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Buried in the sand of Southern Algeria – the radioactive pollution from French nuclear tests





Algérie: sous le sable, les déchets nucléaires français,  translation by


Hervé CourtoisC.A.N. Coalition Against Nukes, 2 July 21

This is one of the major issues in the reconciliation of memories between France and Algeria. A subject that has long remained buried in the sands of the Sahara: the pollution of southern Algeria by French nuclear tests.

More than fifty years after the last test in 1966, Algiers has just created an agency for the rehabilitation of former nuc;ea test sites.

The Propaganda

From 1960 to 1966, the French army conducted 17 nuclear tests in southern Algeria, on the sites of Reggane and In Ekker. At the time, Albdekrim Touhami, a native of Tamanrasset, was a teenager. In Ekker is 150 kilometers north. He remembers the installation of the French military base, seen then as a welcome source of employment.”For us, it was a godsend. Everyone came running to get a job as a laborer or simple worker on the site. We didn’t think that this bomb was going to be a disaster for the region. We were told, “Here it is, the bomb will go off at such and such a time. You may feel some shaking, like an earthquake. But don’t worry, there will be no problem.” “

Fifteen years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the danger of nuclear weapons is known. Southern Algeria is chosen to conduct these tests, because the area is considered quite deserted compared to the Southern Alps or Corsica, while being close to the French mainland.

France wanted to quickly demonstrate its capacity to use the bomb in the context of the Cold War and the race for nuclear deterrence.”France wanted to catch up with the other nuclear powers, the United States, Russia and the United Kingdom, to remain in what was called at the time “the big league”. This partly explains why the priority was the result, not the concern about the environmental impact or the collateral damage to the population. The priority was to explode the bomb,” recalls Patrice Bouveret, co-founder of the Observatoire de l’armement, an independent center of expertise.A highly polluted area .

In1962, Algeria became independent. The tests continued. Most of them, eleven, were carried out between 1962 and 1966 and therefore with the agreement of the new Algerian authorities. Systematically, the waste generated by these tests was buried, explains Jean-Marie Collin, spokesperson for Ican-France (International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons) who published a study with Patrice Bouveret, “Under the sand, the radioactivity! “.

Very clearly, France has a desire to bury,” emphasizes Jean-Marie Collin. It considers the desert as an ocean, an ocean of sand, and it buries everything that is likely to be contaminated. Algerian independence and the fact that France left Algeria under rather complicated conditions did not play in favor of depollution. On the contrary, even more waste was left behind. “Waste that goes from the simple screwdriver to the tank exposed to test the resistance of military equipment to the atomic bomb. Another pollution linked to nuclear tests, the accidental one during the Berryl underground test in 1962.

The reason for the tests was that the nuclear technology was not fully mastered and therefore there were accidents that released radioactive lava,” continues the Ican-France spokesman. The test concerned was in 1962. We were there in 2007. The scientists measured the radioactivity, which was extremely high, and they told us: “You should not stay more than twenty minutes on the spot, if you do not want to absorb radioactivity that is dangerous for your body. “

Only one victim compensated.

Contaminated rocks left in the open air, in areas of passage. Contaminated sand disseminated by the winds beyond the Algerian borders, particularly in neighboring Niger. For about fifteen years, in the area of Tamanrasset and with very few means, Abdelkrim Touhami and his association Taourirt tries to draw up a sanitary assessment.We learned that many people died of suspicious deaths,” he confides. People were dying little by little. Babies were being born with deformities. Cancers were occurring through this disaster. “

To date, no official census of the people exposed, whether French or Algerian. Only one Algerian victim has been compensated under the Morin Law (2010). The decree of May 31 creating an agency for the rehabilitation of test sites in Algeria is an important step for Jean-Marie Collin of Ican-France.

Until now,” he explains, “the Algerian state created a certain surveillance zone on these sites, but there had never been any action to protect these zones in order to avoid any real access. This decree opens up the possibility that international organizations such as States could come and help rehabilitate these nuclear test sites. What we have at the same time are discussions between France and Algeria, officially revealed in April, whereas until then, these discussions did not officially exist.

“These discussions took place within the framework of the Franco-Algerian working group on nuclear tests, created in 2008 under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy. This issue of rehabilitation was also included in the report by Benjamin Stora on the reconciliation of memories between France and Algeria. Algiers must ratify the Tian, the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, to which France is not a signatory, before mid-October.

.Supporters of the rehabilitation of former nuclear test sites want a joint Franco-Algerian mission to be sent to map the polluted sites in order to circumscribe them, and eventually treat them so that the inhabitants are no longer exposed to radioactivity. . https://www.rfi.fr/fr/afrique/20210629-alg%C3%A9rie-sous-le-sable-les-d%C3%A9chets-nucl%C3%A9aires-fran%C3%A7ais?fbclid=IwAR2Gn0qmn8xngwhyIaCBN1ut9lU9w_YwziHLSr9S2SkwmBGc9oaWL0f18As

July 3, 2021 Posted by | AFRICA, environment, France, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

South Africa the only country to have dismantled its nuclear weapons capability,

SA the only country to have dismantled its nuclear weapons capability, Robin Möser 25 Jun 2021   ext month, on 10 July, marks the 30th anniversary of South Africa’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), but it seems this step will not receive the world’s attention it should get. South Africa is still the only example of a state that has given up its indigenously developed nuclear weapons arsenal and subsequently adhered to nonproliferation norms.

Today, developments concerning continuous missile and nuclear tests in North Korea, the United States’ unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran in 2018, and the last-minute extension of the New Start Treaty between the US and Russia in February this year demonstrate the urgency of discussing nuclear disarmament on a global scale.

Revisiting the unique South African case of nuclear disarmament and NPT accession provides a crucial starting point, as it demonstrates that disarmament is possible. Moreover, the South African example shows that to forgo nuclear weapons needs both domestic political preconditions and an international context perceived to be conducive. It cannot succeed solely based on the moral conviction of political leaders that disarmament is good. The actions taken by the FW De Klerk government between 1989 and 1991 illustrate that his decisions gravitated to assessing domestic political risks and potential benefits that the decision to disarm and sign the NPT would bring for his government………………………. https://mg.co.za/opinion/2021-06-25-sa-the-only-country-to-have-dismantled-its-nuclear-weapons-capability

June 26, 2021 Posted by | politics international, South Africa, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Long legacy of France’s nuclear tests in Algeria

Abdelkrim touhami was still a teenager when, on May 1st 1962, French
officials in Algeria told him and his neighbours to leave their homes in
the southern city of Tamanrasset. It was just a precaution.

France wasabout to detonate an atom bomb, known as Beryl, in the desert some 150km
away. The blast would be contained underground. Two French ministers were
there to witness the test.

But things did not go as planned. Theunderground shaft at the blast site was not properly sealed. The mountain above the site cracked and black smoke spread everywhere, says Mr Touhami.
The ministers (and everyone else nearby) ran as radioactive particles
leaked into the air. Nevertheless, in the months and years after, locals
would go to the area to recover scrap metal from the blast for use in their
homes.

 Economist 24th June 2021

 https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2021/06/24/the-long-legacy-of-frances-nuclear-tests-in-algeria

June 26, 2021 Posted by | AFRICA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

‘Koeberg Nuclear Plant is like an old car that simply can’t be kept on the road’

Cape Talk,    7 June 2021, by Barbara Friedman    Refilwe Moloto speaks to Hilton Trollip, a research fellow in energy at UCT’s Global Risk Governance Programme.

  • Koeberg GM suspended but energy expert says the nuclear power station is past its sell-by date
  • Researcher Hilton Trollip is skeptical about refurbishing Koeberg
  • All coal-firing and nuclear plants need to end and move over to renewable sources, says Trollip

On Friday the general manager of Koeberg Nuclear Power Station was replaced by Eskom’s Chief Nuclear Officer. Velaphi Ntuli has been suspended for operational reasons.

RELATED: Eskom suspends Koeberg Power Station GM for ‘performance-related issues’

One of those being that one of Eskom’s biggest generating units with a capacity of 900MW, Koeberg Unit 1 has been on an outage since January 2021.

Just how concerned should we be as we head into winter, and at the same time, try to revive our economy?

We don’t know what’s happening inside Koeberg because we have no information on that, but what we do know is that Eskom is sitting with a power station fleet that is 30, 40, and 50 years old.

Hilton Trollip, Research Fellow – Global Risk Governance Programme UCT

Koeberg was built in 1985 and reaches the end of its design life in 2024, he notes.

It’s like a 20 or 30-year-old car. There comes a stage when it simply can’t be kept on the road, or to keep it on the road is too expensive or you are going to have regular breakdowns.

…………….Should the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station be given a longer lease on life?

There are plans to refurbish it, but I am skeptical about the wisdom of that. I am an engineer and everybody knows, things wear out, including power stations. Hilton Trollip, Research Fellow – Global Risk Governance Programme UCT
He says the government as a whole has not taken on board the fact that this energy era has to come to an end and be replaced with renawables……….. https://www.capetalk.co.za/articles/418543/koeberg-nuclear-plant-is-like-an-old-car-that-simply-can-t-be-kept-on-the-road

June 8, 2021 Posted by | politics, safety, South Africa | Leave a comment

Sixty years on, Algerian desert region still struggles with effects of French nuclear tests

Sixty years on, Algerian desert region still struggles with effects of French nuclear tests,   13 May 21, https://www.france24.com/en/tv-shows/revisited/20210514-sixty-years-on-algerian-desert-region-still-struggles-with-effects-of-french-nuclear-testsIn February 1960, France carried out its first nuclear test in the Algerian desert, codenamed “Blue Jerboa”. Three more atmospheric tests and 13 underground tests followed, until 1966. The consequences for humans and the environment were disastrous.

More than 60 years on, the after-effects are still visible and the victims of nuclear tests are struggling to be heard. FRANCE 24 reports from both sides of the Mediterranean: with former French conscripts who performed their military service in Algeria and are trying to receive compensation, and Algerians, who feel abandoned to their fate.

May 17, 2021 Posted by | AFRICA | Leave a comment

The corruption surrounding the South African government’s push for nuclear power


Part one | Zondo’s nuclear deal revelations,   
https://www.newframe.com/part-one-zondos-nuclear-deal-revelations/

  • By: Neil Over 12 May 2021, In the first of this two-part series, evidence before the state capture inquiry shows how the multibillion-rand deal went ahead despite warnings about the exorbitant cost and danger to health.

It is common knowledge that former president Jacob Zuma fired then minister of finance Nhlanhla Nene in December 2015 because he would not support Zuma’s 9.6GW nuclear deal. But what is less well known are the falsehoods told by the deal’s supporters to coerce reluctant Cabinet ministers – and the country at large – into believing that nuclear power was in South Africa’s best interests. 

Witnesses before the Zondo commission investigating state capture revealed the lies told about nuclear power relating to its alleged safety, its alleged cost and the alleged handling of nuclear waste. Evidence before Judge Raymond Zondo shows that parts of the ANC executive were hell-bent on pursuing the deal, with scant regard for South Africa’s fiscal health, or the health and interests of its residents. 

The Department of Energy presented these falsehoods to Cabinet on 9 December 2015, in a presentation declassified before the Zondo commission. The department was then headed by Tina Joemat-Pettersson, a Zuma loyalist. 

To start, the department led Cabinet to believe that seven other African countries would be operating nuclear power plants within the following 10 to 15 years, five of which were said to be procuring nuclear power by 2020. To date, only one has begun to build a nuclear power station: the controversial El Dabaa plant that Russian state-owned Rosatom is building in Egypt for $30 billion. No other African country has made a commitment to nuclear power.

The department told Cabinet that nuclear power is safe. It said only 60 people died because of the Chernobyl catastrophe in then Soviet Ukraine in 1986, and that no one died because of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster caused by an earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan in 2011. The Chernobyl fatalities figure that the department cited was based on the original assessment by the United Nations, which it increased dramatically in 2005 to 4 000 fatalities. But many consider this figure to be a gross underestimate, with some sources claiming that as many as 500 000 will die because of that nuclear disaster (the Russian Academy of Sciences estimates 200 000). 

The Ukrainian government compensates 35 000 spouses of people it has deemed to have died from Chernobyl-related health problems, while non-profit science advocacy organisation the Union of Concerned Scientists estimates the death toll at 27 000. 

We will never know the true fatality total because there has not been a comprehensive, longitudinal examination of the health impacts of the disaster. This means that deaths from cancer in the Ukraine, Belarus and Russia are simply recorded as such and are not linked to Chernobyl, despite increasing evidence that long-term exposure to low levels of ionising radiation is more dangerous to human health than previously thought. 

For the same reasons, we will also never know how many people have died or will die from the Fukushima accident because deaths from cancer are not linked to the disaster. There is also a problem in simply recording death rates as this tends to hide chronic illnesses, suffering caused by illnesses and negative impacts on mental health.

In Fukushima, for example, nearly 600 people died after they were evacuated from around the plant owing to what has been described as “evacuation stress”. The stress of forcing thousands of people to abandon their homes, most permanently, is significant. In Japan, 160 000 people were forced to abandon their homes, while 350 000 were evacuated in the Ukraine. 

Hidden costs

The department also brazenly told Cabinet that nuclear waste was not a problem because it “is stored deep underground”. Nowhere is nuclear waste from power generation stored underground. Where it is being attempted, for example in Finland, it is hugely expensive and no one knows yet if it will work. 

Critically, the department told Cabinet that nuclear power was the cheapest option for South Africa. It presented figures stating that the operating costs of nuclear were six times cheaper than those of coal in the country. What the department conveniently forgot to mention was that these costs excluded the enormous cost of construction for Koeberg – Africa’s only nuclear power station on the Western Cape coast, which cost more than planned – and the colossal cost of decommissioning this plant when the time comes.

It did not include the cost of “safely” disposing of nuclear waste. Neither did it include the cost of renewable energy compared with nuclear generation. 

May 13, 2021 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa – Cabinet appoints critic as member of nuclear regulator board

Cabinet appoints critic as member of nuclear regulator board, IOL, By Mwangi Githahu    26 Apr 21, Cape Town – The government has responded to civil society demands for a public representative on the National Nuclear Regulator’s (NNR) board by appointing one of its most vocal critics, Koeberg Alert Alliance (KAA) spokesperson Peter Becker.

Spokesperson Phumla Williams said the Cabinet approval of the appointment of Becker and three others would be subject to the verification of qualifications and the relevant clearance……

Last year in response to concerns raised by the KAA, the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) and other groups, department spokesperson Thandiwe Maimane said Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe had initiated a comprehensive consultative process with Nedlac and Sanco to identify suitable candidates.

Becker said: “The NNR board has been without a representative since August last year and while this announcement is welcome, it is long overdue……….. https://www.iol.co.za/capeargus/news/cabinet-appoints-critic-as-member-of-nuclear-regulator-board-31357be2-1d75-406b-928a-79bf389c97ba

April 27, 2021 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

French MPs urge Macron to provide data about nuclear waste buried in Algeria

French MPs urge Macron to provide data about nuclear waste buried in Algeria https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20210415-french-mps-urge-macron-to-provide-data-about-nuclear-waste-buried-in-algeria/, April 15, 2021   Nine French MPs have called on President Emmanuel Macron to provide data and maps about nuclear waste sites in Algeria, agencies reported yesterday. The French conducted nuclear tests in the Algerian Sahara in the 1960s You now have the opportunity to take concrete action in favour of the civilians and the environment which continue to be affected by nuclear waste buried by France in the sands of the Algerian Sahara,” the MPs told Macron. “You must seize it.”They  pointed out that the fifth session of the Algerian-French high level intergovernmental committee, which should have held on 11 April, has been postponed indefinitely. The committee works to resolve historical disputes between France and Algeria.

In February, the MPs said, the sky over a large part of France had an orange hue which was the result of sand carried by strong winds from Algeria. “This meteorological episode reminded us once again that France has left an indelible radioactive imprint in the heart of the Sahara… Seventeen nuclear explosions were carried out in [Algeria] between 1960 and 1966, both above ground and underground, to test the French atomic bomb.”Key information is still missing about the waste for the most part buried in the sand, added the MPs. “Providing the details requested,” they insisted, “will ensure the health and safety of the people living in the areas in question, protect future generations and take the necessary and appropriate measures for the restoration of the environment.”

April 17, 2021 Posted by | AFRICA, environment, France, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Africa’s history of ”state capture” by the nuclear industry

The battle for 2050 energy dominance: Nuclear industry makes its pitch   Mail and Guardian, 14 Apr 21, Moscow The nuclear industry believes it should be able to account for more than 50% of South Africa’s vacant 24 gigawatts of power left behind by the demise of coal in a net-zero 2050 scenario. This was one of the outcomes of a government communications’ panel discussion on alternative future energy sources for South Africa hosted on Wednesday.”’

……………….before returning to instruct the then energy minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, to sign a deal with the Russians on the sidelines of the general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria.At the same time, Russia’s state-owned nuclear agency, Rosatom, released a statement that it had clinched a deal with South Africa. A legal battle ensued and in 2017, the Western Cape high court ruled that the secret tabling of the intergovernmental agreements with Russia, the US and Korean were unconstitutional and unlawful, and that they be set aside.

A legal battle ensued and in 2017, the Western Cape high court ruled that the secret tabling of the intergovernmental agreements with Russia, the US and Korean were unconstitutional and unlawful, and that they be set aside……….

In 2019 a report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said that Russian engagement with South Africa during the Zuma era was deep rooted and relied on a web of relationships at the highest levels of both governments.

This included the promotion of multibillion-dollar projects involving state-owned companies particularly in the energy sector, and the leveraging of Cold War-era ties forged during South Africa’s period of national liberation.

The researchers linked the significance of the secret deal to a larger problem of state capture.

According to authors Andrew S Weiss and Eugene Rumer: “As early as the autumn of 2011, Zuma told then finance minister Pravin Gordhan that he wanted to award the entire construction deal to Russia. He brushed aside Gordhan’s insistence on following established procedures for state procurement, according to Gordhan’s written testimony to the state capture commission.

“Gordhan warned Zuma that failing to follow the established procedures could land the president in trouble similar to the fallout over the earlier arms-sales scandal that had nearly ended his political career,” the report noted……….


During the presidency of Thabo Mbeki, Eskom explored possibly expanding the Koeberg nuclear power facility but decided in 2008 that the project was unaffordable.

more https://mg.co.za/business/2021-04-14-the-battle-for-2050-energy-dominance-nuclear-industry-makes-its-pitch/

April 15, 2021 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

French Prime Minister visiting Algeria. The question of radioactive dust from nuclear tests will be on the agenda.

*Algeria – French Nuclear Testing**

French atomic tests in Algeria: so much brings the wind. The wind regularly
blows radioactive particles from the Sahara over Europe, a memory of the
atomic tests carried out in Algeria in the 1960s. Will the responsibility
of Paris be on the menu of Jean Castex’s visit to Algiers this weekend.
end?

Liberation 7th April 2021

https://www.liberation.fr/international/afrique/essais-atomiques-francais-en-algerie-autant-en-apporte-le-vent-20210407_OJEX5RMQ2BC5FLOXP2EOXAIG7M/

On April 10 and 11, French Prime Minister Jean Castex will travel to
Algiers, accompanied by eight ministers – including the ministers of
foreign affairs and the armed forces to participate in the 5th session of
the France-Algeria High Level Intergovernmental Committee (CIHN). The
question of the health and environmental consequences of the 17 nuclear
tests carried out by France in the Sahara between 1960 and 1966, as well as
that of nuclear and non-nuclear waste left by France, will be on the menu
of discussions.

ICAN France 7th April 2021

http://icanfrance.org/alerte-presse-les-consequences-des-essais-nucleaires-francais-en-algerie/

April 10, 2021 Posted by | AFRICA, environment, France, politics international, radiation, weapons and war | Leave a comment

French report on the unfairness of France’s nuclear history in Algeria

French report grapples with nuclear fallout from Algerian War  https://thebulletin.org/2021/03/french-report-grapples-with-nuclear-fallout-from-algerian-war/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=ThursdayNewsletter03042021&utm_content=NuclearRisk_AlgerianWar_03042021&__cf_chl_captcha_tk__=32bfe924bf6171eab26d9deb08cd73459b5e69dc-1614896664-0-AWxxiguytXLkG_ERcOpFeDyCqmv7X1FYZmZBNGAnlwY6ZlI8PgWd2By Austin R. Cooper | March 4, 2021 n January, the French historian Benjamin Stora filed a report commissioned by the French President Emmanuel Macron aimed at “reconciliation of memories between France and Algeria,” which France ruled as the jewel of its colonial empire for more than 130 years.

The Stora Report addressed several scars from the Algerian War for Independence (1954–62), a bloody struggle for decolonization that met savage repression by French troops. One of these controversies stems from French use of the Algerian Sahara for nuclear weapons development.

France proved its bomb in the atmosphere above this desert, naming the inaugural blast , or Blue Jerboa, after the local rodent. Between 1960 and 1966, France detonated 17 nuclear devices in the Algerian Sahara: four atmospheric explosions during the Algerian War, and another 13 underground, most of these after Algerian Independence.

French nuclear ambitions became inextricable from the process of Algerian decolonization. The Saharan blasts drew international outrage, stalled ceasefire negotiations, and later threatened an uneasy peace across the Mediterranean.

The Stora Report signaled that radioactive fallout from the Algerian War has remained a thorn between the two nations. But the document comes up short of a clear path toward nuclear reconciliation.

A United Nations dispute. The French bomb collided with the Algerian War before the first mushroom cloud rose above the Sahara. In November 1959, Algerian allies representing independent states in Africa and Asia contested French plans for the desert in the First Committee on Disarmament at the United Nations.

Part of the French strategy at the United Nations was to drive a wedge between the nuclear issue and what French diplomats euphemistically termed the “Question of Algeria.” French obfuscation continued for decades.

France would not, until 1999, call the bloodshed a war, preferring the line that what happened in Algeria, as part of France, amounted to a domestic dispute, rather than UN business. Macron became, in 2018, the first French president to acknowledge “systemic torture” by French troops in Algeria.

The Afro-Asian challenge to Saharan explosions hurdled France’s diplomatic barricades at the United Nations. The French delegation tried to strike references to the Algerian War as irrelevant. But their African and Asian counterparts painted the desert blasts as a violation of African sovereignty.

The concern was not only for contested territory in Algeria, but also for independent states bordering the desert, whose leaders warned that nuclear fallout could cross their national borders. Radiation measurements taken in the wake of Gerboise bleue proved many of them right.

Nuclear weapons represented another piece of French imperialism on the continent.

Secret negotiations resumed in September 1961, with US Ambassador to Tunisia Walter N. Walmsley serving as France’s backchannel. The US State Department worried that French attachment to the test sites might thwart the decolonization process.

Lead Algerian negotiator Krim Belkacem asked Walmsley if prospects for a ceasefire still hinged on France retaining control of the test sites. Krim got his answer when Franco-Algerian talks resumed the following month, at the end of October 1961.

France did not abandon its goal to continue nuclear explosions in the Sahara. But the Algerian position appeared to have softened. So long as further blasts did not impinge on Algeria’s “eventual sovereignty” over the desert, as one archival document put it, a deal looked possible.

The Evian Accords marked a nuclear compromise. Finally signed in March 1962, the landmark treaty granted France a five-year lease to the Saharan test sites but did not specify terms of use.

Going underground. Advice from the French Foreign Ministry played a key role in pushing France’s weapons program beneath Saharan mountains. French diplomats suggested that underground explosions would present, according to one archival document, “significantly less serious” challenges than atmospheric ones for future relations with Algeria and its African neighbors.

This did not stop Algeria’s first president, Ahmed Ben Bella, from winning political capital with the nuclear issue. In public, Ben Bella cast Saharan blasts as an intolerable violation of Algerian sovereignty, as had his allies at the United Nations. In private, however, Ben Bella acquiesced to the Evian terms and reportedly tried to squeeze French financial aid out of the deal.

The Hoggar Massif shook 13 times before France handed over its two Saharan test sites to Algeria in 1967. An accident occurred during one of these underground blasts, dubbed Béryl, when containment measures failed. Several French soldiers and two high-ranking French officials suffered the highest radiation exposures, but roughly 240 members of “nomadic populations” in the region received lower doses.

Meanwhile, France began construction on its Pacific test range in French Polynesia, the site of nearly 200 nuclear explosions between 1966 and 1996. Most took place underground, but France also conducted atmospheric detonations in Polynesia, and these continued into the 1970s. Even though the Limited Test Ban Treaty had gone into effect in 1963—prohibiting nuclear blasts in the atmosphere, underwater, and in outer space—France refused to sign it.

Contamination and compensation. As part of its reconciliation proposal, the Stora Report encouraged Franco-Algerian cooperation on environmental remediation of the Saharan test sites. An expert report from the International Atomic Energy Agency, however, concluded in 2005 that environmental interventions were “not required” unless human traffic near the sites should increase.

The Stora Report briefly mentioned compensation linked to radiation exposure from French nuclear weapons development, but this deserves a closer look. In 2010, the French Parliament passed a law recognizing these victims and establishing funds and procedures to provide compensation for illness and injury. So far, France has earmarked 26 million euros for this purpose, but almost none of that has gone to Algerians.

Decades earlier, France’s nuclear allies turned to compensation programs in an attempt to reconcile with marginalized groups affected by weapons development without disclosure or consent. In 1993, for example, the United Kingdom settled with Australia as redress for indigenous people and personnel involved in UK explosions conducted in the former colony.

Facing similar lawsuits, the United States provided monetary compensation and health benefits to the indigenous people of the Marshall Islands, where US nuclear planners “offshored” their most powerful blasts during the Cold War arms race. Other US programs have made compensation available to communities “downwind” of the Nevada Test Site and surrounded by the uranium mines fueling the US nuclear arsenal, including Tribal Nations in the Four Corners region.

Compensation programs map a global history of colonial empire, racial discrimination, and dispossession of indigenous land, but postcolonial inequalities look particularly stark from the Sahara. Including appeals, France has granted 545 of 1,739 total requests filed by French soldiers and civilian participants in the nuclear detonations, as well as exposed populations in Algeria and Polynesia. Only 1 of 52 Algerian dossiers has proven successful.

French officials responsible for evaluating these files report that the ones from Algeria often arrive incomplete or in a shoddy state, and pin the blame on the Algerian government’s inability or unwillingness to provide the geographical, historical, and biomedical evidence that French assessment procedures demand. Claims must demonstrate that an individual worked or lived in a fixed area surrounding one of the two Saharan test sites, between February 1960 and December 1967, and suffered at least one of 21 types of cancer recognized as radiation-linked by French statute.

A step toward reconciliation. If Macron really wants to tackle France’s nuclear history in Algeria—and its aftermath—his government should start here. The French Parliament opened the door to Algerian compensation in 2010, and important revisions to the evaluation procedures took place in 2017, but there has never been a level playing field. Macron could, for example, require that French diplomats posted in Algeria help Algerians build their cases and locate supporting documents.

Another option: Macron could declassify archival materials documenting the intensity and scope of radioactive fallout generated by French nuclear blasts. Draconian interpretations of French statutes on the reach of military secrecy continue to block access to the vast majority of military, civil, and diplomatic collections on France’s nuclear weapons program—including radiation effects. Foreign archives have provided useful information, but official documentation from the French government would help exposed populations—like those in the Sahara—understand what happened, evaluate the risks, bolster their claims, and likely find these more successful.

The Stora Report did well to acknowledge nuclear fallout from the Algerian War. Giving Algerians a fair shot at compensation should mark France’s first step toward reconciliation.

March 6, 2021 Posted by | AFRICA, civil liberties, environment, France, history, indigenous issues, investigative journalism, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Africa, with no way to deal with radioactive waste, must not develop new nuclear power

March 2, 2021 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Radioactive dust over Europe – from France’s nuclear bomb tests in the Sahara!

ACRO 24th Feb 2021, Sahara sand cloud: radioactive pollution coming back like a boomerang. While the dust-laden winds from the Sahara fly over Europe again this week, analysis carried out by ACRO show that they contain residues of radioactive pollution dating from the atomic bomb tests carried out by France in the 60s.

https://www.acro.eu.org/nuage-de-sable-du-sahara-une-pollution-radioactive-qui-revient-comme-un-boomerang/

February 27, 2021 Posted by | AFRICA, environment, France, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New nuclear build for South Africa would face legal stumbling blocks

Nersa warned nod for nuclear build would face legal stumbling blocks

Court is likely to regard decision to pursue a plant as irrational, regulator told at public hearing, 23 FEBRUARY 2021 – LISA STEYN

Any decision to pursue a 2,500MW nuclear build will likely be seen as irrational and unreasonable if tested in court, the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) heard on Tuesday.  Should the regulator be given the green light for a nuclear build, it would lead to “severe legal complications”, Anton van Dalsen, legal counsellor for the Helen Suzman Foundation, warned Nersa… … (subscribers onlyhttps://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/2021-02-23-nersa-warned-nod-for-nuclear-build-would-face-legal-stumbling-blocks/

February 25, 2021 Posted by | Legal, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa: an example of how nuclear waste costs are passed on to later generations

Questions we should therefore all be asking of government, the Department of Energy, the nuclear regulator, Nersa, Nuclear Waste Disposal Institute, Necsa, Eskom and the South African nuclear sector are: 

  • Who should bear the cost of nuclear plant decommissioning and long-term storage and disposal of high-level nuclear waste – the polluter, the customer or the taxpayer? 
  • Where are the real asset-based funds set aside within Eskom and Necsa for future decommissioning and long-term storage and disposal of high-level nuclear waste? 
  • Does the “polluter pays” principle apply in practice, or will the customer and taxpayer end up paying twice through government bailouts? 

One can only guess who may end up bearing the real decommissioning, high-level waste storage, disposal and final repository costs in due course – perhaps not the polluter at all, but our children’s children as taxpayers in the next generation. 

South African taxpayers exposed to high-level nuclear waste disposal and decommissioning liabilities, Daily Maverick, By Chris Yelland• 21 February 2021  

Citizens and taxpayers in South Africa continue to labour under the misguided belief that Eskom and the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (Necsa) make real funding provisions monthly, over the operating life of their nuclear reactors, to cover the costs of decommissioning and disposal of high-level nuclear waste from their nuclear plants, in terms of the ‘polluter pays’ principle.

Page 69 of the 8th National Report prepared by the Department of Energy and the SA National Nuclear Regulator,  and presented to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in August 2019 in terms of South Africa’s obligations  to the Convention on Nuclear Safety, states in respect of Eskom’s Koeberg nuclear power station:

“Financial provision for decommissioning (as well as spent fuel management) continues to be accumulated on a monthly basis since commercial operation of the installation began in 1984. The financial provision is reflected in the annual financial statements of Eskom. These financial statements are audited in accordance with South African national legislation.

“In terms of decommissioning financial plans, the amount of decommissioning and spent fuel provision made each month is determined by the present value of future estimated cash flows. These financial plans are reviewed regularly and adjusted annually, and informed by the South African inflation rate.”

However, the problem with these fine words to the IAEA is that they are misleading, perhaps deliberately so, and that the so-called provision is actually something of a “Potemkin village” to placate and impress the IAEA and the public that all is well and under control.

In fact, no real money, securities or investments of any kind have actually been set aside monthly, annually or at stage and in any fund during operation of South Africa’s nuclear facilities as provision for decommissioning, long-term storage and final disposal of high-level nuclear waste, and/or the construction and operation of a high-level nuclear waste repository.

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February 22, 2021 Posted by | South Africa, wastes | Leave a comment