nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

The climate crisis is tied up in the dangers of nuclear weapons in ways that nobody predicted

The Climate Crisis Just Went Nuclear  https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a29760935/marshall-islands-nuclear-waste-climate-change/   In the Marshall Islands, local residents are reaping what the United States sowed—which includes tons and tons of nuclear and biological waste from Cold War testing.BY CHARLES P. PIERCE

The climate crisis is the one issue that touches all the other issues. For example, the climate crisis is tied up in the dangers of nuclear weapons in ways that nobody predicted, but that the Los Angeles Times spent some time and money examining. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, the United States set off 67 nuclear bombs in and around the Marshall Islands. This had predictable results: there were now lagoons where there were none before; some islands simply aren’t there any more, and there was a lot of deadly stuff left behind. Which brings us to the climate crisis.

Here in the Marshall Islands, Runit Dome holds more than 3.1 million cubic feet — or 35 Olympic-sized swimming pools — of U.S.-produced radioactive soil and debris, including lethal amounts of plutonium. Nowhere else has the United States saddled another country with so much of its nuclear waste, a product of its Cold War atomic testing program.

U.S. authorities later cleaned up contaminated soil on Enewetak Atoll, where the United States not only detonated the bulk of its weapons tests but, as The Times has learned, also conducted a dozen biological weapons tests and dumped 130 tons of soil from an irradiated Nevada testing site. It then deposited the atoll’s most lethal debris and soil into the dome. Now the concrete coffin, which locals call “the Tomb,” is at risk of collapsing from rising seas and other effects of climate change. Tides are creeping up its sides, advancing higher every year as distant glaciers melt and ocean waters rise.

When people talk about environmental justice, this is what they’re talking about.

Officials in the Marshall Islands have lobbied the U.S. government for help, but American officials have declined, saying the dome is on Marshallese land and therefore the responsibility of the Marshallese government. “I’m like, how can it [the dome] be ours?” Hilda Heine, the president of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, said in an interview in her presidential office in September. “We don’t want it. We didn’t build it. The garbage inside is not ours. It’s theirs.” … They blame the United States and other industrialized countries for global climate change and sea level rise, which threaten to submerge vast swaths of this island nation’s 29 low-lying atolls.

The history behind all this is as tawdry as you might have expected it to be—an endless litany of lies, deception, and bureaucratic three-card monte, all of it designed to dodge any responsibility for the nightmares past, present, and future.

Over the last 15 months, a reporting team from the Los Angeles Times and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism made five trips to the Marshall Islands, where they documented extensive coral bleaching, fish kills and algae blooms — as well as major disease outbreaks, including the nation’s largest recorded epidemic of dengue fever. They interviewed folk singers who lost their voices to thyroid cancers and spent time in Arkansas, Washington and Oregon, where tens of thousands of Marshallese have migrated to escape poverty and an uncertain future.

Over the last 15 months, a reporting team from the Los Angeles Times and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism made five trips to the Marshall Islands, where they documented extensive coral bleaching, fish kills and algae blooms — as well as major disease outbreaks, including the nation’s largest recorded epidemic of dengue fever. They interviewed folk singers who lost their voices to thyroid cancers and spent time in Arkansas, Washington and Oregon, where tens of thousands of Marshallese have migrated to escape poverty and an uncertain future.

One example: The United States did not tell the Marshallese that in 1958, it shipped 130 tons of soil from its atomic testing grounds in Nevada to the Marshall Islands. U.S. authorities also didn’t inform people in Enewetak, where the waste site is located, that they’d conducted a dozen biological weapons tests in the atoll, including experiments with an aerosolized bacteria designed to kill enemy troops. U.S. Department of Energy experts are encouraging the Marshallese to move back to other parts of Enewetak, where 650 now live, after being relocated during the U.S. nuclear tests during the Cold War. But many Marshallese leaders no longer trust U.S. assurances of safety.

Can’t imagine why they’d think that.

Adding to the alarm is a study published this year by a team of Columbia University scientists showing levels of radiation in some spots in Enewetak and other parts of the Marshall Islands that rival those found near Chernobyl and Fukushima. Such discoveries could give Marshallese leaders fresh ammunition to challenge the 1986 compact, which is up for renegotiation in 2023, and also to press the United States to honor property and

health claims ordered by an international tribunal. The tribunal, established by the two countries in 1988, concluded the United States should pay $2.3 billion in claims, but Congress and U.S courts have refused. Documents show the U.S. paid just $4 million.

And what in the hell was this?

A decade later, in 1968, teams from the Department of Defense set up a new experiment. This time, they were testing biological weapons — bombs and missiles filled with bacteria designed to fell enemy troops. According to a 2002 military fact sheet and Ed Regis, the author of “The Biology of Doom,” U.S. government scientists came to Enewetak with “their boats and monkeys, space suits and jet fighter planes” and then sprayed clouds of biologically enhanced staphylococcal enterotoxin B, an incapacitating biological agent known to cause toxic shock and food poisoning and considered “one of the most potent bacterial superantigens.” The bacteria were sprayed over much of the atoll — with ground zero at Lojwa Island, where U.S. troops were stationed 10 years later for the cleanup of the atoll.

I don’t know what happens when the dome gives way, but I feel confident in saying a) it won’t be good, and b) we won’t hear about it for a couple of years, at least. 

 

November 12, 2019 Posted by | climate change, environment, OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Jared Kushner’s, Donald Trump’s secretive meetings with Saudi Arabia, Putin, Kim Jong Un

JARED KUSHNER, DONALD TRUMP BROKE THE LAW BY MEETING SAUDIS, PUTIN, KIM OFF THE RECORD: WATCHDOGS  https://www.newsweek.com/jared-kushner-donald-trump-broke-law-saudis-putin-kim-1418596

BY JESSICA KWONG ON 5/7/19 President Donald Trump and his son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner have been accused of breaking the law by failing to keep records of their meetings with foreign government officials including Russian President Vladimir Putin, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and top Saudi officials.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday against Trump and the executive office of the president, the watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) alleged that White House officials including the president and Kushner seem to have violated the Presidential Records Act and the Federal Records Act by intentionally neglecting to create and keep records of meetings with Putin and Kim, among other foreign officials.

“There are a lot of questions surrounding Jared Kushner and the extent to which he, like the president, has an agenda that also serves his own personal and family business interests,” CREW’s chief FOIA counsel Anne Weismann told Newsweek on Tuesday.

The suit cites news reports that Trump had at least five different meetings with Putin with no notetaker in the room, meaning an official record of the meeting does not exist. Trump also confiscated a State Department interpreter’s notes after meeting with Putin in Germany, and had a private meeting with Kim in Vietnam with two interpreters but no record was produced, according to the suit.

In addition, the suit raises a recent meeting Kushner had with top Saudi officials that did not include State Department officials, and from which no record was created.

“The absence of records in these circumstances when the President and his top advisers are exercising core constitutional and statutory powers causes real, incalculable harm to our national security and the ability of our government to effectively conduct foreign policy,” the suit states, “Because the documentary record of this administration’s foreign policy regarding Russia, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia will be unavailable to policy makers and forever lost to history.”

Weismann said Kushner—whom Trump tasked with creating a supposedly soon-to-be-released Middle East peace plan—is meeting with very sophisticated and possibly adversarial foreign leaders and “that alone raises concerns.”

“He may be compromising American interests in ways that we don’t know about,” Weismann said. “Even if he’s not acting to pursue his business or financial interests, he doesn’t come to the job with experience in foreign relations.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Newsweek on Tuesday.

Co-plaintiffs in the suit are the National Security Archive and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, which has nearly 1,000 members.

“The problem goes beyond improperly shredding records, to the deliberate failure to create the records in the first place,” stated Tom Blanton, director of the archive, which has sued past presidents who failed to keep records.

Neglecting to make and preserve records “undermines the principle of government accountability that is the very bedrock of democracy,” the historians society president Barbara Keys stated.

November 12, 2019 Posted by | politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Tritium and other radionuclides are hazardous,even in transport and storage

Zac Eagle Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch Australia, 11 Nov 19, 
This is from the International Atomic Energy Agency admitting some radionuclides will be released into the environment even in Storage!

“The specific aims of disposal are:

(c) To inhibit, reduce and delay the migration of radionuclides at any time from
the waste to the accessible biosphere;

(d) To ensure that the amounts of radionuclides reaching the accessible
biosphere due to any migration from the disposal facility are such that
possible radiological consequences are acceptably low at all times.”

Some radionuclides can NOT be contained as they will diffuse in transport and storage, eg tritium.

Tritium is a carcinogen (causes cancer), teratogen (causes deformations of the embryo during pregnancy) and mutagen (causes mutations to DNA). Even very low rates of tritium exposure can lead to cancer, leukemia, and birth defects. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/

November 12, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

In framing Julian Assange, The FBI tried to make Iceland a complicit

The FBI tried to make Iceland a complicit ally in framing Julian Assange https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/the-fbi-tried-to-make-iceland-a-complicit-ally-in-framing-julian-assange,13277

By Sara Chessa | 5 November 2019 Former Icelandic Interior Minister tells Independent Australia how he blocked U.S. interference in 2011 in order to defend WikiLeaks and its publisher Julian Assange. Sara Chessa reports.

Former Icelandic Interior Minister tells Independent Australia how he blocked U.S. interference in 2011 in order to defend WikiLeaks and its publisher Julian Assange. Sara Chessa reports.

A MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR wakes up one summer morning and finds out that a plane full of United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents has landed in his country, aiming to carry out police investigations without proper permission from the authorities.

How many statesmen would have the strength to say, “No, you can’t do this”, to the United States? Former Icelandic Interior Minister Ögmundur Jónasson, in fact, did this — and for the sake of investigative journalism. He understood that something wrong with the sudden FBI mission in Reykjavik, and that this had to do with the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks and its publisher Julian Assange. Continue reading

November 12, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | 1 Comment

Georgia Power and the ballooning costs of Nuclear Plant Vogtle

Plant Vogtle Expansion in the Spotlight: billion$ more at risk

 Sara Barczak, SACE consultant and former Regional Advocacy Director. November 8, 2019 On the heels of public hearings before the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) on Georgia Power’s controversial $2.2 billion rate increase request, the “Elephant in the Room” will be in the spotlight: the over budget, more than five year delayed Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion. The PSC will hold a hearing this Tuesday for Georgia Power witnesses to testify about the project’s status in the combined 20th/21st semi-annual Vogtle Construction Monitoring (VCM) proceeding.

In the 19th VCM, approved last February, the Commission decided to combine the next two reporting periods, which SACE and others opposed, and as predicted, Georgia Power has since spent a lot on the mismanaged nuclear project. The Company is now asking for verification and approval of $1.248 billion in expenditures. And that’s just for Georgia Power’s 45.7% share of the costs incurred during the reporting period from July 2018 to June 2019 for the two new AP1000 reactors under construction at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro, along the Savannah River.

The continuing saga is like a broken record in each of these VCM proceedings, and it remains mostly the same upon reading Georgia Power’s report and the witnesses’ written testimony, which will be discussed before the Commission on Tuesday.

The project (again) isn’t meeting the productivity goals and appears to be falling further behind schedule, but Georgia Power remains confident (again) that they will somehow have Unit 3 online by November 2021 and Unit 4 by November 2022. Remember, these reactors were supposed to both be operational by April 2017!

And (again) Georgia Power provides itself an out, pointing (again) to a multitude of potential “challenges” in the months ahead that could impact the schedule and most importantly ultimate costs to the utility customers. Because of consistent delays and mismanagement, the currently-projected total cost of this project has more than doubled from the original $14.1 billion estimate to over $28 billion.

Georgia Power customers concerned about their utility bills should let the Commission know that not only are they worried about how the proposed rate hike will affect their bills, but are also very concerned about what happens when the other shoe drops – when Plant Vogtle’s final budget-busting price tag gets rolled into customer’s electricity rates.

Unable to attend the November 12 hearing? Watch online starting at 9am ET via the PSC’s livestream feed and contact the PSC with your concerns.

November 12, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

France considering building 6 new EDF nuclear reactors at a cost of at least 46 billion euros ($51 billion)

France’s EDF expects six new nuclear reactors to cost 46 billion euros: Le Monde, PARIS (Reuters) 11 Nov 19 – French power utility EDF estimates it would cost at least 46 billion euros ($51 billion) to build six of its latest generation EPR nuclear reactors if the government decides to build them, French newspaper Le Monde reported on Saturday.The estimate was in a confidential document presented to the board of state-controlled EDF at the end of July, it said.

The EPR model is the latest generation reactor being built by EDF, with complex engineering and enhanced safety features put in place after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan.

However, the Flamanville EPR reactor under construction in northern France has been plagued by cost overruns and a series of technical problems resulting in years of delays.

EDF, in which the state has an 84% stake, said in October the project which began in 2006 would cost 1.5 billion euros more than previously expected, raising the total cost to 12.4 billion euros.

November 12, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

A UK Labour govt would make ‘collective’ decision over use of nuclear weapons?

November 12, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment