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U.S. general says that North Korea has a ”small” number of nuclear weapons (over 70?)

September 19, 2020 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA DID have a plan to drop 80 nuclear weapons on Nortrh Korea

Yes, The United States DidDraw Up A Plan To Drop 80 Nuclear Weapons On North Korea, In 2017, a war between North Korea and the United States was “much closer than anyone would know,” President Trump claims. The Drive BY THOMAS NEWDICK, SEPTEMBER 18, 2020. 
Current nuclear war plans are among any nuclear-armed military’s most closely guarded secrets. Details of one such attack plan recently became available, however, revealing that the United States envisaged using 80 nuclear weapons in case of war with North Korea. The way this particular detail emerged is also pretty unusual — the associated passage appeared in U.S. journalist Bob Woodward’s book Rage, detailing President Trump’s administration, which was published this week.

This can be read two ways: a potential attack from the North could involve the use of 80 nuclear weapons, or the same number of weapons can be envisaged as a possible U.S. response to a first strike ordered by Pyongyang.

In an interview with NPR, Woodward cleared up any confusion, noting that the 80 nuclear weapons were part of a U.S. attack plan — OPLAN 5027, which would include ‘decapitating’ the North Korean regime of dictator Kim Jong-un.

“I think given North Korea is a rogue nation, they have, as I report, probably a couple of dozen nuclear weapons well-hidden and concealed,” Woodward explained to NPR. The veteran journalist confirmed that the then U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis was worried he might have to issue orders for a nuclear strike on North Korea. “The potential we’d have to shoot to prevent a second launch was real,” Mattis admitted.
“You’re going to incinerate a couple million people,” Mattis told himself, according to Woodward. “No person has the right to kill a million people as far as I’m concerned, yet that’s what I have to confront.” 
According to Woodward, Trump was worried that shooting down a North Korean ballistic missile (nuclear-armed or otherwise) on a trajectory headed toward the United States could prompt a full-scale nuclear attack from the “Hermit Kingdom.” Woodward writes that Trump had delegated authority to Jim Mattis to launch a conventionally armed interceptor missile to shoot down any North Korean missile that might be headed for the United States.

Woodward said that Mattis confided in him that he was not worried that Trump might launch a preemptive strike against North Korea. Instead, the source of his angst was the North Korean leader in Pyongyang.

In fact, such was Mattis’s level of concern that he would sleep in his gym clothes, Woodward claims. “There was a light in his bathroom… if he was in the shower and they detected a North Korean launch.”

There were alarm bells set up in Mattis’s bedroom and kitchen too, and on more than one occasion during the summer of 2017 they sounded the alert, and he entered the communications room in his Washington DC residency. Woodward explains that Mattis’s car was also constantly followed by an SUV with a team equipped to plot the flight path of any incoming missile, whether it was threatening Japan, South Korea, or the United States. If Mattis considered the missile hostile, he had a mobile communications link to issue launch orders to shoot it down. …………

Clearly, the status of a nuclear-armed North Korea provided much pause for thought within the U.S. administration during Mattis’ tenure as Secretary of Defense. That a strike plan against North Korea involving 80 nuclear weapons was discussed between the president and his defense secretary isn’t all that hard to imagine………..

One of the options under consideration in Washington was OPLAN 5015, a nuclear strike to take out the North Korean leadership, which Woodward also refers to, drawing again from his extensive interviews with Trump. Specifically, Woodward mentions “updating” such a plan — after all, Kim Jong-un and his predecessors will have always been priority targets in the case of an all-out war. ……………… https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/36519/yes-the-united-states-did-draw-up-a-plan-to-drop-80-nuclear-weapons-on-north-korea

September 19, 2020 Posted by | North Korea, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

IAEA and China helping Saudi Arabia with its nuclear ambitions

China and IAEA are helping Saudi Arabia achieve its nuclear ambitionsAlthough Saudi Arabia has pledged that its nuclear program is strictly peaceful, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said the kingdom would develop a bomb if Iran did so. The Print JONATHAN TIRONE 16 September, 2020  Vienna: The United Nations nuclear watchdog has been working in parallel with Chinese officials to help Saudi Arabia exploit uranium — the key ingredient for nuclear power and weapons — despite its inspectors being frozen out of the kingdom.

The International Atomic Energy Agency published a document ahead of its annual conference next week showing the Vienna-based organization assisting Saudi efforts to make nuclear fuel. An institute in Beijing affiliated with the IAEA has been prospecting for uranium in Saudi Arabia……..

The Saudis have stepped up their pursuit of nuclear technologies in recent years, piquing the interest of companies from South Korea to Russia and the U.S. The kingdom is nearing completion of its first reactor, a low-powered research unit being built with Argentina’s state-owned INVAP SE. It has repeatedly pledged that its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes, but Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said the kingdom would develop a bomb if its regional rival Iran did so.

Nuclear non-proliferation experts have long warned that without adequate safeguards, IAEA technical cooperation can unwittingly help countries develop weapons capabilities………

While Saudi Arabia has been open about its ambitions to generate nuclear power, less is known about the kinds of monitoring the kingdom intends to put in place. President Donald Trump’s administration sent a letter to Saudi Arabia a year ago setting requirements to access U.S. atomic technology. The baseline for any agreement is tougher IAEA inspections that include a so-called Additional Protocol — the same monitoring standard applied in Iran and more than 130 other nations, which allows inspectors wider access to sites including uranium mines.

The kingdom is among only 31 countries worldwide that still applies an old set of IAEA regulations that don’t allow inspections. On Monday, the agency said it was beginning a new initiative to roll back those rules because they can’t provide adequate assurance that all activity is for exclusively peaceful purposes.

“I’m approaching them, telling them that in 2020 this is no longer adequate,” Grossi said. “We have to be up to a minimum standard.”

The IAEA provided financial and technical aid to develop Pakistan’s uranium mines and improve plutonium-producing reactors even after the country tested a nuclear weapon in 1998 in defiance of a non-proliferation treaty. While that aid was intended for civilian nuclear power, scientists involved in those projects said Pakistan used uranium mined with agency help for weapons.

The IAEA similarly helped North Korea develop its uranium mines before it kicked inspectors out in 2003. Syria, under investigation since 2007 for allegedly building a secret atomic-weapons reactor, used an IAEA-built lab to produce uranium ……..https://theprint.in/world/china-and-iaea-are-helping-saudi-arabia-achieve-its-nuclear-ambitions/503674/#:~:text=The%20International%20Atomic%20Energy%20Agency,for%20uranium%20in%20Saudi%20Arabia.

September 17, 2020 Posted by | China, politics international, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

South Korea says no use of nuclear weapons in joint operational plans with U.S

September 17, 2020 Posted by | South Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

In 2017, USA considered plans to attack North Korea using nuclear weapons

September 15, 2020 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

China ditches US nuclear technology in favour of home-grown alternative

China ditches US nuclear technology in favour of home-grown alternative.  The US-developed AP1000 technology was once the basis of China’s third-generation nuclear power, SCMP, Echo Xie, 14 Sep, 2020

But China’s Hualong One is now the preferred option

China has switched from American nuclear power technology to a domestically developed alternative as worries over energy security and geopolitical uncertainties increase.

The AP1000 technology, designed by America’s Westinghouse Electric Company, was once the basis of China’s third-generation nuclear power, but now the country has more third-generation reactors based on its own Hualong One technology under construction or approved, than it does AP1000 reactors.

A total of 12 nuclear reactors in China – either under construction or going through the approval process – use Hualong One technology. In contrast, no new AP1000 reactors have been approved for more than a decade. The last US reactors – in Zhejiang and Shandong provinces – went into commercial operation in 2018………

However, China’s bet on nuclear power comes at a time when some European countries are phasing out its use and development in the US has stagnated. …….. https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3101304/china-ditches-us-nuclear-technology-favour-home-grown

September 15, 2020 Posted by | China, politics | Leave a comment

Suttsu, Hokkaido, residents oppose radioactive waste dump plan

Residents Oppose Hokkaido Town’s Radioactive Waste Site Plan  https://www.nippon.com/en/news/yjj2020091000878/residents-oppose-hokkaido-town%27s-radioactive-waste-site-plan.html   Suttsu, Hokkaido, Sept. 11 (Jiji Press)–Many residents of a Japanese town considering hosting a final disposal facility for high-level radioactive waste have voiced opposition to the plan at a briefing session organized by the municipal government.The meeting was the fourth of its kind for residents of the town of Suttsu in the northernmost Japan prefecture of Hokkaido. The first such session was held on Monday.

At Thursday’s meeting, which was opened to the press, Suttsu Mayor Haruo Kataoka explained the reasons for considering applying for a literature survey, the first stage of a three-stage research process to select the location of the final disposal site for high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants.

Some 260 residents attended the session, which lasted for over three hours from 6:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. GMT).

Participating residents voiced concerns that the move will lead to harmful rumors about the town, and that if the town receives subsidies from the Japanese government as a result of applying for the literature survey, it will have no choice but to become a final disposal site. Some said that detailed discussions should be held after the mayoral election in the town next year.

September 14, 2020 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Tokyo Olympics must be held at ‘any cost’, says Japanese minister

Seiko Hashimoto says country is planning for event next year even though a widely available vaccine is unlikely

A man wearing a protective face mask walks past an Olympic Rings monument near the national stadium, the main venue of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

 

September 8, 2020

The Tokyo Olympics must be held “at any cost”, Japan’s Games minister, Seiko Hashimoto, has said, as organisers continue to weigh up options for staging a “post-pandemic” celebration of sport in the city next summer.

“Everyone involved with the Games is working together to prepare, and the athletes are also making considerable efforts towards next year,” Hashimoto told reporters on Tuesday.

The former Olympian suggested the priority had shifted from planning for the “complete Games” once favoured by the outgoing prime minister, Shinzo Abe, towards an event that would enable athletes to compete regardless of the status of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I think we have to hold the Games at any cost,” she said. “I want to concentrate all our efforts on measures against the coronavirus.”

There is also a growing belief within national olympic committees that the Games will go ahead following lengthy discussions over the summer about how they can be staged safely. The Guardian understands that proposals under discussion include:

  • Potentially keeping athletes in preparation camps for longer before they move into the Olympic village, enabling them to be tested regularly for Covid-19 and cleared before competing.
  • Asking athletes to leave the athletes’ village immediately after they have competed, rather than stay until after the closing ceremony as is traditional.
  • Having reduced capacities in stadiums observing social distancing rules.

However, suggestions that there could be a downsized Olympics, with fewer athletes and staff, are being downplayed by senior sources.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed in March as the coronavirus began its rampage through Europe, the US, Brazil, India and other parts of the world.

With health experts warning that a vaccine is unlikely to be widely available by the time the opening ceremony is due to take place on 23 July 2021, a task force of organisers, national and local government officials and health experts met for the first time last week to consider anti-virus measures.

The group, which is expected to release an interim report at the end of the year, is sifting through more than 200 proposals on how best to prevent an Olympic-related outbreak while enabling around 11,000 athletes from more than 200 countries to travel to Japan.

“While living with the coronavirus, we need to make sure that athletes can perform at their best and audiences enjoy the Games safely,” the deputy chief cabinet secretary, Kazuhiro Sugita, said at the meeting. “To achieve that, we will adjust border controls, testing and medical systems and the operations of the venues.”

Last week, the Tokyo chief executive, Toshiro Muto, insisted the Games could be held even if a vaccine was not available.

“It’s not a prerequisite,” he said. “It’s not a condition for the delivery of the Tokyo 2020 Games. A vaccine is not a requirement. Of course, if vaccines are developed, we’ll really appreciate it. And for Tokyo 2020 that would be great.”

While the delayed start of domestic and international sports competitions show it is possible to reduce the risks to athletes, it will be harder to ensure the safety of huge numbers of spectators from overseas.

“As far as spectators, we don’t have any conditions yet, but we’d like to avoid no spectators,” Muto said.

The comments from Hashimoto, who represented her country in speed skating and track cycling, echo those made on Monday by John Coates, vice president of the International Olympic Committee [IOC]. He said the event would go ahead next summer “with or without Covid”.

“The Games were going to be … the ‘reconstruction Games’ after the devastation of the tsunami,” Coates said, referring to the disaster that struck north-east Japan in 2011.

“Now very much these will be the Games that conquered Covid, the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Public support is waning in Japan, however, with two-thirds of respondents to a poll in July saying they would prefer the Olympics to be postponed a second time – an option organisers and the IOC have ruled out – or cancelled.

Organisers said they had been encouraged to see international sports events such as the US Open tennis and the Tour de France go ahead in the midst of the pandemic, and by reports that Japan’s government is considering allowing more fans into stadiums to watch domestic baseball and football matches.

“This has been a big, big encouragement for the staff at Tokyo 2020,” organising committee spokesman Masa Takaya told reporters on Tuesday. “We feel that is another step towards seeing sports in action in our society.”

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/sep/08/tokyo-olympics-must-be-held-at-any-cost-says-japanese-minister?fbclid=IwAR0Ot_OQz-lfiMe3hjrCVRFjhT52hid2mE5gdQr19xTHKWW2zkSYWxk8FSA

September 13, 2020 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

IOC Vice President Says 2021 Tokyo Olympics Will Happen

September 7, 2020

The Tokyo Summer Olympics are taking place next year regardless of the coronavirus pandemic, according to International Olympic Committee Vice President John Coates.

“It will take place with or without COVID. The Games will start on July 23 next year,” Coates told news agency AFP on Monday, according to multiple outlets.

“The Games were going to be, their theme, the Reconstruction Games after the devastation of the tsunami,” he added, referring to the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in 2011. “Now very much these will be the Games that conquered COVID, the light at the end of the tunnel.”

In late March, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that the Summer Games would be rescheduled for the same time slot next year due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

The Olympics will now be held from July 23 through August 8, 2021.

There is still much uncertainty regarding the games, however. In June, various Japanese media sources published stories indicating that the Olympics will be “downsized,” “simplified” or “very different.”

Officials have not yet announced any specific modifications, but the reports indicated that athletes may face quarantines and coronavirus testing and seating could be reduced.

Following the published reports, Tokyo Olympics spokesman Masa Takaya appeared in an online news conference but did not confirm any of the leaked information about downsizing.

He did, however, address concerns about reducing the amount of seating, as millions of tickets have already been sold. “We want to brush away these concerns,” Takaya said, speaking to ticket holders.

“We understand that countermeasures for COVID-19 next year, particularly during games time, is one of the biggest things to address in preparing for the games next year,” he added. “But once again these countermeasures will be discussed in more depth from this autumn onward.”

Adam Rippon Says 2020 Winter Olympians Are ‘Grieving’ Amid Postponement

Figure skater Adam Rippon won a bronze medal in the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang

Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto said that costs must be cut for the rescheduled games, but added that ensuring athletes’ safety may lead to higher expenses.

“Unless safety and security are ensured, there will be uncertainty for the athletes-first point of view,” she said, according to the Associated Press. “We must study measures including virus testing in order to ensure safety and security.”

The delay marks only the fourth time in modern Olympic history that the games have been disrupted.

https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/ioc-vice-president-says-2021-155509392.html

September 13, 2020 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

There are 15 nuclear power plants in Fukui Prefecture.

By Akihiko Tamai

Fukui SEISMIC INTENSITY 5 weak epicenter, fault expert, chain warning ′′ it can be connected to a big earthquake ′′

According to Professor Taku Okamoto (Earthquake) of fukui college of technology, there is a fault in the hirano part of the epicenter of the earthquake that observed the maximum SEISMIC INTENSITY OF 5 in Fukui Prefecture on the morning of September 4th It was possible to wake up In the future, if the earthquake of magnitude (M) 5 0 class is frequent, it is a chain with the surrounding fault, and it is pointed out that ′′ it can be connected to a big earthquake like the kumamoto earthquake 5

According to Professor Okamoto, the next wave that does not appear if it is not a fault-specific structure near the epicenter of this time is observed in the past earthquake, and in the west rim of fukui hirano, it is a fault that penetrates the confluence of the kuzuryu and hinogawa to the north It is said that there is a.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, this earthquake is a ′′ reverse fault type ′′ that is pushed from both sides and moves in the upper and lower direction. Professor Okamoto points out that the fault of the fukui hirano west rim may have caused the fault of the estimated fault and epicenter.

The Epicenter of this time is about 5 km away from the fukui hirano fault belt, which caused the fukui earthquake on June 28, 1948, and it is not directly related. Also, the earthquake of 4 or more seismic intensity that epicenter the north of the north of the north of the north of the north of the north of the north of the

The current situation is close to the earthquake of the shaking aftershocks, but in the future, if there is a similar earthquake as this time, there is a sabae fault in the south, so it is pointed out that ′′ chain leads to a big earthquake On Top of that, ′′ I need to carefully look at the progression of aftershocks activities for 1 OR 2 weeks

The earthquake is also called ′′ emergency earthquake breaking news is not in time In the future of aftershocks, I’m calling ′′ if you feel the tremor, I want you to lower your posture and take action to protect your head (Fukui Shimbun September 5)

September 13, 2020 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Tokyo Olympics will be most costly Summer Games, Oxford study shows

In this June 3, the Olympic rings float in the water at sunset in the Odaiba section in Tokyo.

September 4, 2020

TOKYO

The Tokyo Olympics are already the most expensive Summer Games on record with costs set to go higher, a wide-ranging study from Britain’s University of Oxford indicates.

The Tokyo cost overrun already exceeds 200%, lead author Bent Flyvbjerg explained in an interview with The Associated Press. This is even before several billion more dollars are added on from the one-year delay from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flyvbjerg is an economist at Oxford’s Said Business School. His entire study is available here, and it’s set to be published on Sept. 15 in the journal “Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space.” It’s titled “Regression to the Tail: Why the Olympics Blow Up.”

Tokyo, postponed until July 23, 2021, is only a small part of the focus. The study — the third in a series following editions 2012 and 2016 — looks at Olympic costs since 1960 and finds they keep increasing despite claims by the International Olympic Committee that costs are being cut.

Flyvbjerg cites many reasons for the rising costs and cost overruns, and offers solutions for the IOC. The vast majority of costs are picked up by governments with the IOC contributing only a small portion.

“The Olympics offer the highest level of risk a city can take on,” Flyvbjerg told AP. “The trend cannot continue. No city will want to do this because it’s just too expensive, putting themselves into a debt that most cities cannot afford.”

In his paper, Flyvbjerg cites Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, whose city is to hold the 2028 Olympics following Paris in 2024.

“Most cities, unless you have a government that’s willing to go into debt or pay the subsidy of what this costs, most cities will never say ‘yes’ to the Olympics again unless they find the right model,” he quotes Garcetti as saying.

By the right model, Garcetti means lower costs.

Tracking Olympic costs is difficult, a dense maze of overlap and debate. Politicians and organizers always argue over what are — and what are not — Olympic expenses.

Flyvbjerg writes: “Unfortunately, Olympics officials and hosts often misinform about the costs and cost overruns of the Games. … We therefore cannot count on organizers, the IOC, and governments to provide us with reliable information about the real costs, cost overruns, and cost risks of the Olympic Games.”

Flyvbjerg looks only at costs to operate the games — the operating costs and capital costs — the cost to build sports venues. He leaves out a third category, which is usually many times larger: renovating roads, building airports, and what he calls “sprucing up projects,” which also fall to taxpayers.

“Our estimates are conservative because there are lots of costs that are hidden that we can’t get into,” Flyvbjerg said. “And there are lots of costs we decided not to include because it’s too complex. We include the things we can get the most reliable numbers for and we do it in the same way for each city that we study.”

He also excludes the cost of debt, and the future cost of running sports venues after the Olympics leave, and inflation.

According to the Oxford numbers. Tokyo’s spending is at $15.84 billion, already surpassing the 2012 London Olympics, which were the most expensive summer games to date at $14.95 billion. He expects several billion more from the cost of the one-year delay.

Tokyo organizers say officially they are spending $12.6 billion. However, a national auditor says the actual costs are twice that high, made up of some expenses that the Oxford study omits because they are not constant between different Olympics.

Tokyo said the cost would be $7.3 billion when it won the bid in 2013.

“They (IOC) obviously don’t like our results, but it’s very difficult to counter a piece of rigorous research like this,” Flyvbjerg said. “And they haven’t done that, and they can’t do that. Our research is a problem for them.”

In an email to Associated Press, the IOC said it had not seen the latest Oxford study and declined to comment.It referenced another study by Mainz and Sorbonne universities.

This study also found Olympic cost overruns but said they were in line with other large-scale projects. Flyvbjerg’s study finds they are not.

Flyvbjerg said he has been in touch on and off with the IOC and had sent a colleague to an IOC workshop. He said a major reason for the rising costs is that the IOC does not pay for them. He also cited rising security costs, and moving the games around the world. He calls this the “Eternal Beginner Syndrome” with new host cities starting basically from scratch.

He’s said the IOC has tried recently to rein in costs, but the effort is “too little, too late.”

“They (IOC) define the specs but don’t pay for them,”Flyvbjerg said. “This is pretty similar to you and I giving the specs for a house that we are going to live in, but we don’t have to pay for it. How do you think we’d spend? We’d gold-plate it. This is what has happened over time.”

Flyvbjerg said he’s relish a chance to sit and talk with IOC President Thomas Bach. He calls himself a fan of the Olympics.

“It’s not that the IOC hasn’t been willing to talk, or I am not willing to talk,”he said. “We certainly are. We have communicated in writing to keep the IOC informed. But yes, we would like to sit down with Thomas Bach.”

https://japantoday.com/category/sports/oxford-study-tokyo-olympics-are-most-costly-summer-games

September 13, 2020 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste disposal is a matter of environmental concern

Aug 31, 2020

It has been reported that the town of Suttsu in Hokkaido is considering applying for a two-year “literature research” into the possibility of storing high-level radioactive nuclear waste. A maximum of ¥2 billion in subsidies will be granted by the central government.

“The future of the town is financially precarious,” said Haruo Kataoka, the mayor of Suttsu, in an interview.

But the money that is thought to revive the town cannot reverse what the nuclear waste is likely to cause.

It is, in my opinion, never a financial issue, but a matter of environmental concern.

What is in question here is high-level radioactive nuclear waste, which can be dangerous for at least 200,000 years and therefore must be handled with the utmost care. It is indeed a problem that any country with nuclear power plants needs to address, however thorny it is. Any indiscreet decision is deemed extremely irresponsible and profoundly unethical.

“Financially precarious,” I must stress, is by no means comparable to environmentally threatening. Besides, it is specifically stated in a Hokkaido ordinance that nuclear waste is hardly acceptable in the prefecture.

Before a final disposal site is selected, or even before an application for research is submitted, the scientific facts ought to be thoroughly understood and the residents properly informed.

The span of recorded history is merely 5,000 years, while 200,000 years is far beyond human experience and comprehension. We certainly cannot live to see what is going to become of the nuclear waste, but I believe that we do not want to leave the thorny problem unaddressed to haunt our future generations.

Jive Sun

Sapporo

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2020/08/31/reader-mail/nuclear-waste-disposal-matter-environmental-concern/

September 13, 2020 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s citizen radiation testers still on the job.

Fukushima Has Turned These Grandparents Into Avid Radiation Testers, NPR,     Kat Lonsdorf (@lilkat_bigworldSeptember 11, 2020  Takenori Kobayashi lugs a garbage bag full of soil across a parking lot to an unmarked office. His wife, Tomoko, holds the door to a tiny work space with lab equipment and computers set up. On the edge of Fukushima’s former nuclear exclusion zone, this is the place the couple likes to call their “grandma and grandpa lab.”

It started as a makeshift operation in the city of Minamisoma the year after the 2011 nuclear disaster, when people — mostly elderly — returned to the area and were worried about high radiation levels in their food and soil.”We’ve given up hope that our children and grandchildren will come back to live here,” Tomoko, 67, says. Most young people decided to start lives elsewhere rather than return, not wanting to take the risks with radiation. “But in order for them to come back and visit us,” she continues, “we need to know everything is safe. So we test it all.”

Citizen science like this flourished in Fukushima after the nuclear disaster in 2011, when a tsunami triggered explosions at the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The wind carried radioactive material for miles, covering whole towns and neighborhoods with dangerous, yet invisible, particles. For weeks after the disaster, information was scarce and trust in the Japanese government plummeted. And now, almost a decade later, wide arrays of residents have taken it upon themselves to collect radiation data — from mothers worried about their kids to surfers monitoring beaches to individuals with Geiger counters in their homes — to help regain a sense of control.
Inside the lab, the Kobayashis pair get to work. One measures out soil into small containers, the other starts labeling — so coordinated and practiced, it’s almost like a dance. They put the samples through a donated gamma counter, a big cylindrical machine that measures radioactive particles. Today, they’re testing soil from a nearby farm.

A handful of other residents help run the lab, and throughout the years, experts from nearby universities have come to teach them all about the different equipment and radiation science.

“All the grandparents here are radiation professionals now,” Takenori, 71, says with a smile……..

The maps show that Fukushima’s radiation levels are decreasing, because of both natural decay of particles and large-scale Japanese government decontamination efforts. But there are still a lot of hot spots — places where radiation is worryingly high. The authorities have tried to ease concerns, testing food in supermarkets and setting up radiation monitors in public parks, outside train stations or flashing along highways, but trust in the government is still extremely low. Many residents say they still feel best collecting information themselves. ……… https://www.npr.org/2020/09/11/907881531/fukushima-has-turned-these-grandparents-into-avid-radiation-testers

September 12, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, radiation | Leave a comment

Effective nuclear arms control engagement with China – the View from Beijing

View From Beijing  https://carnegieendowment.org/2020/09/09/view-from-beijing-pub-82525,  Tong Zhao, Senior Fellow
Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy 11 Sept 20, Effective nuclear arms control engagement with China will likely require confidence-building measures by the United States and greater support from the international community.

 
All major powers must recognize that, despite their strategic competition, they have a common interest in pursuing arms control to manage that competition and minimize the risk of military conflicts. Thus, the United States should be able to engage China on arms control if it sets the right goals. But if Washington continues to present arms control as a tool to compete with Beijing, why would Beijing help?
Washington cannot coerce Beijing by threatening to start an arms race and spend China “into oblivion,” especially because Beijing is confident it can outcompete Washington in the long run. Such a threat also reinforces China’s long-standing suspicion that arms control is a concession imposed by the strong and accepted by the weak.

The United States will have to keep its public voice down while offering China concrete proposals to address the two countries’ asymmetric capabilities. If they’re to be taken seriously, these proposals should show a willingness by the United States to limit its own capabilities, particularly in areas of U.S. superiority such as air- and sea-launched missile systems and space-based capabilities.

Appeals to the United States and China by the international community for responsible behavior would also have an impact. As U.S.-China competition intensifies, both countries understand the need to win support from third parties.

Given China’s deep skepticism and outsider status in the arms control arena, engagement will require transparency and time to build confidence. One valuable starting point could be a reset of fundamental terms: China may be more eager to discuss “strategic ability” than “arms control.” Identifying cooperative measures for nuclear risk reduction would be a useful topic for initial discussions.

To proceed with substantive talks, Beijing would need reassurance that Washington accepts a relationship of mutual vulnerability and does not seek to challenge its strategic nuclear deterrence. China’s concern over U.S. missile defense, if left unaddressed, would remain the strongest external driver of its comprehensive nuclear modernization. Perhaps the two parties could agree to a joint study on the technical feasibility of making the U.S. system capable only of defending against North Korean strategic missiles without undermining China’s nuclear retaliation capacity.
In China’s highly centralized political system, in which arms control experts are scattered and do not have a strong voice, the blessing of top political leadership is key to generating momentum for arms control talks. World leaders should engage with President Xi Jinping directly: his support, even a merely symbolic endorsement of the concept of arms control, would help start a much-needed domestic discussion.

September 12, 2020 Posted by | China, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Opposition in Kamoenai to hosting nuclear waste dump

September 12, 2020 Posted by | Japan, politics, wastes | Leave a comment