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Posted by: | Posted on: October 11, 2019

After Japanese reactor accident UN agency pledges to restore faith in nuclear

12 September 2011The United Nations atomic energy agency today pledged to play a central role in restoring public faith in nuclear power after this year’s disaster at Japan’s Fukushima plant, which is projected to slow the growth in the use of such electricity generating reactors. At the same time, UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano reiterated previous concerns about possible Iranian activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile, and the reported construction of a new uranium enrichment facility and light water reactor in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).“It will take rapid and visible improvements in nuclear safety, not just good intentions, to restore public confidence in nuclear power,” he told the IAEA Board of Governors in Vienna in a regular update on worldwide nuclear issues that devoted significant attention to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station disaster. “The agency will play its central part with vigour.”A tsunami on 11 March knocked out water cooling systems at the station, contaminating air, water, plants and animals with radioactive plumes dozens of kilometres from the site, and threatening a total meltdown of the fuel rods in the worst civilian nuclear crisis since the deadly Chernobyl power plant explosion in the then Soviet Union 25 years ago.“In the aftermath of Fukushima Daiichi, the most important thing is to ensure transparency, build confidence, and meet the high expectations of the public. But it is actions, not words that count,” Mr. Amano said, stressing that a draft action plan the agency has prepared with input from Member States represents a significant step forward in strengthening nuclear safety.“We must not lose our sense of urgency. I hope the draft action plan will be approved by the Board and endorsed by the General Conference next week. With this plan, we will move from the planning phase to the implementation phase.”He pledged full IAEA support to Japan as it tackles the challenging work of decontamination and called for full transparency from Tokyo. In the wake of the accident, the IAEA now expects nuclear reactors worldwide to increase by about 90 by 2030 at the low end of its projection, or by around 350 at the high end, compared to the current total of 432 reactors.“This represents continuous and significant growth in the use of nuclear power, but at a slower growth rate than in our previous projections,” Mr. Amano said, noting that China and India will remain the main centres of expansion with their nuclear power capacities by 2030 expected to be as projected before the accident, after a temporary period of slower growth.The projected slowdown in global growth reflects an accelerated phase-out of nuclear power in Germany, some immediate shutdowns and a Government review of the planned expansion in Japan, and temporary delays in expansion in several other countries.“The factors that contributed to increasing interest in nuclear power before the Fukushima Daiichi accident have not changed: increasing global demand for energy, as well as concerns about climate change, dwindling reserves of oil and gas and uncertainty of supply of fossil fuels,” Mr. Amano said.As in many previous reports, Mr. Amano noted that Iran is still not providing the cooperation needed to conclude that its nuclear programme is purely for peaceful activities. Iran has repeatedly stated that its programme is for providing electric energy, but many other countries contend that it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons and the Security Council has imposed several rounds of sanctions.“The agency is increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile, about which the agency continues to receive new information,” Mr. Amano said.He noted that since the last Board meeting, Iran has installed centrifuges in Fordow with the stated objective of producing uranium enriched up to 20 per cent in further contravention of Security Council and Board of Governors resolutions. Iran’s nuclear programme has been of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that it had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).On the DPRK, Mr. Amano said knowledge of the current status of its nuclear programme is limited because the agency not been able to implement safeguards measures since April 2009. “That nuclear programme is a matter of serious concern and reports about the construction of a new uranium enrichment facility and a light water reactor in the DPRK are deeply troubling,” he added, calling on the country to fully comply with resolutions of the Security Council, which has imposed sanctions, as well as with the NPT, and to cooperate fully with the IAEA.Turning to Syria, he said Damascus had indicated its readiness to fully cooperate with the IAEA to resolve issues related to the Dair Alzour site after the Board adopted a resolution in June finding it in non-compliance with its obligations under its safeguards agreement. The IAEA has concluded that it is very likely that the Dair Alzour building, which Israel destroyed in 2007, was a nuclear reactor that should have been declared to the agency.Mr. Amano also announced that an initial forum on turning the Middle East into a nuclear-weapon-free zone, as requested by the IAEA’s General Conference 11 years ago, would be held in Vienna on 21-22 November.Noting that yesterday was yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the devastating 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, Mr. Amano stressed the urgent need for all States to prevent nuclear and other radioactive material and associated facilities from falling into the hands of those planning malicious acts. read more

Posted by: | Posted on: October 8, 2019

Civil society raises concerns with the Office for Reparations Bill

“However, for reparations to be transformative, they must be prompt, effective, and inclusive and the process must be transparent. Thus, an independent Office, free from political interference and vested with powers to define and implement reparations is essential,” the statement added.The activists called on the Government to use the opportunity to fulfil their commitments made in 2015, taking note of the findings of the Consultations Task Force (CTF) and enact legislation establishing a mechanism that can fully address the needs of victims across Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette) As such, if properly implemented, reparations will have a significant impact across Sri Lanka. “Therefore, we request amendments to the draft Bill to address these issues. We also urge any future action to be preceded by meaningful consultations on the content of the draft Bill allowing civil society and other stakeholders to make further submissions regarding other outstanding concerns,” the statement said. 2) Furthermore, according to the draft Bill, policies and guidelines approved by the Cabinet of Ministers and authorizing the disbursement of funds must be placed before Parliament for its approval (clause 22(4)). This procedural requirement is unnecessary and redundant given that the proposed Office has its own Fund for the carrying out of its mandate. Therefore, this adds another unnecessary layer of Parliamentary oversight and thereby further dilutes the Office’s input on reparations policies and guidelines.“The two clauses are cause for grave concern as they take away any decision-making power from the proposed Office regarding the adoption of reparations policies and guidelines. In essence, the inclusion of such problematic clauses reduces the proposed Office to a another bureaucratic layer in the adoption of policies, a far cry from what the proposed Office was meant to be in terms of defining and implementing reparations policies and programmes,” the statement said.The statement notes that reparations are a critical component to rebuild the lives of those whose rights have been violated. In a joint statement, the civil society activists and groups said that if the concerns are not addressed forthwith, further engagement with the process will be moot. Civil society activists and groups in Sri Lanka have expressed deep concerns with aspects of the draft Bill titled ‘Office for Reparations’ (the Bill) gazetted on 25th June 2018.The activists raised several concerns with the process and content of the draft Bill and also noted that two issues regarding the powers and functions of the proposed Office stand out as the most pressing concerns. Paramount concerns regarding the draft Bill are:1) The proposed Office has no decisional power with respect to policies and guidelines on reparations. In fact, policies and guidelines formulated by the proposed Office will only be adopted upon approval by the Cabinet of Ministers (clause 11(1)(g)). This unnecessary requirement of designating the Cabinet of Ministers as the key decision-maker on the adoption of reparations policies and guidelines is hugely problematic as the latter may delay or even refuse approving the recommended policies on reparations. It can also lead to cabinet approving policies and guidelines in an ad hoc manner, as done in the past, potentially undermining the coherence of the scheme proposed by the Office. read more

Posted by: | Posted on: September 25, 2019

Chimpanzee meat being eaten in UK as border force urged to bring

The border force is under pressure to introduce DNA testing to identify the meat at customs and has said it would be investing in new technology to tackle the rising issue. He said it was routinely smuggled into Europe and the UK – which could cause the spread of serious disease as the meat is unsanitary and chimpanzees are very genetically similar to humans. Leading primate scientist Dr Ben Garrod has said he was told by customs officials just weeks ago that a ton of bush meat from West Africa had been confiscated on a flight bound for the US. Chimpanzee meat is being served as a delicacy at British weddings and sold as ‘bush meat’ on market stalls, it has emerged. The University of East Anglia… read more