nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

For America’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “climate” is now a dirty, or rather, nonexistent, word.

EPA’s climate change website reappears, missing the word ‘climate’, Mashable, BY ANDREW FREEDMAN, On April 28, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) abruptly took down its long-standing treasure trove of online climate change resources, and put up a message stating that they were being updated to reflect the new priorities of the Trump administration.

 It’s becoming more and more clear that one of those priorities is to downplay the threat of climate change. And one way way to do that is to ignore it altogether.

To that end, on Friday, a group that monitors federal websites for changes in climate change content reported that the some of the climate websites taken down in April have returned to the EPA’s site, with all references to climate change removed.

According to the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative’s website monitoring group (EDGI), an EPA website that previously offered climate and energy resources for state, local, and tribal governments has been stripped of its references and links to climate science and policy. Prior to April 28, the site had contained programs and tools to assist these government entities in becoming more energy efficient, using more renewable energy, and developing climate change policies.

 Instead, that main site is now a page on “energy resources,” including a “Clean Energy Finance Tool,” Energy Information Administration state reports, newsletters, and other resources with links to previously existing EPA climate sites removed as well. The new webpage, which went online in late July, but was just analyzed in detail on Friday, omits about 15 mentions of the word “climate” from the main page for local governments.

“Large portions of climate resources that were formerly found on the previous website have not been returned, and thus have ultimately been removed from the current EPA website,” the EDGI web monitoring group stated.

 The new website’s main page has no links to pages such as the “State Climate Action Framework”, “Local Climate Action Framework”, and “Climate Showcase Communities,” among others, the report found………

he EPA’s voluminous climate change website had previously been maintained under both Republican and Democratic administrations dating back at least to the first Bush administration, and it had served as a valuable tool for teachers and students, researchers, and government officials looking for data and advice on climate resilience efforts.

 However, the site has become another casualty of an administration that appears hellbent on erasing as much climate science and climate policy from the books as possible.

Since becoming EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt has pursued an aggressive agenda of dismantling the Obama administration’s climate change regulations, culminating in his action on Oct. 10 to withdraw the Clean Power Plan, which would limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Pruitt has said he doesn’t believe that science shows greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels are the main cause of global warming, even though scientific evidence demonstrates exactly that link.

Pruitt instead wants to hold televised “red team, blue team” debates between climate scientists and deniers to contest the merits of mainstream climate science research. …… http://mashable.com/2017/10/20/epa-climate-website-missing-climate-change-references/#yfrYCTm9CPqM

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October 21, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

What if White House officials really did have to physically stop President Donald Trump from starting a nuclear war?

Matt Lauer to John Brennan: Will Military Leaders ‘Lock’ Trump ‘in A Room’ to Stop Nuclear War? https://www.mediaite.com/tv/matt-lauer-to-john-brennan-will-military-leaders-lock-trump-in-a-room-to-stop-nuclear-war/, by Caleb Ecarma October 19th, 2017 

As talks of military confrontation between the US and North Korea continue to escalate, Today Show host Matt Lauer raised an incredible question: What if White House officials really did have to physically stop President Donald Trump from starting a nuclear war?

As ridiculous as the idea may seem, there have been reports circulating in which WH aides suggest that Chief of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis may have formulated a plot to physically apprehend Trump before he reaches the nuclear football.

These reports inspired Lauer to ask Brennan the following:

“I feel weird asking you this, but you’ve read the same stories I’ve read. You know the key players around the president in Mattis, Mcmaster and John Kelly. Stories are going around out there that if the president inches closer to some kind of a nuclear confrontation with North Korea, that those guys are going to do something. They’re going to lock him in a room. They’re going to tackle him. You’re smiling. But these are the stories that are out there. And they will prevent him from carrying out any action that would cause that. Is that all nonsense?”

Despite the preposterous, slapstick image that Lauer’s question conjures up — Kelly or Mattis leaping like an NFL safety at Trump while he’s mid-nuclear launch — the always professional Brennan calmly clarified that the president alone has “unilateral authority” on military action. The former CIA director said Mattis’ options for protest include trying to talk the president out of it or tendering his resignation — the possibility of tackling Trump was not a listed option, though.

When asked whether or not he would follow unethical orders from his authorities, Brennan said that in certain cases — such as a command to bring back waterboarding — he would choose getting fired over following directives.

As for the Mattis, Kelly, and H.R. McMaster, Brennan commended all of them, saying, “They’re patriots… They understand the gravity of this situation, and I don’t think Trump does.”

October 21, 2017 Posted by | politics, Trump - personality, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. House to vote on non-nuclear Iran sanctions next week 

Patricia Zengerle   WASHINGTON (Reuters) 21 Oct 17,  – The U.S. House of Representatives will vote next week on new sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program and on Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah militia, senior House Republicans said on Friday, seeking to take a tough line against Iran without immediately moving to undermine the international nuclear deal.

President Donald Trump defied both allies and adversaries on Oct. 13 by refusing to certify that Iran is complying with an international agreement on its nuclear program, and threatened that he might ultimately terminate the accord.

That threw the fate of the agreement between Iran, the United States and other world powers into the hands of Congress, by opening a 60-day window in which Congress could reimpose, or

“snap back,” sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program that were lifted under the agreement.

However, many of Trump’s fellow Republicans – who all opposed the deal reached under former Democratic President Barack Obama – have said they see no immediate need to do so.

Congressional aides said that, for now, House lawmakers are focusing on clamping down on Iran in other ways such as the missile and Hezbollah sanctions……https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-nuclear-congress/u-s-house-to-vote-on-non-nuclear-iran-sanctions-next-week-idUSKBN1CP2A7

October 21, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board – (nuisance to the nuclear industry) to be got rid of?

Efforts underway to remove ‘redundant’ nuclear safety board, Santa fe – New Mexican , By Rebecca Moss | The New Mexican, Oct 19, 2017 

Efforts have been underway to defund and dismantle an independent board charged with overseeing safety and security at nuclear weapons sites, and much of that work has been spearheaded by the board’s own Republican chairman, according to an investigative report released Thursday.
The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, a five-person panel appointed by the U.S. president, has been charged for three decades with conducting independent safety reviews at Los Alamos National Laboratory and other nuclear sites, as well as with advising the U.S. energy secretary and informing Congress about potential health and safety risks to workers and communities, accidents and contamination events at the sites, and efforts to remedy problems.

The board’s recommendations do not require action by the labs or the Energy Department but have led to more intense scrutiny of labs — including Los Alamos, which has had a poor safety record in recent years, with several serious breaches — and more stringent regulations.

 In June, Sean Sullivan, a Republican member of the nuclear safety board who was appointed chairman by the Trump administration, proposed in a letter to the White House Office of Management and Budget that the board be eliminated. He called it a Cold War legacy that is no longer relevant and said it creates “myriad unnecessary costs for the Department of Energy.”……

The efforts to disband the board and undermine its independence come amid increasing questions about the safety culture at a number of national labs, but particularly at Los Alamos.

In the past year, Los Alamos has faced a federal investigation for improperly shipping nuclear materials out of state and violated nuclear safety protocol in August at its plutonium facility. A small fire there in April also caused one worker to suffer second-degree burns.

Most of these issues were made public by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, which posts its weekly reports online.

Earlier this year, the safety board voiced concerns to Congress about Los Alamos’ ability to handle nuclear materials and raised questions about whether the lab’s nuclear facilities are structurally sound.

In early June, the board held a hearing in Santa Fe to question lab and Energy Department officials about whether the lab would be prepared to manage increasing quantities of nuclear material as ramped-up production of plutonium pits — the grapefruit-sized triggers inside nuclear bombs — begins as part of a plan to modernize the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

Given the protracted and ongoing safety issues at Los Alamos, a number of safety board members and lawmakers have objected to any relaxed oversight at the lab.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., told the Center for Public Integrity that repeated safety issues, “including the two [labs] in New Mexico, are among the reasons for strengthening — not eliminating the outside oversight board.

“These incidents have demonstrated that there is a need for a strong watchdog that does not have a direct financial or political stake in the success of the labs,” Udall added………http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/efforts-underway-to-remove-redundant-nuclear-safety-board/article_73572fa5-362a-53dc-ba80-640b03e52f2b.html   Contact Rebecca Moss at 505-986-3011 or rmoss@sfnewmexican.com.

October 21, 2017 Posted by | politics, safety, USA | Leave a comment

NBC News poll shows that three quarters of Americans fear that Trump is leading them into war

Three-quarters of Americans think Trump is going to lead them into war http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-war-poll-americans-think-president-lead-conflict-a8009401.html

Unlike the President, most Americans don’t think diplomacy is a waste of time, Andrew Buncombe New York ,@AndrewBuncombe

  • Almost three-quarters of Americans fear the US is to become involved in a “major conflict” in the next few years, according to a new survey.Amid escalating tensions with North Korea over its aggressive missile tests and development of nuclear warheads, combined with sabre-rattling from Donald Trump, 72 per cent of the population fears the country will become embroiled in such a war within four years.Most people believe the greatest threat to the US is from North Korea, followed by Isis and Russia. Only two per cent of people believe Iran is the greatest threat.
  • The NBC News/SurveyMonkey National Security poll also found that people are evenly divided on what represents the greatest form of threat – nuclear weapons, a cyber attack or terrorism.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | public opinion, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. threats of war with North Korea are ‘dangerous and short-sighted’ – Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton says US threats of war with North Korea are ‘dangerous and short-sighted’, Express UK, 19 Oct 17,  HILLARY Clinton has declared that “cavalier” threats to start war on the Korean peninsula were “dangerous and short-sighted”, urging the United States to get all parties to the negotiating table.

The former US presidential candidate also called on China to take a “more outfront role” in enforcing sanctions against North Korea aimed at curbing its missile and nuclear development.

Mrs Clinton told the World Knowledge Forum in the South Korean capital of Seoul: “There is no need for us to be bellicose and aggressive (over North Korea).”

Tension between Pyongyang and Washington has soared following a series of weapons tests by North Korea and a string of increasingly bellicose exchanges between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Mrs Clinton said, without mentioning Mr Trump by name: “Picking fights with Kim Jong Un puts a smile on his face.”

Ms Clinton also indirectly referred to Trump’s social media comments on North Korea, saying, “The insults on Twitter have benefited North Korea, I don’t think they’ve benefited the United States”…….. http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/868114/Hillary-Clinton-US-threats-of-war-North-Korea-dangerous-short-sighted

October 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

North Korea’s belligerant response to USA-South Korea military drills

North Korea warns US of ‘unimaginable’ nuclear strike http://thehill.com/policy/defense/356166-north-korea-warns-us-of-unimaginable-nuclear-strike, North Korea is warning that the United States will face an “unimaginable” nuclear strike for conducting ongoing joint naval drills with the South Korean military on the Korean peninsula.

“The U.S. is running amok by introducing under our nose the targets we have set as primary ones,” the state-controlled news agency KCNA warned Thursday, Newsweek reported. “The U.S. should expect that it would face unimaginable strike at an unimaginable time.”

KCNA also reportedly blamed the U.S. for “creating tension on the eve of war” by participating in civilian evacuation drills in South Korea over the weekend.

The remarks come amid escalating tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

President Trump has recently stepped up his rhetoric against North Korea and leader Kim Jong Un, whom he’s dubbed “Little Rocket Man.”

During his first address to the United Nations General Assembly last month, Trump threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” if it continued to threaten the U.S. and its allies.

The high-stakes war of words comes after North Korea conducted a series of intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear tests to display its progress toward developing a nuclear missile capable of striking the U.S.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, South Korea, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump administration set to unravel protection rules on ionising radiation?

EPA Says Higher Radiation Levels Pose ‘No Harmful Health Effect’Bloomberg, By Ari Natter, 

  • Trump administration guidelines may be  prelude to easier rules
In the event of a dirty bomb or a nuclear meltdown, emergency responders can safely tolerate radiation levels equivalent to thousands of chest X-rays, the Environmental Protection Agency said in new guidelines that ease off on established safety levels. The EPA’s determination sets a level ten times the drinking water standard for radiation recommended under President Barack Obama.
It could lead to the administration of President Donald Trump weakening radiation safety levels, watchdog groups critical of the move say. “It’s really a huge amount of radiation they are saying is safe,” said Daniel Hirsch, the retired director of the University of California, Santa Cruz’s program on environmental and nuclear policy.
“The position taken could readily unravel all radiation protection rules.” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-16/epa-says-higher-radiation-levels-pose-no-harmful-health-effect

October 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, radiation, USA | Leave a comment

FACT CHECK: Did Hillary Clinton Tell FBI’s Mueller to Deliver Uranium to Russians in 2009? ‘Secret Tarmac Meeting’?

