Australian news, and some related international items

2016: the year in climate and nuclear news

a-cat-CAN2016 brought  a new word – the Anthropocene. It has been the year in which many of us realised that the planet has been irrevocably changed- by the human species. Of the wide-ranging effects of human activities, climate change is the one that has now become the most terrible threat.  People  around the world are trying to change our destructive ways: individuals, town councils, city mayors, states, and, to a much lesser degree, national governments work to conserve energy and promote renewable energy generation.

Countering that, the polluting industries have used their think tank front groups, and mainstream media, to confuse the public, and deny the science.

In November 196 countries participated in the  United Nations Climate Change Conference in Marrakesh, to develop agendas for carrying out the  the Paris Agreement of 2015. But international action was hampered by the presence of fossil fuel companies, and even more, by the election of climate sceptic Donald Trump to the USA presidency.

The nuclear disarmament movement was boosted on October 27, when—by a vote of 123 for, 38 against, and 16 abstaining—the First Committee of the UN agreed “to convene in 2017 a United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.”

Nuclear power issues focussed on both the decline of the nuclear power industry, and the desperate efforts of the industry to survive. Notably in Britain, a clearly uneconomic pro nuclear programme has been pushed, with the gigantic Hinkley white elephant in the lead. In America, subsidising of nuclear power is a contentious issue.

Meanwhile. nuclear countries, unable to make the nuclear industry profitable, and unable to deal with its toxic wastes, have persisted in their marketing drive to export nuclear technology. The target countries are many, but South East Asia is a prime example. That campaign for SE Asia suffered a setback when South Australians rejected an ill-advised government push to commercially import nuclear wastes – a plan that was intended to solve the problem for new nuclear stations in South East Asia.

Within the nuclear lobby, a quiet battle has gone on between the conventional Big Nuclear Reactor industry, and the campaigners for Small Nuclear Reactors. The latter reactors do not exist, but their hype is everywhere, particularly led by Bill Gates and various nuclear front groups. Unfortunately, Gates has bought into the nuclear lobby’s deception about nuclear fixing climate change.

So – we end the year with climate change not just looming, but already here, endangering us and other species. The extraordinary attention given to Donald Trump and his impact on global climate and nuclear policy leaves us with very worrying questions.

December 23, 2016 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Secret history of Maralinga nuclear bomb tests

text-from-the-archivesThe half-life of plutonium is 24,000 years. At this rate of decay, the Maralinga secret-agent-Austlands would be contaminated for the next half-million years.…..A variety of factors underlay the harm to public health, Aboriginal culture and the natural environment which the British tests entailed. Perhaps most significant was the secrecy surrounding the testing program….There seems little doubt that the secrecy in which the entire testing program was cloaked served British rather than Australian interests…..Information passed to Australian officials was kept to the minimum necessary to facilitate their assistance in the conduct of the testing program. The use of plutonium in the minor trials was not disclosed……

A toxic legacy : British nuclear weapons testing in Australia, Australian Institute of Criminology. “…… Three days after the conclusion of the Totem trials, the Australian government was formally advised of British desires to establish a permanent testing site in Australia. In August 1954, the Australian Cabinet agreed to the establishment of a permanent testing ground at a site that became named Maralinga, Continue reading

December 23, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, secrets and lies, uranium | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


December 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

USA to produce medical radioisotopes by using particle accelerator, not a nuclear reactor

antnuke-relevantFollow-on cooperative agreements for US isotope projects 23 December 2016

Medical isotope production

The US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has entered into follow-on cooperative agreements with three projects aimed at securing a domestic supply of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) without using highly enriched uranium (HEU). The latest funding completes the full $25 million NNSA contribution to each project.

Mo-99 is used in hospitals to produce the technetium-99m employed in around 80% of nuclear imaging procedures. Produced in research reactors, Mo-99 has a half-life of only 66 hours and cannot be stockpiled, and security of supply is a key concern. Most of the world’s supply comes from just five reactors – in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Russia and South Africa – and recent years have illustrated how unexpected shutdowns at any of those reactors can quickly lead to shortages. Furthermore, most Mo-99 is currently produced from HEU targets, which are themselves seen as a potential nuclear proliferation risk.

The USA currently does not produce Mo-99 and imports all of its requirements. Since 2009, NNSA has been working with commercial partners to accelerate the establishment of a domestic Mo-99 supply network using a diverse range of supply options that do not use HEU. It has cooperative agreements with Shine Medical Technologies, NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes and General Atomics.

Shine plans to produce Mo-99 from low-enriched uranium (LEU), but using sub-critical accelerator technology rather than a nuclear reactor. NorthStar is developing a method to produce the isotope using a linear accelerator. General Atomics is developing an LEU target fission technology.

NNSA’s cooperative agreements are implemented under a 50%-50% cost-share arrangement. Its support to the total project cost of the cooperative agreement partners is up to $25 million each, consistent with policy guidelines from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development – Nuclear Energy Agency.

NNSA said the follow-on cooperative agreements “mark an important milestone for the NNSA Mo-99 program, as they complete the full $25 million NNSA contribution toward each commercial project”.

Deputy administrator Anne Harrington said, “NNSA is pleased to see continued progress of these important efforts. We are happy to achieve the funding milestone marking the full $25 million NNSA award for each project, and we look forward to seeing this important isotope produced in the United States without the use of HEU, and ensuring a reliable supply is available to meet US patient needs.”

December 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

For 6,000, the daily bus ride takes them to Fukushima plant

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs


A shuttle bus takes workers in deep sleep from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant to J-Village, where their temporary dormitories are located.

A shuttle bus takes workers in deep sleep from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant to J-Village, where their temporary dormitories are located. (Shigeta Kodama)
NARAHA, Fukushima Prefecture–Despite the predawn hour, few people are sleeping on a bus that steadily makes its way north on National Route 6.

Some passengers are planning for the work ahead. One is looking forward to chatting with his colleagues. And a few wonder if today will be the day when their annual radiation doses reach the safety limit.

Every day, buses like this take 6,000 workers to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. And every day, the same buses take the exhausted and mostly sleeping workers back to their base at the Japan Football Village (J-Village) in Naraha.

Although the…

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December 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fukushima plaintiffs speak up on evacuee plight

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

A group of people who evacuated due to the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has spoken out about the many problems they face, including recent bullying of evacuee children.

The group consists of plaintiffs in lawsuits demanding compensation for damages from the central government and Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the plant.

Group representatives called for understanding of their suffering in a statement released at a news conference in Tokyo on Thursday.

The plaintiffs living in and outside Fukushima Prefecture, where the plant is located, took the action after a revelation last month that a student evacuee was bullied at school in Yokohama, near Tokyo.

The bullies demanded money from the boy. Similar cases have since been revealed elsewhere.

The statement says it is regrettable that evacuees, who are victims of the accident, suffer from insensitive criticism and unreasonable acts by others. It says the…

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December 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Government to help fund Fukushima decontamination, easing Tepco’s burden

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Easing Tepco fuck-ups with taxpayers money!


The Cabinet decided Tuesday that the central government will help pay to decontaminate areas worst hit by the 2011 Fukushima reactor meltdowns, marking a shift from earlier rules requiring Tepco to foot the bill.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s team endorsed a plan to set up a reconstruction hub in the most contaminated, off-limits areas in Fukushima Prefecture and secure about ¥30 billion for decontamination work in the fiscal 2017 budget.

The cost of the work could total around ¥300 billion in the next five years and grow further depending on how it progresses.

The plan is in line with proposals made in August by the ruling coalition, but no government panel review or Diet deliberations have been held on it, raising the prospect that it could be criticized as a bailout for Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.

The government decided to add the…

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December 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Time for gov’t to come clean on Monju reactor muck-up

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

monju 6.jpg

Good, and not so good: “With Monju’s shutdown, Japan’s taxpayers are now left with an estimated bill of at least 375 billion yen ($3.2 billion) to decommission its reactor, on top of the 1 trillion yen ($8.5 billion) spent on the project.
Japan is still committed to trying to make the technology work and will build a new experimental research reactor at Monju, the government said.
“We need to terminate the impossible dream of the nuclear fuel cycle. The fast breeder reactor is not going to be commercially viable. We know it. We all know it,” senior LDP lawmaker Taro Kono said recently at a Reuters Breakingviews event in Tokyo.” “

Japan pulls plug on Monju, ending $8.5 billion nuclear self-sufficiency push

Japan on Wednesday formally pulled the plug on an $8.5 billion nuclear power project designed to realize a long-term aim for energy self-sufficiency after decades of development that…

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December 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

cesium 134 and 137 in a potato chips

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Calbee_Potato_Chips_Hot_and_spicy80gx20_Moh_Seng_Importers_Singapore_Japanese_Snacks.jpgThe ongoing Fukushima radiation contaminating the populace in Japan and abroad is still going unabated. Cleverly, authorities have succeeded in numbing millions of people to the danger of radiation from the Fukushima crisis.

Whether you are continously inhaling it (as they are incenarating radioactive waste under everyone noses for years now) or you are being dosed off in Cs 137 with some rains or snow, the most dangerous ways remains eating contaminated food. Even potato chips!

Kampu, a citizen food testing group found both cesium 134 and 137 in a potato chips bag. The chips were harvested and manufactured in 2015 with the potatoes coming from Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures. Both prefectures not included by the government in the areas having agriculture with risk of contamination.
The potato chip brand, Calbee is being sold in Japan and also globally including to the US. Calbee has a manufacturing plant in the…

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December 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tc 99m Becomes Tc 99 Which Stays Radioactive in Environment for Millions of Years – Medical and Non-Medical Production Should Be Banned – Comment Deadline 30 December 2016

Mining Awareness +

Proponents of medical radioisotopes, and the nuclear industry, continue to hide – through ignorance or malice – the fact that some so-called short-lived radioisotopes, such as Technetium 99m degrade to insanely long-lived radionuclides. Even many anti-nuclear activists fall into this trap. Technetium 99m becomes Technetium 99 which remains radioactive, and hence lethal, for over 3 million years! Thus, there can be no legitimate justification for its use either in nuclear medicine or as discharges from nuclear reactors. Therefore, the US should emphatically not construct a facility for the production of this lethal crap, i.e. “Moly Cow”. And, they should cease to use and import it. Oppose here: “Construction Permit Application for the Northwest Medical Isotopes, LLC, Medical Radioisotope Production Facility. A Notice by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on 11/09/2016 Comment against it before the 30th of December 2016. It’s easy and can be anonymous:

Technetium-99 (99Tc) is…

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December 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate change need not be the end of the world for farmers. #auspol


FARMERS and graziers in Australia’s tropical north will have to finetune their seasonal management practices in order to deal with climate change.
This is the view of Professor Mark Howden, director of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University.
One of his specialist areas is climate change and its impacts on agriculture and food security.
Speaking at last month’s Australian Meat Processor Corporation’s Sustainability Conference in Sydney, Prof Howden said animals impacted by rising temperature and heat stress would eat less and become less productive.

He said carbon dioxide levels were at 400 parts per million in the atmosphere, while the pre-industrial level was 280 parts per million.
“If anyone says to you we’ve seen all this before, well, they’re wrong,” he said.
Prof Howden said the challenges presented by climate change could be met, but would require some strategic thinking.
“There are already things happening to our…

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December 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions increasing, government admits

Map Turnbull climateTurnbull government confirms Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are rising, SMH, 

Adam Morton, 22 Dec 16,   The government has confirmed Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are rising, and projected that it will not get near its 2030 climate target under current policies….. Released in the shadow of the Christmas holidays, the Environment Department greenhouse accounts show national emissions rose 0.8 per cent in the year to June.

The department analysis shows the increase largely came from electricity generation – the country used more power without much change in its reliance on fossil fuels – and new liquefied natural gas projects.

In per capita terms, emissions per person continued to fall – to less than 23 tonnes of carbon dioxide, down from about 26 tonnes a decade ago – as population growth outpaced the rise in pollution……

Australian Conservation Foundation economist Matt Rose said the government was failing to cut climate pollution, and was holding back evidence of its poor performance from the public.

Documents released to the foundation after a Freedom of Information request showed it had been sitting on the data since September, but chose to release it just three days before Christmas…….

The government is reviewing climate policies next year, but has already ruled out any form of carbon pricing that would penalise big emitters.

Business and environment groups are urging the government to keep all options, including a form of carbon pricing known as an emission intensity scheme, open to ensure cuts are made as cheaply as possible.

December 23, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

In 1985 Australians’ opposition to nuclear weapons and uranium mining was widespread

Opposition to nuclear weapons and uranium mining was widespread

That February Hawke’s public announcement that US aircraft monitoring the tests would be allowed to land in Australia created a storm of protest, which he later relayed to the US at meetings in Washington.

The US decided to press on without the use of Australian support facilities.

text-from-the-archivesArchives reveal depth of opposition to nuclear tests
By Greg Ansley
 Jan 2, 2013 Nuclear weapons and the United States alliance were causing Australia more than its share of grief in 1985, Cabinet documents by the National Archives of Australia reveal.

Prime Minister Bob Hawke’s Labor Government was trapped by the commitment of its Liberal predecessor to America’s controversial programme to develop the new MX intercontinental ballistic missile, whose planned deployment threatened to heighten nuclear tensions with the former Soviet Union.

The MX programme originally included 200 of what became the most powerful missile in America’s nuclear arsenal, each armed with 10 warheads and transported on a circular rail track between 4600 silos to confuse Soviet war planners. It was later pruned to just 50missiles, which were withdrawn from service by 2005.

In 1981, Malcolm Fraser’s Liberal Government secretly agreed to support the programme with the splashdown of two missiles about 200km off eastern Tasmania. Continue reading

December 23, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history | Leave a comment

Community involvement in Wesfarmers-owned solar energy project in Western Australia

map-WA-solarSolar switch for one of Australia’s biggest companies funded by community 
By Ursula Malone Mum and dad investors are using their savings to fund a half-a-million-dollar solar energy project at the Wesfarmers-owned Blackwoods distribution depot at Canning Vale in Western Australia.

Blackwood is the country’s largest distributor of industrial and safety supplies and its Canning Vale depot will have 630 solar panels installed on its roof in the New Year. “Wesfarmers is an enormous company but it is also Australia’s largest private employer so there is an enormous connection [with the community] already,” said Wesfarmers sustainability lead Patrick Heagney.

“We have an internal target to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, so this is something we’re very proud of.”

The 200-kilowatt system will supply a quarter of the business’s electricity needs.

Mr Heagney said it was the biggest single solar installation in the Wesfarmers group, and the first funded by community investors.

Investors expecting solid returns  The community funding model for solar projects was developed by solar innovator Huon Hoogesteger and Emeritus Professor of Economics at University of Technology Sydney, Warren Yeates. “Within 48 hours we had fully subscribed investors for that particular installation,” said Mr Hoogesteger. Continue reading

December 23, 2016 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Even a Fox news host upset at Trump’s plans for more nuclear weapons

Trump’s nuclear gambit sobers up Fox host: ‘So we’re all blown up just as we’re counting our money’, Raw Story, 22 DEC 2016 [incl video] News host Neil Cavuto worried on Thursday that Americans would not get to enjoy the fruits of Donald Trump’s economic plans if the new president triggers a nuclear war.

In a tweet on Thursday morning, Trump argued that the “United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time that the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”…….

December 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment