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Fear and Loathing Within America’s ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

INSIDE THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY: PARANOIA AND STIFLED WORKBased on interviews with 47 current and former EPA employees, a new report paints a picture of a deeply divided and stymied agency. Pacific Standard, FRANCIE DIEP, JUN 20, 2017 A new report paints the Environmental Protection Agency under Scott Pruitt’s leadership in a particularly bad light.

Among the allegations from the report, which relies on anonymous sources: that Pruitt, despite his role as EPA head, has almost never met with environmental groups, and is, in fact, hamstringing his own agency’s law enforcement and regional offices; that Pruitt has banned employees from taking pen and paper into meetings out of fear of information being leaked; and that Pruitt’s office suppressed plans for an agency Earth Daypicnic because it seemed too combative.

“Beneath the veneer of Pruitt’s public statements and appearances, I think there’s a lot of dysfunction,” says Christopher Sellers, a history professor at Stony Brook University who interviewed 32 current and former EPA employees for the report, which was released publicly today by the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative, an activist group of university professors. EDGI organized shortly after President Donald Trump’s election in a response to what founders saw as anti-science sentiment in the administration.

The new EDGI report indicates there’s widespread demoralization and dissent within the EPA. That’s not surprising. Trump has long called for policies that are sure to be unpopular at the agency. While running for office, he vowed to shutter the agency. Since then, he has blamed environmental regulation for killing jobs; worked to repeal EPA rules; and, in his proposed budget, called for a 31 percent cut to the agency’s funding, which would likely eliminate thousands of jobs. Pruitt, meanwhile, has denied the reality of climate change, then later said he thought the Earth is warming, but wasn’t sure how much human activity had to do with it. What the new report offers are fresh details about Pruitt’s internal decisions and how they may already be affecting the agency’s work.

For the report, Sellers worked with seven other academics to interview 10 current and 37 former employees of the EPA between December of 2016 and May of this year. They recruited their sources through EPA alumni groups and by asking people they were already in contact with to refer them to others. They did not reveal their sources’ identities to Pacific Standard. Requests for comment from the EPA were not returned.

EDGI’s work paints a picture of an imbalanced agency that favors certain industries and constituents over others and is stymied by distrust between its head and his staff. Indeed, some doubt whether Pruitt wants the EPA to work at all. “I think the plan is to get rid of EPA,” one employee told the EDGI interviewers. “I think this is just phase one.”

ONLY SOME STAKEHOLDERS

Pruitt hasn’t been around for his staff, interviewees told EDGI. Few of the interviewees had seen him in the Washington, D.C., office. Instead, the sources said Pruitt seems to travel frequently and to pay attention to a select group of stakeholders: He’s gone to meet the governors of Western states, farmers, and coal miners, for example. He decorated headquarters with posters showing him shaking hands with miners. In late March, Trump visited the EPA headquarters to sign an executive order rewriting the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan and starting the process of lifting a moratorium on coal leasing on federal land. He did so with Pruitt at his side and several coal miners surrounding him. “You know what it says, right?” Trump told the miners. “You’re going back to work.”…..https://psmag.com/environment/paranoia-and-stifled-work-at-epa

June 26, 2017 Posted by | psychology - mental health, USA | Leave a comment

The very great difference in effects on the environment between nuclear bombs and nuclear meltdowns

Nuclear Bombs and Nuclear Reactor Meltdowns Affect the Environment in Very Different Wayshttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/nuclear-bombs-and-nuclear-reactor-meltdowns-affect_us_59499845e4b0c24d29f4784306/22/2017, Why do nuclear bombs leave little longtime radiation, while nuclear reactor meltdowns could last for centuries? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Viktor T. Toth, IT pro, part-time physicist, on Quora:

Why do nuclear bombs leave little longtime radiation, while nuclear reactor meltdowns could last for centuries? Well, for starters, there is the amount of fuel involved.

Little Boy (the bomb dropped on Hiroshima) contained 64 kilograms of highly enriched (weapons grade) uranium. Of this, less than a kilogram actually underwent nuclear fission, producing fission products including short-lived but dangerous isotopes, and also producing the neutron radiation “flash” that induced secondary radioactivity in some materials that absorbed those neutrons.

In contrast, an RBMK reactor like the one that blew up in Chernobyl contains 100–150 fuel assemblies, each with over 100 kg of partially enriched uranium. So right there, the amount of fuel in the reactor is several hundred times more than the amount of fission fuel in a nuclear bomb. And whereas a nuclear bomb uses its fuel rather inefficiently (the explosive fission process takes place in milliseconds), a reactor does a more thorough job consuming its fuel over the course of several months before a fuel assembly is replaced.

Furthermore, the fission byproducts remain in the fuel assembly. Depending on the reactor design, these may, in fact, include materials a lot worse than the uranium fuel, such as weapons grade plutonium. Then there are also all the irradiated parts of the reactor that have been continuously exposed to radiation, resulting in secondary radioactivity and more nasty byproducts.

When a nuclear bomb explodes, it is dispersed over a large area. In case of a reactor accident, some of the fuel is dispersed, but a lot of it remains in place, at the reactor site. So this represents a concentration of radioactive materials that just does not occur in case of a bomb. And because all of it sits on the ground, there is the chance of leakage, e.g., into the water table, contaminating the water supply of a large region.

A nuclear reactor site may also contain other sources of radiation. For instance, one of the biggest concerns after the Fukushima accident was due to spent fuel pools located near the meltdown sites.

Having said all that, let us not forget that the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone became possibly the biggest accidental wildlife sanctuary in Europe, if not the world. That is because while radioactive contamination takes its toll, it’s nothing compared to what humans do. Remove most of the humans and even if you add a substantial amount of radiation, Nature thrives.

June 23, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

On planet Earth the heat is rising – heat death zones to appear

Heatwaves to soar above the hot air of climate politics, Future generations will fear, rather than fend for, the global environment.Nature , 20 June 2017 “……… on planet Earth the heat is rising. Britain was hit by a heatwave at the weekend that forecasters say could last for weeks, and temperatures in California are predicted to reach record levels in a few days’ time. The world is cooking and we should anticipate more of the same.

From extreme rainfall to rising sea levels, global warming is expected to wreak havoc on human lives. Sometimes, the most straightforward impact — the warming itself — is overlooked. Yet heat kills. The body, after all, has evolved to work in a fairly narrow temperature range. Our sweat-based cooling mechanism is crude; beyond a certain combination of high temperature and humidity, it fails. To be outside and exposed to such an environment for any length of time soon becomes a death sentence.

And that environment is spreading. A death zone is creeping over the surface of Earth, gaining a little more ground each year. As an analysis published this week in Nature Climate Change shows, since 1980, these temporary hells on Earth have opened up hundreds of times to take life (C. Mora et al.Nature Clim. Change http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nclimate3322; 2017). At present, roughly one-third of the world’s population lives for about three weeks a year under such conditions. If greenhouse-gas emissions continue to rise unchecked, that figure could climb, exposing almost three-quarters of the population by the end of the century.

The analysis also reveals that even aggressive reductions in emissions will lead the number of deadly heatwaves to soar in the coming decades. Cities including London, New York, Tokyo and Sydney have all seen citizens die from the effects of excessive heat. By 2100, people in the tropics could be living in these death zones for entire summers. It’s true that warmer winters will save lives further north. And those living in urban environments may find ways to adapt to the new norm of extreme heat. But, if the researchers are correct, the politics of Pruitt and those who try to hold him to account will seem quaint and anachronistic to our grandchildren. For they will live in a world in which most will see the environment less as something to protect, and more as something to protect themselves and their families from.http://www.nature.com/news/heatwaves-to-soar-above-the-hot-air-of-climate-politics-1.22164

June 21, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, health | Leave a comment

Rise of deadly heatwaves will continue

Deadly heatwaves expected to continue to rise https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170619120507.htm

Date:
June 19, 2017
Source:
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Summary:
Seventy-four percent of the world’s population will be exposed to deadly heatwaves by 2100 if carbon gas emissions continue to rise at current rates, according to a new study. Even if emissions are aggressively reduced, the percent of the world’s human population affected is expected to reach 48 percent.

Seventy-four percent of the world’s population will be exposed to deadly heatwaves by 2100 if carbon gas emissions continue to rise at current rates, according to a study published in Nature Climate Change. Even if emissions are aggressively reduced, the percent of the world’s human population affected is expected to reach 48 percent.

“We are running out of choices for the future,” said Camilo Mora, associate professor of Geography in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and lead author of the study. “For heatwaves, our options are now between bad or terrible. Many people around the world are already paying the ultimate price of heatwaves, and while models suggest that this is likely to continue, it could be much worse if emissions are not considerably reduced. The human body can only function within a narrow range of core body temperatures around 37oC. Heatwaves pose a considerable risk to human life because hot weather, aggravated with high humidity, can raise body temperature, leading to life threatening conditions.”

A team of researchers lead by Mora conducted an extensive review and found over 1,900 cases of locations worldwide where high ambient temperatures have killed people since 1980. By analyzing the climatic conditions of 783 lethal heat episodes for which dates were obtained, researchers identified a threshold beyond which temperatures and humidities become deadly. The area of the planet where such a threshold is crossed for 20 or more days per year has been increasing and is projected to grow even with dramatic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, about 30% of the world’s human population is exposed to such deadly conditions each year.

Numerous examples, such as the 2003 European heatwave that killed approximately 70,000 people, the 2010 Moscow heatwave that killed 10,000 people and the 1995 Chicago heatwave that killed 700 people are staggering examples of the risk to life posed by heatwaves. But beyond these highly cited examples, little was known about how common such killer heatwaves are.

The international group of researchers and students coordinated by the University of Hawaii at Manoa set out to answer that question. From over 30,000 relevant publications, the researchers identified 911 papers with data on 1,949 case studies of cities or regions, where human deaths were associated with high temperatures. From those cases, dates were obtained for 783 lethal heatwaves in 164 cities across 36 countries, with most cases recorded in developed countries at mid-latitudes. Some of the cities that have experienced lethal heatwaves included New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, London, Beijing, Tokyo, Sydney and Sao Paulo.

When analyzing the climatic conditions for those cities, the researchers discovered a common threshold beyond which temperatures and humidities became lethal. In agreement with human thermal physiology, the threshold was such that as relative humidity increases, lower temperatures become lethal.

“Finding a threshold beyond which climatic conditions turn deadly is scientifically important yet frightening,” said Farrah Powell, a UH Manoa graduate student and one of the co-authors in the study. “This threshold now allows us to identify conditions that are harmful to people. And because it is based on documented cases of real people across the globe, it makes it that more credible and relevant. The scary thing is how common those deadly conditions are already.”

A web-application accompanying the paper allows counting, for any place on Earth, the number of days in a year when temperature and humidity exceed such a deadly threshold. For example, by 2100 New York is projected to have around 50 days with temperatures and humidities exceeding the threshold in which people have previously died. That same year, the number of deadly days for Sydney will be 20, 30 for Los Angeles, and the entire summer for Orlando and Houston.

The study also found that the greatest risk to human life from deadly heat was projected for tropical areas. This is because the tropics are hot and humid year round, whereas for higher latitudes the risk of deadly heat is restricted to summer.

“Warming at the poles has been one of the iconic climatic changes associated with the ongoing emissions of greenhouse gases,” said co-author Iain Caldwell, a UH Manoa post-doctoral researcher. “Our study shows, however, that it is warming in the tropics that will pose the greatest risk to people from deadly heat events. With high temperatures and humidities, it takes very little warming for conditions to turn deadly in the tropics.”

“Climate change has put humanity on a path that will become increasingly dangerous and difficult to reverse if greenhouse gas emissions are not taken much more seriously,” says Mora. “Actions like the withdrawal from the Paris agreement is a step in the wrong direction that will inevitably delay fixing a problem for which there is simply no time to waste.”

June 21, 2017 Posted by | climate change, health, Reference | Leave a comment

Hibakusha were not treated for radiation damage: finally Radiation research foundation to apologize

Radiation research foundation to apologize for studying but not treating hibakusha https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170617/p2a/00m/0na/016000c  June 17, 2017 (Mainichi Japan)HIROSHIMA –– The chairman of a joint Japan-U.S. research organization studying the long-term effects of radiation exposure on humans is expected to apologize to hibakusha — survivors of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki — who were studied but generally not treated by the organization’s American predecessor, it has been learned.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | Japan, radiation, weapons and war | Leave a comment

US federal cutbacks mean closure of  Manhattan Radiation-Detection Lab

 Manhattan Radiation-Detection Lab To Close Due to Federal Budget Cut, The Chief ,By BOB HENNELL, Jun 16, 2017 The Department of Homeland Security will be closing its city-based National Urban Security Technology Laboratory which services the NYPD and the FDNY radiation-detection equipment used to detect an improvised nuclear device or a so-called dirty bomb, THE CHIEF-LEADER has learned. In addition to providing technical support to the city’s first-responders, the lab, under the post-9/11 Securing the Cities program, provides similar assistance to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as well as local departments across the region.

Casualty of Trump Budget

In a letter obtained by this newspaper dated June 1, Adam R. Hutter, the NUSTL’s director, wrote to the lab’s Securing the Cities partners that to satisfy cuts required by President Trump’s proposed budget for the Federal fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 the DHS will close the facility that helps “to detect and protect against radiological and nuclear threats by conducting functional tests of law enforcement radiation detection equipment for Securing the Cities (STC), through an agreement with the New York City Police Department.”

 The lab at 201 Varick St. in lower Manhattan was established in 1947 as part of the Manhattan Project and has been a global leader in studying background atmospheric radiation. It provided critical scientific research that helped make the case for the 1963 Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. which banned testing on atomic bombs in the atmosphere, underwater or in outer space.

“NUSTL is honored to have tested nearly 20,000 units in support of the homeland security enterprise,” Mr. Hutter wrote. “Please be assured that we will continue to provide you with testing and support services until NUSTL’s closure is finalized.”

Union VP ‘Stunned’

“We were stunned,” said John Kada, who works at the lab and is the vice president of Local 42 of the American Federation of Government Employees. “Over the years we have built really good relations with first-responders throughout the region. We have one-on-one relations that grew out of our calibrating their equipment and providing the latest in training materials in this critical area.”…..http://thechiefleader.com/manhattan-radiation-detection-lab-to-close-due-to-federal-budget/article_9fa74bf6-3b11-11e7-b2ad-931dab76e901.html

June 19, 2017 Posted by | radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Women heading the Ban the Bomb movement

 http://thebulletin.org/women-and-ban-bomb-movement, Ray Acheson, 15 JUNE 2017This week at the United Nations in New York City, governments, international organizations and civil society groups are gathering to resume negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons. And women are at the forefront of this effort—as they have been at the forefront of the anti-nuclear resistance since the beginning of the nuclear age.

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) —where I work as director—was one of the first civil society groups to condemn the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (The term “civil society” gets used a lot and has many different definitions, but is generally accepted to mean groups working in the interests of citizens but outside of government or business; some examples include charities and non-governmental organizations such as the Red Cross.) Women were leaders in the campaign to ban nuclear weapon testing in the United States, using powerful symbols such as a collection of baby teeth to show evidence of radioactive contamination. Women led the Nuclear Freeze movement in the 1980s, calling on the Soviet Union and the United States to stop the arms race. Now, women are the leading edge of the movement to ban nuclear weapons in the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

When the three-week-long negotiations at the UN resume on June 15, women will be continuing this tradition, both in the conference room and on the streets. As part of its efforts to ban nuclear weapons, the WILPF is organizing the Women’s March to Ban the Bomb, on June 17, to be held in mid-town Manhattan. Other events will be held across the globe to show solidarity with the march, in places as far apart as Australia and Scotland. The event has over 30 sponsors and endorsers from around the world.

In my opinion, the process of banning nuclear weapons serves another purpose as well: It acts as a challenge to much of the existing discourse, which has been distinctly patriarchal in tone.

In fact, much of the opposition to the nuclear ban process has been highly gendered. Those who talk about the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and call for the prohibition of weapons of mass destruction are accused of being divisive, polarizing, ignorant, and emotional. Meanwhile, opponents to the ban say that they support “reasonable,” “realistic,” “practical” or “pragmatic” steps, and call anything else “irrational” and “irresponsible.”

Many women may recognize this rhetorical assault. When a certain type of man—think Donald Trump—wants to assert his power and dominance and make women (or other men) feel small and marginalized, he often accuses them of being emotional, overwrought, relentless, repetitive, or irrational. This technique has been employed for as long as gender hierarchies have existed.

In the case of the ban treaty, this approach links caring about humanitarian concerns to being weak, and asserts that “real men” have to “protect” their countries. It not only suggests that caring about the use of nuclear weapons is spineless and silly, but also implies that the pursuit of disarmament is an unrealistic, irrational, and even effeminate objective.

Of course, the fact that masculinity is equated across so many cultures with the willingness to use force and violence is a social phenomenon, not a biological one. Boys come to learn to define themselves as men through violence. The way that norms of masculinity such as toughness, strength, and bravado are displayed in the media, at home, and in school teaches boys to exercise dominance through violent acts. Boys learn to think of violence as a form of communication.

Nuclear weapons are themselves loaded with symbolism—of potency, protection and the power to “deter” through material “strength.” For many, such symbolism obscures the real point of the existence of these arms—to destroy—and their horrendous effects.

Nuclear weapons are not just symbolically gendered. Women face unique devastation from the effects of the use of nuclear weapons, such as the impacts of radiation on their reproductive and maternal health. Women who have survived these radioactive effects also face unique social challenges; they are often treated as pariahs in their communities.

Consequently, denying the rationality of those that support a nuclear weapons ban is also a denying of the lived experience of everyone who has ever suffered from the use or testing of nuclear weapons.

This is why it’s essential to ensure gender diversity in negotiations, and why it’s important to include a gender perspective in those negotiations. To celebrate the nuclear ban—and women’s leadership in achieving it—there will be the Women’s March to Ban the Bomb.

This post is part of Ban Brief, a series of updates on the historic 2017 negotiations to create a treaty banning nuclear weapons. Ban Brief is written by Tim Wright, Asia-Pacific director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and Ray Acheson, director of Reaching Critical Will.

June 16, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war, women | Leave a comment

Ship at Bangladesh found to have illegal levels of radioactive material: too dangerous to scrap

High level radioactivity detected on North Sea Producer, report says https://www.energyvoice.com/oilandgas/142087/high-level-radioactivity-detected-north-sea-producer-report-says/Written by Reporter  14 June 17 Illegal levels of radioactive material have been detected on the North Sea Producer vessel, which was to be scrapped on a beach in Bangladesh, a news report said.

Work to dismantle the North Sea Producer started in October, but the process was halted in November amid fears that the ship may still contain hazardous substances.

An inspection has since confirmed the presence of unsafe levels of radioactivity, and the Supreme Court has ordered environmental agencies to explain why they gave permission for the vessel to be scrapped at Chittagong, according to independent media research centre Danwatch.

The vessel, which was docked near Middlesbrough FC’s Riverside Stadium early in 2016, had been expected to sail to Nigeria.

But in October it emerged that the North Sea Producer, originally owned by Maersk, had been taken to Bangladesh instead.

Workers on the beach yards of Bangladesh lack basic safety equipment and routinely work in flip-flops and shorts. – 15/06/2017

June 16, 2017 Posted by | ASIA, radiation | Leave a comment

Accidential exposure to Plutonium: what this means for Japanese nuclear workers

Increase in Cancer Risk for Japanese Workers Accidentally Exposed to Plutonium http://allthingsnuclear.org/elyman/cancer-risk-for-japanese-exposed-to-plutonium#.WTxxNdgMNK8.twitter, ED LYMAN, SENIOR SCIENTIST | JUNE 9, 2017, 

 According to news reports, five workers were accidentally exposed to high levels of radiation at the Oarai nuclear research and development center in Tokai-mura, Japan on June 6th. The Japan Atomic Energy Agency, the operator of the facility, reported that five workers inhaled plutonium and americium that was released from a storage container that the workers had opened. The radioactive materials were contained in two plastic bags, but they had apparently ripped.

We wish to express our sympathy for the victims of this accident.

This incident is a reminder of the extremely hazardous nature of these materials, especially when they are inhaled, and illustrates why they require such stringent procedures when they are stored and processed.

According to the earliest reports, it was estimated that one worker had inhaled 22,000 becquerels (Bq) of plutonium-239, and 220 Bq of americium-241. (One becquerel of a radioactive substance undergoes one radioactive decay per second.) The others inhaled between 2,200 and 14,000 Bq of plutonium-239 and quantities of americium-241 similar to that of the first worker.

More recent reports have stated that the amount of plutonium inhaled by the most highly exposed worker is now estimated to be 360,000 Bq, and that the 22,000 Bq measurement in the lungs was made 10 hours after the event occurred. Apparently, the plutonium that remains in the body decreases rapidly during the first hours after exposure, as a fraction of the quantity initially inhaled is expelled through respiration. But there are large uncertainties.

The mass equivalent of 360,000 Bq of Pu-239 is about 150 micrograms. It is commonly heard that plutonium is so radiotoxic that inhaling only one microgram will cause cancer with essentially one hundred percent certainty. This is not far off the mark for certain isotopes of plutonium, like Pu-238, but Pu-239 decays more slowly, so it is less toxic per gram.  The actual level of harm also depends on a number of other factors. Estimating the health impacts of these exposures in the absence of more information is tricky, because those impacts depend on the exact composition of the radioactive materials, their chemical forms, and the sizes of the particles that were inhaled. Smaller particles become more deeply lodged in the lungs and are harder to clear by coughing. And more soluble compounds will dissolve more readily in the bloodstream and be transported from the lungs to other organs, resulting in exposure of more of the body to radiation. However, it is possible to make a rough estimate.

Using Department of Energy data, the inhalation of 360,000 Bq of Pu-239 would result in a whole-body radiation dose to an average adult over a 50-year period between 580 rem and nearly 4300 rem, depending on the solubility of the compounds inhaled. The material was most likely an oxide, which is relatively insoluble, corresponding to the lower bound of the estimate. But without further information on the material form, the best estimate would be around 1800 rem.

What is the health impact of such a dose? For isotopes such as plutonium-239 or americium-241, which emit relatively large, heavy charged particles known as alpha particles, there is a high likelihood that a dose of around 1000 rem will cause a fatal cancer. This is well below the radiation dose that the most highly exposed worker will receive over a 50-year period. This shows how costly a mistake can be when working with plutonium.

The workers are receiving chelation therapy to try to remove some plutonium from their bloodstream. However, the effectiveness of this therapy is limited at best, especially for insoluble forms, like oxides, that tend to be retained in the lungs.

The workers were exposed when they opened up an old storage can that held materials related to production of fuel from fast reactors. The plutonium facilities at Tokai-mura have been used to produce plutonium-uranium mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel for experimental test reactors, including the Joyo fast reactor, as well as the now-shutdown Monju fast reactor. Americium-241 was present as the result of the decay of the isotope plutonium-241.

I had the opportunity to tour some of these facilities about twenty years ago. MOX fuel fabrication at these facilities was primarily done in gloveboxes through manual means, and we were able to stand next to gloveboxes containing MOX pellets. The gloveboxes represented the only barrier between us and the plutonium they contained. In light of the incident this week, that is a sobering memory.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | - plutonium, health, Japan, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Legacy of improperly managed radioactive sites across Russia.

Russia’s radioactive past continues to haunt its citizens https://news.vice.com/story/russias-radioactive-past-continues-to-haunt-its-citizens  By Sara Jerving Anton Kolomitsyn has an unusual hobby: He searches the Russian countryside looking for remnants of past wars. Earlier this year, he made an unexpected find.

June 9, 2017 Posted by | environment, radiation | Leave a comment

The nuclear industry and endlesss growth in energy use – theme for June 2017

The nuclear lobby boasts about meeting the planet’s ever-growing need for electricity. “Innovation” is the catch phrase – supposed to be always beneficial. Well, yes, – much innovative technology is beneficial: much of it takes over arduous and monotonous work, much of it increases safety, much of it actually reduces energy use.

But not all new technology is actually beneficial, and some of it increases energy use.

Take, for example, the use of robots .  Power is used in the mining and manufacture of materials (steel, cast ironand aluminum) to make robots.  Electricity is needed for their function, for maintenance and repair. Eventually robots become wastes, like all obsolete machines, energy again used in discarding them..

Leaving aside that major argument about jobs, let’s examine, as an example,  the use of robots in health and social care. Already used in Japan, and Europe, robots provide some nursing services and  “elderly social care” that assists old people at home or in nursing homes.   Some robots, such as Japan’s “Nadine” (below) have been made “personal”. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

 

 

 

BUT – I assert here, (yes, you’re right- I don’t have any evidence) that old people, (like all people) need that human touch, that human interaction, and robots simply do not meet that need. And then, there’s the robot baby-sitter. Same thing.

So – these are examples of robots, with deeply unsatisfying results, using up electricity, that take away jobs that many workers find satisfying.

With society’s problems of increasing obesity and lack of exercise, there is surely a question about jobs, that humans do well and enjoy, and in which human energy is expended, but which are taken over by electricity-guzzling robots.

The new nukes lobby bleats about being part of an “innovation revolution”. But “innovation” is not in itself necessarily good –   not if it just means de-skilling people, increasing energy use, just in order to increase business profits.

June 4, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes, social effects | 2 Comments

New research on Three Mile Island nuclear accident linked to thyroid cancer

Three Mile Island nuke accident linked to thyroid cancer, USA TODAY NETWORK, Brett Sholtis, York (Pa.) Daily Record May 31, 2017 A new Penn State Medical Center study has found a link between the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident and thyroid cancer cases in south-central Pennsylvania.

June 2, 2017 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

India’s secret radioactive horror story – Jadugoda

The Terrible Things Happening To Children In India’s ‘Nuclear Graveyard’ Will Scar You For Life [PHOTOGRAPHS] scoopwhoop.comby Era Tangar, 16 May 17   “…….Jadugoda, a town of 19,500 people about 1,370km from New Delhi, is a four-hour drive from Ranchi, Jharkhand. In 1967, this tribal town became the site for India’s first nuclear mine. It is often called India’s best kept secret. The government-owned Uranium Corporation of India (UCIL) mines for uranium in the region. The small township is home to the world’s finest uranium ore, magnesium diuranate,

Locals were initially ecstatic because this would increase employment opportunities. Over the past 40 years, the UCIL has conducted indiscriminate and unchecked uranium mining. This has destroyed local environment and the health of the tribal population. The toxic emission has caused facial tumours, mascular dystrophy, deformed skeletons, lung cancer and curved spines, to name a few.

The crimes of the UCIL have been under-reported in the media. There are articles and documentaries portraying the state of the town and the areas nearby but not much has been done as a follow up while people of Jadugoda continue to suffer for 50 years now. India’s nuclear dream has costed the well-being of Jharkhand’s tribals and made them suffer in silence. ……..  Share the word about Jadugoda till it reaches someone who can help these innocent souls.

 Photographs by Ashish Birulee.

These photos were featured at the 3rd International Uranium Film Festival, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, World Uranium Symposium in Quebec City, Canada 2015, World Nuclear Victims Forum, 2015 in Hiroshima, Japan and at UCCJ International Youth Conference in Kyoto, Japan 2017. https://www.scoopwhoop.com/the-dark-truth-about-nuclear-graveyard-jadugoda/#T.t2a4psvnq

May 17, 2017 Posted by | environment, health, India, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

The devastating social and mental health legacies of atomic bomb testing

The worst effects of our nuclear programme are the ones that nobody talks about http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/nuclear-war-threat-weapons-us-north-korea-russia-nuclear-testing-worst-thing-a7739131.html  Between 1946-1996, more than 2,000 nuclear weapons tests were conducted by the US, UK, Soviet Union, France and China. Most of these took place in locations selected on the basis of colonial history, and in lands belonging to indigenous peoples Beyza Unal , 16 May 17  A quarter of a century after the end of the Cold War, interest in nuclear weapons has revived, not reduced. But still a taboo surrounds our nuclear legacy. For all the debate over the tensions between the United States and North Korea, a taboo still surrounds the lingering impacts of nuclear weapons testing and fears for their future use in conflict.

Our latest research looked not only at the implications of a potential future nuclear conflict, but also the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons testing for more than seven decades.

Between 1946-1996, more than 2,000 nuclear weapons tests were conducted by the US, UK, Soviet Union, France and China. Most of these took place in locations selected on the basis of colonial history, and in lands belonging to indigenous peoples. And the impacts were severe.

  • As well as devastating costs to their health and environment, many affected communities still live with the social, cultural and economic consequences of these tests. Subjected to forced displacement, they lost their land and connection to that land forever. Many were prevented from pursuing their traditional livelihoods. Not everyone was compensated, and those affected reported a lack of official accountability.Nuclear tests have adversely impacted mental health, by fostering climate of fear over radiological exposure in test locations, and through the creation culture of social stigma and discrimination.
  • One of the less tangible legacies of nuclear tests has been a sense of humiliation and alienation from society. This was seen following the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when hibakusha women – survivors of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki – faced marriage discrimination, but it echoed at testing sites. As a UNIDIR study noted, women from the Marshall islands suffered “humiliating” examinations by US military medical and scientific personnel as a result of the American nuclear weapons testing programme until 1958.
  • oday, the potential use of nuclear weapons, deliberate or accidental,  represents a great risk to humanity. Two decades on from its inception, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) – an agreement to ban all types of nuclear detonations, including atmospheric, underground, space and underwater tests – has still not entered into force. The international nuclear order is in peril: the US and Russia have increased investment in nuclear modernisation; North Korea has conducted five tests in the past decade and has the will to continue, regardless of sanctions or threats of action.Nuclear testing is part of weapons research and development: several steps ahead of a test is the decision to be ready, in principle, to use a nuclear weapon. There is an important connection between the widely-supported comprehensive ban on nuclear testing, and attempts to ban nuclear weapons altogether. A ban on testing has been pursued largely due to unacceptable effects on human life and the environment; precisely the same concerns drive current efforts to prohibit nuclear weapons.
  • Last week, the British and Australian governments announced healthcare aid for the indigenous communities who were exposed to radiation as a result of British nuclear tests 50 years ago. In a personal interview with us last year, Sue-Coleman Haseldine, a first-generation nuclear test survivor in Australia,  told us the only possible compensation to her community would be “a world free of nuclear weapons”.It’s time to start talking about the long-lasting effects of nuclear weapons. After all, unless we do, the nuclear taboo will only exist until a devastating detonation occurs somewhere in the world.

    Dr Beyza Unal is a research fellow in nuclear weapons policy at Chatham House

May 17, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, psychology - mental health, social effects, weapons and war | Leave a comment

America neglects Guam atomic test victims – hopes they all die?

January 12, 2014 Aloha, It is now 01/2014 (24 years) since RECA was enacted. We are still waiting for justice. Our country denied, deceived, has no integrity or values by denying victims of radiation they caused. The justice system denied and dismissed most litigation cases claiming the Congress had to enact better laws to address radiation.

They claimed radiation does not cause cancer, of course we know better in the PACIFIC, Micronesia, Guam, Johnston
Island and many other location. The unfortunate thing is 70 years have passed and many have already died which is our countries hope.

May 13, 2017  It is now May 2017, yes Terry is still alive and still seeking equity, HA. Our delegates never heard such a word, denial is more like it. I will advocate for loyalty till I die. Hard to believe our nation does things I thought only others did.

I was a range rat, many friends on Midway, Eniwetok, Wake, French Frigate Shoals, Christmas, Johnston, Jarvis, Canton damn so many.

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Way back in 2010, we made a small post about the the plight of residents of Guam, who were suffering from illnesses resulting from radiation exposure. Research presented to the National Academy of Science and National Research Council described the effects on this community, of atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.  The Pacific Association for Radiation Survivors, a nonprofit organization, was lobbying U.S. Congress to include Guam in the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Program, so that they could receive help and compensation for their radiation-induced illnesses.

Well, what happened about this?

Thanks to one reader of this website, we have been kept up to date over the years:

TERRY R SCHEIDT by Terry R Scheidt  January 6, 2011 I WAS A 1962 JOHNSTON ISLAND PARTICIPANT. I WAS AT GROUND ZERO AND EXPOSED TO HIGH LEVELS OF RADIATION FOR WHICH I GOT CANCER. I HAVE NOT BEEN COMPENSATED UNDER THE DOE/EEOICPA ACT BECAUSE I DID NOT WORK FOR DOE. I WAS DENIED. I RECEIVED UNEQUAL COMPENSATION FROM DOJ (RECA) BUT AT A MUCH LESSER AMOUNT THAN DOE (EEOICPA). NO MEDICAL AND LESS THAN HALF THAT OF DOE. PLEASE SUPPORT HR 5119/S3224.

April 23, 2011 Do our representatives really care? Why have both HR5119/S3224 both died in committee. Our government does not live up to responsibility. They cause us harm than ignore us as if we do not exist. Aloha.

April 26, 2011 I am a 1962 ground zero victim of the Johnston Island PPG. Senators Pangelinan, Udalls and Rep Lujan have done nothing. All legislation died in committee. They turned their backs on us again. Shame.

June 25, 2012 Continue reading

May 14, 2017 Posted by | health, Legal, OCEANIA, PERSONAL STORIES, USA | Leave a comment