Australian news, and some related international items

Women and War: new book on Australian women’s history and war

book Prejudice and Reason

Prejudice and Reason 
some Australian women’s responses to war 19 May, :

If educators, students and all of us don’t hear OUR stories, what will they hear over the next two years until and during the centenary of ANZAC day?

If we don’t work to promote women’s voices who will?

Don’t schools, libraries and universities need OUR voices, too?

Prejudice and Reason
some Australian women’s responses to war

is now online
as well as in book form available Readings Books, New International Bookshop or from Women’s Web.

For every person who:

  • was shocked when the USA responded to the terrorist attacks on the twin towers in 2001 instead of treating the attacks as crimes;
  • has ever wondered whether to use reason or to fight back if attacked;
  • wants to know more of our herstory as well as our history; and
  • for everybody who has ever criticised Governments, political parties, press censorship, the media, industry or racist or sexist laws.

Prejudice and Reason some Australian women’s responses to war

Two women, two organisations, two journals –
In their own words, feminists and reactionary women tell of their work and activism from 1909 to now, concentrating on WWI.

Be prepared to be surprised. The arguments are fresh and current today.

“An awesome achievement … long silenced voices rise up again to tell an authentic story of war and peace. Geraldine Robertson’s immaculate research sheds valuable light on a much neglected, but vitally important, aspect of Australia’s history.”
Clare Wright
Historian Author Broadcaster


May 19, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Glut of uranium, prices plummet, Australian company Paladin’s share price drops 4.6%

burial.uranium-industryUranium Slides as Banks Reduce Outlook Amid Japan Delays, Bloomberg, 18 May 14 By Ben Sharples    Delays in restarting Japan’s nuclear reactors are prolonging a uranium supply glut that’s driven prices to an eight-year low, making banks from UBS AG to Credit Suisse Group AG less bullish on the fuel.

Uranium dropped to $29 a pound on May 2, the lowest since June 2005 and extending this year’s drop to 16 percent, according to TradeTech, a Denver, Colorado-based consultant to the nuclear industry. UBS reduced its 2014 forecast by 9 percent last month as Credit Suisse cut its projection by 7 percent.

Kansai Electric Power Co. (9503) and other utilities are taking longer than expected to restart reactors that closed after the Fukushima disaster in March 2011 as Japan’s nuclear regulator seeks more safety checks. While producers from Australia to Africa shut mines as prices retreated to unprofitable levels, Raymond James Ltd. is among those who say supply will still outstrip demand this year.

“There is too much supply floating around the marketplace and demand is highly limited,” said David Sadowski, a Vancouver-based analyst at Raymond James, a financial adviser, who cut his 2014 forecast by 14 percent to $36 a month ago. “Japanese restarts are the key catalyst to get utilities to resume long-term contracting, which should support prices.”

Uranium for immediate delivery averaged $33.93 this year, compared with $38.47 in 2013 and $46.27 in 2010, the year before the earthquake and meltdown of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant and subsequent closure of Japan’s reactors for safety checks. Uranium closed at $28.40 yesterday on the New York Mercantile Exchange………

Forecasts Cut

UBS reduced its 2014 forecast for uranium on April 9 to $39, while Credit Suisse cut its estimate to $38.80, according to an April 1 note. The exit of traders such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. from the market is also reducing transactions, according to Roswell, Georgia-based Ux Consulting Co.

Deutsche Bank AG is cutting back parts of its commodities business including uranium, Nick Bone, a London-based spokesman, said by e-mail May 7. Michael DuVally, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs in New York, declined to comment in an e-mail on the sale of its unit trading the fuel………

Prices are below the marginal cost of production of $35 estimated by UBS. Paladin Energy Ltd. said in February it will halt its Kayelekera operation in Malawi while Russia’s Atomredmetzoloto last year shuttered Honeymoon in Australia. Kazakhstan, the world’s biggest producer, said in November it will halt all projects to increase output after the decline.

Paladin, which gets all of its revenue from selling uranium, fell as much as 4.6 percent today in Sydney trading………

May 19, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Under pressure, publisher withdraws Manga art story about Fukushima radiation and health

censorshipflag-japan, May 18, 2014  Jiji Press Shogakukan Inc. will suspend publication of the gourmet manga series “Oishinbo” after recent episodes provoked controversy over the health effects of radiation from the March 2011 nuclear accident, it was learned Saturday.

Oishinbo will not appear in the publisher’s weekly Big Comic Spirits magazine for some time from the issue to be released on May 26, informed sources said. Shogakukan will announce the decision in the issue to be published Monday.

In the next issue, the weekly’s chief editor Hiroshi Murayama will say he is keenly aware of his responsibility for causing discomfort to many people, adding that he and the associate editors will take seriously criticism and rebuke and review the way events were depicted in the manga series.

Futaba is one of the two municipalities that host Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the site of the nuclear accident, while the city of Osaka accepted debris from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami to help with their disposal.

The upcoming issue of the magazine is set to run the final episode of Oishinbo’s serial titled “The Truth of Fukushima.” In the episode, characters visit a livestock farmer family who moved from the Fukushima village of Iitate to Hokkaido and conclude that it is their responsibility to call for state compensation for anyone who wants to move out of Fukushima.

The manga series caused controversy due to a recent episode in which the lead character suffers nosebleeds after visiting the Fukushima nuclear plant—suggesting the nosebleed was an effect of exposure to radiation—and by another in which a character modeled after a real-life former Futaba mayor warns, “People currently must not live in Fukushima.”


In addition, a separate character calls attention to the health effects of radiation-contaminated debris on residents in Osaka.

More here

One of the characters in the cartoon is based on the ex mayor of Futaba ( Katsutaka Idogawa on Facebook) who agrees with the representations of him in the Manga cartoon story. His likeness in the cartoon is obvious.

May 19, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The problem of deigning a LASTING radiation warning sign

How To Make A Warning Label For Humans 10,000 Years From Now, Fast Code Design,  18 May 14  Nuclear waste can remain deadly for thousands of years. Plutonium-23, an isotope used in nuclear weapons production, has a half-life of more than 24,000 years. By contrast, some of the earliest human writing emerged only 5,000 years ago. This presents a challenge of near-eternal proportions: How do you create a label that will convey danger to someone thousands of years in the future–someone who probably won’t share any common culture or language with you?……

Think of how much language changes in just a few hundred years. The Middle English works of Chaucer bear a passing resemblance to today’s English, but still require a hefty vocabulary lesson for contemporary readers. Beowulf, written in England sometime in the 11th century, requires complete translation.
Even symbols change meanings over time. The skull and crossbones, widely recognized as a symbol of danger now (albeit one that decoratesbaby clothes) once symbolized rebirth. The fallout shelter symbolmeans nothing if you can’t read the words. How do you convey that a waste storage site isn’t the fun-to-explore variety of danger, but real, death-by-radiation-poisoning danger?…….Listen to the whole thing here.  

Episode 114: Ten Thousand Years

May 19, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Seawater off Fukushima has record high radiation

water-radiationRecord high radiation in seawater off Fukushima plant, Japan Times, 17 May 14 Radiation has spiked to all-time highs at five monitoring points in waters adjacent to the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power station, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Friday.

The measurements follow similar highs detected in groundwater at the plant. Officials of Tepco, as the utility is known, said the cause of the seawater spike is unknown.

Three of the monitoring sites are inside the wrecked plant’s adjacent port, which ships once used to supply it.

At one sampling point in the port, between the water intakes for the No. 2 and No. 3 reactors, 1,900 becquerels per liter of tritium was detected Monday, up from a previous high of 1,400 becquerels measured on April 14, Tepco said.

Nearby, also within the port, tritium levels were found to have spiked to 1,400 becquerels, from a previous high of 1,200 becquerels.

And at a point between the water intakes for the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors, seawater sampled Thursday was found to contain 840 becquerels of strontium-90, which causes bone cancer, and other beta ray-emitting isotopes, up from a previous record of 540 becquerels.

At two monitoring sites outside the port, seawater was found Monday to contain 8.7 becquerels and 4.3 becquerels of tritium. The second site was about 3 km away………

May 19, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian Conservation Foundation opposes uranium mining in Queensland, where it is still illegal

Uranium fallout May 18, 2014,ANTI-NUCLEAR campaigner Dave Sweeney says the Australian Conservation Foundation will not support uranium mining in Queensland.Mr Sweeney’s comment follows an indirect quote from one of the foundation’s speakers at a recent anti-uranium meeting which was published in  The North West Star  on May 7.

One of the meeting presenters, Bill Williams, was quoted as saying the foundation would tolerate uranium mining if the state government guaranteed radioactive waste was securely isolated for 10,000 years.

Mr Sweeney said the response did not match the foundation’s views.

Mr Williams was responding to the question: “If assuming uranium mining is legalised in Queensland, what conditions would need to be in place for the Australian Conservation Foundation to support it?”

Mr Sweeney was more recently asked the same question, but said it could not be assumed uranium mining would be legalised in Queensland.

Mr Sweeney said BHP Billiton decided to close its multibillion-dollar uranium operations at Olympic Dam within the past two years.

BHP decided to close down operations in the largest known deposit of uranium in the world, meaning uranium mining in Queensland should not be assumed, he said.

May 19, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Piliga forest’s groundwater radioactively polluted by Santos

Santos fails to clean up uranium contamination  Green Left , May 17, 2014 An Environmental Protection Authority report says gas company Santos can’t fully clean up the uranium contamination of an aquifer in the Pilliga Forest in north-west NSW, saying that attempts to recover the polluted water were “impractical”.

Wilderness Society Newcastle campaign manager Naomi Hogan said: “Santos said it would never threaten groundwater, but it has polluted an aquifer with uranium and other toxic heavy metals, and the EPA report says Santos can’t fully clean up the mess. Santos’s plan for recovery was to pump contaminated water into the waste-water pond which is still leaking, and even that failed.”

Furthermore, the EPA report into the contamination in the Pilliga Forest is based upon a report commissioned and paid for by Santos, the company that caused the damage.

Santos refused to allow the government’s groundwater experts, the Office of Water, to fully review its original report, despite the NSW Health Department calling for it. Santos did allow the EPA to show it to Office of Water staff at a face to face meeting, but Water staff said the Santos report was “very technical” and they “would need to fully review the documents to be able to provide a full report”.

Hogan said: “What is Santos trying to hide by refusing to allow the government’s groundwater experts to review its report into the spill?”…….“The NSW government must tear up the agreement with Santos to fast-track the approval of all these wells until the inquiry is complete.

“The Pilliga is the state’s last great inland forest — its creeks feed the Murray-Darling river system and it’s a major recharge zone for the Great Artesian Basin, a critical water source for farmers and inland Australia.”

May 19, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Safety and economics continue to prevent any chance of developing Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

NOT THE SOLUTION  Mark Cooper, Ph.D.  Senior Fellow for Economic Analysis  Institute for Energy and the Environment  Vermont Law School  May 2014 


Shifts in General Approach
Preapproval and limited review
Static approach v. evolving standards
Wide Dispersal
Proliferation concerns
Close proximity to population centers
 requires increased margins
Reduction of Safety Margins
Shrinking containment
Limitations of staff for safety and security
Consolidation of control reduces redundancy
Evacuation zones
Unique Challenges for Safety Oversight
 Manufacturing facilities problems and costs
 Foreign sources
 Access to below ground facilities
Integrated systems
Waste Management and Retrieval
Potentially higher levels of radiation
Flooding for below ground facilities
Common design creates potential “epidemic” failure
This section has examined the problems that affected the two major efforts to deploy
commercial scale nuclear reactors and has evaluated the prospect for the next technology that the
industry wants to deploy at commercial scale. There are other technologies that the industry has
touted that never reached commercial deployment. Some of these never got off the drawing board;
others failed at the prototype phase. In fact, many of the concepts that have been incorporated into
the design of SMRs are retreads of ideas that have been put forward over more than half a century,
but failed to advance due to safety and economics problems. The failure of these technologies
should also be recognized as part of the background for assessing the future prospects of nuclear
power and how much weight to put on it in the response to climate change, particularly where these
technologies exhibit characteristics or challenges that are similar to those of SMR technology,
including fast breeder, 81 pebble bed,82 and Thorium83 reactors.84

May 19, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cameco pulls out of uranium mine plan due to dismal uranium market

antnuke-relevantPoor markets put Saskatchewan uranium mine plan on hold  Global News, By Staff  The Canadian Press SASKATOON 18 May 14 – Cameco Corporation (TSX:CCO) has withdrawn its application to build and operate a new underground uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan.

The mining company says in a statement on its website that it has also asked the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to postpone a hearing scheduled next month into a licence application for the Millennium Mine project.

Cameco cites poor economic conditions in world uranium markets…..

May 19, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As the world wakes up to climate change, denialist Australia goes it alone

Abbott-firemanAn island of action denial, The Age,  May 18, 2014  Editorial It is obvious after last week’s budget that Australia is no longer part of the world’s weather patterns. Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey have, in effect, excised the continent from the global climate, and lowered a dome of denial to prevent any penetration from outside forces of nature.

This is no mean feat, but, given the Coalition’s attitude towards climate change, not surprising. The budget starkly illustrates the meeting of philosophy with politics, delivered from a position of scepticism. It is an ignoble legacy on which to be judged.

Per capita, Australia is one of the worst polluters of carbon dioxide in the world. So what does the government do? It cuts funding for renewable energy and research. This is a retrograde step and a degradation of vision.

Budget documents reveal that funds for climate-change-related programs will be savagely cut from $5.75 billion in the present fiscal year to $1.25 billion by next fiscal year and halved again by 2017-18.

The Coalition went to the election pledging the removal of the carbon price and replacing it with the establishment of the Emissions Reduction Fund, from which polluters would be paid to cut emissions. However, over the next four years only $1.14 billion has been committed, half the amount Environment Minister Greg Hunt said a month ago would be allocated……….

May 19, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment