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Australia’s nuclear testing before the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne should be a red flag for Fukushima in 2020

Part time tutor in Medical Education, University of Dundee

The scheduling of Tokyo 2020 Olympic events at Fukushima is being seen as a public relations exercise to dampen fears over continuing radioactivity from the reactor explosion that followed the massive earthquake six years ago.

It brings to mind the British atomic bomb tests in Australia that continued until a month before the opening of the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne – despite the known dangers of fallout travelling from the testing site at Maralinga to cities in the east. And it reminds us of the collusion between scientists and politicians – British and Australian – to cover up the flawed decision-making that led to continued testing until the eve of the Games.

Australia’s prime minister Robert Menzies agreed to atomic testing in December 1949. Ten months earlier, Melbourne had secured the 1956 Olympics even though the equestrian events would have to be held in Stockholm because of Australia’s strict horse quarantine regimes.

The equestrians were well out of it. Large areas of grazing land – and therefore the food supplies of major cities such as Melbourne – were covered with a light layer of radiation fallout from the six atomic bombs detonated by Britain during the six months prior to the November 1956 opening of the Games. Four of these were conducted in the eight weeks running up to the big event, 1,000 miles due west of Melbourne at Maralinga.

Bombs and games

In the 25 years I have been researching the British atomic tests in Australia, I have found only two mentions of the proximity of the Games to the atomic tests. Not even the Royal Commission into the tests in 1985 addressed the known hazards of radioactive fallout for the athletes and spectators or those who lived in the wide corridor of the radioactive plumes travelling east.

At the time, the approaching Olympics were referred to only once in the Melbourne press in relation to the atomic tests, in August 1956. It is known that D-notices from the government “requesting” editors to refrain from publishing information about certain defence and security matters were issued.

The official history of the tests by British nuclear historian Lorna Arnold, published by the UK government in 1987 and no longer in print, reports tests director William Penney signalling concern only once, in late September 1956:

Am studying arrangements firings but not easy. Have Olympic Games in mind but still believe weather will not continue bad.

This official history doesn’t comment on the implications. And nowhere in the 1985 Royal Commission report is there any reference to the opening of the Olympics, just one month and a day after the fourth test took place 1,000 miles away.

The 1984 report of the Expert Committee on the review of Data on Atmospheric Fallout Arising from British Nuclear Tests in Australia found that the methodology used to estimate the numbers of people who might have been harmed by this fallout at fewer than 10 was inappropriate. And it concluded that if the dose calculations were confined to the communities in the path of the fallout and not merged with the total Australian population “such an exercise would generate results several orders of magnitude higher than those based on conventional philosophy”. There was no mention of the Olympic Games.

Neither Prime Minister Menzies nor his cabinet ever referred publicly to what had been known from the outset – that the British atomic tests in Australia would almost coincide with the Melbourne Olympics. The tests and the Games were planned simultaneously through the first half of the 1950s.

In May 1955, 18 months before the Olympics were due to start, Howard Beale, the Australian minister for supply, announced the building of “the Los Alamos of the British Commonwealth” (a nuclear test site in New Mexico) at Maralinga, promising that “tests would only take place in meteorological conditions which would carry radioactive clouds harmlessly away into the desert”.

An Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee was formed by the Australians but was closely controlled by physicist Professor Ernest Titterton, the only Englishman on the panel. The 1985 Royal Commission stated explicitly that the AWTSC was complicit in the firing of atomic detonations in weather conditions that they knew could carry radioactive fallout a thousand miles from Maralinga to eastern cities such as Melbourne.

Hazards of radioactivity

Professor Titterton, who had recently been appointed to a chair in nuclear physics at the Australian National University after working on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, and at Aldermaston in England, explained why the atomic devices were being tested in Australia:

Because of the hazards from the radioactivity which follows atomic weapons explosions, the tests are best carried out in isolated regions – usually a desert area … Most of the radioactivity produced in the explosion is carried up in the mushroom cloud and drifts downward under atmospheric airstreams. But particular material in this cloud slowly settles to the ground and may render an area dangerously radioactive out to distances ranging between 50 and several hundred miles … It would therefore be hazardous to explode even the smallest weapons in the UK, and it was natural for the mother country to seek test sites elsewhere in the Commonwealth.

The AWTSC published two scientific papers in 1957 and 1958 which flat out denied that any dangerous levels of radioactivity reached the eastern states. But their measurements relied on a very sparse scattering of sticky paper monitors – rolls of gummed film set out to catch particles of fallout – even though these could be washed off by rain.

Despite their clear denials in these papers, meteorological records show that prior to the Games there was rain in Melbourne which could have deposited radioactivity on the ground.

The AWTSC papers included maps purporting to show the plumes of radioactive fallout travelling north and west from Maralinga in the South Australian desert. The Royal Commission published expanded maps (see page 292) based on the AWTSC’s own data and found the fallout pattern to be much wider and more complex. The Australian scientist Hedley Marston’s study of radioactivity uptake in animals showed a far more significant covering of fallout on a wide swathe of Australian grazing land than indicated by the sticky paper samples of the AWTSC.

The 1985 Royal Commission report into British Nuclear Tests in Australia discussed many of these issues, but never in relation to the proximity and timing of the 1956 Olympic Games. Sixty years later, are we seeing the same denial of known hazards six years after the reactor explosion at Fukushima?

 

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July 18, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Another leap forward for medical diagnosis and treatment with no need for nuclear reactors

NO RADIATION NEEDED: 3D TOOL CREATES MAPS OF PATIENTS’ HEARTS BEFORE PROCEDURES

by Danielle Prieur (WMFE) 16 July 18 

A new mapping technology is helping doctors determine where to place life-saving catheters in patients with irregular heartbeats without the use of radiation. It’s being used at Florida Hospital. One of these patients is 14-year-old Grayson Abraham who has a heart condition that can cause sudden cardiac death in young athletes. He credits the procedure with helping him get back on the field.

“I could play sports again and my heart wouldn’t do anything wrong anymore. It was just a week of not doing heavy lifting, it was an easy recovery.”

Mayo Clinic says estimates young athletes account for 1 in every 50,000 sudden cardiac deaths a year.

To listen to the full story, please click on the clip above. (AUDIO on original) http://www.wmfe.org/no-radiation-needed-3d-tool-creates-maps-of-patients-hearts-before-procedures/89334

July 18, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health | Leave a comment

All about nuclear war

All you wanted to know about nuclear war but were too afraid to ask https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/16/nuclear-war-north-korea-russia-what-will-happen-how-likely-explainedThe use of a nuclear weapon is now more likely than any time since the cold war, but the probability of humanity being wiped out entirely has diminished, by Julian Borger and Ian Sample

Which countries have nuclear weapons?

There are nine countries that possess nuclear weapons. Five of these (the US, Russia, the UK, France and China) are members of the official owners club, who made their weapons early and had them legitimised in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signed in 1968, the key piece of international law governing nuclear weapons possession.

NPT has arguably been quite successful. In the 1960s it was widely anticipated that dozens of countries would get the bomb, as it appeared to be the fast track to clout and status on the world stage. But so far there have only been four rogue nuclear weapons states who ignored the NPT and made their own bombs. In order of acquisition, they are Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.

Has any country ever given up its nuclear weapons?

More countries have given up nuclear weapons programmes than have kept them, coming to believe they were more of a liability than an asset for national security.

The apartheid regime in South Africa secretly built six warheads, but dismantled the bombs and abandoned the whole programme in 1989 just before the system gave way to democracy.

Even Sweden had an advanced and ambitious plan based on heavy water reactors to build up to a hundred warheads, but gave up the project in the 1960s, preferring to spend defence funds on fighter planes.

The military juntas in both Argentina and Brazil pursued covert weapons programmes, although they stopped short of making a bomb, and the two countries gave up their programmes in the early nineties and joined the NPT.

Taiwan and South Korea began developing plutonium production programmes in the late sixties and early seventies before the US persuaded them to halt in the mid-seventies and rely on Washington for security. Japan is generally considered to have a “bomb in the basement”, in that it has all the materials and know-how to build a warhead quickly if it decided to follow that path and leave the NPT. At present that course seems unlikely.

Three successor countries to the Soviet Union – Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus – inherited nuclear weapons in 1991, and all three agreed to surrender them, in Ukraine’s case in return for sovereignty guarantees from Russia that ultimately proved worthless.

In Iraq, Saddam Hussein dismantled his rudimentary nuclear weapons programme after the first Gulf war in 1991, and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi handed over his nuclear weapons beginner’s set to the US in 2003. Their ultimate fate offers little incentive for future despots to give up their atomic dreams.

How do you make a bomb?

It is pretty difficult to make a nuclear weapon. If it was not we most likely would no longer be here. And it is difficult on two levels: making the fissile material and then constructing a device that will detonate it.

Material is fissile when the nucleus of an atom can be split by a neutron that has broken free of another atom, producing large amounts of energy and more neutrons. When those free neutrons go on to split the nuclei of other atoms, there is a chain reaction, causing a nuclear explosion.

Uranium and plutonium are used for nuclear weapons, but only specific atomic configurations, or isotopes, of those elements are fissile. The fissile isotopes used in nuclear warheads are U-235 and Pu-239. The numbers refer to their atomic weights. The biggest single challenge in making a nuclear warhead is producing enough of these isotopes from the elements found in nature.

Following the uranium path to the bomb requires converting refined uranium into a gas and then spinning it at very high speed in centrifuges to separate out the U-235, which makes up less than 1% of naturally occurring uranium. This has to be done repeatedly through “cascades” of centrifuges. Low-enriched uranium, used in civilian nuclear power, is usually 3%-4% U-235. Weapons-grade uranium is 90% enriched or more. Building enough centrifuges, and getting them to spin fast enough in unison, is the greatest technical challenge along the uranium route

Plutonium Pu-239 is produced in significant quantities by extracting it from irradiated uranium fuel that has been through a reactor. Because it is more fissile, less plutonium is required for a weapon. A sophisticated modern warhead requires as little as 2kg of plutonium, or at least three times that much uranium.
Once you have enough fissile material, you have to make it go bang. And to achieve that you have to force the atoms close enough together to trigger a chain reaction. There are two ways of doing this, and therefore two basic bomb designs.

The most rudimentary is the gun-type warhead, which involves firing one chunk of fissile material into another at high speed with conventional explosives. The Little Boy bomb dropped on Hiroshima was a gun-type device using 64kg of highly enriched uranium (HEU).

A more sophisticated bomb type, which requires less fissile material and allows the use of plutonium (which does not work in a gun-type warhead) is the implosion device, in which a sphere of HEU or plutonium is surrounded by explosives rigged to go off at exactly the same time to violently compress the core. The Fat Man bomb dropped on Nagasaki was an implosion device with about 6kg of plutonium.

What is a hydrogen bomb?

Hydrogen bomb is the colloquial term for a thermonuclear weapon, a second-generation bomb design with vastly more explosive power than a simple fission warhead.

It is a two-stage device – a primary fission bomb which detonates and compresses a secondary bomb filled with two heavy isotopes of hydrogen: deuterium and tritium (hence the name hydrogen bomb). They undergo a process of nuclear fusion, forcing the nuclei of atoms together and multiplying exponentially the amount of energy released by the device. All strategic weapons in modern arsenals are now thermonuclear, or hydrogen, bombs.

Whatever happened to nuclear disarmament?

The bargain at the heart of the NPT was that member states without nuclear weapons agreed not to acquire them, as long as the states with weapons reduced their obscenely large arsenals, capable of destroying the planet many times over. That has indeed happened, to an extent – at first as the result of arms control agreements, and then the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the end of the cold war.

From a peak of 70,000 nuclear weapons in the world at the height of the cold war, in 1985, there are now about 14,000, according to the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), still enough to end life on the planet. Then and now, the overwhelming majority (93% in 2018) of these warheads belong to the US and Russia, with between 6,000 and 7,000 apiece, although only about a quarter of those arsenals are deployed and ready for use. The rest are in reserve stockpiles or in the process of being retired and dismantled.

Of the second-tier nuclear weapons powers, again according to FAS estimates, France has 300 warheads, China 270, the UK 215, Pakistan 130-40, India 120-30, Israel 80, and North Korea between 10 and 20.

The last successful arms control agreement, the New Start treaty, was signed by Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev in 2010, limiting the US and Russia to 1,550 deployed strategic warheads each. The hope at the time was that the two nuclear superpowers would pursue a follow-on treaty and at one point Obama suggested he might reduce the US arsenal unilaterally by another third. But that did not happen.

What are the chances of a nuclear weapon falling into the hands of a terrorist group?

The terrorist nuclear weapon is one of the scariest scenarios the world faces. Unlike states, such groups cannot be deterred from using a weapon as the perpetrator could be very hard to identify in the wake of a blast, difficult to find, and ready to accept death as the price of inflicting devastating damage. Terrorist groups would not need expensive missiles to deliver their warheads. They could be sailed into a port in a shipping container or across land borders in the back of a truck.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US spent substantial resources on dismantling many of its weapons and production facilities as well as ensuring that its many nuclear scientists had alternative employment so as not to be tempted to sell their wares and expertise to the highest bidder. But serious concerns about nuclear weapons security remain. Pakistan in particular is a source of anxiety as its military and intelligence services have radicalised elements within them, with links to terror groups.

There are also fears that a cash-strapped or vengeful North Korea could sell one of its warheads for the right price. A more recent emerging threat is that a rogue group could hack into a nuclear power’s command and control computers, triggering a launch, or into an early warning system, giving the impression an enemy attack is imminent.

How likely is accidental nuclear war?

As the years have passed since the cold war, it has become increasingly clear that we had several lucky escapes from nuclear weapons use during that era as the result of miscalculation or technical glitches. For example, in 1979, when a US watch officer left training tapes in the early warning system when he finished his shift, those in the incoming shift saw their screens light up with the tracks of multiple incoming Soviet missiles. It was only good judgment of the duty officers that avoided a nuclear alert.

In such situations, if the glitch is not identified lower down the chain of command and passed upwards as a seemingly genuine alert, a national leader has only a few minutes to decide whether to launch his or her country’s missiles before the apparent incoming salvo destroys them. Nearly three decades after the cold war, the US and Russia still keep hundreds of missiles on hair-trigger alert, ready to launch within minutes, in anticipation of just an occasion.

In the US system, there is no institutional check or barrier to the president launching those missiles once he has identified himself to the Pentagon war room using his nuclear codes.

What next?

Arms control will be on the agenda when Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump meet in Helsinki on Monday. One option is that the two presidents could extend the New Start treaty by another five years, as allowed for in the agreement. The biggest barrier is Trump’s distaste for any arrangement inherited from Obama. It is more likely he would argue for a more ambitious arms control agreement he could put his own name to. But Putin will be hard to convince, without the US scaling back its missile defence system, and that is unlikely at the moment.

The threat of a conflict with North Korea has receded somewhat since the Singapore summit, but it is increasingly clear that Pyongyang has no intention of disarming any time soon. The big question is what will Trump do once that becomes apparent to him.

The chances of a nuclear standoff with Iran, meanwhile, are rising. In May, Trump walked out of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran, which curbed Iranian nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief. The US is now piling on sanctions and telling the world to stop buying Iranian oil. Sooner or later it is possible, likely even, that the Iranian government will stop abiding by the agreement and start stepping up its uranium enrichment and other activities. That is likely to raise tensions in the Gulf dramatically and make other regional players rethink whether to acquire nuclear weapons themselves.

Taking all these developments into consideration, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has decided to set its “doomsday clock” to two minutes to midnight, the closest to catastrophe it has been since 1953.

Nuclear weapons in popular culture

The darkest day of the cold war produced some timeless comedy, from the classic movie of accidental apocalypse, Dr Strangelove, to the songs of the mathematician, musician and comedian, Tom Lehrer, with titles like So Long Mom (A song for WWIII), and in the UK, the civil defence sketch by Beyond the Fringe.

There are much darker works in the canon. On the Beach, in 1959, was the first major post-apocalyptic movie, in which survivors gather in Australia, the last continent left habitable. The Day After, in 1983, is even blacker. It starts with a nuclear blast obliterating a column of cars stuck on a highway as panicked people rush to try to evade the attack spreads.

More recent films, since the cold war, have dwelt on the threat of a single nuclear weapon detonated by terrorists or deranged geniuses or both. They include Broken Arrow (1996), The Peacemaker (1997) and The Sum of All Fears (2002), in which – because there is just one bomb involved – the detonation is no longer treated as an exctinction-level event. In that, art is following reality. The use of a nuclear weapon is now more likely than any time since the worst days of the cold war, but the probability of humanity being wiped out entirely by nuclear war is, for the time being, diminished.

July 18, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Big decline in investment in new nuclear reactors

Investment in new nuclear declines to five-year low, WNN  17 July 2018  Global energy investment fell for the third consecutive year in 2017, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Investment in nuclear power declined by nearly 45% last year to USD17 billion. Although spending on new reactors reached the lowest level in five years, investment on upgrades of existing units increased………

Of the four new reactors commissioned last year, three were in China. More than 5 GWe of nuclear generating capacity was retired, leading to a net reduction of about 2 GWe in total nuclear capacity worldwide. Capacity was still about 10 GW higher than in 2007. While around 60 GWe of nuclear power remains under construction worldwide, new construction starts totalled just over 3 GWe.

Modernisations and upgrades of existing reactors represented about half of total nuclear investment last year. “Large investments have recently been made in OECD countries to extend lifetime operation and power uprates of the existing nuclear fleet,” the IEA said. “In general, spending on existing plants yields more output per dollar invested.”

……… Access to both direct and indirect government finance remains vital for investments in nuclear power, the report says. “Most investment in new nuclear capacity has occurred in markets where the government retains full ownership or a majority stake in most of the utilities.” Investment in nuclear power also remains highly dependent on government involvement in various areas, including market structure, price regulation and financing………http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NP-Investment-in-new-nuclear-declines-to-five-year-low-1707185.html

July 18, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment

James McGovern became the first voting member of Congress to pledge support for UN nuclear weapons ban

Rep. McGovern backs nuclear ban, http://www.recorder.com/Rep-McGovern-backs-nuclar-ban-18867463 For the Recorder, July 16, 2018

NORTHAMPTON — On the steps of City Hall, U.S. Rep. James McGovern became the first voting member of Congress to officially pledge his support for the abolition of nuclear weapons across the world.

On Saturday afternoon, candidates running for the state Legislature joined the congressman in calling on the United States government to sign, ratify and implement the 2017 International Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The United Nations adopted the treaty last July and so far 59 countries have signed it. U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton of Washington, D.C., also signed the pledge in May, but she does not have voting power in the House.

“This treaty to put an end to nuclear weapons once and for all was not started by the great powers, but by grassroots organizations and the leadership of small and medium-sized nations,” McGovern said before a crowd of 70. “I believe it takes hard work, hard organizing, to get people and nations to recognize that nuclear weapons remain one of the greatest threats to all humankind, to the environment, to the planet — and they must be eliminated.”

The Resistance Center for Peace and Justice, formerly the American Friends Service Committee of Western Massachusetts, partnered with NuclearBan.US, a national campaign founded by

Northampton residents Vicki Elson and Dr. Timmon Wallis, to host an event that saw numerous prospective lawmakers voice their support for the dismantling of the country’s nuclear arsenal. Both groups are official partners of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its work on the treaty.

The treaty prohibits signatories from the development, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons under international law.

Since the treaty was adopted last year, 59 countries have signed it and 11 parliaments have ratified it, according to Wallis. The United States has not signed it, nor has any other nation that possesses nuclear weapons.

Grassroots effort

In order for the treaty to go into effect, 50 countries have to ratify it, which Wallis said he expects to happen at the end of next year. In September, there will be another signing ceremony at the United Nations in New York, where he expects nine countries to sign on.

Local statehouse office-seekers who signed the ICAN Candidate Pledge for a Nuclear Weapons Free Future included Chelsea Kline, Jo Comerford and Steven Connor for state Senate; Marie McCourt, Eric Nakajima, Lindsay Sabadosa and Mindy Domb for the Hampshire House seat; Natalie Blais, Jonathan Edwards, Casey Pease, Christine Doktor, Kate Albright-Hanna and Nathaniel Waring for the 1st Franklin District seat; Tanya Neslusan for the Hampden House seat; Amaad Rivera for the Hampden Senate seat; and Jamie Guerin for state treasurer.

“It’s precisely because our national leadership is failing us that we need a grassroots movement to change things,” McGovern said. “If we are going to abolish nuclear weapons, it’s going to have to be a worldwide grassroots movement.”

The world cannot count on the leadership of President Donald Trump or President Vladimir Putin of Russia, he said, so change must come from regular people around the globe. McGovern said taking the pledge was an easy decision to make and he credited the event organizers for focusing his attention on the need to take action against the threat of nuclear weapons.

“Being in Washington right now is like drinking water from a fire hose, and there are a thousand horrible things happening all the time,” McGovern said. “But if nuclear weapons were ever used, that may be the end of the Earth. This is an incredibly important issue and I am very proud of this movement.”

Lining up support

Elson and Wallis said they are currently working with mayors from Northampton, Easthampton and Holyoke for their cities to become treaty-compliant. As part of their work for NuclearBan.US, they urge people to hold accountable the 26 companies known to help make nuclear weapons, many of which are based in the U.S., by boycotting and divesting from these companies.

With President Trump reversing course on a lot of former President Barack Obama’s efforts at disarmament, Wallis said the campaign faces an uphill battle.

“Of course, the U.S. government is putting pressure on all these countries not to sign and not to ratify, so that is part of what we are up against,” Wallis said.

Elson said, “The citizens are rising up, that is what we are all about.

“The treaty is the tool we can use to solve this problem once and for all,” she said. “Then we won’t be worried about this leader or that leader, or this country or that country. If these weapons don’t exist we would be a whole lot safer, and then we can go on to solve other problems.”

Takoma Park, Md., and Berkeley, Calif., are the first two cities in the nation to declare themselves treaty-compliant through the efforts of NuclearBan.US. In western Massachusetts, the Northampton Quaker Meeting, Broadside Books, Elements Spa, Arcadia Herbs, and Paradise Copy are now treaty-aligned.

NuclearBan.US has a goal of gaining the support of individuals, faith organizations, schools, towns, and cities to demand the attention of the U.S. government.

“Now is the time that we must come together to demand nuclear weapons be abolished, and fortunately we have the tool to do so,” Lydia Wood of NuclearBan.US said. “Now that we have this tool, it is up to us to make it successful … It is unacceptable to make money off the most destructive and potentially apocalyptic weapon ever created. We can make it politically unacceptable by  publicly shaming and stigmatizing the companies making billions off of these weapons.”

July 18, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo accused North Korea of hiding nuclear facilities, enriching uranium

Pompeo accused North Korea of hiding nuclear facilities, enriching uranium: Report , Straits Times, 17 July 18 TOKYO (THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused North Korea of operating secret facilities for the enrichment of uranium when he met senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol during his July 6-7 visit to the country, the Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The US top diplomat’s move appears to underscore Washington’s increasing suspicion that Pyongyang is covertly proceeding with activities that are contrary to denuclearisation, despite its declared commitment to the goal.

It also raises the possibility that even if North Korea starts the process of denuclearisation, the alleged existence of secret facilities will become an issue during the declaration and verification phases.

According to sources knowledgeable about Japan-US-South Korea trilateral talks, Pompeo said at his meeting Kim Yong Chol that Pyongyang was enhancing the production of enriched uranium and also concealing nuclear-related facilities and nuclear warheads.

Citing information that construction activities are under way at a missile plant at Hamhung in the north-eastern province of South Hamgyong to expand the facility, Pompeo stressed that this was not beneficial to US-North Korean relations.

Kim Yong Chol, a top North Korean party official and former spy agency chief with whom Pompeo played a key role in arranging an unprecedented summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12, flatly denied Pompeo’s claim, according to the sources.

Pyongyang has never hidden or operated a secret uranium enrichment site, the North Korean official was quoted as saying.

Kim also reportedly argued that activities at the Hamhung missile plant were part of construction work in preparation for the rainy season, not expansion work.

On July 7, a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman released a statement accusing Washington of showing a “regrettable” attitude at the meeting between Pompeo and the North Korean official……..https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/pompeo-accused-north-korea-of-hiding-nuclear-facilities-enriching-uranium-report

July 18, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Radioactive pollution – the Green Run from Hanford

The Green Run – Hanford Downwinders

Ken Raskin, 16 July 18 People forget about the Green run From Hanford. The Green Run occurred, when the government purposely let loose one of the largest plumes, of radionuclide poison in history, into South East Washington, using everyone there as test rats. A whole graveyard of miscarried and hopelessly deformed babies, from the aftermath of the radionuclide genocide, can be found in Walla Walla, Washington.

Since then, tons and tons more of radioactive waste have accumulated at Hanford, to be stored, or await the bogus vitiriolization-gaslighting lie. A lie  that has gone on for 50 years, that will mever happen. Untold amounts of the the most toxic crud known to man, lethal at billionths of a gram, have leaked into the surrounding areas and the Columbia River.

More of the worst radionuclide waste known :cesium 137, plutonium, uranium poisons, and many more radionuclide wastes have accumutalted at hanford from the HOKEY PROMISE OF vitrification.

If one considers atrocities, like the green run, at Hanford, Hanford is far worse than Mayak.

Our ethnocentric , evil monkey nucleoapes, will not admit it. It is always Russia or chernobyl etc . That is the worst nuclear abomination on the planet. That is in spite of the fact, that the US military and govt detonated more than a thousand nuclear bombs in mureica,  on its own citizens.

There is so much old highly radioactive waste, from the cold war and nuclear waste, from the reactors by Hanford, as well as the new shit constantly pouring in. There is a major radiation incident at Hanford, every few months now.

From Wikipedea The “Green Run” was a secret U.S. Government release of radioactive fission products on December 2–3, 1949, at the Hanford Site plutonium production facility, located in Eastern Washington. Radioisotopes released at that time were supposed to be detected by U.S. Air Force reconnaissance. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the U.S. Government have revealed some of the details of the experiment.[1] Sources cite 5,500 to 12,000 curies (200 to 440 TBq) of iodine-131 released,[1][2][3] and an even greater amount of xenon-133. The radiation was distributed over populated areas, and caused the cessation of intentional radioactive releases at Hanford until 1962 when more experiments commenced.[3]
There are some indications contained in the documents released by the FOIA requests that many other tests were conducted in the 1940s prior to the Green Run, although the Green Run was a particularly large test. Evidence suggests that filters to remove the iodine were disabled during the Green Run.[3][4]

The project gets its name from the processing of uranium at Hanford, WA in an open loop/water cooled nuclear reactor for the sole purpose of irradiating the Uranium-238 producing the fissile Plutonium-239. Due to other unwanted highly radioactive decay products being formed, normal batch processing would take place 83 to 101 days after reactor extraction to allow the radioactive isotopes to decay before extracting the fissile Plutonium-239 in a safe manner for the 30,000 nuclear weapons amassed and now MOX fuel during the cold war by the United States. For the Green Run test, a batch was fresh from the reactor with only a scheduled 16-day decay period and then was vented into the atmosphere prematurely. The unfiltered exhaust from the production facility was therefore much more radioactive than during a normal batch.

Oral history

Leland Fox says that his father was in the military and was bivouacked on the banks of the Wenatchee River during the Green Run:

…and people with radiation suits walked around and moved the little colored flags as the radiation was detected. The cooking was done outdoors and they slept near the beach. The Officers did not stay long except to give orders and drive away. Almost everyone that my father knew was there has died of cancer. My father had chronic lymphocytic leukemia and died from the complications of lung cancer. The Feds said that the leukemia can not be caused by iodine-131 but his doctor, Dr. Bonnie Takasugi of Burien WA, said that it most probably was.[citation needed]

Health Physicist Carl C. Gamertsfelder, Ph.D. described his recollections as to the reasons for the Green Run by attributing it to the intentions of the Air Force to be able to track Soviet releases.

Herb Parker called me to request that I, and the groups that I supervised, cooperate with the Air Force in the conduct of an experiment which became known as the Green Run… And we didn’t recommend, we wouldn’t have recommended, that they operate it. We told them that. They wanted to run anyway, and they did run.”

July 18, 2018 Posted by | civil liberties, environment, USA | 1 Comment

Anxiety about nuclear weapons transport paused for 2 hours

Herald 16th July 2018 , AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after a freight train carrying nuclear
material ran a stop signal near to Kingussie on Friday night. The service
was carrying spent fuel from the Dounreay Power Station to the
decommissioning site at Sellafield, Cumbria. It came to a stop after
travelling past a red light before being moved to a “position of safety” by
concerned officials. Direct Rail Services (DRS), the company which handles
shipments between the two sites on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning
Authority (NDA), said they understand there was no risk of collision due to
the error.

However, concerns have been raised as to why a train loaded with
radioactive material was allowed to sit there for almost two hours. An
investigation has since been launched into the circumstances of the
“highly-disturbing” incident. DRS has been transporting spent fuel between
the two sites for a number of years. The material is taken from Dounreay to
Georgemas Junction and loaded on to the train to Carlisle and then onto
Sellafield.

Tor Justad, chairperson of the Highlands Against Nuclear
Transport group, said: “We’ve been campaigning for these shipments to be
stopped and for the material to be kept on site. Storing nuclear material
is hazardous enough but it’s when you go to transport it that accidents can
happen. And obviously an incident like this is highly-disturbing. We know
that low-level radiation is emitted from these canisters so to hear that
the train was sitting at Kingussie for hours is concerning.”
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/16356092.investigation-launched-after-train-carrying-nuclear-material-ran-stop-signal-at-kingussie/

July 18, 2018 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons states and the policy of “No First Use” (NFU)- most of them permit it

Nearly all nuclear weapon states, as a matter of policy, remain ready to use their weapons without having first suffered a nuclear attack. Council on Foreign Relations, by Ankit Panda July 17, 2018 

 Introduction Most states with nuclear weapons maintain policies that would permit their first use in a conflict. Pledges to only use these weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack—or a no-first-use (NFU) policy—are rare. Where these pledges have been made by nuclear states, their adversaries generally consider them not credible……….


What is an NFU pledge?

A so-called NFU pledge, first publicly made by China in 1964, refers to any authoritative statement by a nuclear weapon state to never be the first to use these weapons in a conflict, reserving them strictly to retaliate in the aftermath of a nuclear attack against its territory or military personnel. These pledges are a component of nuclear declaratory policies. As such, there can be no diplomatic arrangement to verify or enforce a declaratory NFU pledge, and such pledges alone do not affect capabilities. States with such pledges would be technically able to still use nuclear weapons first in a conflict, and their adversaries have generally not trusted NFU assurances. Today, China is the only nuclear weapon state to maintain an unconditional NFU pledge……….

What is the debate in the United States on NFU?

Though the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review did not include an NFU pledge, the Obama administration considered the idea during its second term. It ultimately left U.S. nuclear declaratory policy unchanged from its 2010 iteration, which stated that the United States reserved the right to use nuclear weapons to deter nonnuclear attacks while strengthening conventional capabilities to gradually reduce the role of nuclear weapons to that of solely deterring nuclear attacks. Nevertheless, the Obama administration’s final year in office saw animated debate among proponents and opponents of an NFU declaration.

Arguments in favor of a U.S. NFU pledge. Proponents of a U.S. NFU declarationhave arguedthat not only does the United States already maintain a de facto NFU policy but that U.S. superiority in conventional weapons is sufficient to deter significant nuclear, biological, chemical, and conventional threats. Additionally, as Kingston Reif of the Arms Control Associationhas argued, “a clear U.S. no-first-use policy would reduce the risk of Russian or Chinese nuclear miscalculation during a crisis by alleviating concerns about a devastating U.S. nuclear first-strike.” 

In nuclear strategy, a first strike refers to a nuclear attack that seeks to disarm a nuclear-armed enemy before it can employ its weapons.

Other proponents pointed to an NFU policy declaration being a necessary step on the road to global nuclear disarmament, an aspirational goal of the Obama administration and a requirement for all recognized nuclear weapon states under Article VI of the NPT. Proponents also argue that U.S. resistance to an NFU declaration has harmed U.S. nonproliferation efforts.

Arguments against a U.S. NFU pledge. Critics, meanwhile, have suggested that U.S. allies in East Asia and Europe alike would not accept a unilateral U.S. NFU declaration, because it could encourage adversaries to attack with conventional weapons or to use chemical, biological, or cyber weapons. Russian conventional military advantages over U.S. allies in Europe have amplified these concerns. Critics argue that such a declaration could undercut allied commitments and encourage U.S. allies to develop their own nuclear weapons.

Within the Obama administration in 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz opposed an NFU declaration, primarily along these lines. These officials shared the view of NFU skeptics that a U.S. declaration would embolden adversaries, weaken allied commitments, and invite brinkmanship.

How does the president’s authority to use nuclear weapons relate to questions of first use?

Since the Trump administration’s inauguration, the issue of presidential launch authorization has been of interest to lawmakers, precipitated by the president’s calls to expand the U.S. arsenal and threats against North Korea. In 2017, for the first time in forty-one years, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the president’s ability to use nuclear weapons. Also in 2017, Representative Ted W. Lieu of California and Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, both Democrats, introduced bills to restrict the first use of nuclear weapons by the president without a congressional declaration of war, but some experts say this would not have meaningful effect on Trump’s ability to use nuclear weapons first.

What are the nuclear use policies of other nuclear weapon states?

Today, eight states acknowledge that nuclear weapons play a role in their national defense policies. Each of these states—China, France, India, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—has conveyed through official statements and documents a certain declaratory nuclear policy, detailing the conditions under which they might use these weapons. Another state, Israel, has not publicly acknowledged that it possesses nuclear weapons but is widely considered a nuclear state.

Russia. In 1993, Russia released a military doctrine that formally abandoned a 1982 pledge by Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev not to use nuclear weapons first in a conflict. This pledge was never seen as credible by NATO leaders in the final years of the Cold War. A French diplomat, writing in 1999, observed [PDF] that even after Brezhnev’s declaration, “military records of the Warsaw Pact that fell into German hands demonstrated beyond doubt that Russian operational plans called for the use of nuclear and chemical weapons in Germany at the onset of hostilities, even if NATO forces were using only conventional weapons.” The 1993 military doctrine said that the country’s nuclear weapons would never be used against nonnuclear states that were members of the NPT, except those that were allied with a nuclear state. Today, Russian’s military doctrine says [PDF] the country will use nuclear weapons against attacks by conventional forces that represent an existential threat to the country or in retaliation for a nuclear or WMD attack.

China. Under stated Chinese posture, the country would expect to first absorb a nuclear attack before using its own nuclear forces to retaliate. While this has held constant since China’s first nuclear test, there is a debate today in the country over the continuing advisability of an NFU posture. For decades, China sought to make its NFU pledge appear credible by separating its ballistic missile and warhead units; under these circumstances, China’s intention to use nuclear weapons before first suffering a nuclear attack would ostensibly be easily detectable. So far, there have been no public caveats to China’s NFU policy, but some U.S. and Indian strategists doubt the credibility of China’s pledge. China has been able to maintain its NFU pledge because it has invested so heavily in conventional military modernization, making it unlikely that it would consider nuclear escalation in a conventional war. China has publicly called on nuclear weapon states to create and join a multilateral NFU treaty—what it has called [PDF] a Treaty on Mutual No-First-Use of Nuclear Weapons.

UK. The country maintains an ambiguous nuclear posture that does “not rule in or out the first use of nuclear weapons,” according to the UK Ministry of Defense’s 2010–2015 policy paper on the country’s nuclear deterrent. In 1978 and 1995, the UK reiterated a commitment to not use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states in the NPT.

France. France has maintained a first-use nuclear posture since it first developed and tested nuclear weapons during the Cold War. France’s posture emerged from its Cold War–era fears of abandonment by the United States, which led to the country’s withdrawal from NATO in 1966 to pursue an independent nuclear capability, giving France the sovereign ability to determine how and when it would use its nuclear weapons. France pioneered the concept of a prestrategic strike for a conventional invasion, threatening limited nuclear first use as a way to signal that it was contemplating escalation to the strategic nuclear level. France rejoined NATO in 2009but kept its nuclear forces outside of NATO’s defense coordination mechanisms. French forces today have inherited that legacy of independence and maintain a first-use posture to deter any type of attack on or invasion of France.

India. India maintains a declared NFU posture, with exceptions for chemical and biological weapons attacks. In its 1999 draft nuclear doctrine, India announced that it “will not be the first to initiate a nuclear strike, but will respond with punitive retaliation should deterrence fail.” The public summary of India’s final nuclear doctrine, released in 2003, says that “in the event of a major attack against India, or Indian forces anywhere, by biological or chemical weapons, India will retain the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons.” Indian public statements on nuclear weapons continue to emphasize the NFU policy, without acknowledging the exceptions carved out explicitly in the official doctrine.

Pakistan. Pakistan has not ruled out nuclear first use to deter what it sees as an overwhelming Indian quantitative advantage in conventional forces. Islamabad has left the exact threshold for its nuclear use ambiguous. Pakistani officials and strategists have been consistent in their support of a first-use posture, with the exception of former President Asif Ali Zardari, who voiced support for an NFU posture early in his term, in 2008. Today, there is no serious push in Pakistan to reconsider the country’s first-use posture.

North Korea. North Korea has not ruled out nuclear first use to deter a preemptive strike or invasion by the United States and its allies. If the country were to detect an imminent U.S. or allied attack, it would use nuclear weapons on military installations in East Asia and in Guam. North Korea’s intercontinental-range ballistic missiles would not be used first but would deter retaliatory nuclear use or an invasion by the United States against its territory. The exception to this might be a scenario in which North Korea fears a first strike by the United States to eliminate the country’s leadership.

Israel. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied its possession of nuclear weapons but is thought to have developed a limited arsenal more than fifty years ago, effectively becoming the world’s sixth nuclear weapon state. In line with this policy of nuclear opacity, Israel has made no authoritative declarations on how it would use nuclear weapons. In the late 1960s, Prime Minister Golda Meir and President Richard Nixon came to an understanding, with Meir offering assurances that Israel would “not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East” but that it would also “not be the second to introduce this weapon.” https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/no-first-use-and-nuclear-weapons

July 18, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA Dept of Energy anxious to stabilize high-risk radioactive Hanford tunnel

Feds say it can’t wait. High-risk radioactive Hanford tunnel needs filling now ,BY ANNETTE CARY

 

July 18, 2018 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Japan, U.S. extend nuclear pact amid concern about plutonium stockpile

 KYODO NEWS 17 July 18  Japan and the United States extended on Tuesday a bilateral nuclear agreement that has served as the basis for Tokyo’s push for a nuclear fuel recycle policy.

The pact, which entered into force in July 1988, has authorized Japan to reprocess spent fuel, extract plutonium and enrich uranium for 30 years. As neither side sought to review it before the end of the term, it will remain effective, leaving Japan the only country without nuclear arms that is allowed to reprocess spent nuclear fuel.

But the passing of the initial 30-year period raises uncertainty over the future of the pact, now that it can be terminated anytime six months after either party notifies the other.

The United States is seen as concerned about Japan’s stockpiles of plutonium

………Japan has around 47 tons of plutonium, which is enough to produce about 6,000 nuclear warheads.

Of the 47 tons, around 10 tons were stored in Japan and the reminder in Britain and France as of the end of 2016, according to government data.

In early July, Japan clearly stated for the first time in its basic energy plan that it will trim the amount.

Spent fuel from nuclear reactors is reprocessed to extract uranium and plutonium, which is then recycled into fuel called mixed oxide, or MOX, for use in fast-breeder reactors or conventional nuclear reactors.

But following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, most of Japan’s nuclear power plants remain offline as they are required to pass newly established safety regulations……..

The Rokkasho plant, a key pillar of the country’s nuclear fuel recycling policy, will be able to produce around 8 tons of plutonium a year when fully operational. https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2018/07/d0e37985dc1c-japan-us-extend-nuclear-pact-amid-concern-about-plutonium-stockpile.html

July 18, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, Japan, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Theft of nuclear materials from USA’s Dept of Energy

Nuclear material stolen from Energy Department car https://www.federaltimes.com/federal-oversight/2018/07/17/nuclear-material-stolen-from-energy-department-car/ Daniel Cebul  18 July 18    WASHINGTON — Two nuclear security experts for the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory lost samples of plutonium and cesium, materials that can be used in nuclear and radioactive bombs, after their rental car was broken into in March 2017.

July 18, 2018 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

European Court of Justice’s ruling gives high-risk nuclear technology with billion-dollar subsidies an unfair competitive advantage.

Rebecca Harms MEP 12th July 2018 ,Rebecca Harms , spokeswoman for the Greens / EFA Group in the European
Parliament , comments on the European Court of Justice’s ruling that the EU
Commission’s decision to grant aid to the United Kingdom for the
construction of a nuclear reactor at the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant
is legitimate .

“The Euratom Treaty is a relic of the past and gives the
high-risk nuclear technology with billion-dollar subsidies an unfair
competitive advantage. The Euratom Treaty does not match the European
requirements for clean energy and fair competition. We must end the
distortion of competition in the European energy market, reform the Euratom
Treaty and rely on the energy transition. ”

Here you will find the report ”
Pathways to a Euratom Reform ” on behalf of the Greens / EFA Group.
http://rebecca-harms.de/post/zitat-von-rebecca-harms-zur-entscheidung-des-europaeischen-gerichtshof-gruenes-licht-fuer-hinkley-point-subventionen-euratom-vertrag-zu-geben-36732

July 18, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment

Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at Ozawa ‘school’ on need to end nuclear power

Koizumi speaks at Ozawa ‘school’ on need to end nuclear power, Asahi Shimbun ,By TATSURO KAWAI/ Staff Writer, July 16, 2018 

Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi wondered if he was in the right place, appearing at an event for a longtime political rival.

Koizumi was guest lecturer on July 15 at a Tokyo hotel for a political “school” organized by Ichiro Ozawa, the head of the opposition Liberal Party.

“I thought there must have been a mistake because I never expected to be invited here,” Koizumi said, drawing laughs from the crowd.

The two political veterans, who were once on opposite sides in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, have come together in a high-voltage pairing to work toward eliminating nuclear energy in Japan.

In his speech, Koizumi reflected on his long past with Ozawa.

“In the political world, there is a frequent shift in who is one’s friend or foe,” Koizumi said.

His main theme of the lecture was to work against nuclear energy.

Koizumi reiterated that point when he met with reporters after the speech and said, “In order to build momentum for a national movement to do away with nuclear plants, it will be important for politicians like us who have been called conservative to raise our voices.”

Ozawa said he was heartened by Koizumi’s comment and added, “I and the other opposition parties have all made zero nuclear plants our most important policy objective. It is an extremely strong backing to have an individual who once served as prime minister and (LDP) president to talk to the people about doing away with nuclear plants.”

Koizumi also expressed displeasure that his former political protege, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, had not done more on nuclear energy policy.

It is extremely regrettable that the opportunity is being wasted because if the prime minister moved toward zero nuclear plants, the ruling and opposition parties would come together to make that a reality,” Koizumi told reporters.  ……….http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201807160020.html

July 18, 2018 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Rocky Flats Lawsuit: Activists Ask Judge To Keep Public Off Former Nuclear Weapons Plant,

The government says the site is safe.

A plant at the center of the site manufactured nuclear bombs components. The government spent $7 billion cleaning it up.

4.4 GB (29%) of 15 GB used
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July 18, 2018 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment