Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Federal election candidates for Grey express their views on nuclear waste dump plan

Battle lines drawn in radioactive waste debate,  Transcontinental, Amy Green, 1 May 19

Radioactive waste plans have been a topic of contention in Grey for three years so it’s no surprise federal candidates were asked to clarify their views at an election forum at Central Oval on Wednesday.

Battle lines were drawn as current Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey continued with his support to locate a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility at sites in the Flinders Ranges……..

Centre Alliance candidate Andrea Broadfoot rejected plans for the facility to be placed at either of the current proposed sites, a decision welcomed by the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association.

“It is Australia’s responsibility to take care of its own waste,” Ms Broadfoot said.

“We are calling for there to be broad community support … but we haven’t seen a definition of broad community support.

“Barndioota and Kimba are not the places and we need to go back to the drawing board.”

Candidate for Labor Karin Bolton and candidate for United Australia Party Alexander Warren echoed Ms Broadfoot’s sentiments.

Australia’s radioactive waste is currently stored at a purpose-built ‘Interim Waste Store’ at Lucas Heights in new South Wales and has been since 2015.

Nuclear Free Campaigner Dave Sweeney rejected claims by Mr Ramsey that the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) will no longer licence this facility unless there are plans to relocate the waste by 2022.

“ARPANSA have licensed this facility through to 2055, it requires periodic updates about the status of the government project, but its license is in no way in doubt and for Rowan Ramsey to suggest, state or imply that it is, is incorrect,” Mr Sweeney said.

“His motivation is his to clarify but that statement is incorrect and where it becomes a problem in the current situation is that it could further the pressure on people over saying yes or no to a national radioactive waste dump.

“The really important thing here from the view of the Australian Conservation Foundation is that nuclear medicine in Australia is secure with or without the proposed government facility.

“To create a situation where the person who is elected to represent the one electorate in Australia that is facing this challenge and this issue is putting out information which is demonstrably incorrect. It’s not helpful.”

The selection process for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility will continue after the May 18 federal election.  https://www.transcontinental.com.au/story/6101887/battle-lines-drawn-in-radioactive-waste-debate/?fbclid=IwAR0Pbmh2mUWat1wuglHeuXjIumwnNGD9Alk-Tz_CciFYlmBprO5LfCHJuEk

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May 2, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

The harm done to indigenous people, through uranium mining – and it’s happening again

Uranium mines harm Indigenous people – so why have we approved a new one?     https://theconversation.com/uranium-mines-harm-indigenous-people-so-why-have-we-approved-a-new-one-116262   The Conversation, 1 May 19, In the 1970s, when the Ranger mine opened, the Mirarr people felt largely powerless in negotiations between mining companies and the federal government.

Last week, the Tjiwarl experienced similar disempowerment. Yet both communities are recognised by the government as traditional owners.

Unsurprisingly, Australia is yet to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, continuing the persistently toxic legacy of Australia’s nuclear industry.May 1, 2019   Last week the federal government approved the Yeelirrie uraniam mine in Western Australia in the face of vigorous protest from traditional owners.

This Canadian-owned uranium mine is the newest instalment in Australia’s long tradition of ignoring the dignity and welfare of Aboriginal communities in the pursuit of nuclear fuel.

For decades, Australia’s desert regions have experienced uranium prospecting, mining, waste dumping and nuclear weapons testing. Settler-colonial perceptions that these lands were “uninhabited” led to widespread environmental degradation at the hands of the nuclear industry.

As early as 1906, South Australia’s Radium Hill was mined for radium. Amateur prospectors mined haphazardly, damaging Ngadjuri and Wilyakali lands. And an estimated 100,000 tonnes of toxic mine residue(tailings) remain at Radium Hill with the potential to leach radioactive material into the environment.

Uranium mines across Australia have similar legacies, with decades of activism from the Mirarr people against the Ranger and Jabiluka mine sites in Kakadu National Park.

In the 36 years since it began operating, the Ranger mine has produced over 125,000 tonnes of uranium and experienced more than 200 accidents. In 2013, a reported one million litres of contaminated materialspilt into the surrounding environment.

Aboriginal communities remain at a disproportionate risk because large uranium deposits exist in lands deemed sacred and significant, while the testing and dumping of nuclear material is rarely undertaken in areas inhabited by settlers.

The federal government’s ambivalence toward these impacts has most recently culminated in their decision to give Cameco the go-ahead for the Yeelirrle uranium mine, a blow to the traditional owners of Tjiwarl country.

Native title fails to protect traditional owners from the mining industry

The Tjiwarl people have fought the Yeelirrie mine alongside the Conservation Council of WA for more than two years. They now must grapple with the government’s decision to ignore their resistance.

And in 2017, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) negotiated with the United Nations to create a treaty banning nuclear weapons. The treaty, adopted on July 7, 2017, recognised the disproportionate impact nuclear material has on Indigenous communities around the world. It includes the mining and milling of uranium.

The treaty warns that parties should be:

mindful of the unacceptable suffering of and harm caused to the victims of the use of nuclear weapons (hibakusha), as well as of those affected by the testing of nuclear weapons, [and recognise] the disproportionate impact of nuclear-weapon activities on indigenous peoples.

Nuclear weapons sourced from Aboriginal lands

The toxic legacy of uranium mining is not isolated to the contamination of ecosystems.

Radium Hill provided uranium for weapons for the United Kingdom and United States, including the nuclear weapons tested at Maralinga and Emu Field in the 1950s and 1960s.

These weapons spread radioactive contamination and dispossessed Aboriginal communities in and around the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands.

Uranium from the Ranger mine in Northern Territory found its way into the Fukushima Reactor, a reality that plagues the Mirrar people. In 2011, traditional owner Yvonne Margarula expressed her sorrow for those affected by the Fukushima meltdown:

it is likely that the radiation problems at Fukushima are, at least in part, fuelled by uranium derived from our traditional lands. This makes us feel very sad.

These legacies are felt acutely by those who continue to struggle with the lack of protection from native title and other government policies apparently designed to prevent the exploitation of Aboriginal communities by various industries.

In the 1970s, when the Ranger mine opened, the Mirarr people felt largely powerless in negotiations between mining companies and the federal government.

Last week, the Tjiwarl experienced similar disempowerment. Yet both communities are recognised by the government as traditional owners.

Unsurprisingly, Australia is yet to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, continuing the persistently toxic legacy of Australia’s nuclear industry.

May 2, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

British exhibition on nuclear testing glosses over the impact on Aboriginal people

Cold War exhibition tries to airbrush Britain’s dark history of nuclear testing, The Conversation, Sue Rabbitt Roff, Researcher, Social History/Tutor in Medical Education, University of Dundee, May 2, 2019  A new exhibition about the Cold War recently opened at the UK National Archives at Kew in south-west London. Protect and Survive: Britain’s Cold War Revealed seeks to tell the story of how the years of high nuclear tensions affected the UK, from spy paranoia to civil defence posters to communications at the heart of government. …..

an extremely important facet of Britain’s Cold War has been almost entirely airbrushed from the story. There is barely anything in the exhibition about the 45 atomic and nuclear weapons detonations carried out by the British: 12 in Australia from 1952-57, nine in the central Pacific in 1957-58, and a further 24 alongside the Americans in the Nevada desert until as recently as 1991. The effects on the health of all this testing on indigenous people and some 22,000 British servicemen who were sent as observers is still being researched.
The Cold War exhibition includes three photos showing the atmospheric effect of the 1952 detonation off the Montebello Islands off north-western Australia. There is one additional picture of the hydrogen bomb that was exploded near Christmas Island in May 1957, the first of the central Pacific series, which persuaded the US to resume nuclear collaboration with the UK. And that’s about it. Worse, the exhibition includes a map of the global impact of the nuclear era in which the test locations in Australia are obscured by lettering – not least Maralinga, an important Aboriginal area in which seven detonations took place.

Files under review

My understanding is that decisions about the content of the exhibition were finalised late last year. Interestingly, this was around the same time as the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the public body with ultimate responsibility for the UK’s nuclear legacy withdrew recordsfrom the National Archives relating to 1950s nuclear weapons tests that had been declassified decades ago, pending a “security review” by the Ministry of Defence and Atomic Weapons Establishment. Specialists in this field have long complained about the many files concerning British testing that have remained secret, which makes the withdrawal of declassified files all the more unsettling………

Remembrance, The omissions at the London Cold War exhibition are a reminder about the UK’s low-key approach to its weapons testing history. The story doesn’t only need to be properly told at this exhibition, it needs a permanent public space. Yet no existing museum dedicated to Britain’s wars is interested in giving it house room – not even the records and memorabilia of all the military personnel sent to observe the tests. A number of years ago I was quietly told while walking down a corridor in one major institution not to offer it my own records because “they will end up in the skip”.

My years working in this field indicate to me that successive governments seem to want the story of British nuclear testing to die off naturally. But surely, at the very least, the point of the National Archives is to preserve the records to ensure that it is never allowed to be forgotten. https://theconversation.com/cold-war-exhibition-tries-to-airbrush-britains-dark-history-of-nuclear-testing-116237

May 2, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The long climate change trend gathering speed

Climate change link to global droughts goes back a century, study finds,  https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/climate-change-link-to-global-droughts-goes-back-a-century-study-finds-20190501-p51j2n.html, by Peter Hannam, May 2, 2019 Humans have contributed to increased global risks of drought for more than a century, scientists say, in findings that also point to “severe” consequences ahead with climate change.

The research by US-based scientists and published in Nature journal on Thursday comes as the latest Bureau of Meteorology data showed the first four months of 2019 were the hottest on record for Australia as drought tightened its grip on the country’s south-east.

The scientists, led by Kate Marvel at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, used so-called drought atlases derived from tree-ring data combined with satellite observations and climate models to identify how soil moisture has changed.

They found drought increased during the first half of the 20th century, eased in the quarter century to 1975 and worsened again. The pause in the trend coincided with increased aerosol pollution.

Models project and observations show a re-emerging greenhouse gas signal towards the end of the 20th century, and this signal is likely to grow stronger in the next several decades,” the paper concluded. “The human consequences of this, particularly drying over large parts of North America and Eurasia, are likely to be severe.”

Paul Durack, a research scientist and an author of the paper, said the study was the first to show global-scale droughts to be impacted by human activities.

“This is potentially bad news for Australia, and similar climate regions such as California,” he said in a statement. “These regions have experienced devastating recent droughts, and if the model projected changes continue, such droughts will become more commonplace into the future.”

Andrew King, climate extremes research fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, said while heat extremes caused by climate change have been clear, “droughts are very complicated”, with natural variability masking the trends, Dr King said.

“You’d expect the signal to be weaker. Like in this study, we found an increased human fingerprint for heat extremes more recently that will continue to increase in the next few decades.”

Hot start to 2019

The Bureau of Meteorology said the first four months of the year were Australia’s hottest on record for maximum, mean and minimum temperatures.

Day-time readings, for instance, beat the previous record set only a year earlier by almost half a degree, coming in at 1.93 degrees above the 1961-90 average.

Rain is slightly more than a quarter below average nationally.

Regions such as the Murray-Darling Basin were also the hottest on record for mean temperatures, with rainfall this year slightly below half the norm – although rains later this week should help.

Eastern Australia and New Zealand Drought Atlas, showing changes from 1975-2010.CREDIT:NOAA

Sydney is tracking the hottest on record for daytime temperatures – averaging 27.2 degrees so far in 2019, or 2.4 degrees above average. Rainfall is about a 22 per cent below the norm.

NSW is also enduring its hottest start to any year for mean temperatures. The 2.79-degree anomaly eclipsed the previous record departure of 2.51 degrees from the 1961-90 average set only in 2018, the bureau said. Rainfall is running at 55 per cent below the average for the fourth-driest start to a year.

For Victoria, mean and minimum temperatures were the warmest on record for the January-April period, and daytime readings were second only to the same period in 2018. Rainfall is about 44 per cent below average.

Most Melbourne sites have also been tracking their hottest starts to any year, while many locations are also having their driest January-April periods, the bureau said.

May 2, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Traditional owners fight Adani coal project, – fear destruction of their sacred wetlands

May 2, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | Leave a comment

Extradition of Julian Assange Threatens Us All 

May 2, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Japan’s nuclear horror relived as people return to Fukushima’s ghost towns — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

April 29, 2019 More than 200,000 inhabitants within a 20km radius were forced to evacuate, after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was damaged by the Japan Tsunami in 2011 Wide streets still lie empty, scavenging boar and monkeys the only signs of life. Only wild animals, and the 6ft weeds, which have rampaged through […]

via Japan’s nuclear horror relived as people return to Fukushima’s ghost towns — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

May 2, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Labor pledges funding for renewable jobs, support for Tasmania Battery of the Nation — RenewEconomy

Shorten unveils $75m Renewables Training Package, extends establishment of Renewable Energy Zones to Tasmania, where it makes down-payment on Battery of Nation. The post Labor pledges funding for renewable jobs, support for Tasmania Battery of the Nation appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Labor pledges funding for renewable jobs, support for Tasmania Battery of the Nation — RenewEconomy

May 2, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WA’s 130MW Badgingarra wind farm officially opens — RenewEconomy

W.A.’s $315m Badgingarra Wind Farm officially opened. To be co-located with $40m 17.5MW Badgingarra Solar Farm, which is under construction. The post WA’s 130MW Badgingarra wind farm officially opens appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via WA’s 130MW Badgingarra wind farm officially opens — RenewEconomy

May 2, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The progress of the Stop Adani convoy

The Stop Adani convoy so far – on to Canberra, Echo Net Daily,  April 30, 2019 | by Eve Jeffery, On Wednesday April 17, Bob Brown and a few hundred of his closest friends, began a journey from Hobart to the Gallilee Basin in Queensland, to highlight the devastation that will be caused if the Adani Carmichal Mine goes ahead……

We look forward to people joining us. Almost 2000 have inquired about joining the convoy.

The group of beginners left Hobart for Devonport, then Melbourne for a rally on Parliament Lawns.

As the convoy came off the Spirit of Tasmania for the rally in Melbourne, Brown said that from the outset that the convoy, involving hundreds of vehicles and thousands of people, was about the May 18 election being a national referendum on the climate emergency and Adani…….

From Melbourne the growing group visited Albury-Wodonga before a rally in Sydney on April 20.

With flags flying, the cavalcade gave colour and contention to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s press conference in Parramatta.

The convoy, now 200 cars, including a dozen electric cars, left a rally of nearly 1000 people in Parramatta Park to drive north, passing Morrison’s conference outside Westmead Hospital. Mr Morrison was diverted by cries of ‘Stop Adani’ as the convoy slowly passed.

At the rally an Aboriginal leader from the Adani mine site region in central Queensland, Adrian Burragubba, said he, his father, and grandfather were born at Clermont where the convoy arrives next week. He described the Adani mining company as ‘thieves’…..

Next was the north coast on Easter Sunday with stops in Coffs Harbour and Mullumbimby on the way to Brisbane.

The Bob Brown Foundation were stunned and delighted by the massive crowd in Mullum

‘This is the biggest turn out anywhere in Australia,’ Brown said.

From there it was a trip across the border into Queensland……..

Murdoch newspapers throughout Queensland, including Brisbane’s Courier-Mail, all ran the same article by journalist Renee Viellaris.

Ms Viellaris wrote a very disparaging description of the convoy including that participants were ‘blow-ins’.

‘As ever, I absolutely repudiate offensive comments such as those headlined in today’s Murdoch press,’ said Brown.

‘Offensive comments are taken down by our foundation just as they are taken down off Murdoch media sites………

Brown said that a number of Clermont business owners had expressed regret at the hostility the convoy received the previous day when cars were stoned, and an older women travelling alone, along with young families in cars, were abused and threatened and had flags ripped from their vehicles. Brown praised the Queensland Police for keeping the peace in trying conditions…….

Tensions mounted between opposing ideas in Clermont over the weekend – pro-Adani violence appalled other locals and failed to halt the convoy’s progress.

‘Everyone is concerned for our friend knocked down by the out-of-control horse,’ said Brown.

‘We hope she has a speedy recovery. The incident came after a much-publicised publican friend of Matt Canavan was refused entry to the Wangan and Jangilingou Council’s Karmoo Dreaming celebration which the convoy was enjoying at the Clermont Showground.

‘The horse rider charged between the crowd and the stage where Neil Murray was singing. Children had been dancing in that area.

Both the publican and Minister Canavan have verbally abused the convoy people……..

A witness said a second group of pro-Adani cars at the gate cheered the horse rider as he charged back out after the woman was knocked down in the arena……..

From the Gallile, the convoy will now visit Toowoomba, Armidale, Bathurst and Orange, and drive in Canberra on May 4 for a Rally for Climate on Sunday May 5.

Fo more details, visit the Bob Brown Foundation website. more https://www.echo.net.au/2019/04/stop-adani-convoy-far-canberra/

May 2, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Particles From Cold War Nuclear Bomb Tests Found in Deepest Parts of the Ocean

Particles From Cold War Nuclear Bomb Tests Found in Deepest Parts of the Ocean

Crustaceans in the Mariana Trench and other underwater canyons feed on food from the surface laced with carbon-14 from Cold War bomb tests, By Christopher Crockett, smithsonian.com , May 1, 2019 


Crustaceans in the Mariana Trench and other underwater canyons feed on food from the surface laced with carbon-14 from Cold War bomb tests

The first test of a thermonuclear weapon, or a hydrogen bomb, codenamed Ivy Mike and conducted by the United States in 1952 over the island of Elugelab in Enewetak Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. (Public Domain)

……… Crustaceans in the Mariana Trench and other underwater canyons feed on food from the surface laced with carbon-14 from Cold War bomb tests

No place on Earth is free from human influence—not even the bottom of the deepest trenches in the ocean.

Shrimp-like critters from three West Pacific ocean trenches were found to munch on food that sinks down from the surface, leaving a unique chemical signature from decades-old nuclear bomb tests in the bodies of the deep-sea crustaceans. The findings, published recently in Geophysical Research Letters, not only help marine scientists figure out how these bottom dwellers survive, but also underscore the depths to which humanity’s influence can penetrate………

In those dark depths, one of the most common critters is the shrimp-like amphipod, a family of crustaceans that scavenge the ocean floor for food. Where that food comes from is a matter of debate. Potential sources include morsels that percolate up from Earth’s interior, nutrient-rich sediment that slides down steep trench walls, or tasty detritus that wafts down from the surface.

A recent haul of deep-sea amphipods offered Sun and colleagues a chance to solve this marine mystery. Using baited traps, two Chinese research vessels in 2017 harvested amphipods from three trenches in the West Pacific, including the famous Mariana Trench. Sun’s team chemically analyzed the amphipods’ muscle tissue and gut contents and found elevated levels of carbon-14, a heavy variant of carbon. The levels closely matched abundances found near the surface of the ocean, where the amount of carbon-14 is higher than usual thanks to nuclear bomb tests conducted more than half a century ago.

Carbon comes in a few different varieties based on how many neutrons are stuffed into its atomic nucleus. About one out of every trillion carbon atoms on Earth has two extra neutrons. This form, known as carbon-14, occurs naturally thanks to high-speed atomic particles from deep space whacking into nitrogen atoms. But in the middle of the 20th century, humans doubled the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, from 1945 to 1963 the United States and the Soviet Union (with a little help from the United Kingdom and France) detonated nearly 500 nuclear bombs, 379 of which exploded in the atmosphere. These tests dramatically increased the amount of carbon-14 on our planet. The Test Ban Treaty of 1963 put a stop to most atmospheric and underwater tests, and carbon-14 levels in the atmosphere started a slow return to normal—though they are still higher than pre-nuclear levels—as ocean waters and land-based life absorbed carbon from the air.

………While the nuclear bomb signature has been recorded a couple miles down in the West Atlantic, no one has seen it as these depths before. “This is just interesting as all get out,” says Robert Key, a Princeton oceanographer who was not involved with this study. He points out that starting about a mile below the surface of the North Pacific, carbon-14 levels closely match what the atmosphere looked like before the bomb tests. “The high carbon-14 [in the amphipods] could only come from food that’s come down from the top,” he says.

The abundance of material created in nuclear bomb tests high in the sky found in the bodies of deep-dwelling amphipods underscores a very intimate connection between human activity and the most isolated reaches of the sea…………. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/particles-cold-war-nuclear-bomb-testing-found-amphipods-mariana-trench-180972078/

May 2, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Japan to shut down nuclear plants if counterterror steps not taken in time — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

April 24, 2019 Japan’s nuclear regulator decided Wednesday not to let power companies operate reactors if they fail to install sufficient counterterrorism measures by specified deadlines. The decision by the Nuclear Regulation Authority came after three utilities that operate five nuclear plants in western and southwestern Japan requested that their deadlines be extended as they […]

via Japan to shut down nuclear plants if counterterror steps not taken in time — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

May 2, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Labor battery subsidy could deliver 80% cut to household electricity bills — RenewEconomy

Smart Energy Council report finds ALP battery rebate and finance policies could help deliver massive electricity cost savings for households – up to $1,860 a year. The post Labor battery subsidy could deliver 80% cut to household electricity bills appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Labor battery subsidy could deliver 80% cut to household electricity bills — RenewEconomy

May 2, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Solar schools to create 364MW virtual power plant in Labor policy plan — RenewEconomy

Federal Labor unveils plan for a VPP of solar schools, through $1bn government loans scheme to help schools invest in PV and battery storage. The post Solar schools to create 364MW virtual power plant in Labor policy plan appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Solar schools to create 364MW virtual power plant in Labor policy plan — RenewEconomy

May 2, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

World’s largest Tritium EV charging R&D facility launched in Brisbane — RenewEconomy

Brisbane’s Tritium opens world-leading R&D facility for EV charging and testing centre in Amsterdam. The post World’s largest Tritium EV charging R&D facility launched in Brisbane appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via World’s largest Tritium EV charging R&D facility launched in Brisbane — RenewEconomy

May 2, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment