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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Designing for recycling of rare earths is essential – theme for April 2015

The world is still in the grip of the philosophy of endless growth, endless consumption of material “goods” and energy. Along with that goes the “throwaway mentality.

The result – not just the disappearance of precious resources – water, land , biodiversity  – but also the dirty pollution of the ecosphere with wastes. One of the worst is radioactive wastes. (Don’t be caught by the nuclear lobby lie about the’nuclear fuel cycle’ – which is really a chain leading to toxic wastes needing burial)

However, environmentalists must wake up to the fact that nearly all of our advanced technology requires “rare earths” – cerium,  15 lanthanoid elements and one or both of the elements yttrium and scandium. Thorium is often classed with them. Mining these elements results in highly toxic radioactive tailings.

If we’re serious about not creating radioactive wastes disasters, such as the notorious ones in Malaysia and China then the answer must be – DESIGN – designing wind turbines, cell phones, lap-tops etc – in a such a way that the rare metals can be easily retrieved and used again.

The situation clearly calls for international policy initiatives to minimize the seemingly bizarre situation of spending large amounts of technology, time, energy and money to acquire scarce metals from the mines and then throwing them away after a single use.”

recycle-rare-earths-A

April 25, 2015 Posted by | Christina's themes, RARE EARTHS | Leave a comment

Ban Uranium Mining and Nuclear Power- call from World Uranium Symposium

Global Conference Urges Ban on Uranium Mining and Nuclear Power http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/global_group_seeks_ban_on_uranium_and_nuclear_power_20150424 By Paul Brown, Climate News Network LONDON—Uranium mining across the world should cease, nuclear power stations be closed and nuclear weapons be banned, according to a group of scientists, environmentalists and representatives of indigenous peoples.

Three hundred delegates from 20 countries that produce uranium for nuclear power, weapons and medical uses called for an end to all uranium mining in a declaration launched on Earth Day this week at a meeting in Quebec, Canada.

The venue for the World Uranium Symposium was chosen because Quebec state is currently considering whether to continue its moratorium on uranium mining, having already closed down its only nuclear power plant in 2013.

Symbolic choice

The city of Quebec is also symbolic because this is where Canada, the US and the UK made a co-operation agreement in 1943 that led to the building of the world’s first nuclear weapons. Two of the resulting A-Bombs were used to destroy the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

But the symposium was more concerned about the damage that existing uranium mining is doing to the welfare of indigenous peoples, and the “erroneous view” that nuclear power can help solve the problem of climate change.

The declaration applauded the expansion of renewable energy and the significant strides in phasing out nuclear power following the growing awareness that “nuclear power is not a cost-effective, timely, practical or safe response to climate change”.

“The risks to health, safety and the environment represented by the entire nuclear fuel chain . . . greatly exceed the potential benefits for society”

It called for “a worldwide ban on uranium exploration, mining, milling and processing, as well as the reprocessing of nuclear waste, and the irresponsible management of radioactive waste”.

Dr. Eric Notebaert, associate professor of medicine at the University of Montreal, co-president of the Symposium, and member of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, said that the symposium delegates all agreed that “the risks to health, safety and the environment represented by the entire nuclear fuel chain—from uranium mines, to power reactors, to nuclear weapons, to radioactive wastes—greatly exceed the potential benefits for society”.

Dr. Juan Carlos Chrigwin, a physician affiliated with McGill University, and president ofPhysicians for Global Survival, said: “The issuing of this World Declaration on Uranium is the culmination of essential work carried out over many years by international coalitions who, despite geographical and cultural differences, share common objectives and who desire to shape a common vision of a better world.

“Uranium does not provide a viable or sustainable approach for dealing with climate change, nor for providing isotopes for medical use. Today, there are a number of medical and energy alternatives that are cheaper and safer.”

The declaration is open for organisations and individuals to sign on the internet and is bound to put further pressure on an industry already suffering from falling confidence.

The price of uranium has dropped from $138 a tonne in 2007 to less than $40 a tonne currently as plans to build more nuclear stations have been shelved in several countries.

While the search continues for rich new uranium deposits—particularly by China in Africa and the US in Greenland—it is unlikely to be economically viable to exploit them at current prices.

Carbon footprint

According to the World Nuclear Association, 52% of the world’s production comes from 10 mines in six countries. The largest is in Canada, followed by one in Australia, but the largest single producer is Kazakhstan, which has four mines in the top 10 in the world. In Africa, Niger and Namibia are also big producers.

While many pro-nuclear governments—including the UK’s—regard nuclear power as a clean, low-carbon form of energy, the politicians ignore the carbon footprint of the mines and the consequences for the health of workers.

It is in developing countries that the miners and the local environment tend to suffer most because of open cast mines. For example, large areas of Kazakhstan are too dangerous to inhabit as a result of mountains of uranium tailings and mildly radioactive dust.

The Symposium’s co-president, Dr. Dale Dewar—a physician who is associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan and is co-author of the book, From Hiroshima to Fukushima to You—summed up by saying: “We are calling on national and international leaders to protect our planet and our populations from any further nuclear catastrophes. Anything less would be irresponsible.”

April 25, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

High levels of radiation in children’s playground – Tokyo park closed

radiation-warningflag-japanTokyo park closed over dangerous radiation Sky News, , 24 April 2015 Extremely high levels of radiation have been discovered in a playground in Tokyo, officials said Friday, fanning fears for the health of children in the area.

Soil underneath a slide at the park in the northwest of the Japanese capital showed radiation readings of up to 480 microsieverts per hour, the local administrative office said.

Anyone directly exposed to this level would absorb in two hours the maximum dose of radiation Japan recommends in a year. “Many children play in the park daily, so the ward office should explain the situation,” Kyodo News quoted a 62-year-old local woman as saying.

The radiation level is over 2000 times that at which the national government requires soil cleaning in areas around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where reactors melted down after the March 2011 tsunami…….

The park has been sealed. http://www.skynews.com.au/news/world/asiapacific/2015/04/24/tokyo-park-closed-over-dangerous-radiation.html#sthash.1X8diUzn.dpuf

April 25, 2015 Posted by | environment, Japan | Leave a comment

Demonstrations in New York City for abolition of nuclear weapons

Protest-No!Demonstrators to rally for nuclear abolition The Wisconsin Gazette  Monday, 20 April 2015  Thousands of protesters are set to gather in New York City this week to demand a nuclear-free world in advance of the five-year Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference.

Activists, scholars and students with anti-nuclear, peace and environmental justice movements will call on the NPT Review Conference meeting at the United Nations to mandate the commencement of “good faith negotiations” for the complete elimination of the world’s nuclear arsenals, as required by the treaty.

Activist events include an international conference April 24-25 at the Cooper Union featuring speakers from more than a dozen countries.

On April 26, a mass rally will take place in Union Square, followed by a march to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, where millions of petition signatures will be presented to UN and NPT officials.

The rally will launch a “Global Wave,” with participants symbolically waving goodbye to nuclear weapons. The Global Wave will travel west, by time zone, with public events scheduled in Papeete, Manila, Amman, Bethlehem, Stockholm, Paris, London, Sao Paulo and points in-between.

An interfaith service will precede the rally.

Joseph Gerson, disarmament coordinator at the American Friends Service Committee and one of the events’ lead organizers, is working with activists from Tokyo to Toronto and Berlin to Brazil.

He said, “More than a thousand Japanese activists, including 50 Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-bomb survivors, will be joining us in this 70th anniversary year of the U.S. atomic bombings. Their suitcases will be filled with 7,000,000 petition signatures calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons.”

In the United States, peace walks originating in Tennessee, at the Oak Ridge nuclear weapons production facility, California and New England, will converge in New York, with groups journeying on peace trains from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut, and coming on buses from as far away as Chicago and Massachusetts.

A “Bike for Peace” ride from Washington, D.C., will arrive in New York City on April 24.

Organizers say nuclear disarmament is now more important than ever………http://www.wisconsingazette.com/trending/demonstrators-to-rally-for-nuclear-abolition.html

April 25, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

Highly hazardous clean-up begins, of Sellafield’s radioactive sludge

Radioactive Sludge Clear-Up At Sellafield, Sky News, 23 Apr 15 The radioactive waste held in a six-metre-deep pond dates back to the 1950s, and would fill 21 double decker buses. Work has begun to remove sludge from an old storage pond at one of the most hazardous nuclear plants in Europe, Sellafield in Cumbria.
sludge removal Sellafield

Around 1,500 cubic metres of radioactive material is being emptied from an area which was built to store nuclear fuel for recycling in the 1950s.

Sellafield’s reactor is being decommissioned but reprocessing continues

The storage vessels were brought to Sellafield in separate sections and welded together, before being carefully slid into a reinforced concrete building to safeguard against leaks.

But there is an added complication: the pond is full of large metal boxes of nuclear fuel which they will have to work around and make sure remain fully submerged at all times.

Andy Lindley, from the Office for Nuclear Regulation, said: “This is highly hazardous waste and its removal will take some years to complete….http://news.sky.com/story/1450799/radioactive-sludge-clear-up-at-sellafield

April 25, 2015 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

French govt kept its own report under wraps – 100% renewable energy is feasible

flag-franceSuppressed French report says 100% renewables is possible, Energy Transition,  23 Apr 2015   by  Over the Easter break, French daily Le Monde reported that an official study for a conference to be held last week was being held back. The energy experts investigated a 100 percent renewable supply of electricity by 2050. Craig Morris got hold of a copy, which still lacks an executive summary. So he wrote one.

Last week, a conference was held in France to investigate, as the title puts it (website in French), whether France is ready for 40 percent renewable electricity by 2030. But as Le Monde pointed out at the beginning of the month (report in French), French energy agency Ademe announced at the beginning of the year (press release, PDF in French) that the centerpiece was to be “the presentation of an unpublished study showing the path towards 100 percent renewable electricity.” Ademe itself commissioned the study, which was conducted under conditions that French think tank negaWatt calls “extraordinary” (in French).

According to Le Monde, Ademe says the presentation of the study has been taken off the agenda because the subject is “very sensitive.” The paper goes one step further calling it “explosive.” At the beginning of the year, French Energy Minister Ségolène Royal threw her weight behind the construction of a “new generation of reactors” (report in French), potentially calling into question the government’s official goal of reducing the share of nuclear in the power sector from around 75 percent to 50 percent.

The word now is that the study – which reportedly already cost nearly 300,000 euros – is to be published later this year. In the meantime, the experts are to “verify” a number of the findings.

What are the findings? The leaked PDF has two blank pages where the executive summary should be. So I wrote my own.

Executive Summary

The French power sector faces fundamental challenges over the next two decades. Nuclear power currently covers around three quarters of demand, but the average nuclear plant is around 30 years old. The government aims to reduce its dependence on nuclear, partly by switching to renewables.

France has not only been a leader in science for centuries, but is also proud of its long democratic tradition. The combination of democracy and research makes a broad investigation into possible options obviously desirable. This study is designed as a scientific investigation within a democratic debate.

Previous studies have investigated (nearly) 100 percent renewables in Japan (Energy Rich Japan), Germany (KombikraftwerkGeschäftsmodell Energiewende, and SRU), the UK (Zero-carbon Britain), Australia, the US (90% renewable electricity in Renewable Electricity Futures), California (PDF), and indeed for the European Union as a whole (RE-thinking 2050). Ecofys has conducted a 100 percent renewable scenario for the entire world, and Greenpeace regularly updates its Energy [R]evolution studies, which are also global. PriceWaterhouseCoopers has also produced a roadmap for 100 percent renewable electricity in Europe and North Africa (PDF). This list is not exhaustive; we refer readers to the World Future Council’s (WFC) list of such studies and reports, which can be searched by region. The WFC has also produced this overview. Furthermore, Denmarkand the Netherlands already have an official target of 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

The present study is intended to help fill that gap for France. It is hoped that the findings will contribute to an open discussion about the French energy future, including with the informed public. The main previous study for France was produced by négaWatt, which investigated more than 90 percent renewable energy (not just electricity) in 2011.

In line with these other publications, the study found that a 100 percent supply of renewable electricity would be possible and affordable but not trivial. To account for efficiency and conservation, two basic scenarios are investigated, one with 406 TWh of annual consumption, the other with 487 TWh (2014: 465 TWh). The study also investigates the effect of temperatures on power demand – an aspect not generally covered in other such studies, but useful here because France is so reliant on electricity for space heating. Note here that Denmark aims to use excess renewable electricity to produce heat (power-to-heat). In other words, France’s current dependence on electric heat, which is currently seen as a problem, can be helpful in a transition towards renewables.

One question is how much of each type of energy source – solar, wind, biomass (excluding methanization), geothermal, hydropower, and ocean energy – would need to be installed. The study answers this question in great detail for each of the country’s 21 regions…………

The entire investigation also places France within its European neighbors, which are assumed to be 80 percent renewable by 2050 (in accordance with the European Commission’s Roadmap 2050). The power trading situation is therefore also studied. The goal will therefore be greater energy independence without complete autonomy.

Finally – and here I simply translate a passage from page 6 – “Ademe is fully aware that this study is only a first step down a path we will have to travel in the years to come. The findings raise new questions, which future studies will have to address.”

Craig Morris (@PPchef) is the lead author of German Energy Transition. He directs Petite Planète and writes every workday for Renewables International. For this report, he would also like to express his thanks to the swarm (you know who you are), who helped him put together the list of studies into 100 percent renewables. http://energytransition.de/2015/04/suppressed-french-report-says-100-renewables-is-possible/

April 25, 2015 Posted by | France, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

New Zealand once again the leader in nuclear disarmament action

flag-New-ZealandNZer leads global wave goodbye to nuclear weapons Voxy.co.nz 22 April, 2015 A public action to ‘wave goodbye to nuclear weapons’ will sweep around the world on April 26-27 as governments gather at the United Nations in New York for four weeks of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament deliberations.

Global Wave 2015, initiated by New Zealand peace activist Alyn Ware, will involve a simple public action in cities around the world undertaken in a timed fashion over 24 hours just before the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference begins in New York. Representatives of the 188 States Parties to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), including most of the nuclear-armed States and their allies, will be meeting for the 5-yearly review of the treaty – and to make decisions on how best to implement the treaty goals to prevent nuclear proliferation and to achieve nuclear disarmament……..http://www.voxy.co.nz/politics/nzer-leads-global-wave-goodbye-nuclear-weapons/5/219371

April 25, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Japan’s nuclear legal battles drag on – putting nuclear restart in doubt

justiceflag-japanNuclear power in Japan Legal fallout Court cases frustrate efforts to restart Japan’s nuclear plants, Economists Apr 25th 2015 | NIIGATA  “……….the seven reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa complex sit idle, along with the rest of Japan’s nuclear-power facilities. Four years after meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, all Japan’s 48 usable reactors are the focus of safety concerns. An industry that once produced nearly a third of Japan’s electricity remains paralysed……..

confidence in restarting the reactors may be misplaced. Every one of them is the subject of a lawsuit by locals trying to stop them from being fired up again. The government and the energy utilities will continue to argue that although they cannot completely rule out another accident, they have made nuclear power as safe as possible. By rejecting that argument, the Fukui court has set a precedent other courts may follow, says Mutsuyoshi Nishimura, a former climate-change negotiator.

Kansai Electric has challenged the Fukui ruling. Experts say the company will very likely get a higher court to overturn it. But the longer legal tussles drag on, the older the reactors become, putting their eventual operation in doubt. The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), Japan’s new watchdog, is reviewing about 20 reactors for compliance with its regulations. Luc Oursel, the late chief executive of Areva, a French nuclear giant, predicted in 2013 that two-thirds of Japan’s plants would eventually restart. Few believe that now.

For Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), the operator of the ruined Fukushima plant, these issues are a matter of life and death. Kashiwazaki-Kariwa is its only remaining viable nuclear facility. The company says it loses ¥100 billion ($835m) per reactor every year that the reactors are down. The plant’s chief, Tadayuki Yokomura, says that TEPCO has poured $2 billion into reinforcing the facility against earthquakes and tsunamis. There is, he insists, no reason why all seven reactors cannot be restarted. The problem is that he has yet to convince the public of that. http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21649557-court-cases-frustrate-efforts-restart-japans-nuclear-plants-legal-fallout

April 25, 2015 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Call for BP to disclose its archive on renewable energy research, as they promised

secret-agent-SmBP renewable energy archive still closed despite promise to open to public, Guardian, , 24 Apr 15  Critics call for BP to provide immediate access to Warwick University archive containing billions of pounds worth of scientific research by the oil group from the 80s and 90s  BP archive containing scientific knowledge on renewable energy projects collected over decades as a result of a multi-billion-pound research programme is still closed to the public despite promises to the contrary.

Critics said BP’s integrity was at stake and the archive held next to the Modern Records Office at Warwick University must be opened immediately……

a spokesman at the company’s headquarters later confirmed what the Guardian had already reported: that no material for the last 40 years was available to the public.

“The National Records Office has a 30-year rule. We just have a longer one,” explained the company spokesman, while Peter Housego, the BP archive manager at Warwick, said the opening period was under regular review with (these) internal stakeholders.

Catherine Howarth, the CEO of Share Action, who challenged BP at the AGM to open the archive as part of a wider demand to be more transparent about the issue of climate change, said she was disturbed to hear the company was apparently not opening the archive.

“I’m truly disappointed if it turns out that BP’s archive of research is not in fact open, or due to be opened imminently. The chairman not only told us about BP’s general commitment to ‘sharing our knowledge’ but explicitly responded to my question by confirming that nothing would be ‘locked away’……..

Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace, said: “It looks as if burying decades’ worth of energy research is too embarrassing a policy for BP’s boss to defend, even in front of his own shareholders.

“Fossil fuel giants already have a humongous credibility gap to fill when it comes to climate and clean energy. Making a mockery of transparency in this way will only make it bigger.”

BP now spends almost all its $20bn (£13bn) per annum capital expenditure on oil and gas, but in the 1980s and early 1990s it spent large amounts of cash building wave power prototypes and researching energy efficiency products.

At one stage, under the then chief executive, John – now Lord – Browne, BP promised to go “beyond petroleum” but the strategy was ditched and the company reverted to focussing on fossil fuels.

Students at Warwick University, who have already seen 100 staff call for the academic authorities to withdraw their pension fund from all fossil fuel companies, said they were taking the issue up with the local BP archive staff.

“We are pressuring them to explain the contradictions apparent from the chairman’s statement and will continue to pressure them as much as possible to open up their files,” said Alex Clark from Fossil Free Warwick University……..

Senior researchers who used to be employed by the company have privately said the archive could document the huge amount of work done by BP on all sorts of issues, such as climate change and renewable energy technology including solar and wave power……..http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/24/bp-renewable-energy-archive-still-closed-despite-promise-to-open-to-public

April 25, 2015 Posted by | renewable, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Sudden conversion of climate denialist US Senator as he jumps on pro nuclear bandwagon

globalnukeNOThe Senate’s Top Climate Denier Redefines Chutzpah http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/04/24/3650610/americas-top-climate-denier-now-agrees-top-climate-scientist/ BY JOE ROMM  APRIL 24, 2015  THE TRADITIONAL DEFINITION OF CHUTZPAH INVOLVES A GUY WHO KILLS HIS PARENTS, THEN PLEADS FOR MERCY BECAUSE HE IS NOW AN ORPHAN. THE MODERN DEFINITION OF CHUTZPAH INVOLVES … SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R-OK).

The chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has an Earth Day (!) op-ed arguing we should embrace carbon-free nuclear power because of the threat posed by global warming. You remember Inhofe, the guy who called global warming a hoax, the guy who for over a decade has trashed climate scientists, such as James Hansen, whom he called in 2006 a “NASA scientist and alarmist.”

Apparently, however, Inhofe no longer sees Hansen as radioactive. He writes, without a trace of irony:

 James Hansen, the former head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in 2013 that ‘continued opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity’s ability to avoid dangerous climate change.’

How cool is it that Inhofe is now apparently on board with top climatologist Hansen on the urgent need “to avoid dangerous climate change” by accelerated deployment of zero-carbon technologies? Presumably he’ll soon be on board with Hansen’s call for a high and rising carbon dioxide fee (returned to the public as a dividend), and a World War II scale effort to return CO2 levels back to 350 parts per million from their current level of 400 ppm (and rising 2+ ppm a year).

As an aside, what’s holding nuclear power back is its exorbitant price. Indeed, just this week a panel of experts unanimously agreed that nukes have all but priced themselves out of the market. Perhaps Inhofe should have supported the climate bill that came out of the House of Representatives in 2009, since its carbon pricing mechanism would have been nuclear power’s best chance at a resurgence.

As for Inhofe’s bromancing of Hansen, I suspect it is unrequited, but then they say politics does make for strange bedfellows. Or at least for new definitions of chutzpah.

April 25, 2015 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

China concerned at the expansion of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal

China warns North Korea’s nuclear arsenal is expanding, report says, Guardian, 23 Apr 15 
Chinese experts believe their communist ally may already have an arsenal of 20 warheads and the enrichment capacity to double that figure by next year. 
Chinese nuclear experts believe North Korea may already have a nuclear arsenal of 20 warheads and the uranium enrichment capacity to double that figure by next year, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The estimate, which the Journal said was relayed to US nuclear specialists in a closed-door meeting in February, is significantly higher than any previously known Chinese assessment.

It also exceeds recent estimates by US experts which put the North’s current arsenal at between 10 and 16 nuclear weapons.

A leading expert on North Korea’s nuclear programme, Siegfried Hecker, who attended the February meeting, said a sizeable North Korean stockpile would only compound the challenge the international community faces in persuading Pyongyang to decommission the weapons.

“The more they believe they have a fully functional nuclear arsenal and deterrent, the more difficult it’s going to be to walk them back from that,” Hecker told the Journal.

The Chinese estimate reflects growing concern in Beijing about the nuclear ambitions of its errant ally, and is the latest in a series of expert assessments that suggest Pyongyang is moving faster down the nuclear path than previously thought.

A recent report by US researchers warned that North Korea appeared poised to expand its nuclear program over the next five years and, in a worst case scenario, could possess 100 atomic arms by 2020……http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/23/china-warns-north-koreas-nuclear-arsenal-is-expanding-report-says

April 25, 2015 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Gradual progress in Iran nuclear negotiations

Iran says nuclear talks making gradual headway VIENNA (Reuters) 24 Apr 15,  – Nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers are making good but slow progress as they work toward a June 30 deadline for a final deal, Tehran’s senior negotiator said on Friday.

Diplomats are negotiating to fill the gaps in an April 2 framework agreement that would curb Iran’s nuclear program, allaying Western fears it could develop an atomic bomb, in return for relief from international sanctions……..Bilateral meetings earlier this week with the European Union’s political director Helga Schmid and U.S. Under Secretary Wendy Sherman will be followed on Friday by meetings with Russian, Chinese, British, French and German envoys.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are expected to meet next week.http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/24/us-iran-nuclear-talks-idUSKBN0NF17D20150424

April 25, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Iran deal one good omen for nuclear disarmament talks

After Iran deal, world looks to jump-start nuclear disarmament, Yahoo 7 News AFP April 24, 2015 , United Nations (United States) (AFP) – Nuclear powers join non-nuclear nations on Monday to launch a conference on non-proliferation, buoyed by the Iran deal but alarmed by slow-moving US-Russian disarmament.

US Secretary of State John Kerry will address the conference that reviews the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and he may meet on the sidelines to discuss the hard-fought Iran deal with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Work on the framework Iran agreement must be completed by June 30 but it is already earning praise as a potential happy ending to one of the world’s most vexing nuclear disputes.

Despite applause for the Iran deal, delegates from more than 150 countries are heading into the month-long conference with a sense of gloom over the lack of progress on disarmament and the deadlocked plan for a nuclear weapons-free zone for the Middle East.

The United States and Russia have made little headway in cutting their nuclear stockpiles since 2011, and the crisis over Ukraine is stoking distrust, dimming prospects for future cooperation.

“We have a stalling in the path to a nuclear-free world,” Angela Kane, the UN high representative for disarmament affairs, said ahead of the gathering at UN headquarters in New York……..

Pessimism has also focused on Washington’s $1 trillion modernization plan for its nuclear forces that is compounding fears that the United States is not seriously working toward reducing its stockpile.

Another point of contention is a proposed nuclear weapons-free zone for the Middle East that has failed to materialize despite a plan at the last NPT conference to begin talks on the proposal in 2012.

Kane warned that the next five years will be crucial to ensure that the NPT “retains credibility.”

She suggested that there be a roadmap with targets that are “not far off in Never-Never-Land” to reassure non-nuclear states that they have signed on to a treaty that is “worthwhile.”

As a stark reminder of the horrors of a nuclear attack, a group of aging Hiroshima survivors are traveling to New York to attend the conference and make a personal appeal for action. https://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/27325569/after-iran-deal-world-looks-to-jump-start-nuclear-disarmament/

April 25, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

A voice for the victims of atomic bomb testing – no more nuclear weapons!

Kuyukov,-Karipbek,-KazakhstI am asking you to wave goodbye to these weapons, though I cannot do so myself. But I can raise my voice, and my paintbrush, and I will do that until the day I die, to ensure that the world sees what has happened in my country and my community, and more importantly, to make sure that this never happens again, in rich countries or in poor countries or in any other hidden place on earth. Children like me were hidden for long enough. I want to use my voice to tell you about us, now, and use my brush to show you the beauty and heartbreak of my landscape

Eliminating the World’s Nuclear Weapons by Bicycle Silk Road Reporters, by Karipbek Kuyukov  23 Apr 15 On April 21, another push – many miles worth, in fact – was added to the growing worldwide drive to rid the planet of nuclear weapons as the Bike Away the Atomic Bomb riders begin their journey from Washington, D.C. to New York to call for real action to be taken at the UN Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference in New York on April 27. I won’t be riding with them. I couldn’t hold the handlebars, or anything else, for that matter: when I was born, outside the now-closed Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site in eastern Kazakhstan, it was without arms.

Mayak disaster

I’m not unusual, where I come from. Forty years of nuclear testing and hundreds of nuclear explosions have blighted swathes of the beautiful steppe there and shattered the surrounding communities, as their effects began to be seen in birth defects and diseases, which continue to this day. The UN estimates that 1.5 million people in Kazakhstan have been affected by the Soviet Union’s nuclear test programme. There are many people like me.

I am determined to be the last.

In a sense, I am lucky: Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan, shut down the poisonous Semipalatinsk test site in 1991, in defiance of the government in Moscow, and upon independence set about dismantling Kazakhstan’s formidable nuclear arsenal. Ukraine, Belarus and South Africa join Kazakhstan among the list of countries to renounce their nuclear weapons.

But I and they are also citizens of the world, and while our countries may be free of nuclear weapons, we remain vulnerable as long as the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty remains a dream. We have been waiting since 1996 for this ban to become a reality, and I call on China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States to finally sign and/or ratify this treaty. They must ensure that not one more person suffers from the consequences of nuclear testing and nuclear weapons use in the future.

I may not be able to ride with them, but I will be joining Mayors for Peace, Bike for Peace and The ATOM Project in Washington D.C. before the bikers start this new leg of our journey toward nuclear sanity. We are joining Global Wave 2015 in its schedule of coordinated public actions urging humanity – and particularly the decision-makers at the UN conference – to wave goodbye to nuclear weapons.

Tore Nærland, co-founder of Bike for Peace, and Thore Vestby, mayor of Frogn, Norway, who is also vice president of Mayors for Peace and a member of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament are among those who will be riding for four days from Washington to New York.

For this tour, Vestby says, he has a specific message: That nuclear weapons cannot be used, because of their enormous humanitarian and environmental consequences, and are therefore useless………

I am asking you to wave goodbye to these weapons, though I cannot do so myself. But I can raise my voice, and my paintbrush, and I will do that until the day I die, to ensure that the world sees what has happened in my country and my community, and more importantly, to make sure that this never happens again, in rich countries or in poor countries or in any other hidden place on earth. Children like me were hidden for long enough. I want to use my voice to tell you about us, now, and use my brush to show you the beauty and heartbreak of my landscape………   The author is the honorary ambassador of The ATOM Project.  http://www.silkroadreporters.com/2015/04/23/eliminating-the-worlds-nuclear-weapons-by-bicycle/

April 25, 2015 Posted by | Kazakhstan, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Catholic Church strongly urges for nuclear weapons ban at UN treaty review conference

pray-radCatholics to press nuclear weapons ban at UN treaty review conference, Dennis Sadowski  Catholic News Service  |  Apr. 24, 2015  It was April 11, 1963, as the Catholic church was in the midst of the Second Vatican Council, that St. John XXIII issued his landmark social encyclical Pacem in Terris (“Peace on Earth”) that included a call for a verifiable ban on nuclear weapons.

More than 50 years later, the Holy See continues to make the moral case for nuclear disarmament.

The Vatican’s most recent public comment came in December at the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.

“The time has come to embrace the abolition of nuclear weapons as an essential foundation of collective security,” the Vatican said in a paper titled “Nuclear Disarmament: Time for Abolition” delivered to the conference.

In it, the church held firm to its stance that any use of nuclear weapons was immoral and argued that the time has come to abandon nuclear deterrence — the principle that such weapons might be used and that they exist to deter another country from using them. Previously, the Vatican conditionally accepted deterrence as “a step on the way toward progressive disarmament.”

But that has not happened, and Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations, is likely to reiterate its call for total nuclear disarmament during the monthlong Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference opening April 27 at the United Nations….

“Look what the policy of deterrence means morally,” the bishop continued. “In order for deterrence to work, you have to intend to use it. What does that intention mean? That means you are willing to use an indiscriminate weapons to kill innocent people. Again, that is not morally acceptable.”……..

Pax Christi is among dozens of peace groups meeting and marching in New York in the days leading to the conference. Pax Christi also sent a statement to Catholic members of Congress signed by more than 1,200 people and organizations calling attention to the church’s stance. A copy of the Vienna statement and a letter from the Japanese bishops’ conference addressing nuclear weapons on the 70th anniversary of the use of atomic weapons at the end of World War II also were part of the package………………

Sr. Mary Ann McGivern, an NCR contributor and member of the Sisters of Loretto who served on her order’s Committee for Peace, joined the Pax Christi delegation. She attended the 2005 review conference.

McGivern told CNS her community has proposed that the U.S. enact a unilateral nuclear weapons ban.

“We’re saying that no matter what the rest of the world does, it’s time for the United States to set aside our nuclear weapons,” she said.

While it is unlikely that any proposal for quick action on a ban will find its way into the U.N. conference’s final report, McGivern said she hopes the idea will begin to percolate among the delegates.

“The only way real abhorrence against nuclear weapons develops,” she said, “is for people to gather, hear one another and take those ideas back home.” http://ncronline.org/news/peace-justice/catholics-press-nuclear-weapons-ban-un-treaty-review-conference

April 25, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

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