Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Today: AUKUS, nuclear submarines, hypersonic missiles – all lovely for Australia’s khaki election.

I must admit – the unsurpassed marketing genius Scotty Morrison has got off to a great start with the ”economics, jobs, jobs, ain’t it grand, mate” campaign. He was helped enormously by the Labor leader not being able to answer questions on unemployment and interest rates.

Nevertheless, I’m betting that dear old #ScotttyFromMarketing will before long revert to the war-mongering shtick. After all, he needs to nullify as much as possible, any criticism of the astronomic costs to all this militarism.

And – #ScottyFromMarketing needs to ward off any potential subversion by the gun-crazy Peter Dutton, who’s always there, salivating to take over the leadership.

April 12, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina reviews, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear risks, the war in Ukraine, and Australia’s significant contribution to these dangers

The war in Ukraine: Nuclear power, weapons and winter, Pearls and Irritations, By Jim Green, Apr 11, 2022,

Six weeks into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the death and destruction has been devastating. In addition, the targeting of nuclear power plants by Russia’s military has raised the spectre of a nuclear disaster.

The Russian military’s seizure of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant ‒ at a time when at least one of the plant’s six reactors was operating ‒ was the most dangerous incident. The partial loss of power to the plant further raised the risk of a disaster.

To say that the seizure of the Zaporizhzhia plant was reckless would be an understatement. Dr. Edwin Lyman from the Union of Concerned Scientists summarised the risks:

“There are a number of events that could trigger a worst-case scenario involving a reactor core or spent fuel pool located in a war zone: An accidental ‒ or intentional ‒ strike could directly damage one or more reactors. An upstream dam failure could flood a reactor downstream. A fire could disable plant electrical systems. Personnel under duress could make serious mistakes. The bottom line: Any extended loss of power that interrupted cooling system operations that personnel could not contain has the potential to cause a Fukushima-like disaster.”

The Russian military also seized control of the Chernobyl nuclear plant, the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident. Workers were held hostage for 25 days. Off-site power was lost for five days, but generators supplied the necessary power to cool nuclear waste stores. It has been difficult to extinguish forest fires in the contaminated Chernobyl Exclusion Zone due to military conflict.

Several other nuclear facilities have been hit by Russian military strikes, including a nuclear research facility at the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology, and two radioactive waste storage sites.

At the time of writing, there haven’t been any major radiation releases resulting from Russia’s invasion. But the risk remains, and the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi continues to express “grave concern” and to note that “an accident involving the nuclear facilities in Ukraine could have severe consequences for public health and the environment.”……………….

The risk of nuclear warfare is low, but it is not zero. It doesn’t help that NATO and Russian military doctrines allow for the use of tactical nuclear weapons to fend off defeat in a major conventional war. It doesn’t help that some missiles can carry either conventional weapons or nuclear weapons, increasing the risk of worst-case thinking and a precipitous over-reaction by the adversary.

And it doesn’t help that Putin’s statements have included threats to use nuclear weapons, or that a referendum in Belarus revoked the constitution’s nuclear-weapon-free pledge, or that Belarusian president Aleksander Lukashenko joined Putin to watch the Russian military carry out a nuclear weapons exercise, or that Lukashenko has said Belarus would be open to hosting Russian nuclear weapons.

Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, points to other concerns:

“Russia and Belarus are not alone in their aggressive and irresponsible posture either. The United States continues to exploit a questionable reading of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) that prevents states from ‘possessing’ nuclear weapons but allows them to host those weapons. Five European states currently host approximately 100 US nuclear weapons: Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Turkey.”

In a worst-case scenario, the direct impacts of nuclear warfare would be followed by catastrophic climatic impacts known as ‘nuclear winter’. Earth and paleoclimate scientist Andrew Glikson noted in a recent article:…………………….

The myth of the peaceful atom

Russia’s deliberate and accidental strikes on nuclear sites in Ukraine aren’t the first attacks on nuclear facilities by hostile nation-states……….

For decades, the nuclear industry and its supporters denied and trivialised the connections between ‘peaceful’ nuclear programs and weapons proliferation. But nuclear power has been in such a desperate state in recent years that the industry now acknowledges and even celebrates the connections between power and weapons. Those connections are said to justify greater taxpayer bailouts and subsidies for nuclear power programs in the UK, the US, France and elsewhere.

In the UK, Rolls-Royce is promoting small modular reactors (SMRs) on the grounds that “a civil nuclear UK SMR programme would relieve the Ministry of Defence of the burden of developing and retaining skills and capability”. French President Emmanuel Macron said in a 2020 speech that without nuclear power there would be no nuclear weapons, and without nuclear weapons there would be no nuclear power (“Sans nucléaire civil, pas de nucléaire militaire, sans nucléaire militaire, pas de nucléaire civil”). In the US, the Nuclear Energy Institute argues that a failure to provide further subsidies for nuclear power would “stunt development of the nation’s defense nuclear complex”…………………………..

Australia’s contribution to global nuclear risks

Australia has uranium export agreements with all of the ‘declared’ nuclear weapons states, all of them breaching their disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; countries with a history of weapons-related research based on their civil nuclear programs; countries that have not ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; countries expanding their nuclear weapons capabilities; and undemocratic, secretive states with appalling human rights records.

Australia’s uranium export agreements with Russia and Ukraine were much of a muchness: federal parliament’s treaties committee issued strong warnings about the inadequacy of nuclear safeguards, the government of the day ignored those warnings, and no-one has any idea about the security or whereabouts of Australian uranium and its by-products in Russia or Ukraine.

Australian governments, and uranium companies operating in Australia, also contribute to global nuclear risks by exporting uranium to countries with lax safety standards and inadequate nuclear regulation. The most dramatic illustration of that problem is the fact that Australian uranium was in the poorly-managed, poorly-regulated Fukushima reactors during the explosions, meltdowns and fires in March 2011.

Ukraine provides another example. Even before the Russian invasion, Ukraine’s nuclear industry was corrupt, regulation was inadequate, and nuclear security measures left much room for improvement.

Australia also contributes to global nuclear risks because of the bipartisan support for the US alliance and ‘extended nuclear deterrence’. As a result, Australia routinely undermines global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament initiatives. A case in point is Australia’s efforts to undermine the UN’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and the government’s refusal to sign or ratify the treaty.

And the Australian government’s pursuit of submarines powered by weapons-useable, highly-enriched uranium undermines global non-proliferation efforts. If it’s okay for Australia’s military to have access to weapons-useable nuclear material, then it’s okay for the world’s other 190-or-so countries to have access to weapons-useable nuclear material. What could possibly go wrong?

 Detailed information on nuclear threats resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is posted at https://nuclear.foe.org.au/ukraine/

April 12, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The US-Australia-UK pact seems determined to pursue great power competition at the risk of real conflict.

APRIL 11, 2022

Written by
Sarang Shidore

The leaders of the United States, United Kingdom and Australia — the three nations that form the AUKUS security grouping— have issued a joint statement recently on deepening their cooperation to include new technologies. The statement spoke of “new trilateral cooperation on hypersonics and counter-hypersonics, and electronic warfare capabilities, as well as to expand information sharing and to deepen cooperation on defense innovation.” 

AUKUS is an explicitly military pact announced in September 2021 aimed to counter China in the Asia-Pacific. It has been generally portrayed as an agreement to transfer highly sensitive nuclear submarine technology to Australia and equip Canberra with such craft. Since then, the submarine plans have made some progress, with the Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information Agreement signed by the three countries, which allows sharing of sensitive data. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also announced the earmarking of an additional base for nuclear submarines on the country’s east coast. 

But AUKUS is as much, or even more, about other defense technologies such as cyber, artificial intelligence, quantum physics, and others to which hypersonics is just the latest addition. The likely reason for adding the latter is China’s own progress in this technology, with a recent test that was seen in the United States as a breakthrough. The United States is widely considered to be behind China and Russia in hypersonic technology. However, Washington is very much implicated in Chinese advances. The United States probably sparked China’s drive for hypersonics when it withdrew from the bedrock Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty in 2001.

Last year, I wrote about the dangers and risks AUKUS presents to the stability and security of Asia. These include setting a poor precedent for curbing nuclear proliferation, problematic weaponization of norms and values claims, the perception of an Anglo-Saxon club in Asia, and risks of sparking a new arms race. Deterrence has a place in any U.S. approach toward China, but the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy is heavy on deterrence and light on reassurance. The inclusion of hypersonics in AUKUS is simply another sign that we have entered a world of decreasing safeguards against chances of great power conflict with all its potential to go nuclear. Nuclear war, more than the rise of China, is a core and existential threat to the United States.

Last year, I wrote about the dangers and risks AUKUS presents to the stability and security of Asia. These include setting a poor precedent for curbing nuclear proliferation, problematic weaponization of norms and values claims, the perception of an Anglo-Saxon club in Asia, and risks of sparking a new arms race. Deterrence has a place in any U.S. approach toward China, but the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy is heavy on deterrence and light on reassurance. The inclusion of hypersonics in AUKUS is simply another sign that we have entered a world of decreasing safeguards against chances of great power conflict with all its potential to go nuclear. Nuclear war, more than the rise of China, is a core and existential threat to the United States.

April 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

No country in the world has worked out what to do with its old dead, radioactive, nuclear submarines

In light of Boris’s new enthusiasm for lots of Rolls-Royce’s so-called “mini-nukes” to generate electricity, it should be better known that the Ministry of Defence has not scrapped any of its 21 similarly Rolls-Royce-powered old nuclear submarines, berthed for up to 40 years.

It has made a start dismantling the hull of one, but there are still no plans for dealing with the reactors beyond burying them. Indeed, no country in the world has properly made safe a worn out mini-nuke-powered ship or submarine.

 Guardian 10th April 2022

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/apr/10/uk-energy-strategys-nuclear-dangers-and-glaring-omissions

April 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Caitlin Johnstone sheds a critical gaze on media reporting on Ukraine, and asks why Julian Assange is criminalised for revealing military atrocities.

If it seems a bit hypocritical to you that the empire is blasting us in the face all day with narratives alleging Russian war crimes while that same empire is imprisoning a journalist for exposing its war crimes, that’s because it absolutely is hypocritical.

If something looks wrong about the fact that we’re about to watch a judge sign off on Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States for practicing journalism while that same United States keeps pushing out narratives about the need to protect Ukraine’s freedom and democracy, that’s because it should. 

If It Feels Like You’re Being Manipulated, It’s Because You Are,
more https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/if-it-feels-like-youre-being-manipulated?s=w Caitlin Johnstone, 11 Apr 22,
If you’ve got a gut feeling that your rulers are working to control your perception of the war in Ukraine, it is safe to trust that feeling.

If you feel like there’s been a concerted effort from the most powerful government and media institutions in the western world to manipulate your understanding of what’s going on with this war, it’s because that’s exactly what has been happening.

If you can’t recall ever seeing such intense mass media spin about a war before, it’s because you haven’t.

If you get the distinct impression that this may be the most aggressively perception-managed and psyop-intensive war in human history, it’s because it is.

If it looks like Silicon Valley platforms are controlling the content that people see to give them a perspective on this war that is wildly biased in favor of the US narrative, it’s because that is indeed the case.

If it seems like a suspicious coincidence that Russiagate manufactured mainstream consent for all the same shady agendas we’re seeing ramped up now like cold war brinkmanship against Moscow, internet censorship, and being constantly lied to by the mass media for the greater good, it’s because it is a mighty suspicious coincidence.

If it seems weird to you that so many self-styled leftists are responding to this war by fanatically supporting the extremely dangerous unipolarist geostrategic agendas of the most powerful empire that has ever existed, that’s because it is weird. Really, really, really weird.

If it seems a bit hypocritical to you that the empire is blasting us in the face all day with narratives alleging Russian war crimes while that same empire is imprisoning a journalist for exposing its war crimes, that’s because it absolutely is hypocritical.

If something looks wrong about the fact that we’re about to watch a judge sign off on Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States for practicing journalism while that same United States keeps pushing out narratives about the need to protect Ukraine’s freedom and democracy, that’s because it should. 

If you’re beginning to get the nagging sense that the mainstream consensus worldview is a construct manufactured by the powerful, for the powerful and everything you were taught about your nation, your government and your world is a lie, that’s definitely a possibility worth considering.

If it’s starting to seem like we’re all being manipulated at mass scale to think, act and vote in a way which benefits a vast power structure that rules over us while hiding its true nature, I’d say that’s a thread worth pulling.

If you’ve a sneaking suspicion that the lies might go even deeper than that, right down to deceptions about who you fundamentally are and what this life is actually about, that suspicion is probably worth exploring.

If you’re feeling a bit like Keanu Reeves in the beginning of The Matrix right before the veil gets ripped away, I’d recommend following the white bunny and seeing how deep that rabbit hole goes.

If it has occurred to you that humanity needs to wake up from the matrix of illusion before our sociopathic rulers drive us to extinction via environmental catastrophe or nuclear armageddon, then your notes match my own.

 If you believe it’s possible that these existential crises we’re fast approaching may be the catalyst we need to collectively rip the blindfold from our eyes and begin moving in a truth-based way upon this earth and creating a healthy world, then we are on the same page.

If there’s something in you that whispers there’s a good chance we make it despite the long odds we appear to be facing, I will tell you a secret: I hear it too.

April 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

TagEnergy gets $660 million funding boost for wind and battery projects — RenewEconomy

TagEnergy lands $660 million in funds to develop 2GW of renewables and battery storage projects in Australia. The post TagEnergy gets $660 million funding boost for wind and battery projects appeared first on RenewEconomy.

TagEnergy gets $660 million funding boost for wind and battery projects — RenewEconomy

April 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Call for renewable energy revolution to be at heart of election campaign — RenewEconomy

Clean Energy Council says strong clean energy policies will be key to Australia’s future prosperity. The post Call for renewable energy revolution to be at heart of election campaign appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Call for renewable energy revolution to be at heart of election campaign — RenewEconomy

April 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Not fast enough: Australian utilities rate poorly on green energy transition — RenewEconomy

Australia might lead the world in renewables uptake, but a new study shows its major energy utilities still trail their global peers in the transition to green energy. The post Not fast enough: Australian utilities rate poorly on green energy transition appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Not fast enough: Australian utilities rate poorly on green energy transition — RenewEconomy

April 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bad for coal and good for consumers: Leading rooftop PV critic shifts his views — RenewEconomy

A former critic of incentives to drive household solar has now described Queensland’s world-leading installations as “welfare enhancing.” The post Bad for coal and good for consumers: Leading rooftop PV critic shifts his views appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Bad for coal and good for consumers: Leading rooftop PV critic shifts his views — RenewEconomy

April 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Election diary: Albanese pledges end to climate wars, Liberal campaigns in Tesla — RenewEconomy

Albanese promises end to climate wars, Liberal MP campaigns in Tesla, Greens want balance of power to stop fossil fuels. And more … The post Election diary: Albanese pledges end to climate wars, Liberal campaigns in Tesla appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Election diary: Albanese pledges end to climate wars, Liberal campaigns in Tesla — RenewEconomy

April 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Projects in limbo as Morrison’s promised billions evaporate on election call — RenewEconomy

Dozens of energy projects in limbo as billions in promised funding evaporates, with Morrison heading to polls without passing key legislation. The post Projects in limbo as Morrison’s promised billions evaporate on election call appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Projects in limbo as Morrison’s promised billions evaporate on election call — RenewEconomy

April 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Russian soldiers received ‘shocking amount’ of nuclear exposure at Chernobyl site – some may have less than a year to live.

Ukraine says Russian soldiers stole potentially deadly radioactive substances from Chernobyl,

more – https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-11/russians-stole-radioactive-substance-chernobyl/100981372

Russian forces who occupied the Chernobyl nuclear plant stole potentially deadly radioactive substances from research laboratories, Ukraine’s State Agency for Managing the Exclusion Zone says. 

Key points:

  • Ukraine recently took back control of the Chernobyl site
  • Ukraine’s energy minister says some Russia soldiers have less than a year to live
  • Chernobyl plant staff have just been rotated for the second time since Russian forces seized the facilities

Moscow’s troops seized the defunct power plant on the first day of their invasion of Ukraine on February 24. They occupied the highly radioactive zone for over a month, before retreating on March 31.

The agency said on Facebook that Russian soldiers pillaged two laboratories in the area.

It said the Russians entered a storage area of the Ecocentre research base and stole 133 highly radioactive substances.

Even a small part of this activity is deadly if handled unprofessionally,” the agency said.

‘Shocking’ amount of nuclear exposure

Earlier this week, Ukraine’s energy minister German Gulashchenko said Russian soldiers exposed themselves to a “shocking” amount of nuclear radiation, saying some of them may have less than a year to live.

“They dug bare soil contaminated with radiation, collected radioactive sand in bags for fortification, breathed this dust,” Mr Gulashchenko said on Facebook on Friday after visiting the exclusion zone.

“After a month of such exposure, they have a maximum of one year of life. More precisely, not life but a slow death from diseases. “Every Russian soldier will bring a piece of Chernobyl home. Dead or alive.”

He said Russian military equipment was also contaminated.

“The ignorance of Russian soldiers is shocking.”

The Chernobyl power station was the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986.

Situation ‘far from normal’

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Ukraine had been able to rotate staff at the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear plant for only the second time since Russian forces seized the facility early in the war.

They had to be transported to and from the site by water, with the Pripyat River being the only way for people living in the city of Slavutych to currently reach the plant.

The nuclear agency said the situation around Chernobyl, site of a 1986 nuclear disaster, “remained far from normal” after Russians departed at the end of March.

Ukrainian officials told the agency on Sunday that laboratories for radiation monitoring at the site were destroyed and instruments damaged or stolen.

The automated transmission of radiation monitoring data has been disabled.

April 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Johnson’s ‘nuclear fantasy’ will not reduce rising fuel bills or rising temperatures- UK’s Nuclear Free Local Authorities

Johnson’s ‘nuclear fantasy’ will not reduce rising fuel bills or rising temperatures

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities are ‘incredulous’ that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the UK Government remains wedded to a new Energy Security Strategy that will rely in large part upon the development of 24 GW of new nuclear generation capacity to power Britain, when a plan involving mass investment in renewables and a reduction in electricity demand through retrofitting the nation’s homes with insulation would have been far cheaper and quicker to deliver.

In response to the government’s commitment to build the equivalent of eight new large nuclear power stations by 2050, NFLA National Chair, Councillor David Blackburn said:

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities are ‘incredulous’ that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the UK Government remains wedded to a new Energy Security Strategy that will rely in large part upon the development of 24 GW of new nuclear generation capacity to power Britain, when a plan involving mass investment in renewables and a reduction in electricity demand through retrofitting the nation’s homes with insulation would have been far cheaper and quicker to deliver.

“It defies common sense that the current government is turning to a technology that is too slow to install, too costly to build, remains risky to operate and vulnerable to military and terrorist attack, and leaves a toxic legacy of radioactive waste that has to be safely stored for 100,000 years.”

“In the past, we were told that nuclear-generated electricity would be too cheap to meter customers for. The reality is very different.  The plan means building eight power plants the size of Hinkley Point C within 30 years.  Hinkley Point C is already costing £23 billion and is years behind schedule, with operator EDF about to announce a further hike in the cost and a further delay in delivery.”

“Nuclear power projects are notorious for being delivered way behind schedule and massively over cost. British taxpayers will end up being saddled with this extra cost as the government has just passed the Nuclear Energy (Financing) Act making them liable for the charges.”

All of the plants will rely on a massive subsidy from the British taxpayer and ultimately the taxpayer will also pick up the bill for decommissioning the new plants at their end of their operating lives and for managing and storing the resultant radioactive waste for tens of thousands of years.

In addition to increasing energy bills and being delivered far too late to make a favourable impact in the fight against climate change, Boris Johnson’s ‘big bet’ on nuclear will not improve the nation’s energy independence.

Added Councillor Blackburn:  “Nuclear power plants rely on uranium all of which is sourced overseas, with Russia being a major supplier to the world market, and most of the plants will be reliant on foreign reactor designs, one with a dubious safety record, and built and run by foreign-owned operators.

“EDF Energy, the main player, is a company owned by the French state, and newer players to the market are American owned, including one involving billionaire entrepreneur, Elon Musk. The only UK business, Rolls Royce, which is developing the so-called Small Modular Reactor, is backed by French private money and funding from a Qatari sovereignty fund.

“The NFLA cannot see how nuclear in any way promotes Britain’s energy independence.”

The NFLA is therefore bitterly disappointed that the new strategy did not instead commit to a national programme of retrofitting insulation to Britain’s homes and to providing further funding to support domestic electricity micro-generation, both of which would have reduced energy demand and reduced customers’ fuel bills, as well as to a far greater investment in a range of renewables to generate power, particularly onshore wind projects and tidal power which remain largely neglected despite their huge potential and public support.

“We advocate an emergency national programme of retrofitting homes with insulation to reduce heating bills and energy demand, and to improve public health; a greater emphasis of new and existing homes generating their own power for domestic use; and a huge public investment in a range of renewable technologies to provide domestically-generated, reliable, sustainable electricity. This can be done much more quickly and much more cheaply than continuing to indulge in this nuclear fantasy,” concluded Councillor Blackburn.

In response to the government’s commitment to build the equivalent of eight new large nuclear power stations by 2050, NFLA National Chair, Councillor David Blackburn said: 

April 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Protect Indigenous people’s rights or Paris climate goals will fail, says report – The Guardian — Barbara Crane Navarro

Protect Indigenous people’s rights or Paris climate goals will fail, says report – The Guardian https://ift.tt/duKo9Xx Protect Indigenous people’s rights or Paris climate goals will fail, says report  The Guardian Superforest via “deforestation” – Google News https://ift.tt/7JTrnhP Protect Indigenous people’s rights or Paris climate goals will fail, says report – The Guardian —

Protect Indigenous people’s rights or Paris climate goals will fail, says report – The Guardian — Barbara Crane Navarro

April 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

April 11 Energy News — geoharvey

Science and Technology: ¶ “NREL Researchers Plot Energy Storage Under Our Feet” • US National Renewable Energy Laboratory scientists have been researching the use of depleted oil and gas wells as reservoirs for storing compressed natural gas. The wells can subsequently be used to hold other gases, such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, or hydrogen, to […]

April 11 Energy News — geoharvey

April 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment