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U. S. Hot During First Half of 2017

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

Hot Time In the U. S. A.

As global warming accelerates, average temperatures will climb. Above-average and record temperatures will become more common.

“From the deserts of Arizona to the swamps of the Chesapeake, 2017 has already been a memorably scorching year—and it’s only half over. The first six months of 2017 were the second warmest on record for the contiguous U.S. (behind only 2012) in observations going back to 1895, according to NOAA’s national climate summary for June. The nation is well synched with the planet as a whole, which has been running second only to 2016 for its warmest year on record.

“Four states sweated through their all-time warmest January-to-June period: North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Every one of the contiguous U.S. states has experienced a top-twelve-warmest year thus far, except for an eight-state arc running from California to the Dakotas.” –Bob Henson Weather Underground. 

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July 14, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

GE-Hitachi F-Up Could Lead to Inability to Scram-Shutdown Several US Nuclear Reactors

Mining Awareness +

CONTROL ROD DRIVE MECHANISMS OF 3 US NUCLEAR REACTORS CONTAMINATED WITH CHLORIDES because of a f-up by GE Hitachi during post refurbishment testing. THE REACTORS COULD FAIL TO SCRAM-shutdown or do so more slowly in an emergency or even create a nuclear emergency due to inability to control-shutdown the nuclear reaction. And what then to do? Scram yourself as far away as possible—ideally over 1000 miles away in the southern hemisphere where it will have less impact.

The completed evaluation indicates that a stop piston separation could cause a slower scram speed and damage the drive so it could not be withdrawn…https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/2017/20170713en.html

River Bend, Louisiana, LaSalle Unit 2, Illinois, and Hatch Unit 2, Georgia are impacted. The US NRC states that “Pursuant to 10 CFR 21.21(d)(4), GEH is providing the final report with the conclusion that, in limited cases, the chloride contamination could create a substantial…

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July 14, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Atmospheric CO2 Continuing to Increase

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

Increasing CO2

(Photographer unknown)

Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning have leveled off. However, we are still emitting vast quantities. The CO2 we are continuing to emit adds to the amount of CO2 already in the atmosphere. Thus, the total amount of  CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere is still rising. The chart below shows what’s happening.

The total atmospheric CO2 is closely related to global average temperature. The continuing rise is why projections show that we will exceed 2 degrees C warming. A two degree temperature rise doesn’t sound like much, but it will have terrible effects. If you want to know what to expect,read this post that introduces an article from New York Magazine by David Wallace-Wells.

Scientists and others have had  a lot to say about the Wallace-Wells article. Scribbler says:  “. . . Wallace-Wells is not our enemy here. He may have stepped on a number…

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July 14, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

July 14 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

¶ “Japan’s Renewable-Energy Revolution” • A set of images from a series of flights over the Tokyo and Kobe/Osaka regions of Japan show a range of PV projects on former golf courses, quarries, dams, man-made islands, and floating projects on ponds and reservoirs. They add a new look on energy and climate change. [Bloomberg]

Solar farm on the face of a dam (Photo: Jamey Stillings)
(Please click on the image to enlarge it.)

¶ “Why Nuclear Power, Once Cash Cow, Now Has Tin Cup” • A decade ago, nuclear power plants in the US were cash cows. Now more than half of them are bleeding cash. The industry used to look down on the subsidies needed by its clean-energy rivals, wind and solar power, but now, some states are offering subsidies to nuclear plants. [Bloomberg]

¶ “Want to live in a zero-carbon home? Maybe try…

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July 14, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fukushima Insoluble Radioactive Particles (part 1)

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We are presenting here a transcription of an NHK TV documentary (note1) on insoluble radioactive particles found in Fukushima and in the Tokyo metropolitan region. Since it is quite heavy with images, it will be uploaded in 3 parts.

These particles contain cesium, which has the property to dissolve in water. However, in the case of these particles, the cesium was taken into glass-like particles during the Fukushima Daiichi NPP accident before it was blown away by the explosion. These particles do not dissolve in water, and as a consequence the cesium will remain longer both in the environment and in the human body, which will modify the impact of radioactive materials on the environment and on health.

Here the video in Japanese: https://youtu.be/ipOEfS-06FM

Takeda: A round particle like a marble.
Rugged particles like asteroids.
Presently, the researchers are paying attention to them.

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Very small particles contain radioactive cesium.
Therefore, sometimes they are called “cesium balls”.
They are radioactive particles emitted during the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident.

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Their existence came to light recently and the investigation is ongoing.
The reason why researchers pay attention is their nature of not dissolving in water.
They are called “insoluble radioactive particles”.
Because of this characteristic, they are considered to stay in the environment for a long time.
 If inhaled, they may remain in the human body for a long time, but the impact is not yet fully known.
While the evacuation orders are being lifted, the researchers began to raise their voices that they should communicate the information known at this stage.

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Six years since the accident.
The reality of the insoluble radioactive particles has gradually become clear.
This is the latest research report.

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Six years since the accident.
The reality of the insoluble radioactive particles has gradually become clear.
This is the latest research report.

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First, these are the areas where evacuation orders were issued following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident.
In areas where decontamination works have been completed, evacuation orders have been lifted from the end of March and the return movement of the population has begun.
It is in this context that in this year, the research presentations on insoluble radioactive particles have come out in succession.

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Kamakura: Among the radioactive material released during the accident, it is radioactive cesium that is still regarded as a problem. Especially this cesium 137. Most of the radioactive materials that remain in the environment are cesium 137 because they are released in large quantities and have a long half-life of 30 years. Until now, cesium has been thought to dissolve in water and gradually become diluted in the environment. However, cesium is found in insoluble state that does not dissolve in water.

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Takeda: Many aspects of the insoluble radioactive particles remain unknown, such as where they exist and in what quantity, or how they affect the health.
Today, we wanted to share the information known to us at this point, including the things that remain unclear yet, in order to provide a base to make decisions on this issue.
First of all, we shall see what the insoluble radioactive particles are.
And then, we will have a look to see in what measure the impact on health is known.

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A symposium was held in March this year on the irradiation due to the nuclear accident.
Tatsuhiko Sato of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency presented a paper on the health effects of insoluble radioactive particles, which were hardly known so far.

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Where are insoluble radioactive particles located?
We accompanied various investigations in difficult-to-return areas.
We entered a building abandoned since immediately after the accident.
We collected dust accumulated in a room.
We took it back to the lab and analyzed it….
A number of black dots emerged. It shows that there are radioactive materials.
We carried out a further examination of the part where the black dots are located.
We came to a small particle.

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This is an insoluble radioactive particle.
The measurement has proven that radioactive cesium of approximately 60 becquerels is included in the particle of about 200 micrometers.
There are 27 buildings in the survey. In all the buildings similar radioactive particles have been found.

(to be continued in Part 2)

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Note 1: Close-up Gendai, Genpatsu jiko kara 6 nen, Michi no hoshasei ryushi ni semaru (Approaching radioactive particles six years from nuclear accident) (diffusion: 2017 June 6)

https://fukushima311voices.wordpress.com/2017/07/14/insoluble-radioactive-particles-part-1/

 

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Fishermen express fury as Fukushima plant set to release radioactive material into ocean

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Local residents and environmental groups have condemned a plan to release radioactive tritium from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean.

Officials of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant, say tritium poses little risk to human health and is quickly diluted by the ocean.

In an interview with local media, Takashi Kawamura, chairman of TEPCO, said: “The decision has already been made.” He added, however, that the utility is waiting for approval from the Japanese government before going ahead with the plan and is seeking the understanding of local residents.

The tritium is building up in water that has been used to cool three reactors that suffered fuel melt-downs after cooling equipment was destroyed in the magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami that struck north-east Japan in March 2011.

Around 770,000 tons of highly radioactive water is being stored in 580 tanks at the site. Many of the contaminants can be filtered out, but the technology does not presently exist to remove tritium from water.

“This accident happened more than six years ago and the authorities should have been able to devise a way to remove the tritium instead of simply announcing that they are going to dump it into the ocean”, said Aileen Mioko-Smith, an anti-nuclear campaigner with Kyoto-based Green Action Japan.

“They say that it will be safe because the ocean is large so it will be diluted, but that sets a precedent that can be copied, essentially permitting anyone to dump nuclear waste into our seas”, she told The Telegraph.

Fishermen who operate in waters off the plant say any release of radioactive material will devastate an industry that is still struggling to recover from the initial nuclear disaster.

“Releasing [tritium] into the sea will create a new wave of unfounded rumours, making all our efforts for naught”, Kanji Tachiya, head of a local fishing cooperative, told Kyodo News.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/14/fishermen-express-fury-fukushima-plant-set-release-radioactive/

 

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fukushima’s tritiated water to be dumped into sea, Tepco chief says. Does Tepco and Japan owns the Pacific Ocean?

We were all just kidding when we said we would save our ocean. Besides, what’s a little bit more poison in the Pacific? Pretending to manage the unmanageable. Dumping into the ecosystem is simply standard operation. The solution to pollution is dilution.–old adage.

Should all of us, all the other countries, stay silent while Tepco and Japan are deciding on their own to dump even more radioactive contamination into our Pacific Ocean?

I would like to point out that the Pacific ocean does not belong to Japan, it belongs to all of us; as my dear friend Sheila Parks already pointed out in her excellent December 2013 article which I recommend to everyone to read, https://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Pacific-Ocean-Does-Not-by-Sheila-Parks-Energy-Nuclear_Fukushima_Fukushima-Cover-up_Japan-131215-303.html.

Now, a question: Will all the Pacific Ocean neighboring countries will stand saying nothing about Japan dumping all that accumulated contaminated water into the Pacific ocean? Mind you, in addition to all what Tepco has been already unwillingly and willingly dumping on the sly with all kinds of lousy reasons during the past 6 years…

Terrible, but tritium is actually released by all nuclear reactors. Legally and illegally, which reactor communities should point out every chance they get. Tritium (H3O) can go everywhere in your body water goes, even across the blood brain and placental barriers, and is thought to be a cause of elevated rates of childhood leukemia around nuclear reactors.

 

july 14 2017 To dump into the sea.jpgAn employee walks past storage tanks for contaminated water at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, in February. Tepco needs to release the water — which contains radioactive tritium that is not removable but considered not harmful in small amounts — into the Pacific Ocean, Chairman Takashi Kawamura said.

 

Despite the objections of local fishermen, the tritium-tainted water stored at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant will be dumped into the sea, a top official at Tokyo Electric says.

The decision has already been made,” Takashi Kawamura, chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., said in a recent interview with the media.

Tritium typically poses little risk to human health unless ingested in high amounts, and ocean discharges of diluted volumes of tritium-tainted water are a routine part of nuclear power plant operations. This is because it is a byproduct of nuclear operations but cannot be filtered out of water.

As of July 6, about 777,000 tons were stored in about 580 tanks at the Fukushima plant, which is quickly running out of space.

Tepco’s decision has local fishermen worried that their livelihood is at risk because the radioactive material will further mar public perceptions about the safety of their catches.

Kawamura’s remarks are the first by the utility’s management on the sensitive matter. Since the March 2011 meltdowns were brought under control, the Fukushima No. 1 plant has been generating tons of toxic water that has been filling up hundreds of tanks at the tsunami-hit plant.

Kawamura’s comments came at a time when a government panel is still debating how to deal with the tritium issue, including whether to dump it all into sea.

Saying its next move is contingent on the panel’s decision, Kawamura hinted in the interview that Tepco will wait for the government’s decision before actually releasing the tainted water into the sea.

We cannot keep going if we do not have the support of the state” as well as Fukushima Prefecture and other stakeholders, he said.

Toxic water at the plant is being treated by a complex water-processing system that can remove 62 different types of radioactive materials except tritium.

Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, has been urging Tepco to release the water. Kawamura says he feels emboldened to have the support of the NRA chairman.

But fishermen who make their livelihoods from sea life near the plant are opposed to the releases because of how the potential ramifications will affect their lives.

Releasing (tritium) into the sea will create a new wave of unfounded rumors, making our efforts all for naught,” said Kanji Tachiya, head of a local fishermen cooperative.

Tachiya, of the cooperative that includes fishermen from the towns of Futaba and Okuma, which host the plant, took a swipe at Tepco’s decision, saying there has been “no explanation whatsoever from Tepco to local residents.”

On March 11, 2011, tsunami inundated the six-reactor plant, situated 10 meters above sea level, and flooded the power supply, causing a station blackout. The cooling systems of reactors 1, 2 and 3 were thus crippled, leading to core meltdowns that became the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

Water is being constantly injected into the leaking reactors to keep the molten fuel cool, creating tons of extremely toxic water 24/7. Although it is filtered through a complex processing system, extracting the tritium is virtually impossible.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/?post_type=news&p=1208906

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s Tepco to speed up post-Fukushima decisions: new chairman

“Tepco wants to release the tritium-laced water currently stored in hundreds of tanks at Fukushima into the ocean – common practice at normally operating nuclear plants – but the company is struggling to win approval from local fisherman.”

s1.reutersmedia.net.jpgTokyo Electric Power Co Holdings new chairman Takashi Kawamura speaks at a news conference in Tokyo, Japan April 3, 2017

 

TOKYO (Reuters) – The owner of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will push to resolve debate over the release of contaminated water from the site that has dragged on for years since the devastating 2011 quake, its new chairman said on Thursday.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) 9501.1 would also speed up a final decision on the future of a nearby plant, Fukushima Daini, that suffered only minor damage, Chairman Takashi Kawamura, 77, said in an interview with foreign media.(For a graphic on Japan nuclear reactor restarts click tmsnrt.rs/1UTT0Tk)

“I’m very sorry that Tepco has been prolonging making a decision,” Kawamura, a former chairman of conglomerate Hitachi Ltd (6501.T), said. “Just like tritium, we will aim for an earliest possible conclusion.

Kawamura, who previously sat on a government panel looking into the Fukushima cleanup, said he believed Japan needed to keep operating nuclear power plants for future generations and as part of national security.

The nationalization of nuclear power plants was a matter that could be discussed in the future as national policies had a role in the operations of nuclear power, he added, but did not elaborate.

Tepco wants to release the tritium-laced water currently stored in hundreds of tanks at Fukushima into the ocean – common practice at normally operating nuclear plants – but the company is struggling to win approval from local fisherman.

Missteps and leaks have dogged the efforts to contain water, slowing down the decades-long decommissioning process and causing public alarm, while experts have raised concerns that tank failures could lead to an accidental release.

“We could have decided much earlier, and that is Tepco’s responsibility,” said Kawamura, adding that he would push a government task force overseeing the cleanup to give a clear timetable on when a decision could be made on tritium.

Tepco is also under pressure from the central and local governments to decommission all four reactors at Fukushima Daini, 10 kms (6 miles) to the south of the wrecked plant.

“One of the sticking points is that it’s taking time for an economic check of all plants,” Kawamura said, referring to studies on whether the plants would be economic once the cost of beefing up safety was taken into account.

Daini is expected to close given widespread public opposition to nuclear power in the area, but Tepco is aiming to restart the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in the country’s west.

Kawamura said he would cooperate with a review of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant’s safety by the local prefecture, which could delay any restart until at least 2020.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-tepco-idUSKBN19Y28M

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO chair: Nuclear plant must release contaminated water

WireAP_c73f0214bb5d41c09665a65081d8ae91_12x5_1600Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s new Chairman Takashi Kawamura speaks during an interview at the TEPCO headquarters in Tokyo on Thursday, July 13, 2017. Kawamura said the utility needs to stop dragging its feet on plans to dump massive amounts of treated but contaminated water into the sea and make more money if it’s ever going to succeed in cleaning up the mess left by meltdowns more than six years ago at the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant.

 

The new chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Co. says the utility needs to stop dragging its feet on plans to dump massive amounts of treated but contaminated water into the sea and to make more money if it’s ever going to succeed in cleaning up the mess left by meltdowns more than six years ago at the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Takashi Kawamura, an engineer-turned-business leader who previously headed Hitachi’s transformation into a global conglomerate, is in charge of reviving TEPCO and leading the cleanup at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant. In an interview Thursday with selected media including The Associated Press, Kawamura said despite the massive costs of the cleanup and meeting tighter safety requirements, nuclear power is still vital for Japan’s national security.

Below are highlights from the interview, where Kawamura spoke in Japanese:

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CLEANUP REQUIRES RELEASE OF TREATED CONTAMINATED WATER:

Massive amounts of radiation-contaminated water that has been processed and stored in hundreds of tanks at the plant are hindering decommissioning work and pose a safety risk in case another massive quake or tsunami strikes. TEPCO needs to release the water — which contains radioactive tritium that is not removable but considered not harmful in small amounts — into the Pacific Ocean, Kawamura said. The method is favored by experts at the International Atomic Energy Agency and Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority as the only realistic option. Earlier, TEPCO had balked at calls by NRA chairman Shunichi Tanaka for controlled release of the water, now exceeding 770,000 metric tons, into the sea, fearing a public backlash. “Technically, we fully support the chairman’s proposal,” he said, adding that there is still strong resistance from local residents, especially fishermen. “I think we should have acted sooner. … We should start moving faster.”

PROFITS NEEDED TO COVER CRUSHING COSTS:

Kawamura says TEPCO must become more profitable to manage to cover the gargantuan costs of cleaning up Fukushima Dai-Ichi after it suffered multiple meltdowns due to the massive March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami. TEPCO’S longtime status as a regional monopoly undermined its profit-making incentive, hobbling its ability to cover most of the 21.5 trillion yen (about $190 billion) price tag for decommissioning the plant and compensating dislocated residents. “To reconstruct Fukushima, we must make more profit, and I know we should not be taking about just money, but I think that is important,” he said.

DECOMMISSIONING IS THE FUTURE:

TEPCO’s main mission now is decommissioning Fukushima Dai-Ichi, an unprecedented challenge that experts say could take decades and will take still more research and development. “That’s our main activity and gaining new expertise in the decommissioning is far more important. But I believe there will be a time when decommissioning becomes an important business,” Kawamura said. “Decommissioning is a process which takes time, not only for accident-hit reactors but ordinary retired reactors,” he said. “I plan to coordinate with those who are studying the possibility of properly turning decommissioning of ordinary reactors into a viable business.”

JAPAN NEEDS NUCLEAR POWER:

Kawamura says he believes nuclear power is still a viable business and one that will continue to be vital for Japan’s energy security, despite the extra costs from stricter post-Fukushima safety requirements and the cost of processing spent fuel and waste. TEPCO is reviewing its business strategy, but based on rough estimates, “I still believe that nuclear is still superior for Japan, which is really a resource- poor country,” he said. “Even if we take severe accident measures and factor in spent fuel processing and other costs, I think there are some reactors that can still be profitable.” He said nuclear power includes a wide range of technologies that Japan should not abandon, for national security reasons, as China continues to build nuclear plants.

TEPCO’S OTHER REACTORS:

Kawamura said TEPCO hopes to restart the utility’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in northern Japan, even while the decommissioning at Fukushima Dai-Ichi is underway, so the operable plant can be a major source of revenue for the company. He said a decision on whether to resume operation of the Fukushima Dai-Ni plant, near Fukushima Dai-Ichi, will depend on a financial review. He said he regrets TEPCO’s slowness in making a decision and acknowledged calls from local authorities and residents to decommission the second Fukushima plant, which was also hit by the tsunami but avoided a meltdown.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/tepco-chair-nuclear-plant-release-contaminated-water-48618659

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima City Still Struggling with Labor Shortages

serveimage.jpgRecent soil contamination map made by the “Environmental Radioactivity Measurement Project around Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.” https://dunrenard.wordpress.com/2017/01/14/new-data-show-massive-radiation-levels-in-odaka-minamisoma/

 

Minamisoma, Fukushima Pref., July 12 (Jiji Press)–Minamisoma is still struggling with labor shortages, one year after the Japanese government lifted its nuclear evacuation advisory for part of the Fukushima Prefecture city.
In the city, only slightly over 20 pct of residents have returned home, and the productive-age population of people aged 15-64 fell by some 8,200 from the level before the March 2011 meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s <9501> disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
The situation is “tough,” said Takuzo Tsuchida, a 58-year-old worker at a factory in the Kashima district that is run by a subsidiary of clothing maker Fukuso Co. The factory saw its number of employees halve to some 70.
The Fukuso unit this year hired five graduates from a dressmaking school with which it held a joint fashion show last year. But the move was insufficient because some workers quit.
To cover its lower output, the company has asked a partner factory for increased production. “We have to continue to put up with” the situation, Tsuchida said.

http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2017071200924

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Shigeaki Koga, Former METI Bureaucrat: Speaking Truth to Power

 

June 5, 2017

Shigeaki Koga: Author of “Nihon Chusu no Kyobo”.

Speaking Truth to Power including Fukushima nuclear disaster

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Small head size and delayed body weight growth in wild Japanese monkey fetuses after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster

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Abstract

To evaluate the biological effect of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, relative differences in the growth of wild Japanese monkeys (Macaca fuscata) were measured before and after the disaster of 2011 in Fukushima City, which is approximately 70 km from the nuclear power plant, by performing external measurements on fetuses collected from 2008 to 2016. Comparing the relative growth of 31 fetuses conceived prior to the disaster and 31 fetuses conceived after the disaster in terms of body weight and head size (product of the occipital frontal diameter and biparietal diameter) to crown-rump length ratio revealed that body weight growth rate and proportional head size were significantly lower in fetuses conceived after the disaster. No significant difference was observed in nutritional indicators for the fetuses’ mothers. Accordingly, radiation exposure could be one factor contributed to the observed growth delay in this study.

Introduction

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NPP) disaster that occurred in March 2011 exposed a large number of humans and wild animals to radioactive substances. Several studies of wild animals in Fukushima investigated health effects of the disaster, such as morphological abnormalities in gall-forming aphids (Tetraneura sorini, T. nigriabdominalis)1 and pale grass blue butterfly (Zizeeria maha)2, hematological abnormalities in carp (Cyprinus carpio)3, and chromosomal aberrations in wild mice (Apodemus argenteus, Mus musculus)4. However, there is no research investigating long-term exposure to radiation on mammals that typically have long life-span to date. This study is the first report to observe long-term biological effects of the pre- and post-NPP disaster on non-human primates in Fukushima.

We previously studied radioactive exposure and its effect on health of Japanese monkeys (Macaca fuscata) inhabiting Fukushima City, which is located approximately 70 km from the Fukushima Daiichi NPP5, 6. After the NPP disaster, the range of radiocesium soil concentrations in Fukushima City was 10,000–300,000 Bq/m2. Hayama et al.5 investigated chronological changes in muscle radiocesium concentrations in monkeys inhabiting Fukushima City from April 2011 to June 2012. The cesium concentration in monkeys’ muscle captured at locations with 100,000–300,000 Bq/m2 was 6000–25,000 Bq/kg in April 2011 and decreased over 3 months to approximately 1000 Bq/kg. However, the concentration increased again to 2000–3000 Bq/kg in some animals during and after December 2011, before returning to 1000 Bq/kg in April 2012, after which it remained constant.

Fukushima monkeys had significantly lower white and red blood cell counts, hemoglobin, and hematocrit, and the white blood cell count in immature monkeys showed a significant negative correlation with muscle cesium concentration6. These results suggested that the short-term exposure to some form of radioactive material resulted in hematological changes in Fukushima monkey

The effects associated with long-term low-dose radiation exposure on fetuses are among the many health concerns. Children born to atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed low birth weight, high rates of microcephaly7, and reduced intelligence due to abnormal brain development8. Experiments with pregnant mice or rats and radiation exposure had been reported to cause low birth weight9, 10, microcephaly11,12,13, or both14, 15. We identified one similar study on wild animals16, which reported that the brains of birds captured in the vicinity of the Chernobyl NPP weighted lower compared to those of birds captured elsewhere.

The population of Japanese monkeys in Fukushima City had been systematically managed since 2008 according to a management plan based on law and regulated by Fukushima Prefecture to reduce damage to agricultural crops. Our research group studied the reproductive and nutritional status of the Japanese monkey population by performing autopsies on individuals captured and euthanized by Fukushima City17. These Japanese monkeys were the first wild primate population exposed to radiation as result of nuclear disaster. However, there was no other study either in Chernobyl or Fukushima that followed fetal development over time or compared fetal development before and after long-term radiation exposure in the same wild animal populations.

The objectives of this study were to compare changes in the fetal development of Japanese monkeys in Fukushima City before and after the NPP disaster to determine evidence of developmental delay in Japanese monkey fetuses.

Results

Radiocesium was detected in mothers’ muscle that had conceived after the NPP disaster (Table 1). Mean muscle radiocesium concentration was 1059 Bq/kg for mothers that mated in 2011 and gave birth in 2012 (n = 14), although the concentration decreased gradually in subsequent years up to 22 Bq/kg for mothers that gave birth in 2016 (n = 3). Because muscle tissue was not available prior to the NPP disaster, muscle radiocesium concentrations for individuals captured pre-disaster could not be measured. However, muscle radiocesium concentrations in wild Japanese monkeys captured in 2012 in Aomori Prefecture, which is also located in the Tōhoku region 400 km north from the NPP, were below the detection limit2, therefore, we assumed that the muscle radiocesium concentrations in the Japanese monkeys in Fukushima City prior to the disaster were also below the detection limit.

Similarly, although the air dose in the area of Fukushima City inhabited by the Japanese monkeys was 1.1 to 1.2 µSv/h in April, 2011, it has decreased, reaching 0.10 to 0.13 µSv/h in May, 2016 (Table 2). Based on these measurements, it is estimated that monkeys in this area received accumulated air doses of at least 12 mSv over the five years since the NPP disaster.

The descriptive statistics for Japanese monkey fetuses in Fukushima were shown in Table 3. The median body weight (g) and median body weight growth rate (g/mm) were significantly different between pre- and post-disaster groups (p = 0.032 and 0.0083, respectively). The mean biparietal diameter (mm), occipital frontal diameter (mm), head size (mm2), and proportional head size (mm) were significantly different between pre- and post-disaster groups (p = 0.046, 0.018, 0.014, and 0.0002, respectively). CRL was not significantly different between the two groups. Regression lines describing association of body weight and CRL in pre- and post-disaster groups were described in Fig. 1. Post-disaster regression line was significantly lower than pre-disaster regression line (p < 0.0001) (Table 4). Regression lines describing association of head size and CRL in pre- and post-disaster groups were described in Fig. 2. Post-disaster regression line was significantly lower than pre-disaster regression line (p < 0.0001) (Table 5).

The body fat index for the mothers of these fetuses was not significantly different before and after the NPP disaster (Z = 1.213; P = 0.219).

Discussion

Body weight and head size relative to the CRL were lower in fetuses conceived after the NPP disaster compared with fetuses conceived prior to the NPP disaster. Japanese monkeys in Fukushima City first conceive in fall when they were five years old and gave birth in spring when they were six years old17. Thus, we assumed that all the mothers we examined that conceived babies after the NPP disaster were continuously exposed to radiation from at the time of the disaster in 2011.

Growth retardation of the fetuses could be caused by the deterioration of the mothers’ nutritional status. However, we did not observe any difference in the body fat index of mothers pre- and post-NPP disaster. Therefore, the growth retardation of the fetuses was unlikely to be associated with to the mothers’ nutritional status. Other factors such as climate changes or food nutrient components might have affected the growth of fetuses. The limitations of this study were that we were not able to obtain samples to look at histological change that might have contributed to the cause of delayed fatal growth and the sample size were relatively small because of the nature of the sampling collection. It might have been ideal to compare monkeys from the evacuation order area to monkeys from the non-contaminated area of Fukushima; however, there was no other area such besides the one in this study that performed systematic large-scale capturing aimed at seizing hundreds of monkeys. In addition, there had been access limitations beyond the evacuation order area. For these reasons, it is impossible to replicate an equivalent study elsewhere at this time.

In experiments using mice and rats, radiation exposure has been reported to cause reduced fetal weight, microcephaly, and reduced brain mass9,10,11,12,13,14,15. However, most of these experiments involved exposing the mother to a single radiation dose at a fetal age of 10 days or later when the brain undergoes development. Such exposure may be qualitatively different from the low-dose, long-term exposure following an NPP disaster. The radiation doses in these experiments varied substantially. Hande et al.9 exposed mice to 9 mGy of 70 kilo-Volt peak X-rays at fetal ages of 3.5, 6.5, and 11.5 days, and found that birth weight was reduced relative to the control mice in all cases. Uma Devi et al.15 exposed mice to 0.25 Gy at a fetal age of 11.5 days and observed reduced head size at birth. In addition, they observed negative correlation between radiation dose and head size in fetuses exposed to 0.05 to 0.15 Gy.

The number of low birthweight children born to residents of some highly contaminated areas of Belarus increased between 1982 and 1990, after the Chernobyl NPP disaster18. Hujuel et al.19 conducted a longitudinal survey of women exposed to radiation through dental treatment who subsequently gave birth. They reported that women exposed to 0.4 mGy or more had increased risk (odds ratio 2.27) of giving birth to a child weighing 2500 g or less. Goldberg et al.20 elucidated the relationship between the level of radiation exposure as a result of medical exams prior to conception and birthweight, and found that birthweight decreased by 37.6 g for every cGy of exposure. Such medical exposure is believed to affect the mother’s gonads and endocrine glands rather than the fetus itself. There is still uncertainly to determine whether the retarded growth we observed was a direct effect of the radiation exposure.

Otake and Schull8 conducted a temporal variation study of mothers exposed to radiation by the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They did not observe any effect in newborns that had been exposed between fetal ages of 0 to 8 weeks, and the highest rates of microcephaly and other brain damage occurred in newborns exposed between fetal ages of 8 to 15 weeks. Given that the latter period was when the human brain undergoes rapid development, damage due to radiation exposure during this period might cause severe effect on fetuses.

The previous research suggested that the low birthweight and small head sizes observed in fetuses conceived after the NPP disaster were result of radiation exposure. However, we were not able to quantify the external and internal radiation dose in individual wild animals. Although radiocesium was detected in the muscles of all individuals captured after the NPP disaster, the cumulative exposure was unclear since the biological half-life of radiocesium in monkeys was approximately 3 weeks5. Furthermore, because of the small sample size, it was difficult to determine the causal relationship of exposure dosage and the effect on fetuses.

Although we showed that fetal proportional head size reduced after the NPP disaster, it was not possible to identify anatomically which part of the brain was developmentally retarded. Hossain et al.12 studied the brains of 6- to 12-month-old mice that were exposed to cobalt 60 at a fetal age of 14 days. Brain weight decreased at exposure rates of 0.5 to 1.5 Gy and the number of neurons in the hypothalamus in the CA3 region decreased significantly. We started to perform histological examination brain of fetuses and juvenile monkeys conceived after the NPP disaster to identify the regions of the brain that were developmentally retarded and the effect of retarded growth on post-natal development for further study.

References

1, Akimoto, S. I. Morphological abnormalities in gall-forming aphids in a radiation-contaminated area near Fukushima Daiichi: selective impact of fallout? Ecology and Evolution. 4, 355–369 (2014).

2, Hiyama, A. et al. The biological impacts of the Fukushima nuclear accident on the pale grass blue butterfly. Scientific Reports. 2, 570, doi:10.1038/srep00570 (2012).

3, Suzuki, Y. Influences of radiation on carp from farm ponds in Fukushima. Journal of Radiation Research. 56, i19–23, doi:10.1093/jrr/rrv076 (2015).

4, Kubota, Y. et al. Chromosomal aberrations in wild mice captured in areas differentially contaminated by the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant accident. Environ. Sci. Technol. 49, 10074–10083 (2015).

5, Hayama, S. et al. Concentration of radiocesium in the wild Japanese monkey (Macaca fuscata) 15 months after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. PLoS ONE. 8, e68530 (2013).

6, Ochiai, K. et al. Low blood cell counts in wild Japanese monkeys after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Scientific Reports. 4, 5793, doi:10.1038/srep05793 (2014).

7, Miller, R. W. & Blot, W. J. Small head size after in-utero exposure to atomic radiation. Lancet. 2, 784–787 (1972).

8, Otake, M. & Schull, W. J. In utero exposure to A-bomb radiation and mental retardation; a reassessment. Bri. J. Rdiol. 57, 409–414 (1984).

9, Hande, M. P., Uma Devi, P. & Jageta, G. C. Effect of “in utero” exposure to low dose energy X-rays on the postnatal development of mouse. J. Radiat. Res. 31, 354–360 (1990).

11, Uma Devi, P., Hossain, M. & Bisht, K. S. Effect of gamma radiation on fetal haemopoietic system in the mouse. Int. J. Radiat. Bio. 74, 639–646 (1998).

12, Bang, D.-w. et al. Dose-induce relationships on the prenatal effects of gamme-radiation in mice. J. Vet. Sci. 3, 7–11 (2002).

13, Hossain, M., Chetane, M. & Uma Devi, P. Late effect of prenatal irradiation on the hippocampal histology and brain weight in adult mice. Int. J. Devl. Neuroscience. 23, 307–313 (2005).

14, Uma Devi, P. & Hossain, M. Effect of early fetal irradiation on the postnatal development of mouse. Teratology. 64, 45–50 (2001).

15, Kim, S. H. et al. Dependance of malformation upon gestational age and exposed dose of gamma radiation. J. Radiat. 42, 255–264 (2001).

16, Uma Devi, P., Baskar, R. & Hande, M. P. Effect of exposure to low dose gamma radiation during late organogenesis in the mouse fetus. Radiat. Res. 138, 133–138 (1994).

17, Møller, A. P., Bonissoil-Alquati, A., Rudolfsen, G. & Mousseau, T. A. Chernobyl birds have smaller brains. PLoS ONE. 6, e16862 (2011).

18, Hayama, S., Nakiri, S. & Konno, F. Pregnancy rate and conception date in a wild population of Japanese monkeys. J. Vet. Med. Sci. 73, 809–812 (2011).

19, Peterova, A. et al. Morbidity in large cohort study of children born to mothers exposed to radiation from Chelnobyl. Stem Cells. 15(suppl 2), 141–150 (1997).

20, Hujoel, P. P., Bollen, A. M., Noonan, C. J. & del Aguila, M. A. Antepartum dental radiography and infant low birth weight. JAMA. 291, 1987–1993 (2004).

21, Goldberg, M. S., Mayo, N. E., Levy, A. R., Scott, S. C. & Poitras, B. Adverse reproductive outcomes among women exposed to low levels of ionizing radiation from diagnostic radiography for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Epidemiology. 9, 271–278 (1998).

22, Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University Guideline for fieled reserch for nonhuman primates. http://www.pri.kyoto-u.ac.jp/research/guide-e2008.html Accessed 28 January, 2017.

23, Japanese Ministry of Environment. 2012 Japanese Red List. http://www.env.go.jp/en/nature/biodiv/reddata.html Accessed 28 January, 2017.

24, Newell-Morris, L. L. Age determination in Macaque fetuses and neonates. Nursery care of nonhuman primates (ed. Ruppenthal, G. C.) 93–115 (Plenum Press, 1979).

25, Hayama, S., Mizutani, N., Morimitsu, Y., Shirai, K. & Nigi, H. Indices of body fat deposition in wild Japanese monkeys. Primate Res 14, 1–6 (1998).

26, Fukushima Prefecture website. Available: Results of air dose rate monitoring survey by Fukushima Prefecture. https://www.pref.fukushima.lg.jp/sec/16025d/monitaring-mesh.html Accessed 20 January, 2017.

Read more : https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-03866-8

 

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017, Reference | , | 1 Comment

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un display the very reason that the new UN nuclear werapons ban treaty is so critically important

Boys And Their Toys: The Growing Movement Against Nuclear Nations https://newmatilda.com/2017/07/12/boys-and-their-toys-the-growing-movement-against-nuclear-nations/, By Sue Wareham on July 12, 2017 The case against nuclear weapons has always been strong. What’s changing is a growing global resolve to eliminate them, writes Dr Sue Wareham*.

Nuclear weapons – the only man made threat that could virtually destroy our planet in an afternoon – have hit the news again, in two ways that represent polar opposites of the struggle to banish them forever.

In New York at the United Nations we have just witnessed historic progress towards realising the goal of a nuclear weapons free world. Late last week, the UN adopted the new ‘Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons’, to prohibit states from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, acquiring, possessing, stockpiling, transferring, deploying, stationing, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, under any circumstances.

That’s a fairly comprehensive thumbs down to the weapons, the strongest collective statement yet from governments that they are totally illegitimate in every respect.

Meanwhile, in Washington DC and Pyongyang, two people – chronologically adults but in other respects displaying no signs of maturity – are squaring off at each other, each with a finger on a button that can incinerate cities.

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un display the very reason that the new UN treaty is so critically important, because it categorically rejects any role for any nuclear weapons in anyone’s hands. As Ban Ki-Moon, former UN Secretary-General said, “There are no right hands for the wrong weapons”.

The treaty leaves no doubt that its prohibitions apply not only to actually using nuclear weapons but also to their possession. The myth of nuclear “deterrence”, which tells us that nuclear-armed nations will not go to war against each other because the response from their adversary would make it a suicidal gesture, is exposed as being not only immoral but also fraught with danger.

Enter Trump and Kim Jong-un to demonstrate the point. If the deterrence theory holds true, why all the fuss now, when these two leaders clearly have it all under control?

“Stable nuclear deterrence”, that notion so beloved of Australia and a minority of other governments, might sound comforting, but in the real world – a very messy place with some grossly deficient and unstable people – it’s a total fraud.

Australia’s position is stark. Like a drunkard preaching abstinence, our government strongly supports US nuclear weapons in keeping us “safe” (even as officials scurry to reassure the public that North Korean nuclear missiles couldn’t really reach Australia) and insists shamelessly on disarmament for others. So supportive are we of US nuclear weapons that Australia did not even show up at the UN treaty talks.

Foreign Minister Bishop disingenuously argued that, for the process to be effective, the countries with the weapons must be part of it right from the start. By that logic, we would insist on criminals helping draft any legislation that might curtail their activities.

In any event, all UN member states were strongly encouraged to attend and have input; any empty seats were not from a lack of invitation. And judging by the determined – but unsuccessful – efforts on Australia’s part to see the talks fail, one suspects that our government knows exactly how powerful an instrument this global prohibition treaty will prove to be.

Criticisms that the treaty will be a “toothless tiger” miss the whole point of it. The key to its utility was encapsulated last week by Tim Wright, the Asia-Pacific Director of ICAN*, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, an organisation which played a pivotal role in achieving the treaty.

“[It] will stigmatise possession of nuclear weapons by any state, provide a source of legal, political, ethical, economic and civil society pressure on nuclear armed states to disarm, and encourage financial institutions to divest from companies that produce nuclear weapons.”

As one example of this stigmatising effect, how different the discussion of Trident’s renewal in the UK might have been last year if the nuclear weapons submarines fell into the “illegal” category at that stage. A government voting to renew weapons that most of the world has prohibited would be one step too far, even for many of those stuck in a Cold War mindset.

In the meantime, what do we do about North Korea, or, more to the point, about North Korea and the US?

There is in fact plenty that could be done. Rather than turning up the volume on our echoes of Washington, Australia could urge a reduction of tension by the cessation of provocative military exercises by both sides. The North Korean leader has called for an end to US hostility and nuclear threats. Unless we regard the current situation as stable – nuclear deterrence just giving us a little fright as it tends to do – then an end to nuclear threats by both sides is absolutely critical.

History is granting us another chance to get rid of what Indian writer Arundhati Roy called “the most anti-democratic, anti-national, anti-human, outright evil thing that man has ever made”.

A strong civil society movement and a majority of the world’s governments working through the UN have just provided the best tool we’ve had for a long time with which to do this, a tool that delegitimises every one of the world’s 15,000 nuclear weapons.

The stand-off between two dangerous nuclear-armed leaders, each of whom places his ego above the welfare of humanity, possibly even that of his own people, demonstrates that these weapons have no place in human society.

* Dr Sue Wareham is the Vice-President of ICAN Australia.

July 14, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Global “nuclear drought” the likely result of even a limited nuclear weapons exchange

A nuclear warhead strike could trigger worldwide climate change, resulting in billions of deaths from drought and famine, chilling study warns http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4693934/How-nuclear-warhead-trigger-climate-change.html

  • Report found bombs currently held by major powers could spur climate change
  • Detonation of less than five warheads from the US could cause nuclear drought
  • And China could bring on the phenomenon with just one 5MT land-based missile
  • Ash would cause temps and precipitation to drop, leading to drought and famine

14 July 2017 | As tensions build around the world, many countries have begun beefing up their defense capabilities to prepare for a nuclear threat.

But, experts warn the repercussions of a blast won’t just be limited to the site of a nuclear strike – instead, such an event could cause global devastation.

A new report found that warheads of magnitudes already owned by several major nuclear powers could trigger climate change as the resulting black ash causes temperatures to drop, leading to drought, famine, and billions of deaths. The researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln investigated 19 types of weapons currently held by five major nuclear powers: the US, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, and France.

According to the report, it would take just a handful of these bombs to bring on disastrous effects that would ripple worldwide.

‘We’re losing our memory of the Cold War and we’re losing our memory of how important it is to get this right,’ said co-author Tyler White, a political scientist who specializes in international security and nuclear policy.

‘Even a conflict that doesn’t involve the United States can impact us and people around the world.’

With just three 1.2-megaton (MT) bombs, or two Trident D5 SLBM (each with four 475-KT warheads), the US could bring on a nuclear-drought, the researchers warn.

Only four 800-KT Russian ICBMs or ten 300-KT French gravity bombs would be needed to cause similar climatic effects.

And, China could bring on the phenomenon with just one 5-MT land-based missile, which would burn an area ‘similar in size to that of one hundred 15-KT explosions.’

‘Thus, use of as few as 1 to 10 deployed nuclear weapons, and fewer than 25 of these prevalent types, from the five official nuclear weapons countries could produce a nuclear drought,’ the researchers warned in the new report.While the effects wouldn’t be as dramatic as those predicted in a ‘nuclear winter’ scenario, the resulting drought – also known as nuclear autumn – could have significant impacts around the world, the researcher say.

‘The question is not if a nuclear drought can occur, but what factors increase its probability of occurring and what actions can be taken to mitigate the potentially devastating global impacts,’ said Adam Liska, a biological systems engineer at Nebraska.

Previous research determined that a blast capable of igniting an area of about 1,300 square kilometers (500 square miles), would pump over 5 million tons of ash into the stratosphere.

And, this would block out sunlight, causing temperature and rainfall to drop.

‘If the ash reaches the stratosphere, many months could pass before it dissipates,’ said Robert Oglesby, a professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences.

The researchers say these high quantities of black carbon in the stratosphere would cause agricultural growing seasons to be reduced by 10-40 days each year for at least five years.

Below average temperatures would persist for far longer, potentially remaining low for up to 25 years.

And, immediately after the blast, temperatures could drop to levels colder than they’ve been in the last 1,000 years.

The nuclear drought would cause a significant decrease in precipitation in the Asian monsoon region, by as much as 20-80 percent, and reductions in rainfall across South America and southern Africa, the American Southwest, and Western Australia could cause the regions to be 20-60 percent drier than usual.

‘Climatic changes due to nuclear explosions on developed land could essentially produce a global “nuclear drought,” and the resulting famines could kill up to a billion people from starvation, which would probably most affect those communities that are already in food-insecure environments in the developing world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East,’ the researchers wrote.

‘Significant changes in precipitation would probably also increase conflict in developing regions, although global temperature reductions may reduce social violence in the United States and Other developed countries.’

The researchers note that the risk of widespread consequences kept the US and the Soviet Union in check during the Cold War.At the time, each nation recognized that a nuclear attack from either side would cause ultimately mutual destruction.

With the new analysis, the researchers say countries can make more informed decisions in light of recent threats from North Korea.

‘We pulled together what is known about nuclear weapons today, to make a case about the magnitude of these impacts,’ Liska said.

‘With that understanding, we can make better choices going forward.’

July 14, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

It is reported that Donald Trump will say Iran complying with nuclear deal

Trump likely to say Iran complying with nuclear deal: U.S. official, WASHINGTON (Reuters) by Steve Holland and Jonathan Landay-13 July 17  U.S. President Donald Trump is “very likely” to state that Iran is adhering to its nuclear agreement although he continues to have reservations about it, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.

Under U.S. law, the State Department must notify Congress every 90 days of Iran’s compliance with the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Trump has a congressionally mandated deadline of Monday to decide.

The landmark 2015 deal struck with Iran by the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany is aimed at preventing Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon by imposing time-limited restrictions and strict international monitoring on its nuclear program. In return, Tehran won relief from punishing international economic sanctions.

If Trump does state Iran is in compliance, it would be his second time since taking office in January to do so despite his promise during the 2016 campaign to “rip up” what he called “the worst deal ever.”…….https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-iran-idUSKBN19Y226

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment