North Korea warns of 'undesirable' consequences as the US and South Korea get ready for bigger war games
North Korea has conducted a flurry of missile tests this year, and there are growing expectations it will conduct a nuclear test.Choe Jin, the deputy director of North Korea's Institute of Disarmament and Peace, a state-run organization operated by the North Korean foreign ministry, told the Associated Press this week that the US-South Korean military drills are "driving the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war.
BERLIN (AP) — Rising concern over the impact of a potential Russian gas cutoff is fueling the debate in Germany over whether the country should switch off its last three nuclear power plants as planned at the end of this year. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - The nuclear power plant (NPP) Isar 2 is pictured in Essenbach, Germany, Thursday, March 3, 2022. Rising concern over the impact of a potential Russian gas cutoff is fueling an intensifying debate in Germany over whether the country should switch off its last three nuclear power plants as planned at the end of this year. (Armin Weigel/dpa via AP, File)
The door to some kind of extension appeared to open a crack after the Economy Ministry in mid-July announced a new “stress test” on the security of electricity supplies. It's supposed to take into account a tougher scenario than a previous test, concluded in May, that found supplies were assured.
Ukraine’s southern counteroffensive ‘gathering momentum,’ leaving some Russian troops ‘highly vulnerable,’ says UK intel
‘GATHERING MOMENTUM’: The latest British intelligence concludes Ukraine's long-awaited effort to retake the southern city of Kherson, which fell to Russian forces in early March, is having some initial success. “Ukraine’s counter-offensive in Kherson is gathering momentum,” said the U.K. assessment, posted on Twitter, which notes Ukrainian forces have established a “bridgehead” south of the river that forms the northern boundary of Russian-occupied territory and have effectively used U.S.-supplied HIMARS to disable a key resupply route leaving a group of Russian troops cut off.
Since then, Russia has reduced natural gas supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany to 20% of capacity amid tensions over the war in Ukraine. It cited technical issues that Germany says are only an excuse for a political power play. Russia recently has accounted for about a third of Germany's gas supply, and there are concerns it could turn off the tap altogether. © Provided by Associated Press File A view of the Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant on June 27, 2022. Rising concern over the impact of a potential Russian gas cutoff is fueling an intensifying debate in Germany over whether the country should switch off its last three nuclear power plants as planned at the end of this year. (Bernd Weissbrod/dpa via AP, file)
The main opposition Union bloc has made increasingly frequent demands for an extension of the nuclear plants' lives. Similar calls are coming from the smallest party in Chancellor Olaf Scholz's coalition government, the pro-business Free Democrats.
Stolen money from cyberattacks makes up a third of the funds for North Korea's missile program, US official says
A UN report said that North Korean hackers stole more than $400 million in cryptocurrency during cyberattacks carried out in 2021.Anne Neuberger, the White House's deputy national security advisor for cyber and emerging technologies, said Thursday the US estimates one-third of North Korea's missile program is funded by stolen money from cyberattacks.
“A lot speaks for not switching off the safe and climate-friendly nuclear power plants, but if necessary using them until 2024,” Finance Minister Christian Lindner, the Free Democrats' leader, told Sunday's Bild am Sonntag newspaper. He called for Economy Minister Robert Habeck, who is responsible for energy, to stop the use of gas to generate electricity.
Calls for extending the use of nuclear power are awkward for the other two governing parties, Scholz's center-left Social Democrats and, particularly, Habeck's environmentalist Greens. Opposition to nuclear power is a cornerstone of the Greens' identity; a Social Democrat-Green government launched Germany's exit from nuclear power two decades ago.
A government made up of then-Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right Union and the Free Democrats set the nuclear exit's current form in 2011, shortly after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. It calls for the three still-operational reactors to go offline at the end of December.
Germany to send Ukraine 16 bridge-laying tanks, adding to its arsenal of Western weapons, as it wages a new offensive against the Russian invasion
Germany plans to send Ukraine Biber bridge-layer tanks to help its forces "overcome water or other obstacles in battle," the ministry said Friday.Throughout the buildup to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, NATO countries, including the US, insisted they would not send troops to the region amid concern that the presence of their personnel on the ground would lead to a dangerous escalation of the conflict.
Habeck has long argued that keeping those reactors running would be legally and technically complex and do little to address the problems caused by a shortfall of gas, arguing that natural gas isn’t so much a factor in generating electricity as in fueling industrial processes and providing heating.
“We have a heating problem or an industry problem, but not an electricity problem — at least not generally throughout the country,” he said in early July.
In this year’s first quarter, nuclear plants accounted for 6% of Germany’s electricity generation and gas for 13%. Lindner said “we must work to ensure that an electricity crisis doesn't come on top of the gas crisis.”
Some Greens have indicated a degree of openness in recent days to allowing one or more reactors to keep running for a short period with their existing fuel rods, if the country faces a power supply emergency — though not to a longer extension.
Others aren't impressed by the idea. That “is also a lifetime extension” for the reactors that would require a change to the existing law, “and we won't touch that,” prominent Green lawmaker Juergen Trittin — Germany's environment minister when the nuclear phaseout was first drawn up — told Saturday's Tagesspiegel newspaper.
Ukraine war hangs over UN meeting on nukes treaty's legacy
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — There was already plenty of trouble to talk about when a major U.N. meeting on the landmark Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty was originally supposed to happen in 2020. Now the pandemic-postponed conference finally starts Monday as Russia's war in Ukraine has reanimated fears of nuclear confrontation and cranked up the urgency of trying to reinforce the 50-year-old treaty. “It is a very, very difficult moment," said BeatriceNow the pandemic-postponed conference finally starts Monday as Russia's war in Ukraine has reanimated fears of nuclear confrontation and cranked up the urgency of trying to reinforce the 50-year-old treaty.
Critics say that isn't enough anyway. Opposition leader Friedrich Merz has urged the government to order new fuel rods for the remaining reactors immediately. Senior opposition lawmaker Alexander Dobrindt called for three already-shut reactors to be reactivated and told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that “in this situation, lifetime extensions for nuclear energy of at least five more years are conceivable.”
And Scholz's position? Government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann said last week that he is waiting for the results of the “stress test,” which are expected in the coming weeks.
The government has already given the green light for utility companies to fire up 10 dormant coal-fired power plants and six that are oil-fueled, and plans also to clear the way for dormant lignite-fired plants to be reactivated. Another 11 coal-fired power plants scheduled to be shut down in November will be allowed to keep operating.
Nuclear catastrophe 'miraculously' avoided, Ukraine's state nuclear company says .
A nuclear catastrophe was "miraculously" avoided following the shelling of Europe's largest nuclear power plant, Ukraine's state-owned nuclear company said. Energoatom reiterated accusations that Russian forces shelled the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant last week, under Russian control, as an act of "nuclear terrorism," saying it was a "miracle" nuclear disaster was averted. "This time a nuclear catastrophe was miraculously avoided, but miracles cannot last forever.