Australian news, and some related international items

Fukushima remembrance week – nuclear news

Some bits of good news – It’s time for some good news about protections for mother Earth.

Climate. 60 Climate Feedbacks & “A Better Catastrophe”.

Coronavirus. Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Weekly Epidemiological Update.

Nuclear. 11 March was the 12 year anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. The Japanese government would prefer that this should be forgotten. Trouble is – the catastrophe is not over.

As an Australian, I am finding our media – TV, radio, newspapers – quite nauseating. All falling over themselves in an orgasmic joy over the decision to pay $squillions for motley USA-UK-pretend-Australian nuclear submarines, that will be useless for monitoring our coast, but useful for feeding the coffers of USA-UK weapons-makers who now seem to own their governments. Everyone’s on the bandwagon – even former PM Kevin Rudd, supposedly a friend of China, now twisting himself in knots with weasel words about China, as he’s about to be Australia’s ambassador to Washington.  We need a Diogenes, to go about Australian politics and media,  in daylight, with a lighted lantern, trying to find an honest person.

AUSTRALIA. Australian Media Are Outright Telling Us They Are Feeding Us War Propaganda About China. Rare admission from Australia’s corporate media that hosting America’s Pine Gap surveillance system makes Australia a legitimate target for long-range ICBMs. Australian corporate papers call for war with China, nuclear weapons and mass conscription.

. War over Taiwan: Australia’s Gang of Five. For Australia, horror of war over Taiwan is not inevitable. ‘Red Alert’ is a paper tiger.

The British-American coup that ended Australian independence.

Australia to buy 5 nuclear-powered submarines as part of AUKUS in violation of previous commitments to China. Albanese and the subs: a looming “Goat Rodeo”.

Aukus submarine deal: Australia expected to choose UK design, sources say. Nuclear submarine zealot Jonathon Mead tries hard to reassure Australians about the “sovereignty” safety etc of the $171 billion submarine purchase, (avoids mention of costs and wastes). Fixing a fatal, nuclear flaw in AUKUS. Port Kembla to be the target! – with nuclear submarines.

On anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, Australia must stand firm against nuclear. Meet the man who uncovered the scandal of nuclear testing in South Australia. Benjamin Cronshaw Submission – nuclear power a bad choice – would delay real climate action.


EDUCATION. Nuclear and space lobbies increase their grip on universities, a new example in UK . The extraordinary popularity of renewable energy university courses.

ENVIRONMENT. Campaigners claim permit change at Hinkley Point would kill billions of fish.

HEALTHWhy were studies canceled? The voices of the victims Social effects. 2 yrs after Fukushima nuclear disaster, gov’t not facing evacuees’ hardship.

LEGAL. Another executive goes to prison for lying about doomed nuclear project. National remembrance day , and huge civil case penalty for Tepco executives, but memory of Fukushima now fading in Japan.

OPPOSITION To NUCLEAR. In Taiwan, strong opposition to extending life of nuclear reactor.

PERSONAL STORIESFukushima’s first responders recall the disaster 12 years on.

PLUTONIUM. DOE wanted to quadruple plutonium pit production. For now, activists have stopped them.

POLITICS. The Nightmare Espionage Act That is Killing Julian Assange and the First Amendment Some ‘sober thinking’ remains in Ukraine as portions of population are in favor of peace talks.

POLITICS INTERNATIONAL and DIPLOMACYSaudi Arabia Seeks U.S. Security Pledges, Nuclear Help. Saudi Arabia seeks US security guarantees, nuclear assistance in return for Israel normalisation.

PROTESTSFukushima Vigil Outside the UK’s Uranium Fuel Manufacturing Factory .

RADIATIONLow-dose radiation linked to increased lifetime risk of heart disease. Dr Ian Fairlie -Low-dose radiation a health danger in the nuclear industry , as well as in medicine.


SECRETS and LIESFake ‘nuclear bomb’ alert on TV and radio scares Russians.

SPACE. EXPLORATION, WEAPONS.  War in space: U.S. officials debating rules for a conflict in orbit.

SPINBUSTERHow the nuclear lobby scuttled the EU’s anti-greenwashing tool.

WASTESTwelve years after 3/11, dispute grows over Fukushima’s radioactive soil. What´s happening at Fukushima plant 12 years after meltdown? Massive amounts of fatally radioactive melted nuclear fuel remain inside the reactors. Pacific island leaders urge Japan to stop dumping nuclear waste into ocean: report. Graphite – deadly dirt or dusty diamonds? Ocean discharge is the worst plan for Fukushima waste water.  new blow to fishermen.

WAR and CONFLICT Observations on the NATO-Russia Ukrainian War. Ukraine: A war to end all wars in Europe. The Foreseeable End of Ukraine. Netanyahu justifies strikes on nuclear facilities. Romania: airborne troops among 100,000 U.S. forces in Europe poised for war with Russia.


March 13, 2023 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Albanese and the subs: a looming “Goat Rodeo”

one American commentator has already labelled the tripartite AUKUS project a looming “Goat Rodeo”. For which Google provided the following explanation : “a slang term for something going totally, unbelievably, disastrously wrong, and there’s nothing left to do but to sit back and watch the trainwreck. In other words, a goat rodeo is a chaotic situation, fiasco, or, more vulgarly, a s…show.”

Australia will have absolutely no sovereignty over the USN submarines

Pearls and Irritations, By Mack WilliamsMar 13, 2023

Details of the proposed AUKUS submarine deal to be announced next week in San Diego are leaking out all around the world. It seems that it will be much more complicated and expensive than intended at the outset of the path to the Holy Grail of an “optimal” solution. Already there are ominous signs that the three countries cannot even harmonise their rush into PR to launch the program.

Reflecting the reaction of a growing number of gobsmacked Australians to the extraordinary explosion of rumoured detail of the tripartite project, one American commentator has already labelled the tripartite AUKUS project a looming “Goat Rodeo”. For which Google provided the following explanation : “a slang term for something going totally, unbelievably, disastrously wrong, and there’s nothing left to do but to sit back and watch the trainwreck. In other words, a goat rodeo is a chaotic situation, fiasco, or, more vulgarly, a s…show.”

The claimed details of the project have been well covered in the media but what do they mean?


A word in which Prime Minister Albanese has come to place great faith – and avoid others like “dependency” which has been expunged from the discussions. In a TV interview in India, Albanese has asserted that “Australia will retain, absolutely, our sovereignty — absolute sovereignty, 100 per cent. it is very important [for] Australia, as a sovereign nation state — and that’s something that’s respected by all of our partners as well.” It is arrant nonsense to claim “absolute” sovereignty when our geostrategic interests have become so enmeshed with those of the US – and have been for some time.

Let us not forget how we needed the US to weigh in with Indonesia before we launched the East Timor operation. Or more recently when Julia Gillard folded to US pressure for the rotational deployment of US Marines and greater USAF use of airfields in Northern Australia and our Defence force posture plans in return for a visit by President Obama. And so this has developed over subsequent years with embedment of senior Australian defence officers in the US IndoPacific Command in Hawaii and elsewhere, our increasing dependence on the US dominated Five Eyes intelligence network (despite some of its failures) and, of course, our ready participation in the disastrous US controlled “coalitions of the willing “ in Afghanistan and Iraq. And the conga line of US service and Pentagon chiefs which has graced our shores in the past year with their megaphones proffering “advice” on Australian strategic policy and defence procurement . Imagine if any other foreign country had done this in Australia with the DSR and submarine project underway !

Even without that background to just how “absolute” our sovereignty has not been, the details of the project definitely take this a significant step further. It is here where the spin from the US and Australia has already diverged. Defence Minister Marles has the temerity today to posit that there will not be any submarine “capability” gap because the Collins class subs are still very much in operation and will be around as we wait for the first of the new submarines to become operational.

(The Collins class, of course, does not have anything like the operational capability or weapons system of the new submarines).

But the US leaks have argued that the capability gap will be covered by US nuclear powered submarines expanding their current operations by regular visits in our region to Stirling in WA. The USN has long been keen to establish some homeporting arrangements there for its nuclear powered submarines and aircraft carriers. US media are also reporting that the early US Virginia class submarines to be delivered would be under US command with that gradually phasing out to mixed crews before eventually being run by the Australians. So Australia will have absolutely no sovereignty over the USN submarines in the first 15 years or so – and probably only very limited consultation with the Americans about their operations – which naturally are always so tightly held. For the following 10 years or so the command and control lines will be at best messy until the second set of submarines emerge. The British will want part of that action! So Albanese could well end up being the one with the credibility gap! As another US commentator has rightly pointed out that will be for politicians years down the track to sort!

Where will they be built?

Another key question on which there is some diverging spin. In keeping with his overall political strategy, Albanese has presented the deal so far as being a major plank in his efforts to boost manufacturing and R&D in Australia (and help argue the case for the huge budget damage the submarines alone will do). From the US side the push has been to emphasise how big a contribution the construction ( seemingly of all 5 or so) will be to US manufacturing and shipbuilding in particular.  Some of the leaks have pointed out that very significant Australian funding will be required to US shipbuilders to expand their capacity to manufacture the Australian submarines. There has also been some persistently strong arguments in the US that the deal will exert too much pressure on US industry’s capacity.

A recent article in Foreign Policy summarised these concerns :

“But is it going to work? That’s been the major question all along through phase one of AUKUS, which has been beset by sticky U.S. export control and intelligence-sharing rules that have depth-charged key features of submarine design. First, the United States has to expand its own shipyard output to send five nuclear-powered submarines to Australia as well as make sure Congress is on board.  Second, even if all goes to plan, the land Down Under will be operating a Frankenstein-like Navy with nuclear subs from two different countries, a potential nightmare for training and spare parts—and presumably, and most importantly, reactor maintenance and little details like that.”

Then there is the British spin. It seems clear from Prime Minister Sunak’s exuberant reaction to the leaks that they have probably received more out of the deal than they might have expected. No doubt BaE (in which the UK Government has a major interest and which also has bought out ASC in Adelaide) which runs the Astute class construction program in Barrow has been a major player in what appears to have been a relatively recent improvement in their prospects. This is also what Peter Dutton’s curious intervention would suggest as the Astute track record has been littered with failures, delays and cost overruns. ……………..

How much will it all cost?

Without confirmed details this cannot be estimated. But there is a consensus that it will well exceed not only the original French submarine but go well beyond.

Is the Virginia class submarine the best answer ?

In his rush to announce his preference for the Virginia class submarine over a new British design, Dutton placed weight on it being a simpler solution given that it was a proven design. But as I pointed out earlier this year in these columns (Nuclear submarines: from “optimal” to “the best they can get”) the Virginia has been the subject of detailed criticism from the Congressional Research Service and the GAO over its maintenance problems.

“Just last December the US Congressional Research Service issued a very detailed report (Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress) outlining the significant delays in SSN repair and maintenance. It contains frequent references to serious concern expressed by a range of US Admirals with command responsibility for submarines. There have been similar criticisms from the GAO in recent years about the poor performance on SSN maintenance reducing significantly the already deficient number of SSN’s the USN can deploy.”

March 13, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, politics international, spinbuster | Leave a comment

At last! While cowardly Australian corporate media fawns all over the nuclear submarine deal – New Zealand has the guts to criticise it.

the Australian order will be filled with a new and advanced SSN® model still in development. This is where the British come in. In a sense, Australia will be (a) serving as a test run and (b) will be creating extra economies of scale for the British Navy’s plans to develop and build SSN( R) models to replace its Astute class submarines by the early to mid 2040s.

On AUKUS And Australia’s Decision On Nuclear Subs

Monday, 13 March 2023, Scooop, Gordon Campbell

China may well regard Taiwan as a renegade province. Yet the invasion of Taiwan – as the Australian economist and commentator John Quiggin points out – would pose massive challenges for the forces or Xi Jinping……………………………………………………What Quiggin is getting at here is that a concerted campaign is currently being waged by sections of the Aussie media with the aim of scaring the pants off the Australian public about the imminent threat from China in the Pacific, in the South China Sea and with regard to Taiwan.

The aim of this campaign is to justify a sky-high level of new defence spending by the Australian government. New Zealand is at risk of being carted along by the same momentum into authorising increases in our own defence spending that we don’t need, and can’t afford.

Acting the part

The campaign kicks into high gear today. As the Oscars get handed out in Los Angeles, another pantomime of power will be playing out on the docks just down the coast, in San Diego. Anthony Albanese, Rishi Sunak and Joe Biden will be standing shoulder to shoulder as they announce the first concrete manifestation of the AUKUS pact – a military alliance between Australia, Britain and the Americans that has China as its common target……………………………………

. As Reuters put it:

….[The] AUKUS pact, will have multiple stages with at least one U.S. submarine visiting Australian ports in the coming years and end in the late 2030’s with a new class of submarines being built with British designs and American technology, one of the officials said….after the annual port visits, the United States would forward deploy some submarines in Western Australia by around 2027.

In the early 2030’s, Australia would buy 3 Virginia class submarines and have the option to buy two more. AUKUS is expected to be Australia’s biggest-ever defence project and offers the prospect of jobs in all three countries.

That last bit is very important. Like his predecessors, Albanese will be treating Australia’s defence policy as a cutting edge ingredient of its manufacturing policy.

Australia’s defence policy as a cutting edge ingredient of its manufacturing policy. For Australian politicians, military policy and defence spending is as much about (a) creating jobs for Aussie workers, (b) gaining technology upgrades for Aussie industry and (c) scoring lucrative contracts for Aussie goods and services firms as it is about the actual defence of the nation.

…………………………………………………………………. In a worst case scenario, the Australians could well invite New Zealand to join AUKUS and assign us some “friend of AUKUS” status, as an observer. Our anti-nuclear legislation would complicate such a role. That aside, and given the ocean currents and prevailing winds, New Zealand has every good reason to feel nervous about the prospect of our near-neighbour learning on the job about how to build and maintain the nuclear reactors on its new submarine fleet.

Luckily, most of the new Aussie subs won’t be delivered until the early to mid 2030s. That means these massively expensive new purchases probably wouldn’t arrive in time to deter China from invading Taiwan, given that this is supposed to be imminent.

In the US, the building of Virginia-class subs are shared between two shipyards, one in Groton Connecticut and the other in Newport News, Virginia. Reportedly, the design variant that Australia has in mind will have been a three-headed upgrade project to the Virginia-class that will have been co-designed by Britain and the US, as amended to Australian specifications, with at least some of the subs being built by US-trained Australians who had no prior experience in this sort of construction. On top of these complications, all participants will be coming under pressure to deliver every stage of the project at the lowest cost possible. I mean, what could possibly go wrong with such a design and construction plan? And in this case, I don’t just mean the danger of cost blowouts.

Attack and defence

AUKUS is likely to make New Zealanders feel more unsafe in a number of other ways as well. For starters, AUKUS is not a “defend the homeland” pact. It is a forward projection alliance, to attack enemy targets and stifle the enemy’s ability to defend itself and respond. (Enemy = China.) Before we bow to the pressure coming from our traditional allies to join in with their chest-bumping rivalries with China, it is probably worth looking at the Aussie nuclear submarine deal in more detail.

The Albanese government has said the Aussie subs will not be nuclear-armed. (Not yet, anyway) However, the roughly 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles (the final design will limit the number) that each submarine will carry can all carry nuclear warheads. Only previous treaty commitments with Russia have prevented the cruise missiles carried on Virginia-class subs from being nuclear-armed.

Yet with the scrapping of nuclear proliferation treaties with Russia in the wake of the war in Ukraine, we could well be sailing in a few years time into “neither confirm nor deny” territory with our Australian neighbours. Regardless of their potential for carrying nuclear tipped Tomahawk cruise missiles alongside the usual torpedoes, mines, autonomous undersea drones, etc etc ….Would these nuclear-powered Australian subs be barred from docking at New Zealand ports under the terms of our anti-nuclear legislation? Yes, they would.

Therefore, it would be good to know if our current political leaders share a bi-partisan agreement to preserve our anti-nuclear stance in its current form and thereby ban those Aussie subs from our ports, now and forever more. Even if Labour and National did agree, the reality is that our new and expensive Poseidon anti-submarine surveillance aircraft will still be taking part in exercises which will increasingly have (a) a nuclear component and (b) an anti-submarine (ASW) component, courtesy of our ANZAC buddies. Lest we forget. (The growing ASW role for Virginia-class SSN category subs is mentioned on page 9 of the Congressional Review Service evaluation of the SSN programme. )

From what can be gleaned at this point i.e. prior to the formal announcement, the Australian order will be filled with a new and advanced SSN® model still in development. This is where the British come in. In a sense, Australia will be (a) serving as a test run and (b) will be creating extra economies of scale for the British Navy’s plans to develop and build SSN( R) models to replace its Astute class submarines by the early to mid 2040s.

To repeat: It would be unwise for New Zealand to be stampeded by the “defence” lobbyists both here and offshore into making significant increases to the allocations for Defence in the May Budget. If nothing else, the Aussie subs saga is a useful reminder that the regional tensions in the Pacific and the China bogey are both being driven and monetised by firms within the military-industrial complex, via the pork barrel politicking (lucrative jobs and contracts for our neighbourhood! ) that is so rife among our traditional military allies.

Footnote: While we spend billions on a fleet of new Poseidon anti-submarine aircraft, and the Aussies buy their fleet of mega-expensive nuclear submarines, the future of underwater warfare is seen by some observers to rest with unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs). Apparently, the Australian military has a programme to develop UUVs called Ghost Shark, cutely named after the US Ghost Bat programme.

UUVs are being developed to do some of the dirty and dangerous work previously done by crewed submarines under their ASW air cover. Some see UUVs as an adjunct to conventional below- surface warfare. Others see UUVs as making those conventional tools redundant. You can read about these unmanned underwater military drones here.

March 13, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Nightmare Espionage Act That is Killing Julian Assange and the First Amendment

As for Julian Assange, the urgency behind bringing attention to the case is justified.  According to Shenkman, “We tried to dig through the history to see if a publisher has ever been charged for anything like Julian Assange has been accused of. And the answer is no. This is the first case in U.S. history of its kind. And it would set a precedent that would open the floodgates for prosecuting the press.” by EDITOR March 3, 2023

The use of the century old Espionage Act in the Julian Assange case continues to set the chilling precedent of a bleak future in American journalism, a precedent that endangers even those outside US borders.

arey Shenkman, attorney, author, and litigator specializing in civil and human rights, joins Robert Scheer for this week’s Scheer Intelligence, where Shenkman offers a sobering analysis on one of the most chilling attacks on press freedom exhibited in the Julian Assange case. Using his recently published book, A Century of Repression: The Espionage Act and Freedom of the Press, Shenkman details the history of the Espionage Act and how civil liberties have continued to be eroded as a result of the existence of this law and the lack of revision.

Shenkman talks about the bipartisan disdain towards the Espionage Act in legal circles yet its continued use by bipartisan presidents brings the conversation to its flaws and disreputability: “Over the decades, you have folks that are coming out with law review articles saying that it’s vague, verbose, that it makes no sense, and that ambiguity in the law is being exploited now to go after Julian Assange, to go after government whistleblowers. So there have actually been serious calls for its reform and repeal in recent years.” Assange faces 175 years in a U.S. maximum security prison after being indicted with 17 charges relating to the Espionage Act.

Going back to its inception during World War I, Shenkman explains what its true purpose was and how within the law, “you get a sense that this language of promoting disloyalty, of promoting opposition to the war, was actually used to go after conscientious objectors and folks that opposed entry into World War I.”

As for Julian Assange, the urgency behind bringing attention to the case is justified.  According to Shenkman, “We tried to dig through the history to see if a publisher has ever been charged for anything like Julian Assange has been accused of. And the answer is no. This is the first case in U.S. history of its kind. And it would set a precedent that would open the floodgates for prosecuting the press.”

Shenkman says if Assange is extradited, it will make his case a law school case for all the wrong reasons. Despite all the concern surrounding the overreaching power of the United States, this case could also open the door to countries around the world to extradite citizens from foreign countries for exposing their wrongdoings. As Shenkman mentions, “Assange is not a U.S. government employee. He’s not even a U.S. citizen. And somehow the U.S. government says it has jurisdiction.”

March 13, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Benjamin Cronshaw Submission – nuclear power a bad choice – would delay real climate action

No. 46 Submission to the Inquiry into the Removal of Nuclear Prohibition

I note that this Bill seeks to remove the federal prohibition on nuclear installations in Australia.
There are also state prohibitions that would also need to be removed for any nuclear installations
to proceed in a state, but removing the federal prohibition would be a step towards promoting the
nuclear industry in Australia.

My main point would be – regardless of the potential benefits and potential of nuclear industry in
Australia, which would need to be considered against the costs, risks and community sentiment –
that it is a distraction from the urgent action that needs to happen now.

Nuclear energy would conservatively take some 15-20 years to become operational. In the
meantime, there would be tremendous public debate and opposition (whether nuclear energy can
be determined to be safe, and arguably it could, public sentiment is still tough and perhaps
insurmountable hurdle). Moreover, there would be immense costs in the construction of any
nuclear installations, likely requiring much government support. For all that, there is the potential
for something coming online perhaps in 2040 or later. Liberal governments have flirted with the
idea of nuclear energy off and on for decades. Perhaps if they really committed to it back under
John Howard and had a successful push for it, nuclear power would be coming online soon or be
an option. However, the time has passed on nuclear energy being a realistic option.

While I would usually applaud long-term visionary thinking from members of Parliament,
looking at starting up nuclear activities seems like a far off plan that can do little to address the
challenges that we are facing – including the need to have a speedy transition to a low-emissions
economy now. Where countries already have an established nuclear industry, it provides an
important source of energy & will be a key part of their transition to a Net Zero economy. Once
constructed, nuclear energy can operate with very few emissions. However, for a country without an established nuclear energy industry, such as Australia, it is not something that can be
constructed simply.

Renewable energy is the cheapest, and fastest to build, source of new energy. With battery
storage and transmission lines, renewable energy will be poised to assume an increasingly
prominent role in the energy makeup in Australia. The decarbonisation of the energy sector will
require a variety of strategies and technologies and creative solutions. However, renewable
energy will clearly be key (and arguably largely sufficient) to transitioning to a more affordable
and sustainable energy system. As economist Ross Garnaut writes, “I now have no doubt that
intermittent renewables could meet 100 per cent of Australia’s electricity requirements by the
2030s, with high degrees of security and reliability, and at wholesale prices much lower than
experienced in Australia over the past half-dozen.”1 I note that there is a concurrent Inquiry into
Australia’s Transition to a Green Energy Superpower, which provides a good (and more
relevant) window into the opportunities Australia can take up for our energy future.

My key point is that is where our focus should be, on supporting low-cost and sustainable green
energy technologies that we have now, such as solar and wind, rather than being distracted by
big academic debates about the potential (and unlikely) viability of nuclear energy.

March 13, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Australia to buy 5 nuclear-powered submarines as part of AUKUS in violation of previous commitments to China.

But Western leaders while discussing AUKUS have taken pains to avoid calling out China directly, but it’s clearly aimed at countering Beijing’s influence in the Indo-Pacific, and certainly China sees it as directly impacting its own defense priorities – and has accused Australia of severely violating prior commitments to not introduce nuclear weapons or nuclear technology to its military.


In a major expansion and overhaul of its navy, Australia is planning to buy up to five US Virginia class nuclear powered submarines beginning in the next decade, Reuters and others are reporting. US as well as European officials have disclosed the future deal as part of a “landmark defense agreement between Washington, Canberra and London, four U.S. officials said on Wednesday, in a deal that would present a new challenge to China.”

The impending agreement is seen as central to the relatively new AUKUS partnership, and the major sub deal is expected to be announced when President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak meet in San Diego Monday.

When the partnership was first announced and formalized eighteen months ago, President Biden said of it, “We all recognize the imperative of ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific over the long term,” and that “We need to be able to address both the current strategic environment in the region and how it may evolve.”

The nuclear submarines at center of the expected deal cost $3 billion each and will initially be built in Virginia and Connecticut. But sources say other submarines could be built in the UK and Australia while utilizing US technology and assistance. 

The AUKUS partnership has multiple defense components components, chief among them the development of the nuclear submarine capability for Australia. This has been known since the AUKUS agreement was announced in Sept. 2021, but this week marks the first time specifics have been revealed.

Other components include security cooperation in cyberspace, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and undersea capabilities. While the US, the UK and Australia already take part in common security arrangements, and all three participate in the Five Eyes alliance, an intelligence-sharing arrangement that also includes Canada and New Zealand, the AUKUS security structure provides for the technology cooperation needed to share nuclear submarine technology and other common efforts in a region where China poses growing security concerns.

But Western leaders while discussing AUKUS have taken pains to avoid calling out China directly, but it’s clearly aimed at countering Beijing’s influence in the Indo-Pacific, and certainly China sees it as directly impacting its own defense priorities – and has accused Australia of severely violating prior commitments to not introduce nuclear weapons or nuclear technology to its military.

March 13, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Ocean discharge is the worst plan for Fukushima waste water — IPPNW peace and health blog

Japan may soon start dumping radioactively contaminated waste water from the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, despite warnings from neighboring countries, marine scientists, and health experts. As soon as within a month or two, Japan could begin dumping into the Pacific Ocean 1.3 million tons of treated but still radioactively contaminated wastewater […]

Ocean discharge is the worst plan for Fukushima waste water — IPPNW peace and health blog

As soon as within a month or two, Japan could begin dumping into the Pacific Ocean 1.3 million tons of treated but still radioactively contaminated wastewater from the stricken Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant.  Construction of the kilometer long undersea discharge tunnel and a complex of pipes feeding it commenced last August. 

This cheap and dirty approach of “out of sight out of mind” and “dilution is the solution to pollution” belongs in a past century. It ignores the significant transboundary, transgenerational and human rights issues involved in this planned radioactive dumping, projected to continue over the next 40 years.

Concerns about Japan’s ocean dumping plans have been strongly voiced by China and South Korea, and by numerous Pacific island nations. Multiple UN Special Rapporteurs have severely criticised the plan, which has also been opposed by the United States National Association of Marine Laboratories and many regional and international health and environmental civil society organisations.

Australia bears a particular responsibility in relation to the aftermath of the ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster, since fuel fabricated with uranium from Australia was in each of the Fukushima reactors which exploded.  Yet my letters to the relevant Australian federal ministers on this matter have gone unanswered for seven weeks, and no evidence is publicly available that the Australian government has supported our Pacific neighbours in raising concerns about the planned discharge with its Japanese counterparts.

We are in the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-30). As Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Secretary-General Henry Puna reminded us in his piece in The Guardian on 4 January, in 1985 the Forum welcomed the then Japanese prime minister’s statement that “Japan had no intention of dumping radioactive waste in the Pacific Ocean in disregard of the concern expressed by the communities of the region.” The current plan is inconsistent with this commitment.

In a public event organised by the PIF in Suva on 18 January, Puna noted Prime Minister Kishida’s reassurance during Japan’s regular meeting with the Forum in July 2022 of the need to progress this matter consistent with international law and verifiable science. The Secretary-General reiterated his request on behalf of Forum members for postponement of the planned discharge in order to allow adequate consideration of alternative options and to engage in respectful and full evidence-based consultation with Pacific nations in planning the best course of action. His calls have been ignored.

The most authoritative independent scientific assessment of the planned discharge has been conducted by a five-member independent international scientific panel appointed by the PIF.  The experts were unanimous in their conclusions and recommendations. Their main conclusions:

  • TEPCO’s knowledge of the specific radionuclide contents of all the tanks is seriously deficient. Only roughly one quarter of the more than 1,000 tanks at the site have been sampled at all, and in almost all cases only nine or fewer of 64 total radionuclides are measured in the data shared with PIF. TEPCO’s assumptions of consistent ratios of various radionuclides across different tanks are contradicted by the data, with show many thousand-fold variation.

  • Sampling and measurements have been unrepresentative, statistically deficient and biased, and have not included the debris and sludges, which Japan has acknowledged are present in at least some of the tanks. Sludges and debris are likely to be most radioactive, particularly in relation to harmful isotopes like plutonium and americium. 
  •  More than 70% of the tanks which had gone through ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System), designed to remove most of the radioactive contaminants, will require re-treatment. For some isotopes, the levels after treatment are up to 19,900 times higher than the regulatory limits for discharge. There is no evidence confirming that even repeated processing through ALPS can provide consistently effective purification.
  • There has been no adequate consideration of the behavior of radioactive elements in the ocean, with transport by ocean currents and organisms, accumulation in biota and sea floor sediments, or the behavior of organically bound tritium in an ocean environment. The seafloor off Japan’s east coast still contains up to 10,000 times the cesium concentration as before the disaster, before any planned discharge.
  • Neither TEPCO nor the IAEA acknowledged or addressed the many serious scientific questions raised by the panel.  For example, TEPCO reported that tanks sampled in 2019 contained tellurium-127, an isotope with a half-life of only 9 hours. This signifies either that accidental criticality with fission reactions are occurring on an ongoing basis in the molten reactor cores, which would be very significant, or that the measurements are wrong. However no satisfactory answers were provided. Indeed the IAEA cut off contact with the panel.
  • Neither TEPCO, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) nor the Japanese  Nuclear Regulatory Authority have properly considered several viable alternative approaches, including storage in purpose-built seismically safe tanks, possibly after initial purification, subsequent use in concrete for structural applications with little or no potential for contact with humans and other organisms, and bioremediation for some important isotopes such as strontium-90. All the proposed alternatives would have orders of magnitude less impact and avoid transboundary impacts.

The argument that the site is running out of room to store water is spurious. Contaminated water will continue to be generated for many decades hence, and there is plenty of nearby space available that will be unfit for other uses for a very long time and is already being used to store large amounts of contaminated soil from around the prefecture. There is in fact no urgency to begin ocean discharge. 

The independent expert panel recommended unanimously that the planned ocean dumping should not proceed. Their overwhelming case, based on scientific evidence and the need to minimise transboundary and transgenerational impacts, is that new approaches and alternatives to ocean dumping are needed and are the responsible way forward.

This matter requires urgent attention. Construction of the pipeline through which the ocean discharge is planned to occur is well underway, and the discharge may commence as soon as this month. Given that the discharge is planned to continue over 30-40 years, reconsideration could still be undertaken even after ocean discharge commenced. However it would be far better if the planned discharge were postponed until better alternatives were properly considered and implemented. 

Now is the time for the Australian government, scientists and citizens to join with our Pacific neighbours in calling on Japan to stop its irresponsible plan to use the Pacific Ocean as a radioactive waste dump.

March 13, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics international, wastes | Leave a comment

Port Kembla to be the target! – with nuclear submarines


March 13, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

March 12 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Why UN Climate Science Must Keep Shaping Global Climate Policy” • IPCC reports provide a comprehensive assessment of the scientific evidence on climate change. Their 30-odd page ‘Summary for Policymakers’ has a sense of ‘ownership’ by UN member states as it goes through a line-by-line approval process by government delegations. [Impakter] Ghost forest […]

March 12 Energy News — geoharvey

March 13, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

China is competing in a great Asian arms race because it has no other choice

Timur Fomenko, more
Thu, 09 Mar 2023

Hechi City, Guangxi Province, China • Feb. 17, 2023Beijing’s continued militarization is a forced response to US pressure. But can it keep its cool?

During the two sessions of the National People’s Congress (NPC) over the weekend, China announced that its military budget would increase by 7.2% year on year. The news made headlines around the world.

The Chinese premier’s work report, submitted to the NPC, says the country’s military “should intensify military training and preparedness across the board,” and points to escalating “external attempts to suppress and contain China.” The country’s state media reacted conservatively, stressing that the defense spending increase is in keeping with the “single-digit” growth pattern of recent years (7.1% in 2022, 6.8% in 2021, 6.6% in 2020).

Western media took a much different angle, with many outlets making obligatory mention of warnings from analysts and officials that China’s real military spending could be much higher than the announced budget. For example the Guardian cited the US Department of Defense as claiming it could be up to two times higher. These outlets do mention that China’s defense budget is still dwarfed by that of the US ($224B versus $772B), before moving on to talk about the size of China’s navy and infantry, its “militarization” of the South China Sea and, of course, repeating the warnings emanating from Washington DC that “China may invade Taiwan” soon.

Such warnings from the US come coupled with a string of deliberate provocations such as official visits to Taiwan, flyovers, and ‘freedom of navigation’ operations. The US itself has made it a priority to militarize the region and to encircle China. None of these points can be found in Western media reports on Beijing’s defense spending – even though they are directly responsible for continued growth in China’s military budget.

Owing to the US attempt to contain China, the Asia-Pacific is now locked in a growing arms race and military competition, and Beijing has no choice but to participate. Washington has initiated a militarization of the region, under the label of its “Indo-Pacific” strategy, with the focus on suppressing the rise of China. To do this, the US has created minilateral blocs targeting China,one being the Quad (Australia, India, Japan, US) and the other being AUKUS with Britain. Additionally, the US has dramatically increased its deployment of military assets in the region, has pushed the Philippines to increase access to its bases, and has also deliberately pushed the Taiwan issue and walked back from its existing commitments to China in order to escalate regional tensions.

The US has actively encouraged and pushed for the arming of its regional allies too, the most notable example being Japan’s pledge to double its military spending and to buy hundreds of cruise missiles from the US. This militarization has been complementary to the parallel expansion of sanctions and embargoes aimed at crushing China’s rise in high-end technologies, which the US sees as directly contributing to its military capabilities. In this sense, the technological and military aspects of China-US competition are intrinsically linked, all in the name of American supremacy over the region.

So facing this growing military encirclement and competition, how does China respond? The answer is that it continues to develop and strengthen its military, with the optimism that it can keep up with the United States in the long term. The US military budget continues to be over three times the size of China’s, which is also sobering for those calling Beijing a “threat.” However, this does not mean that China is incapable, as its resources are concentrated in one region around itself, while the US is aiming for worldwide domination. When it comes to raw numbers, for example, China already has a larger navy than the United States and greater shipbuilding capacity.

2023 will be a year of significantly increased tensions. It hasn’t started well, with the US kicking up a storm over an alleged Chinese spy balloon, continuing provocations around Taiwan and reviving the Covid-19 lab leak theory. But will China bite? It seems unlikely.

One of the primary goals of this US-led effort is precisely to provoke Beijing so that Washington might be able to induce instability and therefore increase its geopolitical clout over other countries, breaking up positive regional integration. That is why China needs to be careful.

With Beijing recognizing it is facing US encirclement, it has to defend its critical national interests, but in conjunction, it also needs to play a diplomatic game to reassure other countries simultaneously. China does not want ties with India to deteriorate further, or to create anxiety for ASEAN claimants in the South China Sea, such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia or the Philippines.

It also wants to avoid Europe becoming more militarily involved against China, which would represent a great success for the US. China strives to be firm but also calm and cautious. There is a lot to lose in facing a hostile US, but sitting idly by is not an option. A military competition has begun, and it isn’t going away. Beijing must be strong but also avoid “rocking the boat” too much.

March 13, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Some ‘sober thinking’ remains in Ukraine as portions of population are in favor of peace talks

10 Mar 2023

A senior Kiev official recently admitted that an increasing portion of the country’s population wants peace talks with Moscow

Some Ukrainians are realistic about future relations between Russia and Ukraine, which are bound to be restored in some capacity sooner or later, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov suggested on Friday.

Speaking to reporters, Peskov said that while it was premature to talk about a diplomatic settlement of the conflict, “there are still small streams of sober thinking” in Ukraine about ties between Moscow and Kiev, despite “the flood of propaganda filled with hatred of Russia” and “efforts to brainwash the Ukrainian population.”

Relations between the two countries are “inevitable, because we are neighbors, that’s obvious,” he added.

Peskov’s comments come after Aleksey Danilov, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, admitted on Thursday that an increasing number of Ukrainians would like to see diplomatic engagement with Moscow to end the conflict. According to Danilov, such thinking is a “very dangerous tendency” and one that is even shared by some people in western Ukraine, a region that for decades has traditionally been ill-disposed towards Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly said that it is open to talks with Kiev on condition that the latter recognizes the “reality on the ground,” referring to the new status of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, as part of Russia. The former Ukrainian regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia in public referendums last autumn.

However, also last autumn, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky signed a decree prohibiting talks with the current Russian leadership. Later, he floated a ten-point “peace formula” that would require Moscow to withdraw all of its troops from the territory Kiev claims as its own. Russia rejected the proposal, claiming that it shows Ukraine’s unwillingness to find a solution to the crisis.

In January, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said that while Moscow is “ready to respond to all serious proposals” to resolve the conflict, it is “the West which decides for Ukraine,” and it does not give Kiev any chance to make decisions on its own.

March 13, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

12 yrs after Fukushima nuclear disaster, gov’t not facing evacuees’ hardship

March 11, 2023 (Mainichi Japan) Editorial:

Today marks 12 years since the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011. Over 22,000 lives were lost due to the cataclysm, including a massive tsunami that struck coastal regions and the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

Today, some 31,000 people are still living as evacuees. Around 90% of them are residents of Fukushima Prefecture. In municipalities mostly within so-called “difficult-to-return zones” where radiation levels are high, many residents have been barred from coming back, and reconstruction has been delayed.

The government is proceeding with decontamination of the areas it has designated as bases for reconstruction within these zones. However, they account for less than 10% of the zones’ total area. It also plans to prepare places outside these reconstruction bases so that people who want to return to those areas can do so, but it is expected that decontamination will be limited to the homes to which people want to return and the surrounding roads. This has left residents who want the whole area decontaminated at a loss.

Local ties lost

The town of Namie in Fukushima Prefecture is a prime example of the difficult circumstances. The current population stands below 2,000 — less than a tenth of what it was before the 2011 disaster. The fact that it has the largest area of difficult-to-return zones, accounting for 80% of the entire town, has put it at a significant disadvantage.

“Even if just one part is decontaminated and a person comes back alone, they can’t live in a mountain village. The government first needs to prepare an environment in which the local community can maintain itself,” stressed Shigeru Sasaki, 68, who has evacuated within Fukushima Prefecture.

Before the disaster, Sasaki lived in the eastern part of the Tsushima district, located in a gorge in Namie. When the Obon season arrived, residents in the settlement would go out together and cut the grass along roads and work together to protect the community.

Since the nuclear disaster, however, the entire Tsushima district has been off-limits as a place to dwell. Sasaki is the deputy leader of a group of 650 plaintiffs in a class action against the government and Fukushima Daiichi operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Holdings Inc. They are calling for the town to be restored to its original state, bringing radiation levels down to what they were before the disaster, but their claims were rejected by a district court. They are now appealing.

Last year, there was a change in government policy that struck a nerve with those whose lives were turned upside down by the nuclear disaster. The administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida effectively extended the operating life of existing nuclear reactors, which had been set at a maximum of 60 years, and also set out to promote replacing them with next-generation nuclear power plants. It is thus lowering the banner of “freedom from reliance on nuclear power” that had been held up from the time of the meltdown.

Sasaki was unable to hide his anger. “We see Tsushima in such a state, yet the government is acting as if the problems in Fukushima are over,” he said.

Meanwhile, some residents have voiced concerns that moves to go back to nuclear power will cause memories of the disaster to fade.

Since 2012, the year after the Fukushima disaster, the Namie Machi Monogatari Tsutae-tai, a town storytellers’ group, has performed picture story shows inside and outside Fukushima Prefecture, conveying the confusion immediately after the disaster and the hardship of life as evacuees. Group founder Yoshihiro Ozawa, 77, lamented, “What was the point of all our activities to date to make sure that people don’t forget the accident?”

Ozawa’s health has deteriorated and so he has given up on returning to Namie, where medical infrastructure remains inadequate. He and his wife still live in the place where they evacuated, and they have little contact with neighbors. He worries about what will happen when one of them ends up alone there.

“My friends and relatives are all scattered. I want people to know that Fukushima still has many issues,” Ozawa said.

Anger at the government for forgetting the lessons of 3.11

While the Japanese government wants to quickly close the book on the nuclear disaster, the locals cannot escape from the disaster’s prolonged effects. There is a wide gap between the perceptions of the two sides.

It is said that it will take several decades to decommission the Fukushima Daiichi reactors. In a survey asking residents why they were hesitant to return, quite a few people cited concerns about nuclear power plant safety, in addition to a lack of hospitals and commercial facilities.

Treated wastewater that continues to accumulate at the Fukushima Daiichi is set to be released into the ocean sometime from this spring onward. However, those in the fishery and others harbor strong concerns about reputational damage. At the end of last year, TEPCO announced compensation standards in the event of such damage, but there are no signs it will be able to gain people’s understanding.

Contaminated soil and other items collected during clean-up efforts across the prefecture remain in interim storage facilities in the local towns of Okuma and Futaba. They are supposed to be moved outside the prefecture for final disposal by 2045, but a destination for the material remains undecided.

Such problems, which are difficult to solve, weigh heavily on the future of the region.

Residents have not only lost their hometowns and a place to live; they have lost the happiness and security of living in close contact with those familiar to them. Twelve years after the outbreak of the nuclear disaster, this sense of profound loss has yet to heal.

The nuclear disaster is not over.

Rather than hurrying to retreat to nuclear power, the government should look squarely at the hardship of each and every resident. It has a responsibility to put effort into supporting them so that wherever they find shelter, they can make connections with people and find a purpose in life.

March 13, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The voices of the victims

The right to avoid exposure is “a fundamental right to protect human life”

The voices of the victims — Beyond Nuclear International

Firsthand accounts from Fukushima survivors and others afflicted by the nuclear sector

From Nos Voisins Lontains 3.11 (Our Faraway Neighbors 3.11)

Where are the voices of nuclear victims? It is becoming increasingly difficult to hear them. In denial of the harmful consequences of atomic plants, there is an attempt, for example, to downplay and minimize the damage caused by nuclear accidents and more generally the nuclear risk, limiting it merely to the number of deaths.

But there is a far wider web of suffering, especially because nuclear power accidents often do not cause instant, headline-grabbing deaths, but later ones, after a long latency period. This makes them harder to quantify and more easily dismissed.

In the context of the revival of nuclear power in France and Japan, it seems important to return to the field and listen to the voices of the victims. To that end, Nos Voisins Lontains 3.11 has created a new YouTube Channel — Voix des victimes du nucléaire (Voices of the nuclear victims).

In this series, the NGO Nos Voisins Lointains 3.11 (Our Faraway Neighbours 3.11) proposes to broadcast their voices with English subtitles. We are not presenting only the voices of the Fukushima nuclear accident victims, but also more widely the words of the victims of all nuclear uses, military or civil.

We hope that the courage and perseverance of these people will allow the warning voices of so many Cassandras to be heard far and wide, piercing the curse of the powerful nuclear industry and the political powers that support it.

The first video message is from Akiko Morimatsu. You can watch her testimony below. The transcript of her remarks follows.

My name is Akiko MORIMATSU.

The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011 was followed by the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. What happened to us, the residents of Fukushima?  What damage did the people living near the plant suffer? I would like to tell you about it in a concrete way.

On March 11, 2011, I was living in Koriyama, a town in Fukushima Prefecture, located about 60 km from the Fukushima Daiichi plant. There were four of us. Me, my husband and two children. A 5-month-old girl and a 3-year-old boy.

First of all, I would like to tell you that when a nuclear accident occurs, regardless of our age or sex, whether we are for or against nuclear power, we are all confronted with the problem of exposure to radioactivity. Radiation is invisible and colourless. There is no pain or tingling on the skin. And there is the issue of low-dose radiation exposure. At a great distance, you are exposed to low doses of radiation. Besides the fact that radiation cannot be perceived by the senses, people do not die instantly.

In this context, we, living 60km from the plant, lost our home in the Great Earthquake, and then after this natural disaster, we suffered a man-made disaster: the nuclear accident.

Of course, we did not hear the explosions at the nuclear power plant, nor did we see the damaged plant buildings directly. We only learned about the accident through the news on TV. Apart from that, there was no way to know that an accident with explosions took place. There was no way of knowing the exact situation of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, nor how much radiation we would be exposed to.

First of all, I would like to tell you that when a nuclear accident occurs, regardless of our age or sex, whether we are for or against nuclear power, we are all confronted with the problem of exposure to radioactivity. Radiation is invisible and colourless. There is no pain or tingling on the skin. And there is the issue of low-dose radiation exposure. At a great distance, you are exposed to low doses of radiation. Besides the fact that radiation cannot be perceived by the senses, people do not die instantly.

In this context, we, living 60km from the plant, lost our home in the Great Earthquake, and then after this natural disaster, we suffered a man-made disaster: the nuclear accident.

Of course, we did not hear the explosions at the nuclear power plant, nor did we see the damaged plant buildings directly. We only learned about the accident through the news on TV. Apart from that, there was no way to know that an accident with explosions took place. There was no way of knowing the exact situation of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, nor how much radiation we would be exposed to. . We didn’t know how much radiation we had to endure, because neither the state authorities nor the operator TEPCO provided accurate information. We, the people living near the plant, had to make many decisions in this ignorance.

I’m going to tell you about the most difficult thing I have had to do in the last 12 years since the accident. After the explosions at the nuclear power plant, we were well aware of the explosions… But we, who were 60 km away from the plant, were not evacuated by force. Apart from the evacuation order, there was also a confinement order. Gradually, within a radius of 2 km, then 3 km around the nuclear power plant, the population was forcibly evacuated. The circular mandatory evacuation zone gradually expanded. And from 20 to 30 km from the power plant, there was the order to stay indoors. That was the order given by the government. But we, 60 km away, did not receive the confinement order. We were not evacuated either. We were left on our own without any protection.

In this situation, I learned from the TV that the tap water, the drinking water, was contaminated. The first information I got was about the tap water in Kanamachi in Tokyo. They had found radioactive substances in the water. It was on a television program.

The Kanamachi water treatment plant was 200 km from the Fukushima Daiichi plant. We were only 60 km from the plant. Within the 200 km radius, the radioactivity increased, and with the rain radioactive substances contaminated the drinking water. Since the tap water at 200 km from the plant was contaminated, the water at 60 km had to be contaminated without any doubt. So, we learned about the radioactive contamination of our drinking water from the TV news.

Up to that point, it was known that radioactive material had been dispersed, but at 60km, there were no orders to evacuate or to stay indoors. There were repeated statements from the Prime Minister’s Office that there would be no immediate impact on health. The issue of exposure was indeed on our minds. But when I found out that the water in Tokyo was contaminated, and that the water in Fukushima was also contaminated, I realised that I was unknowingly drinking radioactive water. But even after learning this fact, I had to continue drinking the water. And so did my two children, aged 5 months and 3 years. My 5-month-old daughter was clinging to life through breast milk from a mother who was drinking contaminated water.

We also heard on the news that there had been a huge radioactive fallout in and around Fukushima, that shipments of leafy vegetables had been suspended, that farmers were going to lose their livelihoods, and that there had been suicides of desperate farmers. They had lost all hope in the future of their profession. All this we heard on TV.

So, we learned that there really was radioactive contamination. I learned that the farmers had milked the cows, but since shipping was no longer possible, they had to dump the milk in the fields.

As a nursing mother in Fukushima, I thought that we were also mammals like the cows. We humans were also exposed to high doses of radioactivity in the air, and we had to drink tap water, knowing that it was polluted.

I heard about the biological concentration. Milk was even more radioactive than water. That’s why the milk had to be thrown away. Yet I was drinking radioactive water, I was breastfeeding my 5-month-old daughter, and my milk concentrated the radioactivity.

 didn’t want to be exposed to radiation myself, and of course I didn’t want my five-month-old child to be exposed to radiation. But we were totally denied the right to choose to refuse exposure. Above all, a baby can’t say she doesn’t want to drink breast milk because it is contaminated. My three-year-old son brought me a glass when he was thirsty, saying “mummy, give me a glass of water”. Knowing that the tap water was contaminated, I was obliged to give him this water.

This is my experience.

The will to avoid exposure, the right to avoid exposure, are fundamental rights to protect life. Their violation is the most serious of all the damages caused by the nuclear accident. I think this issue should be at the heart of the nuclear debate.

I am not the only one who gave poisoned water to our children. Many people living in the area affected by the nuclear disaster had the same experience.

In order to avoid repeating these experiences and to improve the radioprotection policy, I would like you all to think together about the real damage caused by a nuclear accident, starting with whether you can drink radio-contaminated water. I think that this would naturally lead to a certain conclusion.

The most serious damage I suffered from the nuclear accident was that I was subjected to radiation exposure that was not chosen and was avoidable. 

This is the most serious damage to which I would strongly like to draw your attention.

Headline photo of Akiko Morimatsu and her son in Geneva at the UN courtesy of Nos Voisins Lontains 3.11.

March 13, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why were studies canceled? — Beyond Nuclear International

Do federal agencies fear a connection between nuclear power and cancer?

Why were studies canceled? — Beyond Nuclear International

Federal agencies won’t look at cancer impacts of commercial nuclear facilities

By Cindy Folkers, 12 Mar 23

If you thought the government of the United States, the country with the most nuclear power reactors in the world, might be interested in finding out the cancer impact of nuclear power on our children, you’d be wrong. But, our government is willing to give failed, uneconomic, decaying nuclear power reactors oodles of taxpayer money without first figuring out if and how they harm our children. Assessing potential health damage should be a prerequisite for reactor license renewal.

Citizens and lawmakers from California have been working to revivify a cancelled National Academy of Sciences (NAS) health study originally requested and funded by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in 2010. The study was to have been carried out in two phases. The first phase “identified scientifically sound approaches for carrying out an assessment of cancer risks” that would inform the study design(s) to be carried out in Phase 2. 

Phase 1 recommended examining seven pilot sites, six of which are operating or closed nuclear power plants: Big Rock Point (MI, closed), Dresden (IL), Haddam (CT, closed), Millstone (CT), Oyster Creek (NJ), and San Onofre (CA, closed). The seventh site, Nuclear Fuel Services (TN), is a fuel processing and stockpile conversion facility.

There were also two study designs recommended in the subsequent 2012 Phase 1 report: an ecologic study that would look at a variety of cancers among adults and children over the operational history of the facilities; and a record-linkage-based case-control study examining cancer risks for childhood exposures to radiation during more recent operating histories of the facilities. Because the case-control study would have focused on children, Beyond Nuclear supported this study type over the ecologic study recommendation.

The NAS was preparing to perform the pilot study at the seven sites in order to see which study type had the stronger methodology to be performed nationwide when it was scuttled by the NRC in 2015.

The NRC justified the cancelation by publicly contending that it would cost too much, take too long, and not be able to see any health impact — claims that are still disputed. The NAS health study would have cost an estimated $8 million at the time it was first proposed. 

Yet, at the same time that the NRC claimed the cancer study was too expensive, it signed a 20-year lease for a third building at its Rockville, MD headquarters (against the advice of Congress) that will eventually mount to a cost of $350 million. The decision was made in anticipation of the so-called Nuclear Renaissance, which instead fizzled, leaving the NRC scrambling to lease out the new space instead. 

The NAS was considering using new ways of examining the health impacts of radioactivity from NRC licensed sites by implementing a more detailed, more thorough, publicly shared research protocol. Such a protocol could have opened up the NRC’s regulatory regime to exhaustive scrutiny, revealing just how inadequate it is for examining health impacts.

Instead of asking the NRC to restart the original study, three members of the U.S. House of Representatives from California have asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to pick up the NAS study where the NRC left off, only to be rebuffed with the jaw-dropping claim by HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, that such a study would be “premature”(letter from X. Becerra to Hon. Mike Levin (D-CA), September 12, 2022), despite 60+ years of exposures to radiation from nuclear power. Becerra wants more delays to allow “collaboration”  with other agencies, like the U.S. Department of Energy that has historically been sanctioned from involvement in certain health studies. 

In fact, such studies done in Europe have shown increases of childhood leukemia around nuclear facilities worldwide. These studies were not “premature”, they were revelatory. Despite these findings, there has never been independent nationwide analysis in the U.S. examining connections between childhood cancer and nuclear power facilities. The NAS case-control study under consideration had a design similar to the European studies that found linkage between living near a nuclear reactor and increases in childhood cancers.

While Bacerra claims it is “premature” to study health impacts from nuclear power, it seems to be just the right time to throw more bailout money down the nuclear bottomless pit in order to keep the current reactor fleet running without knowing what their health impacts have been or will be.

In an ironic twist, the first $1.1 billion nuclear bailout was given to Diablo Canyon in California, a slap in the face for those asking for the health study. This taxpayer largess given to the California nuclear power plant was just a small piece of the $30 billion subsidy (by some estimates, nuclear subsidies could be even higher) earmarked for nuclear power in the Inflation Reduction Act.

The two Diablo Canyon nuclear generating units released 72 curies of tritium gas alone in 2019, part of a suite of radionuclides routinely released by operating reactors. This particular isotope is a radioactive form of hydrogen that can collect in fetal tissue to twice the concentration as it does in maternal tissue. It is well-known that pregnancy development is particularly sensitive to damage from radiation exposure — more so than adults or even children — clearly making this an issue that should interest HHS, as well as one that should help determine whether nuclear power can continue to operate or if its impact on our future generations might be too great. After all, we have readily available, cheaper and safer alternatives.

Despite its published motto — “Protecting people and the environment” — the NRC’s main focus has always been nuclear reactor operations, while downplaying and denying rather than investigating health impacts. The agency’s cancellation of the child cancer study was industry-friendly and tone-deaf; in other words, expected. It had undertaken the study to soothe public anxiety about health impacts. When the NRC learned the study might not accomplish this, or worse, might reveal the agency’s shortcomings as a watchdog agency, it pulled the plug.

From HHS, on the other hand, I expected better. “Health” after all, is in their name. 

Cindy Folkers is the Radiation and Health Hazard Specialist at Beyond Nuclear.

March 13, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dr Ian Fairlie -Low-dose radiation a health hazard in the nuclear industry , as well as in medicine.

Dr Ian Fairlie , 12 Mar 23

This is an important new study in the BMJ  …a meta analysis of 93 health studies.

The authors conclude, inter alia, “Our findings suggest that radiation detriment might have been significantly underestimated, implying that radiation protection and optimisation at low doses should be rethought.” And also

“This finding has considerable implications for the system of radiological protection, assuming that the extrapolation is permissible, even, for example, over the restricted dose range 0-0.5 Gy. This added risk would nearly double the low dose detriment.”

These conclusions are supported in an accompanying BMJ editorial

In initial thoughts: we should note that almost all of these studies concern medical exposures (ie for diagnostic or for cancer treatment purposes). Environmental exposures are hardly mentioned at all. However radiation exposures do occur to nuclear workers and to populations near nuclear facilities. Therefore we should be concerned about their cardiovascular health risks too.

For example,  there exists a 2017 INWORKS study – strangely omitted in this BMJ meta analysis – of increased deaths to nuclear workers from cardiovascular diseases. see

[1][ Gillies M, Richardson DB, Cardis E, Daniels RD, O’Hagan JA, Haylock R, Laurier D, Leuraud K, Moissonnier M, Schubauer-Berigan MK, Thierry-Chef I, Kesminiene A, “Mortality from Circulatory Diseases and other Non-Cancer Outcomes among Nuclear Workers in France, the United Kingdom and the United States” (2017) 188:3 (INWORKS) Radiat Res at pp 276-290, online:

 It remains to be seen whether the nuclear establishment (ICRP, UNSCEAR, IAEA, WHO etc) will pay any attention to this study.

March 13, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment