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As the Runit nuclear waste dome crumbles, Marshall Islanders want honesty and justice

‘People want justice’: Marshalls’ fury over nuclear information US withheld–  https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/2018723289/people-want-justice-marshalls-fury-over-nuclear-information-us-withheld  From Dateline Pacific,  21 November 2019

November 25, 2019 Posted by | history, Legal, OCEANIA, oceans, Reference, wastes | Leave a comment

The climate crisis is tied up in the dangers of nuclear weapons in ways that nobody predicted

The Climate Crisis Just Went Nuclear  https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a29760935/marshall-islands-nuclear-waste-climate-change/   In the Marshall Islands, local residents are reaping what the United States sowed—which includes tons and tons of nuclear and biological waste from Cold War testing.BY CHARLES P. PIERCE

The climate crisis is the one issue that touches all the other issues. For example, the climate crisis is tied up in the dangers of nuclear weapons in ways that nobody predicted, but that the Los Angeles Times spent some time and money examining. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, the United States set off 67 nuclear bombs in and around the Marshall Islands. This had predictable results: there were now lagoons where there were none before; some islands simply aren’t there any more, and there was a lot of deadly stuff left behind. Which brings us to the climate crisis.

Here in the Marshall Islands, Runit Dome holds more than 3.1 million cubic feet — or 35 Olympic-sized swimming pools — of U.S.-produced radioactive soil and debris, including lethal amounts of plutonium. Nowhere else has the United States saddled another country with so much of its nuclear waste, a product of its Cold War atomic testing program.

U.S. authorities later cleaned up contaminated soil on Enewetak Atoll, where the United States not only detonated the bulk of its weapons tests but, as The Times has learned, also conducted a dozen biological weapons tests and dumped 130 tons of soil from an irradiated Nevada testing site. It then deposited the atoll’s most lethal debris and soil into the dome. Now the concrete coffin, which locals call “the Tomb,” is at risk of collapsing from rising seas and other effects of climate change. Tides are creeping up its sides, advancing higher every year as distant glaciers melt and ocean waters rise.

When people talk about environmental justice, this is what they’re talking about.

Officials in the Marshall Islands have lobbied the U.S. government for help, but American officials have declined, saying the dome is on Marshallese land and therefore the responsibility of the Marshallese government. “I’m like, how can it [the dome] be ours?” Hilda Heine, the president of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, said in an interview in her presidential office in September. “We don’t want it. We didn’t build it. The garbage inside is not ours. It’s theirs.” … They blame the United States and other industrialized countries for global climate change and sea level rise, which threaten to submerge vast swaths of this island nation’s 29 low-lying atolls.

The history behind all this is as tawdry as you might have expected it to be—an endless litany of lies, deception, and bureaucratic three-card monte, all of it designed to dodge any responsibility for the nightmares past, present, and future.

Over the last 15 months, a reporting team from the Los Angeles Times and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism made five trips to the Marshall Islands, where they documented extensive coral bleaching, fish kills and algae blooms — as well as major disease outbreaks, including the nation’s largest recorded epidemic of dengue fever. They interviewed folk singers who lost their voices to thyroid cancers and spent time in Arkansas, Washington and Oregon, where tens of thousands of Marshallese have migrated to escape poverty and an uncertain future.

Over the last 15 months, a reporting team from the Los Angeles Times and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism made five trips to the Marshall Islands, where they documented extensive coral bleaching, fish kills and algae blooms — as well as major disease outbreaks, including the nation’s largest recorded epidemic of dengue fever. They interviewed folk singers who lost their voices to thyroid cancers and spent time in Arkansas, Washington and Oregon, where tens of thousands of Marshallese have migrated to escape poverty and an uncertain future.

One example: The United States did not tell the Marshallese that in 1958, it shipped 130 tons of soil from its atomic testing grounds in Nevada to the Marshall Islands. U.S. authorities also didn’t inform people in Enewetak, where the waste site is located, that they’d conducted a dozen biological weapons tests in the atoll, including experiments with an aerosolized bacteria designed to kill enemy troops. U.S. Department of Energy experts are encouraging the Marshallese to move back to other parts of Enewetak, where 650 now live, after being relocated during the U.S. nuclear tests during the Cold War. But many Marshallese leaders no longer trust U.S. assurances of safety.

Can’t imagine why they’d think that.

Adding to the alarm is a study published this year by a team of Columbia University scientists showing levels of radiation in some spots in Enewetak and other parts of the Marshall Islands that rival those found near Chernobyl and Fukushima. Such discoveries could give Marshallese leaders fresh ammunition to challenge the 1986 compact, which is up for renegotiation in 2023, and also to press the United States to honor property and

health claims ordered by an international tribunal. The tribunal, established by the two countries in 1988, concluded the United States should pay $2.3 billion in claims, but Congress and U.S courts have refused. Documents show the U.S. paid just $4 million.

And what in the hell was this?

A decade later, in 1968, teams from the Department of Defense set up a new experiment. This time, they were testing biological weapons — bombs and missiles filled with bacteria designed to fell enemy troops. According to a 2002 military fact sheet and Ed Regis, the author of “The Biology of Doom,” U.S. government scientists came to Enewetak with “their boats and monkeys, space suits and jet fighter planes” and then sprayed clouds of biologically enhanced staphylococcal enterotoxin B, an incapacitating biological agent known to cause toxic shock and food poisoning and considered “one of the most potent bacterial superantigens.” The bacteria were sprayed over much of the atoll — with ground zero at Lojwa Island, where U.S. troops were stationed 10 years later for the cleanup of the atoll.

I don’t know what happens when the dome gives way, but I feel confident in saying a) it won’t be good, and b) we won’t hear about it for a couple of years, at least. 

 

November 12, 2019 Posted by | climate change, environment, OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Philippines not prepared for the dangers of nuclear energy

Philippines unprepared for nuclear energy: Senate energy panel chair,  https://news.abs-cbn.com/business/11/06/19/philippines-unprepared-for-nuclear-energy-senate-energy-panel-chair, Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News, Nov 06 2019  MANILA – The Philippines is “not ready” to use nuclear power as an energy source, a senator said Wednesday, adding more should be done to prepare for potential risks.

The Department of Energy announced recently its plan to draft a national nuclear program, which the Senate Energy Committee, chaired by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, will investigate.

“Saan natin itatapon ang nuclear waste? Pag may leakage ano ang gagawin natin? Meron ba tayong capability? Handa ba tayo in case of a nuclear leak?” he told reporters.

(Where will we dump nuclear waste? What will we do in case of a leak? Do we have the capability? Are we ready in case of a nuclear leak?)

The DOE should be more transparent about the benefits of harnessing nuclear power before it drafts a nationwide plan. Coal and solar are cheaper alternatives, he said.

“Nuclear energy is a very controversial source of energy dahil ang risk ay napakataas (because the risk is very high),” he said.

The government is eyeing the deployment of modular nuclear plants to some islands where electricity supply is low, Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi earlier said.

The Philippines also signed a memorandum with Russia’s state-owned Rosatom for a pre-feasibility study for nuclear power plants.   President Rodrigo Duterte “wants to learn more” about nuclear power, which could lower electricity prices and stabilize supply, Cusi said.

“We are hungry for power and we will tap any sources that would satisfy our own needs now,” he said.

November 11, 2019 Posted by | Philippines, politics | Leave a comment

One small nation shows how to be nuclear- free and climate friendly – theme for November 19

Citizen Advocacy: The Achievements of New Zealand`s Peace Activism, Asia Pacific Journal Pinar Temocin and Noriyuki Kawano, October 1, 2019 Volume 17 | Issue 19 | Number 2Abstract

Aotearoa New Zealand provides an important example of successful citizen activism in the form of anti-nuclear peace advocacy. The collective efforts by peace actors over several decades resulted in the successful demand for a nuclear-free nation. This paper highlights the widespread participation and political support that facilitated the process and assesses its achievements.

Introduction  New Zealand, a small and isolated country, is a rare example of a nation achieving nuclear-free status. The peace-seeking nation unified around an anti-war narrative, and moved from activism based on public awareness and engagement to the passage of laws that eliminated nuclear weapons through a number of stages: from the first generation of movements against the atomic bomb after 1945 to the response to French nuclear testing in the late 60`s to US and UK nuclear warship visits in the 70`s and the early 80`s. As part of this shift, the US-led military alliance with Australia and New Zealand (ANZUS) was redefined by New Zealanders from a guarantee of security to a threat that posed a security dilemma. As this essay shows, social consciousness and activism was ultimately successful in bringing fundamental change. The Labor Party, in particular, played a critical role in translating strong public participation on the part of a broad section of the population into a significant policy outcome: `the creation of a peaceful and nuclear-free nation`. 

This mobilization involved persistent and substantial public pressure over decades. Public pressure to change the nation’s foreign policy also included opposition to involvement in the United States-led coalition in the Korean and Vietnam wars. As these wars came to an end, the matter of nuclear testing became a hot-button election issue forcing each political party to adopt a policy on nuclear weapons. The anti-nuclear argument was placed within a broader moral vision. New Zealand peace advocates problematized the threatening conditions and demanded a solution under the narratives of a `democratic, egalitarian, decolonized, independent, non-violent, non-militarist nation which is intrinsically based on `a peaceful nation`. A peaceful nation for them required a nuclear-free approach in its domestic and foreign policies. To achieve this, they organized actively, coordinated professionally, sustained effective campaigns, and engaged in the policy-formation and shaping process.

Since the end of the 60s, successful protest movements have established new modes of political participation in advanced democracies.1 In some democratic societies including New Zealand, social movements have benefitted from tolerant political structures. Their success depends further on specific configurations of resources, trustworthy institutional arrangements, and historical precedents for social mobilization that facilitate the development of protest movements.2

Strong democracies are conducive to positive engagements and interactions between citizen and the state. The strengthening of practices of participation, responsiveness to a majority, and the development of inclusive and cohesive societies are powerful components of the democratic decision-making process. Therefore, citizen participation in governance with a responsive, open, and tolerant state can produce positive effects based on popular consensus……https://apjjf.org/2019/19/Temocin.html 

New Zealand passes historic zero carbon bill with near unanimous bipartisan support – The New Zealand parliament has passed landmark legislation that enshrines the country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement into law, and will see the country achieve zero net carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 ….. https://reneweconomy.com.au/new-zealand-passes-historic-zero-carbon-bill-with-near-unanimous-bipartisan-support-33500/

November 9, 2019 Posted by | Christina's themes, climate change, New Zealand, opposition to nuclear | 2 Comments

Deadline looms for nuclear veterans and descendants study

A Mururoa Nuclear Veterans Group is encouraging veterans and their families to come forward to take part in a study before the deadline closes.  In August, the group put out newspaper advertisements, wanting all veterans who were deployed to Mururoa Atoll in 1973 and their families, to be part of a study which closes at midnight today.

The study lead by University of Otago associate professor David McBride will look into the connection between nuclear veterans and their children, who may have been affected by their parents’ exposure to radiation.

So far only 166 people had signed up, according to Mururoa Nuclear Veterans president Gavin Smith.

Mr Smith implored more to join, saying about 500 people went to the Christmas Island and were exposed to nuclear tests in the 1950s and about 500 went to Mururoa during the 1970s.

“Everyone who has a veteran father or grandfather that served there and has maybe deceased or may be living but mentioned nothing of it, I urge them to contact the University of Otago,” he said.

He said the study was crucial because veteran’s children may have been affected by their parents’ exposure to radiation, which could make their offspring more susceptible to conditions like leukaemia and auto-immune diseases.

“Our study is open to all nuclear veterans. If we don’t do it in our generation, it’s going to be an even bigger battle for the next generation.”

The group, which was established in 2013 to press the government to help families with nuclear related illnesses, had 135 members who served at the protest.

Of those, 56 had children or grandchildren with unexplained medical conditions.

Testing would begin next week at the University of Otago, with a timeframe and details on the study yet to be confirmed.

November 7, 2019 Posted by | children, New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Legal action on The Marshall Islands’ leaky radioactive nuclear waste dome?

This Concrete Dome Holds A Leaking Toxic Timebomb | Foreign Correspondent

Leaking nuclear waste dome: Marshalls consider legal action https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/402002/leaking-nuclear-waste-dome-marshalls-consider-legal-action

 29 October 2019  Mackenzie Smith  MackSmithNZ mackenzie.smith@rnz.co.nz  The Marshall Islands is exploring legal action against the US over a leaking nuclear-waste filled concrete dome. The Runit Dome on Enewetak atoll was used to store radioactive materials left over from US nuclear weapons testing during the 1940s and ’50s.

But according to the Marshall Islands Nuclear Commission, more than 99 per cent of the waste has seeped into the atoll’s lagoon.

Commission’s chair Rhea Moss-Christian said the Marshall Islands was exploring legal remedies to obtain compensation from the US government.

