We are on the road in the historic city of Vienna, Austria, not far from the Czech Republic where President Obama gave a major address in 2009 that called for a nuclear-free world. His disarmament efforts were cited when he won the Nobel Peace Prize, but since then advocates say little progress has been made. A recent New York Times investigation found the United States is on pace to spend as much as $1 trillion over the next three decades to modernize its nuclear arsenal and facilities. This week, more than 150 countries at the United Nations signed a joint statement calling on nuclear powers to attend the third major conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons scheduled this December in Vienna. The United States has yet to attend one of the meetings. We are joined by Elena Sokova, executive director of the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation.
Archive for the ‘No nukes’ Category
You might like my new post on EcoWatch with the new Solartopia/King CONG poster:
A green-powered future is our only hope.
A planet run by King CONG—Coal, Oil, Nukes & Gas—cannot be sustained.
But to get beyond it, our Solartopian vision must embrace more than just a technological transformation.
It also demands social, political and spiritual transcendence …
Dr. Helen Caldicott Tells of Fukushima’s Lethal Toll & Meeting Ronald Reagan
By Harvey Wasserman
She tells us about what’s happening to the renewable industry in Australia, and why Dr. James Hansen needs to reassess his views on atomic energy.
Listen to Dr. Helen Caldicott on the Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show. Photo credit: Heide Smith
“Nuclear Power Plants are cancer factories and bomb factories … because any country that has a nuclear reactor makes 500 pounds of plutonium a year and you need 10 pounds to make an atomic bomb … so the nuclear power industry in this country in its wisdom and in Japan, Canada and elsewhere is selling nuclear reactors as fast as it can … and they will have enough plutonium to make enough atomic bombs for the next half a million years … cause that’s how long the plutonium lasts …,” said Dr. Caldicott.
Then she shared one of modern American history’s most critical episodes. In the early 1980s, during the global campaign for a nuclear freeze, Helen met Patty Davis, the daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Davis figured that Dr. Caldicott might be one of the few people who might reach her father about the dangers of nuclear war.
read the rest at EcoWatch.com…….
… joyous, beautiful, exhilarating, inspiring, life-confirming … and in many ways a turning point.
Now that the dust has settled a bit, we can see that it will change things for a long time to come.
It proved to ourselves and the world that we have a huge, diverse, broad-based movement. And that we can put aside our differences and all get along when we have to.We are our species’ ever-evolving immune system. We are the survival instinct that must defeat the corporate profit motive.
We are also part of a mighty activist stream that’s campaigned for peace, civil rights, social justice, workers’ rights, women’s rights, gay pride, election protection, No Nukes and so much more.
We’ve endured the circular firing squad and want it abolished.
Our hard-earned commitment to non-violence allows for a calm internal space and the great power that emerges from it. So in a diverse movement of good people with very strong opinions, we are learning to cut each other plenty of slack.
But how do we now build on this? What do we do next?
Politically, we operate at two essential levels: the local and the global.
And to stay functional, we need: net neutrality, corporate accountability, election protection, social justice and peace.
1. Local organizing is our ultimate source of power.
The green movement has the great luxury of tangible targets. The King CONG corporations (Coal, Oil, Nukes, Gas) need actual land on which to do their dirty work. So we can fight them inch-by-inch, at the source.
We can count the number of nukes Nixon wanted to build (1,000) and how many we stopped or shut (about 900 in the U.S.; far more worldwide).
We can name scores of reactors that didn’t get built, did get cancelled, are now being shut, will soon be stopped.
There are also mines undrilled, mountaintops not removed, oil rigs not pumping, fracking wells cancelled, polluting factories greenly altered, and much more we’ve beaten quietly, on the ground.
There are also solar panels on rooftops, windmills generating power, electric cars in the pipeline, recycling programs in place, consumption reduced, the overall vision of a green-powered Solartopia becoming ever more tangible.
In this movement, “what can I do?” always has a ready answer: fight the polluter next door. Pick one and shut it down!
So after our joy walk in New York, we return to our letter writing, phone calling, neighborhood speeches, strategy meetings, classroom educating, town council lobbying, around the corner picket lines, civil disobedience, finance-sabotaging, office seeking, rate withholding, fund raising, dog-that-corrupt-politician work.
Some of these fights we may seem to lose, at least for the time being. But it’s never over until we quit, which our survival instinct won’t let us do. A polluter once opened can always be shut if we never give up.
So at the grassroots, we are the individual immune cells that fight toxic industrial poisons and cancerous trash at the source. That’s the revolution that’s not televised…..
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Joyous Giant Climate March Shows How To Win
By Harvey Wasserman | The Rag Blog | September 22, 2014
NEW YORK — The massive People’s Climate March, the most hopeful, diverse, photogenic, energizing, and often hilarious march I’ve joined in 52 years of activism — and one of the biggest, at 400,000 strong — has delivered a simple messagâ€‹e: we can and will rid the planet of fossil fuels and nuclear power, we will do it at the grassroots, it will be demanding and difficult to say the least, but it will also have its moments of great fun.
With our lives and planet on the line, our species has responded.
Ostensibly, this march was in part meant to influence policy makers. That just goes with the territory.
But in fact what it showed was an amazingly broad-based, diverse, savvy, imaginative, and very often off-beat movement with a deep devotion to persistence and cause, and a great flair for fun.
The magic of today’s New York minute was its upbeat diversity, sheer brilliance and
relentless charm.Photo by Heather Craig.
The magic of today’s New York minute was its upbeat diversity, sheer brilliance, and relentless charm. A cross between a political rally and a month at Mardi Gras. There were floats, synchronized dances, outrageous slogans, chants, songs, costumes, marching bands, hugs, parents with their kids, and one very sweaty guy in a gorilla suit.
Above all, there was joy…which means optimism…which means we believe we can win…which is the best indicator we will.
This was a march of the regular citizenry, many come a very long way, at great discomfort and expense, deep into the process of being community organizers, intervenors, plaintiffs, civil disobedients, fundraisers, impromptu speakers, letter writers, and whatever else we might need to us get through this awful corporate disease.
For when push comes to shove — and it has — our Solartopian future will be won one victory at a time.
Oh yes, we will try to influence the policy-makers. The UN, the Obama Administration, the bought-and-rented Congress, the usual suspects.
But we won’t be begging. It needs to be the other way around.
Harvey Wasserman on bus to New York. Photo by
Because what must happen most of all is organizing from the grassroots against each and every polluting power plant, unwanted permit, errant funding scheme, stomach-turning bribe, planet-killing frack well, soon-to-melt reactor, and much much more.
Winning this fight for global survival will be done not with one great triumph over corporate hypocrisy and greed. Instead it’ll require death by a million cuts, with countless small victories won day-to-day at the unseen grassroots. As the man said, this revolution will not be televised.
Manhattan’s flagship march was joined by sibling demonstrations throughout the world.Manhattan’s flagship march was joined by sibling demonstrations throughout the world. By all counts millions of concerned citizens came out to say, loud and clear, that the debate is over:
Climate chaos is a clear and present danger.
It’s caused by “King CONG” — Coal, Oil, Nukes, and Gas.
Photo by Heather Craig.
The corporations that threaten us all must be reorganized and held accountable. Corporate greed is no way to power an economy. Corporate personhood is an unsustainable myth. The corporate profit motive is at war with our survival.
But renewable energy, community-owned and operated, can and will green-power our Earth cleanly and cheaply, bringing jobs, prosperity, ecological balance and, in concert, peace and social justice, without which no green transition is sustainable.
And it will come to us on the wings of focused local campaigns against each and every polluting project, one at a time, through the grueling, endless hard work of an aroused and focused citizenry.
The people I saw, interviewed, and rode in on the bus with (from central Ohio; I got the last seat) are working locally while thinking globally. They are our species’ planetary immune system.
This march said we are now a mature movement with a great sense of mission, diversity and self. We know what the problem is. We know who the perpetrators are. We know what the solutions are, and that they work.
Will it be enough?
Time will tell. We must, as always, fight like hell. It will be hard, to say the least.
But please, along the way, let’s have many more marches like this one.
Here’s a piece about it. At some point, we will re-submit our petitions demanding a global take-over at Fukushima, where the situation is getting even worse. I will have fuller report for you in the coming days.
In the meantime, here’s a piece about the Big March:
LET’S BURY KING C.O.N.G. AT PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH
Thanks….No Nukes/4 Solartopia HarveyW
Since the catastrophic meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in March of 2011 irreparably altered the state of the planet for the known future, the incident has been shrouded in nothing but bureaucratic cover ups and government-backed disinformation. Now, within our own borders, top experts turned whistleblowers are warning of a nuclear nightmare that could surpass Fukushima and Chernobyl alike by leaps and bounds.
Initially listed as a Level 4 incident on the International Nuclear Event Scale, pressure from scientists on an international level ultimately led to Fukushima’s classification as a maximum Level 7 accident within the INES system — with some suggesting an entirely new level was needed to describe the true impact and atrocity of the nuclear meltdown. Now, even after witnessing what happens when a major power plant is placed within the crosshairs of earthquake activity, a ‘new Fukushima’ is sitting off the Central Coast within California’s Diablo Canyon.
And top level nuclear experts, including a senior federal nuclear inspector turned whistleblower, are warning that the California-based plant is a sitting radioactive duck amid the nearby faults that have actually been found to be more dangerous than previously thought. Back in 2008, a new fault known as the Shoreline fault was discovered just offshore from the Diablo Canyon nuclear facility: a discovery that truly changes everything about the ‘safety’ of the California plant.
The whistleblower and former federal inspector of the plant, Michael Peck, has even presented his case highlighting the serious hazards of the plant he used to oversee to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in a highly confidential report. National organizations are already calling attention to Peck’s finding and reports, with senior strategist Damon Moglen of Friends of the Earth International stating:
“We agree with him that Diablo Canyon is vulnerable to earthquakes and must be shut down immediately. Rather than the NRC keeping this a secret, there must be a thorough investigation with public hearings to determine whether these reactors can operate safely.”
Yet it appears that the general public is not even being made aware of what’s really going on, let alone the real threat that they face on a national and international level.As usual, the general public is not being told about ways in which they can prepare themselves for a nuclear meltdown. Instead, government officials were caught back in February stockpiling iodine stores in excess of 14 million doses in a purchase order that came conveniently after reports began surfacing over another possible meltdown at the Fukushima plant. The doses will be enough for many officials and federal employees, however the public will be forced to fend for themselves — and they will not even be told about the necessity of iodine nor how they can better prepare their families for a radioactive scenario.
The reality is that even getting a hold of low quality potassium iodide, which I would not ever personally take over a higher quality form of pure iodine, is becoming difficult as the population becomes aware of Fukushima’s expansive dangers. Many manufacturers are now stockpiling raw iodine and holding on to the element as a form of investment with the knowledge that Fukushima may very well meltdown in the coming months. For this reason, we have had a very hard time securing nascent iodine formulas that many in the field of preparedness have been stockpiling for quite some time.Fukushima Radiation Continues As Experts Warn Of ‘American Fukushima’
But even outside out Peck’s analysis and years of experience as a nuclear inspector at the federal level, numerous high level scientists and researchers have been speaking out about the continuation of Fukushima’s devastating effects and the need to further stabilize and shutdown nuclear plants along the fault lines throughout the United States — and California is not the only region in question. Even another earthquake affecting Japan could lead to the ‘evacuation of North America’, according to scientists David Suzuki.
In statements made during a presentation on water ecology at the University of Alberta, award winning scientist David Suzuki went on record in saying that in the event of another seven or above earthquake, which he says has about a 95% chance of occurring over the next three years, it would require a complete evacuation of North America and mean ‘bye bye Japan’.
“I have seen a paper which says that if in fact the fourth plant goes under in an earthquake and those rods are exposed, it’s bye bye Japan and everybody on the west coast of North America should evacuate,” he said.
Specifically speaking to the nature of Fukushima’s ticking time bomb, Suzuki began the breakdown of the plant’s numerous threats with stating the very real concept that Fukushima is perhaps the largest threat to both humanity and the planet that we face in the immediate future.
“Fukushima is the most terrifying situation I can imagine,” he said before delving into the issue. “Three out of the four plants were destroyed in the earthquake and in the tsunami. The fourth one has been so badly damaged that the fear is, if there’s another earthquake of a seven or above that, that building will go and then all hell breaks loose… And the probability of a seven or above earthquake in the next three years is over 95 per cent.”
And Suzuki is not the only one with major concerns. In fact, Suzuki is perhaps one of the very few who actually received media attention due to his celebrity status as a recipient of 16 significant academic awards and host of the popular CBC Television program entitled ‘The Nature of Things’. Yale University professor Charles Perrow has voiced similar concerns in a telling piece entitled ‘Fukushima Forever’, which highlights the very serious threat of nuclear meltdown as a result of human error when it comes to removing the plant’s spent fuel rods.
A danger that the United States government certainly recognizes as legitimate based on the analysis of top experts, and undoubtedly is silently preparing for behind the scenes.
Much more serious is the danger that the spent fuel rod pool at the top of the nuclear plant number four will collapse in a storm or an earthquake, or in a failed attempt to carefully remove each of the 1,535 rods and safely transport them to the common storage pool 50 meters away. Conditions in the unit 4 pool, 100 feet from the ground, are perilous, and if any two of the rods touch it could cause a nuclear reaction that would be uncontrollable. The radiation emitted from all these rods, if they are not continually cool and kept separate, would require the evacuation of surrounding areas including Tokyo. Because of the radiation at the site the 6,375 rods in the common storage pool could not be continuously cooled; they would fission and all of humanity will be threatened, for thousands of years.
The Fukushima nuclear nightmare is far from over, and even now the disaster is being extremely mishandled and blatantly ignored by plant operator company TEPCO and the Japanese government. In the event of an American Fukushima within California, which would in fact be much more devastating, there is truly no telling how much of a fatal blow would be dealt to humanity.
America’s nuclear reactor fleet moved deeper into middle-aged crisis on Friday when operators decide to shut down two reactors at the troubled San Onofre power plant in California.
They were the third and fourth reactors to be permanently retired this year, underlining the harsh economics facing America’s ageing fleet of nuclear reactors, forced to pay for expensive upkeep at a time of increased competition from cheap natural gas and renewable energy.
The two reactors at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (Songs) in southern California had been off-line since January 2012, after the discovery of a radioactive steam leak in one of the units.
Southern California Edison, which runs the plant, had been pushing to re-start one of the reactors on a limited basis.
But there was strong public opposition, and the risk of legal action after the Democratic Senator, Barbara Boxer, last week asked the Justice Department to investigate the plant.
The former nuclear regulator, Greg Jaczko, further set back prospects for a re-start at San Onofre when he told a nuclear safety conference in San Diego that the idea was “not one that instills tremendous confidence in me”.
On Friday morning, the company said it had decided it was uneconomic to try to stay in operation. “We have concluded that the continuing uncertainty about when or if Songs might return to service was not good for our customers, our investors, or the need to plan for our region’s long-term electricity needs,” Ted Craver, the company’s chief executive said in a statement on Friday..
Boxer said she was “greatly relieved” at the decision.”Modifications to the San Onofre nucler plan were unsafe and posed a danger to the eight million people living within 50 miles of the plant,” she said in a statement.
The decision to shut down Units 2 and 3 reduced the number of licenced reactors to an even 100 – the lowest number in two decades.
The plant had been in operation for 40 years. But age caught up to the plants in January 2012 when operators detected a leak inside a steam generator in Unit 3.
The leak was inside a new steam generator, made by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which had been installed in 2009.
But nuclear experts said maintenance and upkeep of reactors had become increasingly challenging – especially with heightened safety requirements introduced by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.
“Reactors have basically hit their middle-aged crisis. They are through their performance plateau. They are starting to experience ageing issues across the board and maintaining safety is expensive,” said Jim Riccio, a nuclear safety analyst for Greenpeace. “You are having reactors with a lot of ageing problems and the NRC is catching up with problems that hadn’t been fixed for a long time.”
Four nuclear reactors have been shut down so far just this year. In addition to the two reactors at San Onofre, operators permanently retired the Crystal River reactor in Florida in February, after running into significant problems with repairs. The Kewaunee reactor in Washington shut down last month because operators said they could not compete with the prices of natural gas.
A number of other nuclear plants are off-line for repair, such as Fort Calhoun in Nebraska which has been shuttered since April 2011 because of flood risks and other safety problems. Some of those plants, especially those with single reactors, could also be in line for shut-downs by the end of the decade, said David Lochbaum, nuclear safety expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Or as Jaczko the former regulator told the nuclear safety conference earlier this week: “I think it’s time that we need to reconsider prolonging the lifetime of many of these reactors.”
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|OpEdNews Op Eds 8/8/2014 at 11:00:13||
The Marshall Islands were devastated by the U.S. nuclear weapons tests held in the Pacific Proving Grounds. Decades of tests poisoned the atolls, including Castle Bravo, the most powerful and destructive test by the U.S.
(image by Wikipedia Commons)
by Rawan Alkhatib, WAND Intern, Arlington MA
The capacity for human innovation is extraordinary. Our creative feats over a few decades have demonstrated astounding technological advancements that could hardly be imagined a century ago. Many would consider nuclear strength as an achievement that must forever be proudly and positively marked in the history of humankind. However, the complete and indiscriminate destruction as a result of nuclear weapons may lead humankind in the future to wonder, “What were they thinking?” It is a source of shame that we now manufacture tools with the power to exert colossal damage.
Commemorating the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is an important step in confronting this dark moment of American history. The American bombings of these two Japanese cities resulted immediately in a combined 214,000 approximate fatalities, 175,000 serious injuries, hundreds of thousands of deaths and illness from radiation exposure, and total destruction of infrastructure. The rationale behind striking was to minimize further American casualties in World War II. The obvious and horrifying destruction in Japan did nothing to deter the United States’ further nuclear ambitions.
Indeed, after World War II ended, the United States began testing larger and more destructive nuclear weapons in the Marshall Islands, with harmful and long-term consequences. The nuclear tests modified the Marshall Island’s natural topology, leaving lasting ecological damage that cannot be easily resolved. The citizens of the Marshall Islands’ continued exposure to radiation is demonstrating detrimental health risks that are far-reaching. According to one expert, “these tests had an equivalent explosive force greater than 1.5 Hiroshima bombs being detonated daily for 12 years.
Since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the nuclear-armed nations “club” has grown to nine, which can be divided into two groups depending on whether or not a country is party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The NPT, ratified in 1970, aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. The five parties to the NPT are the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China. The remaining four–Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea–are not party to the NPT but, according to a new lawsuit brought by the Republic of the Marshall Islands, are bound by customary international law.
The lawsuit alleges that the previously-mentioned nine countries have failed to live up to their obligations under Article VI of the NPT to take steps toward the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons. The date the lawsuit was filed on April 24, 2014, the tiny Republic of the Marshall Islands demonstrated an impressive act of bravery by taking on these nine nuclear nations.
As the 69th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings approaches, it is essential that we reflect on the lasting consequences of these attacks. Pursuing a world with zero nuclear weapons is one of the best ways to increase security in an increasingly insecure world. As President John F. Kennedy remarked regarding nuclear weapons’ power to cause mass extinction, “And we call ourselves the human race.” Technological progress, no matter to what end, should never supersede morality.
WAND is a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower women to act politically to reduce violence and militarism, and redirect excessive military resources toward unmet human and environmental needs.
Arlington, MA | Washington, DC | Atlanta, GA
|The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.|