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Coastal Commission approves nuclear storage facility at San Onofre

Source: Fox 5 San Diego

The California Coastal Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to grant Southern California Edison a 20-year permit for an expanded nuclear waste storage facility at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in northern San Diego County.

Officials at Rosemead-based Edison, which operates and is the majority owner of the idled nuclear plant, said the current 14-year-old storage area is nearing capacity.

SCE estimated that it will need up to 80 more steel-and-concrete-encased canisters, a technology known as dry storage. About two-thirds of San Onofre's used fuel is currently stored on site in steel-lined, concrete storage pools known as wet storage.

Environmental groups argued that it makes no sense to store the spent fuel right next to the shoreline in an earthquake-prone area.


Read more: http://fox5sandiego.com/2015/10/06/coastal-commission-approves-nuclear-storage-facility-at-san-onofre/

Disaster plan developed for use if St. Louis landfill fire reaches buried nuclear waste

Source: Associated Press

Beneath the surface of a St. Louis-area landfill lurk two things that should never meet: a slow-burning fire and a cache of Cold War-era nuclear waste, separated by no more than 1,200 feet.

Government officials have quietly adopted an emergency plan in case the smoldering embers ever reach the waste, a potentially "catastrophic event" that could send up a plume of radioactive smoke over a densely populated area near the city's main airport.

Although the fire at Bridgeton Landfill has been burning since at least 2010, the plan for a worst-case scenario was developed only a year ago and never publicized until this week, when St. Louis radio station KMOX first obtained a copy.

County Executive Steve Stenger cautioned that the plan "is not an indication of any imminent danger."


Read more: http://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2015/10/06/disaster-plan-developed-in-case-fire-reaches-nuclear-waste

U.S. enforcement of Iran arms embargo slipped during nuclear talks: sources

Source: Reuters

Addressing concerns that a landmark nuclear deal reached this year could boost Iran's military power, the Obama administration reassured critics that it would maintain and enforce its remaining tough sanctions against the country.

Yet the U.S. government has pursued far fewer violations of a long-standing arms embargo against Iran in the past year compared to recent years, according to a review of court records and interviews with two senior officials involved in sanctions enforcement.

The sharp fall in new prosecutions did not reflect fewer attempts by Iran to break the embargo, the officials said. Rather, uncertainty among prosecutors and agents on how the terms of the deal would affect cases made them reluctant to commit already scarce resources with the same vigor as in previous years, the officials said.


"Any actions that are taken in connection with sanctions violations pertaining to Iran may have serious impacts on the ongoing negotiations and U.S. foreign policy goals and objectives," wrote the official, whose name was redacted in the email.


Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/05/us-iran-sanctions-enforcement-insight-idUSKCN0RZ09O20151005

It's time to leave the nuclear hall of mirrors


It's time to leave the nuclear hall of mirrors

Deterrence isn’t enough to keep us safe: the prospect of a nuclear accident alone justifies ridding the world of these weapons. Britain should lead the way

David Shariatmadari
Monday 5 October 2015 06.00 EDT

“Nuclear weapons can wipe out life on Earth, if used properly.” Despite being found in the liner notes of a Talking Heads album, this is the sentence I think best captures the bizarre contradictions of the atomic age. Human beings have manufactured bombs explicitly designed to unleash destructive forces equivalent to hundreds of thousands of tonnes of TNT. Deploy them and millions die; civilisation as we know it could disappear. And yet, they’re not actually supposed to be used. In fact, their proper function is to remain in the ground, or at sea, or in the air. Launch, fire or drop ‘em and the whole system has failed. Is there any other device so intricately constructed in order to decrease the likelihood of its own use?

Last week, Jeremy Corbyn, a man with at least a chance of being entrusted with the launch codes for 225 British warheads, stated that he would never press the nuclear button. I asked philosopher Jonathan Glover, whose book Humanity: A Moral History of the 20th Century, includes a study of the Cuban missile crisis, about the comments. He confirmed most analyses so far. “On the assumption that if he’s PM he has full say, that would indeed get rid of any deterrence”. In other words, were Corbyn to gain power, those weapons would become immediately impotent. His shadow defence secretary, Maria Eagle, called the remarks “unhelpful”.

Corbyn had let the air out of the nuclear balloon, given the game away. Despite what David Cameron said yesterday: “There are circumstances in which its use would be justified” – the truth is that no one is going to press the big red button – not Cameron, not George Osborne, Theresa May or whoever follows him. To do so would either be grossly disproportionate (against a non-nuclear state) invite our own destruction (against a nuclear-armed one) or be grossly immoral (a futile retaliation against civilians). But the important thing isn’t to say so.

What Corbyn’s intervention did was immediately change the strategic value of Trident. He may not have got his debate on the question of its renewal at party conference, but that didn’t matter: he’d realised a simple way of pursuing unilateral disarmament was to use a handful of magic words.


Global nuclear facilities 'at risk' of cyber attack

Source: BBC

The risk of a "serious cyber attack" on nuclear power plants around the world is growing, warns a report.


Published by the influential Chatham House think tank, the report studied cyber defences in power plants around the world over an 18-month period.


Unfortunately, research carried out for the study showed that the UK's nuclear plants and associated infrastructure were not well protected or prepared because the industry had converted to digital systems relatively recently.


There was a "pervading myth" that computer systems in power plants were isolated from the internet at large and because of this were immune to the kind of cyber attacks that have dogged other industries.

However, it said, this so-called "air gap" between the public internet and nuclear systems was easy to breach with "nothing more than a flash drive". It noted that the destructive Stuxnet computer virus infected Iran's nuclear facilities via this route.

The researchers for the report had also found evidence of virtual networks and other links to the public internet on nuclear infrastructure networks. Some of these were forgotten or simply unknown to those in charge of these organisations.

Already search engines that sought out critical infrastructure had indexed these links making it easy for attackers to find ways in to networks and control systems.


Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-34423419

Iranian parliamentary panel gives conditional nod to nuclear deal

Source: Reuters

An committee of Iran's conservative-dominated parliament gave its support on Sunday to Iran's nuclear agreement with world powers on condition there would be no foreign inspections of military sites and no curbs on developing its missile program.

These proposals, contained in a report by a special parliamentary committee evaluating the agreement, could become law if passed by the assembly and approved by a top clerical body that vets proposed legislation.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sept 3 he favored a vote in parliament on the nuclear deal, but it will still go to him, as the country's highest authority with the ultimate say on all state policy, for approval.


Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/iranian-parliamentary-panel-gives-conditional-nod-nuclear-deal-124801775.html

Tens of thousands protest against Cameron

Source: Agence-France Presse

Tens of thousands of anti-austerity protesters rallied today as British Prime Minister David Cameron’s governing Conservative Party opened its annual conference.

A spokesman for the Trades Union Congress told AFP that 60,000 people were involved in the protest in the northwestern city of Manchester. Police have not given an estimate.


James Penfold, 44, a nuclear waste scientist, said: “I think they’re taking the cuts way too far. There are different ways of dealing with the deficit which involves taxation.

“What they are doing to the country is catastrophic and in many years we will really be regretting what’s happened.


Read more: http://www.therakyatpost.com/world/2015/10/04/tens-of-thousands-protest-against-cameron/

David Cameron says that he would use nuclear weapons

Source: Independent

David Cameron has said there are circumstances in which he would launch a nuclear attack on another country.

The PM described nuclear bombs as “the ultimate insurance policy” and said the attack could be “justified”.

Mr Cameron’s statement comes after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would not use nuclear bombs on another country’s population.

“If you ... believe like me that Britain should keep the ultimate insurance policy of an independent nuclear deterrent, you have to accept there are circumstances in which its use would be justified,” Mr Cameron told BBC One’s Andrew Marr show on 4 October.


Read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/david-cameron-says-that-he-would-use-nuclear-weapons-a6679256.html

Doctors Without Borders: Kunduz Airstrike Was 'War Crime'

Source: NPR


MSF's General Director Christopher Stokes, saying in a statement that the group operates "(under) the clear presumption that a war crime has been committed," insisted that anything less than a fully independent probe of the incident would be unacceptable.


"We reiterate that the main hospital building, where medical personnel were caring for patients, was repeatedly and very precisely hit during each aerial raid, while the rest of the compound was left mostly untouched. We condemn this attack, which constitutes a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law," he said.

In an interview on Sunday's Weekend All Things Considered, MSF Executive Director Jason Cone, said it has been the "darkest couple of days in our organization's history."

Speaking with WATC host Michel Martin, Cone reiterated Stokes' description of the attack as "a war crime."


Read more: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/10/04/445773358/doctors-without-borders-kunduz-airstrike-was-war-crime

Poroshenko Ends Cooperation With Russia on Nuclear Plant Construction

Source: Sputnik

Kiev decided to scrap the agreement with Russia on the construction of two units of a nuclear power plant in Western Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed a set of laws to terminate cooperation with Russia on the construction of two units at the Khmelnitskiy nuclear power plant, a statement on the presidential website said on Saturday.

In 2010, Russia and Ukraine signed an intergovernmental agreement on the construction of the third and the fourth units of the Khmelnitskiy nuclear power plant in western Ukraine. The estimated cost of the project was expected to be $5-6 billion, according to Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom.

In mid-September, Ukraine's parliament denounced the agreement.


Read more: http://sputniknews.com/europe/20151003/1027966237/poroshenko-russia-ukraine-nuclear.html
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