Australian news, and some related international items

Vital questions for Senate Nuclear Waste Committee – on NOMINATIONS, EXPERT EVIDENCE, RADIONUCLIDES, RESET INITIATIVE

The following are some brief extracts from Peter Remta’s Additional submission

HOW DID THE NOMINATIONS COME ABOUT   ?……..the government has persistently refused to provide true copies of the nominations claiming personal confidentiality.

This is a puerile excuse as the prescribed nomination form (being attachment B to the government’s own nomination guidelines issued in November 2016) specifically provides that a nominating landowner by its nomination confirms consent to the public disclosure of the nomination

For this reason your committee should request the Department to produce to it for public examination the nominations for Napandee and Lyndhurst and this should quickly establish the veracity of the claims as to the  nomination and selection of those sites…..

WHY IS THE SENATE COMMITTEE NOT HEARING EXPERT EXTERNAL EVIDENCE?  As it appears that your committee is drawing to the conclusion of its enquiry
I still ask why it has not availed itself of hearing from internationally renowned experts on the management of nuclear waste as I previously suggested………

WHY IS THE COMMITTEE ACCEPTING “EVIDENCE” FROM UNQUALIFIED PERSONS WITHOUT INFORMATION CONFIRMING IT? I am staggered by what was accepted as undisputed evidence by not necessarily qualified persons and without any attempt to gain further information or confirmation.

About agriculture The first of these is how the establishment of the facility at Napandee will give rise to agricultural and scientific research locally without any information to support that claim.

This becomes even more nonsensical when viewed in the light of the most recent protests by agricultural communities in European countries as to the presence of nuclear waste production and disposal……

About jobs. The other is the number of jobs arising through the establishment of the facility and now the new agency based in Adelaide as the numbers suggested are completely outside of the realm of reality.,,,,

WHY NO AUTHORITATIVE AGENCY LIKE  AMERICA’s RESET INITIATIVE?  While there are several examples that your committee should have studied perhaps the most apt at present is the United States of America initiative and experience known as the Reset of America’s Nuclear Waste Management – Strategies and Policies but for brevity is referred to as the Reset Initiative…… Reset is an effort to untangle the technical, administrative and public concerns in such a way that important issues can be identified,understood and addressed”………….

none of this has occurred with the selection of Napandee……

WHY THE SILENCE ON RADIONUCLIDES? Through a safety case, an implementer reveals its understanding of the management and repository site and how it expects the radionuclides to behave in the repository over long periods of time………….  One important aspect of the risk and safety of storage and disposal of nuclear waste included in the Reset relates to the radionuclides activity of the waste.

Again and despite my raising it previously there has been pointed silence in both the submissions and the personal evidence to your committee of the radionuclides inventories in the intermediate level waste which rather strangely is not known to ARPANSA.

Th Reset Initiative explains that most of the radionuclides in nuclear waste will decay away during the first 1,000 years of management but some will persist for tens of thousands to over one million years…….

It is therefore very difficult to understand how the government has chosen Napandee for its facility before and without any study of the site with regard to the radionuclides and the type of waste as this is the most preliminary and important factor in seeking a suitable location.

The results of the study should also determine the style and nature of the storage and disposal of the nuclear waste.

NEED FOR AN INTERNATIONALLY ACCEPTED PLAN  FIRST – NOT “SUBSEQUENT PLANNING”  This is something that cannot be cured by so-called subsequent planning and engineering and according to the expert advice should be a determining factor in rejecting the ultimate licence applications for Napandee………

In conclusion the importance and relevance of the Reset Initiative are best gauged by the suggestions that the Reset will be adopted with appropriate variations by IAEA as a principal part of its standards and codes relating to nuclear waste management which by treaty obligations would then become Australia’s prescribed standards.

August 4, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Senate committee to report by August 31 re Kimba Nuclear Waste Dump plan

[Ed. According to some reports  – “Woomera has nothing to worry about, Defence say no, so they are safe.”]

Nuclear waste push for Woomera over Kimba ‘fails pub test’, local mayor saysMichelle Etheridge, Regional Reporter, The Advertiser

A push to swap Kimba for Woomera as the site of a new radioactive waste storage site is disrespectful and “fails the pub test” following years of consultation, the local mayor says.

Kimba Mayor Dean Johnson on Monday told a Senate committee that after much debate, the district was “the best informed community in Australia when it comes to radioactive waste and how it’s handled”.

His comments follow Senator Patrick’s suggestion that the contentious storage facility, planned for farming property Napandee, near Kimba, be built at Woomera instead.

Our community has engaged and invested in the process for a really long time and to throw it in another location now, like Woomera, is just disrespectful on so many levels,” Mr Johnson said.

It’s a bad idea that fails the pub test and the common sense test.”

Senator Patrick has said Federal Parliament should be given a choice to build the dump in the remote and highly-secure Woomera Protection area, where low and intermediate level waste has been stored for decades. However, Defence has argued building the facility at Woomera would “not align with Australia’s strategic interests”.

Kimba stands to receive a $31 million funding package under the plans.

Mr Johnson said the facility would deliver a new industry for the Eyre Peninsula town, and help the area “not just survive, but thrive”.

The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation have opposed the legislation on the basis that it removes the organisation’s right to seek a judicial review of the Government’s decision to go ahead with the site.

Its chairman Jason Bilney asked the committee to consider the impacts of a decision to go ahead as planned, despite traditional landowners objecting.

What does that say to indigenous people – we’ve won our country but we still don’t have a right to say what we need to about our country? It’s very disrespectful to the community and our elders,” he said.

Kimba Council last year ran a poll on whether locals supported the waste plan, but traditional landowners not living in the area were excluded.

Meantime, No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA president Peter Woolford said the waste site should be built somewhere it posed no risk to agriculture. “The sad thing that’s been forgotten here is the impact on people – people are thinking about whether they’re going to move out because of their mental health,” he said.

We’re (also) trying to stand up for people outside of Kimba that have been denied a say.”

The Senate committee will report back by August 31.


August 4, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Racism in nuclear bomb testing, bombing of Japanese people, and nuclear waste dumping

Langston Hughes voiced the opinion that until racial injustice on home ground in the United States ceases, “it is going to be very hard for some Americans not to think the easiest way to settle the problems of Asia is simply dropping an atom bomb on colored heads there.”[25] While his statement was made in 1953, near the eighth anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, it remains equally relevant today, as we approach the 75th anniversary

Memorial Days: the racial underpinnings of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings  , Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Elaine Scarry, Elaine Scarry is the author of Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing between Democracy and Doom and The Body in Pain: the Making and Unmaking of the World. She is Cabot Profess…   By Elaine Scarry, August 3, 2020

This past Memorial Day, a Minneapolis police officer knelt on the throat of an African-American, George Floyd, for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Seventy-five years ago, an American pilot dropped an atomic bomb on the civilian population of Hiroshima. Worlds apart in time, space, and scale, the two events share three key features. Each was an act of state violence. Each was an act carried out against a defenseless opponent. Each was an act of naked racism. ……….

Self-defense was not an option for any one of the 300,000 civilian inhabitants of the city of Hiroshima, nor for any one of the 250,000 civilians in Nagasaki three days later. We know from John Hersey’s classic Hiroshima that as day dawned on that August morning, the city was full of courageous undertakings meant to increase the town’s collective capacity for self-defense against conventional warfare, such as the clearing of fire lanes by hundreds of young school girls, many of whom would instantly vanish in the 6,000° C temperature of the initial flash, and others of whom, more distant from the center, would retain their lives but lose their faces.[2] The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki initiated an era in which—for the first time on Earth and now continuing for seven and a half decades—humankind collectively and summarily lost the right self-defense. No one on Earth—or almost no one on Earth[3]has the means to outlive a blast that is four times the heat of the sun or withstand the hurricane winds and raging fires that follow………

Centuries of political philosophers have asked, “What kind of political arrangements will create a noble and generous people?” Surely such arrangements cannot be ones where a handful of men control the means for destroying at will everyone on Earth from whom the means of self-defense have been eliminated……..

When Americans first learned that the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been collectively vaporized in less time than it takes for the heart to beat, many cheered. But not all. Black poet Langston Hughes at once recognized the moral depravity of executing 100,000 people and discerned racism as the phenomenon that had licensed the depravity: “How come we did not try them [atomic bombs] on Germany…  . They just did not want to use them on white folks.”[4] Although the building of the weapon was completed only after Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945, Japan had been designated the target on September 18, 1944, and training for the mission had already been initiated in that same month.[5] Black journalist George Schuyler wrote: “The atom bomb puts the Anglo-Saxons definitely on top where they will remain for decades”; the country, in its “racial arrogance,” has “achieved the supreme triumph of being able to slaughter whole cities at a time.”[6]

Still within the first year (and still before John Hersey had begun to awaken Americans to the horrible aversiveness of the injuries), novelist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston denounced the US president as a “butcher” and scorned the public’s silent compliance, asking, “Is it that we are so devoted to a ‘good Massa’ that we feel we ought not to even protest such crimes?”[7] Silence—whether practiced by whites or people of color—was, she saw, a cowardly act of moral enslavement to a white supremacist. Continue reading

August 4, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment


The Advertiser, 3 Aug 20, An Adelaide Hills councillor is laser-focused on the threat posed by nuclear weapons. He wants his council to take immediate steps so it’s ready to provide local leadership in the event of a nuclear holocaust……. (subscribers only)

August 4, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Links between Trump administration, Falun Gong, and Australia’s government

Propaganda Wars: US state department funds anti-China news outlet in Australia

by Marcus Reubenstein | Aug 4, 2020  Office bearers of US-backed Chinese language news service Decode China are linked with Falun Gong, the spiritual group that has spent millions backing Donald Trump through fake social media accounts. The same people are on the board of the National Foundation for Australia China Relations, raising scepticism about its ability to repair fractured relationships. Marcus Reubenstein investigates US state funding of anti-China media in Australia and links to global arms dealers via ASPI.

The US State Department is quietly funding a Chinese-language news service in Australia, a move more typically associated with China’s state media propagandists.

And two of the three office bearers of the news service, Decode China, are members of a taxpayer-funded independent board advising the Australian government on engagement with China.

Corporate records show Dr Wai Ling Yeung and Maree Ma became secretary and director, respectively, of Decode China Pty Ltd just eight weeks before Foreign Minister Marise Payne appointed them to the board of the National Foundation for Australia China Relations. The NFACR replaced the Australia China Council (ACC), which was set up by the Fraser government in 1978 and later chaired by former prime minister Gough Whitlam.

The retired Curtin University academic Dr Yeung is a vocal critic of the Chinese government, while Ma is the general manager of the Falun Gong-aligned, largely anti-Chinese government Vision Times newspaper. According to journalist and former Australian Falun Gong practitioner Ben HurleyVision Times is part of the apparatus of Falun Gong media in Australia, led by The Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty Television.

The spiritual group Falun Gong is banned in China and there is substantial evidence that its mainland Chinese followers are harshly persecuted by the Chinese government.

However, former practitioners say it’s a dangerous cult, whose leaders claim to have the power of levitation and tell followers that aliens from other planets are responsible for interracial marriage and mixed-race children.

Falun Gong-aligned media affiliates in the US have been accused of pouring millions of dollars into fake social media accounts and Facebook advertising, since banned, supporting Donald Trump. A recent investigation by the ABC’s Foreign Correspondent and Background Briefing programs revealed Falun Gong-affiliated media in the US have spent more than US$11.5 million in social media advertising to promote Trump.

ASPI lurking in the background Continue reading

August 4, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

The nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki did NOT save lives and shorten World War 2

What Europeans believe about Hiroshima and Nagasaki—and why it matters , Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists   Benoît Pelopidas  Benoît Pelopidas is the founder of the Nuclear Knowledges program at the Center for International Studies at Sciences Po in Paris (formerly chair of excellence in security studies).  Kjølv Egeland, Kjølv Egeland is Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow in Security Studies at Sciences Po, focusing on strategic narratives and global nuclear order. 

By Benoît PelopidasKjølv Egeland, August 3, 2020   Did the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki shorten the war, and were they necessary to force the Japanese surrender? Many people believe the answer to both questions is yes: In dropping the Bomb, America chose the lesser of two evils.

Although historians have long challenged this narrative as wrong or misleading, a significant number of Europeans still believe it. That is the primary result of a recent survey of European views on nuclear affairs generally and the atomic bombings of Japan specifically. The survey, carried out in October 2019, involved approximately 7,000 respondents aged 18 and upward, carefully selected to ensure representative samples from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

The survey also shows that those who believe the bombings were necessary and effective at significantly shortening the war are more likely to harbor skepticism toward nuclear disarmament than those who do not. That being said, European publics remain on the whole staunch in their support for the elimination of nuclear weapons. Even in nuclear-armed France and the United Kingdom, large majorities reject the idea that nuclear weapons could ever be used morally. Although others across the world may hold similar views, to date there has been no broad survey posing these questions in the United States or elsewhere. Future surveys could investigate whether the same pattern exists beyond Europe…………

it does not appear that the US executive spent much time deliberating whether atomic weapons should be used or not.  Discussions instead focused on how, when, and where they would be employed. ………….

According to declassified documents, the US military estimated in June 1945 that a full-scale invasion of the Japanese home islands, in the worst-case scenario, could be expected to incur up to 220,000 casualties—quite far from Stimson’s “over a million.” Moreover, of the 220,000 casualties, only 46,000 were projected as fatalities. The number of people killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on the other hand, was probably at least twice as high as the “over a hundred thousand Japanese” reported by Stimson in 1947………

the idea that the US government was faced with only two options in August 1945—full invasion or atomic bombing of Japanese population centers—has little basis in reality. Alternative courses of action, not mutually exclusive, would have included negotiations, a demonstration of the atomic bomb in an uninhabited area, continued strategic bombing short of the use of atomic weapons, continued economic blockade, and waiting for the Soviets to declare war against the Japanese empire. 

it is not clear that the atomic bombs were in fact responsible for the Japanese surrender. The Japanese war cabinet had over an extended period of time been divided between a “peace party,” which argued that Japan should seek an end to the war as quickly as possible, and a “war party,” which argued the war should be continued as Japan sought good offices from the Soviet Union to negotiate a peace deal with the United States and Britain. In the view of the acclaimed historian Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, who consulted primary sources in Japanese, it was the Soviet Union’s breach of the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact and attack against Japan on August 9, 1945 that tipped the scale and forced the emperor’s decision to surrender the very next day (the final decision was formalized a few days later, following discussions within the Japanese executive). In the absence of the Soviet invasion, Hasegawa concludes, the two atomic bombs would “most likely not have prompted the Japanese to surrender, so long as they still had hope that Moscow would mediate.”

The historian John Dower concurs: The Soviet entry into war was more important than the atomic bombing in producing Japanese surrender. Once the Soviets intervened, the Japanese appear to have favored surrendering to Washington over allowing Moscow to conquer their country. At the same time, from the perspective of the Japanese government, the atomic bombings provided an opportunity to frame the Japanese military’s shattering defeat as a result not of its own incompetence, but as an outcome of the introduction of a new and revolutionary weapon by the enemy. In Dower’s words, the atomic bombings allowed the Japanese emperor to spin the capitulation as “nothing less than a magnanimous act that might save humanity itself from annihilation by an atrocious adversary.”

In fact, according to the US Air Force’s own review, finalized not long after the end of the war, Japan would likely have surrendered that same autumn even in the absence of atomic bombings or an invasion. Similarly, the Joint Chiefs of Staff expressed skepticism about the use of atomic bombs both before and after the fact.

In summary, many of the central claims on which the official story about Hiroshima and Nagasaki is founded—that the atomic bombings were necessary to end the war, that they ended a conflict that otherwise would have slogged on, and that they saved a large number of American soldiers’ lives—appear to rest on shaky ground. While certain aspects of the story stand up to scrutiny, others have been proven plain wrong, and others remain contested by scholarship. But have people caught up with the historiography? 

European views on the atomic bombings of Japan. Asked to note their agreement or disagreement with the statement that “the atomic bombings of Japan in World War II shortened the war significantly,” 23 percent of respondents to the October 2019 survey “strongly” agreed, 29 percent “somewhat” agreed, 31 percent reported no opinion, 9 percent “somewhat” disagreed, and 8 percent “strongly” disagreed. In other words, while 52 percent of respondents expressed support for the idea that the war was significantly shortened by the atomic bombings, only 17 percent pushed back against that idea.

Regarding the question of whether “the atomic bombings of Japan in World War II were necessary to bring Japan to surrender,” the survey results were more balanced. 12 percent of respondents “strongly” agreed, 19 percent “somewhat” agreed, 33 percent reported no opinion, 15 percent “somewhat” disagreed, and 21 percent “strongly” disagreed.

On the statement, “The atomic bombings of Japan in World War II saved American soldiers’ lives,” 14 percent of respondents expressed that they “strongly” agreed, 25 percent that they “somewhat” agreed, 38 percent reported no opinion, 11 percent expressed that they “somewhat” disagreed, and 13 percent expressed that they “strongly” disagreed.

Finally, asked to note their agreement or disagreement with the statement that “the atomic bombings of Japan in World War II killed innocent civilians,” 71 percent of respondents to the 2019 survey “strongly” agreed, 14 percent “somewhat” agreed, 12 percent expressed no opinion, and less than 5 percent “strongly” or “somewhat” disagreed.

The results suggest that the Stimson narrative still holds sway among Europeans, but that support might be weakening over time. On each statement, older respondents were slightly more likely than younger respondents to express agreement with Stimson’s interpretation of the atomic bombings.

Finally, it bears mentioning that British respondents stand out among the nine European populations sampled as the greatest believers in the Stimson narrative. The results unfortunately do not give further insight into the causes of this tendency, but three mutually reinforcing hypotheses are plausible. First, the shared language of the United States and the United Kingdom allows narratives and talking points to travel relatively frictionless across borders. Second, the United Kingdom was directly involved in the building of the atomic bomb through the Manhattan Project and, by extension, partly responsible for the fates of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki……..

Attitudes toward nuclear disarmament. European publics have long offered strong support for arms control and the elimination of nuclear weapons. This pattern is further corroborated by the survey data, which show consistent support for nuclear disarmament.  ……..

The support for disarmament is robust and consistent: 81 percent of respondents who strongly agreed with the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons within 25 years also offered strong support for an agreement to eliminate nuclear weapons.  …….

However, there is clear relationship between degree of faith in the Stimson narrative and support for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Respondents who said the atomic bombings shortened the war significantly, were necessary to bring about the Japanese surrender, or saved American soldiers’ lives were significantly more likely to believe that the abolition of nuclear weapons would “make the world less safe” compared to those who did not express such views. ………..

However, there is clear relationship between degree of faith in the Stimson narrative and support for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Respondents who said the atomic bombings shortened the war significantly, were necessary to bring about the Japanese surrender, or saved American soldiers’ lives were significantly more likely to believe that the abolition of nuclear weapons would “make the world less safe” compared to those who did not express such views. ……….

It is the responsibility of scholars and educators to work against such epistemic vulnerability to expose citizens to the latest advances of knowledge so that they can independently form their political views.


August 4, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Global heating is causing ‘extreme’ melting in New Zealand glaciers

August 4, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

How to build a nuclear warning for 10,000 years’ time,

How to build a nuclear warning for 10,000 years’ time,   The nuclear waste buried far beneath the earth will be toxic for thousands of years. How do you build a warning now that can be understood in the far future?, BBC Future, 3 Aug 20

“This place is not a place of honor,” reads the text. “No highly esteemed dead is commemorated here… nothing valued is here. What is here was dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger.”

It sounds like the kind of curse that you half-expect to find at the entrance to an ancient burial mound. But this message is intended to help mark the site of the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP) that has been built over 2,000 feet (610m) down through stable rocks beneath the desert of New Mexico. The huge complex of tunnels and caverns is designed to contain the US military’s most dangerous nuclear waste.

This waste will remain lethal longer than the 300,000 years Homo sapiens has walked across the surface of the planet. WIPP is currently the only licensed deep geological disposal repository in operation in the world. A similar facility should also open in Finland in the mid-2020s.

When the facility is full sometime in the next 10 to 20 years, the caverns will be collapsed and sealed with concrete and soil. The sprawling complex of buildings that currently mark the site will be erased. In its place will be “our society’s largest conscious attempt to communicate across the abyss of deep time”.

vThe plan calls for huge 25ft (7.6m) tall granite columns marking the four-sq-mile (10 sq km) outer boundary of the entire site. Inside this perimeter, there is an earth berm 33ft (10m) tall and 100ft (30m) wide marking the repository’s actual footprint. Then inside the berm will be another square of granite columns.

At the centre of this monumental “Do Not Enter” sign will be a room containing information about the site. In case the information becomes unreadable, there will be another buried 20ft below, and another buried in the earth barrier itself. Detailed information about the WIPP will be stored in many archives around the world on special paper stamped with the instruction that it must be kept for 10,000 years, the rather arbitrary length of the site’s license.

The plan calls for huge 25ft (7.6m) tall granite columns marking the four-sq-mile (10 sq km) outer boundary of the entire site. Inside this perimeter, there is an earth berm 33ft (10m) tall and 100ft (30m) wide marking the repository’s actual footprint. Then inside the berm will be another square of granite columns.

Welcome to the world of nuclear semiotics. The vast landscape proposed for the WIPP is partly influenced by science fiction. Nuclear physicists, engineers, anthropologists, sci-fi writers, artists and others have come together in the very broad, esoteric field of research into the way that future humans – and anything that comes after us – might be warned of our deadly legacy

Sadly, the idea to cover the site with a forest of massive concrete thorns was not taken up, nor the idea to create a self-perpetuating atomic priesthood who would use legend and ritual to create a sense of fear around the site for generations. Linguist Thomas Sebok first used the phrase “nuclear priesthood” in 1981. …….

August 4, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

August 3 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “How To Build A Nuclear Warning For 10,000 Years’ Time” • The Waste Isolation Pilot Project, which was built over 2,000 feet down through stable rocks beneath the desert of New Mexico, is a huge complex of tunnels and caverns designed to contain the US military’s most dangerous nuclear waste. It will be […]

August 3 Energy News — geoharvey

August 4, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rooftop solar’s stunning surge to new records, as Australia installs reach 2.5 million — RenewEconomy

Defying Covid-19, Australia’s rooftop solar installs set new monthly record for July and surpasses 2.5 million total installs. The post Rooftop solar’s stunning surge to new records, as Australia installs reach 2.5 million appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Rooftop solar’s stunning surge to new records, as Australia installs reach 2.5 million — RenewEconomy

August 4, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment