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Residents furious over high court decision to revoke Takahama nuclear plant injunction

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Yoshinori Tsuji, right, speaks during a news conference in Osaka’s Kita Ward on March 28, 2017, after the Osaka High Court handed down a decision on the injunction for reactors at Takahama Nuclear Power Plant

OSAKA — A March 28 Osaka High Court ruling that revoked a lower court decision to halt two nuclear reactors in Fukui Prefecture has angered plaintiffs and local residents as the high court effectively rubberstamped the state’s policy of restarting nuclear reactors.

Some 100 people demanding a halt to the reactors at Takahama Nuclear Power Plant gathered before the Osaka High Court on March 28. When they were informed of the ruling shortly after 3 p.m. with attorneys holding up banners that said, “Unjust ruling” and “The court fails to fulfill residents’ wishes,” the plaintiffs let out a sigh of disappointment.

“What are they thinking about?” “This is absurd,” they said, and shouted, “Resist the high court ruling that disregards Fukushima!” as they raised their fists.

Kenichi Ido, the head attorney for the plaintiffs, criticized the ruling during a news conference, with the over-400-page written court decision in his hand, saying, “While it’s this thick, its contents are just a copy of the views of (Takahama nuclear plant operator) Kansai Electric Power Co. and the Nuclear Regulation Authority.”

He added, “After the March 11 disaster, the judiciary is the only actor that can stop the administration that is railroading the resumption of nuclear power. But I sense that it has no self-awareness of its role or responsibility.”

Yoshinori Tsuji, the representative of the residents in the class action lawsuit, expressed frustration over the latest ruling, saying, “The decision was unjust as the high court took the policies of the central government and the utility into consideration.”

Tsuji also said the Otsu District Court’s injunction order handed down a year ago was a groundbreaking decision which reflected on the Fukushima nuclear disaster. “It further legitimized the authority of the judiciary,” he recalled.

Tsuji then slammed the Osaka High Court, saying, “The high court took a decidedly different stance from the district court with regard to listening to the people’s voices. Shame on them.”

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170329/p2a/00m/0na/013000c

March 29, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima decontamination near-complete in evacuated areas, so they claim

When you hear the word “decontamination” think of the word “distribution.” Scrapping some contaminated top soil from here to move it there, and again and again ad infinitum.
 
Full decontamination is just impossible. 80 % of the Fukushima prefecture is forests and woods which are impossible to decontaminate, have therefore not been decontaminated, with loads of accumulated radionuclides there, which carried by the rain and the wind recontaminate any « decontaminated » area.
 
These 2.6 trillion yen ($23.56 billion) spent over the past five years have been spent totally in vain, they should have use that money to relocate properly all the evacuees from the evacuated zones and from other non evacuated hot spot zones, instead to force the evacuees to return to live in a everlasting radioactive environment, imposing them to live with an annual radiation dose up to 20 millisieverts, which is the international annual radiation maximum dose for nuclear plant workers, not for civilians, not women, children and babies.

 

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SIX YEARS AFTER: Fukushima decontamination near-complete in evacuated areas

Decontamination work in areas covered by the evacuation order from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster is expected to conclude this month, paving the way for evacuees from the affected communities to return home.

With the project’s completion, the government’s focus will shift to the cleanup of heavily contaminated areas near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and infrastructure building.

The areas covered in the Environment Ministry’s decontamination project constitute those in 11 municipalities, including Okuma and Futaba, the two towns co-hosting the nuclear complex.

The decontamination project got under way there in fiscal 2012 to remove soil, fallen leaves and other materials contaminated by radioactive substances primarily in residential areas, roads, and rice paddies and fields.

But the areas collectively known as the difficult-to-return zone where annual radiation doses were estimated to exceed 50 millisieverts as of the end of 2011 and still estimated at more than 20 millisieverts five years after the disaster were excluded from the decontamination work in those 11 local governments.

The cleanup in nine municipalities has already been completed, while the project in the remaining two is expected to finish this month, according to the government.

The completion of the project comes after the Cabinet approved a policy to finish decontamination by the end of March 2017 at a meeting in March 2016.

The evacuation order for Okuma and Futaba will remain in place even though the cleanup project will soon be over.

But the government expects to lift the order for people from the remaining nine municipalities, except for residents from the difficult-to-return zone, by April 1.

That will make the total area remaining under the evacuation order 30 percent of the size six years ago.

According to the ministry, decontamination operations have been carried out in 99 local governments in and outside of Fukushima Prefecture, costing about 2.6 trillion yen ($23.56 billion) over the past five years.

Although the government initially covers the costs of decontamination, it sends the bill to Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant’s operator.

Despite the cleanup project, many evacuees will likely remain anxious about radiation exposure when they return because forests and woods except for those close to residential areas have not been decontaminated.

The government envisages setting up hubs for rebuilding the difficult-to-return zone by carrying out an intensive cleanup to make the areas habitable by 2022.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201703270039.html

March 29, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“THE STATE OF FUKUSHIMA: Sixth Anniversary 3.11 Nuclear Disaster. Evacuation Orders Being Lifted – Ethical or Not?”

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THE STATE OF FUKUSHIMA: Sixth Anniversary 3.11 Nuclear Disaster

Evacuation Orders Being Lifted – Ethical or Not?

by Kerry Anne O’Connor, California native, Tokyo Resident

The Fukushima accident has shown that people cannot coexist with nuclear power. I believe the only way to preserve human life is to completely turn away from nuclear power.”—Kenzaburo Oe, Nobel Prize-winning Novelist.

On March 11, 2011 at 2:46pm, it felt like the world was ending! Frightened people were screaming in terror. Shattered glass was flying everywhere. The memories of that day are tattooed on my brain and will never be erased.

Many cities damaged in the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami disaster are on their way to slow recovery. One disaster area, however, may never have its place on the map again. The triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant forced the evacuation of 170,000 people. Six years later 84,000 residents still cannot safely return to their homes in Fukushima due to the high levels of radiation. They are the forgotten ones their stories swept under Japan’s 2020 Tokyo Olympics carpet.

Since March 12, 2011, the day the Fukushima evacuation orders were put into effect, residents near the power plant were woken up in the middle of the night and told to board buses, destination unknown. They were told not to bring personal belongings, including their pets. Thinking they would return soon, pet owners left two to three days’ worth of food and water. Some tied their pets to their homes, some let the animals run loose. The residents never returned. The animals tied to their homes perished.

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Animal rescue missions in the exclusion zones near the crippled power plant commenced under the supervision of Animal Rescue Nyander Guard in Fukushima (nyan=meow in Japanese). Staff and volunteers entered the contaminated restricted areas to rescue as many endangered pets as they could. Dogs and cats were easy to transport. Farm animals, however, had no escape and most were euthanized. One woman who ran a dairy farm cried profusely, “You can’t just carry a cow out like a dog. I had fifty dairy cows. They were my babies! I was forced to abandon them!”

Today, Nyander Guard still searches for animals left wandering inside the exclusion zones having saved over 760 animals since April 2011. Six years of unrelenting devotion has helped to reunite pets with their owners, find new families for abandoned animals and shelter those who are still homeless awaiting adoption.

March 11, 2017, marked the 6th anniversary of the ongoing Fukushima Nuclear meltdown. It was also the day I went into the exclusion zones to measure radiation levels and document farmlands that are now nuclear wastelands. Much to my shock, I learned that some areas where the evacuation orders will be lifted at the end of this month are actually higher in radiation than in the exclusion zones!

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In its haste to reassure the world community that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are going forward as scheduled with soccer and other games planned for Fukushima, the Japanese government is now forcing people back into heavily contaminated areas. A majority of the returning evacuees may not be well informed about the dangers they face, due to Japan’s Secrecy Law adopted in late 2013 – imposing new legislation to penalize the unauthorized publication of information about the crippled nuclear power plant of up to ten-years-long imprisonment. As a result people and particularly press are intimidated and kept from telling the truth.

The community of Santa Barbara is invited to attend a free public exhibit and presentation at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum Auditorium, 1-4pm, Saturday, April 8th featuring the work of volunteers of Nyander Guard. Akira Honda, shelter owner and founder, will also be in attendance to give firsthand details of the traumatic animal rescues in the exclusion zones in the aftermath of the nuclear meltdown. Further accounts of the State of Fukushima will not only be eye opening but also a timely reminder of the 31st Anniversary of Chernobyl Disaster – April 26th, where much of the land there still remains abandoned due to high radiation levels.

In Chernobyl, “Obligatory Resettlement Zones” were areas with over 5mSv/year of radiation, which is the same amount in some parts of Fukushima that will soon open up. Sadly, many pets will still remain at their desolate homes in these areas, living lonely lives with hardly any human contact. On their routine “Animal Watch,” Nyander Guard feeds and cares for these voiceless victims. Being reunited with them on March 11th reaffirmed how unforgiveable and horrific this disaster has become.

Disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima remind the world how dangerous nuclear power is and how they have devastated humans, animals and lands. This is a worldwide problem affecting us all. By raising awareness of the tragedies innocent people and their loved ones continue to endure, we might be able to unite globally and share our individual stories for the sake of humanity and future generations.

 

Please sign these two important petitions :

From Greenpeace : Defend the human rights of Fukushima survivors

https://act.greenpeace.org/page/6288/petition/1

From FFAN-Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network : NO 2020 Olympics in Radioactive Fukushima:

https://www.change.org/p/no-olympics-or-paralympics-in-radioactive-fukushima

Exhibit:

THE STATE OF FUKUSHIMA: Sixth Anniversary 3.11 Nuclear Disaster Karpeles Exhibit Part II

This coming Saturday, April 8 at 1PM – 4PM PDT

At the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum,

21 W Anapamu St, Santa Barbara, California 93101

Tel : +1 805-962-5322

Kerry Anne O’Connor, California born Tokyo resident and volunteer for Animal Rescue Nyander Guard – in Fukushima, Japan will be Santa Barbara Saturday, April 8th for a follow up to the Exhibit and presentation of March 11th in commemoration of the 6th Anniversary of #Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. On 3.11 this year, Kerry was in Fukushima measuring radiation levels and documenting farmlands that are now nuclear wastelands. Among her shocking discoveries, she learned that some areas where the evacuation orders will be lifted at the end of this month are actually higher in radiation than in the exclusion zones.

The community of Santa Barbara is invited to attend this free public exhibit and presentation featuring the work of volunteers of Nyander Guard. Akira Honda, shelter owner and founder, will also be in attendance to give firsthand details of the traumatic animal rescues in the exclusion zones in the aftermath of the #nuclear meltdown which forced 170,000 people to be evacuated; and six years later 84,000 residents still cannot return to their homes due to high radiation levels. Kerry’s further accounts of the “State of Fukushima” will not only be eye-opening but also a good reminder of the 31st Anniversary of #Chernobyl Disaster – April 26 where much of the land there is still abandoned due to high radiation levels.

Media Contact: Kerry O’Connor, 805-482-1745 kerry_in_hachioji@yahoo.co.jp

 

March 29, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | 2 Comments

Remembering Three Mile Island

GIL SCOTT HERON – WE ALMOST LOST DETROIT (LIVE AT 98.3 SUPERFLY)

This Day in History: America’s Worst Nuclear Fears Realized at Three Mile Island Plant, VOA, 28 Mar 17, Thirty-eight years ago today — March 28, 1979 — disaster struck at 4 a.m. at the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear power plant in central Pennsylvania after its cooling system failed.

It remains the worst nuclear accident in American history. A simple plumbing failure prevented the main feedwater pumps from sending water to generators that remove heat from the plant’s core reactor.

During those pre-dawn hours, the temperature of the reactor rose steadily even as staffers were unaware that a valve in the emergency cooling system had become stuck in place, allowing cool water to flow through the valve — not reaching the reactor.

Instruments in the control room misled operators, who thought the cooling system was working normally.

As coolant flowed from the primary system through the valve, other instruments available to reactor operators provided inadequate information. There was no instrument that showed how much water covered the core. As a result, plant staff assumed that as long as the pressurizer water level was high, the core was properly covered with water.

As alarms rang and warning lights flashed, the operators did not realize that the plant was experiencing a loss-of-coolant accident — or, rather, the beginnings of a nuclear meltdown. And just after 6:00 am, data indicated the core reactor had overheated so much that radiation was detected inside the control room.

Half the core was later found to have melted………

In the months following the accident, questions were raised about possible adverse effects from radiation on human, animal and plant life around the nuclear power plant, although none could be directly correlated to the accident.

Thousands of environmental samples of air, water, milk, vegetation, soil and foodstuffs were collected by various government agencies monitoring the area.

In 1997, researchers from Environmental Health Perspectives, the journal of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Science concluded increases in lung cancer and leukemia near the Pennsylvania plant suggested a much greater release of radiation during the 1979 accident than had been believed.

Three Mile Island Health Effects

The accident sparked sweeping safety regulations. The damaged reactor, on the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg, was never restarted. No new commercial nuclear power plant was licensed by the federal government until 2012….http://www.voanews.com/a/americas-worst-nuclear-fears-realized-at-three-mile-island-plant-in-1979/3784186.html

March 29, 2017 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Concern about nuclear waste shipments to South Carolina

Among the materials with no disposition plan include weapons-grade plutonium, depleted uranium oxide, highly enriched uranium and heavy water.

Specifics about the quantity and timetables were redacted from the report. Lastly, the DOE report states that there is no disposition path for surplus plutonium stored at K-Area.

The DOE’s short-term strategy of continuing nuclear shipments to SRS runs counter to South Carolina’s long-held aversion to the state becoming a dumping ground for nuclear waste.

More nuclear shipments to Savannah River Site likely, report says http://www.aikenstandard.com/news/more-nuclear-shipments-to-savannah-river-site-likely-report-says/article_4a380b86-13db-11e7-87c8-c3869ab88afe.html By Michael Smith msmith@aikenstandard.com Mar 28, 2017  Shipments of plutonium and other nuclear materials are expected to continue to the Savannah River Site in Aiken County for the foreseeable future, according to government records released by a watchdog group.

The latest data dump from SRS Watch includes the 2016 SRS Nuclear Materials Management Plan the group said it obtained through the Federal Freedom of Information Act.

Documents confirm that plutonium from Japan, Germany and Switzerland was shipped to the site last year, as previously reported by the Aiken Standard. The 2016 report further states the U.S. Department of Energy plans further shipments of plutonium, uranium and tritium, with some shipments expected to continue for 18 years.

“The most significant issue with respect to the current inventory of SNM (spent nuclear material) at SRS is the lack of an assigned disposition path for certain SNF (spent nuclear fuel) and plutonium materials,” the report says.

Among the materials with no disposition plan include weapons-grade plutonium, depleted uranium oxide, highly enriched uranium and heavy water.

Further, only a portion of spent nuclear fuel stored at L-Area is approved for processing at H Canyon, the report continues.

L-Area is where high and low enriched uranium used fuel is stored. H Canyon downblends this waste into low enriched uranium, which is then used to fuel Tennessee Valley Authority reactors, according to the SRS website.

Additionally, more foreign and domestic materials are expected to be shipped to L-Area through 2019 and 2035, respectively, the DOE report states.

Specifics about the quantity and timetables were redacted from the report. Lastly, the DOE report states that there is no disposition path for surplus plutonium stored at K-Area.

Options for disposing of surplus plutonium are limited. Construction of the Yucca Mountain facility in Nevada halted a few years ago, while the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico also isn’t equipped to handle SRS materials.

The long-term strategy for disposing of defense plutonium remains completion of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility, or MOX, which would convert waste into fuel for commercial reactors.

MOX, though, is only reportedly 70 percent complete, billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule……

The DOE’s short-term strategy of continuing nuclear shipments to SRS runs counter to South Carolina’s long-held aversion to the state becoming a dumping ground for nuclear waste.

SRS Watch Director Tom Clements said in prepared comments the DOE report illustrates why importing nuclear materials to the site must cease.

“While it is clear that DOE hopes to maintain SRS as a site that receives and processes an array of nuclear materials, that role is clearly diminishing and continues to distract from the all-important clean-up mission at SRS,” Clements said in a statement. n recent years, MOX has only received minimal funding from Congress. The DOE assessment says this trend must change.

“Decisions/funding need to be made on the appropriate disposition path; which will include processing for use as mixed oxide fuel, another use, or a waste disposition,” the DOE report states.

The DOE’s short-term strategy of continuing nuclear shipments to SRS runs counter to South Carolina’s long-held aversion to the state becoming a dumping ground for nuclear waste.

SRS Watch Director Tom Clements said in prepared comments the DOE report illustrates why importing nuclear materials to the site must cease.

“While it is clear that DOE hopes to maintain SRS as a site that receives and processes an array of nuclear materials, that role is clearly diminishing and continues to distract from the all-important clean-up mission at SRS,” Clements said in a statement.

“More effort must be put into a permanent and near-term halt to the inflow of nuclear materials into SRS and the development of acceptable disposition paths for hard-to-manage materials already at the site,” the statement continued.

A federal judge recently ruled that the DOE failed to abide by legal obligations to remove or dispose of 1 metric ton of defense plutonium per year from SRS.

But the March 20 order doesn’t impose any sanctions for missing that milestone, nor does it prevent the continued flow of nuclear materials into Aiken County.

March 29, 2017 Posted by | safety, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

America and her allies oppose UN talks for a treaty that would ban nuclear weapons

United States and Allies Protest U.N. Talks to Ban Nuclear Weapons, NYT, MARCH 27, 2017, UNITED NATIONS — Saying the time was not right to outlaw nuclear arms, the United States led a group of dozens of

March 29, 2017 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA tries to block UN nuclear-weapons-ban -talks, backed by its “Deputy Sheriff” Australia.

UN nuclear treaty: Australia plays deputy as US ‘sheriff’ baulks at ban Daniel Flitton, The Age, 29 Mar 17   Nikki Haley marched in on her first day as Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations with a blunt warning to the world: “For those who don’t have our backs, we’re taking names.”

Australia has now gone to extraordinary lengths to make sure its name stays off Trump’s naughty list. With negotiations for a new treaty to outlaw nuclear weapons kicking off on Monday (New York time), Haley called an extraordinary press conference outside the UN to declare the US opposition to the talks.

And there, at her heels, was Australia.

At the very moment representatives from more than 120 countries were starting their negotiations inside, Australia stood with Trump’s appointee and a group widely known as the “weasel countries” who are opposed to banning the bomb.

According to anti-nuclear campaigners, 21 countries joined Haley’s protest. They included Albania, Turkey, Croatia, Romania, Poland, Estonia, Slovenia, Hungary and South Korea. Britain and France, both nuclear armed, also spoke against a ban. Other NATO allies joined in, although not all……

Back in January, Haley had made plain the attitude the Trump administration would take to the world body. “Our goal … is to show value at the UN, and the way to show value is to show our strength, show our full voice,” she declared. “Have the backs of our allies and make sure our allies have our backs as well.

“For those who don’t have our backs, we’re taking names, and we will make points to respond to that accordingly.”

On Monday, after the protest at the UN, she told a key lobby group for Israel in Washington: “For anyone who says you can’t get anything done at the UN, they need to know there’s a new sheriff in town.”

And she made the nuclear issue personal…….

Tilman Ruff, of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, told Fairfax Media from New York that the US action was alarming and Australia was “aligning itself with the extremes of the Trump administration”.

“What credibility does Australia have to criticise North Korea’s reckless nuclear proliferation when it continues to claim protection itself through the very same weapons, and oppose efforts to ban them?” Dr Ruff said. http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/un-nuclear-treaty-australia-plays-deputy-as-us-sheriff-baulks-at-ban-20170328-gv8bge.html

March 29, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

How did the Pentagon lose $10 Trillion?

$10 Trillion Missing From Pentagon And No One — Not Even The DoD — Knows Where It Is http://www.activistpost.com/2017/03/10-trillion-missing-pentagon-no-one-not-even-dod-knows.htmlMARCH 27, 2017, BY CLAIRE BERNISH

Over a mere two decades, the Pentagon lost track of a mind-numbing $10 trillion — that’s trillion, with a fat, taxpayer-funded “T” — and no one, not even the Department of Defense, knows where it went or on what it was spent.

Even though audits of all federal agencies became mandatory in 1996, the Pentagon has apparently made itself an exception, and — fully 20 years later — stands obstinately orotund in never having complied.

Because, as defense officials insist — summoning their best impudent adolescent — an audit would take too long and, unironically, cost too much.

“Over the last 20 years, the Pentagon has broken every promise to Congress about when an audit would be completed,” Rafael DeGennaro, director of Audit the Pentagontold The Guardianrecently. “Meanwhile, Congress has more than doubled the Pentagon’s budget.”

Worse, President Trump’s newly-proposed budget seeks to toss an additional $54 billion into the evidently bottomless pit that is the U.S. military  — more for interventionist policy, more for resource-plundering, more for proxy fighting, and, of course, more for jets and drones to drop more bombs suspiciously often on civilians.

Maybe.

Because, without the mandated audit, the DoD could be purchasing damned near anything, at any cost, and use, or give, it — to anyone, for any reason.

Officials with the Government Accountability Office and Office of the Inspector General have catalogued egregious financial disparities at the Pentagon for years — yet the Defense Department grouses the cost and energy necessary to perform an audit in compliance with the law makes it untenable.

Astonishingly, the Pentagon’s own watchdog tacitly approves this technically-illegal workaround — and the legally-gray and, yes, literally, on-the-books-corrupt practices in tandem — to what would incontrovertibly be a most unpleasant audit, indeed.

Take the following of myriad examples, called “plugging,” for which Pentagon bookkeepers are not only encouraged to conjure figures from thin air, but, in many cases, they would be physically and administratively incapable of performing the job without doing so — without ever having faced consequences for this brazen cooking of books.

To wit, Reuters reported the results of an investigation into Defense’s magical number-crunching — well over three years ago, on November 18, 2013 — detailing the illicit tasks of 15-year employee, “Linda Woodford [who] spent the last 15 years of her career inserting phony numbers in the U.S. Department of Defense’s accounts.”

Woodford, who has since retired, and others like her, act as individual pieces in the amassing chewed gum only appearing to plug a damning mishandling of funds pilfered from the American people to fund wars overseas for resources in the name of U.S. defense.

“Every month until she retired in 2011,” Scot J. Paltrow wrote for Reuters, “she says, the day came when the Navy would start dumping numbers on the Cleveland, Ohio, office of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the Pentagon’s main accounting agency. Using the data they received, Woodford and her fellow DFAS accountants there set about preparing monthly reports to square the Navy’s books with the U.S. Treasury’s – a balancing-the-checkbook maneuver required of all the military services and other Pentagon agencies.

“And every month, they encountered the same problem. Numbers were missing. Numbers were clearly wrong. Numbers came with no explanation of how the money had been spent or which congressional appropriation it came from. ‘A lot of times there were issues of numbers being inaccurate,’ Woodford says. ‘We didn’t have the detail … for a lot of it.’”

Where a number of disparities could be corrected through hurried communications, a great deal — thousands each month, for each person on the task — required fictitious figures. Murkily deemed, “unsubstantiated change actions” — tersely termed, “plugs” — this artificial fix forcing records into an unnatural alignment is common practice at the Pentagon.

Beyond bogus books, the Pentagon likely flushed that $10 trillion in taxes down the toilet of inanity that is unchecked purchasing by inept staff who must be devoid of prior experience in the field of defense.

This tax robbery would eclipse the palatability of blood money — if it weren’t also being wasted on items such as the 7,437 extraneous Humvee front suspensions — purchased in surplus over the inexplicable 14-year supply of 15,000 unnecessary Humvee front suspensions already gathering warehouse-shelf dust.

And there are three items of note on this particular example, of many:

One, the U.S. Department of Defense considers inventory surpassing a three-year supply, “excessive.”

Two, the stupefying additional seven-thousand-something front suspensions arrived, as ordered, during a period of demand reduced by half.

Three, scores of additional items — mostly unaccounted for in inventory — sit untouched and aging in storage, growing not only incapable of being used, but too dangerous to be properly disposed of safely.

Worse, contractors greedily sink hands into lucrative contracts — with all the same supply-based waste at every level, from the abject disaster that is the $1 trillion F-35 fighter program, to the $8,123.50 shelled out for Bell Helicopter Textron helicopter gears with a price tag of $445.06, to the DoD settlement with Boeing for overcharges of a whopping $13.7 million.

The latter included a charge to the Pentagon of $2,286 — spent for an aluminum pin ordinarily costing just $10.

Considering all the cooking of numbers apparently fueled with burning money stateside, you would think Defense channeled its efforts into becoming a paragon of economic efficiency when the military defends the United States. Overseas. From terrorism. And from terrorists. And terrorist-supporting nations.

But this is the Pentagon — and a trickle of telling headlines regularly grace the news, each evincing yet another missing shipment of weapons, unknown allocation of funds, or retrieval of various U.S.-made arms and munitions by some terrorist group deemed politically less acceptable than others by officials naming pawns.

In fact, so many American weapons and supplies lost by the DoD and CIA become the property of actual terrorists — who then use them sadistically against civilians and strategically against our proxies and theirs — it would be negligent not to describe the phenomenon as pattern, whether or not intent exists behind it.

Since practically the moment of nationalist President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the ceaselessly belligerent of the military-industrial machine have been granted a new head cheerleader with a bullhorn so powerful as to render calls to apply the brakes effectively, if not unpatriotically, moot.

Sans any optimistic indication thus far lacking from the Trump administration it would reverse course and move toward, rather than against, transparency, the painstaking audit imperative to DoD accountability remains only a theory — while the Pentagon’s $10 trillion sits as the world’s largest elephant in apathetic America’s living room.

For now, we know generally where our money is going: war. Which aspect of war — compared to the power of your outrage about its callous and reckless execution in your name — matters little.

Claire Bernish writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared.

March 29, 2017 Posted by | Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Scientists support UN nuclear weapons ban conference, with open letter

Why scientists are signing an open letter calling for a total ban on nuclear weapons http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-28/why-scientists-signed-an-open-letter-on-banning-nuclear-weapons/8393330  The Conversation  By Toby Walsh and Rob Brooks, UNSW  These are dangerous times.

The Doomsday Clock sits at just two-and-a-half minutes before midnight, which represents global catastrophe.

The Doomsday Clock has been maintained by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1947, and has only ever been closer to midnight back in 1953, when the United States and Soviet Union tested their first hydrogen bombs, and the world was locked in a very dangerous nuclear arms race.

A single hydrogen bomb, thousands of times more powerful than the devices used on Hiroshima or Nagasaki, would be capable of obliterating a whole city.An all-out war, detonating even a fraction of the roughly 14,000 nuclear weapons in existence today, might trigger a mini ice age.Winter would last year-round, agriculture would be destroyed, and civilisation would likely collapse.

The then-US president Ronald Reagan put it simply and clearly: “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

Today we face these fears once more.

Russia and China are again flexing their military might. The United States is led by President Donald Trump, who has a more hawkish take on international affairs than his predecessors.

He has also said that if any country is to have nuclear weapons, then he wants the United States to be at the “top of the pack“.There are many potential flashpoints around the world — including Syria, the Korean peninsular, the South China Sea, Iraq, and Ukraine — and many despots and terrorists looking to cause problems.

There is, however, reason for hope. This week’s talks at the United Nations aim to negotiate a total ban on nuclear weapons. These talks are the first of their kind ever to take place at the UN. The aim is to stigmatise nuclear weapons, as with biological and chemical weapons.The ultimate goal is a world free of these weapons of mass destruction.

In support of these discussions, thousands of scientists from around the world have today released an open letter urging our national governments to achieve this goal of banning nuclear weapons. The letter is signed by 23 Nobel Laureates, a past US Secretary of Defense, and many well-known scientists such as Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Martin Rees and Daniel Dennett.

I, too, have signed the letter.

As scientists, we bear a special responsibility for having invented these weapons of mass destruction.And as scientists, we are also very aware of the disastrous effects that they could have on our planet. Nuclear weapons threaten not merely those who have them, but all people who walk the Earth.

We urge the diplomats meeting in the United Nations today to find a way to rid the world of this evil. [letter is published on the original of this article].

March 29, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Westinghouse financial crisis impacts Britain’s nuclear power plans

UK nuclear plans could be hit by Westinghouse financial crisis https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/mar/28/uk-nuclear-westinghouse-bankruptcy-toshiba-us

Toshiba’s US subsidiary, which has technology in about half world’s reactors, expected to file for bankruptcy protection, Guardian, , 29 Mar 17, A financial crisis at a major nuclear energy business is threatening to deal a blow to the UK’s atomic energy programme.

Toshiba’s US nuclear subsidiary Westinghouse Electric is believed to be on the brink of filing in the US for bankruptcy protection from creditors. A UK expert said the collapse would leave a considerable hole in Britain’s new nuclear ambitions as Toshiba is a key player behind plans for a new power station at Moorside in Cumbria.

Westinghouse is a behemoth in the world of nuclear vendors, with its technology in about half the world’s reactors. But it is facing a writedown of billions of dollars over its acquisition of a nuclear construction and services business. In 2015 Toshiba bought CB&I Stone & Webster, the company managing the construction of new reactors Plant Vogtle in Georgia and Virgil C Summer in South Carolina, both of which are over budget and behind schedule.

Westinghouse filing for Chapter 11 protection would potentially limit future losses for its owner Toshiba. The move will also trigger complex negotiations between the Japanese conglomerate, its American unit and creditors, and could embroil the US and Japanese governments, given the scale of the collapse and US government loan guarantees for new reactors.

The US utilities that operate the two nuclear plants are among Westinghouse’s biggest creditors, owed for work that has yet to be completed and potential penalties, sources have said. The bankruptcy filing will allow Westinghouse to renegotiate or break the construction contracts, although the utilities that own the projects would likely seek damages.

 Credit rating agency Moody’s said it welcomed the prospect of bankruptcy because it could limit Toshiba’s liabilities.

Anti-nuclear campaigners said the episode showed the world should build renewable energy rather than new nuclear. Doug Parr, policy director at Greenpeace UK, said: “The world is watching the meltdown of a major corporation and questioning the cost of new nuclear. Declaring bankruptcy in the USA might shield Toshiba from Westinghouse’s debt, but as Toshiba’s share price ricochets and its multibillion-dollar losses escalate, the beleaguered nuclear industry is being shaken to the core again.”

 Dr Paul Dorfman, a nuclear expert at UCL in London, told the Guardian: “Toshiba has fallen on its sword and this has significant consequences for the UK’s plans for new nuclear. Kepco of South Korea may come and buy into NuGen [the consortium behind the UK’s Moorside plant]. But you can’t necessarily sell off the bad bits of a nuclear corporation and keep the good bits.”

Kecpo last week ruled out buying Westinghouse but said it was in talks to take a stake in NuGen. However, Dorfman said: “While Kepco may wish to buy into NuGen they may find it both legally and financially problematic.”

He added that any unravelling of Nugen as a result of Westinghouse filing for bankruptcy would “leave a considerable hole in UK nuclear plans”.

The AP1000 reactor design of the two US plants is the same as the three planned for the Moorside power station. Within days the UK nuclear regulator is expected to approve a “generic design assessment” for the AP1000, the end of a four-year approval process.

This year Toshiba has twice delayed publishing its financial results for the third quarter of 2016, which will reveal the scale of the impairment it faces with regards to CB&I Stone & Webster. In January, chief executive Satoshi Tsunakawa said that while Toshiba would continue to maintain and operate its existing nuclear plants: “It is unlikely that we will carry out construction work for future nuclear power plant projects, in order to eliminate risk.”

But NuGen has said that while Toshiba may not build Moorside, the Japanese corporation was still committed to developing the Moorside power station. The possibility of a Westinghouse bankruptcy also raises questions over its impact on the Springfields nuclear fuel plant in Lancashire. The company owns the site on a 150-year lease from the UK government’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

In the US, the reactors that Westinghouse is building are due to be completed within the next three years.

March 29, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Trump takes action to reverse Obama’s climate change initiatives

Donald Trump moves to erase Barack Obama’s legacy on fighting climate change, The Age 29 Mar 17 Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis, Washington: US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to scrap Obama-era climate change regulations that his administration says are hindering oil drillers and coal miners.

“My administration is putting an end to the war on coal,” Trump said before signing the decree. “With today’s executive action I am taking historic steps to lift the restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion and to cancel job-killing regulations.”

It is the most significant step yet in obliterating his predecessor’s environmental record and instructing federal regulators to rewrite key rules curbing US carbon emissions. The sweeping executive order also seeks to lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing and remove the requirement that federal officials consider the impact of climate change when making decisions.

The order sends an unmistakable signal that just as former president Barack Obama sought to weave climate considerations into every aspect of the federal government, Mr Trump is hoping to rip that approach out by its roots…..

Some of the measures could take years to implement and are unlikely to alter broader economic trends that are shifting the nation’s electricity mix from coal-fired generation to natural gas and renewables. The order is silent on whether the United States should withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, under which it has pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions between 26 and 28 per cent by 2025 compared to 2005 levels, because the administration remains divided on that question.

Some of the measures could take years to implement and are unlikely to alter broader economic trends that are shifting the nation’s electricity mix from coal-fired generation to natural gas and renewables. The order is silent on whether the United States should withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, under which it has pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions between 26 and 28 per cent by 2025 compared to 2005 levels, because the administration remains divided on that question.

The order comes after several moves by Mr Trump to roll back Obama-era restrictions on mining, drilling and coal and gas-burning operations. In his first two months as President, Mr Trump has nullified a regulation barring surface-mining companies from polluting waterways and set aside a new accounting system that would have compelled coal companies and other energy firms to pay more in federal royalties.

The administration also has announced it will reconsider stricter fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks and has approved two major oil pipelines, Dakota Access and Keystone XL, that Mr Obama had halted.

Accelerating fossil-fuel production on federal lands and sidelining climate considerations could lead to higher emissions of the greenhouse gases driving climate change and complicate a global effort to curb the world’s carbon output. But Mr Trump has repeatedly questioned whether climate change is underway and emphasised that he is determined to deliver for the voters in coal country who helped him win the Oval Office……

Rewriting emissions limits

The centrepiece of the new presidential directive, telling the Environmental Protection Agency to begin rewriting the 2015 regulation that limits greenhouse-gas emissions from existing power plants, will trigger a laborious rule-making process and a possible legal fight.

The agency must first get permission from the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, where the rule is tied up in litigation, to revisit the matter. Then, agency officials will have to justify reaching the opposite conclusion of the Obama EPA, which argued it was technically feasible and legally warranted to reduce carbon pollution by about one-third by 2030, compared with 2005 levels.

“So, for the president, even if he would like to revoke the Clean Power Plan, he doesn’t have legal authority to do that,” said Jeffrey Holmstead, a partner at the Bracewell law firm who opposes the Obama-era rule. Mr Holmstead, who headed the EPA’s air and radiation office under George W. Bush, said he thinks the agency can justify reversing the regulation. But “they have to justify why they have changed,” he added……http://www.theage.com.au/world/donald-trump-moves-to-erase-barack-obamas-legacy-on-fighting-climate-change-20170328-gv8kru.html

March 29, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Trump admin is urged to help struggling nuclear giant

March 29, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

11,000 Wikileaks documents related to Fukushima

the ongoing fukushima catastrophe.jpg

 

4131 files on Fukushima 2011
https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/?q=Fukushima+2011&mfrom=&mto=&title=&notitle=&date=&nofrom=&noto=&count=50&sort=0&file=&docid=&relid=0#searchresult

4062 files on  reactor 2011
https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/?q=Reactor+2011&mfrom=&mto=&title=&notitle=&date=&nofrom=&noto=&count=50&sort=0&file=&docid=&relid=0#searchresult

2470 files on meltdown 2011
https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/?q=Meltdown+2011&mfrom=&mto=&title=&notitle=&date=&nofrom=&noto=&count=50&sort=0&file=&docid=&relid=0#searchresult

262 files on cesium 2011
https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/?q=Cesium+2011&mfrom=&mto=&title=&notitle=&date=&nofrom=&noto=&count=50&sort=0&file=&docid=&relid=0#searchresult

282 files on  iodine 2011
https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/?q=Iodine+2011&mfrom=&mto=&title=&notitle=&date=&nofrom=&noto=&count=50&sort=0&file=&docid=&relid=0#searchresult

344 files on Uss Ronald Reagan
https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/?q=Uss+ronald+2011&mfrom=&mto=&title=&notitle=&date=&nofrom=&noto=&count=50&sort=0&file=&docid=&relid=0#searchresult


March 29, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | 1 Comment

Japanese High Court sides with Kansai Electric, allowing restart of Takahama nuclear plant

Court overturns injunction on Takahama nuclear plant http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201703280059.html March 28, 2017 Kansai Electric Power Co. won a major victory in its bid to restart the Takahama nuclear plant on March 28, with the Osaka High Court overturning a lower court’s unprecedented injunction to shut down the plant in operation.

The decision came after the Osaka-based utility had appealed the Otsu District Court’s March 2016 ruling, in which it was ordered to suspend operations of the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the plant in Takahama, Fukui Prefecture.

In the ruling on March 28, the high court sided with Kansai Electric, which argued that its reactors met the regulatory requirements instituted in 2013 by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

With the decision, Kansai Electric, which relies on nuclear energy more than many other utilities, is expected to begin procedures to restart the Takahama plant.

In the injunction, the district court in Shiga Prefecture concluded that merely fulfilling the new NRA requirements is not enough to secure safety at the plant, saying they were set when the investigation into the 2011 Fukushima disaster was only halfway complete.

The lower court also said a thorough survey of geological faults around the Takahama plant has yet to be conducted, and that Kansai Electric’s claim that its reactors have a sufficient safety cushion to withstand the largest tremors projected there is doubtful.

Kansai Electric countered that the new requirements fully incorporate lessons learned from the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant by obliging operators to prepare for a more powerful earthquake, tsunami and other natural phenomenon that could trigger an accident.

The court challenge was filed by a group of 29 residents in Shiga Prefecture, which shares a border with Fukui Prefecture, in January 2015. The injunction marked the first time a court in Japan had ordered an operating reactor to be taken offline.

March 29, 2017 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Vague outlook for India-U.S. civil nuclear pact, unlikely to meet June deadline

India-U.S. civil nuclear pact likely to miss June deadline, THE HINDU, Suhasini Haidar 27 Mar 17 Bankruptcy of reactor maker Westinghouse clouds operationalisation of the deal.

More than two years after India and the U.S. announced that the civil nuclear deal was “done,” its actual operationalisation is in doubt over a number of developments that stretch from a “school scandal” in the Japanese parliament to the Cranberry, Pennsylvania headquarters of Westinghouse Electric, which is expected to file for bankruptcy this week.

 Six reactors for A.P. According to the agreement over liability issues and the negotiations that followed former U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to India in January 2015 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington in June 2016, the two sides had agreed to “work toward finalising the contractual arrangements by June 2017” for six reactors to be built in Andhra Pradesh by Toshiba-owned Westinghouse and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).

When completed, this was to be the first operationalisation of the India-U.S. civil nuclear deal, which was announced in 2008, and proof that both sides had effectively sorted out all their issues, including over the liability that suppliers must accept in the event of an accident.

The reason for the concern is that the nuclear arrangement hinged on two major factors — the completion of the India-Japan Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA), as Toshiba and other suppliers for reactor parts are bound by Japanese laws and by the actual contract to be negotiated by the U.S.-based Westinghouse…….

When contacted, the U.S. Embassy declined to comment on how the bankruptcy issues would affect the deal. Nuclear officials said it was “likely” the June 2017 commercial contract with Westinghouse would be “delayed”, given that other financial companies, insurance companies would require clarity on the company’s future before agreeing to sign on the contract.

“The truth is the picture is very hazy at the moment,” a senior official of NPCIL said, adding that in the absence of land acquisition procedures for the other India-U.S. nuclear venture with GE-Hitachi for six 1594 MW reactors, the future of the India-U.S. nuclear deal is, for the moment, pinned to the future of Westinghouse itself. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/indo-us-civil-nuclear-pact-likely-to-miss-june-deadline/article17668572.ece

March 29, 2017 Posted by | India, politics international, USA | Leave a comment