Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s Maralinga Nuclear Veterans unrecognised – (Government strategy – wait for them all to die?)

Maralinga nuke test crusader Avon Hudson’s plea for the Australian Nuclear Veterans’ Association getting lonelierTory Shepherd, State Editor, Sunday Mail (SA) June 9, 2018

AVON Hudson is still fighting – but his crusade is becoming lonelier.

The Australian Nuclear Veterans’ Association founder has fought for the rights of those exposed to deadly radiation at Maralinga in the 1950s and ’60s.

But the association is crumbling since so many of the survivors of those long-ago explosions have died.

“We had so few members we couldn’t keep going. The members all died,” Mr Hudson, of Balaklava, says.

Describing himself as an OBE – “Over bloody eighty” – Mr Hudson is worried they will all be gone before an apology is offered for what they endured in the British nuclear test program. He reckons there are about 1500 veterans left – but no one really knows.

He wants proper compensation but, more than anything, he wants recognition that the government of the time put them, and their as-yet-unborn children, in danger.

From 1952 to 1963, men in flimsy clothing – such as shorts and singlets – watched mushroom clouds bloom as the British carried out nuclear bomb tests at three sites in Australia. They were military personnel or civilians with little or no idea what radiation could do to them.

Since then, many have suffered cancers and disabilities, and their children have had deformities. There have also been reports of early deaths and high numbers of stillbirths.

Maralinga’s Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara people were hit by the fallout. They saw a black mist floating across the desert, blocking the sun. Then people started to get sick.

Britain wanted to develop a nuclear capacity, and Australia’s vast outback was the place to test the weapons. The UK’s then prime minister Winston Churchill struck a secret deal with Australia’s prime minister Robert Menzies, who wanted to keep Britain happy.

They called it Project Hurricane, and it started on October 3, 1952.

There were minor trials and major tests.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency describes the detonations setting off a large fireball.  “Everything inside of this fireball vaporises and is carried upward creating a mushroom-shaped cloud,” ARPANSA says. “The material in the cloud cools into dust-like particles and drops back to the earth as radioactive fallout. This radioactive fallout is carried by the wind very long distances away from the site of the explosion.”

Mr Hudson, who worked at Maralinga while in the air force, has had cancer treatments and other health issues.

He is furious that the Government has spent millions on war memorials like the $100 million Sir John Monash Centre at Villers-Bretonneux in France.

“They spend $100 million on the dead but can’t even look after the living,” he said.

“It’s too late for the dead – they’ve got no more pain and suffering like we have.

“Why have we been sidelined? Aren’t we entitled to some compensation?”

Since the tests, there have been decades of court cases here and in the United Kingdom, but all legal avenues are now exhausted and the veterans’ hopes are pinned on the Government.

Last year’s Budget included $133 million for survivors exposed to radiation and they can now get Medicare gold cards – but that has come too late for many.

Part of the problem is the difficulty in ascribing a specific cancer to a specific incident. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has previously said there is “no significant danger of ongoing health effects for the descendants of participants”, although some research has shown an elevated risk.

The department said there had been “decades-long controversies” over compensation. In a recent Senate estimates hearing, SA Labor senator Alex Gallacher asked if the department was considering further support.

“No,” DVA spokeswoman Lisa Foreman said. “We’re focusing on making known that the gold card is available to those veterans.”

Senator Gallacher asked if they knew how many veterans were still alive. They didn’t.

He then asked if they were tracking deformities or illnesses in the descendants of veterans. They are not.

Meanwhile, Mr Hudson vows to fight on as long as he is able.

“I will not go quietly, I’ll give them hell. They deserve it,” he said.

June 10, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry bigwig Erica Smyth gets Queen’s Birthday Award – don’t it make ya sick!

This award sure shows you where the present Australian government’s priorities lie.

Also – it’s on of those master spin strokes that are supposed to tell women that the nuclear industry is good for women

QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY 2018 HONOURS – COMPANION (AC) IN THE GENERAL DIVISION “For eminent service to the community through corporate governance roles with charitable, medical research, higher education, nuclear scientific and technology organisations, to the minerals exploration sector, and to women in business.”

Erica Smyth  – Deputy Chair of the  Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Director of the Deep Exploration Technologies CRC

Smyth began her career with BHP (now BHP Billiton) at Newman in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Her later positions included 7 years as Principal Geologist for BHP Minerals and BHP-Utah Minerals International’s Beenup Project Manager for 4 years. She then moved to BHP Petroleum as their Manager Gas Market Development WA and later joined Woodside Petroleum as General Manager – Corporate Affairs. She has been a professional company director since 2005. S he is a past chair of uranium explorer Toro Energy

“Clean energy ….nuclear can be… an almost immediate part of that solution.” says Erica

June 10, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Donald Trump approaches nuclear summit guided by his “instincts” – no scientific advice

In the Trump Administration, Science Is Unwelcome. So Is Advice.
As the president prepares for nuclear talks, he lacks a close adviser with nuclear expertise. It’s one example of a marginalization of science in shaping federal policy.
  NYT By Coral Davenport 9 June 18

WASHINGTON — As President Trump prepares to meet Kim Jong-un of North Korea to negotiate denuclearization, a challenge that has bedeviled the world for years, he is doing so without the help of a White House science adviser or senior counselor trained in nuclear physics.

Mr. Trump is the first president since 1941 not to name a science adviser, a position created during World War II to guide the Oval Office on technical matters ranging from nuclear warfare to global pandemics. As a businessman and president, Mr. Trump has proudly been guided by his instincts. Nevertheless, people who have participated in past nuclear negotiations say the absence of such high-level expertise could put him at a tactical disadvantage in one of the weightiest diplomatic matters of his presidency.

“You need to have an empowered senior science adviser at the table,” said R. Nicholas Burns, who led negotiations with India over a civilian nuclear deal during the George W. Bush administration. “You can be sure the other side will have that.”

The lack of traditional scientific advisory leadership in the White House is one example of a significant change in the Trump administration: the marginalization of science in shaping United States policy.

There is no chief scientist at the State Department, where science is central to foreign policy matters such as cybersecurity and global warming. Nor is there a chief scientist at the Department of Agriculture: Mr. Trump last year nominated Sam Clovis, a former talk-show host with no scientific background, to the position, but he withdrew his name and no new nomination has been made.

These and other decisions have consequences for public health and safety and the economy. Both the Interior Department and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have disbanded climate science advisory committees. The Food and Drug Administration disbanded its Food Advisory Committee, which provided guidance on food safety.

Government-funded scientists said in interviews that they were seeing signs that their work was being suppressed, and that they were leaving their government jobs to work in the private sector, or for other countries.

After Mr. Trump last year withdrew from the Paris climate agreement, the international pact committing nations to tackle global warming, France started a program called “Make Our Planet Great Again” — named in reference to Mr. Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again” — to lure the best American scientists to France. The program has so far provided funding for 24 scientists from the United States and other countries to do their research in France…….


June 10, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

America dampening down expectations for nuclear summit

US plays down hopes from Trump-Kim nuclear summit, 10 June 18  Both leaders land in Singapore as US seeks to manage expectations Bryan Harris and Stefania Palma in Singapore and Demetri Sevastopulo in Los Angeles

Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump landed in Singapore on Sunday in preparation for their historic summit, even as US officials sought to manage expectations for Tuesday’s much-heralded meeting. Once pitched as the final stage of a landmark denuclearisation deal, the meeting is increasingly being spun as just the beginning of a process of engagement between the two bitter adversaries. “I feel that Kim Jong Un wants to do something great for his people,” said Mr Trump as he departed Canada en route for the south-east Asian city state. “There’s a good chance it won’t work out. There’s probably an even better chance it will take a period of time.” The aim of the summit on Tuesday is to see if Mr Kim and Mr Trump could establish a level of chemistry and trust that would provide impetus for further negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang, according to one senior US official.

Joseph Yun, the state department’s former point-man on North Korea, echoed the sentiment, saying it was clear that high-level meetings between US and North Korean officials in recent days had reduced expectations on the American side. “Gone is the talk of all-in-one big bang and denuclearisation. The magic word seems to be process and progress,” said Mr Yun, adding that it would still be important to have a “substantive result” from the summit.  Mr Trump said in advance of his arrival that he would know “within the first minute” of the meeting whether Mr Kim was “serious”. He added that he could make such a judgment based on “my touch, my feel — that’s what I do”……….

Washington is seeking CVID — the complete, verified and irreversible dismantlement of the North’s nuclear programme — a process that experts believe could take years, potentially even a decade.

June 10, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Donald Trump at G7 – a wrecking ball for climate change international action



Six of the G7 Commit to Climate Action. Trump Wouldn’t Even Join Conversation.

Trump skipped the formal climate discussions, had the U.S. negotiators promote fossil fuels instead, and then renounced the group’s official communique. BY STAFF, INSIDECLIMATE NEWS JUN 10, 2018  

President Donald Trump’s disdain for action on climate change, along with his other demands and behavior, left the United States estranged from its closest allies following the weekend summit of the Group of Seven major industrial democracies.

Trump skipped the G7’s formal discussions on the global warming crisis. And in the summit’s communique, the United States refused to join in common statements by the other six nations reaffirming their commitment to the Paris climate agreement, which he wants to abandon. In turn, none of them signed onto unilateral U.S. language pushing development of fossil fuels. And in the end, Trump renounced the whole communique in a Twitter tirade.

The governments of France and Germany said afterward that they and the European Union stood by the communique.

“Let’s be serious and worthy of our people,” the French presidency said in a statement quoted by AFP. “International co-operation cannot be dictated by fits of anger and throwaway remarks.”



June 10, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Historic Northern Territory treaty agreement  means ‘the old way is finished’

‘Chief minister says ‘nothing is on or off the table’ for new treaty agreement signed in Barunga’
Lorena Allam Sat 9 Jun 2018

‘Gunner told the crowd he was proud to have signed the memorandum of understanding,
calling it “the most significant Aboriginal affairs reform in the NT this generation”. … ‘

‘The chairman of the Northern Land CouncilSamuel Bush-Blanasi,
said it was “momentous.”

‘“We’ve got a big journey ahead of us.
The MOU gives us high hopes about the future, and
I hope the government stays true to the spirit of the MOU.”

‘That note of hope was echoed by the chairman of the Central Land CouncilFrancis Jupurrurla Kelly.

‘“I hope a treaty will settle us down together and bring self-determination.

‘“Today we bounced the ball,” Jupurrurla Kelly said,
“but we don’t want to stay the only players in the game.
The next steps must be led by Aboriginal people across the Territory so that
… everyone can have their say.”

Tiwi Land Council’s Gibson Farmer Illortaminni was more cautious.
“We’ve got to be careful and understand each other about what we want,
because we don’t want to have the same problems we’ve had in the past.
The MOU is a good start, but we’ve got a long way to go.”

‘The treaty agreement kicked off the annual Barunga festival.

Read more:

June 10, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Trump’s nuclear bailout could cost consumers up to $17 billion each year  The Trump Administration is taking unprecedented steps to bail out failing nuclear and coal power plants, effectively nationalizing the American energy market with potentially drastic consequences for the renewable energy industry and the American consumer. According to an updated report from the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), the Trump Administration’s plan could result in artificially high electricity prices. The planned subsidies for nuclear power plants alone could increase the overall cost of electricity in the U.S. by up to $17 billion each year; the subsidies for coal plants would add even more. This skewing of the American energy market, which has recently seen significant progress made by wind and solar energy, could also result in the decline of renewable energy in the U.S. Continue reading

June 10, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Jeffrey Lee saved Koongarra from uranium mining — Beyond Nuclear International

He put country and culture ahead of personal profit

via Jeffrey Lee saved Koongarra from uranium mining — Beyond Nuclear International

June 10, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

India uranium mines radiate disaster — Beyond Nuclear International

Children continue to suffer ravages of radiation harm

via India uranium mines radiate disaster — Beyond Nuclear International

June 10, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

TEPCO employee dies working inside Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

The employee working inside the power plant began vomiting suddenly Wednesday morning, and was declared dead in the afternoon June 7, 2018 TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A worker involved in the clean-up and maintenance of the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, died suddenly on Wednesday June 6, according to local media. A 50 […]

via TEPCO employee dies working inside Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

June 10, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate Change Indicated in Forced Migration of 1.7 Million from Mekong Delta — robertscribbler

Global sea level rise caused by fossil fuel burning is an issue that is creating worsening impacts to cities, nations, and civilization itself. And according to recent reports out of Vietnam, 1.7 million people have migrated from the low-lying Mekong Delta region over the past decade. Primary causes included climate change and poverty. (Sea level […]

via Climate Change Indicated in Forced Migration of 1.7 Million from Mekong Delta — robertscribbler

June 10, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Leading green groups fear their international lobbying could expose them to espionage charges. 

(subscribers only)

June 10, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

June 10 Energy News



¶ The G7 summit, summed up in one photo” • Hundreds, or even thousands, of photos taken at the G7 summit, a two-day gathering of leaders from member states to discuss everything from climate change to international trade policy. But one in particular stood out after it was published and raced around the internet. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

G7 Leaders (Adam Scotti | Prime Minister’s Office via Reuters)

¶ “‘Baseload Is Poison’ And 5 Other Lessons From Germany’s Energy Transition” • Germany has achieved some moments in its Energiewende when renewables met 100% of demand without the aid of baseload power or batteries. Germany was able to do that, a government energy official pointed out, because of its system’s flexibility. [Forbes]

¶ “Is the Trans Mountain Pipeline (and Other Fossil Fuel Investments) a Future Stranded Asset?” • Some major economies rely heavily on fossil fuel production and exports…

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June 10, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment