Film student creates project on Rocky Flats Workers

Scott Jacobson, a college senior and filmmaker in Denver, CO is nearing completion on a documentary short featuring the workers from the former nuclear weapons manufacturing plant Rocky Flats. From what we saw at the screening today, he’s doing an outstanding job with a tough subject. He is clearly driven to see justice done on behalf of these workers. You can view the trailer for his film “Legacy” at:

http://www.vimeo.com/21468299

The filmmakers are pleased to have made Scott’s acquaintance and wish him great success with his project!

March 21, Japan

March 21, 2011

The Japanese government is taking precautions and has restricted the sale of spinach and milk in Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, and Fukushima prefectures*. An Associated Press story released on March 18, 2011, states the radiation from the reactors has been detected in milk 20 miles away from the plant, and tainted spinach has been found thirty miles away.

Japan has urged some residents near the plant to stop drinking tap water after high levels of radioactive iodine were detected.

“Still, international scientists say risk from food in Japan so far is low, especially outside the disaster zone…  Besides, there was radiation in food well before Japan’s earthquake and tsunami.” “The world is covered in cesium-137 from the atomic weapons tests of the `50s and `60s,” says nuclear physicist Patrick Regan of the University of Surrey in England.”**

*A prefecture (from the Latin Praefectura) is an administrative jurisdiction or subdivision in any of various countries and within some international church structures, and in antiquity a Roman district governed by an appointed prefect.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prefectures_of_Japan#Types_of_prefectures

 

**So far, risk low from radiation in food in Japan (Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer)

http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/bbd825583c8542898e6fa7d440b9febc/Article_2011-03-21-HealthBeat-Radiation-Food%20QandA/id-981a46d876aa4c65aca20df7156dbec6

I hope they can get the reactor situation under control ASAP.

JP

 

 

Japan

Japan…

March 19, 2011

With so much going on over in Japan, I will finish my blog on the Marshall Islands sometime in the near future. JP

Should We Trust or Believe What the Governments are Telling Us?

The earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan last Friday, March 11, 2011, is a shocking reminder that we, as human beings, are truly at the mercy of the Planet Earth. Added with the catastrophic disaster that is unfolding at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, we are also reminded that we, as human beings, are at the mercy of scientific technology, whether it be good or bad.

There has been so much information coming from the talking heads on the tube about the scale of this accident, I would like to share with you some things I have learned recently. And as always, feel free to teach me as well.

The International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC)*, developed a scale for measuring radioactive accidents following the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in 1986. It is called the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES)**. The following is a few quotes from their web site and manual:

INES – is a tool for promptly communicating to the public in consistent terms the safety significance of reported nuclear and radiological incidents and accidents, excluding naturally occurring phenomena such as Radon. The scale can be applied to any event associated with nuclear facilities, as well as the transport, storage and use of radioactive material and radiation sources

Accident Levels According to the INES:

Levels 1-3 are considered Incidents:

1-Anomaly

2-Incident

3-Serious Incident

Levels 4-7 are considered Accidents:

4-Accident with Local Consequences

5-Accident with Wider Consequences

6-Serious Accident

7-Major Accident

“The 1986 accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is rated at Level 7 on INES. It had widespread impact on people and the environment. One of the key considerations in developing INES rating criteria was to ensure that the significance level of less severe and more localized events were clearly separated from this very severe accident. Thus the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant is rated at Level 5 on INES, and an event resulting in a single death from radiation is rated at Level 4.”

The accident level at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex was raised from a level four to a level five on Friday, March 18, 2011. Dr. Micho Kaku *** makes a very interesting point when he said that the Three Mile Island accident involved only one reactor, while the Japanese accident involves four reactors (possibly six). He also states that the Japanese government needs to “Chernobyl” these reactors ASAP, (encase them in sand, concrete, and Boron****). These reactors are a lost cause.

Health experts from the United States say that there is no reason to fear the fallout here in the States. How can they prove this, and, can we trust them? The Atomic Energy Commission said back in the 1950’s that there was no danger from fallout from the atmospheric testing being conducted in Nevada. Yeah, okay.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is offering frequent updates on the situation happening in Japan. Check out the link below, and remember, their doomsday clock says its “six minutes to midnight.”

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

http://www.thebulletin.org/

I am very saddened to see the amount of destruction and suffering that is happening to the people in Japan. My thoughts and prayers are with them, and may they find the strength to carry on and to rebuild their lives. I feel that they are going to lose a large section of Japan because of the contamination coming from the nuclear accident. Until there is an absolute safe way to use nuclear power, including a safe way to dispose of the waste, we can’t afford to have this around. JP

*International Atomic Energy Commission:

http://www.iaea.org/

This is the IAEC update link to the reactors in Japan:

http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/tsunamiupdate01.html

** INES- THE INTERNATIONAL NUCLEAR AND RADIOLOGICAL EVENT SCALE USER’S MANUAL (This is a 218 page manual, of which I have only read a few pages of it.)

http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/INES-2009_web.pdf

***Dr. Micho Kaku’s website:

http://mkaku.org/

**** The 10Boron isotope is a strong neutron absorber and is used for both nuclear waste containment and nuclear power plant neutron radiation control.

http://www.ceradyne.com/about/boron-products.aspx

Another site about Boron:

http://www.als.lbl.gov/als/compendium/AbstractManager/uploads/shuh2.pdf

 

 

 

Japan’s nuclear meltdown prompts talk of safety, Yucca Mountain’s role

This is interesting… check it out!

From the Las Vegas Sun

Japan’s nuclear meltdown prompts talk of safety, Yucca Mountain’s role

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/mar/13/japans-nuclear-meltdown-prompts-talk-safety-yucca-/

Marshall Islands, Part 2

March 14, 2011

 

“When men are engaged in war and conquest, the tools of science become as dangerous as a razor in the hands of a child. The fate of mankind depends entirely on our sense of morality”. Albert Einstein

The Marshall Islands are scattered over 350,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean, northeast of Australia. They consist of 29 atolls, including Bikini and Enewetak Atolls.

These islands were a strategic stronghold for the Japanese during World War II. They were captured by the United States in 1944, and before becoming a Trust Territory of the United States on July 18, 1947, President Truman approved a series of atomic tests to be conducted in 1946 at Bikini Atoll. The purpose was “to test the ability of the naval fleet to withstand a nuclear attack.” Before the tests could proceed, 167 natives of the island of Bikini needed to be relocated.

In February, 1946, Commodore Ben H. Wyatt, the military governor of the Marshall Islands, convinced the islanders that the relocation would be temporary, and told them:“The US government now wants to turn this great destructive force into something good for mankind, and that this experiment here at Bikini is the first step in that direction.”*

The natives agreed to leave their island, and on March 8, 1946 were relocated to the Rongerik Atoll, 128 miles east of Bikini. Over the next four months, 80 to 100 battleships, captured from Germany and Japan, plus US surplus ships were positioned throughout the Bikini lagoon.

On July 1, 1946, Operation Crossroads, Shot Able was detonated 520 feet over the lagoon of Bikini Atoll. Shot Baker followed on July 25, 1946. A third test, Shot Charlie, was cancelled because the Navy could not decontaminate the test fleet used during the first two tests.

In 1950, President Truman approved the development of the hydrogen bomb or “Superbomb.” These bombs tests were conducted out at the Pacific Proving Grounds. The first megaton test happened on November 1, 1952 with Ivy Mike at Enewetak.

Operation Castle, the next set of thermonuclear tests, was conducted in 1954 at Bikini Atoll.

The radioactive fallout from the Bravo test on March 1, 1954 covered  over 4200 square miles, including Utirik, Alinginae, Rongelap, and Rongerik Atolls. **

The aftermath of the Bravo test exposed 239 Marshallese on Utirik, Rongelap, and Ailinginae Atolls and 28 Americans stationed on Rongerik atoll to excessive amounts of radioactive fallout. While the Americans were evacuated off the atoll within 24 hours, it took the US several days before evacuating the Islanders.

The Atomic Energy Commission took this opportunity to study the effects of radiation exposure on the Islanders, and the project would be referred to as “Project 4.1.” The final report on Project 4.1 was titled “Study of Response of Human Beings Accidentally Exposed to Significant Fallout Radiation.” October 1954. ***

Also exposed from this test was a Japanese fishing boat, the Lucky Dragon. It originally was outside the restricted area for the Bravo test, but because the AEC miscalculated the size of the test, all 23 fishermen and their catch were contaminated by the fallout. Of course, the AEC denied the exposure, and stated that the boat was in restricted area. In the end, the United States paid the Japanese two million dollars in compensation.

From 1946 to 1958, Bikini Atoll and its neighbor to the west, Enewetak Atoll, were subjected to 66 nuclear tests (67 if you count Hardtack-Yucca, which was conducted 85 miles northeast of Enewetak on 4/28/58).****

Totals for Bikini and Enewetak:
Bikini- 23 Tests, 76.8 Megatons of yield
Enewetak- 43 Tests, 31.7 Megatons of yield

Over the course of the testing, 5 islands at Bikini Atoll and 4 islands at Enewetak Atoll were vaporized. Attempting to show that everything was okay on Bikini, in 1970 the United States said that it was safe for the Islanders to return to their home. However, in 1978, a team of French scientists found that the Islanders who did return to Bikini had high levels of Strontium-90 in their bodies, and once again the Islanders had to leave. To this date, the Bikini Islanders have not been able to return their native home because Caesium-137 still exists in the plants on the island.

* Radio Bikini, by Robert Stone, 1987.  This documentary film is about Bikini Atoll, and was nominated for an Academy Award.

** Map of Bravo Fallout: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bravo_fallout2.png

*** Study of Response… http://www.hss.energy.gov/HealthSafety/IHS/marshall/collection/data/ihp1c/0766_a.pdf

**** List of all tests conducted at Bikini and Enewetak Atolls between July 1, 1946-August 18, 1958:

http://www.nuclearclaimstribunal.com/testing.htm

Location of the Marshall Islands:

http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Tests/Pacificmap1.gif

Map of Marshall Islands:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MH_-map_A.png

Bikini Atoll Website:

http://www.bikiniatoll.com/

A recent program on Bikini Atoll (2009):

Bikini – Radioactive Paradise (Discovery Sciences)

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1297763295843472412#

 

 

Another Group of Forgotten Heroes

We have made contact with  the Post 71 Uranium Workers in Grant, New Mexico. A quote from the email to us; “Our workers have been omitted from the current RECA (Radiation Exposure Compensation Act) program with the understanding that no person suffers radiation sicknesses after 1971 when the safety standards were put in place to protect us.” Well, that just isn’t the case, as many workers and their families are sick and dying from uranium exposure. And, once again, our government is turning its back on this group of Americans.

(More to follow.) JP

Post 71 Uranium Miners & Haulers

(http://www.post71exposure.org/index.html)

 

Some good sites for information on uranium mining:

Uranium Mining & Milling

(http://www.wise-uranium.org/indexu.html)

 

Check out pages 22 and 23 of this report: Uranium Location  Database Compilation

(http://www.epa.gov/radiation/docs/tenorm/402-r-05-009.pdf)

 

Reserves in the USA: US Energy Information Administration, Major US Uranium Reserves

(http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/nuclear/page/reserves/uresarea.html)

 

Uranium, by Tom Zoellner, 2009

War, Energy, and the Rock that Shaped the World

March 4, 2011

I’ve got a newer book for you this time:

From the Shinkolobwe Mine* in the Belgian Congo, today known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, (the very mine that the United States got most of its uranium ore from for the Manhattan Project) to Moab, Utah, Zoellner writes of, what he describes in the introduction as “the darker pulls of humanity: greed, vanity, xenophobia, arrogance, and a certain suicidal glee.” Read how Atomic Number 92 on the periodic table has affected everyone on this planet.

Well worth a read.

FYI:

Uranium has, and is still used today in glass coloring, called Uranium Glass, also known as Vaseline Glass. Antique glass that is yellow-green in color makes it quite possible that uranium was used to color it. ** (Not to worry, the radiation level is very minute.)

* Uranium Mines Map in Congo

(http://www.minesite.com/fileadmin/content/companies/b0rinkley_map.JPG)

** The Glass Association

(http://www.glassassociation.org.uk/Journal/uranium.htm)

(Once again, thank you Wikipedia for this link!)

 

The Marshall Islands & The Atomic Energy Commission

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana

 

March 1, 2011

There’s a lot to cover on Bikini and Enewetak Atolls out in the Marshall Islands, a trust territory of the United States after World War II, so I’m going to cover it in the next few weeks for you. JP

March 1, 1954

Operation Castle (March 1 thru May 14, 1954) at Bikini Atoll got underway with what has been termed “the worst radiological disaster in US history.” *

Shot Bravo was detonated at 18:45 GMT**, yielding the largest test conducted by the United States at 15 megatons, 2½ times larger than expected (OOPS!). The radioactive fallout from this test would cover an estimated 4250 square miles.

Other tests from this series include: Romeo @ 11 megatons, Koon @ 110 kilotons, Union @ 6.9 megatons, Yankee @ 13.5 megatons, and Nectar @ 1.7 megatons. (Shot Romeo is the one we use in Riley’s eyes on our web page and poster logo.)

A good film clip at You Tube on Castle Bravo,

(From: Trinity and Beyond, The Atomic Bomb Movie, 1995): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5_9Gi7w19Y

 

* http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Tests/Castle.html

(This is one of the best sites I can recommend for references to atmospheric testing)

 

** GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) is the time along the Prime Meridian (0 degree longitude) which passes through Greenwich, England. It is the standard time used in the field of astronomy, meteorology and other scientific disciplines around the world. Greenwich Mean Time was based upon the time at the zero degree meridian that crossed through Greenwich, England. http://home.hiwaay.net/~krcool/Astro/moon/gmt/

 

MST= GMT-7 hours

 

Next week: The indigenous people of the islands, relocation, and Project 4.1.

 

A message from our director…

Sometime ago, it was brought to light to me as a filmmaker, that this subject had a major impact on the life of someone very dear to me and now a partner in our filmmaking efforts, our writer John Pointer. As he regaled our group with his tale of being a child of an Atomic Veteran and of the horrific nature of what he and his family endured, the psychological and emotional damage that occurred as a result of his father’s experiences during nuclear weapons testing, we all found ourselves deeply moved. His four years of research prior to the inception of this project had revealed that his story was far too similar for comfort to the tales of so many others in this country.
We decided that their collective stories and along with the impact the nuclear industry has had on everyone in this nation, must be told.

While there have been many films which have discussed the effect of nuclear technology, on as broad a scope as the world-wide political climate, and as narrow as that of the individual stories of one group or another, we have yet to see a story which paints the picture of the toll on people on a national level, and gives an accurate depiction of the lack of accountability for the damage done to the lives of Americans.

We do not seek to question the validity or necessity of nuclear technology, we do however, seek to question the responsibility of those who chose to put these individuals lives and the lives of their families in danger, without proper compensation and care.

This is an important story to be told and to be told in the right way. In our research, we’ve found that the predominant element in the telling of historical facts and current events surrounding this topic, perhaps the most important issues of our time, has been the clinical nature of the story telling. The emotions which are felt by the individuals that have lived these events, and continue to suffer the consequences, are often washed over. These stories need to be told, need to be understood. Reparations and accountability are rightfully due and should be paid without inflicting more hardship on these individuals.

American Massacre will be presented in a new and interesting way, shaking up the nature of the traditional documentary. We will let the emotions of these individuals be the pervasive element of our story telling. We will move this story forward with interesting shoot techniques, a more modern editorial style, and with music that moves the story forward and keeps the audience engaged. But most importantly, we will give the world an accurate portrayal of the direct effect the nuclear industry has had on the lives of American citizens. We believe this is an important project to be made and your support will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

CSW

N-exposed retirees win Linde Ceramics fight

From BuffaloNews.com

Recommendation covers Tonawanda plant workers from ’54 through ’69

Excerpt:

Updated: February 25, 2011, 9:40 AM

WASHINGTON — Decades after the federal government secretly exposed them to cancer-causing radiation, retirees from the former Linde Ceramics plant in the Town of Tonawanda — and their survivors — have won the biggest battle in their long fight for compensation.

A federal advisory board, meeting Thursday in Augusta, Ga., recommended making it far easier for those workers and their survivors to qualify for benefits of $150,000 each.

Read the full story at:  http://www.buffalonews.com/city/article351162.ece

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American Massacre

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