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Julian Assange was asked to testify before Senate, but he first needs immunity from prosecution

Assange should secure immunity before taking risk of testifying to Senate – whistleblower    Kiriakou https://www.rt.com/usa/435543-assange-senate-testimony-kiriakou/

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August 10, 2018 Posted by | civil liberties, legal, USA | 1 Comment

Eight more Tahiti nuclear compensation claims accepted

 https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/363581/eight-more-tahiti-nuclear-compensation-claims-accepted  A French Polynesian anti-nuclear group has been advised that eight compensation claims lodged over the French atomic weapon tests have been accepted.

The Association 193 has told a news conference in Tahiti it has been encouraged by the response from the commission charged with assessing claims for poor health.

The Association’s Auguste Uebe-Carlson said six applications, however, have been rejected.

Father Uebe-Carlson is encouraging people to contact his association to lodge claims if they meet the criteria for compensation, such as location and type of illness.

According to the public broadcaster, since 1992 about 10,000 people have developed radiation-related conditions or illnesses which might be eligible for compensation.

Between 1966 and 1996, France carried out 193 nuclear weapons tests in the South Pacific.

August 8, 2018 Posted by | health, legal, weapons and war | Leave a comment

European court dismissed Austria’s arguments against UK’s Hinkley Point C nuclear project

Nucnet 12th July 2018 , Europe’s second highest court has rejected Austrian objections to the
planned Hinkley Point C nuclear station in southwest England, saying
British government aid offered to the project did not violate EU rules.

The European Commission approved the project in October 2014, saying it did not
see any competition issues, but a previous Austrian government took issue
with the decision and filed a case with the General Court in 2015, arguing
that it contradicted EU policy of supporting renewable energy.

Luxembourg has also challenged the approval, backed by a group of more than 20
academics, politicians and renewable energy officials who say it distorts
competition and flouts rules on government subsidies. But the court noted
in its decision today that the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Poland,
Romania, Slovakia and the UK intervened in support of the EC.

The General Court dismissed Austria’s arguments against the project. The court said:
“The General Court confirms the decision by which the Commission approved
the aid provided by the UK in favour of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power
station,” judges said. The judges said Britain has the right to choose
between the different energy sources.
https://www.nucnet.org/all-the-news/2018/07/12/european-court-dismisses-austria-s-objections-to-hinkley-point-c

July 16, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, legal | Leave a comment

Cancer deaths from radiation due to atomic bomb tests – compensation to families under new Bill

Utahns who say family members died from cancer because of radioactive fallout would be eligible for $150K under new bill  https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2018/07/06/under-bill-compensation/ By Lee Davidson, 6 july 18 

J Truman’s earliest memory is of sitting as a child on his father’s knee in Enterprise, Utah, transfixed by a show in the sky from nuclear-bomb testing in nearby Nevada, including watching pink-gray fallout clouds pass overhead.

“My parents died from cancer,” he says, blaming those radioactive clouds. So Truman, director of Downwinders, Inc., has fought since the 1970s for compensation for victims. A bill by Sen. Orrin Hatch and the late Rep, Wayne Owens in 1990, and expanded in 2000, gave money to victims in 10 southern Utah counties.

Now Truman hails new legislation that proposes finally offering payments to victims in all of Utah — and neighboring states. And payments under the plan would grow from $50,000 for downwind cancer victims to the same $150,000 paid to Nevada Test Site workers. People who received the lower payment could apply to get the additional $100,000.

“Salt Lake County was hit just as hard by fallout” from some nuclear tests as areas in southern Utah that have long qualified for compensation, Truman says. “So was the Uinta Basin,” according to federal fallout studies ordered by the earlier bills.

We need justice. Not ‘just us.’ There must be equal justice for all exposed and sickened,” Truman says. He adds that the $50,000 offered to some through earlier bills “doesn’t even cover the first round of chemo.”

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Rep. Ben Lujan, D-N.M., are sponsoring the new legislation — mostly to help victims in their states that had been excluded. No Utah members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors so far.

Similar bills have been introduced for the past eight years with no action, but Crapo managed finally to win a hearing last monthin the Senate Judiciary Committee. “This hearing has been a long time in coming,” Crapo said there.

The senator complains that 20 of the 25 U.S. counties hardest hit by radioactive Iodine-131 were in Idaho and Montana, where residents received no compensation.

His bill would now cover victims of cancers tied to radiation in all of Utah, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Guam (because of Pacific ocean nuclear tests).

Crapo said he’s talked to many Idaho farmers who awoke after a 1952 nuclear test to “find their pastures and orchards covered with a fine white dust. It seemingly appeared out of nowhere. It looked like frost. But it was not cold to touch.” It was fallout, and he said no one warned farmers about its dangers.

Crapo complained that the government has long known, because of studies in Utah, about unexplained clusters of cancer downwind of nuclear tests. “That was 40 years ago. However, there are still a number of those affected who are still waiting for the government to do the right thing and make them eligible for compensation.”

Eltona Henderson, with Idaho Downwinders, testified that her native rural Gem County, Idaho, has been devastated by cancer that she blames on the nuclear tests — and has collected the names of 1,060 cancer victims from there. “Some entire families have been wiped out by cancer, where there was no cancer before the 1950s.”

She added, “It seems that because of the nuclear testing, our ‘Valley of Plenty’ is now ’The Valley of Death…. I have 38 people in my family that have had cancer, 14 have died from the disease,“ adding most did not have lifestyles that otherwise would have increased their likelihood for cancer.

Earlier bills also never compensated victims downwind of the nation’s first Trinity atomic bomb test in New Mexico, which developed the bombs dropped on Japan at the end of World War

II. Tina Cordova of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders protested that omission at the hearing.

“The radioactive fallout settled on everything. On the soil, in the water, in the air, on the plants, and on the skin of every living thing,” she said. “The New Mexico Downwinders are the collateral damage that resulted from the development and testing of the first atomic bomb.”

Hatch and Owens in earlier decades said a major problem of passing compensation bills was their cost, and Truman said it is also an ongoing problem with new legislation.

Justice Department data show that more than $1 billion has been paid to 21,649 downwiders through the years, “and that’s just covering some rural counties. If bigger urban areas were added, that number could really take off,” Truman said.

When compensation is added in that was paid to workers at the Nevada Test Site and at uranium mines and mills, the U.S. government has paid $2.26 billion in radiation compensation.

Studies have said radiation from nuclear tests hit virtually every county in the nation to some extent. 

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., whose father, former Interior Secretary Stuart Udall, started early lawsuits seeking downwinder compensation in Utah, said paying some but not other victims is a grave injustice. “We must do everything we can now to make sure the many unwilling Cold War victims and their families are compensated.”

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said the new legislation “is about confronting the dark corners of our country and working to bring on the light,” and is about “making sure we do right by people who were wronged when our nation was building up and testing its nuclear arsenal.”

July 7, 2018 Posted by | health, legal, politics | Leave a comment

France’s anti nuclear activists not imprisoned

Greenpeace France 28th June 2018 The verdict of the trial of Privas, where Greenpeace France, one of his employees and 22 activists were judged on May 17 following an intrusion into the Cruas-Meysse nuclear power plant, fell. Despite EDF’s will to attack our activists, none of them have been sentenced to imprisonment.

Yannick Rousselet, a nuclear campaigner prosecuted for complicity, was released. EDF’s strategy to demand heavier prison sentences and colossal damages to Greenpeace to dissuade us from denouncing nuclear risk has failed.

The lawsuit against Greenpeace France, his campaign campaigner, Yannick Rousselet, and 22 activists of the organization was held May 17 at the tribunal de grande instance Privas in Ardeche. The verdict was made public six weeks later.
https://www.greenpeace.fr/proces-nucleaire-privas-verdict/

June 29, 2018 Posted by | France, legal | Leave a comment

New Mexico residents testify on atomic bomb fallout

 https://apnews.com/dc5e3c60042741c696dd062462a03cca– 28 June 18, ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Advocates for New Mexicans who many believe were sickened by U.S. uranium mining and nuclear weapons testing have urged Congress to acknowledge their sacrifice and authorize compensation for them.

Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez and the co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium testified during a hearing Wednesday in Washington on a compensation measure.

Sponsored by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, it proposes expanding eligibility for payouts under the Radiation Exposure and Compensation Act of 1990, which currently covers claims from areas in Nevada, Arizona and Utah that are downwind from a different test site.

Tina Cordova, co-founder of the Tularosa consortium, said many who lived in the area weren’t told about the dangers of the Trinity Test on generations of residents.

They could benefit from the proposal, along with post-1971 uranium mine workers in Northwestern New Mexico.

June 29, 2018 Posted by | health, legal, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

International Law is now challenged by the “normalisation” of nuclear weapons

Amid Nuclear Entanglement, International Law May Well Have to Ban the Weapons Altogether https://thewire.in/law/amid-nuclear-entanglement-international-law-may-well-have-to-ban-the-weapons-altogether

As long as the conventionalisation of nuclear weapons is taking place, no binding treaties will be able to stop the proliferation of or regulate nuclear weapons. Olha Bozhenko,  22/JUN/2018

Nuclear weapons enjoy a separate and unique regime under international law. The majority of states struggle to establish a complete prohibition of nuclear weapons, as in the case of other categories of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). In fact, in its only authoritative pronouncement on the matter, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) stressed ‘the unique characteristics of nuclear weapons, and in particular their destructive capacity’.

Yet in view of some recent developments, to be discussed below, this distinction has been gradually disappearing, with the line between nuclear and conventional weapons becoming blurred. This means that nuclear weapons are not stigmatised as their WMD counterparts, but rather conventionalised.

This piece is an attempt to, first, ascertain the progressing conventionalisation among the current trends related to nuclear weapons and, second, delineate its consequences for the international legal regulation of armaments.

Paths of conventionalisation

Nuclear weapons conventionalisation has been referred to as ‘nuclear entanglement’, which essentially means the merger of nuclear and conventional weapons. Broadly understood, it manifests itself in the following ways.

Increased reliance on non-strategic (tactical) nuclear weapons:

As early as in his Dissenting Opinion to the Nuclear Weapons Advisory Opinion, Mohamed Shahabuddeen, a judge of the ICJ suggested that assuming tactical nuclear weapons could be no more destructive than conventional weapons, they should not be less lawful than the latter. Hence, placing nonstrategic nuclear weapons (NSNW) at the top of ‘conventionalisation agenda’ is not a brand-new idea. Besides, it has recently been emphasised in national strategies.

The most striking example is, of course, the US 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which radically departs from its predecessor in mandating the development of a range of nonstrategic low-yield nuclear options. The Trump administration considers this departure necessary as a response to Russia’s substantial reliance on and expansion of non-strategic nuclear arsenal, which considerably outstrips that of the US. At face value, this means that the two most powerful nuclear-weapon states have embarked upon the rapid expansion of their non-strategic nuclear options.

Such an approach depicting NSNW as quite a usable tool to advance military and non-military goals significantly lowers the threshold for the actual use. Such reliance on a limited nuclear strike can well lead to the full-blown nuclear escalation, which the ICJ considered among the possible consequences of using low yield nuclear weapons.

Integration of nuclear and conventional planning and operations:

The integration of nuclear and conventional capabilities also contributes to the conventionalisation. This is ‘nuclear entanglement’ in the original meaning of the term. The integration includes equipping dual use means of delivery with nuclear and non-nuclear warheads, merging nuclear and conventional support facilities, as well as integrating planning and training for both nuclear and non-nuclear forces. China and Russia are said to pursue this strategy whether deliberately or as a matter of historical legacy. Furthermore, US’s NPR specifically mandates ensuring ‘the ability to integrate nuclear and non-nuclear military planning and operations’ to ‘deter limited nuclear escalation and nonnuclear strategic attacks’.

These developments are frowned upon for a number of reasons. They tend to erode the line between nuclear and conventional forces in the most palpable manner. They also increase the risk of adversary’s misinterpretation of the nature of an attack, which can simultaneously target ‘entangled’ capabilities.

Expanding range of scenarios for the use of nuclear weapons:


Much has been said
 on the expanded range of scenarios where US contemplates first use of nuclear weapons, also in response to non-nuclear threats. Although the US strategy is most widely discussed owing to its considerable departure from the previous pattern, other nuclear-weapon states either preserve deliberate ambiguity with regard to the possible use of nuclear weapons (eg  UK and France) or explicitly declare their readiness to balance an adversary’s conventional superiority with a nuclear strike (eg Russia and Pakistan).

Expanding the role of nuclear weapons beyond deterring nuclear threats alludes to an increased rationality and military utility of a nuclear strike. This further undermines the arguments that there exists opinio juris (an opinion of law) prohibiting recourse to nuclear weapons, except for the purposes of deterrence. In view of such developments, it is understandable why the ICJ refused to acknowledge that the non-recourse to nuclear weapons since 1945 had been due to such opinio juris rather than the absence of military necessity.

Nuclear saber rattling:

Finally, never before has it been so common for political leaders to boast of their states’ nuclear capacities. One may recall Vladimir Putin’s threats to deploy nuclear weapons in the course of Crimea crisis and against Baltic states, or his most recent brandishing cutting-edge nuclear technology with animated nukes striking Florida in an address to the parliament. Along the same lines, Donald Trump publicly threatened North Korea with ‘fire and fury’ and even with ‘total destruction’.

Although the ICJ refused to differentiate between nuclear and conventional weapons, when assessing the legality of the threat of nuclear weapons use (para 48), the state practice seems to have accepted a special standard for nuclear threats which is measured against the strategy of deterrence. For instance, UK’s High Court of Justiciary stated that ‘deployment of nuclear weapons in time of peace … is utterly different from the kind of specific ‘threat’ which is equated with actual use’ . Under this approach, states would only cross the line of nuclear deterrence and resort to the threat of using nuclear weapons if such a threat is specific enough, i.e. directed against a specific target.

Considering that the arbitral tribunal went so far as to equate the phrase ‘to face consequences’ to a threat of the use of force in Guyana vs Suriname, it is doubtful that states are still within the safe harbour of deterrence when directing their nuclear threats explicitly and specifically against other states.

Consequences for international law

Driven by analogy with other types of WMD, international law seeks to raise the threshold for using of nuclear weapons (or even contemplating such use) as high as possible. The adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is among the most notable developments to this end. Still, there is an observable tension between the movement towards nuclear weapons ban as enshrined in the TPNW and the trends described above.

International legal instruments like the TPNW are grounded on humanitarian considerations. In this particular case, the TPNW is meant to stigmatise nuclear weapons to the extent of their total abandonment by nuclear-weapon states. Considering that nuclear-weapon states refused to take any part in the ‘ban campaign’ leading to the adoption of the TPNW, it is reasonable to assume that such progressive stigmatisation (which can eventually generate a parallel customary prohibition) is the only way to endow the TPNW with pragmatic force. Analogy may be drawn with other disarmament treaties such as Convention on Anti-Personnel Mines Ban and Convention on Cluster Munitions: they contributed to the establishment of the customary prohibition of respective armaments even without directly binding all states possessing them.

However, when nuclear weapons are postured to be as usable as conventional ones, the normative boundary between the two is not hardened at all. No stigma is likely to appear for weapons possessing which is dictated and justified by strong military utility. As long as the conventionalisation of nuclear weapons is taking place, no binding obligations will probably proceed from the newly established TPNW regime, either as treaty rules or as a crystallising custom.

Along with the TPNW, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is to bear a major part in the ramifications. The core obligation of non-proliferation under Article II is likely to be affected, since nuclear weapons, if conventionalised, make their acquisition by non-nuclear-weapon states more conceivable. Additionally, the deployment of tactical nuclear devices makes nuclear weapons more accessible and ‘proliferable’ in the technical sense, spurring their acquisition by non-state actors, particularly, by terrorist groups. This is an alarming possibility considering that the non-proliferation to non-state actors still constitutes a legal gap largely left to Security Council Resolution 1540.

Besides, the conventionalisation of nuclear weapons invites their advancement, which is hardly in line with the (allegedly customary) obligation of nuclear disarmament under Article VI of the NPT. States are not in compliance with their disarmament obligation ‘to achieve a precise result – nuclear disarmament in all its aspects’ when they engage in the ‘vertical proliferation’ (i.e. modernising their nuclear arsenals or expand the range of scenarios to deploy nuclear weapons).

Should the described trends gain traction, their impact will in no way be limited to nuclear weapons regulation, but extend to the whole set of rules on the use of force. In particular, the gradually vanishing line between the threat of use of force and nuclear deterrence will further blur. It is questionable whether teetering on the brink of threats to use nuclear weapons is still justifiable under the concept of nuclear deterrence, which the ICJ was careful to characterise as practice ‘adhered to by states’. Consequently, it is doubtful whether nuclear deterrence should enjoy such leniency with respect to the standard of the threat of use of force.

The jus ad bellum (right to war) requirements for self-defence may also be affected by nuclear entanglement. For instance, it is highly questionable whether a limited strike with tactical nuclear weapons to preclude a massive conventional attack fails to meet the standard of proportionality. Similarly, it is not that clear whether anticipatory nuclear strike against a missile equipped with non-nuclear warhead is unlawful, since a state intercepting such a missile can be misled by its dual-use capacity in view of nuclear entanglement.

The questions of similar nature will arise with respect to jus in bello (laws of war). With the gap between nuclear and conventional weapons narrowing, there is less room to assert that employing nuclear weapons should be contrary to the proportionality principle. Correspondingly, what concerns the lawfulness of belligerent reprisals conducted with the use of nuclear weapons, a pre-defined approach exclusively based on the ‘nuclear element’ is likely to give ground to the qualification irrespective of the type of weapons. To put it bluntly, the ICJ’s reasoning that the legality of the use of nuclear weapons shall be considered on the basis of case-to-case compliance with jus in bello seems to be regaining relevance.

 Conclusions

While any radical transformation of the international legal regime governing nuclear weapons is still unlikely, there is definitely room for considering its adequacy for current challenges. In the near future we should be ready to make a choice of either raising the bar on the conventionalisation of nuclear weapons or easing this process. Simply put, international law may find itself in need of deciding whether it is better to ban nuclear weapons altogether rather than to regulate them.

This article originally appeared on Arms Control Law.

June 25, 2018 Posted by | legal, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

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

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