nuclear-news

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

Chris Hedges: the corporate state, the CIA, and the lynching of Julian Assange

Chris Hedges: The Puppets and the Puppet Masters

The judicial proceedings against Julian Assange give a faux legality to the state persecution of the most important and courageous journalist of our generation.

This is the talk given by Chris Hedges outside the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. on Saturday October 8 at a rally that called on the U.S. to revoke its extradition request for Julian Assange.

https://scheerpost.com/2022/10/09/chris-hedges-the-puppets-and-the-puppet-masters/ By Chris Hedges / Original to ScheerPost, 9 Oct 22,


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Merrick Garland and those who work in the Department of Justice are the puppets, not the puppet masters. They are the façade, the fiction, that the longstanding persecution of Julian Assange has something to do with justice. Like the High Court in London, they carry out an elaborate judicial pantomime. They debate arcane legal nuances to distract from the Dickensian farce where a man who has not committed a crime, who is not a U.S. citizen, can be extradited under the Espionage Act and sentenced to life in prison for the most courageous and consequential journalism of our generation.

The engine driving the lynching of Julian is not here on Pennsylvania Avenue. It is in Langley, Virginia, located at a complex we will never be allowed to surround – the Central Intelligence Agency. It is driven by a secretive inner state, one where we do not count in the mad pursuit of empire and ruthless exploitation. Because the machine of this modern leviathan was exposed by Julian and WikiLeaks, the machine demands revenge. 

The United States has undergone a corporate coup d’etat in slow motion. It is no longer a functioning democracy. The real centers of power, in the corporate, military and national security sectors, were humiliated and embarrassed by WikiLeaks. Their war crimes, lies, conspiracies to crush the democratic aspirations of the vulnerable and the poor, and rampant corruption, here and around the globe, were laid bare in troves of leaked documents.  

We cannot fight on behalf of Julian unless we are clear about whom we are fighting against. It is far worse than a corrupt judiciary. The global billionaire class, who have orchestrated a social inequality rivaled by pharaonic Egypt, has internally seized all of the levers of power and made us the most spied upon, monitored, watched and photographed population in human history. When the government watches you 24-hours a day, you cannot use the word liberty. This is the relationship between a master and a slave. Julian was long a target, of course, but when WikiLeaks published the documents known as Vault 7, which exposed the hacking tools the CIA uses to monitor our phones, televisions and even cars, he — and journalism itself — was condemned to crucifixion. The object is to shut down any investigations into the inner workings of power that might hold the ruling class accountable for its crimes, eradicate public opinion and replace it with the cant fed to the mob.

I spent two decades as a foreign correspondent on the outer reaches of empire in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans. I am acutely aware of the savagery of empire, how the brutal tools of repression are first tested on those Frantz Fanon called “the wretched of the earth.” Wholesale surveillance. Torture. Coups. Black sites. Black propaganda. Militarized police. Militarized drones. Assassinations. Wars. Once perfected on people of color overseas, these tools migrate back to the homeland. By hollowing out our country from the inside through deindustrialization, austerity, deregulation, wage stagnation, the abolition of unions, massive expenditures on war and intelligence, a refusal to address the climate emergency and a virtual tax boycott for the richest individuals and corporations, these predators intend to keep us in bondage, victims of a corporate neo-feudalism. And they have perfected their instruments of Orwellian control. The tyranny imposed on others is imposed on us.

From its inception, the CIA carried out assassinations, coups, torture, and illegal spying and abuse, including that of U.S. citizens, activities exposed in 1975 by the Church Committee hearings in the Senate and the Pike Committee hearings in the House. All these crimes, especially after the attacks of 9/11, have returned with a vengeance. The CIA is a rogue and unaccountable paramilitary organization with its own armed units and drone program, death squads and a vast archipelago of global black sites where kidnapped victims are tortured and disappeared. 

The U.S. allocates a secret black budget of about $50 billion a year to hide multiple types of clandestine projects carried out by the National Security Agency, the CIA and other intelligence agencies, usually beyond the scrutiny of Congress. The CIA has a well-oiled apparatus to kidnap, torture and assassinate targets around the globe, which is why, since it had already set up a system of 24-hour video surveillance of Julian in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, it quite naturally discussed kidnapping and assassinating him. That is its business. Senator Frank Church — after examining the heavily redacted CIA documents released to his committee — defined the CIA’s “covert activity” as “a semantic disguise for murder, coercion, blackmail, bribery, the spreading of lies and consorting with known torturers and international terrorists.”

All despotisms mask state persecution with sham court proceedings. The show trials and troikas in Stalin’s Soviet Union. The raving Nazi judges in fascist Germany. The Denunciation rallies in Mao’s China. State crime is cloaked in a faux legality, a judicial farce.

If Julian is extradited and sentenced and, given the Lubyanka-like proclivities of the Eastern District of Virginia, this is a near certainty, it means that those of us who have published classified material, as I did when I worked for The New York Times, will become criminals. It means that an iron curtain will be pulled down to mask abuses of power. It means that the state, which, through Special Administrative Measures, or SAMs, anti-terrorism laws and the Espionage Act that have created our homegrown version of Stalin’s Article 58, can imprison anyone anywhere in the world who dares commit the crime of telling the truth.

We are here to fight for Julian. But we are also here to fight against powerful subterranean forces that, in demanding Julian’s extradition and life imprisonment, have declared war on journalism. 

We are here to fight for Julian. But we are also here to fight for the restoration of the rule of law and democracy. 

We are here to fight for Julian. But we are also here to dismantle the wholesale Stasi-like state surveillance erected across the West. 

We are here to fight for Julian. But we are also here to overthrow — and let me repeat that word for the benefit of those in the FBI and Homeland Security who have come here to monitor us — overthrow the corporate state and create a government of the people, by the people and for the people, that will cherish, rather than persecute, the best among us.

You can see my interview with Julian’s father, John Shipton, here.

NOTE TO SCHEERPOST READERS FROM CHRIS HEDGES: There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show without your help. The walls are closing in, with startling rapidity, on independent journalism, with the elites, including the Democratic Party elites, clamoring for more and more censorship. Bob Scheer, who runs ScheerPost on a shoestring budget, and I will not waver in our commitment to independent and honest journalism, and we will never put ScheerPost behind a paywall, charge a subscription for it, sell your data or accept advertising. Please, if you can, sign up at chrishedges.substack.com so I can continue to post my now weekly Monday column on ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show, The Chris Hedges Report.

Advertisement

October 9, 2022 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Jeffrey Sachs: end Ukraine proxy war or face “armageddon”

October 9, 2022 Posted by | politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Radioactive releases from the nuclear power sector and implications for child health

Selected radioisotopes: where they travel and primarily collect in the body.

 British Medical Journal Paedistrics,Cindy Folkers & Linda Pentz Gunter 9 Oct 22, :

Although radioactivity is released routinely at every stage of nuclear power generation, the regulation of
these releases has never taken into account those potentially most
sensitive—women, especially when pregnant, and children.

From uranium mining and milling, to fuel manufacture, electricity generation and
radioactive waste management, children in frontline and Indigenous
communities can be disproportionately harmed due to often increased
sensitivity of developing systems to toxic exposures, the lack of resources
and racial and class discrimination.

The reasons for the greater susceptibility of women and children to harm from radiation exposure is not
fully understood. Regulatory practices, particularly in the establishment
of protective exposure standards, have failed to take this difference into
account.

Anecdotal evidence within communities around nuclear facilities
suggests an association between radiation exposure and increases in birth
defects, miscarriages and childhood cancers.

A significant number of academic studies tend to ascribe causality to other factors related to diet
and lifestyle and dismiss these health indicators as statistically insignificant.

In the case of a major release of radiation due to a serious
nuclear accident, children are again on the frontlines, with a noted
susceptibility to thyroid cancer, which has been found in significant
numbers among children exposed both by the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear accident
in Ukraine and the 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan.

The response among authorities in Japan is to blame increased testing or to
reduce testing. More independent studies are needed focused on children,
especially those in vulnerable frontline and Indigenous communities. In
conducting such studies, greater consideration must be applied to
culturally significant traditions and habits in these communities.

 BMJ Paediatrics 7th Oct 2022

https://bmjpaedsopen.bmj.com/content/6/1/e001326

October 9, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, children | Leave a comment

Nuclear share in energy generation falls to lowest in four decades-report

 Nuclear share in energy generation falls to lowest in four decades-report | Reuters By Nina Chestney LONDON, Oct 5 (Reuters) – The share of nuclear power in global gross electricity generation fell below 10% last year to the lowest in around four decades, an industry report showed on Wednesday.

Nuclear energy generated 2,653 terawatt hours of electricity last year, accounting for 9.8% of global generation – the lowest since the 1980s, the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR) showed.

Proponents of nuclear say as a low-carbon power source it could be vital in helping countries meet climate targets, but several plants around the world are coming to the end of their life expectancies and many new ones have faced delays.

The most nuclear power in the world is generated in the United States, followed by China.

As of mid-2022, 411 reactors were operating in 33 countries, four less than a year earlier and 27 below a 2002 peak of 438.

The slow pace of new projects coming on stream has meant the average age of reactors is around 31 years old.

Out of 53 reactors under construction currently, at least half of the projects are delayed. Five new units became operational in the first half of this year, while eight closed last year.

Global investment in new nuclear construction projects last year was around $24 billion, accounting for 6.5% of total investment of $366 billion in non-hydro renewables projects.

Nuclear power is also losing ground to renewables in terms of cost as reactors are increasingly seen as less economical and slower to build.

The levelised cost of energy – which compares the total lifetime cost of building and running a plant to lifetime output – fell to $36 per megawatt hour (MWh) last year for solar photovoltaic from $359/MWh in 2009, while the cost for wind fell to $38/MWh from $135/MWh, the report showed.

However, nuclear power costs rose by 36% last year to $167/MWh from $123/MWh in 2009.

October 9, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment

The great ratepayer robbery: how UK new nuclear rips off its customers

the taxpayer will be liable for the inevitable cost overruns and the RAB scheme itself makes it even less likely that developers will keep within the bounds of their agreements, thereby further increasing costs. 

decision on Sizewell C as a stitched up deal behind closed doors, bringing extra cost to the consumer, producing unmanageable waste and squandering our capital on a white elephant scheme. 

it is criminal that our time and money is wasted and all our futures thrown away on the back of this scam.

How new nuclear rips off its customers

By Linda Clare Rogers

A recent BBC documentary called Big Oil versus the World exposed the excellent job by oil companies in fending off what could have been an existential threat to their future, at the cost of one for the rest of us. The program revealed how the oil industry brought us near to catastrophe while knowingly lying about the role of fossil fuels in creating global warming. 

There are vital lessons to be learned from this about the nuclear power industry. As with the oil industry, the nuclear industry continues to mislead us about the need for nuclear power to save the planet, in order to preserve itself. And, like the oil industry, it contributes to the catastrophe of global warming.

Nuclear power stations take too long to build to help mitigate the effects of global warming, and divert money from renewable power and other more immediate means of doing so.

To add insult to injury, we, as taxpayers, are now being asked to contribute to this catastrophe by paying for the building of yet more destructive nuclear power stations. The astronomical cost of nuclear power means that the industry itself can’t and won’t take on the economic risk. 

Instead, money taken from our earnings and our benefits (in the U.K, low-income people on Universal Credit are not to be exempted), to set up new nuclear build, is meant to encourage other investors to take the risk in the future. This is before the plants are actually built.

The name of the UK government scheme , or, more accurately, scam, is the Regulated Asset Base model, known as RAB. (Editor’s note: In the U.S., a similar fleecing of ratepayers exists in some states, known as Construction Work In Progress or CWIP.)

In the introduction to RAB — the Ministerial Foreword to the Statement on Procedure and Criteria for Designation — we are told that the government will be taking one nuclear project to Final Investment Decision this parliament and two projects to Final investment Decision in the next parliament, including small modular reactors. The push for this scenario is undermining safety, fleecing the taxpayers at a time of economic crisis, and disregarding the real problems increasingly associated with nuclear power. 

The Nuclear Energy Financing Act 2022 implements the nuclear RAB model and is meant to facilitate investment in the design, construction, commissioning and operation of new nuclear energy generation projects. 

There are two criteria that government say have to be met in order that a new nuclear power project should receive RAB funding. But both of these criteria are largely meaningless:

Criterion one: the Secretary of State is of the opinion that the development of the relevant nuclear project is sufficiently advanced to justify the designation of the nuclear company in relation to the project, for instance, that the project has received a Development Consent Order (DCO).

Criterion two: the Secretary of State is of the opinion that designating the nuclear company in relation to the project is likely to result in value for money.

The government draft designation document for the two-reactor EDF project at Sizewell C in Suffolk, emphasizes these criteria. To fulfill the first, it is necessary that a DCO is approved, amongst other markers. The DCO contains evidence about the suitability of the proposed site for the project as well as the impact on the local community and its environment. 

The Planning Inspectorate have advised that the DCO for Sizewell C be rejected. This in itself is really important news. Those of us who have been fighting against the building of Wylfa B, or Wylfa Newydd, are familiar with this scenario. 

The Planning Inspectorate also advised the Secretary of State to reject the DCO application for Wylfa B. Many of the reasons were on similar grounds as those given for the rejection of the application for Sizewell C. The scheme broke habitat regulations and had detrimental impacts on biodiversity and the environment. 

Notably, one of the main reasons for the advised rejection of the DCO for Sizewell C was the impact on the local water supply. We need only see what happened in France this past summer, with the shutdown of nuclear power stations due  to the overheating of the rivers necessary for the cooling of the plants, to see that issues over water supply will only get worse as climate change gets worse.

So, for RAB funding to be designated, the DCO has to be granted. The Planning Inspectorate recommended it be rejected, and the government went ahead and passed it anyway. This is a profoundly dangerous decision and needs to be fought.

Hard on issuing the DCO will come the designation of RAB funding. The second criterion to allow for this will also be sure to pass: value for money for the taxpayer. The government explains that RAB will be eliminating significant compound interest on capital invested, thus saving us money. It makes the hopeful statement that, “the RAB model has the potential to reduce the financial cost for new nuclear projects, thereby reducing consumer bills while still preserving incentives for the private sector to complete nuclear projects to time and budget”.

Commentators have made it clear that the taxpayer will be liable for the inevitable cost overruns and the RAB scheme itself makes it even less likely that developers will keep within the bounds of their agreements, thereby further increasing costs. 

The model has been criticized by two advisory bodies, the Climate Change Committee and the National Infrastructure Commission. 

The draft document for the designation of RAB for Sizewell C would be laughable if it were not so serious in its implications and its precedent for further nuclear developments.

Under the heading —Results: Value for Money for Consumers — we are told, “this has been calculated by comparing the cost of the electricity system with and without Sizewell C….. The modelling compares the cost of an electricity system with a RAB funded Sizewell C against two different net zero compliant counterfactuals.” (These latter are the use of renewables and carbon capture and storage.)

It then provides a chart showing the costings and savings for the taxpayer. All that can be seen in each and every box are a row of the letter x. No figures at all.

When the chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, Tom Greatrex,  was asked what he knew about the lack of figures available for the Sizewell C agreement on Radio 4, he could give no answer, but offered that RAB was a “different finance mechanism” that would allow for a very predictable price for electricity for a very long time. 

This is another example of the nuclear industry and government getting together to present a false narrative: this one uses the present scandal of the cost of energy to persuade us that nuclear power can give us future security and control over future energy supplies.

It should be noted that Hitachi withdrew its application to build Wylfa Newydd for cost reasons, prior to the advised rejection of the DCO. The £5 billion offered by UK government to subsidize building that project was not enough for the Japanese company. This underlines how little risk developers are willing to take and how much risk government is happy to heap on us.

Another major issue with the RAB funding scheme is that, as government documents delicately put it, “the Secretary of State is aware that there could be a perception of a conflict of interest between his role in determining the DCO application for the Sizewell C project and his role in determining whether or not to designate the nuclear company. To avoid any perceived conflict of interest the Secretary of State will delegate the final decision on the DCO to another BEIS minister.”

Well that sorts that problem out then. Of course, while the taxpayer is paying for a nuclear project, it is unlikely to be halted by government. The overriding of the Planning Inspectorate findings against Sizewell C bears this out. How will the government not grant a Final Investment Decision, due next year?

Greenpeace has described the decision on Sizewell C as a stitched up deal behind closed doors, bringing extra cost to the consumer, producing unmanageable waste and squandering our capital on a white elephant scheme. 

We say no to nuclear, no to RAB and will be looking to other allies and partners to fight this scheme. Maybe, like the Peace Tax 7, we can find ways to withhold our payments. Perhaps there are legal ways to stop the self -serving deceptions and corruption.

We need to keep calling out the UK government and the Welsh government on these deceptions. When so many people are in fuel poverty and it is so important that the best is made of our precious resources, it is criminal that our time and money is wasted and all our futures thrown away on the back of this scam.

Linda Clare Rogers is a member of People Against Wylfa B and CND Cymru.

October 9, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster, UK | Leave a comment

Ukraine behind Crimean Bridge blast – US media

The attack was masterminded by Kiev’s intelligence services, two major outlets claim. https://www.rt.com/russia/564343-ukraine-behind-crimean-bridge-explosion/9 Oct 22,

The blast that damaged Russia’s strategic Crimean Bridge and killed at least three people was orchestrated by Ukraine, the New York Times and Washington Post both reported on Saturday, citing sources.

A senior Ukrainian official interviewed by the New York Times claimed that Kiev was behind the explosion, adding that the attack was masterminded by Ukraine’s intelligence services, which had arranged a bomb to be planted on a truck that was driving across the bridge..

This claim was echoed by the Washington Post, which, citing a Ukrainian government official, also attributed the explosion to the country’s special services. This version was backed by the news site Ukrainska Pravda, which, quoting a source in the country’s security services, said that the intelligence agency, called the SBU, was behind the attack.

While Ukrainian officials did not explicitly take responsibility for the attack, they cheered it. An aide to President Vladimir Zelensky, Mikhail Podoliak, said that the explosion was “just the beginning,” adding that “everything illegal must be destroyed.”

Since Russia launched its military campaign in late February, Ukrainian officials have repeatedly promised to attack the bridge, which serves as a strategic link between Russia’s Crimean peninsula and its Krasnodar Region.

While the Kremlin did not directly accuse Kiev of staging the explosion, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated that Ukraine’s reaction to the incident is a testament to the “terrorist nature” of its leadership.

Meanwhile, Crimean officials directly pointed the finger at Kiev. Vladimir Konstantinov, the head of the republic’s State Council, claimed that “Ukrainian vandals have finally managed to get their bloodstained hands on the Crimean Bridge.”

The powerful blast rocked the bridge early Saturday morning, causing a partial collapse of the road on the vehicle section, as well as a blaze on a parallel railway span where seven fuel tanks caught fire. According to Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee, the bridge was damaged by a truck that exploded while making its way across the bridge. The blast caused at least three deaths.

October 9, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Austria has filed a legal case against European Union’s inclusion of nuclear and gas as “clean” in the EU “taxonomy”

Staunchly anti-nuclear Austria said on Friday it had followed through on a
pledge to file a legal challenge to the European Union’s inclusion of
natural gas and nuclear energy in a list of “green” investments. At issue
is the European Union’s so-called taxonomy, a rulebook defining which
investments can be labelled climate friendly and designed to guide
investors toward green projects that will help deliver the bloc’s
emissions-cutting targets.

 Reuters 7th Oct 2022

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/anti-nuclear-austria-files-legal-challenge-eu-green-investment-rules-2022-10-07/

October 9, 2022 Posted by | EUROPE, legal | Leave a comment

US comments on Zelensky’s ‘preemptive strike’ appeal

Washington has no plans to attack Russian forces in Ukraine, the State Department has said
 https://www.rt.com/news/564292-us-zelenskys-preemptive-strike-russia/ 8 Oct 22,

The US is not about to get directly involved in the hostilities between Moscow and Kiev, a State Department spokesman said on Friday, after Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky had urged the West to conduct “preventive strikes” against Russia.

When asked about the Ukrainian leader’s latest appeal to the West, State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said that the administration of US President Joe Biden has repeatedly stated that it has no intention of taking part in the fighting.

As long as the United States or our allies are not attacked, we are not going to get directly engaged in this conflict either by putting American troops to fight in Ukraine or attacking Russian forces,” he reiterated, adding that Washington’s message on this matter has been “very clear.”

On Thursday, Zelensky, speaking at an online conference at the Australian Lowy Institute, called for “preventive strikes” against Russia so that Moscow knew what to expect should it resort to nuclear weapons.

Later, Zelensky’s press secretary attempted to clarify these remarks, arguing that they should not be interpreted as a request for NATO to attack Russia. The Ukrainian leader himself also stepped in, telling BBC on Friday that he had meant “preventive kicks, not attacks.” The UK outlet also clarified that Zelensky was “referring to sanctions.”

The comments made by the Ukrainian president sparked a backlash from Moscow, which accused him of attempting to spark a world war, which would lead to “unforeseeable disastrous consequences.” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova went so far as to describe him as “a monster, whose hands can destroy the planet.”

Russia has repeatedly stated that a nuclear war should never be fought, while Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu in August made it clear that Moscow is not considering a nuclear strike on Ukraine, given that there are no targets warranting such drastic measures.

October 9, 2022 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Crimean Bridge explosion ‘just the beginning,’ Ukraine warns

 https://www.rt.com/russia/564276-crimean-bridge-explosion-just-beginning-ukraine/ 8 Oct 22,

Russia’s Anti-Terrorism Committee earlier said the key infrastructure was damaged by a truck blast

The blast that rocked the Crimean Bridge early on Saturday is just “the beginning,” a top aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has warned.

“Crimea, the bridge, the beginning,” Mikhail Podoliak tweeted. “Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything stolen must be returned to Ukraine, everything occupied by Russia must be expelled.” The former journalist, who is effectively the Kiev regime’s main propagandist, controls the president’s “information policy.”

He previously warned, in August, that Europe’s largest bridge “should be destroyed” because it’s “an illegal construction and the main gateway to supply the Russian army in Crimea.”

The crossing was closed in the early hours of Saturday after a truck exploded, damaging the road and causing a huge fire. 

Ukrainian officials have promised to attack the Crimean Bridge, which connects the Russian peninsula of Crimea to the country’s Krasnodar Region, on numerous occasions during the conflict between Moscow and Kiev.

Zelensky and other members of his team have also threatened that Ukraine will use force to retake Crimea, which overwhelmingly voted to reunite with Russia in a referendum in 2014.

October 9, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UK’s Nuclear Free Local Authorities urge the South Copeland Geological Disposal Facility to make meetings more “accessible and transparent”

South Copeland GDF Community Partnership urged to make meetings more ‘accessible and transparent’

The Chair of the Nuclear Free Local Authorities has written to Councillor Ged McGrath, Chair of the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership urging partnership members to take further measures to make their meetings more ‘accessible and transparent’.

In his letter, Councillor David Blackburn commends the community partnership for making their next meeting on 12 October open to the public and for making time available on the agenda for public questions, and hopes that these are practices that the other three Community Partnerships will soon follow; however this still falls far short of best practice in local government.

Councillor Blackburn said:  “In Councils, agendas and papers, unless they are confidential, are published online in advance of meetings for members of the public to access, and proceedings are livestreamed and are recorded so the public can watch them if they are unable to attend in person.  Elected members attending meetings also make declarations of interest in public and record these interests at the start of proceedings.

“We also take great pains to ensure that the venues we use for meetings are accessible to people with disabilities, and that they are equipped with hearing loops.

“As almost all members of the community partnership are local Councillors, including the Chair, Councillor Ged McGrath, they will be very familiar with these practices, and it is my suggestion that this best practice be followed at all future meetings of the community partnership.”

Councillor Blackburn hopes that his suggestions will be discussed and adopted at the 12 October meeting of the Community Partnership.

October 9, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘We want to thank them’: Local Marshallese community welcomes anti-nuclear testing ship.

BY ERIK HOGSTROM erik.hogstrom@thmedia.com

The voices of Noreen Akeang and the other singing women rose in intensity as the ship passed through the gates of Dubuque’s Ice Harbor.

The visit of the Golden Rule to Dubuque carried great significance to Akeang and other members of the city’s Marshallese community.

“We want to tell them how much we appreciate them,” Akeang said. “We want to thank them for what they tried to do so long ago.”

A national project of the Veterans For Peace organization, the Golden Rule arrived in Dubuque late Sunday afternoon and will depart Tuesday morning. Dubuque is among 100 ports of call during a tour of the Midwest, Southeast and eastern United States. The ship’s arrival Sunday drew more than 50 people to the Ice Harbor – with about half of the attendees drawn from the city’s Marshallese community.

“The significance (of the Dubuque visit) is especially important for the 800-plus members of the Marshallese community who live in Dubuque,” said Art Roche, a local organizer of the ship’s Dubuque visit. “Of all of the places where the ship is going to be stopping in the 15-month tour this is the largest Marshallese population on that tour.”

The 34-foot vessel attempted to sail in 1958 from Hawaii to the Marshall Islands to prevent atmospheric nuclear weapons testing. The ship never made it.

“They tried to come to the Marshall Islands, but the U.S. Coast Guard came (and intercepted the ship) and put (the crew) in jail,” said Maitha Jolet, a member of Dubuque’s Marshallese community. “We never knew about it (in the Marshall Islands). Many people didn’t know that a crew of people were supposed to come to the Marshall Islands and do something to protest and try to stop the nuclear testing.”

The United States began using the Marshall Islands as a nuclear testing site shortly after the end of World War II.

“The testing was really bad,” Jolet said.

Jolet said the nuclear testing and associated radiation has resulted in higher rates of cancer and other illnesses among Marshallese. Roche said nuclear contamination of the islands’ areas resulted in dietary changes with adverse effects, too.

“The nuclear testing resulted in their inability to grow their own food and take fish from local waters,” Roche said. “They can’t rely on their own natural resources so everything has to be brought into the Marshall Islands. Consequently, they experienced big dietary changes, including a dependence on rice.”

Roche said the high consumption of rice and other introduced foods puts Marshallese at greater risk of diabetes and other health concerns.

Golden Rule crew members and support staff said they were touched by the Marshallese community’s song-filled welcome to Dubuque.

“I wasn’t expecting it to be so emotional,” said Cindy Boyum, of St. Paul, Minn. “It was just so powerful to meet the people.”

Boyum has been sailing on the ship for part of its southerly journey down the Mississippi River.

“It’s so amazing that the Golden Rule finally gets to be among the Marshallese,” said Helen Jaccard, the Golden Rule project manager. “It just warms my heart that after all of these years we are able to see them and interact.”

October 9, 2022 Posted by | OCEANIA, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s ZNPP Must Be Urgently Protected, IAEA’s Grossi Says After Plant Loses All External Power Due to Shelling

 https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/pressreleases/ukraines-znpp-must-be-urgently-protected-iaeas-grossi-says-after-plant-loses-all-external-power-due-to-shelling 8 Oct 22, Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) has lost its last remaining external power source due to renewed shelling and is now relying on emergency diesel generators for the electricity it needs for reactor cooling and other essential nuclear safety and security functions, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said today.

The ZNPP’s connection to the 750 kilovolt (kV) power line was cut at around 1am local time today, Director General Grossi said, citing official information from Ukraine as well as reports from the team of IAEA experts present at the site of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

Sixteen of the plant’s diesel generators started operating automatically, providing its six reactors with power. After the situation stabilised, ten of the generators were switched off, leaving six to provide the reactors with necessary electricity.

“The resumption of shelling, hitting the plant’s sole source of external power, is tremendously irresponsible. The Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant must be protected,” Director General Grossi said. “I will soon travel to the Russian Federation, and then return to Ukraine, to agree on a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the plant. This is an absolute and urgent imperative.”

All the plant’s safety systems continue to receive power and are operating normally, the IAEA experts were informed by senior Ukrainian operating staff at the site. Although the six reactors are in cold shutdown, they still require electricity for vital nuclear safety and security functions. The plant’s diesel generators each have sufficient fuel for at least ten days. ZNPP engineers have begun work to repair the damaged 750 kV power line.

October 9, 2022 Posted by | incidents, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Lasting peace in Europe only possible with Russia’s input – Angela Merkel

Rt.com 7 Oct 22,

The Cold War won’t really be over until Russia has contributed to European security architecture, the former German Chancellor said.

Sustainable peace in Europe may only be achieved if Russia is part of it, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday.

Speaking during the 77th anniversary of the German newspaper ‘Suddeutsche Zeitung,’ Merkel explained that while the West has been adamant in its support for Ukraine as the nation remains locked in conflict with Russia, it should also keep its mind open about what might seem as “unthinkable” now – Moscow’s future role in Europe’s affairs.

She stressed that “a future European security architecture within international law will meet the requirements” only if it involves Russia. “As long as we haven’t achieved that, the Cold War is not really over either,” she added.

Merkel described February 24 – the day Russia launched its military campaign in Ukraine – as a “turning point,” adding that statements made by various parties to the conflict should be taken “seriously and not to be classified as a bluff from the start.”………………………..

She also noted that former German chancellor Helmut Kohl, who before his death, was widely regarded as her political mentor, would have kept an open mind about “how relations to and with Russia could one day be redeveloped” after hostilities in Ukraine end.

Such a stance, however, did not sit well with Ukrainian officials. Last week, Andrey Melnik, Kiev’s outgoing ambassador to Berlin, called Merkel’s attitude towards Russia and its role in European security “almost perverse.”  https://www.rt.com/news/564203-merkel-peace-europe-ukraine-russia/;/

October 9, 2022 Posted by | Germany, politics international | Leave a comment

Biden must deal on Ukraine

 https://www.news-gazette.com/opinion/letters-editor/letter-to-the-editor-biden-must-deal-on-ukraine/article_be32d819-6aa1-5751-b55a-f8881c4d13f0.html FRANCIS A. BOYLE 9 Oct 22 Having lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis myself, right now, we are witnessing a slow-motion Cuban Missile Crisis in reverse over Ukraine.

The key to resolving the Cuban Missile Crisis was that President John F. Kennedy opened up back-channel negotiations with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in order to come up with a compromise solution that barely avoided a nuclear war.

So far, the Biden administration has publicly ruled out direct negotiations with the Putin government over the Ukraine war, though there could be back-channel negotiations going on right now that I am not aware of — let’s hope there are.

As I see it, the main problem here is that Biden is no JFK. It is really up to the American people to pressure the Biden administration to open direct negotiations over the war in Ukraine with the Russian government before the war degenerates out of control as almost happened during the original Cuban Missile Crisis.

October 9, 2022 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Renewables need minerals. Can their pollution and public health challenges be overcome?

 https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2022/10/09/renewables-need-minerals/ By Linda Pentz Gunter,  by beyondnuclearinternational,

We are now both on the path to — and amidst the crisis of — resolving our past greed and irresponsibility in the energy and transport sector. But few, if any, human industries are without a carbon footprint. This has made the climb out of our carbon-intensive paradigm all the harder. 

Consequently, our first imperative — in order to do as little current or future environmental harm as possible — is to focus on solutions that have the lowest carbon footprint and environmental and human impact. This puts conservation at the pinnacle of our priorities, followed by energy efficiency. 

Particularly in developed countries — where we bear almost the entire responsibility for the mess we have made of our planet — we can, and must, consume less, become more energy efficient, live in smaller homes, use public transport routinely, walk and bicycle more and drive and fly less.

Using fossil fuels has to stop. Completely. And ideally now, but, realistically, as soon as possible. Replacement power will still be needed. But nuclear power, which creates long-lived lethal radioactive waste from the beginning to the end of its fuel cycle, and, as a large thermo-electric generator, relies on huge quantities of what will become increasingly scarce water supplies, is not the substitute for fossil fuels. Nuclear power cannot be an environmentally clean and just energy solution. And it has no answers for the transport sector, either.

Yet, as we decry the extraction of uranium — and all its attendant poisoning of the environment and ourselves along with human rights violations — we are met with the legitimate argument that increasing the use of renewables (and electric cars) in order to decarbonize, brings with it the same extractive environmental impacts.

But are they really the same? If we dig deeper, to use an unwelcome metaphor, we find parallels but not necessarily equity between the impacts of renewables and nuclear. This does not excuse or justify worker abuse, human rights violations or extractive contamination in any sector. But it’s an important distinction. 

First and foremost, we must look to carbon emissions. It makes sense, even if all the other downsides were equal — which they clearly are not — to at least focus on the lowest carbon emitters. And those are unquestionably renewables. Therefore, our responsibility now is to put things right in the renewable energy industry, even as we must point out, criticize and urge change in those areas that need improvement, including recycling, sustainable sourcing and human rights.

A second priority, is the ability and willingness of industries to make those improvements. 

We have seen how the wind industry has worked to minimize its impacts on migratory birds. It’s no coincidence that some of the biggest bird conservation groups, including BirdLife International, the American Bird Conservancy and the Audubon Society, cautiously support the development of wind power while scrupulously watchdogging its progress.

The renewable energy and electric vehicle industries recognize the fact that they rely on mineral extraction and, as such, must try to mitigate or avoid negative environmental, social and human rights impacts. Unlike the nuclear industry — which has been guilty of environmental and human rights abuses since it began — the renewable energy industry is working to resolve these significant drawbacks.

As Justine Calma wrote in The Verge at the end of last year: “There are ways to get the minerals the clean energy revolution needs while minimizing the impact on people and the planet. Startups are figuring out how to get better at recycling lithium batteries.” Mining companies are also looking to power their extraction using renewables rather than fossil fuels.

The World Bank program — The Climate-Smart Mining Initiative — aims to help “resource-rich developing countries benefit from the increasing demand for minerals and metals, while ensuring the mining sector is managed in a way that minimizes the environmental and climate footprint as it works to decarbonize”.

The nuclear industry, by contrast, has made no such effort to mitigate its environmental impact, and cannot do so, because splitting the atom to boil water is inherently dangerous and polluting. Worse, the industry actively pushes back against — or outright rejects — mitigation efforts because it would cost the already financially struggling nuclear sector money it can’t afford to expend if it is to stay in business.

The end product of nuclear power is long-lived highly radioactive waste with no long-term, safe, permanent management solution. While the renewable energy sector is looking into the recycling of batteries, there is no recycling of nuclear waste. Reprocessing — often misleadingly called “recycling” — does no such thing. 

In separating out the uranium and plutonium from irradiated reactor fuel, reprocessing produces even higher volumes of largely “low” and “intermediate”-level radioactive wastes, discharged into the air and sea or stored indefinitely.

The mining of uranium for use in nuclear power leaves behind radioactive waste and heavy metals that persistently contaminate the local environments, harming the health and safety of those communities and that of their land and water resources.

Nevertheless, there is no getting around the reality that the renewable industry, too, requires mining of minerals and rare earth metals, and that recycling, while beneficial, is not always done sustainably.

These hurdles are laid out in detail in a useful report prepared for Earthworks by the Institute for Sustainable Futures — Responsible minerals sourcing for renewable energy (Dominish, E., Florin, N. and Teske, S., 2019, Responsible Minerals Sourcing for Renewable Energy. Report prepared for Earthworks by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney.) 

The report emphasizes that “recycling and responsible sourcing are fundamental to improving the sustainability of the renewable energy transition”.

However, it points out that while “the renewable energy and battery industries have made significant improvements to the efficiency of technologies, to improve performance, minimize demand for materials and reduce production costs,” attention to stewardship and human rights abuses has been less promising. “The industry experts interviewed noted that reducing the environmental and social impacts of supply is not a major focus of the renewable energy industry.”

Inevitably, many of the resources for the renewable energy industry (along with electric vehicles, not discussed here as these are outside our energy focus), are to be found in troubled parts of the world — most notably DR Congo. In turn, the manufacturing of those minerals into metals is largely carried out in China, where human rights are suppressed.

The impacts of mining to supply the renewable energy industry invariably result in “pollution and heavy metal contamination of water and agricultural soils, and health impacts on workers and surrounding communities”.

The wind energy industry emerges as the least offender, according to the report. “Material use for wind turbines is already very efficient. Recycling of bulk materials (steel, aluminium, copper) used in wind turbines is well established with high recycling rates.”

The report offers some glimmers of hope, noting that increased use of renewables means a reduction in coal mining, “which is responsible for the greatest number of fatalities, health and environmental issues.”

But we are undoubtedly now in the land of Faustian bargains. We have left it too late to make choices that are problem-free. Renewables, therefore, must be measured up against the alternatives and nuclear power isn’t one of them. Aside from the carbon footprint and human rights violations of nuclear power, and its high costs and long construction times, we must also factor in the lethal waste; the daily radioactive releases harming primarily children; the outcome of a catastrophic accident; and the inextricable link to nuclear weapons development, to name a few.

We must learn to live more simply; smaller. More quietly. Tread lightly. And yes, we must transition to renewables, energy efficiency and conservation, not tomorrow, not gradually, but immediately. Can we do it without leaving yet another mess? Without further abuses?

As the ISF study concludes, not yet, but we are getting there. “There are a large number of responsible sourcing initiatives that promote environmental stewardship and the respect of human rights in the supply chain, most of which are voluntary and industry-led,” the authors wrote. “If these initiatives are harmonized and widely adopted, it may lead to more responsible supply chains.”

Until then, renewables are our least worst power option, and, out of time as we are, it’s a choice we have brought upon ourselves.

October 9, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment