USA’s Fukushima At The  Sixth Seal (Rev 6)

 

Recent series of Indian Point shutdowns worst in years

Ernie Garcia, elgarcia@lohud.com

BUCHANAN — Four unplanned reactor shutdowns over a two-month period at Indian Point are the most setbacks the nuclear power plant has experienced in years.

A review of unplanned shutdowns from January 2012 to the present showed this year’s events happened within a short time frame, between May 7 and July 8, in contrast with events from other years that were more spread out, according to data released by Indian Point.

So many mishaps at the Entergy-owned plant haven’t occurred since 2009, when one of two units at the Buchanan site experienced a similar series, said plant spokesman Jerry Nappi.

Besides a May 9 transformer failure that spilled some 3,000 gallons of oil into the Hudson River, this year’s shutdowns were prompted by a May 7 steam leak, a July 8 pump motor failure and a June 15 switch yard breaker failure offsite in a Consolidated Edison substation.

If a nuclear plant has more than three unplanned shutdowns in a nine-month period, its performance indicator could be changed by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which results in additional oversight. That’s what happened with Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Mass., after four unplanned shutdowns in 2013.

So far, Entergy said there doesn’t appear to be a pattern to the Indian Point shutdowns.
“You do want to look at these events holistically to see if there is something in common, but you also look individually to see what the causes were,” Nappi said. “A plant shutdown in and of itself is not a safety issue.”

One of the four recent Buchanan shutdowns triggered a special inspection by the NRC and calls to close the nuclear plant by environmental groups and elected officials. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said in the past Indian Point should close, but his office did not respond to a request for comment about whether the recent shutdowns have prompted any state scrutiny.

The NRC is expected to release a quarterly report on Indian Point this month that will address the transformer failure and, by year’s end, is planning an inspection of the transformer and an analysis of transformer issues since 2007.

Besides its transformer-related inquiries, the other three shutdowns have not raised “any immediate safety concerns or crossed any thresholds that would result in additional NRC oversight,” agency spokesman Neil Sheehan wrote in an email.

The unplanned shutdowns at Indian Point and Pilgrim in Massachusetts were mostly preventable, said Paul Blanch, a former Indian Point employee with 45 years of nuclear power experience.
“For this to happen this frequently indicates a deeper problem,” he said. “I believe it’s management oversight in the maintenance of these plants.”

Nappi said the transformer that failed May 9 and caused a fire and oil spill into the Hudson was regularly monitored. Investigators determined the failure was due to faulty insulation.

“The transformer inspection and reviews were in accordance with our standards and industry expectations, yet there was no indication the transformer was going to fail,” Nappi said.
The NRC conducted a separate, but related special inspection into the May 9 incident that focused on a half-inch of water that collected in an electrical switchgear room floor. Inspectors determined a fire suppression system’s valve failed to close properly.

Inspectors noted in their report that Entergy knew about that problem since April 2011 and replaced the valve but didn’t discover the actual cause — a dysfunctional switch — until after the fire.

Indian Point’s Unit 3 was down 19 days May through July, with the transformer failure accounting for 16 days. The shutdowns didn’t cause the public any supply problems because New York’s grid can import electricity from other states and New York has an energy plan to maintain reliability, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The nuclear energy industry judges a power plant on how continuously it produces energy, which is called a capacity factor.

There were 100 nuclear plants in the United States in 2014, a record year in terms of efficiency. In January, the Nuclear Energy Institute announced the U.S. average capacity factor was 91.9 percent.
Indian Point has an above-average efficiency rate. The plant’s Unit 2 and 3 reactors were each online more than 99 percent of the time during their most recent two-year operating cycles. They are currently in the middle of other cycles.

US Prepares For a Korean Attack

Hawaii is preparing for a North Korea nuclear attack

Officials in Hawaii are launching a campaign to help residents plan for a nuclear missile attack from North Korea — much to the dismay of the state’s tourism industry.

The Aloha State’s Emergency Management Agency is kicking off an educational campaign aimed at helping people figure out what to do if strongman Kim Jung Un decides to follow through with his threats, according to Hawaii News Now.

“We need to tell the public what the state is doing,” agency chief Vern Miyagi said. “We do not want to cause any undue stress for the public; however, we have a responsibility to plan for all hazards.”

The plan, which will be unveiled in full on Friday, includes Cold War-style evacuation drills for school students and announcements that say “Get inside, stay inside, and stay tuned,” according to the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

The plan also includes tests of a new emergency siren on the first work day of every month, according to Hawaii News Now.

Tourism officials said the plan could be a blow to one of the state’s most important industries.

“Everyone’s safety in Hawaii is always our top priority,” Charlene Chan, a spokeswoman for the state’s Tourism Authority, said in a statement reported by the Star Advertiser. “However, we also know from speaking to our tourism industry partners that if reports are misinterpreted about the state’s need to prepare for an attack, this could lead to travelers and groups staying away from Hawaii. The effect of such a downturn would ultimately be felt by residents who rely on tourism’s success for their livelihood.”

But Miyagi said the public should simply liken the preparation for a doomsday to the work being done to prepare for hurricanes and tsunamis.

“We don’t know the exact capabilities or intentions of the North Korean government, but there is clear evidence that it is trying to develop ballistic missiles that could conceivably one day reach our state,” Miyagi said.

“Therefore, we cannot wait to begin our public information campaign to ensure that Hawaii residents will know what to do if such an event occurs.”

The hermit nation this month tested an intercontinental ballistic missile, drawing condemnation from the US and other countries.

Experts say such an ICBM could reach Alaska, and possibly even Hawaii, where officials consider a worst-case scenario to be a 15-kiloton nuke detonated 1,000 feet above Honolulu.

Obama Dealed. Now We Must Pay

Did Iran’s Nuclear Deal Come at Too High a Price?

Published: 20 July 2017
By INU Staff

INU – It’s been two years since Iran’s nuclear deal the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed. The other day, Robert Malley, an American lawyer, political scientist and specialist in conflict resolution, tweeted an article co-written by Philip Gordon, American diplomat and foreign policy expert and Richard Nephew, researcher and expert who dealt with Iran’s nuclear file between 2011 and 2013, in The Atlantic magazine. Malley tweeted ‘Why the Iran deal has worked, and why its critics have it wrong’. Gordon and Nephew’s article was titled, “The ‘Worst Deal Ever’ That Actually Wasn’t!”

Gordon and Nephew argued in their article, “In fact, the deal is doing exactly what is was supposed to do: prevent Iran from acquiring enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon, demonstrate to the Iranian public the benefits of cooperation with the international community, and buy time for potential changes in Iranian politics and foreign policy,” and added, “Anyone who thought a deal would immediately change Iran’s regional agenda or who maintains that, if only America and its partners had insisted on such changes in the talks they would have materialized, has a misguided sense of what sanctions and diplomatic pressure can accomplish. Having been deeply involved in the negotiations, we think it’s important to be clear about the purpose, enduring benefits, and inevitable limitations of the agreement.”

The co-writers wrote, “What the deal has done, at least for the next decade, is deter any realistic threat of a near-term Iranian nuclear weapon. The United States should use that decade wisely: standing up to and imposing costs on Iranian transgressions, supporting US allies in the region, making clear to the Iranian public that the West is not an enemy, and preparing for the day when some of the deal’s restrictions will no longer apply. If, by 2030, Iran has not demonstrated that its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful and that it is willing to live in peace with its neighbors, the United States and its international partners will have difficult decisions to make about how to handle the issue going forward.”

They conclude, saying, “But since there is a chance that Iran will have different leaders or policies by then—the current Supreme Leader will almost certainly be gone, and a new generation may have come to power—why make those difficult decisions now? The Iran deal has bought valuable time. Squandering that time without a better plan would be foolish.”

It is said that Malley and Gordon were both very close to former President Obama and Hillary Clinton. Many opinion polls showed that they expected to be a members of Hillary Clinton’s team, had she won. Many other Democrats strongly defend the nuclear deal.

In his article for ASHARQ AL-AWSAT, Eyad Abu Shakra talks about what he refers to as ‘Liberal’ Democrats. He says,

“Those ‘Liberal’ may be divided into two camps:
1. ‘Progressive apologists’ led by president Obama himself, who tacitly admire Tehran’s ‘revolutionary’ rhetoric against ‘militaristic’ and ‘conservative’ Arab regimes.
2. Trusted ‘Israel friends’ who believe that civil and sectarian wars within and between its neighboring states would be the best guarantee for Israel’s safety and security.”

He says further that Israel’s interests have always been a strategic policy of every US administration, but “the fate of the Arab countries never occupied a high position in Obama’s list of political priorities, recalling how he reneged on almost everything he promised in what was his ‘historic’ 2009 Cairo speech. This fate hit an all-time low after the collapse of his ‘Red Lines” many had thought existed in Syria to prevent Bashar Al-Assad’s massacring of his own people by chemical weapons and other means.”

Since the nuclear deal, nothing has changed in Iran. Former Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated that the JCPOA negotiations were restricted to the nuclear file, and never touched on other ‘regional issues’.

Eyad Abu Shakra says that “it was well known that among those ‘regional issues’ was the IRGC’s occupation of four Arab capitals, its destruction of cities in both Syria and Iraq, and its uprooting and displacing tens of millions of Syrians and Iraqis most of whom were Sunni Arabs!”

He adds that ISIS has provided “the perfect excuse to redraw the boundaries of the ‘New Middle East’, and the much sought after factor to justify bringing down everything, leaving only ‘failed states’, sectarian animosities, epidemics of ignorance and intolerance, and systematic destruction of institutions, landmarks of civilizations and cultural heritage.”

He concludes, “The whole Middle East has paid – and is still paying – a heavy price for the ‘decade’ the nuclear deal has gifted to Iran.”

Preparing For The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Preparing for the Great New York Earthquake
by Mike MullerShare

New York Quakes

New York Quakes Fault lines and known temblors in the New York City region between 1677-2004. The nuclear power plant at Indian Point is indicated by a Pe.

Most New Yorkers probably view the idea of a major earthquake hitting New York City as a plot device for a second-rate disaster movie. In a city where people worry about so much — stock market crashes, flooding, a terrorist attack — earthquakes, at least, do not have to be on the agenda.

A recent report by leading seismologists associated with Columbia University, though, may change that. The report concludes a serious quake is likely to hit the area.

The implication of this finding has yet to be examined. Although earthquakes are uncommon in the area relative to other parts of the world like California and Japan, the size and density of New York City puts it at a higher risk of damage. The type of earthquake most likely to occur here would mean that even a fairly small event could have a big impact.

The issue with earthquakes in this region is that they tend to be shallow and close to the surface,” explains Leonardo Seeber, a coauthor of the report. “That means objects at the surface are closer to the source. And that means even small earthquakes can be damaging.”

The past two decades have seen an increase in discussions about how to deal with earthquakes here. The most recent debate has revolved around the Indian Point nuclear power plant, in Buchanan, N.Y., a 30-mile drive north of the Bronx, and whether its nuclear reactors could withstand an earthquake. Closer to home, the city adopted new codes for its buildings even before the Lamont report, and the Port Authority and other agencies have retrofitted some buildings. Is this enough or does more need to be done? On the other hand, is the risk of an earthquake remote enough that public resources would be better spent addressing more immediate — and more likely — concerns?

Assessing the Risk

The report by scientists from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University at summarizes decades of information on earthquakes in the area gleaned from a network of seismic instruments, studies of earthquakes from previous centuries through archival material like newspaper accounts and examination of fault lines.

The city can expect a magnitude 5 quake, which is strong enough to cause damage, once every 100 years, according to the report. (Magnitude is a measure of the energy released at the source of an earthquake.) The scientists also calculate that a magnitude 6, which is 10 times larger, has a 7 percent chance of happening once every 50 years and a magnitude 7 quake, 100 times larger, a 1.5 percent chance. Nobody knows the last time New York experienced quakes as large as a 6 or 7, although if once occurred it must have taken place before 1677, since geologists have reviewed data as far back as that year.

The last magnitude 5 earthquake in New York City hit in 1884, and it occurred off the coast of Rockaway Beach. Similar earthquakes occurred in 1737 and 1783.

By the time of the 1884 quake, New York was already a world class city, according to Kenneth Jackson, editor of The Encyclopedia of New York City.”In Manhattan,” Jackson said, “New York would have been characterized by very dense development. There was very little grass.”

A number of 8 to 10 story buildings graced the city, and “in world terms, that’s enormous,” according to Jackson. The city already boasted the world’s most extensive transportation network, with trolleys, elevated trains and the Brooklyn Bridge, and the best water system in the country. Thomas Edison had opened the Pearl Street power plant two years earlier.

All of this infrastructure withstood the quake fairly well. A number of chimneys crumbled and windows broke, but not much other damage occurred. Indeed, the New York Times reported that people on the Brooklyn Bridge could not tell the rumble was caused by anything more than the cable car that ran along the span.

Risks at Indian Point

As dense as the city was then though, New York has grown up and out in the 124 years since. Also, today’s metropolis poses some hazards few, if any people imagined in 1884.

In one of their major findings, the Lamont scientists identified a new fault line less than a mile from Indian Point. That is in addition to the already identified Ramapo fault a couple of miles from the plant. This is seen as significant because earthquakes occur at faults and are the most powerful near them.

This does not represent the first time people have raised concerns about earthquakes near Indian Point. A couple of years after the licenses were approved for Indian Point 2 in 1973 and Indian Point 3 in 1975, the state appealed to the Atomic Safety and Licensing Appeal Panel over seismic issues. The appeal was dismissed in 1976, but Michael Farrar, one of three members on the panel, dissented from his colleagues.

He thought the commission had not required the plant to be able to withstand the vibration that could occur during an earthquake. “I believe that an effort should be made to ascertain the maximum effective acceleration in some other, rational, manner,” Farrar wrote in his dissenting opinion. (Acceleration measures how quickly ground shaking speeds up.)

Con Edison, the plants’ operator at the time, agreed to set up seismic monitoring instruments in the area and develop geologic surveys. The Lamont study was able to locate the new fault line as a result of those instruments.

Ironically, though, while scientists can use the data to issue reports — the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission cannot use it to determine whether the plant should have its license renewed. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission only considers the threat of earthquakes or terrorism during initial licensing hearings and does not revisit the issue during relicensing.

Lynn Sykes, lead author of the Lamont report who was also involved in the Indian Point licensing hearings, disputes that policy. The new information, he said, should be considered — “especially when considering a 20 year license renewal.”

The state agrees. Last year, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo began reaching out to other attorneys general to help convince the commission to include these risks during the hearings.

Cuomo and the state Department of Environmental Conservation delivered a 312-page petition to the commission that included reasons why earthquakes posed a risk to the power plants. The petition raised three major concerns regarding Indian Point:

  • The seismic analysis for Indian Point plants 2 and 3 did not consider decommissioned Indian Point 1. The state is worried that something could fall from that plant and damage the others.
  • The plant operators have not updated the facilities to address 20 years of new seismic data in the area.
  • The state contends that Entergy, the plant’s operator, has not been forthcoming. “It is not possible to verify either what improvements have been made to [Indian Point] or even to determine what improvements applicant alleges have been implemented,” the petition stated.

A spokesperson for Entergy told the New York Times that the plants are safe from earthquakes and are designed to withstand a magnitude 6 quake.

Lamont’s Sykes thinks the spokesperson must have been mistaken. “He seems to have confused the magnitude scale with intensity scale,” Sykes suggests. He points out that the plants are designed to withstand an event on the intensity scale of VII, which equals a magnitude of 5 or slightly higher in the region. (Intensity measures the effects on people and structures.) A magnitude 6 quake, in Sykes opinion, would indeed cause damage to the plant.

The two reactors at Indian Point generate about 10 percent of the state’s electricity. Since that power is sent out into a grid, it isn’t known how much the plant provides for New York City. Any abrupt closing of the plant — either because of damage or a withdrawal of the operating license — would require an “unprecedented level of cooperation among government leaders and agencies,” to replace its capacity, according to a 2006 report by the National Academies’ National Research Council, a private, nonprofit institution chartered by Congress.

Beyond the loss of electricity, activists worry about possible threats to human health and safety from any earthquake at Indian Point. Some local officials have raised concerns that radioactive elements at the plant, such as tritium and strontium, could leak through fractures in bedrock and into the Hudson River. An earthquake could create larger fractures and, so they worry, greater leaks.

In 2007, an earthquake hit the area surrounding Japan’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, the world’s largest. The International Atomic Energy Agency determined “there was no significant damage to the parts of the plant important to safety,” from the quake. According to the agency, “The four reactors in operation at the time in the seven-unit complex shut down safely and there was a very small radioactive release well below public health and environmental safety limits.” The plant, however, remains closed.

Shaking the Streets

A quake near Indian Point would clearly have repercussions for New York City. But what if an earthquake hit one of the five boroughs?

In 2003, public and private officials, under the banner of the New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation, released a study of what would happen if a quake hit the metropolitan area today. Much of the report focused on building damage in Manhattan. It used the location of the 1884 quake, off the coast of Rockaway Beach, as its modern muse.

If a quake so serious that it is expected to occur once every 2,500 years took place off Rockaway, the consortium estimated it would cause $11.5 billion in damage to buildings in Manhattan. About half of that would result from damage to residential buildings. Even a moderate magnitude 5 earthquake would create an estimated 88,000 tons of debris (10,000 truckloads), which is 136 times the garbage cleared in Manhattan on an average day, they found.

The report does not estimate possible death and injury for New York City alone. But it said that, in the tri-state area as a whole, a magnitude 5 quake could result in a couple of dozen deaths, and a magnitude 7 would kill more than 6,500 people.

Ultimately, the consortium decided retrofitting all of the city’s buildings to prepare them for an earthquake would be “impractical and economically unrealistic,” and stressed the importance of identifying the most vulnerable areas of the city.

Unreinforced brick buildings, which are the most common type of building in Manhattan, are the most vulnerable to earthquakes because they do not absorb motion as well as more flexible wood and steel buildings. Structures built on soft soil are more also prone to risk since it amplifies ground shaking and has the potential to liquefy during a quake.

This makes the Upper East Side the most vulnerable area of Manhattan, according to the consortium report. Because of the soil type, the ground there during a magnitude 7 quake would shake at twice the acceleration of that in the Financial District. Chinatown faces considerable greater risk for the same reasons.

The city’s Office of Emergency Management agency does offer safety tips for earthquakes. It advises people to identify safe places in their homes, where they can stay until the shaking stops, The agency recommends hiding under heavy furniture and away from windows and other objects that could fall.

A special unit called New York Task Force 1 is trained to find victims trapped in rubble. The Office of Emergency Management holds annual training events for the unit.

The Buildings Department created its first seismic code in 1995. More recently, the city and state have adopted the International Building Code (which ironically is a national standard) and all its earthquake standards. The “international” code requires that buildings be prepared for the 2,500-year worst-case scenario.

Transportation Disruptions

With the state’s adoption of stricter codes in 2003, the Port Authority went back and assessed its facilities that were built before the adoption of the code, including bridges, bus terminals and the approaches to its tunnels. The authority decided it did not have to replace any of this and that retrofitting it could be done at a reasonable cost.

The authority first focused on the approaches to bridges and tunnels because they are rigid and cannot sway with the earth’s movement. It is upgrading the approaches to the George Washington Bridge and Lincoln Tunnel so they will be prepared for a worst-case scenario. The approaches to the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd Street are being prepared to withstand two thirds of a worst-case scenario.

