Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s pro nuclear advocates getting nervous about the industry

Anxiety, fear – these are the emotions that bring about anger, hatred, and extreme statements.

Today’s AUSTRALIAN gives a fine example of this, in a pro nuclear article by Brendan O’Neill. It appears against a backdrop of news that must be very worrying for the nuclear/uranium industries.   (BHP possibly going to scrap Olympic Dam uranium expansion, or certainly delay it, at least –  Japan looking as if it mightget through the summer without nuclear power (shock horror) – thorium reactor debate suggesting that uranium sales would plummet, renewable eenergy getting cheaper.   it’s all a worry for nuclear power proponents.)

So – Brendan O’Neill comes out with “The risks of dumping nuclear are too great”.  He tells us that:  “green campaigners scream”     “anti-nuclear hysteria poses a far greater threat to life and limb than does nuclear power itself”     “eco-activists canrole-play being brave warriors”

He is very enthusiastic about the extremism of the anti nuclear side.

But – very low key about nuclear disasters –   ” Progress, especially of the nuclear variety, can sometimes have less
than desirable consequences. But as we saw in Fukushima, and also in Chernobyl before it, it is entirely possible to contain those consequences and to limit the downsides”     – Less than desirable consequences !-   what a lovely way to dismiss the accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima

On the effect of Fukushima  on Europe – O’Neill says ” it has unleashed a metaphorical tsunami of anti-nuclear panic” – quoting German Chancellor Angela Merkel  as the example of such panic. (Last I heard Germany was doing very well in the current global economic problem, and a global leader in renewable energy)

He bemoans the  “real lethal danger” of   the “hysterical turn” against nuclear energy.

I thought that it was the anti nuclear activists who were supposed to use emotional, panicky  language. It looks as if Brendan O’Neill, bereft of facts, is in  a bit of  a panic himself. – Christina Macpherson

May 19, 2012 Posted by | Christina reviews, spinbuster | Leave a comment

The Linear No Threshold model (LNT) is the most reliable for estimating radiation risks

The public, legislators, and journalists are often at a loss to deal with the charges and counter charges that surface in the debate over low-level radiation exposures. It does not help to listen to industry leaders, nuclear activists, or individual researchers, who, one after another, propound their competing images of the underlying truth.

It is now reasonably clear that protracted exposure does not protect against radiation-induced cancer. Rather, it is the cumulative radiation exposure from all sources that must be examined. 

There is no longer a convenient excuse to avoid using the LNT to estimate consequences from real or projected releases of radioactive materials, even when the dose of concern is below 0.1 Sv. 

The scientific jigsaw puzzle: Fitting the pieces of the low-level radiation debate Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,  May/June 2012, Jan Beyea   “…..One of the biggest paradoxes in the low-level radiation debate is that an individual risk can be a minor concern, while the societal risk—the total delayed cancers in an exposed population—can be of major concern…..

Deconstructing the debate The debate over radiation risks has many tentacles that extend into the fields of biology, epidemiology, medicine, sociology, and political science. The biggest tentacle penetrates directly into the political sphere, wrapping itself around arguments on energy policy and the consequences of radioactive releases like those at Chernobyl and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station…. Continue reading

May 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Japanese companies managing to save electricity over a nuclear free summer

Many big companies in the region have said they can manage with power saving steps, and some experts said voluntary steps would probably suffice to shrink the supply-demand gap given growing awareness of energy saving measures.

Japan seeks 15 pct summer power savings in west,  May 18, 2012 
* Japan avoids mandatory power use limits for summer
* Critics doubt utilities’ shortage forecasts
By Yoko Kubota TOKYO, May 18 (Reuters) – Japan urged at least 15 percent power cuts in its urban-industrial west this summer from 2010 levels to cope with shortages after all nuclear reactors shut down, but stopped short of the mandatory cuts seen in the east last year. The government said on Friday that it aimed to avoid rolling blackouts in the region – home to many manufacturers including struggling electronics giants Panasonic Corp and Sharp Corp – although it needed to prepare just in case. Last summer, the government imposed mandatory usage cuts of 15 percent on customers of Fukushima plant operator Tokyo Electric Power and Tohoku Electric in the east of the country. Neither will face numerical targets this summer as they are expected to meet demand by firing up thermal plants. Continue reading

May 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s love-in with USA and NATO

(I don’t know about the rest of  Australians, but I found this article a bit sick-makingChristina Macpherson)

every time NATO deploys Australia is there as a great, great friend of the United States.

The increased formalisation of ties between NATO and partnership countries will be discussed at a meeting on Monday to be addressed by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

US turns the screws on NATO, lauds its ally Australia SMH, May 19, 2012  “… the report was enthusiastic of the expanding role of non-NATO partnership countries, such as Australia, which was, it noted, among a small group of countries that contributed ”real combat or niche capabilities to the mission” in Afghanistan. Continue reading

May 19, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Protest against NATO – USA veterans turn in their medals

he wants to let soldiers serving in any of the post- 9/11 conflict zones. “… know that we’re standing by their side and we’re not standing with NATO anymore.

“We don’t agree with the policies that are driving these wars.”

Iraq vets to turn in medals at historic NATO protest, Deborah Dupre Human Rights Examiner, 18 May 12, After requesting a meeting with NATO leaders this week, Iraq Veterans Against the War and Afghanistan Veterans Against the War committee are gearing up to lead this weekend’s historic march on the NATO Summit in Chicago where veterans will symbolically turn in their medals to NATO reps.

“We were awarded these medals for serving in the Global War on Terror, a war based on lies and failed polices,” stated Army Reserve/National Guardsman who is leading the the former troops this weekend, Aaron Hughes….. Continue reading

May 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pakistan says it, as well as India, should get Australian uranium

Pakistan has contended that since Australia has lifted its ban for a country that has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it too should be allowed to benefit from the concession.

Uranium sale: Australia says cases of India, Pak different, Business Standard, 18 May 12, Unlike Pakistan, India has an exemption from Nuclear Suppliers Group Press Trust of India / Islamabad May 18, 2012,  Amid Pakistan’s demand that it be given access to Australian uranium for which India has been granted green light, Australia has said it
believes Islamabad is not eligible to buy the yellow cake from it. Continue reading

May 19, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, uranium | Leave a comment

Young Australians raising awareness, and money, for renewable energy and energy conservation

Young Australians “Repower” the Country  BY SAMANTHA COOPER 17 May 12Local kids are working to show our leaders that young people want investment in renewable energy.

Across Sydney and Australia, local groups of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition are running Repower events to raise money to install solar energy and reduce the energy use of local businesses, charities, and community centres – and show the Government that there is widespread community support for an Australia powered with 100% renewable energy.

At the launch event on Wednesday 16 May, young people gathered at the site of the first Repower event in NSW, Sappho Books and Wine Bar in Glebe. Comedian Claire Hooper MC’ed the event and the Environment Defender’s Office Principal Solicitor Kirsty Ruddock shared her perspective on the next steps for Australia moving towards a more sustainable future. The owners of the book store spoke about how excited they were to use the $2800 raised at their Repower event to reduce their energy use and recycling bills in ways they could not afford to before.

“When all the rest of us are sitting down, watching The Voice, and avoiding the issues, this group of young people is taking care of business. Repower is a really exciting example of turning passion into action in local communities. Thank goodness for the kids, eh?” said Claire Hooper.

“Young people are tired of waiting for politicians to invest in the renewable energy we need.  We have the technology through concentrating solar thermal power plants and windfarms to power Australia with 100% renewable energy, and so we’re getting started doing that, one venue at a time,” said local university student Samantha Cooper, from Randwick.
To get involved contact

May 19, 2012 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

Casey Stoner’s concern about danger of ionising radiation

Why Stoner is the best of this generation despite doing it his way Brisbane Times, Stephen Ottley May 19, 2012  “……..It has become apparent that Stoner is thinking a lot more about safety.
Last year he was one of the most vocal critics of the sport travelling to Japan in the aftermath of the tsunami. He said he was concerned about radiation from the Fukushima power station.
“I’d set in my mind there was no way I was going to Japan after things I’d seen and heard,” he said at the time. “But that came from a very strong emotion after I found out that Adriana was pregnant … I’d made my mind up and there was no way I was going to risk my wife or my family, and it was very tough.”…. But as he has his entire career, Stoner has chosen to do things his way.

May 19, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia will be an international pariah if new Northern Territory Intervention laws go ahead

Congress leader Les Malezer says the Government has ignored five UN reports that have criticised the Intervention.
It’s just embarrassing on a global level and we think that Australia’s going to have to face up to the fact that if these laws go through the Parliament in the next month or so that they’re going to be faced with 10 years of being the pariahs in the world about racism.
Extension of NT Intervention in breach of human rights: UN ABC Radio PM  Meredith Griffiths, May 18, 2012 EDMOND ROY: The United Nations has heard that Australia is breaching its human rights obligations by moving to extend the Intervention in Northern Territory Aboriginal communities

The chairman of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples says it’s a major disappointment that the Government is extending laws for another 10 years, without the consent of the people concerned. Les Malezer says the laws are racist. Continue reading

May 19, 2012 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Australia’s relentless growth is destroying Australia’s environment

We’re losing the natural places and things that make Australia Australia. And we’re losing our ability to get out there, to notice and to care about that.

Next year let’s give the environment its first proper slice of the Budget pie.

Crumbs not enough for our environment, The Charlie Sherwin   May 17, 2012“……….In this day and age do we really so desperately need another coal mine, or another surge of urban growth?  Enter the pesky greens, so that now it’s not just the wildlife getting in our way, but the environmental regulations that stop us taking more habitat and growing our bottom line.

The COAG business forum, the Premiers, the Government and the Opposition are right now ganging up to protect the bottom line by “streamlining” regulation and reducing the Federal Government’s role in environment protection.

It’s a global economy, and after a couple of hundred years of this we’ve grown and used a quarter of the Earth’s natural energy, half of its freshwater run-off and two-thirds of its habitable land surface to feed our unrelenting growth.

So we’re displacing other species. Australia’s landscapes, bush and wildlife are paying for our growth. Continue reading

May 19, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history | Leave a comment

Western Australia’s repressive police regime, in the interests of mining companies

So is this the new Australia, produced by the longest mining boom in our history? One in which the views of residents and traditional owners are meaningless and where the state provides armies of foot soldiers, free of charge, to the big end of town? All this while the companies behind the project remain stony silent about actions taken in their name to divide and destroy Broome.

Not a word when last year Aboriginal women and their grandchildren were dragged away by tactical response police to allow the safe passage of Woodside’s contractors down the access road to James Price Point.

Miners hiding behind Barnett’s police army BY:LYNDON SCHNEIDERS . The Australian , May 19, 2012 THIS week the government of Western Australia dispatched about 200 police officers to the sleepy tourist town of Broome to do the dirty work for several of the world’s largest oil and gas companies.

This mini army has been assembled on the doorstep of the Kimberley wilderness for one purpose — to suppress the widespread opposition of the Broome community to the construction of the proposed $40 billion James Price Point industrial precinct.

In a startling admission, WA police commissioner Karl O’Callaghan confirmed earlier this week that the decision to drag police off their beats across the state and send them to Broome would cost taxpayers $100,000 a day, for an undisclosed period and with no cost to the companies involved in the project. The final bill will likely be several million dollars.

All this to move away and silence a dogged and growing band of locals who have stood in the way of the plans of a consortium of the world’s biggest companies, including Shell, Chevron, Woodside, BP and BHP Billiton, to build this massive gas plant in a beautiful and sensitive part of the remote Dampier Peninsula. Continue reading

May 19, 2012 Posted by | civil liberties, Western Australia | | Leave a comment

Australian uranium company Paladin has to raise wages after African workers’ strike

Paladin agrees to hike salaries Daily Times, , 18 May 2012  Caroline Kandiero Paladin Energy Limited has agreed to review salaries for its local workers but in six months time following the kwacha devaluation.
Workers at Kayelekera Uranium Mine in Karonga run by Paladin from Friday May 11 walked off the mine site in protest against the company’s refusal to agree to a demand to grant an immediate 66 percent pay increase following the recent 50 percent devaluation of the national currency….

May 19, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Japanese firms to spend billions on Australian gas Radio Australia 16 May 2012, Mark Willacy The operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant and several other leading Japanese firms will spend more than $US4 billion dollars tobuy a stake in a major West Australian natural gas field…..

May 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment