Changing Hands Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)


DECEMBER 21, 2019

Riverkeeper objects to potential transfer

Last month, the energy company filed an application with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to transfer its licenses to operate Indian Point to Holtec International after the shutdown of the last reactor at the nuclear plant, which is scheduled for April 2021.

Holtec would then begin mothballing the facility, using a $2.1 billion decommissioning fund that has been accumulated by Entergy during the life of the plant. Holtec also has said it would hire about 300 Indian Point workers.

“Entergy is in the power-generation business, and decommissioning is a line of work that we’re not involved in,” said Jerry Nappi, an Entergy representative. “Holtec specializes in the management of used fuel and its affiliates have special expertise in decommissioning. They can decommission the plant decades sooner than Entergy would be able to.”

Entergy’s original plan had been to take 60 years, the maximum time allowed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Holtec plans to do it in 15. (Holtec did not respond to a request for comment for this story.)

The accelerated timeline doesn’t concern Richard Webster, the legal director for Riverkeeper, the Ossining-based environmental group. Many decommissioning projects start with a process called SAFSTOR, in which the plant is monitored for up to 45 years to give the radioactive materials time to decay and lower the amount of hazardous material. By skipping SAFSTOR, “15 years is a reasonable amount of time to do it,” said Webster.

Nevertheless, Riverkeeper has asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (or, failing that, Gov. Andrew Cuomo) to deny the transfer to Holtec.

“Our objections can be summed up as: Bribes, lies, poor safety record and under-capitalization,” said Webster.

Holtec is no stranger to controversy. In 2010, the inspector general for the Tennessee Valley Authority, a federal agency, found that Holtec had funneled $54,000 to a TVA manager to secure contracts. The firm was fined $2 million and barred from federal contracts for 60 days.

In Ohio, Holtec was awarded tax credits following a 2009 promise to bring 200 jobs to its facility in Orrville. But the jobs never appeared — in fact, the plant lost four positions — and the tax credits were rescinded.

Then, when applying for tax breaks in New Jersey in order to bring a facility to Camden, the company claimed that it had never been barred from working with federal agencies. To push New Jersey to grant the tax breaks, Holtec said Ohio and South Carolina had made generous counterproposals, an assertion both states denied.

Last year, a contractor at the San Onofre nuclear power plant in California, where Holtec has been contracted to manage spent fuel, brought to light an apparent near accident involving a dry cask filled with radioactive fuel. (Plant officials said there was never any danger to the public.) The worker also alleged the site was understaffed and its supervisors often replaced with less experienced managers.

Finally, on the financial side, Webster said he was alarmed at Holtec’s decision at the Oyster Creek nuclear plant in New Jersey, which has been decommissioning for less than a year, to transfer money from the decommissioning fund to spent fuel management, a move that Holtec has signaled it would also do at Indian Point.

“That’s not what that fund is for,” he said. “And there’s a complicated set of LLCs [limited-liability corporations] designed to shield Holtec International, the core corporation. We just don’t have much information about the financial viability [of the company]. If you were running a huge international business that was making money, you shouldn’t be so desperate to get tax breaks that you have to lie on a form.”

At Entergy, Nappi said that Holtec’s recent approvals from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission show that the issues raised aren’t of concern. “The NRC has approved the transactions for two previous nuclear power plants to Holtec, and that only happens if a company can demonstrate that it has the technical and financial qualifications needed,” he said. “We feel confident that Indian Point will receive approval.”

If that happens, Webster said he hoped that it would at least come with certain conditions, such as the creation of a citizens’ oversight committee with the power to (1) audit the decommissioning fund, (2) subpoena documents, (3) have specialists look at difficult situations, and (4) transfer questions of safety to the NRC.

At the least, Webster said, Holtec should not be allowed to keep anything that remains in the decommissioning fund at the end of the project, as it might encourage the firm to do the job as cheaply as possible at the expense of safety and other concerns.

Hamas Calls for Resistance Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Resistance Only Way to Liberation of Palestine: Hamas

In a statement on Monday, on the occasion of liberation of southern Lebanon from Zionist occupation, Hazem Qassem congratulated Lebanon on the 20th anniversary of the event.

He said the Zionist regime’s withdrawal from south of Lebanon came as a result of the sacrifices made by the Lebanese people and resistance forces.

The blood of martyrs and suffering of the POWs paved the way for this great victory, he added.

Qassem went on to say that the Zionist regime’s retreat from Lebanon and the Gaza Strip is clear evidence that liberation of occupied lands is only possible through resistance.

Every year in May, Lebanon commemorates the anniversary of the Israeli withdrawal from its southern territories, known as Resistance and Liberation Day.

The Hezbollah resistance movement’s forces pushed Israeli troops out of the southern parts of Lebanon on May 25, 2000, after more than two decades of occupation.

The national holiday in Lebanon is seen as a turning point that changed the regional equations and debunked the myth of Israel’s invincibility.

Trump’s nuclear brinksmanship is about to backfire

President Trump at the White House on May 22. (Eric Thayer/For the Washington Post)

Trump’s nuclear brinksmanship keeps backfiring, but he keeps doubling down – The Washington Post

May 26, 2020 at 3:27 PM EDT

For someone who in 2015 gave every indication that he had never heard of the nuclear triad, President Trump has a strange and worrying fascination with the ultimate weapon. “For me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me,” he said in 2015. As president, he has threatened both North Korea and, more obliquely, Iran with nuclear annihilation; he even bragged that his “Nuclear Button” is “much bigger & more powerful” than Kim Jong Un’s. As if that weren’t enough, Axios reported that he asked aides if he could nuke a hurricane.

Despite his hair-raising rhetoric, Trump has not turned out to be a madman eager to start World War III. Rather, his strategy has been to expand the U.S. nuclear arsenal to pressure other countries to agree to “beautiful,” “strong,” “classy” and (insert favorite Trump adjective) nuclear deals. His approach has been a dismal failure, but he keeps doubling down anyway — most recently by announcing an exit from the Open Skies Treaty and contemplating resuming nuclear testing — thereby raising the risks of nuclear proliferation.

Trump pioneered these dubious brinkmanship tactics with North Korea, and no doubt he still thinks Kim will denuclearize. In January, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Kim “made a commitment that he would denuclearize,” and “he has not walked back that commitment.” In reality, Kim made no such commitment and has continued expanding his nuclear and missile programs since the Singapore summit in June 2018.

In May 2018, Trump announced he was pulling out of the Iran nuclear accord in the apparent hope that Tehran would agree to more draconian curbs. Instead, Iran has ramped up its nuclear program. Its enriched uranium stockpile is now five times larger than the agreement limit, reducing its breakout time to build a nuclear weapon.

Undaunted, Trump in October 2018 announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which since 1987 had led to the elimination of 2,692 U.S. and Soviet missiles. Part of the rationale was alleged Russian violations, but withdrawal was also premised on the idea that arms-control agreements should include China. Trump said in August 2019 that both China and Russia were “very, very excited” about a trilateral treaty. Actually, neither country has shown any interest, and negotiations haven’t started.

Then last week the administration announced it is withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty, an agreement first proposed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and signed in 1992 under President George H.W. Bush. It is designed to reduce the risk of war by allowing 34 signatory nations to carry out overflights of each other’s territory to monitor military developments.

Next up for elimination could be the 2010 New START Treaty, limiting the United States and Russia to 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads each. The administration is giving every indication that it will allow New START to expire next year and try to negotiate a three-way deal with China. The Post reports that the administration has even discussed conducting the first U.S. nuclear test since 1992, in violation of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which the Senate has never ratified but past administrations abided by.

Trump’s arms-control envoy, Marshall Billingslea, explained last week that this nuclear posturing is part of a strategy for three-way arms control with China and Russia: “We know how to win these races, and we know how to spend the adversary into oblivion. If we have to, we will, but we sure would like to avoid it.” All administration officials are expected to flatter Trump, of course, so Billingslea went on to laud the president as a “master at developing and using leverage” over a “long and successful career as a negotiator.”

Actually, Trump has had a long and failed career as a negotiator because he never takes the time to master his brief (or even glance at it) or to learn from his mistakes. If he had, he would realize that China, which is estimated to have 320 nuclear warheads in its stockpile, compared with 6,370 for Russia and 5,800 for the United States, has no incentive to enter an arms-control agreement unless the other two countries want to reduce their arsenals by 95 percent. (Spoiler alert: They don’t.)

Trump should also realize that it makes no sense to launch a costly and dangerous nuclear arms race in the middle of a pandemic and economic depression. The United States already spends too much on nuclear weapons and too little on public health, yet Trump wants to increase nuclear spending by 19 percent to $19.8 billion while cutting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention budget to $12.6 billion. With a projected federal budget deficit this year of $3.7 trillion, we can’t afford to spend anyone “into oblivion.”

Trump should be shifting funds away from nuclear weapons rather than wasting money on his juvenile obsession with showing that his arsenal is bigger than anybody else’s. The last thing the world needs is more nuclear weapons.

The Post’s View: Putin wants to extend arms control. What’s Trump waiting for?

Michael Singh: Trump is right to bide his time in renewing a nuclear treaty with Russia

David Ignatius: Are we seeing a tactical tilt toward Russia?

Michael McFaul: Here’s how Trump can get a win with Russia — and actually help all Americans

Dana Milbank: Why can’t we use nuclear weapons against bedbugs?

Max Boot

Max Boot, a Post columnist, is the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow for national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a global affairs analyst for CNN. He is the author of “The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam,” a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in biography. Follow

The German Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7:7)

Germany’s Future Participation in Nuclear Sharing – a Challenge for NATO?

Earlier this month, a heated debate about Germany’s future participation in NATO’s nuclear sharing programme kicked off. It began with an interview that Rolf Mützenich, the chairman of Germany’s Social Democratic (SPD) party parliamentary group, gave to the Tagesspiegel daily, where he advocated for a withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from Germany and an end to Germany’s participation in the NATO nuclear sharing programme, calling it a relic of the Cold War.

At the same time, he did not, however, challenge the need for NATO’s nuclear deterrence and for the US nuclear umbrella over Europe. Germany, he claimed, would continue to actively shape NATO’s policy in the Nuclear Planning Group after withdrawing from the programme. Mützenich was backed by the leaders of the SPD, Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans, but opposed by the SPD representatives responsible for foreign and security policy in the German government as well as Foreign Minister and SPD member Heiko Maas.

On 4 May, the spokesman for the federal government, Steffen Seibert, confirmed Germany’s continued participation in NATO’s nuclear sharing programme, which he described as an important element of NATO’s credible deterrence. In the binding 2018 coalition agreement between the SPD and Christian Democratic Union (CDU) it is stipulated that US nuclear weapons can be withdrawn from Germany only on the condition of a worldwide nuclear disarmament.

The Context: a New Dual-Capable Aircraft for the Luftwaffe

This discussion provided the context for the recent announcement by the defence minister and CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on the choice of the new combat aircraft for the Luftwaffe. In April 2020, the German Ministry of Defence (BMVg) presented its long-awaited plans to procure 45 Eurofighter aircraft and 45 US F/A-18 jets (30 E/F Super Hornets and 15 EA-18G Growlers) to replace the 40-year-old Tornado fleet that is planned to be phased out by 2030 at the latest. The Super Hornets were to replace the Tornados in the role of a dual-capable aircraft to carry US nuclear weapons in the NATO nuclear sharing programme. The choice of a 4th generation aircraft for this purpose was not an optimal one (other European allies will soon use 5th generation F-35As). The BMVg’s plans were a result of conflicting political, industrial and military interests and at the same time a sign that Berlin wants to continue to invest both in US and European military cooperation. The BMVg’s plans were also said to have been presented to the SPD representatives in the government: Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz (they are both part of the moderate wing of the SPD) saw and evidently approved these plans.

The Leftward Shift in the SPD

Mützenich’s interview was thus a big surprise for many in Berlin. Despite the lack of a new official position on nuclear sharing in the SPD, the leader of the parliamentary group publicly expressed his opposition to the purchase of a new dual-capable aircraft for the Luftwaffe, questioned Germany’s participation in nuclear sharing and considered a withdrawal of the US nuclear weapons from Germany, all against the binding 2018 coalition agreement. Despite the opposition from the moderate SPD representatives it seems that Mützenich’s stance is widely shared in the party.

The left-leaning SPD wing has begun to dominate both the parliamentary group and the party after the choice of the new leadership in the internal party elections last December. To the surprise of many, the current Vice Chancellor and Minister of Finance both lost to two left-leaning and little-known candidates. The outcome of this election showed a general frustration and a wish for new leftist policies in the SPD. In terms of security policy it is not only the Mützenich interview that is disruptive. It is also the recent nomination of a left-wing SPD representative for the post of the parliamentary Ombudsman for the German armed forces, which generated widespread criticism inside and outside of the party, causing resignations from SPD members who deal with the armed forces. The prominent German historian and SPD member, Heinrich August Winkler, wrote in an article of the risk of ‘a dramatic revision of the social democratic understanding of the German security policy’ and warned the SPD against renouncing Germany’s close alignment with the West, the so-called Westbindung.

The Domestic Consequences

The lack of decision to purchase a new dual-capable aircraft would mean a gradual pull back from NATO arrangements. This will not have any immediate consequences but the shift in the SPD’s position is a factor which might undermine Germany’s participation in NATO’s nuclear sharing within 10 years. In this term of parliament the SPD might block the preparatory procurement phase of the F/A-18 aircraft, which is planned only after the next Bundestag elections in 2021. However, due to the change of the SPD position, the purchase after 2021 might be even more controversial. Should there be a coalition between the CDU and the Green Party, the procurement may survive; however, it will be made more difficult by deep divisions in the Green Party over its approach to nuclear weapons. A coalition of the Greens, the SPD and the Left Party will most likely lead to the deal not being finalised. Such a coalition may even decide on an earlier withdrawal from the nuclear sharing programme. There is relatively high public support for such a decision. According to surveys conducted in recent years, 60–70% of Germans are in favour of withdrawing US nuclear weapons from Germany. The chances of purchasing the new aircraft and extending Germany’s participation in nuclear sharing would be highest if a (less-likely) coalition between the CDU and the Free Democratic Party was formed. Given the above factors, a slow phase-out of Germany’s participation in NATO’s nuclear sharing should not be ruled out due to the gradual withdrawal of the Tornado jets capable of carrying out nuclear strikes and to the lack of purchase of a new dual-capable aircraft for the Luftwaffe.

The Impact on NATO

Germany’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear sharing arrangements would negatively affect European security, including NATO’s eastern flank. From a military point of view, according to some experts, NATO’s nuclear sharing programme in its present form is losing importance due to the operational advantages of other (US) nuclear weapons delivery systems. From the political perspective, however, nuclear sharing is still important for the credibility of nuclear deterrence in Europe and for NATO’s cohesion. Berlin’s withdrawal from the programme, together with the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from Germany, would be perceived by Russia as a sign of a serious US–European disengagement. Furthermore, it would be detrimental to the US–German political–military cooperation that is vital for European security and the defence of NATO’s eastern flank. Germany’s withdrawal might lead to similar reactions from other European allies participating in the nuclear sharing arrangements, such as Belgium or the Netherlands, whose societies are equally opposed to nuclear weapons. The end of NATO’s nuclear sharing programme would end the risk and responsibility sharing between the US and its European allies in nuclear deterrence, deepen US–European and intra-European rifts over security policy, and decrease the level of nuclear deterrence in Europe. However, opening a discussion about a reform of NATO’s nuclear sharing by including new allies into the arrangements, or deploying new US systems in Europe might deepen the already existing divides among the allies. But, if Germany withdraws from nuclear sharing arrangements, NATO will need to face up to difficult discussions. To prevent such a scenario, the German SPD and the Green Party need to be more aware of the fact that Germany’s security policy choices are closely linked to the security of Europe, and especially its eastern allies.

Justyna Gotkowska coordinates the Regional Security Programme at the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) in Warsaw. Her contribution is an expanded version of an OSW Analysis.

The views expressed in this Commentary are the author’s, and do not represent those of RUSI or any other institution.

The Horns of Prophecy Ramp Up Nuclear Testing

Photo: Nuclear test carried out on 18 April 1953 at the Nevada test site. Source: UN News.

‘Abolition 2000’ Warns Against Resumption of Nuclear Testing

By Radwan Jakeem

NEW YORK (IDN) – “Resumption of nuclear explosive testing is absolutely unacceptable. Even discussing nuclear testing again is dangerously destabilizing,” the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons has warned. Such testing would, in any case, be in contravention of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBTO), signed by the United States, yet pending entry-into-force, the Abolition 2000 adds in a statement emerging from its annual general meeting (AGM).

The CTBT, opened for signing in 1996, obliges states:

1. Not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion, and to prohibit and prevent any such nuclear explosion at any place under its jurisdiction or control.

2. To refrain from causing, encouraging, or in any way participating in the carrying out of any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion.

“A Trump nuclear test would cross a line no nation thought the US would ever cross again, and is threatening the health and safety of all people,” declared Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the Nobel Peace Prize winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), in a statement.

“It would also blow up any chance of avoiding a dangerous new nuclear arms race. It would complete the erosion of the global arms control framework and plunge us back into a new Cold War. Only a multilateral solution can shore up these bilateral treaties Trump is ripping up. The TPNW is that solution, the ICAN chief added.

TPNW is the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on July 7, 2017 by a vote of 122 States in favour with one vote against and one abstention. It opened for signature by the UN Secretary-General on September 20, 2017. It will enter into force 90 days after the fiftieth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession has been deposited.

Meanwhile, 37 nations have ratified the Treaty.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic Abolition 2000 took the unprecedented step of holding its AGM online, allowing participants from some 40 countries to join.

The unanimous statement released on May 23 explained that the U.S. resumption of nuclear testing would lead to testing by other states, possibly China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. It would accelerate the emerging nuclear arms race, and damage prospects for nuclear arms control negotiations.

“A nuclear explosive test is itself a kind of threat. Testing would generate fear and mistrust and would entrench reliance on nuclear arms. It would move the world away from rather than towards a world free of nuclear weapons,” warns the statement. For that reason alone, nuclear explosive testing must not happen, and there must not even be signals of its possibility. Instead, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty should be brought into legal force.

The statement goes on: This episode comes in the context of ongoing upgrading of nuclear forces by the world’s nuclear-armed states. It is supported by extensive laboratory research and experimentation which in part serves as a substitute for functions once served by nuclear explosive testing.

“So, even as we demand that such testing not be resumed, we must recognize the dangers inherent in the ongoing nuclear weapons enterprise. Those dangers are now mostly out of sight of the public and subject to little media scrutiny, but they are real. They too must be addressed, which in the end will require the global abolition of nuclear arms,” the Abolition 2000 concludes.

The unanimous statement was drafted on behalf of the AGM by: John Burroughs, Executive Director, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy; Daniel Ellsberg, author of ‘The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Plannee; and Andrew Lichterman, Senior Research Analyst, Western States Legal Foundation.

“Testing of nuclear weapons evokes nuclear apocalypse, as in the days of U.S.-Soviet brinksmanship. It must not be resumed. At the same time, we must recognize that the capabilities for apocalypse remain in place, and are being maintained and improved in the absence of nuclear explosive testing. This too must be brought to an end,” Burroughs said.

Ellsberg, famed whistleblower of the Pentagon Papers, alerted: “Renewed nuclear testing initiated by the U.S. would enable India, Pakistan and North Korea to test and develop ‘H-bomb’ thermonuclear warheads, which the existing moratorium on testing has prevented them from deploying.  They could then join the U.S. and Russia in threatening the world with the capability to cause nuclear winter, global famine, and near-extinction of humanity.”

He added: Obviously, no nation on earth should possess this power. Rather than inviting its spread, the U.S. and Russia should neither maintain nor ‘modernize’ but dismantle their own Doomsday Machines.

Cabasso, “a founding mother” of Abolition 2000 said: 25 years ago, we launched the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons with an 11-point statement which includes a call to abolish all forms of nuclear testing. For more than a quarter of a century the moratorium on full-scale explosive nuclear testing has been largely adhered to.

“US resumption of such tests at this time would rock the foundations of an increasingly fragile world order and would set back efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons by decades. It must not be allowed,” she accentuated.

The Abolition 2000 network was formed in April 1995, during the first weeks of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference, when activists from around the world recognized that the issue of nuclear abolition was not on the agenda.

An international network of organizations and individuals working for a global treaty to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons, Abolition 2000 is open to all organizations endorsing the Abolition 2000 Founding Statement. [IDN-InDepthNews – 25 May 2020]

Photo: Nuclear test carried out on 18 April 1953 at the Nevada test site. Source: UN News.

IDN is flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate. –

This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence. Feel free to share, remix, tweak and build upon it non-commercially. Please credit to the author and IDN-InDepthNews.

The Russian Horn Prepares the Doomsday Nuke (Daniel 7)

Russia’s ‘doomsday drone’ prepares for testing

One year after the fatal accident with a nuclear-powered missile in the White Sea, Russia’s weapon designers say a test launch the Poseidon nuclear powered underwater drone will take place this fall.

The test-launch will take place from the “Belgorod” submarine, a source in the military-industrial complex told RIA Novosti.

The drone, formed as a giant torpedo, is built to carry a several megatons nuclear warhead and is described by weapons analysts as a “doomsday nuke”. Powered by a small nuclear reactor, the Poseidon has a believed range of 10,000 km across the world’s oceans.

Launched from the Barents Sea or other waters in the Arctic, the drone can autonomously cross the North Atlantic. If detonated outside the east coast of the United States, the nuclear warhead could create a several tens of meters high tsunami wave additional to damage caused by the nuclear blast itself.

The Barents Observer first reported about the existence of the weapon in 2016. In March 2018, President Vladimir Putin confirmed the existence of the upcoming giant underwater drone.

Poseidon was one of six new strategic nuclear weapons presented by the President.

In July 2018, Russia’s Ministry of Defense released a video showing the workshop where the drone was assembled and an animated film demonstrating how the drone potentially could be used in a real warfare situation.

Screenshot from the video by Russian Ministry of Defense

One of Kremlin’s controlled media, Radio Sputnik, on Tuesday aired an interview with former GRU colonel Aleksandr Zhilin who elaborates on the drone’s advantages.

“A drone has several advantages. A submarine with a crew on board is, of course, a powerful weapon, but there are certain restrictions on the human factor. The Poseidon can practically be on alert and perform assigned tasks at any time,” he says.

Today, Zhilin is head of the Centre for Study of Public Applied Problems of National Security with the Lobachevsky University in Nizhny Novgorod.

Safe against hackers

He calms those worrying about the potential of seeing the drones being hacked by computer terrorists.

“The appearance of this class of drones, of course, requires a lot of responsibility, because it is managed via software. It is clear that there are certain risks when in operation hackers can try to take control. But, talking with our engineers, designers, I came to the conclusion that there is massive protection against external interference,” Aleksandr Zhilin said to the radio channel.

With the deep-diving Poseidon drone, Russia will counter any U.S. missile defense systems and by that ensure deterrence, a second-strike capability.

The plan is to deploy 16 Poseidon drones on combat duty with the Northern Fleet. Two special-purpose submarines are to carry the weapons, the “Belgorod” and the “Khabarovsk”, both built at the Sevmash yard in Severodvinsk.

“Belgorod” is a prototype submarine based on a prolonged hull of an Oscar-II class nuclear-powered submarine. It was launched in April 2019, and is expected to start sea trials within a few months.

“Belgorod” was taken out of the shiphall at Sevmash yard on April 23 2019 in a solemn ceremony. Photo courtesy of Oleg Kuleshov

“Khabarovsk” sub

The second submarine to carry the Poseidon is “Khabarovsk” a special prototype submarine based on the hull of Russia’s 4th generation ballistic missile subs of the Borei-class.

RIA Novosti earlier this spring reported that “Khabarovsk” will be launched from the workshop at Sevmash in June this year at the earliest. Then, a two-years testing period will follow.

Nothing is said about where the testing of the Poseidon drone will take place, but new submarine-based weapons are normally tested in the White Sea, which has the advantage of not being international waters where other countries’ navies or spy-ships can sail. Also, the testing areas are close to Severodvinsk where the subs and drones are built.

Nuclear-powered missile explosion

Last August, a Burevestnik missile exploded during what is believed to have been a recovery operation. The explosion that killed five men and caused a radiation peak in nearby Severodvinsk happened at a barge located some four kilometers from the shore outside Nenoksa (also spelled Nyonoksa) missile test site.

Map: Barents Observer / Google maps

Russian officials have not published any information about possible radioactive substances that could be released to the marine environment from the upcoming testing of the 24 meters long nuclear-powered underwater drone Poseidon.

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Babylon the Great to be expelled from Syria, Iraq

United States to be expelled from Syria, Iraq, says Ayatollah Khamenei

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the US will soon be expelled from Syria and Iraq, “where it is illegally present in the two Arab countries”


Published: 18 May 2020, 10:00 AM

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the US will soon be expelled from Syria and Iraq, “where it is illegally present in the two Arab countries”.

Khamenei made the remarks in a video-conference meeting with the Iranian students on Sunday, reports Xinhua news agency.

“For sure, Americans will not remain in Iraq and Syria, and they will be expelled” from those countries as the Americans “have supported terrorism” and “are abhorred” by the regional nations, he added.

His remarks come almost two months after he called the US “the most evil enemy of the Iranian nation”