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Deception and mistrust between Nevada and Department of Energy, over secret plutonium shipment


The Indy Explains: How a secret plutonium shipment exacerbated mistrust between Nevada and Department of Energy, The Nevada Independent By Daniel Rothberg 18 Feb 19,  The secretive Nevada plutonium shipment that has spawned angry rhetoric from Nevada politicians has a history that starts with Russia. In 2000, the United States entered into a pact with Russia to set aside excess weapons-grade plutonium for civilian use in nuclear reactors. Congress then passed a law that it would turn the excess 34 metric tons of plutonium into MOX, or mix-oxide fuel, at a newly built facility in South Carolina.

But that statute came with a firm deadline: If the MOX facility was not operational by 2014, the Department of Energy would be required to move one metric ton of plutonium stored at South Carolina’s Savannah River Site, a nuclear facility built in the 1950s, within two years.

After years of cost overruns and technical challenges, the Trump administration scrapped the facility. Meanwhile, the state of South Carolina obtained a court order in 2017 requiring the Department of Energy enforce the deadline and move the metric ton of plutonium by 2020.

Less than one year later, the agency said it moved a half-ton of that plutonium to the Nevada National Security Site. The action came after months of questioning from state officials, and its furtive nature has spurred a lawsuit, driving a deep chasm between the state and the agency.

Four months after South Carolina obtained the court order, Nevada officials heard that the federal government might be sending some of the plutonium to the state, according to court records. From August to November, state officials began asking questions about the potential shipment. But Nevada officials received few assurances from Department of Energy officials.

Beyond a general ‘expectation’ that any plutonium would be removed by approximately 2026-27, [a November 20] letter did not contain any of the requested assurances,” Pam Robinson, the policy director for then-Gov. Brian Sandoval, wrote in a December affidavit.

What Nevada officials didn’t know: the United States had already moved the plutonium.

Who knew what when

That surprising disclosure came months later — on January 30 — when a general counsel for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) disclosed that the agency had made a half-ton plutonium shipment from South Carolina to the Nevada Test Site prior to November.

Gov. Steve Sisolak responded to the revelation with a heated statement, pledging to continue existing litigation and keep the Department of Energy accountable.I am beyond outraged by this completely unacceptable deception from the U.S. Department of Energy,” he said to the media. “The department led the state of Nevada to believe that they were engaging in good-faith negotiations with us regarding a potential shipment of weapons-grade plutonium, only to reveal that those negotiations were a sham all along.”

Members of the state’s congressional delegation also released fiery responses.

State officials worry that the plutonium shipment to the testing facility, which is about 65 miles outside of Las Vegas and occupies an area the size of Rhode Island, could set a precedent for the federal government to send more nuclear materials to the state.

In court filings, lawyers for Attorney General Aaron Fordalso argued the federal government failed to fully inventory the environmental impacts of the size and type of plutonium being sent to the highly guarded site.

They also view the action as a backdoor move to open Yucca Mountain, the controversial nuclear waste repository that sits in the remote desert about 100 miles outside of Las Vegas.

The NNSA disputes all of these claims. ………

“Plutonium is nasty stuff,” said Allison Macfarlane, a George Washington University science and technology professor who chaired the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 2012 to 2014. “But we’ve made so much of it on the weapons side in this country — and the civilian side in other countries — that we really need to manage it very carefully unless we eliminate it.”

With South Carolina’s MOX facility mothballed, the options are more limited…….. https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/indy-explains-how-a-secret-plutonium-shipment-created-mistrust-betw

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February 19, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, OCEANIA, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

France’s government snidely changes law to avoid paying compensation to Polynesian victims of atomic bomb testing

Dismay in Tahiti over changed nuclear compensation law  https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/381065/dismay-in-tahiti-over-changed-nuclear-compensation-law French Polynesia’s nuclear test veterans organisations are dismayed to find out that a planned change to the compensation law for test victims was quietly altered last year.

It emerged that in the finance act passed in France in the week before Christmas, a provision of negligible exposure for compensation claimants was included.

This was against the recommendation of a commission set up in 2017 which advised for the reference to negligible risk to be removed as a way to improve the 2010 compensation law.

There had been widespread clamour to change the law because most applications had been thrown out.

The head of the Moruroa e tatou organisation Roland Oldham told the public broadcaster that the situation was simple.

He said the French state refused to compensate the test victims by playing for time.

Father Auguste Uebe-Carlson of the Association 193 also condemned this change, saying the fight was continuing.

The 12-member commission which advised the French legislature was headed by a French Polynesian Senator Lana Tetuanui, who is yet to comment.

France tested 193 nuclear weapons in the South Pacific over a 30-year period, with some of the atmospheric blasts irradiating most islands.

January 29, 2019 Posted by | France, Legal, OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

George H.W. Bush’s shameful involvement in the Regime Change in Nuclear-Free Palau

December 29, 2018 Posted by | OCEANIA, politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pacific island countries accuse USA of obstructing talks at UN climate change summit

US accused of obstructing talks at UN climate change summit
Vanuatu’s foreign minister says worst offenders on global warming are blocking progress,
Guardian, Ben Doherty in Katowice @bendohertycorro, Wed 12 Dec 2018 

 The United States and other high carbon dioxide-emitting developed countries are deliberately frustrating the UN climate summit in Katowice, Poland, Vanuatu’s foreign minister has said. His warning came as Pacific and Indian ocean states warned they faced annihilation if a global climate “rule book” could not brokered.In a bruising speech before ministers and heads of state, Vanuatu’s foreign minister, Ralph Regenvanu, singled out the US as he excoriated major CO2-emitting developed countries for deliberately hindering negotiations.

“It pains me deeply to have watched the people of the United States and other developed countries across the globe suffering the devastating impacts of climate-induced tragedies, while their professional negotiators are here at COP24 putting red lines through any mention of loss and damage in the Paris guidelines and square brackets around any possibility for truthfully and accurately reporting progress against humanity’s most existential threat,” he said.

Regenvanu said the countries most responsible for climate change were now frustrating efforts to counter it.

The UN’s climate change talks in Poland have been distracted by a semantic debate over whether the conference should “welcome” or “note” the IPCC’s special report warning of dire consequences if global warming rises more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, with a bloc of four oil-producing countries – the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Kuwait – insisting the report be only “noted”.

Documents from the conference presidency, seen by the Guardian, indicate the issue of how to acknowledge the report will be returned to later in the week and is likely to further slow progress on negotiating a final outcome. Negotiators said they are growing increasingly pessimistic that talks can be concluded by their deadline on Friday…….

As 193 countries at the climate talks seek to establish a “rule book” on how to implement the commitments made in the Paris agreement three years ago, Regenvanu condemned a two-tier system that exempted high-emissions countries from reductions obligations, saying the world needed “one common rule book, in which rules apply to all”.

The US state department declined to comment on his remarks……https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/11/us-accused-of-obstructing-talks-at-un-climate-change-summit

December 13, 2018 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

President of French Polynesia admits that leaders lied, over 3 decades, about dangerous radioactivity from French nuclear tests

French Polynesian president acknowledges nuclear test lies https://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/french-polynesian-president-acknowledges-nuclear-test-lies-1.23500250, Thomas Adamson / The Associated Press, NOVEMBER 16, 2018 PARIS —French Polynesian President Edouard Fritch has said the leaders of the French collectivity of islands in the South Pacific lied to the population for three decades over the dangers of nuclear testing.

November 17, 2018 Posted by | environment, OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France gives Tahiti site for nuclear memorial

 https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/376007/france-gives-tahiti-site-for-nuclear-memorial 15 November 2018  The French National Assembly has voted to give French Polynesia a building in Papeete for a memorial site of the French nuclear weapons tests. The decision means that the site of the former command complex of the French Navy in Papeete will be made available for this new centre.

The public accounts minister Gerald Darmanin said this reflected a wish by the French Polynesian people to remember the tests.

France carried out 193 tests between 1966 and 1996.

The site is being given at no cost to French Polynesia provided it will build a memorial within five years.

Otherwise the site will revert to French ownership.

November 17, 2018 Posted by | OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

“Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1”- SANTA FE INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL 2018

SANTA FE INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL 2018

“Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1” and “Atomic Artist” Pasatiempo, Michael Abatemarco

      Oct 12, 2018

NUCLEAR SAVAGE: THE ISLANDS

    OF SECRET PROJECT 4.1  

      Documentary, not rated, 87 minutes

    ATOMIC ARTIST  Short documentary, not rated, 27 minutes

    Santa Fe’s own Adam Horowitz, producer, writer, and director of Nuclear Savage, begins this unsettling documentary on secret radiation experiments conducted on Pacific Islanders with a brief history of the Marshall Islands, from the first European contact there to the devastating tests on Bikini Atoll starting in 1946. Early in the film, footage is shown of the Castle Bravo detonation over the atoll, a 15-megaton hydrogen blast that, in addition to its deleterious impact on the environment, took an immediate and lasting toll on the health of human populations. In the 12 years after that first test, the U.S. government detonated nearly two dozen such devices in the area. That number increased to 67 by the end of the Cold War. The race to remain ahead of the Soviets in the development of nuclear weapons became the justification for denying the islanders the privilege of their humanity, with government officials choosing instead to regard them as simple savages.

    Parts of the islands remain uninhabitable, their residents unable to return to their homes due to high levels of radiation. They live in squalor on other islands, displaced by the thousands. The Marshallese government official in charge of foreign affairs from 2008 to 2009, when the film was in production, calls for greater scrutiny of U.S. documents that were declassified in 1993. These files lend weight to suspicions of cover-ups on the part of the American government concerning the deliberate radiation poisoning of island inhabitants. Horowitz presents credible evidence and does a fine job tying information that’s been available to the public for years with new information gleaned from the government’s Project 4.1, strongly implicating it as a top-secret operation to study radiation effects on unwitting subjects.

    It’s hard to refute the eyewitness testimony recounted in the documentary. One islander, a middle-aged woman, states plainly and wistfully, “They wanted to find out what would happen to us from the bomb. They used us as human experiments.” Video footage is shown of islanders from Rongelap Atoll who were exposed to heavy fallout from the Bravo blast and suffered severe radiation burns. No action was taken to see that the several hundred inhabitants of Rongelap were evacuated before the test. Young children were born with deformities or cancer, people’s hair fell out, and islanders began dying of cancer at alarming rates.

    Nuclear Savage is compelling, disturbing, thought-provoking filmmaking, in which Horowitz contrasts the idyllic music and customs of the islanders with footage of horrific events. Funded by Pacific Islanders in Communications, a public broadcasting company that provides programming to PBS, Nuclear Savage is a damning look at America’s presence in the Marshall Islands, and is an important, timely documentary. The film has won numerous awards at international festivals, including several jury prizes, and was an official selection at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York. An official screening was sponsored by the United Nations in 2015 in conjunction with nuclear nonproliferation hearings…………

    Jean Cocteau Cinema; “Atomic Artist” precedes “Nuclear Savage” at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20. Screenings include Q&As with the filmmakers.  http://www.santafenewmexican.com/pasatiempo/movies/nuclear-savage-the-islands-of-secret-project-and-atomic-artist/article_744df6d9-bfa7-5c2

    October 13, 2018 Posted by | environment, OCEANIA, Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

    Plan to sue France over ‘crimes against humanity’ in nuclear tests in South Pacific

    France sued for ‘crimes against humanity’ over nuclear tests in South Pacific https://www.dw.com/en/france-sued-for-crimes-against-humanity-over-nuclear-tests-in-south-pacific/a-45826054

    France is being taken to the International Criminal Court for nuclear weapons tests in French Polynesia. France has long denied responsibility for the impacts of the tests and only recently began compensating civilians. France is being taken to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for carrying out nuclear weapons tests in French Polynesia, a Polynesian opposition leader announced on Tuesday.

    Oscar Temaru, the archipelago’s former president and current leader of the Tavini Huiraatira Party, announced the move during a United Nations committee dealing with decolonization.

    Temaru accused France of “crimes against humanity” and said that he hopes to hold French presidents accountable for the nuclear tests with the ICC complaint.

    “We owe it to all the people who died from the consequences of nuclear colonialism,” he told the UN committee.

    Maxime Chan from Te Ora Naho, an association for the protection of the environment in French Polynesia, told the UN that there had been 368 instances of radioactive fallout from the tests and that radioactive waste had also been discharged into the ocean — violating international rules.

    Three decades of nuclear tests

    The French territory, currently home to 290,000 people, is best known for the popular tourist island of Tahiti, but its atolls of Mururoa and Fangataufa were used for decades for nuclear tests.

    France carried out 193 nuclear weapons tests on islands in the archipelago between 1960 and 1996 until French President Jacques Chirac halted the program.

    Around 150,000 military and civilian personnel were involved in France’s nuclear tests, with thousands of them later developing serious health problems.

    France has long denied responsibility for the detrimental health and environmental impacts of the tests, fearing that it would weaken the country’s nuclear program during the Cold War.

    In 2010, France passed a law allowing military veterans and civilians to be compensated if their cancer could be attributed to the nuclear tests.   Out of approximately 1,000 people who have filed complaints against France, only 20 have been compensated.

    October 11, 2018 Posted by | France, Legal, OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

    French government group to Mururoa to meet nuclear test veterans

    French group to visit French Polynesia nuclear sites https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/367417/french-group-to-visit-french-polynesia-nuclear-sites 27 September 2018 A French government commission is about to visit French Polynesia’s nuclear weapons test sites to help modify the French compensation law. The 12-member commission includes three of French Polynesia’s parliamentarians in Paris as well as representatives of ministries such as defence, health and justice.

    The group is due to visit Moruroa, Rikitea and Tureia over the next week to hear testimony of how the weapons tests, which were carried out from 1966, affected people on the atolls.

    The commission’s head Lana Tetuanui has told local media their visit may be seen as late but as the heirs of the bomb, they will do their part.

    During the week-long visit, the group will meet local representatives as well as test veterans groups.

    The commission is expected to report to the French prime minister Edouard Philippe before the end of the year.

    The compensation law, known as the loi Morin, is widely seen as too restrictive as most compensation applications have been thrown out.

    September 28, 2018 Posted by | OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

    Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele berates world leaders who fail to take climate issue seriously

    World leaders who deny climate change should go to mental hospital – Samoan PM https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/aug/31/world-leaders-who-deny-climate-change-should-go-to-mental-hospital-samoan-pm

    Tuilaepa Sailele berates leaders who fail to take issue seriously, singling out Australia, India, China and the US, Guardian, Kate Lyons, 31 Aug 18 The prime minister of Samoa has called climate change an “existential threat … for all our Pacific family” and said that any world leader who denied climate change’s existence should be taken to a mental hospital.

    In a searing speech delivered on Thursday night during a visit to Sydney, Tuilaepa Sailele berated leaders who fail to take climate change seriously, singling out Australia, as well as India, China and the US, which he said were the “three countries that are responsible for all this disaster”.

    “Any leader of those countries who believes that there is no climate change I think he ought to be taken to mental confinement, he is utter[ly] stupid and I say the same thing for any leader here who says there is no climate change.”

    Speaking at the Lowy Institute, just days before the beginning of the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru, the Samoan prime minister seemed to take a swipe at Australia’s commitment to minimising the impact of climate change, which he called the “single greatest threat to the livelihood, security and wellbeing peoples of the Pacific

    “While climate change may be considered a slow onset threat by some in our region, its adverse impacts are already felt by our Pacific islands peoples and communities,” said Sailele. “Greater ambition is necessary to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees centigrade and Pacific island countries continue to urge faster action by all countries.”

    Sailele said addressing climate change required “political guts” from leaders. “We all know the problem, we all know the causes, we all know the solutions. All that is left would be some political courage, some political guts to get out and tell the people of your country, ‘Do this, this, this, or there is any certainty of disaster.’”

    Sailele’s speech comes as leaders of Pacific nations are preparing to meet at the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru next week, where Australia is expected to face questions about its emissions targets.

    Australia’s new prime minister, Scott Morrison, is under pressure from some members of his party to abandon Australia’s commitment to reducing emissions under the Paris agreement.

    His immediate predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, was due to attend the forum, but Morrison has announced he is sending his new foreign minister, Marisa Payne, a move the opposition Labor party condemned as “an insult to our neighbours” as well as “a serious strategic mistake”.

    Saliele’s speech also touched on China’s rising influence in the Pacific, saying the region had become “an increasingly contested space”. “The big powers are doggedly pursuing strategies to widen and extend their reach, inculcating a far-reaching sense of insecurity.”

    September 3, 2018 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA, politics international | Leave a comment

    Pacific island nations critical of climate sceptics, call on Australia to act on climate change, and to help them

    Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele hits out at climate change sceptics during fiery speech, ABC News 31 Aug 18 

    Key points:

    • Mr Sailele says “greater ambition” is needed to stop impact of climate change
    • He warns geostrategic competition is creating uncertainty for small Pacific countries
    • Australia, New Zealand and the US have been scrambling to reassert influence in the Pacific

    Mr Sailele told the Lowy Institute in Sydney that climate change posed an “existential challenge” to low lying islands in the Pacific, and developed countries needed to reduce pollution in order to curb rising temperatures and sea levels.

    “We all know the problem, we all know the solutions, and all that is left would be some political courage, some political guts, to tell people of your country there is a certainty of disaster,” Mr Sailele said.

    The Prime Minister’s intervention came as some Coalition MPs press the new Prime Minister Scott Morrison to abandon Australia’s promise to cut carbon emissions under the Paris agreement.

    New Foreign Minister Marise Payne is also expected to face questions about Australia’s climate change policies at the Pacific Islands Forum leader’s meeting in Nauru next week.

    Senator Payne and Pacific leaders are set to sign the “Biketawa Plus” security agreement, which declares that climate change remains the “single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific”.

    Several other leaders — including Fiji’s Prime Minster Frank Bainimarama and the Marshall Island’s President Hilda Heine — have also called on Australia to do more to cut emissions.

    Mr Sailele told the audience that “greater ambition” was needed to stop the destructive impact of climate change.

    “While climate change may be considered a slow onset threat by some in the region, its adverse impacts are already being felt by Island communities,” he said……… http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-31/samoan-prime-minister-hits-out-at-climate-change-sceptics/10185142

    August 31, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

    The possibility of nuclear weapons in South China Sea worries Philippines

    Philippines concerned over possible nuclear weapons in South China Sea, PhilStar, Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) – August 23, 2018 , MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang expressed concern over the warning of the United States that China might bring nuclear elements to its outposts in the South China Sea.

    The US Department of Defense, in its annual report to the US Congress, warned that Beijing may soon install floating nuclear power stations on its military bases in the disputed waterway. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the Philippine government is concerned over any entry of nuclear weapons on Philippine territory.

    “We are concerned about the possibility that any foreign power be it American, Russian, Chinese may bring nuclear warheads into our territory and into Asean, which is declared as a nuclear-free zone,” Roque said in a press briefing Thursday.

    Citing the Constitution, Roque stressed that the Philippines is a nuclear-free zone. Section 8, Article 2 of the 1987 Constitution states that “The Philippines, consistent with the national interest, adopts and pursues a policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in its territory.”

    The Malacañang spokesman also noted that the whole Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a nuclear-free zone under the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone, which was signed.

    Roque, however, said that the warning was only “US observation” and that the Philippines is in no position to verify such report.

    “The important point to underscore is we have a nuclear-free policy and that should be applied to all countries, including the Americans, because the Americans have been using nuclear-powered [weapons] and have been stationing warships with nuclear capability as well,” he said………. https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/08/23/1845175/philippines-concerned-over-possible-nuclear-weapons-south-china-sea#hyf82odPHqmY8vO2.99

    August 24, 2018 Posted by | Philippines, weapons and war | Leave a comment

    Hiroshima witness urges New Zealand to lead nuclear weapons elimination 

    Stuff,  LAURA WALTERS , June 28 2018,   When the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945, Taeko Yoshioka Braid watched from the second-floor window of herclassroom, 60 kilometres away.

    Braid, who moved to New Zealand in 1956 and now lives in Hastings, travelled to Hiroshima the next day with classmates to look for her family members and take supplies to the victims.

    Yoshioka Braid said it was hard to talk about the horrors she saw as a 13-year-old in Hiroshima, including children separated from their parents, and people dying from burns from the blast and the radiated water.

    On her second trip to the town at the epicentre, she felt something sticking to her shoes. She eventually realised it was human skin, which had melted off, following the blast.

    …….. At a time when the international rules-based order is being challenged, and nuclear weapons remain a global issue, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has reinstated the Cabinet portfolio of disarmament and arms control. Ardern announced Winston Peters would take up the ministerial role, during her first foreign policy speech in February.     In September last year, New Zealand was one of the first countries to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at a ceremony during the United Nations General Assembly.

    The treaty is a landmark legally-binding international instrument prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons and related activities.

    In July last year, it was adopted by the United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination.

    Yoshioka Braid’s comments came during the international treaty examination, at a Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee hearing on Thursday. Something that needed to take place before New Zealand ratified the treaty.

    “If anyone went there the day the bombed dropped, I’m sure they would all think like me: never again…

    “I don’t want those same sorts of things to happen anywhere in the world; anywhere in the world.”

    Alternative NZ submission by stuffnewsroom on Scribd….(included on original) ..

    It was difficult to describe the experience, she said, adding that the bomb was so strong, some people died instantly, others were alive but too injured to move or talk.

    Her daughter, Jacky Yoshioka Braid said New Zealand needed to take a leadership role in the elimination of nuclear weapons.

    “We need to stop the fighting, and stop this fantasy around a nuclear war that we possibly could survive – it won’t happen.

    “We saw what happened in Hiroshima, we’ve seen the after effects of what happened there and in Nagasaki. They were tiny compared to what could happen today.”

    New Zealand created a world-leading anti-nuclear policy in 1984, after seeing what happened in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the cold war years.

    “I think it’s really important that New Zealand takes this leadership role and helps guide these other young people around the world who want to stop the nuclear proliferation,” she said……….. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/105072027/hiroshima-witness-urges-nz-to-lead-nuclear-weapons-elimination

    June 29, 2018 Posted by | New Zealand, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

    New Zealand could lead the way in getting nuclear weapons OFF the global agenda

    Hiroshima witness urges NZ to lead nuclear weapons elimination, Stuff,  LAURA WALTERS , June 28 2018 “………Last month, former Green party candidate, and disarmament campaigner, Thomas Nash said “for technology that hasn’t been used in conflict since 1945, nuclear weapons sure have a knack of getting on to the global agenda”.

    But it wasn’t surprising given they posed the greatest existential threat to humanity next to climate change, he said.

    Nash also spoke to the select committee on Thursday, urging New Zealand to take a leadership role in eliminating nuclear weapons and global disarmament, in general.

    “This treaty has a humanitarian purpose, this is rather distinct from previous international deliberations on nuclear weapons, which have tended to be about big power politics between countries weighing up the grand game and the balance,” he said.

    Nash painted a picture of “Cambridge grads, strutting around in operations rooms, thinking about deterrents and game theory, missile silos and sleek nuclear submarines”.

    “I think it’s important to think about bringing back this human element of the impact of nuclear weapons, because violence, militarism, relies on a dehumanisation of violence; abstracting it away from us.

    “And I think if we’re going to move away from that, we have to acknowledge the human face.”

    On behalf of New Zealand Alternative, Nash recommended New Zealand ratify the treaty next month, adding that early ratification would signal New Zealand’s commitment to eliminating nuclear weapons and to making genuine progress on international disarmament work.

    Nash was part of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize last year after the group of Geneva-based activists was recognised for its role in pushing for a United Nations treaty declaring the weapons illegal.

    ABOUT THE TREATY

    The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a landmark legally-binding international instrument prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons and related activities.

    In July last year, it was adopted by the United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination.

    In September last year, New Zealand was one of the first countries to sign the treaty, at a ceremony during the United Nations General Assembly.

    At the time, then-foreign minister Gerry Brownlee said it represented an important step towards a nuclear-free world, despite no countries that currently hold nuclear weapons signing the treaty.

    New Zealand’s signing of the treaty was consistent with the country’s long-standing commitment to international nuclear disarmament efforts.

    “It establishes the first global prohibition on nuclear weapons and provides the international legal framework for a world without these weapons,” Brownlee said at the time.

    New Zealand joined over 120 other states in supporting the adoption of the treaty at a United Nations conference in July last year.

    The treaty would come into force once 50 states have ratified it. At this stage 10 countries have ratified the treaty, according to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/105072027/hiroshima-witness-urges-nz-to-lead-nuclear-weapons-elimination

    June 29, 2018 Posted by | New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment

    Marshall Islands atomic bombing – the devastation, thde cancer toll

    HELL ON HIGH SEAS https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6626017/us-cold-war-nuclear-tests-bikini-atoll-pacific-ocean-video/   EXCELLENT PHOTOS.  Pacific death zone where nuke tests caused thousands of cancer fatalities 60 years after spreading radiation around the world

    The US detonated dozens of nuclear bombs in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958 including a thermonuclear weapon 1,100 times more powerful than Hiroshima

    By Mark Hodge, 26th June 2018  

    TERRIFYING footage shows a series of nuclear bomb tests unleashing the fires of hell on an idyllic Pacific Ocean paradise.

    The video clips, recently released by the US government, give a glimpse into the horror caused by 67 nuke explosions detonated in Bikini Atoll and Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958.

    Carried out in the early days of the Cold War, the tests included the 1954 Castle Bravo bomb which remains the most powerful thermonuclear weapon America has ever detonated.

    The civilisation-wrecking 15-megatonne explosive, which exploded near Bikini, was 1,100 times bigger than the atomic bomb used to massacre thousands in Hiroshima  in 1945.

    Bravo – nearly three times its predicted power – exposed thousands in neighbouring islands to the radioactive fallout despite the 167 residents in Bikini Atoll being evacuated before the first test in 1946.

    Fallout from the unprecedented explosion – including radioactive particles – spread around the world.

    US government scientists declared Bikini safe for resettlement in the early 1970s but residents were removed in 1978 when it became clear that they were ingesting dangerously high levels of radiation from the contaminated fish, plants and water.

    To this day, the small community remain exiled from their home.

    Dubbed the Pacific Proving Grounds, the Marshall Island sites were used to carry out atmospheric nuclear tests – meaning the bombs were dropped from planes or detonated while underwater.

    During the first test on July 1, 1946, military scientists wanted to see the impact of the bombs on naval warships and even filled the boats with animals such as pigs and rats to study the effects of nuclear fallout on livestock, reports Atomic Heritage Foundation.

    Among the tests carried out in Enewetak was the world’s first hydrogen bomb, nicknamed Mike, which was detonated on November 1, 1952.

    Between, 1977 and 1979, 4,000 American troops were taken to the former island paradise to clean up the contaminated remnants of the 43 nuke tests there.

    Hundreds of the soldiers sent now complain of health problems including cancer, brittle bones and birth defects in their children while many of the them are already dead, reports The New York Times.

    Speaking with ABC, Michael Gerrard, the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, explained that one of the explosions on Enewetak “didn’t work” causing devastating damage to the environment.

    He said: “The plutonium was just broken apart by the conventional explosion, leading to about 400 little chunks of plutonium that were spread around the atoll.”

    The troops sent to Enewetak collected and dumped 85,000 cubic metres of radioactive material – while wearing only shorts and t-shirts.

    According to ABC, the plutonium in the area has a radioactive half-life of more than 24,000 years.

    Islanders started to show signs of cancer in the 1960s, while residents further afield showed elevated risk of thyroid tumours and leukaemia, according to Georgetown University professor Timothy J. Jorgenson.

    Former residents of Bikini Atoll and their relatives were awarded more than £1.5billion by the Marshall Islands Nuclear Claims Tribunal which was established in 1988.

    But despite being permanently displaced from their home, the US stopped paying compensation in 2011 after Congress refused to provide additional funds.

    Remarkably, marine life in Bikini has flourished, a Stanford University study last year.

    Hundreds of schools of fish including tuna and sharks have thrived while swimming around coral as big as “cars”, reports The Guardian.

    Professor Steve Palumbi’s team said Bikini’s marine life looks normal and healthy and do not have mutations like animals found at the Chernobyl nuke site, despite the island being declared a nuclear wasteland.

    Palumbi believes that the absence of humans has in fact benefited the local wildlife.

    He said: “The fish populations are better than in some other places because they have been left alone, the sharks are more abundant and the coral are big.

    “It is a remarkable environment, quite odd.”

    He added: “This is the most destructive thing we have ever done to the ocean, dropping 23 atomic bombs on it, yet the ocean is really striving to come back to life.”

    The scientists believe that the worst-affected fish died off decades ago and the current marine life are only exposed to low radiation levels because they frequently swim in and out of the atoll

    However, a 2012 United Nations reports found that the Bikini remains uninhabitable to humans because of “near-irreversible environmental contamination”.

    The fish cannot be eaten, the plants cannot be farmed because of the contaminated soil and consuming water would be dangerous.

    In his paper Professor Jorgensen writes: “What happened to the Marshall Islanders next is a sad story of their constant relocation from island to island, trying to avoid the radioactivity that lingered for decades.

    “Over the years following the testing, the Marshall Islanders living on the fallout-contaminated islands ended up breathing, absorbing, drinking and eating considerable amounts of radioactivity.”

    Between 1945 and 1963, the US and the Soviet Union carried hundreds of atmospheric nuclear tests.

    Gases and “radioactive particles” from those detonations have been spread worldwide, according to a study carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    At least one CDC report claims that radiation deposits from these tests could eventually be responsible for 11,000 cancer deaths in the US alone.

    The organs and tissue of anyone who has lived in the US – which carried out atmospheric nuke tests in Nevada –  since 1951, shows signs of being exposed to nuclear fallout.

    The fallout from 2,000 nuclear explosions in the 20th Century dispersed into weather systems which slightly raised the risk of cancer worldwide, according to the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW).

    A 1991 IPPNW study claimed that particles from all nuclear explosions could be responsible for up to 430,000 cancer deaths globally.

    June 27, 2018 Posted by | health, OCEANIA, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment