Australian news, and some related international items

Australian nuclear news, and more

Some bits of good news –  100% renewables is feasible worldwide at low cost.  

big increase in numbers of the beautiful chameleon-like  giant cuttlefish (above). The Spencer Gulf is home to the only known large breeding colony of Giant Australian Cuttlefish. The increase is due to the re-imposition of a temporary fishing ban in the area . But in 2012, the federal government subtly  changed law to enable BHP to expand its uranium mine, and to build a desalination plant that would alter the breeding area, and eliminate this species. Work of the Conservation Council of South Australia, a public outcry, and a petition, helped to prevent the extinction of this species

Covid-19 .  It’s not as if the pandemic has gone away –   does anybody care any more? How COVID-19 is affecting the globe.

Climate change hasn’t gone away either. It is here world wide. Red Cross and Red Crescent care.


Taiwan not worth a mushroom cloud.      How even small nuclear war would kill billions in apocalyptic famine.    Bob Carr puts Peter Dutton on the spot -calls for detail on Dutton’s plans for nuclear power in Australia.    Nuclear power – never a realistic option for Australia.

Traditional owners seek documents in nuclear dump case.

Nuclear bomb tests at Maralinga triggered Hedley Marston to study fallout over Australia.

Groups join together to sign WA Nuclear Free Charter against uranium mining.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX now leaving junk in our own backyard.

The United States, in decline but still able to kill us all.


 Attacking a nuclear plant ‘suicidal,’ UN chief tells journalists in Japan.

Nuclear war between two nations could spark global famine.    The Lessons We Haven’t Learned.      Connecting Toxic Memories: Hiroshima and Nuremberg.

Storage of nuclear wastes and of dead nuclear reactors is becoming a political nightmare.

Risk of death rises as climate change causes nighttime temperatures to climb



Ukraine Plant Under Fire Showcases ‘Dangerous’ Nature of Nuclear Power, Experts Say.

August 16, 2022 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Traditional owners seek documents in nuclear dump case

The Transcontinental. By Tim Dornin, August 15 2022 ,

Traditional owners have asked for wide-ranging access to federal government documents as part of their efforts to block the construction of a nuclear waste dump in South Australia.

The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation is engaged in Federal Court action seeking to stop the proposed dump at Napandee, near Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula.

On Monday their lawyers outlined the reasons why the government should hand over a considerable volume of material it relied on in choosing the site and in preparing supportive legislation.

Some of the most contentious material related to correspondence the applicants contend must have taken place between then resources minister Keith Pitt and his department.

Others related to commitments the previous government made not to impose the dump on an unwilling community.

But the Commonwealth argued the Barngarla had been given a “complete record of the decision-making process” and what was being asked for went far beyond an orthodox judicial review.

“They should focus their efforts upon minister Pitt’s conduct rather than essentially seeking to have a royal commission into the cacophony that surrounds the drafting of legislation and the announcement of particular political decisions,” the court was told.

Justice Natalie Charlesworth indicated she was mindful to allow discovery of some of the material, regarding it relevant to the case.

However, she asked the parties to negotiate further to potentially narrow the scope of the documents being sought, particularly in two of the seven categories outlined.

Justice Charlesworth also cautioned that while production of the documents might be ordered, whether or not they proved admissible in the substantive case, now likely to be heard in March next year, was yet to be determined.

The case will return to court next week.

The Barngarla launched their action last year seeking to overturn the coalition government’s decision to develop the dump by quashing the ministerial declaration.

The corporation also recently wrote to new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese urging him to scrap plans for the dump.

It said the previous federal government had tried to silence the traditional owners at every turn, denying their right to participate in a community ballot to gauge local support for the site.

The corporation said the coalition also refused access to the land to undertake a proper heritage survey and tried to remove its right to judicial review.

Ahead of Monday’s hearing, Barngarla chairman Jason Bilney said it was hoped the new federal government would quickly realise how badly the former government handled the project.

“We fought 21 years to win our native title and if we have to fight 21 years to stop this nuclear waste dump damaging our country, then we will have to do it,” he said…… more

August 16, 2022 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, legal | Leave a comment

How even small nuclear war would kill billions in apocalyptic famine By Mark Saunokonoko • Senior Journalist Aug 16, 2022,

Australia may be the best place in the world to shelter if nuclear war broke out, a study has predicted, although an “influx of refugees” from Asia and other regions would likely rush the country to try and survive the atomic holocaust.

Various apocalypse scenarios showed even a small nuclear war would cause devastating climate chaos, plunging the world into mass famine and starving billions to death.

The study estimated more than 2 billion people would die from a contained nuclear war between India and Pakistan, while more than 5 billion around the world would perish inside two years if the US and Russia launched thousands of nukes at each other.

Nuclear strikes on major cities and industrial areas would unleash massive firestorms, the peer-reviewed study said, injecting soot into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight from reaching the Earth’s surface and severely limiting food production.

Such catastrophic “soot loadings” would cause at least 10-15 years of disruption to global climate, researchers said.

As land and ocean food production faltered, and in the face of worsening hunger, the study said food exporting countries such as Australia would hunker down and hoard supplies.

“Wherever there’s scarcity, you start to see more conflicts,” Dr Ryan Heneghan, a co-author of the study from Queensland University of Technology, told

“Whether that makes Australia a (post-nuclear war) target, I don’t know.”

Being a food exporter and its location in the southern hemisphere, away from likely conflict zones, were the key factors that meant Australia was able to weather a nuclear catastrophe better than most, Heneghan said, with New Zealand not far behind.

“Australia has some resilience if there were drops in food productivity because of changes in climate caused by a nuclear war,” he said.

“We already produce more than enough food for our population.”

But waves of migrants would inevitably put “pressures” on any Australian stockpiles.

One factor not included in the models, but which could seriously affect Australia’s ability to cope, was the country’s lack of domestic fuel supplies, Heneghan said.

“Australia isn’t energy independent.

“So we would probably have shortages of fuel.”

Australia, the planet’s sixth largest country after Russia, Canada, China, the US and Brazil, would face huge challenges trying to transport food from agricultural heartlands into big, densely populated urban centres, he said.

“Even though we might make enough food, we might not be able to move it to where it needs to go,” he said, calling that a “big caveat” to the study’s models.

Researchers modelled the impacts of six atmospheric soot-injection scenarios, based on one week of nuclear war, on crop and fish supplies and other livestock and food production.

Even if humans reduced food waste reduction and began to eat crops grown primarily as animal feed and biofuel, researchers predicted livestock and aquatic food production could not compensate for reduced crop output in most nations.

Any nuclear weapon detonation that produces more than 5 teragrams (5 trillion grams) of soot, such as 100 warheads fired between India and Pakistan, would likely cause mass food shortages in almost all countries, the study said.

A nuclear war between the US and Russia could send more than 150 teragrams of soot into the stratosphere.

The bushfires that swept across Australia in 2019-20 generated 0.3 – 1 teragrams of smoke, which swirled around the world and lingered for many months.

August 16, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear power – never a realistic option for Australia.

Peter Dutton wants Australia to consider nuclear power. SBS News 13 Aug 22,

“…………………………………………. In one of his most significant policy moves as Opposition Leader, Peter Dutton has been agitating for a public discussion over nuclear power……… He announced the Coalition would be formally reviewing Australia’s potential to adopt “next-generation nuclear technologies”.

………………………….. Worldwide, there are mixed feelings on how much reliance should be placed on nuclear energy………………….

Could Australia have its own nuclear industry?

Climate Energy Finance director Tim Buckley said building a homegrown nuclear power industry would never be a realistic option for a country like Australia.

He said it was extremely costly to build, required expertise Australia doesn’t have, and the public would never be comfortable with the storage of radioactive waste.

“It would be very charitable to think that Australia could have a nuclear power plant operational in the next 10 or even 20 years,” he said.

“I would absolutely bet against that probability. And the only way you could do it is with $20 billion or $30 billion of government funding underwriting the project.”………………………………………….

Energy finance analyst Bruce Robertson said investing in conventional nuclear would be a waste of money for Australia.

“We’ve got no expertise in the construction of nuclear power plants, we’ve got no expertise in their operation.

“We don’t have lots of nuclear engineers – they don’t exist in Australia. So if we wanted to build a nuclear industry here, it’s going to take a very large upfront cost.”

Could Australia build a nuclear reactor?

Australia currently has only one nuclear reactor, which is a government-run facility at Lucas Heights in Sydney. That reactor doesn’t produce electricity – rather, it is mostly used to generate chemical elements used in medicine.

While Lucas Heights produces a comparatively tiny amount of nuclear waste, there has been fierce debate within Australia over where it should be stored. Mr Buckley said this would only intensify with commercial-scale nuclear energy.

“Nuclear is a very, very divisive topic in the energy space,” he said.

“It is clearly zero emissions – but it generates toxic waste, and there is no solution for that. There are a lot safer and cheaper alternatives.”……………………………..

Nuclear fusion

………………….. Dr Adi Paterson is the former chief executive of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation – one of Australia’s largest publicly-funded research bodies. Now he is working with an Australian start-up called HB11, which aims to commercialise nuclear fusion technology.

While nuclear fusion is incredibly promising, it has also proved to be technically frustrating. Researchers are still struggling to create conditions in which nuclear fusion produces more electricity than it requires to run……………..

The world’s largest nuclear fusion reactor is currently under construction in southern France, at a cost upwards of $21 billion.

Some 35 countries, including Australia, have been involved in the construction of the ITER reactor, one of the most ambitious energy projects in the world. Plagued by construction delays, it is now expected to start powering up in 2025.

Mr Buckley said nuclear fusion could be useful in the long term, but would not be ready soon enough to solve the immediate problems caused by global warming.

“When I was in nappies 55 years ago, nuclear fusion was a decade away from commercialisation,” said Mr Buckley.

“And now – 55 years later – it’s still just a decade or two away from commercialisation.”

August 16, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

France’s government determined to expand nuclear power, oblivious to environmental, safety, and cost ill-effects

the plant’s cooling processes have increased the water’s temperature by 6 degrees C, which has triggered ripple effects throughout the food chain.

that will have a disastrous impact on the ecosystem,”

French nuclear plants break a sweat over heat wave, DW 15 Aug 22, Successive heat waves are putting French nuclear reactors under strain. But that is not pushing them into an existential crisis, as Lisa Louis reports from Paris.

Like other European countries, France has been baking in temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for several weeks. Although that is putting French nuclear reactors under strain, this does not seem to be calling the country’s nuclear-heavy energy strategy into question.

Nuclear power plants normally generate roughly 70% of electricity in France — making nuclear’s share of the energy mix there higher than in any other country.

But more than half of the country’s 56 reactors have been closed for several months due to planned or extraordinary maintenance.

And about a fifth of them would normally need to interrupt their activity or at least reduce it to a bare minimum, as the water temperature of the rivers into which plants discharge their cooling water exceeds a certain limit.

But the government has suspended that rule until at least September 11.

‘Ripple effects throughout the food chain’

For Jean-Pierre Delfau, an environmental activist at local group FNE86, that is an exasperating decision.

“I just can’t understand how they can keep the reactors running although that will have a disastrous impact on the ecosystem,” he told DW, as he and two other environmentalists made their way through high grass on the bank of the Garonne river to take a water sample on a recent afternoon.

The Garonne supplies cooling water for the Golfech nuclear plant in southwestern France. One of the power station’s two reactors has been standing still for months, after authorities found corrosion and small cracks on pipes relevant for the plant’s safety. The second reactor is still functioning.

“Due to the heat, the Garonne’s water throughput is already down to 50 cubic meters per second, from several thousand in normal times,” Delfau said. “The Golfech plant makes that worse, as it uses 8 cubic meters for its cooling system but only discharges 6 cubic meters back, as some of the water evaporates during the process,” he pointed out.

He added that the plant’s cooling processes have increased the water’s temperature by 6 degrees C, which has triggered ripple effects throughout the food chain.

“The warmer water destroys microalgae that are food for certain small fish, which bigger fish feed on,” explained the 79-year-old, who has been an anti-nuclear protester for more than 50 years.

“Plus, warmer water contains more bacteria. In order to make it potable, we have to add a lot of chemicals, which people then drink.”

Not an existential crisis for French nuclear power

Power company EDF, which runs all of France’s nuclear power plants, declined an interview request with DW. A spokeswoman replied by email that the situation was “extraordinary” and that so far, environmental probes had not revealed any negative impact on the flora and fauna around the respective reactors.

Despite environmental concerns, current issues are not throwing French nuclear power into an existential crisis. The government is planning to soon nationalize EDF and construct additional nuclear plants.

That has Anna Creti, climate economy director at Paris University Dauphine, scratching her head.

“It’s not quite clear how this strategy is supposed to work on a technology level, especially in the short run,” she told DW.

Technology not ready

“France is banking on so-called small modular reactors (SMRs), for which there exist roughly 40 different technologies, all of them in a pilot phase,” Creti said. “Getting them ready for deployment could take up to 10 years,” she added.

“The government also plans to construct more pressurized-water, so-called EPR reactors — a model that has encountered numerous problems,” she continued.

According to current predictions, the country’s first EPR plant is to go live next year in Flamanville in the north of the country. According to developer EDF, building costs have so far at least tripled, to roughly €13 billion ($13.3 billion).

The European Court of Auditors puts that figure at €19 billion — with construction taking more than 10 years longer than planned. Other EPRs in Britain, China and Finland are reported to experience construction, conceptual or production problems.

“The government has nevertheless earmarked €150 billion for refurbishing existing nuclear plants and constructing new ones,” Creti said, adding that no such funding boon was announced for renewables, although Paris is working on new rules to cut red tape for development of renewables.

“Putting more money intorenewables would make sense, as theyhave become ever cheaper over the past few years, and their technology is sufficiently advanced for them to be deployed immediately across the country,” she emphasized.

France is the only European country not to have reached its 2020 EU renewables targets. Renewable energies make up only roughly 19% of energy production, instead of the planned 23%……………………………………..

Energy shortages expected in winter

Philippe Mante is strongly hoping for that [shift to renewables]. He’s in charge of climate affairs at EELV, France’s green party, which is opposed to constructing new nuclear plants. For the sake of energy security, the party is not in favor of immediately dismantling existing nuclear energy plants.

Neighboring countries will be watching closely. Until now, France has been Europe’s biggest net energy exporter. This year, however, the country will have to import more electricity than it’s exporting. 

That’s likely to add even more pressure to energy prices, which are already skyrocketing, due among other things to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and reduced delivery of Russian gas.

August 16, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment




Sorry, Elon

So, uh, there might be a serious wrench in Elon Musk’s plans to colonize Mars.

According to an alarming — though yet-to-be-peer-reviewed — new study, astronauts who underwent a crewed mission to the Red Planet would likely face devastating levels of radiation — even when wearing protective metal shields.

Bad Trip

In order to realistically examine how much cumulative radiation the astronauts would face, the scientists based their research on a 1,000-day crewed mission — 600 days of travel time, 400 days on the Martian surface — to our neighboring planet.

As New Scientist reports, the work was partially inspired by the gender gap in space radiation research. Most studies in the field have focused on male bodies — NASA, in fact, is only sending test dummies with female anatomies into space for the first time this year.

With that in mind, the scientists were sure to include comprehensive virtual models of both male and female anatomies in their study. These models were then mercilessly pelted with simulated cosmic radiation, including that caused by solar flares, and studied using particle-tracking software usually used in particle accelerator research. (It’s also worth noting that the model accounted for exposures with aluminum shielding and without.)

Radiation Station

And regarding whether such missions would be safe or not, the results were unfortunately in favor of “not.”

After surveying the impact of the 1,000-day simulated mission on over 40 of the digitally-modeled body parts and organs, the researchers determined that most of the individual organs examined contained radiation levels over one sievert — as New Scientist reports, most space agencies worldwide stipulate that no astronaut should be exposed to over one sievert of radiation throughout their entire career, while NASA maintains that 0.6 sieverts should be the max.

As the study has yet to be peer reviewed, none of this data is entirely certain. But if it ultimately checks out, humanity definitely has some protective measures to figure out before any astronauts — let alone a whole chunk of humanity — could safely make their way to Earth’s dusty red neighbor.

READ MORE:Mars astronauts would get unsafe radiation doses even with shielding [New Scientist]

August 16, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Inside Lockheed Martin’s Sweeping Recruitment on College Campuses

Our investigation found this unfettered recruiting access to be part of a deeper and growing enmeshment between universities and the defense industry.

at many college STEM programs around the country have become pipelines for weapons contractors.

if you’re an engineering student at Georgia Tech, Lockheed is omnipresent.

Reader Supported News, Indigo Olivier/In These Times 14 august 22

To a casual observer, the Black Hawk and Sikorsky S-76 helicopters may have seemed incongruous landing next to the student union on the University of Connecticut’s pastoral green campus, but this particular Thursday in September 2018 was Lockheed Martin Day, and the aircraft were the main attraction.

A small group of students stood nearby, signs in hand, protesting Lockheed’s presence and informing others about a recent massacre.

Weeks earlier, 40 children had been killed when a Saudi-led coalition air strike dropped a 500-pound bomb on a school bus in northern Yemen. A CNN investigation found that Lockheed — the world’s largest weapons manufacturer — had sold the precision-guided munition to Saudi Arabia a year prior in a $110 billion arms deal brokered under former President Donald Trump.

Back in Storrs, Conn., Lockheed, which has a longstanding partnership with UConn, appeared on campus to recruit with TED-style talks, flight simulations, technology demos and on-the-spot interviews. A few lucky students took a helicopter flight around campus.

UConn is among at least a dozen universities that participate in Lockheed Martin Day, part of a sweeping national effort to establish defense industry recruitment pipelines in college STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs. Dozens of campuses nationwide now have corporate partnerships with Lockheed and other weapons manufacturers.

Lockheed is the country’s single largest government contractor, producing Black Hawks, F-35 fighter jets, Javelin anti-tank systems and the Hellfire missiles found on Predator drones. With more than 114,000 employees, the company depends on a pool of highly skilled and highly specialized workers, complete with the ability to obtain proper security clearances when needed. In its most recent annual report, Lockheed tells investors, “We increasingly compete with commercial technology companies outside of the aerospace and defense industry for qualified technical, cyber and scientific positions as the number of qualified domestic engineers is decreasing and the number of cyber professionals is not keeping up with demand.”

Lockheed has hired more than 21,000 new employees since 2020 to replace retiring workers and keep up with turnover. Student pipelines are integral to the company’s talent acquisition strategy.

As tuition costs and student debt have skyrocketed, Lockheed has enticed students with scholarships, well paid internships and a student loan repayment program. When the pandemic made in-person recruitment more difficult, Lockheed expanded its virtual outreach — after one 2020 virtual hiring event, the company reported a 300% increase in offers and a 400% increase in job acceptances among the STEM scholarship program participants over the previous year.

And in a self-described effort to diversify its workforce and build an inclusive culture, Lockheed has also put new focus on financial support and recruitment at historically Black colleges and universities.

Lockheed’s recruitment efforts are intertwined with various types of “research partnerships.” Universities receive six- and seven-figure grants from Lockheed and other defense contractors — or even more massive sums from the Department of Defense — to work on basic and applied research, up to and including designs, prototypes and testing of weapons technology. A student might work on Lockheed-sponsored research as part of their course load, then intern over the summer at Lockheed, be officially recruited by Lockheed upon graduation and start working there immediately, with defense clearances already in place — sometimes continuing the same work. In 2020, Lockheed reported that more than 60% of graduating interns became full-time employees.

Lockheed is not alone among corporations or military contractors in its aggressive university outreach, but the expansive presence of private defense companies on campuses raises questions about the extent to which corporations — particularly those profiting from war — should influence student career trajectories. In April, student and community protesters at Tufts University shut down a General Dynamics recruiting event, then protested outside a Raytheon presentation later that month, chanting, “We see through your smoke and mirrors. You can’t have our engineers.”

Illah Nourbakhsh, an ethics professor at Carnegie Mellon University with a background in robotics, presents the question this way: “If you have a palette of possible futures for students, and you take some possible future, and you make it so shiny and exciting and amazing by pouring money on the marketing process of it that it overcomes any possible marketing done by alternatives that are more socially minded — do the kids have agency? Is it a fair, balanced field?

“Of course not.”

Lockheed did not respond by deadline to requests for comment on this article.

For more than a year, In These Times investigated the presence of Lockheed and other arms manufacturers on campuses, combing through company and university annual reports, IRS filings, LinkedIn profiles, budgets, legislative records and academic policies, as well as interviewing students and professors. Most students requested pseudonyms, indicated with asterisks*, so as not to adversely impact their career prospects. Several spoke positively of Lockheed.

“It’s probably what most engineers, especially in mechanical and aerospace who want to go into defense prospects, aspire to,” says Sam*, who graduated with a bachelor’s in aerospace engineering in December 2021. “They’re one of the biggest defense contractors in this country, so you have the opportunity to work on very state-of-the-art technology.”

Other students believe putting their skills to military use is unethical.

Alan*, a December 2021 graduate in electrical engineering at the University of West Florida who is currently job-hunting while living with his parents, says he’s not looking at defense contractors and is instead holding out for a position that allows him to leave the Earth better than he found it. “When it comes to engineering, we do have a responsibility,” he says. “Every tool can be a weapon. … I don’t really feel like I need to be putting my gifts to make more bombs.”

Located near the world’s largest Air Force base in the Florida panhandle, the University of West Florida regularly hosts recruiters from the defense industry, including Lockheed. Alan says companies like Lockheed set up tables in student buildings to recruit in the hallways.

“I just walked past those tables,” he says, “but sometimes they’ll call you over. It’s kind of like going to the mall, and people want you to try their soap. It’s kind of annoying, but I get that they always need new people.”

Our investigation found this unfettered recruiting access to be part of a deeper and growing enmeshment between universities and the defense industry.

Decades of state disinvestment in public higher education have converged with a growing emphasis on sponsored research, and in an era of ballooning student debt, the billions in annual defense spending prop up university budgets and subsidize student educations. The result is that many college STEM programs around the country have become pipelines for weapons contractors……………………………….

Cameron Davis, who graduated from Georgia Tech with a bachelor’s in computer engineering in 2021, says, “A lot of people that I talk to aren’t 100% comfortable working on defense contracts, working on things that are basically going to kill people.” But, he adds, the lucrative pay of defense contractors “drives a lot of your moral disagreements with defense away.”

In 2019 and 2021, Lockheed was the university’s largest alumni employer, and the company has been one of Georgia Tech’s most frequent job interviewers since at least 2002.

“Even in my field — which isn’t even as defense-adjacent as aerospace engineering or mechanical engineering — companies like Raytheon will have dedicated programs to recruit people,” says Davis. “I’ve been in line with other companies at a career fair and defense contractors literally walk up to me in line and be like, ‘Hey, do you want to talk about helicopters or something?’”

“The corporate presence at Georgia Tech is a little bit overwhelming at times,”……………………………………….


Clifford Conner recalls his freshman year at Georgia Tech, in 1959, when the school was still segregated. He studied experimental psychology. When graduation approached, his professors — who also worked in the Lockheed Corporation’s Marietta office just north of Atlanta — said they could help him get a job at Lockheed. Conner accepted.

His work on the wing design of the C-5 Galaxy, then the largest military cargo plane in the world, took him to England, where he began reading a lot about the war in Vietnam. “I wasn’t under the spell of the American press,” Conner says. After a few years with Lockheed, he quit and joined the antiwar movement.

It took him another year to find a job at about a third of the salary he was making at Lockheed.

Conner went on to become a historian of science and a professor at the CUNY School of Professional Studies. His most recent book, The Tragedy of American Science: From Truman to Trump (2020), explores how the STEM fields have moved away from improving the human condition to advancing corporate and defense interests. He writes about the Bayh-Dole Act, which removed public-licensing restrictions in 1980 and “opened the floodgates to corporate investors seeking monopoly ownership of innovative technology.” The law allowed universities and nonprofits to file patents on projects funded with federal money, from weapons to pharmaceuticals. The rationale was to encourage commercial collaboration and underscore the idea that federally funded inventions should be used to support a free-market system.

“After the Bayh-Dole Act, the lines between corporate, university and government research were all blurred,” Conner tells In These Times.

Conner went on to become a historian of science and a professor at the CUNY School of Professional Studies. His most recent book, The Tragedy of American Science: From Truman to Trump (2020), explores how the STEM fields have moved away from improving the human condition to advancing corporate and defense interests. He writes about the Bayh-Dole Act, which removed public-licensing restrictions in 1980 and “opened the floodgates to corporate investors seeking monopoly ownership of innovative technology.” The law allowed universities and nonprofits to file patents on projects funded with federal money, from weapons to pharmaceuticals. The rationale was to encourage commercial collaboration and underscore the idea that federally funded inventions should be used to support a free-market system.

“After the Bayh-Dole Act, the lines between corporate, university and government research were all blurred,” Conner tells In These Times.

Georgia Tech’s applied research division, known as the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), now has four laboratories directly on Lockheed’s aeronautics campus in Marietta……………………………………

 publicly available CVs, résumés and job listings for student researchers at GTRI explicitly detail work on weapons technology……………………………

Unlike Europe, the United States does not provide universities with general funding to support basic research, or “research for the sake of research.” A 2019 analysis by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, for example, notes, “on average, one-third of R…D in OECD countries” is funded by “government block grants used at the discretion of higher education institutions” — but the United States does not have the same mechanism.

U.S. appropriations to public higher education, meanwhile, have declined significantly in the past two decades, while the research environment has seen universities performing an ever-larger share of the nation’s technology research. The Defense Department has been the third-largest source of federal research and development funding to universities for decades (after the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Science Foundation).

But universities also seek out private-sector money to fund research directly, and the defense sector has been a willing donor.

In recent years, Lockheed has partnered with a network of more than 100 universities to advance hypersonics technology — weapons traveling so fast they’re undetectable by radar — and signed master research agreements for multi-year collaborations with Purdue, Texas A…M and Notre Dame in 2021.

While delivering technological innovations to defense companies, these partnerships also double as employment pipelines. The University of Colorado Boulder has collaborated on space systems with Lockheed for nearly two decades. In a statement on the university’s website, one Lockheed executive (and school alum) writes, “Lockheed Martin employs about 56,000 engineers and technicians, 35% of which could retire in the next few years. We must keep up a ‘talent pipeline’ to fill this pending gap: currently, our major source of talent is CU-Boulder.”


Nearly half of the nation’s discretionary budget goes toward military spending; of that money, one-third to one-half goes to private contractors, according to a 2021 analysis by military researcher William Hartung for Brown University’s Costs of War Project.

Today, 46 million Americans hold student debt totaling $1.7 trillion, which is the projected lifetime cost to U.S. taxpayers of Lockheed’s F-35 fighter jet program — the most expensive weapon system ever built………….

Lockheed is among a growing number of companies that offer student loan assistance to its employees. The company’s Invest In Me program offers incoming graduates a $150 monthly cash bonus for five years and a student loan refinancing program. Every year, Lockheed awards $10,000 scholarships to 200 students that may be renewed up to three times for a potential $40,000. Lockheed also lists 61 universities participating in its STEM scholarship program, projected to invest a minimum of $30 million over five years as part of a larger $460 million education and innovation initiative using gains from Trump’s 2017 corporate tax cuts.

In a 2015 survey by American Student Assistance, 53% of respondents said student debt was either a “deciding factor” or had a “considerable impact” on their career choice.

“Pushing people into higher education has been our labor policy,” explains Astra Taylor, a writer, filmmaker and co-founder of the Debt Collective, a debtors’ union with roots in Occupy Wall Street. “You’re indebting yourself for the privilege of being hired, and it gives companies this economic power because then they can say, ‘We can help relieve some of the economic pain that you’ve incurred to make yourself appealing to us.’”

Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and Boeing all provide some form of student aid, such as scholarships and tuition reimbursement.


The private defense sector targets much of its financial support toward historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and students from minority groups as part of stated efforts toward workforce diversity and promoting STEM jobs among a demographic that is critically underrepresented in STEM fields. Lockheed’s website and annual report note that minority groups are the “fastest-growing segment in the labor market” and that recruitment through “internships, early talent identification, outlying educational programs, co-ops, apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships” is integral to building diverse employee pipelines.

This trend stirs up old controversies around military recruiting in communities of color.

 The Army has long targeted minority-majority high schools and HBCUs with its Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs and scholarships, to the extent that critics refer to it as a school-to-soldier pipeline. Without enlisting and the ensuing funding, many students wouldn’t receive a higher education. According to a 2016 report from the Brookings Institution, Black students hold an average of $7,400 more in student debt than their white counterparts upon graduating — a gap that widens to nearly $25,000 four years later. The Army leverages students’ predicaments to meet its recruiting goals.

Regardless, “the racial implications” of U.S. military actions “are hard to evade,” civil rights activist and Rep. John R. Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) said at the outset of the Iraq War in 2003. “Would this be happening to [the Iraqis] if they were not nonwhite?” A Gallup poll at the time found 7 in 10 Black Americans opposed the war, while 8 in 10 white Americans favored it.

……………………………… Lockheed has started STEM education and recruiting initiatives at 20 minority serving institutions (MSIs), including 16 HBCUs. Of Lockheed’s 2021 scholarship recipients, 60% identified with a minority racial or ethnic group. In the 2020 to 2021 academic year, more than 40% of Lockheed’s early-career hires identified as people of color, with 450 coming from MSIs.

“Students who work in these spaces don’t know the gravity — are systematically made ignorant of the gravity — of participating in these systems,” says Myers……………………………………..

“You said that the CEO was an advocate for women and minorities,” a student organizer says during a recruitment presentation. “How does she maintain that role as head of a company that produces weapons which bomb and kill women and children in places like Palestine, Yemen, Libya and the Middle East?”

The recruiter responds: “I have no idea.”


Ultimately, Lockheed’s deep reach into higher education reflects national priorities.

Since 9/11, the United States has spent $8 trillion on war. In 2020, for the first time, federal funding to Lockheed surpassed that of the U.S. Department of Education, the federal agency tasked with dispensing scholarships and Pell grants. Biden requested $813 billion in defense spending for fiscal year 2023, which includes the largest-ever allocation for research and development.

“Of course it’s the defense industries that have the ability to offer these favorable terms to people, because they’re also parasites on the public purse,” Astra Taylor says. “If these students weren’t worried about the cost of college, would they be as apt to take a job at a defense contractor versus doing something else in their community?”

Conner doesn’t fault students for taking jobs in the defense industry. “[They] realize that if they’re going to get a job when they graduate, it’s going to be at one of these places. And they can protest all they want, but they’ve got to be the spearpoint of a larger protest that involves the whole society.”

August 16, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Moldova ships in radiation pills as fighting rages near Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine

euronews, By Ben Turner   15/08/2022 

Moldova has imported one million iodine pills as fighting rages around a nuclear power station in neighbouring Ukraine.

The eastern European country – with a population of 2.5 million people – insisted residents should not panic as it upped its stockpile of the tablets which can prevent radioactive elements building up in the body.

Shelling has intensified near Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – the largest of its kind in Europe – with the UN warning fighting could “lead to disaster”……………………………………..

in the event of a nuclear disaster, iodine pills will be first issued to people unable to evacuate or take shelter such as emergency workers, Moldova’s National Agency for Public Health said.

Moldovan authorities advise citizens to take cover in cellars or basements, or evacuate the area, in the event of a nuclear emergency. …………………….. more

August 16, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

With its failing nuclear industry, France now an importer of power, no longer an exporter.

Sweden was the biggest net exporter of power in Europe during the first
half of 2022, overtaking France, according to a new report from EnAppSys.
France has long been a major exporter of power in the European market, with
a fleet of nuclear power stations generating a stable surplus of
electricity. However, that’s beginning to change, with France shifting from
a net exporter earlier in the year to a net importer.

This fall from grace
for France has, ironically, been blamed on its nuclear power station fleet,
which is beginning to show signs of age and unreliability. In fact, the
country has found several structural problems at its nuclear power
stations, which means it’s had to plug a significant gap in its electricity
supply with power generated elsewhere.

With France unlikely to be able to
fix its nuclear fleet anytime soon, it’s also unlikely to make it to the
top of the net power exporter list anytime soon either. Instead, the top
honour goes to Sweden, which exported a total of 16 TWh during the first
half of 2022. Most of that power, 7 TWh and 4 TWh, went to neighbours
Finland and Denmark, respectively.

However, the real story for the European
power export market is that Germany – a country commonly criticised for its
energy policies due to an overreliance on Russian gas – was Europe’s second
largest exporter in the first half of 2022. It exported 15.4 TWh, with
France taking the lion’s share. The UK also noticeably saw a change in its
fortunes in the first half of 2022, with the country going from a reliable
importer of electricity to a net exporter position, with power largely
flowing back to France. However, the UK still ended the six month period as
having imported 1.5% more power than exported.

Electrical Review 12th Aug 2022

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100% renewables is feasible worldwide at low cost.

 Christian Breyer et al, On the History and Future of 100% Renewable Energy
Systems Research. Research on 100% renewable energy systems is a relatively
recent phenomenon. It was initiated in the mid-1970s, catalyzed by
skyrocketing oil prices. Since the mid-2000s, it has quickly evolved into a
prominent research field encompassing an expansive and growing number of
research groups and organizations across the world. The main conclusion of
most of these studies is that 100% renewables is feasible worldwide at low

 IEEE Access 29th July 2022

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Germany continues to close down its last remaining nuclear reactors

Germany’s nuclear power operators will continue to decommission the
country’s last three remaining plants, even as the government weighs
whether to keep the facilities running over the winter. E.ON, RWE and EnBW
confirmed they had not procured additional fuel to extend the life of the
Isar 2, Emsland and Neckarwestheim plants beyond the end of the year, when
they are legally-mandated to close.

FT 12th Aug 2022

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Massive 1GW-plus wind farm proposal wins Major Project status in Tasmania — RenewEconomy

Tasmania grants major project status to giga-scale wind farm proposed for Tasmania’s north-east. The post Massive 1GW-plus wind farm proposal wins Major Project status in Tasmania appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Massive 1GW-plus wind farm proposal wins Major Project status in Tasmania — RenewEconomy

August 16, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Relief as ministers reset energy future and bury Coalition’s “technology neutral” sham — RenewEconomy

Ministers and the clean energy industry have celebrated Friday’s key decisions that clear path for switch to renewables, but still many details to resolve. The post Relief as ministers reset energy future and bury Coalition’s “technology neutral” sham appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Relief as ministers reset energy future and bury Coalition’s “technology neutral” sham — RenewEconomy

August 16, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Respite for Japan as radioactive Fukushima water accumulation slows — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Photo taken from a Kyodo News helicopter in February 2022 shows tanks used to store treated water on the premises of the crippled-Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan. (Kyodo) Aug 12, 2022 Tanks containing treated water at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant are likely to reach capacity around the fall of 2023, […]

Respite for Japan as radioactive Fukushima water accumulation slows — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

August 16, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

More Cases of Stomach Cancer in Fukushima Prefecture — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Stomach cancer, which has been confirmed in Fukushima Prefecture for eight consecutive years, was also found to be more common among A-bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki August 10, 2022 Stomach Cancer Incidence Rate Rises among Women in Fukushima Prefecture Radiation levels measured at Nagadoro, Iitate Village, which we visited for the first time on […]

More Cases of Stomach Cancer in Fukushima Prefecture — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

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