Archive for the ‘economics’ Category

Small and Medium Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) – cost estimates, and what they cost to build

April 7, 2019

SMR cost estimates, and costs of SMRs under construction, Nuclear Monitor Issue:  #872-873 4777 07/03/2019Jim Green ‒ Nuclear Monitor editor

Costs of SMRs under construction construction costs for Russia’s floating nuclear power plant (with two 35-MW ice-breaker-type reactors) have increased more than four-fold and now equate to over US$10 billion / gigawatt (GW) (US$740 million / 70 MW).1 A 2016 OECD Nuclear Energy Agency report said that electricity produced by the plant is expected to cost about US$200/MWh, with the high cost due to large staffing requirements, high fuel costs, and resources required to maintain the barge and coastal infrastructure.2

Little credible information is available on the cost of China’s demonstration 2×250 MW high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR). If the demonstration reactor is completed and successfully operated, China reportedly plans to upscale the design to 655 MW (three modules feeding one turbine, total 655 MW) and to build these reactors in pairs with a total capacity of about 1,200 MW (so much for the small-is-beautiful SMR rhetoric). According to the World Nuclear Association, China’s Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology at Tsinghua University expects the cost of a 655 MWe HTGR to be 15-20% more than the cost of a conventional 600 MWe PWR.3

A 2016 report said that the estimated construction cost of China’s demonstration HTGR is about US$5,000/kW ‒ about twice the initial cost estimates.4 Cost increases have arisen from higher material and component costs, increases in labor costs, and increased costs associated with project delays.4 The World Nuclear Association states that the cost of the demonstration HTGR is US$6,000/kW.5

The CAREM (Central Argentina de Elementos Modulares) SMR under construction in Argentina illustrates the gap between SMR rhetoric and reality. Argentina’s Undersecretary of Nuclear Energy, Julián Gadano, said in 2016 that the world market for SMRs is in the tens of billions of dollars and that Argentina could capture 20% of the market with its CAREM technology.6 But cost estimates have ballooned: (more…)


There’s money in denying the science about ionising radiation – it’s useful nuclear lobby spin

November 3, 2018
Recently, the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) – scientists who provide guidance and recommendations on radiation protection under a mandate from Congress – supported the LNT model. NCRP analyzed 29 epidemiological studies and found that the data was “broadly supportive” of the LNT model and that “no alternative dose-response relationship appears more pragmatic or prudent for radiation protection purposes.”
In fact, the National Academies’ Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board, the International Council on Radiation Protection, and other international bodies and regulators all use the LNT model for guidance and radiation protection.
Scientist-in-Residence and Adjunct Professor, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, October 19, 2018 The Takata Corporation sold defective air bag inflators that resulted in the death of 16 people in the United States and a massive recall of cars. While it was rare for the air bags to fail, the brutal consequences of this defective device in even minor collisions was easy to recognize. But the effects of low-dose ionizing radiation – high energy waves or particles that can strip electrons from atoms and physically damage cells and the DNA within – on people’s health is much harder to see, and prove.
When the Associated Press reported that the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency solicited the advice of a controversial toxicologist, Edward Calabrese, to consider changes to how it regulates radiation, it sent shock waves through the radiation protection community. Calabrese is well known for his unconventional and outlying view that low-dose radiation is not dangerous.It is important to note that the health effects of high doses of radiation are well established. We all know about the horrific effects based on studies of the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the atomic bombs were dropped. Then there was also the recent case of Russian defector Alexander Litvenenko who quickly sickened and died 23 days after being poisoned with the radioactive isotope polonium-210 in 2006.However, the effects of low doses of radiation are not well understood. Part of the reason is that these low doses are difficult to measure.

Current understanding of the health effect of radiation relies primarily on a decades-long study of the survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb attacks. That population was exposed to a one-time large dose of radiation, with individual exposure dependent on where they were at the time of the explosion.
In those high-dose radiation studies, researchers found that there is a proportionate relationship between dose and effect. The way the EPA gauges the effect of low doses of radiation draws from these studies as well as studies following other incidents. The current guidelines for the EPA adhere to what is called the linear no-threshold (LNT) model, which implies that even low doses of radiation have an effect across a population. Some scientists dubbed it to be a “reverse lottery,” where an unlucky few within a given population will get cancer during their lifetime due to their exposure to radiation.

There have been questions as to whether the LNT model is appropriate for measuring cancer risk from low doses of radiation. That’s because when the radiation-induced cancer rate is low, and the sample size is small, there is more statistical uncertainty in the measurement. This allows more wiggle room in putting forward alternative dose-response models such as Calabrese’s, which have little scientific backing but that promise financial benefits for regulated industries.

Overall, the general feeling in the radiation protection community is that for now until new research proves otherwise, the LNT model, because of the lack of understanding of the effect of low doses, is the prudent model to use to set protective limits.

Also, not being able to determine the effect of a low dose of radiation is a problem in measurement, not in the underlying linear threshold model. As doses of radiation decrease, fewer cases of radiation-induced cancers occur, making it more difficult to identify those specific cases.

This is especially true given that cancer is already a common occurrence, making it nearly impossible to disentangle radiation exposure from many other potential cancer risk factors. This is where the analogy with Takata air bags fails, because it is not possible to prove that a specific cancer death is due to ionizing radiation, but this does not make it any less real or significant.

Who profits if radiation guidelines change

The EPA issues guidance and sets regulations to “limit discharges of radioactive material affecting members of the public” associated with the nuclear energy industry. The EPA defines what radiation levels are acceptable for a protective cleanup of radioactive contamination at Superfund sites. It also provides guidance on the levels of radiation exposure that would trigger a mass evacuation. It is not surprising that certain stakeholders would welcome modifications in EPA assessment of low-dose radiation exposure given the high costs involved in preventing or cleaning up sites and in compensating victims of such exposure.

Recently, the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) – scientists who provide guidance and recommendations on radiation protection under a mandate from Congress – supported the LNT model. NCRP analyzed 29 epidemiological studies and found that the data was “broadly supportive” of the LNT model and that “no alternative dose-response relationship appears more pragmatic or prudent for radiation protection purposes.”

In fact, the National Academies’ Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board, the International Council on Radiation Protection, and other international bodies and regulators all use the LNT model for guidance and radiation protection.

From my perspective, as someone who has worked with radioactive sources, the EPA should be cognizant of the warning by the late Harvard sociologist Daniel Yankelovich that just because an effect can’t be easily quantified does not mean it is not important or does not exist.

Civil and military nuclear industries locked in dependence on each other

October 9, 2018

questions arise over many well-documented military entanglements of nuclear power

the “reliable provision of Russia’s defense capability is the main priority of the nuclear industry” – Rosatom

a host of other defense policy discussions are very clear that the UK nuclear ‘submarine industrial base’ would not be sustainable, if a decision were taken to discontinue civil nuclear power…statements from UK submarine industry sources note incentives to “mask” the costs of this military programme behind the related civilian industrial infrastructure…. a programme of submarine-derived small modular reactors should be adopted in UK energy policy in order to “relieve the Ministry of the burden of developing and retaining skills and capability” on the military side. – Rolls Royce

focused on facilitating ‘mobility’ between the civil and defense nuclear workforce – UK

In the USA, powerful imperatives have recently been openly declared in high level policy debate, to maintain support for otherwise-uncompetitive nuclear power in order to sustain a continuing nuclear navy.

How much of the costs of these shared underpinnings for military nuclear ambitions, are being concealed by otherwise uneconomic joint civil-military nuclear infrastructures?

A Global Picture of Industrial Interdependencies Between Civil and Military Nuclear Infrastructures  (this paper is richly supplied with comprehensive footnotes and references. Andy Stirling, Phil Johnstone, SPRU, August 2018 (This is an extended, updated and more fully referenced version of a chapter appearing in M. Schneider, A. Froggatt, J. Hazemann, T. Katsuta, M.V. Ramana, A. Stirling, P. Johnstone, C. von Hirschhausen, B. Wealer, The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2018, Mycle Schneider Consulting, Paris, 2018)


Noting the increasingly unfavourable economic and operational position of nuclear power around the world, this paper reviews evidence for a hitherto neglected connection between international commitments to civil and military nuclear infrastructures.  (more…)

‘Key insights’ from the 2018 World Nuclear Industry Status Report

October 9, 2018
The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2018   As always there is much of interest in the latest edition of the World
Nuclear Industry Status Report. We reprint the report’s ‘key insights’.  The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2018 Nuclear Monitor 8 Sept 18

NM865.4747 The 2018 edition of the World Nuclear Industry Status  Report has just been released. Here are the ‘key insights’ from the report:

China Still Dominates Developments

• Nuclear power generation in the world increased by  1% in 2017 due to an 18% increase in China.

• Global nuclear power generation excluding China  declined for the third year in a row.

• Four reactors started up in 2017 of which three were in China and one in Pakistan (built by a Chinese company).

• Five units started up in the first half of 2018, of which three were in China ‒ including the world’s first EPR and AP1000 ‒ and two in Russia.

• Five construction starts in the world in 2017.

• No start of construction of any commercial reactors in China since December 2016.

• The number of units under construction globally declined  for the fifth year in a row, from 68 reactors at the end of 2013 to 50 by mid-2018, of which 16 are in China.

Operational Status and Construction Delays

• The nuclear share of global electricity generation  remained roughly stable over the past five years with  a long-term declining trend, from 17.5% in 1996 to  10.3% in 2017.

• Seven years after the Fukushima events, Japan had  restarted five units by the end of 2017 ‒ generating still  only 3.6% of the power in the country in 2017 ‒ and nine by mid-2018.

• As of mid-2018, 32 reactors ‒ including 26 in Japan ‒ are in Long-Term Outage (LTO).

• At least 33 of the 50 units under construction are behind schedule, mostly by several years. China is no exception, at least half of 16 units under construction  are delayed. Of the 33 delayed construction projects, 15 have reported increased delays over the past year.

Only a quarter of the 16 units scheduled for startup  in 2017 were actually connected to the grid.

• New-build plans have been cancelled including in  Jordan, Malaysia and the U.S. or postponed such as in Argentina, Indonesia, Kazakhstan.

Decommissioning Status Report

• As of mid-2018, 115 units are undergoing  decommissioning ‒ 70% of the 173 permanently  shut-down reactors in the world.

• Only 19 units have been fully decommissioned: 13 in  the U.S., five in Germany, and one in Japan. Of these, only 10 have been returned to greenfield sites.

Interdependencies Between Civil and Military


How the British government struck such a terrible deal as Hinkley Point C nuclear power project

October 9, 2018

Hinkley Point: the ‘dreadful deal’ behind the world’s most  expensive power plant Building Britain’s first new nuclear reactor since 1995 will cost twice as much as the 2012 Olympics – and by the time it is finished, nuclear power could be a thing of the past. How could the government strike such a bad deal? Guardian, By Holly Watt, 21 Dec 17, Hinkley Point, on the Somerset coast, is the biggest building site in Europe. ……

the irony of Hinkley Point C is that by the time it eventually starts working, it may have become obsolete. Nuclear power is facing existential problems around the world, as the cost of renewable energies fall and their popularity grows. “The maths doesn’t work,” says Tom Burke, former environmental policy adviser to BP and visiting professor at both Imperial and University Colleges. “Nuclear simply doesn’t make sense any more.”

The story of Hinkley Point C is that of a chain of decisions, taken by dozens of people over almost four decades, which might have made sense in isolation, but today result in an almost unfathomable scramble of policies and ambitions. Promises have been made and broken, policies have been adopted then dropped then adopted again. The one thing that has been consistent is the projected cost, which has rocketed ever upwards. But if so many people have come to believe that Hinkley Point C is fundamentally flawed, the question remains: how did we get to this point, where billions of pounds have been sunk into a project that seems less and less appealing with every year that passes?

……… By the end of 2003, all government policy indicated that Hinkley Point C would never be built, and there was no prospect of any other new nuclear power plants. It seemed certain that nuclear had no future in Britain – which is why, when the government performed a volte-face three years later, so many onlookers were astonished. “Without any obvious change in the world, by 2006, the position in government had been completely reversed,” MacKerron told me. “Nuclear power had become extremely beneficial, important and not uneconomic.”

One thing that had happened in the intervening years was a PR blitz by the nuclear industry, which had deployed scores of lobbyists, including former politicians such as the former energy minister Brian Wilson, to push the idea of a “nuclear renaissance” in the UK. Between 2003 and 2006, says Andrew Stirling, professor of science and technology policy at Sussex University, “Britain saw the beginnings of a massive pro-nuclear lobbying and PR campaign that continues to this day.”

Through the media and advertising campaigns, key messages were hammered home. Renewables were intermittent and unreliable. Overseas gas imports were politically vulnerable. “Green” nuclear was the only plausible way to hit carbon dioxide reduction targets. Keith Parker, who was then chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), told the New Statesman that the 2005 election became a particular focus for swaying opinions. “It gave us a good chance to raise the profile of nuclear power,” he said. In the months leading up to the election, a series of talks was organised at exclusive venues such as the Army & Navy Club on Pall Mall and St Stephen’s Club in Queen Anne’s Gate. Industry leaders and experts came together to explain the benefits of nuclear to politicians and energy journalists. The NIA (which is now chaired by John Hutton) took on the role of managing the influential all-party parliamentary group – an informal grouping of politicians – on nuclear energy.

In July 2006, the government U-turn arrived in the form of a new policy paper, The Energy Challenge, which declared that new nuclear power stations would be necessary to help Britain reduce its carbon emissions and to ensure an uninterrupted, affordable supply of energy well into the future.

Greenpeace launched a legal challenge, claiming that the consultation process behind the government’s recommendation had been totally inadequate. The judge presiding over the case agreed, and in February 2007 ruled that the process had been “misleading”, “very seriously flawed” and “procedurally unfair”. Blair accepted the ruling, but stated that “this won’t affect the policy at all”.

Andrew Stirling believes that there was a crucial, largely unspoken, reason for the government’s rediscovered passion for nuclear: without a civil nuclear industry, a nation cannot sustain military nuclear capabilities. In other words, no new nuclear power plants would spell the end of Trident. “The only countries in the world that are currently looking at large-scale civil power newbuild programmes are countries that have nuclear submarines, or have an expressed aim of acquiring them,” Stirling told me.

Building nuclear submarines is a ferociously complicated business. It requires the kind of institutional memory and technical expertise that can easily disappear without practice. This, in theory, is where the civil nuclear industry comes in. If new nuclear power plants are being built, then the skills and capacity required by the military will be maintained. “It looks to be the case that the government is knowingly engineering an environment in which electricity consumers cross-subsidise this branch of military security,” Stirling told me.

In May 2007, the government published a paper titled “Meeting the energy challenge: a White Paper on energy”, which reaffirmed its enthusiasm for nuclear and declared that there had been “significant changes in the economics of nuclear power”. In contrast to the late 1980s, the government claimed it was now being approached by “some energy companies expressing a strong interest in investing in new nuclear power stations”.

When Gordon Brown took over from Blair in June 2007, the shift to nuclear proceeded apace. As it happened, the new prime minister’s brother, Andrew, was then the communications director for EDF, though a spokesman for Gordon Brown told me that at no point while he was prime minister “did he ever discuss energy policy with Andrew Brown”.

In January 2008, the announcement came. A new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK was given formal backing by the government. “It was one of the most exciting days in my ministerial life,” says Hutton. “Ministers do lots of important things all the time, but there are probably those moments in your ministerial career when you sit back and think: ‘Actually, this is going to have an intergenerational effect. This is going to affect the country 50, 60, 70 years after I’ve gone.’”

The development at the top of the list was Hinkley Point C……….

With no real plan B after the private sector had lost interest in Hinkley Point, the government suddenly found itself in a weak negotiating position. “They perhaps didn’t foresee that only one developer, EDF, was prepared to go ahead,” said MacKerron. “So by definition, they were a bit over a barrel.”

In September 2008, British Energy was sold to EDF. After months of long and difficult negotiations between EDF and a team of civil servants representing the UK’s interests in British Energy, and an earlier failed bid, the French company paid £12.5bn to take over eight UK nuclear power plants. It also announced its plan to develop four new power stations.

These days, EDF looks like an unlikely white knight. The market value of the company has collapsed, from more than €150bn (£132bn) in 2008 to roughly €30bn (£26bn) today, and the French nuclear industry is facing an existential crisis.

…….. The financial deal that EDF struck with the British in October 2013 to fund the project – which, in Magnin’s words, amounts to the British taxpayer funding France’s energy needs – remains one of the most controversial elements of the Hinkley deal.

Given its commitment to building Hinkley Point C, the government had no choice but to make EDF an offer that was too good to resist. It offered to guarantee EDF a fixed price for each unit of energy produced at Hinkley for its first 35 years of operation. In 2012, the guaranteed price – known as the “strike price” – was set at £92.50 per megawatt hour (MWh), which would then rise with inflation. (One MWh is roughly equivalent to the electricity used by around 330 homes in one hour.)

This means that if the wholesale price of electricity across the country falls below £92.50, EDF will receive an extra payment from the consumer as a “top-up” to fill the gap. This will be added to electricity bills around the country – even if you aren’t receiving electricity from Hinkley Point C, you will still be making a payment to EDF. ……..

In short, instead of using taxpayers’ money to fund a state subsidy for EDF, the government negotiated a deal whereby the electricity consumer foots the bill. Given that almost every taxpayer in the UK is an electricity consumer, the distinction is largely academic. …….

The deal looks particularly bad when compared with the current cost of renewable energy. As Hinkley’s pricetag keeps rising, the cost of energy keeps falling. And, as a recent report from the public accounts committee pointed out, although energy costs are falling, this just drives up the top-up payment to EDF. “No one was protecting the interests of energy consumers in doing the deal,” the report noted.

In December 2013, the European commission decided that the payments to EDF were so big that they could distort the electricity price across the whole of Europe, and launched an investigation into the deal. The resulting document, published in 2014, can be read as a 33,000-word attempt by the EU to save the UK from its own poor negotiating.

The commission raised several issues………

In 2012, as it was preparing to negotiate the strike price with EDF, the government hired the consultancy firm LeighFisher to assess construction costs for Hinkley. The higher the cost estimated by LeighFisher, the higher the strike price for EDF.

However, as the National Audit Office pointed out in June 2017, LeighFisher is owned by Jacobs Engineering Group. And at the same time that LeighFisher was assessing Hinkley Point construction costs, Jacobs was working for EDF, with some of its staff seconded to the French company. The National Audit Office points out that Jacobs staff were having “input” into LeighFisher’s cost verification exercise.

In short, a division of a company employed by EDF was advising the UK government how much to pay EDF.

……. Hinkley Point C will be the third nuclear reactor to be built on this site. These days, its oldest brother, Hinkley Point A, which began operating in 1965 and was decommissioned in 2000, is dilapidated, with large holes gaping in its blue walls. Hinkley Point B, which began operating in 1976 and is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2023, stands 300 metres to its right – an anonymous grey hulk, disappearing against the sky, as steam from its huge chimneys floods into the clouds………

“My grandchildren will be paying for this,” Allan Jeffery from Stop Hinkley told me, as we walked around the outer boundary of the site earlier this year.

The government estimates that the Hinkley top-up payments will cost consumers around £30bn over the course of the 35-year contract. One of the few figures on a comparable scale is the Brexit divorce bill.

The story of Hinkley point contains another echo of – or perhaps a warning for – the Brexit negotiations. With Hinkley, even though the UK’s position got steadily worse, at no point did the government seriously try to force the terms of the deal. It simply couldn’t, because it had backed itself into a corner.

……. The stakes of the Hinkley deal were also high for both China and France, and neither country gave an inch. When it came to the crunch, the UK’s negotiators had to take the deal they were offered. “The issue now is that nobody has a good exit strategy,” says Prof Steve Thomas. “I think everyone wants out. But there are penalties to pay now, and there is the humiliation of 10 wasted years.”……..

It’s a myth that thorium nuclear reactors were ever commercially viable

April 2, 2018

Dispelling Claim 2: Thorium did not get a chance in the  nuclear energy development because it is not  usable for military purposes   Thorium ‒ a better fuel for nuclear technology? Nuclear Monitor,   by Dr. Rainer Moormann  1 March 2018

In the early stages of nuclear technology in the USA (from 1944 to the early 1950s), reprocessing technology was not yet well developed. Better developed were graphite moderated reactors that used natural uranium and bred plutonium.

For the use of thorium (which, other than uranium, does not contain fissile components), enriched uranium or possibly plutonium would have been indispensable.

Initially, neither pathway for thorium development was chosen because it would have automatically reduced the still limited capacity for military fissile materials production. (Thorium has a higher capture cross section for thermal (that means slow) neutrons than U-238. For that reason, it needs as fertile material in reactors a higher fissile density than U-238.)

Only when the US enrichment capacity at about 1950 delivered sufficient enriched uranium, the military and later civil entry into thorium technology started: in 1955 a bomb with U-233 from thorium was exploded, and a strategic U-233 reserve of around 2 metric tons was created. The large head-start of the plutonium bomb could not be overtaken any more, and plutonium remained globally the leading military fission material (although, according to unconfirmed sources, Indian nuclear weapons contain U-233).

The US military research concluded in 1966 that U-233 is a very potent nuclear weapon material, but that it offers hardly any advantages over the already established plutonium. Because light water reactors with low-enriched uranium (LEU) were already too far developed, thorium use remained marginal also in civil nuclear engineering: for instance, the German “thorium reactor” THTR-300 in Hamm operated only for a short time, and in reality it was a uranium reactor (fuel: 10% weapon-grade 93% enriched U-235 and 90% thorium) because the amount of energy produced by thorium did not exceed 25%.


America’s trillions of dollars militaristic economy

April 2, 2018

The US Military Is the Biggest “Big Government” Entitlement Program on the Planet , December 10, 2017, By JP Sottile, Truthout |The US economy is caught in a trap. That trap is the Department of Defense: an increasingly sticky wicket that relies on an annual, trillion-dollar redistribution of government-collected wealth. In fact, it’s the biggest “big government” program on the planet, easily beating out China’s People’s Liberation Army in both size and cost. It is not only the “nation’s largest employer,” with 2.867 million people currently on the payroll, but it also provides government benefits to 2 million retirees and their family members. And it actively picks private sector winners by targeting billions of dollars to an elite group of profit-seeking contractors.

The top five overall recipients collectively pulled in $109.5 billion in FY2016, and their cohorts consistently dominate the government’s list of top 100 contractors. They reap this yearly largesse through a Rube-Goldberg-like system of influence peddlers, revolving doors and wasteful taxpayer-funded boondoggles. Finally, it is all justified by a deadly feedback loop of perpetual warfare that is predicated on a predictable supply of blowback.

But this belligerent cash machine doesn’t just produce haphazard interventions and shady partnerships with a motley assortment of strongmen, proxies and frenemies. It also has Uncle Sam caught in a strange cycle of taxpayer-funded dependence that may ultimately be the most expensive — and least productive — jobs program in human history………

Too Big to Fail?

The US stands alone as a globe-spanning empire with 787 overseas bases, “lily pad” deployments and host country facilities in 88 nations and territories, according to the most recent accounting by scholar David Vine. At home, a Google Maps search reveals another 603 bases, depots, arsenals and assorted military facilities peppered around the 50 states. The US dominates the land, sea and skies, and is moving to dominate space…….

taxpayers’ only end product is a larger military with more bases and more weapons. However, without a serious shift toward non-defense government priorities, cutting the defense budget would mean, in the immediate term, many Americans losing their jobs. In the absence of non-military jobs programs and other forms of robust social spending, these workers depend on military tax dollars to fund their livelihoods, their health care and their kids’ educations. Tax dollars sustain the military-driven local and regional economies within which they live and work. Not coincidentally, this misallocated investment in a “war and weapons-based economy” is, as Major Gen. (Ret.) Dennis Laich and Col. (Ret.) Lawrence Wilkerson write, also reflected in the inherent “unfairness” that feeds off the “all-volunteer force.”……….

So, what are the options now that the US finds itself stuck in this paradigmatic trap? There are three possible alternatives.

One is to simply slash the budget. The downside is that it will dislocate millions of people who rely directly and indirectly on defense spending. The upside is that it will force an immediate retreat from both empire and military Keynesianism. This also could stoke some economic growth if the half to three-quarters of a trillion in annual savings was “returned” to taxpayers in the form of a rebate check. Basically, Americans would finally get the “peace dividend” almost 30 years after the Cold War ended.

The second option is the post-WWII demobilization model. That influx of manpower was met with the GI Billtax breaks for new homeowners and investments in infrastructure. This is a truly Keynesian solution. Infrastructure jobs and educational subsidies would provide relief to Americans currently reliant on military Keynesianism for their livelihoods. The original GI Bill “returned $7 to the American economy for every $1 invested in the GI Bill,” notes Jared Lyon of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families. And a study by Costs of War Project determined allocating resources to “clean energy and health care spending create 50 percent more jobs than the equivalent amount of spending on the military,” and “education spending creates more than twice as many jobs” as defense spending.

Frankly, either of these two solutions is far better than the third option, which is to continue to misallocate hundreds of billions in precious capital away from the productive economy while wreaking havoc at home and abroad. And that’s the ultimate no-win situation for a militarized economy that has manufactured its share of bloody, no-win situations since the end of World War II.


How it happens that taxpayer $trillions are spent on nuclear weapons –  Follow the money.

April 2, 2018

Who’s Really Driving Nuclear-Weapons Production? Follow the money. By William D. Hartung [This piece has been updated and adapted from William D. Hartung’s “Nuclear Politics” in Sleepwalking to Armageddon: The Threat of Nuclear Annihilation, edited by Helen Caldicott and just published by the New Press.] 14 Nov 17


Why the desire for so many nukes? There is, in fact, a dirty little secret behind the massive US arsenal: It has more to do with the power and profits of this country’s major weapons makers than it does with any imaginable strategic considerations.

It may not surprise you to learn that there’s nothing new about the influence the nuclear weapons lobby has over Pentagon spending priorities. The successful machinations of the makers of strategic bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles, intended to keep taxpayer dollars flowing their way, date back to the dawn of the nuclear age and are the primary reason President Dwight D. Eisenhower coined the term “military-industrial complex” and warned of its dangers in his 1961 farewell address.

Without the development of such weapons, that complex simply would not exist in the form it does today. The Manhattan Project, the vast scientific-industrial endeavor that produced the first such weaponry during World War II, was one of the largest government-funded research and manufacturing projects in history. Today’s nuclear warhead complex is still largely built around facilities and locations that date back to that time.

The Manhattan Project was the first building block of the permanent arms establishment that came to rule Washington. In addition, the nuclear arms race against that other superpower of the era, the Soviet Union, was crucial to the rationale for a permanent war state. In those years, it was the key to sustaining the building, funding, and institutionalizing of the arms establishment.

As Eisenhower noted in that farewell address of his, “a permanent arms industry of vast proportions” had developed for a simple enough reason. In a nuclear age, America had to be ready ahead of time. As he put it, “We can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense.” And that was for a simple enough reason: In an era of potential nuclear war, any society could be destroyed in a matter of hours. There would be no time, as in the past, to mobilize or prepare after the fact.

In addition, there were some very specific ways in which the quest for more nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles drove Eisenhower to give that farewell address. One of his biggest fights was over whether to build a new nuclear bomber. The Air Force and the arms industry were desperate to do so. Eisenhower thought it a waste of money, given all the other nuclear delivery vehicles the United States was building at the time. He even cancelled the bomber, only to find himself forced to revive it under immense pressure from the arms lobby. In the process, he lost the larger struggle to rein in the nation’s nuclear buildup and corral the burgeoning military-industrial complex.

At the same time, there were rumblings in the intelligence community, the military establishment, the media, and Congress about a “missile gap” with the Soviet Union. The notion was that Moscow had somehow jumped ahead of the United States in developing and building intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). There was no definitive intelligence to substantiate the claim (and it was later proved to be false). However, a wave of worst-case scenarios leaked by or promoted by intelligence analysts and eagerly backed by industry propaganda made that missile gap part of the everyday news of the time.

Such fears were then exaggerated further, thanks to hawkish journalists of the era like Joseph Alsop and prominent Democratic senators like John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, as well as Stuart Symington, who just happened to be a friend and former colleague of an executive at the aircraft manufacturing company Convair, which, in turn, just happened to make ICBMs. As a result, he lobbied hard on behalf of a Pentagon plan to build more of that corporation’s Atlas ballistic missiles, while Kennedy would famously make the nonexistent missile gap a central theme of his successful 1960 campaign for the presidency.

Eisenhower couldn’t have been more clear-eyed about all of this. He saw the missile gap for the fiction it was or, as he put it, a “useful piece of political demagoguery” for his opponents. “Munitions makers,” he insisted, “are making tremendous efforts towards getting more contracts and in fact seem to be exerting undue influence over the Senators.”

Once Kennedy took office, it became all too apparent that there was no missile gap, but by then it hardly mattered. The damage had been done. Billions of dollars more were flowing into the nuclear-industrial complex to build up an American arsenal of ICBMs already unmatched on the planet.

The techniques that the arms lobby and its allies in government used more than half a century ago to promote sky-high nuclear weapons spending continue to be wielded to this day. The twenty-first-century arms complex employs tools of influence that Kennedy and his compatriots would have found familiar indeed—including millions of dollars in campaign contributions that flow to members of Congress and the continual employmentof 700 to 1,000 lobbyists to influence them. At certain moments, in other words, there have been nearly two arms lobbyists for every member of Congress. Much of this sort of activity remains focused on ensuring that nuclear weapons of all types are amply financed and that the funding for the new generations of the bombers, submarines, and missiles that will deliver them stays on track.

When traditional lobbying methods don’t get the job done, the industry’s argument of last resort is jobs—in particular, jobs in the states and districts of key members of Congress. This process is aided by the fact that nuclear weapons facilities are spread remarkably widely across the country. There are nuclear weapons labs in California and New Mexico; a nuclear weapons testing and research site in Nevada; a nuclear warhead assembly and disassembly plant in Texas; a factory in Kansas City, Missouri, that builds nonnuclear parts for such weapons; and a plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, that enriches uranium for those same weapons. There are factories or bases for ICBMs, bombers, and ballistic missile submarines in Connecticut, Georgia, Washington State, California, Ohio, Massachusetts, Louisiana, North Dakota, and Wyoming. Such a nuclear geography ensures that a striking number of congressional representatives will automatically favor more spending on nuclear weapons.

In reality, the jobs argument is deeply flawed. As the experts know, virtually any other activity into which such funding flowed would create significantly more jobs than Pentagon spending. A study by economists at the University of Massachusetts, for example, found infrastructure investment would create one and one-half times as many jobs as Pentagon funding and education spending twice as many.

In most cases it hasn’t seemed to matter that the jobs claims for weapons spending are grotesquely exaggerated and better alternatives litter the landscape. The argument remains remarkably potent in states and communities that are particularly dependent on the Pentagon. Perhaps unsurprisingly, members of Congress from such areas are disproportionately represented on the committees that decide how much will be spent on nuclear and conventional weaponry……..

Evidence that Britain’s nuclear power industry subsidises nuclear weapons

March 31, 2018

channelling revenues ultimately funded by electricity consumers towards a joint civil-military national nuclear industry base

Evidence from Andy Stirling and Philip Johnstone: As the early part of the process of the BEIS Committee Brexit Inquiry has unfolded, the salience of this civil/military link is being further underscored in statements in which a number of relevant senior civil servants and ministers are confirming that the priority attached to UK military submarine capabilities is deeply entangled in strategic commitments to civil nuclear industry strategy 6 . Several possibly serious implications therefore arise in relation to the particular circumstances of Brexit.

Parliament 27th Oct 2017

Written evidence from the University of Sussex, Science Policy Research Unit (BRN0015)

  1. We submit this evidence to the inquiry on Brexit and the Implications for UK Business.s. The content draws on a detailed submission by the same authors to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), discussed at the PAC witness session on Monday 9 th October 2017, which informed illuminating exchanges with senior civil service witnesses to that Committee and was subsequently published by PAC 1 . A number of potentially important implications arise in relation to issues under discussion around Brexit.

2: This earlier evidence to PAC addressed the otherwise difficult-to-explain intensity of Government commitments to civil nuclear power in the face of growing recognition of the relative competitiveness of alternative UK low carbon energy investments. Multiple grounds were found for inferring that this persistent Government attachment is due, at least in part (and with no public discussion), to perceived needs to engineer a cross-subsidy from electricity consumers to help cover costs of a national nuclear industrial base that is deemed to be essential for maintaining UK military nuclear infrastructures 2 .


3: The issues that arise are central to the general remit of the BEIS Committee. For instance, this recent evidence to the PAC documents significant statements by the National Audit Office, which suggest that UK military nuclear infrastructures are being bolstered by revenue flows to UK industry strategy in other sectors 3 . Many statements in support of this interpretation are cited from defence policy discussions, acknowledging incentives to “mask” costs of military industrial strategy behind civil energy programmes 4 . As a result, it is evident that Government-negotiated, high-price, guaranteed long-term contracts for civil nuclear power, are channelling revenues ultimately funded by electricity consumers towards a joint civil-military national nuclear industry base, whose full costs probably could not otherwise feasibly be covered by defence budgets alone. Resulting implications for wider industry strategy and energy policy have received effectively zero Parliamentary or other policy scrutiny.


4: Much other evidence was presented in submission to PAC, concerning this evidently significant-buthidden influence on civil industry policy by military nuclear considerations 5 . As a result, it seems that undetermined but likely large cross-subsidies are being engineered from UK electricity consumers, in order to cover otherwise insupportable costs of military nuclear industry strategies. In the present evidence we outline key implications for the BEIS Committee inquiry on nuclear implications of Brexit


5: As the early part of the process of the BEIS Committee Brexit Inquiry has unfolded, the salience of this civil/military link is being further underscored in statements in which a number of relevant senior civil servants and ministers are confirming that the priority attached to UK military submarine capabilities is deeply entangled in strategic commitments to civil nuclear industry strategy 6 . Several possibly serious implications therefore arise in relation to the particular circumstances of Brexit.


6: First, there are well-documented general concerns that Brexit-related pressures on the UK industrial base are likely to have a particular impact on large infrastructure projects, specifically including new nuclear build. If these developments unfold, then pressures are likely to intensify around the interlinkages between UK civil and military nuclear infrastructures. With foregone opportunities for industry strategy in other sectors (like offshore wind), the these Brexit-related implications for UK industrial strategy are central issues for the BEIS Committee, which remain unexplored elsewhere 7 .


7: Second, there are concerns that the economic effects of Brexit may include current and possible continuing future depreciation of Sterling. If these effects transpire as variously predicted, then economic pressures will likely intensify to find ways to cross-subsidise growing military nuclear costs in some fashion that mitigates the impact on public spending. Brexit may thus exacerbate incentives to ‘mask’ otherwise-unbearable wider industrial costs of military nuclear submarine infrastructures behind strategic support for civil nuclear supply chains ultimately funded by electricity consumers 8 .

8: Third, there are prospects that demand for UK access to overseas specialist nuclear skills may be aggravated by Brexit-related constraints on labour movement. If this occurs, then competition can be expected to accentuate between recruitment needs for national civil and military nuclear industries. Since key military nuclear skills in particular must for obvious reasons be disproportionately UKbased, so Brexit may reinforce upward pressures on costs of military nuclear infrastructures and so help further increase the pressures for cross-subsidy documented in the earlier PAC evidence 9

9: Fourth, there is the likely effect of Brexit in reinforcing pressures towards Scottish independence. If this transpires, then strong opposition in Scotland to continued associations with the current UK nuclear weapons infrastructure, mean that Brexit will make it more probable that a move will be required of key military nuclear facilities away from Scotland. The result will be a very large Brexitrelated increase in military nuclear costs, further exacerbating pressures for cross-subsidies 10 . 10: We hope it is useful to draw these emerging issues to the attention of the BEIS Committee – both in relation to the above specific repercussions around Brexit and to their wider implications for UK energy strategies, industrial policy and more general qualities of national democratic accountability 11 . October 2017

Extensive references are given on the original document .


The financial institutions that provided $344 billion available to 27 nuclear weapon producing companies

July 24, 2017

Don’t Bank On The Bomb  Dec 2016 Briefing Paper.

United States 226 Financial Institutions made an estimated USD$ 344 billion available to 27 nuclear weapon producing companies since January 2013.

 Introduction This document contains country specific information from the 2016 Don’t Bank on the Bomb update. Hall of Fame and Runners-up include financial institutions with headquarters in the country that have published policies banning or limiting investment in nuclear weapons producers. Hall of Shame are the financial institutions that have significant financing relationships with one or more of the nuclear weapons producers identified in the report. There is also a brief summary of the nuclear weapons related work of each of the identified producers. For more detail, see the full report or go to the website.

This briefing paper includes:


1 Hall of Shame, lists 266 organisations ………………………………………………….

Nuclear weapon producing Companies 

The financial institutions identified include banks, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, insurance companies and asset managers. They have provided various types of financial services to nuclear weapon companies including loans, investment banking and asset management.

All sources of financing provided since 1 January 2013 to the companies listed were analysed from annual reports, financial databases and other sources. The financial institutions which are most significantly involved in the financing of one or more nuclear weapon companies are shown here. See the full report for both a summary and full description of all financial institutions which are found to have the most significant financing relationships with one or more of the selected nuclear weapon companies, by means of participating in bank loans, by underwriting share or bond issues and/or by share- or bondholdings (above a threshold of 0.5% of all outstanding shares or bonds).

Figures presented are rounded up/down to the nearest dollar at the filing date. Commas (,) indicate thousands separators while periods (.) used as decimal points. For more information on loans, investment banking, and asset management, please refer to the website.

Hall of Shame

This section contains the results of our research into which financial institutions are financially involved with the nuclear weapon producing companies identified in the report. For the full methodology, see the website.


Each section provides the following information for each financial institution:

  • The types of financial relations which the financial institution has with one or more nuclear weapon companies (loans, investment banking and asset management).


Financial institution.    Amount in USD millions ……… [ list covers 5 pages] …….


 1.Academy Securities (United States) Academy Securities (United States) has made an estimated US$ 30 million available to the nuclear weapons companies selected for this research project since January 2013. Academy Securities (United States) underwrote bond issuances for an estimated amount of US$ 30 million to the nuclear weapon companies since January 2013 (see table below [on original] ). ..

  1. Adage Capital Management (United States) Adage Capital Management (United States) has made an estimated US$ 482 million available to the nuclear weapons companies selected for this research project since January 2013. Adage Capital Management (United States) owns or manages shares of the nuclear weapon companies for an amount of US$ 482 million (see table below). Only holdings of 0.50% or more of the outstanding shares at the most recent available filing date are included.  [table on original]
  2. Affiliated Managers Group (United States) Affiliated Managers Group (United States) has made an estimated US$ 1,426 million available to the nuclear weapons companies selected for this research project since January 2013.


  1. Affiliated Managers Group (United States) owns or manages shares of the nuclear weapon companies for an amount of US$ 1,426 million (see table below). Only holdings of 0.50% or more of the outstanding shares at the most recent available filing date are included.  [table on original]


  1. AJO (United States) AJO (United States) has made an estimated US$ 351 million available to the nuclear weapons companies selected for this research project since January 2013.

AJO (United States) owns or manages shares of the nuclear weapon companies for an amount of US$ 351 million (see table below). Only holdings of 0.50% or more of the outstanding shares at the most recent available filing date are included.  [table]


 6 Alyeska Investment Group (United States) Alyeska Investment Group (United States) has made an estimated US$ 143 million available to the nuclear weapons companies selected for this research project since January 2013.


Alyeska Investment Group (United States) owns or manages shares of the nuclear weapon companies for an amount of US$ 143 million (see table below, on original). Only holdings of 0.50% or more of the outstanding shares at the most recent available filing date are included.


  1. Amalgamated Bank of Chicago (United States) Amalgamated Bank of Chicago (United States) has made an estimated US$ 29 million available to the nuclear weapons companies selected for this research project since January 2013. Amalgamated Bank of Chicago (United States) provided loans for an estimated amount of US$ 29 million to the nuclear weapon companies (see table below on original ). The table shows all loans closed since January 2013 or maturing after August 2016


  1. American Automobile Association (United States) American Automobile Association (United States) has made an estimated US$ 4 million available to the nuclear weapons companies selected for this research project since January 2013. American Automobile Association (United States) owns or manages bonds of the nuclear weapon companies for an amount of US$ 4 million (see table below, on original). Only holdings of 0.50% or more of the outstanding bonds at the most recent available filing date are included.


  1. American Century Investments (United States) ……
  2. American Equity Investment Life Holding (United States)  …….
  3. American Family (United States) ……
  4. American Financial Group (United States)……
  5. American Financial Group (United States)………
  6. American National Insurance (United States)
  7. American United Mutual Insurance (United States)
  8. Ameriprise Financial (United States)
  9. Analytic Investors (United States)
  10. Anchor Bolt Capital (United States)
  11. Anthem (United States)
  12. Apto Partners (United States)
  13. AQR Capital Management (United States)
  14. Aristotle Capital Management (United States)
  15. Arrowstreet Capital (United States)
  16. Artisan Partners (United States)
  17. Associated Banc-Corp (United States)
  18. Assurant (United States)
  19. Auto-Owners Insurance (United States)
  20. Baird (United States)
  21. BancPlus (United States)
  22. Bank of America (United States) – funds a staggering number of weapons makers……
  23. Bank of New York Mellon (United States)
  24. Banner Bank (United States)
  25. BB&T (United States)
  26. Beck, Mack & Oliver (United States)
  27. Becker Capital Management (United States)
  28. Bessemer Group (United States)
  29. BlackRock (United States)
  30. Blaylock Beal Van (United States)
  31. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (United States)
  32. Blue Harbour Group (United States)
  33. Boston Private (United States)
  34. Cacti Asset Management (United States)
  35. California First National Bancorp (United States)
  36. Cantor Fitzgerald (United States)
  37. Capital Group (United States)
  38. Capital One Financial (United States)
  39. Carlson Capital (United States)
  40. Carlyle Group (United States)
  41. Cascade Bancorp (United States)
  42. CastleOak Securities (United States)
  43. CAVU Securities (United States)
  44. Central Mutual Insurance (United States)
  45. Central Pacific Financial Corporation (United States)
  46. Charles Schwab (United States)
  47. Chesapeake Partners Management (United States)
  48. Cigna (United States)
  49. Citadel (United States)
  50. Citigroup (United States) – huge no of weapons makers funded
  51. Citizens Bank & Trust (United States)
  52. Citizens Financial Group (United States)
  53. City National Corporation (United States)
  54. CL King & Associates (United States)
  55. CNO Financial Group (United States
  56. Comerica (United States)
  57. Cooper Creek Partners Management (United States)
  58. Corsair Capital Management (United States)
  59. Cuna Mutual Group (United States)
  60. D.E. Shaw & Co. (United States)
  61. Dimensional Fund Advisors (United States)


and so on………… to No. 226. Zeo Capital Advisors (United States)


Nuclear weapon producing Companies This report identifies 27 companies operating in France, India, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States that are significantly involved in maintaining and modernising the nuclear arsenals of France, India, the United Kingdom and the United States. This is not an exhaustive list. These companies are providing necessary components and infrastructure to develop, test, maintain and modernise nuclear weapons. The contracts these companies have with nuclear armed countries are for materials and services to keep nuclear weapons in their arsenals. In other nuclear-armed countries –Russia, China, Pakistan and North Korea – the maintenance and modernization of nuclear forces is carried out primarily or exclusively by government agencies.  –   report goes on to list companies and their activities. …….