Why We Are In Trouble At The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Why NRC Nuclear Safety Inspections are Necessary: Indian PointDave LochbaumThis is the second in a series of commentaries about the vital role nuclear safety inspections conducted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) play in protecting the public. The initial commentary described how NRC inspectors discovered that limits on the maximum allowable control room air temperature at the Columbia Generating Station in Washington had been improperly relaxed by the plant’s owner. This commentary describes a more recent finding by NRC inspectors about animproper safety assessment of a leaking cooling water system pipe on Entergy’s Unit 3 reactor at Indian Point outside New York City.Indian Point Unit 3: Leak Before BreakOn February 3, 2017, the NRC issued Indian Point a Green finding for a violation of Appendix B to 10 CFR Part 50. Specifically, the owner failed to perform an adequate operability review per its procedures after workers discovered water leaking from a service water system pipe.On April 27, 2016, workers found water leaking from the pipe downstream of the strainer for service water (SW) pump 31. As shown in Figure 1, SW pump 31 is one of six service water pumps located within the intake structure alongside the Hudson River. The six SW pumps are arranged in two sets of three pumps. Figure 1 shows SW pumps 31, 32, and 33 aligned to provide water drawn from the Hudson River to essential (i.e, safety and emergency) components within Unit 3. SW pumps 34, 35, and 36 are aligned to provide cooling water to non-essential equipment within Unit 3.

Fig. 1 (Source: Nuclear Regulatory Commission Plant Information Book) (click to enlarge)Each SW pump is designed to deliver 6,000 gallons of flow. During normal operation, one SW pump can handle the essential loads while two SW pumps are needed for the non-essential loads. Under accident conditions, two SW pumps are needed to cool the essential equipment. The onsite emergency diesel generators can power either of the sets of three pumps, but not both simultaneously. If the set of SW pumps aligned to the essential equipment aren’t getting the job done, workers can open/close valves and electrical breakers to reconfigure the second set of three SW pumps to the essential equipment loops.Because river water can have stuff in it that could clog some of the coolers for essential equipment, each SW pump has a strainer that attempts to remove as much debris as possible from the water. The leak discovered on April 27, 2016, was in the piping between the discharge check valve for SW pump 31 and its strainer. An arrow points to this piping section in Figure 1. The strainers were installed in openings called pits in the thick concrete floor of the intake structure. Water from the leaking pipe flowed into the pit housing the strainer for SW pump 31.The initial leak rate was modest—estimated to be about one-eighth of a gallon per minute. The leak was similar to other pinhole leaks that had occurred in the concrete-lined, carbon steel SW pipes. The owner began daily checks on the leakage and prepared an operability determination. Basically, “operability determinations” are used within the nuclear industry when safety equipment is found to be impaired or degraded. The operability determination for the service water pipe leak concluded that the impairment did not prevent the SW pumps from fulfilling their required safety function. The operability determination relied on a sump pump located at the bottom of the strainer pit transferring the leaking water out of the pit before the water flooded and submerged safety components.The daily checks instituted by the owner included workers recording the leak rate and assessing whether it had significantly increased. But the checks were against the previous day’s leak rate rather than the initial leak rate. By September 18, 2016, the leakage had steadily increased by a factor of 64 to 8 gallons per minute. But the daily incremental increases were small enough that they kept workers from finding the overall increase to be significant.The daily check on October 15, 2016, found the pump room flooded to a depth of several inches. The leak rate was now estimated to be 20 gallons per minute. And the floor drain in the strainer pit was clogged (ironic, huh?) impairing the ability of its sump pump to remove the water. Workers placed temporary sump pumps in the room to remove the flood water and cope with the insignificantly higher leak rate. On October 17, workers installed a clamp on the pipe that reduced the leakage to less than one gallon per minute.The operability determination was revised in response to concerns expressed by the NRC inspectors. The NRC inspectors were not satisfied by the revised operability determination. It continued to rely on the strainer pit sump pump removing the leaking water. But that sump pump was not powered from the emergency diesel generator and thus would not remove water should offsite power become unavailable. Step 5.6.4 of procedure EN-OP-14, “Operability Determination Process,” stated “If the Operability is based on the use or availability of other equipment, it must be verified that the equipment is capable of performing the function utilized in the evaluation.”The operability determination explicitly stated that no compensatory measures or operator manual actions were needed to handle the leak, but the situation clearly required both compensatory measures and operator manual actions.The NRC inspectors found additional deficiencies in the revised operability determination. The NRC inspectors calculated that a 20 gallon per minute leak rate coupled with an unavailable strainer pit sump pump would flood the room to a depth of three feet in three hours. There are no flood alarms in the room and the daily checks might not detect flooding until the level rose to three feet. At that level, water would submerge and potentially disable the vacuum breakers for the SW pumps. Proper vacuum breaker operation could be needed to successfully restart the SW pumps.The NRC inspectors calculated that the 20 gallon per minute leak rate without remediation would flood the room to the level of the control cabinets for the strainers in 10 hours. The submerged control cabinets could disable the strainers, leading to blocked cooling water flow to essential equipment.The NRC inspects calculated that the 20 gallon per minute leak rate without remediation would completely fill the room in about 29 hours, or only slightly longer than the daily check interval.Flooding to depths of 3 feet, 10 feet, and the room’s ceiling affected all six SW pumps. Thus, the flooding represented a common mode threat that could disable the entire service water system. In turn, all safety equipment shown in Figure 2 no longer cooled by the disabled service water system could also be disabled. The NRC estimated that the flooding risk was about 5×10-6 per reactor year, solidly in the Green finding band.

Fig. 2 (Source: Nuclear Regulatory Commission Plant Information Book) (click to enlarge)UCS Perspective“Leak before break” is a longstanding nuclear safety philosophy. Books have been written about it (well, at least one report has been written and may even have been read.)  The NRC’s approval of a leak before break analysis can allow the owner of an existing nuclear power reactor to remove pipe whip restraints and jet impingement barriers. Such hardware guarded against the sudden rupture of a pipe filled with high pressure fluid from damaging safety equipment in the area. The leak before break analyses can provide the NRC with sufficient confidence that piping degradation will be detected by observed leakage with remedial actions taken before the pipe fails catastrophically. More than a decade ago, the NRC issued a Knowledge Management document on the leak before break philosophy and acceptable methods of analyzing, monitoring, and responding to piping degradation.This incident at Indian Point illustrated an equally longstanding nuclear safety practice of “leak before break.” In this case, the leak was indeed followed by a break. But the break was not the failure of the piping but failure of the owner to comply with federal safety regulations. Pipe breaks are bad. Regulation breaks are bad. Deciding which is worse is like trying to decide which eye one wants to be poked in. None is far better than either.As with the prior Columbia Generating Station case study, this Indian Point case study illustrates the vital role that NRC’s enforcement efforts plays in nuclear safety. Even after NRC inspectors voiced clear concerns about the improperly evaluated service water system pipe leak, Entergy failed to properly evaluate the situation, thus violating federal safety regulations. To be fair to Entergy, the company was probably doing its best, but in recent years, Entergy’s best has been far below nuclear industry average performance levels.The NRC’s ROP is the public’s best protection against hazards caused by aging nuclear power reactors, shrinking maintenance budgets, emerging sabotage threats, and Entergy.Replacing the NRC’s engineering inspections with self-assessments by Entergy would lessen the effectiveness of that protective shield.The NRC must continue to protect the public to the best of its ability. Delegating safety checks to owners like Entergy is inconsistent with that important mission.Support from UCS members make work like this possible. Will you join us? Help UCS advance independent science for a healthy environment and a safer world.

The winds of God’s wrath continue to annihilate Babylon the great (Jeremiah 23)

5 p.m. — Teddy strengthens to Category 4 hurricane with 140 mph winds

The National Hurricane Center wrote Hurricane Teddy’s peak winds had increased 20 mph since the last advisory at 11 a.m., rapidly intensifying to a Category 4 hurricane with 140 mph maximum sustained winds. Some additional strengthening is possible tonight, and the Hurricane Center predicts its winds to peak around 150 mph before likely fluctuations in intensity into the weekend.

Original article from midday

After Hurricane Sally unloaded 20 to 30 inches of rain, unleashing wind gusts over 100 mph and generating a six-foot storm surge along the Florida Panhandle and Alabama coast, its remnants are marching through the Southeast, dumping more flooding rain. But, reflecting the breakneck pace of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, forecasters are already turning their attention to two more threatening tropical weather systems: Hurricane Teddy and a disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico that could soon earn the name Wilfred.

There is some chance Teddy could strike Bermuda and then northern New England toward the middle of next week, while the gulf system could be a problem for coastal Texas and the northern Gulf Coast around the same time.

The threat of new storms comes during the busiest Atlantic hurricane season on record. Twenty named storms have formed and, after the likely Wilfred, forecasters will be forced to draw from the Greek alphabet for naming additional storms. That’s happened only once before, in 2005, the busiest season on record.

Running out of hurricane names, we’ll soon switch to the Greek alphabet. That could present a problem.

Sally

Rainfall forecast for Sally’s remnants from the National Weather Service.

Once formidable, Sally was downgraded to a remnant area of low pressure Thursday morning, and the National Hurricane Center issued its final advisory on the system at 5 a.m.

Centered over Georgia, the former hurricane was picking up speed, heading toward the Carolinas at 12 mph.

Flash-flood watches spanned from northeast Georgia through western South Carolina, much of North Carolina and southeastern Virginia, with widespread rainfall of two to four inches predicted with amounts in some places topping six inches. The southern Delmarva Peninsula could also see that much rain. This entire zone was under a slight to moderate risk of flash flooding.

In a special bulletin, the National Weather Service wrote that central South Carolina, in particular, was experiencing heavy rainfall, at rates of one to two inches per hour. “The expected intensity and duration of this rainfall will cause flash flooding, particularly across central SC where the highest amounts are expected through [4 p.m. Thursday],” it wrote. “Some of it could [be] significant on any sensitive or urban locations.”

East of where the center tracks, some tornadoes were possible. A tornado watch was in effect until 6 p.m. in central and eastern South Carolina.

Gusts to 123 mph, 30 inches of rain and a 6-foot storm surge: Hurricane Sally by the numbers

Hurricane Teddy gains ‘major’ status

On Thursday morning, Hurricane Teddy intensified into a major Category 3 hurricane, with peak sustained winds of 120 mph. Positioned 1,155 miles southeast of Bermuda, it was sweeping northwestward at 12 mph. The storm is forecast to intensify further, attaining winds of 130 mph by Thursday night, which would make it a Category 4 storm.

By the weekend and early next week, Teddy is predicted to encounter cooler waters and an increase in hostile high-altitude winds, which would cause it to weaken slightly. Nevertheless, by Monday, when it will be making its closest pass to Bermuda, it is still expected to be a Category 2 hurricane with winds over 100 mph.

“While the exact details of Teddy’s track and intensity near the island are not yet known, the risk of strong winds, storm surge, and heavy rainfall on Bermuda is increasing,” the Hurricane Center wrote.

Teddy could be the second hurricane to strike Bermuda in the same week. This past Monday, Hurricane Paulette passed directly over the island.

After Teddy passes Bermuda, some models suggest high pressure over the North Atlantic could force it to make a rare, hard left turn toward Maine or the Canadian Maritimes, while others suggest it will curl away, remaining over the ocean. Any effects to North America are likely at least five or six days away, if this happens. Regardless, the storm is likely to generate large ocean swells and rip currents along the East Coast.

Simulations from American (blue) and European (red) computer models from Thursday for Hurricane Teddy’s track. The bold lines represent the average forecast from each simulation group. (StormVistaWxModels)

Teddy is the second major hurricane, rated Category 3 or higher, to form in 2020, following Hurricane Laura.

System forming in the Gulf of Mexico

The Hurricane Center wrote Thursday morning that an area of disturbed weather over the southwest Gulf of Mexico is becoming better organized. “Upper-level winds are gradually becoming more conducive for development and, if this recent development trend continues, a tropical depression or a tropical storm could form later today,” it wrote.

It is likely this system will become Tropical Storm Wilfred. Through Friday, it is not expected to move much before slowly drifting to the north and northeast over the weekend. By early next week, it could be close to the South Texas coast. Beyond that, computer models project it will continue north and northeastward and may approach the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday and Thursday.

Rainfall predicted by European modeling system over the next week in the Gulf of Mexico. (WeatherBell)

It is too soon to predict specifically what land areas this potential storm could brush or strike directly, or its intensity. But, because of its slow movement, it may pose yet another heavy rainfall threat for portions of the western and northern Gulf Coast. And, if it’s able to gain strength, a threat from storm surge and high winds could emerge as well.

Other systems under investigation

In addition to the remnants of Sally, Hurricane Teddy and the gulf system, the Hurricane Center was monitoring three other systems:

• Vicky, a tropical depression in the eastern Atlantic, was forecast to dissipate.

• A disturbance southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands has a 50 percent chance to develop into a tropical depression or storm over the next five days as it heads eastward. It could be 2020′s first storm to be named from the Greek alphabet: Alpha.

• A disturbance in the far northeastern Atlantic several hundred miles east of the Azores has been given a 30 percent chance to develop. “The system is expected to reach the coast of Portugal late Friday,” the Hurricane Center wrote.

Britain threatens the Iranian nuclear horn

UK says Iran must be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapon

LONDON: Iran must be prevented from acquiring a nuclear weapon, UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab said during a meeting Wednesday with US Vice President Mike Pence.

Raab posted a tweet saying he and Pence discussed the “latest on progress in Middle East peace, our commitment to Hong Kong, the need to prevent Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon and support for COVID-19 vaccine development,” following the meeting at the White House.

The US pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018 and has since called on Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany to follow suit.
Raab’s comments came a day after a joint statement from UK, Germany and France called on Iran to fully fulfil its nuclear obligations and maintain the JCPOA.
The statement said that Tehran’s failure to fulfil its obligations was a matter of concern, and seriously damaged the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
The three countries expressed their concern about Iran’s announcement to construct a building to produce advanced centrifuges near the Natanz nuclear plant and called on Tehran to halt production.
Last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that Iran has exceeded the limit on uranium enrichment stipulated in the agreement, and had increased its stockpile tenfold.
The UN nuclear watchdog confirmed that it is still investigating Iran’s undeclared materials and activities and that is working to verify the nuclear materials declared by Iran are not diverted according to the agreement.
The meeting took place a day after a historic US-brokered signing ceremony where the UAE, Bahrain and Israel inked the Abraham Accord, officially recognizing and normalizing ties with the Jewish state.

The anti-Christ’s followers join Iraq’s first weekly prayers since Covid-19

Thousands join Iraq’s first weekly prayers since Covid-19

By AFP – Sep 12,2020 – Last updated at Sep 12,2020

Iraqis attend Friday prayers for the first time in months since the restrictions were imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, at the Kufa mosque affiliated to the Sadrist movement, in the holy central city of Najaf, on Friday (AFP photo)

BAGHDAD — Thousands of supporters of Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr gathered at a mosque in east Baghdad on Friday for the first weekly prayers since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Iraq’s mosques have been closed to gatherings for close to six months, but notoriously outspoken Sadr said on Wednesday that he would hold open-air prayers in his stronghold.

In east Baghdad’s Sadr City on Friday, worshippers put on medical masks and gloves and had their temperatures taken before being allowed into the courtyard of the main mosque, where volunteers were spraying disinfectant.

“We urge everyone to abide by social distancing and protect themselves against this virus,” the imam said in the opening to his brief sermon.

Sadr had issued a list of restrictions on Twitter this week, including that worshippers must stand exactly 75 centimetres apart and sermons must last only 15 minutes.

One worshipper, Qassem Al Mayahi, 40, said he was “happy to finally be able to pray on Fridays, as this is one of the five pillars of Islam”.

“We need to figure out how to live” with the virus, he told AFP. “We may as well pray.”

Other prayers at Sadrist mosques were expected in the Shiite holy city of Najaf on Friday.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit Iraq hard, with nearly 280,000 confirmed cases and more than 7,800 deaths.

In March, Iraqi authorities shut down airports and imposed total lockdowns to halt the virus’s spread. Top Shiite authority Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani halted his weekly sermons, and they have yet to resume.

But rules have generally been relaxed, with most airports reopening in July and curfews now only in place overnight.

On Monday, the Iraqi government’s coronavirus crisis cell announced restaurants could seat customers — rather than just providing takeaway services — if they abide by health ministry protocols and that sports events could resume, but in the absence of spectators.

The loosening of restrictions came just a few days after Iraq recorded its highest daily caseload yet, with more than 5,000 new Covid-19 infections recorded on September 4.

The health ministry attributed the spike to recent “large gatherings” that took place without recommended safety measures, including mask wearing and social distancing.

That included the marking on August 30 of Ashura, a Shiite day of mourning that commemorates the killing of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson Hussein in Karbala in 680AD.

Usually, millions of pilgrims from around the world travel to Karbala to mark Ashura, but this year Iraq did not grant visas to religious tourists and kept borders with neighbouring Shiite-majority Iran closed.

But concern is already building over Arbaeen, which comes 40 days after Ashura — on October 8 — and typically sees even larger numbers converge at Karbala.

Iraq’s interior ministry told AFP any foreign national without Iraqi residency would not be granted entry until after Arbaeen.

Hospitals in Iraq have already been worn down by decades of conflict and poor investment, with shortages in medicines, hospital beds and even protective equipment for doctors.

Fears of the First Nuclear Rocket: Revelation 16

World War 3 fears rocket after India storms out of Pakistan meeting over Kashmir dispute

FEARS of open conflict between India and Pakistan surged after a New Delhi delegation stormed out of a meeting over the two countries’ border disputes.

By James Bickerton 03:40, Wed, Sep 16, 2020 | UPDATED: 08:31, Wed, Sep 16, 2020

Pakistan forces seen launching attack in north Kashmir

The virtual meeting featured security aides from Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states. India’s delegation, led by national security advisor Ajit Doval, quit the event after Pakistani representatives displayed a map depicting disputed territory as belonging to Islamabad.

The Pakistani map showed all of Kashmir, the sovereignty of which is hotly contested, as being under their authority.

According to the Times of India the New Delhi team dropped out of the event after seeing the Pakistani flag.

Muslim majority Kashmir is currently divided between Indian and Pakistani zones.

Since 1989 an armed insurgency has been taking place in Kashmir against Indian control.

The Indian delegation stormed out of a virtual SCO meeting (Image: GETTY)

The scene after India’s representative left the meeting (Image: YouTube/Indiplus News)

Can’t see this Brexit poll? Click here to open in your browser 

Up to 100,000 are estimated to have been killed in the conflict.

The SCO meeting, which incorporates a number of regional powers, was being chaired by Russia.

The Russian delegation tried to persuade their Pakistani counterparts to remove the map but without success.

In August Imran Khan, the Pakistani prime minister, released a new map showing the entirety of Kashmir under the control of Pakistan.

READ MORE: Pakistan-India crisis unravels after military attacks in Kashmir

The Pakistani SCO delegation with the controversial map behind them (Image: YouTube/Indiplus News)

The territory had been broken up and was being administered as two separate Pakistani territories.

It was this map which caused controversy after it was displayed during the SCO meeting.

The Pakistani move was sharply condemned by Anurag Srivastava, spokesman for India’s ministry of external affairs.

He said: “This was in blatant disregard to the advisory by the host against it and in violation of the norms of the meeting.”

DON’T MISS 

Pakistan risks India fury by claiming authority over settled areas [CONFLICT]

Indian military cracks down on Kashmir over protest fears [CARNAGE]

World War 3: Kashmir dispute threatens peace in South Asia [REVEAL]

An Indian warplane was shot down by Pakistani forces in 2019 (Image: GETTY)

Anti-India protesters rally in Kashmir (Image: GETTY)

Pakistani officials, quotes in local media, claimed the row began after their envoys rejected India’s “spurious claims” over the territory.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars, in 1947, 1965 and 1999, over the control of Kashmir.

The two nuclear armed rivals also battled against each other in 1971 during Bangladesh’s ‘liberation war’ from Islamabad.

According to an Indian source after the event Nikolai Patrushev, who runs Russia’s national security council, spoke out against the Pakistani action.

India: Protesters clash with armed officers in Kashmir

It is reported to have said: “Russia does not support what Pakistan has done and hopes that Pakistan’s provocative act will not affect India’s participation in SCO.”

From March to April 2019 several people were killed in a series of skirmishes along the India-Pakistan border.

The violence began when Indian forces bombed Jaish-e-Mohammed, an extreme Islamist group it blamed for suicide attacks, over the Pakistani border.

Pakistani and Indian aircraft then staged a series of incursions into each other’s air space.

India has been fighting a decades long insurgency in Kashmir (Image: GETTY)

On February 27 an Indian MiG-21 warplane was shot down over Pakistan.

The pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, was captured and later released.

Next month both India and Pakistan agreed a deal to reduce tensions between the two countries.

Israel bombs outside the Temple Walls as Hamas warns of escalation after Arab deals: Revelation 11

Israel bombs Gaza as Hamas warns of escalation after Arab deals

Hamas has warned Israel it would face a military escalation after its warplanes bombed the Gaza Strip following rocket fire from the Palestinian territory coinciding with the signing of Israel, the UAE and Bahrain normalisation deals.

Smoke and flame are seen following an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip on September 16, 2020. (Reuters)

Israel has carried out a series of air strikes targeting multiple Hamas positions in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

The Israeli army said the attacks were in response to rockets fired towards “Israeli territory yesterday evening”, claiming that eight of a total of 13 rockets fired from Gaza were intercepted.

Israeli warplanes struck 10 sites in Gaza, including “a weapons and explosives manufacturing factory and a Hamas military complex used for rocket training and experiments”, the army added.

The renewed exchange offered a stark reminder that the festive events in Washington would likely do little to change Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians.

Rocket fire from Gaza on Tuesday evening coincided with the formal signing of normalization agreements between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain at the White House.

One of the rockets landed in the city of Ashdod, wounding two Israelis.

The al Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian group Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks, saying in a statement that it was a response to “Israeli aggression”.

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia commits itself to standing with Palestine

Hamas warns Israel of escalation

Hamas has warned Israel it would face a military escalation after its warplanes bombed the Gaza Strip.

“The occupant (Israel) will pay the price for any aggression against our people or resistance sites and the response will be direct,” said the group which rules Gaza.

“We will increase and expand our response to the extent that the occupation persists in its aggression,” it added in a statement.

The Palestine Liberation Organization has also denounced the Arab-Israel deal.

The signing of the deal came just ahead of the 38th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacre in which 460 to 3,500 civilians were killed.

The attack on September 16, 1982 took place in the Sabra neighbourhood and the adjacent Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon.

It was carried out by a militia close to the Kataeb Party, a predominantly Christian Lebanese right-wing party.

‘A black day’

“This is a black day in the history of the official Arab system, and a sad day for the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause,” said Wasel Abu Yousef, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee and Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Front.

“It is another treacherous stab in the back of the Palestinian people’s struggle, rights, sanctities and sacrifices,” he said, adding that it comes in the wake of the so-called American peace plan known as the deal of the century.

Such deals would enable Israel to escalate atrocities against Palestinians and carry out crimes including “confiscation of lands, the policy of ethnic cleansing and collective punishment in all the occupied Palestinian territories”, said Abu Yousef.

TRT World

973K subscribers

Israel normalisation deals may lead to the division of Al AqsaŚr

Formal signing

Israel formally signed the agreements with representatives for Bahrain, UAE and Israel during a White House ceremony presided over by US President Donald Trump.

Bahrain became the fourth Arab country to establish diplomatic relations with Israel last Friday after Egypt in 1979, Jordan in 1994 and the UAE in August.

Secretary of the Fatah Movement’s Revolutionary Council Majid al Fityani said: “they signed, in their disgrace, agreements of dependency, protection, and obedience with the occupation state.”

“Shame on the foreheads of the rulers of the Emirates and Bahrain. [They] do not represent anything to the Palestinians,” he said.

Palestinians staged a series of rallies Tuesday in the West Bank and Gaza Strip against the controversial agreements.

The world is helping the Saudi nuclear horn: Daniel 7

China and IAEA are helping Saudi Arabia achieve its nuclear ambitions

Although Saudi Arabia has pledged that its nuclear program is strictly peaceful, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said the kingdom would develop a bomb if Iran did so.

Jonathan Tirone

16 September, 2020 10:39 am IST

File photo of Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince | Luke MacGregor | Bloomberg

Vienna: The United Nations nuclear watchdog has been working in parallel with Chinese officials to help Saudi Arabia exploit uranium — the key ingredient for nuclear power and weapons — despite its inspectors being frozen out of the kingdom.

The International Atomic Energy Agency published a document ahead of its annual conference next week showing the Vienna-based organization assisting Saudi efforts to make nuclear fuel. An institute in Beijing affiliated with the IAEA has been prospecting for uranium in Saudi Arabia.

“It’s very important that the agency is present and is engaged with any country that wants to perform any activity related to the nuclear fuel cycle,” IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said on Monday.

Grossi said his agency had offered only limited advice on how to make fuel from uranium, and was “in dialog” with Saudi authorities over granting inspectors access to more people, places and data so they can monitor how uranium potentially produced in the kingdom is used.

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Ministry didn’t immediately reply to emails or phone calls requesting comment.

The Saudis have stepped up their pursuit of nuclear technologies in recent years, piquing the interest of companies from South Korea to Russia and the U.S. The kingdom is nearing completion of its first reactor, a low-powered research unit being built with Argentina’s state-owned INVAP SE. It has repeatedly pledged that its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes, but Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said the kingdom would develop a bomb if its regional rival Iran did so.

Nuclear non-proliferation experts have long warned that without adequate safeguards, IAEA technical cooperation can unwittingly help countries develop weapons capabilities.

Chinese geologists have helped Saudi counterparts identify uranium deposits located in the northwestern region of the country, where the kingdom is planning the futuristic city of Neom, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg.

Promising locations were presented to Saudi Arabia’s vice minister for mining affairs, Khalid Saleh Al-Mudaifer, at the end of last year, according to a statement by the Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology, or BRIUG.

BRIUG referred follow-up questions to the China National Nuclear Corp., which didn’t respond to phone calls and emails requesting comment. The geology institute operates a joint technical center and has cooperation agreements with the IAEA, according to its website.

While Saudi Arabia has been open about its ambitions to generate nuclear power, less is known about the kinds of monitoring the kingdom intends to put in place. President Donald Trump’s administration sent a letter to Saudi Arabia a year ago setting requirements to access U.S. atomic technology. The baseline for any agreement is tougher IAEA inspections that include a so-called Additional Protocol — the same monitoring standard applied in Iran and more than 130 other nations, which allows inspectors wider access to sites including uranium mines.

The kingdom is among only 31 countries worldwide that still applies an old set of IAEA regulations that don’t allow inspections. On Monday, the agency said it was beginning a new initiative to roll back those rules because they can’t provide adequate assurance that all activity is for exclusively peaceful purposes.

“I’m approaching them, telling them that in 2020 this is no longer adequate,” Grossi said. “We have to be up to a minimum standard.”

The IAEA provided financial and technical aid to develop Pakistan’s uranium mines and improve plutonium-producing reactors even after the country tested a nuclear weapon in 1998 in defiance of a non-proliferation treaty. While that aid was intended for civilian nuclear power, scientists involved in those projects said Pakistan used uranium mined with agency help for weapons.

The IAEA similarly helped North Korea develop its uranium mines before it kicked inspectors out in 2003. Syria, under investigation since 2007 for allegedly building a secret atomic-weapons reactor, used an IAEA-built lab to produce uranium.

“The Additional Protocol is the standard we all want, we all aspire to,” Grossi said. But adopting those stricter monitoring measures still isn’t a pre-requisite for countries receiving technical assistance, he said. – Bloomberg