Darth Trump: From Space Force to Star Wars

By Karl Grossman:

Beginning to fill in his declaration of last year about turning space into a war zone and establishing a U.S. Space Force, President Trump was at the Pentagon last week promoting a plan titled “Missile Defense Review.”

As The New York Times said in its headline on the scheme:: “Plans Evoke 1983 ‘Star Wars’ Program.”  Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, called it “provocative and destabilizing and basically insane.”

As Trump stated at the Pentagon on January 17: “We will recognize that space is a new war-fighting domain with the Space Force leading the way. My upcoming budget will invest in a space-based missile defense layer technology. It’s ultimately going to be a very, very big part of our defense and obviously of our offense.”

Read the full article on Counterpunch.


Japan "suspends" nuclear power project in the UK

The Hitachi board has pulled the plug on a proposed two-reactor nuclear project in Wales after mounting costs proved the ultimate deterrent to the unwelcome nuclear plan. Technically, the Wylfa B nuclear power plant on the island of Anglesey is "frozen," but newspaper headlines are proclaiming that the Japanese company has scrapped the project. The death knell of Wylfa B will likely put an end to a second Hitachi nuclear power project in the UK at Oldbury.

The news was welcomed by People Against Wylfa B (PAWB) who have been campaigning for years to stop the project which would have torn up land and habitat, contaminated the local environment, and brought a huge influx of workers from elsewhere, despite the promise of "local jobs." Horizon, Hitachi's UK subsidiary, was likely hoping the UK government would further sweeten the deal financially, but the May government is embroiled in Brexit chaos and unlikely to address the Wylfa issue any time soon.

In a press release, PAWB said: "The news is a relief for all of us who worry about the future of our Island, our country, our language, our environment and indeed renewable energy. 

"PAWB has warned for years that the costs associated with the Wylfa project would be likely to prove fatal to the project, but we were ignored.  Consequently millions of taxpayers’ money from the Island, Wales and the UK was invested to back Wylfa B.  In addition huge political capital has been invested, and there has been a failure to have a mature public discussion about the project other than in terms of cash and jobs.

"The legacy of this is that over a decade has been wasted on Wylfa, with very little alternative economic planning in evidence.  Our young people have been promised jobs on very shaky foundations. Good land has been destroyed to create infrastructure to back the project.

"It is time for politicians and officials from the UK Government, the Welsh Government and Anglesey to admit
that they were wrong.  Wales is rich in natural resources which can be used to create a vibrant and sustainable energy future, and above all else create more jobs in less time than Wylfa would have done."

Read the full PAWB press release.

Read the Horizon press release.


Former NRC Commissioner, Greg Jaczko, on NPR's 1a

From NPR's 1a: "Greg Jaczko was the lead regulator of nuclear power in the United States from 2009-2012. In that role, he advocated for tough nuclear power safety regulations.

But in his new book, Confessions of a Rogue Nuclear Regulator, he writes he “now believe[s] that nuclear power is more hazardous than it is worth.”

Jaczko, who resigned in 2012, goes so far as to suggest the United States should abandon the technology altogether. 

His book Confessions of a Rogue Nuclear Regulator details his new position on these issues."

Jaczko was a guest on the January 16 show, guest hosted by Indira Lakshmanan. Listen here.


The man who brought (solar) light to Ethiopia

A decade after starting his one-man mission to get solar lighting to Ethiopian villages, Samson Tsegaye Lemma and his team have constructed solar projects in four villages, distributed over 35,000 solar systems throughout the country, and trained over 65 solar technicians. Inspired by Samson’s achievements, the Honnold Foundation established a partnership and awarded a $50,000 grant to SEF in 2017. Today, Samson and his team intend to open additional branches in other regions of Ethiopia (particularly one in Arba Minch) and seek to expand SEF’s services in other parts of the country. In 2016, Samson received the Nuclear-Free Future Award in the category of Solutions for his achievements. Read the feature story.


Beyond Nuclear files Petition for Review and Motion to Hold in Abeyance (re: Holtec/ELEA and ISP/WCS CISFs) with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

Legal counsel for Beyond Nuclear (Diane Curran, of Harmon, Curran, Spielberg, & Eisenberg, L.L.P. of Washington, D.C.; and Mindy Goldstein and Caroline Reiser of the Turner Environmental Law Clinic at Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, GA) have filed a Petition for Review, and Motion to Hold in Abeyance (Beyond Nuclear, Inc., Petitioner, v. United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and United States of America, Respondents), regarding the proposed Holtec International/Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance, and Interim Storage Partners/Waste Control Specialists irradiated nuclear fuel consolidated interim storage facilities. The filings were submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. See links to the documents, below:

Cover letter for Petition for Review.

Beyond Nuclear Petition for Review, and Exhibits A, B, and C.

Petitioner's Motion to Hold Petition for Review in Abeyance.

Certificate of Service.

Certificate as to Parties, Ruling, and Related Cases.

Petitioner's Rule 26.1 Disclosure.

To learn more about CISFs, visit Beyond Nuclear's Centralized Storage website section.