Australian news, and some related international items

Japan using 2020 Olympics to promote Fukushima “nuclear recovery” but volunteers are hard to find

Disaster-hit Fukushima still short of 2020 Games volunteers, Japan Today Feb. 24  FUKUSHIMA

Fukushima Prefecture is still well short of its target for recruiting volunteers to help it stage some events at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics — a setback to its efforts to showcase its recovery from the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.

With the deadline for recruitment approaching at the end of this month, the northeastern prefecture, which is to host several softball and baseball games, was only a third of the way to its target of 1,500 volunteers.

Of the 503 people who had applied as of early February, 70 percent were in their 40s or above, with much lower participation from those in their teens and 20s, according to the prefecture.

Prefectural officials said the low number of applicants may be because the schedules for most of the games have yet to be set, while also acknowledging that promotion efforts have barely paid off.

One of the main themes of the Tokyo games is to demonstrate Japan’s reconstruction from the 2011 disasters and Fukushima, one of the hardest-hit areas, wants to use the opportunity to show the progress it has made and convey a message of gratitude for support. It also hopes to promote inbound tourism.

The prefecture has increased events for recruiting volunteers at company offices and colleges, while seeking to reassure potential volunteers that they can always change their minds later and withdraw their applications……..

“Whenever the opportunity arises, I want to call out for more volunteers by stressing how attractive (the job) is,” said Takahiro Sato, head of the prefecture’s Olympic and Paralympic promotion office.

February 25, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The dangers in the Trump administration’s plans to sell nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia


Why proposals to sell nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia raise red flags, The Conversation,  Chen Kane, Director, Middle East Nonproliferation Program, Middlebury, February 23, 2019According to a congressional report, a group that includes former senior U.S. government officials is lobbying to sell nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia. As an expert focusing on the Middle East and the spread of nuclear weapons, I believe these efforts raise important legal, economic and strategic concerns. Continue reading

February 25, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

PM Scott Morrison’s $2bn bid to con voters on climate change “solutions”

Scott Morrison to reboot Tony Abbott’s emissions reduction fund with $2bn  PM to announce ‘climate solutions fund’ to appeal to voters concerned about Coalition’s record , Guardian, Katharine Murphy Political editor @murpharoo, 25 Feb 2019

Scott Morrison will attempt to appeal to voters deeply concerned that the Coalition has been been wreckers on climate change by rebadging Tony Abbott’s emissions reduction fund as a “climate solutions” fund – with $2bn to be rolled out over 10 years.

Attempting to draw a line over years of destructive in-fighting within the Coalition that has cruelled various emissions reduction policies, the prime minister will use a speech in Melbourne on Monday to launch a new package of measures on climate change, saying his government acknowledges and accepts the challenge “but we do so with cool heads, not just impassioned hearts”.

The emissions reduction fund is a vestige of Abbott’s heavily criticised Direct Action policy. Funded by taxpayers initially at $2.5bn, the ERF pays farmers and businesses to cut carbon dioxide pollution to below what it would otherwise be. But an investigation by Guardian Australia last year found it was often difficult to determine if the fund was offering value for money.

Malcolm Turnbull, who once branded the approach “a recipe for fiscal recklessness on a grand scale”, let the ERF dwindle to almost nothing as he pursued policy alternatives, including the national energy guarantee resisted by conservatives and dumped by Morrison shortly after he took the Liberal leadership last year.

Morrison will confirm on Monday the ERF will be rebadged a “climate solutions fund” and given a 10-year funding profile. The rebooted fund will partner with farmers, local governments and businesses to deliver “practical climate solutions” across the economy that reduce carbon emissions.

The prime minister will also continue to assert that Australia will meet its Paris target despite the trend of rising emissions in the economy that has been evident in the government’s own figures since the abolition of the carbon price in 2013.

But a chart released in advance of Monday’s speech makes it clear the looming abatement exercise will rely significantly on accounting measures as well as on practical emissions reduction.

According to projections done last December, the government will count a 367 megatonne abatement from carry-over credits (an accounting system that allows countries to count carbon credits from exceeding their targets under the soon-to-be-obsolete Kyoto protocol periods against their Paris commitment for 2030) to help meet the 2030 target.

It is also factoring in emissions reduction from Turnbull’s pet project, the Snowy 2.0 expansion (which the Morrison government has not yet formally signed off on); energy efficiency measures; an electric vehicle strategy (that it has not yet unveiled); the rebadged climate solutions fund; additional hydro projects and just under 100Mt of abatement from “technology solutions” (which aren’t specified) and “other sources of abatement” such as projects under development but not yet contracted…….

February 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Japan and Tepco again ordered to pay damages to Fukushima nuclear disaster evacuees — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

February 20, 2019 Yokohama court orders government and TEPCO to pay $3.8m to 152 residents forced to flee homes after nuclear meltdown. Presiding Judge Ken Nakadaira said the nuclear accident was preventable as the state could have foreseen as of September 2009, based on a projection by experts, that a massive tsunami similar to […]

via Japan and Tepco again ordered to pay damages to Fukushima nuclear disaster evacuees — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

February 25, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Call for Solidarity with the Russian Environmental Organization Ecodefense & Petition — Mining Awareness +

“The uncompleted reactors of the Baltic Nuclear Power Plant near Kaliningrad. Ecodefense’s campaigning helped end this boondoggle; now the Russian government is targeting Ecodefense.” (GreenWorld/ blog) See: From “Call for Solidarity with the Russian Environmental Organization Ecodefense: [Sign Petition] FEBRUARY 22, 2019 Since 2014, the Russian anti-nuclear group, EcoDefense has been a target […]

via Call for Solidarity with the Russian Environmental Organization Ecodefense & Petition — Mining Awareness +

February 25, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment