Australian news, and some related international items

Vandana Shiva’s video message ahead of COP23: Don’t Nuke The Climate


November 13, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia’s Friends of the Earth continues to reject Australia’s Pro-Nuclear Lobbying

Green Groups Urge Negotiators in Bonn – \Reject Australia’s Pro-Nuclear Lobbying\—reject-australias-pro-nuclear-lobbying

July 17, 2001  

The Australian Government’s hypocrisy and disregard for less developed countries has again come under international scrutiny at the high-level climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany.

Australia is one of only a few countries actively lobbying for the inclusion of nuclear power in Joint Implementation projects in the Kyoto Protocol. Safety, health and cost concerns have resulted in strong community opposition to nuclear power in Australia, which has never built a nuclear power station itself. The government is now arguing that the Kyoto Protocol should subsidise nuclear power in non-industrialised countries.

The motivation is largely economic; as one of the world’s largest suppliers of uranium, the Government hopes that increased use of nuclear power will increase uranium exports. The Australian Government’s short-term political agenda has led it to put economic self-interest ahead of the integrity of the Protocol and the development of clean and safe alternative energy in non-industrialised countries.

Australian environment groups have urged Parties to the Climate Convention to reject Australia’s proposal that nuclear power be eligible for inclusion in Joint Implementation and Clean Development Mechanism projects. Money spent on nuclear power will be diverted away from renewable energy and energy efficiency, which are the real solutions to climate change and sustainable development.

November 13, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

“Is nuclear a solution to climate change?”


Press-conference of the coalition Don’t nuke the climate:
“Is nuclear a solution to climate change?”

Speaking: Speaking:Kerstin Rudek, BI Luchow-Dannenberg and Don’t Nuke The Climate campaign, Germany
Markus Atkinson, Anti-Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia
Vladimir Slivyak, Ecodefense, Russia

Nuclear industry and its supporters became very active inside the UN talks promoting outdated, expensive and dangerous nuclear energy as a climate friendly technology. Russia, USA and several other countries are organizing pro-nuclear side-events at COP-23 and trying to get developing world to believe in nuclear solution. The reality is that nuclear is not carbon free and far too expensive to be any kind of solution. Nuclear waste is another hot problem that doesn’t have a solution. Activists from various countries talk on why nuclear is part of problem and not part of solution. Also announcing the demonstration against false solutions for climate change on November 11 in Bonn.

November 13, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

South Australian government: local Aboriginal community has final veto on nuclear waste suppositary

Tim Bickmore shared ENuFF South Australia‘s post. No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia, 13 Nov 17 

Oct 24 letter from SA Premier J to the PM regarding proposed radioactive waste suppository in the Flinders Ranges.
“….. the South Australian government committed to provide a local Aboriginal community with a final veto right over any future facility proposed on their lands.
I recommend the Commonwealth Government now consider adopting a similar policy position ….”

November 13, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Nukes on the Dole – Radioactive Welfare Queens

you can’t advocate for nuclear reactors without indirectly advocating for nuclear weapons and radioactive waste.  That’s because nuclear reactors are producers of both weapons material and radioactive waste. Ike was a nuclear conman. ‘Atoms for Peace’ have always been Atoms for War.

The Real Nuclear Triad: Energy, Weapons and Waste   NOVEMBER 7, 2017 “……..Nukes on the Dole – Radioactive Welfare Queens

…………. some strange recent developments.

Nuclear utilities are in trouble, fighting for life against – as Amory Lovins once predicted – ‘a massive overdose of market forces’ and the surging economics of renewables.

But wait. Whatever happened to ‘”the wisdom of the ‘free market’?”  Around the country, as aging reactors reach the end of their operational and economic lives, some states like Wisconsin, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Nebraska are letting them die a dignified natural death. But other states, like New York and Illinois are putting their moribund reactors on life support at public expense.  Projections suggest that state-sponsored electric ratepayer handouts in the two states could total as much as $10 billion over 12 years.

Tim Judson, Director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), warns that if other states follow New York and Illinois, “The price would be outrageous. If reactor subsidies go nationwide, it could cost $130-$280 billion by 2030.”

Earlier this year  Directpr John LaForge reported on CounterPunch,

Bailout legislation for dilapidated reactors is now pending: in Connecticut, for Millstone 2 & 3; in New Jersey, for Salem 1 & 2 and Hope Creek; in Texas, for South Texas 1 & 2 and Comanche Peak 1 & 2; in Maryland, for Calvert Cliffs 1 & 2; and for nine reactors in Pennsylvania including Beaver Valley 1 & 2, Three Mile Island 1, Susquehanna 1 & 2, Limerick 1 & 2, and Peach Bottom 2 & 3.

Meanwhile America’s Trillion dollar nuclear arsenal upgrade goes forward, even as an overwhelming majority of United Nations states sign on to a treaty declaring the possession, use or threatened use of nuclear weapons illegal under international law.

In the face of the spreading renewed nuclear crackpotism noted above, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), has been the driving force behind the UN Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons. ICAN will receive the Nobel Peace Prize Dec 10.

Atoms for Peace War

All of which suggests, you can’t advocate for nuclear reactors without indirectly advocating for nuclear weapons and radioactive waste.  That’s because nuclear reactors are producers of both weapons material and radioactive waste. Ike was a nuclear conman. ‘Atoms for Peace’ have always been Atoms for War.

And, as Bennett Ramberg showed conclusively in his prescient, but tragically ignored, 1984 book Nuclear Power Plants as Weapons for the Enemy: An Unrecognized Military Peril, its also because every nuclear reactor and radioactive waste storage site in the world are themselves nuclear-weapons-in-place for any enterprising terrorist.

Concluded Ramberg, “Because nuclear energy facilities contain such large inventories of biologically threatening radionuclides, they can make potentially useful radiological weapons when manipulated for strategic purposes.”

November 13, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia sells weapons to countries like Saudi Arabia, that perpetrate human rights abuses

It’s a nearly impossible task to discover exactly what Australia is selling and to whom because the federal government refuses to say, but nuggets of information make it clear that Canberra is aggressively selling weapons and defence equipment to countries involved in conflicts where human rights abuses are being perpetrated.

In his seminal 2011 book on the global arms trade The Shadow World, journalist Andrew Feinstein exposes the fallacies of a nation’s expanding defence sector. “The arms industry’s economic contribution is undermined by the frequency with which its main players around the world, Lockheed Martin, BAE, Boeing, Northrop Grumman … are implicated in grand corruption, inefficiency and wastage of public resources,” he wrote.

Feinstein concludes that the arms trade “often makes us poorer, not richer, less not more safe, and governed not in our own interests but for the benefit of a small, self-serving elite, seemingly above the law, protected by the secrecy of national security and accountable to no one”. 

Murky business: Australia’s defence industry is growing, but at what cost?  SMH, Antony Loewenstein , 4 Nov 17 

This year’s Avalon Air Show in Geelong was the first chance for the public to see the long-delayed Joint Strike Fighter in action. At a cost of at least $100 million per aircraft, Canberra is slated to spend $17 billion on 72 F-35s in the coming years.

Manufacturer Lockheed Martin, the world’s biggest defence contractor, has faced countless problems with the plane including cost blowouts (spending more than $US1 trillion and counting), a Pentagon report in January finding 276 deficiencies (with 20 new issues discovered per month) and consistent troubles with overheating and cybersecurity. An Australian contractor on the aircraft was recently hacked, with sensitive material stolen.

None of this dampened the mood at Avalon. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, along with Defence Minister Marise Payne, Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne and Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson, praised the plane and Australia’s growing defence sector. Continue reading

November 13, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Senator Bernardi’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle (Facilitation) Bill – joins Tony Abbott in pro-nuke fervour

  Bernardi seeks to lift ban on nukes, THE AUSTRALIAN,  MICHAEL OWEN, SA Bureau Chief, Adelaide, 12 Nov 17 

Senatorr Cory Bernardi will introduce a bill in parliament today that seeks to lift a ban on nuclear power plants and enrichment and processing facilities…….

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has asked Malcolm Turnbull to give Aborigines the “final right of veto” over any site chosen by the federal government for the planned national radioactive waste dump.

Senator Bernardi, who plans to run candidates under his Australian Conservatives banner at the South Australian election in March, said he would introduce a bill today to remove bans on an Australian nuclear fuel cycle, particularly as they apply to nuclear power plants……

Last month, former prime minister Tony Abbott called for laws to allow for the construction of nuclear power plants……

Bernardi said the proposed legislation did not fully deregulate the nuclear fuel cycle, but if passed would “send a powerful signal to the world that we are … open for an Australian nuclear industry”.

The bill would remove sections of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act (1998), which ban construction of nuclear power, fuel fabrication, enrichment or reprocessing plants, and any authorisation of such facilities…….

High-level international nuclear waste storage would require approval from federal parliament, which the Turnbull government had indicated it was prepared to support.

Federal Labor has a longstanding constitutional opposition to nuclear waste storage.

Mr Weatherill has written to the Prime Minister about the federal government’s plans to establish a national low-to-medium-level dump for domestic nuclear waste, with three SA sites under consideration: two near Kimba and one near Hawker.

In the letter obtained by The Australian, Mr Weatherill said ­Aboriginal leaders were deeply concerned about the Hawker proposal and urged the commonwealth to commit to “provide a local Aboriginal community with a final right of veto over any future facility proposed on their lands”.nukes 

November 13, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Europe’s “radiation cloud” is dangerous for those who are near the unknown source.

Radiation Cloud Over Europe, Not ‘Harmless’ to Those near Unknown Source, Nuclear Expert Says, bureau EnviroNews World News ,by Emerson Urry , November 11, 2017    —An airborne plume of radioactive ruthenium 106 from a nuclear accident was detected “in the atmosphere of the majority of European countries,” from late September through mid-October, according to France’s Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety Institute (IRSN) — but the source is still unknown. As of November 10, 2017, the manmade element has been identified in at least 28 countries.

November 13, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The slow, painful, and hugely costly death of the nuclear industry

November 13, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

How the “peaceful”American nuclear industry subsidises the nuclear weapons industry

The Real Nuclear Triad: Energy, Weapons and Waste   NOVEMBER 7, 2017   “……….Chasing Nuclear Market ShareIn a recent piece in Foreign Affairs, entitled Will the West Let Russia Dominate the Nuclear Market? – What the Westinghouse Bankruptcy Means for the Future, born-again ‘new environmentalists’ and new nukes enthusiasts Nick Gallucci and Michael Shellenberger argue that US taxpayers should bail out the once-powerful, now bankrupt and Japanese-owned nuclear giant Westinghouse, or risk losing both global commercial and military nuclear primacy.

In the face of documented world-wide nuclear industry collapse, these guys want to revive what they call Eisenhower’s ‘humanitarian dream’ of Atoms for Peace (which spread deadly US nuclear technology around the world in the first place ) in order to, as Ike promised,  “provide abundant electrical energy in the power-starved areas of the world.”

Now, according to nuclear true-believers Nick and Mike, with the added benefit of saving civilization from climate change with new, ‘clean’ nuclear energy will be run on what they call ‘accident tolerant fuels’ – still a completely untested ‘nukes-for-ever’ concept.

The core element in their misguided pitch is that the decline of the civilian nuclear industry in the USA “would significantly undermine U.S. and Western national security interests.”

This, despite statistics showing that global investments in non-hydro renewables are now greater than the global investments in nuclear, hydro and fossil fuels combined.

Nuclear Policy Group-Think Adrift in a Sea of Delusion

Elsewhere in the news, a report by the pro-nuclear Energy Innovation Reform Project  on the future costs of new nuclear in the USA notes that: “A sustained decline in the commercial industry could also have a negative impact on the U.S. nuclear naval program.

A 2017 report entitled The U.S. Nuclear Energy Enterprise: A Key National Security Enabler by the Energy Futures Initiative – another pro-nuke shop established by former Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz – clearly highlights the risks posed by US civilian nuclear decline to US naval supply chains………

November 13, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Malcolm Turnbull urges Hong Kong to put pressure on North Korea

Malcolm Turnbull calls North Korea ‘criminals’, urges Hong Kong to help, SMH, Lindsay Murdoch, 12 Nov 17,  Hong Kong: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has accused North Korea of being one of the world’s most “cunning, sophisticated criminals,”  involved in many serious crimes, including drug trafficking, in his strongest condemnation yet of the dictator Kim Jong-un.

And Mr Turnbull told US president Donald Trump and China’s president Xi Jinping during a leaders’ retreat in Vietnam that their relationship is one of the “single most priorities for the world today,” urging them work together to pressure North Korea over is nuclear weapons program……

November 13, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Clean Energy Finance Corporation backs wind-plus-battery project

CEFC backs wind-plus-battery project
Singapore outfit Nexif Energy locks in $150m of debt funding from Clean Energy Finance Corporation for a project that will include the first large-scale unsubsidised battery system.

November 13, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

13 November REneweconomy news

  • Know your NEM: Queensland poll – what are the odds?
    Queensland energy politics has something for everyone – including a new coal plant – but bookmakers are backing the state Labor. Meanwhile, on the NEM…
  • Wind turbine collapse under investigation at Antarctic research centre
    One of two wind turbines that help to power Australia’s Mawson research station in Antarctica has partially collapsed.
  • Sugar vs solar, round 2: 60MW Qld project stalls after opposition from cane farmers
    ESCO Pacific’s proposed 60MW Mirani Solar Farm has failed to win approval from the local council, after strong opposition from local sugar can growers.
  • Climate change spurs Medibank fossil fuel divestment
    Medibank’s announcement it will divest tens of millions of dollars from fossil fuels due to the ‘health effects of climate change’ has been welcomed by environmental finance group Market Forces.
  • South Australia’s new power plant ready before summer
    South Australia now has access to an additional 276 MW of electricity generation, with the state’s new power plant installed in time for the warmer summer months.
  • Wind farm researchers found to have no human ethics approval
    A new research paper into the health impacts of wind farms has raised serious concerns over academic credibility.
  • Qld Labor ups ante on renewables – more ambition, new technology
    Labor commits to “at least” 50% renewables by 2030, and promises $50m for first large scale solar tower and storage plant. Premier hails technologies that can power Queensland 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • CWP proposes 250MW solar thermal + storage near Townsville
    CWP Renewables proposes 250MW solar tower and storage project near Townsville, while SolarReserve looking at six different projects in Queensland.
  • 100% global renewable electricity more cost-effective than current system
    Making a global transition to 100% renewable electricity grid has long been a dream of many, and new research shows it is a viable reality.
  • NEG – behavior, details, details?
    The more we look at the NEG, the more bizarre it gets. And it seems disrespectful, or even arrogant, of the ESB to think an overnight thought bubble is going to be superior to carefully developed process in overseas markets.
  • Impact Investment Group appoints new CEO: Daniel Madhavan
    Leading Australian impact fund manager Impact Investment Group is proud to announce the appointment of Daniel Madhavan as Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

November 13, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Pope Francis condemns the possession of nuclear weapons: nuclear deterrence is no longer acceptable

Pope Francis: the possession of nuclear weapons should be firmly condemned    Pope Francis indicated that deterrence is no longer acceptable

The existence of nuclear weapons creates a false sense of security that holds international relations hostage and stifles peaceful coexistence, Pope Francis said.

“The threat of their use as well as their very possession is to be firmly condemned,” the pope told participants at a conference on nuclear disarmament hosted by the Vatican.

For years, popes and Catholic leaders had said the policy of nuclear deterrence could be morally acceptable as long as real work was underway on a complete ban of the weapons. In condemning possession of the weapons, Pope Francis seemed to indicate that deterrence is no longer acceptable.

Nuclear weapons “exist in the service of a mentality of fear that affects not only the parties in conflict but the entire human race,” he said.

The conference, sponsored by the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, brought together 11 Nobel laureates, top officials from the United Nations and NATO, diplomats from around the world and experts in nuclear weapons and the disarmament process. They were joined by scholars, activists and representatives of bishops’ conferences, including Stephen Colecchi, director of the U.S. bishops’ Office of International Justice and Peace.

Several speakers, including Masako Wada, one of the last survivors of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, were to discuss the suffering wrought by nuclear arms.

Pope Francis told the group that the “essential” witness of survivors of the bombings in Japan as well as those suffering the effects of nuclear weapons testing are prophetic voices that serve “as a warning, above all for coming generations.”

In his speech, the pope said that when it comes to the ideal of a nuclear-free world, a “certain pessimism” exists and brings with it “considerable expense” as nations modernize their nuclear arsenals.

“As a result, the real priorities facing our human family, such as the fight against poverty, the promotion of peace, the undertaking of educational, ecological and health care projects, and the development of human rights, are relegated to second place,” he said.

Pope Francis said the existence of weapons whose use would result in the destruction of humanity “are senseless even from a tactical standpoint.”

What is more, he said, there is the growing danger that the weapons or weapon technology could fall into the wrong hands.

“The resulting scenarios are deeply disturbing if we consider the challenges of contemporary geopolitics, like terrorism or asymmetric warfare,” he said.

With the ongoing tensions surrounding North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, the Vatican conference came at a time Pope Francis described as one of “instability and conflict.”

But despite the troubling global scenario, he continued, initiatives such as the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, provide a dose of “healthy realism” that “continues to shine a light of hope in our unruly world.”

The treaty, which would enter into force 90 days after at least 50 countries both sign and ratify it, bans efforts to develop, produce, test, manufacture, acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

Although as of Sept. 20 the treaty had been signed by more than 40 countries, including the Holy See, the United States and other countries possessing nuclear weapons did not take part in the negotiations and do not plan to sign it.

Nevertheless, Pope Francis urged the international community “to reject the culture of waste” and place care for people suffering “painful disparities “over “selfish and contingent interests.”

Progress, he said, “that is both effective and inclusive can achieve the utopia of a world free of deadly instruments of aggression, contrary to the criticism of those who consider idealistic any process of dismantling arsenals.”

At a pre-conference event in Rome Nov. 9, Jesuit Father Drew Christiansen, professor of ethics and global human development at Georgetown University, and Carole Sargent, director of the university’s Office of Scholarly Publications, outlined what they saw as major progress in 2017 toward a ban on nuclear weapons.

The work of grass-roots movements and organizations, including the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which won the Nobel Peace Prize, has been particularly important, Father Christiansen said. And not to be ignored are hundreds of Catholic women religious who have engaged in major protests, but also dedicated lobbying efforts. Sargent has been researching the grassroots involvement of women religious, especially in Japan, the United States and Great Britain.

The Vatican conference, Father Christiansen said, could be a major push in getting the new U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons “supported around the world.”

Speaking to journalists before the start of the conference, Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel laureate and former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, commented on tensions between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, and the threat of nuclear war.

In August, Trump threatened to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” in response to North Korea’s announcement that it had created a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on an intercontinental ballistic missile. Kim responded to Trump’s “fire and fury” talk by saying his country was preparing to fire missiles into the waters around Guam, a U.S. territory in the western Pacific Ocean with two military bases.

When asked for his response on the possibility of a U.S.-North Korea nuclear conflict, ElBaradei had few words.

“I go to pray,” he said.

November 13, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The Vatican calls for integral nuclear disarmament The Vatican is calling for integral nuclear disarmament. According to the preliminary conclusions of a just-ended high level symposium entitled “Prospects for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament”, integral disarmament is both an urgent immediate need and a long-term process.

The symposium, organized by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development got underway as tensions escalated between the US and North Korea.

It saw the participation of eleven Nobel peace laureates, top United Nations and NATO officials, leading experts, ‎heads of  major foundations and of civil society organizations, as well representatives of bishops conferences, Christian denominations and other faiths. Pope Francis addressed the gathering on Friday.

Wrapping up the symposium on Saturday, Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, read out the following preliminary conclusions:

The Dicastery brought together religious leaders and representatives of civil society, officials of States and international organizations, noted academics and Nobel Laureates and students, to illuminate the connections between integral disarmament and integral development, and to explore the links among development, disarmament and peace.  As our Holy Father, Pope Francis, repeatedly reminds us, “everything is connected.”

November 13, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment