Australian news, and some related international items

The Global Nuclear Waste Crisis – theme for September 18

It’s a crisis NOW. Already there are many hundreds of thousands of metric tones of radioactive trash piled up in the nuclear countries.  A crisis that rivals climate change. A crisis that means more sickness, more danger, more terrorism risks, more secrecy and security – heading to police states.

It’s time that the world faced up to it

It’s a massive and pressing problem in USA – because America was the first to develop nuclear power and nuclear weapons in a big way, – and because there is freedom of speech in USA so people know about the problem.

Anxiety about the nuclear waste problem is growing in Britain and France, and some European countries.

Russia undoubtedly has a massive radioactive waste problem, but you don’t get to hear about it in a totalitarian state.

And China? China has huge pollution problems from industry – but little public acknowledgment of its nuclear waste. Still there are protests –  nobody wants the waste in their backyard.

And smaller “non-nuclear” countries like Australia still face the radioactive horrors from uranium mining, and the threat of nuclear waste dumping.

September 8, 2018 Posted by | Christina themes | 1 Comment

Wagga Wagga by-election: Independent candidate sticks to policy of action on climate change

Doctor ‘sticks to guns’ on climate  The independent candidate favoured to win the Wagga Wagga by-election has written about the dangers of climate change…. (subscribers only)

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

The past week in nuclear news Australia

Japan acknowledges that prolonged exposure to ‘low level’ ionising radiation caused the cancer death of a Fukushima nuclear worker, and compensation will be paid to his family. This is the first time that the Japanese Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry have ruled on a radiation-caused death.

This will no doubt upset the nuclear lobby, who like to say that only high level radiation is harmful. It’s like the tobacco companies suggesting that only smoking 100 cigarettes a day would cause lung cancer – a few a day would be harmless, or actually good for you.

In fact, worker deaths from low level radiation have been reported many times, notably in the USA research by McClatchy News, which recorded 33,480.


NUCLEAR.  Injunction to halt Kimba nuclear waste ballot remains in place.  Wallerberdina needs similar injunction.

Walkatjurra anti-uranium Walkabout completed.

CLIMATE. Australian government out to wreck international climate talks. Very reluctantly, Australian govt signs declaration on Pacific climate threat.   Australia’s two-faced attitude to Pacific Islands on climate change. Australia losing credibility, reputation, in the Pacific, as it follows Trump’s anti-climate policies.

Australia could cut electricity emissions by 68 per cent by 2030.  On climate chang

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Energy Minister Angus Taylor pretend to be meeting Paris climate goals.   Australia’s new Energy Minister Angus Taylor is not a climate science denier – he’s much more dangerous.

Elections. The heat’s on solar farm for anti-renewables Liberal candidate Beverley McArthur.  Wagga Wagga by-election: Independent candidate sticks to policy of action on climate change.

Coalition aims to clamp down on activist charities.

RENEWABLE ENERGY  Australian solar starts to dig a hole in mid-day electricity prices.  Queensland could be 90% renewable by 2030 – with right policy settings . Solar energy microgrid for Euroa, Victoria. The inconvenient truths about South Australia’s renewable success .  South Australia commits $180m to batteries, storage and virtual power plants16 renewable hydrogen projects backed by ARENA grants.  Australian manufacturers urged to in ditch gas for solarEnergy Minister Taylor says there is too much wind and solar in electricity grid. CWP moves forward with 600MW solar farm in Angus Taylor’s electorate.

RARE EARTHS. Another lithium mine opened in Western Australia.


September 8, 2018 Posted by | Christina reviews | 2 Comments

Australia could set up a network of cyclotrons to produce medical isotopes

Steve Dale Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 8 Sept 18

I  think it is time for politicians to start demanding a look at a network of Cyclotrons for producing our isotopes – not only for reliability but to stop the production of unnecessary nuclear waste.

“Nuclear medicine crisis drags on despite ‘fix’” – Australian, 7 Sept 2018
“Australia’s supply of nuclear medicine generators needed for crucial diagnostic tests remains disrupted almost three months after a conveyor belt breakdown.” … “Amid doubts over the ability of ANSTO to satisfy demand, nuclear medicine expert Geoff Currie last night hit out at the “unexpectedly lengthy crisis” that appeared likely to continue into next month. ……”

(Note: Geoff Currie in his twitter feed strongly advocates for nuclear power, denigrates renewables and often retweets Shellenberger and Heard. I think Australia needs to find nuclear medicine experts willing to learn from Canada’s amazing progress in Cyclotron research.)

September 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

ICAN takes the Nobel peace message to country Australia

ICAN Nobel Peace Prize Ride: On the road to a future free of nuclear weapons, Gem Romuld and Lavanya Pant, 7 Sept 18

September 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Did Australia weaken language on climate change, at pacific Forum? Marise Payne plays dumb

Minister tight-lipped on claims Australia watered down climate change declaration, SBS News, 7 Sept 18 Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne is tight-lipped on claims Australia watered down language on climate change in an official Pacific Islands Forum document.  Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne has defended “robust” discussions with Pacific Island leaders about the security threat posed by climate change.

Some leaders claim Australia watered down language on climate change in an official Pacific Islands Forum joint statement this week.

Boe Declaration Press Conference (Part 1)

   Leaders capped off the 18-nation Pacific Islands Forum on Wednesday by signing a “Boe Declaration”, expanding on security themes to include the environment, cybercrime and transnational crime.

As was widely expected, the forum communique said climate change presented “the single greatest threat to the livelihood, security and well-being of Pacific people” and underscored the need for “immediate urgent action”.

Leaders also called on large emitters to fully implement national emissions mitigation targets and for the United States to return to the Paris Agreement on tackling climate change.

However, Tuvalu’s prime minister Enele Sopoaga is reported to have later told media a country whose name started with A – Australia being the only candidate – had raised concerns about some of the language around climate change during talks.

Comment has been requested from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade about whether Australia objected to parts of the declaration.

The focus on climate change recognises concerns that have been the key priority for Pacific leaders at the annual meeting.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the Boe Declaration the most significant statement on the region’s security in a generation.

“Modern-day regional security challenges include climate change, cybercrime and transnational crime,” she said.

New Zealand’s foreign ministry, in a statement, said it had supported all climate change clauses in the declaration.

The Australian Conservation Foundation said the signing of the declaration was an important recognition of the issue by the new Morrison government but needed to be followed up with policy.

“This international commitment by our nation must be matched by domestic action,” ACF chief Kelly O’Shanassy said.

“Australia’s climate pollution is rising, and we have observed another collapse of domestic policy to cut emissions from electricity generation.”

Ahead of the forum, Australian ministers tried to ease concerns among Pacific leaders about its seriousness on climate change, saying the government was still committed to its reduction targets despite the recent collapse of its planned emissions legislation.

The Australian Conservation Foundation said the signing of the declaration was an important recognition of the issue by the new Morrison government but needed to be followed up with policy.

“This international commitment by our nation must be matched by domestic action,” ACF chief Kelly O’Shanassy said.

“Australia’s climate pollution is rising, and we have observed another collapse of domestic policy to cut emissions from electricity generation.”

Ahead of the forum, Australian ministers tried to ease concerns among Pacific leaders about its seriousness on climate change, saying the government was still committed to its reduction targets despite the recent collapse of its planned emissions legislation……

September 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Big climate marches this weekend – USA, UK, France – Europe

Hundreds of thousands expected to join global climate marches this weekend  Protests against politicians’ failure to tackle the environmental crisis will take place in more than 90 countries, Guardian, Matthew Taylor Environment correspondent, Fri 7 Sep 2018  Hundreds of thousand of people in more than 90 countries are expected to take part in demonstrations this weekend to protest about the failure of politicians to tackle the global environmental crisis.

Organisers say more than 800 events – from marches to street theatre, acts of civil disobedience to mini festivals – will take place in towns and cities amid growing frustration at the lack of meaningful political action over the emerging climate breakdown.

Nick Bryer from campaign group which is organising the event said: “Politicians are failing. They are still protecting the interests of the fossil fuel companies over the interests of people, despite mounting evidence of the devastation these companies and this system is causing the planet.”…….

In the UK there are events organised in cities from London to Wigan, Bradford to Durham.

Jane Thewlis, from Fossil Free West Yorkshire, is organising an event in Bradford……….

One of the biggest protests is expected in Paris where up to 100,000 people are expected. Events in other European cities including Copenhagen, Brussels and Lisbon are also expected to attract tens of thousands of protesters.

The events come ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit that starts in San Fransisco next week and will see politicians and city leaders from around the world gather to discuss the climate crisis.

September 8, 2018 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

Australia, New Zealand launch planes to monitor nuclear North Korea

AAP, 6 September 2018 Australia and New Zealand are deploying maritime surveillance planes to help enforce United Nations sanctions against North Korea.

Defence Minister Christopher Pyne on Friday announced the deployment of two Australian AP-3C Orion patrol aircraft in addition to a P-8A Poseidon sent out earlier this year.

AIt is a continuation of our strong stand to deter and disrupt illicit trade and sanctions evasion activities by North Korea and its associated networks,” he said.

The planes will be based out of Japan.

Meanwhile, a New Zealand Air Force Orion P-3K2 would also be carrying out surveillance of international waters in north Asia, New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced separately.

We welcome the recent dialogue North Korea has had with the United States and South Korea,” he said.

However, until such time as North Korea abides by its international obligations, full implementation of the United Nations Security Council Sanctions resolutions will be essential.”

In particular, the aircraft would be on the look-out for ship-to-ship deliveries that may contravene Security Council resolutions, he said.

The United States has been using sanctions to put pressure on the hermit kingdom to give up its nuclear weapons program.

In August, it announced penalties against two Russian companies over what is said were transfers of refined petroleum to North Korean ships.

Since US President Donald Trump’s high-profile meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un this year, relations between their countries have cooled.

A diplomatic visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to North Korea was cancelled last month, with Mr Trump citing a lack of progress on denuclearisation.

New Zealand’s government recently agreed to replace its ageing fleet of six surveillance aircraft with four high-tech Boeing P-8A Poseidons.

Analysts said the purchase signalled New Zealand’s willingness to keep in touch with traditional allies such as the United States and Australia and showed its seriousness about military deployments in the region.

September 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Michael Shellenberger has gone down a rabbit hole with his two essays promoting the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

we can now add preventing war” to the list of nuclear energy’s superior characteristics – Shellenberger
Who are we to deny weak nations the nuclear weapons they need for self-defense? – Shellenberger
We “should be glad that North Korea acquired the bomb” according to Shellenberger. And on it goes ‒ his enthusiasm for nuclear weapons proliferation knows no bounds.
Understanding of the power-weapons connections, combined with opposition to nuclear weapons, is one of the motivations driving opposition to nuclear power.
Nuclear lobbyist Michael Shellenberger, learns to love the bomb, goes down a rabbit hole, NUCLEAR MONITOR , 7 Sept 18  Author: Jim Green ‒ Nuclear Monitor editor and national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia, NM865.4744 [original has many footnotes and references]
In 2015, Nuclear Monitor published a detailed critique of the many ways nuclear industry insiders and lobbyists trivialize and deny the connections between nuclear power (and the broader nuclear fuel cycle) and nuclear  weapons proliferation.

Since then, the arguments have been turned upside down with prominent industry insiders and lobbyists openly acknowledging power-weapons connections. This remarkable about-turn has clear origins in the crisis facing nuclear power and the perceived need to secure increased subsidies to prevent reactors closing and to build new ones. Continue reading

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

Radiation and health: the plight of Japan’s nuclear workers

Sworn to secrecy, after a superficial safety education drill, they are sent into highly contaminated, hot and wet labyrinthine areas.

the state also raised nuclear workers’ limits from no more than 50 mSv per year (mSv/y) and 100 mSv/5 years to 250 mSv/y to deal with emergency conditions, and determined that there would be no follow-up health treatment for those exposed to doses below 50 mSv/y, while TEPCO decided to not record radiation levels below 2 mSv/y in the misplaced justification that the effects would be negligible.

poor monitoring and record-keeping has meant that many former nuclear workers who develop leukaemia and other illnesses have been denied government compensation

Informal Labour, Local Citizens and the Tokyo Electric Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Crisis:   Chapter Author(s): Adam Broinowski Book Title: New Worlds from Below [many  footnotes and references on original] Sept 18

Nuclear workers are important as sentinels for a broader epidemic of radiation related diseases that may affect the general population. We live with contradictions everyday

Introduction The ongoing disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station (FDNPS), operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), since 11 March 2011 can be recognised as part of a global phenomenon that has been in development over some time. This disaster occurred within a social and political shift that began in the mid-1970s and that became more acute in the early 1990s in Japan with the downturn of economic growth and greater deregulation and financialisation in the global economy. After 40 years of corporate fealty in return for lifetime contracts guaranteed by corporate unions, as tariff protections were lifted further and the workforce was increasingly casualised, those most acutely affected by a weakening welfare regime were irregular day labourers, or what we might call ‘informal labour’.

During this period, many day labourers evacuated rented rooms (doya どや) and left the various yoseba (urban day labour market よせば, or lit. ‘meeting place’) to take up communal tent living in parks and on riverbanks, where they were increasingly victimised. With independent unions having long been rendered powerless, growing numbers of unemployed, unskilled and precarious youths (freeters フリーター) alongside older, vulnerable and homeless day labourers (these groups together comprising roughly 38 per cent of the workforce in 2015)3 found themselves not only lacking insurance or industrial protection but also in many cases basic living needs. With increasing deindustrialisation and capital flight, regular public outbursts of frustration and anger from these groups have manifested since the Osaka riots of 1992.

In this chapter, first I outline the conditions of irregular workers at nuclear power plants and the excess burden they have borne with the rise of nuclear labour in Japan since the 1970s. I then turn to post-3.11 conditions experienced by residents in radiation-contaminated areas. Contextualising these conditions within the genealogy of radiodosimetry standards, I seek to show, through personal interviews and localised responses, how those who are regularly exposed to radiation from Fukushima Daiichi are now confronting problems similar to those faced by informal nuclear labour for decades in Japan. This analysis shows how, after 40 years or more of environmental movements as discussed in Chapter Four, the struggle continues to find viable solutions to the systemic production of the intertwined problems of environmental crises and labour exploitation, and suggests how potential alternative directions for affected populations may lie in their mutual combination.

Conditions for Informal Labour Employed in Nuclear Power Stations Continue reading

September 8, 2018 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

PM Scott Morrison declares the National Energy Guarantee ‘dead’

National energy guarantee ‘dead’ as Morrison sets new course THE AUSTRALIAN, SIMON BENSON, NATIONAL AFFAIRS EDITOR  @simonbenson, SEPTEMBER 8, 2018 Scott Morrison has declared the national energy guarantee “dead” and will seek endorsement from cabinet to tear up the Paris emissions target legislation when it meets formally for the first time on Monday, as the new Prime Minister moves to stamp his authority over a new policy direction for the government.

The NEG is dead, long live ­reliability guarantee, long live default prices, long live backing new power generation,” Mr Morrison said in an interview with The Weekend Australian.

In a signal that he intends to steer the Coalition back to a more socially conservative agenda, Mr Morrison said he would take personal carriage of the promised ­religious and freedom-of-speech protections, including parental rights that had been demanded by conservatives during the bitter gay-marriage debate last year.

And in what he claims will be the key economic “fault line” ­between the Coalition and Labor in the run-up to the next election, the new Liberal leader will roll out a wide-ranging small business reform program that goes beyond further tax reduction to include industrial relations reforms.

Mr Morrison said the first order of government business, with parliament due to return next week for the first time since the leadership spill, was putting to rest the issue of the Turnbull ­administration’s signature energy policy. The NEG had become ­emblematic of internal divisions within the Coalition and ultimately provided the trigger for the spill that elevated Mr Morrison into the top job on August 24.

Next week we will be putting to rest the issue of the legislation … it won’t be proceeding,” Mr Morrison said in an interview in ­Albury on Thursday.……..


September 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Increased risk of fire and flood – climate change predictions for Queensland

Climate change report warns of increased demand on emergency services in Queensland

September 8, 2018 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | 4 Comments

5 eyes – countries, including Australia,increasing surveillance of social media

Big Brother is keeping ‘Five Eyes’ on you, Darius Shahtahmasebi is a New Zealand-based legal and political analyst, currently specialising in immigration, refugee and humanitarian law.  7 Sep, 2018 Just last week, the world’s leading snooping powers quietly and without notice issued a disturbing warning to tech giants, telling them to surrender unprecedented backdoor access to their citizens’ data.

Not many people know this, but the United Kingdom has some of the most extreme spying powers in the developed world. At the end of 2016, passing what some people called the “Snooper’s Charter,” the UK put into law some of the most draconian anti-privacy laws that we have ever known, allowing its government to compel companies to break their own encryption.

The UK plays a pivotal part in the so-called Five Eyes alliance, which also includes the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Nobody knew it at the time, but the American military base which my family and I grew up next to has played a crucial role in delivering US drone strikes across the Middle East and beyond. America’s drone-strike regime, largely considered illegal for numerous reasons, is not something that countries should willingly participate in lightly and without public scrutiny.

Why am I mentioning this? Because it goes to the very heart of my point: the extent to which we know or do not know what our governments are doing behind closed doors is quite literally a matter of life and death.

Now, it has been revealed that the Five Eyes alliance, dedicated to a global “collect-it-all”surveillance task, has issued a memo calling on their governments to demand that tech companies build backdoor access for states to access users’ encrypted data or face measures that will force companies to comply.

The memo was released quietly with little media coverage last week by the Australian Department of Home Affairs, and essentially demanded that providers “create customized solutions, tailored to their individual system architectures that are capable of meeting lawful access requirements.” The memo was reportedly released after ministers for the intelligence agencies of the Five Eyes nations met on Australia’s Gold Coast last week……

Will those tech companies cave in to these government’s demands? You can bet your bottom dollar that eventually, yes, they very well might. ……

It is worth noting that there has been next to no criticism of these Five Eyes powers for delivering such a blatant attack on our right to privacy. Remember that, of course, Russian President Vladimir Putin is attempting to “wrest control of the internet,” as the Guardian wrote approximately three years ago. But these same Western media companies are awkwardly silent about what their own governments are proposing to do, something which other nations could only dream about achieving on such a global scale. …….

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

September 7 Energy News — geoharvey

Science and Technology: ¶ “Drones & AI Used To Quickly Inspect Wind Turbines” • The French drone software startup Sterblue’s technology employs drones and AI to inspect such industrial infrastructure as power lines, power towers, and wind turbines. Drones get up close to wind turbines and record high-quality images, which are then analyzed using AI. […]

via September 7 Energy News — geoharvey

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

Farmers to flock to solar and battery storage, as power costs bite — RenewEconomy

Survey reveals more than 75% of Australia’s farmers plan to invest in solar and battery storage – 20% even considering wind turbines – as cost of power becomes major agribusiness concern. The post Farmers to flock to solar and battery storage, as power costs bite appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Farmers to flock to solar and battery storage, as power costs bite — RenewEconomy

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