Did Hillary Clinton Tell FBI’s Mueller to Deliver Uranium to Russians in 2009 ‘Secret Tarmac Meeting’? Snopes, 19 October 17, 

Hyperpartisan web sites mischaracterized a State Department cable alerting the U.S. Embassy in Russia of a transfer of criminal evidence obtained in a sting operation.

CLAIM:  Then-Secretary of State Clinton ordered then-FBI Director Robert Mueller to deliver highly enriched uranium to the Russians in a secret plane-side meeting in 2009.

RATING –    MIXTURE
WHAT’S TRUE:  On behalf of the U.S. government, Robert Mueller delivered a sample of highly enriched uranium confiscated from smugglers in Georgia to Russian authorities for forensic examination in 2009.

WHAT’S FALSE:  There was nothing nefarious in the transfer of the ten-gram sample, which was done at the request of Russian law enforcement and with the consent of the government of Georgia, whose agents had participated in its confiscation.

ORIGIN: In May and June 2017, a number of hyperpartisan news and opinion web sites published articles reporting that former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller, who in mid-May was named special counsel in the Justice Department’s investigation into alleged ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian officials, was himself enmeshed in “secret dealings” with Russia related to his 2009 delivery of a sample of highly enriched uranium (HEU) to Moscow ordered by Hillary Clinton.

The conspiracy web site Intellihub noted that the transfer was revealed in a WikiLeaks release of a classified State Department cable:

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton facilitated the transfer a highly enriched uranium (HEU) previously confiscated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) during a 2006 “nuclear smuggling sting operation involving one Russian national and several Georgian accomplices,” a newly leaked classified cable shows.

So-called “background” information was provided in the cable which gave vague details on a 2006 nuclear smuggling sting operation in which the U.S. government took possession of some HEU previously owned by the Russians.

The secret “action request,” dated Aug. 17, 2009, was sent out by Secretary of State Clinton and was addressed to the United States Ambassador to Georgia Embassy Tbilisi, the Russian Embassy, and Ambassador John Beyrle. It proposed that FBI Director Robert Mueller be the one that personally conduct the transfer a 10-gram sample of HEU to Russian law enforcement sources during a secret “plane-side” meeting on a “tarmac” in the early fall of 2009.

The WikiLeaks release was announced via Twitter on 18 May, the day after Mueller was appointed special counsel:

……….Intellihub characterized the plane-side transfer of uranium “shocking” and “rather reminisce [sic] of the infamous [then-Attorney General] Loretta Lynch/Bill Clinton meeting which occurred on a Phoenix, Arizona, tarmac back in June of 2016” (which meeting was cited by former FBI Director James Comey as the reason he concluded the Department of Justice wasn’t capable of an independent investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail issues at the State Department).

Read in its entirety, however, the cable itself reveals nothing questionable or nefarious about the transfer of evidence between Mueller and a similarly placed Russian law enforcement official in Moscow. It merely asked the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to inform the Russian government that the transfer, which was postponed from an earlier date, would take place on 21 September 2009.

Moreover, it provided a complete explanation of why the transfer was taking place:…….

The 2006 sting operation was widely reported after the fact by U.S. newspapers, including the Washington Post:

Republic of Georgia authorities, aided by the CIA, set up a sting operation last summer that led to the arrest of Russian man who tried to sell a small amount of nuclear-bomb grade uranium in a plastic bag in his jacket pocket, U.S. and Georgian officials said.

The operation, which neither government has publicized, represents one of the most serious cases of smuggling of nuclear material in recent years, according to analysts and officials.

Despite partisan attempts to make it appear conspiratorial, the transfer of the sample of confiscated uranium was simply an instance of cooperative law enforcement between three countries: the U.S., Georgia, and Russia. The Russia government requested a sample of the uranium for forensic testing, the Georgian government signed off on it, and the U.S. government carried out the delivery.

The total amount of HEU confiscated in the sting was 3.5 ounces (about 100 grams). The amount Mueller delivered to the Russians was ten grams (the weight of four U.S. pennies). https://www.snopes.com/hillary-clinton-robert-mueller-uranium/

October 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Abolish nuclear safety agency – secret advice from its chair, Sean Sullivan, to President Trump !

