Australian news, and some related international items

U.S. Calls For ‘Controlled Shutdown’ Of Zaporizhzhya Plant As IAEA Inspectors Seek Access

Radio Free Europe 29 Aug 22, The United States said a “controlled shutdown” of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine was the “safest option” and urged Moscow to agree to a demilitarized zone around the site, where increased fighting is sparking fears of a possible massive radiation leak.

“As we’ve said many times, a nuclear power plant is not the appropriate location for combat operations,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters on August 29.

“We continue to believe that a controlled shutdown of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear reactors would be the safest and least risky option in the near term,” he added.

His comments come as a mission from the UN nuclear safety agency is due to arrive in Kyiv late on August 29 and quickly travel on to the Russian-occupied nuclear plant.

It was not immediately clear if the team would be allowed access to the nuclear site by occupying Russian forces.

Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in a post on Twitter that the “day has come” and a team of IAEA experts was “now on its way” to the nuclear power plant, which Russian invading forces have controlled since shortly after the Russian invasion began on February 24.

“We must protect the safety and security of #Ukraine’s and Europe’s biggest nuclear facility. Proud to lead this mission which will be in #ZNPP later this week.”

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said the IAEA mission was due to reach Kyiv on August 29 and “start work at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant in the coming days.”

The IAEA’s experts were set to assess physical damage to the plant, determine the functionality of safety and security systems, evaluate staff conditions, and perform urgent safeguards activities, the agency said.

Neither he nor the agency specified when they would arrive at Zaporizhzhya.

………………….The United Nations and Ukraine have called for a withdrawal of military equipment and personnel from the plant to ensure it is not a target in the conflict.

………….. The G7’s Non-Proliferation Directors’ Group welcomed news of the IAEA’s trip and again voiced concerns about the safety of the plant under the control of Russian armed forces.

“We reaffirm that the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant and the electricity that it produces rightly belong to Ukraine and stress that attempts by Russia to disconnect the plant from the Ukrainian power grid would be unacceptable,” it said in a statement issued on August 29.

Russia’s permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, said Moscow welcomed the IAEA mission and said Russia had made a significant contribution to the visit, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Safety fears at the facility have escalated in recent weeks as Kyiv and Moscow have traded blame for rocket strikes around the facility in the southern Ukrainian city of Enerhodar.

…………. Attacks were reported over the weekend not only in Russian-controlled territory adjacent to the plant along the left bank of the Dnieper River, but along the Ukraine-controlled right bank, including the cities of Nikopol and Marhanets, each about 10 kilometers from the facility.

Ukraine’s atomic energy agency, Enerhoatom, issued on August 28 a map forecasting where radiation could spread from the power plant in the event of an accident, showing that based on wind forecasts for August 29 a nuclear cloud could spread across southern Ukraine and southwestern Russia.

Authorities last week began distributing iodine tablets to residents who live near the Zaporizhzhya plant in case of radiation exposure.

Much of the concern centers on the cooling systems for the plant’s nuclear reactors. The systems require electricity, and the plant was temporarily knocked offline on August 25 because of what officials said was fire damage to a transmission line. A cooling system failure could cause a nuclear meltdown.

Periodic shelling has damaged the power station’s infrastructure, Enerhoatom said on August 27.

The IAEA reported on August 28 that radiation levels were normal, that two of the Zaporizhzhya plant’s six reactors were operating, and that while no complete assessment had yet been made, recent fighting had damaged a water pipeline, since repaired.

August 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Water fluoridation: Effective prevention for tooth decay and a win for the environment – Trinity research

Am I pleased to see this article! I have become very fed up with the pro-nuclear lobbyists portraying me, and other anti-nuclear people as being ”anti-vaxxers” etc.

Also fed up with those few poorly informed anti-nuclear persons who assume that being anti-fluoridation is the same thing.

In fact, fluoridation of drinking water (where fluoride is deficient ) is probably the best public health measure ever.

A bit like iodine added to salt, where there’s an iodine deficiency, fluoridation is a public health benefit (quite the opposite of nuclear activities)

Research findings also strengthen the case internationally for water fluoridation programmes to reduce dental decay, particularly in the most vulnerable populations. Peer-Reviewed Publication COLLEGE DUBLIN, 29 Aug 22,

Trinity College Dublin researchers collaborating with University College London have demonstrated for the first time the low environmental footprint of water fluoridation compared to other preventive measures for tooth decay. The study is published in the British Dental Journal  today [Monday 29th August 2022].

Water fluoridation is regarded as one of the most significant public health interventions of the twentieth century. But as the climate crisis worsens, the contribution of healthcare and the prevention of disease to the crisis must be considered. Action is urgent.

Influenced by this urgency, researchers quantified the environmental impact of water fluoridation for an individual five year-old child over a one-year period and compared this to the traditional use of fluoride varnish and toothbrushing programmes, which take place in selected schools across the UK, and internationally.

Today, over 35% of the world’s population have access to water fluoridation, with studies showing significant reductions in dental caries. Whilst data on the clinical effectiveness and cost analysis of water fluoridation are available, there has been no data regarding its environmental impact up to now.

To quantify this impact, the research team performed a Life Cycle Assessment  (LCA) by carefully measuring the combined travel, the weight and amounts of all products and the processes involved in all three preventive programmes (toothbrushing, fluoride varnish programmes and water fluoridation) . Data was inputted into a specific environmental programme (OpenLCA) and the team used the Ecoinvent database, enabling them to calculate environmental outputs, including the carbon footprint, the amount of water used for each product and the amount of land use.

The results of the study, led by Brett Duane, Associate Professor in Dental Public Health at Trinity College, concluded that water fluoridation had the lowest environmental impact in all categories studied, and had the lowest disability-adjusted life years impact when compared to all other community-level caries prevention programmes. The study also found that water fluoridation gives the greatest return on investment.

Considering the balance between clinical effectiveness, cost effectiveness and environmental sustainability, researchers believe that water fluoridation should be the preventive intervention of choice.

This research strengthens the case internationally for water fluoridation programmes to reduce dental decay, especially in the most vulnerable populations.

Associate Professor Duane said: 

“ As the climate crisis starts to worsen, we need to find ways of preventing disease to reduce the environmental impact of our health systems. This research clearly demonstrates the low carbon impact of water fluoridation as an effective prevention tool. “

Professor Paul Ashley, Senior Clinical Lecturer (Honorary NHS Consultant), UCL Eastman Dental Institute added:

“Renewed efforts should be made to increase access to this intervention.”

August 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Russia and the U.S. are entering ‘dangerous and uncharted’ nuclear territory

the U.S. believes “a controlled shutdown” of the plant’s nuclear reactors is “the least risky course of action in the near term.”

Fighting around a Ukraine nuclear power plant is poisoning arms control discussions and feeding fears of a diplomatic break.

Politico By NAHAL TOOSI, 08/30/2022

When President Joe Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin met face to face last year, they proudly touted how, “even in periods of tension,” Washington and Moscow could cooperate on nuclear issues.

A year and a war later, even such existential-level cooperation appears shaky.

Most urgently, ongoing fighting around a Ukrainian nuclear power plant captured by Russian forces has injected fresh uncertainty into a U.S.-Russian nuclear relationship that was already reeling from Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent U.S. and European sanctions on Moscow.

But the invasion and its fallout have affected an array of other nuclear-related issues, from the Iran nuclear talks to recent international discussions about the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a bedrock pact.

Russia and the U.S. also have been tangling over inspections of each side’s nuclear weapons facilities allowed by the New START treaty. There are fears that New START, the last arms control treaty between the two countries, will not get renewed or replaced if tensions between the nuclear powers worsen.

Russia and the United States have the two largest nuclear arsenals in the world. Even during the Cold War, Washington and Moscow were able to cooperate on ways to avoid an atomic disaster. Still, the sensitivity of anything nuclear-related means both countries must reassure the world that they can cooperate now, former officials and analysts say.

“The United States and Russia, despite their differences, have a special responsibility to avoid nuclear catastrophe,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association. “I really do think both sides have an interest in continuing arms control treaties. It’s not just PR. The question is can they get over all these other problems and obstacles that Russia’s war has certainly created.”

A nuclear plant held ‘hostage’

The most immediate concern is the situation at a nuclear power plant in the southern Ukraine area of Zaporizhzhia……………………………………

A senior U.S. defense official, meanwhile, said the U.S. believes “a controlled shutdown” of the plant’s nuclear reactors is “the least risky course of action in the near term.”


Reached Monday, officials with the Russian embassy in Washington referred POLITICO to past statements from Kremlin sources that put much of the blame on the U.S. and Ukraine.

In those statements, Russian officials disputed that they are the guilty party in the showdown over the Zaporizhzhia plant. They accused Ukraine of artillery fire in the area and said the Biden administration should do more to stop its ally.

“The administration’s silence on these facts is unacceptable and only encourages Kiev’s impunity,” the Russian embassy said in a statement earlier this month.

August 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Podcast – How the Western Press has become a propaganda tool of the war industry and the Ukrainian government

The Chris Hedges Report Podcast with Patrick Lawrence Examines How the Western Press Has Become a Propaganda Tool of the War Industry and Ukrainian Government

The war in Ukraine has exacerbated the loss of credibility within the western press, inflicting, journalist Patrick Lawrence argues, irreparable damage.

Chris Hedges Report 30 Aug 22,

The Ukraine conflict has plunged the world into a geopolitical crisis. But this is not, as the writer Patrick Lawrence points out, the only crisis. The war in Ukraine has exacerbated the crisis within the western press, inflicting damage that he believes is ultimately irreparable.

The press in the U.S. and most of Europe slavishly echoes the opinions of a ruling elite and oversees a public discourse that is often unhinged from the real world. It openly discredits or censors anything that counters the dominant narrative about Ukraine, however factual. 

For example, on August 4, Amnesty International published a report titled “Ukrainian fighting tactics endanger civilians.” The report charged Ukrainian forces with putting civilians at risk by establishing bases and operating weapons systems in populated residential areas, including in schools and hospitals, a violating the laws of war.

To call out Ukrainian for war crimes, however well documented, saw the press and the ruling elites come down in fury on Amnesty International. The head of Amnesty International’s Kyiv office resigned, calling the report “a tool of Russian propaganda.” In one of the many broadsides the Royal United Services Institute in London wrote that “The amnesty report demonstrates a weak understanding of the laws of armed conflict, no understanding of military operations, and indulges in insinuations without supplying supporting evidence.” 

It is nearly impossible to question the virtues of Ukraine’s government and military. Those that do are attacked and banned from social media.

How did this happen?  Why is a position on the war in Ukraine the litmus test for who gets to have a voice and who does not? Why should a position on Ukraine justify censorship? Joining me to discuss these questions is Patrick Lawrence who a correspondent and columnist for nearly thirty years for the Far Eastern Economic Review was, the International Herald Tribune, and The New Yorker. He is the author of Somebody Else’s Century: East and West in a Post-Western World and Time No Longer: America After the American Century.

August 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Solar squeezes out coal to set new record low for demand on national grid — RenewEconomy

A mild, solar charged Sunday has delivered a new winter minimum operational demand low on Australia’s main grid, AEMO says. The post Solar squeezes out coal to set new record low for demand on national grid appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Solar squeezes out coal to set new record low for demand on national grid — RenewEconomy

August 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

One skill shortage more than any is holding back Australia in the race to net zero — RenewEconomy

There is a multitude of skills shortages that could threaten the low-carbon transition, but one stands out as critical to Australia’s future prosperity. The post One skill shortage more than any is holding back Australia in the race to net zero appeared first on RenewEconomy.

One skill shortage more than any is holding back Australia in the race to net zero — RenewEconomy

August 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Crunch time for grid: More wind, solar, storage and links urgently needed before coal exodus — RenewEconomy

AEMO puts out call for urgent efforts to ramp up construction of wind, solar, storage and new transmission lines to ensure capacity in place before coal exodus. The post Crunch time for grid: More wind, solar, storage and links urgently needed before coal exodus appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Crunch time for grid: More wind, solar, storage and links urgently needed before coal exodus — RenewEconomy

August 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

CEC warns labour shortages could harm Australia’s green energy transition — RenewEconomy

CEC, engineers and unions says urgent action needed to solve jobs shortages that threaten to throttle Australia’s green energy transition. The post CEC warns labour shortages could harm Australia’s green energy transition appeared first on RenewEconomy.

CEC warns labour shortages could harm Australia’s green energy transition — RenewEconomy

August 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Renewables hardly get a mention as super profits wed Woodside to gas — RenewEconomy

Renewables takes back seat at Woodside as profits surge on soaring global gas prices. The post Renewables hardly get a mention as super profits wed Woodside to gas appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Renewables hardly get a mention as super profits wed Woodside to gas — RenewEconomy

August 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Infographic: The impact of nuclear tests around the world

Since 1945, more than 2,000 nuclear test explosions have been conducted by at least eight nations.

Aljazeera, By Hanna Duggal and Mohammed Haddad, 29 Aug 2022,

August 29 marks the International Day against Nuclear Tests. The day, declared by the United Nations in 2009, aims to raise awareness of the effects of nuclear weapons testing and achieve a nuclear-weapons-free world.

On July 16, 1945, during World War II, the United States detonated the world’s first nuclear weapon, codenamed Trinity, over the New Mexico desert.

Less than a month later, the US dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing more than 100,000 people instantly.

Thousands more died from their injuries, radiation sickness and cancer in the years that followed, bringing the toll closer to 200,000, according to the US Department of Energy’s history of the Manhattan Project.

Nuclear warheads per country

Nine countries possessed roughly 12,700 warheads as of early 2022, according to the Federation of American Scientists. Approximately 90 percent are owned by Russia (5,977 warheads) and the US (5,428 warheads).

At its peak in 1986, the two rivals had nearly 65,000 nuclear warheads between them, making the nuclear arms race one of the most threatening events of the Cold War.

While Russia and the US have dismantled thousands of warheads, several countries are thought to be increasing their stockpiles, notably China.

The only country to voluntarily relinquish nuclear weapons is South Africa. In 1989, the government halted its nuclear weapons programme and in 1990 began dismantling its six nuclear weapons. In 1991, South Africa joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a non-nuclear country.

Which countries have carried out nuclear tests?

According to the Arms Control Association, at least eight countries have carried out a total of 2,056 nuclear tests since 1945.

The US has conducted half of all nuclear tests, with 1,030 tests between 1945 and 1992. In 1954, the US exploded its largest nuclear weapon, a 15 megatonne bomb, on the surface of the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, the test was codenamed Castle Bravo. The power of the nuclear test was miscalculated by scientists, and it resulted in radiation contamination that impacted inhabitants of the atolls. The nuclear fallout of the explosion is said to have spread over 18,130 square kilometres  (7,000 square miles).

The Soviet Union carried out the second highest number of nuclear tests at 715 tests between 1949 and 1990. The USSR’s first nuclear test was on August 29, 1949. The test, codenamed RDS-1, was conducted at the Semipalatinsk test site in Kazakhstan. According to the CTBTO, the Soviet Union conducted 456 tests at the Semipalatinsk test site, with devastating consequences for the local population such as genetic defects and high cancer rates.

Kazakhstan closed the Semipalatinsk test site on August 29, 1991. Following this move, the UN established August 29 as the International Day against Nuclear Tests in 2009.

France has carried out 210 nuclear tests, while the United Kingdom and China have each carried out 45 tests.

India has carried out three nuclear tests, while Pakistan has carried out two.

North Korea is the most recent nation to carry out a nuclear test. In 2017, its sixth and most powerful bomb was detonated at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site. The underground explosion created a magnitude-6.3 tremor.

The largest nuclear detonations

The largest nuclear explosion occurred in 1961, when the Soviet Union exploded the Tsar Bomba on Novaya Zemlya north of the Arctic Circle. The explosion’s yield was 50 megatonnes, 3,300 times more powerful than the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Other major nuclear explosions by different nations include China’s largest detonation in Lop Nur in 1976, the test had a yield of four megatonnes.

The UK conducted a series of nuclear tests in the South Pacific Ocean between November 1957 and September 1958 as part of Operation Grapple. Grapple Y was the largest of the operation’s nuclear tests, with a yield of three megatonnes.

A survey conducted in 1999 by the British Nuclear Veterans Association found that the impact of the tests on 2,500 veterans who had been present showed that more than 200 had skeletal abnormalities and 30 percent of the men had died, mostly in their fifties.

In 1968, France conducted a series of nuclear tests codenamed Canopus at Fangataufa Atoll in the South Pacific Ocean. The test had a yield of 2.6 megatonnes and was 200 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb.

Nuclear test sites

Nuclear weapons have been tested all around the world.

On February 13, 1960, France carried out its first nuclear test, codenamed Gerboise Bleue, over the Sahara desert in Algeria – which it was occupying at the time.

Other nuclear test sites include a number in the United States in the states of Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Mississippi.

Tests have been carried out in Australia, China, India, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Russia, and Pakistan as well as on French Polynesia, Kiritimati, the Marshall Islands, Prince Edward Island in the Indian Ocean and in the open sea in the eastern Pacific and south Atlantic Ocean.

In 1979, a US Vela satellite detected an atmospheric nuclear explosion over Prince Edward Island in the Indian Ocean. Many believe this was an undeclared joint nuclear test carried out by South Africa and Israel.

About a quarter of all nuclear tests were detonated in the atmosphere, which spread radioactive materials through the air. To minimise the release of radioactive material, most nuclear tests are underground……………………..

Impact of different levels of radiation

Nuclear testing has immediate and long-term effects caused by radiation and radioactive fallout. Increased rates of cancer have been associated with nuclear testing, with studies showing that thyroid cancer is linked to radionuclides.

After a nuclear test, large areas of land remain radioactive for decades after the test.

The health impact of different levels of radiation varies from nausea and vomiting to death within days.

Radiation exposure is measured in roentgen equivalent man (rem) – a unit of radiation measurement applied to humans resulting from exposure to one or many types of ionising radiation.

The infographic below shows the impact of radiation on the human body [on original]

August 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

August 30 Energy News — geoharvey

Science and Technology: ¶ “SWEL Promises Cleanest, Cheapest Energy Ever” • Sea Wave Energy Ltd spent the better part of the last decade developing a floating, wave-riding generator that the company claims will produce a whole lot of tidal energy for not a whole lot of money. They claim its electricity will have an LCOE […]

August 30 Energy News — geoharvey

August 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment