Australian news, and some related international items

Despite Australia’s laws prohibiting nuclear development, Angus Taylor signs up for development of small nuclear reactors with UK.

It is understood the co-operation will involve “leveraging” the expertise of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation in waste processing and advanced materials to help advance development of small modular reactors

Top union leader backs Angus Taylor’s nuclear deal with UK Jacob Greber, 13 Aug 21,

One of Australia’s leading union leaders has lent support to Energy Minister Angus Taylor’s decision to enable Australian scientists to work with the UK on next-generation nuclear power development even as two Labor MPs slammed the idea of such power plants as “deeply moronic” and “toxic” to the environment and human health.

Daniel Walton, head of the Australian Workers Union called for “open and pragmatic energy solutions” to reduce carbon footprints at reliable and affordable rates…….

Mr Taylor signed a letter of intent this week with his British counterpart, Kwasi Kwarteng, for both countries to collaborate on low-emissions technology, including “advanced nuclear designs and enabling technologies”.

It is understood the co-operation will involve “leveraging” the expertise of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation in waste processing and advanced materials to help advance development of small modular reactors, which are about the size of a standard shipping container. ( small? deceptive spin – see below for an example)

In Wyoming, a company owned by Bill Gates, TerraPower, is seeking approval for a nuclear power plant that proponents say would replace 200 local coal-related jobs within a year.

Reports of the UK-Australia nuclear tie-up triggered an immediate backlash from two West Australian Labor MPs.

“Nothing better demonstrates the Liberals’ deeply moronic approach to energy and economics,” Josh Wilson, federal MP for Fremantle, tweeted on Friday. “Nuclear power is not only ferociously expensive, but also slow, inflexible and toxic to the environment and human health.”

Perth MP Patrick Gorman accused the Coalition of failing to listen to West Australians…..

August 14, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, technology | Leave a comment

A Day in the Death of British Justice – the case of Julian Assange

 WikiLeaks has given us real news about those who govern us and take us to war, not the preordained, repetitive spin that fills newspapers and television screens. This is real journalism; and for the crime of real journalism, Assange has spent most of the past decade in one form of incarceration or another, including Belmarsh prison, a horrific place.

Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, he is a gentle, intellectual visionary driven by his belief that a democracy is not a democracy unless it is transparent, and accountable.

JOHN PILGER: A Day in the Death of British Justice, Consortium News, August 12, 2021 The reputation of British justice now rests on the shoulders of the High Court in the life or death case of Julian Assange.

I sat in Court 4 in the Royal Courts of Justice in London Wednesday with Stella Moris, Julian Assange’s partner. I have known Stella for as long as I have known Julian. She, too, is a voice of freedom, coming from a family that fought the fascism of Apartheid. Today, her name was uttered in court by a barrister and a judge, forgettable people were it not for the power of their endowed privilege.

The barrister, Clair Dobbin, is in the pay of the regime in Washington, first Trump’s then Biden’s. She is America’s hired gun, or “silk”, as she would prefer. Her target is Julian Assange, who has committed no crime and has performed an historic public service by exposing the criminal actions and secrets on which governments, especially those claiming to be democracies, base their authority. 

For those who may have forgotten, WikiLeaks, of which Assange is founder and publisher, exposed the secrets and lies that led to the invasion of Iraq, Syria and Yemen, the murderous role of the Pentagon in dozens of countries, the blueprint for the 20-year catastrophe in Afghanistan, the attempts by Washington to overthrow elected governments, such as Venezuela’s, the collusion between nominal political opponents (Bush and Obama) to stifle a torture investigation and the CIA’s Vault 7 campaign that turned your mobile phone, even your TV set, into a spy in your midst.

WikiLeaks released almost a million documents from Russia which allowed Russian citizens to stand up for their rights. It revealed the Australian government had colluded with the U.S. against its own citizen, Assange. It named those Australian politicians who have “informed” for the U.S. It made the connection between the Clinton Foundation and the rise of jihadism in American-armed states in the Gulf.

Continue reading

August 14, 2021 Posted by | - incidents, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, politics international | Leave a comment

UK High Court sides with US against Assange

UK High Court sides with US against Assange, WSW,Thomas Scripps11 August 2021 ,  The UK’s High Court has allowed the United States to appeal on two additional grounds the refusal of Julian Assange’s extradition by a lower court.Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks still held in Belmarsh maximum security prison, is threatened with extradition on charges under the Espionage Act with a potential life sentence for revealing state war crimes, torture, surveillance, corruption and coup plots.

On January 4, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser blocked extradition, ruling that it would be oppressive by virtue of his mental health and put him at substantial risk of suicide.Lawyers for the US government sought to appeal the decision on the five grounds:
  1. That Baraitser made errors of law in her application of the test under section 91 of the 2003 Extradition Act, which bars extradition if the person’s mental or physical condition would render it unjust or oppressive.
  2. That she ought to have notified the US ahead of time, to give the government the opportunity to provide assurances to the court that Assange’s health would be looked after.
  3. That the judge should not have accepted or at least given less weight to the evidence of the defence’s principal psychiatric expert, Professor Kopelman.
  4. That Baraitser erred in her overall assessment of the evidence on suicide risk.
  5. That the US has since provided the UK with a package of assurances about the conditions in which Assange would be held.

The US was initially granted leave to appeal on grounds one, two and five, but denied three and four. At a preliminary hearing yesterday in front of Lord Justice Holroyde and Mrs Justice Farbey, that decision was overturned and grounds three and four were granted as well.

Their decision confirms that the January 4 ruling against extradition was only a tactical pause in an ongoing pseudo-legal manhunt, which is again proceeding apace.

Baraitser’s original decision accepted every one of the prosecution’s anti-democratic, factually unsustainable arguments except on the single point of Assange’s mental health, leaving his fate hanging by a thread. Now the US is being given the opportunity to bulldoze this last remaining obstacle.As Assange’s legal team argue in their Notice of Objection, none of the points made in the appeal by the US stand up to scrutiny………………

August 14, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal | Leave a comment

Resources Minister Keith Pitt to declare Napandee farm, South Australia, as nuclear waste dump site

Pitt to declare nuclear site, Louis Mayfield, 12 Aug 21,

Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt intends to declare the Napandee area at Kimba the proposed site for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF).

More consultation will be undertaken before the decision is made official, but it’s an important milestone in a long and arduous site selection process which began six years ago…….

“I have reviewed the relevant information, which has informed my decision to proceed in accordance with the Act. I am issuing a notice to declare Napandee, and will seek the views of those with rights or interest in the site.”

The intention to declare Napandee as the NRWMF site will kick-start the legislative process of the federal government acquiring the site for the purpose of hosting the facility.

………… A period of further consultation will now occur, with the Minister considering relevant comments ahead of deciding whether to proceed with declaring the Napandee site.

Next the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency (ARWA) will develop various detailed applications to relevant regulators. This process is expected to take a number of years to complete.

These applications will also include further consultations with community and Traditional Owner groups.

However the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) see the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANTSO) Intermediate Level Solid Waste Storage Facility at Lucas Heights as a long-term solution for storing nuclear waste.

It comes as the federal government invest $60 million to extend the interim storage capacity for Intermediate Level Waste at the ANSTO site in southern Sydney

In a submission made to the Public Works Committee inquiry, the ACF argue that extended interim storage at existing federal facilities at ANSTO would be a “possible and prudent” option to explore.

“ACF maintains that Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) should remain securely stored at ANSTO until an agreed and evidence based long term management site and strategy is developed,” the submission read.

August 14, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Uranium mining and high cancer rates in Aboriginals around Ranger mine

Kakadu mining and radiation, The Saturday Paper 14 Aug 21, Max Opray  Carved out of the pristine surroundings of Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory, the Ranger uranium mine has long been a site of deep controversy.

The mine may have been decommissioned in January, but concerns remain about its legacy, as the Mirarr traditional owners suffer through a mysterious health crisis.

The stillbirth rate among Aboriginal people living near the mine is more than twice as high as among Indigenous Australians elsewhere in the Top End, and rates of cancer are almost 50 per cent higher.

A six-year Northern Territory investigation into the issue failed to identify the cause, noting only that risk factors relating to diet, smoking and alcohol consumption were higher in the local population than in other Aboriginal populations.

The investigation was conducted by staff at the Population and Digital Health Branch of the Northern Territory Department of Health  and overseen by an independent reviewer in cancer, epidemiologist professor Bruce Armstrong.

The report, published in November 2020, concluded ionising radiation from uranium mining was unlikely to be linked but did not categorically rule it out.

However, a Flinders University Centre for Remote Health analysis of the government investigation, published in the Medical Journal of Australia this month, found that the parameters of the inquiry were too narrow.

“Cancer is a complex condition,” Dr Rosalie Schultz, author of the analysis, tells The Saturday Paper. “A study like this can’t find a definitive cause.”

The Alice Springs GP was concerned that the main outtake of the report was that Aboriginal people should smoke and drink less.

“Statistically, it didn’t look like smoking and drinking caused the excess cancer rate,” she says. “It’s almost like blaming people rather than looking into the reasons – why is it people are smoking and drinking more in that area in particular, for instance?”

With more than 200 documented leaks, spills and other incidents associated with the mine, Schultz argues the impact of Ranger was multifaceted, including social consequences not considered by the investigation. “Things like destruction of waterbirds and creeks, the worry of that when you get your food and livelihood from the land,” she says.

A senate estimates committee heard in 2009 that 100,000 litres of contaminated water a day was leaking from the mine’s tailings dam into rock fissures beneath Kakadu.

In another breach in 2004, dozens of mine employees were found to have showered in and consumed water containing 400 times the legal limit of uranium.

In response to the release of the Territory government report, Reuben Cooper, chair of the Red Lily Health Board Aboriginal Corporation, welcomed messages “to encourage reduction in smoking and alcohol consumption” but said the findings offered an incomplete picture.

“This investigation does not discuss the reasons for higher rates of smoking and alcohol consumption in the Gunbalanya–Kakadu region,” he said, “which could include factors such as cultural dislocation, stress and royalty payments. Nor does it discuss the potential social impacts that the uranium mining industry has had on the population in the region.”

Schultz’s analysis expands further on these points, noting how unevenly distributed royalty money can increase inequality and the ways in which locals were deprived of a sense of agency and authority.

“The inquiry didn’t look at other knowledge, such as the Dreaming stories about sickness country,” Schultz says.

Centuries before Western science understood the dangers of radioactive substances, Aboriginal people were avoiding the uranium-rich sites near Kakadu, which were considered inappropriate places to camp.

The Dreaming stories of the Jawoyn people warn against disturbing stones or drinking water in what they called “sickness country” south of Ranger, beneath which Bula the creator is said to lie dormant.

In and around the Ranger site itself, the Dreaming stories of the Mirarr warn of sacred sites that are dangerous to disturb……………..

With no data available about individual exposure to ionising radiation, the report authors concluded this was unlikely to have been a contributing factor based on measurement of environmental radiation levels, consumption of bush tucker, and airborne exposure to radon gas.

Justin O’Brien, chief executive of the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, which represents the Mirarr people, says the “shocking paucity of data” extends to all aspects of the health and social impacts of the mine. “It’s a very limited data set, so no wonder the findings are inconclusive,” he says………..

With the mine decommissioned in January this year, O’Brien is concerned about whether operators Energy Resources of Australia, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, will properly rehabilitate the Ranger site, warning that radioactive waste from uranium mining can remain hazardous for tens of thousands of years.

“This is just the first chapter of the legacy of this mine, and the world is watching Rio Tinto,” he says. “The mining company has been given five years to complete all the rehabilitation work – this is patently insufficient.”…………

For Schultz’s part, the monitoring of Ranger failed even in the context of Western science. “They didn’t do what was recommended to consider local perspectives and concerns,” she says. “It was a top-down epidemiological approach, where if you can exclude ionising radiation, the mine is off the hook. It feels like the science is taking a narrower approach now – we used to have researchers embedded in communities. Forty years later … we just look at five data points and that’s it.”

August 14, 2021 Posted by | aboriginal issues, health, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

Conservative British MP opposes ‘nuclear dumping ground’ for town in County Durham

 JILL MORTIMER (Conservative MP for Hartlepool): Plan would turn the town into a ‘nuclear dumping ground’. I am sure that a number of you are already aware of a meeting between Sacha Bedding, Chief Executive of the
Wharton Trust charity, and representatives from the Labour group on Hartlepool Borough Council – I want to take this opportunity to make my position on the proposal to introduce a nuclear waste dump to Hartlepool clear – not on my watch!

I was shocked to hear that these discussions have taken place, and I fully support Ben Houchen – Tees Valley Mayor in
his opposition to such a suggestion. This week myself and Ben have submitted a Freedom of Information request to Hartlepool Borough Council, relating to any correspondence between Staff at Radioactive Waste Management, Staff at The Wharton Trust and the Council, including elected councillors. Whoever is encouraging behind the scenes discussions of something that we believe will have such a devastating impact on the town’s prospects – the people of Hartlepool deserve to know.

 Hartlepool Mail 12th Aug 2021

August 14, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste – we don’t want that muck here!

 ‘We don’t want that muck here’: Residents react to nuclear waste row in
Hartlepool. A row exploded between politicians in Hartlepool over the issue
this week. People in Hartlepool have expressed concern about their town
becoming a nuclear waste “dumping ground”, after a row exploded between
politicians over the issue this week.

The decision by Hartlepool council’s
deputy leader, Conservative Mike Young, to defend facilitating meetings
about the potential for a waste disposal facility in the town, was branded
“hugely disappointing” by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen. Mr Houchen is
“concerned” that the admission was only made after he brought the issue to
the attention of the public, and submitted an FOI to the council demanding
information about who has discussed Hartlepool as a potential location.

 Teesside Gazette 13th Aug 2021

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Energy Insiders Podcast: Will IPCC overcome Morrison’s prosperity doctrine? — RenewEconomy

IPCC report falls on deaf ears in Canberra, as AGL scrambles to adapt. We talk to IPCC contributor Martina Linnenluecke. The post Energy Insiders Podcast: Will IPCC overcome Morrison’s prosperity doctrine? appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Energy Insiders Podcast: Will IPCC overcome Morrison’s prosperity doctrine? — RenewEconomy

August 14, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wind and solar projects take “material hit” from ESB and Morrison — RenewEconomy

New investment in large scale wind and solar projects has come to a virtual halt in Australia, thanks to the ESB and unhelpful interventions from the federal government. The post Wind and solar projects take “material hit” from ESB and Morrison appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Wind and solar projects take “material hit” from ESB and Morrison — RenewEconomy

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Solar tax counts cost of panels, but who will pay for Snowy 2.0? — RenewEconomy

Snowy Hydro will impose a massive additional cost on NSW customers, but solar panels on household roofs, which bring prices down for all of us, are the focus of massive reform. The post Solar tax counts cost of panels, but who will pay for Snowy 2.0? appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Solar tax counts cost of panels, but who will pay for Snowy 2.0? — RenewEconomy

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Olympic champions in Tokyo, let’s be climate champions in Glasgow — Inside track

This post is by Robbie MacPherson, environment APPG coordinator and political adviser at Green Alliance. This week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC) reconfirmed what we already knew; that climate change is the most serious challenge of our time and that human behaviour has contributed to a warming planet. The IPCC Report was […]

Olympic champions in Tokyo, let’s be climate champions in Glasgow — Inside track

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Floods, fires and Angus Taylor: Coal plants don’t have much else going for them — RenewEconomy

The only hope for improved profits for Australian coal generators are a series of catastrophes: Natural ones, mishaps, and Angus Taylor’s policies. The post Floods, fires and Angus Taylor: Coal plants don’t have much else going for them appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Floods, fires and Angus Taylor: Coal plants don’t have much else going for them — RenewEconomy

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Fossil fuel misinformation may sideline IPCC’s most important climate reports — RenewEconomy

Climate misinformation campaigns are often backed by corporate interests which stand to lose in a clean energy transition. The post Fossil fuel misinformation may sideline IPCC’s most important climate reports appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Fossil fuel misinformation may sideline IPCC’s most important climate reports — RenewEconomy

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August 13 Energy News — geoharvey

Science and Technology: ¶ “Theory Versus Reality: The Dirty Hydrogen Story” • Not all hydrogen is clean. According to a report in the New York Times, a peer-reviewed study by researchers at Cornell and Stanford finds that most hydrogen used today is extracted from natural gas in a process that requires a lot of energy […]

August 13 Energy News — geoharvey

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