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
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.”
Green Parties call for a nuclear free region on anniversary of Fukushima, Global Greens 10 March, 2015 “……The Green Parties of the Asia Pacific region offer our sincere condolences for the tragedy suffered, and our solidarity with the people and Green Party of Japan.
We use this anniversary to remind the Governments of the world, that it is the responsibility of all nations to ensure the safety of our planet.
There is no doubt, the suffering for the Japanese people has been immense, especially for those living in and around Fukushima, and it is not yet over. The world has already witnessed suffering following nuclear disasters in Chernobyl (Ukraine), Khystym (Russia), Sellafield (United Kingdom), and Three Mile Island (USA). However, there are currently 71 new nuclear plants under construction around the world, the majority of which are in the Asia Pacific region (China 26, Taiwan 2, India 6, Japan 2, Pakistan 2, South Korea 5). (3)
It is time we fully committed to a nuclear-free world.
Whether your country is listed as one of these constructing further nuclear plants or not, we are all implicated in the nuclear supply chain – through uranium mining, refining, power generation, radioactive waste, nuclear weapons, or through complicity by not discouraging the practice of our trading partners.
Green Parties around the globe oppose the expansion of nuclear power and are working to rapidly phase it out. Nuclear energy is not the emissions-free solution that the world needs to address climate change, in fact, it is a net producer of greenhouse gases.(4)
As we have seen with Fukushima, the human and planetary costs are too high, and when examining the nuclear supply chain, it is simply ineffective at reducing emissions.
We need to stay focused on transitioning to clean renewable energy sources – these are not only safer, but offer a more equitable solution. We can achieve economic development with genuine quality of life through a sustainable smart green economy. Examples of this kind of development include community-based, co-operative, renewable energy operations complemented by reduced energy consumption through electricity saving government policies.
At this critical moment, we ask the people Asia Pacific to call on their governments to:
- Commit to a nuclear-free world.
- Move to clean equitable renewable energy solutions for your country
- Provide democratic process in citizens’ referenda on nuclear power.
- Ensure information transparency, participatory democracy, social and environmental justice for residents living near power plants and nuclear waste fields.
- Prioritise in decision-making the wellbeing of our planet and future generations.
The Asia-Pacific Greens Federation (APGF) Coordination Committee
The APGF’s members are:
- Australia: Australian Greens
- India: Uttarakhand Parivartan Party (UKPP)
- Indonesia: Sarekat Hijau (Indonesian Green Union)
- Japan: Greens Japan
- Korea, Republic of: Green Party Korea
- Mongolia: Mongolian Green Party
- Mongolia: Civil Will Green Party of Mongolia
- Nepal: Nepali Greens (Green Civil Society)
- New Zealand: Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand
- Pakistan: Pakistan Green Party
- Taiwan: Green Party Taiwan http://www.globalgreens.org/news/green-parties-call-nuclear-free-region-anniversary-fukushima
“There is only one thing more dangerous than being attacked by nuclear weapons and that is being protected by them.”
NEW ZEALAND ROBUSTLY DEFENDS NUCLEAR BAN Eurasia Review FEBRUARY 1, 2015 BY NEENA BHANDARI The small Pacific island country of New Zealand has punched above its weight in the international disarmament debate. For nearly three decades it has pursued an active nuclear free policy, banning entry of US warships carrying nuclear weapons or propelled by nuclear power into its ports despite being part of the ANZUS Treaty.
NZ, along with the United States (US) and Australia, was amongst the three original signatory governments to the ANZUS treaty, a trilateral framework for security arrangements and cooperation, which was concluded in 1951.
From the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, New Zealand opposed French nuclear tests in the Pacific. In 1983, the visit of the nuclear-powered frigate USS Texas sparked protests. Ordinary people spurred an anti-nuclear movement, which reached its peak in the mid-1980s and shaped NZ’s foreign policy and identity as a nation.
“It was an extremely broad campaign, which included professionals, neighbourhood groups, students, religious, non-religious, young and old. In many ways, it was the diversity and the non-hierarchical nature of the movement that was part of its appeal and strength. At one point there were over 300 local activist groups across the country,” says Marie Leadbeater, the author of `Peace, Power and Politics: How New Zealand became nuclear free
The defining moment came in July 1985 with the sinking of the Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior, which had been involved in protests over French nuclear testing. Continue reading
Tokelau Wins EECA Renewable Energy Award http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4326 29 May 14, The Pacific territory of Tokelau has been named the 2014 EECA Renewable Energy Award winner for its solar efforts.
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) is a New Zealand government agency that supports energy efficiency, energy conservation and the use of renewable energy in New Zealand and its Territories.
Like many island nations, Tokelau has in the past relied heavily on expensive and polluting diesel generators for electricity supply.
Thanks to the Tokelau Renewable Energy Project, three large solar panel arrays arrays are now operating on Tokelau’s three atolls, some powered by SMA inverters. The project was completed last year.
These solar farms are now providing 90% of Tokelau’s electricity needs and place it among the world’s top nations for renewably-sourced electricity. Harvesting the sun’s energy is expected to save Tokelau roughly NZD $900,000 (~ AUD $824,500) per year in diesel costs.
The Tokelau Renewable Energy Project (TREP) was a joint undertaking between the Government of Tokelau and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“Island communities such as Tokelau, with few energy alternatives, are ideal sites for solar-generated electricity,” EECA Chief Executive Mike Underhill.
“This project showed immense vision and drive from the leaders and communities of Tokelau. They are showing other Pacific nations the way – as well as highlighting to the world the need for more renewable energy and less carbon-intensive fossil fuels.”
Solar power represents so much more to Tokelau than just a stable, clean electricity supply. It’s a flagship for the battle against climate change and a signal to the world.
At their highest point, the islands rise around 2 metres above sea level. Tokelau is a nation in the front-line of the effects of climate change – and it is already experiencing the effects of rising seas. It is believed Tokelau could be the first nation to disappear under the waves unless dramatic action is taken to rein in carbon emissions.
NZ Lends A Solar Helping Hand In Pacific Nations http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4277 New Zealand is supporting the construction of the Pacific’s largest solar panel array in Samoa and also providing a helping hand for other Pacific Nations to pursue clean energy.
According to New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, the country is working in partnership with the Government of Samoa, the European Union and the Asia Development Bank to increase renewable energy in Samoa.
Part of the project includes the construction of 2.2 MW installation at the Apia Sports Complex, a smaller array on the rooftop of one of the gymnasiums at the Complex; plus another solar power system in Salelologa, Savaii.
“Renewable energy is a strong focus of New Zealand’s support to developing countries. The investments in Samoa reflect commitments made at the Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland last year,” Mr McCully said.
Elsewhere in the Pacific, New Zealand has been assisting in Tuvalu where 95 percent of electricity is currently gained from diesel generation.
New Zealand has funded the construction of four small scale solar-hybrid systems on the Islands of Niutao, Nanumanga, Nanumea and Vaitupu; which will provide 90 per cent of the islands’ electricity needs and improve continuity of service.
Last week, New Zealand also entered into a partnership with the European Union (EU), and Tuvalu to continue this work
“This in an excellent example of New Zealand’s cooperation with the EU on renewable energy and the sort of practical projects we can deliver in partnership with Pacific countries,” Mr McCully says.
On Kiribati’s Kiritimati Island, which also has a heavy reliance on imported diesel fuel for electricity generation, New Zealand and the EU have entered into an agreement to allow for greater technical cooperation relating to renewable energy project development on the island.
Many Pacific nations are low-lying and particularly threatened by sea level rises spurred on by global warming; so the shift from fossil fuels is as much about survival and setting an example for the rest of the world to follow as it is about saving money.
New Zealand, EU push ahead with renewable energy initiatives in Pacific http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/article_xinhua.aspx?id=213961 Apr 22,2014 WELLINGTON, (Xinhua) — A joint New Zealand-European Union (EU) mission will tour four Pacific island countries this week to assess progress on renewable energy projects, New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully announced Tuesday.
The tour follows up on the Pacific Energy Summit in New Zealand in March last year and the launch of the European Union-New Zealand Energy Access Partnership to fund renewable energy projects in the region. The summit’s aim was to move Pacific nations closer to achieving 50 percent of their electricity from renewable means and 635 million NZ dollars (545.02 million U.S. dollars) was secured for Pacific energy projects.
“This mission is an opportunity to see the progress being made on renewable energy initiatives in Samoa, Tuvalu, Kiribati, and the Cook Islands, and to meet with the Pacific governments and organizations to discuss opportunities for further cooperation,” McCully said in a statement. “Representatives from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the International Renewable Energy Agency are also joining the mission to gain further insight into the potential for sustainable energy across the Pacific,” he said.
“Renewable energy is a strong focus of our support to developing countries and we are committed to working with partners like the European Union to deliver clean, safe and reliable energy projects.”
European Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, who will accompany McCully on the mission, said the EU projects included solar panels installed to renewable provide electricity in Apia, extending the availability of reliable electricity with solar panels for Tuvalu’ s outer islands, and agreeing with the Asian Development Bank to construct six photovoltaic power plants in the Cook Islands.
In Kiribati, Piebalgs would also launch a barge that would protect Tarawa’s beaches from silt build-up and open a laboratory dedicated to monitoring and responding to environmental diseases.
Both projects were necessary to mitigate the effects of climate change in Kiribati, Piebalgs said in a statement.
“During the campaign we saw the impacts of climate change. We know those islands are among the most vulnerable to climate change.”The desire to more effectively conduct projects in the Pacific was also the reason the UAE signed the partnership arrangement with the New Zealand ministry of foreign affairs and trade.
Renewable energy projects key to UAE’s diplomatic efforts http://www.thenational.ae/uae/environment/renewable-energy-projects-key-to-uaes-diplomatic-efforts 26 Jan 14 ABU DHABI // Renewable-energy projects are now a mainstay of diplomatic efforts with developing nations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says.
At Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week last week, technology partnerships were signed with New Zealand and Denmark, and plans announced to give US$20 million (Dh73.4m) in aid to Pacific Island states.
Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, director of energy and climate change at the ministry, said clean energy had been identified as a major area of focus for UAE diplomacy. Dr Al Zeyoudi said the money would go to Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Continue reading
NZ’s nuclear-free legislation wins top disarmament award, Scoop, 24 October 2013, World Future Council, New Zealand’s ground-breaking nuclear-free legislation wins top disarmament award
Hamburg/Geneva/New York – 23 October 2013: In 1987, against the backdrop of rising Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, New Zealand passed its ground-breaking Nuclear-Free Act, which banned nuclear weapons and meant US nuclear-armed and nuclear-powered ships were no longer allowed in New Zealand ports.
Today, more than 25 years later, the policy has been announced by the World Future Council as winner of the Silver Future Policy Award. This year’s award seeks to highlight disarmament policies that contribute to the achievement of peace, sustainable development and human security. This evening, a formal awards ceremony will be convened at UN Headquarters……
New Zealand’s policy started as a radical and utopian gesture, and has become part of our national identity – our DNA,” says New Zealander Alyn Ware, winner of the 2009 Right Livelihood Award for his work on nuclear disarmament, and a participant in the Future Policy Award ceremony at the United Nations on 23 October. “It inspires other countries, and empowers us kiwis to take nuclear abolition global.’
The Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco) won the 2013 Future Policy Gold Award, while Argentina’s “National Programme for the Voluntary Surrender of Firearms” also received Silver. Four additional disarmament policies from Belgium, Costa Rica, Mongolia and Mozambique/South Africa were recognized as Honourable Mentions.
The Future Policy Award is the only award that honours policies rather than people on an international level. The World Future Council convened this year’s Award in partnership with the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1310/S00241/nzs-nuclear-free-legislation-wins-top-disarmament-award.htm
China assures ships are nuclear free New Zealand Herald, By Audrey Young @audreyNZH Oct 11, 2013 China has given a guarantee to the Government that its three ships visiting Auckland today comply with New Zealand anti-nuclear law, Prime Minister John Key says.
He said he signed off the paper work – required under New Zealand’s anti nuclear legislation – a week or 10 days ago that says he is satisified it complies.
He also reiterated that the United States would be welcome if its ships met the criteria of being neither nuclear powered or armed.
A Chinese destroyer, a frigate and a supply ship are due to arrive in Auckland today……..
The United States policy has long had a policy of neither confirming nor denying nuclear weaponry or capability and China’s willingness to vouch for its ships is in stark contrast.
New Zealand’s anti-nuclear policy first promoted by the Labour Government in 1984 eventually led to a suspension of the Anzus security alliance that New Zealand had with the United States and Australia. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11138519
the MoD’s position is further evidence of a “cover-up” to protect the civilian nuclear industry.
Fife nuclear veteran denied information on radiation The Courier UK, By Michael Alexander, 30 July 2013 A Christmas Island veteran from Fife has been denied access to information about the levels of radiation received by New Zealand research ships during nuclear testing in the 1950s because it “may harm international relations” between the UK and New Zealand.
Dave Whyte, 76, of Kirkcaldy, recently placed a freedom of information question on the level of radiation the New Zealand Royal Naval ships Pukaki and Rotoiti received whilst patrolling Christmas Island during the British nuclear tests.
A scientific study carried out for the New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans Association in 2007 concluded that the crews of these ships received three times the normal level of “chromosomal translocation”, leading to long term genetic damage.
However, the Ministry of Defence has now told him that while it does hold the exposure information, it is to be withheld because the request “requires consultation with a foreign government and disclosure would prejudice international relations”. Continue reading
In April 2006, the Herald reported Dr Rowland saying a small but statistically significant level of genetic damage had been found.
“Taking all confounding factors [like smoking, alcohol and medical x-rays] into account, we are left with only one other interpretation of what it is about this group that’s different to the control group: they went to Operation Grapple.”
His work on chromosome damage – the first step in the formation of cancer – gave hope of compensation to thousands of men from Britain, Australia, Fiji and New Zealand.
The research was commissioned by Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association chairman Roy Sefton, who sought Government acknowledgment that men were harmed in their teens and had no choice on whether they went to Mururoa.
Tony Cox, who was on HMNZS Otago and heads the Rimpac veterans’ rights organisations, said an attempt was being made to convert Dr Rowland’s findings to apply to the Mururoa veterans.
“Just because the Government did not accept the Rowland study does not mean that it can’t come up for a review.”
Mr Cox said he had cancer of a type that was contracted only through exposure to ionised radiation…
Mururoa – our darker legacy New Zealand Herald By Wayne Thompson Jul 19, 2013 A band of men who “drove the taxis” – the naval frigates carrying the official New Zealand protesters against French nuclear testing in the air of the Pacific Ocean – will be in a sombre and angry mood at their 40th anniversary reunion in Tauranga tomorrow.
“Our feeling in 1973 was there was one protester, Government minister Fraser Colman,” said one of the former crew members of HMNZS Canterbury, Wayne O’Donnell.
“We were there just to keep the ship going and do what we were employed to do.
“By the time the blast was observed we were glad to head home.
“We did not expect any major radiation fallout, which has been proven wrong.” Continue reading
Mururoa fallout worse than first thought http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/south-pacific/8872214/Mururoa-fallout-worse-than-first-thought 3 July 13 MICHAEL FIELD Newly declassified French military documents have revealed that nuclear tests at Mururoa Atoll were far more deadly than has previously been admitted with plutonium fallout at much higher levels and over wider areas.
The documents cover the 46 atmospheric nuclear tests conducted at Mururoa and Fangataufa in French Polynesia between 1966 and 1974 and reveal that warships near the tests were hit by higher levels of radioactivity than known.
A New Zealand Labour Government in 1973 sent two warships, HMNZS Canterbury and HMNZS Otago, to monitor the Mururoa tests. It was not believed, at the time, that they may have received nuclear dusting but these new documents reveal there were much higher levels of radiation than were known.
A 1974 test, code named Centaur, dumped 500 times the maximum allowed level of plutonium fallout on Tahiti, 1250 kilometres away, the documents show.
There were also 140 more incidents of nuclear fallout above the 209 incidents already known. Tahiti, home to around 178,000 people, was hit 37 times by fallout. Continue reading
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