Australian news, and some related international items

“Nuclear Medicine” – the fig leaf on the toxic nuclear industry – theme for May 2018

Small rural communities in South Australia are being told that it’s their patriotic duty to save Australia’s nuclear medicine –  by allowing a nuclear waste dump in their area.

This is the patently lying propaganda of the Australian Government ‘s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science  now busily involve spending tax-payers’ money on pro nuclear spin.

The real purpose of the radioactive trash dump is to host nuclear waste – euphemistically called “intermediate level” waste – currently stored in of 9,8000 leaking rusty barrels  at Woomera, and also the wastes produced by the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor. These also so-called “intermediate ” wastes are the reprocessed wastes returned from France, with more to come in the future.

The Australian nation is being conned by the government and its well-funded nuclear promotion organisation Australian National Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), with the furphy that the whole purpose of the reactor is medical.

(a) the “medical isotope” function was tacked on  – the original purpose was to lead to nuclear weapons. The current purpose is just a foot in the door for the whole nuclear fuel chain.

(b) Nuclear reactors are now going out of fashion, as the cheaper, more flexible, local, cyclotrons can produce medical isotopes safely – with no radioactive waste created.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina themes, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

The ecological knowledge of indigenous peoples

Land managers in Australia have adopted many of the fire-control practices of the aborigines and have partnered with native people.

While the skill of aborigines with fire had been noted before the giant brushfires – early settlers remarked on the “park-like” nature of the landscape – and studied before, it’s taken on new urgency. That’s why Australian land managers have adopted many of the ideas and partnered with native people as co-managers. The fire practices of the aborigines are also being taught and used in other countries.

Scientists have looked to Australian natives for other insights into the natural world. A team of researchers collaborated with natives based on their observations of kites and falcons that fly with flaming branches from a forest fire to start other fires. It’s well known that birds will hunt mice and lizards as they flee the flames of a wildfire. But stories among indigenous people in northern Australia held that some birds actually started fires by dropping a burning branch in unburned places. Based on this TEK, researchers watched and documented this behavior.

Aboriginal people “don’t see themselves as superior to or separated from animals. They are walking storehouses of knowledge”

Native Knowledge: What Ecologists Are Learning from Indigenous People

From Alaska to Australia, scientists are turning to the knowledge of traditional people for a deeper understanding of the natural world. What they are learning is helping them discover more about everything from melting Arctic ice, to protecting fish stocks, to controlling wildfires.   

While he was interviewing Inuit elders in Alaska to find out more about their knowledge of beluga whales and how the mammals might respond to the changing Arctic, researcher Henry Huntington lost track of the conversation as the hunters suddenly switched from the subject of belugas to beavers.

It turned out though, that the hunters were still really talking about whales. There had been an increase in beaver populations, they explained, which had reduced spawning habitat for salmon and other fish, which meant less prey for the belugas and so fewer whales.

“It was a more holistic view of the ecosystem,” said Huntington. And an important tip for whale researchers. “It would be pretty rare for someone studying belugas to be thinking about freshwater ecology.”

Around the globe, researchers are turning to what is known as Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) to fill out an understanding of the natural world. TEK is deep knowledge of a place that has been painstakingly discovered by those who have adapted to it over thousands of years. “People have relied on this detailed knowledge for their survival,” Huntington and a colleague wrote in an article on the subject. “They have literally staked their lives on its accuracy and repeatability.”

Tapping into this traditional wisdom is playing an outsized role in the Arctic, where change is happening rapidly.

Continue reading

April 27, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, culture, environment | Leave a comment

Climate change global impacts now, with rapidly melting Arctic ice

Melting Arctic sends a message: Climate change is here in a big way, The Conversation,  Mark Serreze, Research Professor of Geography and director, National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, 

Scientists have known for a long time that as climate change started to heat up the Earth, its effects would be most pronounced in the Arctic. This has many reasons, but climate feedbacks are key. As the Arctic warms, snow and ice melt, and the surface absorbs more of the sun’s energy instead of reflecting it back into space. This makes it even warmer, which causes more melting, and so on.

This expectation has become a reality that I describe in my new book “Brave New Arctic.” It’s a visually compelling story: The effects of warming are evident in shrinking ice caps and glaciers and in Alaskan roads buckling as permafrost beneath them thaws.

But for many people the Arctic seems like a faraway place, and stories of what is happening there seem irrelevant to their lives. It can also be hard to accept that the globe is warming up while you are shoveling out from the latest snowstorm.

Since I have spent more than 35 years studying snow, ice and cold places, people often are surprised when I tell them I once was skeptical that human activities were playing a role in climate change. My book traces my own career as a climate scientist and the evolving views of many scientists I have worked with.  When I first started working in the Arctic, scientists understood it as a region defined by its snow and ice, with a varying but generally constant climate. In the 1990s, we realized that it was changing, but it took us years to figure out why. Now scientists are trying to understand what the Arctic’s ongoing transformation means for the rest of the planet, and whether the Arctic of old will ever be seen again.

Evidence piles up

Evidence that the Arctic is warming rapidly extends far beyond shrinking ice caps and buckling roads. It also includes a melting Greenland ice sheet; a rapid decline in the extent of the Arctic’s floating sea ice cover in summer; warming and thawing of permafrost; shrubs taking over areas of tundra that formerly were dominated by sedges, grasses, mosses and lichens; and a rise in temperature twice as large as that for the globe as a whole. This outsized warming even has a name: Arctic amplification.

……….  Indeed, the question is no longer whether the Arctic is warming, but how drastically it will change – and what those changes mean for the planet.


April 27, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

South Australia Health now dealing with infectious disease threats increased due to climate change

Disease threat forces SA Health to prioritise adapting to climate change

HEALTH threats from extreme weather events and diseases spread by mosquitoes have prompted SA Health to prioritise adapting to climate change in a new blueprint.  Matt Smith

Chief medical officer Paddy Phillips has told The Advertiser the frequency and severity of heatwaves and bushfires, and the increased risk of the spread of disease by insects and bugs, meant climate change threatened the wellbeing of South Australians.

His warning comes as SA Health released its draft State Public Health Plan for the period from 2019-2024. Professor Phillips said multiple government agencies needed to consider the impact of climate change when developing policies and strategies to manage and prevent public health risks.It should also be front of mind when agencies assessed the suitability of health infrastructure and assets.

“Variations in our climate have increased the frequency and severity of weather events such as floods, droughts, bushfires, storms (and) periods of extreme heat, as well as the spread of vector-borne diseases,” Prof Phillips said.

“These events threaten the wellbeing of our communities, especially in vulnerable populations.”

Increases in diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, sandflies, triatomine bugs, blackflies, ticks, tsetse flies, mites, snails and lice have in recent years been linked to climate change on Australia’s east coast.

The draft report, that has been published for public consultation, lists four priorities:

CREATE healthier neighbourhoods and communities.

PROTECT against public and environmental health risks and adapt to climate change.

PREVENT chronic disease, communicable disease and injury.

FURTHER develop and maintain the statewide public health system.

Health and Wellbeing Minister Stephen Wade said he would review the plan, which was drawn up on the watch of the former Labor state government, to determine if any additional issues needed to be addressed. Mr Wade welcomed the inclusion of climate change as a priority. “It is prudent for public health plans to consider the impact of climate change,” he said.

SA Greens leader Mark Parnell said a suite of measures, including better town planning and the design of individual homes to be more resilient to changing climatic conditions, was needed.

That would help South Australia adapt to the challenge of climate change.

“We know that with a hotter climate comes more health problems including increased hospitalisations and premature deaths from increasing heatwaves,” he said.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | climate change - global warming, health, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australia’s first lithium battery recycling plant established in Gisborne, Victoria

Australia’s first lithium battery recycling plant launched, By Sophie Vorrath on 27 April 2018 

April 27, 2018 Posted by | business, rare earths, Victoria | Leave a comment

Crikey! Australia Zoo goes solar, with 648kW of PV — RenewEconomy

Home of the “crocodile hunter” to install biggest solar system at any Australian zoo, to save on electricity and spend more on conservation.

via Crikey! Australia Zoo goes solar, with 648kW of PV — RenewEconomy

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

South Australia solar farm connects to the grid — RenewEconomy

A 4.9MW solar farm has been connected to the grid in South Australia, signalling shift from large scale wind to large scale solar.

via South Australia solar farm connects to the grid — RenewEconomy

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Jobs boom in renewable energy, but action needed to avoid bust — RenewEconomy

Data released by ABS today shows a boom in renewable energy construction to meet the 2020 Renewable Energy Target is driving jobs growth and creating new employment opportunities, said business and energy experts.

via Jobs boom in renewable energy, but action needed to avoid bust — RenewEconomy

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia becoming the global centre for renewables for mines — RenewEconomy

Driven by favourable economics and additional benefits including carbon reductions and social license, major and mid-tier Australian mines are adopting renewables.

via Australia becoming the global centre for renewables for mines — RenewEconomy

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Future transport will be cheap, personalised, and on demand — RenewEconomy

Australia’s transport industry on cusp of “radical change,” says report – but could be a trillion-dollar train wreck if business, government don’t get on board.

via Future transport will be cheap, personalised, and on demand — RenewEconomy

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Christine Wakelin – very sceptical of National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce’s methods and plans

I do not think that one of two small rural communities should feel that if they do not accept the radioactive waste, these [medical] applications will be forced to stop, as they have been told by Departmental Officials.

Christine Mary Wakelin- Submission to Senate Inquiry on selection process for nuclear waste dump siting

My name is Christine Wakelin and together with my husband, I am a longstanding landowner in the Kimba District. I was a Registered Nurse for over fifty years, much of which I was employed at our local hospital. I had, in this position supervised the administration of IV Chemotherapy and taken simple XRays. A close family member had treatment with Nuclear Medicine for the control of Neuro Endocrine Tumours.

The matters I would like to submit to the Senate Economics References Committee on the appropriateness and thoroughness of the site selection process for a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility at Kimba and Hawker are as follows:

  • The  compensation to landowners for “volunteering”one hundred acres of land at four times the normal value makes the more remote rural areas of Australia more likely to be selected as the amount of land required, without significant buildings and improvements, is more easily found there than in more closely settled areas and prices at the selected rural sites will be significantly less.
  • Cropping land such as offered at Kimba, is, in total, only approximately 4% of Australia’s land mass. Eyre Peninsula, which Kimba is part of, is an important grain, meat and wool exporter.
  • To Volunteer, as defined by the Cambridge English Dictionary is doing something willingly without being paid for it. Being paid four times the value of the land does not meet this definition!
  • The definition of “Broad community support” has been a very vexatious matter, varying from a two thirds district support to the majority of immediate neighbours supporting the sites. This has caused much anxiety within our community. It has been said that those against the selection of sites in the are only a “small vocal minority” but even with the incentive of the community benefit $2 million, 43% of people voted not to go onto stage two of the selection process.
  • It is unclear how “broad community community support” will be defined when the selection process moves to the next stage, with Minister Canavan saying that there is no defined level of voter support from a further ballot. This has given further cause for concern from those apposed to the selection of a site in the Kimba Area.
  • The selection of the two original sites in Kimba, following a suggestion by the local Federal member of a site on his farm, which was then withdrawn, caused significant apprehension and distress. There was immense relief when these two sites were rejected by the Federal Government, just prior to the 2016 Federal Election. The nomination of a further two sites soon after this time, has seen distress renewed and added scepticism of the whole process!
  • Since the beginning of the two selection process, there have been many visits from Departmental Officers, several glossy information sheets and visits to ANSTO at Lucas Heights by many local residents, with all but two paid for by the Australian taxpayers. In addition are the ongoing costs of a Community Liaison Office and staff member. These are all to promote the siting of the NRWMF at either Kimba or Hawker. Those apposed to the sites in their area have received no financial support. This contrasts to the recent same sex marriage debate which saw funding allocated to both sides.
  • The incentive of community benefits program and the $2 million /year that is offered, did, I believe, influence people to vote to go onto stage two of the selection process. Remarks such as “we may as well go onto stage two and get the money” were heard as a justification for voting to go further in the process. “We have to do something” was another reason for voting yes. It was ironical that Kimba had just been recognised as South Australia’s “most sustainable town”!
  • The Community Benefits Program is designed, we are told, to overcome any community inconvenience. However no amount of money can compensate for the mental health wellbeing of the community which has been the affect on some community members, both those for and against the NRWMF proposals. I am closely linked only with the Kimba community but I understand the Hawker community has also had these concerns.
  • The selection of the members of the Consultative Group must also come under scrutiny, with an apparent imbalance between those known to be for and against the site proposals. Who made the decision on the membership of the group and on what criteria?
  • The Kimba District is part of Eyre Peninsula, a rich Grain, meat and fibre producing area. Much of our produce is exported, with benefits being passed on to the wider Australian community. Anything which has potential to affect our valuable industries must be given due consideration. Many on Eyre Peninsula say that their opinions should be considered also.
  • We are told that the siting of a NRWMF Facility in our region “should not” affect our markets. This is very different from “will not” and remains a pivotal concern for many people.
  • I am supportive and somewhat familiar with the use of Nuclear Medicine for the treatment and diagnosis of a variety of conditions. However I do not think that one of two small rural communities should feel that if they do not accept the radioactive waste, these applications will be forced to stop, as they have been told by Departmental Officials. Surely there is a wider community responsibility.
  • Does the 2012 Legislation for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste have the power to overrule South Australian Legislation which currently does not allow the building of the NRWMF in South Australia or the transport of other than our own waste, in the state?
  • Does this above legislation have the power to overrule the wishes of Aboriginal peoples of an area?

April 27, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Climate and nuclear threats merge – Australian news to 27 April

It’s a critical time for human and other species, as the threats from climate change and nuclear power are now merging. Climatologist Paul Beckwith explains this in his latest podcast  Carbon in the Atmosphere is Regularly Exceeding 410 Parts Per Million for First Time in Human History.

This crisis in the global ecosystem is manifested in other ways, notably in loss of biodiversity.

Professor Majia Nadesan explains “Nuclearity” – how politics trivialises the nuclear threat bringing the probability of global nuclear catastropheNuclear scientists have lower awareness of risks, compared to “life”scientists.


USA wants nuclear attack submarines to be based in Perth.

Labor candidate for Monaro Bryce Wilson refutes MP Barilaro’s simplistic push for Small Modular Nuclear reactors.

Federal Nuclear Waste Dump Plan for South Australia. Gathering of South Australian groups to stand firm against nuclear waste dumping.

Submissions to Senate. The Senate Inquiry  on Selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia. has now  73 submissions published  I am going through them, not at this point able to estimate how many pro-nuke how many anti-nuke.

Some recent submissions:

Woomera’s high level nuclear waste to go to Kimba as “Intermediate Level Waste”.

Uranium market slump looks like being permanent. Paladin may shut loss-making Langer Heinrich uranium mine.

Applause for Aboriginal veterans in ANZAC Day march.  Indigenous Rangers left waiting for funding commitment.

Renewable Energy.  Big Queensland business first to use Tesla Powerpack to go off-gridWestpac joins growing corporate push into wind and solar .  Rental solar scheme targets 15,000 Queensland investment homes.  Angry and frustrated, more customers are quitting the grid. More news at


Earth Day and the climate message of the “hockey stick” graph.

NORTH KOREA. Trump’s North Korea talks not likely to succeed.   Report from China that North Korea’s “nuclear mountain” test site has collapsed. Was the collapsed nuclear test site Kim Jong Un’s REAL reason for suspending nuclear tests?

SOUTH KOREA. Hotline set up between North and South Korea.


UKRAINE. United Nations report finds Chernobyl radiation has caused many cases of thyroid cancer.  New gigantic confinement dome over Chernobyl nuclear wreck is now almost completed. The true impacts of the 1986 nuclear disaster on people and the environment. Caring for Chernobyl’s children. Sisters now ill, exposed to Chernobyl radiation, – urge others to get cancer checks .

FRANCEElectricite de France (EDF) now recognising the reality that new nuclear power is not economically viable.


IRELAND. Concern raised by Kilkenny County Council over proximity to Hinkley Point nuclear power plant.

RUSSIA. Loss of ice in Russian Arctic has doubled over past 10 years. Future Nuclear-Powered Spaceships (oh by the way, one crashed to Canada in the past).   Nuclear corporation Rosatom partners with National Geographic – to promote nuclear power!

IRAN. The ‘demonising’ of Iran, by USA and other Western powers, despite Iran’s good record on the nuclear deal. Investigative journalist Gareth Porter refutes the spin and deception in claims that Iran is a nuclear threat. Iran’s warnings if Donald Trump tears up 2015 nuclear deal.

OCEANIA. Sea level rise will force evacuation of communities from low-lying islands. Many low-lying atoll islands could be uninhabitable by mid-21st century .

NEW ZEALANDNew Zealand’s Prime Minister Just Stood Up to One of The Most Powerful Industries in The World.

CANADA. Indigenous, environmental, groups warn that Canada is mismanaging nuclear wastes.

SOUTH AFRICA. 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize goes to South African anti nuclear activists.

JAPAN.  Japan ‘covering up’ Fukushima nuclear danger-zone radiation levels and blackmailing evacuees to return to radiated areas swarming with radioactive pigs and monkeys.    Japanese trading house Itochu ‘pulls out of nuclear plant project in Turkey’.

BELGIUM. Belgium’s move away from nuclear power – now pushing offshore wind parks,

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Christina reviews | 1 Comment

Australian Human Rights Commission predicts legal challenges that might stop nuclear waste dump plans for South Australia

THE construction of a radioactive waste dump in South Australia could be stalled by court challenges unless local indigenous people are consulted properly, the Australian Human Rights Commission has warned, Peter Jean, The AdvertiserAPRIL 25, 2018 

THE construction of a radioactive waste dump in South Australia could be stalled by court challenges unless local indigenous people are consulted properly, the Australian Human Rights Commission has warned.

The commission has intervened in the debate over potential locations for the dump after some Aboriginal groups complained they were not being fully consulted.

The Federal Government said it was working closely with indigenous people as it considers two sites near Kimba and one at Hawker as possible homes for low and intermediate-level radioactive waste.

But in a submission to a Senate inquiry, the Human Rights Commission said it was concerned that Adnyamathanha indigenous people near Hawker were unhappy with the consultation process.

This situation requires immediate attention if the consideration of the site at Wallerberdina Station is to continue,’’ the commission said.

The “overwhelming and clearly expressed support of the affected indigenous group” would be required for the facility to go ahead, according to the commission.

The federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science told the inquiry that it was consulting indigenous people, and an Aboriginal cultural heritage assessment had been conducted at the Wallerberdina Station site near Hawker.

The department said it would continue to work closely with traditional land owners to “preserve, protect and minimise the impact on indigenous heritage”

Legal challenges resulted in earlier plans for a waste dump in the Northern Territory being abandoned in 2014.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Uranium slump looks like being permanent

Perhaps a uranium price increase is on the way but it will do little to salvage Australia’s uranium industry. Apart from BHP’s Olympic Dam mine in SA, the only other operating uranium mine in Australia is Beverley Four Mile in SA. At Ranger in the NT, mining has ceased, stockpiles of ore are being processed, and ERA is planning a $500 million project to decommission and rehabilitate the mine site.

And with the cost of a single power reactor climbing to as much as $20 billion, proposals to introduce nuclear power to Australia seem more and more quixotic and are now largely limited to the far right ‒ in particular, Australians Conservatives’ luminary Senator Cory Bernardi and the Minerals Council of Australia.

Even Dr Ziggy Switkowski ‒ who used to be nuclear power’s head cheerleader in Australia and was appointed to lead the Howard government’s review of nuclear power ‒ recently said that “the window for gigawatt-scale nuclear has closed”. He said nuclear power is no longer cheaper than renewables and the levelised cost of electricity is rapidly diverging in favour of renewables.

Countless would-be uranium mining companies have given up, some trying their luck in other areas such as property development or growing dope. Some mines have closed, others have been put into care-and-maintenance, and others have reduced output. But supply has continued to exceed demand ‒ and to exert downward pressure on prices.

Uranium industry slumps, nuclear power dead in the waterChain Reaction magazine, Dr Jim Green, April 2018

Very few mines could operate at a profit at current prices. Some mines are profitable because earlier contracts stipulated higher prices, while many mines are operating at a loss. Many companies have been loathe to close operating mines, or to put them into care-and-maintenance, even if the only other option is operating at a loss. They have been playing chicken, hoping that other companies and mines will fold first and that the resultant loss of production will drive up prices. “We have to recognise that we over-produce, and we are responsible for this fall in the price,” said Areva executive Jacques Peythieu in April 2017.

Current prices would need to more than double to encourage new mines ‒ a long-term contract price of about US$70–$80 is typically cited as being required to encourage the development of new mines.

The patterns outlined above were repeated in 2017. It was another miserable year for the uranium industry. A great year for those of us living in uranium producing countries who don’t want to see new mines open and who look forward to the closure of existing mines. And a great year for the nuclear power industry ‒ in the narrow sense that the plentiful availability of cheap uranium allows the industry to focus on other problems.

Cut-backs announced  Continue reading

April 27, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment