Beyond Nuclear, while U.S. based, recognizes that the issue of nuclear power, particularly in relation to climate change and reactor expansion, has become an international issue. Multi-national corporations, often with foreign ownership, have taken over every facet of the nuclear fuel chain, from uranium mining to waste disposition. Beyond Nuclear is currently engaged in supportive efforts in a number of different countries.



North Korean Nuclear Reactor Safety: The Threat No One is Talking About

As reported by Matt Korda at 38 North.

The introduction to the article states:

The ability of North Korea to safely operate its nuclear reactors, according to many experts, is increasingly being called into question given the North’s isolation and lack of safety culture. Pyongyang’s ability to respond to a nuclear accident in a timely fashion will make the difference between a small-scale event and a catastrophic disaster. And while the actual contamination would be localized, the lack of transparency from North Korea in dealing with the situation is likely to cause political panic in the region in excess of the actual radiological exposure and environmental impact. The opening of nuclear safety talks with the North to help prevent such an accident from occurring would provide a rare opportunity for regional dialogue and could pry open the door for realistic and productive discussions of North Korea’s nuclear program.

There are some dubious statements in the article, such as the downplaying of the potential magnitude of a reactor or radioactive waste disaster in North Korea (see above: "...while the actual contamination would be localized, the lack of transparency from North Korea in dealing with the situation is likely to cause political panic in the region in excess of the actual radiological exposure and environmental impact").

Just as dubious is the following:

If a crisis were to occur, North Korea’s secretive nature would also hinder any kind of collective response to a nuclear accident. Reliable information would be scarce, as the regime would certainly attempt to suppress any reporting on the extent of the damage. Regional panic would set in, and governments in South Korea, China and Japan would feel immense pressure to respond. Milonopoulos and Blandford imply that such panic is essentially unavoidable; it was widespread despite Japanese transparency in the wake of Fukushima. (emphasis added).

The notion that the Japanese central government, and Tokyo Electric Power Company, were "transparent" in the immediate and even long term aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe would be laughable, if it weren't so tragically and painfully mistaken.

But beyond such flaws, the article does make some important points.


Michael Flynn’s role in Mideast nuclear project could compound legal issues

As reported by Michael Kranish, Tom Hamburger, and Carol D. Leonnig in the Washington Post.

As the article reports:

Flynn, who was fired by President Barack Obama from his post as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014, became involved in ACU’s project in 2015, as part of a group of former top military and diplomatic officials and nuclear experts the company assembled to help push its plan.

The idea: to build several dozen “proliferation-proof” nuclear power plants across Persian Gulf states. The plan relied heavily on Russian interests, which would help build the plants, as well as possibly take possession of spent fuel that could be used to build a nuclear weapon, according to people familiar with the project.

ACU’s managing director, Alex Copson, had been promoting variations of building nuclear facilities with Russian help for more than two decades, according to news reports. Copson did not respond to requests for comment, and ACU’s counsel, Don Gross, declined to comment.

But such a claim of nuclear weapons "proliferation-proof" atomic reators is a hollow, PR ploy. It flies in the face of basic physics.

As the prescient 2006 book, Insurmountable Risks: The Dangers of Using Nuclear Power to Combat Global Climate Change, by IEER's (Institute for Energy and Environmental Research) senior scientist, Dr. Brice Smith, made clear, nuclear weapons proliferation is an inevitable risk of nuclear power's expansion to regions like the Middle East (see Chapter 3, "Megawatts and Mushroom Clouds").


Stop uranium mining in Tanzania

Sometimes the best way to spread the message and communicate the injustice of the nuclear industry is through music. Here are Hatutaki-Wakazi feat and Sophie & the Harmonies on uranium mining plans in Tanzania.


The high price for activism in Africa

In a reminder of how dangerous it is to oppose the nuclear power industry in some countries comes disturbing news from Tanzania. Tundu Lissu, an outspoken lawyer, human rights activist, opposition member of the Tanzanian Parliament, and a critic of extractive industries, was shot and wounded in Dodoma on September 7 when returning home from a session of parliament.

Gunter Wippel, a leading advocate against uranium mining and who administers the international Uranium Network, met Lissu on several occasions. He writes: “Tundu, whom I had met during our first information tour on the issue of uranium mining, attended and spoke out at several occasions at our conferences and supported our partners in Tanzania critical of uranium mining repeatedly. 

“He was supposed to attend next week's conference "Human Rights, Future Generations and Crimes of the Nuclear Age" in Basel, Switzerland.” 

Conflicting reports have Lissu in critical and in stable condition. It is unclear at the moment why he was shot and who by but he is a vocal opponent of Tanzanian president, John Magufuli. 



No future for nuclear is not breaking news: it was ever thus

The fact that the alleged nuclear revival has evaporated into the ether is being trumpeted as breaking news. But there was never a nuclear revival -- only "plans" and "aspirations" built on quicksand. The collapse of the South Carolina nuclear new build project at V.C. Summer had been seen coming since it's first glimmer on paper -- by groups such as Southern Alliance For Clean Energy, relegated, as are many of us, to anti-nuclear Cassandras.

The same reactor design -- the untested AP 1000 -- is planned for a site next to the Sellafield reprocessing faciity in the UK. But with the implosion of Toshiba under the weight of the Westinghouse financial collapse, that project is under serious threat. The site is owned and operated by the rashly named consortium, NuGen. But as the sign at the site indicates, there is nothing happening there right now as NuGen partners scamper for the exits and the South Koreans -- who have forsaken nuclear power at home -- mull sticking it on others overseas. If the South Koreans switch out the AP 1000 for their own reactor design at the Moorside NuGen site, it will become very old Gen indeed, with likely many more years of delay. By that time, nuclear energy will have become 100% redundant, as renewables, combined with energy efficiency, will have completely taken over.

As Martin Forwood of Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment commented in a recent press release: "The latest news of the plug being pulled on the half-built AP1000 reactors in the US and the fall from grace on the Tokyo Stock Exchange of NuGen’s sole investor Toshiba will further add to the increasing uncertainties swirling around in the Moorside mists”.