nuclear-news

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

Coronavirus, Climate and Nuclear news this week

I had vowed to leave the pandemic for everyone else to cover.  But, it’s too much. It’s too big.  I think that we are all dimly aware, now, that we’re not getting back to normal any time soon.  Today’s news – Coronavirus deaths top 600,000 worldwide as pandemic infections surge.  Amid the global pandemic, humanity still faces simultaneous existential dangers – nuclear war and climate change.

The pandemic is certainly a global crisis. Scientists call for climate change to be treated as a crisis, too. Climate change will make much of the planet too hot for humans to function.

July 16 was the 75th anniversary of the first nuclear explosion, “Trinity” in New Mexico. This anniversary was a timely reminder of the harm done to workers, and soldiers, by the nuclear weapons industry. The “Trinity” explosion was the beginning of America’s nuclear oppression of its own people.

  Some bits of good news –  Oxford coronavirus vaccine triggers strong immune response, trial shows .    The Search Engine That Plants Trees With Every Search Has Just Planted its 100-Millionth Tree. (picture above)

Greta Thunberg calls for immediate action on ‘existential crisis‘ of climate emergency.   The ever-increasing threat of coronavirus, but the global heating threat is even worse.

More pandemics to come – bat research is critical for prevention.

Thanks to Botswana, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has now reached 40 states ratifying it.

Nuclear bomb testing – the cruellest legacy of environmental injustice and racism. July 16 1945 – the first nuclear bomb test – the start of many more.

Because of the pandemic, nuclear power plants have to have safety checks done by remote means.

Investigative journalismmapping uranium.

ARCTIC.  Climate change may kill off nearly all polar bears by 2100

ANTARCTICA. Antarctic glacier melting at an alarming rate.

AFRICA.  HEAT – Climate science must stop ignoring Southern Africa.

JAPAN.   Remembering the victims of the atomic bombings 75 years ago.   Particulate plutonium released from the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns.  Video Testimonies from Fukushima in 7 Languages: “We want to protect the ocean of Fukushima, for the future of the fishing industry”.   Fukushima localities speak out against dumping radioactive water in sea.    Regulator demands TEPCO clarify responsibilities.    J-pop group TOKIO to promote Fukushima goods in new TV commercials.

Investigative journalism    Being Clear-Eyed About Citizen Science in the Age of COVID-19.

8 cases of inappropriately stored nuclear waste found at northern Japan reprocessing plant.  Japanese bishops’ anti-nuclear power book available in English.

USA.

BRAZILForest fires raging over wide areas of the Brazilian Amazon,

FRANCE.  Electricite de France (EDF) ‘s new nuclear reactors not financially viable.

CANADA.  The next threat: A high-level nuclear waste dump near Lake Huron.

KAZAKHSTAN. The nuclear test health toll – cancer and birth deformities in Kazakhstan.

GREECE.  Wildfire out of control in Greece?

RUSSIA. Siberia’s heat-wave – global heating is what made this possible.   Additional resources requested for Siberian forest fire; state of emergency.  Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warns about the risk of a nuclear war .

EUROPE Radioactive Contamination of Europe.  Nuclear power is excluded from European Commission’s strategies for a Green Deal.

INDIA.  India has not committed to the great transition to nuclear power it once envisioned.

UK.

AZERBAIJAN.  Azerbaijani Defense Ministry spokesman suggests bombing Armenian nuclear power station.

CHINA.  Why did over 90 nuclear safety scientists resign en masse from an institute under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)?

AUSTRALIA.      In federal environmental law reviewno change to nuclear power prohibition 

July 20, 2020 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Making America feared again: the Trump administration considers resuming nuclear weapons testing — IPPNW peace and health blog

The Trump administration now seems to be preparing to ignore treaty constraints and world opinion by reviving nuclear weapons explosions. A Washington Post article reported that, in mid-May 2020, a meeting of senior U.S. officials from top national security agencies engaged in serious discussions about US nuclear test resumption. According to one official, the idea was that test renewal would help pressure Russia and China into making concessions during future negotiations over nuclear weapons. In fact, the nuclear testing now being considered by the Trump administration is designed with the same purpose that weapons have traditionally had in world affairs: to intimidate other nations.

via Making America feared again: the Trump administration considers resuming nuclear weapons testing — IPPNW peace and health blog

July 20, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fukushima localities speak out against dumping radioactive water in sea

Storage tanks for radioactive water are seen at tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture

Storage tanks for radioactive water are seen at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan February 18, 2019. Picture taken February 18, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. projects that tanks at the Fukushima No. 1 plant that hold contaminated water will reach capacity in the summer of 2022.
 
July 17, 2020
 
Seventeen out of 59 municipal assemblies in Fukushima Prefecture have either passed a resolution or issued a statement opposing the discharge into the Pacific Ocean of treated radioactive water currently stored at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, a Fukushima Minpo survey has shown.
 
The resolutions and statements also described measures taken by the central government as inadequate to combat reputational damage to food and fishery goods produced in Fukushima Prefecture, and the hope that local voices will be reflected in Tokyo’s decision on whether to release the tritium-tainted water into the sea.
 
Fukushima Minpo conducted a survey of assemblies in the prefecture’s 59 cities, towns and villages from June 18 to June 24. The assembly for the town of Namie, close to where the nuclear power plant is located, adopted a resolution that opposed the release of the radioactive water into the sea, while assemblies from the town of Miharu and village of Nishigo both issued statements opposing both sea discharge and evaporation as methods for disposing of the water.
 
Many municipal assemblies have urged the central government to instead come up with measures involving long-term storage of the contaminated water in tanks and to fight rumors related to Fukushima produce.
 
Some assemblies said deliberations over issuing similar resolutions or statements were ongoing.
 
Assemblies in the cities of Minamisoma and Date are still deliberating on the topic, while 11 others said they were planning to discuss it in the future, indicating a strong possibility that more than half of authorities either had already or were likely to adopt some kind of statement on the matter.
 
In February, a government panel tasked with assessing how to deal with the tanks endlessly being filled with radioactive water said releasing the liquid into the sea or evaporating it were “realistic options.” It also recommended that dumping the contaminated water into the sea was technically more feasible.
 
Resolutions and statements have been issued by local assemblies since that time, during their regular assembly sessions in March and June.
 
Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc., the plant operator, projects that the tanks at the Fukushima No. 1 plant will reach capacity in the summer of 2022.
 
The Nuclear Regulation Authority has said it needs about two years to prepare for the water to be released into the sea, fueling speculation that the central government will make a final decision this summer. Ministers with responsibility for the issue have repeatedly said they cannot shelve the decision.
 
In its recommendation, the panel said the government needed to “listen thoroughly to the diverse opinions of relevant parties” before making the decision. Government sources have said it will look into doing so, but it is unclear how those opinions would affect the decision.
 

 

July 20, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , , | Leave a comment

Being Clear-Eyed About Citizen Science in the Age of COVID-19

1

July 15, 2020

An anthropologist explores the network of citizen monitoring capabilities that developed after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011 for what they might teach all of us about such strategies for the covonavirus pandemic.

In March 2011, one of the strongest earthquakes on record struck the Fukushima Dai’ichi Nuclear Power Plant in northeastern Japan. Combined with a subsequent tsunami, the disasters triggered massive nuclear meltdowns and widespread evacuations.

On the quiet Friday afternoon of March 11, 2011, Natsuo* was working in Fukushima, the capital city of Fukushima prefecture. At 2:46 p.m., a devastating earthquake of 9.0 magnitude hit the Pacific coast of Japan, where the prefecture of Fukushima is situated. Natsuo recalled to me the sheer power of this earthquake: “The whole office shook like hell, everything began to fall from the walls. I thought to myself ‘That’s it … I’m going to die!’”

Natsuo quickly returned to her hometown of Koriyama City, unaware that the earthquake had triggered a massive tsunami, which inundated an important part of the prefectural shoreline and ultimately claimed the lives of nearly 20,000 people. On top of the initial devastation, the tsunami severely damaged the Fukushima Dai’ichi Nuclear Power Plant, in Ōkuma, Fukushima, located on the east coast of Fukushima prefecture. She later learned on TV that something “seemed wrong” with the nuclear power plant. “During that time,” she said, “I tried to get as much information as I could, but the media weren’t being clear on the situation.”

Something was indeed very wrong: The earthquake and subsequent tsunami led to core meltdowns within some of the Fukushima power plant’s nuclear reactors. This malfunction, along with other technical incidents, resulted in the atmospheric release of radioactive pollutants, which spread predominantly over the northeastern part of Japan, forcing a widespread evacuation of Fukushima residents. By March 12, the area around the power plant had been evacuated; those living and working within 20 kilometers of the radius of the plant were forced to relocate. In the days, weeks, and months following this disaster, uncertainty around the scale and extent of contamination grew swiftly—much like what we see occurring throughout the world during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most notably, the public grew increasingly concerned about the legitimacy of institutional experts’ ability to control and explain the risks of residual radioactivity, while citizens like Natsuo were unable to get adequate information through traditional media venues. Initially, data about radioactive contamination came sporadically and was often explained in hard-to-understand metrics by scientists who were cherry-picked by the state to send reassuring messages to citizens.

 

2Following the meltdown, school children helped sell food items to serve those who were displaced by the disaster.

Moreover, radioactive contamination was later found to be present in some food products and in school yards where children had been playing that lay beyond the official zone of evacuation. Over the ensuing months and years, the public lost confidence in the state’s response and began to take matters into their own hands, mobilizing expert practices of their own. Widespread grassroot actions led to citizen science networks in which people tracked radiation in their environment, organized learning workshops on radiation dangers, and tested food for contamination, often through local organizations or individual households.

As an anthropologist who conducted fieldwork on the Fukushima nuclear disaster between 2015 and 2017, I came to realize that citizen science can rise up to fill in the gaps of state responses toward crises, for better or for worse. As we’ve seen play out throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in various parts of the world, governance and leadership have often been confusing, mismatched, and at times utterly misleading. The case of Fukushima offers lessons about both the promises and pitfalls of citizen science and how civil society is playing an increasingly important role in managing various disasters, catastrophes, and crises.

The Geiger counter of Masayuki was not silent for long before it began to emit the distinctive “clicking” sound associated with radiation monitoring devices. The “click” grew louder in intensity as we located a hot spot, an area where the level of radiation is significantly higher than elsewhere. Masayuki dutifully noted the number provided by the device before leaving to search for another hot spot. We were standing in the Japanese village of Iitate, situated in the prefecture of Fukushima. It was common at this time for citizens to own their own Geiger counters—often purchased off the internet using international donations or made at home as DIY devices—to measure the level of radiation around them.

3Due to growing concerns about the government’s response, many citizens began purchasing Geiger counters to monitor the radiation around them.

 

When I first came to this rural village in the spring of 2016, more than five years had passed since the nuclear disaster. The forced evacuation of citizens from Fukushima and the surrounding areas had proved short-lived; by 2012, the Japanese state had already embraced a policy of repatriation to irradiated areas like Iitate village, which is where I met Masayuki and citizens like him in 2016.

Under this repatriation policy, Iitate had become a patchwork of three different safety areas, with boundaries defined by the annual level of atmospheric radiation projected to be received by residents if they remained within the zones. Citizens could only reside in “green zones,”

areas where evacuation orders were ready to be lifted. These areas were considered safe enough for all community activities, such as hiking and school events. The “yellow zones” represented areas in which citizens were still not permitted to live, and the “red zones” were areas considered off-limits to any form of entry due to their high level of radiation.

Those who had willingly returned to Iitate were typically elderly farmers for whom Iitate was one’s native land, a concept that the Japanese call furusato. As an elderly man explained to me in 2017: “It’s the place where I was born. I always wanted to come back to this place. Seeing the sun rise, seeing the moon at night. Seeing the blueness of the sky of Iitate.”

While happy to be back in their beloved region, many residents were critical of the state radiation-monitoring networks that were supposed to provide them with adequate information to allow them to live safely in the village. Indeed, state data on radiation was often provided through fixed monitoring in precise locations or through an average radiation level taken in the village. This kind of information was not practical enough for residents, who wanted to know the specific radiation levels behind their houses or in their rice paddy fields.

Likewise, official depictions of radiation levels through clear-cut chromatic zones did little to offer the citizens reassurance. As a result of the perceived limitation of state measures, residents quickly decided to track radiation themselves as a means to keep the map of their village relevant—often finding contamination that was not evident from state mapping. In the house of one farmer, I witnessed homemade models that exhibited a 3D topography of Iitate’s geographical landscape. These models had been made using 3D printers, and the level of radiation had been monitored by the citizens themselves.

In particular, the local knowledge of the geography of Iitate helped citizens to attain a level of precision that far exceeded that of the government map. Citizens soon learned that radiation doses could be higher at the bottom of a hill than farther upslope or that the woods behind one’s home, having trapped radiation, might impact the radiation level inside houses. These practices helped strengthen a community that had previously felt helpless in the face of an imperceptible radiation threat. Geiger counters became the ears and eyes of citizens like Masayuki, enabling them to make sense of and gain some semblance of control over a hazard that cannot be registered by the senses.

After the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, one of the main sources of radiation exposure stemmed from consumption of food products such as milk or wild mushrooms that had been contaminated by radioactive fallout. In an effort to make sure that this did not happen in Japan, the government took on the task of testing the food produced in Fukushima, implementing a limit to the allowable amount of radioactivity in food products.

Within months after the meltdowns, the government assured the public of the safety of its food products, encouraging citizens to consume foods sold at public fairs and other public events. However, citizens of Fukushima also consume food harvested from streams, forests, home gardens, and mountain areas—where state monitoring was largely absent or insufficient.

4The author (center) stands with two community members in front of a citizen science center.

 

Again, citizens mobilized to fill in the gaps in food testing: With the help of public donations, citizen scientists were able to purchase scintillation detectors, which are used to measure radioactive contaminants in foodstuff. Such testing enabled citizens to gain an understanding of the types of foods most prone to radioactive contamination, such as mushrooms, green leafy vegetables, citrus, sea cucumber, and seaweeds. This in turn helped people avoid eating the most risky foods. Together with state monitoring, such citizen science practices resulted in lower consumption of contaminated foods.

While such examples demonstrate the power and potential of citizen science, there are inherent political complexities involved when citizens or nongovernmental organizations step in and claim expertise in areas typically reserved for state agencies and experts. Like those entities, citizen science has its own potential pitfalls.

For one, corporate polluters or state agencies can potentially exploit citizen science, delegating the monitoring of contamination to the victims of a disaster. For instance, by the end of this year, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Agency plans to remove 80 percent of radiation monitoring posts in Fukushima, arguing that the radiation levels in many areas have stabilized themselves—owing also in part to the presence and efficiency of monitoring networks provided by citizens. This decision has been controversial, since problems of radioactive contamination persist in Fukushima. For instance, one of the main radioactive pollutants, Cesium-137, has a long lifespan and can emit radiation for nearly 300 years.

Retiring these posts will force citizen scientists to take on the burden of monitoring, shifting liability for ensuring safe living conditions onto the shoulders of the nuclear victims. In addition, the growing impact of citizen science can lead to reduced public expenditure, minimal government intervention, and risk privatization, meaning that risk becomes individual and private. Too much delegation to citizens runs the risk of creating societies where individuals have to take care of themselves in increasingly polluted environments, while interpreting complex data about controversial environmental dangers. And not every community can afford to purchase expensive monitoring devices or test food in a consistent manner.

Citizen scientists also risk reproducing forms of ignorance around certain hazards. In post-Fukushima Japan, what is meant by the “science” of citizen science is often synonymous with a tracking and monitoring agenda, where individuals resort to the very same technologies and knowledge forms used by states, nuclear lobbies, or radiological protection agencies.

Yet many anthropologists and historians have argued that what we know (and don’t know) about the extent of radiation hazards and dangers was embedded in a culture of secrecy, denial, and propaganda that was shaped by the nuclear arms race of the Cold War. Considerations over international security and political stability were often prioritized over the safety of workers or citizens who had been exposed to radiation. As a result, some of the negative effects of radiation were downplayed through different tactics.

One such tactic, which was witnessed after Fukushima, occurred through the reframing of radiation risks as simplistic and natural, unrelated to the specific risks associated with Fukushima. For instance, the government distributed pamphlets that explained that radiation naturally exists in our food, such as the potassium levels present in bananas.

Yet such information is irrelevant to the hazards of internalizing fission products from a nuclear power plant. While bananas have naturally occurring potassium, it would require eating around 20 million bananas to get radiation poisoning. On the other hand, each radionuclide released during nuclear meltdown events like Fukushima possesses specific biological signatures and presents particular risks when inhaled or ingested. During my fieldwork in Fukushima, I witnessed that this legacy of misinformation was carried on by some citizens who unwittingly replicated these propagandist forms of knowledge by making similar naturalistic or overly simplistic comparisons.

As citizen science efforts grow, it is also critical to consider to what extent citizen involvement might put individuals at risk of adverse health effects. This is a tricky question when one considers that certain members of the population, like children, are more sensitive to radiation than others. In Fukushima, some Japanese parents have understandably opted to evacuate rather than rely on citizen science, arguing that doing so would expose their children to unacceptable levels of radiation and that forcing children to be responsible for their own safety is unethical.

Citizen scientists are hardly homogeneous groups, as mothers, farmers, and urban citizens do not experience hazards and recovery in the same way. In that regard, factors such as gender, employment, and social class strongly influence why people enter citizen science, how science is mobilized, and how data about a controversial hazard ends up being interpreted. For instance, people like Natsuo have used the results gathered by citizen science to highlight the dangers of living in Fukushima, while other citizen science organizations help bring people back to their beloved region. These conflicts can result in even more fragmented communities and conflicts within and around citizen science.

5Public protests and outcries from parents increased as distrust deepened toward the government’s response to ongoing radiation pollution from the Fukushima meltdown.

 

With the continuing uncertainties, frustrations, and misinformation associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, we can expect civil society to rise up—perhaps as it did in the months and years following the Fukushima disaster. Indeed, early on in the pandemic’s spread across the U.S., there were calls for citizens to submit their COVID-19 symptoms, with the aim of tracking the rise of cases and filling in for incomplete testing at the federal and state levels in order to aid public health efforts.

Another citizen science initiative attempts to produce real-time epidemiology by enlisting individuals to use their smartphones to fight COVID-19. We have also seen a rise in 3D printing or DIY medical equipment, such as nonmedical face masks, to meet the urgent demand. The Citizen Science Association lists dozens of citizen science resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Much like in Fukushima, these movements will have unintended societal implications, legal ramifications, and ethical impacts—especially as they surround issues of public health safety, patented medical technologies, or data quality and interpretation amid the surge of a novel virus replete with uncertainty.

Yet, more strikingly, citizen science perhaps best demonstrates how lay people can directly draw from their own experience and scientific tools so as to provide concrete solutions beyond the traditional top-down control measures that too often epitomize post-disaster policies. In that regard, Masayuki once angrily told me, “For us, state experts are people who have 90 percent of knowledge (shiru), but no wisdom (wakaru)!”

In Japanese, two words—shiru and wakaru—can be used for the verb “knowing.” Shiru means “to find out” or “to learn.” It implies a process of acquisition of knowledge and information. Wakaru, on the other hand, is closer to “understanding this knowledge.” Shiru comes before wakaru, and in a way, one can know but not necessarily understand. Wakaru consequently shows a greater and more personal level of comprehension often based on a given context.

For Masayuki, state institutional experts possessed shiru, but not wakaru. Having been directly affected by radioactive contamination, Masayuki strongly believed that the inhabitants of a place, the jūmin (literally, the people who resided) were best suited to manage their life in a post-Fukushima Japan.

* Pseudonyms have been used to protect people’s privacy.

https://www.sapiens.org/culture/fukushima-citizen-science/

July 20, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

Western Shoshone land stolen for nuclear weapons tests and waste dump

A dark legacy  https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2020/07/19/a-dark-legacy/ July 19, 2020 by beyondnuclearinternational

Western Shoshone land stolen for nuclear weapons tests and waste dump, By Ian Zabarte Shoshone land was illegally seized by the U.S government, breaking a historic treaty, first for the atomic test site in Nevada, and then for the planned — but still canceled — Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste dump. Throughout, the Shoshone people have paid a terrible price.

As a Shoshone, we always had horses. My grandfather always told me, “Stop kicking up dust.” Now I understand that it was because of the radioactive fallout.

To hide the impacts from nuclear weapons testing, Congress defined Shoshone Indian ponies as “wild horses.” There is no such thing as a wild horse. They are feral horses, but the Wild Horse and Burrow Acts of 1971 gave the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) the affirmative act to take Shoshone livestock while blaming the Shoshone ranchers for destruction of the range caused by nuclear weapons testing.

My livelihood was taken and the Shoshone economy destroyed by the BLM. On the land, radioactive fallout destroyed the delicate high desert flora and fauna, creating huge vulnerabilities where noxious and invasive plant species took hold.

Nuclear weapons testing at the Nevada National Security Site has left a dark legacy of radiation exposure to Americans downwind from the battlefield of the Cold War. Among the victims are the Shoshone people, who, by no fault of our own, were exposed to radiation in fallout from more than 924 nuclear tests.

The Shoshone people never consented to the nuclear weapons testing.

“Yucca Mountain is a serpent…and if you don’t do the things you’re supposed to do the snake will release its poison.” Ian ZabarteToday, the media does not report Native American past exposure to radioactive fallout from US/UK secret nuclear testing and disproportionate burden of risk.

The Shoshone people cannot endure any increased burden of risk from any source including resumption of WMD testing by US/UK, plutonium disposal from the Savannah River Site, depleted uranium disposal, proposed high-level nuclear waste disposal at Yucca Mountain, coal ash uranium or fracking released radiation.

Nuclear testing is a violation of the peace treaty with the Shoshone, the Treaty of Ruby Valley, and the U.S. Constitution, Article 6 Section 2, the treaty supremacy clause. Nothing in the treaty contemplated the secret massacre of Shoshone people with radioactive poison from nuclear weapons testing within our own homelands. My tribe and family are the victims.

The enduring purpose of nuclear technology is the creation of weapons of mass destruction. Their tests within the Shoshone homelands are deliberate acts that destroy the Shoshone people. No Shoshone, not one person, should be sacrificed for the benefit of some Americans and the profit of the military industrial complex.

What the Shoshone people experience is a deliberate intent by the US to systematically dismantle the living life-ways of the Shoshone people for the benefit of the US and the profit of the nuclear industry. This meets the minimum threshold of genocide under both the UN Convention and the US enactments of the crime of genocide.

Nuclear weapons development in Shoshone homelands violates humanitarian law, human rights law and environmental law and is racist. Racism is a crime. It is called genocide, “a crime against humanity.”

To prove intent to commit genocide, we have only to look at the culture of secrecy of the military occupation of Shoshone homelands during and since the Cold War at the test site. The acts committed in nuclear weapons development and testing against the Shoshone people benefit other Americans. The Shoshone people suffer without relief or acknowledgement of our silent sacrifice. Secrecy is not transparent. Secrecy is not democratic and is unconstitutional when the acts are conducted in and upon the Shoshone land and people.

Nothing in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended in 1987, considered the fact of Shoshone ownership of the proposed Yucca Mountain high-level nuclear waste repository. Almost $15 billion was spent to characterize the site, giving it the label as, “the most studied piece of real estate in the world.” The Nuclear Regulatory Commission admitted in the licensing proceedings that the Department of Energy has not proven ownership.

Nevada took hundreds of millions of dollars for characterization studies from the federal government in grants equal to taxes from Shoshone property and gave nothing to the Shoshone. A clear case of taxation without representation to defraud the Shoshone people of our property interests.

What is needed now are hearings on and support for the extension and funding of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 2019. The Shoshone people need DNA testing and funding for tribal community health education on radiation basics and information on appropriate protective behavior to mitigate radiation exposure.

The Shoshone people are committed to the enforcement of law in the service of justice and human dignity. That is human growth and development, not nuclear weapons.

Ian Zabarte is Principal Man for the Western Bands of the Shoshone Nation of Indians.

July 20, 2020 Posted by | indigenous issues, USA, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia to retain its environmental laws prohibiting the nuclear industry

In summary
no change to nuclear power prohibition
uranium to stay a “matter of national environmental significance”
– federal government should maintain powers to intervene in uranium mining

 Mineral Policy Institute and Friends of the Earth Australia,  20 July 2020
National and state environment groups have given a cautious welcome to the continuation of long-standing protections against nuclear risks in the current statutory review of the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act – Australia’s federal environmental laws. The interim report released today has stated that the Commonwealth should maintain the capacity to intervene in uranium mining and made no recommendation to change existing prohibitions on nuclear activities, including domestic nuclear power.

Civil society groups made a joint submission to the EPBC review calling for the retention of the long standing ban on nuclear power and continuing federal oversight of uranium mining. The EPBC review committee’s interim report has flagged an intention to continue both protections despite lobbying from the Mineral Council of Australia to weaken these.

However, environment groups are concerned about a possible weakening of uranium mining regulations flagged in the interim report. Associate Professor Gavin Mudd, Chair of the Mineral Policy Institute, said: “The interim report proposes the further devolution of uranium mining regulation to states and territories, coupled to the establishment of ‘National Environmental Standards’. An obvious risk is that the standards will be weak, enforcement will be deficient as is already the case, and devolution will weaken the already inadequate oversight of uranium mining.”

“Uranium mining is different to other types of mining. Australia’s uranium mining sector has been dominated by license breaches, accidents, spills and a persistent failure to rehabilitate as promised. The last thing we need is a weakening of regulations and oversight. Apart from SA and NT every state and territory have a ban or prohibition on uranium mining. It is unsafe and unpopular and needs greater scrutiny, not less,” Assoc. Prof. Mudd said.

The Review’s interim report makes no recommendation to repeal the long-standing prohibition on domestic nuclear power. “Nuclear power is expensive, dangerous and unpopular,” said Dr Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia. “The prohibition in the EPBC Act reflects this. Nuclear is thirsty, produces high level nuclear waste for which there are no safe storage options and produces materials that can be diverted into nuclear weapons. It is a profound security and safety risk. And nuclear power is absurdly expensive.”

“Recent comments from the current Environment Minister and Opposition Leader show a clear bipartisan rejection of nuclear power. There is broad opposition among civil society as shown through a joint statement by over 60 organisations representing millions of Australians. Given the lack of social license for nuclear power in Australia we welcome the continuation of this prudent prohibition,” Dr Green said.

Following the Australian uranium-fuelled Fukushima nuclear disaster the UN Secretary General called for all uranium producing countries to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the industry. Groups have called on the Morrison government to now hold an independent review of the uranium sector.

July 20, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, environment, politics | Leave a comment

The next threat: A high-level nuclear waste dump near Lake Huron

July 20, 2020 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

Amid the global pandemic, humanity still faces simultaneous existential dangers – nuclear war and climate change

Scientists have been warning citizens of the world that there would be a global pandemic. They have also warned about the dangers that humanity faces with climate change. Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers – nuclear war and climate change

July 20, 2020 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

Radioactive Contamination of Europe

Free News 17th July 2020, An international consortium of scientists has specified a map of
concentrations of cesium and plutonium radionuclides in soils in
Switzerland and several neighboring countries. Using an archive of European
soil samples, a team of researchers led by Catherine Meisburger from the
University of Basel was able to track down the sources of radioactive
fallout between 1960 and 2009.

This study was published in the journal
Scientific Reports. On the new map of radioactive contamination of the
soil, there are not only Switzerland but also several neighboring countries
– France, Italy, Germany and Belgium. The map is based on a new
calculation method, namely the use of the ratio of cesium to plutonium.
These two radionuclides were released during military nuclear tests in the
1960s. Additional cesium fell into some countries during the Chernobyl
accident in 1986.

https://freenews.live/a-new-map-of-radioactive-contamination-of-the-soil-with-cesium-and-plutonium/

July 20, 2020 Posted by | environment, EUROPE, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Los Alamos Study Group press Santa Fe Council – to stop Santa Fe becoming a nuclear sacrifice zone

Santa Fe shouldn’t become a nuclear sacrifice zone   https://www.abqjournal.com/1477033/santa-fe-shouldnt-become-a-nuclear-sacrifice-zone-ex-where-does-the-city-stand-in-matters-of-peace-the-environment-and-citizens-health-and-welfare.html,BY LYDIA CLARK, July 19th, 2020   This is an open letter to Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber and the City Council:We, the Los Alamos Study Group, have now written to the Santa Fe City Council and the mayor of Santa Fe numerous times regarding two very important resolutions we have proposed, with no response of any significance from anyone.

These resolutions are of great import to the safety, health and welfare of the city and citizens of Santa Fe, and we are very concerned the City Council and mayor are ignoring these issues.

The City of Santa Fe has had a long-standing policy of resolutions supporting nuclear disarmament, supporting environmental impact statements and opposing production of nuclear weapons, specifically plutonium pit production.

Santa Fe has also been and is still a member of “Mayors for Peace,” which states that “nuclear weapons are inhumane” and calls for “their abolition.”

Recently, Mayor Webber attended a “peaceful protest” regarding racial issues. Is the destruction of humanity and the planet less important in keeping the peace?

The safety, health and welfare are only a part of the impact created from nuclear weapons production at Los Alamos National Laboratory. It uses and diverts much-needed funding for education, health care, sustainable jobs, and real safety and security away from New Mexico. The proposed FY2021 federal budget solely for plutonium pit production at LANL is now $1.1 billion (an increase since our last letter). How many truly beneficial programs for New Mexico would this support?

Nuclear weapons production creates vast amounts of toxic waste that has no safe method of disposal, with the potential to contaminate our environment from spills, leakage, fire hazard, seismic activity and human error. The waste currently being stored at LANL will not be transported for disposal any time in the near future. Where will the new waste be stored?

The recent exposure to LANL workers from a breach in a plutonium glove box is foreshadowing of things to come with the proposed plutonium pit factory at the facility. LANL has a history of safety failures.

The last plutonium pit factory, Rocky Flats (in Colorado), was forcibly closed for egregious environmental violations, worker injuries and deaths. Is New Mexico willing to create Rocky Flats II?

Why would the city officials not support asking for a Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement (which is part of one of the above-referenced resolutions) that can help protect not only Santa Fe, but also the entire northern New Mexico region in this crucial matter?

The other resolution would bar the city from entering into development agreements with LANL or other nuclear weapons agencies. (There has been talk of a LANL presence on the city-owned Midtown Campus).

Your lack of concern and response is disturbing, and we ask once more for a prompt response to the request for support and implementation of these two resolutions, and an explanation to the public of the position of the city of Santa Fe in matters of peace, sustainability, environmental protection, and the health and welfare of our citizens, and the citizens of New Mexico.

Do not allow our city to become a nuclear sacrifice zone.

Lydia Clark is outreach director-Santa Fe for the Los Alamos Study Group.

July 20, 2020 Posted by | - plutonium, opposition to nuclear, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Atomic veterans – the health damage to America’s nuclear workers and soldiers

The lasting effects of working with nuclear weapons    https://www.wcax.com/2020/07/19/the-lasting-effects-of-working-with-nuclear-weapons/   By WCAX News Team  [includes excellent short video]   Jul. 19, 2020  BURLINGTON, Vt.  Seventy-five years after the world’s first atomic bombs were dropped in Japan, the people and the island are still feeling the impacts.

Nuclear weapons also have had a lasting effect on American soldiers.

Garry DeFour is a Vermonter who served in the U.S. Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs between 1979 and 1981.

During those few years, he learned about the U.S. Marines who were sent to Nagasaki to help with the clean-up process after the Atomic bomb was dropped.    “Now, thirty-five years later several Veterans that served in Nagasaki — are inflicted with rare blood diseases and bone-cancer,” Atomic Veterans Specialist Garry DeFour said.

He says many soldiers who helped create and test nuclear weapons also became contaminated.

Years later, some started to report severe illnesses, stemming from what they believe was from their time serving in the military.

“We were told for years to keep out mouths shut until President Clinton in 1996 did a proclamation that now Veterans could talk about it to the V.A.,” DeFour said.    Vets did talk about it, and some even got compensation from the Government because of the on-going health problems they face.

They’re known as Atomic Veterans.

DuFour’s been working on a documentary highlighting the soldiers.

He estimates there are still about 28,000 still living. He believes the U.S. has no need for nuclear weapons and cites a colleague who helped create the hydrogen bomb.

“As Dr. Kenneth Ford told me, he said we have enough conventional weapons, to give a great defense,” DeFour said

July 20, 2020 Posted by | health, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Mapping uranium — Beyond Nuclear International

New Uranium Atlas tells its story and impacts across the world

via Mapping uranium — Beyond Nuclear International

July 20, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear threat still looms

Commentary: Nuclear threat still looms   https://www.limaohio.com/opinion/columns/418966/commentary-nuclear-threat-still-looms, By Lilly Adams – Tribune News Service, 19 Jul 20, 

On July 16, 1945, at around 5:30 a.m., 11-year-old Henry Herrera was outside his home in Tularosa, New Mexico, helping his father work on the radiator of their truck, when he saw a blinding flash of light. He thought he was witnessing the end of the world. In fact, he was witnessing the first ever use of a nuclear weapon — the Trinity nuclear test.

A few weeks later, on Aug. 6 and 9, the newly tested weapons were used on Japan, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing 150,000 to 246,000 innocent people. In 1946, nuclear testing began in the Marshall Islands; it would continue there until 1958, and in the United States until 1992. The production of these weapons, with its own harmful consequences, continues today. Even worse, Congress recently voted to fund expansion of the nation’s nuclear weapons program.

In a cruel twist of fate, July 16 is a double nuclear anniversary for New Mexico. On that day in 1979, a dam holding back radioactive waste at the Church Rock uranium mill broke, releasing 1,100 tons of uranium waste and 94 million gallons of radioactive water into the Rio Puerco, across three Navajo Nation chapters, and into Arizona. After both July 16 events, no health studies or medical resources were provided for residents, leaving those affected to battle the resulting illnesses and deaths alone.

Last summer, after marking these anniversaries, my colleagues and I felt a sense of anti-climax. Something was missing. Perhaps after so long, we had become numb in the face of this history of death.

As we approached the 75th anniversary of the fateful bombings of Japan, we decided we needed to do more.

To begin, we reached out to our partners in Japan, and learned an important lesson. The survivors of the bombings, known as hibakusha, generally focus on messages of hope and resiliency, in pursuit of opportunities to build a peaceful world. They share their haunting memories of the bombings, but then they look forward and demand progress.

We also looked to the survivors of nuclear weapons activities here at home. Estimates range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of people in the United States and in the Marshall Islands that have been sickened and killed due to nuclear weapons testing, uranium mining and nuclear-weapons production.

Despite the distances between them — in time, place and culture — the stories of many of these survivors are the same. A flash of blinding light, the feeling the world was ending. Falling dust and powder — like snow — that sickened people and would lead, eventually, to cancers. Secrecy and neglect shrouded their experiences for decades.

United by these tragedies, now most impacted communities have the same ultimate goals: ensuring these weapons are never used again, and that they are one day eliminated.

With these goals in mind, our national coalition is gathering virtually on Aug. 6 and 9, the anniversaries of the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The event will feature presentations from many of the 150 groups that have joined the effort so far. We hope readers will join us to learn more and hear from the people who have been impacted and are fighting for change.

Seventy-five years after these bombings, nuclear weapons are still here, continuing to threaten every person on earth. But the survivors are still here, too. And in a time of separation and mourning, this is a chance to stand in solidarity with communities around the world that are calling for peace.

July 20, 2020 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

India has not committed to the great transition to nuclear power it once envisioned.

A nuclear accord, 15 years ago: Has the agreement, and US-India partnership, lived up to the 2005 hype? The answer is mixed. Times of India, July 18, 2020,  Donald Camp i  The visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Washington between July 17 and July 19, 2005, was heralded as a new beginning in the US-India partnership by both the countries. The highlight of the summit – an agreement to cooperate in civil nuclear power – was indeed path breaking as it upended the US (and international) focus on rolling back India’s nuclear weapons capabilities, and implicitly acknowledged India’s status as a nuclear weapons power.
Fifteen years later, has the agreement – and the partnership – lived up to the hype? The answer is mixed. ……..
The US-India relationship has continued to grow since 2005 but not in the way the agreement had intended. There has been no great cooperation in civilian nuclear energy; in fact, no contract has been signed with a US company towards that end till today. Of the two American nuclear engineering giants, General Electric (builder of India’s Tarapur reactor in the 1960s) had left the business and Westinghouse was sold to Toshiba in 2006.
India itself has not committed to the great transition to nuclear power it once envisioned. Russia and France are the major nuclear suppliers to India, though Westinghouse was promised a contract for six reactors in 2016, before its bankruptcy in 2017. Today solar and other renewable energy sources are attracting more attention and investment. …………
Over fifteen years, China’s increasing global power as well as its territorial ambitions in both the Himalayas and the South China Sea have significantly worsened China’s relations with both India and the US. After border clashes in recent years in Doklam and now Aksai Chin, India seems less hesitant about a partnership explicitly aimed at containing China. In addition to new arms sales, there is a renewed commitment to the “Quad”, the informal mechanism for security discussions and more between Japan, the US, India and Australia. The current US administration would be delighted to have India buy in more completely to its Indo-Pacific strategy………. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/toi-edit-page/a-nuclear-accord-15-years-ago-has-the-agreement-and-us-india-partnership-lived-up-to-the-2005-hype-the-answer-is-mixed/

July 20, 2020 Posted by | India, politics | Leave a comment

VETERAN MP is calling for safeguards against a Chinese-built nuclear power station.  

Sir Bernard Jenkin calls for safeguards at Bradwell B nuclear plant, A VETERAN MP is calling for safeguards against a Chinese-built nuclear power station.   https://www.gazette-news.co.uk/news/18590085.veteran-mp-calls-safeguards-chinese-built-nuclear-power-station/ By Francesca Edwards  @bwt_Francesca  Multimedia Reporter, 18 Jul 20,   

Harwich and North Essex MP Sir Bernard Jenkin is calling on ministers to introduce provisions to grant the UK Government a golden share in critical infrastructure projects such as the proposed Bradwell B power plant.

Under his proposal, the share would grant the Government powers to prevent takeovers and appoint board members.

It will also place obligations on directors to inform the Government if activities, such as the theft of nuclear secrets, were taking place against the national interest.

Sir Bernard, who is chairman of the Liaison Committee, said the safeguards in place for nuclear power stations were “wholly inadequate”.

In an article on the ConservativeHome website he wrote: “The only safeguards proposed for Bradwell B are the same as for any nuclear power station. They are wholly inadequate.

“At present, China will finance, build, own and operate Bradwell B. The Government has agreed that the Chinese government should build a key part of our own critical national infrastructure.

If this is to go ahead, the very least we should insist upon is a set of safeguards to protect our national security and critical national infrastructure from malign foreign influence from a hostile government.

“Chinese companies are not the same as private companies based in Europe or the United States, or even state owned ones like the French EDF, which is building Hinkley Point.

“If we don’t want the UK taxpayer to contribute to the strength of the Chinese military, or UK-based technology to mysteriously end up in Beijing, we need to act swiftly and decisively, whilst also recognising that, at least for now, we still need Chinese financing and technical expertise in order to expand the UK’s civil nuclear infrastructure.”

July 20, 2020 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment