Australian news, and some related international items

Wrap up of the week’s Australian nuclear news

Wrap up of weekly nuclear news, 18/1/12 Australia:  Revelations that India was involved in the murky nuclear deals with A.Q. Khan provide a reason to think twice about  giving India a privileged position on uranium sales.  The 40th anniversary of the Aboriginal tent embassy is a reminder that Aboriginal rights are a matter for all Australians, not solely Aborigines.

A new government review recommends removing limits on media ownership –  at a time when the Murdoch media is consistently preaching the gospel of climate denialism.

Meanwhile, CSIRO has found that, on the whole, rural communities favour wind energy, but the majority are not heard, while a vocal anti wind minority gets its message across to media and government
The cause of a radioactive could over the Sunshine Coast is unexplained, but might have come from Sydney’s Lucas Heights nuclear reactor. – Christina Macpherson

January 18, 2012 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

India was involved in A.Q. Khan’s illegal nuclear network

Australia in particular, along with the United States and the Nuclear Suppliers Group, must review recent decisions to positively discriminate in order to permit nuclear dealings with India.

Gillard’s sexual education, Crikey, January 18, 2012 –, by NAJ Taylor   “……..  if Playboy’s January issue (the one with Lindsay Lohan on the cover) is approached with open eyes, I believe it has the capacity the recast the Australia-India relationship. In sum, the article by Joshua Pollack concerns an already infamous Pakistani and a group of Indian nuclear scientists – the evidence assembled suggests only one thing: there was once a time when they were all in bed together.

 If it is true, it means India was Pakistani AQ Khan’s previously unknown “fourth customer” of nuclear technology and know-how (the others were Libya, Iran and North Korea). Continue reading

January 18, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Rural communities favour wind farms, CSIRO study finds

CSIRO finds stronger wind farm support than media reflects, ABC Rural News,  17/01/2012 A CSIRO study has found there’s stronger community support for wind farms than reported in newspapers.

The case study looked at nine communities with wind farms and interviewed everyone from wind companies, to local government, turbine hosts and people both opposed to and supporting wind farms.

One of the authors of the report “Acceptance of rural wind farms in Australia” Dr Jim Smitham says residents don’t seek media attention to express their views.

“In presenting a balance picture, if there are groups of people who have a single point of view and are very strident in expressing that, they might appear to drown out some of the wider group who have lots of other reasons for support,” he says.

January 18, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wind | | Leave a comment

New danger of Rupert Murdoch gaining even more control of Australia’s media

Murdoch’s Dream Come True ,  18 Jan 12, Free reign to control every last newspaper, TV and radio station in Australia — Rupert Murdoch’s fantasy could become a frightening reality unless we stand in his way right now.

A government review is recommending we eliminate ownership limits — exactly what Murdoch asked for. But we have two weeks to flood the review with objections to their plan during the public comment period before they finalise the report. Unless thousands of us speak out, the recommendations could go forward unchallenged.

Nobody — especially not Rupert Murdoch — should be allowed to own all of our media. Let’s wake up the review with our call — and prevent the Murdoch Mafia from growing even larger. Send your urgent message directly to the review.

January 18, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The first OCCUPY movement – Australia’s Aboriginal tent embassy

Next week Aborigines from all over will converge on Canberra to commemorate and celebrate 40 years of the embassy.

It is white Australian history, and it is general history too. It ought not be only for Aborigines to use the occasion to ponder black-white relationships, and what is happening now.

Time for return diplomacy, Canberra Times, BY JACK WATERFORD 18 Jan, 2012  “….They were the spearhead of a new and angry generation of Aboriginal activists. There’s only one survivor – Anderson – of the original four, but there are many others who served at the embassy and helped change the face of Aboriginal affairs. Forty years on, however, not only are the survivors still angry and bitter, but many wonder whether all the efforts of the past two generations since have
amounted to much. Few have any faith whatever in the directions taken by the present Government. There’s triumph – if in sheer survival – but little hope, and less love…. the embassy belongs not only to Aboriginal history….. Continue reading

January 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dire economic outlook for Japan damaging Australia’s uranium industry

Japan Earthquake Update: Economic Outlook Now Appears Dire Oil, By Mad Hedge Fund Trader | Tue, 17 January 2012 “….Japan’s economic outlook now appears far more dire than I anticipated only a day ago….. The Tokyo Stock Exchange absolutely took it on the nose on Monday morning…… Prime Minister Naoko Kan has asked the Bank of Japan “to save the country.” The central bank responded promptly with ¥15 trillion, or $187 billion worth of credit
market purchases….

Uranium miners in Australia took a particular pounding, as the nuclear crisis casts a long shadow over this reviving energy source…. It looks like we are seeing the first multiple partial nuclear meltdowns in history…. Small amounts of low radiation cesium and iodine have already been released, which should be measurable on American roof tops in about ten days. Neighboring countries are enforcing radiation testing of all food imports from Japan….

January 18, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The case for new thinking on Aboriginal land rights, and for a Treaty

Adelaide land crime shows why we need a treaty Eureka Street, JOHN BARTLETT JANUARY 17, 2012 Recently attention has been focused on the legal documents that underpinned the establishment of the Province of South Australia in 1836, and how the state’s founding impacted the original inhabitants. These documents appear to prove the land was acquired illegally.
Chief among these is the Letters Patent signed by King William IV in 1836 that made white settlement conditional on the following principle:
That nothing in those Letters Patent shall affect or be construed to affect the rights of any Aboriginal Natives of the said province to the actual occupation or enjoyment, in their own persons or in the persons of their descendants, of any land therein now actually occupied or enjoyed by such Natives.
The legal implications of such a document turn the establishment of South Australia into a testing ground for Indigenous rights Australia-wide. So far the tone of this discussion has been very muted.
Sean Berg, who practises Intellectual Property Law in South Australia, has shone light on other documents that raise new possibilities for rethinking Indigenous land rights in this country…..   These potentially incendiary issues have been aired in a book edited by Berg,Coming to Terms: Aboriginal Title in South Australia…..  No matter how extensive or generous any government program to tackle Indigenous inequality, it will mean little unless Indigenous people are first treated as a sovereign nation with independent rights.

January 18, 2012 Posted by | South Australia | | Leave a comment

Hanford whistleblower warns on plutonium waste danger at nuclear facility

During her testimony to the board she gave different answers than top-level officials with the Department of Energy and contractors Bechtel National and URS. Afterward, she says her managers asked her to change her answers. Busche said “No.”

She says she was … “Raised by a very good mother, that said, ‘Just don’t lie. ‘Cause once you tell your first one it’s real hard to … they just continue to grow.'”…

Audio  Hanford Nuclear Safety Manager Questions Waste Treatment Plant NPR by ANNA KING  January 17, 2012 from N3 RICHLAND, Wash. – Waste in underground tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation may have much more plutonium than previously thought. That’s according to a report by a Hanford contractor that’s just been leaked to public radio. It’s also according to the latest high profile whistleblower to raise serious concerns about a waste treatment plant being built at the Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. Continue reading

January 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s uranium industry facing a doubtful future

Uranium Sector Hit by Mining Safety Fears  Oil Price, By Dave Forest , 10 January 2011    “…..  the Electrical Trades Union of Queensland and the Northern Territory is banning its members from working in any nuclear-related facilities. Including uranium mines and nuclear power stations.

The Union is worried about the health dangers of uranium and nuclear power. In an anti-uranium video released by the group, the narrator notes, “This is dangerous stuff. It has no place in society.”

Union spokesman Peter Simpson further says, “We are sending a clear message to the industry and the wider community that vested interests in the uranium and nuclear industries are trying to hoodwink us about this dangerous product and industry.”…..  a group of this stature taking such a heavy-handed stance against uranium cannot be ignored.

Ultimately, this could be a setback for the Aussie uranium business. Particularly if other workers follow the electricians’ suit.

In the bigger picture, the Union’s move illustrates the huge challenges the world faces in bringing on new uranium supplies. Right or wrong, the radioactive metal will always be viewed in a more cautious light by workers, local communities and governments.

Anti-uranium protests are inevitable, and will probably slow or stop completely some of the world’s yellowcake projects. One more hurdle for an industry that’s already having a hard time finding new, economic deposits in order to meet global demand. …. exploration and development companies will need to think hard about what projects they pursue. Not only are size, grade and infrastructure a consideration. Companies will also have to think about the surrounding communities, the attitudes of the regional populace, and the stance of host governments when it comes to uranium.

Throw all of these factors in the mix, and it’s going to be extra tough to make new mines.

January 18, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Opposition to nuclear, uranium | | 1 Comment

Did the earthquake damage Fukushima’s nuclear reactors before the tsunami?

The panel includes legal, nuclear and medical experts. Seismologist Katsuhiko Ishibashi has long warned of tsunami risks in the earthquake-prone country where all 54 nuclear reactors are built on the coastline. Engineer Mitsuhiko Tanaka designed nuclear reactors at Babcock-Hitachi K.K. and has suggested the March quake damaged the Fukushima reactors before the tsunami.

New probe to cut deeper in Japan nuclear crisis 17 JAN 2012  3 News New Zealand, By Mari Yamaguchi A newly formed investigative panel on Japan’s nuclear disaster will use its subpoena powers wisely and cut deeper into the accident than the government’s probe, according to the leader of the independent commission.

The panel appointed by parliament last month has gained attention here because its 10 members include outspoken critics of Japan’s nuclear policy who long ago questioned the seismic risks to the country’s 54 nuclear reactors.

It is expected to examine the extent to which the 9.0-magnitude earthquake contributed to the crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, as well as the ensuing tsunami and radiation alert system. Continue reading

January 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Israeli people want nuclear free Mid East: Israeli politicians out of touch

Israelis Willing To Renounce Nuclear Weapons For Mideast Nuclear Free Zone , The Eurasia Review,  by:  January 17, 2012 Shibley Telhami recently released theextraordinary results of a recent poll (see full results) of Israeli public opinion about its country’s nuclear program and Iran’s.  The answers to the poll’s questions showed rather amazing level of pragmatism regarding Israeli attitudes on the subject:

1. Israelis were almost equally divided on the issue of whether Israel should attack Iran, 43% favored a strike and 41% opposed.

2. 68% believe Iran will eventually develop nuclear weapons.  This statistic isn’t surprising.  But given this number the results of the following questions are.

3. 65% believe it is better for neither Israel NOR Iran to have nuclear weapons.

4. 60% favor inspections of all nuclear facilities in the region (including Israel’s) in preparation for a nuclear free zone.

5. 63% would favor all nations in the region (including their own) renouncing nuclear weapons in the context of creating a nuclear free zone.

6. 64% favor the creation of a Mideast nuclear free zone.

separate poll released by Haaretz indicates that nearly 60% of Israelis believe that an attack on Iran will lead to a regional war involving Hezbollah and Hamas…….

Telhami’s poll also indicates just how out of sync the Israeli political leadership is with the body politic on this issue.  Even before Israel attacks Iran, almost half the population thinks it would be a bad idea.  In my experience, the leadership of a country that goes into a war with the citizens already divided on its efficacy is potentially in big trouble…….

Israel’s nuclear program is a huge irritant in the overall scheme of Israeli-Arab relations.  It is one of the reasons (though not the only one) Iran is pursuing a nuclear program (whether or not its pursuing a nuclear weapon is undetermined).  It is one of the greatest hypocrisies of Israel’s own claim of “existential threat” post by that country for having the chutzpah to want what Israel has in such great numbers.

January 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Western Australia’s new Labor leader might change uranium policy

Ripper to stand down as WA Labor leader in favour of McGowan, ABC, Radio National A.M. David Weber  , January 18, 2012
Political analyst, Harry Phillips…. says Mark McGowan could change Labor’s current policy to
withhold approval for uranium mines.

HARRY PHILLIPS: He may bring about a reversal on Eric Ripper’s very strong stand on uranium; they’d rescind contracts and that. That’s a very hard policy to sustain and I think it leads to – they’re really locking themselves into a different position there to the Federal Labor. That’s a very hard policy to uphold….

January 18, 2012 Posted by | politics, Western Australia | Leave a comment