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Hiroshima’s fate, 70 years ago this week, must not be forgotten via The Guardian

Two outstanding works of journalism bookmark that 70-year period: John Hersey’s 1946 article, which reminds us of the horror of the bombing; and Eric Schlosser’s terrifying account of a break-in at a US weapons plant in 2012 – a warning, he says, about our current complacency

[…]

Of the two, the Holocaust – unprovoked and unremitting – is unquestionably the greater crime. So monstrous was the methodical murder of 6 million Jews that it’s hard enough to imagine that it took place, let alone that it will ever be repeated. “Never again,” is the near universal consensus. But Hiroshima is another matter. Its mushroom cloud remains a vivid symbol of Promethean hubris, of technology’s grim and uncontrollable potential. And it was repeated, just three days later in Nagasaki.

What’s more, many thousands of infinitely more powerful nuclear weapons were subsequently developed and there have been occasions when they have come catastrophically close to being unleashed. Hiroshima is the lesson we must continually relearn if we are to avoid Armageddon. As the author John Hersey wrote: “What has kept the world safe from the bomb since 1945 has not been deterrence, in the sense of fear of specific weapons, so much as it’s been memory. The memory of what happened at Hiroshima.”

For those of my generation, when tens of thousands of nuclear warheads were primed for the commencement of the third world war, Hiroshima retains a salutary potency. In my case its relevance was made all the more lasting by the fact that my father visited Hiroshima not long after the bomb was dropped.

[…]

Distinct from the question of the morality of atomic or nuclear weapons is the question of their utility, though the two are frequently confused. There are many observers who look at the horror inflicted upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki and conclude that not only was it wrong but therefore, almost by definition, unnecessary.

This line of thought tends to view the atomic raids on the two cities as if they had little or nothing to do with a desire to end the war with as few casualties – particularly American – as possible. Instead they are seen as a deliberately terrifying exhibition of American military might.

[…]

He points out that the Japanese killed an estimated 1 million Chinese civilians with chemical and biological weapons alone, and altogether killed between “10 and 15 million people in what is now considered an Asian holocaust”. So the Japanese leadership’s willingness to kill was not to be doubted, nor its determination to defend the country against invasion.

All of which means that those who say the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki prevented the deaths of hundreds of thousands more soldiers and civilians have, at the least, a respectable point. “But,” adds Schlosser, “I’m not celebrating it or saying it was justified.”

[…]

To think too much about nuclear armaments is to risk a lifetime of fear and paranoia, whereas to think too little is to fall into a state of denial. Somewhere between those two extremes is a space for rational discussion and debate. The problem is that when it comes to weapons that can kill billions and poison the planet for a generation all rational discussion sounds mad. But the alternative is irrational discussion and that’s unlikely to take us very far.

One of the key elements of an effective deterrence programme is to promote the belief that, when it comes down to it, the possessor of nuclear weapons is prepared to use them. But the lesson that Hiroshima, the victim of the most primitive nuclear technology, must teach us is that no one should be prepared to use them. And if no one is prepared to use them, that’s a good basis for the commitment that no one should possess them. Seventy years on, Hiroshima also deserves the promise: never again.

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東芝不正の背景にあった原子力事業買収の重荷 via 経済プレミア

第三者委報告書が明かさなかった謎(2)

話は2006年にさかのぼる。東芝は当時社長だった西田厚聡(あつとし)前相談役の「選択と集中」の号令のもと、半導体と原子力を事業の2本柱に位置づけた。米原子力大手ウェスチングハウスの買収は、原子力事業に投資を集中させる目玉中の目玉だった。

長い交渉の末、同年10月に買収手続きが完了する。東芝のウェスチングハウスへの出資比率は77%で、買収額は約4900億円だった。

その後、07年にカザフスタン国営原子力事業会社に10%分を約630億円で売り、逆に11年9月には米企業から20%分を約1250億円で買い増すことになった。この結果、現在は87%の株式を保有している。

ウェスチングハウス買収に当初から「高値づかみ」の見方

だが、この買収は、当時から「高値づかみ」の見方が強かった。米ゼネラル・エレクトリック(GE)と日立製作所の連合や、三菱重工と競合し、当初言われていた金額の2倍ほどに買収額が膨らんだからだ。

東芝は買収時、世界の原子力需要は20年までに、原子力発電所で約130基相当分拡大するとの見込みを明らかにし た。当時の東芝の原子力事業の規模は約2000億円。ウェスチングハウスを傘下に収めたことで、15年に約7000億円、20年には約9000億円に拡大 するとの予想も示した。

(略)

東芝の歴代社長は、なぜ執拗(しつよう)に利益水増しを部下に求めたのか。その背景には、東芝の財務が抱える二つのアキレスけん「ウェスチングハウスの買収ののれん」と「繰り延べ税金資産」があった。

全文は 東芝不正の背景にあった原子力事業買収の重荷

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[VIDEO] Watch a U.S. Air Force F-15E drop a dummy Nuclear Bomb on Nevada range during a test via The Aviationist

Between Jun. 29 and Jul. 1, the Air Force Nuclear Weapons center tested a (dummy) B61 nuke weapon on the Nevada Test and Training Range to the northwest of Las Vegas.

It was the first development flight test of the B61-12, the latest update to the nuclear gravity bomb that has been used since the 1960s.

[…]

The video below shows preparation and drop of the bomb from an F-15E Strike Eagle out of Nellis Air Force Base. Pretty interesting to see is the release of the nuke, with the spin rockets activating shortly after separation for free fall weapon stabilization.

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日本で原発再稼動へ、事故後初=「狂ってる」「迷惑極まりない」「使わないわけにはいくまい」―韓国ネット via Record China

2015年7月31日、韓国・聯合ニュースは、日本が福島原発事故後閉鎖していた原発が初となる再稼働を迎えると報じた。

日本メディアによると、九州電力は特に問題がなければ8月10日に川内原発1号機を再稼働する方針だ。
この報道に、韓国のネットユーザーからさまざまなコメントが寄せられている。

(略)

「地震があったら、また事故を起こすんじゃないのか?」
「被害は自分たちだけにしてくれよ」
「迷惑極まりない」
「正気か?日本国民は全員狂っている」

「鹿児島の川内原発は韓国に近いから、もしも事故になれば放射能が風に乗って韓国に来てしまう」
「安全運転を心がけてくれ。あなた方の事故は自分たちだけの災害ではなく、世界全体の災害になってしまうから」
「原発を稼動させないと言っていたのでは?いい加減だな」
「朴槿恵(パク・クネ)大統領は抗議もせずにいるが、また事故が起こってからでは遅いぞ」

「人間の欲によって原発は必要悪になってしまった。使わないわけにはいかない」

全文は日本で原発再稼動へ、事故後初=「狂ってる」「迷惑極まりない」「使わないわけにはいくまい」―韓国ネット

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Sendai N-Reactor Could Restart on Aug. 10 to End Japan’s N-Free Period via Jiji Press

   Kagoshima, July 31 (Jiji Press)–Kyushu Electric Power Co. <9508> notified the Nuclear Regulation Authority of a plan to restart the No. 1 reactor of its Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, as early as Aug. 10, ending nearly two years without nuclear power in Japan.

The Sendai No. 1 reactor, which has been idle since being taken offline in May 2011 for a routine inspection, will be Japan’s first reactor to be brought back online since the country’s last operating reactor went idle in September 2013.

It will also be the first reactor to be restarted of the five that have been confirmed by the NRA as meeting Japan’s enhanced safety standards, introduced in July 2013 following the triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s <9501> Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Continue reading at Sendai N-Reactor Could Restart on Aug. 10 to End Japan’s N-Free Period

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被爆者調査、7割が「9条堅持」via ロイター

全国の被爆者に核兵器の廃絶や日本の 安全保障をめぐる現状について尋ねた共同通信のアンケートで、憲法9条の改正に7割近くが「反対」であることが1日、分かった。悲惨な体験から「二度と戦 争をするべきではない」と考える被爆者の多くが、9条堅持を不戦につながると考えていることが明らかになった。

また、約8割が、現在の国際情勢の中で核兵器使用の恐れを感じると回答。広島、長崎への原爆投下から70年を前にして、なお核兵器廃絶が進まない現状に焦りを募らせ、懸念を強める姿が浮かび上がった。

続きは被爆者調査、7割が「9条堅持」

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Nuclear watchdog proposes raising maximum radiation dose to 250 millisieverts via The Asahi Shimbun

Nuclear plant workers in Japan will be allowed to be exposed to more than twice the current level of radiation in emergency situations, according to the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s Radiation Council.

The radiation exposure limit will be raised from the current 100 millisieverts to 250 millisieverts in emergencies, the radiation council announced in a report released July 30.

The higher level is still only half of the accepted international safety level of 500 millisieverts set by the International Commission on Radiological Protection, an influential independent organization that provides guidelines on radiation protection, for rescue workers in emergency situations at nuclear facilities.

The new cap will be activated from April 2016 after revisions to the nuclear reactor regulatory law and the Industrial Safety and Health Law.

The limit was temporarily raised to 250 millisieverts by the radiation council following the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

The decision was quickly made by the council members through e-mail discussions as the 100 millisieverts limit could have caused a shortage of workers tackling the emergency at the plant. Later, the limit was returned to 100 millisieverts.

[…]

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Nuclear Zero Lawsuit by Marshall Islands Appealed to Higher Court via Reader Supported News

By Jane Ayers

Desmond Tutu states lawsuit “good for humanity,” and all U.S. mayors agree in Resolution to back the nuclear disarmament lawsuit

An interview with David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (Santa Barbara, California), and Consultant to the Marshall Islands

Q: The “Nuclear Zero” lawsuit filed by the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) against the nine nuclear nations to adhere to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was denied in February by Judge Jeffrey White in U.S. Federal District Court (SF). RMI Foreign Minister Tony de Blum wants the U.S. and other nuclear nations to negotiate in good faith for nuclear disarmament, so why did this lawsuit get denied, and is the Appeal brief filed on July 13th an indication of ‘no backing down’ by the Marshall Islands?

Krieger: The lawsuit against the United States in U.S. Federal District Court was denied on jurisdictional grounds, having to do with standing and the political question doctrine. The Marshall Islands and its legal team believe the judgment was in error, and the ruling was appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (SF) on July 13th.

Q: Judge Jeffrey White’s decision noted that the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s fundamental purpose is to slow the spread of nuclear weapons, and to bar the non-nuclear countries from acquiring nuclear weapons. However, the Marshall Islands lawsuit focuses on the continuing breach of the treaty’s nuclear disarmament obligations. Do you think the judge’s decision to dismiss this case was based on a fundamental difference in the interpretation of the NPT’s core purpose? Do you think the number of groups filing Amicus Briefs with the Appeal [in support of the Marshall Islands] indicates that total nuclear disarmament should be seriously addressed, instead of just modernizing the arsenals?

Krieger: The judge was not correct in focusing only on the treaty’s provisions for preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. A critical element of the Non-Proliferation Treaty is Article VI, which calls for negotiating an end to the nuclear arms race at an early date, and achieving nuclear disarmament through good faith negotiations. The judge omitted from his decision reference to the importance of the nuclear disarmament provisions of the NPT. Many parties to the NPT consider the nuclear disarmament obligations to be the most important obligations of the treaty, and certainly a tradeoff for preventing proliferation to other nations. The goal of the treaty is to obtain a world with zero nuclear weapons – no proliferation of nuclear weapons, and good faith negotiations for nuclear disarmament by the countries that already have nuclear weapons.
[…]
Krieger: The Marshall Islands also brought the Nuclear Zero lawsuits against all nine nuclear-armed nations to the International Court of Justice. However, the way the ICJ works is that only the countries who accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the court can be held into the lawsuits. Among the nine nuclear armed countries, only India, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom accept the court’s compulsory jurisdiction. The other six countries, including the U.S., do not accept the court’s compulsory jurisdiction, and can only be invited to join the case. None of these six have joined thus far. The legal system at the international level is equivalent to a situation where someone is injured by corporate misconduct, and the injured party would have to invite the defendant to court, rather than there being compulsory jurisdiction to assure the defendant does not have a choice about showing up in court.

That is an important reason why a separate case was initially brought against the U.S. in U.S. Federal District Court (SF). If the U.S. can’t be held to account for its treaty obligations at the International Court of Justice, and it also can’t be held to account in its own federal courts, then how can any country have confidence in entering into treaty obligations with the U.S.?

The Marshall Islands can still prevail in their cases at ICJ against India, Pakistan, and the U.K., since these three countries have compulsory jurisdiction. Should the Marshall Islands win its case against the U.K., it would have important implications for the other four nuclear-armed countries that are parties to the NPT. If the international court declares that the U.K. is not in accord with its obligations under the treaty, then that would reflect on the similar obligations owed by the U.S., Russia, France, and China.

But a victory in these cases will be won not only in the courtroom, but in the court of public opinion. People everywhere need to understand that the nine nuclear-armed countries are not fulfilling their obligations to end the nuclear arms race, and to achieve nuclear disarmament. Quite the opposite, they are engaged in modernizing and improving their nuclear arsenals. The people of the world have to say to their leaders, “Enough is enough.” If we want to have a human future, we need to stop playing nuclear roulette.
[…]
I consider the current approach of the U.S. and the other nuclear weapon states to modernizing their nuclear arsenals to being akin to playing nuclear roulette. It is like metaphorically loading nuclear weapons into the chambers of a six-shooter, and pointing the gun at humanity’s head.

[…]

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長崎平和宣言で安保法案に言及へ via 産経ニュース

長崎市の田上富久市長は31日、被爆70年となる8月9日の「長崎原爆の日」の平和祈念式典で読み上げる平和宣言の骨子を発表し、安全保障関連法案の慎重な審議を政府や国会に求める内容を盛り込むと明らかにした。
[…]
広島市は安保法案に直接言及しないとしており、対照的となった。

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長崎新聞 

田上市長は会見で「平和宣言では何らかの形で平和の理念を盛り込んできた。その理念が『揺らいでいるのでは』と多くの人が思っているのは事実」と理由を説明。一方で「さまざまな意見がある」として法案の是非には踏み込まず、国民への丁寧な説明などを求める。

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3 Former Executives to Be Prosecuted in Fukushima Nuclear Disaster via The New York Times

TOKYO — In the first criminal prosecutions of officials connected to the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster of 2011, the Japanese authorities said Friday that they would move forward with cases against three former executives of the Tokyo Electric Power Company, the owner of the plant where reactors melted down after a tsunami.

The move was a victory for citizens’ groups that have been pursuing charges against dozens of officials at Tokyo Electric Power, known as Tepco, and the government, with no success until now. Prosecutors had twice rejected requests to indict the three former Tepco executives, but a review board overruled their decision on Friday and ordered that charges be brought.
[…]
It is rare for prosecutors’ discretion over indictments to be challenged in Japan. The reversal was ordered by a panel of 11 private citizens, convened through a rarely used feature of the Japanese legal system that allows outsiders to review prosecutors’ decisions under certain circumstances.

It was the second time that such a panel, known as a committee for the inquest of prosecution, had determined that the former executives should be prosecuted. The first panel delivered its conclusion last year, after the Tokyo district prosecutors’ office rejected a criminal complaint against the executives filed by the plaintiffs group.

The prosecutors declined to act on the first panel’s recommendation, but the plaintiffs group appealed, and a second and final panel was convened. Under the rules governing the review panels, the second panel’s decision is binding on prosecutors.
The three executives who face indictment are Tsunehisa Katsumata, 75, the chairman of Tepco at the time of the accident, and two former heads of the utility’s nuclear division, Sakae Muto, 65, and Ichiro Takekuro, 69. The review panel ordered that they be charged with professional negligence resulting in death.

[…]
Though the indictments represent a long-sought symbolic achievement for the antinuclear movement, the likelihood that the men will be found guilty at trial may be low. When Japanese prosecutors bring charges on their own initiative, they win convictions more than 99 percent of the time, but cases forced on them by citizens’ review panels are different. Almost by definition, they involve charges that prosecutors saw little hope of proving.

Nobuo Gohara, a former prosecutor, said a large majority of such cases result in acquittals. To convict the Tokyo Electric Power executives, prosecutors would have to prove that their failure to predict the massive tsunami that struck Fukushima’s coast in March 2011 and to equip the power plant with sufficient protections against it constituted an act of criminal oversight.

[…]

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