GOP chair of nuclear safety agency secretly urges Trump to abolish it https://www.publicintegrity.org/2017/10/19/21217/gop-chair-nuclear-safety-agency-secretly-urges-trump-abolish-it

Proposal follows radiation mishaps and exposures; Dems oppose the move, By Patrick MaloneR. Jeffrey Smith20 Oct 17, 

The chairman of a panel charged with protecting workers at nuclear weapons facilities as well as nearby communities has told the White House he favors downsizing or abolishing the group, despite recent radiation and workplace safety problems that injured or endangered people at the sites it helps oversee.

Republican appointee Sean Sullivan, a former Navy submarine officer, told the director of the Office of Management and Budget in a private letter that closing or shrinking the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board he chairs is consistent with President Trump’s ambition to cut the size of the federal workforce, according to a copy of Sullivan’s letter. It was written in June and obtained recently by the Center for Public Integrity.

The five-member Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, chartered by Congress, has helped persuade the federal government to impose tighter safety rules and regulations at most of the eight nuclear weapons sites — employing more than 40,000 workers — where nuclear weapons and their parts are produced or stored.

Nonetheless, the nuclear weapons complex in recent years has experienced alarming problems, including the mishandling of plutonium, a radioactive explosive; the mis-shipment of hazardous materials, including nuclear explosive materials;  and the contamination of work areas and scientists by radioactive particles — shortcomings detailed in a recent Center for Public Integrity investigation.

Sullivan’s position is consistent with the longstanding preferences of the large private contractors that produce and maintain the country’s nuclear arms, most of which also contribute heavily to congressional election campaigns and spend sizable sums lobbying Washington. The board and its expert staff are now probing what it considers to be additional safety lapses or deficiencies that would cost weapons contractors millions of dollars to fix.

Three other board members, all Democrats, have said in written complaints about Sullivan’s proposal that he was not speaking for them, and argued that that other government agencies assigned to safeguard nuclear workers and the public near weapons sites are not capable of handling the task by themselves.

A spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget, Jacob Wood, declined to comment about the letter but said no announcement would be made by the White House about the issue until February, when the board’s fate will be decided as part of a Trump administration reorganization and consolidation plan.

Funding for the board’s operation in fiscal 2018 remains in versions of the defense funding bill, and in an effort to block Sullivan’s request, a Senate Democrat has added language to his chamber’s version that would bar the board’s elimination. But the bill is still being discussed between the Senate and House.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Economically, the nuclear industry is in collapse

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 17th Oct 2017, Mark Cooper: In 2008, the “nuclear renaissance” hype was in full swing. South Carolina was one of the first states to hop on the bandwagon. Public
and investor-owned utilities rushed to sign a contract for two new reactors at the V. C. Summer nuclear station before the design for the Westinghouse AP1000 reactors was finalized, to avoid the price run-up that was expected to occur when orders for dozens of reactors were signed.

There was no rush of orders, but there were 17 formal revisions before the design was
finalized, and perhaps many hundreds more made in a more informal manner.

Adecade later, the nuclear industry is in shambles. Billions of dollars were spent on the two now-abandoned reactors at V. C. Summer, and only two other reactors remain under construction, at a plant in Georgia. The South Carolina reactors were so far behind schedule and over budget that they
triggered the bankruptcy of the reactor vendor (Westinghouse), the near-bankruptcy of its corporate parent (Toshiba), and the resignation of the CEO of the utility (Santee Cooper) that owns 45 percent of the V. C. Summer project.

The nuclear industry’s collapse is stunning, but it should come as no surprise. This is exactly what happened during the first round of nuclear construction in the United States, in the decade between
1975 and 1985. History is repeating itself because of a dozen factors and trends that render nuclear power, new and old, inevitably uneconomic.
https://thebulletin.org/dozen-reasons-economic-failure-nuclear-power11196

October 20, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Politifact rates Nikki Haley Mostly False on her claim that Congress had no input on Iran nuclear deal

Haley wrongly says Congress had no input on Iran nuclear deal, Politifact,  By Allison Colburn Defending President Donald Trump’s decision to decertify the Iran nuclear deal, United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley said Congress now has a voice on the issue that it didn’t have in the past.

Trump’s decision allows Congress to potentially kill the agreement or tack on new conditions………

Here, we are fact-checking Haley’s claim that Congress was “never allowed” to debate or discuss the agreement.

Congressional responsibility in the Iran deal

Much of the responsibility for U.S. foreign policy falls under the authority of the executive branch. Congress does play a significant role, however, in foreign trade and commerce, immigration, foreign aid, the defense budget and any declarations of war. The Senate authorizes treaties and confirms the president’s cabinet nominees.

To avoid needing Senate approval for an agreement with a foreign power, the president can simply avoid calling the agreement a treaty. The Obama administration said the Iran deal was neither a treaty nor an executive agreement. Instead, the State Department said in a letter that the deal “reflects political commitments” between the seven nations involved.

When the president negotiates a deal that is not deemed a treaty, Congress — if it wants a say on the deal — must convince the president to give the legislative branch the power to approve or block the final deal.

That’s exactly what Congress did when it passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, a bill that had bipartisan support and allowed Congress the right to review any agreement reached in the negotiations. Obama initially threatened to veto the bill but did not.

Senators considered a separate, and ultimately unsuccessful, measure that would have given them the the power to block the agreement through a resolution of disapproval. A procedural vote on the resolution fell short of the 60 votes needed to override a Democratic filibuster.

Despite the resolution’s failure, by passing the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, Congress was able to have some authority and say in the final agreement.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who spearheaded the bill, has touted the legislation for taking “power back from the president” and forcing the executive office to be transparent………

Our ruling

Haley said Congress was never allowed to debate or discuss the Iran nuclear agreement while Obama was in office.

Though Congress had to fight for the right to disapprove of the deal, the passage of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 allowed Congress to not only vote on the deal but to also hold public hearings and debate. The Senate ultimately did not have the votes to block the deal, but the act included a requirement for the president to frequently monitor Iran’s progress in meeting the agreement’s conditions.

So Congress did have input, even if Obama initially tried to avoid it.

We rate this claim Mostly False. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2017/oct/19/nikki-haley/haley-wrongly-says-congress-had-no-input-iran-nucl/

October 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

America’s EPA now deliberately obscuring the truth on ionising radiation and health

Trump EPA Questioning Science on Radiation Safety, Non-Profit Watchdog Warns https://www.districtsentinel.com/trump-epa-questioning-science-radiation-safety-non-profit-watchdog-warns/

  by Sam Knight Environmental regulators are telling local officials that it’s okay for the public to be exposed to radiation equivalent to “5,000 chest x-rays,” according to critics.

The EPA issued a public guidance in September, advising local officials to respond to a possible nuclear emergency by claiming that 5,000-10,000 millirems exposure “usually result[s] in no harmful health effects.” The watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) said past studies funded by the US government declared that level to be highly carcinogenic.

“National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, and EPA itself, have long estimated that 10,000 millirems could be expected to induce excess cancers in every 86th person exposed,” PEER said on Monday.

The non-profit criticized the agency for failing to cite which “radiation safety experts” it used to justify the declaration.

The EPA also didn’t say how long a human should be safe, when exposed to radiation at the 5,000-10,000 millirem range. It did note, however, that 75,000 millirem exposure “in a short amount of time (usually minutes too hours)” can cause acute radiation sickness.

“Although cancer has been associated with high doses of radiation received over short periods of time, the cancers usually do not appear for many years, even decades,” the guidance noted, ominously.

PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch said the threshold cited by the agency could lead to a dangerous hands-off approach, should catastrophe strike.

“This signals that in the event of a Fukushima-type accident EPA will allow public consumption of radiation-contaminated drinking water for months,” Ruch said.

“Dr. Strangelove is alive and lurking somewhere in the corridors of EPA,” he added.

PEER noted that it is planning on suing the EPA to challenge the legality of the radiation exposure claims. The group said that the guidance violates the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The agency advice on radiation exposure–a supplement to a “Protective Action Guide”–was crafted, in its own words, “to help emergency planners prepare public communications prior to and during” radiological and nuclear emergencies.

In January, just before President Obama left office, the EPA issued the initial Protective Action Guide. It set the allowable threshold for the general population at 500 millirems, and the threshold for babies, children, and pregnant and nursing women at 100 millirems.

“Some commenters…believe the proposed PAG was too conservative and that EPA should consider establishing the PAG in the 2,000 to 10,000 [millirem] range,” the agency said in January, in the Federal Register.

PEER was critical of these limits, reacting to them by saying they also violated Safe Drinking Water Act rules.

“For decades, EPA had taken the position that ‘There is no known safe amount of radiation,’” the watchdog said on Monday.

October 18, 2017 Posted by | environment, radiation, USA | Leave a comment

USA would consider direct talks with North Korea, eventually – Deputy Secretary of State John J Sullivan

US OFFICIAL SAYS NOT RULING OUT EVENTUAL DIRECT TALKS WITH NORTH KOREA, Eye Witness News, 18 Oct 17,

Tension has soared following a series of weapons tests by North Korea and a string of increasingly bellicose exchanges between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.  Reuters |  

TOKYO/UNITED NATIONS – The United States is not ruling out the eventual possibility of direct talks with North Korea, Deputy Secretary of State John J Sullivan said on Tuesday, hours after Pyongyang warned nuclear war might break out at any moment.

Talks between the adversaries have long been urged by China in particular, but Washington and its ally Japan have been reluctant to sit down at the table while Pyongyang continues to pursue a goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States.

“Eventually, we don’t rule out the possibility of course of direct talks,” Sullivan said in Tokyo after talks with his Japanese counterpart……..http://ewn.co.za/2017/10/17/us-official-says-not-ruling-out-eventual-direct-talks-with-north-korea

October 18, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Authorities always knew that nuclear fallout shelters would not work

Nuclear Fallout Shelters Were Never Going to Work, History  // OCTOBER 16, 2017 “…….[IN 1961]  the federal government was devising a way for 50 million Americans to survive a nuclear war by scurrying to the nearest basement. The National Fallout Shelter Survey and Marking Program had begun……….

With North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs, pointed west and President Trump’s atomic sabre-rattling, fears of nuclear war have crept slowly back into the public consciousness. If the headlines rekindle some of the old unease about air-raid sirens and mushroom clouds, they’re also an occasion to consider a singular relic of the period that, oddly enough, never left us—the fallout-shelter sign.

Dented and faded now, the Kennedy-era signs still cling to the sides of buildings across the country. “They’re an enduring symbol of the Cold War,” says popular-culture historian Bill Geerhart, who since 1999 has maintained CONELRAD.com, a meticulous chronicling of the duck-and-cover era. “They outlasted everything, including the Berlin Wall. They’re tangible artifacts of that era.” And though their original purpose has vanished, the signs still have much to say. They are the products of an ill-conceived program, designed to appease a population with little faith in that program even working.

Kennedy was privately skeptical about the value of a public shelter program……. While fallout shelters would do nothing to safeguard people from an actual bomb, they would, in the words of JFK’s civil-defense chief Steuart L. Pittman, give “our presently unprotected population some form of protection.”……..
In fact, the untenability of the shelters was public knowledge before they had even opened. A November 1961 story on the front page of The Washington Post bemoaned that most of the designated shelters would be little more than “cold, unpleasant cellar space, with bad ventilation and even worse sanitation.”

Conditions were a serious problem, but location was a bigger one. Two-thirds of the fallout shelters in the U.S. were in “risk areas”—neighborhoods so close to strike targets that they’d likely never survive an attack in the first place. In New York, for example, most of the government shelters could be found in Manhattan and Brooklyn—despite the fact that a 20-megaton hydrogen bomb detonated over Midtown would leave a crater 20 stories deep and drive a firestorm all the way to the center of Long Island. Even out there, Life magazine said, occupants of a fallout shelter “might be barbequed.”……..

Anyone who read the newspapers understood not just that an inbound ICBM would leave them only 15 minutes, if that long, to get to a fallout shelter—but also that few structures in the city would survive a strike anyway. …….

Looking back on the civil-defense program in 1976, The New York Times observed: “the only reminders of fallout shelters [now] are the yellow-and-black signs placed outside buildings.”

That’s where thousands remain to this day—eerie reminders of a tense past that, as recent headlines remind us, feels unwantedly familiar. “They couldn’t have come up with a more ominous symbol,” reflected Eric Green, keeper of the Civil Defense Museum website, whose personal collection of fallout-shelter artifacts includes over 140 signs. “That’s the most ominous looking sign—the black and yellow and those triangles. It looked like exactly what it meant: This is the end.” http://www.history.com/news/nuclear-fallout-shelters-were-never-going-to-work

October 18, 2017 Posted by | history, politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment