Australian news, and some related international items

After the hibakusha: the future of Japan’s anti-nuclear movement

Oka Nobuko age 16 in Nagasaki 1945

After the hibakusha: the future of Japan’s anti-nuclear movement

Yoshida Mayu, NHK World Correspondent, 31 Jan 22,   Activists calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons have long relied on the powerful testimonies of atomic bomb survivors, or hibakusha, to grow their movement. But with ever fewer people to offer that testimony, both the hibakusha and activists know those days are running out. NHK World’s Yoshida Mayu speaks to different generations who have a common goal: a world without nuclear weapons.

Hellish memories

Oka Nobuko was in Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, the day the US dropped an atomic bomb on the city. For most of her life, she avoided talking about her experiences as the memories were too painful.

Last year she finally broke her silence to deliver a speech at the annual ceremony commemorating the date of the bombing.

“When I stood up, I was immediately knocked down and I lost consciousness,” she recounted. “When I woke up, I didn’t know where I was. Pieces of shattered glass were lodged in my body.”

Oka was a 16-year-old nursing student at the time and helped treat other victims at a first aid center.

“No treatment was possible in a lot of these cases,” she said. “There was flesh dangling from exposed bone. Some people jumped off buildings to kill themselves because they couldn’t endure the pain any longer.”

She described the scenes as “hellish” and said she suffered severe headaches every time the memories returned. For this reason, she always avoided going to the area where the first aid center was located.

Time to speak

In a letter to a close friend three years ago, Oka wrote of her worries that her memories and those of other hibakusha would soon be gone.

“The hibakusha are getting older and someday all of us will be gone,” she wrote.

Estimates put the number of living hibakusha at around 127,000, with an average age of 83.This sense that time was running out is what motivated Oka to finally share her story last August.

“We, the hibakusha, will continue to share our experiences and call for the abolition of nuclear weapons. We will fight for peace.”

Last November, three months after giving her speech, Oka died at the age of 93.

Inspiring other hibakusha Fukuda Hakaru, a 90-year-old Nagasaki hibakusha, says hearing Oka speak inspired him to share his own story. He wrote her a letter, saying how much her courage had moved him.

Fukuda had gone to the first aid center Oka was working at to get medicine for his father, who was severely injured in the blast.

“I can still hear the screams of the patients,” he says. “Doctors and nurses were running around to help them. It was a painful sight. It is very hard for me to talk about what I saw. The medical workers were the ones who saw up close the inhumanity of the atomic bombs.”

Fukuda was 14 at the time. He did not suffer any serious injuries, but his father, who was working close to ground zero, died a month later.”I’ll never forget how I felt. I had to pick up his remains after the cremation, but I have no idea how I managed. The world needs to know that this is the kind of pain that an atomic bomb causes. It cannot be allowed to happen again.”

Fukuda says he long felt he had a duty to share his story but avoided doing so because he was worried about the anti-hibakusha discrimination he and his family might face.

Many survivors and their families have had to deal with prejudice and discrimination over the years. Initially, little was known about the effects of radiation exposure, and some people incorrectly regarded it as contagious. The social stigma was especially serious when it came to marriage or work.

“The hibakusha continue to suffer today,” says Fukuda. “That’s yet another reason why we need to make sure this never happens again.”

Preserving Oka’s message

In December, a group of university students from Nagasaki hosted a virtual conference about the experiences of the hibakusha, speaking to high school classes about the stories they had heard from survivors.

One of these students was Kaji Misato, who spent a lot of time with Oka during her final days.

“Oka was with her mother and brother at the time of the bombing,” Kaji said at the event. “As she stood up, she realized she was covered in blood.”Kaji spoke to Oka four times last year and recorded five hours of conversation. She said it was an eye-opening experience.

“The atomic bombing always felt like something in the past,” Kaji says. “But after hearing her story, I started to feel a greater sense of attachment. She told us the war had robbed her of her youth and she wanted peace so the same thing didn’t happen with the youth of today.”Every year on August 9, a siren rings out across the city at 11:02 AM, the exact time the atomic bomb exploded. Residents stop what they are doing to observe a minute of silence. But when Kaji visited the city center last year, she was shocked to see how few people were actually paying their respects.

About a month later, Oka was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Kaji met with her shortly after.

“She told me she was worried that once all the hibakusha are gone, their memories would fade as well,” Kaji says.

She took her words to heart and decided to share what she told her with people even younger. The high school students who attended the virtual session said it was an insightful experience.”Her vivid memories made me feel the horror of the atomic bomb,” said one student.

“We cannot take peace for granted,” said another. “We have to take care of the people who are close to us.”

This year promises to be a crucial one for the abolition movement. State parties to the UN nuclear weapons ban treaty are planning to hold their first meeting to try to agree on specific actions. In the meantime, young campaigners like Kaji are ensuring that the stories from those who witnessed the horrors of 1945 are documented and heard.

January 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Doubts grow on water-release schedule at Fukushima plant

Doubts grow on water-release schedule at Fukushima plant THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, January 31, 2022  Shovel loaders digging pits at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on Jan. 17 were a rare sign of progress in the government’s contentious water-discharge plan at the stricken site.

Under the plan, millions of tons of treated but still contaminated water stored at the plant will be released into the sea over decades starting in spring 2023.

However, opposition to the plan remains fierce among local residents, the fishing industry and even overseas governments.

The pits being dug will temporarily hold radioactive water right before the release. But other preparatory work has already been stalled.

The government plans to create an undersea tunnel through which the treated and diluted radioactive water will be released into the sea about 1 kilometer from the plant.

Drilling work for the tunnel was initially scheduled to start early this year, but it was delayed to June.

Some government officials now doubt that the tunnel can be completed in time for the planned water release.

“It would be impossible to construct the underwater tunnel in less than a year,” one official said.

The government in April last year decided to discharge the contaminated water stored at the plant to move forward the decades-long process of decommissioning of the plant.

The accumulation of highly contaminated water has been a serious problem for the government and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 caused the triple meltdown there.

An average of 150 tons of such water was produced each day last year as rainwater and groundwater keeps flowing into the damaged reactor buildings and mixing with water used to cool the melted nuclear fuel.

The contaminated water is treated by a multi-nuclide removal facility, known as ALPS, and stored in tanks. ALPS, however, cannot remove tritium, a beta-emitting radioactive isotope of hydrogen, and others.

The pits are being built to ensure that tritium levels in the treated water after dilution with a large amount of seawater are low enough to be sent to the planned tunnel for discharge into the sea.

Disposal of the contaminated water has become an urgent matter.

TEPCO said the existing 1,061 tanks at the plant are capable of holding a total of 1.37 million tons of water and would be full by around spring next year.

As of Jan. 20, the plant had reached 94 percent of capacity.

The government fears that continuing to add more storage tanks at the plant could jeopardize the overall decommissioning work.


The government asked the International Atomic Energy Agency to send an inspection team to examine the safety of the treated radioactive water.

A seal of approval from a credible international body could go a long way in easing domestic and international opposition about the water release plan.

The IAEA team of researchers from 11 countries, including China and South Korea, which are opposed to the water release, was expected to visit Japan in December to begin its on-site inspection.

But that trip was scrapped after a new wave of novel coronavirus infections hit the global community.

Government officials are negotiating with the IAEA for a visit in spring by the team. But it remains unclear when the trip will finally materialize.

The government and TEPCO have also made little progress in gaining support from fishermen and the public, despite holding numerous briefings about the water release plan.

Distrust of the government and the utility remain high in Fukushima Prefecture over their series of mishandling of the nuclear disaster.

Fishermen, in particular, are adamantly opposed to the release of the water into areas where they make their living.

“If you insist on the safety of treated water, why don’t you spray it in your garden or dump it in a river flowing into Tokyo Bay?” Toru Takahashi, a fisherman in Soma, asked government officials at a recent briefing session.

The officials brought with them a huge stack of documents to emphasize the safety of the treated water.

But they lowered their eyes and clammed up when Takahashi and other opponents challenged their view.

“I will never ever drop my opposition,” Takahashi said.

Such opposition has created a headache for leaders of the towns hosting the plant.

They are eager to see progress in the decommissioning work, and getting rid of the huge amount of contaminated water at the plant would be a big step toward rebuilding their affected communities.

After the government’s decision to release the water, Shiro Izawa, mayor of Futaba, a town that co-hosts the plant along with Okuma, called on then industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama to gain support for the water discharge plan from the public and fisheries to advance the decommissioning process.

Futaba, a town with a population of nearly 7,000 before the nuclear disaster, is the only municipality in Fukushima Prefecture that remains entirely under an evacuation order.

In 2015, Futaba grudgingly became the storage site of contaminated soil and debris gathered in the cleanup of municipalities in the prefecture on the pretext of “moving forward rebuilding.”

If the planned water release is further delayed because of opposition from other municipalities, the future of rebuilding Futaba will remain in doubt.

(This story was compiled from reports by Takuro Yamano, Keitaro Fukuchi, Tsuyoshi Kawamura and Mamoru Nagaya.)

January 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Community Partnership” alerted to surveillance and “intimidation” by Radioactive Waste Management — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

LETTER to All Council Members of the Community Partnership with RWM

Dear Council Member of the Community Partnership with RWM This information has been sent to local and national press but in case it is not flagged up by media you should be aware that South Lakes MP Tim Farron has described surveillance and “intimidation” by Radioactive Waste Management as “severely concerning.” Opponents of the plan for a Geological Disposal Facility in Cumbria have been placed under surveillance with social media/online conversations/letters monitored and analysed by companies specialising in behavioural science. This has extended to false information being passed to the police about a leading campaigner by Radioactive Waste Management. The police have been informed that the information passed to them by RWM is false.

Following our own investigation, campaigners at Radiation Free Lakeland discovered that Oxfordshire based Radioactive Waste Management, tasked with “Delivery” of a UK Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) have employed three companies, BrandwatchMHP and Press Data to carry out surveillance. Councillors may be aware that Cumbrian group Radiation Free Lakeland have set up a dedicated volunteer campaign called Lakes Against Nuclear Dump to counter RWM’s remit to Deliver a Geological Disposal Facility for High Level Nuclear Wastes and Near Surface Disposal (at Drigg?) for Intermediate Level Nuclear Wastes.

Information on surveillance from Radioactive Waste Management was asked for by wildlife artist and opponent of nuclear dump plans Marianne Birkby through a Data Subject Access Request. The information is, say campaigners astonishing in its breadth of surveillance, analysis of what has been said in opposition to the deep nuclear dump plans and in discussing RWM actions aimed at discrediting voices opposed to GDF as “scaremongering.”

The extent of surveillance includes correspondence with Cumbria Police and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary. An email was sent by Radioactive Waste Management on 7/27/21 to Cumbria Police saying “The RWM lead [name redacted] has expressed concerns that there could be some local protestors at the event as a well-known local activist Marianne Birkby (Radiation Free Lakelands) has a holiday home nearby.” This says the campaigner is “news to me, I haven’t got a holiday home anywhere! Also I wasn’t even at the event referred to, surely passing false information onto the police is illegal and it feels pretty intimidating.”

Campaigners say that it is frightening that Local Authorities Copeland and Allerdale have now entered into a “Community Partnership” with Radioactive Waste Management which so patently advocates against local communities expressing any dissent to RWM’s remit to Deliver a Geological Disposal Facility.

In a letter to Radiation Free Lakeland, Tim Farron MP states: “I am severely concerned …The police should not be used as a method to harass or intimidate peaceful law-abiding protestors. This surveillance seems wholly unnecessary and is another example of the Government’s growing hostility towards those who would exercise their political freedoms.I am pleased to confirm that I have written to the Minister of State for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change and Radioactive Waste Management to ask them to confirm that such surveillance has been authorised and what cause they have to harass my constituents in this manner.”

Yours sincerely

Marianne Birkby,  Lakes Against Nuclear Dump a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign

January 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Let’s not allow the great powers to destroy the world — IPPNW peace and health blog

The vast destruction wrought by the atomic bombing of Japan in August 1945 should have been enough to convince national governments that the game of war was over. Wars have had a long run among rival territories and, later, nations, with fierce conflicts between Athens and Sparta, Rome and Carthage, Spain and Britain, and the combatants of […]

Let’s not allow the great powers to destroy the world — IPPNW peace and health blog

January 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

January 31 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion:  ¶ “Can Nuclear Fusion Power The Race To Net Zero?” • The IPCC’s landmark report in 2018 concluded that the world needs to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to have a good chance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Estimates for when fusion might come into use range from 2030 to 2050, […]

January 31 Energy News — geoharvey

January 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

To the end of January – nuclear news

The Ukraine crisis drags on – no American soldiers will be fighting, but American weapons companies making great sales.  Here’s hoping that in the event of war, nobody will strike Ukraines’s nuclear reactors  – each of them in them in themselves a sitting nuclear bomb.

Some bits of good news : Chinese Method For Growing Veggies Year-Round in Frigid Canada Really Works–And Has No Heating Costs.    South Australia Smashes Renewable Record Using 100% Solar And Wind For Full WeekSolar Power Will Account for Nearly Half of New U.S. Electric Generating Capacity in 2022

CoronavirusLPandemic or endemic: Where is COVID heading next?
ClimateHot Oceans & Escaping Consumerism


Massive flooding in Kimba district, – the Agricultural (no it’s now the Nuclear Waste) Town of the Year. Serious doubts that the Australian government has a plan for nuclear waste dump vulnerable to flooding. Kimba flooding: Australian government must immediately abort nuclear waste dump project. WASHED AWAY – Minister Keith Pitt’s grand dream of a Kimba nuclear waste dump. Kimba and the South Australian government must protect this precious agricutural region from nuclear waste dump’s danger of ground contamination. 
 Traditional Owners welcome expiry of uranium mine approval, but the fight isn’t over. Defence Minister Peter Dutton evasive about the 137 member nuclear submarine taskforce, which does not include a South Australian govt rep.  Pandemic pollution: how COVID-19 has fuelled Australia’s waste crisis

What drove Perth’s record-smashing heatwave – and why it’s a taste of things to come

Doctor reveals severe health effects from heatwaves and humidityAustralia’s collapsing reputation – way way down on Transparency International Corruption Index/


The rulers of the great powers are playing with fireVoices for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons .   The threat of nuclear winter hangs over our warming planet. 

 Swapping one dangerous fossil fuel technology for another dangerous nuclear technology is NOT progress.  Former nuclear regulators say that nuclear power is not a feasible option for tackling the climate crisis.

Russia proposes US returns American nuclear weapons from NATO countries close to Russia. U.S. and Russian Threats Over Ukraine—What They’re About .

US and British governments are effectively using “lawfare” to ensure Assange’s continued detention UK High Court gives very little chance for Julian Assange.

Rockets Destroy Ozone and Cause Climate Change – Aerospace Programs’ Deadly Impacts to the Earth.

Scientists say no to Solar Geoengineering . 

Nuclear incidents and meltdowns – far more than we realised. ‘We have to stop believing the nuclear hype’ , former chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and other leaders.  Busting the nuclear propaganda about Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTR).

UKRAINEFull scale war in Ukraine? With its 15 nuclear reactors – no more Ukraine, no more Europe. Increased mutations in animals affected by Chernobyl radiation. Nuclear warfare without bombs.

January 31, 2022 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Does Channel 10’s ”The Project” have the guts to tell the truth about the government’s planned Kimba nuclear waste dump?

You would have thought, with the present flooding of the Kimba area, and indeed, of much of Northern South Australia, that concern about planning a nuclear waste dump there would be an ‘‘urgent item of news”

Indeed, Channel 10’s ”The Project” had 2 hours of interview s about the dump sll ready.

In a rare media event, they had interviewed No Dump advocates Kimba farmers Peter & Sue Woodford & Barngarla Traditional Owner Jason Bilney 

Of course they’d also interviewed pro-dumpers.

But anyway, Channel 10 decided that this matter is not ”urgent” – and it’s gone on the back burner.

But instead, they’ve managed to put a reassuring spiel from The Australian Radioactive Waste Agency, (just in case the wider world in Australia might get a bit worried about the situation)

  • Roni Skipworth, No nuclear waste dump anywhere in South Australia , 31 Jan 22, Was told today the Interviews Peter and Sue were involved with was 2 hours long and was suppose to be shown tonight on the Project though they got a message saying they will view it later in the week as an urgent report needed to go first.
  • Let’s see how long they take to telecast it and also they just didn’t interview the Woolfords from No Nuclear Waste Dump on Agriculture Land. They interviewed the Yes Group also where Ramsay visited Kimba as well to put his bit in. Be interested to see what replaced the time slot tonight. This interview should had happened 6 years ago not just now!

January 31, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, media | Leave a comment

Floods at Kimba: serious doubts that the Australian government has a plan for nuclear waste dump vulnerable to flooding


Nuclear waste and floods

1. Preventing problems at a nuclear waste dump/store from flooding should be manageable, if and only if project management oversight and regulation is up to the task.

There are serious questions about whether management and regulation of the Australian government’s proposed national nuclear waste dump/store at Kimba in SA would be adequate. The most relevant case study in Australia is the flawed ‘clean up’ of the Maralinga nuclear test site in the late 1990s, overseen by the federal government. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. There has been no honesty or transparency about the failures at Maralinga, no attempt to learn from mistakes. Successive governments have simply lied about the problems and tried to cover them up. Expect the same at Kimba.

2. The proposed Kimba dump will be designed to leak.
 Either barriers prevent leakage, in which case there is a risk of accumulation of infiltrated water resulting in corrosion of waste drums and other such problems. Or, as is the case with the Kimba proposal, there will be water outlets, i.e. it is designed to leak.

3. Even with the expertise and resources available to ANSTO, and the importance of safely managing irradiated/spent nuclear fuel, water infiltration has been a problem at Lucas Heights. In early 1998, it was revealed that “airtight” spent fuel storage canisters had been infiltrated by water – 90 litres in one case – and corrosion had resulted. When canisters were retrieved for closer inspection, three accidents took place (2/3/98, 13/8/98, 1/2/99), all of them involving the dropping of canisters containing spent fuel while trying to transport them from the ‘dry storage’ site to another part of the Lucas Heights site. The public may never have learnt about those accidents if not for the fact that an ANSTO whistleblower told the local press. One of those accidents (1/2/99) subjected four ANSTO staff members to small radiation doses (up to 0.5 mSv).

4. One example of flooding compromising nuclear waste: Flooding at Nine Mile Point. In July 1981, water flooded the Radwaste Processing Building containing highly radioactive waste for Unit 1 at the Nine Mile Point nuclear plant in upstate New York. The flood tipped over 55-gallon metal drums filled with highly radioactive material. The spilled contents contaminated the building’s basement such that workers would receive a lethal radiation dose in about an hour. The Unit 1 reactor had been shut down for over two years and was receiving heightened oversight attention when the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) investigated the matter. But the NRC was reacting to a television news report about the hazardous condition rather than acting upon its own oversight efforts. The media spotlight resulted in this long over-looked hazard finally being remedied.

5. Another example: Federal health officials agree radioactive waste in St. Louis area may be linked to cancer. The US government confirms some people in the St. Louis area may have a higher risk of getting cancer. A recent health report found some residents who grew up in areas contaminated by radioactive waste decades ago may have increased risk for bone and lung cancers, among other types of the disease. The assessment was conducted by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tens of thousands of radioactive waste barrels, many stacked and left open to the elements, contaminated the soil and nearby Coldwater Creek which sometimes flooded the park next to people’s homes.

January 31, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

“Nuclear warfare without bombs”

 the vulnerability of operating reactors in Ukraine is a danger that is not taken nearly seriously enough.…..  (A wind farm in a war zone comes with no such hazards.)

Ukraine’s reactors at risk if Russia invades

“Nuclear warfare without bombs” — Beyond Nuclear International Ukraine’s reactors could be in the line of fire

By Linda Pentz Gunter  30 Jan 22
, As Craig Hooper so chillingly warned us in his December 28, 2021 article for Forbes, a Russian invasion of Ukraine, “could put nuclear reactors on the front line of military conflict.” The result, he said, depending on the tactics deployed by the Russians, could be equivalent to “nuclear warfare without bombs.”

It’s yet one more reminder of just how much an already perilous situation can become orders of magnitude worse, once you introduce the risk of major radioactive releases into the equation.

There are 15 reactors in Ukraine providing about 50% of the country’s electricity. Hooper’s article speculates not only on what could happen if any one of these nuclear sites — such as the six-reactor VVER-1000 complex at Zaporizhzhia  — should find itself in the midst of armed conflict or bombardment. He also postulates intentional sabotage by Russia as a strategic measure — “allowing reactors to deliberately melt down and potentially contaminate wide portions of Europe.”

This may sound far-fetched, or, at least, we hope it does. And the Forbes article roundly condemns Russia without factoring in the bristling U.S.-led buildup of NATO armaments on the border, none of which is easing tensions, and which only worsens the likelihood that Ukraine’s nuclear plants could find themselves literally in the line of fire. (For an interesting assortment of perspectives from all sides, endeavoring to unravel the complexities of this situation, Better World Info provides a useful resource.)

Either way, the vulnerability of operating reactors in Ukraine is a danger that is not taken nearly seriously enough. As far as I can tell, Hooper’s is the only article on the still unfolding tension between Russia and Ukraine that has even mentioned the risks posed by those 15 reactors. (A wind farm in a war zone comes with no such hazards.)

Instead, the implications of a radiological disaster ensuing should Russia indeed invade Ukraine, have been largely ignored in favor of panic over a potential energy crisis in Europe, should Russia cut off gas supplies in an effort to dampen European support for Ukraine in the on-going dispute.

This is in itself is a reminder that Europe could have avoided such dependence on imported fossil fuels — while at the same time contributing to a meaningful reduction in greenhouse gas emissions — by developing home-grown renewable energy decades ago, when climate change was already recognized as a threat.

We have, of course, already seen what can happen when radioactive contamination adds to an existing “natural” disaster. After the major earthquake that hit Japan on March 11,  2011, followed by the devastating tsunami, rescue operations in some hard-hit areas were hampered by high levels of radiation released by the subsequent triple meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi. How many lives were lost in the earthquake or tsunami that might have been saved had first responders been able to safely enter those disaster zones?

If conflict rages in a region where nuclear power plants are located, the personnel working there cannot simply abandon them. This was the terrible dilemma faced by TEPCO and then Japanese president, Naoto Kan, who insisted that the Fukushima Daiichi workforce stay in place at the risk of their lives. 

Abandoning Daiichi to a major runaway meltdown would have forced evacuations further afield, including from the still operating Fukushima Daiini nuclear power plant less than 10 miles down the coast. Abandoning Daiini would have meant more meltdowns. And so on. Such a cascade of nuclear disasters would have necessitated the evacuation of Tokyo, a city of close to 14 million people. That, Kan later said, would have been the end of Japan as a nation.

There is, of course, no need to put anyone into such a “playing God” situation, condemning the few to save the many due to the folly of choosing an energy source that could potentially irradiate an entire country. You simply stop using nuclear power.

But that still leaves the waste. And here we return to the same dilemma. That radioactive waste, some of it lethal for hundreds of thousands of years, cannot be stored anywhere that might become politically volatile. 

This was, in part, the driver behind the Australian Pangea project, which viewed that nation as the ideal venue for the world’s underground radioactive waste repository, not only because of the suitable geology, but because it was a country unlikely to be caught up in war.

However, Pangea (full disclosure; this was a project of my eventually estranged and now deceased cousin, David Pentz) thoroughly failed the environmental justice test, an essential criterion for managing the dangerous detritus of the Nuclear Age. Ethically, you cannot demand that nuclear waste be dumped on those who never made it and don’t want it. The massive transport risks were also a deal killer.

As Edgar Hagen’s film — Journey to the Safest Place on Earth — so effectively conveyed, finding a site for high-level radioactive waste that is geologically and ethically sound and politically stable is probably an impossibility. All the more reason not to exacerbate this problem by continuing to make yet more waste.

As Charlie Chaplin already articulated so brilliantly back in 1940 in The Great Dictator, it would be better if the misguided megalomaniacs who run far too many countries in this world, would stop war-mongering and concentrate on a collective effort to save humanity. These days, that means from the looming disaster that is the climate emergency.

But the reality is that we are a warlike species. Nothing in our history suggests we are evolving on this front, even if most of us actually abhor war. We continue to elect leaders who are all too willing to lead us headlong into one.

Therefore, removing everything that could make the consequences of a war even more deadly, is an urgent imperative. That means abolishing nuclear weapons, but it also means closing and dismantling the world’s nuclear power plants. And it most certainly means a halt to any further development and expansion of nuclear power, especially in volatile regions like the Middle East.

We may yet escape the Holocaust of a true nuclear war. But, if we don’t abolish nuclear power, we may still see that “nuclear war without bombs”.

Linda Pentz Gunter is the international specialist at Beyond Nuclear and writes for and curates Beyond Nuclear International. She is based in Takoma Park, Maryland.

January 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Swapping one dangerous fossil fuel technology for another dangerous nuclear technology is NOT progress

‘To make a relevant contribution to global power generation, up to more than ten thousand new reactors would be required, depending on reactor design.”

Caught between nostalgia and science fiction

  Swapping one dangerous technology for another isn’t progress. By Linda Pentz Gunter, 30 Jan 22,

It’s starting to sound a lot like a Christmas carol as a growing chorus of voices clamors to stop the European Union from including nuclear power in its “green taxonomy.”

Six countries, five former Japanese prime ministers, four former nuclear regulators, a bunch of French hens (at least 20 protesters), and two heads of Italy’s major energy behemoth, have all spoken out in recent weeks against rebranding dangerous, expensive nuclear power as “sustainable” energy or even a bridge to an all renewable future.

The youth climate movement, Fridays for the Future, have also condemned the potential inclusion of nuclear power in the EU Taxonomy as “greenwashing”, with spokesperson Luisa Neubauer telling Euractiv that Germany “can phase out both coal and nuclear power and enter the renewable age.” Why, she asked, would you “swap one high risk technology, coal, for another high risk technology? And maybe those risks aren’t quite the same, but the risks attached to nuclear energy, people have experienced that.” In addition, the costs for nuclear power, she said are “in a different galaxy” compared to renewables.

Francesco Starace, a nuclear engineer by training and the head of Enel, the Italian multinational energy company, said of nuclear power, “we can’t stay halfway between nostalgia for the past and hope in science fiction”. Enel Green Power head, Salvatore Bernabei, said “we don’t intend to invest in nuclear, obviously.”

Said Starace: “We must act now because the red alert for humanity has gone off and the next ten years will be crucial. There is only one road and it is already marked: electrification, renewables and batteries”.

The five former prime ministers of Japan spoke from direct experience, having lived through the devastation caused by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, which began on March 11, 2011, but is still damaging human health and the environment today.

Promoting nuclear power can ruin a country,” wrote Junichiro Koizumi, Morihiro Hosokawa, Naoto Kan, Yukio Hatoyama and Tomiichi Murayama in a statement directed at the EU.

“We have witnessed in Fukushima over the last decade [ ] an indescribable tragedy and contamination on an unprecedented scale,” the prime ministers wrote. “Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes and vast areas of agricultural land have been contaminated. Radioactive water well beyond storage capacity continues to be generated, many children are suffering from thyroid cancer, and massive amounts of the country’s resources and wealth has been lost. We do not wish European countries to make the same mistake.”

The four former nuclear regulators — Dr. Greg Jaczko (US), Prof. Wolfgang Renneberg (Germany), Dr. Bernard Laponche (France) and Dr. Paul Dorfman (UK) — stated categorically that “The central message, repeated again and again, that a new generation of nuclear will be clean, safe, smart and cheap, is fiction.”

Given the urgency of the climate crisis, the four said, using nuclear power to address it was a completely unrealistic proposition. “The reality is nuclear is neither clean, safe or smart; but a very complex technology with the potential to cause significant harm,” they wrote. 

They added: “Nuclear isn’t cheap, but extremely costly. Perhaps most importantly nuclear is just not part of any feasible strategy that could counter climate change. To make a relevant contribution to global power generation, up to more than ten thousand new reactors would be required, depending on reactor design.”

Although France is leading the charge — for obviously self-interested reasons — to include nuclear power in the EU Taxonomy, the country is not without its nuclear opponents. The nationwide Réseau sortir du nucléaire and scores of regional groups struggle to get attention, but have staged protests for years. France relies on nuclear power for 70% of its electricity and is also a member of the UN Security Council as a nuclear weapons country, giving it an illusory sense of prestige of which it is reluctant to let go.

Last December, protesters descended on France’s foreign ministry, roundly criticizing French president, Emmanuel Macron’s continued promotion of nuclear power. At the same time, the country was facing electricity shortages due to five French reactor outages.

Even scientists, sometimes the more cautious of species, have spoken out. According to the Financial Times, which viewed the documentation, scientific experts “hired by Brussels to help draw up the sustainable investment rules” have criticized the inclusion of nuclear power, while not going as far as to ask for its removal altogether. However, the experts wrote that “the inclusion of nuclear energy contravenes the principle of ‘do no significant harm’”, the Financial Times said.

Meanwhile, Austria is preparing to take the EU to court if it persists in labeling nuclear power as green. Austria has the support of Spain, Luxembourg and Denmark in calling the consideration of nuclear as a “sustainable” energy source “a step backwards.”

Germany, which is close to phasing out all of its nuclear power plants, has also rejected nuclear as part of the EU Taxonomy while so far failing to oppose the inclusion of gas, again for vested interests.

Linda Pentz Gunter is the international specialist at Beyond Nuclear and writes for and curates Beyond Nuclear International.

January 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The rulers of the great powers are playing with fire — Labour Hub

By Gilbert Achcar It is not an exaggeration to say that what is currently happening in the heart of the European continent is the most dangerous moment in contemporary history and the closest to a third world war since the Soviet missile crisis in Cuba in 1962. True, neither Moscow nor Washington has hinted at […]

The rulers of the great powers are playing with fire — Labour Hub

January 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

European Green Taxonomy and nuclear power: 5 former prime ministers of Japan have taken a public stand against its inclusion — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Published on 29 January 2022 by André JACQUES The European Commission should make its decision on February 02. The European Commission has decided to include nuclear power in the European green taxonomy (see the press release of the European Commission (see the press release of the European Commission). Annual press conference at the Japan Foreign […]

European Green Taxonomy and nuclear power: 5 former prime ministers of Japan have taken a public stand against its inclusion — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

January 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment