Entries by admin (2104)


Star Wars Redux

The Space Force plan once more promoted by the White House, prompted our column on Beyond Nuclear International this week. We quoted nukes in space expert, Karl Grossman, also a Beyond Nuclear board member, in our piece. Here is Grossman's article, appearing today on Counterpunch, covering this issue in depth. He begins:

"If Donald Trump gets his way on formation of a Space Force, the heavens would become a war zone. Inevitably, there would be military conflict in space.

The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 which designates space as the global commons to be used for peaceful purposes—and of which Russia and China, as well as the United States, are parties—and the years of work facilitating the treaty since would be wasted.

If the U.S. goes up into space with weapons, Russia and China, and then India and Pakistan and other countries, will follow.

Moreover space weaponry, as I have detailed through the years in my writings and TV programs, would be nuclear-powered—as Reagan’s Star Wars scheme was to be with nuclear reactors and plutonium systems on orbiting battle platforms providing the power for hypervelocity guns, particle beams and laser weapons.

This is what would be above our heads.

Amid the many horrible things being done by the Trump administration, this would be the most terribly destructive." Read the full article.


Environmental coalition urges Congress to defund environmentally unjust nuke waste dumps

As fast and furious congressional votes on annual appropriations regarding energy-related matters take place on Capitol Hill, Beyond Nuclear has joined with scores of allied environmental and environmental justice organizations in urging the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to stop funding for both the Yucca Mountain, Nevada permanent burial dump scheme, as well as the de facto permanent, surface storage, "parking lot dumps" targeted at the New Mexico/Texas borderlands. These commercial irradiated nuclear fuel dump schemes have long targeted low income, and/or people of color communities: Western Shoshone Indian land at Yucca Mountain, NV; and already heavily polluted (from fossil fuel and nuclear industries) Hispanic communities near the Holtec/Eddy-Lea [Counties] Energy Alliance, NM, and Waste Control Specialists, LLC, TX so-called "centralized interim storage facilities" (CISFs). In fact, Holtec International's previous attempt at "temporary storage" for highly radioactive waste ("Private Fuel Storage, LLC," or PFS) was targeted at the tiny, low income Skull Valley Goshutes Indian Reservation in Utah, blocked by a tireless nationwide EJ coalition campaign, led by Skull Valley traditionals Margene Bullcreek and Sammy Blackbear. In fact, southeast NM has previously been targeted for a CISF, at the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation, but traditionals Rufina Marie Laws and Joe Geronimo led the successful opposition that blocked it. The nuclear establishment -- the nuclear power industry itself, Congress, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), etc. -- has long been guilty of "radioactive racism," targeting scores of Native American reservations and lands for such dumps, but thus far have been blocked by traditionals like Grace Thorpe of the Sauk and Fox Reservation in Oklahoma.

What can you do to help stop such environmentally unjust radioactive waste dumps? Contact your U.S. Rep., as well as both your U.S. Senators, and urge them to block the Yucca dump, as well as CISFs. (You can also be patched through to your members of congress by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.) The opening of either the Yucca of CISF dumps would launch unprecedented large numbers of highly radioactive waste shipments, by road, rail, and/or waterway, through most states (including high-risk impacts on a large number of Native American reservations). And please continue to submit comments to NRC in opposition to the Holtec/ELEA CISF targeted at southeastern NM, by the July 30th deadline.


Hard-won federal acknowledgement that radioactive waste in metro St. Louis creek increases cancer risks  

West Lake LandfillAs reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and St. Louis Public Radio, the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has concluded that "radiological contamination in and around Coldwater Creek, prior to remediation activities, could have increased the risk of some types of cancer in people who played or lived there." Specifically, ATSDR cited the risk for increases in bone, breast, lung, and skin cancers, as well as leukemia. ATSDR admits that even post-remediation, "more recent exposures [year 2000 and after] increased the risk of developing bone or lung cancer from daily residential exposure."

The radioactive wastes originated from highly concentrated Belgian Congo uranium ores processed, beginning in 1942, by Mallinckrodt Chemical Works in downtown St. Louis, MO during the Manhattan Project, that led to the atomic bombings of Japan. Over the course of the following decades, the wastes were later stored near the airport, and even illegally dumped, around metro St. Louis, leading to the contamination of not only Coldwater Creek, but also Bridgeton at the West Lake Landfill (see image, above). The latter has the added risk of an immediately adjacent underground municipal garbage dump fire, threatening to drive radioactive contaminants into the air supply of surrounding residential neighborhoods. These stories are told in the very powerful recent documentary Atomic Homefront, featured on HBO.  The work of local grassroots groups such as Coldwater Creek -- Just the Facts, Just Moms STL, and Beyond Nuclear's board president (and in-house pamphleteer!) Kay Drey, are highlighted in the film, for their years and decades of tireless advocacy, for full cleanup, on behalf of the families and children still put at risk by these oldest radioactive wastes of the Atomic Age.


Trump wants a Space Force and "dominance" in space

“Space is a warfighting domain,” said the White House statement this week. It came as the Trump administration once again proclaimed that it plans to create a “Space Force".

Last time the Trump White House tried this, Pentagon officials objected, saying it would “lead to unnecessary costs and bureaucracy.” Maybe. What’s far far worse is that it would lead to unnecessary wars.

The 2018 Defense Budget that Trump signed into law in December 2017 authorizes almost $700 billion in defense spending, the biggest ever in US history. The Space Force was included, although without a dollar figure assigned to it. But, says Bruce Gagnon, director of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, “Trump does not have the authority to make [Space Force] happen without congressional approval and appropriation, thus at this point it is only a suggestion.”

A Space Force is not about GPS and weather satellites, despite what military spokesmen might say. Or even about spying. It’s about preparation for war. And that war will include nuclear weapons. Read the full article.


One of the world's worst nuclear accidents was in Brazil

On September 13, 1987, Brazilian scrap metal dealer, Devair Ferreira, unwittingly opened Pandora’s box. Out spilled a bright blue crystalline powder that fell glowing to the floor. Fascinated by the magical iridescence, Ferreira invited family members to his home to see the mysterious substance for themselves. They were entranced. They touched it and passed it around to other friends and relatives.

What none of them knew was that they had just set in motion Latin America’s worst nuclear accident. The blue powder was cesium chloride, encased inside a cesium-137 teletherapy unit that had been left behind in an abandoned cancer treatment hospital in the City of Goiânia, the capital of the State of Goiás. Two jobless youngsters had picked it up, pulled out the heavy lead cylinder containing 19 grams of cesium-137, and sold it to Ferreira.

According to the Goiás Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Association of Cesium Victims (AVCesio), at least 1,400 people were contaminated and that 66 have died as of 2017 as a result of the accident. Read the full story.