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Ukraine’s reactors – largest nuclear complex in Europe – IN DANGER

An unverified map showing conflict points in Ukraine as of February 24, 2022. (Own work, derivate of Russo-Ukraine Conflict (2014-present).svg by Rr016 based on map provided by BNO News
Author Viewsridge/Wikimedia Commons)

Ukraine’s reactors at risk  

15 reactors plus Chernobyl in unprecedented warzone situation

A statement by Beyond Nuclear. 25 Feb 22,

Beyond Nuclear joins the chorus of voices calling for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ukraine, a situation that could become orders of magnitude worse should any of the country’s 15 nuclear reactors suffer major damage due to military exchanges.

We are in an unprecedented situation, with, for the first time, a war happening in a region where there are operating nuclear reactors. This presents an extreme risk to human life unlike any we have seen in previous wars, even when traditional infrastructure has been bombed and destroyed.

The humanitarian tragedy is already enormous, with people fleeing, abandoning homes and businesses, with their lives upended and their safety and survival in jeopardy. However, should a major release of radioactivity occur due to the damage or destruction of any one of the country’s 15 reactors, the scale of the disaster would escalate to unimaginable proportions, affecting populations well beyond the boundaries of Ukraine and Russia.

Military activity around the Chernobyl nuclear site and within the Exclusion Zone is also of great concern. Reports are coming in showing elevated rates of radiation stirred up by the presence of troops, tanks and heavy equipment moving through the highly radioactively contaminated region, which is closed to regular human habitation. In April 2020, when a major wildfire consumed the area, radiation levels rose by 16 times.

The occupation of the site by Russian military personnel, reportedly the result of a firefight at the plant site, is already a concern. This takeover has called a halt to all activities on the site, which houses a significant inventory of radioactive waste.

Any attack or accidental hit on the Chernobyl nuclear site is of even greater alarm. The new protective dome, euphemistically known as the New Safe Confinement building, that encases the exploded Unit 4’s crumbling sarcophagus, is by no means impervious to damage.

Within this dome lie unstable slurries of radioactive liquids, sludges and sands containing uranium, plutonium and other radioactive wastes. As recently as last May, workers detected an unusual rise in neutrons in the wastes lying in the basement of the destroyed Unit 4, raising fears of a chain reaction or even an explosion. War activities in and around the Chernobyl site, therefore, are a reason for high concern.

The six reactor Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in eastern Ukraine is of greatest concern, given its size — the largest power plant in Europe — and location. (Photo: Wikimapia)

The ISF2 (Interim Spent Fuel Storage #2 dry cask facility) at Chernobyl is also of serious concern. Its design, construction, management, and operation has been flawed from the start. Orano (formerly Areva) of France was effectively fired for the design and construction flaws. But serious problems have persisted even after Holtec International’s takeover of ISF2 management. An irradiated nuclear fuel fire at ISF2, whether due to intentional attack or unintended accident, could result in catastrophic releases of highly radioactive wastes into the environment over a large region.

The 15 operating reactors — located at Rivne (4), Khmelnitsky (2), South Ukraine (3) and Zaporizhzhia (6) — are all vulnerable to catastrophic meltdown, even if they are not directly attacked or accidentally hit.  

As at Fukushima, a loss of offsite power followed by a loss of onsite power could cause the workforce to lose control of the reactor. If cooling is lost, the reactor will heat up, the water level within the reactor core drops and the fuel rods are exposed. Explosive gases are released, as happened at Fukushima-Daiichi in March 2011, where we saw three reactor explosions. Should these gases find a spark, similar explosions could occur at one or more of Ukraine’s reactors.

Of even greater concern are the fuel pools containing the irradiated fuel rods, and unprotected by the containment building. If a fuel pool is hit and either drains down or boils dry, exposing the fuel assemblies, fire is a real risk. Fuel pools contain far more radioactivity than the reactor itself and a fire would release even greater amounts of radiation.

A war zone could also create a dangerous environment for the nuclear workforce and their families, tempting some to evacuate. But a nuclear power plant, even under daily, routine operations, is not walkaway safe and cannot be abandoned. This presents a terrible, and sacrificial choice that should not have to be made.

The situation in Ukraine is unacceptable at a time when humanity should be coming together to take on our collective existential threat — the climate crisis. The situation in Ukraine brings home all too clearly that nuclear power plants are a dangerous liability and certainly not a solution to the climate crisis.

We are thinking of those suffering as a result of this pointless and cruel war, and offer a list of organizations to which humanitarian aid donations can be made to help the innocent victims caught up in this senseless violence.


February 26, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine, weapons and war | 2 Comments

Russian forces now control Chernobyl, inviting speculation and uncertainty

Russian forces now control Chernobyl, inviting speculation and uncertainty, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, By Susan D’Agostino | February 25, 2022  Yesterday, Russian forces seized control of the defunct Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the still-radioactive site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster. The plant, along with the approximately 1,000-square mile radius around it known as the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, supports ongoing work focused on nuclear waste management and storage…

Though the International Atomic Energy Agency, a United Nations watchdog, reported that there have been “no casualties nor destruction” at Chernobyl, experts and the public are now at work attempting to understand the potential risks posed by the takeover. While some offer measured responses concerning the potential for human and ecological disaster, others express alarm. Many posit theories for why Russia sought to seize control of Chernobyl, including using the site as a base, for a potential act of terrorism, or for the symbolic “win” it may represent.

Igor Konashenkov, a spokesperson for Russian Military of Defense, said in a statement that the Ukrainian staff “continues to service the facilities in a routine mode and monitor the radioactive situation.” Konashenkov did not indicate that Russian soldiers were holding the workers hostage, as Kateryna Pavlova, Chernobyl’s Head of the Department for International Cooperation and Public Relations, told the Bulletin yesterday.

“The most dangerous part is that we lost control,” Pavlova said. “Some part of the staff from Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and National Guard have been kidnapped. They can’t connect. They can’t report.”

White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, later expressed similar concern: “This unlawful and dangerous hostage-taking, which could upend the routine civil service efforts required to maintain and protect the nuclear waste facilities, is obviously incredibly alarming. We condemn it, and we request their release.”

Expert views of the potential risk have changed since the news broke. For example, yesterday the American Nuclear Society wrote in a tweet that the hostilities in the region “have not resulted in any additional radiological risk.” And Edwin Lyman, director of nuclear power safety at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, said, “I can’t imagine how it would be in Russia’s interest to allow any facilities at Chernobyl to be damaged.”

Yet this morning, the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine reported that radiation levels in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone were “exceeded at a significant number of observation points” since Russian forces assumed control. The Ukrainian regulatory body attributed the excessive levels to the “disturbance of the top layer of soil from movement of a large number of radio heavy military” and an “increase of air pollution.”

“But now it is currently impossible to establish the reasons for the change in the radiation background in the exclusion zone because of the occupation and military fight in this territory,” the agency’s website said.

A Russian defense ministry official has disputed the claim of excessive radiation levels……..

Chernobyl sits along a short path from the Russia-Ukraine border to Ukraine’s capital. Pavlova, who described the takeover as a “psychological and humanitarian disaster,” notes that Chernobyl’s facilities and location might have been part of the allure. “We have houses where they can stay and leave. It could be their base,” Pavlova said. “It’s very close to Kyiv—only 140 kilometers. The airport is also nearby. It’s a very good location to bring their troops.”

The stricken reactor has been entombed in a sarcophagus—a steel and concrete coffin-like structure—since 1986. In 2016, another structure—known as New Safe Confinement, which is “strong enough to withstand a tornado” and designed to last 100 years, according to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development—was placed over the sarcophagus. The New Safe Confinement was funded by more than 30 countries at a cost of $1.5 billion.

Still, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned that the Russian takeover “may cause another ecological disaster” and that if the war continues, Chernobyl “can happen again in 2022.”

Others were less concerned. “[T]he bigger risk comes from the potential for fighting around Ukraine’s four active nuclear power plants, which contain 15 separate reactors and generated over half the country’s electricity in 2020,” James M. Acton, co-director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote in a post………

Despite divergent early takes on the potential risks of this unfolding situation, Pavlova, who once served as Acting Head of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone during a time when wildfires were rampant, is alarmed. “Not so many people understand how dangerous nuclear power plants are in the case of war,” Pavlova said. “I want the world to know that we are one little step—a few millimeters—from destroying our world.”

February 26, 2022 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The U.K. Wanted to Extradite Assange to the U.S. From the Start

The attempt to extradite Assange to the United States is a clear breakdown of the rule of law, which is continuing in the post-Trump era. The yearn to punish and send a warning to others has been given precedence over human rights, rule of law, and freedom of expression. The persecution must end now.

The U.K. Wanted to Extradite Assange to the U.S. From the Start

In a 2016 meeting, Britain’s deputy minister of foreign affairs removed the diplomatic mask. 
Guillaume LongFebruary 25 2022, THE U.K. HIGH COURT ruling that Julian Assange should be extradited to face trial in the United States — a decision that Amnesty International has called a “travesty of justice” — came as no surprise to me. It’s what the U.K. government always wanted. I know because the British deputy minister of foreign affairs told me.

Many pundits and politicians talk of the extradition proceedings against Assange as if they were an unforeseen legal outcome that came about as Assange’s situation unfolded. This is not true. My experience as the foreign minister of Ecuador — the South American country that granted Assange asylum — left me in no doubt that the U.K. wanted Assange’s extradition to the United States from the very beginning.

One encounter I had with Alan Duncan, the former British minister of state for Europe and the Americas, in October 2016 really let the cat out of the bag. At our meeting in the Dominican Republic, Duncan went on extensively about how loathsome Assange was. While I didn’t anticipate Duncan to profess his love for our asylee, I had expected a more professional diplomatic exchange. But the most important moment of the meeting was when I reiterated that Ecuador’s primary fear was the transfer of Assange to the United States, at which point Duncan turned to his staff and exclaimed something very close to, “Yes, well, good idea. How would we go about extraditing him to the Americans?”

His advisers squirmed in embarrassment. They had spent the last four years trying to reassure Ecuador that this was not what the U.K. was after. I responded that this was news indeed. I then wondered whether Duncan left the meeting feeling he had made a mess of it.

I was particularly surprised by Duncan’s candor because my June 2016 meeting with his predecessor, Hugo Swire, in Whitehall, had been quite different. It’s not that Swire wasn’t equally contemptuous of the irritating South American country that had granted Assange asylum; it is more that Swire actually knew the case well.

Swire stuck to the U.K.’s position: Nobody wanted to extradite Assange to the United States. The Ecuadorian government was “deluded” and “paranoid.” This had nothing to do with the issue of freedom of expression or even WikiLeaks. The case was all about accusations in Sweden against Assange. Ecuador should stop protecting a potential sex offender.

Events since have demonstrated that the British argument that Assange was “holed up” in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid facing sexual assault allegations in Sweden was deceitful. The case was always about Assange’s publishing activities as the head of WikiLeaks. In fact, my government had made it clear to both its British and Swedish counterparts that if Ecuador received guarantees of nonextradition from Sweden to the United States, Ecuador would have no problem with Assange traveling to Sweden to face questioning. Assange himself agreed to this. But Sweden refused to offer such guarantees, which obviously further heightened Ecuador’s suspicions that Assange was being persecuted.

Had Swire been telling the truth, the Swedish prosecutor’s decision not to press charges against Assange in May 2017 would have enabled Assange to walk free from the embassy. The remaining claim that he breached his bail by successfully applying for political asylum should have been easily resolved after the European arrest warrant was dropped. But the U.K. refused to let Assange slip away, and he remained in the Ecuadorian Embassy for two more years before a new Ecuadorian government, heavily leaned on by the Trump administration, consented to having him brutally removed in April 2019.

Maybe it was simply that Duncan’s hatred for Assange, whom he referred to as a “miserable little worm” in Parliament in March 2018, was too pure to be tempered in our meeting. Duncan’s published diaries certainly attest to the fact that Assange’s arrest became an overriding obsession and eventually a personal trophy. When the time came, Duncan watched Assange’s extraction from the embassy — which he refers to as Operation Pelican — on a live feed and later held “drinks in my office for all the Operation Pelican team.”

Duncan’s deeply felt disdain for what he called “the supposed human rights of Julian Assange” are probably part and parcel of his fervent allegiance to the Anglo-American security partnership. Duncan served on the U.K.’s Intelligence and Security Committee in 2015–2016. He is also a member of the secretive, transatlantic organization “Le Cercle,” an ultra conservative think tank with strong links to the intelligence community in Europe and the United States.

We can only speculate whether Duncan’s close relationship with whom he calls his “good friend and Oxford contemporary Ian Burnett,” the Lord Chief Justice who gave the green light to Assange’s extradition, interfered with the judicial process. But the extradition proceedings have been problematic from the beginning. A coalition of major human rights and press freedom organizations — including Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, and First Look Institute’s Press Freedom Defense Fund — have urged the U.S. Justice Department “to dismiss the indictment of Mr. Assange” on the grounds that it “threatens press freedom” and marks a precedent that “could effectively criminalize … common journalistic practices.” The top editors of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, and others have agreed with these experts.

The attempt to extradite Assange to the United States is a clear breakdown of the rule of law, which is continuing in the post-Trump era. The yearn to punish and send a warning to others has been given precedence over human rights, rule of law, and freedom of expression. The persecution must end now.

February 26, 2022 Posted by | media, politics, UK | 1 Comment

The Most Immediate Nuclear Danger in Ukraine Isn’t Chernobyl

The Most Immediate Nuclear Danger in Ukraine Isn’t Chernobyl,    Even though an accident is unlikely, Russia must take exceptional measures to avoid a nuclear catastrophe. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,  James M. Acton 24 Feb 22,

……………The most immediate nuclear danger, however, comes from Ukraine’s nuclear power plants. …………  the bigger risk comes from the potential for fighting around Ukraine’s four active nuclear power plants, which contain fifteen separate reactors and generated over half of the country’s electricity in 2020..

Chernobyl is inside a large exclusion zone, and the uninhabited space would mitigate the consequences of a second nuclear accident there. Ukraine’s other reactors are not similarly isolated. Moreover, much of the fuel in these other reactors is substantially more radioactive than the fuel at Chernobyl. To put it simply, nuclear power plants are not designed for war zones. It seems exceedingly unlikely that Moscow would authorize deliberate attacks on these facilities, but they could nonetheless become targets in a war that will, in any case, disrupt their operations.

For Ukrainian nuclear power plant staff, merely traveling to work may be a dangerous act—making it potentially challenging to ensure the reactor can be operated safely. In the event of an accident, backup personnel, such as firefighters, may not be able to reach the plant—not least because they could be involved in civilian relief efforts

Moreover, nuclear power plants might be targeted inadvertently. These facilities use power from the state’s electricity grid to help cool the reactor in the event it is forced to shut down. While backup power systems, such as diesel generators, are available, the power grid is one important line of defense. There is a very real risk of such power being lost in Ukraine if Russian forces attack the country’s electricity infrastructure—as NATO forces did against Serbia during the 1999 Kosovo War and Russia itself did against Ukraine in 2015 using cyber tools.

Even if Moscow doesn’t authorize direct attacks against nuclear power plants, such attacks might occur anyway. A weapon aimed at a nearby target could hit a nuclear power plant if its navigation system failed. If Russian forces believed that Ukrainian defense forces were inside a nuclear power plant, they could call in an airstrike, perhaps in contravention of an order not to attack nuclear power plants. This concern isn’t hypothetical: In 2017, U.S. special operation forces in Syria called in an attack against a dam that was on a “no strike” list. The resulting damage almost caused the dam to fail, which would likely have led to the drowning of tens of thousands of civilians.

The CEO of the company that operates Ukraine’s nuclear power plants has stressed that they are designed to withstand an aircraft crash. However, munitions are often designed to penetrate thick layers of protective concrete. One particularly serious risk is that a direct attack might drain the pools in which spent fuel is stored, often in large amounts. Without cooling, this fuel could melt, releasing very large quantities of radioactivity. This kind of accident was the “worst-case” outcome envisioned by officials as the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident in Japan unfolded in 2011.I set out these scenarios with some hesitation. The likelihood of a serious nuclear accident is probably quite small……………..

Nonetheless, even if a nuclear accident is still quite unlikely, its effects could be severe and would add significantly to the long-term consequences  of this invasion for Ukraine’s population. Moscow will be directly responsible for any nuclear accident that is caused, directly or indirectly, by its aggression. If it doesn’t want such an accident to be added to its growing list of crimes, it must take exceptional measures to avoid one.

February 26, 2022 Posted by | safety, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Doubts about extending the lives of USA’s nuclear reactors as federal regulators halt 80 year extension time for 3 reactors

Feds walk back plans for nuclear reactors to run 80 years, E and E News, By Kristi E. Swartz, Jeremy Dillon | 02/25/202
  Federal nuclear regulators have reversed course on letting three of the nation’s nuclear power plants run for an unprecedented 80 years, arguing an updated environmental study is needed beforehand.

The surprising decision is a blow to the nuclear industry, which has been pushing to keep existing reactors running for as long as possible while simultaneously touting next-generation technology that could be ready in the coming decade.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission yesterday told 

Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) that its two Turkey Point nuclear reactors must go through a full environmental review before the agency will allow them to run for an additional 20 years. The NRC originally signed off on the extension in late 2019, using what’s known as a generic environmental study.

The NRC agreed with a legal challenge from several environmental and consumer groups, which argued that a full National Environmental Policy Act review is needed for the already aging reactors to run another 20 years.

The review should include significant new environmental issues that have come up since 2013, the year that a general environmental impact statement was prepared.

Yesterday’s decision applies to other reactors that have won approval to operate for 80 years as well as others with pending applications.

“[We] will not issue any further licenses for subsequent renewal terms until the NRC staff … has completed an adequate NEPA review for each application,” the commission said in one of three written orders.

Diane Curran, an attorney for Beyond Nuclear, said the decision “is a tremendous advance for nuclear reactor safety and environmental protection, because it commits NRC to evaluate the unique risks of renewing reactor licenses for a second term.”

Noted risks include safety and environmental issues that stem from aging equipment, she said.

“This decision paves the way for a hard look at those significant concerns,” said Curran.

Richard Ayres, an attorney for Friends of the Earth, said the decision was a complete surprise. It wasn’t until yesterday that he and others learned that the NRC would hold a morning meeting.

He called the decision “rare” and said he hoped it was a sign that the NRC would continue to strengthen its regulatory action.

Ayers said he thinks the NRC’s decision will lead to a “significant delay” in currently operating reactors getting additional extensions to run for 80 years. And “hopefully, it means a real thoughtful consideration of how climate change will affect these units and how, frankly, age will affect them,” Ayers said in an interview with E&E News.

FPL’s Turkey Point reactors were the first in the nation to win NRC approval to run another 20 years (Energywire, Dec. 6, 2019). The NRC issued that decision in late 2019.

Constellation Energy Corp.’s Peach Bottom nuclear power station in Pennsylvania got the same green light three months later (E&E News PM, March 6, 2020). Dominion Energy Inc.’s Surry nuclear power plant received approval in 2021 but is not named in the NRC’s decisions (Energywire, May 5, 2021). It is not clear why.

An FPL spokesperson said the NRC’s decisions do not affect its authority to operate the Turkey Point reactors currently but apply to the agency’s environmental review for plant operations in the future, starting in 2032.

“We are evaluating the NRC’s decisions to determine our next steps in the license renewal process,” FPL spokesperson Bill Orlove said in a statement.

The Turkey Point reactors are not without controversy, particularly because of their location. Florida has been the centerpiece of debates over the impacts of climate change, and rising seas already plague its coastal towns (Climatewire, Nov. 6, 2019). Turkey Point is on the southern tip of Florida in Miami-Dade County, near Biscayne Bay.

The site is the only one in the United States to use canals to keep the reactors cool. While the 168-linear-mile watery maze has been credited with removing the American crocodile from the endangered species list in a state racked by the effects of climate change, environmentalists argue that the canals make the area ground zero for algal blooms and excessive salinity, threatening nearby water wells (Energywire, July 15, 2019).

“Increased flooding risk caused by climate change poses serious risks to the safe operation of Turkey Point — and greater risks in the decades ahead,” said Caroline Reiser, an attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a statement.

The NRC’s decision throws uncertainty into the relicensing process as it undoes a decision previously made by the Republican-controlled commission during the Trump administration……..

For operators of the reactors, the NRC change introduces a new level of uncertainty into the age extension program.

Already, as part of the relicensing process, the reactors had to demonstrate a host of performance metrics to show that the plant’s structural and protective integrity could withstand an additional 20 years of operations.

A new environmental impact statement requirement could add another “three years or more” to an already lengthy process, an industry group said in a statement to E&E News………

February 26, 2022 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

UK government study shows that nuclear test veterans were more likely to have cancer and die

More than 20,000 men, many on National Service, were ordered to take part in 45 nuclear weapons tests and 593 radioactive ‘minor trials’ in America, Australia and the South Pacific between 1952 and 1991.They later reported cancer, blood disease, miscarriages for their wives and 10 times the usual rate of birth defects in their children, but the MoD spent millions denying war pensions and compensation, insisting there was no proof.

Nuclear test veterans were more likely to have cancer and die, government study finds, Mirror, By
Susie Boniface 25 Feb 2022

A study found out that nuclear test veterans were more likely to die. There are now cross-party calls for a public inquiry and immediate compensation, as well as a medal, 
Men ordered to take part in Cold War radiation experiments WERE more likely to die, according to a government study which has blown apart 70 years of official denials.

  • Nuclear test veterans told to watch atomic blasts then live, eat, and drink amid the fallout have raised rates of multiple cancers, the research has found.They are nearly four times more likely to die from a bone marrow cancer seen in survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and more likely than other servicemen to take their own lives.The shocking research proves:
    • HALF the crew of HMS Diana, ordered twice to sail through fallout in 1956, died from tumours;
    • Atomic scientists were SEVEN times more likely to kill themselves;
    • RAF decontamination crews were FIVE times more likely to die from leukaemia;
    • There were more cancers than deaths, meaning some veterans have fought multiple malignancies;
    • And despite Ministry of Defence claims servicemen were well-protected, three-quarters were not checked for radiation, while clean-up workers were both unmonitored, and more likely to die from blood cancer.
  • There are now cross-party calls for a public inquiry and immediate compensation, as well as a medal.Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “This is all the evidence required to seek a formal inquiry into the issues and injustices that more than 20,000 veterans of nuclear testing have faced. It appears to be incontrovertible proof that their service led to serious health issues.“They need recognition and for the government to give them the respect owed to them by acknowledging what they have known for years: they paid a devastating price for their vital role in protecting our country. We are at a critical moment in this journey for justice and we need to see action now.”
  • His call for speed was echoed by Tory grandee Sir John Hayes, patron of the British Nuclear Test Veteran Association, who said: “There can be no doubt and no more excuses. Based on these facts, we need to act with no delay to recognise these exceptional veterans’ extraordinary sacrifice.”
  • More than 20,000 men, many on National Service, were ordered to take part in 45 nuclear weapons tests and 593 radioactive ‘minor trials’ in America, Australia and the South Pacific between 1952 and 1991.They later reported cancer, blood disease, miscarriages for their wives and 10 times the usual rate of birth defects in their children, but the MoD spent millions denying war pensions and compensation, insisting there was no proof.

The new research comes eight months before the 70th anniversary of Britain’s first nuclear test, Operation Hurricane, on October 3, 1952. It was published without warning on the morning that Russia invaded Ukraine.

It looked at causes of death among 21,357 veterans compared to a control group of servicemen who were not at the tests. It traced only 85 per cent, but found three per cent more veterans had died from cancer and two per cent more veterans died from other causes.

Test veterans were 20 per cent more likely than controls to die from stomach cancer or pleural cancer, 59 per cent more likely to die from skin cancer, and 26 per cent more likely to die from acute lymphatic leukaemia.

  • There were 12 per cent more deaths from suicide, and 377 per cent more deaths from chronic myeloid leukaemia.
  • CML is caused by genetic mutations in the bone marrow. By-products of nuclear weapons, including plutonium-239 and strontium-90 are considered “bone-seeking” when absorbed by man, and it is known that they can damage DNA.Stuart Ross, whose dad Archie was a RAF corporal at Christmas Island in 1958 and died in 2015 from aggressive leukaemia, said it was time to released the veterans’ military medical records.
  • “My dad suffered for years with a layer of skin growing between his eyelid and eyeball, a daughter born with an outsized arm, and a grandson with Down’s syndrome. Then he died within six weeks of being diagnosed with blood cancer,” said Stuart, 57, of Hertford.“I’ve asked for the blood tests dad and many other veterans had taken when he was on the island, and officials tell me they don’t exist. They’re hidden somewhere. The Defence Secretary must order them to be released to the families. We deserve the truth.”The latest research studied an extra 19 years of data, and found higher rates for many types of death than were in three previous studies, first ordered by Margaret Thatcher in 1983.The report’s authors at the UK Health Security Agency warned that the MoD could no longer rely on dodgy dose records from the 1950s, saying that there should be no raised risk of death or cancer if the records “accurately reflect the broad levels of exposure”. They added that risks they found should be expected “if, in fact, doses… had been much larger than recorded”.
  • The Mirror has campaigned for justice for the test veterans since the 1980s…………..

February 26, 2022 Posted by | health, politics, Reference, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Increased radiation levels around Chernobyl probably due to military’s disturbance of soil around exclusion zone

Chernobyl radiation levels increase 20-fold after heavy fighting around the facility, Live Science, By Ben Turner  25 Feb 22,

Gamma radiation has increased to 20 times its usual levels in the area. The Chernobyl nuclear power plant and its surrounding area are showing increased radiation levels after heavy fighting between Ukrainian and Russian troops in the region, Ukrainian officials said Friday (Feb. 25).

Online data from the Chernobyl exclusion zone’s automated radiation-monitoring system shows that gamma radiation has increased twenty times above usual levels at multiple observation points, which officials from the Ukrainian nuclear agency attributed to radioactive dust thrown up by the movement of heavy military equipment in the area.   

The defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant has been under occupation by attacking Russian soldiers since Thursday (Feb. 24) after Russian president Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in the early hours of the morning. Workers at the facility, stationed there to monitor and maintain radiation levels within safe bounds, have been taken hostage by Russian troops, according to Anna Kovalenko, a Ukrainian military expert.

“The station staff is being held hostage. This threatens the security of not only Ukraine but also a significant part of Europe,” Kovalenko wrote on Facebook.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a news briefing on Thursday (Feb. 24) that the Biden administration was “outraged” by reports of Russian troops holding Chernobyl plant staff against their will and demanded their release. She warned that the action “could upend the routine civil service efforts required to maintain and protect the nuclear waste facilities.”

As one of the most radioactive places in the world, large parts of the Chernobyl exclusion zone have been closed off since the disastrous meltdown of Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986. In that year, two enormous explosions inside the plant’s reactor flipped its 2,000-ton (1,800 metric tons) lid like a coin, blanketing the surrounding 1,000-square-mile (2,600 square kilometers) with radioactive dust and reactor chunks. Following evacuation and the dousing of the nuclear fire — which cost many firefighters their lives — the reactor was sealed off and the area deemed uninhabitable by humans for the next 24,000 years. 

Heavy fighting around the plant on Thursday (Feb. 24) led to concerns that stray munitions could accidentally pierce the exploded reactor’s two layers of protection — consisting of a new, outer safe-confinement structure and an inner concrete sarcophagus — and release the deadly radioactive fallout trapped inside.  

In a contradictory statement, Igor Konashenkov, the spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said that radiation around the plant was within normal levels and that Russian forces were working with the facilities’ staff to ensure the area’s safety……..

The site, which is just 60 miles (97 km) north of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, lies on a direct invasion route between Kyiv and the Russian forces’ northern entry point to Ukraine at the Belarusian border. 

Claire Corkhill, a professor of nuclear material degradation at the University of Sheffield in the U.K., wrote on Twitter that the gamma radiation around the Chernoybl plant “looks to have increased by around 20 times compared with a few days ago.” However, caution should be taken “not to over-interpret at this stage,” she said.

This appears to be based on a single data point,” Corkhill added in a separate tweet. “What is intriguing is that the level of radiation has increased mostly around the main routes in and out of the Chernobyl exclusion zone, as well as the reactor. This would tend to suggest that increased movement of people or vehicles may have disturbed radioactive dust.”

The highly radioactive fuel inside the Chernobyl reactor is buried deep beneath the defunct plant and is unlikely to be released unless the reactor is directly targeted, Corkhill said…….

February 26, 2022 Posted by | environment, radiation, Ukraine | Leave a comment

French nuclear regulator halts assembly of huge ITER nuclear fusion reactor

French nuclear regulator halts assembly of huge fusion reactor
ITER must satisfy safety concerns before welding reactor vessel
. 24 FEB 2022, BY DANIEL CLERY      France’s nuclear regulator has ordered ITER, an international fusion energy project, to hold off on assembling its gigantic reactor until officials address safety concerns.

This month, the ITER Organization was expecting to get the green light to begin to weld together the 11-meter-tall steel sections that make up the doughnut-shaped reactor, called a tokamak. But on 25 January, France’s Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) sent a letter ordering a stoppage until ITER can address concerns about neutron radiation, slight distortions in the steel sections, and loads on the concrete slab holding up the reactor. ITER staff say they intend to satisfy ASN by April so they can begin to weld the reactor vessel by July. “We’re working very hard for that,” says ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot.

February 26, 2022 Posted by | France, technology | Leave a comment

Radiation levels increased at Chernobyl, after Russian troops seized the area.

Radiation levels have increased at Chernobyl after Russian troops seized
the area yesterday, Ukraine warns. Russian forces took control of the
defunct plant in a ‘fierce’ battle on Thursday. The condition of the plant
was unknown, but sparked fears of a radiation leak. Ukraine’s State Nuclear
Regulatory Inspectorate said Friday that higher gamma radiation levels have
been detected in the Chernobyl zone. Russian officials denied this,
claiming radiation levels at the site were normal.

 Daily Mail 25th Feb 2022

February 26, 2022 Posted by | radiation, Ukraine | Leave a comment

A rogue journalist ponders on Ukraine situation

Caitlin Johnstone: 12 Thoughts on Ukraine,  February 24, 2022  The U.S. power alliance has a choice between escalating aggressions against Russia to world-threatening levels or doing what anti-imperialists have been begging them to do for years and pursue detente.  By Caitlin Johnstone  Russian President Vladimir Putin has launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the goal of which he claims is not to occupy the country but to “demilitarize” and “de-Nazify” it. We’ve no reason to put blind faith in any of those claims. Only time will tell.

As of this writing dozens have reportedly been killed. All war is horrific. We can only hope that this one winds up being the least horrific a war can be.

Some thoughts:

  1. This whole thing could very easily have been avoided with a little bit of diplomacy. The only reason that didn’t happen was it would have meant the U.S. empire taking a teensy, weensy step back from its agenda of total planetary domination. I’ve seen people call it “sad” or “unfortunate” that Western powers didn’t make basic low-cost, high-yield concessions like guaranteeing no NATO membership for Ukraine and having Kiev honor the Minsk agreements, but it’s not sad, and it’s not unfortunate. It’s enraging. That they did this deserves nothing but pure, unadulterated, white hot rage.
  2. Narrative managers have been working furiously to quash all discussion of No. 1….the most influential Russia “experts” in the Western world decrying propaganda while demanding media outlets enact propaganda. Saying what your government wants said instead of objective reporting the truth is the thing that propaganda is.Please don’t report facts on your media platforms. Don’t let anyone talk about the known actions by NATO powers and Kiev, which experts have long warned would lead to this situation. You’re not allowed to talk about the known U.S./NATO/Ukraine actions which demonstrably led us to where we’re at. You’re only allowed to say Putin attacked Ukraine completely unprovoked, in a vacuum, solely because he is evil and hates freedom. Your loyalty is to the U.S. empire, not to truth. Whoever controls the narrative controls the world.
  3. It’s funny how everyone keeps referring to this as a “World War 2-style invasion” instead of a “U.S.-style invasion.” It’s not like examples of military invasions ended in the 1940s
  4. ………….These people actually believe it’s legitimate to call this “the largest invasion on our planet since WW2.” Just snip out all the pages from the history books between 1950 and 2003 to make Western imperialists feel good about themselves. Unbelievable.
  5. The primary risk of nuclear war is not that anyone will choose to start one, it’s that one could be triggered by miscommunication, malfunction or misunderstanding amid the chaos and confusion of escalating Cold War tensions. This nearly happenedrepeatedly, in the last Cold War. Cold War brinkmanship has far too many small, unpredictable moving parts for anyone to feel confident that they can ramp up aggressions without triggering a nuclear exchange. Nobody who feels safe with these games of nuclear chicken understands what they really are. We survived the last Cold War by sheer, dumb luck. We were never once in control. We just got lucky. There’s no reason to trust that we’ll get lucky again. We need to abandon this madness and pursue detente immediately.
  6. After the bombs drop and I’m dying of radiation poisoning, with my final breath I’m going to thank U.S President Joe Biden for denying Putin the moral victory of an assurance that Ukraine won’t join NATO.
  7. Probably goes without saying but just in case: anyone who supports any kind of Western military confrontation with Russia is an enemy of our entire species.
  8. It would now seem the U.S. power alliance has a choice between either (A) escalating aggressions against Russia to world-threatening levels or (B) doing what anti-imperialists have been begging them to do for years and pursuing detente. This is exactly where anti-imperialists have been warning we could wind up if the U.S. didn’t work toward detente with Russia, while being called Kremlin agents and Putin lovers the entire time for years on end. All the people who’ve called us crazy over the years for warning that Cold War brinkmanship against Russia could lead to hot war are the same people calling to ramp up the brinkmanship now that our warnings proved true. Perhaps some serious re-evaluation is in order. The solution to a crisis that was created by Cold War brinkmanship is not more Cold War brinkmanship. The solution to a crisis that was created by cold war brinkmanship is detente.
  9. Assertions made by secretive government agencies based on classified intelligence should always be subjected to aggressively intense scrutiny, 100percent of the time, without exception and without apology, regardless of the fact that those assertions occasionally happen to prove true.
  10. It sure is a lucky coincidence that Westerners have spent the last few years being persuaded to hate Russia by their governments and media. Otherwise they might not be giving consent to the West’s dramatic response to this act of aggression.
  11. Remain intensely skeptical of all news coming out of Ukraine. Since 2016 the Western empire has been running an extremely aggressive narrative management campaign about Russia the likes of which we’ve never seen before. The news media have been fully complicit in this mass-scale psyop. Watch and wait for hard evidence of every claim made. Recall how snipers were usedduring the 2014 coup in Kiev to kill protesters and pin the blame on the ousted Yanukovych government.
Unpopular opinion but I think those who are crowing that this marks the dawn of a multipolar world may be jumping the gun a bit. If the U.S. empire can succeed in crippling Russia’s economy and fomenting unrest, Balkanization and collapse there, it knocks out a key pillar of China’s support system, and China is the ultimate target in all these unipolarist maneuverings. If the U.S. can do this (and that’s a big if, I know), at that point the empire can set to work on China without its guard bear there to protect it. Which of course would have been the plan all along. Which of course would be why the empire and its propaganda engine have been acting so weird these last few years.

February 26, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The personal toll of nuclear bomb tests on soldiers and their families

Nuclear test veterans were more likely to have cancer and die, government study finds, Mirror, BySusie Boniface 25 Feb 2022

”………………………………………………………….This isn’t history, it is our daily lives’

Ken McGinley was sent to Christmas Island aged 19. He later became sterile and developed a rare blood cancer. He founded the BNTVA in 1983, and has now been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

He said: “This study is proof, but it isn’t the full picture. It doesn’t analyse the sterility, birth defects, or miscarriages, or the number of cancers some of us have had and survived.

“It’s time for full disclosure – a public inquiry. This isn’t history, it is our daily lives, and the government must act now to deliver justice before that anniversary.”

Ken, 83, of Paisley, added: “I was treated like an enemy of the state. I wasn’t given my blood cancer diagnosis although it was in my notes, my benefits were stopped, and when my wife Alice and I were trying for children, a note was added to our file that the doctors would be ‘very interested in the outcome of any pregnancy ’.”

‘Tragedy took over mum’s life’

After The Mirror called for a medal, then-Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson met campaigners in 2018.

Widow Shirley Denson, whose husband Eric was an RAF pilot ordered to fly through a mushroom cloud in 1958, walked into the room and said: “So, you’re the man responsible for killing my husband.”

Shirley, of Morden, Surrey, had uncovered documents proving Eric was used in an experiment on his plane, and had the equivalent of 1,649 X-rays to his brain in just six minutes. He later took his own life after two decades of crippling headaches, saying he couldn’t stand it any more. A third of his descendants have birth defects, including missing and extra teeth.

Mr Williamson was so impressed by her that he ordered fresh research.

Shirley died before it could be published, in March last year, with the MoD refusing her deathbed plea for a medal.

Daughter Shelley, 59, said: “My mum was a formidable woman. She raised four daughters, and had to deal with the tragedy not just of my dad’s suicide, but his illness in the years before it. It took over her life.

“This study proves what she always said, when the government claimed there was no evidence – we ARE the evidence. All those young men who were sent to their deaths, just married, with children on the way or yet to come, and then left to rot.

“I hope now that the veterans and their families finally get everything they deserve. It would be an awesome legacy for my mum. She fought so valiantly, and it broke her heart that there was no justice for her girls.”…………………

Operation Buffalo took place in Australia and 1956 and included an “indoctrinee force” ordered to walk, crawl and run through fallout to see how much stayed on their uniforms. Some were ordered to sit in tanks close to the blast to test the effect on men and machinery. The study found all of them had a radiation dose, 85 per cent were dead, more than a quarter died from cancer, and they had double the risk of dying from leukaemia and unspecified tumours.

February 26, 2022 Posted by | health, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France’s nuclear ”energy independence” is a fake, as it has to import all its uranium fuel

As the Ukraine crisis continues to push fuel prices up, France’s
championing of nuclear power as a way of ensuring its energy sovereignty
sounds great.

But a group of researchers says it’s a red herring given
France imports all its uranium. Production of nuclear power relies on
uranium – a metal ore found in rocks, and in seawater, in many parts of
the world. When France first developed nuclear following the 1973 oil
crisis, it produced some of its own uranium – reaching a peak of 2,634
tonnes in 1980.

But by the end of the 1990s, France stopped building new
plants and its last uranium mine was closed in 2001. Of the 138,230 tonnes
of uranium imported between 2005 and 2020 official Euratom data shows three
quarters came from just four countries: Kazakhstan (27,7France has control
over its uranium supplies because they’re not concentrated in one region of
the world according to French nuclear group Orano (formerly Areva).
Morevoer, 44 percent of the uranium comes from OECD countries its director
general Phillipe Knoche said.

But a group of French researchers and
specialists say France’s reliance on imported uranium “poses a serious
challenge to the idea that nuclear power allows France to ensure its energy
independence”. In an open letter published in Le Monde daily on Tuesday
they write: “We are as dependent on foreign countries for uranium as we
are for gas and oil.” “France’s energy independence is a red herring,
it’s utopian,” socio-anthropologist Eric Hahonou, one of the
signatories, told RFI.48 tonnes), Australia (25,804 tonnes), Niger (24,787)
and Uzbekistan (22,197).

 RFI 23rd Feb 2022


February 26, 2022 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

12 nuclear power reactors in France shut down, 6 because of corrosion problems

 EDF CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy announced on Tuesday that a total of 12 nuclear
reactors were currently shut down in France, including six linked to a
corrosion problem on a safety system. “The last time I looked there were
44 in operation, so there were 12 that were not working,” he told
franceinfo in response to a question about the number of reactors in
operation in France. the French nuclear fleet.

“Of the 12 (shutdown
reactors) there were about half, I believe six, which were shut down
because we detected, very unexpectedly, a corrosion problem in certain
places where we should not not see this corrosion at all, and so we stopped
them to examine them, to fully understand what is happening, and then there
were six others who are in normal maintenance programs, “explained
Jean-Bernard Lévy. Les Echos 23rd Feb 2022

February 26, 2022 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Finland’s Russian-backed Fennovoima nuclear power station project now coming to a halt

Finland Signals Russian-Backed Nuclear Project Faces Halt

Finnish minister says construction permit can’t proceed
Government faces legal predicament in shutting down project

By Kati Pohjanpalo, February 25, 2022,

Finland’s Economy Minister Mika Lintila signaled that the Russian-backed nuclear project Fennovoima Oy would not be granted a construction permit in the Nordic country.

“As the presenting minister, a permissioning authority of sorts, I do not see a scenario in which I could present that to the government,” Lintila said in parliament on Thursday following Russia’s attack on Ukraine. About a third of the greenfield Hanhikivi-1 atomic reactor project belongs to Rosatom Corp., the Russian government-owned plant supplier, and a  construction permit was expected this year.

The project underscores the Finnish government’s predicament as it seeks to prevent Russia from operating its critical infrastructure without angering the eastern neighbor with which it shares a 1,300-kilometer (800-mile) border. Finland also imports power and gets much of its oil and gas from Russia

Fennovoima had initially been given a green light by the parliament in 2010, when it was led by EON SE. The German utility withdrew from the project in 2012, and in 2013, Rosatom stepped in. Other owners include a plethora of Finnish energy and industrial companies.

In a further complication, the 1,200-megawatt plant’s pressure chamber looks to fall under the scope of sanctions against Russia, as it’s set to be manufactured in the Ukraine separatist region of Donetsk, Lintila said.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin had earlier indicated that the project’s security implications would face a review. Still, any decision to shut down the project would be against the law, Lintila told lawmakers.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the counter measures by European Union and western countries as a consequence, pose a major risk for the project,” Fennovoima said on its website on Thursday.

February 26, 2022 Posted by | Finland, politics international | Leave a comment

South Africa removes critic of nuclear power from regulatory board.

South Africa Removes Anti-Nuclear Activist From Regulatory Board

Antony Sguazzin, Bloomberg, 24 Feb 22— South African Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe fired community representative Peter Becker from the board of the National Nuclear Regulator, citing a conflict of interest.

Mantashe said Becker was opposed to the development of new nuclear-power facilities or the extension of the life of South Africa’s existing one, Koeberg, and therefore couldn’t be objective, according to a letter sent to the activist on Friday that was seen by Bloomberg. 

The dispute that led to Becker’s removal highlights the difficulties Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. is facing in its fight to keep its Koeberg nuclear plant in Cape Town operating until 2044. Mantashe, a former coal-mining labor unionist and chairman of the ruling African National Congress, has emerged as a vocal supporter of the nuclear industry, while drawing criticism from environmental activists. Becker, by contrast, is also a spokesman for the Koeberg Alert Alliance, which wants the plant closed……….

By law, the minister has to appoint a community representative to the board. He complained, in the letter, that Becker had brought the board into disrepute by objecting publicly to its decisions. Becker was suspended on July 18 and then sued Mantashe, forcing the minister to make a decision whether to retain him or fire him from the board.

Becker said he will consult with his legal team and the communities he was representing before responding.

While Eskom has yet to receive final permission to extend the life of Koeberg, the only nuclear-power facility in Africa, it has started a program to spend about 20 billion rand ($1.3 billion) on new steam generators as part of the work needed to keep it operating. Becker and Koeberg Alert have opposed the extension of Koeberg’s operating license because of the nuclear plant’s proximity to Cape Town, a city of 4 million people, citing what they say is a potential for earthquakes.

February 26, 2022 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment