Australian news, and some related international items

This week’s nuclear news – Australia and overseas

Covid 19 coronavirus: Around the world – situation update

Climate change behind global heat deaths

Nuclear.  The coronavirus, with its global effects on health, human suffering is also, of course, affecting the economy, and most (though not all) businesses. The ”commercial” nuclear industry is affected, but not the nuclear weapons industry. The nuclear-armed nations are revving up their weapons expenditure. The USA is the shiningly obscene example. Clearly the nuclear weapons industry has captured the American government, it hardly matters whether the administration is in Democratic or Republican hands.

Some bits of good news:  Chernobyl Guards Have Befriended Abandoned Dogs, Feeding Them and Bringing Medical Care. World’s Largest Wind Turbine Manufacturer Says All Its Blades Will Soon be Fully Recycled.


 Australia, the USA’s only ”best friend” in the Indo Pacific, to deploy more USA military equipment, heightening the threat against China. Australian Robert Floyd to head the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation

Nuclear trash – a tale of two Sydney suburbs.  

Radioactive particles still endanger wildlife in the landscape around Maralinga. 

Australian company Greenland Minerals fails community test over controversial rare earths and uranium mine plan.

Environmentalists and Aboriginal traditional owners object to rocket launching on South Australian protected heritage land, at Whaler’s Way. 

 Tough environmental regulation brings economic benefits. Australia lags behind all OECD countries. Australia/UK Free Trade Agreement will give corporations the right to sue governments.  


A People’s Guide to the War Industry .

The appalling mistreatment of Australian citizen, Julian Assange, – by USA, UK, and Australia. Targeted surveillance threatens human rights defenders.

“Unqualified” —who is allowed to talk about nuclear power ?

Report on the threat of nuclear terrorism.

New technology comes nowhere close to solving the problem of nuclear waste. Despite the Small Nuclear Reactor push from Bill Gates and the rest of the nuclear lobby, we already have the technologies to decarbonise our global economy.

 New research highlights need for international standards to safeguard against plutonium ”hot” particles.    

Ionising radiation the big danger to astronauts.

The time to divest from Bitcoin is now.

1st U.N. nuclear ban meeting may be postponed until after Non Proliferation Treaty review.

U.S. Energy Information reports uranium at lowest price since 2007.

  As electric vehicles take off, we’ll need to recycle their batteries.  

June 1, 2021 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Australia/UK Free Trade Agreement will give corporations the right to sue governments.

Australia/UK Free Trade Agreement: What’s the Scam?

by Michael West | May 31, 2021 The British Trade Minister has confirmed that corporations are likely to have the right to sue the Australian and UK governments if governments make laws which hit their profits. What’s the scam?

ISDS is the scam; Investor-State Dispute Settlement that is, clauses buried in “Free Trade” agreements, such as this one, which allow corporations to sue governments in obscure foreign tribunals. Australia’s most celebrated ISDS case was brought by tobacco giant Phillip Morris which sued Australia in Hong Kong when Australia introduced its wonderfully successful plain packaging laws.

“There are now over 1,000 known ISDS cases, with increasing numbers against health and environment laws, including laws to address climate change,” says Patricia Ranald convenor of the Australian Fair Trade & Investment Network (AFTINET).

“ISDS would give UK corporations the right to sue Australia over democratic legal changes in Australia. For example, British aged care company BUPA could claim compensation if the government follows the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and regulates for improved staffing levels and quality of care.”

Just another chapter in the saga of rising corporate power over democracy.

June 1, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics international, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

“Unqualified” —who is allowed to talk about nuclear power ?

Who is allowed to talk about nuclear power?

“Unqualified” — Beyond Nuclear International Nuclear trolls turn on the aggression as industry collapses around them  

By Linda Pentz Gunter, 31 May 21, “My advice is to look out for engineers. They begin with sewing machines and end up with nuclear bombs.” Marcel Pagnol
My normal rule of thumb is to ignore the unrelenting pro-nuclear trolls who pepper our sites with incessant nay-saying and, occasionally ad hominem name-calling. After all, they have only one goal in mind — other than to get up one’s nose — which is to dominate and thereby control the narrative.
But recently, a recurring theme has emerged which needs addressing, because it speaks to who is allowed to talk about nuclear power.

In the view of the trolls, if you have no scientific credentials, you are unqualified to comment on nuclear power. In my case, because I have a degree in English literature, albeit garnered many decades ago, I have, according to the trolls, no authority to expound on the negatives of nuclear anything.

There are some rather obvious flaws in this argument, the first being that it pre-supposes the human brain is incapable of learning anything new after the age of 21. 

But it also exemplifies the theme of a recent conference held virtually in Linz by three Austrian anti-nuclear groups which examined the “Atomic Lie.” How has this lie been perpetuated? Answer: by those who promote the nuclear power industry anointing themselves as the only authority deemed knowledgeable enough to either comment about it or make decisions on its use and safety.

What kind of a world we will end up with if, heaven forfend, we allow only engineers to decide what is in our best interest (with all due respect to my friends who are engineers and who, I suspect, would be the first to agree)? Hence the Pagnol quote at the top of this page.

This would mean, for example, that the Western Shoshone should have no say in the fate of the land in Nevada they steward, because nuclear engineers have decided it is perfectly alright to dig a big hole in the volcanic ground and bury nuclear waste there.

It would mean that Marshall Islanders should have nothing whatever to say about the generations of cancers and birth defects they have suffered as the unwilling guinea-pigs of atomic “testing,” because after all it was scientists who decided that it was perfectly alright to detonate 67 atomic bombs there and obliterate islands………..

This intent to dominate the narrative — in our case the nuclear power one — and silence critics, was aptly described by Arnie Gundersen in his presentation during the Linz conference. He talked about the origins of the nuclear cabal — under its alias, Atoms for Peace — in which its originator, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, described the program as solving “‘the fearful atomic dilemma’ by finding some way in which the ‘miraculous inventiveness of man’ ‘would not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life’”.

Gundersen looked up the Oxford Dictionary definition of “consecrate” and found it to mean “to make sacred or declare sacred; dedicate formally to a religious or divine purpose.”

This nuclear priesthood into which believers were ordained did not welcome skeptics gladly, however. Quite the reverse. When Gundersen, a nuclear insider at the time, blew the whistle on a safety issue, he was told to his face that “in this business, you’re either with us or against us, and you just crossed the line.” He was not only fired but persecuted in further attempts to silence him.

Luckily for our movement, the nuclear inquisition was largely unsuccessful in this latter endeavor, but it came at a steep price for Gundersen and his family personally.

As evidenced by Gundersen’s experience, these attacks are by no means restricted to us “lay” advocates, but they have grown observably more vitriolic. This disturbing trend was flagged recently by Andy Stirling of the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex in the UK, responding to an aggressive critique of an article he co-authored in Nature Energy.

His detractor, Jeremy Gordon, “goes beyond pejorative labelling to actively ridicule any position not in-principle supportive of nuclear power,” Stirling wrote in a letter published in Nuclear Engineering International. “This is exemplified by Gordon’s intemperate ad hominem attack on my fellow author (the globally leading energy scholar Benjamin Sovacool).” Stirling concludes that it is “reasoned policy discourse that forms the lifeblood of democracy itself”.

We are a grand collective of experts. We do have scientists and engineers —Gundersen is one — to whom we can turn in order to unravel the deeper complexities of the workings of nuclear power plants or uranium mines or reprocessing facilities. But it is not the only dimension that matters. So we need Indigenous people, and writers, and lay advocates, and economists, and historians, and artists, and humanitarians to tell this story and set the agenda, too. 

Even if it is rocket science, rocket scientists aren’t the only ones who count when decisions are made about whether to put missiles into space or send a nuclear-powered probe to Mars.

As Pagnol implied, when you leave it to the scientists and engineers, you get a Manhattan Project, where consciences pricked far too late. Imagine if humanitarian voices had held sway inside Los Alamos. Would things have turned out differently?

The Japanese mothers, evacuated from Fukushima, who shout on street corners through bullhorns about their experiences, warning Japan never to re-embrace nuclear power, don’t hold engineering degrees. But they know a lot more about the real, lived consequences of using nuclear power than any of the nuclear industry trolls.

Those voices of truth need to be heard, along with those who practice sound science and honest engineering and who are willing to call out the dangers, not control the lies.

It’s one thing to have command of the facts, which of course we must. But it’s another to accompany these with a hefty dose of integrity. And that’s what we are here for, even if we can quote Shakespeare while we are doing it.

Linda Pentz Gunter is the international specialist at Beyond Nuclear and writes for, curates and edits Beyond Nuclear International.

June 1, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The appalling mistreatment of Australian citizen, Julian Assange, – by USA, UK, and Australia


Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges joins Robert Scheer to discuss the WikiLeaks founder’s plight as he languishes in a British prison. SCHEER INTELLIGENCE: A ROBERT SCHEER PODCAST

The mistreatment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over the past decade has been defined as “psychological torture” by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer. Yet, there is still no real end in sight to Assange’s promethean plight. Several months after a British judge blocked his extradition to the U.S.–citing that conditions in America’s inhumane prison system would be detrimental to his health–the WikiLeaks founder continues to be held in a maximum security prison in the U.K. The U.S. government, first under Donald Trump’s rule and now under Joe Biden’s, is appealing the extradition ruling. With a new decision in the case is due to be announced any day now, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and ScheerPost columnist Chris Hedges joins Robert Scheer on this week’s installment of “Scheer Intelligence” to discuss what Hedges has called Assange’s “martyrdom.”

Scheer and Hedges assert that Assange’s case is a clear threat to freedom of the press given that he acted in the capacity of a publisher in the same way the global media outlets that printed the content released by WikiLeaks did. Should the publishers of the Washington Post, New York Times and other media have been charged with a crime for publishing the content? Hedges and Scheer, who have both been staunch supporters  of the WikiLeaks founder, conclude that there can only be one reason for all recent Republican and Democratic administrations to doggedly persecute Assange: he is a major threat to the establishment’s most sinister interests.

“Your job [as a publisher] is not to be partisan,” says Hedges. “Your job is to expose the machinations of power, the crimes of power, the lies of power–whoever’s in power. And that’s precisely what Julian did. when he was going after Bush with the Iraq War Logs, the Democrats loved him. But as soon as his journalistic integrity led him to also expose the inner workings of the Democratic Party establishment, they turned on him as vociferously as the Republicans.

“I’ve been stunned at what an egregious assault [Assange’s persecution] is on press freedom and how the institutions that purport to care about freedom of the press have been complicit in the persecution of Julian.”

As Assange is tortured before our eyes, Hedges decries the silence of organizations such as PEN, which “are tasked with holding up the kind of liberties and press freedoms that we care about.” The award-winning journalist argues that PEN and others have not only sold out to their liberal donor base, but have been “taken over” by Democratic establishment figures such as Suzanne Nossel, the current head of PEN America and former member of the State Department under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Scheer also highlights the plight of another person who has become collateral damage in America’s tyrannical mission against Assange.

“The real hero of this whole thing is Chelsea Manning,” says Scheer. “The U.S. government has been tormenting Chelsea Manning because they basically want to get her to say: ‘Julian Assange put me up to this; he’s the really bad guy.’ It’s a horrible story of government torture and manipulation that you have this rare, exemplary citizen, Chelsea Manning, who does the right thing and says our government, in our name, is committing war crimes–killing innocent children and journalists and everything–and then they want to now break her so she’ll go against Julian Assange.”

Listen to the full conversation between Hedges and Scheer as they examine in detail the U.K.’s role in the Assange trial, as well as discuss the very real dangers the results of the case could pose to journalists and journalism the world over.


RS: Hi, this is Robert Scheer with another edition of Scheer Intelligence, where the intelligence comes from my guests. And in this case, unquestionably; a very shrewd observer, Chris Hedges, longtime correspondent, bureau chief for the New York Times, and wrote for a lot of other publications.

But I want to get Chris on now with some urgency, because I’m really concerned about the fate of Julian Assange. I’ve turned 85; in my whole life I don’t think I’ve had, experienced a case of such splendid indifference to press freedom and the suffering of a brave journalist in this country, in the United States. He’s of course not from the U.S., which makes it even more appalling that he’s being held under terrible conditions in an English prison………………..

June 1, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, media, politics international, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Chris Hedges on the Ruling Class’ Revenge Against Julian Assange — Rise Up Times

“The whole process has really been a mockery of the rule of law. Julian is not a U.S. citizen; WikiLeaks is not a U.S.-based publication.”

Chris Hedges on the Ruling Class’ Revenge Against Julian Assange — Rise Up Times

June 1, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Tough environmental regulation brings economic benefits. Australia lags behind all OECD countries

Using the example nations – Australia, Germany, United States and United Kingdom – against the OECD average, Denmark had the highest and Germany the second-highest average score over the 17 years of all 22 OECD countries (see

And Australia had the worst.


There seems to be a working assumption that if Australia adopts tougher environmental policies, our economic growth will be undermined. But new research finds the opposite is true , Pursuit, By Dr Ou Yang, University of Melbourne  31 May 21, No longer concerns for a distant future, climate change and environmental degradation are an urgent challenge facing the planet. And they’re happening now.

According to the 2019 United Nations Climate Change report, between 1990 and 2016, global aggregate greenhouse gas emissions increased by 46.7 per cent. In 2018, the global mean temperature had risen about 1°C above the pre-industrial baseline.

As the US and EU move forward with their green recovery, there was little talk of the climate crisis or the environment in Australia’s 2021 Federal budget.

While Australia’s largest trading partners make bigger and bolder commitments to decarbonisation and use their COVID-19 recovery budgets to maximise the opportunity to boost a clean energy transition, the Australian government has committed to a gas-fired recovery over a green one, pouring billions into fossil fuel projects.

Instead of adopting a wide range of more effective and efficient environmental policies, like price and tax mechanisms, the government has pinned its hopes on a low-emissions technology plan.

The Morrison government’s increasing support for fossil fuel projects seems to have some elements in common with former US president Donald Trump’s 2020 Executive Order which allowed US federal agencies to bypass environmental protection laws and fast-track pipeline, highway and other infrastructure projects.

Trump declared regulatory delays would hinder “our economic recovery from the national emergency”.

Likewise, in 2017, Trump withdrew the US from the Paris Agreement for international climate action for the same reason. The Agreement, he said, would undermine the US economy “and put us at a permanent disadvantage to the other countries of the world”.

All of these recent policy moves seem to be made with the notion that greater action on environmental policy harms a nation’s productivity growth. But experts like Australian economist Ross Garnaut argue that taking greater action on climate change now could actually benefit our economy in the long run.

And this is a position our recently published research supports.

Our study looked at the environmental policies of 22 countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), alongside their productivity growth, finding some positive evidence of the economic effect of environmental policies.

Using the OECD’s Environmental Stringency Policy Index, we rated each nations’ environmental policies including Australia and the US, between 1990 and 2007, in order to investigate the impact of greater environmental policy actions on a nation’s productivity.

These policies include taxes on carbon and subsidies for renewable energy, as well as regulations like limits on sulphur content in diesel.

The model we used is flexible enough to capture country-specific effects of taking greater environmental action on a nation’s productivity growth.

We can also identify the causal impact of environmental policies on productivity by exploiting the time-series variation within each country, which basically measures the movements of productivity caused by changes in policy stringency.

Our research, published in Energy Economics looking at 22 OECD countries, found that all of this group had gradually tightened their environmental regulation between 1990 and 2007.

Using the example nations – Australia, Germany, United States and United Kingdom – against the OECD average, Denmark had the highest and Germany the second-highest average score over the 17 years of all 22 OECD countries (see Figure 1 on original).

And Australia had the worst.

By examining short and long-term effects, our results show that while environmental regulations do increase the cost of production initially – for example, a carbon tax makes coal more expensive, which increases the costs of metal production – adopting tighter environmental policies boosts a country’s productivity in the long run.

This positive effect is more noticeable in countries that showed leadership on environmental protection and adopted tougher environmental policies.

According to our estimates, during the 17-year sample period, if an average OECD country had increased the stringency of its environmental policies by one unit, its annual productivity growth rate in three years’ time would have increased by about 0.71 percentage points from -0.09 per cent to 0.62 per cent………….

Our findings show that while there might be a short-term hike in cost, countries whose governments implement strong environmental regulations reap the productivity – and economic growth – rewards in the long term.

June 1, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | Leave a comment

Nuclear power to be boosted in New South Wales – says News Corpse pulication, Daily Telegraph

Nuclear power to be boosted in NSW  Daily Telegraph, 31 May 21,  

There are plans to lift a ban on small reactors developing nuclear power in a new proposal being looked at by Treasurer Dominic Perrottet. …. (subscribers only)

June 1, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As electric vehicles take off, we’ll need to recycle their batteries

As electric vehicles take off, we’ll need to recycle their batteries
Electric car batteries contain critical minerals like cobalt and lithium. We’ll need to recycle them unless we want to keep mining the earth for new ones.As electric vehicles take off, we’ll need to recycle their batteries

Electric car batteries contain critical minerals like cobalt and lithium. We’ll need to recycle them unless we want to keep mining the earth for new ones.
BY MADELEINE STONE, 29 May 21 , When Ford unveiled the F-150 Lightning last week — an all-electric version of the best- selling vehicle in the United States—it was a big moment in the short history of electric cars. The 530-horsepower, 6,500-pound truck’s sticker price of just under $40,000 ($32,474 with a federal tax credit) drew comparisons to Ford’s Model T, the vehicle credited with making cars accessible to the middle class. In the first 48 hours after the battery-powered behemoth debuted, Ford received close to 45,000 pre-orders for it, equivalent to nearly 20 percent of all EVs registered in the U.S. last year……… (subscribers only)

June 1, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

May 31 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Rental Efficiency Standards: A Win For Equity And Climate” • Rental buildings use, on average, 20% more energy per square foot than owner-occupied homes. Landlords have little incentive to improve home efficiency when they do not pay energy bills, and tenants have little incentive to invest in their homes. But the problem can […]

May 31 Energy News — geoharvey

June 1, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment