Australian news, and some related international items

Australian nuclear news – and more

Some bits of good news – Whale Reunions, Green Hydrogen and Other Good News on the Climate.A disappointing development. Up until very recently, I would not have considered posting news items from New Corpse, or any other pro-Trump or very right-wing source.

Now that has changed. I am finding that “progressive” people now seem obliged to support Joe Biden and the U.S. Democrats – even if they’re leading us to nuclear annihilation.

Sorry, everyone  (- of course I don’t want Quanon and Trump to be in power in 2024), but if right-wing nutters happen to be the ones opposing nuclear war , or telling unpleasant truths about Ukraine, –   then I ‘m supporting their views on those matters. And it’s about time that “progressives” woke up.


70 years since Operation Hurricane: the shameful history of British nuclear tests in Australia

Opponents of nuclear waste facility march as one in Port Augusta to protest. Friends of the Earth call on Madeleine King, Minister for Resources to overturn the declaration on Kimba nuclear waste site. Most of Australia’s nuclear waste comes from Lucas Heights – should it stay there? Australia’s nuclear waste is growing as battle over dump site heats up.

A conversation with Paul Keating: Australia’s strategic interests, alliances and standing up for ourselves


CLIMATEPreparing for COP27 Climate Summit – an urgent shake-up of international finance system is needed.

CIVIL LIBERTIES. Facing the Warmongers: An Assange Update.

Coronavirus. WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard.

Read more: Australian nuclear news – and more


EDUCATION. Russia reacts to Azov neo-Nazi’s platform at prestigious US university.

EMPLOYMENT. Strikes disrupt power output at French nuclear plants.

ENERGYNuclear Power Is a Dead End. We Must Abandon It Completely. Low operating costs make the case for investing in utility-scale renewable projects . Germany, France, Italy, conserve energy, but the UK government rejects energy conservation. France’s national embarrassment: half of its nuclear reactors to remain out of action for months

ENVIRONMENT. How nuclear testing leaves lasting environmental scars.

ETHICS an RELIGIONDeath by Nationalism?

HEALTH. Health Implications of re-licensing the Cameco nuclear fuel manufacturing plant . Young girls up to 10 times more vulnerable to ionizing radiation, especially girls up to 5 years old. France should pay for study on genetic impact of its Pacific nuclear tests. Finland’s pharmacies run out of iodine pills as Russian nuclear fears increase.

HUMAN RIGHTS.  Japan: Support for those displaced by Fukushima nuclear disaster must be unconditional, says UN expert.

LEGALAustria Sues EU Executive Over Green Label for Gas, Nuclear. EU Taxonomy Labelling Gas and Nuclear as ‘Green’ Faces Legal Challenges.

MEDIA. Ukraine is preparing a law on full control over the media, as the last vestiges of press freedom disappear in Kiev.

NUCLEAR REACTORSAnti-nuclear campaigners have raised fears about a plan to turn Trawsfynydd into a test-bed for a new generation of mini nuclear power plants. The strange case of small modular reactors. Small modular nuclear reactors risky venture for Saskatchewan.

POLITICSGerman Greens lay out nuclear power extension position amid coalition infighting. Tulsi Gabbard dares to challenge Washington’s war machine.

Cuban Missile Crisis 60th anniversary: How world teetered on nuclear abyss. We Survived The Last Nuclear Standoff Through Compromise And De-Escalation.  Ukraine has de facto joined NATO says Ukraine’s defense minister. Russia open to talks with West: Lavrov. Caitlin Johnstone: US Rejects Moscow’s Offer to Talk.

PROTEST. World-Wide Backing as Parliament Encircled for AssangeProtests in 40+ US Cities Demand Deescalation as Poll Shows Surging Fear of Nuclear War.

SAFETY. Maintenance on eight French nuclear reactors delayed by strikeStockpiling iodine tablets in Europe, as fears rise over dangers in Zaporizhzhia nuclear station. Japan preparing the way for continued extension of the operating lifetime of its nuclear reactors.  Japan’s push to extend nuke reactor life past 40 yrs doesn’t add up.

SECRETS AND LIES.  Japan’s TEPCO ‘exaggerates’ nuclear wastewater safety with faulty dosimeter.       US Government Secretly Injected Humans With Plutonium.

WASTES. Plutonium and high-level nuclear waste. Radioactive waste from WWII nuclear weapons found in Missouri school. Nuclear Power Isn’t Clean — It Creates Hellish Wastelands of Radioactive Sewage.



October 17, 2022 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Opponents of nuclear waste facility march as one in Port Augusta to protest. ABC North and West SA / By Bethanie Alderson and Nicholas Ward, 17 Oct 22

More than 100 opponents of a plan to build a national nuclear waste facility on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia have rallied in Port Augusta.

Key points:

  • Scores of people have marched to protest a nuclear waste facility being built in Kimba
  • Traditional owners say they were never consulted about the plans by the federal government
  • The government has spent almost $10 million on legal fees in support for the facility 

Barngarla traditional owners, farmers and community members marched from Port Augusta’s wharf to Gladstone Square to protest the federal government’s proposal to build a nuclear waste site near Kimba. 

The chair of the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC), Jason Bilney, said if the new government was serious about supporting an Indigenous

voice to parliament, it should listen to their argument.

“It took us 21 years to win our native title; we’ll fight it for another 21 or 25 years if we have to,” he said..

“We are very strong and very passionate about preserving our culture and our heritage as well as protecting our land.

“We don’t want nuclear waste on our country.”

The federal government confirmed detailed investigation work was about to start at the site.

Mr Bilney insisted Barngarla people were never consulted about the plan and found themselves excluded from a community vote.

“Within six months of winning our native title and fighting for 21 years in the Federal Court to get a determination to then be told there’s a nuclear waste dump being built on our country — we had to go out of our way as Barngarla and contact the government,” he said.

“The government’s come out and announced they’ll commit to the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

“How can they on one hand say that and then on the other hand break the heart of the First Nations people?”

The Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn a mining exploration company’s authorisation to drill at Lake Torrens means Mr Bilney is confident that Barngarla will succeed again.

“It was a very proud moment, and we know that they’re going to appeal it but winning one case for judicial review puts us in a good position for the federal case with the nuclear waste dump,” he said.

‘Huge’ legal spend

Greens Senator Barbara Pocock revealed the federal government had spent almost $9,905,737 on legal fees for the waste facility and the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency.

“Ten million dollars is a huge, unnecessary legal spend, much of which has focused on fighting local Kimba residents and a vulnerable First Nations community,” Senator Pocock said.

Since litigation began in December 2021, the government has spent $607,613 directly against BDAC and a further $247,806 on in-house legal salaries.

The Barngarla people spent approximately $124,000 on legal fees over the same period.

“This mega-spend is immoral. It is wasteful, and it is against the spirit of the Uluru statement.”

“We need to find a solution to dispose of our own nuclear waste, but it needs to be safe, it needs to be long term and it needs to not be in the middle of our clean green agricultural land.”

Fight for sacred site

Barngarla elder Linda Dare says Kimba is a site of great significance to traditional owners, and especially for women.

“We have the waters there, the lakes there … and if this goes on it’s actually going to affect our waterways all the way to the Flinders and surrounding areas,” she said.

“It’s very significant because along the way we’ve lost a lot of family members that have been fighting for native title for years when we were little.”

“We know we can fight this, and we know we’ve got the backing of every Indigenous tribe in Australia because it affects everybody in South Australia if there’s any damage.”

Ms Dare and Aunty Dawn Taylor met with Premier Peter Malinauskas and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Kyam Maher during the state government’s country cabinet forum in Port Pirie.

Mr Malinauskas said while the state government did not have the power to stop the planned facility, he would express his support for the Barngarla people to have the right to veto to the federal Labor government.

Mr Bilney believes the Barngarla community needs the whole country to support them in their fight.

“The more support we have locally, state and federally the stronger we become as one,” he said.

October 17, 2022 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, opposition to nuclear, South Australia | Leave a comment

70 years since Operation Hurricane: the shameful history of British nuclear tests in Australia

Red Flag, by Nick Everett, Sunday, 16 October 2022

At 9.30am on 3 October 1952, a mushroom cloud billowed up above the Monte Bello Islands, 130 kilometres off the coast of Western Australia. The next day, the West Australian reported: “At first deep pink, it quickly changed to mauve in the centre, with pink towards the outside and brilliantly white turbulent edges. Within two minutes the cloud, which was still like a giant cauliflower, was 10,000 feet [three kilometres] high”.

Derek Hickman, a royal engineer who witnessed the blast aboard guard ship HMS Zeebrugge, told the Mirror: “We had no protective clothing … They ordered us to muster on deck and turn our backs. We put our hands over our eyes and they counted down over the tannoy [loudspeaker]. There was a sharp flash, and I could see the bones in my hands like an X-ray. Then the sound and the wind, and they told us to turn and face it. The bomb was in the hull of a 1,450-ton warship and all that was left of her were a few fist-sized pieces of metal that fell like rain, and the shape of the frigate scorched on the seabed.” 

Operation Hurricane was, up until that moment, a closely guarded secret. ……………………….

Throughout 1946, negotiations took place between the British and Australian governments, culminating in an agreement to establish a 480-kilometre rocket range extending northwest from Mount Eba (later moved to Woomera) in outback South Australia. 

On 22 November 1946, Defence Minister John Dedman informed parliament of cabinet’s decision to establish the rocket range. Peter Morton, author of Fire Across the Desert: Woomera and the Anglo-Australian Joint Project 1946–1980, explains that Dedman reiterated claims made in a report by British army officer John Fullerton Evetts that related to the original proposed site at the more remote location of Mount Eba, not Woomera. Dedman told parliament that Australia was the only suitable landmass in the Commonwealth for such testing, the designated area was largely uninhabited and that impacts on the Aboriginal population in the Central Aboriginal Reserves would be negligible. According to Morton, there were approximately 1800 Aboriginal people living on the reserves at the time. The Committee on Guided Projectiles would immediately begin consultations with the director of Native Affairs and other authorities, Dedman told parliament.

Dedman’s announcement ignited fierce opposition. In her book Different White People: Radical Activism for Aboriginal Rights 1946-1972, Deborah Wilson describes the independent Labor member for Bourke, Doris Blackburn, spearheading a peace movement strongly supported by the Australian Communist Party. She published her speeches in the CPA newspaper, Tribune. Blackburn was the widow of lawyer and parliamentarian Maurice Blackburn, whose left-wing views resulted in his expulsion from the ALP. 

Blackburn insisted that the rocket range amounted to a grave injustice against a “voiceless minority”, Australia’s First Nations people. In March 1947, medical practitioner Charles Duguid told a 1300-strong Rocket Range Protest Committee meeting in Melbourne that he was appalled by the government’s blatant “disregard” for the rights of Aboriginal people. According to a Tribune report, he asked those present: “Shot and poisoned as they were in the early days, neglected and despised more lately, will most of our Aborigines [sic] now be finally sacrificed and hurried to extinction by sudden contact with the mad demands of twentieth century militarism?”

Dedman, supported by the Menzies-led opposition, dismissed concerns expressed by Duguid and anthropologist Donald Thompson that contact between military personnel and Aboriginal people living in the military zone would have devastating consequences for their traditional way of life. Deploying assimilation arguments, Dedman insisted that contact between military personnel and “natives” in the area would simply accelerate an inevitable process of detribalisation. 

Meanwhile, Liberal and Country Party politicians railed against Duguid and other opponents of the project, labelling them dupes of communism with a lax attitude to the nation’s security, according to Wilson. They called on the Chifley government to follow the example of the Canadian royal commission established to weed out alleged communist spies in public sector employment…………….

In June 1947, federal parliament rushed through the Approved Defence Projects Protection Bill, a gag tool preventing critical commentary about the government’s defence policy. Transgressors were threatened with fines of up to £5,000 or a 12-month prison sentence.

Under the cover of “national security”, federal bans were imposed on union officials visiting the Woomera rocket range site, now a no-go area for anyone other than sanctioned military personnel. Anti-communist fearmongering helped set the scene for the Chifley government’s establishment of a new and powerful security organisation, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), in 1949.

In mid-1947, 446 kilometres north of Adelaide, the Woomera township was swiftly constructed on the traditional lands of the Kokatha people. By mid-1950, its population had grown to 3,500 and, over the following decade, doubled to 7,000. Roads gouged through Aboriginal country. Electricity and telegraph lines soon followed, connecting the military base with centres of political power.  

The nature of the missile testing remained a top secret to all but those firmly ensconced within the upper echelons of the Department of Defence. However, rumours of a nuclear testing program abounded. The detonation of a 25-kiloton nuclear weapon off the Monte Bello Islands made Britain’s nuclear ambitions, and the Australian government’s complicity, visible for the world. 

In the film Australian Atomic Confessions, witness May Torres, a Gooniyandi woman living at Jubilee Downs in the Kimberley, described observing a cloudy haze that remained in the sky for four or five days. At the time she did not know that it carried radioactive particles that were to contribute to cancer and an early death for many of her community, including her husband, in the early 1960s.

Another witness, Royal Australian Air Force pilot Barry Neale, described aircraft operating out of Townsville identifying nuclear particles in the air three days after the detonation. Two days later, New Zealand Air Force aircraft similarly observed radioactive particles that had emanated from Operation Hurricane. Still today, signs on the Monte Bello islands warn visitors about the dangers of elevated radiation levels.

In October 1953, two nuclear tests (Operation Totem) took place at Emu Field, 500 kilometres northwest of Woomera. In May and June 1956, nuclear testing returned to the Monte Bello Islands. Operation Mosaic detonated the largest ever nuclear device in Australia: a 60-kiloton weapon four times as powerful as that which had destroyed Hiroshima. 

My aunt was among the children who witnessed the Monte Bello explosion from the jetty in the Pilbara town of Roebourne. The spectacle left her and her siblings covered in ash, oblivious to the toxicity of the fallout they were exposed to. 

Meanwhile, west of Woomera, Aboriginal people were being relocated from their traditional lands. In preparation for Operation Buffalo, a series of four nuclear tests at the Maralinga Testing Ground, an 1,100 square kilometre area was excised from the Laverton-Warburton reserve and declared a no-go area. 

Two patrol officers, William MacDougal and Robert (Bob) Macaulay, were given the nearly impossible task of keeping Aboriginal people out of the no-go area. The pair’s reports to the range superintendent were frequently censored, according to Morton. 

In December 1956, a Western Australian parliamentary select committee, led by Liberal MLA William Grayden, visited the Laverton-Warburton Ranges. The select committee’s report (the Grayden Report) identified that displaced Aboriginal people suffered from malnutrition, blindness, unsanitary conditions, inadequate food and water sources, and brutal exploitation by pastoral interests.

News reports in the Murdoch-owned Adelaide News dismissed the committee’s findings, insisting that the claims could not be substantiated. Responding to the Murdoch media whitewash, Tribune reported on 9 January 1957 that the committee had “ripped aside the screen that has veiled the cruel plight to which our [g]overnments condemn Australian Aborigines”.

Tribune asserted that “huge areas of the most favourable land are being taken from [Aboriginal] reserves and provided for mining interests, atomic and guided missile grounds, and other purposes”.

A subsequent Tribune article reported a week later on the observations of Pastor Doug Nicholls, who accompanied the West Australian minister for native welfare, John Brady, on a tour of the Warburton-Laverton district. According to Tribune:

“Pastor Nicholls said that at Giles weather station, deep in the heart of the best hunting grounds in the Warburton reserve—a region that the Government had stolen as part of the Woomera range—the white people lived like kings, and the Aboriginal people worse than paupers … The Commonwealth had spent a fortune on Woomera, but has not even supplied a well for the Aboriginals.”

The Grayden Report deeply shocked the public. A film documentary produced by Grayden and Nicholls, Their Darkest Hour, further exposed these crimes. Wilson describes scenes from the film:

“Images of malnourished, sick and poverty-stricken Aboriginal people bombard the viewer. A mother’s arm has rotted off with yaws. A blind man with one leg hobbles grotesquely on an artificial leg stuffed with furs and bandaged into an elephant-like stump. Malnourished children with huge swollen bellies stare blankly at the camera. A baby lies deathlike beside a mother too weak to walk. A sickening close-up of a toddler who fell into a fire reveals cooked flesh covered with flies. Skeletal remains of a man, dead from thirst, lie beside a dried-up waterhole. As the film concludes, his body is buried in an unmarked grave.”

The detrimental impact of British nuclear testing in Australia wasn’t limited to traditional Aboriginal people. It also exposed thousands of military personnel and their families to nuclear radiation, survivors still feeling the effects seven decades on, according to submissions received by the 1985 McClelland Royal Commission into British Nuclear Tests in Australia

In 2001, a group of Melbourne scientists made a startling discovery: thousands of jars of ashed human bone that all contained strontium 90, a by-product of nuclear testing that can cause bone cancer and leukaemia. All had been collected from autopsies without the consent of family members, according to a 2002 report by the Australian Health Ethics Committee. This officially sanctioned “body-snatching” provided vital, and until then hidden, evidence of radioactive contamination with widespread effects on human health. 

In the mid-1950s, CSIRO scientist Hedley Marston was tasked by the Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee (AWTSC) with studying the radioactive iodine uptake in sheep and cattle as part of wider effort to monitor the biological effects of radiation caused by atomic-bomb testing in Australia. Marston argued that radioactive iodine found in the thyroids of animals indicated the presence of radioactive strontium in the food chain, which would endanger the health of humans, particularly children. Marston’s discovery put him in conflict with the AWTSC, who denied the tests resulted in significant radioactive contamination.

According to the Australian Health Ethics Committee, between 1957 and 1978, the AWTSC and its successor, the Australian Ionising Radiation Committee, covertly took samples of bones from 22,000 human remains during autopsy to test for the presence of strontium 90. The surviving samples located in 2001 suggested that radioactive contamination was far more widespread than previously admitted.

The winding down of the British nuclear testing program in Australia in 1953 did not bring an end to the Australian government’s role in the global nuclear industry. Since 1954, Australian uranium has supplied nuclear reactors around the world, including to the Fukushima reactor in Japan, which in 2011 was the site of the most severe nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown. Australia has also committed to acquiring nuclear-powered submarines to better pursue its imperial interests, and those of its allies, in the Asia-Pacific. And the nuclear industry is trying to promote itself as a viable alternative to polluting fossil fuel industries. 

Its shameful history, and the dire threat it poses to humanity, must not be forgotten.

October 17, 2022 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Most of Australia’s nuclear waste comes from Lucas Heights – should it stay there?

Opponents of proposed dump site at Kimba in South Australia say it would be safer to keep the waste where it mostly is

Guardian. Tory Shepherd, 17 Oct 22.

he vast majority of Australia’s future radioactive waste will be produced by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (Ansto) Lucas Heights facility in Sydney, the latest figures show.

For 40 years governments have pushed for a national radioactive waste storage facility, often claiming it is because currently waste is held at more than 100 sites across the country.

But the latest statistics show almost all of it is in that one facility.

A new inventory of Australia’s radioactive waste, published in September by the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency, shows a larger than expected increase in waste in the future.

Australia’s waste is either low level (LLW), which is mainly from laboratories, or intermediate level (ILW), which is from nuclear medicine. ILW emits more radiation and requires more shielding.

There are many variable factors, but the report notes that “the estimated volumes of Ansto’s future LLW and ILW are substantially greater than previously reported”. It estimates the levels of LLW in 100 years and ILW in 50 years.

For LLW, that is a change in how future levels are measured. For ILW, it was a matter of having to revise existing estimates………………………..

Ansto’s waste is estimated to make up 12,972 cubic metres of the country’s 13,287 cubic metres LLW (97.6%) in the next 100 years, and 3,753 cubic metres of the country’s 3,887 cubic metres ILW (96.8%).

Dave Sweeney, the nuclear free campaigner from the Australian Conservation Foundation, is opposed to the federal government’s plan to move the country’s waste to a single facility near Kimba in South Australia.

He says it should stay where it (mostly) is.

“It’s Ansto’s waste facility,” he says. “Ansto’s 97% of intermediate and low level waste. It’s not a national facility. It’s Ansto’s facility.

“It’s absolutely striking.”

Sweeney says Ansto has the capacity to store the waste indefinitely, especially considering a recent $60m investment to expand its storage capacity.

The local Aboriginal people, the Barngarla people, are also opposed to the site being on their traditional lands.

The South Australian Greens senator Barbara Pocock says there is “no pressing problem” with waste storage, so they may as well leave it where it is.

“They’re better off leaving it safely,” she says, “well protected, with all the right safeguards in place, than to pull it out and have a double-handling non-solution.”

Pocock is also concerned about the transport of waste from Lucas Heights and other facilities to the planned South Australian site.

“There hasn’t been a proper discussion in the SA community on the views of the transport of nuclear waste through our communities,” she says.

An Ansto spokesperson says having a single facility is “in line with international best practice”, and moving the waste is in line with commitments given to the Lucas Heights community…………………..

October 17, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Tulsi Gabbard dares to challenge Washington’s war machine

The former presidential candidate has shown that opposing regime-change policies is the one taboo that the ruling class won’t tolerate,, Tony Cox, a US journalist who has written or edited for Bloomberg and several major daily newspapers. 15 Oct 22,

Tulsi Gabbard’s rapid transformation from rising Democratic star to demonized outcast –  culminating this week with her decision to leave the party – has exposed the one thing on which every powerful person in Washington can agree: war is good.

It’s the one thing, in fact, that everyone must agree on, if they expect to attain any power and have a long and prosperous career in American politics. Those who don’t will be kept on the fringes, at best. If they speak out too effectively, they’ll be branded a traitor. As former congressman Ron Paul and his son, Senator Rand Paul, have proved, they’ll never be taken seriously as a presidential candidate and won’t be allowed to contest, regardless of how many debates they win. 

Gabbard has illustrated this reality better than anyone. Consider how much she brought to the table when she entered Congress in 2013, how touted she was as the next big thing, then look at how seemingly little it took for her to be essentially excommunicated. Her fall from grace was astonishingly quick, and illuminating.

Then just 31, she came from one of the most reliably blue states, Hawaii, as the youngest lawmaker to ever represent her district. She’s non-white. In fact, she checked a couple of those identitarian boxes that the Democrats love so much, becoming the first Hindu member and the first Samoan-American voting member of Congress. She’s a war veteran. She’s articulate and comes across as a person who passionately believes in what she’s saying.

……………………………. CNN and other legacy media outlets began fawning over Gabbard as the “next superstar” and “the one to watch.” MSNBC suggested that Hollywood might want to make a movie about her, and CNN commentator Ana Navarro quipped, “I don’t know, but in a battle, I want her in my trench.” 

……………………………….. When Gabbard ran for president in the 2020 race, she brought her anti-war message to the primary debates

…………. With the media portraying her as an anti-LGBTQ bigot and a “Russian asset,” Gabbard’s career in Congress was also soon to end. She chose not to seek re-election …………

However, Gabbard continued to speak out against warmongering, especially after Russia began its military offensive against Ukraine in February, triggering rebukes from Democrats and Republicans alike. She became even more of a political pariah when she warned that Biden’s policy of fighting a proxy war against Russia was pushing Americans closer to nuclear disaster. After she raised concern about claims of US-funded biolabs in Ukraine, Senator Mitt Romney accused her of spouting “treasonous lies.”…………………..

 Gabbard’s effectiveness as a communicator makes her dangerous to the war machine. She makes clear that US policies have nothing to do with the real security and economic interests of the American people.

“We have too many people in Washington who are warmongers, subservient to the military industrial complex, and continuing to put their own selfish interests and the interests of their donors first, with no mind for the cost and consequence that their decisions have on the American people,” she said in a Fox News interview on Tuesday.

“That’s exactly what we’re seeing right now with President Biden and leaders in Congress, whose decisions are actively pushing us to the brink of a nuclear holocaust, of which they may have their bunkers where they’ll be safe, but we the American people will have no shelter, no place to go, no place to hide, and face the consequences that could destroy all of humanity and the world as we know it.”

October 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ukraine Rises from Near Zero to Major Recipient of US Arms

regardless of the outcome of the conflict itself, the military contractors win. The Defense Department has already started ordering replacements for some of the weapons shipped to Ukraine. US weapons manufacturers are profiting from what appears to be an open-ended commitment to supply Ukrainian forces.

without an indication of when real peace negotiations will take place, the seemingly unending flow of weapons from the United States is likely to continue and US defense contractors will continue to increase their profits. At the same time, though, the risks of these transfers also increase as the quantity of weapons transferred grows,”

by Thalif Deen, UNITED NATIONS, Oct 14 2022 (IPS) – The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has resulted in a never-ending flow of arms to the battle-scarred country— elevating the besieged nation to the ranks of one of the major recipients of US weapons and American security assistance.

As of last week, the US has provided a hefty $17.5 billion in arms and military assistance to Ukraine.

The five biggest arms buyers from the US during 2017-2021 were Saudi Arabia, which accounted for 23.4 percent of all US arms exports –followed by Australia 9.4 percent, South Korea 6.8 percent, Japan 6.7 percent and Qatar 5.4 percent.

The figure for Ukraine during the same period was 0.1 percent, according to the latest statistics released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

But this measly figure is expected to skyrocket in 2022, judging by the uninterrupted flow of American weapons.

In a statement to reporters October 4, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said pursuant to a delegation of authority from the President, “I am authorizing our 22nd drawdown of U.S. arms and equipment for Ukraine since August 2021.”

This $625 million drawdown, he said, includes additional arms, munitions, and equipment from U.S. Department of Defense inventories.

This drawdown will bring the total U.S. military assistance for Ukraine to more than $17.5 billion since the beginning of the Biden Administration in January 2021.

Pieter Wezeman, Senior Researcher, Arms Transfers Programme at SIPRI, told IPS arms supplies to Ukraine were very small compared to those of the top-15 recipients of US arms.

This will change in 2022 as Ukraine has received major weapon systems from the US, such as 20 HIMARS long range rocket launchers, close to 1000 older model used light armoured vehicles, radars and 142 M-777 towed guns, he said.

“These are most valuable systems per item which Ukraine has received from the US, but the numbers involved and the military or financial value of these weapons are modest compared to what certain other countries have received in major systems in recent years.”

He pointed out that Ukraine has not received other items that per piece or especially valuable such as modern tanks, combat aircraft, major ships and long-range air defense systems.

Dr. Natalie J. Goldring, a Visiting Professor of the Practice in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, told IPS these weapons transfers entail numerous risks.

One significant risk is that the weapons will be captured by Russian forces and potentially used against Western forces. Another is that weapons that remain when the conflict ends will be transferred to other areas of conflict, she warned.

One of the nightmare scenarios, she pointed out, is US weapons being used against US forces. Transferring vast quantities of weapons in such a short period of time increases this risk by making it more difficult to ensure accountability and prevent diversion of the weapons.

Perhaps the largest risk, she said, “is that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not accept the argument that these weapons are only being supplied to help Ukraine defend itself, particularly if we’re supplying weapons that can attack targets inside Russia.”

That may lead to an escalation and expansion of the conflict, and would likely produce even more threats of nuclear weapons use than President Putin has already made she noted.

“Escalating threats in turn increase the risk of actual use of nuclear weapons, whether deliberate or through accident or miscalculation”, said Dr Goldring, who also represents the Acronym Institute at the United Nations, on conventional weapons and arms trade issues.

In the end, she argued, regardless of the outcome of the conflict itself, the military contractors win. The Defense Department has already started ordering replacements for some of the weapons shipped to Ukraine. US weapons manufacturers are profiting from what appears to be an open-ended commitment to supply Ukrainian forces.

…………………………. without an indication of when real peace negotiations will take place, the seemingly unending flow of weapons from the United States is likely to continue and US defense contractors will continue to increase their profits. At the same time, though, the risks of these transfers also increase as the quantity of weapons transferred grows,” she declared………………………………….. more

October 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Small modular nuclear reactors risky venture for Saskatchewan 16 Oct 22, Small modular reactors do not exist yet

Referring to nuclear as a possible part of our future energy mix in “SaskPower working to find right mix for the future,” (Oct. 5) CEO Rupen Pandya said “small modular reactors are smaller, easier to build, more affordable and safer”. This statement is both misleading and inappropriate.

Pandya’s use of the word “are” is a red flag: SMRs do not yet exist. The type of SMR SaskPower has selected to build — if it ever gets beyond the conceptual stage — would use enriched uranium fuel imported from the
USA, thus cannot be considered “safe”.

Are SMRs easier to build? We don’t know, since none have ever been built.

The exact cost of building the GE-Hitachi BWRX-300 is unknown, but would be in the billions of dollars, and is certainly less affordable than renewable energy options that are already available.

Nuclear power projects are prone to cost over-runs and delays — but this is an advantage for the companies involved in their design and construction, as it means more money will be be transferred to them from
the taxpayer.

An energy mix based on expensive, uncertain and risky SMRs would foreclose on building a truly sustainable energy future based on energy conservation and renewable sources like solar, wind, hydro, geothermal
and energy storage systems.

SaskPower should be listening — not trying to sell us on a particular option.

Cathy Holtslander, Saskatoon

SMRs are hardly emissions free

Re. Cameco engineer Brahm Neufeld’s letter on small modular reactors.

The marketing of SMRs has been entirely fraudulent. No emissions? Of course there will be emissions. All nuclear power plants must release radioactive gases, tritium and krypton intermittently and sometime inadvertently.

If carbon dioxide is included it would likely be radioactive carbon-14. Green? The carbon cost of building, mining, refining, enriching and decommissioning is many times that of solar and wind.

Dale Dewar, Wynyard

October 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

France should pay for study on genetic impact of its Pacific nuclear tests

RNZ, 16 Oct 22, The French state should pay for a study on the genetic impact of its nuclear weapons tests in the South Pacific, the French Polynesian president Edouard Fritch says.

Fritch was responding to a renewed call by the opposition Tavini Huiraatira party to follow up on reports dating back to 2016 that radiation caused disabilities in the atolls near the blast zones.

The president confirmed that since 2017 there had been a budget allocation of $US17,000 for such a study but said after careful consideration he was of the view that it should be funded by the French state.

Fritch added that the opposition’s French National Assembly members could raise the matter in Paris.

In 2018, the former head of child psychiatry in Tahiti Dr Christian Sueur reported pervasive developmental disorders in areas close to the Morurua test site…………………

In his assessment, Sueur noted that of the 271 children he treated for pervasive developmental disorders, 69 had intellectual disabilities or deformities which he attributed to genetic mutations.

He also reported that on Tureia atoll, a quarter of the children present during the 1971 blast had developed thyroid cancer.

Sueur said in 2012 among the atoll’s 300 residents there were about 20 conditions believed to be radiation-induced. He said the genetic conditions were found mainly in children whose parents and grandparents had been exposed to radiation from the atmospheric weapons tests in Moruroa between 1966 and 1974……………….

Until 2010, France said its tests were clean and had no effect on human health, but Paris has since adopted a law offering compensation for victims suffering poor health because of exposure to radiation.

October 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The misconception about Putin’s big red nuclear button

Spectator, Mark Galeotti, 16 Oct 22, There is a common misconception that the leaders of nuclear states have a ‘red button’ that can unleash Armageddon. As Vladimir Putin continues to hint at the use of non-strategic (‘tactical’) nuclear weapons in Ukraine, there is some comfort in the knowledge that it is not so easy.

Ironically, launching the kind of strategic nuclear missiles whose use would likely spiral into global destruction is somewhat easier than deploying the smaller weapons which – however vastly unlikely – could conceivably be used in Ukraine. These lower-yield warheads would need to be reconditioned in one of the 12 ‘Object S’ arsenals across Russia holding them, and then transported to one of 34 ‘base-level storage depots’. From there they would need to be loaded onto a bomber or mated onto a suitable other delivery system.

Given that Russia has not even used them since 1990, no one knows for sure what state they would be in, and likely no one still in service has any practical experience. There would presumably be a group of wary engineers gingerly thumbing their way through faded instruction manuals long before Putin could even give a fire order.

If he ever did, though, the process is mercifully much more complex that simply mashing a button in a moment of pique. Like his US counterpart, Putin is accompanied everywhere by an aide carrying the ‘nuclear briefcase’. Called the Cheget, this actually contains special communications gear that is used to issue and authenticate the president’s orders relating to a nuclear launch.

Chegets, which connect to the Kazbek nuclear command and control network. Were Putin so minded, his aide would activate his Cheget, and he would issue an encrypted launch command, which would be transmitted to them. Although there are protocols to deal with the theoretical possibility that both were out of action, such as if there had already been some decapitating strike against the High Command, generally at least one of the other two would need to validate the command.

Then, the approved order goes to the General Staff, which issues authorisation codes and targeting details. This would usually happen through the Strategic Rocket Forces’ command bunker at Kuntsevo, west of Moscow, or else the backup one at Kosvirsky in the Ural Mountains.

Again, in extremis, the command staff in the bunkers could launch without the command codes, had the General Staff also been eliminated……………………

This may all sound rather cumbersome. It is, and deliberately so, both to make absolutely sure that any commands really have come from the president, and to introduce some friction and delay into the process………………………..

What this also means is that were Putin somehow to go full Dr Strangelove, there are many other human beings in the chain of command. …………………

 One of the secrets of command is never to give an order likely to be disobeyed. For Putin, it would be the beginning of the end, and he must know it.

However brutal Putin’s regime may be, this is not Stalinism. Although the Federal Security Service’s Military Counterintelligence Directorate is more concerned with watching the generals than hunting foreign spies, there are no hard-eyed political commissars waiting to put a bullet in the back of any officer’s head who disobeys an order. And that should be a comfort in these uncomfortable times.

October 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Vasily Arkhipov saved the world

Russian refused a nuclear launch during Cuban Missile Crisis

Vasily Arkhipov saved the world — Beyond Nuclear International

Sixty years ago the Cuban Missile Crisis erupted and nuclear war came close

By Angelo Baracca 16 Oct 22,

On October 14, 1962, a U.S. U-2 spy plane flying over Cuba revealed that the Soviet Union was building ramps for the installation of missiles with nuclear warheads. President Kennedy immediately ordered a naval blockade of Cuba. The most serious crisis since the beginning of the Cold War began: for thirteen, endless, days the Soviet Union and the United States faced off against one another, coming close to war. The whole world waited with bated breath. And indeed, not only did we get close to World War III, but also to nuclear Armageddon! The reason that none of this came to pass was the cool-headedness of a Soviet captain, Vasily Arkhipov (and “perhaps” also, quite independently, of his American counterpart, William Bassett, although we have only a posthumous testimony).

Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, comparisons have been made from many quarters with that crisis 60 years ago: indeed there are not only a few commonalities, but also many points of difference. History is a great teacher, in fact it is the only guide we have for the present, but it is necessary to put it in context.

At that time, 15 years after the end of World War II (and the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki), there was no international agreement on arms control, much less on the nuclear arsenals that were becoming the focus of military confrontation between the two blocs. By about 1960, the U.S. had about 30,000 nuclear warheads, the USSR about 5,000, enough for total devastation: intercontinental missiles were in their infancy, and the USSR had only about 20 capable of reaching U.S. territory. Britain built their bomb in 1952; France in 1960 (in collaboration with Israel); China did not reach that point until 1964………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

another aspect to consider in assessing Washington’s behaviour back in 1962. Throughout the crisis, from October 14 to 28, the U.S. General Staff insisted on military action to eliminate the missile ramps before they became operational: little did they know that there were already 140 Soviet nuclear warheads in Cuba!…………………………………………………………………………………….

It was on that fateful day on October 27, 1962, that a U.S. naval team spotted the B-59 submarine in international waters and began an all-out hunt to force it to surface. Tensions on board were sky-high. The Arctic Fleet’s submarine ventilation system malfunctioned in the Atlantic; the temperature inside the submarine rose to 45-50 degrees. Carbon dioxide levels also rose; the crew (78 members) were hardly able to breathe.

It was impossible to contact Moscow, and under pursuit of the Americans, the captain of the B-59, Savitsky, was convinced that war had broken out. He didn’t want to sink without a fight, so he decided to launch a nuclear warhead at the aircraft carrier. We will die too, but we will take them with us. The political officer agreed with the captain, but on the flagship B-59, Arkhipov’s consent was also needed; World War III, nuclear war, hung on his decision. And Arkhipov objected to, reasoned with and convinced the commander.

On October 27, the crisis was at its height. A U.S. U-2 spy plane was shot down over Cuba and another, over Russia, was almost intercepted. Kennedy negotiated for the withdrawal of Soviet missiles from Cuba in exchange for a promise not to invade the island again (as the U.S. had done a year earlier by organizing the landing of Cuban counterrevolutionaries at the Bay of Pigs). The Soviet freighters turned back and on October 28 Khrushchev announced that he had ordered the removal of the missiles from Cuba.

Arkhipov convinced Commander Savitsky to surface the B-59; he refused U.S. fighter assistance and headed for Russia. His mission had failed.

Arkhipov continued to serve in the Soviet Navy; his role in having saved the world remaining unknown until shortly before his death in 1998 at age 72. His wife Olga recounted a few years later, “I was and always will be proud of my husband. He is the man who saved the world.” October 27 should be proclaimed Arkhipov day!

But there is another not insignificant aspect of the affair that became known only 50 years later. I pointed out that the deployment of nuclear missiles in foreign territories by Washington was being carried out secretly: and so they had also done in 1961 in Japan, in Okinawa, which Khrushchev clearly suspected, although their range could hit parts of China and not the USSR.

The Kennedy Tapes revealed that this was unknown to President Kennedy himself, elected in January 1961, and he was informed of it just as the Cuban Missile Crisis erupted. In any case, in his televised address on Oct. 22, 1962, a week after the crisis broke out, Kennedy had the impudence to say, “Our strategic missiles have never been transferred to the territory of another nation under a cloak of secrecy and deception.”

So it was not until 2015 that a testimony emerged from a serviceman named Bordne, serving in Okinawa, that on that very fateful night of October 27, his superior, William Bassett (deceased in 2011), received an order to launch the nuclear missiles, but he sensed something wrong in that order, stalled, asked for clarification, insisted twice, and finally received the counter order; stop everything!

So today we can tell this story. And it is very appropriate to remember it because things are no longer like that. With the objective of avoiding “human error” there has been a tendency to entrust nuclear weapons’ control to automation. The crucial problem is error, the high rate of false positives in predicting rare events. Unfortunately, the decision made by a machine will be irrevocable! Not only can machines make mistakes, but they can also be fooled by false signals. An article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists last January commented, “If artificial intelligence controlled nuclear weapons we might all be dead!”

Today there can no longer be a man who has the authority, and the responsibility, to verify and contradict a nuclear alert, as even Colonel Stanislav Petrov did on 26 September 1983.

The parallel between the Cuban Missile Crisis and the resurgence of the nuclear nightmare is certainly evocative, but inadequate. With the 1962 agreement to withdraw Soviet missiles from Cuba, the U.S. granted in return something of fundamental importance to military balance: later on, in order to conceal the connection with the agreement reached with Moscow that October 28, 1962, the U.S. withdrew their missiles deployed in Turkey and Italy.

In recent years security in Europe has been compromised by NATO’s eastward extension: what concession could the US offer to restore it?

The parallel between the Cuban Missile Crisis and the resurgence of the nuclear nightmare is certainly evocative, but inadequate. With the 1962 agreement to withdraw Soviet missiles from Cuba, the U.S. granted in return something of fundamental importance to military balance: later on, in order to conceal the connection with the agreement reached with Moscow that October 28, 1962, the U.S. withdrew their missiles deployed in Turkey and Italy.

In recent years security in Europe has been compromised by NATO’s eastward extension: what concession could the US offer to restore it?

October 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Carbon credits greenwash business-as-usual, says TAI, won’t cut emissions — RenewEconomy

Carbon credits distract policymakers from concrete actions that actually bring down emissions, TAI submission argues. The post Carbon credits greenwash business-as-usual, says TAI, won’t cut emissions appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Carbon credits greenwash business-as-usual, says TAI, won’t cut emissions — RenewEconomy

October 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MPower gets green light to connect solar battery projects, cash in on negative pricing — RenewEconomy

Offer to connect to SA grid brings two solar and battery projects one step closer to harnessing valuable negative pricing opportunities. The post MPower gets green light to connect solar battery projects, cash in on negative pricing appeared first on RenewEconomy.

MPower gets green light to connect solar battery projects, cash in on negative pricing — RenewEconomy

October 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment