nuclear-news

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

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

SANTA FE INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL 2018

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

      Oct 12, 2018

NUCLEAR SAVAGE: THE ISLANDS

    OF SECRET PROJECT 4.1  

      Documentary, not rated, 87 minutes

    ATOMIC ARTIST  Short documentary, not rated, 27 minutes

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

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

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

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

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

    Advertisements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Three decades of nuclear tests

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

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

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

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

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

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

    French government group to Mururoa to meet nuclear test veterans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Key points:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The possibility of nuclear weapons in South China Sea worries Philippines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Hiroshima witness urges New Zealand to lead nuclear weapons elimination 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ABOUT THE TREATY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Marshall Islands atomic bombing – the devastation, thde cancer toll

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

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

    By Mark Hodge, 26th June 2018  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “It is a remarkable environment, quite odd.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    New Zealand’s Antarctic veterans are advised on effects of their exposure to nuclear radiation

    New Zealand warns its Antarctic veterans about radiation risks from leaky US Navy reactor  https://www.stripes.com/news/new-zealand-warns-its-antarctic-veterans-about-radiation-risks-from-leaky-us-navy-reactor-1.533546  By SETH ROBSON | STARS AND STRIPES  June 19, 2018

    The New Zealand government is warning personnel who worked in Antarctica in the 1960s and ‘70s about radiation from a leaky U.S. Navy reactor.

    Alerts were posted online by the New Zealand Defence ForceAntarctica New Zealand and other government entities in January and reported by local media last month.

    They advise people to contact the New Zealand Office of Radiation Safety or their doctor if they think they may have been exposed to radiation from the reactor used to power McMurdo Station, Antarctica, from 1962 to 1979.

    The U.S. Department of Defense has assessed the risk of radiation exposure for those who worked near the power plant as low.

    However, the Department of Veterans Affairs ruled in November that retired Navy veteran James Landy’s “esophageal, stomach, liver, and brain and spine cancers, [were] incurred in active duty service.”

    Landy worked at McMurdo as a C-130 flight engineer from 1970 to 1974 and from 1977 to 1981 before dying at age 63 in 2012, said his widow, Pam Landy.

    He had pain in his kidneys and went to the doctor and they sent him to an oncologist who said he had cancer from radiation exposure,” she said in a phone interview Monday from her home in Pensacola, Fla.

    Veterans who served in Antarctica should have been warned about the radiation risk, Pam Landy said.

    “The government knew that thing was there. If they had given people a heads up he could have been diagnosed early and might have a shot at being alive,” she said. “I got a payout from the VA, but it’s a pittance compared to a life.”

    The McMurdo reactor had many malfunctions, but personnel might also have been exposed during its decommissioning when soil and rock from the site was trucked through the base to be shipped off the continent, she said.

    Peter Breen, 64, was a New Zealand Army mechanic about 2 miles from McMurdo at Scott Base from 1981 to 1982. Rock and soil from the reactor site was taken to a wharf in open trucks, and Breen fears he could have been exposed to contaminated dust blown by the wind or on ice harvested from nearby cliffs.

    He’s campaigning for New Zealand Antarctic veterans to be recognized with a medal and offered health checks.

    “It is not compensation that guys are after,” he said in a phone interview from his home in Tauranga, New Zealand. “They want a health-check program.”

    robson.seth@stripes.com
    Twitter: @SethRobson1

    June 20, 2018 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, health, New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment

    Guam wants inclusion in radiation exposure compensation program: U.S. Senate considering this

    S Senate panel to hear Guam’s inclusion in radiation exposure compensation program http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/105237-us-senate-panel-to-hear-guam-s-inclusion-in-radiation-exposure-compensation-program, 15 Jun 2018, Mar-Vic Cagurangan – For Variety HAGÅTÑA — Guam is getting close to achieving its long quest for inclusion in the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.

    June 15, 2018 Posted by | OCEANIA, politics, USA | Leave a comment

    There’s be no escape from the horrible consequences of nuclear war – not even in New Zealand

    According to various experts, New Zealand would indeed likely be the best place to be in the event of a nuclear holocaust. But “best” is a relative term, and this belies just how hellish life could become on one of the world’s last inhabitable countries.

    It’s a reminder that whatever happens on June 12 and at future global nuclear negotiations, New Zealand is not a disinterested bystander – and neither are those around the globe who want to treat this country like their own personal bomb shelter. No one gets to opt out of nuclear war.

    What happens to NZ if global nuclear war breaks out?  News Hub, 4 June 18 Anxiety over nuclear annihilation is lodged in our collective psyche. And fair enough: we’ve blundered our way to the precipice of nuclear warfare so many times by this point that it’s a wonder how we never made it over the edge.

    This month, Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un will, all going well, attempt to alleviate these fears somewhat, in what is arguably the best opportunity in decades to end conflict in the Korean peninsula and drive nuclear tensions down. But even if North Korea successfully de-nuclearises and the US stops its sabre-rattling, the world won’t be safe from the threat of future catastrophe: there remain around 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world today, nearly 14,000 of which are held by Russia and the United States, two countries currently experiencing a renaissance of mutual loathing.

    Of course, the question on everybody’s lips is: should global nuclear war break out, what will happen to New Zealand? We after all currently enjoy the status of being the “bolt hole” for the world’s terrified billionaires, and our geographic distance and general disentanglement from the rest of the world’s geopolitical jostling suggests that should the worst happen, we at the very least won’t be in the firing line.

    This is a small consolation. According to various experts, New Zealand would indeed likely be the best place to be in the event of a nuclear holocaust. But “best” is a relative term, and this belies just how hellish life could become on one of the world’s last inhabitable countries.

    ……… some have tried to map out a potential aftermath. In a 2014 paper for Earth’s Future, a team of scientists attempted to model the effects of a limited, regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan that would see each country use 50 warheads, each with a yield of 15 kilotons, about the same as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

    The results weren’t pretty. Even a “limited” war like this would send five megatonnes of smoke into the stratosphere, heating it by up to 100degC and wiping out most of the earth’s ozone layer for as long as a decade. This means the average burn time in the sun would halve for humans, while the resulting surge of UV radiation would wreak havoc on the world’s vegetation and sealife, including, in the latter case, disrupting the entire food chain of the ocean and damaging marine life in its early, developmental stages.

    More alarming is the fact that the colossal amount of black carbon sitting up in the stratosphere would cause a global nuclear winter, the coldest average surface temperatures in 1,000 years. That means shorter growing seasons and the destruction of crops by killing frosts, which Brian Toon, one of the authors of the report, has said would reduce yields of corn, wheat and rice by 10-40 percent for years afterwards.

    And this is just for a “limited” war.

    “After a full scale nuclear war, temperatures would plunge below Ice Age conditions,” Toon explained to a TED audience earlier this year. “No crops would grow. It’s estimated 90 percent of the population of the planet would starve to death.”

    Where does New Zealand fit into all this? Based on what several experts have told me, there’s good news and bad news.

    The good news is, we would likely be spared the worst consequences of all this. Experts like Toon and Brian Martin, a social scientist at the University of Wollongong who has a PhD in theoretical physics, say that we’d have little to fear from radiation drifting our way. The most harmful isotopes would decay before reaching our shores, and even fallout drifting over from a potential attack on Australia would likely be blown eastward, where it would be rained out.

    It’s a similar story when it comes to surface temperature. According to the 2014 study, the scenario it’s based on would produce a drop of around somewhere between 1 and 1.5 degrees – nothing to sneeze at, but substantially less than the 5-7 degrees below normal predicted in the centres of North America and Eurasia.

    “In New Zealand, you can still be growing crops,” says Michael Mills, an atmospheric scientist at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research, and another of the study’s authors.

    Brian Toon, however, sees a less cheerful forecast in the case of a full-scale nuclear war. “It would cause low light levels and winter conditions in New Zealand for several years, perhaps up to a decade,” he says. “No one has evaluated the impact directly on New Zealand, but I would imagine nothing would grow for several years.”

    ……… It’s a reminder that whatever happens on June 12 and at future global nuclear negotiations, New Zealand is not a disinterested bystander – and neither are those around the globe who want to treat this country like their own personal bomb shelter. No one gets to opt out of nuclear war. https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/06/what-happens-to-nz-if-global-nuclear-war-breaks-out.html

    June 4, 2018 Posted by | New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment

    Philippines consider nuclear revival, but active earthquake fault poses danger

    Philippines mulls nuclear revival, SBS News, 23 May 18  Phillipines holds the only nuclear power plant in Southeast Asia, and some in the power hungry country are looking at reviving the mothballed facility.

    …….Opposition to reviving Manila’s nuclear ambitions remains strong, with advocates citing a reliance on imported uranium, high waste and decommissioning costs, as well as safety concerns.Geologist Kelvin Rodolfo has repeatedly warned against the activation of the Bataan plant, saying it sits on an active earthquake fault that runs through a volcano, currently dormant.

    He would like to see the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) make that judgment. https://www.sbs.com.au/news/philippines-mulls-nuclear-revival

    May 25, 2018 Posted by | Philippines, safety | Leave a comment

    Sea level rise will force evacuation of communities from low-lying islands

    Guardian 25th April 2018 ,Hundreds of thousands of people will be forced from their homes on
    low-lying islands in the next few decades by sea-level rises and the contamination of fresh drinking water sources, scientists have warned.

    A study by researchers at the US Geological Survey (USGS), the Deltares Institute in the Netherlands and Hawaii University has found that many small islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans will be uninhabitable for humans by the middle of this century. That is much earlier than previously thought.

    Experts say the findings underline the looming climate change driven migration crisis that is predicted to see hundreds of millions of people forced from their homes in the coming years. More than half a
    million people around the world live on atoll islands, often extraordinary and beautiful structures based on coral reefs. Their closeness to sea level makes them particularly vulnerable to climate change.
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/25/climate-change-to-drive-migration-from-island-homes-sooner-than-thought

    April 27, 2018 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

    Many low-lying atoll islands could be uninhabitable by mid-21st century 

    https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/ugs-ml042318.php, US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
    Sea-level rise and wave-driven flooding will negatively impact freshwater resources on many low-lying atoll islands in such a way that many could be uninhabitable in just a few decades. According to a new study published in Science Advances, scientists found that such flooding not only will impact terrestrial infrastructure and habitats, but, more importantly, it will also make the limited freshwater resources non-potable and, therefore, directly threaten the sustainability of human populations.

    Most of the world’s atolls are in the Pacific and Indian oceans. The scientists focused on Roi-Namur Island on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands for their site study from November 2013 to May 2015. The Republic of the Marshall Islands has more than 1,100 low-lying islands on 29 atolls, is home for numerous island nations and hundreds of thousands of people.

    Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, Deltares, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the University of Hawai?i at Mānoa used a variety of climate-change scenarios to project the impact of sea-level rise and wave-driven flooding on atoll infrastructure and freshwater availability. The approach and findings in this study can serve as a proxy for atolls around the world, most of which have a similar morphology and structure, including, on average, even lower land elevations.

    “The tipping point when potable groundwater on the majority of atoll islands will be unavailable is projected to be reached no later than the middle of the 21st century,” said Curt Storlazzi, USGS geologist and lead author of the new report.

    Sea levels are rising, with the highest rates in the tropics, where thousands of low-lying coral atoll islands are located. Previous studies on the resilience of these islands to sea-level rise projected they will experience minimal inundation impacts until at least the end of the 21st century. However, those previous studies did not take into account the additional hazard of wave-driven overwash (storm waters and waves that wash up and over the low-lying island) nor its impact on freshwater availability.

    “Such information is key to assess multiple hazards and prioritize efforts to reduce risk and increase the resiliency of atoll islands’ communities around the globe,” said Storlazzi.

    These findings have relevance not only to populated atoll islands in the Marshall Islands, but also to those in the Caroline Islands, Cook Islands, Gilbert Islands, Line Islands, Society Islands, Spratly Islands, Maldives, Seychelles, and Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

    Thus, the study scientists project that, based on current global greenhouse gas emission rates, the interactions between sea-level rise and wave dynamics over coral reefs will lead to an annual wave-driven overwash of most atoll islands by the mid-21st century. Such annual flooding would result in the islands becoming uninhabitable due to frequent damage to infrastructure and the inability of their freshwater resources to recover between overwash events.

    The primary source of freshwater for populated atoll islands is rain that soaks into the ground and remains there as a layer of fresh groundwater that floats on top of denser saltwater. As atoll islands come to be overwashed annually, on average, in the next few decades (assuming current greenhouse gas emission rates), flooding impacts to infrastructure and the loss of freshwater resources would make human habitation difficult in most locations beginning between the 2030s to 2060s, requiring the relocation of island inhabitants or significant financial investments in new infrastructure.

    “The overwash events generally result in salty ocean water seeping into the ground and contaminating the freshwater aquifer. Rainfall later in the year is not enough to flush out the saltwater and refresh the island’s water supply before the next year’s storms arrive repeating the overwash events,” explained Stephen Gingerich, USGS hydrologist and co-author of the new report.

    The full report, “Most Atolls will be uninhabitable by the mid-21st century due to sea-level rise exacerbating wave-driven flooding,” in Science Advances is available online.

    April 27, 2018 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment