Australian news, and some related international items

Unrelenting dishonest propaganda leading us to war against China

Not sleepwalking but marching with eyes wide open to war. Independent Australia, By William Briggs | 13 April 2021  
While the USA moves towards war, anti-China rhetoric grows on a daily basis and the idea of war is being sold as the “right” thing, writes Dr William Briggs.

A LIE told often enough can become accepted, but it can never be the truth. China has been declared a threat to all that we hold dear, but it is just not so. China, for all its faults, is not a threat and nor is it practising genocide!

The Uyghur genocide claim gets bigger as each day dawns. Peter Hartcher, in The Age on the 10 April, writes of this genocide and of ‘the evil genius of the system of genocide with Chinese characteristics.’ The “genius” according to Hartcher is that the Chinese are allowing the Uyghurs to live. What a clever and cunning genocide that is!

The plight of the Uyghurs is but the latest lurid episode in a sustained and enormously successful push to demonise China in the eyes of the world. The motivations behind this are simple enough. China’s economic star is rising and America’s best days are behind it.

The world is certainly on the edge of a precipice. There is a broad acceptance, despite an embarrassing lack of evidence, that China is an enemy and, as an enemy, a threat. Nobody is ever eager for war, but people have often enough been persuaded that war is an acceptable option. This is particularly so when an existential threat exists, or in this case, is manufactured. The potential for war, justifications for it and warnings of how it might almost “accidentally” become a reality have come to dominate thought……..

If the USA goes to war with China, it will not be by chance. It has been meticulously planned, costed, budgeted for and the weapons, including “low-yield” nuclear weapons, have been manufactured and deployed by the USA. The world should be aghast at such blatant preparations, but it is not. Those who would take us to war need first to convince us that we have no option, that we are protecting freedom, that we are standing for justice and that a threat exists that the enemy is engaging in genocide.

In the space of just a decade, the people have come to accept this. China has gone from economic saviour of the world to arch enemy. Governments begin the process but could not be expected to convince the people alone. Television and print media: editorials, opinion pieces from leading journalists and international editors, columnists and experts, have all played a decisive role.

A recent poll by the Lowy Institute showed that in 2018, 52 per cent of Australians believed that China would act responsibly in the world. Two very short years later and that figure had dropped to just 23 per cent! The polls are then used by the same anti-China crusaders to prove that a problem exists. They are happy to ignore the effect that a daily barrage of anti-China campaigning can do and how it can shift people’s views…….

The most recent reporting of the treatment of the Uyghurs is that the Chinese are engaged in a campaign of genocide. Genocide was practised in Nazi Germany, in Kampuchea, in Rwanda, in Armenia, in Australia, but to suggest that the Chinese behaviour towards the Uyghurs, while quite possibly repressive, even reprehensible, is genocidal is ludicrous.

There has been discrimination and persecution. Life, for the Uyghurs, has never been easy. However, the West paid little or no attention to these people until about the time that the USA began to talk of “containing” China. It was, for the USA, a fortuitous discovery.

The Chinese, at the end of the 20th Century, waged a campaign against Islamist separatist groups that had become active within the Uyghur population. Violence met violence and conditions worsened for the Uyghurs. None of this concerned Washington. What happened to make things change so dramatically? The Chinese, in all likelihood, did step up repressions but the USA have manipulated events to suit a specific propaganda purpose.

Uyghur stories become more and more horrifying. The Western media was once content to rail against the existence of “re-education” camps. Then it was reports of campaigns of mass rape and then mass sterilisation programs. This morphed into claims of social genocide. Reports of forced labour emerged and evolved into stories of slave labour. The term “social” genocide came into use but has now been shortened to genocide.

This ramping up of rhetoric has one real purpose. China must, at every turn, be shown to be a malignant force. The editorialists, international editors, columnists and journalists have become a willing and shameless weapon in this campaign. If it all ends in war it will not be a chance thing. The world will not be “sleepwalking”. 

Nobody wants war but we are being prepared for it.,14982#.YHZ_2MRzAdY.twitter

April 15, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment

OECD says Australia is 2nd dirtiest economy per capita, tells it to clean up — RenewEconomy

The OECD’s criticism of Australia’s climate record comes two months before former finance minister Matthias Cormann takes over as secretary-general. The post OECD says Australia is 2nd dirtiest economy per capita, tells it to clean up appeared first on RenewEconomy.

OECD says Australia is 2nd dirtiest economy per capita, tells it to clean up — RenewEconomy

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A fossil fuel frenzy is drinking Australia’s finite water resources — RenewEconomy

Water is our life support system in a drying continent, yet the coal and gas industries consume prodigious amounts of water each day. The post A fossil fuel frenzy is drinking Australia’s finite water resources appeared first on RenewEconomy.

A fossil fuel frenzy is drinking Australia’s finite water resources — RenewEconomy

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fukushima” is not over: Japanese NGOs raise concern over the ongoing nuclear disaster

Fukushima” is not over: Japanese NGOs raise concern over the ongoing nuclear disaster, Friends of the Earth Japan, Pacific Asia Resource Center (PARC), 14 Apr 21,

On the 10th anniversary of one of the worst nuclear accidents at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, and amid the controversial decision of the Japanese government to dump “treated” radioactive water into the ocean, Japanese NGOs Friends of the Earth Japan and Pacific Asia Resource Center (PARC) co-produced a documentary film Fukushima 10 Years Later: Voices from the continuing nuclear disaster. The film sheds light on the ongoing suffering of victims of the accident and poses critical questions about the Japanese government’s poor responses to the accident.

While then-Prime Minister Abe vainly declared to the world that “the situation in Fukushima is completely under control”, nuclear decays are continuing inside the molten fuel rods, and the exploded plants are still emitting radioactive particles to this day. In the meanwhile, evacuees are torn apart in limbo, with grim hopes of returning to their homeland, continued fear of radioactive fallout, and a dire socio-economic situation. Fisherfolk, who overcame the initial fear of ocean contamination, are forced to relive the experience each time TEPCO and the Japanese government repeatedly choose to release contaminated water into the ocean.
This happens all under the propaganda that Fukushima is pressing ahead with “Fukkou (Recovery)”.  
This video aims to highlight the current situation of the victims of the man-made disaster, and challenge the government propaganda of Fukushima’s Recovery.

Fukushima 10 Years Later: Voices from the continuing nuclear disaster
Produced by Friends of the Earth Japan and Pacific Asia Resource Center
Supervised by HOSOKAWA Komei (Citizens’ Commission on Nuclear Energy)
Directed by MATSUMOTO Hikaru (Friends of the Earth Japan)
Running time: 43 min.

The English subtitled version of the film is now available on Vimeo on Demand and will cost USD 5.75 to rent and USD 47.50 to purchase.

For further information on the film, please contact OKUMURA Yuto, Pacific Asia Resource Center.
Yuto Okumura,Pacific Asia Resource Center (PARC)

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear Alert: Iran and Israel Playing High-Stakes Poker with Nuclear Power and Nuclear Weapons 

Nuclear Alert: Iran & Israel Playing High-Stakes Poker with Nuclear Power & Nuclear Weapons  Fairewinds, Maggie Gunderson, 14 Apr 21, Fairewindsy now, Fairewinds is sure you know that an explosion at an Iranian nuclear enrichment plant has slowed Iran’s progress to enrich uranium. The crisis shows a very blurry line between Civilian Atomic Power and Military Atomic Bombs!………..

For decades, we are informed there is no correlation between weapons and civilian power. This standoff between Iran and Israel highlights the strong connection between nuclear weapons and nuclear power, like hand-in-glove.

The borderline between bomb-grade uranium and civilian power-grade uranium is determined by how much the isotope Uranium-235 (U-235) is enriched. Traditionally, if uranium enrichment is above 20%, that is considered the low-end of weapons-grade enrichment, which falls between 20% and 100% enrichment for bombs.  Therefore, the higher the percent of enrichment of U-235, the easier it is to manufacture a nuclear bomb.

To be cost-effective, the nuke industry claims its U-235 must be more enriched to prevent atomic power reactors from refueling as often. Currently, uranium fuel used worldwide in operating nuclear power plants is enriched to about 6%.  But the nuclear industry’s new designs for proposed Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) will use fuel enriched to about 20%.

Yes, as Fairewinds quoted above, SMRs will use nuclear fuel that is “one step away from weapons-grade uranium” used to make bombs!

At Fairewinds, we have two questions today:

  1. First, what are Iran’s plans for gaining that much enrichment? Iran claims that this centrifuge produced fuel is for peaceful purposes only, then why does the uranium have to be enriched to almost bomb-grade? Is Iran building SMRs?
  2. Where does that place the United States in world politics with its creation of SMRs? The U.S. plans to build tens of thousands of these allegedly new Small Modular Reactors. Moreover, SMRs use HALEU fuel (High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium) enriched to almost 20% Uranium-235. 
  • How does this action make the U.S. any different from what Iran is doing when the U.S. SMRs will contain high-test Uranium identical to what is being enriched in Iran?
  • Is this federal push for this new SMR design some type of ploy to spread atomic bomb-grade fuel all over the world?
  • The U.S. nuclear power industry is looking at SMRs as its latest cash cow, expecting to sell and build SMRs all over the world!  What kind of international threat is this if thousands of proposed SMRs are located all over the U.S. and worldwide?

As a result of the attack on its enrichment facility, Iran has further changed its mind and said it would enrich uranium to 60%. According to the BBC:

Iran will produce 60%-enriched uranium in retaliation for a suspected Israeli attack on a nuclear site, President Hassan Rouhani says, bringing it closer to the purity required for a weapon. … But he reiterated that Iran’s nuclear activities were “exclusively peaceful”.

France, Germany and the U.K. expressed “grave concern” at the move, saying Iran had “no credible civilian need for enrichment at this level”.

Fairewinds is clear that the 20% enriched fuel planned to be used in SMRs is only one easy step away from creating bomb-grade atomic fuel!  Now that Iran has informed the world that it intends to enrich its uranium to 60%, scientists worldwide know that there is no peaceful civilian atomic reactor of any kind using U-235 enriched to 60%!

Fairewinds hopes that diplomats will resolve this enrichment conundrum before the military situation escalates further.

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Australia to introduce “flexible” export option for rooftop solar — RenewEconomy

South Australia to test “flexible” exports for solar households in a trial that is expected to become standard throughout the country. The post South Australia to introduce “flexible” export option for rooftop solar appeared first on RenewEconomy.

South Australia to introduce “flexible” export option for rooftop solar — RenewEconomy

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Korea aims to fight, at International Tribunal, Japan’s plan to empty Fukushima water into Paific Ocean

S Korea aims to fight Japan’s Fukushima decision at tribunal, Apr S Korea A
Moon Jae-in asks officials to look at ways to refer Japan’s Fukushima decision to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has ordered officials to explore petitioning an international court over Japan’s decision to release water from its Fukushima nuclear plant, his spokesman said, amid protests by fisheries and environmental groups.

Moon said officials should look into ways to refer Japan’s move to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, including filing for an injunction, spokesman Kang Min-seok told a briefing.

Japan unveiled plans on Tuesday to release more than 1 million tonnes of contaminated water into the sea from the plant, which was crippled by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami, starting in about two years after filtering it to remove harmful isotopes.South Korea protested strongly against the decision, summoning Koichi Aiboshi, Tokyo’s ambassador in Seoul, and convening an intra-agency emergency meeting to craft its response.

Moon also expressed concerns about the decision as Aiboshi presented his credentials, having arrived in South Korea in February for the ambassador’s post.“I cannot but say that there are many concerns here about the decision as a country that is geologically closest and shares the sea with Japan,” Moon said, asking Aiboshi to convey such worries to Tokyo, according to Kang.An aerial view shows the storage tanks for treated water at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan February 13, 2021 [Kyodo via Reuters]South Korea’s foreign ministry issued a statement saying it had raised similar concerns with the United States after the Department of State said Japan’s decision was “transparent” and in line with global safety standards.

The ministry also said it shared “strong regret and serious concerns” about the water’s planned release at a video conference on Wednesday with Chinese officials on maritime issues.

A series of protests against the move by politicians, local officials, fishermen and environmental activists took place in South Korea on Wednesday, including in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul and consulates in the port city of Busan and on Jeju island.

A coalition of 25 fisheries organisations staged a rally and delivered a written protest to the embassy, urging Tokyo to revoke the decision and Seoul to ban imports from Japanese fisheries.

“Our industry is on course to suffer annihilating damage, just with people’s concerns about a possible radioactive contamination of marine products,” it said in a statement.

The progressive minor opposition Justice Party and some 30 anti-nuclear and environmental groups called Japan’s move “nuclear terrorism,” and said they sent the Japanese embassy a list of signatures of more than 64,000 people opposed to the move collected from 86 countries since February.

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The nuclear industry – a vortex of corruption

Part two | Nuclear energy in Africa

The second in this three-part series looks at how power purchase agreements raise the cost of electricity for consumers and act as major sources of inflationary pressure in economies. New Frame, By: Neil Overy, 1 Dec 2020 

A vortex of corruption

Another issue that needs to be seriously considered when evaluating the cost of nuclear power is corruption. A 2013 survey of corruption in the nuclear industry by Richard Tanter from the University of Melbourne found “widespread and often deep corruption” in the nuclear industry, saying that national and international nuclear regulatory regimes were “virtually completely ineffective”. 

In recent years, the industry has been rocked by several corruption scandals. 

In 2014, a massive corruption scandal involving South Korean nuclear vendor Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, a subsidiary of Korea Electric Power Company, resulted in dozens of employees receiving a cumulative total of 258 years in prison for fraud and corruption. Many of these charges related to the supply of counterfeit equipment, some of it safety-related, to nuclear power stations in South Korea and the United Arab Emirates. 

In July, five people were arrested in Ohio in the United States, including the Ohio house speaker, for receiving $60 million from an embattled nuclear energy operator in exchange for securing the passage of a $1.5 billion bailout for the operator. 

A month later, Brazilian federal prosecutors charged a subsidiary of EDF and Brazilian nuclear company Eletronuclear with corruption.    

The construction and ongoing maintenance of nuclear power stations are areas particularly susceptible to corruption for two specific reasons. First, because they are megaprojects they are massively complicated enterprises that involve potentially hundreds of contractors and subcontractors, which creates fertile conditions for corruption. Second, these fertile conditions are exacerbated by the secrecy that surrounds nuclear power. While this secrecy is supposedly designed to stop the spread of nuclear technology or the capture of nuclear materials, it fosters an environment that is shielded from scrutiny and public oversight. 

While Africa has no recent experience of nuclear power plant construction, other recent megaprojects on the continent – the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, the Lauca Dam in Angola, the Mambilla Hydropower Project in Nigeria, and the construction of the Medupi and Kusile power stations in South Africa – show how corruption can become entrenched in megaprojects on the continent. 

In this regard, it is worth remembering that Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index for 2019 found that sub-Saharan Africa was the worst performing region in the world, followed closely by North Africa. There is clearly good reason to be concerned about possible corruption in any nuclear deals concluded on the continent. South Africa’s recent unlawful deal between former president Jacob Zuma’s government and Rosatom shows just how real this danger is. 

Part three looks at the costs associated with nuclear waste disposal, decommissioning nuclear power stations and major nuclear accidents.

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The fiasco of nuclear preprocessing: UK, Japan, USA.

Part one | The slow violence of SA’s nuclear waste,

Part one of this four-part story considers the imminent danger involved in storing used radioactive materials, a dilemma growing at a rate of more than 32 tonnes a year. New Frame , By: Neil Overy, 8 Mar 21

”……………..This is a process by which fission products are chemically separated out of used fuel rods to extract any unused uranium. This alleged solution to the problem of high-level waste has been one of the illusionary solutions Eskom has regularly mooted and just as regularly abandoned because of the colossal costs and serious dangers involved in reprocessing. 

In the United Kingdom, the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant, opened at huge cost in 1994, closed in 2018 having reached none of its intended reprocessing targets. Its decommissioning is now set to cost taxpayers at least $5.5 billion and take up to 100 years to complete. In Japan, construction of the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant began in 1993 and was supposed to be completed by 1997. Incredibly, the plant is still not complete – its completion date has been postponed 25 times – and it is now expected to be operational in 2023, 26 years late and tens of billions of dollars over budget. 

Even when operational, large quantities of dangerously radioactive waste, which needs to be stored for thousands of years, remains. Some of this waste is separated plutonium, a fissile material used in nuclear bombs, which presents a very serious security risk. This is precisely why reprocessing has never been authorised in the United States. As the Union of Concerned Scientists conclude, reprocessing is “dangerous, dirty and expensive”. Quite clearly, reprocessing is not an option South Africa should consider. ……

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Africa’s mismanagement of nuclear waste

Part one | The slow violence of SA’s nuclear waste,

Part one of this four-part story considers the imminent danger involved in storing used radioactive materials, a dilemma growing at a rate of more than 32 tonnes a year. New Frame , By: Neil Overy, 8 Mar 21

Where will South Africa permanently and safely store the radioactive nuclear waste produced by the Koeberg nuclear power station in Cape Town? This critical question remains worryingly unanswered, despite the government’s intention to create even more high-level waste by extending the life of Koeberg 20 years past its original decommissioning date, and by building an additional 2 500MW of new nuclear power in South Africa.

The South African story of what to do with this high-level waste is one characterised by endless broken promises, gross mismanagement, ineptitude and pie-in-the-sky “solutions”. This catalogue of failures means there is now so much high-level waste stored at Koeberg that Eskom is having to build a transient interim storage facility (TISF) at the site, just 25km from Cape Town. That this site is both “transient” and “interim” perfectly illustrates that Eskom, or any other operator of nuclear power plants for that matter, has no long-term answer to the question of what to do with high-level nuclear waste. 

Three categories of radioactive waste are produced by nuclear power stations – low-level waste, intermediate-level waste and high-level waste.

Continue reading

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

US cannot afford a world war with Russia — THE WEICHERT REPORT

Brandon J. Weichert’s newest op-ed at The Asia Times shows how bad the US policy toward Russia and Eastern Ukraine really is.

US cannot afford a world war with Russia — THE WEICHERT REPORT

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment