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Reinstatement of nuclear whistleblower ordered by USA Feds

whistleblowerFeds Order Reinstatement of Nuclear Whistleblower abc news, SEATTLE — Aug 21, 2014 The U.S. Department of Labor has ordered a Hanford Nuclear Reservation contractor to reinstate a worker who the department says was fired for voicing concerns about nuclear and environmental safety, officials announced Wednesday.

Richland-based Washington River Protection Solutions, a subsidiary of URS Corporation and Energy Solutions, was also ordered to pay $220,000 in back wages and other expenses.

The company denies the allegations that the worker was fired in retaliation.

But the labor department said the contractor violated federal whistleblower provisions. The worker first blew the whistle on nuclear and environmental safety and permit and record-keeping violations in 2009, according to the labor department. The worker was fired two years later and unsuccessfully re-applied for the job in 2012. The reason for the initial firing was “poor performance.”

“The people most able to identify hazards are often the workers who are threatened by them,” Galen Lemke, the labor department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration acting regional administrator, said in a statement. “Employees must never be punished for sounding an alarm when they see a problem that could injure, sicken or kill someone, or harm the environment.”…….http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/feds-order-reinstatement-nuclear-whistleblower-25063970

August 22, 2014 Posted by | employment, USA | Leave a comment

Australia breaks international Treaty, in selling uranium to India

India-uranium1Seen from the perspective of adherence to non-proliferation norms and commitments If Australia exports uranium to India, Australia would violate its obligations of the Treaty of Rarotonga, which binds it from not indulging in such trade. Article 4 of the Rarotonga Treaty requires India to comply with safeguards requirements of Article III(1) of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Article III(1) of the NPT is about reaching a comprehensive safeguards agreement with IAEA. Instead, India has only acknowledged safeguards on certain foreign-supplied reactors and facilities. India’s safeguards agreement is based upon the IAEA’s ‘facility specific’ safeguards.

Australian uranium sale to India will be subjected to weak monitoring safeguards or ‘facility specific’ of IAEA, contrary to nuclear deals Australia has with other countries

AUSTRALIAN PROSPECTIVE NUCLEAR TRADE WITH INDIA – THE CONTROVERSYhttp://www.eurasiareview.com/21082014-australian-prospective-nuclear-trade-india-controversy/AUGUST 21, 2014   BY 

 Australia is expected to sign a civil nuclear agreement with India during the visit of Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott early next month. Negotiations have been concluded to smooth the path for uranium imports from Australia. The news came out when hundreds of thousands of Indian men and women have protested against the expanding nuclear industry.

These protests have been a regular feature in Koodankulam (Tamil Nadu), Jaitapur (Maharashtra) and Gorakhpur (Haryana) and at least five activists have lost their lives since 2010 in their struggle against the Indian government’s decision without taking the affected parties on board. Radioactive waste from uranium mining in the country’s east is reportedly affecting adjacent communities. Thousands of Indians suffer from the effects of uranium mining as related to poor technical and management practices.

Australia controls the planet’s largest known uranium reserves. Uranium is a controversial and debatable subject in Canberra, because it can be used both for civil and military purposes. Australia had previously cancelled plans to sell uranium to India as it is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but it was Indo- US nuclear deal which paved the way for the ban’s lifting.

The move of lifting the ban came despite a parliamentary report on nuclear safety regulation in India had emphasized grave nuclear safety concerns and organizational flaws comparable international norms. India’s auditor general in this report has designated the country’s nuclear industry as insecure, disordered and in many cases, unregulated. The report underlined the fact that there is no national policy on nuclear and radiation safety after almost 30 years and is not much ardent to adopt world standards and best practices.

It is an unpredictable and unjustified security situation into which Australia is selling uranium. Australian government’s idea to sell uranium to India was strongly criticized by the Australians but the government seems inclined to disregard it. Analysts in Australia are opposing the Uranium sale without preconditions and any meaningful concessions from India, like Indian ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and stopping the production of nuclear bomb making material.

Seen from the perspective of adherence to non-proliferation norms and commitments If Australia exports uranium to India, Australia would violate its obligations of the Treaty of Rarotonga, which binds it from not indulging in such trade. Article 4 of the Rarotonga Treaty requires India to comply with safeguards requirements of Article III(1) of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Article III(1) of the NPT is about reaching a comprehensive safeguards agreement with IAEA. Instead, India has only acknowledged safeguards on certain foreign-supplied reactors and facilities. India’s safeguards agreement is based upon the IAEA’s ‘facility specific’ safeguards.

Australian uranium sale to India will be subjected to weak monitoring safeguards or ‘facility specific’ of IAEA, contrary to nuclear deals Australia has with other countries.Andrew Davies from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute highlighted IAEA’s inability to screen exactly where uranium sent to India from Australia if comprehensive monitoring safeguards are not applied. “For example, if 100 tones go into a civilian nuclear program and 90 tons of products come out, they don’t know where the missing product was diverted from,” he convincingly argues.

A defense research group, IHS Jane’s has revealed that India is increasing its uranium facility that could support the expansion of nuclear weapons. India is trying to buy foreign sources of uranium so she can use its domestic reserves for a nuclear arms race with Pakistan. India is expanding its nuclear power programme to use its own uranium for the production of more nuclear weapons. Adding Australian uranium into India’s energy mix would have serious fall outs on prevailing strained relations between India and its nuclear-armed neighbors. Can Australia trust India to not use Australian uranium for weapons manufacture?

Non-proliferation is a top agenda item when it comes to Pakistan, Iran or North Korea, but it is an inoperable standard when it is India or Israel. The commencement of nuclear trade with India – first by Washington in 2008 and currently by Canberra – has immense repercussions. It will profoundly upset the proliferation equation for other countries in the region. India-Australia nuclear deal will aggravate India-Pakistan nuclear rivalry and exacerbate Pakistan’s security dilemma. Both countries have nuclear weapons, so this commitment by Aussies will no doubt intensify the India-Pakistan tensions. Nuclear trade with India will profoundly upset strategic stability of the South Asian region.

August 22, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international | Leave a comment

New lawsuit over US sailors’ exposure to Fukushima radiation

justiceUS sailors prepare for fresh legal challenge over Fukushima radiation, Guardian, 21 Aug 14 $1bn lawsuit accuses Tepco of failing to avoid the accident and of lying about radiation levels that have caused health problems to themselves and their families stationed in Japan

The first time it occurred to James Jackson that there could be lasting damage from his US Navy service during Japan’s tsunami and nuclear disaster came when his eldest son, Darius, was diagnosed with leukaemia.

Darius, now 15, spent a month in hospital in early 2013, soon after his diagnosis. “I thought I was going to have to bury him,” Jackson recalled. The teenager who aspired to play college basketball now has a catheter in his chest and is too frail to run the length of the court.

Jackson, a navy information technologist, was stationed with his family at Yokosuka, Japan, when an earthquake and tsunami knocked out the cooling systems at the Fukushima nuclear plant in March 2011, causing a triple meltdown.

He acknowledges he can’t know for sure why Darius got leukaemia – but Jackson remains convinced there is a connection to the radiation escape from the Fukushima disaster and he blames the Japanese electric company, Tepco.

On 25 August, a district court judge in San Diego will decide whether the Jacksons – and around 110 other US navy sailors and marines – can proceed with a $1bn lawsuit that accuses Tepco of failing to avoid the accident and of lying about the levels of radiation from the stricken reactors, putting US personnel at risk.

“I don’t think the navy or the United States government would have let us stay there in the region. They would have gotten us out of there probably within the first 48, or 72 hours if they knew then what they know now,” Jackson said. “The issue is that we have this large company, this large enterprise, feeding the Japanese government and the rest of the world bad information. They could have come to the forefront and said: ‘hey we need help’, instead of trying to put a blanket over it.”

Some 77,000 US navy sailors and marines took part in the huge relief effort after Japan’s cascading disasters, called Operation Tomodachi, or friend.

The 110 sailors suing Tepco represent only a small fraction of that number, and the lawsuit does not have the support of the US navy establishment……..

The lawsuit alleges a number of the sailors and their children suffered thyroid and other cancers, leukaemia, birth defects, and a variety of medical conditions including infertility after they were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation. Some of the sailors were also diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One of the sailors named in the lawsuit, helicopter mechanic Theodor Holcomb, who served on the USS Reagan aircraft carrier, died of a rare cancer on 24 April. The lawsuit seeks $1bn for a medical monitoring and treatment fund.

The case is one of a number of lawsuits brought against Tepco in US and Japanese courts after the accident on 11 March 2011…….

A judicial panel in Japan on 31 July said three former Tepco executives should face criminal charges for the disaster, finding they overlooked the risk of an earthquake or tsunami, and failed to take adequate measures to prevent an accident…….http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/aug/20/us-navy-sailors-legal-challenge-fukushima-radiation-tepco

August 22, 2014 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Data on uranium mine leaching must be made public

Uranium mining company must release survey data Argus Leader, KEVIN BURBACH, August 20, 2014 RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A mining company must release the results of a geological survey that opponents of its proposed uranium mine in western South Dakota say is necessary to ensure that local aquifers are protected, a federal licensing board of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruled Wednesday.

The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board continued its hearings Wednesday morning in Rapid City, where three federal judges are hearing challenges to a license granted to Powertech Uranium Corp. for its proposed Dewey-Burdock uranium mine.

The intervenors to the proposed mine — members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and other concerned parties — had been pushing for data Powertech collected by drilling throughout the region to find concentrations of uranium ore, among other things. They’ve said enough data haven’t been studied to know if the region’s aquifers would be contaminated or depleted if the company were to mine.

Powertech plans to use a method known as in-situ uranium recovery, which would pump groundwater fortified with oxygen and carbon dioxide into the underground ore deposits to dissolve the uranium. The water would be pumped back to the surface, where the uranium would be extracted and sold to nuclear power plants.

Dr. Robert Moran, who testified at the request of the intervenors, said making the data available would allow the geologists to better understand how the region’s groundwater could be affected if the company starts mining in the area……..http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2014/08/20/uranium-mining-company-must-release-survey-data/14355969/

August 22, 2014 Posted by | Uranium, USA, water | Leave a comment

Nuclear security cuts opposed by US Democrat Senators

White House faces Democratic Senate revolt over nuclear security cuts Yahoo News 21 Aug 14, , Twenty-six members of the Senate are calling on the Obama administration to increase planned spending on programs to secure or reduce global stocks of nuclear weapons materials in the upcoming 2016 White House budget, even as they are challenging an administration decision to significantly shrink these programs in 2015.

 Dianne Feinstein of California and Jeff Merkley of Oregon were joined by 20 other Democrats, as well as two Republicans and two independents, in signing a three page letter August 13 requesting more spending for nuclear materials security programs in future budgets to White House Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan.

“The recent spate of terrorism in Iraq, Pakistan, and Kenya is a harrowing reminder of the importance of ensuring that terrorist groups and rogue states cannot get their hands on the world’s most dangerous weapons and materials,” the senators wrote………http://news.yahoo.com/white-house-faces-democratic-senate-150503823.html

August 22, 2014 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Los Alamos worker sold nuclear secrets

Los Alamos worker imprisoned for selling nuclear secrets CBS News, 21 Aug 14 A former contract employee at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison, the Justice Department said Wednesday.

Marjorie Roxby Mascheroni, 71, of Los Alamos, N.M., pleaded guilty to passing “classified nuclear weapons data to a person believed to be a Venezuelan government official,” and to lying to the FBI, the DOJ said in a statement.

Mascheroni is a Ph.D. physicist. Her husband was also a Los Alamos employee who pleaded guilty to similar charges. He has not been sentenced yet. Both were indicted in 2010……..http://www.cbsnews.com/news/los-alamos-worker-imprisoned-for-selling-nuclear-secrets-to-apparent-venezuelan-official/

August 22, 2014 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Treasure Island has 2 more higher radiation readings

Two more elevated radiation readings on Treasure Island SF Gate, August 20  By  The U.S. Navy has completed its surveys of Treasure Island and found two more locations where higher-than-usual radiation levels were detected — one under an occupied house, a city official said Wednesday……http://blog.sfgate.com/cityinsider/2014/08/20/two-more-elevated-radiation-readings-on-treasure-island/

August 22, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Nuclear-armed hypersonic glider test fails: China.

China’s second test of nuclear-armed hypersonic glider fails SCMP, Minnie Chan

minnie.chan@scmp.com The People’s Liberation Army has carried out a second, albeit unsuccessful test of a hypersonic vehicle, two sources close to the military said, as China attempts to find a way to deliver nuclear weapons at immense speed to evade defence systems………

Media reports in the US in June said Washington was funding the further development of a hypersonic missile programme amid concerns over China’s research.

A US-based news website, the Washington Free Beacon, reported on this month’s test on Tuesday, quoting unnamed American government officials.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1578756/chinas-second-test-nuclear-armed-hypersonic-glider-fails

August 22, 2014 Posted by | China, weapons and war | Leave a comment