Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Net Neutrality, the Open Internet, and Nuclear Information – theme for January 2018

Before the Internet, information to the public was very much controlled by the established media – print, radio, television. With the world wide web came the opportunity for just about anyone to set up a site, just like this one, and to provide information on any generalist or specialised subject. (Of course, there are disadvantages – e.g. the new sites could lack the fact checking rigour expected of professional journalism).

From the point of view of examining nuclear issues, the Internet provided a timely opportunity to bypass the propaganda that is fed to the public via the mainstream media.  That has become more important now, as investigative journalists lose their jobs in the shaky world of commercial media.  The secretive nuclear industry has been having  a field day, or a field few decades, in handing out propaganda to mainstream journalists, who most often swallow it uncritically.

It was only  a matter of time before corporations worked to gain the same kind of control over the Internet, as they used to have over the media in pre-Internet days.

It’s in this context, that, on December 15th, the Republican-dominated Federal Communications Commission voted to end the 2015 Open Internet Order which protects net neutrality in the United StatesNet neutrality requires all internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all data equally, without blocking, “throttling” or censoring services or websites.

There is opposition in Congress to this move. So – it’s early days, to find out what effect it will have.

Still, I think that this is the first clear salvo in what could become a corporate war against independent media. A second salvo just arrived – as Glenn Greenwald reported on Facebook now obeying USA government, in censoring Palestinians’ posts.

The nuclear lobby would love that. They have the money, the corporate and government connections, to make a renewed campaign to stifle the truth about nuclear power, nuclear weapons, and the real state of affairs in Fukushima, as the 2020 Olympic Games approach.

 

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January 20, 2018 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

20th January – nuclear news this week.

The climate of fear. An article by Tony Schwartz, biographer of Donald Trump, describes Trump’s main effect on the body politic , after a year in office: “Trump has made fear the dominant emotion of our times.” This culture of fear is now expressed in actions – USA quietly preparing for war with North Korea, Russia’s new underwater drone – a ‘doomsday’ weapon, United Nations: Secretary General warns on growing nuclear war danger.

End nuclear weapons and nuclear power – we owe this to our children.

I’m so sorry that I’m not now covering climate change issues – it’s not as if these are going away!

AUSTRALIA

The Peace Boat is on its way to Australia.

Nuclear waste dumping decisions promoted as just a “local” issue – Australia unaware.

Countering deceptive propaganda about Australia needing nuclear weapons.   China is not heading for nuclear attack on Australia: no point in Australia getting nuclear weapons. Defence analysts suggesting that Australia might need nuclear weapons?.

Professor Hugh White warns on risks of an alliance between Japan and Australia.

Brett Stokes – a reminder about ANSTO and its zeal for the nuclear industry.

Minerals Council says it makes political donations to gain access to MPs.

India Enters Australia Group, Inches Closer to Joining Nuclear Suppliers Group.

The decline of journalism in the mainstream media.

South Australia Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives standing for South Australian election, with pro nuclear policy. Film company to abandon plans for production in South Australian area if Federal nuclear waste dump goes ahead? Lest we forget: South Australians consistently reject hosting a nuclear waste dump.

South Australia’s heatwave will not affect power supply.    Tesla’s South Australian battery project – a rapid success. Coal unit trips in heatwave as Tesla big battery cashes in.  Big solar boom kicks off in South Australia  with completion of 6MW Whyalla project.

I can’t resist pointing out some of the very positive renewable energy news: Australian wind, solar investment hits record high as NEG threatens to push it off a cliff.  Queensland could host Australia’s largest wind farm, in proposed renewables hub. Community to invest directly in wind power in New England. More at reneweconomy.com.au 

January 20, 2018 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives standing for South Australian election, with pro nuclear policy

Among policy positions to be revealed in greater detail in coming weeks are the scrapping of the Safe Schools program, capping the premier’s tenure to two terms, and developing a nuclear fuel cycle industry.

Senator Bernardi said the ­direction of preferences would be “subject to negotiation between the major parties”.

Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives to fight for 20 seats in SA election, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/cory-bernardis-australian-conservatives-to-fight-for-20-seats-in-sa-election/news-story/7130de833df916429b388f70b26ff443, MICHAEL OWEN, SA Bureau Chief, Adelaide@mjowen, – 19 Jan 18

Cory Bernardi’s conservative party will run at least 20 candidates in lower house seats at the South Australian election, mirroring the plans of Nick Xenophon’s SA Best and heightening the critical role of preferences in determining the outcome of the March 17 poll.

The move comes after the Australian Conservatives ran candidate Joram Richa in the federal seat of Bennelong, in Sydney’s north, in a key by-election last month, polling 4.5 per cent of the vote and directing preferences to Liberal John Alexander, who retained the seat. Continue reading

January 20, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

USA quietly preparing for war with North Korea

The US appears to be quietly preparing for nuclear war with North Korea. https://www.businessinsider.com.au/us-appears-quietly-preparing-nuclear-war-north-korea-2018-1?r=US&IR=T, ALEX LOCKIE– JAN 20, 2018, 

January 20, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Daniel Ellsberg on the ‘dizzyingly insane and immoral’ history of nuclear weapons

From the beginning of the Atomic Age, says Ellsberg, the true purpose of our nuclear arsenal, the whole terrifying array of warheads and delivery systems in all their vast numbers and varieties, has not been the “defense” of our country. It has not been, as trumpeted by politicians and generals (and as believed by citizens and schoolchildren), to “deter” an adversary from launching a nuclear attack against the U.S. It is the maintenance of a first-strike nuclear force —not so much for the purpose of launching a deliberate surprise attack on anyone else, but to be ready to respond instantly

Dismantling Doomsday: Daniel Ellsberg on the Risk of Nuclear Apocalypse https://undark.org/article/book-review-ellsberg-doomsday-machine/  The whistleblower who gave us the Pentagon Papers unveils another secret history — this one ‘dizzyingly insane and immoral.’01.19.2018  Mark Wolverton  

DANIEL ELLSBERG is perhaps the premier whistleblower of all time, the man who in 1971 dragged the Pentagon Papers out of top-secret darkness into the light. Yet even as excerpts from the papers’ 7,000 pages were being published by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other newspapers, Ellsberg was sitting on an entire second set of secrets, having nothing to do with Vietnam: all his material on nuclear policy, such as the operational plans for general nuclear war that he had drafted for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in his job as a RAND Corporation defense analyst.

With the Vietnam War raging, Ellsberg made what he calls a “tactical judgment” to release those papers first, holding off on the nuclear material until the fallout (so to speak) from the Vietnam revelations had settled. As he faced trial, he entrusted the nuclear papers to his brother Harry, who hid the cache in a compost heap and later moved it to the local dump to evade FBI searches. But the papers were irrevocably lost when the dump was later ravaged by a tropical storm.

Ellsberg’s new book, “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner,” is his revelation of what was in those lost papers, made possible not only by his prodigious memory and note-keeping but also the declassification and release of much of the material through official channels and Freedom of Information Act requests (many filed by Ellsberg himself). Speaking with the authority of an insider who was intimately involved with nuclear strategy and policymaking at the highest levels, he reveals that practically everything the American public believes about nuclear war and nuclear weapons is, quite simply, a “deliberate deception.” Continue reading

January 20, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Film company to abandon plans for production in South Australian area if Federal nuclear waste dump goes ahead

Paul Waldon Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 20 Jan 18, 

John Wayne died of cancer, as did 46 members of the crew of “The Conqueror,” which was shot in nuclear contaminated environment in Nevada. Not so long ago at a Quorn anti-nuclear meeting one person submitted a written statement from hopefully a up coming film producer that they will cease all ideas of film production within the areas of Hawker and surrounding towns, if the promotion of a radioactive waste dump was to come to fruition. “Nuclear and its waste Kills all life and business.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/

January 20, 2018 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, Opposition to nuclear, South Australia | Leave a comment

Indian villagers displaced forcibly – for the cause of unnecessary, uneconomic, nuclear power

The Kovvada Nuclear Reactor was to be built by US nuclear reactor maker, Westinghouse. But, in March 2017, Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy. The company was bled to death because of cost-escalations in two of the four nuclear power plants it designed and is constructing in the United States. “Kovvada will benefit only Westinghouse, and no one else. Not the people. Not India’s energy security,” said EAS Sarma, former Union Energy Secretary.

“India is being bamboozled by the multinationals into signing these agreements with foreign companies”

“It is not just the US, even Europe is not gung-ho about nuclear. So, Westinghouse and GE have very little business,” said Dr Sarma. “They are looking for a market and India is fertile ground of them” 

If nuclear energy is not as safe or inexpensive then why invest in it? “Because nuclear energy is a possible front for weaponisation

In Kovvada, villagers displaced forcibly even as the prospects of Westinghouse’s nuclear project remain uncertain, DiaNuke.org, JANUARY 19, 2018 Raksha Kumar | The News Minute

The coast curves through northern Andhra Pradesh and forms a giant U. Deep in the womb of this horseshoe lies Ranastalam mandal of Srikakulam district. During the light winter showers in November, this region takes on a darker shade of green. Small fishing villages are sprinkled across the uneven coast.

People here consider the vast sea their sole asset. “We have been fishermen for generations,” said Juggle Mailapally, ex-sarpanch of Chinna Kovvada village. “I was taught how to stitch a fishing net when I was 9,” he added.

Since 2008, when the Indo-US Nuclear Deal was signed, there have been rumours in the air about a giant nuclear plant taking over their idyllic existence. However only in 2015 did those rumours get confirmed. Continue reading

January 20, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Donald Trump and the culture of fear

I wrote The Art of the Deal with Trump. He’s still a scared child, Guardian, 

alone can do it.” These five extraordinary words kept coming back to me as I reflected on Donald Trump’s first year as president of the US. He made this claim during his speech accepting the Republican nomination in July 2016. At the time, it struck me simply as a delusional expression of his grandiosity. Looking back, I also hear the plaintive wail of a desperate child who believes he is alone in the world with no one to care for him. “I alone can do it” is Trump’s survival response to: “I must do it all alone.”

There are two Trumps. The one he presents to the world is all bluster, bullying and certainty. The other, which I have long felt haunts his inner world, is the frightened child of a relentlessly critical and bullying father and a distant and disengaged mother who couldn’t or wouldn’t protect him.

Trump’s temperament and his habits have hardened with age. He was always cartoonish, but compared with the man for whom I wrote The Art of the Deal 30 years ago, he is significantly angrier today: more reactive, deceitful, distracted, vindictive, impulsive and, above all, self-absorbed – assuming the last is possible.

This is the narrative I’ve been advancing for the past 18 months. With the recent publication of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, it turns out that even those closest to Trump recognise his utter lack of fitness to be president, even if they are too cowed and cowardly to do anything about it.

 Fear is the hidden through-line in Trump’s life – fear of weakness, of inadequacy, of failure, of criticism and of insignificance. He has spent his life trying to outrun these fears by “winning” – as he puts it – and by redefining reality whenever the facts don’t serve the narrative he seeks to create. It hasn’t worked, but not for lack of effort…….

Trump has made fear the dominant emotion of our times. This, I believe, is his primary impact on the body politic after a year in office……..

Trump skilfully exploited the fears of supporters who felt powerless and disenfranchised by presenting himself as their angry champion, even though the policies he has since pursued are likely to make their lives worse.

About the only thing Trump truly has in common with his base is that he feels every bit as aggrieved as they do, despite his endless privilege…….

If fear gets sufficiently intense, or persists for long enough, we eventually move into “freeze” – meaning numbness and submission. This is my own greatest fear. As Trump violates one norm after another day after day, the risk is that we lose our sense of outrage and our motivation to speak out.

The challenge we face is to resist our own fear without sacrificing our outrage. That requires widening our perspective beyond Trump’s, and beyond Trump himself. The future is ours to shape, not his. ……….

Trump himself has become the embodiment of the limits of traditional masculinity. “We raise boys,” writes the author Terrence Real, “to live in a world in which they are either winners or losers, grandiose or shame-filled, … perpetrators or victims. Society shows little mercy for men if they fail in the performance of their role. But the price of that performance is an inward sickness.”

Trump represents an extreme version of a sickness from which most men suffer, to some extent. The most powerful stand we can take in opposition to Trump’s values and behaviour is to pursue a higher purpose every day, seek more common ground amid our differences, and find better ways to take care of others and add value wherever we can. As he looks backward, we must look forward……… https://www.theguardian.com/global/commentisfree/2018/jan/18/fear-donald-trump-us-president-art-of-the-deal

 

January 20, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Professor Hugh White warns on risks of an alliance between Japan and Australia

An Australian-Japan alliance?, Hugh White  http://sdsc.bellschool.anu.edu.au/experts-publications/publications/1854/australian-japan-alliance

Policy paper

In this Centre of Gravity paper, Professor Hugh White explores the potential and risks of an alliance between Japan and Australia. Japan is one of Australia’s most important economic partners, a close ally of the US and might be prepared to sell Australia a highly advanced submarine fleet. Yet, for all the overlap of values, Professor White cautions that there is not necessarily an overlap of interests. In particular the rise of China poses difficult questions for the long term potential for the relationship, and for Australia’s desire to avoid having to choose between the US and China.

January 20, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Vast majority of British nuclear bomb tests took place on Aboriginal land

Paul Waldon  19 Jan 18 An excerpt from a book by Rudolph Herzog..

Lorna Arnold, an official historian of the British Ministry of Defense, justified her governments treatment of Aborigines by arguing that, all the time, the latter had “NO” legal rights – a problem general to the 1950’s Australian and British society and thus not specific to the atomic tests.

Arnold asserted that the greatest damage suffered by the Aborigines from the tests was to their “way of life rather than directly to their health.” The fact that the Aborigines interests in the land were neither registered or respected, Arnold wrote, was because of “their general situation and was neither new nor peculiar to the weapons trials.
The British military carried out nuclear tests in Australia for almost a decade, with a vast majority of experiments (as claimed) taking place on Aboriginal lands.

January 20, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Department of Industry, Innovation and Science promotes risky radioactive waste agenda

Paul Waldon, 19 Jan 18   Edward Teller, “Father of the H-Bomb,” relentlessly promoted a plan to use 300 nukes to build a second Panama Canal, that’s 233 more bombs than what was exploded on the Marshall Islands, with residents unable to return. While here in Australia we have the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science relentlessly promoting their risky agenda of abandoning deadly radioactive waste within a community of unwilling people.

January 20, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Shareholders sue companies over $9 billion failed nuclear power project

Shareholder lawsuits against SCANA over nuclear debacle debut in federal court.  http://www.thestate.com/news/politics-government/article195428354.html COLUMBIA, SC

A federal judge in Columbia on Thursday designated lead lawyers and plaintiffs in two types of shareholder lawsuits against SCANA over its bungled V.C. Summer expansion.

The lawsuits charge SCANA and its top officers with misconduct and breaches of fiduciary duty in their handling of the failed $9 billion construction project. Continue reading

January 20, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

UK electricity consumers could be saved £bns if Hinkley nuclear power plan is cancelled

Abandoning Hinkley Point C now could save consumers almost £1.5bn per year for 35 years from 2027 http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/news/ 19 Jan 18 Stop Hinkley Campaign submits response to the Helm ‘cost of energy’ review.

The Stop Hinkley Campaign has submitted a joint response, with the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA), to the UK Government’s call for evidence on Professor Dieter Helm’s review of the UK energy market and the financial costs of energy to consumers and businesses. (1)

The joint submission argues the best way for the Government to keep electricity costs to consumers as low as possible over the coming decades, while reducing carbon emissions, and providing secure electricity supplies, is to cancel Hinkley Point C, scrap the new nuclear programme, launch a much more comprehensive energy efficiency programme and expand renewable energy ambitions.

The response also notes:

• Cancelling Hinkley Point C now might incur a cancellation cost of around £2bn, but consumers could save around £50bn over its lifetime. (2)
• Offshore wind is already approaching half the cost of nuclear power and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) predicts costs will drop a further 71% by 2040.
• Removing the current block on onshore wind could save consumers around £1bn.
• Solar power is expected to be the cheapest source of energy (not just electricity) anywhere in the world by 2030 or 2040.
• Cost-effective investments in domestic energy efficiency between now and 2035 could save around 140 terawatt hours (TWh) of energy and save an average of £270 per household per year at current energy prices. The investments would deliver net benefits worth £7.5bn to the UK.
• Renewables could soon be producing enough electricity to power the grid from April to October. If the Government continues with the nuclear programme then Ministers will have to explain to consumers why they are having to pay for expensive nuclear electricity when cheap renewables are being turned off.
• The UK has the technology to match green power supply and demand at affordable cost without fossil fuels – by deploying the ‘smart grid’, using ‘green gas’ made from surplus power, and raising energy efficiency.
• Baseload is not helpful in balancing a variable energy supply – it simply leads to further overproduction of energy at times when renewables can meet demand on their own.

Just before the Christmas holidays the two organisations also submitted a joint response to the UK Government’s Clean Growth Strategy. (3)

Instead of funding R&D on new nuclear technology and Small Modular Reactors to the tune of around £460m, this called for more funding for low carbon heat and energy efficiency. In particular the Government should be investigating power-to-gas (P2G) technology which can produce renewable hydrogen, using surplus renewable electricity, which could then be fed into the gas grid for storage or used for producing renewable heat.

Stop Hinkley Spokesperson Roy Pumfrey said:

“The cost of renewables is declining rapidly, and it is becoming increasingly clear that there are lots of ways of dealing with intermittency issues. It now looks as though Hinkley Point C won’t be online before 2027. Several financial institutions have predicted that large centralised power stations are likely to be obsolete within 10 to 20 years, because they are too big and inflexible, and are “not relevant” for future electricity. (4) So Hinkley Point C and the rest of the UK’s ill-conceived new nuclear programme will be too late, too expensive and too problematic. Wind and solar are cheaper more flexible and much quicker to build. It is time to cancel Hinkley Point C now before consumers are saddled with a needless bill for £50bn not to mention the nuclear waste which we still don’t know what to do with.”

Notes

(1) The Stop Hinkley and NFLA joint submission on the Government’s call for evidence on the Helm Review is available here.
(2) See Time to Cancel Hinkley Point C by Emeritus Professor Steve Thomas available here.
(3) The Stop Hinkley and NFLA joint submission on the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy is available here.
(4) See Stop Hinkley Press Release 28th August 2014 

January 20, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

South Australia’s heatwave will not affect power supply

SA heatwave will not affect power supply, Treasurer says, as TDU amateur cyclists ignore warnings, ABC News 19 Jan 18, By political reporter Nick Harmsen and staff  The South Australian Government is not expecting to use the state’s new backup diesel power generators despite temperatures well into the mid-40s forcing a tight power supply balance.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has issued a level two lack of reserve notice for the state late this afternoon, meaning there is a small buffer of surplus generation available.A level three notice means unexpected load shedding blackouts are likely.

The power supply situation is even tighter in Victoria — with AEMO flagging the possibility of curtailing power to some industrial customers who have volunteered to be part of a demand management scheme.

SA’s hottest temperature so far recorded today was a scorching 47.4 degrees Celsius at Wudinna on Eyre Peninsula.Port Augusta hit 46.5C, Whyalla reached 46.4C and Lameroo and Tarcoola both had tops of 46C.SA Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said while the state’s temporary generators were ready, they were unlikely to be used this afternoon.

“In terms of supply we should be okay,” he said.

“Victoria I understand is about to load shed industry. So they’re not coping with the power supply.

“They are a coal-dependent state and they are having to take industry offline to support their households. In South Australia we’re not having to do that today.”

In Adelaide today, the mercury climbed to 42.2C just after 12.30pm, after reaching a top of 41C yesterday and 38C on Wednesday……… State Emergency Service volunteers have handed out water at Adelaide Airport today and provided advice to international visitors to help them cope with extreme temperatures. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-19/sa-heatwave-will-not-affect-power-supply/9342306

January 20, 2018 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

United Nations: Secretary General warns on growing danger of nuclear weapons

U.N. chief: Threat from nuclear and other weapons gathers force, Asahi Shimbun, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, January 19, 2018 UNITED NATIONS–Russia’s foreign minister warned Thursday that a failure of the Iran nuclear deal, especially as a result of action by the Trump administration, would send “an alarming message” to North Korea and impact all international agreements.

Sergey Lavrov took aim at U.S. President Donald Trump at a U.N. Security Council meeting on confidence-building measures to tackle the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, saying that “we cannot for the benefit of political agendas of certain countries abandon a genuine achievement of international diplomacy.”

Last Friday, Trump kept alive the Iran agreement, which has won international praise including from U.S. allies, by extending sanctions waivers. But the president warned that the United States would pull out in a few months unless “terrible flaws” in the deal are fixed.

Lavrov and others worry that a U.S. pullout from the 2015 deal could mean that Washington cannot be trusted to keep agreements, which could harm any future efforts to get North Korea to abandon nuclear weapons.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened Thursday’s meeting warning that the threat from weapons of mass destruction “seems to be gathering force.”

He urged expanded diplomatic efforts to tackle what he called the greatest security challenge in the world today–North Korea.

The international community must build on the “small signs of hope” from the recent contacts between the two Koreas to pursue diplomacy and denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, the U.N. chief said.

“Global anxieties about nuclear weapons are the highest since the Cold War,” Guterres said. “I remain deeply concerned over the growing risk of military confrontation and the unimaginable consequences that would result.”

China’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Wu Haitao, urged all countries to “reject Cold War mentality” and commit to peaceful solutions, including on the Korean Peninsula where he pointed to “some positive changes” emerging.

“All parties should make concerted efforts to extend this hard-won momentum of reduced tension, create conditions for relaunching dialogue and negotiation and return the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula to the correct track of dialogue and negotiation,” Wu said…….. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201801190018.html

January 20, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment