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How a stockpile of America’s nuclear weapons got tangled up in a Middle East crisis via The Los Angeles Times

[…]
But the failed military coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week has ratcheted up long-standing concerns about the military usefulness and security of the Incirlik armory, America’s largest foreign stockpile of nuclear weapons.

Security remains at the highest level, FPCON Delta. Electrical power was restored only Friday after a week-long blackout that strained living conditions at the base. The 3,000 U.S. service personnel stationed there have been ordered to remain inside the gates. Hundreds of military dependents were sent home months ago, amid fears of a terrorist attack.
The base was an operational center of the attempted coup. Its commander and his subordinates were arrested on suspicion of trying to overthrow the Turkish government, leaving junior officers in control. The developments have shocked U.S. military experts who say they demonstrate a worrying level of instability in Turkey’s military command close to the B61s.

Defense officials have never acknowledged the existence of these weapons on the base and refused this week at news briefings after the coup attempt to answer questions about them.

Lt. Col. Christopher Karns, an Air Force spokesman for U.S. Central Command in Qatar, said the electricity cutoff had forced water rationing and a slight reduction in bombing missions against Islamic State, also known as ISIS, but operations were returning to normal.

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<原発事故>宮城の母親 高線量地域ほど不安via河北新報

 東京電力福島第1原発事故が県内の母子に与えた心理的影響について調査する東北大、福島大の研究グループは22日、母親の放射線に対する不安は汚染レベルに相関するとの結果を公表した。原発に近い丸森町など県南の4市町が福島市と同程度に高い一方、仙台市は兵庫などの他県と変わらなかった。
 設問「洗濯物を外で干すか」に「干さない」と答えたのは、角田市で22.8%、丸森町で18.6%。ともに福島市の18.2%を上回った一方、仙台市は5.7%で他県をも1.7ポイント下回った。
 東北大によると、2011年7月2日現在の放射線量は、丸森町が毎時1.9~0.2マイクロシーベルトで、角田市が同0.5~0.1マイクロシーベルト、仙台市は同0.1マイクロシーベルト以下だった。放射線量が高い地域の方が、母親の不安が高くなる傾向にある。
 研究グループは母親と子どものストレスについても調査。「気分が落ち込むことがある」、「(子どもに)赤ちゃん返りがある」など多くの項目で、県南の市町の母親が福島市の母親よりも「ある」と回答した。
[…]

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「面倒臭い」を越えて 奥田愛基さん、フジロックで発言via朝日新聞

 
[…]津田さんは今回の参院選で、SEALDsが野党共闘の動きに寄与した点を指摘。選挙期間中、野党側の応援に奔走した奥田さんは「(全国32の1人区のうち)11の議席を取れたことは、負けは負けだが一定の効果はあったと思う」と総括した。また、奥田さんは「政治が面倒臭いのは、自分と意見が違う人と話すのが面倒臭いから」と話した上で、「この社会をどうやって一緒に生きていくか、『面倒臭い』を越えて考えていかないといけない」と述べた。

 アトミック・カフェは、1980年代に国際的に広がった反核運動を起点に、音楽シーンから反核のメッセージを発信する取り組み。東京電力福島第一原発事故のあった2011年から6年連続、フジロック内で開催されてきた。

 アトミック・カフェでは、これまでも壇上で様々なアーティストらが自身の意見を発言しているが、今回、安全保障関連法に反対する活動で注目された奥田さんの参加が発表されると、主にネット上で「音楽に政治を持ち込むな」などの意見が出て注目された。
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Nuclear weapons contractors repeatedly stifle whistleblowers, auditors say via The Center for Public Integrity

The Energy Department lets its private contractors police themselves, producing “chilled work environments” in which employees who find wrongdoing have no useful path for complaints

At laboratories and factories where American nuclear weapons are designed and built, and at the sites still being cleansed of the toxic wastes created by such work, contractor employees outnumber federal workers six to one. That makes them key sentinels when something goes awry, a circumstance that officials say explains why they get legal protections when whistleblowing.

That’s the theory. It turns out that the Energy Department has actually handed most of the oversight over these protections to the contractors themselves, robbing workers at key nuclear weapons sites of confidence that pointing out security and safety dangers or other mistakes won’t bring retaliation, according to an audit released by the Government Accountability Office on July 14.

The Energy Department’s decision to embrace contractor self-regulation of its whistleblowing protection system means in many cases that those overseeing it work for the contractors’ top lawyers, who must defend the contractor against employee claims of wrongdoing, or for those officials responsible for deciding about job cuts, the report disclosed.

[…]

At the Energy Department’s Hanford Nuclear Site, for example, a contractor employee reported that in the first iteration of one such survey, specific responses could be linked directly to those participating, and after revisions, the employee had heard managers “were pressuring employees to give favorable responses.” Many of the results were deleted before being analyzed, the employee said – part of a series of flaws that DOE overlooked.

The report disclosed that despite some highly-publicized instances of retaliation against whistleblowers in the nuclear weapons complex, and many public statements by DOE and contractors of support for transparency and technical dissent, DOE has only three times punished contractors who retaliated against whistleblowers in the last 20 years. One of those punishments was just a stern letter.

[…]

The problems run deeper than self-regulation, the report states. When contractor employees have brought concerns directly to the Energy Department, partly out of fear of retaliation by their bosses, the department has often referred those complaints back to the contractor, potentially jeopardizing the complainer’s anonymity or creating the appearance of “impaired independence” at DOE. And a program meant to adjudicate such issues within DOE is procedurally complex and sometimes too challenging for workers, the report said.

[…]

Sandra Hightower Black, who headed the employee concerns program at Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC, in Aiken, S.C. – a consortium of Fluor Corporation, Honeywell International Inc. and Newport News Nuclear Inc. – told the press conference that she repeatedly witnessed such acts of intimidation. She said one manager pressured an investigator in her office to flip a whistleblower complaint that had been substantiated and categorize it as unfounded. Another manager demanded the name of the “rat” in a whistleblower case.

To executives at the company, Black said, she eventually became “an employee advocate,” which they regarded as a liability. A 59-year-old single mother, Black trembled at the press conference behind dark-framed glasses, as she said she was eventually fired for doing what she thought she was supposed to do.

[…]

Black’s case is still pending. But the report said other contract employees at the Savannah River site told the auditors that a poor climate persisted there:

  • “We were told that if you talk to DOE, you will not be considered part of the team.”
  • “They will make an example of anyone who challenges them.”
  • “Employees are very afraid to raise safety issues at the meetings because they will be terminated or embarrassed.”
  • “They fired the [employee concerns program] Manager. What do you think they will do to me?”

A whistleblower from the Hanford site, Walter Tamosaitis, also appeared at the press conference. He’s an engineer who worked on the management team constructing the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant at Hanford, a project long plagued by delays and cost overruns. In 2010, he spoke up at a management meeting about his worries that the costly plant would be unsafe, and even provoke an unexpected nuclear chain reaction. Tamosaitis almost immediately was kicked off the project and spent the next 18 months in a windowless basement office, before finally being fired.

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東日本大震災 福島第1原発事故 富岡も準備宿泊へ 議会に政府が意向 来月21日から /福島 via 毎日新聞

政府の原子力災害現地対策本部は22日、東京電力福島第1原発事故で全域が避難指示区域となっている富岡町の一部で、住民 が夜間も含めて自宅に長期滞在可能な準備宿泊を8月21日から避難指示の解除まで実施したい考えを示した。郡山市で開かれた町議会全員協議会で明らかにし た。

 対象は、居住制限区域と避難指示解除準備区域で、計9679人、3860世帯(6月14日時点)。対策本部の後藤収・副本部長は「帰還に向けての準備が 一歩一歩進んでいる」と説明。町は来年4月の一部帰還を目指しており、政府は年明けまでに解除の時期を明示する意向を示した。出席した議員からは、放射線 量に対する不安の声が上がった。

続きは 東日本大震災 福島第1原発事故 富岡も準備宿泊へ 議会に政府が意向 来月21日から /福島

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新潟)フジロックに今年もアトミック・カフェ 6年連続 via 朝日新聞

湯沢町の苗場スキー場で開かれる国内最大級の野外音楽イベント「フジロック・フェスティバル’16」(22~24日)で、反核・反原発をトークやライブで訴えるアトミック・カフェが、今年も開催される。東京電力福島第一原発事故のあった2011年から6年連続の開催となる。

アトミック・カフェは、1980年代に国際的に広がった反核運動を起点に、音楽シーンから反核のメッセージを発信する取り組みだ。3日間ともジャーナリストの津田大介さんが参加。22日は放射線衛生学者の木村真三さん、23日は学生団体「SEALDs(シールズ)」の奥田愛基(あき)さんと国際環境NGO「FoE Japan」の吉田明子さん、24日は歌手の加藤登紀子さんとNHK連続テレビ小説「あまちゃん」に携わった音楽家の大友良英さんが登壇する。

続きは新潟)フジロックに今年もアトミック・カフェ 6年連続 

関連記事:「面倒臭い」を越えて 奥田愛基さん、フジロックで発言 via 朝日新聞

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Visit Maralinga Atomic Bomb Test Site via Maralinga Tours

Not Kazakhstan, not Nevada…

but South Australia’s Maralinga.

Maralinga Tours – an insight into our hidden past

Learn about a very, very dark chapter in Australia’s history. One Tree, Marcoo, Kite, Breakaway, Tadje, Biak and Taranaki: innocuous sounding names that in the 1950’s provided headlines in the British and Australian press that heralded a growing capacity for Britain to offer a nuclear deterrent to the perceived threat of the Cold War.  Maralinga Tours will give you an amazing insight into this dubious period of Australia’s History.

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福島の避難指示解除 住民追い詰めない丁寧な対応を via愛媛新聞

東京電力福島第1原発事故で福島県内に出されていた避難指示が、先月から今月にかけ南相馬市や川内村などで相次ぎ解除された。政府は来年3月末までに、帰還困難区域を除く全ての避難指示を解除する方針だ。帰還か移住かの難しい決断を迫られる住民を追い詰めないよう、きめ細かな対応を求めたい。
 南相馬市では市立病院や商業施設、鉄道が再開するなど生活インフラ整備が進んではいる。とはいえ住民が置かれた環境はさまざまだ。行政が「背中を押す」ことで、ためらっていた一歩を踏み出せる人がいるのは分かるが、それでも決断できず、望まぬ方向に進まざるを得ない人を切り捨ててはなるまい。
 仮設住宅の高齢者らの中には「先が見えない」と苦悩する人が少なくない。避難指示解除に伴い、いずれ退去を余儀なくされるためだ。「自宅に戻っても人がいない」「復興公営住宅に入れたとしても周囲との交流がなくなる」―孤立への不安は多くの人に共通する。
 新たなコミュニティーづくりに注目が集まる。ある仮設住宅は、退去後に「シェアハウス」での共同生活を模索している。市は「公営住宅として想定していない形態」と支援に否定的だが、復興には規定や前例にとらわれない柔軟な対応が求められる。行政と住民が知恵を出し合い、行き場がなく孤立する人をなくす取り組みを急ぐべきだ。
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Appellate court upholds water rights diversion for planned nuclear power plant via Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Court of Appeals said a district court judge did not err in upholding the state engineer’s decision to grant a diversion of 53,600 acre-feet of water from the Green River for a planned nuclear power plant.

In the ruling issued Thursday, the appellate court said HEAL Utah had failed to prove its case that the diversion of water rights was unlawful by being contrary to the public good, unsustainable or that the project wasn’t feasible.

[…]
The court pointed out that claims the Green River is part of a system that is already over-appropriated are not true in the sense that Utah has only developed about a million acre-feet of a 1.4 million acre-feet per year allocation under the Colorado River Compact.

Additionally, the court said there are 574,000 acre-feet of approved but undeveloped water rights in the system, including the water owned by the conservancy districts but destined for use at the nuclear power plant.

[…]
The court also rejected the reasoning that the project is speculative or not feasible, noting that Utah is the third fastest growing state in the United States and will require an additional 1,440 megawatts of power by the year 2025. Blue Castle’s project would produce 3,000 megawatts of power.

Matt Pacenza, executive director of HEAL Utah, said his group and other challengers to Jones’ decision are disappointed in the ruling and have not yet decided if they will appeal.

[…]

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AG files emergency action to force end to Hanford safety ‘crisis’ via K5

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Wednesday filed an emergency legal motion to force improvements in worker safety at the Hanford Site, the 586-square-mile former plutonium production facility.

Ferguson called the action “as serious as it gets.”

The motion for injunctive relief asks a federal judge intervene in the operations at the site to protect workers from continued exposure to toxic chemical vapors. It names as defendants the U.S. Department of Energy and Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS), the private company that manages the nuclear waste storage tanks at Hanford.

In legal proceedings, an injunction is considered an extraordinary remedy, reserved only for the most extreme situations.

“At Hanford there’s a culture of indifference by the federal government and their contractors. Frankly, we’re not going to put up with it anymore,” said Ferguson. “So right now we’re trying to get before the judge immediately asking for immediate steps required from the federal government to protect workers. That’s the bottom line.”

[…]

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