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We’re marching at the People’s Assembly demonstration because there’s an alternative to nuclear weapons.

”It has never been more vital that we build the mass movement against nuclear weapons and for peace’..

Kate Hudson is the general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)

This Saturday, from all across the country, tens of thousands of ordinary people will turn out for the People’s Assembly national demonstration. 

They’ll do so to demand a new normal because what passes for normality at the moment cannot be allowed to continue. From huge government corruption to an underfunded NHS under threat from privatisation, with billions spent on new nuclear weapons while school children go hungry;  this is no way to recover from the pandemic, let alone build the kind of society that is good for everyone to live in. 

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament will be there of course, because the fundamental argument of the People’s Assembly remains true – austerity is a political choice, government spending is a political choice, and there is no choice more political than allocating billions for nuclear weapons whilst underfunding the NHS and its staff. 

And we’ll also be there because we know that, if we are to achieve a world without nuclear weapons, we need to work together across civil society, linking together the demands of our communities and movements, embracing a vision that sees disarmament as part of a more just and peaceful world. Experience over many generations shows that exercising our democratic right to protest is fundamental to achieving progressive change; so our presence on Saturday’s demonstration is also about reasserting that right at a time when the government wants to restrict those liberties. 

Our mobilisation for this demo was given impetus by the shock decision by Boris Johnson to increase the UK’s stockpile of nuclear weapons from around 195 warheads to 260 warheads – an increase of more than 40%. This, as well as the brutal assault on the Palestinian people, has energised the peace and anti-war movement. CND has had hundreds of new members, all incensed by the government’s disgraceful priorities during this pandemic, putting weapons of mass destruction before healthcare. 

Thanks to a recent legal opinion CND commissioned from leading experts, we can say conclusively that the decision to increase the UK’s nuclear arsenal is illegal under international law, because it breaks the Non-Proliferation Treaty. This violation is also a break with years of stated government policy, under successive Tory and Labour governments which have seen significant nuclear reductions over the past 30 years. 

Moreover, the decision, which is likely to cost tens of billions, is out of joint with new international realities. There is a genuine possibility that the U.S. will return to the Iran nuclear deal. Across the world, dozens of countries have adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which came into force at the beginning of the year. 

Only last week, Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin declared that ‘a nuclear war should never be fought and could never be won’ – something the UK government is said to have opposed behind the scenes. ……….

It has never been more vital that we build the mass movement against nuclear weapons and for peace. The incompetence and callousness of the Johnson government extends internationally, leaving Britain and the world a more dangerous place. 

There is something deeply wrong with a society where the money that could be used to pay nurses and NHS staff decently are instead used to buy and build more weapons of mass destruction. The People’s Assembly demonstration on Saturday is a chance to show we can and must build an alternative

June 26, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NASA wants to increase allowable radiation exposure for astronauts – women affected most.

“As missions go deeper into space, we need to communicate why astronauts are being asked to take on that risk and offer explicit ethical justifications. This report offers a framework for accomplishing that,”

Report backs NASA proposal to change astronaut radiation exposure limits, Space News, by Jeff Foust — June 25, 2021  WASHINGTON — A National Academies committee has endorsed a NASA proposal to change the radiation exposure limits the agency sets for its astronauts but cautioned that the revised limit is still insufficient for human Mars missions.

The June 24 report by a committee established by the National Academies and sponsored by NASA backs the agency’s proposal to set a single lifetime radiation exposure limit for astronauts, rather than different limits based on age and gender.

Currently, lifetime exposure limits range from 180 millisieverts for a 30-year-old woman to 700 millisieverts for a 60-year-old man. Those limits are based on models intended to set a limit of no more than a 3% risk of radiation exposure-induced death (REID) at the 95% confidence level.

NASA proposed changing that to a limit of about 600 millisieverts, regardless of age or gender. That limit is based on the mean 3% risk of REID for a 35-year-old woman, the most conservative case but measured to a different standard than the earlier calculation.

The change, the committee noted, will allow more opportunities for female astronauts given the higher radiation limits. “Taken together, the proposed standard creates equality of opportunity for spaceflight with the trade-offs of somewhat higher allowable exposure to radiation for a subset of astronauts (primarily women) and limiting exposures below otherwise acceptable doses for others (primarily older men),” the committee’s report stated………

While the revised levels will increase flight opportunities for many NASA astronauts, the levels are still more conservative than many other space agencies. Roscosmos, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency all set lifetime exposure limits of 1,000 millisieverts for their astronauts and cosmonauts, without any age or gender differences. The Japanese space agency JAXA does have age and gender differences, varying between 500 and 1,000 millisieverts.

Even those higher levels fall short of projected radiation exposures for round-trip Mars missions, which the report noted would exceed 1,000 millisieverts. Any astronauts who fly on a Mars mission would need a waiver to NASA’s radiation exposure limits, which raises ethical questions. “NASA should develop a protocol for waiver of the proposed space radiation standard that is judicious, transparent, and informed by ethics,” the committee recommended.

“As missions go deeper into space, we need to communicate why astronauts are being asked to take on that risk and offer explicit ethical justifications. This report offers a framework for accomplishing that,” said Julian Preston of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, vice-chair of the committee, in a statement.https://spacenews.com/report-backs-nasa-proposal-to-change-astronaut-radiation-exposure-limits/

June 26, 2021 Posted by | radiation, space travel, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear power is in the front line of climate change – and NOT in a good way

In the last year, climate models have run hot. As knowledge of enhanced climate sensitivity and polar ice melt-rate evolves, it has become clear that sea-level rise is significantly faster than previously thought, resulting in more frequent and destructive storm, storm surge, severe precipitation, and flooding.

 With rare extreme events today becoming the norm in the future, existing risk mitigation measures become increasingly obsolete. The corollary to this analysis is that present and planned UK coastal nuclear installations will be at significant risk.

In other words, nuclear’s lower-carbon electricity USP sits in the context of the much larger picture – that UK coastal nuclear will be one of the first, and most significant, casualties to ramping climate impact. Put simply, UK nuclear is quite literally on the front-line of climate change – and not in a good way.

 Nuclear Consultation Group 24th June 2021

June 26, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Japan’s murky management of Fukushima nuclear wastewater

Japan’s murky management of Fukushima nuclear wastewater https://www.eastasiaforum.org/2021/06/25/japans-murky-management-of-fukushima-nuclear-wastewater/

Author: Cheol Hee Park, SNU

On 13 April 2021, the Japanese government announced plans to dispose of the wastewater stored at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean over a period of 30 years.

The plant has about 1000 wastewater tanks that can hold up to 1.37 million tons of contaminated water. Currently, 1.25 million tons are being stored, which accounts for about 90 per cent of the total storage capacity. The tanks are expected to fill up by the autumn of 2022, which prompted the Japanese government to adopt the least expensive option — disposing the wastewater into the sea, starting from 2023.

The United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) remain sympathetic to the Japanese decision, saying that it meets the international standard. On the other hand, China and South Korea have voiced concerns about the decision. They are distrustful of and dissatisfied with the sudden decision made by the Japanese government. The difference is starkly highlighted in how the wastewater is being referred to by different countries. Japan and the United States call it ‘treated water’ while China and South Korea define it as ‘contaminated water’.

The Japanese government explained that it will fully treat and dilute the wastewater until the contamination level is reduced to at least one-hundredth of its original concentration. Officials say that tritium will be reduced to one-fortieth of the Japanese government’s normal standard. Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso even claimed that the treated water will be drinkable.

he Japanese government also made it clear that before the accident in 2011 the Fukushima nuclear plant disposed of 2.2 trillion becquerels of tritium into the sea each year, which caused no problems. They added that because tritium is a weak radioactive isotope, most of the material will exit the human body, meaning its negative impact will be small.

Despite the Japanese government’s efforts to convince people outside of the country, the most vocal opposition has come from within Japan. The Japan Fishermen’s Association argued that they will not accept the Japanese government’s decision. They explain that the decision went against the government’s promise in 2015 that the release would not happen without their consent. Fishermen from Fukushima and Ibaraki are particularly sensitive about the potential consumer backlash over the radioactive wastewater release, which will directly impact their livelihoods. About 70 per cent of fishermen oppose the government’s decision. It remains unclear whether the Japanese government will be able to persuade them.

Concerns from neighbouring countries are another hurdle to overcome. There is little sign that the Japanese government fully consulted adjacent countries before it announced the decision. Because of the lack of prior consultation and reliable notice, the Japanese government’s decision should be regarded as a unilateral move. South Korea and China should not approach this issue to drag down Japan’s efforts to resolve the problem. At the same time, it is Japan’s responsibility to be attentive to neighbouring countries’ legitimate concerns.

Securing transparency in the process of implementing the plan is another challenge. Despite the Japanese government’s explanation, it remains uncertain whether various nuclides other than tritium can be reliably removed using the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS). Passing on the correct and reliable information to concerned parties in and outside the country is necessary. Japan should incorporate third-party specialists to provide objective and reliable information about the process.

Finally, verifying the safety of the water with international standards would give comfort to and garner trust from concerned parties, including Japanese fishermen. The IAEA could mobilise experts or build a verification team on behalf of Japan and its neighbouring countries so that all concerned regional countries can be persuaded about the safety of the water.

The Japanese government should better fulfil its responsibilities, justify the necessity of its decision, remain transparent about its implementation of the plan and be resilient in verifying the safety of the water it disposes of.

Cheol Hee Park is Professor at the Graduate School of International Studies and Director of the Institute of International Affairs, Seoul National University.

June 26, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

South Africa the only country to have dismantled its nuclear weapons capability,

SA the only country to have dismantled its nuclear weapons capability, Robin Möser 25 Jun 2021   ext month, on 10 July, marks the 30th anniversary of South Africa’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), but it seems this step will not receive the world’s attention it should get. South Africa is still the only example of a state that has given up its indigenously developed nuclear weapons arsenal and subsequently adhered to nonproliferation norms.

Today, developments concerning continuous missile and nuclear tests in North Korea, the United States’ unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran in 2018, and the last-minute extension of the New Start Treaty between the US and Russia in February this year demonstrate the urgency of discussing nuclear disarmament on a global scale.

Revisiting the unique South African case of nuclear disarmament and NPT accession provides a crucial starting point, as it demonstrates that disarmament is possible. Moreover, the South African example shows that to forgo nuclear weapons needs both domestic political preconditions and an international context perceived to be conducive. It cannot succeed solely based on the moral conviction of political leaders that disarmament is good. The actions taken by the FW De Klerk government between 1989 and 1991 illustrate that his decisions gravitated to assessing domestic political risks and potential benefits that the decision to disarm and sign the NPT would bring for his government………………………. https://mg.co.za/opinion/2021-06-25-sa-the-only-country-to-have-dismantled-its-nuclear-weapons-capability

June 26, 2021 Posted by | politics international, South Africa, weapons and war | Leave a comment

California’s Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG and E) settles over nuclear plant’s environmental violations.

California company agrees to 5.9-mln-dollar settlement over nuclear plant’s environmental damage   http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/northamerica/2021-06/25/c_1310027301.htm, Xinhua| 2021-06-25 Editor: huaxia LOS ANGELES, — California’s Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has agreed recently on a 5.9-million-U.S.-dollar settlement for once-through cooling water discharges from its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

The settlement, reached with the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, was the result of a thorough Water Board investigation into alleged violations stemming from the plant’s use of water from the Pacific Ocean in its cooling system since 1985 and was officially filed on May 25 with the San Luis Obispo Superior Court.

According to Thursday’s report by Cal Coast News, the nuclear power plant takes in water from sea to condense steam after it passes through two electrical generators in a process called “once-through cooling” and the used water is then released back into the ocean.

Under the power plant’s local permit, public water was allowed to be piped from nearby sea area into the ocean, but environmentalists argued the discharge of water into the ocean harmed marine life.

Ailene Voisin, spokesperson for the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, estimated the thermal discharge to be about 20 degrees Fahrenheit (11.1 degrees centigrade) above the ambient ocean temperature in that area and that alterations to the nearby ecosystem “are well-documented and well-understood,” yet with “no feasible technological alternatives or modifications.”

Another problem was that the induction system that pumps water from Diablo Canyon into the power plant also sucked up an estimated 1.5 billion fish larvae per year, causing disruptions to the reproductive cycle of local fish.

The Water Board said in a press release on June 18 that the settlement funds received from PG&E would be used for water quality projects that benefit the region. In addition to the settlement, the release indicated that PG&E had also been making yearly payments to mitigate the issues from their overheated discharges. 

June 26, 2021 Posted by | Legal, USA, water | Leave a comment

Senator Markey urges the NRC to improve safety and security of nuclear decommissioning process.

SENATOR MARKEY URGES THE NRC TO IMPROVE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF NUCLEAR DECOMMISSIONING PROCESS,     https://www.markey.senate.gov/news/press-releases/senator-markey-urges-the-nrc-to-improve-safety-and-security-of-nuclear-decommissioning-process In a letter, Markey requests stricter safeguards as 23 nuclear power plants, including the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, undergo decommissioning in the U.S.

Washington (June 25, 2021) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chair of the Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety in the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), urging the agency to address safety and security concerns before approving the draft rule, “Regulatory Improvements for Production and Utilization Facilities Transitioning to Decommissioning,” and putting out a proposed rule for public comment. “The Nuclear Regulatory Commission must prioritize the safety and security of the nuclear plants it oversees,” said Senator Markey. “As currently written, the proposed rule would allow the NRC and plant operators to cut corners on safety and limit public participation, which is critical to the decommissioning process. The communities around our nuclear plants deserve better than this.”

A copy of the letter can be found HERE.In his letter, Senator Markey requests that the NRC:

  • propose a defined and exact set of rules on how plants should navigate the decommissioning process;
  • improve public participation during the NRC’s consideration of any license transfers requested in connection with a nuclear plant’s decommissioning process;
  • acknowledge and address the fact that spent fuel could remain onsite for long periods of time, perhaps indefinitely; and
  • reevaluate its proposal to reduce financial protections for offsite and onsite liability claims for plants that are in the process of decommissioning.

Senator Markey also requests that the NRC ensure that the twenty-three nuclear reactors, such as Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, that have already begun the decommissioning process adapt their operations to reflect stronger standards. The NRC should also establish the proper checks to ensure the safety and security of the eight additional nuclear power plants that have already declared their intent to decommission. Senator Markey has consistently urged the NRC to prioritize safety and public participation in the nuclear decommissioning process. Last Congress, Senator Markey reintroduced the Dry Cask Storage Act, which was aimed at improving the storage of spent nuclear fuel at nuclear plants across the nation.

As the Pilgrim Power Station commenced its decommissioning process, Senator Markey continued to fight to ensure that the NRC prioritized safety and public participation. In August 2019, Senators Markey and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Representative William Keating (MA-09) wrote to the NRC to urge it to delay ruling on the proposed license transfer for Pilgrim from Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. to Holtec International until after the Commission considered and ruled on extant petitions and motions. In October 2018, Senator Markey and Rep. William demanded clear details from Holtec and Entergy about the safety and security issues involved in the ownership, transfer, and eventual decommissioning of the power plant.

June 26, 2021 Posted by | decommission reactor, politics, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. Democrats launch bill allowing existing nuclear plants tax credit


U.S. Democrats launch bill allowing existing nuclear plants tax credit
Reuters  WASHINGTON, June 24 (Reuters) 25 June 21, – Five Democrats in the U.S. Senate introduced a bill on Thursday that would allow some existing nuclear power plants to receive a tax credit equal to an incentive already given to operators of wind power turbines.

The bill, led by Senator Ben Cardin, provides a production tax credit of $15 per megawatt hour for existing nuclear plant owners or operators in states such as New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania which have deregulated power markets. Cardin’s state, Maryland, has two reactors at Exelon Corp’s (EXC.O) Calvert Cliffs plant…………………….. https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-democrats-launch-bill-allowing-existing-nuclear-plants-tax-credit-2021-06-24/

June 26, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Long legacy of France’s nuclear tests in Algeria

Abdelkrim touhami was still a teenager when, on May 1st 1962, French
officials in Algeria told him and his neighbours to leave their homes in
the southern city of Tamanrasset. It was just a precaution.

France wasabout to detonate an atom bomb, known as Beryl, in the desert some 150km
away. The blast would be contained underground. Two French ministers were
there to witness the test.

But things did not go as planned. Theunderground shaft at the blast site was not properly sealed. The mountain above the site cracked and black smoke spread everywhere, says Mr Touhami.
The ministers (and everyone else nearby) ran as radioactive particles
leaked into the air. Nevertheless, in the months and years after, locals
would go to the area to recover scrap metal from the blast for use in their
homes.

 Economist 24th June 2021

 https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2021/06/24/the-long-legacy-of-frances-nuclear-tests-in-algeria

June 26, 2021 Posted by | AFRICA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear energy NOT GREEN, not renewable,and wastes water, is slow, dangerous,expensive

In a recent Guardian article, Jacobin magazine’s founding editor Bhaskar
Sunkara declared that “If we want to fight the climate crisis, we mustembrace nuclear power.” He praised nuclear as clean and reliable and
suggested that opponents of nuclear power are either gripped by “paranoia … rooted in Cold War associations” or are relying on “outdated
information”.


I disagree entirely. Here are ten reasons why nuclear power
is still no solution for climate change: Nuclear is dangerous; nuclear
wastes water; nuclear is slow; nuclear is not green; nuclear is not
renewable; nuclear is expensive; nuclear power means nuclear weapons;
nuclear waste lasts forever; uranium mining is unsafe; nuclear means
dispossession.

 Green Left 24th June 2021

 https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/ten-reasons-climate-activists-should-not-support-nuclear

June 26, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Increasing numbers of nuclear warheads globally

Global nuclear warhead stockpile appears to be growing, SIPRI warns   https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/global-nuclear-warhead-stockpile-appears-to-be-growing-sipri-warns-121061400304_1.html

The overall number of nuclear warheads in global military stockpiles appears to be increasing this year, a new finding released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reveals

“The nine nuclear-armed states – the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) – together possessed an estimated 13 080 nuclear weapons at the start of 2021. This marked a decrease from the 13 400 that SIPRI estimated these states possessed at the beginning of 2020,” SIPRI said.

However, SIPRI research shows that this declining trend appears to have stalled.

“Despite this overall decrease, the estimated number of nuclear weapons currently deployed with operational forces increased to 3825, from 3720 last year,” the research institute said.

According to SIPRI, the US and Russia continued to reduce their nuclear weapon arsenals in 2020, but both are estimated to have had around 50 more nuclear warheads in operational deployment at the start of 2021 than a year earlier.

“Both countries’ deployed strategic nuclear forces remained within the limits set by the 2010 Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START), although the treaty does not limit total nuclear warhead inventories,” SIPRI specified.

The institute also pointed out that China is modernizing and expanding its nuclear weapon inventory, along with India and Pakistan.


In February, Russia and the United States agreed to extend the New START treaty for five more years without renegotiating any of its terms. The treaty, now set to expire on February 5, 2026, is the only arms control agreement between two countries that is still in force.

The treaty limits each party’s nuclear arsenal to 1,550 deployed warheads, 800 launchers, and 700 missiles. Both the United States and Russia met the central limits of the New START Treaty in 2018, and have stayed at or below them ever since.

According to the White House, Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden are expected to discuss a wide range of bilateral issues related to strategic stability and arms control during their Wednesday summit in Geneva

June 26, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment