Australian news, and some related international items

Public opinion in UK – overwhelming support for solar and wind energy

The UK’s general public is overwhelmingly supportive in building new
wind and solar farms in order to tackle the ongoing cost of energy crisis,
according to Survation. Identified within polling released by Survation and
commissioned by RenewableUK, the data showcased that almost every
constituency in the UK is in favour of developing renewable generation
sites in a bid to reduce the cost of energy.

In fact, 77% of people in the
UK believe the government should use new wind and solar farms to reduce
electricity bills, with 76% of people also in support of building renewable
energy projects in their local area, according to Survation’s data.

This contradicts the new prime Minister, Liz Truss’ previous statement about
solar farms being “paraphernalia”, as in fact the majority of the
general public thoroughly support the development of these farms to tackle
the energy crisis. Causing a further headache for Truss is the fact that
84% of those who backed the Tories at the last election now urge the
government to use new wind and solar farms to cut electricity bills. 81% of
2019 Tory voters also support a renewable energy project being developed in
their local area.

 Current 8th Sept 2022

September 9, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Some UK government ministers are mentioning the radical idea of ENERGY CONSERVATION!

 Ministers are drawing up plans for a public information campaign to
encourage people to reduce energy use this winter amid fears that a price
freeze will deter them from doing so.

There is concern within government
that an intervention by Liz Truss to tackle the sharp rise in energy costs
could increase the risk of blackouts if it means that households and
businesses do not reduce consumption.

The Times has been told that
ministers want to work with energy companies on a public information
campaign over the winter to encourage people to turn down their thermostats
and turn off electrical appliances instead of leaving them on standby.

 Times 8th Sept 2022

September 9, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mishandling of Classified Nuclear Documents Is Bad. Mishandling of the Sole Authority to Use Nuclear Weapons Would Be Much Worse.

Union of Concerned Scientists, Eryn MacDonald, 9 Sept 22, Headlines about the discovery of nuclear weapons-related materials in the trove of highly classified documents that former President Trump stashed at his private residence in Mar-a-Lago are not exactly confidence inspiring. The fact that a former president simply walked off with information at the highest levels of classification leaving it unguarded for more than a year should raise alarms for anyone who is concerned about national security.

But if you think it’s unbelievable that it was so easy to sidestep the safeguards and procedures in place to ensure that some of the most secret information known to our government was not packed up and stuck in a basement, I’ve got even worse news for you. Because the process to order the launch of US nuclear weapons has fewer safeguards and would require no sidestepping, leaving it even more vulnerable to the whims of an unstable leader. That decision is put in the hands of a single individual—the president—while the rest of us all just have to cross our fingers and hope that they take this responsibility more seriously than the former president took his responsibility to safeguard those classified documents.

The process that the United States has now for making decisions about the use of nuclear weapons is called “sole authority.” It is an outdated artifact of an earlier time that now carries more risks than benefits. ……………

 sole authority intentionally includes no checks and balances. No requirement to consult with advisers or Congress. There is also no one with the legal authority to countermand the order if the president does decide to launch……..  And once missiles are launched, there is no going back—they cannot be called back or ordered to self-destruct.

The good news: we can fix it

Times have changed since the decision was made to give the president sole authority over the decision to launch a nuclear attack. Communications systems have improved immensely. And despite the deterioration of US-Russian relations, a surprise Russian nuclear attack on the US homeland is still not a realistic concern these days. And, the US now has a fleet of nuclear ballistic missile submarines that are essentially invulnerable when they are hidden on patrol in the ocean, rendering the need for split-second nuclear launch decisions obsolete.

Unfortunately, the nuclear launch decision-making system has not kept pace with the times. The good news, however, is that it would be an easy fix, that we could implement very quickly. There have been many suggestions of how this could be done, including a proposal by some of my colleagues at UCS.

The UCS proposal would require that the president obtain the consent of two other high-level officials in the presidential line of succession—for example, the vice president and the speaker of the House—to carry out any order to launch a nuclear attack. …………….

The time to change the system is now..…………………………….

We do not have the luxury of waiting for “lessons learned.” We must take the only opportunity we have to change this outdated, undemocratic, and dangerous system—now. Making this change permanent would require action from Congress, but that is no reason to delay the immediate steps that we can take. UCS and many others, including members of Congress, have already asked President Biden to change the decision-making procedures for using nuclear weapons.

You can join us in asking him to take his opportunity to do so, before it is too late.

September 9, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lawmakers demand reparations for New Mexicans imperiled by nuclear bomb testing

Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus, 10 Sept 22,

When the U.S.’ first nuclear bomb was detonated in south-central New Mexico, it was believed to set off a chain of cancers and health problems suffered by the surrounding communities for generations.

People who grew up near the Trinity Test Site, near the remote communities of Carrizozo or Tularosa, were denied federal relief dollars afforded to other “downwinders” impacted by nuclear testing around the country.

Both towns were within 50 miles of the blast site, and advocates say they were exposed to radiation from the bomb testing.

They advocated for years that New Mexico’s downwinders be included in cash payments made to those affected by nuclear activities under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA).

Members of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium advocated for such support from state lawmakers during a Tuesday meeting of the interim Radioactive and Hazardous Waste Committee.

“It’s very emotional to reflect on all we’ve lost as a result of being exposed to radiation,” said consortium founder Tina Cordova, herself a survivor of thyroid cancer who said members of her family also suffered from myriad forms of the disease.’

The committee, made up of state senators and representatives voted to send a letter to Congress, calling on the federal leaders to expand reparations to include New Mexicans…………………………..

Cordova pointed to high infant mortality rates and diseases among the people living near the site, which she said were the result of testing at the site.

She also pointed to economic depression in the rural community as its residents struggled for years with high medical bills Cordova attributed to the testing.

“We don’t have a chance in New Mexico to develop generational wealth,” Cordova said. “This has contributed greatly to the poverty we see here.”

Congress voted earlier this year to extend the RECA by two more years, via legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) and supported by the state’s entire congressional delegation and via a letter sent by the Radioactive and Hazardous Waste Committee.

But that legislation did not expand the compensation to include New Mexican downwinders, although it does give funds to some uranium miners mostly in the northern part of the state.

So far, downwinders were only federally recognized in parts of Arizona, Utah and Nevada attributed to activities at another nuclear test site in Nevada.  ……………………….

September 9, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment