Australian news, and some related international items

Sad to see National Geographic promoting the nuclear industry , and with Flinders University support!

National Geographic joins nuclear propagandists — the Australian connection, Independent Australia 

A new documentary series is nothing more than a propaganda tool for nuclear power, writes Noel Wauchope.

IN SEPTEMBER THIS YEAR, National Geographic will launch the documentary series, Wild Edens. It’s all about wilderness areas and is also a soft sell for the nuclear industry. And there’s a proud Australian connection, with the Global Ecology Lab of Flinders University, South Australia. Their energy researcher, Ben Heard, was master of ceremonies at the premiere in Spain in April…….

By 2018, things have changed. The argument that nuclear power is cheap has fallen apart. As for the “peaceful atom” and “no connection with nuclear weapons”, that one has fallen through, too. Recent research in UK and the USA make it clear that nuclear energy and developing new reactors are necessary for the continued development of nuclear weapons.

Hans-Josef Fell, president of the global Energy Watch Group, states in the brief titled ‘The disaster of the European nuclear industry’:

‘The driving force behind the UK government’s affinity to nuclear technology is the cross-subsidization of the military nuclear program

In the 21st Century came changes in technology and in the content of propaganda. Enter the “new nukes” — modern designs, especially small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs — they leave out that unpopular word “nuclear”). After much soul-searching – or, rather, much complex research on public opinion – the proponents of new nukes have now finally settled on environment, climate change and also a nod to space travel as the reasons why the world must embrace SMRs.But it’s not only the content of their propaganda which has changed. It’s the style. It’s the copious wrapping around this 21st Century nuclear birthday present.

And here’s where National Geographic comes in — their new documentary series Wild Edens will be gorgeous:

‘…filmed in the world’s most stunning untouched places and their inhabitants — wildlife and fauna alike, endangered by the effects of climate change.’

The PR for nuclear power will be introduced so slightly and subtly you’d hardly notice. This is the strategy of the SMR propagandists. They also do lobby business and government with sophisticated technical arguments. But for the public – us, the great unwashed and especially the young – it is all beautiful touchy-feely stuff ……..

Ben Heard’s speech, on opening the premiere of Wild Edens, talked about climate change but then moved on to a longer panegyric on nuclear power:

…this beautiful and important film from National Geographic, brought to us with the help of Rosatom, represents…recognition that nuclear technologies are crucial to the protection, restoration and expansion of our natural world.

…it is particularly nuclear technologies that will help us find energy at a global scale, without super-charging the climate change of tomorrow.

And one of the greatest, most hopeful signs I have seen that this can happen, is to see a major corporation like Rosatom step boldly forward in this way and claim this issue on behalf of nuclear technologies.

Wild Edens will surely be very beautiful, informative about wild places and worth watching. Just be aware of the underlying propaganda about:

June 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

The Australian government at last giving Julian Assange some help?

Australian officials spotted in mysterious Assange visit, 8 June 18  London: Australian government officials have paid a mysterious visit to Julian Assange in his Ecuadorian embassy refuge in London, in a sign there may be a breakthrough in the stalemate that has lasted almost six years.

Two officials from Australia’s High Commission were spotted leaving the embassy in Knightsbridge in west London on Thursday.

It is the first time Australian consular officials have visited Assange at the embassy.

They were accompanied by Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson.

Robinson confirmed the meeting to Fairfax but said she could not say what the meeting was about “given the delicate diplomatic situation”.  “Julian Assange is in a very serious situation” she said. “He remains in the embassy because of the risk of extradition to the US. That risk is undeniable after numerous statements by Trump administration officials including the director of the CIA and the US attorney-general.”

Assange entered the embassy on June 19, 2012, after he had exhausted his appeals against an extradition order to go to Sweden to face rape and sexual assault allegations.

Swedish authorities have since closed their investigation, saying it couldn’t continue without Assange’s presence in their country.

However Assange still faces arrest if he steps out of the Ecuadorian embassy for breach of his bail conditions, after failing in a legal bid earlier this year to have the warrant cancelled by an English court.

His condition has recently become much worse, with his hosts repeatedly suggesting in public comments that they want the situation resolved and him out of the building. The court proceedings also revealed his worsening health, including serious tooth problems, respiratory infections, depression and a frozen shoulder.

His internet and phone connections were cut off by the Ecuadorian government six weeks ago and he was denied any visitors apart from lawyers, after Ecuador complained he had breached “a written commitment made to the government at the end of 2017 not to issue messages [on social media] that might interfere with other states”.

A spokeswoman from the High Commission said she would have to refer any questions about the meeting to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra confirmed it is providing consular assistance to Assange through the Australian High Commission in London.

Citing privacy obligations, however, DFAT refused to offer further comment.

Assange has complained for years that the Australian government has not offered him consular assistance, despite his being an Australian citizen.

In May last year Assange’s mother Christine Assange called on the Australian Government to give her son a new passport so that he can leave Britain.

“His passport’s been confiscated, the Australian Government should immediately issue him another one and demand safe passage for him to take up legal asylum in Ecuador,” she told the ABC.

June 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

‘Safety breaches and lack of management support’ at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights nuclear facility

Second radioactive spill in 10 months at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights facility, SMH, By Peter Hannam 

A staff member at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation facility at Lucas Heights has been involved in a spill of radioactive material, the second such incident in 10 months.

A quality control analyst working in medical production was involved in the spillage of about one millilitre of the radioactive isotope molybdenum-99 early on Thursday morning, an ANSTO spokesman said.

“The staff member was wearing full protective clothing. An occupational health physicist checked the analyst and confirmed no skin contamination,” the spokesman said.

The employee was then cleared to go home and returned to work on Friday.

A source told Fairfax Media, however, that employees at the site “are concerned with the most recent number of safety breaches and lack of management support”.

Medical production at the facility has ceased, pending a thorough investigation into the spill, the spokesman said. “ANSTO is working to minimise impacts on nuclear medicine production.”

ANSTO was keen to stress that Thursday’s incident was “very different” from one last August, when a staffer reportedly spilled a quantity of the MO-99 isotope, causing a “significant radiation dose”.

“Tests show the analyst involved in yesterday’s incident did not receive skin contamination. ANSTO continues to provide support for the employee involved in last year’s incident.”

The site has had other radiation events, such as one reportedly involving four staff in 2012….


June 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, safety | Leave a comment

South Australian government decides against process towards Aboriginal Treaty

Kyam Maher started the treaty process as Aboriginal affairs minister and is now Labor’s spokesman for the portfolio.

“For far, far too long, policymakers have been doing things to Aboriginal people, not with Aboriginal people.”

A “massive amount of work” had been put in by Aboriginal people towards a treaty, he said.

He said the Premier had done “very, very little consultation” on the issue.

“To decide unilaterally without consultation to not go ahead with the most important reform process in Aboriginal affairs that we’re undertaking, I think there will be a lot of anger and it will be very difficult for the new government to operate with Aboriginal communities … letting them down in this way,” he said.

Yesterday, the Lower House of Victoria’s Parliament voted in favour of negotiating Australia’s first Aboriginal treaty, after the state’s Labor Government won crucial support from the Greens.

SA Government decides not to go ahead with Aboriginal treaties  The South Australian Government has scrapped a process to negotiate treaties with the state’s Aboriginal nations.

It comes on the same day the Northern Territory pledged to work towards a treaty with its Indigenous peoples. Continue reading

June 8, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia | Leave a comment

Stranded nuclear wastes: Britain, like Australia’s ANSTO, has no idea what to do with its “interim” radioactive trash

Sellafield to store nuclear waste on site for up to 100 years 

Waste will be stored in a facility until there is a long-term disposal solution  NWE Mail, UK, By Jenny Barwise, 8 June 2018 

Sellafield is seeking permission to store extra nuclear waste in a specialised facility on the site for up to 100 years.

An application has been lodged with the county council to built two extra plant rooms in the existing Self Shielded Box Storage (SSBS) facility. The facility itself was granted permission three years ago and completed earlier this year. It is designed solely for the interim storage of boxes of waste from the Magnox storage pond which ceased operations 25 years ago.

The waste would be stored in the facility as an interim measure until a long term disposal solution – such as a geological waste facility which the Government is currently consulting on – was created. ……..

“This year we completed the construction of a new store which will hold hundreds of self-shielded boxes – these are specially built 30-tonne metal containers which safely hold radioactive waste and provide the necessary shielding from the waste inside them.”…….

As well as creating the extra plant rooms, the security fence needs to be raised by four-metres.

The application has been lodged with the county council as it is the authority which deals with minerals and waste matters, but Copeland Council has been consulted on the plans.

At a meeting earlier this week, Copeland planning officer Heather Morrison said: “In the absence of any long-term disposal options being available for this material, interim storage solutions are required.”…..years

June 8, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia’s frontier war killings still conveniently escape official memory

Paul Daley ‘But change is inevitable.
The commemoration of the Myall Creek massacre is emblematic of a broader push for recognition’
@ppdaley  8 Jun 2018 
‘This weekend it is 180 years since white stockmen murdered 
28 unarmed Aboriginal men, women and children at Myall Creek 
in northern New South Wales.

‘The Myall Creek massacre was part of a pattern of violence against Indigenous people; 
hundreds of such massacres happened across the continent from 1788 
as British soldiers, settlers and pioneering explorers clashed with Indigenous people 
resisting pastoral expansion. 
By some credible accounts at least 60,000 Indigenous people 
– roughly the same number as Australians killed in the first world war – died.

‘Myall Creek was, however, remarkable for another reason. 
It was the only time on the colonial frontier that non-Indigenous men 
were successfully prosecuted for murdering Aboriginal people. 
Seven perpetrators were eventually hanged. … 

‘Meanwhile, the NSW Labor opposition has pledged $3m towards 
the construction of a Myall Creek Education and Cultural Centre 
that would be dedicated to public education of the massacre and frontier war. … 

‘But as yet there is no official Commonwealth memorial to the dead 
of the frontier wars in Canberra, the capital, whose monuments and 
institutions also serve as a national memory.

‘But it will happen, just as inevitably as the date of Australia Day 
is bound to change from the day of invasion, 26 January.’

June 8, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Linear accelerators (rather than nuclear reactors) for producing medical radioisotopes -a steadily growing system

New Research Study on Linear Accelerators for Radiation market predicts steady growth till 2024 – 

Global Linear Accelerators for Radiation Market Research Report 2018 presents an in-depth assessment of Linear Accelerators for Radiation market including enabling technologies, key trends, market drivers, challenges, standardization, regulatory landscape, deployment models, operator case studies, opportunities, future roadmap, value chain, ecosystem player profiles and strategies. The report also presents forecasts for Linear Accelerators for Radiation investments from 2018 till 2025……

This analysis provides a study on the regions that are expected to witness fastest growth during the forecast period. Identify the latest developments, market shares and strategies employed by the major market players by reading complete report @

June 8, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

June 8 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Trump’s nuclear bailout could cost consumers up to $17 billion each year” • According to an updated report from the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Trump’s subsidies for nuclear power plants could increase the overall cost of electricity by up to $17 billion each year. And that does not include subsidies for coal-burning […]

via June 8 Energy News — geoharvey

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Gupta’s stunning deal to supply cheap solar to South Australian industry — RenewEconomy

UK “green steel” billioinaire Sanjeev Gupta has unveiled a stunning, landmark agreement to provide cheap solar power to five major South Australian companies, promising to slash their electricity costs by up to 50 per cent.

via Gupta’s stunning deal to supply cheap solar to South Australian industry — RenewEconomy

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Behind Sanjeev Gupta’s plans for Australia’s solar-powered economy — RenewEconomy

GFG Alliance outlines more plans for huge large scale solar and storage investments, including doubling of pumped hydro storage, and more on planned world’s biggest battery.

via Behind Sanjeev Gupta’s plans for Australia’s solar-powered economy — RenewEconomy

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jim Green exposes the Warren Centre’s fake “debate” on The Future of Nuclear Energy in Australia

Jim Green  Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 7 June 18 

Dear Warren Centre, re the upcoming nuclear ‘debate’, I would be grateful for responses to these questions.

1. Why is this event called a ‘debate’ given that all speakers are pro-nuclear?

2. Will you amend the bio-note on the Warren Centre event webpage to note that Ben Heard’s so-called environment group ‘Bright New World’ accepts secret corporate donations?
3. During the ‘debate’, will it be made clear to the audience that Mr Heard’s group accepts corporate donations including secret corporate donations? Is such disclosure not required by the Warren Centre’s ethical guidelines?

4. The Warren Centre event webpage mentions Heard returning to his NGO roots. He has no NGO roots. Will you amend that claim?

5. During the ‘debate’, will you make it clear that Mr Heard’s contribution to the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission was rejected by the Commission? Specifically, the final report of the Royal Commission said: “[A]dvanced fast reactors and other innovative reactor designs are unlikely to be feasible or viable in the foreseeable future. The development of such a first-of-a-kind project in South Australia would have high commercial and technical risk. Although prototype and demonstration reactors are operating, there is no licensed, commercially proven design. Development to that point would require substantial capital investment.”

6. Will you ensure that the audience attending this ‘debate’ is provided with some basic factual information that Mr Heard and the other two contributors to the ‘debate’ certainly won’t be volunteering, e.g.
— A$40 billion capital cost for two new reactors in the UK (A$20 billion each)
— A$16 billion capital cost for new reactors in France and Finland
— bankruptcy filing of Westinghouse due to catastrophic cost overruns building conventional reactors in the US (including A$13+ billion wasted on reactors in South Carolina that were cancelled last year).
— Westinghouse, Toshiba and a number of other utilities exiting the reactor construction business
— Ziggy Switkowski, head of the Howard government’s Nuclear Energy review, now says he believes “the window for gigawatt-scale nuclear has closed”, and that nuclear is no longer lower cost than renewables and that the levelised cost of electricity of the two is rapidly diverging in favour of renewables

7. Will you ensure that webinar participants are informed that Mr Heard has continued lobbying for the importation of 138,000 tonnes of high-level nuclear waste to SA despite being well aware of the overwhelming opposition of Aboriginal Traditional Owners?…/Traditional-Owner-statements-SA-d…

8. What steps will you take to ensure that participants are provided with some credible information about high-temperature gas-cooled reactors given that these seem to be Mr Heard’s latest fixation? Some information is copied below.

9. If Mr Heard claims that high-temperature gas-cooled reactors are ‘meltdown-proof’, or other such inanities, what steps will you take to ensure that his falsehoods are corrected? Continue reading

June 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Super confident Donald Trump “doesn’t need to prepare for ” nuclear summit with Kim Jong Un

Trump: ‘I don’t think I have to prepare very much’ for North Korea nuclear summit
It’s about ‘attitude’ not ‘preparation,’ the president said of upcoming talks on Tuesday with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore. by Jonathan Allen and Dartunorro Clark / Jun.08.2018 

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Thursday that he doesn’t need to study for his upcoming nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“I think I’m very well prepared. I don’t think I have to prepare very much,” Trump told reporters at the White House Thursday as he posed for photos with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “This isn’t a question of preparation. It’s a question of whether or not people want it to happen, and we’ll know that very quickly.”

Trump is planning to travel to Canada on Friday for a two-day meeting with the Group of Seven industrial nations that is likely to focus heavily on trade issues before heading to Singapore for his historic sit-down with Kim…….

the president said he has not removed the U.S. sanctions against North Korea going into the meeting and is willing to walk out of the talks if they aren’t going well.

“All I can say is I’m totally prepared to walk away,” Trump said. “If you hear me saying we’re going to use maximum pressure, you’ll know the negotiation did not do well.”

Trump added that he is also prepared to ramp up sanctions on North Korea if the negotiations fall apart.

……..Pompeo  downplayed comments made by Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, earlier this week, that Kim had gotten “on his hands and knees and begged” for the summit after Trump abruptly canceled it last month.
“I think it was a bit in jest,” Pompeo said of those remarks. “We’re moving forward and focused on the serious issues…Rudy doesn’t speak for the administration when it comes to this negotiation.”

Trump and Kim are scheduled to meet at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island, a resort spot just off the coast of mainland Singapore, on Tuesday.

June 8, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Like South Australians, an American State opposes bringing nuclear wastes in for “temporary” storage






Speakers oppose nuclear waste shipments TIMES-NEWS  TWIN FALLS. 6 June 18  — City Councilman Chris Talkington and Buhl farmer James Reed will speak Friday against the shipments of nuclear waste through Idaho.

Idaho was the nation’s nuclear waste dump until Gov. Phil Batt in 1995 negotiated an end to the practice, by limiting the time nuclear waste can stay in Idaho. But that agreement is now at risk, says the Snake River Alliance, Idaho’s nuclear watchdog. … people are expected to turn out Friday at the Twin Falls Visitor Center in opposition of the U.S. Department of Energy’s plan to ship 7,000 cubic meters of nuclear waste from Hanford, Wash., to Idaho National Laboratory, a nuclear research site near Arco on top of the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer. 

The DOE plans to ship the waste to INL for assessment before permanent disposal at nation’s waste isolation pilot project (WIPP) in New Mexico. The 1995 Nuclear Waste Settlement Agreement established a one-year in-and-out rule, limiting nuclear waste’s time in Idaho to just 12 months.
But WIPP has been disabled by two underground accidents, slowing the flow of nuclear waste materials into the waste disposal, Wendy Wilson, executive director of Snake River Alliance, said Wednesday.

“The waste from Hanford could be stranded in Idaho in violation of the nuclear waste settlement agreement,” Wilson said.

The alliance is launching its statewide Don’t Waste Idaho campaign at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Twin Falls Visitor Center. Petitions asking Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden to oppose the DOE’s plans will be available to sign.

Also, a no-host dinner is planned for 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Rock Creek Restaurant in Twin Falls.

June 8, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Senate Committee Says Further Regulatory Burden on Charities Unnecessary

A Senate committee report into the political influence of donations has stated there is “no justification” for imposing a further regulatory burden on charities, but Coalition Senators have expressed concerns that “politically-active charities” are seeking to influence elections.   Pro Bono Australia , 7th June 2018  Luke Michael, Journalist,  

The Select Committee into the Political Influence of Donations, chaired by Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale, released its report on Wednesday.

The committee extensively examined the regulation of third parties – which include charities and not for profits – and noted they were “integral to the political process, providing important context and commentary on the issues being decided on in an election”.

The report comes in the midst of a Turnbull government push to ban foreign donations through its Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform Bill.

The charity sector has strongly argued that the legislation – which requires registration and disclosure requirements for a broader group of non-party political actors than is the case currently – would stifle advocacy and impose unnecessary red-tape on these organisations.

The Senate committee said much of the evidence it received noted that any further regulation of third parties should reflect their unique role in the political system, and not unfairly burden them.

“The committee received consistent evidence over the course of the inquiry that the recently amended legislation and current legislative proposals before Parliament carry the very real danger of stifling the voice of third parties in delivery of their core purpose to advocate on specific issues,” the report said.

“The committee is of the strong view that only activity by third parties that is seeking to directly influence elections should be regulated.

“The committee therefore recommends that a thorough consultation exercise be carried out by the federal government before any detailed regulatory mechanisms are put in place.”

The report said the committee had heard “almost universal views” that the extensive regulatory regime that governs charities effectively made any recent legislative proposals under electoral law redundant.

The committee therefore recommended that no further burden be placed on charities……..

June 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, politics | Leave a comment

Victorian lower house passes treaty legislation  after Greens accept Labor deal

‘Bill creates framework for Indigenous body to represent Aboriginal Victorians 
and advance treaty process Calla Wahlquist @callapilla  7 Jun 2018

‘The legislation passed with the support of the Greens after
the Aboriginal affairs minister, Natalie Hutchins, proposed amendments
that went some way towards addressing concerns raised
by Gunnai-Gunditjmara woman and Northcote MP Lidia Thorpe.

‘Thorpe proposed additional amendments on the floor of parliament,
particularly demanding an acknowledgement of Aboriginal sovereignty
by the state of Victoria, but they were not adopted. …

‘The amendments to the Victorian legislation were moved
in response to concerns raised by Thorpe, the only
Aboriginal person in Victorian parliament, who said she was
concerned about a lack of engagement with elders;
a potential sidelining of Victorian traditional owners in favour of
government-appointed people on the representative body; and
the failure of the legislation to explicitly acknowledge the
sovereignty of Aboriginal clans in Victoria.

‘The latter remains a significant concern for Thorpe,
who said in parliament on Thursday that she was disappointed the government
had decided against including a firm acknowledgement in the legislation
that traditional owners in Victoria retained sovereignty over their lands.

‘“Treaties are between two sovereigns, and to talk about treaty
or to go ahead with treaty negotiations and not actually recognise
that Aboriginal people are the sovereign people of this land,
then I think that’s one of the major failures of this legislation,”
Thorpe told Guardian Australia.
“If we can’t start by addressing sovereignty, then that’s a joke.” … ‘

June 8, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Victoria | Leave a comment