National engineering association calls for federal investigation into canceled S.C. nuclear reactors
Source: Post and Courier
A national association that represents professional engineers across the country is calling for a federal investigation into the cancellation of two nuclear reactors in South Carolina.
The National Society of Professional Engineers sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Thursday asking the agency to investigate the nuclear construction effort at V.C. Summer Nuclear Station that was abandoned in July.
The push to have the country's nuclear regulators open an investigation comes more than a month after The Post and Courier uncovered the use of unlicensed construction designs for the $9 billion project in Fairfield County.
The newspaper's investigation Stamped for Failure highlighted a decision by Westinghouse to disregard state laws that require professional engineers to oversee and approve the blueprints for construction projects. Over the past decade, the Pennsylvania-based company was responsible for designing and constructing four new nuclear power plants at V.C. Summer and the Vogtle plant near Augusta.
An environmental group also has requested an investigation from the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, which is responsible for enforcing South Carolina's engineering laws, but state officials have yet to take any action.
Read more: http://www.postandcourier.com/business/national-engineering-association-calls-for-federal-investigation-into-canceled-s/article_644f1a34-ba78-11e7-87bb-a346f8ff1a22.html
Nuclear regulators concluded Wednesday that Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. violated legally binding safety rules by failing to conduct necessary checks for over a decade at its uncompleted spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the countrys northeast.
The failure of checks at an underground portion of the plant in the village of Rokkasho in Aomori Prefecture for about 14 years eventually resulted in about 800 liters of rainwater flowing into a building housing an emergency diesel generator in August this year. The generator is a crucial device in times of crisis such as the loss of external power.
But the Rokkasho plant has been inundated with problems, with its completion date postponed 23 times since 1997, its initial target. It also had to meet new, tougher safety standards made in the wake of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power complex, triggered by the powerful March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of the Tohoku region.
The authority also said holes and cracks at exhaust pipes found at Japan Nuclear Fuels uranium enrichment plant in September also violated safety rules. The defects had been undetected due to a lack of inspections.
Read more: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/10/12/national/japan-nuclear-fuel-skipped-safety-checks-rokkasho-plant-14-years/
The U.S. energy secretary defended his plan to reward nuclear plants with incentives against criticism it would manipulate markets by telling a congressional hearing on Thursday that a strong domestic nuclear industry boosted national security.
One lawmaker pointed to a study by ICF Consulting that said power bills could rise $800 million to $3.2 billion annually if FERC issued Perrys plan.
But Perry said the federal government had disregarded nuclear power for decades at a risk to national security.
If we lose our supply chain, if we lose our intellectual chain of supply of bright scientists because we basically pushed the nuclear industry back, then were going to lose our role as a leader when it comes to nuclear energy in the world, Perry said. That in turn could hurt the countrys ability to address nuclear nonproliferation, Perry said.
Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-energy-perry/u-s-energy-head-nuclear-power-rescue-helps-national-security-idUSKBN1CH2W4
Source: The Guardian
The government is using the extremely expensive Hinkley Point C nuclear power station to cross-subsidise Britains nuclear weapon arsenal, according to senior scientists.
In evidence submitted to the influential public accounts committee (PAC), which is currently investigating the nuclear plant deal, scientists from Sussex University state that the costs of the Trident programme could be unsupportable without an effective subsidy from electricity consumers to military nuclear infrastructure.
What our research suggests is that British low-carbon energy strategies are more expensive than they need to be, in order to maintain UK military nuclear infrastructures, said Stirling.
And without assuming the continuation of an extremely expensive UK civil nuclear industry, it is likely that the costs of Trident would be significantly greater.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/oct/12/electricity-consumers-to-fund-nuclear-weapons-through-hinkley-point-c
Source: Agence France-Press
Japan's American-written "peace constitution" has survived unchanged for 70 years, but nationalists seeking an overhaul are gearing up for a major new push as concerns grow over North Korean belligerence.
Conservatives have long called for the document they see as a national humiliation to be amended, but current political alignments and growing security concerns suggest they now have their best chance of success.
"The time is ripe," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday in a speech to supporters of change. "We will take a historic step towards the major goal of revising the constitution in this milestone year."
The constitution, which took effect 70 years ago on Wednesday, renounced Japan's sovereign right to wage war. It has been championed by progressives as a pacifist symbol born out of the country's World War II defeat.
Read more: https://www.yahoo.com/news/japans-peace-constitution-under-pressure-70-073958617.html
Source: Agence France-Press
China demanded on Tuesday an immediate halt to a controversial US missile shield hours after Washington announced that the defence system was now operational in South Korea.
Washington and Seoul agreed to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery deployment in July in the wake of a string of North Korean missile tests.
But its deployment has infuriated China, which fears it will weaken its own ballistic missile capabilities and says it upsets the regional security balance.
"We oppose the deployment of the THAAD system in (South Korea) and urge relevant sides to immediately stop the deployment. We will firmly take necessary measures to uphold our interests," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing.
Read more: http://www.france24.com/en/20170502-china-demands-halt-us-missile-shield-skorea
I posted this to the Video forum: https://www.democraticunderground.com/1017435965
A few minutes later, it's not on the home page, even though videos posted after mine are on the home page.
This has happened before.
Turing Award winner Martin Hellman, along with his wife Dorothie, discuss their book, A New Map for Relationships: Creating True Love at Home & Peace on the Planet, and how they went from being madly in love at first, to heading for divorce, then madly in love again--explaining how the same lessons they had to learn in their marriage can help avert worldwide catastrophes such as global warming and nuclear war.
Former US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry has referred to the Hellmans work as, the most thoughtful, unique, and fascinating book I have ever read on personal and international diplomacy. Stories from Martys work in cryptography help illustrate ethical dilemmas and the importance of getting curious, not furious.
A New Map can be downloaded for free at: https://anewmap.com/
Dorothie Hellman worked as a CPA at Touche Ross, later becoming a full-time volunteer and VP for Financial Support at the Beyond War Foundation from 1982-87. Since then, she has devoted her life to studying how to improve the human condition.
Martin Hellman is best known for his invention, with Diffie and Merkle, of public key cryptography, to enable secure Internet transactions. He currently works on reducing existential risks posed by technology, with an emphasis on nuclear weapons. He is Professor Emeritus of EE at Stanford University, and was awarded the Turing Award in 2015.
The Chemical-Weapons Attack In Syria: Is There a Place for Skepticism?
The American media has excluded dissenting expert opinions in its rush to embrace Trumps war on Syria.
By James Carden
APRIL 19, 2017
The Nation spoke to Postol over the weekend.
What I think is now crystal clear, he said, is that the White House report was fabricated and it certainly did not follow the procedures it claimed to employ.
My best guess at the moment is that this was an extremely clumsy and ill-conceived attempt to cover up the fact that Trump attacked Syria without any intelligence evidence that Syria was in fact the perpetrator of the attack . It may be, he continued, that the White House staff was worried that this could eventually come outa reckless president acting without regard to the nations security, risking an inadvertent escalation and confrontation with Russia, and a breakdown in cooperation with Russia that would cripple our efforts to defeat the Islamic State.
If that is not an impeachable offense, Postol told The Nation, then I do not know what is.
NASA Sets New Human Launch Gap Record Today
By Keith Cowing on April 18, 2017
Record today: 2091 days since STS-135 breaks record between ASTP and STS-1 longest gap in human launches from US soil. Soyuz is our ticket.
Wayne Hale (@waynehale) April 18, 2017
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