At Y-12, the cost of designing the Uranium Processing Facility keeps spiraling: $92 million in '06, $2 billion by '16. (How do you spend 2 billion dollars designing anything?)
- See OREPA's June '15 UPF update
Click the image to download this large printable map of DOE sites, commercial reactors, nuclear waste dumps, nuclear transportation routes, surface waters near sites and transport routes, and underlying aquifers. This map was prepared by Deborah Reade for the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability.
Marshall Islands Lawsuit
Oct 5: Marshall Islands Lawsuit rejected by Hague Court
The 16 judges were deadlocked 8-8; court president Ronny Abraham cast the tie-breaking vote for rejection of the case on a jurisdictional issue (ref).
Abraham acknowledged that the Marshall Islands has a particular interest in nuclear disarmament "by virtue of the suffering of its people" during years of testing at Bikini and Enewetak atolls between 1946 and 1958.
But he said the country had not proved that an actual dispute existed between itself and nuclear-armed states when it filed its case.
"We are extremely disappointed," said Phon van den Biesen, the Dutch lawyer who led the Marshall Islands team. "The court is very divided and turned down the case on a 'microformality'".
The hearings in the case focused only on the matter of jurisdiction. With its decision on Wednesday, the court will not consider the merits of the case presented by the Marshall Islands, and there can be no appeal. (ref)
Hearings Begin on Marshall Islands' Nuclear Lawsuits at Int'l Court of Justice In 1996 the International Criminal Court issued a unanimous Advisory Opinion which stated: "There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control."
But twenty years later, no nuclear disarmament negotiations have taken place among nuclear-armed nations, and all nine are engaged in some level of "modernization" of their nuclear arsenals.
Excerpts from the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation briefings:
"Over the next two weeks, oral arguments in the Marshall Islands' nuclear disarmament cases will take place at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) originally filed the lawsuits in April 2014 against all nine nuclear-armed nations (United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea). The RMI claims that the nuclear-armed nations are in breach of nuclear disarmament obligations under existing international law. This applies to the P5 nations that are signatories to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), as well as to the four non-NPT signatories (Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea) under customary international law.
"'We are, basically, asking the Court to tell the respondent states to live up to their obligations under international law and to conduct negotiations leading to the required result: nuclear disarmament in all its aspects,' said Phon van den Biesen, Co-Agent for the RMI and attorney at law in Amsterdam, who is leading the International Legal Team.
"From March 7-16, the cases against India, Pakistan and the United Kingdom will be argued. The three respondents are the only nations among the "Nuclear Nine" that accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ. The other six nuclear-armed nations were invited to accept the jurisdiction of the Court in this case, but either explicitly declined (China) or ignored the application (U.S., Russia, France, Israel and North Korea). Arguments in RMI vs. India will take place on March 7, 10, 14 and 16. Arguments in RMI vs. Pakistan will take place on March 8, 11, 14 and 16. Arguments in RMI vs. United Kingdom will take place on March 9, 11, 14 and 16."
All sessions will be live-streamed on the ICJ website.
Tony de Brum, co-agent and former foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, concluded Day 7's arguments against the United Kingdom saying, "The States possessing nuclear weapons that joined the NPT made a legally binding promise, in accordance with the goals they expressly adopted in the NPT Preamble, to pursue in good faith negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament and cessation of the nuclear arms race, pursuant to Article VI. The dispute in this case is over whether the UK is in breach of that bargained-for, legal obligation. At the end of the day, the UK position boils down to an assertion that the RMI has no legally enforceable rights under NPT Article VI. If that were true, the Strategic Bargain of the NPT is illusory."
A Ground Zero Forgotten: A special Washington Post report on the Marshall Islands, supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
"A boy and his grandfather are fishing in the shallows off their tiny island, a dot of green in the sapphire eternity between Hawaii and Australia. The flash comes first, silent and brighter than the sun, from a four-mile-wide fireball beyond the horizon. The sky turns blood red. Wind and thunder follow.
"Even 61 years after, Tony deBrum gets 'chicken skin' when sharing his memories of the largest American nuclear-weapons test- the biblical, 15-megaton detonation on Bikini Atoll, 280 miles northwest of his island. Its flash was also seen from Okinawa, 2,600 miles away. Its radioactive fallout was later detected in cattle in Tennessee.
"From 1946 to 1958, the United States conducted 67 tests in the Marshall Islands. If their combined explosive power was parceled evenly over that 12-year period, it would equal 1.6 Hiroshima-size explosions per day.
"This is not something one gets over quickly."
- A Ground Zero Forgotten, Washington Post Nov 27, 2015.
October 2, 2015: Right Livelihood Award to Tony de Brum & the People of the Marshall Islands
"Having witnessed the deleterious effects of US nuclear tests in his country as a young boy, Tony de Brum, as Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands, took the unprecedented step of filing lawsuits against all nine nuclear weapons states in the International Court of Justice in 2014, seeking to hold them to account for their failure to abide by the provisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law." (more)
For immediate release, August 12, 2015: Nuclear Weapons Experts File Amicus Brief in Support of Marshall Islands The Marshall Islands lawsuit seeks to compel the US to begin talks to eliminate nuclear weapons as promised in the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The amicus brief has been prepared by: Hans Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists; Dr. James Doyle, a nuclear nonproliferation expert fired by Los Alamos National Lab after publishing a study arguing for nuclear weapons abolition; Robert Alvarez, a former Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of Energy, now at the Institute for Policy Studies; and Jay Coghlan, director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico.
View/download full press release (PDF)
View/download the amicus brief (PDF) See also: 'Four Reasons Why U.S. Claims of NPT Compliance Are False', a NukeWatch fact sheet presented during the 2015 NPT RevCon: view/download PDF
The US detonated 67 nuclear bombs on the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1953
The Guardian, Friday July 3: Concrete dome over radioactive debris in Marshall Islands is leaking, threatened by rising seas
"Black seabirds circle high above the giant concrete dome that rises from a tangle of green vines just a few paces from the lapping waves of the Pacific. Half buried in the sand, the vast structure looks like a downed UFO.
"At the summit, figures carved into the weathered concrete state only the year of construction: 1979. Officially, this vast structure is known as the Runit Dome. Locals call it The Tomb.
"Below the 18-inch concrete cap rests the United States' cold war legacy to this remote corner of the Pacific Ocean: 111,000 cubic yards of radioactive debris left behind after 12 years of nuclear tests...
"Runit Dome represents a tragic confluence of nuclear testing and climate change," said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, who visited the dome in 2010. "It resulted from US nuclear testing and the leaving behind of large quantities of plutonium," he said. "Now it has been gradually submerged as result of sea level rise from greenhouse gas emissions by industrial countries led by the United States."
Read the full article at the Guardian:
"This dome in the Pacific houses tons of radioactive waste- and it's leaking"
U.S. underwater nuclear test Baker, view from Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, July 25, 1946
May 27, highly recommended: Robert Alvarez writing in The Bulletin: The Marshall Islands and the NPT Six months after the Japanese surrender in World War 2, the American military dropped a nuclear bomb on the Marshall Islands' Bikini Atoll, which had just become a "protectorate" of the US. It was the first nuclear detonation since Nagasaki. There followed many more, and by 1956, the United States Atomic Energy Commission regarded the Marshall Islands as "by far the most contaminated place in the world". Castle Bravo, dropped on the Marshalls in 1954 was the largest bomb the US has ever detonated. Alvarez notes that "The Bravo bomb cloud dwarfed the radioactive releases of the Fukushima and Chernobyl accidents, containing nearly 30 times more radioactive iodine than the two reactor accidents combined." Excerpts:
"Through its lawsuits, the Republic of the Marshall Islands has exposed a huge loophole, carved out by the original five recognized nuclear weapons states at the Non-Proliferation Treaty's inception during the Cold War. Article VI requires the nuclear weapons states to engage in good-faith negotiation on disarmament, but does not actually require disarmament or set a timeline on which it should occur. By seeking a binding legal requirement for weapons states to engage in nuclear disarmament, the Marshall Islands and numerous nations are hoping to plug this loophole, which undermines the NPT."
"During the NPT Review Conference just concluded, the United States tried to divert the focus of the participants from efforts by the nuclear weapons countries to indefinitely preserve and improve their nuclear weapons stockpiles.
"All of these efforts create at least the appearance that the United States- and Russia and the other nuclear countries, which are involved in their own nuclear modernization projects- intends to avoid disarmament indefinitely."
"Land mines are banned by international convention because they have proven to be 'excessively injurious' weapons that are indiscriminate and grossly violate international humanitarian law on the conduct of war. There's little doubt that nuclear weapons are far more excessive and indiscriminate in the injuries they cause. Marshallese Foreign Minister DeBrum makes a strong case that nuclear weapons development, in and of itself, violates basic humanitarian principles and therefore fits the criteria for banning. DeBrum and the Marshallese people are far from alone in arguing for an outright nuclear weapons ban; support is building worldwide for nuclear weapons to be recognized- under binding international law- as unacceptable instruments of war that belong in the dustbin of history."
(Read the full article online at the Bulletin)
April 2, 2015: Marshall Islands Files Notice of Appeal
Washington, April 02, 2015. The Republic of the Marshall Islands filed notice that it would appeal to the Ninth Circuit a ruling that the nation had no standing to sue the United States for allegedly failing its obligations under a nuclear disarmament treaty, arguing that it had the right to sue as a signatory to the treaty.
Laurie Ashton, an attorney for the Pacific nation, told Law360 that U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White had erred in ruling the Marshall Islands had no standing to sue the U.S. under the 1968 international Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, saying the country was a signatory to the treaty and all signatories have the right to see it enforced.
Read the details of the ruling at Law360.com
February 9, 2015: Judge Dismisses Marshall Islands Lawsuit
Marshall Islands "lacked standing", said Judge White, a Bush appointee, finding that "the harm of the future spread and use of nuclear weapons is too speculative 'to establish injury in fact.'"
Read the details of the ruling as reported by David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
January 9, 2017: The Government of the Marshall Islands and former Foreign Minister Tony de Brum Voted "2016 Arms Control Persons of the Year"
"'The nomination of the Marshall Islands and Ambassador de Brum and the many votes they received reflects the concern and frustration expressed by many non-nuclear weapon states about the unacceptable consequences of nuclear weapons use, the slow pace of nuclear disarmament, and the growing risks of renewed global nuclear competition,' noted Kingston Reif, director of disarmament and threat reduction at the Arms Control Association." (story)
October 5, 2016, The Hague: UPDATE: ICJ judgements in Marshall Islands' lawsuit The Court has ruled it has no jurisdiction. Judges were split 8-8; tie breaking vote cast by Court President, Ronny Abraham. (story)
March 7-16, Int'l Court of Justice, The Hague: Marshall Islands lawsuit at the ICJ
Preliminary hearings on admissibility and jurisdiction will be held from March 7-16, 2016 at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands.
(more info and updates)
Feb 4, 2016 De Brum, Nuclear Zero lawyers nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Geneva. The Oslo-based International Peace Bureau (IPB) has nominated former Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum and the republic's legal team for their "courageous step" in filing lawsuits against the world's nine nuclear powers. (more)
U.S. Federal Court
On December 15 the Republic of the Marshall Islands filed its Reply Brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The court will now appoint a three-judge panel to consider the briefs, along with the amicus curiae briefs submitted by many Nuclear Zero consortium members, including Nuclear Watch New Mexico.
International Court of Justice
Preparations continue for initial oral hearings at the International Court of Justice in The Hague for the cases against the United Kingdom, India and Pakistan. These preliminary hearings, to address procedural objections raised by the three nuclear-armed nations, will take place in March 2016.
Nineteen years after her death from cancer, Marshall Islander Darlene Keju is being honored in Taiwan this week with the Global Love of Lives award from a Taipei non-profit foundation.
Keju exposed a United States cover up of nuclear test-caused health problems in her islands and later formed the internationally recognized non-profit group Youth to Youth in Health in the Marshall Islands.
She is being represented in Taiwan this week by Marshall Islands Journal newspaper editor Giff Johnson, her husband of 14 years.
The Chou Ta-Kuan Foundation described Keju as "the Environmental Godmother" of the Marshall Islands who revealed the story of the 67 US nuclear weapons tests at Bikini and Enewetak to protect the safety and health of Marshall Islanders.
Despite Keju's death in 1996, the youth health organization she established continues "providing Marshall Islanders with healthcare services and youth leadership training programs." said the foundation.
"Nuclear disarmament is not just an ardent desire of the people, as expressed in many resolutions of the United Nations. It is a legal commitment by the five official nuclear states, entered into when they signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty."
-Nobel Laureate Joseph Rotblat
Our Mission: Through comprehensive research, public education and effective citizen action, Nuclear Watch New Mexico seeks to promote safety and environmental protection at regional nuclear facilities, mission diversification away from nuclear weapons programs, greater accountability and cleanup in the nation-wide nuclear weapons complex, and consistent U.S. leadership toward a world free of nuclear weapons.