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Hibakusha and anti-nuclear activists versus the corporate nuclear goliaths 

 

Ground Zecorporatero Nagasaki: Living the nuclear past – and future, Asia Times, By SUSAN SOUTHARD JANUARY 18, 2019  A David-and-Goliath nuclear world

“………..I returned to Nagasaki in November to participate in the city’s sixth Global Citizens Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. Specifically, I was invited to present on a panel tasked with exploring ways to carry forward the hibakusha stories.

What made the conference unique was the participation of both  hibakusha and other citizens of Nagasaki, including high-school and university students, scholars, activists, artists, musicians, writers and interpreters. All of them were intent on exploring new ways to communicate stories of survival, from August 1945 to now, experiences that should remind us why the vision of a world without nuclear weapons matters.

Both panelists and participants again confronted the intensity of nuclear war. As hibakusha Kado Takashi, 83, prepared to stand before the assembly and tell his story for the very first time, he turned to me and pounded his heart with his hands to show me how terrified he was. Then, summoning his courage, he began to speak.

Yamanishi Sawa, 17, tenderly told her grandmother’s story of survival and her own tale of teenage activism both at her school and in meetings with anti-nuclear activists in Geneva, Switzerland. Everyday citizens adopted the stories of hibakusha no longer with us, using the survivors’ own words to recall the hell – and humanity – of nuclearized Nagasaki.

All of this, and more, reminded us of what those survivors have long known but the rest of the world seldom stops to grasp: that there’s nothing abstract about nuclear war and that nuclear weapons can never be instruments of peace.

They know what the world’s top nuclear physicists (and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists with its doomsday clock) have been telling us for decades: Whether by intentional use, human error, technological failure, or an act of terrorism, our world remains at high risk of a nuclear conflagration that could leave Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the shade. Rather than a great-power war, even a regional nuclear conflict between, say, India and Pakistan could create a planetary “nuclear winter” that might, in the end, kill up to a billion people.

Keep in mind, as these Nagasaki activists do, that today there are nearly 15,000 weapons in the nuclear arsenals of nine countries. Of these, almost 4,000 are actively deployed across the globe. Theoretically, they are meant to deter another country from launching a nuclear attack, but the success of such deterrence policies relies, in part, on both technological invulnerability and relatively rational decision-makers. Need more be said in the age of Trump, Kim Jong Un, and others?

Most important, for nuclear deterrence to work, a nation must be committed to – and believed by other nations to be committed to – the mass murder, injury and irradiation of huge civilian populations. We rarely consider what this really means.

It was difficult to tell an audience like the one in Nagasaki that many Americans still wholeheartedly support both the atomic bombings of Japan and their country’s continuing development of its nuclear arsenal. To mitigate this discouraging truth, I cited something Wada Koichi told me years ago.

Now 91, Wada was inside Nagasaki’s streetcar terminal when the bomb brought the building crashing down on top of him and his coworkers. If you can call anything about surviving nuclear war lucky, he was one of the lucky ones. He suffered only minor injuries and mild radiation sickness, and all of his family members survived.

The rest of them evacuated Nagasaki after the bombing, but he stayed to work, day after day, on rescue and recovery teams. He watched his best friend die, lighting the match to the boy’s makeshift funeral pyre. In November 1945, when seven streetcars resumed operation on a few routes in the city, he drove the fourth one, thrilled to be a part of

Nagasaki’s recovery.

Sixty years after the bombing, Wada would awaken every morning at 5am, open his bedroom window, and look out on to the Urakami Valley, marveling at how the city had been rebuilt from those atomic ruins. “One person can’t do anything,” he told me, “but if many people gather together, they can accomplish unimaginable things. If it’s possible to rebuild this city out of nothing, why isn’t it possible for us to eliminate war and nuclear weapons, to create peace? We can’t not do it!”

Before I left Nagasaki, I visited the hypocenter memorial and looked up into the blue sky at the spot where, I imagined, the atomic bomb had exploded, changing human history forever. I spent 12 years writing  Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War, and the stories of that city and its hibakusha remain part of every breath I take.

The hibakusha of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and the other anti-nuclear activists across the globe – including members of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in passing the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – are the Davids of our world. They face the Goliaths – those nuclear-weapons states that cling to arsenals capable of destroying humanity.

In the face of such resolute, immensely powerful Goliaths, the Davids are the next generation of energetic, passionate, creative thinkers who single-mindedly refuse to let us forget or rationalize Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and who believe in a world of mutually supported international safety without nuclear weapons.

On behalf of Wada Koichi, all hibakusha past and present, and the entire human race, my bet is on them.

This article appeared previously at TomDispatchRead the original here.   http://www.atimes.com/ground-zero-nagasaki-living-the-nuclear-past-and-future/

 

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January 19, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Arclight's Vision, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

‘There should be no nuclear in climate financing’

https://www.dw.com/en/there-should-be-no-nuclear-in-climate-financing/a-4674097813 Jan 19

Prize-winning South African activist Makoma Lekalakala’s successful legal battle to stop a secret nuclear power deal in her homeland won her international acclaim. She tells DW about defending the environment in court.

DW: What have you been campaigning for?

Makoma Lekalakala: My major campaigning issue, it’s mitigation against climate change and with a specific focus on electricity generation in the country [South Africa] — it’s almost 90 percent from coal. And we know that coal is a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, so our campaign has been for a just transition towards a low carbon development.

We’re demanding a greater investment in renewable energy technologies, particularly that we can have a decentralized electricity system where solar and wind would play a major role.

The technology, we need a lot of investment in that so that we can be able to eradicate energy poverty. Local people can have their own socially-owned and community-owned renewable energy projects and co-operatives so that they can have access to electricity.

For us to be able to do that, a just transition for us would mean phasing out coal electricity generation and having no nuclear at all as part of the energy mix, and having wind and solar being increased as part of our energy mix.

Our main mission is for me to ensure that, or to advocate that, there should be no nuclear in climate financing.

Why are you against nuclear power?

Earth Life is an anti-nuclear organization, because we believe that nuclear, it’s not safe. It’s an old technology that comes from the war era and it’s not even safe for us to be able to use for various reasons. It’s not economic, it’s quite expensive, it’s not safe, it’s quite dangerous.

We can remember all the accidents that have taken place, from Fukushima, from Three Mile Island, and nuclear also leaves a legacy of radioactiveness for hundreds and hundreds of years to come.

South Africa has got a principal policy on having an energy mix as part of the energy supply of the country. However, that legislation and regulations imply that if we have an energy mix we should also decide what kind of energy we would want to be part of the mix.

What we have in South Africa, which is written in the legislation, is that the energy choice should be least cost. That is having less externalized costs to the environment, to the atmosphere.

This is not the case around nuclear. And what we’ve seen is that the government also had flouted regulations and legislation by forcing some Africans to accept nuclear power.

Can you tell us more about your legal battle against the controversial secret nuclear power deal between South Africa and Russia? 

In 2015 October, Earth Life Africa filed papers against the state president, against the Department of Energy, against the National Energy Regulator of South Africa, because we felt that these three institutions were supposed to be able to forward the information that was public information. It was suspected that the political elites in the country were actually the drivers of the nuclear deal.

We went to the court based on the legislative and regulatory processes in the country that were flouted, not followed, because all the other agreements were done in secret. That’s how the nuclear industry operates.

So we were vindicated that all the processes in the constitution, our regulations, were not followed at all in favor of the Russians to get to build or to construct the nuclear reactors.

One of the main issues why we opposed, or why we are opposing nuclear energy, is that we don’t want to turn our country, our continent and the world as a radioactive zone where life cannot exist.

What are the main environmental issues in South Africa?

The main environmental issue in South Africa, it’s pollution. As we speak now, South Africans, particularly in hotspot pollution areas, are unable to breathe. In Mpumalanga, where there’s almost about 11 coal-fired power stations and coal mines, this is an area that is very highly polluted and it’s one of the most polluted areas in the world.

Makoma Lekalakala is director of Earthlife Africa’s Johannesburg branch, an environmental non-profit organization. Together with Liziwe McDaid, she won the Goldman Environmental Prize for 2018 for stopping a controversial nuclear power deal between South Africa and Russia.

This interview was conducted by Louise Osborne and edited by Melanie Hall.

January 15, 2019 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, South Africa | Leave a comment

People Against Wylfa B (PAWB) has warned for years of the coming financial failure of Wylfa nuclear project

Wales Online 11th Jan 2019 , The campaigning group People Against Wylfa B (PAWB) said in a statement: “Should the news be confirmed at a meeting of the Hitachi Board next week
then it will be a relief for all of us who worry about the future of our
island, our country, our language, our environment and indeed renewable
energy.

PAWB has warned for years that the costs associated with the Wylfa
project would be likely to prove fatal to the project, but we were ignored.
“Consequently, millions of taxpayers’ money from the island, Wales and
the UK was invested to back Wylfa B. In addition huge political capital has
been invested, and there has been a failure to have a mature public
discussion about the project other than in terms of cash and jobs.

“The legacy of this, if the reports from Japan prove to be true, is that over a
decade has been wasted on Wylfa, with very little alternative economic
planning in evidence. Our young people have been promised jobs on very
shaky foundations. “Good land has been destroyed to create infrastructure
to back the project. It is time for politicians and officials from the UK
Government, the Welsh Government and Anglesey to admit that they were
wrong. “Wales is rich in natural resources which can be used to create a
vibrant and sustainable energy future, and above all else create more jobs
in less time than Wylfa would have done.”
https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/politics/hitachi-to-pull-plug-angleseys-15663299

January 14, 2019 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

‘Local Hero’ – a campaign to raise awareness of the environmental threat of planned Sizewell nuclear station

TEAGS 11th Jan 2019 Locals and campaigners create ‘Sizewell Hero’ – a tribute to the film
‘Local Hero’ – to launch a new online campaign, urging EDF to change
its approach. Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell [TEAGS]
today launched a new video and online campaign.

Made by local people, it is aimed at increasing awareness and concern about the impacts of the proposed Sizewell C&D nuclear power station to audiences beyond east Suffolk. EDF
launched its Stage 3 consultations on the twin-reactor development last
week. ‘Sizewell Hero, hosted on YouTube and Facebook, is a three-minute
homage to the award-winning 1980s film ‘Local Hero’, and shows a
company executive transformed and inspired by the beauty of Minsmere and
the coast at Sizewell to think again about the company’s plans.

The video is entirely a local initiative, starring Middleton actor Simon Bridge and
featuring other residents from Theberton and Middleton. The film was shot
and produced by Steve Sutton and crew from UK Aerial Photography Ltd, based
in Peasenhall. Permission to use the famous ‘Local Hero’ theme music
was kindly granted by Mark Knopfler’s management, Crockford Management
and the project was made possible by a grant from Lush Charity Pot. Stills
and ‘making of’ photos are available.
https://teags.org/sizewell-hero-video-and-online-campaign-launched/

January 14, 2019 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

New book: former chairman of Nuclear Regulatory Commission opposes nuclear energy

How Dangerous is Nuclear Power and How Bad is Its Regulation? (2019)

Former NRC chairman remains clearly opposed to nuclear energy, Las Vegas Sun, 9 Jan 19, “……… former Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko is going on the offensive to explain why nuclear energy is nowhere near a perfect solution to the climate crisis.

In a new book, Jaczko reiterates his longstanding criticism of the nuclear industry and his opposition to development of traditional nuclear power plants, which he says are unsafe despite technological improvements designed to make them safer.

Exhibit No. 1 in Jaczko’s argument is the Fukushima disaster. …, he contends that the catastrophe at Fukushima wiped out environmental gains that Japan made by burning less fossil fuels

…….Meanwhile, he says, the cost of generating electricity through natural gas and renewables is lower in most parts of the country than nuclear generation

……“So to me, the idea that somehow we’re going to preserve these reactors and that’s a climate solution is just wrong,” he said.

Then, of course, there’s the issue with nuclear waste ………

Jaczko’s bottom-line assessment is that despite decades of development, nuclear energy remains too hazardous and costly to be a viable source of power.

“There’s going to be an accident,” he said. “The only question is when and where.”

It’s a compelling argument, and anyone who may be warming to nuclear energy in the fight to reverse climate change should examine it. The book, “

,” is available now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other outlets. https://lasvegassun.com/news/2019/jan/09/former-nrc-chairman-remains-clearly-opposed-to-nuc/

January 10, 2019 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, resources - print, USA | Leave a comment

State of Washington opposes federal plan to reclassify Hanford nuclear waste

State opposes federal plan to reclassify Hanford nuclear waste, KATU 2, by NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS , Associated Press, January 9th 2019 

The state this week filed its objections to a Trump administration plan to reclassify millions of gallons of waste stored in underground tanks at Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The objections were accompanied by a letter from Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

The U.S. Department of Energy is seeking to reclassify a large percentage of the waste as lower-level waste. That would allow treatment and disposal options that would not guarantee long-term protections.

“This dangerous idea will only serve to silence the voices of tribal leaders, Hanford workers, public safety officials, and surrounding communities in these important conversations,” said Inslee, a Democrat who is considering running for president in 2020. “This is unacceptable, and we will not stand by while this administration plans to abandon its responsibility to clean up their mess.” ……https://katu.com/news/local/state-opposes-federal-plan-to-reclassify-hanford-nuclear-waste

January 10, 2019 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) will brief Scottish Parliament on Hunterston nuclear power plant

The National 8th Jan 2019 ,ANTI-nuclear campaigners will brief MSPs tomorrow on their concerns about the safety of two reactors at the Hunterston B nuclear power plant in North
Ayrshire. Reactors 3 and 4 have been offline since March and October
respectively after cracks were found during a routine inspection. Operators
EDF hope to gain approval for their re-opening in the spring.

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) will give the Scottish Parliament briefing,
which will be chaired by Green MSP Ross Greer. He said: “Long-running
safety and job concerns from the community around Hunterston have increased
significantly.”
https://www.thenational.scot/news/17341200.msps-to-meet-anti-nuclear-campaigners/

January 10, 2019 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Vermont-based New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution will participate in NRC conference on wastes regulation

Local nuke group going to regulatory meeting https://www.recorder.com/Group-to-attend-NRC-meeting-on-casks-22611857 Brattleboro, Vt.-based New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution will participate in this week’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission enforcement conference on design failures in radioactive-waste storage containers like those at Vermont Yankee and several other nuclear plants. Wednesday’s conference at the federal regulator’s Bethesda, Md. headquarters follows its complaint against Holtec International for its adopted design of steel and concrete spent-fuel casks without federal approval.

NRC officials say the company made changes after discovering a loose “bolt” last March at the San Onofre nuclear power plant in California. The small threaded posts connect to the bottom of shims in the canister of the cask to create space between multiple aluminum shims and the bottom of the canister to keep the basket stabilized in each of the casks.

The nuclear watchdog group’s technical adviser, Raymond Shadis, along with and board member Clay Turnbull, plan to monitor and offer comments on the canisters.

The coalition twice intervened before Vermont’s public utilities commission on using the Holtec steel canister-in-a-concrete-cask design at the Vernon plant, where 58 spent-fuel casks are now in place awaiting eventual transfer to a federal repository. It says its involvement helped result in more frequent radiation and temperature reporting, more conservative cask spacing, a protective line-of-site barrier wall and prohibition of using corrosive de-icing salts.

The coalition, which has repeatedly advocated for partially buried cask or earthen berm protection for the shuttered Vermont plant’s spent fuel, also commented on a previous Holtec design change, which it says resulted in a more in-depth NRC staff safety analysis.

NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said Holtec altered the cask design without a written evaluation, violating federal safety regulations.

January 10, 2019 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Arrests at the Pentagon, of 4 peaceful Catholic protesters against nuclear weapons

January 1, 2019 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Religion and ethics, USA | Leave a comment

The Nuclear Resister monitors arrests for civil disobedience, and supporters women and men jailed for these actions

Since 1980, the Nuclear Resister has provided comprehensive reporting on arrests for anti-nuclear civil resistance in the United States, with an emphasis on providing support for the women and men jailed for these actions. In 1990, we expanded our work to include reporting on anti-war arrests in North America, plus overseas anti-nuclear and anti-war resistance with the same emphasis on prisoner support.

Through the publication of a newsletter every three months, and other education and outreach, the Nuclear Resister serves to network this nonviolent resistance movement while acting as a clearinghouse for information about contemporary nonviolent resistance to war and the nuclear threat. We believe that in any significant movement for social change, many committed individuals are imprisoned. Behind bars, they are physically isolated from their supporters and their own resistance activity is limited. Broader awareness of their actions and support for the imprisoned activist are essential to the movement for a peaceful, nuclear-free future.

The Nuclear Resister provides the names and jail addresses of currently imprisoned anti-nuclear and anti-war activists. People are encouraged to provide active support by writing letters to those behind bars and in other ways requested by the prisoners.

Since 1980, Jack and Felice Cohen-Joppa have been co-coordinators of the Nuclear Resister and co-editors of the newsletter. Hundreds of people have helped over the years by distributing newsletters, helping staff a Nuclear Resister booth at various events, doing artwork and writing articles for the newsletter, helping at mailing parties, providing information about actions and legal updates, sending photos, helping with the website and blog, and writing letters of support to imprisoned activists. http://www.nukeresister.org/about-us/

January 1, 2019 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

Connecticut Fund for the Environment criticise inclusion of nuclear power in State’s energy portfolio

Connecticut commits to nuclear power, ending debate over Millstone’s future, By STEPHEN SINGER,  HARTFORD COURANT DEC 28, 2018  “……….The state’s portfolio of energy used by utilities and sold to consumers and businesses will include power from Millstone and the Seabrook Station nuclear power plant in New Hampshire……….

December 30, 2018 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

Chinese city residents protest over plans for nuclear research plant

Local suspicions over Changsha plant heightened by failure to officially announce the plans until one day before public consultation process was due to end, SCMP,  Mandy Zuo, 28 Dec 18,  Dozens of residents in a city in central China have staged a protest over plans to build a nuclear research institute near their homes.

The protesters fear that radioactive materials used at the planned facility in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, will pose a health risk.

The institute behind the project did not officially release their plans on Tuesday – after work had began on the site and one day before the public consultation period was supposed to end.

An environmental impact assessment into the project said No 230 Research Institute, a branch of the China National Nuclear Corporation, had acquired a space of over 20,000 square metres near a densely populated area to expand its offices and laboratories at the site, which will be dedicated to the geological exploration of uranium.

Although the facility is not intended to handle refined uranium, and scientists say that unprocessed material does not emit harmful levels of radiation, residents have expressed concerns about the possible health risks and have called for building work to be halted.

Their concerns were heightened by the failure to carry out an assessment of the radiological hazards and the decision to announce the plans a day before the consultation period was due to end.

Wu Xiaosha, one of the protesters, said people were also angry that the project is already being built without approval.

“The environmental impact assessment report lied about the population in the area – it said there are only 40,000 people in the area, but actually it’s nearly 250,000,” said Wu.

Yang Wenqiang, an official from the Changsha Urban Rural Planning Bureau, refused to comment on the matter, saying the government was holding an emergency meeting and would release a statement later……

Environmental concerns have fuelled a growing number of protests in China in recent years as public awareness of the possible health risks increases.

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences reported that half of protests with more than 10,000 participants between 2001 and 2013 were sparked by concerns about pollution. https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2179905/chinese-city-residents-protest-over-plans-nuclear-research-plant

December 29, 2018 Posted by | China, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Communities call on France’s government to stop EDF from setting up nuclear facilities on agricultural land.

December 24, 2018 Posted by | France, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

New nuclear station next to Minsmere wildlife reserve? Sizewell action group to hold EDF to account

Theberton & Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell 16th Nov 2018 Did you know that EDF wants to build two new reactors on the Suffolk coast, next to the internationally-famous RSPB Minsmere wildlife reserve and AONB?

It is to be a twin of EDF’s new Hinkley Point plant – so what is actually coming for Sizewell? Watch, share and sign up to receive our updates, and get ready to help us hold EDF to account in caring for this special place when they share their new proposals in January.

Grateful thanks to Lush Charity Pot for their support which made this video possible, and a huge shout out to UK Aerial Photography for all the Suffolk drone photography and editing the video.
https://www.facebook.com/teags.org/videos/194650268134653/

December 10, 2018 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Turkish environmentalists go to the Supreme Court to stop construction of nuclear power station

November 19, 2018 Posted by | Legal, opposition to nuclear, Turkey | Leave a comment