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Nuclear news – week to 9th February

Same old same old, but new, angst about being close to the nuclear brink.  Russia is upset at America’s new Nuclear Posture Review. Many commentator’s are alarmed as it escalates the arms race. No doubt, weapons companies are salivating at the thought of it, and America’s tax-payers ought to be concerned at its beyond  $1.2 trillion cost.

I know that this newsletter is now supposed to be leaving out climate stories. But it’s hard. Here we are, worrying about nuclear bombs, – while climate change is bringing us its own “weather bombs”.

USA- Russia New START Treaty takes effect – with central limits on strategic arsenals for 7 years.

USA.

INDIA. India keeping up in the nuclear arms race – 2 Nuclear Capable Ballistic Missile in one Week.

FRANCE. France in the nuclear weapons race – to spend 37 bn euros on upgrading nuclear arsenal. Terrorism: Radical Islamists in the nuclear industry?   Questioning France’s National Agency for the Management of Radioactive Waste (Andra). France’s nuclear culture of lies about serious nuclear accidents. The alarming state of France’s nuclear reactors. Costs of France’s Flamanville nuclear power project have exploded, and delays ballooned. France heading for a renewable energy revolution, with offshore wind power.

UK. Cost of replacing Britain’s nuclear submarines rockets by £1billion.   2,200 Massive steel containers produced – to house Sellafield’s piles of radioactive trash.   UK government promoting the nuclear industry – funding £7.5 million National College for Nuclear. A new report on Sellafield highlights the likely nuclear damage to Ireland.

JAPAN.  Abe, ex-Prime Minister Kan go head to head in nuclear debate.   Tepco ordered to pay $30,000 each to 318 people of the Minamisoma’s Odaka District class action suit. Desperate to save its failing nuclear business, Toshiba looks to Ukraine. The penultimate storage of contaminated waste.

Fukushima nuclear disaster: lethal levels of radiation detected in leak seven years after plant meltdown in Japan Fukushima 49.17% thyroid deficiency in the 295 000 young people under 18 years examined between 2011 and 2014. The mammoth task of cleaning up Fukushima’s radioactive nuclear reactor wrecks has only just begun.

SWEDEN. Sweden agonises over nuclear waste burial project that no community wants.

TAIWAN. Taiwan’s problem in searching for geological location for nuclear waste dump.

ITALY. Depleted uranium “helped sow deaths and illnesses” in Italian soldiers.

UKRAINE. Clean-up to start on tons of liquid radioactive trash from all 4 of Chernobyl’s nuclear reactors.

RUSSIA. Russia postponing new nuclear reactors because of costs. Death of a hero who saved White Sea from nuclear disaster.

UAE. United Arab Emirates moves on in plan to develop nuclear power.

SAUDI ARABIA. A new arms race – for the Middle East? Saudi Arabia’s nuclear power plan is not economic.

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February 9, 2018 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Very dangerous to put low-yield nuclear weapons on submarines

THE DISCRIMINATION PROBLEM: WHY PUTTING LOW-YIELD NUCLEAR WEAPONS ON SUBMARINES IS SO DANGEROUS, VIPIN NARANG  , War on the Rocks, 8 Feb 18

February 9, 2018 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The American Bomb was the white MEN’s bomb

The atomic age bears America’s original sin, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 6 FEBRUARY 2018, Yangyang Cheng

“……..The invention of nuclear weapons was in itself a process of creation conflated with the ultimate destructive power. Upon the success of Fermi’s experiment, the nuclear physicist Ernest Lawrence telegraphed his colleagues in Chicago, “Congratulations to the new parents.” The Manhattan Project scientists chose phrases of male progeny, “it’s a boy”, to describe successful bomb tests, while “a girl” would mean the bomb was a dud. The misogynistic convention carried on in the names of “Little Boy” and “Fat Man.”

With only one woman, and everyone of European heritage, the scientific team at the creation of the Bomb shared the same gender and racial makeup as the American military and political leadership. The American Bomb was the white men’s bomb. As with many of the ugliest episodes in the history of America, the groups absent from the decision-making process bore the consequences of choices made by people who deemed themselves superior by birth……” https://thebulletin.org/atomic-age-bears-americas-original-sin11487

February 9, 2018 Posted by | USA, Women | Leave a comment

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister says that USA’s new Nuclear Posture, if adopted, will destroy global strategic stability

Adoption of revamped nuclear doctrine by US destroys global strategic stability — diplomat http://tass.com/politics/989106, It’s important to pinpoint the fact openly, the Russian deputy foreign minister said , NOVOSIBIRSK, February 8. /TASS/. Adoption of a revamped nuclear doctrine by the US destroys global strategic stability, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday.

“By passing the revamped nuclear doctrine, the US Administration undermines strategic stability if not simply destroys it in the most immediate way,” he said. “It’s important to pinpoint the fact openly and that’s what we’ll be doing.”

“I hope we’ll have an opportunity to discuss it with my counterpart [US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas] Shannon shortly,” Ryabkov said.

February 9, 2018 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA | Leave a comment

India keeping up in the nuclear arms race – 2 Nuclear Capable Ballistic Missile in one Week

India Test Fires Second Nuclear Capable Ballistic Missile in a Week, The nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile was test fired on February 7. The Diplomat, By Franz-Stefan GadyFebruary 09, 2018 

February 9, 2018 Posted by | India, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Donald Trump Wants to Make It Easier to Start a Nuclear War. This Should Petrify Us

  https://theintercept.com/2018/02/08/donald-trump-nuclear-war/  Mehdi Hasan, 9 Feb 18, 

SHE  DID TRY and warn us.

“Imagine, if you dare … imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis,” Hillary Clinton said in her speech to the Democratic National Convention in 2016, referring to her then-Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump. “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.”

Yet four months later, in November 2016, almost 63 million of her fellow Americans voted to put the short-tempered, thin-skinned former reality TV star in charge of their country’s 6,800 nuclear warheads. Never forget: As president of the nuclear-armed United States, Trump — Trump! — has the power to destroy humanity many times over, while rendering the planet uninhabitable in the process.

If that wasn’t terrifying enough, last week, less than 72 hours after the State of the Union speech, in which Trump ramped up his war of words with North Korea, his administration announced that it wanted to make it much easier for the president to start a nuclear holocaust.

You might have missed that rather important piece of news. Last Friday, while cable news channels rolled on the Nunes memo, the Pentagon published the latest Nuclear Posture Review, or NPR, which includes two pretty alarming new components.

First, while Barack Obama’s 2010 NPR for the first time ruled out a nuclear attack against non-nuclear weapon states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty, Trump’s NPR goes in the opposite direction and suggests that the U.S. could employ nuclear weapons in “extreme circumstances” to defend the “vital interests” of the United States and its allies. The document states:

Extreme circumstances could include significant non-nuclear strategic attacks. Significant non-nuclear strategic attacks include, but are not limited to, attacks on the U.S., allied, or partner civilian population or infrastructure, and attacks on U.S. or allied nuclear forces, their command and control, or warning and attack assessment capabilities.

Got that? Trump wants to be able to retaliate against a non-nuclear and perhaps even non-military attack on U.S. infrastructure — say, a cyberattack on the power grid? — with a nuclear strike that could kill hundreds of thousands, if not millions.

To call such a move disproportionate would be a severe understatement.

Second, the new NPR calls for the development of a new generation of so-called low-yield nuclear weapons. These smaller nukes, the document suggests, would be tactical, not strategic; deployed to the battlefield, rather than dropped on a city. The problem with this argument is that the atomic bombs used against Hiroshima (200,000 dead) and Nagasaki (70,000 dead) could also be considered low-yield nuclear weapons, in terms of their explosive capacity.

There is also the clear lowering of the threshold for nuclear weapons use: It becomes easier to justify the launch of a small nuclear weapon on the basis of a supposedly lower explosive force. Yet “a nuclear weapon is a nuclear weapon,” as Ronald Reagan’s former Secretary of State George Shultz testified in front of the Senate Armed Services Committeethe day before the release of Trump’s NPR. “One of the alarming things to me is this notion that we can have something called a small nuclear weapon … and that somehow that’s usable,” Shultz added. “Your mind goes to the idea that, yes, nuclear weapons become usable. And then we’re really in trouble, because a big nuclear exchange can wipe out the world.”

It would be a worrying development if any president of the United States announced, with little debate or discussion, a plan both to build more tactical nuclear weapons and use them in response to non-nuclear attacks; a nuclear strategy that makes the use of nukes more, not less, likely. But when that president is Donald J. Trump, it should be deemed a national, if not a global, emergency.

Lest we forget, this is a president who, during his election campaign, displayed complete ignorance about the “nuclear triad”; called for an “unpredictable” nuclear weapons policy, while refusing to rule out using nukes against the Islamic State or even in Europe (because “it is a big place”); and asked a foreign policy adviser three times, during a single hourlong briefing, “Why can’t we use nuclear weapons?” This is a commander-in-chief, who since coming to office a year ago, has demanded a tenfold increase in the number of U.S. nuclear weapons; casually threatened North Korea “with fire and fury like the world has never seen”; and began 2018 by bragging on Twitter about his “much bigger & more powerful” nuclear button.

“Giving Trump new nukes AND new ways to use them is like giving matches and gasoline to Curious George,” wrote nuclear weapons expert Tom Collina of the Ploughshares Fund on CNN’s website last Friday. “It will not end well.” Or as one retired senior Army officer told the American Conservative, the NPR provides Trump with “a kind of gateway drug for nuclear war.”

Indeed. And even prior to the publication of this hawkish nuclear strategy document, a Washington Post-ABC News poll in mid-January revealed that 60 percent of Americans did not trust Trump to responsibly handle his “authority to order nuclear attacks on other countries,” while 52 percent of them were “very” or “somewhat” concerned the president “might launch a nuclear attack without justification.”

Remember: The courts may be able to strike down his executive orders as unconstitutional, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller may be able to indict him over collusion or obstruction of justice, but there are no checks or balances on the president’s authority to wage nuclear war. None. Zero. To quote Bruce Blair, a former nuclear missile launch officer and research scholar at the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University: “We all need to confront the fact that [the U.S. political system] gives one person the God-like power to end the world.”

The questions, therefore, that matter far more than any other in 2018: Does the narcissist-in-chief plan on using this “God-like power?” Will an impulsive and aggressive Trump get us all killed by launching a nuclear war? Everything else is noise.

February 9, 2018 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

France in the nuclear weapons race – to spend 37 bn euros on upgrading nuclear arsenal

France to spend 37 bn euros on upgrading nuclear arsenal, Digital Journal, By Daphné BENOIT (AFP)   , 8 Feb 18

France is planning a 37-billion-euro revamp of its nuclear arsenal over the next seven years, part of a sharp increase in defence spending aimed at allowing France to “hold its own” as a key power in Europe, the country’s defence chief said Thursday.

The upgrades to France’s land- and sea-based nuclear deterrent will be part of the nearly 300 billion euros ($370 billion) to be spent by 2025.

That would take the defence budget to the NATO target of 2 percent of GDP, compared with about 1.8 percent currently……http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/france-to-spend-37-bn-euros-on-upgrading-nuclear-arsenal/article/514358#.WnzB79jiicY.twitter

February 9, 2018 Posted by | France, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Rubble storage at Fukushima plant shown to media

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The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has completed a facility to store radioactive rubble from the March 2011 accident.
 
Tokyo Electric Power Company showed the new storage facility in the compound to the media on Thursday.
 
The Number 1 to Number 3 reactors suffered meltdowns and the reactor buildings were badly damaged after a quake-triggered tsunami hit the plant on March 11th, 2011.
 
As part of decommissioning work, rubble scattered after the accident needs to be cleared before spent nuclear fuel can be removed from storage pools in the upper parts of the reactor buildings.
 
At the Number 1 reactor building, work to clear more than 1,500 tons of rubble began in January. Its pool stores 392 fuel units.
 
The newly-completed facility is capable of storing more than 60,000 cubic meters of rubble.
 
Officials say a special vehicle that blocks radiation will take rubble from the Number 1 reactor building to the storage facility, and remote-controlled forklifts will be used to carry the rubble inside it.
 
The storage facility is 2 stories above ground and 2 below. The more radioactive the debris, the deeper underground it will be stored.
 
Officials say the facility can block radiation of levels up to 10 sieverts per hour, as it is covered by concrete walls up to 65 centimeters thick.
 
Kazuteru Ofuchi, a TEPCO official in charge of waste disposal, says the firm will make sure to minimize workers’ exposure to radiation, by working remotely.

February 9, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Tepco ordered to pay $30,000 each to 318 people of the Minamisoma’s Odaka District class action suit

TEPCO ordered to pay 1.1 billion yen to evacuees in Fukushima
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Junichiro Hironaka, lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, right, speaks at a news conference on Feb. 7 after the Tokyo District Court ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. to pay 3.3 million yen in damages to each plaintiff in a Fukushima nuclear disaster compensation lawsuit.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. has been ordered to pay 3.3 million yen ($30,000) each to 318 people who were forced to flee their hometown in Fukushima Prefecture after the 2011 nuclear disaster.
However, the plaintiffs are unhappy as they sought 10 times that amount.
“We are stripped of our hometown, livelihood and life, and Odaka will not return to what it used to be,” 76-year-old Isao Enei of Minami-Soma said at a news conference after the Feb. 7 verdict at Tokyo District Court. “I am sorry that the judges did not visit and see the situation of Odaka for themselves.”
The plaintiffs are now considering appealing as they had initially sought 33 million yen each in additional damages in the lawsuit.
“It is significant in a way in recognizing ‘damages for the loss of a hometown,’” said Junichiro Hironaka, the plaintiffs’ lead lawyer. “But the amount of compensation ordered does not correspond to the actual damages they suffered.”
In handing down the ruling, Presiding Judge Yuko Mizuno said that the plaintiffs’ “right to a stable life in a place that was the foundation of their livelihood had been breached.”
TEPCO said it will respond to the court decision after studying it in detail.
The plaintiffs lived in Minami-Soma’s Odaka district before the triple meltdown at TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.
Odaka was located within the 20-kilometer no-entry zone surrounding the plant from which residents were forced to evacuate.
The plaintiffs contended that TEPCO was liable for causing psychological damage as they were displaced and lost their hometown.
The total that TEPCO must pay to the 318 plaintiffs falls a fraction short of 1.1 billion yen, but the court dismissed claims by three plaintiffs on the grounds that they lived overseas at the time of the accident or for other reasons.
The verdict was the fourth that has been handed down in regard to about 30 similar lawsuits that have been brought across the nation.
In the three other suits, the plaintiffs claimed in the district courts that the government and TEPCO had been negligent, but in the latest case the court was only concerned with the amount of compensation.
The plaintiffs argued for compensation for damages stemming from the evacuation, as well as compensation for a loss of various general benefits that they would have enjoyed if they had continued to reside in their hometown.
The power company rejected the plaintiffs’ claim for additional compensation, citing the payment already made of 8.5 million yen per victim of the nuclear disaster in the district based on the government’s “interim guidelines” for compensation.
It insisted that the plaintiffs’ claim that “Odaka has been lost forever” was not proven.
The evacuation order was lifted for most of the district in July 2016.
But the court stated that even after it became possible for residents to return (to Odaka), it “constitutes a serious violation of the plaintiffs’ life if the foundations of their livelihood were considerably changed.”
TEPCO argued that the government’s interim compensation guidelines were reasonable.
But the court rejected it, saying the district court will not be bound by the government’s guidelines.
Rulings for similar lawsuits are expected in March at the Kyoto District Court and Tokyo District Court.
 
Fukushima operator Tepco ordered to pay US$10 million in new damages
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A Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) employee working near the reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant on Jan 31, 2018
 
TOKYO (AFP) – A Tokyo court has ordered the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant to pay US$10 million (S$13.3 million) in fresh damages to residents who fled their homes after the disaster, the plaintiffs’ attorney said Thursday (Feb 8).
Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) was instructed to pay a total of 1.1 billion yen (S$13.3 million) to 318 former residents of the Odaka district in Fukushima, around 20 kilometres from the plant.
The sum is a tenth of what the plaintiffs had demanded, citing the financial hardship and psychological impact they suffered after the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima that was triggered by a deadly earthquake and tsunami.
Tepco had already agreed to pay each of the plaintiffs 8.5 million yen, but the ruling requires it to pay an additional 3.3 million yen to each of those affected, according to Isamu Oki, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs.
Residents are technically free to return to Odaka, which the government has certified as decontaminated, but only a few dozen have gone home because of financial and health concerns, Oki told AFP.
“Especially those with small children are worried… while elderly people are unable to come back without any supporting family,” he added.
Junichiro Hironaka, who heads the legal team representing the residents, said Wednesday that the court’s decision showed it recognised “compensation for a lost hometown”.
But he said the additional damages awarded by the court were insufficient, suggesting the plaintiffs might appeal.
Tepco said it was reviewing the ruling before deciding how it would proceed.
Around 12,000 people who fled their homes for fear of radiation have filed dozens of lawsuits against the government and Tepco.
In March 2017, a court in the eastern city of Maebashi ruled that both the government and Tepco were responsible.
A massive undersea earthquake on March 11, 2011 sent a tsunami barrelling into Japan’s northeast coast, leaving more than 18,000 people dead or missing and sparking the Fukushima crisis, the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.
In June 2017, three former Tepco executives went on trial, the only people ever to face a criminal court in connection with the disaster. The hearing is continuing.

February 9, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | 2 Comments

Kansai to start loading fuel at Ohi 3 ahead of restart

The loading of fuel assemblies into the core of unit 3 at the Ohi nuclear power plant in Japan’s Fukui Prefecture will begin tomorrow, Kansai Electric Power Company announced. The utility plans to return both units 3 and 4 at the plant to commercial operation by mid-2018.
Ohi 3 and 4 460 (Kansai Electric).jpg
Ohi units 3 and 4
Following the shutdown of all of Japan’s reactors after the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, Ohi 3 and 4 were given permission to resume operation in August 2012. However, the two 1180 MWe pressurised water reactors (PWRs) were taken offline again for Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) inspections in September 2013.
 
Under Japan’s reactor restart process, plant operators are required to apply to the NRA for: permission to make changes to the reactor installation; approval of its construction plan to strengthen the plant; and, final safety inspections to ensure the unit meets new safety requirements. Operators are required to add certain safety-enhancing equipment within five years of receiving the NRA’s approval of a reactor engineering work programme.
 
Kansai submitted its construction plan application for Ohi 3 and 4 in July 2013. The NRA approved the plan for strengthening the units in August last year.
 
Following pre-operation inspections of the units to confirm that the safety countermeasure equipment complies with the approved construction plan at the plant, Kansai is now set to start loading fuel into unit 3 ahead of its restart. In November, the utility said it expected to restart the reactor around mid-March, with commercial operation scheduled from early-April.
 
The governor of Japan’s Fukui Prefecture approved the restart of Ohi units 3 and 4 in November. Unit 4 is also expected to be restarted in the coming months. Kansai earlier said it expects to refuel the reactor in mid-April, restart it around mid-May, with commercial operation expected to resume in early June.
 
In December, Kansai announced that it will not seek permission to restart Ohi units 1 and 2, which have been offline since July 2011 and December 2011, respectively. The company will now apply to decommission the two 1175 MWe PWRs, which are approaching 40 years old.
 
Of Japan’s 42 operable reactors, five have so far cleared inspections confirming they meet the new regulatory safety standards and have resumed operation. These are: Kyushu’s Sendai units 1 and 2; Shikoku’s Ikata unit 3; and Kansai’s Takahama units 3 and 4. Another 19 reactors have applied to restart.

February 9, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Abe, ex-Prime Minister Kan go head to head in nuclear debate

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, and former Prime Minister Naoto Kan at a Lower House Budget Committee session on Feb. 6
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and predecessor Naoto Kan had a rare face-to-face showdown at a Lower House Budget Committee session over their nuclear energy policies on Feb. 6.
Abe admitted that his Liberal Democratic Party shares partial responsibility for failing to prevent the Fukushima nuclear emergency, but slammed those who advocate abandoning nuclear power generation as irresponsible.
The triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, triggered by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, occurred when the now-disbanded Democratic Party of Japan was in power and Kan was prime minister. He is now a member of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.
Most of the nation’s nuclear plants were built on the back of the LDP’s energy policy during the party’s long stints in power.
“The LDP did not give sufficient consideration to (safety issues of) nuclear facilities while it was in power (before the DPJ’s tenure), did it?” Kan accused Abe. “The LDP should admit its part in failing to prevent the Fukushima accident.”
Abe responded: “That is absolutely correct. The government and the nuclear plant operator were blinded by the safety myth (that nothing catastrophic could happen to a Japanese nuclear power plant), and that caused such tragedy.”
Abe also blasted the no-nuclear plant policy promoted by former LDP Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and like-minded lawmakers from opposition parties, saying he “cannot recognize it as a responsible energy policy.”
In an argument over the true cost of nuclear power generation, neither Abe nor Kan would budge from their viewpoints.
Abe indicated he will continue to support restarting nuclear plants around Japan, saying “power bills paid by typical households rose by about 10 percent (on average) while many nuclear plants remained offline.”
Kan condemned Abe’s position as “calculating only what is convenient for yourself,” pointing out that the cost for dealing with the accident’s aftermath and radiation contamination has already more than doubled from what was initially expected.

February 9, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Cost of replacing Britain’s nuclear submarines rockets by £1billion.

Daily Record 8th Feb 2018, SNP slam ‘folly of Trident’ as cost of replacing Britain’s nuclear
submarines rockets by £1billion. The cost of replacing Britain’s nuclear
submarines has risen by almost £1billion in a year. SNP defence spokesman
Stewart McDonald MP will raise questions in the Commons about the soaring
cost of the £31billion Trident replacement programme after the
Government’s spending watchdog rapped MoD chiefs. A recent National Audit
Office report on the MoD’s financial plan for equipment slammed the
defence budget as unaffordable and unrealistic as it failed to include a
string of costs.
https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/snp-slam-folly-trident-cost-11989163

February 9, 2018 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Depleted uranium “helped sow deaths and illnesses” in Italian soldiers

Uranium caused cancer – probe http://www.ansa.it/english/news/politics/2018/02/07/uranium-caused-cancer-probe_560c540f-b60e-4f90-8ce4-29c0dc42cd6d.html  But expert denies saying there was causal link,  Redazione ANSA, 7 Feb 18  ANSA) -Rome   – The final report of a commission on depleted uranium said Italian soldiers had been exposed to “shocking” levels of it in Italy and on foreign missions, and that it had “helped sow deaths and illnesses”.
However, the doctor whose expert opinion informed the panel’s conclusions denied a link between uranium and cancer. Levels of uranium in the sectors of security and workplace health for soldiers had been toxic and deadly, said the report from the parliamentary commission of inquiry. The report highlighted that military chiefs had been in “denial” on the phenomenon, and also stressed the “deafening silences maintained by government authorities.” Experts heard by the panel had verified the links between exposure to depleted uranium and tumours, the report said.
Commission Chair Gian Piero Scanu of the Democratic Party said “repeated judicial sentences have consistently affirmed the existence of a causal link between exposure to depleted uranium and the pathologies cited by the soldiers: this is a milestone and now those who were exposed will have the possibility of getting justice without having to struggle as they have done so far”.

But the Italian doctor whose expert testimony was cited by the commission as evidence that depleted uranium caused cancer in soldiers denied “ever saying that”. “That is absolutely not my thinking, I never said that depleted uranium is responsible for the tumours found in the soldiers,” said Giorgio Trenta of the Italian association for medical radioprotection. Trenta’s report was cited by the panel as proof of the causal link between depleted uranium and cancer.
The relatives of soldiers who died of uranium-linked cancer have been suing the government for years and pursuing cases in the courts, amid denials from military authorities.
In 2016 a Rome appeals court upheld a guilty verdict for the defence ministry in the 1999 death from leukemia due to depleted uranium exposure of 23-year-old Corporal Salvatore Vacca who handled uranium-tipped munitions during a 150-day mission in Bosnia in 1998-99.
The court found the ministry guilty of not having protected Vacca.
It ordered the ministry to pay more than one and a half million euros in compensation to Vacca’s family.
The families of other victims are suing the ministry for deaths allegedly due to depleted uranium exposure on several Italian missions.
Domenico Leggiero of the Military Observatory group said the sentence was “historic, because it confirms that the ministry was aware of the danger the soldiers sent to those zones were subject to”.
He said “I am sure Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti will bear this ruling in mind when she appears before the parliamentary depleted uranium commission”.
Italian authorities consistently played down the uranium risks

February 9, 2018 Posted by | deaths by radiation, depleted uranium, EUROPE, legal | Leave a comment

Julian Assange still a virtual prisoner in Ecuadorian Embassy in London

Julian Assange ‘has suffered enough’, his lawyers tell British judge, SMH, Nick Miller, 7 Feb 18, London: Julian Assange has suffered enough and shouldn’t face prison for absconding from justice, his lawyers have told a court.

The Wikileaks editor is depressed, in constant pain from an infected tooth, and has been stuck in the Ecuador Embassy in London’s Kensington far longer than the maximum 12-month jail penalty for breaching bail, his barrister said.

On Tuesday Assange lost a legal bid at Westminster Magistrates Court to quash the arrest warrant that has awaited him since he entered the Ecuador embassy in June 2012.

However his lawyers immediately launched a new push to end the UK government’s attempt to bring him to justice – arguing that it is against the public interest to punish him for refusing to leave the embassy.

It is a criminal offence for someone on bail to refuse to surrender to police without “reasonable cause” – and Assange refused to leave the embassy despite a court order for his arrest.

 But Assange’s barrister Mark Summers QC told Judge Emma Arbuthnot that it was not in the interests of “justice and proportionality” to bring an action against Assange.
Assange went into the embassy after he exhausted his line of appeal against a decision to extradite him to Sweden to face rape allegations.  Sweden last year ended its investigation into the allegations, and the European arrest warrant against Assange was cancelled. However the British warrant for his arrest still stood – and judge Arbuthnot said she was not persuaded it should be quashed simply because the underlying investigation had stopped.
Mr Summers said Assange was not “thumbing his nose” at justice and his five and a half years in the embassy were “adequate if not severe punishment for the actions that he took”.

Assange had genuine fears – later proved correct – that the US were keen to prosecute him over his work with Wikileaks, Summers said.

If arrested he would face rendition to the USA, treatment similar to that meted out against Wikileaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning – and possible “persecution, indefinite solitary confinement and the death penalty”, Summers said in a written submission……….

Judge Arbuthnot said it was a “very interesting” case.

She will rule on the public interest application on February 13.

Outside court, Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson said whether or not the warrant is quashed Assange would not leave the embassy until he had an assurance he wouldn’t be extradited to the US.

“Mr Assange remains willing to answer to British justice in relation to any argument about breaching bail, but not at the expense of facing injustice in America,” she said.

“This case is and always has been about the risk of extradition to the United States and that risk remains real.” http://www.smh.com.au/world/julian-assange-has-suffered-enough-his-lawyers-tell-british-judge-20180206-p4yzjt.html

February 9, 2018 Posted by | civil liberties, Legal, UK | Leave a comment

Terrorism: Radical Islamists in the nuclear industry?

RTL 6th Feb 2018, According to
“Mediapart”, the Operational Staff for the Prevention of Terrorism (EMOPT)
has identified 59 people in 2017 as radical Islamists who have worked or
worked in nuclear power with “different degrees of radicalization”.
http://www.rtl.fr/actu/societe-faits-divers/terrorisme-des-islamistes-radicaux-dans-la-filiere-nucleaire-7792148539

February 9, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety | Leave a comment