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International

Beyond Nuclear, while U.S. based, recognizes that the issue of nuclear power, particularly in relation to climate change and reactor expansion, has become an international issue. Multi-national corporations, often with foreign ownership, have taken over every facet of the nuclear fuel chain, from uranium mining to waste disposition. Beyond Nuclear is currently engaged in supportive efforts in a number of different countries.

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Friday
Aug202010

Nuclear Power companies blackmail German government

The CEOs of four energy giants have injected more controversy into an already heated debate on extending the life span of Germany's 17 nuclear power plants by threatening to shut down facilities, if Berlin goes ahead with plans for a nuclear fuel tax. On Monday, they also demanded that the life spans of the reactors be extended by a minimum of 15 years to make their operation worthwhile. DW-WORLD.DE.

Friday
Aug202010

Speaking tour of Japan challenges MOX fuel use and financing for new U.S. reactors

Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps toured Japan from August 2nd to 12th, visiting Tokyo, Fukushima, Fukui, Kansai and Kyushu. Highlights included meeting with officials from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and the Nippon Export and Investment Insurance agency, where a letter signed by 75 U.S. national and grassroots groups was delivered, urging no Japanese financing for risky new reactors in the U.S. A backgrounder spelled out these risks in detail. Most proposed new U.S. atomic reactors have designs owned by Japanese companies -- either Toshiba (Westinghouse), Hitachi (General Electric), or Mitsubishi. At South Texas Project, Toshiba and Tokyo Electric Power Company are even partners in the venture. In addition, Japan Steel Works would be the primary supplier of large nuclear components, such as reactor pressure vessels and steam generators. The Japanese news media were alerted to the letter and meeting.

Local anti-nuclear groups also asked Kevin to address the risks of long-term storage of Mixed (plutonium-uranium) Oxide (MOX) irradiated nuclear fuel in pools, given the leaks of radioactive water that have occurred at five U.S. nuclear facilities, including Indian Point, Salem, Connecticut Yankee, Brookhaven National Lab, and Babcock & Wilcox, Virginia. Several reactors in Japan are recklessly moving to load MOX fuel, even though there is no final disposition plan for the irradiated fuel that would be generated. There is a vague promise to someday build a special reprocessing facility in Japan, but that is unlikely, and would actually only make matters even worse! This means the radioactive wastes will remain in storage pools on-site for decades. Kevin also presented a power point about the many risks of storing irradiated nuclear fuel in pools.

One last highlight -- Paul Gunter's Leak First, Fix Later report was translated into Japanese!

Friday
Aug202010

Nuclear Deception: Pakistan, the U.S., and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons

This harrowing book by Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark (2007, Walker and Company) lays bare the myth that "atoms for peace" and nuclear weapons are -- or can ever be -- kept separate. This comprehensive telling of the story of A.Q. Khan follows Pakistan's "Father of the Bomb" from his initial obscurity, to stealing "civilian" uranium enrichment centrifuge blueprints from his Dutch workplace in the early 1970s, to developing the key part of the Islamic Republic's secret atomic weapons infrastructure (unveiled to the world in nuclear test blasts in 1998), to his central role in the Pakistani government's and military's extensive nuclear weapons blackmarket. This worst ever proliferation ring involved, at various times, the likes of Saudi Arabia, China, North Korea, Iraq, Iran, and Libya, as well as Western European, North American, Middle Eastern, and Malaysian suppliers; despite Khan's downfall in 2004, tentacles of this network may still be in operation! 

A recurring theme in the book -- very little reported, and perhaps even less appreciated -- is that, in addition to the U.S.-Pakistani military/political alliance (first aimed against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and for the past decade against the Taliban and Al Qaeda), which led to the U.S. government, at the highest levels, "looking the other way" as Pakistan first developed "the Muslim bomb," then sold it or gave it away for its own mercenary or even more sinister reasons, there was the commercial nuclear power dynamic. U.S. atomic firms had wares to sell in such places as China and North Korea. Such "atoms for peace" commerce led to the necessity of pretending not to know how out of control the bizarre atomic weapons bazaar had grown.

An especially egregious chapter occurred during the White House reign of Bush Sr., with Dick Cheney as Secretary of "Defense." To clear the way for an F-16 jet fighter sale to Pakistan's military -- worth several billions to such firms as General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin -- Cheney Pentagon and State Dept. henchmen, including Paul Wolfowitz and "Scooter" Libby, and their bureaucratic underlings, ruined the career and life of the top federal intelligence officer monitoring Pakistan's nuclear weapons capabilities. They did so to block him from doing his job and interferring with the executive branch's false mantra, that not only did Pakistan not have nuclear weapons, but the F-16 could not be adapted to launch Pakistan's non-existent nuclear weapons. The opposite, in fact, was true. Pakistan's arch nemisis, India, for one, knew better, although the U.S. Congress was kept in the dark, greasing the skids for approval of the F-16 transfer, despite U.S. laws prohibiting such sales to nuclear weapons rogue states like Pakistan.

Another frightening area this book covers is the very close ties between the likes of Osama Bin Laden, and numerous other Islamic terrorists at work in such places as Afghanistan and Kashmir, and the highest echelons of the Pakistani military and ISI (Inter Services Intelligence directorate, its secret police). But more frightening still are the documented instances of such ties involving the Pakistani atomic weapons establishment, including A.Q. Khan himself.

Nuclear Deception should not be confused with The Nuclear Power Deception: U.S. Nuclear Mythology from Electricity "Too Cheap to Meter" to "Inherently Safe" Reactors, another excellent must read by Arjun Makhijani and Scott Saleska (Apex Press, 1999).

Friday
Jul232010

Traditional owners fight Australian nuclear dump

Traditional owners of Muckaty Station in Australia will fight a nuke dump on their land claiming that they were not properly consulted about the dump and that the government decision to construct it is void. See the story.

Monday
Jun282010

Australian union bans workers from nuclear facilities

"Fears of radiation exposure to uranium workers has led to the Electrical Trades Union in Brisbane, Australia, to ban members from working in uranium mines, nuclear power stations, and any part of the nuclear fuel cycle, according to a BBC report. Union leaders believe uranium exposure will replace asbestos as the high profile toxic workplace contaminant...the reasons stated for not allowing union workers in Australia be exposed to uranium recalls statements made by dying and ill workers in the United States who unknowingly made the ultimate sacrifice working at Cold War uranium diffusion and processing plants." More.