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USA Department of Veterans Affairs conveniently lost hundreds of claims for children, grandchildren of contaminated veterans

VA lost or misplaced hundreds of claims for children, grandchildren of contaminated veterans http://www.wfla.com/8-on-your-side/investigations/va-lost-or-misplaced-hundreds-of-claims-for-children-grandchildren-of-contaminated-veterans/1194448265, By: Steve Andrews  May 23, 2018

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May 25, 2018 Posted by | health, legal, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trial of French activists who entered Cruas nuclear plant to demonstrate vulnerability of spent fuel storage pools

Liberation 17th May 2018 [Machine Translation] At Greenpeace activists’ trial, nuclear safety is no exception. At the trial of 22 activists of Greenpeace, the court tried Thursday to limit the debates to the facts – their intrusion in November in the nuclear site of Cruas-Meysse (Ardèche) – without being able to avoid the question of the safety of the power plants, that the NGO is questioning.

This action, preceded by a first in Cattenom (Moselle), had the same objective for its authors: to show flaws in the safety of spent fuel storage pools. The hearing was held under high police protection while a rally to support these “whistleblowers” was held all day in front of the courthouse. http://www.liberation.fr/societe/2018/05/17/au-proces-de-militants-greenpeace-la-securite-nucleaire-n-echappe-pas-aux-debats_1650850

Mediapart 18th May 2018 Against Greenpeace, state prosecutes civil disobedience. Sentences of reprieve and imprisonment were required against the twenty-three activists of Greenpeace who illegally entered the Cruas nuclear power plant in November 2017. For the public prosecutor, as for EDF, “it is time it stops. It is no longer possible to tolerate these repeated intrusions . ”
https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/france/180518/contre-greenpeace-l-etat-fait-le-proces-de-la-desobeissance-civile

May 19, 2018 Posted by | France, legal | Leave a comment

2018 Goldman Environmental Prize goes to South African anti nuclear activists

Makoma Lekalakala and Liz McDaid, 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize, South Africa

South African activists awarded Goldman Environmental Prize for fight against nuclear power deal http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-24/two-south-african-women-stopped-international-nuclear-deal/9691528, The World Today By Sally Sara

April 25, 2018 Posted by | legal, opposition to nuclear, South Africa | Leave a comment

U.S. Supreme Court considers forcing changes to reduce Savannah nuclear sites leaking into the river.

The State 18th April 2018 ,Four decades after radiation leaked from a landfill for nuclear waste near
Barnwell, unsafe levels of radioactive pollution continue to contaminate
groundwater near the site, as well as a creek that flows toward the
Savannah River. Now, after 13 years of legal battles between the landfill’s
operator and environmentalists, the S.C. Supreme Court is considering
whether to force changes that would make the site less likely to leak
radioactive contaminants, landfill critics say. http://www.thestate.com/latest-news/article209093444.html

April 20, 2018 Posted by | legal, USA | Leave a comment

Japanese Court sides with power company over Oma nuclear plant

Court sides with power company over Oma nuclear plant http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201803190056.html, By KAZUKI NUNOTA/ Staff Writer, March 19, 2018   HAKODATE, Hokkaido–A court in northern Japan on March 19 dismissed a lawsuit to halt construction of a nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture on grounds there was no realistic possibility of a serious accident occurring.

Electric Power Development Co. (J-Power) is overseeing construction of the Oma nuclear plant in Oma, across the sea from Hakodate.

The facility is undergoing screening by the Nuclear Regulation Authority to ensure it meets new safety standards imposed after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Presiding Judge Chikako Asaoka at the Hakodate District Court said in her ruling, “At the moment, it is difficult to readily recognize the tangible danger of a grave accident likely to occur at the plant.”

The lawsuit focused on whether an active seismic fault existed in the seabed near the construction site, the dangers posed by the possibility of volcanic eruptions in the area and concerns about using only mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel, consisting of plutonium and uranium, as nuclear fuel.

The suit was filed in July 2010 by a group of 1,000 or so plaintiffs.

March 21, 2018 Posted by | Japan, legal | Leave a comment

Los Alamos Study Group takes legal action against National Nuclear Security Administration on costs of plutonium pits

Lawsuit seeks LANL study detailing costs, risks of plutonium work http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/lawsuit-seeks-lanl-study-detailing-costs-risks-of-plutonium-work/article_89fdccf6-41fd-5ff0-9577-fc9a94fb1844.html By Rebecca Moss | The New Mexican, 15 Mar 18

      An Albuquerque-based nonprofit that advocates for nuclear disarmament filed a lawsuit this week asking a U.S. District Court judge to order the release of federal documents detailing the costs and risks of plutonium work planned at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

In its lawsuit, filed Wednesday in the federal District Court in Albuquerque, the Los Alamos Study Group accuses the National Nuclear Security Administration of improperly withholding a study that it says should be released upon request under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

While congressional staff members and some lab officials have been briefed on the document, argues the nonprofit — a longtime critic of the lab and the U.S. Department of Energy — the unclassified study has not been released to the public and has not been provided to the group, despite a request made under the public records law more than three months ago.

 The National Nuclear Security Administration in November completed the roughly 400-page study comparing the potential costs, time frame and risks of creating a proposed assembly-line factory for plutonium pit production at various Energy Department sites.

The Los Alamos lab has been producing pits — the grapefruit-size fission triggers that ignite nuclear weapons — on a smaller scale for decades, and New Mexico’s congressional delegation has been pushing to keep that work in the state as the nation’s mission to modernize its nuclear weapons arsenal ramps up.

A summary of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s study, leaked in December, shows that Los Alamos and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina are the final contenders for the pit factory, expected to cost up to $7.5 billion and take 10 to 20 years to complete.

According to the leaked material, which was reviewed by The New Mexican, the work would take longer to complete in Los Alamos and costs would be higher there.

The Los Alamos Study Group also contends the risks of pit production at Los Alamos are significant and should be disclosed to the public.

The nonprofit’s director, Greg Mello, said in a statement Thursday, “We believe [pit production] is proceeding ‘under cover of darkness’ on purely ideological grounds, and not on any defensible managerial basis. … It is a vast waste of resources, though lucrative for a few contractors.”

The organization believes the U.S. already has an excess of pits in its weapons stockpile and that future production would present a grave risk to the public while wasting public funds. The U.S. arsenal contains 23,000 pits, the group says in its suit, at least a third of which its says are viable and would last through 2063.

 Los Alamos began producing plutonium pits after the Rocky Flats Plant in Colorado was shut down in the early 1990s, following a federal raid that found the plant rife with environmental contamination and nuclear safety violations.

Residents in the Rocky Flats area spent more than two decades entangled in a lawsuit with the plant’s operators after plutonium was found to have traveled to thousands of homes.

Los Alamos has had its share of nuclear safety violations, as well.

The lab’s plutonium facility, which restarted pit production in 2015 following a yearslong pause over safety concerns, was cited for a series of violations in the last year alone. Several workers were contaminated with radiation in 2017, and a small fire burned one worker. The lab was fined several million dollars for mishandling an out-of-state shipment of plutonium, and federal inspectors raised concerns recently about how the lab manages the toxic metal beryllium.

Contact Rebecca Moss at 505-986-3011 or rmoss@sfnewmexican.com.

March 17, 2018 Posted by | legal, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Group tries to get reparation funds for people exposed to Trinity Nuclear Test

 http://www.krqe.com/news/new-mexico/group-tries-to-get-reparation-funds-for-people-exposed-to-trinity-test/1032459155, By: KRQE Media  Mar 12, 2018 ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A group is wanting to convince Congress that New Mexico should get reparation funds, decades after testing the first nuclear bomb at the Trinity Site.

March 14, 2018 Posted by | legal, opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

Lawyers kept busy with the chaos of South Carolina’s failed nuclear project

Lawyers are benefiting from chaos of South Carolina’s failed nuclear project, By Andrew Brown abrown@postandcourier.com Feb 18, 2018 

      COLUMBIA — As Westinghouse Electric’s bankruptcy dashed South Carolina’s nuclear ambitions, one group of people reaped the rewards: lawyers.

One attorney charged $280 to respond to a grand jury subpoena.

Another invoiced $407 to research the statute of limitations for criminal charges in South Carolina.

Others got paid more than $5,810 to review the “potential criminal liability” stemming from The Post and Courier’s story Stamped for Failure, which revealed how Westinghouse disregarded state engineering laws in their attempt to build a new generation of nuclear reactors.

These are just some of the legal expenses found in the bankruptcy records for Westinghouse, the company that designed and attempted to build the two unfinished nuclear reactors at V.C. Summer station.

The court records show Westinghouse paid more than $1 million last year for more than a dozen highly paid defense attorneys to monitor the legal disputes and political backlash that erupted in South Carolina after the nuclear project was dropped last summer.

The company’s legal bills open a small window into the ongoing cost of what is widely considered the biggest economic failure in South Carolina history. The invoices also highlight Westinghouse’s concerns over the possible criminal implications stemming from its decade of work on the nuclear reactors near Jenkinsville.

Westinghouse declined to answer questions about the ongoing legal expenses.

“It may just be they are trying to cover themselves,” said state Sen. Shane Massey, an Edgefield Republican who led a special committee that investigated V.C. Summer. “Or, as things progressed, they might have realized they are in trouble.”

“They probably should be in trouble,” Massey said. “Westinghouse is largely responsible for where we are right now.”……..https://www.postandcourier.com/business/lawyers-are-benefitting-from-chaos-of-south-carolina-s-failed/article_b30458dc-1294-11e8-a680-abe468b69719.html

February 19, 2018 Posted by | legal, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear power critics to testify in Vermont Yankee case

VT Digger, By Mike Faher, Feb 12 2018   State regulators will consider the testimony of two prominent nuclear power critics in deciding whether a cleanup company should be allowed to buy Vermont Yankee.

February 16, 2018 Posted by | legal, USA | Leave a comment

Can the president be prosecuted for war crimes in the event of a nuclear strike?

 https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2018/02/12/can-president-prosecuted-war-crimes-event-nuclear-strike, Anthony J. Colangelo, 

Can U.S. nuclear strike planners and executors be prosecuted for war crimes? Short answer, yes. And the planners are more vulnerable to prosecution than world leaders, such as President Donald Trump.

A preliminary question, of course, is what would constitute an illegal nuclear strike order. It is fairly clear that any use of nuclear weapons to achieve military objectives that conventional weapons can otherwise achieve would be illegal.

The reason is that the nuclear option would violate principles of the law of war, or what’s called humanitarian law, by causing indiscriminate and disproportionate loss of life and superfluous injury, since nuclear weapons are far more catastrophic than conventional weapons. If conventional weapons could achieve the same military objectives, then any order to use nuclear weapons instead would be manifestly illegal, leading to allegations of war crimes. But heads of state like Trump are generally immune from prosecution, at least while they remain in office, even for serious violations of international law like war crimes and crimes against humanity.

However, the whole reason heads of state enjoy immunity is that the state would be unable effectively to represent itself in its dealings with other states if these individuals were stuck in foreign states’ docks. Thus high-ranking members of the U.S. Strategic Command and other planning bodies likely fall outside the scope of immunity, and the farther down the chain one goes, the less immunity applies. In turn, only heads of state and perhaps other extremely high-ranking officials would have immunity.

But where could these planners and executors be prosecuted? One option would be in U.S. domestic courts or military tribunals, especially if there is a change in administration. Another option would be foreign tribunals. Because war crimes are subject to what’s called universal jurisdiction, any nation in the world may prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes. This is not just theoretical or academic.
The practice of universal jurisdiction has spiked in recent years when it comes to serious violations of international law, such as torture, crimes against humanity and certain acts of terrorism.

Nuclear strike planners have a duty under international and domestic U.S. law to reject illegal nuclear strike orders. If they do not, they can be held liable in both domestic and foreign courts. Immunity will not shield them from prosecution.

Anthony J. Colangelo is a law professor at Southern Methodist University and a senior associate at the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability. He wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News. Email:colangelo@smu.edu

February 14, 2018 Posted by | legal, USA | Leave a comment

Lawsuit against Georgia Regulators Over Nuclear Decision

Vogtle Opponents Sue Georgia Regulators Over Nuclear Decision, WABE,  • Opponents of a nuclear power expansion in Georgia are suing over it. Environmental groups claim state regulators didn’t follow their own rules when they decided to let construction at Plant Vogtle continue.

In December, the Georgia Public Service Commission voted unanimouslyto keep work on two new nuclear reactors going, even though they’re five years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget.

The groups Georgia Interfaith Power and Light and the Partnership for Southern Equity claim the commission rushed the decision and should have gathered more information.

“This was the wrong way to go about making a multi-billion dollar decision,” said Kurt Ebersbach, an attorney at Southern Environmental Law Center, who represents the groups.

The suit is being filed in Fulton County Superior Court……. https://www.wabe.org/vogtle-opponents-sue-georgia-regulators-nuclear-decision/

February 14, 2018 Posted by | legal, USA | Leave a comment

Depleted uranium “helped sow deaths and illnesses” in Italian soldiers

Uranium caused cancer – probe http://www.ansa.it/english/news/politics/2018/02/07/uranium-caused-cancer-probe_560c540f-b60e-4f90-8ce4-29c0dc42cd6d.html  But expert denies saying there was causal link,  Redazione ANSA, 7 Feb 18  ANSA) -Rome   – The final report of a commission on depleted uranium said Italian soldiers had been exposed to “shocking” levels of it in Italy and on foreign missions, and that it had “helped sow deaths and illnesses”.
However, the doctor whose expert opinion informed the panel’s conclusions denied a link between uranium and cancer. Levels of uranium in the sectors of security and workplace health for soldiers had been toxic and deadly, said the report from the parliamentary commission of inquiry. The report highlighted that military chiefs had been in “denial” on the phenomenon, and also stressed the “deafening silences maintained by government authorities.” Experts heard by the panel had verified the links between exposure to depleted uranium and tumours, the report said.
Commission Chair Gian Piero Scanu of the Democratic Party said “repeated judicial sentences have consistently affirmed the existence of a causal link between exposure to depleted uranium and the pathologies cited by the soldiers: this is a milestone and now those who were exposed will have the possibility of getting justice without having to struggle as they have done so far”.

But the Italian doctor whose expert testimony was cited by the commission as evidence that depleted uranium caused cancer in soldiers denied “ever saying that”. “That is absolutely not my thinking, I never said that depleted uranium is responsible for the tumours found in the soldiers,” said Giorgio Trenta of the Italian association for medical radioprotection. Trenta’s report was cited by the panel as proof of the causal link between depleted uranium and cancer.
The relatives of soldiers who died of uranium-linked cancer have been suing the government for years and pursuing cases in the courts, amid denials from military authorities.
In 2016 a Rome appeals court upheld a guilty verdict for the defence ministry in the 1999 death from leukemia due to depleted uranium exposure of 23-year-old Corporal Salvatore Vacca who handled uranium-tipped munitions during a 150-day mission in Bosnia in 1998-99.
The court found the ministry guilty of not having protected Vacca.
It ordered the ministry to pay more than one and a half million euros in compensation to Vacca’s family.
The families of other victims are suing the ministry for deaths allegedly due to depleted uranium exposure on several Italian missions.
Domenico Leggiero of the Military Observatory group said the sentence was “historic, because it confirms that the ministry was aware of the danger the soldiers sent to those zones were subject to”.
He said “I am sure Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti will bear this ruling in mind when she appears before the parliamentary depleted uranium commission”.
Italian authorities consistently played down the uranium risks

February 9, 2018 Posted by | deaths by radiation, depleted uranium, EUROPE, legal | Leave a comment