the long-term effects of low-level radiation exposure have consistently been downplayed, distorted or concealed by scientists, the nuclear industry and the government.
It seems that while the US and the USSR had a hard time cooperating on nuclear arms at that time, they had a tacit agreement to cover up each other’s nuclear power mistakes.
these facts, like all those about nuclear power and nuclear weapons testing, were kept secret and released only through the efforts of private citizens and a few courageous researchers and journalists.
At least 250,000 American troops were directly exposed to atomic radiation during the 17 years of bomb testing here and in the Pacific, but they have been totally ignored by the government and the Army.
There is little doubt that hundreds died and that countless others developed illnesses that led to death from various cancers, blood disorders and chronic body ailments. Today the government still rejects all claims for such illnesses.
The press also played a role in soothing public fears.
the US has led the world in setting examples of deliberate deceit, suppression of information and harassment of nuclear critics
Professionals, in order to perform their work, resist truth strongly if it calls the morality of their work into question. They sincerely believe they are helping humankind. In addition, scientific research involves so many uncertainties that scientists can, with an easy conscience, rationalize away dangers that are hypothetical or not immediately observable. They also have an intellectual investment if not a financial one in continuing their work as well as families to support, and nuclear science in particular has been endowed not only with government money and support but great status and prestige.
In order to perform professional work, one must not only believe one is doing good but must also rationalize the dangers. Indeed, with regard to ionizing radiation, this is quite easy inasmuch as the risks of radiation exposure at any level are statistical and not immediately manifested.
Pro Nuclear Propaganda: How Science, Government and the Press Conspire to Misinform the Public http://www.lornasalzman.com/collectedwritings/pro-nuclear.html by Lorna Salzman Hunter College, Energy Studies program, 1986 After the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster in the Soviet Union, there was much finger-wagging in the US about the suppression of information there, and the purported differences in reactor design and safety requirements between Russia and the US, which made a similar accident here unlikely if not impossible Continue reading
Despite Three Mile Island, Daiichi Power Plant in Japan and Chernobyl, the industry still poo-poos the danger. At Chernobyl, after the initial explosion, the 185 tons of melting nuclear waste was still melting down. When it reached the water a thermonuclear explosion would have occurred. It was estimated it would have wiped out half of Europe and made Europe, Ukraine and parts of Russia uninhabitable for 500,000 years. This was prevented when three workers volunteered to dive in the radioactive water and open the valves to drain the pool and prevent a second explosion, knowing it would mean death by radioactive poisoning. They succeeded in draining the pool, but died of radiation sickness within a few weeks. Their bodies remained radioactive and were buried in lead coffins.
Top secret Chinese nuclear base opens to foreigners [good photos] , news.com.au , 6 Oct 15 IT’S A maze built to manufacture plutonium and house thousands of tonnes of explosives.
The 826 Nuclear Military Plant, a former top-secret Chinese base, is almost 20km wide, with 178 caves and more than 130 roads and tunnels.
The largest man-made cave in the world was commissioned in the 1960s, when Beijing feared an imminent nuclear attack from the Soviet Union.
More than 60,000 engineering soldiers participated in the construction, and at least 100 of them were reportedly killed during the process.
It’s hidden deep in the mountains of Fuling, in the Chongqing municipality of central China, and can reportedly withstand a magnitude 8.0 earthquake.
The largest cave is nearly 80m high, or roughly the height of a 20-storey building, and the tunnels are wide enough to drive through……..The huge undertaking took 17 years to build, and was nearly completed when it was abruptly cancelled due to changes in Cold War politics in 1984.
It’s just undergone an extensive renovation, and is now open to foreign visitors for the first time…….http://www.news.com.au/travel/world-travel/asia/top-secret-chinese-nuclear-base-opens-to-foreigners/news-story/2ab679cdfd44e04a7fdf01b1b3a1a61d
the real problem is that the nuclear industry lost its credibility almost at its inception, and has never recovered. It was hastily launched, endowed with the sort of government indulgence that breeds sloppiness, and has tried to conceal its faults through secrecy and legal bluster
GIL SCOTT HERON – WE ALMOST LOST DETROIT
50 years after ‘we almost lost Detroit,’ America’s nuclear power industry faces even graver doubts, LA Times, 5 Oct 16 Michael Hiltzik Contact Reporter The history of nuclear power in the United States has been marked by numerous milestones, many of them bad — accidents, construction snafus, engineering incompetence, etc., etc. One anniversary of an incident that has cast a long shadow over the nuclear power industry’s claim for safety will be marked this week. On Oct. 5, 1966 — that’s 50 years ago Wednesday — Detroit Edison’s Fermi-1 nuclear plant suffered a partial meltdown, caused by a piece of floating shrapnel inside the container vessel.
One anniversary of an incident that has cast a long shadow over the nuclear power industry’s claim for safety will be marked this week. On Oct. 5, 1966 — that’s 50 years ago Wednesday — Detroit Edison’s Fermi-1 nuclear plant suffered a partial meltdown, caused by a piece of floating shrapnel inside the container vessel. Continue reading
Hinkley’s Hidden History , 18 Aug 2016 Morning Star
With the government decision over the new reactor at Hinkley postponed, nuclear historian DAVID LOWRY reveals how the British nuclear power and weapons programmes were born together – and have yet to be separated THE first nuclear power plant on the Hinkley Point site in Somerset was built in the 1960s.
At the time, the United States, was intimately involved in the planning. Why was this?
The first public hint is to be found in a statement by the Ministry of Defence on June 17 1958 on “the production of plutonium suitable for weapons in the new [nuclear] power stations programme as an insurance against future defence needs” in Britain’s first-generation magnox reactor.
By chance, on the same day, France’s president Charles de Gaulle authorised a nuclear test to be held early the next year.
The site chosen was the Reganne oasis 700km south of Colomb Bechar in the Sahara Desert of Algeria.
France also used a magnox-style reactor at Chinon in the Loire Valley to make the plutonium explosives.
A week later in the British Parliament, Labour’s Roy Mason asked why the government had “decided to modify atomic power stations, primarily planned for peaceful purposes, to produce high-grade plutonium for war weapons” and “to what extent this will interfere with the atomic power programme?”
He was informed by paymaster general Reginald Maudling: “At the request of the government, the Central Electricity Generating Board has agreed to a small modification in the design of Hinkley Point and of the next two stations in its programme so as to enable plutonium suitable for military purposes to be extracted should the need arise…….
The headline story in the Bridgwater Mercury, serving the community around Hinkley was: “MILITARY PLUTONIUM To be manufactured at Hinkley.”
The article explained: “An ingenious method has been designed for changing the plant without reducing the output of electricity.”
The CND was reported to be critical, describing this as a “distressing step,” insisting: “The government is obsessed with a nuclear militarism which seems insane.”
Sadly, with the blinkered push to replace Trident today, not much seems to have changed in the 55 years since……
on July 3 1958, Britain and the US signed a detailed agreement on co-operation on nuclear weapons development, after several months of congressional hearings in Washington DC — but, significantly, with no oversight whatsoever in Parliament.
As this formed the basis, within a mere five years, for Britain obtaining the Polaris nuclear WMD system from the US, and some 20-odd years later for Britain to buy US Trident WMD, the failure of Parliament to at least appraise the security merits of this bilateral atomic arrangement was unconscionable……
Following further detailed negotiations, the Ango-American Mutual Defense Agreement on Atomic Energy matters (defence is spelled with an “s” even in the British version of the treaty, demonstrating the origin of the drafts), to give it its full treaty title, was amended on May 7 1959, to permit the exchange of nuclear explosive material for military purposes.
The Times science correspondent wrote on May 8 1959 under the headline: “Production of weapons at short notice” that “the most important technical fact behind the agreement is that of civil grade — such as will be produced in British civil nuclear power stations — can now be used in weapons.”……
And so it may be seen that Britain’s first civil nuclear programme was used as a source of nuclear explosive plutonium for the US military, with Hinkley Point A the prime provider.
Two decades later, Wales national daily, the Western Mail, reported on October 8 1984 that the largest magnox reactor in Britain, at Wylfa on Anglesey, had also been used to provide plutonium for the military.
Plutonium from both reactors went into the British military stockpile of nuclear explosives and could well still be part of the British Trident warhead stockpile today.
Subsequent research by the Scientists Against Nuclear Arms, published in the prestigious science weekly journal Nature, has demonstrated that around 6,700kg of plutonium was shipped to the US under the military exchange agreement, which stipulates explicitly that the material must be used for military purposes by the recipient country.
To put this quantity into context, a nuclear warhead contains around 5kg of plutonium so this is a very significant quantity.
What would Iran and North Korea make of this deliberate intermixing of civil and military nuclear programmes by one of the nuclear weapons superpowers which leads the criticisms of them for allegedly doing this very thing today?
Dr David Lowry is senior research fellow at the Institute for Resource and Security Studies, Cambridge, Massachusetts. http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-dabf-Hinkleys-hidden-history#.V7dqoFt97Gg
President Reagan worked with Russia to defuse the nuclear arms race; time that President Obama did that, too
An Urgent History Lesson in Diplomacy with Russia, CounterPunch, 12 Aug 16 by RENEE PARSONS As prospects for peace appear dim in places like the Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan and now with a renewed bombing of Libya, the President of the United States (and his heiress apparent) continue to display an alarming lack of understanding of the responsibilities as the nation’s highest elected officer. As has been unsuccessfully litigated, Article II of the Constitution does not give the President right to start war; only Congress is granted that authority (See Article I, Section 8).
So for the nation’s Chief Executive Officer to willy-nilly arbitrarily decide to bomb here and bomb there and bomb everywhere in violation of the Constitution might be sufficient standard for that CEO to be regarded as a war criminal. Surely, consistently upping the stakes with a strong US/NATO military presence in the Baltics with the US Navy regularly cruising the Black and Baltic Seas, accompanied by a steady stream of confrontational language and picking a fight with a nuclear-armed Russia may not be the best way to achieve peace……
Reagan, who was ready to engage in extensive personal diplomacy, was an unlikely peacemaker yet he achieved an historic accomplishment in the nuclear arms race that is especially relevant today as NATO/US are reintroducing nuclear weapons into eastern Europe……
According to Jack Matlock who served as Reagan’s senior policy coordinator for Russia and later US Ambassador to Russia in his book, “Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended,” one of Reagan’s pre-meeting [with Russia’s Mikhail Gorbachev] notes to himself read “avoid any demand for regime change.” From the beginning, one of Reagan’s goals was to establish a relationship that would be able to overcome whatever obstacles or conflicts may arise with the goal of preventing a thermonuclear war. …
After a lengthy personal, private conversation, it became obvious that the two men had struck a cord of mutual respect…. At the conclusion of Geneva, a shared trust necessary to begin sober negotiations to ban nuclear weapons had been established. Both were well aware that the consequences of nuclear war would be a devastation to mankind, the world’s greatest environmental disaster. At the end of their Geneva meeting, Reagan and Gorbachev agreed that “nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought.”……
In December of 1987, Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev arrived in Washington DC to sign the bilateral Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (including Short Range Missiles) known as the INF Treaty. The Treaty eliminated 2,611 ground launched ballistic and cruise missile systems with a range of between 500 and 5500 kilometers (310 -3,400 miles). Paris is 2,837 (1,762 miles) kilometers from Moscow.
In May 1988, the INF Treaty was ratified by the US Senate in a surprising vote of 93 – 5 (four Republicans and one Democrat opposed) and by May, 1991, all Pershing I missiles in Europe had been dismantled. Verification of Compliance of the INF Treaty, delayed because of the USSR breakup, was completed in December, 2001.
At an outdoor press briefing during their last meeting together and after the INF was implemented, Reagan put his arm around Gorbachev. A reporter asked if he still believed in the ‘evil empire’ and Reagan answered ‘no.” When asked why, he replied “I was talking about another time, another era.”……..
As the current US President and Nobel Peace Prize winner prepares to leave office with a record of a Tuesday morning kill list, unconscionable drone attacks on civilians, initiating bombing campaigns where there were none prior to his election and, of course, taunting Russian President Vladimir Putin with unsubstantiated allegations, the US-backed NATO has scheduled AEGIS anti ballistic missile shields to be constructed in Romania and Poland, challenging the integrity of INF Treaty for the first time in almost thirty years.
In what may shed new light on NATO/US build-up in eastern Europe, Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov denied US charges in June, 2015 that Russia had violated the Treaty and that the US had “failed to provide evidence of Russian breaches.” Commenting on US plans to deploy land-based missiles in Europe as a possible response to the alleged “Russian aggression” in the Ukraine, Lavrov warned that ‘‘building up militarist rhetoric is absolutely counterproductive and harmful.’ Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov suggested the United States was leveling accusations against Russia in order to justify its own military plans.
In early August, the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration authorized the final development phase (prior to actual production in 2020) of the B61-21 nuclear bomb at a cost of $350 – $450 billion. A thermonuclear weapon with the capability of reaching Europe and Moscow, the B61-21 is part of President Obama’s $1 trillion request for modernizing the US aging and outdated nuclear weapon arsenal.
Isn’t it about time for the President to do something to earn that Peace Prize? http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/08/12/an-urgent-history-lesson-in-diplomacy-with-russia/
US Debated Deploying Nuclear Weapons in Iceland, Iceland Review, 16 Aug 16 BY VALA HAFSTAD
The documents are discussed on the website of the National Security Archive, but until now, they have been classified. On the website, it is noted that this is not the first time clues have been discovered about such plans.
Historian Valur Ingimundarson had previously argued that a weapon storage facility built in Keflavík in the 1950s was intended for nuclear weapons. Furthermore, during the 1980s, historian William Arkin reported that a presidential directive from President Richard Nixon’s period in office treated Iceland as one of several conditional deployment locations for nuclear weapons in the event of war……..http://icelandreview.com/news/2016/08/16/us-debated-deploying-nuclear-weapons-iceland
The international race toward universal grid parity may see an unsubsidised tipping point next year. Frontrunner Australia is expected to achieve a renewable energy scenario which is cheaper than conventional supply, says a recent report from Deutschebank.
UK nuclear sunset? http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160814/environment/UK-nuclear-sunset.622012 Anne ZammitIt’s coming up to six years since badgers were relocated to make way for Britain’s next nuclear power station on the Somerset coast. In the pipeline for nearly a decade, plans for Hinkley Point took an unexpected turn in July.
Last month, as Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May was advised by her Chief of Staff to put a contract for the French/Chinese-backed Hinkley Point nuclear power station on hold, subject to review.
Mrs May was barely a year old when Britain’s worst ever nuclear disaster spread radioactive dust across northern Europe.
Windscale was built after WWII, to produce plutonium for England’s nuclear weapons programme. A bunker mentality still hung about the facility even after it became a provider of electric power to the public in 1956.
The following year a fire broke out at the plant and burned for three days before it could be contained. In the weeks that followed, milk from cows grazing within a 500 kilometre radius was diluted and destroyed.
Windscale, renamed Sellafield in attempt to erase dark beginnings, was put out of commission in 1973 after a dangerous leak capped a long history of incidents. The facility switched to reprocessing of nuclear fuel. This drew bitter opposition from Ireland and Scandinavia over dumping of contaminated water into the Irish Sea.
Ireland’s complaint to the UN was verified by a UK government study which found traces of radioactive substances in salmon bred at fish farms near the plant.
Sellafield was shut down completely in 2005 after uranium and plutonium spilled from a broken pipe. (Since then an American-led multinational corporation has been overseeing the closure process which could drag on into the next century.)
That same year, advisors to Tony Blair urged that emissions targets would best be met with more nuclear power stations. This ran contrary to the UK government stance taken three years earlier when energy efficiency and renewables were tagged as the most cost efficient path to meet immediate energy priorities.
Commenting on Mrs May’s decision to put the Hinkley Point contract on hold, energy economist Tooraj Jamasb of Durham University noted that the new government has not had time to develop a new coherent energy policy.
A 2002 review of UK energy policy veered away from further government subsidies and passed the baton to the private sector. As the UK government gave the go-ahead for a new generation of nuclear power stations to be built, environmentalists alleged unlawful State aid for the nuclear power industry in Britain, filing a complaint with the European Commission. Scotland made it clear that it would not accept any new power stations on Scottish soil.
After the 2011 Fukushima power plant disaster France vowed to scale down the share of electricity from nuclear sources and Germany announced a phase out of nuclear power by 2022.
Germany’s Federal Environment Agency has declared that the technology to make the switch to 100 per cent renewable energy is already available but requires that electricity is produced and used more efficiently. Meeting climate change targets can be done without nuclear if there are stronger efforts toward demand reduction and lifestyle changes.
The international race toward universal grid parity may see an unsubsidised tipping point next year. Frontrunner Australia is expected to achieve a renewable energy scenario which is cheaper than conventional supply, says a recent report from Deutschebank.
Viewed as covert factories for materials to build apocalyptic weapons, nuclear power stations also face resistance from groups such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. As pointed out by CND-UK the cost of nuclear power has continued to rise as the cost of renewable energy has fallen sharply.
A 2006 review by the Office of Nuclear Regulation, which led to assessment of reactor designs ahead of choosing sites, was challenged in court by Greenpeace as “seriously flawed”. Key details of the economics of nuclear power were not published until well after the review was final.
Hinkley Point nuclear power station has undergone a number of reincarnations since the first phase was built in 1956. Reactors on Hinkley Point ‘A’ were shut down permanently after an inspectorate found defects too expensive to fix in 1999. De-commissioning of a successor, Hinkley Point ‘B’ (built 1967) should have happened this year but has been extended to 2023.
The Hinkley Point C proposal by Électricité de France (EDF) and Chinese investors commits British consumers to pay more for nuclear-generated electricity than it costs to buy electricity from offshore windfarms.
Yet a study by Britain’s National Audit Office published last month cited calculations from the National Infrastructure Commission which show that if five per cent of current peak demand were met by demand flexibility then power saved would be equal to a new nuclear power station.
Households and businesses could use electricity more flexibly, using less during times of peak demand and more during times of low demand. Cutting down on use of electricity at peak times reduces the megawatt capacity needed.
The NAO also noted that the expected subsidy for Hinkley Point C has doubled to £37 billion in the past three years.
It is not just the economics of nuclear which now plague decision makers at Whitehall. As former Home Secretary and overseer of MI5, Theresa May approaches the nuclear question from a security perspective.
Fears that China could engage in cyber-sabotage may have been overblown. The bomb of public subsidy running into billions is the real gremlin in the Hinkley Point contract.
A cross-party Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee fears that failure to build new nuclear capacity by 2025 would mean greater reliance on imported gas in the medium term. This would affect energy security and force a review of how UK carbon emission targets are to be met.
On the other hand, the committee identified risk factors which could jeopardise proposals like Hinkley Point C. Sudden policy changes by the UK government, an inconsistent approach, poor transparency and lack of long-term vision have created uncertainty for investors.
Delaying or cancelling the Hinkley Point project threatens Britain’s relations with China and France. Joel Kenrick, a former advisor to the Energy Secretary, believes that the contract for Hinkley Point C will go ahead come autumn. However, he expressed doubt over whether it would actually be built with EDF’s poor track record in delivering big
Corporate finance leader at EY Global Power & Utilities and RECAI editor Ben Warren believes that the time has come for policymakers to shift their focus to clean energy. “Market access, fair play, technology improvements and cost curves will lead to a level of renewables deployment not even imagined,” says Mr Warren. www.energypost.eu/renewable-energy-versus-nuclear-dispelling-myths
In September 1983, for example, sunlight reflecting off a patch of clouds fooled a Soviet missile-warning system into detecting the launch of five US intercontinental ballistic missiles that never were. A colonel in a bunker ignored the alarm on a 50/50 hunch, narrowly averting a nuclear holocaust.
Two months later, US forces staged “Able Archer 83” — a massive nuclear-strike drill on the doorstep of the USSR. Soviet commanders panicked at the show of force and nearly bathed America in thermonuclear energy. Once again, an act of human doubt saved the planet.
Now scientists have one more event to add to the history books: The “Great Storm” of May 1967.
“The storm made its initial mark with a colossal solar radio burst causing radio interference … and near-simultaneous disruptions of dayside radio communication,” a group of atmospheric scientists and military weather service personnel wrote in a new study, published August 9 in the journal Space Weather.
Hours later, high frequency communications dropped out near US military installations in and near the Arctic — one of the closest places to station nuclear weapons and launch them at a Cold War-era Soviet Union.
“Such an intense, never-before-observed solar radio burst was interpreted as jamming,” the study authors wrote. “Cold War military commanders viewed full scale jamming of surveillance sensors as a potential act of war.”……
While The Washington Post wrote up the 1967 story as “City Gets Rare Look at Northern Lights,” top US military commanders sounded the alarms.
The Air Weather Service (AWS) — a relatively new branch of the Air Force — had warned military leadership about the possibility of a solar storm, but US commanders believed the Soviet forces were jamming NORAD systems designed to detect threatening planes and missiles.
As the Strategic Air Command warmed up the engines of bombers and taxied toward the runway, the decision to go airborne was kicked all the way up to the “highest levels of government,” which would imply President Lyndon B. Johnson was involved.
“Just in time, military space weather forecasters conveyed information about the solar storm’s potential to disrupt radar and radio communications,” according to a press release from the American Geophysical Union. “The planes remained on the ground and the U.S. avoided a potential nuclear weapon exchange with the Soviet Union.”………http://www.businessinsider.com.au/cold-war-geomagnetic-storm-radio-disruption-2016-8?r=US&IR=T
Hiroshima: the Crime That Keeps on Paying, But Beware the Reckoning, CounterPunch ,by DIANA JOHNSTONE , AUGUST 5, 2016“……..The decision to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a political not a military decision. The targets were not military, the effects were notmilitary. The attacks were carried out against the wishes of all major military leaders. Admiral William Leahy, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in his memoirs that “the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender…” General Eisenhower, General MacArthur, even General Hap Arnold, commander of the Air Force, were opposed. Japan was already devastated by fire bombing, facing mass hunger from the US naval blockade, demoralized by the surrender of its German ally, and fearful of an imminent Russian attack. In reality, the war was over. All top U.S. leaders knew that Japan was defeated and was seeking to surrender.
The decision to use the atom bombs was a purely political decision taken almost solely by two politicians alone: the poker-playing novice President and his mentor, Secretary of State James F. Byrnes…….
the U.S. atom bombs got full credit for ending the war.
But that is not all.
The demonstrated possession of such a weapon gave Truman and Byrnes such a sense of power that they could abandon previous promises to the Russians and attempt to bully Moscow in Europe. In that sense, the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki not only gratuitously killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. They also started the Cold War.
Hiroshima and the Cold War
A most significant observation on the effects of the atomic bomb is attributed to General Dwight D. Eisenhower. As his son recounted, he was deeply depressed on learning at the last minute of plans to use the bomb. Shortly after Hiroshima, Eisenhower is reported to have said privately:
“Before the bomb was used, I would have said yes, I was sure we could keep the peace with Russia. Now, I don’t know. Until now I would have said that we three, Britain with her mighty fleet, America with the strongest air force, and Russia with the strongest land force on the continent, we three could have guaranteed the peace of the world for a long, long time to come. But now, I don’t know. People are frightened and disturbed all over. Everyone feels insecure again.”
As supreme allied commander in Europe, Eisenhower had learned that it was possible to work with the Russians. US and USSR domestic economic and political systems were totally different, but on the world stage they could cooperate. As allies, the differences between them were mostly a matter of mistrust, matters that could be patched up.
The victorious Soviet Union was devastated from the war: cities in ruins, some twenty million dead. The Russians wanted help to rebuild. Previously, under Roosevelt, it had been agreed that the Soviet Union would get reparations from Germany, as well as credits from the United States. Suddenly, this was off the agenda. As news came in of the successful New Mexico test, Truman exclaimed: “This will keep the Russians straight.” Because they suddenly felt all-powerful, Truman and Byrnes decided to get tough with the Russians.
Stalin was told that Russia could take reparations only from the largely agricultural eastern part of Germany under Red Army occupation. This was the first step in the division of Germany, which Moscow actually opposed.
Since several of the Eastern European countries had been allied to Nazi Germany, and contained strong anti-Russian elements, Stalin’s only condition for those countries (then occupied by the Red Army) was that their governments should not be actively hostile to the USSR. For that, Moscow favored the formula “People’s Democracies” meaning coalitions excluding extreme right parties.
Feeling all-powerful, the United States sharpened its demands for “free elections” in hope of installing anti-communist governments. This backfired. Instead of giving in to the implicit atomic threat, the Soviet Union dug in its heels. Instead of loosening political control of Eastern Europe, Moscow imposed Communist Party regimes – and accelerated its own atomic bomb program. The nuclear arms race was on.
“Have Our Cake and Eat It”……..
The bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki plunged the United States leadership into a moral sleep from which it has yet to awaken. http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/08/05/hiroshima-the-crime-that-keeps-on-paying-but-beware-the-reckoning/
A look at first ever use of nuclear weapons in wartime http://tinyurl.com/zjmex46 Jul 31, 2016 On August 6, 1945, the US dropped the first ever nuclear bomb on Hiroshima.
Three days later, another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. President Harry Truman called for Japan’s surrender, warning them to “expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.”Here are a few facts about the first ever use of nuclear weapons in wartime: The uranium gun-type atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was called Little Boy and Nagasaki was nuked by a plutonium implosion-type bomb called Fat Man. In order to make Little Boy, the US used 141 pounds of uranium, basically all of the processed uranium that was then in existence. The US dropped about 49 practice bombs nicknamed “pumpkin bombs” that killed 400 and injured 1,200, before nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
oleander is the official flower of the city of Hiroshima because it was the first thing to bloom after the bombings.Japan has burned the Flame of Peace in Hiroshima, since 1964, in honour of the victims; it will be extinguished only when all nuclear weapons are removed from the world and the earth is free from nuclear threat.
BBC staff offered chance to survive nuclear holocaust – but wives left at home http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/23/bbc-staff-offered-chance-to-survive-nuclear-holocaust—but-wive/ Telegraph Reporters 23 JULY 2016
BBC employees were offered the chance to survive a nuclear holocaust by broadcasting from an underground bunker, but they could not tell their wives, newly released files reveal.
The broadcaster secretly drew up plans during the Cold War for how it would run a Wartime Broadcasting System in the event of a major disaster.
Early versions of the plan – known as the ‘War Book’ – say that staff were “assigned” or “designated” to go underground, but later editions suggest they were “invited”. Chosen workers were informed not to tell their wives or bring them to the bunker, the files released by the BBC reveal.
“My clearest memory is of a discussion about whether people with spouses could bring them along,” Bob Doran, an experienced editor in Radio News in the 1980s, who attended a civil service seminar in Yorkshire said. The answer was no.
BBC bosses planned to set up 11 protected bunkers – known as ‘Regional Seats of Government’ – spread across the UK, each with a studio and five staff from nearby local radio stations.
A bunker at the Engineering Training Department at Wood Norton in Worcestershire would be a headquarters staffed by 90 BBC staff including engineers, announcers, 12 news editors and sub-editors.
The output would be controlled by the government, but the BBC made a collection of cassette tapes of old radio comedies to entertain the public.
Shows chosen to amuse listeners during Armageddon included the Goon Show, Just a Minute and Round the Horne.
The BBC’s detailed plans for nuclear war, BBC News 23 July 2016 For the first time, the BBC has given detailed access to the plans it drew up in the Cold War for a Wartime Broadcasting System to operate in the event of nuclear war. Paul Reynolds, a former BBC diplomatic and foreign correspondent, has been studying the secrets of what was known as the “War Book”.
The War Book reveals a world of meticulous BBC planning. The Wartime Broadcasting System (WTBS) – referred to in the book as “Deferred Facilities” – would have operated from 11 protected bunkers spread across the UK.
Known as “Regional Seats of Government”, these would also have sheltered government ministers and staff from government departments during what is termed a “nuclear exchange”. The BBC had a studio in each, usually with five staff drawn mostly from nearby local radio stations.
The BBC’s headquarters would have been a bunker at the Engineering Training Department at Wood Norton in Worcestershire, where 90 BBC staff would have been assembled, including engineers, announcers, 12 news editors and sub-editors and ominously “two nominations from Religious Broadcasting”. Output would have been controlled by the government…….http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-36865345
The cadaverous face of nuclear energy was revealed right from the start. Marie Curie, who discovered the radioactive elements radium and polonium, was fascinated with the peculiar luminosity emitted by the salts of uranium and radium. Her decades-long work with these elements was, however, invisibly accompanied by a slow and silent destruction of the blood-forming cells in her bone-marrow. This eventually led to her death from aplastic anaemia in 1934. Curie’s notebooks written over a century ago are stored in lead-lined boxes. Present-day researchers who wish to examine them are required to wear protective clothing.
The US military was among the first to realise the possibilities of glow-in-the-dark radium salts. Towards the end of World War I, it commissioned the painting of watch-dials and other instruments with radium. The idea became more widely popular and the United States Radium Factory was set up in New York in 1917. Over the following decade, 70 young women were employed to paint watch-dials with radium salts using fine camel hair brushes. They were instructed by their supervisors to keep the brush tips sharp by rolling them between their lips or on their tongues. Their inevitable fate is recounted in Eleanor Swanson’s powerful but harrowing poem The Radium Girls.
Ernest Rutherford’s work with uranium during the early years of the twentieth century led him to develop the first coherent model of the structure of the atom. Danish physicist Neils Bohr worked in his laboratory for a short time in 1912. Soon after, Bohr had refined Rutherford’s theory and formulated the idea that electrons moved in fixed orbits around a central nucleus and that, by absorbing or emitting energy, they could instantaneously change their orbits. His theory formed the core around which a more complete understanding of quantum mechanics could develop over the next decade.
Things then began to move very quickly. The development of particle accelerators enabled physicists to routinely transmute one element into another by the 1930s. In December 1938, the German chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann observed that bombarding uranium with neutrons resulted in the formation of lighter, rather than the heavier elements that they expected. Hahn was mystified by the results and communicated the findings to his former colleague Lise Meitner who had taken refuge in Sweden because of Hitler’s anti-Jewish policies. She was visited soon after by her nephew Otto Frisch, a physicist at Neils Bohr’s laboratory in Copenhagen, and spoke with him about Hahn’s letter. In the discussions that followed, they realised that Hahn had unwittingly described the phenomenon of nuclear fission – the breaking apart of atoms of uranium. Together, they pieced together a plausible account of the process and submitted a short paper outlining their theory to the scientific journal Nature. It was published in February 1939.
The Human Chain Reaction
Michael Mariotte, a Leading Antinuclear Activist, Dies at 63, NYT, By SAM ROBERTS MAY 23, 2016 Michael Mariotte, a leading national opponent of nuclear power and an advocate for alternative, sustainable sources of energy, died on May 16 at his home in Kensington, Md. He was 63.
The cause was pancreatic cancer, his wife, Tetyana Murza, said.
As executive director and president of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service in Takoma Park, Md., for three decades, Mr. Mariotte was at the forefront of two successful landmark efforts: to prevent the repeal of a federal ban on interstate shipment of radioactive waste, and to bar the construction of new nuclear plants in Maryland and Louisiana.
He also organized antinuclear campaigns in Eastern Europe after the fatal power plant catastrophe in 1986 at Chernobyl, in what was then the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. And his information service acted as a clearinghouse for groups that opposed nuclear power, both in the United States and overseas.
In 2014, Mr. Mariotte (pronounced like the hotel chain) received a lifetime achievement award from Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate, on behalf of a dozen environmental groups, including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Public Citizen and the Sierra Club.
He had earlier been a co-founder of an alternative weekly newspaper in the nation’s capital, which became Washington City Paper, as well as a drummer in a punk-rock band……
He joined the Nuclear Information and Resource Service in 1985, became executive director the next year and began publishing a newsletter called Groundswell, now known as Nuclear Monitor. The organization mobilized antinuclear groups, testified before Congress and enlisted celebrity endorsements.
Notably, it helped defeat a proposed reactor in Calvert Cliffs, Md.; a uranium processing plant in Louisiana; and legislation that would have lifted curbs on the transportation of radioactive waste. Mr. Mariotte said the measure had posed the threat of a “mobile Chernobyl.”
He resigned as executive director at the end of 2013 because of his illness. He was subsequently named president and ran the organization’s website, its GreenWorld blog and other programs.
Mr. Mariotte remained convinced that nuclear power would become obsolete and be replaced by clean, renewable energy sources and greater energy efficiency.
“It is no longer a question of whether these 21st-century technologies can replace nuclear power and fossil fuels,” he said when he stepped down as executive director of the information service. “The question is when. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/24/us/michael-mariotte-a-leading-antinuclear-activist-dies-at-63.html?_r=0
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