Australian news, and some related international items

Australian uranium fuelled Fukushima nuclear reactors: time to stop mining it.

   Today marks seven years since the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Fukushima caused mass evacuations, hundreds of billions of dollars in economic loss and radioactive contamination of land, air and oceans.
Fukushima remains a profound environmental, economic and human disaster that negatively impacts lives in Japan and far beyond.

And it all started in the back of a big yellow truck in Australia.

A load of true blue yellowcake was fuelling the Fukushima complex at the time of the disaster.

Our uranium trade is dirty, dangerous and irresponsible and there can be no nuclear ‘business as usual’ in the shadow of Fukushima.

With Australian radioactive rocks now Fukushima’s fallout it is time to keep the poison in the ground.

Our shared energy future is renewable, not radioactive. 


March 11, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Fukushima evacuee Mrs Mizue Kanno and the legal fight for justice

This woman is winning the fight for justice after Fukushima  by Kazue Suzuki and Shaun Burnie  

March 11, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Donald Trump’s chaotic approach to North Korea nuclear talks

Trump under pressure over chaotic approach to North Korea nuclear talks, Guardian  Jon Swaine 12 Mar 18

  • Republicans: denuclearisation must be prerequisite for meeting
  • CIA director and White House spokesman contradict each otherDonald Trump faced criticism from Republican allies on Sunday after apparently agreeing to meet Kim Jong-un without demanding that North Korea start scrapping its nuclear program.North Korea talks: Trump praises own role but Washington frets over details.

    Senators from Trump’s own party expressed scepticism and urged him to set tougher preconditions, amid growing concerns over the administration’s chaotic approach to nuclear diplomacy.

    Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado said Trump should not meet Kim until North Korea produces proof it has begun reversing its years-long pursuit of a nuclear weapon.

    “What we have to hear more of is how we are going to get to those concrete, verifiable steps towards denuclearisation before this meeting occurs,” Gardner told Face the Nation on CBS.

    Trump’s team has given a series of muddled statements on that precondition. No mention of it was made during an abrupt announcement on Thursday that Trump was willing to hold a summit with Kim by May, in what would be the first ever meeting of the two countries’ leaders…….

    The president has offered little clarity. After tweeting about conversations with world leaders on the issue he returned to it in a rambling speech to supporters in Pennsylvania on Saturday evening, saying of North Korean denuclearisation: “They are thinking about that – who knows what’s going to happen?”The uneven public statements followed an eccentric unveiling of Trump’s historic acceptance of Kim’s invitation. The decision was announced to journalists on the White House driveway by a South Korean official, shortly after Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, had said direct negotiations were a distant prospect.

    Having lambasted Barack Obama for what they deemed an overly conciliatory approach to Iran during nuclear talks, Republicanswere left struggling to defend Trump’s position.

    ……. Democrats, too, expressed concerns. “I am very worried that he’s going to go into these negotiations and be taken advantage of,” Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said on CNN.Warren said Trump should urgently address a lack of senior diplomats who would probably be needed for successful negotiations. The US has no permanent ambassador to South Korea or assistant secretary of state for the region.

    That view was echoed by Ben Rhodes, a former senior aide to Obama, who was involved in the Iran deal and said the Trump administration appeared unprepared for discussions of similar gravity.

    “There’s nothing more complex than nuclear negotiations; there’s no place in the world more volatile than the Korean peninsula,” Rhodes told ABC. “You cannot just approach this like a reality show.”

March 11, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

David Bradbury’s documentary AMERICA and ME to premiere in Melbourne

Renowned filmmaker David Bradbury will be in Melbourne for the Victorian premiere of his latest documentary which chronicles his time in the US during the 2016 presidential election campaign.

AMERICA & ME will screen at the Cinema Nova on Friday March 16 at 6.30pm and will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker. 

AMERICA & ME documents the filmmaker’s observations over three months in the US during the lead up to the surprise election of Donald Trump. A one-man band and always traveling with his camera, David Bradbury was easily able to slip into gear and start filming while on tour with his antimilitarism documentary War on Trial.

Eight US cities later he chronicled what was happening on the streets of America; 40 years after Ronald Reagan introduced the economic theories of Milton Friedman and the infamous Chicago Boys to the world.

Bradbury interviews veterans of America’s failed wars to maintain Empire, gets down in the gutter with the homeless to find out what life is like on the streets, speaks to a nun who was violated by the military junta in Guatemala under the directions of a CIA operative, goes to the US/Mexican border where Trump plans to build the Wall, films out front of CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia where deadly drone attacks are ordered up every ‘Killer Tuesday’ by the US President…and ends up at the Standing Rock protest camp for Election Day.

These vignettes give context to Bradbury’s critique of the American penchant for empire, using telling moments from his earlier films shot on the edge of the American colossus – Nicaragua No Pasaran, Chile Hasta Cuando?, Frontline and South of the Border.

To view trailer visit:

For screening details and ticketing visit:

For interview with the filmmaker contact David Bradbury mob. 0409925469 (David will be in Melbourne from March 12).

For press images contact Frontline Films 02 6684 0015/0447851858 or email

March 11, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A nuclear weapons expert analyses North Korea’s Nuclear Ambitions And Abilities

North Korea’s Nuclear Ambitions And Abilities,  NPR’s Renee Montagne talks with Siegfried Hecker, a former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, about North Korea’s nuclear program. National Public Radio. 11 Mar 18 

……….  HECKER: Well, first of all, I think it’s not very likely to happen, [the meeting between Trump and Kim] . What’s significant in the current situation is they’ve actually said that they would be willing to give up nuclear weapons, you know, if their security is assured, and they’re not threatened. However, to think that’s going to happen in the short term is just not realistic because to build a nuclear weapons program, it’s an enormous number of facilities. It’s a large number of people. It took, well, more or less 50 years but particularly the last 25 years to get to where they are today. They’re not going to turn that over overnight.
…….. MONTAGNE: Well, short of full denuclearization, what other steps could North Korea take to prove, you know, its sincerity in this?

HECKER: So there are very important steps. And one can lay those out. In other words, I look at the things that are highest risk. And those are the things you want them to stop first. So two that were highest on my list – they have, for the time being, said they would do a moratorium. And that’s no more missile tests and no more nuclear tests – because to increase the sophistication of your bombs, you have to do more nuclear tests. The next one would be not to make any more bomb-grade material, which means stop the operation of the reactors. All three of those are verifiable. The problem is on the bomb-grade material, you can also go the uranium route. Those are the centrifuge halls. We know where one of them is. We don’t know where the other one or two are. And that will be extremely difficult to verify. And that’s going to take a long time and a real detailed process with them to get there.

MONTAGNE: From what you know of North Korea from your time on the ground, are they motivated to use these weapons? Is this something to really be afraid of?

HECKER: What I worry about when it comes to the weapons is – one is capability. Second is motivation. And capability – for many years, I was able to say, look. You know, they have the bomb, but they don’t have much. They don’t have a nuclear arsenal. Then comes the motivation part. And would they be motivated to go ahead and attack the United States, Japan or South Korea basically out of the blue? I say absolutely not. They want those weapons to make sure to protect them. Perhaps they want the weapons so that they actually have sort of sufficient maneuvering room, you know, on the Korean Peninsula. What I’ve worried about is not so much that they’re motivated to attack us but rather that we’re going to stumble into a nuclear war.

MONTAGNE: Sig Hecker is a former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, now at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University.

March 11, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Seven years after Fukushima, Japanese opposition mobilizes for nuclear exit.

Le Monde 10th March 2018,[Machine Translation] Seven years after Fukushima, Japanese opposition mobilizes for nuclear exit. Adraft law on the withdrawal of nuclear power
that was tabled on Friday, March 9, by four opposition parties in Japan,
starting with the Democratic Constitutional Party (PDC), which had been
campaigning on this issue.

March 11, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Fukushima: looking to a renewable energy future

“The nuclear disaster was not a natural disaster, it was a very man-made disaster,” Watanabe says. “So we felt that there was now a need for clean energy and greater energy independence.”

“It was at that symposium that I started to really think about the need for an energy shift away from nuclear power and about how rich the prefecture of Fukushima is in renewable resources,” Sato says.

“Nuclear power companies are not prepared for the cost of decommissioning and could in some cases go bankrupt. Banks and pension funds have lent them a lot of money because they have been regarded as stable, so bankruptcies could become a national financial problem. This would be difficult for the government to handle and might directly hurt pensioners,” he says. “But now the government is just hiding the problem and postponing managing it.”

Fukushima looks to renewable energy sources in the aftermath of nuclear disaster, Japan Times,  BY KAJSA SKARSGÅRD  Yauemon Sato | CHRISTINA SJOGREN  11 Mar 18, 

Steam rises from outdoor pools overlooking a waterfall at a 90-year-old hotel in Fukushima Prefecture’s Tsuchiyu Onsen.

“What has saved us since the disaster are the loyal regular guests and the new visitors who have come to study our town’s renewable energy plant. Without them, I’m sure we would have had to close,” says Izumi Watanabe, who has been director of Sansuiso Tsuchiyu Spa for 37 years.

“People come from other onsen areas all over Japan to learn how they can become energy independent and how the binary plant we have doesn’t affect our hot springs,” she says, challenging the preconception that onsen communities, fearing a negative impact on their tourism business, typically hold back the development of geothermal energy in Japan. Continue reading

March 11, 2018 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

Thyroid cancer in Fukushima children and adolelscents

Porquoi Docteur 11th March 2018, [Machine Translation] In this population, an abnormal number of children and adolescents develop in fact thyroid cancer, according to a study revealed in August 2015 conducted among 300,000 young Japanese in the prefecture of Fukushima.

Published in the journal Epidemiology, it indicates that 103 cases of thyroid cancer have been reported in children and adolescents under 18 who resided in Fukushima prefecture between 2011 and 2014. This is 25 more than ‘last year. “It’s hard to establish a cause and effect relationship, but you have to continue the exams because the proportion of tumor discoveries increases with age,” said Dr. Shunichi
Suzuki when he presented the results.

March 11, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

On Fukushima anniversary, Tawianese protest against nuclear power

Taiwanese protesters rally for ‘nuclear-free’ island, Agence France Presse  11 Mar 18 
Government has promised to phase out nuclear energy by 2025.  Hundreds of anti-nuclear protesters staged a rally in Taiwan on Sunday to demand the island’s government honour its pledge to abolish the use of atomic energy by 2025

Waving placards reading “nuclear go zero”, and “abolish nuclear, save Taiwan”, they gathered outside the presidential office in Taipei on the same day Japan marked the seventh anniversary of the Fukushima disaster.

Taiwan’s cabinet-level Atomic Energy Council recently decided to allow state-owned energy company Taipower to restart a reactor at a facility near Taipei, pending parliament’s final approval.

The reactor has been offline since May 2016 after a glitch was found in its electrical system, which the company said had since been resolved.

Anti-nuclear groups are now questioning whether Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will keep its promise to phase out nuclear energy.

“It would be violating the spirit of creating a nuclear-free homeland by 2025 pledged by the DPP,” said Tsui Shu-hsin of the prospect of restarting the reactor. Tsui is the spokeswoman for the Nuclear Go Zero Action Platform, which organised the rally.

Lawmaker Huang Kuo-chang, head of the opposition New Power Party, echoed the sentiment.

“The government should move forward, not backwards and restarting the reactor would be a regression,” he told reporters at the rally.

…….Taiwan started annual anti-nuclear rallies to commemorate Japan’s nuclear disaster on March 11, 2011, when the Fukushima energy plant was hit by a tsunami following an earthquake, knocking out power to its cooling systems and sending reactors into meltdown.

Taiwan, like Japan, is prone to frequent quakes as the island lies on a number of fault lines.

“Nuclear facilities are unsafe as Taiwan has many earthquakes,” 40-year-old protester Fan De-lu said. “The government needs to take the lead to actively develop alternative and green energy.”

March 11, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Donald Trump’s attack on “experts” does not bode well for America

What the president and his supporters really mean, of course, is that experts have not shown the proper deference to people who do not understand anything about the world around them. The president seems to believe that no one shows him the proper deference.

Trump and the new Know-Nothings who support him are exploiting this for short-term political gain, but in the longer run, these policies will hurt the very people who voted for Trump in the first place.

Trump is delivering what he promised: A government with no experts, Washington Post,  March 8  Tom Nichols is a professor at the Naval War College and the Harvard Extension School and the author of “The Death of Expertise.”  

President Trump kept an important campaign promise this week. Not the one about tariffs — that was incidental — but the one where he vowed to give his supporters the satisfaction of seeing him ignore experts.

The president has plunged ahead with his plans to reverse 70 years of U.S. policy, against the advice of his secretaries of defense and state. His top economic adviser, Gary Cohn — who was unfazed by Trump’s equivocation about Nazis but has found his personal red line on trade policy, apparently — also advised against the tariffs and has now walked out in defeat.

None of this really has very much to do with actual policy. By the time Trump announced the details of the steel and aluminum tariffs on Thursday, his facile public statements about how trade wars are easy to win had already made it clear that he has no actual grasp of what a trade war is, or what it could mean for the United States to start one.

But like so many Trump positions (the wall, the Muslim bangun control) the actual content of the policy is irrelevant. His presidential campaign, at its core, operated on a simple premise of social revenge, a notion that only Donald Trump could get even with the shadowy experts who run (and ruin) the lives of ordinary Americans. He vowed to push the eggheads out of the way — not because they are wrong, but because they are eggheads, and nobody likes eggheads………. Continue reading

March 11, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Our Future | Beach culture a casualty of climate change industry.  
Dr David Rissik , 11 Mar 18,

March 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Japanese Government Accepts UN Fukushima Recommendations – Current Policies Now Must Change To Stop Violation Of Evacuee Human Rights — Mining Awareness +

This is good news. It also means that the nuclear industry must be shut down immediately and that there must be more strict standards for nuclear waste, as well. Most nuclear power stations are ticking time bombs and much/most of the waste is too. So, there will be more and more zones that require evacuation […]

via Japanese Government Accepts UN Fukushima Recommendations – Current Policies Now Must Change To Stop Violation Of Evacuee Human Rights — Mining Awareness +

March 11, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Regional Victoria council adds 14.5kW solar system, on path to zero carbon — RenewEconomy

Mount Alexander Shire to install 14.5kW solar PV on heritage listed visitor centre building, as part of zero carbon 2025 goal.

via Regional Victoria council adds 14.5kW solar system, on path to zero carbon — RenewEconomy

March 11, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Australian state election 2018 Renewable energy groups target Adelaide festivals

Guardian,  Max Opray, 8 Mar 18   Renewable energy groups are targeting Adelaide’s festival season ahead of the South Australian election with scorecards rating the major parties’ environmental policies, with the Greens and Labor leading the way.

A scorecard distributed by the Australian Conservation Foundation gives its only five-star rating for renewables to the Greens. Labor gets a glowing four-and-a-half star rating for its heavy investment in renewable energy; Nick Xenophon’s SA Best receives a lukewarm two stars, while the Liberals are panned with a scathing half-star rating.

Gavan McFadzean, the ACF manager of climate change and clean energy, told Guardian Australia the organisation was promoting the rating along with a more general environmental scorecard.

On the overall scorecard Labor comes back to the field as they weren’t able to commit to half of the ledger; they might be an international leader on clean energy, but they weren’t able to make a strong commitment to rule out fracking in the south east, [or] drilling for fossil fuels in the Simpson Desert and Great Australian Bight,” McFadzean said.
The Greens managed five stars in the overall scorecard too, which McFadzean said might not be surprising but shouldn’t be taken for granted.

He added SA Best moved up to three stars overall due to a solid performance on its fossil fuel extraction policy, natural protection and expenditure in the state budget for environmental issues. “Unlike other major parties who tended to tank in a couple of areas, SA Best were not outstanding but solid across the board,” McFadzean said.

The Liberals rose to one-and-a-half stars partly due to support for a 10-year fracking moratorium in the state’s south-east.

Another contributor to the analysis, the solar energy advocacy organisation Solar Citizens, is shifting its volunteer door-knocking team to this weekend’s Womadelaide festival to distribute its own version of the scorecard based on the renewable energy target. Solar Citizens highlighted the Greens leading the way with a 100% target for 2025, Labor in second place with a 75% target, SA Best third with a commitment to maintaining the current 50% target, and the Liberals last with their pledge to scrap the state-based goal in favour of federal action.

March 11, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

WA suburb to trial community battery ‘bank’ for rooftop solar deposits — RenewEconomy

A new Community Power Bank scheme led by WA utility Western Power will allow local solar homes to store their excess generation in a shared battery.

via WA suburb to trial community battery ‘bank’ for rooftop solar deposits — RenewEconomy

March 11, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment