Australian news, and some related international items

The week that was in nuclear news – Australia

AUSTRALIA –  NUCLEAR LOBBY ATTEMPTS TO PUT IT OVER THE AUSTRALIAN PUBLIC  – aided by government, media, and business. Royal Commission on Nuclear Power Special

8th  February.  South Australian Labor Premier Jay Weatherill announced a Royal Commission   into our role in nuclear energy . Call for public comments  on Terms of reference. Pro nuclear former governor Kevin Scarce appointed as “independent”  head of the inquiry. No mention of what scientists etc might be on the panel.

9th February . Consultations began on the Terms of reference for the Royal Commission. Weatherill touted nuclear power for climate change action, though he said it was not economically viable. The better options, he said were importing and storing radioactive wastes, and uranium enrichment.

16 February.  Public comments on the Terms of reference close.

POLITICS. Premier Weatherill’s pro nuclear conversion sides him with Liberals, and against Labor’s national platform. National Labor leader Bill Shorten opposes the Royal commission proposal. But South Australian Labor Senators defy Labor policy. Former Labor P.M. Bob Hawke enthusiastically supports importing nuclear waste into Australia.

MEDIA.  Adelaide media, and especially the Adelaide Advertiser are all for South Australia becoming the world’s nuclear waste dump, with uranium enrichment, and fast breeder nuclear reactors.The ABC – a conundrum. Reliable sources tell me that the 7.30 reporters interviewed Conservation Council members, but yet no item appeared on 7.30 report.    Other national media silent about the Royal Commission. Is it being treated as just a South Australian State issue – not a national one?

BUSINESS. I could go on at length here. There’s for decades been a solid push of greedy businessmen in South Australia, wanting to turn that state into the world’ nuclear waste hub – the whole nuclear chain. I’ll just mention the latest delighted cry  from Business S.A.

Lots more about all this . Scroll way down the right sidebar to Categories and click  on South Australia



Climate change and war: twin threats that exacerbate each other.  Jet stream affected by global warming? Danger for aircraft (esp transporting nuclear wastes)

JAPAN unable to stop highly radioactive waste from flowing out of Fukushima reactors. More approvals still needed for restart of two Japanese nuclear reactors

USA. Marshall Islands loses nuclear lawsuit against USA.  Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joins coalition for renewable energy, and against nuclear.  India nuclear deal protects USA nuclear companies from legal action after accidents. Feb 28 – March 1 New York Symposium  The Dynamics of  Possible Nuclear Extinction.

UK. EDF’s financial problems delay decision on proposed new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point. UK government bullying Austria over UK subsidies to the nuclear industry? Continuing trial of 2 Russians accused of the 2006 radiation murder of Alexander Litvinenko.

UKRAINE. USA Sending more nuclear weapons to Europe is the wrong move

SOUTH AFRICARussia- South Africa secret nuclear deal exposed: details are fearful ones for South Africa.  Political factors and funding problems delay South Africa’s new nuclear reactor.

CANADA Indigenous Canadians Are Fighting the Uranium Mining Industry,

NAMIBIA. Radiation leakage fear from fire in Rossing uranium mine

INDIA. USA – India agreement raises danger of nuclear weapons proliferation and nuclear war. India’s Nuclear Liability Law is a major deterrent to USA Nuclear companies

EGYPT Russia to help Egypt build ‘a whole new nuclear power industry’ –





February 14, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Don’t turn back to dirty nuclear waste industry: South Australia leads the nation in Renewable Energy,

Dennis Matthews, 14 Feb 15  BHP Billiton’s mine at Roxby Downs is the biggest energy user in SA. It’s also the biggest polluter and greenhouse gas emitter. The amount of radioactive waste at Roxby is enormous and it has just received, without any public consultation, government approval to increase the height of its radioactive tailings dam to 40m.

This electricity and water guzzling operation would be the main beneficiary of a nuclear power station, thus locking SA to even greater water and energy consumption and into a downward spiral of ever-increasing pollution.

SA leads the nation in the use of renewable energy, now the Premier wants to turn the clock back to the bad old days of Maralinga, Rum Jungle and Radium Hill. It’s an ill weather that will do no one good.



February 14, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Crikey explores the purpose of a Royal Commission into Nuclear Power

Crikey clarifier: why is a royal commission investigating nuclear power? by Crikey Intern   The South Australian Labor government has called for Australia’s first royal commission into the nuclear fuel cycle, raising questions about the use of nuclear power. Royal commissions are mostly held to explore issues and events that have already taken place, so it is unusual that a royal commission has been appointed to analyse the case for nuclear power. Why a royal commission? And is that really the proper forum to investigate the potential use of nuclear power?

Why is a royal commission being used instead of a normal inquiry process?

A royal commission is a form of “public inquiry” where government-appointed bodies provide advice on or investigate an issue. Royal commissions are used to analyse issues of high importance or controversy, and they can last for several years.

The royal commission itself follows a recent call by Julie Bishop for a renewed discussion about nuclear power, as she says it is an “obvious direction” for reducing greenhouse emissions.

The infamous nuclear disasters that took place in Chernobyl and Three Mile Island have made people wary of nuclear power, and there is concern nuclear power stations could be “potential targets for terrorist attacks”.

Energy expert Mike Sandiford told Crikey the “irrationality in nuclear debate” requires a mature discussion. Continue reading

February 14, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Abbott government made dangerous concession to India, in its rush to sell uranium

Australian uranium ‘could end up in India’s nuclear weapons program’ Guardian, , 13 Feb 15 Former IAEA chairman says deal to sell uranium to India ‘drastically changes’ safeguards policy and risks playing ‘fast and loose’ with nuclear weapons. Australian uranium could end up in India’s nuclear weapons program thanks to concessions the Abbott government made in the deal between the two countries, two nuclear experts have warned.

A former Australian diplomat and chairman of the International Atomic EnergyAgency (IAEA), Ronald Walker, said the agreement to sell uranium to India “drastically changes longstanding policy” on safeguards and risked playing “fast and loose” with nuclear weapons.

It differed substantially from Australia’s 23 other uranium export deals and “would do damage to the non-proliferation regime”, Walker told a hearing of the parliamentary joint standing committee on treaties this week.

The prime minister signed an agreement to make Australia a “long-term, reliable supplier of uranium to India” in Delhi in September, but the terms of the deal are yet to be endorsed by the committee.

Walker’s concerns were echoed by John Carlson, the head of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (Asno) between 1989 and 2010, who said proceeding with the agreement would be “inexcusable”.


Its provisions meant Australian material “could be used to produce unsafeguarded plutonium that ends up in India’s nuclear weapon program”, Carlson said………… Continue reading

February 14, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The USA- India nuclear agreement – a bad deal for world peace

Even more serious has been the deal’s impact on the nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan……..

By granting India access to uranium, the deal allows India to divert its indigenously-mined uranium to military applications without detracting fuel from the civilian program. To get uranium to India, the U.S.  pressured members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to “[ease] long-standing restrictions on nuclear trade with India.” Since then, Australia has committed to providing India with uranium

atomic-bomb-AThe international community would do best if it encouraged and helped India and Pakistan to settle their differences and accede to the NPT – and if no nation provided either of them with new nuclear technology or fuel until they scale back their military nuclear programs………

The Darker Side of the U.S.-India Nuclear Deal The recent “breakthrough” is cause more for concern than it is for celebration. The Diplomat  By Amitai Etzioni February 13, 2015 The American media is gushing about improvements to the antnuke-relevantUnited States-India relationship in the wake of President Barack Obama’s January visit to India. Among the achievements stemming from the visit is what the media had called a “breakthrough” that paved the way for implementing the two nations’ civilian nuclear cooperation deal. However, examining the reasons why this deal was first struck, its components, and its side effects suggests that it is a cause more for concern than for celebration. Continue reading

February 14, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Victoria’s Green Party has plan for boosting Renewable Energy

greensVictorian Greens to use renewable energy group as bargaining chip with Labor February 11, 2015   State Political Correspondent for The Age The findings of a new Victorian renewable energy group to improve the sector will be used by the Greens as a bargaining chip in upper house negotiations with the Labor government.

The Greens have invited industry and experts to help tackle Victoria’s low investment in renewable energy, under a Greens plan.

Last year the Climate Council found that Victoria had the least favourable regulatory conditions of any Australian state for renewable energy.

Greens Melbourne MP Ellen Sandell is hosting a meeting next month with experts from the sector to address the state’s poor performance and has invited Premier Daniel Andrews and Industry Minister Lily D’Ambrosio. Both said they would not be attending.

The Greens, who hold five critical upper house votes, say the roundtable will produce a plan for how to bring jobs in clean energy to Victoria, accusing Labor of having no real plan for the sector at last year’s election.

Ms Sandell, who is energy spokeswoman, said the roundtable and its findings could be used as a bargaining chip in upper house negotiations.

“We have always said we will use our power to get the best outcomes for climate change and renewables however, we can. I’m starting by bringing renewables experts together and I hope the Premier listens to their recommendations,” Ms Sandell said.

“Despite incredible wind and solar resources, we have the most restrictive policy environment in the country, making it the worst place in Australia to invest in new energy sources.”

“As a result, we have the second lowest renewable energy capacity per capita of all of the states. Something has to change, and I’m determined to make it happen.”

Ben Courtice from Yes2Renewables said uncertainty around Australia’s renewable energy target had stalled investment in large-scale renewable energy projects.

“There is a real role for state governments to keep renewable energy’s share of our electricity use growing and sustain the industry into the future,” Mr Courtice said.

Invitations have been sent to Infigen, Solar Council, Metro Solar, Keppel Prince, local universities and Environment Victoria.

February 14, 2015 Posted by | politics, Victoria | Leave a comment

London trial of alleged Russian radiation killers continues

LitvinenkoDyingLitvinenko killers left radiation trail across London, inquiry told Guardian,   12 Feb 15 Two men accused of poisoning Russian were noticeable because of their jewellery and ‘comical’ dress sense, says London hotel manager. The two Russians who allegedly poisoned Alexander Litvinenko left a massive trail of radiation in “multiple locations” across London, and were immediately noticeable because of their “excessive” jewellery and “comical” dress sense, the inquiry into his murder has heard.

Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun flew from Moscow to London on 16 October 2006. They checked into the Best Western hotel on Shaftesbury Avenue, the inquiry heard. They are accused of trying to poison Litvinenko for the first time later that day – and of succeeding two weeks later when they slipped radioactive polonium into his tea. Continue reading

February 14, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Uranium mines in Africa contribute to Africa’s epidemic of cancer

Cancer Locks a Deadly Grip on Africa, Yet It’s Barely Noticed,  By Jeffrey Moyo HARARE, Feb 13 2015 (IPS) – Hidden by the struggles to defeat Ebola, malaria and drug-resistant tuberculosis, a silent killer has been moving across the African continent, superseding infections of HIV and AIDS.

cancer_cellsWorld Cancer Day commemorated on Feb. 4 may have come and gone, but the spread of cancer in Africa has been worrying global health organisations and experts year round. The continent, they fear, is ill-prepared for another health crisis of enormous proportions.

By 2020, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 16 million new cases of cancer are anticipated worldwide, with 70 percent of them in developing countries. Africa and Asia are not spared………

antnuke-relevantin Namibia, uranium workers were reported to have elevated rates of cancers and other illnesses after working in one of Africa’s largest mines.

Rio Tinto’s Rössing uranium mine extracts millions of tonnes of rock a year for the mineral. “Most workers stated that they are not informed about their health conditions and do not know if they have been exposed to radiation or not. Some workers said they consulted a private doctor to get a second opinion,” say researchers at Earthlife Namibia and the Labour Resource and Research Institute who collaborated in a study.

“The older workers all said they know miners dying of cancers and other illnesses. Many of these are now retired and many have already died of cancers,” says the study report……..

February 14, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Over last 6 months, wind energy in Australia exceeded hydro generation

Parkinson-Report-Wind energy overtakes hydro for first time in Australia [good graph]  By  on 12 February 2015  The Australian wind energy industry achieved a milestone in January, with wind generation exceeding hydro generation for the first time.

According to data compiled by Green Energy Markets, the wind industry boosted production to its highest level in six months -thanks to good wind speeds – while hydro generation fell sharply from previous years, mostly as a result of the carbon price repeal, which has removed much of the incentive for the hydro generators to increase production.

This graph below [in original]  illustrates the change. In January, wind energy generated 893,352MWh, while hydro generated 884,730MWh.

The GEM data shows that NEM wind generators achieved more than 36 per cent capacity factor in the month of January, the highest level in six months.Wind farm generators such as Infigen Energy recorded significantly lower generation in the six months to December due to lower wind speeds.

As for hydro, the output from most generators (other than Dartmouth) is well below their average baseline levels at the end of January. Hydro generation from Tasmania in particular, is 38 per cent below levels at the same time a year ago – when hydro plants there generated a lot to take advantage of carbon price.

Total hydro generation over the last three months has been at its lowest level for more than three years. i.e. since before the carbon price was introduced.

However, the overall share of renewable energy in Australia in January fell to 11.7 per cent, compared to its peak of more than 18 per cent in August, September and October in 2013. The figure does not include the nearly 4,000GW of rooftop solar, which accounts for between two and three per cent of overall demand, although much of it is not metered.

February 14, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wind | Leave a comment

Australians unaware of what they will lose with the Trans Pacific Partnership

Australia’s imminent TPP disaster: Crowning corporations, Independent Australia Dr Matthew Mitchell 13 February 2015The controversial top-secret Trans-Pacific Partnership is due to be signed very soon and is likely to have negative impacts upon many areas of ordinary Australian’s lives without any financial gain whatsoever, writes Dr Matthew Mitchell.

text TPP

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a global trade agreement being pushed by the United States onto nations around the Pacific.  What is so disturbing about the TPP compared with other trade agreements is that it covers so many areas. Its breadth means it will affect many aspects not only of Australian business, but also of everyday Australian life. Continue reading

February 14, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Over 500 Sailors ill following Fukushima help mission to Japan

thyroid-cancer-papillaryDoctor “removed 6 thyroids in recent months” from USS Reagan crew exposed to Fukushima fallout — “Over 500 sailors ill after mission in Japan” — Officer: “There’s sick soldiers everywhere, many in hospitals in San Diego or Hawaii… I don’t know what’s going on” — Veteran in wheelchair thrown out by physician, “You’re faking, you need to leave” (VIDEO)

Master Chief Petty Officer Leticia Morales, aboard USS Ronald Reagan during Operation Tomodachi: Three-and-a-half years [after Operation Tomodachi, she’s] trying to remember the name of the doctor who removed her thyroid gland 10 months ago… In the last year-and-a-half, she has seen oncologists, radiologists, cardiologists, blood specialists, kidney specialists, gastrointestinal specialists, lymph node experts and metabolic specialists… It was the endocrinologist who asked her if she had been on the Ronald Reagan. During Tomodachi? Yes, Morales told her. Why? The doctor answered that he had removed six thyroid glands in recent months from sailors who had been on that ship… [In Feb. 2014, doctors] found a malignant growth in her thyroid gland. Morales… found that many of the symptoms she had been suffering matched up with those experienced by people exposed to radiation. “Some of the doctors I visited confirmed as much,” she says.

Excerpts from Spiegel Online article by Alexander Osang, Feb. 5, 2015 (emphasis added):

  • Navy lieutenant Steve Simmons (Ret.), aboard USS Ronald Reagan during Operation Tomodachi: [Simmons] was in a military hospital in Washington DC together with three other men who had similar symptoms, he says. They had served on nuclear-powered submarines, but they disappeared from one day to the next, and when he asked what happened to themeveryone acted as though they had never been there… “They’re leaving us alone. They’re closing their eyes, keeping quiet andwaiting for it to blow over. There are sick soldiers everywhere, many in the hospital in San Diego, or in the medical center in Hawaii.”
  • Paul Garner, attorney for US military personnel exposed to Fukushima fallout: [They] contacted over 500 sailors who had become ill after the mission in Japan. Two-hundred-fifty of them answered and their stories form the backbone of the case… a variety of different forms of cancer, internal bleeding, abscesses, tumors, removed thyroid glands, gall bladders extractions and birth defects.

Interview with Lt. Simmons (at 11:15 in): “There are individuals out there who are in very similar situations to myself… progressive muscle weakness that starts in their legs and starts to ascend. There are individuals out there who have developed different forms of cancer, leukemia, children of service members born with birth defects because of their service over there… A lot of these other individuals who are suffering [didn’t] get a medical retirement… All too often, we’ve —each and every one of us — have run into doctors at some point who try to play it off that there’s nothing physically wrong us, and it’s all psychological. I went through it — a friend of mine is going through right now. A friend of mine has even been escorted out of a clinic by security because they told him he was faking… That is actually a military facility… His situation is very similar to mine… he had a doctor who recommended that it’s time for him to move to a wheelchair… When he went to get fitted for a chair, there was another physician [who] made it a point to say, “You don’t need a chair, and you’re faking, and you need to leave.” And then called security and had him escorted out of thereI don’t know what’s going on… My friend has had other doctors who told him that they’ve made a conscious decision not to align themselves with the doctors who are trying to convince everybody that it’s all psychological. I’m smart enough to read between those lines, and everybody else is smart enough to read between the lines — that there has been something said at some point by somebody that either A) We need to just make this go away; or B) We need to keep this out of the press.”

Watch interview with Simmons here

February 14, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Foreign investors wary about Australia being out of step on carbon emissions

Australia’s approach to carbon emissions causes concern among foreign investors, Canberra Times, February 13, 2015 –  Banking reporter Australia’s approach to carbon emissions is making some international investors increasingly “reserved” towards the country, says the local head of French banking giant BNP Paribas.

With European banks increasingly focused on the carbon exposure of their loan books, BNP chief executive Australia and New Zealand Didier Mahout also said there was room for improvement in how seriously corporate social responsibility issues were taken in Australia.

Ahead of climate talks in Paris later this year, Mr Mahout said international investors were starting to become more concerned about Australia’s approach to carbon emissions and corporate social responsibility issues relating to the environment.

While this has not prevented investment occurring, he said it was a bigger concern among overseas investors than local ones.

“It makes some international investors more reserved about coming to Australia under those circumstances,” he told journalists in Sydney……… Continue reading

February 14, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

New Tesla battery to solar power your home, and perhaps the grid, too

text-relevantThis new Tesla battery will power your home, and maybe the electric grid too, WP, By Brian Fung February 12 Tesla is working on a battery that can power your home and even help large-scale utilities store energy more efficiently, according to company chief executive Elon Musk.

solar-feed-inOn an investor call Wednesday, Musk said the designs for a home or business battery are already complete and will likely be unveiled to the public “in the next month or two.” Production could be as little as six months away, he added…..

Tesla’s battery and charging technology could ultimately wind up saving you money on your electric bill. Although many of today’s homes draw energy directly from the electricity grid, the spread of cheap solar panels means it’s never been easier to generate some of your own energy. Storing renewables efficiently has been a big bottleneck for consumers and for utilities alike, but if Tesla’s stationary battery takes off, it could change the way electricity is priced and traded on a market scale…….

February 14, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Google increases its Renewable Energy investment, way beyond its already spent $US1.5 billion

piggy-ban-renewablesGoogle joins Apple in turning to renewable energy, SMH  February 12, 2015 Matt O’Brien Google has spent $US1.5 billion ($1.95 billion) around the world on clean energy projects cutting the pollution from millions of users clicking on search links, watching YouTube videos and sending emails, but now it’s found a powerful electricity source close to home. The company will announce Wednesday that it is buying power from the Altamont Pass, one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most iconic wind farms that is about to get a Google-funded makeover. Continue reading

February 14, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australi’s electricity utilities making it as hard as they can for the renewable energy industry

Parkinson-Report-Utilities hold renewables to ransom over coal pay-outs, REneweconomy By  on 12 February 2015 Australia’s largest utilities are being accused of holding the renewable energy industry to ransom, by suggesting that they will not sign contracts for new large-scale renewable energy projects unless they are paid to close excess coal capacity. Continue reading

February 14, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment