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US Atomic Plants ‘Dodging Radioactive Bullets’ as Floodwaters Submerge Midwest

Sputnik – March 21, 2019

With heavy rainfall inundating the US Midwest, nuclear power plants risk being flooded. However, the plants continue to operate at full power, resulting in the potential for “unnecessary, extremely high risk” accidents, according to Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear.

“In Nebraska alone, you’ve got the Offutt Air Force Base, which is the home of the [US] Strategic Command, which controls the nuclear arsenal of the US, and it’s largely flooded,” Kamps told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear hosts Brian Becker and Nicole Roussell.

​According to Offutt Tech. Sgt. Rachelle Blake, around 60 buildings on the south end of the base, including the 55th Wing headquarters and two aircraft maintenance hangars, were flooded over the weekend by as much as eight feet of water. The 55th Wing is a US Air Force unit assigned to Air Combat Command.

“You’ve also got two nuclear power plants in Nebraska. You’ve got Fort Calhoun, north of Omaha on the Missouri [River], which thankfully shut down in 2016. And the reason it shut down was the previous historic floods on the Missouri in 2011 damaged the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant, [so] that it never recovered. But you’ve also got the Cooper atomic reactor south of Omaha on the Missouri River, and yet again, for the second time, in 2011 and [now in] 2019, Cooper — which is being run by Entergy Nuclear of New Orleans on behalf of a public utility in Nebraska — ran at 100 percent power levels through these historic floods. For the industry, that’s the bragging point: ‘Look at what we can do,'” Kamp noted.

“It’s a Fukushima-like situation, where you’re dealing with a natural disaster and insisting upon operating at 100 percent power levels with your atomic reactor. Granted, Japan didn’t know that natural disaster was coming. And so, the danger is, if you lose power from the grid, and then your emergency diesel backup generators fail, you can’t control the cooling on those hellishly hot atomic reactor cores,” Kamp explained.

“In addition to the reactor risks, there are radioactive risks, which are still present at the shut-down Fort Calhoun but also at Cooper, both in the storage pools, which can go up in flames, but also in the dry casks that could be impacted by the floods. They [Omaha Public Power District, Entergy Nuclear] might have dodged a bullet again in 2019, but they keep taking these unnecessary, extremely high risks with their operations,” he added.

In March 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan’s Ōkuma, Fukushima prefecture, was hit by a 46-foot tsunami triggered by a 9.0-magnitude offshore earthquake. The natural disaster crippled the facility’s cooling system and resulted in the leakage of radioactive materials, hydrogen-air explosions and eventually the plant’s shutdown, Sputnik previously reported.

On Monday, the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) announced that the Cooper Nuclear Plant was continuing to operate safely.

“We are operating at full power, and the water is receding… and we expect the water level to continue dropping,” NPPD spokesman Mark Becker said, according to Reuters. In addition, he noted that the plant was 899.75 feet above sea level Monday morning, below the 901.5 feet that would require the nuclear reactor to shut down.

“Back in 2011… there are about a half dozen major dams upstream of Fort Calhoun on the Missouri River, any one of which failing could have have created a domino effect of failures with the other dams, and it could have sent a very deep wall of water coming down the Missouri River. And the Fort Calhoun power plant could have been inundated under very deep water,” Kamp explained.

“It happened at Fukushima. All of a sudden, an hour after that earthquake in Japan, that wall of water — 45 feet deep — hit the nuclear plant and hit the last remaining power sources, which were the emergency diesel generators. So, here in Nebraska, there is renewed potential for those upstream major upstream dams to fail, [to] send a wall of water down. Another danger at both Fort Calhoun, with the stored waste, but also at Cooper with the operating reactor and the stored waste: if local levees were to fail and allow flood waters to inundate the sites even deeper,” Kamp noted.

“At Fort Calhoun, just now, they came within one foot, nine inches of having to shut down under their own very loose and weak protocols. That’s how close it came. So, it’s incredible the risks that they [NPPD, Entergy] take. If they had any responsibility, they would shut down.”

According to Becker, the US Army Corps of Engineers has reduced water releases from the Gavins Point Dam to decrease the risk of flooding downriver.

“And to give some credit, Fort Calhoun in 2011 did shut down months ahead of time — in April — because they saw what was coming with the snow melts; they had enough predictions. They [NPPD] shut down months ahead of time, and even though they did, they were so damaged by the floods, and they still screwed up and had a fire burning within the turbine building that nobody dealt with. That final straw of the fire not being dealt with days on end, that’s what led to the final shutdown several years later. Dodging radioactive bullets is not fun stuff, but it’s kind of what they do for a living,” Kemp noted.

March 21, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power | | Leave a comment

The Media & the WWF Torture Scandal

News organizations have turned their own journalists into WWF cheerleaders

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | March 20, 2019

Click for source

Earlier this month, BuzzFeed published a three-part exposé about violent goons, funded and equipped by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), who persecute indigenous communities. In the words of the BuzzFeed journalists, the WWF

works directly with paramilitary forces that have been accused of beating, torturing, sexually assaulting, and murdering scores of people. As recently as 2017, forest rangers at a WWF-funded park in Cameroon tortured an 11-year-old boy in front of his parents…

UK politicians have called on the government to respond to these “appalling and deeply disturbing” allegations. US senator Patrick Leahy has likewise demanded an “immediate and thorough review” of the support the WWF receives from American authorities.

BuzzFeed reports that the UK Charity Commission will be asking the WWF “serious questions.” Also in the UK, explorer Ben Fogle has stepped away from his public relationship with this organization, due to these “very serious human rights allegations.”

Longtime WWF supporter, actress Susan Sarandon, says she expects an “in-depth investigation” to take place.

Likewise, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has called on the WWF to “provide the public with a full and transparent accounting of their findings.” (In 2016, DiCaprio – who sits on the WWF’s Board of Directors in the United States, symbolically ‘shared‘ his 2016 Golden Globe award “with all the First Nations peoples represented in this film and all the indigenous communities around the world.”)

Despite the celebrities, the prominence of the WWF brand, and the serious nature of these allegations, much of the media has chosen to ignore this story. Could that have anything to do with the fact that news organizations have spent the past decade turning their own journalists into WWF cheerleaders?

Here in Canada, our largest circulation newspaper, The Toronto Star, has served as an official sponsor of the WWF’s annual Earth Hour (see this 2008 discussion, and this from 2012).

Think about that cozy, inappropriate relationship – and then ask yourself why The Star has yet to tell its readers about the WWF torture scandal.

Since its Australian beginnings, Earth Hour was a deliberate media creation. Rather than reporting neutrally on current affairs, rather than applying an equally skeptical eye to all large multinational entities (WWF, come on down), news organizations instead promote certain events, certain entities, and certain environmental perspectives.

The flip side of that pathological arrangement is that these same news organizations also have the power to decide what isn’t news. Every single day, they decide what not to tell the public.

March 20, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Militarised Conservation: Paramilitary Rangers and the WWF

By Binoy Kampmark | Dissident Voice | March 6, 2019

Think charity, think vulnerability and its endless well of opportunistic exploitation. Over the years, international charity organisations have been found with employees keen to take advantage of their station. That advantage has been sexual, financial and, in the case of allegations being made about the World Wild Life Fund for Nature, in the nature of inflicting torture on those accused of poaching.

BuzzFeed, via reporters Tom Warren and Katie J.M. Baker, began the fuss with an investigative report claiming instances of torture and gross violence on the part of rangers assisted by the charity to combat poaching.  It starts with a description of a dying man’s last days, one Shikharam Chaudhary, a farmer who was brutally beaten and tortured by forest rangers patrolling Chitwan National Park in Nepal. Shikharam, it seems, had been singled out for burying a rhinoceros horn in his backyard.  The horn proved elusive, but not the unfortunate farmer, who was detained in prison.  After nine days, he was dead.

Three park officials including the chief warden were subsequently charged with murder.  WWF found itself in a spot, given its long standing role in sponsoring operations by the Chitwan forest rangers. As the BuzzFeed report goes on to note, “WWF’s staff on the ground in Nepal leaped into action – not to demand justice, but to lobby for the charges to disappear. When the Nepalese government dropped the case months later, the charity declared its victory in the fight against poaching. Then WWF Nepal continued to work closely with the rangers and fund the park as if nothing had happened.”

The report does not hold back, insisting that the alleged murder of the unfortunate Shikharam in 2006 was no aberration. “It was part of a pattern that persists to this day.  In national parks across Asia and Africa, the beloved non-profit with the cuddly panda logo funds, equips, and works directly with paramilitary forces that have been accused of beating, torturing, sexually assaulting, and murdering scores of people.”

The poach wars are a savage business, throwing up confected images of heroes and villains. They do not merely involve the actions of protecting animals, but military-styled engagements where fatalities are not uncommon. Anti-poaching has become a mission heralded by the romantically inclined as indispensable, its agents to be celebrated. Desperate local conditions are conveniently scrubbed out in any descriptions: there are only the noble rangers battling animal murderers.

The Akashinga, for instance, are an anti-poaching enterprise of 39 women operating in Zimbabwe who featured with high praise in a report from the ABC in October last year.  Who are the victims, apart from the animals they protect?  There is little doubt in the minds of the reporters: the women themselves, victims of assault, many single mothers from Nyamakate. Laud them, respect their mission.

It is clear that these women are feted warriors, armed and given appropriate training. They “undergo military-style training in unarmed combat, camouflage and concealment, search and arrest, as well as leadership and conservation ethics.” Their source of encouragement and support is Damien Mander, formerly a military sniper and founder of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation.

Mander’s own laundry list for being a “good anti-poaching ranger”, as featured in an interview to the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre in 2015, is unvarnished: “A passion for nature, strong paramilitary base, and ability and willingness to work in hostile environments for extended periods of time as part of a team.”

The line between the mission of charity and its mutation into one of abuse is tooth fine. In February 2018, The Times, assisted by information supplied by whistleblowers, sprung the lid off Oxfam GB workers in Haiti, suggesting that charity workers had received sexual favours for payment in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake. (Nothing like a crisis that breeds opportunity.) It was duly revealed that the organisation had done its level best to conceal the fact. The UK International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt’s statement to Parliament in February took most issue with the latter. “In such circumstances we must be able to trust organisations not only to do all they can to prevent harm, but to report and follow up incidents of wrongdoing when they do occur.”

In the course of its conduct, Oxfam did not, according to Mordaunt, furnish the Charity Commission with a report on the incidents. Nor did the donors receive one. The protecting authorities were also left in the dark on the subject.

Defences have been mounted by those working in the aid sector. Mike Aaronson, writing in August last year, pleaded the case that aid organisations were being unduly singled out, the scape goats of moral outrage and privileged ethics. “Aid organisations carry a lot of risk, operating in chaotic and stressful environments where in trying to do good they can end up doing harm.” In condemning them, it was easy to ignore the fact that they had “done most to address the issue”.

The WWF situation, which has moved the matter into the dimension of animal protection and conservation, has hallmarks that are similarly problematic with the humanitarian sector in general.  And the reaction of the organisation has also been fairly typical, laden with weasel-worded aspirations. “At the heart of WWF’s work are places and people who live with them,” an organisation spokesman for WWF UK asserted in response to the allegations. “Respect for human rights is at the core of our mission.” There were “stringent policies” in place to safeguard “the rights and wellbeing of indigenous people and local communities in the places we work.”

Students of the broad field of humanitarian ventures suggest four instances where militarisation takes place. Charities and relief organisations have become proxy extensions in armed conflict (consider Nicaragua and Afghanistan during the 1980s); creatures of embedment (the Red Cross in the World Wars); agents of “self-defence” – consider the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem in the twelfth century; and engaged in direct conflict (the International Brigades of the Spanish Civil War).

The WWF case suggests a direct connection between the mission of a charitable organisation and its captivation by a dangerous militancy. It has become a sponsor, and concealer, of vigilante action, obviously unabashed in cracking a few skulls in the name of shielding protected species. Along came the networks of informants, surveillance and exploiting local issues. No longer can this be regarded a matter of altruistic engagement in the name of animal conservation; it is a full-fledged sponsorship of a paramilitary operation with all the incidental nastiness such an effort entails.

March 6, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Environmentalism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | Leave a comment

Japanese PM Abe set to ignore local referendum on US Okinawa military base relocation

RT | February 23, 2019

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said his government will press ahead with the controversial relocation of a US military base on the island of Okinawa, despite local objection.

Okinawa is home to two-thirds of the US’ Japanese bases. Tokyo wants to relocate one of these – US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, located in a densely populated area – to the more remote coastal area of Henoko. While residents near the base have been angered by a series of aircraft accidents, they also oppose the relocation to Henoko, claiming that planned land-reclamation works there will devastate the coral-rich coastal environment.

Okinawans will vote on the relocation on Sunday in a non-binding referendum, with nearly 70 percent expected to vote ‘No,’ according to a poll by Kyodo News. Okinawa’s Governor Denny Tamaki, who campaigned on an anti-base platform last year, has also traveled to Washington DC to lobby against the move.

The Japanese government intends to go ahead with the relocation “without being swayed by referendum results,” Abe told parliament on Wednesday.

Many Okinawans are unhappy with the base’s current location, as well as the planned relocation. They hope a ‘No’ vote will force the government to move the base off the island altogether.

The behavior of US troops stationed on Okinawa has also incensed locals, with the 1995 kidnap and gang-rape of a 12-year-old girl by three US soldiers triggering mass protests on the island. Two cases of rape and murder by US troops again caused protests in 2016. One year later, Okinawa was back in the news after a drunk Marine plowed his truck into another vehicle while running a red light, killing an elderly Japanese man.

February 23, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Large wildfire engulfs forest in Chernobyl’s EXCLUSION ZONE

RT | February 17, 2019

A major blaze has broken out in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone – the site of the worst nuclear disaster in human history. The fire hit a forest some 20 kilometers away from the ill-famed nuclear power station.

The blaze inside Chernobyl’s ‘dead zone’ in northern Ukraine started on Sunday when dry grass caught fire, the Ukrainian emergency service said in a statement. The blaze then reached a forest near the abandoned village of Bychki located some 24km (15 miles) away from the damaged nuclear reactor.

Some 5 hectares (12 acres) of forest went up in flames. Three firefighting vehicles and 18 emergency crew members were dispatched to tackle the blaze, according to the emergency service’s statement.

The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, an area heavily contaminated by the disaster, has repeatedly witnessed wildfires over recent years. A large fire broke out there in June 2018. Another blaze, which scorched 25 hectares (60 acres) of land, hit it in 2017.

While the burning of possible radioactive wood and shrubs could release some dangerous combustion products into the atmosphere, the statement issued by Ukrainian officials mentioned no such risks for now.

Chernobyl became the site of one of the biggest nuclear disasters in history, when a local power reactor blew up during a safety system test on April 26, 1986, leading to massive contamination of the surrounding area and beyond. The catastrophic explosion released 400 times more radioactive material than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II.

The severely damaged reactor was sealed off by a protective ‘sarcophagus’ of steel and concrete, while the nearby town of Pripyat had its 50,000 population evacuated. A radioactive cloud covered a massive chunk of Europe in the wake of the disaster.

Today, Pripyat is a ghost town while the contaminated 30-kilometer (18.6 mile) area around the reactor has been turned into a no-go zone, which has for years been closed to any visitors, but is now booming with wildlife – keenly observed by scientists.

February 17, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Germany Pulls Rank on Macron and American Energy Blackmail

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 13.02.2019

It was billed politely as a Franco-German “compromise” when the EU balked at adopting a Gas Directive which would have undermined the Nord Stream 2 project with Russia.

Nevertheless, diplomatic rhetoric aside, Berlin’s blocking last week of a bid by French President Emmanuel Macron to impose tougher regulations on the Nord Stream 2 gas project was without doubt a firm rebuff to Paris.

Macron wanted to give the EU administration in Brussels greater control over the new pipeline running from Russia to Germany. But in the end the so-called “compromise” was a rejection of Macron’s proposal, reaffirming Germany in the lead role of implementing the Nord Stream 2 route, along with Russia.

The $11-billion, 1,200 kilometer pipeline is due to become operational at the end of this year. Stretching from Russian mainland under the Baltic Sea, it will double the natural gas supply from Russia to Germany. The Berlin government and German industry view the project as a vital boost to the country’s ever-robust economy. Gas supplies will also be distributed from Germany to other European states. Consumers stand to gain from lower prices for heating homes and businesses.

Thus Macron’s belated bizarre meddling was rebuffed by Berlin. A rebuff was given too to the stepped-up pressure from Washington for the Nord Stream 2 project to be cancelled. Last week, US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell and two other American envoys wrote an op-ed for Deutsche Welle in which they accused Russia of trying to use “energy blackmail” over Europe’s geopolitics.

Why France’s Macron, at the last minute, attempted to undermine the project by placing stiffer regulations is a curious question. Those extra regulations if they had been imposed would have potentially made the Russian gas supply more expensive. As it turns out, the project will now go-ahead without onerous restrictions.

In short, Macron and the spoiling tactics of Washington, along with EU states hostile to Russia, Poland and the Baltic countries, have been put in their place by Germany and its assertion of national interests of securing economical and abundant gas supply from Russia. Other EU member states that backed Berlin over Nord Stream 2 were Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Greece and the Netherlands.

Washington’s claims that Nord Stream 2 would give Russia leverage of Europe’s security have been echoed by Poland and the Baltic states. Poland, and non-EU Ukraine, stand to lose out billions of dollars-worth of transit fees. Such a move, however, is the prerogative of Germany and Russia to find a more economical mode of supply. Besides, what right has Ukraine to make demands on a bilateral matter that is none of its business? Kiev’s previous bad faith over not paying gas bills to Russia disbars it from reasonable opinion.

Another factor is the inherent Russophobia of Polish and Baltic politicians who view everything concerning Russia through a prism of paranoia.

For the Americans, it is obviously a blatant case of seeking to sell their own much more expensive natural gas to Europe’s giant energy market – in place of Russia’s product. Based on objective market figures, Russia is the most competitive supplier to Europe. The Americans are therefore trying to snatch a strategic business through foul means of propaganda and political pressure. Ironically, the US German ambassador Richard Grenell and the other American envoys wrote in their recent oped: “Europe must retain control of its energy security.”

Last month, Grenell threatened German and European firms involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2 that they could face punitive American sanctions in the future. Evidently, it is the US side that is using “blackmail” to coerce others into submission, not Russia.

Back to Macron. What was he up to in his belated spoiling tactics over Nord Stream 2 and in particular the attempted problems being leveled for Germany if the extra regulations had been imposed?

It seems implausible that Macron was suddenly finding a concern for Poland and the Baltic states in their paranoia over alleged Russian invasion.

Was Macron trying to garner favors from the Trump administration? His initial obsequious rapport with Trump has since faded from the early days of Macron’s presidency in 2017. By doing Washington’s bidding to undermine the Nord Stream 2 project was Macron trying to ingratiate himself again?

The contradictions regarding Macron are replete. He is supposed to be a champion of “ecological causes”. A major factor in Germany’s desire for the Nord Stream 2 project is that the increased gas supply will reduce the European powerhouse’s dependence on dirty fuels of coal, oil and nuclear power. By throwing up regulatory barriers, Macron is making it harder for Germany and Europe to move to cleaner sources of energy that the Russian natural gas represents.

Also, if Macron had succeeded in imposing tougher regulations on the Nord Stream 2 project it would have inevitably increased the costs to consumers for gas bills. This is at a time when his government is being assailed by nationwide Yellow Vest protests over soaring living costs, in particular fuel-price hikes.

A possible factor in Macron’s sabotage bid in Germany’s Nord Stream 2 plans was his chagrin over Berlin’s rejection of his much-vaunted reform agenda for the Eurozone bloc within the EU. Despite Macron’s very public amity with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Berlin has continually knocked back the French leader’s ambitions for reform.

It’s hard to discern what are the real objectives of Macron’s reforms. But they seem to constitute a “banker’s charter”. Many eminent German economists have lambasted his plans, which they say will give more taxpayer-funded bailouts to insolvent banks. They say Macron is trying to move the EU further away from the social-market economy than the bloc already has moved.

What Macron, an ex-Rothschild banker, appears to be striving for is a replication of his pro-rich, anti-worker policies that he is imposing on France, and for these policies to be extended across the Eurozone. Berlin is not buying it, realizing such policies will further erode the social fabric. This could be the main reason why Macron tried to use the Nord Stream 2 project as leverage over Berlin.

In the end, Macron and Washington – albeit working for different objectives – were defeated in their attempts to sabotage the emerging energy trade between Germany, Europe and Russia. Nord Stream 2, as with Russia’s Turk Stream to the south of Europe, seems inevitable by sheer force of natural partnership.

On this note, the Hungarian government’s comments this week were apt. Budapest accused some European leaders and the US of “huge hypocrisy” in decrying association with Russia over energy trade. Macron has previously attended an economics forum in St Petersburg, and yet lately has sought to “blackmail” and disrupt Germany over its trade plans with Russia.

As for the Americans, their arrant hypocrisy is beyond words. As well as trying to dictate to Europe about “market principles” and “energy security”, it was reported this week that Washington is similarly demanding Iraq to end its import of natural gas from neighboring Iran.

Iraq is crippled by electricity and power shortages because of the criminal war that the US waged on that country from 2003-2011 which destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure. Iraq critically needs Iranian gas supplies to keep the lights and fans running. Yet, here we have the US now dictating to Iraq to end its lifeline import of Iranian fuel in order to comply with the Trump administration’s sanctions against Tehran. Iraq is furious at the latest bullying interference by Washington in its sovereign affairs.

The hypocrisy of Washington and elitist politicians like Emmanuel Macron has become too much to stomach. Maybe Germany and others are finally realizing who the charlatans are.

February 13, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Russophobia | , , , , | 2 Comments

Hastily-Buried Radioactive Waste Lays Bare Nuclear Power Legacy

Sputnik – 11.02.2019

Over 126,000 barrels of radioactive material are stored in the Asse mine in Lower Saxony, a state in northwest Germany bordering the North Sea, a fact that has many locals – as well as the global anti-nuke community – frustrated.

Manfred Kramer, a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, lives close to the Asse salt mine in which the decaying waste is stored and — while acknowledging that politicians are finally beginning to take notice — has long protested against having radioactive waste in the old mine, Tekportal reported.

“It’s nice that she’s finally coming,” Kramer said, referring to Environment Minister Svenja Schulze’s upcoming visit to the mine, which was originally used for the extraction of potash salt until 1965. “Soon she’ll have been in office for a year. It sure took a while!” he quipped, according to Deutsche Welle.

“Three generations operated nuclear power in Germany, and now 30 generations or even more will have to suffer the consequences,” Schulze noted, adding, “this is proof of how irresponsible nuclear energy was.”

According to mining engineer Thomas Lautsch, who works for BGE, Germany’s federal company for radioactive waste disposal, the retrieval of the nuclear waste from the mine will be complicated and expensive, at a minimum.

“We would have to build a retrieval mine, which is more than simply just a new shaft. We would also need an interim storage facility for the waste, and we would have to create many new shafts to gain access to the individual chambers,” he said, cited by Msn.com.

The construction phase of the project alone could take eight or nine years, according to studies.

Because the old mine shafts do not meet current legal standards for the ten-thousand-year storage of nuclear waste, a new mine must be built around the old mine.

“The barrels must be finally and safely disposed of somewhere else in the country,” Kramer noted, “should they actually able to be retrieved by 2050.”

The mine, developed between 1906-1908, has a depth of around 765 meters. Between 1965-1995, the Helmholtz Zentrum München (a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers responsible for studying environmental health issues) took the unprecedented step of using the mine to store the nation’s radioactive waste, including weapon detritus, medical offal and power plant leavings.

February 10, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power | , | Leave a comment

Phantom investigation? France delays report on mystery cases of babies born without arms

RT | January 31, 2019

France’s public health agency has postponed the release of a report on an investigation into the abnormal numbers of babies being born without arms in rural regions — a medical mystery which has baffled experts.

Three infants were born with no arms between June and November 2016 within a 30km radius of Vitrolles in the Bouches-du-Rhône region. That followed another cluster of cases near the area of Ain, where eight babies were born with the defect within a 17km radius. Similar cases have also been observed in other regions of rural France.

A nationwide investigation into the phenomenon began last October and the government had promised an update by January 31, but that date was suddenly pushed back — and the parents of affected children are becoming impatient and suspicious.

In an open letter to public health officials, a group of parents expressed doubts about the ongoing investigation and said their questions have “never had clear answers.” They accused the government of focusing on explanations which have already been dismissed by another public health body which researches cases of malformation.

Santé Publique France, the national health agency, previously conducted an investigation before the latest spate of cases — but that investigation concluded that there had not been an excessive level of incidents in Ain and that no further investigation was needed. Other experts, however, said the number of cases in Ain was 58 times the normal statistical amount.

Remera, the health body which looks into instances of malformation, carried out its own investigation in 2018. As part of it, mothers were interviewed with a “very extensive questionnaire” about their lifestyles to see if there were any similarities between their pregnancies. This led doctors to dismiss genetics, drugs, and alcohol as potential causes for the missing limbs.

Emmanuelle Amar, the director of Remera in the south east of France concluded that the “only thing they have in common is that they all live in a very rural area.” Remera therefore dismissed the likelihood of the malformations as being down to chance — as the government agency previously suggested — as “more than infinitesimal.”

Remera believes that harmful pesticides in wide use in rural areas of France are the most likely culprit. The mystery remains unsolved, but the possible link to agriculture is given weight by the fact that around the same time the cases were observed in Ain, several calves and chickens were born with missing limbs in the area. Amar told RT that authorities didn’t want to listen to Remera’s concerns, however.

Aurelie Bingler, the mother of one girl born without her hand, also spoke to RT. “I want to know why she was born like that, because mothers blame themselves. We think it may come from us or that we did something wrong,” she said. Bingler believes, too, that there is probably a link to farming.

We are surrounded by agriculture, fields, so we naturally wonder about the use of pesticides. Why doesn’t it happen to people who live in the city? There must be a link to agriculture.

Former French environment minister Corinna Lepage told RT there was probably a “fear of discovering that the causes could endanger a number of economic interests.”

February 3, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism | , | 2 Comments

Forgotten Uranium Mine Workers

By Jacquetta Harvey | January 29, 2019

Uranium caused Cancer forced me to raise my children alone. I had to sell the home we were in and downsized. The mortgage company said I had no credit on my name alone. I had to pay my new (older used) truck because I had no credit alone. We had bought the truck and traded my car because it was easier to carry the wheelchair and get my husband seated in the higher seat. My husband had no right hip for the last 4 months and his left arm was in a sling and useless. The cancer had eaten through the bones on both his arm and hip. When he went into kidney failure from the cancer, every time his body jerked or he was moved he was having spontaneous fractures throughout his body.

Let me explain his cancer to you. Some of you may already know Multiple Myeloma. This is a cancer usually affects men and at the usual age of late 60’s to 70’s. My husband “E’ was 40 when it was found. Multiple Myeloma eats the bone marrow and continues eating the bone until it is as thin as an egg shell and that is when it breaks. When the Doctor found it “E” had compressed two vertebra from us moving a camper shell from our truck, he then broke a rib leaning against a truck side to pick up a small 2-3 inch spring. Then broke his left arm pulling the spring while installing it in the forklift he was working on. “E” continued to work during his “Radical Experimental” treatment, when he could.

Part II

Eventually the cancer took over his kidney which caused the kidney failure.

The Radical Treatment he agreed to do was a multitude of toxic chemicals that had a great success with Breast Cancer patients, so it was considered radical in the fact it hadn’t been used with Multiple Myeloma and for the huge amount they would give him. For 3 days he would be given a liter bag of Chemo Chemicals and saline. This would have to be put into a port that was placed straight into his heart because the chemicals would eat up/holes in his veins before it could go anywhere else in his body and do what was meant to do… Thus it was put straight into his heart via the port. The toxic chemical cocktail was to kill off all of his bone marrow. The third day we were to go straight home so he would not be exposed to even a cold germ in a big store, it could kill him. When his temperature spiked 103 we were to head straight to the hospital. He would be placed in a private room anyone coming into the room had to gown up and could not even have a sniffle. A hard plastic port to be used for the stem cell rescue was placed in his carotid artery and He would be placed on a type of dialysis machine that would “Harvest” his Stem Cells. These would then be placed in a freezable container with a chemo agent mixed in and frozen. We requested blood and stem cell donors from his job for the next few days. A notice was put up at work and the hospital was overrun with donors, they had had to send them to other blood banks and hospital’s. The blood he needed immediately, the stem cells would be re-infused in a few weeks after another kill off of his bone marrow.

In the hospital he called me before I drove our 45 minute drive. He asked me to bring clippers and scissors, he said the bed looked like he had slept with a cat or a dog. When our 11 year old son, 15 year old daughter and I walked in the room, E grabbed ahold of some hair on his head and then on his beard and pulled and it just came out. I worried it hurt but he said it didn’t. We sent the kids down to the cafeteria to grab lunch and I cut and shaved his hair. He lost all the hair on his body and he lost the top layer of his whole digestive tract from his mouth to his anus. He could not eat or drink without vomiting.

Part III later.

#uraniummineworkers #ihateit #death #cancer #governmentforgotthem #1971-2019 #raisingchildrenalone #lostchildhood #lonelysad

February 3, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power | | Leave a comment

Less fallout, more danger: US ‘low-yield’ warhead pushes Doomsday Clock closer to midnight

RT | January 30, 2019

A new “low-yield” US warhead is less powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima but more capable of igniting a nuclear conflict than bigger nuclear weapons, analysts believe.

Dubbed W76-2, the weapon is now being produced by the Pantex plant in Texas, according to Donald Trump’s nuclear posture review which he signed last year. The Trump administration – whose boss has already shown a fixation on building up nukes – claims the new “low-yield” warhead would give the US a more “flexible” deterrent.

The new “mini-nuke” has less velocity than the Hiroshima bomb as it was designed by taking away one stage from the original two-stage W76 thermonuclear device usually mounted on Trident ballistic missile. The new warhead’s explosive power was reduced from 100 kilotons of TNT, to around five.

Now, an enemy (Russia, for example) could no longer count on Washington being afraid of using its huge nuclear arsenal due to the unimaginable civilian casualties, the US administration says.

However, less damage doesn’t mean no damage at all as the ‘Little Boy’ bomb, which the US dropped on Hiroshima, killed up to 80,000 people in 1945.

Some US mainstream media noticeably voiced concerns about the new weapon and the impact it will have on international peace. Defense News, for instance, cited some non-proliferation advocates who argue “all nuclear weapons are strategic, not tactical.”

Some Democrats in Congress worry that installing a low-yield and high-yield warhead on the same missile creates a dangerous situation where an adversary cannot know which system is being used, the paper wrote. Therefore, it would react as if the larger and deadlier warhead has been launched.

That aside, the W76-2 could give birth to other low-yield projectiles, reducing the threshold for using nuclear weapons, Mikhail Khodarenok, a Russian military expert said. Such nuclear munitions could easily be launched from the B-21 Raider, a US heavy bomber currently under development by Northrop Grumman, or the F-35 jet, he believes.

Other pundits are already sounding the alarm about the danger of the US building low-yield nuclear weapons. “I think it is time for a new meeting of major countries that have nuclear weapons to develop a new treaty or a new agreement that restricts what can be developed and what cannot be developed,” General Paul Vallely, formerly second-in-command of the US Pacific Command told RT.

“The belief that there might be tactical advantage using nuclear weapons – which I haven’t heard that being openly discussed in the United States or in Russia for a good many years – is happening now in those countries which I think is extremely distressing,” former US defense secretary and an arms control advocate William Perry was quoted as saying by the Guardian. “That’s a very dangerous belief.”

January 30, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism | | 2 Comments

‘Toxic History’: Washington State Prepares to Sue US Navy Over Hazardous Dumping

Sputnik – January 18, 2019

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson warned Thursday that he is preparing to join a pending lawsuit against the US Navy for knowingly dumping toxic metals directly into waters around the state, despite having been urged by the EPA to find another disposal method.

The lawsuit cited by Ferguson was initially filed in June 2017 by the Suquamish Tribe and nonprofit organizations Puget Soundkeeper and the Washington Environmental Council. The suit alleges that the US Navy committed multiple violations of the Clean Water Act by its decision to release toxic substances into the Sinclair Inlet, which flows into the Puget Sound, and failed to obtain the proper permits when cleaning a decommissioned aircraft carrier, the USS Independence.

Ferguson told the Seattle Times that his office decided to join the lawsuit after reviewing a report in October 2018 that revealed what toxic chemicals were in the materials that had been scraped off the Independence in January 2017. Ferguson’s letter indicates that “approximately fifty dump truck loads of solid waste” were dumped into the waters.

Those chemicals included zinc, copper, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, various other metals and polychlorinated biphenyls. “As a result, the [Environmental Protection Agency] listed the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Complex as a Superfund site under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act, and the federal government has spent millions of dollars remediating the sediments at the site,” the AG’s notice explains.

It should be noted that Washington State houses the US Navy’s Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, which is just one of three Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facilities in the US that work with decommissioned vessels.

According to Ferguson’s letter, Navy officials took no precautions to contain the waste, discharging it directly into the Sinclair Inlet, despite having been urged by the EPA to use a dry dock to perform the cleaning.

As such, the letter says, the Navy is in direct violation of the Clean Water Act and the Washington State Water Pollution Control Act and is creating an “imminent and substantial endangerment to the environment under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).”

“We ask that the Navy remedy its ongoing violations of the [Clean Water Act] and Washington law, and abate the imminent and substantial endangerment under RCRA, at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard by removing from Sinclair Inlet the debris from the ex-Independence and taking any other action necessary to stop and remediate the ongoing discharge of pollutants and related environmental harm caused by the Navy’s in-water hull cleaning activities,” the letter states, noting that should naval officials fail to meet Ferguson’s demands within the next 60 days, his office will have no other option than to join the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, et al. v. US Navy, et al. case.Ferguson, who established the state’s Counsel for Environmental Protection in 2016, told the Seattle Times earlier this week that “there’s more trouble ahead,” as another ship, the supercarrier USS Kitty Hawk, is expected to undergo a similar cleaning process at the Puget Sound facility.

But this isn’t the only example of the US military playing fast and loose with environmental regulations, Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear’s radioactive waste specialist, told Sputnik Friday. “There are countless examples of the US military unleashing environmental destruction,” he said, giving as an example the housing development built on radioactive, contaminated soil in California’s old Hunters Point Naval Shipyard.

“The US Navy caused the radioactive contamination,” Kamps said. “Then a contractor hired during the supposed clean up, Tetra Tech, falsified testing samples, claiming the soils were cleaned up, when they were not.”

“This toxic history includes illegal and unethical dumping as has happened repeatedly in Puget Sound. Similarly, the US military dumped vast amounts of munitions, toxins and perhaps even radioactive waste into Lake Superior, after World War II,” he continued.

Other examples of the US’ environmental destruction include the Nevada Test Site, depleted uranium test firings in Vieques, Puerto Rico, and Jefferson Proving Ground in Ohio, where Kamps says government activities have resulted in “billions of dollars of clean up costs that may never be carried out.”

“Along the lines of the Washington State attorney general’s shock, such practices, incredibly, are not a thing of the past — they are still going on. They must stop, or tremendous damage to public health, safety and the environment will continue into the future, instead of being a tragic thing of the past.”

And it’s not just chemical dumping from the Navy’s facilities. A 2016 study carried out by NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center and the University of Washington found traces of soaps, industrial chemicals, the antidepressant Prozac and metformin, a diabetic medication, in the Puget Sound. Upon examining fish native to the Puget Sound, researchers found traces of such compounds within their tissue.

See also:

Nuclear Waste Shipments Expose Populations to Toxic Radiation

US Shores Up Toxic Waste Sites in Florida Ahead of Hurricane Irma – Environmental Agency

January 18, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

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