Australian news, and some related international items

To Censor Fukushima, Japanese Government Emasculated Watchdog Journalism

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs


Members of the media, wearing white protective suits and masks, walk after they receive a briefing from Tokyo Electric Power Co. employees during a tour of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on February 10, 2016.

It seemed like compelling journalism: a major investigative story published by TheAsahi Shimbun, Japan’s second largest daily newspaper,about workers fleeing the Fukushima nuclear plant against orders.

It was the work of a special investigative section that had been launched with much fanfare to regain readers’ trust after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011, when the Asahi and other media were criticized for initially repeating the official line that the government had everything safely under control.

The team had been producing award winning journalism for three years, but the story on the workers would be the last for some of its ace reporters…

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October 30, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Could nuclear advocacy be Abe’s undoing?

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Nuclear foe: Ryuichi Yoneyama (center), a medical doctor who advocates anti-nuclear policies, raises his hands after he was assured of winning the gubernatorial election in Niigata Prefecture on Oct. 16.

Voters have elected anti-nuclear governors in Kagoshima and Niigata prefectures in recent months. These elections can be considered referenda on nuclear power because that issue was the main focus of debate in both campaigns. The results have put Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — and his plans to rev up the country’s fleet of nuclear reactors — behind the eight ball of public opinion and prefectural politics.

There will be a slew of gubernatorial elections in 2017 that will focus on nuclear energy, an issue where the Liberal Democratic Party is vulnerable because it was in charge when all of Japan’s reactors were built and was arguably complicit in the culture of complacency and regulatory capture that compromised public safety. The…

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October 30, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What does peace have to do with climate change? #auspol 


Canadian author, journalist and activist Naomi Klein has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 Sydney Peace Prize for, as the Sydney Peace Prize Jury put it, “exposing the structural causes and responsibility for the climate crisis, for inspiring us to stand up locally, nationally and internationally to promote a new agenda for sharing the planet that respects human rights and equality, and for reminding us of the power of authentic democracy to achieve transformative change and justice.”
Climate change is not only a threat to the planet, but also to any hope of achieving a lasting peace.

In her latest book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate, Klein skilfully articulates how today’s economic system preserves devastating forms of structural violence.
Attitudes ingrained throughout history have caused certain communities to be disproportionately impacted by out of control carbon emissions and the destruction of extractive industries. Klein refers to…

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October 30, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Japan Nuclear Industry on the Defensive

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs


METI proposed that TEPCO would start a subsidiary to manage all its nuclear plants. Saying it would facilitate restarting the reactors at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa NPP, as since the beginning of the Tepco-owned Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster the government planned to use profits from the Tepco-owned Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP to finance the Fukushima Daiichi disaster costs;  and that it would also encourage collaboration among other utilities nuclear power plants, and make merger or sale easier. METI thinks such change would also encourage the public to support nuclear reactors restarting.

As the total decommissionning costs could double, Tepco would also like the rules to be changed so as not take an added large loss on their books.

One day later Hitachi announced that they consider merging their nuclear business with Toshiba and Mistubishi.

These recent new developments show Japan nuclear industry on the defensive, former PM Koizumi warned the Liberal Democratic…

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October 30, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate change to hit state hard, West Australians concerned about global warming


SCIENTISTS have warned WA will be one of Australia’s hardest hit regions by global warming over the next 30 years.
Almost 80 per cent of people in the WA Speaks survey were concerned about climate change. And despite the issue falling out of public discussion in recent months, nearly a quarter said they were “extremely concerned”.
The CSIRO’s latest State of the Climate report, released this week, predicted WA would see more hot days and more extreme weather in coming decades.
Current projections show the state could have as many as 72 days hotter than 35C each year by 2090 if greenhouse gas emissions remain high.
The number of days more than 40C could jump to about 20 each year, from an average of four.

CSIRO Climate Science Centre interim research director Kevin Hennessy said some effects from global warming were guaranteed over the next 30 years.
“Our projections indicate…

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The Implications of The Massive Contamination of Japan With Radioactive Cesium by Steven Starr

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Everything You Didn’t Want, Or Do Want To Know About The Dangers Of Nuclear Radiation by Steven Starr, Senior Scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Director, University of Missouri, Clinical Laboratory Science Program
At the Helen Caldicott Foundation Fukushima Symposium, New York Academy of Medicine, 11 March 2013



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October 30, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Survivors of A-bomb protest Japan opposing nuke ban treaty

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Representatives of groups of atomic bomb survivors protest the Japanese government’s opposition to the U.N. resolution to convene negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear arsenals at a news conference in Nagasaki on Oct. 28.

Atomic bomb survivors lashed out at their government for siding with the United States and opposing the start of talks to outlaw nuclear weapons, despite Japan being the only nation to be victimized by nuclear bombs.

Japan ended up going along with the United States, which flexes its muscles with nuclear weapons,” said Toshiki Fujimori, an atomic bomb survivor of Hiroshima and a senior official at the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations, known as Hidankyo.

Hidankyo immediately lodged a protest with the government on Oct. 28, sending a letter that said Japan’s opposition to the start of treaty talks “trampled on the wishes of hibakusha.”

The U.N. General Assembly First Committee on…

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October 30, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ionizing radiation May Contribute to Development of Alzheimer’s

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University of Southern Denmark

More humans than ever are exposed to higher levels of ionizing radiation from medical equipment, airplanes, etc. A new study suggests that this kind of radiation may be a confounding factor in the neurodegenerative disease Alzheimer´s.

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause for dementia in the elderly, and its global prevalence is supposed to increase dramatically in the following decade – up to 80 million patients by 2040.

– It is crucial that we investigate the potential factors behind this disease, says postdoc Stefan J. Kempf, University of Southern Denmark. His research focuses on possible connections between radiation and cognitive impairments.

In a new study, he and an international consortia involving colleagues from Italy, Japan, Germany and Denmark show that low doses of ionising radiation induce molecular changes in the brain that resemble the pathologies of Alzheimer’s.

The study has been published in Oncotarget. Co-authors…

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October 30, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UN Oks Nuclear Arms Ban Resolution, Japan in Complete Denial of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombings Opposed it

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Finally, 71 years after the dropping of atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the international community is ready to start negotiations on a new treaty banning nuclear weapons. Although this is a historical moment, it was very sad that Japan and the US opposed the UN resolution.

UN committee OKs nuclear arms ban resolution

A UN General Assembly committee has approved a resolution calling for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons.

Japan, the only country that has suffered atomic bombings, was among the countries that opposed it, along with nuclear powers including the United States.

The resolution was adopted on Thursday by a majority vote at the General Assembly’s First Committee on Disarmament.

The resolution submitted by about 50 non-nuclear weapons states calls for starting negotiations on a legally binding treaty in New York in March.

123 countries voted in favor, while 38 voted against. 16 countries abstained.


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October 30, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear Waste Importing: latest comments for Citizens Jury on Your Say site

text-cat-questionThe South Australian government set up this site for comments on the plan. Comments close at 5 pm today (30 October).  I wonder if the Citizens Jury members will have managed to see them –  the vast majority  of comments were very negative about the plan Here are some of the most recent:

Claudio Pompili  28 Oct 2016

I was shocked to read in 26 October’s InDaily:
Jay spruiks nuclear expansion as an agent of economic change

Jay Weatherill has told a nuclear industry forum in Adelaide he is personally convinced of the potential for an expansion of South Australia’s role in the fuel cycle, framing the push as part of his ambition to forge a “new economy”.

It appears that Premiere Weatherill has at last come out and played his pro-nuke card. So much for his publicly-avowed position that he would make up his mind when the whole process of the RC has been undertaken. It’s patently clear that he’s been captured by the nuclear industry and foisted an expensive sham of a royal commission onto the SA public, which overwhelmingly has repeatedly been opposed to expansion of nuclear in this state.

The Royal Commission process and the biased ‘findings’ of its subsequent Report are deeply flawed on a range of issues from the dubious economics right through to the non-existent risk assessment. No project of this magnitude, scope, cost and risks into the far-distant future, should be entertained without a comprehensive Risk Assessment Plan. The Report does not meet the criterion in the Terms of Reference to present “the risks and opportunities associated with establishing and operating those facilities” It does present the supposed opportunities but dismisses the risks and assures us that risk assessments will be done in due course. Continue reading

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury, South Australia | Leave a comment

“Your Say” comment on Safety of Nuclear Waste Importing

 Noel Wauchope  30 Oct 2016 I trust that the Nuclear Citizens’ jury has noted the fact that there are text-Price-Anderson-Actonly two situations under which any commercial nuclear reactor could ever be built.

The first is the situation for democracies , such as the United States. They set the pattern by passing the Price Anderson Act, ensuring that the tax-payer would cover the monumental costs of any serious accident.

The second is for totalitarian states such as China and Russia. Here the taxpayer pays for the whole lot, from nuclear construction to waste disposal.

If South Australia is foolish enough to set up a waste import and disposal industry, South Australia will be following the Russian and Chinese examples. Not being a private enterprise job, I guess they won’t need a Price Anderson Act. I do hope that the Citizens’ Jury members are aware of this.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

“Your Say” comment on Trust in South Australia’s Nuclear Royal Commission

Noel Wauchope .30 Oct 2016

Trust – hmmm How can anyone trust a process that began with the charade of the Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission South Australia?

Scarce poisoned chaliceFor a start – what a strange topic for a Royal Commission (RC) . RCs are called when there is an urgent problem, ?scandal to address.- child abuse, Aboriginal deaths in custody, detention of juveniles. I know of no other RC called to study a commercial enterprise. RCs are up until now, chaired by persons of legal knowledge and a legal background, generally retired judges. They are not chaired by military men. In this case, the Royal Commissioner Kevin Scarce is a person of defence industry background and clearly a previous promoter of the nuclear industry – clearly biased choice for a clearly unsuitable topic for a Royal Commission.

The Weatherill government then set up a State wide blanket of promotion, (despite the law prohibiting such spending taxpayers money on such a nuclear promnotion. Then set up the Citizens’ Jury process – designed to delay decision, and get some sort of claim to community support. The Citizens’ juries were given loaded questions, designed to prevent any verdict, and to produce a veneer of support. Some of the witnesses were poorly informed and biased, especially in the First Jury sessions, on the subject of ionising radiation and health.

At the very worst, the Juries are expected to produce a report that says “Further discussion is needed” and certainly, by the wording of their questions – not able to produce a “NO to Nuclear Dumping” answer.

The surprising factor in all this, is – as far as I can see, the Weatherill government, the nuclear lobby, and the shonky Nuclear RC have underestimated the intelligence of the jury members. The took it seriously, and asked inconvenient questions.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

Your Say comment on Consent to Nuclear Waste Importing

questionNoel Wauchope 30 Oct 2016   How on earth can consent be given to the plan to import and store and dispose of nuclear wastes when nobody knows where they will be put? Do we have the majority of South Australians, and of course the majority of Australians, too.l consenting too have nuclear wastes dumped on the land where only a minority live?

The only way that I can imagine consent ever being given for this is if that happens – and the minority is outvoted. Or perhaps the Aboriginal people can be expected to accept massive financial bribes? We all know damn well that if it’s to put not exactly on Aboriginal land, it will be put next door to Aboriginal land – with all the risks to land, groundwater, sacred sites involved in the transport of wastes etc. Well, bribing the Aborigines has been tried for over 20 years, for radioactive trash dumping on their land. It has never worked, and won’t work this time.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

“Your Say” comment on Economics of Nuclear Waste Importing

scrutiny-on-wastes-sa-bankruptJohn Collins 30 Oct 2016

While, for me, the risks of irretrievable environmental disaster are paramount, the purported ‘economics’ are also relevant.
Firstly the RC Report states: “There is no existing market to ascertain the price a customer may be willing to pay for the permanent disposal of used fuel.” (p.93)

It goes on, “the baseline scenario assumes that 50 per cent
 of the accessible quantities of used fuel and intermediate level waste will be stored and disposed of in South Australian facilities” (p.292 – see also p.98 and p.298)

To assume that a start-up venture for what is made out to be a highly profitable, low-risk undertaking will be able to capture a 50% market share seems most unlikely noting that the report itself acknowledges; “(i)t should be underscored that there is significant potential for other countries to develop a domestic solution …” (p.97)

The RC Report states: “The modelling assumed the establishment of a reserve fund to provide for the costs of decommissioning, remediation of surface facilities, closure, back fill of underground facilities and the ongoing, post-closure monitoring phase.” (p.301) The report also acknowledges that; “(t)he consequences of human error and ‘normal’ accidents must be anticipated, expected and planned for in system design and operation.” (p.91) It appears that the costing for these eventualities (noting the life of the dump is “at least 10 000 years and up to a million years” (p.85) has not been taking into account.
It seems to me that at very best the figures are ‘rubbery’.

And again I would ask the basic test question, ‘if importing high level waste is so straightforward, safe and so very, very profitable why are no other countries (or Australian States or Territories) doing so already?’ Noting that ‘other countries’ that could consider such a project are entrepreneurial, technically advanced, and, most importantly, experienced in handling nuclear waste (unlike SA). Such countries include, China, USA, Russia and the Scandinavian and EU countries.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

Another “Your Say” comment on Economics of Nuclear Waste Importing

Noel Wauchope 30 Oct 2016

It’s a pity that this radioactive trash import plan has not been knocked out on grounds of risks to health, damage to environment, disrespect of Aboriginal people, and importantly – on its real purpose – to save and promote the global nuclear industry.

At least the Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission South Australia had to admit that there is no argument for nuclear waste importing actually benefiting the Nation’ or the State’s health, environment, or indigenous people.

Royal Commission bubble burstThe Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission had only one argument for the plan – that it would be an economic bonanza for South Australia. I could list the economic analysts who have destroyed that argument. But the well known Blind Freddie could see the economic flaws. South Australia is supposed to set up “interim” waste storage before the famous underground dump is built, – sort of using the money that will be paid for the dump to finance it – or some plan like that. South Australia has to spend $millions on the plan, for years before it gets any revenue. The planned revenue is entirely speculative, as there is no market for nuclear waste importing. If it goes ahead – any financial benefit will be decades away, yet South Australia needs economic development now, not decades later. If it were to go ahead, it could grind to a halt at any time – with changes in governments overseas, collapse of nuclear companies or untoward events, such as a disaster in the transport of the wastes. South Australia could well be left with expensive, dangerous, and useless Stranded Radioactive Trash.

Meanwhile, other clean, and quicker alternatives – in renewable energy, energy efficient design for example, have been neglected while South Australia pursues this toxic dream – which has the very real potential to bankrupt the state.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment