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For articles about terrorists acquiring or using 'dirty bombs', and of attacks on nuclear sites.  No need to worry though, our security services have identified that its NTDWI, and have the situation totally under control.  (NTDWI = Nothing to Do With Islam)

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Unidentified drones flying over French nuclear power plants, probe launched

Published time: October 30, 2014 15:51   Edited time: October 30, 2014 16:26  Get short URL
AFP Photo

AFP Photo

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France is on alert over unidentified drones flying over the country’s state-operated nuclear power plants, the interior ministry said.

Pilotless aircraft flew over seven of the EDF-owned plants in the period between October 5 and 20, the state company’s spokeswoman told reporters on Thursday.

No visible damage to the plants’ operation was discovered following the incidents.

"There's a judicial investigation under way, measures are being taken to know what these drones are and neutralize them," Bernard Cazeneuve, the interior minister, told France Info radio, without divulging the details.

The pilotless aircraft were in direct contravention of established rules on proximity to nuclear facilities. They state that fly-overs are not to occur at altitudes less than 1,000 meters, and distances less than five kilometers from the plant.

The plants have all separately filed formal complaints to authorities and an investigation has been launched.

France is the world’s most nuclear-reliant country, with 58 reactors on 19 separate sites, operated by the state company.

View of the cooling towers at the Golfech nuclear plant on the border of Garonne river between Agen and Toulouse, southwestern France (Reuters)

View of the cooling towers at the Golfech nuclear plant on the border of Garonne river between Agen and Toulouse, southwestern France (Reuters)

The drone sightings may add fire to the already heated debate between activists and the government.

Earlier this year, Greenpeace campaigners broke into one of the plants on the border with Germany. They were suspected to have something to do with the above incident, but denied any intrusions this time.

The environmental group’s head for the anti-nuclear campaign, Yannick Rousselet, told journalists that despite the buzz surrounding its controversial actions, it “always acts responsibly and openly.”

"What is happening is very worrying," he said in the statement, remembering that the country’s nuclear institute, the CEA, outside Paris, has also experienced a fly-over by an unidentified aircraft. He did not specify a source for the information.

Nuclear Shutdowns Put Belgians and Britons on Blackout Alert

Photo: Eric Lalmand/AFP/Getty Images

An idled reactor at Belgium's Tihange station boosts the risk of winter blackouts.

A bad year for nuclear power producers has Belgians and Britons shivering more vigorously as summer heat fades into fall. Multiple reactor shutdowns in both countries have heightened concern about the security of power supplies when demand spikes this winter.

In Belgium, rolling blackouts are already part of this winter's forecast because three of the country's largest reactors—reactors that normally provide one-quarter of Belgian electricity—are shut down.

Belgium's troubles started brewing two years ago during inspections at the country's seven nuclear reactors, all operated by Belgian utility Electrabel. Ultrasound inspection of the reactor pressure vessels at the utility's Doel power station near Antwerp revealed previously unrecognized defects at its 1,000-megawatt reactor #3.

Prior tests looked only for aging of the welds between a pressure vessels' steel plates, but this time broader inspections at Doel 3 detected thousands of tiny cracks in the plates themselves. The cracks were most likely created when the plates were originally forged. In response, Electrabel shut down the 1,000-MW reactor #2 at its Tihange power station in eastern Belgium, because its pressure vessel was forged by the same Dutch shipyard as Doel 3's. Once it was shutdown, the company found similar microcracks.

Despite all of the attention paid to terrorist threats, insider threats remain the most serious challenge confronting nuclear facilities

The cracks reduce the vessels' capacity to withstand spiking pressures and temperatures during an accident. Belgium's Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) decided that the resulting risk was acceptable and cleared the Doel 3 and Tihange 2 reactors to restart in the summer of 2013. But in March 2014 Electrabel shut them down again following tests at Belgium's national research lab in Mol. Researchers there irradiated steel with comparable microcracks and observed a greater-than-anticipated reduction in the steel's strength.

It was the shutdown of a third 1,000-MW reactor that threw Belgium into a tizzy this August. This time it was reactor #4 at Doel, where leaking lubricant damaged the plant's steam turbine. A spokesperson for Electrabel revealed that the leak resulted from "an apparently deliberate manual intervention” of the turbine's oil drain, according to a Flanders Today report.

Prosecutors and anti-terrorism agents swooped in to investigate the alleged sabotage, while Belgium's government and power distributors began crafting plans for rolling blackouts this winter. The blackout plans, released in broad form early this month and at the street-by-street level last Friday, lay out how distributors can ration power supplies.

Response to the plans has been explosive

Response to the plans has been explosive. Belgian media reports are replete with recriminations by elected officials questioning the fairness of the plans. Those representing small communities are irked that big cities are to be largely spared, and some Belgians perceive national favoritism at work. Last week leading Flemish politician Koenraad Degroote accused Secretary of State for Energy Catherine Fonck, a francophone, of going easy on Belgium's French-speaking communities.

Seen through the lens of energy policy, Belgium's troubles are a classic example of the "brittleness" of large electrical systems —a concept developed by systems analysts Amory Lovins and Hunter Lovins in Brittle Power, their classic 1982 treatise on energy security. The Lovins' central point is that reliance on a small number of large power stations means that just a few failures—deliberate or otherwise—can have a devastating impact on power supplies.

Sabotage of the sort that may have sidelined Electrabel's Doel 4 reactor was a key part of the Lovins' analysis. Despite all of the attention paid to terrorist threats, insider threats remain the "most serious challenge confronting nuclear facilities" according to political scientists Scott Sagan at Stanford University and Matthew Bunn of Harvard. They made that case in an April 2014 article in the Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts ....

The U.K., meanwhile, is experiencing the same sort of "series defect" that started Belgium's troubles. In August EDF Energy, the U.K. subsidiary of Paris-based EDF, found a crack in a boiler during a routine inspection at a nuclear power plant near Lancaster. EDF immediately shut down three more reactors of the same design. With four reactors suddenly out of service, U.K. grid operator National Grid this month began seeking emergency....

Belgium's microcrack discovery could have had a far greater impact. The discovery sent reactor operators and regulators in several countries scrambling to see if their own vessels forged at the same Dutch shipyard—including 10 reactors examined in the United States—harbored hidden flaws. To date no microcracks have been found in reactors outside of Belgium.

But as one Belgian nuclear policy specialist has noted, none of the other reactors have been examined using the wider ultrasound testing performed in Belgium. And the hunt for trouble is widening. At least one regulator, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, has ordered ultrasound testing of all vessels forged from steel rings, regardless of their source.

As for Doel 3 and Tihange 2, they remain closed until further testing and analysis by Electrabel can prove they are safe to restart. This will, according to FANC, include a review of Electrabel's "safety case" by foreign experts.

The overall result of the black-out campaign could be a 10-year life extension of the three oldest plants

All this talk of risk and vulnerability might make some people think twice about being dependent on nuclear energy. Ironically, in Belgium, it might have just the opposite effect according to Aviel Verbruggen, an economist and energy policy expert at the University of Antwerp.

Officially Belgium is approaching the first deadline for a nuclear phaseout legislated by Belgium's parliament in 2003, which would require the shutdown of the three oldest nuclear reactors in 2015 and the remaining four by 2025. But Verbruggen says there has been no coordinated policymaking to create alternative supplies, while the reactors' French owners—EDF and Electrabel parent company GDF Suez—have been preparing Belgium's reactors for continued operation.

Verbruggen says the present fear of power shortages may translate into public support for overriding the nuclear phaseout: "Because the strategic behavior of Suez and EDF is strong, and the Belgian political system is weak, the overall result of the black-out campaign could be a 10-year life extension of the three oldest plants. The majority of people will accept the life extension because they place supply reliability at the top of their preferences."

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/nuclear/nuclear-vulnerab...

Mysterious drone over restarted Belgium nuclear plant prompts investigation

Published time: December 22, 2014 02:44  Get short URL
The Doel nuclear plant is pictured in northern Belgium (Reuters / Francois Lenoir)

The Doel nuclear plant is pictured in northern Belgium (Reuters / Francois Lenoir)

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An unidentified drone has been spotted hovering over a Belgian Nuclear power plant, prompting an investigation. The Doel nuclear plant has just been repaired and reopened after an incident considered to be sabotage caused millions in damages.

"We can confirm that the East Flanders prosecutor's office has opened an investigation into a drone flight over the Doel nuclear plant," a spokesman for the investigation told Belga news agency.

The plant's operator, GDF-Suez unit Electrabel disclosed the incident on Saturday. "We will not provide further information for the time being," the spokesman added.

The facility in question is the Doel nuclear power plant which holds four of Belgium's seven reactors. It is located on a riverbank next to the North Sea, some 25 kilometres km from Antwerp.

The Doel 4 nuclear reactor was restarted Friday after an incident on August 5 halted it for months. The apparent sabotage saw 65,000 liters of oil escape in half an hour, leaving the rotating steam turbine without lubrication and causing serious damage. A €30 million ($37 mn) repair job was carried out in Germany to get the unit back on.

The Doel nuclear plant is pictured in northern Belgium (Reuters / Francois Lenoir)

The Doel nuclear plant is pictured in northern Belgium (Reuters / Francois Lenoir)

The federal prosecution, responsible for cases of terrorism and nuclear safety, gave no indication of the progress of its investigation, and so far has refused to confirm the sabotage as an act of terrorism. It did not exclude terrorism either.

READ MORE: Unidentified drones flying over French nuclear power pla...

The mystery sighting of the drone in Belgium tallies around 20 similar incidents over nuclear plants in France in the past few months. So far, no one has claimed responsibility for conducting these flights. France is the highest user of nuclear energy in Europe, and the second highest in the world, after the United States, with 58 nuclear reactors spread out over 19 plants.

Belgium is not even in the top ten countries in terms of generating nuclear power, but the country’s plants satisfy over 50% of its power needs. With two other Belgian reactors still shut due to cracks in their reactor containment vessels, Belgium had to suspended plans of gradually phasing out of nuclear power by 2025. The government said it would seek to keep the Doel 1 and 2 reactors operating.

This sort of technology is only suitable in societies where the population, all the population, has an agreed framework about how to relate to each other.  The vulnerability of such advanced technology reveals how unadvanced society as a whole is.  Without moral advancement, or societal maturity, technological advancement is a two edge sword.

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Mission Overview

Most Western societies are based on Secular Democracy, which itself is based on the concept that the open marketplace of ideas leads to the optimum government. Whilst that model has been very successful, it has defects. The 4 Freedoms address 4 of the principal vulnerabilities, and gives corrections to them. 

At the moment, one of the main actors exploiting these defects, is Islam, so this site pays particular attention to that threat.

Islam, operating at the micro and macro levels, is unstoppable by individuals, hence: "It takes a nation to protect the nation". There is not enough time to fight all its attacks, nor to read them nor even to record them. So the members of 4F try to curate a representative subset of these events.

We need to capture this information before it is removed.  The site already contains sufficient information to cover most issues, but our members add further updates when possible.

We hope that free nations will wake up to stop the threat, and force the separation of (Islamic) Church and State. This will also allow moderate Muslims to escape from their totalitarian political system.

The 4 Freedoms

These 4 freedoms are designed to close 4 vulnerabilities in Secular Democracy, by making them SP or Self-Protecting (see Hobbes's first law of nature). But Democracy also requires - in addition to the standard divisions of Executive, Legislature & Judiciary - a fourth body, Protector of the Open Society (POS), to monitor all its vulnerabilities (see also Popper). 
1. SP Freedom of Speech
Any speech is allowed - except that advocating the end of these freedoms
2. SP Freedom of Election
Any party is allowed - except one advocating the end of these freedoms
3. SP Freedom from Voter Importation
Immigration is allowed - except where that changes the political demography (this is electoral fraud)
4. SP Freedom from Debt
The Central Bank is allowed to create debt - except where that debt burden can pass across a generation (25 years).

An additional Freedom from Religion is deducible if the law is applied equally to everyone:

  • Religious and cultural activities are exempt from legal oversight except where they intrude into the public sphere (Res Publica)"

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