The terminal itself was retrofitted in 2007. Fifteen 80-foot tall supports were added to the outside of the structure.

A number of the city’s bridges could be easily retrofitted as well “in an economical and practical manner,” according to a study of three bridges by the consulting firm Parsons Brinckerhoff. Those bridges include the 102nd Street Bridge in Queens, and the 145th Street and Macombs Dam bridges, which span the Harlem River. To upgrade the 155th Street Viaduct, the city will strengthen its foundation and strengthen its steel columns and floor beams.

The city plans upgrades for the viaduct and the Madison Avenue bridge in 2010. The 2008 10-year capital strategy for the city includes $596 million for the seismic retrofitting of the four East River bridges, which is planned to begin in 2013. But that commitment has fluctuated over the years. In 2004, it was $833 million.

For its part, New York City Transit generally is not considering retrofitting its above ground or underground structures, according to a report presented at the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2004. New facilities, like the Second Avenue Subway and the Fulton Transit Center will be built to new, tougher standards.

Underground infrastructure, such as subway tunnels, electricity systems and sewers are generally safer from earthquakes than above ground facilities. But secondary effects from quakes, like falling debris and liquefied soil, could damage these structures.

Age and location — as with buildings — also add to vulnerability. “This stuff was laid years ago,” said Rae Zimmerman, professor of planning and public administration at New York University. “A lot of our transit infrastructure and water pipes are not flexible and a lot of the city is on sandy soil.” Most of Lower Manhattan, for example, is made up of such soil.

She also stresses the need for redundancy, where if one pipe or track went down, there would be another way to go. “The subway is beautiful in that respect,” she said. “During 9/11, they were able to avoid broken tracks.”

Setting Priorities

The city has not made preparing its infrastructure for an earthquake a top priority — and some experts think that makes sense.

“On the policy side, earthquakes are a low priority,” said Guy Nordenson, a civil engineer who was a major proponent of the city’s original seismic code, “and I think that’s a good thing.” He believes there are more important risks, such as dealing with the effects of climate change.

“There are many hazards, and any of these hazards can be as devastating, if not more so, than earthquakes,” agreed Mohamed Ettouney, who was also involved in writing the 1995 seismic code.

In fact, a recent field called multi-hazard engineering has emerged. It looks at the most efficient and economical way to prepare for hazards rather than preparing for all at once or addressing one hazard after the other. For example, while addressing one danger (say terrorism) identified as a priority, it makes sense to consider other threats that the government could prepare for at the same time (like earthquakes).

Scientists from Lamont-Doherty are also not urging anybody to rush to action in panic. Their report is meant to be a first step in a process that lays out potential hazards from earthquakes so that governments and businesses can make informed decisions about how to reduce risk.

“We now have a 300-year catalog of earthquakes that has been well calibrated” to estimate their size and location, said Sykes. “We also now have a 34-year study of data culled from Lamont’s network of seismic instruments.”

“Earthquake risk is not the highest priority in New York City, nor is dog-poop free sidewalks,” Seeber recently commented. But, he added, both deserve appropriately rational responses.

The South Korean Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7:7)

South Korea considers its nuclear options

July 20 (UPI) — South Korea has started thinking about its own nuclear options in response to the growing nuclear and missile threat from North Korea.

National Assembly member Lee Jong-kul, who is close to President Moon Jae-in, said “the most effective deterrent to nuclear weapons is a nuclear weapon itself.”

“I believe we need a phased strategy for nuclear armament,” he told an audience in Washington, D.C., this week.

One phase would be the relocation of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea.

“[I]n the final phase, we should develop our own nuclear weapons,” Rep. Lee concluded.

His remarks about the return of U.S. tactical nukes was echoed by Dr. Hyun-ik Hong, a senior research fellow at the Sejong Institute, a leading South Korean think tank. Both speakers made clear that the Moon administration’s first step will be to propose renewed inter-Korean dialogue on peace and security on the peninsula, ultimately leading to denuclearization.

President Donald Trump signed off on Moon taking the lead on a dialogue initiative during their recent meeting.

Lee said that the nuclear armament proposals would be pursued if North Korea would enter meaningful talks and continued its missile and nuclear testing. The return of U.S tactical nukes to South Korea was one of several options offered to Trump by his National Security Council in April.

Tactical nukes were removed by the United States from Korea in 1991 as a trust-building measure prior to the signing of a Joint Declaration between the two Koreas in 1992. In it, both parties agreed not to possess, produce, or use nuclear weapons, and prohibited uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing.

The agreement has been extensively breached by North Korea. China is likely to react strongly to renuclearization in South Korea. However, some observers believe the prospect may lead China to take the North Korean nuclear threat more seriously. China undertook to prevent nuclear development in North Korea at the time of the 1992 Declaration yet has failed to deliver.

Lee was speaking at the International Forum on Building an Alliance for One Korea, organized by Action for Korea United, One Korea Foundation, and the Global Peace Foundation.

Nuclear-Free is a Biblical Fallacy

https://metrouk2.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/aw-bible-nuclear-explosion-ww3.jpg?w=748&h=392&crop=1EDITORIAL: The nuclear-free fantasy game

The Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com
ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for. The Bible tells us so. One of the things on anybody’s wish list is a nuclear-free world. But without assurance that the hope will be redeemed such wishes are the stuff of idle delusion. That goes double for the expectation that the Trump administration’s recertification of the deal proscribing Iran’s nuclear program, and the United Nations’ nuclear weapons ban, will give wing to the dove of peace.

The White House announced this week that it would declare the Islamic Republic of Iran in technical compliance with the terms of the flawed nuclear agreement signed two years ago by President Obama. Mindful of Donald Trump’s vow as a presidential candidate to tear up the deal, the official statement says Iran is “in default of the spirit” of the pact, recognizing that Iran bends the rules to its aims without quite breaking them. President Trump’s recertification gives the mullahs a pass to continue the nuclear research into weapons that would threaten everybody, and particularly the hated West, with its Judeo-Christian democratic traditions.

Like a police officer who charges the thrower of a Molotov cocktail with littering rather than arson, the State Department followed the compliance certification with new sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile program and its other “malign activities” in the Middle East. The mullahs can laugh in their turbans at the toothless reprimand and at 18 sanctioned men, women and organizations. They tout their penalties as badges of honor.

Earlier this month the United Nations adopted an equally hollow Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The measure was backed by 122 nations, nearly all unable to build anything more dangerous than a popgun. Brave Netherlands voted against the ban, and Singapore, afflicted with a large restive Muslim population, abstained. The ban applies to the development and stockpiling of nuclear weapons, and the prohibition on threatening to use them.

The global body might as well have gone a step further and outlawed war. Missing from the balloting — and the preceding three weeks of negotiation — were the nine nations that actually have nuclear arsenals of various size: the United States, Great Britain, France, Russia, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea. None are inclined to give up the protection of their nuclear weapons on instruction from the United Nations. More likely, those non-nuclear nations would beat their plowshares into swords out of sight of the U.N.

An injunction against nuclear bombs comes at a curious time — just when the communist regime in North Korea is working feverishly to build an arsenal of nuclear missiles with which to threaten the world. Kim Jong-un greets every entreaty for peaceful accommodation with a chortle and the launch of another test rocket. Steady progress has brought the hermit regime to the verge of capability to strike the U.S. mainland with a weapon that could kill millions. President Trump has indulged lots of talk about the threat from North Korea, but like his harsh rhetoric about Iran, it may resound in the ears of the mullahs as nothing more than hot air.

It’s easy to forswear something unattainable. When that something is nuclear weapons, the nuclear have-nots can count themselves among the angels. Wishing for a nuclear-free world is a game any number can play.

The Antichrist’s Men (Revelation 13:18)

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/uK4Qex6rApw/maxresdefault.jpgIraq’s armed forces urgently need reform

The unsettling detail of the Iraqi army’s final conquest of Mosul from terrorist forces was the sectarian flags and icons that decorated military vehicles. The recapture seemed a pyrrhic victory that was caught up in the religious, ethnic and political divisions that plague Iraq.

With a supposed active force of some 270,000 military personnel, the army could only field 48,000 as Daesh overran swathes of Iraq in 2014. The country’s military institutions, babied by the US since the 2003 invasion, have suffered from corruption, administrative dysfunction and sectarianism that have affected their potency as a fighting force.

An understanding of the modern history of Iraq’s armed forces is essential to explaining its failure today. Set up by the British after the 1920 revolt, since its inception Iraq’s army has been a force geared toward internal security. Its first major action was putting down a Kurdish insurrection in Sulaimaniyah in 1924, and its subsequent involvement in the coups of 1936, 1941, 1958, 1963 and 1968 ensured it remained prey to factionalism and politicization.

Its only wartime battle engagements in the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, the Iran-Iraq war and the invasion of Kuwait were all military failures. Since then, sanctions and the consequences of the US-led invasion have stripped it of its ability to institutionalize, leaving it a hive of corruption and infighting.

Daesh’s dramatic initial success was in great part due to the unpreparedness and inefficiencies of Iraq’s army. In the context of the group’s initial conquest of Mosul, 800 fighters dislodged 30,000 Iraqi troops who scarpered from their 40-1 advantage over the enemy. Troops ill-trained to fight and unwilling to die for the authorities led to a state of affairs where the terrorists controlled up to 40 percent of the country.

The post-invasion Iraqi authorities have failed to build a state that all citizens are willing to subscribe to, reflected in the ineffectiveness of its fighting men and the ease with which civilians were absorbed by Daesh. The lack of inclusiveness in the Iraqi state is perfectly reflected in the security forces. Under the divisive tenure of former Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, nepotism and rampant corruption came to characterize the military.

Hollowed out by the resignation of senior and experienced officers following de-Baathification, the force shrunk and became heavily reliant on sectarian militias. Between 70,000 and 120,000 militiamen have played a central role in the army’s push from the Shiite-dominated south to the Daesh-controlled north and west.

The sectarian nature of these militias has raised serious questions about their role in Iraq going forward. Hard-line cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr, whose Mahdi Army has now been renamed the Peace Companies, has publically called for the role of such militias to be curtailed in post-Daesh Iraq.

The authorities must combat racism, discrimination and sectarianism to strengthen the unity of their fighting force, and to encourage all elements of society to take part in the defense of the nation. The army must be molded into a national institution that seeks to defend all Iraqis.

Zaid M. Belbagi

The sectarian nature of these militias alongside certain elements of the army has exacerbated an already very delicate state-building process that Iraq desperately needs. The military’s adoption of apocalyptic sectarian discourse alongside religious acts and iconography defies international conventions that oblige states to work to prevent racist practices and actions that cause intolerance and human rights violations.

The disproportionate violence of some Iraqi army units in areas retaken from Daesh are of great concern. Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law; this includes most of the aforementioned violations.

In this context, the Iraqi authorities must combat racism, discrimination and sectarianism to strengthen the unity of their fighting force, and to encourage all elements of society to take part in the defense of the nation.

Arguably the most compelling case against the issues with which the army has been associated is that of “ghost soldiers,” when in 2014 50,000 fictitious members of the armed forces were identified. It transpired that over 120 billion Iraqi dinars ($104 million) had been diverted to the pockets of corrupt commanders as a result of the affair.

More worryingly, the scandal contributed to the significant lack of boots on the ground, deeply impacting the performance of Iraqi troops in Mosul, Salahuddin and Anbar — in some cases, the fighting capability of battalions was no more than 20 percent, according to senior commanders.

Such instances have highlighted to both the authorities and international audiences that Iraq’s forces are as yet unable to defend the country. Symptomatic of this problem, as the Pentagon signs off on the further supply of resources to Iraqi forces, the New York Times reported that “some of the weaponry recently supplied by the army has already ended up on the black market and in the hands of Islamic State (Daesh) fighters.”

Following a long battle against the terror groups operating in Iraq, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi has promised a crackdown on corruption. Going forward, the army must be molded into a national institution that seeks to defend all Iraqis.

• Zaid M. Belbagi is a political commentator. He also acts as an adviser to private clients between London and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

The Sixth Seal Is Long Overdue (Rev 6)

ON THE MAP; Exploring the Fault Where the Next Big One May Be Waiting

ramapo_factsheet_img_0

The Big One Awaits

By MARGO NASH
Published: March 25, 2001

Alexander Gates, a geology professor at Rutgers-Newark, is co-author of ”The Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes,” which will be published by Facts on File in July. He has been leading a four-year effort to remap an area known as the Sloatsburg Quadrangle, a 5-by-7-mile tract near Mahwah that crosses into New York State. The Ramapo Fault, which runs through it, was responsible for a big earthquake in 1884, and Dr. Gates warns that a recurrence is overdue. He recently talked about his findings.

Q. What have you found?

A. We’re basically looking at a lot more rock, and we’re looking at the fracturing and jointing in the bedrock and putting it on the maps. Any break in the rock is a fracture. If it has movement, then it’s a fault. There are a lot of faults that are offshoots of the Ramapo. Basically when there are faults, it means you had an earthquake that made it. So there was a lot of earthquake activity to produce these features. We are basically not in a period of earthquake activity along the Ramapo Fault now, but we can see that about six or seven times in history, about 250 million years ago, it had major earthquake activity. And because it’s such a fundamental zone of weakness, anytime anything happens, the Ramapo Fault goes.

Q. Where is the Ramapo Fault?

 A. The fault line is in western New Jersey and goes through a good chunk of the state, all the way down to Flemington. It goes right along where they put in the new 287. It continues northeast across the Hudson River right under the Indian Point power plant up into Westchester County. There are a lot of earthquakes rumbling around it every year, but not a big one for a while.

Q. Did you find anything that surprised you?

A. I found a lot of faults, splays that offshoot from the Ramapo that go 5 to 10 miles away from the fault. I have looked at the Ramapo Fault in other places too. I have seen splays 5 to 10 miles up into the Hudson Highlands. And you can see them right along the roadsides on 287. There’s been a lot of damage to those rocks, and obviously it was produced by fault activities. All of these faults have earthquake potential.

Q. Describe the 1884 earthquake.

A. It was in the northern part of the state near the Sloatsburg area. They didn’t have precise ways of describing the location then. There was lots of damage. Chimneys toppled over. But in 1884, it was a farming community, and there were not many people to be injured. Nobody appears to have written an account of the numbers who were injured.

Q. What lessons we can learn from previous earthquakes?

A. In 1960, the city of Agadir in Morocco had a 6.2 earthquake that killed 12,000 people, a third of the population, and injured a third more. I think it was because the city was unprepared.There had been an earthquake in the area 200 years before. But people discounted the possibility of a recurrence. Here in New Jersey, we should not make the same mistake. We should not forget that we had a 5.4 earthquake 117 years ago. The recurrence interval for an earthquake of that magnitude is every 50 years, and we are overdue. The Agadir was a 6.2, and a 5.4 to a 6.2 isn’t that big a jump.

Q. What are the dangers of a quake that size?

A. When you’re in a flat area in a wooden house it’s obviously not as dangerous, although it could cut off a gas line that could explode. There’s a real problem with infrastructure that is crumbling, like the bridges with crumbling cement. There’s a real danger we could wind up with our water supplies and electricity cut off if a sizable earthquake goes off. The best thing is to have regular upkeep and keep up new building codes. The new buildings will be O.K. But there is a sense of complacency.

MARGO NASH

Korea Already Exporting to Iran

Here’s what would happen if North Korea exported nuclear weapons to the US’s enemies

North Korea shocked the world in the early morning hours of July 4 by launching a ballistic missile that could reach the US mainland – but North Korea has long had the ability to make and detonate nuclear devices.

But North Korea does not sell, export, or use such nuclear devices on anyone because if they did, the consequences would be phenomenal.

“North Korea sells all kinds of weapons” to African countries, Cuba, and its Asian neighbors, according to Omar Lamrani, a senior military analyst at Stratfor, a geopolitical consulting firm.

The most dangerous aspects of that trade has been with Syria and Iran in terms of missiles and nuclear reactors they helped the Syrians build before the Israelis knocked that out with an airstrike,” said Lamrani. “The most frightening is the potential sale of nuclear warheads.”

With some of the harshest sanctions on earth imposed on North Korea, it’s easy to imagine the nation attempting to raise money through illegal arms sales to the US’s enemies, which could even include non-state actors like al Qaeda or ISIS.

While procuring the materials and manufacturing a nuclear weapon would represent an incredible technical and logistical hardships for a non-state actor, a single compact warhead could be in the range of capabilities for a non-state actor like Hezbollah, said Lamrani.

Even under the close watch of US intelligence, if North Korea really wanted to, they could get a small nuclear device out of the country.

Furthermore, the US’s enemies would see a huge strategic benefit from having or demonstrating a nuclear capability, but with that benefit would come a burden.

If US intelligence caught wind of any plot to arm a terror group, it would make every possible effort to rip that weapon from the group’s hands before they could use it. News of a nuclear-armed terror group would fast-track a global response and steamroll whatever actor took on such a bold stance.

And not only would the terror group catch hell, North Korea would too.

“North Korea understands if they do give nuclear weapons, it could backfire on them,” said Lamrani. “If a warhead explodes, through nuclear forensics and isotope analysts, you can definitely trace it back to North Korea.”

At that point, North Korea would go from being an adversarial state that developed nuclear weapons as a means of regime security to a state that has enabled and abetted nuclear terrorism or proliferation.

This would change the calculus of how the world deals with North Korea, and make a direct attack much more likely.

Right now, North Korea has achieved regime security with long-range nuclear arms. If they sold those arms to someone else, they would effectively risk it all.

The Australia Nuclear Horn Enables India 

First Australian Uranium shipment is on its way to India: Julie Bishop

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj shakes hands with her Australian counterpart Julie Bishop

NEW DELHI: The first ever shipment of uranium from Australia — having world’s biggest reserves of yellow cake — is on its way to India elevating strategic partnership to a new level, informed visiting foreign minister Julie Bishop.

She also suggested that China, pursuing an aggressive foreign policy, must adhere to international norms amid Sino-Indian border standoff.

“The first shipment of uranium under the commercial arrangement is on its own way to India. The parliamentary clearance for uranium supplies was approved in Australia.India and Australia have also agreed on nuclear safeguards agreement,” the Minister told a select group of reporters here on Tuesday after her meeting with the PM, Foreign Minister and Defence & Finance Minister.

India and Australia signed a civil nuclear pact in 2014 and Canberra has been a supporter of India’s entry into the NSG besides other export control regimes. Besides expansion of defence and security partnership, the ongoing standoff in Dokalam figured high on the agenda of Bishop’s meetings with PM and the two key Ministers.

“This is long term dispute. While maritime border disputes should be settled based on UNCLOS, land boundary disputes should be settled peacefully. We don’t want to see an escalation. Any miscalculation could lead to tensions,” Bishop remarked.

The visiting Minister was of opinion that China has an increasingly assertive foreign policy and it should adhere to international norms and order.

India and Australia have a growing strategic and economic partnership to provide stability in the Indo-Pacific region. We hope to expand defence partnership besides working on counter-terror and countering violent extremism.”

When asked about India’s reluctance to include Australia in the Malabar Naval exercise, the Minister avoided a direct reply and said, “The matter is not upsetting.

Each country has different priorities. India and Australia have had bilateral Naval exercises. And Australia have series of bilateral military exercises and remain keen for more such exercise.”‘

“There are all indications from the top leadership of US that it is continuing with its pivot to Asia-Pacific. Besides President Donald Trump will attend East Asia Summit,” the Australian Foreign Minister pointed out.