— Another cover-up: new UK study finds 110 MoD nuke accidents — 4X higher than reported by govt.

From RT

February 23, 2017

Dozens of nuclear alerts underreported by British MoD, new study reveals
The UK Ministry of Defense has been accused of downplaying the real dangers stemming from the UK nuclear deterrent after the report by a safety watchdog put the number of accidents, involving British nukes, at 110, four times higher the official count.

Unveiled on Wednesday by the Nuclear Information Service (NIS), an independent nuclear watchdog, the report sheds light onto dozens of mishaps involving British nuclear weapons, featuring previously unreported accidents with potentially disastrous consequences. The in-depth study, which traces back all 65 years of the British nuclear program, arranges accidents into seven sections in accordance with their place of origin.

The report is based on the official findings, including  the report on nuclear weapons safety written by Professor Sir Ronald Oxburgh, information revealed during parliamentary questions, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act as well as from whistleblowers, witnesses and other researchers.

The biggest group of all lists accidents that took place on nuclear-capable submarines, ships and aircraft. The causes for a total of 45 mishaps, including 24 that occurred with nuclear-armed submarines, range from collision and fires to the effects of lightning.

In one of the most notable accidents of that kind, Royal Navy submarine HMS Vanguard, which is capable of carrying up to 48 Trident nuclear warheads, collided with a French Le Triomphant submarine, which could be armed with about the same amount of TN75 nuclear warheads. The circumstances of the accident, which happened early February 2009 in the Atlantic Ocean, were hushed up at the time and still not known to the full.

Although the official investigation report into the collision came to the reassuring conclusion that “at no time was nuclear safety compromised and the Strategic Weapon System remained inside tolerable limits at all times”, whistleblowers’ accounts are far more daunting. An officer who was on board the UK submarine reportedly said “We thought, this it we’re all going to die,” while recalling the incident in the conversation with Royal Navy whistleblower William McNeilly.

Other case studies include a nuclear warhead carrier sliding off the rode into the ditch on January 10, 1987 in Wiltshire. The misfortune is described by the authors as “most visible” and “embarrassing” incident to date. Overall, 22 road transportation incidents, among them overturning of vehicles carrying nukes, have been cited in the report.

While only 14 accidents, linked to the faults in manufacturing and production process, are listed in the report, the most severe nuclear accident in UK history also falls into this category. The fire at the Windscale plant in 1957 led to massive release of radiation from graphite-moderated reactor that triggered “around 100 fatal cancers and around 90 non-fatal cancers.”

The report also lists 21 “security-related” incidents and eight incidents blamed onto the improper storage and handling of the nukes.

The comprehensive study, spanning over 100 pages under an awe-inspiring title “Playing with Fire,” blames the defense ministry for attempting to sweep the issue of nuclear safety under the carpet by concealing essential details of the incidents and downplaying their impact.

READ MORE: Trident whistleblower calls out MoD’s ‘lame attempt’ to excuse nuke malfunctions

The report argues that the official data released by the British Defense Ministry in 2003 which put the number of incidents at 27, is “far from a full list of all the accidents.”

It is not the first time the British military has been accused of covering up major issues with its nuclear deterrent. News on a failed Trident missile test, carried out off Florida coast in June 2016, sparked a new round of heated debates on the British nuclear program. The routine test performed by the HMS Vengeance in June 2016 from Port Canaveral went horribly wrong with the missile heading back to the US mainland. However, the UK authorities did not issue any statement on the failed test, reportedly, advised to refrain from sharing unfavorable data by US colleagues.

READ MORE: Trident nukes useless against today’s actual security problems – CND report

The Trident missile malfunction came just weeks before the UK parliament voted in favor of renewing controversial Britain’s Trident deterrent, estimated to cost some £40 billion.

In January, McNeilly, who was first to leak the details about the serious fire issues aboard Trident submarine, told RT that he has witnessed Trident “fail 3 out of 3 WP 186 Missile Compensating Tests.”

https://www.rt.com/uk/378340-nuclear-accidents-report-defense/

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— Los Angeles: DOE breaks agreement to clean up Santa Susana Field Lab contamination; may leave behind 94%

For action and upcoming meetings, go to http://www.ssflworkgroup.org

From the Ventura County Star

February 11, 2017

Our region has just been hit by two significant events that affect the health of our community.

While we have long awaited some relief for our drought, torrential rainstorms inundated the Santa Susana Field Lab, one of the most polluted places in the state. Runoff from far lesser storms in recent years resulted in more than 200 instances in which highly toxic and radioactive contaminants migrated off site at levels in excess of state pollution limits, and one can only imagine the effect these recent large storms have had.

Around the same time, the Department of Energy broke its solemn cleanup commitments and announced it would leave as much as 94 percent of the soil contaminated at the field lab site not cleaned up. Unless people rise up and our elected officials act strongly to enforce the promises, people in neighboring communities will be at perpetual risk from migrating radioactivity and toxic chemicals.

The field lab housed 10 nuclear reactors, of which at least four suffered accidents, including a partial nuclear meltdown in 1959. There was a factory for fabricating reactor fuel rods out of plutonium, perhaps the most dangerous substance on earth. In a “hot lab” there, highly irradiated nuclear fuel rods shipped in from around the nation were cut apart, with several radioactive fires.

It illegally burned radioactive and chemically hazardous wastes in open air pits, by shooting barrels of the waste with rifles to ignite them, with the toxic plumes blown over surrounding communities. It conducted tens of thousands of rocket tests, many using very dangerous fuels, and then flushed out the engines with a million gallons of toxic solvents that were allowed to simply percolate into the soil and groundwater.

The result of this shameful violation of basic environmental protections is widespread contamination of groundwater, surface water and soil with strontium-90, cesium-137, plutonium-239, perchlorate, PCBs, dioxins, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds and much more. And because the site sits in the hills overlooking more than 500,000 people within 10 miles, the contamination wants to flow off site to the places and people below.

The site has been fined more than $1 million in recent years for allowing pollutants to migrate off the property at levels deemed unsafe for people or the environment. And as long as the site doesn’t get cleaned up, that will continue.

These awful materials cause cancers including leukemia, genetic defects, neurological and developmental disorders and other health problems. A federally funded study by Dr. Hal Morgenstern of the University of Michigan found a greater than 60 percent increase in key cancers in people living near the site compared with people living farther away. Another government-funded study by a team from UCLA led by Dr. Yoram Cohen concluded that numerous pollutants from the site had migrated off site at levels in excess of EPA levels of concern.

For these reasons, the community was joyous in 2010 when the Department of Energy and NASA signed legally binding agreements with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control requiring all contamination that could be detected in the soil to be cleaned up by 2017.

It is now 2017 and the cleanup hasn’t even begun. And the DOE just issued a draft environmental impact statement breaking the 2010 cleanup agreement and saying it will only consider three options, none of which comply with its past commitments.

One would leave 34 percent of the contamination in place. A second would leave 86 percent. And the third would walk away from a staggering 94 percent of the contaminated soil, just leaving it in place. The 2010 agreement barred any consideration of leave-in-place alternatives.

The DOE has essentially thumbed its nose at California. Even if the cleanup agreement didn’t exist, the decision on how much toxic pollution to clean up doesn’t rest with the polluter, but with the state regulator. The DOE can’t decide to just walk away from most of the contamination.

But the state has been remarkably silent so far in response to this assault on its authority. Indeed, it has in its own actions undercut the cleanup agreement it signed. Toxic Substances Control is years late on its own environmental impact report and has been busy undermining the cleanup in other ways as well.

In 2010, we were promised that, with a couple of narrow exceptions, all of the soil contamination that could be detected would be cleaned up. Now it appears likely than close to none will be, and the people in the area will continue to be at perpetual risk from migrating radioactive and toxic contamination — unless they speak out now, loud and clear, and their elected representatives do the same.

Robert Dodge, a family physician in Ventura, serves on the boards of Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions. Daniel Hirsch is director of the Program on Environmental and Nuclear Policy at UC Santa Cruz and president of the Committee to Bridge the Gap.

 

http://www.vcstar.com/story/opinion/columnists/2017/02/11/dodge-hirsch-santa-susana-field-lab-broken-promises/97766134/

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Ukraine on the brink of a nuclear disaster; Ukrainian saboteurs nearly caused another Fukushima

  1. When Ukrainian terrorists blew up power lines to Crimea last month (to punish Crimeans for seceding from Ukraine) [1], the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant was “one millimeter away from an emergency.” Nuclear reactors require grid electricity   to keep reactor cores and fuel rods cool. Without it, they will overheat, explode, and meltdown, just like Fukushima.
  2. Ongoing gas and coal shortages in Ukraine and the resulting electricity blackouts threaten the nuclear power plants in Ukraine every day.[2]
  3. Necessary preventative maintenance, including replacing worn parts at the plants, is not being done or is delayed, creating a dangerous situation.

From Fort Russ

In the coming year the world will observe a sad date, the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl explosion. Could it happen again?

Pavel SHIPILIN,

In Экспресс Газета, December 15, 2015

Translated from Russian by Tom Winter, December 25, 2015

Come January 1, Europe will start draining the last juice from the “Square.” Few gave noted the fact that cutting the power lines to de-energize Crimea nearly led to fatal consequences at the South Ukrainian nuclear power plant, which is located in the Mykolaiv region, – an accident on a Chernobyl scale. A miracle saved us all: workers at the station succeeded in a few hours to restore the electricity to the security system. [Nuclear power plants produce electricity, but they need a constant supply of it to avoid meltdown, as in Fukushima, for instance — tr.]

For nearly two years now Ukraine has been teetering on the brink of default, techno disaster, popular revolt. And every time that there is a miracle, and the dire predictions don’t come true, a cure is declared – a victory over Russia, over the elements with the unpredictable laws of nature, over the skeptics. But in the end – common sense.

Last winter was surprisingly warm. As if the one who is responsible for the top temperature, specifically decided to lull the already careless Ukrainian government. Today it is once again assuring the public: there is enough gas — unless there’s a problem.

And it may be right – if a miracle happens again. Experts also warn that if the miracles do not happen, and the temperature in the apartments can’t be maintained at least at + 14 ° C, a catastrophe is imminent. Pipes will burst; heat and electricity will go off-line. In response, experts are declared fear-mongering pessimists. After all, last year they said the same thing – they warned and frightened, backing up arguments with some tricky formulas incomprehensible to the ordinary Maidanists.[the Maidan coup d’etat members who overthrew the elected Ukrainian government and brought to power the current regime]

There is only one thing: for the power system go off line for decades, would need only a couple of weeks really severe frosts – lower than -15 – 20 ° C. At least at night.

Such cold weather is rare, but still it happens. This is what experts are always taking into account, because no one of them can confidently forecast, but a technological disaster in the middle of winter – is inevitably a tragedy with deadly outcomes. Therefore, the gas must be redundant and not “just enough.”

The lack of gas and coal can lead to accidents in which the entire metropolitan area will be without heat and light. Unfortunately, the amateurs in Kiev may well make a more global catastrophe whose consequences will impact not only the public, but residents of neighboring countries. We are talking about the atomic energy plant.

There are four of them in Ukraine – a total of 16 units. That is 16 potential nuclear bombs. Experts say that it’s thanks to a miracle that new Chernobyls haven’t yet happened.

Vasili Volga, Ukrainian politician and nuclear-energy specialist: “What happened when these, so to speak, “activists” brought down the power lines? Immediately the South Ukrainian nuclear power plant lost a huge amount of electricity, which the system has to have. According to the accounts of shift managers, the guys were on one millimeter away from an emergency. Only the dedicated work of the station staff prevented it.”

A state of emergency was miraculously avoided. But Kiev have provided us all with new problems connected with nuclear power. As Vasily Volga spelled out, the specific operation of nuclear power plants requires precise timing of preventive maintenance. Otherwise, every time there is a risk of accidents on the scale of Chernobyl. “As for the core of the nuclear reactor and all the systems and mechanisms that serve it, we just can’t say,” You know, we do not have money just now, and you work, the way you have, and we’re putting off scheduled preventive maintenance.”

“If it clearly states that the gasket in the main centrifugal pump should be changed after a year, then it should be changed after a year.” All the systems and mechanisms that are around Ukrainian nuclear reactors, are produced either in Ukraine or in Russia. Today, due to the rupture of relations, there have been huge time lapses, when scheduled preventive maintenance at nuclear power plants has not been carried out. They know about this in Kiev, but are silent about the problem, because in order to solve it, you have to call Moscow. Or they do not realize how dangerous it is to finance nuclear power on installments.

The eternal question of our Svidomy opponents is why we are so keenly interested in Ukrainian affairs, instead of dealing with our own problems, has a simple answer: because you’re close. Because your refugees are with us. Because thanks to Maidan our trade and economic relations, which made both our countries stronger, have been disrupted. Not to mention the friendship and kinship between our people. Finally, because your problems are directly linked to our own. After all, Kiev does not pay its debts and yet asks worldwide for offensive weapons.

It is understandable that systemic problems come up here and there – Ukraine has no money. However, there is one more miracle in Ukraine – for the second year it has managed to avoid a default. A fact the talking heads and the Kiev politicians proudly remind us of. Moreover, on December 8, the IMF decided that even a default can not be an obstacle to Ukraine getting more credit [!].

Neo-Nazi and far-right organizations and individuals are involved in the current Kiev government, in the military, and in the security forces.]

That is, the entire civilized world, led by the United States, has defended the winners of Maidan. Pessimists and “Moscalis” again notwithstanding. That’s where the real win lay. Let us, however, remember how many loans have been promised and how many have been issued: The European Union promised in 2015 to provide $1.8 billion., USA – $2 billion. Nearly one billion promised to other countries on a bilateral basis. From the IMF, Ukraine was to receive $10 billion. The World Bank has promised to lend $500 million for injection of gas into underground storage [just like in Los Angeles, where over 2000 residents have been evacuated due to leaking methane gas?], but recently began to doubt that this would happen.So actually this year, Ukraine has received less than half of the promised amounts, two tranches of 6.7 billion from the IMF. Catastrophically short. All other potential lenders under one pretext or another have not fulfilled promises.
No one is sure that Ukraine pays debts.[The Ukraine economy is in a state of collapse since the coup [3]]

However, the decision of the International Monetary Fund to continue the lending program says that global players will not desist until that unfortunate country undresses to the skin. Kiev will receive new loans so it can pay the old ones — weights hung around the neck of future Ukrainian generations.

“Square” optimists nailed it: declaring a default is not allowed. They will kill Ukraine. The problem can be solved only if nenka* learn how to produce and sell their products, filling the budget with the taxes of successful entrepreneurs and ordinary citizens. But there are practically no prospects.

From 1 January, 2016 a free trade area (FTA) will be in full force between Ukraine and the European Union. Where previously only Ukrainian duty-free goods were sold, now, the direction of trade changes – European goods crossing the Ukrainian border also will not be surrounded by cushioning duties.

To protect its market Russia will put up a customs barrier starting next year. Therefore, in Kiev, they very much expect compensation in Brussels. And Yatsenyuk’s regime has received signals that there will be compensation. We have heard rumors that the EU will allocate $ 600 million. Not much, but at least something.

However, recently the European Union dropped its promises. “We will say frankly, already since we agreed on an FTA, it was no secret that after the introduction, the Russian Federation could act in response, whether we like it or not. And there was plenty of time to prepare for this,” said the European Commissioner Johannes Khan, cynically.

The year and a half that the FTA has been acting in one direction – from east to west, has demonstrated very feeble opportunities for the Ukrainian economy. The miracle did not happen – trade with the West simply collapsed, and was not able to compensate for the loss of the Russian market.

And it’s not working, of course – it was not for this that the Ukrainians were lured to the Association Agreement, to lose money. Come January 1, Europe will begin to receive attachments back. As is customary in the civilized world, ten times over, sucking the last juices out of the colony.

Now Johannes Hahn can afford to speak plain, without hints. In Ukraine there is no way back – just to the economic abyss a millimeter away. Or maybe it is not.
______________________________
*Ukrainian slang term for Ukraine. I’ve been getting used to it. — Tr.