"We have a right to know the whole truth": new radionuclide testing ordered in Ohio 

The Department of Energy has hired a private company to test for radionuclides at homes and schools within six miles of a shuttered nuclear facility in Ohio following discovery of contamination at a nearby school earlier this year.

Discovery of radiological contamination at Zahn's Corner Middle School three miles from the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion facility prompted relocation of its students to different schools and national news coverage of the issue.

Orignial testing found trace amounts of radionuclides of plutonium, neptunium, americium and uranium at the school. Research indicates that DOE decommissioning activities at Portsmouth are responsible for spread of radioactive materials offsite.

While the DOE will pay for radiological testing, they will not fund testing for chemical contamination, which is also a concern, claiming cost is the reason. Pike County where the diffusion facility is located already has a cancer rate 10 percent higher than the national average and incidents of childhood disease had sparked concern over radiation exposure even before the revelatory tests at Zahn's Corner.

"Vina Colley, 72, a resident who worked at the plant as an electrician for several years, said she has developed health issues. She believes the federal government should pay to test for toxic chemicals as well as radiological contaminants." More.


Typhoon re-releases radioactive contamination from Fukushima  

"p-JPN0728" by IFRC is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Typhoon Hagibis struck Japan on October 12 and to date is responsible for at least 74 deaths. Hagibis flood waters also swelled and stirred contaminated mud from rivers; washed down radioactive soil and water from mountains and forests into inhabited towns and villages; and carried off bags of radioactive debris from Fukushima, emptying their contents into river waters. 

Typhoon Hagibis has revealed, yet again, how incompatible nuclear is with nature; how untenable managing the radioactive remnants of nuclear technology can be; and how nuclear catastrophes leave a continuing legacy of contamination, insecurity and threat. More


Longtime anti-nuclear campaigner, Martin Forwood

Martin Forwood, who with his partner Janine Allis-Smith, was the stalwart watchdog on the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing facility in his home region of Cumbria, UK, has died of cancer, age 79. Paul Brown, writing in The Guardian, best sums up Forwood's approach in the lead to his obituary:

"For 30 years Martin Forwood, who has died of cancer aged 79, was a thorn in the side of the huge Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria. With his unrivalled collection of original documents on the nuclear industry he was a more reliable source of information to journalists and campaigners than the government-owned industry British Nuclear Fuels, or anyone in Whitehall.

But Martin was not just an armchair campaigner; he went in for many imaginative direct actions, including, in 2003, chaining himself to a railway line to halt a nuclear waste shipment from Italy destined for Sellafield. When he came up in court charged with a Victorian-era offence of obstructing the railway, which carried a potential sentence of life imprisonment, the judge acknowledged his sincerity, reduced the charge and fined him.

Afterwards he collected some radioactive mud from the Esk estuary near Sellafield, fashioned it into something resembling a mud pizza and delivered it in a lead-lined suitcase to the Italian embassy in London. It was taken away by the Environment Agency, which tested it, found it was indeed radioactive and eventually, forced by its own regulations, returned it to Sellafield to be disposed of in the Drigg low level waste depository.

On another occasion, donning a wetsuit on a dark night, Martin swam out to a nuclear waste ship anchored in Barrow harbour, fixing industrial magnets to the keel to show how vulnerable the ship was to terrorist attack. Next day he rang the harbour master to tell him about his action and navy divers removed the magnets. Security was stepped up but Martin was never charged; he suspected the authorities were too embarrassed to take things any further."

We ran a story about Martin and Janine in July 2018 on our Beyond Nuclear International website. Read it here.
Headline photo of Martin Forwood and Janine Allis-Smith by Daniel Zylbersztajn. 

"Democracy requires civil disobedience." Howard Zinn

On the eve of the latest Plowshares trial -- the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 trial begins in Brunswick, GA on October 21 -- it's worth remembering -- and reviewing, historian Dr. Howard Zinn's briliant testimony on behalf of the AVCO Plowhares 7 during their trial in 1983. He concludes by observing that "The only way democracy can be restored in the area of foreign policy is if the American people assert themselves in various ways. Civil disobedience is not something outside the realm of democracy. Democracy requires civil disobedience. Without civil disobedience, democracy does not exist.



"Mobile Chernobyl" high-level radioactive waste shipping routes to Yucca Mountain, NV

During the "Beyond Nuclear" segment on Sputnik International's "Loud & Clear" today, the issue of high risk "Mobile Chernobyl" high-level radioactive waste (irradiated nuclear fuel) shipping routes to Yucca Mountain, NV was discussed.

See the road and rail routes here (see 2017 documents). Elsewhere at that same link is the State of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects' decades-long repository of scholarship on this issue.

And see the potential waterway/barge shipment routes, posted here.