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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

New Zealand looks to accepting climate change refugees

New Zealand considers creating climate change refugee visas https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/31/new-zealand-considers-creating-climate-change-refugee-visas   Minister says experimental humanitarian visa category could be introduced for people displaced by rising seas, Guardian, Charles Anderson, 31 Oct 17, New Zealand’s new government is considering creating a visa category to help relocate Pacific peoples displaced by climate change.

The new category would make official the Green party’s pre-election policy which promised 100 visas for those affected by climate change.

As part of the new Labour-led coalition government, the Green party leader James Shaw was given the role of climate change minister.

He told Radio New Zealand on Tuesday that “an experimental humanitarian visa category” could be implemented for people from the Pacific who are displaced by rising seas resulting from climate change.

“It is a piece of work that we intend to do in partnership with the Pacific islands,” Shaw said.

 Before the election, the Greens also proposed increasing New Zealand’s overall refugee quota from 750 each year to 4,000 places over six years.

Shaw’s announcement comes after the New Zealand immigration and protection tribunal rejected two families from Tuvalu who applied to become refugees in New Zealand due to the impact of climate change.

The families argued rising sea levels, lack of access to clean and sanitary drinking water and Tuvalu’s high unemployment rate as reasons for seeking asylum.

The tribunal ruled they did not risk being persecuted by race, religion, nationality or by membership of a political or religious group under the 1951 refugee convention.

International environmental law expert Associate Professor Alberto Costi, of Victoria University, told the Guardian that the current convention could not accommodate environmental refugees. “The conditions are pretty strict and really apply to persecution. These people who arrive here hoping to seek asylum on environmental grounds are bound to be sent back to their home countries.”

In 2014 Ioane Teitiota, from Kiribati, made headlines after he applied in New Zealand to become the world’s first climate change refugee “on the basis of changes to his environment in Kiribati caused by sea level rise associated with climate change”.

The case was dismissed by New Zealand’s supreme court and Teitiota was deported the following year.

Costi acknowledged Shaw’s proposal would allow that gap in the refugee convention to be filled but said the problem would be legally determining whether an environmental migrant was still able to live in their home country.

“I have sympathy but legally it creates a big debate. There needs to be clear guidelines.”

Costi said there would be a difference in an application from someone from Tarawa in Kiribati, where conditions are obviously worsening every year, to those whose countries are only affected seasonally.

“It’s an idea to be explored. I would welcome more clarity.”

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November 2, 2017 Posted by | climate change, New Zealand | Leave a comment

New govt in New Zealand plans for 100% renewable energy

New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern signs coalition deal, names Winston Peters Deputy PM, ABC News 24 Oct 17,  New Zealand’s incoming Government is hoping to make the nation greener by planting 100 million trees each year, ensuring the electricity grid runs entirely from renewable energy, and spending more money on cycle ways and rail transport.

Key points:

  • Incoming prime minister Jacinda Ardern signs coalition deal with NZ First and the Greens Party
  • Ms Ardern says the country aims to generate 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035
  • She also plans to raise the minimum wage by 27 per cent

Prime minister-elect Jacinda Ardern and NZ First Leader Winston Peters — who will serve as deputy prime minster and foreign affairs minister in the new Government — signed the coalition agreement on Tuesday and outlined their priorities……

Ardern aiming for 100 per cent renewable energy

Ms Ardern’s plan is for New Zealand to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by the year 2050.

Some of the targets will require only incremental changes.

New Zealand already generates about 85 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources including hydroelectric, geothermal and wind.

Ms Ardern plans to increase that to 100 per cent by 2035, in part by investigating whether solar panels can be used atop schools.

She said the country would need to double the amount of trees it plants each year, a goal she said was “absolutely achievable” by using land that was marginal for farming animals.

Her plans also call for the Government’s vehicle fleet to be green within a decade……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-24/new-zealand-jacinda-ardern-signs-coalition-deal-outlines-plans/9082140

October 25, 2017 Posted by | climate change, New Zealand, politics, renewable | Leave a comment

Education on nuclear disarmament – New Zealand is the leader

New Zealand Educates Youth on Nuclear Disarmament, https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/editors/5/nzeducatesyouthonnucleardisarmament/index.html – Hiromi Kurosaka, New Zealand is a staunch advocate of abolishing nuclear arms. Its policy coalesced in the 80s after strong opposition. And as a new generation grows up, the country is still committed to educating them about the horrors of nuclear weapons.

A commemoration of the victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima takes place annually in staunchly anti-nuclear New Zealand. The country adopted an anti-nuclear policy decades ago. Opposition had grown over the years as France repeatedly tested its nuclear weapons in the region’s waters. New Zealand’s policy bans the country from possessing nuclear arms or bringing them into its territory. Nuclear power isn’t used in the country either.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the policy. A school focusing on teaching students the importance of disarmament invited survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima to recount their painful experiences.

15-year-old Yasmin Clements-Levi, who heard the accounts of survivors for the first time, said “I’m really glad that I learned now, really exactly what they’ve gone through and how it affects them to this day.”

The school held a debate to help students think more deeply about the issue. Some of the students were against nuclear weapons. “It’s just horrible — the fact that so many people can die. It’s generally not worth it to have them in the world at all.” “If a terrorist group like ISIS were to get nukes, they could cause infinite destruction.”

Others maintained that they’re necessary. “If you talk about

October 7, 2017 Posted by | New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Auckland commemorates 30 years of nuclear-free New Zealand

Aucklanders celebrate anniversary of nuclear-free New Zealand, 11/06/2017, Newshub staff   It’s been 30 years since New Zealand became the first country in the world to declare itself Nuclear Free.

On Sunday, hundreds formed a human peace symbol at the Auckland Domain, similar to the one made in 1983, in order to commemorate the anniversary of the passing of the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act. …….

The anniversary comes just days before a United Nations conference involving 132 countries which will negotiate a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2017/06/aucklanders-celebrate-anniversary-of-nuclear-free-new-zealand.html

June 12, 2017 Posted by | New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear free New Zealand to hear pioneer antinuclear hero, Helen Caldicott

Helen did not hold back, explaining that nuclear war means “blindness, burning, starvation, disease, lacerations, haemorrhaging, millions of corpses and an epidemic of disease”. Helen’s dramatic and blunt style reduced many in her audiences to tears. She always ended her talks with a call to action – especially to parents – as she strongly believes that nuclear disarmament is “the ultimate medical and parenting issue of our time.”

To those who would claim New Zealand was not a target she had a short reply: “Trident submarines in ports are targeted. They are a first strike target. It is much easier to destroy subs when they are in dock than it is when they are submerged in the ocean.”

The new Labour Government of 1984 passed the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act in 1987, the world’s first national nuclear-free legislation. Dr Helen Caldicott’s influence had culminated in the passage of the cornerstone of New Zealand’s foreign policy.

Caldicott,-Helen-4Marilyn Waring on the Australian hero of nuclear-free New Zealand http://thespinoff.co.nz/society/14-11-2016/the-australian-hero-of-nuclear-free-new-zealand/  November 14, 2016 The former National MP whose decision to support anti-nuclear legislation led to the 1984 snap election writes on the transformative influence of the passionate Australian physician Helen Caldicott, who speaks in Auckland this week

If you were growing up in New Zealand and Australia post World War II, there’s a chance you knew about the United States using the Marshall Islands as a nuclear testing site from 1947 until 1962. In an agreement signed with the United Nations, the US government held the Marshall Islands as a “trust territory” and detonated nuclear devices in this pristine area of the Pacific Ocean – leading, in some instances, to huge levels of radiation fall-out, health effects, and the permanent displacement of many island people. In all, the US government conducted 105 underwater and atmospheric tests. You would have also known that the British conducted seven atmospheric tests between 1956 and 1963 on traditional Aboriginal land, in Maralinga, Australia.

It may be that you read Neville Shute’s 1957 novel On the Beach, in which people in Melbourne, Australia wait for deadly radiation to spread from a Northern Hemisphere nuclear war. This book made a memorable impact on Helen when she read it as a teenager.

Both Helen and I saw Peter Watkin’s The War Game, a BBC documentary drama about nuclear war and the consequences in an English city. In New Zealand the film was restricted for children unless accompanied by an adult, so I had to get my father to take me. The War Game won the Oscar for the best documentary in 1965.

France began its series of over 175 nuclear tests at Mururoa, in the South Pacific, in 1966. At least 140 of these tests were above ground. In 1973, the New Zealand and Australian governments took France to the World Court for continued atmospheric testing, and forced the last tests underground. The testing finally came to an end in 1976.

In New Zealand the US Navy made regular visits between 1976 and 1983 with nuclear-powered and, most likely, nuclear-armed, ships. These visits produced spectacular protest fleets in the Auckland and Wellington harbours, when hundreds of New Zealanders — in yachts of all sizes, in motor boats and canoes, even on surf boards — surrounded the vessels and tried to bring them to a complete stop. By 1978, a campaign began in New Zealand to declare borough and city council areas nuclear-free and, by the early 1980s, this symbolic movement had quickly gained momentum, covering more than two-thirds of the New Zealand population.

Helen Caldicott and I had not met up to this point, but these were shared parts of our history and consciousness when Helen visited New Zealand in 1983. Helen Caldicott graduated with a medical degree from University of Adelaide Medical School in 1961. She moved to the United States, becoming an Instructor in paediatrics at Harvard Medical School and was on the staff of the Children’s Hospital Medical Centre in Boston, Massachusetts. In the late 1970s, Helen became the President of Physicians for Social Responsibility. This group was founded when Helen was finishing medical school, quickly making its mark by documenting the presence of Strontium-90, a highly radioactive waste product of atmospheric nuclear testing, in children’s teeth. The landmark finding eventually led to the Limited Nuclear Test Ban treaty, which ended atmospheric nuclear testing.

But it was the Three Mile Island accident that changed Helen’s life. An equipment failure resulted in a loss of cooling water to the core of a reactor at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Pennsylvania, causing a partial meltdown. Operator failure meant that 700,000 gallons of radioactive cooling water ended up in the basement of the reactor building. It was the most serious nuclear accident to that date in the US Helen published Nuclear Madness the same year. In it she wrote: “As a physician, I contend that nuclear technology threatens life on our planet with extinction. If present trends continue, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink will soon be contaminated with enough radioactive pollutants to pose a potential health hazard far greater than any plague humanity has ever experienced.” In 1980, Helen resigned from her paid work positions to work full time on the prevention of nuclear war.

In 1982, Canadian director Terre Nash filmed a lecture given by Helen Caldicott to a New York state student audience. Nash’s consequent National Film Board of Canada documentary If You Love this Planet was released during the term of US President Ronald Reagan, at the height of Cold War nuclear tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. The US Department of Justice moved quickly to designate the film “foreign propaganda,” bringing a great deal of attention to the film. It went on to win the 1982 Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject. That same year, Helen addressed about 750,000 people in Central Park, New York in the biggest anti-nuke rally in the United States to that date.

In 1983, I was serving as a member of the New Zealand parliament, having been elected eight years earlier at the age of 23. Our parliament established a Disarmament and Arms Control Select Committee to conduct hearings on the possibility of making New Zealand a nuclear-free zone. During this critically important time, Helen was invited to New Zealand on a lecture tour. The documentary If You Love This Planet was shown at her speaking engagements.

I did not get to meet her, nor hear any of her lectures in person, as I was working in parliament every night. But I did follow the media coverage.

Helen told the Listener about having observed five-star generals in US congressional and senate committees complaining that the Russian missiles were bigger than the American ones. “The Russian missiles are very big [and] inaccurate and clumsy. America has very small, very accurate missiles, which are better at killing people and destroying targets,” she explained. A frequent message in her talks to New Zealand audiences was the redundant overkill capacity of both superpowers. Caldicott noted to her audiences that “The US has 30,000 bombs and Russia 20,000.”

I had sat in a New Zealand parliamentary committee hearing some months earlier, when a government colleague, brandishing a centrefold of a Russian submarine, excitedly called for us to “Look at how big it is.” I had thought that no one would believe me if I had repeated such an inane banality – when an adult male was more impressed by the size of the submarine than its capacity to destroy life on this planet.

Helen’s public addresses were grounded in the potential impact of nuclear weapons. “Imagine a 20-megaton bomb targeted on Auckland,” she told audiences in New Zealand. “The explosion, five times the collective energy of all the bombs dropped in the Second World War, digs a hole three-quarters of a mile wide by 800 feet deep and turns people, buildings and dirt into radioactive dust. Everyone up to six miles will be vaporised, and up to 20 miles they will be dead or lethally injured. People will be instantly blinded looking at the blast within 40 miles. Many will be asphyxiated in the fire storm.”

Helen did not hold back, explaining that nuclear war means “blindness, burning, starvation, disease, lacerations, haemorrhaging, millions of corpses and an epidemic of disease”. Helen’s dramatic and blunt style reduced many in her audiences to tears. She always ended her talks with a call to action – especially to parents – as she strongly believes that nuclear disarmament is “the ultimate medical and parenting issue of our time.”

To those who would claim New Zealand was not a target she had a short reply: “Trident submarines in ports are targeted. They are a first strike target. It is much easier to destroy subs when they are in dock than it is when they are submerged in the ocean.”

In 2015, I asked Helen how she managed to deliver such bad news and yet keep her audiences with her. “Being a doctor helps because you have to learn to negotiate with a patient and with language they can understand,” she explained. “You have to convert the medical diagnosis and treatment to lay language. I also have to keep them awake sometimes by letting them laugh because it relieves their tension and because the stuff I say is pretty awful.” Helen told me that she practises “global preventative medicine”.

Helen’s tour through New Zealand in 1983 had a huge, and lasting, impact. At one stop, Helen addressed over 2,000 people at a public event in Auckland. The librarian with whom I corresponded looking for old newspaper reports of Helen’s visit, wrote to me: “Her chillingly detailed description of the effects of a nuclear device detonated over the hall in which we were sitting remains rooted in my psyche to this day! …The other message I most recall is the dichotomy she evoked between the destructive drive of ‘old men’ rulers, the instigators of war, versus the procreative energy of mothers most impelled to oppose them — which, however reductive, retains the compelling logic of a truism!”

Helen’s approach was transformative in New Zealand. Helen’s speaking events packed auditoriums, and overflows of audiences had to be accommodated using loud speaker systems. People responded strongly to this woman, whose life work involved caring for children, speaking about medical effects of fallout, and speaking without the use of the clichéd military and defence ideological rhetoric that treated people as if they were simpletons who couldn’t understand. Her speeches inspired people to act. After Helen spoke, the volume of mail delivered to my parliamentary office increased—particularly from women.

On May 24, 1983, 20,000 women wearing white flowers and armbands and holding banners with peace signs marched quietly up a main street in Auckland to hold a huge rally and call for New Zealand to be nuke-free. It was one of the largest women’s demonstrations in New Zealand’s history. In her book, Peace, Power and Politics – How New Zealand Became Nuclear Free, Maire Leadbetter writes: “I am one of many activists who think of Helen Caldicott’s visit as the point when the peace movement began to grow exponentially … Helen had a magical ability to motivate previously passive citizens to become activists.”

Shortly after Helen’s visit to New Zealand, in 1984, I advised that I intended to vote for the opposition-sponsored nuclear-free New Zealand legislation. This prompted conservative Prime Minister Rob Muldoon to call a snap election. Muldoon told media that my “feminist anti-nuclear stance” threatened his ability to govern.

The new Labour Government of 1984 passed the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act in 1987, the world’s first national nuclear-free legislation. Dr Helen Caldicott’s influence had culminated in the passage of the cornerstone of New Zealand’s foreign policy.

This essay is one of 28 stories by notable women about remarkable women peacemakers, When We Are Bold: Women Who Turn Our Upsidedown World Right, to mark the 10th anniversary of the Nobel Women’s Initiative. Dr Caldicott speaks at AUT on Tuesday November 15.

November 14, 2016 Posted by | history, New Zealand | Leave a comment

New Zealand moves ahead to ratify Paris climate agreement

NZ takes final step on historic climate change agreement, NZ Herald, 

New Zealand’s ambassador in New York, Gerard van Bohemen, was to take the formal step to ratify the agreement at the United Nations overnight.

Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett said it was earlier than anticipated but had been fast-tracked with support of Opposition parties.

That was done to beat the European Union and ensure New Zealand was one of the countries to ratify before the threshold at which the agreement will come into force.

To come into force, at least 55 countries accounting for at least 55 per cent of total global greenhouse gas emissions have to ratify it.

Bennett said the European Union was initially not expected to ratify until next year, but had now moved to do so within the next week. The EU’s entry would push it over the 55 per cent of emissions required.

As a result New Zealand moved its own date forward from November when it had aimed to ratify in time for the next major climate change summit in Marrakesh.

“That means we are part of the first tranche. It is as much symbolic as anything else, to be part of that first tranche. But there have been noises that the ’55-club’ may be able to sit in different committees that are deciding accounting processes round forestry and international trading and that sort of thing.”

As of Tuesday night, 62 of the 191 countries to have signed the Paris Agreement had ratified, accounting for 51.89 per cent of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

They included major emitting countries such as China, the United States, India and Brazil……….http://www.nzherald.co.nz/environment/news/article.cfm?c_id=39&objectid=11722496

October 6, 2016 Posted by | climate change, New Zealand | Leave a comment

New Zealand is proud of its anti nuclear stance, with its victory over USA

N.ZealandNew Zealand set to mark anti-nuclear victory over the United States, ABC News 14 Aug 16 By Veronika Meduna in Wellington New Zealand’s anti-nuclear campaigners are claiming victory against a Goliath.

Key points:

  • The NZ public overwhelmingly supports its anti-nuclear stance
  • The US suspended its ANZUS obligations to NZ after its destroyer was denied access in 1985
  • Peace protests expected when non-nuclear ships visit NZ in November

When the NZ Navy celebrates its 75th birthday in November, US warships will be there. It will be the first time any American military ship has entered a New Zealand port since the country’s controversial anti-nuclear legislation was passed in 1987.

“What this means is that any ship that comes here will be coming on New Zealand’s terms,” says investigative journalist Nicky Hager, a key figure in the anti-nuclear movement at the time.

“Our terms were set 30 years ago with the nuclear-free policy.”

Peace campaigner and former Green MP, Keith Locke, agrees. “It is recognition that most of the New Zealand public does not want nuclear ships and the US cannot get around that,” he says.

Anti-nuclear stance strains relationship with US

The stand taken by the comparatively tiny nation caused a rift between the allies which has lasted three decades, and has been likened to a mouse that roared.

New Zealand’s anti-nuclear movement was spurred to action when France tested nuclear weapons at Mururoa Atoll in French Polynesia in the 1960s. More than 80,000 New Zealanders signed a petition calling for a nuclear-free Southern Hemisphere.

“It was the biggest petition anywhere since the Suffragettes’ campaign of the 1890s,” Mr Locke says.

The anti-nuclear mood gripped the nation. Visiting US warships powered by small nuclear reactors sparked massive protests in the 1970s and 1980s, drawing thousands onto the streets…….

The nuclear ship ban has been a central pillar of New Zealand’s foreign policy ever since.

Warships from other nuclear-weapons states, such as the UK and China, have docked in New Zealand ports because they were prepared to declare their vessels “nuclear-free”.

However, the US stuck rigidly to its policy of “neither confirming nor denying” if a ship was nuclear-armed or powered. And that has kept American naval vessels out…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-13/new-zealand-celebrates-anti-nuclear-victory-over-united-states/7731644

August 14, 2016 Posted by | New Zealand, opposition to nuclear, politics international | Leave a comment

New Zealand has maintained its anti nuclear stance

N.ZealandNZ’s nuclear resolve, Otago Daily Times, 25 Jul 2016 “……In 1987, Labour passed the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act, meeting an election promise.

In a largely symbolic response, the US Congress retaliated with the Broomfield Act, downgrading New Zealand’s status from ally to friend.

Former prime minister David Lange said if the security alliance was the price New Zealand must pay to remain nuclear-free, it was the price the country was prepared to pay.

In 1989, 52% of New Zealanders indicated they would rather break defence ties than admit nuclear-armed ships. By 1990, National had signed up to the anti-nuclear stance.

There the situation has remained until Mr Biden accepted an invitation for the US to send a ship to the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th birthday in November……..

New Zealand is consistently said to have made a difference in peace-keeping activities around the world, being an independent thinker when it comes to solving complex security issues.

New Zealand is part of the Five Eyes intelligence sharing network.

Although New Zealand is not seen as reliable as Australia as an ally, it does have qualities which it can bring to any situation.

So despite the urging of Mr Key, the return to New Zealand waters by a US ship in November cannot be taken lightly. It is a win for the resolve of Kiwis to keep this country nuclear free.

It is not known if the US ship will be a warship or something tamer.

Under New Zealand’s law, Mr Key has to sign a declaration he is satisfied the ship complies with New Zealand law, something he says he has done about 40 times since he became prime minister.

Publicly available information will make it possible for watchers of maritime issues to identify if the ship is nuclear-armed or nuclear-powered……..http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/editorial/391403/nz-s-nuclear-resolve

July 25, 2016 Posted by | New Zealand, politics international | Leave a comment

New Zealand has been well served by its nuclear-free policy

N.ZealandNuclear-free has ‘served us well’ – Geoffrey Palmer, Radio New Zealand, 22 July 16 An architect of New Zealand’s once contentious anti-nuclear law says it remains the right approach for the country.

The law is in the spotlight as preparations begin for the first visit by an American warship since the landmark legislation was passed in 1987.

Under the law, the Prime Minister must make an assessment of whether the ship will breach New Zealand’s ban on nuclear weapons and nuclear power.

The US has not sent a naval ship since 1983, as it refuses to say whether its ships are nuclear-armed, as required by New Zealand’s nuclear-free law.

The deputy prime minister at the time the nuclear-free law was passed, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, told Morning Report the policy, and the law behind it, was sound…….http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/309192/nuclear-free-has-‘served-us-well’-geoffrey-palmer

July 22, 2016 Posted by | New Zealand, politics | 1 Comment

New Zealand set to get stream of refugees: Pacific atolls ‘could be underwater by 2050

Pacific atolls ‘could be underwater by 2050  Radio New Zealand Chris Bramwell, Deputy Political Editor – @chrisbramwell, 15 July 16   The government is being warned to prepare for an impending stream of refugees from the Pacific as low-lying atolls are swamped by sea-level rise over the coming decades.

Kiribati 15

Labour is also calling for the government to take a humanitarian approach to people from the region
who are overstayers in New Zealand.

United Nations warns if sea level rise continues at the current rate, the Pacific atolls of Kiribati and Tuvalu could be completely submerged within decades……

Labour’s Su’a William Sio said the people of the Pacific were fighting a losing battle. The government could take a more sympathetic approach to overstayers from Kiribati and Tuvalu and not send them back to islands already under pressure, he said.

“The main islands they’ve got issues not just with climate change, but with population growth and waste on both Tuvalu and Kiribati, so I think we’ve got to seriously look at what we do with that, and my view is that we need to adopt a humanitarian stance with the overstayers that are here.”

Climate change refugees might not be a serious issue now, but they would become one, he said.

“The overwhelming scientific evidence is telling us these islands will be underwater by 2050 or 2070, so we actually do need to have a strategic long term plan in preparation to help these islanders because we can’t just sit around once those islands are underwater.”…..http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/308703/pacific-atolls-could-be-underwater-by-2050

July 16, 2016 Posted by | climate change, New Zealand, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Workers on strike at Hanford Nuclear Reservation due to health concerns

Hanford buried Tranuranic wasteWork stoppage continues at Hanford Nuclear Reservation http://q13fox.com/2016/07/12/work-stoppage-continues-at-hanford-nuclear-reservation/ JULY 12, 2016, BY  SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A rare work stoppage continues by some Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers who contend that radioactive wastes left from the production of nuclear weapons are making them sick.

Union president Dave Molnaa, who ordered the work stoppage, said it will continue until all employees are provided with bottled air when working around all of the underground nuclear waste storage tanks on the Hanford site.

Workers have contended for years that chemical vapors escaping from the tanks are making them sick.

The steel tanks, some dating back to World War II, contain wastes created by the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons.

The Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council, a coalition of 15 unions that represent workers on the site near Richland, issued the “stop work” order on Monday morning.

July 13, 2016 Posted by | employment, health, New Zealand | Leave a comment

New Zealanders’ anti-nuclear weapon win

David-&-GoliathNZers celebrate anti-nuclear weapon win, News Hub NZ,  9 Jul 2016 People in Christchurch have reflected on how “a little peace group” in their city defied the world’s most powerful nations to win a court case that triggered cuts in the world’s nuclear arsenal.

Events were held in Christchurch on Friday to mark 20 years since a historic judgment by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), ruling that the threat, let alone the use, of nuclear weapons was generally illegal.

Its decision was sparked by the World Court Project, an international campaign pioneered by New Zealanders.

Professor Paul Millar sums it up as an “important piece of history no one knows about”. Since then the number of nuclear weapons globally has fallen to 15,000 from 70,000.

It’s a story of how “citizen pressure” can change what politicians do, Dr Millar says.

Dr Kate Dewes was a housewife, a mother and a music teacher who went to a talk about peace and decided to do something.

“Kate and others were excited by the possibility and began the World Court Project and it led ultimately to this decision,” Prof Millar says…….http://www.newshub.co.nz/nznews/nzers-celebrate-anti-nuclear-weapon-win-2016070905#axzz4DrMcQTSf

July 8, 2016 Posted by | New Zealand, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Mururoa Nuclear Radiation Report Scheduled for October

Mururoa-test-1971Mururoa Nuclear Radiation Report Scheduled for October http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1509/S00409/mururoa-nuclear-radiation-report-scheduled-for-october.htm
30 September 2015,

An independent report into likely exposure and risk from radiation during the New Zealand government’s 1973 two-frigate protest against French nuclear testing at Mururoa is expected to be released to MNVG Inc in October. 42 years after the event.

The report was commissioned by Veterans Affairs New Zealand (VANZ) in August and is being carried out by Crown research agency Environmental Science and Research Ltd, .it is addressing three issues:• the external dose rate to veterans from nuclear testing; • the internal (perhaps also external) dose rate from seawater used in ships; • hereditary effect on offspring.

Described as “a scientific report written with consideration of a non-specialist/technical audience”, the report is the result of sustained efforts over the last two years by the Mururoa Nuclear Veterans Group Inc (MNVG Inc) MNVG Inc President, Wayne O’Donnell, says the group – formed in 2013 and registered as a legal society – has been monitoring the health of the veterans, their children and grandchildren, and is establishing a trust fund to enable the medical testing of the veterans’ children and grandchildren, and to help those in need.

He says the report stems from the MNVG Inc’s meetings with Veterans Affairs Minister Craig Foss and VANZ in May. Following that meeting, Foss directed VANZ to commission an independent examination of the issues.

O’Donnell says Foss and Head of Veterans Affairs New Zealand, Jackie Couchman – both relatively new to their positions – have proved far more receptive and open to looking at the issues than their predecessors.

He says the group hopes the results of this work “will establish the truth of the genetic transfer of illnesses related to the nuclear exposure encountered by the crews”.

“We wanted to get it recognised as an issue, and ideally, to get help from the Government in funding research and establishing a Health Trust Fund.”

New Zealand’s protest in 1973 attracted international attention and helped force the French to switch to underground testing.

Around 500 crew, observers (including a government minister, Fraser Colman) and news media sailed aboard HMNZS Canterbury and HMNZS Otago to witness two atmospheric nuclear tests at Mururoa Atoll. HMAS Supply, with a crew of 200 plus, was also deployed into the radiated waters by the Royal Australian Navy to replenish the frigates with Fuel and Food during the deployment. To date these Australian Sailors have not been recognised or offered Health Assistance in relation to their deployment by the Australian Government.

A number of Mururoa veterans – and some of their children – have died at an early age.

MNVG Inc says there has also been a significant number of miscarriages, stillborn children, and children born with deformities or health problems.

The group has been searching for veterans and their descendants to contribute to the research. However, the search has been complicated by the lack of complete data on who was on board the frigates. While MNVG Inc have a full list for Canterbury, no such list can be found within NZDEF Records or archives for Otago.

Contact has been lost with some of the widows and children of those who have died, says O’Donnell. “We need to make contact with these people so that they can be informed of any findings, be part of the testing but most of all receive the duty of care they are entitled to. We also need to record any medical issues suffered by the generational children of the nuclear veterans. Not just now but in future generations.”

At the end of June 2015, 93 veterans who served at Mururoa were receiving a War Disablement Pension under the Veterans’ Support Act. A list of “conclusively presumed conditions” supports veterans of Pacific testing. A veteran diagnosed with a disability on the list is entitled to free medical treatment.

“This number of 93 is minimal, why ?, simply because many Veterans do not know what they are entitled to and there has been no proactive action taken to locate and inform them in the past. Some of our shipmates are simply living with their health issues and eventually dying, totally unaware of the Duty of Care they are entitled to”, Says O’Donnell.

Until now the New Zealand government has taken the position that the available evidence indicated Mururoa veterans were not exposed to harmful doses of ionising radiation in the frigates, neither of which came within 20 nautical miles – the minimum safe distance – of a detonation. However they did sail thru the contaminated cloud and fallout on more than one occasion and drew contaminated water into the ships.

O’Donnell, who was a navy marine engineer and diver, says it is not just a matter of direct exposure to radiation. He says seawater was collected and desalinated to provide drinking water, and food was stored in lockers on the upper deck in direct exposure to any and all fallout and salt water contamination..

“This water had been radiated for years and years. The testing of samples showed that it had high levels. We were ingesting it”.

He says the concern should be whether radiation was involved, not how much: “Any radiation is too much.”

Mururoa Nuclear veterans and families have been waiting 42 years and look forward to the report and further communications with both the Government and VANZ.

September 30, 2015 Posted by | health, New Zealand | Leave a comment

Australia’s and New Zealand’s Prime Ministers just don’t care about Pacific Islands with sea levels rising

Abbott-fiddling-global-warmTony Abbott faces down Pacific island nations’ calls for tougher action on climate change
ABC Radio AM  By Eric Tlozek in Port Moresby, 11 Sept 15  
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has held his Government’s line on climate change despite pleas from low-lying Pacific island nations for a stronger stance on emissions and temperature rises.

Both Mr Abbott and New Zealand prime minister John Key refused to go further than their existing commitments on global warming at the Pacific Islands Forum in Port Moresby.

Some Pacific island leaders say they are disappointed in the leaders for putting economic growth ahead of the survival of communities in small Pacific nations.

Kiribati 15

“Australia and New Zealand have made no additional commitments when it comes to climate change,” Mr Abbott told reporters after the meeting last night……….

Pacific island nations had said the meeting was their last chance to highlight the threat they face from climate change, before the UN Climate Conference in Paris.The Australian response disappointed leaders who say some people are already being forced out of their homes by rising salinity, lack of water, or damage from severe storms or high tides………http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-11/pacific-leaders-fail-to-reach-consensus-on-climate-change/6767038

September 14, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, New Zealand, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

NRC approves Maryland nuclear station, despite safety concerns

NRC says North Anna nuclear plant passes muster , The Daily Progress, Charlottesville, Virginia, September 5, 2015 By Bill McKelway, Richmond Times-Dispatch RICHMOND — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has set aside multiple concerns raised by an anti-nuclear power group about operations at Dominion Energy’s North Anna nuclear generating facility.

In a petition filed four years ago after the meltdown of the Fukushima Dalichi facility in Japan and the 5.8-magnitude Louisa County earthquake that tripped the Louisa County nuclear facility offline, the effort by Maryland-based Beyond Nuclear came up empty-handed.

The NRC notified the group and Dominion late last month that none of 12 areas of concern reviewed by the NRC warranted changes in North Anna operations.

The group sought a re-analysis of the North Anna operation’s design basis for earthquakes, its spent fuel storage facility, its reliability of seismic activity measures, an assessment of boil-off or drain-downs of the spent fuel pool and a review of emergency evacuation plans, among other issues.

The NRC review completed late last month rejected a need for changes in 12 specific areas that the NRC agreed to look into. Beyond Nuclear had sought a suspension of operations at the plant, where a third nuclear facility is in the planning stages………

Paul Gunter, a leader with Beyond Nuclear, said the decision to close out the review “comes as no surprise.”

“The NRC continues to ignore growing concerns about high-density storage and overcrowding of high-level nuclear waste spent fuel pools on site,” he said in a written statement. Radioactivity released by a fire or explosion from a drain-down or boil-off “would produce widespread contamination that would likely overwhelm current emergency plans,” he wrote.

He said the group’s effort at least establishes a “public record for what we believe to be ‘willful negligence’ on the part of the nuclear industry and the current federal regulator.”……….http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/local/nrc-says-north-anna-nuclear-plant-passes-muster/article_d6ea2456-542e-11e5-b7c6-b7cab0860a58.html

September 6, 2015 Posted by | New Zealand, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment