Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Debunking the false claims that nuclear power is affordable for Australia

Nuclear Power’s Economic Crisis, Jim Green, 9 Dec 21

new report by Friends of the Earth Australia comprehensively debunks claims that nuclear power is cheap or affordable in the Australian context.

The 32-page report, ‘Nuclear Power’s Economic Crisis and its Implications for Australia’, details catastrophic cost overruns with nuclear power construction projects ‒ including ‘small modular reactors’ (SMR) ‒ over the past decade.

Dr. Jim Green, author of the report and national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia, said: “Nuclear lobbyists base their claims about ‘cheap’ nuclear power on implausible cost estimates for reactor types that have not even been built. Our report aims to ground the nuclear debate in detailed, factual information about reactor construction projects.

“Every reactor project in the U.S. and Western Europe over the past decade has been a disaster. Costs for every one of those projects has ballooned by more than $10 billion. They are all behind schedule, by as much as 13 years.

“SMR projects have also been disastrous: expensive and over-budget, slow and behind schedule. There are disturbing connections between SMRs and nuclear weapons proliferation, and between SMRs and fossil fuel mining. The only operating SMR anywhere in the world is used by Russia to power fossil fuel mining in the Arctic.

“The nuclear ‘renaissance’ of the 2000s has collapsed into corporate carnage including the bankruptcy of American nuclear giant Westinghouse and near-bankruptcy of its parent company Toshiba. In France, Areva was saved with an $8 billion bailout and the other major utility, EDF, is saddled with $66 billion in debts. Nuclear corruption and criminality are evident in many countries operating nuclear power plants.

“The persistence of nuclear support can be attributed to three factors: ignorance, commercial interests, and the ‘culture wars’. 

 Those are the likely explanations for the Minerals Council of Australia’s ongoing disinformation campaign regarding nuclear power. Member companies such as BHP and Rio Tinto should stop the MCA’s nuclear disinformation campaign or resign their membership from the MCA.”

“Research by CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator conclusively demonstrates that nuclear power is far more expensive than renewables coupled with storage. It’s time for nuclear lobbyists to stop dissembling and to face the facts: Australia’s future is renewable, not radioactive.” Dr. Green said.

The report notes that in 2020, a record 256 gigawatts (GW) of renewable capacity were added to the world’s power grids compared to a net gain of 0.4 GW of nuclear capacity. This year will be another record-setting year for renewables with 290 GW installed so far, and nuclear power has flatlined yet again with the small number of reactor start-ups matched by permanent reactor closures.

The report, ‘Nuclear Power’s Economic Crisis and its Implications for Australia’, is online at https://nuclear.foe.org.au/economics/

December 9, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business | Leave a comment

Australian superannuation funds still have considerable investments in nuclear weapons companies: some are not disclosing this

  https://www.businessinsider.com.au/these-australian-super-funds-are-still-invested-in-nuclear-weapons

John Buckley 9 Dec 21

  • Most major super funds have some kind of exposore to nuclear weapons.
  • Australian Super, the nation’s largest fund, was found to have $1.5 billion in nuclear weapons holdings.
  • Some omit nuclear weapons from their “controversial” investment exclusions.

Most of Australia’s major super funds continue to hold investments in nuclear weapons companies, almost a year after the UN Treaty on nuclear weapon prohibition came into effect.

According to new analysis from the Australia Institute and nuclear weapons prevention non-profit, Quit Nukes, 17 of Australia’s major super funds currently have holdings in nuclear weapons companies. 

The funds that do, the analysis found, make opaque attempts — if any at all — to disclose the investments to current and potential members, and in some cases go to great lengths to conceal them.

Australian Super, the nation’s largest super fund both by membership and funds under management, has close to $1.5 billion in nuclear weapons companies. 

The fund’s investment policy says Australian Super does not exclude nuclear weapons (or other controversial weapons technology) from its investment pot. 

For members with a higher conscience, Australian Super offers a “Socially Aware” membership, but even then, that only excludes landmines and cluster munitions. 

Moving through the list, the case was the same in most other corners across the market. Aware Super, Australia’s second largest fund, says that it excludes controversial weapons, but that definition doesn’t cover nuclear weapons. 

Aware invests in 12 nuclear weapons companies.

HESTA, meanwhile, only excludes investment in companies which earn more than 5% of their total revenue from nuclear weapons across the whole portfolio, but still has exposure to 14 nuclear weapons companies. 

Over at Hostplus, nuclear weapons aren’t classified as controversial weapons either, and therefore aren’t excluded from the fund’s investment prospects. 

But the fund says that it plans to recategorise nuclear weapons come January next year, at which point it’ll have to find a way to divest from eight nuclear weapons companies. 

It is a popular strategy at most of the market’s major players, where controversial weapons are excluded from investment, but nuclear weapons aren’t considered controversial. 

Among them are Rest Super, Telstra Super, and Mercer Super. At Cbus “controversial weapons” are explicitly excluded from fund investment opportunities, but there’s no mention of nuclear weapons. The fund has exposure to six nuclear weapons companies.

A survey undertaken by Quit Nukes found that just under 70% of Australians would expect nuclear weapons to be considered “controversial weapons”, while that same proportion of Australians, when asked, said they’d prefer their super not be invested in nuclear weapons.

Margaret Beavis, co-director at Quit Nukes, said Australia’s $3.4 trillion pension industry has phenomenal power, and their abstinence could go a long way in eliminating nuclear weapons, which are now illegal under international law. 

“While there is big money invested in nuclear weapons companies, these investments are usually a tiny percentage of the whole funds under management,” Dr Beavis said. 

“There is no evidence to suggest that divestment will negatively impact returns. Some funds are making change, including Hostplus, which recently decided to divest all nuclear weapons holdings by the end of January 2022,” she said. 

Bill Browne, a senior researcher at The Australia Institute’s Democracy and Accountability Program, said it’s clear that Australians don’t want their money “invested in weapons of mass destruction”, and that super funds should heed the warning. 

“Australians have the right to know exactly how their money is being invested, but most major super funds do not tell their members about their investments,” Browne said. 

“Superannuation is one of the great Australian projects, guaranteeing retirement income for millions of workers. Most Australians would have no idea that their retirement money is being used to finance nuclear weapons,” he said. 

“It is incumbent upon all funds to invest in the future of Australians — and that future does not include nuclear weapons.”

Some smaller, emerging funds have already pulled the rug on nuclear investments completely. The only six funds that that have either fully divested, or weren’t exposed to nuclear in weapons in the first place are: Active Super, Australian Ethical, Christian Super, Crescent Wealth, Future Super, and Verve Super.

December 9, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear Power’s Economic Crisis and its Implications for Australia

Nuclear Power’s Economic Crisis and its Implications for Australia, Nuclear Free Campaign, Friends of the Earth Australia 

December 2021 report by Friends of the Earth Australia, ‘Nuclear Power’s Economic Crisis and its Implications for Australia’.

The full report is available as a PDF.

The introduction (minus references and footnotes) is copied below.

INTRODUCTION & SUMMARY

Despite the abundance of evidence that nuclear power is economically uncompetitive compared to renewables, the nuclear industry and some of its supporters continue to claim otherwise. Such claims are typically based on implausible cost projections for non-existent reactor concepts. For example the Minerals Council of Australia conflates self-serving, implausible company estimates for small modular reactors (SMRs) with “robust estimates” based on “conservative assumptions”. And the Australian Nuclear Association bases its claim that nuclear power is Australia’s “least cost low carbon energy option” on the non-existent BWRX-300 SMR.

Claims about ‘cheap’ nuclear power certainly don’t consider real-world nuclear construction projects. Those following real-world developments have come to the opposite conclusion. Indeed supporters of nuclear power have issued any number of warnings in recent years about nuclear power’s “rapidly accelerating crisis” and a “crisis that threatens the death of nuclear energy in the West” while pondering what if anything might be salvaged from the “ashes of today’s dying industry”.

Consider the following statements, many of them from industry insiders:

  • “I don’t think we’re building any more nuclear plants in the United States. I don’t think it’s ever going to happen. They are too expensive to construct.” ‒ William Von Hoene, Senior Vice-President of Exelon, 2018.

    • Nuclear power “just isn’t economic, and it’s not economic within a foreseeable time frame.” ‒ John Rowe, recently-retired CEO of Exelon, 2012.
    • “It’s just hard to justify nuclear, really hard.” ‒ Jeffrey Immelt, General Electric’s CEO, 2012.
    • “We see renewables plus battery storage without incentives being cheaper than natural gas, and cheaper than existing coal and existing nuclear.”‒ Jim Robo, NextEra CEO, 2019.
    • France’s nuclear industry is in its “worst situation ever”, a former EDF director said in November 2016 ‒ and the situation has worsened since then.
    • Nuclear power is “ridiculously expensive” and “uncompetitive” with solar. ‒ Nobuo Tanaka, former executive director of the International Energy Agency, and former executive board member of the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, 2018…………………

Several reasons can be posited for the crisis which led Bob Carr ‒ a former nuclear supporter, NSW Premier and Australian Foreign Minister ‒ to describe nuclear power as lumbering, cripplingly expensive and moribund:

  • The Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011.
  • A suite of economic challenges: catastrophic cost overruns with reactor projects; nuclear power’s negative learning curve (it has become more expensive over time); and nuclear power’s inability to compete economically with renewables.
  • Nuclear corruption scandals in many ‒ perhaps most ‒ of the countries operating nuclear power plants.

Other reasons could be added to that list, such as the failure to find solutions to manage long-lived nuclear waste, and the explosion in the world’s only deep underground nuclear waste repository in 2014.

This paper focuses on nuclear power’s economic problems ‒ catastrophic cost overruns with reactor projects, and nuclear power’s large and worsening economic disadvantage relative to renewables.

Summary

Every power reactor construction project in Western Europe and the US over the past decade has been a disaster:

  • The only reactor construction project in France is 10 years behind schedule and the current cost estimate of A$30.6 billion is 5.8 times greater than the original estimate.
  • The reactor under construction in Finland is 13 years behind schedule and the current cost estimate is 3.7 times greater than the original estimate.
  • The Hinkley Point nuclear plant in the UK was meant to cost £2 billion per reactor and be complete by 2017; but construction hadn’t even begun in 2017 and costs have increased more than five-fold.
  • The V.C. Summer project in South Carolina was abandoned after the expenditure of around US$9 billion.
  • The Vogtle project in Georgia is six years behind schedule and costs have doubled.

Western Europe and the US provide the most striking examples of nuclear power’s crisis and the most striking examples of a more generalised problem: alone among energy sources, nuclear power has become more expensive over time, or in other words it has a negative learning curve.

Section 5 discusses nuclear power globally and in important countries other than those in Western Europe and North America. Suffice it to note here that nuclear power is struggling almost everywhere. China is said to be the industry’s shining light but nuclear growth is modest (an average of 2.1 reactor construction starts per year over the past decade) and paltry compared to renewables (2 gigawatts (GW) of nuclear power capacity added in 2020 compared to 135 GW of renewables).

Outside of China, the writing is on the wall: 48 power reactor start-ups and 98 permanent shut-downs from 2001‒2020 as well as a looming wave of shut-downs because of the ageing of the world’s reactor fleet and, in some countries, nuclear phase-out policies. Globally, renewable power capacity grew by a record 256 GW in 2020 (four times greater than Australia’s total capacity) compared to 0.4 GW for nuclear power.

Small reactors have a history of failure. Recent and current SMR construction projects are few and far between and exhibit familiar patterns of lengthy delays and large cost overruns:


  • The SMR under construction in Argentina is seven years behind schedule; the cost exceeds A$1 billion for a plant with the capacity of two large wind turbines; and the current cost estimate is 23 times higher than preliminary estimates.
  • Russia’s floating nuclear plant ‒ said to be the only operating SMR in the world ‒ was nine years behind schedule, more than six times over budget, and the electricity it produces is estimated to cost an exorbitant A$284 / megawatt-hour (MWh).
  • The high-temperature gas-cooled SMR in China is eight years behind schedule, plans for additional reactors at the same site have been dropped, the cost is 2‒3 times higher than initial estimates, and hopes that the reactor could produce cheaper electricity than large nuclear reactors have been dashed.
  • China recently began construction of an SMR based on conventional light-water reactor technology. According to China National Nuclear Corporation, construction costs per kilowatt (kW) will be twice the cost of large reactors, and the levelised cost of electricity will be 50% higher than large reactors.
    • Russia recently began construction of an SMR based on fast reactor technology. Construction was expected to be complete in 2020, but didn’t even begin until 2021. The construction cost estimate has increased by a factor of 2.4.Sections of the nuclear industry ‒ and some outside the industry ‒ claim that SMRs have a bright future. Those claims have no factual or logical basis. Everything that is promising about SMRs belongs in the never-never; everything in the real-world is expensive and over-budget, slow and behind schedule. Moreover, there are disturbing, multifaceted connections between SMR projects and nuclear weapons proliferation, and between SMRs and fossil fuel mining.
  • Nuclear power ‒ large or small ‒ has become far more expensive than renewables and the gap widens every year. Research by the CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator demonstrates that nuclear power is far more expensive than renewables plus backup power in the Australian context. Research by the same organisations demonstrates that nuclear power is far more expensive than renewables plus integration costs (transmission, storage and synchronous condensers).
  • Support for nuclear power in Australia has no logical or rational basis. The persistence of that support can be attributed to several factors:
    • Ignorance.
    • Commercial interests (direct nuclear interests as well as indirect interests ‒ Australian economist Prof. John Quiggin notes that “in practice, support for nuclear power in Australia is support for coal).
    • Ideological ‘culture wars’. Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull describes nuclear power as the “loopy current fad … which is the current weapon of mass distraction for the backbench.”
    All three reasons may partially explain the Minerals Council of Australia’s ongoing disinformation campaign regarding nuclear power, discussed in section 4.
  • The same reasons could explain support for nuclear power within the Morrison federal government. Nonetheless, the federal Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources expects 69% renewable supply to the National Electricity Market by 2030. There is zero or near-zero support for nuclear power among state and territory governments, including conservative governments ‒ they are focused on the renewables transition (albeit unevenly). Tasmania leads the pack thanks to its hydro resources. South Australia is another pace-setter: wind and solar supplied 62% of local power generation over the past 12 months, wholesale electricity prices were the lowest on the mainland at an average of A$48 / MWh, and grid emissions have fallen to a record low. South Australia is on track to comfortably meet its target of 100% net renewables by 2030.   https://nuclear.foe.org.au/economics/?fbclid=IwAR3Q4ib7eX6r2KPY6kXNztlDKR4_SVzZPL4JeWGc50XLOnyCDeyhPWu0Imw

December 9, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business | Leave a comment

Traditional owners apply for judicial review to stop South Australia nuclear waste dump


Traditional owners apply for judicial review to stop South Australia nuclear waste dump

Barngarla people say they were never consulted over the project which ‘should never be built’ Guardian,   Tory Shepherd, Tue 7 Dec 2021 .

Traditional owners say they will keep fighting to stop a nuclear waste dump planned for South Australia.

Late last month, the federal government confirmed a facility will be built at Napandee, 24km from Kimba, and it is beginning the regulatory and design processes.

However, the Barngarla people say they’ve been excluded from consultation and will now lodge an application for a judicial review of the entire project.

The first hearing is expected to be in March – the month the SA election is due and the federal election could be held. That could then be appealed and the case could end up in the high court, and in a different political context.

Plans to build a nuclear waste facility in South Australia have been thwarted for more than two decades. After a series of governments, inquiries, and a state royal commission, one was meant to be operational in 2020. Now it is planned for 2030.

Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation chair Jason Bilney said if they win the legal challenge, it opens the way for the government to nominate other sites.

They didn’t include us from the start,” he said. “What we’ve always hoped for and fought for is to stop the nuclear waste dump because it should never be built on Napandee. It didn’t have our support,” he said.

A ballot of ratepayers found more than 60% supported the facility. The traditional owners say they were excluded because they do not live in the council area. They held a separate ballot, in which they unanimously rejected the proposal.

Bilney said if you added those two ballots together, the support would have been less than half.

“This [judicial review] will delay it,” he said.

“Everyone has the right to question this government and the processes they go through.”

Bilney also said the site was just a “Band-Aid solution” and echoed conservationists who are pushing for the low and intermediate level waste to be stored at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s facility at Lucas Heights………..

The Australian Conservation Foundation said it was a “long way from a done deal”.

“This plan will face scrutiny in the federal court, but it also needs to face the court of public opinion. The government needs to give Australians, particularly South Australians and the Barngarla people, a genuine say about this plan and its inter-generational risks and impacts,” campaigner Dave Sweeney, said.  https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/dec/07/traditional-owners-apply-for-judicial-review-to-stop-south-australia-nuclear-waste-dump

December 9, 2021 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, legal | Leave a comment

Union leaders demand super funds dump nuclear-linked companies

Six super funds have already divested from the 26 companies on the list, including Active Super, Australian Ethical, Christian Super, Crescent Wealth, Future Super and Verve Super.

CareSuper previously had holdings in Safran and Thales but has divested from these companies, according to the report.

Union leaders demand super funds dump nuclear-linked companies,     https://www.afr.com/policy/tax-and-super/union-leaders-demand-super-funds-dump-nuclear-linked-companies-20211208-p59frc , Michael Read Reporter, Dec 8, 2021  Hostplus has agreed to divest from companies linked to the nuclear weapons industry after coming under pressure from progressive think-tank the Australia Institute and Quit Nukes.

Other industry funds are being lobbied to follow suit, including AustralianSuper, which has $1.5 billion invested in 18 companies that critics say are linked to the nuclear weapons industry.

A new report by the Australia Institute and Quit Nukes says 17 of Australia’s largest super funds, including Aware Super and BT Funds Management, are investing in companies linked to the nuclear weapons industry.

The report argues that funds can divest from these companies without negatively affecting financial returns.

The report says Hostplus has agreed to divest by the end of the year, but The Australian Financial Review was unable to reach the fund to confirm.

“Just prior to the launch of this report, Hostplus confirmed with Quit Nukes that it has decided to include nuclear weapons in their definition of controversial weapons,” the report says.

It quotes Hostplus as saying: “Our Responsible Investment Policy and our Controversial Weapons Divestment Policy have both been updated and approved by the Board. Hostplus expects to be fully divested of their holdings in nuclear weapons companies by the end of January 2022.”

Wide range of investments

The Australia Institute classifies 26 companies as involved in the nuclear weapons industry. The companies are involved directly in the development, testing, production or maintenance of nuclear weapon-related technology, parts products or services.

The list includes defence industry giants such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon and missile system producers Bharat Dynamics and Aerojet Rocketdyne.

Some of the companies on the list are conglomerates such as Airbus and Boeing whose corporate activities extend well beyond their involvement in the defence industry.

The report finds that the nation’s largest super fund, AustralianSuper, has $1.5 billion invested across 18 companies linked to the nuclear weapons industry. The investments include a $1.6 million stake in BWX Technologies, which is involved in uranium processing and other site-specific services for the United States’ nuclear arsenal.

AustralianSuper did not respond to a request for comment.

Aware Super holds a stake in 12 companies on the list, including US firm Textron, which produces re-entry vehicles for intercontinental ballistic missiles, and Safran, which is involved in missile production for the French nuclear arsenal.

A spokesman for Aware Super committed to reviewing its investment framework and said nuclear weapons companies were already excluded from its socially responsible investment option.

AustralianSuper did not respond to a request for comment.

Aware Super holds a stake in 12 companies on the list, including US firm Textron, which produces re-entry vehicles for intercontinental ballistic missiles, and Safran, which is involved in missile production for the French nuclear arsenal.

A spokesman for Aware Super committed to reviewing its investment framework and said nuclear weapons companies were already excluded from its socially responsible investment option.

“BT excludes securities where industries or activities undertaken breach our ESG (environmental, social and governance) exclusions framework, this includes nuclear weapons activities in contravention of the UN Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,” a spokeswoman said.

We have investment options available that exclude all nuclear weapons and we regularly review and refine our investment approach across a broad range of ESG issues … We haven’t seen the full report, so can’t comment on its findings,” she said.

Unions call for divestment

Union leaders are demanding that super funds divest from companies that critics say are linked to nuclear weapons production.

Electrical Trades Union national assistant secretary Michael Wright said it was “tough to claim industry funds are an ethical choice if they continue to invest in nuclear weapons”.

“I know a lot of our members are with funds called out in this report as investing in nuclear weapons. If these funds don’t divest soon our members may well look to place their retirement savings with funds that are more ethical,” Mr Wright said.

For union- and employer-backed industry funds, the equal representation board model means directors are sourced equally from the two groups.

Six super funds have already divested from the 26 companies on the list, including Active Super, Australian Ethical, Christian Super, Crescent Wealth, Future Super and Verve Super.

CareSuper previously had holdings in Safran and Thales but has divested from these companies, according to the report.

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation federal secretary Annie Butler said there was “an urgent need for superannuation funds to ensure their investments are safe and ethically sound – and not in industries which can ultimately cause so much devastation and misery to our populations”.

Australian Services Union national secretary Robert Potter said investments in nuclear weapons undermined the work done by the union’s members.

“We welcome the nuclear weapon ban treaty and we’re committed to steering workers capital to align with the objectives of our ASU national policy,” Mr Potter said.

The Australia Institute’s senior researcher, Bill Browne, said he hoped the report would act as a “wake-up call to all superannuation funds still investing in nuclear weapons companies”.

“Superannuation is one of the great Australian projects, guaranteeing retirement income for millions of workers,” Mr Browne said. “Most Australians would have no idea that their retirement money is being used to finance nuclear weapons.

“It is incumbent upon all funds to invest in the future of Australians – and that future does not include nuclear weapons.” 

December 9, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Institute of Public Affairs is seeking to harm the ABC’s reputation

helen caldicott @DrHCaldicott19mReplying to @Anthony_Klan

the IPA is closely affiliated with the Heritage Foundation in the US, which is funded by Hertz, Ocean Spray cranberries, Holiday Inns, Readers Digest, Coors Beer, Bechtel, Gulf Oil, Vicks, Amway, Hunt Oil, the Chicago Tribune Company

The IPA rolls out ugly campaign against the ABC, Independent Australia, By Anthony Klan | 9 December 2021  The Institute of Public Affairs is seeking to harm the ABC’s reputation, while questions linger over its own operations and purpose, writes Anthony Klan.

WELL-HEELED secretive lobby group the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), which seeks to influence Australia’s public debate, sway government policy – and is running an aggressive campaign against the nation’s most trusted news outlet – is refusing to say who actually funds it.

The IPA is spending substantial sums of money – funds it is refusing to disclose the source of – in a long-standing, clinical and systematic campaign attacking Australia’s public broadcaster, the ABC.

Yet the IPA and its Executive Director John Roskam – who is due to appear on ABC Q&A program – are steadfastly refusing to even disclose who actually funds the highly vocal operation. 

That is, who is ultimately calling the shots against Australia’s most trusted news source.

The IPA’s anti-ABC campaign includes outlandish claims, such as the ABC is “structurally and geographically biased against mainstream Australia”, is an “echo chamber disconnected from the mainstream” and has “obsessions” such as around climate change.

It produces anti-ABC “news” style articles and videos – and most recently has produced a five-part “documentary podcast” – all attacking the ABC’s procedures and its ethics.

Yet the IPA has refused to say whether it, as publisher of all the material, considers itself an adherent – in any way – to the basic ethical frameworks that underpin Australian journalism.

Further, Roskam has failed to provide the name of a single employee or contributor, behind the barrage of anti-ABC “news” items, who considers themselves to be an adherent to Australian journalism’s ethical guidelines.

Yet when we approached Mulholland asking if he – the person savagely attacking Australia’s most trusted media outlet – considered himself a “journalist”, or adherent to the Australian Journalist Code of Ethics, he steadfastly refused to comment.

The IPA’s attacks on the ABC are particularly remarkable given polls consistently show that the ABC is the most trusted news source in the country.

poll in March last year found 72% of Australians agreed the ABC was ‘Australia’s most trusted news source’ and a massive 84% agreed the ABC ‘is a valuable source of news to the Australian community’.

ABC newsrooms are widely known among professional journalists to be some of, if not the most, ethical in the country…………..

ASX-listed companies, even though influencing public debate and government policy is not their primary business – unlike the IPA – are required to disclose their 20 biggest investors.

That’s so market participants know who they’re dealing with. The IPA discloses none of this……………… https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-ipa-rolls-out-ugly-campaign-against-the-abc,15830

December 9, 2021 Posted by | media, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Who’s Telling the ‘Big Lie’ on Ukraine?

A former U.S. intelligence official who has examined the evidence said the intelligence to support the claims of a significant Russian invasion amounted to “virtually nothing.

But these doubts and concerns are not reflected in the Post’s editorial or other MSM accounts of the dangerous Ukraine crisis. Indeed, Americans who rely on these powerful news outlets for their information are as sheltered from reality as anyone living in a totalitarian society

ROBERT PARRY: Who’s Telling the ‘Big Lie’ on Ukraine?  Consortium News, December 8, 2021   The U.S. group think still driving the Ukraine crisis began at least eight years ago, as detailed in this article by Robert Parry on Sept. 2, 2014.

Exclusive: Official Washington draws the Ukraine crisis in black-and-white colors with Putin the bad guy and the U.S.-backed leaders in Kiev the good guys. But the reality is much more nuanced, with Americans consistently misled on key facts, wrote Robert Parry.  By Robert Parry Sept. 2, 2014

Special to Consortium News   If you wonder how the world could stumble into World War III much as it did into World War I a century ago all you need to do is look at the madness that has enveloped virtually the entire U.S. political/media structure over Ukraine where a false narrative of white hats vs. black hats took hold early and has proved impervious to facts or reason.  

The original lie behind Official Washington’s latest “group think” was that Russian President Vladimir Putin instigated the crisis in Ukraine as part of some diabolical scheme to reclaim the territory of the defunct Soviet Union, including Estonia and other Baltic states. Though not a shred of U.S. intelligence supported this scenario, all the “smart people” of Washington just “knew” it to be true.

Yet, the once-acknowledged though soon forgotten reality was that the crisis was provoked last year by the European Union proposing an association agreement with Ukraine while U.S. neocons and other hawkish politicos and pundits envisioned using the Ukraine gambit as a way to undermine Putin inside Russia.

The plan was even announced by U.S. neocons such as National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman who took to the op-ed page of The Washington Post nearly a year ago to call Ukraine “the biggest prize” and an important interim step toward eventually toppling Putin in Russia.

Gershman, whose NED is funded by the U.S. Congress, wrote:


“Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents.  Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”

In other words, from the start, Putin was the target of the Ukraine initiative, not the instigator. But even if you choose to ignore Gershman’s clear intent, you would have to concoct a bizarre conspiracy theory to support the conventional wisdom about Putin’s grand plan.

To believe that Putin was indeed the mastermind of the crisis, you would have to think that he somehow arranged to have the EU offer the association agreement last year, then got the International Monetary Fund to attach such draconian “reforms” that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych backed away from the deal.

Then, Putin had to organize mass demonstrations at Kiev’s Maidan square against Yanukovych while readying neo-Nazi militias to act as the muscle to finally overthrow the elected president and replace him with a regime dominated by far-right Ukrainian nationalists and U.S.-favored technocrats. Next, Putin had to get the new government to take provocative actions against ethnic Russians in the east, including threatening to outlaw Russian as an official language.

And throw into this storyline that Putin all the while was acting like he was trying to help Yanukovych defuse the crisis and even acquiesced to Yanukovych agreeing on Feb. 21 to accept an agreement brokered by three European countries calling for early Ukrainian elections that could vote him out of office. Instead, Putin was supposedly ordering neo-Nazi militias to oust Yanukovych in a Feb. 22 putsch, all the better to create the current crisis.

While such a fanciful scenario would make the most extreme conspiracy theorist blush, this narrative was embraced by prominent U.S. politicians, including ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and “journalists” from The New York Times to CNN. They all agreed that Putin was a madman on a mission of unchecked aggression against his neighbors with the goal of reconstituting the Russian Empire. Clinton even compared him to Adolf Hitler.

This founding false narrative was then embroidered by a consistent pattern of distorted U.S. reporting as the crisis unfolded. Indeed, for the past eight months, we have seen arguably the most one-sided coverage of a major international crisis in memory, although there were other crazed MSM stampedes, such as Iraq’s non-existent WMD in 2002-03, Iran’s supposed nuclear bomb project for most of the past decade, Libya’s “humanitarian crisis” of 2011, and Syria’s sarin gas attack in 2013.

But the hysteria over Ukraine with U.S. officials and editorialists now trying to rally a NATO military response to Russia’s alleged “invasion” of Ukraine raises the prospect of a nuclear confrontation that could end all life on the planet.

The ‘Big Lie’ of the ‘Big Lie’

This madness reached new heights with a Sept. 1 (2014) editorial in the neoconservative Washington Post, which led many of the earlier misguided stampedes and was famously wrong in asserting that Iraq’s concealment of WMD was a “flat fact.” In its new editorial, the Post reprised many of the key elements of the false Ukraine narrative in the Orwellian context of accusing Russia of deceiving its own people.

The “through-the-looking-glass” quality of the Post’s editorial was to tell the “Big Lie” while accusing Putin of telling the “Big Lie.” The editorial began with the original myth about the aggression waged by Putin whose

“bitter resentment at the Soviet empire’s collapse metastasized into seething Russian nationalism………………..

But the truth is that the U.S. mainstream news media’s distortion of the Ukraine crisis is something that a real totalitarian could only dream about. Virtually absent from major U.S. news outlets across the political spectrum has been any significant effort to tell the other side of the story or to point out the many times when the West’s “fair and factual version of events” has been false or deceptive, starting with the issue of who started this crisis.

Blinded to Neo-Nazis

In another example, the Post and other mainstream U.S. outlets have ridiculed the idea that neo-Nazis played any significant role in the putsch that ousted Yanukovych on Feb. 22 or in the Kiev regime’s brutal offensive against the ethnic Russians of eastern Ukraine.

However, occasionally, the inconvenient truth has slipped through. For instance, shortly after the February coup, the BBC described how the neo-Nazis spearheaded the violent seizure of government buildings to drive Yanukovych from power and were then rewarded with four ministries in the regime that was cobbled together in the coup’s aftermath.

When ethnic Russians in the south and east resisted the edicts from the new powers in Kiev, some neo-Nazi militias were incorporated into the National Guard and dispatched to the front lines as storm troopers eager to fight and kill people whom some considered “Untermenschen” or sub-human.

Even The New York Times, which has been among the most egregious violators of journalistic ethics in covering the Ukraine crisis, took note of Kiev’s neo-Nazi militias carrying Nazi banners while leading attacks on eastern cities albeit with this embarrassing reality consigned to the last three paragraphs of a long Times story on a different topic. [See Consortium News’s “NYT Discovers Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis at War.”]

Later, the conservative London Daily Telegraph wrote a much more detailed story about how the Kiev regime had consciously recruited these dedicated storm troopers, who carried the Wolfsangel symbol favored by Hitler’s SS, to lead street fighting in eastern cities that were first softened up by army artillery. [See Consortium News‘s “Ignoring Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Storm Troopers.”]

You might think that unleashing Nazi storm troopers on a European population for the first time since World War II would be a big story given how much coverage is given to far less significant eruptions of neo-Nazi sentiment in Europe but this ugly reality in Ukraine disappeared quickly into the U.S. media’s memory hole. It didn’t fit the preferred good guy/bad guy narrative, with the Kiev regime the good guys and Putin the bad guy.

Now, The Washington Post has gone a step further dismissing Putin’s reference to the nasty violence inflicted by Kiev’s neo-Nazi battalions as part of Putin’s “Big Lie.” The Post is telling its readers that any reference to these neo-Nazis is just a “fantasy.”

Even more disturbing, the mainstream U.S. news media and Washington’s entire political class continue to ignore the Kiev government’s killing of thousands of ethnic Russians, including children and other non-combatants. The “responsibility to protect” crowd has suddenly lost its voice. Or, all the deaths are somehow blamed on Putin for supposedly having provoked the Ukraine crisis in the first place.

A Mysterious ‘Invasion’

And now there’s the curious case of Russia’s alleged “invasion” of Ukraine, another alarmist claim trumpeted by the Kiev regime and echoed by NATO hardliners and the MSM.

While I’m told that Russia did provide some light weapons to the rebels early in the struggle so they could defend themselves and their territory and a number of Russian nationalists have crossed the border to join the fight, the claims of an overt “invasion” with tanks, artillery and truck convoys have been backed up by scant intelligence.

One former U.S. intelligence official who has examined the evidence said the intelligence to support the claims of a significant Russian invasion amounted to “virtually nothing.” Instead, it appears that the ethnic Russian rebels may have evolved into a more effective fighting force than many in the West thought. They are, after all, fighting on their home turf for their futures.

Concerned about the latest rush to judgment about the “invasion,” the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group of former U.S. intelligence officials and analysts, took the unusual step of sending a memo to German Chancellor Angela Merkel warning her of a possible replay of the false claims that led to the Iraq War.

You need to know,” the group wrote, “that accusations of a major Russian ‘invasion’ of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the ‘intelligence’ seems to be of the same dubious, politically ‘fixed’ kind used 12 years ago to ‘justify’ the U.S.-led attack on Iraq.”

But these doubts and concerns are not reflected in the Post’s editorial or other MSM accounts of the dangerous Ukraine crisis. Indeed, Americans who rely on these powerful news outlets for their information are as sheltered from reality as anyone living in a totalitarian society.The late investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. He founded Consortium News in 1995 as the first online, independent news site in the United States.   https://org.salsalabs.com/o/1868/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=14124&okay=True

December 9, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

5.0-magnitude quake strikes off Japan’s Fukushima prefecture


5.0-magnitude quake strikes off Japan’s Fukushima prefecture, no tsunami warning issued, 
https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/50-magnitude-quake-strikes-off-japans-fukushima-prefecture-no-tsunami-warning-issuedTOKYO (XINHUA) – An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.0 struck off Japan’s Fukushima prefecture on Wednesday (Dec 8), according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

The temblor occurred at around 2.29am local time, with its epicentre at a latitude of 37.2 degrees north and a longitude of 141.2 degrees east, and at a depth of 20km.

The moderate quake logged three in some parts of Fukushima prefecture on the Japanese seismic intensity scale which peaks at seven.

So far, no tsunami warning has been issued.

Based on preliminary seismic data, the quake is not likely to have caused any significant damage, said the website of VolcanoDiscovery.

December 9, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Baseload” generators have had their day, and won’t be needed in a modern grid — RenewEconomy

The decline of “baseload” has been predicted for many years, now South Australia is showing a grid can operate without it. The post “Baseload” generators have had their day, and won’t be needed in a modern grid appeared first on RenewEconomy.

“Baseload” generators have had their day, and won’t be needed in a modern grid — RenewEconomy

December 9, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Electrification and renewables could save Australians $60bn a year in energy costs — RenewEconomy

Australian households could save billions in energy expenditure, while slashing emissions, by going electric and renewable. The post Electrification and renewables could save Australians $60bn a year in energy costs appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Electrification and renewables could save Australians $60bn a year in energy costs — RenewEconomy

December 9, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia slammed for “dangerous” coal addiction and climate “cosplay” — RenewEconomy

Morrison government slammed for deeply inadequate “climate policy pamphlet” and failure to break Australia’s “dangerous” coal addiction. The post Australia slammed for “dangerous” coal addiction and climate “cosplay” appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Australia slammed for “dangerous” coal addiction and climate “cosplay” — RenewEconomy

December 9, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Urgent and extensive:” AEMO updates must-do list as grid charges to 100% renewables — RenewEconomy

AEMO sets out a “must-do” list to fill in knowledge gaps of how to manage a grid heading for “uncharted operating conditions.” The post “Urgent and extensive:” AEMO updates must-do list as grid charges to 100% renewables appeared first on RenewEconomy.

“Urgent and extensive:” AEMO updates must-do list as grid charges to 100% renewables — RenewEconomy

December 9, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

One of Australia’s smallest wind farms powers up in Victoria — RenewEconomy

A tiny 7.4MW wind farm in Victoria’s Wimmera region has started power up, registering small amounts of power from its spot on the grid. The post One of Australia’s smallest wind farms powers up in Victoria appeared first on RenewEconomy.

One of Australia’s smallest wind farms powers up in Victoria — RenewEconomy

December 9, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Record wind and solar pushed emissions and prices lower in 2021 — RenewEconomy

New analysis shows Australia achieving record highs for wind and solar, pushing emissions and prices down. But gas and oil remain well entrenched. The post Record wind and solar pushed emissions and prices lower in 2021 appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Record wind and solar pushed emissions and prices lower in 2021 — RenewEconomy

December 9, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

December 8 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion:  ¶ “Insurmountable Green Hydrogen Barriers In Australia Or Just Minor Obstacles?” • Australia is known to be a dry continent. So a study decrying the huge amount of clean water that is needed to produce green hydrogen is going to get more than a few readers. I see it as another part of the […]

December 8 Energy News — geoharvey

December 9, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment