Annals of Nuclear Resistance

Peace and Planet Mobilization April 26, 2015
Photo courtesy of Libero Della Piana - used by permission
From the Ban the Bomb movement to peace and planet summer, for seven decades people have resisted the menace of nuclear weapons that overshadow life on planet Earth.

This blog is dedicated to stories of protest and resistance, calls for nuclear disarmament, remembering those who have made and do make significant contributions to peace.

These are extraordinary stories. It has been an honor and privilege to recruit the material for the blog as a United for Peace and Justice project for Nuclear-Free Future Month and Peace and Planet Summer.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

U.N. Discusses Nuclear Weapons Ban

On December 16, 2016 a Resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the United Nations to discuss banning nuclear weapons.

None of the nuclear weapons states voted for the resolution, effectively isolating themselves from the rest of the world which seeks to ban these genocidal/ecocidal weapons by pushing (forcing?) the nuclear nations to live up to their treaty obligations under the NPT to disarm.

Meetings at the U.N. will be held March 27 to 31,  and June 15 to July 7, 2017 and a Women's March to Ban the Bomb is scheduled for June 17th in New York City.

Fukushima Six Years On

from Counterpunch magazine - March 2017

by John LaForge

March 11 marked the 6th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear reactor disaster: the 2011 meltdown of three large power reactors on the Pacific Coast of Japan—Fukushima Daiichi—following a staggering 9.0 magnitude earthquake— the biggest in recorded Japanese history—and its 50-foot tsunami. The “station blackout” or total loss of electric power and cooling in six reactors, and the consequent hydrogen explosions and uncontrolled overheating and “melt-through” of three reactors, has resulted in the most devastating and complicated radiation catastrophe in history.

Fukushima is regularly misreported as less drastic than the singe-reactor catastrophe at Chernobyl, in Ukraine, in 1986. But France’s Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety, reported five years ago that Fukushima was already the biggest single spill of man-made radioactive ma- terials into to the marine environment ever seen or recorded. At least 300 tons of highly contaminated runoff have poured daily into the Pacific ever since.

Dr. Helen Caldicott says in the documentary short Fukushima: Beyond Urgent, that aired Feb. 13 says, “Japan is by orders of magnitude many times worse than Chernobyl.” In Crisis Without End (2014), Caldicott warned: “The Fukushima disaster is not over and will not end for many millennia. The radioactive fallout, which has covered vast swaths of Japan, will remain toxic for hundreds of thousands of years. It cannot simply be ‘cleaned up,’ and it will continue to contaminate food, humans, and animals.”

The disaster of “Fukushima squared” (earthquake + tsunami + station blackout, times three melted reactor cores) was caused by deliberate decisions made by General Electric, Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the government: to build reac- tors in earthquake zones; to place emergency back-up gener- ators in flood-prone basements; and to ignore long-standing warnings about inadequate seawall protection.

For these reasons, Nukewatch never calls what’s happened at Fukushima an accident. Rather, we believe with Mayor Tamotsu Baba, of the town of Namie, who said in August 2011 that his “people were unnecessarily exposed....” and that the government’s withholding of warnings about radioactive fallout was comparable to “murder.”

Radiation-caused illnesses, cancers and fatalities that result from reactor disasters (Windscale in England, Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, Chernobyl in Ukraine, and Fukushima) are scientifically predictable and known in advance. Researcher Arnie Gunderson noted two years ago that “Two reports recently released in Japan, one by Japanese medical professionals and the second from Tokyo Electric Power Corp., acknowledged that there will be numerous cancers in Japan, much greater than normal, due to the ra-dioactive discharges from the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi... I believe, as do many of my colleagues, that there will be at least 100,000 and as many as one million more cancers in Japan’s future as a result of this meltdown... The second report received from Japan proves that the incidence of thyroid cancer is approximately 230 times higher than normal in Fukushima Prefecture... So what’s the bottom line? The cancers already occurring in Japan are just the tip of the iceberg. I’m sorry to say that the worst is yet to come.”

Japanese authorities now overseeing Fukushima’s disaster response are pressuring citizens to live in or return to areas that are contaminated with up to four times the annual ra- diation exposure allowed in similarly contaminated areas around Chernobyl. Thousands of Japanese incinerators are burning thousands of tons of contaminated debris collected in clean-up efforts—spreading radiation to the winds; and millions of tons of related debris will reportedly be used in road construction throughout Japan, exposing highway workers and nearby residents to long-term radiation risks.

On this somber anniversary, we remember the 19,000 people killed by the tsunami, the 160,000 evacuees who fled radiation zones contaminated by wreckage, and the infants, children and parents who endlessly endure examinations and treatments for thyroid problems stemming from the disaster.

The total cost of decommissioning the destroyed reactor complex and providing compensation to victims has repeat- edly doubled. A December 2016 estimate puts the cost at $250 billion.

The Japan Times reported this February that “Scientists still don’t have all the information they need for a cleanup that the government estimates will take four decades..... It is not yet known if the fuel melted into or through the containment vessel’s concrete floor, and determining the fuel’s radioac- tivity and location is crucial to inventing the technology to remove the melted fuel.”

According to Dr. Shuzo Takemoto, a professor of Geophysics at Kyoto University, “The problem of Unit 2... If it should encounter a big earth tremor, it will be destroyed and scatter the remaining nuclear fuel and its debris, making the Tokyo metropolitan area uninhabitable. The Tokyo Olympics in 2020 will then be utterly out of the question.”

Dr. Caldicott wrote this February, “should there be an earthquake greater than 7 on the Richter scale, it is very pos- sible that ... structures could collapse, leading to a massive release of radiation as the building falls on the molten core[s] beneath.”

“Voluntary” evacuees to lose housing support
Some 27,000 so-called “voluntary evacuees”—people who fled their homes in areas beyond mandatory evacuation zones after the disaster began—were to lose their six-year-old housing subsidies at the end of March, 2017.

Thousands of Japanese, warry of government assurances that radiation was limited to official exclusion zones, chose to leave their homes. Many families reported suffering health problems beyond the officially contaminated area, including nose bleeds and nausea.

A local Fukushima Prefecture government spokesman told the news agency AFP that areas not covered by the original evacuation orders have been deemed safe, so housing subsi- dies were no longer necessary. “The environment is safe for leading a normal life and that means we are no longer in a position to provide temporary housing,” he told AFP.

Greenpeace has said “This amounts to economic coercion of those individuals and families that are victims of a nuclear disaster they had no part in creating. The group called on the Japanese government to cease its return policy, provide full financial support to evacuees, and “allow citizens to decide whether to return or relocate free from duress.”

Groundwater from the mountains behind Fukushima gushes into the quake-smashed reactor foundations, pours over the melted fuel and becomes highly contaminated. This water then runs to the Pacific Ocean which is undergoing the largest radiation dump in recorded history.

A deeply trenched and drilled underground wall of ice that was supposed to divert ground water away from the reac- tors failed. Nuclear Engineering International reported last August 23 that according to experts, “little or no success was recorded in the wall’s ability to block the groundwater and the amount reaching the buildings has not changed after the wall was built.”

The Pacific covers more than 30% of the Earth’s surface, and with a surface area of more 62 million square miles, its basin is larger than the landmass of all the continents combined.

Part of the reason that whole-sea contamination can result from Fukushima was revealed last February when radiation gauges for the first time got near the melted fuel.

What the Tepco called “astounding” and “unimaginable” levels of radiation were recorded in January and February inside reactor 1. The radiation reading 530 sieverts per hour in January and 650 sieverts/hr on Feb. 9, Tepco said.
News accounts first called this a “spike” in radiation levels, since the highest reading even during the disaster’s first days was 73 sieverts/hr.

The Washington Post reported that Azby Brown of the citizen science group Safecast, said “It doesn’t necessarily signify any alarming change in radiation levels at Fukushima. It’s simply the first time they’ve been measured that far inside the reactor.”
On Safecast’s website, Brown wrote: “While 530 Sv/hr is the highest measured so far at Fukushima Daiichi, it does not mean that levels there are rising.” Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear also said “The 530 sieverts or 53,000 rems per hour has probably been there the whole while since March 2011.”

Further, the 530 sievert reading was taken some distance from the melted fuel, so the actual lever could be 10 times higher than recorded, according to Hideyuki Ban, of Japan’s Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center, who spoke to the Washington Post.

Dr. Caldicott writes that “These facts illustrate why it will be almost impossible to ‘decommission’ units 1, 2 and 3 as no one could ever be exposed to such extreme radiation.”

Exposure to just one sievert is enough to result in infer- tility, hair loss and cataracts. According to the National Institute of Radiological Sciences, a mere four sieverts can kill a person.

John LaForge is a co-director of Nukewatch.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Cambridge, MA City Council Unanimous Vote to Divest Pension Funds from Nuclear Weapons Production

As the US and other nuclear nations move to modernize their nuclear weapons at a cost of $4 million/hour over the next 30 years (instead of fulfilling treaty obligations to disarm under Article VI of the NPT) a new international campaign is being waged called Don't Bank on the Bomb.

With prominent scientists including Stephen Hawking saying: "If you want to slow the nuclear arms race, then put your money where your mouth is and don't bank on the bomb!" this campaign has already taken off in Europe with more than 50 large institutions limiting their investments in companies involved in manufacturing nuclear weapons.

With the Cambridge City Council unanimous vote, peace activists hope that the campaign will take off across the US  to let the corporations know that people do not want these weapons developed and modernized, as Mayor Denise Simmons said, when announcing the vote: "Not in our name!"

Read more about the campaign:

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Another kind of Nuclear Security Summit: The Marshall Islands vs. the Nuclear-Armed States

09.04.2016 - The Hague, The Netherlands Pressenza Budapest

Another kind of Nuclear Security Summit: The Marshall Islands vs. the Nuclear-Armed States
A 21 kiloton underwater nuclear weapons effects test, known as Operation CROSSROADS (Event Baker), conducted at Bikini Atoll (1946). (Image by U.S. Army Photographic Signal Corps)

By Jacqueline Cabasso
The recent Nuclear Security Summit hosted by President Obama in Washington, DC generated a goodly amount of hype, including some well-deserved criticism of its narrow focus on securing civilian highly enriched uranium (HEU) and other modest, voluntary steps aimed at preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons-useable nuclear and radiological materials. The Summit was silent on the huge stocks of HEU and plutonium in military programs and the more than 15,000 existing nuclear weapons possessed by States, including the Summit’s host – the only country that has used nuclear weapons in war.
Another kind of nuclear security summit took place last month in The Hague, as the tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands took on three nuclear-armed giants before the highest court in the world. Hubris and hypocrisy on one side, courage and vision on the other were on global display.
In April 2014, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) initiated proceedings in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against all nine nuclear-armed nations, the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea, contending that each of them is in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and/or customary international law to end the nuclear arms race and to engage in negotiations on nuclear disarmament.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Accidental Nuclear War: A Timeline of Close Calls

The Future of Life Institute has put together a timeline of "nuclear close calls" that you can see at the link below:

No to the Trident nuclear submarine renewal

As reported in the Guardian newspaper, tens of thousands of people gathered in central London for an anti-nuclear weapons protest on Saturday, February 27, 2016.

Parliament is considering renewing the Trident submarine at a cost of more than £100 billion.  Speakers at the rally included actress Vanessa Redgrave and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

U.S. peace organizations including United for Peace and Justice sent messages of solidarity.