Australian news, and some related international items

Russia and the Global Nuclear Industry – theme for July 17

It’s high time that the global nuclear-free movement turned the spotlight on RUSSIA.  THIS website, being anglophone, is continually criticising America. But it’ s not just the language problem that makes us neglect to scrutinise Russia: it is also the secrecy, media censorship, and persecution of dissidents that help Russia to avoid scrutiny.

Russia’s quite scandalous nuclear history, past and ongoing, deserves to be exposed. There are 4 main issues here:

1.Russia’s history of nuclear accidents

2. Russia’s scandalous mismanagement of its radioactive trash

3. Russia’s secrecy and cover-up of its serious nuclear problems.

Since 2007, when the Howard government signed up to a nuclear development agreement with Russia, the Australian nuclear lobby has been quietly working to develop nuclear power in co-operation with Russia. This continues today, both with an Australian presentation in Moscow’s AtomExpo, and in Australia about to join the Gen IV nuclear Framework, along with Russia.

July 9, 2017 Posted by | Christina themes | 1 Comment

Quietly, nuclear -powered USS Ronald Reagan to Brisabane to join massive Talisman military exercise

Nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan heads into Brisbane, Warwick Daily News Jodie Munro O’Brien, The Courier-Mail | 22nd Jul 2017 “….The USS Ronald Reagan, named after America’s 40th president, was commissioned in July 2003 and has been based in Yokosuka, Japan since late 2015.

July 22, 2017 Posted by | Queensland, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Who will guard Peter Dutton’s guardians?

Peter Dutton’s home affairs ministry will investigate itself for corruption, The Age,  Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker 22 July 17  In his almost four years as Justice Minister, Michael Keenan has not once requested that the commission hold public hearings to examine corruption – a move guaranteeing the agency’s virtually non-existent public profile.

Fairfax Media is aware of several major investigations under way into the integrity of people or operations within agencies set to form part of Mr Dutton’s new super-ministry. These investigations are being conducted behind closed doors by the integrity commission and the federal police.

The creation of Home Affairs means that the Australian Federal Police will now come under the same departmental umbrella as the people and agencies they are investigating in partnership with the integrity commission.

 Experts warn the arrangement risks putting such integrity probes even further out of the public eye.

“Institutionally it is a weakness. The arrangements should be such that this is not an option,” says Australian National University security expert John Blaxland.  Professor Blaxland has been critical of the proposed Home Affairs ministry because it may reduce the “high degree of healthy contestability” between agencies, which sees the AFP eager to scrutinise Border Force, and vice versa, when necessary. This is disputed by senior officials.

What is incontestable is that since its inception in 2006, the integrity commission has not held a single public hearing into any of the agencies it oversees: the AFP, the Criminal Intelligence Commission, Border Force and the Immigration Department.

Due to a lack of resources, Australia’s least-known corruption fighting body relies on one of the agencies it oversees, the AFP, to actually carry out its major investigations.  …….

July 22, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

IN its quest for Arctic oil, Russia admits its undersea nuclear dump

17,000 containers of radioactive waste, 19 ships containing radioactive waste, 14 nuclear reactors, including five that still contain spent nuclear fuel; 735 other pieces of radiactively contaminated heavy machinery, and the K-27 nuclear submarine with its two reactors loaded with nuclear fuel.

one of the most critical pieces of information missing from the report released to the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority was the presence of the K-27 nuclear submarine, which was scuttled in 50 kilometers of water with its two reactors filled with spent nuclear fuel in in Stepovogo Bay in the Kara Sea in 1981.

Information that the reactors abord the K-27 could reachieve criticality and explode was released at the Bellona-Rosatom seminar in February.


Russia Dumped 17 Nuclear Reactors and Tons of Waste in the Arctic by Charles Digges /, Earth First! Newswire, 30 Aug 12,  Enormous quantities of decommissioned Russian nuclear reactors and radioactive waste were dumped into the Kara Sea in the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia over a course of decades, according to documents given to Norwegian officials by Russian authorities and published in Norwegian media.

Bellona had received in 2011 a draft of a similar report prepared for Russia’s Gossoviet, the State Council, for presentation at a meeting presided over by then-president Dmitry Medvedev on Russian environmental security.

The Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom confirmed the figures in February of this year during a seminar it jointly held with Bellona in Moscow. Bellona is alarmed by the extent of the dumped Soviet waste, which is far greater than was previously known – not only to Bellona, but also to the Russian authorities themselves.

The catalogue of waste dumped at sea by the Soviets, according to documents seen by Bellona, and which were today released by the Norwegian daily Aftenposten, includes some 17,000 containers of radioactive waste, 19 ships containing radioactive waste, 14 nuclear reactors, including five that still contain spent nuclear fuel; 735 other pieces of radiactively contaminated heavy machinery, and the K-27 nuclear submarine with its two reactors loaded with nuclear fuel. Continue reading

July 22, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Geoengineering- a risky method to reduce climate change

But Lohmann and Gasparini warn that the plan comes with major drawbacks. It could, they say, lead to even more cirrus clouds being formed, exacerbating global warming in the process.

CLIMATE CHANGE AND GEOENGINEERING: ARTIFICIALLY COOLING PLANET EARTH BY THINNING CIRRUS CLOUDS, NewsWeek, BY HANNAH OSBORNE ON 7/21/17 “……Over recent decades, scientists from across the globe have been discussing the potential of geoengineering—the deliberate manipulation of the environment that could, in theory, cool the planet and help stabilize the climate.

There are main two types of geoengineering. The first involves removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it. This is already being done on an industrial scale, but it is not effective enough at the moment to cope with the huge levels of emissions. The other type, solar radiation management, is more radical—an attempt to reduce the amount of sunlight absorbed by the planet by reflecting it away.

Many ways of doing this have been proposed. One of the most widely discussed (and riskiest) involves the injection of reflective aerosols into the upper atmosphere. This plan is based on the cooling effect of volcanoes: Sulfur dioxide emitted in an eruption causes the formation of droplets of sulfuric acid. These reflect the sunlight away, creating a cooling effect. But this plan could also go very wrong. The sulfuric acid could strip away the ozone layer, leaving Earth completely exposed to the sun’s radiation.

In an article published in the journal Science, Ulrike Lohmann and Blaž Gasparini, from the ETH Zurich, in Switzerland, discuss a variation of this idea: the thinning of cirrus clouds to target the long-wave radiation coming from Earth.

Cirrus clouds are thin and wispy clouds that form at high altitudes and do not reflect much solar radiation back into space, creating a greenhouse effect. The higher the altitude at which they form, the larger the warming effect on the climate. And in a warmer climate, cirrus clouds form at higher altitudes.
So what if we got rid of them? These clouds could be thinned out—leading to a reduction in their warming effect—by seeding them with aerosol particles like sulfuric or nitric acid, which act as “ice nucleating particles” or INPs. If these are injected into the level of the atmosphere where cirrus clouds form, the way they form would be altered, resulting in thinner clouds that have less of a warming effect.

Continue reading

July 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This could be the next big strategy for suing over climate change.

Two California coastal counties and one beach-side city touched off a possible new legal front in the climate change battle this week, suing dozens of major oil, coal, and other fossil fuel companies for the damages they say they will incur due to rising seas

July 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Head of Donald Trump’s manufacturing council, Australian Mr Liveris breaks with Trump on climate policy

Andrew Liveris adamant US will revisit Paris climate deal,, 22 July 17 JAMIE WALKERAssociate Editor, Brisbane @Jamie_WalkerOz The Australian businessman tasked with making American manufacturing great for Donald Trump has broken with the President on climate policy, saying the US must re-engage with the Paris agreement.

And in a provocative address in Brisbane, Dow Chemical boss ­Andrew Liveris revealed that ­spiralling domestic gas prices had forced the multinational firm to review its Australian operations.

As the head of Mr Trump’s manufacturing council, Darwin-raised Mr Liveris is working with the embattled administration to deliver a key election promise to revitalise US manufacturing, while engineering one of the ­biggest corporate mergers in ­history between Dow Chemical and DuPont.

Warning that environmental sustainability was “no longer an initiative, it’s a business model”, Mr Liveris said Mr Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris accord should not halt international co-operation on greenhouse gas mitigation. “We cannot as citizens of the world let that move impede our collective progress and our determination to ­remove carbon from the atmosphere,” he said, to applause from the crowd of 1500 that turned out for the UQ ChangeMakers forum, put on by his alma mater the University of Queensland and supported by The Weekend Australian.

“Many businesses in the US, NGOs and states have re-upped and picked up the commitment of what’s become the slack left behind by the federal government.

“I believe the US will re-engage ultimately with Paris and I am certainly being part of the solution to make that happen.” But he distanced himself from Mr Trump’s handling of the issue, saying it was “very unfortunate” the President had said the US was withdrawing from the 2015 Paris agreement, when the aim was to “redefine its engagement”. Under the UN-backed accord, Australia is committed to reduce greenhouse emissions by 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030. Mr Liveris said: “They are actually not withdrawing, they just want to re-­engage on different terms. So if you think about it that way, I would say the odds would be very high of a re-engagement.”

Mr Liveris was one of the first business leaders to warn of the “gas cliff” that has deepened eastern Australia’s energy crisis, prompting intervention by the federal government to limit LNG exports and boost domestic gas supplies. He said yesterday that the gas price paid by Dow Chemical in Australia had rocketed from “roughly five or six dollars” to $20 in less than a year, jeopardising the business. “So my leader of Australia-Pacific … he’s got a proposal in front of us to look at exiting Australia right now in terms of uncompetitive energy prices.

We are not alone. We … can see the future in terms of the ­trajectory … you need to fix supply and you have got to basically recalibrate demand so that 90 per cent of the gas isn’t ­exported.”

Backing the controversial Finkel report to the government on energy security, Mr Liveris said it offered a “great series of policy ­solutions” and business would ­accept a target for renewables. The country, however, needed “policies that outlive” the government concerned. “What I would say is give me a policy that has a renewable target, give me time to develop it and I will develop a partnership model with you, in an innovation hub … to develop the technologies over time,” he said.

July 21, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Asia’s coal-fired power boom ‘bankrolled by foreign governments and banks’

The vast majority of newly built stations in Indonesia relied on export credits agencies or development banks, says study by Market Forces, Guardian, Michael Slezak, 20 July 17, The much-discussed boom in coal-fired power in south-east Asia is being bankrolled by foreign governments and banks, with the vast majority of projects apparently too risky for the private sector.

Environmental analysts at activist group Market Forces examined 22 deals involving 13.1 gigawatts of coal-fired power in Indonesia and found that 91% of the projects had the backing of foreign governments through export credit agencies or development banks.

Export credit agencies, which provide subsidised loans to overseas projects to assist export industries in their home countries, were involved in 64% of the deals and provided 45% of the total lending.

The majority of the money was coming from Japan and China, with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) involved in five deals and the Export-Import Bank of China (Cexim) involved in seven deals. All the deals closed between January 2010 and March 2017.

The China Development Bank was the biggest development bank lending to the projects, imparting $3bn, with a further $240m in development funds coming from Korea’s Korea Development Bank.

 The lending comes despite the world’s biggest development bank – the World Bank – warning last year that plans to build more coal-fired power plants in Asia would be a “disaster for the planet” and overwhelm the deal forged at Paris to fight climate change.

“Right now, several key countries supporting the Paris climate change agreement are actively undermining it by trying to expand the polluting coal-power sector in other countries,” said Julien Vincent, executive director of Market Forces.

According to the International Energy Agency, the world needs to phase out coal-power by 2050 in order to keep warming under 2C……..

The push of financing comes as Japan, China and Korea move to cut plans for coal-power in their own countries. Vincent said the moves were related, since Indonesia was now seen as a testing ground for new coal-fired power station technology.

July 21, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Tasmania Energy probe report stalled: Labor

THE State Government has been accused of sitting on a crucial report meant to give Tasmanians insight into the energy crisis and the state a way forward on energy security.

July 21, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

More locals join push to stop oil drilling in Great Australian Bight.

Holdfast Bay council wants moratorium on oil and gas exploration in bight over fears of ‘devastating impacts’ of oil spill.

July 21, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

22 July REneweconomy news

  • North Queensland to be Australia’s first major exporter of solar power
    As Conservatives push for new coal generator in north Queensland, the region is about to become Australia’s first significant solar power exporter.
    Australia’s Greatcell signs MOU with JinkoSolar for perovskite cells
    Under a non-exclusive MOU with JinkoSolar, Greatcell will make developmental perovskite cells available for further evaluation.

July 21, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

 Radioactive cesium detected in the urine of 100 children after the catastrophic accident of TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

 Cesium concentration found in more than 70% of the urine samples tested in Fukushima Prefecture


Amounts of radioactive cesium, Cs-137 and Cs-134, in 24 h urine of 37 children have been determined using a HP-Ge detector, in Fukushima Prefecture between February 2014 and March 2016.

As comparisons, those of 25 children have been also measured who live in Western Japan from September 2016 to March 2017, and that of one child in Ibaraki Prefecture from April 2014 to January 2017.

We have found the cesium concentrations in the more than 70 % of urine samples from Fukushima Prefecture are in the ranges from 0.06 to 0.30 Bq/L.

No radioactive cesium is observed in the samples from Western Japan, under the detection limit of 0.1 Bq/L.

In the case of Ibaraki, the radioactivity keeps its value around 0.20 Bq/L during the inspection period, indicating the chronic ingestion of the radioactive…

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July 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tepco chairman’s remark on water release goes radioactive

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Comment draws ire from Fukushima residents, fishermen and watchdog

0721N_TEPCO_article_main_imageTakashi Kawamura, a former Hitachi chairman, took up his current post just last month.

TOKYO — Comments by Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings’ chairman about releasing nuclear wastewater into the ocean are being met with anger from fisheries groups and many others.

Tepco Chairman Takashi Kawamura told news outlets earlier this month that the utility “has made its decision” on the release of tritiated water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant to the ocean. Tritiated water is a radioactive form where the usual “light” hydrogen atoms are replaced with tritium.

Kyodo News reported the following day that the company shares the view of Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, that spilling the water into the sea would not cause any problem, scientifically speaking.

Tepco immediately released a statement saying Kawamura’s comments “did not intend to announce the concluded policy of the company on…

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July 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Potential releases of 129I, 236U and Pu isotopes from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plants to the ocean during 2013 to 2015

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs


After the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear accident, many efforts were put into the determination of the presence of 137Cs, 134Cs, 131I and other gamma-emitting radionuclides in the ocean, but minor work was done regarding the monitoring of less volatile radionuclides, pure beta-ray emitters or simply radionuclides with very long half-lives.

In this study we document the temporal evolution of 129I, 236U and Pu isotopes (239Pu and 240Pu) in seawater sampled during four different cruises performed 2, 3 and 4 years after the accident, and compare the results to 137Cs collected at the same stations and depths.

Our results show that concentrations of 129I are systematically above the nuclear weapon test levels at stations located close to the FDNPP, with a maximum value of 790 x107 at·kg-1, that exceeds all previously reported 129I concentrations in the Pacific Ocean.

Yet, the total amount of 129I released after the accident in the time 2011-2015…

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July 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New TEPCO executives tripping over their tongues

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

TEPCO Chairman Takashi Kawamura, right, receives a formal letter of complaint from an executive member of JF Zengyoren, a nation-wide federation of fishery associations, over his comment about dumping contaminated water to the sea on July 19 in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward.
Hoping to restore trust in embattled Tokyo Electric Power Co., the company’s new chairman and president have instead generated unwanted criticism and hostility in their first gaffe-filled month on the job.
They have added to the problems facing the operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which also is hoping to bring its idled reactors back online.
On July 19, TEPCO Chairman Takashi Kawamura, who is also honorary chairman of Hitachi Ltd., was apologizing at the headquarters of JF Zengyoren, a nationwide federation of fishery associations, in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward. He was forced to explain “the true intention” of remarks he made last week regarding…

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July 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The week that has been in climate and nuclear news

I am wondering if those who read this newsletter, (and many other people, too) are getting “climate change fatigue”.

“Nuclear fatigue” too, perhaps. Still, on the nuclear scene, nothing dramatic seems to be happening this week. Nevertheless, a bit like climate change, nuclear pollution is something that continues to creep up on the unaware world. Investigative journalism still lives: a new report tells of vast areas of America’s land poisoned by mismanagement of military wastes

Not a good time to give up on reading about climate change, with the current debate on Is the Climate Emergency Just a Big Problem, or is it a Catastrophe?

Militarisation of Australia’s police?

CLIMATE and ENERGY    Climate denialism rules the Federal Liberal Party – and is bringing about a split within it. The disgraceful state of Australia’s politics and media on clean energy. Australian States and Federal Govt approve 49 Finkel recommendations, but split on Clean Energy Target.Clean Energy Finance Corporation sees rapid growth in renewables.

NUCLEAR. Did Australia cave in to France over Pacific nuclear bomb testing?

Quiet shipment of uranium from Australia to India – non signatory to Non-Proliferation Treaty.

South Australia. Clear opposition to nuclear development in South Australia: no further tax-payer money should be wasted on it.  Pro nuclear activities of MP Rowan Ramsey questioned.

Northern Territory. As ERA’s Ranger Uranium mine lease to expire, town of Jabiru’s future is not clear.

Queensland. Queensland Liberal National Party members refuse to pull out of Paris Climate Accord.

RENEWABLE ENERGY. I can no longer keep up with the many developments in solar, wind, sefficency, storage of energy etc. Best information source is Giles’ Parkinson’s REneweconomy.


July 21, 2017 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment