Australian news, and some related international items

Australian and some other, nuclear news – week to 11 October.

Some bits of good news –  What went right this week: an iconic river reborn, plus more.   Around 90 per cent of the plastic in our oceans could be gone by 2040-(they claim, anyway).

A tragic and predictable story.  Another Australian, Wilfred Burchett went to Hiroshima in the first days following the atomic bomb. He photographed the victims, the devastation, the horror, done by the USA. and he wrote about it all.
What happened to Burchett’s  record of this –   it disappeared, then came the never-ending persecution of him, and his banishment from his own country.
They’ll do it more subtly to Assange. They’ll aim to break his spirit and his mental health.  
For Australia, America’s lackey – the best face-saving outcome will be – to make Assange plead guilty. Then he spends some time in the cruellest USA prison. then a “kindly” U.S. President  magnaminously lets him go to an.. Australian gaol. Some years later, a completely discredited and broken Julian is released, when they’re sure he’s forgotten by the public.
But world-wide journalists won’t forget- they have been shown how they must toe the USA line.

Coronavirus.COVID-19 world weekly cases drop 7% but European nations rise 2%  .(Governments in Covid denial?)  International task force finds COVID-19 origins ‘most likely zoonotic’ and warns of a failure to reduce animal-to-human transmission.Julian Assange tests positive for COVID-19.


Rotting in jail’: Thousands march for Julian Assange’s release as his brother urges Anthony Albanese to act.

The Australian Radioactive Waste Agency (ARWA) shows that the planned Kimba dump is predominantly for ANSTO’s wastes, NOT for medical wastes.

Energy Resources of Australia’s investor Willy Packer completely wrong on Jabiluka uranium.

Coalition nuclear power bill “dead on arrival,” but somehow the debate lives on.

Nuclear Power: the Right’s giant red herring,

Next generation’ nuclear is not a credible energy response – makes no sense for Australia- The Australian Conservation Foundation. ‘Unproven’ small nuclear reactors would raise Australia’s energy costs and delay renewable uptake, report says. ‘Next-generation’ nuclear power a furphy.

What do you think the arms trade is, a charity? Actually yes, that’s what it is.

Never mind Australia’s economic problems, health crisis etc – Weapons for Zelensky is the big need..

Pacific islanders want nuclear legacy aidRadiation ‘hotspots’: legacy of British nuclear tests lingers on idyllic islands in Western Australia.

Tanya Plibersek should seize the momentThe Murray Darling Basin Plan is hobbled – it’s time for Tanya Plibersek to lead 


Assange protesters rally for his release The CIA, the corporate state, and the persecution of Julian Assange – democracy being destroyed.

Nuclear War and Moral SanityWhy We Need To Teach Nuclear War. Nothing’s more important than avoiding nuclear war2022 Nobel Peace Prize award violates the purpose of the prize .

Media hide the fascist ideology of Ukrainian militia who visit U.S. Congress.

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2022 (WNISR2022). Nuclear share in energy generation falls to lowest in four decades-report.

The risk of nuclear disaster grows every day.

Radioactive releases from the nuclear power sector and implications for child health.

Particle radioactivity linked to pollution-associated heart attack and stroke death.

Renewables need minerals. Can their pollution and public health challenges be overcome?


POLAND. Poland suggests hosting US nuclear weapons- ‘nuclear sharing’.

RUSSIAAre Putin’s nuclear threats really likely to lead to Armageddon?


Continue reading

October 10, 2022 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

7,000 form human chain in London to protest treatment of Assange

WSWS 9 Oct 22, Around 7,000 people formed a human chain around the Houses of Parliament in the UK Saturday, protesting the British government’s persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The chain ran continuously from Parliament Square along the Palace of Westminster, across Lambeth Bridge, along South Bank to Westminster bridge, then back over the Thames river to Parliament Square—roughly two miles. The event was organised by the Don’t Extradite Assange campaign.

Assange is currently held in Belmarsh maximum security prison in London. The United States government is seeking his extradition under the Espionage Act for exposing the war crimes and human rights abuses of US imperialism and its allies. It has plotted his assassination and levelled charges which carry a life sentence in solitary confinement. The WikiLeaks founder is seeking to overturn orders by the British judiciary and the home secretary approving his extradition. His legal team filed an appeal with the High Court in August.

Stella Assange, the WikiLeaks publisher’s wife, told protestors on Saturday, “Julian is suffering and part of the point of making this human chain was to show that what is happening here is not a legal process, it’s not a legitimate process. It is the instrumentalisation of the law in order to persecute a person, a journalist, in order to keep him in prison indefinitely.

“People around the world are witnessing this atrocity and that is what compels them to come here to show their solidarity, to show that they care about Julian. That they believe in justice, that they see what is happening here is a state that has committed crimes against innocent, that is now committing crimes against a journalist who exposed those crimes they committed.

“Let’s not forget that the US planned to assassinate Julian in the UK, while he was in the embassy and now they’ve put him in the harshest prison in the UK for almost four years.”

WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson said proceedings against Assange were “not a legal case,” because of the way the legal system has “bent itself to the demands and requests of the government… it’s appalling.”

He continued, “Julian is a political prisoner. He’s being politically persecuted. The chain around Parliament is sending a message to those inside. They are there to serve the people on the outside. And those are Julian’s supporters. Thousands of them here today, and millions around the world who know that this is a travesty.”

Labour MP and former shadow chancellor John McDonnell had the brass neck to announce, “As we go into the 18 months up to a general election, this will become a general election issue. Every MP will be asked: do you stand up for journalism, do you stand up for the rights of journalist to report freely, do you stand up for his basic human rights, do you stand up for justice?”……………………..

Reporters from the World Socialist Web Site spoke with some of the protestors……………………………………………

A number of those protesting travelled to London from other countries to do so. Mantas, who traveled from Lithuania that day to support Assange as part of the chain, told our reporters, “Assange told the truth about war crimes, and he fought for human rights and freedom of the press.”

The US and UK governments “want to make a clear and obvious example of Assange so that no-one attempts what he did. The powers that be are trying to impose their own world view, control how people think, to seduce them into thinking nothing can be done or that the world is as it’s supposed to be, when we are actually entering into wholesale madness in the world.”

He said of the war in Ukraine that the weapons manufacturers and businesses “want to promote a new war, and they don’t care about the consequences for the Ukrainian people or the Russian people. I don’t agree with Putin’s actions, but I think there was another option, but Zelensky was encouraged to take a hard line and oppose any deals from the Russian Federation.”

Listing the crimes exposed by WikiLeaks he said, “Where do you start? You can look at the video of an Apache helicopter shooting civilians. The Afghan and Iraq war logs and so on. People should look into it. There’s too much to go into herethat many crimes have been uncovered. People should look into what WikiLeaks has done what its expose and be objective about the matter.”

Assange’s case “shows that if anyone finds out something like this and tries to tell the public then they can be prosecuted for it. So obviously that can threaten everyone.”

October 10, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Chris Hedges: the corporate state, the CIA, and the lynching of Julian Assange

Chris Hedges: The Puppets and the Puppet Masters

The judicial proceedings against Julian Assange give a faux legality to the state persecution of the most important and courageous journalist of our generation.

This is the talk given by Chris Hedges outside the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. on Saturday October 8 at a rally that called on the U.S. to revoke its extradition request for Julian Assange. By Chris Hedges / Original to ScheerPost, 9 Oct 22,

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Merrick Garland and those who work in the Department of Justice are the puppets, not the puppet masters. They are the façade, the fiction, that the longstanding persecution of Julian Assange has something to do with justice. Like the High Court in London, they carry out an elaborate judicial pantomime. They debate arcane legal nuances to distract from the Dickensian farce where a man who has not committed a crime, who is not a U.S. citizen, can be extradited under the Espionage Act and sentenced to life in prison for the most courageous and consequential journalism of our generation.

The engine driving the lynching of Julian is not here on Pennsylvania Avenue. It is in Langley, Virginia, located at a complex we will never be allowed to surround – the Central Intelligence Agency. It is driven by a secretive inner state, one where we do not count in the mad pursuit of empire and ruthless exploitation. Because the machine of this modern leviathan was exposed by Julian and WikiLeaks, the machine demands revenge. 

The United States has undergone a corporate coup d’etat in slow motion. It is no longer a functioning democracy. The real centers of power, in the corporate, military and national security sectors, were humiliated and embarrassed by WikiLeaks. Their war crimes, lies, conspiracies to crush the democratic aspirations of the vulnerable and the poor, and rampant corruption, here and around the globe, were laid bare in troves of leaked documents.  

We cannot fight on behalf of Julian unless we are clear about whom we are fighting against. It is far worse than a corrupt judiciary. The global billionaire class, who have orchestrated a social inequality rivaled by pharaonic Egypt, has internally seized all of the levers of power and made us the most spied upon, monitored, watched and photographed population in human history. When the government watches you 24-hours a day, you cannot use the word liberty. This is the relationship between a master and a slave. Julian was long a target, of course, but when WikiLeaks published the documents known as Vault 7, which exposed the hacking tools the CIA uses to monitor our phones, televisions and even cars, he — and journalism itself — was condemned to crucifixion. The object is to shut down any investigations into the inner workings of power that might hold the ruling class accountable for its crimes, eradicate public opinion and replace it with the cant fed to the mob.

I spent two decades as a foreign correspondent on the outer reaches of empire in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans. I am acutely aware of the savagery of empire, how the brutal tools of repression are first tested on those Frantz Fanon called “the wretched of the earth.” Wholesale surveillance. Torture. Coups. Black sites. Black propaganda. Militarized police. Militarized drones. Assassinations. Wars. Once perfected on people of color overseas, these tools migrate back to the homeland. By hollowing out our country from the inside through deindustrialization, austerity, deregulation, wage stagnation, the abolition of unions, massive expenditures on war and intelligence, a refusal to address the climate emergency and a virtual tax boycott for the richest individuals and corporations, these predators intend to keep us in bondage, victims of a corporate neo-feudalism. And they have perfected their instruments of Orwellian control. The tyranny imposed on others is imposed on us.

From its inception, the CIA carried out assassinations, coups, torture, and illegal spying and abuse, including that of U.S. citizens, activities exposed in 1975 by the Church Committee hearings in the Senate and the Pike Committee hearings in the House. All these crimes, especially after the attacks of 9/11, have returned with a vengeance. The CIA is a rogue and unaccountable paramilitary organization with its own armed units and drone program, death squads and a vast archipelago of global black sites where kidnapped victims are tortured and disappeared. 

The U.S. allocates a secret black budget of about $50 billion a year to hide multiple types of clandestine projects carried out by the National Security Agency, the CIA and other intelligence agencies, usually beyond the scrutiny of Congress. The CIA has a well-oiled apparatus to kidnap, torture and assassinate targets around the globe, which is why, since it had already set up a system of 24-hour video surveillance of Julian in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, it quite naturally discussed kidnapping and assassinating him. That is its business. Senator Frank Church — after examining the heavily redacted CIA documents released to his committee — defined the CIA’s “covert activity” as “a semantic disguise for murder, coercion, blackmail, bribery, the spreading of lies and consorting with known torturers and international terrorists.”

All despotisms mask state persecution with sham court proceedings. The show trials and troikas in Stalin’s Soviet Union. The raving Nazi judges in fascist Germany. The Denunciation rallies in Mao’s China. State crime is cloaked in a faux legality, a judicial farce.

If Julian is extradited and sentenced and, given the Lubyanka-like proclivities of the Eastern District of Virginia, this is a near certainty, it means that those of us who have published classified material, as I did when I worked for The New York Times, will become criminals. It means that an iron curtain will be pulled down to mask abuses of power. It means that the state, which, through Special Administrative Measures, or SAMs, anti-terrorism laws and the Espionage Act that have created our homegrown version of Stalin’s Article 58, can imprison anyone anywhere in the world who dares commit the crime of telling the truth.

We are here to fight for Julian. But we are also here to fight against powerful subterranean forces that, in demanding Julian’s extradition and life imprisonment, have declared war on journalism. 

We are here to fight for Julian. But we are also here to fight for the restoration of the rule of law and democracy. 

We are here to fight for Julian. But we are also here to dismantle the wholesale Stasi-like state surveillance erected across the West. 

We are here to fight for Julian. But we are also here to overthrow — and let me repeat that word for the benefit of those in the FBI and Homeland Security who have come here to monitor us — overthrow the corporate state and create a government of the people, by the people and for the people, that will cherish, rather than persecute, the best among us.

You can see my interview with Julian’s father, John Shipton, here.

NOTE TO SCHEERPOST READERS FROM CHRIS HEDGES: There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show without your help. The walls are closing in, with startling rapidity, on independent journalism, with the elites, including the Democratic Party elites, clamoring for more and more censorship. Bob Scheer, who runs ScheerPost on a shoestring budget, and I will not waver in our commitment to independent and honest journalism, and we will never put ScheerPost behind a paywall, charge a subscription for it, sell your data or accept advertising. Please, if you can, sign up at so I can continue to post my now weekly Monday column on ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show, The Chris Hedges Report.

October 10, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Energy Resources of Australia’s investor Willy Packer completely wrong on Jabiluka uranium Blair, 10 Oct 122, The Mirarr Traditional Owners of the Ranger Uranium Mine totally reject the commentary of Energy Resources of Australia minor investor Willy Packer as completely wrong. Like ERA’s former Independent Board Committee, Mr Packer mistakenly considers the question of Jabiluka’s development as simply being about Traditional Owner consent.

Representing the Mirarr, the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation (GAC) seeks to bring clarity to the debate, including correcting misunderstandings about the contemporary significance of cultural heritage, insurmountable environmental and technical challenges at the site and the true costs of mining in the Kakadu region.

“It is simply wrong to say that anyone can just change their mind about Jabiluka in the future. This place is unique, Kakadu is World Heritage listed because of its value to the whole world. This isn’t about Traditional Owners agreeing to mining, they are defending heritage that matters to all of us. It is also wrong to ignore the fact that mining at Ranger produced a two-billion dollar clean-up bill. This is not just something interesting for valuers to toss around. What Packer wants is offensive to the majority of Australians,” CEO of Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation Justin O’Brien said.

“It’s also wrong to ignore the scale of the rehabilitation. The task is massive. ERA must rehabilitate Ranger to a standard such that it may be incorporated into the surrounding national park. The company is obliged, among other requirements, to physically separate tailings from the environment for 10,000 years.

“Further mining in Kakadu National Park would be insane,” Mr O’Brien said.

Mr Packer has raised the prospect of the compensation of ERA’s minority shareholders. “Mr Packer is asking to be compensated for his wager on an impossible project. It’s nonsensical and contrary to standard business risk. This is why investors shouldn’t and don’t run mining companies.

“We are living in the 21st century; iconic cultural heritage of international significance is not up for negotiation. Our hearts go out to the Traditional Owners at Juukan Gorge. Their loss has focused the nation and indeed the international investment community on supporting Traditional Owners and protecting cultural heritage. Everyone wants to ensure Kakadu National Park is protected.

“Mr Packer needs to stop blaming Rio Tinto for his own ignorance about cultural heritage.  Of course, Rio Tinto, now knows better after Juukan Gorge.”

Mr O’Brien said the role of directors within ERA is to be perfectly honest with the market, including all minor investors. “Unlike many other proposed projects on Aboriginal land, Jabiluka is utterly impossible – it is unfeasible both culturally and technically. Rio Tinto has acknowledged this. It is hardly a secret.

“Mr Packer has complained of something having gone “terribly wrong” with his gamble at Jabiluka. In fact, the only thing ‘terribly wrong’ has been the false hope of ignorant investors.”

October 10, 2022 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

The Murray Darling Basin Plan is hobbled – it’s time for Tanya Plibersek to lead 

The Murray Darling Basin Plan is hobbled – it’s time for Tanya Plibersek to lead 

Tyler Rotche

On 12 October, new water ministers from Murray-Darling Basin states will meet with the recently minted federal minister Tanya Plibersek in Canberra. At stake is the fate of the basin plan and the survival of Australia’s largest river system.

October 10, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jeffrey Sachs: end Ukraine proxy war or face “armageddon”

October 10, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ukraine behind Crimean Bridge blast – US media

The attack was masterminded by Kiev’s intelligence services, two major outlets claim. Oct 22,

The blast that damaged Russia’s strategic Crimean Bridge and killed at least three people was orchestrated by Ukraine, the New York Times and Washington Post both reported on Saturday, citing sources.

A senior Ukrainian official interviewed by the New York Times claimed that Kiev was behind the explosion, adding that the attack was masterminded by Ukraine’s intelligence services, which had arranged a bomb to be planted on a truck that was driving across the bridge..

This claim was echoed by the Washington Post, which, citing a Ukrainian government official, also attributed the explosion to the country’s special services. This version was backed by the news site Ukrainska Pravda, which, quoting a source in the country’s security services, said that the intelligence agency, called the SBU, was behind the attack.

While Ukrainian officials did not explicitly take responsibility for the attack, they cheered it. An aide to President Vladimir Zelensky, Mikhail Podoliak, said that the explosion was “just the beginning,” adding that “everything illegal must be destroyed.”

Since Russia launched its military campaign in late February, Ukrainian officials have repeatedly promised to attack the bridge, which serves as a strategic link between Russia’s Crimean peninsula and its Krasnodar Region.

While the Kremlin did not directly accuse Kiev of staging the explosion, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated that Ukraine’s reaction to the incident is a testament to the “terrorist nature” of its leadership.

Meanwhile, Crimean officials directly pointed the finger at Kiev. Vladimir Konstantinov, the head of the republic’s State Council, claimed that “Ukrainian vandals have finally managed to get their bloodstained hands on the Crimean Bridge.”

The powerful blast rocked the bridge early Saturday morning, causing a partial collapse of the road on the vehicle section, as well as a blaze on a parallel railway span where seven fuel tanks caught fire. According to Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee, the bridge was damaged by a truck that exploded while making its way across the bridge. The blast caused at least three deaths.

October 10, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Radioactive releases from the nuclear power sector and implications for child health

Selected radioisotopes: where they travel and primarily collect in the body.

 British Medical Journal Paedistrics,Cindy Folkers & Linda Pentz Gunter 9 Oct 22, :

Although radioactivity is released routinely at every stage of nuclear power generation, the regulation of
these releases has never taken into account those potentially most
sensitive—women, especially when pregnant, and children.

From uranium mining and milling, to fuel manufacture, electricity generation and
radioactive waste management, children in frontline and Indigenous
communities can be disproportionately harmed due to often increased
sensitivity of developing systems to toxic exposures, the lack of resources
and racial and class discrimination.

The reasons for the greater susceptibility of women and children to harm from radiation exposure is not
fully understood. Regulatory practices, particularly in the establishment
of protective exposure standards, have failed to take this difference into

Anecdotal evidence within communities around nuclear facilities
suggests an association between radiation exposure and increases in birth
defects, miscarriages and childhood cancers.

A significant number of academic studies tend to ascribe causality to other factors related to diet
and lifestyle and dismiss these health indicators as statistically insignificant.

In the case of a major release of radiation due to a serious
nuclear accident, children are again on the frontlines, with a noted
susceptibility to thyroid cancer, which has been found in significant
numbers among children exposed both by the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear accident
in Ukraine and the 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan.

The response among authorities in Japan is to blame increased testing or to
reduce testing. More independent studies are needed focused on children,
especially those in vulnerable frontline and Indigenous communities. In
conducting such studies, greater consideration must be applied to
culturally significant traditions and habits in these communities.

 BMJ Paediatrics 7th Oct 2022

October 10, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Renewables need minerals. Can their pollution and public health challenges be overcome? By Linda Pentz Gunter,  by beyondnuclearinternational,

We are now both on the path to — and amidst the crisis of — resolving our past greed and irresponsibility in the energy and transport sector. But few, if any, human industries are without a carbon footprint. This has made the climb out of our carbon-intensive paradigm all the harder. 

Consequently, our first imperative — in order to do as little current or future environmental harm as possible — is to focus on solutions that have the lowest carbon footprint and environmental and human impact. This puts conservation at the pinnacle of our priorities, followed by energy efficiency. 

Particularly in developed countries — where we bear almost the entire responsibility for the mess we have made of our planet — we can, and must, consume less, become more energy efficient, live in smaller homes, use public transport routinely, walk and bicycle more and drive and fly less.

Using fossil fuels has to stop. Completely. And ideally now, but, realistically, as soon as possible. Replacement power will still be needed. But nuclear power, which creates long-lived lethal radioactive waste from the beginning to the end of its fuel cycle, and, as a large thermo-electric generator, relies on huge quantities of what will become increasingly scarce water supplies, is not the substitute for fossil fuels. Nuclear power cannot be an environmentally clean and just energy solution. And it has no answers for the transport sector, either.

Yet, as we decry the extraction of uranium — and all its attendant poisoning of the environment and ourselves along with human rights violations — we are met with the legitimate argument that increasing the use of renewables (and electric cars) in order to decarbonize, brings with it the same extractive environmental impacts.

But are they really the same? If we dig deeper, to use an unwelcome metaphor, we find parallels but not necessarily equity between the impacts of renewables and nuclear. This does not excuse or justify worker abuse, human rights violations or extractive contamination in any sector. But it’s an important distinction. 

First and foremost, we must look to carbon emissions. It makes sense, even if all the other downsides were equal — which they clearly are not — to at least focus on the lowest carbon emitters. And those are unquestionably renewables. Therefore, our responsibility now is to put things right in the renewable energy industry, even as we must point out, criticize and urge change in those areas that need improvement, including recycling, sustainable sourcing and human rights.

A second priority, is the ability and willingness of industries to make those improvements. 

We have seen how the wind industry has worked to minimize its impacts on migratory birds. It’s no coincidence that some of the biggest bird conservation groups, including BirdLife International, the American Bird Conservancy and the Audubon Society, cautiously support the development of wind power while scrupulously watchdogging its progress.

The renewable energy and electric vehicle industries recognize the fact that they rely on mineral extraction and, as such, must try to mitigate or avoid negative environmental, social and human rights impacts. Unlike the nuclear industry — which has been guilty of environmental and human rights abuses since it began — the renewable energy industry is working to resolve these significant drawbacks.

As Justine Calma wrote in The Verge at the end of last year: “There are ways to get the minerals the clean energy revolution needs while minimizing the impact on people and the planet. Startups are figuring out how to get better at recycling lithium batteries.” Mining companies are also looking to power their extraction using renewables rather than fossil fuels.

The World Bank program — The Climate-Smart Mining Initiative — aims to help “resource-rich developing countries benefit from the increasing demand for minerals and metals, while ensuring the mining sector is managed in a way that minimizes the environmental and climate footprint as it works to decarbonize”.

The nuclear industry, by contrast, has made no such effort to mitigate its environmental impact, and cannot do so, because splitting the atom to boil water is inherently dangerous and polluting. Worse, the industry actively pushes back against — or outright rejects — mitigation efforts because it would cost the already financially struggling nuclear sector money it can’t afford to expend if it is to stay in business.

The end product of nuclear power is long-lived highly radioactive waste with no long-term, safe, permanent management solution. While the renewable energy sector is looking into the recycling of batteries, there is no recycling of nuclear waste. Reprocessing — often misleadingly called “recycling” — does no such thing. 

In separating out the uranium and plutonium from irradiated reactor fuel, reprocessing produces even higher volumes of largely “low” and “intermediate”-level radioactive wastes, discharged into the air and sea or stored indefinitely.

The mining of uranium for use in nuclear power leaves behind radioactive waste and heavy metals that persistently contaminate the local environments, harming the health and safety of those communities and that of their land and water resources.

Nevertheless, there is no getting around the reality that the renewable industry, too, requires mining of minerals and rare earth metals, and that recycling, while beneficial, is not always done sustainably.

These hurdles are laid out in detail in a useful report prepared for Earthworks by the Institute for Sustainable Futures — Responsible minerals sourcing for renewable energy (Dominish, E., Florin, N. and Teske, S., 2019, Responsible Minerals Sourcing for Renewable Energy. Report prepared for Earthworks by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney.) 

The report emphasizes that “recycling and responsible sourcing are fundamental to improving the sustainability of the renewable energy transition”.

However, it points out that while “the renewable energy and battery industries have made significant improvements to the efficiency of technologies, to improve performance, minimize demand for materials and reduce production costs,” attention to stewardship and human rights abuses has been less promising. “The industry experts interviewed noted that reducing the environmental and social impacts of supply is not a major focus of the renewable energy industry.”

Inevitably, many of the resources for the renewable energy industry (along with electric vehicles, not discussed here as these are outside our energy focus), are to be found in troubled parts of the world — most notably DR Congo. In turn, the manufacturing of those minerals into metals is largely carried out in China, where human rights are suppressed.

The impacts of mining to supply the renewable energy industry invariably result in “pollution and heavy metal contamination of water and agricultural soils, and health impacts on workers and surrounding communities”.

The wind energy industry emerges as the least offender, according to the report. “Material use for wind turbines is already very efficient. Recycling of bulk materials (steel, aluminium, copper) used in wind turbines is well established with high recycling rates.”

The report offers some glimmers of hope, noting that increased use of renewables means a reduction in coal mining, “which is responsible for the greatest number of fatalities, health and environmental issues.”

But we are undoubtedly now in the land of Faustian bargains. We have left it too late to make choices that are problem-free. Renewables, therefore, must be measured up against the alternatives and nuclear power isn’t one of them. Aside from the carbon footprint and human rights violations of nuclear power, and its high costs and long construction times, we must also factor in the lethal waste; the daily radioactive releases harming primarily children; the outcome of a catastrophic accident; and the inextricable link to nuclear weapons development, to name a few.

We must learn to live more simply; smaller. More quietly. Tread lightly. And yes, we must transition to renewables, energy efficiency and conservation, not tomorrow, not gradually, but immediately. Can we do it without leaving yet another mess? Without further abuses?

As the ISF study concludes, not yet, but we are getting there. “There are a large number of responsible sourcing initiatives that promote environmental stewardship and the respect of human rights in the supply chain, most of which are voluntary and industry-led,” the authors wrote. “If these initiatives are harmonized and widely adopted, it may lead to more responsible supply chains.”

Until then, renewables are our least worst power option, and, out of time as we are, it’s a choice we have brought upon ourselves.

October 10, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s ZNPP Must Be Urgently Protected, IAEA’s Grossi Says After Plant Loses All External Power Due to Shelling 8 Oct 22, Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) has lost its last remaining external power source due to renewed shelling and is now relying on emergency diesel generators for the electricity it needs for reactor cooling and other essential nuclear safety and security functions, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said today.

The ZNPP’s connection to the 750 kilovolt (kV) power line was cut at around 1am local time today, Director General Grossi said, citing official information from Ukraine as well as reports from the team of IAEA experts present at the site of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

Sixteen of the plant’s diesel generators started operating automatically, providing its six reactors with power. After the situation stabilised, ten of the generators were switched off, leaving six to provide the reactors with necessary electricity.

“The resumption of shelling, hitting the plant’s sole source of external power, is tremendously irresponsible. The Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant must be protected,” Director General Grossi said. “I will soon travel to the Russian Federation, and then return to Ukraine, to agree on a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the plant. This is an absolute and urgent imperative.”

All the plant’s safety systems continue to receive power and are operating normally, the IAEA experts were informed by senior Ukrainian operating staff at the site. Although the six reactors are in cold shutdown, they still require electricity for vital nuclear safety and security functions. The plant’s diesel generators each have sufficient fuel for at least ten days. ZNPP engineers have begun work to repair the damaged 750 kV power line.

October 10, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

October 9 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “US Should Be More Transparent About Our Transportation Emissions – Our Health And Climate Depend On It” • The Biden administration has two weeks left to hear from Americans on a proposal that would require states, cities and towns to track and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that result directly from highway activity. This […]

October 9 Energy News — geoharvey

October 10, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment