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Iran wants USA to return to the nuclear accord, among other demands to improve relations

Iran lists demands for improving relations with US  https://apnews.com/a8b233a5c521437c81f736bdbe55e04f

21 June 18, TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran has announced a list of 15 demands for improving relations with the United States, including a U.S. return to the 2015 nuclear accord, in response to a similar list of demands made by Washington last month.

In an article in a state-owned newspaper Thursday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on the U.S. to stop providing arms to the “invaders of Yemen,” referring to Saudi Arabia, and to drop its opposition to the nuclear disarmament of Israel.

The article came in response to demands laid out in May by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who called for a wholesale change in Iran’s military and regional policies, threatening the “strongest sanctions in history” if it refused. The U.S. withdrew from the landmark nuclear agreement with world powers earlier that month.

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June 22, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Donald Trump says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had committed to destroy a western North Korea missile site: USA names it

U.S. identifies North Korea missile test site it says Kim committed to destroy , Matt Spetalnick, 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) 21June 18- The missile engine test site that President Donald Trump said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had committed to destroy is a major facility in the western part of the country that has been used for testing engines for long-range missiles, according to a U.S. official.

Trump told reporters after their June 12 summit that Kim had pledged to dismantle one of his missile installations, which would be North Korea’s most concrete concession at the landmark meeting in Singapore.

However, the president at the time did not name the site.

A U.S. official identified it on Wednesday as the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground, saying North Korea “has used this site to test liquid-propellant engines for its long-range ballistic missiles.”

Pyongyang has said its missiles can reach the United States.

Chairman Kim promised that North Korea would destroy a missile engine test stand soon,” the official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

There was no immediate word on the exact timetable, and North Korea has not publicly confirmed that Kim made such a commitment.

CBS News was the first to identify the site, which is the newest of North Korea’s known major missile testing facilities.

Although Trump has hailed the Singapore summit as a success, skeptics have questioned whether he achieved anything, given that Pyongyang, which has rejected unilateral nuclear disarmament, appeared to make no new tangible commitments in a joint written declaration.

The U.S.-based North Korea monitoring group 38 North said in an analysis at the end of last week there had been no sign of any activity toward dismantling Sohae or any other missile test site.

June 22, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Movements grow to ban humanity’s ultimate threat – nuclear weapons

Nuclear Weapons Pose the Ultimate Threat to Mankind, A growing number of movements are dedicated to making sure they’re banned. The Nation By Betsy Taylor , 21 June 18

June 22, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, opposition to nuclear, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Time For Israel To Drop Nuclear Ambiguity

Time for Israel to Drop Nuclear Ambiguity  https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-time-for-israel-to-drop-nuclear-ambiguity-1.6198606 Today, almost 50 years after the original Richard Nixon-Golda Meir understandings, Israel’s nuclear capability – declared or not – is a solid fact recognized by all, Avner Cohen, Jun 21, 2018  

Today, Almost 50 Years After The Original Richard Nixon-Golda Meir Understandings, Israel’s Nuclear Capability – Declared Or Not – Is A Solid Fact Recognized By All

In September 1969, When Meir Made Her First Visit To The U.S. As Prime Minister, She Reached An Array Of Understandings With Nixon That Removed Any Dispute Over The Nuclear Issue From The Agenda Between The Two Countries. The Understandings Concluded A Decade Of Cat-And-Mouse Between Them On This Issue.

Per The Understandings, The United States Accepts Israel’s Unique Nuclear Status, Will Not Press It To Join The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Pact And Will Defend It In International Forums. For Its Part, Israel Will Continue To Refer To Its Nuclear Capability As If Hidden; It Will Continue To Assert That It Will Not Be The First In The Region To Introduce A Nuclear Weapon.

The Nixon-Meir Understandings Were A Practical Arrangement That Solved Concrete Problems Weighing On Relations Between The Countries At The Time. The U.S. Already Knew That Israel Had Crossed Or Was Crossing The Nuclear Threshold, It Knew That Its Own Policy Of Trying To Stop This Had Failed, And It Recognized That It Had To Adjust Its Attitude Given The New Reality.

The U.S. Needed The Understandings So It Could Deliver Phantom Jets To Israel, And The Delivery Began That Same Month, After Negotiations The Year Before Over The Sale Had Involved A Harsh Confrontation Over The Nuclear Issue. Also, It Was Necessary To End The Yearly Visits By American Nuclear Inspectors To Dimona; By 1969, The Americans Realized They Couldn’t Reverse The New Nuclear Reality And That The Only Way To Minimize The Damage Was To Keep It Hidden.

Today, Almost 50 Years After The Original Understandings, Israel’s Nuclear Capability – Declared Or Not – Is A Solid Fact Recognized By All. Paradoxically, The Leaders Of This Nuclear Power Still Feel That They Need A Presidential Piece Of Paper To Confirm This.

Entous’ Revelations Illustrate Yet Again How Outdated The Nuclear Ambiguity Policy Is, Including The Israeli Ploy Whereby It’s Permissible For Anything To Be Written About Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal As Long As It’s Attributed To “Foreign Sources.” The Time Has Come For The Israeli Nuclear Issue To Be Handled Differently, Both At Home And Abroad. The Time Has Come For Post-Ambiguity.

The Writer Is A Professor Of Nonproliferation And Terrorism Studies At The Middlebury Institute Of International Studies.

 

June 22, 2018 Posted by | Israel, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Continued delays and overspending at the Sellafield nuclear waste clean-upsite

Herald 20th June 2018 , Decommissioning the nuclear site at Sellafield faces continued delays and an overspend of up to £913 million, according to an official report. The National Audit Office (NAO) said the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) had improved its performance in delivering major projects at the site in Cumbria. But work is still predicted to be late and to cost more than originally expected, said the spending watchdog. The NDA’s nine major projects were expected to cost an additional 60% of their budget at the design stage in 2015, but this has been reduced to 29%, said the NAO. While this was a substantial improvement, it was still a forecast overspend of
£913 million.

The NAO reported that three projects were cancelled when £586 million had already been spent on them after the NDA said it had
found a better way of delivering the work. It said Sellafield Limited has achieved £470 million in efficiency savings, but added that neither the NDA nor the company knows their make-up and admit that a proportion does not represent genuine efficiency savings.

“The strategic decisions the NDA takes around prioritising activity at Sellafield could be profoundly changed and improved by a better, more evidence-based assessment of these constraints. “The NAO has found that the role of the NDA is unclear and this could put at risk the progress we are now seeing at Sellafield,” the report said. “The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s
governance of the NDA is complex and not working as well as it should to support improvements at Sellafield.
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/16301638.Watchdog_warns_of_delays_and___900m_overspend_in_Sellafield_decommissioning/

June 22, 2018 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

USA’s nuclear weapons companies need the nuclear weapons race to continue

Eric Sirotkin speaks to RT Int 08012018

North Korea Agreed to Denuclearize, but When Will the US?   Marjorie CohnTruthout 18 June 18 

A powerful economic incentive continues to drive the nuclear arms race. After the Singapore Summit, the stock values of all major defense contractors — including Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and General Dynamics — declined.

Given his allegiance to boosting corporate profits, it’s no surprise that Donald Trump is counterbalancing the effects of the Singapore Summit’s steps toward denuclearization with a Nuclear Posture Review that steers the US toward developing leaner and meaner nukes and lowers the threshold for using them.

The United States has allocated $1.7 trillion to streamline our nuclear arsenal, despite having agreed in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968 to work toward nuclear disarmament.

Meanwhile, the US maintains a stockpile of 7,000 nuclear weapons, some 900 of them on “hair trigger alert,” according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“If weapons are used they need to be replaced,” Brand McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network has argued. “That makes war a growth story for these stocks, and one of the big potential growth stories recently has been North Korea. What the agreement does, at least for a while, is take military conflict off the table.”

Moreover, economic incentives surrounding conventional weapons also cut against the promise of peace on the Korean Peninsula. Eric Sirotkin, founder of Lawyers for Demilitarization and Peace in Korea, has pointed out that South Korea is one of the largest importers of conventional weapons from the United States. If North and South Korea achieve “a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula,” as envisioned by the agreement between Trump and Kim Jong Un, the market for US weapons could dry up, according to Sirotkin.

Even so, US defense spending will continue to increase, according to Bloomberg Intelligence aerospace expert George Ferguson. “If North Korea turns from a pariah state to being welcomed in the world community, there are still enough trouble spots that require strong defense spending, supporting revenue and profit growth at prime defense contractors.” 

The US Lags Behind on DenuclearizationLast year, more than 120 countries approved the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which requires ratifying countries “never under any circumstances to develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” It also prohibits the transfer of, use of, or threat to use nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices.

Since the treaty opened for signature on September 20, 2017, 58 countries have signed and 10 have ratified it. Fifty countries must ratify the treaty for it to enter into force, hopefully in 2019.

The five original nuclear-armed nations — the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China — boycotted the treaty negotiations and the voting. North Korea, Israel, Pakistan and India, which also have nuclear weapons, refrained from participating in the final vote

During negotiations, in October 2016, North Korea had voted for the treaty.

In advance of the Singapore Summit, dozens of Korean American organizations and allies signed a statement of unity,which says:

Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula means not only eliminating North Korea’s nuclear weapons but also denuclearizing the land, air, and seas of the entire peninsula. This is not North Korea’s obligation alone. South Korea and the United States, which has in the past introduced and deployed close to one thousand tactical nuclear weapons in the southern half of the peninsula, also need to take concrete steps to create a nuclear-free peninsula. ………https://truthout.org/articles/north-korea-agreed-to-denuclearize-but-when-will-the-us/

June 20, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

India and Pakistan have increased their stockpiles of nuclear weapons

India, Pakistan expanding their new nuclear weapons stockpiles: SIPRI  https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/india/india-pakistan-expanding-their-new-nuclear-weapons-stockpiles-sipri-2605161.html  There are nine countries which have nuclear warheads. They include Russia, the US, the UK, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea, Moneycontrol News@moneycontrolcom , 19 June 18 

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in its 2018 edition of the yearly report on the current state of armaments, disarmament and international security said despite the overall decrease in global nuclear weapons year-on-year, India and Pakistan have increased their stockpiles.

India, which had an estimated 120-130 nuclear warheads as per 2017 report, now has 130-140 warheads. Similarly, Pakistan, which had 130-140 warheads now has increased to 140-150 warheads. Both countries are also developing new land, sea and air-based missile delivery systems.

Another nuclear country in Asia, China continues to modernise its nuclear weapon delivery systems and is slowly increasing the size of its nuclear arsenal. The country now has an estimated 280 nuclear warheads. In 2017 report, the number was 270.

The US and Russia still constitute a major share of approximately 14,465 nuclear weapons that exist in the world. Both together account for nearly 92 percent of all nuclear weapons despite reducing their strategic nuclear forces pursuant to the implementation of the 2010 Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.

Moreover, the cold war-era rivals also have long-term programmes underway to replace and modernise their nuclear warheads, missile and aircraft delivery systems, and nuclear weapon production facilities.

“The renewed focus on the strategic importance of nuclear deterrence and capacity is a very worrying trend,” says Ambassador Jan Eliasson, Chair of the SIPRI Governing Board.

“The world needs a clear commitment from the nuclear weapon states to an effective, legally binding process towards nuclear disarmament.”

Other countries which are a nuclear state include the UK (215 warheads), France (300 warheads), Israel (80 warheads) and North Korea (10-20 warheads). The figures for North Korea are uncertain, the report said, however, there was no doubt that it has nuclear weapons.

In 2017, North Korea has made technical progress in developing its nuclear weapon capabilities, including the test of—what was claimed to be—a thermonuclear weapon, in September. North Korea also demonstrated unexpected rapid progress in the testing of two new types of long-range ballistic missile delivery systems. These testing led to a crisis in the Korean peninsula.

However, in a meeting with US president Donald Trump, North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un vowed to work towards the complete denuclearisation of the Koran peninsula.

 

June 20, 2018 Posted by | India, Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A nuclear bomb terrorist attack on New York – the sequence of events

What a nuclear attack in New York would look like This Is What a Nuclear Bomb Looks Like (picture of a somewhat rusting ordinary van) Ny Mag. 12 June 18 

If America is attacked, the strike probably won’t come from North Korea. And it will be even scarier than we imagine. …….

There are currently at least 2,000 tons of weapons-grade nuclear material stored in some 40 countries — enough to make more than 40,000 bombs approximately the size of the one that devastated Hiroshima. Stealing the material would be challenging but far from impossible. Russia stockpiles numerous bombs built before the use of electronic locks that disable the weapons in the event of tampering. Universities that handle uranium often have lax security. And insiders at military compounds sometimes steal radioactive material and sell it on the black market. Since 1993, there have been 762 known instances in which radioactive materials were lost or stolen, and more than 2,000 cases of trafficking and other criminal activities.
Once terrorists obtained the uranium, they would need only a small team of sympathetic engineers and physicists to build what is known as a gun-type nuclear bomb, like the one dropped on Hiroshima. A gun-type nuke uses traditional explosives to fire a slug of uranium through a tube directly into another chunk of uranium, fracturing huge numbers of atoms and unleashing a massive amount of energy. Compared to modern nuclear missiles, which are far more powerful and complex, constructing a crude gun-type nuke is fairly straightforward.  …..
The last step in the process — smuggling the weapon into the United States — would be even easier. A ten-kiloton bomb, which would release as much energy as 10,000 tons of TNT, would be only seven feet long and weigh about 1,000 pounds. It would be simple to transport such a device to America aboard a container ship, just another unseen object in a giant metal box among millions of other metal boxes floating on the ocean. Even a moderate amount of shielding would be enough to hide its radioactive signature from most detectors at shipping hubs. Given all the naturally radioactive items that frequently trigger false alarms — bananas, ceramics, Brazil nuts, pet deodorizers — a terrorist group could even bury the bomb in bags of Fresh Step or Tidy Cats to fool inspectors if a security sensor was tripped.
In 1946, a senator asked J. Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist who played a key role in the Manhattan Project, what instrument he would use to detect a nuclear bomb smuggled into the United States. Oppenheimer’s answer: “A screwdriver.” Amazingly, our detection systems have still not caught up to this threat: One would essentially have to open and visually inspect every single crate and container arriving on America’s shores. Once the container ship reached a port like Newark, terrorists would have no trouble loading the concealed bomb into the back of an unassuming white van and driving it through the Lincoln Tunnel directly into Times Square.
 

The Blast

One of the greatest misconceptions about nuclear bombs is that they annihilate everything in sight, leaving nothing but a barren flatland devoid of shape and life. In truth, the physical destruction inflicted by a nuclear explosion resembles that of a combined hurricane and firestorm of unprecedented proportion. Consider one example: A ten-kiloton nuclear bomb detonated on the ground in Times Square would explode with a white flash brighter than the sun. It would be seen for hundreds of miles, briefly blinding people as far away as Queens and Newark. In the same moment, a wave of searing heat would radiate outward from the explosion, followed by a massive fireball, the core of which would reach tens of millions of degrees, as hot as the center of the sun.

When such a bomb explodes, everyone within 100 feet of ground zero is instantaneously reduced to a spray of atoms. There are photos from Hiroshima and Nagasaki showing eerie silhouettes of people cast against a flat surface, such as a wall or floor. These are not, as is sometimes claimed, the remains of vaporized individuals, but rather a kind of morbid nuclear photograph. The heat of the nuclear explosion bleaches or darkens the background surface, except for the spot blocked by the person, leaving a corresponding outline. In some cases the heat released by the explosion will also burn the patterns of clothing onto people’s skin.

Near the center of the blast, the suffering and devastation most closely conform to the fictional apocalypse of our imaginations. This is what it would look like within a half-mile of Times Square: Few buildings would remain standing. Mountains of rubble would soar as high as 30 feet. As fires raged, smoke and ash would loft into the air. The New York Public Library’s stone guardians would be reduced to pebble and dust. Rockefeller Center would be an unrecognizable snarl of steel and concrete, its titanic statue of Prometheus — eight tons of bronze and plaster clad in gold  — completely incinerated. 

Within a half-mile radius of the blast, there would be few survivors. Those closest to the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki have described the horrors they witnessed: People with ripped sheets of skin hanging from their bodies; people whose brains were visible through their shattered skulls; people with holes for eyes. Sakue Shimohira watched her mother’s charred body crumble into ash as she tried to wake her. Shigeko Sasamori’s father cut off the blackened husk of skin all over her face, revealing pools of pus beneath.

As the fireball travels outward from the blast, people, buildings, and trees within a one-mile radius would be severely burned or charred. Metal, fabric, plastic, and clay would ignite, melt, or blister. The intense heat would set gas lines, fuel tanks, and power lines on fire, and an electromagnetic pulse created by the explosion would knock out most computers, cell phones, and communication towers within several miles.

Traveling much farther than the fireball, a colossal pressure wave would hurtle forth faster than the speed of sound, generating winds up to 500 miles per hour. The shock wave would demolish the flimsiest buildings and strip the walls and roofs off stronger structures, leaving only their naked and warped scaffolding. It would snap utility poles like toothpicks and rip through trees, fling people through the air, and turn brick, glass, wood, and metal into deadly projectiles. A blast in Times Square, combined with the fireball, would carve a crater 50 feet deep at the center of the explosion. The shock wave would reach a diameter of nearly 3.2 miles, shattering windows as far as Gramercy Park and the American Museum of Natural History.

All this would happen within a few seconds.

From Van to Tsunami

Five different nukes, and what they would do if unleashed on Times Square.……….http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/06/what-a-nuclear-attack-in-new-york-would-look-like.html

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Serbian citizens to sue NATO over their cancers due to depleted uranium

Lawsuits against NATO countries to be filed in fall https://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics.php?yyyy=2018&mm=06&dd=18&nav_id=104422  The first lawsuits are expected to be filed in the fall by Serbian citizens suffering from cancer.SOURCE: BETA 

They will sue NATO countries because of the use of depleted uranium during the 1999 bombing of Serbia.

This was announced on Monday President of the Association of Citizens “Depleted Uranium” Sveto Nogo. The lawsuits will be filed individually, he explained.

Speaking at a symposium in the southern town of Nis, dedicated to the consequences of the bombing, Nogo said that there would be no class action lawsuit, but instead those filed by cancer patients and their families.

“NATO countries will be sued for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages. We will launch lawsuits against five countries, and after the symposium, it will be decided which countries those will be,” Nogo said.

He said that working groups will be formed in the coming months to draft the lawsuits and added that the Serbian Bar Association, the Belgrade Bar Association and “partially” the Nis Bar Association all stand behind “the project.”

“There has been an increasing number of cancer patients, and even babies are being born with cancer. We do not recognize ‘force majeure’, and as intellectuals we have no right to keep silent about it,” Nogo said.

The president of the organizing committee of the symposium, Srdjan Aleksic, said that, as far as the future cases that will be conducted before national courts of NATO member states, the most important point for Serbian citizens is that Italian courts have already confirmed the causality between the use of depleted uranium and soldiers falling ill after staying in the territory that came under attack of such weapons in Kosovo and Metohija.

“The soldiers who had cancer and the families of the deceased have been afforded compensation ranging from 200,000 to 500,000 euros by a court in Italy. We will seek the same compensation for our citizens,” Aleksic said.

According to him, it took five years for the Italians to prove in court the causal relationship between bombardment with depleted uranium and cancer, while Serbia is facilitated by their evidence – “and the first verdict should be reached in two years.”

“We appeal for an agreement and amicable resolution, because if Italian citizens have been paid compensation, I do not see any reason for our citizens not to receive it,” Aleksic pointed out.

Domenico Leggero, a member of the Italian commission looking into the consequences of the use of depleted uranium, also spoke at the event to say that all judgments in Italy have been made in favor of the sick soldiers, while the country’s Ministry of Defense has been declared guilty.

“In Italy there have been over 80 cases. The soldiers have been compensated,” Leggero said. He added that the harmful effect of depleted uranium on human health had been proven in Italy as early as in 1987.
Sergei Baburin, who headed Russian Duma’s assistance to Serbia during the 1990s, said that Serbia has waited a long time to file the lawsuits, but that it was still not too late – “because things should not be left as they are, because we will all be complicit in an injustice.”

Baburin said that many people who defended the country have been convicted of crimes – unlike those who bombarded it.

The two-day symposium in Nis gathered about thirty domestic and international experts, in the fields of law, medicine, engineering, atomic physics and ecology.

 

June 20, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, Legal | Leave a comment

Middle East has 80 nuclear weapons, and they’re all owned by Israel

All 80 nuclear warheads in Mideast owned by Israel: Zarif  http://www.tehrantimes.com/news/424573/All-80-nuclear-warheads-in-Mideast-owned-by-Israel-ZarifJune 19, 2018  

TEHRAN – Referring to recent statistics released by a Stockholm-based research institute, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said all proven nuclear warheads stationed in the Middle East are entirely owned by the Zionist regime of Israel.

In a message in his Twitter account, Zarif denounced the Israeli regime for “howling incessantly” about Iran’s activities, while the regime itself owns all the 80 nuclear warheads in the Middle East.

“There are at least 80 nuclear warheads stationed in the Middle East. None are in Iran; rather, they’re at the fingertips of a warmonger who howls incessantly about fabricated Iranian ‘ambitions’,” Zarif said.

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Israel, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Donald Trump pledges Israel that he’ll ignore their nuclear weapons

Report: Trump pledges not to pressure Israel on nuclear issue

http://www.israelhayom.com/2018/06/19/report-trump-pledges-not-to-pressure-israel-on-nuclear-issue/?platform=hootsuite

Donald Trump becomes fourth U.S. president to sign letter saying U.S. will not pressure Israel to forfeit its rumored nuclear capabilities, New Yorker reports • Obama aides failed to brief Trump officials on letter during transition, report says.

Israel Hayom StaffIsrael has managed to secure a written pledge from four successive U.S. presidents to safeguard its presumed nuclear deterrent, The New Yorker magazine reported on Monday.

According to uncorroborated reports in the foreign media, Israel has as many as 200 nuclear warheads as part of a presumed military nuclear program dating back to the 1960s. Israel has never publicly acknowledged these reports.

Israel has also pledged not to be the first nation to introduce nuclear weapons in the region.

According to Monday’s report, in the wake of the first Gulf War in the early 1990s, Israel felt that the unwritten understanding struck between President Richard Nixon and Prime Minister Golda Meir in the early 1970s to ensure Israel would never be compelled to denuclearize was insufficient.

Eventually, Israeli policymakers convinced President Bill Clinton to put the Nixon-Meir understandings into writing.

“The first iteration of the secret letter was drafted during the Clinton administration as part of an agreement for Israel’s participation in the 1998 Wye River negotiations with the Palestinians,” said the report, by The New Yorker’s Adam Entous.

“In the letter, according to former officials, President Bill Clinton assured the Jewish state that no future American arms-control initiative would detract from Israel’s deterrent capabilities, an oblique but clear reference to its [alleged] nuclear arsenal.”

The letter was later signed by President George W. Bush. But when President  Barack Obama won office in 2008, Israel was concerned he would hold off on renewing the pledge.

“With Obama, we were all crazy,” an Israeli official was quoted in the report. A former U.S. official is quoted as saying that Obama’s advisers believed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “paranoid” that the U.S. would try to take away Israel’s presumed nuclear weapons, but that “wasn’t our intent.”

Ultimately, Obama signed “an updated version of the letter.”

According to the report, efforts to renew the pledge when President Donald Trump assumed office initially stalled, when Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer made the request in a surprise move in February 2017. When he came to the White House, the Trump officials said they needed more time, but the Israelis “wanted to limit who could take part in discussions of the letter, citing the need for secrecy.”

According to the report, part of the tensions then arose because the White House was not aware of the letters.

“The very existence of the letters had been a closely held secret. Only a select group of senior American officials, in three previous administrations, knew of the letters,” the report said.

When Trump became president, his aides “didn’t find any copies of the previous letters left behind by their predecessors. The documents had been sent to the archives.”

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Israel, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry warn on cancers due to radioactive waste in Coldwater Creek, St Louis County

Radioactive waste in Coldwater Creek increases cancer risk, says federal report, St Louis Public Radio,  • JUN 18, 2018, 

A federal government agency has concluded radioactive contamination in a north St. Louis County creek could cause increased risk of certain types of cancer in residents who live near the north St. Louis County waterway.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s public health assessment, released Monday, states that residents who were exposed to the area around Coldwater Creek had a higher risk of exposure to radioactive contaminants, and thus a higher risk of bone cancer, lung cancer or leukemia. The federal organization is also calling for the public to comment and add to the report through Aug. 31.

Advocates for residents near Coldwater Creek were pleased to hear representatives of a federal agency acknowledge what they have long suspected.

“What they’re saying [is] they confirm our exposure could be linked to our cancer and our illnesses,” community activist Kim Visintine said.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry assesses the risk of hazardous waste sites, among other tasks. It’s part of the Department of Health and Human Services and is based at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in Atlanta.

Radioactive waste generated by the Mallinckrodt Company from work on the

Manhattan Project was stored in an open site close to the creek. Over years, that waste migrated into the dirt in the Coldwater Creek bed. A report from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services found an increased rate of certain types of cancer in the area around the creek.

According to the federal agency’s report, the highest risk for exposure is in children and adults who lived near the creek in 1960s through the 1990s.

“Our evaluation did find an increased risk of some cancer, especially for the past exposures, people who grew up in the area and played very often or frequently in or near the creek,” said Jill Dykin, an environmental health scientist for the agency.

Dykin added the report can’t link individual people’s health problems with exposures, just draw a connection to the risk.

For Visintine, that’s enough. The former north St. Louis County resident and the co-founder of the group Coldwater Creek – Just the Facts said the report confirms years of suspicions.

“It’s one thing for a group of citizens to say there’s an issue, and another thing to actually receive government validation,” Visintine said

She said the federal acknowledgement could pave the way for residents to receive relief from the government through the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, which provides compensation to people whose cancers can be linked to nuclear weapons tests.

“The big thing you’re now eligible for these grants and funds for your community screening clinics, for insurance,” Visintine said. “To even get to that point, to pursue legislation, you have to have the CDC acknowledge there was exposure.

“It’s a big long process and we’ve come a long way but we sure have a long way to go.”

…. ….Representatives of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry will visit St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Florissant on June 27 and 28 to answer questions and elicit feedback on the report and will hopefully receive more information to add to its findings.“We’ve been working with the community and some community leaders through our entire process,” Dykin said. “We actually based a lot if the assumptions we made for how frequently and how long kids played in and along Coldwater Creek on information we got from the community.”

Follow Sarah on Twitter: @petit_smudge  http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/radioactive-waste-coldwater-creek-increases-cancer-risk-says-federal-report#stream/0

June 20, 2018 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Why Japan should disconnect from fast-breeder reactor project – The Asahi Shimbun

EDITORIAL: Japan should disconnect from fast-breeder reactor project http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201806180025.html, June 18, 2018

France has decided to sharply scale down its ASTRID fast-reactor project, which is supported by Japan.

France’s decision underscores afresh the dismal outlook of Japan’s plan to continue the development of fast-reactor technology by relying on an overseas project.

Now that it has become unclear whether participation in the ASTRID project will pay off in future benefits that justify the huge investment required, Japan should pull out of the French undertaking.

Fast reactors are a special type of nuclear reactors that burn plutonium as fuel. The ASTRID is a demonstration reactor, the stage in reactor technology development just before practical use.

The French government has said the Advanced Sodium Technological Reactor for Industrial Demonstration, if it comes on stream, will generate 100 to 200 megawatts of electricity instead of 600 megawatts as originally planned. Paris will decide in 2024 whether the reactor will actually be built.

Japan has been seeking to establish a nuclear fuel recycling system, in which spent nuclear fuel from reactors will be reprocessed to extract plutonium, which will then be burned mainly in fast reactors.

When the Japanese government in 2016 pulled the plug on the troubled Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor, which was at the technology stage prior to that of a demonstration reactor, it decided to make the joint development of the ASTRID the centerpiece of its plan to continue the nuclear fuel recycling program.

The government will provide some 5 billion yen ($45.2 million) annually for the French project through the next fiscal year, which starts in April, and decide, by the end of this year, whether and how it will be involved in the project after that.

Because of significant differences in the roles of prototype and demonstration reactors, a simple comparison between the Monju and the ASTRID can be misleading.

But it is clearly doubtful whether the ASTRID, which will be smaller than the Monju, will offer sufficient benefits for Japan’s fuel recycling program.

If it fully commits itself to the joint development of the ASTRID in response to France’s request, Japan will have to shoulder half the construction cost, estimated to be hundreds of billions to 1 trillion yen, and assign many engineers to the project. But these resources could end up being wasted.

Over the years, the government spent more than 1.1 trillion yen of taxpayer money on the Monju, designed to be a small-scale example of the potential of the fast-breeder reactor technology. But the prototype reactor remained out of operation for most of the two decades after it became operational. It actually accomplished only a small fraction of what it was designed to achieve.

The government should make an early decision to end its involvement in the ASTRID to avoid repeating the mistake it made with the Monju project, which was kept alive at massive cost for far too long as the decision to terminate it was delayed for years without good reason.

The government has only itself to blame for the current situation. Despite deciding to decommission the Monju, it stuck to the old fuel cycle policy without conducting an effective postmortem on the Monju debacle. Instead, the government too readily embraced the ASTRID project as a stopgap to keep its fast-reactor dream alive.

The government needs to rigorously assess whether it is wise to continue developing fast-reactor technology.

Producing electricity with a fast reactor is costlier than power generation with a conventional reactor that uses uranium as fuel. The United States, Britain and Germany phased out their own fast-reactor projects long ago.

France has continued developing the technology, but feels no urgent need to achieve the goal. The country predicts that the technology will be put to practical use around 2080 if it ever is.

Even if Japan wants to continue developing fast-reactor technology, it would be extremely difficult to build a demonstration reactor for the project within the country given that even finding a site to build an ordinary reactor is now virtually impossible.

The government would be utterly irresponsible if it aimlessly keeps pouring huge amounts of money into the project when there is no realistic possibility of the technology reaching the stage of practical application.

If it abandons the plan to develop fast-reactor technology, the government will have to rethink the entire nuclear fuel recycling program.

Any such fundamental change of the nuclear power policy would have serious implications. But there is no justification for postponing the decision any further.

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Japan, reprocessing | Leave a comment

Blowback Over Japanese Plan to Reuse Radioactive Soil From Fukushima

 http://www.legitgov.org/Blowback-Over-Japanese-Plan-Reuse-Radioactive-Soil-Fukushima

Mon, 18/06/2018   Blowback Over Japanese Plan to Reuse Radioactive Soil From Fukushima | 14 June 2018 | Japan’s plan to reuse soil contaminated with radiation from the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant accident for agriculture is sparking something of its own nuclear reaction. Residents and other critics don’t want any part of it. “Pollutants contained in crops will surely pollute air, water and soil, thereby contaminating food to be consumed by human beings,” Kazuki Kumamoto, professor emeritus at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo told Bloomberg Environment. Contaminated crops “could trigger the release of radiation.” …The international agency standard is 100 becquerel, a measure of radioactivity, per kilogram. Japan revised its limit to 8,000 becquerel per kilogram for nuclear waste and soil, exempting a greater amount of contaminated soil from strict treatment requirements and allowing it to be reused for public works projects and agricultural land.

June 20, 2018 Posted by | environment, Japan | Leave a comment

Radioactive Pollution At Los Angeles Jewish Camp

Scientists Concerned About Radioactive Pollution At Los Angeles Jewish Camp https://forward.com/fast-forward/403091/scientists-concerned-about-radioactive-pollution-at-los-angeles-jewish/  

Four nationally known scientists are recommending new testing at a popular Los Angeles-area Jewish camp to determine if contaminants at a nearby former nuclear testing site have posed health risks to past and current campers, NBC Los Angeles reported.

The scientists independently reached that conclusion after reviewing various reports of past testing at Camp Alonim and the land it sits on, the Brandeis-Bardin campus, owned by the American Jewish University. The camp is located just below Santa Susana Field Laboratory, which for decades hosted rocket and experimental nuclear reactor testing. The laboratory has long been closed but is still awaiting a full cleanup, according to NBC. Both AJU and state toxics regulators say the land is safe.

“If you looked at this historically and said, ‘Could being at the camp have led to radiation exposure’ the answer is yes,” said Dr. Jonathan Samet, an internationally known radiation expert and dean of the Colorado School of Public Health, one of the scientists interviewed.

Among the key findings from the two-year investigation are that the test results cited by the camp and state regulators are either too old or too inconclusive to definitely say whether children are safe from contamination from the Field Lab. The article also claimed a 2016 study paid for by the camp’s owner, to investigate concerns about contamination, is flawed. AJU also says the camp has no history of growing food for children to eat in the potentially toxic soil, a claim challenged by past staff.

The article originally was planned to appear in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, but according to NBC, the Jewish Journal’s new publisher declined to publish the story.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at fisher@forward.com, or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

 

June 20, 2018 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment