Bill to regulate radiation and nuclear practice passed, Jamaica Star 21 July 15 A Bill seeking to create a legal framework for the regulation of activities, practices, apparatuses and facilities involving ionising radiation and nuclear technology was passed by the Senate on Friday.
The Bill entitled, the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act, 2015, was piloted by Minister of Justice, Senator Mark Golding.
The objectives of the Bill are to protect people and the environment from exposure to ionizing radiation to the maximum extent that is reasonably practicable, taking into account social and economic factors, and recognising the need for the use of ionizing radiation for beneficial purposes; and to protect radioactive sources from misuse that may result in harm to people or the environment. ……..
This Bill seeks to create a robust framework for the regulation of activities, practices, apparatus and facilities involving ionising radiation and nuclear technology, in keeping with international standards and best practices,” the Minister explained.
The Bill, which was approved by the House recently, also prohibits: building, importing, exporting or operating a research reactor………http://jamaica-star.com/latest/article.php?id=235
MANILA – Remember that story we ran about a group of Filipino banana growers who were complaining about their shrinking share of the Japanese market despite a free-trade agreement between the two countries?
Well, here’s an interesting twist to the contentious implementation of the Philippine-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA), which both countries are reviewing.
According to the Department of Agriculture (DA), Tokyo is willing to relax import restrictions on Philippine bananas and other farm products if we agree to import products from Japan’s Fukushima prefecture.
To recall, Fukushima is home to the nuclear power plant that sustained damage after a powerful earthquake in 2011, raising fears of harmful radiation. Thereafter, the Philippines ceased importing farm products from Fukushima.
Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano said Japanese negotiators have asked for the resumption of Philippine imports of Fukushima-grown dairy, rice and fresh vegetables.
“They want us to lower our food safety requirements based on the fact that Canada and other countries have already accepted their farm products. But I don’t see any reason why,” Serrano said.
Besides Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom lifted import restrictions on Fukushima products as early as January last year.
Serrano said the DA will insist that product samples from Fukushima undergo tests at the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) to ensure they are radiation-free before the country resumes imports. Agricultural imports require the DA’s clearance.
“Even if Mars already accepted their produce, it still has to undergo study by our own experts. We have to be careful since it’s their own technical report, which may differ from our own study,” Serrano said.
“It’s not a matter of volume. Even if [the shipment] is just one gram, if it has a radioactive content, it will not pass the requirements under the Food Safety Act,” he said.
“It’s very political for them to show that they have already addressed the problem. It’s what they want to project. There’s pressure. But I don’t see any reason to give in to their demand,” Serrano added.
During the review of the PJEPA, the Philippines has been prodding Japan to bring down duties on farm products. The Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) recently complained that its members have been losing market share, as Tokyo forges free-trade agreements with other banana-supplying countries, the latest of which was Indonesia.
In turn, Japan has asked the Philippines to reduce the number of tariff lines to a “manageable” level.
“Our main interest is our traditional exports like sugar, coconut oil, tropical fruits, fishery and processed food,” Serrano said.
“We want them [Japan] to bring down to zero all their agricultural tariffs to reciprocate our own reduction of tariff,” he said, adding that the Philippines had unilaterally reduced import duties.
“If they want to make true in their commitment to help Philippine agriculture and rural development, put their money where their mouth is,” Serrano said.
Tokyo is pressing Manila to relax its import restrictions on farm products from the Fukushima prefecture in exchange for more trade concessions under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), the Department of Agriculture (DA) revealed on Wednesday.
Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano said that Japanese negotiators want to resume exports of Fukushima-grown produce —including dairy, rice and fresh vegetables—to the Philippines after these were suspended amid concerns about radiation contamination following the nuclear crisis in March 2011.
“They want us to lower our food safety requirements based on the fact that Canada and other countries have already accepted their farm products. But I don’t see any reason why [we should],” Serrano told reporters.
The DA official said that if exports from Fukushima were to resume, all products coming from the prefecture should first undergo tests at the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) to ensure that they are radiation-free.
“Even if Mars already accepted their produce, it still has to undergo study by our own experts. We have to be careful since it’s their own technical report, which may differ from our own study,” Serrano said.
It can be recalled that by January 24, New Zealand, Australia and Canada had lifted import restrictions on products from Fukushima Prefecture based on measurements of radioactive material. Britain allows imports as long as a government-issued radioactive material inspection certificate is submitted.
However, agricultural products from Fukushima prefecture are still widely shunned in other overseas markets, putting more pressure on the Japanese government revive its export market.
“It’s not a matter of volume. Even if [the shipment] is just one gram, if it has radioactive content, it will not pass the requirements under the Food Safety Act,” Serrano added.
“It’s very political for them to show that they have already addressed the problem. It’s what they want to project. There’s pressure. But I don’t see any reason to give in to their demand,” Serrano stressed.
For its part, Manila wants Tokyo to lower import duties on all possible agricultural products—mainly agricultural and marine products for which the Philippines has competitive advantage—that are viable for export to Japan.
“Our main interest is in our traditional exports—like sugar, coconut oil, tropical fruits, fishery and processed food,” Serrano said.
“We want them [Japan] to bring down to zero all their agricultural tariffs to reciprocate our own reduction of tariffs,” Serrano said, stressing that the Philippines has been ahead in reducing its tariff wall compared to Japan.
The DA official, however, said that Japan has appealed to Philippine negotiators, led by the Department of Trade and Industry, to further cut the number of tariff lines to a more “manageable” level.
“If they want to be true to their commitment to help Philippine agriculture and rural development, [they should] put their money where their mouth is,” he said, stressing that the DA wants to keep the number of tariff lines close to their earlier proposal to give the Philippines more elbowroom in the negotiations.
The JPEPA is a bilateral agreement that is intended to liberalize trade, investments and labor relations between the two countries. The Philippine government is seeking for a review of the JPEPA due to Japan’s failure to fulfill its own commitments under the agreement.
Source: The Manila Times
Deadly dome of gorgeous Pacific island leaking radioactive waste news.com.au , JULY 07, 2015 A PICTURESQUE coral atoll that lies northeast of Australia in the Pacific Ocean harbours a deadly secret.
A giant, concrete dome filled with radioactive waste looms above Runit Island, and it’s leaking. Locals call it “The Tomb”.
Runit (or Cactus) dome was used for Cold War nuclear testing by the US government for 10 years from 1948. There were 42 tests in total on Enewetak Atoll, including 22 explosions on platforms, barges and underwater in the space of just three months in 1958, just before a moratorium on atomic testing.
In the late 1970s, an estimated 73,000 cubic metres of contaminated topsoil was deposited in the Cactus nuclear test crater beneath the dome, according to a report commissioned by the US government.
It was only supposed to be a temporary measure — but the dome remains.
Scientists now fear that a major storm, typhoon or other natural disaster coulddamage the 46cm-thick concrete dome, releasing nuclear waste into the sea, The Guardian reports.
The US Department of Energy insists cracks in the dome are merely cosmetic, a result of drying and shrinking of the half-submerged dome, but there are plans for repairs. The 2013 report states that this is to satisfy local concerns, but adds that rainwater could infiltrate through the cracks, possibly affecting groundwater flow and “radionuclide migration into the marine environment”.
Inhabitants of Runit were resettled on nearby Enewetak Island in 1980. Even in the early days, concerns were raised over human exposure to radiation through locally grown food, with resettlers resorting to cans of spam, Columbia University’s Michael Gerrard wrote last year in The New York Times.
Runit remains uninhabited, home only to abandoned bunkers and cables, but locals still visit to fish and salvage scrap metal. It sounds dangerous, but impoverished Marshall Islanders say they have no choice.
And just because Runit is remote, doesn’t mean other countries are totally immune from its influence. A report published in the Environmental Science and Technology journal last year traced plutonium found in Guangdong province in the South China Sea back to the Marshall Islands…….. Continue reading
This dome in the Pacific houses tons of radioactive waste – and it’s leaking, Guardian 3 July 15 The Runit Dome in the Marshall Islands is a hulking legacy of years of US nuclear testing. Now locals and scientists are warning that rising sea levels caused by climate change could cause 111,000 cubic yards of debris to spill into the ocean Black seabirds circle high above the giant concrete dome that rises from a tangle of green vines just a few paces from the lapping waves of the Pacific. Half buried in the sand, the vast structure looks like a downed UFO.
At the summit, figures carved into the weathered concrete state only the year of construction: 1979. Officially, this vast structure is known as the Runit Dome. Locals call it The Tomb.
Below the 18-inch concrete cap rests the United States’ cold war legacy to this remote corner of the Pacific Ocean: 111,000 cubic yards of radioactive debris left behind after 12 years of nuclear tests.
Brackish water pools around the edge of the dome, where sections of concrete have started to crack away. Underground, radioactive waste has already started to leach out of the crater: according to a 2013 report by the US Department of Energy, soil around the dome is already more contaminated than its contents.
Now locals, scientists and environmental activists fear that a storm surge, typhoon or other cataclysmic event brought on by climate change could tear the concrete mantel wide open, releasing its contents into the Pacific Ocean.
“Runit Dome represents a tragic confluence of nuclear testing and climate change,” said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, who visited the dome in 2010.
“It resulted from US nuclear testing and the leaving behind of large quantities of plutonium,” he said. “Now it has been gradually submerged as result of sea level rise from greenhouse gas emissions by industrial countries led by the United States.” Continue reading
Delegates expressed strong opposition to plans to roll out more nuclear power stations in Korea, Japan and Taiwan, and sought the help of Greens parties worldwide in that effort. All want greater efforts in promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy. The Greens are well placed to break through and win seats in upcoming elections in Korea and Taiwan……..
Just as corporations are global, so too the Greens are a global force
Christine Milne: Australia ‘universally condemned’ at regional Greens meeting,Guardian 15 June 15 Too often, the concerns of Pacific Island nations are jettisoned in favour of bigger nations’ interests. The Asia Pacific Greens congress aims to change that . Green parties around the world have been working for decades to address global warming. Australia’s Pacific Island neighbours are already suffering extreme weather events, storm surges, and adverse impacts on their health and livelihoods, with their ability to grow food constrained by salt water incursion into fresh water lenses. At every UN climate meeting they ask for help, and in spite of all the sympathetic talk, their concerns are jettisoned in favour of national sovereignty arguments from more powerful nations like Australia. This has to change.
Over the weekend, the Asia Pacific Greens Federation Congress was held in New Zealand. As global political influence continues to rise in our region, so too the Greens are organising to be heard in those halls of power. Whereas the European Greens and their individual parties have been known and have been in parliaments for decades, it is not so well known that Green politics globally grew out of Australia and New Zealand with the formation of the United Tasmania Group in 1972, followed by the NZ Values Party a few months later. Petra Kelly visited our region, liked what she saw and returned to Germany to establish the German Greens. Now the Australian and New Zealand Greens are working to facilitate the growth of the Asia Pacific Greens.
Marshall Islands, site of largest-ever U.S. nuclear weapons test, sues 9 superpowers including USA, Boing Boing.net By Xeni Jardin , Jun 6, 2015 “The tiny nation of the Republic of the Marshall Islands is once again at the center of international activism, filing two lawsuits, one in US federal court against the United States, and one in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against all nine countries that possess nuclear weapons,” writes Robert Alvarez at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.
The Pacific island nation is suing the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China for failure to eliminate their nuclear arsenals, as called for by theNuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and also names India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel as defendants.
The Marshall Islands site known as Bikini Atoll was the site of the fabled Castle Bravo test, the USA’s first experiment of a dry fuel hydrogen bomb. Detonated on March 1, 1954, it was the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated by the United States.
For many Marshall Islanders, this history remains part of personal and family memory.
Tony DeBrum, Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), asked attendees at the recent Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference how many of them had personally witnessed nuclear weapon detonations. He and his family had vivid memories………
Between 1946 and 1958, the Marshall Islands, then a trust territory of the United States, sustained significant damage and radiological contamination from 67 US atmospheric nuclear weapons tests. The US government exiled hundreds of Marshallese people so the Bikini and Enewetak atolls could be used to host ever more powerful nuclear weapons explosions. Residents of other islands, who were not relocated, suffered serious harm from radioactive fallout. By 1963, outrage originating with the Bravo explosion led to a global campaign that compelled the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom to ratify the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which outlaws nuclear weapons explosions in the oceans, atmosphere, and outer space. http://boingboing.net/2015/06/06/marshall-islands-sues-9-superp.html
Petilla: PHL still not ready for nuclear power June 1, 2015 LINGAYEN, Pangasinan—The operation of the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) and the putting up of a similar one in any part of the country is next to impossible considering the mind-set of the Filipino people.
This in essence, is the opinion of Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla in reaction to the report that former Pangasinan Fifth District Rep. Mark Cojuangco, who is eyeing to run for governor of the province, has not abandoned his earlier call for the operation of the BNPP.
There was also a report that in order to prove that a nuclear plant is safe, he is willing to let one nuclear plant built next to his house in Sison, Pangasinan. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/petilla-phl-still-not-ready-for-nuclear-power/
Nuclear testing victims dubious about commission http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/274486/nuclear-testing-victims-dubious-about-commission The head of an organisation representing victims of nuclear testing in French Polynesia says a commission set up to assess the aftermath of the testing could just be a charade.
It was set up by France’s defence minister, and will be made up of 24 members and chaired by the French High Commissioner in Papeete.
The director of Moruroa e Tatou, which represents victims of testing on the atolls of Mururoa and Fangataufa, says 80-percent of the members suffer serious health conditions, including cancer.
Roland Oldham is questioning why more more evidence is needed.
“Why more more and more commissions…isn’t there enough proof now that it had a bad impact on the environment, and a bad impact on the health of polynesian people – itsn’t it enough proof?”
He says they will make themselves heard.
“As far as we’re concerned, we will be speaking with a very loud voice, because we have had enough of all these lies, of 40 years of lying, and if this commission’s just for another lie, then it’s just a waste of money and a waste of time.”
Mr Oldham says the first meeting will be held in two days.
NZ leader in ‘nuclear thinking’ http://www.nzherald.co.nz/northern-advocate/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503450&objectid=11444033 By Lindy Laird May 6, 2015 New Zealand still punches above its weight in the fight for nuclear weapon disarmament, says Whangarei MP Shane Reti who has just returned from an international conference on the subject.
Mr Reti, the executive secretary of the New Zealand Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, said the Kiwi delegation had no qualms about telling giants like the US to hurry up and decrease its nuclear arsenal.
He was in New York at the five-yearly United Nations review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) last week with Labour MP Phil Goff, who is the Parliamentary anti-nuclear weapons group’s chairman, and NZ Disarmament Ambassador Dell Higie.
“New Zealand is well recognised as leading the world in nuclear thinking.
“We have substantive countries coming to us and saying ‘we’re under the nuclear umbrella, could you speak for us?’,” Mr Reti said.
“We do tell our story, that gives us some leverage,” he said of New Zealand’s anti-nuclear history which includes banning US nuclear weapons-carrying or powered naval ships. But 45 years after the “P5″ nuclear nations – US, United Kingdom, France, China and Russia – agreed to the NPT, dubbed the “grand bargain”, their massive weapons stocks still exist. That grand bargain was essentially if those countries were allowed to keep their nuclear capability in the meantime, they would begin to disarm,” Mr Reti said.
“It’s turning out to be no bargain and nothing grand. It isn’t happening fast enough. The issue for New Zealand at the conference was ‘you need to keep your word’.”
“The ‘Nuclear 5′ are recalcitrant, and the rest of the world is restless,” he said.
Those five nations are also the permanent members on the UN security council. New Zealand and other delegates want the disarmament issue raised in the general assembly forum instead of that security council.
The international focus is shifting to the humanitarian perspective “that moves beyond balancing weapons and talks about body counts”, Mr Reti said. “It also supports, and embedding in legislation de-alerting, or ‘take the finger off the trigger’ – where hours or days instead of minutes are taken to consider launching any retaliatory missiles. In 1983 an electrical storm appeared on Russian screens as a US nuclear missile attack and a counter attack was only avoided because a Russian expert on duty that day demanded visual confirmation,” Mr Reti said.
“Geese flying in large formations have appeared on military screens as a nuclear missile launch.”
Nuclear power a ‘last resort’, says VP The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Tue, April 14 2015 Vice President Jusuf Kalla insists nuclear energy is a last resort for Indonesia, saying the country has alternative options more in line with the country’s geologic and sociological conditions for addressing the looming energy crisis.
“Nuclear is suitable only in Java, and this is a last resort. The sophisticated technology developed by Japan in building its nuclear energy [was not even foolproof], as its plant also leaked”, he said, in an apparent reference to the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in 2011. Such risk is very high for Indonesia, which would not be able to handle it extra cautiously,” he said in a seminar on energy diversification here on Tuesday…….He added it was difficult to build a nuclear power plant in the country because it would elicit strong protests from the public and environmentalists. – See more at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/04/14/nuclear-power-a-last-resort-says-vp.html#sthash.1NRm8NuU.dpuf
– See more at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/04/14/nuclear-power-a-last-resort-says-vp.html#sthash.1NRm8NuU.dpuf– See more at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/04/14/nuclear-power-a-last-resort-says-vp.html#sthash.1NRm8NuU.dpuf
Marshall Islands Will Appeal in Nuclear Case Against US http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/marshall-islands-appeal-nuclear-case-us-30067766 UNITED NATIONS — Apr 2, 2015, By CARA ANNA Associated Press The tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands is persisting with an unprecedented lawsuit demanding that the United States meet its obligations toward getting rid of its nuclear weapons. It filed notice Thursday that it will appeal a federal judge’s decision to dismiss the case. Continue reading
the Guardian’s campaign for divestment from fossil fuels is so important. If you haven’t signed it already, do so for Vanuatu. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/19/developed-nations-sow-wind-vanuatu-reaps-whirlwind
Developed nations have sown the wind, Vanuatu has reaped the whirlwind, Guardian, 19 Mar 15 Andrew Simms As emissions alter weather patterns, island nations are the bellwethers that show what our future will be if we fail to tackle climate change……..joint work in 2011 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US and the UK’s Met Office concluded that a Texas heatwave was 20 times more likely to be caused by climate change than by natural weather variation. A winter warm spell in Britain the same year was 62 times more likely than in the 1960s. The Met Office’s Hadley Centre now confidently states that it “can identify any changed risk of such events”.
In time, more analysis will be done on Cyclone Pam, but Lonsdale’s personal experience and gut reaction fits a pattern of expectations described in the most recent and most comprehensive collation of science on extreme events in theIPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report. It concluded that: “The frequency of the most intense storms will more likely than not increase in some basins. More extreme precipitation near the centres of tropical cyclones making landfall is projected in North and Central America, east Africa, west, east, south and southeast Asia as well as in Australia and many Pacific islands.”
So, while the present is pretty bad for Vanuatu, in a warming world the future looks set to worsen. For this island nation, that is bitterly ironic. . Vanuatu is an archipelago in the western Pacific, famous for having no regular military. When it topped the index in 2006 its ecological footprint per person was no higher than those in non-industrialised countries like Mali and Swaziland, life expectancy matched that in Turkey, and life satisfaction levels were considered as high as New Zealand’s. It is democratic, rich in natural wealth but, being remote, exports little, avoiding the scramble of competing in global markets. It is also hugely culturally diverse with more than 100 languages spoken across its islands.
Small island states tend to do very well in the index topped by Vanuatu. Over countless generations and in the face of geographical isolation, many Pacific islands developed more cooperative economies and highly resilient farming methods. In a warming world they are bellwethers, and carry lessons for us all. If climate change renders small island states unliveable, the international community will sooner or later have to learn to accept and support environmental refugees. Though this would be tragic, remote island populations can, at least, relocate. However, blue island-planet populations cannot.
We will seal our own fate if we fail to learn to share and live within our overall environmental thresholds. There is a long way to go. The World Bank recently tweeted that climate change exacerbates the risk of already costly disasters. It’s a shame then, that as recently as 2012-13 the World Bank Group increased lending to $2.7bn for fossil fuel projects, including toward new oil and gas exploration.
It’s one more reason why the Guardian’s campaign for divestment from fossil fuels is so important. If you haven’t signed it already, do so for Vanuatu. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/19/developed-nations-sow-wind-vanuatu-reaps-whirlwind
Nuclear waste, arsenic at SC coal plant raise concern BY SAMMY FRETWELL email@example.com March 7, 2015 HARTSVILLE, SC — Just a few hundred yards from Lake Robinson lies an old waste pond that, until this year, was among the least of Duke Energy’s worries in the Carolinas……..documents that have surfaced recently show the unlined 55-acre basin has leaked arsenic – and it has the unusual legacy of being a dump site for low-level nuclear waste. Both findings are producing new questions about how to cleanse the mess at Duke Energy’s H.B. Robinson power station……..
in the 1980s, at least 69,000 cubic meters of radiation-tinged sediment wound up in the coal ash pond from the nuclear plant, a rare occurrence because most power plants don’t include both coal-and nuclear-fired units.
State regulators in South Carolina said they knew of no other power plant site where atomic waste wound up in a coal ash pond. A spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Atlanta said the practice is rare…….http://www.thestate.com/2015/03/07/4031773_nuclear-waste-arsenic-at-sc-coal.html?rh=1
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