Saturday, August 9, 2008

Physicist who helped develop A-bomb reflects on experiences in first visit to Hiroshima

Physicist who helped develop A-bomb reflects on experiences in first visit to Hiroshima

Hinton sits in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome at the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima's Naka-ku during her first visit to Hiroshima on Aug. 5.
Hinton sits in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome at the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima's Naka-ku during her first visit to Hiroshima on Aug. 5.

Joan Hinton, a physicist who participated in the Manhattan Project -- the U.S. drive to develop a nuclear weapon during World War II -- spoke about her experiences during a recent visit to Hiroshima, where tens of thousands of people perished in the Aug. 6, 1945 atomic bomb attack on the city.

Left with a feeling of despair after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that claimed so many lives, Hinton, now 86, moved to China, where she has lived for the past six decades as a dairy farmer.

On Aug. 5, a day before the 63rd anniversary of the Hiroshima attack, Hinton made a visit to the Atomic Bomb Dome, a building in Hiroshima that was left in rubble to serve as a reminder of the atomic bomb's destructive power.

"Awful," she said, looking up at the steel frame of the dome, before carefully reading through the English explanation placed near the structure.

During an interview at a hotel in Hiroshima, Hinton spoke of her experience as a physicist who had thought pure science was supreme, not knowing the atomic bomb would be dropped on Japan.

During the world's first atomic bomb experiment in the outskirts of Los Alamos, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945, Hinton watched with excitement as the mushroom cloud rose into the air. The explosion marked a moment of fruition for the Manhattan Project, which began in 1942 and employed as many as 129,000 people at one stage in a race against Germany and the Soviet Union to develop a nuclear weapon.

"I thought pure science was above everything," Hinton said.

Hinton, a talented young physicist who had already built a device to measure radiation, joined the project in 1944 at the age of 21. She took on the task of purifying plutonium, and was given a "white badge" that gave her access to all data and research facilities in the project -- one of only around 100.

At the time, Hinton says, people didn't think that the bomb would be used to kill many people in the war -- Germany had surrendered unconditionally two months before the nuclear experiment took place.

But on Aug. 6, the atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima. Hinton, who learned about the bombing in the newspaper, was lost for words.

"We didn't know," she said.

After the war, Hinton took part in a movement against the use of nuclear weapons. She traveled to Shanghai, China, in 1948, amid a civil war and later moved to Inner Mongolia.

Questioning her disappearance from the United States, an American magazine labeled her an atom bomb "spy." Her whereabouts became known in 1951, when an English-language paper in China published a letter she addressed to the Federation of American Scientists. Part of the letter read as follows:

"The memory of Hiroshima -- 150 thousand lives. One, two, three, four, five, six ... 150 thousand -- each a living, thinking, human being with hopes and desires, failures and successes, a life of his or her own -- all gone. And I had held that bomb in my hand."

Sixty-three years have passed since that morning when the bomb exploded over Hiroshima. Even now hibakusha, or atomic bomb survivors, suffer from aftereffects of the bombing, and there are still people who hate the United States.

It's not easy for Hinton to find words to say to the survivors: "What should I say?"

Full text of 2008 Hiroshima Peace Declaration

Full text of 2008 Hiroshima Peace Declaration

The following is the full text of the Peace Declaration issued by Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba at a memorial ceremony on Wednesday, the 63rd anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city.


Another August 6, and the horrors of 63 years ago arise undiminished in the minds of our hibakusha, whose average age now exceeds 75. "Water, please!" "Help me!" "Mommy!" -- On this day, we, too, etch in our hearts the voices, faces and forms that vanished in the hell no hibakusha can ever forget, renewing our determination that "No one else should ever suffer as we did."

Because the effects of that atomic bomb, still eating away at the minds and bodies of the hibakusha, have for decades been so underestimated, a complete picture of the damage has yet to emerge. Most severely neglected have been the emotional injuries. Therefore, the city of Hiroshima is initiating a two-year scientific exploration of the psychological impact of the A-bomb experience.

This study should teach us the grave importance of the truth, born of tragedy and suffering, that "the only role for nuclear weapons is to be abolished."

This truth received strong support from a report compiled last November by the city of Hiroshima. Scientists and other nuclear-related experts exploring the damage from a postulated nuclear attack found once again that the only way to protect citizens from such an attack is the total abolition of nuclear weapons. This is precisely why the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the International Court of Justice advisory opinion state clearly that all nations are obligated to engage in good-faith negotiations leading to complete nuclear disarmament. Furthermore, even leaders previously central to creating and implementing US nuclear policy are now repeatedly demanding a world without nuclear weapons.

We who seek the abolition of nuclear weapons are the majority. United Cities and Local Governments, which represents the majority of the Earth's population, have endorsed the Mayors for Peace campaign. One hundred and ninety states have ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. One hundred thirteen countries and regions have signed nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties. Last year, 170 countries voted in favor of Japan's UN resolution calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Only three countries, the US among them, opposed this resolution. We can only hope that the president of the United States elected this November will listen conscientiously to the majority, for whom the top priority is human survival.

To achieve the will of the majority by 2020, Mayors for Peace, now with 2,368 city members worldwide, proposed in April of this year a Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol to supplement the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This Protocol calls for an immediate halt to all efforts, including by nuclear-weapon states, to obtain or deploy nuclear weapons, with a legal ban on all acquisition or use to follow by 2015. Thus, it draws a concrete road map to a nuclear-weapon-free world. Now, with our destination and the map to that destination clear, all we need is the strong will and capacity to act to guard the future for our children.

World citizens and like-minded nations have achieved treaties banning anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions. Meanwhile, the most effective measures against global warming are coming from cities. Citizens cooperating at city level can solve the problems of the human family because cities are home to the majority of the world's population, cities do not have militaries, and cities have built genuine partnerships around the world based on mutual understanding and trust.

The Japanese Constitution is an appropriate point of departure for a "paradigm shift" toward modeling the world on intercity relationships. I hereby call on the Japanese government to fiercely defend our Constitution, press all governments to adopt the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol, and play a leading role in the effort to abolish nuclear weapons. I further request greater generosity in designating A-bomb illnesses and in relief measures appropriate to the current situations of our aging hibakusha, including those exposed in "black rain areas" and those living overseas.

Next month the G8 Speakers' Meeting will, for the first time, take place in Japan. I fervently hope that Hiroshima's hosting of this meeting will help our "hibakusha philosophy" spread throughout the world.

Now, on the occasion of this 63rd anniversary Peace Memorial Ceremony, we offer our heartfelt lamentations for the souls of the atomic bomb victims and, in concert with the city of Nagasaki and with citizens around the world, pledge to do everything in our power to accomplish the total eradication of nuclear weapons.

(Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor, The City of Hiroshima)

(Mainichi Japan) August 6, 2008

Thousands gather to mark the anniversary of the atomic bombing of the Japanese city

Nagasaki remembers
(01:32) Report

Aug. 09 - Thousands gather to mark the anniversary of the atomic bombing of the Japanese city

About 27,000 of the city's estimated 200,000 population died instantly, and about 70,000 had died by the end of 1945.

The toll is updated every year as more victims die of radiation sickness and 3,069 names were added to the list of the dead this year, bringing the official death toll to 145,984.

Benet Allen reports.

# Shigeko Mori, Nagasaki atomic bomb survivor
# Yasuo Fukuda, prime minister

Thousands remember atomic bombing of Nagasaki on 63rd anniversary

Thousands remember atomic bombing of Nagasaki on 63rd anniversary

People gather during a memorial ceremony at Nagasaki Peace Park on Saturday morning.
People gather during a memorial ceremony at Nagasaki Peace Park on Saturday morning.

NAGASAKI -- Thousands of people including atomic bomb survivors gathered in Nagasaki on Saturday in a ceremony to mark the 63rd anniversary of the Aug. 9, 1945 atomic bomb attack on the city.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Takashi Nagai (1908-1951), a physician who cared for wounded survivors, or hibakusha, in spite of his own injures. In a Peace Declaration during the ceremony at Nagasaki Peace Park, near ground zero, Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue quoted Nagai, saying, "There is no winning or losing in war; there is only ruin."

"There is no future for humans without the elimination of nuclear weapons," Taue said. He requested that Japan continue to take a leading role in working toward the elimination of nuclear weapons and turning into law Japan's three non-nuclear principles of neither possessing nor manufacturing nuclear weapons, nor permitting their introduction into Japan.

The ceremony began at 10:40 a.m., with about 5,650 people, including hibakusha, in attendance. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda attended the ceremony, along with House of Representatives Speaker Yohei Kono, Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yoichi Masuzoe, and representatives of eight countries.

Last year, representatives of 15 countries attended the ceremony, but the number dropped this year as a result of the Beijing Olympic Games that began on Friday.

Russia was the only country possessing nuclear weapons to be represented at the ceremony. The United States, which recently acknowledged that a small amount of radioactive cooling water leaked from the nuclear powered submarine USS Houston when it called at ports in Japan, did not make an appearance again this year.

At the beginning of the ceremony, three books containing the names of 3,058 hibakusha whose deaths were confirmed over the past year were enshrined in front of a peace memorial statue. With the addition, there are now 147 books containing the names of 145,984 people who have died.

At 11:02 a.m., the minute the bomb exploded over the city, ceremony participants held a moment of silence.

In a Peace Declaration read out at the ceremony Taue mentioned that people including former U.S. secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Schulz had submitted an article on steps toward a nuclear free world, adding that the authors were promoting the United States ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

The declaration pointed out that Russia and the United States are said to together possess 95 percent of the world's nuclear warheads and said these two countries "should begin implementing broad reductions of nuclear weapons."

Speaking on hibakusha, whose average age passed 75 for the first time this year, the declaration urged the Japanese government to quickly provide atomic bomb survivors with "support that corresponds with their reality."

In an address at the ceremony, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who flew in directly from Beijing after attending the Olympic Games opening ceremony, said Japan would hold fast to the three non-nuclear principles and take the forefront on the international stage to eliminate nuclear weapons and achieve lasting peace. He added that Japan would abide by recently introduced guidelines for recognizing hibakusha and provide recognition to as many people as possible.

A representative of atomic bomb survivors also called for the elimination of nuclear weapons, describing them as weapons that in an instant burn everything, claim hundreds of thousands of lives, and leave people suffering all their lives even if they manage to survive.

Bombing of Nagasaki remembered today

EVENTS: Bombing of Nagasaki remembered today

The 27th annual Atomic Cities Peace Memorial ceremony will be held at 8:30 p.m. today in the John Dam Plaza across from the Federal Building in Richland.

The ceremony, planned by World Citizens for Peace, marks the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, using plutonium produced at the Hanford nuclear reservation during World War II.

It will include the ringing of a model of the Bell of Peace, a gift sent by the mayor of Nagasaki to the people of Richland in 1985. The Bell of Peace is a church bell recovered from ruins near ground zero in Nagasaki and rung to console survivors.

The model of the bell in Richland will be rung in memory of the Americans who died at Pearl Harbor and the Japanese who died at Nagasaki.

World Citizens for Peace also plan a silent peace vigil from noon to 1 p.m. today in John Dam Plaza.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Iran nuclear plant to begin work soon

Iran nuclear plant to begin work soon
Fri, 08 Aug 2008 06:25:34 GMT
Bushehr nuclear plant
Iran expects to witness its first Russian-built nuclear power plant come on stream in early 2009 in its southern port city of Bushehr.

Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Gholam-Reza Aqazadeh said the initial launch of the power plant should take place in the current Iranian calendar year, which ends on March 20, 2009.

"We expect that Russia will fulfill its commitment and launch the power plant," Aqazadeh told ISNA in an exclusive interview on Friday.

In January 1995, Iran and Russia signed an $800 million contract that committed Moscow to completing one of the two nuclear reactors in Bushehr within four years.

Atomstroiexport, the Russian subcontractor helping to build the plant, has delayed the construction by more than a decade.

Iranian Energy Minister Parviz Fattah said late last month that the 1000-megawat power plant would be operational 'within a year'.

"Had the nuclear plant been launched, we could have reduced the level of the electricity shortage we faced in Iran this year by nearly 50 percent," Fattah added.

The news comes as the Islamic Republic suffers from daily power outages because of a dramatic drop in rainfall in the current Iranian calendar year.

The shortage in electricity has forced Iran's Energy Ministry to adopt a rationing program by scheduling power outages across both urban and rural areas in the country. Each area sees electricity cut for up to four hours a day.

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 06:25:34 GMT
Bushehr nuclear plant
Iran expects to witness its first Russian-built nuclear power plant come on stream in early 2009 in its southern port city of Bushehr.

Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Gholam-Reza Aqazadeh said the initial launch of the power plant should take place in the current Iranian calendar year, which ends on March 20, 2009.

"We expect that Russia will fulfill its commitment and launch the power plant," Aqazadeh told ISNA in an exclusive interview on Friday.

In January 1995, Iran and Russia signed an $800 million contract that committed Moscow to completing one of the two nuclear reactors in Bushehr within four years.

Atomstroiexport, the Russian subcontractor helping to build the plant, has delayed the construction by more than a decade.

Iranian Energy Minister Parviz Fattah said late last month that the 1000-megawat power plant would be operational 'within a year'.

"Had the nuclear plant been launched, we could have reduced the level of the electricity shortage we faced in Iran this year by nearly 50 percent," Fattah added.

The news comes as the Islamic Republic suffers from daily power outages because of a dramatic drop in rainfall in the current Iranian calendar year.

The shortage in electricity has forced Iran's Energy Ministry to adopt a rationing program by scheduling power outages across both urban and rural areas in the country. Each area sees electricity cut for up to four hours a day.

Government officials seek response plan to radioactive leak

Despite this government officials like acting Governor Mike Cruz, Speaker Judi Won Pat, and Senator Frank Blas Junior met today as they believe the leakage stresses the need for an independent process and protocol to monitor the leakage of waste in Apra Harbor and future leaks.

As we reported Senator B.J. Cruz recently introduced Bill 349 that seeks to appropriate $100,000 to Public Health's Environmental Health Division to conduct an independent investigation and study of the leakage of radioactive material into Apra Harbor by the U.S. Navy. The legislation would also require a permanent monitoring device be installed at the entrance of the harbor to detect and provide early warning signs of any radioactive contaminants that may be discharged into Guam's waters.

The acting Governor and Speaker Won Pat requested Bill 349 be placed on emergency status without a public hearing as lawmakers have already agreed to act expeditiously on the legislation. Public Health and Guam EPA are currently working with their federal counterparts to address the issue.
The acting governor adds that U.S. EPA has agreed that the amount of leakage was minimal however they are questioning how the data was presented and are recommending that Guam pursue independent testing.

In light of the leak and the Navy handled the release of information, Senator Ben Pangelinan sent a letter calling for major changes at Big Navy. "I believe that the actions of the local Naval command to withhold information of the leakage of the nuclear elements into Guam waters over a two year period is inexcusable and unacceptable and as such today I am sending off a letter to the Commander of the Naval Forces in the Pacific Admiral Keating in Hawaii for the removal of the local Naval command," the Democrat lawmaker stated.

Meanwhile Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo issued the following statement: “I have been updated on the status of the U.S.S. Houston incident. I was told that the valve leakage has occurred since 2006, which extended the number of locations which were potentially impacted. The Governments of Malaysia and Republic of Singapore were also informed that the U.S.S. Houston made port calls in those countries during this period. In addition, it is believed that this small amount of weepage from the valve and the subsequent tests of Apra Harbor by the U.S. Navy indicate that the leakage of water from the submarine did not harm the environment or place the residents of Guam or crew in danger. I will continue to work to ensure the safety of the residents of Guam as well as the sailors on-board our nuclear submarine force. I have requested and will receive a more comprehensive briefing from the U.S. Department of Energy, which has shared oversight on the safe operation of the U.S. Navy’s nuclear propulsion program. I also want to further explore how this defective valve went unnoticed during previous maintenance or while the ship was in service.”

Six nuclear protesters arrested at North Anna plant visitors area


Six anti-nuclear power protesters were arrested at the North Anna power plant's visitor center yesterday after refusing to leave at its closing time.

Richard Zuercher, a spokesman for Dominion Virginia Power, said about 25 protesters showed up at the visitor's center near Mineral in Louisa County at about 2:30 p.m.

The protesters at one point sat down in the center's exhibition hall and began chanting anti-nuclear sentiments, he said.

Zuercher said Virginia Power officials spoke to the protesters and asked them to leave by 4 p.m., when the visitor center normally closes. Some refused to leave and authorities were called.

By the time State Police and Louisa County Sheriff's Department deputies arrived, only six protestors remained in the building and were arrested for trespassing. They were cheered by the crowd as they were led away, said Zuercher. No one was injured.

"Dominion recognizes the people's right to speak their mind but we don't endorse illegal activity,'' said Zuercher.

The center is about 1 mile from the company's two nuclear reactors.

The protesters align themselves with such environmental advocacy groups as Blue Ridge Earth First!, Rising Tide North America, and Nuclear Watch South, said Mary Olson, a spokeswoman for Nuclear Watch South.

Olson said the protest was held because "we're trying to show visible opposition to the revival of nuclear power. Virginia Power appears poised to build another reactor at its North Anna plant.

"Part of what we're doing is sending up flares that this is happening,'' said Olson.

"Nuclear reactors are cost prohibitive, slow to build, and have an ecological footprint that is several times larger than that of wind, solar and other efficiency technologies," she also said in a statement.

"Every dollar spent on nuclear proliferation is money lost on safer, sustainable methods of generation," she added.

Contact Carlos Santos at (434) 295-9542 or

Thursday, August 7, 2008

No easy answers on nuclear waste

No easy answers on nuclear waste

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The facts and figures surrounding Yucca Mountain, the proposed Arizona site that would hold the nation's nuclear waste, never fail to astonish. The cost, which continues to climb with each passing year, now stands at an estimated $96 billion. And the amount of waste, which by some calculations could come in at 122,000 tons, is not easily brushed aside.

But there is one number that stands out among all the others, that forces one to take a serious step back to consider the implications of Yucca Mountain specifically and the nation's nuclear waste more generally: Some of the spent nuclear fuel will remain highly radioactive for a million years.

What we've got on our hands here is a very real - and very long-lasting - problem.

We have argued previously in this space that a rush toward Yucca Mountain may not be the wisest of choices. Imagine tons and tons of dangerous spent nuclear fuel hurtling across the nation on interstate highways and on rail lines and aboard barges, zipping through urban and suburban areas, beside rivers and lakes and municipal water supplies, through rural farmland and across bridges great and small. Then, imagine this happening year after year - without a single accident.

It's almost enough to make you think that doing nothing at all is the best choice. Until you consider what doing nothing at all actually means.

There is no easy solution to this problem. And it is not going to just go away.

Yucca Mountain is in the news again following the newest cost estimate from the Energy Department. It should remain a real part of the debate as calls for the construction of new nuclear power plants continue to mount. We are not suggesting that the reality of nuclear waste should rule out new nuke plants. But it has got to be a part of the discussion.

The nation doesn't need to come up with definitive plans tomorrow, but we shouldn't wait forever. We don't, after all, have a million years to decide on the next - and wisest - nuclear move.

UN nuclear watchdog in Tehran talks amid sanctions calls

Photo 1 of 3

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

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UN nuclear watchdog in Tehran talks amid sanctions calls

TEHRAN (AFP) — The UN atomic watchdog's number two was in Tehran on Thursday for a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear drive as Western governments said the time had come for the Security Council to impose fresh sanctions.

The two-day visit comes a day after six world powers discussed Iran's response to their latest offer to resolve the nuclear standoff, which has helped push world oil prices to record levels.

It was not clear if Heinonen's visit was directly related to the incentives being offered to Iran to freeze uranium enrichment activities, a process that Western nations fear could be diverted to build an atomic weapon.

A diplomat close to the International Atomic Energy Agency said Heinonen's visit was likely to concentrate on clarifying outstanding questions the watchdog has about Iran's nuclear programme rather than the incentives offer.

Heinonen has made a series of visits to Iran as part of the agency's longstanding efforts to make sure there is no military dimension to the programme, the last on April 28.

That visit focused on studies that the IAEA suspects Iran carried out in the past into the engineering involved in making a nuclear warhead.

But a source at the Iranian atomic energy organisation insisted that these "alleged studies" would not be on the agenda of the new talks.

In his last report on Iran in May, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei accused Tehran of withholding key information on the so-called weaponisation studies.

Iran dismissed the allegations as "baseless", insisting it had provided a comprehensive response.

It has since gone further, with Vice President Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, who heads Iran's atomic energy organisation, insisting that the alleged weaponisation studies were not a matter for the UN watchdog.

"We are dealing with it through other channels. Measures have already been taken and we will follow them up if necessary and if appropriate," Aghazadeh said last month.

On Wednesday, Britain and the United States said the six powers now had "no choice" but to seek new UN sanctions after Iran failed to give a "clear positive response" to their latest offer of trade and technology incentives in return for an enrichment freeze.

The two governments said there was now agreement among the six powers, which also include China, France, Germany and Russia, that a new sanctions resolution should be discussed at the Security Council.

The powers "have agreed that, while informal contacts between (EU foreign policy chief Javier) Solana and (Iranian negotiator Saeed) Jalili will continue, we now have no choice but to pursue further sanctions against Iran, as part of our dual-track strategy," British junior foreign minister Kim Howells said.

But Russia's UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin said he was unaware of any such consensus on sanctions.

"It may well be that in the course of those discussions some members of the six raised the issue of the sanctions," Churkin said. "But to the best of my knowledge there has been no firm agreement or understanding or concerted work in this regard."

Churkin said that the Group of Eight wealthy industrialised countries would discuss the issue of whether to seek further sanctions at a ministerial meeting next month.

He added that ministerial talks by six major powers on a new round of sanctions were likely to continue during the UN General Assembly session scheduled from September 23 to October 1.

"The main thing to remember is the negotiating track is open... There are contacts between the parties... We need to focus very much on the negotiating opportunities which this may produce," Churkin said.

The Security Council has already ordered three rounds of sanctions against Iran over its defiance.

The United States and its allies say Iran's nuclear programme could be a cover to develop atomic weapons and Washington has never ruled out military action over the standoff.

But Iran insists that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it has the right to develop nuclear technology which it says is aimed at generating electricity for its growing population.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Atomic blast trips cancer time bomb

Atomic blast trips cancer time bomb

August 06, 2008

John Collins believes his time in Hiroshima after World War II left him with bone marrow cancer.

By Jim Campbell WHEN the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima 63 years ago today, it paved the way for a cancer time bomb inside Toowoomba man John Collins.

Mr Collins served in the Australian Army as part of the clean-up crew at Hiroshima 23 months after the infamous bomb wiped out the city.

He operated bulldozers and other machinery for four months, and it was in that four months he came into close contact with fallout from the bomb that Mr Collins says caused his bone marrow cancer (polycythemia vera or PV).

After four months, Mr Collins said his health deteriorated significantly.

"My hair started to fall out and I actually started to urinate blood," Mr Collins told The Chronicle not long after his 80th birthday.

"They took me to the hospital tent for a check-up, but couldn't determine what was wrong, so I was eventually sent home."

It was after he returned to Australia that Mr Collins faced another battle.

He was diagnosed with cancer and, in 1988, he approached the Department of Veterans' Affairs to help with his medical treatment costs.

"I have no doubt at all that my illness was caused directly from the work I did at Hiroshima," Mr Collins said.

But the department ruled otherwise. Between 1989 and 2004, Mr Collins made five unsuccessful appeals against the decision.

"The government told me in writing that by the time our clean-up crew got there (Hiroshima) radiation levels would have been negligible.

"But actually, fallout material has a half-life of about four-and-a-half billion years."

Their decisions hinged on a medical statement issued by the Repatriation Medical Authority that said, "Collins' PV can only be caused by his inability to get treatment for it on active service."

That statement, Mr Collins said, was completely nonsensical.

"Britain, North America and New Zealand accept contact with atomic fallout as a direct cause for my illness, but Australia still refuses to," he said.

"I wouldn't waste the last 20 years of my life fighting for this if I didn't know it was right and there was an injustice being committed against myself and my fellow veterans.

"What I'm fighting for is a legal principal and for disadvantaged veterans it wouldn't make any difference to the war pension I currently get. It's just a matter of justice."

Mr Collins has published The War of the Veterans, a book that tells his story. He has a powerful ally in Dr Roger Dunlop, past president of the Australian Medical Association.

Dr Dunlop, a nuclear veteran himself, said the case was very complex, but the law refusing Mr Collins compensation was simply wrong.

"What we're trying to do is to have the new government repeal the law," Dr Dunlop said.

"There was no doubt he had the beginnings of PV when he left Japan."

Dr Dunlop said he had even considered taking the issue to the International Court of Justice.

"Persistence is the only way to do it," he said.

"And John Collins is bloody persistent.

"He's got a very strong sense of public duty and he's given years of hard work to our veterans.

"I think we will win in the long run."

The Lies of Hiroshima Live On, Props in the War

The Lies of Hiroshima Live On, Props in the War Crimes of the 20th Century
The 1945 attack was murder on an epic scale. In its victims’ names, we must not allow a nuclear repeat in the Middle East

by John Pilger

When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open. At a quarter past eight on the morning of August 6, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite. I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, then walked down to the river and met a man called Yukio, whose chest was still etched with the pattern of the shirt he was wearing when the atomic bomb was dropped.

He and his family still lived in a shack thrown up in the dust of an atomic desert. He described a huge flash over the city, “a bluish light, something like an electrical short”, after which wind blew like a tornado and black rain fell. “I was thrown on the ground and noticed only the stalks of my flowers were left. Everything was still and quiet, and when I got up, there were people naked, not saying anything. Some of them had no skin or hair. I was certain I was dead.” Nine years later, when I returned to look for him, he was dead from leukaemia.

In the immediate aftermath of the bomb, the allied occupation authorities banned all mention of radiation poisoning and insisted that people had been killed or injured only by the bomb’s blast. It was the first big lie. “No radioactivity in Hiroshima ruin” said the front page of the New York Times, a classic of disinformation and journalistic abdication, which the Australian reporter Wilfred Burchett put right with his scoop of the century. “I write this as a warning to the world,” reported Burchett in the Daily Express, having reached Hiroshima after a perilous journey, the first correspondent to dare. He described hospital wards filled with people with no visible injuries but who were dying from what he called “an atomic plague”. For telling this truth, his press accreditation was withdrawn, he was pilloried and smeared - and vindicated.

The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a criminal act on an epic scale. It was premeditated mass murder that unleashed a weapon of intrinsic criminality. For this reason its apologists have sought refuge in the mythology of the ultimate “good war”, whose “ethical bath”, as Richard Drayton called it, has allowed the west not only to expiate its bloody imperial past but to promote 60 years of rapacious war, always beneath the shadow of The Bomb.

The most enduring lie is that the atomic bomb was dropped to end the war in the Pacific and save lives. “Even without the atomic bombing attacks,” concluded the United States Strategic Bombing Survey of 1946, “air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion. Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that … Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.”

The National Archives in Washington contain US government documents that chart Japanese peace overtures as early as 1943. None was pursued. A cable sent on May 5, 1945 by the German ambassador in Tokyo and intercepted by the US dispels any doubt that the Japanese were desperate to sue for peace, including “capitulation even if the terms were hard”. Instead, the US secretary of war, Henry Stimson, told President Truman he was “fearful” that the US air force would have Japan so “bombed out” that the new weapon would not be able “to show its strength”. He later admitted that “no effort was made, and none was seriously considered, to achieve surrender merely in order not to have to use the bomb”. His foreign policy colleagues were eager “to browbeat the Russians with the bomb held rather ostentatiously on our hip”. General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project that made the bomb, testified: “There was never any illusion on my part that Russia was our enemy, and that the project was conducted on that basis.” The day after Hiroshima was obliterated, President Truman voiced his satisfaction with the “overwhelming success” of “the experiment”.

Since 1945, the United States is believed to have been on the brink of using nuclear weapons at least three times. In waging their bogus “war on terror”, the present governments in Washington and London have declared they are prepared to make “pre-emptive” nuclear strikes against non-nuclear states. With each stroke toward the midnight of a nuclear Armageddon, the lies of justification grow more outrageous. Iran is the current “threat”. But Iran has no nuclear weapons and the disinformation that it is planning a nuclear arsenal comes largely from a discredited CIA-sponsored Iranian opposition group, the MEK - just as the lies about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction originated with the Iraqi National Congress, set up by Washington.

The role of western journalism in erecting this straw man is critical. That America’s Defence Intelligence Estimate says “with high confidence” that Iran gave up its nuclear weapons programme in 2003 has been consigned to the memory hole. That Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad never threatened to “wipe Israel off the map” is of no interest. But such has been the mantra of this media “fact” that in his recent, obsequious performance before the Israeli parliament, Gordon Brown alluded to it as he threatened Iran, yet again.

This progression of lies has brought us to one of the most dangerous nuclear crises since 1945, because the real threat remains almost unmentionable in western establishment circles and therefore in the media. There is only one rampant nuclear power in the Middle East and that is Israel. The heroic Mordechai Vanunu tried to warn the world in 1986 when he smuggled out evidence that Israel was building as many as 200 nuclear warheads. In defiance of UN resolutions, Israel is today clearly itching to attack Iran, fearful that a new American administration might, just might, conduct genuine negotiations with a nation the west has defiled since Britain and America overthrew Iranian democracy in 1953.

In the New York Times on July 18, the Israeli historian Benny Morris, once considered a liberal and now a consultant to his country’s political and military establishment, threatened “an Iran turned into a nuclear wasteland”. This would be mass murder. For a Jew, the irony cries out.

The question begs: are the rest of us to be mere bystanders, claiming, as good Germans did, that “we did not know”? Do we hide ever more behind what Richard Falk has called “a self-righteous, one-way, legal/moral screen [with] positive images of western values and innocence portrayed as threatened, validating a campaign of unrestricted violence”? Catching war criminals is fashionable again. Radovan Karadzic stands in the dock, but Sharon and Olmert, Bush and Blair do not. Why not? The memory of Hiroshima requires an answer.

© Guardian News and Media Limited 2008

Expanding Waste

Expanding Waste

Estimated cost of Nevada nuke-waste dump soars

Posted at 3:46 PM on 05 Aug 2008

Yucca Mountain.
The total cost of dumping nuclear waste at Nevada's Yucca Mountain repository will hit $96.2 billion, the Department of Energy estimated Tuesday. The estimate has jumped 38 percent, excluding inflation, since 2001. And it assumes no new construction of nuclear reactors; to put that in perspective, John McCain is pushing for the U.S. to build up to 45 new nuclear plants by 2030. The Energy Department ambitiously assumes that Yucca will begin accepting waste in 2020, continue through 2070, and close in 2113. It also estimates that the site could take in as much as 122,000 tons of nuclear waste, even though Congress has limited Yucca's capacity to 77,000 tons. About 64,000 tons of used reactor fuel is already chillin' at 121 temporary sites across the U.S., and more than 2,000 tons are added each year.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Yucca Mountain cost estimate is increased

Yucca Mountain cost estimate is increased

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Energy says it has revised upward its cost estimate of the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository from its 1983 start to closure in 2133.

Officials said the new system life cycle cost estimate includes money needed to research, construct and operate Yucca Mountain for 150 years.

The new cost estimate of $79.3 billion, when updated to 2007 dollars totals $96.2 billion -- a 38-percent increase from the last published estimate in 2001 of $57.5 billion.

Ward Sproat, director of the department's Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, said the updated estimate takes into account a substantial increase in the amount of waste to be shipped and stored at the repository and more than $16 billion for inflation.

"This increased cost estimate is reasonable given inflation and the expected increase in the amount of spent nuclear fuel from existing reactors with license renewals," Sproat said. "We have marked significant project milestones this year and look forward to … nuclear waste currently sitting at 121 temporary locations around the country being safely stored at Yucca Mountain."

DNC: John 'Not In My Back Yard' McCain Brings His Yucca Support to Nevada

DNC: John 'Not In My Back Yard' McCain Brings His Yucca Support to Nevada

Last update: 12:48 p.m. EDT July 29, 2008
WASHINGTON, July 29, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Senator John McCain today will bring his promise of four more years of President Bush's failed energy policies back to Nevada. The last time he was in the Silver State, McCain gave a 3,000 word speech on energy that didn't mention Yucca Mountain or solar power once. Instead, McCain focused on his newfound support for offshore oil drilling, which even he and President Bush admit will have only a "psychological" impact on gas prices. McCain's support for offshore drilling may not provide economic relief for working families, but it did open a flood of new support for McCain's campaign from the oil and gas industry.
McCain may be reluctant to detail his record on Yucca Mountain, but the facts are clear. Except for some election-year hedging during his two presidential campaigns, McCain has repeatedly been a champion of Yucca Mountain. In fact, despite his admitted concern about shipping nuclear material through Arizona McCain wants to build at least 45 new nuclear power plants and says dealing with spent nuclear fuel is a "NIMBY" problem that we must have "guts and the courage" to address. See the DNC's web video "NIMBY: Not In McCain's Back Yard:
"During his 25 years in Congress, Senator McCain has been a part of America's energy problem by repeatedly voting against the kind of policies that would create green jobs in Nevada and break our dependence on fossil fuels," said Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Karen Finney. "Now, McCain is promising more of the same by pandering to his new friends in the oil and gas industry and promising to store tons of spent fuel in Nevada, even though he's not comfortable shipping the material through Arizona on its way there. America's working families deserve new energy ideas, not more of the same failed policies that have cost us jobs, driven energy prices through the roof, and done nothing to make America less dependent on foreign oil."
The following is a fact sheet on McCain's support for Yucca Mountain:
McCain Has Consistently Voted to Approve Yucca Mountain As A Nuclear Waste Dump Site. In 2002, John McCain voted to approve a site at Yucca Mountain as a repository for nuclear and radioactive waste. After the vote, McCain said that storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain would answer "one of the most important environmental, health and public safety issues for the American people." In 2000, McCain voted to override the presidential veto of legislation that would establish a permanent nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. In 1997, McCain similarly voted to establish a repository at the Mountain. McCain voted yes on a similar bill in 1996. [2002 Senate Vote #167, 7/9/2002; The Arizona Republic, 7/10/2002; 2000 Senate Vote #88, 5/2/2000; 1998 Senate Vote #148, 6/2/1998; 1997 Senate Vote #42, 4/15/1997; 1996 Senate Vote #259, 7/31/1996; 1996 Senate Vote #256, 7/31/1996]
McCain: "I Am For Yucca Mountain." The Las Vegas Sun reported that in 2007 McCain told the Deseret News, "I am for Yucca Mountain. I'm for storage facilities. It's a lot better than sitting outside power plants all over America." [Las Vegas Sun (Las Vegas, NV), 5/28/08]
McCain: "I Believe That Yucca Mountain Is A Suitable Place For Storage." At a campaign event in Springfield, Pennsylvania, McCain said, "I believe that Yucca Mountain is a suitable place for storage and I know that there's controversy about it and lawsuits and all that. But shouldn't America, a country as smart and as wise as we are, be able to find a place to store spent fuel?" [CNN Live Feed (Springfield, PA), 3/14/08]
McCain Senior Adviser Holtz-Eakin Called Political Opposition To Yucca Mountain "Harmful To the U.S. Interests." "McCain criticized both Democrats for their opposition to Yucca Mountain. 'The political opposition to the Yucca Mountain storage facility is harmful to the U.S. interest and the facility should be completed, opened and utilized,' McCain adviser Holtz-Eakin said." [Reuters, 5/6/08]
McCain: "We Will Build At Least 45 New Nuclear Plants." In a speech in Denver, Colorado, McCain said, "We will develop more clean energy. Nuclear power is the most dependable source of zero-emission energy we have. We will build at least 45 new nuclear plants that will create over 700,000 good jobs to construct and operate them." [CNN Live Feed, Speech (Denver, CO), 7/7/08]
2008: Campaigning In Nevada, McCain Said He Could Be Compelled To Reverse Support For Storage Of Nuclear Waste At Yucca Mountain. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that "On the nuclear dump site about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, which most Nevadans oppose, McCain stressed the importance to national security of finding somewhere to store spent nuclear fuel currently at power plants across the country. But he indicated he could be persuaded to end his support for Yucca as the site. 'I will respect scientific opinion,' he said. 'The scientific opinion that I had up until recently was that Yucca Mountain was a suitable storage place.'" [Las Vegas Review-Journal (Las Vegas, NV), 3/29/08]
1999: McCain Made Same Vague Promise To Consider Other Sites For Disposal To Nevadans Prior To His 2000 Run. On a trip to Nevada in February 1999, McCain met with key supporters in the gambling industry and the editorial board of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The Associated Press reported that McCain's votes to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain could hurt him among Nevada voters. According to AP, "McCain said he is willing to hear arguments on the issue of whether Yucca Mountain, 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, is suitable as the nation's nuclear waste repository, but he said the storage problem must be resolved." McCain also said, "I'm not expert enough to know if that's the place or not, but it's unconscionable to leave nuclear waste sitting around in facilities forever." [Associated Press, 2/17/1999]
MCCAIN 2008: Dealing With Spent Nuclear Fuel Is A "NIMBY" Problem, US Must Have The "Guts And The Courage." At an energy briefing in Santa Barbara, CA, McCain spoke about spent nuclear fuel and said, "But it's not a technological breakthrough that needs to be taken. It's a, it's a NIBMY problem. It's a NIMBY problem. We've gotta have the guts and the courage to go ahead and do what other countries are doing and they are reducing the pollution to our environment rather dramatically without any huge pain to anybody." [CNN Live Feed, Briefing (Santa Barbara, CA), 6/24/08]
MCCAIN 2007: Just Don't Ship it Through My Back Yard. "Interviewer: What about the transportation? Would you be comfortable with nuclear waste coming through Arizona on its way, you know going through Phoenix, on its way to uh Yucca Mountain? McCain (Shaking Head): No, I would not. No, I would not." [Nevada Newsmakers, May 2007:]

Tallevast water treatment leaks

Tallevast water treatment leaks

Residents see polluted water spill onto ground

Fire trucks were called to Tallavast on Sunday as a leak was reported at the beryllium plant near the children's center.  Photos taken by Wanda Washington, resident.
Fire trucks were called to Tallavast on Sunday as a leak was reported at the beryllium plant near the children's center. Photos taken by Wanda Washington, resident.

Polluted water in a treatment system leaked and filled secondary containment before residents of the beleaguered neighborhood said they heard and saw it pouring over the top onto the ground Sunday.

When reported to emergency services at about 1:30 p.m., fire and environmental personnel rushed to the site at the former beryllium plant, 1600 Tallevast Road, turned off the treatment system and sucked up 6,000 gallons of water behind a high metal containment wall for transport to a state disposal facility.

The beryllium plant is the source of a leak of toxic chemicals that has spread underground over 200 acres.

A spokeswoman for Lockheed Martin Corp., which is responsible for the cleanup of the underground plume, said late Sunday "there was a leak in the groundwater treatment plant," but that no toxic water had escaped outside containment.

Two community leaders said they had photographs to prove the water had escaped and, as they stood about 10 feet from the containment wall, the weight of the water behind it bowed the wall out and worried them that it might give way and spill onto the grounds of the Tallevast Community Center adjacent to the treatment site.

As part of the initial cleanup, Lockheed is pumping contaminated groundwater through a treatment system and then discharging the treated water into the county sewer system.

The breach gave rise for two Tallevast residents to a greater question of whether the massive cleanup of the toxic plume was being done safely.

With another Tallevast resident, Wanda Washington, at Wal-Mart developing photos of the water "overflowing at a very rapid rate," according to Ward, the situation was called "a possible health hazard."

Lockheed's Gail Rymer said late Sunday the incident would cause the corporation to look at the treatment system that failed and improve it.

The treatment system will remain turned off, she said, until it is understood what happened and fixed.

The water that escaped into containment, according to Lockheed's Rymer, was "contaminated water" pumped up from the toxic plume underneath Tallevast, and was going to be treated. She called it "pre-treatment water."

Added Rymer: "The cause of the leak has not been determined. But we have begun a thorough investigation of the incident to determine the cause. The treatment center will remain shut down."

She said the company called for the state Department of Environmental Protection to send pumper trucks to the site to suck up the contaminated water inside the containment perimeter. Two trucks came, observers said, loaded the water and drove it to Lakeland for disposal.

An official with the DEP in Lakeland did not return a phone call.

Ward, who lives down the street from the treatment site, said another resident alerted her.

"From the street, you can hear the water running over the wall," Ward said.

At the site, she described what she saw as "water coming up to be treated, and running over the wall."

She said the overflow was then running back down to the ground.

Ward and Washington are officials of FOCUS, a residents' advocacy group in Tallevast.

Rymer said a Lockheed engineer at the site said there was a small area of discoloration of the outside of the metal wall, but that he and others found the ground outside the wall to be dry.

Ward and Washington hurried to the site before calling emergency services.

After documenting the situation, the pair called for a quick response.

"I was just concerned it could be a possible health hazard," Ward said.

Two Manatee County fire engines came to the scene, and one firefighter shut off the system.

Asked if any official at the site had said to her that there had been a toxic spill, Ward said, "No one said that."

Told Lockheed Martin said the treatment water had been contained inside the secondary catch wall, Ward said, "No, that's not the case. We saw it coming out over the wall. The containment wall was actually bent from the weight of the water."

Monday, August 4, 2008

The WMD That Really Should Be Worrying Us

The WMD That Really Should Be Worrying Us
If al-Qa’ida was unleashing this weather of mass destruction, we would do anything to stop them
by Johann Hari

Imagine if tomorrow the CIA and MI6 discover that Osama bin Laden has invented an incredible new weapon. This machine - stashed away in some dusty Afghan cave - doubles the intensity of hurricanes, causing them to drown a US city and kill nearly 2,000 people. It turns Spain and Australia dry in the worst droughts on record. It makes the oceans acidic, killing essential parts of the food chain. It is causes these acidic seas to rise and wash away whole nations like Bangladesh and Tuvalu. And if the machine is left switched on for too long, it will drown London and New York and Lagos and Kinshasa too.

This machine exists. It is called global warming - and we are our own Bin Laden. The world’s scientists say our greenhouse gas emissions are causing this planetary cooking as surely as HIV causes Aids or smoking causes lung cancer.

If al-Qa’ida was unleashing this weather of mass destruction, we would do anything - anything - to stop them. But because the enemy is inside each one of us, we stagger on, building more airports and coal power stations and shrieking for cheaper oil. We are suffering from what psychologists call an “external context problem”: this is so far outside anything we have experienced before, it instinctively seems it cannot possibly be true, no matter how much evidence washes at our feet.

This week, a small band of the sane is gathering to try to shake us awake. In the English countryside of Kent, thousands of ordinary people have set up camp to demand the British Government cancel its plans to build a new coal power station, with six others to follow. Coal is the worst warming-weapon, responsible for half of all the greenhouse gases humans have pumped into the atmosphere. It is twice as warming as the next worst fossil fuel - natural gas - and more than a hundred times worse than wind power. The Climate Camp protesters are refusing to be part of Generation Zzzzzzzz, drugged by celebrity and consumption. Armed only with the science, they are urging us to be rational, now, while we still can.

To grasp the urgency of the situation, let’s look at one aspect of global warming that has been widely overlooked. As you lie on a beach this summer and stare at the ocean, you should be aware it is becoming rapidly more acidic - because of your emissions.

The oceans are the greatest carbon sink we have. They have inhaled a third of the carbon dioxide pumped by us into the atmosphere and buried it on the ocean floor. But there is a price. When CO2 combines with water, it creates a fizzy carbonic acid. You taste this acid on your tongue every day in your can of Coke. The more carbon the ocean soaks up, the more acid it produces. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of the seas has soared by 30 percent, and by the end of my life, it will have increased by 150 percent - unless we reverse course fast. “A change of that magnitude is more than we have seen in 20 million years,” says Richard Feely of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Seattle.

Turning the seas acidic sets off a series of disasters, only some of which can be predicted in advance. Disaster one: The collapse of the oceanic food chain. At the turn of the century, the US, Japanese and German governments were so impressed by the capacity of the oceans to mop up CO2 that they proposed compressing emissions from power plants and pumping the goo into the sea. So a series of tank-experiments were set up to see what would happen. Once the water became strongly acidic, the shells of dozens of sea creatures - from sea urchins to molluscs - simply dissolved, and they died. The food chain collapsed; almost everything else in the experiment died too.

One of the creatures that is killed by acidity is the pteropod, a tiny little sea snail. That doesn’t sound like a big deal - until you realise pteropods are the major food source for salmon, herring, cod and pollack. If they die, so does the staple food of hundreds of millions of humans. So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Disaster two: the death of coral. Acidic oceans dissolve coral like a fizzing paracetamol in a glass. So the coral reefs - the rainforests of the ocean, home to a quarter of all sea life - are dying at a rate that has staggered the scientists who study them. And the Reefer Madness gets worse: atolls like the Maldives and Tuvalu have foundations made of coral, so they will dissolve and collapse, if rising sea levels don’t get them first.

Disaster three: the seas will lose their ability to soak up carbon dioxide. The creatures that currently “eat” carbon dioxide and sink to the bottom of the ocean - shelled plankton - are killed by acidity. The result? A sharp acceleration in global warming up here. There is even a fear the vast amounts of methane stored in the oceans will be destabilised and rise to the surface. The last time this happened, 55 million years ago, it caused warming so rapid most life on earth died. Think of it as the fart at the end of the world. That’s why the biological oceanographer Professor David Hutchins says: “Frankly, ocean acidification is apocalyptic in its impact.”

But remember: these are only some of the effects on the oceans - and the oceans are only one dimension of global warming. Suddenly the analogy with the al-Qa’ida psychosis doesn’t seem so extreme. As the environmental writer Mark Lynas notes: “If we had wanted to destroy as much of life on earth as possible, there would have been no better way of doing it than to dig up and burn as much fossil hydrocarbon as we possible could.”

We need a sea change before the seas change irreversibly. That’s why I will be going to the Climate Camp. Where will you say you were when the carbon bomb was fired into the atmosphere?

–Johann Hari

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Gallery: Nuclear Blasts Show Terrifying Power

Gallery: Nuclear Blasts Show Terrifying Power

: Courtesy National Nuclear Security Administration/Nevada Site Office

It was 63 years ago today that the United States detonated the very first atomic bomb. Three weeks later, the only two A-bombs dropped in warfare destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. Many nuclear -- and thermonuclear -- bombs have been tested since. Here are some images.

Operation Upshot-Knothole, conducted at the Nevada Proving Ground between March 17 and June 4, 1953, consisted of 11 atmospheric tests: three airdrops, seven tower tests and one airburst. Upshot-Knothole involved the testing of new theories, using both fission and fusion devices.

House No. 1, located 3,500 feet from ground zero, was completely destroyed on the first day of testing. The elapsed time from the first picture to the last was 2⅔ seconds. The camera was completely enclosed in a 2-inch lead sheath as a protection against radiation. The only source of light was that from the detonation. Frame No. 1 (upper left) shows the house lighted by the blast. Frame No. 2 (upper right) shows the house on fire.

: Courtesy National Nuclear Security Administration/Nevada Site Office

"The island of Elugelab is missing!" President Truman heard this short report from Gordon Dean, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, following the "Mike shot," conducted as part of Operation Ivy. Mike, which delivered 10.4 megatons, was the first full-fledged hydrogen bomb to be detonated. It vaporized the small islet of Elugelab in the Eniwetok Atoll.

: Courtesy National Nuclear Security Administration/Nevada Site Office

Official observers view the Wasp Prime air drop at the Nevada Test Site on March 29, 1955. It was the second detonation of the day. Apple-1 came five hours earlier, marking the first time two nuclear devices were set off on the same day.

Operation Teapot consisted of 14 shots, or detonations, conducted during the first half of 1955. Teapot's objective was to evaluate the tactical applications of a variety of devices for possible inclusion in the nuclear-weapons stockpile, as well as to study civil-defense requirements.

: Courtesy National Nuclear Security Administration/Nevada Site Office

This base camp near Los Alamos, New Mexico, supported Project Trinity. The first atomic bomb in history was successfully tested nearby in July 1945. Trinity represented the culmination of the Manhattan Project, the U.S. effort to build and detonate an atomic device. Within 24 days of this test, the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were laid waste by atomic bombs.

: Photo: Corbis

The first atomic bomb is readied for testing near Alamogordo, New Mexico, in July 1945.

: Photo: Corbis

J. Robert Oppenheimer, in white hat, and Gen. Leslie Groves, military commander of the Manhattan Project, examine the twisted wreckage that is all that remains of a 100-foot tower, winch and shack that held the first nuclear weapon before its July 16, 1945, detonation. On the far right is Victor Weisskopf of the Manhattan Project's Theoretical Division.

: Photo: Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum/Corbis

The exact moment of detonation at Nagasaki is captured in this remarkable photograph. Notice the three people in the foreground, as yet unaware that anything has happened. The destruction of Nagasaki followed that of Hiroshima by three days and compelled Japan to surrender, ending World War II.

: Photo: AP/Kyodo News/Hirofumi Kimata

Asa Takii, 114, Japan's oldest woman, seen in this June 1998 picture, was a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing. The blast killed her husband and family, but Takii survived despite being trapped in the rubble of her home for days before rescue came. She died at a nursing home at Kurahashi Island near Hiroshima on July 31, 1998.

: Photo: Corbis

July 1, 1946, in the Marshall Islands: A mushroom cloud erupts in the North Pacific Ocean over the Bikini Lagoon during the first of the two detonations of Operation Crossroads. The series studied the effects of nuclear radiation on large ships, and the United States assembled a fleet of 90 obsolete naval vessels, including a few captured German and Japanese warships, for the test. Several ships can be seen here, silhouetted against the blast.