Committed to shutting down Diablo Canyon reactors – sunset for nuclear power in California.

Monthly Archives: March 2016

Waiting...waiting... someday it will come... a cargo cult from the 1962 film Mondo Cane

Waiting…waiting… someday it will come… a cargo cult from the 1962 film Mondo Cane

Forgetting Fukushima, Denying Dai-ichi By James Heddle
“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But everyone is not entitled to their own facts.” – Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynahan
Fallout as Blowback As the 5-year anniversary has rolled around it’s clear to all who care to notice that the Fukushima triple meltdown nuclear disaster is still not ‘under control’ – as Prime Minister Abe claimed to the Olympic Committee in his successful bid to host the coming 2020 Games – but is still on-going, and will be far into the future. That is to say, radioactive pollution will continue to pour from Dai-ichi into the oceanic, hemispheric and planetary environment with predictably negative, but unknown, effects on the health and DNA of all life forms in the biosphere. There’s karmic irony here. The U.S. dropped the first devastating atomic bombs on Japan, then used its political influence and propaganda prowess to sell the country nuclear power. Its corporations supplied the faulty reactors that melted down at Fukushima. Now, the U.S. West Coast is on the front line of receiving the radioactive fallout in the form of ongoing oceanic and atmospheric pollution carried eastward by winds and currents. Faith-Based Nuclear Policy According to a recent Cornell University study, there have been nuclear reactor 174 accidents worldwide since 1946. The researchers rate the accidents in 2013 dollars and define an accident as “an unintentional incident or event at a nuclear energy facility that led to either one death (or more) or at least $50,000 in property damage.” Based on their extensive data, they predict • a 50% chance that a Fukushima event (or larger) will occur in the next 50 years • a Chernobyl event (or larger) will occur in the next 27 years • a TMI event (or larger) will occur in the next 10 years. According to a Guardian study, a major nuclear accident has happened on average every 5 years since 1952. Recently, alarmed at the failure of their repeated attempts to go through ‘proper channels,’ seven engineers at America’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) – which then Senator Obama dubbed in 2007 ‘a moribund agency’ – filed a petition as private citizens. They stated that they have identified a long-undiscovered electrical design flaw common to virtually all U.S. nuclear plants that could prevent cooling and allow meltdowns to occur. Their petition asks that the NRC mandate that plant operators either fix the problem or shut down the reactors. Not to mention that twenty-three U.S. reactors share the same design flaws as those that melted down at Fukushima. The obvious take-home lesson: because of the dependence of their cooling systems on off-site power supplies, every nuclear facility, wherever its geographic location, is vulnerable to grid blackouts from cyber attacks and extreme weather events, and constitutes both a potential terrorist weapon-in-place and danger to the entire planet, and should be treated as such by the ‘international community.’ Yet, a New Nuclear Weapons race and a New Nuclear Power race are both currently in progress. Joined at the Hip Nuclear weapons and energy have been joined at the hip from the birth of the Atomic Age. They both rely on the same essential core technology. That’s what the ‘Iran Nuclear Deal’ is all about. That’s why Japan’s current militaristic Abe government being in possession of an estimated 47.8 tons of stock-piled plutonium, with which it could produce 6,000 nuclear weapons, is worrying neighboring countries like China & Japan. Barak Obama began his presidency with the celebrated April 5, 2009 Prague Speech in which he stated “…clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons….” In practice Obama has not only re-invigorated nuclear weapons development, but embraced an ‘all of the above’ energy policy including heavy investments in new nuclear reactor construction and design development. The recipient of an apparently aspirational Nobel Peace Prize, Obama has also committed a projected $1 trillion dollars over the coming decades to upgrading America’s nuclear weapons arsenal. The program is aimed at smaller (and therefore potentially more usable) weapons, and includes new nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles, a new manned bomber for nuclear weapons delivery, and a fleet of new nuclear missile-launching submarines. Termed – with no apparent sense of irony –‘the life-extension program,’ the plans clearly violate U.S. obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). According to respected U.S. officials like former Defense Secretary William Perry, ex-Secretary of State George Schultz and even Henry Kissinger, this is triggering a new nuclear arms race. All four are now advocating nuclear weapons abolition. Perry puts it bluntly, “Today, the danger of a nuclear catastrophe is actually higher than it was during the cold war.” In the domain of nuclear weaponry’s Siamese twin nuclear energy, there are those opinion-maker neo-nuclear luminaries like James Hansen, James Lovelock, Stewart Brand, Bill Gates and George Monbiot who advocate for nuclear energy as a ‘carbon-free solution to climate change.’ Never mind that – as Stanford scientist Mark Jacobson and his associates, as well as others, have conclusively shown – the entire nuclear fuel chain from mine to waste dump is more carbon intensive than wind and solar put together. Their work shows a transition to renewables is totally possible…without nuclear energy. https://thesolutionsproject.org/ Brand and Jacobson debate the issue here. The Atomic Church of the Last Gasp New Nuclearists avoid coming to terms with the risks and failures of the existing world fleet of aging, ill-designed reactors. Some even advocate re-licensing embrittled reactors from the 1960s to extend their operation decades beyond their 40-year design life.) NeoNuclearists believe – without operational proof-of-concept – in a pie-in-the-sky, perpetually not-yet-but-soon-to-be-born generation of ‘new, small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs).’ They will consume and eliminate existing nuclear waste and be so ‘inherently safe’ you can bury them in your back yard. Any day now. The Obama Administration agrees. According to Forbes, at last November’s White House Nuclear Summit, the Administration announced actions to help sustain and finance nuclear energy, including: – $900 million in the Department of Energy’s 2016 budget to support commercial nuclear energy – Supplement DOE’s existing $12.5 billion in loan guarantees for nuclear energy projects – Launch the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN), coordinated by the Idaho National Laboratory, to provide outside researchers access to nuclear energy-related capabilities and expertise within the DOE complex. This is needed to bring advanced nuclear reactor designs to commercialization, at the same time ensuring the continued safe, reliable, and economic operation of the existing nuclear fleet https://gain.inl.gov/SitePages/Home.aspx – Make $2 million available in the form of vouchers to small businesses entrepreneur-led start-ups for assistance in obtaining nuclear know-how from our National Lab system – Provide support to small modular reactor licensing, simulation and control room development for light-water reactors The blind faith with which latter-day nuclear advocates approach the issues of human, ecological and economic risk associated with nuclear technologies, reminds one of the Melanesian millenarian movement called ‘cargo cults,’ in which indigenous tribes, following charismatic figures, built wooden aircraft replicas on mountain tops in the vain hopes – despite repeated failures – to lure down the western cargo planes loaded with commodities they saw flying overhead as portrayed in the 1962 film Mondo Cane. Or, if the definition of ‘insanity’ is: ‘persisting in behavior which consistently fails,’ neo-nuclearism is clearly a form of collective insanity – atomic psychosis. Recovering from Nuclear Delusion The facts of the failure of the nuclear dream are there, for any who are not blinded by ideology or self-interest to see: in addition to its history of totalitarianism, incompetence and global disasters, nuclear energy deployment is plagued by public opposition, investor disinterest, consistently mounting cost and schedule over-runs and dependence on contiminating dwindling water supplies. Energy consultant Amory Lovins sees nuclear energy “dying a slow death from an overdose of market forces.” Futurist Jeremy Rifkin agrees, “From a business perspective, its dead.” Expert witness and nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education puts it succinctly,“nuclear energy is just too expensive and too slow to have an impact on climate change.” Then there’s the energy-weapons-waste connection, the real ‘nuclear triad.’ Not only are nuclear energy and weapons production joined at the hip from birth, but they share a dysfunctional excretory system. Waste Storage From Here to Eternity According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, by the middle of 2015, 30 countries worldwide were operating 438 nuclear reactors for electricity generation and 67 new nuclear plants were under construction in 15 countries. https://www.nei.org/Knowledge-Center/Nuclear-Statistics/World-Statistics An Australian study estimates there are 390,000 tons of high-level nuclear waste in the world, and nearly 10 million cubic meters of intermediate-level waste — all of it produced from nuclear power generation. That amount is growing by approximately 10,000 tons annually. Tons of waste are produced at every stage of the nuclear fuel chain, from uranium mining and enrichment, to reactor operation and the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. Despite over seven decades of trying, no proven location or method of keeping the waste isolated from the environment has yet been found. In addition to thousands of tons of lethal irradiated fuel rods, the inevitable decommissioning of the aging world reactor sites will mean trying to dispose of huge amounts of radioactive metal pipes, concrete and buildings. Thus intense radioactive waste made in production of electricity for 70 years will require monitoring and protection wherever and however it is eventually stored, for hundreds of thousands of years – longer than civilization has yet existed. The 20th century ‘nuclear dream’ of global full-spectrum dominance and energy too cheap to meter has become a 21st century nightmare. It is time to wake up. As retired top U.S. energy administrator S. David Freeman puts it, “We have to kill nuclear power before it kills us.” NeoNuclearists are entitled to their own opinions…but not to their own facts. ====== James Heddle co-directs EON – the Ecological Options Network. He blogs at PlanetarianPerspectives.net. https://www.planetarianperspectives.net/ and NoNukesCA.net He is currently at work on a new documentary SHUTDOWN: The California-Fukushima Connection
Forgetting Fukushima, Denying Dai-ichi By James Heddle
“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But everyone is not entitled to their own facts.” – Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynahan
Fuku the US Fallout as Blowback As the 5-year anniversary rolls around it’s clear to all who care to notice that the Fukushima triple meltdown nuclear disaster is still not ‘under control’ – as Prime Minister Abe claimed to the Olympic Committee in his successful bid to host the coming 2020 Games – but is still on-going, and will be far into the future. That is to say, radioactive pollution will continue to pour into the oceanic, hemispheric and planetary environment with predictably negative, but unknown, effects on the health and DNA of all life forms in the biosphere. There’s karmic irony here. The U.S. dropped the first atomic bombs on Japan, then used its political influence and propaganda prowess to sell the country nuclear power. Its corporations supplied the faulty reactors that melted down at Fukushima. Now, it is on the front line of receiving the fallout in the form of ongoing oceanic and atmospheric pollution carried eastward by winds and currents. Faith-Based Nuclear Policy Despite the obvious take-home lesson – i.e., that every nuclear facility, wherever its geographic location, constitutes a danger to the entire planet, and should be treated as such by the ‘international community’ – a New Nuclear Weapons race and a New Nuclear Power race are both currently in progress. He began his presidency with the celebrated April 5, 2009 Prague Speech in which he stated “…clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons….” In practice Obama has embraced an ‘all of the above’ energy policy including heavy investments in new reactor construction and design development. The recipient of an apparently aspirational Nobel Peace Prize has also committed a projected $1 trillion dollars over the coming decades to upgrading America’s nuclear weapons arsenal. https://www.revealnews.org/article/new-mexico-thrives-on-nuclear-bomb-despite-us-pledge-to-reduce-arsenal/ The program includes new ballistic missiles, a new manned bomber and a fleet of new missile-launching submarines. Termed – with no apparent sense of irony –‘the life-extension program,’ the plans clearly violate U.S. obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). In the domain of nuclear weaponry’s Siamese twin nuclear energy, there are those opinion-maker luminaries like James Hansen, James Lovelock, Stewart Brand, Bill Gates and George Monbiot who advocate for nuclear energy as a ‘carbon-free solution to climate change.’ Never mind that – as Stanford scientist Mark Jacobsen and his associates, as well as others, have conclusively shown – the entire nuclear fuel chain from mine to waste dump is more carbon intensive than wind and solar put together. Their work shows a transition to renewables is totally possible…without nuclear energy. https://thesolutionsproject.org/ The Atomic Church of the Last Gasp Last week, alarmed at the failure of their repeated attempts to go through ‘proper channels,’ seven engineers at America’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) – which President Obama himself has dubbed in 2007 ‘a moribund agency’ – filed a petition as private citizens. They stated that they have identified a long-undiscovered electrical flaw common to virtually all U.S. nuclear plants that could prevent cooling and allow a meltdown to occur. Their petition asks that the NRC mandate that plant operators either fix the problem or shut down the reactors. https://commondreams.org/views/2016/03/10/7-top-nrc-experts-break-ranks-warn-critical-danger-aging-nuke-plants But the New Nuclearists avoid coming to terms with the risks and failures of the existing world fleet of aging, ill-designed reactors. They believe – without operational proof-of-concept – in a pie-in-the-sky, perpetually not-yet-but-soon-to-be-born generation of ‘new, small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs).’ They will consume and eliminate existing nuclear waste and be so ‘inherently safe’ you can bury them in your back yard. Any day now. The blind faith with which latter-day nuclear advocates approach the issues of human, ecological and economic risk associated with nuclear technologies, reminds one of the Melanesian millenarian movement called ‘cargo cults,’ in which indigenous tribes, following charismatic figures, built wooden aircraft replicas on mountain tops in the vain hopes – despite repeated failures – to lure down the western cargo planes loaded with commodities they saw flying overhead. Or, if the definition of ‘insanity’ is: ‘persisting in behavior which consistently fails,’ neo-nuclearism is clearly a form of collective insanity – atomic psychosis. Recovering from Nuclear Delusion The 20th century ‘nuclear dream’ of global full-spectrum dominance and energy too cheap to meter has become a 21st century nightmare. It is time to wake up. As retired top U.S. energy administrator S. David Freeman puts it in a recent interview, “We have to kill nuclear power before it kills us.” [Video interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1R4jc2wlGs The facts of the failure of the nuclear dream are there, for any who are not blinded by ideology or self-interest to see: in addition to its history of totalitarianism, incompetence and global disasters, nuclear energy deployment is plagued by public opposition, investor disinterest, consistently mounting cost and schedule over-runs and dependence on dwindling water supplies. Energy consultant Amory Lovins sees nuclear energy “dying a slow death from an overdose of market forces.” Futurist Jeremy Rifkin agrees, “From a business perspective, its dead.” Then there’s the energy-weapons-waste connection, the real ‘nuclear triad.’ Not only are nuclear energy and weapons production joined at the hip from birth, but they share a dysfunctional excretory system – of which more below. Nine Realities of which Nuclear Millenarians Dare Not Speak Those who advocate for nuclear energy as a response to climate change, or for new nuclear weapons in pursuit of ‘national security,’ must ignore or deny an overwhelming burden of facts from the history and legacy of these nuclear technologies so far. Here are just a few: Genocidal Impacts on Indigenous Peoples • Uranium mining and the deadly radioactive wastes left behind continue to have devastating effects on Native Americans and Aboriginal Australians. In the U.S., thousands of abandoned open pit uranium mines contaminate drinking and irrigation water and the air breathed by tribes across the Great Planes and the Four Corners Area. • Nuclear weapons testing has done lasting genetic and environmental damage to Pacific Islanders in the Marshall Islands and Polynesia. Nuclear Disasters The Guardian lists and ranks 33 serious incidents and accidents at nuclear power stations since the first one was recorded in 1952. Of those, six happened in the US, five in Japan and three apiece in the UK and Russia. That’s an average of nearly 5 per decade. https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/mar/14/nuclear-power-plant-accidents-list-rank#data But a report by Cornell University researchers Spencer Wheatley, Benjamin Sovacool, Didier Sornette entitled Of Disasters and Dragon Kings: A Statistical Analysis of Nuclear Power Incidents & Accidents has a database of 174 accidents worldwide since 1946. They rate the accidents in 2013 dollars and define an accident as “an unintentional incident or event at a nuclear energy facility that led to either one death (or more) or at least $50,000 in property damage.” They conclude
In fact, the damage of the largest event (Fukushima; March, 2011) is equal to 60 percent of the total damage of all 174 accidents in our database since 1946. In dollar losses we compute a 50% chance that (i) a Fukushima event (or larger) occurs in the next 50 years, (ii) a Chernobyl event (or larger) occurs in the next 27 years and (iii) a TMI event (or larger) occurs in the next 10 years. [emphasis added] https://arxiv.org/abs/1504.02380 https://www.technologyreview.com/s/536886/the-chances-of-another-chernobyl-before-2050-50-say-safety-specialists/
US Nuclear Meltdowns There have been 8 nuclear meltdowns so far in the U.S. Contrary to popular belief, the meltdown at Three Mile Island was not the worst. That dubious honor goes to the little-reported July 12, 1959 meltdown at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory located a couple of miles from the city of Simi Valley and only about 30 miles north of Los Angeles. The radioactive contamination of the surrounding communities and environment from that event have yet to be fully acknowledged or dealt with. One of the companies involved was Southern California Edison, the major owner of San Onofre. https://www.truth-out.org/news/item/20975-remembering-rocketdyne-discussing-americas-worst-nuclear-meltdown-not-three-mile-island-with-erin-brockovich Nuclear Weapons Incidents As part of his research for his book on the nuclear arms race, Command and Control – Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, Eric Schlosser used the Freedom of Information Act to discover that at least 700 “significant” accidents and incidents involving 1,250 nuclear weapons were recorded between 1950 and 1968 alone. The Business Insider has a useful interactive site based on Rudolph Herzog’s A Short History of Nuclear Folly on which you can track 32 nuclear weapons accidents since 1950. https://www.businessinsider.com/list-of-broken-arrow-nuclear-accidents-2013-5 In its Status of World Nuclear Forces, the Federation of American Scientists reports the existence of
approximately 15,350 warheads as of early-2016. Of these, more than 10,000 are in the military stockpiles (the rest are awaiting dismantlement), of which almost 4,200 warheads are deployed with operational forces, of which nearly 1,800 US, Russian, British and French warheads are on high alert, ready for use on short notice. Approximately 93 percent of all nuclear warheads are owned by Russia and the United States who each have roughly 4,500-4,700 warheads in their military stockpiles. https://fas.org/issues/nuclear-weapons/status-world-nuclear-forces/
Former U.S. Sec. of Defense, William J. Perry says the situation is even worse:
“Today we still have over 20 thousand real world nuclear weapons. Enough to blow up everybody on the planet several times over. Those weapons pose the immediate problem of a danger of terrorism, the immediate problem of the possibility of nuclear war. “The antagonism between Russia and the United States has reached a point now where I believe we are on the brink of a new nuclear arms race. It breaks my heart. “Today, the danger of a nuclear catastrophe is actually higher than it was during the cold war. Let me say that again…” https://www.planetarianperspectives.net/?p=2741
The Documented Human Death Toll From Chernobyl In 2013, the book Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment was published by the New York Academy of Sciences. Its lead author was the celebrated Russian biologist Dr. Alexey Yablokov, former environmental advisor to the Russian president. Based on some 5,000 health data, radiological surveys and scientific reports in several languages, it concludes based on records now available, 985,000 people died, mainly of cancer, as a result of the 1986 Chernobyl accident between when the accident occurred and 2004. It projects that more deaths will continue follow. It blows away the specious claim by the International Atomic Energy Agency – whose mission is to promote nuclear energy – that the expected death toll from the Chernobyl accident will be 4,000. The book shows that the IAEA is seriously under-estimating, in the extreme, the casualties of Chernobyl – good reason to doubt its pronouncements on Fukushima. https://www.globalresearch.ca/new-book-concludes-chernobyl-death-toll-985-000-mostly-from-cancer/20908 Health Impacts on U.S. Nuclear Workers Irradiated, a December, 2015 McClatchy investigative report by Bob Hotakainen, Lindsay Wise, Frank Matt and Samantha Ehlinger, reveals that 70 years of U.S. atomic weaponry production has so far left at least 33,480 Americans dead, with more to come. https://media.mcclatchydc.com/static/features/irradiated/ A recent study by an international team of nine researchers looked at 308,297 workers in the nuclear industry from France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Of 66,632 known deaths by the end of the study, 17,957 were due to solid cancers. The authors report “the risk per unit of radiation dose for cancer among radiation workers was similar to estimates derived from studies of Japanese atomic bomb survivors.” They conclude that their results “suggest a linear increase in the rate of cancer with increasing radiation exposure.” Translation: There is no ‘safe’ dose of nuclear radiation. https://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h5359 Environmental & Biological Impacts of Nuclear Disasters For years, evolutionary biologist Dr. Timothy Mousseau of the University of South Carolina, has been studying the impacts of both the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters on animals and plants in the contaminated regions. Studies published by Mousseau and Anders Møller of the Université Paris-Sud, and their collaborators detail the effects of ionizing radiation on pine trees and birds and small animals in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. “When you look for these effects, you find them,” says Mousseau. He adds that, mirroring Chernobyl results, “A growing body of empirical results from studies of birds, monkeys, butterflies, and other insects suggests that some species have been significantly impacted by the radioactive releases related to the Fukushima disaster,” Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2014-08-biological-effects-fukushima-insects-animals.html#jCp https://phys.org/news/2013-08-viewing-fukushima-cold-chernobyl.html#jCp https://phys.org/news/2013-08-viewing-fukushima-cold-chernobyl.html#nRlv https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xnj5QYBzLs DNA and Genetic Damage from DU weapons U.S. wars in Former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and perhaps in other places as well, have seen the extensive use of so-called ‘depleted uranium’ ammunition -uranium armor penetrators. The super hard metal projectiles, fired from tanks and aircraft, can pierce the armor of tanks and combat vehicles, volatizing into deadly toxic particles that enter the bodies of all combatants and members of the surrounding populations. U.S. and NATO soldiers returning from the wars sicken and contaminate their loved ones. The populations forced to live in permanently contaminated former battle zones suffer chronic health problems and wide-spread genetic deformities that will be passed down through the generations. https://www.bollyn.com/depleted-uranium/ https://stgvisie.home.xs4all.nl/PentagonPoison.html Waste Storage From Here to Eternity An Australian study estimates there are 390,000 tons of high-level nuclear waste in the world, and nearly 10 million cubic meters of intermediate-level waste — all of it produced from nuclear power generation. That amount is growing by approximately 10,000 tons annually. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-15/sa-nuclear-waste-dump-to-meet-‘global-need’-recommended/7167412 It is produced at every stage of the nuclear fuel chain, from uranium mining and enrichment, to reactor operation and the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. Despite over seven decades of trying, no proven location or method of keeping the waste isolated from the environment has yet been found. According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, by the middle of 2015, 30 countries worldwide were operating 438 nuclear reactors for electricity generation and 67 new nuclear plants were under construction in 15 countries. https://www.nei.org/Knowledge-Center/Nuclear-Statistics/World-Statistics The inevitable decommissioning of the aging world reactor fleet will create huge amounts of radioactive wastes. Once they are closed down, most of the world’s nuclear sites will require monitoring and protection for centuries. Wherever and however it is eventually stored, most of the waste will remain hazardous for hundreds of thousands of years – longer than civilization has yet existed. I rest my case. Neo-Nuclearists are entitled to their own opinions…but not to their own facts. ============= James Heddle Co-Directs EON – the Ecological Options Network. He is currently at work on a new documentary SHUTDOWN – The California-Fukushima Connection
clip_image001 Guest Blog by Jackie Cabasso from Europe The first round of oral arguments in the Marshall Islands lawsuits against the nuclear-armed states in the International Court of Justice are coming to a close today. Friday, 11 March (the 5th anniversary of the start of the Fukushima disaster), from 3 – 6 pm in The Hague, Netherlands, the Marshall Islands will rebut the arguments made by the United Kingdom on Wednesday, 9 March. The Marshall Islands contends that the nuclear-armed nations are in violation of their obligation to disarm under Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and customary international law. In April 2014 the Marshall Islands filed lawsuits against all nine nuclear-armed states. Regrettably, the United States, Russia, China, France, Israel and North Korea do not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ and are ignoring the cases brought against them. Preliminary procedural arguments began on Monday 7 March in the International Court of Justice, with the Marshall Islands presenting oral arguments in its case against India. On Tuesday 8 March, the Marshall Islands presented its case against Pakistan. Unfortunately, just a few days before the scheduled hearing, Pakistan made it known to the Court that it would not participate in the oral proceedings. On Wednesday, 9 March, the United Kingdom presented its defense against the Marshall Islands case. And on Thursday, 10 March, India responded to the Marshall Islands claims. On Friday, 11 March the Marshall Islands will respond to the UK. To get a feel for the hearings watch this short video from the BBC: The Marshall Islands takes three world nuclear powers to court The second round of arguments will begin on Monday 14 March, when the Marshall Islands will respond to India, and the UK will respond to the Marshall Islands. On Wednesday 16 March India will respond to the Marshall Islands and the Marshall Islands will respond to the UK. The International Court of Justice is the judicial branch of the United Nations. It is the highest, most authoritative court in the world on questions of international law. While these hearings concern preliminary issues as to whether the cases are suitable for adjudication on the merits, the substance of the cases is coming up in various ways. I am in The Hague, working with Rick Wayman of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation to support the Marshall Islands by doing media outreach and social media. Here’s how you can learn about and follow the hearings from wherever you are. · Sign up to receive our daily updates: https://www.wagingpeace.org/sign-up-to-get-daily-email-updates-from-the-hague/ · Read our daily updates from the hearings at https://www.pressenza.com/ · Follow me on and Rick Wayman on Twitter @JackieCabasso and @RickWayman, and retweet. We are live tweeting, using the hashtag #NuclearZero · Like and share our Facebook posts at https://www.facebook.com/WesternStatesLegalFoundation/ https://www.facebook.com/wagingpeace · Watch the hearings for yourself. Video webcasts are being broadcast live at https://www.icj-cij.org/homepage/index.php and posted on the International Court of Justice website at: www.icj-cij.org/multimedia · Read the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s March 2 press release at https://www.wagingpeace.org/oral-hearings-on-the-marshall-islands-nuclear-disarmament-cases-to-begin-at-the-international-court-of-justice. · For more information about the cases see www.nuclearzero.org. If you’re in nearby Europe, please consider coming to The Hague to support the Marshall Islands by your presence in the courtroom. Three press releases issued by the ICJ (one for each of the cases) provide the hearing schedule and admission procedures to the court. There is no advance registration procedure. · Marshall Islands v. United Kingdom https://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/160/18888.pdf · Marshall Islands v. India https://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/158/18884.pdf · Marshall Islands v. Pakistan https://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/159/18886.pdf clip_image003 SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday 12 March, 4:00 pm: Humanity House, The Hague Nuclear Weapons at the International Court of Justice Please join us for this free public event about the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits. At this event, members of the legal team representing the Marshall Islands at the International Court of Justice will discuss the importance of the lawsuits. Speakers include: o Tony de Brum (co-agent of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and former RMI Foreign Minister); o Phon van den Biesen (co-agent of the Republic of the Marshall Islands); o John Burroughs (Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy); and o Laurie Ashton (Keller Rohrback LLP). The event is free and open to the public. It is co-sponsored by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Soka Gakkai International, PAX, International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, and Humanity House. For more information click here — Jacqueline Cabasso Executive Director Western States Legal Foundation Working for Peace & Justice in a Nuclear Free World www.wslfweb.org www.disarmamentactivist.org www.facebook.com/WesternStatesLegalFoundation Twitter@JackieCabasso
Byron Nuclear Power Plant

Byron Nuclear Power Plant

After four years of increasingly tense internal discussion, seven Nuclear Regulatory Commission engineers have formally petitioned the governing Commissioners to either order the nation’s nuclear power plants to immediately correct a design flaw governing their reactor cooling systems or order them all to shut down. The flaw is in the original design of the electrical system, and has escaped notice for decades. According to the engineers’ petition, as well as a series of staff analyses on file at the NRC, the design flaw occurs in what is called a “single phase” condition in which little or no electricity is entering the plant to operate its backup cooling systems in the event of a blackout or other event cutting off power from the grid. The result is that the motors of backup generators are underpowered and this can cause their motors to burn out. When that happens, there is no way to keep the reactor core cool. The seven members of the Electrical Engineering Branch in the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, led by Acting Chief Roy K. Mathew, stated in the petition that “the staff determined that all nuclear facilities are susceptible to this design vulnerability except one plant, and recommended that the NRC take prompt regulatory action.” As a result, the petition states, if the plants are not ordered to immediately redesign their electrical systems then the Commissioners should “issue Orders to immediately shutdown the operating nuclear power plants since the licensees are operating their facilities without addressing the significant design deficiency…and with inoperable electric power systems….” The situation evolved from an unplanned shutdown in January 30, 2012 in Unit 2 of the Byron Station Nuclear Power Plant in Illinois. At the time, it was thought that the shutdowns resulted from a string of unfortunate coincidences. But further examination by the NRC’s electrical engineering branch found something more alarming. Read more
Jacqueline Cabasso Executive Director, Western States Legal Foundation with other campaigners at The Hague.

Jacqueline Cabasso
Executive Director, Western States Legal Foundation with other campaigners at The Hague.

Guest Blog from Jackie Cabasso in Europe From 1948 – 1956 the United States detonated 67 nuclear weapons test explosions over the Marshall Islands, a tiny nation in the South Pacific. During this period, the equivalent of 1.7 Hiroshima-sized bombs were detonated daily. Several islands were vaporized, others will remain uninhabitable for thousands of years. Many Marshallese died, babies were born with birth defects never seen before, and residents of the islands are still battling with cancers and other radation related diseases. From March 7 – 16 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, the judicial branch of the United Nations, will hear oral arguments in the Marshall Islands’ cases against the UK, India and Pakistan.* The cases concern whether the UK is complying with Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and whether India and Pakistan are complying with what the Marshall Islands contends, building on the 1996 ICJ opinion, is a customary international law obligation to pursue negotiations in good faith on nuclear disarmament, including cessation of the nuclear arms race. Tony DeBrum, former Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands will be making opening statements on behalf of the Marshall Islands on Monday and Tuesday. These hearings concern preliminary issues as to whether the cases are suitable for adjudication on the merits. While the cases will concern preliminary issues, the substance of the cases will certainly come up in various ways. I will be in The Hague, working with Rick Wayman of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation to support the Marshall Islands by doing media outreach and social media. Here’s how you can follow the hearings from wherever you are. · Sign up to receive Rick’s daily updates: https://www.wagingpeace.org/sign-up-to-get-daily-email-updates-from-the-hague/ · Follow me on Twitter @JackieCabasso and retweet. I’ll be live tweeting, using the hashtag #NuclearZero · Like and share my Facebook posts at https://www.facebook.com/WesternStatesLegalFoundation/ · Watch the hearings for yourself. Video webcasts will broadcast live and posted on the International Court of Justice website at: www.icj-cij.org/multimedia · Read the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s March 2 press release at https://www.wagingpeace.org/oral-hearings-on-the-marshall-islands-nuclear-disarmament-cases-to-begin-at-the-international-court-of-justice. · For more information about the cases see www.nuclearzero.org. If you’re in nearby Europe, please consider coming to The Hague to support the Marshall Islands by your presence in the courtroom. Three press releases issued by the ICJ (one for each of the cases) provide the hearing schedule and admission procedures to the court. There is no advance registration procedure. · Marshall Islands v. United Kingdom https://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/160/18888.pdf · Marshall Islands v. Pakistan https://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/159/18886.pdf · Marshall Islands v. India https://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/158/18884.pdf Please help spread the word. WE STAND WITH THE MARSHALL ISLANDS: NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT HEROES! *You may be wondering why only three cases only are going forward. In April 2014 the Marshall Islands filed lawsuits against all 9 nuclear-armed states. Regrettably, the United States, Russia, China, France, Israel and North Korea do not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ and are ignoring the cases brought against them. — Jacqueline Cabasso Executive Director Western States Legal Foundation Working for Peace & Justice in a Nuclear Free World www.wslfweb.org www.disarmamentactivist.org www.facebook.com/WesternStatesLegalFoundation Twitter@JackieCabasso