The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

A bit of good news – Chameleon last seen a century ago rediscovered in Madagascar

October 31, 2020 Posted by | environment, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Pacific islands demand truth on the decades of nuclear testing, now that nuclear weapons are becoming illegal

Guardian 25th Oct 2020, Now that nuclear weapons are illegal, the Pacific demands truth on decades of testing. Nuclear weapons will soon be illegal. Just over 75 years since their devastation was first unleashed on the world, the global community has rallied to bring into force a ban through the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Late on Saturday night in New York, the 50th country – the central American nation of Honduras – ratified the treaty. It will become international law in 90 days. For many across the Pacific region, this is a momentous achievement and one that has been long called
for. Over the second half of the 20th century 315 nuclear weapons tests were conducted by so-called “friendly” or colonising forces in the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Australia and Maohi Nui (French Polynesia).

The United States, Britain and France used largely colonised lands to testtheir nuclear weapons, leaving behind not only harmful physical legacies but psychological and political scars as well. Survivors of these tests and their descendants have continued to raise their voices against these weapons. They are vocal resisters and educators, the reluctant but intense knowledge holders of the nuclear reality of our region.

October 26, 2020 Posted by | OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Tuvalu – the 47th nation to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

October 15, 2020 Posted by | OCEANIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pacific Island Nations determined to say NO to nuclear weapons, and support UN Treaty Ban

October 6, 2020 Posted by | OCEANIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Cost and safety dangers should rule out nuclear power for the Philippines

Going nuclear, (The Philippine Star ) – October 3, 2020 As if the country didn’t have enough disasters, certain quarters still haven’t given up on harnessing nuclear power for electricity. The idea is to revive the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, built during the Marcos dictatorship. The BNPP was mothballed after the 1986 people power revolt because of a corruption scandal and safety concerns arising from the fact that it sits on an earthquake fault connected to the dormant Mount Natib volcano in Bataan.

A report this year placed the cost of reviving the BNPP, as estimated by a foreign group, at $3 billion to $4 billion. Reviving it will go against a trend in other countries to reduce nuclear power in their energy mix, because of safety concerns in the power plants as well as the risks posed by nuclear waste, which remains radioactive and cannot be destroyed or recycled……..

Like Japan, the Philippines sits along the Pacific Ring of Fire. Before the start of this year’s pandemic, Taal Volcano’s powerful phreatic explosion emptied surrounding communities, displaced thousands and blanketed towns and cities all the way to Metro Manila with toxic, suffocating ash. Earthquakes and aftershocks continue to be recorded in Taal, with seismologists warning of the possibility of a cataclysmic eruption.

If the BNPP is revived, at great cost to a cash-strapped government, what happens if Mount Natib also acts up, or if an earthquake hits Bataan? If all the proponents of nuclear energy will live together with their immediate families near the BNPP – and not just for show, buying a house nearby while the kids live in an exclusive village far from harm’s way – then by all means, go ahead with the project.

October 3, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, Philippines, politics, safety | Leave a comment

Marshall Islands in danger of being overcome by rising sea levels

Star of the day: David Kabua, President of the Marshall Islands, believes his territory will disappear under rising sea levels, by Bhavi Mandalia, September 22, 2020   The Marshall Islands facing rising waters. (HILARY HOSIA / AFP)

David Kabua, 71, president for nine months of the Marschall Islands is worried. This small confetti of land lost in the Pacific Ocean, 180 km², perched just two meters from sea level, is threatened by rising waters. There is not much on the 30 atolls that make up the archipelago, nothing to covet, nothing to export, no natural resources, only small farms, fishing boats and a huge radioactive waste storage site. , memory of the American nuclear tests of the 1960s.

This little piece of land, so coveted during the wars for its strategic location, no longer has any leverage to attract attention. And yet, it will soon no longer appear on the world maps. This is the warning cry launched by David Kabua on Monday September 21 at the UN, a simple cry: “My country will disappear if the world does not keep its promises, those made during the Paris agreement.” He recounted the impact of climate change, the increasingly devastating tides, population evacuations, the intense droughts which generate another plague: swarms of mosquitoes carrying various diseases. And then there is the money that is lacking to build the necessary infrastructure to protect its 75,000 inhabitants. Money promised five years ago, and which does not arrive. Finally, there is worse:“The fact, he said, that industrialized countries continue to finance fossil fuels, oil, gas and coal. We are doing our part, but alone we can do nothing. “

David Kabua addresses the United Nations. The UN that the Marschall Islands joined in 1991 but that they could well leave, in fact, not voluntarily, but by force of circumstances, because the atolls will end up submerged. So he concluded by asking: “Will we still be here for the UN’s 100th anniversary in 2045? How about you? Are you going to help us keep our islands in this world?” In the assembly, the question created a long silence. David Kabua, for his part, has nothing more to give than a warning, a prophecy for all. We know. But we look elsewhere. Hope does exist, however, it is in the motto of the Marschall Islands: “Achievement through joint effort“. And we have 25 years ahead of us.


September 24, 2020 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA, oceans | Leave a comment

Duterte asks nations to reject war, eliminate nuclear weapons

Duterte asks nations to reject war, eliminate nuclear weapons,   Darryl John Esguerra – Reporter / @DJEsguerraINQ  September 14, 2020   President Rodrigo Duterte made this appeal to all countries in a video shared on Twitter on Monday by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

No goals, however lofty, can justify weapons that destroy with such unforgiving brutality,” Duterte said.

The video, which also featured messages by other world leaders, was originally posted on YouTube by the City of Hiroshima to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing last Aug. 6, which was followed by the bombing of Nagasaki on Aug. 9.

“We must not forget: Nuclear weapons will not make us freer, stronger, or more secure. We must not waver. All nations should reject war and do everything to pave the path for peace. We must be firm. All nations must work together to eliminate nuclear weapons,” Duterte said……….Other world leaders in the video were World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus, Belgium Foreign Affairs and Defense Minister Philippe Goffin, and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda.


September 15, 2020 Posted by | Philippines, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Philippines wary of nuclear power: costs to be borne by tax-payer

August 25, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, Philippines | Leave a comment

The lingering human suffering after nuclear testing in Australia and Oceania

Death in paradise: the aftermath of nuclear testing in Australia and Oceania 10/08/2020   by Aleksandar Novaković   The United States of America is the first nuclear power — and the only one to have used its weapons for a military purpose. During World War 2 in 1945,  two Japanese cities were bombed by US nuclear bombs (Hiroshima on August 6th  and Nagasaki August 9th ). The devastating result was approximately 225,000 people either dead or  wounded. The number of deaths in Hiroshima and Nagasaki due to exposure to lethal radiation is still being discussed, but it is certainly in the thousands.

However, even though nuclear weapons were never used again for military purposes, nuclear testing took (and continues to take) a toll on thousands of lives in Australia and Oceania. 

The United States conducted about 1,054 nuclear tests from 1945 to 1992, and 105 of them (1945-1962) were made at Pacific Test Sites (Marshall Islands, Kiribati) causing the contamination of huge areas controlled by US troops. In the Pacific, this caused rising numbers of cancer and birth defects, especially on the Marshall Islands where 67 tests were made and many Marshallese were forced to leave their homes in contaminated areas.

European nuclear powers, such as France and the UK,  have also “contributed” to the deaths of thousands.

France has made over 193 nuclear tests in the Pacific between 1960 and 1996, mostly on Mururoa and Fangataufa atolls that belong to French Polynesia, as well as 17 tests in Algerian Sahara. Tahiti, the most populated island of French Polynesia, was exposed to 500 times the maximum accepted levels of radiation. The impact has spread as far as to the tourist island of Bora Bora.

Civilians and the military participating in nuclear tests (more than 100,000 of them) have experienced diarrhea, skin injuries, blindness, and cancer. Their children have additionally suffered from birth defects. 

From 1953 to 1963, there were over 20 bigger and smaller British  A- bomb tests in Emu Farm, and the Maralinga and Montebello Islands of Australia. Overall, over 1200 peoples were exposed to radiation in the country, most of them Anangu people living in the Maralinga area. The UK has also made nuclear tests on overseas territories such as the Malden Islands and Christmas Island ( the present Republic of Kiribati).

So, what was done by the governments of the US, UK, Australia and France to help those who have suffered from radiation related illnesses, or those who lost their loved ones?

There are two answers. One is that loss of  loved ones, of the way you live your life, of the nature that surrounds you, the loss of home cannot be repaid or replaced with anything else. The other is that aforementioned governments did little.

The US has awarded more than $63 million to Marshallese with radiogenic illnesses despite the fact that the Tribunal only has $45.75 million to award for both health and land claims. France is still avoiding paying reparations to Tahitians.

As for the “joint venture” of the UK and Australia, the truth is that tests were approved and conducted in the first place because British officials were misinforming Australians. The Maralinga Tjarutja (Council) of  Anangu people has a compensation settlement with the Australian government, and they are receiving $13.5 million.

75 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we must ask ourselves: Why are we so callous about many “Hiroshimas” and “Nagasakis” that happened over the following decades? Did we let them happen just because they took place in far-off islands in the Pacific or in the Australian desert? 

The only way to deal with these existing and future horrors that can eradicate life on Earth is to heal these existing wounds.

This means that the governments of the US, UK, France and Australia must pay just reparations to the affected countries and regions. Progressives of the world must act united against the threat of nuclear holocaust and create a political climate in which it would be possible to take action on an international level in order to ban the production, storage and use of nuclear weapons.

This can be done if nuclear powers, followed by all member states, sign the United Nation’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Aleksandar Novaković is a historian and dramatist. He is a member of DSC Belgrade 1 and the thematic DSC Peace and International Policy 1


August 11, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, AUSTRALIA, OCEANIA, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Glaciers in New Zealand – extreme melting due to global heating

August 4, 2020 Posted by | climate change, New Zealand | Leave a comment

Marshall Islands leaders hope for better help over radioactively polluted weapons tests sites

Nuclear-affected atolls in Marshalls see promise in US talks, RNZ 31 July 2020 , Giff Johnson, Editor, Marshall Islands Journal / RNZ Pacific correspondent,  Momentum is developing behind efforts for renewed attention to lingering problems related to the US nuclear weapons testing programme in the Marshall Islands.

This week leaders of four nuclear test-affected atolls spoke of the building movement movement to issues surrounding the actions of the US from 1946 to 1958.

Elected leaders from Bikini and Enewetak, the ground zeroes for 67 nuclear weapons tests, and Rongelap and Utrok, two atolls heavily contaminated with radioactive fallout from the 1954 Bravo hydrogen bomb test, described separate meetings in the past few days with US Ambassador to the Marshall Islands, Roxanne Cabral, and Marshall Islands President, David Kabua, as “productive and positive.”

The push for action on compensation, health care and cleanups of radioactive islands comes against the backdrop of negotiations between the Marshall Islands and US governments to extend expiring grant funding in a Compact of Free Association.

Island leaders said nuclear test legacy issues had languished for years and they wanted the Marshall Islands to pursue them during the upcoming talks.

It was preferred that a solution was found that benefitted both the Marshall Islands and the United States…….

US-provided compensation fell far short of funds needed to meet compensation awards for this nuclear test-affected nation……

Utrok Mayor Tobin Kaiko said he personally, as well as other nuclear test-affected islanders, continued living with health problems caused by exposure to radioactive fallout.

He said their suffering had been exacerbated by US authorities consistently downplaying the hazards of radiation and the potential for health problems among affected islanders……….

August 1, 2020 Posted by | OCEANIA, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard refutes the claim that Marshall Islands nuclear waste site is safe

July 30, 2020 Posted by | OCEANIA, safety | Leave a comment

Scepticism over USA Dept Energy report that the Runit nuclear waste dome is “safe”

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.
The waste site, known alternatively as the Tomb, holds more than 3.1 million cubic feet — or 35 Olympic-size swimming pools — of U.S.-produced radioactive soil and debris, including lethal amounts of plutonium.

The new report does not include a plan to repair the dome, which was required by Congress.

In 1981, the U.S. government declared in a report that the island should be quarantined indefinitely and that the “possibility would always exist that high levels of plutonium-contaminated subsurface soil could be exposed by wave or storm action.”

U.S. says leaking nuclear waste dome is safe; Marshall Islands leaders don’t believe it,   By SUSANNE RUSTSTAFF WRITER , JULY 1, 2020

In response to a directive from Congress, the Department of Energy released a report this week assessing the risks of a 50-year-old cracking and crumbling concrete nuclear waste repository in the Marshall Islands, but the findings did little to ease the concerns of Marshallese leaders in the Central Pacific.

The DOE report found that Runit Dome, a repository for atomic waste the United States produced during Cold War weapons testing, is sound and that radioactive leakage into the nearby lagoon is not significant.

After Congress grew concerned last year about the leaking dome, it ordered the DOE to produce a report on the dome’s structural integrity amid climate change and rising sea levels.

The report noted that while sea level rise could increase storm surge, swells, and “lead to wave-induced over-wash of lower sections of the dome,” there is not enough definitive data to determine “how these events might impact on the environment.”

One Marshallese leader was disappointed the DOE again downplayed the risks and declined to take responsibility for Runit Dome and its leaking contents.

We don’t expect the Enewetak community to feel any safer based on this report as it doesn’t contain any new information from what they’ve seen…and don’t trust,” said Rhea Christian-Moss, the chairperson of the Marshall Islands’ National Nuclear Commission, a government-operated nuclear waste and radiation oversight panel.

“The report offers nothing new and is more or less what we expected to see,” she said, lamenting the Senate’s redaction of a critical line in the House’s mandate, which stipulated that the Department of Energy provide a plan detailing the removal of the radioactive waste into a “safer and more stable location.”

The Department of Energy report is signed by Dan Brouillette, the agency’s secretary. Terry Hamilton, the department’s lead contractor on the project, was not available for comment.

In November last year, The Times published an investigation of the lingering radiation legacy in the Marshall Islands, and the refusal of U.S. authorities to take ownership for the hazards posed by Runit Dome

In December, Congress signed the National Defense Authorization Act for 2020, which required the DOE to provide a plan to repair the dome, evaluate the environmental effects of the dome on the lagoon over the next 20 years, and assess its structure and the potential risk to the people who live near it.

The department was also required to assess how rising sea levels could affect the dome.

Christian-Moss noted data gaps in the report, as well, including the level of radiation in groundwater leaking from the dome into the lagoon.

In 2019, at a presentation delivered in the Marshall Islands to Marshallese and U.S. officials, the DOE’s contractor, Hamilton, mentioned elevated levels of radioactivity in giant clams living near the dome.

The new report does not mention the clams but states that not enough information is available to understand how leakage from the dome is affecting marine life. However, according to the energy department, studies of people living nearby show normal levels of radiation — suggesting they are not being adversely affected.

“The absence of data to show any risk does not mean that there is no risk.” she said. “So my main takeaway from the report is that many risks are still ‘unknown.’”

Between 1946 and 1958, the United States detonated 67 nuclear weapons on, in and above the Marshall Islands. Forty-four of those bombs were detonated in Enewetak Atoll, where Runit Dome is located.

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.

The waste site, known alternatively as the Tomb, holds more than 3.1 million cubic feet — or 35 Olympic-size swimming pools — of U.S.-produced radioactive soil and debris, including lethal amounts of plutonium.

The radioactive material was collected, moved and contained by U.S. soldiers during the late 1970s. Many of those veterans say they were unaware of the contents and did not wear protective equipment.

The new report does not include a plan to repair the dome, which was required by Congress. Instead, the report’s authors state that “no further maintenance of the dome is required at this time” beyond conducting occasional maintenance to the dome’s cracking exterior, including the removal of vegetation. The report claims the visible cracking and spalling do not provide a hazard.

“All in all the message seems to be that we should be concerned but not alarmed,” said Michael Gerrard, a legal scholar at Columbia University’s law school. “It is as if Runit is like a radioactive sore in the middle of the Pacific, but one that can get by with band-aids for the foreseeable future unless they find more bleeding.”

The DOE authors also maintain that the lagoon’s sediments are so contaminated with radioactive elements that any additional spillage from the dome would be undetectable.

“It remains to be seen whether the Marshallese will accept this report by the Americans, given how poorly the U.S. has treated the Marshallese in so many ways since 1945,” said Gerrard.

The report also notes that in May 2019, Marshallese officials requested that the Department of Energy build a fence around the island where the dome is located, to keep people off.

In July 2019, DOE officials responded claiming they didn’t have the funding to build a fence and installation of a perimeter would be logistically too complex.

In 1981, the U.S. government declared in a report that the island should be quarantined indefinitely and that the “possibility would always exist that high levels of plutonium-contaminated subsurface soil could be exposed by wave or storm action.”

July 2, 2020 Posted by | OCEANIA, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Okinawa Governor says NO to hosting prohibited U.S. nuclear missiles

Okinawa Governor Refuses to Host Prohibited U.S. Nuclear Missiles, In Depth News,  By Jaya Ramachandran, 29 June 20, GENEVA (IDN) – Governor Denny Tamaki of Okinawa district has rejected the U.S. plans to base on the island missiles capable of threatening China – apparently as part of President Donald Trump’s move to challenge Beijing and upgrade the importance of Taiwan, 500 kilometres away from the island. If a plan for Okinawa to host such missiles were to develop, Tamaki said: “I can easily imagine fierce opposition from Okinawa residents.”Okinawa comprises more than 150 islands in the East China Sea between Taiwan and Japan’s mainland. It’s known for its tropical climate, broad beaches and coral reefs, as well as World War II sites.

Okinawa has been a critical strategic location for the United States Armed Forces since the end of World War II. The island hosts around 26,000 U.S. military personnel, about half of the total complement of the United States Forces Japan, spread among 32 bases and 48 training sites.

The largest island (Okinawa) hosts the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum, commemorating a massive 1945 Allied invasion, and Churaumi Aquarium, home to whale sharks and manta rays.

Missiles the U.S. plans to base on Okinawa are prohibited by the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between the U.S. and the Soviet Union which, after dissolution, reconstituted into the Russian Federation in 1991.

U.S. President Ronald Reagan and the then Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to eliminate and permanently forswear all of their nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometres.

It was the first arms-control treaty to abolish an entire category of weapons systems. Besides, two protocols to the agreement established unprecedented procedures for observers from both nations to verify first-hand the other countries destruction of its missiles.

The INF Treaty led to the elimination of 2,692 U.S. and Soviet nuclear and conventional, ground-launched ballistic and cruise missile. The U.S. President Donald Trump formally withdrew from the treaty August 2, 2019, citing Russian noncompliance with the accord. The Pentagon tested two previously prohibited missiles in August and December 2019.

Since the United States withdrew from the Treaty, AustraliaJapan, the Philippines, and South Korea have publicly said that they were not asked to nor are they considering serving as hosts for new U.S. ground-launched missiles. Secretary of Defence Mark Esper has previously suggested that he would like to see the deployment of such missiles in Europe and particularly Asia to counter China.

A senior Defence Department official told the Los Angeles Times that the Pentagon is “very attentive to our allies’ concerns, and we recognized their political challenges”. However, the official continued, “everything that’s said in the media is not necessarily what’s said behind closed doors”.

As the Washington-based Arms Control Association reported on June 26, Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg said on June 17 after a NATO Defence Ministerial that the alliance has “no intention to deploy new land-based nuclear missiles in Europe”.

China is firmly opposed to any deployment of such missiles in the Asia-Pacific. “If the U.S. insists on the deployment, it will be a provocation at China’s doorstep,” said Chinese Defence Ministry Spokesperson Senior Colonel Wu Qian on June 24. “China will never sit idle and will take all necessary countermeasures,” he warned……..

June 29, 2020 Posted by | OCEANIA, opposition to nuclear, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New Zealand stood up to the nuclear bullies- the Rainbow Warrior story

NZ gained ‘international creds’ as nuclear-free nation with Rainbow Warrior bombing, says author, Asia Pacific Report

By PMC Editor -June 29, 2020   From RNZ Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan

New Zealand established its credentials as an independent small nation after the fatal bombing of the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior in 1985, says an author and academic who spent weeks on the vessel shortly before it was attacked.

On 10 July 1985, the Rainbow Warrior was sunk at an Auckland wharf by two bombs planted on the hull of the ship by French secret agents.

The event is often referred to as the first act of terrorism in New Zealand.

LISTEN: The Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan Crime NZ interview with David Robie
WATCH: Eyes of Fire archival videos
READ: The Eyes of Fire book

Two French agents planted two explosives on the ship while it was berthed at Marsden wharf, the second explosion killing Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira.

Dr David Robie, who is an AUT professor of journalism and communication studies, as well as the director of the university’s Pacific Media Centre, had spent more than 10 weeks on the ship as a journalist covering its nuclear rescue mission in the Pacific.

He wrote about his experience in Eyes of Firea book about the last voyage of the first Rainbow Warrior – two other Rainbow Warrior ships have followed.

In 1985, Rongelap atoll villagers in the Marshall Islands asked Greenpeace to help them relocate to a new home at Mejato atoll. Their island had been contaminated by radioactive fallout from US atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific.

Environmental journalism
“At the time I was very involved in environmental issues around the Pacific and in those days Greenpeace was very small, a fledgling organisation,” he tells Jesse Mulligan.

“They had a little office in downtown Auckland and Elaine Shaw was the coordinator and she was quite worried that this was going to be a threshold voyage.

“It was probably the first campaign by Greenpeace that was humanitarian, it wasn’t just environmental – to rescue basically the people who had been suffering from nuclear radiation.” ……….

Moruroa protest planned
The US had carried out 67 nuclear tests at the Marshall Islands. France was also carrying out 193 tests in the Pacific and Greenpeace had planned on confronting that situation at Moruroa Atoll after its Marshall Islands rescue effort.

New Zealand had already voiced disapproval of the testing in the region, with then Prime Minister David Lange in 1984 rebuking the French for “arrogantly” continuing the programme in the country’s backyard.

Dr Robie left the ship when it docked in Auckland after the Marshall Islands stage of the mission. Three days after the ship had docked, a birthday celebration was held for  Greenpeace campaign organiser Steve Sawyer onboard. The attack happened after the party.

Just before midnight on the evening of 10 July 1985, two explosions ripped through the hull as the ship.

Portuguese crew member Fernando Pereira was killed after returning on board after the first explosion……..

Thirteen foreign agents were involved, operating in three teams. The first team brought in the explosives, the second team would plant these and the third was on stand-by in case anything went wrong with the first two teams.

“A commanding officer kept an overview of the whole operation. I think there was an element of arrogance, the same arrogance as with the testing itself. There was a huge amount of arrogance about taking on an operation like this in a peaceful country – we were allies of France at the time – and it is extraordinary that they assumed they could get away with this outrageous act.”

Two of the spies were caught. Two General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) officers, Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart, were arrested on July 24. Both were charged with murder, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Repression of independence movements
“You have to see it within the context of the period of the time,” Dr Robie says.

He says that the French policy of repression against independence movements in New Caledonia and Tahiti, with assassinations of Kanak leaders like Eloi Machoro, needed to be understood to put the Rainbow Warrior attack in perspective. France was bitterly defending its nuclear force de frappe.

“New Zealand was unpopular with the major nuclear powers and there was certainly no sympathy for New Zealand’s position about nuclear testing. So, there wasn’t really any co-operation, even from our closest neighbour, Australia……..

The case was a source of considerable embarrassment to the French government.

“They did pay compensation after arbitration that went on with the New Zealand government and Greenpeace. But justice was never really served… the 10 years were never served, both Prieur and Mafart were part of the negotiations with French government.

NZ was held ‘over a barrel’
“Basically, France had New Zealand over a barrel over trade and the European Union, so compromises were reached and Prieur and Mafart were handed over to France for three years. Essentially house arrest at Hao atoll, the rear base of the French nuclear operations in Polynesia.”

Dr Robie said the rear base was widely regarded as a military “Club Med”.

He says they didn’t even spend three years there, but left for France within the time period.

While the attack was on an international organisation rather than New Zealand itself, most New Zealanders saw it as an attack on the sovereignty of the nation

Dr Robie says it left a long-lasting impression on New Zealanders.

“It was a baptism of fire. It was a loss of innocence when that happened. And in that context, we had stood up as a small nation on being nuclear-free. Something we should have been absolutely proud of, which we were, with all those who campaigned for that at the time. I think that really established our independence, if you like, as a small nation.

“I think we have a lot to contribute to the world in terms of peace-making and we shouldn’t lose track of that. The courage that was shown by this country, standing up to a major nuclear power. We should follow through on that kind of independence of thought.”

June 29, 2020 Posted by | incidents, New Zealand, politics | Leave a comment