Australian news, and some related international items

Taxpayers up for huge costs in South Australia – just for the PLANNING for nuclear waste importing

SA would have to spend up to $600 million to plan a nuclear waste repository Political Reporter Sheradyn Holderhead, The Advertiser September 11, 2016 THE State Government will need to find up to $600 million to plan a nuclear waste dump even if the project never gets off the ground, a consultant working on the Royal Commission has revealed.


Jacobs Engineering Group project manager Tim Johnson told a parliamentary committee investigating the project that the total cost prior to the decision to proceed and sign contracts with client countries would likely be $300 million to $600 million.

Premier Jay Weatherill said precommitment from participating countries could reduce the risk for taxpayers.

But Dr Johnson questioned the likelihood of doing that earlier than year six of the project, at which time up to $600 million would already have been spent.

Late last week, the committee visited a dump site in Nevada where more than $10 billion has been spent by US government. The project has stalled for years as the state and federal governments fight over approvals.

Liberal MLC and committee member Rob Lucas said the large costs were “a potential deal breaker”.

“I don’t speak for the committee or my party at this stage. Personally, I would find it very hard to support any proposal which meant we could spend $600 million and then decide we wouldn’t proceed with the project,” he said.

“That would simply mean taxpayers had wasted $600 million for nothing.” Continue reading

September 12, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, South Australia, wastes | 1 Comment

Climate change endangers nuclear facilities, as water supplies heat up and evaporate

nuke-tapAmid climate concerns, nuclear plants feel the heat of warming water , text-relevantMidwest Energy News, , 10 Sept 16 

Nuclear power proponents say the energy source is crucial to reducing the impact of climate change.

But ironically, “We’ll have to solve global warming if we want to keep using nuclear power,” says Union of Concerned Scientists nuclear safety expert Dave Lochbaum.

That’s because nuclear power plants need large amounts of water for cooling, and overheating can present a major safety risk. As the lakes and rivers that typically supply cooling water become hotter thanks to climate change — and as droughts dry up some water bodies — nuclear power plants face problems, researchers say. Continue reading

September 12, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New research shows Low Dose Rate of ionising radiation induces cancer

Gamma radiation at a human relevant low dose rate is genotoxic in mice, Anne GraupnerDag M. EideChristine InstanesJill M. AndersenDag A. BredeStephen D. DertingerOle C. LindAnicke Brandt-KjelsenHans BjerkeBrit SalbuDeborah OughtonGunnar Brunborg & Ann K. Olsen  Scientific Reports 6Article number: 32977  September 21016


Even today, 70 years after Hiroshima and accidents like in Chernobyl and Fukushima, we still have limited knowledge about the health effects of low dose rate (LDR) radiation. Despite their human relevance after occupational and accidental exposure, only few animal studies on the genotoxic effects of chronic LDR radiation have been performed. Selenium (Se) is involved in oxidative stress defence, protecting DNA and other biomolecules from reactive oxygen species (ROS). It is hypothesised that Se deficiency, as it occurs in several parts of the world, may aggravate harmful effects of ROS-inducing stressors such as ionising radiation.

We performed a study in the newly established LDR-facility Figaro on the combined effects of Se deprivation and LDR γ exposure in DNA repair knockout mice (Ogg1−/−) and control animals (Ogg1+/−). Genotoxic effects were seen after continuous radiation (1.4 mGy/h) for 45 days. Chromosomal damage (micronucleus), phenotypic mutations (Pig-a gene mutation of RBCCD24−) and DNA lesions (single strand breaks/alkali labile sites) were significantly increased in blood cells of irradiated animals, covering three types of genotoxic activity.

This study demonstrates that chronic LDR γ radiation is genotoxic in an exposure scenario realistic for humans, supporting the hypothesis that even LDR γ radiation may induce cancer……..


In the present study we demonstrate that exposure to a human relevant LDR γ radiation induces genotoxic effects in mouse blood cells assessed with three separate but complementary assays. These effects were expressed as increased levels of chromosomal damage (micronuclei), phenotypic mutations (RBCCD24−) and DNA lesions (ssb/als). The absolute measured changes were small, but significant. The formation of MN was observed in all irradiated groups independent of genotype or diet, and significant changes were seen in both immature and mature erythrocytes. This is an expected result given the chronic exposure and lack of splenic filtration of circulating MN-containing erythrocytes18……..In summary, exposure to chronic LDR of ionising radiation is indeed genotoxic with potential implications for cancer development, and the response is modified by the availability of Se, an element involved in the antioxidative defence report

September 12, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hotter weather impacts human health, even increasing violence

It appears that 2016 will be the hottest year in recorded history, and each of the first six months of this year set a record as the hottest ever — the hottest January, the hottest February, and so on. But it’s not just that the mercury is going up; fundamentally, we are creating a hotter world for which we humans are poorly adapted.

climate SOSTemperatures Rise, and We’re Cooked, NYT Nicholas Kristof SEPT. 10, 2016 ONE of Donald Trump’s 100 wackiest ideas is that climate change is a hoax fabricated by China to harm America.

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing uncompetitive,” Trump once tweeted.

He later said, unconvincingly, that he had been kidding about China, but he has emphasized that he does not believe in climate change and would end serious efforts to prevent it.

That obstinacy confronts a new wave of research showing that climate change is much more harmful than we had imagined.

Until now, the focus has been on rising seas, more intense hurricanes, acidification of oceans, drought and crop failures. But new studies are finding that some of the most important effects will be directly on our bodies and minds.

A clever new working paper by Jisung Park, a Ph.D. student in economics at Harvard, compared the performances of New York City students on 4.6 million exams with the day’s temperature. He found that students taking a New York State Regents exam on a 90-degree day have a 12 percent greater chance of failing than when the temperature is 72 degrees…….. Continue reading

September 12, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Australia’s nuclear waste dump plan – a reckless gamble?

scrutiny-on-wastes-sa-bankruptEditorial: Let’s weigh up cost of nuclear dump The Advertiser September 11, 2016 “…….The final royal commission report, delivered four months ago, projected that there were immense potential profits over the life of the dump which could be churned into investments and produce huge wealth.But far more needs to be understood about how that money comes in and what liabilities we would be accepting under such a deal.

Evidence to a State Parliament committee investigating the dump is that outlays of about $600 million would be needed to identify a site before SA could lock in contracts and get the heavy work of facility building under way.

This is a gamble the state is unlikely to take with its own money. It is potentially a small price to pay for the possible riches to be derived from the dump, but it would be reckless for SA to throw that money away on the mere hope it stands up……….

September 12, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

South Australia, Australia’s most secretive state

secret-agent-AustDaniel Wills: Welcome to South Australia, the nation’s most secretive state Daniel Wills, The Advertiser September 9, 2016 

IT crept up with such stealth that few people noticed it was even happening, but South Australia can now make fair claim to being the most secretive state in the country.

The Advertiser revealed two stories this week that should deeply concern lovers of open debate and informed democracy, and leave them demanding big changes.

After a period of welcome sunlight as court suppression orders sank to relative lows, they’ve spiked in the past two years and are running at their highest rate in a decade.

On top of that, a Monash University study admonished our Freedom of Information laws as the worst in the country and found the system was “designed to block, delay and obfuscate”.

But this viscous culture of secrecy isn’t isolated to those two important areas.

It seeped so far into the foundations of our Independent Commission Against Corruption that even the man running it has complained to lawmakers that the public is shielded from important information………

SA also trails other states in the protections offered to whistleblowers and any journalists they contact in an honest bid to get important stories of public interest into the light of day. This has a chilling affect on political debate, and makes it more likely that bad practices will survive.There are a few decent theories that help explain why SA stands out so darkly in the crowd………

When the ICAC legislation was drawn up the balance fell on the side of minimising the risk that people of standing would have their reputations unfairly smeared, rather than a bias towards ensuring the public had maximum access to information about what they were up to……….

September 12, 2016 Posted by | secrets and lies, South Australia | Leave a comment

Investor-State Dispute Settlement- a huge problem in the Trans Pacific Partnership

the easiest way to fix ISDS is to throw it out. Several countries, including India,Indonesia and Ecuador, have told their trade partners they’re considering terminating bilateral treaties because of ISDS. Some experts question whether the system is necessary even in the situations it was originally designed for
Trans-Pacific-PartnershipThe Big Problem With The Trans-Pacific Partnership’s Super Court That We’re Not Talking About, Huffington Post, David Dayen Financiers will use it to bet on lawsuits, while taxpayers foot the bill. August 30, 2016 A secretive super-court system called ISDS is threatening to blow up President Barack Obama’s highest foreign policy priority.

Investor-state dispute settlement — an integral part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal — allows companies to sue entire countries for costing them money when laws or regulations change. Cases are decided by extrajudicial tribunals composed of three corporate lawyers. Buzzfeed, in a multi-part investigation launched Sunday, called it “the court that rules the world.”

 Although the ISDS process has existed for years, TPP would drastically expand it. The most common criticisms of the system are that it’s secret, that it’s dominated by unaccountable big-firm lawyers, and that global corporations use it to change sovereign laws and undermine regulations. That’s all true.
 But here’s what most of the coverage and the critics are missing.

The ISDS system ― which is now written into over 3,000 international trade treaties, including NAFTA ― was designed to solve a specific problem. When corporations invest abroad, they fear that their factories might be nationalized or their products expropriated by governments that also control the local courts. ISDS is meant to give companies confidence that if a country seizes their accounts or factories, they’ll have a fair, neutral place to appeal.

 But instead of helping companies resolve legitimate disputes over seized assets, ISDS has increasingly become a way for rich investors to make money by speculating on lawsuits, winning huge awards and forcing taxpayers to foot the bill.

Here’s how it works: Continue reading

September 12, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Let’s not forget, World Health Organisation is bound by contract to support nuclear power


Dissolving the WHO-IAEA agreement is a necessary first step to restoring the WHO’s independence to research the true health impacts of ionising radiation and publish its findings.

it is time the WHO regained the freedom to impart independent, objective advice on the health risks of radiation.

Toxic link: the WHO and the IAEA, Oliver TickellA 50-year-old agreement with the IAEA has effectively gagged the WHO from telling the truth about the health risks of radiation. F

Fifty years ago, on 28 May 1959, the World Health Organisation‘s assembly voted into force an obscure but important agreement with theInternational Atomic Energy Agency – the United Nations “Atoms for Peace” organisation, founded just two years before in 1957. The effect of this agreement has been to give the IAEA an effective veto on any actions by the WHO that relate in any way to nuclear power – and so prevent the WHO from playing its proper role in investigating and warning of the dangers of nuclear radiation on human health. Continue reading

September 12, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s environmental laws are too weak – as shown by the Adani coalmine case

The groups are calling for a new generation of environmental laws that protect critical habitats for threatened species, that halt projects until information about the scale of the impacts is known, and that explicitly deal with impacts on the climate.

They have also called for laws that allow environmental approvals to be challenged in court on their merits. Currently, they can only be challenged by claiming the minister didn’t follow the correct legal processes.

coal CarmichaelMine2Adani’s Carmichael coalmine proves environment laws ‘too weak’ – report
No consequences for the company if its mine causes greater environmental damage to threatened habitats than expected, says study,
Guardian, , 12 Sept 16, Australia’s environmental laws are too weak, a new report argues, citing the Carmichael coalmine as an example. Even what the environment minister has described as the “strictest” environmental conditions on the development allow the destruction of endangered species habitats, the degradation of ecologically and culturally significant water bodies, as well as the production of fossil fuels for burning, it says.

When the federal environment minister gave the most recent approval for Adani’s huge coalmine in 2014, he said it was done on the basis of “36 of the strictest conditions in Australian history”.

Taking those conditions as the “high-water mark” for environmental protections offered by current laws, a report by the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Environmental Defenders Office of Australia examined whether they protected the environment in the way they were intended to. Continue reading

September 12, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | Leave a comment

Community Power Agency urges Victorian govt to establish “clean energy community hubs”

text-community-energyEverybody needs good neighbours … to produce renewable energy, Benjamin Preiss  The Age, 12 Sept 16 Linda Parlane got more than energy from the sun when she installed solar panels on her roof. She harnessed the power of her community. Ms Parlane bought her solar panels back in 2009 through a bulk-buy community scheme in Coburg………

She is now a board member of the Moreland Community Solar co-operative and wants to see more local projects, including ventures established through community investment.  But she fears community energy projects have come unstuck in recent years after running into legal and administrative hurdles.

Moreland Community Solar is among a collection of environment, energy and lobby groups calling on the state government to ensure small to medium-scale community projects play a bigger role in reducing carbon emissions.

A submission to the government prepared by the Community Power Agency is urging it to establish “clean energy community hubs” that can provide advice to local groups and help them strike up relationships with renewable energy developers. It also recommends financial support for community-produced energy.

The state government has called for submissions as part of its plan to have 40 per cent renewable energy by 2025. NSW has a 20 per cent target by 2020-21. The government will use a “competitive auction process” in which renewable energy developers can bid for contracts to run their projects. The Community Power Agency wants community energy projects to account for up to 10 per cent of the overall renewable energy target.

Community energy projects take many different forms. Several years ago residents in Daylesford and Hepburn set up a community co-operative to establish a two-turbine wind farm that now produces enough energy to power more than 2000 homes.

In Bendigo a crowdfunding campaign was launched to buy solar panels for a local library.

Community Power Agency director Nicky Ison said many Victorians wanted to produce renewable energy at a local level. “Community groups have great ideas,” she said. “Once they’ve turned those ideas into something financially viable there are so many people who want to invest in these projects.”Ms Ison said community energy projects also resulted in stronger relationships within communities. “It’s bringing neighbours together.”

The groups supporting the submission include progressive lobby group Getup, Solar Citizens, Yarra Community Solar, Moreland Community Solar co-operative and the Central Victoria Greenhouse Alliance.–to-produce-renewable-energy-20160911-grdp6z.html

September 12, 2016 Posted by | energy, Victoria | Leave a comment

USA media: weapons to Saudi Arabia justified, because this provides USA jobs!

weapons1Flag-USAThe War Economy: CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Warns About Job Loss If US Stops Arming Saudi Arabia  by Tyler Dur   Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg,

Ladies and gentlemen, it appears the long anticipated moment of peak mainstream media stupidity may have finally arrived.

This is what passes for journalism in America today.

The Intercept reports:

  Sen. Rand Paul’s expression of opposition to a $1.1 billion U.S. arms sale to Saudi Arabia — which has been brutally bombing civilian targets in Yemen using U.S.-made weapons for more than a year now — alarmed CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Thursday afternoon.

Blitzer’s concern: That stopping the sale could result in fewer jobs for arms manufacturers.

“So for you this is a moral issue,” he told Paul during the Kentucky Republican’s appearance on CNN. “Because you know, there’s a lot of jobs at stake. Certainly if a lot of these defense contractors stop selling war planes, other sophisticated equipment to Saudi Arabia, there’s gonna be a significant loss of jobs, of revenue here in the United States. That’s secondary from your standpoint?”

Paul stayed on message.  “Well not only is it a moral question, its a Constitutional question,” Paul said. “Our founding fathers very directly and specifically did not give the president the power to go to war. They gave it to Congress. So Congress needs to step up and this is what I’m doing.”

Saudi Arabia began bombing Yemen in March 2015, and has since been responsible for the majority of the 10,000 deaths in the war so far. The U.S.-backed bombing coalition has been accused of intentionally targeting civilians, hospitals, factories, markets, schools, and homes. The situation is so bad that the Red Cross has started donating morgue units to Yemeni hospitals.

The Obama administration has sold more weapons to the Saudis than any other administration, pledging more than $115 billion worth of small arms, tanks, helicopters, missiles, and aircraft.

But hey, the Saudis aren’t really that bad, right. No, they’re just one of the most barbaric, inhumane terrorist supporting states on planet earth.

Need some proof? Continue reading

September 12, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Remote islands still polluted with plutonium from nuclear weapons testing

Even the Most Remote Islands Harbor Human Messes Biologists are trying to clean uninhabited U.S. Pacific Islands that are covered in nuclear waste, bird-eating mice and yellow crazy ants  By Jesse Greenspan | Scientific American September 2016 Issue “…….For Plentovich and other researchers focused on remote U.S. Pacific islands—most of which have no permanent residents and are off-limits to the public—such adventures are par for the course. All their conservation projects share a common theme: undoing damage caused by careless humans….

Johnston Atoll: A one-time nuclear weapons testing site, this four-island cluster serves as a seabird haven despite being highly contaminated with plutonium, asbestos and other toxic substances…….

September 12, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment