Australian news, and some related international items

Medical Association for Prevention of War recommends that Australia keep its nuclear prohibitions

Environment and Other Legislation Amendment (Removing Nuclear Energy Prohibitions) Bill 2022
Submission 28

The Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) is an association of medical and
other health professionals who work for the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction
and the prevention of armed conflict. Nuclear weapons abolition is our primary focus. We
promote peace through research, advocacy and education. MAPW is affiliated with IPPNW,
the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (Nobel Peace Prize 1985),
and was the founder of ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
(Nobel Peace Prize 2017).
Principal author: Dr Sue Wareham OAM
President, MAPW Australia

The existing legal prohibitions against nuclear power for Australia should remain.
 Australia should not acquire naval nuclear reactors, and legislated prohibitions on nuclear energy should not be compromised to allow for the acquisition of naval nuclear reactors. Their proposed acquisition should be separately and publicly scrutinised with regard to the Nuclear Energy Prohibitions Bill, and to longstandingpublic opposition to nuclear energy.
 Australia must sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Climate change is already having devastating ecological and health consequences, with worse to come. It demands urgent responses to transform global energy production to zerocarbon emissions. Nuclear power proponents, including those associated with uranium mining interests, have again called for the consideration of nuclear power for Australia as part of this response. Their calls paint an idealised and simplistic picture of an industry
which has a long list of mostly insurmountable problems.

 is inextricably linked with producing the world’s worst weapons,
 is carbon-intensive in nearly all stages of its operation,
 produces intractable highly toxic waste which remains a global problem,
 is far too slow to implement, even as part of a response to climate change,
 is vulnerable to disastrous accidents and sabotage,
 requires huge amounts of our most precious resource – water,
 has major health implications for populations living near its facilities,
 Is prohibitively expensive,
 Is unnecessary, given the rapid expansion of renewable energy sources.

Nuclear power is a time-wasting distraction from the real work of tackling climate change, when we don’t have such time to waste.
This submission will examine most of the above problems, but will first address the current context of this inquiry, specifically the government’s deliberations on naval nuclear power for Australia. This is highly relevant for two reasons.

Firstly, the nuclear reactors on board nuclear submarines share nearly all of the problems of reactors on land, as listed above.
Naval nuclear power should in no way provide a foothold for the nuclear industry in Australia.
Secondly, it is unclear how the current prohibitions on nuclear power in Australia – prohibitions which would extend to naval reactors – will be managed if the naval nuclear power proposal proceeds. There is grave risk that they will be weakened in order to pave the way for technology which has been consistently rejected by a majority of Australians.

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February 6, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Australia radioactive capsule: Missing material more common than you think

By Antoinette Radford, BBC News, 5 Feb 23

The world watched as Australia scrambled to find a radioactive capsule in late January.

Many asked how it could have been lost – but radioactive material goes missing more often than you might think.

In 2021, one “orphan source” – self-contained radioactive material – went missing every three days, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The not-for-profit Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) lists lost and found nuclear and radiological material, and its records include a person in Idaho who stumbled across a radioactive gauge lying in the middle of a road.

The organisation also listed a package containing radioactive material falling off the back of a truck onto a nearby lawn in an undisclosed location – the resident who found it then delivered it to its intended recipient later that day.

And, in 2019, a tourist was detected in St Petersburg airport wearing a radioactive watch, according to the list.

Of the nearly 4,000 radioactive sources that have gone missing since the International Atomic Energy Agency started tracking them in 1993, 8% are believed to have been taken for malicious reasons, and 65% were lost accidentally. It is unclear what happened to the rest.

When properly maintained and handled, radioactive material does not pose a significant threat to humans.

But if a person is directly exposed to the radiation without protection, they can fall severely ill – or even die.

For example, four people died after a canister containing radioactive material was stolen from an abandoned hospital in the Brazilian city of Goiânia in 1987.

A group of men took the canister that contained Caesium-137 (Cs-137) – a radioactive material commonly used in medical settings – thinking it may have some value as scrap metal. As they took it apart, they ruptured the Cs-137 capsule, spilling its radioactive contents onto the rest of the metal.

A junkyard owner who bought the contaminated metal then exposed dozens of friends and family to the radiation after he brought them to see it glow blue in the dark. This included a six-year-old who ate the radioactive powder.

Dozens required urgent medical attention and two nearby towns were evacuated once doctors established their sudden illness was caused by radiation exposure.

The incident was described by the IAEA as among “the most serious radiological accidents to have occurred”.

In 2020, radioactive waste was also found at the home of a former nuclear energy agency employee in Indonesia.

And in 2013, six men were arrested – apparently unharmed – in Mexico for stealing radioactive material from a cancer treatment machine………………………………

February 6, 2023 Posted by | - incidents, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Pentagon will allow Ukraine to fire long-range missiles at will.

Munitions with 150-kilometer range are part of the newest weapons gift package. 5 Feb 23,

It is up to the government in Kiev to decide how to use new rockets being delivered for the US-supplied HIMARS launchers, the Pentagon said on Friday. The statement is a confirmation that the latest batch of munitions the American taxpayers are funding will include Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDB).

The Boeing-manufactured munitions consist of a rocket motor mated with an airplane bomb, with an estimated range of up to 150 kilometers. While Friday’s announcement listed “additional ammunition” for the HIMARS and “precision-guided rockets,” Brigadier-General Patrick Ryder told reporters that this indeed included the GLSDB, confirming the information leaked to Reuters earlier this week.

Ryder also confirmed that the US won’t stand in the way of Ukrainians using the missiles to strike deep inside Russia.

“When it comes to Ukrainian plans on operations, clearly that is their decision. They are in the lead for those,” he said on Friday. “So, I’m not going to talk about or speculate about potential future operations, but again, all along, we’ve been working with them to provide them with capabilities that will enable them to be effective on the battlefield.”

The GLDSB are produced by Boeing in cooperation with Sweden’s Saab AB, and combine the GBU-39 small-diameter bomb with the M26 rocket motor. It was unclear how many of the munitions the Pentagon intended to send, or whether they would come from the US military stockpile or need to be freshly produced.

Reuters claimed to have seen a Boeing document saying the first deliveries could be “as early as spring 2023.” Meanwhile, Bloomberg cited unnamed officials who said the timeline could be as long as nine months, depending on when the US Air Force issues the contract. Bloomberg also reported the GLSDB order would account for $200 million of the $1.75 billion in the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funding, referring to contracts for weapons and ammunition not coming out of the Pentagon stockpile.

Whenever the missiles actually arrive, Russia has already hinted at how it will respond. On Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin tasked the military with “eliminating any possibility” of Ukrainian artillery strikes on Russian territory. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview on Thursday that Moscow will “push back” the Ukrainian troops to a range at which they will not be a threat.

“The longer range the weapons supplied to the Kiev regime have, the further the troops will need to be moved,” Lavrov said.

Ukraine has used the US-supplied HIMARS launchers against both military targets and civilians in Donbass, Kherson and Zaporozhye. Kiev has repeatedly asked for the MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) rockets, which have a range of some 300 kilometers. 

Moscow has repeatedly warned Washington that providing heavy weapons to Ukraine risks crossing Russia’s “red lines” and involving the US and NATO in the conflict directly. The US and its allies insist they are not parties to the hostilities, but continue to arm Kiev. By the Pentagon’s own admission, the US has committed $32 billion in military aid to Ukraine.

February 6, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NewsReal: Chinese Balloon: It’s All About The Optics, 05 Feb 2023.

The whole world (i.e., the USA) was stunned this week as a Chinese high-altitude balloon dared traverse the USA before being shot down in a stunning and brave military move by an air-to-air missile fired from an F-22 fighter jet over US waters in the Atlantic.

Bullet dodged?

Er, no. As Joe and Niall explain in this NewsReal, such balloons (Chinese, research, ‘spy’ or otherwise) traverse the US and elsewhere on a regular basis. What’s different this time is that ‘someone’ overruled the Pentagon’s initial assessment that this balloon posed no threat to US national security to instead make a REALLY big deal out of it…

February 6, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

One Year After Russia Annexed Crimea, Locals Preferred Moscow To Kiev

Kenneth Rapoza, Senior Contributor, Mar 20, 2015,

The U.S and European Union may want to save Crimeans from themselves. But the Crimeans are happy right where they are.

One year after the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula in the Black Sea, poll after poll shows that the locals there — be they Ukrainians, ethnic Russians or Tatars are mostly all in agreement: life with Russia is better than life with Ukraine.

Little has changed over the last 12 months.  Despite huge efforts on the part of Kiev, Brussels, Washington and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the bulk of humanity living on the Black Sea peninsula believe the referendum to secede from Ukraine was legit.  At some point, the West will have to recognize Crimea’s right to self rule. Unless we are all to believe that the locals polled by Gallup and GfK were done so with FSB bogey men standing by with guns in their hands.

In June 2014, a Gallup poll with the Broadcasting Board of Governors asked Crimeans if the results in the March 16, 2014 referendum to secede reflected the views of the people.  A total of 82.8% of Crimeans said yes.  When broken down by ethnicity, 93.6% of ethnic Russians said they believed the vote to secede was legitimate, while 68.4% of Ukrainians felt so. Moreover, when asked if joining Russia will ultimately make life better for them and their family, 73.9% said yes while 5.5% said No.

In February 2015, a poll by German polling firm GfK revealed that attitudes have not changed. When asked “Do you endorse Russia’s annexation of Crimea?”, a total of 82% of the respondents answered “yes, definitely,” and another 11% answered “yes, for the most part.” Only 2% said they didn’t know, and another 2% said no. Three percent did not specify their position.

With two studies out of the way, both Western-based, it seems without question that the vast majority of Crimeans do not feel they were duped into voting for annexation, and that life with Russia will be better for them and their families than life with Ukraine. A year ago this week, 83% of Crimeans went to the polling stations and almost 97% expressed support for reunification with their former Soviet parent. The majority of people living on the peninsula are ethnic Russians.

The U.S. made a big deal about the rights of ethnic minorities there known as the Tatars, which account for around 10% of the population.  Of the 4% total that said they did not endorse Russia’s annexation, the vast majority — 55% — said that they feel that way because they believe it should have been allowed by Kiev in accordance with international law. Another 24% said the referendum vote was “held under pressure”, which means political or military threats to vote and vote in favor.

The GfK survey also asked if the Ukrainian media have given Crimea a fair assessment. Only 1% said that the Ukrainian media “provides entirely truthful information” and only 4% said it was “more often truthful than deceitful.”

For now, the Gallup and GfK polls show a deeply divided Ukraine. The division of political allegiances ultimately threatens Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Only 19% in the east and 26.8% in the southeast think Ukraine should join the European Union, while 84.2% in the west believe Ukraine is a natural fit with the E.U..  Nearly 60% in the north agree that E.U. is the place to be, and just under half in the center part of the country want E.U. integration.

NATO integration is even less supported in the southeast and east, and a little over a third in the center and north agree that Ukraine should join the Western military powers. In the west, that number rises to 53%.

Those numbers also coincide with Ukraine’s trust or distrust with Washington. The pro-integration west, north and center portions of Ukraine all view the U.S. role in the crisis as mostly positive.  Well under a third say so in the east and southeast, and almost no one, including the Tatars, believe so in Crimea, GfK poll data suggests.

Interestingly enough, despite Russia’s involvement in the separatist movement in eastern Ukraine, only 35.7% of people polled there said they viewed Russia’s involvement as mostly positive while 71.3% of Crimeans were more in line with Russia’s world view, according to the year old poll from Gallup.

This week, the State Department’s press secretary Jen Psaki said sanctions on Russia will continue until Crimea is returned to Ukraine. Both the State Department and Treasury Department did not clarify whether that was an actual policy statement, nor whether that included the sectoral sanctions which were applied in a third round of sanctions last July following the downing of Malaysian flight MH17 over east Ukraine.

February 6, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

US set to boost military presence near China

Washington and the Philippines have announced plans for four more American bases. 5 Feb 23,

The US military will be deployed to four new bases in “strategic areas” of the Philippines, the two countries announced on Thursday. The agreement was reached during the ongoing visit of US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who met Philippine President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr in Manila.

The two nations are set to “accelerate the full implementation” of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), a framework regulating the deployment of US troops to the Philippines, which is listed among Washington’s “major” non-NATO allies. 

“The United States has allocated over $82 million toward infrastructure investments at the existing five sites under the EDCA, and is proud that these investments are supporting economic growth and job creation in local Philippine communities,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

Apart from further development of the existing bases, the US military will be deployed to four new sites in unspecified “strategic areas of the country.”

“The United States and the Philippines have committed to moving quickly in agreeing to the necessary plans and investments for the new and existing EDCA locations. The Philippine-US Alliance has stood the test of time and remains ironclad. We look forward to the opportunities these new sites will create to expand our cooperation together,” the Pentagon added.

The move comes amid mounting tensions in the region, namely around Taiwan and the South China Sea, a busy waterway subject to overlapping maritime and territorial claims by multiple nations, including China. The Philippines, a former US colony and long-standing Washington ally, has maintained close economic ties with Beijing.

China has already condemned the US-Philippines plan, accusing Washington of stirring up further tension. The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines expressed hope that Manila would be “vigilant and resists from being taken advantage of.” 

“The United States, out of its self interests and zero-sum game mentality, continues to step up military posture in this region. Its actions escalate regional tension and undermine regional peace and stability,” the embassy said in a statement.

“Such moves contradict the common aspiration of regional countries to seek peace, cooperation and development, and run counter to the common aspiration of the Filipino people to pursue sound economic recovery and a better life in cooperation with China,” it added.

February 6, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

China expresses dissatisfaction and protest over US shooting down civilian airship; US sets bad precedent

The Pentagon earlier said on Friday that the balloon did not pose a “military or physical” threat.

It’s widely known that US aircraft, appearing in civilian or military purposes, operate around China much more frequent than Chinese aircraft do around the US

Global Times, By Chen Qingqing and Liu Xuanzun, Feb 05, 2023

China expressed strong dissatisfaction and protest on Sunday against the US’ move to shoot down a non-threatening Chinese airship for civilian use, calling the US’ move an overreaction and vowing to reserve the right to take necessary actions. By turning an unintentional accident into an incident that has been hyped by the US officials and media, Washington is adding new uncertainties into the already-intense relations with China, creating a bad precedent for blurring the line between civilian and military uses, experts said. 

The Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed strong dissatisfaction and protested against the US’ use of force to shoot down a Chinese civilian unmanned airship, urging the US to properly handle the incident.

The Chinese side has verified the situation and communicated with the US side multiple times, saying the unintended entry of the airship into US airspace was due to force majeure and the incident was totally an accident, the ministry said.

The US military on Saturday local time shot down a “suspected Chinese spy balloon” off the Carolina coast following an authorization of the Biden administration after the airship has been flying over the US for days. The action was hailed by the US President Joe Biden as “a success,” according to US media reports. 

The “balloon episode” went viral on the US social media. A number of US hawks on China-related matters have been hyping the use of balloon for spying purpose and deliberately distorted it as “a direct assault on the US national sovereignty.” 

“The US attack on Chinese civilian unmanned airship by force is an obvious overreaction,” Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, a spokesperson at China’s Ministry of National Defense, said in a statement on Sunday. 

China will reserve the right to take necessary measures in dealing with similar situations, Tan said.

Tan’s remarks mean that if a foreign airship accidentally enters the Chinese airspace, the Chinese forces could also shoot it down in a similar manner, observers said.

Biden was first briefed on the balloon Tuesday and has been receiving updates from his national security team, CNN said. The Pentagon earlier said on Friday that the balloon did not pose a “military or physical” threat………………………………………….

Overreaction, bad precedent

The US shooting down the Chinese civilian balloon is also considered an overreaction from a technical point of view, said military aviation experts.

Despite admitting that the balloon did not pose a military or physical threat, an F-22 fighter of the US Air Force fired an AIM-9X air-to-air missile and shot down the balloon,  supported by F-15 fighters, tankers and warships, the Pentagon said on the day on its website. 

The missile was fired from the F-22 from an altitude of 58,000 feet (17,678 meters) when the balloon was 60,000 and 65,000 feet, the Pentagon said. 

This is like shooting a mosquito with a cannon, which is not only overreacting but also impractical, a Chinese military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Sunday.

Compared with an unmanned balloon that flies with the wind, the US interception method that featured an advanced stealth fighter jet and fired a missile is too costly………………………………….

It’s widely known that US aircraft, appearing in civilian or military purposes, operate around China much more frequent than Chinese aircraft do around the US, Lü noted. …………

February 6, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Budget cuts have left UK’s military’s stores bare: General says Britain would run out of ammo in a day if it fought Russia. Britain buying ammo from South Asia to support Ukraine.

  • General Sir Richard Barrons said years of cuts have left cupboards almost bare
  • Meanwhile, Ben Wallace said military spending may have to rise for two decades

Daily Mail, By KATHERINE LAWTON 3 Feb 23,

Britain’s ammo stocks would run out in a day if it fought Russia – as a top former General said years of cuts have left military’s stores bare.

The warning from General Sir Richard Barrons comes a day after Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the UK’s forces have been ‘hollowed out’, adding that military spending may have to rise for two decades, owing to global threats. 

According to The Sun, Britain is buying ammo from South Asia to support Ukraine. 

Dr Jack Watling, at military think tank Rusi, said Ukraine had been firing around 6,000 shells a day, but we rely on imported explosives for tank and artillery shells. 

Our ammo plants, run by defence contractor BAE, would take a year to make a day’s shells for Ukraine, sources said. 

Meanwhile, it was also revealed that Britain has no working heavy artillery guns after giving all serviceable AS90 self-propelled items to Ukraine. 

General Barrons said the Army requires £3 billion more a year to rejoin Nato’s top tier. 

In his column for The Sun, he wrote: ‘This is truly shocking. But it is true. And we must fix it.

‘The UK spends more on defence than any EU ally and our brave Armed Forces have long been one of Britain’s most influential levers around the world. 

‘Yet for decades they have been hollowed out by spending cuts.’     

…………………………… Mr Wallace also responded to urgent calls from former Prime Minister Boris Johnson to send fighter jets to Ukraine. 

‘I’m open to examining all systems, not just jets. But these things don’t always happen overnight,’ he added. 

Of Ukraine’s fighters he said: ‘Even if tomorrow we announced we were going to put them in fast jets, that would take months.

‘You’re suddenly having to learn to pilot a fast jet, so there is no magic wand.’   

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Mr Wallace want to send a squadron of tanks to the country, which could arrive by the end of next month.

The MoD said it was boosting ammo stockpiles to ‘more than pre-invasion levels’ with an extra £560 million from the Treasury.

Defence chiefs have pledged all 30 working AS90s to Kyiv and are now urgently seeking K9 Thunders and Archer guns to replenish their stocks, it was recently reported.  ……….

February 6, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

February 5 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Democrats Sell Their Souls To The Methane Mob” • A group of methane suppliers have banded together to form Natural Allies For A Clean Energy Future. According to the Washington Post, its purpose is to convince Democratic voters that gas is a “clean” energy source. And how best to do that? Hire Democrats […]

February 5 Energy News — geoharvey

February 6, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Morrison picks up awards — The Bug Online

AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR: The Bug has formally presented former prime minister Scott Morrison with his Australian of the Year Awards for 2022 after he was unable to attend the announcement of his win on Australinvasion Day on 26 January. At a special ceremony in the boardroom on the top floor of The Bug’s headquarters […]

Morrison picks up awards — The Bug Online

February 6, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Combined Environmental Non Government Organisations submission to the Australian Senate recommends keeping the existing and prudent federal nuclear prohibitions


Friends of the Earth Australia
Australian Conservation Foundation
Greenpeace Australia Pacific
The Wilderness Society
Conservation Council of WA
Conservation SA
Nature Conservation Council (NSW)
Environment Victoria
Queensland Conservation Council
Environment Centre NT
Environs Kimberley

Submission to the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee
Inquiry into the Environment and Other Legislation Amendment (Removing Nuclear Energy Prohibitions) Bill 2022 Submission 14 January 2023.

Our groups maintain that federal and state legal prohibitions against the construction of nuclear power reactors have served Australia well. We strongly support the retention of these prudent, long-standing protections.

Proponents of the Environment and Other Legislation Amendment (Removing Nuclear Energy Prohibitions) Bill 2022 (The Bill) are seeking to remove these prohibitions, claiming this is needed to address climate change. However nuclear power is – at best ‒ a distraction to effective climate action.

It is important to note that promoters of nuclear power in Australia are not suggesting we build the nuclear technology that currently exists in the commercial world. The reactors that exist today are increasingly seen as a high cost and high-risk way to make electricity. They are also directly linked to high-level radioactive waste and nuclear security, weapons and terrorism concerns.

Nuclear promoters are staking their hopes – and Australia’s energy future – on technology which is uncertain and unproven. At the time of the 2021 Glasgow COP26, the UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Climate Change Selwin Hart stated that nations seeking to base their climate response on technologies that have not yet been developed are “reckless and irresponsible.”1

The good news about the renewed nuclear discussion is that it highlights that business as usual with fossil fuels is not an option. The bad news is the very real risk of delay, distraction and a failure to advance a just energy transition.

In response to the 2019 federal inquiry by the Standing Committee on Environment and Energy into the pre-requisites for nuclear power, over 60 Australian organisations representing millions of Australians, and including trade unions,

Indigenous, environment, health, faith and peace groups, signed a joint statement opposing nuclear power:
“Our nation faces urgent energy challenges. Against a backdrop of increasing climate impacts and scientific evidence the need for a clean and renewable energy transition is clear and irrefutable. All levels of government need to actively facilitate and manage Australia’s accelerated transition from reliance on fossil fuels to low carbon electricity generation.
The transition to clean, safe, renewable energy should also re-power the national economy. The development and commercialisation of manufacturing, infrastructure and new energy thinking is already generating employment and opportunity. This should be grown to provide skilled and sustainable jobs and economic activity, particularly in regional Australia.
There should be no debate about the need for this energy transition, or that it is already occurring. However, choices and decisions are needed to make sure that the transition best meets the interests of workers, affected communities and the broader Australian society.
Against this context the federal government has initiated an Inquiry into whether domestic nuclear power has a role in this necessary energy transition. Our organisations, representing a diverse cross section of the Australian community, strongly maintain that nuclear power has no role to play in Australia’s energy future.

Nuclear power is a dangerous distraction from real movement on the pressing energy decisions and climate actions we need. We maintain this for a range of factors, including:

Waste: Nuclear reactors produce long-lived radioactive wastes that pose a direct human and environmental threat for many thousands of years and impose a profound inter-generational burden. Radioactive waste management is costly, complex, contested and unresolved, globally and in the current Australian context. Nuclear power cannot be considered a clean source of energy given its intractable legacy of nuclear waste.

Water: Nuclear power is a thirsty industry that consumes large volumes of water, from uranium mining and processing through to reactor cooling. Australia is a dry nation where water is an important resource and supply is often uncertain.

: Nuclear power is a slow response to a pressing problem. Nuclear reactors are slow to build and license. Globally, reactors routinely take ten years or more to construct and time over-runs are common. Construction and commercialisation of nuclear reactors in Australia would be further delayed by the lack of nuclear engineers, a specialised workforce, and a licensing, regulatory and insurance framework.

Cost: Nuclear power is highly capital intensive and a very expensive way to produce electricity. The 2016 South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission concluded nuclear power was not economically viable. The controversial Hinkley reactors being constructed in the UK will cost more than $35 billion and lock in high cost power for consumers for decades. Cost estimates of other reactors under construction in Europe and the US range from $17 billion upwards and all are many billions of dollars over-budget and many years behind schedule. Renewable energy is simply the cheapest form of new generation electricity as the CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator concluded in their December 2018 report.

Security: Nuclear power plants have been described as pre-deployed terrorist targets and pose a major security threat. This in turn would likely see an increase in policing and security operations and costs and a commensurate impact on civil liberties and public access to information. Other nations in our region may view Australian nuclear aspirations with suspicion and concern given that many aspects of the technology and knowledge base are the same as those required for nuclear weapons. On many levels nuclear is a power source that undermines confidence.

Safety: All human made systems fail. When nuclear power fails it does so on a massive scale. The human, environmental and economic costs of nuclear accidents like Chernobyl and Fukushima have been massive and continue. Decommissioning and cleaning up old reactors and nuclear sites, even in the absence of any accidents, is technically challenging and very costly. Unlawful and unpopular: Nuclear power and nuclear reactors are prohibited under existing federal, state and territory laws. The nuclear sector is highly contested and does not enjoy broad political, stakeholder or community support. A 2015 IPSOS poll found that support among Australians for solar power (78‒87%) and wind power (72%) is far higher than support for coal (23%) and nuclear (26%).

Disproportionate impacts: The nuclear industry has a history of adverse impacts on Aboriginal communities, lands and waters. This began in the 1950s with British atomic testing and continues today with uranium mining and proposed nuclear waste dumps. These problems would be magnified if Australia ever advanced domestic nuclear power.

Better alternatives: If Australia’s energy future was solely a choice between coal and nuclear then a nuclear debate would be needed. But it is not. Our nation has extensive renewable energy options and resources and Australians have shown clear support for increased use of renewable and genuinely clean energy sources.

The path ahead: Australia can do better than fuel higher carbon emissions and unnecessary radioactive risk. We need to embrace the fastest growing global energy sector and become a driver of clean energy thinking and technology and a world leader in renewable energy technology.
We can grow the jobs of the future here today. This will provide a just transition for energy sector workers, their families and communities and the certainty to ensure vibrant regional economies and secure sustainable and skilled jobs into the future.
Renewable energy is affordable, low risk, clean and popular. Nuclear is simply not. Our shared energy future is renewable, not radioactive.”

There is now a consensus or near-consensus that, in the words of Dr. Ziggy Switkowski at the 2019 federal nuclear inquiry, “the window is now closed for gigawatt-scale nuclear” in Australia. Dr. Switkowski further noted that “nuclear power has got more expensive, rather than less expensive”, that there is “no coherent business case to finance an Australian nuclear industry”, and that no-one knows how a network of small modular reactors (SMRs) might work in Australia because no such network exists “anywhere in the world at the moment”.

The 2019 federal nuclear inquiry2 included Coalition MPs who were, in principle, enthusiastic about nuclear power. However, the Committee’s report argued that the government should retain legal bans prohibiting the development of conventional, large nuclear power reactors (“Generation I, Generation II and Generation III”).3 Committee chair Ted O’Brien said, “Australia should say a definite ‘no’ to old nuclear technologies.”4

The Committee’s report called for a partial repeal of legal bans to permit the development of “new and emerging nuclear technologies” including SMRs, a call that was ruled out by the Morrison government.5 The current Labor federal government and the Australian Greens (among others) support the legal prohibitions.
The Labor dissenting report to the 2019 federal nuclear inquiry argued for retaining the prohibition:

“There is no basis for lifting the legislative prohibition on nuclear energy (Recommendation 3). There is no need for additional work or specific investigations into the science or economics of nuclear energy (Recommendation 2) as Australia already has significant expertise and engagement in this space through the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and through our nuclear-related international treaty-based collaborations. Devoting resources to a nuclear wish-fulfilment exercise, including what sounds like a nuclear propaganda exercise (e.g., ‘manage a community engagement program that would educate and inform Australians’) would be a costly and wasteful distraction.”

We wholeheartedly agree.

A January 2019 statement issued by the Climate Council, comprising Australia’s leading climate scientists and other policy experts6 argued that nuclear power reactors “are not appropriate for Australia and probably never will be” and further stated:
“Nuclear power stations are highly controversial, can’t be built under existing law in any Australian state or territory, are a more expensive source of power than renewable energy, and present significant challenges in terms of the storage and transport of nuclear waste, and use of water”

The pressing climate and energy crisis would be exacerbated by opening the door to nuclear power which would complicate and delay the much-needed transition away from fossil fuels. The opportunity cost of investing time and money in Gen IV nuclear power concepts and SMRs would be high and would distract from far more effective climate responses, especially as novel nuclear technology is unproven, not commercially available, and retains many of the same problems and risks as conventional, large-scale nuclear power.

SMRs do not have any meaningful existence. Some small reactors exist but currently there is no such SMR mass manufacturing capacity, and no company, consortium, utility or national government is seriously considering betting billions building an SMR mass manufacturing capacity. The only two operating SMRs ‒ one each in Russia and China ‒ could only loosely be described as SMRs (lacking serial factory construction of reactor components or ‘modules’). Both were long delayed and subject to large cost increases.

Instead, we should embrace a diverse suite of renewable energy options. Australia is well placed to be a global leader in this sector and to grow and enjoy the clear environmental, energy security and economic benefits.

Further, we maintain that the prohibitions on nuclear power should be retained because:

  1. Nuclear power could not possibly pass any reasonable economic test. It could not be introduced or maintained without huge taxpayer subsidies and would undoubtedly result in higher electricity prices.
  2. There is no clear social license to introduce nuclear power to Australia. Opinion polls indicate that Australians are strongly opposed to a nuclear power reactor being built in their local vicinity (10‒28% support, 55‒73% opposition); and opinion polls find that support for renewable energy sources far exceeds support for nuclear power (for example a 2015 IPSOS poll found 72‒87% support for solar and wind power but just 26% support for nuclear power).
  3. The pursuit of a nuclear power industry would almost certainly worsen patterns of disempowerment and dispossession that Australia’s First Nations communities have and continue to experience from uranium, nuclear and radioactive waste projects.
  4. The issue of the long-term management of low, intermediate and high-level nuclear waste resulting from a nuclear power should preclude further consideration nuclear power as an energy option. This unresolved inter-generational waste issue highlights that nuclear is not a ‘clean’ energy source.
  5. The introduction of nuclear power would delay and undermine the development of effective and cost-effective energy and climate policies based on renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.
  6. Introducing nuclear power to Australia would necessitate 10 years for planning and approvals, 10 years for construction, and an estimated 6.5 years7 to repay the energy and carbon debts from construction. Thus, nuclear power could only begin to contribute to reducing greenhouse emissions around 2050 even in the unlikely event that legal prohibitions were repealed in the near future. If we assume 10 years for the repeal of current legal prohibitions, nuclear power could only begin to contribute to reducing greenhouse emissions around 2060.
  7. Nuclear reactors are increasingly vulnerable to climatic changes and extreme weather conditions.
  8. Significant security and safety considerations, including the potential for infrastructure weaponisation and the vulnerability of civilian nuclear reactors in conflict zones as highlighted in the Ukraine war.

It is important to note that the impact of the nuclear industry on First Nations communities in Australia and globally has been disproportionate and discriminatory. In Australia this can be seen in many cases, including long standing concerns and tensions over radioactive waste management.

Decades-long efforts to establish a repository and store for Australia’s low and intermediate-level radioactive wastes continue to flounder. The federal Labor government has inherited and is currently progressing the previous government’s plans for a national nuclear waste facility near Kimba in regional South Australia. This is despite the opposition of many local farmers and the unanimous opposition of the Barngarla Traditional Owners. A legal challenge initiated by Barngarla Traditional Owners is currently underway and contest around the waste plan is growing.

Our groups believe there is a pressing need for the federal government to pause the current National Radioactive Waste Management Facility process pending the findings of a dedicated inquiry that explores all available options for the management of Australia’s existing holdings of radioactive waste.

The policy calcification and community division around the management of our existing national radioactive waste inventory should sound a cautionary note over any moves to take Australia further down a nuclear path.

Indeed, former Resources Minister Matt Canavan stated in June 2019 that “if we can’t find a permanent home for low-level radioactive waste associated with nuclear medicines, we’ve got a pretty big challenge dealing with the high-level waste that would be produced by any energy facilities”.

Fortunately, we are not faced with the limited energy options of coal, gas or nuclear.

A growing number of expert studies have mapped out viable, affordable scenarios for 100% renewable electricity generation in Australia8, while numerous studies demonstrate the significant and widening cost advantage enjoyed by renewables compared to nuclear power. Moreover, CSIRO/AEMO research shows that even when transmission and storage costs are factored in, renewables are still far cheaper than nuclear power.

Australia cannot afford to lose more time on energy ‘culture-wars’ or on the false promise of unproven and non-commercial technology.

The former Chair of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Professor Allison Macfarlane, provided a further reality check in 2021 stating, “when it comes to averting the imminent effects of climate change, even the cutting edge of nuclear technology will prove to be too little, too late.”9

Wishful thinking is no substitute for real world evidence and action, or for effective climate action.

Renewable energy exists in the real world and this is the crucial decade when real climate action is urgently needed to make the required transition to a low carbon future.

It is our considered view that the pursuit of nuclear power would delay and undermine efforts to reduce Australia’s greenhouse emissions and address the challenges and opportunities of climate change.

Our shared energy future is renewable, not radioactive.

Our groups call on the Committee to support effective climate action by recommending against the proposed Bill and reaffirming support for the existing and prudent federal nuclear prohibitions.

February 4, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Aukus: Biden urged to fast-track research into submarines using non-weapons grade uranium

US lawmakers are concerned that if Australia’s new nuclear submarines use enriched fuel it could undermine global non-proliferation system

Guardian Daniel Hurst 4 Feb 23

The Biden administration is being urged to fast-track research into submarines that do not use weapons-grade uranium, as four Democratic politicians warn the Aukus deal with Australia makes the task “even more pressing”.

Australia’s deputy prime minister, Richard Marles, arrived in the United States for crucial talks with the defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, on Friday (US time), amid renewed congressional concerns about aspects of the flagship Aukus project.

With March looming as the deadline for key decisions on how Australia acquires at least eight nuclear-powered submarines with help from the US and the UK, all three countries maintain the work remains on track.

But in the latest sign of congressional jitters, four politicians from Joe Biden’s party have sounded the alarm about broader risks to the global nuclear non-proliferation system.

A newly published letter coordinated by Bill Foster, a physicist serving as US representative for an Illinois congressional district, asks the Biden administration to ramp up research into alternatives to using weapons-grade uranium to power submarines.

It adds to concerns already raised by experts that if the Australian submarines are powered by highly enriched uranium (HEU), other countries may seek to follow the precedent – even though they will not be armed with nuclear weapons…………………….

in a letter to the administrator of the NNSA and the navy secretary, the politicians formally requested a detailed report on “the feasibility and performance impact of a Virginia-Class replacement SSN(X) nuclear-powered attack submarine” that is fuelled by a low-enriched uranium (LEU) reactor with a life-of-the-ship core.

They said previous reports indicated it “may be feasible for the navy to use LEU fuel for naval nuclear propulsion, as France and China already do”……………….

“Minimizing the global presence of HEU by reducing its use in military applications would reduce the risks associated with making and transporting HEU and demonstrate significant leadership on nonproliferation,” the letter said…………….

James Acton, a co-director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has previously argued that Aukus depends on “a glaring and worrying loophole in IAEA safeguards” that could be exploited by others.

This loophole allows non-nuclear weapon countries to remove the fissile material they need for the submarine reactors from the stockpile monitored by the IAEA………………………………………………..

In the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023, which was signed by Biden in late December, the US Congress requested Austin to order an independent assessment of the “challenges” to implementing Aukus………..

February 4, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The American Colony of Australia

19 Feb 2021Western media portrays Australia as a beautiful nation with independent people and a close ally of the United States. But the American Empire has no allies, only vassal states. Australia became a colony of the American empire in 1975 after an Anglo-American coup. Australians noticed nothing since Australia had been an British colony since its inception and dispatches military forces when ordered to fight empire wars.

February 4, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Bill Gates’ profitable involvement in the nuclear industry, even in radiation detection equipment.

Did You Know?  Paul Waldon.  Fight to stop a nuclear waste dump in South Australia 3 Feb 23.

  • The radiation detection equipment manufacturing company ThermoFisher is a Fortune 500 corporation that posted revenues of over $11 billion for the last quarter of 2022.
  • Bill Gates is the biggest shareholder with 108million+ shares in Republic Services, and he more than doubled his profits ($3Bil.) in a few short years “not” by spending money to clean up his mess but by letting the community of St Louis sit on it. St. Louis a town where cancer clusters are common, and Bill doesn’t live.

February 4, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business | Leave a comment

Should never have been lost’: Big questions after miracle radioactive find

The New Daily 2 Feb 23,

Relieved Western Australian authorities are fending off more questions, after the success of their “needle-in-a-haystack” search for a tiny radioactive capsule.

Search crews defied the odds to find a tiny “Tic-Tac-sized” capsule after it – quite literally – fell off a truck in remote Western Australia.

Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson said the discovery was extraordinary considering the scope of the search area.

“Locating this object was a monumental challenge,” he said.

“The search groups have quite literally found the needle in the haystack.”

But questions remain about how the tiny but dangerous object went missing in the first place.

The 8-millimetre by 6-millimetre item fell out of a density gauge while being trucked 1400 kilometres from a Rio Tinto mine in the Pilbara to Perth just over a fortnight ago.

Authorities sprang into action, mobilising specialist crews to look for the tiny capsule. Firefighters were diverted from their usual activities and on Tuesday the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency said it had sent a team with specialised car-mounted and portable detection equipment to join the search.

On Wednesday, WA government officials said the dangerous capsule had been found just south of Newman – about 200 kilometres from the mine site – on the Great Northern Highway………………………………………….

A government investigation has been launched into the incident and a report will be provided to WA Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson.

Rio Tinto has previously apologised and ordered its own review into what went wrong during the haul, which was carried out by a contractor.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

The truck arrived in the Perth suburb of Malaga on January 16. But it wasn’t until nine days later that a technician realised the capsule was missing.

Under WA laws, the maximum fine for failing to safely store or transport radioactive material is just $1000 – a penalty described by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese as “ridiculously low”……………. more

February 4, 2023 Posted by | - incidents, Western Australia | Leave a comment