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Marshall Islands calls off talks after no US response on nuclear legacy plan

The freely associated states stretch across an ocean area in the north Pacific that is larger than the continental United States and are seen by Washington as a key strategic asset. Photo: United States Institute of Peace.

Giff Johnson, Editor, Marshall Islands Journal / RNZ Pacific correspondent, Editor, Marshall Islands Journal / RNZ Pacific correspondent 24 Sept 22,

On the eve of the US Pacific Islands Summit in Washington, a key ally in the region called off a scheduled negotiating session for a treaty Washington views as an essential hedge against China in the region.

The Marshall Islands and the United States negotiators were scheduled for the third round of talks this weekend to renew some expiring provisions of a Compact of Free Association when leaders in Majuro called it off, saying the lack of response from Washington on the country’s US nuclear weapons testing legacy meant there was no reason to meet.

Marshall Islands leaders have repeatedly said the continuing legacy of health, environmental and economic problems from 67 US nuclear tests from 1946-1958 must be satisfactorily addressed before they will agree to a new economic package with the US.

Washington sees the Compact treaties with the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau, which stretch across an ocean area larger than the continental US, as key to countering the expansion of China in the region.

“The unique security relationships established by the Compacts of Free Association have magnified the US power projection in the Indo-Pacific region, structured US defense planning and force posture, and contributed to essential defense capabilities,” said a new study released September 20 in Washington, DC by the United States Institute of Peace, “China’s Influence on the Freely Associated States of the Northern Pacific.”

China’s naval expansion is increasing the value of the US relationship with the freely associated states (FAS)………………………..

US and Marshall Islands negotiators have both said they hope for a speedy conclusion to the talks as the existing 20-year funding package expires on September 30, 2023. But the nuclear test legacy is the line in the sand for the Marshall Islands.

“The entire Compact Negotiation Committee agreed – don’t go,” said Parliament Speaker Kenneth Kedi, who represents Rongelap Atoll, which was contaminated with nuclear test fallout by the 1954 Bravo hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll and other weapons tests.

“It is not prudent to spend over $100,000 for our delegation to travel to Washington with no written response to our proposal. We are negotiating in good faith. We submitted our proposal in writing.” But he said Friday, “there has been no answer or counter proposal from the US.”

US and Marshall Islands officials had been aiming to sign a “memorandum of understanding” at the summit as an indication of progress in the discussions, but that now appears off the table…………………

Marshall Islands President David Kabua, while affirming in his speech at the UN that the Marshall Islands has a “strong partnership” with the US, added: “It is vital that the legacy and contemporary challenges of nuclear testing be better addressed” (during negotiations on the Compact of Free Association). “The exposure of our people and land has created impacts that have lasted – and will last – for generations.”

The Marshall Islands submitted a proposed nuclear settlement agreement to US negotiators during the second round of talks in July. The US has not responded, Kedi and other negotiating committee members said Friday in Majuro.

……………………………… “We live with the problem (from the nuclear tests),” said Kelen, a displaced Bikini Islander. “We know the big picture: bombs tested, people relocated from their islands, people exposed to nuclear fallout, and people studied. We can’t change that. What we can do now is work on the details for this today for the funding needed to mitigate the problems from the nuclear legacy.”

Kedi said he was tired of US attempts to argue over legal issues from the original Compact of Free Association’s nuclear test settlement that was approved 40 years ago before the Marshall Islands was an independent nation.

That agreement, which provided a now-exhausted $150 million nuclear compensation fund, was called “manifestly inadequate” by the country’s Nuclear Claims Tribunal, which over a two-decade period determined the value of claims to be over $3 billion.

“Bottom line, the nuclear issue needs to be addressed,” Kedi said…………………..

President Kabua is scheduled to participate in the White House-sponsored US Pacific Islands Summit on September 28-29.

Meanwhile, the members of his Compact negotiating team are in Majuro waiting for a response from the US government to their proposal to address the nuclear legacy.

September 22, 2022 Posted by | OCEANIA, politics international | Leave a comment

At U.N., Micronesia denounces Japan plan to release Fukushima water into Pacific

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 22 (Reuters) – The president of the Pacific island state of Micronesia denounced at the United Nations on Thursday Japan’s decision to discharge what he called nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station into the Pacific Ocean………………… (subscribers only) more


September 22, 2022 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans | Leave a comment

New Zealand will push for total ban on nuclear weapons – Jacinda Ardern By Thomas Coughlan, 24 Sep, 2022

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there is an “outlier” amongst countries that have nuclear weapons because Russia now appears to believe that a nuclear war can be won and fought, as she continued to push for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Speaking to media after her address to the United Nations General Assembly, Ardern said New Zealand never believed the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), which meant that countries would not start a nuclear war, because they believed they would be annihilated by their enemy in retaliation.

“New Zealand – no one wants to be proven right on this issue,” Ardern said.

“We’ve always had the view that so long as everyone holds them [nuclear weapons] that no one will push the button – New Zealand has never had the view that that is a good strategy or a safe strategy.”

arlier in the day, she told the United Nations that one country – a reference to Russia – believed it could fight and win a nuclear war.

“It takes one country to believe that their cause is nobler, their might stronger, their people more willing to be sacrificed,” Ardern said.

“None of us can stand on this platform and turn a blind eye to the fact that there are already leaders amongst us who believe this,” she said.

Russia’s apparent belief that it could start and win a nuclear war is a reversal from its position in January, when it made a pledge with other nuclear powers who were signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”.

American and Russian leaders have been making some version of this statement since leaders Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev first said it in 1985.

If the doctrine of MAD is gone, then the world could be closer to a nuclear war than ever before.

Ardern said Russia was an “outlier” and other countries had a far more stable nuclear policy.

“I wouldn’t take Russia’s position as indicative of the rest of the world.”

September 22, 2022 Posted by | New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment

As Japan builds nuclear dumping facilities, Pacific groups say ‘stop’ Pacific civil society groups are calling on Japan to halt its plans to dump radioactive nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean.

Earlier this month the Japanese government started building facilities needed for the discharge of treated, but still radioactive, wastewater from the defunct Fukushima nuclear power plant.

In a joint statement, civil society groups, non-governmental organisations and activists described the Fumio Kishida Government’s plans as a fundamental breach of Pacific peoples’ right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

Joey Tau from the pan-Pacific movement Youngsolwara Pacific said this breaches Pacific peoples’ rights to live in a clean environment.

Tau told Pacific Waves the Pacific Ocean is already endangered and Japan’s plan will have devastating impacts.

“We have a nuclear testing legacy in the Pacific. That continues to impact our people, our islands and our way of life, and it impacts the health of our people.

“Having this plan by Japan poses greater risks to the ocean which is already in a declining state.

“The health of our ocean has declined due to human endured stresses and having this could aggravate the current state of our region.

“And also, there are possible threats on the lives of our people as we clearly understand in this part of the world, the ocean is dear to us, it sustains us,” Tau said.

Tau said both the opposition in Vanuatu and the president of the Federated States of Micronesia have expressed serious concerns at Japan’s plans, and the Pacific Islands Secretariat this year has appointed an international expert panel to advise the Forum Secretary-General and national leaders.

The Northern Marianas’ House of Representatives has also condemned Japan’s plan to dump the nuclear waste.

Tau said the plans should not proceed without the Pacific people being able to voice their concerns and being better advised.

August 31, 2022 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans, wastes | Leave a comment

The world stands on a nuclear precipice – we must avoid catastrophe- Jacinda Ardern

Visitors at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum view a large scale panoramic photograph of the aftermath of the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima Photograph: Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images 25 Aug 22, The world can still step back from the abyss. The nuclear weapon states – the US, Russia, China, France and the UK – must lead the way

In 1945 nuclear weapons were used in armed conflict for the first and only time. 355,000 people were killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki by two nuclear bombs.

Two. That number alone puts in stark perspective the world’s current arsenal of about 13,000 nuclear weapons.

And yet in many ways the 13,000 weapons held globally represents progress; it’s less than a quarter of the more than 63,000 weapons in circulation in 1985 during the cold war.

But what John F Kennedy said in 1961 at the United Nations is as urgent now as it ever was: “We must abolish these weapons before they abolish us.”

Over the more than 50 years since the inception of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty it’s played an important role in lowering the risk of these weapons abolishing us. In addition to the near 80% reduction in nuclear weapons, the treaty has also contributed to keeping a lid on the number of countries acquiring them. More countries have ratified the treaty than any other arms limitation and disarmament agreement.

Right now in New York, there is an opportunity to go even further. And we must.

Our world is at greater risk of nuclear catastrophe than at any time since the height of the cold war. Growing superpower tensions and two decades of stalled progress on arms control have pushed the risk of these weapons closer to reality.

Currently 191 countries are meeting at the UN to renew the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and negotiations are going down to the wire. These talks offer a chance to breathe new life into nuclear disarmament at a time when the world needs that more than ever.

Nuclear catastrophe is not an abstract threat but a real world risk. Nuclear weapons could be deployed in a conflict, as Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has intimated, or they could be deployed by miscalculation or mistake – real possibilities in times of heightened tension.

New Zealand is calling on the nuclear weapons states – the US, Russia, China, France and the UK – to step back from the nuclear abyss, and provide that leadership by committing to negotiate a new multilateral nuclear disarmament framework.

But from one of the best geographical positions in the world to be should nuclear fallout occur, why does New Zealand feel so strongly about this issue?

We are a Pacific nation. Our region bears the scars of decades of nuclear testing, on both the people and the lands and waters of our region. That’s why for 35 years New Zealand has been proudly nuclear-free and an international advocate for a world free of nuclear weapons.

This does not mean we are naive to real world dynamics, nor does our geographic location mean we have the luxury of a moral stance that others do not. In fact, New Zealand’s message – that nuclear weapons do not make anyone safer and no longer have a place in our world – reflects the view of the overwhelming majority of countries. We just need to believe a different approach is possible.

We only have to look back in our history to map a path to a safer future. The lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and of testing in the Pacific, are reminder enough that there is never justification for the deployment of nuclear weapons.

The challenges of agreeing multilateral nuclear disarmament can seem overwhelming. But it’s not a task that can be put off indefinitely.

Right now, the treaty is under stress. It is affected by geopolitical developments including tension between the nuclear weapon states. But, more fundamentally, there is growing scepticism and frustration about the intention of the nuclear weapon states to ever fully implement their nuclear disarmament commitments under the treaty, with those states arguing the global security environment makes doing so too difficult.

If this continues, there is a real prospect of countries losing faith in the treaty – putting at risk both the treaty’s role in progressing nuclear disarmament, and in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons material.

There is a lot at stake in New York this week. Some might say that in the current global environment a new nuclear arms race is inevitable, and with it a further undermining of our nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts. But I cannot accept a logic that suggests insecurity and instability render us incapable of doing the very thing that would help make the world less insecure and less unstable – an idea that the history of the treaty itself shows is false.

There can and should be a different trajectory – one of urgent leadership, of recognition of the nuclear precipice on which we are all standing, and of continued progress in our efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons. It’s not only possible – it’s necessary.

  • Jacinda Ardern is the prime minister of New Zealand

August 23, 2022 Posted by | New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear power not a realistic option for the Philippines, given the seismic and other disaster risks

“Just last month, we saw the impacts of a 7.1 magnitude earthquake (which) should serve as a warning. Exposure to unpredictable seismic events should make us think twice about having a nuclear power plant,” he said.

Nuclear power, Mr. Arances said, is not a solution to the climate and energy crises, adding that it does not guarantee lower electricity prices.

Safety regulations seen as ‘first step’ in nuclear power shift, By Alyssa Nicole O. Tan, Reporter

THE Philippines is running late with its regulatory preparations for a safe nuclear power transition, the head of the Senate energy committee said.

Senator Rafael T. Tulfo said a law is needed to lay down standards for the incorporation of nuclear power companies, the construction of power plants, and the their operation.

“We have not even made a first step and we’re overdue,” he told BusinessWorld in a Viber message. Safety standards are needed because the Philippines sits astride an area of high tectonic activity, he said, adding that disaster response capacity must be developed should anything go wrong with such plants.

According to the World Bank, the Philippines is vulnerable to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tropical cyclones, and floods, making it one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world.

“In regulating the nuclear energy sector, there must be stringent standards as to the minimum standards for facilities, minimum qualifications for the persons or entities operating it, considerations as to where and how to acquire nuclear material, contingencies in case of emergency scenarios, proper standards on nuclear fuel disposal, limitations on foreign influence in the nuclear industry, and how the LGU where the plant is situated should gain a just and equitable share of the plant’s profits,” he said.

Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development Executive Director Gerry Arances told BusinessWorld in an e-mail that it would take years to create a policy framework thorough enough to take into account all safety, environmental, and electricity price risks, and years more to build nuclear facilities.

“Even small modular reactors would take about three to five years to construct. That means nuclear energy cannot provide immediate solutions to today’s energy crisis. In that span of time, renewable energy facilities could already have been deployed,” he said. 

Nuclear power, Mr. Arances said, is not a solution to the climate and energy crises, adding that it does not guarantee lower electricity prices.

“The price of fuel for nuclear energy like plutonium and uranium, neither of which can be sourced domestically, will put Filipino consumers at the mercy of global market prices and vulnerable to shocks,” he said. “We are already seeing this today with fossil fuel volatilities triggered by the Ukraine-Russia war.”

“In developing nuclear power, the Philippines will devote time and energy to figuring out where we can source nuclear fuel, how we will manage nuclear waste, and how we can prevent the possibility of our country turning into the next Fukushima or Chernobyl,” he added.

Even then, he said there is no assurance of eliminating the risk of nuclear accidents, given the country’s geographic location and the intensifying climate crisis.

“Just last month, we saw the impacts of a 7.1 magnitude earthquake (which) should serve as a warning. Exposure to unpredictable seismic events should make us think twice about having a nuclear power plant,” he said.

There were 10 deaths from the magnitude 7 earthquake that struck the northern Philippines, with more 300,000 people from about 82,000 families affected, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

The earthquake also damaged more than 21,000 houses, 302 of which were destroyed, the agency said. Damage to infrastructure was about P414 million in the Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley and Cordillera Administrative Region.

Mr. Arances said time and effort should instead be channeled to effecting a 100% transition to genuinely sustainable and safe renewable energy.

“We have an abundant supply of renewable energy just waiting to be developed at an increasingly affordable cost — case in point are the winning bidders of the GEA Reserve prices, of whom the lowest bid is P3.4 per kilowatt hour from solar,” he said.

August 21, 2022 Posted by | Philippines, safety | Leave a comment

Pacific Alliance of Municipal Councils starts Petition against dumping nuclear wastewater in Pacific Aug 22, 2022 , The Pacific Alliance of Municipal Councils or PAMC has started a petition on ( to try and stop Japan from dumping its Fukushima nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean.

PAMC  President and Secretary of the  Rota Municipal Council, Councilman Jim Atalig, expressed his strong opposition saying, “If it’s not good for their land, it is definitely not good for our ocean where most of us get our food on a daily basis!”

Chairman Joseph E. Santos, PAMC  member and chairman of the Tinian Municipal Council, says, “It is an outrage for anyone to think that it’s okay to dump their toxic wastes in our ocean when we rely on it for food, health activities, and economic sustainability.”

The other members of PAMC are Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council member Ana Demapan-Castro, Chairwoman, Antonia Tudela, member Daniel Aquino; Rota Municipal Council Chairman Jonovan Lizama, Vice Chairman William Taitano;  Tinian Municipal Council Vice Chairwoman  Thomasa P. Mendiola,  and Secretary Juanita M. Mendiola, who is also the vice president of PAMC.

PAMC is urging everyone to please circulate the petition through their Facebook page so we can prevail in preventing  Japan and any other countries from using our ocean as their toxic waste dumping ground!

“Nothing good will come out of this, just as the toll of human suffering  as a result of all nuclear energy fallouts were never worth their well-intended, but disastrously misguided, objectives!”

August 21, 2022 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans | Leave a comment

Church stands against nuclear power in the Philippines

JUCA News, July 04, 2022

Renewable generation must double in the next few years if we are to save the nation from an economic meltdown

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga has spoken out against the revival of the Bataan nuclear power plant saying it would be a great danger to the people and the environment. The Philippine bishops’ conference stands against nuclear power also.

“The voice of our people is strongly, openly no,” he said. Bishop Santos claimed the danger would be greater than any possible benefit. The danger “heavily outweighs its benefits,” he told Radyo Veritas on June 3.

The bishop was reacting to news reports that the Philippines’ new president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. plans to revive the nuclear power plant built by his father — the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

When former president Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order that allowed nuclear power plants to be considered as a source of electricity generation, a wave of concern swept through the minds and hearts of the security, environmental, medical, and renewable energy thinking community……………………

“The Diocese of Balanga has decided… [we] are against this [move] and this stand will not change.”

The gray-haired veterans of the anti-Bataan Nuclear Power Plant campaigns, such as famous campaigner Professor Roland Simbulan of Nuclear Free Philippines, will recall the hundreds of millions of dollars that were siphoned off the deal into the private accounts of Marcos cronies.

Had the nuclear plant been operational, the Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption and the many earthquakes would have likely caused a nuclear disaster.  The real possibility of a nuclear accident is what rightly scares millions of people away from nuclear power as a source of electricity when there are many alternatives of renewable energy available.

Solar and wind farms, hydro dams, geothermal, and biomass are all available and at much lower cost in comparison to nuclear energy, coal, oil and gas imports.

According to a report by the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC), the few existing renewable energy (RE) projects, especially solar and wind power have already saved the Philippines 4.04 billion pesos (about US$73 million).

Besides, renewable energy sources of electricity are free, thanks to nature. The wind blows, the sun shines and volcanic heat is always present for geothermal plants and delivered by nature without cost. They just need more investment and harnessing and they pose no danger………………………………………………………

The greatest challenge is the safe disposal of the deadly contaminated nuclear waste, which will last for thousands of years. The Philippine Department of Energy consultant proposes burying it on a remote island. For sure, the contamination will leech into the ocean and poison sea life and those who eat fish.

Pope Francis has encouraged everyone to use alternative ways to protect the environment and nuclear power is not one of them.

The future of the planet and humans is to stop burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas, and stop global warming and accelerate the building of renewable energy projects……………

July 7, 2022 Posted by | Philippines, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

World’s most nuclear contaminated island left uninhabitable for 77 years

Jasper King, Saturday 2 Jul 2022 In the middle of the Pacific Ocean lies the world’s most nuclear contaminated island, devastated since the days of the Hiroshima and Nagisaki nuclear attacks.

The small coral islands of Bikini Atoll have remained uninhabited since 1945 when atomic bombs were dropped in Japan and the United States started using them for nuclear tests.

The tiny population of 167 people were advised to move elsewhere by the military and told the tests were necessary to prevent any future wars.

No one has lived there since.

The islands met the military’s criteria because it was under US control – as detailed in a report by the Natural Resources Defence Council and within 1,000 miles of a base from which bombers could take off.

The lagoon the atoll encircled offered a protected harbour for Navy ships, including vessels used as targets.

But residents who were moved from the island at the time were angry, however their leader King Juda at the time said: ‘We will go, believing that everything is in the hands of God.’

Although it was promised residents could eventually return one day, they were instead permanently relocated to other islands in the Marshalls

Between 1946 and 1958, the US detonated 23 nuclear devices on the islands, including 20 hydrogen bombs.

The Castle Bravo H-bomb test was conducted on the islands on March 1, 1954, and reached a yield of 15 megatons – 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb which destroyed Nagisaki in 1945.

The bomb’s blast in to the air is estimated to be the equivalent of 216 Empire State Buildings, according to Stanford 

July 4, 2022 Posted by | OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The United States-the Pacific bully By Brian Toohey, Jun 24, 2022,

The US dominates the Pacific Islands to an extent China can never hope to achieve. With Australia’s support, the US is now engaged in an arms build-up in its Pacific territories and de-facto colonies in a little known boost to its containment of China.

The US has three self-governing territories in the Pacific: Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. Guam hosts some of the US’s most important bases the world. After a large scale military expansion on one of the main islands in the Northern Marianas, Tinian is expected to rival Guam in importance in coming years.

The US also has Compacts of Free Association with three countries covering thousands of islands in the Pacific – the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands. The compacts are a de-facto form of colonialism which gives the US exclusive military access to these countries’ land and maritime surrounds in return for defence guarantees and financial assistance.

The Federated States of Micronesia has a population of around 100,000. It has a land area of 702  square km on 607 islands amid 2,600,000 square km of ocean. The US will build a new base there. The residents are concerned about the impact of the base as their islands are often tiny and the landscape important to their identity. The US is also establishing a new military base on Palau, which has 340 islands and a total population of just over 18,000. The Marshall Islands landmass is 181 square km amid 466,000 square km of ocean. Although the Kwajalein atoll is only 15 square km, it is exclusively a military base with an extraordinary array of US activities; including a key role in US testing interceptors aimed ballistic missiles.

The Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi recently visited seven South Pacific countries and signed various agreements in some, including the provision of infrastructure and police training , but he failed to get support for a 10-country trade agreement. He did not seek permission to build a navy base in the Solomon Island or anywhere else. Nevertheless, some saw the visit as an act of Chinese aggression. It is an odd view of aggression compared to the damage done by US, British and French testing of thermonuclear (also called hydrogen) bombs on Pacific islands, or when Australia helped invade Iraq.

The US conducted 105 nuclear tests in the Pacific, mainly in the Marshall islands, between 1946 and 1962, as part oftits program to develop thermonuclear bombs. Operational weapons were sometimes tested, including a submarine-launched war head. One test in 1952 completely vaporised the island of Eluglab. In 1954, a thermonuclear bomb tested on Bikini atoll exploded with force of 15 megatons – over 1,000 times bigger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The radioactive cloud engulfed a Japanese fishing boat about 80 miles away in a white powder that poisoned the crew. One died from the exposure seven months later and 15 more in following years.

The radioactivity affected the drinking water and food. Children played in the ash-like powder. Some ate it. Marshall Islanders over a wide area were subject to abnormal radiological doses. In 2005, the US National Cancer Institute reported that the risk of contracting cancer for those exposed to the fallout was over one in three.

Nevertheless, in 1946, a US Navy Commodore had asked 167 people living on Bikini atoll to re-locate so their home could be used use “for the good of mankind”. They were resettled in 1969, but had to be evacuated again after high radiation levels were detected.

There has been some increase in the pathetically low initial compensation. But it is hard to compensate for the environmental damage and loss of cultural heritage, traditional customs and skills. In 2014, the Marshall Islands attempted to sue the US and eight other nuclear armed nations, for failing to move towards nuclear disarmament as required by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. A US Court dismissed the suit in 2017.

Britain tested 40 thermonuclear bombs on an islands in the Kiribati group between 1957 and 1962. Troops from Britain , Fiji (then a British colony), and New Zealand worked on the tests. Many were harmed by radiation and other causes. As usual, the locals were treated badly and their water and lands polluted.

France conducted 41 atmospheric nuclear tests between 1966 and 1974 in French Polynesia. It then conducted 140 underground, primarily of thermonuclear bombs, until 1996. One of the islands used was subject to cracking. In an act of state terrorism, French secret service frogman killed a photographer when they bombed a Green Peace protest ship in Auckland harbour on its way to the French nuclear testing area.

Labor’s defence minister, Richard Marles now refers to France as a Pacific county, despite the fact that it is a European country with a tenuous justification for holding onto its colonial possessions in the Pacific – New Caledonia and French Polynesia. Labor used to oppose colonialism. Now it seems it’s good if the colonial power opposes China.

The South Pacific Forum comprises 18 members: Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Not all are normally considered to be in the South Pacific. The inclusion of three countries with Compacts of Free Association with the US and two French possessions basically guarantees they will vote for what the US or France wants.

However, the legacy of the contemptuous disregard for the indigenous residents during massive hydrogen bomb tests ensures that  nuclear issues, including the passage of nuclear submarines, remain sensitive.

At the time of the negotiation of the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty in 1985 Paul Malone wrote that it was for a “partial nuclear free zone”, as it did not prohibit the “passage of nuclear-armed ships or aircraft through the region”. Malone reported that some Pacific Island countries wanted to be Treaty to prohibit access to nuclear-armed warships. The then Prime Minister Bob Hawke insisted on that omission which reflected the wishes of the US. However, nuclear issues have been revived by the creation of the 2021AUKUS pact in which Australia is committed to buying nuclear powered submarines.

A journalist and researcher based in the Pacific, Nic Maclellan says, “Any hope that Australia’s island neighbours will welcome further nuclearisation of the region is folly. Within days of the UKUS announcement, statements from Pacific leaders, community elders and media organisations highlighted the persistence of the deep antinuclear sentiment.

The general secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches, Reverend James Bhagwa tweeted

“Shame Australia, Shame.” The Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare told the UN General Assembly his nation “would like to keep our region nuclear-free . . . We do not support any form of militarisation in our region that could threaten regional and international peace and stability.”

The Kiribati President Taneti Maamau told the ABC, “Our people are victims of nuclear testing. We still have trauma. With anything to do with nuclear, we thought it would be a courtesy to discuss it with your neighbours”. He said he was especially concerned about Australia developing nuclear powered submarines which he said “puts the region at risk”

Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama tweeted that his father was among the Fijian soldiers the British sent to help with their nuclear bomb tests. He said, “To honour the sacrifice of all those who have suffered due to these weapons, Fiji will never stop working towards a global nuclear ban.”

The New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern repeated that nuclear submarines “can’t come into our internal waters”. New Zealand and nine South Pacific Forum countries have ratified the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Australia hasn’t. The Samoa Observer wrote, “It is a relief seeing Prime Minister Ardern continuing to maintain the tradition of her predecessors by promoting a nuclear-free Pacific; probably she is the only true friend of the Pacific Islands.”

June 27, 2022 Posted by | OCEANIA, politics international, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Fiji adopts nuclear weapons ban treaty

Fiji adopts nuclear treaty WANSHIKA KUMAR 23 June, 2022, 

The cost of producing nuclear weapons is keeping resources away from addressing issues that matter like climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and global food shortage.

This was the view expressed by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama during the first Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapon.

Fiji joined over 86 states to adopt a treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons and take the first step back from the knife edge of Armageddon.

Mr Bainimarama said they would work with all states to ensure a nuclear-free world and to heal the wounds of a dark nuclear legacy that continued to harm lives and communities throughout the region.

It is not idealism that convinced us, it is level-headed commonsense that calls on us to do away with this means of species extinction,” he said.

“Neither are we the fringe of the debate, we are a coalition, united by a shared value for human life.”

He said Fiji had contributed more of its sons and daughters to United Nations peacekeeping missions than any other country per capita.

“A global food crisis rages on a scale not seen in our lifetimes and a runaway climate crisis threatening livelihoods and the very future of our civilisation.

“Nuclear weapons will never defeat these enemies, they do not feed us, and they do not clothe us or keep out the rising seas.

“They are relics, multitrillion dollar monuments to the worst horror that war can create. They epitomise the same short-sightedness that created the climate crisis, worsen the pandemic and continues to keep food from the hungry.

“Worse, the staggering expense cripples our response to these challenges.”

Mr Bainimarama said the region had been used as a testing ground for nuclear weapons, and the perpetrators had turned a blind eye to the repercussions of their actions.

“We welcome this treaty’s consideration of the plight of those affected by the use and testing of nuclear weapons who have been silenced and denied the care and support they needed.

“I urge us to go further for these survivors by creating a policy framework that considers the existential impact on the nuclear testing of our oceans and environment, exacerbated by the climate crisis, and its long term consequences of the displacement of communities from the traditional lands due to ever encroaching nuclear waste.”

June 23, 2022 Posted by | OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Reactivating Nuclear Power Plant Near Volcano a Bad Idea, Geologists Say

. NewsWeek, BY JESSICA THOMSON ON 6/20/22  Plans to reactivate a nuclear power plant near the capital city of the Philippines have been criticized by scientists over its proximity to a potentially active volcano.

The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) is located in the foothills of Mount Natib, only five miles from the caldera, and was built in the 1980s. It was never activated due to anti-nuclear sentiment in the aftermath of the Chernobyl power plant disaster in 1986, with protests expressing concerns that the BNPP was in an earthquake zone thanks to the volcano’s Lubao fault, which runs through the volcano and the power plant………………………………….

June 21, 2022 Posted by | Philippines, safety | Leave a comment

 President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. plans to confirm Duterte’s executiveorder to include nuclear power

 President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. plans to confirm Duterte’s executive
order to include nuclear power in the country’s energy mix. The first step
could be repurposing a plant already built under Marcos Sr by US company
Westinghouse in the early eighties not far from the capital, but which was
never fuelled. In Southeast Asia, the Philippines’ energy costs are
second only to Singapore’s.

 Asia News 18th June 2022

June 20, 2022 Posted by | Philippines, politics | Leave a comment

Vulnerable island ecology threatened as developed countries dump waste, conduct nuclear test in Pacific, By Global Times. May 29, 2022 Pacific island countries are not only direct victims of climate change, but have become the dumping ground of various forms of waste or a testing ground for nuclear weapons by developed countries in past decades, leaving tragic and dangerous consequence for local ecology, and even to the survival of people.

Starting from the 1940s, the South Pacific region has been the worst- affected area by nuclear pollution. The US carried out 67 nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958, which caused irreparable damage to inhabitants’ health and the ecological environment, according to Hua Chunying, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson.The US has dumped nuclear waste into the Pacific Ocean, causing a large increase in cancer rates, leukemia and birth defects in newborns, and other illnesses among those living in the Marshall Islands.
The plutonium-239 and -240 concentrations in soil samples taken at the Bikini Atolls islands are 1,000 times higher than samples from Chernobyl or Fukushima, said Hua.

Six decades have passed, and American warships and test personnel have left lasting trauma and pain on the vast stretch of the Pacific Ocean.

However, the harm is never-ending. The Japanese government officially decided to dump nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea in April 2021. 

“The amount, duration, and scope of affected areas and the risk level are unprecedented. Here I would like to raise three questions for the Japanese side to answer,” said Zhao Lijian, China’s spokesperson for the foreign ministry on a press conference in April 2021. “The oceans are not Japan’s trash can; and the Pacific Ocean is not Japan’s sewer. Japan should not expect the world to pay the bill for its treatment of wastewater,” he said.

May 30, 2022 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans | Leave a comment

Nuclear tragedy in the Marshall Islands

The Bulletin, By Sally Clark | May 25, 2022, We were innocent 21-year-olds entering an organization called the Peace Corps in 1969………..  Young, naive Americans, we knew little about the area, other than, perhaps, fleeting thoughts that we might find the remains of Amelia Earhart or artifacts from her plane there……….

Our naivete began to diminish when we were told the Atomic Energy Commission was coming to check out the health of the children and adults and of course to give out candy and show a dated movie. We asked questions and learned about the nuclear test over Bikini and the fallout coming down over a neighboring island, whose residents thought it was snow. We were told that the Marshallese ran outside, allowing the fallout to land on their skin, with some children putting it to their eyes. Luckily many residents sensed danger and ran to the ocean, saving themselves from a future road of at least some fallout ailments.

As we spent more time in the islands, little by little more detailed stories emerged—of still births, high cancer rates, and other radiation-related health issues. Islanders had been moved from Bikini before nuclear tests were conducted; some of the explosions were so great that one of the small islands simply vaporized, leaving a deep cavern. Many Marshallese had to endure being relocated from their blessed atoll to Kili, an island in the middle of the ocean with no lagoon.

Over the years, more and more people spoke out about such atrocities and such disregard for the Marshallese, who were actually called “savages” by a US paper in the 50’s. My heart wept as I learned more information about the scope of nuclear testing in the Marshalls.

Between 1946 and 1958, the Marshall Islands region was the site of the testing of nuclear weapons equivalent to the explosive power of 1.6 Hiroshima bombs every day for 12 years—67 in all at the Bikini and Enewetak atolls—a fact that is impossible for me to comprehend.

A resolution is now in front of the Congress asking the United States to prioritize nuclear justice in its negotiations with the Marshall Islands on an extended Compact of Free Association between the countries. The resolution recognizes that the United States nuclear testing program and radioactive waste disposal, including not just contaminated debris from the Marshalls but also material transported from the Nevada Test Site, caused irreparable material and intangible harm to the people of the Marshall Islands.

 We believe this harm continues to this day. Within this resolution is a call for an apology for what the United States did to the Marshallese and to raise awareness about the need for more action to undo this harm. US Rep. Katie Porter of California and senators Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Edward Markey of Massachusetts are spearheading this effort, which would formally apologize for the US nuclear legacy in the Marshall Islands and raise public awareness of the issue. Please write or call your representatives and senators, asking them to support House Joint Resolution 73 and Senate Joint Resolution 40.

What happened in the islands is simply incomprehensible to me. The toll on the Marshallese and the environment is impossible for me to grasp. And I have another nagging thought: Why as Peace Corps volunteers were we not warned about the radioactive fallout and the social issues we were being dropped into? Of course, there’s the implication that we were being used as pawns to smooth the relationship between the Marshall Islands and the United States and to continue to have the islanders as our friends for strategic reasons.

Who makes these decisions to drop bombs on such beautiful, pristine islands? Who sends 20-year-olds into a potentially radioactive area without warning them? When can we as a human race honor peoples around the world and get out of building weapons and gaining lands for strategic reasons? Please stop. I’m sad and weep and write letters asking for an apology. So sad. Where is our soul?

May 26, 2022 Posted by | OCEANIA, secrets,lies and civil liberties, weapons and war | Leave a comment