Australian news, and some related international items

Seven years on, Fukushima still a disaster without a solution

High-profile Japanese activist Toshiko Okada spoke at the Channon Market on Sunday March 11 to mark the seventh anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Okada’s speech in the Rainbow Chai Tent was followed by a march around the market, and included music and art.

Local Japanese activist and actress Saya Minami interviewed Okada, and they spoke about introducing a Chernobyl-type law in Japan – and the rest of the world – to protect people from the risks of radiation.

Where were you when the Japanese tsunami hit the coast?

I was at home in Saitama prefecture, about 250km  away from Fukushima; I was watching TV and saw the houses and cars being washed away. I was screaming “Please run away quickly!”. My family home is near the ocean in Fukushima so I was very worried about my family. But they were okay. After that the Fukushima power plant exploded and my sister and relatives were evacuated to another prefecture, but the government said it’s safe so they went back after a few weeks.

How did you get involved in this work?

After the Fukushima nuclear accident, I heard that the organisation suing to  save the children of Fukushima from the risks of radiation had lost a case, so I wanted to help them. I joined as a volunteer. Currently I am supporting their second trial, networking with radiation victims and taking action to help Fukushima children exposed to radiation. 

What are the aims of the Citizens’ Network for Evacuation from Radiation?

The aim is to connect with  citizens’ groups and individuals to achieve a society that is free from radiation exposure.

Tell us about the monthly demonstrations in Tokyo.

We protest in front of Shinjuku Station in Tokyo. We speak the truth about Fukushima and call attention to the fact that Kanto district – which includes Tokyo – is also contaminated with radiation, which the mainstream media won’t report. We criticise the current government’s scary policy, which prioritises the economy over people’s lives.

We also protest at the front of the office of the prime minister once a month, against the government’s policy of abandoning the people of Fukushima.

Tell us about the monthly demonstrations in Tokyo.

We protest in front of Shinjuku Station in Tokyo. We speak the truth about Fukushima and call attention to the fact that Kanto district – which includes Tokyo – is also contaminated with radiation, which the mainstream media won’t report. We criticise the current government’s scary policy, which prioritises the economy over people’s lives.

We also protest at the front of the office of the prime minister once a month, against the government’s policy of abandoning the people of Fukushima.

Is it easy to raise issues of nuclear safety and radiation in Japan?

It’s not difficult to bring up the issue, but the Japanese government says that it’s already safe. They say ‘let’s eat Fukushima food, let’s go to Fukushima.’ People think we are spreading a false rumour, which makes it hard for us.

The majority of Japanese people, including the people of Fukushima, are mostly silent, as they might be confused or not interested. That’s the biggest problem.

Why is it important to have a Japanese version of a Chernobyl Law?

The public radiation exposure safety limit was 1mSv before the Fukushima nuclear accident, but after the accident, the Japanese government increased the safety limit to 20mSv only for Fukushima people, and they do decontamination and say it’s safe. There are 54 nuclear power plants in Japan. We don’t know when we will have another accident like Fukushima. That’s the problem. We have to leave a safe environment for our next generation.

Tell us about politician Taro Yamamoto and his role in the anti-nuclear movement.

Most politicians never mention the risks of radiation exposure. Taro Yamamoto is one of the few politicians who raises the issue of radiation exposure and wants an inquiry in the parliament. He is the voice of the people and the best colleague.

What do you hope to achieve with this visit to Australia?

I hope to get support for our action to introduce the Japanese version of Chernobyl law and I hope to tell the truth about Fukushima to the world.

I also hope this law to protect people from radiation disaster will be adopted by the Australian government, to protect Aboriginal people or other people who live with the potential exposure to radiation near uranium mines, nuclear waste dump sites etc.

I hope this law will spread to the world and protect all the people who suffer from radiation disaster worldwide.

I believe that’s what we should do for the next generation.

I believe that this action would also add pressure on the Japanese government, which doesn’t think people’s lives are important.

And it would save the people of Fukushima as well.

March 9, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Safecast – the people-powered group getting the facts on Fukushima radiation

Safecast operates using measurements captured by volunteers. Data is verified and validated when two randomly selected people take the same measurement of the same place. Safecast’s reliable system means local people could count on its data and stay informed. Around 3,000 Safecast devices are deployed worldwide, and 100 to 150 volunteers regularly contribute their time and effort to the project.

As Safecast’s power and influence in society — both inside and outside of Japan — expanded, so did its technologies.

“We are a pro-data group, we are not an activist group,

Radiation monitoring group formed during Fukushima nuclear disaster now a source of global data  BY NAOMI SCHANEN STAFF WRITER 

Back in 2011, soon after the 3/11 disaster, Safecast was born. Today, the global volunteer-centered citizen science organization is home to the world’s largest open data set of radiation measurements.

Safecast was a response to the lack of publicly available, accurate and trustworthy radiation information. The group initially set out to collect radiation measurements from many sources and put them on a single website. What the volunteers quickly realized was that there was simply not enough official data available.

Soon after the disaster, members attached a homemade Geiger counter to the side of their car and drove around Fukushima taking measurements. They quickly noticed that radiation levels were radically different even between streets, and that the government-issued city averages were far from sufficient as data that could be used by citizens to determine the safety of their areas.

Within weeks the group’s members decided to build their own Geiger counters and collect the data themselves. They picked the name Safecast the following month.

For months after the nuclear disaster began, the government released only very limited information about the spread of radiation. Continue reading

March 9, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Global weapons corporations lavish gifts on Australia’s top Defence personnel

Spoils of war? Weapons industry heavyweights wine and dine Defence top brass, Canberra Times  Michael Inman, Steven Trask, Markus Mannheim , 9 Mar 18 

Weapons industry heavyweights were among companies that lavished almost half a million dollars’ worth of hospitality and gifts on Australian Defence executives and top military personnel.

Government records show sovereign nations, arms manufacturers and private businesses furnished Defence staff with about $490,000 worth of gifts, sponsorships and hospitality in the past four years.

Defence staff are required to register the acceptance or soliciting of gifts, hospitality and sponsorship. The information is kept in a central ledger, which is not published publicly but was made available under freedom of information law.

Six of the world’s largest weapons manufacturers are listed on the register: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Airbus, Thales and BAE Systems.

Among the declarations on the register were $117,821 worth of gifts, received from 2014 to 2017. ……. The Defence Department also logged more than $34,000 worth of hospitality.

March 9, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Trump accepts invitation to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

  Boston Globe,  

TOKYO – President Donald Trump has agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for talks, an extraordinary development following months of heightened nuclear tension during which the two leaders exchanged frequent military threats and insults.

Kim has also committed to stopping nuclear and missile testing, even during joint military drills in South Korea next month, Chung Eui-yong, the South Korean national security adviser, told reporters at the White House on Thursday night after briefing the president on his four-hour dinner meeting with Kim in Pyongyang on Monday.

After a year in which North Korea fired intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching all of the United States and tested what is widely thought to have been a hydrogen bomb, such a moratorium would be welcomed by the United States and the world.

Trump and Kim have spent the past year making belligerent statements about each other, with Trump mocking Kim as ‘‘Little Rocket Man’’ and pledging to ‘‘totally destroy’’ North Korea and Kim calling the American president a ‘‘dotard’’ and a ‘‘lunatic’’ and threatening to send nuclear bombs to Washington, D.C.

But Kim has ‘‘expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible,’’ Chung told reporters.

‘President Trump said he would meet Kim

Jong Un by May,’’ Chung said, but he did not provide any information on where the meeting would be. In Seoul, the presidential Blue House clarified that the meeting would occur by the end of May.

The White House confirmed that Trump had accepted Kim’s invitation to meet…….


March 9, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The nuclear fusion dream MIGHT come true – one day

Clean, Endless Fusion Power Now Only 15 Years Away. Maybe. news! Commercial fusion power has always been 30 years away no matter what year it is, but now some folks say it’s only 15 years away:

The project, a collaboration between scientists at MIT and a private company, will take a radically different approach to other efforts to transform fusion from an expensive science experiment into a viable commercial energy source.

….A newly available superconducting material — a steel tape coated with a compound called yttrium-barium-copper oxide, or YBCO — has allowed scientists to produce smaller, more powerful magnets. And this potentially reduces the amount of energy that needs to be put in to get the fusion reaction off the ground….The planned fusion experiment, called Sparc, is set to be far smaller — about 1/65th of the volume — than that of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project, an international collaboration currently being constructed in France.

By 2040 or so, we’ll have robots doing all the work and clean, cheap fusion providing all the power we need. You just gotta believe.

March 9, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Bad news for Australia’s uranium industry – India aims to stop importing uranium

World Nuclear News 8th March 2018, India is planning a tenfold increase in uranium production over the next 15 years, Minister of State Jitendra Singh told the country’s parliament
yesterday. State company Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL) has
outlined expansion plans to meet the Department of Atomic Energy’s (DAE)
vision of achieving self-sufficiency in uranium production.

March 9, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business | Leave a comment

“Broad community support” for a nuclear waste dump near Kimba should mean a national referendum

Steve Dale Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia “The federal government has said that it will not choose any site without broad community support.” A statewide referendum is required for that – and maybe a national referendum to ask if Australian’s would prefer to find alternatives to its radioactive waste spewing reactor.

March 9, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Traditional Owners opposing Adani hold smoking ceremony at QLD Parl,  call on Premier not to extinguish native title

 8 March 2018
‘At a smoking ceremony outside Queensland Parliament today the Wangan & Jagalingou Family Council
called on the Queensland government to rule out extinguishing W&J Native Title for Adani,
the week before a crucial Wangan & Jagalingou Council’s Federal Court case commences.
High quality stills and vision can be made available.
Spokesperson Adrian Burragubba said,
“The Queensland Government has the power to extinguish our Native Title,
but they don’t have to go down this path.
Premier Palaszczuk should rule out ever extinguishing our native title for Adani.
‘“We are demanding a meeting with the Premier to explain why there is
no consent from us for Adani’s dirty land deal,
why the Queensland Government should remove its support for the Adani’s sham ILUA,
stop opposing W&J Traditional Owners in the courts
and not extinguish our native title.
‘“Adani’s destructive mine has no part in our future and would tear the heart out of our ancestral lands.
Premier Palaszczuk must pledge to not extinguish our native title for a deal with Adani. [1]
‘“We are determined to prevent our land being taken without our consent
and to protect our country and sacred places from destruction,
for an empty promise of jobs and some trinkets.
‘“We have never given consent to this mine or the surrender of our land rights
and have voted to reject a deal with Adani four times since 2012.
We will not rest until this destructive proposal is abandoned..
‘“A clear majority of Queenslanders are with us and
do not support the government pushing ahead with Adani’s mine
without the consent of Traditional Owners. [2] … ‘

March 9, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Queensland | Leave a comment

Australian nuclear news – on anniversary of Fukushima nuclear disaster

Tomorrow, Sunday March 11,  will mark the seventh anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. I’m not sure that the mainstream media will cover this properly – or even at all. .  . Radioactive debris piling up at Fukushima interim facility.  The  costly underground “Ice wall” to prevent radioactive leakage has not really been effective.  Radioactive water continues to pour into the Pacific ocean. Exposures levels go up while environmental health protections are lifted: life is devalued.   No. of children at time of Fukushima disaster diagnosed with thyroid cancer reaches 160. Fukushima Nuclear Fuel Release “Explicitly Revealed” In Wider Environment. Fleeing from Fukushima: a nuclear evacuation reality check.

The power of the people Safecast gets the facts on Fukushima radiation.

Crucial US-North Korea talks – could defuse nuclear tensions? Donald Trump’s historic gamble on meeting Kim Jong Un – so much could go wrong.

A sad reflection on International Women’s Day –   Climate change ‘impacts women more than men


Seven years on, Fukushima still a disaster without a solution Toshiko Okada will be speaking at the Channon Market, NSW  March 11

Nuclear waste dumping plan.

Big global weapons corporations lavish gifts on Australian Defence executives and top military personnel.

Don’t Let Josh Frydenberg [ Minister for Uranium, Coal etc] approve Yeelirrie uranium mine or extinction!

Minerals Council lobbies for changes to native title laws .


March 9, 2018 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

New York Times buys into ANSTO’s nuclear spin about Kimba?

This New York Times author gives a fair coverage to the Kimba radioactive waste dump issue. But it’s misleading in 3 important ways, as if the author completely buys the nuclear lobby’s propaganda.:

  1. States that “The country has no nuclear power plants.”  But fails to mention the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor [which is the source of the really important radioactive trash for Kimba]
  2. Fails to mention the fact that South Australia has a clear law prohibiting establishment of any nuclear waste facility
  3. Seems unaware of the huge distances (2000 km) involved, which would mean that the vast majority of  medical wastes would no longer be radioactive, in transport from the main points of production and use.

A Farming Town Divided: Do We Want a Nuclear Site that Brings Jobs?, NYT, By MARCH 7, 2018  “……… Now, as the federal government considers whether to build the site on one of these two farms in Kimba, this community of about 650 people finds itself divided and angry. The prospect of jobs and subsidies that the site would bring has split locals between those who want to preserve rural Australia’s way of life and those who say the glory days of farming are over…..

Despite the distances, locals say Kimba always had a strong sense of community, at least until the nuclear site was proposed. Some said the allure of millions of dollars’ worth of grants and subsidies that the government was offering the host community had blinded people to the risks.

March 9, 2018 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Protesters unite against nuclear waste in Port Augusta Marco Balsamo

March 9, 2018 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Gender and Radiation: Women and Children Require More Protection —

Film – “Fighting for Gemma” Today is International Women’s Day “a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.” There are many such women in the anti-nuclear movement. […]

via Gender and Radiation: Women and Children Require More Protection —

March 9, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The tiny village leading France’s anti-nuclear movement

Since the government announced plans to bury nuclear waste in Bure, the village has been at the epicenter of France’s anti-nuclear movement — and the scene of recent clashes between activists and police.

Anti-nuclear protesters lug planks and beams across the muddy fields outside Bure, a village of just 90 inhabitants in northeastern France. They’re preparing to build a treehouse in the Lejuc woods to replace those destroyed by police last month.

On February 22, some 500 police were sent to evacuate a few dozen activists occupying the woods in protest against the government’s plan to bury radioactive waste in Bure.

The dawn evacuation took protesters by surprise. “A staggering number of officers came to the woods to demolish our homes, and destroy everything we’d created,” says one activist, who asks to remain anonymous. Like many of his fellow protesters, he wears an owl mask to hide his face.

While tensions have grown between police and demonstrators in recent weeks, opposition to the project goes back decades.

Nuclear waste is a pressing problem in France, which gets 70 percent of its electricity from 58 nuclear plants.

In 1998, France’s nuclear waste agency, Andra, began work on a vast underground laboratory dedicated to researching Bure’s geology. The aim was to determine whether the site could host a deep geological repository — the technical term for an underground nuclear waste storage facility.

The ultimate goal is to store 80,000 cubic meters of high-level radioactive waste — which can remain hazardous to humans for tens of thousands of years — 500 meters underground.

“Our scientists have been studying the viability of deep geological repositories for more than 25 years,” Frederic Plas, a research director at Andra, told DW. “At the Bure lab, we’ve researched the geological site’s characteristics and tested the clay rock formation to determine whether or not it’s capable of confining radioactivity.”

The safest option?

“It’s the best option in terms of security, and we elected officials were satisfied with the public debates that were held on this topic,” Pancher told DW. “The law authorizing research on deep geological repositories also requires that the waste be retrievable for a century, meaning we can remove the waste should any problem arise.”

The concept of “retrievability” is key to the debate. Under French law, deep geological repositories must allow for the waste to be removed from the site for at least 100 years — partly in case of unforeseen problems, but mostly in case scientists come up with a better way of disposing of the waste.

“The idea is not to bury [it] and forget [it] forever,” Nicolas Mazzucchi, an energy expert at the Foundation for Strategic Research, a Paris think tank, told DW.

Most scientists say storing nuclear waste in deep geological repositories is safer than storing it above ground, where it may be exposed to the elements, or even acts of terrorism.

However, few want to live next door to such a repository — which is why potential sites tend to be located in remote areas like Bure.

Tough sell for locals

The French government is also sweetening the deal with a 1991 law, which established that regions hosting nuclear waste projects are to receive state financial aid. The two municipalities near the Bure lab receive some 30 million euros each per year — a considerable sum for rural areas with dwindling populations.

But the police’s forceful response to protests does little to reassure locals the state has their interests at heart.

“I’ve been fighting this project for 25 years,” local farmer Jean-Pierre Simon told DW. “The government wants to quash the opposition and appropriate the land. Eventually there will be no more farmers, and Andra will be able to do whatever it wants.”

For now, the Bure lab is still just that — a lab. The government hasn’t yet authorized it to operate as a deep geological repository. And activists in Bure are determined to keep it that way.

March 9, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Steel company falsified data on analyses of burying radioactive waste (Mainichi Japan) Sixteen pieces of data relating to the underground disposal of highly radioactive waste generated by nuclear reactors, which scandal-hit Kobe Steel Ltd. and a subsidiary analyzed at the request of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), were falsified, forged or flawed in other ways, the nuclear research organization said.

The government-affiliated JAEA, which commissioned Kobe Steel and its subsidiary Kobelco Research Institute Inc. to analyze data on the impact of burying highly radioactive waste deep underground, has demanded that the steelmaker redo the work.

Kobe Steel expressed regret over the matter. “We’ll do our best to prevent a recurrence,” said a company official.

According to the JAEA, the data in question includes that on the corrosion of metal used for cladding tubes and containers for spent nuclear fuel. Between fiscal 2012 and 2016, the Nuclear Regulation Authority and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) commissioned the JAEA to conduct the analyses, and the agency farmed out the work to the steelmaker and its subsidiary.

JAEA officials said most of the data was not accompanied by records of experiments conducted in the analyses, or had intentionally been altered.

According to METI’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy and other sources, the report detailing the results of the analyses will be partially corrected following the discovery of the data falsification.

March 9, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Minerals Council lobbies for changes to native title laws 

The Minerals Council of Australia is lobbying the federal government for urgent changes to native title laws which they say will remove uncertainty over the status of mining leases and tenements following recent court cases.

In a submission to the Attorney-General’s Department consultation on changes to the Native Title Act, the council said legal validation was needed for a series of agreements used for granting mining and exploration rights over land subject to……. (subscribers only)

March 9, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment