Australian news, and some related international items

One week left to put in submissions to Federal Nuclear Inquiry

There’s only 1 week until submissions close for the ‘Inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia’.

Coalition members hold the numbers on the Committee and it’s important that they hear opposing voices.

Make a submission!

Please write your own submission or use our online proforma here.

Submissions can be emailed to

Or posted to: Standing Committee on Environment and Energy

PO Box 6021, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600

Nuclear power is a dangerous distraction from real movement on the pressing energy decisions and climate actions we need. Rather than fuel carbon emissions and radioactive risk through domestic coal power plants and the export of coal and uranium, Australia should embrace the fastest growing global energy sector ‒ renewables ‒ and become a driver of clean energy thinking and technology. Renewable energy is affordable, low risk, clean, and popular. Nuclear is simply not. Our shared energy future is renewable, not radioactive.

For more information, see  report: Nuclear Power – No Solution to Climate Change   – ACE Nuclear Free Collective, Friends of the Earth Melbourne

September 8, 2019 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste will be a burden, especially financially, to the people of Kimba and Hawker

Paul Waldon  Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, September 7 Kimba, Hawker, don’t have power don’t even have a strong voice or economic clout, so do you think the government will guarantee a nuclear income to oversee the rolling stewardship of the radioactive wastes that will eventually belong to any unwilling community?

If the government was going to it right with deep geological excavation and billions of dollars spent for the storage of such radioactive wastes, don’t you think that their investment would fail to show returns. However there are two other ways to show return on such investment and that is to embrace other countries atomic wastes with the hope the clients keep paying for the storage, or the second is to extract Plutonium from the waste and try to sell it to a dying nuclear market.

Remember the failed Charles McCombie plan made more money from the South Australian taxpayers than what a community would see from a federal governments brigandage of the Flinders or Eyre Peninsula.

Nuclear waste is NOT a rainmaker for any community, it’s a burden. “We say NO.”

September 8, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The toll of thorium on Iraqui children

“The destruction of a society”: First the U.S. invaded Iraq — then we left it poisoned      Scientist: Bombs, bullets and military hardware abandoned by U.S. forces have left Iraq “toxic for millennia”,  DAVID MASCIOTRA  7 Sept 19  “………In your groundbreaking new research, you discover that the teeth of Iraqi children have 28 times more thorium if they live near a U.S. military base. What is the significance of that conclusion, and what does the presence of thorium indicate about a child’s health? What kinds of abnormalities and health problems will they experience?

The Iraqi population is potentially contaminated with depleted uranium decay products. Baby teeth are highly sensitive to environmental exposures. Such high levels of thorium simply suggest high exposure at an early age and potentially in utero.

We found uranium and thorium in these children’s teeth and hair. Uranium and thorium were also in the bone marrow of children, all of whom had severe birth defects. The magnitude of public contamination caused by these alpha-emitting radioactive compounds is a serious question to be answered. Our bone marrow data is still unpublished, but we hope to publish it separately.

Thorium is an alpha emitter and, once in the body, it can cause cancer and other anomalies. Impacts can vary depending on the timing and amount of exposure. Childhood leukemia, which has been rising in southern Iraq, is a verified outcome of thorium exposure.

In our study, children with high levels of thorium had multiple birth defects. Our studies show that, across Iraq, children exposed to U.S. war contamination suffer primarily from congenital heart defects and neural tube defects…….

September 8, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia sells weapons to Saudi-led coalition, is complicit in human rights abuses

Australia’s arms deals ignoring ‘gross violations of human rights’, ex-defence official says  

Defence department says it provides export permits only if satisfied that the weapons will not be used in breach of international law   Ben Doherty, 8 Sept 19,    A former secretary of the Australian defence department says the country cannot justify selling weapons to militaries involved in the five-year war in Yemen, which now stand “accused of gross violations of human rights and likely war crimes by the UN”.

And the Australian co-author of the just-released United Nations report into human rights atrocities in Yemen has said governments that sell weapons to belligerent countries are responsible for prolonging the conflict and contributing to immense humanitarian suffering.

The report found that the conflict had been plagued by human rights abuses, including hospitals being bombed, civilians being deliberately targeted by shelling and sniper fire, civilian populations being deliberately starved, medical supplies being blocked, rape, murder, enforced disappearances, torture, and children being forced to fight.

Australia is one of several countries that sell weapons to those that are part of the Saudi-led Coalition in conflict with the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. The Australian government says it imposes strict controls on exports to ensure they are not used in the Yemeni conflict.

But the former secretary of the department of defence Paul Barratt told Guardian Australia that regardless of whether Australian-made weapons were crossing the border into Yemen, “the fact remains that Australia now has a national policy which seeks and facilitates weapons sales with countries that stand accused of gross violations of human rights and likely war crimes”.

“When did this particular trade in arms become official Australian policy? Even if we are successfully legally tiptoeing around the Arms Trade Treaty, such deals surely cannot be acceptable on moral or ethical grounds,” Barratt said. “As a country that routinely asks other countries to abide by the rules-based international order, it would seem hypocritical, at best, that Australia is now willing to … make a profit from, weapons sales to nations that are openly flouting this international order.”

Melissa Parke, the former federal MP for Fremantle, was one of three UN-appointed experts to compile its report on Yemen.

The report said hospitals had been bombed, civilians attacked and starvation used as a tactic of war, and alleged that there had been a “collective failure” from the international community to intervene in the five-year war to reduce the suffering of civilians; rather, support from international actors had prolonged the conflict. The public report detailed a list of the key military, political participants in the conflict. A confidential list of those most likely to be complicit in war crimes has been sent to the UN.

Parke said Yemeni civilians had “borne the brunt” of a brutal conflict that was being exacerbated by international indifference, and material support from some governments.

September 8, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, politics international, religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Climate change now brings Queensland into a new era of bushfires

‘This is an omen’: Queensland firefighters battle worst start to season on record   More than 50 bushfires are burning with the most dangerous in the Gold Coast hinterland destroying the Binna Burra Lodge, Guardian, Australian Associated Press 8 Sept 19,  Queensland is in uncharted territory as firefighting crews battle to get the upper hand in the worst start to the fire season on record.

More than 50 fires were burning across Queensland on Sunday afternoon, the most dangerous in the Gold Coast hinterland where it had destroyed homes and the heritage-listed Binna Burra Lodge.

One of the oldest nature-based resorts in Australia, which dates back to the 1930s, now lies in ruins………

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services’ predictive services inspector, Andrew Sturgess, said the state had never before seen such serious bushfire conditions, so early in spring.

“So this is an omen, if you will, a warning of the fire season that we are likely to see in south-eastern parts of the state where most of the population is,” he said.

The acting premier, Jackie Trad, said climate change meant the state was facing a new era of fire risk.

“There is no doubt that with an increasing temperature with climate change, then what the scientists tell us is that events such as these will be more frequent and they will be much more ferocious,” she told reporters.

Fire authorities have warned the danger posed by the Binna Burra fire will not be over for days, with strong winds expected to persist until Tuesday.

“We’re still very much in defensive mode,” Queensland Fire and Emergency Services’ assistant commissioner, Kevin Walsh, said on Sunday………

Dams and water tanks on rural properties are empty. Stanthorpe itself is subject to emergency water restrictions of 100 litres per person per day, with the supply not expected to last until the end of the year. After that the council will have to truck water in.

“We need rain. That’s the only thing that’s going to save us,”  Stanthorpe woman Samantha Wantling  said.

In New South Wales firefighters were battling several out-of-control bushfires with strong winds making for challenging conditions. Despite cooler weather, damaging winds of up to 70km/h were expected to ramp up fire activity with very high fire danger in the state’s far north coast, north coast and New England areas. …….

September 8, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales, Queensland | Leave a comment

The poisoning of Iraq – new research on birth defects

“The destruction of a society”: First the U.S. invaded Iraq — then we left it poisoned      Scientist: Bombs, bullets and military hardware abandoned by U.S. forces have left Iraq “toxic for millennia”,  DAVID MASCIOTRA  7 Sept 19

The political and moral culture of the United States allows for bipartisan cooperation to destroy an entire country, killing hundreds of thousands of people in the process, without even the flimsiest of justification. Then, only a few years later, everyone can act as if it never happened.

In 2011, the U.S. withdrew most of its military personnel from Iraq, leaving the country in ruins. Estimates of the number of civilians who died during the war in Iraq range from 151,000 to 655,000. An additional 4,491 American military personnel perished in the war. Because the bombs have stopped falling from the sky and the invasion and occupation of Iraq no longer makes headlines, Americans likely devote no thought to the devastation that occurred in their name.

With the exception of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who is currently polling at or below 2 percent, no candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination has consistently addressed the criminality, cruelty and cavalier wastefulness of American foreign policy. Joe Biden, the frontrunner in the race, not only supported the war in Iraq — despite his recent incoherent claims to the contrary — but as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee acted as its most effective and influential salesman in the Democratic Party.

The blasé attitude of America toward the death and destruction it creates, all while boasting of its benevolence, cannot withstand the scrutiny of science. Dr. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan and recipient of the Rachel Carson Prize, has led several investigative expeditions in Iraq to determine how the pollutants and toxic chemicals from the U.S.-led war are poisoning Iraq’s people and environment. The health effects are catastrophic, and will remain so long after the war reached its official end.

previously interviewed Savabieasfahani about her initial research, and recently acquired an update regarding her team’s latest discovery that there is a close correlation between proximity to a U.S. military base and birth defects in Iraqi children.

Average Americans, even many who opposed the war in Iraq, seem to believe that once the military campaign is over the casualties of war stop accumulating. What is the purpose of your general research regarding the toxicity of the Iraqi environment resulting from American bombs, munitions and other materials? How does the American invasion and occupation continue to adversely affect the health of Iraqis?

Bombs and bullets have been used on an extreme scale in Iraq. Dropping tons of bombs and releasing millions of bullets leaves toxic residues the in air, water and soil of the targeted population. These pollutants continue to poison those populations years after the bombing stops

What’s more, the United States imported thousands of tons of military equipment into Iraq to use in their occupation. They include, tanks, trucks, bombers, armored vehicles, infantry weapons, antiaircraft systems, artillery and mortars — some of which are coated with depleted uranium, and much more. These eventually find their way into U.S. military junkyards which remain across Iraq.

There are unknown numbers of military junkyards scattered across the Iraqi landscape.

Fluctuations in temperature facilitates the rusting and weathering of military junk, releasing toxic pollutants [including radioactive uranium compounds, neurotoxic lead and mercury, etc.] into the Iraqi environment.

Uranium and its related compounds remain toxic for millennia and poison local populations through food, air and water contamination.

The exposure of pregnant mothers to the pollutions of war, including uranium and thorium, irreversibly damages their unborn children. We found thorium, a product of depleted uranium decay, in the hair of Iraqi children with birth defects who lived in Nasiriyah and Ur City, near a U.S. military base. 

The destruction of a society does not stop after U.S. bombs stop falling. Environmental contamination which the U.S. leaves behind continues to destroy our environment and poison our people decades after the bombs have stopped falling. The U.S. has a long history of irreversibly destroying human habitats. That must end…….

Forty-four years after U.S. forces left Vietnam, there are still Vietnamese babies born with birth defects from the American military’s use of Agent Orange. How long do you believe Iraqis will continue to suffer from the American-led war?

If left unmitigated, the population will be permanently exposed to elevated toxic exposures which can impact the Iraqi gene pool.

Through the use of the scientific method, you are gaining the ability to identify a severe problem in Iraq. Considering that the problem is a result of the U.S. invasion, what could the U.S. do to solve or at least mitigate the problem?

The U.S. must be held responsible and forced to clean up all the sites which it has polluted. Technology exists for the cleanup of radiation contamination. The removal and disposal of U.S.-created military junkyards would go a long way towards cleaning toxic releases out of the Iraqi environment.

You are a scientist, not a political analyst, but you must have some thoughts regarding the political implications of your work. How do you react to the lack of substantive conversation about the consequences of war in American politics and the press, and the American establishment’s evasion of responsibility on this issue?

I expect nothing from the American political establishment or their propaganda machines which masquerade as “news media” and feed uncritically off State Department press briefings.

Fortunately, there is a movement to criminalize environmental contamination caused by war. Damage to nature and the human environment must be considered a war crime.

Scientists are currently asking international lawmakers to adopt a fifth Geneva Convention which would recognize damage to nature as a war crime, alongside other war crimes. I hope that will make a difference in our ability to protect human lives and our environment. ……

September 8, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The decline and fall of nuclear power — Beyond Nuclear International

Political support is waning as costs and risks soar

via The decline and fall of nuclear power — Beyond Nuclear International

September 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tokyo Officials Still Unsure What to Do With Radioactive Fukushima Water — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

September 7, 2019 The Japanese government told diplomats on Wednesday they had not yet decided what to do with the roughly 1 million tons of radioactive water being stored at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. A toxic mix of groundwater and rainwater exposed to the damaged nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi in eastern Japan […]

via Tokyo Officials Still Unsure What to Do With Radioactive Fukushima Water — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

September 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

To Prevent Polluted Water from Being Discharged into Sea Korea Pushing for International Cooperation in Handling Fukushima Water — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Why South Korean government is the only one complaining? How about the other countries who will be also affected by the Fukushima Daiichi radioactive water dumping: China, Taiwan, Philippines, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the U.S. ? Why are they silent? The Korean government is seeking international cooperation to prevent the Japanese government from […]

via To Prevent Polluted Water from Being Discharged into Sea Korea Pushing for International Cooperation in Handling Fukushima Water — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

September 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Vietnamese trainees sue Fukushima firm over decontamination work — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

(Workers involved in decontamination work in the northeastern Japan town of Namie offer silent prayers to mourn victims of the March 2011 massive quake and tsunami on March 11, 2016.) September 4, 2019 Three Vietnamese men on a foreign trainee program in Japan have sued a construction company for making them conduct radioactive decontamination […]

via Vietnamese trainees sue Fukushima firm over decontamination work — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

September 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hatoyama says ‘radioactive contamination not under control’ — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama speaks during an exclusive interview with The Korea Times at the newspaper’s headquarters in Seoul, Thursday. September 2, 2019 The Japanese government has tried to convince the world with an extensive propaganda campaign to claim any persisting dangers from the Fukushima nuclear disaster are under control ahead of […]

via Hatoyama says ‘radioactive contamination not under control’ — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

September 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia has met its renewable energy target. But don’t pop the champagne — RenewEconomy

Energy minister Angus Taylor says investment in renewable energy is not slowing down. This bold claim flies in the face of the evidence. The post Australia has met its renewable energy target. But don’t pop the champagne appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Australia has met its renewable energy target. But don’t pop the champagne — RenewEconomy

September 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A naturalist warns on the impact of nuclear power on wildlife

Nuclear power station could destroy wildlife haven I’ve loved since childhood  Naturalist Stephen Moss was 13 when he first saw the RSPB reserve in Minsmere, Suffolk. Now he fears plans for Sizewell C could wipe it out, Guardian  Stephen Moss @stephenmoss_tv   7 Sept 19 Minsmere and I go back a long way. I can still remember the thrill of my first visit, in 1973, when I was just 13 years old. Later, I made my very first wildlife programme there, with Bill Oddie. And most recently, I presented live programmes from the reserve on the BBC’s red button for Springwatch.

So naturally I am worried that this unique place could be ruined by the proposed building of Sizewell C nuclear power station, a few hundred metres down the coast. And I’m not the only one. My colleague Chris Packham, who like me first went there as a teenager, has called on EDF Energy to ensure that it safeguards Minsmere and its wildlife, now and in the future.

More than 20,000 people have already written to EDF to raise their concerns, and the RSPB – which is firmly against the plans – is holding a Love Minsmere festival at the reserve on 15 September.

There are more than 200 RSPB reserves in the UK – so what makes Minsmere special? The main reason is the incredible range of species found in such a small area – just 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres).

The reserve’s bird list currently stands at nearly 350 species, of which more than 100 have bred; while more than 1,000 types of butterfly and moth have been recorded, including the eponymous Minsmere crimson underwing, recorded just once in the UK, here at Minsmere.

This is all thanks to a complex mosaic of habitats, including woodland, scrub, meadow, heath, freshwater wetland and coastal marsh………

September 8, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

September 8 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “How Switching To Renewables Impacts Policy In The West” • The rapidly declining cost and increased accessibility of energy storage create a huge opportunity. Whether solar, wind, hydro, geothermal or any other abundant method are the means for energy generation, the concern of maintaining baseload power becomes less important. [The Rising] ¶ “How […]

via September 8 Energy News — geoharvey

September 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment