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US atomic bomb and missile tests crowded them onto Ebeye. Now their former Marshall Islands paradise is “the Slum of the Pacific.”

Photo by Vlad Sokhin shows North Camp, one of the most populated areas on Ebeye. Ebeye is the second most densely populated city in the world, home to at least 15,000.
By Vlad Sokhin | Beyond Nuclear International | November 25, 2018

The tiny island of Ebeye in Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, has a total area of 0.36 square kilometres and is home to over 15,000 people, most of whom were moved there from nearby islands because of a US Army missile range-testing program that was launched in the late 1940s. Overcrowding, poverty, outbreaks of infectious diseases and a high level of unemployment has led some to refer to Ebeye as the ‘ghetto of the Pacific’. Until the 1940s, the island’s population was negligible. During the Second World War, Japan occupied the Marshall Islands and moved some 1,000 settlers there and when the US captured the islands in 1944, a new naval base and the movement of people from other parts of the Atoll rapidly augmented Ebeye’s population.

In preparation for ‘Operation Crossroads’, an extensive missile testing programme that would eventually comprise 67 blasts, the US military decided to move all non-US personnel from around the Kwajalein Atoll onto Ebeye, which lies around five kilometres north of Kwajalein Island, the largest in the Atoll. On 1 March 1954, under the code name of ‘Castle Bravo’, the US military detonated a dry fuel hydrogen bomb on Bikini Atoll, in the north of the island chain, which was to be the most powerful nuclear device ever exploded by the United States. Though the Bikini Islanders had been persuaded to relocate to a neighbouring island in 1946, where they had suffered shortages and malnutrition, members of other nearby communities on Rongelap island were not evacuated until 3 days after the blast, causing many to suffer the effects of radiation sickness and birth defects.

Keen to return to their ancestral lands, Bikini islanders were tentatively allowed to come back to their homes three years after ‘Castle Bravo’ but had to be moved again after many developed leukaemia and thyroid tumours.

Over the coming decades, some islanders continued to return and try to reestablish their old communities but periodic tests of the soil, water and plant life on Bikini islands consistently suggested that the place had been so polluted by the nuclear fallout of ‘Castle Bravo’ and other tests that it was unsafe to live on the Atoll any longer. Many Bikini Islanders ended up on Ebeye, now the most densely populated of the Marshall islands, with the help of Greenpeace which in 1985 organised a mass evacuation from areas affected by fallout.

A child stands at the window opening in one of the many derelict houses on the island.

As the US nuclear testing programme developed and grew in the 1950s, most of the people living around the Kwajalein Atoll, where various US military installations that assist the nuclear test sites are based, were relocated from their homes and into a planned settlement on Ebeye. After they were joined by the ‘nuclear migrants’ from Bikini and other northern atolls, the poorly constructed settlements on Ebeye became increasingly crowded, leading to a polio outbreak in 1963, a measles outbreak in 1978 and regular occurrences of cholera, tuberculosis and other diseases up to the present day. The most overcrowded settlement of Northern Camp is a large shanty town without water supply or sewage system. Since much of the population is dependent on the service industry at US installations, unemployment is a major problem.

According to George Junior, a health worker at Ebeye’s hospital, ongoing missile testing around Kwajalein Atoll continues to impact on the health of local people. ‘When the Americans test their missiles and then the rain comes, the entire population of Ebeye gets sick. We have diarrhoea, flu and conjunctivitis. Such symptoms continue for 10 to 15 days and then everyone gets better until the next tests’ he says. And while US personnel enjoy excellent health care in places like Kwajalein Hospital, the majority of Ebeye residents who need emergency care are often referred to hospitals in Majuro, the administrative capital of the Marshall Islands, or to Manila or Hawaii since they do not have clearance to enter military installations.

Vlad Sokhin (Russia/Portugal) is a documentary photographer, videographer and multimedia producer. He covers social, cultural, environmental, health and human rights issues around the world, including post-conflict and natural disaster zones.

January 13, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

U.S. Military World’s Largest Polluter – Hundreds Of Bases Gravely Contaminated

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press News | May 15, 2017

Last week, mainstream media outlets gave minimal attention to the news that the U.S. Naval station in Virginia Beach had spilled an estimated 94,000 gallons of jet fuel into a nearby waterway, less than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean. While the incident was by no means as catastrophic as some other pipeline spills, it underscores an important yet little-known fact – that the U.S. Department of Defense is both the nation’s and the world’s, largest polluter.

Producing more hazardous waste than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined, the U.S. Department of Defense has left its toxic legacy throughout the world in the form of depleted uranium, oil, jet fuel, pesticides, defoliants like Agent Orange and lead, among others.

In 2014, the former head of the Pentagon’s environmental program told Newsweek that her office has to contend with 39,000 contaminated areas spread across 19 million acres just in the U.S. alone.

U.S. military bases, both domestic and foreign, consistently rank among some of the most polluted places in the world, as perchlorate and other components of jet and rocket fuel contaminate sources of drinking water, aquifers, and soil. Hundreds of military bases can be found on the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of Superfund sites, which qualify for clean-up grants from the government.

Almost 900 of the nearly 1,200 Superfund sites in the U.S. are abandoned military facilities or sites that otherwise support military needs, not counting the military bases themselves.

“Almost every military site in this country is seriously contaminated,” John D. Dingell, a retired Michigan congressman and war veteran, told Newsweek in 2014. Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina is one such base. Lejeune’s contamination became widespread and even deadly after its groundwater was polluted with a sizable amount of carcinogens from 1953 to 1987.

However, it was not until this February that the government allowed those exposed to chemicals at Lejeune to make official compensation claims. Numerous bases abroad have also contaminated local drinking water supplies, most famously the Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa.

In addition, the U.S., which has conducted more nuclear weapons tests than all other nations combined, is also responsible for the massive amount of radiation that continues to contaminate many islands in the Pacific Ocean. The Marshall Islands, where the U.S. dropped more than sixty nuclear weapons between 1946 and 1958, are a particularly notable example. Inhabitants of the Marshall Islands and nearby Guam continue to experience an exceedingly high rate of cancer.

The American Southwest was also the site of numerous nuclear weapons tests that contaminated large swaths of land. Navajo Indian reservations have been polluted by long-abandoned uranium mines where nuclear material was obtained by U.S. military contractors.

One of the most recent testaments to the U.S. military’s horrendous environmental record is Iraq. U.S. military action there has resulted in the desertification of 90 percent of Iraqi territory, crippling the country’s agricultural industry and forcing it to import more than 80 percent of its food. The U.S.’ use of depleted uranium in Iraq during the Gulf War also caused a massive environmental burden for Iraqis. In addition, the U.S. military’s policy of using open-air burn pits to dispose of waste from the 2003 invasion has caused a surge in cancer among U.S. servicemen and Iraqi civilians alike.

While the U.S. military’s past environmental record suggests that its current policies are not sustainable, this has by no means dissuaded the U.S. military from openly planning future contamination of the environment through misguided waste disposal efforts. Last November, the U.S. Navy announced its plan to release 20,000 tons of environmental “stressors,” including heavy metals and explosives, into the coastal waters of the U.S. Pacific Northwest over the course of this year.

The plan, laid out in the Navy’s Northwest Training and Testing Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), fails to mention that these “stressors” are described by the EPA as known hazards, many of which are highly toxic at both acute and chronic levels.

The 20,000 tons of “stressors” mentioned in the EIS do not account for the additional 4.7 to 14 tons of “metals with potential toxicity” that the Navy plans to release annually, from now on, into inland waters along the Puget Sound in Washington state.

In response to concerns about these plans, a Navy spokeswoman said that heavy metals and even depleted uranium are no more dangerous than any other metal, a statement that represents a clear rejection of scientific fact. It seems that the very U.S. military operations meant to “keep Americans safe” come at a higher cost than most people realize – a cost that will be felt for generations to come both within the United States and abroad.

January 6, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

Underwater VIDEO Reveals HUGE Damage to ‘Torn Apart’ Norwegian Frigate

Sputnik – December 17, 2018

The inexplicable collision involving the frigate KNM Helge Ingstad returning from NATO naval drills has set the Norwegian Navy back billions of kronor, while the Maltese-flagged and Greek-owned oil tanker is expected to return to service by the end of December.

Norway’s Defence Ministry has released underwater footage showing, for the first time, the extent of the damage to its frigate KNM Helge Ingstad, which sank after colliding with an oil tanker erroneously taken for an immobile object.

The footage, uploaded to Dropbox due to temporary website failures, was taken by a marine diving unit (MDK) normally used for planting and disarming underwater mines, ammunition and bombs. Its members have been diving around the mostly sunken wreckage of the frigate for weeks, removing ammunition, weapons and other hazardous material.

Previously, the damage to the hull of the frigate was believed to be a long gash in the starboard side. The footage taken from the depth of the Hjelte Fjord, where the vessel lies half-submerged, indicated that the damage is much worse than thought. The gash was estimated at around 45 metres long and eight metres high. By contrast, the tanker only suffered minor damage and is expected to become operative again by the end of December.

The video shows cabins and rooms smashed, flooring torn up and ventilation fans hanging from what’s left of ceilings. The footage also shows what used to be the vessel’s accommodation area, sleeping quarters, machine rooms and a generator room.

“It’s really something to see one of our frigates lying under water”, Commander Bengt Berdal, the leader of MDK, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK. “When we see the hull torn apart in this way, you can only imagine what it was like for those on board”.

Berdal called it “sheer luck” that all 137 people on board the frigate survived the collision, with only a few sustaining minor injuries before successfully being evacuated in the early hours of 8 November.

Meanwhile, Rolf Ole Eriksen, former accident preparedness official for oil company Norske Shell and now a maritime security consultant, has penned a searing commentary in the newspaper Aftenposten. In Eriksen’s own words, “only a miracle averted a gigantic catastrophe that had potential for large loss of life, fire, explosions and extensive pollution”. The frigate was returning to its home port at Haakonsvern in Bergen after participating in NATO’s huge drill Trident Juncture around Trondheim and was carrying weapons, ammunition, missiles and helicopter oil in addition to its fuel.

Eriksen was highly critical of the preliminary report released by Norway’s accident investigation commission, venturing that the investigators were downplaying the severity of the collision between a fixture of the Norwegian Navy and fully loaded oil tanker, and clouding the responsibility. According to Eriksen, the responsibility lies with the crew on the bridge of the KNM Helge Ingstad, which the report was “under-communicating”, he claimed. The frigate was sailing at a high speed of 17-18 knots, with its crew oblivious of their own whereabouts or the appearance of the tanker, which was sailing out of the Sture terminal in Øygarden northwest of Bergen.

“With its top modern radar and navigational equipment on board, the frigate was capable of following every movement of all vessels in the area”, Eriksen wrote.

A more detailed and conclusive report may take months to be released. Meanwhile, the frigate lies mostly underwater. Around 350 people are now working every day in connection with the salvage of the frigate.

Commander Berdal calls the divers’ work “challenging” and dependent on good weather. So far, the salvaging mission has been delayed several times by storms. The vessel won’t be raised until 25 December at the earliest. The collision has cost the Norwegian Navy billions of kronor and resulted in the nation’s maritime defence being greatly reduced.

READ MORE:

Ex-Norwegian Official Slams Sunken Frigate Probe as ‘Smokescreen’ Hiding Facts

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Militarism | , | Leave a comment

US Gov’t Scolded for Lack of Action Under Plutonium Disposal Deal with Russia

Sputnik – December 1, 2018

Moscow and Washington agreed in 2000 to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium by incorporating it into fuel for nuclear reactors. However, the Department of Energy has failed so far to build a costly nuclear facility and instead proposed burying their plutonium underground – something that scientists say could affect human health and the environment.

American academicians have criticised the government for insufficient efforts to dispose of surplus plutonium under a 2000 US-Russia agreement.

Congress asked the National Academies to assess the viability of the Department of Energy’s plan for disposing of 34 metric tons of surplus plutonium in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in southeast New Mexico.

WIPP has “insufficient capacity” to get rid of plutonium that is no longer required for defence purposes, which is “one of several barriers to implementation” of the disposal plan, the Academies concluded in a Consensus Study Report.

According to the document, the dilute-and-dispose process proposed by the Energy Department runs counter to the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PMDA), a deal that the United States and Russia signed in 2000 to dispose of 34 tons of weapons-capable plutonium each.

The 2000 agreement took effect after being ratified by Russia in 2011. It stipulated that both Russia and the United States would build special facilities to turn surplus plutonium into mixed oxide (MOX) fuel for nuclear reactors.

Moscow has met its part of the commitments; however, the Savannah River Site (SRS) MOX project has been under construction in South Carolina since 2007 and has not been completed yet. The study says that “substantial schedule delays and cost overruns” caused the government to scrap the project, which would adopt the PMDA-approved method.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the Energy Department’s agency in charge of the US nuclear warhead stockpile, proposed what it called a cheaper way to dispose of plutonium. Instead of creating MOX oil, the office said, the SRS could be used to dilute the plutonium and bury it deep underground.

A federal judge ruled against the proposed shutdown of the SRS construction in June, arguing that Congress has not approved the dilute-and-dispose method to replace MOX. The judge argued that the NNSA’s proposal would turn South Caroline into the nation’s dumping ground for plutonium and produce an adverse environmental effect.

Academicians also insist that this approach has so far proven to be insufficient. “So far, the dilute and dispose process has been demonstrated at a small scale by DOE’s Office of Environmental Management as it begins to process 6 metric tons of surplus plutonium, a quantity separate from the 34 metric tons.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin was not satisfied with the US plans either. He ordered to suspend the implementation of the bilateral agreement in October 2016, citing “a threat to strategic stability” emanating from the US and its inability to deliver on its obligations.

Putin’s move came ahead of the US presidential vote, bringing the nuclear issue back to the agenda. “Our nuclear program has fallen way behind, and they [Russians] have gone wild with their nuclear program. Not good. Our government shouldn’t have allowed that to happen. Russia is new in terms of nuclear. We are old. We’re tired. We’re exhausted in terms of nuclear. A very bad thing,” then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said during a debate with Hillary Clinton, who brought the deal into force as Secretary of State together with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in 2011.

READ MORE:

Plutonium Stolen From Texas Last Year Eludes US Authorities

December 1, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power | , , , | 1 Comment

Woolsey Fire started at Santa Susana Field Lab — where “radioactive materials released were never accurately measured”

By John Laforge | CounterPunch | November 30, 2018

In my Nov. 16 column, I reported on potential radiation risks posed by California’s Woolsey wildfire having burned over parts or all of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory—south of Simi Valley, Calif., 30 miles outside Los Angeles—site of at least four partial or total nuclear reactor meltdowns.

The field laboratory operated 10 experimental reactors and conducted rocket engine tests. In his 2014 book Atomic Accidents, researcher James Mahaffey writes, “The cores in four experimental reactors on site … melted.” Reactor core melts always result in the release of large amounts of radioactive gases and particles. Clean up of the deeply contaminated site has not been conducted in spite of a 2010 agreement.

Los Angeles’s KABC-7 TV reported Nov. 13 that the Santa Susana lab site “appears to be the origin of the Woolsey Fire” which has torched over 96,000 acres. Southern Calif. Public Radio said, “According to Cal Fire, the Woolsey Fire started on the afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 8 … on the Santa Susana site.”

In my column I noted that Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy & Environmental Research, estimated that the partial meltdown of the lab’s Sodium Reactor Experiment (SRE) in 1957, caused “the third largest release of iodine-131 in the history of nuclear power,” according to Gar Smith in his 2012 book Nuclear Roulette. But Makhijani was speaking in 2006, so now of course the SRE meltdown counts as the fourth largest radio-iodine release—after the triple meltdowns at Fukushima in Japan in 2011, Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986, and Windscale in England in 1957.

Santa Susana’s operators caused the destruction of the liquid sodium-cooled SRE on July 12, 1959—“showering the downwind hills and meadows of the 2,850-acre site with a fog of chromium and radioactive isotopes, including iodine-131,” according to Smith in Roulette. It was these hills and meadows that were burned so completely by the Woolsey wildfire.

“It [the fog of isotopes] likely spread to nearby communities such as Simi Valley, Chatsworth and Canoga Park,” according to Southern Calif. Public Radio’s Elina Shatkin (“What Happened at the Santa Susana Nuclear Site During the Woolsey Fire?” Nov. 13.) Makhijani calculated that fallout from the meltdown contained “80 to 100 times the amount of iodine-131 released at Three Mile Island” [in Harrisburg, Penn., in 1979], Smith reports in Roulette. Canoga Park Senior High School is one of four Red Cross evacuation centers for the Woolsey Fire.

During the two weeks after the partial meltdown of the SRE, workers tried to repair it. “When they couldn’t, they were ordered to open the reactor’s large door, releasing radiation into the air,” Shatkin reported for public radio.

Radioactive materials released by the meltdown were never accurately measured in part because monitors inside the SRE went off scale. Yet the melting of fuel didn’t cause the only releases of radiation from SRE—just the single largest. In his 2012 book Mad Science, Joe Mangano writes, “Every day, radioactive gases from holding tanks in the reactor building were released into the air—often at night … sometimes twice a day.” In Atomic Accidents, Mahaffey describes the same practice writing, “The fission gases were piped off and compressed into holding tanks for controlled release into the environment…”

After the July meltdown was halted, Atomics International, which ran the SRE, concocted a report for the Atomic Energy Commission on Aug. 29, 1957. The report falsely declared: “No release of radioactive materials to the plant or its environs occurred and operating personnel were not exposed to harmful conditions.”

However, conditions inside the reactor building were extremely dangerous for workers, and radiation levels are estimated to have reached between 10,000 and one million times greater than normal. According to one worker, staff radiation measuring badges were taken away. John Pace, a young trainee at the lab, “Before July 13, we wore film badges, and after then, at some point they [Atomics International] took them away, since they know that the levels would be really high.”

With 10 experimental reactors, radiation routinely released to the air, years of accidents, and four core meltdowns, the “downwind hills and meadows” can be considered permanently compromised with cancer-causing toxins. Dan Hirsch, president of Committee to Bridge the Gap, a nuclear policy organization told public radio that Santa Susana’s soil has, “a mix of radioactive materials like plutonium, strontium-90 and cesium-137” and perhaps 100 toxic chemicals “such as PCBs, dioxins, heavy metals like mercury and chromium-6 and volatile organic compounds like PCE.” In 2012, the US EPA reported that its soil tests found radioactive cesium-137 at 9,328 times ordinary background levels.

Citizens living in the vicinity of Santa Susana have become harshly critical of the site’s early operators—Boeing, Atomic International and Rocketdyne—who for years burned toxic and radioactive wastes in open pits, endangering all the downwinders. In 2005, Boeing paid $30 million to compensate nearby residents for early mortalities and a range of rare diseases.

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.

November 30, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Fukushima waiting to happen? Huge stockpile of nuclear waste on California fault line threatens US

RT | November 15, 2018

Millions of pounds of toxic waste are being buried under the site of a privately owned former nuclear power plant in California. The only problem? Experts warn that it sits on a major fault line — and in a tsunami zone.

The San Onofre nuclear plant, located just 108 feet from a popular beach, was shut down in 2015 after a leak was discovered. Now, the Southern California Edison energy company is burying the nuclear waste at the failed site — a move which has been approved by federal regulators.

Charles Langley, the executive director of Public Watchdogs, told RT that the situation at San Onofre is of “grave concern” because spent nuclear fuel and water “don’t mix.”

Langley claimed that research carried out by experts which highlighted the extreme risks of storing the waste at the facility was “suppressed” by the very government agency responsible for protecting public health and safety.

“There are actually fault lines that run underneath the facility. We’ve documented this in geological reports that were suppressed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It’s in a Tsunami zone and it’s also extremely vulnerable to terrorist attacks.”

So far, 29 of 73 canisters of waste are below the surface of the ground. Langley warns, however, that the canisters are unequipped to store the toxic nuclear waste. The warranty for the containment system is only for 10 years “and the canisters themselves are only guaranteed to last 25 years,” he said.

Nina Babiarz, a board member at Public Watchdogs, told RT that “there should have been a requirement for an underground monitoring system before one can even went in the ground.”

Babiarz believes the San Onofre plant is a ticking time bomb.

“It’s still very prevalent to me that this not only could happen, but it has happened at Three Mile Island, of course it has happened at Chernobyl, it’s happened at Fukushima — and lest we forget, it could happen at San Onofre,” she said.

Edison refused to answer any of RT’s questions. On its website, however, the company says they are “being proactive in seeking out options for the relocation of the fuel, including an off-site facility.”

But San Onofre is not the only nuclear site causing concern to scientists and environmentalists in California.

The Santa Susana Field Laboratory — a highly classified former nuclear testing site, which was the location of the worst nuclear meltdown in nuclear history — was scorched in the California wildfires. During the 1959 disaster, 459 times more radiation was leaked there than during the infamous 1979 Three Mile Island meltdown in Pennsylvania.

Physicians for Social Responsibility say that the toxic materials in the soil and vegetation could become airborne in smoke and ash. More than half a million people live within 10 miles of the area.

Investigative journalist Paul DeRienzo told RT that given the site’s classified status, it’s no surprise that Americans don’t know much about the place.

“It was a tremendous accident [in 1959] that gave off more radiation than Three Mile Island did — and other than that, very little is known. It’s a highly classified site and whatever we learn about it, we learn in dribs and drabs over a long period of time,” DeRienzo said.

Asked whether government assurances that the site is safe could be believed, DeRienzo warned against trusting official guarantees.

“You can’t, because it’s classified, because a lot of the things that happened at Santa Susana were classified and therefore there are things that they’re just never going to tell you and only accidentally does it come out,” he said.

November 15, 2018 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Woolsey Fire Burns Nuclear Meltdown Site that State Toxics Agency Failed to Clean Up

THE SANTA SUSANA FIELD LABORATORY (ROCKETDYNE) BURNED IN THE WOOLSEY FIRE, THREATENING TOXIC EXPOSURES FROM CONTAMINATED DUST, SMOKE, ASH AND SOIL. THE DEPARTMENT OF TOXIC SUBSTANCES CONTROL DENIES RISK THAT IT CREATED BY DELAYING THE LONG PROMISED CLEANUP.

Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles | November 9, 2018

Last night, the Woolsey fire burned the contaminated Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL), a former nuclear and rocket engine testing site. Footage from local television showed flames surrounding rocket test stands, and the fire’s progress through to Oak Park indicates that much of the toxic site burned.

A statement released by the California Dept. of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) said that its staff, “do not believe the fire has caused any releases of hazardous materials that would pose a risk to people exposed to the smoke.” The statement failed to assuage community concerns given DTSC’s longtime pattern of misinformation about SSFL’s contamination and its repeated broken promises to clean it up.

“We can’t trust anything that DTSC says,” said West Hills resident Melissa Bumstead, whose young daughter has twice survived leukemia that she blames on SSFL and who has mapped 50 other cases of rare pediatric cancers near the site. Bumstead organized a group called “Parents vs. SSFL” and launched a Change.org petition demanding full cleanup of SSFL that has been signed by over 410,000 people. “DTSC repeatedly minimizes risk from SSFL and has broken every promise it ever made about the SSFL cleanup. Communities throughout the state have also been failed by DTSC. The public has no confidence in this troubled agency,” said Bumstead.

Nuclear reactor accidents, including a famous partial meltdown, tens of thousands of rocket engine tests, and sloppy environmental practices have left SSFL polluted with widespread radioactive and chemical contamination. Government-funded studies indicate increased cancers for offsite populations associated with proximity to the site, and that contamination migrates offsite over EPA levels of concern. In 2010, DTSC signed agreements with the Department of Energy and NASA that committed them to clean up all detectable contamination in their operational areas by 2017. DTSC also in 2010 committed to require Boeing, which owns most of the site, to cleanup to comparable standards. But the cleanup has not yet begun, and DTSC is currently considering proposals that will leave much, if not all, of SSFL’s contamination on site permanently.

Dr. Robert Dodge, President of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, shares the community’s concerns. “We know what substances are on the site and how hazardous they are. We’re talking about incredibly dangerous radionuclides and toxic chemicals such a trichloroethylene, perchlorate, dioxins and heavy metals. These toxic materials are in SSFL’s soil and vegetation, and when it burns and becomes airborne in smoke and ash, there is real possibility of heightened exposure for area residents.”

Dodge said protective measures recommended during any fire, such as staying indoors and wearing protective face masks, are even more important given the risks associated with SSFL’s contamination. Community members are organizing a campaign on social media to demand that DTSC release a public statement revealing the potential risks of exposure to SSFL contamination related to the fire.

But for residents such as Bumstead, worries will remain until SSFL is fully cleaned up. “When I look at that fire, all I see is other parents’ future heartache,” said Bumstead, “And what I feel is anger that if the DTSC had kept its word, we wouldn’t have these concerns, because the site would be cleaned up by now.”

# # #

Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles (PSR-LA) is the largest chapter of the national organization Physicians for Social Responsibility and has worked for the full cleanup of SSFL for over 30 years.. PSR-LA advocates for policies and practices that protect public health from nuclear and environmental threats and eliminate health disparities.

Parents vs. SSFL is a grassroots group of concerned parents and residents who demand compliance with cleanup agreements signed in 2010 that require a full cleanup of all radioactive and chemical contamination at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory.

Contact: Denise Duffield, 310-339-9676 or dduffield@psr-la.org, Melissa Bumstead 818-298-3192* or melissabumstead@sbcglobal.net,

November 13, 2018 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Commission Finds NATO Bombs Continue to Kill Serbs 19 Years After 1999 Strikes

Sputnik – 09.11.2018

NATO carried out a 78-day campaign of airstrikes against Yugoslavia in 1999 after accusing Belgrade of committing war crimes in Kosovo. The strikes left up to 5,700 civilians dead, and contaminated part of southern Serbia with radiation from the depleted uranium rounds used by the alliance.

The Serbian government-designated Commission Investigating the Effects of NATO’s 1999 Bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has provided Sputnik with important information about some of its preliminary findings.

Speaking to Sputnik Serbian, commission head Dr. Darko Laketic explained that in the course of visits to cities, towns and municipalities affected by the NATO bombings, the commission has been able to establish what appears to be evidence of a link between the depleted uranium rounds dropped in these areas and a rise in cancer incidence.

According to the physician, in the city of Vranje, southern Serbia, out of 40 people who came into direct contact with soil contaminated by depleted uranium, ten have died, with “the majority of the deaths caused by malignant neoplasms.”

“Many people who have been to the affected areas suffer from the symptoms of erythema and ulcerous eruptions of an unknown etiology on their skin,” Dr. Laketic added.

Commission members have already visited Vranje, Pancevo and Novi Sad, and plan to visit Kragujevac, with all of these areas facing heavy NATO bombing in 1999. “These are our priority regions. We are collecting medical and statistical data from medical institutions in these areas and interviewing people who have come into contact with contaminated soil,” Laketic explained.

The doctor noted that in the village of Borovac, another area struck by NATO bombs, three residents, or one percent of the village’s total population, are suffering from malignant brain damage.

Dr. Laketic noted that an increase in oncological diseases has also been observed in Pcinjski District, and said that this was particularly significant, since the area’s population is younger than the Serbian average.

The commission is now working on the creation of a large, systematized database.

“We are investigating the effects of toxic substances. Our task is to establish the causal links between [NATO’s] actions and illnesses. Having established them, we will receive weighty arguments for organized efforts in the detection, prevention and treatment of cancer at its early stages in those regions where it is necessary,” the doctor said.

According to Dr. Laketic, in addition to depleted uranium, other toxic substances released during NATO’s bombardment, such as chlorine, benzene, and polychlorinated biphenyls are also proven to cause illness, including malignant neoplasms which can lay dormant for five, ten or even twenty years after a person first comes in contact with them.

Established in June, the commission hopes to complete its first preliminary report by 2020. Dr. Laketic will report on the status of his team’s investigation in the Serbian National Assembly in December.

According to openly available data, in the late 1990s, the average Serbian death rate from oncological illnesses hovered between 9,000 and 12,000 people per year. By 2014, however, the figure doubled to 22,000, with the number of newly diagnosed cancer patients reaching 40,000.

Some medical doctors and scientists have attributed the jump in cancer rates to NATO’s use of depleted uranium rounds during its bombing, and have pointed to the rise in leukemia and lymphoma, cancer types affecting tissue most sensitive to ionizing radiation. Other experts have maintained that there yet to be conclusive proof of a relationship between cancer rates and the depleted uranium rounds, since cancers have been growing across Serbia, while depleted uranium rounds were dropped primarily in southern Serbia. According to World Cancer Research Fund statistics, Serbia is 18th in the world in total incidence of cancers, with 307.9 cases per 100,000 residents reported in 2018.

November 9, 2018 Posted by | Environmentalism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

‘Serious Breaches’ Disclosed in Norway’s Treatment of Nuclear Waste

Sputnik – October 30, 2018

An investigation of of Norway’s national nuclear repository has revealed radiation levels up to 57 times above the maximum permitted limit, prompting environmental concerns and second thoughts about its future.

The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority has revealed “serious breaches” in the handling of radioactive material at the national facility for final disposal in Himdalen, including licensing issues, the daily newspaper Aftenposten reported. Starting from February this year, eight illegally stored containers of liquid oxygenated nuclear waste have been discovered, together with other irregularities.

“The breaches of the storage permit and the license terms mean that we can no longer be completely sure that the landfill is as safe as it should be,” Per Strand, department head at the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, told the newspaper.

Three of the containers discovered in Himdalen held the isotope Americium-241; these were found to be up to 57 times more radioactive than permitted. The other six containers were also well above the limit stipulated in the permit and the license terms. Americium-241 is used by a number of Norwegian industrial companies. The substance is also used in small amounts in the fire and smoke detectors found in most Norwegian homes.

According to the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, the burial that occurred in 2013 and 2014 invoked a risk of chemical reactions that could have damaged the containers, causing a leak of radioactive contaminants.

Norway’s nuclear waste is currently stored in four mountain halls in Himdalen, Aurskog-Høland municipality. The landfill opened in 1998. By the end of 2017 it was 63 percent full and is scheduled to receive waste until 2030. Then, the waste facility will be left under administrative supervision for another 300-500 years. The waste is encased in barrels filled with cement and cast into the floor.

Aurskog-Høland Mayor Roger Evjen confirmed that the municipality had notified the police of the case. He has also requested a meeting with the Industry Ministry to discuss the operation of the nuclear deposit.

“What has emerged is untenable and deserves criticism,” Evjen told Aftenposten.

The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority asked the Institute of Energy Technology (IFE), responsible for the deposit management, to conduct a full review, starting from the opening of the facility in 1998.

“They must prove that the waste is stored safely and that they thoroughly follow through their own routines,” Strand explained.

The Norwegian police admitted that the case has been on hold since February, citing a lack of investigators. Per Strand encouraged the police to prioritize the matter as a matter of national importance.

The IFE admitted to violating the routines, but denied any possibility of endangering Norwegians’ health or the environment, as the nuclear waste is “safely encapsulated” in containers.

READ MORE:

IAEA Finds Fault With Half of Norway’s Nuclear Reactors

October 30, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Martinique: ‘The French state is complicit’ – Martinicans react to pesticide poisoning claims

Ruptly | October 8, 2018

Martinique resident Anicia Berton believes time spent working on Martinique’s sprawling banana plantations may have contributed to her grandmother’s death from generalised cancer, due to exposure to hazardous pesticides.

“She used these products for years without any form of protection. And when she came home, she brought pesticides with her into the house,” she said.

Berton, who survived breast cancer after being diagnosed six years ago, spoke about what many islanders and scientists see as a direct link between the use of the now-outlawed pesticide chlordecone and incidents of ill health among the Martinican population.

October 29, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | Leave a comment

‘Operational Emergency’ Announced at US’ Main Nuclear Weapons Plant

Sputnik – 23.10.2018

An “operational emergency” was registered at the US’ major nuclear weapons assembly site on Tuesday.

“The Pantex Plant is experiencing an operational emergency,” the Pantex Plant Twitter account tweeted Tuesday. “The Emergency Response Organization has been activated.” Local news website My High Plains reports that the Emergency Response Organization comprises elite employees with in-depth knowledge of the plant’s operations and emergency response processes.

​An hour later, Pantex Plant announced that the unspecified “security incident has ended without incident.” The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) confirmed that an “all clear” sign had been issued to the public.

The plant, located in Carson City, Texas, is the main location where nuclear arms are assembled, disassembled and maintained in the US.

During the enigmatic incident, the Carson County Sheriff’s Department said that the eastern part of the plant was rendered completely inaccessible. Emergency teams in Armstrong County, Carson County, the Amarillo/Potter/Randall Office of Emergency Management and DPS were notified of the event and took “appropriate” action, My High Plains reported.

Local highways were temporarily shut down while officials responded to the mysterious emergency.

​The plant is operated and managed by Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC, under a contract from the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Back in 2005, Pantex Plant also made headlines when the facility’s employees nearly detonated a W-56 warhead — 100 times stronger than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima — by accident while trying to take it apart, according to the Sun.

October 23, 2018 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism | , | Leave a comment

If France Made to Pay For Pacific Nuclear Tests, it Could Set Legal ‘Precedent’

Licorne nuclear test – French Polynesia, 1970 © Flickr / Historical Records
Sputnik – October 22, 2018

Last week France was sued at the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity over nuclear tests conducted on atolls in the Pacific Ocean. Sputnik spoke to Alexandre Dayant, a research fellow at the Lowy Institute, about the consequences of the French nuclear tests.

Mururoa and Fangataufa atolls in the South Pacific saw 196 nuclear tests over three decades until President Jacques Chirac finally ended the programme in the 1990s.

The French also conducted nuclear tests in the Sahara Desert.

A French Polynesian opposition leader, Oscar Temaru, filed a complaint at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on October 10 claiming France had carried out crimes against humanity, in the form of local islanders.

Alexandre Dayant, a research fellow at the Lowy Institute in Australia, said the French carried out the tests between 1966 and 1996, first in the atmosphere and then in the sub-soil.

French Polynesians Have Paid Heavy Toll For Tests

Mr. Dayant said thousands of inhabitants have paid a heavy toll through birth deficits, congenital malformations and infirmities.

“The testing programme and its intentions were kept secret, and little information was provided about the possible effects of radiation to the people who worked there. For decades, France argued that the controlled explosions were clean,” Mr. Dayant told Sputnik.

“In the absence of an exhaustive epidemiological study, it was very difficult to estimate the number of potentially affected people at the time. Throughout the period of the Sahara and Polynesia trials, approximately 150,000 site workers (military contingent, contingent, civilian workers) and a local population of 80,000 were potentially exposed to doses of radioactivity,” Mr. Dayant told Sputnik.

French Polynesia, an overseas territory with a population of 290,000, is best known for the tourist resort island of Tahiti, 300 miles west of Mururoa and Fangataufa.

“This case aims to hold all the living French presidents accountable for the nuclear tests against our country,” Mr. Temaru said when he filed the complaint.

The Armaments Observatory published a study showing “the explosions have weakened the seabed and the soil is contaminated sustainably because of the fallout and the presence of toxic and radioactive debris (heavy metals and plutonium)” which threaten the population and the environment.

“Despite the mounting evidence, the French government denied all suggestion that the nuclear tests were harmful to health until 2010, when it introduced the Morin Law, a programme to give compensation to victims of radiation exposure. Nevertheless, the number of compensation cases accepted between 2010 and 2017 scandalized victims’ associations — only 13 out of more than a thousand filed. The main reason came from the fact that it was still difficult for victims to prove the link between their disease and the tests,” Mr. Dayant told Sputnik.

Call For French Polynesia to Become Independent

He said Mr. Temaru was a separatist who wanted the islands to eventually become independent like nearby Fiji and Kiribati.

Mr. Temaru claimed the Polynesians had sought a “responsible dialogue” with France since 2013 but their pleas had been “ignored and despised”.

“Fifty years after the first nuclear test on Mururoa, French Polynesians are still fighting for recognition of the effects of nuclear testing. This is why this claim, in front of the ICC, can help to put events back on the agenda,” Mr. Dayant told Sputnik.

“I don’t think Polynesians believe their claim will be heard. For the pro-independence party in French Polynesia, making this claim is more of a useful way to put events back on the political agenda, and on the international scene,” said Mr. Dayant who pointed out that when the ICC was set up it made it clear it would not prosecute crimes committed before July 2002.

Will other countries face similar claims at the ICC?

“It is a difficult question to answer to, due to the different geopolitical relationships that other Pacific Islands countries have with the US, UK and Russia. However, if successful, this particular legal procedure can be used as a precedent for future international claims,” Mr. Dayant told Sputnik.

October 22, 2018 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism | | 3 Comments