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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Fukushima Effect: Insidious Radiation Impact

Compared to the Chernobyl meltdown, the levels of radiation released by the Fukushima-Daiichi power plant disaster in 2011 were a drop in the bucket. Even so, a new series of studies has shown that certain types of birds, plants and insects in Japan are all suffering from the impacts of fallout. Researchers say studying these organisms will help them better understand the complex dangers of radiation.

These studies were all recently published in the Journal of Heredity and detail observations on how non-human organisms in the immediate Fukushima-Daiichi area were affected by radiation a mere few months after the initial power plant disaster.

Interestingly, researchers found that instead of outright killing or obviously harming organisms, the low-dose radiation effects were insidious

Full Nature World News article HERE

Related Articles:
  • TechTimes: Fukushima disaster shows effects of radiation in animals, plants HERE 

  • RiaNovosti: Fukushima Radiation Causing Long Term Effects HERE


Injured veterans 'face delays over compensation claims'

The Ministry of Defence has said it is aware of serious delays in dealing with compensation claims for injured armed forces veterans.  It said delays were down to a rising number of cases and because there were fewer staff dealing with the claims.

One veterans' group said waiting times for claimants had increased from 82 days in 2010 to 219 days in 2014.  But Veterans UK, which processes claims and administers compensation, disputed this, saying the service was improving.

A letter from Defence Minister Anna Soubry, which has been seen by the BBC, revealed the MoD was aware of the backlog.  The letter said staff at Veterans UK were under pressure, and the MoD has acknowledged this was due to the high number of cases and because of changes to the compensation scheme. 

'Form of torture'
MoD figures show there were 36,000 new compensation claims for those injured, disabled or bereaved through service in 2013-14 - an increase of around 16% from 2010-11.

Alex Ford, 44, a former sergeant who was in the Royal Air Force for 25 years, said the delay in his case had been "like a little form a torture".  He left the RAF after taking redundancy in December 2012, having previously suffered a slipped disc, to care for his wife who suffered back injuries whilst serving as a staff sergeant.  He was also diagnosed with depression six months after returning from Afghanistan and said he did not receive compensation until May this year.
He said: "It adds to the whole mental anguish of it, you literally have no timescale". 

"You don't know when the case is going to be resolved and you're left wondering about the postman each day."

BNTVA members have long bitter experience of the problems of getting their just awards under the War Pension scheme, It is time the people of Britain stood up and told the Government to start doing the right thing

 Full BBC News article by HERE

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

EDF shuts down two UK nuclear plants amid safety fears

EDF Energy has been forced to shut down two of its eight UK nuclear power stations amid safety fears, after discovering "unexpected cracking" in a boiler unit of one of its reactors in Lancashire. 
Photo: Alamy

The French-owned energy giant said it had shut down its Heysham 1 and Hartlepool plants, each of which comprise two reactors, after confirming there was a “defect” in a boiler unit at Heysham 1 Reactor 1.
More than 300 staff will now be deployed to conduct safety tests across all four reactors, having been specially trained for the task over recent months.
Signs of a possible fault were first noticed in November 2013, leading to the “isolation” of one of the reactor’s eight boiler units.
But it was only when the reactor was shut down in June for detailed inspections that EDF confirmed the defect.
Full article by Emily Gosden in The Telegraph

Friday, 8 August 2014

United Nations - International Day against Nuclear Tests - 29 August

In three weeks time it will be........

 Since nuclear weapons testing began in the mid-twentieth century, with the first test on 16 July 1945, nearly 2,000 have taken place. There has been little consideration of the devastating effects of testing on human life, let alone the understanding of nuclear fallout from atmospheric tests. Early on, having nuclear weapons was a measure of scientific sophistication or military might. Hindsight and history have shown us the terrifying and tragic effects of nuclear weapons testing, especially when controlled conditions go awry, and in light of today’s nuclear weapons which are far more powerful and destructive Subsequent incidents world-wide have provided compelling reasons for the need to observe the International Day against Nuclear Tests - a day in which educational events, activities and messages aim to capture the world’s attention and underscore the need for a unified attempt in preventing further nuclear weapons testing.
The international instrument to put an end to all forms of nuclear testing is the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which has however yet to enter into force.
On 2 December 2009, the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly declared 29 August the International Day against Nuclear Tests by unanimously adopting resolution 64/35. The resolution calls for increasing awareness and education “about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions and the need for their cessation as one of the means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.” The resolution was initiated by the Republic of Kazakhstan, together with a large number of sponsors and cosponsors with a view to commemorate the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test site on 29 August 1991.The Day is meant to galvanize the United Nations, Member States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, youth networks and the media to inform, educate and advocate the necessity of banning nuclear weapon tests as a valuable step towards achieving a safer world.
2010 marked the inaugural commemoration of the International Day against Nuclear Tests. Each year, since then, the day has been observed by coordinating various activities throughout the world, such as symposia, conferences, exhibits, competitions, publications, instruction in academic institutions, media broadcasts and others. A number of events have been held at United Nations Headquarters, as well. Similar activities are planned for the 2013 observance.
Since its establishment, many bilateral and multilateral governmental level developments as well as broad movements in civil society and efforts of the UN Secretary-General himself have helped to advance the cause of banning nuclear tests.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stated with great clarity: “A world free of nuclear weapons would be a global public good of the highest order.” Defining a ban on nuclear weapons as “vital”, in May of 2010, all the States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, committed themselves to aim to “achieve the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”
The International Day against Nuclear Tests, together with other events and actions, has fostered a global environment with more optimistic prospects towards a world free of nuclear weapons. There have been visible signs of progress on various fronts but, equally, challenges remain. It is the hope of the UN that one day all nuclear weapons will be eliminated. Until then, there is a need to observe International Day against Nuclear Tests as we work towards promoting peace and security world-wide.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Nuclear Free Local Authorities remembers the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb anniversaries

NFLA remembers the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb anniversaries and joins in with their call for a nuclear weapons free world 

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities organisation supports the BNTVA and our Recognition Campaign.  You can find out more about their work HERE

August 6th and August 9th 2014 will mark the 69th anniversaries of the atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On these two dates in August 1945 145,000 civilians were killed, with many thousands dying later of their injuries or radiation-induced illnesses.

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) was originally established in 1980 to call for a nuclear weapons free world. That still remains one of its core aims and it works closely with the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to jointly campaign for the ‘2020 Vision’ of the Mayors for Peace organisation – that by 2020 a structure should be in place to deliver rapid reductions in nuclear weapons stockpiles to the ultimate goal of zero nuclear weapons.

Since 1980, the global stockpile of nuclear weapons has greatly reduced, but thousands of them still remain in Russia and the United States; whilst the UK, France, Israel, Pakistan, India and probably North Korea also possess much smaller numbers of nuclear weapons. On the 69th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings, NFLA calls for these states to comply with the terms of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, and the will of the vast majority of the members of the United Nations, by working much harder and with less delay on reducing their nuclear weapon stockpiles.

Many NFLA members will follow the example of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and hold commemoration ceremonies to the memory of those killed in the atomic bombings.  Earlier this week, the world commemorated the memory of those killed in the First World War – the ‘war to end all wars’. Yet, just 31 years later, the world witnessed the devastating damage of a nuclear weapon attack at the end of the Second World War. And war still ravages today across the Middle East, North Africa and in Ukraine.

As the world commemorates over the next four years a large number of centenary events for the First World War, the NFLA will also be planning its involvement with the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Highlights in the next 12 months will include the Third International Conference on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons taking place in Vienna in December; the ‘Ypres 100 Conference’ around the first use of chemical weapons taking place in Ypres, Belgium in April 2015, and global events for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki 70th anniversaries in August 2015.  

NFLA Chair, Councillor Mark Hackett said:
“The Nuclear Free Local Authorities sends its best wishes and deep condolences to the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the 69th anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs devastating each city. The rebuilding of these cities as true ‘Cities of Peace’ seeking peace, justice and reconciliation around the world should be a major incentive to all towns and cities affected by the scourge of war that there is a better way forward. I know we will continue to work with them so that the common desire of the survivors of the bombings – the ‘hibakuska’ – of a nuclear weapons free world, is finally realised.”

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

EPA rules to weaken radiation standards

Green groups say the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to weaken radiation standards at nuclear power plants would triple the likelihood of people in surrounding communities developing cancer.

The EPA said earlier this year it is considering new rules that green groups claim would actually weaken radiation standards, increasing public exposure by at least three times from the current level. The agency has not updated the standards since 1977.

"The EPA admits that radiation is much more likely to cause cancer than was believed when the rule was originally written," said Dan Hirsch, president of nuclear watchdog group Committee to Bridge the Gap. "So it's perplexing that rather than tightening the rule, they're proposing to weaken it further."

Full article by Tim Devaney in The HILL

Rolls-Royce: Derby workers exposed to high radiation levels

A subsidiary firm of Rolls-Royce in Derby has admitted exposing workers to high levels of radiation.
Derby Crown Court heard a piece of radioactive equipment broke while parts for nuclear submarines were being tested at its Marine Power Operations in Sinfin in 2011.

It has pleaded guilty to seven charges, brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Environment Agency.
The HSE said Rolls-Royce had carried out "a DIY job" on the equipment.
The offences included failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its staff in respect of exposure to ionising radiation from radioactive sources and failing to make a suitable risk assessment.
There was also a charge relating to failing to provide employees with sufficient training.
The court heard that a piece of radioactive material fell off during testing of the integrity of welds.
The material, which was potentially harmful to human health, was later picked up by welders.
The court also heard that alarms used to warn workers were either turned off or not working.
The company is due to be sentenced on Thursday.

Article from BBC News HERE