Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s nuclear waste policy shambles

In developing this plan, ANSTO had the option of choosing a different process.

They had the option of disposing of the wastes from O.P.A.L. to the USA, providing a cheaper alternative for ANSTO:

Australia’s nuclear waste policy shambles https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/australias-nuclear-waste-policy-shambles,15146B  2 June 2021 The Government is scrambling to figure out a solution to Australia’s nuclear waste problem with a new bill  before the Senate, writes Noel Wauchope.

TO BE FAIR, Australia is not alone in having a shambolic policy on nuclear wastes. Russia, China, India and even France and the UK are secretive about all aspects of the nuclear fuel chain. But the USA, the first and biggest of the nuclear countries, has openly described its struggles with this problem.

I’ve always thought that America summed up its nuclear waste policy best in its Nuclear Waste Confidence Rule — first promulgated in 1984 and upgraded several times since. This rule, charmingly optimistic, stated that a permanent nuclear waste disposal solution would be found (no details, they didn’t know where, didn’t know when). But therefore, the nuclear industry could confidently continue to make radioactive trash.

It’s no surprise that Australia, too, is struggling with its relatively small amount of nuclear waste.

Indeed, as Griffith University Professor Ian Lowe has pointed out, Australia dodged a bullet in not having nuclear power:

“We were just lucky to avoid having nuclear power stations with mountains of accumulated waste, for which there is no effective permanent solution.”

Still, Australia’s one nuclear reactor, run by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) at Lucas Heights, Sydney, is now mired in problems about what to do with its nuclear waste.  

The added problem is that by its licence for this storage facility, ANSTO was required to ‘submit a plan, by no later than June 2020, for removal of the waste stored in the facility’. This has resulted in the Federal Government’s rather frenzied efforts over recent years to draw up a plan for a “permanent” nuclear waste facility, culminating in its present bill before the Senate.

The National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020  (NRWMA) specifies a farming property, Napandee, near Kimba, South Australia as the site for this still “interim” nuclear waste facility. The bill is cunningly devised so that when it’s passed, there can be no judicial review of it, nor of the selected location.

Another impetus for this bill is consideration of the local community at Barden Ridge (formerly called Lucas Heights). When the original High Flux Australian Reactor (HIFAR) nuclear research reactor started operations in 1958, Lucas Heights was then a remote bushland site well outside the suburban area of Sydney. Nuclear development was meshed in secrecy and controlled by influential experts Philip Baxter and Ernest Titterton, without much understanding by the Parliament or the public. It was the time of British atomic weapons tests in Australia and heightened fears about the cold war. Little attention was paid to the subject of radioactive wastes.  

As Sydney grew, Lucas Heights became more of a suburb and public awareness of the danger of ionising radiation grew. In 1992, local residents voted to rename the suburb of Lucas Heights and in 1996 it officially became Barden Ridge. It is widely accepted that this was done to increase the real estate value of the area, as it would no longer be instantly associated with the original reactor, the HIFAR nuclear reactor.

The local community supports the present Open Pool Australian Lightwater (O.P.A.L.) nuclear reactor but doesn’t want its radioactive wastes. The Sutherland Shire Council in 2013 said that they liked having the nuclear reactor, but not the radioactive wastes. The presence of nuclear wastes is an issue. Local people and Council were relieved to learn of the Federal Government’s plan to set up a waste facility in another state.

Nevertheless, this nuclear waste bill is contentious. Over 1,700 kilometres away from Barden Ridge, a Kimba community ballot resulted in 452 voters, out of 824 eligible voters, supported hosting the waste facility — hardly an overwhelming endorsement. And the Barngarla Aboriginal Traditional Owners, who were excluded from this ballot, held their own ballot, unanimously opposing the plan.

Local farmers opposing the facility set up their own group to lobby the Government — “No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA”. There is also significant opposition to the plan from the wider Australian community. Of the 105 submissions listed on the Parliamentary website, the majority were opposed to the NRWMA Bill. (A breakdown of the submissions is here.) 

The situation with the NRWMA Bill, passed in the House of Representatives but now before the Senate, is tricky and complicated. To start with, the proposed facility is in no way a permanent disposal. It is an “interim” storage, with the reactor wastes to be in big canisters just as at the Lucas Heights facility. If the Senate votes against it, the Government’s nuclear waste plan is in disarray. Resources Minister Keith Pitt has the power to formally designate the Napandee site, but then the Government might be faced with a legal challenge against this.

The background of the nuclear waste management is that ANSTO contracted with the French company Areva, to send the first (HIFAR) reactor’s spent fuel rods to France for processing and to take back the processed wastes. Later, in 2017, a similar treaty ensured that the O.P.A.L. reactor’s wastes would go to France until 31 December 2030, with Australia accepting the return of radioactive waste arising from that reprocessing, with final return by 31 December 2040. So, a final resting place will be needed for this material.

In developing this plan, ANSTO had the option of choosing a different process.

They had the option of disposing of the wastes from O.P.A.L. to the USA, providing a cheaper alternative for ANSTO:

‘These wastes were [to] be retained in the U.S. without any associated return of equivalent wastes to Australia and the financial cost involved was only for the one-way shipment to the U.S. — significantly less than the now additional cost in reprocessing and in required in-perpetuity management and final disposal of this first decade of O.P.A.L.’

By now, this option looks like ancient history. Too late now? Probably so. 

Yet, in a puzzling development, we learn that approximately 2,000 tonnes of radioactive material are to be excavated from the Sydney suburb of Hunters Hill and shipped to Idaho, USA. The radioactive soil is to be sealed in bags, loaded into shipping containers and taken to a secure facility in the Eastern Sydney suburb of Matraville before shipping overseas in scheduled consignments. ANSTO will oversee the process over an18-month-long mission.  
Permanent export of radioactive wastes from a Sydney suburb can happen. There is very little information made public on how this latest decision was reached.

In the meantime, while everyone seems focused on the pandemic, the Senate is in no hurry to vote on the NRWMA Bill. Perhaps that is a hot potato best left for after the Federal Election. Labor is opposed to the bill and the votes of the cross-benchers will be critical. One of them, Senator Rex Patrick, is unearthing details of the negotiations between the Kimba District Council and the Federal and South Australian Governments. The South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has ruled that this information should not be kept secret.

Minister Keith Pitt has redoubled efforts to ensure the support of the Kimba community for the waste dump, announcing an extra $2 million to bring a new Community Benefit Program round up to $6 million.

Both the previous Resources Minister, Matt Canavan, and ANSTO’s previous CEO, Adi Paterson, were forceful and enthusiastic promoters of the nuclear industry and the Kimba waste facility plan. In these uncertain times of pandemic, it’s not easy to tell if their replacements can push this project along with the same fervour. 

Meanwhile, the Kimba town community, the Barngarla people, the farmers and quite a few others wait in limbo.

June 3, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Small nuclear reactors for New South Wales ? – dirty, dangerous, and uneconomic

Expensive and dangerous: Nuclear doesn’t stack up https://www.miragenews.com/expensive-and-dangerous-nuclear-doesnt-stack-up-570069/m  Electrical Trades Union

Lifting the ban on nuclear power generation in NSW using unproven small-scale reactors will only push up power bills, damage the environment and compromise safety, according to the Electrical Trades Union.

ETU National and NSW Secretary, Allen Hicks, said nuclear power would be hugely expensive compared to renewable energy, and that small nuclear reactors were still a pipe dream.

The recommendation around small scale reactors is one of 60 contained in the NSW Productivity Commission’s White Paper, which is supposedly designed to reboot the state’s economy.

“The Productivity Commission has lost the plot if it thinks small modular reactors, a technology that has been ‘just around the corner’ since the 1970’s but still doesn’t exist, is the answer to NSW’s productivity growth,” Allen Hicks said.

“Even if someone finally manages to build one that works, the electricity price forecast for their output is six times more expensive than renewables.

“Why does the Productivity Commission want NSW residents paying six times more for their electricity?”

“There are massive offshore wind projects waiting for federal approval off the NSW coast near Newcastle, Wollongong and Eden. Rather than pie-in-the sky nuclear nonsense we should get on with approving this clean energy and getting it into out grid.

The commission says lifting the ban would provide another source of firming capacity in the grid. But its own report admits “a wide degree of uncertainty” about small-scale nuclear reactors, mainly due to cost.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the government “will consider everything” in the report.

But Mr Hicks said the State Government must hit the stop button on nuclear power, as the business model for a dirty and dangerous technology did not stack up.

“Even if they improve the technology, a small modular reactor would take far too long to build, and we don’t have time to waste in the fight against climate change,” Mr Hicks said.

“Globally, most countries are moving away from nuclear power. Few new reactors are being built and nuclear companies are going bankrupt or facing financial distress.

Mr Hicks said the government should instead continue to focus on renewable energy.

“With a bit of foresight, some investment and some big thinkers, Australia is uniquely positioned in the world to become a renewable energy leader.

“Boosting the economy, providing more jobs, and dealing with climate change are big problems, but nuclear power is not the answer.”

June 3, 2021 Posted by | business, New South Wales, technology | Leave a comment

Mulga Rock Uranium Project – VIMY’S MINE – UNWANTED AND UNECONOMIC

VIMY’S MINE – UNWANTED AND UNECONOMIC, https://www.ccwa.org.au/vimy_s_mine_unwanted?utm_campaign=nuclear_news164&utm_medium=email&utm_source=ccwa By Mia Pepper
Deputy Chair of the Mineral Policy Institute.   BY KIM SMITH  JUNE 02, 2021

Vimy Resources (aka Narnoo Mining) advertisement in Saturdays Kalgoorlie Miner is part of an extended last-ditch attempt to start a mine that is unwanted, uneconomic, does not have full and final approval or the financing needed to start mining.

Saturday’s ad suggests that Vimy will begin work at the site in Q4 2021. There are several critical elements for mining to commence that are not yet in place and are unlikely to be resolved by Q4 2021. The companies Mine Closure Plan and Mine Plan are not yet approved by the Department of Mines and previous attempts to have these plans approved have failed. There are also Works Approvals, export and other licenses and permits that are still required. The company does not have an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with the Upurli Upurli Nguratja Native Title claimant group – pre-empting mining without an ILUA drastically impacts that groups ability to negotiate or determine what should or shouldn’t happen on their country. 

Perhaps the clearest pre-requisite to begin mining is a company’s Final Investment Decision and the finances to cover the capital costs. Without the ability to fund the project and meet the requirements of mining any ground-disturbing activities are pre-emptive and irresponsible. The capital cost for the Mulga Rock project is $493 million. Vimy’s March quarterly report shows Vimy raised over $18 million, since then they have raised a further $9 million. $27 million is a far cry from the $493 million needed to meet full capital costs. But it is enough to do some serious damage in the Yellow Sandplain Priority Ecological Community in the Great Victoria Desert, home to the endangered Sandhill Dunnart and other important vulnerable, migratory and priority species of flora and fauna. The company’s share value is down 97% since their inception in 2008 and has a long way to go to secure finance for a project that is just not economic. Until the company can demonstrate they have the capital funds to get the project off the ground they should not be allowed to embark on pre-emptive ground-disturbing activities.

One thing more dangerous than a uranium mine is an uneconomic uranium mine and ideologically driven company. Despite the lack of funding, final licenses and permits, an ILUA, social license and bipartisan support Vimy’s Mulga Rock project still presents a very real threat to the environment and the WA taxpayer. The WA government should make decisions based on evidence, not enthusiasm and should not facilitate this poorly considered project.

June 3, 2021 Posted by | business, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

The nuclear lobby’s desperate push to be included in COP26. Note the biased agenda of their speakers

Let’s look at these speakers:

Corporate Astroturf Nuclear for Climate” is really a lobby group of 140 pro nuclear societies.

Professor Geraldine Thomas and nuclear scientific misconduct.

The Young Generation Networka part of the Nuclear Institute, which purports to be a charity, but is really a propagandamachine for the industry.

Nuclear societies call for COP26 to support nuclear  World Nuclear News, 02 June 2021   ……  They are calling on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, COP26 President Alok Sharma and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa to acknowledge nuclear’s crucial position alongside renewables in attaining net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

In February this year, Nuclear for Climate – a grassroots [?] initiative published its COP26 Position Paper, titled Net Zero Needs Nuclear.

Geraldine Thomas, well known schill for the nuclear industry

“It’s time we used scientific facts rather than urban myths to decide our future energy policy,” said Geraldine Thomas,…..

Fiona Rayment, Chief Science and Technology Officer at the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory, added: “Nuclear is a clean, reliable and sustainable energy source 

Hannah Paterson, Chair of the Nuclear Institute Young Generation Network. 

June 3, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World”

A secondary theme in the book is the role of a free press.  Blume observes that “Hersey and his New Yorker editors created `Hiroshima’ in the belief that journalists must hold accountable those in power.  They saw a free press as essential to the survival of democracy.”  She does, too.

Review: Lesley Blume’s “Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World”, Portside,  June 1, 2021 Lawrence Wittner  In this crisply written, well-researched book, Lesley Blume, a journalist and biographer, tells the fascinating story of the background to John Hersey’s pathbreaking article “Hiroshima,” and of its extraordinary impact upon the world.

In 1945, although only 30 years of age, Hersey was a very prominent war correspondent for Time magazine—a key part of publisher Henry Luce’s magazine empire………..

Blume reveals that, at the time of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Hersey felt a sense of despair—not for the bombing’s victims, but for the future of the world.  He was even more disturbed by the atomic bombing of Nagasaki only three days later, which he considered a “totally criminal” action that led to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

…………. Blume shows very well how this approval of the atomic bombing was enhanced by U.S. government officials and the very compliant mass communications media.  Working together, they celebrated the power of the new American weapon that, supposedly, had brought the war to an end, producing articles lauding the bombing mission and pictures of destroyed buildings.  What was omitted was the human devastation, the horror of what the atomic bombing had done physically and psychologically to an almost entirely civilian population—the flesh roasted off bodies, the eyeballs melting, the terrible desperation of mothers digging with their hands through the charred rubble for their dying children.

The strange new radiation sickness produced by the bombing was either denied or explained away as of no consequence.  “Japanese reports of death from radioactive effects of atomic bombing are pure propaganda,” General Leslie Groves, the head of the Manhattan Project, told the New York Times.  Later, when, it was no longer possible to deny the existence of radiation sickness, Groves told a Congressional committee that it was actually “a very pleasant way to die.”

When it came to handling the communications media, U.S. government officials had some powerful tools at their disposal.  In Japan, General Douglas MacArthur, the supreme commander of the U.S. occupation regime, saw to it that strict U.S. military censorship was imposed on the Japanese press and other forms of publication, which were banned from discussing the atomic bombing.  As for foreign newspaper correspondents (including Americans), they needed permission from the occupation authorities to enter Japan, to travel within Japan, to remain in Japan, and even to obtain food in Japan.  American journalists were taken on carefully controlled junkets to Hiroshima, after which they were told to downplay any unpleasant details of what they had seen there.

In September 1945, U.S. newspaper and magazine editors received a letter from the U.S. War Department, on behalf of President Harry Truman, asking them to restrict information in their publications about the atomic bomb.  If they planned to do any publishing in this area of concern, they were to submit the articles to the War Department for review…………

Hersey had concluded that the mass media had missed the real story of the Hiroshima bombing.  And the result was that the American people were becoming accustomed to the idea of a nuclear future, with the atomic bomb as an acceptable weapon of war.  Appalled by what he had seen in the Second World War—from the firebombing of cities to the Nazi concentration camps—Hersey was horrified by what he called “the depravity of man,” which, he felt, rested upon the dehumanization of others.  Against this backdrop, Hersey and Shawn concluded that he should try to enter Japan and report on what had really happened there……….

Hersey arrived in Tokyo on May 24, 1946, and two days later, received permission to travel to Hiroshima, with his time in that city limited to 14 days.

Entering Hiroshima, Hersey was stunned by the damage he saw.  In Blume’s words, there were “miles of jagged misery and three-dimensional evidence that humans—after centuries of contriving increasingly efficient ways to exterminate masses of other humans—had finally invented the means with which to decimate their entire civilization.”   Now there existed what one reporter called “teeming jungles of dwelling places . . . in a welter of ashes and rubble.”  As residents attempted to clear the ground to build new homes, they uncovered masses of bodies and severed limbs.  A cleanup campaign in one district of the city alone at about that time unearthed a thousand corpses.  Meanwhile, the city’s surviving population was starving, with constant new deaths from burns, other dreadful wounds, and radiation poisoning.

Given the time limitations of his permit, Hersey had to work fast.  And he did, interviewing dozens of survivors, although he eventually narrowed down his cast of characters to six of them.

……… Ross and Shawn decided to keep the explosive forthcoming issue a top secret from the magazine’s staff.  

Given the time limitations of his permit, Hersey had to work fast.  And he did, interviewing dozens of survivors, although he eventually narrowed down his cast of characters to six of them.

……… Ross and Shawn decided to keep the explosive forthcoming issue a top secret from the magazine’s staff.  

Groves believed that the Japanese deserved what had happened to them, and could not imagine that other Americans might disagree. ………. and he believed that an article that led Americans to fear nuclear attacks by other nations would foster support for a U.S. nuclear buildup.

The gamble paid off.  Although Groves did demand changes, these were minor and did not affect the accounts by the survivors…….  

On August 29, 1946, copies of the “Hiroshima” edition of the New Yorker arrived on newsstands and in mailboxes across the United States, and it quickly created an enormous sensation, particularly in the mass media.  Editors from more than thirty states applied to excerpt portions of the article, and newspapers from across the nation ran front-page banner stories and urgent editorials about its revelations.  Correspondence from every region of the United States poured into the New Yorker’s office.  A large number of readers expressed pity for the victims of the bombing.  But an even greater number expressed deep fear about what the advent of nuclear war meant for the survival of the human race.

Of course, not all readers approved of Hersey’s report on the atomic bombing.  Some reacted by canceling their subscriptions to the New Yorker.  Others assailed the article as antipatriotic, Communist propaganda, designed to undermine the United States.  Still others dismissed it as pro-Japanese propaganda or, as one reader remarked, written “in very bad taste.”

………………………… The conclusion drawn by Blume in this book is much like Hersey’s.  As she writes, “Graphically showing what nuclear warfare does to humans, `Hiroshima’ has played a major role in preventing nuclear war since the end of World War II.”

A secondary theme in the book is the role of a free press.  Blume observes that “Hersey and his New Yorker editors created `Hiroshima’ in the belief that journalists must hold accountable those in power.  They saw a free press as essential to the survival of democracy.”  She does, too.

………… Blume has written a very illuminating, interesting, and important work—one that reminds us that daring, committed individuals can help to create a better world.https://portside.org/2021-06-01/review-lesley-blumes-fallout-hiroshima-cover-and-reporter-who-revealed-it-world

June 3, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

President Biden campaigned on opposing new nuclear weapons, but backs them in his first defense budget.

Biden goes ‘full steam ahead’ on Trump’s nuclear expansion despite campaign rhetoric

The decision to retain a low-yield warhead that was outfitted on submarine-launched ballistic missiles in 2019, and to initiate research into a new sea-launched cruise missile, has sparked an outcry. Politico,  By LARA SELIGMANBRYAN BENDER and CONNOR O’BRIEN, 06/02/2021

President Joe Biden ran on a platform opposing new nuclear weapons, but his first defense budget backs two controversial new projects put in motion by President Donald Trump and also doubles down on the wholesale upgrade of all three legs of the arsenal.

The decision to retain a low-yield warhead that was outfitted on submarine-launched ballistic missiles in 2019, and to initiate research into a new sea-launched cruise missile, has sparked an outcry from arms control advocates and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, which is vowing a fight to reverse the momentum.

“The signal this budget is sending is full steam ahead: ‘We like what Trump was doing and we want to do more of it,’’ said Tom Collina, director of policy at the Ploughshares Fund, a leading disarmament group. “It is not the message Biden was sending as a candidate. What we have here is Biden essentially buying into the Trump nuclear plan, in some cases going beyond that.”

Emma Claire Foley, a researcher at Global Zero, a disarmament group, said the latest budget “essentially preserves the priorities of the Trump administration,” despite the new administration’s rhetoric about pursuing a more responsible nuclear posture.

During the 2020 campaign, Biden told the Council for a Livable World, an arms control group, that the current arsenal is “sufficient” and the United States does not need new nuclear weapons. In July 2019, Biden also called Trump’s move to introduce new capabilities a “bad idea.”

The Democratic Party platform in 2020 also bluntly stated that “the Trump Administration’s proposal to build new nuclear weapons is unnecessary, wasteful, and indefensible.”

The Democratic Party platform in 2020 also bluntly stated that “the Trump Administration’s proposal to build new nuclear weapons is unnecessary, wasteful, and indefensible.”

That includes modernizing all three legs of the nuclear triad: the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, which is the replacement for the fleet of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles; the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines; and the new B-21 stealth bomber.

The budget also proposes $609 million for the Long Range Standoff Missile, which is designed to be outfitted on bomber planes. That’s $250 million more than what was projected by the Trump administration for fiscal 2022.

Most controversially, the Pentagon’s request maintains the W76-2 low-yield warhead that is now outfitted on submarines and sets aside $5.2 million for a new sea-launched cruise missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. Another $10 million is being requested for the warhead in the budget for the National Nuclear Security Administration, an arm of the Energy Department………….. https://www.politico.com/news/2021/06/02/biden-trump-nuclear-weapons-491631

June 3, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pentagon’s creepy shift from nuclear deterrence to the use of nuclear weapons

the Biden budget “calls for full speed ahead on new weapons for all three legs of the nuclear triad” — land-based ICBMs, the B-21 bomber and a new nuclear-armed submarine

Nukes, Lies and Invisible Murder,   http://commonwonders.com/nukes-lies-and-invisible-murder/    June 2nd, 2021,  By Robert C. Koehler

Let’s listen in for a moment to the gentle, awkward language of mass killing:

“The employment or threat of employment of nuclear weapons could have a significant influence on ground operations. . . . Integration of nuclear weapons into a theater of operations requires the consideration of multiple variables. Using nuclear weapons could create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability. Specifically, the use of a nuclear weapon will fundamentally change the scope of a battle and create conditions that affect how commanders will prevail in conflict.”

This is a sneak peek into a 2019 report by the Joint Chiefs of Staff called “Nuclear Operations,” which Brian Terrell quoted recently. The document was, for some reason, publicly posted in the waning days of the Trump administration, then — oops — quickly removed, but not before it was downloaded by the Federation of American Scientists.

As The Guardian noted, the document, the first of its kind in 14 years, seemed to indicate a creepy shift in Pentagon thinking: from nuclear deterrence to actually fighting (and of course winning) a nuclear war.

The report even included a quote from Dr. Strangelove, by which I mean Herman Kahn, the high-profile strategist of the Cold War era who was one of several inspirations for Stanley Kubrick’s iconic character. “My guess,” says Kahn, “is that nuclear weapons will be used sometime in the next hundred years, but that their use is much more likely to be small and limited than widespread and unconstrained.”

OK, shrug and move on, right? We survived the Cold War, so any remaining “duck and cover” fear can be stored in the attic of our collective consciousness. Except for the occasional lone nut with a gun — showing up at a school, shopping mall, church, synagogue, massage parlor — violence serves the cause of human safety; it’s the core of our self-defense. And therefore, as the above quotes demonstrate, good violence, even though it may occasionally kill or dismember children, shatter lives, spread toxicity, must be discussed abstractly and strategically. We aim moral rancor only at our enemies, who have been previously dehumanized.

And thus global — and especially American — militarism continues uninterrupted and fully funded. Joe Biden’s 2022 defense budget proposal, for instance, is $754 billion, up $14 billion from Trump’s last defense budget. This includes $715 for the Pentagon and nearly $16 billion for nuclear weapons development and modernization, because . . . this is just the way things are.

As Slate reports, the Biden budget “calls for full speed ahead on new weapons for all three legs of the nuclear triad” — land-based ICBMs, the B-21 bomber and a new nuclear-armed submarine.

“. . . hawks of both parties,” Slate notes, “are likely to breathe a sigh of relief that Biden has ignored the pleas of some Democrats to whack the defense budget in order to pay for more social programs. Biden is upping everything, including taxes and deficits, to pay for everything.”

And the budget also includes something called the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, which focuses on China, establishing it as our current primary adversary and perhaps launching a new cold war with it — as though, what else is new? There’s nothing harder than trying to govern a country without a clear enemy. Not simply a “threat,” mind you — which could include current and future pandemics, not to mention climate change and ecological devastation — but an enemy. When you have an enemy, you can focus the entirety of your thinking on strategy and tactics. No need for complexity. No need to listen, to grope for understanding. No need to acknowledge your own vulnerability and face the unknown. Just modernize your nukes.

But without such courageous vulnerability, peace is impossible. Militarism creates the illusion of safety, though of course its endless presence creates just the opposite. Peace work is not a tool for a leader to summon. It’s deeply complex, requiring an attitude of “power with” rather than “power over” one’s potential enemy.

Joseph Gerson, president of the Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security, puts it with clarity. Instead of shaking our weapons at China, we should pursue “mutually beneficial diplomacy” with it.

“Instead of increasing military spending to reinforce U.S. dominance,” he writes, “. . . that money should be spent to export billions of vaccine shots to countries in need before new variants renew the pandemic here in the United States. With our housing shortage, real security lies in funding massive home construction. And, with the seas rising and a new fire season upon us, cooperation — not war — with China is essential if the climate emergency is to be contained.”

He adds: “Yes, challenge China on its human rights violations, but do so in tandem with opposing police violence and the prison-industrial complex in the U.S.”

Such a world — such leadership — is within our reach, but first we must free ourselves from the mindset of militarism, which is perpetuated not merely by politicians and generals but, inexcusably, by much of the media, which compliantly speaks their language. In militaryspeak, civilians may be bombed but they’re never murdered, at least not by us. If we can’t avoid acknowledging their deaths, then they become collateral damage, necessary for “the restoration of strategic stability.”

June 3, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Renewables dominate investment, but needs to triple by 2030: IEA report — RenewEconomy

IEA outlines major shortfall in investment in clean energy, energy efficiency and other decarbonisation measures at a critical moment for climate. The post Renewables dominate investment, but needs to triple by 2030: IEA report appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Renewables dominate investment, but needs to triple by 2030: IEA report — RenewEconomy

June 3, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Queensland leads the world in Australia’s coal mining blitz — RenewEconomy

Coal-fields of Queensland have more coal under development than any state or province in the world. The post Queensland leads the world in Australia’s coal mining blitz appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Queensland leads the world in Australia’s coal mining blitz — RenewEconomy

June 3, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

1000 per cent renewables for Australia? ARENA boss says that is the goal — RenewEconomy

ARENA CEO suggests Australia’s electricity production could grow ten fold, and all from renewables, while becoming a global clean energy supplier. The post 1000 per cent renewables for Australia? ARENA boss says that is the goal appeared first on RenewEconomy.

1000 per cent renewables for Australia? ARENA boss says that is the goal — RenewEconomy

June 3, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Investor to focus on US because Australia “not conducive” to growing big solar — RenewEconomy

Solar investor slams Australian policy and regulatory environment as it prepares to sell its two assets and focus on Joe Biden’s America. The post Investor to focus on US because Australia “not conducive” to growing big solar appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Investor to focus on US because Australia “not conducive” to growing big solar — RenewEconomy

June 3, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Former PM Turnbull backs 5B’s modular solar expansion — RenewEconomy

Former PM joins the rush to clean energy, investing in a new funding round to back innovative solar business 5B. The post Former PM Turnbull backs 5B’s modular solar expansion appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Former PM Turnbull backs 5B’s modular solar expansion — RenewEconomy

June 3, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s monster coal exports emit more C02 than entire German economy — RenewEconomy

Coal shipped out of Australia’s ports last year carried 897 million tonnes of embedded CO2 emissions, almost double Australia’s domestic emissions. The post Australia’s monster coal exports emit more C02 than entire German economy appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Australia’s monster coal exports emit more C02 than entire German economy — RenewEconomy

June 3, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

June 2 Energy News — geoharvey

Science and Technology: ¶ “Floating Wind Good, Floating Wind Plus Green Hydrogen Better” • Anyone who thinks rapid global decarbonization is out of reach should take a look at the floating wind turbine sector. Floating wind seemingly popped up out of nowhere in the past couple of years, and it has already hooked up with […]

June 2 Energy News — geoharvey

June 3, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment