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Nuclear weapons abolition milestone is reached as ban treaty enters into force — IPPNW peace and health blog

The multinational Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons entered into force today, meaning that its prohibitions against developing, testing, producing, acquiring, possessing, stockpiling, and using or threatening to use nuclear weapons have now become part of the body of international law. A coalition of the world’s largest health federations welcomed the TPNW’s entry into force with a joint statement hailing the Treaty as “an essential step towards preventing the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons and a big win for planetary health.”

Nuclear weapons abolition milestone is reached as ban treaty enters into force — IPPNW peace and health blog

January 21, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The 70-year nuclear gloom begins to lift on January 22

Abolishing Nuclear Weapons: A New Chance, https://portside.org/2021-01-19/abolishing-nuclear-weapons-new-chance 20 Jan 21,

The 70-year nuclear gloom begins to lift on January 22, 2021. The nine countries that have held the world captive to the threat of nuclear war are losing moral ground to 122 smaller countries that approved the world’s first nuclear weapons ban.

Anuclear darkness has engulfed the world for seven decades, with only intermittent breakthroughs of light when treaties among nuclear nations were negotiated.  Some treaties have been violated for decades; others, walked away from by Trump.  Any progress made on eliminating nuclear weapons has ceased.  Worse, a new weapons upgrade is in the works by the nuclear nations.   In 2009 President Obama spoke of the dream of a world without nuclear weapons, yet a handful of years later he put the U.S. on course to spend nearly $2 trillion on upgrading its nuclear weapons arsenal and delivery systems over a period of 30 years.  Trump has augmented the budget for and added new nuclear weapons with threats to use them.

The 70-year nuclear gloom begins to lift on January 22, 2021. The nine countries that have held the world captive to the threat of nuclear war are losing moral ground to 122 smaller countries that approved the world’s first nuclear weapons ban in July 2017.  Once 50 of those 122 approving countries completed the ratification process of the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in their legislatures, it became international law in October 2020.

The law goes into effect January 22, 2021 to the profound relief of most people of the world.  Those now 51 “freedom fighter” countries commit to having nothing to do with nuclear weapons – no design, testing, manufacturing, storage, transport, use or threat of use.  Consider this a marathon for disarmament to outpace the current nuclear arms race in which all nuclear-armed countries are, in lockstep, upgrading their weapons.

And this is only the beginning. Thirty five additional countries are in the process of ratifying the Treaty; 50 more support the Treaty; a dozen more have immense popular support, among them Canada, and are one election away from signing the Treaty.  If the United States, where a majority of citizens does not want to use nuclear weapons, signed the Treaty, the rest would follow.

Actions of note:

  • The General Electric Company stopped production of nuclear weapons in 1993.
  • Two of the world’s largest pension funds have divested from nuclear weapons.
  • Mitsubishi UFG Financial Group, 1 of the 5 largest banks in the world, has excluded nuclear weapons production from its portfolio, labeling them “inhumane.”
  • Kennedy and Khrushchev were working toward the abolition of nuclear weapons when Kennedy was assassinated.
  • Reagan and Gorbachev agreed to a radical dismantling of their nuclear weapons.
  • Our goal must be a world “without nuclear weapons… “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought:” Former Republican Secretary of State George Schultz and former Democrat Secretary of Defense William Perry.
  • Mayors for Peace: 7675 cities in 163 countries support the total abolition of nuclear weapons.
  • 56 former presidents, prime ministers, foreign and defense ministers from 20 NATO countries and Japan and South Korea recently signed an open letter in support of the UN treaty to ban nuclear weapons. “Sooner or later our luck will run out – unless we act…There is no cure for a nuclear war,” they asserted. “Prevention is our only option.”
  • Pope Francis: “The use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral. As is the possession of atomic weapons.”

A limited nuclear war could trigger a global famine that would likely end billions of lives.  A full scale nuclear war would end human and most other life on Earth, reminding us of the classical depiction of total war: they had to destroy the village to save it.  A nuclear war, whether by accident, misjudgment or intention to destroy the enemy would destroy the rest of us as well – how insane is that?

What then can President-elect Biden do?

Open dialogue with and renew nuclear agreements and diplomacy with Russia immediately.

Change US policy in 3 key ways: No first use of nuclear weapons; take weapons off of hair trigger alert; and select another senior official to share decision-making about “pressing the button.”

Revive the agreement with Iran: they do not develop nuclear weapons, we lift sanctions.

With South Korea, engage in diplomacy with North Korea to freeze and roll back their nuclear weapons program.

Stop the new program of upgrading nuclear weapons.

Listen to the world’s majority and lead the United States toward signing the new UN Treaty and the others will follow.  It is our only solution to exit a dead-end system that permits a single human being, in the words of national security analyst Joseph Cirincione, “to destroy in minutes all that humanity has constructed over millennia.”

Pat Hynes, retired from Boston University, is on the board of the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice https://traprock.org.

January 21, 2021 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

100 year licences for nuclear reactors? – a hazardous plan

What a great idea!   This way, all the nuclear industry  heavies, all the regulatory officials involved, will be long gone when disaster strikes.  They get off scot free –   no costs, no blame, no shame.  Just leaves the taxpayers’ grandchildren, great grandchildren and so on, to deal with the massive problems caused bu these self=serving decision-makers.

 

NRC to discuss 100-year licenses for nuclear plants, Facilities could receive longer extensions, Gloucester Daily Times. By Heather Alterisio Staff Writer, 9 Jan 21,  SEABROOK, N.H. — A daylong Nuclear Regulatory Commission meeting Thursday will revolve around discussion of any technical issues that could arise if nuclear power plants were licensed to operate for 100 years.

When a nuclear power plant is first licensed by the NRC, that license permits a plant to operate for 40 years. After that, owners of nuclear plants can apply for a 20-year license extension. Nearly every power plant in the U.S. has gone through that renewal process at least once, according to NRC spokesman Scott Burnell.

Seabrook Station at 626 Lafayette Road received approval from the NRC in 2019 to extend its operating license from 2030 to 2050. The plant sits about 17 miles northwest — as the seagull flies — from parts of Cape Ann.

As of Oct. 31, the federal Energy Information Administration said there were 56 commercially operating nuclear power plants with 94 nuclear reactors in 28 states.

About 10 years ago, the NRC began discussions to address what protocols should be put in place if plant owners wanted to renew their license a second time, allowing operation for 80 years. Burnell said the law does not set a limit on how many times a plant can apply to renew its license.

The NRC has since awarded second renewals to a Florida plant and one in Pennsylvania, allowing operation for 80 years. The meeting Thursday — which will be online and open to the public — poses the question, what protocols should be in place if a plant owner pursued a third renewal, allowing it to operate for 100 years?………

Natalie Hildt Treat, executive director for C-10, an Amesbury-based nonprofit that monitors Seabrook Station and its impact on surrounding communities, said C-10 has already brought attention to issues related to aging concrete at Seabrook, the first nuclear power plant known to have this problem.

Prior to and while Seabrook Station was undergoing its recent license renewal process, C-10 pressed the NRC to address concrete degradation caused by alkali-silica reaction in which tiny cracks develop in concrete structures. C-10 worked closely with Victor Saouma, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder and an expert in alkali-silica reaction.

Saouma is one of the experts who will speak Thursday on technical issues relating to concrete. C-10 believes there should be federal regulations that include taking concrete samples from all of the nation’s nuclear reactors, testing them “rigorously,” and creating protocols for how to manage issues as they arise, Treat said.

“We don’t think the NRC or the plant operators have a handle on whether these reactors are safe today, much less an unprecedented number of decades,” she said.

Treat added that Seabrook Station, like other plants around the country, was designed a few decades ago and they “are not getting any safer as they age.”

It is implausible to think that plants could safely operate for more than double of their anticipated life span,” she said.

Construction of the Seabrook reactor began in 1976 and the plant began operating at full power in 1990.

More information on the work of C-10 may be found at www.c-10.org.

The public meeting is Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information or for the Microsoft Teams webinar details, visit www.nrc.gov/pmns/mtg?do=details& Code=20201407.

To access the meeting by telephone, call 301-576-2978 and then enter the passcode, 835226175#.

Heather Alterisio may be contacted at halterisio@gloucestertimes.com

https://www.gloucestertimes.com/news/local_news/nrc-to-discuss-100-year-licenses-for-nuclear-plants/article_c0762bc7-dfa9-5d14-a307-71015064ee88.html

January 21, 2021 Posted by | politics, safety, USA | 1 Comment

Biden can’t ignore that continuing crisis -the danger of nuclear annihilation.

January 21, 2021 Posted by | politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A view from the law: The Danger Of Sole Presidential Authority Over Nuclear Weapons

Without being removed from office, in the absence of a Senate trial, could a leader described as “increasingly isolated, sullen and vengeful” be a dangerous decision-maker with the world’s deadliest arsenal, and what is US policy and law with respect to the limits on such authority?
The Congressional Research Service notes that Presidents have sole authority to authorize U.S. nuclear weapons use, inherent in their constitutional role as Commander in Chief.

January 21, 2021 Posted by | legal, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump’s worst move – gambling on nuclear war with North Korea

He didn’t merely threaten to attack North Korea if it possessed the ability to strike the U.S. He ordered the Pentagon to develop new plans, over the resistance of then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis, to do so. As Slate columnist Fred Kaplan reports in his book “The Bomb,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff created new war plans “that assumed the United States would strike the first blow.”

January 21, 2021 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Gorbachev Urges Biden to Improve Relations With Russia, Extend Key Nuclear Pact

January 21, 2021 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA | Leave a comment

Japanese govt plans to extend nuclear funding to communities, but there is public opposition

Funding law for areas home to nuclear plants eyed for renewal  http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14119178, By NORIYOSHI OHTSUKI/ Senior Staff Writer, January 19, 2021  The central government plans to extend by 10 years a soon-to-sunset law that allows extra financial assistance to jurisdictions housing nuclear power plants–its first time up for renewal since the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The potentially controversial move could likely spark debate in the Diet due to widespread opposition to nuclear energy following the accident, triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

The law was originally enacted in 2000 as a temporary measure and set to expire after a decade. A group of pro-nuclear power lawmakers had sponsored it to ease the concerns of jurisdictions home to nuclear plants.

Those local governments had become increasingly wary about adding more reactors at the existing plants in their communities after a critical accident occurred in 1999 at a facility operated by JCO Co., a nuclear-fuel processing company, in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture.

Two workers died and hundreds of residents were exposed to radiation in the accident.

The law was designed to provide public funds to local jurisdictions hosting nuclear plants so that their governments could build new roads and ports, and lure in businesses to their areas through tax breaks.

The law was revised to add another decade to its lifespan right before the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in March 2011, when the Democratic Party of Japan was in power.

But the law is set to expire at the end of March this year.

The central government plans to submit a revision bill to extend the funding mechanism by another 10 years during the current Diet session, after gaining Cabinet approval as early as this month.

The government has decided to extend it given that many localities with nuclear plants proceeded with their public works projects while counting on an extension, according to central government officials.

In fiscal 2019, a total of 14.4 billion yen ($138.7 million) was injected into local communities through the funding provisions, according to the Cabinet Office.

But the soundness of renewing the life of the special temporary law has only rarely been publicly debated.

Critics say there is room to question whether the extension can be justified.

Apart from the temporary law, local governments with nuclear facilities have received a large amount of grants and subsidies from the national coffers to help develop their communities since the mid-1970s. The source of that funding is ultimately the electricity charges that users pay.

The proposed extension follows a pledge by the central government to reduce the country’s reliance on nuclear energy in response to growing public opposition to nuclear power.

January 21, 2021 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Investigation of Algerians affected by France’s nuclear bomb tests

Le Monde 20th Jan 2021, At the heart of Franco-Algerian memory: the fight against those irradiated from the Sahara. This January 20, historian Benjamin Stora submits to the
President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, his report on Franco-Algerian memory. The nuclear tests carried out until 1966 in the Sahara are one of the disputes between the two countries. Investigation.

https://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2021/01/20/au-c-ur-de-la-memoire-franco-algerienne-le-combat-des-irradies-du-sahara_6066872_3212.html

January 21, 2021 Posted by | AFRICA, France, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste: corruption in a small Australian town

Kazzi Jai, Antinuclear, 1 Jan 21, Maree Barford is the current Kimba Community Liaison Officer for the dump since 2017. She along with her husband Shaun bought the lease for the Kimba Gateway Hotel in 2014.
 – they are receiving $75 000 from the last Community Benefit Fund! ….under “Audio and visual refit of the main function room of the Kimba Gateway Hotel, to modernise and expand conferencing and event capacity for community groups and business.”
They applied for it under “Muffolphin Pty Ltd (as trustee for Barford Family Trust)”
How the F%$# does that work??
Mayor Dean Johnson IS also a personal recipient of money from the last Community Benefits Program! To the tune of $141 000 dollars in fact!! To put a new bakery in the Kimba IGA supermarket which he is owner of!

Kimba’s Maree Barford new nuclear community liaison officer, Eyre Peninsula Tribune, Kathrine Catanzariti.  AUGUST 24 2017 

A Kimba local has been given the job of liaising between the community and government on all things nuclear.

National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce general manager Bruce McCleary announced on Thursday Maree Barford had been employed as community liaison officer – the first job created as a result of the community consulation on a potential National Radioactive Waste Management Facility at Kimba.

The announcement was made at the opening of a new project office in Kimba.

Mrs Barford moved to Kimba in December 2014 with her husband Shaun after they bought the lease for the Kimba Gateway Hotel.

She said she applied for the job because it would be great opportunity.

Her role will be to liaise between the community and the government.

“I’ll be engaging with the community and then letting the government know what is happening in the community and their views,” Mrs Barford said.

She will start her role on Monday, working full-time from the project office.

“I think I can be the voice for the community, being the link between the town and the government.” ……

Barford would provide a permanent, local presence to help keep the community informed and involved in all activities, alongside the project team and other experts who would continue to visit Kimba……..

January 21, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, secrets,lies and civil liberties, wastes | Leave a comment

Pakistan test-fires nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile

Pakistan test-fires nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile

The missile is capable of carrying nuclear and conventional warheads to a range of 2,750 kms, the statement said.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said on Wednesday that it successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile which can strike targets up to 2,750 kilometres. …… https://www.newindianexpress.com/world/2021/jan/20/pakistan-test-fires-nuclear-capable-surface-to-surface-ballistic-missile-2252773.html

January 21, 2021 Posted by | Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Hiroshima ‘peace clock’ reset to 49 days following US nuclear test

January 21, 2021 Posted by | Japan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Africa the only country to have nuclear weapons, then abandon them

January 21, 2021 Posted by | Reference, South Africa, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Local governments in Japan growing more reliant on nuclear taxes

January 21, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, politics | Leave a comment

UK govt and Japan’s TEPCO to work together on robots to clean up Sellafield an Fukushima’s nuclear pollution

UK and Japan tackle legacy of Fukushima and Sellafield with robotics collaboration, Institute of Mechanical Engineers,  20 Jan 2021

Professional Engineering,  Dangerous radioactive material from Fukushima and Sellafield will be retrieved by robots thanks to a new collaboration between the UK and Japan.

The £12m LongOps project is also aimed at automating aspects of nuclear fusion energy production, alongside decommissioning goals.

The four-year research collaboration will use long-reach robotic arms to make decommissioning faster and safer at Tepco’s Fukushima Daiichi reactors in Japan and at Sellafield in the UK.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster saw a triple meltdown, three hydrogen explosions and the release of radioactive material after the loss of reactor core cooling following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The Sellafield site in Cumbria is used for nuclear fuel reprocessing and storage, as well as ongoing decommissioning of previous reactors and facilities. There were 21 serious incidents of off-site radiological releases at Sellafield between 1950 and 2000, according to a paper in the Journal of Radiological Protection.

The new project will be led by the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (Race) facility. It will be funded equally by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco). ….

The decommissioning of legacy nuclear facilities and fusion facilities are complex large-scale projects that are time-intensive to accomplish safely. Using robotics allows teams to keep human workers out of danger.  …… https://www.imeche.org/news/news-article/uk-and-japan-tackle-legacy-of-fukushima-and-sellafield-with-robotic-collaboration

January 21, 2021 Posted by | Japan, UK, wastes | Leave a comment