Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear news in Australia and beyond

Mercifully brief this week, as I have had the flu

A bit of good news –  Fiji joined over 86 states to adopt a treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons and take the first step back from the knife edge of Armageddon.  Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama eloquently set out the reasons for the treaty, and the need to heal the wounds of the dark legacy of nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific. The best explanation i”ve yet read, on the value of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

AUSTRALIA

Greg Barns: Julian Assange and the Albanese Government – Enough is enough! China accuses the US and UK of hypocrisy on press freedom for calling out Beijing’s crackdowns while putting Australian Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on trial for espionage.

A new era as Australia joins historic UN nuclear ban meeting. MP Susan Templeman represents Australia at landmark nuclear weapons ban treaty in Vienna. “Truly historic” First Meeting of States Parties concludes! -UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Richard Broinowski on Australia’s Nuclear past and future.

Nuclear test survivors’ plea for Australia to sign treaty, as they speak at UN meeting.

big win for Yeelirrie.

Climate change minister Chris Bowen says nuclear is too slow and expensive.

Australia has a once in a lifetime chance to break stranglehold fossil fuels have on politics .

Kean goes deep green with budget that links climate action with future prosperity.
Moderate Libs flag revolt against Dutton’s climate stance
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Ransom Notes: pay us to keep our old power plants running or else, say fossil fuel majors.

INTERNATIONAL.

Let us move towards a world without nuclear weapons. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Members agree a plan of action in response to renewed threats of nuclear weapons use. A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought .

After lying for months, the media are preparing the public for Ukraine’s military collapse. Glenn Diesen: As propaganda about a Ukrainian ‘victory’ retreats, is a split emerging in the West? Western Officials Admit Ukraine Is Crawling With CIA Personnel.

European Pressurised Water Reactors (EPRs) – a nuclear economic fiasco in Finland, France, UK and China.

The United States-the Pacific bully.

Welcome to the ‘Pandemicene‘..

World facing real risk of ‘multiple famines‘ this year, UN chief warns.

UKRAINE. West’s Ukraine fantasy will spell doom for the Ukrainian nation.A despicable Ukrainian PSYOP in Bucha. No Western ”boots on the ground” in Ukraine? Just commandoes and CIA agentsAs world leaders promote nuclear power as SAFE, a dangerous situation develops at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant _- Zaporizhzia in Ukraine ! Panic as Russian missiles pass CRITICALLY close to nuclear power plant, as Putin’s ‘grave health worsens’.

June 27, 2022 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

A new era as Australia joins historic UN nuclear ban meeting

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 https://johnmenadue.com/australia-joins-historic-un-nuclear-ban-meeting/ By Tilman RuffJun 27, 2022,

This week in Vienna, Australia joined a landmark gathering of eighty-three governments to further implement and develop the treaty banning nuclear weapons.

In a stunning demonstration of resolve, goodwill and cooperation, with no shred or adversarial politics, the meeting adopted a realistic  action plan that breaks new ground. It maps out collaborative programs of work led by different states in key areas of treaty obligations: promoting treaty membership and norms, complementarity with other nuclear treaties, disarmament processes including verification, and assisting victims and remediating (where possible) environments harmed by nuclear weapons use and testing. States also made a  political declaration that is arguably the strongest and clearest rejection of nuclear weapons ever made by a multilateral gathering.

Five years ago, by a vote of 122 to 1 in the United Nations in New York, the first treaty to ban the worst weapons of mass destruction was born: the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). For its role in bringing about the treaty, the Melbourne-born International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) became the first Australian-born entity to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The treaty entered into legal force last year, and this week for the first time, governments gathered to discuss and decide how to promote and implement the treaty.

The Australian delegation to Vienna was led by NSW Labor MP Susan Templeman, federal member for Macquarie, who last year said Australia “can and should lead international efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons”. She  told the Blue Mountains Gazette this week: “It was great to be in Austria to observe the first Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) on behalf of Australia. … Australia shares the ambition of TPNW states parties of a world free of nuclear weapons.”

The Vienna meeting from 21-23 June was the first intergovernmental gathering focused on addressing the threat of nuclear weapons since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and multiple threats by President Vladimir Putin to use nuclear weapons. Other “nuclear-endorsing” states attending the meeting as observers included NATO members Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Belgium. Sweden, Finland and Switzerland also joined.

Shamefully, the previous Australian government boycotted the negotiation of and opposed the TPNW, the first time Australia has ever boycotted multilateral disarmament negotiations. This stands in stark contrast to Australia under governments both Labor and Coalition having joined the treaties that ban biological and chemical weapons, landmines and cluster munitions.

In 2018, the ALP adopted unanimously a national policy platform commitment to sign and ratify the TPNW. It reaffirmed that policy at its national conference in 2021. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is a long-term champion of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and moved the new policy in 2018. Over three-quarters of all members of the new government have personally backed the treaty. In this they have strong public support – opinion polls over recent years have consistently shown 70-80% of the public want Australia to join the TPNW – in the most recent poll 76% of those asked want Australia to join the nuclear weapon ban, with only 6% opposed (Ipsos, March 2022).

Fifty-five Australian former ambassadors and high commissioners this week released an open  letter to PM Albanese urging him to sign and ratify the TPNW without delay.

The meeting in Vienna and a new more constructive era in Australia’s approach to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation could not come at a more critical time. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine accompanied by repeated threats to use nuclear weapons, the world faces the greatest evident danger of nuclear war since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. Russia’s threats should shatter any misplaced sense of complacency or denial that somehow the risk of nuclear war is a faded relic of the past that no longer demands our urgent attention.

Russia’s threats have upended decades-old assumptions about security and deterrence, with Russia using nuclear weapons not to deter but to coerce and intimidate, and provide a cover for war crimes and gross violations of international law and human rights.

But as former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said, “There are no right hands for the wrong weapons.” Every day that thousands of nuclear weapons remain launch-ready, two thousand of them ready to be launched within minutes, they remain the most acute existential threat to humanity and our planet. The leading scientists behind the Doomsday Clock have set it at 100 seconds to midnight, further forward than ever before. None of the nine states wielding nuclear weapons are disarming or negotiating for disarmament as they are obligated to do. To the contrary, all are engaged in upgrading and modernising their arsenals with new, more accurate, flexible and ‘usable’ weapons. Kinds of nuclear weapons the world has never seen before are being developed and deployed, including hypersonic missiles, nuclear-armed cruise missiles powered by nuclear reactors, and nuclear torpedos. And the number of usable weapons in military stockpiles is again increasing.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) in a  report released last week documented that last year the nine nuclear-armed countries spent US$82.4 billion (A$116 billion) on nuclear weapons – A$220,000 per minute – an inflation-adjusted increase of A$9.2 billion from 2020.

The day before the treaty meeting, the Australian delegation also joined a  Conference on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons hosted by Austria, which provided compelling updated evidence from scientists, emergency responders and other experts on the catastrophic consequences and growing risks of use of nuclear weapons.

The TPNW provides our best hope to control our worst weapons, and is currently the only bright light in an otherwise bleak and darkening nuclear landscape. Hopefully this early positive step will be promptly followed by the new government signing and working towards Australia ratifying the treaty, in line with its pre-election commitments. 

TILMAN RUFF

Tilman Ruff AO is Co-President of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (Nobel Peace Prize 1985); and co-founder and founding international and Australian Chair of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize, the first to an entity born in Australia.

June 27, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A big win for Yeelirrie — Beyond Nuclear International

Indigenous community keeps door closed to uranium mining in Australia

A big win for Yeelirrie — Beyond Nuclear International Cameco delays mean uranium mining permit not extended
By Maggie Wood, Acting Executive Director, Conservation Council of Western Australia
On April 6, we celebrated a huge step forward in our sustained campaign to keep the door closed to uranium mining in Yeelirrie. 
The Minister for Environment has rejected an application by the Canadian mining company Cameco to extend their environmental approval for the Yeelirrie uranium mine. 

The approval was controversially granted in 2017 in the dying days of the Barnett government and required Cameco to commence mining within five years. They have failed to do this and now they have failed in their bid to have this time extended.

This is a huge win for the local area, the communities nearby and for life itself. The special and unique lives of the smallest of creatures, endemic subterranean fauna found nowhere else on earth, would have most likely been made extinct had this project gone ahead, according to the WA EPA. 

For over five decades Traditional Custodians from the Yeelirrie area have fought to protect their Country and community from uranium mining. Over this time they have stood up and overcome three major multinational mining companies – WMC, BHP and now Cameco.

We have stood united with communities to say no to uranium mining and this consistent rejection of the nuclear industry in WA has helped secure the sensible decision to not extend the approval.

“It is possible to stand up to multinational companies and stop major mining projects from destroying sacred lands and environments – we do that from a base of strength in unity and purpose, from persistent and consistent actions and most of all perseverance against all odds to stand up for what is right …” – Kado Muir, Tjiwarl Traditional Custodian.

And this couldn’t have happened without you. Hundreds of supporters like you have spent time on country with Traditional Custodians – listening, walking, connecting with country and standing up for a nuclear free future. Traditional Custodians, unions, faith groups, health groups, environmental groups, the WA and Australian Greens and WA Labor – we’ve all had a big part to play. 

Thank you to everyone who has stood up, spoken out, donated, walked, written letters, signed petitions and online actions, bought artwork and t-shirts, volunteered, and organised to say no to uranium mining.

The campaign to protect Yeelirrie is not entirely over. While the approvals can’t be acted on currently, they do still exist, and an amendment could be made by a future government giving Cameco the greenlight to mine.

This is why we are now calling on the State Government to withdraw approvals for Yeelirrie along with expired approvals for Cameco’s Pilbara proposal at Kintyre and Toro Energy’s Wiluna uranium proposal. Doing this would be consistent with WA Labor’s policy and community expectations and – as Vicki Abdullah says – is the next step to a lasting solution.

“We’re really glad to hear the news that Yeelirrie’s approval has not been extended. It was a bad decision in the first place and after years in court and fighting to defend our country this news is a great relief. We will really celebrate properly when this government withdraws approvals altogether and then we can have more confidence the threat is over…” – . – Vicki Abdullah, Tjiwarl Traditional Custodian.  https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/4098309284

June 27, 2022 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

The United States-the Pacific bully

 https://johnmenadue.com/the-united-states-the-pacific-bully/ By Brian Toohey, Jun 24, 2022,

The US dominates the Pacific Islands to an extent China can never hope to achieve. With Australia’s support, the US is now engaged in an arms build-up in its Pacific territories and de-facto colonies in a little known boost to its containment of China.

The US has three self-governing territories in the Pacific: Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. Guam hosts some of the US’s most important bases the world. After a large scale military expansion on one of the main islands in the Northern Marianas, Tinian is expected to rival Guam in importance in coming years.

The US also has Compacts of Free Association with three countries covering thousands of islands in the Pacific – the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands. The compacts are a de-facto form of colonialism which gives the US exclusive military access to these countries’ land and maritime surrounds in return for defence guarantees and financial assistance.

The Federated States of Micronesia has a population of around 100,000. It has a land area of 702  square km on 607 islands amid 2,600,000 square km of ocean. The US will build a new base there. The residents are concerned about the impact of the base as their islands are often tiny and the landscape important to their identity. The US is also establishing a new military base on Palau, which has 340 islands and a total population of just over 18,000. The Marshall Islands landmass is 181 square km amid 466,000 square km of ocean. Although the Kwajalein atoll is only 15 square km, it is exclusively a military base with an extraordinary array of US activities; including a key role in US testing interceptors aimed ballistic missiles.

The Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi recently visited seven South Pacific countries and signed various agreements in some, including the provision of infrastructure and police training , but he failed to get support for a 10-country trade agreement. He did not seek permission to build a navy base in the Solomon Island or anywhere else. Nevertheless, some saw the visit as an act of Chinese aggression. It is an odd view of aggression compared to the damage done by US, British and French testing of thermonuclear (also called hydrogen) bombs on Pacific islands, or when Australia helped invade Iraq.

The US conducted 105 nuclear tests in the Pacific, mainly in the Marshall islands, between 1946 and 1962, as part oftits program to develop thermonuclear bombs. Operational weapons were sometimes tested, including a submarine-launched war head. One test in 1952 completely vaporised the island of Eluglab. In 1954, a thermonuclear bomb tested on Bikini atoll exploded with force of 15 megatons – over 1,000 times bigger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The radioactive cloud engulfed a Japanese fishing boat about 80 miles away in a white powder that poisoned the crew. One died from the exposure seven months later and 15 more in following years.

The radioactivity affected the drinking water and food. Children played in the ash-like powder. Some ate it. Marshall Islanders over a wide area were subject to abnormal radiological doses. In 2005, the US National Cancer Institute reported that the risk of contracting cancer for those exposed to the fallout was over one in three.

Nevertheless, in 1946, a US Navy Commodore had asked 167 people living on Bikini atoll to re-locate so their home could be used use “for the good of mankind”. They were resettled in 1969, but had to be evacuated again after high radiation levels were detected.

There has been some increase in the pathetically low initial compensation. But it is hard to compensate for the environmental damage and loss of cultural heritage, traditional customs and skills. In 2014, the Marshall Islands attempted to sue the US and eight other nuclear armed nations, for failing to move towards nuclear disarmament as required by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. A US Court dismissed the suit in 2017.

Britain tested 40 thermonuclear bombs on an islands in the Kiribati group between 1957 and 1962. Troops from Britain , Fiji (then a British colony), and New Zealand worked on the tests. Many were harmed by radiation and other causes. As usual, the locals were treated badly and their water and lands polluted.

France conducted 41 atmospheric nuclear tests between 1966 and 1974 in French Polynesia. It then conducted 140 underground, primarily of thermonuclear bombs, until 1996. One of the islands used was subject to cracking. In an act of state terrorism, French secret service frogman killed a photographer when they bombed a Green Peace protest ship in Auckland harbour on its way to the French nuclear testing area.

Labor’s defence minister, Richard Marles now refers to France as a Pacific county, despite the fact that it is a European country with a tenuous justification for holding onto its colonial possessions in the Pacific – New Caledonia and French Polynesia. Labor used to oppose colonialism. Now it seems it’s good if the colonial power opposes China.

The South Pacific Forum comprises 18 members: Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Not all are normally considered to be in the South Pacific. The inclusion of three countries with Compacts of Free Association with the US and two French possessions basically guarantees they will vote for what the US or France wants.

However, the legacy of the contemptuous disregard for the indigenous residents during massive hydrogen bomb tests ensures that  nuclear issues, including the passage of nuclear submarines, remain sensitive.

At the time of the negotiation of the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty in 1985 Paul Malone wrote that it was for a “partial nuclear free zone”, as it did not prohibit the “passage of nuclear-armed ships or aircraft through the region”. Malone reported that some Pacific Island countries wanted to be Treaty to prohibit access to nuclear-armed warships. The then Prime Minister Bob Hawke insisted on that omission which reflected the wishes of the US. However, nuclear issues have been revived by the creation of the 2021AUKUS pact in which Australia is committed to buying nuclear powered submarines.

A journalist and researcher based in the Pacific, Nic Maclellan says, “Any hope that Australia’s island neighbours will welcome further nuclearisation of the region is folly. Within days of the UKUS announcement, statements from Pacific leaders, community elders and media organisations highlighted the persistence of the deep antinuclear sentiment.

The general secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches, Reverend James Bhagwa tweeted

“Shame Australia, Shame.” The Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare told the UN General Assembly his nation “would like to keep our region nuclear-free . . . We do not support any form of militarisation in our region that could threaten regional and international peace and stability.”

The Kiribati President Taneti Maamau told the ABC, “Our people are victims of nuclear testing. We still have trauma. With anything to do with nuclear, we thought it would be a courtesy to discuss it with your neighbours”. He said he was especially concerned about Australia developing nuclear powered submarines which he said “puts the region at risk”

Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama tweeted that his father was among the Fijian soldiers the British sent to help with their nuclear bomb tests. He said, “To honour the sacrifice of all those who have suffered due to these weapons, Fiji will never stop working towards a global nuclear ban.”

The New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern repeated that nuclear submarines “can’t come into our internal waters”. New Zealand and nine South Pacific Forum countries have ratified the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Australia hasn’t. The Samoa Observer wrote, “It is a relief seeing Prime Minister Ardern continuing to maintain the tradition of her predecessors by promoting a nuclear-free Pacific; probably she is the only true friend of the Pacific Islands.”

June 27, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

WA gold mine now renewably powered after rapid solar deployment — RenewEconomy

A Western Australian gold mine is now being powered by solar power, the first operational project under the state’s Clean Energy Future Fund. The post WA gold mine now renewably powered after rapid solar deployment appeared first on RenewEconomy.

WA gold mine now renewably powered after rapid solar deployment — RenewEconomy

June 27, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As world leaders promote nuclear power as SAFE, a dangerous situation develops at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant _- Zaporizhzia in Ukraine !

Ukraine’s nuclear regulatory agency faces an unprecedented struggle to maintain nuclear safety, most notably including “terrorism against firefighters and nuclear power plant personnel” at the Russian-occupied Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, according to Oleg Korikov, the organization’s beleaguered interim head.

Korikov warned fellow Europeanregulators in Europe that Ukraine’s Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate (SNRIU) is unprepared for further deterioration at Zaporozhye, a six-reactor
facility that is Europe’s largest nuclear plant, and is essentially in uncharted waters. “We do not have rules, regulations [for] how we can regulate, how we can operate, in these conditions,” said Korikov.

Staff at
Zaporozhye “is under heavy psychological pressure of Russian soldiers,” theSNRIU’s acting chairman and chief state inspector told a Jun. 20 meeting of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group. There is “kidnapping and attacks on nuclear power plant staff” in Enerhodar, the Russian-occupied city closest to the plant. “We have evidence of this.” This appeared to
= confirm what has emerged as one of the most troubling aspects of the situation at Zaporozhye and Enerhodar since both were occupied by Russian troops on Mar. 4: the kidnapping, intimidation, interrogation and torture of Zaporozhye workers.

 Energy Intelligence 24th June 2022 https://www.energyintel.com/00000181-910f-d7da-adc1-976f35b80000

June 27, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Panic as Russian missiles pass CRITICALLY close to nuclear power plant, as Putin’s ‘grave health worsens’

 Panic as Russian missiles pass CRITICALLY close to nuclear power plant, as Putin’s ‘grave health worsens’   https://www.thesun.ie/news/8910728/russia-ukraine-vladimir-putin-latest-health-news/ 26 June 22,

VLADIMIR PUTIN has been accused of “nuclear terrorism” by leading Ukrainian officials after Russian missiles passed “critically” close to a nuclear power station.

Ukraine’s national nuclear company, Energoatom, accused Russia of committing “another act of nuclear terrorism.”

Missiles were reportedly seen passing over the plant earlier today.

Meanwhile, according to the Daily Star, a Kremlin source has claimed the dictator only has “two years left to live” as his health enters a “grave” condition.

According to the paper, top Ukrainian intelligence official, Major General Kyrylo O. Budanov, said the despot “doesn’t have a long life ahead of him.”

This comes after Budanov told Sky News that Putin was suffering from cancer.

June 27, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

No Western ”boots on the ground” in Ukraine? Just commandoes and CIA agents,

Western ‘network of commandos and spies’ helping Ukraine – NYTCIA agents have been stationed in Kiev to share US intel with Ukrainian troops, the report claims  https://www.rt.com/news/557848-us-cia-agents-kiev/ NATO members have been supplying Ukraine with heavy weapons, including missile launchers, combat drones and armored vehicles, and training Ukrainian troops to use them. In recent months, the Pentagon has delivered M142 HIMARS multiple rocket launchers and M777 howitzers.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said last week that Ukraine was facing “a pivotal moment on the battlefield” and urged Washington’s allies to continue aiding Kiev.

The report about the activities of Western commandos and CIA agents in and around Ukraine comes as a three-day Group of Seven (G7) summit kicks off in Germany on Sunday. The group, which comprises of the US, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, which have imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia.

Moscow has said in the past that it will treat foreign weapons, on Ukrainian soil, as legitimate targets.
A secret network of commandos and spies from the US, and some of its allies, is working to provide weapons, intelligence and training to Ukraine, the New York Times (NYT) reported on Saturday, citing current and former American and European officials.

While much of the activity takes place at bases in Britain, Germany and France, some CIA agents have been stationed in the east European country, mostly in the capital Kiev, the paper said.

The agents are tasked with sharing satellite images and other intelligence with Ukrainian troops, according to the story.

The US announced the evacuation of military instructors from Ukraine in February. Shortly afterwards, Russia launched its military campaign and the US Army’s 10th Special Forces Group set up a planning cell in Germany to coordinate military aid to Kiev, the paper explained. The group has reportedly grown to include participants from 20 nations.

The NYT added that “a few dozen commandos” from other NATO member states, including Canada, Britain, France and Lithuania, have also been working in Ukraine.

NATO members have been supplying Ukraine with heavy weapons, including missile launchers, combat drones and armored vehicles, and training Ukrainian troops to use them. In recent months, the Pentagon has delivered M142 HIMARS multiple rocket launchers and M777 howitzers.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said last week that Ukraine was facing “a pivotal moment on the battlefield” and urged Washington’s allies to continue aiding Kiev.

The report about the activities of Western commandos and CIA agents in and around Ukraine comes as a three-day Group of Seven (G7) summit kicks off in Germany on Sunday. The group, which comprises of the US, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, which have imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia.

Moscow has said in the past that it will treat foreign weapons, on Ukrainian soil, as legitimate targets.

June 27, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thousands March in Madrid for Peace and “NATO NO”.

this from a previous protest in UK

Thousands March in Madrid for Peace and “NATO NO”.  https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Thousands-March-in-Madrid-for-Peace-and-NATO-NO—20220626-0005.html&source=gmail&ust=1656372213390000&usg=AOvVaw3X62tTdIvq0p0thk8VygFj  The Sao Paulo Forum, the Women’s International Democratic Federation, Ecologists in Action, Pacifists Foundation; Not to war, Not to Nato; Plataforma Madrid and pacifist associations from France, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Italy, among others, emphasized the need to maintain the protests and not allow NATO to dictate the future.  The Summit for Peace “NATO NO” that took place in Madrid, reiterated its rejection of militarism, while expressing its repudiation of the Atlantic alliance, and ended its deliberations with the demonstration from Atocha station to Plaza de España.

Some 10 thousand people marched today through the center of the capital in favor of peace and in rejection of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), in particular the Summit for Peace “NATO NO” to be held here.

The parade along the Paseo del Prado, passing by the fountain and the Cibeles palace, took the Gran Vía in a march in which emblematic songs such as El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido, by the Chilean Víctor Jara, and La Muralla, based on the verses of the Cuban poet Nicolás Guillén, stood out.

The demonstrators’ posters and statements were dominated by slogans in favor of peace, repudiation of wars and invasions, interference in the internal affairs of nations through the use of military force and disrespect for the sovereignty of peoples by NATO, as well as harsh criticism of the European Union (EU).

In the Final Declaration of the so-called Madrid counter-summit, the participants from various countries indicated that “NATO 360º has become a threat to peace, an obstacle to progress towards shared and demilitarized security”.

They considered that the Atlantic alliance, which will hold its summit meeting on the 29th and 30th at the IFEMA-Madrid fairgrounds, turns its back on the real problems of the planet, namely hunger, disease, inequality, unemployment, lack of public services, land and wealth grabbing, and the climate crisis.

The alternative summit, for Peace, against NATO and against wars, underlines the obligation as a human species, to build and defend peace 360º, from north to south, from east to west. This implies renouncing militarism as a way of dealing with conflicts, said the declaration of the meeting.

The Sao Paulo Forum, the Women’s International Democratic Federation, Ecologists in Action, Pacifists Foundation; Not to war, Not to Nato; Plataforma Madrid and pacifist associations from France, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Italy, among others, emphasized the need to maintain the protests and not allow NATO to dictate the future.

June 27, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What happened at Santa Susana? — Beyond Nuclear International

A meltdown contaminated a community. A fire made it worse

What happened at Santa Susana? — Beyond Nuclear International A 1959 meltdown and a 2018 fire compounded a tragedy
By Carmi Orenstein
When the United Nations Human Rights Council officially recognized access to “a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment” as a basic human right earlier last October, it was an acknowledgement fifty years in the making. It was backed by an international grassroots effort, with the journey to the final vote including the voices of more than 100,000 children around the world and multiple generations of allies pushing against powerful corporate opposition. 
Just about the time that this half-century-long campaign to enshrine the right to a safe environment kicked off, a story about the horrific violation of this same human right and its cover-up emerged in a community near my own childhood home in Southern California.

 In 1979, a UCLA student named Michael Rose uncovered evidence of a partial nuclear meltdown at the Santa Susana Field Lab (SSFL) in the Simi Hills outside of Los Angeles. The SSFL, formerly known as Rocketdyne, played key government roles throughout the Cold War, developing and testing rocket engines and conducting experiments with nuclear reactors. Today, as the result of a recently published peer-reviewed study that represents the dogged efforts of both professional researchers and a team of specially trained citizens, we have solid evidence of the spread of dangerous contamination from that site.

Santa Susan Field Laboratory 1958

Working with nuclear safety expert and then-UCLA professor Daniel Hirsch, Rose discovered documentation that the partial nuclear meltdown had occurred at SSFL twenty years earlier in 1959, releasing up to 459 times more radiation into the environment than the infamous meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor in Pennsylvania. Unlike the Three Mile Island facility, the SSFL reactors lacked containment structures—those tell-tale concrete domes that surround commercial nuclear power plants to prevent radiation spread in case of a nuclear accident. 

In addition to the 1959 meltdown, at least three of the site’s other nuclear reactors experienced accidents (in 1957, 1964 and 1969), and radioactive and chemical wastes burned in open-air pits as a matter of practice. A “hot lab,” which may have been the nation’s largest, was also located at SSFL, and, in 1957, it burned and was known to have spread radioactivity throughout the site. A progress report from the period states, “Because such massive contamination was not anticipated, the planned logistics of cleanup were not adequate for the situation.”

The rest of this story is an object lesson in what happens when the right to a safe environment is not universally acknowledged and when secretive, long-forgotten toxic legacies of the Cold War meet the unpredictable chaos of the current climate crisis. Real people are harmed in ways that are not easily remediable—including, perhaps, members of my family.

The radioactive contamination of the surrounding environment caused by the partial nuclear meltdown at the 2,849-acre SSFL site was not cleaned up by the time of Rose’s revelation. Nor was the extensive toxic chemical contamination on site. It is still not cleaned up. Thus, when the climate chaos-fueled Woolsey Fire erupted at, and burned through, the SSFL in 2018, the flames served to spread the contamination even further. The fire quickly burned 80 percent of the SSFL property, and onward, all the way to the ocean. Pushed by high winds and uncontained for nearly two weeks, the Woolsey Fire killed three people outright and destroyed over 1,600 structures.

Today, public knowledge of the original disaster and its continued radioactive and toxic legacy is still patchy. The silence that surrounded the catastrophe in 1959 gave way to intermittent waves of focused media attention, celebrity involvement, and inquiry and outcry on the part of elected officials in the years since the 1979 expose. These have been followed by whistleblower accounts from former workers, and various forms of citizen activism. While occasional news of confidential legal settlements addressing illness and contamination breaks through, the Santa Susana disaster is hardly a household name—including among those of us who grew up in its shadow. 

The suburbs on either side of the SSFL, in Ventura County and a western edge of Los Angeles County, are still expanding. More than 500,000 people currently live within about ten miles of the site. Parents vs. SSFL is the dynamic, parent-led group currently at the helm of public monitoring of, and demand for, a comprehensive cleanup. On their social media sites, one often sees public comments from nearby residents along the lines of why were we not told?

To be sure, the history of site ownership and responsibility is complex and makes redress of grievance vexing. Although Rocketdyne owned the facility at the time of the meltdown, most of the site is now owned by Boeing. However, some of the property is owned by NASA, who in turn leases parts of its property as SSFL to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), the lead regulatory agency for remediation, entered into a Consent Order with these “responsible parties,” in 2007. In 2010, stricter agreements were signed with DOE and NASA to clean up the properties for which they are responsible to “background levels.” 

In 2017 a legally binding agreement deadline for completion of cleanup was blown by, with no meaningful cleanup begun. In 2018 the Woolsey Fire came roaring through. That fire is now documented to have redistributed radioactive materials and toxic chemicals in surrounding areas. Non-binding, confidential negotiations with Boeing were just announced early this year. It is a confounding and maddening journey to anyone attempting to follow.

As Melissa Bumstead, co-founder of Parents vs SSFL, said in a Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles press release about the new study: “The bottom line is, if SSFL had been cleaned up by 2017 as required by the cleanup agreements, the community wouldn’t have had to worry about contamination released by the Woolsey Fire.” …………………………………….

UCLA professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Suzanne E. Paulson also weighed in. Speaking to a reporter the next year, Paulson explained

Assuming that radioactive material was in the soil [and] vegetation burned, it is reasonable that it traveled 30 miles downwind, and some of it got deposited in downwind areas… When soil and vegetation burn, the material in them, including metals [and] soil minerals, end up in the aerosol particles that make smoke look dark and hazy. They are small enough that they can remain in the atmosphere for up to a week and as a result can be widely dispersed.

At the end of 2018, just weeks after the Woolsey Fire was finally extinguished, work commenced on the independent study that was ultimately published online in early October and would appear in the December 2021 issue of the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity. This paper represents the work of community-volunteer citizen scientists who were trained to collect dust and ash samples in a 9-mile radius throughout the rural, urban, suburban, and undeveloped mountainous area around the SSFL. Their data collection was followed by the slow and careful work of scientific analysis. In a society whose governmental structures and policies decidedly are not guided by the Precautionary Principle today, and where there are no efficient mechanisms by which to correct past regulatory errors—no matter how grave—these volunteers and their three research leaders have provided powerful, incriminating evidence with which the community and its allies will push forward for the cleanup. 

…………………………. “Woolsey Fire ash did, in fact, spread SSFL-related radioactive microparticles.” The authors also wrote, “Excessive alpha radiation in small particles is of particular interest because of the relatively high risk of inhalation-related long-term biological damage from internal alpha emitters compared to external radiation.”……………………………………………..

How did the entities with knowledge and power continue to delay and obstruct while the population boomed and crept up the hillsides near the SSFL, knowing full well that powerful human health hazards were there to meet the communities, new and old? The statement by DTSC proclaiming that no contaminants were carried, while the Woolsey Fire was still burning, smacks of the most brazen regulatory capture. …………………………….. Carmi Orenstein is Program Director at Concerned Heath Professionals of New York.    https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/4098311628

June 27, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

World facing real risk of ‘multiple famines’ this year, UN chief warns

World facing real risk of ‘multiple famines’ this year, UN chief warns

As the Group of Seven wealthy countries begins a three-day meeting in Germany, the UN has called for action to help tackle a global hunger crisis compounded by the war in Ukraine.

June 27, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Welcome to the ‘Pandemicene’

As humans encroach on the natural world, more deadly pandemics are likely to follow COVID. Why? Here’s everything you need to know:………………. https://theweek.com/covid-19/1014609/welcome-to-the-pandemicene

June 27, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

June 26 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion:  ¶ “What Firefighters Can Teach Us About Preparing The Grid For Extreme Weather” • Preparing for emergencies and preventing disasters requires planning, equipment, and communications. This is as true for operating the electric power system in extreme weather as it is for fighting fires. For emergencies, firefighters and utilities both share resources. [CleanTechnica] Firefighters […]

June 26 Energy News — geoharvey

June 27, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment