The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

No room for wives in BBC’s staff nuclear cold war bunker

atomic-bomb-lBBC staff offered chance to survive nuclear holocaust – but wives left at men onlyhome—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.

July 25, 2016 Posted by | history, media, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

BBC reveals its plans for nuclear war during the Cold War period

atomic-bomb-lflag-UKThe 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…….

July 25, 2016 Posted by | history, media, UK, weapons and war | 1 Comment

The beginnings of the Nuclear Age

doomsday's pic copyAwakening the Nuclear Beast

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

Continue reading

July 23, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, history | Leave a comment

Sad loss of a man of integrity, Michael Mariotte

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.

May 30, 2016 Posted by | history, USA | Leave a comment

Obama’s Hiroshima Visit Is a Reminder that Atomic Bombs Weren’t What Won the War

highly-recommendedThe World Post, Gar Alperovitz Author, Political Economist, Historian05/24/2016 U.S. Book Decision to use Atomic BombPresident Barack Obama’s forthcoming visit to Hiroshima offers an opportunity to reconsider some of the myths surrounding the historic decision to use the atomic bomb. Such reconsideration also helps focus attention on how we can avoid any future use of weapons that are now thousands of times more powerful than the ones used in 1945.

A good place to start is with an unusual and little-noticed display at The National Museum of the United States Navy in Washington. A plaque explaining an exhibit devoted to the atomic bombings declares: “The vast destruction wreaked by the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the loss of 135,000 people made little impact on the Japanese military. However, the Soviet invasion of Manchuria on 9 August — fulfilling a promise made at the Yalta Conference in February — changed their minds.”

Though the surprising statement runs contrary to the accepted claim that the atomic bombs ended World War II, it is faithful to the historical record of how and why Japan surrendered. The Japanese cabinet — and especially the Japanese army leaders — were not, in fact, jolted into surrender by the bombings. Japan had been willing to sacrifice city after city to American conventional bombing in the months leading up to Hiroshima — most dramatically in the March 9 firebombing of Tokyo, an attack that cost an estimated 100,000 lives.

What Japan’s military leaders were focused on was the Red Army, which was poised to take on the best of Japan’s remaining army in Manchuria. The historical record also makes clear that American leaders fully understood this. Indeed, before the atomic bomb was successfully tested, U.S. leaders desperately sought assurances that the Red Army would attack Japan after Germany was defeated. The president was strongly advised that when this happened, Japan was likely to surrender with the sole proviso that Japan be allowed to keep its emperor in some figurehead role.

Nor was this deemed a major problem. The U.S. military had long planned to keep the emperor in such a role to help control Japan during the postwar occupation. Once the atomic bomb was successfully tested, however, assurances for the emperor that were included in the 1945 Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender were eliminated, making it certain Japan would continue to fight. As the Navy museum plaque also accurately explains: “Truman’s political advisors overrode the views of the military leaders and foreign policy makers, insisting that Americans would not accept leniency towards the emperor.”

Although it goes on to suggest this was done for political, not military reasons, there are unresolved questions about this judgment. ……

early postwar critics pointed out that there is considerable evidence that diplomatic reasons concerning the Soviet Union — not military reasons concerning Japan — may have been important. For instance, after a group of nuclear scientists met with Truman’s chief adviser on the atomic bomb, U.S. Secretary of State James Byrnes, onereported that, “Mr. Byrnes did not argue that it was necessary to use the bomb against the cities of Japan in order to win the war … Mr. Byrnes’ … view [was] that our possessing and demonstrating the bomb would make Russia more manageable.”……..

Gar Alperovitz is the author of two major studies of the atomic bombings: “Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam“ and “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb,” where references to the key documentary sources in this piece can also be found.

May 27, 2016 Posted by | history, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Hiroshima survivors tell of that day on 6th August 1945


‘I still hate the glow of the sun’: Hiroshima survivors’ tales,  May 26, 2016, Hiroshima (Japan) (AFP) – For survivors of the world’s first nuclear attack, the day America unleashed a terrible bomb over the city of Hiroshima remains seared forever in their minds.

Though their numbers are dwindling and the advancing years are taking a toll, their haunting memories are undimmed by the passage of more than seven decades.

On the occasion of Barack Obama’s offering of a floral tribute on Friday at the cenotaph in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park — the first ever visit by a sitting US president — some of them share their stories with AFP.

Emiko Okada

Emiko Okada, now 79, was about 2.8 kilometres (1.7 miles) from ground zero and suffered severe injuries in the blast. Her sister was killed.

“All of a sudden a flash of light brightened the sky and I was slammed to the ground. I didn’t know what on earth had happened. There were fires everywhere. We rushed away as the blaze roared toward us.

“The people I saw looked nothing like human beings. Their skin and flesh hung loose. Some children’s eyeballs were popping out of their sockets.

“I still hate to see the glow of the setting sun. It reminds me of that day and brings pain to my heart.

“In the aftermath, many children who had evacuated during the war came back here, orphaned by the bomb. Many gangsters came to Hiroshima from around the country and gave them food and guns.

“President Obama is a person who can influence the world. I hope that this year will be the beginning of knowing what actually happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki under the mushroom clouds.”

Keiko Ogura

Keiko Ogura, now 78, has devoted her life to keeping alive the memory of the devastating day. Continue reading

May 27, 2016 Posted by | history, Japan, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

One of the world’s oldest nuclear plants helped build the Jewish state’s secret nuclear arsenal

Israel’s atomic angst May 21st 2016

A textile factory with a differenceOne of the world’s oldest nuclear plants helped build the Jewish state’s secret nuclear arsenal

Dimona Israel Nuclear

WITH its cupola dully glinting in the sun across kilometres of an exclusion zone in the Negev Desert, the nuclear reactor near the Israeli town of Dimona has for decades been the subject of intense speculation. Its bland official name, the Centre for Nuclear Research, belies a martial purpose. Foreign intelligence services, atomic scientists and a former Israeli employee claim that it is the source of fissile material used to make Israel’s nuclear weapons.

The country’s atomic secrets have always been closely guarded, so little is known about the plant at Dimona. However, officials at the Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) admitted at a scientific conference last month that the reactor is showing its age. An ultrasound inspection of the aluminium core found 1,537 small defects and cracks, they said. The lifetime of such a reactor is usually around 40 years. At 53, Dimona is one of the world’s oldest operating nuclear plants.

The reactor, which was supplied by France, was switched on 15 years after the establishment of the state of Israel. The embattled country’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, insisted that Israel needed a nuclear deterrent. The programme was spearheaded by his assistant, Shimon Peres, and the main components were first activated in 1963. The government claimed that Dimona was a “textile plant”.

Many of the ancillary systems in the reactor have been renewed or replaced, but the core itself cannot be swapped out. The flaws that have been detected are closely monitored and there is no serious suggestion that the reactor is unsafe. Yet in most other countries it would have been deactivated long ago. Safety concerns will only increase with time.

Israel has never used its reactors for generating electricity. Along with the United States, France, Russia and China, it is one of the few countries believed to have acquired the nuclear “triad”. It can deliver nuclear weapons as bombs dropped from an aircraft, as warheads on a land-launched missile (since the 1970s) and on missiles fired from submarines.

The third leg of the triad is thought to have been added in 1999, when Israel received the first of six planned submarines. These were built and largely paid for by Germany. If, as reported, they can launch nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, this would give Israel a “second-strike” capability, allowing it to retaliate even if an enemy were to destroy its air bases and missile silos in a nuclear “first strike”. In January Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said: “Our submarine fleet will act as a deterrent to our enemies who want to destroy us.”

Nuclear experts estimate that Israel has between 80 and 200 warheads, more than enough to deter would-be attackers. The dilemma facing Israel is whether to close the ageing reactor that helped make them. If it does, it would be unlikely to get the materials needed to build a new one, since it has never signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Yet Uzi Even, a former member of the IAEC and Dimona scientist, argues that the reactor should be shuttered. (A smaller and older reactor, supplied by America in 1960 for research purposes, is scheduled to be deactivated in 2018 and replaced by a particle accelerator.)

Dimona’s defenders say it has both symbolic value (as a reminder that Israel will defend itself fiercely) and practical uses, too. It is a source of materials needed to maintain nuclear warheads, such as tritium (which decays, but could theoretically be produced or procured by other means). It is also the centre of a “secret kingdom” of scientists whose capabilities the government is loath to give up.

For nearly six decades, Israel’s policy of “nuclear opacity” has served it well. Its Arab neighbours are convinced it is a nuclear power, but Israel clings to the ambiguous formulation that it “will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the region”, neither acknowledging nor denying its capabilities. With powerful neighbours still openly advocating its destruction, the Jewish state will keep its doomsday weapons. But its ageing reactor? Perhaps not.

May 20, 2016 Posted by | history, Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Adolf Hitler’s secret NUCLEAR BOMBS found – claims engineer

Engineer claims he has found Adolf Hitler’s secret NUCLEAR BOMBS in a German cave and warns ‘if they decay we could have another Chernobyl on our hands’
German pensioner claims to have found ‘Nazi nuclear bombs’
Peter Lohr, 70, says he’s found five metallic objects in Nazi tunnels
Using radar and 3D he claims he can prove two are atom bombs
By SARA MALM FOR MAILONLINE, 18 May 2016 A pensioner claims he has found Adolf Hitler’s secret atom bombs inside tunnels dug by the Nazis underneath a mountain valley in central Germany.

Peter Lohr, 70, claims to have found five large metal objects in a cave in the Jonas Valley in Thuringia state, of which at least two are ‘atomic bombs’.

Mr Lohr is certain that the objects are weapons of mass destruction manufactured by the Nazis towards the end of the Second World War.

‘The metal’s been lying there for 71 years. At some point it will decay and then we will have a second Chernobyl on our hands’ he said.

The centre of the Jonas Valley was a scene of secret military construction towards the end of the Second World War, with thousands of concentration camp prisoners forced to dig tunnels under the mountains.

It is not known what purpose the tunnels were meant to have as it was never completed.

The tunnel system stretches for miles underneath the mountain, with thousands of caves, bunkers and storerooms, and it is believed that it was intended to be the Alamo of the Third Reich leadership.

The Jonas Valley was liberated by American troops in April 1945, and US authorities have since classified all 1945 documents relating to Ohrdruf for a minimum of 100 years.

This is not the first time rumours of a Nazi nuclear bomb has surfaced.

Last year, a documentary called The Search for Hitler’s Atom Bomb,’ quotes sealed records from Russia and America said to prove the Nazis were close to creating a weapon of mass destruction.

The programme quoted interrogation reports of Nazi scientists, eyewitness account and the records left behind by researchers, many of which were shipped to America after the war.

May 18, 2016 Posted by | Germany, history, weapons and war | Leave a comment

How Margaret Thatcher’s nuclear dream has turned into UK’s Hinkley nightmare

text-historyflag-UKNuclear dream becoming nightmare over Hinkley Point C By WMN_MartinF  May 13, 2016 By ALLAN JEFFERY  Some dreams come true; others turn into nightmares. Hinkley Point C nuclear power station has been a dream to many politicians. Is it about to come true?


Margaret Thatcher was one of the first to dream of building Hinkley C. It was to be the second of 10 nuclear power stations she would build, to rescue the country from the menace of those socialist, coal-dependent generators, providing most of the UK’s electricity and too often holding the country to blackout ransom.

Her dream started well! At public inquiry, at Cannington in 1988/89, despite the hundreds of people and organisations arguing against the build, the inspector gave permission to build Hinkley C.

But her dream turned sour as her privatisation of the nation’s nuclear electricity production bankrupted British Nuclear Energy. The government had to bail out the privatised company. Even worse, the world’s largest nuclear accident at Chernobyl occurred, and the radioactive pollution spread over many countries in Europe. Mrs Thatcher gave up on her nuclear dream. Nuclear was too risky and dangerous and too expensive.

The dream passed to the French government. The dream was to sell all around the world hundreds of a new-generation nuclear reactors, of French design: the EPR. Areva designed the reactor and offered the first one to a group of energy hungry companies in Finland, STK.

It would be built in four years, for 3 billion euros.The dream continued well, the French government were going to build another two EPRs in France, China said they would build two, and many other countries showed interest, even the UK.The French then sold the dream to Labour’s prime minister, Tony Blair, convincing him that building the new French-designed EPR reactors would solve all the UK’s energy problems.

A new nuclear renaissance dream started, though this time there would be no long public inquiries. New national energy policy papers would make sure there would be no planning hold-ups, and allow EDF to build the first two EPR reactors at Hinkley.

There councillors were sold on the dream promises of thousands of jobs and the huge amounts of investment spent in the local economy. EDF ploughed on as quickly as it could; delays would increase costs. Local residents would not be allowed to question the dangers of nuclear power.

The councillors started to notice the environmental problems of such a gigantic building project. Lacking the power to challenge, they started to promote it as a dream for the local economy. They encouraged local firms to prepare for the good economic future, and young people a dream future in Hinkley apprenticeships.

Problems then started to occur with the building of this untried and untested new design of reactor. First at Olkiluoto in Finland and then at Flamanville in France, construction problems multiplied, causing long delays and causing costs to double and then treble. Energy companies in Italy, America and the UK pulled out from investing in this disastrous reactor. Western banks and investment funds all started to advise their clients not to invest in Hinkley C.

They realised that the costs of renewables are falling rapidly; the costs of nuclear are rising fast.The nightmare of problems for the funding of the most expensive power station on earth continued. The UK government, lacking Western private investments, reluctantly accepted that Hinkley has to be subsidised. Whether this financing arrangement is legal under European free-market rules is being strongly challenged in the courts.

EDF cannot fund its share of the building cost of Hinkley C, even though the Chinese government is providing a third of the investment building costs. The energy company has large debts and huge cost commitments of its own.Will EDF finally agree to finance the building of Hinkley C? The growing number of problems, constructional, technical, legal, environmental and financial, of building Hinkley C are beginning to change the dream into a nightmare.

The nuclear dreams of many people will turn to disaster, whatever EDF decides on the final investment decision.If the decision is yes, France could lose its national electricity generator and the French taxpayers will rue the day they tried to follow the nuclear dream.If EDF says no, the UK’s energy policy is in tatters leaving the hopes and dreams of politicians, councillors, aspiring businesses and some British trade unions regretting the day they put all their eggs into one nuclear basket, following the Hinkley C dream.

My dreams are coming true. All around the world I see rapidly growing investment into a decentralised, renewable, truly sustainable future for our children.This is article has been abbreviated. The full version can be read at  Allan Jeffery is assistant co-ordinator at Stop Hinkley

May 14, 2016 Posted by | history, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Israel duped USA over its nuclear program – declassified documents

flag-IsraelFlag-USADeclassified: How Israel Misled the U.S. About Its Nuclear Program Ben-Gurion’s mumbling to Kennedy helped delay the Americans’ assessment that Jerusalem was on the verge of building a bomb. Haaretz, Ofer Aderet Apr 21, 2016   Dimona nuclear reactor’s joint international research projects revealed for first time
Following Haaretz petition, comptroller to publish parts of Dimona nuclear reactor report
Fifty U.S. documents from the early 1960s were declassified by the U.S. National Security Archive on Thursday, shedding light on Israel’s attempts to hide one of its best-kept secrets to this day: details on its nuclear program. The Americans ultimately believed the Israelis were providing “untruthful cover” about intentions to build a bomb.
The documents include papers from the White House, the State Department, the Atomic Energy Commission and U.S. intelligence agencies. The editors are Avner Cohen, a professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and William Burr, the head of nuclear affairs documentation at the National Security Archive, which is based at George Washington University in the capital………
The document reveals that at the end of 1961, Washington believed that the reactor’s unambiguous purpose was to create an infrastructure for nuclear weapons.
“The Israelis intend at least to put themselves in the position of being able to produce nuclear weapons fairly soon after a decision to do so,” the Americans said. They expected the Israelis to have enough nuclear material for two bombs by 1965 or 1966.
“The significance of this is that the Americans knew that Ben-Gurion was misleading them,” Cohen says. “They couldn’t or wouldn’t directly accuse him of lying. Maybe they didn’t want to disclose what they knew. It’s clear the intelligence community knew that what Ben-Gurion said and what the inspectors saw in Dimona were far from being the whole truth.”
According to the explanatory notes: “The bottom line is that in 1961 the CIA already knew or understood that the way Israel referred to Dimona, whether through Ben-Gurion or through its scientists, was an untruthful cover.”……….
Ultimately, Israel got what it wanted. The inspectors were duly impressed and their report described Dimona as a reactor for research purposes, not for plutonium production.
Still, CIA officials who later discussed the visit cast doubt on the genuineness of the rapid-fire visit. “They were very uncomfortable with it. It seemed like a trick to them,” Cohen said……….

April 22, 2016 Posted by | history, Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Chernobyl’s nuclear nightmare – a timeline

Chernobyl: Timeline of a nuclear nightmare Kim Hjelmgaard and USA TODAY ,  April 17, 2016  

Chernobyl 1986

Timeline of a disaster

February 1986:  

Ukraine’s Minister of Power and Electrification Vitali Sklyarov tells Soviet Life magazine that the odds of a meltdown at Chernobyl’s nuclear power plant are “one in 10,000 years.”

April 25, 1986:

The plant’s operators prepare to conduct a special test to see how an emergency water cooling system would fare in the event of a complete loss of power.

April 26, 1986:
The test begins at 1:23.04 a.m.

Fifty-six seconds later, pressure builds in the reactor No. 4 in the form of steam. This causes an explosion that lifts a 1,000-ton lid that covers volatile fuel elements. Radiation is immediately released into the air.

As oxygen pours into the reactor, a graphite fire begins. A chemical reaction causes a second explosion, and burning debris lands on the roof of reactor No. 3.

Meanwhile, the engineer responsible for the night shift, Alexander Akinhov, does not yet think the reactor’s core is damaged. “The reactor is OK, we have no problems,” he says. Akinhov subsequently dies from radiation illness.

Thirty separate fires develop. An alarm goes off at a local fire station.

At 1.45 a.m. firefighters arrive. They know nothing about radiation and aren’t wearing any protective clothing. Driver Grigory Khmel later recalls: “We saw graphite lying everywhere. I kicked a bit of it. Another fireman picked up a piece and said ‘hot.’ Neither of us had any idea of radiation. My colleagues Kolya, Pravik and others all went up the ladder of the reactor. I never saw them again.”

At 3:12 a.m. an alarm goes off at an army base deep in the Soviet Union. The general in charge decides to send troops. They arrive in Ukraine’s capital of Kiev at 2 p.m.

At 5 a.m. reactor No. 3 is shut down. Reactors No. 1 and 2 are stopped about 24 hours later.

April 27, 1986: 
As more emergency response teams arrive, evacuations begin in a radius of 6 miles around the plant.  April 28, 1986:

The Soviet Union publicly admits for the first time that an accident happened but gives few details.

An alarm goes off at a Swedish nuclear plant after the soles of shoes worn by a nuclear safety engineer there test positive for radioactivity. The radiation is traced to Chernobyl.

May 1, 1986:
May Day parades to celebrate workers go ahead as planned in Kiev and Belarus’ capital Minsk despite huge amounts of radiation continuing to be released. Wind, and radioactive clouds, blow back toward Kiev after initially drifting northwest toward Europe. Authorities believe that by holding these celebrations they will prevent panic.

May 14, 1986:
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev talks about the accident live on television. He subsequently mobilizes hundreds of thousands of people, including military reservists from all parts of the Soviet Union, to help in the cleanup.

They become known as “liquidators.” Many will become ill and die from radiation-related diseases.

Gorbachev, in a 2006 memoir, says Chernobyl “was perhaps the real cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union.”

April 18, 2016 Posted by | history, incidents, Reference, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Retired Pakistani diplomat recalls shady nuclear deals

corruptionPakistan veteran recalls shopping trips to nuclear grey markets,  THE HINDU,  KALLOL BHATTACHERJEE , 10 Apr 16 Retired diplomat Jamsheed Marker talks about “meeting characters, genuine and shady, in tiny cafes tucked away in obscure villages deep in the beautiful Swiss and German countryside”.

One of Pakistan’s best-known diplomats has given an unprecedented account of how his country clandestinely built its nuclear arsenal using its diplomatic network in Europe.

In Cover Point: Impressions of Leadership in Pakistan, an autobiographical account of Pakistan’s politicians, retired diplomat Jamsheed Marker, 94, says: “This exercise involved a bit of James Bond stuff, and I remember Ikram and myself meeting characters, genuine and shady, in tiny cafes tucked away in obscure villages deep in the beautiful Swiss and German countryside.”

Mr. Marker served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany between 1980 and 1982, when the meetings took place, which led to Pakistan acquiring sensitive technology from European firms for its nuclear weapons programme.

“The Embassy had a Procurement Department [the nomenclature really fooled nobody] headed by a most able officer of Minister rank named Ikram Khan, who was seconded from our nuclear establishment headed by Dr A.Q. Khan. Ikram was a superb officer, knowledgeable, low-key and efficient, and went about his sensitive job with the combination of initiative and discretion that were its primary requirements,” writes Mr. Marker , revealing how Pakistan sourced technology for its nuclear programme from western markets.

Mr. Marker’s disclosure sheds light on a wide array of willing partners from among firms in Europe which were willing to partner Pakistan’s quest for nuclear weapons, for a price. Mr. Marker, who worked directly under the supervision of General Zia-ul-Haq, played a peripheral role as the “Procurement Department” operated under a cloak of secrecy.

Mr. Marker, served for three decades in various important embassies of Pakistan, but reached the most successful phase of his career with his back-to-back appointments as Pakistani Ambassador to Bonn, Paris and Washington DC during the tenure of Gen Zia (1977-1988). Mr. Marker said that he admired the way Gen Zia (who became civilian President in 1985) diverted the West’s attention while going all out for giving Pakistan its nuclear weapon. “I maintain a mild, amused contempt for the enthusiasm with which western industrial enterprises, in their pecuniary pursuits, conspired with us to evade their own governments’ law prohibiting all nuclear transfers to Pakistan,” he writes in what is the first account from one of Gen. Zia’s key diplomats on the modus operandi adopted to build the nuclear bomb in Pakistan.

Mr. Marker says the U.S. spy services were aware of Pakistan’s determination to go nuclear and were unable to prevent Gen. Zia.

April 11, 2016 Posted by | history, Pakistan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons kept on Okinawa, by USA

Flag-USAAtomic-Bomb-SmPentagon: US kept nukes on Okinawa NHK — FEB 21
The US Defense Department has declassified the fact that US nuclear weapons were deployed on Okinawa before the island prefecture was returned to Japanese administration in 1972.
The National Security Archive at George Washington University published on its website on Friday 3 photographs taken of nuclear weapons in Okinawa along with the declassified documents. The institute welcomed the declassification.One photo shows US military personnel working on a Mark-7 atomic bomb at US Kadena Airbase on October 23rd, 1962.

The second photo shows a Mark 28 nuclear weapon before being loaded onto a US Air Force plane.

The third photo shows a Mace B cruise missile loaded with a nuclear weapon. It was deployed in Okinawa from 1961 until 1970. See more at:

February 22, 2016 Posted by | history, Japan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

China and Soviet Union nearly started World War III

text-historyHow the Soviet Union and China Almost Started World War III  The National Interest, Robert Farley 9 Feb 16 Americans tend to remember the Cuban Missile Crisis as the most dangerous moment in Cold War brinksmanship. Despite some tense moments, Washington and Moscow resolved that crisis with only the death of U.S. Air Force pilot Maj. Rudolph Anderson Jr.

Seven years later, in March 1969, a contingent of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers raided a Soviet border outpost on Zhenbao Island, killing dozens and injuring scores. The incident brought Russia and China to the brink of war, a conflict that might have led to the use of nuclear weapons. But after two weeks of clashes, the conflict trailed off.

What if the brief 1969 conflict between China and the Soviet Union had escalated?…….

February 12, 2016 Posted by | history, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Whistleblower Bob Rowen took on corporate nuclear power in the 1970s

whistleblowerFlag-USAThe Not-So-Peaceful Atom  Bob Rowen accidentally took on corporate nuclear power in the 1970s. Four decades later he remembers what it was like to be Humboldt County’s most infamous whistleblower. North Coast Journal, BY , 20 MARCH 2008  On a summer day in 1969,Bob Rowen, a nuclear control technician at the Humboldt Bay nuclear power plant, realized that for his employer, Pacific Gas and Electric, the bottom line was everything — it was even more important than the community’s safety.

It wasn’t the first time Rowen, a burly former Marine, had witnessed safety violations at the plant, but it was the first time he had the gumption to record the violation in a logbook, which would eventually be reviewed by the nuclear industry’s then government watchdog the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).

As for PG&E management, they were getting pretty fed up. Rowen was proving to be a real pain in the ass. Continue reading

February 10, 2016 Posted by | civil liberties, history, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment


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