Tsunami Risk Zones In San Diego County


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Tsunami Risk Zones In San Diego CountyRecognizing that a tsunami could strike the U.S. coastline at any time, President Obama joinied NOAA to ask people to know their tsunami risk and prepare in case one were to strike. “During National Tsunami Preparedness Week, “I call on all Americans – especially those who live, work and relax on the coast – to learn more about tsunamis and better prepare for them,” President Obama wrote in a message released last month.

Although a tsunami cannot be prevented, community preparedness, timely warnings and effective response can save lives when seconds matter. To improve the nation’s collective preparedness for a large-scale tsunami disaster (CAPSTONE 2014 ), NOAA and its partners through the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program are conducting a number of local and national exercises to test and improve effectiveness of the U.S. Tsunami Warning System.­­­

This year’s preparedness week coincides with the 50th anniversary of the “Great Alaska Earthquake” of 1964, which generated a number of destructive tsunamis that killed 124 Americans and caused approximately $1 billion in damage. It was the largest recorded earthquake in U.S. history with a magnitude of 9.2. This year also marks 10 years since the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people.

These somber anniversaries serve to remind us of the ever-present tsunami threat, and give us an opportunity to assess our personal risk and educate ourselves on how to respond to a tsunami.

In his message, President Obama writes that since 1964, our nation has made significant improvements in our ability to forecast, detect, and warn individuals of potential tsunami impacts. The Federal Government – in partnership with state and local governments – is working diligently to improve our coastal communities’ tsunami preparedness. Since we cannot prevent tsunamis, we must come together to enhance public awareness and prepare schools, volunteer groups, rescue and relief organizations, the private sector, and the media for coordinated action before, during and after a tsunami.

NOAA and its federal, state and local partners are helping the nation prepare (See FEMA CAPSTONE 2014 National Exercise Begins), but there is a role for everyone. People who live, work and play in tsunami-threatened areas must take time to know the warning signs of a tsunami, plan for a possible disaster, stay informed and quickly respond to the signs or warning of a tsunami. To learn more, visit NOAA Tsunami Website.

tsunami_t700San Diego emergency officials and geologists teamed up at La Jolla Shores on in March to unveil new tsunami flood zone and evacuation maps. The maps and information materials were mailed to 30,000 residents and businesses as part of Tsunami Preparedness Week.

If a tsunami strikes near San Diego County, hundreds of thousands of people along the region’s 70 miles of coastline could be in danger.

Rick Wilson, senior engineering geologist with California Geological Survey, said San Diego County is fortunate that it doesn’t have large off-shore subduction zone faults that create magnitude-9 earthquakes.

“But we do have faults that can cause submarine landslides, and those landslides can trigger tsunamis,” Wilson warned.

Wilson said the state has been impacted by 13 tsunamis over the past 150 years; two occurred in the last four years, including the Japan tsunami in March 2011.

That’s why San Diego County officials and tsunami researchers have mapped out which addresses in the county are at risk of flooding.

“And potential evacuation routes where they can flee in the case of an approaching tsunami,” said Holly Crawford, San Diego County’s Office of Emergency Services director.

Crawford said far away quakes would allow several minutes to several hours of evacuation time, but nearby quakes would give very little warning.

Tsunami evacuation route

Forty-four tsunami evacuation route signs were installed in coastal areas around the county since 2010 now point out which way to flee if a big wave hits.

Crawford said it’s important for everyone to know the tsunami warning signs.

“If the earth shakes for 20 seconds, that’s a really significant earthquake. You need to leave the coast, go to a place that’s at least 100 feet above sea level or two miles inland if you can’t evacuate vertically,” Crawford said.

Other signs of a tsunami include a receding shoreline and a large ocean roaring sound.

Crawford urged San Diego County residents to register their mobile phones at readysandiego.org to receive emergency notifications.

How to Prepare for a Tsunami

To survive a tsunami, know when one is about to strike and what to do so you can act fast. Tsunami warnings are issued through television and radio, community sirens, local officials, text message alerts, wireless emergency alerts, NOAA Web sites and NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards. However, depending on where an earthquake occurs, some tsunamis can reach the coast within minutes, leaving little time to receive an alert so it is important to understand nature’s warnings:

  1. A strong earthquake, or one that persists
  2. A sudden rise or fall of the ocean
  3. A loud, roaring sound from the ocean

How to respond:

  1. Immediately move by foot inland to high ground outside the hazard zone
  2. If you cannot quickly and safely move inland, go to higher floors of a sturdy building
  3. Turn on your radio or television to learn if there is a tsunami warning
  4. Stay away from the coast until officials say it is safe to return. A tsunami may consist of more than one wave and can last for hours. The first wave may not be the last or the most dangerous.



Download Maps by Quadrangle Name



NOAA’s Role

More Information:





San Diego County Tsunami Inundation Maps

New Maps Show Tsunami Risk Zones In San Diego

County sends tsunami info to ‘at-riskareasSan Diego

San Diego Residents to Receive Tsunami Risk Mailers

County of San Diego: Tsunami Facts and Preparedness

Tsunami Preparedness Week: What LA areas are at risk

San Diego Installs Tsunami Warning Signs

The Orphan Tsunami of 1700—Japanese Clues to a Parent Earthquake in North America


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A simulated tsunami reaches Japan ten hours after its start along the Pacific coast of North America

One winter’s night in the year 1700, a mysterious tsunami flooded fields and washed away houses in Japan. It arrived without the warning that a nearby earthquake usually provides. Samurai, merchants, and villagers recorded the event, but nearly three centuries would pass before discoveries in North America revealed the tsunami’s source.
The Orphan Tsunami of 1700 tells this scientific detective story through clues from both sides of the Pacific. The evidence uncovered tells of a catastrophe, a century before Lewis and Clark, that now helps guide preparations for future earthquakes and tsunamis in the United States and Canada.

large_Alaska tsunamiThe risk of a deadly tsunami ravaging the United States is now leading scientists to investigate hazards posed by giant earthquakes off the Alaskan coast.

Scientists are concentrating on the Alaskan-Aleutian subduction zone, where the tectonic plate underlying the Pacific Ocean is diving underneath the continental plate underlying North America. Tsunamis can be caused by earthquakes, especially large ones, and the second-largest recorded earthquake in history was a magnitude 9.2 at this zone in 1964.

“It concerns us a lot that we might have deadly waves aimed at U.S. shores,” said Geologist David Scholl, an emeritus scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey at Menlo Park, Calif., who discussed the work in Eos, a publication from the American Geophysical Union.

Traveling tsunamis
The fear is that a tsunami caused by a major earthquake along this zone could race across the Pacific Ocean and devastate highly populated areas of the U.S. West Coast, as well as Hawaii.

“We’ve been focusing on tsunami risks since 2004, when the Banda Aceh earthquake and tsunami led to a loss of about 250,000 lives, and then the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake and tsunami claimed another 20,000 or so people and caused a nuclear disaster. Tsunamis show us that you may have an earthquake in one part of the world that visits damage on areas thousands of miles away.”

For instance, a tsunami in 1946 generated by a magnitude 8.6 temblor on the Alaskan-Aleutian Islands subduction zone near Unimak Pass, Alaska, caused significant damage along the West Coast, claimed 150 lives in Hawaii, and inundated shorelines as far away as the South Pacific islands and Antarctica.AlaskaMegathrust_e_0530

“These waves can travel at 500 mph (700 kph),” Scholl said. “From the Aleutians, a tsunami could get to Hawaii in four or five hours, two or three hours to get to Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and the California coast. And they don’t lose much energy as they go. The waves aren’t horribly high as they travel over the deep ocean, only a meter (3 feet) or so, but when they get to the coast, in shallow waters they grow in height to dozens of meters, and in places like Long Beach harbor in California, they’d cause rapid currents that can tear up the harbor area.”

Next big one
It remains uncertain where the next tsunami generated along this zone might occur. It appears unlikely that a quake as large as the magnitude 9.2 event in 1964 will happen again soon — the interval for such major quakes is about 900 years.

However, the areas between the Shumagin and Fox Islands on the zone may cause trouble, Scholl said. In addition, the last time the Semidi Islands section of the zone experienced a great earthquake was in 1938, a magnitude 8.2 event, and enough time has passed for strain to build up for another major temblor. Indeed, satellite analysis of the area suggests the shallower portion of this section is accumulating strain at a high rate.

The Semidi IslandsResearch is under way to examine the ancient history of tsunamis on several of the Aleutian Islands by looking at layers of sediment there. The hope is to yield insights on how often tsunamis recur there and to link these deadly waves to specific earthquakes to better model the potential deadliness of tsunamis based on the magnitudes and locations of the earthquakes that cause them. Such research is key to building effective defenses against tsunamis. [ History's Biggest Tsunamis ]

“When it came to the Fukushima disaster in Japan, they designed a sea wall to handle a tsunami, but they ended up lowballing how high the wave would be,” Scholl said. “You have to know how bad tsunamis have been to know what to prepare for.”





Tsunami & Earthquake Research at the USGS

Recent News, Events, and Research

Starting Points

Research Studies, Past Events

Tsunami Preparedness WeeknwsNational Weather

March 27, 2014, marked the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake and Tsunamis.

2014 Tsunami Preparedness Week Stories

To learn about tsunamis, tsunami risk, and tsunami preparedness, visit the links below.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Federal Emergency Management Agency

U.S. Geological Survey

State/U.S. Territory Activities and Information


Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management: Tsunami Mitigation / Alaska Tsunami Education Program / Alaska Earthquake Information Center / Kenai Peninsula Office of Emergency Management: Earthquake and Tsunami / Anchorage Office of Emergency Management: Tsunami Preparedness


California Geological Survey / California Office of Emergency Services Earthquake and Tsunami Program / My Hazards: Hazard Mitigation Portal / Tsunamizone.org/ / SAFRR – Science Application for Risk Reduction: Tsunami Scenario / Del Norte County Office of Emergency Services / Prepare Del Norte / Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management: Tsunami / City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department Information Center / Marin County Sheriff’s Office: Tsunami / Mendocino County Office of Emergency Services / Monterey County Office of Emergency Services / Orange County: Tsunami Emergency / Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group (Mendocino, Humboldt, Del Norte Counties) / San Diego County Office of Emergency Services: Tsunami Facts and Preparedness / San Francisco (City and County) Tsunami FAQ / San Luis Obispo County: Tsunami Information / San Mateo County Office of Emergency Services / Santa Barbara County Tsunami Inundation Maps / Santa Cruz County Office of Emergency Services: Tsunami / Sonoma County Fire and Emergency Services / Ready Ventura County

Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands

Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands Homeland Security and Emergency Management (You Tube Channel) / Tsunami Preparedness Decision Wheel


Guam Homeland Security and Office of Civil Defense: Tsunamis


Hawaii State Civil Defense / National Weather Service Honolulu Forecast Office: Hawaii Tsunami Preparedness and Safety Information / Pacific Tsunami Museum / Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency / Honolulu (City and County) Department of Emergency Management / Kauai County Civil Defense Agency / Maui County Civil Defense Agency


Maine Tsunami Awareness / Maine Geological Survey: Tsunamis in the Atlantic Ocean

North Carolina

North Carolina Department of Public Safety: Tsunamis


Oregon Tsunami Clearinghouse / Preparing for a Cascadia Subduction Zone Tsunami:A Land Use Guide for Oregon Coastal Communities / Coos County Emergency Management / Curry County Emergency Services Department / Douglas County Emergency Management / Lincoln County Emergency Management: Earthquake & Tsunami / Tillamook County Emergency Management

U.S. Virgin Islands

Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency: Plan and Prepare – Tsunamis


Virginia Department of Emergency Management: Tsunamis / City of Norfolk Department of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Tsunamis


Washington Military Department Emergency Management Division / Living on the Ring of Fire and its Consequences: The 1964 Good Friday Alaskan Earthquake and Tsunami / Grays Harbor County Division of Emergency Management / Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management: Tsunami Information / Pacific County Emergency Management Agency: Tsunami




1700 Cascadia earthquake

The Orphan Tsunami of 1700 – University of Washington

Orphan Tsunami Gets a Frightening Parent | LiveScience

Tsunamis and Earthquakes – USGS PCMSC

National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program – Tsunami

A great Alaska earthquake meets southern California

Department of Geology & Geophysics

Subduction zones and earthquakes

Subducting plate geology in three great earthquake ruptures

Aleutian Islands | The CELESTIAL Convergence

Drones: Developing An Interest


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Unmanned Systems News

As of late, I have been developing an unhealthy interest in DIY drones.  What?  You didn’t know there was such a thing?   Neither did I.  But I do now.


Technology has reached a point where it’s possible for hobbyists to build their own autonomous aircraft, capable of flying a pre-programmed course of, say, 20 miles under electric power, and return to its launch point.  Or it could be flown via what’s called First Person View (FPV) by wearing virtual reality goggles and observing the flight live from a video camera in the plane’s cockpit.   It leaves ordinary regular radio controlled aircraft in the dust as a hobby. Expensive?  Not terribly, and less so than many hobbies. Well, yes, but it depends on how often you crash.

In terms of obsessions, this could be a perfect storm for me.  It combines flying, radio, data links, video, electronics, coding, mapping and building weird and strange shit.  It would provide the ability to image remote and obscure places I might have an interest in (And for the record, I have no interest in snooping at THAT one!).


The Drone Census

Behind the headline grabbing drone news there is a complex ecosystem of users, industry, legislation, and research. Filter by the stakeholders driving the drone movement and zoom in on what’s happening in your neighborhood.

For further information on our data sources and background on each map layer, click here.


Here are some of the things I’ve been up to. This is a very new hobby, and it’s at a point where it has yet to be fully commercialized with everyone trying out new things. If you want some of these things, you have to make them yourself. Build, crash, open checkbook, rebuild. Oh yeah, and lots of soldering. I’ve tried to include enough detail so someone who has a clue as to what they’re doing might find some ideas here. I’ve certainly stole my share of ideas from others.

Links I find useful and/or entertaining:

Los Angeles/Orange County Drone User Group: Remember the 1990′s (eh, probably not). Remember IBM PC user groups? Well guess what, that’s the stage of evolution hobbyist drones are at. If you want something interesting you have to build it yourself. And that’s what this group is about. Building, flying, crashing, rebuilding…the cycle of drone life.

San Diego Drone User Group (SD DUG) – Drone User

The San Diego Drone User Group hosts local meetups and fly-ins for drone enthusiasts, and aims to promote the use of civilian drone technology

Multicopters, Quadcopters, UAVs, MAVs, Drones

Tue, May 6
Fab Lab San Diego 4685 …
Sun, May 11
Canyon Crest Academy North …
Nov 7, 2017
Fab Lab San Diego 4685
1018, San Diego Drone User Group, DIY Drones Groups (global), San Diego, ….. FT Carson, CO, FAA Certificate of Authorization Applicants

DIY Drones:  Everything about setting up your own fully autonomous aircraft

FPVLab:  Building, flying and crashing aircraft using FPV





A remotely actuated intervalometer for aerial mapping using


First fully autonomous quadcopter flight tests



Establishment of Sandia National Laboratory, 1945


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The U.S. conducted nuclear tests at the Nevada Test Site.

Sandia National Laboratories was originally the engineering division (called Z-division) of Los Alamos National Laboratory, the central laboratory of the top-secret Manhattan Project during WWII. The Manhattan Project scientists developed an atomic bomb which was deployed against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August 1945.

J. Robert Oppenheimer director of Los AlamosAfter the war, J. Robert Oppenheimer, director of Los Alamos, created and moved Z Division to Sandia, west of Kirtland Airforce Base in Albuquerque, to be closer to transportation and alleviate crowded conditions on the mesa. Sandia Base had been the site of the former Oxnard municipal airfield. The army commandeered the airport during WWII and used it to train aircraft mechanics.

salton sea test base

Z-division at Sandia Base consisted of four groups. Engineering produced mechanical mockups of weapons; Military Liaison trained officers to assemble weapons, developed handling and test equipment, and wrote military how-to manuals; Mechanical Test tested electronic and electromechanical components; and Field Test conducted tests on completed weapon models at the Salton Sea in California. Sandia Base also stored all completed weapons in igloos south of the runway.

Salton Sea Test Base
After the war, the U.S. government debated who would control the new weapons devised by Manhattan Project scientists. The army argued that they should oversee atomic weapons as they were a military tool. However, the unusual nature and destructive force of atomic bombs led some to lobby for civilian control. Atomic Energy Act, passed in 1946, created three agencies to share the administrative management of atomic development—a five-member civilian Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), the Military Liaison Committee (MLC), and the Congressional Joint Committee on Atomic Energy (JCAE).

David LilienthalAs a first order of business, David E. Lilienthal, the first chairman of the AEC, toured the left-over facilities of the Manhattan Project to assess the capabilities of the atomic arsenal. In 1946, the weapon production complex included Oak Ridge, Hanford, Inyokern, Rock Island Arsenal, Los Alamos, Wendover, Salton Sea, and Sandia Base.


These facilities each provided a different phase of weapon design and production. Oak Ridge and Hanford produced nuclear material, Inyokern and Rock Island made high explosives and other components, Los Alamos designed the physics package, Wendover and Salton Sea were test facilities, and Sandia Base was the new production and assembly site. Lillianthal expressed shock after the tour—the atomic stockpile was virtually non-existent. He noted that completed weapons at Sandia Base could be counted on the fingers of one hand. President Harry S. Truman made the development and testing of new weapons a number one priority.
The Operation Crossroads test in the Marshall Islands initially hampered the development of SNL’s site.

The Navy wished to test the effects of atomic weapons on ships at sea and the Z-division staff, along with scientists from Los Alamos, all participated in the event. The fourth and fifth atomic weapons developed by Manhattan Project scientists were deployed against the captured and unmanned Japanese fleet in the summer of 1946. The resulting explosions sunk nine vessels. Los Alamos and Sandia Base maintained skeleton crews until the summer testing was over.

Operation CrossroadsAfter Operation Crossroads, the AEC resumed efforts to get an ordinance engineering, assembly, and production facility up and running at Sandia Base. The Army post engineer supervised construction of four new buildings. A mechanical assembly building housed a machine shop and the lab’s first environmental testing machines—a cold chamber and shake table. The other buildings housed systems development, design and fabrication of telemetry instruments, and the assembly of electrical parts.
In 1947, Paul Larsen, Z Division’s director effected the transition of Sandia Base from an appendage of Los Alamos to its own separate laboratory within the nuclear weapons complex. Z-Division became Sandia Laboratory on April 1, 1948.

By mid-year SNL boasted 1000 employees and a 25-million dollar construction campaign. The following year President Truman asked Western Electric, the manufacturing arm of AT&T, to assume managerial responsibility from the University of California for Sandia (In 1992, Lockheed Martin took over the management of Sandia National Laboratories.) In addition to his aggressive recruiting and construction, Larsen also instituted a successful weapon production program. Codename the “Road Department,” expressing the sentiment “let’s get this show on the road,” Larsen hired 300 people within the year and increased production to two bombs a month, a pace that would provide the nation with a stockpile of weapons in a reasonable time frame.

1950 Boston-Daily-Globe-Hail-Truman-H-bomb-OrderSNL’s engineers designed all the parts of a weapon (except the high explosive and Nuclear Subsystem), including the casing, batteries, timers, radar fuzes, baroswitches, and firing subsystem. War-time engineers basically adapted existing military technology for use on the first atomic bombs.

SNL’s job after the war was to design new and sophisticated components that would improve safety, efficiency, and reliability. Early improvements included a lighter more air streamed casing, batteries that could be charged faster, and the addition of counter-intelligence measures to radar fuzes.

First Soviet atomic bomb
In 1949, the Soviet Union explode their first atomic weapon, ahead of State Department predictions. This event fueled the U.S. effort to design and stockpile atomic weapons. SNL’s earliest innovation occurred with the development of the “Wooden bombs” in the early 1950s. Early bombs needed to be charged, components installed, and fins bolted on before they were ready for delivery. The “wooden bomb” could sit in the stockpile for years without maintenance. The detonation of the first thermonuclear weapon, in 1952, a type of weapon 1000 times more destructive than atomic bombs, further increased the nuclear arms race between the two countries.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, former commander of the Allied forces during WWII, promoted the use of nuclear weapons like any other strategic weapon in the military arsenal. This led to a buildup of thousands of different kinds of nuclear weapons including warheads for use on missiles, nuclear weapons for submarines, and smaller nuclear bombs for battlefield use. The bulk of the U.S. nuclear stockpile was designed and produced between 1953 and 1961. By the end of Eisenhower’s presidency, Sandia had been involved in sixty bomb and warhead applications.

Permissive Action Link (PAL)SNL’s innovations during the stockpile buildup included the building block concept and Laydown bombs. The building block concept was a weapon design (B28) that could be carried both externally and internally by aircraft. Eventually it became the building block for seven different weapons systems. The laydown bomb could be delivered by aircraft flying at low altitudes and detonation delayed until the plane could escape.

Laydown bombs employed several new technologies including parachutes capable of slowing bomb descent and shock mitigators attached to the nose cone of the weapon. Shock mitigator designs included nose spikes, cookie cutters, and honeycombs. The nose spike impaled the ground preventing the weapon from hitting the ground. The cookie cutter blew off the nose cone exposing a design that would grab the earth. The honey comb was made of aluminum and inserted in the nose cone and absorbed the shock of impact. The parachute and shock mitigators slowed the bomb down and prevented it from detonating on impact so delivery vehicles could retreat before the explosion. Sandia also developed the Permissive Action Link (PAL) which was a safety device eventually included in all stockpiled weapons to prevent their unauthorized use.

Sandia_NM_68sectSNL scientists also provided the testing of non-nuclear components in many different environments both in the U.S. and at test sites they developed around the world. As early as 1945, Sandia tested bomb designs at the Los Lunas Range southwest of Albuquerque.

In 1946, they acquired the Salton Sea Test Range from the navy. Here they built permanent instrumentation stations and temporary housing. Testing at the Salton Sea focused on high altitude drops of bomb components. Sandia made Tonopah Test Range located on Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas their permanent test site in 1960. Tonopah provided facilities for the testing of aircraft drops, rocket launches, artillery firing, and parachute development. Sandia also established a rocket-launching facility on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The Kauai Testing Facility on the Navy’s Pacific Missile Range has both a rail-launch and high-altitude launch for testing missile designs.

Operation Ivy

Operation Ivy was the eighth series of American nuclear tests, coming after Tumbler-Snapper and before Upshot-Knothole. Its purpose was to help upgrade the U.S. arsenal of nuclear weapons in response to the Soviet nuclear weapons program. The two explosions were staged in late 1952 at Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific Proving Ground in the Marshall Islands.


The first Ivy shot, Mike, was the first successful full-scale test of a multi-megaton thermonuclear weapon (“hydrogen bomb”) using the Teller-Ulam design. Unlike later thermonuclear weapons, Mike used deuterium as its fusion fuel, maintained as a liquid by an expensive and cumbersome cryogenic system. It was detonated on Elugelab Island yielding 10.4 megatons, almost 500 times the yield of the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. Eight megatons of the yield was from fast fission of the uranium tamper, creating massive amounts of radioactive fallout. The detonation left an underwater crater 6,240 ft (1.9 km) wide and 164 ft (50 m) deep where Elugelab Island had been. Following this successful test, the Mike design was weaponized as the EC-16, but it was quickly abandoned for solid-fueled designs after the success of the Castle Bravo shot.

Jimmy P. Robinson USAF captainJimmy Priestly Robinson, Captain, United States Air Force, was lost while piloting his F-84G through the mushroom cloud to collect air samples; he ran out of fuel and attempted to land on water but was never found.


The second test, King, fired the largest nuclear weapon to date using only nuclear fission (no fusion nor fusion boosting). This “Super Oralloy Bomb” was intended as a backup if the fusion weapon failed. King yielded 500 kilotons, 25 times more powerful than the Fat Man weapon.

Ivy Mike was the first H Bomb test, it was exploded at 7.15 am local time on November 1st 1952. The mushroom cloud was 8 miles across and 27 miles high. The canopy was 100 miles wide. Radioactive mud fell out of the sky followed by heavy rain. 80 million tons of earth was vaporized. Mike was the first ever megaton yield explosion. I think that this footage is available in the Trinity & Beyond movie by Peter Kuran – Atom Central (The Atomic Bomb Movie).

Rocket sledCloser to home, SNL developed Tech Area III , a test site on Kirtland Air Force Base that included a variety of equipment to simulate the possible environmental conditions a weapon might encounter. In 1954, Sandia built Rocket sled tracks to crash weapons into walls at high velocity, centrifuges to spin weapons at high speed, and compressed air guns for impact testing. They added a 300-ft. drop tower in 1956. In later years they built facilities to vibrate components and subject them to extremes of heat and cold. SNL also formed groups of scientists to study blast effects and seismic activity.

Although initially conceived as a nuclear weapons laboratory, SNL weapons research has resulted in spin-off technologies and pure research that have enhanced the scientific prowess of the nation in many areas. In 1960, Sandia developed a laminar Clean Room that industry and the medical profession adopted for their needs. The Energy Crisis of the 1970s pushed Sandia into research on solar and wind technology, photo-voltaic, enhanced fossil fuel recovery, and fusion.

In 1981, the Combustion Research Facility opened to researchers around the world at SNL’s California branch in Livermore. In 1990, researchers developed an advance in synthetic aperture radar that enabled the military to see through cloud cover in Desert Storm. In 2001, Sandia developed decontamination foam used to detect possible anthrax infected-mail in Washington, D.C..

Currently, Sandia National Laboratories employees 7,000 people paying over $500 million in salaries and generating over $45 million dollars in gross receipts tax to support state and local government.




Sources Used:
Furman, Necah Stewart. Sandia National Laboratories: The Postwar Decade. Albuquerque: New Mexico, 1990.
Herken, Gregg. The Winning Weapon: The Atomic Bomb in the Cold War 1945-1950. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1980.
Johnson, Leland. Sandia National Laboratories: A History of Exceptional Service in the National Interest. Albuquerque: Sandia National Laboratories, 1997.

Loeber, Charles R. Building the bombs: A history of the nuclear weapons Complex. Albuquerque: Sandia National Laboratories, 2002.
Ullrich, Rebecca.Cold War Context Statement: A Statement of Context for Sandia National Laboratories of New Mexico. Albuquerque: Sandia National Laboratories, 2000.

Westwick, Peter. The National Labs: Science in an American System, 1947-1974. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003.




Sandia National Laboratories

Sandia National Laboratories: About Sandia: History

70th Anniversary Lecture: From Z Division to Sandia

The Test Track – Air and Space Power Journal

A Brief History of White Sands Proving Ground – NMSU-A

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos History of the Manhattan Project

J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Atomic Bombings of Japan

J. Robert Oppenheimer | Institute for Advanced Study

Vintage Atomic and Nuclear Films – YouTube

Largest artificial non-nuclear explosions

Posts tagged1960s” | Restricted Data

Posts tagged “Nuclear testing” | Restricted Data

Posts tagged “Manhattan Project” | Restricted Data

Sandia conducts first impact test in years of B61 nonnuclear .

Necah S. Furman – Sandia National Laboratories

Congressional Oversight of Intelligence: Current Structure …

Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Salton Sea – The California State

Tonopah Test Range

A History of TTR

Salton Sea Test Base – The Center for Land Use Interpretation

Tonopah Test Range – OSTI

Federal Register/Vol. 78, No. 67/Monday, April 8, 2013 ..

Operation Ivy

Z Division, Photographic History Exhibit


Plutonium: The First 50 Years | lisaleaks

The Unspoken Crisis of Worldwide Nuclear lisaleaks

Sandia National Laboratories: News Releases

Atmospheric Nuclear Weapons Testing – U.S. Department

Cold-Heat Climate Test Chamber with Multiaxis Shaker Table

Chain Reaction: Expert Debate and Public Participation in …

Expert Debate and Public Participation in American Commercial Nuclear Power 1945-1975 Brian Balogh … congressional forum, and particularly on budget matters, the JCAE mimicked this position.38 The Joint Committee on Atomic Energy …

9/11 Commission Recommendations – Page 67 – Google Boo

While the JCAE was certainly a committee of Congress, in many ways it did not … The Joint Committee on Atomic Energy was powerful in part because it …

Quantum Mechanics Breakthrough


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Last Week’s Best—Quantum mechanics breakthrough, 3-D printed human heart, and paraplegia therapy

Large Hadron ColliderOne of the week’s biggest stories was the Large Hadron Collider team announcing a restart after shutting down this past February for repairs and updates to many of its systems.
It’s also been a very big week for the . A breakthrough therapy allowed four paraplegic men to voluntarily move their legs. Funded by the Christopher Reeve Foundation and NIH, the therapy is based on an implanted epidural stimulator that delivers electric current to the lower spine.

Thus far, it has allowed for movement of hips, ankles and toes. And speaking of rejuvenation, researchers at Edinburgh University in Scotland have rejuvenated a living organ for the first time—they increased levels of a protein that controls gene switching in a mouse, resulting in the rejuvenation of a thymus that had deteriorated due to age—afterward, the organ was once again able to produce T-cells.

Also making big news this week, scientists confirmed that a scroll that mentions Jesus’s wife is ancient. After studying the ancient papyrus sheet, a team of researchers working in the U.S. concluded that it was not a forgery, a finding that is likely to cause a stir in the Christian community as it suggests that a woman played a far more important role in the life of Jesus than has been mentioned in the New Testament.
A team at the University of Tokyo has found a way to control individual neurons in the brain of a mouse by sending reward signals to its hypothalamus, one of the brain’s pleasure centers. In so doing, the researchers discovered that they were able to get the mouse to turn on  in its own hippocampus.

brain controllingiElsewhere, another team of researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center has found that memory accuracy and strength can be manipulated during sleep by exposing rats to certain odors while they snooze. The hope is that such therapy may forestall certain neurodegenerative disorders.
Also, there is news out of the University of Louisville as scientists try 3-D printing to build a human heart—they’ve already printed out small veins and heart valves. The research team believes they may be able to print all of the major heart parts, ready for assembly, in as little as five years.
And at the Georgia Institute of Technology, a new study explains evolution of duplicate genes—researchers there have shown explicitly how the processes of DNA methylation and duplicate gene evolution are related and how some duplicate genes could have escaped elimination long ago from the genome, leading to the genetic innovation we see now in modern life.

chip quantumdooby
In other news, physicists created lightning in a race to develop a quantum technology microchip. Physicists working in England have developed a new microchip that can hold the voltage equivalent of a micron-scale lightning strike—it could very well prove to be the key for developing the next generation of super-fast quantum computers.

And finally, scientists discovered a novel way to make ethanol without corn or other plants—they’ve used a metal catalyst that can produce ethanol from carbon monoxide at room temperature and pressure. If it can be scaled up and shown to be cost effective, the technique could prove to be a true game changer.




Explore further:

One of the week’s biggest stories was the Large Hadron Collider team announcing a restart after shutting down this past February for repairs and updates to many of its systems.

It’s also been a very big week for the . A breakthrough therapy has allowed four paraplegic men to voluntarily move their legs. Funded by the Christopher Reeve Foundation and NIH, the therapy is based on an implanted epidural stimulator that delivers electric current to the lower spine. Thus far, it has allowed for movement of hips, ankles and toes. And speaking of rejuvenation, researchers at Edinburgh University in Scotland have rejuvenated a living organ for the first time—they increased levels of a protein that controls gene switching in a mouse, resulting in the rejuvenation of a thymus that had deteriorated due to age—afterward, the organ was once again able to produce T-cells.

Also making big news this week, scientists confirmed that a scroll that mentions Jesus’s wife is ancient. After studying the ancient papyrus sheet, a team of researchers working in the U.S. concluded that it was not a forgery, a finding that is likely to cause a stir in the Christian community as it suggests that a woman played a far more important role in the life of Jesus than has been mentioned in the New Testament.

A team at the University of Tokyo has found a way to control individual neurons in the brain of a mouse by sending reward signals to its hypothalamus, one of the brain’s pleasure centers. In so doing, the researchers discovered that they were able to get the mouse to turn on in its own hippocampus.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-04-week-bestquantum-mechanics-breakthrough-d.html#jCp

Southern California Unnecessary Rate Increases for 2015 and 2016 While Over-Collecting $350 Million from Ratepayers


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water-rate-increaseMWD Adopts Unnecessary Rate Increases for 2015 and 2016 While Over-Collecting $350 Million from Ratepayers. The agency continues overcharging region’s ratepayers while spending excess revenue on unbudgeted expense.

MWD has amassed hundreds of millions of dollars in recent months because it under-estimated water sales and over-estimated its expenditures.

April 8, 2014 -The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California on Tuesday raised rates for 2015 and 2016 despite having projected cash reserves of $840 million – an amount that is $352 million above its board-adopted maximum reserve limit. MWD’s board also voted to spend the over-collected revenue on unbudgeted expenses.
Officials from the San Diego County Water Authority and several of its 24 member agencies attended that Tuesday’s hearing in Los Angeles to defend the region’s ratepayers and urge no water rate increases be adopted. However, despite compelling information that rate increases are unneeded, the MWD board adopted 1.5 percent increases for each of the next two years.

The Water Authority’s delegates to MWD voted against the rate increases not only because they are unnecessary, but also because they are based on the same flawed methodology that the judge in San Francisco County Superior Court recently ruled violates the California Constitution, the California Government Code and the common law.
“MWD had a chance to help ratepayers and water agencies by providing rate relief,” said Thomas V. Wornham , Chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “Instead, it’s continuing to charge more in an era when other public agencies are struggling to make do with less.
“MWD says these rate increases will avert bigger rate increases down the road – but there’s no assurance that they will do so,” Wornham said.

“To avoid wild fluctuations in rates, MWD doesn’t need to raise rates now – it needs better long-term fiscal planning.”
In February, mayors of 14 cities in San Diego County called on their colleagues across Southern California to protest the unnecessary rate increases planned by MWD.

In March, the Water Authority used MWD’s own financial documents to develop estimates for how much money MWD is over-collecting from each water agency that buys water from MWD.

agencies-map-big-viewSan Diego: The Town that Wouldn’t Give Up:

There are accusations of conspiracies, illegal secret meetings and double-dealing. Embarrassing documents and e-mails have been posted on an official Web site emblazoned with the words “Fact vs. Fiction.” Animosities have grown so deep that the players have resorted to exchanging lengthy, caustic letters, packed with charges of lying and distortion.

Water is a perennial source of conflict and anxiety throughout the arid West, but it has a particular resonance here in the deserts of Southern California. This is a place where major thoroughfares are named after water engineers (Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles) and literary essays (Essay: Holy Water , for instance) and films (“Chinatown”) have been devoted to its power and mystique.

Yet in the nearly 80 years since the Arizona Army National Guard was called out to defend state waters against dam-building Californians, there has been little to rival the feud now under way between San Diego’s water agency and the consortium of municipalities that provides water to 19 million customers in Southern California.

At issue is San Diego’s longstanding contention that it has been bullied by a gang of its neighbors in the consortium, able by virtue of their number to force the county to pay exorbitant fees for water. The consortium had imposed two back-to-back 5 percent annual water rate increases on San Diego — scaled down, after strong protests, from what were originally set to be back-to-back increases of 7.5 percent a year.


Public records detailing MWD’s Secret Society’s inner workings posted online

The battle was fought in the courts with conflicting claims from the two sides — but also on the Internet. San Diego officials had created a sleek Web site to carry their argument to the public, posting 500 pages of documents they obtained through public records requests to discredit the other side.

And they might have struck oil, as it were, unearthing documents and e-mails replete with references to the “anti-San Diego coalition” and “a Secret Society,” and no matter that the purported conspirators contend that they were just being jocular.

“There is a lot of frustration,” said Jerry Sanders, the mayor of San Diego, who has watched from the sidelines as the independent San Diego Water Authority waged its wars. “It’s been building over the years.”

Asked about the tactics, Mr. Sanders demurred. “Whether they are effective or not, I’ll leave that to other people to judge.”

If nothing else, the fight has been an entertaining diversion from the kind of bland bureaucratic infighting that usually characterizes these kinds of disputes.

Dennis Cushman, the assistant general manager of the San Diego authority, said it posted the documents — and asked a judge to force the disclosure of a ream of other private e-mails and documents — so beleaguered water consumers “could see how the business of water in California is actually done.”

“We had suspicions about what was going on,” Mr. Cushman said. “We were shocked by the depth and scope and the level of sophistication of what was going on.”

“It’s not done in public,” he said. “It’s done out of public view. The meetings aren’t open. They are designed to expressly exclude the agency they are discriminating against.”



Projected overcollection for San Diego County Water Authority: $76,090,893.16






San Diego County Water Authority

The Metropolitan Water District

Public Service Management

Ethics Training for Local Government Officials – Attorney

MWD Rate Challenges | San Diego County Water Authority

Member Agencies | San Diego County Water Authority

Water Wars | lisaleaks

San Diego Takes Water Fight Public – NYTimes.com

Monthly Member Agency Fixed Charge Allocation | San

Board of Directors | San Diego County Water Authority

Blog : Coming Attractions To Your Town In The Near Future?

Court of Appeals Applies the Doctrine of Collateral Estopp

Colorado River Water Transfer Agreements – San Diego

Tentative ruling for CA water district’s violation of cost-of


Water Law, Water Transfers, and Economic Efficiency: Th

Captioning – City of San Diego

Parker Dam—Bureau of Reclamation Historic Dams and

Chapter 15: The Town that Wouldn’t Give Up | San Diego

Bureau of Reclamation Historic Dams and Water Project

Water Transfer Schemes | lisaleaks

Geothermal Power Facility Induces Earthquakes at Salton Sea

MWD Adopts Unnecessary Rate Increases for 2015 and 2016 While Over-Collecting $350 Million from Ratepayers

Agency continues overcharging region’s ratepayers while spending excess revenue on unbudgeted expenses

April 8, 2014 -The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California on Tuesday raised rates for 2015 and 2016 despite having projected cash reserves of $840 million – an amount that is $352 million above its board-adopted maximum reserve limit. MWD’s board also voted to spend the over-collected revenue on unbudgeted expenses.

Officials from the San Diego County Water Authority and several of its 24 member agencies attended Tuesday’s hearing in Los Angeles to defend the region’s ratepayers and urge no water rate increases be adopted. However, despite compelling information that rate increases are unneeded, the MWD board adopted 1.5 percent increases for each of the next two years.

The Water Authority’s delegates to MWD voted against the rate increases not only because they are unnecessary, but also because they are based on the same flawed methodology that a judge in San Francisco Superior Court recently ruled violates the California Constitution, the California Government Code and the common law.

“MWD had a chance to help ratepayers and water agencies by providing rate relief,” said Thomas V. Wornham, Chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “Instead, it’s continuing to charge more in an era when other public agencies are struggling to make do with less.

“MWD says these rate increases will avert bigger rate increases down the road – but there’s no assurance that they will do so,” Wornham said. “To avoid wild fluctuations in rates, MWD doesn’t need to raise rates now – it needs better long-term fiscal planning.”

In February, mayors of 14 cities in San Diego County called on their colleagues across Southern California to protest the unnecessary rate increases planned by MWD. In March, the Water Authority used MWD’s own financial documents to develop estimates for how much money MWD is over-collecting from each water agency that buys water from MWD. The total for Southern California at the end of June is projected to be $352 million above the maximum reserve limit set by MWD’s board. A real-time overcharge calculator, along with a breakdown by each MWD member agency, is at mwdfacts.com.

MWD has amassed hundreds of millions of dollars in recent months because it under-estimated water sales and over-estimated its expenditures. Instead of using the resulting over-collected revenue to provide rate relief next year, the MWD voted to spend it on unbudgeted expenses and continue its long history of increasing rates.

MWD’s 2015 and 2016 rates were adopted Tuesday along with the agency’s $1.64 billion budget for fiscal 2015 and its $1.69 billion budget for fiscal 2016. The Water Authority will account for higher costs from MWD when developing its rates for the Water Authority Board’s consideration in June.

In addition to opposing MWD’s rate proposal for 2015 and 2016, the Water Authority has sued MWD for setting rates that illegally overcharge San Diego County ratepayers in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. In February, a Superior Court judge in San Francisco tentatively ruled in favor of the Water Authority in two related cases, saying MWD violated cost of service requirements of California’s Constitution, statutes and common law. The parties are awaiting a final ruling in the first phase of the trial before the second phase of the trial begins later this year.

Phase 2 of the trial is expected to decide the disposition of tens of millions of dollars in disputed payments the Water Authority has made to MWD since 2011. Should the court award a refund to the Water Authority, the Water Authority will deduct its litigation expenses and return the remaining money to its 24 member agencies in proportion to their past payment of MWD’s illegal charges. For more information about the Water Authority’s lawsuits, go to www.sdcwa.org/mwdrate-challenge.

- See more at: http://www.sdcwa.org/mwd-adopts-unnecessary-rate-increases-2015-and-2016-while-over-collecting-350-million-ratepayers#sthash.eivQVwW5.dpuf

Plutonium: The First 50 Years


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plutoniul sites

…And these atomic bombs which science burst upon the world that night were strange even to the men who used them.  - H. G. Wells, The World Set Free 1914


Over the 50 year history of the U.S. plutonium programs, there have been many different facilities involved in the production, processing, and utilization of U.S. plutonium. DOE-owned plants and equipment include reactors for the production of plutonium, isotopes and other reactor products; facilities for the fabrication and testing of weapons; reactors for testing materials and equipment components; reactor prototypes; and research laboratories.
Figure 2  is a map showing the location of the Department’s plutonium facilities mentioned in this report.
Plutonium sites


Significant amounts of information concerning plutonium have been declassified. The following are examples of information declassified since 1993 concerning U.S. plutonium inventory data.
• The total and annual quantities of plutonium produced at the Hanford Site.
• The total and annual quantities of weapon grade plutonium produced at the Savannah River Site.
• Plutonium produced at Government-owned nonproduction reactors.
• The approximate total quantity of plutonium at Savannah River after August 1988.
• The United States total production of weapon grade plutonium.
• Current total plutonium inventories at DOE sites, excluding the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas.
• Current and historical inventory differences for plutonium in the DOE complex.
• Total quantity of plutonium expended in all U.S. nuclear tests including wartime detonations, nuclear weapons tests, and peaceful nuclear explosions.
• Quantity of weapon grade plutonium involved in fires at the Rocky Flats Plant in 1957 and 1969.
For greater specifics on declassified information, refer to Drawing Back the Curtain of Secrecy, Restricted Data Declassification Policy, 1946 to the Present, RDD-1, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Declassification, June 1, 1994.


The following is a summary of newly declassified information being released by this report.
• Total DOE/DoD plutonium inventory.
• Combined DOE/DoD plutonium inventory at the Pantex Site, near Amarillo, Texas, and in the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.
• Total plutonium received by barter from the United Kingdom (U.K.) under the 1958 U.S. and U.K. Mutual Defense Agreement.
• Total quantities of tritium and enriched uranium transferred to the United Kingdom by barter under Mutual Defense Agreements.
In addition, this report also summarizes 50 years of unclassified information including the following:
• Total plutonium received from other countries under bilateral agreements for international cooperation in the peaceful uses of atomic energy.
• Total plutonium transferred or sold to other countries under bilateral agreements for international cooperation in the peaceful uses of atomic energy.
• Total plutonium received from U.S. civilian industry including separated plutonium from the Nuclear Fuels Services facility located near West Valley, New York.
• Total plutonium transferred to U.S. industry.
• Total plutonium in waste as identified in NMMSS


Plutonium is a silvery, metallic radioactive element with an atomic number of 94. Although found naturally in trace quantities in uranium ores, plutonium is abundantly produced in reactors by neutron bombardment of uranium. Plutonium has 15 isotopes [note 6] ranging from Pu-232 to Pu-246 and half-lives [note 7] from 20 minutes to 76 million years. The NMMSS tracks plutonium in three distinct categories, Plutonium, Plutonium-238, and Plutonium-242.

Plutonium, sometimes referred to as Plutonium-239, is the most common plutonium isotope and is capable of sustaining a nuclear chain reaction and is used in nuclear weapons and for nuclear power production.
• Plutonium-238 [note 8] is used in general purpose heat sources and radio isotope thermoelectric generators to produce electricity in spacecraft and is not addressed in this report.
• Plutonium-242 [note 9] is used as target material for the production of other nuclear materials, and in nuclear physics research and is not addressed in this report.
Plutonium is identified as either weapon grade, fuel grade, or power reactor grade based on the percentage of Plutonium-240 that is contained in the plutonium. Weapon grade plutonium contains less than 7 percent Pu-240. Fuel grade plutonium contains from 7 percent to less than 19 percent Pu-240, and power reactor grade contains from 19 percent and greater Pu-240.
The U.S. plutonium inventory is composed of 85.0 MT of weapon grade, 13.2 MT of fuel grade, and 1.3 MT of reactor grade (Figure 3).


Of the 85.0 MT of weapon grade plutonium, 38.2 MT have been declared excess to national security needs. The composition and location of this 38.2 MT can be found in Appendix A.
Figure 4 shows the location of the DOE/DoD 99.5 MT of plutonium as of September 30, 1994. In addition to the eight sites identified in Figure 4, DOE plutonium is also located at other DOE sites, primarily at the West Valley Demonstration Project located near Buffalo, New York. Small quantities are also located in foreign countries, and at NRC licensees. Plutonium in waste (e.g., in cribs, tanks, settling ponds, and waste disposal facilities) is not considered part of the DOE/DoD inventory, and is therefore not included in the 99.5 MT.
Most of the plutonium in waste — technically “normal operating losses” — has been removed from DOE/DoD inventory that requires safeguards and security. While this report refers to normal operating losses as waste, not all plutonium in waste is necessarily derived from normal operating losses. Other plutonium in DOE waste can be accounted for “as accidental losses,” “approved write-offs,” and inventory differences. In addition, some plutonium in waste has been received from sources outside of DOE.


The data used to prepare this section were obtained primarily from the Department’s nuclear material control and accountability system. The plutonium acquisition and removal categories used in this report contain the following elements:

• Plutonium acquisitions are divided into four distinct categories: plutonium produced in government production reactors; plutonium produced in government nonproduction reactors; plutonium acquired from U.S. civilian industry; and plutonium acquired from foreign countries.
• Plutonium removals are divided into seven categories: plutonium expended in wartime and nuclear tests; plutonium inventory differences; plutonium waste; plutonium expended in fission and transmutation; plutonium lost to decay and other removals; plutonium transferred to U.S. Civilian industry; and plutonium transferred to “foreign countries.”

Table 1. Plutonium Material Balance

Acquisitions MT Pu
Government Production Reactors 103.4 [note 11]
Government Nonproduction Reactors 0.6
U.S. Civilian Industry 1.7
Foreign Countries 5.7
Total 111.4
Expended in Wartime and Tests 3.4
Inventory Differences 2.8
Waste (Normal Operating Losses) 3.4
Fission and Transmutation 1.2
Decay and Other Removals 0.4
U.S. Civilian Industry 0.1
Foreign Countries 0.7
Total 12.0
Total Acquisitions 111.4
Total Removals -12.0
Classified Transactions & Rounding 0.1
Actual Inventory 99.5

As shown in Table 1, the U.S. Government produced and acquired from 1944 to September 1994 a total of 111.4 metric tons of plutonium. During the same period of time, 12.0 MT of plutonium was removed resulting in an actual ending inventory of 99.5 MT [note 10].


Tracking highly enriched uranium and plutonium, the key nuclear weapon materials

U.S. Civilian Plutonium Holdings in December 2012

The United States finally submitted to IAEA the INFCIRC/549 declaration of its civilian plutonium stock. The document was published by the IAEA on April 2, 2014 as INFCIRC/549/Add.6/16. According to IAEA, the United States submitted its declaration to the Agency on March 14, 2014, much later than usual.

According to the declaration, as of 31 December 2012 the United States had 44.4 tonnes of separated plutonium described as “held elsewhere”, 4.6 tonnes – in unirradiated MOX fuel, and less than 0.05 tonnes – held in the fuel fabrication process. In December 2011 these numbers were 44.7, 4.6, and 0.05 tonnes respectively.

The declaration contains the following note:

Lines 3 [4.6] and 4 [44.4] together list 49.0 metric tons of separated plutonium that has been declared as excess to national security needs. This, in addition to 7.8 metric tons of the plutonium included on lines 1 [plutonium contained in spent fuel at civil reactor sites] and 3 [plutonium contained in spent fuel held elsewhere] of Annex C, 4.5 metric tons that has been disposed to waste after termination of safeguards, and 0.2 metric tons lost to radioactive decay (both after September 1994), constitute the total of 61.5 metric tons of government owned plutonium that the United States has declared as excess to national security needs. The change in Line 4 includes the (rounded) cumulative allowance for decay and an additional 0.1 metric tons disposed to waste during 2012.

The total amount of plutonium declared excess – 61.5 tonnes – has not changed since the 2011 declaration. However, the breakdown of this number is now different. The amount of plutonium disposed of as waste increased from 4.4 to 4.5 tonnes. Also, since 1994 0.2 tonnes was lost to radioactive decay. This decay and disposal of plutonium as waste are responsible for the decrease of the amount of separated plutonium from 44.7 to 44.4 tonnes.

The actual amount of separated plutonium that is excess to security needs is therefore 56.8 tonnes – 61.5 tonnes minus 0.2 tonnes lost to decay since 1994 and 4.5 tonnes disposed as waste and lost to decay in 2012.







Plutonium - International Panel on

Federation of American Scientists

Federation of American Scientists - NNDB: Tracking the entire


U.S. Department of Energy - Environment Management

Nuclear Materials Management and Safeguards System ( NMMSS )

Department of Energy (DOE) OpenNet documents

The Nuclear Weapon Archive – A Guide to Nuclear Weapons

US Releases Updated Plutonium Inventory Report

drawing back the curtain of secrecy – Federation of

AIP Matters – American Institute of Physics

Plutonium Disposition Program | National Nuclear Security

the Nuclear Weapon Archive

DOE Listing of Nuclear Facilities - Federation of American

Plutonium Accounting Released, New Classification Approach

U.S. non-military plutonium

U.S. Civilian Plutonium Holdings in December 2012 | NSSPI 

Atomic Energy Act 

Bureau of Reclamation Historic Dams and Water Projects Managing Water in the West


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Parker Dam-1 72What you see is not what you get at Parker Dam, known as “the deepest dam in the world.” Engineers, digging for bedrock on which to build, had to excavate so far beneath the bed of the Colorado River that 73 percent of Parker Dam’s 320-foot structural height is not visible. Its reservoir, Lake Havasu, is a different matter. Its deep blue water stretches for 45 miles behind the dam, creating an oasis in the Arizona desert. Gracing the shore at Lake Havasu City is the historic London Bridge, reconstructed brick by brick in 1971 and adding to the city’s claim as “Arizona’s playground.”

The Parker Dam story has not always been so lighthearted, though many benefits have come with the dam, built on the Arizona-California border 155 miles downstream from Hoover Dam. When construction began on Parker Dam in 1934, Arizona Governor Benjamin Baker Moeur was so upset that he called out the Arizona National Guard to take possession of the territory around the dam site. He was angry because water stored behind Parker Dam was going to be pumped to cities in fast-growing southern California.

Lessons from Arizona’s water war

The nation laughed as the Los Angeles Times’ “war correspondent” wryly described the “impending movement of State troops into this theater of war.”

Behind the humor lay a serious subtext: For the first time since the Civil War, a state was rebelling against the federal government. Over water.

Arizona recently celebrated their 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona v. California, a decades-long feud with California over water from the Colorado and Gila rivers.

The Arizona Attorney magazine dubbed the case “the most important judicial decision in the state’s history.”

Moeur saw it as yet another attempt by California to usurp Arizona’s rightful share of Colorado River water. Disagreement over who owned what rights to the Colorado had come to a head a dozen years earlier when plans were announced for the Boulder Canyon Project, including Hoover Dam and the All-American Canal, which funneled Colorado River water to southern California’s Imperial and Coachella Valleys. Other states in the Colorado watershed–Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona–worried that California would leave them in the dust, literally.

Tunnel at Parker Dam

Tunnel at Parker Dam

To resolve concerns and divvy up the water, the states entered into the 1922 Colorado River Compact, which divided the seven states into the Upper Basin (Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico) and the Lower Basin (Arizona, Nevada and California). Because the Colorado’s annual flow was determined (incorrectly) to be 16.4 million acre feet per year, each basin was allotted 7.5 million acre feet, with specific amounts to be decided by the states. (An acre foot is 325,851 gallons, or enough water to cover an acre one-foot deep.) Among the Lower Basin states, the bulk of the water, 4.4 million acre feet, or 58.7 percent of the allotment, went to California, where there was more irrigable land. Arizona received 2.8 million acre feet, or 37.3 percent; and Nevada 4.0 percent, or 300,000 acre feet. Feeling short-changed, Arizona unsuccessfully opposed the Boulder Canyon Project and would not ratify the compact until 1944, when it also took its complaints to court.

But all that was in the future as a contract was let on August 25, 1934, for another big storage dam on the Colorado River–Parker Dam. As Governor Moeur declared martial law and dispatched the 158th Infantry Regiment to the dam site that November, southern Californians already were building a 242-mile-long aqueduct in anticipation of receiving Colorado River water. The Colorado River Aqueduct, as it was named, was a creation of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, a consortium of eleven cities, including Los Angeles, Burbank, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Anaheim and San Bernardino. The cities joined together to ensure a water supply for their booming communities, which had everything a paradise could want, except adequate water. The aqueduct, financed by a $220 million bond issue, headed east to Parker, Arizona, cutting through desert and mountains as it went, including the 13-mile-long San Jacinto Tunnel, which took six years to build.

During the early months of 1935, work on Parker Dam stopped, then started, then stopped again as the U.S. Supreme Court looked askance on Governor Moeur and issued a preliminary injunction against Arizona, only to dismiss it two and a half months later. Arizona lost the battle on August 30, 1935, when Congress passed the Rivers and Harbors Bill, which included authorization for Parker Dam. Because Arizona’s 158th Infantry Regiment had commandeered a ferryboat to inspect the dam site, punsters made light of the Arizona Army that had become the “Arizona Navy.”

CRT.Construction of Parker Dam, a concrete arch structure below the mouth ofBill Williams River, proceeded with half the cost paid by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Frank Crowe, general superintendent at Hoover Dam, assumed the same role at Parker, which was subcontracted to theJ.F. Shea Co., Inc., part of theSix Companies consortium that had constructed Hoover. By the fall of 1936, diversion tunnels were complete, turning the river aside so the extensive excavation work could begin. But troubles erupted anew in April 1937 when workers went on strike. Representatives of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) were on the scene, trying to win the contract to represent the men. When the AFL won, some members of the CIO continued to maintain the picket line; on May 3 they were booted from camp by the contractor, who posted guards at the entrance.

Parker Dam received its first bucket of concrete that July of 1937 and, one year later, the last bucket was poured. On October 16, 1938, Lake Havasu, Mojave for “blue water,” began to fill. On the lake shore, about two miles upstream from the dam, the Whitsett Pump Plant Pumping Plant sent water into the Colorado River Aqueduct as it continues to do. Parker Dam’s four-generator powerplant, which went into operation in 1942, reserves about half of the hydropower it generates to pump water along the aqueduct, which terminates at Lake Mathews near Riverside, California.

The powerplant’s four, 22-foot diameter pipes, called penstocks, each can carry more than 41,000 gallons of water per second to turn the generators, which create the electric power that is sent over transmission lines for miles around. A system that interconnects Parker Dam with Hoover Dam and Davis Dam (completed upstream from Parker Dam in 1950) distributes electricity to Henderson, Nevada, on the north; Blythe, California, on the west; Yuma, Arizona, on the south; and Prescott, Phoenix, Tucson, and Cochise, Arizona, on the east. Along with a system of other dams and transmission facilities, known as the Colorado River Storage Project, 2,800 miles of high-voltage transmission lines serve 40 power substations managed from an office in Phoenix. The generating capacity of these Colorado River projects, marketed by the Western Area Power Administration, is enough to provide electric service for a year to more than two million homes. Colorado River hydroelectric energy brings annual revenues of more than $140 million to the U.S. Treasury.
Colorado River projects
Parker Dam was dedicated on November 19, 1938–in a ceremony sponsored by Southern California’s Metropolitan Water District, which today has grown to a consortium of 26 cities and agencies serving 19 million people. The water district’s Colorado River Aqueduct can deliver one billion gallons of Colorado River water to southern California cities every day.

In the end, Arizona was not to be denied its share of the Colorado. In 1944, Arizona finally signed the Colorado River Compact, which opened the way for it to receive its 2.8 million cubic feet of the Colorado’s flow. But disagreements remained and were not settled until a prolonged court battle, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1963. The decision, which generally favored Arizona, cleared the way for another Bureau of Reclamation project–the Central Arizona Project, which involved another aqueduct from Lake Havasu–this one pumping Colorado River water into Arizona. The backbone of the aqueduct system runs about 336 miles from Lake Havasu to a terminus southwest of Tucson. It was completed in 1993, but work remains to bring water to several Indian distribution systems.






Bureau of Reclamation

Bureau of Reclamation Historic Dams and Water

Major Reservoir – California Data Exchange Center – State ..

Parker Dam

Colorado River Compact

Colorado River Compact, 1922

Bureau of Reclamation Historic Dams and

Water, Culture, and Power: Local Struggles In A Global Context

Did You Know: Arizona Navy Deployed In 1934

Arizona: A History, Revised Edition

Whiskey is for Drinking, Water is for Fighting! – Arizona

Lessons from Arizona’s water war – AZCentral.com

Major Historical Dam Failures with Modes of Failure

Spectacular Time Lapse Video of Historic Dam Removal

The Nature of the California Drought


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droughtSignificant and widespread drought conditions continue in California which experienced its warmest and third driest winter on record. Drought is expected to persist or intensify in California, Nevada, most of interior Oregon and Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, southeast Colorado, western Oklahoma, and most of west Texas because of below-average rain or snow this winter and the onset of the dry season in April.

Nearly all of California has been experiencing record high temperatures on a daily basis including the establishment of new all-time January record high temperatures.

As Daniel Swain has noted, “2013 was the driest on record in California’s 119 year formal record, and likely the driest since at least the Gold Rush era.”

In addition to this impressive stretch of record-breaking warmth, the observed atmospheric flow pattern over California has been downright bizarre! Weak disturbances have been propagating westward or northwestward over the state around the south side of the highly persistent ridge, bringing periodic mid and high-level cloudiness and occasional offshore winds. This flow pattern is completely reversed from its normal orientation (weather systems in winter typically move eastward over California).

Just to give some indication of how strange this pattern really is: the moisture source for the observed cloudiness across parts of California is the subtropical East Pacific Ocean southwest of Baja California (rather than the Gulf of Alaska).

sierra_8_station_droughtLeading Scientists Explain How Climate Change Is Worsening California’s Epic Drought

Scientists have long predicted that climate change would bring on ever-worsening droughts, especially in semi-arid regions like the U.S. Southwest. As climatologist James Hansen, NASA Scientist Who Raised Climate Change alarm and who co-authored one of the earliest studies on this subject back in 1990 – “Increasingly intense droughts in California, all of the Southwest, and even into the Midwest have everything to do with human-made climate change.”

Why does it matter if climate change is playing a role in the Western drought? As one top researcher on the climate-drought link confirmed – “The U.S. may never again return to the relatively wet conditions experienced from 1977 to 1999.” If his and other projections are correct, then there may be no greater tasks facing humanity than 1) working to slash carbon pollution and avoid the worst climate impact scenarios and 2) figuring out how to feed nine billion people by mid-century in a Dust-Bowl-ifying world.

Climate scientists and political scientists often confuse the public and the media by focusing on the narrow question, “Did climate change cause the drought” — that is, did it reduce precipitation?

Remarkably, climate scientists specifically predicted a decade ago that Arctic ice loss would bring on worse droughts in the West, especially California. As it turns out, Arctic ice loss has been much faster than the researchers — and indeed all climate modelers — expected.

California is now in the death-grip of a brutal, record-breaking drought, driven by the very change in the jet stream that scientists had anticipated. Is this just an amazing coincidence — or were the scientists right? And what would that mean for the future?

In general, most Leading Climate Change scientists say that is the wrong question — severe drought is much more than just a reduction in precipitation. After a political scientist labeled his mainstream views zombie science,”  John Holdren, Obama’s Science Czar, explained in an extended debunking how climate change worsens Western droughts even if it doesn’t reduce precipitation (see here).

Scientists a decade ago not only predicted the loss of Arctic ice would dry out California, they also precisely predicted the specific, unprecedented change in the jet stream that has in fact caused the unprecedented nature of the California drought. Study co-author, Prof. Lisa Sloan – “I think the actual situation in the next few decades could be even more dire that our study suggested.”

Back in 2004, Sloan, professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences: UC Santa Cruz, and her graduate student Jacob Sewall published, “Disappearing Arctic sea ice reduces available water in the American west.” They used powerful computers “to simulate the effects of reduced Arctic sea ice,” and “their most striking finding was a significant reduction in rain and snowfall in the American West.”

“Where the sea ice is reduced, heat transfer from the ocean warms the atmosphere, resulting in a rising column of relatively warm air,” Sewall said. “The shift in storm tracks over North America was linked to the formation of these columns of warmer air over areas of reduced sea ice.” In January, Sewall wrote me that “both the pattern and even the magnitude of the anomaly looks very similar to what the models predicted in the 2005 study.” (see Fig. 3a [below]).

Here is what Sewall’s model predicted in his 2005 paper:


Figure 3a: Differences in DJF [winter] averaged atmospheric quantities due to an imposed reduction in Arctic sea ice cover. The 500-millibar geopotential height (meters) increases by up to 70 m off the west coast of North America. Increased geopotential height deflects storms away from the dry locus and north into the wet locus

Geopotential Height” is the height above mean sea level for a given pressure level. The “500 mb level is often referred to as the steering level as most weather systems and precipitation follow the winds at this level,” which is around 18,000 feet.

Now here is what the 500 mb geopotential height anomaly looked like over the last year, via NOAA:


That is either a highly accurate prediction or one heck of a coincidence.

The San Jose Mercury News explained that “meteorologists have fixed their attention on the scientific phenomenon they say is to blame for the emerging drought: a vast zone of high pressure in the atmosphere off the West Coast, nearly four miles high and 2,000 miles long, so stubborn that one researcher has dubbed it the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge. This high pressure ridge has been acting “like a brick wall” and forcing the jet stream along a much more northerly track, “blocking Pacific winter storms from coming ashore in California, deflecting them up into Alaska and British Columbia, even delivering rain and cold weather to the East Coast.

Last year, I contacted Sloan to ask her if she thought there was a connection between the staggering loss of Arctic sea ice in recent years and the brutal drought gripping the West, as her research predicted. She wrote, “Yes, sadly, I think we were correct in our findings, and it will only be worse with Arctic sea ice diminishing quickly.”

Yes, in this case I hate that we (Sewall & Sloan) might be correct. And in fact, I think the actual situation in the next few decades could be even more dire that our study suggested. Why do I say that? (1) we did not include changes in greenhouse gases other than CO2; (2) maybe we should have melted more sea ice and see what happens; (3) these atmospheric and precipitation estimates do not include changes in land use, in the US and elsewhere. Changing crops, or urban sprawl increases, or melting Greenland and Northern Hemisphere glaciers will surely have an impact on precipitation patterns.

All this isn’t “proof” that human caused climate change helped shift and reduce precipitation in California during its record-setting drought. But a prediction this accurate can’t be ignored, either, especially because of its possible implications for the future.

Emerging evidence — documented by Senior Weather Channel meteorologist Stu Ostro and others — that global warming is increasing the atmosphere’s thickness, leading to stronger and more persistent ridges of high pressure, which in turn are a key to temperature, rainfall, and snowfall extremes and topsy-turvy weather patterns like we’ve had in recent years.”

That’s why it was so puzzling that NOAA’s Martin Hoerling was quoted in the NY Times Thursday saying “to state the obvious, this drought has occurred principally due to a lack of rains, not principally due to warmer temperatures.” He ended by saying, “It is quite clear that the scientific evidence does not support an argument that this current California drought is appreciably, if at all, linked to human-induced climate change.”

Except that it is not quite clear there is no connection to climate change — as we’ve seen. Michael Mann, one of the country’s leading climatologists:

There is credible peer-reviewed scientific work by leading climate scientists, published more than a decade ago, that hypothesized that precisely this sort of blocking pattern would become more frequent with disappearing Arctic sea ice. Moreover, Arctic sea ice has declined precipitously in the intervening decade. So it seems quite clear that there is a potential connection, in a statistical sense, between “Human Caused Global Warming,” declining Arctic sea ice, and the anomalous blocking pattern this winter that has added to other factors we know are tied to “human-caused climate change” (warmer temperatures and increased soil evaporation, and decreased winter snowpack and freshwater runoff) to produce the unprecedented drought this year in California.

To claim that it is “quite clear” there is no connection at all turns the burden of scientific evidence completely on its head. Such a statement defies logic.

Climatologist and California water expert Dr. Peter H. Gleick:

Dr. Hoerling is answering the wrong question and his wording is conflating different research findings. In addition, his wording is confusing.

“Occurred principally”?? This is NOT the same thing as saying there is “no link between warmer temperatures and the current drought.” But that’s seems to be what he is implying.

Yes, the drought is principally due to lack of rain, not “principally” due to warmer temperatures. But note this is NOT saying that higher temperatures aren’t playing a role. To adopt his wording but saying the opposite: “To state the obvious, higher temperatures already occurring are worsening the impacts of the ongoing drought no matter its cause.”

His second sentence is also correct but perverse and incomplete. In particular, the word “linked” is misleading (does he mean causality or influence; if the former, he is correct; if the latter, he is incorrect).

Gleick has posted a good analysis of the confusion and conflation going on. He notes “the most definitive and well-understood effect (higher temperatures) have decreased current water availability” and shares this chart:


The increasing trend in annual temperature in California over the past 118 years. (Source: NOAA). This trend mirrors the global increase.

“The extra heat from the increase in heat trapping gases in the atmosphere over six months is equivalent to running a small microwave oven at full power for about half an hour over every square foot of the land under the drought,” climatologist Kevin Trenberth explained to me via email. “No wonder wild fires have increased! So climate change undoubtedly affects the intensity and duration of drought, and it has consequences.”

Holdrem wrote: “In my recent comments about observed and projected increases in drought in the American West, I mentioned four relatively well understood mechanisms by which climate change can play a role in drought. (I have always been careful to note that, scientifically, we cannot say that climate change caused a particular drought, but only that it is expected to increase the frequency, intensity, and duration of drought in some regions ― and that such changes are being observed.)”

These four mechanisms are:

  1. In a warming world, a larger fraction of total precipitation falls in downpours, which means a larger fraction is lost to storm runoff (as opposed to being absorbed in soil).
  2. In mountain regions that are warming, as most are, a larger fraction of precipitation falls as rain rather than as snow, which means lower stream flows in spring and summer.
  3. What snowpack there is melts earlier in a warming world, further reducing flows later in the year.
  4. Where temperatures are higher, losses of water from soil and reservoirs due to evaporation are likewise higher than they would otherwise be.

Holdren reviews the scientific literature on those statements in his reply, noting “the second, third, and fourth mechanisms reflect elementary physics and are hardly subject to dispute.”

zombie scienceWhat to expect

Wildfires: California experienced truly ferocious wildfires last year. If things remain this dry, 2014′s wildfire season could be especially nasty, too. An area of “significant” fire potential is predicted to grow bigger and bigger throughout California over the coming months, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. By early summer, it looks like about half the state might be at above-average risk for fires, not a great thing for the camping industry or anybody with homes in dry zones:

wildfiresFood prices: Roughly 50 percent of America’s fruits and vegetables come from California, but the fecund Central Valley lately has been more suitable for a tumbleweed preserve. Farmers are letting their fields go fallow and ranchers are thinning herds rather than pay for expensive feed, measures that wind up slamming consumers. In the past year, the average price for a hamburger has risen by 20 percent, and the costs of milk, cheese, and other dairy products will also be vulnerable to hikes, according to an analyst interviewed by the Sacramento Bee.

The real worry, however, is what will happen if this drought doesn’t go away soon, writes the Bee:

It could get a lot worse. Experts say most farmers should be able to keep going this season, but many of them won’t be able to survive another season of drought.

“The general mood is, ‘We’ll get through this year, but who knows about next year?’” said Erik Balling of Green Leaf Ag, a Coalinga irrigation-services company. “If there’s another severe drought, the face of farming is going to change.”

Water rationing: With reservoirs turning into dust bowls, California has made the unprecedented decision to not supply water to many urban and agricultural agencies this spring. Other federal agencies that channel water to the state are also cutting back in huge ways. If the drought persists, it’s hard to imagine a future California in which people are not constantly scrambling to preserve the precious little water left.

precipitation_anomaly.gifHow do we know current global warming is human caused, or man made? Is global warming real, or a hoax?

Many are still asking is current global warming natural or human caused? The idea that global warming is natural is not an absurd question. In the natural cycle, global warming is natural. The better question is, ‘is current Global Warming Natural Cycle?

For now I remain a skeptic, but I’ll be keeping an eye on the forecast for any signs of significant drought relief, but at this late date, it’s doubtful any relief is in sight. In the meantime, I strongly encourage everyone in California to be mindful of their water usage in the midst of these increasingly “severe drought conditions” or Water Grab,” and to take active conservation steps in advance of what promises to be a challenging summer and fall ahead.





James Hansen, NASA Scientist Who Raised Climate Change

What’s climate scientist James Hansen’s legacy?

Spectacularly Poor Climate Science At NASA | Real Science

Human Caused Global Warming

Startling Number of Scientific Papers Disputed Human-Caused

Earth & Planetary Sciences: UC Santa Cruz

CA Drought Emergency Declaired : Environment – Page 10

Office of Science and Technology Policy | The White House

The Owens Valley “Water Grab” | lisaleaks

The Salton Sea: Death and Politics in the Great America lis

The Climate Change Skeptic’s Argument: Natural Solar Cyc

The Salton Sea Fades Away, And A Town With It | lisaleaks

California’s Drought: More Wildfires, Higher Food Prices

California’s Recent Droughts Have Grown Longer

Facing drought, California farmers rally against regulations

Climate misinformer: Roy Spencer – Skeptical Science

Warmest winter on record worsens California drought

California Drought Dries Up Hydro, But Power Stays On

Water Conditions

Climatologist Who Predicted California Drought 10 Years


The Unspoken Crisis of Worldwide Nuclear Radiation


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Murakami Haruki

Murakami Haruki

Haruki Murakami‘s brilliant speech in Barcelona, Spain, delivered in acceptance of the International Catalunya Prize, has contributed to the resetting of the anti-nuclear agenda in Japan.

“The recent earthquake came as a tremendous shock for almost all Japanese,” he told his audience in Barcelona. “Even we Japanese who are so accustomed to earthquakes were completely overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the damage. Gripped by a sense of powerlessness, we feel uncertainty about the future of our country.”

Murakami spoke of the depth and breadth of trauma caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and the loss of life and damage to landscape and property caused by the tsunami and the “nuclear accident” that followed. He went on to criticize the government for having failed to strictly monitor the nuclear industry for safety.

But it was when he turned to Japan’s earlier experience with nuclear disaster — the U.S. attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atom bombs in August 1945 — that Murakami’s speech took a radical turn.


Hiroshima victims

“What I want to talk about,” he said, “is not only the deaths of those two hundred thousand people who died immediately after the bombing, but also the deaths over a period of time of the many who survived the bombings, those who suffered from illnesses caused by exposure to radiation. We have learned from the sacrifices of those people how destructive a nuclear weapon can be, and how deep the scars are that radiation leaves behind in this world, in the bodies of people.”

Murakami went on to link the radiation released in Hiroshima and Nagasaki with that released in Fukushima.

 “And now, today, sixty-six years after the dropping of the atomic bombs, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been spewing out radiation continuously, polluting the ground, the ocean and the atmosphere around the plant. And no one knows when and how this spewing of radiation will be stopped. This is a historic experience for us Japanese: our second massive nuclear disaster. But this time no one dropped a bomb on us. We set the stage, we committed the crime with our own hands, we are destroying our own lands, and we are destroying our own lives.”

‘The speech took me back to 1969, when futurologist and Cold War military strategist Herman Kahn visited Japan’, wrote Roger Pulvers ‘I was, for this visit, his occasional interpreter and guide. “The Japanese will someday outgrow their nuclear allergy,” he told me, adding that he believed Japan would possess nuclear weapons by the mid-1980s. The American author of the bestsellers “On Thermonuclear War” (1960) and “Thinking about the Unthinkable” (1962), Kahn believed that nuclear war was both probable and winnable.

Herman Kahn

He explained that “tolerable” levels of victims would be in the “ballpark” of the tens of millions. He crunched his numbers, according to the game theory that he helped to refine, and found the United States coming out on top. The term “escalation” is attributed to Kahn; and in a Cold War era plagued by fear stemming from the nuclear powers’ deterrence strategy of Mutual assured destruction (MAD), it was comforting to refer to his message: that, scientifically analyzed, America’s future was secure, if somewhat blistered by the death fires of internecine war.

In fact, Kahn — one of the prototypes that Stanley Kubrick used to create the crazed character Dr. Strangelove (played by Peter Sellers) in his 1964 antiwar film, “Dr. Strangelove or: “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb — was urged on during that 1969 visit, and subsequently, by elements in the government here who would have liked nothing more than to see Japan armed with nuclear weapons.

Dr. Strangelove

Kahn’s visit was welcomed by those in the highest echelons of the Liberal Democratic Party. Prime Minister Sato Eisaku was facing a difficult election in the coming January, and Kahn’s rosy predictions about the rise of a Japanese superstate gave comfort to the ruling party. Kahn praised Japan and its leadership to the hilt. Japanese people’s opinions are vulnerable to influence from the outside. An eminent American who feeds Japanese nationalism can have more sway than a mere Japanese politician in power.

There are two things about Kahn’s pithy comment concerning a Japan with atomic weapons: the words “allergy” and “outgrow.”

By labeling Japan’s staunch stance against possessing such weapons or even allowing them to enter its territorial waters as an “allergy,” the inference was that, with some testing and remedial care, this condition could be cured. By using the word “outgrow,” Kahn was explicitly calling Japanese convictions “immature.”

Of course, we now know that the “allergy” was a highly selective one. In fact, its rash was only maintained on the outside for public consumption. Deep down, the ruling circles of Japan had bargained away the three “no nuclear policies.” There was no allergy in the body polity as seen by influential sectors of the ruling elite.

‘It happens that I have a personal connection with a man who played a key role in the secret agreement allowing the possible presence of nuclear weapons in Okinawa,’ writes Roger Pulvers.

Kei Wakaizumi was my mentor during my early years in Japan. I met him the very next day after I first arrived in September 1967. Still in his late 30s then, softly spoken and very kind, he was a professor at Kyoto Sangyo University, which had been set up with funds from conservative groups to counter the left-leaning activities of many Japanese universities in the polemical 1960s.’

Wakaizumi with Walt Rostow and Lyndon Johnson

Wakaizumi’s link with the Secret pact came about at the urging of Henry Kissinger, U.S. President Richard Nixon’s national security adviser.

Wakaizumi, then a special envoy to Prime Minister Satō, accompanied the prime minister to Washington and, on November 21, 1969, the two of them went to the White House, where they were called by Nixon into a private room. There, the prime minister and the president signed a Secret document, witnessed by Wakaizumi, that granted the U.S. the right, with consultation, to bring nuclear weapons in an emergency into Okinawa after its reversion to Japan. (Only four people knew of the existence of this pact violating Japan’s non-nuclear principles, the fourth being Kissinger.)

In 1994, Bungeishunju published his book, “Tasaku Nakarishi o Shinzemuto Hossu” — which in English means “I Had No Recourse.” In that 19-chapter, 600-page work he pours out his heart not only about the secret pact but also his vision for the future of Japan.

The Non-Nuclear Principles, adopted as a parliamentary resolution in 1971, but never enshrined in law, forbid Japan from possessing or producing nuclear weapons or permitting them to be on its territory. The two main secret pacts in contravention of those principles are a 1960 one allowing nuclear-armed U.S. planes and ships to enter Japan, and one from 1969 regarding the reversion of Okinawa to Japan and the possible presence of such weapons there.

Despite the blatant transgressions of Japan’s no-nuclear principles, Japanese leaders — all members of the then-ruling Liberal Democratic Party — consistently denied the existence of the agreements, in effect pulling the wool tightly over the public’s eyes.

Murakami Haruki’s speech, linking the radiation released in Hiroshima and Nagasaki with that released in Fukushima, effectively renders the three issues of the bomb, the no-nuclear principles and nuclear power as one.

For decades, the Japanese government has maintained the façade of the no-nuclear principles, thereby leading the people to believe that they have rejected the belligerent uses of atoms in war for the peaceful uses of atoms as a domestic power source. But in effect, they are two sides of the same coin.

Japan’s government, virtually synonymous in those days with the Liberal Democratic Party (which held nearly unbroken power for more than half a century until 2009), had forged ahead with the nuclearization of the power industry in the decades of growth after the war without any national debate on the multifarious issues of safety related to it. This railroading through of lax laws and permissive regulations indicated that the sleepers had been laid; and all that was then needed was to lay the tracks toward nuclear weaponry — and Japan would have come of age.

Now that the Fukushima disaster has demonstrated the dangers of “peaceful uses” of the atom, the bomb and the power plant, with their inherent threats to human life, are linked in the mind of the people.

Eloquent and spoken from the heart without artifice in his Barcelona speech, Murakami came down hard not only on TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the nuclear power plant) and on the governments that gave them a virtually unfettered hand in nuclear power development, but also on the entire populace of Japan who, over decades, allowed this situation to fester in their name.

Murakami’s use of the word “kaku” (nucleus, or nuclear) in reference to the power plant is telling. As a strict rule, Japan’s nuclear power industry has avoided this word, preferring “genshiryoku,” meaning “atomic power.” Kaku in Japanese brings to mind the very same power that fueled the bombs; and the power industry has painstakingly steered clear of any such association, knowing that the Japanese people’s conviction to refuse either the possession or introduction of nuclear weapons in their country is steadfast, although clearly elements in the government had a different agenda, that is, to redirect weapons’ grade plutonium for use in a bomb.

Murakami has persuasively rejected “atoms for peace.”

“We Japanese should have continued to shout ‘no’ to the atom,” he said with vehemence. “That is my personal opinion. We should have combined all our technological expertise, massed all our wisdom and know-how, and invested all our social capital to develop effective energy sources to replace nuclear power, pursuing that effort at the national level.”

His speech was given major coverage in the national media, including in prime-time reports on television and radio. It is no accident that he chose to make this provocative speech on a foreign platform, as he did with his speech critical of Israeli policies in the Middle East. This helps silence the opposition in Japan to these propositions, especially when they are delivered at such prestigious forums.

In addition, by speaking from abroad, Murakami equates Japan’s problems with those of countries around the world, making clear that the problem is global.

This means that ultimately it can’t be solved by Japan alone.

It also suggests that Japan’s decisions can be judged in light of the responses of other nations to the crisis. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany was able to announce her momentous decision to shut down all of her country’s nuclear power plants within the coming decade, while Japan’s seized-up government seems perpetually ensconced in a sarcophagus dropped over their heads by a profit-at-any-cost industry, an uncreative and captive bureaucracy and an apathetic, meek citizenry fed on a broadly apathetic and meek media diet.

The sarcophagus burst open on March 11, 2011

The media swiftly opened its doors to anti-nuclear journalists and activists; the government, at the very highest levels, rushed out rough blueprints for alternative forms of energy; and prominent business people, Softbank’s Masayoshi Son notably among them, offered to develop environmental-friendly forms of energy if the government would give them a nod, a wink and a helping hand.

Thanks to Murakami Haruki, the Anti-nuclear power movement in Japan is now a common front, bolstered by anger at government-industry collusion and hope that, finally, something may be done to wind down nuclear power and replace it with sources that do not destroy life and defile land, water and air.

Herman Kahn was wrong then and I think him wrong now. The Japanese people are, more than ever, committed to maintain their deep-rooted aversion to things nuclear, and this now may extend, once and for all, to non-belligerent forms of atomic energy.

The three principles of Japanese apathy, when it comes to things nuclear—“don’t ask, don’t tell and don’t do”—are things of the past. We are now all unrealistic dreamers … but unrealistic dreamers who are beginning to accept responsibility for our welfare.



More wise words from Haruki Murakami

Murakami slams IsraelOn January 2009, Haruki Murakami’s acceptance speech for the Jerusalem Prize in Israel, the author had used his podium time to deliver a keenly aimed attack on the Israeli occupation of Palestine. In Barcelona, by turning his sights to “peaceful uses” of atoms, he again gave voice to the Japanese conscience of our era.

Murakami took off the gloves and strongly condemned Israel’s “unjust” treatment of the Palestinians.

“Israel has adopted a policy that seals off the Palestinians inside the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, a policy that denies the refugees’ right to return to their land in order to protect the interests of the Jewish people; this is unjust.”

He explains that he decided to accept the Israeli prize believing this would allow him to speak freely in front of an Israeli audience.

While Murakami notes that “Israel isn’t a tyrannical state and is founded on free speech,” [I sincerely beg to differ!] the encounters with Israelis he describes reflect a racist, militant and aggressive society.

“I sense a very strong patriotic approach when I talk to Israelis. The schools instill it in them through the official history, and three years of military service for boys and two years for girls is mandatory,” he writes.

Murakami claims that Israelis fail to understand that their policy towards the Palestinians is wrong. “Palestinians have to undergo thorough security checks whenever they want to go somewhere and their economic activity is limited. They are not free to build their homes when and where they want to, and in fact have no sovereignty over their land,” he explains.

 ‘Israel suffers from trauma’  

The writer admits that during his trip to Israel he did not visit Gaza or the West Bank, but describes an incident he witnessed in Jerusalem: “At a junction in Jerusalem, without me realizing why, an Israeli soldier took an entire family out of their car and beat up the father in front of his children.”

In another encounter with an Israeli taxi driver, “I asked him what was the purpose of the security wall that runs along the highway. He replied that it was there in order to keep the animals from crossing the border.”

Murakami’s visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum prompted him to come up with the following insight: “I think that the State of Israel suffers from some sort of trauma. The brain tells them that excessive self-defense is not good, but their body spontaneously responds to the slightest of provocations.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said in response to the article: “The State of Israel is proud for having presented the Jerusalem Prize to Murakami and respects his right to express his opinions on current affairs.

“However, Israel regrets the fact that the author, who is highly popular in Israel, preferred to adopt some inaccurate generalizations about the Middle East conflict, without knowing the facts. We would be happy if during his next visit in the country the author would find the time to learn more about Israel and the reality in the region.”





Haruki Murakami

Murakami’s Catalunya International Prize speech

Murakami in Jerusalem: ‘Between a high, solid wall and an egg

Murakami slams Israel for treatment of PalestiniansIsrael

Haruki Murakami – Unrealistic Dreamer : Catalunya Internatio

The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus

Roger PulversJapan Focus

Fukushima: A Nuclear War without a War

Anti-nuclear power movement in Japan

Investigation Committee on the Accident at the Fukushima Nucle

The Fierce Imagination of Haruki Murakami – NYTimes.com

Transcript | Inside Japan’s Nuclear Meltdown | FRONTLINE

TEPCO : Challenges of TEPCO | Nuclear / TEPCO-Power Pla


Secret Agreed Minute – 1969 (Declassified by Wakaizumi Kei)

Words of wisdom from beyond the grave of Japan’s secret pact

Japan’s non-nuclear weapons policy

Japan Confirms Secret Nuclear Pacts With U.S. : NPR

日本反核法律家協会 【資料】 On the Secret Nuclear Agreement

Imagining the Future of Sino-Japanese Relations

Securing Japan: Tokyo’s Grand Strategy and the Future of Ea

Japan town fuming over Murakami fiction portrayal – New Vision

Video Related To: Japanese divided on exposure of secret pac

Three Non-Nuclear Principles

The Three Non-Nuclear Principles were intended to (5 – Op

Spreading Fear: Garbage Charts & Misrepresentation | Fukus


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