Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

A positive outlook for Australia’s clean climate, nuclear-free, future- theme for September 21

As we head towards the Climate Summit, COP26 in Glascow, Australia ought to have a pivotal role to play in discussions on climate action. Unfortunately we have a federal government, and mass media, in the thrall of the polluting industries. Australians who care about their children’s future might well be ashamed.

However, there is cause for optimism. The Australian public is aware and wants action on climate change. A national poll, reported on August 30, shows that in every single electorate across the land, voters want more government action on climate change. Whoever is sent by the government to COP26 to muddy the waters on climate action, will not be representing Australians asa whole.

Meanwhile, Australians are taking up clean reneweable energy with enthusiasm. Reports on 31 August show the rapid growth in rooftop solar, ”AEMO forecasts rooftop solar would continue its boom and by 2026 would on its own supply 77 per cent of the demand in the National Electricity Market during the day.” ”Australia’s energy transition really does continue at pace and now our base case forecast by 2025 is the national electricity market can be supplied by 100 per cent renewable energy,

Australians have a proud history of environmental action. Particularly in relation to nuclear issues. We have, as Professor Ian Lowe puts it ”dodged a bullet” in rejecting nuclear power. Australians have been foremost in the nuclear disarmament movement, more recently in initiating The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) , which brought about the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Both in small local groups, and in organisations, (Friends of the Earth, Australian Conservation Foundation, ICAN, Extinction Rebellion, and more) there’s a wellspring of enthusiasm for saving the environment, and bringing about a nuclear-free world.

We now know that ”peaceful” nuclear power is absolutely connected to nuclear weapons (indeed, the nuclear industry now boasts of that). We also know that the nuclear industry is flat out publicising itself as ”clean and green”. A global task is to keep that dirty and dangerous industry out of the climate action policies to be decided on at COP26.

Australians have a role in local action to keep this country clean and nuclear-free, and also in joining with international non-government organisations in the global environmental movement.

August 31, 2021 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

RAUCUS ANTI-AUKUS CAUCUS – 7 October

RAUCUS ANTI-AUKUS CAUCUS. Thu 7th Oct 2021, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm AEDT

Raucous Anti-AUKUS Caucus with Scott Ludlum, Guy Rundle, Felicity Ruby, Dimity Hawkins, Prof Clinton Fernandes, Jacob Grech, & Dave Sweeney

Event description

Australia plans to develop a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines as part of the new AUKUS trilateral military pact between Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom. This has been described as an act of nuclear proliferation. The pact will increase the US military footprint and troop deployment in Australia, with these nuclear-powered submarines just the thin edge of the wedge. 

The Chinese government has already responded with the threat that Australia is now a nuclear target.

On Thursday 7 October 6.30-8pm Renegade Activists Action Force (RAAF) will host an online public forum for a national response to this issue, featuring former Western Australian Senator Scott Ludlum, author Guy Rundle, Professor of international and political studies at the University of New South Wales, Clinton Fernandes and long standing anti-nuclear campaigners Felicity ‘Flick’ Ruby, Dimity Hawkins, Jacob Grech and Dave Sweeney. Breakout rooms will enable you to share ideas for actions to resist AUKUS in your local community. 

A follow up online gathering will take place in the weeks following this event for local groups to check in and share progress. 

REGISTER at RAUCUS ANTI-AUKUS CAUCUS.

September 25, 2021 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Good ideas, good work and good luck’: Australian grassroots campaigners on how they got it done

Good ideas, good work and good luck’: Australian grassroots campaigners on how they got it done

From town hall meetings to QR codes and crowdfunding, three environmental campaigners share the practical tips that helped make their work effective

September 25, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the defensive as Europe and South-East Asian countries react badly to AUKUS and the nuclear submarines

Morrison in defence mode as AUKUS fallout goes global,  Frozen out in Europe, feted in Washington, alarming some of its south-east Asian neighbours: questions are being raised about whether Australia has the right diplomatic skills and resources to perform on the world stage.  The Age  By Anthony Galloway SEPTEMBER 25, 2021  or six days, the Indonesians knew something big was coming from Australia.

At a meeting in Jakarta on September 9, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne let her friend, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, know a major shift was coming.

“The Foreign Minister of Australia mentioned there will be an announcement, but at the time we didn’t receive any information [about] what sort of announcement because I assume at that time it was not final yet,” Retno said this week.

The following Wednesday, Payne messaged Retno hours before the announcement of the AUKUS defence pact between Australia, the United States and Britain to share military technology and help Canberra build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines in the face of Beijing’s growing aggression and military might.

The two ministers then talked over the phone, and Retno told Payne she hoped Australia would uphold its obligations to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and its commitment to “contribute to the peace and stability of the region”.

“I mentioned to my good friend Marise that Indonesia really hopes Australia will fulfil that commitment,” Retno said.

Since then, Malaysia has gone even further in expressing its reservations about the agreement, saying this week it will now consult China on how to react to the development.

And French President Emmanuel Macron is continuing to snub Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s offer of a phone call after he was infuriated by Australia’s decision to dump a $90 billion submarine agreement with Paris and instead negotiate the AUKUS deal behind his back.

All of this contrasts sharply with Morrison’s week-long trip to New York and Washington. His interactions with the Americans have been glowing: not just with President Joe Biden, but also Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell. The first physical leaders meeting of the “Quad” grouping – Australia, the US, Japan and India – was expected to have a similar air of friendliness to it on Friday.

A week after the announcement of AUKUS, Australia finds itself at the forefront of world politics in a way it has never before been. Frozen out in Europe, feted in Washington, alarming some of its south-east Asian neighbours, and backed in by the Quad, these are unfamiliar times for little old Australia. And questions are being asked about whether we’ve got the right diplomatic skills and resources to perform on the world stage.

The ‘Anglosphere’ is back

When announcing AUKUS, Morrison described it as a “forever partnership”, while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was an agreement among “kindred” nations. This led to a perception it was an alliance, when it is not. AUKUS is an agreement to share military technology including nuclear submarine capability, long-range missiles, cyber, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and undersea drones.
Former senior diplomat and intelligence official Allan Gyngell, now national president of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, says Australia sent a problematic message to the region that the “Anglosphere is back”.

It reinforces perspectives that Australia is not really a legitimate part of the region, but a junior partner in a three-way partnership between English-speaking countries,” Gyngell says. “However much we say Asia is important to us, it is clear that home is where the heart is and the heart is with our two great and powerful friends.”

Some south-east Asian countries were also said to be uneasy with the focus on “values” and “democracy”. Many countries in the region are anxious about the growing assertiveness of China but they aren’t liberal democracies. They don’t see a nexus between liberal democratic values and the need to counterbalance a stronger, more aggressive China………………….

With the emergence of new formations such as the Quad and AUKUS, south-east Asian nations have been concerned about the power of ASEAN weakening. Australian diplomats have been insisting the nation is committed to “ASEAN centrality” in both private meetings and public statements.

Gyngell says Australia needs to be careful not to dismiss the concerns of south-east Asian nations, adding “we always look to vindication of our own positions and prejudices”.

Europe’s fury

Further afield, the Morrison government is most concerned about the repercussions in Europe, where there is visceral anger stemming from the AUKUS agreement being negotiated in secret all year even though the US and Britain are key members of NATO.

On the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, European Council President Charles Michel reminded Morrison of the need for “transparency and loyalty” during an awkward encounter, while German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas described the agreement as “unsettling”.

While the EU contemplates whether to scuttle talks over a free trade deal with Australia, Canberra can also expect a Europe that is less forgiving over its action on climate change………

Not enough focus has been on whether Australia is adequately investing in all the instruments of statecraft, most notably diplomacy and foreign aid, to support its strategic intentions.

Between 2013 and 2020, Australia’s total diplomatic and development budgets fell from 1.5 per cent of the federal budget to 1.3 per cent. The government gutted parts of the foreign aid budget in south-east Asia to pay for its “step-up” in the Pacific………….  https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/morrison-in-defence-mode-as-aukus-fallout-goes-global-20210924-p58ui2.html

September 25, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

“Rolling amateur hour”: Kevin Rudd lashes Scott Morrison’s handling of nuclear subs deal

“Rolling amateur hour”: Kevin Rudd lashes Scott Morrison’s handling of nuclear subs deal. On RN Breakfast with Fran Kelly

https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/amaetur-hour-kevin-rudd-lashes-scott-morrison-nuclear-subs-deal/13554514

On RN Breakfast with Fran Kelly  Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has criticised the Morrison Government’s decision to tear up the $90 billion submarine contract with France, calling it “rolling amateur-hour” and a foreign policy debacle.

He says the secrecy surrounding the switch to nuclear submarines was designed to shift focus from the Government’s domestic problems but the “wow-factor” dissolved into a major “oops-factor” as the diplomatic fallout reverberates.

September 25, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

France and other NATO members perturbed at the AUKUS agreement

“This is not about French disappointment about losing a contract. This is about a strategic decision that has implications for the whole of Europe. And to address that there is no easy fix.”

The AUKUS agreement is particularly sensitive for European security because the US and UK are influential members of NATO.

No timeframe, let alone a date’: France has no immediate plans to speak to Canberra, SMH, By Bevan Shields, September 25, 2021 —   Paris: France has no immediate plans to restore diplomatic relations with Australia, as Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson move to heal a damaging rift triggered by the Morrison government’s new pact to counter China.

The French President and British Prime Minister spoke over the phone on Friday, local time – two days after an angry Macron held a similar bridge-building call with United States President Joe Biden.

A high-level French government official told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that it was far too soon to even consider when its ambassador to Australia, Jean-Pierre Thebault, would return to Canberra after being recalled amid the fallout from a shock deal for the US and UK to help Australia build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.

The deal sunk a $90 billion contract between Australia and France for 12 diesel-powered submarines, which Macron had used as a central plank of his strategy to be a major security partner in the increasingly contested Indo-Pacific.

Thebault remains in Paris for “consultations” over the so-called AUKUS pact and how France should re-engage with Australia at the diplomatic, ministerial and leader level……

The French government is angry with Australia over three key factors, including that Australia, the US and UK were negotiating behind an ally’s back; and that the Morrison government has downplayed the connection between the submarine contract and Macron’s interest in the Indo-Pacific.

“This is not about French disappointment about losing a contract. This is about a strategic decision that has implications for the whole of Europe. And to address that there is no easy fix.”

Some Australian government ministers have concluded that even if Thebault returns in the coming weeks, relations with France will not begin to thaw until after presidential elections in April 2022……..

The AUKUS agreement is particularly sensitive for European security because the US and UK are influential members of NATO……

Christop Huesgen, a longtime foreign policy adviser to the retiring German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German ambassador to the United States until earlier this year, said the US involvement in the AUKUS agreement was an “insult” to a key NATO nation…..

The French government is angry with Australia over three key factors, including that Australia, the US and UK were negotiating behind an ally’s back; and that the Morrison government has downplayed the connection between the submarine contract and Macron’s interest in the Indo-Pacific.

“This is not about disappointment over a commercial contract,” the French official said. “This is way more profound.”

They are also baffled that Australia has torn up a contract for French vessels when the AUKUS agreement only provides for an 18-month review into what sort of nuclear boats the US and UK could help Australia acquire. The cost of the eight vessels is not known, nor is when they will first enter the water.

Macron’s supporters are annoyed at what they say was an attempt on Morrison’s part to give the impression he had spoken with the French President about the submarine decision the night before it was announced in a press conference with Biden and Johnson.

…….French fury is also directed at Foreign Minister Marise Payne, who presided over the submarine contact’s birth during her time as defence minister and held a meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian just two weeks before the AUKUS announcement.

Payne gave Le Drian no indication the deal was about to be scuttled and even released a joint statement afterwards praising the French-Australia submarine project………https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/no-timeframe-let-alone-a-date-france-has-no-immediate-plans-to-speak-to-canberra-20210925-p58uo8.html

September 25, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Sutherland Shire doesn’t want any more nuclear waste stored at Lucas Heights in their Shire

Council calls on Hughes MP to take stand against ANSTO nuclear waste expansion plan St George and Sutherland Shire Leader

Sutherland Shire Council is calling “in the strongest terms” for Hughes MP Craig Kelly to take a stand against a proposed new nuclear waste facility at ANSTO, Lucas Heights.

Mayor Steve Simpson told this week’s council meeting, “I would like to see less of his medical skills [COVID comments] and much more of an assertion that the [nuclear] waste should not be kept in his electorate”.

Mr Kelly hit back, accusing councillors of “scaremongering”.

The council unanimously resolved that, while continuing to support research and innovation at ANSTO and its benefits for treatments for cancer and in nuclear medicine, a submission be made to the independent regulator ARPANSA opposing the construction of an Intermediate Level Waste Capacity Increase (ILWCI) facility at the Lucas Heights campus.

A letter will also be written to the federal Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt, requesting the matter of the establishment of a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility be given urgent priority.

The final part of the motion stated: “Council puts in the strongest term Cr Michael Forshaw, a former senator, said previous MPs for Hughes, Robert Tickner and Danna Vale, “were strong on this issue in pushing the need for a permanent repository, or store, for our nuclear waste”…………. https://www.theleader.com.au/story/7435883/updated-council-challenges-craig-kelly-over-nuclear-waste/?fbclid=IwAR1dY5en839aPPJMae32D-5ivaPFQR7CWpn0sLX2lih3slzz4

September 25, 2021 Posted by | New South Wales, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear submarines must be ‘subject to rigorous parliamentary review’: Senator Rex Patrick

There are many significant issues that will need to be properly considered and I fear that they haven’t yet.

“The Senate foreign affairs, defence and trade references committee will need to undertake a wide ranging and rigorous inquiry to inform government, opposition, the Parliament and most importantly the Australian people before the next election

Nuclear submarines must be ‘subject to rigorous parliamentary review’: Senator Rex Patrick,   https://www.defenceconnect.com.au/maritime-antisub/8762-nuclear-submarines-must-be-subject-to-rigorous-parliamentary-review-senator-rex-patrick    24 Sept 21, South Australian senator Rex Patrick called on the Senate foreign affairs, defence and trade references committee to open an inquiry into the Commonwealth’s recent submarine announcement.

“This is a very big strategic decision with long-term national security, geopolitical, and economic consequences that must be the subject to rigorous and wide-ranging scrutiny,” Senator Patrick said.

“In these circumstances the Senate foreign affairs, defence and trade references committee should open an immediate inquiry to ensure that all the angles, including alternative conventionally-powered submarine procurement options, are fully explored and understood. The committee should produce an initial report prior to the federal election.

“I’ve been a strong critic of the French submarine deal. The delays and cost overruns are huge and unacceptable.

But we have to be careful we don’t move from one massive procurement disaster into something else that hasn’t been thought through properly.

“There are huge uncertainties about this announcement – including the selection of a US or British submarine, numbers, cost and schedule of acquisition and delivery.

“The proposed initial US-UK-Australia joint study to be undertaken over the next 18 months is a prudent step and will mean that further decisions will take place after Australia’s election.”

As reported by Defence Connect, the key points of the details are as follows:

  • Australia is expected to become the only non-nuclear nation to possess nuclear submarine capabilities;
  • Australia, UK and US expected to undertake knowledge sharing to enable the Royal Australian Navy to attain a nuclear powered fleet, the first time such knowledge sharing has taken place in over six decades;
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed that the submarines will be built in Adelaide, Australia;
  • Creation of new “trilateral security dialogue” with Australia, UK and US;
  • Naval Group expressed their disappointment with the decision, defending the capabilities of the Attack Class Submarine.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that Australia plans to build a fleet of nuclear submarines with the support of the US and UK, which the PM confirmed alongside his UK and US counterparts in a press conference this morning.

The once-in-a-generation technology sharing and support agreement forms part of a new “trilateral security partnership” between the countries dubbed AUKUS.

Although, Senator Patrick outlined that the current proposal will prove difficult for the Australian Defence Force and Commonwealth government without a domestic nuclear power capability.

“Either way there would be nuclear reactors sitting on hard-stands at Osborne and moored in the Port River,” he said.

“Acquiring, operating and maintaining a nuclear submarine fleet without a domestic nuclear power industry is a challenge that must not be underestimated.

“The nuclear safety and non-proliferation safeguards issues are unquestionably complex and likely to be controversial.

This proposed project would also most likely require new treaty level agreements with the United States and/or the United Kingdom, requiring congressional and parliamentary approval.

“There are many significant issues that will need to be properly considered and I fear that they haven’t yet.

“The Senate foreign affairs, defence and trade references committee will need to undertake a wide ranging and rigorous inquiry to inform government, opposition, the Parliament and most importantly the Australian people before the next election.”

September 25, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

The massive subsidy to nuclear submarines must not be used to justify subsidy to nuclear power

the massive public subsidy of this project must not be used to justify the much greater risks of nuclear power.

Australia is blessed with a bounty of sun and wind, and is well on the way to achieving 50% renewable energy by 2030, even without government help. No matter which way you look at it, nuclear power in Australia makes no sense at all.

Yes, Australia is buying a fleet of nuclear submarines. But nuclear-powered electricity must not come next  https://theconversation.com/yes-australia-is-buying-a-fleet-of-nuclear-submarines-but-nuclear-powered-electricity-must-not-come-next-168110
Ian Lowe
, Emeritus Professor, School of Science, Griffith UniversitySeptember 20, 2021   The federal government on Thursday announced a landmark defence pact with the United States and United Kingdom that involves this nation acquiring nuclear-powered submarines. The question of nuclear submarines in Australia has been bubbling along for some time – and with it, whether we should also develop a nuclear energy sector.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison insisted the defence deal did not mean Australia would look to develop a civil nuclear capability.

But there is strong support within Coalition ranks for a homegrown nuclear power industry. And the Minerals Council of Australia on Thursday quickly pointed out the “opportunity” the submarine announcement created for expanding nuclear technology in Australia.

The submarine announcement is sure to trigger a new round of debate on whether nuclear energy is right for Australia. But let’s be clear: the technology makes no sense for Australia, economically or politically, and would not be a timely response to climate change.

A twin discussion

The topics of nuclear submarines and nuclear energy are often discussed in tandem.

The technology is similar: the energy source for a nuclear submarine is basically a miniature version of that for a power station. And a similar supply chain is needed for mining and processing uranium, fuelling the reactor and managing waste. That also means both technologies require similar skills and regulatory frameworks.

The Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Tania Constable on Thursday responded to the submarine announcement, pointing out the apparent synergies with nuclear power:

This is an incredible opportunity for Australia’s economy – not only will we develop the skills and infrastructure to support this naval technology, but it connects us to the growing global nuclear power industry and its supply chains.

Now that Australia is acquiring nuclear submarines which use small reactors, there is no reason why Australia should not be considering [small modular reactors] for civilian use.

A former commander of Australia’s submarine force, Denis Mole, in April also questioned why Australia doesn’t have a larger and more diverse nuclear industry.

Mole argued that of the top 20 world economies, all have nuclear power except Australia, Italy and Saudi Arabia. And as nations commit to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 “it’s noteworthy that no major economy intends doing so without nuclear power in the mix”, he said.

And in February this year, Lindsay Hughes, a senior analyst in the Indo-Pacific program of research organisation Future Directions International, also suggested Australia should develop a nuclear power sector to support a nuclear submarine fleet.

Hughes argued a nuclear power sector would provide skills that could be transferred into the military domain, including nuclear-powered submarines, saying:

A nuclear power sector would demand university graduates with skills in engineering, physics and mathematics, the same skills and skill levels that the US Navy requires to operate its nuclear submarines. Australian graduates with similar skills could be employed on Australian nuclear-powered submarines.

Hughes concluded a nuclear power sector “could potentially provide much of the foundational skills required to maintain and operate a nuclear-power submarine fleet”.

 That really is the military tail wagging the electricity industry dog.

Nuclear power is not the logical next step

Even if there’s agreement Australia needs nuclear submarines patrolling the South China Sea, there is no logical jump for a nuclear power sector to support that activity.

In an opinion piece in March this year, former defence minister Christopher Pyne wrote that without nuclear energy, Australia could not support nuclear submarines – but establishing the former would be difficult. He went on:

Australia does not have a nuclear industry. One cannot be created overnight. Even if there was the political will to create one, which there isn’t, what political party is going to waste its political capital on creating a legislative framework for a nuclear industry that can sustain nuclear submarines, that has zero chance of passing any Upper House in any jurisdiction in Australia.

A nuclear industry in Australia would need a solution for the safe storage and disposal of high-level radioactive waste – this appears unlikely, given the public opposition to establishing a site to dispose of even low-level nuclear waste in Australia.

And research suggests there would be little community support for nuclear power – especially following the Fukushima disaster – let alone a community willing to host a reactor.

The decision to build nuclear submarines raises a new set of issues about uranium processing, fuel fabrication and waste management. The Morrison government needs to tell the community how these will be managed.

What’s more, while nuclear power may have once been cheaper than wind or solar, the economics have since changed dramatically.

Nuclear power plants are very expensive to build and the economics of nuclear power are getting steadily worse. By contrast, renewables continue to come down in price.

Over the past 20 years, new nuclear reactors have struggled to establish a business case in any OECD country, with the potential exception of South Korea. The world has obviously made its decision on nuclear: last year 192 gigawtts of renewables came on line, compared with a net 3 gigawatts of nuclear power.

The future is renewables

Australia’s 2009 Defence White Paper noted the federal government had ruled out nuclear propulsion for submarines. Now the federal government will outlay huge amounts of money establishing the framework for the technology.

However, the massive public subsidy of this project must not be used to justify the much greater risks of nuclear power.

Australia is blessed with a bounty of sun and wind, and is well on the way to achieving 50% renewable energy by 2030, even without government help. No matter which way you look at it, nuclear power in Australia makes no sense at all.

September 25, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics, technology | Leave a comment

Nuclear submarines – a step towards full nuclear chain, importing wastes, and joining in USA nuclear brinkmanship

Nuclear Submarines – just a foot in the door, Echo By Richard Staples, September 24, 2021  ”………….   Admittedly, nuclear-powered subs can stay underwater virtually indefinitely, but they are relatively noisy. A nuclear reactor with its pumps and heat transfer systems cannot help but make noise continuously. There is only so much that can be done to muffle or quieten them down. In contrast, a submerged conventional submarine can switch off all its motors, and survive on battery power. Provided the crew don’t fart or sneeze, they can be very quiet indeed. And contemporary subs equipped with fuel cells as well as batteries can operate submerged for up to three weeks.

In the next few months we will hear a lot about how superior nuclear-powered submarines are. Vice Admiral Mike Noonan is even claiming superior stealth characteristics – which is simply not true. Yes, they tend to be faster. This is great if you want to go thousands of kilometres in a matter of days. But they are also much more expensive.

A conventionally powered sub like the German-Italian Type 212 costs between €280 and €560 million. Even allowing for Australia paying mug’s prices, we could acquire and run one for far less than a billion dollars. Contrast that with the proposed boats, each of which will probably cost ten times that much. The money we could save could be used to preserve an Australia worth defending – a fleet of firefighting aircraft, stopping the erosion of our health care system, free university education… you fill in the rest.

So, why nuclear subs?

Elements of the Federal coalition and the media are very keen on Australia getting more involved in the nuclear fuel cycle. The Financial Review has jumped straight in lobbying for nuclear power. On July 29 there was kite-flying in the West Australian newspaper about building a nuclear reactor in WA (with UK involvement). This would probably be sited in a remote location (to avoid the NIMBYs) – maybe the Kimberley – and primarily tasked with producing hydrogen. Expect an announcement if the Morrison government is returned at the next election.

Meanwhile the planned nuclear waste dump in SA could very profitably be expanded. High-level N-waste could be taken, not just from military sources. Countries like the UK and Germany (and I dare say France) could solve their dilemma of N-waste by exporting it to a remote location in the third world (Aboriginal land in Australia). So the move to N-powered ships can be seen as a slip into the whole nuclear cycle.

Meanwhile Defence Minister Dutton beats the drums of war, trying to terrify us regarding China’s ‘huge military buildup’ (China is spending less than one-third what the US does). Our own military bill is huge and increasing – $45 billion this year. The recent announcement of AUKUS, a strategic partnership obviously aimed at China, identifies an enemy, and offers a strategic excuse for this expenditure. It is about this country playing a minor role in a US-led game of brinkmanship and global hegemony. We would base our nuclear subs at HMAS Stirling near Fremantle and play the role of Deputy Sheriff in the Indian Ocean, targeting Chinese assets in the Horn of Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma. Then there is Dutton talking about more US weapons and GIs being based in Australia. This is AUKUS.

The alternative scenario is that Australia protects itself. In 1986 the Hawke Government received the Dibb Report, which proposed such an approach, but gained little traction. This might include conventionally powered attack submarines that would be far better equipped to deal with any seaborne invasion. Unmanned Undersea Vehicles are a rapidly emerging technology that could also play a role. (Such drones may render crewed subs obsolete anyway).

But rather than preparing for war, we could enhance the prospects for peace.

Above all, Australia is desperately in need of an independent foreign policy and a competent diplomatic service. Building trust and friendship with neighbours to the near north and in the Pacific would be a good start.   https://www.echo.net.au/2021/09/nuclear-submarines-a-foot-in-the-door/

September 25, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Records smashed again on Australia’s grid as renewables share reaches 61.7 pct — RenewEconomy

Updated: As state energy ministers met to discuss the future of the grid, records tumbled again with renewables reaching a share of 61.7 per cent. The post Records smashed again on Australia’s grid as renewables share reaches 61.7 pct appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Records smashed again on Australia’s grid as renewables share reaches 61.7 pct — RenewEconomy

September 25, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Morrison and Joyce need to follow the trillions shifting to zero emissions — RenewEconomy

Regardless of whether Morrison and Joyce can come to a deal, investors are already shifting trillions of dollars in preparation for net zero. The post Morrison and Joyce need to follow the trillions shifting to zero emissions appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Morrison and Joyce need to follow the trillions shifting to zero emissions — RenewEconomy

September 25, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Broken Hill is about to get a 50MW big battery to support wind and solar — RenewEconomy

AGL gets planning approval for a 50MW battery at Broken Hill, but its fate may still depend on network and storage choices by Transgrid. The post Broken Hill is about to get a 50MW big battery to support wind and solar appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Broken Hill is about to get a 50MW big battery to support wind and solar — RenewEconomy

September 25, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How Corporations Won the War on Terror, by William Hartung — Rise Up Times

“To put such a figure in perspective, the $75 billion in Pentagon contracts awarded to Lockheed Martin that year was significantly more than one and one-half times the entire 2020 budget for the State Department and the Agency for International Development, which together totaled $44 billion.”

How Corporations Won the War on Terror, by William Hartung — Rise Up Times

September 25, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Footage reveals highly radioactive area in crippled Fukushima Daiichi — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

21 sept. 2021 The Nuclear Regulation Authority reveals footage of a highly radioactive area in Fukushima Daiichi, which may affect decommissioning plans. https://www.nippon.com/en/news/ntv20210921001/footage-reveals-highly-radioactive-area-in-crippled-fukushima-daiichi.html

Footage reveals highly radioactive area in crippled Fukushima Daiichi — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

September 25, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Support for Nuclear Ban Treaty Is Rising. Nuclear Nations Are on the Defensive. 

Beyond politics, pressure to support the TPNW is being applied at the city, state and county levels by large municipalities like Sydney, Toronto, Paris and Washington, D.C., as well as smaller ones from Anchorage to Zurich to Helsinki. Around the world, in nuclear weapons-free countries as well as nuclear-armed nations, a growing number of people recognize that nuclear weapons — like chemical, biological and other banned weapons of mass destruction — should be declared illegal and unacceptable at every level.

Support for Nuclear Ban Treaty Is Rising. Nuclear Nations Are on the Defensive. Jon LetmanTruthout, September 24, 2021 

Nuclear tensions and nuclear spending are on the rise, but the elevated danger of nuclear weapons is overshadowed as other urgent global threats from the COVID pandemic, climate and environmental emergencies, and other urgent crises dominate news headlines. The United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which entered into force in January, receives scant media attention, even as the United Nations prepares to mark September 26 as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Unlike other nuclear treaties and agreements, the TPNW, or nuclear ban treaty as it is also known, prohibits all activity including development, testing, production, acquisition, possession, stockpiling, and the use or threat to use nuclear weapons. The treaty also has provisions to assist victims of nuclear weapons use or testing, and for environmental remediation.

As the number of countries adopting and ratifying the TPNW grows, the division between treaty supporters and opponents remains stark. Proponents say the treaty represents a new norm in which nuclear weapons are not only immoral, but also illegal. Opponents see the treaty as too drastic, ineffective and as undermining nuclear deterrence policies.

Of the 122 countries which voted in 2017 to adopt the ban treaty, 56 are now state parties, having ratified the treaty. These include three of the world’s most populous nations: Mexico, Nigeria and Bangladesh. Chile became the most recent country to ratify the treaty on September 23. The TPNW has been ratified around the world from tiny island nations Tuvalu, Nauru and Malta to enormous countries like Kazakhstan, South Africa and Venezuela. Jamaica, Botswana, Bolivia, Palestine and the Philippines are also state parties, and both Indonesia and Brazil are expected to ratify in the coming months.

In contrast, the governments of all nine nuclear-armed states oppose the treaty, as do five nations hosting U.S. nuclear weapons (Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey) and “nuclear-endorsing” nations that include Australia, Japan, South Korea and all of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members.

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September 25, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment