Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

When your beverage of choice is tritium

Welcome to France

By Linda Pentz Gunter | Beyond Nuclear | August 11, 2019

The headline — Police probe opened into rumours of unsafe tap water in Paris — raised hopes that nuclear operators might finally be held accountable for what appears to be routine radioactive contamination of drinking water in France.

News stories had circulated after a French radiological testing laboratory published findings on June 17, 2019, that more than six million French residents were drinking water contaminated with tritium released by the country’s nuclear power plants and other nuclear installations.

The laboratory — L’association pour le contrôle de la radioactivité dans l’Ouest or ACRO — raised the alarm because, it said, the presence of tritium implied there could be other radioactive isotopes in the water as well. None of the tritium levels they measured on this occasion, exceeded those French health authorities have established as “safe”, but research in the past has found higher levels, especially in groundwater, rivers and streams.

Nuclear Power Plant

The Tricastin nuclear site — source of multiple leaks and radioactive releases over decades. (Creative Commons/xklima)

That “acceptable” level is 100 Becquerels per liter, not quite as arbitrary as the shocking 10,000 Bq/L level set by the World Health Organization, in thrall to the nuclear power-promoting International Atomic Energy Agency through a 1959 agreement.

The cities affected included Paris and its suburbs, and other large population areas in the Loire and Vienne regions of France such Orléans, Tours and Nantes.

Unsurprisingly, the story spread like wildfire, especially across social media, causing alarm among residents in the communities cited — 268 in all.

But the police investigation in Paris was not of EDF, the country’s chief nuclear facility operator. It was to root out fear-mongering purveyors of “fake news” among the citizenry who, according to the French state, were unnecessarily spreading panic among the populace by claiming drinking water containing tritium is unsafe.

It is.

The independent radiological testing lab CRIIRAD (Commission for Independent Research and Information on Radioactivity) denounced what it called the “trivialization of tritium contamination” and warned French citizens not to be lulled by the 100 Bq/L levels set by the authorities and especially not by the WHO’s 10,000 Bq/L standard. CRIIRAD said the level for tritium in drinking water should be set between 10 and 30 Bq/L.

For context, in our report, Leak First, Fix Later, we noted that the “naturally occurring” levels of tritium found in surface and groundwater is, at its highest, 1 Bq/l. Therefore, tritium is almost non-existent in water in nature.

To CRIIRAD, it is therefore all the more outrageous that that the levels for radiological contamination in France are set at “more than 100 times higher than the maximum allowed for chemical carcinogens.”

Tritium is radioactive hydrogen and is therefore assimilated by all living things as water. It has a half life of 12.3 years. It is produced in huge quantities in nuclear reactor cores, then released into the environment as a gas or in liquid discharges. Tritium cannot be filtered out of water and tritium released into the air can return in rainfall. All nuclear power plants release tritium, and nuclear reprocessing facilities — such as the one at La Hague on the French north coast — release even larger amounts.

These releases, including into rivers, streams and the sea, are regulated by authorities but, as CRIIRAD points out, at levels that are not so much safe as unavoidable, effectively granting nuclear installations “permission to pollute.”

“The liquid and atmospheric releases of tritium cause contamination of the air, water, the aquatic and terrestrial environment and the food chain,” wrote CRIIRAD in a statement put out after the tritiated drinking water news broke.

When rumors began to fly that drinking tap water had been banned, authorities quickly stepped in to “reassure” people that the levels of tritium in the water — already not actually safe according to CRIIRAD — were of no concern.

The criminality of nuclear plants across France releasing huge amounts of tritium into the environment was quickly turned on its head. Instead, in a sinister but not entirely unpredictable turn of events, given that France is a nuclear state, it would be ordinary citizens who would be committing a “crime” if they were found to be “publicizing, spreading and reproducing false information intended to cause public disorder,” according to an AFP article.

In reality, there was genuine cause for concern. ACRO had found levels of tritium in drinking water at 30 Bq/L on five occasions, then at 55 Bq/L and finally at 310 Bq/L in the Loire river.

Water makes milk Graham Knott CC

Picture entitled “Water makes milk.” In France, is that milk radioactively contaminated? (Photo: Graham Knott/Creative Commons)

But drinking tritiated water is not the end of the story — or the danger.  Even though tritiated water may pass through the human body in about 10 days, about 10% of it binds organically inside the body. Organically bound tritium remains in the body for far longer than free tritium. According to CRIIRAD, this means that beta radiation from tritium can endure inside the body for years, causing chromosomal mutations, cancers and genetic mutations.

Tritium also binds organically to organisms in the environment such as aquatic plants present in rivers and streams into which nuclear facilities release tritiated water, or crops irrigated using water contaminated with tritium. These are in turn ingested by animals and humans — setting in motion tritium’s journey up the food chain.

The CRIIRAD statement notes the systematic downplaying of these risks by the nuclear safety regulator and other French governmental authorities.

This was never more apparent than during a law suit brought by CRIIRAD, the Sortir du nucléaire network, Stop Nucléaire 26-07 and FRAPNA Drôme in 2013 after the huge multi-unit Tricastin nuclear site leaked tritium into the groundwater at levels as high as 700 Bq/L.

EDF, Tricastin’s operator, claimed then that “tritium is a completely harmless radioactive isotope.”

Of course there is no such thing as a “safe dose.” Even the august and certainly not anti-nuclear National Academy of Sciences agrees. And as CRIIRAD points out, every dose increases the risk. “Since all living matter is made up of hydrogen atoms, a part of any tritium released will eventually be found in the cells of living organisms, including in the DNA, creating long-term internal irradiation that increases cancer risks (among others),” said the lab.

What of course got forgotten in all the dismissal and downplay by authorities — and in the attempts to criminalize those who sounded the alarm — is that some members of the population are more vulnerable than others when it comes to radiation exposure.

EURATOM Watch_Bildelement-398x400

There is an Europe-wide movement to abolish the Euratom Treaty. (Photo: PLAGE)

Even while a daily dose of tritiated drinking water is not good for anyone, it is far more dangerous for babies and young children and for women, especially pregnant women. But those already bad standards don’t take the most vulnerable into account.

So how did the 100 BQ/L limit come about? It is no surprise to learn that it was the influence of Euratom (no conflict there) that boosted it that high.

After CRIIRAD had pushed for a 10 Bq/L limit before the European Parliament in 2012-2013, that body settled on a 20 Bq/L limit. But its decision was swept aside after “experts” at Euratom insisted on the 100 Bq/L limit. That, among other issues, is what spurred a Europe-wide movement to abolish the Euratom Treaty.

Clearly, what should have happened in France is an investigation into the cause and source of the tritium in drinking water. Instead, there was a propaganda campaign to neutralize concern and vilify those who sounded the alarm on safety. In Nuclear France, it’s never plus ça change, but always la même chose.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Environmentalism | , | 1 Comment

Greenland’s ‘Record Temperature’ denied – the data was wrong

Greenland’s all-time record temperature wasn’t a record at all, and it never got above freezing there.

By Anthony Watts | Watts Up With That? | August 12, 2019

First, the wailing from news media:

NYT : https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/02/climate/european-heatwave-climate-change.html

WAPO : https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2016/06/10/greenland-witnessed-its-highest-june-temperature-ever-recorded-on-thursday/

Climate Progress : https://thinkprogress.org/greenland-hits-record-75-f-sets-melt-record-as-globe-aims-at-hottest-year-e34e534e533e/

Polar Portal : http://polarportal.dk/en/news/news/record-high-temperature-for-june-in-greenland/


Now from the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), via the news website The Local, the cooler reality:

Danish climate body wrongly reported Greenland heat record

The Danish Meteorological Institute, which has a key role in monitoring Greenland’s climate, last week reported a shocking August temperature of between 2.7C and 4.7C at the Summit weather station, which is located 3,202m above sea level at the the centre of the Greenland ice sheet, generating a spate of global headlines.

But on Wednesday it posted a tweet saying that a closer look had shown that monitoring equipment had been giving erroneous results.

“Was there record-level warmth on the inland ice on Friday?” it said. “No! A quality check has confirmed our suspicion that the measurement was too high.”

By combining measurements with observations from other weather stations, the DMI has now estimated that the temperature was closer to -2C.

The record temperature ever recorded at Summit is 2.2C, which was reached in both 2012 and 2017. But -2C is still unusual at the station.

Shoot out the headlines first, ask questions later.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | 1 Comment

UK Government Says Considering Empowering Media Watchdog With Censoring Social Media Content

Sputnik -August 12, 2019

The UK government is considering plans to empower media watchdog Ofcom with regulating content on social media, a spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said on Monday.

“The directive proposed a number of appropriate measures to protect minors and the general public from harmful content. The government has proposed that Ofcom is given interim powers to regulate video-sharing platform services and ensure they comply with minimum standards set out in the AVMSD (Audiovisual Media Services Directive) by the transposition deadline – 19 September 2020. We are currently consulting on this approach”, the DCMS spokesperson said, as quoted by the Sky News broadcaster.

The AVMSD is an EU guideline aimed at coordination of national laws for online media content.

However, after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the bloc, which is now due to happen in less than three months, London may adopt its own legislation with a scope wider that the AVMSD, as well as create a new media watchdog to replace Ofcom, the spokesperson added.

In July, Ofcom fined RT 200,000 pounds for “serious failures to comply with our broadcasting rules”, claiming it did not preserve “due impartiality” in seven shows broadcast between March and April 2018.

The Russian Foreign Ministry reacted on the matter, calling Ofcom’s decision to penalise the RT broadcaster an “act of direct censorship”, adding it was part of a wider anti-Russian campaign.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Jeffrey Epstein Dies Along With The Secrets He Held

Fault Lines Radio | August 12, 2019

August 12, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Video | | 3 Comments

Sneering at “Conspiracy Theories” is a Lazy Substitute for Seeking the Truth

By Thomas L. Knapp – Garrison Center – August 12, 2019

On the morning of August 10, a wealthy sex crimes defendant  was reportedly found dead in his cell at New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center.

“New York City’s chief medical examiner,” the New York Times reported on August 11, “is confident Jeffrey Epstein died by hanging himself in the jail cell where he was being held without bail on sex-trafficking charges, but is awaiting more information before releasing her determination …”

That same day, the Times published an op-ed by Charlie Warzel complaining that “[e]ven on an internet bursting at the seams with conspiracy theories and hyperpartisanship, Saturday marked a new chapter in our post-truth, ‘choose your own reality’ crisis story.”

After three years of continuously beating the drum for its own  now-discredited conspiracy theory —  that the President of the United States conspired with Vladimir Putin’s regime to rig the 2016 presidential election — the Times doesn’t have much standing to whine about, or sneer at, “conspiracy theories and hyperpartisanship.”

Is Jeffrey Epstein really dead? If so, did he kill himself or was he murdered? If he was murdered, whodunit and why?

Those are legitimate questions. Calling everyone who asks them, or proposes possible answers to them, a “conspiracy theorist” isn’t an argument, it’s intellectual laziness.

Yes, some theories fit the available evidence better than others. And yes, some theories just sound crazy. If someone says a UFO beamed Epstein up, or that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump posed as corrections officers and personally strangled him, I suggest setting those claims aside absent very strong evidence.

But there are plenty of good  reasons to question the “official account.”

Yes, prisoners have committed suicide at federal jails and prisons. But prisoners have also escaped from, and been killed at, such facilities. In fact, notorious Boston gangster Whitey Bulger was murdered in a federal prison just last year.

Given Epstein’s wealth and power, the wealth and power of persons accused of serious crimes in recently unsealed court documents, the claim of one of his prosecutors that Epstein “belonged to” the US intelligence community, the well-established inability of the federal government to secure its facilities or prevent criminal activity inside those facilities (including the corruption of its own personnel), the equally well-established unreliability of claims made by government agencies and officials in general, and the already flowing stream of admissions that the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s procedures weren’t followed where Jeffrey Epstein was concerned, the question is not why “conspiracy theories” are circulating — it’s why on earth they WOULDN’T be.

No, I’m not saying that Epstein is alive and living it up in “witness protection,” or that he was murdered by a hit team on behalf of one of his “Lolita Express” cronies. I just don’t know. Neither, probably, do you. Nor do those screaming “conspiracy theory!” at every musing contrary to the suicide theory.

Maybe we’ll find out the truth someday. Maybe we won’t. Pretending we already have, and shouting down those who suggest we haven’t, isn’t a method of seeking knowledge. It’s a method of avoiding knowledge.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org).

August 12, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

US Nuclear Weapons Should Be Out of Germany Along With Its Troops, German Lawmaker Says

By Polina Strelnikova – Sputnik – 12.08.2019

US Ambassador Richard Grenell’s renewed criticism of Berlin’s failure to spend more on defence and praising an idea to withdraw American troops from Germany has prompted a backlash in one of Washington’s key allies in Europe. The head of the left-wing party Die Linke’s parliamentary group has welcomed this idea.

Member of the German Parliament Bundestag Dietmar Bartsch has told the German editorial network RND that the German government should “absolutely accept” US Ambassador Richard Grenell’s offer and not only discuss a plan to pull out US troops from Germany but also try to get rid of Washington’s nuclear weapons in the country.

“The US ambassador is right: US taxpayers should not have to pay for US troops in Germany. The US taxpayers also do not have to pay for deploying nuclear weapons in Germany. If the Americans pull their soldiers out, they should take their nuclear weapons with them”, he demanded.

He insisted that they should take them back home and not to Poland, noting that the latter scenario “would be another dramatic escalation in relations with Russia, which does not coincide with European and German interests”.

However, not everyone on the left wing of the German political spectrum seemed to like the idea. German MP Carsten Schneider, who represents the Social Democrats, called Grenell’s statements, which echoed an earlier remark by US Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher, “completely inappropriate for allies”. He stated that Germany cannot be blackmailed, and that the “general’s pose wears off”.

The criticism was prompted by Grenell’s recent interview with the German news agency DPA, in which he stated that it was “insulting to expect that the US taxpayer pays for more than 50,000 Americans in Germany, but the Germans use their trade surplus for domestic purposes” and backed Donald Trump’s idea to relocate troops from Germany to Poland.

Mosbacher earlier noted that Poland meets its payment obligation of 2% of GDP, as agreed upon within NATO, while Germany does not do that, so it would be better if American troops go to Poland.

Although Germany announced plans to increase military spending up to 1.35% in 2019 and hopes to boost the number up to 1.5% by 2023, it still falls short of planning to reach the 2% goal, set by NATO members in 2014.

Trump has persistently criticised Germany’s reluctance to comply with this voluntary goal since having taken office. He also previously suggested that a 2,000-strong increase to American forces stationed in Poland should be achieved at the expense of those based in Germany.

Meanwhile, US warheads deployed in Germany have been a point of heated debates within the country with many, including politicians from coalition junior partner, the SPD, demanding that US nuclear weapons be removed from its territory.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Minister says Epstein’s French connections must be probed despite prison death

RT | August 12, 2019

Sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s connections in France need to be investigated by the nation’s law enforcement, the French minister for gender equality said. Epstein died in US custody last week by alleged suicide.

The US investigation into Epstein’s alleged sexual abuses of minors was undermined by the disgraced financier’s death in a US jail. But it uncovered enough evidence involving France that merit a national investigation, Gender Equality Minister Marlène Schiappa said in a statement on Monday. Such a probe would be “fundamental for the victims” and will also help prevent sexual predation in the future, she argued.

Epstein died in what the authorities called an apparent hanging suicide while being held in custody at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York. He was charged with sexual exploitation of minors as young as 14.

The death may be a relief for many powerful people around the world, who allegedly partook in Epstein’s sexual predation dating back to at least 2002. Previously he was convicted for paying for sex with an underage girl and given an 18-month prison sentence.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | Corruption | , | 1 Comment

Iraq rejects Israel’s role in Persian Gulf mission, warns of West’s presence

Press TV – August 12, 2019

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali al-Hakim has expressed his country’s opposition to the Israeli regime’s possible involvement in a US-led mission in the Persian Gulf, warning that the presence of foreign forces, including Western countries, in the strategic water body will be fueling tensions.

“Iraq rejects the participation of Zionist forces in any military force to secure the passage of ships in the [Persian] Gulf. The [Persian] Gulf littoral states can together secure the transit of ships,” Hakim wrote in a post published on his official Twitter page on Monday.

“Iraq is seeking to reduce tension in our region through peaceful negotiations,” he said, warning that “the presence of Western forces in the region will increase tension.”

The remarks came a day after Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) warned that any Israeli presence in the Persian Gulf may result in a war in the region, and that the responsibility for the consequences of such illegal presence lies with the United States and the United Kingdom.

“The United States and the United Kingdom must assume responsibility for the Zionist regime’s illegal presence in the Persian Gulf waters,” IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri told Lebanon-based Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network on Sunday.

“Any presence of the Zionist regime in the Persian Gulf waters is illegal, as it may result in war and confrontation in the region,” the top commander warned.

Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz said on August 7 that the regime would be part of the US-led coalition to “protect the security of the Persian Gulf.”

Katz claimed that Israel was determined to stop “Iranian entrenchment” in the Middle East region and strengthen Tel Aviv’s relationship with the Persian Gulf countries, Israeli news website Ynet reported.

On August 9, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Moussavi highlighted that the Islamic Republic regards possible Israeli presence in a US-led coalition in the Persian Gulf as a clear threat to its national security, and reserves the right to counter it.

“Within the framework of the country’s deterrence and defensive policy, the Islamic Republic of Iran reserves the right to counter this threat and defend its territory,” Moussavi noted.

“The US regime and the illegitimate Zionist regime are responsible for all the consequences of this dangerous move,” the spokesman added.

US Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on July 9 that the US was proceeding with plans to assemble the coalition purportedly aimed at ensuring freedom of navigation in waters off Iran and Yemen.

“We’re engaging now with a number of countries to see if we can put together a coalition that would ensure freedom of navigation both in the Straits of Hormuz and the Bab el-Mandeb,” Dunford said.

“And so I think probably over the next couple of weeks we’ll identify which nations have the political will to support that initiative and then we’ll work directly with the militaries to identify the specific capabilities that’ll support that,” he added.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Argentina’s Alberto Fernandez & Cristina Kirchner crush President Macri in ‘preliminary elections’

Presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez and his running mate former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner © Reuters / Agustin Marcarian
RT | August 12, 2019

Argentinian President Mauricio Macri has conceded defeat in the primary elections after suffering a massive loss to the center-left nominee Alberto Fernandez and his running mate, former president Cristina Kirchner.

“We’ve suffered a bad election,” right-wing Macri said on Sunday night, but vowed to “redouble” his efforts to secure the ‘real’ elections in October.

The nationwide primary election, introduced in Argentina in 2011, is held simultaneously for all parties and serves as a good indication of how the presidential race would swing when people cast their vote in the general election on October 27. The Sunday vote landed the incumbent president with 32.36 percent of support, while Fernandez obtained 47.22 percent. Center-right Roberto Lavagna came in third with 8.39 percent.

Fernandez, who served as the chief of the Cabinet of Ministers during Nestor Kirchner’s presidency, vowed to create a “new” Argentina. “Argentinians realized we are the change, not them,” Fernandez said during his victory speech in Buenos Aires, promising “to end this time of lies and give a new horizon.”

Fernandez’s running mate, former head of state Cristina Kirchner, feels optimistic about their chances of winning the general election and their ability to improve the socioeconomic situation in Argentina.

“We know of the difficult moment that the country is going through, of millions of Argentines who have lost their jobs, we have talked with so many, we know what it is. This gives us the responsibility that we have to reach everyone to give them absolute peace of mind,” she said.

Argentina’s economy continues to sink, with inflation rising to 55 percent and poverty levels increasing to 32 percent, from around 26 percent the previous year. The massive $57 billion deal Macri secured last year with the International Monetary Fund has so far failed to improve the situation.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment