Marshall Islands: Truth, Knowledge And History Of This Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Marshall Islands

Introduction After almost four decades under US administration as the easternmost part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Marshall Islands attained independence in 1986 under a Compact of Free Association. Compensation claims continue as a result of US nuclear testing on some of the atolls between 1947 and 1962. The Marshall Islands hosts the US Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) Reagan Missile Test Site, a key installation in the US missile defense network.
History Although the Marshall Islands were settled by Micronesians in the 2nd millennium BC, little is known of their early history. Spanish explorer Alonso de Salazar was the first European to see the islands in 1526, but they remained virtually unvisited by Europeans until the arrival of British Captain John Marshall in 1788; the islands are now named after him.

A German trading company settled on the islands in 1885, and they became part of the protectorate of German New Guinea some years later. Japan conquered the islands in World War I, and administered them as a League of Nations mandate.

In World War II, the United States invaded and occupied the islands (1944) destroying or isolating the Japanese garrisons, and they were added to the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (including several more island groups in the South Sea). From 1946 to 1958 the US tested 66 nuclear weapons in the Marshall Islands,[1] including the largest nuclear test the US ever conducted, Castle Bravo. Nuclear claims between the US and the Marshall Islands are ongoing, and health effects from these tests linger.

In 1979, the Government of the Marshall Islands was officially established and the country became self-governing. In 1986 the Compact of Free Association with the United States entered into force, granting the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) its sovereignty. The Compact provided for aid and US defense of the islands in exchange for continued US military use of the missile testing range at Kwajalein Atoll. The independence was formally completed under international law in 1990, when the UN officially ended the Trusteeship status.

On March 21, 2007, the government of the Marshall Islands declared a state of emergency due to a prolonged drought.

Geography Location: Oceania, two archipelagic island chains of 29 atolls, each made up of many small islets, and five single islands in the North Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and Australia
Geographic coordinates: 9 00 N, 168 00 E
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 181.3 sq km
land: 181.3 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: the archipelago includes 11,673 sq km of lagoon waters and includes the atolls of Bikini, Enewetak, Kwajalein, Majuro, Rongelap, and Utirik
Area – comparative: about the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 370.4 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; hot and humid; wet season May to November; islands border typhoon belt
Terrain: low coral limestone and sand islands
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Likiep 10 m
Natural resources: coconut products, marine products, deep seabed minerals
Land use: arable land: 11.11%
permanent crops: 44.44%
other: 44.45% (2005)
Irrigated land: 0 sq km
Natural hazards: infrequent typhoons
Environment – current issues: inadequate supplies of potable water; pollution of Majuro lagoon from household waste and discharges from fishing vessels
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: the Marshall Islands Bikini and Enewetak are former US nuclear test sites; Kwajalein, the famous World War II battleground, is used as a US missile test range; island city of Ebeye is the second largest settlement in the Marshall Islands, after the capital of Majuro, and one of the most densely populated locations in the Pacific
Politics he government of the Marshall Islands operates under a mixed parliamentary-presidential system. Elections are held every four years in universal suffrage (for all citizens above 18 years of age) with each of the twenty-four constituencies (see below) electing one or more representatives (senators) to the lower house of RMI’s bicameral legislature, the Nitijela. (Majuro, the capital atoll, elects five senators.) The President, who is head of state as well as head of government, is elected by the 33 senators of the Nitijela.

Legislative power lies with the Nitijela. The upper house of Parliament, called the Council of Iroij, is an advisory body comprising twelve tribal chiefs.

The executive branch consists of the President and the Presidential Cabinet (ten ministers appointed by the President with the approval of the Nitijela.)

The twenty-four electoral districts into which the country is divided correspond to the inhabited islands and atolls: There are currently three political parties in the Marshall Islands: AKA, UPP & UDP. The ruling party is combined of both the AKA and UPP.

People Population: 63,174 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 38.5% (male 12,404/female 11,946)
15-64 years: 58.6% (male 18,937/female 18,095)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 869/female 923) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 21 years
male: 21 years
female: 20.9 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.142% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 31.52 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 4.57 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -5.52 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 26.36 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 29.58 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 22.98 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 70.9 years
male: 68.88 years
female: 73.03 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.68 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Marshallese (singular and plural)
adjective: Marshallese
Ethnic groups: Micronesian
Religions: Protestant 54.8%, Assembly of God 25.8%, Roman Catholic 8.4%, Bukot nan Jesus 2.8%, Mormon 2.1%, other Christian 3.6%, other 1%, none 1.5% (1999 census)
Languages: Marshallese (official) 98.2%, other languages 1.8% (1999 census)
note: English (official), widely spoken as a second language
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.7%
male: 93.6%
female: 93.7% (1999)

China ‘likely’ training pilots to target US, Pentagon report says

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

China ‘likely’ training pilots to target US, Pentagon report says

Washington (CNN)China is actively developing its fleet of long-range bombers and “likely” training its pilots for missions targeting the US, according to a new Pentagon report.

“Over the last three years, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has rapidly expanded its overwater bomber operating areas, gaining experience in critical maritime regions and likely training for strikes against US and allied targets,” the report said.
The “Annual Report on Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China” is a US government report mandated by Congress, which details Chinese military developments over the previous year.
This year’s report also claims that China is pursuing a nuclear capability on its long-range bombers, saying the Chinese air force “has been re-assigned a nuclear mission.”
“The deployment and integration of nuclear capable bombers would, for the first time, provide China with a nuclear ‘triad’ of delivery systems dispersed across land, sea, and air,” the report said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has made no secret of his desire to modernize China’s armed forces, including weeding out widespread corruption in the ranks and updating the country’s military hardware.
As Thursday’s report notes, the PLA is undergoing “the most comprehensive restructure in its history to become a force capable of fighting joint operations.”
The United States released a new Defense Strategy at the beginning of 2018 where it proclaimed “long-term strategic competitions with China” as one of the US military’s top challenges.
According to Thursday’s report, China is working on a “stealthy, long-range strategic bomber with a nuclear delivery capability that could be operational within the next 10 years,” in addition to the bombers it already operates.
In a show of the expanding reach of Beijing’s power, the Chinese military landed nuclear-capable H-6K bombers on one of their artificial islands in the South China Sea for the first time in May.
us navy plane warned south china sea watson dnt vpx_00030107

Play Video

US Navy plane warned over South China Sea 03:02

Cold War mentality

This year’s report comes at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and China, amid an escalating trade war and disagreements over Beijing’s actions in Taiwan and the South China Sea.
Even before the new report’s release, Washington was feeling the full brunt of the Chinese military’s fury over a new $717 billion US defense bill which encourages closer cooperation with Taiwan to counter Beijing.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Chinese Ministry of Defense spokesman Wu Qian said the United States was”full of Cold War mentality.”
“A man cannot prosper without honesty, the same is true for a country,” Wu said. “We urge the US to stick to its promises to China regarding Taiwan question, and uphold the one-China policy.”
The new US report released on Thursday said China was deploying “increasingly advance military capabilities intended to coerce Taiwan” in a bid to prevent the island from declaring independence.
Despite Taiwan being self-governed for almost 70 years, the mainland Chinese government continues to view the island as an integral part of its territory.
The US report didn’t just highlight threats to the United States or its allies — there was also a broader discussion of the spread of Chinese influence around the world.
The document notes China has established its first overseas base in Djibouti and that it “will seek to establish additional military bases in countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests, such as Pakistan, and in which there is a precedent for hosting foreign militaries.”
China formally established its Djibouti military base in July last year, followed several months later by the country’s controversial acquisition of the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka.
Around the time of the Djbouti base opening, an editorial in the state-run Global Times stressed its importance to Beijing’s plans. “Certainly this is the People’s Liberation Army’s first overseas base and we will base troops there. It’s not a commercial resupply point… This base can support Chinese Navy to go farther, so it means a lot,” said the paper.
The Pentagon report said Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature infrastructure policy, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), served to encourage countries to fall into line with China’s ambitions.
“China intends to use the BRI to develop strong economic ties with other countries, shape their interests to align with China’s, and deter confrontation or criticism of China’s approach to sensitive issues,” the report said.
China also continues to develop counterspace capabilities, “including kinetic-kill missiles, ground-based lasers and orbiting space robots,” the report saida time when US President Donald Trump plans to establish a Space Force by 2020 to protect US assets in space.
Beijing is also working “to expand space surveillance capabilities that can monitor objects across the globe and in space and enable counterspace actions.”

UN: North Korea Still Building Nuclear Missiles

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BUSINESS INSIDER)

 

A confidential UN report throws cold water on North Korea’s claim that it is committed to denuclearization

The launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile
The launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile
Uncredited/AP
  • North Korean officials insist that the country is committed to the Singapore agreement, which expressed a need for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
  • A confidential United Nations report argues that North Korea “has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs” and continues to engage in illicit activities in violation of UN sanctions resolutions.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo remains optimistic but notes that North Korea’s behavior is “inconsistent” with the pledge North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made to US President Donald Trump at their summit in Singapore.

North Korean officials insist the country is committed to upholding the provisions of the Singapore agreement signed by US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June, but a confidential United Nations report reveals that North Korea “has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs.”

“The [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] stands firm in its determination and commitment for implementing the DPRK-US Joint Statement in a responsible and good-faith manner,” North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong Ho said Saturday, arguing that North Korea has demonstrated its goodwill through the moratorium on weapons testing and the dismantling of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site.

North Korea has also released American hostages and began dismantling parts of the Sohae Satellite Launch Station, a facility believed to have played a prominent role in the engine development for one of the new intercontinental ballistic missiles tested for the first time last year. But while Pyongyang has taken certain presumably positive steps, it remains a good distance from reaching the Trump administration’s desired outcome — denuclearization and disarmament. In fact, evidence suggests that North Korea may be moving in the other direction.

A 149-page report analyzing the implementation of United Nations sanctions over a six-month period was submitted to the United Nations Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee late Friday. North Korea “has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs and continues to defy Security Council resolutions through a massive increase in illicit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products, as well as through transfers of coal at sea during 2018,” the document put together by a team of independent experts stated, according to Reuters.

In recent weeks, North Korea has been spotted engaging in activities that cast doubt on its commitment to denuclearize. They include producing possible liquid-fueled ICBMs at a location in Sanum-dong,increasing nuclear fuel production at secret enrichment sites like Kangson, making key infrastructure improvements at the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center, and expanding an important facility in Hamhung dedicated to the development of solid-fueled ballistic missiles.

It is not just the weapons programs that are troubling, though. The United Nations report notes that not only has North Korea been collaborating with Syria’s military and attempting to sell weapons to the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, but illicit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum have “increased in scope, scale and sophistication.”

North Korean vessels were involved in at least 89 illegal ship-to-ship transfers between January 1 and May 30, which resulted in the country importing as much as three times the amount permitted by the United Nations, NK News reported , citing US data.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters Friday that North Korea’s behavior is inconsistent with Kim Jong Un’s promise to the president.

“Chairman Kim made a commitment to denuclearize,” Pompeo said , “The world demanded that they do so in the UN Security Council resolutions. To the extent they are behaving in a manner inconsistent with that, they are a) in violation of one or both the United Nations Security Council resolutions, and

b) we can see we still have a ways to go to achieve the ultimate outcome we’re looking for.”

Speaking at the Asian Regional Forum Retreat Session in Singapore Saturday, Pompeo urged Southeast Asian nations to maintain the pressure on North Korea by fully implementing sanctions. At the same event, the North Korean foreign minister said Pyongyang is alarmed by US attitudes.

North Korea has not stopped nuclear, missile program: confidential U.N. report

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

 

North Korea has not stopped nuclear, missile program: confidential U.N. report

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – North Korea has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs in violation of United Nations sanctions, according to a confidential U.N. report seen by Reuters on Friday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Pyongyang Trolley Bus Factory and the Bus Repair Factory in Pyongyang, North Korea in this photo released August 4, 2018 by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency. KCNA/ via REUTERS

The six-month report by independent experts monitoring the implementation of U.N. sanctions was submitted to the Security Council North Korea sanctions committee late on Friday.

“(North Korea) has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs and continued to defy Security Council resolutions through a massive increase in illicit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products, as well as through transfers of coal at sea during 2018,” the experts wrote in the 149-page report.

The North Korean mission to the United Nations did not respond to a request for comment on the report.

The U.N report said North Korea is cooperating militarily with Syria and has been trying to sell weapons to Yemen’s Houthis.

Pyongyang also violated a textile ban by exporting more than $100 million in goods between October 2017 and March 2018 to China, Ghana, India, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey and Uruguay, the report said.

The report comes as Russia and China suggest the Security Council discuss easing sanctions after U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met for the first time in June and Kim pledged to work toward denuclearization.

The United States and other council members have said there must be strict enforcement of sanctions until Pyongyang acts.

The U.N. experts said illicit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products in international waters had “increased in scope, scale and sophistication.” They said a key North Korean technique was to turn off a ship’s tracking system, but that they were also physically disguising ships and using smaller vessels.

The Security Council has unanimously sanctioned North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke off funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, banning exports including coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, and capping imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.

The experts said “prohibited military cooperation with the Syrian Arab Republic has continued unabated.” They said North Korean technicians engaged in ballistic missile and other banned activities have visited Syria in 2011, 2016 and 2017.

The report said that experts were investigating efforts by the North Korean Ministry of Military Equipment and Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID) to supply conventional arms and ballistic missiles to Yemen’s Houthi group.

A country, which was not identified, showed the experts a July 13, 2016 letter from a Houthi leader inviting the North Koreans to meet in Damascus “to discuss the issue of the transfer of technology and other matters of mutual interest,” according to the report.

The experts said that the effectiveness of financial sanctions was being systematically undermined by “deceptive practices” of North Korea.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Chris Sanders and Toni Reinhold

North Korea ‘working on new missiles’, US officials say

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

North Korea ‘working on new missiles’, US officials say

A launch of a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missilesImage copyrightKCNA
Image captionNorth Korea carried out a series of long-range missile tests in 2017

North Korea appears to be building new ballistic missiles despite recent warming ties with the Trump administration, media reports say.

Unnamed US officials told the Washington Post that spy satellites had spotted continuing activity at a site that has produced ballistic missiles.

Reuters news agency quotes an official as saying it is unclear how far the work has gone.

President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in June.

After the first meeting between sitting leaders from the two countries, the two men pledged to work towards denuclearisation. Mr Trump later said North Korea was “no longer a nuclear threat”.

But Mr Trump was criticised at home for making concessions without securing any firm commitment from Mr Kim to end the nuclear and missile programmes.

US President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with North Korea"s leader Kim Jong-un (L) as they sit down for their historic US-North Korea summitImage copyrightAFP
Image captionThe two leaders shook hand at a landmark summit in June

What do the latest reports say?

On Monday, the Washington Post newspaper quoted officials as saying North Korea appeared to be building one or two new liquid-fuelled intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) at the Sanumdong facility near the capital, Pyongyang.

The factory is known to have produced the Hwasong-15, the first North Korean ICBM capable of reaching the US.

However, a US official told news agency Reuters that a liquid-fuelled ICBM didn’t “pose nearly the threat that a solid-fuelled one would because they take so long to fuel”.

Reuters also added that satellite imaging showed vehicles moving in and out of the facility, but not the extent of any missile construction.

What are experts saying about this?

These are not the first reports that North Korea may be continuing its weapons programme, casting doubt on the real impact of the summit in Singapore.

Satellite imagery of the Sanumdong facility shows that the site is “active”, Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) told the Washington Post.

“[The facility] is not dead, by any stretch of the imagination,” said Mr Lewis. “We see shipping containers and vehicles coming and going. This is a facility where they build ICBMs and space-launch vehicles.”

Another North Korean expert from MIIS, Melissa Hanham, told the BBC that the facility had “regular traffic in and out of the building”, adding that this “traffic pattern” on the site stayed “about the same through the Panmunjom and Singapore meetings”.

This indicated that there had not been a complete stop in activity during the summit talks.

She also noted that large “brightly coloured containers” also showed up in satellite imagery, saying that “containers similar to these have appeared during previous ICBM inspections by Mr Kim.”

Ms Hanham added that while that experts at MIIS could not “find a way to confirm the [intelligence] leak”, the information has matched evidence from satellite imagery.

What was agreed on in the Singapore summit?

North Korea has carried out a total of six nuclear tests, the most recent of which took place in September last year. It has in the past two years quickly advanced its nuclear programme.

But at their landmark meeting in Singapore, Mr Trump and Mr Kim agreed to work towards the “complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”.

The signatures of US President Donald Trump and Korean leader Kim Jong-unImage copyrightAFP
Image captionThe pair signed a document pledging they would work towards new relations

It’s been unclear what both sides mean by “complete denuclearisation”, and no further details have been released about when or how Pyongyang would renounce its nuclear weapons nor how the process would be verified.

Experts have also cast doubt on whether Pyongyang has been genuine in its apparent commitment to “denuclearise”.

Last week, it appeared North Korea had begun dismantling part of a key rocket launch site, but according to recent reports based on US intelligence leaks, Pyongyang might still secretly be continuing its nuclear weapons programme.

Reports had indicated that North Korea was upgrading its only official nuclear enrichment site, and was stepping up enrichment at other secret sites.

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was forced to admit that North Korea was continuing to produce nuclear fissile material, though he insisted that “progress is happening”.

NEXT-GEN NUCLEAR IS COMING—IF SOCIETY WANTS IT

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘WIRED’ MAGAZINE)

 

NEXT-GEN NUCLEAR IS COMING—IF SOCIETY WANTS IT

Arctic communities like this one are beginning to explore advanced nuclear reactors as a solution to their unique energy challenges.
THIRD WAY/GENSLER
This story originally appeared on Grist and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Back in 2009, Simon Irish, an investment manager in New York, found the kind of opportunity that he thought could transform the world while — in the process — transforming dollars into riches.

Irish saw that countries around the globe needed to build a boggling amount of clean-power projects to replace their fossil fuel infrastructure, while also providing enough energy for rising demand from China, India, and other rapidly growing countries. He realized that it would be very hard for renewables, which depend on the wind blowing and the sun shining, to do everything. And he knew that nuclear power, the only existing form of clean energy that could fill the gaps, was too expensive to compete with oil and gas.

But then, at a conference in 2011, he met an engineer with an innovative design for a nuclear reactor cooled by molten salt. If it worked, Irish figured, it could not only solve the problems with aging nuclear power, but also provide a realistic path to dropping fossil fuels.

“The question was, ‘Can we do better than the conventional reactors that were commercialized 60 years ago?” Irish recalled. “And the answer was, ‘Absolutely.’”

Irish was so convinced that this new reactor was a great investment that he bet his career on it. Nearly a decade later, Irish is the CEO of New York City-based Terrestrial Energy, a company that expects to have a molten-salt reactor online before 2030.

Terrestrial is far from alone. Dozens of nuclear startups are popping up around the country, aiming to solve the well-known problems with nuclear power — radioactive waste, meltdowns, weapons proliferation, and high costs.

There are reactors that burn nuclear waste. There are reactors designed to destroy isotopes that could be made into weapons. There are small reactors that could be built inexpensively in factories. So many ideas!

To former Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, an advisor to Terrestrial, it feels as if something new is underway. “I have never seen this kind of innovation in the sector,” he said. “It’s really exciting.”

Other reactors, like Terrestrial’s molten-salt-cooled design, automatically cool down if they get too hot. Water flows through conventional reactors to keep them from overheating, but if something halts this flow — like the earthquake and tsunami in Fukushima — the water boils off, leaving nothing to stop a meltdown.

Unlike water, salt wouldn’t boil off, so even if operators switched off safety systems and walked away, the salts would keep cooling the system, Irish said. Salts heat up and expand, pushing uranium atoms apart and slowing down the reaction (the farther apart the uranium atoms, the less likely a flying neutron will split them apart, triggering the next link in the chain reaction).

“It’s like your pot on the stove when you are boiling pasta,” Irish said. No matter how hot your stove, your pasta will never get hotter than 212 degrees Fahrenheit unless the water boils off. Until it’s gone, the water is just circulating and dissipating heat. When you replace water with liquid salt, however, you have to get to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit before your coolant starts to evaporate.

This stuff can sound like science fiction — but it’s real. Russia has been producing electricity from an advanced reactor that burns up radioactive waste since 2016. China has built a “pebble bed” reactor that keeps radioactive elements locked inside cue ball-sized graphite spheres.

In 2015, to keep track of the startups and public-sector projects working on trying to provide low-carbon energy with safer, cheaper, and cleaner nuclear power, the centrist think tank, Third Way, started mapping all of the advanced nuke projects across the country. There were 48 dots on the first map, and now there are 75, spreading like a candy-colored case of measles.

“In terms of the number of projects, the number of people working on it, and the amount of private financing, there isn’t anything to compare it to unless you go back to the 1960s,” said Ryan Fitzpatrick who works on clean energy for Third Way.

Back then, just after Walt Disney released the film “Our Friend the Atom” promoting nuclear energy, when the futuristic notion of electricity “too cheap to meter” seemed plausible, electric utilities had plans to build hundreds of reactors across the United States.

WHY IS THIS all happening now? After all, scientists have been working on these alternative types of reactors since the beginning of the Cold War, yet they’ve never caught on. The history of advanced reactors is littered with the carcasses of failed attempts. A salt-cooled reactor first ran successfully back in 1954, but the United States opted to specialize in water-cooled reactors and defunded other designs.

But something fundamental has changed: Previously, there was no reason for a nuclear company to pony up the billion dollars needed to get a new design through the federal regulatory process because conventional reactors were profitable. That’s not true anymore.

“For the first time in half a century, the incumbent nuclear players are in financial distress,” Irish said.

Recently, the United States’ bet on conventional water-cooled reactors has been going bad in very expensive ways. In 2012, South Carolina Electric & Gas got permission to build two huge conventional reactors to generate 2,200 megawatts, enough to power 1.8 million homes, promising to have them up and running sometime in 2018. Electricity users saw their bills jump 18 percent to pay for the construction, which soon ran into delays. Last year, after sinking $9 billion into the project, the utility gave up.

“The most recent builds in the United States have been a disaster, largely due to poor on-sight construction practices,” said John Parsons, codirector of MIT’s Low-Carbon Energy Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems.

Similar stories have played out abroad. In Finland, construction of a new reactor at the Olkiluoto power plant is eight years behind schedule and $6.5 billion over budget.

In response, these nuclear startups are designing their businesses to avoid horrible cost overruns. Many have plans to build standardized reactor parts in a factory, then put them together like Legos at the construction site. “If you can move construction to the factory you can drive costs down significantly,” Parsons said.

New reactors could also reduce costs by being safer. Conventional reactors have a fundamental risk of meltdown, largely because they were designed to power submarines. It’s easy to cool a reactor with water when it’s in a submarine, underwater, but when we lifted these reactors onto land, we had to start pumping water up to cool them, Irish explained. “That pumping system can never, ever break, or you get a Fukushima. You need safety system on top of safety system, redundancy on top of redundancy.”

Oklo, a Silicon Valley startup, based its reactor design on a prototype that isn’t susceptible to meltdowns. “When engineers shut off all the cooling systems, it cooled itself and then started back up and was running normally later that day,” said Caroline Cochrane, Oklo’s cofounder. If these safer reactors don’t require all those backup cooling systems and concrete containment domes, companies can build plants for much less money.

Technologies often fail for a long time before succeeding: 45 years of tinkering passed between the first electric light and Thomas Edison’s patent for an incandescent bulb. It can take decades for the engineering to catch up to the idea. Others have tried seemingly every idea for advanced nuclear in the past, Parsons said. “But science has moved forward,” he said. “You have much better materials than you did a few decades ago. That makes it believable these things could work.”

A recent study from the nonprofit Energy Innovation Reform Project estimated that the latest batch of nuclear startups could deliver electricity somewhere between $36 and $90 a megawatt hour. That’s competitive with any power plant that runs on natural gas (which runs between $42 to $78), and would provide a viable alternative to fossil fuels.

In a best-case scenario, nuclear power could be even cheaper. There are projections a study like this can make based on, say, an improved design that cuts construction costs, but it can’t anticipate revolutionary advances.

“Hopefully these designers will come up with much more radical reductions in cost — you would like energy to be more accessible to a billion more people — so that nuclear becomes a cheap alternative that can beat natural gas even if there’s no carbon price,” Parsons said. “That’s just a hope, but that’s what entrepreneurs are supposed to do.”

MATTHEW BUNN, A nuclear expert at Harvard, said that if nuclear power is going to play a role in fighting climate change, these advanced nuclear companies will have to scale up insanely fast. “To supply a tenth of the clean energy we need by 2050, we have to add 30 gigawatts to the grid every year,” he said.

That means the world would have to build 10 times as much nuclear power as it was before the Fukushima disaster in 2011. Is that even realistic?

“I think we ought to be trying — I’m not optimistic,” Bunn said, noting that the pace at which we’d need to build solar and wind to quit fossil fuels is just as daunting.

Big barriers remain in the way of a nuclear renaissance. It takes years to test prototypes and get approval from federal regulators before a company can even start construction. “In order for advanced nuclear technologies to play a role in deep decarbonization over the next several decades,” the United States would need to overhaul the way it’s rolling out the technology, according to a study published earlier this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Experts point to many of the same steps to give advanced nuclear a fighting chance: Making regulations more friendly to innovation, instead of favoring conventional reactors. Creating incentives to reward utilities for buying low-carbon power. And a lot more funding.

A rendering of an advanced nuclear-gas hybrid reactor.
HYBRID POWER TECHNOLOGIES

The people behind the new crop of nuclear companies think they can get to market much faster with the right help. Oklo is shooting to have a commercial reactor online before 2025.

“Can we decarbonize quickly with nuclear? France did it, it can be done,” Cochrane from Oklo said. “Our reactors are 500 times smaller than the [latest conventional reactors], they have all these inherent safety characteristics, and they can consume nuclear waste. Will our application process be any shorter?”

Lowering these barriers would be cheaper than letting the government pick one promising idea and coddle it like a privileged child, which is the way we’ve treated conventional nuclear in the past, said Jessica Lovering, who studies nuclear power at the Breakthrough Institute, a pro-technology environmental think tank.

“We could pick one idea, spend a lot of money helping it become commercial, and then subsidize every project for even more money,” Lovering said. “Or, we could invest a much smaller amount of money across the entire innovation system.”

Still, it could easily take the advanced nuclear projects 30 years to get through regulatory review, fix the unexpected problems that crop up along the way, and prove that they can compete, said Dan Kammen, who studies clean energy at the University of California Berkeley. And by then Kammen thinks there will be other options in competition: Electric storage is getting better, and fusion could have a breakthrough.

“Ultimately on a planet with 10 billion people, some amount of large, convenient, affordable, safe baseload power — like we get from nuclear fission, or fusion — would be just hugely beneficial,” Kammen said. “There are other competitors in view on the straight solar side that 10 years ago sounded like science fiction — space-based solar, transparent solar films on every window. That world works, too.”

AT THIS POINT in history, everything is a longshot. We’ve got to completely replace our energy system on the fly. To do that, people are planting a lot of different seeds. It’s still a long time until harvest, but we’re seeing a flush of new sprouts from the advanced nuclear section of the garden.

This new flush of nuclear possibility has excited young people who see nuclear as a way to shift away from fossil fuels. College students are gravitating toward nuclear engineering. The number of students studying the subject cratered when the nuclear industry collapsed in the late 1970s (the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 didn’t help), but it has been creeping steadily higher since the early 2000s.

Some of those students are going on to start their own advanced nuclear companies. David Schumacher, a documentary filmmaker, met some of these young people and became so infected with their enthusiasm that he made a documentary about them, The New Fire, which came out last year.

“They are truly idealistic young people trying to save the planet by doing something really important but really unpopular,” Schumacher said. “They could be making a lot of money elsewhere, but instead they are starting these nuclear companies, knowing they are going to be maligned.”

It’s a feeling Simon Irish, at Terrestrial Energy, is familiar with. “The views on nuclear are so negative,” he said. “The great win is simply to persuade busy people to listen.”

While Terrestrial battles public opinion, Irish said his company has been hitting every milestone on time. Canadian regulators announced last year that Terrestrial had completed the initial stage of its design review — the first step toward approval in that country. Irish has already selected sites in Ontario where Terrestrial could build the first reactors.

Although Irish was mum on Terrestrial’s other milestones, he did describe an experience that he said gives him more confidence in the company’s prospects than any of its other accomplishments so far.

Last August, he found himself in the office of a prominent New York investor, a major contributor to environmental organizations. Getting the meeting had been a challenge — again because of the controversy around nuclear. But by the end, Irish had convinced the businessman that renewables and nuclear could not just coexist but compliment each other.

In Irish’s telling, he was in the middle of explaining Terrestrial’s reactor design when the man stopped him and said, “‘Hold on, this can deliver heat! The industrial sector needs heat, and wind and solar aren’t making any dent in that at all.’

“As far as he was concerned,” Irish said, “this was the great missing piece.”

cd-web-block660

Trump keeps claiming credit for fixing things that aren’t fixed

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

(TRUMP: AMERICA’S IDIOTIC FRAUD IN CHIEF, IS HE POSSIBLY THE BIGGEST FOOL IN THE WHOLE WORLD?) (opinion by: oldpoet56)

Trump keeps claiming credit for fixing things that aren’t fixed

(CNN)Never shy about taking credit, President Donald Trump twice recently claimed to have solved a problem that turned out to still be a problem.

He wanted the problem of North Korea’s nuclear weapons to be solved after his historic meeting with Kim Jong Un last month, and he wanted the problem of children separated by the US government from their parents to be solved with the swipe of his pen on an executive order.
But weeks later, the North Korean nuclear threat still very much exists, and the problem of children separated from their parents has worsened as the US government clearly does not know exactly how many children it has or how to get them back to their parents.
These are unrelated stories, obviously, but they share what’s become a truism of White House — which is that Trump likes to take credit for things he hasn’t quite accomplished. The details will come later.
Trump touts North Korea denuclearization

Trump touts North Korea denuclearization
It’s not unlike the famous old quote attributed to Vermont Sen. George Aitken, a Republican, who put forward a plan for the US in Vietnam in 1966. The United States should declare victory and get out, he’s been quoted as saying. Whether Aitken said it that way or not and what exactly he meant has been debated.
Trump actually did sort of declare victory on North Korea immediately upon touching down on US soil after the summit in June with Kim.
“Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office,” Trump said on Twitter. “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”
Trump was basking in success of his trip at the time and clearly wanted it to seem as historic as possible.
But his declaration was premature. The agreement he signed in North Korea was more of an entree into figuring out the details. And his administration, since his tweet, has reaffirmed that there is still a nuclear threat from North Korea. Obviously. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shuttles back and forth to hammer out the hard details. Meanwhile, North Korea’s nuclear program continues.
Trump has not been chastened, however. Most recently, he’s sought credit for not being in the middle of a nuclear war.
“Many good conversations with North Korea-it is going well! In the meantime, no Rocket Launches or Nuclear Testing in 8 months. All of Asia is thrilled. Only the Opposition Party, which includes the Fake News, is complaining. If not for me, we would now be at War with North Korea!”
OK! (Set aside that Trump was the one tempting nuclear war with his previous taunting of Kim. He’s asking for credit for avoiding a war he was inching toward.)
On the subject of the immigrant children, the administration was slow to realize its moral mistake in separating the children from parents at the border. The resulting chaos is just becoming clear.
Trump signs executive order to end family separations
Trump signs executive order to end family separations
“We’re going to have strong, very strong borders, but we’re going to keep the families together,” he said. “I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.”
“So we’re keeping families together and this will solve that problem,” Trump said. And then, just before he signed the executive order, he added, “You’re going to have a lot of happy people.”
He hasn’t said much at all about the issue since then.
But problems became apparent immediately. The executive order sought to detain undocumented families together and it ran afoul of a law that mandated children not be detained indefinitely. And while the stated purpose was to reunite families, it’s not clear that’s happened much at all. In fact, the government this week made clear it had separated even more children than previously thought.
These are only the most recent examples.
There’s no such thing as Obamacare anymore,” he said after Republicans passed their tax reform bill, even though Republicans’ tax bill only zeroed out the penalty for not obtaining health insurance coverage.
CNN’s Greg Krieg looked at a long list of things Trump has tried to take credit for earlier this year.
But these new examples are something else. They’re Trump taking credit for the efforts of his own administration before his own policies can be enacted, which is why they feel so premature. He’s trying to take credit for things where no credit is yet deserved.

Japan Lowers Readiness of North Korea Missile Alert System

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

(IF PRIME MINISTER ABE OR THE PEOPLE OF JAPAN ACTUALLY BELIEVE THE WORDS SPOKEN BY THE IGNORANT FOOL DONALD TRUMP OR BY THE MASS MURDERER KIM JONG UN, THEN MR. ABE AND THE PEOPLE OF JAPAN ARE NOT THE WISE PRACTICAL PEOPLE THAT I HAVE ALWAYS BELIEVED THEM TO BE.) (oped by: oldpoet56)

Japan Lowers Readiness of North Korea Missile Alert System

Sunday, 1 July, 2018 – 09:30
A passerby in Tokyo looks at a TV screen reporting news about a North Korean missile launch in September 2017. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Japan decided to ease the level of military readiness of its North Korea missile alert system, a report said Sunday, citing multiple unnamed sources close to the matter.

The report came as Japan finds itself under pressure to soften its hardline stance against Pyongyang following US President Donald Trump’s landmark summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last month.

Japan’s Self Defense Forces on Friday dropped their program to always deploy Aegis warships in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) that detect and intercept incoming missiles, the Asahi Shimbun reported.

But Japanese forces will remain ready to intercept missiles detected via spy satellite images, the newspaper said.

Japanese defense officials told the Asahi that Tokyo was following in the footsteps of the United States, which has already lowered its alert level in the Indo-Pacific region. Japan has also suspended public evacuation drills simulating a North Korean missile attack.

Japanese defense ministry officials were not available for immediate comment.

Japan has long maintained a tight-lipped stance about its exact defense posture against North Korea, including the locations of the high-tech Aegis vessels.

The outlook of the North’s denuclearization efforts remain unclear at best, with the Washington Post reporting Saturday that Pyongyang plans to keep some of its nuclear stockpile and production facilities while potentially concealing them from the US.

Trump has since the June 12 summit in Singapore buoyantly declared “there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea.”

Evidence collected since the historic meeting points to secret production facilities and the development of methods to conceal weapons creation — implying Pyongyang is aiming to hide plans to continue its nuclear program from the US, having made contrary, if ambiguous, commitments to Washington.

Over the weekend NBC News first reported that Pyongyang has in fact recently been increasing fuel production for nuclear weapons at several hidden sites.

The US network, citing intelligence officials, said North Korea’s regime was readying to “extract every concession” from the White House rather than giving up its atomic arsenal.

“There’s no evidence that they are decreasing stockpiles, or that they have stopped their production,” NBC quoted one US official as saying.

“There is absolutely unequivocal evidence that they are trying to deceive the US,” the official said, despite Pyongyang’s recent curtailment of missile and nuclear tests.

The only uranium enrichment spot North Korea has acknowledged publicly exists is Yongbyon — though reports of secret facilities have surfaced.

Experts have voiced fear that Washington may accept a lukewarm deal centered exclusively on Yongbyon that disregards known underground sites.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said he plans to meet with Kim to “flesh out” details of the nuclear disarmament promise, but has insisted the North Korean leader is serious.

“There’s a lot of work between here and there. My team is already doing it. I’ll likely travel back before too terribly long,” the top US diplomat said recently.

“We still need to flesh out all the things that underlay the commitments that were made that day in Singapore.”

US Defense Secretary James Mattis meanwhile has reassured key East Asian allies that the US commitment to Seoul is “ironclad” — despite Trump’s unilateral suspension of military exercises with South Korea and his lauding of Kim as a “talented guy.”

North Korea Is Quickly Upgrading Nuclear Research Facility: report

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘HILL’ NEWSPAPER)

 

Satellite images show North Korea upgrading nuclear research facility: report

Satellite images from last week show that North Korea is making numerous improvements to the infrastructure at a nuclear research facility, according to a new study.

The images, obtained by North Korea analysis outlet 38 North, come just weeks after President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed an agreement that called for a denuclearized Korean peninsula.

The satellite photos indicate that North Korea is quickly progressing on several adjustments to the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center.

The improvements include a new cooling water pump house, multiple new buildings, completed construction on a cooling water reservoir and an apparently active Radio chemical Laboratory. It is unclear whether the reactor is still in operation, the report said.

38 North notes that North Korean nuclear officials are expected to proceed with “business as usual” until Kim orders official changes to procedure.

The agreement between Trump and Kim, signed at the historic summit in Singapore earlier this month, commits the U.S. to “security guarantees” in exchange for a denuclearized Korean peninsula. Critics said that the deal was unspecific and gave too much to North Korea without securing anything for the U.S. in return.

Ahead of the meeting between the two leaders, North Korea claimed to have destroyed its Punggye-ri nuclear testing site.

Memoirs of a Light Worker

Life, Love, Happiness, Peace, Freedom

mercydot

News, Events, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Fashion, Beauty, Inspiration and yes... Gossip! *Wink*

My Insights

Athul Raj

Art Gowns

The Art of Glamorous Fantasy

A Cornered Gurl

I am more than breath & bones.

authorsinterviews

My interviews with many authors

theblackwallblog

Let's work together to overcome PTSD, panic, anxiety, depression in ourselves and others.

Santa's Reindeer

The world through my lens.....

Spiritual Enlightenment

Awakening of the mind

Our Evolution

Culture & Spirituality

%d bloggers like this: