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Q&A: Jailed Nun Voices No Regret for Trespassing at Nuclear-Arms Facility

…Rice herself recalled feeling “amazement” that it was “so easy” for her to enter the secured site with Boertje-Obed and Walli, who were respectively 57 and 63 at the time….


Megan Rice, an 83-year-old nun in custody in Ocilla, Ga., says she was making a statement.

December 23, 2013


In an unusual exchange of questions and answers with a reporter, Rice said the peaceful demonstration she staged last year with two other activists inside the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee underscored a need for worldwide disarmament by exposing the danger of nuclear arsenals in stark terms.


Rice and her accomplices each face a possible three-decade prison sentence for their July 2012 action at Y-12, which handles sensitive materials and components for nuclear weapons.


Writing from the Irwin County Detention Center, where she awaits sentencing on Jan. 28 with the two men who joined her in illegally entering Y-12 grounds, Rice said a maximum punishment would only further benefit their cause. It could challenge “consciences to act” critically toward arguments that nuclear weapons are necessary tools for countries to help ensure stability and defend their interests.


“I expect only a life sentence to continue to live in truth, compassion and love for all of God’s creation,” Rice said in her handwritten response, which sounded spiritual themes and spelled out a deeply ideological perspective in response to nearly every question. “Keep your eyes on the prize: a healed, peaceful planet.”


Joined by veteran peace activists Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli, Rice hiked through the woods of the 8-square-mile Y-12 campus, located in eastern Tennessee, in the predawn hours of July 28, 2012.


After cutting through four perimeter fences and entering Y-12’s “Protected Area” — where guards are authorized to use lethal force against intruders — the three activists reportedly focused their protest on the first building they saw: the storehouse where the United States holds highly enriched uranium capable of fueling nuclear bombs.


The group proceeded to spray-paint antiwar slogans, hang mock police tape and throw containers of human blood on the 110,000-square-foot Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility. When a lone guard arrived to investigate, the activists read to him a statement of their antinuclear views and proffered peacemaking items — candles, flowers, a Bible — prior to their arrest.


The news that the unarmed protesters had infiltrated a sensitive nuclear facility intended to withstand a coordinated terrorist assault stunned those who imagined the compound to be virtually impenetrable. Security faults noted years earlier had apparently gone unfixed, possibly helping the trio to reach the uranium storage facility. The structure stands at the northern edge of a 1.3-square-mile cluster of buildings, with little more than a road and several fences dividing it off from the surrounding trees.

Continue reading

December 23, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Abe’s second strike against freedoms

civil-liberty-2smflag-japanThe Abe administration has reportedly started preparations for introducing the “crime of conspiracy” by revising the law on the punishment of organized crime and the control of proceeds resulting from crime.  Although it has not been decided when a revision bill will be submitted to the Diet, there is the danger that it will give the government a strong weapon to control civic movements, especially those that oppose government policies. 

 The recently enacted state secrets law will not only greatly limit people’s access to government information but also punish those who try to get secret information even if they didn’t know it was designated as secret. 

The introduction of the crime of conspiracy will further weaken freedoms that have already been hollowed out by the secrecy law. So it is important for citizens to start a widely based action to stop this move by the administration. 

 If the crime of conspiracy is introduced, one could be punished for joining others to plan a crime even if it is not actually carried out or even if no concrete preparations have been made — a huge departure from the current principle that arrests can be made only when a crime has actually been committed or attempted.

December 23, 2013 Posted by | civil liberties, Japan | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry pronounced dead

he nuclear renaissance is dead … stone cold dead. And the prospects for nuclear power in Australia are dead. If nuclear power is economically prohibitive (or nearly so) in nuclear nations such as the UK and the US, it is far more so in Australia given that we have little relevant infrastructure or expertise. The major parties seem to be well aware that nuclear power is a non-starter, so the nuclear debate in Australia is reduced to the slow, repetitive drum-beat of a small but vocal nuclear lobby.

nuke-bubbleThe nuclear renaissance is stone cold dead 23 Dec 13 This year has been the nuclear power industry’s annus horribilis and the nuclear renaissance can now be pronounced stone cold dead.

Nuclear power suffered its biggest ever one-year fall in 2012 − nuclear generation fell 7% from the 2011 figure. Nuclear generation fell in no less than 17 countries, including all of the top five nuclear-generating countries. Nuclear power accounted for 17% of global electricity generation in 1993 and it has steadily declined to 10% now.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has downwardly revised its nuclear power projections, and now anticipates growth of 23% to 100% percent by 2030. Historically, the IAEA’s upper projections have been fanciful, and its lower projections are usually much closer to the mark. So annual growth of a little over 1% is about as much as the industry can realistically hope for.

And the IAEA will further reduce its projections when it factors in this year’s annus horribilis.Perhaps the most shocking developments have been in the United States,  Continue reading

December 23, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment

Yet another record radiation level measured at Fukushima nuclear reactor no 2

TEPCO detects record radiation at Fukushima’s reactor 2, new leak suspected  December 22, 2013  TEPCO has found a record 1.9 million becquerels per liter of beta ray-emitting radioactive substances at its No.2 reactor. Also radioactive cesium was detected in deeper groundwater at No.4 unit’s well, as fears grow of a new leak into the ocean.

The level of beta ray-emitting radioactivity in groundwater around the crippled Fukushima reactor No. 2 reactor has been rising since November, NHK reported.

Previous the highest level – 1.8 million becquerels (bq/liter), of beta-ray sources per liter – was registered at reactor No.1 on December 13.

Meanwhile, TEPCO’s latest examination of deeper groundwater beneath the #4 reactor’s well has raised new concerns that there might be another source of radioactive substances leakage into the ocean.  For the first time, the analysis of water samples taken from a layer 25 meters beneath the No. 4 reactor’s well that is facing the ocean has revealed radioactivity in groundwater.

TEPCO investigators detected 6.7 bq/liter of Cesium 137 and 89 bq/liter of strontium as well as other beta ray-emitting radioactive substances.  However, the company’s officials said that it is early to talk about a hotspot of radiation leak and more examinations are needed to prove that. TEPCO suggested that current numbers could be wrong because radioactive substances may have been mistakenly mixed during the process of getting the sample.

Leakage of radiation-contaminated water has been the major threat to Japan’s population and environment from the very beginning of the Fukushima disaster in March 2011.

Only in late July 2013 did TEPCO acknowledge the fact that contaminated water is escaping from basements and trenches of the Fukushima plant into the ocean.

Since then, TEPCO reported about two major leaks of highly radioactive water into the ocean from storage tanks – a 300-ton leak in August and 430 liters in October.

December 23, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013 | Leave a comment

Years of secret dumping radioactive trash into the sea,by US navy

Sailors on old warship dumped thousands of tons of radioactive waste for years Tampa Bay Times, William R. Levesque, Times Staff Writer 22 Dec 13  They asked the dying Pasco County man about his Navy service a half-century before. He kept talking about the steel barrels. They haunted him, sea monsters plaguing an old sailor.

“We turned off all the lights,” George Albernaz testified at a 2005 Department of Veterans Affairs hearing, “and … pretend that we were broken down and … we would take these barrels and having only steel-toed shoes … no protection gear, and proceed to roll these barrels into the ocean, 300 barrels at a trip.”

The Atomic Sailors Talk of Dumping Radioactive Waste at Sea

Not all of them sank. A few pushed back against the frothing ocean, bobbing in the waves like a drowning man. Then shots would ring out from a sailor with a rifle at the fantail. And the sea would claim the bullet-riddled drum. Continue reading

December 23, 2013 Posted by | history, oceans, USA | Leave a comment

Upfront pack of lies about “background radiation”

text-radiationWhat people call “background” radiation is really the amount of radiation deposited into the environment within the last 100 years from nuclear tests and nuclear accidents (and naturally-occurring substances, such as radon).

Unless the government or nuclear scientists measure and share their data, we are in the dark as to what’s really going on.

Fukushima: Wave of Radiation Will Be Ten Times Bigger than All of the Radiation from Nuclear Tests Combined

Putting Fukushima In Perspective

There was no background radioactive cesium before above-ground nuclear testing and nuclear accidents started.

Wikipedia provides some details on the distribution of cesium-137 due to human activities: Continue reading

December 23, 2013 Posted by | radiation | Leave a comment

Continuing corruption in Japan’s nuclear industry

corruptionFirms linked to municipal assembly members received nuclear facility contracts, Asahi Shimbun, 22 Dec 13, By SATOSHI OTANI/ Staff Writer ROKKASHO, Aomori Prefecture-With the public alarm over the safety of nuclear facilities following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, municipal assembly members would be expected to monitor closely any local nuclear-related project and avoid any appearance of impropriety.

However, The Asahi Shimbun has learned that did not occur in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, which is home to a number of facilities connected to the nation’s nuclear fuel recycling program.

Five construction companies in the village won construction orders totaling at least 520 million yen ($5 million) in fiscal 2011 and 2012 after the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. All five companies were headed by individuals related to incumbent Rokkasho municipal assembly members.

The nuclear fuel recycling facilities are operated by Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd., which handed out the construction contracts.

The five companies in question are now headed by either the wife, son or younger brother of a Rokkasho municipal assembly member. However, all five assembly members once served as president of the companies and three were the founders……… Continue reading

December 23, 2013 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Danger in transporting Canadian radioactive trash to South Carolina

“The concerns are in transport, adding waste to the system and also opening the door for receipt of unusual nuclear waste materials that would end up being dumped in South Carolina,” 

radiation-truckCanadian nuclear waste heading for SC, Greenville  Online , 22 Dec 13
Critics say it’s unusual to ship weapons-grade uranium so far  COLUMBIA — Sometime next year, a convoy is expected to begin delivering shipments of highly radioactive liquid waste containing weapons-grade uranium from Canada to the Savannah River Site near Aiken.

It’s not so unusual for SRS, once home to the manufacture of nuclear weapons parts, to receive nuclear materials or to process radioactive waste.

What makes these shipments controversial, and according to one environmental activist, unprecedented, is that they are being shipped so far and with such a lethal cargo. Continue reading

December 23, 2013 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

EU likely to call Britain’s Hinkley nuclear plan an “unfair subsidy”

UK-subsidyHinkley Point C nuclear subsidy plan queried by European commission  The Guardian, Thursday 19 December 13 Officials promise to investigate, saying they doubt claims of market failure and fear UK will start a ‘subsidy race’ The European commission has started an investigation into UK plans to subsidise the construction and operation of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset, in a challenge to the government’s plans to overhaul Britain’s creaking energy infrastructure.On the day royal assent was finally given to the coalition’s controversial Energy Act, the EU’s executive arm expressed doubts that British ministers could justify state aid to nuclear which it estimated could reach £17bn.

The EC warned of the risk of a “subsidy race” between member states and Joaquín Almunia, vice-president for competition policy, described the aid package as a complex measure of an unprecedented nature and scale……The British government has always denied that the financial support is a subsidy ……

there has been speculation in Brussels that the commission has made up its mind that the Hinkley move is in effect an unfair subsidy, with the only question being what kind of changes or sanctions it may demand or impose on Britain.

Günther Oettinger, the European union’s energy commissioner, warned last month that the 35-year subsidy regime “may be a problem” while earlier describing the UK nuclear project in an unguarded moment as “Soviet” in style. The financial support for EDF and its Chinese partners includes a £10bn loan guarantee plus an inflation-linked “strike price” of £92.50 per megawatt hour for 35 years – twice the current price for electricity in Britain…….

December 23, 2013 Posted by | EUROPE, Legal | Leave a comment

Over 1,000 protest in Niger against French nuclear firm Areva

by Staff Writers
Niamey (AFP) Dec 21, 2013

More than 1,000 demonstrators marched in the Niger capital Niamey on Saturday to protest against their country’s “unbalanced” partnership with nuclear firm Areva as the French giant negotiates a new uranium mining agreement with the government.

The protesters, including students, rights activists and politicians, chanted “Down with Areva!” and “No to a win-lose contract” as they made their way from the parliament building to the Areva offices, where they were held back by a police cordon.

Areva’s contract to extract uranium in the west African country expires on December 31, after more than four decades of mining at two sites on the southern edge of the Sahara, with a third under development.

The French group and the Niger government are locked in talks to renegotiate the terms for a further 10 years, and Niamey has been pressing for a greater share of revenue from Areva’s activities.

Ali Idrissa from transparency watchdog Rotab, which organised Saturday’s rally, said the contracts between Areva and Niger were “all unbalanced”, noting that the uranium sector accounts for 70 percent of Niger’s exports but only represents five percent of its Gross Domestic Product.

“In France, 35 light bulbs out of 100 are lit thanks to our uranium, while Niger has to use firewood for light,” he said.

Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou said earlier this month that the former French colony wanted to “balance out the relations” with Areva, adding that “the world has changed”.

According to Areva, 70 percent of the revenue from its mining activities in the country went to the Niger state last year, while Areva and other shareholders received 30 percent.

The French state holds a stake of more than 80 percent in Areva.

Globally, Niger is the fourth-ranking producer of uranium, after Kazakhstan, Canada and Australia, according to the World Nuclear Association.

December 23, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment