Posted: 4th June 2021
Please find today’s press round up below. Thank you to all for their continued help and support.
The nuclear policy of the Democratic administration has come under broad criticism after the news that two controversial nuclear ‘modernisation’ programmes look set to go ahead.
U.S. Nuclear Policy
Joe Biden has attracted intense criticism from progressive Democrats, following on from the publication of his first Department of Defense budget, according to POLITICO. The budget provides funding for nuclear low-yield ballistic missile fired from submarines, as well as a submarine-launched cruise missile. Some have said the plans contradict Biden’s campaign rhetoric and pledges. The decision to retain the low-yield warhead was recommended by the Trump administration’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review. The Council for a Livable World group, to whom Biden has delivered speeches on nuclear policy in the past, said that ‘this budget expands nearly every nuclear program put forward by that administration. This is not acceptable’.
Forbes Magazine also carries an in-detail piece looking at the plans for the Sea-Launched Cruise Missile. The SLCM-N is perceived as being less destructive compared to Trident missiles. The new cruise missiles would be launched from Virginia-class submarines. The U.S’s nuclear-armed submarine programme is, at the moment, relatively small compared to other elements of its nuclear arsenal, with fourteen Ohio-class submarines carrying nuclear warheads. The plan for the new missile appears at present as a small budget line of $15.2 million for research and development.
The largest ship in the Iranian navy has sank near its coast, while the after-effects of a Russian mafia cyber-attack are worked through and the Palestinian authority summons European diplomats.
Naval Incident in Iran
The largest ship in the Iranian navy has sank under unclear circumstances, according to Al Jazeera. The Kharg caught fire and sank on Wednesday morning not far from the short of the port town of Jask. Around 400 crew members were successfully evacuated, Iranian authorities said. Some injuries but no fatalities were reported. Although the Kharg was a relatively old vessel, as well as the Iranian navy’s poor safety record more generally, the fact that no explanation has yet been provided for how it was set on fire will arouse suspicions of foul play in some quarters.
The Washington Post reports that most of the operations of JBS, the largest meat producer in the world, have been restored following a huge cyber-attack earlier in the week. U.S. government officials have fingered organised crime groups based in Russia for the attack. A fuel pipeline was targeted last week, with the same perpetrators suspected. The U.S. has said it is engaging with the Russian government over the matter, ahead of the Biden-Putin meeting in Geneva later this month.
The Palestinian Authority has summoned the ambassadors of several European countries, including Britain, to ask for an explanation for their voting at the UN Human Rights Council, the Morning Star reports. Britain, along with seven other countries, voted against a motion which called for the establishment of ‘an ongoing independent international commission of inquiry’ into Israeli human rights abuses in Jerusalem and Gaza. The ambassadors of Austria, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic were also summoned.
The Express raises the spectre of French dominance of the nuclear industry through Hinkley Point C while a new BBC documentary looks at the plant’s construction.
Nuclear Power – UK
The Daily Express features a piece on how the UK’s civil nuclear industry will be ‘dependent’ on France and its EDF Energy subsidiary. EDF, along with the Chinese company CGN, owns two-thirds of the Hinkley Point C project. The site will eventually supply 7% of the UK’s electricity. Last month, France threatened to cut off power to Jersey in a fishing dispute. The local Stop Hinkley group are quoted in the article.
The BBC has also began to air its new series on Hinkley Point, ‘Building Britain’s Largest Nuclear Power Station’, which can be viewed here.
With best wishes,
Press and Communications Officer
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament