“………..the bigger issue should be that uranium mining is just a very dirty business that we didn’t clean up but source out. France used to have 200+ uranium mines but thanks to better care for environment and workers the last one closed in 2001. Instead, new ones were opened in places like Niger, Namibia and Malawi. In short: places where we can shift the real costs from uranium mining to the people and environment. As a matter of fact, CEOs in the business are quite frank about that. The former CEO of Paladin, John Borshoff, an Australian uranium producer who opened mines in Namibia, said that Canadian and Australian environmental norms are “over-sophisticated“. What he actually means is that in African countries you don’t need to pay much or anything at all to “protect” either your workers or the people living in the vicinity from dying from cancer due to exposure to uranium.
He’s just implementing the Lawrence Summers Principle. This ‘principle’ originates from a 1991 memo written or dictated by Summers whilst he was the World Bank’s chief economist. In this memo, he promoted dumping toxic waste in the Third World for economic reasons: “Just between you and me, shouldn’t the World Bank be encouraging more migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [Least Developed Countries]? […] A given amount of health impairing pollution should be done in the country with the lowest cost, which will be the country with the lowest wages. I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.”
The uranium sector squared up to that. But for how much longer will it get away with that?
Last time rebels in Mali came too close to the AREVA mines in Niger for comfort, France suddenly sent in their army. Under some humanitarian pretext. And if rebels don’t succeed in capturing these remote mines, the global environmental justice movement might just succeed in closing a couple of them down.
The legacy from uranium mining
Being part of that movement, I’ve had the ‘pleasure’ of making a toxic tour around a now closed uranium mine in Bulgaria. Massive amounts of toxic sludge were stored behind a weak dam that showed signs of distress after heavy rains caused a spill in 2009. Old EU money was still keeping the dam up but as we’re talking about radioactive waste, money will need to keep flowing to dam repairs for millennia to come.
Since 1992, when the mines closed, and for time immemorial, that will be public money. And that’s how it goes with uranium mines in places with weak or no legislation: short-term private profits followed by perpetual public losses. In Bulgaria the people are still lucky enough to be in the EU with at least some environmental regulations and EU money for environmental protections. The same goes for other EU countries like France, which has dozens of zombie mines: dead but still active. The US also has plenty more zombie mines. The lands of the Navajo Nation include over 500 abandoned uranium mines (AUMs) as well as homes and drinking water sources with elevated levels of radiation. Despite the fact that they stopped operating in 1986, new and related lung cancers, bone cancers and impaired kidney functions keep appearing.
But while EU and US now have enough safeguards to keep their own uranium safe under the ground, there’s nothing of that in Namibia or Niger. These two countries are rising players on the uranium market, both exporting their uranium to the EU. Niger has now produced more uranium than France ever did in it’s whole history. It’s here that UK-Australian and French companies are doing the dirty digging that destroys local environment and populace.
Three reports from the EU-funded EJOLT project deal with the environmental and social issues related to uranium mining. One deals with the impacts, one concentrates on a mine in Malawi and the third dwells on the examples of successful resistance to big mining in general.
Bruno Chareyron, a French nuclear engineer who authored most of these reports, has been carrying out toxic tours along uranium mines for the last two decades. That’s not always an easy job, with for example the police confiscating most of your measuring equipment upon arrival in Niger. Nevertheless, Bruno was able to measure that radioactive scrap metal from the mines and mills is sold on the market. Waste rocks from the mines were used to pave roads, build homes and even at the local hospital where the radiation was 100 times above normal. Piles of radioactive waste were left in open air, unprotected, next to two cities with a total population of 120.000.
The missing piece of the puzzle
Where is uranium in the whole debate about nuclear energy? It’s usually only mentioned when the industry says: uranium is only a tiny part of the total cost of our energy model, unlike the situation in the gas and oil industry.
Well, there’s a reason why it’s only a tiny part of the total cost and it’s called cost shifting.
Ecological economists have given names to processes witnessed in the uranium sector:accumulation by contamination, ecologically unequal exchange and ecological debt. More and more, people all over the world are coming together to resist against environmental justice.
Our EU and US based nuclear power is currently coming at the cost of poisoning people in Africa. But it begs the question: are we ready to face that reality?
Nick Meynen is one of The Ecologist New Voices contributors. He writes blogs and bookshttp://www.epo.be/uitgeverij/boekinfo_auteur.php?isbn=9789064455803 on topics like environmental justice, globalization and human-nature relationships.
When not wandering in the activist universe or his Facebook pagehttps://www.facebook.com/nick.meynen
is dead, he’s probably walking in nature.
China warns UK against ‘unwanted accusations’ over Hinkley Point Downing Street’s suspicions endanger ‘hard-won mutual trust’ between two countries, Beijing says. By Karthick Arvinth, IBT, August 2, 2016 China says it will not tolerate “unwanted accusations” over its investments in the UK after Theresa May’s government decided to review a controversial nuclear power project at the last minute.
A commentary published by the state-run Xinhua news agency on 1 August said Downing Street’s stance on Hinkley Point C risked damaging the “hard-won mutual trust” between the two countries fostered by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Britain last year…
Xinhua warned that the “suspicious approach” towards China could deter other investors from investing in post-Brexit UK……..http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/china-warns-uk-against-unwanted-accusations-over-hinkley-point-1573739
The American Empire is playing a dangerous game with its nuclear weapons arsenal. The US-NATO and Israel alliance has declared directly and indirectly that Russia, China, North Korea and Iran are a threat to world peace and security.
Let’s be clear on who is the real threat to world peace and it is not the countries I just mentioned, it is Washington’s geopolitical ambitions to bring its enemies under their sphere of control. Washington’s geopolitical moves are antagonizing its enemies which can ignite a catastrophic world war that can go to nuclear at a moment’s notice. The threat of a nuclear war is at almost the same level of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, but if you listen to the main-stream media (MSM) you may never know what is really going on concerning world events.
The first woman and U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has threatened Iran with nuclear strikes while Israel maintains its own nuclear weapons arsenal which is also a threat to its neighbors in the Middle East, especially Iran.
Washington is placing NATO troops and Missile Defense Systems close to Russia’s borders and giving the U.S. Navy the green light to a possible confrontation with China’s naval fleet in the South China Sea. Washington’s bellicose actions are indeed provocative. Continue reading
Iranian President Hassan Rohani has criticized world powers for not fulfilling all of their commitments under a historic nuclear deal signed last year.
Rohani said on state television on August 2 that the failure to lift all sanctions against Iran had harmed the country’s economic growth.
He said that “if the other party had acted properly we would be in a better [economic] situation today.”
Rohani added that Iran still cannot access all of its assets held abroad and that the U.S. Congress, Israel, and some other unnamed regional countries had prevented the nuclear deal from being fully implemented.
He admitted, however, that Iran had been able to export much more oil after sanctions limiting exports were lifted and had regained access to the international banking system…..http://www.rferl.org/content/iran-rohani-world-must-fulfill-nuclear-deal/27896610.html
Britain’s May worried by China investment, intervened to delay nuclear deal, SMH, Kate Holton , 31 July 16 London: British Prime Minister Theresa May was concerned about the security implications of a planned Chinese investment in the new Hinkley Point nuclear plant and intervened personally to delay the project, a former colleague and a source said.
The plan by France’s EDF to build two reactors with financial backing from a Chinese state-owned company was championed by Mrs May’s predecessor David Cameron as a sign of Britain’s openness to foreign investment.
But just hours before a signing ceremony was due to take place on Friday, Mrs May’s new government said it would review the project again, raising concerns that Britain’s approach to infrastructure deals, energy supply and foreign investment may be changing.
The decision could prove a test for Mrs May, with any attempt to renegotiate the terms of the project potentially straining relations with Paris and Beijing at a time when Britain is seeking to build trade deals following the country’s vote to leave the European Union.
“When we were in government Theresa May was quite clear she was unhappy about the rather gung-ho approach to Chinese investment that we had,” Vince Cable, Britain’s former business secretary and a leading member of the Liberal Democrats, who governed in coalition with Mr Cameron, told BBC Radio.
He later told Sky News her concerns over China’s involvement were linked to national security. “This was an issue that was raised in general but it was also raised specifically in relation to Hinkley,” he said……..http://www.smh.com.au/world/britains-may-worried-by-china-investment-intervened-to-delay-nuclear-deal-20160731-gqhkm7.html
“”Eight of these countries were also polled in 2005 by GlobeScan about their views, and the results suggest that there has been a sharp increase in opposition to nuclear power in five of them.
The proportion opposing the building of new nuclear power stations has grown to near-unanimity in Germany (from 73% to 90%), but also increased significantly in Mexico (51% to 82%), Japan (76% to 84%), France (66% to 83%), and Russia (from 61% to 80%)
In contrast, while still a minority view, support for building new nuclear plants has grown in the UK (from 33% to 37%), is stable in the USA (40% to 39%), and is also high in China (42%) and Pakistan (39%). These countries thus emerge as the most pro-nuclear of the countries surveyed with current nuclear plants, by some distance. Among the countries polled that do not have active nuclear plants, support for building them is highest in Nigeria (41%), Ghana (33%), and Egypt (31%).
The poll also indicates that the belief that conservation and renewable energy can fill the gap left, if there is a move away from fossil fuels and nuclear energy, is now the consensus view. Respondents were asked to say whether they thought that their country “could almost entirely replace coal and nuclear energy within 20 years by becoming highly energy-efficient and focusing on generating energy from the sun and wind,” and more than seven in ten (71%) agree that it could.”
New prime minister could dump project and blame Cameron
U.K. concerns are over Chinese involvement and rising cost
Even so, the French were stunned on Thursday evening when Britain said it needed more time to think about the plan. A planned signing was canceled. Hollande, with an election coming next year, has been attacked by labor unions who say the 18 billion-pound ($24 billion) project could bankrupt state-owned Electricite de France SA………
May’s joint chief of staff, Nick Timothy, last year described the decision to allow Chinese involvement in the project as “baffling.” He raised the prospect of China being able to shut down British energy production “at will” in an article for the Conservative Home website.
But there are risks to blocking the deal. It would infuriate the French, a needed ally in the Brexit talks. It would also lead to a dispute over where the costs of unwinding the project should fall………
“My assumption is still that the U.K. will probably sign off on it,” said Joel Kenrick, a political adviser to Energy Secretary Chris Huhne from 2010 to 2012.. “But then, I can’t actually see it being built. EDF have just got such a poor track record.” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-29/french-are-left-reeling-as-may-mulls-her-nuclear-power-dilemma
In a largely symbolic response, the US Congress retaliated with the Broomfield Act, downgrading New Zealand’s status from ally to friend.
Former prime minister David Lange said if the security alliance was the price New Zealand must pay to remain nuclear-free, it was the price the country was prepared to pay.
In 1989, 52% of New Zealanders indicated they would rather break defence ties than admit nuclear-armed ships. By 1990, National had signed up to the anti-nuclear stance.
There the situation has remained until Mr Biden accepted an invitation for the US to send a ship to the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th birthday in November……..
New Zealand is consistently said to have made a difference in peace-keeping activities around the world, being an independent thinker when it comes to solving complex security issues.
New Zealand is part of the Five Eyes intelligence sharing network.
Although New Zealand is not seen as reliable as Australia as an ally, it does have qualities which it can bring to any situation.
So despite the urging of Mr Key, the return to New Zealand waters by a US ship in November cannot be taken lightly. It is a win for the resolve of Kiwis to keep this country nuclear free.
It is not known if the US ship will be a warship or something tamer.
Under New Zealand’s law, Mr Key has to sign a declaration he is satisfied the ship complies with New Zealand law, something he says he has done about 40 times since he became prime minister.
Publicly available information will make it possible for watchers of maritime issues to identify if the ship is nuclear-armed or nuclear-powered……..http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/editorial/391403/nz-s-nuclear-resolve
NK to seek ‘nuclear nation’ status at ARF Pyongyang’s top diplomat attends ASEAN forum, Korea Times, By Rachel Lee Ri Yong-ho, 23 July 16
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho is expected to call on the international community to accept his country as a nuclear state at the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Laos, officials here said Sunday……..
The North has stepped up its nuclear weapons program this year. It fired a Hwasong-10 intermediate range ballistic missile on June 22, after carrying out its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 4 and a series of ballistic missile tests afterwards.
This year’s ARF, the region’s largest security gathering, attracted diplomats from 27 countries, including all members of the six-party talks aimed at Pyongyang’s denuclearization as well as the 10 ASEAN-member states……..
“The ARF will discuss some of the very complex issues surrounding terrorism, the South China Sea and North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats after its fourth nuclear test early this year,” Yun said, expressing his will to have the majority of participating countries strictly follow the U.N. Security Council’s latest sanctions on Pyongyang.
On the sidelines of the forum, Yun will hold talks with Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos _ all of which have been friendly with Pyongyang _ as part of his efforts to attract participation in sanctioning the North. High on the agenda will also be the deployment of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery on the Korean Peninsula. …..http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2016/07/120_210172.html
India Will Never Sign Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Says Sushma http://www.news18.com/news/india/india-will-never-sign-nuclear-non-proliferation-treaty-says-sushma-1271759.html CNN-News18 July 20, 2016, New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said that India will never sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
While making statement in the Lok Sabha, she said, India will continue to engage with China over its opposition to India’s entry to the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
“If someone does not agree to something once, it doesn’t mean that they will never agree to it. We are continuing our efforts in engaging with China on this issue,” the foreign minister said on India’s bid to gain entry to the NSG.
Swaraj’s statements on the NSG issue came in response to queries from Opposition members on the status of India’s bid for entry into the elite nuclear trading group.
India Nuclear Suppliers Group Membership Depends on Signing NPT http://sputniknews.com/politics/20160722/1043439110/india-npt-signing.html No country which is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) can become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Thursday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Wednesday, India’s Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj told the lawmakers that India will not sign the NPT.“It is worth mentioning that China does not make the rules for how to become new members of the group. The international community has forged a consensus long ago that the NPT is the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime. No country should or can put itself opposite to the NPT,” Lu Kang was cited as saying by The Times of India.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty entered into force in 1970 with the aim to prevent the spread of nuclear weaponry. Three states, namely India, Pakistan and Israel, denied to sign the treaty. North Korea withdrew from NPT in 2003.
The Nuclear Suppliers Group is a group of nuclear supplier countries whose aim is to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment and technology which could be used to produce nuclear weapons. As of 2016, the NSG has 48 members, including China
Spain seeks ‘urgent’ answers from London after nuclear sub collision, Yahoo News, AFP on July 22, 2016 Madrid – Spain said Thursday it had asked London for “urgent” explanations after a British nuclear submarine collided with a vessel off the coast of Gibraltar, forcing it to dock in the disputed territory.
The incident sparked environmental fears as well as concerns it could lead to yet another diplomatic row between London and Madrid, which wants Gibraltar back centuries after it was ceded to Britain in 1713.
The HMS Ambush submarine was submerged and carrying out a training exercise when it collided with an unspecified merchant vessel on Wednesday afternoon, damaging the front of its conning tower and forcing it to dock for checks in the overseas British territory on Spain’s southern tip known as “the Rock”.
“The ministry has asked the British embassy in Madrid for urgent explanations over the extent of the breakdown and all relevant information regarding the circumstances of this incident,” Spain’s foreign ministry said in a statement…….https://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/32104778/british-nuclear-submarine-docks-in-gibraltar-after-collision/#page1
Citizens Revolt in South Korea http://space4peace.blogspot.com.au/2016/07/citizens-revolt-in-south-korea.html : BRUCE K. GAGNON 15 Jul 16 Yonhap News reports:
Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn visited the town of Seongju, which was tapped as the site for the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system, on Friday, in the face of strong opposition from the residents who questioned the safety and legitimacy of the government’s decision.
The trip is seen as a move to alleviate concerns that residents may have about the health issues related to the missile system’s powerful radar and questions raised about the fairness of the government’s decision-making process.
“I would like to apologize for making the decision without prior notice,” Hwang said during his visit, adding that the government will make efforts to ease residents’ concerns over the safety.
During his visit, however, protesters threw water bottles and eggs at Hwang, reflecting their anger over the deployment.
The prime minister was blocked by resentful residents and physically barred from leaving the county for more than six hours.
There is a real revolt going on in South Korea. The US is forcing the South Korean government to deploy THAAD ‘missile offense’ launchers and the people know that it makes them a prime target. Koreans can see the provocative steps the US is taking in the region against China and they know how crazy the leadership in the US actually is. They’ve been through one war involving the US already and are not interested in another
The shine has come off the American coin and the world ain’t buy the script anymore. Sadly there is still half the population in the US that believes the official Washington line (including many ‘liberals’ who support Hillary Clinton).
The world is turning against corporate control of the planet. We are in for a rough patch ahead. The story today about a coup d’etat in Turkey indicates the CIA’s operatives in the Turkish military took down President Erdogan because in recent days he apologized to Russia for shooting down their plane and began to alter his war with Syria. My initial reaction is that US-NATO were not happy with that change of tune and decided to take him out. More on that one as things develop.
One Year After Iran Nuclear Deal, Sides Remain Compliant but Wary, Voice of America, Chris Hannas July 14, 2016 WASHINGTON— One year ago, exhausted diplomats from Iran and a group of six world powers emerged from a meeting at a luxury hotel in Vienna, Austria with what they had been seeking for nearly two years: a comprehensive agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting harsh economic sanctions.
Today, the pact is in effect with clear results on its major components, but there are lingering suspicions on both sides that the other may take advantage and not live up to its responsibilities.
“We need to continue to work and we will continue to work and we have a specially designated ambassador whose day-to-day effort is leading a team to make sure that this deal continues to be lived up to, that we continue to be able to resolve any problems,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday.
President Barack Obama called the pact a success, saying, “All of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon remain closed.” He said the deal, implemented in January, has pushed the time frame for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon if it violated the agreement from two or three months to “about a year.”
But U.S. opponents of the deal a year ago have not changed their view, that it would not force to Iran to end its military activities in the Mideast or ultimately block it from developing a nuclear weapon………
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini praised the agreement as a path to “a new chapter in international relations” that uses diplomacy to overcome decades of tensions. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that while the pact was not perfect, it was an important achievement and represented a foundation for a new diplomatic beginning.
Iran removed thousands of centrifuges that had been used to enrich uranium and shipped out the majority of its existing stockpile. World powers lifted their sanctions, unlocking billions of dollars for Iran and paving the way for new business opportunities there. Last month, U.S. aerospace giant Boeing announced a tentative deal to sell 100 jets to Iran’s state-owned airline.
Throughout the past 12 months, however, officials on both sides, particularly from Iran and the U.S., have spoken about the deal with comments that range from suspicion to outright rejection.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that if the world powers fail to meet their responsibilities, then Iran stands ready to restore its nuclear program. Meanwhile, some members of the U.S. Congress want to ban the United States from purchasing nuclear-related material from Iran, accuse the Obama administration of giving up too much too soon in the negotiations, and are wary about how Iran is spending its newly unlocked money.
Iran has complained that despite the lifting of sanctions that once barred financial institutions from doing business with the country, foreign banks remain reluctant to be involved in transactions…….http://www.voanews.com/content/one-year-after-iran-nuclear-deal-sides-remain-compliant-but-wary/3417840.html
Russian diplomat calls for returning nuclear weapons to producer countries http://tass.ru/en/politics/887597 July 11, 20:16 Barack Obama plans to use his final six months in office for putting forward a number of nuclear arms control initiatives, possibly offering Russia to extend the New Start Treaty for another 5 years MOSCOW, July 11 /TASS/. Return of all nuclear weapons to the territories of countries where they have been produced would be a vital contribution to world security, Russia’s Permanent Representative to NATO Alexander Grushko said in an interview aired by the Rossiya 24 television news channel on Monday.
“It would be a contribution to international security if all nuclear charges were returned to the territories of countries, which possess them. This is exactly what Russia did,” Grushko said commenting the US authorities’ intention to offer Russia to extend the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) for another five years.
“It is necessary to bear in mind that as major nuclear players, including Russia and the United States, the role of nuclear potentials possessed by other countries will increase. Therefore, the approach will be totally different: it should be an integrated approach,” Grushko said.
According to the Washington Post electronic version, US President Barack Obama plans to use his final six months in office for putting forward a number of nuclear arms control initiatives, including, possibly, to offer Russia to extend the New Start Treaty for another five years. The publication said that the US National Security Council had discussed the topic at its meetings twice over the past two weeks.
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