Australian news, and some related international items

Arnaud Coquillard’s submission to Federal Nuclear Inquiry rejects nuclear power, calls for care for the planet


Coquillard, Arnaud (59) Says that the government is considering Generation IV nuclear reactors, but they don’t even exist yet. Their safety over time is uncertain. They still produce toxic wastes. Uranium mining is also environmentally harmful. Australia should deveop non nuclear clean energy technologies. 

Please think of the people that you represent, the responsibility you have towards humanity, the plant and animal kingdom  and the planet as a whole. Compare that responsibility to the minority of corporate, businessman that pressure you to have nuclear power plant.”

September 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Eric Gribble’s submission to the Federal Nuclear Inquiry in favour of nuclear power

Gribble , Eric (38) addresses the question of ionising radiation – nuclear power development is safe, but held back by  “a widespread paranoid concern due to a lack of understanding of what radiation is.”

Goes on to explain that radiation can be beneficial – quotes some dubious science from 2002 and 1992…. “It appears that slightly elevated levels of radiation are beneficial but levels above 100 mSv the risk appears to increase. .. “ Quotes some study showing that radiation decreases incidence of lung cancer. Claims that Fukushima nuclear accident caused only one death due to material falling upon a man. No evidence of cancer caused.

Uses Hiroshima studies to dismiss concerns about radiation dangers…

Says nuclear power “is safe and the only option

Renewables do not stack up on a cost basis.”

Raves on about hydroponics and space “… If space travel is to become a reality using existing technology mankind will need a massive amount of energy. Energy to make rocket fuel. ….. Nuclear energy will open up the future. “”

. “Nuclear energy is the energy source of the future, Australia cannot afford to continue to let opportunities slide.”

It is easy to be a green. You simply oppose everything, dams, nuclear, fossil fuels, the free enterprise system, whatever. Yet there are many people (probably most people) out there who are as concerned about the environment as the most rabid green but do not support the green movement.”

September 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

The politics of ANSTO’s nuclear isotopes – mainly for export, not for home use

Kazzi Jai No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia, 14  Sept 19 So…..according to ABC’s radio AM and then PM reports yesterday – different reports by different reporters…. the whole situation appears as follows…..The BRAND SPANKING NEW, JUST RECENTLY LICENSED $200 million NEW FACILITY at ANSTO which was built to deal with the aim of increasing our output of 10 million doses per year up from the 500,000 doses per year of Molybdenum 99 , which is used to produce Technetium-99m which is used for IMAGING PURPOSES TO DIAGNOSE various conditions, is down. Keep in mind that this increased production is AIMED AT BEING A MAJOR EXPORT PLAYER ON THE WORLD’S EXPORT MARKET – NOTHING TO DO WITH SERVICING AUSTRALIANS.

Anyway, now there seem to be a FAULTY VALVE and the facility has to be closed down to fix it.

Sooooo……we are required now to source our Molybdenum from overseas. No big deal actually – we have done it many times in the past before – in fact that was one of the reasons why people didn’t want OPAL built as we had sourced our supplies from overseas without problems, and our domestic requirements quite small and remains so today.

But our usual – and yes it is “usual” – overseas source is from South Africa – surprise surprise (home country to Adi btw), and they are down for scheduled maintenance for the next week or so. Sooooo….we are only in possession of 31% of what we normally produce before the facility was on line.

Now here comes the interesting bit. In the Senate Estimates committee hearing 2017 Adi Paterson stated that only 28% of production goes to Australian hospitals, and the rest, 72% goes to overseas export. This figure really hasn’t changed since OPAL came on line back in 2006. Sooo…we in Australia aren’t in any hardship at all given what Adi stated then!

But wait…there’s more! Part of the PM report by the ABC was an interview with a Kalgoorlie doctor saying that he will have to ration and decide which patients need to have this now “short in supply” imaging isotope. Remember it is not a medicine – it is an imaging isotope to detect disease and for organ structure diagnosis. He said that the major cities would not be affected as they can use 3 – 4 alternative ways to diagnose these conditions using CT’s etc but he had no access to that equipment in Kalgoorlie. Given that Kalgoorlie only has a population of 29,000 wouldn’t you think that you would then send these patients TO A CITY CENTRE IN THIS CASE PERTH TO DO THE DIAGNOSIS AND THE FOLLOWUP IF REQUIRED????? I mean – yes it is 600 kms from Perth, but those conditions often need more expert care than is often funded to the smaller centres such as Kalgoorlie…….

September 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

Potential impact of radioactive wastes on water activities in the Spencer Gulf

September 14, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Temperatures 10C above average forecast as 130 bushfires continue to burn

Bureau of Meteorology says stubborn high pressure system will create hot and dry conditions over weekend and next week, Guardian,    Josh Taylor @joshgnosis, Sat 14 Sep 2019 Firefighters in New South Wales and Queensland are gearing up for a week of unseasonably warm weather as they continue to battle blazes across the two states.

And the former head of NSW’s urban fire service says early Australian bushfire seasons are here to stay, as he urges the federal government to step in as resources and firefighting assets stretch beyond current capacity.

Greg Mullins served as commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW from 2004 until his retirement in 2017 and currently sits on the Climate Council, a national climate change communications body.

With NSW bushfires making an early mark in 2019 – including the destruction of nine homes over the past week in the state’s north – Mullins says authorities should prepare for more of the same in coming years.

He says the entire Australian strategy of tackling bushfires – sharing firefighting resources between states as the risk moves from northern states in spring to southern states in summer – is under threat.

Climate change has made nights and winters warmer, increasing the possibility extreme bushfires would burn in different states simultaneously……

The above-average spring temperatures are likely to continue over spring. Bom researchers reported last week in the Conversation that there could be months of above-average temperatures and below-average rainfall in large parts of NSW and Queensland as a result of record warm temperatures above Antarctica.

The Actuaries Institute’s quarterly climate index released this week also showed autumn 2019 ranked as the second-highest for extreme temperatures since the index started in 1981.

The Actuaries Institute chief executive, Elayne Grace, said there was a “growing urgency” to understand the occurrence of extremes in climate and the impacts of climate change on businesses and communities.

September 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Media silence on Julian Assange’s imprisonment encourages governments to intimidate journalists

All around the world, Assange’s treatment seems to have given the green light to governments to intimidate and hassle journalists. Australian police, for instance, recently conducted a raid on journalist Annika Smethurst’s home. Smethurst had not long before that revealed that the Government had been secretly requesting permission to spy on its own citizens.

He must not be extradited’ – Vivienne Westwood on Julian Assange

The media blackout on Julian Assange’s imprisonment,13094   By Mint Press News | 11 September 2019,  The same media that has spent years dragging Assange’s name through the mud is now engaging in a blackout on his treatment.

If you are waiting for corporate media pundits to defend freedom of the press, you’re going to be disappointed.

The role of journalism in a democracy is publishing information that holds the powerful to account — the kind of information that empowers the public to become more engaged citizens in their communities so that we can vote in representatives that work in the interest of “we the people.”

There is perhaps no better example of watchdog journalism that holds the powerful to account and exposes their corruption than that of WikiLeaks, which exposed to the world evidence of widespread war crimes the U.S. military was committing in Iraq, including the killing of two Reuters journalists; showed that the U.S. Government and large corporations were using private intelligence agencies to spy on activists and protesters; and revealed how the military hid tortured Guantanamo Bay prisoners from Red Cross inspectors.

It’s this kind of real journalism that America’s First Amendment was meant to protect but engaging in it has instead made WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange the target of a massive smear campaign for the last several years — including false claims that Assange is working with Vladimir Putin and the Russians and hackers, as well as open calls by corporate media pundits for him to be assassinated. Continue reading

September 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Government secrecy on the true hazard of radioactive fallout

[in 1992] Baverstock and his colleagues published a letter on their findings in the scientific journal Nature, in which they concluded, “the consequences to the human thyroid, especially in fetuses and young children, of the carcinogenic effects of radioactive fallout is much greater than previously thought.”

Now, after more than 30 years, U.N.-sponsored researchers have backed away from the 1992 UNSCEAR study by concluding that “studies of clean-up workers/liquidators suggest dose-related increases of thyroid cancer and hematological malignancies in adults,” as well as “increases in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease. If confirmed, these would have significant public health and radiation protection implications.” 

The United States’ involvement with the Chernobyl aftermath was shaped largely, and shamefully, by the desire to avoid potential legal liabilities associated with the 166 U.S. open-air nuclear weapons tests in Nevada and the Marshall Islands. At the time of the Chernobyl accident, compensation radiation claims for injuries and deaths from bomb testing were looked upon by the nuclear weapons program as a dagger aimed at the heart of U.S. national security.

September 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Much touted “advanced” nuclear reactors nonexistent and just not practical

Claims that new nuclear technologies are leading to “cleaner, safer and more efficient energy production” could only be justified with reference to concepts that exist only as designs on paper.
There’s nothing that can be said about ‘advanced’ reactor rhetoric that wasn’t said by Admiral Hyman Rickover ‒ a pioneer of the US nuclear program ‒ all the way back in 1953:
“An academic reactor or reactor plant almost always has the following basic characteristics: (1) It is simple. (2) It is small. (3) It is cheap (4) It is light. (5) It can be built very quickly. (6) It is very flexible in purpose (‘omnibus reactor’). (7) Very little development is required. It will use mostly off-the-shelf components. (8) The reactor is in the study phase. It is not being built now.
“On the other hand, a practical reactor plant can be distinguished by the following characteristics: (1) It is being built now. (2) It is behind schedule. (3) It is requiring an immense amount of development on apparently trivial items. Corrosion, in particular, is a problem. (4) It is very expensive. (5) It takes a long time to build because of the engineering development problems. (6) It is large. (7) It is heavy. (8) It is complicated.”

September 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

“The Guardian”now toes the line for UK security services, including smearing Julian Assange

Getting Julian Assange   The Guardian also appears to have been engaged in a campaign against the WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who had been a collaborator during the early WikiLeaks revelations in 2010.

It seems likely this was innuendo being fed to The Observer by an intelligence-linked individual to promote disinformation to undermine Assange.

In 2018, however, The Guardian’s attempted vilification of Assange was significantly stepped up. A new string of articles began on 18 May 2018 with one alleging Assange’s “long-standing relationship with RT”, the Russian state broadcaster. The series, which has been closely documented elsewhere, lasted for several months, consistently alleging with little or the most minimal circumstantial evidence that Assange had ties to Russia or the Kremlin.

How the UK Security Services neutralised the country’s leading liberal newspaper. By Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis• 11 September 2019, The Guardian, Britain’s leading liberal newspaper with a global reputation for independent and critical journalism, has been successfully targeted by security agencies to neutralise its adversarial reporting of the ‘security state’, according to newly released documents and evidence from former and current Guardian journalists.

The UK security services targeted The Guardian after the newspaper started publishing the contents of secret US government documents leaked by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in June 2013.

Snowden’s bombshell revelations continued for months and were the largest-ever leak of classified material covering the NSA and its UK equivalent, the Government Communications Headquarters. They revealed programmes of mass surveillance operated by both agencies.

According to minutes of meetings of the UK’s Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee, the revelations caused alarm in the British security services and Ministry of Defence. Continue reading

September 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Japan’s new Environment Minister looks to the shutdown of nuclear power

New Japanese environment minister touts end of nuclear power

A day later Japan inaugurated a new environment minister who, at his very first press conference, flew in the face of prime minister Shinzo Abe’s plans to restart the nation’s nuclear power plants.

Shinjiro Koizumi took office yesterday and within hours revealed his intentions regarding the nuclear fleet, which comes under his ministerial purview.

“I would like to study how we will scrap them, not how to retain them,” said Koizumi of the reactors. “We will be doomed if we allow another nuclear accident to occur.” Continue reading

September 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

How do you leave a warning that lasts as long as nuclear waste?

How do you leave a warning that lasts as long as nuclear waste? Phys Org, by Helen Gordon, 13 Sep 19  “……. First, it is difficult to predict how future generations will behave, what they will value and where they will want to go. Second, creating, maintaining and transmitting records of where waste is dumped will be essential in helping future generations protect themselves from the decisions we make today. Decisions that include how to dispose of some of today’s most hazardous material: high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants.

The red metal lift takes seven juddering minutes to travel nearly 500 metres down. Down, down through creamy limestone to reach a 160-million-year-old layer of clay. Here, deep beneath the sleepy fields and quiet woods along the border of the Meuse and Haute-Marne departments in north-east France, the French National Radioactive Waste Management Agency (Andra) has built its underground research laboratory.

The laboratory’s tunnels are brightly lit but mostly deserted, the air dry and dusty and filled with the hum of a ventilation unit. Blue and grey metal boxes house a series of ongoing experiments—measuring, for example, the corrosion rates of steel, the durability of concrete in contact with the clay. Using this information, Andra wants to build an immense network of tunnels here.

It plans to call this place Cigéo, and to fill it with dangerous radioactive waste. It is designed to be able to hold 80,000 cubic meters of waste……

High-level radioactive waste is primarily, spent fuel from nuclear reactors or the residues resulting from reprocessing that fuel. This waste is so potent that it must be isolated from humans until its levels of radiation, which decrease over time, are no longer hazardous. The timescale Andra is looking at is up to one million years……. Some scientists call this long-lived waste “the Achilles heel of nuclear power,” and it’s a problem for all of us—whatever our stance on nuclear. Even if all the world’s nuclear plants were to cease operating tomorrow, we would still have more than 240,000 tonnes of dangerously radioactive material to deal with.

Currently, nuclear waste is stored above ground or near the surface, but within the industry this is not considered an acceptable long-term solution. This kind of storage facility requires active monitoring. As well as regular refurbishment it must be protected from all kinds of hazards, including earthquakes, fires, floods and deliberate attacks by terrorists or enemy powers.

This not only places an unfair financial burden on our descendants, who may no longer even use nuclear power, but also assumes that in the future there will always be people with the knowledge and will to monitor the waste. On a million-year timescale this cannot be guaranteed.

So, after considering a range of options, governments and the nuclear industry have come to the view that deep, geological repositories are the best long-term approach. Building one of these is an enormous task that comes with host of complex safety concerns.

Finland has already begun construction of a geological repository (called Onkalo), and Sweden has begun the licensing process for its site. Andra expects to apply for its construction license within the next two years.

If Cigéo goes into operation it will house both the high-level waste and what is known as intermediate-level long-lived waste—such as reactor components. Once the repository has reached capacity, in perhaps 150 years’ time, the access tunnels will be backfilled and sealed up. If all goes according to plan, no one will ever enter the repository again……..

For waste buried deep underground, the major threat to public health comes from water contamination. If radioactive material from the waste were to mix with flowing water, it would be able to move relatively swiftly through the bedrock and into the soil and large bodies of water such as lakes and rivers, finally entering the food chain via plants, fish and other animals.

To prevent this, an underground repository such as Cigéo will take great care to shield the waste it stores. Within its walls there will be metal or concrete containers to block the radiation, and liquid waste can be mixed into a molten glass paste that will harden around it to stop leakage…….

Deep geological repositories are designed as passive systems, meaning that once Cigéo is closed, no further maintenance or monitoring is required. Much more difficult to plan for is the risk of human intrusion, whether inadvertent or deliberate.

In 1980, the US Department of Energy created the Human Interference Task Force to investigate the problem of human intrusion into waste repositories. What was the best way to prevent people many thousands of years in the future from entering a repository and either coming into direct contact with the waste or damaging the repository, leading to environmental contamination?

Over the next 15 years a wide variety of experts were involved in this and subsequent projects, including materials scientists, anthropologists, architects, archaeologists, philosophers and semioticians—social scientists who study signs, symbols and their use or interpretation………

In the very long term, though, these plans also have a major drawback: how can we know that anyone living one million years in the future will understand any of the languages spoken today?

Think of the differences between modern and Old English. Who of us can understand “Ðunor cymð of hætan & of wætan”? That—meaning “Thunder comes from heat and from moisture”—is a mere thousand years old.

Languages also have a habit of disappearing. Around 4,000 years ago in the Indus Valley in what is now Pakistan and north-west India, for example, people were writing in a script that remains completely indecipherable to modern researchers. In one million years it is unlikely that any language spoken today will still exist…….

September 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Coalition returns to climate denial roots as Morrison dodges UN summit — RenewEconomy

Climate denial is making a strong comeback in Scott Morrison’s Coalition. So much so that it seems to be having an impact on the other side of politics. The post Coalition returns to climate denial roots as Morrison dodges UN summit appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Coalition returns to climate denial roots as Morrison dodges UN summit — RenewEconomy

September 14, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

September 13 Energy News — geoharvey

Science and Technology: ¶ “Solar Powered Hyperloop System Could Be Coming To A City Near You” • An eco-friendly version of the Hyperloop network is in the works, powered by a skin of solar-powered modules and wind turbine forests, and complete with parks and urban farming spaces. It is the superfast transport technology first envisaged […]

via September 13 Energy News — geoharvey

September 14, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Barrie Hill explains how Australia’s tax-payers must fund nuclear power development — Nuclear Australia

Barrie Hill gives an insight into just what the global nuclear lobby wants from Australia. They want to overturn Australia’ s laws prohibiting nuclear activities, and get the tax-payer to fund the development of the nuclear industry in Australia His submission (no.60) to the FEDERAL. Inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia is […]

via Barrie Hill explains how Australia’s tax-payers must fund nuclear power development — Nuclear Australia

September 14, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment