Spring: The Season of Nuclear Disaster – Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima Daiichi was the title of the April 4, 2017 tele-briefing hosted by the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) and guest speaker Fairewinds’ Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen. Hosted by Tim Judson, NIRS executive director, Arnie discusses the myths of atomic energy, the ins and outs of each disaster, and his own personal experiences with assessing the industry failures and magnitude of each disaster. At the end of his presentation, Arnie and Tim also answered questions from listeners in this enlightening segment.
Toshiki Fujimori, left, hands folded paper cranes to the representatives of countries participating in the United Nations Conference to negotiate a ban on nuclear weapons at the United Nations headquarters in New York on March 31, 2017.
Anti-nuke NGO hands paper cranes to delegates at U.N. conference
NEW YORK — As the first session of the United Nations conference to negotiate a ban on nuclear weapons wrapped up here on March 31, an atomic bomb survivor and Nagasaki University students had a special present for each of the government representatives: a folded paper crane.
By handing the representatives this symbol of peace, Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor Toshiki Fujimori, 73, and the students conveyed their hope for the establishment of a U.N. treaty outlawing nuclear weapons. The cranes were an initiative planned by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a non-governmental organization (NGO).
“I hope that the cranes will remind the representatives of their determination to abolish nuclear weapons each time they see them,” Fujimori commented.
Hanako Mitsuoka, 21, a third-year student at Nagasaki University and a Nagasaki Youth Delegation member, said everyone took the cranes with smiles on their faces.
ICAN called for the participation of more countries during the conference by also placing the cranes on the seats of representatives of countries that did not participate, including Japan, and running a campaign on social media posting pictures of the non-participating countries’ flags and a signboard with the message “Wish you were here.”
Fujimori, who gave a speech to the conference on its opening day on March 27, conveyed his determination to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
“There is no doubt that there is high hope for us members of civil society to abolish nuclear weapons, so we must act in order to meet those expectations,” he said.
A-bomb survivor comments on treaty talks
A representative of a group of atomic bomb survivors has criticized the Japanese government for its refusal to join UN discussions on a legally-binding treaty to ban nuclear weapons.
Toshiki Fujimori is an assistant secretary general of Nihon Hidankyo, or the Japan Confederation of Atomic and Hydrogen Bomb Sufferers Organizations.
He said many participants during the first round described the experience of “hibakusha” or atomic bomb survivors. Fujimori himself told the General Assembly about his experience.
He said he expects Japanese officials to take a seat at the negotiating table and accept the outcome of the first round of talks. He says he believes a good treaty can be drafted in the next round.
Ambassador Thomas Hajnoczi
Word ‘hibakusha’ should be in nuke ban treaty preamble: Austrian U.N. delegate
NEW YORK — The permanent representative of Austria to the United Nations in Geneva has told the Mainichi Shimbun he hopes a treaty on the nuclear weapons ban being negotiated at the U.N. headquarters here will include the term “hibakusha” — a Japanese word for those exposed to radiation.
Ambassador Thomas Hajnoczi, who played a leading role in five days of international negotiations between March 27 and 31, told the Mainichi that he is lobbying other participating countries to push for the addition of “hibakusha” in the treaty’s preamble, and said he believes the word will indeed be included since no countries are opposed to the idea.
The term “hibakusha” used here is not just referring to survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings, but those who were exposed to radiation from nuclear tests around the world.
The Austrian representative emphasized during a meeting on March 31 that articles on support measures for the victims of nuclear blasts should be included in the treaty since it will focus on human rights issues derived from nuclear weapons.
He also touched on the speeches made by atomic bombing survivors invited to the talks during the March 28 meeting and said he was moved by them. He argued that in the preamble, it is important to refer to suffering that the victims of nuclear explosions have been going through, a central part of the treaty.
Toshiki Fujimori, assistant secretary general of the Japan Confederation of Atomic and Hydrogen Bomb Sufferers Organizations, who was exposed to the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, told the U.N. meeting on March 27 that the treaty must reflect the calls of hibakusha “in express terms so that the world makes remarkable progress toward nuclear weapons abolition.”
Another hibakusha from the Hiroshima bombing, Setsuko Thurlow, who now lives in Canada, also made an address during the meeting, saying that she wanted the world to feel the souls of those who died in the two bombings.
1st round of nuclear weapons ban treaty talks ends
Delegates from 115 countries have wrapped up the first round of talks on a proposed international treaty to ban nuclear weapons.
The 5-day meeting ended on Friday at United Nations headquarters in New York. It was held following a resolution adopted last December by the UN General Assembly. Non-nuclear countries such as Austria led efforts to press for the adoption.
The next round of talks is scheduled to be held from the middle of June to early July.
Costa Rican Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez chaired the meeting. She said there was constructive discussion on the scope, legal framework, and methods to prohibit nuclear arms.
She added delegates will aim to adopt a draft treaty by July 7th, the deadline for the next negotiations.
A UN statement said the discussion this time was about making nuclear arms illegal. It said the elimination process will be decided in later talks.
Nuclear-weapons countries such as the US and Russia are not participating in the negotiations.
Japan, the only country to have experienced atomic bombings, is also absent. It says nuclear disarmament should be a phased process involving the nuclear nations.
Head of nuclear arms ban talks aims to draft treaty next month
NEW YORK — The president of a conference on establishing a convention to outlaw nuclear weapons said she aims to draw up a draft of the convention next month and have it adopted in July.
The five-day first round of the conference, which was held at the United Nations headquarters in New York, ended on March 31.
Over 100 countries are participating in the conference, and many of them have expressed hope that a treaty to outlaw the use, production, possession, stockpiling and experiments of nuclear arms will be concluded.
Elayne Whyte Gomez, Costa Rican ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva and president of the conference, will draw up a draft while coordinating views among participating countries, and is expected to present the draft to the participating states as early as late May.
Whyte also said a meeting will be held in Geneva by June to exchange opinions between the countries involved, and she aims to have it adopted by the end of the second round of the conference to be held from June 15 to July 7.
About 40 countries, including the five major nuclear states — the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China — and NATO members and others that rely on the U.S. nuclear umbrella, are opposed to a treaty that would ban nuclear arms and are not participating in the conference.
Japanese disarmament ambassador Nobushige Takamizawa announced in a speech at the outset of the conference on March 27 that Tokyo would not participate in the talks.
Do children suffer worldwide from atomic power? Absolutely. CCTV host Margaret Harrington anchored a panel with Maggie Gundersen, Caroline Phillips, and Chiho Kaneko from Fairewinds Energy Education to discuss the health risks to children around the world from operating nuclear power reactors and their burgeoning waste. In the aftermath of the nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi, mothers in Japan especially bear the responsibility to protect their children. As a result, they experience greater hardships in an environment where just expressing one’s legitimate concerns about radiation contamination is seen as a treasonous act. Meanwhile in Ukraine, 30-years following the atomic disaster at Chernobyl, the repercussions of massive radioactive contamination and government zoning continue to severely impact children living within 50 miles of Chernobyl’s epicenter. The United States is not immune to these worries and contentions as Tritium, Strontium-90, and Cesium 137 are radioactive releases that threaten the health of children living nearby leaky atomic power reactors and nuclear waste dumps. Learn more by watching this episode of Nuclear Free Future as the women of Fairewinds lend their voices to protect the children.
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