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Red Cross and Red Crescent lead the non government movement for a Nuclear Weapons Convention

At last year’s review conference of the four-decade-old NPT, in New York, a record number of states called for work to begin on a Nuclear Weapons Convention – 

 The movement for a nuclear weapons ban received a further boost last week when national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies from around the globe adopted a historic resolution appealing to all states to “pursue in good faith and conclude with urgency and determination negotiations to prohibit the use of and completely eliminate nuclear weapons through a legally binding international agreement”.

Other major international organisations would do well to follow the Red Cross’ lead

Aren’t nuclear weapons harmful, too?, Crikey, by Tom Wright, 5 Dec 11, The global treaty prohibiting cluster munitions, which entered into force last August, was pursued on the basis that such weapons cause “unacceptable harm”. Similarly, the treaty outlawing anti-personnel landmines, negotiated a decade earlier, was borne from widespread public concern for the overwhelmingly civilian victims of those conventional arms.

The two treaties were achieved as a result of civil society and “likeminded nations” working in partnership to resolve an obvious and urgent humanitarian problem. Now many of the same governments and campaigners involved in those initiatives are turning their attention to an equally pressing task: banning nuclear arms.

In recent years, a growing number of nations have expressed dissatisfaction at the slow rate of progress towards disarmament. The arms control approach, which focuses on “managing” the threat rather than eliminating it, is floundering. With some nations pursuing nuclear arms in defiance of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and the already-armed investing billions in the modernisation of their arsenals, a new approach is needed.

At last year’s review conference of the four-decade-old NPT, in New York, a record number of states called for work to begin on a Nuclear Weapons Convention – a treaty which, if successful, would make the aspiration of abolition a reality. By consensus, the conference acknowledged, first the first time, the “catastrophic humanitarian consequences” of any use of nuclear weapons, and the need to comply, at all times, with applicable international law. Continue reading

December 5, 2011 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australian Labor Party trashes Nuclear Non Proliferation in rush to make uranium money out of India

Indeed, proponents of the platform change [to sell uranium to India] generally made no acknowledgment that India was the first and only state in the world to acquire nuclear weapons as a result of international cooperation on the basis of it being for peaceful purposes – nor her belligerent testing in the mid-1990s; her rather public nuclear arms race with Pakistan; her failure to fully comply with international safeguards and monitoring initiatives; her problems with the US despite a comparable bilateral agreement in place concerning technology and expertise. Nor the rather significant point that none of the cited measures are enforceable under international law – they are considerably difficult to monitor, verify and enforce.

Australian Labor Party  downplay arms control considerations, Crikey.com, December 5, 2011 , by NAJ Taylor On Sunday, the Australian Labor Party voted 206 to 185 in favour of changing one part of the party’s longstanding and non-negotiable platform on uranium exports: that recipient states must be members of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).

The express intention of the change in policy platform is to lift the ban on uranium sales to India, who are among those three states globally that remain outside – and have no intention of joining – the NPT. With the opposition Coalition having been in support of such a move for some time, the vote is expected to have immediate policy ramifications.

Of little consequence now, the Greens do have a well-known policy position on uranium that clearly states: “The Australian Greens will […] prohibit the exploration for, and mining and export of, uranium”.

Misrepresenting India’s record – it is a grave error to cite India’s nuclear weapons record – which is sub-optimal, not “exemplary”, as is often recycled – as evidence in support of a policy change that is predominately driven by political, commercial and diplomatic pressures. Continue reading

December 5, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New radioactive leak belies TEPCO’s claims of Fukushima cleanup success

More Radioactive Water Leaks From Japanese Nuclear Plant, By HIROKO TABUCHI, NYT December 4, 2011 TOKYO — At least 45 tons of highly radioactive water has leaked from a purification facility at the Fukushima Daiichi buclear power station, and some of it may have reached the Pacific Ocean, the plant’s operator said on Sunday…..

the plant continues to pose a major environmental threat. Before the latest leak, the Fukushima accident had been responsible for the largest single release of radioactivity into the ocean, threatening wildlife and fisheries in the region, experts have said.

The new radioactive water leak called into question the progress that the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, appeared to have made in bringing its reactors under control…. Continue reading

December 5, 2011 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Japan’s second rate contract workers cop the brunt of nuclear radiation

contractors last year accounted for 96% of the harmful radiation absorbed by workers at the nation’s nuclear power plants. Temporary workers at the Fukushima plant in 2010 also faced radiation levels 16 times higher than did employees of the plant’s owner-operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., because contractors are called in for the most dangerous work, 

Japan’s ‘nuclear gypsies’ face radioactive peril at power plants Unskilled contractors make up most of the workforce and face higher doses of radiation than utility employees at Fukushima and other nuclear power plants in Japan. By John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times December 4, 2011

 Reporting from Namie, Japan “….. Such unskilled contractors exist at the bottom rung of the nation’s employment ladder, subjecting themselves to perilous doses of radioactivity. Solicited from day labor sites across the country, many contractors are told little of the task ahead. Continue reading

December 5, 2011 Posted by | employment, Japan | Leave a comment

Will Los Alamos plutonium nuclear lab be USA’s Fukushima?

Questions swirl around $6 billion US nuclear lab Canadian Business, By AP  | December 04, 2011 SANTA FE, New Mexico (AP) — At Los Alamos National Laboratory, scientists and engineers refer to their planned new $6 billion nuclear lab by its clunky acronym, CMRR, short for Chemistry Metallurgy Research Replacement Facility. But as a work in progress for three decades and with hundreds of millions of dollars already spent, nomenclature is among the minor issues.

 Questions continue to swirl about exactly what kind of nuclear and plutonium research will be done there, whether the lab is really necessary, and — perhaps most important — will it be safe, or could it become New Mexico’s equivalent of Japan’s Fukushima? Continue reading

December 5, 2011 Posted by | - plutonium, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Durban: thousands of protesters demand action on climate change

Thousands march in Durban for climate justice, ABC News 4 Dec 11 thousands of people have marched through the streets of Durban calling for “climate justice”.  Their appeal was aimed at diplomats locked in negotiations under the 194-nation UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is tasked with beating back the ever-mounting threat of global warming.

The crowd of around 6,500 snaked through the coastal city’s downtown area shouting and singing against a backdrop of drums and vuvuzelas, the high-decibel plastic trumpets that gained worldwide notoriety when South Africa hosted the football World Cup.

Many in the crowd lashed out at the UN talks, which end next Friday, saying that they were moving too slowly in the face of potentially catastrophic impacts of climate change, and that many of the solutions proposed lean too heavily on the market…. Continue reading

December 5, 2011 Posted by | climate change, South Africa | Leave a comment

Japan’s provinces lose international students, with radiation fears

Trainees steer clear of Tohoku / Radiation fears apparently behind sharp drop in foreign interns, The Yomiuri Shimbun, 5 Dec 11 The number of foreign trainees in the disaster-affected prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima has nearly halved since the March 11 disaster, with many apparently afraid to return to the Tohoku region due to radiation fears. Continue reading

December 5, 2011 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Disastrous effects of uranium mining on health of Jharkhand’s people

the financial benefits are meaningless when weighed against what his group says is an alarming rise in stillbirths, birth defects, and adults and children diagnosed with cancer, kidney disease, and tuberculosis.

report showed a far greater incidence of congenital abnormality, sterility, and cancer among people living within 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles) of the mines than those living 35 kilometres away. Mothers in villages close to the mine sites were also twice as likely to have a child with congenital deformities, 

India’s uranium mines cast a health shadow,Google News,  By Ammu Kannampilly (AFP), 5 Dec 11,  ”… Environmental groups say the mining company is polluting the groundwater by dumping radioactive waste inside three so-called tailings ponds that hold the sludge produced by the mining process …..  Continue reading

December 5, 2011 Posted by | health, India, Uranium | Leave a comment

American Indians enthusiastic about potential for renewable energy industris

Indian Country welcomes renewable energy by Martin LaMonica  December 4, 2011  JEMEZ PUEBLO, N.M.–American Indian tribes see renewable energy as a way to capitalize on their natural resources.

The Department of Energy last week proposed a rule that would speed up decisions regarding land used for renewable energy projects, many of which have been derailed by bureaucracy. The rule would require decisions within a 60-day limit for business-related leases, such as developing solar and wind projects on Indian land.

“It will require the government to act,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar last Monday, according to reports. “The government cannot sit on its hands, as it has often done.”   Indian lands have significant resources, including solar and wind, but little has been developed, according to the National Congress of American Indians. “We’re ready to strengthen our economies now and jumpstart the clean energy economy in Indian Country. This is something the entire country can get behind,” said NCAI president Jefferson Keel in a statement….

For tribes with the resources, renewable energy holds the prospect of bringing in much-needed tax revenue, jobs, and potentially lower electricity costs, said Carolyn Stewart, managing partner at Red Mountain Energy Partners, which advises tribes on renewable energy.

“[Tribes] are very interested in controlling the pace of the development on the reservation, which they have not been able to do in the past for the most part with oil and gas, coal, or uranium mining [which] had significant environmental impacts,” she said….. http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-57335065-54/indian-country-welcomes-renewable-energy/

December 5, 2011 Posted by | indigenous issues, renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Israel stole weapons grade uranium from USA reprocessing plant

Israel stole uranium from U.S., report will show December 05, By Kristin Dailey The Daily Star  WASHINGTON: A U.S.-based research institute will soon publish what it says is “indisputable” evidence that Israel stole weapons-grade uranium for its still-undeclared atomic weapons program from a nuclear reprocessing plant in western Pennsylvania.

The Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) will release this month a 300-page report detailing the initial findings of a multi-year research project investigating the disappearance of highly enriched uranium from the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (Numec) in Apollo, Pennsylvania in the 1950s and 1960s.

Grant Smith, the director of IRmep, told The Daily Star that the report would include a broad range of newly declassified and un-redacted government documents from various agencies – including the Department of Energy, Atomic Energy Commission, FBI and CIA – that prove that nuclear material was diverted from Numec to Israel.

“The story at this point is that there is no one smoking gun; there are many smoking pistols lying all over the place that we’ve painstakingly collected,” Smith told The Daily Star……

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2011/Dec-05/155997-israel-stole-uranium-from-us-report-will-show.ashx#ixzz1fhiXPlLm
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

December 5, 2011 Posted by | Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Court hearing on concerns about nuclear safety in India

Nuclear safety: Apex court to hear NGOs’ petitions today THE HINDU BUSINESS LINE, NEW DELHI, DEC. 4An application has been filed before the Supreme Court with copies of letters and documents sent to the Prime Minister highlighting the concerns on safety and cost-effectiveness of the nuclear plants in India.

The application was filed earlier this week by NGOs Common Cause and Centre for Public Interest Litigation as well as some prominent citizens.

On November 14, acting on the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by these NGOs and citizens, a Bench headed by the Chief Justice, Mr S.H. Kapadia, had asked the petitioners to first write to the Government on the matter.

The apex court had adjourned the matter saying it would consider the petition only after the petitioners show that they had moved the concerned department regarding their grievances.

It will now hear the matter again on December 5.   Advocate Mr Prashant Bhushan, representing the petitioners, had said that they had already written to the Department of Atomic Energy about the concerns on nuclear safety but the Government failed to take any action despite their representations. Continue reading

December 5, 2011 Posted by | India, Legal | Leave a comment

In Jordan, push against vested nuclear interests, call for renewable energy

Activists claim that the studies, currently being conducted by Worley Parsons and Tractebel Engineering in cooperation with the Jordan Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the JAEC, will lack credibility due to the firms’ “vested interests” in sustaining the nuclear programme.

Participants also called for the dissolution of the JAEC and the Jordan-French Uranium Company, urging the government to replace the entities with a Renewable Energy Commission to boost the Kingdom’s efforts to pursue solar and wind energy, which industry experts and officials alike admit have suffered several setbacks in the last two years.

Activists call for open Nuclear Debate in Jordan, The Jordan Times  December 4th, 2011  Activists and environmentalists on Saturday called for an open debate on the country’s atomic energy programme, voicing concern over the feasibility of Amman’s nuclear drive. Continue reading

December 5, 2011 Posted by | Jordan, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

USA drone downed by Iran?

Iranians claim to down US drone, BBC News, 4 Dec 11 Iran’s armed forces have shot down an unmanned US spy plane that violated its eastern borders, military sources say.

Iranian media reports said the drone – identified as a type RQ170 – suffered minimal damage and was now in the hands of the armed forces.

The Nato-led Isaf force in neighbouring Afghanistan says the US drone could be one that was lost over western Afghanistan last week…. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16024605

December 5, 2011 Posted by | Iran, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Arnold Schwarzenegger calls for renewable energy to get fair treatment from federal government

An unfair fight for renewable energies Washington Post, By Arnold Schwarzenegger,  December 4 More energy from the sun hits Earth in one hour than all the energy consumed on our planet in an entire year.
In those terms, it is absurd that our federal renewable energy to get government spends tens of billions of dollars annually subsidizing the oil industry, which pulls diminishing resources from underground, while the industry focused above ground on wind, solar and other renewable energies is
derided in Washington. Federal support for development of new energy sources is lower today than at any other point in U.S. history, and our government is forcing the ­clean-energy sector into a competitive disadvantage. To bring true competition to the energy market, ensure
our national security and create jobs here rather than in China or elsewhere, we must level the playing field for renewable energies. In this presidential primary, Americans need to hear where the candidates stand on this critical issue. Continue reading

December 5, 2011 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

UK’s Ministry of Defence evasive about radiation contamination

Time for MoD to come clean on radiation clear-up, Herald Scotland  4 Dec 2011 The Ministry of Defence is turning prevarication into an art form. There are, it seems, few tricks, evasions and deceits that it won’t deploy to try to avoid responsibility for cleaning up the radioactive mess it has made at Dalgety Bay in Fife.

As we reveal today, its monitoring of the contaminated foreshore in September missed more than 400 radioactive hotspots.Like Admiral Nelson back in 1801, the MoD’s modern-day commanders turned a blind eye in the hope that the problem would disappear….. http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/herald-view/time-for-mod-to-come-clean-on-radiation-clear-up-1.1138013

December 5, 2011 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment