone. It’s important to note that impacts (particularly heavy rain, high surf, coastal flooding, winds) with any tropical cyclone usually spread beyond its forecast path. )

At this time, the National Hurricane Center is forecasting Marco to be a Category 1 hurricane when it makes its closest approach to Louisiana and Mississippi on Monday. Marco should then weaken quickly through Tuesday because of land interaction and hostile winds in the upper atmosphere.

Storm Surge

Marco is expected to bring a surge of water from the Gulf of Mexico to parts of the coastline from Louisiana eastward to coastal Alabama, which could become life-threatening.

The highest storm surge usually occurs near and east of the path of a tropical storm or hurricane.

Right now, the highest surge from Marco is predicted to be from southeast Louisiana to a portion of coastal Mississippi. Water levels could reach 4 to 6 feet above normal in these areas if the peak surge arrives at the time of high tide. Monday’s high tide in these areas will be early in the morning.

Rainfall

Since Marco is small, it will not produce a widespread area of heavy rainfall, however, localized flash flooding is still expected.

The area with the greatest chance of seeing some flash flooding on Monday is from southeast Louisiana into coastal parts of Mississippi and Alabama.

Rainfall totals are forecast to be 2 to 4 inches, but locally up to 6 inches could soak some areas.

Wind

Tropical-storm-force winds will arrive on the northern Gulf Coast by early Monday. Hurricane conditions could occur in a smaller area near where Marco approaches the coastline.

Marco’s strongest winds will not be widespread, but there could be some tree damage and power outages, particularly in areas where a hurricane warning or a tropical storm warning is in effect.

An isolated tornado threat also cannot be ruled out in southeast Louisiana on Monday.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

Seventy-five years of nuclear weapons madness is coming to the End

Seventy-five years of nuclear weapons madness

Bret FearAugust 22, 2020

Wars have always caused needless suffering, destruction and death. But 75 years ago, the hell of war reached a new all time immoral low when on August 6, 1945 a United States Boeing B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima instantly killing over 70,000 – mostly civilian – children, women and men.

And again three days later, on August 9, 1945 the U.S. dropped a second atomic bomb, this time on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, killing at least 60,000 people – again mostly civilians.  Nagasaki was the center of Japanese Catholicism.

Since then eight additional nations have acquired nuclear weapons: Russia, China, Great Britain, France, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.

When one considers the tensions between India and Pakistan, Israel and certain Middle East nations, the U.S. and China, the U.S. and North Korea and the U.S. and Russia, the chances of nuclear war are dangerously real.

Russia and the U.S. possess over 90 percent of the world’s nuclear arsenal. And each nation has several hundred nuclear weapons aimed at each other – programmed at “launch ready alert” or otherwise known as “hair-trigger alert.”

Not only is there a real possibility of intentional nuclear war between both countries, but also due to sloppy communications and/or computer errors, Russia and the U.S. have come within minutes of accidental nuclear war more than once.

Furthermore, last year the U.S withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty which had required Russia (then the Soviet Union) and the U.S. to eliminate all of their nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (see: https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/INFtreaty).

“Mutual assured destruction” – appropriately known as MAD – is the military doctrine which attempts to reason that since the undeniable massive devastation caused by a nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia – not to mention devastating the rest of the world – would be so great that neither nation would start such a war, is catastrophically foolish. It is nothing short of playing Russian roulette with the human race.

Add to these dangers the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review’s statement that the U.S. will continue its policy to be the first to initiate a nuclear attack if it decides that its “vital interests” and those of its “allies and partners” are at risk.

On Jan. 23, 2020 the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, moved their famous Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds before midnight – warning how extremely near humanity is to a global catastrophic midnight posed by the increasing threats of nuclear war and climate change.

“We are now expressing how close the world is to catastrophe in seconds – not hours, or even minutes. It is the closest to Doomsday we have ever been in the history of the Doomsday Clock. We now face a true emergency – an absolutely unacceptable state of world affairs that has eliminated any margin for error or further delay,” warned Rachel Bronson, Ph.D., president of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (see: https://bit.ly/2T55YkP).

In his message given at Nagasaki’s Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park last year, Pope Francis said, “One of the deepest longings of the human heart is for security, peace and stability. The possession of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction is not the answer to this desire; indeed they seem always to thwart it.”

And with prophetic warning Pope Francis declared: “The use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral, just as the possessing of nuclear weapons is immoral, as I already said two years ago. We will be judged on this” (see: https://cutt.ly/Ne1emEG).

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at tmag6@comcast.net.

The Pipe Dream: No First Use

Reject ‘No First Use’ Nuclear Policy | Opinion

On 8/24/20 at 11:15 AM EDT

There is an activist effort among nuclear idealists to mobilize public opinion and urge elected officials to pledge to support a policy of “no first use” (NFU). Put simply, an American president who would adopt a policy of NFU would be declaring that the United States will never be the first country to use a nuclear weapon in a war.

No doubt these activists were thrilled to see Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden offer an enthusiastic recent embrace of NFU. But his position is not new; at a campaign event last year, Biden confirmed that he has supported NFU for more than 20 years.

Reasonable observers may therefore ask: Why hasn’t his desire been realized?

The reality is that every single American president, Democrat and Republican alike, has rejected an NFU declaration because to do so would invite unacceptable risk that could yield catastrophic war—and for no tangible benefit at all.

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This is true for four reasons.

First, adopting an NFU policy invites a strategic non-nuclear attack against the American people, our allies and our interests. An NFU declaration broadcasts to America’s enemies that they can proceed with a chemical weapons attack on U.S. forces and their families, can proceed with a biological attack on an American city and can proceed with an overwhelming conventional attack against critical U.S. assets, all without fear of nuclear retaliation. Any would-be enemy could carry out an infinite number of attacks short of a nuclear attack, while the NFU-endorsing U.S. president assures their safety from our nuclear weapon arsenal.

An NFU policy is especially unwise now, while the United States contends with not one, but two major power threats. Both Russia and China are expanding their military capabilities and have acted in ways that demonstrate their willingness to attack sovereign nations and redraw borders.

Of the two, China poses the single greatest threat to America’s national security and way of life. General Secretary Xi Jinping and his Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are now in the midst of a rapid modernization of their military. China has the most diverse missile force on the planet, and has launched more ballistic missiles for testing and training than the rest of the world combined. Nor has Beijing neglected its nuclear capabilities—although their efforts are furtive, we know the CCP is investing in a large force, with delivery systems capable of launching nuclear weapons. Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Lt. General Robert P. Ashley, Jr. said in 2019 that the intelligence community believes China is likely to “at least double the size of its nuclear stockpile in the course of implementing the most rapid expansion and diversification of its nuclear arsenal in China’s history.” The number commonly cited for China’s stockpile is around 300. But it is plausible that there are actually many more than 300, as one highly credible former government official confided to me.

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What’s more, China likely has an advanced chemical warfare program. Like its nuclear program, China does not reveal to the United States what, exactly, it does have. But the more we learn about the CCP’s gross abuse of religious minorities, including of the Uyghurs imprisoned in Xinjiang concentration camps, the more our hackles should be raised. Western democracies view any use of chemical weapons as unconscionable, but the evidence shows our enemies do not share this view.

Although the scope of Russia’s economy and the ambitiousness of its national objectives pale in comparison to China’s, Russia still seeks to undermine the United States and our allies wherever it can. Like China, it is investing heavily in its nuclear forces and has repeatedly violated U.S. arms control agreements. To take one particularly abhorrent and brazen example, on August 6, 2018, the Russian government used chemical weapons on British soil in an attempt to assassinate a former Russian spy, eliciting sanctions by the United States.

That brings us to the second reason NFU is a terrible idea. The United States should be working to create more complex calculations for China and Russia—not making their calculations simpler. Every policy decision related to arms control, the make-up and quality of America’s own weapons and our public declarations should be made with one goal in mind: to deter acts of aggression against the United States. The United States must keep our options open, maintain some ambiguity about what we may do and force our enemies to make complex calculations and always doubt whether an act of aggression against the United States would be worth the punitive cost.

Third, our adversaries would hardly restrict themselves if America were to adopt a true NFU policy. In fact, we have reason to believe that many are willing to use nuclear weapons first in a conflict.

Aerial view of the Pentagon in 1966Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Start with Russia. Russian officials have implied their comfort with the use of nuclear weapons in a conventional conflict, have at times threatened nuclear use against purely defensive systems and, in at least one instance, an official stated that the conditions for a Russian nuclear use could as small as a regional, or even a local, conflict. In June 2015, the Obama administration’s deputy secretary of defense, Robert Work, and then-Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral James Winnefeld informed Congress that “Russian military doctrine includes what some have called an ‘escalate to de-escalate’ strategy—a strategy that purportedly seeks to de-escalate a conventional conflict through coercive threats, including limited nuclear use.” Then-Trump administration Secretary of Defense James Mattis testified to the same concern in 2018.

As for China, the Chinese have purported to embrace NFU. Way back on October 16, 1964, China declared that it “willnever, at any time or under any circumstances, be the first to use nuclear weapons.” For decades, that was blindly accepted by those who wished to believe it—including NFU proponents in the U.S. But current Commander of U.S. Strategic Command Admiral Richard, when speaking about the Chinese NFU policy, told senators in February 2020, “I could drive a truck through that no first use policy.” He went on to explain that the Chinese nuclear program lacks transparency and fosters distrust. Worse, the CCP’s dubious claims to disputed Chinese territory raises concerns about how, and where, Beijing may employ nuclear weapons. Moreover, the CCP is engaged in a robust disinformation campaign across all areas of its government and society: America should not presume anything but deceit from our number one geopolitical threat.

Finally, adopting an NFU policy would cause allied nations, who have rightly forsworn nuclear weapons and who rely on the American nuclear umbrella, to doubt our assurances. And if allies and partners can no longer rely on our nuclear umbrella, they will develop their own. The result of the nuclear idealists’ efforts, zealous as their mission is to take the world down to zero nuclear weapons, could ironically result in precipitous nuclear proliferation.

President Obama, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for, in part, his denuclearization aspirations, eschewed an NFU declaration. Though he was ideologically motivated to pursue the idealist nuclear disarmament agenda, reality and the weight of responsibility to protect the American people won the day. It is inexplicable that his vice president, who has decades of experience grappling with the global threats and has had a front-row seat to these executive decisions, would still hold to the notion that NFU is good policy.

We must see the world as it is. We might wish that other nations will follow our lead and do as we do, but other nations do not hold to our same moral judgments. We should not assume that our adversaries will make the same strategic and operational decisions that we make. The historical evidence shows that they are not inspired by our efforts to de-emphasize nuclear weapons, either by unilaterally moving toward lower numbers or by placing restrictions on testing.

Every American president should keep our options open, maintain strategic ambiguity and reject NFU.

Rebeccah Heinrichs is a senior fellow at Hudson Institute.

The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.

China Fuels the Nuclear War (Revelation 16)

Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, with Saudi King Salman during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 16, 2017. (Lintao Zhang Pool Photo via AP)

Playing With Fire: China Fuels Middle East Arms Race – Modern Diplomacy

August 23, 2020

Middle East

Published

Aided and abetted by China, the Middle East risks barreling towards a nuclear and ballistic missiles arms race.

A disclosure in the last week that Saudi Arabia has constructed, with the help of China, a facility for extracting uranium yellowcake from uranium is the latest in a series of Chinese moves that advance the kingdom’s drive to acquire nuclear technology.

Saudi Arabia has denied building a yellowcake facility but insisted that mining its uranium reserves was part of its economic diversification strategy. The Saudi energy ministry said it was cooperating with China in unspecified aspects of uranium exploration.

The Saudi nuclear drive is likely to stiffen Iranian resolve, fuel Turkish ambitions, and heighten Israeli worries that its regional military superiority could be jeopardized.

For the past year, Iran has progressively walked away from commitments it made as part of a 2015 international agreement that curbed the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions after the Trump administration withdrew from the deal in 2018 and re-imposed harsh economic sanctions.

Saudi Arabia, despite denials, like Israel, fears that the United States will renegotiate the deal in ways that would fall short of providing iron clad guarantees that Iran will not  develop nuclear weapons or enhanced ballistic missile capability or curb its support for militant proxies in Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen.

The fear is irrespective of whether Donald J. Trump or presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wins the November election in the United States.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman warned in 2018 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.”

Faced with the prospect of a Saudi-Iranian nuclear arms race, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last year insisted that it was unacceptable that nuclear-armed countries were preventing his nation from developing nuclear weapons.

Ironically, Chinese support for a peaceful Saudi nuclear program that inevitably would provide the kingdom with building blocks that could contribute to the development of nuclear weapons risks driving a wedge between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

The two countries have, in the absence of formal diplomatic relations, forged close informal ties based on their shared animosity towards Iran and the kingdom’s effort to capitalize in Washington and elsewhere on being seen to engage with Israel as well as Jewish groups.

“For Israel, a Saudi nuclear military capability is a red line that it will be willing to enforce,” said Sigurd Neubauer, author of a just published book on Israeli-Gulf relations.

Saudi Arabia’s nuclear focus serves various goals: diversification of its economy, reduction of its dependence on fossil fuels, countering a potential future Iranian nuclear capability, and enhancing efforts to ensure that Saudi Arabia rather than Iran emerges as the Middle East’s long-term, dominant power.

Cooperation on nuclear energy was one of 14 agreements worth US$65 billion signed during Saudi King Salman’s 2017 visit to China.

The nuclear-related deals involved a feasibility study for the construction of high-temperature gas-cooled (HTGR) nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia as well as cooperation in intellectual property and the development of a domestic industrial supply chain for HTGRs to be built in the kingdom.

The agreement was one of a number of nuclear-related understandings concluded with China, including a uranium-related memorandum of understanding with China National Nuclear Corp., an agreement with China Nuclear Engineering Group Corp., and a 2012 accord to cooperate on peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Saudi Arabia has signed similar agreements with France, the United States, Pakistan, Russia, South Korea, and Argentina.

To advance its pre-pandemic goal of constructing 16 nuclear reactors by 2030 at a cost of US$100 billion, Saudi Arabia established the King Abdullah Atomic and Renewable Energy City devoted to research and application of nuclear technology.

Concern about Saudi intentions was fueled in the last 18 months by Saudi hesitancy to agree to US safeguards viewed as the nuclear industry’s gold standard that would require it among other things to sign the Additional Protocol of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Saudi Arabia has not ruled out signing the protocol.

The unease was further heightened by evidence that the kingdom was building a ballistic missile production site in a remote desert region. Satellite pictures suggested that the facility resembled a similar site of nuclear power in Pakistan.

Saudi cooperation with Pakistan has long been a source of speculation about the kingdom’s ambition and the implications of its involvement in Pakistan’s nuclear program.

Retired Pakistani Major General Feroz Hassan Khan, the author of a semi-official history of Pakistan’s nuclear program, said in an interview that he had no doubt about the kingdom’s interest.

“Saudi Arabia provided generous financial support to Pakistan that enabled the nuclear program to continue, especially when the country was under sanctions,” Mr. Khan said, referring to US sanctions imposed in 1998 because of Pakistan’s development of a nuclear weapons capability.

The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) suggested in a report published three years ago that “Pakistan may assist [Saudi Arabia] in . . . important ways, such as supplying sensitive equipment, materials, and know-how used in enrichment or reprocessing.”

The report, referring to the Iran nuclear agreement, warned that “there is little reason to doubt that Saudi Arabia will more actively seek nuclear weapons capabilities, motivated by its concerns . . . if the deal fails.”

Rather than embarking on a covert program, the report predicted that Saudi Arabia would initially focus on building up its civilian nuclear infrastructure as well as a robust nuclear engineering and scientific workforce.

This would allow the kingdom to take command of all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle at some point in the future. Saudi Arabia has in recent years significantly expanded graduate programs at its five nuclear research centers.

Saudi officials have repeatedly insisted that the kingdom is developing nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes such as medicine, electricity generation, and desalination of sea water.

“The current situation suggests that Saudi Arabia now has both a high disincentive to pursue nuclear weapons in the short term and a high motivation to pursue them over the long term,” the Institute said.

The report’s analysis suggests that China, by failing to impose restraints on its nuclear dealings similar to those maintained by the United States, may be contributing to a regional downward spiral that would be detrimental to Chinese interests in the longer term.

Author’s note: An initial version of this story was first published in Inside Arabia

Dr. James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, and the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog, a book with the same title, Comparative Political Transitions between Southeast Asia and the Middle East and North Africa, co-authored with Dr. Teresita Cruz-Del Rosario and three forthcoming books, Shifting Sands, Essays on Sports and Politics in the Middle East and North Africaas well as Creating Frankenstein: The Saudi Export of Ultra-conservatism and China and the Middle East: Venturing into the Maelstrom.

Babylon the Great Tries to Stop the Saudi Nuclear Horn (Revelation 7)

Pompeo: Tamping down ‘danger’ of Saudi nukes is a top US priority

August 22, 20204 Min Read

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that nuclear proliferation by Saudi Arabia is a actual “danger” — itemizing it amongst rogue regimes that the USA is maintaining its eye on.

The remarks comply with stories the Center Jap kingdom is constructing a secret uranium processing plant with assist from China — a cost that the secretary didn’t deny when repeatedly pressed on whether or not the intelligence was true.

“We’ve made it a actual priority on this administration, engaged on these proliferation points,” Pompeo, 56, advised The Put up throughout an unique interview in his workplace on Wednesday the place he confirmed he could be looking for a “snapback” of sanctions on Iran on the United Nations.

“We’re attempting to take down danger of proliferation all internationally, whether or not that’s in Iran, Saudi Arabia, or North Korea, or Russia,” he mentioned, naming the oil-rich nation together with basket-case regimes.

The secretary didn’t deny stories that the strategic US ally is setting up a secret mill to course of yellowcake, a primary materials for uranium enrichment, within the Saudi desert with the assistance of Chinese language technicians.

Pompeo went as far to counsel that Chinese language officers provided the rich Arab nation a deal that was “too good to be true.”

“We’re actually working with events all through the Center East, sharing with them our considerations in regards to the Chinese language Group Get together and the chance that’s created when the Chinese language Communist Get together reveals up with a deal that appears too good to be true,” he mentioned.

“Maybe I’ll simply go away it at that,” he continued, declining to go additional.

The dominion reportedly needs to pursue nuclear vitality however the transfer has spooked Saudi Arabia’s neighbors, together with Israel who worry the key uranium web site is half of a future army program, in accordance with an Axios report revealed Wednesday.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the nation’s de facto ruler, mentioned in 2018 that “if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we are going to comply with swimsuit as quickly as potential.”

Unnamed Israeli officers advised the publication they consider the Saudis made the take care of China as a result of the Chinese language authorities doesn’t want assurances that the power can be solely used for peaceable functions.

In line with the Axios report, the US circumstances any nuclear cooperation with Saudi Arabia on the reassurance that the uranium is not going to be used for warfare or every other nefarious functions.

The Saudi Vitality Ministry advised the Wall Road Journal that it “categorically denies” claims it is constructing the extraction facility.

The alleged deal comes as the connection between Beijing and Washington grows more and more strained, with President Trump blaming China for concealing the origins of the coronavirus and for cracking down on Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Nonetheless, Saudi Arabia is thought-about a strategic ally towards Iran within the area and Trump final 12 months defied the needs of each events by vetoing a invoice that will withdraw US assist for the Saudi-led struggle in Yemen.

Pompeo on Wednesday mentioned he hoped China would come to the desk and work with them on nuclear proliferation.

“We’ve requested the Chinese language to take part in our strategic dialogue on these exact same sorts of weapon programs,” he mentioned.

“It’s like, ‘Hey if you wish to be a world participant, it is best to interact in strategic dialogue with us on this,’ and thus far they’ve not been permitted to be half of these trilateral conversations,” he mentioned.

“I hope they modify their thoughts.”

Gaza militants fire 12 rockets from outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Gaza militants fire 12 rockets

JERUSALEM (AP) — Palestinian militants fired 12 rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip overnight, nine of which were intercepted, and Israel responded with three airstrikes on targets linked to the territory’s militant Hamas rulers, the Israeli military said early Friday.

Friday evening, the military added that the militants fired at least one more projectile that was also intercepted.

It was the most serious exchange of fire along the Gaza frontier in months, but there were no reports of casualties. Police said buildings and vehicles in Israel were damaged, and that bomb-disposal units had been dispatched to pick up shrapnel and rocket parts.

In recent weeks, groups affiliated with Hamas have launched incendiary balloons into Israel, igniting farmland in a bid to pressure Israel to ease the blockade it imposed on Gaza when the Islamic militants seized power in 2007. The rocket fire marks a significant escalation.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars and several smaller battles over the last 13 years. Neither side is believed to be seeking war, but any casualties could ignite a wider conflict.

After a meeting with the military chiefs to assess the situation, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz threatened Hamas with a serious blow. He said the army “is prepared, is protecting and will continue to protect the people of the south, and will attack the attackers in turn, inflicting serious damage.”

“We will not stand by while Hamas is out of control,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said in a statement. The military “will respond with force and determination, sortie after sortie, and will continue even if it requires patience and time.”

Israel has closed Gaza’s only commercial crossing, causing the territory’s sole power plant to shut down for lack of fuel and limiting the territory’s 2 million residents to around four hours of electricity a day. Israel has also banned fishing in Gaza’s coastal waters, measures it says are in response to the incendiary balloons.

Egyptian mediators were in Gaza earlier this week to try and shore up an informal truce but left without announcing any progress. Israel has allowed the Gulf nation of Qatar to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Gaza in recent years to keep the economy from collapsing and preserve calm.

“We will not allow the enemy to continue the unjust siege on our people, who have the right to express their rejection to this siege by all means,” Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups said in a joint statement.

Describing the incendiary balloons as “peaceful tools” of resistance, the factions said they “responded and will respond” to any Israeli airstrikes on militant sites.

The latest exchange began late Thursday when militants fired two rockets that landed near the security fence. A few hours later, a volley of three rockets was intercepted by Israeli missile defenses. Another seven rockets were fired early Friday, six of which were shot down.

The Israeli military said it carried out airstrikes targeting Hamas military infrastructure, including a compound used to manufacture rocket ammunition, in response.

It was the most serious cross-border exchange since February, when the smaller Islamic Jihad militant group fired around 80 rockets into Israel after one of its fighters was killed near the border while allegedly planting explosives. Israel struck dozens of targets across the territory.

___

Associated Press writer Fares Akram in Gaza City, Gaza Strip contributed.

The growing risk of World War III (Revelation 8 )

WW3 nuclear warning: China and India rising tensions could see THREE countries fire nukes

A NUCLEAR conflict between China and India could see a third nation also fire nuclear-capable missiles, according to an expert.

By GERRARD KAONGA

14:02, Sat, Aug 22, 2020 | UPDATED: 14:38, Sat, Aug 22, 2020

By Gerrard Kaonga 14:02, Sat, Aug 22, 2020 | UPDATED: 14:38, Sat, Aug 22, 2020

WW3 fears could be realised if China and India tensions fail to subside. Asia political expert and author Gordon Chang argued the longer skirmishes between India and China go on the more likely things are to escalate into a nuclear conflict. During an interview with Express.co.uk, Mr Chang warned Pakistan would also likely enter the conflict and be prepared to fire nuclear weapons.

Mr Chang said: “The worst-case scenario is a thermonuclear exchange.

“We aren’t just talking about two nuclear powers, India and China, but also maybe a third, Pakistan.”

Mr Chang explained how Pakistan would be drawn into the conflict and what impact it would have.

Mr Chang said: “This is because Pakistan is close to the scene in Galwan Valley in Ladakh.

WW3: Asia political expert and Author Gordon Chang argued that the longer skirmishes between India and China go on the more likely things are to escalate into a nuclear conflict. (Image: GETTY)

“There has always been the concern that this would spread to a third country.

“I would say the percentages are low so maybe five percent chance of that happenning.

“But the point is you have got two large countries here.

“China is absolutely determined to take Indian territory and India is determined to protect itself.

WW3: Mr Chang explained how Pakistan would be drawn into the conflict and what impact it would have. (Image: GETTY)

“This could spread and end up becoming a long-term conflict.

“The longer this conflict continues, the greater the possibility it can go from conventional to nuclear.”

Mr Chang also detailed how China and India tensions could escalate to the point of nuclear warfare. 

He said: “The one thing that will certainly escalate this is China reinforcing its positions.

WW3: Mr Chang also detailed how China and India tensions could escalate to the point of nuclear warfare. (Image: GETTY)

“It has been doing that as well as building fortifications.

“India is not going to permit that and we are seeing both sides reinforce their troops.

“We can expect this will be a long-term controversy.

“You have to remember that, for a number of years, China has been sending in troops into the Indian controlled territories.”