Australian news, and some related international items

Anti nuclear rallies across Australia on 11th March

Australian Rallies Remember Fukushima Disaster, Voice of America, Phil Mercer 11 March,  Sydney Hundreds of anti-nuclear demonstrators have converged on the Australian headquarters of global mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto to

mark one year since Japan’s nuclear crisis. The 500-strong march Sunday through southern Melbourne called for an end to uranium mining in Australia.

Rallies have been held across Australia to mark the first anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The rallies are also part of a national day of action to end uranium mining in Australia. There were events in Sydney, and in Melbourne a protest included
speeches and performances by representatives of the expatriate Japanese community as well as Australia’s Indigenous communities, who are worried about the effects of mining near tribal lands.

There was a minute’s silence for the victims of Japan’s devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophe. The rally was followed by a march past the headquarters of Australia’s largest uranium miners, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

The Australian Conservation Foundation is demanding an independent review of the costs and consequences of Australia’s uranium trade and insists that the nuclear power industry has lost public confidence and credibility following the Fukushima disaster. Foundation spokesman Dave Sweeney says Australia must abandon its exports of uranium.

“We have 40 per cent of the world’s uranium in Australia.  We supply 20 per cent of the global market and this is the basic fuel for nuclear power, it is the basic fuel for nuclear weapons,” he said. “On a good day it becomes high-level radioactive waste and on a bad day it become Fukushima fallout and I think the question for Australia is do we want to continue to do that?”…….

March 12, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Opposition to nuclear, uranium | | Leave a comment

Bad taste nuclear award goes to Ziggy Switkowski

On the anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, Australia’s top nuclear salesman, Ziggy Switkowski, comes out in praise of nuclear power as the only clean energy option.

I can only assume that this is yet another repeat of Ziggy’s ignorant and deceptive sales message. He usually completely ignores or dismisses any health risk from ‘low level’ ionising radiation, as well as risks of nuclear weapons, terrorism, nuclear wars.  And in general, Ziggy prefers to keep off the subject of nuclear wastes, and especially of the astronomic costs thereof.

But I can’t be sure.  Because I haven’t paid up to be permitted to read THE AUSTRALIAN – Australia’s Murdoch mouthpiece for the fossil fuel/nuclear industries.   And I don’t intend to pay up for Murdoch’s tripe, either.- Christina Macpherson

Ziggy Switkowski: There is only one clean energy option, THE AUSTRALIAN, 12 March 12
BY necessity, pragmatism will overcome fear when it comes to nuclear power.

March 12, 2012 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Japan, France, Germany, Taiwan, Spain .. anti nuclear protests around the world

Protesters link arms around the world to decry nuclear power, Google News, France 24, 11 March 12,   AFP Tens of thousands of anti-nuclear protesters across the globe called for an end to nuclear power as they marked the first anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami at Japan’s Fukushima power plant. Continue reading

March 12, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear power’s dangers threaten Australia, too

Nuclear issues are not a foreign matter: Ludlam, SMH, Aleisha Orr, March 12, 2012   WA Senator Scott Ludlam has warned that Western Australia is not immune to the tragedies of nuclear power. The Greens senator made his statement yesterday as the first anniversary of the Fukushima power plant disaster in Japan was commemorated.

He said with uranium mines being set up in the state, WA could contribute to such a disaster as the one in Japan in the future.  “Australian uranium was in all four of the reactors in Fukushima that melted down,” he said.

“There are proposals to send uranium to India, Russia and China, where the technical capabilities are not as high as they were in Japan and we have grave fears about this.” Senator Ludlam said mining was not the only West Australian connection
to nuclear power. “We still get regular visits by nuclear armed warships,” he said. Senator Ludlam said ships with nuclear weapons on board also visited Fremantle on a semi-regular basis….”They are routinely risking the people in WA, especially those in coastal suburbs to nuclear energy.”

The senator yesterday launched a booklet detailing what he called the tragic history of nuclear power.
The booklet that Senator Ludlam launched yesterday, Let The Facts Speak, is the fourth edition of the publication first produced in 1990 to raise awareness about the dangers of nuclear power. “After every disaster, the nuclear industry and its allies in
government rally their forces to defend the indefensible,” he said. “Shallow excuses are offered up to deny the undeniable: nuclear power is not clean, it is not cheap and it is not safe.”

March 12, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

No harm done by Fukushima nuclear radiation – that’s not true!

 By October 2011, an article in the journal Nature estimated Fukushima emissions to be more than double that of Chernobyl. How anyone, let alone scientists, could call Fukushima doses “too low” to cause harm in the face of this evidence is astounding.

Within six days of the meltdowns, the plume had reached the U.S. and, within 18 days, it had circled the Northern Hemisphere.

 Last month brought the news that 573 deaths in the area near the stricken reactors were certified by coroners as related to the nuclear crisis, with dozens more deaths to be reviewed. 

The dangerous myths of Fukushima: Exposing the ‘no harm’ mantra, Bay View,   by Joseph Mangano and Janette Sherman, M.D. March 10, 2012 The myth that Fukushima radiation levels were too low to harm humans persists a year after the meltdown. A March 2, 2012, New York Times article quoted Vanderbilt University professor John Boice: “There’s no opportunity for conducting epidemiological studies that have any chance for success – the doses are just too low.”
Wolfgang Weiss of the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation also recently said doses observed in screening of Japanese people “are very low.”

Views like these are political, not scientific, virtually identical to what the nuclear industry cheerleaders claim. Nuclear Energy Institute spokesperson Tony Pietrangelo issued a statement in June that “no health effects are expected among the Japanese people as a result of the events at Fukushima.”

In their haste to choke off all consideration of harm from Fukushima radiation, nuclear plant owners and their willing dupes in the
scientific community built a castle against invaders – those open-minded researchers who would first conduct objective research
BEFORE rushing to judgment. The pro-nuclear chants of “no harm” and “no studies needed” are intended to be permanent, as part of damage control created by a dangerous technology that has produced yet another catastrophe.

But just one year after Fukushima, the “no harm” mantra is now being crowded by evidence – evidence to the contrary. Continue reading

March 12, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A $billion temporary tomb for Fukushima nuclear plant, just like Chernobyl

 Now one year later, we witness what was expected across all media: The reporting is basically leaving the impression that everything is over and under control,

Japanese Nuclear Reactor Future: Another High Tech Sarcophagus? Science 2.0, By Sascha Vongehr | March 11th 2012  Even one year after the disaster at the Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan, it is still unfolding. It was locally surpassing the severity of Chernobyl relatively soon in the first few weeks. Four out of the six facilities were already no more than a pile of radioactive trash just like Chernobyl and it was clear since then that the future will be also similar to that of Chernobyl: A radioactive monument, still for our grand children’s grandchildren to be concerned about.

The Fukushima plant will have to be treated similar to the reactor site in Chernobyl. The blocks may have to be similarly encapsulated to become concrete tombs. However, Chernobyl’s metal and concrete sarcophagus, officially known as “the shelter object”, has shown that concrete entombing is not a long term solution; it leaked after just 20 years. Thus, it may well be that the Japanese will straightaway do what is now undertaken in Chernobyl: A gigantic, 1.4 billion dollar high tech sarcophagus that promises to stay for about 100 years before the next replacement will be necessary.

It is made from metal arches higher than the Statue of Liberty and can slide over the length of three football fields, the largest moveable structure ever. Continue reading

March 12, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s ABC television Q and A neglects serious thinkers in favour of “Punch and Judy

ABC Q&A: adventures in autocracy The national broadcaster promotes the show as being “adventures in democracy”, but according to a new study by Independent Australia, if ABC’s popular Q&Aprogramme set electoral boundaries, it would produce a worse gerrymander than Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s Queensland…… 
Independent Australia found that many prominent Australians, including Don Henry from the Australian Conservation Foundation and former Nobel Peace Prize nominee Dr Helen Caldicott, have never been asked to appear on Q&A.
“I’ve never been asked and would like to be,” Dr Caldicott told Independent Australia in an exclusive interview. “I find it somewhat stimulating, but a limited range of topics is discussed.”
The research shows that the show is relatively even-handed in presenting voices from the two major parties, but seldom includes panellists representing minor parties.

It appears that the producers have their favourites when it comes to “thinktanks”, with the free marketeering IPA topping the list with 4 different panellists and 11 appearances in total (not including appearances by former staff members). Meanwhile, prominent progressive think tank The Australia Institute has never featured on Q&A, despite TAI’s current head Dr Richard Denniss debating Lord Christopher Monckton about climate change at the National Press Club last year and its former head being prominent author and intellectual Professor Clive Hamilton.

“As the director of Australia’s largest progressive think tank I am sure the producers of Q&A will have me on one day,” said Dr Denniss in a statement provided to Independent Australia.
“Given the Institute’s research into the impact of the mining boom, climate change, tax reform, superannuation and the role of government in the 21st century, it’s hard to imagine they don’t think we’d have something to say about the big issues.”
The author of the study, Independent Australia managing director David Donovan, says the ABC is letting down the public by its narrow focus and may be in breach of its own Charter and Code of Practice.
“The ABC, by focussing on the same few people, mainly from the two major parties, is not presenting a full range of views,” said Mr Donovan.
“And by focusing on such a narrow range of people and views in such a popular and important current affairs show, Q&A is in danger of breaching its own code of ethics and charter,” he said.
“The ABC Code of Practice says it has a duty to provide balance, impartiality and a diversity of views, however based on the responses I have received from Q&A producers – which will be included in the final report – they appear to be more concerned about providing entertainment.”
“They seem to see Q&A as a sort of modern Australian Punch and Judy show.”… The research and report is due to be published on the Independent Australia website later today

March 12, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Exposing the wrong case for nuclear power put by Professor Barry Brook

 As the Fukushima nuclear disaster unfolded in March 2011, Brook maintained a running commentary in the media and on his website insisting that the situation was under control and that there was no reason for concern.

[Brook] is silent on the problem of long-term cancer deaths from exposure to radioactive fallout 

Nuclear Power Isn’t A Green Bullet, New Matilda,  12 Mar 2012 By Jim Green  “…… When a scientist with the best of intentions and a prodigious intellect argues that the risks of nuclear power have been overstated and that nuclear power is an essential tool in the battle against climate change, his arguments need careful consideration. The Brook/BNC mantra is this: “it’s nuclear power or it’s climate change”.

[clean energy:] However numerous studies exist that map out the options to sharply reduce emissions without recourse to nuclear power.  One of the most practical Australian studies was produced by a group of scientists for theClean Energy Future Group (CEFG)…. University of NSW academic Mark Diesendorf, who contributed to theCEFG study, has proposed a more ambitious scenario that replaces all coal and gas with renewables.

[nuclear weapons:]  Barry Brook has shown himself willing to trivialise the repeatedly demonstrated connection between nuclear power and weapons. … Brook claims to be concerned about nuclear weapons proliferation but the evidence suggests otherwise. …

Brook claims that the integral fast reactors (IFRs) he champions “cannot be used to generate weapons-grade material.” The claim isn’t true. To quote George Stanford, who worked on an IFR research program in the US: “If not properly safeguarded, they could do [with IFRs] what they could do with any other reactor — operate it on a special cycle to produce good quality weapons material.”

The misconceptions pile up. Continue reading

March 12, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Barry Brook and his brave new nuclear climate refuted

Barry Brook – Brave New Climate  Friends of the Earth Australia  

Introduction and conclusion to the detailed  (PDF)  : Introduction   :

This is a review of the nuclear power advocacy of Prof. Barry Brook, a conservation biology / climate change scientist/academic at Adelaide Uni who runs the Brave New Climate (BNC) website…….

March 12, 2012 Posted by | Audiovisual | Leave a comment

Today, Dr Helen Caldicott’s message on nuclear power is more relevant than ever

(a) “We can no longer afford to entrust our lives, and the lives and health of future generations, to politicians, bureaucrats, ‘experts’ or scientific specialists, because all too often their objectivity is compromised.

(b) “Most government officials are shockingly uninformed about the medical implications of nuclear power — and yet they daily make life-and-death decisions in regard to these issues.”

(c) Some in the medical profession are too indifferent about larger questions and they are reluctant to look beyond their immediate research and treatment responsibilities.

(d) Many doctors remain silent about the medical hazards of nuclear technology despite their firm knowledge that nuclear radiation is a certain cause of cancer and genetic diseases.

Is Helen Caldicott’s Nuclear Madness still relevant?, THE HNDU, 11 March JOHN VERGIS VILANILAM Helen Caldicott, the Australia-born physician and anti-nuclear activist of the late 1970s and early 1980s, was a practitioner of paediatrics at the Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Boston, U.S. A leading critic of nuclear technology and armament industries, she tried to conscientise the world through her almost solitary protest writings and TV and radio appearances against the dangers of nuclear technology for the environment.

In the light of Fukushima (2011), Chernobyl (1986) and Three Mile Island (1979) nuclear accidents (all of which happened after 1978) and the great concern they generated in the world during the last four decades, Caldicott’s 1978 book Nuclear Madness assumes prophetic significance.

We cannot ignore the several pieces of vital information missing from the reports of these accidents. Our treasure house of
knowledge of nuclear technology is the poorer for these omissions. But what is more puzzling is the deliberate or accidental camouflaging of scientific truths from people’s vision by well-informed people of national and international significance who ought to, and do know better.

Caldicott did not have any personal stake in taking a strong stand against nuclear technology. Such disinterested personalities are few in the 21st century, and hence this brief note to a brave doctor who took a stand in favour of universal safety. Her book is dedicated to “her children and all the children of the world.” Continue reading

March 12, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In the interests of their fossil fuel backers, Liberal Party attacks wind energy

Is Rowan looking after the interests of his constituents, or of the fossil fuel industry? He is correct, as I understand it, in pointing out that there are times when the generated wind power loads the SA grid to its limit, and that there will be a need for more interconnection between SA and the eastern states if wind power is to expand much further. However, the Liberal Party’s systematic attacks on sustainable energy and support for the fossil fuel industry in its campaign to stop the rise in sustainable energy shows a complete abandonment of ethical standards…

More Coalition attacks on wind power and renewables, Independent Australia, 08 Mar 2012  Liberal MP Rowan Ramsay is yet another Coalition MP keen to promote fossil fuels over renewables — especially wind. Environmentalist Dave Clarke responds to a speech Ramsay made recently attacking wind power projects in South Australia. Rowan Ramsey gave a speech in the Australian Parliament in mid-February 2012, which was biased against wind power. In this speech he made a number of claims and inferences that were questionable at best and false at worst. Continue reading

March 12, 2012 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wind | , | Leave a comment