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Japan’s 2020 Olympic Games a public relations cover-up of the Fukushima fiasco, for the nuclear industry

Pay no attention to that radiological disaster behind the curtains  by Bo, 

The government of Japan is clearly intending that the 2020 Olympics will function as a public relations win in which the image of Japan, and especially of Northern Japan and Fukushima are cleansed of images of radiological contamination. Even as the Fukushima Daiichi site itself, and the traces where the plumes of its explosions deposited fallout throughout the area remain un-remediated, the public perceptions will be remediated. This is typical of the behavior of governments in the developed world that suffer radiological disasters. The disasters themselves are so difficult to clean up, and take decades to even begin the clean up, that money is allocated for extensive public relations efforts. These become tasks that CAN be completed and CAN be considered successful. They function both to advance the public image agenda of the governments, and also deliver a sense of agency when the overall tone of nuclear disaster remediation is one of lacking effective agency.

Towards that end, the Japanese government is planning to integrate Fukushima sites and perceptions into the upcoming Olympics media fest. The journey of the Olympic torch through every prefecture of Japan will begin in Fukushima, a symbolic rebirth intended to facilitate the repopulating of the local communities that were evacuated, many of which have had few returnees since the government has declared them “safe” and cut public funds to those forcibly evacuated.

The government is also planning to hold multiple Olympic events in Fukushima prefecture including baseball and softball events. “Tokyo 2020 is a showcase for the recovery and reconstruction of Japan from the disaster of March 2011, so in many ways we would like to give encouragement to the people, especially in the affected area,”said Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori last March.

This active rebranding of Fukushima as safe involves removing physical reminders of ongoing risk. The central government has recently announced that it will be removing 80% of public radiation monitors from the region. An argument can be made that the presence of these monitors is theatrical in that they only measure external gamma radiation levels, which are not the primary risk to residents (this comes from internalizing radioactive particles that blanketed the region in the fallout of the plumes of the explosions of March 2011), and that positioning these gamma detectors in midair produces low readings since the particles are primarily on the ground. However, they are a tangible, embodied reminder that risk remains.

While there is a clearly an active campaign to rehabilitate the image of the region leading up to the 2020 Olympics, an effort that will no doubt intensify as the event draws near, there is also pushback and resistance in the local and national communities. A recent sculpture unveiled at the JR train station in prefectural capital Fukushima City (about 80km from the Daiichi nuclear site) has been stirring up controversy.  A Guardian article explained:

“The statue, by Kenji Yanobe, depicts a child dressed in a yellow Hazmat-style suit, with a helmet in one hand and an artistic representation of the sun in the other.
Yanobe said his Sun Child, which was installed by the municipal government after appearing at art exhibitions in Japan and overseas, was intended to express his desire for a nuclear-free world.
The artist said he did not mean to give the impression that local children needed to protect themselves from radiation more than seven years after the Fukushima Daiichi plant became the scene of the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
He pointed out that the child was not wearing the helmet and that a monitor on its chest showed radiation levels at ‘000’.”

While some, including the mayor of Fukushima City, have praised the statue for emphasizing a hopeful future for local children, others have criticized the statue for suggesting that there is any danger to local children.

Regardless of how one interprets the sculpture, it does confront people with the fact that things are far from normal in the region. This, in spite of the central government’s strong efforts to implore people not to pay any attention to what is happening behind the curtains it has been raising.



August 20, 2018 Posted by | Japan, psychology and culture, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster | Leave a comment

The heat stroke threat affecting Fukushima nuclear clean-up workers

Leaving no stone unturned in heatstroke battle at nuclear plant HIROSHI ISHIZUKA/ Staff Writer  , 18 Aug 18  OKUMA, Fukushima Prefecture–How to avert a heatstroke is more pressing than usual in Japan this summer as the archipelago bakes in a record heat wave.

It’s not just sun-worshipers, children, the elderly and the infirm who should worry.

Spare a thought for the 5,000 or so workers who toil at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to get it ready for decommissioning.

They have to work outside in protective gear, with limited access to water and other resources.

At 5 a.m. on Aug. 6, a manager reminded a 20-strong group from IHI Plant Construction Co., which was contracted by Tokyo Electric Power Co., of the importance of adhering strictly to work rules.

“Please limit your efforts to shifts of less than 90 minutes,” the manager told the assembled workers in a lounge at the plant as he checked the complexion of each individual to gauge their health condition.

The workers are installing storage tanks for radioactive water that is accumulating at the plant.

They are not permitted to take food and beverages with them because of the risk of internal radiation exposure if the perishables are contaminated while they are working.

Water stations have been set up, but workers generally don’t bother to quench their thirst as it means they have to change out of their work gear to reach the sites.

During the morning meeting, the manager also checked each worker’s alcohol level and made sure that everybody had water from oral rehydration solution. After that, workers put a cold insulator in their vests and headed to the work site.

The Fukushima plant complex has about 900 tanks set up. IHI Plant Construction installed about 20 percent of them.

The workers’ primary responsibility in recent weeks is to inspect the condition of covers put in place to stop rainwater from accumulating around the tanks.

The workers are spared from the scorching sun as they work under cover, but coping with 90 to 95 percent humidity is a formidable challenge.

Junichi Ono, the head of the IHI Plant Construction’s task force assigned to the plant, said his company has tried to take every precaution against heatstroke.

“We need to pay attention because we work in a humid environment,” he said. “If a worker falls sick, we will lose valuable time taking that person to the doctor.”

According to TEPCO, 23 workers suffered heatstroke in the summer of 2011, shortly after the nuclear crisis unfolded at the plant.

Learning a lesson from that, workers were later instructed to start their tasks early in the morning and not work outdoors in principle between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. in July and August, the hottest part of the day.

The “summer time” schedule appears to be paying off.

In fiscal 2014, the number of workers afflicted with heatstroke at the plant stood at 15.

It dropped to four in fiscal 2016, but went back up to six in fiscal 2017 despite it being a relatively cool summer that year.

Although this year’s heat wave is unprecedented, only four workers have suffered heatstroke at the plant this summer.

The Japan Meteorological Agency forecast blistering summer heat in the coming week after a respite this weekend.

August 20, 2018 Posted by | climate change, employment, Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Mega earthquake likely to strike Fukushima area within next few decades

What Is the Probability of a Mega-quake Striking Japan in the Future?, NHK News, 2 July 18,  “…….. A government panel has released its latest earthquake probability map, which indicates the likelihood of each area being hit in the coming 3 decades by tremors of 6-minus or above on the Japanese intensity scale of zero to 7 — about the same level as the one that hit Osaka. A member of the panel says an earthquake of 6-minus could strike anywhere in Japan, and urges people to be prepared.

High probability in the Kanto region and along the Pacific coast………. In the Kanto region, the probability of a major quake is highest in Chiba City, at 85 percent. The figure is 82 percent for Yokohama and 81 percent for Mito. Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward is located in an area with 48 percent probability.

In the Tokai region, the probability for Shizuoka is 70 percent and Nagoya is 46 percent.

Beware of massive earthquakes that occur in ocean trenches The panel explains that these areas have high probabilities because massive earthquakes centering in the Chishima Trench, Japan Trench and the Nankai Trough have been occurring at intervals of a few decades to a century.

These earthquakes occur around ocean trenches where the oceanic plate is forced underneath the continental plate.

Huge earthquakes have been occurring especially around the Nankai Trough roughly every 100 years. As the last one took place more than 70 years ago, there is a growing probability the next one will happen soon around the Pacific coast of western Japan……….


August 20, 2018 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Climate change nearing the end-game – unprecedented action is needed

Take unprecedented action or bear the consequences, says eminent scientist and advisor, REneweconomy, 

“Climate change is now reaching the end-game, where very soon humanity must choose between taking unprecedented action, or accepting that it has been left too late and bear the consequences.”Those are the challenging words from Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, for twenty years the head of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and a senior advisor to Pope Francis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the European Union.

In the foreword to a new report, Schellnhuber says the issue now “is the very survival of our civilisation, where conventional means of analysis may become useless”.

The report, What Lies Beneath: The understatement of existential climate risk, is released today by the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration.

Schellnhuber describes climate warming as an “existential risk”, and says the report highlights crucial insights which may lurk at the fringes of conventional policy analysis but which have a new resonance in today’s circumstances, “a unique situation with no precise historic analogue” in which “the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is now greater, and the Earth warmer, than human beings have ever experienced”.

He says it is hardly surprising that a trend towards “erring on the side of least drama” and an understatement of risks has emerged in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) after delivering their five Assessment Reports over the last three decades.

This he attributes, in part, to the statistical “probability obsession” of orthodox science, where repeating the same experiment on an object many, many times can identify the likelihood of various outcomes.

He says that if this were applied literally to climate warming:

Strictly speaking, we would have to redo the Industrial Revolution and the greenhouse-gas emissions it triggered a thousand times or so, always starting with the Earth system in its 1750 pre-industrial state.  Then calculate the averaged observed outcome of that planetary experiment in terms of mean surface-temperature rise, global biological productivity, total number of climate refugees, and many other variables. This is a nonsensical notion.

Schellnhuber argues that calculating probabilities makes little sense in the most critical instances, such as the methane-release dynamics in thawing permafrost areas or the potential failing of entire states in the climate crisis. ……..
What Lies Beneath analyses why:

  • Human-induced climate change is an existential risk to human civilisation: an adverse outcome that will either annihilate intelligent life or permanently and drastically curtail its potential, unless dramatic action is taken.
  • The bulk of climate research has tended to underplay these risks, and exhibited a preference for conservative projections and scholarly reticence.
  • IPCC reports tend toward reticence and caution, erring on the side of “least drama”, and downplaying the more extreme and more damaging outcomes, and are now becoming dangerously misleading with the acceleration of climate impacts globally.
  • Why this is a particular concern with potential climatic “tipping points”, the passing of critical thresholds which result in step changes in the climate system. Under-reporting on these issues is contributing to the “failure of imagination” in our understanding of, and response to, climate change.

August 20, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Radioactive tritium in Fukushima nuclear plant water, despite water treatment

Water at Fukushima nuclear plant still radioactive even after treatment, Government wants to dump the contaminated water into the sea, but locals and fishermen oppose the idea 19 August, 2018

Radioactive substances have not been removed from treated but still tritium-containing water at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The government and Tokyo Electric Power Company have faced the pressing need to dispose of such treated water now kept in tanks. One option is to dump it into the sea, as tritium is said to pose little risk to human health.

If the plan goes ahead, tritium-tainted water from the nuclear plant is expected to be diluted so it is likely to lower the levels of other radioactive materials as well before being discharged.

But locals and fishermen are worried about the water discharge and a government panel debating how to deal with it has mainly focused on tritium, not other radioactive substances.

According to Tepco, a maximum 62.2 becquerels per litre of lodine 129, far higher than the 9 becquerel legal limit, was found in the water filtered by the Advanced Liquid Processing System used to remove various types of radioactive materials

Iodine 129 has a half-life of 15.7 million years.

Tepco, which gathered data in fiscal 2017 through March, also detected a maximum 92.5 becquerels of Ruthenium 106 – more than the 100 becquerel legal limit – and 59 becquerels of technetium 99 against the limit of 1,000 becquerels.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex was damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Reactors 1 and 3 suffered fuel meltdowns as their cooling systems were crippled.

Water was injected to keep the fuel cold but it is extremely toxic. The water is filtered but it is hard for tritium to be separated.

In August, there were around 920,000 tonnes of tritium-containing water stored in some 680 tanks at the plant. But Tepco said it has not checked the concentration of radioactive materials in each tank.

The government has examined several ways to dispose of tritium-containing water, including the release of it into the sea or atmosphere.

Toyoshi Fuketa, who heads the Nuclear Regulation Authority, said pumping the water into the sea is the only solution.

August 20, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, radiation | Leave a comment

Fukushima evacuees’ friend arrested, jailed at Hiroshima memorial

The Nuclear Resister,  August 13, 2018  UPDATE: August 17 – the jailed activist was released from custody today.
Among the many commemorative events all around the Peace Park in Hiroshima, Japan on August 6 was an evening memorial service for victims of both the Bomb and nuclear power by Go West, Come West. It is a civic association of evacuees from the March, 2011 Fukushima disaster and their supporters who are challenging the Japanese government’s response to the ongoing catastrophe affecting all of eastern Japan as inadequate and cruel.

This is their story about how police then arrested one of their members on trumped-up charges. [The headline of this post was corrected 8/15/18 to reflect that the jailed activist is a friend of Fukushima evacuees, and not herself an evacuee. The gender of the arrested person was also corrected from the error in the machine translation of this story.]

Emergency Statement on the Oppression at the Hands of the Local Police against the Fukushima Nuclear Evacuees’ August 6 Hiroshima Action.

Hiroshima Police Unlawfully Arrested a Citizen to Silence Evacuees Appealing about Ongoing Fukushima Disaster.

A Serious Threat to Human Right and Free Speech.

We demand that the Hiroshima police immediately release the arrested friend of the nuclear evacuees who participated in August 6 Hiroshima actions!

We, an organization of evacuees from the Fukushima nuclear disaster and their supporters, attended various peace rallies and events held in Hiroshima on August 6th 2018, commemorating the 73rd anniversary of 1945 nuclear atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. Survivors of Hiroshima atomic bombing and Fukushima nuclear evacuees are both victims of nuclear disaster and radiation.

Our goal was to unite with Hiroshima and act together to end these ongoing disasters in the world.

There on the night of the 6th, in front of the great number of people coming for these peace events from all over the world, we gave speeches in both Japanese and English. Our speech was for remembrance of those killed by the nuclear atomic bombing and the endless damage caused by the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

A lot of Japanese and foreign tourists who visited Hiroshima for this anniversary stopped and listened to our speeches earnestly, taking our handouts explaining what the Fukushima nuclear disaster has caused: the real health damage of residents now spreading all over the eastern Japan; and the predicaments that evacuees are faced with even today.

We were deeply moved by the amount of attentions and feedback we received from them. When one of the 2nd generation of atomic bomb victims gave a speech on how Hiroshima and Fukushima are connected with one straight line, radiation exposure, there was a round of applause from people including locals of Hiroshima. It became a great place of solidarity for sharing experiences and thoughts among those who were there with us.

However all things were changed when a suspicious passerby wearing military fashion, pointing his camera, started shouting complaints at us, and took photos of us, apparently aiming to disturb our speeches. We ignored him but when we were finishing it up and packing our stuff, he screamed saying, “Someone just broke my camera” and called the local police even though we did not go near him or made any physical contact with him or whatsoever.

The local police officers rushed to us and blocked us from going anywhere. The officers started to question us and we explained many times that we did nothing to him, it was totally a false accusation and we needed to go back home because some of us were getting very sick from the summer heat. However, the police officers still refused to let any of us leave.

The officers were talking with their supervisor by cell phone all the time. Then suddenly they said, “The police have had an eyewitness who saw your member break that man’s camera. So now we will take this person to the police station.”

We told them that none of us did such a thing, however the officers put handcuffs on one of our members, saying, “You are under suspicion of escape!! You are under arrest!! We’ll let you know the reason of arrest when you are brought to the police station.” The police officers lifted that her body violently and then threw her into their police car and took her to the main police station in Hiroshima. This is clearly illegal abduction and confinement by the police using a false accusation.

The police officers physically held us away, telling us not to approach to the suspicious camera man or “eyewitness”. Witnessing a whole situation, some citizens there shouted to the police officers, “How dare you doing such a thing on the memorial day for war dead!” and “How come? They have done nothing wrong!”

The officers withdrew to the police station right after they made the arrest as if they themselves were fugitives.

The reason for this arrest was, we suspect, that the upper-level of the police department judged our speeches and handouts politically, and they ordered those police officers at the site to arrest our member.

This fact shows how the current Japanese administration is terrified of their biggest skeleton in the closet, the actual health damage due to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, coming to light. They are also making desperate efforts to hamper the voices of Fukushima nuclear victims and the concerns and resentment against atomic bombings from spreading among people in Japan and around the world. So they use whatever means to stop those real pictures being known to the public, domestically and internationally.

Prosecutors have since asked that she be held in detention at the Hiroshima prefectural police headquarters until at least August 18, or even August 28.

Individual international and organizational statements of support for Mr. A. and Go West Come West should be sent via email to ………

Contact us:



August 20, 2018 Posted by | civil liberties, Japan | Leave a comment

Electrical utility JEA orders co-owner to abandon “economically obsolete” Plant Vogtle nuclear power project

JEA issues ultimatum to Plant Vogtle co-owner: Walk away from nuclear project, The Florida Times Union,,  Aug 17, 2018 


August 20, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Call to UN Human Rights Council to promote protection for workers from exposure to toxic substances,

In September, one of the UN experts, Baskut Tuncak, will present a report to the UN Human Rights Council, calling on States and employers to strengthen protection for workers from exposure to toxic substances, and proposing principles in that regard.  The UN experts: Mr. Baskut Tuncak, Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, Ms. Urmila Bhoola, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences,and Mr. Dainius Puras, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health …

Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity…”… […]

August 20, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, employment | Leave a comment

Westinghouse: no clean-up of nuclear pollution at leaking reactor near Columbia – for 40 years!

Westinghouse won’t clean up pollution for 40 years at nuclear plant near Columbia, BY SAMMY FRETWELL, August 16, 2018 07:34 PM

Seven years before a uranium leak was discovered at a Westinghouse nuclear fuel factory this summer, the toxic radioactive material trickled out of a pipe buried below the plant on Bluff Road.

That 2011 leak, unknown to many Lower Richland residents, sent uranium levels soaring to amounts not typically found in the area’s soggy soil, in one spot exceeding safe drinking-water standards.

But Westinghouse hasn’t cleaned up the polluted site — and it doesn’t plan to for at least 40 years — despite evidence the contamination will spread into creeks, ponds and groundwater, according to a June report by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

If Westinghouse obtains a new 40-year operating license this year from the NRC, the cleanup would occur no sooner than 2058, when its Bluff Road plant would be shut down, federal records show. The NRC’s June environmental assessment says the contaminated soil is below a uranium recovery and recycling building on the Westinghouse site.

But Westinghouse hasn’t cleaned up the polluted site — and it doesn’t plan to for at least 40 years — despite evidence the contamination will spread into creeks, ponds and groundwater, according to a June report by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

If Westinghouse obtains a new 40-year operating license this year from the NRC, the cleanup would occur no sooner than 2058, when its Bluff Road plant would be shut down, federal records show. The NRC’s June environmental assessment says the contaminated soil is below a uranium recovery and recycling building on the Westinghouse site.

Westinghouse does not know how long the uranium leak — discovered in 2011 — occurred or how much pollution escaped into the ground, the NRC report said.

The report is a concern to some Lower Richland residents, already upset about this summer’s leak of uranium through a three-inch crack in the nuclear fuel-rod plant’s floor. In that leak, discovered in June and reported to the public in late July, contamination levels more than 1,000 times above normal soil levels were discovered.

Uranium is a radioactive material that can cause kidney damage in people exposed to elevated levels.

Many people in the Bluff Road area drink from wells and worry about water pollution stemming from Westinghouse. Contamination also is a concern at Congaree National Park, just six miles from the fuel factory.

During a tense community meeting Monday, plant neighbors blasted Westinghouse over pollution at the site, safety lapses and what they said is the company’s reluctance to talk with residents who live near the fuel factory. The site has an extensive history of groundwater pollution.

Company executive Mike Annacone apologized to the overflow crowd, saying he was sorry the leak occurred and Westinghouse had failed to stay in touch with the community.

Now, some Westinghouse critics are upset about the 2011 leak.

They say it is hard to believe the NRC would allow pollution to remain in place for 40 years if the contamination threatens groundwater.

“You can’t tell me that is the only solution,’’ said Virginia Sanders, a Lower Richland resident and organizer with the national Sierra Club conservation group. “There has to be some way of cleaning up that plume, so that it is not just sitting there.’’

Sanders and Tom Clements, a local representative of Friends of the Earth, said the NRC should deny the proposed 40-year operating license for Westinghouse and consider issuing a shorter new license. Both also questioned why Westinghouse is seeking a 40-year operating license when its current license doesn’t expire until 2027.

“I don’t think the license should even be issued at this point,’’Sanders said. “There was no community involvement. What impact is this having on the community and the people around the plant?’’

Clements wrote the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Tuesday, asking the federal agency to delay any licensing decision. His letter asked the agency to hold a community meeting in Richland County, adding that circumstances had changed since Westinghouse applied for the license.

Westinghouse did not respond to questions from The State about the 2011 leak. But the company has begun monitoring the area affected by the leak and testing the soil, said Tom Vukovinsky, a senior fuel facility inspector with the NRC in Atlanta.

Westinghouse says cleanup could be expensive because the 2011 pollution is under a major building at the fuel-rod plant, Vukovinsky said.
A cleanup would involve excavating 10 feet of soil below the building, or about 82,000 square feet, according to the NRC report.

Arjun Makhijani, a nuclear engineer who heads the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, said state and federal regulators have questions to answer about what appears to be lax oversight of the plant. Despite concerns about groundwater contamination, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s June study said a new license for the plant will “not significantly affect the quality of the human environment.’’

Makhijani, who has read the NRC report, said one pocket of water near the 2011 leak had more than 1,000 times the level of uranium that is safe for drinking water. Uranium levels in the soil also were more than twice as high as naturally occurring, according to the report.

“Investigating this further is warranted,’’ Makhijani said.

Vukovinsky and Roger Hannah, a spokesman for the NRC, said pollution leaks primarily are the responsibility of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. The NRC focuses on nuclear safety in the plant, they said.

DHEC, which ran Monday’s community meeting, has said it doesn’t know of any pollution that has trickled off the Westinghouse site and into the surrounding community. The agency said the June leak of uranium, if it gets into the groundwater, would flow away from most homes toward the Congaree River.
Efforts to get comment from DHEC on Thursday about the 2011 leak were unsuccessful.

The Westinghouse plant, first licensed by the NRC in 1969, lies in a rural, forested area with a smattering of homes and businesses nearby. Plant neighbors include longtime African-American residents and wealthy landowners who operate exclusive hunt clubs.

The Westinghouse plant employs about 1,000 workers, who are involved in various aspects of making nuclear fuel for the nation’s atomic power plants. The Richland County facility is one of only three fuel factories of its kind in the country.

Westinghouse is the same company whose bankruptcy helped derail the V.C. Summer nuclear expansion project in Fairfield County last summer.

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

Review of The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner by Daniel Ellsberg

The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner by Daniel Ellsberg-Review Kalyani Majumdar | Aug 19, 2018 

The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, is written by none other than Daniel Ellsberg, one of the most famous whistleblowers of modern history. Ellsberg is a former United States military analyst and is best known for releasing the top secret Pentagon Papers.

The cover of the book has a quote by another famous whistleblower from recent times, Edward Snowden, that says, “The long-awaited chronicle from the father of American whistle-blowing.” And, it is no secret that Ellsberg is a strong supporter of Snowden. Steven Spielberg’s 2017 movie, The Post, is perhaps one of the bravest movies Spielberg has made. The Guardian, in London, brought the two famous whistleblowers together in an interview during a two-hour internet linkup between Ellsberg in California and Snowden in Moscow, wherein, they discussed the issues pertaining to ethics, press freedom, world politics, and so on.

Interestingly, back when, Snowden was deliberating on his decision to leak secret NSA documents that revealed the scale of mass surveillance by the government, it was a 2009 documentary, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, that inspired him and he finally went on with releasing the documents.

In the book, Ellsberg says, “In 1959, the nuclear control officer on the staff of CINCPAC Admiral Harry D. Felt told me that President Eisenhower had given Felt a secret letter, signed by himself, delegating to Felt the authority to execute his nuclear plans on his own initiative if he felt necessary at a time when communications were out between Washington and his headquarters in Hawaii… Only the President could legitimately make the decision whether or not to go to nuclear war, and that he must make the determination personally at the moment of decision… That is what the American public has been told throughout the nuclear era.”

The book has opened a Pandora’s Box, and it is only time that will tell us, whether Americans, Russians, other world leaders, and the entire human race can rise against these challenges and reverse these policies and eliminate the danger of near-term extinction caused by their own inventions. In the introduction-section, Ellsberg’s statements are spine-chilling as he states, “In sum, most aspects of the U.S. nuclear planning system and force readiness that became known to me half a century ago still exist today, as prone to catastrophe as ever but on a scale, as now known to environmental scientists, looming vastly larger than was understood then. The present risks of the current nuclear era go far beyond the dangers of proliferation and non-state terrorism that have been the almost exclusive focus of public concern for the past generation and the past decade in particular… The hidden reality I aim to expose is that for over 50 years, all-out thermonuclear war—an irreversible, unprecedented, and almost unimaginable calamity for civilization and most life on earth — has been, like the disasters of Chernobyl, Katrina, the Gulf oil spill, Fukushima Daiichi, and before these, World war I, a catastrophe waiting to happen, on a scale infinitely greater than any of these. And that is still true today.”

“To those who struggle for a human future.” These poignant words by the author on the very first page of the book say everything, well, almost everything. For the rest, grab this insightful book.

August 20, 2018 Posted by | resources - print, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Transport of nuclear wastes – environmental danger, and police-state style security

The danger: Police state The nuclear industry has traveled a long, dark way from its claims in the 1950s that it would produce energy too cheap to meter, Keegan said.

With nuclear power plants being retired around the globe, the age of nuclear energy has become the age of nuclear waste, Keegan said. No solution has been found for the safe disposal or storage of the waste, which remains dangerous essentially for eternity.

As the LaSalle proposal suggests, the potential involvement of the military, the secrecy of the transportation routes and the absence of consultation with the public are signs of a police state taking shape, according to Keegan.

“We’ve become a police state in which the transportation of the lethal excrement of the nuclear industry — nuclear waste — is totally secret and takes place under military escort,” said Keegan.

One of the costs: Our civil liberties.

“The industry and the government say, Sorry, we can’t tell you the details,” said Keegan. “We’re protecting you by not telling you.

Exelon Corp. proposes shipping nuclear waste by road through Port Huron, Route is under review by NRC, By Jim Bloch For The Voice, 18 Aug 18

    • Federal officials are considering approving a highway shipping route for high-level nuclear waste between the LaSalle nuclear reactors in Illinois and the city of Port Huron — and environmental groups are concerned……….

The company is proposing to transport the nine spent fuel rods, weighing about 5 pounds apiece, inside a 24-ton, collision-absorbing, heavily shielded shipping cask to the Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario, Canada, for testing.

The Chalk River site is about 425 miles northeast-east of Port Huron on the far side of Algonquin Provincial Park.

………Michael Keegan, with Don’t Waste Michigan and the Coalition for a Nuclear-free Great Lakes, uncovered the proposed shipment. Keegan said shipments of high-level liquid nuclear waste from Chalk River through Buffalo to the Savannah River Site, owned by the Department of Energy in South Carolina, are accompanied by military escort. About 75 of the 150 shipments have taken place, Keegan said.

The danger: Environmental catastrophe

Critics of the proposed shipment site the danger of an environmental catastrophe if the container was compromised en route.

  • “Irradiated nuclear fuel rods discharged from commercial nuclear power plants are highly radioactive, a million times more so than when they were first loaded into a reactor core as ‘fresh’ fuel,” according to the Chicago-based Nuclear Information and Resource Service. “Even after decades of radioactive decay, a few minutes of unshielded exposure could deliver a lethal dose. Certain radioactive elements (such as plutonium-239) in ‘spent’ fuel will remain hazardous to humans and other living beings for hundreds of thousands of years. Other radioisotopes will remain hazardous for millions of years. Thus, these wastes must be shielded for centuries and isolated from the living environment for hundreds of millennia.”
  • David Kraft directs NIRS.“We have serious concerns about shipping high-level radioactive waste from Exelon’s LaSalle reactors to a port city,” said Kraft in a statement. “Except in cases of extreme emergency, we believe that irradiated fuel should only be moved once for permanent isolation.”

    Port Huron sits at the mouth on the St. Clair River, part of the crucial linkage between the Upper and Lower Great Lakes.

    “A ground route would take the wastes either over the Blue Water Bridge, which crosses the St. Clair River, or by rail, through a tunnel that connects the two countries,” said Kay Cumbow, with the Port Huron-based Great Lakes Environmental Alliance, in a statement.

    “A spill, release or fire here or near waterways that flow into the St. Clair River could potentially ruin one of the largest fresh water deltas in the world — the St. Clair Flats — and potentially poison forever the drinking water for up to 40-plus million people of the Great Lakes, including residents of Canada, the U.S., U.S. Tribes, First Nations and other Indigenous Peoples.”

    The danger: Police stateThe nuclear industry has traveled a long, dark way from its claims in the 1950s that it would produce energy too cheap to meter, Keegan said.

    With nuclear power plants being retired around the globe, the age of nuclear energy has become the age of nuclear waste, Keegan said. No solution has been found for the safe disposal or storage of the waste, which remains dangerous essentially for eternity.

    As the LaSalle proposal suggests, the potential involvement of the military, the secrecy of the transportation routes and the absence of consultation with the public are signs of a police state taking shape, according to Keegan.

    “We’ve become a police state in which the transportation of the lethal excrement of the nuclear industry — nuclear waste — is totally secret and takes place under military escort,” said Keegan.

    One of the costs: Our civil liberties.

    “The industry and the government say, Sorry, we can’t tell you the details,” said Keegan. “We’re protecting you by not telling you.”………..

August 20, 2018 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

USA’s Pentagon anxious about China’s planned nuclear activities in South China Sea

China has nuclear plans in South China Sea: US  , Straits Times, AUG 18, 2018,   Chinese bombers also likely training for strikes against US, allied targets in Pacific: Pentagon

WASHINGTON • The Pentagon has sounded a warning over China’s plans to introduce floating nuclear power plants on disputed islands and reefs in the South China Sea.

In a new annual report assessing the nation’s military strength released on Thursday, it said Chinese bombers are also likely training for strikes against US and allied targets in the Pacific.

“China’s plans to power these islands may add a nuclear element to the territorial dispute,” the Pentagon said in its 2018 report to Congress titled “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China”.

“China indicated development plans may be under way to power islands and reefs in the typhoon-prone South China Sea with floating nuclear power stations; development reportedly is to begin prior to 2020.”

China Securities Journal – a Chinese state-run financial newspaper – said in 2016 that China could build up to 20 floating nuclear plants to “speed up the commercial development” of the South China Sea, according to a report in the South China Morning Post.

Beijing claims more than 80 per cent of the South China Sea, which carries around US$3.4 trillion (S$4.7 trillion) worth of global trade each year. Five other countries – including the Philippines and Vietnam – also have claims in the waters……..


August 20, 2018 Posted by | Japan, politics international | Leave a comment

Japan’s failed Monju reprocessing reactor- at last the shutdown begins

Final fuel-removal exercise starts for problem-plagued Monju reactor, AUG 19, 2018

The JAEA will launch actual fuel removal operations this month if it finds the work can be conducted safely. It was initially planned to begin late last month but was postponed after problems plagued the equipment test.

In the final exercise, control rods instead of real fuel assemblies will be removed from a container filled with sodium coolant by using the aforementioned equipment. The rods will be then packed in cans after the sodium is rinsed off and transported to a water-filled pool.

It has not been decided when the exercise will end, the agency said.

The decommissioning process for the glitch-riddled Monju is slated to take 30 years.

In the first phase, 530 assemblies in the reactor and a storage container outside the reactor will be moved to the water pool by December 2022. The JAEA has so far transferred only two fuel assemblies to the pool — one in 2008 and the other in 2009.

August 20, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan, reprocessing | Leave a comment

South Korean government steadfast in its goal of phasing out nuclear power

S. Korean gov’t committed to nuclear phase-out policy goal, 2018/08/18   SEOUL, Aug. 18 (Yonhap) — The South Korean government is firmly committed to reducing the country’s dependence on nuclear power and will expand the use of renewable power sources…..

President Moon Jae-in is currently seeking to scrap the building of new reactors and phase out those already in operation.

During a meeting with ruling and opposition parties on Thursday, Moon was quoted by the Democratic Party as saying that the government is carrying out the phase-out drive “step by step,” expressing confidence that the present energy policy will not weigh down the national economy.

……. Seoul has emphasized that the course to denuclearize can lead to new business opportunities as there can be a lucrative market for safety dismantling nuclear reactors. It, moreover, said that the government will continue to support efforts by South Korean companies to win nuclear plant construction orders abroad.

August 20, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

Death of courageous direct action anti nuclear campaigner Sarah Hipperson

Walthamstow Guardian 18th Aug 2018, A prominent anti-nuclear campaigner has died, aged 90. Sarah Hipperson of
Wanstead rose to national attention in 1983 after she joined a protest at
Greenham Common. She passed away on Wednesday (August 15).

The mother-of-five was best known for her role at a women’s camp at the Royal
Air Force station in Berkshire to prevent cruise missiles from being stored
at the site. She was involved in direct action, such as cutting fences and
obstructing vehicles. She served 22 prison sentences, the longest being 28
days, for criminal damage but would proudly boast that she “never paid a

August 20, 2018 Posted by | PERSONAL STORIES, UK | Leave a comment