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Fiji adopts nuclear weapons ban treaty

Fiji adopts nuclear treaty     https://www.fijitimes.com/fiji-adopts-nuclear-treaty/ WANSHIKA KUMAR 23 June, 2022, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) is located in the foothills of Mount Natib, only five miles from the caldera, and was built in the 1980s. It was never activated due to anti-nuclear sentiment in the aftermath of the Chernobyl power plant disaster in 1986, with protests expressing concerns that the BNPP was in an earthquake zone thanks to the volcano’s Lubao fault, which runs through the volcano and the power plant…………………………………. https://www.newsweek.com/philippines-volcano-nuclear-power-plant-1717406

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

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

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

 Asia News 18th June 2022

https://www.asianews.it/news-en/Manila-to-reboot-the-Bataan-Nuclear-Power-Plant-56065.html

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

Vulnerable island ecology threatened as developed countries dump waste, conduct nuclear test in Pacific

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202205/1266827.shtml, By Global Times. May 29, 2022 Pacific island countries are not only direct victims of climate change, but have become the dumping ground of various forms of waste or a testing ground for nuclear weapons by developed countries in past decades, leaving tragic and dangerous consequence for local ecology, and even to the survival of people.

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

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

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

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

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

Nuclear tragedy in the Marshall Islands

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who makes these decisions to drop bombs on such beautiful, pristine islands? Who sends 20-year-olds into a potentially radioactive area without warning them? When can we as a human race honor peoples around the world and get out of building weapons and gaining lands for strategic reasons? Please stop. I’m sad and weep and write letters asking for an apology. So sad. Where is our soul?  https://thebulletin.org/2022/05/nuclear-tragedy-in-the-marshall-islands/

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

Philippines’ Marcos in nuclear plant revival talks with S.Korea

  France 24 Manila (AFP) – Philippine president-elect Ferdinand Marcos signalled his determination to adopt nuclear power Monday, holding talks with South Korea’s envoy on possibly reviving a mothballed $2.2 billion plant built during his father’s dictatorship.

The 620-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was left dormant after the elder Marcos was toppled in 1986…..

He left open the possibility of resuscitating his father’s failed venture — an idea he is now pushing ahead of his June 30 inauguration.

Marcos said he met South Korean Ambassador to Manila Kim Inchul on Monday to discuss a proposal on reviving the Bataan plant.

…………………….  

upgrading an ageing facility fitted with outdated analogue technology could take at least four years and cost another $1 billion.

There are also question marks on its design and location.

A monument to the greed and graft of the elder Marcos’s era, the plant sits 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of Manila, near several volcanoes in a part of the Philippines regularly shaken by earthquakes…………….  critics argue that renewable sources, such as wind and solar, are cheaper and safer to produce in a country hit by earthquakes, typhoons and volcanic eruptions.   https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220523-philippines-marcos-in-nuclear-plant-revival-talks-with-s-korea

May 26, 2022 Posted by | Philippines, politics | Leave a comment

War and some unusual developments regarding nuclear-related topics – Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands

The huge problem with the idea of having a nuclear reactor power plant on a military base is that it may cause catastrophic damage to all human life in and around the immediate area despite official comments from the U.S. Army that there are several safety prevention measures being taken to address this concern. 

War and some unusual developments regarding nuclear-related topicsm By Rick Arriola Perez |  May 09 2022  https://www.saipantribune.com/index.php/war-and-some-unusual-developments-regarding-nuclear-related-topics/

Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands are one island chain that is embedded in the minds of Chinese military personnel who are charged with selecting and figuring out what adversary targets are most important to knock out, should China and the United States ever go to hot war. 

Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base is a huge military threat to the Chinese and to the North Koreans and Russians. Andersen is one of the most important American military bases in the world. Andersen has one of the world’s largest petroleum, oil, and lubricant storage facilities, training facilities, and areas that store, manage, maintain and load ordnance and other weapons of war. 

Andersen is located atop stolen Chamorro family lands located in our Deep Blue Pacific Ocean Marianas Trench continent. The U.S. Air Force is not formally required to ask permission to fly over foreign national airspace because from the American military perspective, we are close yet far enough away from any nation that requires the United States to first seek diplomatic approvals and notifications.  This is one of the many benefits afforded the Pentagon and the Air Force by residing in Guam and the Marianas. 

Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base is also the perfect location to store, manage, hold, and/or stage live nuclear missiles and weapons into and out of fighters, unmanned systems, and strategic aircraft that are assigned America’s nuclear bombing missions. These activities go relatively unnoticed because of our unique location. Missions can simply be initiated any day or night throughout the year. 

But bombs are not the only thing that is on the nuclear discussion table these days
These days the Department of Defense is also moving forward with design plan options to construct and operationalize nuclear-powered micro-reactors, transportable on Air Force cargo planes, to be used as power generation sources for military bases in remote locations.

These nuclear reactors are intended to generate the power equivalent of up to 1% of a large commercial nuclear power plant once assembled and turned on. The huge problem with the idea of having a nuclear reactor power plant on a military base is that it may cause catastrophic damage to all human life in and around the immediate area despite official comments from the U.S. Army that there are several safety prevention measures being taken to address this concern. 

One rationale that is being proposed to support the construction and design of nuclear reactors is that it will save over time millions of gallons of fossil fuel from being consumed, which is in line with environmental sustainability up to a point. Opposing viewpoints argue that there is simply no need to place a nuclear reactor in a remote military base because the amount of power generation it provides is not really needed because existing diesel-powered generators are adequate for use on remote military bases. 

Nuclear reactor controversies are nothing new to the Pentagon and the Army
The Army previously had a nuclear reactor program that started during the time of the Korean war era, lasting up through the Vietnam war era. The program had mixed results, one catastrophic outcome, and was quite expensive to maintain. The current program under consideration is supported by the idea that having a small and mobile nuclear power plant for use by base personnel will also mitigate military casualty rates associated with the transportation and security protection of fuel in land-based warfighting areas. Supporters also point to the need for a constant source of power generation required for radars and for high-energy weapons.

So why should our Chamorro Pacific Islander Deep Blue Continent civilization be concerned about these developments?
The Pentagon and the Army have identified Guam as one of approximately 10 sites that are slated to have a micro nuclear reactor. The Marshall Islands is also another site identified to receive a nuclear reactor. 

But what our Chamorro people should be aware, as well as the people of Micronesia, especially the Marshallese, is that it is the U.S. Congress, not the Pentagon, that has been the genesis behind the push to get the Pentagon funding to move forward on this micro-nuclear reactor effort. Why is this the case? 

What the Guam and NMI congressmen need to do
Michael San Nicolas and Kilili Sablan have not articulated why Congress has been pushing the Pentagon to look into the design, construction, and use of small nuclear reactors for the Army. 

Both congressmen have not publicly addressed the need for a multi-Mariana Islands nuclear bomb shelter infrastructure study nor has there been any effort by these congressional leaders to introduce authorization language addressing this huge human health, readiness, and life or death safety issue tied to the increased militarization of our Mariana Island chain. 

President Biden will be the final authority as to whether a small mobile nuclear reactor program will proceed or be cancelled. These congressmen have not talked to President Biden about this very important matter.

May 9, 2022 Posted by | OCEANIA, politics international, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The U.S. Must Take Responsibility for Nuclear Fallout in the Marshall Islands

One conclusion from our work is clear: absent a renewed effort to clean radiation from Bikini, it does not seem likely that people forced from their homes will be able to safely return until the radiation naturally diminishes. This is a process that could take decades if not thousands of years.

The U.S. Must Take Responsibility for Nuclear Fallout in the Marshall Islands, Congress needs to fund independent research on radioactive contamination and how to clean it up   https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-u-s-must-take-responsibility-for-nuclear-fallout-in-the-marshall-islands/, By Hart RapaportIvana Nikolić Hughes on April 4, 2022

In many ways, Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has resurfaced our global nuclear history. Fighting continues near nuclear power plants, including Chernobyl, the site of one of the largest nuclear energy accidents in history, invoking fear of their accidental or intentional weaponization. Russia’s placement of its nuclear weapon arsenal on high alert has unearthed anxieties and memories of the Cold War.

As governments across the world consider their own roles in lessening the risk of nuclear war, the United States cannot excuse itself. We can (and should) talk about stemming a future nuclear impact, but equally important is reckoning with our past. Not only is this reckoning a stark reminder of the dangers of nuclear weapons, but it is also a matter of justice.

Between 1946 and 1958, the U.S. nuclear testing program drenched the Marshall Islands with enough nuclear firepower to equal the energy yield of 7,000 Hiroshima bombs. Cancer rates have doubled in some places, displaced people have waited decades to return to their homes, and radiation still plagues the land and waters of this Pacific-island nation.

The U.S. must prioritize the restoration of these islands and the resettlement of its people as a matter of human rights and environmental justice. We are among the few independent researchers who have studied the radiological conditions on these islands. We call on our government to commit to the kind of research program that will help to uncover the full scope of the existing contamination and how best to mitigate it. What the U.S. has done so far is simply not enough, especially as the Marshall Islands are still a close American ally. We owe them that much.

The weapons tests most gravely affected four atolls in the north of the nation: Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap and Utirik. Testing imposed substantial radiation on these islands, endangering human and other life. In the first two cases, members of the U.S. military resettled communities prior to testing that took place on those atolls, while people on Rongelap and Utirik left after fallout from tests conducted on Bikini, such as the infamous Bravo test, reached them. Today, only Enewetak and Utirik have substantial permanent populations (even while radioactivity remains close at hand for Enewetak residents), while refugees from Bikini and Rongelap, scattered across Majuro, Kili and other islands, in addition to the U.S., have waited for decades to return to their homes.

But the nuclear story of the Marshall Islands is not just one of bygone actions. If the U.S. doesn’t better manage this situation, we could have another radioactive incident on our hands. The structural integrity of the Runit Dome, a concrete shell covering over 100,000 cubic yards of nuclear waste on an island of Enewetak Atoll, is at risk because of rising sea levels. Leakage from the dome—already occurring—is likely to increase and higher tides threaten to break the structure open in the coming decades.

To better understand the effect of nuclear testing on the islands, scientists from the Department of Energy have conducted a wide range of studies, most often on environmental contamination. Members of the military have taken action based on these findings, most notably cleaning up parts of Enewetak Atoll. However, we believe that the DOE’s work has missed critical pieces of the puzzle. For example, its scientists have consistently relied upon simulations rather than direct values of background gamma radiation, the simplest of the measurements one can make. Such a failure has contributed to the mistrust by the Marshallese towards the DOE and its findings, which was borne out of the fact that it was the department’s predecessor, the Atomic Energy Commission, that harmed them in the first place.

We are a member (Rapaport) and the director (Nikolić Hughes) of Columbia University’s K=1 Project, Center for Nuclear Studies. For several years now, our group has gone to the Marshall Islands to research the fallout of this nuclear testing. We have published our findings to ensure that independent, reliable information exists to advise Marshallese communities and leaders so that they can help chart a path forward.

Considerable contamination remains. On islands such as Bikini, the average background gamma radiation is double the maximum value stipulated by an agreement between the governments of the Marshall Islands and United States. This is even without taking into account other pathways that could lead to radiation exposure for the Marshallese. Moreover, our findings, based on gathered data, run contrary to the DOE’s, which rely on simulations that predict far lower radiation levels.

One conclusion from our work is clear: absent a renewed effort to clean radiation from Bikini, it does not seem likely that people forced from their homes will be able to safely return until the radiation naturally diminishes. This is a process that could take decades if not thousands of years. For Rongelap, further research is needed to understand the large amount of background gamma radiation on one of the northern islands, called Naen, as well as the presence of plutonium isotopes in the soil. Although Rongelap was not used as a testing site, it may be that cleanup efforts will be needed there as well, given its proximity to the detonations.

But, beyond plutonium and uranium, what other radioisotopes are at play here? One is strontium-90, which can cause cancer in bones and bone marrow, as well as leukemia. It has long been a source of health concerns at other sites of nuclear disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima. Despite international research interest, U.S. government scientists have largely ignored the effects of strontium-90 in the Marshall Islands. The DOE’s recent report to Congress, for example, mentioned strontium-90 only once. Their recently published data are similarly lacking in an examination of this dangerous nuclear isotope.

In a recent study, we tested sediment from two bomb craters in the northern Marshall Islands, and found consistently high values of strontium-90. Though the presence of this radioisotope in sediment does not neatly translate into contamination in soil or food, the finding does suggest the possibility of danger to ecosystems and people.

The scientific community needs to reexamine the general dismissal of strontium-90, given our findings. More than that, we need a full picture of the extant contamination on these islands, which will require categorical, regularly updated surveys beyond those that have been conducted by the U.S. government. A full understanding of potential dangers to humans, plants and animals would be a first step toward alleviating health impacts and resettling people following appropriate measures.

Unfortunately, a commitment from the United States to both ends of this equation—research and action—does not exist. We call on the federal government to do what it did in the 1970s in Enewetak Atoll. This atoll, home to hundreds of people, was where scientists first tested the hydrogen bomb in 1952. The U.S.-led cleanup was successful; contamination levels in parts of the atoll are now largely below international health guidelines.

Similar success is possible elsewhere in the Marshall Islands. Here’s a playbook for how this could happen. Congress should appropriate funds, and a research agency should initiate a call for proposals to fund independent research (through an agency like the NSF) with three aims:

(1) to further understand the current radiological conditions on Enewetak, Rongelap and elsewhere;

(2) to explore innovations for future cleanup activity on Bikini and possibly elsewhere; researchers and policy makers should look to other nuclear cleanups for methods and technologies that could be employed in the Marshall Islands;

(3) to train Marshallese scientists, such as those working with the nation’s National Nuclear Commission. This point is particularly critical in rebuilding the trust in science and scientists that the U.S. lost in conducting the testing in the first place.

On top of that, we need to modernize cleanup protocols first written in the 1970s to take into consideration the complexity of the radioactive waste involved and the enormous progress in technology developments that has been achieved some 50 years later.  

Wherever nuclear weapons have been used, lives were irrevocably altered. By using the collective work of dozens of researchers, rather than a small group of scientists from the DOE, the world will benefit. Given that other countries engaged in nuclear testing—whether in other Pacific islands or elsewhere—what the U.S. learns about the Marshall Islands can inform remediation efforts the world over. The Marshallese people and other affected communities have been telling us for decades just how dangerous nuclear weapons are. Let’s acknowledge and address their sacrifices and heed their warning before it is too late.

Hart Rapaport is a researcher at Columbia University’s K=1 Project, Center for Nuclear Studies.

Ivana Nikolić Hughes is a senior lecturer in chemistry at Columbia University and the director of Frontiers of Science, a required course for Columbia College students. Ivana is also the director of the K=1 Project, Center for Nuclear Studies.

April 5, 2022 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Greenpeace: Nuclear power is not the solution to Philippines’ energy woes

Greenpeace: Nuclear power is not the solution to PH’s energy woes,   https://opinion.inquirer.net/151278/greenpeace-nuclear-power-is-not-the-solution-to-phs-energy-woes

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 04:05 AM March 22, 2022

We are writing to respond to Solita Monsod’s two recent columns on nuclear power and the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP). We believe these columns glossed over several important facts that the nuclear industry also wants to hide from the public eye.

First, nuclear power is not cheap. Costs for radioactive nuclear waste management and storage, decommissioning, and insurance, need to be factored in. Monsod compares nuclear prices to coal and oil, but recent reports by the International Energy Agency and the International Renewable Energy Agency have already confirmed that renewable energy (RE), primarily from solar and wind, is now the cheapest source of electricity by far. Rehabilitating the BNPP won’t be cheap either. Monsod makes a price comparison with new nuclear plants (which are prohibitively expensive) but neglects to make a comparison with RE, whose capital costs are a lot less than that of upgrading the BNPP.

We are writing to respond to Solita Monsod’s two recent columns on nuclear power and the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP). We believe these columns glossed over several important facts that the nuclear industry also wants to hide from the public eye.

First, nuclear power is not cheap. Costs for radioactive nuclear waste management and storage, decommissioning, and insurance, need to be factored in. Monsod compares nuclear prices to coal and oil, but recent reports by the International Energy Agency and the International Renewable Energy Agency have already confirmed that renewable energy (RE), primarily from solar and wind, is now the cheapest source of electricity by far. Rehabilitating the BNPP won’t be cheap either. Monsod makes a price comparison with new nuclear plants (which are prohibitively expensive) but neglects to make a comparison with RE, whose capital costs are a lot less than that of upgrading the BNPP.

There are also hidden costs, such as the costs to health and livelihoods of communities living in the vicinity of these plants, as well as the costs all Filipinos will pay to maintain a regulatory agency. But the biggest hidden cost is the price of a nuclear accident. This cost runs in the trillions of pesos and will affect generations of Filipinos. Neither the nuclear industry nor the government has mentioned anything about how these costs will be paid for should this happen.

Second, nuclear power will not solve our power woes or give us energy security. We still need to import radioactive fuel, so we will be hostage to the price volatility of this commodity. Nuclear proponents also never mention that fuel production is almost a monopoly, dominated by only four companies. This arrangement will lock us into dependence on foreign fuel and companies, where any shortage or increase in demand globally would mean Filipinos will be faced with rising energy costs that the government can’t control.

Third, the BNPP has not been confirmed by any independent study to be safe for operation, and “small modular nuclear reactors” for power generation don’t exist. All the studies so far conducted that have called the BNPP “safe” were undertaken by bodies connected with the industry, and therefore would not be subjective in their assessment. On the other hand, a safety inquiry conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists found more than 4,000 technical defects in the plant. Meanwhile, small modular reactors being promoted by nuclear companies or agencies of Russia and the US are still currently being studied. Should the Philippines take this route, we will be among the first guinea pigs of this human experiment.


Fourth, we’ve never heard anything about permanent storage for radioactive spent fuel from nuclear promoters. The cost for constructing and maintaining this facility will likely be in the trillions of pesos, to be paid for by all Filipinos, not just nuclear power customers. But will the government find a safe place for this deadly waste in the archipelagic and volcanic Philippines? And will there be a local government unit that would willingly accept it? The problem of dealing with nuclear waste is the toxic burden we will leave today’s youth and their children, for them to additionally deal with, alongside climate impacts.