“The political environment is always changing. We don’t know what the future brings. But as a nation that is still dealing with the impacts, we can’t afford to sit back and accept that there’s nothing further that can be done.”

The Runit Dome on Enewetak atoll was used to store radioactive materials left over from US nuclear weapons testing during the 1940s and ’50s.

But according to the Marshall Islands Nuclear Commission, more than 99 per cent of the waste has seeped into the atoll’s lagoon.

Commission’s chair Rhea Moss-Christian said the Marshall Islands was exploring legal remedies to obtain compensation from the US government.

“The political environment is always changing. We don’t know what the future brings. But as a nation that is still dealing with the impacts, we can’t afford to sit back and accept that there’s nothing further that can be done.”

The Pacific Islands Forum Chair, Dame Meg Taylor, has called for an independent audit into the Runit Dome. Her UN counterpart, Antonio Guterres, has also raised concerns about the potential radioactive fallout.

The Nuclear Commission is due to start work in November on an impact study of the dome which will take up to three years.

The commission’s report highlighted a number of ongoing impacts of American nuclear weapons testing, including forced migration and high rates of cancer it said had been exacerbated by US refusal of requests for assistance with cancer treatment facilities.

“The absence of cancer care facilities and its link to forced migration are deplorable, and it means that the violence of the testing program continues despite the cessation of weapons testing,” the report said.

It also called for broader support with compensation for victims of nuclear testing, adding that Marshall Islands officials would raise nuclear justice in all official discussions with the US government.

According to the report, a US-funded Nuclear Claims Tribunal ended payments in 2009, leaving more than $US2.2 billion in unpaid compensation.

The Marshall Islands will also request UN agencies conduct its study of radiation levels in nuclear testing sites and their impact on communities.

Establishing a National Nuclear Archive would also be explored, as well as a memorial or monument “commemorate the hundreds of Marshallese who sacrificed their health and homeland for the U.S. nuclear weapons testing program”.

Ms Moss-Christian said the Marshall Islands’ election to the UN Human Rights Council earlier this month provided a new platform for seeking assistance.

“Compensation is definitely a priority for affected communities. There are also other forms of nuclear justice, and some of those areas are where the UN can step in and provide assistance,” she said.

November 2, 2019 Posted by | legal, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Cutting through the nuclear advocacy’s nonsense – for the Philippines, nuclear benefits only Russia

The supposed cost benefits of nuclear power are completely misrepresented by the nuclear advocacy.

Only Russia will benefit if PH goes nuclear,  https://www.oilandgas360.com/only-russia-will-benefit-if-ph-goes-nuclear/ in Press   by— 360 Feed Wire By BEN KRITZ, TMT, October 29, 2019 FOR the second time during the term of the current administration, fast-talking salesmen from Russia’s nuclear energy agency Rosatom have managed to convince a few impressionable officials here that the mighty atom is the answer to all the Philippines’ energy needs, especially if it is packaged in the product Rosatom has to offer.

The only people who will benefit from the Philippines’ adopting nuclear power will be the shareholders of Rosatom. Nuclear power is an economically and environmentally disastrous proposition for the Philippines, and no amount of persistence from the misguided nuclear advocacy can change that.

On October 17, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi announced the Department of Energy had signed a memorandum of intent with Rosatom for the latter to conduct feasibility studies on the possible deployment of so-called small modular reactors (SMRs) in the Philippines.

These reactors, which generate between 20 to 200 megawatts (MW) of power, can be mounted on floating platforms to provide electricity to island provinces, or slaved together like giant batteries to create larger land-based power plants.

Russia currently has one such floating plant in operation, a 21,000- metric ton barge carrying two 35-MW reactors and dubbed the Akademik Lomonosov. The craft, which will replace a coal plant and an old nuclear plant in Russia’s far east, can provide power to about 100,000 homes and has a crew of about 70.

The (weak) case for nuclear power

Hard on the heels of the announcement of the DoE’s agreement with Rosatom, local nuclear advocates took part in a “Stand Up for Nuclear” event held in Manila and other cities around the world on October 20. The event achieved what its organizers presumably hoped it would — the publication of a rash of news articles and opinion columns in the days following it, all touting the supposed benefits of nuclear power to the energy-challenged Philippines.

The arguments put forth in favor of nuclear power in general — which haven’t changed in years — and of SMRs in particular are rather shallow, but at first glance seem to be valid.

The benefits of nuclear power, according to its advocates, are that it does not produce harmful emissions, unlike conventional fossil-fueled power plants; it is an extremely efficient energy source, which results in lower power costs to consumers; it has a very good overall safety record, in spite of attention-grabbing disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima; and it provides reliable baseload power to augment energy from intermittent sources like solar and wind power.

SMRs are touted as a good option for countries like the Philippines without well-developed nuclear capabilities or budgets to sustain them because they are small, versatile, relatively inexpensive, and less complicated than normal-scale nuclear plants. For example, unlike a conventional pressurized water or boiling water reactor, the cooling and steam generation water flows in most SMR designs are gravity-fed. This presumably makes them immune from the sort of loss-of-coolant accidents that led to the Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters.

All of these arguments are very positive-sounding, enough to convince many impressionable government officials and media commentators, whom the nuclear advocacy hopes have neither the time, inclination nor capacity to look critically at the facts, which tend to be a more than a little inconvenient.

Cutting through the nonsense

The first argument that “nuclear plants do not produce harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions,” is true in a very literal sense, but it is not true that nuclear plants do not contribute to harmful emissions at all, as some advocates claim. All nuclear plants emit heat and water vapor to the atmosphere at the rate of 4.4 grams CO2-equivalent per kilowatt-hour (g CO2-e/kWh) of energy produced. While this is certainly very much less than a conventional power plant, it is not zero, and compares unfavorably with solar and wind power, which actually remove water vapor and heat flux to the atmosphere at the rate of -2.2 g CO2-e/kWh.

An even bigger environmental problem with nuclear power is that any nuclear reactor uses an enormous amount of fresh water and discharges a large amount of heated wastewater.

Because of the complicated chemistry within a nuclear reactor, seawater cannot be used, and even fresh water must be “scrubbed” to remove any impurities. In a country such as the Philippines, where fresh water supplies are increasingly constrained, any nuclear power facility is a problematic option.

The second argument, that nuclear energy is extremely efficient and therefore less expensive than other forms of power, is again only literally true in a narrow context.

Uranium as a fuel is incredibly efficient; one ton of uranium has the energy content of about 80,000 tons of coal. However, to obtain useable fuel a great deal of processing is necessary, which of course comes at an energy cost, and the amount of useful uranium to be used as nuclear fuel is quickly being depleted; US reserves of uranium have virtually disappeared, and reserves elsewhere in the world are estimated to last no more than 100 years.

The supposed cost benefits of nuclear power are completely misrepresented by the nuclear advocacy. A comparison between an existing nuclear plant and an existing coal plant, for example, would show that electricity derived from nuclear power is less costly on a per-MW basis, but power costs, as Filipino consumers have long been painfully aware, include all the costs associated with building and maintaining a power plant. The proper way to calculate comparative costs is through a formula called levelized cost of energy (LCOE), which takes into account construction costs, regulatory costs, fuel costs, available subsidies, and operating costs.

This is where nuclear power completely falls apart compared to other energy alternatives.

According to the 2018 report of Lazard (the go-to source for energy cost analysis), nuclear has a high-end LCOE of $189 per megawatt hour (MWh). Coal has an LCOE of $143/MWh; utility-scale solar of between $44/MWh and $48/MWh; and wind, $56/MWh. Of the various energy sources analyzed, only gas peaking plants and rooftop solar installations had a higher LCOE than nuclear power, at $208/MWh and $287/MWh, respectively.

And Lazard’s results may be a serious underestimate of the true cost of nuclear power. In the next installment, I’ll explain further why, despite supplying about 20 percent of the world’s electricity, nuclear power is one of the worst solutions for the Philippines, or any other country for that matter

October 31, 2019 Posted by | Philippines, spinbuster | Leave a comment

National nuclear commission strategy for Marshall Islands

Marshalls endorses nuclear commission strategy,  https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/401921/marshalls-endorses-nuclear-commission-strategy    The Marshall Islands government has endorsed the adoption of a national nuclear commission strategy for the next three years.

The strategy honours the legacy of Marshallese nuclear heroes and heroines who fought and continue to demand accountability for their communities.

The strategy was mandated in the Marshall Islands parliament, or Nitijela, as part of the National Nuclear Commission Act of 2017.

It focuses on five broad themes for nuclear justice: compensation, health care, the environment, national capacity, and education and awareness.

From 1946 to 1958, the US used the Marshall Islands to test its nuclear weapons.

The commission also aims to establish an independent panel of scientists and specialists in fields related to radiation exposure, to provide the republic’s citizens access to trusted, independent science.

The commission’s chair, Rhea Moss-Christian, said the NNC strategy was a tool for all Marshallese, whether living in the islands or overseas, to use in their individual and collective efforts to respond to the devastation resulting from the US nuclear weapons testing program in the Marshall Islands.

“It is also a resource for our partners and friends outside the Marshall Islands to understand the nuclear testing impacts that persist today and how they can support the Marshallese people,” Ms Moss-Christian said.

October 28, 2019 Posted by | OCEANIA, politics, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Marshall Islands’ nuclear clean-up workers concerned about radiation leaking

October 17, 2019 Posted by | environment, OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Marshall Islands, victim of nuclear testing, now declares a Climate Emergency

 

Marshall Islands, low-lying US ally and nuclear testing site, declares a climate crisis https://www.heraldmailmedia.com/news/nation/marshall-islands-low-lying-us-ally-and-nuclear-testing-site/article_4b37cc0d-040d-5b2a-b83e-1df6d71dfb74.html,  By Susanne Rust Los Angeles Times (TNS), Oct 11, 2019 

    • The Marshall Islands, a low-lying chain of atolls and key U.S. ally in the Central Pacific, has declared a national climate crisis because of the mounting risk of sea-level rise, the nation’s president announced this week.

The nation’s parliament, the Nitijela, overwhelmingly supported a measure that calls upon the international community to step up its efforts to mitigate global warming and provide aid to nations unable to finance safeguards against rising seas.

“As one of only four low-lying coral atoll nations in the world, the failure of the international community to adequately respond to the global climate crisis of its own making holds particularly grave consequences,” wrote President Hilda Heine in a tweet Wednesday.

Low-lying coral atoll nations such as the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu in the Pacific and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean are particularly vulnerable to rising oceans, averaging just a few feet above sea level. There have already been episodes of “King Tide” flooding in the Marshall Islands, which consists of 29 coral atolls, located about 5,000 miles from Los Angeles and 2,000 from Hawaii.

A recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warned that sea level could rise by 1 to 4 feet by 2100, potentially submerging many of these nations, and by 2050, making many uninhabitable.

The report echoes research sponsored by the Department of Defense, which found Kwajalein Atoll, where the U.S. leases a strategic military base, could become unlivable by 2030, if the Antarctic ice sheet were to melt. Mid-century inhabitability due to flooding, storm waves and ground water contamination by salt water was predicted in a more conservative model.

The resolution calls upon the Nitijela to “unite fully and unequivocally behind the science” and to recognize the rights of the Marshallese youth to grow up in a “climate safe future.”

It asks the international community to “consider additional ways to respond to and support the extreme vulnerability and special circumstances” unique to low-lying coral atoll islands, such as the Marshall Islands.

“Prolonged and unseasonal droughts are hitting us real hard, and saltwater is creeping into our freshwater lands,” said Heine last month at the United Nations Climate Action conference in New York. “We are on the very front line of climate change.”

The United States used the Marshall Islands as a nuclear testing ground during the Cold War, detonating 67 nuclear bombs on the nation between 1946 and 1958.

The U.S. is committing $10 million to the Pacific region for disaster resilience, weather forecasting and “to address environmental challenges,” said a U.S. State Department spokesperson Friday. “The United States recognizes that addressing environmental degradation and climate change is a priority in the Pacific — especially for the Marshall Islands — due to the threat posed by sea level rise and the region’s vulnerability to natural disasters.”

October 14, 2019 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Senate to probe Philippine’s nuclear energy program

Senate to probe Philippine’s nuclear energy program, Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) – October 14, 2019 – MANILA, Philippines — The Senate committee on energy will look into the status of the country’s nuclear energy program as the Duterte administration is set to decide on a recommendation to tap nuclear fuels for stable power supply, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said yesterday.

Gatchalian, chairman of the committee, filed a resolution for an inquiry on the status of the Department of Energy (DOE)’s Nuclear Energy Program Implementing Organization (NEPIO) in pursuit of his call for transparency in the government’s nuclear initiatives.

“A comprehensive, transparent and public discussion must be made on the merits of a national nuclear program taking into consideration the social, economic, environmental and technical effects and requirements of such a program,” he said.

He added that the development of a nuclear power program in any country requires three phases marked by a specific milestone and the completion of 19 infrastructure requirements, which necessitate specific actions during each of these three phases as indicated in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s milestones in the development of a national infrastructure for nuclear power.

The Philippines, according to the senator, is currently completing phase one, which commenced when the DOE issued Department Order 2016-10-0013 in 2016, creating the NEPIO, which is tasked to explore the development and inclusion of nuclear energy in the country’s electric power supply.

Phase two requires preparation for the contracting and construction of a nuclear power plant after a policy decision has been made, and its milestone is an invitation to bid or negotiate a contract for the power plant.

Meanwhile, phase three details the activities necessary to implement the first nuclear power plant, and its milestone is the commissioning and operation of such activities……..

The senator made the call during the hearing on the DOE’s proposed 2020 budget.

He pushed for the scrutiny of the nuclear energy program after a memorandum of intent was signed by Philippine and Russian officials during President Duterte’s visit to Moscow last week “to jointly explore the prospects of cooperation in the construction of nuclear power plants in the Philippines.”

A proposal to build a floating nuclear power plant in the country was also forwarded by Russia.

One of world’s worst nuclear disasters occurred in 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, which was blamed on a flawed Soviet reactor in Ukraine, at the time part of the Soviet Union.https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2019/10/14/1960013/senate-probe-philippines-nuclear-energy-program#Yu0jW87Rhm5T2TgI.99

October 14, 2019 Posted by | Philippines, politics | Leave a comment

US govt to fund study of Marshall Islands nuclear dome water

US govt to fund study of Marshall Islands nuclear dome water,  https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/400433/us-govt-to-fund-study-of-marshall-islands-nuclear-dome-water    The US government has announced US$1.6 million in funding to investigate the water surrounding a radioactive dome in the Marshall Islands.The Runit Dome on Enewetak Atoll was built to contain nuclear waste after US nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific in the 1940s and ’50s.

However, Marshall Islands officials say the lagoon water is already more contaminated than the dome itself, which has been leaking.

The money announced last week will fund a radiochemical analysis of the water surrounding the crater, and an engineering survey of the structure.

October 6, 2019 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans | Leave a comment

Pacific Island nations urge action on climate change at UN

Pacific Island nations urge action on climate change at UN,  Pacific leaders want to remind the world what’s at stake for the most vulnerable – low lying nations – if nothing is done to combat climate change.  (video)  https://www.sbs.com.au/news/pacific-island-nations-urge-action-on-climate-change-at-un

September 30, 2019 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

A rude concrete sign indicates a deadly truth about nuclear radiation and cancer

 

September 24, 2019 Posted by | health, OCEANIA, USA, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Health research on descendants of Pacific nuclear veterans.

Pacific nuclear veterans’ descendants sought for study.  https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/pacific-nuclear-veterans-descendants-sought-study    A search is underway for descendants of service personnel who witnessed a nuclear test at Mururoa Atoll to take part in a nationwide study.A Mururoa Nuclear Veterans Group wants all veterans who were deployed to Mururoa Atoll in 1973, and their families, to be part of a study as it’s believed their children may have been affected by their parents’ exposure to radiation.

The then Labour government sent a frigate to Mururoa Atoll, including then Cabinet Minister Fraser Colman, to protest against French nuclear testing there.

Mururoa Nuclear Veterans Group wants all people on the frigate, and their families to be part of a study as it’s believed their children may have been affected by their parents’ exposure to radiation. The group, which was established in 2013 to press the government to help families with nuclear related illnesses, had 135 members who served at the protest. Of those, 56 had children or grandchildren with unexplained medical conditions.

University of Otago associate professor David McBride, has been tasked with conducting the first medical testing of veterans’ children and grandchildren.

To establish whether genetic transfer of illnesses are related to exposure to nuclear radiation and create a registry “would be difficult but not impossible,” Mr McBride said.

Mururoa Nuclear Veterans Group vice-president, Tony Cox, was concerned veteran’s offspring could be more susceptible to conditions like leukaemia and auto-immune diseases.

“If we don’t do it now, when we die no one else is going to care. Their sickness and problems we consider is directly attributable to our service,” Mr Cox said.

“Be it Operation Grapple, Christmas Island, Mururoa, anywhere else … widows and children especially we are looking for.”  The University of Otago will carry out the study from October or November this year, but a registry needs to be created for the study to work.

Mr Cox encouraged anyone with a nuclear testing background to come forward to take part in the study or identify themselves in order to be included in the registry.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | health, OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment