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Amid nuclear fears, remember a pope once helped avert Armageddon via Crux

Though comparisons with North Korea’s threat to fire ballistic missiles near Guam and the Cuban Missile Crisis may be premature, the anxiety level is undeniable. The situation evokes memories of a pope in many ways cut from the same cloth as Francis, St. John XXIII, who helped prevent a nuclear war with a timely and passionate appeal for peace.

In lots of ways, it’s probably premature to start crafting comparisons between the danger posed by North Korea’s threat to test-fire four ballistic missiles off the coast of Guam, coupled with U.S. President Donald Trump’s stern response, and the terror that gripped the world in October 1962 amid the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Back then, it wasn’t just one remote U.S. island territory in the firing line. If the Soviets and the Americans had launched an all-out nuclear war over Cuba, the entire planet would have been at risk.

Today, Guam is striking a sober but unpanicked stance. The island’s Governor, Eddie Calvo, has said the island is well-protected, including a THAAD missile defense system specifically designed to shoot down the kind of missiles possessed by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Further, island residents are long accustomed to blustery rhetoric from North Korea, and so far don’t seem unduly alarmed. Nevertheless, pastors in this overwhelmingly Catholic nation are trying to offer spiritual comfort.

In a statement released Wednesday, the Archdiocese of Agana in Guam urged faithful to “look to God in these difficult times.”

“Following the national news reports that North Korea has threatened to strike our island with missiles, the Archdiocese of Agana reminds everyone to stay grounded in the peace of Christ,” the statement said.

[…]

On Oct. 22, Kennedy went on U.S. television to announce that any missile fired from Cuba would trigger a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union, and that the U.S. was imposing a naval blockade on Soviet shipments. On Oct. 24, Khrushchev warned that such an act of “outright piracy” by the U.S. would lead to war.

That was the global situation when John XXIII took to Vatican Radio on Thursday, Oct. 25, 1962, speaking in French, the language of international diplomacy, to issue a passionate appeal for peace.

[…]

“On the Russian side, we know that there were contacts with Pope John XXIII just before this broadcast,” Tanner said. “We know later that Khrushchev publicly acknowledged his gratitude and debt to John XXIII for, as it were, letting him off the hook, giving him a reason for withdrawing.”

By the time John XXIII made that broadcast, he already knew he was a dying man. Two months later, still haunted by the near-miss of a nuclear war, he issued his final encyclical, Pacem in Terris, making the case for peace as his last testament to the world.

[…]

Cut from the same cloth as John XXIII in so many ways, Pope Francis has already issued several eerily similar appeals for peace, including warning in April that a nuclear war triggered by the North Korean standoff would destroy “a good part of humanity, and of culture, everything, everything.”

No doubt he’ll continue to do so, perhaps as early as today in his Sunday Angelus address.

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「子ども食堂」目標3倍増、福島県内設置数 ネットワーク発足 via 福島民友

 

子どもの成長を地域で支える「子ども食堂」を福島県内で運営する団体などでつくる「ふくしまこども食堂ネットワーク」が11日、発足した。資金や食材確保などを支援して運営の持続性を高めながら新規参入を促し、1年後を目標に設置数を現在の約3倍となる30カ所に増やす。子どもの貧困が社会問題化する中、心安らげる居場所となる子ども食堂を全県に広げ、課題解決につなげる。

子ども食堂は親の経済状況など、さまざまな事情を抱えた子どもに食事を無料または低額で提供する取り組み。学習支援を行うなど運営形態は団体により異なる。県内には約10カ所設置されている。

11日発足したネットワークは、運営方法が分からないという団体の声を受けて民間6団体で発足。寄付により資金や食材を集めて新設された団体に給付したり、ボランティアの人繰りや広報といった運営のノウハウを提供する。行政との連携も強化し、子どもと密に接している立場から貧困や虐待などの解決に必要な政策の提言も想定する。

[…]

 

 

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How US nuclear force modernization is undermining strategic stability: The burst-height compensating super-fuze via The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

Hans M. Kristensen, Matthew McKinzie, Theodore A. Postol

The US nuclear forces modernization program has been portrayed to the public as an effort to ensure the reliability and safety of warheads in the US nuclear arsenal, rather than to enhance their military capabilities. In reality, however, that program has implemented revolutionary new technologies that will vastly increase the targeting capability of the US ballistic missile arsenal. This increase in capability is astonishing—boosting the overall killing power of existing US ballistic missile forces by a factor of roughly three—and it creates exactly what one would expect to see, if a nuclear-armed state were planning to have the capacity to fight and win a nuclear war by disarming enemies with a surprise first strike.

Because of improvements in the killing power of US submarine-launched ballistic missiles, those submarines now patrol with more than three times the number of warheads needed to destroy the entire fleet of Russian land-based missiles in their silos. US submarine-based missiles can carry multiple warheads, so hundreds of others, now in storage, could be added to the submarine-based missile force, making it all the more lethal.

[…]

 

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原発汚染車460台が外部へ 一部中古車市場へ 約190台を回収 via 東京新聞

 東京電力福島第一原発事故の当日に原発敷地内にあった車両のうち、社員の自家用車など約四百六十台が外部に持ち出され、一部は汚染されたまま中古車市場などに流通していたことが、東電などへの取材で分かった。避難や帰宅に使われた後、売却・転売されたとみられる。東電は約三年間の追跡調査で、国の基準値を超える放射線量が計測された約百九十台を回収したが、残り約二百七十台は基準値を下回ったとして回収していない。二台は今も行方が分かっていない。

 東電によると、基準値の十倍近い汚染が見つかったケースもあった。第一原発事故直後に敷地外に持ち出された車両を巡っては、元の持ち主だけでなく、中古車として購入した所有者が汚染を知らないまま被ばくする恐れがあることから国は事態を重く見て調査を指示していた。持ち出し台数が判明するのは初めて。

 東電の広報担当は「基準値を超えた車両はほぼ回収しており法的に問題ない。新たに見つかれば個別に対応している」としている。

原発の敷地内で放射性物質が付着し、基準値を超える汚染廃棄物は外部への持ち出しが原発事故前から法令で禁じられている。さらに事故後、汚染された車両は、除染が必要となる基準値未満に線量が下がらなければ、避難区域外への持ち出しも禁止された。

 東電によると、事故当日に第一原発の敷地内にあった車両は約千七百台。十一日後の三月二十二日までは放射線検査をせずに外部に持ち出すことができたという。事故直後の混乱の中、約四百六十台が社員らの避難などに使用され、流出したとみられる。二十三日からは検査と除染を始め、線量が一定レベル以上の場合は外部に出さないようにした。

 東電は二〇一二年二月から調査を開始し、社員や協力会社へのアンケートを基に敷地内にあった車両を特定。約二年かけて中古車のオークション業界などの協力を得て回収を進めた。

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Armstrong County nuclear cleanup delayed again via Pittsburgh Post-Gazett

The cleanup of a 44-acre nuclear waste dump in Armstrong County is facing another potentially lengthy delay after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday it will re-evaluate proposals to do the work.

The Corps awarded a $350 million contract to Jacobs Field Services North America, of Oak Ridge, Tenn., in April, but agreed to take another look after unsuccessful bidders for the work filed challenges with the federal Government Accounting Office.

The GAO dismissed the protests after the Corps agreed to re-evaluate the proposals.

The property along Route 66 in Parks Township, about 30 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, was used to dispose of radioactive waste produced in the manufacturing of fuel for commercial nuclear power plants and nuclear-powered submarines during the 1960s and 1970s by then-owner Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp. and Atlantic Richfield Co. 

Approximately 36,000 tons of waste material is buried on the property. Cleanup has been repeatedly delayed by a lack of information about what kind and how much waste is buried there, and studies required to produce that information. The Corps had to stop removal of the waste in the spring of 2012 when it discovered greater than expected amounts of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium.

[…]

The owner of the nuclear waste dump site, BWX Technology, formerly Babcock & Wilcox, and the former owner, Atlantic Richfield, must pay for the cleanup.

When the remediation of radioactive material is completed —- earlier estimates predicted it would take a decade  —- the site still might contain chemical contaminants, Mr. Hawk said.

“The radioactive remediation of the site will meet the criteria of unrestricted use,” he said, “but there may still be chemical contamination on the site that is outside the authority of the Corps to clean up.”

Read more at Armstrong County nuclear cleanup delayed again

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震災後の言葉探る 和合、多和田、開沼さん 福島で鼎談 via 福島民報

 福島市の詩人和合亮一さん、ドイツ・ベルリン在住の芥川賞作家多和田葉子さん、いわき市出身の社会学者開沼博さんの鼎談(ていだん)「ベルリン、福島~あの日から言葉の灯りをさがして~」は11日、福島市の県立図書館で催された。海外の視点を踏まえ東日本大震災と東京電力福島第一原発事故後の言葉や社会の在り方を考えた。

和合さんと交流のある愛知のイベント事務所イグニッション・ギャラリーの主催。福島民報社などの共催。100人を超える聴衆が訪れた。

3人の震災・原発事故に関する著作を切り口に議論が始まった。原発を巡る社会構造を論じている開沼さんは「言い切れない部分も含め(不条理に)言葉を与えるのが文学の仕事」と提起した。

県内の仮設住宅などを訪問し、短編集「献灯使」で原発事故後の常識が崩壊した日本を描いた多和田さんは「近未来でなく今の日本の状況を書いた」とし、現実を想像力で構成した経過を示した。

和合さんは仏文学賞「ニュンク・レビュー・ポエトリー賞」(外国語部門)を受けた詩集「詩の礫(つぶて)」を引き合いに、情報を伝える言語と文学の言語の違いを説明。これに対し多和田さんは「事実や気持ちが一緒くたに言葉に入っているのがフィクションの強み」とした。

続きは震災後の言葉探る 和合、多和田、開沼さん 福島で鼎談

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差し止め 追い風吹かず 対岸の原発 via 大分合同新聞

四国電力伊方原発3号機(愛媛県伊方町)が再稼働し、12日で1年となる。重大事故が起きた場合、最短45キロ先の大分県にも放射性物質が飛来する恐れがある。3号機の運転差し止めを求める裁判が各地で続く中、四国電は2号機の再稼働も検討している。「対岸の原発」の今を追った。

「不当決定」「司法はもう福島を忘れたか」
7月21日。松山地裁から駆け出してきた愛媛県の住民らが、運転差し止めの仮処分申請却下を知らせる垂れ幕を掲げた。「許せない」「止めるまで闘い続ける」。集まった支援者は憤りの声を上げた。

(略)

3号機の差し止めを求める仮処分は昨年3月の広島を皮切りに松山、大分、山口の4地裁(支部含む)に相次いで申し立てられた。広域の「裁判包囲網」は全国でも異例だ。

仮処分は民事保全手続きの一つ。訴訟よりも審理期間が短く、裁判所の決定が直ちに効力を持つ。実際、昨年3月の大津地裁(滋賀県)の仮処分決定で、稼働中の関西電力高浜原発(福井県高浜町)は停止した。

伊方も4件の申請のうち1件でも差し止め決定が出れば止めざるを得ない。四国電には大きなリスクだ。

「3・11」から約6年半。最近の脱原発裁判に追い風は吹いていない。
高浜原発を止めた大津地裁決定は今年3月、大阪高裁で覆った。伊方についても広島地裁は3月、松山地裁は7月にそれぞれ住民側の申請を退けた。

(略)

住民側は「司法が新たな安全神話をつくっている」と批判を強める。

福島事故を検証した国会事故調査委員会で委員長を務めた黒川清氏(元日本学術会議会長)は今月1日、大分市内で取材に応じ、新規制基準について「国際原子力機関(IAEA)が求める『5層の防御』を満たしていない」と述べ、放射性物質が漏れ出した場合の住民避難計画が審査対象に含まれていないことに疑問を呈した。

全文は差し止め 追い風吹かず 対岸の原発 

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Multiple violations found at state’s nuclear power plant via King5.com

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) last month suspended indefinitely the shipment of radioactive waste from the state’s sole nuclear power plant.

Internal documents obtained by the KING 5 Investigators reveal that the Columbia Generating Station, operated by the publicly owned Energy Northwest, made repeated errors in its shipping of radioactive waste, in violation of state and federal regulations, dating back to 2014.

“There have been multiple deficiencies with the shipments of radioactive waste which has resulted in noncompliance with Federal, US Ecology, and State of Washington requirements,” wrote Robby Peek, Energy Northwest Quality Services supervisor in a July 26 interoffice memo.

[…]

A July 26 letter from the DOH to Energy Northwest outlines what led to the temporary ban. Inspectors at the state’s low level radioactive waste dump found a July 20 shipment of waste was far more radioactive than what was listed on the shipping manifest.

“Inspections of your shipment revealed (violations) of the US Ecology Radioactive Materials license…and the Washington Administrative Code,” wrote Kristen Schwab, DOH Office of Radiation Protection waste management supervisor. “Because of the nature of the violations found in this shipment, authorization to use the commercial low-level radioactive waste disposal site by Energy Northwest has been suspended indefinitely.”

The Columbia Generating Station (CGS) is located approximately 10 miles outside of Richland on land leased at the Hanford Site. Although located on the same reservation as the former defense nuclear weapons factory, the power plant is not affiliated with Hanford. CGS has been producing electricity utilized throughout the Northwest since 1984.

[…]

The most serious violation occurred in November 2016 when federal regulators from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a “Notice of Violation” after contaminated filters arrived at the state’s dump measuring a radiation level seven times greater than what was listed on the shipping manifest. The dump is also located on the Hanford Site. That violation set off a series of inspections and additional NRC oversight. It also made the CGS one of only 14 plants out of 99 across the country on the NRC watch list.

“You would think they would have learned their lesson and made corrections considering they just were cited by the NRC and spent several months fighting the NRC over additional oversight over this very same issue,” said Chuck Johnson, director of the Joint Task Force on Nuclear Power at Physicians for Social Responsibility. Physicians for Social Responsibility is a long-time critic of nuclear power.

[…]

“The good news is, as far as I’ve seen, none of these things are immediately dangerous but the bad news is we’re getting quite a list of them, and it’s time to take a good hard look at what we are doing there,” said McCullough. “We’re reaching that point where we’re seeing enough of these problems we’ve begun to worry if the plant is being sufficiently maintained.”

It’s no secret the CGS has been under pressure to cut costs. McCullough said understaffing is most likely to blame for the pattern of errors.

“My experience with the nuclear plant is the staff is very competent. However, they’re in cost reduction mode so this would indicate to me that this particular department has lost staff and the remaining staff are unable to keep up with the administrative load,” said McCullough.

A veteran Energy Northwest employee who did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation said the problems can be traced to the company’s top officials.

“This is a leadership issue because it is a repeat problem,” said the employee. “Stop work orders are very rare and very serious. It means something that is important is going very wrong. That should show that this is a systemic issue that leadership can’t fix for whatever reason.”

Even seemingly small errors take on new meaning at nuclear power plants because the stakes are so high. The worst-case scenario is a Fukushima-like event when an earthquake and tsunami led to a nuclear power plant meltdown, explosions, and the spewing of radioactive material in 2011.

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Airtel, Vodafone top list of towers exceeding radiation limit: Manoj Sinha via Gears of Biz

New Delhi: Bharti Airtel and Vodafone were at the top of the list of operators whose mobile towers were found violating radiation norms in an audit conducted by the telecom department, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.

“During the audit carried out by TERM Cells, total 284 base transceiver stations (BTSs) installed on various mobile towers by various telecom service providers (TSPs) have been found exceeding the prescribed electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation limits as on 20 June 2017,” telecom minister Manoj Sinha said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

Out of the total non-compliant mobile sites, 69 belong to Bharti Airtel and its subsidiary, 62 to Vodafone, 34 to Tata Teleservices and its subsidiaries, 32 to Reliance Communications, 22 to Idea Cellular, 20 Aircel and 11 to Loop Mobile (operations closed now), according to the data shared by the minister.

[…]

He said that in India norms for exposure limit for the emission from mobile towers are already 10 times more stringent than the safe limits prescribed by ICNIRP and recommended by WHO. “Making the norms ten times stricter than what has been prescribed by ICNIRP and recommended by WHO, obviates the need for having separate norms for special localities,” Sinha said.

The minister said that the DoT guidelines issued to state governments on 1 August 2013 for mobile towers do not place any restriction on installation of mobile towers near the residential area, educational institutions and hospitals, etc.

Read more at Airtel, Vodafone top list of towers exceeding radiation limit: Manoj Sinha 

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広島、長崎、福島、ウクライナ 核廃絶、平和 アートで発信 子供の巨大壁画など 中区 /広島 via 毎日新聞

原爆や原発事故により、放射能の被害を受けた広島、長崎、福島、チェルノブイリのあるウクライナの市民などが連帯し、アートで世界に平和を発信するイベントが、中区の旧日本銀行広島支店で開かれている。子供が描いた巨大壁画「キッズゲルニカ」や、福島の復興を願って絵付けされた会津の伝統玩具「起き上がり小法師」などが並ぶ。13日まで、入場無料。

 広島のNPO法人などで作る実行委が主催。核廃絶や世界平和を願う気持ちを、美術作品や音楽を通して表現している。キッズゲルニカは、画家のピカソがスペイン市民戦争に抗議して制作した「ゲルニカ」と同じ大きさ(縦3・5メートル、横7・8メートル)のカンバスに子供が絵を描くプロジェクトで、今回7点を展示した。

(略)

詳細はホームページ(www.peace-art-music.com/)。

全文は広島、長崎、福島、ウクライナ 核廃絶、平和 アートで発信 子供の巨大壁画など 中区 /広島

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