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Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast via Counter Punch


Hanford, on the Columbia River in Eastern Washington State, is the site where the United States produced the majority of its plutonium for nuclear weapons during the Cold War. These tens of thousands of American nuclear weapons were built as an end product of the high levels of plutonium production at Hanford. The first three nuclear reactors on Earth were built at Hanford, with a total of nine nuclear power plants being built there eventually. Nuclear power plants operated for ten years in this world before they were ever used to generate electricity. Electricity is a secondary purpose for nuclear power plants, they were designed and built as plutonium manufacturing plants.

Hanford was the first of these plutonium production sites. The two worst radiological disasters (besides nuclear weapon detonations) in the first four decades of the Atomic Age were accidents at the plutonium production sites of the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, both in 1957. Military plutonium production sites remain among the most contaminated sites on Earth. During the period of operation more than 67 metric tons of plutonium were manufactured at Hanford. Hanford is home to 60% (by volume) of all of the high level radioactive waste stored in the United States. Nearly 80% of the Department of Energy’s inventory of spent nuclear fuel rods are stored just 400 yards away from the Columbia River. (Statistics taken from Physicians for Social Responsibility webpage)


The Green Run

In December 1949 the United States deliberately released an immense amount of radiation into populated areas at the Hanford Site during the notorious Green Run. It was the largest intentional release of radiation conducted by the U.S. government. While nuclear testing in Nevada exposed many people to significant amounts of radiation, this was a byproduct of the desire to test weapons. In the Green Run the intention was specifically to release the radiation into the Hanford area. The Green Run was conducted in reaction to the test of the first Soviet nuclear weapon in Kazakhstan several months earlier. The first indications that the Soviets had successfully tested a nuclear weapon came when sensors at Hanford picked up the radiation several days later. It was decided to release radiation “similar” to that of the Soviet test to develop and hone detection equipment and better analysis of the Soviet program.


The Tank Farms

Few things pose as great a threat to public health at Hanford than the Tank Farms. The Tank Farms are 177 single and double shelled waste storage tanks sited at two different locations on the Hanford complex. In the early days at Hanford, when plutonium for nuclear weapons was separated from the spent nuclear fuel, the leftover uranium from the process was stored in these tanks. Over the years a wide range of the highest level radioactive and chemical wastes were dumped into these tanks. According to the State of Washington the 177 tanks hold 53 million gallons of the highest level radioactive waste existing in the United States. 67 of the single shelled tanks have leaked over 1 million gallons of this highly radioactive waste which is migrating through the soil and groundwater into the Columbia River. In 2011 the Department of Energy emptied the contents of many of the leaking single shelled tanks into double shelled tanks, however the design of the double shelled tanks was found to be flawed, resulting in further leaks.

Read more at Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast

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イワナから基準値超セシウムを検出 via 河北新報



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Blind mice and bird brains: the silent spring of Chernobyl and Fukushima via Ecologist

Evolutionary biologist Timothy Mousseau and his colleagues have published 90 studies that prove beyond all doubt the deleterious genetic and developmental effects on wildlife of exposure to radiation from both the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. But all that peer-reviewed science has done little to dampen the ‘official’ perception of Chernobyl’s silent forests as a thriving nature reserve.

Dr Timothy Mousseau has published more than 90 peer reviewed articles in scientific journals, related to the effects of radiation in natural populations (and more than 200 publications in total).

He has spent 16 years looking at the effects on wildlife and the ecosystem of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

He and his colleagues have also spent the last five years studying how non-human biota is faring in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdowns in Japan.

But none of this work has received anything like the high profile publicity afforded the ‘findings’ in the 2006 Chernobyl Forum report which claimed the Chernobyl zone “has become a wildlife sanctuary”, and a subsequent article published in Current Biology in 2015 that said wildlife was “thriving” around Chernobyl.

“I suppose everyone loves a Cinderella story”, speculated Mousseau, an evolutionary biologist based at the University of South Carolina. “They want that happy ending.” But Mousseau felt sure the moment he read the Forum report, which, he noted, “contained few scientific citations”, that the findings “could not possibly be true.”


Far from flourishing around Chernobyl, birds and animals are fading

What Mousseau found was not unexpected given the levels of radiation in these areas and what is already known about the medical effects of such long-term exposures. Birds and rodents had a high frequency of tumors.

“Cancers are the first thing we think about”, Mousseau said. “We looked at birds and mice. In areas of higher radiation, the frequency of tumors is higher.” The research team has found mainly liver and bladder tumors in the voles and tumors on the head, body and wings of the birds studied, he said.

But Mousseau wanted to look beyond cancers, which is what everyone expects to find and what researchers had looked for, but only in humans. There were few wildlife studies, a fact Mousseau found surprising, given nature’s ability to act as a sentinel for likely impending human health impacts.

Mousseau and his fellow researchers found cataracts in birds and rodents. Male birds had a high rate of sterility. And the brains of birds were smaller. All of these are known outcomes from radiation exposure.

“Cataracts in birds is a problem”, Mousseau said. “A death sentence.”

Mental retardation has been found among children exposed to radiation in utero. Mousseau and colleagues discovered the same pattern in the birds they studied. “Birds already have small brains, so a smaller brain size is a definite disadvantage”, he said.

Almost 40% of male birds examined were sterile

There were also just fewer animals in general. “There were many fewer mammals, birds and insects in areas of higher radiation”, Mousseau said. And they had their hunch as to why.

He and his colleagues extracted sperm from the male birds they caught and were shocked to find that “up to 40% of male birds in the radiologically hottest areas were sterile.”


A responsibility to protect the environment and wildlife, not just man

This has led to speculation – and some unscientific and alarmist rumors – that sea life in the Pacific is collapsing due to the Fukushima radiation.

“Catastrophic marine events started 40-50 years ago”, Mousseau points out. “Bird populations in the Pacific were in decline long before Fukushima.”

One important cause, says Mousseau, is “plastics in the environment that are consumed by marine animals which were in downward spirals long before the Fukushima accident.” Marine population decline has likely also been “compounded by climate change”, he says.

Indeed, Mousseau, who grew up on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, remembers the local harbor encrusted with star fish when he was a child. Recently, when he took his son there, he found none.

Fukushima cannot necessarily be blamed, as some would wish, but the compounding and potentially synergistic effect of radiation in the Pacific could still be taking its toll, Mousseau avowed.

“We don’t know how different environmental stresses interact with each other”, he said. “They could be synergistic and related. There is almost no research on this even in the Pacific off Fukushima – virtually nothing on the biological consequences in really contaminated areas.”

With “little real science” to rely on, Mousseau says, “we will never know” just how much marine damage the Fukushima disaster may do.

He finds the continued lack of other independent animal studies in radioactive zones frustrating. “We have a responsibility to protect the environment and wildlife, not just man”, he said. It may be expensive and difficult to conduct these kinds of studies, but, says Mousseau, “that is not an excuse.”

Read more at Blind mice and bird brains: the silent spring of Chernobyl and Fukushima

Related article: At Chernobyl and Fukushima, radioactivity has seriously harmed wildlife via Conversation

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福島第一原発事故 5人は「不起訴妥当」の議決 via NHK



不起訴相当議決を受けて 団長・弁護団コメント

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Bobby Knight: Like Truman, Trump would have ‘guts to drop the bomb’ via Politico

According to Bobby Knight, Harry Truman was one of the three greatest presidents because he had the “guts to drop the bomb in 1944” on Japan.

Donald Trump, he said, could join that list as one of the four greatest presidents because he “would do the same thing.”

The only historical problem with Knight’s justification: Truman authorized the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945. Franklin D. Roosevelt was still president in 1944.


“And Harry Truman, with what he did in dropping and having the guts to drop the bomb in 1944 saved, saved millions of American lives,” Knight said. “And that’s what Harry Truman did. And he became one of the three great presidents of the United States. And here’s a man who would do the same thing, because he’s going to become one of the four great presidents of the United States.”

“Such a great guy. Wow. How do you top that? How do you top that?” Trump said. “You should be very proud of him in Indiana … That is a national treasure, OK?”

Earlier on Thursday, Trump told NBC’s “Today” that while he would be the last person to use nuclear weapons to take out the Islamic State or in any situation, he would never take the option off the table.

Read the whole article here.

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ANALYSIS: The cloudy future of Israel’s nuclear reactor via The Jerusalem Post

It’s a “catch 22”- The very thing that could ultimately afford Israel the tools to build a new reactor would also prevent it from using the reactor as a nuclear deterrent.

The moment of truth for Israel’s nuclear policy is nearing. Haim Levinson’s publication yesterday in Ha’aretz regarding the defects in the core of the nuclear reactor in Dimona only emphasizes this fact.

Such reactors are normally taken out of service after 40 years or so. Ultrasound examinations found 1537 flaws in the metal core in Dimona, scientist from the facility reported earlier this month, Levinson wrote in Ha’aretz.
The awareness of these flaws and the projection of their development was extant since the inception of the nuclear reactor. In 2004 similar findings were revealed at a symposium at Ben Gurion University in Beersheba, where senior officials of the Atomic Energy Commission, which is responsible for the reactor in Dimona, admitted that they were encountering difficulties in upgrading the security of the reactor.

The reactor in Dimona, that Israel acquired from France, began to function in 1963. According to the manufacturer’s standards, the lifetime of reactors of this type is forty years.

Today, the reactor in Dimona is 53 years old and has repeatedly received “anti-aging treatment”; the most advanced in the world, but until when? If we rely on the words of Gidon Frank from the convention, then the reactor has another seven years to its life. By then there will be no alternative but to disable the reactor.

The technological problems create a huge dilemma for the longtime Israeli strategy of deterrence. The reactor that Israel acquired from France, had, according to foreign reports, 24 megawatt capacity and was to be used for research purposes. According to these same sources Israel increased its output to 50 megawatts, possibly even more.

According to these foreign reports, since its activation, Israel’s reactor has been manufacturing uranium and plutonium, which are the fissile materials for the construction of nuclear weapons. These reports said that the proponents of Israeli nuclear development believed that nuclear weapons would serve as a deterrent and secure Israel’s existence for generations.

Concurrently, they also formulated the Israeli policy of nuclear ambiguity, which neither admitted nor denied the existence of nuclear weapons.


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チェルノブイリ原発事故 30年 ベラルーシで進む原発依存 国土2割汚染 不安今も via毎日新聞







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(核の神話:23)「沈黙を強いる」日本社会、気がかり via 朝日新聞

























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UN chief says end ‘madness’ of nuclear weapon testing via Tribune

VIENNA, AUSTRIA: UN chief Ban Ki-moon called Wednesday for the US, China and other nuclear-armed states to end the “madness” of atomic testing by finally ratifying the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which turns 20 this year.

“I call on remaining states, the eight remaining states, to sign and ratify the treaty without further delay,” Ban said in Vienna at an event marking the anniversary.

“Nuclear testing poisons water, causes cancers and pollutes the area with radioactive fallout for generations and generations to come,” he said.

“We are here to honour the victims … to ban and to stop nuclear testing. First and foremost we should teach the world to end this madness.”

The CTBT, which opened for signature in September 1996, bans all nuclear explosions.

It has been signed by 183 states and ratified by 164 including Russia, France and Britain, three of the nine countries which have or are thought to have nuclear weapons.

But to enter in force, the treaty needs 44 particular “nuclear technology holder” states to ratify, eight of whom have yet to do so.

These eight include the other six in the nuclear club — the United States, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel — as well as Iran and Egypt.

The US, China, Egypt, Iran and Israel — the latter widely assumed to have nuclear weapons although it has never confirmed it — have signed but not ratified.

Continue reading at UN chief says end ‘madness’ of nuclear weapon testing

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Advisory board to help sick Rocky Flats workers to meet for first time this week via The Denver Post

15-member board to deal with claims from nuclear facilities in 45 states

A federal advisory board designed to help workers sickened while working at former nuclear weapons facilities in the United States, including Rocky Flats west of Denver, get compensation and medical benefits will meet for the first time this week.

The 15-member Advisory Board on Toxic Substances and Worker Health will meet Tuesday through Thursday in Washington D.C.

The board was established last year to help reduce the red tape faced by workers who are due compensation under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000, which covers former nuclear weapons facilities in 45 states.

During the Cold War, approximately 600,000 people were employed at atomic weapons program facilities across the nation, where they were unknowingly exposed to radioactive and toxic substances.

“For years, Rocky Flats workers have fought for the healthcare and compensation they earned during their service to our county,” U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter said in a news release. “This advisory board will improve transparency and consistency in the program and help reduce the endless red tape these workers currently face.”

The advisory board is made up of five members from the scientific community, five from the medical community and five from the claimant community, two of whom worked at Rocky Flats.

Continue reading at Advisory board to help sick Rocky Flats workers to meet for first time this week

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