Mururoa nuclear testing witness spent years in pain, group seeks answers, Mururoa Veterans, SIMON EDWARDS, August 17 2015 There’s no doubt in Christine Hapuku’s mind that her late brother’s health problems stemmed from his exposure to fallout from the French nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll.
At the weekend Christine and Alec Gage’s wider family unveiled his headstone at Wainuiomata’s Memorial Garden, a year ago almost to the day since his death.
……..Gage was a sailor on HMNZS Otago, which with the frigate Canterbury sailed to Mururoa in 1973 to protest the nuclear testing by France. He and his brother Bob, who was also on board, would talk about standing on the ship’s deck wearing metal discs around their necks that were to measure how much radiation they absorbed. The pair said the atmospheric testing fall-out was like fine rain, Hapuku said.
“Even the French acknowledged the bombs were a lot stronger than they were meant to be.
“Those discs were collected and never seen again.”
…….Christine Hapuku said medical researchers used to talk to Alec when he was in hospital but they never heard anything more. She is hoping further research being pursued by the Mururoa veterans’ group might give the family some closure.
The Mururoa Nuclear Veterans Group is searching for all those who sailed to Mururoa Atoll in 1973 aboard HMNZS Canterbury and HMNZS Otago. The group, formed in 2013 and registered as a Legal Society, monitors the medical conditions that have affected not only the personnel aboard the two frigates but also their children and grandchildren.
The group’s president, Wayne O’Donnell, said because there was no full list of the veterans who served at Mururoa they need the public’s help.
“Unfortunately over the years contact has been lost with the widows and children of those who have ‘crossed the bar’ and we need to make contact with these people so they can be informed of any findings.”
The group established a trust fund to enable the medical testing of the veterans’ children and grandchildren. “It is hoped the results will establish the truth of the genetic transfer of illnesses related to the nuclear exposure encountered by the crews,” O’Donnell says.
……Anyone with information should email@example.com
Kiwis exposed to radiation in seafood – study http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/kiwis-exposed-to-radiation-in-seafood—study-2015081507#axzz3ipQ2JViV Saturday 15 Aug 2015 New Zealanders who eat a lot of seafood may be exposing themselves to radiation and putting their health at risk, a study suggests.
Researchers found seafood such as mussels, paua and oysters contained concentrated levels of radiation.
Those at particular risk were sub-populations for whom fish consumption was culturally important and those relying of fishing and shellfish collection to feed their families, the study’s authors said in an article released on Friday.
“Seafood has importance to the New Zealand population as a source of nutrition consumed in considerable amounts by some sectors of the community,” they said.
“Chemical contaminants in seafood can therefore lead to significant health burdens to the population and it is an important public health function to identify the contaminants of concern and characterise their exposure.”
Researchers measured levels of radioactive caesium and polonium in 36 kinds of seafood.
Levels of caesium were of minimal dietary concern, but levels of polonium could “contribute significantly to the dietary does of ionising radiation for high seafood consumers, although the magnitude varies considerably depending on the composition of seafood species consumed,” the researchers said.
They found levels in New Zealand were the same as found in other countries, which suggested the radiation was a worldwide result of global nuclear testing rather than the 2011 Fukushima incident.
Radiation levels were higher in seafood than other foods, they said.
The study by Andrew Pearson, Sally Gaw, Nikolaus Hermanspahn and Chris Glover was published in the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity earlier this year.
SEAFOOD WITH HIGHER CONCENTRATED RADIATION LEVELS:
- Slapjack tuna
- greenshell mussels
- queen scallop
- rock lobster
- Bluff oyster
- littleneck clams
Nuclear protesters call for radiation health study NZ Herald Aug 3, 2015 Veterans of New Zealand’s frigate protest at nuclear tests in the South Pacific are calling for a study into the effects of radiation on their health and their children and grandchildren.
About 500 men served on HMNZS Otago and HMNZS Canterbury during the 1973 official Labour Government’s sea-borne challenge to testing in the atmosphere at a French Polynesian atoll.
Mururoa Nuclear Veterans Group president Wayne O’Donnell said the group wanted to monitor medical problems of the veterans and their families.
However, without a full list of those who served on the frigates, the group needed to get in touch with crew, or their widows and families.
The group aims to set up a trust fund to enable medical testing of veteran’s children and grandchildren.
It sought data on issues suffered by the children and also mothers during conception and child birth.
“It is hoped the results will establish the truth of the genetic transfer of illnesses related to the nuclear exposure encountered by the crews that were sent to Muruoa Atoll in 1973,” said Mr O’Donnell.
Since the group formed two years ago, he said it had met Veterans Affairs Minister Craig Foss and senior officials and more communication was expected from both sides……….http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11490895
Vanishing Paradise Kiribati – A Case of Ecomigration : Dr Abe V Rotor http://avrotor2.blogspot.com.au/ 31 July 15 Kiribati main island is formerly Atoll Christmas, named by Captain Cook when he arrived on Christmas Eve in 1777. The island, like most islands in the region, faces irreversible submergence and sea water intrusion as a result of rising sea level brought about by global warming. The island was used as nuclear testing ground by the United States in the fifties and sixties.
Aerial view of the Kiribati group of islands. Rising sea level is forcing inhabitants to leave permanently their home islands, a classical example of modern day exodus – ecomigration. Displaced inhabitants are being settled mainly in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
Kiribati (pronounced /ˈkɪrɨbæs/ ( listen) KIRR-i-bas; Gilbertese: [ˈkiɾibas]), composed of 32 atolls and one raised coral island, dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometres, (1,351,000 square miles) straddling the equator, and bordering the International Date Line at its easternmost point. Kiribati is the only country in the world located on both hemispheres and lying on both sides of the 180th meridian.
The groups of islands are:
* Banaba: an isolated island between Nauru and the Gilbert Islands
* Gilbert Islands: 16 atolls located some 930 miles (1,500 km) north of Fiji
* Phoenix Islands: 8 atolls and coral islands located some 1,100 miles (1,800 km) southeast of the Gilberts
* Line Islands: 8 atolls and one reef, located about 2,050 miles (3,300 km) east of the Gilberts.
Caroline Atoll channel between west side of Long Island and Nake Island.
Used for nuclear testing in the 1950s and 1960s, the island is now valued for its marine and wildlife resources. It is particularly important as a seabird nesting site—with an estimated 6 million birds using or breeding on the island, including several million Sooty Terns.
According to the South Pacific Regional Environment Program, two small uninhabited Kiribati islets, Tebua Tarawa and Abanuea, disappeared underwater in 1999. The islet of Tepuka Savilivili no longer has any coconut trees due to salination. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that sea levels will rise by about half a metre (20 in) by 2100 due to global warming and a further rise would be inevitable. It is thus likely that within a century the nation’s arable land will become subject to increased soil salination and will be largely submerged.
Rising level level is also being felt in many countries, particularly island-countries like the Philippines.
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.”
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