Fukushima still out of control February-2014 The World is at a critical crossroads. The Fukushima disaster in Japan has brought to the forefront the dangers of Worldwide nuclear radiation.
The crisis in Japan has been described as “a nuclear war without a war”. In the words of renowned novelist Haruki Murakami:
“This time no one dropped a bomb on us … We set the stage, we committed the crime with our own hands, we are destroying our own lands, and we are destroying our own lives.”
Nuclear radiation –which threatens life on planet earth– is not front page news in comparison to the most insignificant issues of public concern. While the long-term repercussions of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster are yet to be fully assessed, they are far more serious than those pertaining to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine…..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pz1j4IHcsP4
Dr Helen Caldicott – Fukushima Nuclear Disaster http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ITrXVJMKeQ
Nuclear Facts you’d be more comfortable not knowing from a very clued up professional who will not be bought or intimidated into silence: Dr Helen Caldicott, true to style, tells it as it is/as she sees it/like you wont usually hear it.
The nuclear power lobby and the fossil fuel lobby spend $billions in publicising their industries and in combatting established information on nuclear dangers and on global warming. This is done through “front groups” such as (for pro nuclear) the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition., (for climate denial) American Enterprise Institute.
It’s getting more difficult to spot these propagandists, because increasingly, they are using sophisticated Internet techniques. These have been beautifully explained in How to spot an astroturfer or an online fake -some of the organisations and techniques are summarised in the sidebar at right.
However, the words alone can help you to spot a fake. Look out for these two types of language:
BIG WORDS – in long complicated sentences – guaranteed to confuse the ordinary reader. The aim is to make you think that the writer is much smarter than you, and his opinion must be right. Amongst the big words, some quack science ones – like hormesis, adaptive radiation, andradiophobia Also,you are referred, by links, to obscure articles in even more complicated language.
SMALL WORDS and CLICHES – short positive ones, with no backup information, e.g. “clean -green-safe-cheap nuclear power”. Or negative cliches e.g. “hysterical- paranoid- emotional – irrational – delusional – extremists -alarmist – scare mongerer” applied to anti nuclear people, or those who want action on climate change.
Moving away from his previous obviously belligerent and direct style -e.g. “climate change is crap”, Tony Abbott now uses weasel words. These are words that sound good, but in fact convey no clear meaning. For example: ”the government accepts that climate change is real and that humanity does make a contribution, but the important thing is to take strong and effective action to deal with it.”
With statements like this, no detail given, Abbott nevertheless covers all bases – looks good. while his spokesman Maurice Newman expresses Abbott’s real attitude.“The scientific delusion, the religion behind the climate crusade, is crumbling” Abbott’s “Direct Action Plan -is it simply an empty charade devised by a skeptic wanting to give the impression he is prepared to do something about climate change?
Tony Abbott is smart. He uses weasel words to appeal to appeal to all sides, while saying nothing concrete. In the case of nuclear power- well, Tony’s other (well known) strategy is silence. Abbott again appoints someone who speaks for him – the next Governor General, Peter Cosgrove. - a strong advocate for nuclear power.
Japan leads the way, with its new State Secrets Law enacted to punish whistleblowers. politicians leaking secrets. anyone publishing information designated as “secret”. It allows the government to cover up issues such as corruption in the nuclear industry. It punishes journalists who speak out, and effectively censors nuclear news in the media
It is well known that the USA encouraged Japan to adopt this law. As the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe becomes ever more of a global problem, the nuclear industry (?too big to fail) and its servant governments increase in suppression of civil liberties.
With uranium mining, nuclear power, nuclear wastes, and nuclear weapons, - civil liberties are increasingly eroded. They must be, even when all seems to be going smoothly. Nuclear reprocessing, with plutonium as fuel, would necessitate taking away even more civil liberties.
A police state would develop, even with “peaceful” nuclear reprocessing. But imagine how fast we would lose civil liberties, in the event of yet another nuclear mishap – theft of plutonium, terrorist strike, accident. For a start, the public would not even be informed, (for fear of public panic). Very quickly, that police state would be turned into a martial law state.
The pack of lies surrounding nuclear costs, the new untried nuclear designs, the supposed need for nuclear submarines, the myth of nuclear fixing climate change, and especially the myths against renewable energy – all these form a nexus of deceit.
This deceit will be sold to the Australian public during 2014. To my mind, this pervasive deceit is a Number 1 offence against human rights - against the right to know the truth.
There are other civil liberties lost, in the context of nuclear power. Australia has a shameful history of violating civil rights – in the secrecy, and harm done to Aboriginals and other communities, and soldiers, of the nuclear bomb tests of the 1950s.
Even the less extensive radiation-heath problem of Hunter’s Hill, NSW, was covered up, and cancer victims never got recognition and justice. Similarly, with past uranium mining, where radiation monitoring was non existent, and cancer victims had no redress.
Today, Australia hosts the secret Pine Gap US military site, and is likely to increase its role in the USA’s military nuclear “umbrella”. With increasing nuclear facilities come increasing (and necessary) security, censorship, crackdown on dissent. Nuclear countries – USA, France, India, China, and Japan experience the crackdown on anti-nuclear protestors. Australians can expect increasing loss of civil liberties if we let the nuclear lie prevail in this country.
But what is good will? How is it shown? The answer is in respect for one another. Respect means listening to the other’s point of view, and clearly saying your own point of view. It means discussion, argument – communication.
It can be difficult and time consuming. It often seems easier to just hit someone, show them who’s boss, as we have seen in countless Hollywood films – where might is right.
The world is pretty much at the crossroads now. Some Israeli and USA politicians threaten military strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran threatens retaliation. North Korea continues to be a nuclear weapons worry and China, India, USA, Russia, UK ramp up their nuclear weapons. Threats, decisions for violent action – it all seems simpler quicker, easier – easier than communication, negotiation, diplomacy.
Australia can be proud of its history of anti nuclear activism – it has kept Australia nuclear weapons free, nuclear power free, and has limited and slowed the uranium industry. Now more than ever, Australia needs its anti nuclear movement, and the Greens party
In both Liberal and Labor parties, machinations go on, behind the scenes, to make Australia a nuclear industry hub, – from uranium quarry right through to nuclear waste dump for the world.
What nice Christmas presents these would make, for their corporate backers!
The Liberals have always been ready to sell out Australia’s clean energy future – and both parties make hypocritical statements about peace, while allowing BHP, ERA, to supplying uranium – fuel for nuclear weapons.
The Labor party already has reneged on its commitment to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, since Prime Minister Julia Gillard dramatically caved in to USA pressure and allowed uranium sales to India. The ALP is stacked with little go getters who know where their corporate backing comes from. Gary Gray, Paul Howes are the prominent pro nuclear Labor figures.
But Labor in general shuts up until they think the timing is right. Labor leader Bill Shorten proclaims Labor’s anti nuclear policy (for now) but in reality, Shorten sits on the fence, ready to go whichever way the wind is blowing – “in the case for nuclear power the jury is out” ”I do see the uranium mining debate as separate to the nuclear power debate”.
Aboriginal Senator Nova Peris stands out in her opposition to the Muckaty radioactive trash dump plan. And The Greens are still there – with Christine Milne, Scott Ludlam, Adam Bandt, Larissa Waters standing firm in their anti nuclear commitment.
Australia’s anti nuclear movement continues – and with it grows the movement, at home and abroad, towards clean, non nuclear, renewable energy.
The global nuclear lobby looks to China as its saviour. The World Nuclear Association(WNA) boasts that China has 17 working nuclear power reactors and 30 under construction, They are less enthusiastic about the safety concerns about China’s nuclear reactors, nuclear wastes, and growing nuclear arsenal – as well as about the increasing popular resistance to nuclear power. See the sidebar at right, for the negative side of China’s nuclear power – and reasons why China might not fulfil the nuclear lobby’s dream.
While the Chinese government is trying to crack down on corruption , in fact, corruption is entrenched in both public and private businesses - graft, bribery, embezzlement, backdoor deals, nepotism, patronage, and statistical falsification. No surprise that this goes on on the very secretive operations of nuclear power and nuclear waste management. And the world does not get to hear of any nuclear whistleblowers in the closed totalitarian State of China.
The danger and security issues of nuclear power make China deal more forcefully and secretly with nuclear power. For China, as with its neighbour, India, nuclear power leads to suppression of civil liberties.
As China has in fact slowed down its nuclear power programme, it has, like Japan, looked to export nuclear technology, as a way to make the industry financially viable.
The original and greatest nuclear power country – USA – now finds nuclear power costly and dangerous, The imperative is to somehow make money out of this mess. The answer? – just as with asbestos and cigarettes – sell it off to Asia and the Middle East. France and Russia join in the nuclear marketing frenzy – as does Japan, too (desperate to pretend that all is well at Fukushima.)
And why do Asian and Middle Eastern countries want this poisonous industry? I can only suppose that, along with fashion, consumerism, cars, etc – everything Western is perhaps seen as ‘progress’.
And there’s that other factor, too. It would perhaps be nice to have the option of nuclear weapons. If you want nuclear weapons, you must first have nuclear power.
And you might just think that nuclear weapons might be a good idea. (After all, would Iraq have been invaded if it had nuclear weapons?)
The future for Australia’s uranium industry is murky indeed. The Australian uranium lobby loves to tell us, ad nauseum, what a great future they have in uranium sales to China. What they don’t tell us is that China is determined to become self sufficient in nuclear fuels. Also China has become apprehensive about nuclear power, since the Fukushima disaster. There are serious safety concerns. China has a developing anti nuclear movement China’s renewable energy program is growing faster than its nuclear program . China has suspended inland nuclear projects and slowed its nuclear program. It is almost certainly abandoning its 3 largest nuclear projects.
And of course – with the current world glut of uranium, uranium prices are going to be low for a long time yet (perhaps forever)
The World Nuclear Association is busily touting the future of nuclear technology in Asia and Middle East – (more about that next week on this page) . This may not be all that relevant to Australia. The great leap forward in nuclear power in Asia and Middle East is not happening nearly as fast as the Australian Uranium Association would have us believe. Which means that the future of uranium sales is not looking good.
This is one big reason why the nuclear lobby is turning its attention to Australia becoming in fact like a Third World country – that is – being not so much an exporter of uranium fuel , but a customer for the nuclear materials that USA, France, Russia Japan, (and even China and South Korea) are desperate to sell off.
There’s another side to Australia’s nuclear relationship with Asia. This is the curious contradiction between Australia’s drive to develop trade with Asian countries, and especially with China – and the danger of Australia as a nuclear target. More about this on the sidebar at right.
Denial of the health effects of ionising radiation is the latest and the most sinister, of the lies against science.
Denial of science is not new – goes back to Flat Earth and beyond. It does have to do with complex psychological issues. These include resentment and jealousy of the respected position of scientists, fear of change, and a kind of helplessness in the face of challenging circumstances.
There are other motivations – such as the desire to be famous and important – as being someone “brave enough to oppose the mainstream”
Then there’s the “libertarian idea” – so strongly believed by Rupert Murdoch, that government must not interfere with personal freedom. This idea would include – the freedom to promote smoking to young people, to get a job as an asbestos miner, to refuse to vaccinate children against fatal diseases, to accept that low level irradiation of one’s children is OK.
But none of these motivations would get “air play”, would prevail, if it were not for the Money Motive – the good old “What’s In It For Whom?” That’s the impetus behind public relations people, “consultants” , journalists, commentators, TV producers, film-makers etc who are paid by think tanks that are fronts for polluting industries, and for corporate giants like the Koch brothers. And - don’t let’s forget, - the scientists and science media who are paid by governments that are trapped - financially beholden to polluting corporations, and to the military industrial complex
The nuclear denialism industry is next to take off in Australia: the propaganda film, Pandora’s Promise heralds its next media burst.
Climate change denialism rules here at present, only partly because the climate change story is complicated.
Australia has a relatively good history of resisting science denialism. We went along with scientifically accepted public health measures – of water fluoridation, and of vaccination. Australia eventually rejected and fought the asbestos and tobacco industry lobbies, with their denials of science’s message of harm from smoking and asbestos.
For a while there, Australia was at the forefront of climate change awareness. Even Prime Minister John Howard accepted this, and promoted carbon pricing. Kevin Rudd came to power initially on a wave of public enthusiasm for action on climate change.
Australia was a nation that was aware of, and accepting of broad scientific agreement on matters of health and the global environment.
Not any more. What changed?
For one thing – the science of global warming has become more complex, though no less authentic. Science’s asbestos and tobacco messages were simpler.
For another thing, the paid science denial industry has grown, to become a global force, now reaching well into Australia. And it has found fertile ground here, with Rupert Murdoch controlling 70% of the news media.
Nuclear denialism promises to be even more complicated than climate change denialism. After all, we can personally notice the extremes of temperature, the eroding coasts, as sea level rises, and we can see pictures of the disappearing Arctic ice, and dwindling glaciers. We can notice the graphs of rising C02 in the atmosphere parallel with rising global temperatures.
We cannot see the invisible “background” radiation, (largely caused by nuclear bomb testing). The insidious illnesses from ionising radiation take decades to appear, (like asbestos diseases, but much less simple to prove). As with climate change, there are lots of people in Australia, ready and willing to take money for denying science.
The “front end”, the “central” and the “back end” The nuclear lobby has successfully confined discussion of nuclear power costs to the “central” cost of building nuclear reactors. Even anti-nuclear activists concentrate on this.
But – what about the Hidden Costs? – at the “Front end” and the “Back end”
THE VERY SECRET COSTS OF NUCLEAR POWER
Well it is impossible for anyone to estimate the real costs of nuclear power, as only a narrow range of costs are discussed, even where the nuclear industry is supposedly privately owned.
We need to separate the (uneconomic) role of uranium in the (uneconomic) nuclear power industry, from the (thriving) role of uranium in the nuclear weapons industry.
Puzzled as to why Australia’s uranium lobby remains so optimistic, in the face of the crumbling nuclear “renaissance”? Well, there mightn’t be much money in nuclear energy any more, but there sure is money in nuclear fuels for weapons. As an important strategic military location for USA, and a blindly loyal ally of USA, South Australia is well positioned to be the supplier of uranium enriching for USA. Also handy as a dump for nuclear wastes.
So all that’s needed is the full nuclear fuel cycle in South Australia. That’ll make, well, a few selected individuals, very rich.