Australian news, and some related international items

The Greens oppose nuclear waste dump on Kimba, South Australia

May 5, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

This black smoke rolling through the mulga’: almost 70 years on, it’s time to remember the atomic tests at Emu Field

The Convesation, Liz Tynan, Associate professor and co-ordinator of professional development GRS, James Cook University: May 4, 2022 

The name Emu Field does not have the same resonance as Maralinga in Australian history. It is usually a footnote to the much larger atomic test site in South Australia. However, the weapons testing that took place in October 1953 at Emu Field, part of SA’s Woomera Prohibited Area, was at least as damaging as what came three years later at Maralinga.

The Emu Field tests, known as Operation Totem, were an uncontrolled experiment on human populations unleashing a particularly mysterious and dangerous phenomenon – known as “black mist” – which is still being debated.

Operation Totem involved two “mushroom cloud” tests, held 12 days apart, which sought to compare the differences in performance between varying proportions of isotopes of plutonium. The tests were not safe, despite assurances given at the time.

Between 1952 and 1957, Britain used three Australian sites to test 12 “mushroom cloud” bombs: the uninhabited Monte Bello Islands off the Western Australian coast and the two South Australian sites. (An associated program of tests of various weapons components and safety measures continued at Maralinga until 1963.)

The British government, with loyal but uncomprehending support from Australia under Liberal prime minister Robert Menzies, proceeded despite incomplete knowledge of atomic weapons effects or the sites’ meteorological and geographical conditions.

The British government, with loyal but uncomprehending support from Australia under Liberal prime minister Robert Menzies, proceeded despite incomplete knowledge of atomic weapons effects or the sites’ meteorological and geographical conditions.

The first British atomic test, Operation Hurricane, held in 1952, was a maritime test of a 25 kiloton atomic device detonated below the waterline in a ship anchored off part of the Monte Bello Islands.

Operation Totem was designed to test two much smaller devices – 9.1 and 7.1 kilotons respectively – by detonating them on steel towers in the desert.

At the time, Britain was in the process of commissioning a new reactor at Calder Hall in Cumbria (designed to make plutonium for both military and civilian uses) that would produce nuclear fuel containing more plutonium-240 than a previous reactor.

Totem was intended to test “austerity” weapons made from nuclear fuel eked out of this reactor. (Plutonium-240 can potentially make nuclear weapons unstable, in contrast to the fuel of choice for fission weapons, plutonium-239, which is more controllable.)

Totem was a “comparative” test. Its innermost technicalities are still kept secret by the British government.

A greasy black mist

The two tests at Emu Field were fired at 7am, on 15 October and 27 October.

The first test, Totem I, produced a mysterious, greasy “black mist” that rolled over Aboriginal communities around Wallatinna and Mintabie, 170 kilometres to the northeast of Emu Field. The black mist directly harmed Aṉangu people. Because no data was collected at the time, it is impossible to quantify precisely, however, the anecdotal evidence suggests death and sickness occured.

The British meteorologist, Ray Acaster, gave an account of the phenomenon, and its possible causes, in 2002:

The Black Mist was a process of mist or fog formation at or near the ground at various distances from the explosion point … Radioactive particles from the unusually high concentration in the explosion cloud falling into the mist or fog contributed to the condensation process … The radioactive particles in the mist or fog became moist and deposited as a black, sticky, and radioactive dust, particularly dangerous if taken into the body by ingestion or breathing.

The black mist was an horrific experience for all in its path. Survivors gathered at Wallatinna and Marla Bore in 1985 testified to the Royal Commission into the British Atomic Tests in Australia on its effect on individuals and communities.

Among those who testified was Lallie Lennon, who lived at Mintabie with her husband and children in 1953. After breakfast on 15 October they heard a deep rumble, followed by weird smoke that smelt of gunpowder and stuck to the trees. Lallie, her children and the others with her all got sick with diarrhoea, flu-like symptoms, rashes and sore eyes. Lallie’s skin problems were so severe, it looked like she had rolled in fire.

Another witness, the later tireless advocate for the survivors of the British atomic tests, Yami Lester, was a child at the time of Totem and lost his vision after the tests.

He recalled his experiences in testimony to the royal commission, and elsewhere. Interviewed by two London Observer journalists in a story republished in the Bulletin under the title “Forgotten victims of the ‘rolling black mist’”, he said:

I looked up south and saw this black smoke rolling through the mulga. It just came at us through the trees like a big, black mist. The old people started shouting ‘It’s a mamu’ (an evil spirit) … they dug holes in the sand dune and said ‘Get in here, you kids’. We got in and it rolled over and around us and went away.

Contaminated planes
The second test, Totem II, took place on October 27 in completely different meteorological conditions and did not produce a black mist. Its cloud rose quickly into the atmosphere and broke up soon after. However, radioactivity from both Totem I and Totem II travelled east across the continent, crossing the coast near Townsville.
Air force crews from both Britain and Australia flew into the atomic clouds. A British Canberra aircraft with three crew aboard entered the Totem I cloud just six minutes after detonation, far earlier than any of the other cloud sampling aircraft.

For a brief period the radioactivity to which they were exposed was off the scale. The aircraft was flown back to the UK, where it was found to carry extensive residual radioactive dust despite having been cleaned in Australia.

While air crew were exposed to contamination in flight, RAAF ground crew were worse affected, since they were largely unprotected and worked for hours on the contaminated planes. The risk to both air and ground crew was extensively examined by the Royal Commission.

One account by Group Captain David Colquhoun, head of RAAF operations at Emu Field, mentioned a gathering of crew in a hangar at Woomera, where a doctor ran a Geiger counter over those present.

As it reached the hip of one man, “the Geiger gave a very strong number of counts”. The young man then said he had a rag in his hip pocket he had used to wipe grease “off the union between the wing and the fuselage”. This rag was heavily contaminated.

Abrogating responsibility

After America’s McMahon Act of 1946 made it illegal for the US to work with other countries on atomic weaponry, a secret British Cabinet committee made the decision to conduct tests of a British bomb – but not on its own territory.

Britain explicitly abrogated all responsibility for those who lived near the Emu Fields site. Britain maintained through to the royal commission – and in years beyond – that it was not responsible for Aboriginal welfare in the face of atomic weapons tests.

The extent of the huge British atomic weapons testing program here is still largely unknown by Australians. The Australian government forced the British government to contribute to the cost of remediation of Maralinga in the mid-1990s, although Monte Bello and Emu Field were largely left untouched.

The story of Emu Field has been forgotten for nearly 70 years. Bringing it back into our national consciousness reminds us the costs of harmful political decisions are often not borne by the decision-makers but by the most powerless.

The author would like to thank Maralinga Tjarutja Council for allowing access to the Maralinga lands, including Emu Field.

The Secret of Emu Field: Britain’s forgotten atomic tests in Australia, by Elizabeth Tynan, has just been published by NewSouth

May 5, 2022 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Needs of nuclear submarine project are what is driving UK’s whole ”peaceful” nuclear power push .

Beyond and beneath megaprojects: exploring submerged drivers of nuclear infrastructures, Taylor and francis Online, Phil Johnstone & Andy Stirling, Received 15 Mar 2021, Accepted 19 Oct 2021, Published online: 28 Apr 2022   

Bernard Levy of EDF said:

”we must continue to build nuclear power plants in France and in Europe – if I had to use one image to describe our situation, it would be that of a cyclist who, in order not to fall, must not stop pedalling.”

Ed. note. Sadly, I have mutilated this remarkable story – chopping so much outof it. The original is written at times in dense language, and with some sections that seem very technical.

I just feared that people might miss the huge significance of this story – the way that the nuclear weapons industry, in particular, nuclear submarines, is cunningly being developed and maintained -hidden through the confidence trick of the unnecessary ”commercial” nuclear power industry.


Nuclear power has long offered an iconic context for addressing risk and controversy surrounding megaprojects – including trends towards cost overruns, management failures, governance challenges, and accountability breaches. Less attention has focused on reasons why countries continue new nuclear construction despite these well-documented problems.

Whilst other analysis tends to frame associated issues in terms of energy provision, this paper will explore how civil nuclear infrastructures subsist within wider ‘infrastructure ecologies’ – encompassing ostensibly discrete megaprojects across both civil and military nuclear sectors. Attending closely to the UK case, we show how understandings of megaprojects can move beyond bounded sectoral and time horizons to include infrastructure patterns and rhythms that transcend the usual academic and policy silos.

By illuminating strong military-related drivers modulating civil nuclear ‘infrastructure rhythms’ in the UK, key issues arise concerning bounded notions of a ‘megaproject’ in this context – for instance in how costs are calculated around what seems a far more deeply and broadly integrated ‘nuclear complex’. Major undeclared interdependencies between civilian and military nuclear activities raise significant implications for policymaking and wider democracy.

1. Introduction: nuclear megaprojects in a changing energy system

The global nuclear power industry is facing unprecedented challenges. Despite the clamour since the early 2000s, the long-promised UK and US ‘nuclear renaissance’ has not materialised in these or any other countries (Milne 2011). In the USA, only one new nuclear power station is being constructed – well behind schedule and over budget (Mycle 2020). At the time of writing, European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) construction faces delays of over ten years in Finland and France (Vakarelska 2020) – with significant delays also in the UK (World Nuclear News 2021). Between 2010-2020, global nuclear costs increased by 23% (Dunai and De Clercq 2019). Several major nuclear suppliers went bankrupt; or decided not to invest in the technology on grounds that it is not ‘economically rational’ (BBC News 2019).

why it is that nuclear enthusiasms remain so unabated in a few countries?……………………   In this paper we seek to build an understanding of the dynamics that give momentum to the UK’s persistent enthusiasm for nuclear technology.

……………………………    What emerges in practice from this unusual spanning of attention across infrastructure silos, are some novel empirical findings concerning previously under-researched interdependencies between nuclear energy and submarine-building megaprojects…………………….  In short, without a wider national ‘nuclear industrial base’ for maintaining and renewal of large scale nuclear energy infrastructures, it becomes effectively impossible to sustain national capacities to build and operate the nuclear-propelled submarines that lie at the heart of contemporary strategic military nuclear capabilities (Stirling and Johnstone 2018)………………  A clear picture emerges that something beyond energy policy commitments is driving UK nuclear enthusiasm.

………………………………This picture chimes with explicit high-level policy statements in France and the USA, where senior figures have recently begun to acknowledge very directly, how hitherto notionally separate civil and military sectors actually amount to a single complex…………………………………………..

2. Methods

……………………………….. Unlike other nuclear weapons states, UK military nuclear capabilities are entirely dependent on nuclear powered submarines (Ritchie 2012). The UK thus presents an ideal case for interrogating possible cross-sectoral interdependencies between these respectively largest forms of megaproject in the civil and military sectors. ……………….  at its core is the practical question: why is a country with such an internationally poor history of nuclear performance and such abundant alternatives, remaining so persistently committed to new nuclear construction?

………………………………This picture chimes with explicit high-level policy statements in France and the USA, where senior figures have recently begun to acknowledge very directly, how hitherto notionally separate civil and military sectors actually amount to a single complex…………………………………………..

2. Methods

……………………………….. Unlike other nuclear weapons states, UK military nuclear capabilities are entirely dependent on nuclear powered submarines (Ritchie 2012). The UK thus presents an ideal case for interrogating possible cross-sectoral interdependencies between these respectively largest forms of megaproject in the civil and military sectors. ……………….  at its core is the practical question: why is a country with such an internationally poor history of nuclear performance and such abundant alternatives, remaining so persistently committed to new nuclear construction?

………………………………   it is worth considering the ……… evidently deep and pervasive strategy of deliberate concealment on the part of the central actor in these policy dynamics: the UK Government………………….

3. Nuclear power in the UK: a history of disappointment

……………………………. The long history of internationally poor performance by the British nuclear industry (Birmingham Policy Comission 2012), is clear. …………………………… The British nuclear industry hit an especially low point at the turn of the 21st century, with the bankruptcy of British Energy and its subsequent bailing out by the tax payer in 2002 (Taylor 2016)………………………….  the UK’s ‘nuclear renaissance’ is performing arguably even worse than the 1979 programme…………..  The government’s aim to build several new reactors ‘significantly before 2025’ is simply not happening. This time there is no ‘public inquiry’ nor ‘public opposition’ to blame.

……………….the UK Government – as signalled by the recent Energy White Paper (HM Government 2020) – evidently remains desperate to construct new nuclear plant. In the absence of clear economic, technological, resource or policy rationales, there are big questions over what is driving this deep infrastructural entrenchment? Why does the UK remain so wedded to nuclear megaprojects?

4. Beyond energy megaprojects: civil-military nuclear interdependencies

4.1. Beyond energy policy: the UK ‘nuclear defence enterprise’ 

……………………………….   Relevant here, is that the UK’s leading independent scrutiny body, the National Audit Office (NAO) emphasised in a highly critical report on the Hinkley C project, that factors beyond the ‘energy trilemma’ were evidently influencing these decisions…………………….. With the Hinkley C deal seeing consumers paying higher energy bills for 35 years and transferring tens of billions of pounds from consumers to nuclear supply chains, the consumer rights organisation Citizens Advice Bureau likewise raised major questions over why the nuclear path is pursued at all (Hall 2017). The UK Government has yet to respond to these recommendations…………..  Sustaining extremely expensive military nuclear capabilities is one of the most cherished ambitions of successive British Governments.

Arguably itself comprising ballistic missile submarine, attack submarine and nuclear warhead renewal ‘megaprojects’, current renewal of UK nuclear military infrastructures may confidently be recognised as this nation’s largest megaproject. …………………………   The delays, mismanagement and cost overruns that are common in these submarine-building megaprojects are so severe as to jeopardise the entire national defence budget (Bond and Pfiefer 2019)…………………………………..

4.2. Interlinked civil and military nuclear pressures

……………………………….  this section will show that a crucial factor in driving these otherwise inexplicably persistent attachments are military pressures to sustain overlapping infrastructures, supply chains, skills, expertise and industrial capabilities around nuclear submarine propulsion.

…………………………..    detailed reports by the RAND Corporation highlighted the problem of sustaining the national ‘submarine industrial base’ at a time of civil nuclear contraction.

…………………………  Subsequent military policy documentation is replete with confirmations that civil nuclear power and naval nuclear propulsion are inseparably entangled …………  With declared submarine programme costs already on the edge of being insupportable, it was crucial to associated interests, that the bulk of this wider expense be covered by parallel commitment to new civil nuclear power.

With this civil nuclear megaproject more fundable in anticipation of decades of electricity revenues, the trickle-down to shared supply chains would allow associated costs to stay outside the defence budget, off the public books and entirely invisible to critical scrutiny.

………………………………   Permanent Secretary of the MoD confirmed the aim of ensuring that civil nuclear would benefit the nuclear submarine industry: ………….the Nuclear Industry Council (NIC), placed emphasis on ‘…increasing the opportunities for transferability between civil and defence industries’ (Nuclear Industry Council 2017, 37) with ‘greater alignment of the civil and defence sectors with increased proactive two-way transfer of people and knowledge’

…………..  maintaining and renewing UK military nuclear capabilities are underwritten by support for an otherwise untenable civil nuclear programme. This is directly conceded by the submarine nuclear reactor manufacturer, Rolls Royce who state clearly that support for notionally civil Small Modular Reactors will ‘…relieve the Ministry of Defence of the burden of developing and retaining skills and capability.

…………..   Spending on new civil nuclear projects (at costs much higher than competing zero carbon options) channels funds into a combined civil/military nuclear supply chain that constitutes a de facto hidden subsidy for sustaining the UK’s submarine industrial base. 

5. From nuclear megaprojects to a nuclear infrastructure complex

5.1. The nuclear infrastructure complex beyond the UK

……………..   Around the world, it is the leading military powers who are generally and proportionally most committed to large scale new nuclear build. ……………..

The state-owned Russian company Rosatom is responsible for 76% of nuclear reactor exports (Astrasheuskaya 2021). So it is significant that this organisation openly declares that ‘[r]eliable provision of Russia’s defense capability is the main priority of the nuclear industry’ (Rosatom 2017). Another nuclear weapons state that is also vigorously pursuing a nuclear reactor export agenda, China, makes no attempt to conceal that leading firms involved are centrally positioned in the nations nuclear weapons programme (Hayunga 2020). 

…………………….  under-documented military motivations are responsible for more of the momentum in favour of civil nuclear power than is openly acknowledged. 

………………..    ‘without civilian nuclear, no military nuclear, without military nuclear, no civilian nuclear’ (French President Macron 2020).

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Bernard Levy of EDF said:

”we must continue to build nuclear power plants in France and in Europe – if I had to use one image to describe our situation, it would be that of a cyclist who, in order not to fall, must not stop pedalling.”

The same dynamics are even more clear in the USA. Here multiple high-level reports highlight that industrial capabilities necessary for a ‘nuclear navy’ are ‘tied to the fate of the commercial nuclear industryThe same dynamics are even more clear in the USA. Here multiple high-level reports highlight that industrial capabilities necessary for a ‘nuclear navy’ are ‘tied to the fate of the commercial nuclear industry……………………………..

5.2. The ‘drumbeats’ of the ‘nuclear infrastructure complex’

………………………………………  this distinctive terminology of the ‘drumbeat’ ….   oriiginated in this country ……….– around the intractable industrial challenges associated with constructing nuclear-powered submarines……………..  it seems to signal a policy intimacy that is otherwise effectively concealed. 

6. Discussion and conclusion

…………………………………… our findings – that nuclear military and energy policies (and so their associated megaprojects) are intimately entangled………………..

Interdependencies across civil and military nuclear megaprojects

Using extensive evidence from the UK, as well as France and the USA, we have highlighted tight industrial interdependencies between civil nuclear activities and political commitments and industrial capacities in the ostensibly disparate field of nuclear submarine propulsion……….

Economic and policy evaluation of megaprojects

……………. Hinkley Point C in particular has been identified as the most expensive power station on Earth, with leading insurers describing it as a ‘£25 billion waste of money’ (Cockburn 2021). The National Audit Office has pointed out that the subsidy from consumers to the nuclear industry over the next few decades will amount to tens of billions of pounds…………………….  nowhere either in UK energy or defence policy debates – let alone in wider political discourse – is there any focus whatsoever on the dynamic at the centre of these manifestly serious problems. ………  this absence of reasoned discussion constitutes a quite shocking failing in official processes, media institutions and academic disciplines alike.

Climate efficacy, policy rigour and democratic accountability

With the slow pace and high cost of power reactors undermining the stated climate policy rationale, it is clear that UK civil nuclear commitments are actually driven to a large extent by military nuclear interests that are almost entirely concealed in energy policy. …………………  The national industrial base is being steered away from the benefits of alternative (more export-viable and jobs-intensive) energy industries. Military-driven national lock-in to nuclear power also means excessive economic burdens are falling on taxpayers and – more regressively – on electricity consumers………. That such large scale political irreversibilities are unfolding with so little attention raises grave queries about the health of British democracy in the widest sense……………………

May 5, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Secret Australia Revealed by the WikiLeaks Exposés Edited by Felicity Ruby and Peter Cronau Also available as an ebook from your favourite retailer.

In A Secret Australia, eighteen prominent Australians discuss what Australia has learnt about itself from the WikiLeaks revelations – revelations about a secret Australia of hidden rules and loyalty to hidden agendas. However Australians may perceive their nation’s place in the world – as battling sports stars, dependable ally or good international citizen – WikiLeaks has shown us a startlingly different story.

This is an Australia that officials do not want us to see, where the Australian Defence Force’s ‘information operations’ are deployed to maintain public support for our foreign war contributions, where media-wide super injunctions are issued by the government to keep politicians’ and major corporations’ corruption scandals secret, where the US Embassy prepares profiles of Australian politicians to fine-tune its lobbying and ensure support for the ‘right’ policies.

The revelations flowing from the releases of millions of secret and confidential official documents by WikiLeaks have helped Australians to better understand why the world is not at peace, why corruption continues to flourish, and why democracy is faltering. This greatest ever leaking of hidden government documents in world history yields knowledge that is essential if Australia, and the rest of the world, is to grapple with the consequences of covert, unaccountable and unfettered power.

The contributors include author Scott Ludlam, former defence secretary Paul Barratt, lawyers Julian Burnside and Jennifer Robinson, academics Richard Tanter, Benedetta Brevini, John Keane, Suelette Dreyfus, Gerard Goggin and Clinton Fernandes, as well as writers and journalists Andrew Fowler, Quentin Dempster, Antony Loewenstein, Guy Rundle, George Gittoes, and Helen Razer, and psychologist Lissa Johnsson.

May 5, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

How much are you willing to pay to help reduce carbon emissions? Vote Compass has the answer

How much are you willing to pay to help reduce carbon emissions? Vote Compass has the answer

How much would Liberal, Labor and Green voters be prepared to spend each year to help prevent climate change? Vote Compass has the answer.

May 5, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sydney University fined for carelessness with a radioactive device

The fallout of the University’s radiation case, by Bella Gerardi, May 2, 2022,

Last week, the University of Sydney was fined $61,000 for failing to properly dispose of a radioactive source belonging to a decommissioned medical imaging machine. For an institution that claims to have a strong commitment to the environment, conviction of a criminal environmental offence appears at odds with its sustainability strategy.

The source, which contained a sealed radioactive isotope, was found when a truck delivering scrap metals to a recycling yard set off alarms during a routine radiation check. 

Identified as belonging to a PET scanner owned by the University, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) charged the University with four individual breaches of the Radiation Control Act. The case didn’t go to court as the University pled guilty, and in exchange the EPA dropped two of the four charges. 

So, how did this happen? 

By accident, the court ruled. 

…………… the court noted that if the source had not been detected before entry to the second metal recycling yard, environmental contamination would have been “very likely”. In this scenario, the source would have gone on to be reprocessed, a procedure that would involve breaking the seal of the source and dispersing the material into usable metal. It would have ultimately ended up in consumer material, which the court noted has occurred overseas.

………… It is disappointing, but not surprising, that it took a criminal conviction to reach the safeguards imposed today. Unfortunately, the University’s prior lack of clear procedure is indicative of the broader attitude institutions and corporations hold toward environmental crimes. Environmental crimes are often entangled with accidents, negligence, or oversight, and are often not viewed as holding the same gravity as other offences.

Corporations and institutions are responsible for the majority of environmental harm, yet complex corporate hierarchies make it uncommon for individuals to face repercussions for offences, which in turn promotes a lax attitude toward environmental damage. ………………………………….. more

May 5, 2022 Posted by | legal, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Reducing Tensions, Building Trust, De-escalating

The public policy of readiness to initiate attack with nuclear weapons — not as a deterrent against being attacked with nuclear weapons, but its exact opposite — is at the heart of both U.S. and NATO “nuclear posture.”

CounterPunch, BY JOHN LAFORGE, 29 Apr 22,

The United States could immediately take direct actions that would de-escalate the over-arching nuclear threat that haunts Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine. A few such actions would demonstrate good will and indicate a real intention to reduce tensions in the crisis which seems every day to grow more dangerous.

1. U.S. hydrogen bombs stationed in Europe could be withdrawn and their planned replacement cancelled.

The United States and Germany are formal states parties to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Articles I and II of the NPT flatly prohibit the transfer of nuclear weapons from one states party to another. Any fourth grader can understand that the NATO practice of “nuclear sharing” with Germany, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Turkey — which together have over 100 U.S. nuclear weapons — is an open violation of the clear, unambiguous, unequivocal and binding prohibitions of the NPT.

The United States stations an estimated 20 of its B61-3 and B61-4 thermonuclear gravity bombs at the German Air Force Base Büchel, 80 miles southeast of Cologne. These B61 H-bombs at Büchel are identified as “intermediate-yield strategic and tactical thermonuclear” bombs, and “the primary thermonuclear gravity bomb in the U.S.” according to the

Calling these weapons “intermediate” or “tactical” is shocking disinformation. The maximum yield of the B61-3 is 170 kilotons, and the maximum B61-4 yield is 50 kilotons, as reported by the Bulletin of the atomic Scientists. These H-bombs respectively produce over 11 times and 3 times the explosive blast, mass fire, and radiation of the 15-kiloton Hiroshima bomb that killed 140,000 people. (For background, see Lynn Eden’s “Whole World on Fire,” or Howard Zinn’s “The Bomb.”

The effects of detonating B61-3 or B61-4 bombs would inevitably be catastrophic mass destruction involving disproportionate, indiscriminate and long-lasting devastation. Plans to replace the current B61 with a new “model 12” could be cancelled now, and constitute a real ratcheting down of tensions in Europe.

2. The U.S. can discontinue its nuclear attack courses underway at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

The U.S. studies and plans nuclear weapon attacks at classrooms of its Defense Nuclear Weapons School (DNWS), and the one branch school outside the U.S. is at Ramstein in Germany, the largest U.S. military base outside the country, headquarters of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe, and NATO Allied Air Command. Outlines of nuclear attack coursework can be read on the DNWS website, which boldly declares the school: “is responsible for delivering, sustaining and supporting air-delivered nuclear weapon systems for our warfighters …every day.”

…………… Dispensing with this nuclear attack planning school would reduce tensions and help eliminate Russia’s dread of the U.S./NATO nuclear posture.

3. NATO can suspend its provocative military exercises.

Attacks with U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe are regularly simulated or “rehearsed,” as is often reported. Recent headlines noted: “German Air Force training for nuclear war as part of NATO” (Kazakh Telegraph Agency 2020), “Secret nuclear weapons exercise ‘Steadfast Noon” (German Armed Forces Journal 2019), “NATO nuclear weapons exercise unusually open” (2017), and “NATO nuclear weapons exercise Steadfast Noon in Büchel” (2015).

Giant NATO war games routinely zero in on Russia. In 2018, there was “Trident Juncture” with 50,000 troops in Norway, and “Atlantic Resolve” was conducted in Eastern Europe. In 2016, some 16,000 troops gathered in Norway for “Cold Response,” and in “Anaconda 2016” another 31,000 troops from 24 countries were again in motion across Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. In 2015, there was “Atlantic Resolve,” “Dragoon Ride,” and “Spring Storm,” all conducted across Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. In 2014, the routine “Cold Response” game in Norway involved 16,000 troops, and “Atlantic Resolve” took place in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland.

Beyond the annual “Steadfast Noon” simulations, complex, multinational NATO exercises in Eastern European countries just recently ballooned in number. In 2019, there was a single big exercise called “Atlantic Resolve.” In 2020 there were five. In 2021 the number leaped to eleven, and NATO that year made plans for a total of 95 exercises. Individual NATO states had plans for another 220 of their own war games. Nothing justifies Putin’s naked aggression, but the marked increase in NATO war practices would even make the Dali Lama defensive.

4. The U.S. and NATO could end their nuclear weapon “first-use” policy.

The public policy of readiness to initiate attack with nuclear weapons — not as a deterrent against being attacked with nuclear weapons, but its exact opposite — is at the heart of both U.S. and NATO “nuclear posture.” This perpetual threat to start nuclear attacks during a conventional conflict, especially in the context of routine NATO nuclear war exercises, is unnecessarily destabilizing and reckless. In view of the enormously overwhelming power of U.S. and NATO conventional military forces, the nuclear option is grossly redundant and militarily useless.

After he retired, Paul Nitze, a former Navy Secretary and personal advisor to President Ron Reagan, wrote “A Threat Mostly to Ourselves” where he observed: “In view of the fact that we can achieve our objectives with conventional weapons, there is no purpose to be gained through the use of our nuclear arsenal.”

Now that the U.S. public as a whole has been transformed into one big anti-war group, it should recognize that it can influence our own government but not Russia’s. Our demands for negotiation, cease-fire, de-escalation and a peace agreement need to be directed in a way that has some chance of success.

May 5, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Russian Uranium NOT Sanctioned – Why?

Russian Uranium NOT Sanctioned – Why? Russia still ships uranium-filled
nuclear fuel rods to reactors around the world – no limits. If US has
sanctions against Russian oil, gas & coal, why do we not sanction their

Why is the nuclear industry exempt? And who decided? Linda Pentz
Gunter founded Beyond Nuclear in 2007 and serves as its international
specialist, as well as its media and development director. Prior to her
work in anti-nuclear advocacy, she was a journalist for 20 years in print
and broadcast, working for USA Network, Reuters, The Times (UK) and other
US and international outlets. She brings a clarity and precision to all her
reporting, with specific insights into international angles on nuclear
issues. To find out more on one under-represented nuclear aspect of the
Russian war on Ukraine, I spoke with Linda Pentz Gunter on Thursday, April

1, 2022 Nuclear Hotseat 21st April 2022

May 5, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A new propaganda film to jolly up the pro nuclear enthusiasts

‘Atomic Hope: Inside the Pro-Nuclear Movement’ Review: Uncritical Doc Empowers a Controversial Energy Solution

While intriguing, this Irish documentary’s boosterism doesn’t really provide a thorough argument for embracing the nuke.

Variety, by Dennis Harvey 4 May 22, ……………………….. in recent years, some voices have argued that nuclear power is in fact humanity’s best option to meet its energy requirements amid escalating environmental and resource crises.

It’s an intriguing if unpopular viewpoint that merits clear explanation and debate, things that “Atomic Hope” ultimately does not provide. 

Irish filmmaker Frankie Fenton’s second feature, following the much more intimately focused “It’s Not Yet Dark,” chooses to focus primarily on pro-nuke advocates and their uphill public campaigns — as opposed to the pro-nuke arguments themselves, which are never rigorously addressed. Nor are opponents heard from at all. The result is a slick globe-trotting documentary that holds attention, yet doesn’t really leave the viewer more enlightened on the subject at hand than they were before.

…………………………  Among those enthusiastic about nuclear being the safest, cleanest and most productive energy option going forward are leaders from disparate advocacy orgs Thorium Energy Alliance, Generation Atomic and Mothers for Nuclear.

……………..  A major figure in “Atomic Hope” is author and recurrent California political candidate Michael Shellenberger. He’s presented as a plucky, good-humored rebel for his more combative stances as an “ecomodernist,” notably raining on the parade of those championing “renewables,” i.e. wind and solar power. The film entirely sidesteps the controversy of his views among many environmental scientists and academics who’ve termed them misleading or inflammatory.

Indeed, even as it sprawls from San Francisco to Manila, “Atomic Hope” somehow eludes the harder questions that might have both challenged and ballasted the stances of proponents onscreen. We don’t doubt the genuineness of their concern or activism, but the full evidence isn’t here to win us over. While it finds some colorful personalities and situations to capture (notably some desperate ploys for public attention), the film errs in assuming activists themselves merit central focus when their cause itself remains so poorly understood.

At heart it’s a documentary for the converted, at a time when most viewers will still require converting. ………………….

May 5, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pope says NATO may have led to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Francis says transatlantic military alliance was ‘barking’ at Russia’s door.  BY HANNAH ROBERTS Politico

May 3, 2022

ROME — Pope Francis said that NATO “barking” at Russia’s door may have led to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine — and said he has offered to meet the Russian president in Moscow.

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Francis reflected on Russia’s lethal aggression toward its neighbor and said while he might not go as far as saying NATO’s presence in nearby countries “provoked” Moscow, it “perhaps facilitated” the invasion.

Francis also condemned the “brutality” of the war and compared it to Rwanda’s civil war in the 1990s, which resulted in a genocide of the Tutsi minority.

The Holy See has been asking since mid-March for a meeting between Francis and Putin in Moscow, the pope said. “Of course we needed the leader of the Kremlin to allocate a window of time. We haven’t yet had any response, and we are still trying, even if I fear that Putin can’t and doesn’t want to have this meeting at this time.”

In the interview, Francis ruled out going to Kyiv for now: “First I have to go to Moscow, first I have to meet Putin.”…………….

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Pope Francis reiterates complete opposition to the possession and use of nuclear weapons

Pope Francis: ‘Use and possession of nuclear weapons inconceivable’

In talks on Wednesday with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Pope Francis says the use and possession of nuclear weapons is inconceivable.

Vatican News, By Linda Bordoni  4 May 22,   In a meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister on Wednesday morning before the General Audience, Pope Francis reiterated his position of total opposition to the use and possession of nuclear armaments.

According to Holy See Press Office Director, Matteo Bruni, during their conversation that lasted about 25 minutes, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and the Pope talked about nuclear weapons and about how their use and possession is inconceivable.

Long-standing opposition to nuclear arms

It is not the first time that Pope Francis has expressed this view……………………..

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Climate change could introduce humans to thousands of new viruses

Climate change could introduce humans to thousands of new viruses

To prevent future pandemics, we need to connect the dots between the spread of disease and the destruction of the planet.

May 5, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate sceptic thinktank received funding from fossil fuel interests

Climate sceptic thinktank received funding from fossil fuel interests

Global Warming Policy Foundation has led the backlash against UK government’s net zero policy

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May 4 Energy News — geoharvey

Science and Technology: ¶ “How Spiral Welding Is Revolutionizing Wind Turbine Manufacturing” • Colorado-based Keystone Tower Systems is changing how wind turbines can be manufactured, transported, and installed. They have been using a spiral-welding technique, borrowed from the steel-pipeline industry, to build some of the largest turbine towers on the market. [CleanTechnica] Audi plant in […]

May 4 Energy News — geoharvey

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