William Souder William Souder is the author of On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson, which was published in September 2012 on the 50th…
Sixty years ago, in the predawn hours of March 1, 1954, a Japanese tuna boat named Daigo Fukuryu Maru (“Lucky Dragon no. 5”) was fishing near the Marshall Islands in the central Pacific. Its engine off, the ship drifted silently on a glassy sea. Overhead, the stars illuminated a few wandering clouds. Suddenly a blinding wall of light appeared on the western horizon. As the crew rushed on deck, the light changed from white to yellow, and then to orange and finally a deep red—a monster light that continued to grow and rise into the sky. After a few minutes, the 99-ton ship lurched as a deafening roar passed over it…….
The test at Bikini Atoll that day—code named Castle Bravo—was of the first practical hydrogen bomb. A year and a half earlier, the United States had exploded the first hydrogen device, which was the size of a small building. …..
The crew would spend months being treated for radiation sickness in a Tokyo hospital. All but the radio operator Kuboyama eventually recovered, although many later suffered from liver and blood disorders.
The Castle Bravo incident caused international consternation. …….
A few years later, marine biologist and author Rachel Carson recounted Kuboyama’s death in the most sensational book of 1962: Silent Spring……
One of Carson’s challenges in writing Silent Spring was how to convince her readers of the then-novel idea that an unseen chemical contaminant that might be anywhere (or everywhere) might cause unanticipated collateral damage to ecosystems. She solved this problem by perceiving a parallel between pesticides and radiation. Invisible, ubiquitous, and accumulating in the tissues of living things over time, pesticides and radioactive fallout from nuclear testing were, Carson argued, the twin existential problems of the modern age……HTTP://THEBULLETIN.ORG/LINK-BETWEEN-CASTLE-BRAVO-AND-MODERN-ENVIRONMENTALISM
successive Australian governments have furthered the fiction that the Russian nuclear sector is secure and safe.
Australian Yellow cake fuels Ukrainian fires http://By Dave Sweeney , 6 Mar 14 As the deeply disturbing events unfolding in the Ukraine highlight troop mobilisations, sabre rattling and suppression of civilian critics are becoming the hallmarks of President Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
Australia, along with most Western nations, has condemned the Russian escalation and called for restraint and dialogue. Such a call is important but needs to be accompanied by action to ensure it penetrates the thick walls of the Kremlin.
One clear and potent action that Australia could take to amplify our diplomatic dissent with the posturing of both the Red Army and the Black Sea fleet would be to halt our fledgling yellowcake trade with Russia…….. Continue reading
No Contest in Fisher. 6th March 2014 Judging from the responses to a survey conducted by the Fisher Electoral Lobby, the contest for the seat of Fisher is a non-event. The sitting member Bob Such quickly responded to the questionnaire but after three weeks the Liberal Party candidate had not responded.
According to the spokesman for the Fisher Electoral Lobby, Dennis Matthews:
“It is inexplicable why the Liberal Party would smother the electorate of Fisher in posters yet not respond to a questionnaire from its constituents.”
The questions were fairly provocative and required that the candidates take a position on some contentious issues.
“Bob Such did not commit himself on some issues, claiming that there had not been sufficient debate about nuclear power or about an apology to Aboriginal People for past injustices, but at least he responded to all the questions” said Mr Matthews.
“Lack of accountability does not bode well for the electorate of Fisher.”
How does conservative money work on climate change? Daniel Lippman, E&E reporter ClimateWire: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 Searching for a reason major climate change legislation hasn’t passed Congress yet?
You could do worse than start looking around Washington, D.C., with its endless think tanks, lobbying firms and trade groups, many of which have swung into action in the past to block such bills and stand ready to do so in the future.
A recent study published in the journal Climatic Change finds that much of the millions of dollars that funds these groups comes from secret sources, and a good portion of the rest is from publicity-shy conservative foundations and wealthy donors. Continue reading
Aboriginal Australians Managed the Forest Better than Europeans Care 2 by s.e. smith March 6, 2014 Australia’s notorious bushfires are often international news, but close to home, they’re less newsworthy than they are terrifying for Australians with painful memories of homes and lives lost. Much of the country can become a tinderbox thanks to its location and climate conditions — and don’t jump to assume climate change is only reason, because evidence suggests that fire has played a critical role in the ecological history of Australia for thousands of years……..
Australia has also been inhabited by humans for thousands of years. Continue reading
Will batteries blast-off or bomb?, Business Spectator, Tristan Edis 6 March 14 Battery energy storage is a hot topic for Climate Spectator readers. It seems there is an incredible appetite to learn what are the technological options and what are their costs and prospects.
This clearly indicates that there’s businesses who can see a market opportunity for batteries and are eagerly looking at how they can make the economics work………..
The beauty of many battery technologies such as lithium-ion is their compact size and portability, whereas you can’t move a pumped hydro power plant to wherever you need it. This allows batteries to offset the substantial costs of electricity network poles and wires, which make up more than half the cost of retail bills. Continue reading
1 year anniversary of the Australian Federal Court’s recognition of the detrimental effects of electromagnetic radiation February 27, 2014 by Stop Smart Meters Australia One year ago, 28 February 2013, the Australian Federal Court’s Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAAT) provided the first Australian legal recognition of the detrimental effects on humans of exposure to electromagnetic radiation, and its impact on the estimated 3-6% of the world population who suffer from the condition of Electromagnetic Hyper sensitivity (EHS).
The decision was met with no media fanfare in Australia where the condition is little-known, but one year out, its implications are spreading, like ripples on water, into our Australian community, and around the world………http://stopsmartmeters.com.au/2014/02/27/1-year-anniversary-of-the-australian-federal-courts-recognition-of-the-detrimental-effects-of-electromagnetic-radiation/
Clinging to and investing in antiquated business models should be neither rewarded nor celebrated. After all, it’s not as if their authors didn’t know big changes were coming. Ordering new coal plants in the face of renewable mandates and emerging carbon trading is akin to buying up carriage-makers just as automobiles began to relieve London’s horse-manure crisis.
Let’s Celebrate, Not Lament, Renewables’ Disruption of Electric Utilities Rocky Mountain Institute, 7 March 14 Renewables are making headway in Europe and bringing a low-carbon electricity system to the forefront. Renewables were 69 percent of new capacity added in 2012 in Europe and 49 percent in the United States. Not surprisingly, this threatens utilities unwilling to let go of outmoded business models and fossil-fuel generation.
Laments for Europe’s money-losing electric utilities were featured in an October 2013 cover story in the Economist. It said Europe’s top 20 energy utilities have lost over half their 2008 value, or a half-trillion Euros—more than Europe’s banks lost. Many utilities therefore want renewable competition slowed or stopped. Indeed, some European giants, like Germany’s E.ON and RWE, are in real trouble, and five of Europe’s top ten utilities have suffered credit downgrades. So have some U.S. utilities—most recently Jersey Central Power & Light and Potomac Electric Power Co.—from the likes of Fitch, Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, Credit Suisse, and others.
Should old, long- and often still-subsidized oligopolies be bailed out or shielded from competition when they bet against innovation and lose? Continue reading
Crackdown on ‘big business’ of heritage urged, ANNABEL HEPWORTH THE AUSTRALIAN, MARCH 06, 2014 THE Productivity Commission is urging reforms to Aboriginal cultural heritage processes amid complaints by miners that heritage surveys have become a “big business” costing hundreds of millions of dollars.
The landmark final report, made public yesterday, finds that the exploration sector has been hit by rising costs and falling productivity.
It calls for the reform of rules that are inhibiting exploration and imposing unnecessary burdens on explorers and sparked industry demands last night that more be done to cut the red and green tape that holds back projects.
The commission points to frequent complaints by explorers about the cost and time in doing cultural heritage surveys, which many believed had created an industry for archeologists, anthropologists and lawyers.
Different companies could be forced to resurvey the same site because of “inconsistent and inadequate” listing of heritage sites……….
Last night, the mining and petroleum industries rounded on the report to demand cuts to red and green tape. Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Brendan Pearson said industry wanted a one-stop shop approach to managing heritage.
The office of Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said the government would consider all the detail. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/crackdown-on-big-business-of-heritage-urged/story-fn59niix-1226846388770#
Falling Energy Demand Impacts One Of Australia’s Biggest Utilities Clean Technica 5 Mar 14, EnergyAustralia, one of the big three utilities in the country, has slumped to a loss of $350 million for calendar 2013 after slashing the value of its Yallourn brown coal generator, as well as some of its gas-fired generation assets. Continue reading
Queensland Government Announces Solar Feed In Tariff Changes by Energy Matters, 6 Mar 14, The Newman Government could experience a massive backlash after announcing the government mandated 8c per kilowatt hour solar feed in tariff component will be no more from July 1 for tens of thousands of Queensland solar households.
Ergon Energy customers will continue to receive a tariff paid by Ergon Retail; however Energex customers won’t and will need to negotiate a tariff with their electricity retailer. However, whether there will be any motivation for retailers to offer more than they currently are (6c – 8c in most cases) in addition to the current mandated amount remains to be seen as rates will not be regulated.
Solar households on the State’s previous 44c feed in tariff scheme will not be affected by the change.
While installing solar power will still be a solid investment post-June; the loss of the 8c component and leaving Queensland solar owners at the mercy of negotiating with electricity retailers has come as a shock and is not sitting well with many.
“Queensland is at risk of losing its reputation as the Sunshine State. Newman is bowing to big energy companies and ignoring the voices of the Queensland people,” said Lindsay Soutar; National Director of Solar Citizens.
“Not only is this short sighted for Queensland’s energy future, it’s short-sighted for Newman’s political future, as well.”
Solar Citizens has launched an online petition demanding the Newman Government reverse the decision. The group is encouraging all current and future solar owners throughout Australia to sign it and take a stand for solar in Queensland.
After hearing news of the announcement, Electrical Trades Union state organiser Stuart Traill reportedly stated the LNP has “a pathological hatred of renewable energy“.
The Newman Government certainly appears to be no fan of Australia’s Renewable Energy Target either; even though the RET provides many benefits to the wider community. Energy and Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle enthusiastically embraced news last month that the Renewable Energy Target review had commenced – a review that some feel has been rigged from the get-go to twist a knife that has already been sunk into the sector’s back. ……http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?
Audio: Renewable energy finally makes economic sense, ABC Radio National 3 March 2014 Critics says renewable energy cannot supply a reliable base-load of electricity, a claim rejected by author Mark Diesendorf. In this opinion piece, he argues that wind, solar and other technologies are not only better for the environment, they make economic and scientific sense as well.You may have recently heard the following common claim repeated by aproponent of nuclear power: renewable energy cannot supply ‘base-load’ electric power. This misleading claim is based on the false assumption that the only way to supply base-load electricity demand is via coal and nuclear power stations.
As Rare as Tassie Tiger: Coalition leader advocates renewable energy REneweconomy By Giles Parkinson on 5 March 2014 Last weekend was an exciting one for the Australian renewable energy industry: a sighting as rare as the Tasmanian Tiger, an Australian conservative political leader willing to talk out in support of renewables. They were thought to be extinct.
Tasmania’s Liberal leader Will Hodgman, seeking to get elected in a state poll on March 15, told The Australian on the weekend that he would fight Tony Abbott’s attempts to dilute or remove the renewable energy target.
He planned a “strong” push to ensure RET changes did not stymie the state’s key wind and hydro energy sectors.
Naturally, his position was welcomed by the Clean Energy Council, which pointed out that renewables will be a useful hedge against surging gas prices, and the current review is causing uncertainty for investors that want to back major solar, wind, bioenergy, hydro and other projects.
“Mr Hodgman clearly recognises the benefits renewable energy has brought to Tasmania,” CEC CEO David Green said in a statement. “The Apple Isle sources the majority of its power from renewables such as hydro, wind and solar.”
That Hodgman’s position is at odds with his colleagues on the mainland could be explained by the fact that, unlike other states such as Victoria, NSW, Queensland, and Western Australia, Tasmania is not beholden to a powerful domestic fossil fuel industry. It is no accident that the areas with the most progressive renewables policy, Tasmania, South Australia and the ACT, are those where the fossil fuel industry is non existent or not powerful………. http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/rare-tassie-tiger-coalition-leader-advocates-renewable-energy-28150
The third anniversary of the Fukushima meltdown will occur on March 11th. The news is that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and major Japanese corporations want to re-open the 50 other nuclear power plants that closed when Fukushima blew up, calling them a friendly economic source of cheap power.
Will this end up with business as usual? We were recently asked if we thought that Fukushima could ever be cleaned up. We have to say “no,” based upon what we know of the biology, chemistry and physics of nuclear power and isotopes and the history of nuclear development. Chernobyl melted down in 1986 and is still releasing radioisotopes.
Not all life systems were examined around Chernobyl, but of those that were – wild and domestic animals, birds, insects, plants, fungi, fish, trees, and humans, all were damaged, many permanently, thus what happens to animals and plants with short-term life spans is predictive of those with longer ones.
Worldwide, some 985,000 “excess” deaths resulted from the Chernobyl fallout in the first 19 years after the meltdown. In Belarus, north of Chernobyl, which received concentrated fallout; only 20% of children are deemed to be “healthy” although previously 80% were considered well. How can a country function without healthy and productive citizens? Notable in the U. S. is the Hanford Nuclear Site in Washington State, built some 70+ years ago by 60,000 laborers, and currently leaching radioisotopes into the Columbia River. DuPont was the original contractor, but since, multiple corporations, each paid mllions of dollars and have yet to contain the leaking radioactivity.
Every nuclear site is also a major industrial operation, contaminated not only with radioactive materials, but multiple toxic chemicals, such as solvents and heavy metals……..
Fukushima is still leaking large quantities of Cs-137 and Sr-90 into the Pacific Ocean, where all forms of marine life will absorb them - from algae to seaweed, to fish, to sea mammals and ultimately to humans who consume the contaminated sea life. Our recently released peer-reviewed paper confirms hypothyroidism in newborns in California, whose mothers were pregnant during the early releases from Fukushima. Thyroid abnormalities were detected early in Marshall Islanders and in Belarus residents of Gomel located near Chernobyl.
Radioactive iodine, known to interfere with thyroid function entered the U. S. from Fukushima in late March, shortly after the meltdowns, and was carried by dairy products resulting in damage to the unborn. It takes ten half-lives for an isotope to decay. Sr-90 and Cs-137 have half-lives of approximately 30 years, which means three centuries will occur before the initial releases are gone, and the releases have not stopped. There are some 26 nuclear reactors in the United States with the same design as those at Fukushima, and they pose a significant risk to people and the environment……..
The Indian Point Nuclear Power Reactors are located some 35 miles from mid-town Manhattan, with 18 million people living within 50 miles of the site.What would be the environmental, human and economic costs if the Indian Point reactors were to fail? The current estimated price tag to “clean up” the TEPCO mess at Fukushima is $500 billion (that’s billion, with a “B.”
For us who have trouble thinking of such numbers, it will take 96,451 years to spend $10.00 per minute. Unless we close the existing nuclear power plants and build no new ones, we are destined to repeat the on-going stories of Fukushima, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, and the myriad other sites that have already caused untold environmental, health, social, and economic costs. So will it be sanity or business as usual? Perhaps it was Albert Einstein who defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
We must choose a sane path away from nuclear energy. Business as usual is insane.
Janette D. Sherman, M. D. is the author of Life’s Delicate Balance: Causes and Prevention of Breast Cancer and Chemical Exposure and Disease, and is a specialist in internal medicine and toxicology. She edited the book Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and Nature, written by A. V. Yablokov, V. B., Nesterenko and A. V. Nesterenko, published by the New York Academy of Sciences in 2009. Her primary interest is the prevention of illness through public education. She can be reached at: email@example.com and www.janettesherman.com
Joseph Mangano, MPH MBA, is the author of Mad Science (pub. 2012) as well and many articles on the effects of nuclear power. He is an epidemiologist, and Executive Director of the Radiation and Public Health Project and can be reached at: (www.radiation.org). http://www.globalresearch.ca/fukushima-three-years-on-devastating-environmental-and-health-impacts/5371907
Dennis Matthews, 4 March 14 Business SA has clearly not been paying attention (The Advertiser,4/3/14). We have had debates on all manner of nuclear issues off and on for decades including uranium processing and enrichment, nuclear power and importing nuclear waste.
The resounding response has always been NO.
Or is it possible that Business SA is not happy with the answer and think that by badgering the public every election year that they will finally get their way?
As shown by recent debates on nuclear power and nuclear waste disposal the general public is well and truly a wakeup to the likes of Business SA. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.