Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear power, climate change, and the Australian election – theme for May 19

No wonder that Australians have a poor opinion of politicians.  In the lacklustre lot that is lining up for the May 19 federal election there’s no vision- just personal sniping and seemingly endless promises of money for every local cause, (combined with promises of tax cuts).  Labor’s a bit better, as in Labor, there seems to be an understanding that taxes are necessary, if the government is to provide services.

The media can be depended on to depict this election as a personality contest, American style. So, we get Liberals’ Scott Morrison talking about climate change, to one audience, while enthusing about the coal industry, to another. Meanwhile Labor’s Bill Shorten damning Adani’s coal project to one audience, and promoting it to the coal-happy electorates.

As for nuclear power, nuclear waste, and the uranium industry it’s as if Liberal and Labor have made a pact to just not mention these issues. When pressed for answers, both mouth wishy washy statements, though Bill Shorten has been forced to aknowledge Labor’s anti-nuclear policy, and Australia’s law banning the nuclear industry.  The media collude with Liberal and Labor in keeping mum about the plan for a nuclear waste dump in rural South Australia.

The government’s Minister Against the Environment, Melissa Price, announced approval of Cameco’s Yeelirire uranium mine project in Western Australia. I bet that that the Liberals wish that had been kept quiet – one little snag, and an opportunity for Labor to play “holier than thou”

 

Advertisements

April 25, 2019 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

A Maralinga nuclear veteran’s grim story

Maralinga nuclear bomb test survivor reveals truth of what happened in the SA desert  https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/messenger/east-hills/maralinga-nuclear-bomb-test-survivor-reveals-truth-of-what-happened-in-the-sa-desert/news-story/697b17f6d3427a78aa0262b09727c169, 24 Apr 19

The nuclear bomb tests, under British Government control, at Maralinga in far west South Australia in the 1950s were conducted at the highest level of secrecy. But they had thousands of witnesses. Most were Australian servicemen, innocently used as guinea pigs and exposed to deadly radiation. Craig Cook talks to a survivor, one of the last of a group of men who built the Maralinga camp as part of 23 Construction Squadron and watched in awe as the bombs were exploded, little knowing they were risking their lives and the futures of their children.

Tony Spruzen knew the drill at the top secret Maralinga facility in the South Australian desert in the spring of 1956.

Just like hundreds of others at the nuclear site at 11-mile camp during Operation Buffalo, he was told to turn his back and cover his eyes to protect himself from the gigantic glare of the exploding atomic bomb.

What they didn’t tell the Australian Army sapper was, at the moment of the flash of detonation, he would see the bones of his hand through his tightly shut eyelids.

“It was like a massive x-ray,” Tony, 83, from Glengowrie says. ‘Unlike anything I’d ever known before.”

A week after One Tree, on October 6, 1956, Spruzen witnessed the detonation of Buffalo 2, named Marcoo.

The bomb was only a tenth the size of One Tree but this time was detonated directly above and just under the ground.

“The bomb was in an amphitheatre of hills and we were far closer to that one, maybe only 200 yards away,” he remembers.

“We were close enough to see the trenches with dummy soldiers in them holding rifles and fake aeroplanes and tanks used to test the blast effect.

“And we could see the scientists walking around in their white suits checking out the site before and afterwards but we were just in khaki shorts and short sleeved shorts. Even the dignitaries had no protection.”

Every hour, from five hours out, an elaborate PA system across the complex announced the timing of the bomb detonation.

In the final 30 seconds, and with a rising and excited inclination, the voice on the PA dramatically counted….ten, nine, eight…down to zero.

When Marcoo exploded at 7am it only took a few seconds for a heavy shower of dust to descend on the witnesses.

“We had this large piece of litmus paper attached to our shirts,” Spruzen recalls

Spruzen, originally from Victoria and a carpenter by trade, enlisted in the Army at just 16.

Four year later he was at Maralinga as part of a detachment of 23 Construction Squadron, an acclaimed unit of the Royal Australian Engineers and exclusively raised in South Australia.

Around 40 young men were selected from the unit to build a desert tent camp with cook houses and latrines for the Commonwealth military ‘high-ups’ who were having their first look at the impact of the devastating nuclear weapon.

Around 200km from the ocean, the tent city gained the facetious name of the ‘Sea View Holiday Camp’.

“It was an adventure…we were all excited,” he recalls.

“A lot of young single guys together and we had some fun.”

The lads knew it was serious too as this was a hush-hush operation. They weren’t even allowed to take a camera along for snapshots so Spruzen has no personal photos from Maralinga.

“Then we all turned around to see this mushroom cloud climbing into the sky. The next thing was the blast. The boom was deafening…and then the wind came about thirty seconds after that blowing dust and soil and debris all over us.”

But he does have a terrible reminder of his three months spent in far western South Australia.

“Of the 40 men who went up with me I only know of three of us still around,” he says. “The rest have all died – many from cancers.”

The first Maralinga bomb, Buffalo 1, with the nickname One Tree, was detonated after being dropped from a 31m high tower.

At 15 kiloton it was the same size as Little Boy, the bomb dropped by the US air force that demolished the Japanese city of Hiroshima in August 1945, killing more than 100,000 instantly and tens of thousands slowly in the aftermath from burns and radiation poisoning.

“They said, keep an eye on that and if it changes to pink come and see us. Well it turned pink for every one of us.

“Had I have known what I know now I wouldn’t have been so close.”

Transferred to Sydney on a training course, Spruzen missed the final two detonations at Maralinga that year: on October 11, 1956, Buffalo 3 (Kite) was released by a Royal Air Force Vickers Valiant bomber, the first drop of a British nuclear weapon from an aircraft; and then on October 22, and again dropped from the 31m tower, (Buffalo 4) Breakaway exploded.

There were a total of seven nuclear desert tests at Maralinga performed during Operations Buffalo and Antler.

The 1985 McClelland Royal Commission heavily criticised the detonations, declaring the weather conditions were inappropriate and led to the widespread scattering of radioactive material.

The radioactive cloud from Buffalo 1 reached more than 11,000m into the air and with a northerly wind blowing radioactivity was detected across Adelaide.

Radioactive dust clouds from other bombs were detected in Northern Territory, Queensland and across New South Wales, as far away as Sydney, 2500km from Maralinga.

Around 12,000 Australian servicemen served at British nuclear test sites in the southern hemisphere between 1952 and 1963.

In recent years, the British Government’s claim that they never used humans “for guinea pig-type experiments” in nuclear weapons trials in Australia has been revealed to be a lie.

Tony Spruzen has struggled to come to terms with being placed in danger by his own government who had full knowledge of the consequences of exposure to radiation.

“Once we all found out later what we’d been exposed to at Maralinga it makes you very angry,” he says.

“We believed them when we were told we would be safe — but we haven’t been.”

Spruzen met his wife Shirley, the daughter of an army veteran, in Adelaide where they settled after marriage in June 1960. He left the army seven months later to work in civil construction. He thought his Maralinga days were well behind him but soon after they came to haunt him.

In the first four years of marriage, the couple agonisingly suffered six miscarriages, including twins.

Alarm bells started ringing when he was sent a survey from Veterans Affairs asking about his general health and, specifically his history of cancers.

“It turned out those involved in the atomic tests had a 30 per cent higher chance than getting cancers than the general public,” he says.

“Most of those got them within the first five years and a majority of those were dead before a decade had passed.”

Spruzen, who eventually had three children with Shirley, didn’t get cancer at that time, although he has since had several melanomas removed.

But when his son was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia at the age of 41, he wondered about the possibility of faulty genes, damaged by exposure to radiation, as has been documented in Japanese survivors of the atomic bombs, jumping a generation.

“My son was told by the QEH (Queen Elizabeth Hospital) there was nothing could be done for him but we went up to Queensland and after a bone marrow transfer from his sister he survived,” he adds.

“A decade on he’s working as strong as he has but I don’t think his condition was a coincidence given my history.

“There’s been nothing (compensation) for those of us who were there although they gave us a white card for our cancers and now we have a (full health) gold card.”

Ken Daly, President Royal Australian Engineers Association says it is the least the men, who literally put their bodies on the line, deserve.

“You get these young men, aged around 25-30, with a history of exposure to radiation, coming down with cancers in those numbers and you just know what has caused it,” he says.

“Many died within a few years of being exposed to the fallout and many passed on generational health problems and birth defects to their children.”

Mr Daly, who was based at Warradale Barracks for 15 years, where 23 Construction was based until being disbanded in the early 1960s, hadn’t heard of the Squadron until around five years ago.

Since then he has been central to the group gaining due recognition.

In its earliest days the Squadron, with a strength of eight officers and 160 in other ranks, built the El Alamein Army Reserve camp, part of which later became the Baxter Detention Centre, outside of Port Augusta.

It also assisted the South Australian community by providing aid during bush fires, the grasshopper plague of 1955, and significant infrastructure construction.

During the record flood of 1956, while those squad members were at Maralinga, the rest of 23 Construction were out sandbagging River Murray towns and then cleaning up after the water receded.

In 2011, the Royal Australian Engineers constructed a memorial at Warradale to all who have served in its ranks.

This year a bronzed engineer’s slouch hat, of actual size, by Western Australian sculptor and former army engineer Ron Gomboc will be incorporated into the memorial.

“The hat will be mounted on the memorial in such a way it will look like it’s suspended in mid-air,” Daly adds.

“It acknowledges the ultimate sacrifice of the more than 1250 engineers who died in World War I and the remarkable service and sacrifice of 23 Construction Squadron that has never been recognised before.”

The slouch hat, costing $6,000 and one of only six to have been cast, will be unveiled during a service at Warradale Barracks at midday on Sunday April 28.

Contact Ken Daly at dailydouble@bigpond.com for further details.

Subscriber only https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/messenger/east-hills/maralinga-nuclear-bomb-test-survivor-reveals-truth-of-what-happened-in-the-sa-desert/news-story/697b17f6d3427a78aa0262b09727c169

April 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, personal stories, reference, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Adani coal mine is a test of Australia’s environmental intelligence – Bob Brown

April 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2019 | Leave a comment

Adani coal mine expansion has become a decisive issue for Queensland’s marginal seats

April 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Mass extinction of species is underway – new UN report

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

The $70 trillion climate impact predicted as result of the melting of Arctic permafrost

Melting permafrost in Arctic will have $70tn climate impact – study  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/23/melting-permafrost-in-arctic-will-have-70tn-climate-impact-study  Jonathan Watts, Global environment editor

Study shows how destabilised natural systems will worsen man-made problem The release of methane and carbon dioxide from thawing permafrost will accelerate global warming and add up to $70tn (£54tn) to the world’s climate bill, according to the most advanced study yet of the economic consequences of a melting Arctic.

If countries fail to improve on their Paris agreement commitments, this feedback mechanism, combined with a loss of heat-deflecting white ice, will cause a near 5% amplification of global warming and its associated costs, says the paper, which was published on Tuesday in Nature Communications.

The authors say their study is the first to calculate the economic impact of permafrost melt and reduced albedo – a measure of how much light that hits a surface is reflected without being absorbed – based on the most advanced computer models of what is likely to happen in the Arctic as temperatures rise. It shows how destabilised natural systems will worsen the problem caused by man-made emissions, making it more difficult and expensive to solve.

They assessed known stocks of frozen organic matter in the ground up to 3 metres deep at multiple points across the Arctic. These were run through the world’s most advanced simulation software in the US and at the UK Met Office to predict how much gas will be released at different levels of warming. Even with supercomputers, the number crunching took weeks because the vast geography and complex climate interactions of the Arctic throw up multiple variables. The researchers then applied previous economic impact models to assess the likely costs.

The authors say their study is the first to calculate the economic impact of permafrost melt and reduced albedo – a measure of how much light that hits a surface is reflected without being absorbed – based on the most advanced computer models of what is likely to happen in the Arctic as temperatures rise. It shows how destabilised natural systems will worsen the problem caused by man-made emissions, making it more difficult and expensive to solve.

They assessed known stocks of frozen organic matter in the ground up to 3 metres deep at multiple points across the Arctic. These were run through the world’s most advanced simulation software in the US and at the UK Met Office to predict how much gas will be released at different levels of warming. Even with supercomputers, the number crunching took weeks because the vast geography and complex climate interactions of the Arctic throw up multiple variables. The researchers then applied previous economic impact models to assess the likely costs.

It would also add to global inequalitybecause most of the economic burden – equivalent to almost the entire world’s current annual GDP – is likely to be borne by countries in warmer poorer regions such as India and Africa, which are most vulnerable to a rise in temperatures.

It would also add to global inequalitybecause most of the economic burden – equivalent to almost the entire world’s current annual GDP – is likely to be borne by countries in warmer poorer regions such as India and Africa, which are most vulnerable to a rise in temperatures.

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

Journalist Glenn Greenwald defends Assange

Journalist Glenn Greenwald defends Assange: The Hill,  Julia Manchester 24 Apr 19   ‘Things that journalists do every single day’ Journalist Glenn Greenwald on Monday defended WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after he was charged by the Justice Department earlier this month for allegedly conspiring to hack a government computer in connection with the organization’s release of sensitive government files in 2010.

“So much of what’s in the indictment, encouraging a source to get more documents, helping a source cover her tracks in order not to be detected, are things that journalists do every single day,” Greenwald, co-founding editor at The Intercept, told hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton in an appearance on Hill.TV.

“You can say journalists don’t typically help a source hack into a password in order to get you know, a better way of hiding her identity, but helping a source avoid detection is definitely something journalists are not just entitled to do, but obligated to do,” he continued. ……https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/439992-greenwald-defends-assange-these-are-things-that-journalists-do-every-single-day

April 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, politics international | Leave a comment

Adani’s bid to bankrupt traditional owner hits court

Adani’s bid to bankrupt traditional owner hits court, Courier Mail 24 Apr 19,

A date has been set for Indian mining giant Adani’s case to bankrupt a traditional land owner who fought to stop its $2 billion Carmichael mine – and it falls just days before the Federal Election. …(Subscribers only)

April 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal | Leave a comment

Hanson denies humans behind climate change, blames ‘fearmongering’

April 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2019 | Leave a comment

Tesla driver clocks almost 1000km in Australian outback in one day — RenewEconomy

Tesla Model X owner drives 908km in one day using AC chargers on mission to prove EVs can do Australia’s vast distances. The post Tesla driver clocks almost 1000km in Australian outback in one day appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Tesla driver clocks almost 1000km in Australian outback in one day — RenewEconomy

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

April 24 Energy News — geoharvey

Science and Technology: ¶ “Your Renewable Energy Technology Is Growing Old – What’s Next?” • The cutting-edge research at the US DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory will one day go to waste. But it will not go into a landfill. Researchers at NREL are making strides toward ensuring that old technology objects can be more […]

via April 24 Energy News — geoharvey

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

Victorian water utilities join forces to source cheap solar power — RenewEconomy

Consortium of 13 water corporations forge major renewable energy off-take deal that will supply between 20-50% of each of their total electricity needs, and lower water bills for consumers. The post Victorian water utilities join forces to source cheap solar power appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Victorian water utilities join forces to source cheap solar power — RenewEconomy

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