Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear advocates will have an uphill battle to convince Australians

Graeme Lechte, The Age 7 June 22. Nick O’Malley (Comment, 6/6 https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/old-and-costly-nuclear-energy-has-reliable-friends-20220605-p5ar6v.html ) provides food for thought about the use of nuclear power to solve the energy crisis. There is nothing wrong with informed debate, but nuclear power is starting on a severe handicap when compared to free and infinite renewables. Uranium mining will itself produce massive carbon emissions and is a finite resource. There will be opposition from traditional owners of land rich in uranium. From planning to commissioning of a nuclear plant will take from 10 to 15 years. Communities near a nuclear plant will rightly be concerned about the potential for a nuclear incident similar to Fukushima, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.
Then there is the elephant in the room. How do we safely store the radioactive waste? Advocates for nuclear power will have to address these issues if they are to persuade the public that nuclear energy is the answer to our energy problems.

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Liberal National Coalition’s flirtation with nuclear energy will not be well received by the electorate, especially in Gilmore on the NSW South Coast.

Nuclear option might trigger an electoral meltdown, The Echidna, John Hanscombe, Tuesday June 7, 2022,

The Coalition is flirting with nuclear energy. The public musings started when David Littleproud won the Nationals leadership last week. He said nuclear power was a clean energy option that ought to be discussed. Outgoing Barnaby Joyce echoed the sentiment. Peter Dutton did the same yesterday.

There’s been a chain reaction of sorts in the conservative camp, which is a major turnaround, given it was only last September when Scott Morrison ruled out nuclear energy. His proscription came just after he announced the landmark AUKUS deal with the United Kingdom and the United States to acquire a fleet of nuclear powered submarines………..

As the next election approaches, such talk is likely to become muted or disappear altogether because it will indeed lead to a scare campaign, especially in the ultra marginal seat of Gilmore on the NSW South Coast. Jervis Bay sits in the middle of the electorate and in the 1960s was slated as the site of a nuclear reactor. There was even talk of producing weapons grade plutonium there – of Australia arming itself with nukes. The idea was shelved after Australia signed the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty in 1973. A reminder of how close the plans came to fruition can be found at Murrays Beach, where concrete footings for the reactor are still visible under the water. Every time nuclear energy is mentioned by either party, people who love Jervis Bay for its natural beauty go into meltdown. The very idea is toxic.

Talk is cheap when you’re newly in opposition – and likely to remain there for the next six years – but the electorate’s reluctance to embrace nuclear energy will quickly lay the Coalition’s newfound enthusiasm for it to rest…………………………….. for all the buzz around small modular reactors, which are touted as lessening the likelihood of accidents, that technology is still in development. Not even the International Atomic Energy Agency is prepared to say whether it will be cost effective………….. https://view.mc.austcommunitymedia.com.au/?qs=2bef209076d2e92cad0ffbe50cfe6117f6de9b563c7f216a55f25b25a465ef4053920d84e8c319c1ee827faf2abd014eaf6af926304d34acbc4913de77c01ab76b3971c3c352c700fbcb032e2a19e72e

June 7, 2022 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Opposition leader Peter Dutton hints at controversial shift towards nuclear power

New Daily, James Robertson. 6 June22, New Opposition Leader Peter Dutton appears set to bring a debate about nuclear power back to the centre of Australian politics.

Mr Dutton’s shadow front bench, unveiled on Sunday, included two proponents of nuclear energy in key roles:

Ted O’Brien, the spokesman on climate and energy, and Hollie Hughes, the junior spokeswoman on climate.

The appointments signal an intent to take an aggressive tack on emissions as well as Mr Dutton’s seemingly new willingness to flirt with nuclear power as a means of bridging Liberal climate divisions (and perhaps stoking others).

Mr Dutton said on Monday he was “not afraid to have a discussion on nuclear”; it was only a week prior that he declared nuclear energy was “not on the table”.

Mr O’Brien chaired a parliamentary inquiry that recommended  provisionally lifting a ban on generating power from nuclear material and considering its future use.

Meanwhile, Senator Hughes also backs dropping the ban.

The regular Sky News panellist told The New Daily on Monday that “we absolutely should be having the discussion”.


The new leader of the Nationals, David Littleproud, is also on board with calls to kickstart a nuclear debate.

Advocacy of nuclear power has advanced much further in that party room; several MPs backed a nuclear push last Parliament.

The balance of opinion among Liberal MPs has been tilted in favour of nuclear power for some time, a party source said, but had been deemed a nonstarter because of deep fears of an electoral backlash.

Former prime minister Scott Morrison noted that a change of direction on an issue needing such long-term investment could only come with bipartisan support…………………………………..https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/politics/2022/06/06/peter-dutton-nuclear-power/

June 7, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

The National Party is getting whackier and whackier in pushing for nuclear power

  • Bizarre Simpsons link to controversial issue in Australian politics, COURTNEY GOULD, NCA NEWSWIRE JUNE 6, 2022, Nationals leader David Littleproud has blamed misinformation fuelled by The Simpsons and Chernobyl as the reason behind Australia’s reluctance to adopt nuclear energy.

The opposition is squaring up for a fight with the government on nuclear power as it seeks to switch up its energy policy. “There needs now to be a conversation about nuclear,” Mr Littleproud said on Sky News………….

While nuclear power is not included in the new Coalition agreement, Mr Littleproud said there was a clear understanding between himself and new Liberal leader Peter Dutton on the issue.

On Sunday, Mr Dutton appointed pro-nuclear MP Ted O’Brien to the climate change and energy portfolio.

Speaking with ABC RN, Mr Dutton said nuclear energy would keep power prices down.

“I’m not afraid to have a discussion on nuclear if we want to have legitimate emission reductions,” Mr Dutton said on Monday………. . I don’t think we should rule things out simply because it’s unfashionable to talk about them.”

“There’s this perception that’s been put around nuclear … etched into folklore from cartoons.”

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/breaking-news/bizarre-simpsons-link-to-controversial-issue-in-australian-politics/news-story/8f07f14c169e7e3717790db866407e9c

June 7, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear Contaminated Water From Fukushima Should Never Be Out Of One’s Mind

Nuke Contaminated Water From Fukushima Should Never Be Out Of One’s Mind,  https://nation.com.pk/2022/06/07/nuke-contaminated-water-from-fukushima-should-never-be-out-of-ones-mind/ By Zhou Dingxing.  Jun 7, 2022,  In 2011, the “3/11” earthquake in Japan caused the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant reactor core, unleashing enormous amounts of radioactive material. The operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), decided to pour in seawater to cool the reactor and contain the leakage. And because the used seawater became highly contaminated with radioactive material, TEPCO had to put it in storage tanks. A decade on, the nuclear contaminated water generated by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant are about 150 tons per day in 2021, and will reach the upper limit of the storage tank capacity of 1.37 million tons in the spring of 2023.

According to estimates by the Japan Centre for Economic Research, it will cost 50-70 trillion yen (about $400-550 billion) to scrap and decontaminate the reactor, the bulk of which goes to the treatment of contaminated water. So in April 2021, the Japanese government announced that the problem of increasing amounts of nuclear contaminated wastewater would be addressed by dumping it into the sea. On May 18, 2022, the Japan Atomic Energy Regulatory Commission granted initial approval for TEPCO’s ocean dumping plan.

After the Fukushima nuclear accident, the Japanese government set up the “Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation” (NDF), which is an official agency with 50.1 percent of TEPCO’s voting rights, in order to prevent TEPCO from going bankrupt. In other words, TEPCO is now under direct jurisdiction and control of the Japanese government. It is not hard to see that both TEPCO and the Japanese government are the masterminds behind the nuclear contaminated water dumping plan, because for them, this is the most expedient, cost-effective and trouble-saving way. Japan would need to spend only 3.4 billion yen (about $27 million) according to this plan. But the threat to nature, the environment and human life as a result of such reckless actions was probably never on their minds.

NUCLEAR CONTAMINATED WATER IS NOT NUCLEAR TREATED WATER

Monitoring data collected in 2012 showed that the concentration of Cesium in the waters near Fukushima was 100,000 becquerels per cubic meter, which is 100 times higher than what was detected in the Black Sea after the Chernobyl nuclear leak. Ten years later in 2021, 500 becquerels of radioactive elements per kilogram of weight could still be detected in the flat scorpionfish caught by Japanese fishermen off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, or five times higher than Japan’s own standards. In the 11 years since the nuclear disaster, one or two thyroid cancer cases have been reported for every 60,000 children in Fukushima Prefecture, much higher than the normal rate.

The Japanese government and TEPCO have repeatedly claimed that nuclear contaminated water is “safe” to be dumped into the ocean because it would go through the multi-nuclide removal system (Advanced Liquid Processing System, ALPS). But it is only the radioactive substance called “Tritium” that has reached this standard. And what Japan doesn’t say is that, even after treatment, the water still contains other radioactive substances such as Strontium 90 and Carbon 14 that cause genetic mutation in the ecosystem.

Since the release of the ALPS-related report, the Japanese government has not held any briefings or hearings for the public. And in order to justify the dumping plan, the Japanese government contacted citizen and groups to ask them to stop using the words “nuclear contaminated water”, and use “nuclear treated water” instead. Vigorous public relations (PR) efforts have also been carried out to whitewash the plan. In the 2021 budget of the Japanese Reconstruction Agency, PR expenses related to the Fukushima nuclear accident have increased to 2 billion yen (around $16 million), over four times than the previous year figure. The money has been used on professional teams to weaken and remove negative public opinion in Japan and abroad about the nuclear contaminated water through various propaganda programs.

Furthermore, TEPCO’s track records for handling the nuclear accident have been filled with deception and distortion. In 2007, TEPCO admitted that it had tampered with data and concealed potential safety hazards in a total of 199 regular inspections of 13 reactors in its nuclear power plants since 1977, including the cooling system failure in the Fukushima nuclear accident. One week after the 2011 nuclear accident when experts had already made the judgment that the cores of Units 1 to 3 of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant had melted, the company still refused to announce the truth to the public, and instead chose to use “core damage,” a term that was significantly less alarming. With a past so bad it is hard to make one believe that TEPCO will dump “safe” nuclear contaminated water into the sea.

WAVES OF OPPOSITION AT HOME AND ABROAD

The Japanese government has so far failed to provide sufficient and credible explanations on the legitimacy of the nuclear contaminated water dumping plan, the reliability of nuclear contaminated water data, the effectiveness of the purification devices, and the uncertainty of the environmental impact. To promote the plan under such circumstances has only brought about wide criticism and questions by various communities in Japan and beyond.

Up to 70 percent of the people in Fukushima Prefecture have expressed opposition to the dumping plan. Konno Toshio, former president of Fukushima University, was opposed to advancing the ocean dumping plan without prior understanding at home and abroad, because this plan could affect future generations and must be treated with great caution. The fishery cooperatives and local councils in Miyagi Prefecture, which is adjacent to Fukushima Prefecture, believe that the dumping of nuclear contaminated water into the ocean may affect the safety of local aquatic products and cause significant economic losses to related industries. Already, 180,000 people in Japan have signed the petition to the Japanese government to adopt disposal options other than ocean dumping.

Vladimir Kuznetsov, academician at the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, said that radioactive substances in the nuclear contaminated water can only be partially filtered, and the treated water still contains extremely dangerous radionuclides, which will pollute marine life and spread to the entire ocean through fish migration. This will gravely harm the global marine environment and cause serious harm to the health of people in the periphery. According to a research model established by GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, half of the Pacific Ocean will be polluted in less than 57 days if nuclear contaminated water is dumped at the speed announced by Japan.

Voices of justice

Japan’s ocean dumping plan of nuclear contaminated water is a serious threat to the marine environment, and it damages marine interests of the neighbors and other littoral countries. It also violates multiple international conventions such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Convention on Assistance in Nuclear Accidents or Radiation Emergencies, and the Convention on Nuclear Safety as well as principles of the international law. Many countries, including China, have expressed concern over or opposition to it.

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement criticizing the Japanese government for not consulting with or providing any related information to its neighbors when the decision was made, and expressing grave concern over Japan’s dumping of nuclear polluted water into the ocean. The South Korean Foreign Ministry summoned the Japanese ambassador to Seoul to make a serious protest against Japan’s unilateral decision while large crowds gathered in front of the Japanese embassy to protest. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has launched an assessment of Japan’s plan.

The spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly pointed out that Japan’s dumping of nuclear contaminated water into the ocean is extremely irresponsible, and demanded that Japan fully consult with neighbouring countries, other stakeholders, and relevant international institutions to find a proper way to dispose of the nuclear contaminated water, before which the dumping into the ocean shall not be initiated.

The ocean is a treasure for all mankind and our home for survival. It is essential for sustainable development and our future. To dump nuclear contaminated water from Fukushima into the ocean is a major issue that bears on the environment for human survival and health, it is not just Japan’s internal affairs. Although keenly aware of the grave harm to the global marine environment caused by the dumping of such water into the sea, Japan has attempted to push through the plan without exhausting all other safe methods. Such an opaque and irresponsible approach is unacceptable, let alone trusted by countries in the region and the larger international community.

The author is a scholar on international studies

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A huge Atlantic current is slowing down. If it collapses, La Niña could become the norm for Australia

 La Niña could become the norm for Australia  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-07/la-ni%C3%B1a-could-become-the-norm-australia-ocean-current/101129980?sf257069088=1

Matthew England, Andréa S. Taschetto, and Bryam Orihuela-Pinto   Climate change is slowing down the conveyor belt of ocean currents that brings warm water from the tropics up to the North Atlantic. 

Our research, published today in Nature Climate Change, looks at the profound consequences to global climate if this Atlantic conveyor collapses entirely.

We found the collapse of this system — called the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation — would shift the Earth’s climate to a more La Niña-like state. This would mean more flooding rains over eastern Australia and worse droughts and bushfire seasons over southwest United States.

East-coast Australians know what unrelenting La Niña feels like. Climate change has loaded our atmosphere with moister air, while two summers of La Niña warmed the ocean north of Australia. Both contributed to some of the wettest conditions ever experienced, with record-breaking floods in New South Wales and Queensland.

Meanwhile, over the southwest of North America, a record drought and severe bushfires have put a huge strain on emergency services and agriculture, with the 2021 fires alone estimated to have cost at least $US70 billion.

Earth’s climate is dynamic, variable, and ever-changing. But our current trajectory of unabated greenhouse gas emissions is giving the whole system a giant kick that’ll have uncertain consequences — consequences that’ll rewrite our textbook

What is the Atlantic overturning meridional circulation?

The Atlantic overturning circulation comprises a massive flow of warm tropical water to the North Atlantic that helps keep European climates mild, while allowing the tropics a chance to lose excess heat. An equivalent overturning of Antarctic waters can be found in the Southern Hemisphere.

Climate records reaching back 120,000 years reveal the Atlantic overturning circulation has switched off, or dramatically slowed, during ice ages. It switches on and placates the European climate during so-called “interglacial periods”, when the Earth’s climate is warmer.

Since human civilisation began around 5,000 years ago, the Atlantic overturning has been relatively stable. But over the past few decades a slowdown has been detected and this has scientists worried.

Why the slowdown? One unambiguous consequence of global warming is the melting of polar ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica. When these icecaps melt they dump massive amounts of freshwater into the oceans, making water more buoyant and reducing the sinking of dense water at high latitudes.

Around Greenland alone, a massive 5 trillion tonnes of ice has melted in the past 20 years. That’s equivalent to 10,000 Sydney Harbours worth of freshwater. This melt rate is set to increase over the coming decades if global warming continues unabated.

A collapse of the North Atlantic and Antarctic overturning circulations would profoundly alter the anatomy of the world’s oceans. It would make them fresher at depth, deplete them of oxygen, and starve the upper ocean of the upwelling of nutrients provided when deep waters resurface from the ocean abyss. The implications for marine ecosystems would be profound.

With Greenland ice melt already well underway, scientists estimate the Atlantic overturning is at its weakest for at least the last millennium, with predictions of a future collapse on the cards in coming centuries if greenhouse gas emissions go unchecked.

The ramifications of a slowdown

In our study, we used a comprehensive global model to examine what Earth’s climate would look like under such a collapse. We switched the Atlantic overturning off by applying a massive meltwater anomaly to the North Atlantic, and then compared this to an equivalent run with no meltwater applied.

Our focus was to look beyond the well-known regional impacts around Europe and North America, and to check how Earth’s climate would change in remote locations, as far south as Antarctica. 

The first thing the model simulations revealed was that without the Atlantic overturning, a massive pile-up of heat builds up just south of the Equator.

This excess of tropical Atlantic heat pushes more warm moist air into the upper troposphere (around 10 kilometres into the atmosphere), causing dry air to descend over the east Pacific.

The descending air then strengthens trade winds, which pushes warm water towards the Indonesian seas. And this helps put the tropical Pacific into a La Niña-like state.

The first thing the model simulations revealed was that without the Atlantic overturning, a massive pile-up of heat builds up just south of the Equator.

This excess of tropical Atlantic heat pushes more warm moist air into the upper troposphere (around 10 kilometres into the atmosphere), causing dry air to descend over the east Pacific.

The first thing the model simulations revealed was that without the Atlantic overturning, a massive pile-up of heat builds up just south of the Equator.

This excess of tropical Atlantic heat pushes more warm moist air into the upper troposphere (around 10 kilometres into the atmosphere), causing dry air to descend over the east Pacific.

The descending air then strengthens trade winds, which pushes warm water towards the Indonesian seas. And this helps put the tropical Pacific into a La Niña-like state.

The first thing the model simulations revealed was that without the Atlantic overturning, a massive pile-up of heat builds up just south of the Equator.

This excess of tropical Atlantic heat pushes more warm moist air into the upper troposphere (around 10 kilometres into the atmosphere), causing dry air to descend over the east Pacific.

At no time in Earth’s history, giant meteorites and super-volcanos aside, has our climate system been jolted by changes in atmospheric gas composition like what we are imposing today by our unabated burning of fossil fuels.

The oceans are the flywheel of Earth’s climate, slowing the pace of change by absorbing heat and carbon in vast quantities. But there is payback, with sea level rise, ice melt, and a significant slowdown of the Atlantic overturning circulation projected for this century.

Now we know this slowdown will not just affect the North Atlantic region, but as far away as Australia and Antarctica.

We can prevent these changes from happening by growing a new low-carbon economy. Doing so will change, for the second time in less than a century, the course of Earth’s climate history — this time for the better.

Matthew England is an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow, Deputy Director of the Climate Change Resource Centre, and Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Climate System Science at UNSW Sydney. Andréa S. Taschetto is an Associate Professor at UNSW Sydney and Bryam Orihuela-Pinto is a PhD candidate at UNSW Sydney. This piece first appeared on The Conversation.  

June 7, 2022 Posted by | climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

ELON MUSK IS NOT A RENEGADE OUTSIDER – HE’S A MASSIVE PENTAGON CONTRACTOR

while the 50-year-old businessman presents himself as a maverick science genius – an act that has garnered him legions of fans around the world – a closer inspection of his career shows he earned his fortune in a much more orthodox manner. First by being born rich, then by striking it big as a dot-com billionaire, and finally, like so many others, by feeding from the enormous government trough.

Perhaps more seriously though, SpaceX’s close proximity to both the military and the national security state marks it out as a key cog in the machine of U.S. empire, allowing Washington to spy, bomb or coup whoever it wants.

ALAN MACLEOD, Mint Press News, MAY 31ST, 2022 ”………………………………………….. Musk has deliberately cultivated this image of himself: a real life Tony Stark figure who thinks for himself and is not part of the established order. But behind this carefully constructed façade, Musk is intimately connected to the U.S. national security state, serving as one of its most important business partners. Elon, in short, is no threat to the powerful, entrenched elite: he is one of them.

TO UKRAINE, WITH LOVE

Musk, whose estimated $230 billion fortune is more than twice the gross domestic product of Ukraine, has garnered a great deal of positive publicity for donating thousands of Starlink terminals to the country, helping its people come back online after fighting downed the internet in much of the country. Starlink is an internet service allowing those with terminals to connect to one of over 2,400 small satellites in low Earth orbit. Many of these satellites were launched by Musk’s SpaceX technologies company.

However, it soon transpired that there is far more than meets the eye with Musk’s extraordinary “donation.” In fact, the U.S. government quietly paid SpaceX top dollar to send their inventory to the warzone. USAID – a government anti-insurgency agency that has regularly functioned as a regime-change organization – is known to have put up the cash to purchase and deliver at least 1,330 of the terminals.

Starlink is not a mass-market solution. Each terminal – which is, in effect, a tiny, portable satellite dish – has a markedly limited range, and is useful only in hyper-local situations. Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, estimated that the 10,000 Starlink terminals were allowing around 150,000 people to stay online.

Such a small number of people using the devices raises eyebrows. Who is important enough to be given such a device? Surely only high-value individuals such as spies or military operatives. That the Starlinks are serving a military purpose is now beyond clear. Indeed, in a matter of weeks, Starlink has become a cornerstone of the Ukrainian military, allowing it to continue to target Russian forces via drones and other high-tech machinery dependent on an internet connection. One official told The Times of London that he “must” use Starlink to target enemy forces via thermal imaging.

Starlink is what changed the war in Ukraine’s favor. Russia went out of its way to blow up all our comms. Now they can’t. Starlink works under Katyusha fire, under artillery fire. It even works in Mariupol,” one Ukrainian soldier told journalist David Patrikarakos.

The reference to Mariupol alludes to the infamous Nazi group, the Azov Battalion, who have also reportedly been using Musk’s technology. Even in a subterranean cavern beneath Mariupol’s steelworks, Azov fighters were able to access the internet and communicate with the outside world, even doing video interviews from underground. In 2015, Congress attempted to add a provision to U.S. military aid to Ukraine stipulating that no support could go to Azov owing to their political ideology. That amendment was later removed at the behest of the Pentagon.

Dave Tremper, Director of Electronic Warfare at the Pentagon, sang SpaceX’s praises. “How they did that [keeping Ukrainian forces online] was eye-watering to me,” he said, adding that in the future the U.S. military “needs to be able to have that agility.”

ROCKETMAN

Such a statement is bound to get the attention of SpaceX chiefs, who have long profited from their lucrative relationship with the U.S. military. SpaceX relies largely on government contracts, there being almost no civilian demand for many of its products, especially its rocket launches.

Musk’s company has been awarded billions of dollars in contracts to launch spy satellites for espionage, drone warfare and other military uses. For example, in 2018, SpaceX was chosen to blast a $500 million Lockheed Martin GPS system into orbit. While Air Force spokesmen played up the civilian benefits of the launch, such as increased accuracy for GPS devices, it is clear that these devices play a key role in global surveillance and ongoing drone wars. SpaceX has also won contracts with the Air Force to deliver its command satellite into orbit, with the Space Development Agency to send tracking devices into space, and with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to launch its spy satellites. These satellites are used by all of the “big five” surveillance agencies, including the CIA and the NSA.

Thus, in today’s world, where so much intelligence gathering and target acquisition is done via satellite technology, SpaceX has become every bit as important to the U.S. war machine as more well-known companies like Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Without Musk’s company, the U.S. would not be able to carry out such an invasive program of spying and drone warfare around the world. Indeed, China is growing increasingly wary of this power, and is being advised to develop anti-satellite technologies to counter SpaceX’s all-seeing eye. Yet Musk himself continues to benefit from a general perception that he is not part of the system.

From its origins in 2002, SpaceX has always been extremely close to the national security state, particularly the CIA. Perhaps the most crucial link is Mike Griffin, who, at the time, was the president and COO of In-Q-Tel, a CIA-funded venture capital firm that seeks to nurture and sponsor new companies that will work with the CIA and other security services, equipping them with cutting edge technology. The “Q” in its name is a reference to “Q” from the James Bond series – a creative inventor who supplies the spy with the latest in futuristic tech………………………..

While at NASA, Griffin brought Musk in for meetings and secured SpaceX’s big break. In 2006, NASA awarded the company a $396 million rocket development contract – a remarkable “gamble” in Griffin’s words, especially as it had never launched a rocket before. As National Geographic put it, SpaceX, “never would have gotten to where it is today without NASA.” And Griffin was essential to this development. Still, by 2008, SpaceX was again in dire straits, with Musk unable to make payroll. The company was saved by an unexpected $1.6 billion NASA contract for commercial cargo services. Thus, from its earliest days, SpaceX was nurtured by government agencies that saw the company as a potentially important source of technology.

NUKING MARS & BACKING COUPS

Like Henry Ford, Musk went into the automobile business, purchasing Tesla Motors in 2004. And also like Henry Ford, he has shared some rather controversial opinions. In 2019, for instance, he suggested that vaporizing Mars’ ice caps via a series of nuclear explosions could warm the planet sufficiently to support human life. If this was done, it would arguably not even be his worst crime against space. During a 2018 publicity stunt, he blasted a Tesla into outer space using a SpaceX rocket. However, he did not sterilize the vehicle before doing so, meaning it was covered in earthly bacteria – microorganisms that will likely be fatal to any alien life they encounter. In essence, the car is a biological weapon that could end life on any planet it encounters.

NUKING MARS & BACKING COUPS

Like Henry Ford, Musk went into the automobile business, purchasing Tesla Motors in 2004. And also like Henry Ford, he has shared some rather controversial opinions. In 2019, for instance, he suggested that vaporizing Mars’ ice caps via a series of nuclear explosions could warm the planet sufficiently to support human life. If this was done, it would arguably not even be his worst crime against space. During a 2018 publicity stunt, he blasted a Tesla into outer space using a SpaceX rocket. However, he did not sterilize the vehicle before doing so, meaning it was covered in earthly bacteria – microorganisms that will likely be fatal to any alien life they encounter. In essence, the car is a biological weapon that could end life on any planet it encounters.

Musk also attracted attention when he appeared to admit that he worked with the U.S. government to overthrow Bolivian President Evo Morales in 2019…………………..  The new government quickly invited Musk for talks. When asked on Twitter point blank whether he was involved in Morales’ ouster, Musk responded, “We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it.”………………………..

WORLD’S RICHEST MAN, FUNDED BY TAXPAYERS

In addition to the billions in government contracts Musk’s companies have secured, they also have received similar numbers in public subsidies and incentives. Chief among these is Tesla, which benefits greatly from complex international rules around electric vehicle production. In a push to reduce carbon emissions, governments around the world have introduced a system of credits for green vehicles, whereby a certain percentage of each manufacturer’s output must be zero-emission vehicles. Tesla only produces electric cars, so easily meets the mark.

However, the system also allows Tesla to sell their excess credits to manufacturers who cannot meet these quotas. In a competitive market where each manufacturer needs to hit certain targets, these credits are worth their weight in gold, and net Tesla billions in profit every year. For example, between 2019 and 2021 alone, Stellantis, which owns the Chrysler, Fiat, Citroen and Peugeot brands, forked out nearly $2.5 billion to acquire Tesla U.S. and European green credits.

This bizarre and self-defeating system goes some way to explaining why Tesla is worth more by market cap than Toyota, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, GM, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Volvo put together, despite not being even a top-15 car manufacturer in terms of units sold.

Musk’s company also received significant government backing in its early stages, receiving a $465 million low-interest loan from the Department of Energy in 2010, at a time when Tesla was on the rocks and its future was in doubt.

Like many giant companies, Tesla is able to play states off against each other, each job-hungry location bidding against the others to give the corporation as much free cash and tax incentives as possible. In 2020, for example, Austin gave Tesla more than $60 million in tax breaks to build a truck plant there.

This, however, was small fry in comparison to some of the deals Musk has signed. The State of New York handed Musk over $750 million, including $350 million in cash, in exchange for building a solar plant outside of Buffalo – a plant that Musk was bound to build somewhere in the United States. Meanwhile, Nevada signed an agreement with Tesla to build its Gigafactory near Reno. The included incentives mean that the car manufacturer could rake in nearly $1.3 billion in tax relief and tax credits. Between 2015 and 2018, Musk himself paid less than $70,000 in federal income taxes.

Therefore, while the 50-year-old businessman presents himself as a maverick science genius – an act that has garnered him legions of fans around the world – a closer inspection of his career shows he earned his fortune in a much more orthodox manner. First by being born rich, then by striking it big as a dot-com billionaire, and finally, like so many others, by feeding from the enormous government trough.

Perhaps more seriously though, SpaceX’s close proximity to both the military and the national security state marks it out as a key cog in the machine of U.S. empire, allowing Washington to spy, bomb or coup whoever it wants.

It is for this reason that so much of the hysteria, both positive and negative, over Musk’s ongoing purchase of Twitter is misplaced. Elon Musk is neither going to save nor destroy Twitter because he is not a crusading rebel challenging the establishment: he is an integral part of it.  https://www.mintpressnews.com/elon-musk-not-renegade-outsider-cia-pentagon-contractor/280972/

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The unpalatable truth in Ukraine

“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable unpalatable, must be the truth.”

And when this final scenario comes to pass, who will have won the war in Ukraine?

Well, it won’t be Ukraine.

The Hill. BY ANDREW LATHAM, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR – 06/02/22 ”…………………………………… “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” – Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

And the truth is, once we have eliminated all the impossible scenarios, the least improbable outcome of the war in Ukraine is a Russian victory.

Note that I did not say such an outcome would be desirable. Russia’s inevitable victory is anything but. Nor did I say it would be total. The outcome of this war is going to fall far short of the Kremlin’s initial hopes and expectations. Nor, finally, did I say it would be without significant cost. Any conceivable Russian victory now will entail such a loss of blood and treasure that it will have to be judged Pyrrhic at best.

But it will be a victory nonetheless — and we in the West had better come to grips with that hard truth.

Let’s begin by eliminating the impossible.

The first unrealistic endgame is the reduction of Ukraine to a vassal state of the Russian empire. This would entail the kind of operation initially envisioned by the Kremlin: a quick decapitating military strike, the installation of a pro-Moscow regime in Kyiv and either the formal incorporation of Ukraine into the Russian Federation or its informal incorporation into a Russian sphere of influence (like Belarus).

While perhaps the initial objective of Russia’s “special military operation,” this outcome is now obviously an impossibility. ………………………………….

The second impossible scenario is the total defeat of the Russian military and the restoration of Ukraine to its pre-2014 borders. In this scenario, the Ukrainian military, having blunted the initial Russian offensive, launches a successful counter-offensive that ultimately drives the Russians not only out of the territories they captured in 2022 but out of the Donbas and Crimea as well. The resulting political dispensation would be an independent Ukraine restored to its internationally recognized borders and free to join NATO and/or associate with the European Union (EU) as it saw fit. 

While advocated by many within and beyond Ukraine, this outcome is simply impossible. …………………………..

Indeed, there is no reason to believe that they will even be displaced from much of the territory they have seized along the coast of the Sea of Azov……………… despite the willful delusions of some and the idealistic hopes others, this outcome is simply impossible.

The third and final impossible scenario is a limited Ukrainian victory that would reverse all or most of the Russian gains since Feb. 24, 2022. In this scenario, while the Donbas and Crimea remain in Russian hands, all the territory captured by Russia since its recent re-invasion would be liberated by Ukrainian forces and restored to Ukrainian control.

While once viewed as a realistic outcome, by now it should be obvious that this is impossible. Just as Ukraine lacks the ability to liberate all its pre-2014 territory, it also lacks the ability to liberate the recently conquered territory in the Donbas or along the Azov coast. Unlike in the north of Ukraine, these territories are central to Russian interests in Ukraine and, as such, Russia simply will not withdraw from them as it withdrew from Kyiv earlier in the war. Nor will Ukrainian forces – themselves, it should be noted, suffering terrible attrition all along the battle front and growing weaker with each passing day – be strong enough to compel them to do so. No, like the previous two scenarios, this one is simply an impossibility.

And that leaves only one other conceivable outcome: a fragmented and partly dismembered Ukraine, neither fully part of the West nor entirely within the Russian sphere of influence. A Ukraine fragmented in that the whole of the Donbas and perhaps other territories will be left beyond Kyiv’s control; partly dismembered in that Crimea will remain part of Russia (at least in Russian eyes); and not fully part of the West in that it will not be free to join NATO or even to have a meaningful partnership with the EU. Simply put, this outcome is not only not impossible, it’s not even improbable.

And when this final scenario comes to pass, who will have won the war in Ukraine?

Well, it won’t be Ukraine. While such an outcome will satisfy the basic existential goals of Kyiv, it will be a far cry from the more maximalist ambitions expressed both before and after Feb. 24. No, when this scenario inevitably comes to pass, it will clearly be a defeat for Kyiv.

Similarly, such an outcome will not satisfy the maximalist ambitions of those in Moscow who thought that their initial thunder run would resolve the Ukraine issue once and for all. But it will satisfy the Kremlin’s most basic and fundamental geopolitical desideratum: a neutralized Ukraine beyond both the geopolitical ambit of NATO and the geoeconomic orbit of the EU. It will also “restore” Crimea to its rightful place in Russia. And finally, it will demonstrate that interfering in Russia’s natural sphere of influence is unwise. In these ways, when the impossible has been eliminated, the resulting outcome will clearly be a victory for Moscow.

………………..when it comes to thinking about the possible outcomes of the war in Ukraine, perhaps it ought to read something more like: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable unpalatable, must be the truth.”

Andrew Latham is a professor of international relations at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minn., and a non-resident fellow at Defense Priorities in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter @aalatham.  https://thehill.com/opinion/international/3509458-the-unpalatable-truth-in-ukraine/

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Canada’s nuclear waste liabilities total billions of dollars. Is a landfill site near the Ottawa River the best way to extinguish them?

Gordon Edwards, an activist and consultant with the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, accused CNL of obscuring the origin and hazardous nature of much of the waste. He said the worst of it includes cobalt-60 imported into Canada from other countries by private companies. He questioned why taxpayers should pay for its disposal.‘They’re not being up front in telling people where these wastes are coming from,”

This is big business: Ottawa sends AECL more than half a billion dollars annually to pay for remediation efforts alone.

“It’s just piled right on top of a sloping hillside surrounded by wetlands, one kilometer from the Ottawa River,” “It would be hard to come up with a worse technology and site for permanent nuclear waste disposal.

The Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ proposed site for disposing radioactive waste has opponents watching with apprehension. Here’s what you need to know about the Near Surface Disposal Facility

  GLOBE AND MAIL,  MATTHEW MCCLEARN, 6 June 22, DEEP RIVER, ONT.   One glance at Building 250 confirms that its demolition will be complicated.

Workers clad in protective gear are busy removing its asbestos cladding, which has been gridded off in orange ink into alphanumerically labelled boxes. The four-story wood structure cannot simply be knocked down with a wrecking ball. Before methodical dismantling can begin, virtually every plank, floor covering and panel must be studied and characterized.

Building 250 is one element of a multi-billion-dollar headache for the federal government. It’s among the oldest buildings at Chalk River Laboratories, 200 kilometers northwest of Ottawa, which long served as Canada’s premier nuclear research facility. Today the facility’s operator, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), is addressing the resulting radioactive waste. It has already torn down 111 buildings, but Building 250 is among the most hazardous: it contained radioactive hot cells and suffered fires that spread contaminants throughout.

CNL needs a specially designated place to dispose of this hazardous detritus. This week, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission held final hearings for its environmental review of the Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF), CNL’s proposed landfill site for radioactive waste on what is now a thickly wooded hillside at Chalk River. Its decision is expected sometime around the end of this year, and no small number of opponents are watching with apprehension.

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Carbon dioxide levels are now 50% higher than during the pre-industrial era

Carbon dioxide levels are now 50% higher than during the pre-industrial era

CO2 has not been so high since before hominids walked upright – and are not dropping fast enough to avert catastrophe

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Non-carbon emissions could ‘bump’ global temperatures above 1.5C within seven years, research warns

Non-carbon emissions could ‘bump’ global temperatures above 1.5C within seven years, research warns

Even if all human-made greenhouse gas emissions were halted immediately, there’s a two-thirds chance the planet will exceed its warming limit of 1.5C, according to study into the extent of heating locked into the world’s climate by previous pollution.

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chart of the Day: Australia’s best performing wind farms in May — RenewEconomy

Stockyard Hill wind project in Victoria named best performing wind farm in Australia for second month in a row. The post Chart of the Day: Australia’s best performing wind farms in May appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Chart of the Day: Australia’s best performing wind farms in May — RenewEconomy

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

June 6 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion:  ¶ “Road To Zero Emissions Now Clear For Road Traffic” • The road to zero emissions from road traffic is becoming very clear now. That the solution is battery electric vehicles is now accepted even at most legacy carmakers. Only Toyota and a few of its friends still believe in an important role for […]

June 6 Energy News — geoharvey

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