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Former Prime Minister Koizumi backs U.S. sailors suing over Fukushima radiation

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Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi speaks at a news conference Tuesday in Carlsbad, California.

CARLSBAD, CALIFORNIA – Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Tuesday he stands behind a group of former U.S. sailors suing the operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, who claim health problems they now suffer were caused by exposure to radiation after three reactors melted down in the days after a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

Koizumi made the remarks at a news conference in Carlsbad, California, with some of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought in the United States in 2012 against plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., which has renamed itself Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.

The plaintiffs include crew members of the U.S. aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, which provided humanitarian relief along the tsunami-battered coastline in a mission dubbed Operation Tomodachi.

“Those who gave their all to assist Japan are now suffering from serious illness. I can’t overlook them,” Koizumi said.

The former premier spent Sunday through Tuesday meeting with roughly 10 of the plaintiffs, asking about the nature of the disaster relief they undertook and about their symptoms.

“I learned that the number of sick people is still increasing, and their symptoms are worsening,” he told the news conference.

Koizumi called on those in Japan, both for and against nuclear power, to come together to think of ways to help the ailing U.S. servicemen.

The group of about 400 former U.S. Navy sailors and Marines alleges the utility, known until recently as Tepco, did not provide accurate information about the dangers of radioactive material being emitted from the disaster-struck plant.

This led the U.S. military to judge the area as being safe to operate in, resulting in the radiation exposure, the group claims.

One of the plaintiffs at the news conference, Daniel Hair, said Koizumi’s involvement made him feel for the first time that Japan is paying serious attention to their plight.

According to lawyers for the group, seven of its members have died so far, including some from leukemia.

Koizumi, who served as prime minister between 2001 and 2006, came out in opposition to nuclear power in the wake of the 2011 disaster. He has repeatedly urged the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to halt its efforts to restart dormant reactors across Japan.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/05/18/national/former-prime-minister-koizumi-backs-u-s-sailors-suing-over-fukushima-radiation/

May 18, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Young woman from Fukushima speaks out (part 1)

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This interview was filmed on February 12, 2016, in Fukushima Prefecture. The young woman was 15 at the time of the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, and we are releasing this interview with her permission. She is one of the 166 Fukushima residents aged 18 or younger at the time of the nuclear disaster who has been diagnosed with or suspected of having thyroid cancer (as of February 2016).

Fukushima residents who were 18 years old or younger at the time of the nuclear accident have been asked to participate in the voluntary thyroid ultrasound examination which is part of the Fukushima Health Management Survey. However, 18.8% of this age group were not tested in the 1st round of testing.* While the final results for the 2nd round of testing are not yet complete, every year the number of children participating in the official thyroid examinations is decreasing; the number of children who have not participated in the 2nd round of testing is currently 50.7%** For those young people aged 18-21 (as of April 1, 2014) and who were living in Fukushima at the time of the nuclear accident, 74.5% have not yet taken part in the official thyroid ultrasound examination.**

This young woman’s reason for speaking out is to motivate the families of children who have not yet received the thyroid ultrasound examination to have their children tested. However, in sharing her story about a topic which has become increasingly difficult to talk publicly about in Japan, she faces inherent risks which may include those to her work, community life and personal relationships. I therefore ask that her privacy is respected.

Ian Thomas Ash, Director

https://youtu.be/5IIt1k8zQds

May 18, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Pro-nuclear trolls & disinformation

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A few links to some articles dealing about about pro-nuclear trolls  and their disinformation techniques.

Got nuclear trolls? Here’s how to stop them in their tracks. https://youtu.be/qAW0n-BxSR0
Eight Traits of the Disinformationalist http://www.whale.to/b/sweeney.html
How to Spot – and Defeat – Disruption on the Internet http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/08/the-15-rules-of-internet-disinformation.html
dont_feed_the_troll_0

May 18, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear | , , | Leave a comment

Mayor blasts nuclear power to students visiting from Taiwan

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Minami-Soma Mayor Katsunobu Sakurai discusses the city’s experiences after the Fukushima nuclear disaster before Taiwanese students and teachers in Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, on May 17

MINAMI-SOMA, Fukushima Prefecture–The mayor here has lamented to visiting Taiwanese students how the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe tore his city apart, with 27,000 residents still unable to return to their homes.

Mayor Katsunobu Sakurai went on to blast nuclear energy in an impassioned speech to the 30 visiting students and their teachers on May 17.

“Putting money ahead of people’s lives is totally unacceptable,” he said.

“I was moved by his speech because he is very concerned about the welfare of children,” a 16-year-old girl said, adding that she is worried about nuclear power plants in Taiwan.

Other students said they were able to grasp the enormity of the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and the city’s efforts to rebuild after Sakurai’s ardent talk.

Sakurai told the students, who are on a school trip from Dali High School in Taipei, that even five years on “27,000 residents including many children are still displaced” and that some elderly citizens died while being evacuated.

The mayor said that the terrible damage was not simply limited to the leakage of radioactive material, and emphasized that nuclear disasters had great potential for driving families apart and destroying local communities.

“Many local leaders tend to refrain from saying this, but I am making a strong plea to the central government, the business circles and the world that nuclear power plants are not needed because (if there is an accident) it can totally ruin people’s lives,” he said.

In replying to a question about the city’s radiation levels, Sakurai reassured the student that readings are now “low enough.” He went on to discuss efforts to decontaminate the local communities and the substantial effort required to rebuild them.

But he added that the municipal government is still monitoring radioactivity in tapping water and food products.

“The fact that we need to conduct such checks even today is unusual,” he said.

Asked about Minami-Soma residents’ reactions to restarting nuclear plants in Japan despite the Fukushima disaster, the mayor said, “An overwhelming majority are against the move to resume the operation of nuclear facilities.”

Minami-Soma is situated between 10 and 40 kilometers from the crippled plant, which stands to the city’s south.

The southern part of the city was designated part of the 20-km “no-entry” zone after the nuclear accident, forcing its residents to evacuate.

At one time, the city, whose population stood at 72,000 before the nuclear accident, had only 10,000 people left because of the evacuation order and voluntary evacation by the residents.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201605180045.html

May 18, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Towards decommissioning Fukushima: ‘Seeing’ boron distribution in molten debris

Japanese researchers map the distribution of boron compounds in a model control rod

Kyoto University

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Compilation of control rod cross-sectional images, showing results of high-temperature steam oxidation.

Japanese researchers have mapped the distribution of boron compounds in a model control rod, paving the way for determining re-criticality risk within the reactor.

Decommissioning the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant just got one step closer. Japanese researchers have mapped the distribution of boron compounds in a model control rod, paving the way for determining re-criticality risk within the reactor.

To this day the precise situation inside the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant is still unclear. “Removing fuel debris from the reactor contaminant vessel is one of the top priorities for decommissioning,” says lead author Ryuta Kasada of Kyoto University.

Stainless steel tubes filled with boron carbide are used to control energy output in boiling water reactors, including at Fukushima Daiichi, as boron absorbs neutrons resulting from splitting atoms. With such control rods functioning properly, nuclear fission occurs at a steady rate. In an extreme situation, such as during the Fukushima accidents, where overheated vapors come in contact with the rods, boron reacts with surrounding materials like stainless steel to create molten debris.

“When melting happens, phenomena like relocation occur such that the boron atoms — trapped in the debris — accumulate towards the bottom of the reactor,” explains Kasada. “This can lead to a lack of control agents in the upper core structure and thus a higher risk of re-criticality in those areas.”

“It’s crucial to get a picture of how boron atoms are distributed inside the reactor, so that we know which areas have higher risk of re-criticality. It’s also important to know the chemical state of boron, as some boron compounds can affect the formation of radioactive materials released to the environment.”

Kasada and colleagues filled a model control rod with steam at 1250 degrees Celsius to imitate conditions of a severe nuclear accident. The team then mapped the distribution of molten boron debris and simultaneously determined its chemical state with a soft x-ray emission spectrometer, in which they combined a new diffraction grating with a highly-sensitive x-ray CCD camera, equipped to a type of scanning electron microscope. The boron compounds — including boron oxide, boron carbide, and iron boride — each showed different peak structures on the x-ray spectrum.

“Previously this was only possible to visualize in large synchrotron radiation facilities. We’ve shown that the same is possible with laboratory-sized equipment.”

“This finding demonstrated on a micro-scale what needs to be done in Fukushima,” says Kasada. “This can’t yet be applied in the field, but in the meantime, we plan to visualize the chemical state of other elements so as to create a sound materials base for decommissioning Fukushima.”

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The paper “Chemical State Mapping of Degraded B4C Control Rod Investigated with Soft X-ray Emission Spectrometer in Electron Probe Micro-analysis” will appeared 10 May 2016 in Scientific Reports, with doi: 10.1038/srep25700

Kyoto University is one of Japan and Asia’s premier research institutions, founded in 1897 and responsible for producing numerous Nobel laureates and winners of other prestigious international prizes. A broad curriculum across the arts and sciences at both undergraduate and graduate levels is complemented by numerous research centers, as well as facilities and offices around Japan and the world.

For more information please see: http://www.kyoto-u.ac.jp/en

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/ku-tdf051716.php

May 18, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Credibility of nuclear corporation EDF taking a beating over Hinkley Nuclear project shemozzle

EDF’s Credibility Hangs on Hinkley Point, U.K. Minister Says, Bloomberg   Jess_Shankleman  , 18 May 16 

  • Plant may be ‘scuppered’ by Austrian challenge, Leadsom says
  • U.K. waiting for EDF’s final decision on whether to invest
  • Poster EDF menteurElectricite de France SA may lose its credibility as one of the world’s top nuclear-power developers if it fails to build two new reactors on England’s southwest coast, a U.K. energy minister said.

    EDF has delayed until September its final investment decision on Hinkley Point C, the world’s most expensive power station, marking a setback for a project that was originally due to be completed in 2017. The latest date for commissioning is 2025, at which point it may provide 7 percent of the country’s power.

    “A huge amount of EDF’s credibility as a nuclear developer will rely on this deal getting done,” Andrea Leadsom, a junior minister at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, told reporters at an event in London on Tuesday where she was campaigning for the U.K. to leave the European Union.

  • The U.K. will have to “fight quite hard” to ensure the 24.5 billion pound ($35.5 billion) power plant isn’t blocked by a legal challenge from Austria, which objects to the U.K. government’s proposed subsidies for Hinkley, she said. “Being a member of the EU could scupper the deal because of the state aid challenge from Austria.”

    Leadsom’s comments are in line with those of EDF Chief Executive Officer Jean-Bernard Levy, who said last week that the Hinkley Point investment is “indispensable.” Without the project, “we wouldn’t have any more credibility to access the market” for new atomic plants, he told shareholders……http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-17/edf-s-credibility-hangs-on-hinkley-point-u-k-minister-says

May 18, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Growing opposition in both Canada and USA to nuclear waste dumping near the Great Lakes

Opposition to the project, though, has swelled. More than 180 county boards, city councils and other local elected bodies near the Great Lakes in both countries have passed proclamations urging a veto of the plan.

Bruce NGS Great Lakes Lake Huron

Plan to store nuclear waste near Great Lakes proves radioactive, WP   By Steve Friess May 16 KINCARDINE, Ontario — If there was an off-key moment during the otherwise flawlessly executed trip to the U.S. Capitol this spring by the new Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, it might have come when he was cornered by Rep. Debbie Dingell.

“We never want to see nuclear waste in the Great Lakes,” the freshman Democrat from Michigan sternly told Trudeau during a visit to the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Continue reading

May 18, 2016 Posted by | Canada, politics international, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Pakistan wants to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group

marketig-nukesPakistan tells U.S. it qualifies for nuclear suppliers club http://in.reuters.com/article/india-pakistan-usa-nsg-idINKCN0Y829 W ISLAMABAD | BY KAY JOHNSON 17 May 16 Pakistan’s foreign secretary on Tuesday told a U.S. envoy his country has the “credentials” to join a club of nuclear trading nations, signalling Islamabad may apply alongside India and force a showdown in the consensus-based group next month.
Such a move would drag the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) into the long-running tension between India and Pakistan, nuclear-armed neighbours who have fought three wars since being split amid violence at the end British colonial rule in 1947.

Diplomats last year quietly launched a new push to induct India into the NSG – a 48-nation club dedicated to curbing nuclear arms proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that could foster nuclear weapons development.

“Pakistan expressed confidence in its credentials to become full member of the export control regimes, particularly Nuclear Suppliers Group,” the Foreign Ministry’s official spokesman said in a tweet.

The comment followed talks on Tuesday in Islamabad between Pakistani Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry and U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control Rose Gottemoeller.

The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad declined to comment.

Membership of the NSG would increase India’s international clout and provide a vested interest in curbing the world’s most dangerous regional arms race, but the prospects are fraught.

The campaign for India membership is seen as carrying the risk of antagonising Pakistan as well as its ally China, which could veto any India application.

China could also insist as a condition of India’s membership that Pakistan also be allowed to join, a potential hard sell because of Islamabad’s development of new tactical nuclear weapons.

A further complication is that neither India nor Pakistan has signed the nuclear Non-Profileration Treaty, generally seen as a prerequisite to NSG membership.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group is expected to hold its next meeting in June.The NSG was created in response to India’s testing its first nuclear weapon in 1974. (Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Alison Williams)

May 18, 2016 Posted by | Pakistan, politics international | Leave a comment

France’s President Hollande backs Hinkley nuclear project, despite near bankruptcy of EDF

Hollande-salesHollande renews support for Hinkley Point nuclear reactors http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/may/17/hollande-renews-support-edf-hinkley-point-nuclear-reactors

French president backs project despite fears that £18bn price tag could bankrupt EDF, which is 85% state-owned  François Hollande has renewed his support for the controversial nuclear project planned by the French energy company EDF at Hinkley Point in Britain.

“I am in favour that this project goes ahead,” the French president told Europe 1 radio on Tuesday.

“It’s very important to understand that we need a high-performance, highly secure nuclear industry in France, and that we cannot let others take over terrain, including on exports, that has been French up to now,” he said.

A final decision on the plan to build two new-generation nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in south-west England was due this month, but was delayed after unions at EDF demanded a review of the costs.

A joint project between EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corporation, it carries a projected price tag of £18bn ($26bn, €23bn) that will make it one of the world’s most expensive nuclear power plants.

Unions at EDF, which is 85% state-owned, fear it could bankrupt the company, which is already saddled with more than €37bn of debt.

Last month, the management agreed to consult the internal committee which has brought in outside experts to review the financial implications of the project.

Hollande said the review would be completed “in the coming weeks”.

There have been dissenting voices over Hinkley Point within the French government.

On Friday, France’s environment minister Ségolène Royal, who is also mother to Hollande’s children, told the Financial Times that she was worried about the “colossal sums” involved in the project and questioned whether it should go ahead

Ratings agencies Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s both lowered their forecasts for EDF last week, saying efforts to streamline the company were insufficient.

Hollande restated his vow to restructure and boost financing at EDF and rival energy giant Areva, “because they are the future”.

“The French nuclear industry has 200,000 employees. It represents our energy independence,” Hollande told Europe 1.

“EDF and Areva are public companies on which we should rely. But at the same time, we must give them new support.”

CGN, which is due to cover a third of the costs, said on Monday that it would not go ahead with the project if EDF pulls out.

May 18, 2016 Posted by | France, marketing, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

Big doubts about Bill Gates’ enthusiastic claims for nuclear power

Nuclear Power: Part of the Alternative Energy ‘Solution’?  Differing views voiced by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Stanford energy expert Yale Climate Connections, Mark Z. Jacobson, May 16, 2016 By  

Gates climate lie“………..“If everything goes perfectly,” Gates has told a Wall Street Journal conference, a demonstration fourth-generation design could be in place by 2022. “If everything continues to go perfectly,” that design could be replicated and built in many countries around the world by 2028.

“Big Ifs,” some might say, and a moderator suggested as much in response to Gates’ point.

In this month’s “This is Not Cool” video, Stanford University engineering professor Mark Z. Jacobson expresses reservations. His research looks at energy technologies in hand and not those he says “might be available 20, 30 years from now.” That research – as explained in an earlier related video – involves wind, solar, and water power.

To reach global carbon dioxide emissions targets, Jacobson says, 80 percent of the world’s energy infrastructure needs to be converted by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.

Jacobson says exiting nuclear power may be cleaner than natural gas, but it is nine to 25 times more polluting per kilowatt hour generated than wind power in terms of carbon and air pollution. In addition, about 40 percent of that difference results from a need to continuously mine and refine uranium during the life time of the nuclear power plant. He says the “sole purpose” of two coal-fired power plants in the U.S. now is to refine uranium for nuclear energy and weapons.

While Gates expresses optimism about fourth-generation nuclear power technology and safety, Jacobson counters that 1.5 percent of all nuclear reactors built worldwide “have melted down seriously. So there’s a catastrophic risk problem.” A world wanting to go fully nuclear – and currently having 400 850-megawatt nuclear reactors – would need 16,000 850-megawatt reactors.

Jacobson points to relative costs as the key determinant. Unsubsidized current costs are about 12.5 cents per kilowatt hour; for wind 3.2 to 5 cents per kilowatt hour; for thin film solar 5 to 6 cents per kilowatt hour; and for utility-scale crystalline solar 5.2 to nearly 7 cents per kilowatt hour. Big differences, he says.   http://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2016/05/nuclear-power-part-of-the-alternative-energy-solution/Nuclear

May 18, 2016 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

International Atomic Energy Agency keen to teach kids how great is the nuclear industry

IAEA Invites Students to Learn Nuclear Science Through Play. IAEA,  By Laura Gil, IAEA Office of Public Information and Communication, 12 May 16,  Teachers have reached almost 10 000 students in four Asian countries through a guidebook designed to bring nuclear science and technology closer to young adults. The compendium, which is being tested by the IAEA and education experts from several countries, collects unique teaching strategies and materials to introduce science and technology in education systems.

nuclear-teacher

“We want to challenge students’ curiosity and show them the important role nuclear science and technology play in everyday life,” said Maria Violeta Tupas, Education Programme Supervisor at the Department of Education in the Philippines, who has used the compendium. “And we want to do this during the students’ formative years, so that they realize what it is that motivates them before they choose their career path.”

By generating interest in science among young generations, the compendium aims at contributing to the sustainability of the nuclear industry and related technologies in the future. With populations growing, applications of nuclear technology rapidly expanding, and active nuclear scientists ageing, a new generation of professionals will soon need to step up……

In preparation for the curriculum, experts collected ideas from, for example, Japan, where teachers often organize field trips for students; India, where education centres convoke essay contests all across the country to create an interest in the student community; Israel, where the government has built a nuclear science park and museum; and Australia, where school children are invited to an exhibition centre in the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation already from an early age. https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/iaea-invites-students-to-learn-nuclear-science-through-play

May 18, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, spinbuster | Leave a comment

World Bank warns on the growing dangers of climate change

World-BankClimate change puts 1.3bn people and $158tn at risk, says World Bank https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/may/16/climate-change-puts-13bn-people-and-158tn-at-risk-says-world-bank Guardian, , Economics editor, 
Organisation urges better city planning and defensive measures to defend against rapid rise in climate change-linked disasters The global community is badly prepared for a rapid increase in climate change-related natural disasters that by 2050 will put 1.3 billion people at risk, according to the World Bank.

Urging better planning of cities before it was too late, a report published on Monday from a Bank-run body that focuses on disaster mitigation, said assets worth $158tn – double the total annual output of the global economy – would be in jeopardy by 2050 without preventative action.

The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery said total damages from disasters had ballooned in recent decades but warned that worse could be in store as a result of a combination of global warming, an expanding population and the vulnerability of people crammed into slums in low-lying, fast-growing cities that are already overcrowded.

“With climate change and rising numbers of people in urban areas rapidly driving up future risks, there’s a real danger the world is woefully unprepared for what lies ahead,” said John Roome, the World Bank Group’s senior director for climate change.

“Unless we change our approach to future planning for cities and coastal areas that takes into account potential disasters, we run the real risk of locking in decisions that will lead to drastic increases in future losses.”

The facility’s report cited case studies showing that densely populated coastal cities are sinking at a time when sea levels are rising. It added that the annual cost of natural disasters in 136 coastal cities could increase from $6bn in 2010 to $1tn in 2070.

The report said that the number of deaths and the monetary losses from natural disasters varied from year to year, but the upward trend was pronounced.

Total annual damage – averaged over a 10-year period – had risen tenfold from 1976–1985 to 2005–2014, from $14bn to more than $140bn. The average number of people affected each year had risen over the same period from around 60 million people to more than 170 million.

Although developed countries have been responsible for the bulk of historic global emissions, poorer countries are more vulnerable to the impact of climate change and they demanded financial help from the west as part of last December’s breakthrough global deal to reduce emissions.

Oxfam this week called on rich countries to make good on the pledges made at the Paris conference to provide the funding to help developing countries adapt to the effects of global warming.

“Climate change is a brutal reality confronting millions of the world’s most vulnerable people. Their need for financial support to adapt to climate extremes is urgent and rising,” Oxfam said in its Unfinished Business report.

“International support for adaptation falls well short of what is needed. Latest estimates indicate that only 16% of international climate finance is currently dedicated to adaptation – a mere $4bn–$6bn per year of which is public finance.”

According to the the facility, disaster risk is affected by three factors. It said these were: hazard – the frequency of potentially dangerous naturally occurring events, such as earthquakes or tropical cyclones; exposure – the size of the population and the economic assets located in hazard-prone areas; and vulnerability – the susceptibility of the exposed elements to the natural hazard.

It added that hazard was increasing due to climate change; exposure was going up because more people were living in hazardous areas and that vulnerability was on the rise because of badly designed and poorly planned housing.

The World Bank-run body said the population was expected to rise by at least 40% in 14 of the 20 most populated cities in the world between 2015 and 2030, with some cities growing by 10 million people in that period. “Many of the largest cities are located in deltas and are highly prone to floods and other hazards, and as these cities grow, an ever greater number of people and more assets are at risk of disaster.”

Francis Ghesquiere, head of the secretariat at the The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, said: “By promoting policies that reduce risk and avoiding actions to drive up risk, we can positively influence the risk environment of the future. The drivers of future risk are within the control of decision makers today. They must seize the moment.”

May 18, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Cultural genocide – nuclear waste dumping in Australia: Take a stand!

heartland-2Stop Australia From Committing “Cultural Genocide” and Environmental Injustice http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/36006-stop-australia-from-committing-cultural-genocide-and-environmental-injustice, 14 May 2016 By Jessica RamosCare2 | Report  Australia is about to make a horrible mistake. The country has (at least, tentatively) earmarked the location of its first nuclear dumping site next to an aboriginal cultural site. And the aboriginal community is speaking out — calling the proposed site “cultural genocide.” Australia is on the path to repeating the United States’ past mistakes and environmental injustices.

Can You Put a Price on Cultural Genocide and Death? Yes, Apparently

The traditional lands at the center of the controversy belong to the Adnyamathanha, also known as the “rock people,” from Flinders Ranges, South Australia. In 2009, the Federal Court of Australia recognized the Adnyamathanha’s native rights over 16,000 square miles of territory. But a nuclear dumping site of low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste (e.g. from medical procedures) endangers their territory and legal rights.

As reported in The Guardian, Wallerberdina Station (a cattle station) near Barndioota — less than 500km north of Adelaide in the Flinders Ranges — was originally one of six sites selected for the proposed nuclear dump last year, but now it’s the only location under consideration after a “four-month consultation process.” I’m not sure who was consulted, but it doesn’t appear to be the Adnyamathanha.

“This is our land, we have been here forever and we will always be here and we are totally opposed to this dump,” says Vince Coulthard, the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA) chief executive, to The Guardian. Apart from calling the move “cultural genocide,” Coulthard adds that the community has been mostly excluded from the decision-making process.

Important Adnyamathanha cultural sites near the proposed dumping site need to be taken into consideration. Hookina Creek, a women’s place and registered heritage site, is one of these sites. When Regina McKenzi, an Adnyamathanha woman, learned about the proposed dumping area coming to her ancestral lands, she told The Guardian that she felt like she was “getting news of a death.”

But, hey, the Adnyamathanha will be compensated for, so that’s something — right? As reported in The Guardian, Josh Frydenberg MP, the Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, explains that the Adnyamathanha community will receive $2m for local projects and $10m if the Wallerberdina Station is ultimately selected. Frydenberg adds that consulting the aboriginal community is the next wave of the process — even though it should’ve been a priority since the process’ inception, in my humble opinion.

National Treasures, Not Nuclear Dumping Sites

If you’re from the United States, then this whole ordeal should sound somewhat familiar. When I wrote about the massive mine spill caused by the EPA near the Navajo Nation last year, it was hard not to reflect on the ways indigenous communities experience environmental injustice. The Navajo Nation is probably the most infamous and prominent example with its long history of uranium mining that caused high rates of cancers and lung disease in the community.

But this form of injustice isn’t limited to one tribe. According to the Scientific American, “[n]ative tribes across the American West have been and continue to be subjected to significant amounts of radioactive and otherwise hazardous waste as a result of living near nuclear test sites, uranium mines, power plants and toxic waste dumps.”

Environmental injustice just doesn’t compromise the physical health of the locals. It also compromises the environment, and, ultimately, the cultural health. To this day, many indigenous identities are intricately tied to ancestral lands. By polluting sacred, ancestral and/or historical sites, these companies and governments are also polluting ancestral memories and robbing future generations of their ancestral identities. Millions of dollars can never compensate for these past and future losses.

Cultures, languages, traditions and stories that have survived centuries of colonization are national treasures — not nuclear dumping sites.

Take Action!

The final decision for the nuclear dumping site will occur in a year, please act now by signing and sharing this petition urging Australian leaders not to dump nuclear waste near Adnyamathanha territory.

May 18, 2016 Posted by | ACTION, AUSTRALIA, indigenous issues | Leave a comment

Strategy paper on nuclear energy prepared by European Union

European Union to publish strategy paper on nuclear energy http://www.dw.com/en/european-union-to-publish-strategy-paper-on-nuclear-energy/a-19262144 Ahead of a meeting of the EU’s energy commissioners, a report obtained by German media has revealed plans for the future of nuclear power in Europe. The plans run contrary to German policy.

Citing a strategy paper from the EU on Tuesday, “Spiegel Online” reported that the European Union plans to defend its technological dominance in the nuclear sector.

According to the document, the European Union’s 28 member states should strengthen cooperation on researching, developing, financing and constructing innovative reactors.

The paper is reportedly the basis for the European Commission’s future nuclear policy and is expected to be passed by the European commissioner for energy union on Wednesday. The report would then be presented to the European Parliament.

“Spiegel” reported that the European Union plans to advance the minireactors with the hope that such technology should be in use no later than 2030.

German nuclear phaseout

The plans contradict policy in Germany, which currently intends to end the domestic use of nuclear power by 2022. As an alternative to nuclear energy, Berlin has pushed to increase renewable energy, such as wind and solar power. But a decision to shut down nuclear power following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan has also left Germany reliant on dirty and readily available coal to produce power.

The task of safely decommissioning and dismantling nuclear power stations also promises to be expensive and controversial, and will take many years. Though the government and nuclear industry are keen to get on with dismantling and removing reactors soon after they are shut down, the nongovernmental organization International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) has voiced concerns about the potential associated health risks.

The IPPNW’s preferred solution would require heavily contaminated elements such as spent fuel rods to be removed immediately, while less-contaminated buildings and equipment would be left in situ indefinitely.

Representatives at E.ON – Germany’s largest electricity utility and the owner of 11 nuclear stations – told DW that fencing off sites was neither more nor less safe than dismantling them. The utility argued instead that dismantling is a better solution in terms of the labor market consequences.

“IPPNW’s option would mean that 300-400 people who work at a nuclear site would abruptly lose their jobs,” an E.ON spokesperson said.

May 18, 2016 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment

Obama shuns Open Ended Working Group on Taking Forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations.

Obama puppetObama goes to Hiroshima, but stiffs nuclear talks in Geneva  The upcoming visit may be a first, but if Obama is serious about disarmament, he will not shut the door on discussions with non-nuclear weapon states, Open Canada.org BY: PAUL MEYER MAY 17, 2016   After some extended internal debate, the White House has announced that U.S. President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima on May 27 after a G7 summit meeting in Japan, making him the first sitting American president to pay such a visit to the city synonymous with atomic devastation.

Although his Secretary of State John Kerry had paid such a visit in April and several U.S. ambassadors had previously attended commemorative ceremonies in Hiroshima, the political significance of a presidential visit would be of an entirely different order of magnitude. Hence the concern of his advisors as to how such a visit would play in the American political scene and their haste to proclaim that Obama will not offer any ‘apology’ for the actions of his predecessor some 70 years ago……

Far from advancing his nuclear disarmament-related goals — including the ratification of the Comprehensive (Nuclear) Test Ban Treaty, initiation of a fissile material production ban, further reduction of strategic nuclear forces, and diminishing the saliency of nuclear weapons in national strategy — Obama has committed to an unprecedented modernization of these nuclear forces that is estimated to cost more than USD$350 billion over the next decade.

He has also endorsed the perverse Cold War practice of maintaining nuclear-tipped inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) on high alert status with all the attendant risks that such a posture represents. His singular accomplishment in hosting the first and last of a series of four Nuclear Security Summits was an underwhelming lowest common denominator process that excluded from discussion the very subjects that he had raised in the Prague speech as requiring attention that would “transcend Cold War thinking.”

With all this evidence of a yawning gap between aims and achievements on the nuclear agenda, one would think that the Obama administration would be eager to find opportunities to enhance relations with non-nuclear weapon states and repair its image as an active supporter of nuclear disarmament.  An opportunity to do so is currently present in Geneva in the form of the Open Ended Working Group on Taking Forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations.

This group was constituted last fall by a widely supported resolution of the UN General Assembly and has just completed two weeks of deliberations after an earlier week of discussions in February. After a few more days of meetings in August the group is slated to submit a report to the 71th session of the General Assembly this fall.

As its title suggests, the objective of the group is to try and identify effective measures to make progress on nuclear disarmament issues that have been neglected for years in multilateral forums. Instead of engaging with the non-nuclear weapon states, the U.S. and the other nuclear-armed states have chosen to boycott these meetings. Given that the Open Ended Working Group was a duly constituted multilateral body operating under UN General Assembly auspices, this rejection to participate is insulting to the others attending (which include Canada, Japan and the rest of the U.S.’s allies) and to the principles of multilateral cooperation in general.  Given the support freely offered by the non-nuclear weapon states to so many of the international security initiatives championed by the U.S., it is grating to see the cavalier fashion in which the U.S. and its nuclear weapon posse is stiffing the Geneva process.  One can imagine the consternation in Washington if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or the other invited leaders of the non-nuclear weapon states had said they would not attend Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit this March until such time as the U.S. agreed to participate in the Geneva proceedings.

Perhaps it is time for non-nuclear weapon states to become more insistent that their priority agenda gets some respect from the members of the nuclear weapons club…….https://www.opencanada.org/features/obama-goes-hiroshima-stiffs-nuclear-talks-geneva/

May 18, 2016 Posted by | EUROPE, weapons and war | Leave a comment