Beyond Nuclear International

“When they called me a ‘germ’ I wanted to die”

But Fukushima boy fought back, helping win a court victory that brought compensation for evacuees from the nuclear disaster

On October 25, 2017, 15-year old former Fukushima resident Natsuki Kusano (not his real name and he has asked not to be pictured) testified before the Tokyo District Court. He was among a number of Fukushima evacuees seeking compensation from Tepco and the Japanese government and asking the court to hold the company and the government responsible for the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

As reported by the Asahi Shimbun, on March 16, 2018, the  Tokyo District Court found the central government and TEPCO responsible for contributing to the psychological stress suffered by 42 evacuees and ordered the defendants to pay a total of about 60 million yen ($566,000) in compensation.

The lawsuit was filed by 47 individuals in 17 households who fled from Fukushima Prefecture to Tokyo in the wake of the nuclear disaster. Significantly, 46 of those individuals evacuated voluntarily from areas where no evacuation order was issued by the government.

N mother

Natsuki’s mother (left) cries with joy when she hears the Tokyo court verdict.

When the verdict came down, Natsuki was in Geneva with his mother and other women who were there to urge the Japanese government to abide by the UN recommendation of a 1 millisievert per year radiation exposure level. The Japanese authorities had raised this level to an unacceptable 20 msv per year in order to justify ordering people to return to affected areas or risk losing their compensation.

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Crimes against future generations

We must protect our descendants from the threats of climate change, nuclear war and radioactive waste

By Andreas Nidecker, Emilie Gaillard, and Alyn Ware

As nuclear tensions increase, dangerous times have raised legally-loaded questions about nuclear weapons. What happens now the U.S. is withdrawing from Iran nuclear deal? Does the president have unfettered power to launch a preemptive nuclear strike on North Korea? What’s the legal status of the Trump administration’s intention, telegraphed in the Nuclear Posture Review, to expand U.S. nuclear capabilities and arsenals when the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty supposedly commits us to cutting and eventually eliminating them?

But there’s an even broader legal dilemma looming over production, testing and threatened use of nuclear weapons: how they affect the human rights of future generations. Those threats to the future are also compounded by nuclear energy, which generates radioactive waste we’re manifestly unable to control, and by destabilizing the climate that has enabled and sustained human civilization.

Can such crimes against the future be legal? How can we respect the human rights of future generations in view of them? International symposia at the University of Basel (Switzerland), University of Caen (France) and Charles University in Prague (Czech Republic) recently grappled with those questions. The Basel conference produced a declaration on human rights and trans-generational crimes resulting from nuclear weapons and nuclear energy.

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Haunted by Hiroshima, Rae Street has spent 40 years working for peace

“I broke down in tears at seeing the trike whose rider had been vaporised when the bomb fell. My small grandson was the same age”

By Beth Abbit,  Manchester Evening News, UK

Rae Street has been arrested, travelled the world and camped out on an RAF base — all in the name of peace.

The British campaigner has spent almost four decades fighting to raise awareness of the devastating effects of nuclear weapons.

Former teacher Rae, 80, has protested outside NATO headquarters and embarked on a whistle-stop tour of the U.S to promote a message of nuclear disarmament.

She was even part of the famous Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp — an anti nuclear protest which spanned almost 20 years.

But it was during a visit to Hiroshima — the city where the United States detonated a nuclear bomb during WWII — that Rae was convinced the fight to eradicate nuclear weapons was so vital.

Shin's tricycle

Shin’s tricycle, at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, moved Rae Street to tears

“One visit which deeply moved me above all others was being at the Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemorative events,” says Rae, from Littleborough, Rochdale.

“I broke down in tears and collapsed in the dust at seeing the trike whose small rider had been vaporised when the bomb fell. My small grandson was the same age.”

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Melania Trump likes to recycle; Donald Trump prefers the trash

Iran nuclear deal is the latest to go

By Linda Pentz Gunter

Melania Trump has demonstrated a keen interest in recycling — her speech at the Republican National Convention (Michelle Obama); her recent “Be Best” pamphlet (Obama Federal Trade Commission); the inaugural cake (Obama again) and so on.

Her less popular husband, on the other hand, prefers to trash everything — Affordable Care Act, DACA, Paris Climate Agreement, NAFTA (maybe), Trans-Pacific Partnership, Keystone Pipeline cancelation, Endangered Species Act, pretty much any and all environmental regulations. And now the Iran Nuclear Deal. But each time without any plans for an alternative.

The Wrecking Ball in Chief has struck one of his most dangerous blows in pulling the US out of the Iran nuclear deal — known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.  And not only for the most obvious reasons, related to nuclear weapons development in the Middle East.

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A whole island once, now become tomb

The nuclear atrocities committed by the US against the Marshall Islands come alive in six minutes of poetry and images

You were a whole island, once.

Who remembers you beyond your death?

Who would have us forget that you were once green globes of fruit, Pandanus roots and whispers of canoes?

Poet, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner and director Dan Lin take you to the Marshall Islands, its beauty, its history, its legends and traditions. And its deadly radioactive curse. The US “tested” 67 atomic bombs on the Marshall Islands, destroying atolls, sickening and displacing people, treating humans like guinea-pigs, and abusing one of the most pristine places on Earth as its radioactive trash bin.

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Bootin’ Putin

Women led a legal challenge that killed a Russian nuclear deal in South Africa

By Linda Pentz Gunter

The first thing that South Africans Liz McDaid and Makoma Lekalakala, pictured above and the 2018 winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa, will tell you is that there were many others who contributed to the victory for which they received the award. They were never — and will never be — alone in their fight.

That victory was a win last year in the South African High Court which ruled that a secret nuclear power deal between Russia and the then Zuma government was unconstitutional. It effectively chased Rosatom, the Russian government-owned nuclear corporation, out of the country. It was the culmination of several years of broad campaigning across many strategies and demographics.

Since the court victory, Zuma has stepped down and Cyril Ramaphosa, who is trying desperately to restore confidence in their shared political affiliation, the ANC, has taken the helm. So far, Ramaphosa has suggested that nuclear energy is not affordable for South Africa. For now, Lekalakala and McDaid remain on the winning side.

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