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After the hibakusha: the future of Japan’s anti-nuclear movement

Oka Nobuko age 16 in Nagasaki 1945

After the hibakusha: the future of Japan’s anti-nuclear movement

Yoshida Mayu, NHK World Correspondent, 31 Jan 22,   Activists calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons have long relied on the powerful testimonies of atomic bomb survivors, or hibakusha, to grow their movement. But with ever fewer people to offer that testimony, both the hibakusha and activists know those days are running out. NHK World’s Yoshida Mayu speaks to different generations who have a common goal: a world without nuclear weapons.

Hellish memories

Oka Nobuko was in Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, the day the US dropped an atomic bomb on the city. For most of her life, she avoided talking about her experiences as the memories were too painful.

Last year she finally broke her silence to deliver a speech at the annual ceremony commemorating the date of the bombing.

“When I stood up, I was immediately knocked down and I lost consciousness,” she recounted. “When I woke up, I didn’t know where I was. Pieces of shattered glass were lodged in my body.”

Oka was a 16-year-old nursing student at the time and helped treat other victims at a first aid center.

“No treatment was possible in a lot of these cases,” she said. “There was flesh dangling from exposed bone. Some people jumped off buildings to kill themselves because they couldn’t endure the pain any longer.”

She described the scenes as “hellish” and said she suffered severe headaches every time the memories returned. For this reason, she always avoided going to the area where the first aid center was located.

Time to speak

In a letter to a close friend three years ago, Oka wrote of her worries that her memories and those of other hibakusha would soon be gone.

“The hibakusha are getting older and someday all of us will be gone,” she wrote.

Estimates put the number of living hibakusha at around 127,000, with an average age of 83.This sense that time was running out is what motivated Oka to finally share her story last August.

“We, the hibakusha, will continue to share our experiences and call for the abolition of nuclear weapons. We will fight for peace.”

Last November, three months after giving her speech, Oka died at the age of 93.

Inspiring other hibakusha Fukuda Hakaru, a 90-year-old Nagasaki hibakusha, says hearing Oka speak inspired him to share his own story. He wrote her a letter, saying how much her courage had moved him.

Fukuda had gone to the first aid center Oka was working at to get medicine for his father, who was severely injured in the blast.

“I can still hear the screams of the patients,” he says. “Doctors and nurses were running around to help them. It was a painful sight. It is very hard for me to talk about what I saw. The medical workers were the ones who saw up close the inhumanity of the atomic bombs.”

Fukuda was 14 at the time. He did not suffer any serious injuries, but his father, who was working close to ground zero, died a month later.”I’ll never forget how I felt. I had to pick up his remains after the cremation, but I have no idea how I managed. The world needs to know that this is the kind of pain that an atomic bomb causes. It cannot be allowed to happen again.”

Fukuda says he long felt he had a duty to share his story but avoided doing so because he was worried about the anti-hibakusha discrimination he and his family might face.

Many survivors and their families have had to deal with prejudice and discrimination over the years. Initially, little was known about the effects of radiation exposure, and some people incorrectly regarded it as contagious. The social stigma was especially serious when it came to marriage or work.

“The hibakusha continue to suffer today,” says Fukuda. “That’s yet another reason why we need to make sure this never happens again.”

Preserving Oka’s message

In December, a group of university students from Nagasaki hosted a virtual conference about the experiences of the hibakusha, speaking to high school classes about the stories they had heard from survivors.

One of these students was Kaji Misato, who spent a lot of time with Oka during her final days.

“Oka was with her mother and brother at the time of the bombing,” Kaji said at the event. “As she stood up, she realized she was covered in blood.”Kaji spoke to Oka four times last year and recorded five hours of conversation. She said it was an eye-opening experience.

“The atomic bombing always felt like something in the past,” Kaji says. “But after hearing her story, I started to feel a greater sense of attachment. She told us the war had robbed her of her youth and she wanted peace so the same thing didn’t happen with the youth of today.”Every year on August 9, a siren rings out across the city at 11:02 AM, the exact time the atomic bomb exploded. Residents stop what they are doing to observe a minute of silence. But when Kaji visited the city center last year, she was shocked to see how few people were actually paying their respects.

About a month later, Oka was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Kaji met with her shortly after.

“She told me she was worried that once all the hibakusha are gone, their memories would fade as well,” Kaji says.

She took her words to heart and decided to share what she told her with people even younger. The high school students who attended the virtual session said it was an insightful experience.”Her vivid memories made me feel the horror of the atomic bomb,” said one student.

“We cannot take peace for granted,” said another. “We have to take care of the people who are close to us.”

This year promises to be a crucial one for the abolition movement. State parties to the UN nuclear weapons ban treaty are planning to hold their first meeting to try to agree on specific actions. In the meantime, young campaigners like Kaji are ensuring that the stories from those who witnessed the horrors of 1945 are documented and heard.


February 1, 2022 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korea, Perpetual Victim of the US Military-Industrial Complex

North Korea, Perpetual Victim of the US Military-Industrial Complex.

Viewpoint by Alice Slater 1 Feb 22, The writer is a Member of the Board of Directors of World BEYOND War. She is also the UN NGO Representative of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

NEW YORK (IDN) — It seems hard to believe that in these possible end times in the midst of a global pandemic with an endless succession of catastrophic climate disasters and thousands of nuclear weapons poised and pointed in the US and Russia, ready to destroy life on earth, we are beset by a bought, corrupted mainstream media that assaults us with the “wrongdoings” of Russia and China, and most recently North Korea, with barely a mention in their assaultive reporting of how the US might be a cause.

Nor do they report on the many remedies that have been rejected by the United States in its drive for global domination. Instead of promoting the critical opportunities, we must now seize—all nations and peoples of the world—to work cooperatively to save Mother Earth, the western news reports serve up a steady daily diet of the harm that could be inflicted upon the ‘innocent’ United States, echoing shades of the dreadful 1950s McCarthy Era in a new Cold War II and maybe World War III. 

North Korea is a case in point. Recent reports in The New York Times noted a series of renewed missile tests by North Korea and reported that for the first time, a veto in the UN Security by Russia and China blocked additional harsh sanctions proposed by the United States on that poor, struggling nation.

In its report, the Times quoted John Delury, professor of history at Yonsei University, South Korea as saying “no amount of sanctions could create the pressures that Covid-19 created in the past two years. Yet do we see North Korea begging and saying, ‘take our weapons and give us some aid’…the North Koreans will eat grass“, he said, rather than give up their nuclear weapons.

But this callous evaluation ignores the long, sorry history of failed negotiations between the US and North Korea.

North Korea has been testing its missiles and developing nuclear weapons since it walked out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1973 claiming that the United States had singled it out as a target of a pre-emptive nuclear attack and had threatened it with a blockade and military punishment.

It now has about 40 to 50 nuclear weapons of the 14,000 nuclear weapons on the planet today, with 13,000 of them in the US and Russia, and the remainder in China, UK, France, India, Pakistan, and Israel. 

North Korea was the only nuclear-armed country to vote in the UN Committee for Disarmament in favor of negotiations to go forward on the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. At that historic meeting where the nations of the world voted 122 in favour of negotiations on a new treaty to ban the bomb, India, China, and Pakistan abstained and the US, Russia, UK, France, Israel and all the states under the US nuclear umbrella voted No.

This unique affirmative vote of North Korea, trying to get the world’s attention for ending the isolation and punishment it has suffered over the years, went totally unreported in the press.  

During the negotiations with Trump and South Korea, in 2019 North Korea was willing to agree to forego its nuclear bomb program if it could get a peace treaty instead of the truce it has been living under since 1953, faced with 38,000 US troops situated near its border conducting war games with South Korea, not to mention the cruel and killing sanctions that deny food, fuel, medications to its people.  

Trump in his desire to look good and get a deal offered to withdraw 10,000 of the US troops stationed there all these years. Both the Democrats and Republicans in Congress blocked him from making that deal, Biden never followed up, and Kim is waving his missiles again to get our attention.

North Korea’s demands for an agreement to eliminate their nuclear weapons are to end the truce and sign a peace treaty, finally ending the Korean War after nearly 70 years, stop the war games on its borders, and lift the punishing sanctions that are so destructive to the health and wellbeing of its people. 

This would finally allow free travel back and forth from the US and South Korea that has been so heartbreaking for separated families that haven’t been able to cross the line to visit and see relatives and friends for decades. [IDN-InDepthNews – 31 January 2022]

February 1, 2022 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

Stop the lies about Ukraine

 Nina Beety, Monterey,

The 2014 deadly U.S. coup d’etat in Ukraine overthrew the democratically elected president, partnering with ultra-nationalists and neoNazis. It cost $5 billion, said Victoria Nuland, now Biden’s Asst Sec of State, put “our man Yats” in power, and initiated a reign of terror. Biden was Obama’s point man there.

Systematic ethnic genocide followed against all who opposed the illegal regime, any Russian-speaking Ukrainians, Ukrainian Jews, journalists, officials. People are stalked, imprisoned, tortured, gang-raped, and killed. Hundreds were shot and buried in mass graves, some still alive. Crimea, Donetsk, Lugansk residents are attacked by Kyiv paramilitary and military units flying Nazi insignias, trained and assisted by the U.S. (including the California National Guard) and NATO. Many fled into Russia for safety. Crimea voted to secede and rejoin Russia. All these facts are missing in your false reports.

Like with Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Vietnam, the U.S. destroyed Ukraine, — its economy ruined; its people without adequate energy, heat, food; its resources pillaged; its nuclear power plants endangered. Washington did this. It also obtained Russian planes, weapons, and equipment, and has a history and motivation to stage false flags. Don’t Americans care? The U.S.A .is destroying people and countries. Where’s the protest? 

February 1, 2022 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Terra Power chose Wyoming because it is an oligarch and dictator’s paradise.

Paul Richards
, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch Australia, Jan
, TerraPower – nuclear reactor design and research firm, chose, Wyoming, as it’s an oligarch and dictator’s Paradise.

Wyoming’s trust, as well as asset protection laws, combined with its property tax, sales tax, and excise tax. Give the uber-wealthy 1% a free ride, as one of only seven states that have no personal income tax.Therefore, even more, difficult for top tier energy auditors, to test and measure, proof of concept in engineering terms, by default that includes economic and environmental viability.Wyoming is the best on-shore tax haven state in the 🇺🇸 USA, arguably the best in the world outside 🇨🇳 China.

“Wyoming trust and layers of private companies with concealed ownership allow the world’s wealthy to move and spend money in extraordinary secrecy, protected by some of the strongest privacy laws in the country and, in some cases, without even the cursory oversight performed by regulators in other states.” The Washington PostAll in a state, that has a deplorable record of ecological disasters, created by the other fuel-burning;💀 Linear Business Model,damaging earth systems, accelerating the Anthropocene.• burning – fuel

• churning – production• consuming – excess energy• consuming – products• dumping – waste in earth systems• ad Infinitum – Latin, literally ‘to infinity’19C flawed business model, that birthed corporatism, which created an acceleration in the climate crisis in the first place.Democracy without transparency is not democracy._____________source: The Washington Post.…/wyoming-trusts…/BANKING FRAUD PANDORA PAPERS PAPERS PAPERS PAPERS

February 1, 2022 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

COVID-19 an obstacle for nuclear waste disposal at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, officials say

COVID-19 an obstacle for nuclear waste disposal at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, officials say,

Officials plan to ramp up operations as pandemic hoped to subside, Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus, 31 Jan 22,

COVID-19 continued to strain operations to dispose of nuclear waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, officials said, slowing shipments accepted at the repository near Carlsbad last year.Officials from WIPP detailed the progress made in 2021 before state lawmakers Monday during the annual WIPP Legislative Breakfast held each year at the start of the Legislative Session.

This year’s presentation was held virtually via Zoom due to health concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the Fiscal Year 2021, about 199 shipments of waste were emplaced at WIPP, where they are permanently disposed of as an underground salt formation slowly collapses to bury the waste about 2,000 underground.

Shipments averaged about five weekly last year and were occasionally reported at seven or eight per week, said Reinhard Knerr, manager of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Carlsbad Field Office.

The facility’s target was about 240 shipments of waste for FY 2021, he said, and officials hoped to aim for up to 400 shipments in FY 2022.

“Unfortunately, COVID-19 has continued to be a significant challenge on that front,” he said of last year’s shipments. “We’ll be looking to increase here in the next few months.”

In early 2022, Knerr said WIPP hoped to increase shipments of waste to 10 to 12 per week from DOE nuclear facilities around the country including Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in northern New Mexico.

Shipments from LANL recently drew concerns from state officials as the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) called for federal oversight into how the DOE prioritizes shipments from around the country.

Meanwhile, the DOE announced plans to increase LANL’s production of plutonium pits, which are used to trigger nuclear bombs, to about 30 pits a year by 2026 – a move critics argued would increase waste generation at the site………………………


February 1, 2022 Posted by | health, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Russia calls for USA to remove its nuclear weapons from European countries

Russia proposes US returns American nuclear weapons from NATO countries stateside, 28 Jan 22,

According to Vladimir Yermakov, “currently there are about 200 American nuclear air bombs of the B61 family” in five non-nuclear NATO countries

MOSCOW, January 27. /TASS/. Moscow proposed to Washington to return all American nuclear weapons from NATO countries to US territory in the context of reviewing security guarantees, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control Vladimir Yermakov said in an interview with TASS.

We insist that NATO’s ‘joint nuclear missions’ should be stopped immediately, all the American nuclear weapons be returned to US national territory and the infrastructure that allows their rapid deployment should be eliminated. This aspect is one of the elements of the package of measures proposed by us to Washington in the context of considering the issues of security guarantees,” he said.

According to the diplomat, “currently there are about 200 American nuclear air bombs of the B61 family” in five non-nuclear NATO countries. Thus, the alliance is capable of rapidly deploying nuclear weapons able to reach strategic targets on Russian territory. “[NATO countries] also retain the infrastructure ensuring rapid deployment of these [nuclear] weapons capable of reaching Russian territory and striking a wide range of targets, including strategic ones,” he pointed out.

On December 17, 2021, the Russian Foreign Ministry published draft agreements between Moscow and Washington on security guarantees and the measures of ensuring the security of Russia and NATO member states. The proposed measures include guarantees that NATO will not advance eastward, including the accession of Ukraine and other countries into the alliance, as well as the non-deployment of serious offensive weapons, including nuclear ones. On January 26, the US and NATO submitted to Russia their written response to Moscow’s proposal on security guarantees.

February 1, 2022 Posted by | politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Doubts grow on water-release schedule at Fukushima plant

Doubts grow on water-release schedule at Fukushima plant  cTHE ASAHI SHIMBUN, January 31, 2022  Shovel loaders digging pits at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on Jan. 17 were a rare sign of progress in the government’s contentious water-discharge plan at the stricken site.

Under the plan, millions of tons of treated but still contaminated water stored at the plant will be released into the sea over decades starting in spring 2023.

However, opposition to the plan remains fierce among local residents, the fishing industry and even overseas governments.

The pits being dug will temporarily hold radioactive water right before the release. But other preparatory work has already been stalled.

The government plans to create an undersea tunnel through which the treated and diluted radioactive water will be released into the sea about 1 kilometer from the plant.

Drilling work for the tunnel was initially scheduled to start early this year, but it was delayed to June.

Some government officials now doubt that the tunnel can be completed in time for the planned water release.

“It would be impossible to construct the underwater tunnel in less than a year,” one official said.

The government in April last year decided to discharge the contaminated water stored at the plant to move forward the decades-long process of decommissioning of the plant.

The accumulation of highly contaminated water has been a serious problem for the government and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 caused the triple meltdown there.

An average of 150 tons of such water was produced each day last year as rainwater and groundwater keeps flowing into the damaged reactor buildings and mixing with water used to cool the melted nuclear fuel.

The contaminated water is treated by a multi-nuclide removal facility, known as ALPS, and stored in tanks. ALPS, however, cannot remove tritium, a beta-emitting radioactive isotope of hydrogen, and others.

The pits are being built to ensure that tritium levels in the treated water after dilution with a large amount of seawater are low enough to be sent to the planned tunnel for discharge into the sea.

Disposal of the contaminated water has become an urgent matter.

TEPCO said the existing 1,061 tanks at the plant are capable of holding a total of 1.37 million tons of water and would be full by around spring next year.

As of Jan. 20, the plant had reached 94 percent of capacity.

The government fears that continuing to add more storage tanks at the plant could jeopardize the overall decommissioning work.


The government asked the International Atomic Energy Agency to send an inspection team to examine the safety of the treated radioactive water.

A seal of approval from a credible international body could go a long way in easing domestic and international opposition about the water release plan.

The IAEA team of researchers from 11 countries, including China and South Korea, which are opposed to the water release, was expected to visit Japan in December to begin its on-site inspection.

But that trip was scrapped after a new wave of novel coronavirus infections hit the global community.

Government officials are negotiating with the IAEA for a visit in spring by the team. But it remains unclear when the trip will finally materialize.

The government and TEPCO have also made little progress in gaining support from fishermen and the public, despite holding numerous briefings about the water release plan.

Distrust of the government and the utility remain high in Fukushima Prefecture over their series of mishandling of the nuclear disaster.

Fishermen, in particular, are adamantly opposed to the release of the water into areas where they make their living.

“If you insist on the safety of treated water, why don’t you spray it in your garden or dump it in a river flowing into Tokyo Bay?” Toru Takahashi, a fisherman in Soma, asked government officials at a recent briefing session.

The officials brought with them a huge stack of documents to emphasize the safety of the treated water.

But they lowered their eyes and clammed up when Takahashi and other opponents challenged their view.

“I will never ever drop my opposition,” Takahashi said.

Such opposition has created a headache for leaders of the towns hosting the plant.

They are eager to see progress in the decommissioning work, and getting rid of the huge amount of contaminated water at the plant would be a big step toward rebuilding their affected communities.

After the government’s decision to release the water, Shiro Izawa, mayor of Futaba, a town that co-hosts the plant along with Okuma, called on then industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama to gain support for the water discharge plan from the public and fisheries to advance the decommissioning process.

Futaba, a town with a population of nearly 7,000 before the nuclear disaster, is the only municipality in Fukushima Prefecture that remains entirely under an evacuation order.

In 2015, Futaba grudgingly became the storage site of contaminated soil and debris gathered in the cleanup of municipalities in the prefecture on the pretext of “moving forward rebuilding.”

If the planned water release is further delayed because of opposition from other municipalities, the future of rebuilding Futaba will remain in doubt.

(This story was compiled from reports by Takuro Yamano, Keitaro Fukuchi, Tsuyoshi Kawamura and Mamoru Nagaya.)

February 1, 2022 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, wastes | 1 Comment

In 2022, compensation funds for the nuclear-affected ”Downwinders” are due to expire

Funds for those impacted by nuclear weapons tests set to expire in 2022 By: Bo Evans, , Feb 01, 2022

Raymond Harbert may not have the words to describe it.

“It is really hard to relay all the feelings you get from one of those megaton tests,”

But he never forgot the details of the detonation of a nuclear bomb well.

“If you can imagine, 40 miles away, and you can feel the heat when it arrives. It arrives at a separate time. It’s a prickly heat, and then the pressure wave coming—the brightness. The feeling when they finally say, you can take your glasses off. Those are memories that will stick with me for the rest of my life,” said Harbert.

In this 2005 interview conducted by the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Harbert lays out an experience shared by thousands of Americans exposed to radiation from nuclear weapons tests between 1945 and 1962.

The fallout has lasted for decades.

“People don’t realize over 200 above-ground tests were done between 1945 and 1962, and an additional 900+ were done after that below ground. Which exposed Nevadans, people in Utah, Arizona, Colorado, places that were downwind of these tests to fallout,” said Dr. Laura Shaw.

Shaw works with the Nevada Radiation Exposure Screening & Education Program or RESEP at UNLV to provide medical services and cancer screening to people who are known as downwinders.

We review their history, we look at their medications, we offer additional screenings that include colon cancer screening, lung imaging, labs that screen for diabetes, anemia, cholesterol, so we do a lot,” said Shaw.

It’s all paid for by the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act or RECA. The law was passed in 1990. The fund is set to expire in July 2022.

“These people have another 30, 40 years, hopefully, to live that were potentially exposed, so we need this program much, much longer,” said Shaw.

Some in Congress are attempting to extend and expand the fund.

“Tragically, for some, it is already too late. We’ve lost Idahoans Sheri Garmin, Teresa Valberg, and Srgt. 1st Class Paul Cooper to Cancer,” said Sen. Mark Crapo, (R) Idaho, in a congressional hearing.

The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2021 have been introduced in both the House and Senate and have been referred to committees.

Dr. Shaw remains hopeful it will pass.

“Cancer is still going to happen. These people are going to develop problems associated with their previous exposure. Cancer can happen years later, and it’s not going to pay any attention to any deadlines,” she said.

February 1, 2022 Posted by | health, Legal, Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

“Community Partnership” alerted to surveillance and “intimidation” by Radioactive Waste Management —

LETTER to All Council Members of the Community Partnership with RWM

Dear Council Member of the Community Partnership with RWM This information has been sent to local and national press but in case it is not flagged up by media you should be aware that South Lakes MP Tim Farron has described surveillance and “intimidation” by Radioactive Waste Management as “severely concerning.” Opponents of the plan for a Geological Disposal Facility in Cumbria have been placed under surveillance with social media/online conversations/letters monitored and analysed by companies specialising in behavioural science. This has extended to false information being passed to the police about a leading campaigner by Radioactive Waste Management. The police have been informed that the information passed to them by RWM is false.

Following our own investigation, campaigners at Radiation Free Lakeland discovered that Oxfordshire based Radioactive Waste Management, tasked with “Delivery” of a UK Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) have employed three companies, BrandwatchMHP and Press Data to carry out surveillance. Councillors may be aware that Cumbrian group Radiation Free Lakeland have set up a dedicated volunteer campaign called Lakes Against Nuclear Dump to counter RWM’s remit to Deliver a Geological Disposal Facility for High Level Nuclear Wastes and Near Surface Disposal (at Drigg?) for Intermediate Level Nuclear Wastes.

Information on surveillance from Radioactive Waste Management was asked for by wildlife artist and opponent of nuclear dump plans Marianne Birkby through a Data Subject Access Request. The information is, say campaigners astonishing in its breadth of surveillance, analysis of what has been said in opposition to the deep nuclear dump plans and in discussing RWM actions aimed at discrediting voices opposed to GDF as “scaremongering.”

The extent of surveillance includes correspondence with Cumbria Police and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary. An email was sent by Radioactive Waste Management on 7/27/21 to Cumbria Police saying “The RWM lead [name redacted] has expressed concerns that there could be some local protestors at the event as a well-known local activist Marianne Birkby (Radiation Free Lakelands) has a holiday home nearby.” This says the campaigner is “news to me, I haven’t got a holiday home anywhere! Also I wasn’t even at the event referred to, surely passing false information onto the police is illegal and it feels pretty intimidating.”

Campaigners say that it is frightening that Local Authorities Copeland and Allerdale have now entered into a “Community Partnership” with Radioactive Waste Management which so patently advocates against local communities expressing any dissent to RWM’s remit to Deliver a Geological Disposal Facility.

In a letter to Radiation Free Lakeland, Tim Farron MP states: “I am severely concerned …The police should not be used as a method to harass or intimidate peaceful law-abiding protestors. This surveillance seems wholly unnecessary and is another example of the Government’s growing hostility towards those who would exercise their political freedoms.I am pleased to confirm that I have written to the Minister of State for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change and Radioactive Waste Management to ask them to confirm that such surveillance has been authorised and what cause they have to harass my constituents in this manner.”

Yours sincerely

Marianne Birkby,  Lakes Against Nuclear Dump a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign

February 1, 2022 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons plutonium pits development planned for Los Alamos National Laboratory, but there’s strong opposition on safety grounds.

Nuclear weapons development coming soon to Los Alamos National Laboratory amid safety concerns, Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus

A main component of nuclear weapons was poised to be built in New Mexico after federal regulators granted approval for a plan to prepare Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for the work.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), an arm of the U.S. Department of Energy, announced earlier this month it approved LANL’s project to prepare areas of the lab to be used in plutonium pit production – a project known as LAP4.

Plutonium pits are hollow spheres of plutonium that when compressed using explosives cause a nuclear detonation, per a DOE report.

The pits were first used in the 1940s during the Manhattan Project, the report read, used to detonate atomic bombs tested at the Trinity Site in south-central New Mexico and then in the bomb dropped on Nagasaki in Japan – largely credited with ending World War II.

Since the war ended, Los Alamos’ pit production was limited to research purposes, and from 2007 to 2011 the lab produced pits to replace those in 31 warheads carried on U.S. military submarines.

Between 1952 and 1989, most of the plutonium pits in the U.S. were generated at the Rocky Flats Plant near Denver amid the Cold War with a peak nuclear stockpile of 31,225 weapons outfitted with the pits reported in 1967, read the report.

Rocky Flats was shut down in 1989, and after concerns that the pits produced since the 1980s or earlier would begin to deteriorate over time, Los Alamos was called to make new ones.

The DOE called on Los Alamos to increase efforts at the lab to produce 30 pits a year by 2026, and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina was tasked with producing 50 pits annually by 2030.

That means that by that year, the U.S. would be producing 80 pits per year.

But to prepare LANL for the work, a project to remove existing equipment and glove boxes was needed to make way for pit manufacturing equipment.

That work was intended to begin this spring via a project known as the Decontamination and Decommissioning Subproject, the first of five operations to get the site ready.

equipment and infrastructure needed to safely manufacture pits for the nuclear stockpile,” said Summer Jones, NNSA assistant deputy administrator for production modernization at LANL.

“LAP4 is a complex, challenging endeavor, and getting the approval to begin the D&D subproject is a big step toward restoring this important capability.”

Opponents call for environmental review of plutonium operations 

The effort to resume producing plutonium pits and thus nuclear weapons at the New Mexico lab and in South Carolina as met with controversy from government officials and watchdog groups in both states opposing the projects.  

Santa Fe City Councilors passed a resolution last year calling for a “site-wide” environmental impact statement to be conducted and any safety issued be resolved and certified by the federal government before pit production was increased.

“The Governing Body (Santa Fe City Council) requests that the National Nuclear Security Administration suspend any planned expanded plutonium pit production until all nuclear safety issues are resolved, as certified by the independent Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board,” read the resolution.

Nuclear Watch New Mexico and Savannah River Site Watch subsequently in June 2021 filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina’s Aiken Division against the DOE and NNSA, arguing pit production should not be increased until site-wide environmental analysis were conducted at both facilities.

“The drastic expansion of plutonium pit production and the utilization of more than one facility to undertake this production are substantial changes from the Defendants’ long-standing approach of producing a limited number of pits at only one facility,” the suit read.

The suit argued the increased pit production was not only intended for replacing existing warheads but to develop a new warhead known as the W87-1.

This project was developed with proper environmental analysis, the suit read, or proper planning for where associated nuclear waste would be disposed of.

“The drastic expansion of plutonium pit production and the utilization of more than one facility to undertake this production are substantial changes from the Defendants’ long-standing approach of producing a limited number of pits at only one facility,” read the suit.

In southeastern New Mexico is the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), a repository for low-level transuranic (TRU) nuclear waste – clothing materials and equipment irradiated during nuclear activities.

But the litigants argued WIPP was already at limited capacity and its current permit with the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) specified the repository would have to cease waste disposal by 2024 and begin the decommissioning process.

The DOE last year submitted a permit renewal application to NMED that removed the 2024 closure date, leaving WIPP’s lifetime largely open ended.

Still, the suit alleged the DOE failed to address the need for waste disposal.

“As a National Academy of Sciences has concluded, the WIPP is already oversubscribed for future waste from multiple sites and will overextend its capacity from this increase in TRU production from the pit project and other DOE projects set to generate large amounts of TRU waste,” read the suit.

“The Defendants have failed to meaningfully address this critical waste disposal question.”

February 1, 2022 Posted by | - plutonium, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The nuclear future and the dread factor

The nuclear future and the dread factor, Cape Cod Times,  Brent Harold, Columnist 31 Jan 22, ”…………………  The struggle over the nuclear future is still on. The movement to overcome public dread and get nuclear back on track is hot in the U.S, fueled by the idea that only nuclear power will slow climate change and the self-fulfilling prophecy that even a concerted commitment to solar, wind and water will never get the job done.

(The nuclear power optimists who dismiss those they see as irrationally fearful of nuclear technology are themselves irrational pessimists when it comes to the less fear-inspiring technologies of solar, wind, hydro and — often overlooked — conservation.)

Whether nuclear power ends up playing a large role in the energy future depends on how we as a society end up answering the questions: What should be the role, if any, of human feelings about this or any technology? Should we overcome and suppress fear of nukes and let technology decisions be decided by the for-profit industry?  Perhaps turn the decision over to AI?

Or, should we, on the contrary, listen to and respect that fear? Should we in fact insist that judgments about this and any technology be based at least in part on the feelings — instinctual, commonsensical — of the vulnerable creatures we are?

February 1, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, culture and arts, psychology - mental health | Leave a comment

Iran says nuclear talks have made ‘significant’ headway

Iran says nuclear talks have made ‘significant’ headway, Argus  31 Jan 22, Negotiations in Vienna aimed at restoring the 2015 Iran nuclear deal made “significant progress” over the past three weeks, although differences remain on some key points, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said today.

The latest round of discussions resumed in December, with all the original parties to the deal working concurrently on issues relating to sanctions relief, Iran’s nuclear activities, verification and sequencing. The talks broke up late last week to allow delegates to return to their countries for consultations with their respective governments.

“The negotiations over the past three weeks have seen significant progress in four areas: sanctions lifting, nuclear commitments, verification and guarantees,” Khatibzadeh said, echoing some of the more positive assessments that have been made over the past few days.

Russia’s envoy to the talks Mikhail Ulyanov said last week that a deal between Iran and the US could be sealed as early as the end of February. The US has also been more optimistic in its appraisal of the talks, with White House Middle East adviser Brett McGurk saying last week that we are “in the ballpark of a possible deal”…………………….

February 1, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

US DOE announces clean-up progress at Savannah River Site

US DOE announces clean-up progress at Savannah River Site,  NEI Magazine,  31 January 2022  The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Environmental Management (EM) and its clean-up contractor at the Savannah River Site (SRS) have reached an important record of decision (ROD) agreement with South Carolina and federal environmental regulators on the final clean-up of a 25-mile-long stream corridor at the site. 

The corridor consists of Par Pond, nine miles of canals adjacent to the pond and a stream named Lower Three Runs. The stream begins near the centre of the site, just above Par Pond, and winds its way southward across SRS.

SRS, a 310-square-mile-site in Aiken, South Carolina, focused on the production of plutonium and tritium for use in the manufacture of nuclear weapons from its inception in the early 1950s until the end of the Cold War. In 1992, the focus turned to environmental clean-up, nuclear materials management, and research and development activities……………………

SRNS Engineer and Project Technical Lead Jim Kupar explained that much of the remaining work involves ensuring additional fencing and signage are in place to warn site workers and the public that potential hazards may be present. “Though it is illegal for the public to cross the fencing onto SRS, our first priority is always their safety,” he said.

He added that surveying 25 miles of waterways, especially Lower Three Runs, was often challenging and sometimes potentially hazardous within the forest…………………..

February 1, 2022 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) of the UK and Ireland call for truly green energy on old nuclear sites

NFLA endorses call for real green energy on former nuclear sites

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) of the UK and Ireland has called for renewable technologies to be used to produce ‘real green energy’ on land formerly occupied by now decommissioned nuclear power plants.

The NFLA was pleased to see the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), the agency charged with making safe and clearing closed civil nuclear plants, committing itself in its latest draft Business Plan to being a ‘net (carbon) zero’ business, but disheartened by the lack of detail.

In its response to the consultation on the plan concluded today by the NDA, the NFLA hopes that ‘active consideration can be given to generating onsite power and heat to support decommissioning operations using renewable technologies.

Councillor David Blackburn, Chair of the NFLA Steering Committee, said:

“We are surprised that the NDA has not picked up on the obvious. The land formerly occupied by nuclear power plants, whilst not being so attractive for residential, leisure or office developments, has great potential to be the location for solar farms, wind turbines and ‘green’ hydrogen. Or, where these plants are located by the sea, even to support offshore generation through being a support base for wind farms and tidal schemes. By their nature, nuclear plants are also linked to the electricity grid.  Why not use their geographical situation and infrastructure for ‘real green’ energy generation?”

In its draft Business Plan, the NDA has indicated that the following land on each of these redundant power plant sites has now been ‘de-designated’ from nuclear use: Berkeley – 11 hectares; Harwell – 23 hectares; Oldbury – 32 hectares; Winfrith – 10 hectares; and Capenhurst – 17 hectares, but over the next decade all of the UK’s remaining outdated Advanced Gas Cooled reactors will be closed and decommissioning will begin, a process that will take over 100 years.

Councillor Blackburn added: “Clearly NDA operatives will be on-site for a long-time so an investment in micro-generation schemes, such as roof-mounted solar, a solar farm or wind turbines, would pay for itself many fold. Not only would the NDA reap the dividend of generating renewable power to support decommissioning operations, but it would also reduce the agency’s carbon footprint.  And as 1,043 hectares is expected to be eventually freed up, there is no reason that the agency could not become a net exporter of renewable energy to the National Grid.”

In its response, the NFLA references a community-owned renewable energy provider which has a 915 KW solar farm on a 1.6 hectare site, and points out that the Oldbury ‘de-designated land’ is 32 hectares, enough to theoretically host twenty such schemes.  For more information please contact: Richard Outram, Secretary, NFLA email   / mobile 07583 097793

February 1, 2022 Posted by | politics, renewable, UK | Leave a comment