Australian news, and some related international items

Fukushima intake in food and water of short-lived radioactive iodine not assessed

After the nuclear accident, residents of Iitate Village had an earnest and urgent request that went unheard: “We would like to have measurements taken of the residents before iodine 131 becomes undetectable.” Then five months later, when no iodine would be detectable at all, it was announced that a whole body counter study will begin to measure the internal exposure dose of Fukushima residents. Now, however, dose assessment is said to be impossible due to “the lack of direct measurements in residents immediately after the accident.” Government experts should have been well aware of the half-life of iodine 131. Why did they not conduct a thorough survey at the time while iodine 131 was still detectable?
Ordinarily one would conduct an internal exposure survey as soon as possible. But the Oversight Committee Chairman Hoshi keeps putting it off, repeating, “This is a future task for us to discuss and decide.”
highly-recommendedOshidori Mako Interviews Experts Regarding Excess Occurrence of Pediatric Thyroid Cancer in FukushimaFukushima Voice, English Version 6 Aug 15,”…….Issue to be considered #3: 
Was the contaminated food under control?
Were there sufficient post-accident exposure studies?
Both epidemiologists and clinicians state in unison, “Dose assessment is not our specialty, so all we can do is to accept the reported assessment.”
I interviewed a dose assessment expert and one of the members of the Oversight Committee for “Fukushima Health Management Survey,” Professor Shinji Tokonami of Hirosaki University.
Mako: “Professor Tokonami, as an expert, do you think the dose assessment after the Fukushima nuclear accident has been adequate?”
“I think it has been inadequate,” replied Professor Tokonami. “There have been hardly any measurements taken of residents’ exposure doses after the nuclear accident. The half-life of iodine 131, which damages thyroid gland, is 8 days, and it cannot be measured later. All you can do is retroactively estimate the dose from fragmented data of iodine remaining in soil and air.”
Mako: “Can we still conduct such retroactive estimation?” Continue reading

August 27, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SNC Lavalin charged with corruption (advisor to South Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Chain Commission?)

text-cat-questionIs the Royal Commission considering SNC Lavalin’s technology for South Australia? Did SNC Lavalin put in  asubmission? (we won’t know, because commercial submissions are “in confidence”)

South Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Chain Commission visited Toronto on 14tth July and had discussions onscrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAIN the CANDU reactor design and technology. That CANDU technology is owned and marketed by SNC Lavalin.

RCMP charges SNC-Lavalin with fraud and corruption linked to Libyan projects Graeme Hamilton, Financial Post Staff | February corruption19, 2015MONTREAL – Once a jewel of the Quebec business establishment, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. now stands criminally accused of fraud and corruption after the RCMP announced charges against the engineering giant Thursday.

The case against SNC and two of its subsidiaries stems from the company’s dealings in Libya between 2001 and 2011, when a senior executive established close ties with Saadi Gaddafi, son of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Court documents allege the company offered bribes worth $47.7 million “to one or several public officials of the ‘Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,’” as Gaddafi called the nation he ruled until he was overthrown and killed in 2011.

SNC and its subsidiaries SNC-Lavalin Construction Inc. and SNC-Lavalin International Inc. are also alleged to have defrauded various Libyan public agencies of approximately $129.8 million. Continue reading

August 27, 2015 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission | Leave a comment

Nuclear power a costly relic, US economist warns commission

Nuclear power is an expensive resource that has no place in Australia’s future energy mix, a US economist has warned…. (subscribers only)


August 27, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Can Japan make the switch to renewables? 

The feeling from the meeting was best summed up by the conference chair, Tsuyoshi Kawasaki, an expert on climate science and an emeritus professor at Tohoku University. Kawasaki ended his brief remarks with the words: “The Japanese Scientists’ Association believes that human beings and nuclear power cannot coexist.”

flag-japanFukushima today: A first-person account from the field and the conference table, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 26 Aug 15  Subrata Ghoshroy

“………..A key goal of the conference was the public announcement that the Japan Scientists’ Association formally opposed nuclear power in Japan, and that its opposition was based upon scientific analysis of the accident in Fukushima and its impact. This about-face was a major step; it meant that some of the same Japanese scientists who had been the most forceful and outspoken proponents of nuclear energy now opposed it. To bolster the impact of this statement, the association had to show both the economic and technical feasibility of alternative sources of energy. Consequently, much of the meeting focused on the lessons learned from the experiences of other countries, and the keynote speaker of the conference, professor Juergen Scheffran of Hamburg University, Germany, gave the European perspective on the implications of the transition from fossil and nuclear to renewable energy. The focus was especially on Germany, which is in the middle of its own planned transition to a non-nuclear future. Continue reading

August 27, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Call for mass climate action ahead of December Paris conference

climate-changeTutu, Klein and Chomsky call for mass climate action ahead of Paris conference, Guardian, , 26 Aug 15  Artists, journalists, scientists and academics among 100 signatories calling for mobilisation on scale of slavery abolition and anti-apartheid movements Desmond Tutu, Vivienne Westwood, Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky are among a group of high-profile figures who will issue a mass call to action on Thursday ahead of the UN’s crunch climate change conference in Paris in December.

They call for mass mobilisation on the scale of the slavery abolition and anti-apartheid movements to trigger “a great historical shift”.

Their statement, published in the book Stop Climate Crimes, reads: “We are at a crossroads. We do not want to be compelled to survive in a world that has been made barely liveable for us … slavery and apartheid did not end because states decided to abolish them. Mass mobilisations left political leaders no other choice.”….. Continue reading

August 27, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mining conference told BHP Billiton expects to spend millions expanding Olympic Dam underground mine 

BHP-water-guzzlerBHP Billiton expects to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on expanding its Olympic Dam underground mine in the next few years, a South Australian mining conference was told on Wednesday… (subscribers only)

August 27, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Solar energy to power Perth

text-people-power-solarSolar to fuel new power generation Daniel Mercer August 27, 2015, 

Nearly all of Perth’s daytime electricity needs will be met by rooftop solar panels within a decade, according to State Energy Minister Mike Nahan.In his strongest comments yet on the rampant popularity of solar panels, Dr Nahan told an Energy in WA conference the technology would provide virtually all new generation capacity by 2025.

Fuelled by falling solar panel prices and rising electricity tariffs, demand for solar cells has been running at 20-30 per cent in Perth for the past six years.

About 170,000 households in the South West grid covering Perth now have a system.

Dr Nahan said installed solar capacity across the city was about 500MW — or the equivalent of a major base-load power station — and this was expected to more than double within years.

“We expect that the bulk of generating capacity during sunlight hours in the metro area in about 10 years time will be provided by rooftop solar,” Dr Nahan said.

“That’s the reality. So it is going to provide the bulk of additional capacity going forward.

“It will also displace a lot of the existing capacity. It’s low-priced, it’s democratically determined and it’s something we’re committed to facilitating.”

The comments came as Dr Nahan provided an update of the Government’s plans to shake up the electricity sector.

He said moves to end Synergy’s monopoly over the household power market and throw it open to competition by 2018 were on track.

Before the Government could do that, however, he said the subsidy to the State-owned utility would need to be erased and excess capacity from the system stripped by reducing some Synergy capacity.

He said it was too early to say which plants would be closed

August 27, 2015 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Boeing wanted to dispose of radioactive waste without accountability

judge-1Judge rejects Boeing’s bid to demolish and dispose of radioactive waste without accountability Eturbo News, SANTA MONICA, CA, Jan 2015  – Sacramento Superior Court has denied Boeing’s motion for summary judgment in a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawsuit over the demolition and disposal of radioactively contaminated structures from the site of a partial nuclear meltdown near Los Angeles, Consumer Watchdog said today.

“This is an important step on the way to ensuring that state regulators must consider the demolition and disposal of any radioactively contaminated structures at the Santa Susana Field Lab in their environmental assessment of the cleanup of this site,” said Consumer Watchdog Litigation Director Pam Pressley.

Boeing had claimed that the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has no regulatory text-SMRsauthority over the demolition and disposal of radioactively contaminated structures in the nuclear portion of the Santa Susana Field Lab (SSFL) in Simi Hills. The lab had tested small-scale nuclear reactors, rocket engines, and fuels and suffered a partial nuclear meltdown in 1959 that has never been fully cleaned up……

August 27, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Twisting the public’s perception about ionising radiation

In Muller’s previous presentations on his YouTube show Veritasium, he has consistently confused the banana-spin
naturally occurring radioactive potassium K, with the nuclear fission produced radioactive isotopes…..Muller seems to have no understanding of the way in which bananas are used in the body

What Muller and Thomas are doing is following the script from the tobacco and asbestos industries.

This documentary “Uranium – twisting the Dragon’s Tail” is just Series One. I would love to know who helped to fund Gene Pool Productions for PBS and SBS to produce this. I’m betting that Series Two will follow before long, with a glossy and positive story about Generation IV nuclear reactors.

Muller, DerekThe half lie of the Dragon’s Tail. Online opinion,  By Noel Wauchope  Thursday, 27 August 2015 The documentary “Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail” is the latest glossy and highly sophisticated soft sell for the nuclear industry. It’s also, if you look at it closely, rather confusing.

I will start from the end, because that’s where the main message of this film comes out clearly “Just imagine a world where reactors can produce immense amounts of clean, safe, energy. There is no such thing as a future without uranium.” These final words are said against a background of soaring celestial choirs.

This seems to be the formula now, in nuclear promotion. The 2013 propaganda film “Pandora’s Promise” carried the same positive message – an ever rocketing energy demand to be met by ever increasing, indeed limitless, electrical energy provided by new nuclear reactors.

But, like ‘Pandora’s Promise’, this new documentary devotes the first two thirds of its series to discussing the negative aspects of the nuclear industry. Episode One covers its history, ill effects of radiation, the atomic bomb and its use. Episode Two continues this, with a sympathetic attitude to Australian Aboriginal concerns.

Unlike “Pandora’s Promise” this film does not denigrate anti-nuclear activists, and there is no attempt to ridicule Dr Helen Caldicott, as “Pandora’s Promise” did.

Indeed, the first two episodes are beautifully clear and accurate, as well as entertaining. Really, I couldn’t criticise them.

With the final episode – that’s when the message kicks in, and also when it gets confusing……. Continue reading

August 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, Nuclear Royal Commission | 1 Comment

Climate system changing more rapidly than expected: new report

text-relevantlogo-Climate-CouncilA STUNNING new Climate Council report that reveals the climate system is changing more rapidly than expected and with larger and more damaging impacts paints a stark picture of the urgent need for action, Professor Tim Flannery said today.

Climate Change 2015: Growing Risks, Critical Choices provides the most up-to-date, comprehensive synthesis of climate science in Australia and exposes the extent of the dramatic changes in the climate system worldwide.

“In short, the more we know about climate change, the riskier it looks,” Prof Flannery said.

“Heatwaves, sea level rise and ice loss are all increasing as the air, the ocean and the land continues to warm strongly. Extreme weather events like dangerous bushfire weather are becoming more severe and frequent.

“But this is a future we don’t have to have.  Tackling climate change and moving to clean, renewable energy is the right thing to do. It’s the right thing to do to protect our health and wellbeing. The right thing to do to protect us from economic shocks from worsening extreme weather and opening new opportunities for jobs and investment in new industries. Unfortunately the barriers to action are political.”

The report found:


  • SEA LEVEL RISE: Australian sea levels are projected to continue to rise through the 21stcentury at a rate faster than that over the past four decades or over the 20th century as a whole. More than $226 billion of buildings and infrastructure are vulnerable to 1.1m of sea-level rise.
  • EXTREME HEAT: Hot days have doubled in the last 50 years and heatwaves have become hotter, longer and happen more often. The number of deaths in summer in Australia has steadily increased over the last 40 years. In the future extreme heat increases are very likely with more frequent and hotter hot days and longer and more severe heatwaves.
  • BUSHFIRE: Extreme bushfire weather has increased in the south east of Australia in the last 30 years and a “Catastrophic” category was added following Black Saturday bushfires. Longer and hotter fire seasons in eastern and southern Australia are likely in the future.


  • HEATWAVES: In Adelaide, the number of heatwave days has nearly doubled since 1950 and the average intensity of the peak heatwave day has increased by 4.3°C.  In 1995, Adelaide experienced 20 days above 35°C. By 2090 it could experience up to 47 per year. Deaths from heatwaves in Australian cities are projected to double over the next 40 years.
  • BUSHFIRES: Climate change is already increasing the risk of bushfires in southern South Australia; extreme fire weather has increased over the last 30 years in South Australia. The fire season in South Australia is starting earlier and lasting longer. In 2014 the bushfire season started earlier in seven of 15 districts in South Australia. By about mid-century, the total economic costs of South Australian bushfires are projected to almost double, potentially reaching $79 million.
  • COASTAL FLOODING: In Adelaide, today’s 1-in-100–year flooding event would occur every year or so by 2100 under a high emissions scenario. A sea level rise of 1.1 m exposes a significant amount of infrastructure to the impacts of flooding and erosion in South Australia, including between $5 billion-$8 billion worth of residential buildings


  • Arctic sea ice retreat over the past three decades was unprecedented in at least the last 1,450 years.
  • The 1980s, 1990s and 2000s were all hotter than any other decade in recorded history.
  • Sea level rise is accelerating – the average rate of sea-level rise between 1901 and 2010 was 1.7 mm per year, increasing to 3.2 mm per year between 1993 and 2010.

The report underscored that Australia’s post 2020 emissions reduction targets were too weak to protect Australians from worsening climate change impacts, Professor Will Steffen said.

“As the escalating risks of climate change have become clearer and more disturbing, other countries have started to heed the warnings, putting in place tangible and ambitious policies,” he said.

“But Australia’s response to meeting the challenge of Paris is disappointingly weak; it is out of step with the science and out of step with most of the developed world.”

Professor Lesley Hughes said Australia had critical choices to make as country.

“We can embrace the range of solutions to climate change, which are more feasible and less costly than ever before, and build a healthier and more economically viable future or we can continue to pay the many costs that come from delaying action on climate change,” she said.

The Climate Council is an independent, crowd-funded organization providing quality information to climate change to the Australian public. For media enquiries, please contact Senior Media Advisor Jessica Craven on 0400 424 559.

August 26, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, South Australia | Leave a comment

Lucas Heights (terrorism target) gets security upgrades

Security upgrades at Lucas Heights nuclear reactor not influenced by trespasser scare, SMH, August 25, 2015  Canberra Times Reporter

Security upgrades at Australia’s oldest nuclear reactor were not triggered by the arrest of five men caught loitering outside the site last year, according to officials.

The men were arrested and questioned in September after parking their vehicles within 100 metres of the security gates to the Lucas Heights reactor in southern Sydney.

The group were eventually released without charge but their actions led police to question why they had strayed onto restricted Commonwealth land.

Lucas H target

In response to a question on notice, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation chief executive Dr Adrian Paterson said security upgrades in October were not prompted by the scare.

“Control room operations were outsourced to one of Australia’s largest security firms with significant expertise and experience in control room monitoring,” an ANSTO spokesman said.”ANSTO’s first responder safety function was also outsourced to a private company.”

The spokesman said both changes were made after a detailed review of security arrangements and after consultation with the Australian Federal Police. “The changes have been successfully implemented and are delivering improved operational outcomes as well as cost savings,” he said.

“The AFP continues to be responsible for the 24-hour-a-day physical protection of the ANSTO site as well as armed first response.”

Dr Paterson said ANSTO received regular briefings from the intelligence community and their security posture could be strengthened quickly in response to specific threats……..

In 2001, Greenpeace activists gained entry to the Lucas Heights complex and unveiled banners claiming nuclear power was “never safe”…….

. The Lucas Heights site will also receive a shipment of radioactive waste returned to Sydney from France this year, after being sent to Europe for processing in the 1990s.

According to legal requirements, the waste must be returned from France by December with more waste set to be returned from Britain in 2017……….

ANSTO marketing material states the returning waste is equivalent to one third of a shipping container.

The cost of transferring waste from Britain is expected to cost nearly $27 million over four years, while the return of waste from France has been funded in budgets since 2010……..

August 25, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, safety | Leave a comment

Huge wildfires disaster in Siberia

text-relevantwildfire-nukeMassive wildfires transform Siberian paradise into disaster area Mashable, Andrew Freeman 25 Aug 15 Dozens of large wildfires are burning out of control around Lake Baikal in Siberia, which is the world’s largest freshwater lake by volume and the deepest lake, at more than 5,300 feet deep. The Lake Baikal area is a popular recreational area during the summer, with campgrounds and cottages surrounding the shoreline.

Because of the composition of the soil in this part of the world, these fires are spewing unusually high amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to global warming.

The region has seen drier and milder than average weather this year, and a combination of natural and manmade fires have led to a cataclysmic scene, with thick smoke seen from space and orange-tinted skies on the ground.

In July, the Lake Baikal area was one of the most unusually mild areas on Earth, according to NASA data as well as information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Fires have been burning off and on in this area since April, when farmers traditionally burn dried grass to help fertilize the soil. However, this year, many agricultural fires in this region got out of control, killing at least two dozen people and destroying several villages.

The smoke even made it across the Pacific Ocean, making for red sunsets in the Pacific Northwest, which is now suffering through it’s own wildfire calamity………

August 25, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s bushfire and flood danger, as climate change accelerates

text-relevantHear-This-wayClimate system changing faster than expected: Climate Council, ABC Radio Angela Lavoipierre reported this story on Tuesday, August 25, 2015  

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: The Climate Council says the case for the link between climate change and severe weather events has become much stronger. In a new report the Council states that the world’s climate system is changing more rapidly than expected.

ANGELA LAVOIPIERRE: The Climate Council’s report gives a snapshot of the changes so far to Australia’s climate, as well as changes it expects over the coming century.

The Council’s professor Will Steffen paints a grim picture.

WILL STEFFEN: One of the things that we can say is that we’re already seeing some impacts. Heat waves are lasting longer and starting earlier.

We’re seeing in the south-east of the country high bushfire danger weather has increased significantly over the last 30 years. We’ve seen that sea level has risen about the global average around Australia. That’s led to a threefold increase in coastal flooding.

ANGELA LAVOIPIERRE: And then, there’s what’s to come.

WILL STEFFEN: If we keep, if the globe keeps emitting fossil fuel emissions like we are now, we could see up to a metre of sea level rise around Australia. That could for example make a one in a hundred year flooding event in Sydney a daily event……..

August 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Radioactive Waste: Information for communities

text-Please-NoteBeyond Nuclear Initiative, August 21, 2015

Download Radioactive waste information leaflet (highres)

Download Radioactive waste information leaflet (lowres5)

A shortlist of sites to be considered for hosting the first national radioactive waste facility will be announced in the coming weeks.

The list of nominated areas has not been made public; however, we know from media reports that sites have been nominated in Western Australia and also in the Kimba region (Eyre Peninsula) in SA.

This information sheet has been produced by a number of environment groups with support from public health organisations.

Please download it (click links above) and share the information with family, friends and contacts in affected areas.

August 25, 2015 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Canning voters are urged to reject Liberals’ war on solar energy


The solar council is planning a nationwide marginal seats campaign at the next election.

The government has directed the CEFC – which it unsuccessfully tried to abolish – to stop investments in rooftop solar, but changes to the investment mandate remain under legal uncertainty.

Canning byelection: solar industry urges voters to reject Liberals ‘war on solar’, Guardian, , 25 Aug 15

Solar Council letterboxes all electors in Western Australia’s seat of Canning encouraging them to vote for Labor, the Greens or the Palmer United party The solar logo-australian-solar-councindustry is letterboxing all electors in the crucial West Australian Canning byelection urging them to vote against the Liberal party on 19 September in response to the Abbott government’s “war on solar”.

The Solar Council leaflet states: “Installing solar helps Western Australians cut a typical power bill by up to 65%. The federal government is targeting solar by slashing the renewable energy target. We will support any political party with a good solar policy.”

  It advocates a vote against the Liberals and for either Labor, the Greens or the Palmer United party.

The council has invited all party leaders and candidates to a public forum on 13 September

Canning Forum

– a week before the byelection that could affect Tony Abbott’s hold on the Liberal leadership – to explain their solar policies. Continue reading

August 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, Western Australia | Leave a comment


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