leroymoore

Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Gamma Radiation Only. Is your city on the List or close by?

In Environment, Nuclear Guardianship, Radiation Standards on February 19, 2017 at 4:07 am

GAMMA RADIATION REPORT: YRTW SOL No 3 and 4 (Your Radiation This Week)
By Bob Nichols on February 11, 2017, Veterans Today

NOTICE: I have determined that it is necessary for Public Health and because the many nuclear reactors are Venting radioactive gases and Steam at nights and on weekends that all residents must stay inside at nights and on weekends. Especially hard hit are the cities listed in YRTW. See the latest Your Radiation This Week for the most recent list of contaminated cities.

Personal letter from Bob Nichols, Thursday, February 9, 2017
jeeeeez, all up and down the East Coast down to South Carolina the big gigawatt reactors turned on at about the same time this morning.
All of the East Coast graphs at Netc.com had the same straight up line on the 2nd Page Paid Graphs as the radioactive emissions climbed straight up for six hours. The graphs looked like the old oil burning junker cars like many of us have had at one time or another. Folks, this IS hell on a radioactive earth. This is horrible.

Bob Nichols
Writer
Veterans Today

(February 11, 2017) – Good Day, this is “Your Radiation This Week” for the past 2 weeks. These are the Recorded Total Gamma Radiation Highs that affected people around the United States. YRTW is published every two weeks on Saturday. The next publication dates are February 25 and March 11, 2017.

New York City more Radioactive than Tokyo, Japan

New Radiation Measurements just released by Bob Nichols, columnist for Veterans Today, show New York City is more radioactive than Tokyo, Japan.

San Diego, on the West Coast of America, far exceeds both beleaguered cities in the deadly radiation sweepstakes. The Race for the Rad is deadly precisely because there are no winners in this contest; only death and disillusionment.

Tokyo … 50 Rad nanoSieverts per Hour
New York City … 68 Rad nanoSieverts per Hour
San Diego … 108 Rad nanoSieverts per Hour
Tokyo hit 50, New York City reached 68 and San Diego, California was crippled by Nailing 108. The measurements are made in the widely accepted nanoSieverts per Hour, abbreviated world wide as nSv/Hour.

These numbers finally give normal people a way to compare like with like in the ever more dangerously radioactive world. You can easily compare New York City and Tokyo.

Eight Absorbed Sieverts per Hour and you are a dead duck; you are history; a Goner. Got it? Oh yea, remember that the Rad is cumulative.

_______________________________________________________

ALERT: The Readings below are in CPM, NOT Sieverts. They are Very Different. It’s a matter of maiming, life and death; the usual stuff in the world of Rad; the only question is “What’s the magic cumulative number that kills or disables you.”

Listed in Counts per Minute, a Count is one Radioactive Decay Registered by the Instrument. CPM and Sieverts are used by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency,) to measure ionizing, deadly radiation.
The Top Reporting Radioactive Cities are listed. The highest radiation reporting cities are listed by their Radiation Reading and alphabetically.

Still, all reporting cities are above normal. The reporting Radioactive Cities are a few of the radioactive cities in the States. For 2017 YRTW SOL will list some America’s cities Total Gamma Radiation. Take all necessary precautions.
Total Gamma Radiation CPM * City State

See New Video: All Reactors Leak All Of The Time

COUNT CPM, Times Normal, CITY, STATE TYPE OF RAD CORRUPTED?
11,139 CPM, 2227.8 Times Normal, Navajo Lake, NM. MIA
Yes
10,676 CPM, 2135.2 Times Normal, ColoradoSprings, CO. All Gamma Yes
10,564 CPM, 2112.8 Times Normal, Raleigh, NC. All Gamma Yes
9,852 CPM, 1970.4 Times Normal, Grand Junction, CO. All Gamma Yes
9,689 CPM, 1937.8 Times Normal, Spokane, WA. All Gamma Yes
9,439 CPM, 1887.8 Times Normal, Amarillo, TX. All Gamma Yes
9,385 CPM, 1877 Times Normal, Billings, MT. All Gamma Yes
9,255 CPM, 1851 Times Normal, Bakersfield, CA. All Gamma Yes
8,901 CPM, 1780.2 Times Normal, Little Rock, AR. All Gamma Yes
8,866 CPM, 1773.2 Times Normal, Fresno, CA. All Gamma Yes
8,583 CPM, 1716.6 Times Normal, Worcester, MA. All Gamma
8,535 CPM, 1707 Times Normal, Rochester, NY. All Gamma
8,308 CPM, 1661.6 Times Normal, Harrisonburg, VA. All Gamma Yes
8,189 CPM, 1637.8 Times Normal, Portland, ME. All Gamma Yes
8,183 CPM, 1636.6 Times Normal, Yuma, AZ. All Gamma Yes
8,074 CPM, 1614.8 Times Normal, Tucson, AZ. All Gamma
8,056 CPM 1611.2 Times Normal, Champaign, IL. All Gamma Yes
8,035 CPM, 1607 Times Normal, El Paso, TX. All Gamma
7,906 CPM, 1581.2 Times Normal, Riverside, CA. All Gamma
7,899 CPM, 1579.8 Times Normal, Louisville, KY. All Gamma Yes
7,871 CPM, 1574.2 Times Normal, San Diego, CA. All Gamma Yes
7,789 CPM, 1557.8 Times Normal, Rapid City, SD. All Gamma
7,704 CPM, 1540.8 Times Normal, Pittsburgh, PA, All Gamma Yes
7,582 CPM, 1516.4 Times Normal, Hartford, CT. All Gamma
7,300 CPM, 1460 Times Normal, Kansas City, KS. All Gamma Yes
7,299 CPM, 1459.8 Times Normal, Augusta, GA. All Gamma Yes
7,282 CPM, 1456.4 Times Normal, Cleveland, OH All Gamma
7,259 CPM, 1451.88 Times Normal, Reno, NV. All Gamma
7,015 CPM, 1403 Times Normal, Boston, MA. All Gamma Yes
7,007 CPM, 1401.4 Times Normal, Charleston, WV. MIA Yes
6,859 CPM, 1371.8 Times Normal, Tulsa, OK. All Gamma Yes
6,820 CPM, 1364 Times Normal, Idaho Falls, ID. All Gamma Yes
6,776 CPM, 1355.2 Times Normal, Los Angeles, CA. All Gamma Yes
6,774 CPM, 1354.8 Times Normal, Anaheim, CA All Gamma
6,754 CPM, 1350.8 Times Normal, Boise, ID All Gamma Yes
6,593 CPM, 1318.6 Times Normal, Albuquerque, NM. All Gamma Yes
6,559 CPM, 1311.8 Times Normal, San Bernardino Cty All Gamma
6,544 CPM, 1,308.80 Times Normal, Concord, NH. All Gamma Yes
6,450 CPM, 1290 Times Normal, Oklahoma City, OK All Gamma Yes
6,393 CPM, 1278.6 Times Normal, Casper WY. All Gamma Yes
6,144 CPM, 1228.8 Times Normal, Wichita, KS. All Gamma Yes
6,089 CPM, 1217.8 Times Normal, Phoenix, AZ All Gamma Yes
5,892 CPM, 1178.4 Times Normal, New York City, NY. All Gamma Yes
5,699 CPM, 1139.8 Times Normal, Bismarck, ND. All Gamma Yes
5,658 CPM, 1131.6 Times Normal, Shreveport, LA. All Gamma
5,553 CPM, 1110.6 Times Normal, Salt Lake City, UT. All Gamma Yes
5,329 CPM, 1065.8 Times Normal, Ft Worth, Tx. All Gamma
5,182 CPM, 1036.4 Times Normal, Mason City, IA. All Gamma Yes
4,769 CPM, 953.8 Times Normal, Carlsbad, NM. All Gamma Yes
4,725 CPM, 945 Times Normal, Knoxville, TN. All Gamma Yes
4,505 CPM, 901 Times Normal, Aurora, IL All Gamma Yes
4,382 CPM, 876.4 Times Normal, San Francisco, CA. All Gamma Yes
4,173 CPM, 834.6 Times Normal, San Jose, CA All Gamma Yes
4,104 CPM, 820.8 Times Normal, Eureka, CA. All Gamma
3,777 CPM, 755.4 Times Normal, Sacramento, CA. All Gamma Yes
3,214 CPM, 642.8 Times Normal, Yaphank, NY. All Gamma
2,849 CPM, 569.8 Times Normal, Washington, DC. All Gamma Yes
Count – 57 Cities

Rad Cities in Alphabetical Order

COUNT CPM, Times Normal, CITY, STATE TYPE OF RAD CORRUPTED?
6,593 CPM, 1318.6 Times Normal, Albuquerque, NM. All Gamma Yes
9,439 CPM, 1887.8 Times Normal, Amarillo, TX. All Gamma Yes
6,774 CPM, 1354.8 Times Normal, Anaheim, CA All Gamma
7,299 CPM, 1459.8 Times Normal, Augusta, GA. All Gamma Yes
4,505 CPM, 901 Times Normal, Aurora, IL All Gamma Yes
9,255 CPM, 1851 Times Normal, Bakersfield, CA. All Gamma Yes
9,385 CPM, 1877 Times Normal, Billings, MT. All Gamma Yes
5,699 CPM, 1139.8 Times Normal, Bismarck, ND. All Gamma Yes
6,754 CPM, 1350.8 Times Normal, Boise, ID All Gamma Yes
7,015 CPM, 1403 Times Normal, Boston, MA. All Gamma Yes
4,769 CPM, 953.8 Times Normal, Carlsbad, NM. All Gamma Yes
6,393 CPM, 1278.6 Times Normal, Casper WY. All Gamma Yes
8,056 CPM 1611.2 Times Normal, Champaign, IL. All Gamma Yes
7,007 CPM, 1401.4 Times Normal, Charleston, WV. MIA Yes
7,282 CPM, 1456.4 Times Normal, Cleveland, OH All Gamma
10,676 CPM, 2135.2 Times Normal, ColoradoSprings, CO. All Gamma Yes
6,544 CPM, 1,308.80 Times Normal, Concord, NH. All Gamma Yes
8,035 CPM, 1607 Times Normal, El Paso, TX. All Gamma
4,104 CPM, 820.8 Times Normal, Eureka, CA. All Gamma
8,866 CPM, 1773.2 Times Normal, Fresno, CA. All Gamma Yes
5,329 CPM, 1065.8 Times Normal, Ft Worth, Tx. All Gamma
9,852 CPM, 1970.4 Times Normal, Grand Junction, CO. All Gamma Yes
8,308 CPM, 1661.6 Times Normal, Harrisonburg, VA. All Gamma Yes
7,582 CPM, 1516.4 Times Normal, Hartford, CT. All Gamma
6,820 CPM, 1364 Times Normal, Idaho Falls, ID. All Gamma Yes
7,300 CPM, 1460 Times Normal, Kansas City, KS. All Gamma Yes
4,725 CPM, 945 Times Normal, Knoxville, TN. All Gamma Yes
8,901 CPM, 1780.2 Times Normal, Little Rock, AR. All Gamma Yes
6,776 CPM, 1355.2 Times Normal, Los Angeles, CA. All Gamma Yes
7,899 CPM, 1579.8 Times Normal, Louisville, KY. All Gamma Yes
5,182 CPM, 1036.4 Times Normal, Mason City, IA. All Gamma Yes
11,139 CPM, 2227.8 Times Normal, Navajo Lake, NM. MIA Yes
5,892 CPM, 1178.4 Times Normal, New York City, NY. All Gamma Yes
6,450 CPM, 1290 Times Normal, Oklahoma City, OK All Gamma Yes
6,089 CPM, 1217.8 Times Normal, Phoenix, AZ All Gamma Yes
7,704 CPM, 1540.8 Times Normal, Pittsburgh, PA, All Gamma Yes
8,189 CPM, 1637.8 Times Normal, Portland, ME. All Gamma Yes
10,564 CPM, 2112.8 Times Normal, Raleigh, NC. All Gamma Yes
7,789 CPM, 1557.8 Times Normal, Rapid City, SD. All Gamma
7,259 CPM, 1451.88 Times Normal, Reno, NV. All Gamma
7,906 CPM, 1581.2 Times Normal, Riverside, CA. All Gamma
8,535 CPM, 1707 Times Normal, Rochester, NY. All Gamma
3,777 CPM, 755.4 Times Normal, Sacramento, CA. All Gamma Yes
5,553 CPM, 1110.6 Times Normal, Salt Lake City, UT. All Gamma Yes
6,559 CPM, 1311.8 Times Normal, San Bernardino Cty All Gamma
7,871 CPM, 1574.2 Times Normal, San Diego, CA. All Gamma Yes
4,382 CPM, 876.4 Times Normal, San Francisco, CA. All Gamma Yes
4,173 CPM, 834.6 Times Normal, San Jose, CA All Gamma Yes
5,658 CPM, 1131.6 Times Normal, Shreveport, LA. All Gamma
9,689 CPM, 1937.8 Times Normal, Spokane, WA. All Gamma Yes
8,074 CPM, 1614.8 Times Normal, Tucson, AZ. All Gamma
6,859 CPM, 1371.8 Times Normal, Tulsa, OK. All Gamma Yes
2,849 CPM, 569.8 Times Normal, Washington, DC. All Gamma Yes
6,144 CPM, 1228.8 Times Normal, Wichita, KS. All Gamma Yes
8,583 CPM, 1716.6 Times Normal, Worcester, MA. All Gamma
3,214 CPM, 642.8 Times Normal, Yaphank, NY. All Gamma
8,183 CPM, 1636.6 Times Normal, Yuma, AZ. All Gamma Yes
Count – 57 Cities

Radiation knocks out your Immunities
Everywhere we look – worldwide – old and new diseases are on the march. In its most basic kill attribute Ionizing Radiation is an all out attack on our Immune systems. As the immunities of the whole planet are taken down a notch, new and old diseases come roaring to life.

Oddly, it is not that the diseases are anything especially new or unusual. It is the Immunities of the human, animal and plant hosts that are destroyed and diseases rush in to feed on the newly unprotected food sources.

It is very likely that the new and old or mutated diseases will last much longer that the newly susceptible hosts – including humans. Here’s the big picture from Eco-Health Alliance on killer viruses:

Eco Health Alliance interactive map of killer viruses
https://eidr.ecohealthalliance.org/event-map

Follow Bob Nichols on Blog, Twitter and YouTube now.

Have a wonderful radioactive weekend and remember to Dodge the Rads, it’s dangerous out there.

Copyright by Bob Nichols @ 2017: Reproduce and distribute. Give full attribution to Bob Nichols at duweapons@gmail.com
________________________________________
Notes and Sources
1. The Radiation charts and graphs of the EPA. Individual queries can be built at the EPA RadNet Query Builder.
2. The EPA based reporting of NETC, an LLC.
3. These stations’ Radiation equals Total Gamma Radiation. Gamma Radiation Monitors are reporting publicly at all these locations.
4. CPM. “Although we can’t see it, taste it, smell it or hear it we can measure radiation and observe its effects. One way to measure radiation which the United States Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] has chosen to use on its radiation websites is in Counts Per Minute or CPM. Each Count is One Radioactive Decay.” Quote from the ‘Your Radiation This Week’ Apr 3, 2015.
5. Radiation destruction of chitin, IAEA, by Ershov, B.G.; Sukhov, N.L.; Nud’ga, L.A.; Baklagina, Yu.G.; Kozhevnikova, L.G.; Petropavlovskii, G.A. (Institute of Physical Chemistry, Moscow (Russian Federation)
6. “Plutonium Air” by Dr Paolo Scampa, AIPRI Blog, Aug 19, 2016,
7. “Radioactive Fertilizer,” AIPRI by Dr Paolo Scampa, September 23, 2016, AIPRI: Les engrais radioactifs,
8. “Texas has highest maternal mortality rate in developed world, study finds,” By ABBY GOODNOUGH OCT. 19, 2016,
EPA Proposal Allows Radiation Exposure in Drinking Water Equivalent to 250 Chest X-Rays a Year
9. “Forty-five (45) years later, the Nuclear States officially raise the amounts of “permitted radiation levels” by hundreds and sometimes thousands of times to maintain the utter and absolute dominance of the Nuclear State over everything, everywhere, for all time. No tolerance given.” [10] “In the never ending war between the suits (politicians) and the physicists, the suits win yet again; by changing the rules. It takes more than logic to fight these animals and win.”
10. US Gov: Walk Slow May 24, 2013
11. “Baghdad” by Dr. Paolo Scampa, AIPRI, Saturday 12 November 2016 http://aipri.blogspot.it/2016/11/bagdad.html
12. “News Release, New Aerial Survey Identifies More Than 100 Million Dead Trees in California,” USDA Office of Communications, “This brings the total number of dead trees since 2010 to over 102 million,”
13. Caribou herd in Alaska suffering from mysterious decline, November 30, 2016, Noel Kirkpatrick, MNN Mother Nature Network, “The Central Arctic caribou herd in Alaska is experiencing a “steep decline” in its population, and scientists are researching the reasons why.”
14. “Facing a Dying Nation,” a line from the 1979 Tribal Rock Musical HAIR. A scene with “Facing a Dying Nation” starring Treat Williams from the movie is here: The character Pfc. Berger is KIA in Vietnam in 1968.
15. It is Eugen Wigner’s name as a Verb. It’s about all things Wignerized. See Notes on Your Radiation This Week No. 69 and 70
16. sie·vert, ˈsēvərt/, noun Physics, noun: sievert; plural noun: sieverts; symbol: Sv, the SI unit of dose equivalent (the biological effect of ionizing radiation), equal to an effective dose of a joule of energy per kilogram of recipient mass. Google: Sievert or https://www.google.com/search?q=sievert&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
17. Eco Health Alliance interactive map of killer viruses https://eidr.ecohealthalliance.org/event-map

The Dysmal Cartography of the Pre-Fascist State

In Democracy, Environment, Human rights, Justice, Nuclear Guardianship, Peace, War on February 10, 2017 at 12:39 pm

By Richard Falk

Points of Departure

Listening to Donald Trump’s inaugural speech on January 20th led me to muse about what it might mean to live in a pre-fascist state. After reflecting on key passages and conversations with friends, I came to the view that all the elements were in place, although set before us with the imprecision of a demagogue.

Yet I do not doubt that there are many ideologues waiting in the wings, perhaps now comfortably situated in the West Wing, ready to cover the conceptual rough spots, and supply an ideological overlay, and add the semblance of coherence.

Considering the daily outrages emanating from the White House since the inaugural jolt, the coming years will be rough riding for all of us, with many cruelties being readied for those most vulnerable.

Of course, the Woman’s March on January 21st was temporarily redemptive, and if such energy can be sustained potentially transformative. It is odd to contemplate, but there just may be tacit and effective cooperation between the national security deep state and a progressive populism converging around their divergent reasons for being deeply opposed to the shock and awe of the Trump presidency. Trump may invent ‘alternative facts’ to restore his narcissistic self-esteem, but when it comes to program he has sadly so far been true to his word! This alone should encourage a unified, energetic, and determined opposition. If the Tea Party could do it, why can’t we?

The Pre-Fascist Moment

First, it is necessary to set forth the case for viewing Trump’s Inaugural Address as a pre-fascist plea:

1) Locating power and legitimacy in the people, but only those whose support was instrumental in the election of the new president; the popular majority that were opposed are presumed irrelevant, or worse;

2) Denigrating the political class of both political parties as corrupt and responsible for the decline of the country and the hardships inflicted on his followers;

3) Presuming mass and unconditional trust in the great leader who promises a rupture with the past, and who alone will be able overcome the old established order, and produce needed changes at home and overseas;

4) Making the vision of change credible by the appointment of mainly white men, most with alt-right credentials, billionaires either blissfully ignorant about their assigned roles or a past record of opposition to the bureaucratic mission they are pledged to carry out (whether environment, energy, education, economy);

5) An endorsement of exclusionary nationalism that elevates ‘America First’ to the status of First Principle, erects a wall against its Latino neighbour, adopts a cruel and punitive stance toward Muslims and undocumented immigrants, hostility to womens’ rights, gay marriage, trans dignity, as well as posing threats to non-white minorities, inner city residents, and independent voices in the media and elsewhere;

6) Lauds the military and police as the backbone of national character, loosens protection from civilian or military abuse, which helps explain the selection of a series of generals to serve in sensitive civilian roles, as well as the revitalization of Guantanamo and the weakening of anti-torture policies.

7) The disturbing absence of a sufficiently mobilized anti-fascist opposition movement, leadership, and program. The Democratic Party has not seized the moment vigorously and creatively; progressive populist leadership has yet to emerge inspiring trust and hope; so far there are sparks but no fire.

Fortunately, there are some more encouraging tendencies that could mount anti-fascist challenges from within and below:

1) Trump lost the popular vote, casting a cloud over his claimed mandate to be the vehicle of ‘the people.’ Furthermore, his approval rating keeps falling, and is now below 40% according to reliable polls.

2) The signs of intense dissatisfaction are giving rise to protest activities that are massive and seem deeply rooted in beliefs and commitments of ordinary citizens, especially women and young people;

3) American society is not in crisis, and right-wing extremist appeals are forced to rely on a greatly exaggerated and misleading portrayal of distress in the American economy, the evils of economic globalization and unfair trade relations that are widely understood to be largely ‘fake’;

4) There are fissures within the Republican Party and governmental/think tank establishments, especially on international economic and security policy, that could produce escalating tensions within and challenges to the Trump leadership;

5) There is growing dissatisfaction within the bipartisan intelligence and national security bureaucracies as whether Trump and Trumpism can be tamed before it wrecks the post-1945 international order that rests on America’s global military presence, a global network of alliances, and a disposition toward a second cold war focused on hostility to Russia; if untamed, impeachment scenarios will soon surface, based not on the real concerns, but constructed around economic conflicts of interests, emoluments, and unlawful transactions.

Certainly in my lifetime, with the possible exception of the Great Depression, America has not been tested as it is now. Maybe not since the American Civil War has so much been at stake, and put at risk.

Traditional reliance on political parties and elections will not be helpful until the political climate is radically altered by forces from below and without or above and within. It is strange, but the two main forces of resistance to the pre-fascist reality menacing the country’s and the world’s future are progressive populism as evident in the widespread grassroots protest movement taking shape in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s ascension to the presidency, and the deep state as exhibited by the anti-Trump defection of intelligence and national security specialists from both Republican and Democratic ranks during and after the recent presidential campaign.

Finally, the depiction of the present political reality as ‘pre-fascist’ rather than ‘fascist’ is crucial to this effort to depict accurately the historical moment associated with Donald Trump’s formal induction as the 45th president of the United States.

To speak as if the United States is a fascist state is to falsify the nature of fascism, and to discredit critical discourse by making it seem hysterical. There is no doubt that the pieces are in place that might facilitate a horrifying transition from pre-fascism to fascism, and it could happen with lightning speed. It is also sadly true that the election of Donald Trump makes fascism a sword of Damocles hanging by a frayed thread over the American body politic.

Yet we should not overlook the quite different realities that pertain to pre-fascism.

It remains possible in the United States to organize, protest, and oppose without serious fears of reprisals or detentions. The media can expose, ridicule, and criticize without closures or punitive actions, facing only angered and insulting Trump tweets, although such a backlash should not be minimized as it could have a dangerous intimidating impact on how the news is reported.

We are in a situation where the essential political challenge is to muster the energy and creativity to construct a firewall around constitutional democracy as it now exists in the United States, and hope that a saner, more humane political mood leads quickly and decisively to repudiate those policies and attitudes that flow from this pre-fascist set of circumstances.

*********

Richard Falk is an American professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University. He just completed a six-year term as United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights. Falk is an associate at the Transnational Foundation for Future Research, where this essay originally appeared.

Flatlining: Exploring hidden toxic landscapes and the embodiment of contamination at Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, USA.

In Democracy, Environment, Human rights, Justice, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Public Health, Workplace exposure on February 9, 2017 at 9:44 am

Stephanie Malin, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Colorado State University and Becky Alexis-Martin, Senior Research Fellow in Human Geography at The University of Southampton, February 8, 2017

Within the boundaries of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, black bears prowl, elk tussle, prairie dogs burrow and porcupines forage. A diverse array of wildlife, wedged between the cities of Boulder and Denver. Within this diverse habitat, small animals nestle into the grass and burrow into the dusty alluvial soil. Superficially, this site has been transformed from military industrial complex into an ordered wilderness. However, the heart of this refuge contains a burden of atomic mass, for this bleakly lovely space encircles a Superfund site with a startling and intrusive legacy of nuclear pollution. Welcome to Rocky Flats, a disquieting relic of the American military industrial complex.
Originally, Rocky Flats was occupied by swathes of pastoral farmland. It was selected for weapons manufacturing due to its underlying geological stability and its proximity to uranium sources and other nuclear installations, and was therefore purchased by the US Atomic Energy Committee. Beginning in 1952, Rocky Flats became an all-American home for manufacturing plutonium pits, which are the triggers that detonate nuclear weapons. Local residents were grateful to have well-paid jobs and production quietly ensued, the site itself wrapped in the furtiveness of Cold War industry. Within this culture of secrecy, little transgressions gradually emerged on-site at Rocky Flats. These grew in severity, and complete technological failure eventually occurred as human errors were silenced, accidents were hidden and toxicity was concealed.

Major fires occurred in 1957 and 1969, whilst unsealed barrels of radioactive waste leached and dispersed across the surrounding hinterland (Krey and Hardy, 1970). In 1972, US Congress authorised the purchase of a buffer zone of land around the site, when traces of plutonium and elevated levels of radioactive tritium were discovered within local reservoirs (Krey, 1976). Elevated levels of plutonium were identified within the topsoil beyond this zone, and so further land was purchased to expand this buffer zone. On-site regulation was used as a technology of control, to ensure that off-site contamination was never recognised.

Protests began when local residents became concerned about the safety of the facility. Activist mobilization escalated throughout the 1970s and 1980s, as several thousand people showed up to organized protests and sit-ins. Eventually, a large-scale protest occurred in August 1989, which attracted thousands of participants. This sustained public outcry was ignored by the nuclear sector. However, it was not possible to stifle the covert material that was provided by Rocky Flats workers to the Environmental Protection Agency, and a case was gradually built up through FBI agent Jon Lipsky’s extensive work with informants. The whistleblowing reached an apogee by June 6th 1989. Operation Desert Glow was implemented by the US Department of Justice to investigate the Rocky Flats plant. This raid issued a search warrant to the manager of Rocky Flats, and led to the discovery of multiple toxic violations of anti-pollution legislation.

An array of contaminants has been discovered at the Rocky Flats site, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chromic acid, beryllium and radionuclides. Whilst chromium metal has little toxicity, chromic acid and similar hexavalent chromium compounds are both toxic and mutagenic (Barnhart, 1997; Baruthio, 1992). Symptoms of human exposure to hexavalent chromium can include: dermatitis, allergic and eczematous skin reactions, skin and mucous membrane ulcerations, allergic asthmatic reactions, bronchial carcinomas, and gastro-enteritis (Baruthio, 1992). Hexavalent chromium compounds also have ecological impacts, due to toxicity to plant life (Singh et al., 2013). Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are organochlorine compounds, and also have detrimental environmental and human health effects (Robertson and Hansen, 2015, Longnecker et al., 1997). PCB compounds are toxic and can cause abnormalities of liver function; skin and the nervous system; neonatal hypotonia or hyporeflexia; and increase the likelihood of exposed persons developing cancer. The detrimental effects of heavy radionuclides, including isotopes of plutonium, americium and curium, are also well documented within medical and environmental literature (Bair, 1974, Nénot and Stather, 2013, Newman, 2014). This includes genotoxic and stochastic effects that can increase the likelihood of the development of solid body tumours and blood cancers (Durakovic, 2016).
Unfortunately, it is not possible to access the final records of contamination for Rocky Flats. Like other places that have been squatted by the Cold War military-industrial complex, there is a notable absence of publically available information that documents the exact times, quantities and conditions of contaminant release. Even when the first special Grand Jury in Colorado’s history was convened in 1989 to hear the post-raid federal case against Rocky Flats’ corporate facility operators, Rockwell, the company paid fines amounting to less than they had earned in federal bonuses for operating the plant. The Grand Jury itself contested the trial and sentencing outcomes and felt that their recommendations had been illegally ignored (McKinley and Balkany 2004).

Rocky Flats has received relatively little international attention as a significant place of atomic and industrial toxicity. Somehow, its messy atomic history has been redacted, swallowed up alongside that of many other military nuclear installations and laboratories worldwide. Whilst the wildlife flourishes across Rocky Flats, despite a legacy of contamination, the local communities suffer invisibly.

A contaminated community?

Tiffany Hansen is a member of the down-winder community and founder of Rocky Flats Downwinders. She grew up in the shadow of the Rocky Flats plant. She remembers her father and brother working there. However, Tiffany did not realise the nuclear and covert nature of manufacturing, the military significance of the work that was undertaken, or the potential health effects that surrounded the site. She remained unaware of these risks until she developed ovarian and thyroid cancers as a young woman, and became acutely aware that her experience was not unique. She soon began organizing a community of people impacted by potential environmental health impacts of living near Rocky Flats. As Tiffany explains:

“It was a challenge to connect with former residents, there was no support, the research available was limited and difficult to find, and there was no organized advocacy… Since launching our website in 2015, I have heard from thousands of people, many like myself, who felt there was a strong connection between our health problems and the close proximity to the facility… I hear from people whose entire families are sickened, many lost loved ones, others are fighting or lost the fight for their lives.”
Tiffany’s observations echo the contested yet compelling evidence of cancers associated with toxic exposure, clustered within the communities that surround the site. These communities are the embodiment of their experiences of exposure (Brown, 2016).

It is challenging to design statistically significant epidemiological studies of the health effects of long-term, low-level toxic exposure to local communities due to confounding lifestyle factors, a neoliberalized, privatized healthcare system that cannot provide answers, and the economic migration of populations away from the plant after its closure. Whilst occupational health studies of exposure to Rocky Flats employees exist, they do not reflect community health, especially that of local women and children (Gilbert et al., 1989, Viet et al., 2000, Brown et al., 2004). Further, broader environmental and community health concerns highlight the related losses of livelihood, contamination concerns, anxieties, and somatic conditions associated with trauma such as those experienced by residents around Rocky Flats, steeped in uncertainty.

Thus, public health risks remain stressfully uncertain and undefined. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recently released a study showing elevated rates of certain cancers in the communities surrounding Rocky Flats, but without the community-based component that people have requested. The study did not examine cancers such as thyroid, despite community-based requests to do so, and some critics assert that the agency works with large state-wide samples that dilute evidence of cancer clusters and hot spots due to the chosen methodological approach.

Access to information about the site has been difficult to acquire – particularly for people moving in to new homes on and around the former plant grounds. To some, this is the most significant concern. Dedicated community activist, Alesya Casse, who co-founded the group Candelas Glows, leads actions and community meetings to educate the community and speaks regularly about keeping new construction and the public off of the site and the Wildlife Refuge. Casse states:

“It’s disheartening to see government agencies continue with their legacy of turning ‘weapons into wildlife’ in the face of community opposition and concern. People have a right to know the history of the area and to make informed decisions for themselves and their families. What happened at Rocky Flats is both tragic and unfortunately common, but we have an opportunity to make it right by informing the public of the risks and doing comprehensive testing to address ongoing concerns and questions that continue to arise.”

The future is unwritten

It has been 28 years since the FBI first raided Rocky Flats, and eleven years since the US Environmental Protection Agency announced the completion of on-site remediation activities. Whilst some of its clandestine toxic secrets have been unveiled, many mysteries still surround the on-going and long-term effects of this multi-contaminant environmental and social disaster. It is impossible to say what the future holds for the local community of Rocky Flats in the face of landscape regeneration, contested diagnoses, unmedicalised conditions, and denial of people’s experiences. Importantly, the long-term outcomes for this community could still yet be affected by the presidency of Donald Trump, as he has already called for sites such as Rocky Flats to be repurposed yet again as repositories for nuclear waste or even revitalized nuclear production.

In response, collaborative social science and public health research by Metropolitan State University and Colorado State University aims to discern the social and cultural impacts to health of being a Rocky Flats downwinder. Already, the health survey component of this study has found that 46% of the reported cancers are defined as ‘rare’ and are often directly related to radiation exposure. Whilst we cannot anticipate if this unique community will ever truly gain environmental or social justice, we continue to develop our understanding of the significant influence that nuclear accidents and nuclear defence has had upon their lives. In the meantime, the Rocky Flats downwinders continue to exist, without a true understanding of the future implications of their toxic fate.

References

BAIR, W. J. 1974. Toxicology of plutonium. Advances in radiation biology, 4.

BARNHART, J. 1997. Chromium chemistry and implications for environmental fate and toxicity. Soil and Sediment Contamination, 6, 561-568.

BARUTHIO, F. 1992. Toxic effects of chromium and its compounds. Biological trace element research, 32, 145-153.

BROWN, K. 2016. The Last Sink: The Human Body as the Ultimate Radioactive Storage Site. Mauch, Christof (Hg.), Out of Sight, Out of Mind. The Politics and Culture of Waste, RCC Perspectives, München, 41-47.

BROWN, K. L. 2013. Plutopia: Nuclear families, atomic cities, and the great soviet and American plutonium disasters, Oxford University Press, USA.

BROWN, S. C., SCHONBECK, M. F., MCCLURE, D., BARÓN, A. E., NAVIDI, W. C., BYERS, T. & RUTTENBER, A. J. 2004. Lung cancer and internal lung doses among plutonium workers at the Rocky Flats Plant: a case-control study. American journal of epidemiology, 160, 163-172.

DURAKOVIC, A. 2016. Medical effects of internal contamination with actinides: further controversy on depleted uranium and radioactive warfare. Environmental health and preventive medicine, 21, 111-117.

GILBERT, E. S., FRY, S. A., WIGGS, L. D., VOELZ, G. L., CRAGLE, D. L. & PETERSEN, G. R. 1989. Analyses of combined mortality data on workers at the Hanford site, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant. Radiation research, 120, 19-35.

KREY, P. W. 1976. Remote plutonium contamination and total inventories from Rocky Flats. Health Physics, 30, 209-214.

KREY, P. W. & HARDY, E. P. 1970. PLUTONIUM IN SOIL AROUND THE ROCKY FLATS PLANT. New York Operations Office (AEC), NY Health and Safety Lab.

LONGNECKER, M. P., ROGAN, W. J. & LUCIER, G. 1997. The human health effects of DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and an overview of organochlorines in public health 1. Annual review of public health, 18, 211-244.

MALIN, S. A. 2015. The Price of Nuclear Power: Uranium Communities and Environmental Justice, Rutgers University Press.

NÉNOT, J.-C. & STATHER, J. W. 2013. The Toxicity of Plutonium, Americium and Curium: A Report Prepared Under Contract for the Commission of the European Communities Within Its Research and Development Programme on Plutonium Recycling in Light Water Reactors, Elsevier.

NEWMAN, M. C. 2014. Fundamentals of ecotoxicology: the science of pollution, CRC press.

ROBERTSON, L. W. & HANSEN, L. G. 2015. PCBs: recent advances in environmental toxicology and health effects, University Press of Kentucky.

SINGH, H. P., MAHAJAN, P., KAUR, S., BATISH, D. R. & KOHLI, R. K. 2013. Chromium toxicity and tolerance in plants. Environmental chemistry letters, 11, 229-254.

VIET, S. M., TORMA-KRAJEWSKI, J. & ROGERS, J. 2000. Chronic beryllium disease and beryllium sensitization at Rocky Flats: a case-control study. AIHAJ-American Industrial Hygiene Association, 61, 244-254.

Should Trump have sole authority to use nukes?

In Democracy, Environment, Human rights, Justice, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace, War on February 9, 2017 at 7:45 am
  • BY KENNETTE BENEDICT AND TOM Z. COLLINA
    On Jan. 20, President Donald Trump got the keys to the U.S. nuclear arsenal, the most deadly killing machine ever created. The President said it was “a very sobering moment, yes. It’s very, very scary, in a sense.”

    President Trump now has the same frightening power as all presidents since Eisenhower. President Richard Nixon boasted in 1974: “I can go back into my office and pick up the telephone and in 25 minutes 70 million people will be dead.”

    Within minutes, President Trump could unleash up to 1,000 nuclear weapons, each one many times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb. Short of mutiny, no one can stop him. Once launched, the missiles cannot be recalled.
    But never before have so many openly questioned the authority of the commander-in-chief to have his finger on the nuclear button. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said we simply could not give “the nuclear codes of the United States to an erratic individual.” President Barack Obama “still doesn’t think Donald Trump can handle the nuclear codes or safely protect America from attack.”

    Adding to this unease, Trump tweeted recently that the United States “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability” and reportedly said, “Let it be an arms race … we will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”

    Many would say that Trump should be the last person to entrust with the authority to launch nuclear weapons. In fact, he is the only one that is.

    The reality is that when it comes to using the bomb, the president has almost complete autonomy with no institutional checks and balances. There are no interagency meetings, congressional hearings, Supreme Court decisions, or UN votes. As Bruce Blair, a former Air Force nuclear missile launch officer, has said, “the presidency has evolved into something akin to a nuclear monarchy.”

    Yes, there are many systems in place to prevent nuclear weapons from being launched by an unauthorized person or by accident. But currently there is no way to prevent a president from starting nuclear war.

    How can we remedy this situation? It is long past time to bring democracy to decisions about the bomb. It no longer makes sense, it if ever did, to have so much power in the hands of one person. It is just too dangerous.

    For decades, Americans have ceded the authority to start a nuclear war to a single person. Congress has no voice in the most important decision the United States government can make. As it stands now, Congress has a larger role in deciding on the number of military bands than in initiating nuclear catastrophe. This situation completely contradicts the checks and balances created by the U.S. Constitution.

    Even though they could not imagine the dangers of nuclear war, the Framers of the Constitution understood the dangers of tyranny and gave the power to declare war to Congress—not to the President. With British rule fresh in their minds, they believed that ceding such power to the executive would result in a state of perpetual conflict, and that the only way to check that power was citizen participation in any decision to go to war.

    “Our Founding Fathers would be rolling over in their graves if they knew the President could launch a massive, potentially civilization-ending military strike without authorization from Congress,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said last year.

    On Jan. 24, Rep. Lieu and Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) introduced a bill that would prohibit the president from launching nuclear weapons without a declaration of war from Congress, except in response to a nuclear attack. The bill would effectively block the president from using nuclear weapons first in a crisis, without authorization from the people’s elected representatives.

    Some might argue that Congress would never provide this authority, and thus the president could never use nuclear weapons first. Fine. As then-Vice President Biden announced Jan. 11, “it’s hard to envision a plausible scenario in which the first use of nuclear weapons by the United States would be necessary. Or make sense.”

    And as Sen. Markey said recently, “Neither President Trump, nor any other president, should be allowed to use nuclear weapons except in response to a nuclear attack. By restricting the first use of nuclear weapons, this legislation enshrines that simple principle into law.”

    Without congressional deliberation and citizen participation in the gravest decisions of life and death, our democracy is greatly diminished. Citizens are treated as children who don’t deserve a voice in how our country’s nuclear weapons are deployed. That is not how the world’s greatest democracy should work.

    Congress must end the nuclear monarchy, exercise its constitutional responsibility and demand its rightful role in nuclear weapons policymaking. The likely outcome is a greatly reduced chance that any president, including President Trump, would push the button. The certain outcome is a restoration of our democratic institutions.

    Kennette Benedict is Senior Advisor at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and Tom Z. Collina is Director of Policy at Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation in Washington, D.C. Benedict contributed to and Collina edited the recent Ploughshares report, Ten Big Nuclear Ideas for the Next President.

Japanese nuclear plant just recorded an astronomical radiation level. Should we be worried?

In Cost, Environment, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Nuclear powere, Public Health on February 8, 2017 at 10:50 pm

By Anna Fifield and Yuki Oda, Washington Post, February 8, 2017

TOKYO — The utility company that operated the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan — the one that went into triple meltdown after the enormous 2011 earthquake and tsunami — has released some jaw-dropping figures.

The radiation level in the containment vessel of reactor 2 has reached as high as 530 sieverts per hour, Tokyo Electric Power Co. — or Tepco, as it’s known — said last week. This far exceeds the previous high of 73 sieverts per hour recorded at the reactor following the March 2011 disaster.

That was the world’s worst nuclear disaster since the one at Chernobyl, in Ukraine, in 1986. Almost 16,000 people were killed along Japan’s northeastern coast in the tsunami, and 160,000 more lost their homes and livelihoods. The cleanup is taking much longer than expected.
At this level of radioactivity, a person could die from the briefest of exposures.

Tepco recorded the radiation near the reactor core, suggesting that some melted fuel had escaped, using a long, remote-controlled camera and radiation measurement device. It was the first time this kind of device has been able to get into this part of the reactor. There it found a three-foot-wide hole in a metal grate in the reactor’s primary containment vessel.

So, how dangerous is this?

At this level of radiation, a robot would be able to operate for less than two hours before it was destroyed, Tepco said.

And Japan’s National Institute of Radiological Sciences said medical professionals had never even thought about encountering this level of radiation in their work.

According to the Kyodo news agency, the institute estimates that exposure to one sievert of radiation could lead to infertility, loss of hair and cataracts, while four sieverts would kill half the people exposed to it.

This measuring device hasn’t even gone into reactors 1 and 3 yet — that’s still in the works.

Robot explores damaged nuclear plant reactor in Japan Embed Share Play Video
Plant operators for Tokyo Electric Power company used a small cable-operated robot to film inside a damaged reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. (Reuters)
So should the people who live in Japan, who live on the Pacific basin be freaking out?

Not yet, some analysts say.

Although the radiation level is “astoundingly high,” says Azby Brown of Safecast, a citizen science organization that monitors radiation levels, it doesn’t necessarily signify any alarming change in radiation levels at Fukushima. It’s simply the first time they have been measured that far inside the reactor.

Here’s what Brown wrote on Safecast’s website:

It must be stressed that radiation in this area has not been measured before, and it was expected to be extremely high. While 530 Sv/hr is the highest measured so far at Fukushima Daiichi, it does not mean that levels there are rising, but that a previously unmeasurable high-radiation area has finally been measured. Similar remote investigations are being planned for Daiichi Units 1 and 3. We should not be surprised if even higher radiation levels are found there, but only actual measurements will tell.

Hiroshi Miyano, nuclear expert and visiting professor at Hosei University, also warned against overreacting. He said the radiation reading might not be particularly reliable since it was only an estimation based on the image analysis. (Tepco said there was a margin of error of 30 percent.)

“It’s not something new to worry about,” he said, although he added that it underscored how difficult the next steps would be.

But some think there is cause for concern.

Fumiya Tanabe, nuclear safety expert and former chief research scientist at the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, said while experts expected the radiation reading inside the Daiichi reactors to be high, it was still “shocking” to learn how high it was six years on.

“It will be very difficult to operate robots in there for a long time to come, and to remove the melted fuel. So the finding might greatly affect the decommissioning time schedule,” he said.

Tepco had been hoping to start taking out the fuel out in 2021.

Japan now estimates Fukushima nuclear cleanup cost at $180 billion Embed Share Play Video0:54
Japan’s trade ministry has almost doubled the estimated cost of compensation for the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and decommissioning of the damaged Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant to more than 20 trillion yen. (Reuters)
Could the radiation level be even higher?

Possibly. The 530 sievert reading was recorded some distance from the melted fuel, so in reality it could be 10 times higher than recorded, said Hideyuki Ban, co-director of Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center.

He agreed with Tanabe, saying that the findings underscore how difficult the decommissioning process will be.

“It definitely shows the path towards decommissioning will be very difficult, and the time frame to start taking out the fuel in 2021 will most likely be delayed as more investigations will be necessary,” Ban said.

Still, he cautioned against overreacting, saying, like Brown, that Tepco had simply not been able to measure this close to the fuel before.

So what does this news portend?

Tanabe said that the level of the reading should give pause to proponents of nuclear power in Japan, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has been pushing to restart reactors shut down after the 2011 disaster.

“It’s unbelievable that anyone would want to restart nuclear plants when Japan hasn’t learned how and why the Fukushima Daiichi accident happened, or learned lessons from it,” he said.
Indeed, Ai Kashiwagi, an energy campaigner at Greenpeace Japan, said the findings showed how little the government and Tepco knew about what was happening inside the reaction.

“The prime minister said everything was under control and has been pushing to restart nuclear plants, but no one knew the actual state of the plant and more serious facts could come out in the future,” she said. “It’s important to keep an eye on radiation-monitoring data and how Tepco’s investigations go.”

Anna Fifield is The Post’s bureau chief in Tokyo, focusing on Japan and the Koreas. She previously reported for the Financial Times from Washington DC, Seoul, Sydney, London and from across the Middle East.

Nobel Peace Laureates: Time to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons is now!

In Environment, Human rights, Justice, Nuclear abolition, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace on February 7, 2017 at 10:51 am

February 5, 2017

(The following statement from 21 Nobel Peace Laureates was released at the conclusion of the 16th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Bogota, Colombia.]

On March 27, negotiations will commence at the United Nations for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. As Nobel Peace Laureates we applaud the UN General Assembly for convening this negotiating conference, fully support its goals, and urge all nations to work for the speedy conclusion of this treaty in 2017 and for its rapid entry into force and implementation.

The nine nuclear-armed states retain some 15,000 nuclear warheads, enough to destroy the world many times over. Nearly 2,000 of these warheads are on hair-trigger alert. They can be launched in a matter of minutes at the whim of an unstable or intemperate leader, and leaders of nuclear-armed states have made increasingly dangerous and irresponsible statements about the use of these weapons. Some display a shocking and appalling ignorance about the nature of nuclear weapons and the consequences of their use.

In response to this danger, more than 120 nations around the world have supported a Humanitarian Initiative that seeks the complete elimination of all nuclear weapons. The nine states that possess these weapons have responded with plans to spend more than a trillion dollars to upgrade their nuclear arsenals and make them even more dangerous. Their behavior is an intolerable threat to the lives of everyone on this planet, including the citizens of their own countries. That behavior must change.

A large-scale nuclear war between the US and Russia would cause a global winter that would kill most of the people on the planet, and possibly cause our extinction as a species. Even a very limited nuclear war, as could well take place involving states with smaller nuclear arsenals, could disrupt the climate sufficiently to cause a prolonged global famine that would put up to 2 billion people at risk of starvation and destroy modern civilization.

The danger of nuclear war is growing. The time for action is now. We must prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.

Oscar Arias (1987)

His Holiness the Dalai Lama (1989)

F. W. de Klerk (1993)

Shirin Ebadi (2003)

Leymah Gbowee (2011)

Mikhail Gorbachev (1990)

International Campaign to Ban Landmines (1997)

International Peace Bureau (1910)

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (1985)

Tawakkol Karman (2011)

Mairead Maguire (1976)

Medecins Sans Frontiere (1999)

Rigoberta Menchu (1992)

Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs (1995)

Jose Ramos-Horta (1996)

Kailash Satyarthi (2014)

Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1984)

Lech Walesa (1983)

Betty Williams (1976)

Jody Williams (1997)

Muhammad Yunus (2006)

Radiation levels in the Fukushima reactor are soaring unexpectedly

In Environment, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Nuclear powere, Public Health on February 5, 2017 at 11:15 pm

Fiona MacDonald, Science Alert, 4 February 2017

Radiation is at its highest since the 2011 meltdown.

The radiation levels inside Japan’s damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor No. 2 have soared in recent weeks, reaching a maximum of 530 sieverts per hour, a number experts have called “unimaginable”.

Radiation is now by far the highest it has been since the reactor was struck by a tsunami in March 2011 – and scientists are struggling to explain what’s going on.
The previous maximum radiation level recorded in the reactor was 73 sieverts per hour, a reading taken not long after the meltdown almost six years ago. The levels are now more than seven times that amount.

Exactly what’s causing the levels to creep upwards again is currently stumping the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco). But the good news is that they say the radiation is safely contained within the reactor, so there’s no risk to the greater population.

The latest readings were taken near the entrance of the No. 2 reactor, immediately below the pressure vessel that contains the reactor core.

To get an idea of the radiation levels inside, the team used a remote-operated camera to take photos of the area – the deepest point in the reactor to date – and then analysed the electronic noise in the images to measure radiation levels.

The technique has an error margin of plus or minus 30 percent, which means that it’s not highly accurate. But even at the lowest end of the measurements, the levels would still be 370 sieverts per hour – and could be as high as 690 sieverts per hour.

These unexpectedly high levels are complicating Tepco’s plan to decommission the nuclear reactor. The most recent aim was to have workers find the fuel cells and start dismantling the plant by 2021 – a job that’s predicted to take up to half a century.
But the levels within reactor No. 2, at least, are in no way safe for humans.

The Japanese National Institute of Radiological Sciences told Japan Times that medical professionals have no experience dealing with radiation levels this high – for perspective, a single dose of just 1 sievert of radiation could lead to infertility, hair loss, and sickness.

Four sieverts of radiation exposure in a short period of time would kill 50 percent of people within a month. Ten sieverts would kill a person within three weeks.

Even the remote-operated camera sent in to capture these images is only designed to withstand 1,000 sieverts of radiation, which means it won’t last more than two hours in the No. 2 reactor.

It’s not yet clear exactly what’s causing the high levels either. It’s possible that previous readings were incorrect or not detailed enough, and levels have always been this high. Or maybe something inside the reactor has changed.

The fact that these readings were so high in this particular location suggests that maybe melted reactor fuel escaped the pressure vessel, and is located somewhere nearby.

Adding to that hypothesis is the fact that the images reveal a gaping 1-metre (3.2-foot) hole in the metal grate underneath the pressure vessel – which could indicate that nuclear fuel had melted out of it.

On Monday, Tepco also saw “black chunks” deposited on the grating directly under the pressure vessel – which could be evidence of melted fuel rods.

If confirmed, this would be a huge deal, because in the six years since the three Fukushima reactors went into meltdown, no one has ever been able to find any trace of the nuclear fuel rods.

Swimming robots were sent into the reactors last year to search for the fuel rods and hopefully remove them, but their wiring was destroyed by the high levels of radiation.

Naturally, Tepco is reluctant to jump to any conclusions on what the black mass in the images could be until they have more information.

“It may have been caused by nuclear fuel that would have melted and made a hole in the vessel, but it is only a hypothesis at this stage,” a Tepco spokesperson told AFP.

“We believe the captured images offer very useful information, but we still need to investigate given that it is very difficult to assume the actual condition inside.”

Given the new readings, Tepco is now putting their plans to further explore reactor No. 2 using remote operated camera on hold, seeing as the device will most likely be destroyed by the intense conditions.

But they will send a robot into reactor No. 1 in March to try to get a better idea about the internal condition of the structure, while they decide what to do next with reactor No. 2.

2,300 California scientists write to Trump over climate fears

In Climate change, Democracy, Environment, Human rights, Justice on February 5, 2017 at 3:12 am

Gov. Jerry Brown promised California would continue to vigorously pursue climate science the annual American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco.
BY ADAM ASHTON, THE STATE WORKER, JANUARY 31, 2017

In response to reports that President Donald Trump would break an international climate agreement, more than 2,300 California scientists have signed an open letter to the White House urging the administration to uphold commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

State scientists have guardedly watched news about Trump’s plans for NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency since his election.

Ben Houlton, director of the John Muir Institute of the Environment at UC Davis, is one of the California scientists who’ve signed on to a letter urging the Trump administration to uphold the 2015 Paris climate agreement. More than 2,300 California scientists wrote an open letter to the White House urging the Trump administration to uphold the Paris climate agreement. Gov. Jerry Brown participated in talks that followed the signing of the United Nations climate change pact in 2015. Ben Houlton, director of the John Muir Institute of the Environment at UC Davis, is one of the California scientists who’ve signed on to a letter urging the Trump administration to uphold the 2015 Paris climate agreement. More than 2,300 California scientists wrote an open letter to the White House urging the Trump administration to uphold the Paris climate agreement. Gov. Jerry Brown participated in talks that followed the signing of the United Nations climate change pact in 2015.
1 of 2
More than 2,300 California scientists wrote an open letter to the White House urging the Trump administration to uphold the Paris climate agreement. Gov. Jerry Brown participated in talks that followed the signing of the United Nations climate change pact in 2015. Michel Euler AP file, 2015
Their fast response to remarks made by a former Trump adviser over the weekend reflected their fears that Trump will reverse climate pacts championed by the Obama administration or make their work more difficult by restricting access to climate data that has been publicly available.

The letter is centered on the Paris climate agreement, a 2015 pact ratified by 127 countries that aims to slow global warming. It commits the U.S. to slashing its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels over the next eight years.

“With this letter, we aim to express the degree to which the scientists and intellectual leaders of our state, speaking for themselves and not on behalf of their respective employers, agree on the facts of climate change,” reads the letter, which was drafted by UC Berkeley associate professor of astronomy Aaron Parsons. “Despite misleading portrayals, there is widespread consensus in the scientific and academic communities that human-caused climate change is real, with consequences that are already being felt.”

Former Trump adviser Myron Ebell told reporters this week that the president would back out of the climate agreement within days.

“The environmental movement is, in my view, the greatest threat to freedom and prosperity in the modern world.” Ebell told reporters this week.

Most of the scientists signing the California letter are faculty at University of California campuses, including UC Davis. Scientists from the California State University system and California Community Colleges also are represented.

 

Unspoken Words: Nuclear War Provocations and Plans

In Environment, Human rights, Justice, Nuclear abolition, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace, War on February 3, 2017 at 9:19 am

by JUDITH DEUTSCH, CounterPunch, February 2, 2017

During the election campaign there was a brief period of anxiety about Clinton or Trump taking possession of the nuclear code, with the power to eradicate our species at the push of a few buttons. But where has discussion, let alone mention, of nuclear weapons gone? An exception is the brief article by Robert Dodge in CounterPunch about the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists advancing the Doomsday Clock to 2 ½ minutes before the midnight of human extinction caused by nuclear war or climate change: “Nuclear weapons are not even on the radar of our congress. Their phones are not ringing off the hook about nuclear weapons.”

In a January 30th interview with Sonali Kolhatkar, George Lakoff discussed Trump’s trial balloon about nuclear weapons in which Trump said that if we have them, we should use them. Lakoff said that there was a very brief reaction and then it’s gone, signaling that the public doesn’t care. Doesn’t care or doesn’t know? Harvard professor Elaine Scarry has said that some of her students had never heard of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It is a dangerous time to not know about nuclear weapons. Trump inherited from Obama the ongoing US/NATO/Israeli escalation and military encirclement against Iran, China, and Russia, and the $1tn program to modernize nuclear weapons. On January 28th the Ron Paul Institute reported that Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) introduced a bill to Congress: “… it specifically authorizes the president to launch a pre-emptive war on Iran at any time of his choosing and without any further Congressional oversight or input, as the President determines necessary and appropriate in order to achieve the goal of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.” (Emphasis added).

Among the challengers to Iran’s purported nuclear threat are Richard Falk (UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, expert on nuclear weapons and international law): “What has Iran done to justify this frantic war-mongering … the outright threats emanating from Israel and the U.S. that leaves ‘all options’ on the table”? Seymour Hersh investigated Israel’s nuclear weapons program in his book The Samson Option. About Iran, Hersh wrote of “the repeated inability of the best and the brightest of the Joint Special Operations Command to find definitive evidence of a nuclear-weapons production program in Iran….. with lots of belligerent talk but no definitive evidence of a nuclear-weapons program.” And perhaps most damning, the U.K. Guardian: “Leaked spy cables show Binyamin Netanyahu’s dramatic declaration to world leaders in 2012 that Iran was about a year away from making a nuclear bomb was contradicted by his own secret service, according to a top-secret Mossad document.” Robert Fisk in The Independent 2012: “The Israeli President warns us now that Iran is on the cusp of producing a nuclear weapon. Heaven preserve us. Yet we reporters do not mention that Shimon Peres, as Israeli Prime Minister, said exactly the same thing in 1996. That was 16 years ago. And we do not recall that the current Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, said in 1992 that Iran would have a nuclear bomb by 1999. That would be 13 years ago. Same old story. We’ve been here before – and it suits Israel that we never forget ‘Nuclear Iran.’”

Noam Chomsky reported that a nuclear Iran suited the U.S. pre-1979, before the Islamic revolution overthrew the brutal shah regime. “A secret agreement made between MIT and the Shah of Iran, … pretty much amounted to turning over the Nuclear Engineering Department to the Shah.” Cheney, Rumsfeld, Kissinger, and Wolfowitz “wanted Iran to develop nuclear facilities and they were allies at the time.” [1]

Demonizing Iran at this time deflects attention from real nuclear dangers. According to the 2016 report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the nine nuclear states together possess a total of approximately 15,395 nuclear weapons, with the United States and Russia accounting for more than 93%. The public likely does not know that shortly after the UN pledged to end the scourge of war, shortly after two atomic bombs killed minimally 140,000 Japanese people, that the U.S. embarked on developing far more lethal hydrogen bombs. The explosive force of the Hiroshima bomb was 15-16 kilotons, whereas today’s bombs are in the range of 100 Kt to 550Kt of TNT (6 to 34 times the Hiroshima force). “Even a small-scale nuclear war involving one hundred Hiroshima-type (15 Kt) nuclear bombs between two countries such as India and Pakistan, would have a devastating effect on Earth’s climate” and “it is unlikely there would be any survivors.” “At most, this would involve only 0.3% of the world’s nuclear explosive power” [2]

Nuclear weapons are deployed by intercontinental ballistic missiles, by submarine launched ballistic missiles, and by strategic bombers. Submarines carrying up to 24 missiles, with each carrying four to five warheads, possibly as many as 144 warheads per submarine, constantly patrol the oceans. In a striking example of apparent disregard for the people of this planet, a CNN newscast from August 2016 shows a smiling Michelle Obama “christening” a General Dynamic Virginia-class submarine manufactured in Connecticut, named after her, and designed to carry nuclear weapons. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, even though a Russian first-strike is not a credible risk, the United States still keeps its 450 silo-based nuclear weapons, and hundreds of submarine-based weapons, on hair-trigger alert and ready to launch within ten minutes toward their targets.

The five year UN Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review met in April, 2015, following four years of preparatory meetings. Given the volatile tension between the U.S. and Russia and China, there was an urgency to take nuclear weapons off high alert status. Instead, the focus of the month-long meeting was diverted to Iran’s nuclear weapons and to political opposition by the U.S., U.K., and Canada to establishing a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East in order to shield Israel’s nuclear program from international laws and oversight. In violation of the NPT, Germany has provided Israel with a fleet of advanced submarines equipped to fire long-range nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. Astonishingly, two of these submarines, which carry weapons of mass destruction, were given to Israel as Holocaust reparation! According to Netanyahu, the submarines carry nuclear weapons pointed at Iran. “The Obama administration’s pretense that it knows nothing about any nuclear weapons in Israel makes intelligent discussion about the dangers of nuclear weapons in the Middle East all but impossible.” India provides Israel with a launching site in the Indian Ocean.

During the Cold War, nuclear weapons strategy was based on deterrence, or mutually assured destruction (MAD). Deterrence necessitated the capacity to retaliate with nuclear weapons, so the strategy in itself required weapons proliferation. Shortly after 9/11, G.W. Bush withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM). Missile defence systems are designed to destroy incoming nuclear missiles shortly after they are launched. There is a belief within the military that the U.S. could destroy its enemy’s full nuclear arsenal and prevent retaliation. Nuclear strategy shifted from deterrence to pre-emptive first strike, with the belief that a nuclear war is winnable and acceptable.

Frustrated by the decades-long paralysis in regulating and eliminating these weapons, and fearful that there is even more likelihood of nuclear war than during the Cold War, the UN-formed Open Ended Working Group (OPEG), made up of all nations, is now focusing entirely and explicitly on eliminating nuclear weapons. The nuclear-armed nations, plus many liberal democracies like Canada, Italy, Germany, Spain and other NATO countries, have voted against the majority. Iran voted for.

The late Jonathan Schell dedicated his life to the abolition of nuclear weapons. He wrote that nuclear exterminism did not come from 20th century totalitarian regimes, but that “the most radical evil imaginable – the extinction of the human species— [was] first placed in the hands of a liberal republic”. A graver suspicion was that the United States and its allies did not build these weapons to face extraordinary danger, but because of “an intrinsic element of the dominant liberal civilization itself – an evil that first grew and still grows from within that civilization rather than being imposed from without.” [3] Entire societies, the human species itself, are merely a pawn. Schell writes that nuclear strategy is the “very epicenter of banality” and is manufactured in think tanks and academic institutions from the pseudoscience of game theory.

The anti-nuclear and antiwar movements have been relatively silent about Israel and about Obama’s nuclear program. One current political opening may be women’s timely activism on the ground, with the precedent of women having led the successful opposition to atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in 1961. Women, in their historical role of caring for the young and old, for growing food and carrying water, are the unseen victims of war and should have the power to veto.

Notes.

[1] Noam Chomsky and Laray Polk (2013). Nuclear war and Environmental Catastrophe. Seven Stories Press), p. 21-22.

[2] Dr. Dale Dewar and Florian Oelck (2014). From Hiroshima to Fukushima to You: A Primer on Radiation and Health. Between the Lines. P. 149-50. Also see Eric Schlosser (2013). Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety. Penguin.

[3] Jonathan Schell (2001). The Unfinished Twentieth Century: The Crisis of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Verso. P. 32-47.

Join the debate on Facebook
Judith Deutsch is a columnist for Canadian Dimension Magazine, former president of Science for Peace, and a psychoanalyst by profession. She can be reached at judithdeutsch0@gmail.com.

The Doomsday Clock just advanced, ‘thanks to Trump’: It’s now just 2 1/2 minutes to midnight.

In Art, Climate change, Democracy, Environment, Human rights, Justice, Nuclear abolition, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace, Public Health, War on February 2, 2017 at 4:01 am

by Peter Holley, Abby Ohlheiser and Amy B Wang, Washington Post, January 26, 2017

It’s now 2 ½ minutes to “midnight,” according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, which warned Thursday that the end of humanity may be nigh.
The group behind the famed Doomsday Clock announced at a news conference that it was adjusting the countdown to the End of it All by moving the hands 30 seconds closer to midnight — the closest the clock has been to Doomsday since 1953, after the United States tested its first thermonuclear device, followed months later by the Soviet Union’s hydrogen bomb test.
In announcing that the Doomsday Clock was moving 30 seconds closer to the end of humanity, the group noted that in 2016, “the global security landscape darkened as the international community failed to come effectively to grips with humanity’s most pressing existential threats, nuclear weapons and climate change.”
But the organization also cited the election of President Trump in changing the symbolic clock.
“Making matters worse, the United States now has a president who has promised to impede progress on both of those fronts,” theoretical physicist Lawrence M. Krauss and retired Navy Rear Adm. David Titley wrote in a New York Times op-ed on behalf of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist. “Never before has the Bulletin decided to advance the clock largely because of the statements of a single person. But when that person is the new president of the United States, his words matter.”
The clock is symbolic, sitting at the intersection of art and science, and it has wavered between two minutes and 17 minutes till doom since its inception in 1947. A board of scientists and nuclear experts meets regularly to determine what time it is on the Doomsday Clock.
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists was founded by some of the people who worked on the Manhattan Project. One of them, nuclear physicist Alexander Langsdorf, was married to artist Martyl Langsdorf. She created the clock and set it at seven minutes to midnight, or 11:53, for the cover of the group’s magazine. Her husband moved the time four minutes later in 1949.
Since then, the bulletin’s board has determined when the clock’s minute hand will move, usually to draw attention to worldwide crises that, the board believes, threaten the survival of the human species. The group’s reasoning focuses almost exclusively on the availability of nuclear weapons and a willingness among the world’s great powers to use them.
In 2016, the bulletin said in its statement Thursday: “The United States and Russia — which together possess more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons — remained at odds in a variety of theaters, from Syria to Ukraine to the borders of NATO; both countries continued wide-ranging modernizations of their nuclear forces, and serious arms control negotiations were nowhere to be seen. North Korea conducted its fourth and fifth underground nuclear tests and gave every indication it would continue to develop nuclear weapons delivery capabilities. Threats of nuclear warfare hung in the background as Pakistan and India faced each other warily across the Line of Control in Kashmir after militants attacked two Indian army bases.”
The group noted that the “climate change outlook was somewhat less dismal — but only somewhat.”
Notably, the bulletin added: “This already-threatening world situation was the backdrop for a rise in strident nationalism worldwide in 2016, including in a US presidential campaign during which the eventual victor, Donald Trump, made disturbing comments about the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons and expressed disbelief in the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change.”
Thomas Pickering, a former undersecretary of state who also served as ambassador to the United Nations and Israel, cited Trump’s “casual talk” about nuclear weapons in telling reporters that “nuclear rhetoric is now loose and destabilizing.”
“We are more than ever impressed that words matter, words count,” he said.
In their op-ed — headlined “Thanks to Trump, the Doomsday Clock Advances Toward Midnight” — Krauss and Titley wrote:
“We understand that Mr. Trump has been in office only days, that many of his cabinet nominees are awaiting confirmation and that he has had little time to take official action.
“But Mr. Trump’s statements and actions have been unsettling. He has made ill-considered comments about expanding and even deploying the American nuclear arsenal. He has expressed disbelief in the scientific consensus on global warming. He has shown a troubling propensity to discount or reject expert advice related to international security. And his nominees to head the Energy Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of Management and the Budget have disputed or questioned climate change.”
Throughout the presidential campaign, Trump faced a recurring charge: that he could not be trusted with the nation’s nuclear weapons.
In August, a group of 50 former national security officials who served Republican and Democratic presidents signed an open letter saying Trump lacked the character, values and experience to be president.
“All of these are dangerous qualities in an individual who aspires to be President and Commander-in-Chief, with command of the U.S. nuclear arsenal,” the group said.
The worst-possible scenario was at times unspoken but clear — that Trump’s lack of self-control could spark nuclear war.
“A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons,” his Democratic campaign rival, Hillary Clinton, charged.
While Trump has repeatedly dismissed those criticisms, he has done little to calm fears of impending nuclear war since winning the presidency. Last month, Trump tweeted that the United States “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability.” He did not elaborate on the message, which followed comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin about strengthening his country’s nuclear arsenal.
Trump’s tweet — and comments he reportedly made the following day to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski — sparked fears of a renewed arms race between the two countries.
Although Trump later seemed to back off of his statements, suggesting in an interview with two European publications that “nuclear weapons should be way down,” there were reasons to be concerned after he gained control of the United States’ nearly 1,400 active nuclear warheads on Inauguration Day, The Washington Post’s Ishaan Tharoor said.
Two days after Trump was elected, the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki invited him to visit, the Japan Times reported.
Then, Tadatoshi Akiba, the former mayor of Hiroshima, wrote a letter to Trump just before his inauguration, urging him to make “wise and peaceable” decisions regarding nuclear weapons