Australian news, and some related international items

Establishment scientists bought by nuclear lobby?

a-cat-CANImmediately after the Lima Climate Summit, there has been a spate of pro nuclear articles appearing in the media and across the Internet.   In a surprising number of articles, the pro nuclear advocates are scientists, working in prestigious universities in UK, USA, and in Australia , too.

In Australia, this is orchestrated by Barry Brook, who purports to be a climate scientist, but whose agenda is clearly to promote nuclear power.

How is it that reputable scientists now fall for the propaganda for “new” small nuclear reactors – thorium reactors, which require plutonium and/or enriched uranium to function.  These thorium nuclear designs are not new – they were designed and abandoned in USA decades ago.  To have them in Australia would pretty well necessitate having the entire nuclear chain around our necks. They need plutonium to start with –  so we’d have to import plutonium, or set up nuclear reactors to produce it.  Similarly we’d have to set up uranium enrichment plants.  We would need radioactive waste dumps, because, contrary to the thorium pushers’ propaganda, these reactors do produce highly toxic and long lasting radioactive wastes.



So – how come Australian and other scientists are now jumping on the nuclear thorium bandwagon? Some are simply paid by nuclear interests –  like Stefan  Simons and Pamela Sykes, in South Australia.   Yes the nuclear industry has bought quite  a few scientists internationally.

But it’s not that simple.  Part of our Australian cultural cringe is that scientists are impressed by other scientists – feel that they should go along with the current tide, even if they haven’t done their homework on the issue. After all, they’re scientists, not economists or health experts, and there’s  a prevailing cringing attitude that “hard scientists” i.e nuclear physicists “know best”.

Fortunately, Australia does have some scientists who do  see the whole picture, and are not swayed by the present propaganda  about nuclear power fixing climate change.

December 17, 2014 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

At Vienna Conference many religions unite against nuclear weapons

peace-doveFaiths United Against Nuclear Weapons TruthOut , 15 December 2014 By Julia RainerInter Press Service | Report Vienna - “Never was there a greater need than now for all the religions to combine, to pull their wisdom and to give the benefit of that combined, huge repository of wisdom to international law and to the world.”

The words are those of Christopher Weeramantry, former judge at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and its vice-president from 1997 to 2000, who was addressing a session on faiths united against nuclear weapons at the civil society forum organised by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) on Dec. 6 and 7 in the Austrian capital.

Weeramantry strongly criticised the argument of those who claim that nuclear weapons have saved the world from another world war in the last 50 years.

He pointed to the ever-present danger represented by these weapons and said that on many occasions it had been luck that had prevented catastrophic nuclear accidents or the breaking out of a devastating nuclear war.

Noting that nuclear weapons “offend every single principle of religion,” Weeramantry was joined on the panel by a number of different religious leaders, including Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi and peace activist, as well as Akemi Bailey-Haynie, national women’s leader of the Buddhist organisation Soka Gakkai International-USA……………….

Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate and former Anglican Bishop, sent a video message to participants to express his deep solidarity and support for ICAN’s civil society forum initiative.

He argued that the best way to honour the victims of the incidents in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was to negotiate a total ban on nuclear weapons to ensure that nothing comparable could ever happen again.

Two of the session’s speakers, Ela Gandhi and Mustafa Ceric, also attended the Dec. 8-9 Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.

There, Ela Gandhi delivered a speech in the spirit of her grandfather who, she said, would have joined the movement to abolish nuclear weapons if still alive.

As Gandhi had dedicated his life to teaching humanity that there is a non-violent way of dealing with conflict, he even condemned nuclear weapons himself in 1946 when he said: “The atom bomb mentality is immoral, unethical, addictive and only evil can come from it.”

Pointing out that the mere existence of nuclear weapons leads to similar armament of rival countries, Ela Gandhi warned that these nuclear arsenals could destroy a chance for future generations to survive and have a prosperous life………

Religion played an important role at the conference, where many lobbying groups had religious backgrounds, and the opening ceremony was addressed by Pope Francis.

“I am convinced that the desire for peace and fraternity, planted deep in the human heart, will bear fruit in concrete ways to ensure that nuclear weapons are banned once and for all, to the benefit of our common home,” aid Pope Francis, expressing his hope that “a world without nuclear weapons is truly possibly.”

In a statement on behalf of faith communities to the final session, Kimiaki Kawai, Program Director for Peace Affairs at Soka Gakkai International (SGI), said: “The elimination of nuclear weapons is not only a moral imperative; it is the ultimate measure of our worth as a species, as human beings.”

He said that “acceptance of the continued existence of nuclear weapons stifles our capacity to think more broadly and more compassionately about who we are as human beings, and what our potential is. Humanity must find alternative ways of dealing with conflict.”

December 16, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Zambia’s Green Party strongly opposing Australian uranium mining project

the uranium mining issue a symptom of an extremely serious malaise affecting Zambia.

ZEMA and Zambia are woefully unqualified to deal with the environmental effects of the proposed uranium mining upstream of the Park and the management of the radiation and its very serious genetic impacts on people.

The Green Party of Zambia and the Lower Zambezi National Park Preserving the Zambezi ecosystem  Ian Manning 16 Dec 14,The leader of the Green Party of Zambia, Peter Sinkamba, has set out their platform for the Presidential elections of 20 January 2015: to cancel the mining licence issued to Australia’s Zambezi Resources Limited for the Lower Zambezi National Park. Reading this, the electorate will wonder what could possibly be so important about the proposed mining of a National Park. And why do the Greens consider it the single most important issue facing Zambia today?

At one level the mining saga does signal dysfunctional undemocratic malgovernance, requiring a President – given the flawed Constitution handed to Kaunda by Britain that contained no safeguards against the use of excessive Executive power – who is wise and somewhat unworldy, but, above all, a visionary.
The mining, which would utterly destroy Lower Zambezi, poison the Zambezi River and destroy an ecotourim industry was, after all, refused by 17 Chiefs of the Zambezi Basin – now greatly empowered by the Nagoya Protocol of the Biodiversity Convention; by the MMD Government; by Parliament’s environmental committee; by the PF Government’s own Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA), a decision later overturned by the Minister. And mining would negate Zambia’s membership of the Convention on Biological Diversity; run counter to its membership of various United Nations bodies; make impossible the declaration of a World Heritage Site joined with Mana Pools; contradict the IUCN’s definition of a National Park; and dishonour the Stockholm and Rio Declarations which bind the nations of the Zambezi Basin under a code of good environmental stewardship. The list is a long one. But are they sufficient reasons to provide a political party with a presidential candidate?

Continue reading

December 16, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Australian governments force Aborigines off their remote lands

Env-Aust Cheap in the deep sense: the sorry business of Indigenous affairs  The Conversation Alison Holland Senior Lecturer in Australian History at Macquarie University 16 December 2014,“……..It might be said that the Abbott government’s decision two months on to stop funding essential services in remote communities was one of the first real policy deliveries since that visit. This would be potentially disastrous for these communities, forcing them off country, escalating dislocation and exacerbating problems of health and well-being in communities already under significant threat.

It also has a flow-on effect as without Commonwealth financial support, the states would have to close the communities.

This is not only cheap policy, but it is deeply grounded in history. It rehearses a profoundly entrenched view in some channels of government that these communities cannot continue and are unviable in the long-term. In this sense, pouring in money is wasting resources better spent elsewhere. In an otherwise fraught policy landscape, cheapness has been one of the cold hard facts of Indigenous affairs………….

Commonwealth expenditure in Aboriginal affairs has historically been very poor when compared to the states and when compared to governments around the world who are similarly placed, like those of North America. The lowest levels of expenditure for much of the 20th century was by governments with the largest nomadic populations – that is, remote communities……….

The discussion at that 1937 conference was quite explicit in relation to the remaining “full-blood” people who, at that stage, were still the majority Indigenous population. The very strong inference was that we couldn’t afford them.

The direction of policy after the Second World War was to concentrate on assimilating those classified as “half-caste”. Most of the bureaucrats held the view that, if left to themselves, the “full-blood” Aborigines would simply die out……….

a history of extraordinary parsimony in this policy arena, particularly for remote communities. It also puts the Closing the Gap initiatives of the former Labor government into perspective. In 2008, the Labor government invested A$3.4 billion in Indigenous affairs in the Northern Territory across ten years to address chronic underfunding. Much of this was directed to remote communities.

Since the change of government, and despite being part of COAG’s national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health plan, the Coalition government has reduced fundingsignificantly. It has rationalised 150 programs to five……….

If he really wants to avoid the failures of his predecessors and of being cheap in the deep sense, Abbott will need to restore funding and respect to remote communities. When in Gulkula in September, he was sitting with representatives of one of the oldest living cultures on earth. In the long-term, ensuring its health and survival might well be less expensive – for us all.

December 16, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Poor financial results for Namibia uranium mines

antnuke-relevantNamibia: Uranium and Zinc Industries Perform Poorly All Africa News, 16 Dec 14 Windhoek — Bank of Namibia Governor, Ipumbu Shiimi says the local uranium and zinc industries performed poorly over the last 10 months, compared to other sectors such as construction, diamond mining, manufacturing and wholesale/retail.

December 16, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Britain’s Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Project at very serious risk of collapse

terminal-nuclear-industryHinkley Point C – A Review of the Year, nuClear News   Dec 14 “………… To many it feels like the project is sleep walking towards disaster. It’s just that no-one is quite sure whether the disaster will be a virtually ‘unconstructable’ power plant struggling to come into operation years late and vastly over budget or the collapse of the whole project before it even starts.
Cambridge nuclear engineer, Tony Roulstone, recently described the type of reactor planned for
Hinkley as ‘unconstructable’, and said Areva, the French company that owns the EPR design, is
no longer actively selling power stations of this type.
In those countries still looking to expandnuclear power, such as Saudi Arabia, China and Turkey, Areva is now pushing an alternative reactor. In China, where two EPRs are currently being constructed, the authorities have indicated that they will not use the design for future power plants.
In other words, the Hinkleydesign is already regarded as a failure by those with most knowledge of it. (3)

Continue reading

December 16, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Iran nuclear talks proceeding in atmosphere of good will

Iran says nuclear talks with U.S. proceed in good atmosphere DUBAI Tue Dec 16, 2014 (Reuters) – Iran said on Tuesday bilateral nuclear talks with the United states were proceeding in a good atmosphere despite lingering gaps over key issues such as Tehran’s uranium enrichment capacity and how fast economic sanctions should be lifted.

U.S. and Iranian diplomats began a two-day meeting in Geneva on Monday to pave the way for resuming broader negotiations involving Iran and six world powers there on Wednesday.

They are aimed at resolving a 12-year stand-off over Iran’s disputed nuclear aspirations that has wrought heavy economicsanctions on the Islamic Republic and fears of a new Middle East war unless the dispute can be settled diplomatically soon…………(Reporting by Mehrdad Balali; Editing by Mark Heinrich

December 16, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pondering on today’s nuclear and climate news in Australia

a-cat-CANRadioactive trash Doncha love the way Australia’s media slants nuclear news? In USA and UK there is turmoil over where to dump radioactive trash. Communities angrily resist hosting nuclear waste dumps. But not in Australia.

The Northern Territory News seems quite jubilant about citizens being offered this wonderful “opportunity” to host nuclear trash, and seems to bemoan the bad luck of Norther Territory Land Councils that they missed out on this chance.

Solar power. While the Abbott government steadily wages war on Australia’s potential renewable energy industry, the Australian Capital Territory forges on. Now there’s  a breakthrough in solar technology that is going to have Canberra’s solar panel laughing all the way to the bank, while the rest of Australians pay megabucks for their coal-generated electricity.

Climate Change. There’s some sort of  a result from the Lima Summit – some sort of direction agreed on, ahead of the Paris talks in 2015 (the last chance for meaningful global decisions).  The rich countries inch towards real curbing of greenhouse gas emissions. The poor countries get some (not much) hope of help in facing their climate fate.  Australia is now an international pariah. Abbott, Bishop and Co. no doubt already planning how to sabotage the Paris talks, for the benefit of the coal industry.


December 14, 2014 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane calls for volunteers to host radioactive trash dump

wastesIndustry Minister Ian Macfarlane says bidding for nuclear waste dump to begin in March ZACH HOPE NT NEWS DECEMBER 14, 2014   BIDDING to host Australia’s nuclear waste dump will begin in March, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has said. It comes after Northern Territory land councils lost exclusive nomination rights because they failed to meet two deadlines of September 30 and November 10 to offer a site.Landowners, pastoralists and indigenous groups across the country will now have the opportunity to submit a tender…………..

December 14, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wastes | Leave a comment

New technology will double savings for solar panel owners in Canberra

“Unlike traditional generators, consumers who become prosumers can can flip, so when electricity prices are low they will be consumers, when prices are high they will be generators. 


Reposit Power’s GridCredit technology a game changer for energy market, Canberra Times, December 14, 2014 –  Solar panel owners will more than double their savings with new technology being launched today. Owners of solar panels in Canberra will be offered new technology from Monday, which will more than double their savings on electricity prices.

A group of investors and electricity industry specialists are investing almost $100,000 to commercial the system, which they believe will be a game changer for the energy market.

Our goal is to get their bill as low as possible.  Luke Osborne

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency will announce $445,000 funding for Canberra technology company Reposit Power to trial the solar storage and trading system, ahead of a national roll-out next year.

Reposit director Luke Osborne says for the first time solar customers can store their renewable energy and sell it back to the grid for a profit. Continue reading

December 14, 2014 Posted by | ACT, solar | Leave a comment

Modest success in Lima Climate Summit agreement

climate-changeLima climate change talks end in agreement – but who won? Guardian, Suzanne Goldberg, 14 Dec 14  This weekend’s deal on cutting greenhouse gas emissions gave everyone at the talks in Peru what they came for – sort of There was one thing above all others that wealthy countries wanted out of the Lima negotiations and that was a method of accounting for emissions cuts.

The issue that mattered above all to developing countries was deciding who should carry the burden of emissions cuts, and getting the money flowing for climate aid.

For small island states, acknowledgement of “loss and damage” due to climate change was critical. All three contingents got what they wanted – sort of. The deal reached on Saturday afternoon was critical in keeping the talks on track. The US and the European Union had pushed hard for a text that would require countries to offer upfront information about the nature of their pledges to cut emissions – “clarity, transparency and understanding”.

Wealthy countries also wanted a review process to ensure the pledges when they all come in would be enough to keep the world on course for two degrees of warming. But China especially had balked at providing detailed accounting of its emissions reductions plans, arguing that an outside review would amount to an affront to its sovereignty. The deal that emerged early on Sunday found a solution by changing a single word – “shall” to “may” – easing China’s concerns about outside interference……..

December 14, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ukraine discusses possibility of reviving nuclear weapons

antnuke-relevantflag-UkraineNuclear weapons revival talked about by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko Dec. 14, 2014,The possibility of Urkaine’s nuclear weapons programs being revived has been discussed ever since it was claimed that Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons may have been moved into the Crimean Peninsula. Recently, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko answered questions on whether Kiev is willing to bring back their nuclear status in order to survive the confrontation with Vladimir Putin.

 In a related report by the Inquisitr, the Russian nuclear navy is currently being modernized at a rapid pace, and it’s believed a suspected Russian submarine may have been lurking in the English Channel. The threat of Russian nuclear weapons also has the Pentagon considering deploying ground-based U.S. nuclear cruise missiles to Europe.

Earlier this year, Minister of Defense of Ukraine Valerii Heletei claimed that Russia was threatening Ukraine with tactical nuclear weapons.

“I am drawing attention to Russia’s threatening Ukraine with the use of tactical nuclear weapons,” Heletei noted. “If we fail to defend Ukraine today, if the world does not help us, we will have to get back to the creation of such weapons, which will defend us from Russia.”

This alleged threat led to the discussion of restoring Ukraine’s nuclear weapons program by Heletei, but only if “the world does not help us.” Recently, both the House and the Senate in the U.S. Congress passed legislation that promised lethal aid to Ukraine. According to the Kiev Post, when Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko spoke about Ukraine’s nuclear weapons programs, he declared that Kiev would not pursue that option………..

December 14, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Indigenous youth in marathon walk against uranium mining

indigenous-1`Cree Youth Walk 850 km To Protest Against Uranium Mining In Quebec, Huff Post. CBC 14 Dec 14  About 20 young Cree people have walked nearly 850 kilometres to Montreal’s South Shore from their village in northern Quebec, protesting against uranium exploration in the province.

The youth left Mistissini, Que., northeast of Chibougamau in the James Bay region three weeks ago. On the way, they stopped in Quebec City to share their message. They arrived in Longueuil, just across the bridge from Montreal, Saturday.

antnuke-relevantTheir final destination is downtown Montreal, where they will deliver that message to the province’s environmental protection agency, known as the BAPE, when it holds the last of a series of public hearings on uranium exploration tomorrow.

The Cree young people have endured frigid temperatures and wintry conditions, walking an average of a marathon a day. “We’ve lost a couple of toenails on this journey,” said Joshua Iserhoff, chair of the Cree Nation Youth Council.

But according to Iserhoff, it’s been worth it.

He said uranium exploration near his community could cause irreparable damage to the watershed………

Now the province is holding public hearings on uranium mining.

December 14, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pope Francis and Bishop Saunders on Australia’s inhumane Aboriginal policies

“Severing the ties of Aboriginal people from their land and thus their culture, spirituality and very foundation of their being, is unethical, immoral, un-Christian and heartless.”

Australia’s human rights record shambolic according to Pope Francis and Bishop Saunders by The StringerDecember 14th, 2014 Chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, Bishop Christopher Saunders says Australia’s human rights record is being undermined by inhumane policies. Bishop Saunders pointed to the asylum seeker asylum policies which deny refugees sanctuary and the push by the Western Australian Government to close up to 150 of the State’s 274 homeland (remote) communities. He is also concerned that the South Australian Government may follow Western Australia’s lead and close as many as 100 communities. Continue reading

December 14, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Community energy project for large scale solar panel systems

text-community-energyA community solar program, an alternative to rooftop solar panel systems, allows customers, investors and utilities — or a combination — to build large solar panel arrays on neutral sites to share power generation and cost savings. ………….
DTE, Consumers poised to propose community solar projects next year Crains Detroit Business,  By Jay Greene, 14 Dec 14 Consumers Energy Co. and DTE antnuke-relevantEnergy Co. are expected to propose new community solar projects starting in 2015, although officials for the two largest utilities in Michigan say they can’t yet be precise on the amount of renewable energy they will generate.

In a filing with the Michigan Public Service Commission in late November, Jackson-based Consumers Energy said it intends to submit an amended renewable-energy plan to the commission by Jan. 23. The filing proposes up to 10 megawatts over three years through unspecified community solar pilot projects.

Detroit-based DTE, which had its two-year renewable-energy plan approved last December, is also expected to submit a community solar plan in 2015, following a commission-ordered solar work group report.

This year, DTE has been studying how to add large-scale community solar to its blend of renewable-energy projects. Depending on customer demand, DTE could add more than 22 megawatts of energy in community solar projects over the next few years, said David Harwood, DTE’s director of renewable energy.

Earlier this year, the commission work group report said DTE and Consumers easily could double their collective 28-megawatt solar power customer programs by at least 50 megawatts over the next 18 months.

The work group suggested DTE and Consumers could do so by expanding their customer-owned solar projects and add community solar for customers unable to participate in rooftop solar.

A community solar program, an alternative to rooftop solar panel systems, allows customers, investors and utilities — or a combination — to build large solar panel arrays on neutral sites to share power generation and cost savings. ………….

Continue reading

December 14, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


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