Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

AUSTRALIA MUST PLAY ITS PART IN ABOLISHING NUCLEAR WEAPONS – ANTHONY ALBANESE

We have now reached a time where an overwhelming majority of the world’s nations are ready to outlaw nuclear weapons, just as the world outlawed chemical and biological weapons and land mines.

There is no reason why we should not be providing leadership in the effort to ban nuclear weapons.

Australia must play our part.  Malcolm Turnbull should commit to attending the 2017 negotiating conference. If Australia fails to participate, this will tarnish our international reputation as a disarmament supporter and, in doing so, fail to act to promote safety in our world.

Albanese, AnthonyAUSTRALIA MUST PLAY ITS PART IN ABOLISHING NUCLEAR WEAPONS ,  ANTHONY ALBANESE MP, SPEECH TO THE TOM UREN MEMORIAL FOUNDATION FOR THE INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO ABOLISH NUCLEAR WEAPONS , 12 Feb 17 
In 1961 John F Kennedy told the United Nations:

Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us.

It is incredible to think that almost six decades on, this threat still exists. We must continue to dedicate ourselves to eliminating this threat. Every nation has a responsibility to work for a world free of nuclear weapons.

Australia is no exception.

That is why the work of ICAN in Australia and around the world, in helping to progress the disarmamentlogo-ICAN agenda, is so important.

I come to this debate with the benefit of the testimony of a man who saw the horror of nuclear weapons first hand. Tom Uren was imprisoned in a POW camp on the island of Omuta on 9 August 1945. Just after 11am, the US detonated an atomic bomb over the city of Nagasaki about 80km away. Estimates of the death toll ranged between 40,000 and 80,000. That’s men, women and children. Nuclear weapons don’t discriminate.

Continue reading

Advertisements

February 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia stands out- in self-imposed exile from global summit on treaty to ban nuclear weapons

logo-ICANTim Wright, the Asia-Pacific director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, said Australia was turning its back on the UN at a time when multilateral cooperation was more important than ever. He accused Australia of “taking orders from the Trump administration”.

“Every country in south-east Asia and nearly all countries in the Pacific have declared their strong support for the upcoming UN negotiations. Australia will be sitting in self-imposed exile from one of the biggest and most important international treaty-making initiatives in recent history.

“This will be the first time that Australia has ever boycotted disarmament negotiations.

australia-kowtows

Australia to boycott global summit on treaty to ban nuclear weapons https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/17/australia-to-boycott-global-summit-on-treaty-to-ban-nuclear-weapons

Anti-nuclear campaigners accuse Australia of turning its back on the UN and ‘taking orders from the Trump administration’,  ,  Australia will boycott global negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons at the United Nations next month.

The global summit, to be held in New York on 27 March, will go ahead with Australia out of the room. Continue reading

February 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A third robot abandoned at Fukushima nuclear reactor, in unsuccessful search to find melted core

Melted Nuclear Fuel Search Proceeds One Dead Robot at a Time,Bloomberg, by Stephen Stapczynski and Emi Urabe February 17, 2017, 
  • Third robot abandoned in search of fuel at Japan’s Fukushima
  • Melted fuel still needs to be located before removal begins

    The latest robot seeking to find the 600 tons of nuclear fuel and debris that melted down six year ago in Japan’s wrecked Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant met its end in less than a day.

    The scorpion-shaped machine, built by Toshiba Corp., entered the No. 2 reactor core Thursday and stopped 3 meters (9.8 feet) short of a grate that would have provided a view of where fuel residue is suspected to have gathered. Two previous robots aborted similar missions after one got stuck in a gap and another was abandoned after finding no fuel in six days.

    radiation-levels-fuk-190217

    After spending most of the time since the 2011 disaster containing radiation and limiting ground water contamination, scientists still don’t have all the information they need for a cleanup that the Japanese government estimates will take four decades and cost 8 trillion yen ($70.6 billion). It’s not yet known if the fuel melted into or through the containment vessel’s concrete floor, and determining the fuel’s radioactivity and location is crucial to inventing the technology needed to remove it.

    “The roadmap for removing the fuel is going to be long, 2020 and beyond,” Jacopo Buongiorno, a professor of nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in an e-mail. “The re-solidified fuel is likely stuck to the vessel wall and vessel internal structures. So the debris have to be cut, scooped, put into a sealed and shielded container and then extracted from the containment vessel. All done by robots.”…… https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-17/race-for-japan-s-melted-nuclear-fuel-leaves-trail-of-dead-robots

February 20, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear power’s gloomy future in America

burial-nuclear-industryThe Murky Future of Nuclear Power in the United StatesFEB. 18, 2017 This was supposed to be America’s nuclear century.

February 20, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mental health concerns about Donald Trump, and the danger of his presidency

Their letter prompted another, from Dr Allen Frances, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Duke University Medical College, who happens to be the expert psychiatrist who defined narcissistic personality disorder.

He rebuked the authors, arguing that to claim that Trump is mentally ill is an insult to those who truly are. But he also had this to say – Trump may be a “world-class narcissist”.

But the debate has taken off.  Another psychologist weighed in last month, telling US News and World Report that Trump displays a malignant narcissism, characterised by grandiosity, sadism and anti-social behaviour.

trump-how-badAmericans take an anxious journey to the centre of Donald Trump’s mind, The Age,Paul McGeough, 20 Feb 17  Washington: Flip references by reporters – mine included – to Donald Trump not taking his meds have been criticised as offensive to the mentally ill. But Trump’s unhinged behaviour, as in his erratic press conference on Thursday, ensures that the President’s mental state is the stuff of debate.

Rick Wilson, a Republican Party strategist and Trump critic, saw the Thursday press conference as a turning point – instead of a divide between left and right, the split he sees in America is between those who saw the spectacle as a “success” and those who are “terrified” for the future of the country.

“[His press conference] could have been evidence in a mental competency hearing,” he told The Washington Post. “It was really pretty disturbing and terrifying to watch this guy and think: ‘What happens when the stakes are higher?'”

On Saturday, The New York Times‘ conservative columnist David Brooks wrote in similar language about the press conference: “President Trump’s mental state is like a train that long ago left freewheeling and iconoclastic, has raced through indulgent, chaotic and unnerving, and is now careening past unhinged, unmoored and unglued.”

It’s not just the commentariat in the “fake press”, on which Trump has upped the ante, denouncing them as “the enemy of the American people”. Mental health professionals are weighing in. Continue reading

February 20, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Will the nuclear waste of Sydney’s dead HIFAR nuclear reactor be sent to South Australia?

nuke-reactor-deadTim Bickmore , Fight to stop Nuclear Waste Dump in South Australia February 18  There is also another elephant in the room which is yet to rate a mention. At Lucas heights there are 2 reactors – OPAL & HIFAR. OPAL is the working reactor, whilst HIFAR is the old one now undergoing de-commissioning – which includes dealing with more radioactive waste. Is the HIFAR waste (= old reactor parts) also destined for the dump? Considering the decommission schedule, this seems highly probable & where else would it go……

“HIFAR is currently being decommissioned and will be totally decommissioned by 2018.” HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/GROUPS/344452605899556/

February 20, 2017 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, New South Wales, South Australia | Leave a comment

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg aims to have coal mining subsidised by Clean Energy Finance Corporation

Frydenberg, Josh climateJosh Frydenberg flags changes to allow CEFC to invest in carbon capture and storage, ABC News, AM By Eliza Borrello, 20 Feb 17,  Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has revealed the Government is considering lifting a ban on allowing the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to invest in carbon capture and storage……At the moment the CEFC, the Government’s green bank, is not allowed to invest in it.

But amid the Coalition’s renewed support for coal-fired power, Mr Frydenberg said that could change…..

Shadow Energy Minister Mark Butler said it would require the kind of legislation Labor would strongly oppose.   “This would be an outrageous act of vandalism against a successful financing mechanism for renewable energy, for energy efficiency projects and for genuine low-carbon technology,” he said.”It’s no real surprise, I guess, because the Liberal Party has never really supported the CEFC. “It tried to abolish it for three years and now seems committed to making it a finance mechanism for the coal industry, which is unable to attract finance from the private sector.”

Government interested in low-emission coal-fired plants  Mr Frydenberg said he was also interested in investment in high-efficiency, low-emission coal-fired plants.

Currently they are not green enough for the CEFC to invest in, but Mr Frydenberg has flagged changing the rules. “The Government could issue a new mandate to the CEFC which would then inform its guidelines and would make possible an investment in a high-efficiency low-emission power plant,” he said……

But Mr Butler said the market was not interested in the kind of plants Mr Frydenberg was suggesting.

“It doesn’t reflect the reality in the electricity industry. No-one in the industry is talking about the reality of building new coal-fired power stations,” he said. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-20/government-interested-in-carbon-capture-tech-frydenberg-says/8284682

February 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Texas nuclear weapons facility made many workers very sick

body-rad1The perils of Pantex: Hundreds of workers sickened at Texas nuclear weapons plant http://www.star-telegram.com/news/state/texas/article49500030.html

Panhandle nuclear weapons assembly plant a hazardous workplace

Workers used to joke that they made soap at the facility

More than 1,300 workers and families have been awarded compensation since 2000

Bob Ruzich, a 31-year worker at the nuclear assembly plant here, rarely got sick. He had to cash out his sick hours every year because he was so healthy.

But in a matter of months, the Pantex Plant worker became so fragile that he had to be rushed by helicopter to the hospital. Ruzich’s 18-year-old son watched from the front yard of their Panhandle home as his father’s motionless body was lifted into the air, said his wife, Barbara Ruzich.

“You do what you have to do,” Barbara Ruzich said. “You don’t sit back and cry.” Continue reading

February 20, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New nuclear construction doomed in USA, as Toshiba’s nuclear business melts down

nuclear-dominoesMeltdown of Toshiba’s Nuclear Business Dooms New Construction in the U.S. .MIT Technology Review-16 Feb. 2017 The collapse of the Tokyo company’s nuclear development arm puts a likely end to new U.S. plants. February 17, 2017  Toshiba’s dramatic exit from the business of building nuclear power plants lands another blow to a beleaguered sector, undermining new development and research on advanced reactor designs.

After acquiring a majority stake in Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse Electric in 2006 for $5.4 billion, the Tokyo technology conglomerate had high hopes for rolling out a new generation of safer, smaller, cheaper power plants, as well as a series of streamlined full-scale reactors. Four of the latter are under construction in the United States, representing the only new reactors currently being built in the country. But the company was bedeviled by cost overruns, technical problems, conflicts with contractors, and regulatory challenges that set those projects back by years.

On Tuesday, Toshiba projected a $6.3 billion write-down for its nuclear unit and said it was looking to unload its stake. “It looked like a big deal at the time, but it’s turned into a mess,” says Michael Golay, a professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT. “And it’s likely to have a very chilling effect.”

Toshiba’s four massive nuclear plants now under construction in the southern United States are AP1000 pressurized-water reactors, which use a simplified design that was supposed to accelerate construction. But the Vogtle project in Georgia and the V.C. Summer project in South Carolina are both around three years behind schedule and, together, billions of dollars over budget.

The company said those projects will continue, but many energy experts believe Toshiba’s decision to cease building new reactors spells the end of any nuclear construction in the United States for the foreseeable future. Analysts doubt Toshiba will find a buyer for its Westinghouse stake, or any willing construction partners to move ahead with dozens of additional plants it had once planned.

Toshiba’s struggles reflect the slow demise of nuclear power in much of the world (see “Giant Holes in the Ground”). The industry has been plagued by the rising cost of construction, the low price of natural gas, the Fukushima disaster in 2011, and the stricter regulations and souring public perceptions that followed. Germany is scaling down its nuclear program, engineering powerhouses like GE and Siemens have pulled back from the market, and France recently engineered the takeover of the nuclear giant Areva to rescue it after a series of stumbles…..

February 20, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority warns on financial danger from climate change

climate-changeClimate change could threaten entire financial system, APRA warns, ABC News, 17 Feb 17, By Stephen Long Climate change could threaten the stability of the entire financial system, the prudential regulator has warned, as it prepares to apply climate change “stress tests” to the nation’s financial institutions.

In its first major speech on climate change, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority chastised companies for a lack of action on the risks it poses.

“While climate risks have been broadly recognised, they have often been seen as a future problem or a non-financial problem,” APRA executive board member Geoff Summerhayes told an Insurance Council conference in Sydney.

“Many of these risks are foreseeable, material and actionable now.

The speech comes as the Government and the Opposition bicker about renewable energy targets amid dismay among industry leaders about a lack of certainty on climate change policy.

The Climate Institute’s CEO John Connor described the speech as a “huge” development.

“APRA has never gone out there like this before,” he said.

“It’s an antidote to the hyper partisan political culture war on climate policy; our regulator’s moved to the front foot in managing climate risks.”

The Climate Institute and the Investor Group on Climate Change wrote jointly to the Council of Financial Regulators two years calling for regulatory action on the financial risks from climate change.

Lack of policy ‘could greatly increase financial risks’

APRA warned in the speech that lack of policy and regulatory action could make the financial risks posed by climate change “greater and more abrupt”.

“There could be either sharper, more significant policy changes and market adjustments down the track, or the physical impacts of climate change could become more severe, more likely and more unpredictable,” Mr Summerhayes said.

“Like all risks, it is better they are explicitly considered and managed as appropriate, rather than simply ignored or neglected.

“So what can you expect to see from us? A greater emphasis on stress testing for organisational and systemic resilience in the face of adverse shocks.

“Just as we would expect to see more sophisticated scenario-based analysis of climate risks at the firm level, we look at these risks as part of our system-wide stress testing.”

APRA’s intervention follows a similar though more pointed warning two years ago by the head of the Bank of England about the threats climate change posed to financial stability…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-17/climate-change-could-threaten-entire-financial-system-apra/8281436?pfmredir=sm

February 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Mining lobby tries to stifle environmental activism

most of the Mineral Council’s biggest members are multinationals, listed on Australian and overseas stock exchanges. Could their membership fees or fighting fund donations be used for the MCA’s political campaigns if foreign donations were banned? Should their individual contributions be revealed?

Deep-pocketed miners don’t like it when those with different views wield clout, Guardian, Lenore Taylor @lenoretaylor 18 February 2017 In 2010 the mining industry’s $22m campaign against Kevin Rudd’s resources tax helped bring down a prime minister. For years it has spent huge sums on donations and advertising and lobbying to exert enormous political influence. But the deep-pocketed miners really don’t like it when those with different views find the cash and the smarts to wield some clout.

lobbyist

The latest squeal came this week in an appearance by the Minerals Council of Australia before the joint standing committee on electoral donations, which seems likely to reach a bipartisan consensus on banning foreign donations to political parties and other organisations that might influence the outcome of elections – including associated entities (like unions or fundraising foundations) and activist groups like GetUp.

While a ban on foreign donations is, in my view, a good idea, and broader reform of political donation laws is screamingly necessary if politics is to be saved from itself, the MCA seemed mostly intent on using the process to maximise the impact of any changes on environmental groups campaigning against new coalmines. Continue reading

February 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Seed- Australia’s first Indigenous youth climate network.

text-Please-NoteAbout Seed http://www.seedmob.org.au/about_seed

Seed is Australia’s first Indigenous youth climate network.
We are building a movement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people for climate justice with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.

“Our vision is for a just and sustainable future with strong cultures and communities, powered by renewable energy.

“Climate change is one of the greatest threats facing humanity, but we also know it is an opportunity to create a more just and sustainable world.”

February 20, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Land Rights not Mining Rights Tell the government to stop attacking land rights

sign-thishttp://www.seedmob.org.au/landrights

PETITION GOAL: 6,000 signatures

“Right now, George Brandis and his mates in parliament are pushing hard to weaken the Native Title Act,  we need your help to slow them down.

“The introduction of these amendments is a shameful attempt by the Turnbull Government to change the rules to suit their mates at Adani, and the mining lobby,  at the expense of Aboriginal rights.

“There has been no consultation with our mob, and now the government is trying to ram through these changes as an ill-considered, knee jerk reaction to the Queensland Resource Council’s panic.

“Attorney General George Brandis has had the Australian Law Reform Commissions’s report recommending 30 changes to the Native Title Act on his desk for two years and done absolutely nothing to progress reform.

“We call on George Brandis and the Federal Government to put the brakes on amendments to the Native Title Act, consult properly with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mob, and stop pandering to the scare campaign of the Mineral Council.”

February 20, 2017 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Australian Conservation Foundation summarises the background of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine and rail project

coal CarmichaelMine2The Adani Brief: our summary https://www.acf.org.au/adani_brief_summary
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/wgar-news/QkXUYq11cmQ   
15 February 2017:

“Background

The brief is the result of months of international investigation by Environmental Justice Australia and
USA-based environmental law non-profit EarthJustice into the global legal compliance record of the Adani Group.

It puts governments and private stakeholders on notice that backing Adani’s Carmichael
coal mine and rail project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin
may expose them to financial and reputational risks.

“Key findings

“Environmental destruction:
Adani Group companies have a record of environmental destruction and non-compliance with environmental regulations.
Some examples are: …

‘Black money’: … 

“Bribery and illegal exports: … 

“Confusing and opaque corporate structures: … 

“This is a company the government is entrusting: … ”

The Adani Brief:
What governments and financiers need to know
about the Adani Group’s record overseas
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/wgar-news/QkXUYq11cmQ
https://envirojustice.org.au/sites/default/files/files/Submissions%20and%20reports/The_Adani_Brief_by_Environmental_Justice_Australia.pdf

February 20, 2017 Posted by | business, environment, politics, Queensland, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

In South Australia, artists are at the forefront of the nuclear-free movement

Artists paint the truth of SA nuclear la la land https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=50616#.WKpGiNJ97Gg Michele Madigan |  12 February 2017

‘It will be your artists: the poets, painters, actors, dancers, musicians, orators — they will be the ones to lead the changes.’ It was one of the many international invited guests, a Maori woman speaker, who made this prediction to the huge 40,000 strong crowd; to the 30,000 First Nations people from across the nation and 10,000 of us non-Aboriginal supporters who had joined them enroute to Hyde Park, Sydney, on 26 January 1988.

In South Australia almost 30 years later, this prophecy continues to unfold in the ongoing high-stakes battle for country that surrounds the proposed nuclear waste dump.

The orators have been long leading the way. ‘We can’t sell that country — we can’t sell it. Just like selling your own kid, own grandmother, own grandfather,’ said Arabunna Elder Kevin Buzzacott at the 1998 Global Survival and Indigenous Rights Conference in Melbourne 1998.

Tjunmutja Myra Watson told the Olympic Games international media, Botany Bay, 2000: ‘We already lost everything at Maralinga’ — the site of the 1950s and 1960s British nuclear tests.

‘We thought that Maralinga would be the last one … We love our land … We got the Dreaming, we got the songs and we got the culture. We’re going to fight to keep it. Let’s keep it, let’s keep the country, not this man coming in and digging up our spirit and our land and all our songs. They’re spoiling it when they put the poison in. They’re taking everything and they did it before.’

They are joined in the struggle by other artists: painters Eileen Wani Wingfield and Eileen Unkari Crombie; dancers Eileen Kampakuta Brown, Edie Nyimpula King and other Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, dancing for protection of country in the bush; singers like Ivy Makinti Stewart, whose astonishing voice filled the Adelaide Town Hall with the lament of the Seven Sisters: Irati Wanti — the poison — leave it! Continue reading

February 20, 2017 Posted by | art and culture, South Australia | Leave a comment