Tag Archives: united states

Puerto Rico Struggles With Contamination 10 Years After Activists Expel U.S. Navy

2 May

Cross Posted from Democracy Now!:

“While the cleanup has taken 10 years so far, the U.S. military is only scratching the surface.” – Vieques activist

 

On the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, thousands are commemorating the 10th anniversary of when the U.S. Navy stopped using their home as a bombing range. Since the 1940s, the Navy used nearly three-quarters of the island for bombing practice, war games and dumping old munitions. The bombing stopped after campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience, but the island continues to suffer. At the current cleanup rate, the Navy says, it will take until 2025 to remove all the environmental damage left by more than 60 years of target practice. A fisherman recently discovered a giant unexploded bomb underwater. The island of about 10,000 people also lacks a hospital to treat illnesses such as asthma and cancer that may be attributed to the military’s former bombing activity. “We believe the military is really not interested in cleaning up Vieques and rather interested in continuing to punish Vieques for having thrown the U.S. Navy out in 2003,” says Robert Rabin of the Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques. “This is a process that we believe is happening with no real supervision, no genuine community participation.”

Fronteras y Cuerpos (Borders and Bodies)

28 Jun

por Russ McSpadden / arte por Jill Lavetsky

for the English version click here

En algún lugar en las afueras del viejo pueblo minero de Ruby -no es nada más que un pueblo fantasma- y no tan lejos de la frontera Arizona/México, corrimos detrás un grupo de migrantes. Ellos se movían rápido atravesando el cañón que cruza San Luis y las Montañas Atascosa. Eran jóvenes, mayormente mujeres, y estaban nerviosos. Les ofrecimos agua, comida, con algunas palabras en español, y el guía me ofreció agua y comida, en inglés. Él estaba inseguro de mis intenciones. Yo expliqué que vimos a la migra por la carretera de Ruby y luego nos despedimos – good luck, buena suerte. Ayudando en la lavada de ropa vi que el grupo se detuvo a recoger unos calcetines que habían dejado en una cubeta. Un par de calcetines viejos manchados de sangre se quedaron colgados en un árbol de manzanita.

Una semana antes, un buen amigo formó parte de un equipo humanitario que encontró el cuerpo de una mujer joven, quien había fallecido unas horas antes en medio del desierto abierto a un par de millas de Ruby. Se supone que el grupo de ella fue dispersado por la Patrulla Fronteriza por helicópteros, por drone (aviones piloteados a control remoto) o hombres a caballo, y ella se perdió a causa del pánico y se desvió hacia la sección del Parque Nacional Coronado para morirse de sed. A través de un contacto, mi amigo se enteró que la mujer estaba buscando a su esposo y a su hijo en Texas. Su esposo lloró al teléfono cuando se enteró de las noticias.

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Earthquake reignites debate over safety of nuclear power

24 Aug

cross-posted from The Hill

by Andrew Restuccia

Virginia’s largest earthquake in more than a century shook the East Coast on Tuesday and is likely to revive a long-standing debate about the safety of the country’s nuclear power plants.

The 5.8 magnitude earthquake caused the shutdown of two nuclear reactors at the North Anna Power Station in Louisa County, Va. The plant, which is located less than 20 miles from the epicenter of the quake, lost offsite power and was running its cooling systems on diesel generators Tuesday.

While there were no reports of damage at the North Anna reactors and plant operator Dominion said the cooling systems were working properly, nuclear opponents quickly pounced on the incident Tuesday.

They say the incident shows that U.S. nuclear reactors are vulnerable to major natural disasters and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should move quickly to implement a series of sweeping regulatory changes recommended by a federal task force last month.

“The earthquake near the North Anna reactors clearly underscores the need for the rapid implementation of the recommendations of the NRC’s Fukushima task force,” said Tom Clements, southeastern nuclear campaign coordinator at Friends of the Earth, a group that has long been critical of nuclear power.

“This event affirms that reactors located outside active earthquake zones are also at risk and that increased steps to protect against earthquakes must be implemented at all sites. It is time to push aside industry and NRC foot-dragging and strengthen nuclear reactor safety regulations.”

Paul Gunter, director of reactor oversight at the group Beyond Nuclear, echoed Clements sentiments.

“Once again, Mother Nature is warning us that nuclear power is the most brittle of electrical power systems,” Gunter said.

The earthquake comes at a sensitive time for the NRC and the nuclear industry, which is dealing with the fallout from the March disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

A task force mandated by President Obama in the aftermath of the Japanese disaster said in a report released last month that the NRC should make wide-ranging improvements to the its “existing patchwork of regulatory requirements and other safety initiatives.”

Read the rest of the article here.