The debt we incurred because of BNPP was gargantuan. It was unfortunate that we paid for what was, in reality, the price of bad energy planning railroaded by a government that was blinded by the false glitter of nuclear power—and the kickbacks an expensive power project would bring. Will we let history repeat itself?

Monsod’s hinayang is for the past—sayang the money we paid for it, she says. It’s true we can’t get it back. But we can prevent Flipinos from bearing the same oppressive burden again. We have the opportunity to harness the cheapest power sources in the world—RE in the form of solar and wind—and redesign our energy system into flexible decentralized grids that are infinitely more efficient than the outdated centralized models reliant on inflexible baseload plants, such as nuclear. This kind of energy planning is smart, and game-changing, and is the real solution to the climate crisis. Mas malaking hinayang if we don’t take this opportunity to transform our energy system now, and create a better energy future for ourselves.

Khevin Yu,

energy transition campaigner

Greenpeace Philippines

khevin.yu@greenpeace.org

March 22, 2022 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Philippines, politics | Leave a comment

US to help Philippines develop nuclear power program; groups push renewable energy instead


US to help Philippines develop nuclear power program; groups push renewable energy instead

Angelica Y. Yang – Philstar.com

March 14, 2022 MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and the United States signed a memorandum of understanding last week to work together to develop the Philippines’ nuclear power program.

The MOU was signed by Energy Undersecretary Gerardo Erguiza and US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Bonnie Jenkins………….

The EO, which was signed on February 28, instructs the DOE to develop and implement the nuclear energy program under the Philippine Energy Plan, a comprehensive energy blueprint which details the energy sector’s goals in achieving a clean energy future. 

Duterte said in the EO that nuclear power is a “viable alternative source” of baseload power that can bridge the gap between rising demand and supply. 

The EO also instructed an interagency body — the Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee —to study the possible use of the $2.2-billion Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, which was mothballed and never refueled.

Public policy think tank InfraWatch PH earlier told Philstar.com that Duterte’s EO comes a little too late as he has only a few months left in his term. This leaves the fate of his nuclear push to his successor who may choose to adopt or reverse the new energy policy. 

‘Nuclear will not solve climate crisis’

Manila-based climate and energy policy group Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities said that, contrary to the government’s claims, nuclear is no better than coal.

“Nuclear is even worse than coal for energy security and self-sufficiency. It has always been plagued with protracted construction timelines and gargantuan costs that require constant massive subsidies,” ICSC Executive Director Red Constantino told Philstar.com over email on Monday.

“[Nuclear] can only operate on a single level and cannot be ramped up or down. It is extremely rigid and completely unfit to respond to the country’s load profile,” he said. 

Constantino said the DOE should take its power sector modernization goals more seriously and prioritize flexible generation by ramping up support for renewable energy.

Last week, activists from environmental group Greenpeace Philippines marched to the DOE and called the push for nuclear power a “questionable energy policy which is the last thing the country needs.”

The protest took place on March 11 during the commemoration of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, which killed at least 20,000 people, contaminated 240,000 square kilometers of land and caused $235 billion (around P12 trillion) of damage. 

“Greenpeace…maintains that nuclear power will not solve the climate crisis. The entire nuclear power plant life cycle contributes significantly to climate change, and these facilities take an average of 10 years to build,” the group said in a statement. 

Citing findings by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Greenpeace said humanity only has until 2030 to keep the global temperature rise within 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

“Setting up the country’s nuclear program and building a plant will take decades. Meanwhile, Filipinos will continue to suffer from climate impacts,” it said.

nstead of focusing on a nuclear policy, the current administration should have instead doubled its efforts to ensure that renewable energy “gets a better foothold” in the country’s energy future, according to Greenpeace Campaigner Khevin Yu.  https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2022/03/14/2167242/us-help-philippines-develop-nuclear-power-program-groups-push-renewable-energy-instead

March 15, 2022 Posted by | Philippines, politics international | Leave a comment

Philippines: the case against coal, other fossil fuels and nuclear power

Building a nuclear power plant will only further burden Filipino consumers economically and expose the country and citizens to more health hazards, contamination and disaster risks.Nuclear energy is the most expensive and most dangerous source of electricity. Contrary to others’ expectations, nuclear will actually cost us so much: fuel, expertise and technologies all have to be imported overseas. That’s aside from the huge costs of dealing with the safety risks and disasters associated with nuclear power plants.

 By Ludwig Federigan, Manila Times, February 12, 2022, The author is the executive director of the Young Environmental Forum and a nonresident fellow of the Stratbase ADR Institute. He ranks 236th among global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) influencers, according to the Taking Action Online. You can email him at ludwig.federigan@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at @WiggyFederigan

GROWTH is difficult to imagine without energy and energy that does not take the needs of future generations into consideration can only destroy and not build………The Philippines has enough renewable resources to meet its power needs but some are unevenly distributed.

Some locations may not be as well-endowed. Geographic features, such as mountains, may cause clouds to appear more often and block sunlight. Others may disrupt wind flows, making it harder to generate electricity from the wind.The solution in such cases is to import power from nearby areas better endowed with renewable sources.

 Given that we can be self-sufficient in renewable electricity nationwide, less endowed areas should not have to look too far to source electricity. This is no different from what we do today when we construct hundred-megawatt and gigawatt-level power plants — these are so widely-spaced apart that they have to export their output to distant  locations, too.

Delivering electricity to localities in need requires transmission and distribution lines. Thus, even where renewables make it possible for more households and communities to consume electricity at the point it is generated, we still need transmission infrastructure to support less endowed localities.The importance given to baseload plants — plants that provide a steady output 24/7 — is an outdated idea. It was useful in the past when renewables were very expensive but is less so today in an era of cheap renewables. It is possible to cope with the variable output of solar panels and wind turbines in the same way that banks cope with the inherent unpredictability of deposits and withdrawals.

The claim that renewable electricity is too expensive to compete with fossil fuels might have been valid a few years ago. It is not so true today. Various case studies have already shown how rooftop solar is cheaper than grid electricity in most parts of the country. Of course, if consumers still think otherwise, then the market for renewables will remain  sluggish.

What is needed at this point is for the policymakers, academics, media and the public to be better informed about the state of prices. This is something that can be done by suppliers and the government. Unfortunately, too many  policymakers, academics and media people still think that “solar is expensive.”

………………The government must do more to support renewable energy (RE). When people say RE is expensive, it’s in large part because it takes so many permits and many years to develop a project in the country. Many of the steps are unnecessary and sometimes are subject to discretion and abuse of public officials. If we cut this red tape, it will decrease the cost and risks of development, allow more local and foreign companies to compete, and reduce costs  for all consumers.

On nuclear power

Building a nuclear power plant will only further burden Filipino consumers economically and expose the country and citizens to more health hazards, contamination and disaster risks.Nuclear energy is the most expensive and most dangerous source of electricity. Contrary to others’ expectations, nuclear will actually cost us so much: fuel, expertise and technologies all have to be imported overseas. That’s aside from the huge costs of dealing with the safety risks and disasters associated with nuclear power plants.

The uranium needed to fuel a nuclear facility will have to be imported as deposits do not exist in the country. Not only will this reduce the country’s energy independence, it will also render the price we pay for power dependent on changes in world uranium prices. Transportation of the fuel is also another cost that has to be shouldered. The costs of building, operating and eventually decommissioning nuclear plants are also much more higher than renewables.Nuclear energy is not clean or truly renewable. While atomic energy can be regenerated, substances such as uranium are finite resources. These materials are also mined, just like fossil fuels, and need further processing before they are  usable. The processing also poses risks for the environment and is likely to contribute to greenhouse gas emissions  rather than mitigate them, as is often claimed by nuclear power proponents…………..

The risk and costs of environmental destruction and the impacts on health and livelihoods outweigh any short-term perceived benefits from nuclear. The government must instead focus on achieving ambitious RE targets and aim for  100-percent RE power generation. We should stop wasting time, money and effort on pursuing nuclear energy, which is a losing proposition for consumers, the economy, and our health and safety. https://www.manilatimes.net/2022/02/12/business/green-industries/the-case-against-coal-other-fossil-fuels-and-nuclear-power/1832623.

February 12, 2022 Posted by | Philippines, politics | 1 Comment

Small island communities – pioneers for sustainability and climate action

Small island communities have often been pioneers for sustainability and
climate action. Are they a snapshot of a greener future, or a distraction
from bigger problems elsewhere?

By 2030, Rathlin wants to be acarbon-neutral island, following in the footsteps of dozens of small
islands around the world taking the fight against climate change into their
own hands by embracing renewable energy, electric vehicles and
sustainability.

To name a few, there’s the Danish island of Samsø, which
relies on wind energy and other renewables for power and heat. Or Tilos in
Greece, which was the first island in the country to become energy
self-sufficient.

Or Jeju, the South Korean holiday island which, like
Rathlin, aims to be carbon neutral by the end of the decade. Some say these
green islands or “eco-islands” are shining examples.

They demonstrate the
power of small communities and act as beacons lighting the way towards a
world less dependent on fossil fuels. But others argue that islands of a
couple of hundred or a few thousand inhabitants are mere drops in the ocean
when rapid, global change is required. Worse, these so-called good examples
might end up distracting mainlanders from their own responsibilities
regarding climate change. Are eco-islands just a waste of time?

 BBC 1st Feb 2022

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20220131-the-worlds-tiny-islands-inspiring-green-action

February 3, 2022 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

What’s the situation of Bikini atoll and its people now?

What Bikini Atoll Looks Like 60 Years Post-Nuclear Testing  https://www.thetravel.com/bikini-atoll-nuclear-testing-can-you-visit-now/

Bikini Atoll sounds like a tropical paradise, but its history includes that of nuclear testing… So, what does it look like six decades following?

BY AARON SPRAYPUBLISHED 1 DAY AGO  Bikini Atoll is an example of a tropical paradise-come-fire-and-brimstone apocalypse. It is a coral reef in the Marshall Islands made up of 23 islands that surround a large central lagoon. After WW2 all of the atoll’s population were forcibly relocated in 1946 to make way for a nuclear testing site for the United States.

Between 1946 and 1958 Bikini Atoll was subjected to 23 nuclear tests by the United States. And here is to be found the sunken American nuclear fleet. Another stunning lagoon to see a ship graveyard is in Truk (Chuuk) Lagoon in Micronesia.

The American authorities had promised the Bikini Atoll’s residents they would be able to return home after they were done nuking their home. Most of the islanders agreed to leave and moved to Rogerik Atoll and then Kili Island. But both of these new islands were unable to sustain them forcing the government to keep giving them aid.

After the end of the nuclear tests, three families were resettled on Bikini Island in 1970 (about 100 residents). But dangerously high levels of contamination were found in the well water and they were evacuated again in 1980.

In the end, the United States paid the islands and their descendants $125 million in compensation.

January 31, 2022 Posted by | environment, OCEANIA, social effects | Leave a comment

Maori workers exposed to radiation in cleaning up USA’s failed nuclear reactor in Antarctica

Detour: Antarctica – Kiwis ‘exposed to radiation’ at Antarctic power plant,  https://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/detour-antarctica-kiwis-exposed-to-radiation-at-antarctic-power-plant/NY5WTQ72JF4OFUW4F35ZSUCB6U/ 8 Jan, 2022 By Thomas Bywater, Thomas Bywater is a writer and digital producer for Herald Travel

In a major new Herald podcast series, Detour: Antarctica, Thomas Bywater goes in search of the white continent’s hidden stories. In this accompanying text series, he reveals a few of his discoveries to whet your appetite for the podcast. You can read them all, and experience a very special visual presentation, by clicking here. To follow Detour: Antarctica, visit iHeartRadio, or wherever you get your podcasts.

The Waitangi Tribunal will consider whether NZ Defence Force personnel were appropriately warned of potential exposure to radiation while working at a decommissioned nuclear reactor in Antarctica.

It’s among a raft of historic claims dating from 1860 to the present day before the Military Veterans Inquiry.

After an initial hearing in 2016, the Waitangi Tribunal last year admitted the Antarctic kaupapa to be considered alongside the other claims.

“It’s been a bloody long journey,” said solicitors Bennion Law, the Wellington firm representing the Antarctic claimants.

Between 1972 and the early 1980s, more than 300 tonnes of radioactive rubble was shipped off the continent via the seasonal resupply link.

Handled by US and New Zealand personnel without properly measuring potential exposure, the submission argues the Crown failed in its duty of care for the largely Māori contingent, including NZ Army Cargo Team One.

“This failure of active protection was and continues to be in breach of Te Tiriti o Waitangi,” reads the submission.

The rubble came from PM3A, a portable nuclear power unit on Ross Island, belonging to the US Navy. Decommissioned in 1972, its checkered 10-year operating history led it to be known as ‘Nukey Poo’ among base inhabitants. After recording 438 operating errors it was shut off for good.

Due to US obligations to the Antarctic Treaty, nuclear waste had to be removed.

Peter Breen, Assistant Base Mechanic at New Zealand’s Scott Base for 1981-82, led the effort to get similar New Zealand stories heard.

He hopes that NZDF personnel involved in the cleanup of Ross Island might get medallic recognition “similar to those who were exposed at Mururoa Atoll”. Sailors were awarded the Special Service Medal Nuclear Testing for observing French bomb sites in the Pacific in 1973, roughly the same time their colleagues were helping clear radioactive material from Antarctica.

A public advisory regarding potential historic radiation exposure at McMurdo Station was published in 2018.

Since 1975 the Waitangi Tribunal has been a permanent commission by the Ministry of Justice to raise Māori claims relating to the Crown’s obligations in the Treaty of Waitangi.

The current Military Veterans’ Kaupapa includes hearings as diverse as the injury of George Nepata while training in Singapore, to the exposure of soldiers to DBP insecticides during the Malayan Emergency.

Commenced in 2014 in the “centenary year of the onset of the First World War” the Māori military veterans inquiry has dragged on to twice the duration of the Great War.

Of the three claimants in the Antarctic veterans’ claim, Edwin (Chaddy) Chadwick, Apiha Papuni and Kelly Tako, only Tako survives.

“We’re obviously concerned with time because we’re losing veterans,” said Bennion Law.

Detour: Antarctica is a New Zealand Herald podcast. You can follow the series on iHeartRadio, Apple PodcastsSpotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

January 8, 2022 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, health, indigenous issues, New Zealand, wastes | Leave a comment

The US Faces Pressure To Do More To Address Its Nuclear Legacy In The Marshall Islands.

The US Faces Pressure To Do More To Address Its Nuclear Legacy In The Marshall Islands,  Civil Beat     By Anita Hofschneider   22 Nov 21,   Marshallese are concerned about continued health effects from Cold War-era nuclear testing as well as a concrete dome in which the atomic waste was stored.

Two Congress members are asking the U.S. Department of Energy to provide more information about the effects of U.S. nuclear waste in the Marshall Islands.

The U.S. conducted 67 nuclear weapons tests in the Marshall Islands from 1946 to 1958, exposing Marshallese people to radiation that continues to have health and environmental implications. The U.S. then stored the atomic waste at Runit Dome, a concrete dome on Enewetak Atoll.

Rep. Katie Porter represents Orange County, California, and is chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in the House Committee on Natural Resources.

She has been seeking more details about the effects of nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands in the wake of a Los Angeles Times investigation that found the U.S. stored nuclear waste from Nevada in Runit Dome without informing the Pacific nation.

In a letter Friday, Porter and Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona asked for documents and correspondence among Department of Energy officials related to a letter that officials sent to the Marshall Islands about the state of nuclear waste in May.

The Department of Energy didn’t respond to a request for comment.

In October, Porter led a congressional hearing regarding concerns about Runit Dome, which is leaking radioactive waste. The Energy Department said in a report last year that the leaking is not significant.

“The U.S. has both a moral and national security imperative to address our nuclear legacy in the Marshall Islands,” Porter said at the hearing, adding that addressing the issue would be in line with the Biden administration’s commitment to racial justice and national security issues in the Pacific………

In their letter, Porter and Grijalva criticized the agency’s lack of response to repeated document requests, raised concerns about conflicting Energy Department testimony and the timing of the department’s May letter.

The U.S. is in the midst of renegotiating a treaty with the Marshall Islands that in part gives the U.S. military strategic denial rights over the country’s surrounding air and waters.

The Congress members described how the U.S. failed to evacuate Marshallese people quickly enough to protect them from the fallout during the 1946-1958 testing, and cited descriptions of how mothers later gave birth to babies with translucent skin and no bones.

A 2014 study analyzed how the radiation exposure in the Marshall Islands increased the risk of certain cancers, especially thyroid cancer.

Broader Concerns

Franscine Anmontha, communication director of the Marshall Islands National Nuclear Commission, said Saturday that the community is concerned about the ongoing health effects of radiation on people not only on the atolls enrolled in the U.S. medical program but on surrounding atolls.

“If you were to ask a group of young Marshallese people if they knew someone with cancer almost 90% of them would raise their hands,” she said. She said the commission wants to bring scientists to the Marshall Islands to analyze the dome so that they don’t have to rely solely on U.S. data……….

Friday’s letter is the second letter this month pressing the Biden administration for more information about the nuclear testing.

Several Congress members — including Hawaii Reps. Ed Case and Kai Kahele — wrote to the White House on Nov. 5 pushing for the appointment of a lead negotiator for treaty discussions who would have the ability to address concerns about nuclear waste.

The lead negotiator “should have the mandate to see that legacy issues related to U.S. nuclear testing in the region are appropriately resolved, including proper environmental protections, clean up, health benefits, and monetary compensation for victims and their descendants,” the lawmakers wrote………….  https://www.civilbeat.org/2021/11/the-us-faces-pressure-to-do-more-to-address-its-nuclear-legacy-in-the-marshall-islands/

November 23, 2021 Posted by | environment, OCEANIA, politics, politics international, USA | Leave a comment