Posted: 22nd June 2022
Hugh O’Shaughnessy writes about Bruce from The Independent. On the Murdoch press and then the differences on what was priestly campaigning: “The 1983 election called by Margaret Thatcher signalled a determined attack on a rapidly strengthening CND, led by the Murdoch press, Michael Heseltine, the Ministry of Defence and a body called Policy Research Associates, which included Lord Chalfont, Norris McWhirter and Julian Lewis. During that attack, Kent felt he had been traduced by Hume in the latter’s correspondence with Lewis. In his biography of Hume, Anthony Howard quoted Kent’s words to the cardinal: ‘It cannot be right for a bishop to discuss his priests in this way with strangers.’ He was increasingly disenchanted with church attitudes. In his words, ‘support for Solidarnosc in Poland was priestly. Support for the Sandinistas in Nicaragua was not. To be bishop of HM Forces was not political. To be CND chairman was.’”
War in Ukraine
Russia could have its Sarmat II nuclear-capable ICBMs deployed by the end of the year, Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday. The Telegraph’s report also reminds readers that these missiles could reach the UK within three minutes. Speaking at a ceremony for military academy graduates, the Russian leader said the Kremlin would continue to boost its military capabilities throughout the year. “We will continue to develop and strengthen our armed forces, taking into account potential military threats and risks…There is no doubt we will be even stronger,” he said. The threat to deploy Sarmat II missiles comes amid the latest rise in tensions between Moscow and NATO members, after Lithuania – citing EU sanctions – started restricting the flow of goods from Russia to its Baltic exclave in Kaliningrad.
The Guardian looks at the German government’s changing attitudes to security in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Lars Klingbeil, the governing Social Democratic Party’s (SPD) co-leader, said it was no time for the country to “normalise” its relationship with the military. “My wish is that we as a society develop a new normality in our dealings with the Bundeswehr,” Klingbeil told a security conference in Berlin. The Guardian notes that the Coalition of the centre-left SPD and their junior partners in the Greens “campaigned for unilateral nuclear disarmament as recently as last year’s federal election.”
The mayor of Enerhoda – the town near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – has accused Russian soldiers occupying the site of putting the station’s workers into the plant’s basements. “Now people are being taken straight to the nuclear power plant, they say that someone handed them over there, and they are thrown into the basements. There are more than a dozen such workers. That is, people stay in the city to avoid any nuclear problems, safely operate the nuclear power plant, under moral and physical pressure. There are few partisans left, even young people are leaving the city. It is unclear who will operate the nuclear power plant,” Dmytro Orlov said. The plant has been under Russian control since 4th March, with 500 troops believed to be stationed there. Ukraine’s nuclear energy operator Enrgoatom previously said the presence of the troops along with the storing of equipment and explosives at the site, made them unable to ensure the site’s safety.
A former holder of Vladimir Putin’s ‘nuclear football’ is in critical condition after being found shot in his home. Retired colonel and FSB agent Vadim Zimin had been under house arrest amid an investigation into alleged bribe-taking while in a senior position with Russia’s customs service. The nuclear briefcase was last spotted in April during a rare public appearance by Putin at the funeral of a far-right politician.
More reports on nuclear threats made by commentators in Russian state-media in The Mirror. This time, Lieutenant-General Evgeny Buzhinsky told viewers that the West was “playing with fire” over Lithuania’s decision to block goods travelling overland to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. Buzhinsky took special aim at comments made by Britain’s new Army chief Patrick Sanders – who issued a rallying cry to potential war with Russia. “He doesn’t understand that as a result of the Third World War Britain will physically cease to exist,” said Buzhinsky. “The island will vanish, so I’ve no idea where he or his descendants will live.”
The Independent looks at how the war in Ukraine will shape the world’s nuclear arsenals: “Vulnerable countries will look to the lessons from Ukraine — especially whether Russia succeeds in swallowing big pieces of Ukraine while brandishing its nuclear arsenal to hold other nations at bay — as they consider keeping or pursuing nuclear weapons, security experts say.”
UK Nuclear Energy
A nuclear energy start-up is seeking to use waste plutonium stored at Sellafield in Cumbria “to create clean energy,” the The Telegraph reports. London-based Newcleo has made a new lead-cooled reactor design that uses a mix of uranium and plutonium, and could rival the small modular reactors being developed by Rolls Royce. The firm says a fleet of reactors could burn through a tonne of plutonium annually, with 140 tonnes stored at the Cumbrian site.
EDF has threatened to pull out of the Sizewell C nuclear power project altogether, unless the government doesn’t come out with clear spending commitments. The warning was issued by union leaders in a letter to Business Secretary Kwasai Kwarteng on Monday: “We have been made aware through discussions at the European Works Council that EDF Energy’s commitment to this project will not be sustained in the absence of a prompt [government investment decision] GID… We sincerely believe that unless this matter is resolved in the next few weeks, the UK’s nuclear future and the jobs and skills of tens of thousands of nuclear workers will be at risk.”
The FT reports on warnings by the The International Energy Agency that Europe must prepare immediately for the severance of Russian oil and gas imports this winter – which includes extending the lifetime of ageing nuclear power plants. In an interview with the paper, IEA boss Fatih Birol said delaying the shut down of nuclear plants would limit the amount of gas burned in energy production. While not naming any names, Birol said countries “should consider postponing closures [of nuclear power plants] as long as the safety conditions are there.”
Nuclear operators in the US are hoping to double its electricity output within the next three decades after years of decline. Business Standard writes: “The massive scaling-up envisioned by the utilities hangs on the functionality of a new type of nuclear reactor that’s far smaller than traditional reactors. About two dozen US companies are developing advanced reactors, with some that could come online by the end of the decade if the technology succeeds and federal regulators approve.”
The Church of Scotland has issued a statement with its support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. “At this time of conflict and threat, we need to push harder than ever for alternatives for peace. The Treaty is a step in the direction for a world free of nuclear weapons, and where the huge sums of money which are spent on them can be diverted to help those in greatest need,” Rev Karen Hendry, acting convener of the Church of Scotland’s Faith Impact Forum said. Full statement here.