With the enthusiastic connivance of the Australian Government (more precisely, prime minister Robert Menzies, who bypassed his cabinet), the British detonated about a dozen nukes in our backyard. More than 8000 servicemen were involved in the tests and the measures for their safety were perfunctory at best and criminal at worst.
‘Death ash’ rains on betrayed men, Courier Mail Terry Sweetman , The Sunday Mail (Qld) February 24, 2013
ONE of the great ironies of history is that the Japanese fishing boat that took 23 men into the fiery breath of America’s first hydrogen bomb was called the Lucky Dragon No 5.
That was on March 1, 1954, which is ancient history to most Australians, but there is a tragic echo right here and right now.
Lucky Dragon was fishing off Bikini Atoll, outside the declared danger zone, when the Castle Bravo thermonuclear device was detonated.
Oops. The blast was about twice as powerful as the boffins had calculated and the Lucky Dragon was showered with radioactive dust, which the Japanese poetically called death ash.
Soon the fishermen began to suffer nausea, pain and skin inflammation and, in September, radio operator Kuboyama Aikichi died.
It was a shocking incident but more shocking was the initial cover-up and official disinformation. Read more »
Flashback: When David stood up to Goliath stuff.co New Zealand, 9 Feb 13, The Dominion Post, TOM HUNT ”,,,,,It may have soured our relationship with Washington and provided a dramatic end to a paradisiacal trip to Tokelau, but it certainly set Lange up as New Zealand’s David versus America’s Goliath.
February 4, 1985 was the day the New Zealand Government backed overwhelming public anti-nuclear sentiment and effectively became officially nuclear free – even if legislation was still two years away.
”I felt so proud,” long-standing anti-nuclear protester Barney Richards said this week.
”We stood up against the most powerful nation in the world. And we had a major victory.”
He remembers a reporter travelling all the way from Britain ”to see for himself the little country that snubbed its nose to the world”. Read more »
Russia explores old nuclear waste dumps in Arctic By Laurence Peter BBC News, 24 Jan 13, The toxic legacy of the Cold War lives on in Russia’s Arctic, where the Soviet military dumped many tonnes of radioactive hardware at sea.
For more than a decade, Western governments have been helping Russia to remove nuclear fuel from decommissioned submarines docked in the Kola Peninsula – the region closest to Scandinavia.
But further east lies an intact nuclear submarine at the bottom of the Kara Sea, and its highly enriched uranium fuel is a potential time bomb.
This year the Russian authorities want to see if the K-27 sub can be safely raised, so that the uranium – sealed inside the reactors – can be removed.
They also plan to survey numerous other nuclear dumps in the Kara Sea, where Russia’s energy giant Rosneft and its US partner Exxon Mobil are now exploring for oil and gas.Seismic tests have been done and drilling of exploratory wells is likely to begin next year, so Russia does not want any radiation hazard to overshadow that. Rosneft estimates the offshore fossil fuel reserves to be about 21.5bn tonnes.
The Kara Sea region is remote, sparsely populated and bitterly cold, frozen over for much of the year. The hostile climate would make cleaning up a big oil spill hugely challenging, environmentalists say.
Those fears were heightened recently by the Kulluk accident – a Shell oil rig that ran aground in Alaska…….. ”In the US the Arctic gets great public scrutiny and it’s highly political, but in Russia there is less public pressure.” Read more »
Nuclear plant gets funds By Amy R. Remo Philippine Daily Inquirer,
6th, 2013 MANILA, Philippines—State-run National Power Corp. has
secured lawmakers’ nod to allocate P50 million this year for the
upkeep of the mothballed 630-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant
In an interview with the Inquirer, Napocor president Froilan A.
Tampinco said that both houses of Congress as well as the Department
of Budget and Management (DBM) had agreed to reinstate the proposed
budget for the maintenance of the country’s first and only nuclear
Tampinco said that with sufficient explanation, Napocor was able to
convince Congress of the necessity of such an allocation for a
government asset that has remained idle for decades, yet one that the
Department of Energy said cannot be neglected.
The BNPP was built during the Marcos era by Westinghouse Electric at a
cost of $2.2 billion. It was mothballed in 1986 due to safety
concerns, even before it could begin operations.
The group is also calling on the Philippine government to commit to
fully implement the Renewable Energy Law to achieve 50 percent
renewable energy in the country’s energy mix by 2020.
Greenpeace slams DOE chief’s plan to revive nuclear power program
By DJ Yap
Philippine Daily Inquirer
December 28th, 2012 MANILA, Philippines — The
environmentalist organization Greenpeace has asked Energy Secretary
Carlos Jericho Petilla to abandon his department’s plans to revive the
use of nuclear energy in the Philippines.
The group said it was shocked at the Department of Energy’s recent
proposal to revive the use of nuclear energy to power the country as
“this plan goes against global trends as far as safety is concerned.”
“Worldwide, the nuclear industry is declining having failed to
establish itself as a clean, cheap, safe or reliable energy source. Read more »
Verdi man recalls ‘Operation Crossroads’ nuclear tests of
1946 and ‘unsinkable’ USS Nevada, Guy Clifton: RGJ.com, 23 Dec 12“…..Larson was a
19-year-old sailor assigned to the carrier USS Independence. In July
1946, he was part of the crew that sailed the Independence to Bikini
Atoll in the south Pacific, where it and other aged naval vessels —
including the USS Nevada — were targets in Operations Crossroads, a
series of tests conducted by the U.S. to investigate the effect of
nuclear weapons on naval ships. Read more »
Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 12, 2012) – France has agreed to compensate five French Polynesians for the damage caused to their health by its nuclear weapons tests in the South Pacific.
The Nouvelles de Tahiti says this was announced after a meeting of the compensation committee at the defense ministry in Paris.
In July, France had deemed that only four of the 720 applications were eligible for any compensation under a law passed three years ago.
Veterans’ organizations have strongly criticized the law for being far too restrictive, but the new defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, says any change to it is not on the agenda.
Until 2008, France claimed that its nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific were clean and had caused no harm.
United Nations Report Reveals the Ongoing Legacy of Nuclear Colonialism in the Marshall Islands Asia Pacific Journal, 11 Dec 12, Robert Jacobs & Mick Broderick In September of 2012, Dr. Calin Georgescu, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and waste, submitted his report on the legacy of the nuclear weapon testing
program of the United States in the Marshall Islands to the Human Rights Council of the UN.1
This long overdue report offers a harsh assessment of the history of American nuclear testing in the Pacific and the subsequent underplaying of both the health and welfare of the
Marshallese, and the radiological contamination wrought by the 67 nuclear weapon tests (atmospheric and underwater) conducted there between 1946 and 1958. Read more »
Where even the earth is melting, SMH, November 28, 2012 Ben CubbyENVIRONMENT EDITOR THE world is on the cusp of a “tipping point” into dangerous climate change, according to new data gathered by scientists measuring methane leaking from the Arctic permafrost and a report presented to the United Nations on Tuesday.
“The permafrost carbon feedback is irreversible on human time scales,” says the report, Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost. “Overall, these observations indicate that large-scale thawing of permafrost may already have started.”
While countries the size of Australia tally up their greenhouse emissions in hundreds of millions of tonnes, the Arctic’s stores are measured in tens of billions. Human-induced emissions now appear to have warmed the Arctic enough tounlock this vast carbon bank, with stark implications for international efforts to hold global warming to a safe level. Ancient
forests locked under ice tens of thousands of years ago are beginning to melt and rot, releasing vast amounts of greenhouse gases into the air. Read more »
PARADISE WITH AN ASTERISK, OUTSIDE MAGAZINE, OCTOBER 17, 2012 Bikini Atoll, a tiny ring of islands halfway between Hawaii and Australia, is a world-class diving destination and home to one of the Pacific’s last great fishing grounds. So where are all the tourists? Welcome to heaven on earth, where the vestiges of hell lie just below the surface. Read more »
PARADISE WITH AN ASTERISK, OUTSIDE MAGAZINE, OCTOBER 17, 2012“…”………WHAT HAPPENED TO THE displaced islanders after 1946 was a tragedy of neglect. There was never enough food on Rongerik: the reef fish were poisonous; a fire damaged the island’s coconut trees. There was not enough water. By 1948, they were starving to death, even though the United States had committed to taking care of them. In March of that year, the Bikinians were moved to Kwajalein Island, home to a new U.S. naval base, where they camped miserably on a small strip of grass next to the runway. A few months later they were relocated yet again, this time to the island of Kili.
This was a disaster, too, but of a different kind. Kili was a true island, which meant that there was no ring of coral, no protected lagoon, no jungle-fringed outer islands to fish and hunt, just the big waves of the Pacific crashing up against rugged shores. Fishing was nearly impossible. “It was just a small piece of rock in the middle of the ocean with some coconuts growing on it,” says Alson. Once again food supplies were intermittent. At one point, the island’s new inhabitants required an emergency airdrop. The Bikinian exile continued for another 20 years, long after the last bomb, code-named Fig, was detonated in August of 1958……
The final devastating blow came in 2010, when the Bikinians lost their largest lawsuit against the U.S. government. In 2001, the Nuclear Claims Tribunal—a body established in 1983, as part of the Compact of Free Association, to handle Marshall Islands complaints—awarded the Bikinians $563 million in compensation. But the tribunal was never adequately funded to pay a claim of that size. The Bikinians sued to force payment, but the effort failed when the Supreme Court refused to hear the case in 2010, claiming it doesn’t have the right to rule over international agreements. The U.S. courts are now closed to them. “It was absolutely devastating,” says Niedenthal. “We always had the idea and the hope that we were fighting for something. When we got the final rejection by the Supreme Court, that was it. We’re done.”http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/nature/Paradise-With-An-Asterisk.html?168980656
The hydrogen bomb that was detonated on this spot on March 1, 1954, created a fireball four miles wide and raised the temperature of the lagoon water to 99,000 degrees. The blast was 1,000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb and nearly three times stronger than its creators expected. It shook islands 250 miles away. It vaporized three islands in the atoll. And it killed every living thing in the air, on land, and in the sea for miles around.
PARADISE WITH AN ASTERISK, OUTSIDE MAGAZINE, OCTOBER 17, 2012“……..Operation Crossroads, the most spectacular and expensive science experiment in history, was first proposed in August 1945, a few weeks after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. President Harry Truman had ordered the Army and Navy to conduct further tests of nuclear weapons. The reason, which sounds implausible if not ridiculous today, was to see if atomic bombs, when dropped on warships at sea, would sink them. Read more »
PEC-funded projects have brought power to the lives of more than 10,000 people in the Solomon Islands; will reduce Samoa’s fuel usage by 135,000 litres per annum; and, in the Federated States of Micronesia, reduce carbon emissions by 500 tonnes and induce fuel cost savings of 486,000 dollars per year.
Pacific Island Sets Renewable Energy Record, Alert Net, 26 Oct 2012 By Catherine Wilson BRISBANE, (IPS) – Tokelau, a small Polynesian territory in the central Pacific, has surpassed the rest of the world in replacing fossil fuels and raised the benchmark of achievement on sustainable development. Read more »
No backdown on nuclear-free NZ: Key Herald Sun AAP September 24, 2012 NEW Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key is promising there will be no backdown on the country’s nuclear-free status as part of renewedco-operation with the United States.
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta visited New Zealand last week, and raised the possibility of having US troops based here…… During his visit, Mr Panetta announced New Zealand navy vessels will be able visit Defence Department and Coastguard facilities in the US and around the world.
Mr Key has also invited a US Coastguard vessel to visit New Zealand - as long as it’s not nuclear-powered.
“There’ll be no change to New Zealand’s anti-nuclear legislation, no change to the provisions about boats that would come to New Zealand,” he told TVNZ’s Breakfast…… http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/no-backdown-on-nuclear-free-nz-key/story-e6frf7k6-1226479988638
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