Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

TODAY. Omnicide threatens this planet: the loss of small, ”weak”, vulnerable, species is the warning.

In today’s list of news, there were some little bits of hope. The State of the Environment Report detailed the success stories of indigenous rangers, and of privately run conservation groups.

But there was sadness, too. The native animals disappearing, including tiny bats, and frogs. Ecologists talk about ”key species”, that indicate the health level of an ecosystem,. If ever there was a ”key species” for the whole ecosystem, it’s the frog.

I felt sad, thinking that these small, vulnerable. ”weaker” creatures have no say, in the big decisions made by the out-of-control world’s top predator to dig, mine, clear forests, poison, pollute, blow things up, blow up and kill other species, and its suicidal rush to kill its own species.

But science writer Julian Cribb has come up with a method to save the world. He argues, passionately and persuasively for putting the ”weaker” sex in charge. In The Age of Women, Cribb says that If humanity is to survive the vast and growing threats it faces, women must assume the leadership of government, business, religion and social institutions around the world.

July 23, 2022 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Defence Minister Richard Marles is confident about AUKUS, nuclear submarines, and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Not everyone is so sure.

Australian National University emeritus professor of strategic studies Hugh White argues there are risks in making the AUKUS agreement at all.

In his new Quarterly Essay, Sleepwalk to War – Australia’s Unthinking Alliance with America, White warns it takes the alliance too far in the strategic contest with China.

Richard Marles on AUKUS nuclear safeguards , The Saturday Paper, By Karen Middleton. 23 Jul 22

” …………………………… “Non-proliferation was a condition of our support for AUKUS from the outset, when we were in opposition,” Marles says in an interview with The Saturday Paper, on his return from Washington, DC, this week.

While there, he discussed progress on the trilateral nuclear technology transfer agreement between Australia, Britain and the United States……..

The first non-nuclear country to seek nuclear-powered submarines, Australia will be required to sign a special International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards agreement. The document is likely to run to hundreds of pages, specifying in minute detail how the material will be handled – accounting for every gram – and with the tightest restrictions on its use. Amid some concern among international law specialists about exploiting existing treaty language around “peaceful use”, the wording will be designed to leave no wiggle room for more malign countries wanting to follow suit.

The greatest potential legal obstacles lie in the fact that the nuclear material is for use on a military platform. Australia’s lack of a nuclear power industry could be a reassurance, reducing the risk. Every aspect of the use and management of the enriched uranium – including in the event of an emergency – will need to be codified.

Marles says Labor’s party room will demand further assurances before consenting to move to the agreement’s next stage, which will involve the choice of future submarine design and how to resolve any capability gap in the meantime. He is confident the concerns can be addressed……………..

Navigating the non-proliferation safeguards with the IAEA is just one of the challenges for the new government in seeking to enact the monumental security agreement it has inherited.

Marles will not say if a Labor government would have taken the same decision as then prime minister Scott Morrison and his Defence minister Peter Dutton to dump the multibillion-dollar French contract for conventional submarines and switch to an American or British nuclear-powered option instead………………

“We have been supportive of the AUKUS agreement when it was announced, and we are supportive now.”

It’s clear that it wouldn’t have happened the same way, not least because of Labor’s volatile internal politics around nuclear energy.

In senior levels of the new government, there is a view that this is part of what motivated Morrison in pushing for the nuclear option to be sealed and announced with such haste. Some are convinced he believed it would wedge Labor on nuclear energy, an intergenerationally contentious issue within the party and particularly in Albanese’s Left faction.

……………….. in Labor’s upper ranks, suspicion about Morrison’s motivation raised further questions about the then prime minister’s attitude to national security.

Now in government, Labor is focused on bringing the wickedly complex submarine acquisition to completion and ensuring national security is not compromised any further along the way.

There’s a high pile of issues to be resolved before Australia has nuclear-powered submarines in the water. With the contract to buy up to 12 Attack-class submarines from France now scrapped in favour of the AUKUS agreement, the government has to decide whether to opt for the American Virginia-class boat or the British Astute-class alternative. While it hopes to get the first of whichever it chooses by the late 2030s, Marles has warned it could be the early 2040s.

That means filling the gap in the meantime.

With the existing six Collins-class submarines already extended from their initial retirement date of 2026 into the 2030s, there is a growing view in government that they will have to be extended again. What else may be required – in the form of some other possible stopgap purchase – is still unclear.

In an apparent bid to force Marles to clarify options, Peter Dutton wrote last month that he had planned to buy two American submarines to plug the capability gap. He said he had “formed a judgment that the Americans would have facilitated exactly that”.

The Saturday Paper understands that Dutton’s public commentary angered Britain, because of its presumption that Australia would choose the American option…………..

Just back from US consultations, Marles dismisses outright Dutton’s assertion about planning to buy two early American boats……………………

there are expensive decisions to be made with enormous consequences for Australia’s security.

By March next year, Marles wants to be able to announce which submarine he has chosen and when the first one will be in the water, quantify the capability gap and explain how it will be filled, outline the cost, describe industry arrangements for construction and detail the undertakings to be given to the IAEA to meet non-proliferation obligations. All this in the next eight months.

He has also vowed to produce a new force posture review in the wake of the 2020 Defence strategic update, which raised fresh questions about the strategic landscape in the region. …..

Delivering submarines makes AUKUS central to that. There is much debate on what else the agreement is meant to be and whether it makes Australia more or less dependent on the US.

In the AUKUS paperwork that has gone before the parliament so far, the submarine deal is described as its “first initiative”.

“AUKUS is about much more than submarines,” says Asia Society Australia executive director Richard Maude, who was foreign policy and security adviser to prime minister Julia Gillard and chief author of the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper.

“AUKUS is a central platform for more co-operation and sharing of technologies that the Australian Defence Force wants.”

Maude says the issue is the nature of the submarines, not AUKUS. “The risk in AUKUS stems not from the agreement itself but from the decision to jump from a conventional to a nuclear-powered submarine.”

He points to concerning reports from the US that the Virginia-class submarine program’s production time line and costs are blowing out, raising further questions about delivery of an American boat.

“So, it’s not just our capability,” Maude says. “It’s our partner’s capability.”

Australian National University emeritus professor of strategic studies Hugh White argues there are risks in making the AUKUS agreement at all.

In his new Quarterly Essay, Sleepwalk to War – Australia’s Unthinking Alliance with America, White warns it takes the alliance too far in the strategic contest with China.

Maude says the issue is the nature of the submarines, not AUKUS. “The risk in AUKUS stems not from the agreement itself but from the decision to jump from a conventional to a nuclear-powered submarine.”

He points to concerning reports from the US that the Virginia-class submarine program’s production time line and costs are blowing out, raising further questions about delivery of an American boat.

“So, it’s not just our capability,” Maude says. “It’s our partner’s capability

Defence Minister Richard Marles downplays any broader binding role for AUKUS.

“AUKUS is not a security alliance. That’s not what it is,” he says. “Sharing capability and building technology – it doesn’t seek to be any more than that.”

Asked if it will mean an expansion of the US bases at Pine Gap or North West Cape, he would not comment…………………..

At the top of the decision pile for the “first initiative” is which submarine to buy. Neither the British nor the American version is exactly the right fit in size, crewing requirements or capability.

Whichever way they turn, the cost is horrendous at a time when the nation is a trillion dollars in debt…………………….

In Jakarta, there were assurances about respect, in the wake of Indonesian anger that it was not given an AUKUS heads-up. When AUKUS was announced last year, Indonesia said it intended at the next NPT review conference to seek to address what it calls the treaty’s “loophole” that would allow Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines. Dealing with nuclear weapons, proliferation and “peaceful use”, the NPT does not specifically go to the issue of nuclear-powered vessels. Rescheduled from January, the conference is in the US next month.

The new government has also had to reassure the nations of the Pacific.

At the recent Pacific Islands Forum, secretary-general Henry Puna, from Cook Islands, presented a report on the South Pacific nuclear treaty, known as the Treaty of Rarotonga, and “other nuclear issues”. The Saturday Paper asked the forum secretariat this week for a copy of the report but did not receive a response before time of press.

Ahead of the forum – and after a visit from Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong – Samoan Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa voiced the concerns of some Pacific countries that they were not consulted on AUKUS.

Dr Tess Newton Cain, project leader of the Pacific hub at Griffith University, says there is some unhappiness about a US pattern of using Australia as a diplomatic and defence conduit instead of approaching Pacific nations directly.

“Some of this reflects a belief in the US administration and the US policy community that a good way of understanding the Pacific is to listen to Australia and New Zealand,” Cain says. “From the Pacific side of things, that’s not necessarily how people would see it.”

Overlaying that, Pacific nations have a heightened sensitivity to nuclear matters. Having been the unhappy historical hosts of nuclear testing, they’ve had their own experience with the mushroom cloud.  https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2022/07/23/exclusive-richard-marles-aukus-nuclear-safeguards#mtr

July 23, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Thousands of dead and dying frogs found across Australia

Thousands of dead and dying frogs found across Australia

Researchers are trying to decipher the mystery and prevent long-term damage to amphibian populations, an indicator of ecosystem health.

July 23, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What the bald eagle and a tiny bat can tell us about Australia’s broken system for protecting nature

What the bald eagle and a tiny bat can tell us about Australia’s broken system for protecting nature

We are still killing off our unique fauna at a horrifying rate.

July 23, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

State of the Environment report shows our growing cities are under pressure – but we’re seeing positive signs too

State of the Environment report shows our growing cities are under pressure – but we’re seeing positive signs too

Gabriela Quintana Vigiol

Urban areas are often thought of as concrete jungles, but they encompass much more than that. Nature, people and built structures are interconnected. Together they comprise the urban environment of the cities and towns in which we live.

July 23, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Age of Women.

Pearls and Irritations, By Julian Cribb, Jul 22, 2022

 Leadership by wise women is indispensable if we are to escape the catastrophe that male leadership is presently building for humanity.

If humanity is to survive the vast and growing threats it faces, women must assume the leadership of government, business, religion and social institutions around the world. Female leadership is a required solution to the ten catastrophic risks which now confront the whole of our civilisation.

As a rule, women don’t start wars, mine coal or oil, destroy landscapes and forests, pollute air and oceans or poison their children – though they may benefit from those male actions. They tend to think more about the longer term than do men, and to consider the future needs of their children and grandchildren more fully. They tend to seek peaceful and constructive solutions to problems rather than warring over differences in values and beliefs, or over resources.

Since the time our species first differentiated its gender roles, over a million years ago, pragmatic male thought has largely driven our remarkable ascent, our great technological achievements up to the start of the present century. But men are also risk takers – and often ignore or make light of the risks created by the use, misuse or overuse of these technologies. Furthermore, in the hot, overcrowded, resource-depleted, poisoned world of the present and immediate future, competitive male attitudes are also our potential downfall, especially if they lead to wars and mass destruction.

In a world beset by catastrophic risks such as global ecological collapse, nuclear weapons, climate change, universal chemical poisoning, resource scarcity, food insecurity, overpopulation, pandemic disease, deadly new technologies and self-delusion, a fresh human perspective is needed – one which accentuates peaceful co-operation, caring, repair, healing and restoration. One which values food above weapons, health above chemicals, re-use and thrift above wastage, nature above profit, thought for the next generations above immediate self-gratification – and wisdom over mere intelligence or technical skill.

The most striking example of global female leadership is the decision by women everywhere to have far fewer babies. This has brought the birth rate down from 5 babies per woman in the mid-1960s to 2.4 babies in the early 2020s – and it is still falling, in every continent and in almost every country, albeit more slowly. Moreover many women have taken the decision to control their fertility without seeking male approval. They just did it. It is a responsibility the female of our species has undertaken because she instinctually understands the dangers and costs inherent in uncontrolled family and population growth. Women have, on their own initiative, tackled one of the thorniest and most controversial issues affecting the human future – and with demonstrable success. Unswayed by the selfish arguments of economics, nationalism, religion, paternalism or social pressure, they have willingly had fewer children in order that those whom they do bear may live better – or even live at all.

Women are also  peacemakers. History offers few, if any, examples of wars of aggression waged by female leaders. Although perfectly capable of responding to military attack, female rulers from Elizabeth I, Maria Theresa and Catherine the Great to Golda Meir, Indira Ghandi and Margaret Thatcher defended their countries against attack by others or else ended wars which they had inherited from their male antecedents. Typically, they pursued their aims through diplomacy. All of the great wars of recent centuries, on the other hand, were started either by male monarchs, dictators or by male-dominated governments. 

……….. Women are also  peacemakers. History offers few, if any, examples of wars of aggression waged by female leaders. Although perfectly capable of responding to military attack, female rulers from Elizabeth I, Maria Theresa and Catherine the Great to Golda Meir, Indira Ghandi and Margaret Thatcher defended their countries against attack by others or else ended wars which they had inherited from their male antecedents. Typically, they pursued their aims through diplomacy. All of the great wars of recent centuries, on the other hand, were started either by male monarchs, dictators or by male-dominated governments. 

In a world where conflict over declining resources of land, water, food, minerals, timber, fish and other vital necessities of life is increasingly probable, male leadership is far more likely to result in mass destruction and death than female leadership. Males in most societies are taught from youth to compete for what they want, and if competition doesn’t work, then to fight for it, often to the death. Sporting role models, gang behaviour, worship of military virtues and imposed patriarchal values cement the process. This masculine ideal is so firmly imprinted on society and on young males as to make questioning it tantamount to heresy – and most men fear to do so. Indeed, the dawning realisation that traditional male values are redundant in a world where humans can eliminate themselves has given rise to  anxiety and confusion in many males over the likely loss of their ‘traditional’ roles of warrior and protector.

However, there is nothing compulsory about these traditional roles, ………………….. These stereotypes have endured centuries after the biological necessity for them has passed away. The preservation of these stone age roles in a 21st Century civilisation on the brink of catastrophe is an absurdity. Indeed, they will only hasten it.

Females learn or are taught to achieve their goals by other means, generally peaceful, diplomatic, negotiatory and co-operative. It follows that female leadership is better suited to the conditions of the C21st than it perhaps was to previous centuries – and male leadership less so. Thus, majority female rule can reduce the chances of civilisational collapse, or even human extinction, by war……………

It is noteworthy that women already tend to lead international organisations concerned with human health and wellbeing, with peace, with children and their future – whereas men tend to dominate organisations that pollute, manufacture poisons or weapons, plough up landscapes, pillage the oceans and destroy the climate. There are very few female leaders of the $7 trillion fossil fuels / petrochemicals sector, for example, and the male groupthink in that industry plainly values short-term profit above the safety and survival of humanity (including their own). This is classic male risk-taking behaviour ……….

Petrochemicals kill 12 million people every year and the toll is rising with climate change and the universal spread of poisons. In this case, a male-led industry prizes profit above human life on the largest scale ever to occur in history. But it is by no means unique. Other male-dominated sectors including agriculture, mining, forestry, corporate food and pharmaceuticals, electronics, advertising, armaments and the military, cause similar havoc among humanity, the natural world or both. For the sake of human survival, it is time their leadership underwent a radical repositioning in values, ethics and common sense.

The issue of whether  women should lead humanity in the 21st century is thus not a question of gender equality or politics. It is not about ‘feminism’.

It is, quite simply, a foundational rule for human survival at the very time we face a major threat to our existence, arising from our own behaviours.

It is now a matter of choosing the kind of  leadership which can best get us through the most dangerous era in all of human history.

Female thinking and leadership can protect a habitable planet and save humanity – or at least, some of it. And this means female thinking by enlightened men as well as by women. To influence global society towards more sustainable, healthy and peaceable solutions to our risks, we need many  wise women in positions of power. This is indispensable, if we are escape the fate which male-led competition, aggression, overconsumption and pollution are building for us. https://johnmenadue.com/the-age-of-women-2/

July 23, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The bright spots in the State of the Environment report

The bright spots in the State of the Environment report

Indigenous ranger programs and privately run conservation reserves are the shining lights in the country’s environmental report card.

July 23, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear Power Plants Are Struggling to Stay Cool

Wired, 22 July 22”……………………………. Amidst a slow-burning heat wave that has killed hundreds and sparked intense wildfires across Western Europe, and combined with already low water levels due to drought, the Rhône’s water has gotten too hot for the job. It’s no longer possible to cool reactors without expelling water downstream that’s so hot as to extinguish aquatic life. So a few weeks ago, Électricité de France (EDF) began powering down some reactors along the Rhône and a second major river in the south, the Garonne. That’s by now a familiar story: Similar shutdowns due to drought and heat occurred in 2018 and 2019. This summer’s cuts, combined with malfunctions and maintenance on other reactors, have helped reduce France’s nuclear power output by nearly 50 percent…………………

Nuclear technicians are known to refer to their craft as a very complicated way of boiling water, producing steam that spins turbines. But much more is usually required to keep the reactor cool. That’s why so many facilities are located by the sea and along big rivers like the Rhône.

Plenty of other industries are affected by hotter rivers, including big factories and power plants that run on coal and gas. But nuclear plants are unique because of their immense size and the central role they play in keeping energy grids online in places like France. And warming and dwindling rivers are not the only climate challenges they face. On the coasts, a combination of sea level rise and more frequent and intense storms means heightened flooding risks. Scientists have also pointed to other, more unusual challenges, like more frequent algal blooms and exploding jellyfish populations, which can clog up the water pipes.

……………………… The nuclear industry and environmental groups continue to disagree on whether existing regulations capture the latest science, particularly on the topic of sea level rise. 

……………….. . In 2019, the NRC began approving 20-year extensions to some reactors—starting with the Turkey Point power plant in South Florida. Environmental groups filed interventions to halt the plan, arguing that a combination of more intense hurricanes and sea level rise would threaten the low-lying plant in ways that regulators had not adequately considered. In February, the NRC reversed the extension for Turkey Point and other plants pending a more extensive environmental review.

So far, most production cuts are due to warming waters—not just in the Rhône and Garonne, but in places like the Tennessee River in the US, and in the coastal seas where many more plants are sited. In recent years, nuclear plants across Northern Europe have been forced to shut down or reduce output because seawater became too warm to safely cool the reactor cores. Over the past decade, the Millstone power plant in Connecticut saw a series of shutdowns on hot summer days until regulators raised the temperature limit of its cooling waters by 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

……………………….  the impact is growing as temperatures continue to rise. In an analysis published in Nature Energy last summer, a Stanford researcher found that there had been eight times the number of heat-related outages in the 2010s compared with the 1990s. In a 2011 study on the impact of warming on nuclear cooling systems, EDF scientists projected a 3 degree Celsius increase in the Rhône’s temperature by 2050, spelling more potential for shutdowns during heat waves.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, “The key issue is when we start building new plants, how can we take into account the impact of climate change for the full lifespan of the plant to 2080 or 2100,” Laconde says, noting that France’s new generation of reactors, recently announced by President Emmanuel Macron, are mostly being built by the coasts.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, in France, regulators are expecting a long summer ahead. While the heat may pass, low water levels can persist, resulting in cutbacks that last for weeks or months. EDF recently told reporters that it expects more cuts in the coming months as water levels continue to fall—leaving the country hoping for the relief of cold, hard rains.  https://www.wired.com/story/nuclear-power-plants-struggling-to-stay-cool/

July 23, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

US Military Analyst: West Can’t Afford Ukraine Spending, Will Run Out of Ammo to Send to Kiev

Sputnik News 22 July 22…………………….What goals are the US and EU pursuing by pouring more money into the Ukrainian military?

Scott Ritter: The hope is to transform the conflict that is ongoing in Ukraine as a result of the Russian special military operation into a protracted conflict that can lead to a stalemate that would result in significant Russian costs, both in terms of manpower and military equipment, but also financial costs, and thereby weaken Russia. Ultimately what they are visualizing would be a Ukraine strong enough to evict Russia from its borders.

It’s not possible, this is fantasy in the extreme, but it’s politically inspired fantasy, meaning that the United States and its European allies have invested so much political capital into propping up the Ukrainian military and the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian economy that even though most sound analysts understand that not only is Ukraine losing the conflict, but they can never win the conflict. Politically, Western politicians cannot divorce themselves from these policies. So in order to maintain a public perception at home of the chance of a Ukrainian victory, they will continue to squander the wealth of their respective nations.

Why are Western states prolonging the hostilities despite the growing discontent of their populations with economic problems?

Scott Ritter: There’s an old saying in the United States that I believe translates into most politics: “when you’re explaining, you’re losing.” And right now, these politicians would have to explain to their constituents why they were wrong about Ukraine, why they were wrong about Russia. And especially here in the United States, we’re dealing with the lead-up to very critical midterm elections. No politician wants to be explaining anything to anybody. They want to be shaping perceptions that build upon past performances. This is all about domestic politics. This has nothing to do with reality.

Why are Western states prolonging the hostilities despite the growing discontent of their populations with economic problems?

Scott Ritter: There’s an old saying in the United States that I believe translates into most politics: “when you’re explaining, you’re losing.” And right now, these politicians would have to explain to their constituents why they were wrong about Ukraine, why they were wrong about Russia. And especially here in the United States, we’re dealing with the lead-up to very critical midterm elections. No politician wants to be explaining anything to anybody. They want to be shaping perceptions that build upon past performances. This is all about domestic politics. This has nothing to do with reality. So it sounds good for a politician to be telling his or her constituents that we are providing the Ukrainians with the best equipment possible to include the top of the line fighter aircraft. What they really should be saying is we are guaranteeing that every Ukrainian pilot we train will die at the hands of the Russian Air Force, because that’s what the ultimate outcome will be.

The thing about, especially American, generals is that they are political animals. They didn’t get that fourth star necessarily because of their military competence. They got it because they impressed a politician with their political acumen. And so what we have is a general playing politics, a general who is saying what the politicians want to hear. And that’s not what his role is. His role is to provide sound military assessment, military advice to the politicians.

But if an American military officer did that today, they couldn’t agree with anything that the Biden administration or the US Congress was seeking to do in Ukraine, and therefore they would never get promoted. They would never get a good job. I don’t like to denigrate serving military officers, but this is a political decision, not a military decision, even though the man making it wears a military uniform.

Can the West collectively really afford such spending now, at a time of harsh polarization and soaring prices?

Scott Ritter: No, they can’t afford it. And we have some nations that are starting to realize this. The German defense minister, who is very hawkish against Russia, has acknowledged that Germany simply has no more weapons to give and they’re not in a position to build new weapons. They’re worrying about other economic realities. The same holds true with the United States.

At some point time in time, we are going to run out of materiel to give to Ukraine. I read somewhere that with all the HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems we’re providing to Ukraine, we’re also providing Ukraine with one third of the ammunition stockpiles for the HIMARS, meaning that we, the United States, only have two thirds of our ammunition stores available if we had to go to war, which means we will run out of ammunition.

This is insane, literally insane to be sacrificing the national security of the United States or of a European nation so that politicians can look and sound good for the next couple of weeks. But it will not change the equation on the battlefield in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Army is in an impossible situation. They literally cannot recover from the debacle that has befallen them.

The sad thing is that Ukrainian leaders are buying into the fiction provided by the West of if they just get more weapons, they can successfully defend against Russia. This means that more Ukrainian soldiers are going to die, more Russian soldiers are going to die, and tragically, more Ukrainian civilians are going to suffer.

Leaders of the Group of Seven recently pledged to stand with Ukraine “for as long as it takes.” How feasible is this pledge?

Scott Ritter: When the Group of Seven made that, one of the leaders was a guy named Boris Johnson. He’s not the leader anymore. The other guy was a gentleman whose last name was Draghi. He’s not the leader anymore. I think as the summer and the winter come along, more and more of these leaders are going to be removed from office because it’s an unsustainable policy. Politicians have a proclivity for saying things that have no basis in reality. It’s very inexpensive for a politician to say “we are going to support you forever.”

Forever in what sense? Boris Johnson is not supporting them forever – he’s out of power. Draghi is not supporting them forever – he’s out of power. And just about everybody who was on that stage at the G7 meeting will be out of power. Suddenly, we have a whole new definition of what “forever” means. It means “not now, not anymore.” https://sputniknews.com/20220721/us-military-analyst-west-cant-afford-ukraine-spending-will-run-out-of-ammo-to-send-to-kiev-1097671398.html

July 23, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NRA approval for Fukushima Daiichi radioactive pollution of the Pacific Ocean – no justification, no scientific basis and illegal – Greenpeace condemns decision

Greenpeace Japan
2022-07-22

Tokyo, Japan – The final approval by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holding (TEPCO) plans to discharge radioactive waste water into the Pacific Ocean has no justification, is based on incomplete and limited data and flawed analysis and violates international law, according to Greenpeace East Asia.

Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist from Greenpeace East Asia, said: 

“The decision by Japan’s regulator to deliberately pollute the Pacific Ocean with radioactive waste water is as bad as it sounds. The NRA approval of the TEPCO contaminated water discharge plan is scientifically and technically flawed. It is a decision intended to support the false narrative that decommissioning the destroyed reactors at Fukushima Daiichi is making real progress. In reality the contaminated water plan is a symptom of the wider crisis that the current decommissioning plan is doomed. The discharges into the Pacific will not solve any problems but create many more. The NRA knows that a fundamental reassessment of the decommissioning plan is inevitable, and that will also mean choosing the least environmentally damaging option which is long term storage and processing.”

“The NRA has failed to assess many important issues that are fundamental to any environmental assessment. Further, it disregards the human rights of those most impacted by the 2011 disaster – the citizens of Fukushima prefecture, including fishing communities, as well as neighboring prefectures. It ignores the wider environmental marine impact and the rights of the peoples of the Asia Pacific region who are opposed to the deliberate pollution of the Pacific with radioactive waste,” said Burnie. 

Japan is legally required under the UN Convention for the Law of the Sea to conduct a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). No such assessment has been made or is planned either by Japan’s regulator or the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). There are many legal issues that the NRA has just completely failed to consider.

The opposition to radioactive discharges continues to grow, including the efforts by the 18 nations of the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) to challenge the false scientific rationale for the radioactive pollution plans.

Greenpeace analysis on the Fukushima water crisis includes submissions to the NRA, IAEA, as well as two reports on the technical issues and problems with the management of contaminated water at the site and discharge plans.

ENDS

Notes: 

See “TEPCO WATER CRISIS”, Greenpeace Germany, January 2019

And, “Stemming the tide 2020: The reality of the Fukushima radioactive water crisis”, Greenpeace East Asia, October 2020 

July 23, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Statement: Protest the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Approval of TEPCO’s Plan for the Oceanic Discharge of Contaminated Water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

July 22, 2022
International Environmental NGO FoE Japan
Today, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) approved an application for modification of the implementation plan for the installation of an offshore discharge facility for treated contaminated water from the TEPCO-Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. We believe that the following points should be taken into consideration: 1) radioactive materials should be centrally controlled and should not be released into the environment, 2) effective alternatives such as mortar solidification have been proposed, 3) there are strong objections from fishermen and citizens, and 4) there are many problems in the consensus building process as no public hearing or explanation meetings have been held since the decision on the ocean discharge policy. The company has long opposed the discharge of treated contaminated water into the ocean for a number of reasons.

The approval is problematic mainly in the following respects. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not fulfilling its role as a regulatory agency.

1. It is unclear what and how much will be released

Currently, approximately 1.26 million m3 (as of March 2022) of treated contaminated water is stored in tanks. In addition to tritium, strontium-90 and iodine-129 remain in this water, and nearly 70% of this water exceeds the sum of the notified concentration ratio of 1 (exceeding the standard). The total amount of these radioactive materials is not indicated. TEPCO has measured 64 radioactive materials (62 nuclides targeted for ALPS removal, tritium, and carbon-14) only for three tank groups, but not for many other tank groups at this stage. TEPCO has stated that the water exceeding the standards will be treated sequentially and measured before being discharged. However, the total amount will not be known until the discharge is completed, which is expected to take more than 30 years.
Also, tritium has been shown to be present in the tanks at 780 trillion becquerels (as of May 2021), but there is still a large amount of tritium in the debris and in the buildings. The total amount of tritium released is unknown because the amount of contaminated water will continue to increase as long as the inflow of groundwater is not stopped.
The review was conducted without providing crucial data on what and how much will be discharged.

2. Verification of radioactive materials other than the 64 nuclides and selection of nuclides to be measured before release were postponed.

TEPCO had identified 64 nuclides (62 nuclides to be removed from the ALPS, tritium, and carbon-14) as those to be monitored, but the Nuclear Regulation Authority had requested an explanation of the basis for the absence of residuals of other nuclides. In the end, however, TEPCO’s explanation remained the same and no new verification was conducted. TEPCO has explained that it will verify this point in the future and, based on this verification, will also indicate the radioactive materials to be measured prior to the release. In other words, the Regulatory Commission has approved the plan before TEPCO has even begun to specify the “verification” that it will conduct and the radioactive materials that will be measured prior to the release of radioactive materials.

The measurements of radionuclides and their concentrations in the three tank groups that TEPCO now indicates as source terms in its radiation impact assessment were not measured after the tanks were agitated. In other words, it should be noted that there is a possibility that they may have failed to capture materials that have settled at the bottom of the tanks.

3. No indication that ocean discharge is “for risk reduction and optimization”

As a result of the review, the Regulatory Commission stated that “future risk reduction and optimization of the specific nuclear facilities as a whole are being pursued.
However, risk reduction and optimization should not be achieved only within the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant site, but should be evaluated including the marine environment.
In addition, other alternatives must be considered in order to demonstrate that “ocean discharge is the way to reduce and optimize the overall risk.
TEPCO has not adequately considered the storage in large, robust tanks and the mortar solidification disposal proposal proposed by the Citizens Commission on Atomic Energy and other groups.
Although TEPCO cites the risk of leakage in the large tank proposal, large tanks have a long track record in oil storage, and sufficient countermeasures have already been established technically, including the installation of dikes to prevent leakage. Rather, the current storage in tanks is vulnerable, and the risk of leakage is high considering the planned offshore release period of more than 30 years. Regarding the mortar solidification disposal proposal, the proposer points out that water evaporates due to the heat of hydration, which can also be addressed.
It is inappropriate to conduct a review based solely on TEPCO’s views without obtaining the opinions of the proponents of these alternative proposals.

4. Priority should be given to drastic water sealing measures

The major source of contaminated water is the inflow of groundwater into the buildings. The frozen soil wall, which was constructed at great expense, has not been able to sufficiently stop the inflow of groundwater and is only a temporary facility. It has also been pointed out that it has not reached the bottom of the geological stratum, which allows water to pass through easily. Geological experts have proposed the construction of a wide-area impervious wall using existing technology, and TEPCO and the government should seriously consider these proposals and give priority to drastic measures to stop the inflow of water.
https://foejapan.org/issue/20220722/8675/?fbclid=IwAR2czi0QX4uA89blKdKWxdQgSJqHQEDNQsRniPBazKVunyR_ECEiEKigzng

July 23, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Time for the UK government to tell the truth about nuclear power

Targeting scarce public resources at ailing nuclear initiatives flies in the face of all known data, says Prof Andy Stirling

The UK is sadly becoming habituated to an officially sponsored attrition of truth about nuclear power. Despite intensifying propaganda, even government data shows this military-backed technology to be, in reality, an expensive, slow, unreliable, risky and unpopular way to deliver affordable, secure, zero-carbon energy.

The gap in efficacy and competitiveness between nuclear and other options is continually growing. Supporting nuclear, rather than energy efficiency, wind and solar, slows down climate action, bleeds taxpayers, forgoes jobs and forces unnecessarily large and regressive burdens on consumers.

BEIS says: “Nuclear is the only form of reliable, low-carbon generation
which has been deployed at scale to date.”

The] manifest falsity of this starkly unqualified statement is extraordinary. As the government’s own
data also shows, the costs of managing variable supply are rapidly diminishing and are already far smaller than the competitiveness gap between nuclear and renewables.

Current renewable contributions to UK electricity far surpass the peak achieved by nuclear. When did it become acceptable in British public life that a supposedly democratic government should so seriously misrepresent reality in a formal policy document?

In a period when stakes are unprecedentedly high for climate, economy, energy security and hard-pressed households, it is time to renew reasoned scientific and democratic debate in this field and prevent this national self-harm by unaccountable special interests.

 Guardian 21st July 2022

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jul/21/time-for-the-government-to-tell-the-truth-about-nuclear-power

July 23, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Shinzo Abe Failed to Rearm Japan. Let’s Keep It That Way

Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, meets with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence the Kantei, in Tokyo, Aug. 18, 2017. (DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro)

Houston Chronicle July 20, 2022, Koichi Nakano,

Japan had barely begun processing the shock of the former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s assassination by a gunman on July 8 before attention turned to whether his quest to remilitarize Japan, including the revision of its pacifist Constitution, would survive him.

Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, Mr. Abe was a towering presence at home and an influential statesman abroad. He advocated a more globally engaged Japan, was a driving force in the Quad alliance between the United States, Australia, India and Japan and is credited by some with initiating the very idea of the wider Indo-Pacific region.

He also envisioned a more militarily robust Japan, centered on his unfulfilled dream of revising its postwar Constitution, which prohibits his country from maintaining an offensive armed forces capability. His supporters have vowed to make these dreams — driven largely by fear of a more powerful China — a reality.

Yet it’s time for Japan to bid farewell not only to Mr. Abe but also to his nationalist rearmament agenda. Japan’s political and economic resources should be focused not on revising the Constitution and increasing defense spending but on maintaining peace through diplomacy and shoring up an economy left shaky by years of Mr. Abe’s trickle-down policies.

Critically, at a time when the United States is focused on confronting China, a humbler, more pacifist Japan could have an important role to play by re-engaging with Beijing to help decrease tensions between China and the United States.

Mr. Abe was shot while campaigning on behalf of his Liberal Democratic Party for parliamentary elections that were to be held just two days later. He leaves behind a personal legacy far more controversial and checkered than is warranted by the simplistic, fawning tributes that followed his demise.

………………………………… few aspects of Mr. Abe’s career threatened to alter Japan’s national character and role in the region as much as his crusade against Article 9, which renounces war as a means of solving international disputes and limits Japan’s military to a self-defense role. Mr. Abe unnerved millions of Japanese who see no reason to depart from a commitment to peace that kept Japan out of any direct involvement in war since 1945, allowing it to focus on becoming an economic power.

Mr. Abe failed to change the article despite two stints in power, from 2006 to ’07 and from 2012 to ’20. He settled instead for a reinterpretation that allows Japan to help close allies militarily under certain conditions but has been criticized as unconstitutional.

Japan looks no closer to revising Article 9 today, especially with the L.D.P.’s right wing now deprived of its uncontested standard-bearer. A commitment to peace runs deep in a country that was taken to war by a military government, causing huge suffering in Asia and ending in Japan’s total defeat and the distinction of being the only country attacked with nuclear weapons.

……………….. Attention now turns to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, but it’s a measure of just how smothering Mr. Abe’s presence was — he forbade open dissent among party leaders — that the Japanese don’t really know what to expect from Mr. Kishida, who represents L.D.P. moderates who have opposed constitutional revision. After the election, Mr. Kishida promised greater defense spending and pledged renewed attention on Article 9 but gave no hint that this was more than a courteous nod to the departed Mr. Abe.

But there is no doubt that Mr. Kishida’s hand is strengthened. Mr. Abe left no clear right-wing successor, and his death throws the faction into disarray, allowing Mr. Kishida an opportunity to assert more control over the national agenda.

……………………… Stripping away the safeguards of Article 9 and remilitarizing Japan would only further inflame tensions with China and risk an arms race with potentially devastating consequences for Japan and the region. On the contrary, a reaffirmed commitment to peace would allow domestic resources to be focused on the economy and open the door for better relations with Japan’s neighbors founded on peace through diplomacy.

It’s time to beat Mr. Abe’s swords into plowshares.  https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/Opinion-Shinzo-Abe-failed-to-rearm-Japan-17320399.php

July 23, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

July 22 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion:  ¶ “The Solution To Grid Reliability? Go Bigger And Bolder On Renewables And Energy Storage” • Power generation based on fossil fuels is vulnerable to extreme weather. Doubling down on old technologies is a mistake when we have renewables, storage, and flexible demand that can help ensure reliability while they address climate change. [CleanTechnica] […]

July 22 Energy News — geoharvey

July 23, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment