Australian news, and some related international items

Please Watch Youtube: Shame of Australia selling uranium to India

Please watch:
Dear Indian journalist and media colleagues,
I am writing to you from Australia where we are concerned that our Prime Minister Julia Gillard is breaking with a 40 year precedent and selling uranium to India, a nuclear weapon state who has neither signed the Nuclear Non Proliferation treaty or the Comprehensive Test Ban treaty.

We are concerned that selling uranium to India will fuel military and nuclear tensions in SE Asia. We are concerned that India, like Australia is being obliged to sign up to the American military alliance to isolate China, also a nuclear state, to push China further into a corner from where it might be tempted to lash out over a border dispute. Continuing dialogue should be the order of the day, not isolationism and an expanding nuclear programme on India’s part.
Continuing instability in the region could quickly escalate to nuclear war. We note ongoing border tensions between India and China since the border war of the 1960’s. We are concerned that Pakistan, a nuclear weapons state and India have periodic clashes which can only worsen with population growth and shrinking natural resources due to ongoing climate change crises.

As ordinary Australian citizens who feel disenfranchised like the people of Kudankalum, we ask: Why is Australia throwing gasoline onto the already lit nuclear fires of the world by providing uranium to India’s expanding nuclear power programme thus freeing India to use its own uranium for the production of more nuclear weapons? Can we trust the non signatory state of India to not use Australian uranium for weapons manufacture when we see how the Central government treats its own people?

We feel shame that our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, particularly being a Labour party Prime Minister has forsaken the old but solid values of the Australian Labor party which stood for and represented the cause for world peace, for speaking out on behalf of the people, not multi national corporations. Julia Gillard is selling us out. Both the Australian people and Mother Earth. That is just not cricket!

We are particularly concerned that the ordinary people of India are not being listened to by their Central Government in Delhi. We note with rising concern the continuing repression of peaceful disobedience by the villagers surrounding Kudankalum NPP. We follow what’s happening there with disbelief given the protesters and their leaders are committed to the principles on non violence as espoused by your very own charismatic leader himself, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi which lead to the birth of the Indian nation.

We read in very limited news reports in Australia about the shooting of two native fishermen from the Kudankalum area by police. We read with concern that religious tolerance is no longer a respected right of Indian people with the contemptuous urinating on the statue of the Virgin Mary by police in the St Lourdes church after police had lathi charged the peaceful protestors which included women and children. We read of the isolation of the village of Idinthakakarai from water, electricity and food supplies noting that this is a village of peaceful fisher folk with a large population of children.

How can a government that calls itself ‘democratic’ treat its own people like this? Our Prime Minister Gillard claims Australia can sell uranium to India even though it is not a signatory to the Non Proliferation treaty because India is a modern democracy which respects the rights of its people. This seems contradicted by the evidence on the ground.

We feel the real concerns of the people of the Kudankalum region that the two nearing completion power plants could turn into another Fukushima. As ordinary Australians who have no say in what our Government does, we feel real shame to discover all five reactors at Fukushima were fuelled by Australian uranium – confirmed in the Australian Parliament.

We note that the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004 hit that very southern most coast of India where the power plants are built at sea level. We note that an independent assessment of the safety factors operating for the Kudankalum power plant assess that in the event of a nuclear core meltdown or interruption to the regular grid electricity supply to cool the reactors, there is only two days supply of fresh water on site to cool the nuclear cores. Scientific consensus says there should be a minimum of 10 days water supply on standby guaranteed at ALL times. It was the lack of backup generators and cooling water on hand that lead to the nuclear meltdown in technologically sophisticated Japan at the Fukushima reactors.

Our movement has made this clip to highlight the issues when PM Singh and PM Gillard meet to sign this deal Oct 16th. We believe it is an Unholy Alliance which agitates against world peace and the future of this planet.
Yours sincerely,

Australian Spokeswoman for
A Nuclear Free Planet.

October 11, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

World’s most radioactively polluted waterway

Meet the lake so polluted that spending an hour there would kill you By Jess Zimmerman, 3 Oct 12,  Welcome to beautiful Lake Karachay, a Russian lake so tainted by nearby nuclear facilities that it’s considered the most polluted place on the planet. In 1990, just standing on the shore for an hour would give you a radiation dose of 600 roentgen, more than enough to kill you. On the plus side, lakefront property is probably really, really cheap.

You can’t really blame Lake Karachay for acting up — it comes from a really rough area. The lake is located within the Mayak Production Association, one of the largest — and leakiest — nuclear facilities in Russia. The Russian government kept Mayak entirely secret until 1990, and it spent that period of invisibility mainly having nuclear meltdowns and dumping waste into the river. By the time Mayak’s existence was officially acknowledged, there had been a 21 percent increase in cancer incidence, a 25 percent increase in birth defects, and a 41 percent increase in leukemia in the surrounding region of Chelyabinsk. The Techa river, which provided water to nearby villages, was so contaminated that up to 65 percent of locals fell ill with radiation sickness — which the doctors termed “special disease,” because as long as the facility was secret, they weren’t allowed to mention radiation in their diagnoses.Perhaps unsurprisingly, this shady Siberian nuclear complex wasn’t overly concerned with safety. Besides dumping nuclear material in the lakes and rivers, Mayak also suffered several serious accidents in the 1950s and ’60s — including the time that Lake Karachay dried up and radioactive dust from the lakebed blew all over the nearby villages. But because Mayak and the city that serviced it (originally called Chelyabinsk-40 and then Chelyabinsk-65, both of which sound appropriately like radioactive materials) didn’t even appear on maps, nobody heard about this, including affected locals. Some of the people living nearby were evacuated after these accidents, but many were just left to inhale contaminated dust and drink tainted water.

Lake Karachay is now full of concrete that’s intended to keep radioactive sediment away from shore. Downstream water in the Techa river has almost no radioactive cesium, though you still can’t drink the upstream stuff and the riverbanks will be dangerous for hundreds of years. The Mayak nuclear facility still sucks out loud — it had its operating license revoked in 2003 for dumping waste into open water, surprise surprise — but at least things like “operating licenses” now exist. And today, 20 years after Mayak started appearing on maps again, it’s even possible that you could stand on the shores of Lake Karachay and not die. But we wouldn’t risk it.

October 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The next nuclear accident – question is not IF but WHEN and WHERE it will occur

 ”Yet another concern is the increase of radiation in our global environment – including the doubling of the concentration of nuclear radiation in the atmosphere.”

Re “Safety Report Says Europe’s Nuclear Reactors Need Repair” (news article, Oct. 4):

I spent the last year reviewing Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima and so on and found that neither they nor practically any of the 435 operating nuclear plants around the world are designed for safe shutdown in case of simultaneous external and internal electricity failure.

Similarly, few of them are protected against hydrogen explosions, and practically none can handle regular or cyberterrorist attacks.

I also found that most are not fully automated but operated in the dangerous, old semimanual mode. Many were designed for a useful life of 30 years and yet reached 40. There is still no permanent disposal site for their waste, and decommissioning of the few that have been shut down takes decades: Chernobyl occurred in 1986, yet the end of decommissioning is planned for 2015.

In spite of all that, and in spite of the doubling of radioactivity in the atmosphere, 60 new plants are under construction, 150 more are planned and Europe is writing reports about possibly repairing some.

In short, while the question is not if but when and where the next accident will occur, even our presidential candidates neglect the issue.


Stamford, Conn., Oct. 4, 2012

The writer is the author of “’Post-Oil Energy Technology.”

October 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Many a slip twixt Toro’s plan and uranium mining at Wiluna in Western Australia

The Anti Nuclear Alliance of WA said it would fight in court the approval granted by WA Environment Minister Bill Marmion yesterday.

 the mine cannot make money at current low uranium prices and the company, valued at only $86.5 million, did not have the financial capacity to clean up the mine if it was unprofitable

“If Toro falls over at Wiluna, who cleans it up? It either doesn’t get cleaned up, which is unacceptable, or it gets cleaned up at public expense,” Mr Sweeney said

Green protests at Toro HQ over mine approval  Rhianna King, Nick Evans and AAP, The West Australian
  October 11, 2012,  A group of about 25 protesters marched outside the West Perth offices of Toro Energy this morning to express their anger over the approval of WA’s first uranium mine.

Environmentalists and trade unionists walked from Toro’s headquarters to Parliament House, chanting ‘Toxic Toro, you’ve got to go.’ Conservation Council of WA Nuclear Free campaigner Mia Pepper said green groups would not give up until the State Government’s decision was overturned.

“This proposal has no complete mine closure plan or costings, it will run out of water in seven years and no alternatives have been evaluated, scientists are still naming a new plant species found near the mine site, and Toro are yet to finalise their transport management plan,” she said.

“This is not a credible plan. It is a half-baked, half-assessed shambles driven by a political agenda and is not based on good science or evidence. Continue reading

October 11, 2012 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

In the long run, for Australia, 100% renewable energy will be cheaper than the present energy system

100% renewables in Australia will be cheaper than Business As Usual  REneweconomy, By  on 11 October 2012 Iain MacGill is the first to admit that there’s a good deal more research and modelling work that could be done before Australia might confidently launch itself on the path to 100 per cent renewable electricity generation.

But the main, and very positive, message from the UNSW Associate Professor, and joint director of its Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets (CEEM), is that on the basis of current research and modelling, the viability of a shift to a 100% renewable energy network looks “very promising” – in fact, when you factor in the costs of business-as-usual, it’s likely to be cheaper than continuing on the current path.

Speaking at the All-Energy Australia conference in Melbourne today, MacGill outlined some of the preliminary findings of the current UNSW project on the technical feasibility, underlying economics and possible commercial implications of 100 per cent renewable energy generation for the Australian National Electricity Market.

It’s a hugely complex task, that has had to factor in such technicalities as the NEM’s 0.002 per cent unserved energy standard, moderate energy spill, moderate total biomass, no extra hydro capacity, the need for new NEM regions, and the perennial question of whether a 100 renewables mix using highly variable and somewhat unpredictable solar and wind can reliably meet demand at all times and locations.

And then, of course, there is the all-important question of whether 100% renewables is  economically worth doing, not to mention commercially feasible: can we establish commercial frameworks that drive appropriate deployment at the speed and scale required?

The final estimates for the UNSW work are not ready for release, but when they are they will form a crucial reference point for the clean energy industry. One of the criticisms of the detailed work that the Australian Energy Market Operator is being asked to undertake into 100 per cent renewable scenarios is that it will not reference its cost estimates to business-as-usual, or to the potential savings…..

October 11, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Solar energy farm up and running in Western Australia

Hip hip array! First solar farm opens in WA SMH, October 10, 2012 Australia switched on its first utility-scale solar farm today, a small step on the way to achieving ambitious renewable energy use targets that traditional coal and gas power producers are now fighting to soften.

The Greenough River Solar project, just outside the small town of Walkaway in Western Australia is a joint-venture between WA state-owned Verve Energy and US conglomerate General Electric. It is expected to generate 10 megawatts, enough to power 3000 homes. Continue reading

October 11, 2012 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | Leave a comment

700 tobacco farmers in Fukushima impacted, as radioactivity levels in tobacco too high

Fukushima tobacco contaminated with radiation By North Asia correspondent Mark Willacy Japan’s largest cigarette maker has cancelled the purchase of tobacco leaves from Fukushima after they were found to be contaminated with elevated levels of radiation.

Japan Tobacco says routine checks of dried tobacco leaves from Fukushima have revealed that some of the crop is contaminated with radioactive caesium above the company’s safety limit. The company says it will now cancel the purchase of 4.5 tonnes of dried tobacco from Fukushima. It is the first time checks by the company have uncovered radiation levels above the limit.

Fukushima is home to nearly 700 tobacco farmers, with annual sales of the crop worth more than $40 million.

October 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fuukushima workers can work for only 20 minutes a day, due to radiation

Disposable Fukushima workers, “One person can only work for 30 mins a day, 20 days a month, one month a life”  by Mochizuki   October 9th, 2012  On 10/5/2012, Radio show called Hodo suru radio reported the working situation of Fukushima workers. Currently 3,000 people work at the site, and 23700 people have been working in Fukushima plant in total.
However, the plant situation has not been improved at all. An actual nuclear worker comments like this below,
About the workers in reactor buildings, it’s like “Run and climb up to there to get the stuff.”
About the workers in water purifying equipment, it’s like “You see the lever there right. Run to get it here.”
Because the radiation dose is too high, we can work only momentarily.
When contaminated water is leaking, we have to use remote controlling robots, but we have to prepare for it and get things back to be like before after using the robot.
We can’t work for longer than 20 ~ 30 minutes. Continue reading

October 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sweden’s nuclear power plants “invaded” by Greenpeace activists, showing up security danger

Shh! Swedish nuclear plant security missed Greenpeace activists for 28 hours by Brian Blomme – October 10, 2012   On Tuesday, we told you about the 70 activists who poured onto two nuclear sites in Sweden in an effort to show how lax the security is at these plants.

We didn’t tell you that at least six of them hid overnight at two of the plants: four at Ringhals and two at Forsmark.

They evaded security all night, and were only discovered when Greenpeace Sweden phoned the media early this morning to reveal their presence at the plants. This is despite the fact the operator Vattenfall said yesterday that “security had worked exactly as intended”. Oh dear.

One of the overnighters was Greenpeace International energy campaigner Lauri Myllyvirta. Here’s what he wrote about the experience:

I’ve spent the night on the roof of the Swedish nuclear power plant Ringhals.  More than 24 hours – and I’m only out because we chose to reveal our presence here.

That shows me, how alarmingly easy it is to access the vital systems that supply the reactor cooling systems with power. Continue reading

October 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Australian innovation in battery storage for solar and wind power

Energy firm claims battery storage breakthrough SMH, October 10, 2012 – Peter Hannam
Carbon economy editor A South Australian energy firm is claiming an international breakthrough in battery technology that will help generators of solar and wind power store their energy more cheaply.
ZEN Energy Systems today unveiled a computer-controlled storage system – with one model about the size of a bar fridge – which almost doubles the effectiveness of batteries.
“This technology is a game changer for the renewable energy industry and has the potential to change the way individuals and communities use electricity in the future,” ZEN’s chief executive officer, Richard Turner, said.
Mr Turner said as many as 10 Australian utilities are interested in trialling the system and the company has already begun shipping large-scale container-sized units to US clients…….. Continue reading

October 11, 2012 Posted by | efficiency, South Australia | Leave a comment