Australian news, and some related international items

US navy men to speak about their radioactive contamination, at New Yok symposium on Fukushima radiation

text ionisingThe Story of Two Contaminated Navy Navigators,Fukushima and the Health Effects of Low Dose Radiation MARCH 06, 2013 by JOHN LaFORGE   March 11 and 12, the Helen Caldicott Foundation is convening a symposium at the New York Academy of Medicine in New York City, “The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident.”

Media attention may be brought to the gathering because of two US Navy navigators who will speak about their radioactive contamination while aboard the air craft carrier USS Reagan. They weren’t exposed by working around the carriers’ two Westinghouse propulsion reactors.

Navigators Maruice Enis, from Rochester, Minnesota, and Jamie Plym, from St. Agustine, Florida, were contaminated when Tokyo Electric Power Company reactors released unprecedented amounts of radiation to the air and the sea following the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami beginning March 11, 2011. Four of Tepco’s six Fukushima-Daiichi reactors were wrecked. Continue reading


March 6, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Radiation levels too high for workers to enter Fukushima nuclear reactors

FukushimaInside Fukushima two years on: radiation levels too high to enter reactors Telegraph UK, 6 March 13, Two years on from the second-worst nuclear disaster in history, The Telegraph’s Julian Ryall visits the Fukushima nuclear plant to see what progress – if any – is being made. By Julian Ryall, Fukushima Nuclear Plant, Japan

  Radiation levels within three of the reactor buildings at the Fukushima Nuclear plant in Japan are still too high for people to start decommissioning the reactors, two years on from the second-worst nuclear disaster in history.

Scientists still do not have a firm understanding of the precise conditions of the reactor cores in three of the six units at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, and are resorting to using remote-controlled vehicles to get inside the tangle of wires, pipes and rubbles that has lain untouched since the tsunami tore through the facility. Continue reading

March 6, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

USA, UK, France, Israel against precautions on depleted uranium, as Iraq’s radioactive contamination spreads

du_rounds The health effects are disputed by the US and UK governments, who joined with France and Israel to vote against a resolution calling for “a precautionary approach” to the use of DU weapons at the United Nations general assembly in December; 155 countries voted in favour of the resolution.

Iraq’s depleted uranium clean-up to cost $30m as contamination spreads,  6 March 2013 Report says toxic waste is being spread by scrap metal dealers, and describes its ‘alarming’ use in civilian areas during Iraq wars Cleaning up more than 300 sites in Iraq still contaminated by depleted uranium (DU) weapons will cost at least $30m, according to a report by a Dutch peace group to be published on Thursday.

The report, which was funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, warns that the contamination is being spread by poorly regulated scrap metal dealers, including children. It also documents evidence that DU munitions were fired at light vehicles, buildings and other civilian infrastructure including the Iraqi Ministry of Planning in Baghdad – casting doubt on official assurances that only armoured vehicles were targeted. “The use of DU in populated areas is alarming,” it says, adding that many more contaminated sites are likely to be discovered.

More than 400 tonnes of DU ammunition are estimated to have been fired by jets and tanks in the two Iraq wars in 1991 and 2003, the vast majority by US forces. The UK government says that British forces fired less than three tonnes.

DU is a chemically toxic and radioactive heavy metal produced as wasteby the nuclear power industry. It is used in weapons because it is an extremely hard material capable of piercing armour. Continue reading

March 6, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Queen Noor of Jordan urges USA to reduce nuclear weapons stockpile

Queen-Noor-of-JordanIn Yahoo News interview, Queen Noor presses U.S. to reduce nuclear stockpile Yahoo News, 7 March 13, By Beth Fouhy | The Ticket  Insisting “every nuclear weapon is a catastrophe waiting to happen,” Queen Noor of Jordan told Yahoo News on Tuesday that President Barack Obama must make good on a pledge he made in Prague in April 2009 to reduce the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile. The queen said it was incumbent on the United States to work in concert with Russia to reduce both countries’ nuclear arsenals in a process that could then coax other nuclear states to begin to disarm as well.

“If we do not seize this moment it may be impossible to rein in the proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world,” Queen Noor said in an exclusive interview.

Queen Noor is the widow of King Hussein, who ruled Jordan from 1952 until his death in 1999, and the leader of Global Zero, an international organization working to eradicate nuclear weapons around the world.

[Mobile users: Tap here to watch the video of Beth Fouhy’s interview with Queen Noor]

In the interview, the queen acknowledged that the nuclear ambitions of rogue states like North Korea and Iran complicated Global Zero’s mission. But she said she was “profoundly concerned” at the prospect of the U.S. taking military action to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. “There are many in Israel and in the U.S. and in our region who consider it would be impossible to effectively deal with another country’s nuclear program through military strikes,” Queen Noor said.

Obama has refused to rule out military action to stop Iran’s nuclear capability even as the U.S. has imposed crippling sanctions and other efforts to pressure Iran to end its ambitions. …..–politics.html

March 6, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lynas rare earth’s plant in debate in Malaysia’s election campaigning

Andan Sura Rabu, a candidate for Kuantan in state elections for an Islamic party in Dr Anwar’s alliance, said he was campaigning on the promise the plant would be shut and opened only “if the public can be convinced it is safe”.

“Why bring this dangerous material all the way from Australia to be processed here .. . why not process it in your desert?” he said.

Rare earths move for Anwar, but only if proved safe, The Examiner,  By Lindsay Murdoch March 7, 2013,  Malaysia’s Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has pledged to back Australian miner Lynas operating a controversial rare earths processing plant, if a new public inquiry proves it to be safe.

Earlier he had demanded the plant’s closure.

Dr Anwar confirmed that if he won power, he would fast-track the inquiry but until then he would move quickly to shut the plant near the coastal town of Kuantan, 194 kilometres north-east of Kuala Lumpur.

“I am not prepared to risk the safety of people in and around Kuantan,” Continue reading

March 6, 2013 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australian govt funding for Solar Micro-Inverter Technology

The Clean Technology Innovation Program offers grants of between $50,000 and $5 million. More information on the program is available at

Australian Solar Micro-Inverter Technology Gets Funding Boost  7 March 13 Melbourne’s Semitech Semiconductor Pty Ltd has been awarded a grant of $1.86 million to further develop its micro-inverter technology. The grant is part of the Gillard Government’s $200 million Clean Technology Innovation Program; which has been funded by revenue from the carbon price.

A micro-inverter is a small box situated on the back of or nearby a solar panel that converts direct current electricity generated by a solar panel to alternating current; suitable for use by household appliances. Unlike a traditional solar inverter, which handles the conversion for a number of panels plus other functions, a micro-inverter is associated with a single panel.
Micro-inverters can offer improved overall system efficiency, Continue reading

March 6, 2013 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Resource rich Western Australia doesn’t need uranium mining, just as it doesn’t need asbestos mining

Sweeney,-DaveWA is and will remain a resource rich state and this can continue without uranium mining. Many years ago WA turned off the toxic tap on asbestos mining as the industry damaged lives and lost its social licence.

Uranium is the asbestos of the 21st century — a known carcinogen that poses a direct hazard to people and the environment for thousands of years. On a good day uranium becomes high level radioactive waste, on a bad day it fuels Fukushimas and on a very bad day promotes the spread of nuclear weapons.

WA Should Leave Its Uranium In The Ground New Matilda, 6 March 13,  The uranium industry promises big and delivers little. So why is the WA Liberal Government set to greenlight the state’s first uranium mine? Voters in the upcoming state election should be wary, writes Dave Sweeney

There is a lot of talk about debt in the current WA state election campaign.

Labor talks of the growing level of state debt and the burden on taxpayers while the Coalition maintains that it is necessary to borrow in order to build. Debt is an obligation, a liability, something that is owed — now and into the future.

But neither major party is talking about another form of debt — one that would effectively forever shackle West Australian communities and our unique environment and lifestyle.

In 2012 the state Legislative Council moved to bring WA into line with the regulatory practice required at the controversial Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu and passed a resolution calling for mines wastes from any future West Australian uranium mine to be isolated from people and the wider environment for 10,000 years. The resolution provides industry guidance but is not yet a mandated requirement. Critics of the uranium trade believe that this is essential.

Unsurprisingly the industry’s promotional body, the Australian Uranium Association, is lobbying to avoid any effective industry constraints…… Continue reading

March 6, 2013 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Global warming is changing New South Wales south east region

climate-AustRegion’s weather changing Mar 5, 2013 A climate change expert says the New South Wales south east is becoming hotter and drier due to global warming. Climate Change Commissioner, Professor Lesley Hughes, will be in Bega next week to conduct a question and answer session on the effects of changing weather patterns.

Prof. Hughes says the region is in the midst of a long-term dry period that saw a 13-year drought and bushfires. She says there has been a one degree temperature increase in the last century with the alpine areas showing the greatest effect.

“In the terrestrial environment on land the alpine environment is probably is the most vulnerable eco-system to climate change,” Prof. Hughes said. “Our mountains in Australia are fairly short by world standards. Plants and animals can move up hill to stay in cooler climates but because our mountains are very short they don’t have very far to go.”

Prof. Hughes says the rise in temperature is being reflected among fauna and flora, and in ocean changes. “Over the last century for example in Australia we have had just a little bit under a degree of mean annual temperature rise but we are seeing plants and animals all over the place both in Australia and the rest of the world actually responding to that.

“In our marine life we are seeing lots of species moving further to the south.”

March 6, 2013 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

The fluoride issue and why it is important

a-cat-CANThe anti nuclear movement is  a very broad collection of scientists, doctors, and ordinary concerned citizens.  The main focus of concern for many of us is the scientifically proven fact that ionising radiation damages cells, bringing about genetic mutations, embryonic deformities and cancer

I really deplore the way in which anti fluoride campaigners often want to connect up the two campaigns.

Fluoridation of water is the most proven public health measure, effective in protecting teeth, and without  side effects. In areas where fluoride is naturally present in high proportions, people have strong teeth, but they may have  a mottled appearance, and that’s all.

Yet in Australia, especially in some rural areas in Victoria, the anti fluoride mob have for decades been on the bandwagon – claiming  all sorts of preposterous ill effects from fluoride. This campaign was rampant back in the 1970s , led by right wing extremist Eric Butler, with his “League of Rights”

The anti nuclear movement has  a strong scientific basis. and  no connection with right wing conspiracy groups.

Fluoride cuts tooth decay for all age groups, University of Adelaide study finds Jordanna Schriever
adelaidenow March 05, 2013 

  •  Tory Shepherd: When anti-scientists attack fluoride
  • Something toxic in MP Ann Bressington’s fluoride claim FLUORIDE cuts tooth decay in adults of all ages, a University of Adelaide-led international study has found.
  • The world-first population-level study has uncovered the strongest evidence for adding fluoride to water.Director of the university’s Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health, Professor Kaye Roberts-Thomson, said the results added to already established evidence that fluoride in drinking water benefits the dental health of children.
  • “By looking right across the Australian population, we now have good evidence that fluoride in drinking water is effective in preventing tooth decay in adults,” Prof Roberts-Thomson said.The study looked at data from a random sample of 3800 Australians aged 15 and over.”We’ve known for some time that fluoridated drinking water can prevent tooth decay in children, but this is the first time that research has conclusively shown this in an adult population.”
  • The researchers found adults with more than a 75 per cent lifetime exposure to water fluoridation have up to a 30 per cent reduction in tooth decay compared with those with less than 25 per cent lifetime exposure.”Those people who have had longer exposure to fluoride in water obviously will have the greater benefit. However, and this is an important aspect of the study, even those people who were born before water fluoridation existed have since received some benefit in their lifetimes,” Prof Roberts-Thomson said.

March 6, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina reviews, health | Leave a comment

USA’s new Energy Secretary, Ernest Moniz, a nuclear power enthusiast



Nuclear company lauds choice for Energy Department, USA Today, Deirdre Shesgreen, Gannett Washington Bureau Ernest Moniz’s nomination to replace Stephen Chu as head of the Department of Energy was welcomed by USEC, the firm that is seeking federal help in building a major nuclear facility in Ohio. WASHINGTON — USEC officials on Monday applauded President Obama’s nomination of Ernest Moniz to be the new Energy Secretary — and it’s no wonder.

Moniz has been familiar with the company for years and served as a strategic adviser to USEC, which is developing the American Centrifuge Project in Piketon, Ohio.

Moniz, an MIT physics professor, was a member of USEC’s Strategic Advisory Council from 2002 to 2004, a paid position he held shortly after leaving an earlier stint with the Department of Energy (DOE) in the Clinton White House….

Energy secretary nominee supports fracking, nuclear energy, By Steven Mufson, The Washington Post   03/05/2013 ”  …..In a voluminous written and spoken record, Moniz has come out in favor of nuclear power, Continue reading

March 6, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Confusion about carbon in Australia’s Liberal Party

carbon-tax-AustraliaHockey rules out carbon tax compensation, The Age,  March 6, 2013 Mark Kenny 

Senior political correspondent Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey has again ruled out retaining Labor’s carbon tax compensation package, despite a Coalition source revealing similar measures will be taken to the election.

Mr Hockey said the Coalition remained committed to dumping the carbon tax and any sweeteners connected to it…. Mr Hockey’s comments suggested the Coalition was considering going to the election in September with a plan to increase taxes.

But they came on the same day Mr Abbott told a national newspaper that tax arrangements similar to Labor’s compensation package could continue. Mr Abbott said it should not automatically be assumed that the tax-free threshold, currently set at $18,200 in annual income, would be returned to its pre-carbon price level of $6000.

This raised the prospect of a Coalition government keeping part or all of the tax cut, even though Mr Hockey, who would be treasurer, appeared to rule that out completely. He claimed however that families would be better off though welfare payments and through tax cuts ”based on tax levels without the carbon tax”….


He said the Coalition’s expenditure review committee was working hard to identify savings from which to fund the competing tax cuts and assistance package.

Labor argues that the Coalition has no capacity to fund such measures, which are at present paid for by revenue from the sale of carbon permits.

March 6, 2013 Posted by | election 2013 | Leave a comment

Thousands of Indian farmers oppose planned Gujarat nuclear power plant

flag-indiaFarmers walk out of Gujarat nuclear plant public hearing Villagers refuse to part with their land for a 6,000MW nuclear plant which is expected to come up by 2022-23, Live Mint    Maulik Pathak , Mar 05 2013.Ahmedabad: We will not give away our fertile land for the nuclear project. What will we do without our land? Where will we go?” asks Shaktisinh Gohil, village head and a farmer of Jasapara village in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat where state-run Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) plans to build a 6,000 megawatts (MW) nuclear power plant—the first after India and the US signed the civil nuclear agreement in 2008.


Gohil, who owns a mango orchard in the area known for its Sosiya variety, is among the thousands of villagers who walked out of the environmental public hearing on Tuesday, called by the district collectorate and the Gujarat State Pollution Control Board (GPCB).
In 2012, US-based Westinghouse Electric Co. Llc and NPCIL signed an agreement for the construction work. The project, to be done in three stages, is expected to be completed by 2022-23.
Gohil says they had rejected the proposal of parting with their land a few years ago. Continue reading

March 6, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Sustainable Energy Policy for Western Australia

map-WA-solarSEA’s Sustainable Energy Vision For Western Australia  6 Mar 13,  Last week, the Sustainable Energy Association of Australia (SEA) released its policy position ahead of the Western Australian State Election on March 9, 2013.

“Creating a sustainable energy future for Western Australia” was based on the views of the SEA’s 300 members who responded to a survey regarding what action they would like to see from Western Australia’s next State Government. 

The five key recommendations: Continue reading

March 6, 2013 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Hunter Region in New South Wales ready to change towards renewable energy

 sunThe Hunter is poised for energy innovation , Newcastle Herald, By Dr
Alan Broadfoot  March 5, 2013 “….The Hunter generates over 60per
cent of the state’s electricity and is the largest regional economy in
Australia, with outputs last year totalling almost $37billion.

The region’s willingness for change is part of a growing push to
diversify and expand on our strengths.

Recent developments with hybrid power generation and renewable energy
show this transformative approach in the region. Continue reading

March 6, 2013 Posted by | energy, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Australia in the top 10 for renewable energy, but China leads the world

Despite its modest population size, Australia also managed to secure a position in the top 10 this year, rising from 11th place in 2011 to 10th in 2012.

Australia logged strong scores for onshore wind, solar PV and geothermal, yet lagged in offshore wind and biomass.

flag-ChinaChina Retains Leading Position in Renewable Energy Index By Marc Howe, 6 March 13,  New figures indicate that China has retained its leading position in the global renewable energy sector.

The latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices released by consulting firm Ernst & Young indicate that China remains the leading overall renewable energy market, followed by Germany, the US, India and France, in that order. Continue reading

March 6, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment