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The dangers of Chernobyl nuclear site being turned into a tourism mecca

The grounds remain coated with plutonium, cesium, strontium and americium — radionuclides (atoms that emit radiation) that could pose potentially serious health risks to those who touch or ingest them. Some areas are more radioactive, and therefore more dangerous, than others.

“Even though the accident occurred over 33 years ago it remains one of the most radiologically contaminated places on earth.”

Chernobyl tourists should avoid plant life, and especially the depths of the forests.

Those areas were not cleaned in the aftermath of the disaster and remain highly contaminated by radiation. Research has showed that the fungus, moss and mushrooms growing there are radioactive. Eating or drinking from the area is not safe.

Those who stay on the paved pathways, which officials cleaned, are much less likely to absorb harmful toxins.

Ukraine wants Chernobyl to be a tourist trap. But scientists warn: Don’t kick up dust. https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/2019/07/12/ukraine-wants-chernobyl-be-tourist-trap-scientists-warn-dont-kick-up-dust/?utm_term=.5e82b547ceaf  By Katie Mettler, July 12 2019

The tourists first started flocking to Chernobyl nearly 10 years ago, when fans of the video game S.T.A.L.K.E.R. wanted to see firsthand the nuclear wasteland they’d visited in virtual reality.

Next came those whose curiosity piqued when in 2016 the giant steel dome known as the New Safe Confinement was slid over the sarcophagus encasing nuclear reactor number four, which exploded in April 1986, spewed radiation across Europe and forced hundreds of thousands to flee from their homes.

Then in May, HBO’s “Chernobyl” miniseries aired, and tourism companies reported a 30 to 40 percent uptick in visitors to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, abandoned and eerily frozen in time.

Now the Ukrainian government — capitalizing on the macabre intrigue — has announced that Chernobyl will become an official tourist site, complete with routes, waterways, checkpoints and a “green corridor” that will place it on the map with other “dark tourism” destinations.

“We must give this territory of Ukraine a new life,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said during a visit to Chernobyl this week. “Until now, Chernobyl was a negative part of Ukraine’s brand. It’s time to change it.”

Zelensky, who was inaugurated in May, signed a decree July 10 to kickstart the Chernobyl Development Strategy, which the president hopes will bring order to the 19-mile Exclusion Zone that has become a hotbed for corruption, trespassing and theft. At the nuclear facility and in the nearby town of Pripyat, wildlife has returned and now roams freely. Flora and fauna grow up around decaying homes, playgrounds and an amusement park. Letters, dinner tables and baby dolls remain where their owners abandoned them 33 years ago.

Radioactive dust still coats it all.

“Chernobyl is a unique place on the planet where nature revives after a global man-made disaster, where there is a real ‘ghost town,’” Zelensky said during his visit. “We have to show this place to the world: scientists, ecologists, historians, tourists.”

Though exploiting a historical space like Chernobyl could infuse Ukraine’s economy with tourism dollars and motivate developers to revive the sleepy towns surrounding the “dead zone,” there are significant downsides, experts say.

[Thanks to HBO, more tourists are flocking to the eerie Chernobyl nuclear disaster site]

The grounds remain coated with plutonium, cesium, strontium and americium — radionuclides (atoms that emit radiation) that could pose potentially serious health risks to those who touch or ingest them. Some areas are more radioactive, and therefore more dangerous, than others.

“Chernobyl was the worst nuclear accident in human history,” said Jim Beasley, an associate professor at the University of Georgia who has been studying wildlife in the Exclusion Zone since 2012. “Even though the accident occurred over 33 years ago it remains one of the most radiologically contaminated places on earth.”

More than 30 people were killed in the immediate aftermath of the explosion, and officials are still debating the full extent of the longterm death toll in Ukraine and nearby countries where people grew sick with cancer and other illnesses.

The World Health Organization estimates total cancer deaths at 9,000, far less than a Belarusian study that put the death toll at 115,000, reported Reuters.

Today, radiation levels inside the Exclusion Zone vary widely from location to location, said Dr. T. Steen, who teaches microbiology and immunology at Georgetown’s School of Medicine and oversees radiation research in organisms at nuclear disaster sites. Because of that, she advises anyone visiting to be educated and cautious while inside the Exclusion Zone, and to limit time spent there.

“The longer you’re exposed, the more that future impact is,” she said.

She advises visitors to the Exclusion Zone to wear clothes and shoes they are comfortable throwing away. If they’re going to be touching or disturbing anything, she recommends a mask and gloves. Most importantly, Steen says, Chernobyl tourists should avoid plant life, and especially the depths of the forests.

Those areas were not cleaned in the aftermath of the disaster and remain highly contaminated by radiation. Research has showed that the fungus, moss and mushrooms growing there are radioactive. Eating or drinking from the area is not safe.

Those who stay on the paved pathways, which officials cleaned, are much less likely to absorb harmful toxins.

Generally speaking, Chernobyl can be safe, Steen said, “but it depends on how people behave.”

And so far, the accounts of tourists behaving badly are abundant.

Timothy Mousseau, a biologist and University of South Carolina professor, has been studying the ecological and evolutionary consequences of radioactive contaminants on wildlife and organisms at Chernobyl for 20 years. He just recently returned from his annual, month-long trip to the Exclusion Zone and said he was shocked to see 250 tourists in street clothes wandering Pripyat.

Some hopped in bumper cars at the abandoned amusement park there to take selfies.

“Part of the reason people don’t think twice about it is because there is this highly organized tourism operation,” Mousseau said. “A lot of people don’t give it a second thought.”

He is concerned that the government’s tourism campaign could only make that worse.

“The negative aspects that are being completely ignored are the health and safety issues of bringing this many people, exposing this many people to what is a small risk, albeit a significant risk, to this kind of contamination,” Mousseau said. “The more traffic there is, the most dust there is, and the dust here is contaminated.”

[We’re in the age of the overtourist. You can avoid being one of them.]

But Mousseau’s worries, and the anxieties of his colleagues, extend beyond health factors.

For decades, biologists, ecologists and medical researchers have been studying the mostly undisturbed expanse that is the Exclusion Zone. They’ve studied DNA mutations in plants and insects, birds and fish. As larger mammals, like moose, wolves and fox, have slowly re-occupied the surrounding forests, biologists have searched for clues about the ways short-term and long-term radiation exposure have altered their health.

Scientifically, there is no place on earth like Chernobyl. Beasley, who studies wolves there, calls it a “living laboratory.” An influx of humans — especially reckless ones — could destroy it.

“This is really the only accessible place on the planet where this kind of research can be conducted at a scale both spatial and temporal that allows for important scientific discovery,” Mousseau said. “Given increased use of radiation in technology and medicine, in going to Mars and space, we need to know more about radiation and its effects on biology and organisms.”

“And Chernobyl provides a unique laboratory to do this kind of research,” he said.

Tourism’s negative footprint in the Exclusion Zone is not theoretical, either.

They are leaving behind trash, rummaging through abandoned homes and buildings and, in Mousseau’s experience, stealing his research equipment. Cameras he has hidden in the depths of the most radioactive parts of the zone to capture the wildlife he studies have been vandalized or gone missing, he said.

It’s something that absolutely astounds me,” he said.

Theoretically, more government oversight at Chernobyl could help curb this kind of interference, especially if a financial investment in the zone will help preserve the ghost town there and bring in more guards and checkpoints to patrol who comes and goes.

None of that will prevent tourists from disturbing Chernobyl’s spirit.

“I think it is important to not lose sight of the fact that Chernobyl represents an area of tremendous human suffering,” Beasley said, “as hundreds of thousands of people were forever displaced from their homes or otherwise impacted by the accident.”

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July 15, 2019 Posted by | culture and arts, environment, Reference, safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

The Russian Orthodox Church just might cease its blessing of nuclear weapons

 

THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH MAY STOP BLESSING NUCLEAR WEAPONS    https://futurism.com/the-byte/russian-orthodox-blessing-nuclear-weapons   JULY 10TH 19__DAN ROBITZSKI 

A faction of clergy within the Russian Orthodox Church wants to end the eyebrow-raising practice of blessing the country’s nuclear missiles.

First of all, yes: Russian priests currently sprinkle holy water on nuclear missiles as part of an old tradition in which Orthodox priests bless soldiers and their weapons, reports Religion News Service. But that may change, as some priests feel that intercontinental ballistic missiles belong in a different category from individual firearms.

Faith Militant

The Russian military and the Russian Orthodox church have long worked hand in hand, according to RNS, framing many of the country’s military conflicts as holy wars. The nuclear arsenal even has its own patron saint — RNS reports that St. Seraphim’s remains were found in a Russian town that housed several nuclear facilities.

As such, the push to stop blessing nukes faces strong opposition among members of the clergy, such as the high-ranking priest Vsevolod Chaplin, who referred to the country’s nukes as “guardian angels.”

“Only nuclear weapons protect Russia from enslavement by the West,” Chaplin once said, per RNS.

Changing Hearts

One priest, Dmitry Tsorionov, parted from the more militant aspects of the Orthodox Church after seeing men willingly sign up to fight Russia’s wars “under the banner of Christ,” he told RNS. Now he wants to see less warmongering among the clergy.

“It was not uncommon to see how church functionaries openly flirted with these toxic ideas,” he told RNS. “It was only then that I finally realized what the blessing of military hardware leads to.”

July 13, 2019 Posted by | culture and arts, Religion and ethics, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Claims of bullying and sexual harassment rock Sellafield nuclear facility

Daily Mail 26th April 2019 , Exposed: Britain’s largest nuclear power plant Sellafield is rocked by  claims of bullying and sexual harassment with female staff ‘routinely
propositioned by male bosses’  https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6965179/Exposed-Britains-largest-nuclear-power-plant-rocked-claims-bullying-sexual-harassment.html

July 4, 2019 Posted by | culture and arts, UK | Leave a comment

Chilling similarity between out-dated nuclear weapons policies and world of Game of Thrones

Nuclear weapons are archaic weapons that promote an outdated global order rooted in inequality and oppressive patriarchy. Which is another way of saying: our world isn’t that dissimilar to the world of Game of Thrones. The destruction that happened in King’s Landing could happen here, too. My hope is that the fictional blaze witnessed by the Game of Thrones  viewership (43 million people!) will serve as a warning, and will spark denuclearization action.

May 18, 2019 Posted by | culture and arts, media | Leave a comment

What the planet needs from men 

Brisbane Times, by Elizabeth Farrelly, 15 Feb 19…………women aren’t the only victims. Nature too bears the brunt. The world is being shoved off a cliff not by masculinity’s strength but by its terrifying fragility.Fragile masculinity is fear pressurised into rage; fear of losing control – of liberated femininity, of mysterious nature, of a world bucking its traces, of chaos. The anger is a desperate attempt to reinstate that control, illusory as it may always have been.

We [in Australia] have just endured a series of 40-plus days across much of the country, last month was the hottest on record. We joke. Thirty-six is the new normal, haha. I gaze with cold-envy at Antarctica, minus 29. But see this for what it is. This is the will-to-dominance: fragile masculinity in action.

Tasmania incineratesRiver systems shrink to nothingFish die in their millions. In Queensland up to half a million head of cattle lie rotting in the mud. In the Northern Territory, the soil itself has begun to ignite and thermometers melt in bare ground. On Tuesday, ploughing-induced dust storms obscured Parliament House. Globally, we’re witnessing catastrophic insect extinction, the start of the sixth mass extinction in the planet’s history. The evidence is insurmountable.

Yet we continue to beat nature into submission, as if striving to make the world hotter and weather events more extreme. Other countries reduce emissions. Germany pledges to close its remaining coal-fired power plants in 30 years. Australia could match that. Both UNSW and the CSIRO with Energy Networks Australia argue that renewables could easily supply most or all of our future energy needs. Instead, we become the developed world’s only deforestation hotspot, expected to clear-fell a further 3 million hectares in 15 years.

The Darling Basin Royal Commission finds “gross maladministration” and “negligence” in our governments’ wilful ignorance of climate change. Even the courts, bless them, have started to disallow coal mines for their climate impact. Yet the government response is, well, nothing, actually. Minister Littleproud mentions “learnings” from the Darling but still our noble leaders favour irrigators, build motorways, approve new mines, deny climate science and ease the path to public subsidies for one the biggest coal mines on earth as though it’s all fine.

It’s not fine. This is domestic violence. This planet is our home and they thrash around in it yelling, intimidating, wrecking the joint. Like violent husbands they get all remorseful and beg forgiveness only to do it all again. Why? Because we’ve always thrashed nature, and nature has always coped. As a bloke once said to me: “You don’t want me to shout and get possessive? But I’ve always treated women like this.”

Stoically, the planet has housed and nourished us, tolerated us. But it can’t last. A dominance relationship is never sustainable, human-to-human or human-to-nature. Winning? To win this battle is to lose. The era of collaboration is here………….

It’s when people “stitch their self-worth to being all-powerful” that things go bad. An equal-status relationship – with a partner or with nature – requires listening, empathy, the antidote to shame.

We talk as though “traditional masculinity” were the enemy, as though we want men to evolve into something more like women. But that’s wrong.

What we need is not faux-women but nobler, more confident men. The man-heroes of the future, if we’re to have one, won’t be the brutes and sociopaths. They won’t be the cruel and the thoughtless, the boat-stoppers and coal-brandishers. They’ll be those who hold power but refuse to exploit it, renowned as much for their kindness as their exploits. Literally, gentlemen.

Male anger is leading us over a cliff. If men can find the strength to be truly vulnerable, they deserve to lead. If not, if they persist in this fragile rage, it’ll be up to Rosie the Riveter to save the day. Why? Because there is no spare room to sleep in. https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/what-the-planet-needs-from-men-20190214-p50xrq.html

February 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, culture and arts | Leave a comment

Time to jolt people out of their apathy about danger of nuclear war

It’s Time to Face Up to Our Nuclear Reality

The made-for-TV movie The Day After had an enormous impact on America’s national conversation about nuclear weapons in 1983. Resuming that conversation today is essential, and the movie holds some lessons about what that would take. The Nation, By Dawn Stover–  14 Dec 18 This article originally appeared as part of a special section on The Day After at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists “…….The television movie The Day After depicted a full-scale nuclear war and its impacts on people living in and around Kansas City.

It became something of a community project in picturesque Lawrence, 40 miles west of Kansas City, where much of the movie was filmed. Thousands of local residents—including students and faculty from the University of Kansas—were recruited as extras for the movie; about 65 of the 80 speaking parts were cast locally. The use of locals was intentional, because the moviemakers wanted to show the grim consequences of a nuclear war for real Middle Americans, living in the real middle of the country. By the time the movie ends, almost all of the main characters are dead or dying.

ABC broadcast The Day After on November 20, 1983, with no commercial breaks during the final hour. More than 100 million people saw it—nearly two-thirds of the total viewing audience. It remains one of the most-watched television programs of all time. Brandon Stoddard, then-president of ABC’s motion picture division, called it “the most important movie we’ve ever done.” The Washington Post later described it as “a profound TV moment.” It was arguably the most effective public-service announcement in history.

It was also a turning point for foreign policy. Thirty-five years ago, the United States and the Soviet Union were in a nuclear arms race that had taken them to the brink of war. The Day After was a piercing wake-up shriek, not just for the general public but also for then-President Ronald Reagan. Shortly after he saw the film, Reagan gave a speech saying that he, too, had a dream: that nuclear weapons would be “banished from the face of the Earth.” A few years later, Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the first agreement that provided for the elimination of an entire category of nuclear weapons. By the late 1990s, American and Russian leaders had created a stable, treaty-based arms-control infrastructure and expected it to continue improving over time.

Now, however, a long era of nuclear restraint appears to be nearing an end. Tensions between the United States and Russia have risen to levels not seen in decades. . Alleging treaty violations by Russia, the White House has announced plans to withdraw from the INF Treaty. Both countries are moving forward with the enormously expensive refurbishment of old and development of new nuclear weapons—a process euphemized as “nuclear modernization.” Leaders on both sides have made inflammatory statements, and no serious negotiations have taken place in recent years.

There are striking parallels between the security situations today and 35 years ago, with one major discordance: Today, nuclear weapons are seldom a front-burner concern, largely being forgotten, underestimated, or ignored by the American public. The United States desperately needs a fresh national conversation about the born-again nuclear-arms race—a conversation loud enough to catch the attention of the White House and the Kremlin and lead to resumed dialogue. A look back at The Day After and the role played by ordinary citizens in a small Midwestern city shows how the risk of nuclear war took center stage in 1983, and what it would take for that to happen again in 2018.

[Article goes on to detail the story]……

It is no coincidence that nuclear war begins in The Day After with a gradually escalating conflict in Europe. In one scene, viewers hear a Soviet official mention the “coordinated movement of the Pershing II launchers.”

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that Reagan and Gorbachev signed in 1987 resolved that conflict, banning all ground-launched and air-launched nuclear and conventional missiles (and their launchers) with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, or 310 to 3,420 miles. However, Trump said in October that he plans to withdraw from the treaty, and on December 4 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States would withdraw in 60 days if Russia continues its alleged non-compliance. Gorbachev and Shultz, in a Washington Post op-ed published that day, warned that “[a]bandoning the INF Treaty would be a step toward a new arms race, undermining strategic stability and increasing the threat of miscalculation or technical failure leading to an immensely destructive war.”………

A BRIGHT TOMORROW?

In one scene in The Day After, a pregnant woman who has taken shelter in the Lawrence hospital along with fallout victims tells her doctor that her overdue baby doesn’t want to be born. You’re holding back hope, he says.

“Hope for what?” she asks. “We knew the score. We knew all about bombs. We knew all about fallout. We knew this could happen for 40 years. Nobody was interested.”

It won’t be long before another 40 years have passed. Americans have not yet perished in a nuclear war or its aftermath, but a new arms race is beginning and the potential for an intentional or accidental nuclear war seems to be rising…….. https://www.thenation.com/article/nuclear-weapons-bulletin-atomic-scientists/

December 15, 2018 Posted by | culture and arts, media, Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

Here’s an example of the uncritical journalistic hype over the nuclear lobby’s new filmic advertisement

(Low on facts – high on uncritical enthusiasm)

A new documentary puts fresh, young faces on the old debate over nuclear power, Grist , “…….. David Schumacher’s new documentary, The New Fire,…. profiles young people working to invent better versions of nuclear power plants. There’s the couple with a simple reactor design who started the company, Oklo. And there’s the Bill Gates-backed TerraPower. …..the movie serves up hope and enthusiasm……..

I discovered these young people starting companies to build nuclear reactors. It was so audacious. They were so heroic and charming and just completely iconoclastic. They shattered the standard image of nuclear engineers……
I’ve had people come up to me and say this has totally changed my mind. At the Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival, this couple approached me and said, “We started a chapter of the Sierra Club downwind of Three-Mile Island.” These are folks who would have been young adults at the time [1978, when the Three Mile Island plant had a partial meltdown]. “So we’ve been very anti-nuclear, but this film really changed our minds.” ……

October 20, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, culture and arts, media, spinbuster | 1 Comment

The dubious nuclear politics of of Fallout video games,

The ambivalent nuclear politics of Fallout video games, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, By Cameron Hunter, October 17, 2018 The late French filmmaker, François Truffaut, once claimed “There’s no such thing as an anti-war film”—referring to the adventure and thrill of combat, the (usually) clear-cut heroes and villains, and the opportunity for the film-maker to indulge in spectacular pyrotechnics and loud, cinema-shaking explosions of sound. And the loudest and most impressive explosion of all is the nuclear mushroom cloud.

The same may be proving to be true of video games—perhaps even more so.

Just like war movies, video games have frequently exploited the exciting and dramatic aspects of war. Yet, unlike movie-goers, gamers do not passively consume their media; instead, they make choices and influence the narrative. The result is a medium that trades heavily on visceral, simulated experience. And what could be more visceral than up-close and personal exposure to a nuclear strike?

Trading heavily on its nuclear theme, the Fallout video game series has so far teetered between satirizing the Bomb, and reveling in its power. But now it may be toppling over that fine line.

These games are almost certainly the most well-known (and well-loved) media that deal with nuclear weapons today. Fallout must therefore be taken seriously as an influence on the real-world politics and culture of nuclear weapons in the 21st century.

…..As the series has progressed, the developers have given the player more and more access to their own nuclear weapons. A franchise that began by mocking nuclear technologies now appears to be actively encouraging nuclear use by the players in the brand-new Fallout 76.

…….. perhaps most important of all, these sanitized representations risk teaching a misleading version of humanity’s nuclear predicament to a massive audience. https://thebulletin.org/2018/10/the-ambivalent-nuclear-politics-of-fallout-video-games/

October 20, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, culture and arts | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons join the other cruel killing methods now pitched as games – entertainment

The Nukes of ‘Fallout 76’ Are Where Power Fantasies Hit a Breaking Point, Waypoint, 16 Oct 18  Postscript is Cameron Kunzelman’s weekly column about endings, apocalypses, deaths, bosses, and all sorts of other finalities.The nuclear blast has cast a long shadow over the 20th century. When the United States bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, annihilating somewhere in the range 200,000 human beings in the blast and the aftermath, the new era was inaugurated. That era was defined by the fact that a single bomb dropped from a plane or delivered via an intercontinental ballistic missile could destroy an entire city, poison the land, and assure that target of the nuclear attack was harmed on a fundamental level. They were a way of projecting that a nuclear power like the United States or the Soviet Union would be able to wound an enemy so profoundly that the enemy could never recover. They were the ultimate existential threat.

I say “were” because I am talking historically, but they remain a viable political option. This is perhaps why the recently-deleted tweet from Gamespot was so strange and troubling. It said this: “This is what a nuke looks like going off in Fallout 76, and it’s pretty @#%$^@ epic!”…….

I am not surprised that nuclear devastation is being pitched as a gameplay feature in a video game. I don’t see it as being substantially different from all of the other horrors that we have made fun through the interactive power of video games. Our main mode of engaging with beings in video games remains killing them with blades, guns, and the protagonist’s own hands. I am not morally outraged by this. Instead, the frivolity of it, its “epic” implementation, just makes me feel so tired.

When the detonation of a nuclear weapon is made into a game mechanic and declared “pretty @#%$^@ epic,” I see this simply as a symptom of how insulated games are from the world at large. While films have all the same ways of depicting violence that games have, I have a hard time thinking of a non-satirical film that revels in the absolute annihilation of nuclear war. Dr. Strangelove points out how inept the leaders of the Cold War were, but it obviously does not see the detonation of a nuclear weapon as a fun or optimal output.

Our biggest video games have made executions, stabbings, headshots, and eviscerations completely ordinary. A year without any of those things would be a shocking anomaly, a true blow to the entertainment economy, and it would mean that most of our most profitable game franchises did not release an entry. And now nuclear weapons have been absorbed into this system that sees everything as a potential mechanic and a way of entertaining and maintaining players. In Fallout 76, detonating a nuclear device is just a way to generate more gameplay. From what we’ve seen of the game so far, it is robbed of any significance beyond its mechanical function. ……..

All of our blockbuster games tend toward making the player feel powerful. They want to be fun, to embrace the player, to allow them to feel like they have agency in relation to the world around them. As far as I can tell, there is nothing than will not be sacrificed or compromised in the drive to accomplish that goal. Our biggest games, like the Fallout games, are simply after their players feeling strong. Anything that keeps players from feeling strong must be minimized……..

No matter who you are, no matter how powerful you think you are, the reality is that nuclear war will either destroy you or make your life unlivable in its current shape. This reality is fundamentally at odds with how the design of blockbuster video games work. That means that taking nuclear weapons seriously in a blockbuster game is impossible……..

The problem with video games and nuclear weapons doesn’t have anything to do with nuclear weapons themselves. They are simply a human evil, the ultimate symbol of what kind of nightmare we are willing to bring to bear on one another in our quest for dominance and violence. The problem in the relationship between video games and nuclear weapons is video games.

Unlike our friends over at Motherboard, there is not a part of me that finds joy in the adoption of nuclear weapons as yet another thing that is horribly violent and played for laughs in a game. It is impossible for me to think about nuclear weapons without thinking about the shadows blasted into stone at Hiroshima. I think about the rotting flesh of The Day After. I think about the unfathomable human cost of nuclear weapons, which includes the cancers grown under the aegis of environmental drift of radioactive particles………https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/7x3qjz/fallout-76-nukes-bad-nuclear-weapons?utm_source=wptwitterus

October 18, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, culture and arts, Education | Leave a comment

Britain’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) Nuclear and Caithness Archive in Scotland – central site for British nuclear records

Wired 8th Oct 2018 Seventy years of British nuclear history lie behind these concrete, stone
and aluminium walls. Since opening in February 2017, Nucleus, the UK
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) Nuclear and Caithness Archive,
near Wick, Scotland, has been gathering thousands of records, images and
plans about the UK’s civil nuclear industry.

More documents are being transferred from 17 archives across the UK, as the NDA plans to house them
all in this single purpose-built location. The archive contains documents
dating back to the 1950s, and some are classified as Top Secret. Records
are kept in triplicate: a copy on paper, a microfilm and a PDF version, to
reduce wear on the originals.
https://www.wired.co.uk/article/nucleus-archive-uk-nuclear

October 9, 2018 Posted by | culture and arts, UK | Leave a comment

Fukuhima academic team establishing an archive of nuclear disaster lessons

Fukushima prof., residents seek to establish an archive of nuke disaster lessons, Mainichi  News,  KATSURAO, Fukushima, 16 Sept 18 — A Fukushima University professor and his team are gathering materials for an archive project to pass on the lessons learned from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and nuclear disaster in this prefecture in northeastern Japan.

In a March 2017 plan finalized by the Fukushima Prefectural Government, the archives will be inaugurated in the summer of 2020 at a cost of approximately 5.5 billion yen in the town of Futaba, which has been rendered “difficult to live” due to radioactive fallout from the triple core meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)’s Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011. The facility will have a total floor space of 5,200 square meters with areas for exhibitions, management and research, storage, training sessions and holding meetings. The design was modeled after a similar center in the western Japan city of Kobe that was built to store records of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, but with more focus on the nuclear disaster than the quake itself.

Professor Kenji Yaginuma of Fukushima University’s Fukushima Future Center for Regional Revitalization and his team are visiting places affected by the nuclear accident and collecting testimonies of residents, documents, pictures and images for the project…………
Yaginuma’s team is collecting just about anything that shows the daily lives of residents before the quake, or items that show what happened in the disaster and the ensuing nuclear accident, as well as materials indicative of post-disaster situations………..https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20180912/p2a/00m/0na/028000c

September 17, 2018 Posted by | culture and arts, Japan | Leave a comment

In the Anthropocene, the day of peak consumption of stuff will eventually come

September 12, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, culture and arts | Leave a comment

Japan might sue journalist over his coverage of Fukushima, in Dark Tourist series

Japanese authorities mulling legal action over Kiwi journalist David Farrier’s Fukushima coverage in Dark Tourist series, https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/entertainment/japanese-authorities-mulling-legal-action-over-kiwi-journalist-david-farriers-fukushima-coverage-in-dark-tourist-series  Kiwi journalist David Farrier has come to the attention of authorities in Japan a segment of his Netflix series Dark Tourist, filmed in Fukushima.

The Fukushima Prefectural Government and the Reconstruction Agency are looking to take legal action over the video over concerns it will stoke “unreasonable” fears of radiation in the Fukushima Prefecture, the Japan Times reports.

A senior official from the prefecture said they were “examining the video content”.

In the episode, Farrier is filmed taking a tour of areas affected by the 2011 meltdown of a nuclear plant in Fukushima where he suspects a meal served from a restaurant in Namie, a town in Fukushima Prefecture, has been contaminated by radiation.

It also shows the journalist enter a no-go zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant without permission from authorities, reporting from an abandoned game arcade, and tourists on a bus becoming distressed over rising radiation levels without information about the vehicle’s location.

The show has the journalist travel to different locations around the world associated with grim historical events, including the footsteps of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Milwaukee, and voodoo rituals in Benin, West Africa.

September 3, 2018 Posted by | civil liberties, culture and arts, Japan, Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

Black Mist Burnt Country: art under the nuclear cloud of Maralinga

https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/art-and-design/black-mist-burnt-country-art-under-the-nuclear-cloud-of-maralinga-20180823-p4zz7i.html, By Karen Hardy 24 August 2018 On September 27, 1956, the British exploded an atomic bomb on Pitjantjatjara land in South Australia. The place would become known as Maralinga, which means “thunder” in the now-extinct Garik Aboriginal language.

Black Mist Burnt Country tells the stories of the atomic tests in Australia in the 1950s and ’60s, revisiting the events and locations through the artworks of Indigenous and non-Indigenous contemporary artists across the mediums of painting, print-making, sculpture, photography, video and new media.

Now showing at the National Museum of Australia, it has been touring with great success since September 2016, opening then to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the first test at Maralinga.

Curator JD Mittman, from the Burrinja Dandenong Ranges Cultural Centre, grew up “under the nuclear cloud” in Germany during the 1980s and when he came to Australia he was surprised to learn there had been atomic tests here.

In the collection of the small community arts centre he found a large canvas work by Jonathan Kumintjarra Brown entitled Maralinga Before the Atomic Test.

The question for me was what did ‘after’ look like?”

When he began his research he was surprised to find so many works concerning Australia’s place in the nuclear race.

Artist Arthur Boyd participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations in the 1960s and his Jonah on the Shoalhaven – Outside the City (1976), features a tiny mushroom cloud, blending biblical imagery with contemporary landscape and personal symbolism.

Sidney Nolan’s Central Desert: Atomic Test (1952-57) is part of a classic series of desert landscapes Nolan began in the late 1940s. He added a mushroom cloud on the horizon at a later date.

“This exhibition doesn’t look at any one artist’s body of work,” says Mittman, “but displays how varied the approaches were, how different the perspectives were, and what the original stories were.

“Every generation has taken a different approach.”

There are large canvases by Kumintjarra Brown, one Frogmen, shows three men in masks and protective suits, another Black Rain tells the tragic story of a group of Anangu people who were found huddled together, dead, in a crater near the bomb site.

Mittman says it’s important for Australians, particularly generations who may not have even heard of the testing, let alone those of us to whom Maralinga is a familiar word but were unaware of such details as then prime minister Robert Menzies did not even consult cabinet when he gave permission to begin the testing.

“And it’s not just a story of the past,” he says.

“There is great concern among the indigenous community, and I don’t want to speak on their behalf, about the ongoing repercussions of the testing on country.

“And it’s even more than that, the multi-media work from Linda Dement and Jessie Boylan builds a bridge between the past and the present. “There are 15,000 warheads in the world at present, many of them on planes, in submarines, ready to strike within minutes.

“The Cold War might have ended but the nuclear threat has not gone away.”

He says it’s somewhat fitting that the exhibition opens in Canberra in the same week the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons protest arrives in Canberra heading to parliament to urge politicians to ratify the nuclear weapon ban treaty.

Black Mist Burnt Country at the National Museum of Australia until November 18.

August 27, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, culture and arts | Leave a comment

Energy politics – why renewables are winning over nuclear power

Why are renewables suddenly trouncing nuclear energy?  City Metric, By David Toke,   31 May 18 

June 1, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, culture and arts, politics | Leave a comment