US EPA Says Higher Radiation Levels Pose ‘No Harmful Health Effect’
In the event of a radioactive dirty bomb or a reactor disaster in the United States, emergency responders can safely tolerate radiation levels equivalent to thousands of chest X-rays, the Environmental Protection Agency said in new guidelines that ease off on established safety levels. The EPA’s determination sets a level 10 times the drinking water standard for radiation recommended under President Barack Obama. It could lead to the Trump Administration weakening radiation exposure rules, say watchdog groups critical of the move. —Ari Natter, Bloomberg.com, Oct. 16, 2017
Republican Chair of US Radiation Watchdog Agency Secretly Urges its Abolition
The chairman of a panel charged with protecting workers at nuclear weapons facilities as well as nearby communities has told the White House he favors downsizing or abolishing the group, despite recent radiation and workplace safety problems that injured or endangered people at the sites it helps oversee.
Republican appointee Sean Sullivan, a former Navy submarine officer, told the director of the Office of Management and Budget in a private letter that closing or shrinking the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board he chairs is consistent with President Trump’s ambition to cut the size of the federal workforce, according to a copy of Sullivan’s letter. It was written in June and obtained recently by the Center for Public Integrity. —Patrick Malonee and R. Jeffrey Smithe, Center for Public Integrity, Oct. 19, 2017
German Greens Want Last US Nuclear Weapons Ousted
The German Green Party wants the next coalition government to push for the removal of all nuclear warheads stationed in Germany, a document seen Nov. 15 by Reuters showed. The discussion paper on military and foreign policy did not mention the United States, which is believed to have 20 nuclear warheads at a military base in Büchel in western Germany.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, of the conservative Christian Democratic Union, is trying to secure a fourth term through an unlikely coalition with the ecologist Greens and pro-business Free Democrats after her conservative bloc lost support to the far-right in an election in September. During the campaign last summer both the Social Democrat candidate for Chancellor, Martin Schulz and Germany’s current Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, called for the removal of US nuclear weapons.
“Within NATO, we want to ensure that the remaining nuclear weapons in Germany are withdrawn and we want to suspend the modernization programme,” read a section in the document stating the Green Party’s position. —Reuters, Nov. 15, 2017