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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

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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

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Just Stood Up to One of The Most Powerful Industries in The World

No more drilling. Af, CARLY CASSELLA, 13 APR 2018   Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is doing everything in her power to wean New Zealand off fossil fuels.

This week, the New Zealand government announced it will no longer grant any new offshore oil exploration permits. The 22 permits that have already been issued are set to expire in 2030.

The new Prime Minister, who took office last year, says this is all part of her aggressive, long-term plan to move towards a carbon-neutral future.

“When it comes to climate change, our plan is clear,” said Ardern, according to The New York Times.

“We are committed to the goal of becoming a net zero emissions economy by 2050.”

Ardern added that her ultimate goal is to switch the country’s electricity system to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035.

….. Ardern’s government has promised that “no current” jobs will be lost as a result of the change, which still honors “all agreements with current permit holders.” https://www.scienceaf.com/new-zealand-prime-minister-jacinda-ardern-offshore-drilling#.WuFOjDvAQh0.twitter

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

New Zealand’s new government to ban future offshore oil and gas exploration

FT 12th April 2018 , New Zealand has become one of the world’s first countries to ban future offshore oil and gas exploration in a move heralded by environmental campaigners as a symbolic blow to “Big Oil”.

“There will be no further offshore oil and gas exploration permits granted,” said Jacinda Ardern, New
Zealand’s prime minister, on Thursday. “We must take this step as part of
our package of measures to tackle climate change,” she said.

The South Pacific nation’s ban is an important policy move at a time when nations are
exploring how to comply with their requirements under the Paris climate
change agreement.France, Belize and Costa Rica have already announced bans
on either fossil fuel exploration or production, although these are largely
symbolic as none are ma jor oil producers.

However, the policy shift announced by Prime Minister Ms Ardern marks a change in direction for
New Zealand, which under the previous conservative government prioritised
fossil fuel exploration to help the economy grow.
https://www.ft.com/content/d91e9864-3ded-11e8-b7e0-52972418fec4

April 14, 2018 Posted by | climate change, New Zealand, politics | Leave a comment

Cancer epidemic: health and environmental toll of U.S. military operations on Terceira Island in the Azores

Anti-Nuclear Movement Founder Backs Cancer Crisis Clean-Up at US Base in Azores,  1 March 2018 , WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The cancer epidemic sweeping Terceira Island in the Azores, home to the US Air Base at Lajes, is a health crisis that requires an immediate environmental cleanup, Dr. Helen Caldicott, founder of a Nobel Peace Prize anti-nuclear movement told Sputnik.

March 3, 2018 Posted by | climate change, health, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

UWI researchers explore risks of medical treatments that involve radiation

Radiation warning!  UWI researchers explore risks of medical treatments that involve radiation http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/radiation-warning-uwi-researchers-explore-risks-of-medical-treatments-that-involve-radiation_125898?profile=1373  BY FALON FOLKES, Staff reporter folkesf@jamaicaobserver.com, February 25, 2018

RESEARCHERS at The University of the West Indies (UWI) are working assiduously to gather information to educate Jamaicans about the risks of treatments that involve too much exposure to radiation.

The medical use of radiation is known for being the largest, man-made contribution to the overall annual radiation dose of humans receive.

An overview of the researchers’ study mentioned that, according to the World Health Organisation, more than 3.6 billion diagnostic examinations, 37 million nuclear medicine procedures and 7.5 million radiotherapy treatments are executed annually.

Head of the materials and Medical Physics Research Group, Professor Mitko Voutchkov, explained to the Jamaica Observer that radiation damages the (deoxyribonucleic acid) of the healthy tissue cells in one’s body.

“Cancer is the tissue cells that don’t have biological function. Interestingly, they grow quickly and the cancer spreads all over the body. So this is the radiation effect-radiation damage the cells,” he said.

In addition to this, radiation can also cause hair loss, redness of the skin, radiation burns, fatigue, and even osteoporosis, which is a medical condition in which a person’s bones become brittle and fragile.

“The risk comes from the medical diagnostics, especially if you go very frequently to CT (computed tomography) scan. If you do one or two per year it’s fine, but sometimes it [one’s illness] will require much more,” Professor Voutchkov explained.

“MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is not so much damaging. If they can have an MRI instead of CT scan, let them choose that,” he added.

With the rapid advancements in technology, modern medical radiation equipment are emitting higher radiation doses. The researchers are concerned about people’s risk of overexposure to this man-made radiation.

The research group’s priority is creating a radiation safety culture in medical radiation imaging and radiotherapy. A part of this mandate requires them to carry out “regular quality control and calibration of medical radiation equipment”.

A survey was done on radiological safety practices in diagnostic centres in Jamaica, to assess their compliance with the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act. Additionally, a control study was conducted in a New York hospital to compare the radiation safety and management practices to that of Jamaica.

The recommendation arising from these studies is that, a management system is needed to keep records of the dose measurements, storage of dosimeters (a device that keeps track of a person’s exposure to radiation), and their safe use.

It is Professor Voutchkov’s notion that Jamaica’s patients need to be educated on the effects that radiation can have on them when they do treatments at diagnostic centres.

“I travel abroad and I see everywhere that they have videos, they have brochures, so the patients, they get prepared, so they accept the risk. Here, we have nothing,” he said.

With adequate information, he told the Sunday Observer, patients can decide whether or not to consult their general practitioner about alternative treatments, where possible.

As for the diagnostic centres, the professor recommends that equipment be checked for radiation levels to which patients are exposed. He asserted that new diagnostic techniques are developed to lower radiation dose, because radiation use during medical diagnostics should be limited.

February 27, 2018 Posted by | OCEANIA, radiation | Leave a comment

High incidence of birth deformities in Pacific communities exposed to French nuclear bomb testing

French overseas minister open to nuclear study https://www.onepng.com/2018/01/french-overseas-minister-open-to.html, 1/26/2018   The French overseas minister says she is not opposed to calls for a study into the possible genetic consequences of the French nuclear weapons tests in French Polynesia.

Annick Girardin has told journalists in Tahiti that there will be an answer to the recently raised calls for such a study.Last week, a child psychiatrist, who had worked in French Polynesia for years, suggested that an independent investigation be carried out after noticing a high incidence of disturbed and deformed children among the off-spring of people exposed to radiation from the atmospheric tests.

Girardin has acknowledged the concerns, saying it has to be established how to deal with the question and to see if it is possible to work on it with other countries.

The minister has restated that the former president Francois Hollande recognised two years ago in Papeete the French legacy and assumed responsibility.

She has also launched a project in Papeete to build an institute of archives and documents related to the tests.
She has also frozen the sale of land in the city previously used by the navy for its command for it to be able to be used for a memorial site.The head of the nuclear test veteran’s organisation Roland Oldham is dismissive, saying this will only see the light of day once people are dead.

He has continued to urge Paris to compensate the nuclear test victims suffering from poor health.

Until 2009, France claimed its weapons tests were clean but then passed a law accepting compensation demands.

Hundreds of applications have been filed since but almost all have been thrown out.

January 29, 2018 Posted by | children, France, OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Sea level rise, nuclear trash – Pacific islanders tragedy – only New Zealand offers help

Guano, Nuclear Testing, Chemical Weapons   Another guano claim converted for U.S. military use is Johnston Atoll (Kamala), located about 800 miles southwest of Honolulu.

One phase of expansion on Johnston Island involved construction of a launch pad for high-altitude missile tests for Operation Dominic in the 1960s. Two of the tests were aborted, with radioactive contamination falling on the runway. Forty years later, in 2002, the Air Force “finished burying thousands of cubic meters of plutonium-contaminated waste in a 25-acre landfill on the atoll.”

The question, then, is not when will islands be submerged, but when will sea-level rise make life on low-lying islands impossible.

The answer to that question is close at hand for a number of Pacific islands.

Perhaps the biggest legal stride in New Zealand is Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s recent announcement of plans for a special refugee visa for Pacific Islanders, starting with 100 places annually. “We are anchored in the Pacific,” Ardern told reporters. “Surrounding us are a number of nations, not least ourselves, who will be dramatically impacted by the effects of climate change. I see it as a personal and national responsibility to do our part.”

American Polynesia, Rising Seas and Relocation, By Laray Polk, Global Research, January 06, 2018 The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus 22 December 2017 In the next 30 to 50 years, rising sea levels caused by global warming will subsume low-lying islands in the Pacific Ocean. Inhabitants will have to relocate, but there are few choices. Among nations (with the exception of Fiji and New Zealand) there is little preparation for the inevitable migration of Pacific Islanders. Which nations should commit to the processes of equitable relocation?

 

January 20, 2018 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA, wastes | Leave a comment

France to study effects of nuclear testing on 21,000 nuclear test veterans

Ed. note. Incidentally, this is the period during which Professor Ernest Titterton managed to cancel testing of of radioactive fallout to the East coast of Australia

France to study nuclear test veterans, https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/347025/france-to-study-nuclear-test-veterans Reports from French Polynesia say the French government will launch an epidemiological study of 21,000 nuclear test veterans. According to Radio1 in Tahiti, the defence ministry will test all those whose exposure to radiation was measured between 1966 and 1996 – the period during which France tested 193 atomic bombs.

The study is to update the findings of two previous studies into mortality and morbidity.

The first found that by the end of 2008 more than 5,500 had died.

The study of the remaining 21,000 veterans is to help improve assessing their health care risks.

December 27, 2017 Posted by | France, health, OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

For the Philippines the low cost, high-value option is renewable energy

Renewable energy – the low cost, high-value option for the Philippines, Manila BulletinBy Eddie O’Connor, Chairman, Global Wind Energy Council and Mainstream Renewable Power “…..One of the perceptions about renewable energy and the transition to a low-carbon economy is that this technology will impose costs on the Philippines that it cannot afford, particularly in the generation of electricity where coal will have to be replaced by wind and solar power.In fact, renewable energy will save the Philippines money, make its economy more competitive, and boost living standards and consumer purchasing power. At the conference the chairman of the National Renewable Energy Board presented a study by the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation that showed that far from being a burden on the country, the existing renewable energy programme has reduced the overall cost of electricity.

This is because unlike coal or gas power, the variable cost of production for wind or solar energy is zero. This happens because the fuel – the wind and the sun – is free. This electricity is used first to satisfy customer demand, before the system operator brings on more expensive coal power. The overall effect is to depress the wholesale cost of electricity on the spot market.

By using this wind and solar power, the grid operator avoids the cost of operating the more expensive coal and oil plant. Over the three years of the PEMC study from 2014-2017 this avoided cost was 18.7billion pesos; a very significant sum………

n the Philippines all the customer sees on their bill is the cost of the tariff supporting new wind and solar power. What they don’t see is the overall savings accrued through this reduction in the price of electricity.

Knowing that, despite the cost of the tariff, the introduction of wind and solar power onto the system actually saves the customer money, the government in Ireland continues to support renewable energy, and we now have 22% of our electricity capacity from these two sources of generation.

The Philippines can follow this trajectory and aim to have 25% of its electricity capacity supplied by wind and solar energy in the coming decade. The savings that will accrue to the customer will be considerable. Funds that would otherwise be spent on coal or oil can be invested in other infrastructure. Consumers will have additional spending power. The economy will get an extra boost.

Electricity made from wind and solar does not require any fuel to be bought from abroad. The wind and sun belongs to the country. It will be there forever. It doesn’t matter what external price shocks impact on oil or coal, the wind will blow and the sun will shine and their unit cost will remain at zero.

By moving ahead of its regional ASEAN partners and setting ambitious targets for wind and solar power, the Philippines can also attract investment in the supply chain. Early movers into renewable energy like Brazil, Germany, China and Morocco have created new industries and thousands of new jobs. Why should the Philippines subsidise mining jobs in Australia and Indonesia when it could be building the plant that will supply its own clean energy sectors and those across the region?…..https://news.mb.com.ph/2017/12/21/renewable-energy-the-low-cost-high-value-option-for-the-philippines/

December 22, 2017 Posted by | Philippines, renewable | Leave a comment

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons – a very real issue for the Marshall Islands

Nobel award for ICAN resonates in nuclear-tested Marshall Islands https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2017/12/0e5663e5f728-focus-nobel-award-for-ican-resonates-in-nuclear-tested-marshall-islands.html  Majuro, By Ronron Calunsod, KYODO NEWS –  The awarding of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons is resonating in the Marshall Islands, boosting hopes there will no longer be a repeat of its exposure to radiation as happened when the United States conducted almost 70 nuclear tests here from 1946 up to 1958.

“I am very glad for ICAN, that they received the recognition. I think a nuclear ban treaty is a realistic long-term goal,” President Hilda Heine told Kyodo News in the Pacific island-nation’s capital Majuro, in an interview ahead of last Sunday’s award ceremony that took place in Oslo, Norway, some 12,400 kilometers away.

“It gives countries like the Marshall Islands hope that perhaps, in the future, we would be able to eliminate nuclear (weapons) in the world,” she said.

ICAN, a coalition of nongovernmental organizations from around 100 countries that was founded in 2007 in Australia, was recognized by the Nobel Committee for its efforts that led to the adoption at the United Nations earlier this year of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The treaty, however, still runs short of the required ratification by 50 countries for entry into force, nor does it have the backing of major powers and nuclear weapon states.

Citing data from the Federation of American Scientists, ICAN said close to 15,000 nuclear weapons are possessed by the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.

“It’s disappointing that those nuclear-armed countries are not supportive of the treaty,” lamented Heine whose country, located near the equator in the Micronesia region of the Pacific Ocean, was chosen by the United States as a nuclear test site after World War II, at which time it was under U.S. administrative control.

Among the 67 tests carried out here, the most powerful and most destructive was the Castle Bravo Test on March 1, 1954 on Bikini Atoll, which exposed some islands and their residents, as well as the crew of a Japanese fishing boat, to nuclear radiation.

“Nuclear should be a concern for every country. We had our experience with the nuclear testing, and we know what it can cause, and the effects on the lives of people and property,” Foreign Minister John Silk said in a separate interview.

Silk said that in the current situation where nuclear powers remain outside the treaty, the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN goes “a long way towards promoting public opinion” that may eventually force them “to voluntarily reduce their nuclear weapons, and even come to the table to sign up on the agreement at some point in time.”

“That’s a very hopeful thinking, but I think that’s what everybody wants to see at the end — a world without nuclear weapons,” he said.

Having been exposed to radioactive fallout on her home island of Rongelap, northwest of Majuro, 69-year-old Nerje Joseph could not agree more.

“They took us away (from there) and destroyed our place, our home,” Joseph said of the Americans, in an interview with Kyodo News at a home provided for her close to the western tip of Majuro Atoll.

Amid the ballistic missile and nuclear threats from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un these days, Joseph, who survived thyroid cancer and had two miscarriages caused by radiation exposure, said in jest, “If I were a man, and I had a weapon, I’d shoot him in the forehead!”

On achieving a nuclear-free world, the mother of 10 children and grandmother of a dozen said, “I don’t really know when it’s going to happen, but I have faith that it will happen soon…I don’t want this kind of devastation to continue.”

Fellow fallout victim Lemeyo Abon, 77, also from Rongelap, said more than the compensation she receives from the United States, “what’s important is a place to call home, a place to live freely.”

“The identity of being a Marshallese is gone when you’re moved to another place,” Abon said. “In a way, it took away our identity, and that’s what bothers me most.”

Heine said the Marshall Islands, which created this year a National Nuclear Commission to develop a strategy and plan of action for pursuing justice, will continue to assert to the U.S. government the concerns of the Marshallese people, and also work with the United Nations.

“We think that the settlement is not enough. We think that the U.S. government still owes the Marshallese compensation for their lost land — the fact that people are not back to their land, they are still nomads in their own country, and also the fact that we have high rate of cancer,” Heine said.

“I think they need to compensate the people and the government for these impacts on the people and the country.”

According to the U.S. Embassy in Majuro, the United States has “expressed regret about the Bravo accident when 253 Marshallese were exposed to high doses of radiation.”

It has extended more than $604 million in compensation to affected communities, while a $6.3 million worth of services is annually provided under the Department of Energy Special Medical Care Program and the Environmental Monitoring Program.

Radiation victim Abon, who worries about the future of her seven children and more than 10 grandchildren, remains pessimistic about the prospects for a nuclear-free world “as long as there are selfish people in the world — those that know they have the power, they are smart, and they want to strive to be No. 1.”

But the leader of the tiny nation of around 40,000 people spread across 29 low-lying coral atolls and five islands, with another 20,000 in the United States, sees a glimmer of hope with ICAN’s influential efforts.

“The advocacy and the work that ICAN is doing should continue because I think in the long run, people may change their opinions. If they push the countries to change their opinions, perhaps, there is a future, there is a hope that nuclear-armed countries can actually agree to stop,” Heine said.

December 12, 2017 Posted by | OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment