Faiths United Against Nuclear Weapons TruthOut , 15 December 2014 By Julia Rainer, Inter Press Service | Report Vienna - “Never was there a greater need than now for all the religions to combine, to pull their wisdom and to give the benefit of that combined, huge repository of wisdom to international law and to the world.”
The words are those of Christopher Weeramantry, former judge at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and its vice-president from 1997 to 2000, who was addressing a session on faiths united against nuclear weapons at the civil society forum organised by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) on Dec. 6 and 7 in the Austrian capital.
Weeramantry strongly criticised the argument of those who claim that nuclear weapons have saved the world from another world war in the last 50 years.
He pointed to the ever-present danger represented by these weapons and said that on many occasions it had been luck that had prevented catastrophic nuclear accidents or the breaking out of a devastating nuclear war.
Noting that nuclear weapons “offend every single principle of religion,” Weeramantry was joined on the panel by a number of different religious leaders, including Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi and peace activist, as well as Akemi Bailey-Haynie, national women’s leader of the Buddhist organisation Soka Gakkai International-USA……………….
Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate and former Anglican Bishop, sent a video message to participants to express his deep solidarity and support for ICAN’s civil society forum initiative.
He argued that the best way to honour the victims of the incidents in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was to negotiate a total ban on nuclear weapons to ensure that nothing comparable could ever happen again.
Two of the session’s speakers, Ela Gandhi and Mustafa Ceric, also attended the Dec. 8-9 Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.
There, Ela Gandhi delivered a speech in the spirit of her grandfather who, she said, would have joined the movement to abolish nuclear weapons if still alive.
As Gandhi had dedicated his life to teaching humanity that there is a non-violent way of dealing with conflict, he even condemned nuclear weapons himself in 1946 when he said: “The atom bomb mentality is immoral, unethical, addictive and only evil can come from it.”
Pointing out that the mere existence of nuclear weapons leads to similar armament of rival countries, Ela Gandhi warned that these nuclear arsenals could destroy a chance for future generations to survive and have a prosperous life………
Religion played an important role at the conference, where many lobbying groups had religious backgrounds, and the opening ceremony was addressed by Pope Francis.
“I am convinced that the desire for peace and fraternity, planted deep in the human heart, will bear fruit in concrete ways to ensure that nuclear weapons are banned once and for all, to the benefit of our common home,” aid Pope Francis, expressing his hope that “a world without nuclear weapons is truly possibly.”
In a statement on behalf of faith communities to the final session, Kimiaki Kawai, Program Director for Peace Affairs at Soka Gakkai International (SGI), said: “The elimination of nuclear weapons is not only a moral imperative; it is the ultimate measure of our worth as a species, as human beings.”
He said that “acceptance of the continued existence of nuclear weapons stifles our capacity to think more broadly and more compassionately about who we are as human beings, and what our potential is. Humanity must find alternative ways of dealing with conflict.”http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/28004-faiths-united-against-nuclear-weapons
Russia: We Have The Right To Put Nuclear Weapons In Crimea Business Insider JEREMY BENDER Russia announced on Monday that it believes it has the full right to deploy nuclear weapons in the recently annexed Crimean peninsula.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the Interfax news agency that since Crimea was now a part of Russia, Moscow had full rights to deploy nuclear weapons into the region.
Lavrov argues that Crimea can be treated just like any other part of Russia and can therefore host nuclear infrastructure. “Now Crimea has become part of a state which possesses such weapons in accordance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty,” says Lavrov. “In accordance with international law, Russia has every reason to dispose of its nuclear arsenal … to suit its interests and international legal obligations.”………
Technically, neither the US nor Russia can move strategic nuclear forces without verifying the deployment with the other country due to the 2010 New START treaty, which set a timeline for mutual cuts to the countries’ nuclear stockpiles. Any Russian movement of strategic nuclear weapons into Crimea (long-range, high-yield weapons, as opposed to tactical or battlefield nuclear warheads) without prior notification to the US would result in Russia violating the treaty. http://www.businessinsider.com.au/russia-we-can-put-nuclear-weapons-in-crimea-2014-12
America Almost Had a Nuclear-Armed Drone Bomber, Medium.com, Adam Rawnsley
on Dec 16 2014 Air Force wanted to remove the pilots from B-47s Long before the CIA began sending missile-armed drones to attack Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan, U.S. Air Force officials mulled sending robotic aircraft against the Soviet Union.
Carrying nuclear bombs.
Starting in late 1949, Air Force officials kicked off what would become Project Brass Ring, an attempt to turn long-range B-47 Stratojet bombers into remotely-piloted nuclear-weapons delivery vehicles.
We learned about the Air Force’s quest to build an unmanned nuclear bomber—which the flying branch ultimately abandoned—from A History of the Air Force Atomic Energy Program: 1943–1953, a series of declassified internal studies on the Air Force’s early nuclear history………
the Air Force opted to end the research.
Until recently. Today the Air Force is shopping around for a new nuclear-capable Long Range Strike Bomber. There’s speculation that the plane could wind up being “optionally-manned”—that is, robotic with the flip of a switch. Much like Brass Ring’s B-47 six decades ago. https://medium.com/war-is-boring/america-almost-had-a-nuclear-armed-drone-bomber-e494e2e9a286
China Wants its Nuclear Reactors ‘Made in China’ WSJ 16 Dec 14 When a unit of North Carolina’s Curtiss-Wright Corp. won a roughly $300 million deal in 2007 to supply components for new reactors in China, industry officials trumpeted China’s nuclear boom as good for U.S. business.
Today, Chinese companies are competing for that business—and foreign companies risk getting left out. Meanwhile, Curtiss-Wright’s contract is caught up in a legal dispute, while Chinese authorities blame the company in part for the delay of a landmark nuclear project. As the WSJ’s Brian Spegele reports:
U.S. and other foreign companies are now struggling to keep their hold in China, the industry’s biggest growth market and a rare bright spot more than three years after the Fukushima disaster in Japan put many of the world’s nuclear projects on hold. Yet China is increasingly turning to local companies to build crucial parts for multibillion-dollar nuclear projects, a result of Chinese industrial nationalism and frustration over U.S. supplier problems………http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2014/12/16/china-wants-its-nuclear-reactors-made-in-china/
Gov’t report sounds alarm on Hanford’s nuclear waste tanks http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/hanford/2014/12/16/hanford-nuclear-waste-tanks-gao-report-december-2014/20489933/ Gary M Chittim, December 16, 2014 Tanks holding millions of gallons of nuclear and chemical waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are deteriorating at a faster rate than previously thought, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The GAO report was released today by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who is demanding the Department of Energy (DOE) develop a plan to address leaks and other tank issues. He said the DOE must act on the recommendations in the report instead of acknowledging them and then doing nothing, as it has done in the past.
“Agreeing to recommendations is one thing, implementing them is another thing entirely,” Wyden said. “The DOE’s ‘watch-and-wait’ strategy for these tanks leaking nuclear waste into the soil is completely unacceptable. I’m asking for a schedule and a plan of action within 90 days to implement the GAO’s recommendations at Hanford.”
Highlights of the report include new information on the number of older, single-shell tanks (SSTs) at Hanford that are experiencing what’s called water intrusion – 14 as of the fall of 2014. Rain or ground water entering the tanks can cause a host of problems, including mobilizing the waste and giving monitors undependable levels of waste in the tank, making it difficult to detect leaks.
In addition, one of the SSTs (T-111) is leaking at a much higher rate than thought, some 640 gallons per year.
There are concerns the waste, which is leftover from decades of plutonium production at the 586-square-mile reservation in southeastern Washington, could leak through the aging tanks into the groundwater and the nearby Columbia River.
The report also found that several of the newer double-shell tanks (DSTs) share the same design flaws blamed for leaking in the interior wall of AY-102 – a DST found to be leaking in 2012. DOE is in the process of developing a plant that can convert the radioactive waste into stable glass that can be safely stored for hundreds of years. That plant is years behind schedule, billions of dollars over budget and plagued by unresolved design and safety issues.
Critics, including Wyden, have demanded DOE develop a plan for dealing with the stored waste while those issues are resolved. The governors of Oregon and Washington have urged DOE to build additional storage tanks to hold the waste until the treatment plant is finished. The GAO report notes that DOE estimates building new tanks would take eight years and require $800 million in funding.
The DOE’s acting assistant secretary for environmental management, Mark Whitney, responded to the report by saying DOE already has a plan to constantly monitor the tanks and respond to suspected leaks.
“This program includes the use of robotic ultrasound devices, corrosion monitoring probes, and remote video cameras for the DST,” said Whitney in a written response to the report.
Watchdog: 1-year delay possible at Ga. nuke plant http://www.wrdw.com/home/headlines/Watchdog-1-year-delay-possible-at-Ga-nuke-plant-285994561.html Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014
ATLANTA (AP) — A public watchdog says the construction of a nuclear power plant in Georgia is running a year late, a lag that could trigger big expenses.
Utility analyst Steven Roetger testified Tuesday that construction of two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle could run a year longer than expected. The first new reactor was supposed to be running by late 2017, followed by the second in late 2018.
Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power was originally authorized to spend $6.1 billion on its share of the project. However, the building schedule has already suffered delays and costs have increased. The latest company estimates put the cost at $6.7 billion.
That pricetag does not reflect the cost of additional delays or resolving ongoing litigation between the plant’s builders and owners.
The nuclear money pit, The Economist Does America really need a new plutonium production line? Dec 15th 2014 | LOS ANGELES THE RECENT sabre rattling by Vladimir Putin may have unwittingly done what the United States Congress has failed to do for decades: refocus attention—and billions of additional dollars—on overhauling America’s nuclear arsenal. The $585 billion defence bill for the next fiscal year sailed through the House of Representatives last week with broad bipartisan support, and then did the same in the Senate on December 12th, despite all the fractious squabbling over the $1.1 trillion government funding measure.
More pertinently, the $11.7 billion request for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a branch of the Department of Energy that oversees nuclear weapons, naval reactors and nonproliferation activities on behalf of the military, represents a 4% increase over the previous year. The biggest chunk of that—covering work on modernising the country’s nuclear weapons—is to increase by 7%. All this at a time when mandated “sequestration” cuts are supposed to be reducing military spending.
All told, the federal government intends allocating up to $1 trillion to upgrade the country’s missiles, bombers and submarines over the coming decades. Continue reading
Shinzo Abe reelection increases chance of Japan relying more on nuclear power and less on LNG Straght.com by CHARLIE SMITH on DEC 14, 2014 “……….The election results have strengthened Abe’s hand as he pushes to restart more nuclear reactors in the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that crippled a power plant in Fukushima, spewing radiation across the Pacific Ocean.
The governor of Kagoshima prefecture has already approved firing up two reactors at the Sendai nuclear plant next year, rejecting calls from protesters to keep the facility closed…………….
In 2013, Abe told International Olympic Committee delegates that problems at the Fukushima plant were under control.
This was despite the calculations by Georgia Straight contributor Alex Roslin that about 800 people worldwide would develop cancer from Japanese fish eaten at the time of his article in October 2013.
Meanwhile, Japan News recently reported that a South Korean team will visit the Fukushima power plant and conduct tests on Japanese fish products.
South Korea has maintained a ban on importing fish from eight prefectures, including Fukushima.
The South Korean investigation will occur just as Japan’s nuclear watchdog is calling for the release of contaminated water from the Fukushima plant.
According to an article in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, Nuclear Regulation Authority chairman Shunichi Tanaka said officials will need to gain the consent of local residents.
“I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of tanks (holding water tainted with radioactive substances),” Tanaka told journalists. “We have to dispose of the water.” http://www.straight.com/news/789111/shinzo-abe-reelection-increases-chance-japan-relying-more-nuclear-power-and-less-lng
The group braved blizzards and temperatures as low as minus-28 C as they marched 850 kilometres across the province to take part in environmental hearings on uranium mining.
They fear the waste from mining would contaminate the land and water of Cree communities and encroach on trap lines, and want a ban on uranium exploration.
A hearing by the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) on uranium mining wrapped up on Monday, with a final report expected next May.
“The potential risks associated with uranium mining, which leaves behind thousands of years of radioactive material, that’s what concerns our people,” Chief Richard Shecapio of Mistissini told reporters shortly before the hearings began.
The Cree Nation Youth Council argues that uranium mining would affect tourism, as the region is a popular getaway for fishers………
There’s a moratorium on uranium exploration in Quebec, imposed last year by the previous Parti Québécois government. Before that time, the only uranium project seeking an exploration permit was Strateco Resources Inc.’s Matoush site in the Otish mountains, about 275 kilometres north of Chibougamau.
Yves-François Blanchet, the environment minister at the time, said no permits would be issued for the exploration or mining of uranium until an independent study on the mineral’s social acceptability and environmental impacts had been completed.
Last week, Strateco Resources filed a $190-million lawsuit against the Quebec government for blocking its project after years of ground work.
If you believe the grim predictions of the latest climate science, Shishmaref is just the beginning. Towns in low-lying coastal plains and flood-prone river basins in the lower 48 may be next. A study from the U.S. Geological Surveywarns that 50 percent of the U.S. coastline is at high or very high risk of impacts due to sea level rise; according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 16.4 million Americans live in the coastal flood plain. If we can’t figure out how to save a village with fewer than 600 people from falling into the sea, what hope is there for everyone else?
Climate Change Takes A Village, Huff Post Kate Sheppard firstname.lastname@example.org
As The Planet Warms, A Remote Alaskan Town Shows Just How Unprepared We Are 12/14/2014 “……..The remote village of 563 people is located 30 miles south of the Arctic Circle, flanked by the Chukchi Sea to the north and an inlet to the south, and it sits atop rapidly melting permafrost. In the last decades, the island’s shores have been eroding into the sea, falling off in giant chunks whenever a big storm hits.
The residents of Shishmaref, most of whom are Alaska Native Inupiaq people, have tried to counter these problems, moving houses away from the cliffs and constructing barriers along the northern shore to try to turn back the waves. But in July 2002, looking at the long-term reality facing the island, they voted to pack up and move the town elsewhere.
Relocation has proven much more difficult than that single vote, however. And 12 years later, Shishmaref is still here, ready to begin another school year. Continue reading
Chemical spill at Y-12; building evacuated as part of emergency response http://www.knoxnews.com/news/local-news/chemical-spill-reported-at-y12-personnel-evacuated_18047765
Spill has been contained Frank Munger Dec 16, 2014 OAK RIDGE — Federal spokesman Steven Wyatt confirmed that a chemical spill occurred Tuesday morning inside a building at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant.
The building has been evacuated, but Wyatt could not immediately say how many people had been evacuated. He confirmed that the chemical involved was acetonitrile, a flammable and toxic solvent that can cause respiratory problems if breathed.
Wyatt said the building was the Purification Facility. He said the chemical had been contained in the “affected area.” All employees have been accounted for, with no injuries reported, he said.
The Purification Facility is known to be the facility where Fogbank — a classified substance used in some thermonuclear weapons — is produced. But Wyatt declined to say whether or not the spill was associated with that mission.
ZEMA and Zambia are woefully unqualified to deal with the environmental effects of the proposed uranium mining upstream of the Park and the management of the radiation and its very serious genetic impacts on people.
The Green Party of Zambia and the Lower Zambezi National Park Preserving the Zambezi ecosystem Ian Manning 16 Dec 14,The leader of the Green Party of Zambia, Peter Sinkamba, has set out their platform for the Presidential elections of 20 January 2015: to cancel the mining licence issued to Australia’s Zambezi Resources Limited for the Lower Zambezi National Park. Reading this, the electorate will wonder what could possibly be so important about the proposed mining of a National Park. And why do the Greens consider it the single most important issue facing Zambia today?
Perhaps Sinkamba sees the mining issue – as do I – as a symptom of an extremely serious malaise affecting Zambia. For the mining issue removes the trousers to reveal a suppurating Zambian ulcer on the nations bottom: the continuing existence of a dictatorial, grasping Executive, uncurbed by Government, Parliament, the Judiciary or the Constitution……………..
As a backdrop to this crime against customary people, the International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature meeting took place on 5 and 6 December 2014 in Lima, the judges referring ‘to the Rights of Nature and the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, from the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia in 2010’. ………….
Another reason, I would hope, for putting the mining up in lights, is that the Greens need to expose the fact that consumer capitalism is dying, and that therefore Zambia should adjust its thinking; for we live in a world of declining resources, one increasingly prone to Liebig’s Law where the amount that a species or ecosystem can produce in a given place and time is limited by the resource in shortest supply – something politicians fail to understand……………….
For mining the SNDP lists the mid-Zambezi uranium mines as coming into production – for which no strategic EIA has been conducted, let alone full environmental management plans – as a UNESCO/IUCN mission discovered – mandatory for the issue of prospecting and large-scale mining licences.
ZEMA and Zambia are woefully unqualified to deal with the environmental effects of the proposed uranium mining upstream of the Park and the management of the radiation and its very serious genetic impacts on people. Brugge & Buchner of Tufts University in 2011 concluded that ‘the strong biological plausibility of adverse effects on the brain, on reproduction, including estrogenic effects, on gene expression, and on uranium metabolism’ will not only affect mine workers but also villagers living near uranium mines and processing facilities. They ended on a chilling note, ‘As much damage is irreversible, and possibly cumulative’. In addition, no strategic socio-environmental impact study has been made of the State’s past and present programmes; nor has there been given any thought to maintaining the integrity of Zambia’s cultural and religious heritage………
The Green Party, with the Lower Zambezi National Park as its platform, has certainly provided a litmus test for the future.
For more information on the issue see:
(Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6CeIIPlmD)
Future publication by I. P. A. Manning:
Out of Zambia: its history, conservation and plunder; and an alternative way http://zambeziheritage.wordpress.com/
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