US News: UN chief concerned nuclear 'coffin' leaking in Pacific - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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US NewsUN chief concerned nuclear 'coffin' leaking in Pacific

12:46  16 may  2019
12:46  16 may  2019 Source:   msn.com

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The United Nation 's nuclear watchdog has confirmed Pyongyang's progress in advancing its nuclear weapons program. The agency's worry comes admist growing tension around And that makes us concerned ," he said, adding that the security concerns extend beyond the immediate pacific region.

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UN chief concerned nuclear 'coffin' leaking in Pacific © Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images TOPSHOT - United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres attends a press briefing after presenting his agenda for disarmament during a conference at the University of Geneva on May 24, 2018 in Geneva. - Guterres said he was 'deeply concerned' as US President Donald Trump cancelled a widely anticipated nuclear summit next month with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images) UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres raised concerns Thursday that a concrete dome built last century to contain waste from atomic bomb tests is leaking radioactive material into the Pacific.

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Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the first United Nations chief to visit Nagasaki, said fears of nuclear war are still present 73 years after the Nagasaki and Hiroshima He raised concerns about the slowing effort to denuclearise, saying existing nuclear states are modernising their arsenals.

Speaking to students in Fiji, Guterres described the structure on Enewetak atoll in the Marshall Islands as "a kind of coffin" and said it was a legacy of Cold War-era nuclear tests in the Pacific

"The Pacific was victimised in the past as we all know," he said, referring to nuclear explosions carried out by the United States and France in the region.

In the Marshalls, numerous islanders were forcibly evacuated from ancestral lands and resettled, while thousands more were exposed to radioactive fallout.

The island nation was ground zero for 67 American nuclear weapons tests from 1946-58 at Bikini and Enewetak atolls, when it was under US administration.

The tests included the 1954 "Bravo" hydrogen bomb, the most powerful ever detonated by the United States, about 1,000 times bigger than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

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The New Safe Confinement (NSC or New Shelter) is a structure built to confine the remains of the number 4 reactor unit at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant

The UN chief also welcomed the completion of reductions by the United States and Russia under the New START Treaty (the Strategic Arms Reduction Worldwide concerns over nuclear weapons are the highest they have been since the Cold War, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres

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UN chief concerned nuclear 'coffin' leaking in Pacific

Guterres, who is touring the South Pacific to raise awareness of climate change issues, said Pacific islanders still needed help to deal with the fallout of the nuclear testing.

"The consequences of these have been quite dramatic, in relation to health, in relation to the poisoning of waters in some areas," he said.

"I've just been with the President of the Marshall Islands (Hilda Heine), who is very worried because there is a risk of leaking of radioactive materials that are contained in a kind of coffin in the area."

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The "coffin" is a concrete dome, built in the late 1970s on Runit island, part of Enewetak atoll, as a dumping ground for waste from the nuclear tests.

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The United Nation 's nuclear watchdog has confirmed Pyongyang's progress in advancing its nuclear weapons program. IAEA chief ' concerned ' about North Korean nuclear progress. Tension has ratcheted up in 2017, and in the past weeks, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un threatened Japan

The Comprehensive Nuclear -Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a multilateral treaty that bans all nuclear explosions, for both civilian and military purposes, in all environments.

Radioactive soil and ash from the explosions was tipped into a crater and capped with a concrete dome 45 centimetres (18 inches) thick.

However, it was only envisaged as a temporary fix and the bottom of the crater was never lined leading to fears the waste is leaching into the Pacific.

Cracks have also developed in the concrete after decades of exposure and there are concerns it could break apart if hit by a tropical cyclone.

Related: Cold War flashback: Fallout shelters (Photos)

Guterres did not directly address what should be done with the dome but said the Pacific's nuclear history still needed to be addressed.

"A lot needs to be done in relation to the explosions that took place in French Polynesia and the Marshall Islands," he said.

"This is in relation to the health consequences, the impact on communities and other aspects.

"Of course there are questions of compensation and mechanisms to allow these impacts to be minimised."

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