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One small nation shows how to be nuclear- free and climate friendly – theme for November 19

Citizen Advocacy: The Achievements of New Zealand`s Peace Activism, Asia Pacific Journal Pinar Temocin and Noriyuki Kawano, October 1, 2019 Volume 17 | Issue 19 | Number 2Abstract

Aotearoa New Zealand provides an important example of successful citizen activism in the form of anti-nuclear peace advocacy. The collective efforts by peace actors over several decades resulted in the successful demand for a nuclear-free nation. This paper highlights the widespread participation and political support that facilitated the process and assesses its achievements.

Introduction  New Zealand, a small and isolated country, is a rare example of a nation achieving nuclear-free status. The peace-seeking nation unified around an anti-war narrative, and moved from activism based on public awareness and engagement to the passage of laws that eliminated nuclear weapons through a number of stages: from the first generation of movements against the atomic bomb after 1945 to the response to French nuclear testing in the late 60`s to US and UK nuclear warship visits in the 70`s and the early 80`s. As part of this shift, the US-led military alliance with Australia and New Zealand (ANZUS) was redefined by New Zealanders from a guarantee of security to a threat that posed a security dilemma. As this essay shows, social consciousness and activism was ultimately successful in bringing fundamental change. The Labor Party, in particular, played a critical role in translating strong public participation on the part of a broad section of the population into a significant policy outcome: `the creation of a peaceful and nuclear-free nation`. 

This mobilization involved persistent and substantial public pressure over decades. Public pressure to change the nation’s foreign policy also included opposition to involvement in the United States-led coalition in the Korean and Vietnam wars. As these wars came to an end, the matter of nuclear testing became a hot-button election issue forcing each political party to adopt a policy on nuclear weapons. The anti-nuclear argument was placed within a broader moral vision. New Zealand peace advocates problematized the threatening conditions and demanded a solution under the narratives of a `democratic, egalitarian, decolonized, independent, non-violent, non-militarist nation which is intrinsically based on `a peaceful nation`. A peaceful nation for them required a nuclear-free approach in its domestic and foreign policies. To achieve this, they organized actively, coordinated professionally, sustained effective campaigns, and engaged in the policy-formation and shaping process.

Since the end of the 60s, successful protest movements have established new modes of political participation in advanced democracies.1 In some democratic societies including New Zealand, social movements have benefitted from tolerant political structures. Their success depends further on specific configurations of resources, trustworthy institutional arrangements, and historical precedents for social mobilization that facilitate the development of protest movements.2

Strong democracies are conducive to positive engagements and interactions between citizen and the state. The strengthening of practices of participation, responsiveness to a majority, and the development of inclusive and cohesive societies are powerful components of the democratic decision-making process. Therefore, citizen participation in governance with a responsive, open, and tolerant state can produce positive effects based on popular consensus……https://apjjf.org/2019/19/Temocin.html 

New Zealand passes historic zero carbon bill with near unanimous bipartisan support – The New Zealand parliament has passed landmark legislation that enshrines the country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement into law, and will see the country achieve zero net carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 ….. https://reneweconomy.com.au/new-zealand-passes-historic-zero-carbon-bill-with-near-unanimous-bipartisan-support-33500/

November 9, 2019 Posted by | Christina's themes, climate change, New Zealand, opposition to nuclear | 2 Comments

Global movement for a clean, nuclear-free planet – theme for November 19

It is all at last coming together – a movement that encompasses all those strains that are needed for a healthy world –  action for climate change, for clean water, clean air, indigenous justice, gender equality, respect for land, and the plants and animals that share this land, and freedom from the poisonous nuclear industry.

Extinction Rebellion is the latest, and most all-encompassing expression of public desire to turn things around – not only to stop the greenhouse gases that cause our heating climate, but the many other types of pollution and degradation of of the Earth’s air, water and land.

The poisonous nuclear industry tries to piggy-ba

The toxic nuclear industry is trying to piggy back on this planet-saving international movement.

The tobacco industry has set the pattern for dirty industries to deceive the world.  Nuclear industry propaganda now symbolises the very worst lies in the pretence that a harmful industry is “clean”.

October 16, 2019 Posted by | Christina's themes, environment | 3 Comments

Information, media freedom – theme for October 19

You might think that this has nothing to do with nuclear issues. And you’d be right – nothing directly.   But this is a world issue that affects every controversial matter, and suppression of journalism will surely affect nuclear issues, and indeed, it already does.

Press Freedoms:  Criminalizing journalistic activity

Prosecutors recently expanded a criminal case against Julian Assange to include accusations that he violated the Espionage Act by soliciting, obtaining, and publishing classified documents leaked in 2010 by Chelsea Manning, which could establish a precedent that such common journalistic activities (a separate question from whether Assange counts as a “journalist”) can be treated as a crime in America…..more   https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/us/politics/press-freedoms-executive-power.html

October 7, 2019 Posted by | Christina's themes | 2 Comments

Freedom of information and the nuclear industry – theme for October 19

The nuclear industry originated in lies, and in the barbaric culture of Nazism. Werner von Braun and at least 88 other Nazi scientists started working on inhuman weapons, including nuclear. Americans panicked and decided that a nuclear bomb was OK to develop.  With Japan about to surrender in 1945 Truman and the generals hastily tested the bomb out on Hiroshima, then Nagasaki, and the false story went out that this was necessary to end the war.

Faced with the horror of those two atrocities, the allies, including the Soviet Union, and the nuclear boffins, came up with the cover of “cheap” and “peaceful” nuclear energy, and the immoral and probably suicidal,  nuclear weapons race was on for all.[   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRLON3ddZIw  for page]

Over the decades, despite government and industry cover-ups, the cruel truth about the health and environmental harm from the nuclear industry has at times been revealed in the Western mainstream media.

But now, freedom of information is threatened as never before. The Internet may have enabled alternative media, sites like this one, and social media, to get their message out.  But that is very much a mixed blessing. At the same time, investigative journalists of the mainstream media are losing their jobs. And – disappearing with them are the fact checking, and quality editing.

Worst of all, now, when investigative journalists speak out, they face oppression.  in Russia, China they  risk “disappearing” – with long-held cultures of suppression of free speech.

Now in Western countries they risk life imprisonment.  Julian Assange is threatened with this, and UK and Australia are complicit in USA’s heavy-handed determination to “make an example” of him.

What has this all to do with the nuclear industry?

The nuclear weapons industry, immoral and potentially globally murderous,  has become an insanely expensive burden on the public purse.

The nuclear power industry is out-dated, unaffordable, dangerous, and wedded to nuclear weapons.

Nevertheless, the media now regurgitates glowing handouts from the “new” and the old nuclear industry as “news”.  Journalists want to keep their jobs- it’s easier to tout rubbish  like “new nukes solve climate change”, than to offend government and powerful corporations by really seeking out and publishing the facts.   The governments’ persecution of Julian Assange and Chelsie Manning makes that subservient attitude the standard behaviour for journalists.

If we let America put away, disappear, and shut up Julian Assange  – well, who’s next?

 

September 21, 2019 Posted by | Christina's themes | 11 Comments

“Small” Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) – the nuclear lobby’s latest confidence trick – theme for September 19

For a start – they’re not small.  Uneconomic to set up as individual reactors, these SMRs are now being marketed by NuScale in groups of 12 or more.

“SMR” is now touted as Small and Medium Reactors.

But they’re still uneconomic. – SO – taxpayers have to buy them, as nobody else will.

Why is the nuclear industry so desperate to sell them to governments?

Well, that’s because:

(a) SMRs are the last hope of the failing”peaceful” nuclear industry

(b) The thriving nuclear weapons industry needs the technology and expertise that can be developed in “small nuclear reactors”.  It’s easier to attract people to work in “peaceful nukes” – then they later can transition to the real nuclear industry – weapons.

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Christina's themes, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | 5 Comments

Remembering Hiroshima – the movement to end nuclear weapons – theme for August 19

The UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has now been signed by 70 nations, and ratified by 25. With this Treaty, the world recognises that nuclear weapons now have the same status as chemical and biological weapons – an inhumane and immoral method of dealing with conflict.

The world’s macho men, the hawks of both genders, the sociopathic leaders in business and politics can scoff, but with this Treaty comes a rational movement essential for the survival of humanity.

The  immoral squandering of public funds on nuclear weapons continues apace. benefiting only a few greedy corporate big-wigs, and their government lackeys.  Nuclear weapons are useless – there are no winners in nuclear wars, the only result – the unimaginable horror and pain of the people.  Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed what this is like.

The folly of the nuclear arms race continues – in the tensions in India, Pakistan, the Middle East, and all now led by the leaders of the most powerful nations.  Led by an irresponsible and unhinged US President Donald Trump,  they are scrapping the agreements on nuclear weapons control,   and feeding the greed of the weapons makers..

People are going to have to decide –    perhaps take some short-term pain , by not allowing their votes and their savings, their investments, perhaps even their jobs, to be part of the weapons industries.

August 17, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Christina's themes, weapons and war | 4 Comments

Hiroshima, Nagasaki – Never Again Nuclear War! – theme for August 2019

This is perhaps the saddest photograph of the time of America’s August 1945 nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The dignity of this boy, as he waits, with his small dead brother strapped to his back, to include the brother in a mass grave.

We know that the bombing of people is unethical, immoral, and simply wrong.

We know that chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction are inhumane and immoral. The global human society knows this, too, and they are illegal under the United Nations Ban –  the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)  and United Nations Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons(TPNW), or the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons, with the goal of leading towards their total elimination. … As of 4 July 2019, 23 nations have ratified the treaty, and it was passed by 120 countries at the United Nations in July 2017.

The nuclear lobby, and the “hawks” may scoff, but this Treaty is clear evidence that the world is coming to see that considering the humanitarian effects of nuclear war, – the treaty prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, as well as assistance and encouragement to the prohibited activities.

The goal is the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Sounds too extreme to be taken seriously?   It is not as extreme as the goal of using them, which is still actively being considered by the Pentagon.

In July – commentators, politicians, journalists went ecstatic on the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. It’s rarely mentioned that USA’s original plan was to explode a nuclear bomb on the moon. It’s rarely mentioned in the current hype about Mars exploration, that the Trump administration’s plan is for nuclear weapons in space .

The humanitarian, the “emotional” side, of discussing nuclear weapons is now taken seriously, much as the nuclear proponents will pontificate about “strategy”, “security” etc. With the UN nuclear ban treaty –   nuclear weapons are no longer “respectable”, and are headed towards eventual elimination.

July 20, 2019 Posted by | Christina's themes | 7 Comments

Forget Nuclear: Energy Efficiency is the best answer – theme for July 2019

As the Northern hemisphere swelters, some people may ponder on old-fashioned, ‘boring’ ways of keeping cool.

But most will resort to (or wish they had) air-conditioning, probably powered by fossil fuels. To cut down greenhouse gases, solar-powered air conditioners are a better answer.

But, overall, energy efficiency is the fastest, most effective, and ultimately cheapest way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Of course, renewable energy technologies are needed, too.

Energy conservation has little appeal for the corporate consumer world – less things, less devices, less electricity to sell.

The pro nuclear zealouts continue to preach their religion of endless growth, endless energy use. They would have us trash this planet with radioactive wastes, and then send a few suicidal astronauts , propelled by plutonium, supposedly to colonise Mars.

Energy efficiency involves many intelligent efforts, from large-scale design of buildings, transport and machines, to more appropriate use of human energy, such as cycling and walking, and even use of more hand-operated small clockwork devices.

This all does require brainwork, smart design, rather than mindless obedience to consumerism, and to centralised sources of electricity.

 

June 29, 2019 Posted by | Christina's themes, ENERGY | 4 Comments

The world moves to Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency – theme for July 2019

renewable_energyIt seems impossible for petrol heads coal and gas heads, and especially nuke-heads to get their heads around this – BUT – renewable energy and energy efficiency ARE HAPPENING  – world -wide, in both big ways, and small ways.

It must be tough, when you’re addicted to such a complex , complicated, and expensive technology as nuclear power – as well as addicted to the money you get from being involved in this business –  it must be tough to consider the reality that the fuels for solar and wind energy are FREE, and so is the energy conservation from good design in energy efficiency.

As Dr Helen Caldicott pointed out, long ago, if they could put a blanket around the sun and sell holes, they would.

The out-dated energy systems of the past – nuclear,coal, gas, are looking more
and more like unwieldy and costly dinosaurs, as the world wakes up to the diversity and flexibility of 21st Century clean energy systems.

The nuclear lobby now tries its last ditch promotional pipe-dream – Small Nuclear Reactors – that in fact would rely on the continuation of the old big ones.

 

June 29, 2019 Posted by | Christina's themes, renewable | 9 Comments

Birth defects in the Chernobyl region – nuclear health effects – theme for June 19

What about studying consequences rather than causes?  Studying birth abnormalities in places where they occur more often than is normal? The Omni-Net Ukraine Birth Defects Prevention Program, came up with this different approach, reported in July 2012.  http://ibis-birthdefects.org/start/pdf/BaltimoreAbstr.pdf Measuring radiation is difficult, and can produce ambiguous results.  But measuring babies with malformations is a concrete matter. Facts are facts here As Dr Vladimir Wertelecki says “ a baby that has no head is a baby that has no head.”

THE PROGRAM

The program started in 2000, conducting a 10 year study on 5 provinces of the Ukraine – measuring and monitoring all newborn babies. The study, led by Dr  Wertelecki, was done in co-operation with Ukraine health authorities.  This was a descriptive epidemiological study. It could prove only a difference between geographical areas. It cannot  prove the cause of difference.

Within 2-3 years it was obvious that the rates of spina bifida and other defects of the nervous system, were many times greater than expected, particularly in one province.  A few years later an excess of conjoined twins (“Siamese twins”) was found. They found other nervous system problems, mainly microcephaly (tiny head) ..  After 10 years of study they published a report showing an excess of frequency of anomalies of nervous system and of these conjoined twins.

This was found especially in the northern half of the province – an area that is a unique ecology niche – mainly wetlands. And this area also has a unique population, an ethnic group living there since recorded history. They live in small villages, very isolated, and they rely completely on local foods.

These foods are all radioactive. The soil there is such that plants absorb many times more radioactivity. People there are absorbing much higher levels of radiation. – 20 times more than there would be in soil 50 km. away.

Dr Wertelecki reminds us that there are many causes of birth abnormalities. One well recognised cause is foetal alcohol syndrome, due to alcoholism in the mother.   However, the program did in fact research this question.  6 universities joined it in a  very well funded and thorough study of pregnant women. It showed that in this Northern area, alcohol use among pregnant women is statistically less than in the Ukraine in general. . Alcohol does not explain the birth abnormalities. Radiation is the obvious major cause.

ABNORMALITIES IN THE DEVELOPING FOETUS- TERATOGENESIS

Little research has been done on the causes of this in humans. Studies on non human species show that foetuses in first three months are about 1000 times more vulnerable to environmental effects.

Dr Wertelecki’s team focused on teratogenesis – changes caused by environmental interference to a developing foetus, a foetus with with normal genes.  This must be distinguished from gene mutations, inherited from parents and the two processes have different effects.  The genetic, inherited defects are most likely to cause mental disability. But with the teratogenic abnormalities, the baby, if it survives, most often is of normal intelligence.

This process can begin very early, before the ovum has been implanted in the wall of the womb –  before the woman knows that she is pregnant. That very early “line” of the embryo can split. In this case – the result is – twins.  This split can be incomplete – resulting in conjoined twins, (“Siamese twins”).  A  fetiform teratoma is a sort of failed Siamese twin,  a monster like mass, containing a mixture of tissues.

Abnormalities that are started at a little later stage of pregnancy include spina bifida, ( opening in lower back  body wall), opening in front body wall with  heart on the exterior,  anencephaly (absence of head or of most of the skull and brain)

Later effects  –  anophthalmia , (missing eyeball) , microphthalmia (tiny eye)

Full article at http://noelwauchope.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/a-baby-that-has-no-head-is-a-baby-that-has-no-head/

June 16, 2019 Posted by | children, Christina's themes, Reference | 6 Comments

The nuclear toll on workers and communities – theme for June 19

McClatchy reports: 33,480 Americans dead after 70 years of atomic weaponry

“….. The number of deaths has never been disclosed by federal officials. It’s more than four times the number of American casualties in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And it looms large as the nation prepares for its second nuclear age, with a $1 trillion plan to modernize its nuclear weapons over the next 30 years…..

A total of 107,394 workers have been diagnosed with cancers and other diseases after building the nation’s nuclear stockpile over the last seven decades. The project includes an interactive database that offers details on all 107,394 workers.

McClatchy’s yearlong investigation, set in 10 states, puts readers in the living rooms of sick workers in South Carolina, on a picket line in Texas and at a cemetery in Tennessee…..

— Federal officials greatly underestimated how sick the U.S. nuclear workforce would become. At first, the government predicted the compensation program would serve only 3,000 people at an annual cost of $120 million. Fourteen years later, taxpayers have spent sevenfold that estimate, $12 billion.

— Even though costs have ballooned, federal records show that fewer than half of those workers who sought help had their claims approved by the U.S. Department of Labor.

— Despite the cancers and other illnesses among nuclear works, the government now wants to save money by cutting current employees’ health plans, retirement benefits and sick leave….. … https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article49216310.html (photo: Ralph and Jodi Stanton)

Disastrous health effects of uranium mining, on the people of Jharkhand, India

the financial benefits are meaningless when weighed against what his group says is an alarming rise in stillbirths, birth defects, and adults and children diagnosed with cancer, kidney disease, and tuberculosis.

report showed a far greater incidence of congenital abnormality, sterility, and cancer among people living within 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles) of the mines than those living 35 kilometres away. Mothers in villages close to the mine sites were also twice as likely to have a child with congenital deformities, …. us”…http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5i1G4YWJkajit3t0xD2ddl4UXwN7g?docId=CNG.5b3137d37ca033f82d1946db0c21911c.951

June 8, 2019 Posted by | Christina's themes, employment | 6 Comments

International politics – a sad story of boys playing with nuclear toys – theme for May 19

World leaders are dimly becoming aware of the global Climate Crisis.  Unfortunately there are few world leaders for whom the penny has dropped – that a global crisis is not just a domestic matter –   that to tackle it is a matter for international co-operation..

There is another crisis, which seems to be below everybody’s radar, and invisible to world leaders,  especially disregarded by the leaders of nuclear nations.  This is the apocalyptic danger of nuclear war – started either by intention, or by accident.  The dangers of the nuclear industry in general are also global –   with the creeping toxicity of ionising radiation accumulating in the ecosphere.

The boys that run the world are pretty much oblivious of those twin global threats – like little schoolkids taunting each other –   they have no concept of working together to defuse the climate and nuclear dangers.  They show no sign of understanding the concept of international co-operation.

And don’t the nuclear industry and weapons companies love it this way!!!

 

 

May 11, 2019 Posted by | Christina's themes, politics international | 3 Comments

Politics and the nuclear industry – theme for May 2019

The species homo sapiens continues to defile its own nest, this beautiful and only known habitable planet. It becomes increasingly clear that world “leaders” have no idea of how to lead us out of the mess.

Climate change, biodiversity loss, threatened water supplies –  these issues are now being widely recognised as global problems –  not just local or national issues.

Strangely, nuclear weapons and the risk of nuclear war seem to be a side issue.

And there is no general awareness of the world-wide confidence trick being played on politicians, (and helped by the mindless mainstream media) by the global nuclear industry. Governments are swallowing the deception that nuclear power can fix climate change!

The costs, the danger, the radioactive pollution –  these factors are largely hidden from people in Russia, China – the totalitarian states.  The nuclear lobby has a harder job in USA, UK, Japan and Europe, where there’s some degree of freedom of information.

So – we have USA, UK, Japan, Europe – agonising over the mounting and insoluble problem of radioactive trash,and over the obscenely huge costs of nuclear power.  These are political problems for governments.

So – what do governments do about this?  They listen to, and accept financial contributions from, the nuclear lobby. They swallow the absurd propaganda that nuclear power is “essential to combat climate change”.  They push the politics of fear to their electorates – the “necessity” for nuclear weapons and nuclear power for “security”.

Is there a way to stop the nuclear-powered march towards global pollution and armageddon?

People power seems the only way –  movements such as Extinction Rebellion may provide the spark that’s needed, to make leaders aware, or to replace them with ones who are.

April 27, 2019 Posted by | Christina's themes | 8 Comments

Don’t fall for the propaganda touting “New Nuclear Reactors”- theme for September 19

The nuclear lobby is desperately pitching its new gimmicks –  to governments  (nobody else would put their money in)  They come up with all sorts of new titles, with appropriate abbeviations  –  Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) , Small and Medium Reactors,  (also SMRs)  Micro Reactors, Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors  (LFTRs) ,  Integral molten Salt Reactot (IMSR), Virtual Test Reactor,  (VTR) – to name just a few .

So -new nuclear reactors leave a smaller amount of radioactive trash? But it’s so highly toxic that it requires the same volume of space for its final disposal. The reactors themselves become radioactive trash eventually.

Thorium nuclear reactors produce these radioactive wastes:

  • Technetium-99 has a half life of 220,000 years
  • uranium-232 produces thallium-208 (a nasty wee gamma emitter)
  • Selenium-79 (another gamma emitter with a 327,000 year half-life),
  • even Thorium-232 is a problem with its half life of 14 Billion years (and while the T-232 isn’t a major worry, all the time during this 14 Billion years it will be decaying and producing stuff that is!)

Mixed-oxide (MOX) nuclear fuel reprocessing turns out to be twice as expensive as burial of nuclear wastes. according to an unreleased US Department of Energy report – and the World Nuclear Association knows this!

zombie rising

 

 

April 4, 2019 Posted by | Christina's themes | 7 Comments

Diseconomics of Generation IV nuclear reactors -theme for September19

First of all, dispel the nonsense that these expensive gimmicks will solve climate change. They can’t. And even if they could, they’d be deployed far too late to make any difference.

Generation IV nuclear reactors , Thorium Molten Salt Reactors (TMSRs) , Medium and Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (MSRs)   – have only one real use – to support the nuclear weapons industry – providing it with expertise, materials, technology development and media hoohah.

The nuclear salesmen promote other lies,  as well as the climate one.  There’s the lie about solving the waste problem, and the one about safety.

But the most compelling case against Generation IV nuclear reactors is that inevitable one – COST. There’s no market for these nuclear lobby toys – no chance of commercial biability. That’s mainly because , to have any hope, they would have to be ordered en masse. – and who’s going to invest in that risky idea?

Therefore – the only possible customers are governments. Which means YOU – your taxes.

In the meantime, rapid developments in energy efficiency, renewables, and battery storage offer a genuine opportunity for investors – and they are taking it up.

 

March 23, 2019 Posted by | Christina's themes | 3 Comments