Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

The nuclear industry is a global threat, just like climate change and the pandemic – theme for April 21

Leaders of nations are slow to wake up to what many normal people have known – we share this planet. Its big problems are global, and need to be addressed globally.

The pandemic is a telling illustration of this – squabbles over how it started, and over vaccines. But leaders are slowly realising that economic life will not really get going while Covid-19 is raging in other countries.

Climate change is an even more serious example, with its effects not all predictable. But poor countries take the brunt of what has been caused by rich countries.

Somehow, inexplicably lurking in the background is the terrible danger of the nuclear industry.

The nuclear industry is in a way more dangerous, more sinister than the other two – because it is very corrupt, and is managing to put it over governments – posing as the ”solution” to climate change.

A global cabal of toxic masculinity, this crooked industry is run by nuclear ‘cowboys’ – keen to take the safety risks, the weapons proliferation risks, the apocalyptic war risks, not only on earth but in space, and on other planets. And they manage this confidence trick at tax-payers’ expense. The nuclear nations beef up their weapons ‘ industry, with public funds that are not going to the health and well-being of their populations.

Fortunately there are international organisations that work for global action – a good example being ICAN – the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

It is time for the nuclear-free organisations to work together, globally, to counteract the nuclear industry. That’s a hard call, as the nuclear industry has the money, the influence, the ruthless crookedness to impose its will on governments and media.

The nuclear free movement, with its predominantly indigenous members, lacks mopney and influence. Still, the nuclear-free movement has some powerful advantages – intelligent expertise, integrity and determination.

April 10, 2021 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

There’s a long and devastating history behind the proposal for a nuclear waste dump in South Australia,

There’s a long and devastating history behind the proposal for a nuclear waste dump in South Australia, https://theconversation.com/theres-a-long-and-devastating-history-behind-the-proposal-for-a-nuclear-waste-dump-in-south-australia-158615,,,Katherine Aigner

PhD candidate Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy, Australian National University   On Saturday at the Adelaide Festival there will be a public showing of Australian Atomic Confessions, a documentary I co-directed about the tragic and long-lasting effects of the atomic weapons testing carried out by Britain in South Australia in the 1950s.

Amid works from 20 artists reflecting on nuclear trauma as experienced by Indigenous peoples, the discussion that follows will focus on the ways in which attempts at nuclear colonisation have continued in South Australia, and are continuing right now.

For the fourth time in 23 years South Australia is being targeted for a nuclear waste dump — this time at Napandee, a property near Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula.

The plan is likely to require the use of a port, most probably Whyalla, to receive reprocessed nuclear fuel waste by sea from France, the United Kingdom and the Lucas Heights reactor in NSW via Port Kembla.

The waste will be stored above ground in concrete vaults which will be filled for 100 years and monitored for a further 200-300 years.

Nuclear waste can remain hazardous for thousands of years.

The Barngarla people hold cultural rights and responsibilities for the region but were excluded from a government poll about the proposal because they were not deemed to be local residents.

The 734 locals who took part backed the proposal 61.6%

The Barngarla people are far from the first in South Australia to be excluded from a say about proposals to spread nuclear materials over their land.

It’s not the first such proposal

Australian Atomic Confessions explores the legacy of the nine British atomic bombs dropped on Maralinga and Emu Field in the 1950s, and the “minor trials” that continued into the 1960s.

After failed clean-ups by the British in the 1960s followed by a Royal Commission in the 1980s, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency conducted a cleanup between 1995 and 2000 it assures us was successful to the point where most of the contaminated areas at Maralinga fall well within the clean-up standards applied for unrestricted land use.

But experts remain sceptical, given the near-surface burial of plutonium and contamination remaining across a wide area.

The Tjarutja people are allowed to move through and hunt at the Maralinga site with their radiation levels monitored but are not permitted to camp there permanently.

We are told that what happened in the 1950s wouldn’t happen today, in relation to the proposed nuclear waste dump. But it wasn’t our enemies who bombed us at Maralinga and Emu Field, it was an ally.

In exchange for allowing 12 British atomic bombs tests (including those at the Monte Bello Islands off the northern coast of Western Australia), the Australian government got access to nuclear technology which it used to build the Lucas Heights reactor.

It is primarily the nuclear waste produced from six decades of operations at Lucas Heights that would be dumped onto Barngarla country in South Australia, closing the links in this nuclear trauma chain.


Nuclear bombs and nuclear waste disproportionately impact Indigenous peoples, yet Australia still has not signed up to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The declaration requires states to ensure there is no storage or disposal of hazardous materials on the lands of Indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent.

Nor has Australia shown any willingness to sign up to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which came into force on January 22 this year after a lobbying campaign that began in Australia and was endorsed by Indigenous leaders worldwide.

Aboriginal people have long known the dangers of uranium on their country.

Water from the Great Artesian Basin has been extracted by the Olympic Dam copper-uranium mine for decades. Fragile mound springs of spiritual significance to the Arabunna People are disappearing, posing questions for the mining giant BHP to answer.

Australian uranium from BHP Olympic Dam and the now-closed Rio Tinto Ranger mine fuelled the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Senior traditional custodian of the Mirrar people, Yvonne Margarula, wrote to the United Nations in 2013 saying her people feel responsible for what happened.

It is likely that the radiation problems at Fukushima are, at least in part, fuelled by uranium derived from our traditional lands. This makes us feel very sad.

The Irati Wanti (The Poison, Leave It!) campaign led by a council of senior Aboriginal women helped defeat earlier proposals for nuclear waste dumps between 1998 and 2004.

There remains strong Indigenous opposition to the current nuclear waste proposal.

Over the past five years, farmers have joined with the Barngarla People to protect their communities and the health of the land.

In 2020 the government introduced into the Senate a bill that would do away with traditional owners’ and farmers’ rights to judicial reviews and procedural fairness in regard to the use of land for the facility.

Resources Minister Keith Pitt is deciding how to proceed.

April 10, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate agencies are being gassified as Australia ramps up international greenwash — RenewEconomy

Australia’s government is ramping up its international greenwashing efforts, even as it gassifies its clean energy agencies. The post Climate agencies are being gassified as Australia ramps up international greenwash appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Climate agencies are being gassified as Australia ramps up international greenwash — RenewEconomy

April 10, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Despite the influence of Bill Gates, experts find that nuclear power is the wrong climate solution

“A decade ago, perhaps one could still argue we need new nuclear power plants to combat global warming, and that better approaches were hopefully just around the corner,” Howarth says. “But in 2021, it is very clear that we can completely rebuild the energy economy of the world moving forward built on renewable energy alone, with no need for fossil fuels or nukes. To build our future on renewables is that fastest, safest, and cheapest way to address climate disruption.”

How Bill Gates’ company TerraPower is building next-generation nuclear power, CNBC Make It, , Apr 8 2021 ”…….  Selected by the U.S. federal government to demonstrate the viability of nuclear power through its Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP), TerraPower aims to build “fully functional advanced nuclear reactor within 7 years of the award,” according to the Office of Nuclear Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy………

TerraPower’s ability to achieve those goals will be in no small part due to the money and influence of the company’s founder.“The most important factor is that Bill Gates is behind this,” principal research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology department of nuclear science and engineering Charles Forsberg tells CNBC Make It………..

Still, some say nuclear power is the wrong solution,  Despite what Gates and TerraPower see as benefits, the debate over nuclear power is fierce.    On March 18, for instance, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a non-profit group of 250 scientists and related professionals, issued a 140-page rebuke of “advanced nuclear” reactor designs.

“If nuclear power is to play a larger role to address climate change, it is essential for new reactor designs to be safer, more secure, and pose comparable or—better yet—lower risks of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism than the existing reactor fleet,” says Edwin Lyman, Director of Nuclear Power Safety at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, DC, in a statement released with the report. “Despite the hype surrounding them, none of the non-light-water reactors on the drawing board that we reviewed meet all of those requirements.”

The UCS even recommends the Department of Energy (DOE) suspend it jointly funded ARDP demonstration project (in which TerraPower is a particpant) until regulatory agencies determine what kind of prototyping is necessary, and calls on the DOE to have an independent commission to review the project.

“It doesn’t make sense to us for either government or industry to devote a lot of resources to pursuing high-risk, low-reward technologies – or technologies that could be even worse than what we have now,” Lyman tells CNBC Make It.  Instead, more federal government spending to improve conventional reactors is a better tactic, according to the UCS.

“Investment to address the shortcomings of conventional reactors would have a higher chance of success because there is a large base of operating experience and experimental data that researchers can draw upon,” Lyman says………

Still others say focusing on nuclear power at all is the wrong approach.

Nuclear power, which has been around since the 1950s, “has proven to be very slow to deploy, very expensive, and fraught with dangers,” says Robert W. Howarth, professor of ecology and environmental biology at Cornell University. “And no one has ever solved the problem with what to do with nuclear wastes.”

Safe and affordable nuclear power is “a pipe dream” that “never materialized,” he says.

Michael E. Mann, professor of atmospheric science at Penn State and director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC), argues that nuclear energy “comes with unnecessary risks when better alternatives (i.e. wind, solar, geothermal) are available.”

And “investment in nuclear likely crowds out investment in the safer alternative (renewable energy),” he says.

Both Howarth and Mann are signatories on a declaration that calls for decarbonization through 100% renewable energy, like wind and solar.

“A decade ago, perhaps one could still argue we need new nuclear power plants to combat global warming, and that better approaches were hopefully just around the corner,” Howarth says. “But in 2021, it is very clear that we can completely rebuild the energy economy of the world moving forward built on renewable energy alone, with no need for fossil fuels or nukes. To build our future on renewables is that fastest, safest, and cheapest way to address climate disruption.”

April 10, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Fair” exposes in detail how corporate media uses “Tropes” to win intelligent people over to USA militarism

If well-paid US columnists start becoming preoccupied with human rights in your country, it is a pretty good sign that you are about to get bombed. It is also remarkable how quickly those same pundits will lose their acute interest in human rights in a nation after a US intervention. Therefore, the next time you hear freedom, human rights and democracy in another country being endlessly discussed, be on your guard for ulterior motives; these cold-blooded media figures may just be crying crocodile tears in the service of empire.

Think of the women!  ……… He’s attacking his own people! …….. We have to save democracy! ……..

How media language encourages the left to support wars, coups and intervention   https://fair.org/home/support-the-tropes/comment-page-1/#comment-3189279ALAN MACLEOD,   In an earlier piece (FAIR.org, 3/3/21), we explored some country case study examples of how the press helps to manufacture consent for regime change and other US actions abroad among left-leaning audiences, a traditionally conflict-skeptical group.

Some level of buy-in, or at least a hesitancy to resist, among the United States’ more left-leaning half is necessary to ensure that US interventions are carried out with a minimum of domestic opposition. To this end, corporate media invoke the language of human rights and humanitarianism to convince those to the left of center to accept, if not support, US actions abroad—a treatment of sorts for the country’s 50-year-long Vietnam syndrome.

What follows are some of the common tropes used by establishment outlets to convince skeptical leftists that this time, things might be different, selling  a progressive intervention everyone can get behind.

Continue reading

April 10, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dodgy European Taxonomy report was favourable to nuclear power – but it’s far from a done deal

About EU Taxonomy Report , Joint Research Centre , JD Supra 9 Apr 21,
”……..While the JRC report has been well received by the nuclear industry, there are further administrative hurdles to be cleared prior to nuclear energy being deemed sustainable under the EU Taxonomy Regulation. The JRC report needs to be reviewed by two additional expert groups: (a) the group of experts on radiation and protection and waste management under Article 31 of the Euratom Treaty, and (b) the Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks, who deal with environmental impacts. These two groups are expected to issue their reports within the next three months and will inform the EU Commission’s final decision on the matter. There could of course be some delay as the Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks remains very occupied with COVID matters at the current time……”

April 10, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Faster, cheaper, cleaner: Big batteries the new king of peaking services — RenewEconomy

New Clean Energy Council report declares big batteries the new king of peaking services, cheaper and faster than traditional gas generators. The post Faster, cheaper, cleaner: Big batteries the new king of peaking services appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Faster, cheaper, cleaner: Big batteries the new king of peaking services — RenewEconomy

April 10, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Atmospheric CO2 and methane levels soar to record highs despite pandemic — RenewEconomy

Scientists have recorded a surprising rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane levels over 2020, complicating predictions of a Covid reprieve. The post Atmospheric CO2 and methane levels soar to record highs despite pandemic appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Atmospheric CO2 and methane levels soar to record highs despite pandemic — RenewEconomy

April 10, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

April 9 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Yes, Industrial Waste Disasters Are More Likely From Climate Change” • The threat of a catastrophic failure in Piney Point, Florida, sending a 20-foot wall of industrial wastewater over homes and businesses illustrates the danger of our reliance on industrial waste ponds. The risk they pose is greater because of climate change. [CleanTechnica] […]

April 9 Energy News — geoharvey

April 10, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chinese-Australian uranium and rare earths mining company meets political opposition in Greenland

Left-wing party opposed to rare earth mining project wins Greenland election,  A left-wing environmentalist party opposed to a controversial mining project won a clear victory in Greenland’s parliamentary election, according to results released Wednesday. https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20210407-left-wing-party-opposed-to-rare-earth-mining-project-wins-greenland-election 7 Apr 21,

With 36.6 percent of the vote, Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) was ahead of Siumut, a social democratic party that has dominated politics in the Danish territory since it gained autonomy in 1979.

“Thank you to the people who trusted us to work with the people in the centre for the next four years,” IA leader Mute Egede said on KNR public television after the results were announced.

IA, which was previously in opposition, is expected to grab 12 out of the 31 seats in the Inatsisartut, the local parliament, up from eight currently.

But without an absolute majority, the most likely scenario is that IA joins forces with smaller parties to form a coalition.   Siumut, which headed the outgoing government, was partly weakened by internal struggles. It gained 29.4 percent of the vote, still two percentage points higher than its results in the 2018 election.

The dividing line between the two parties was whether to authorise a controversial giant rare earth and uranium mining project, which is currently the subject of public hearings.

The Kuannersuit deposit, in the island’s south, is considered one of the world’s richest in uranium and rare earth minerals — a group of 17 metals used as components in everything from smartphones to electric cars and weapons.

IA has called for a moratorium on uranium mining, which would effectively put a halt to the project.

Divisions over Kuannersuit originally triggered the snap election in the territory after one of the smaller parties left the ruling Siumut coalition.

Opponents say the project, led by the Chinese-owned Australian group Greenland Minerals, has too many environmental risks, including radioactive waste.

Egede told KNR he would immediately start discussions to “explore different forms of cooperation” before forming a coalition government.

The 34-year-old, who has been a member of the Inatsisartut since 2015, took over the reins of the left-green party a little over two years ago.

April 8, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics international, rare earths, uranium | Leave a comment

Unstoppable: Rooftop solar market notches up new all-time high in March — RenewEconomy

Australia breaks yet another record for rooftop solar installations, with homes and businesses adding 317MW of systems in March – an all-time high for national monthly installs. The post Unstoppable: Rooftop solar market notches up new all-time high in March appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Unstoppable: Rooftop solar market notches up new all-time high in March — RenewEconomy

April 8, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s part in continuing nuclear havoc in Pacific islands – legacy of atomic bomb tests

75 years after nuclear testing in the Pacific began, the fallout continues to wreak havoc    https://theconversation.com/75-years-after-nuclear-testing-in-the-pacific-began-the-fallout-continues-to-wreak-havoc-158208?fbclid=IwAR3q9QJvy507ds2kD0ibOvkD6ZzxFqgGjfHsGrwqJUVMNpujOu8sAeLVPtY
April 6, 2021 
 Patricia A. O’Brien Patricia A. O’Brien is a Friend of The Conversation.Historian, Visiting Fellow in the School of History, Australian National University and Adjunct Professor in the Asian Studies Program, Georgetown University,    This year marks 75 years since the United States launched its immense atomic testing program in the Pacific. The historical fallout from tests carried out over 12 years in the Marshall Islands, then a UN Trust Territory governed by the US, have framed seven decades of US relations with the Pacific nation.Due to the dramatic effects of climate change, the legacies of this history are shaping the present in myriad ways.

This history has Australian dimensions too, though decades of diplomatic distance between Australia and the Marshall Islands have hidden an entangled atomic past.

In 1946, the Marshall Islands seemed very close for many Australians. They feared the imminent launch of the US’s atomic testing program on Bikini Atoll might split the earth in two, catastrophically change the earth’s climate, or produce earthquakes and deadly tidal waves.

A map accompanying one report noted Sydney was only 3,100 miles from ground zero. Residents as far away as Perth were warned if their houses shook on July 1, “it may be the atom bomb test”.

Australia was “included in the tests” as a site for recording blast effects and monitoring for atom bombs detonated anywhere in the world by hostile nations. This Australian site served to keep enemies in check and achieve one of the Pacific testing program’s objectives: to deter future war. The other justification was the advancement of science.

The earth did not split in two after the initial test (unless you were Marshallese) so they continued; 66 others followed over the next 12 years. But the insidious and multiple harms to people and place, regularly covered up or denied publicly, became increasingly hard to hide.

Radiation poisoning, birth defects, leukaemia, thyroid and other cancers became prevalent in exposed Marshallese, at least four islands were “partially or completely vapourised”, the exposed Marshallese “became subjects of a medical research program” and atomic refugees. (Bikinians were allowed to return to their atoll for a decade before the US government removed them again when it was realised a careless error falsely claimed radiation levels were safe in 1968.)

In late 1947, the US moved its operations to Eniwetok Atoll, a decision, it was argued, to ensure additional safety. Eniwetok was more isolated and winds were less likely to carry radioactive particles to populated areas.

Australian reports noted this site was only 3,200 miles from Sydney. Troubling reports of radioactive clouds as far away as the French Alps and the known shocking health effects appeared.

Dissenting voices were initially muted due to the steep escalation of the Cold War and Soviet atomic weapon tests beginning in 1949.

Opinion in Australia split along political lines. Conservative Cold War warriors, chief among them Robert Menzies who became prime minister again in 1949, kept Australia in lockstep with the US, and downplayed the ill-effects of testing. Left-wing elements in Australia continued to draw attention to the “horrors” it unleashed.

The atomic question came home in 1952, when the first of 12 British atomic tests began on the Montebello Islands, off Western Australia.   Australia’s involvement in atomic testing expanded again in 1954, when it began supplying South Australian-mined uranium to the US and UK’s joint defence purchasing authority, the Combined Development Agency.

Australia’s economic stake in the atomic age from 1954 collided with the galvanisation of global public opinion against US testing in Eniwetok. The massive “Castle Bravo” hydrogen bomb test in March exposed Marshall Islanders and a Japanese fishing crew on The Lucky Dragon to catastrophic radiation levels “equal to that received by Japanese people less than two miles from ground zero” in the 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic blasts. Graphic details of the fishermen’s suffering and deaths and a Marshallese petition to the United Nations followed.

When a UN resolution to halt US testing was voted on in July, Australia voted for its continuation. But the tide of public opinion was turning against testing. The events of 1954 dispelled the notion atomic waste was safe and could be contained. The problem of radioactive fish travelling into Australian waters highlighted these new dangers, which spurred increasing world wide protests until the US finally ceased testing in the Marshalls in 1958.

In the 1970s, US atomic waste was concentrated under the Runit Island dome, part of Enewetak Atoll (about 3,200 miles from Sydney). Recent alarming descriptions of how precarious and dangerous this structure is due to age, sea water inundation and storm damage exacerbated by climate change were contested in a 2020 Trump-era report.

The Biden administration’s current renegotiation of the Compact of Free Association with the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and its prioritisation of action on climate change, will put Runit Island high on the agenda. There is an opportunity for historical redress for the US that is even more urgent given the upsurge in discrimination against US-based Pacific Islander communities devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some are peoples displaced by the tests.

Australia is also embarking on a new level of engagement with the Marshall Islands: it is due to open its first embassy in the capital Majuro in 2021.It should be remembered this bilateral relationship has an atomic history too. Australia supported the US testing program, assisted with data collection and voted in the UN for its continuation when Marshallese pleaded for it to be stopped. It is also likely Australian-sourced atomic waste lies within Runit Island, cementing Australia in this history.

April 8, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, history, reference, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment

As the Climate Crisis Grows, a Movement Gathers to Make ‘Ecocide’ an International Crime Against the Environment   

As the Climate Crisis Grows, a Movement Gathers to Make ‘Ecocide’ an International Crime Against the Environment    InsideClimateNews,   7 Apr 21, International lawyers, environmentalists and a growing number of world leaders say “ecocide”—widespread destruction of the environment—would serve as a “moral red line” for the planet.By Nicholas Kusnetz, Katie Surma and Yuliya TalmazanApril 7, 2021  The Fifth Crime: First in a continuing series with NBC News about the campaign to make “ecocide” an international crime.

In 1948, after Nazi Germany exterminated millions of Jews and other minorities during World War II, the United Nations adopted a convention establishing a new crime so heinous it demanded collective action. Genocide, the nations declared, was “condemned by the civilized world” and justified intervention in the affairs of sovereign states. 

Now, a small but growing number of world leaders including Pope Francis and French President Emmanuel Macron have begun citing an offense they say poses a similar threat to humanity and remains beyond the reach of existing legal conventions: ecocide, or widespread destruction of the environment.

The Pope describes ecocide as “the massive contamination of air, land and water,” or “any action capable of producing an ecological disaster,” and has proposed making it a sin for Catholics. 

The Pontiff has also endorsed a campaign by environmental activists and legal scholars to make ecocide the fifth crime before the International Criminal Court in The Hague as a legal deterrent to the kinds of far-reaching environmental damage that are driving mass extinction, ecological collapse and climate change. The monumental step, which faces a long road of global debate, would mean political leaders and corporate executives could face charges and imprisonment for “ecocidal” acts. 

To make their case, advocates point to the Amazon, where fires raged out of control in 2019, and where the rainforest may now be so degraded it is spewing more climate-warming gases than it draws in. At the poles, human activity is thawing a frozen Arctic and destabilizing the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. 

Across the globe, climate change is disrupting the reliable seasonal rhythms that have sustained human life for millenia, while hurricanes, floods and other climate-driven disasters have forced more than 10 million people from their homes in the last six months. Fossil fuel pollution has killed 9 million people annually in recent years, according to a study in Environmental Research, more than tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS combined. 

One in four mammals are threatened with extinction. For amphibians, it’s four in 10.

Damage to nature has become so extensive and widespread around the world that many environmentalists speak of ecocide to describe numerous environmentally devastated hot spots: 

  • Chernobyl, the Ukrainian nuclear plant that exploded in 1986 and left the now-deserted area dangerously radioactive;
  • The tar sands of northern Canada, where toxic waste pits and strip mines have replaced 400 square miles of boreal forest and boglands;
  • The Gulf of Mexico, site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11 people, spilled at least 168 million gallons of crude oil into the ocean over 87 days and killed countless marine mammals, sea turtles, fish and migratory birds; 
  • The Amazon, where rapid deforestation encouraged by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro prompted Joe Biden, during his presidential campaign, to propose a $20 billion rescue plan and threaten the Brazilian leader with economic sanctions.

The campaign to criminalize ecocide is now moving from the fringe of advocacy into global diplomacy, pushed by a growing recognition among advocates and many political leaders that climate change and environmental causes are tied inherently to human rights and social justice.

The effort remains a long shot and is at least years from fruition, international and environmental law experts say. Advocates will have to navigate political tensions over whether national governments or the international community have ultimate control over natural resources. And they’ll likely face opposition from countries with high carbon emissions and deep ties to industrial development. …………………

Into the Mainstream

While the campaign for an ecocide law could take years—if it is successful at all—advocates say the effort could bear fruit much sooner: The ecocide campaign has thrust the concept into public discussion. 

Mehta doesn’t expect the campaign to catch fire in the United States, but after four years of President Donald Trump, she’s heartened by the arrival of John Kerry, Biden’s special climate envoy. “We don’t expect the U.S. to join the ICC any time soon, but that said, the conversation around ecocide itself, we don’t see any reason why it can’t start happening in the U.S.,” she said.  

The State Department released a statement saying that the U.S. “regularly engages with other countries” on “the importance of preventing environmental destruction during armed conflict,” but added, “We do not comment on the details of our communications with foreign governments.”

Mehta’s campaign is also part of a wider effort by activists who have been looking to the courts to force more aggressive action on climate change.

As of July 1, 2020, at least 1,550 climate change cases have been filed in 38 countries, according to a U.N. report.

In the landmark Urgenda case, a Dutch court ruled in 2015 that the government had acted negligently by failing to take aggressive enough action to limit its greenhouse gas emissions. The decision, upheld by the Supreme Court of the Netherlands in 2019, ordered the government to hit specific emissions reductions targets and sparked a series of similar lawsuits in other countries………….. https://insideclimatenews.org/news/07042021/climate-crisis-ecocide-vanuatu-the-fifth-crime/

April 8, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Proposed New Mexico nuclear waste storage facility is illegal

Nuclear waste director: Proposed New Mexico nuclear waste storage facility is illegal,   https://www.thecentersquare.com/new_mexico/nuclear-waste-director-proposed-new-mexico-nuclear-waste-storage-facility-is-illegal/article_5c2497f2-9716-11eb-a1c7-f34c8873c0ba.html (The Center Square) 7 Apr 21, – Safety and economic concerns over a proposed nuclear waste storage facility near Carlsbad have prompted the state of New Mexico to sue the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

To be built by Holtec in southeast New Mexico, the facility would be an above-ground complex for storing spent fuel from commercial nuclear power plants.

The state’s lawsuit is built on legal concerns.

Holtec has stated the federal government is going to fund the facility, but according to federal law, utilities are responsible for storage, said Don Hancock, director of the Southwest Research and Information Center’s Nuclear Waste Program.

The state argues consistently throughout the complaint that this whole facility is illegal because the federal law doesn’t authorize the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to authorize this kind of consolidated facility,” he told The Center Square.

Hancock added that the state’s entire list of complaints is 47 pages long.

“The federal government has said in law that this spent fuel, this irradiated fuel from nuclear power plants, is highly toxic and highly dangerous, and its permanent disposal requires it to be disposed deep underground in stable geologic formations, so that’s the law,” he said. “This facility is none of that.”

Holtec and NRC attempted to circumvent that issue by terming the storage facility as temporary, however, the state pointed out that Holtec and NRC can’t provide a timeframe for when it would be moved and have admitted they don’t have any plans for where it would go, said Hancock.

These legal concerns only compound the economic issues raised.

The facility would be built in the middle of the biggest oil and gas production areas in the state and poses a significant threat to operations.

“In the best of all circumstances it would be disruptive and, the worst of all circumstances, it would close down a multi-million dollar industry,” Hancock said.

Disruption would be caused by global perceptions that New Mexico oil producers are OK with having an illegal nuclear storage facility nearby that could leak into the supply of oil, Hancock said. The worst-case scenario is a leak that leaves New Mexico’s oil supply radioactively contaminated and causes billions of dollars in economic damage.

“If there was a leak or an accident and the nation and the world heard there was a major nuclear accident in the middle of the oil and gas production field of New Mexico or Texas, what do you think people are going to think about that?” he asked.

After failed attempts to get the NRC to consider their concerns, the state turned to the courts to make their voice heard, said Hancock.

“The state feels ignored,” he said.

April 8, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Japanese government continues Japan’s ”Nuclear Village” generous grants to keep ageing nuclear reactors going.

Lucrative grants offered to keep aging nuclear reactors running,  http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14326422

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

April 7, 2021   
The central government is offering billions of yen in new grants to Fukui Prefecture to allow a nuclear plant operator to run its aging reactors beyond their operational life span of 40 years.

Fukui is not the only prefecture in Japan that hosts old reactors, and the grants could create momentum toward the restarts of these units.

“As for an expansion of grants, up to 2.5 billion yen ($22.6 million) will be provided per nuclear plant to a prefecture preparing to respond to the extension of the 40-year life of reactors,” the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a document presented to the Fukui prefectural government on April 6.

The ministry’s offer is expected to become a key point of discussions as Fukui Prefecture and the prefectural assembly begin to weigh whether they should approve of the restart of three reactors in question there.

Fukui Governor Tatsuji Sugimoto hailed the central government’s offer, calling it “a step forward.”
He had urged the prefectural assembly to discuss the restart issue in February, but the assembly put off the debate, citing a lack of measures to revitalize the local economy.

Osaka-based Kansai Electric Power Co. is pushing to reactivate the three reactors in Fukui Prefecture–the No. 1 and 2 reactors at the Takahama nuclear plant in Takahama and the No. 3 reactor at the Mihama nuclear plant in Mihama.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority has given its one-time permission to operate those reactors for 20 more years beyond their 40-year life spans.

If the local governments approve the restarts, Fukui Prefecture would receive a combined 5 billion yen under the new grant setup.

The town halls of Takahama and Mihama have already given the greenlight to the restarts. The remaining hurdle is whether the governor and the prefectural assembly will approve them.

The maximum 2.5 billion yen will be made available over a period of five years, according to the industry ministry’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy.

The offer of the funds came in response to the Fukui prefectural government’s request for additional grants concerning the reactors as a measure to stimulate the local economy.

The prefectural government is expected to discuss how to distribute the grants with Takahama and Mihama.

Other prefectures hosting old reactors operated by companies seeking the 20-year extension will be eligible for the new grants.

The only other facility that has gained the NRA’s permission to operate beyond 40 years is the Tokai No. 2 nuclear plant in Ibaraki Prefecture.

Five other reactors in Japan have been in service for more than 35 years.

The decommissioning process has started for other aging reactors because their operators decided that upgrades and additional safeguard measures required to bring them back online would be too expensive.

(This article was written by Kenji Oda and Takayuki Sato.)

April 8, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment