Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #155 Nuclear Weapons and the “Underground Reich”

Lis­ten
MP3: Side 1 | Side 2
NB: This is a recy­cled broad­cast con­tain­ing updat­ed mate­r­i­al, but includes the orig­i­nal broad­cast in its entire­ty.

For some time, Mr. Emory has accessed the work of the remark­able Paul Man­ning. Part of the CBS news team that cov­ered World War II (along with the late Edward R. Mur­row), Man­ning authored the land­mark title Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile (Lyle Stu­art, copy­right 1981), detail­ing the post-war career of Mar­tin Bor­mann, Hitler’s most impor­tant aide.

 Long rumored to have been killed at the end of the war, Bor­mann escaped to Latin Amer­i­ca with all of the liq­uid wealth of the Third Reich at his dis­pos­al. Bor­mann has used that wealth to finance (lit­er­al­ly) an Under­ground Reich, an insti­tu­tion that wields pro­found (though large­ly unrec­og­nized) influ­ence in the con­tem­po­rary world. Mr. Emory believes that (bar­ring a sig­nif­i­cant change in polit­i­cal real­i­ty) the Bor­mann group will prove to be the deci­sive ele­ment in human affairs.

 This broad­cast details Man­ning’s last pub­lished work: the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion’s ini­ti­a­tion of joint nuclear weapons devel­op­ment between Ger­many, Argenti­na and South Africa and its pro­mo­tion of the Con­dor II mis­sile project, joint­ly devel­oped by Iraq, Egypt and Argenti­na. (It should be not­ed that Man­ning’s sec­ond book on the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion was nev­er pub­lished. His son Jer­ry was mur­dered at that time, in ret­ri­bu­tion for his work on the Bor­mann group, accord­ing to Man­ning’s intel­li­gence con­tacts.) The joint weapons devel­op­ment was intend­ed to give Ger­many nuclear and inter­con­ti­nen­tal mis­sile tech­nol­o­gy that it was offi­cial­ly for­bid­den from pos­sess­ing.

 Short­ly after World War II, the dis­cov­ery of ura­ni­um in Argenti­na spurred the clan­des­tine nuclear devel­op­ment pro­gram. At the time, Argenti­na was ruled by Juan Per­on, who was very close to Bor­mann and the Nazi emi­gre com­mu­ni­ty in Argenti­na.

Insti­gat­ed by the Bor­mann group, the pro­gram was great­ly assist­ed by the Siemens Cor­po­ra­tion’s devel­op­ment of two nuclear reac­tors for Argenti­na. The Con­dor II mis­sile project would have giv­en Sadam Hus­sein a great­ly expand­ed mis­sile capa­bil­i­ty, had the U.S. not secret­ly inter­vened with Argenti­na to inter­dict the mis­sile’s progress. Much of the infor­ma­tion accessed by Man­ning came from Leon Grun­baum, a Holo­caust sur­vivor and nuclear sci­en­tist. Grun­baum was sub­se­quent­ly mur­dered.

 Pro­gram high­lights include: the close rela­tion­ship between Nazi Ger­many and Iraq dur­ing World War II; the per­pet­u­a­tion of the Nazi-Iraqi link in the decades after the war; the close links between Egypt and the Bor­mann group; details of the hier­ar­chi­cal struc­ture of the Bor­mann group (alleged­ly head­ed, in the ear­ly 1990s, by Bor­man­n’s son Adolph Mar­tin and his sis­ter Neu­mi); the rig­or­ous sur­veil­lance of and harass­ment of Leon Grun­baum (cul­mi­nat­ing in his mur­der); the theft of Grun­baum’s notes while he was vis­it­ing Switzer­land; remark­able sim­i­lar­i­ties between the real­i­ty of the Bor­mann group as report­ed by Man­ning and the por­tray­al of the orga­ni­za­tion in the Nazi tract Ser­pen­t’s Walk.

Discussion

3 comments for “FTR #155 Nuclear Weapons and the “Underground Reich””

  1. See also:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vela_Incident

    Describes an unex­plained 1979 nuclear test, with the pos­si­ble respon­si­ble par­ty as apartheid-era South Africa.

    Posted by R. Wilson | November 26, 2011, 7:23 pm
  2. I am seek­ing if there is a link between the great leader of Atom­ic Ener­gy in Argenti­na Abel Julio Gon­za­lez and the attempt of ultra right­ists to devel­op an atom­ic mil­i­tary com­plex in Argenti­na with the help of ger­man sci­en­tists.

    Posted by Yves Lenoir | June 16, 2012, 11:45 pm
  3. If one was to design a next-gen­er­a­tion nuclear pow­er plant design, what fea­tures might one want to include in that of tech­nol­o­gy? That’s the ques­tion that’s sud­den­ly become much more top­i­cal now that Bill Gates and War­ren Buf­fet have select­ed a loca­tion in Wyoming for their joint next-gen­er­a­tion Natri­um reac­tor nuclear pow­er plant. As we might expect, the new sodi­um-cooled design is cheap­er and have a sim­pler than tra­di­tion­al nuclear pow­er plants. That’s due, in part, to a reliance on sodi­um and molten-salt, instead of water, for trans­fer­ring the heat from the reac­tor a steam reac­tor or save the heat for lat­er use. That brings us to anoth­er fea­ture of the new design, which is that the plan­t’s gen­er­at­ing capac­i­ty can be rapid­ly brought up or down depend­ing on demand. And due to the sim­pli­fied design, the cost of these plants could come in at around $1 bil­lion, a frac­tion of the cost of tra­di­tion­al plants. It all sounds great so far, right?

    Well, how about the fuel? Are these the kind of next-gen­er­a­tion nuclear reac­tors that rely on far less dan­ger­ous sources of nuclear fuel like tho­ri­um reac­tors? Nope. They use ura­ni­um. Not only that, they use high­ly enriched ura­ni­um. Yep. While the tra­di­tion­al water-cooled reac­tor relies on fuel with around 3.5% ura­ni­um-235 con­tent, the fuel for these Natri­um reac­tors uses 20% ura­ni­um-235 mate­r­i­al, mak­ing the fuel for these plants tempt­ing for groups seek­ing weapons-grade enriched ura­ni­um for nuclear weapons. 20% enrich­ment is the thresh­old for “high­ly enriched ura­ni­um”. While weapons-grade ura­ni­um is going to typ­i­cal­ly be enriched at lev­els exceed­ing 85%, note that it is tech­ni­cal­ly pos­si­ble to build a nuclear bomb with fuel as low as 20%. So the fact that these new nuclear reac­tors rely on 20% enriched ura­ni­um fuel is kind of a big deal.

    Also keep in mind that, thanks to the sim­pli­fied design, the plants also require 80% less expen­sive rein­forced con­crete. So if any ter­ror groups decide to wage an attack on one of these Natri­um reac­tors, it’s going to be a lot eas­i­er to pull that attack off. Recall the plans by the Flori­da-based Atom­waf­fen cell to trig­ger a nuclear melt­down at a Mia­mi-area nuclear plant by mor­tal attack. Those kinds of attacks sound like they will be a lot more viable in a plant that uses 80% less rein­forced con­crete. So let’s hope the sim­pler design of these plants helps mit­i­gate the con­se­quences of suc­cess­ful attack on the struc­ture. Because while there are def­i­nite­ly some ben­e­fits to these Natri­um reac­tor designs, it sounds like the main ben­e­fits are in the cheap­er costs to build the plants. Cheap­er and sim­pler is is nice, but not necesseari­ly the top pri­or­i­ty when con­sid­er­ing nuclear pow­er:

    Reuters

    Bill Gates’ next gen­er­a­tion nuclear reac­tor to be built in Wyoming

    Tim­o­thy Gard­ner
    Valerie Vol­covi­ci
    June 2, 2021 7:27 PM CDT

    Bil­lion­aire Bill Gates’ advanced nuclear reac­tor com­pa­ny Ter­raPow­er LLC and Paci­fi­Corp (PPWLO.PK) have select­ed Wyoming to launch the first Natri­um reac­tor project on the site of a retir­ing coal plant, the state’s gov­er­nor said on Wednes­day.

    Ter­raPow­er, found­ed by Gates about 15 years ago, and pow­er com­pa­ny Paci­fi­Corp, owned by War­ren Buf­fet’s Berk­shire Hath­away (BRKa.N), said the exact site of the Natri­um reac­tor demon­stra­tion plant is expect­ed to be announced by the end of the year. Small advanced reac­tors, which run on dif­fer­ent fuels than tra­di­tion­al reac­tors, are regard­ed by some as a crit­i­cal car­bon-free tech­nol­o­gy than can sup­ple­ment inter­mit­tent pow­er sources like wind and solar as states strive to cut emis­sions that cause cli­mate change.

    “This is our fastest and clear­est course to becom­ing car­bon neg­a­tive,” Wyoming Gov­er­nor Mark Gor­don said. “Nuclear pow­er is clear­ly a part of my all-of-the-above strat­e­gy for ener­gy” in Wyoming, the coun­try’s top coal-pro­duc­ing state.

    The project fea­tures a 345 megawatt sodi­um-cooled fast reac­tor with molten salt-based ener­gy stor­age that could boost the sys­tem’s pow­er out­put to 500 MW dur­ing peak pow­er demand. Ter­raPow­er said last year that the plants would cost about $1 bil­lion.

    Late last year the U.S. Depart­ment of Ener­gy award­ed Ter­raPow­er $80 mil­lion in ini­tial fund­ing to demon­strate Natri­um tech­nol­o­gy, and the depart­ment has com­mit­ted addi­tion­al fund­ing in com­ing years sub­ject to con­gres­sion­al appro­pri­a­tions.

    Chris Levesque, Ter­raPow­er’s pres­i­dent and CEO, said the demon­stra­tion plant would take about sev­en years to build.

    “We need this kind of clean ener­gy on the grid in the 2030s,” he told reporters.

    Nuclear pow­er experts have warned that advanced reac­tors could have high­er risks than con­ven­tion­al ones. Fuel for many advanced reac­tors would have to be enriched at a much high­er rate than con­ven­tion­al fuel, mean­ing the fuel sup­ply chain could be an attrac­tive tar­get for mil­i­tants look­ing to cre­ate a crude nuclear weapon, a recent report said.

    Levesque said that the plants would reduce pro­lif­er­a­tion risks because they reduce over­all nuclear waste.

    In addi­tion to bring­ing car­bon-free pow­er online, Wyoming Sen­a­tor John Bar­ras­so said con­struc­tion of the demon­stra­tion project could lift up the state’s once active ura­ni­um min­ing indus­try.

    ...

    ———-

    “Bill Gates’ next gen­er­a­tion nuclear reac­tor to be built in Wyoming” by Tim­o­thy Gard­ner and Valerie Vol­covi­ci; Reuters; 06/02/2021

    “Nuclear pow­er experts have warned that advanced reac­tors could have high­er risks than con­ven­tion­al ones. Fuel for many advanced reac­tors would have to be enriched at a much high­er rate than con­ven­tion­al fuel, mean­ing the fuel sup­ply chain could be an attrac­tive tar­get for mil­i­tants look­ing to cre­ate a crude nuclear weapon, a recent report said.”

    Any­one look­ing to build a nuclear bomb? Head on over to the new Natri­um plant in Wyoming. That’s the implic­it adver­tise­ment that comes with this tech­nol­o­gy, so while these types of plants may be sim­pler and cheap­er to build, that ‘cheap­er and sim­pler’ approach bet­ter not be applied to plant secu­ri­ty.

    But it sounds like there is one advan­tage to this high­ly enriched ura­ni­um fuel: it requires few­er refu­el­ing stops. So it sounds like there are few­er oppor­tu­ni­ties to inter­dict the nuclear fuel on the way to, or from, the plant. That said, it also means fuel­ing these plants will involve the reg­u­lar ship­ping of weapons-grade ura­ni­um. So let’s hope these refu­el­ing cycles are extreme­ly high-secu­ri­ty events:

    Sci­ence Mag­a­zine

    Depart­ment of Ener­gy picks two advanced nuclear reac­tors for demon­stra­tion projects

    By Adri­an Cho
    Oct. 16, 2020 , 12:40 PM

    Hop­ing to revive the mori­bund U.S. nuclear pow­er indus­try,Depart­ment of Ener­gy (DOE) announced this week it will help build two rad­i­cal­ly new nuclear reac­tors with­in 7 years. Fund­ed by DOE’s new Advanced Reac­tor Demon­stra­tion Pro­gram, the designs include exot­ic fea­tures such as cool­ing by sodi­um or heli­um instead of water in a bid to be safer and more eco­nom­i­cal than con­ven­tion­al pow­er reac­tors.

    DOE offi­cials “were try­ing to do some­thing new and push the tech­nol­o­gy for­ward but also to stay with­in that 7‑year time frame,” says Ash­ley Finan, a nuclear engi­neer and direc­tor of the Nation­al Reac­tor Inno­va­tion Cen­ter at Ida­ho Nation­al Lab­o­ra­to­ry who was not involved in the choice. “I think these two [designs] were judged to be ready for demon­stra­tion.”

    DOE will split the total cost of build­ing each plant with pri­vate indus­try. Each project receives $80 mil­lion this year and could receive a total of between $400 mil­lion and $4 bil­lion in fund­ing over the next 5 to 7 years. The agency also intends to make addi­tion­al, small­er awards this year for less mature ideas, Finan says. A com­mit­tee of experts whose ros­ter has not been pub­lished select­ed from sev­er­al designs, she says.

    The two win­ning designs devi­ate fun­da­men­tal­ly from a con­ven­tion­al pow­er reac­tor, which is essen­tial­ly a boil­er. With­in the core of a nuclear reac­tor, atoms of ura­ni­um fuel split in a chain reac­tion, releas­ing ener­gy and free-fly­ing neu­trons, which then split oth­er ura­ni­um atoms. In a con­ven­tion­al pow­er reac­tor, the ener­gy heats high­ly pres­sur­ized “cool­ing” water that cir­cu­lates through the core. Still under pres­sure, the cool­ing water flows to an exter­nal steam gen­er­a­tor, where it boils water in a sep­a­rate cir­cuit, pro­duc­ing steam that dri­ves tur­bines to gen­er­ate elec­tric­i­ty.

    Instead of water, the 345 megawatt Natri­um reac­tor from Ter­raPow­er, Inc., and GE Hitachi would use molten sodi­um met­al as a coolant. Because sodi­um has a much high­er boil­ing tem­per­a­ture than water, the coolant would not have to be pres­sur­ized, reduc­ing the plant’s com­plex­i­ty and cost. The sodi­um would trans­fer its heat to molten salt, which could then flow direct­ly to a steam gen­er­a­tor or to a stor­age tank, to be held to gen­er­ate steam and elec­tric­i­ty lat­er. In con­trast to a con­ven­tion­al nuclear pow­er plant, the Natri­um plant could quick­ly ratch­et up or down its total out­put even as its reac­tor con­tin­ues to run steadi­ly and effi­cient­ly. That could com­ple­ment renew­able sources such as wind and solar ener­gy, which pro­duce fluc­tu­at­ing pow­er lev­els that need to be evened out.

    In con­trast, the Xe-100 design from X‑Energy would use pres­sur­ized heli­um gas to cool its ura­ni­um-based fuel. That fuel would be pack­aged not in the con­ven­tion­al met­al-clad rods, but in “pebbles”—spheres of graphite infused with count­less ceram­ic ker­nels that con­tain the ura­ni­um. Like a giant gum­ball machine, the reac­tor would hold 220,000 peb­bles, which would slow­ly descend through the core and, as their fuel was spent, would exit from a port at the bot­tom. Heat­ed to 750°C, the heli­um would gen­er­ate steam in a sec­ondary cir­cuit to pro­duce elec­tric­i­ty. In prin­ci­ple, the peb­bles can’t melt, elim­i­nat­ing the risk of a melt­down. Each Xe-100 would gen­er­ate 80 megawatts, and a plant would con­sist of four of the mod­u­lar reac­tors.

    Both plants should be sim­pler and cheap­er than con­ven­tion­al nuclear pow­er plants. Because Natri­um sodi­um coolant is unpres­sur­ized, the reac­tor requires a small­er con­tain­ment struc­ture than a con­ven­tion­al reac­tor. The plant also “decou­ples” the reac­tor and the elec­tric­i­ty gen­er­at­ing por­tions of the facil­i­ty, which sit on oppo­site sides of the stor­age tanks. Those fea­tures should allow engi­neers to reduce use of expen­sive rein­forced con­crete by 80%, says Tara Nei­der, a Ter­raPow­er engi­neer and project direc­tor for the Natri­um design. “Natri­um is all about mak­ing a nuclear plant sim­pler so it can be more effi­cient,” she says. Both com­pa­nies say they have yet to choose sites for their reac­tors.

    Both reac­tors would also depart from con­ven­tion­al designs in using a fuel that is more high­ly enriched in ura­ni­um-235, the fis­sile iso­tope that is key to gen­er­at­ing a chain reac­tion. To min­i­mize the risk that the fuel, fresh or spent, could be divert­ed to cre­ate a nuclear weapon, water-cooled pow­er reac­tors run on fuel that it is 3.5% ura­ni­um-235. The Natri­um and Xe-100 reac­tors would use fuel enriched to 20%, which would enable them to run longer on a batch of fuel and extract more ener­gy from it. Such fuel isn’t cur­rent­ly pro­duced in the Unit­ed States, but cur­rent man­u­fac­tur­ers could make it rel­a­tive­ly eas­i­ly, Finan says. The fuel would also be dif­fi­cult to divert to weapons, she says, in part because it would require few­er refu­el­ing stops.

    As in many things nuclear, what’s old is new: Since the birth of the nuclear age in the 1950s, engi­neers have built a hand­ful of sodi­um-cooled reac­tors and even a cou­ple of peb­ble-bed reac­tors. But the dev­il is in the design details, and both Ter­raPow­er and X‑Energy aim to make reac­tors that are safe and can com­pete with cheap­er forms of pow­er. Ulti­mate­ly, Ter­raPow­er hopes to mar­ket a Natri­um plant for less than $1 bil­lion, Nei­der says.

    ...

    ————

    “Depart­ment of Ener­gy picks two advanced nuclear reac­tors for demon­stra­tion projects” by Adri­an Cho; Sci­ence Mag­a­zine; 10/16/2020

    Both reac­tors would also depart from con­ven­tion­al designs in using a fuel that is more high­ly enriched in ura­ni­um-235, the fis­sile iso­tope that is key to gen­er­at­ing a chain reac­tion. To min­i­mize the risk that the fuel, fresh or spent, could be divert­ed to cre­ate a nuclear weapon, water-cooled pow­er reac­tors run on fuel that it is 3.5% ura­ni­um-235. The Natri­um and Xe-100 reac­tors would use fuel enriched to 20%, which would enable them to run longer on a batch of fuel and extract more ener­gy from it. Such fuel isn’t cur­rent­ly pro­duced in the Unit­ed States, but cur­rent man­u­fac­tur­ers could make it rel­a­tive­ly eas­i­ly, Finan says. The fuel would also be dif­fi­cult to divert to weapons, she says, in part because it would require few­er refu­el­ing stops.

    Don’t wor­ry about the fact that these reac­tors use high­ly enriched ura­ni­um that could be stolen to use for nuclear weapons because there won’t be a large num­ber of oppor­tu­ni­ties for theft. Those are the kinds of assur­ances we’re get­ting. Non-assur­ing assur­ances that ignore the real­i­ty that, whether or not these reac­tors have infre­quent refu­el­ing cycles, there’s still going to be the need for the nuclear fuel indus­try to start pro­duc­ing, stor­ing, and ship­ping this kind of weapons-usable fuel if this type of nuclear tech­nol­o­gy becomes pop­u­lar. There’s no deny­ing that mak­ing weapons-grade ura­ni­um the stan­dard fuel for new nuclear pow­er plants is going to inevitably make weapons-grade ura­ni­um more plen­ti­ful and avail­able for loss and theft.

    Of course, while the threat of lost weapons-grade ura­ni­um is an obvi­ous huge risk with this tech­nol­o­gy, there’s also the obvi­ous huge risk of a melt­down. Which rais­es the ques­tion: does this sodi­um-cooled reac­tor tech­nol­o­gy have a his­to­ry of melt­downs? Yep. A large­ly under-rec­og­nized his­to­ry that includes the worst nuclear acci­dent in US his­to­ry. And it does­n’t sound like there’s any­thing in this new sodi­um reac­tor design that has some­how avoid­ed the risk of future melt­downs. They would pre­sum­ably be tout­ing new safe­ty fea­tures if such fea­tures were avail­able.

    So as we can see, this new nuclear tech­nol­o­gy being advanced by War­ren Buf­fet and Bill Gates appears to have one dis­tinct advan­tage: the plants are cheap­er to pro­duce. That’s the big advan­tage. Cheap­er nuclear pow­er infra­struc­ture. Which seems like the kind of advan­tage that’s most­ly just a short-term advan­tage with a lot of long-term costs.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 3, 2021, 3:33 pm

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