Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear history – theme for January 2016

The start was America’s Manhattan project – developing the atomic bomb. Then came the horror of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Then came – the shock and guilt, and the attempt to turn the nuclear project into something good – “atoms for peace’ “electricity too cheap to meter”.

Of course the costing for “cheap” nuclear energy did not include the health and environmental toll of uranium mining, which, as always, was to be paid by indigenous people. Costing also did not include the virtually eternal toll of the cleaup of radioactive trash. And of course, there would be no accidents, (no Chalk River, Rocky Flats, Windscale, Mayak, Lenin icebreaker, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Tomsk, Hanford, Fukushima Daiichi)

Meanwhile, the military-industrial complex continued its production of nuclear weapons. Other countries adopted the “peaceful nuke”, so that they could develop nuclear weapons. The nuclear arms race was underway.

skull nuclear world

FROM THE ARCHIVES   For this month, each week we’ll be posting an item from the past. Lest we forget.

Australian Map of Nuclear Sites, Overview  Jim Green Sept 2012 Some of the recurring patterns in Australia’s nuclear history are discussed here under the following headings: children exposed to radiation; racism; struggle; unresolved radioactive contamination issues; deceit; whistleblowers; secrecy; rhetoric versus reality; lessons not learnt; and surveillance, intimidation, and police brutality.

Children exposed to radiation – (at Port Pirie, Rum Jungle, Kalgoorlie, Yeelirie , Hunters Hill, Lucas Heights, and, of course, Maralinga) 

Due to the lack of fencing, the contaminated Port Pirie Uranium Treatment Complex site was used as a playground by children for a number of years. The situation was rectified only after a six-year community campaign.

After mining at Rum Jungle in the NT ceased, part of the area was converted to a lake. As a crocodile-free water body in the Darwin region, the site became popular despite the radioactivity. Continue reading

January 8, 2016 Posted by | Christina themes | 1 Comment

2016 Australian Issues For Nuclear News

a-cat-CANI plagiarise myself here – Five big nuclear issues for 2016 — and Australia’s role in them. In short the issues are:

  1. Nuclear Weapons. We can’t go on pretending that Australia is  a disarmament hero when we continue to host America’s secret Pine Gap site, rely on the “nuclear umbrella”, and enthusiastically support USA’s every militaristic move – e.g by surveillance flights near China coast.
  2. Indigenous rights. This is such a big one. When is mainstream Australia going to wake up to the fact that we can’t just leave it to the Aborigines to resist the nuclear empire?  Are we going to sit back and let the nuclear/mining industries take over heritage Aboriginal land – as in Western Australia right now.
  3. Renewable energy. The dinosaur energy industries, and especially nuclear, prevail on the Australian Government to stifle 21st Century renewables –  and this, in the country that has the best potential for renewables, and the greatest likelihood of climate disasters. Are we going to stay an international climate pariah?  And anyway, despite the government, it’s all happening in solar and wind here.
  4. Australia as the world’s nuclear waste dump. The shonky  South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission has from the outset, aimed for Australia as the global nuclear toilet. The pretense that this is just a little South Australian State matter cannot go on. It’s a National matter, and our media is a disgrace for not having covered this throughout 2015.  It will be an election issue, too, and Labor will be put on the spot.
  5. The propaganda war. Gotta restrain my rage here, but Australia, like the rest of the world, will be hearing plenty about how “nuclear fixes climate change” and how “radiation is not bad for you, after all”.  That’ll be a test of our journalists – will they toe the corporate line? (Well we know that THE AUSTRALIAN will)

January 8, 2016 Posted by | Christina reviews | 1 Comment

Wiluna + Lake Maitland Uranium Mine Proposals: Toro Energy’s uranium plans go from bad to worse

logo CCWAConservation Council of Western Australia campaign: 

Toro Energy has released new plans to include a uranium mine at Lake Maitland and Millipede to the Wiluna uranium proposal. CCWA is calling on the EPA to re-assess the whole project incorporating plans for four mines across two lake systems – including 6.9 million litres of water a day and generating 50 million tonnes of radioactive mine waste – and to consider the impact of Toro’s other three deposits in the region which they hope to add to the Wiluna proposal.

Read more & find links to resources here:

(Toro’s latest proposal is open for public comment until February 8, 2016. On January 6, 2016, CCWA launched an online action against the latest proposal to mine uranium at Wiluna in the East Murchison/ Northern Goldfields – interested readers are invited to send online submissions opposing the proposal to the Environmental Protection Authority of Western Australia. Read more and find a submission template at:

January 8, 2016 Posted by | ACTION | 1 Comment

Nuclear enthusiasts strongly deny the strong evidence of harmful radiation

the cancers near the nuclear sites are caused by internal exposures, to Plutonium, Uranium, Tritium, internal-emitters
Strontium-90, Caesium-137, Iodine-131, Carbon-14, particles and huge amounts of radioactive noble gases Krypton-85 and Argon-41. There are more nasty isotopes but that will do.And internal exposures can deliver doses to the cell and to the DNA which are far above the small doses that the hormesis people are citing. They are talking about low external doses around external natural background, up to 10 mSv.

Thorium-snake-oilNuclear radiation, Kierkegaard, and the philosophy of denial, The Ecologist, Chris Busby 8th January 2016  As the evidence of the extreme harm to health inflicted by nuclear radiation mounts, the denialists are resorting to ever greater extremes, writes Chris Busby. On the one hand, advancing the absurd claim that ionising radition is not merely harmless, but health-enhancing. On the other, closing down the experiment that would have provided the strongest evidence yet………

I want to apply the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard’s approach to something that Science can explain and has: the health effects of ionising radiation.

Kierkegaard said of belief that it becomes stronger the more impossible and threatened it is. And this seems to be rapidly coming true in the case of nuclear energy. The torture imposed on logic, reason and observational data by the advocates of nuclear power has now reached the level of clinical psychosis.

A psychosis is a thought disorder in which reality testing is grossly impaired. There is so much evidence that nuclear power kills, causes cancer, mutates populations, reduces fertility and kills babies that only a mad person would continue with the belief that it is a good thing and should be pursued no matter what the cost in money and death.

And as they move to even greater levels of psychotic delusion they present two new survival strategies which make it brilliantly clear that the proponents of nuclear are off their heads.

First the recent move to petition the US nuclear regulators to accept the idea that small amounts of radiation are actually good for you (Yes!); we should all be forced to be irradiated like food, maybe at birth in the equivalent of a mass vaccination. In you go, Jimmy: BZZZZZ, there you are, that didn’t hurt did it?

And the second, as I wrote about recently, is to cancel the US nation-wide study of cancer near nuclear plants.

Are these two moves related? You bet! If the National Academy of Sciences Cancer Study found that people are dying because of the ‘low doses’ received from the emissions, then obviously low doses of radiation can’t be good for you. We are back to the Dark Ages. Continue reading

January 8, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tiny Marshall islands’ lawsuit brings hope for nuclear disarmament

David-&-GoliathSay hello to the Marshall Islands, the tiny, heroic island nation in Micronesia, with a population just over 70,000.  This former U.S. territory, which still bears the terrible scars of 67 above-ground nuclear blasts between 1946 and 1958, when this country used it as an expendable nuclear test site, has engaged the United States — and, indeed, all nine nations that possess nuclear weapons — in lawsuits demanding that they comply with the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and begin the process of negotiating global nuclear disarmament.

Taking on the Nuclear Goliath by ROBERT KOEHLER

“Just as we stood for freedom in the 20th century, we must stand together for the right of people everywhere to live free from fear in the 21st century. And . . . as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act. We cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it, we can start it.

“So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”


These words, the core of President Obama’s first major foreign policy speech, delivered in Prague in April 2009, now resonate with nothing so much as toxic irony — these pretty words, these words of false hope, which disappeared into Washington’s military-industrial consensus and failed to materialize into action or policy.

James Carroll, writing at Mother Jones in 2013, describes what happened in the wake of this extraordinary policy declaration:

“In order to get the votes of Senate Republicans to ratify the START treaty, Obama made what turned out to be a devil’s bargain. He agreed to lay the groundwork for a vast ‘modernization’ of the US nuclear arsenal, which, in the name of updating an aged system, is already morphing into a full-blown reinvention of the arms cache at an estimated future cost of more than a trillion dollars. In the process, the Navy wants, and may get 12 new strategic submarines; the Air Force wants, and may get a new long-range strike bomber force. Bombers and submarines would, of course, both be outfitted with next-generation missiles, and we’d be off to the races. The arms races.”

And the cause of global nuclear disarmament, once a dream with geopolitical cred, may wind up entombed in eternal apathy. Continue reading

January 8, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

America’s new more “usable” bomb makes nuclear bombing more likely

bomb B61-12it also poses the contrary reality of an increased probability that nuclear weapons will actually be launched.

This concept of greater usability entirely forgoes the core assumption of deterrence theory, which asserts that credible nuclear deterrents are always present but never utilized.

The Pentagon’s New Nuclear Gravity Bomb, Global Risk Insights  ,  January 8, 2016 Despite its advertisement as a low-yield, lower-risk alternative to existing missile models, the recently tested B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb presents several risks that may in fact elevate the threat of nuclear use and encourage proliferation.

Late last year, the United States successfully completed testing of the newest addition to its nuclear arsenal — the B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb. Part of a $355 billion effort to modernize its increasingly outdated nuclear capability, the U.S. has developed the B61-12 to the tune of over $10.4 billion as the most adaptable, precise nuclear gravity missile on the planet.

Successful testing of the missile has now created a clear pathway for production engineering to begin in 2016, and with that, the United States is now poised to acquire 480 bombs total by the 2020-2024 period. Continue reading

January 8, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The new geological era – the Anthropocene

With fossil fuels and nuclear tests, humans may have started a new geological age Aamna Mohdin@aamnamohdin A geological epoch is a time period that leaves a distinctive mark in sediments and rocks that can be seen millions of years later. And now, it seems humans have left their mark on the Earth.

 Scientists now believe there is overwhelming evidence that human impact has driven Earth into a new geological age—the Anthropocene epoch. In the new study published in Science, researchers pointed to compelling evidence that we’re living in a moment that marks the end of the current Holocene epoch, which started 12,000 years ago, and the dawn of the Anthropocene.
Book Anthropocene
The first is the increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere— by about 120 parts per million since the Industrial Revolution—as a result of the burning of fossil fuels. Researchers highlighted the dramatic extinction rate of flora and fauna, which could lead to a sixth mass extinction.

There’s also the ubiquitous spread of a number of new materials such as plastic and concrete to consider. But the “most widespread and globally synchronous anthropogenic signal is the fallout from nuclear weapons testing,” researchers noted in the paper. “Thermonuclear weapons tests generated a clear global signal from 1952 to 1980, the so-called ‘bomb spike’.”

The study is by no means the final say on the matter. The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) has debated the issue for many years, and it’s ultimately up to them to accept the start of the Anthropocene as a geological epoch.

 All we can do for now is wait; the commission is expected to make an announcement soon.

January 8, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment