Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

to 6 December – Australian nuclear news, and more

Some bits of good news :  Greece says its entire electrical grid ran on 100% renewables for the first time.  Efforts to Save Endangered Blue Butterfly Quadruples its Population–but Also Saves a Lupine from extinction.


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

Climate.  Nature needs $384 billion a year, and other climate change stories you need to read this week. 
Climate techno-fixes keep planet on ‘palliative care’.


Nuclear
. I’ve been a bit obsessed with Australia this week. The probable nuclearisation of my country could proceed so fast, –  with the enthusiasm of Australian war-mongers, to embrace our role in American plans for a war on China, enthusiasm of American firms to sell nuclear-capable aircraft to us, and News Corpse and the noisy minority extreme Right touting for small nuclear reactors.

Japan is the country often forgotten in the Anglophone media. Our website www.nuclear-news.net keeps news on Japan up to date, because our amazing contributor, dunrenard, provides thorough information translated from the Japanese originals.

AUSTRALIA.

*******************************************************************

CLIMATEClimate change brings risk of flooding to the multi billion pound nuclear project Sizewell C.

ECONOMICS. 

ENERGY. Warning of power cuts for France, as nuclear reactors are working at half capacity. Potential for ‘worrying’ Hinkley Point C delay highlights need for renewables. Europe, weaning off fossil fuels from Russia, but still dependent on Russia for nuclear fuel.

ENVIRONMENT. UK govt goes ahead, with Sizewell nuclear project, despite strong objections on environmental grounds, especially about water use.

LEGALPursuing Assange in a US court could cause even more embarrassment than the WikiLeaks’ publications. European General Court refuses Austria’s appeal against the Commission’s decision to support 2 nuclear reactors for Hungary.

JapanA book titled “Fukushima Daiichi NPP Accident Nakadori Litigation” (published by Sakuhinsha, Inc.) The compensation standards for voluntary evacuees from the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident will finally be reviewed on May 5, and there are concerns about whether the standards will be commensurate with the actual situation.

MEDIANATO Narratives and Corporate Media Are Leading to ‘Doorstep of Doom’

NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY. Ukraine’s nuclear plants 

face uncertain future . 

USA trying to use Philippines as a guinea pig for its unviable small nuclear reactors – and for military purposes. No legitimate reason to support the 

controversial nuclear technology planned for New Brunswick. Talking

 football pitches but not in Qatar.

OPPOSITION TO NUCLEAR. No place for nuclear in NY’s clean energy future.    140,000 signatures of “opposition” to extension of operation period and reconstruction of nuclear power plants Submitted to the government “Reduction of dependence is the voice of the people”.

POLITICS

POLITICS INTERNATIONAL and DIPLOMACY

SAFETY

SECRETS and LIESStolen cryptocurrency has fuelled North Korea’s nuclear program. Could it collapse amid market turmoil? UK government may be covering up the extent of its involvement in the arrest and incarceration of Julian Assange.

SPINBUSTER. China keeps aggressively surrounding itself with US basesExpert panel full of proponents of nuclear power plants to discuss direction on March 28th, extending operation period and developing next-generation models, rushing to conclusion on “Prime Minister’s directive.

WASTES. Nuclear Free Local Authorities call for Community Partnerships to include critics of the UK undersea Geological Disposal Facility plan. Misleading claims about the supposed recycling of nuclear wastes.

WAR and CONFLICTExplosion at Nuclear Airbase Just 150 Miles From Moscow Opens Stunning New Phase of War https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFug2Wf3DcU       Britain’s bunkers offer little chance of survival after a nuclear attack. Imperialist wars—and what could be done about them — IPPNW peace and health blog.

WEAPONS and WEAPONS SALES

WORLD CRISESThe Guardian view on biodiversity collapse: the crisis humanity can no longer ignore.

December 6, 2022 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Parking Lot B-52: does the escalation of US troops and installations make Australia a bigger target?

we are particularly concerned about what’s going on now and the speed with what’s going on now. As well as about how little we know or are being told.”

Then there is the matter of what is a base, when is a base a base, and whether Australian authorities are kept in the dark about what their US allies are doing.

“If our objective is to be a deputy sheriff to the US, as the 51st state of the Union, then eight nuclear submarines is the answer.”

Michael West Media, by Callum Foote | Dec 5, 2022

The Department of Defence is refusing to confirm how many American troops are stationed in Australia, who pays for it, or even why. The rising deployment of troops and B-52 bombers however, and Pine Gap, make Australia a target in event of war between China and the US. Callum Foote reports.

The Department of Defence has refused to reply to inquiries into how many US military personnel are currently stationed in Australia. It’s not just soldiers, it’s weapons too.

An ABC Four Corners investigation recently revealed that the US is preparing to develop the Tindal air base near Katherine, 320kms south of Darwin, to host up to six nuclear-capable B-52 bombers. Today it was revealed the US is trying to sell Australia the latest American bomber, the B-21 Raider, and rotate the aircraft through Australia. 

Experts fear that the stockpiling of US weaponry in the Northern Territory would make Australia a target in the event of war between China and the US.

Despite the escalating presence of US troops and military hardware on Australian soil however, the Department of Defence has refused to reply to inquiries into how many US military personnel are currently stationed in Australia. Refused to reply full-stop.

We don’t even know who is funding it.

And as Chinese satellites could pick up the deployment of troops and US military installations, the secrecy is unwarranted.

B-52s here for the long haul

According to independent think tank Lowy Institute, B-52s have been deployed in the Northern Territory since at least the 1970s and military personnel training regularly in Australia since 2005. 

The federal government has yet been unclear about the purpose of the deployment of the bombers in Australia. However, experts believe that the rising tensions between China and the US in the South China Sea is cause for alarm.

Alison Broinowski, the president of Australians for War Powers Reform, an anti-war advocacy group, says her network is concerned about the rising militarisation of the Northern Territory.

“We’re all very concerned about this,’’ Broinowski told MWM. ‘’It’s not new of course – the signs of it being planned go back for years. But we are particularly concerned about what’s going on now and the speed with what’s going on now. As well as about how little we know or are being told.”

Broinowski is a former diplomat, academic and author. A significant amount of her opposition to the militarisation of the NT comes down to secrecy.

“The very fact that it was undertaken in secret and would remain secret were it not for revelations from journalists we still wouldn’t know because they are doing this in secret,’’ Broinowski said.

Political commentator and former diplomat Bruce Haigh suspects the oft-cited number of 2500 rotating US troops stationed in Australia doesn’t paint the full picture.

“They give the official figure at 2500 and say that they rotate but I understood that those troops are becoming more permanent.”

To the purpose of the thousands of US marines stationed in Darwin, Haigh says, officially, it’s for joint training exercises with the Australian Defence Force but we don’t know”.

“A lot of money being spent on upgrading these bases hasn’t yet gone through the parliamentary committee system so we don’t know where in the Defence budget this money is coming from.”

Between Pine Gap, Tindal Air Force Base and thousands of US marines deployed in Darwin the exact figure is unknown. The US also has access to almost all Australian military bases with US naval personnel also coming in and out of the Stirling Naval Base in Fremantle, according to Haigh.

Then there is the matter of what is a base, when is a base a base, and whether Australian authorities are kept in the dark about what their US allies are doing.

Broinowski says the government has little oversight of many of the facilities that the US has interested in “although we call them Australia joint facilities they are for all intents and purposes American bases. About which our government knows as little as it used to know in the olden days about Pine Gap”……………………………

According to former submariner and senator, Rex Patrick, government is captured by the Defence Department which is in turn captured by the US. The post-AUKUS treaty decision to jettison the French submarine deal and agree to a bigger program to buy submarines from the US or UK reflects an Australian subsidy for the struggling submarine industries in those countries.

“If our objective is to be a deputy sheriff to the US, as the 51st state of the Union, then eight nuclear submarines is the answer. “If our objective is ‘‘defence of Australia’’, with the ability to forward deploy boats to operating bases in Singapore, Malaysia, Guam or Japan, in support of our allies and friends, then 20 AIP boats is the answer.”  https://michaelwest.com.au/b-52s-in-australia-unknown-american-troops/

December 6, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

U.S. weapons firm Northrop Grumman no doubt salivating as Australia looks to buy its nuclear-capable B-21 stealth bomber

“I’m pretty sure you will see Australia ask for the B-21, and the United States I can tell you, is very interested in selling them to Australia,” 

RAAF Chief Robert Chipman’s visit to United States sparks renewed speculation Australia could purchase nuclear-capable B-21 Raiders ABC News, 6 Dec 22

Regular rotations of America’s newest nuclear-capable stealth bomber, and even a possible future Australian purchase of the B-21 aircraft, are expected to be discussed during high level talks between both nations this week.

Key points:

  • The Defence Department hasn’t confirmed whether US officials have discussed deploying their new stealth bomber to Australia 
  • Defence Minister Richard Marles and Foreign Minister Penny Wong will meet with their US counterparts this week
  • The US Air Force plans to build 100 of the B-21 raiders to replace their aging fleet

At a tightly controlled ceremony in California on Friday, the United States Air Force publicly unveiled the B-21 Raider, in front of an audience that included the Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

The B-21 Raider is the first new American bomber aircraft in more than 30 years, designed to carry both conventional and nuclear weapons, with each plane believed to cost around $1 billion (AUD).

Specific details of the in-development aircraft remain shrouded in secrecy with six currently being produced by US arms company Northrop Grumman and the first flight expected to take place next year…………………………………..

The Defence Department is yet to confirm whether Air Marshal Chipman discussed future deployments of the B-21 to Australia with American officials while in the United States, or an eventual purchase of the long-range aircraft by the RAAF.

Defence Minister Richard Marles, who has previously suggested the B-21 is being examined by Australia in the Defence Strategic Review, has just arrived in the United States for talks with Secretary Austin……………………..

“I’m pretty sure you will see Australia ask for the B-21, and the United States I can tell you, is very interested in selling them to Australia,” says Sydney-based American military author Colin Clark, who writes for the Breaking Defense publication.

“Regardless of whether they are armed with nuclear weapons or are under Australian command, I am almost certain, emphasis on almost, that B-21s will at least rotate regularly through Australia and they may well be based here permanently.”

Retired Air Commodore John Oddie, a former RAAF director-general of aerospace development, also believes the B-21 is eventually destined for Australia……….

The US Air Force plans to build 100 of the B-21 Raiders which will replace the ageing B-1 and B-2 aircraft, and could eventually be used with or without a human crew.

Both the US Air Force and Northrop Gruman have heralded the Raider’s relatively quick development, progressing from contract award to public debut in seven years.  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-12-06/b21-nuclear-stealth-bomber-australian-military/101735190

December 6, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Albo nukes nuclear energy idea

 Crikey, 6 Dec 22 Anthony Albanese says nuclear energy is off the table……

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has said SA Premier Peter Malinauskas is wrong to argue in favour of nuclear energy. Labor right-leaning Malinauskas said the eight AUKUS nuclear submarines expected to be built in his state should open our minds to the “zero carbon emissions” power source — Albo was like, I respect you, Mali, but everyone can get “one or two things wrong” sometimes.

The PM countered that the economic analysis of nuclear energy has proven it a dead end, time and time again. Why? Nuclear reactors take ages to build, they’re really bloody expensive, and where would we put the waste? Albanese asked. It comes as Coalition MP Ted O’Brien is running a “grassroots” survey facilitated by a company that works with nuclear projects in the US, Guardian Australia reports. Consulting company Helixos developed O’Brien’s website, but the MP says he paid for the grassroots community campaign himself.  https://www.crikey.com.au/2022/12/06/nuclear-albanese-malinauskas/

December 6, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

MP Ted O’Brien’s “grassroots” survey linked to a firm that promotes NuScam’s small nuclear reactors

Coalition MP’s ‘grassroots’ nuclear power survey linked to consulting firm: Ted O’Brien’s Time to Talk Nuclear website was registered by business that helps US reactor company, Guardian, Daniel Hurst, 4 Dec 22,

Coalition frontbencher conducting a “grassroots” survey about nuclear power is using a website registered by a business that helps an American small modular reactor company, records reveal.

Ted O’Brien, the shadow minister for climate change and energy, issued a statement on Friday saying he was “launching a grassroots community engagement program” under the banner “Time to Talk Nuclear”.

He urged Australians to “join the conversation” by completing a short survey on the website, with the first question being: “What do you think could be the benefits of nuclear energy in Australia?”

Guardian Australia can reveal the web domain was registered by Helixos Pty Ltd, a Sydney-based consulting company whose projects include “supporting the commercialisation of new nuclear energy technology”.

Helixos lists the US company NuScale Power as one of its clients.

Helixos says on its own website that NuScale Power “is reinventing nuclear energy and Helixos is helping them bring it to market”. It adds: “Helixos also provides training for employees to become technology ambassadors and engage with stakeholders and the public.”

A search of domain records for O’Brien’s website shows the contact name for the domain registration is Lenka Kollar, a nuclear engineer who co-founded Helixos in 2020. She previously held the role of director of strategy and external relations for NuScale Power.

In that previous role, Kollar was “working to bring NuScale’s small modular reactor to market through business plan development and clean energy outreach”, according to a profile published in 2017.

Kollar addressed a Global Uranium Conference in Adelaide last month on the topic “reaching net zero with nuclear energy”.

In tweets summarising her speech, Kollar said: “The time is now for Australians to have a conversation on nuclear energy and potentially overturn the ban.”…………………………………………..

Helixos’s projects are listed openly on its own website.

It works with the Energy Policy Institute of Australia “on editing public policy papers to promote progressive, technology-inclusive energy policy”, including one focusing on “the ability of small modular reactors (SMRs) to support a ‘just transition’ for coal communities in Australia”.

Helixos states it worked with SMR Nuclear Technology Pty Ltd “to develop a proactive stakeholder engagement strategy” to “help achieve the main goal of having nuclear energy considered as part of Australia’s future energy mix”.

Robert Pritchard, who is both chair of SMR Nuclear Technology and executive director of the Energy Policy Institute of Australia, declined to comment…………………………….

The survey has only three mandatory questions, starting with views on the benefits of nuclear energy in Australia.

It then asks what concerns, if any, the participant holds about nuclear energy, followed by any questions they might have. There is an optional section to “stay informed” by submitting an email address and postcode to O’Brien’s team.

O’Brien’s website also sets out frequently asked questions such as: “Is nuclear energy clean?”

The answer states: “Yes! Nuclear power’s total life-cycle carbon emissions and raw material requirements are the lowest among other energy sources, even lower than wind and solar.”

The climate change and energy minister, Chris Bowen, has previously accused the Coalition of pushing the nuclear debate as a “rearguard attempt to undermine and deny the transition to renewables”…………….  https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/dec/04/coalition-mps-grassroots-nuclear-power-survey-linked-to-consulting-firm

December 6, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Explosion at Nuclear Airbase Just 150 Miles From Moscow Opens Stunning New Phase of War

 https://ca.news.yahoo.com/explosion-nuclear-airbase-just-150-140030278.html?guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly90LmNvLw&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAIWRLNCeuWf8zLbyAHudpa3-bw-9tdVPGXTQGuuwYFES0ZvZ9vMH_T1ReFWPUewV2havE1HXpw2FLwviHZMwGaYPc6rE-9JqITke2F7EAKhtWHW-TatTTOYz7jqucsL3elDM0XtRqojhS65XvYofjN94JeobcwQfwI1UM-q-1mBv Barbie Latza Nadeau, Tue, December 6, 2022

Two explosions at major Russian military bases, including the Dyagilevo base near Ryazan just 150 miles from Moscow, mean the war in Ukraine has come right to Vladimir Putin’s doorstep.

The explosions—which were unmanned drone strikes, a senior Ukrainian official told The New York Times—suggest Ukraine wanted to strike fear right in the heart of Russia.

The second explosion struck the Engels-2 base, from which Tu-95 bombers have been pummeling Ukraine’s infrastructure over the last month.

Engels and Ryazan are around 300 to 450 miles from the Ukrainian border, which is beyond the range of any known missiles in Ukraine’s possession, the Times reported.

A fuel truck explosion at the base near Ryazan killed at least three and wounded half a dozen, and damaged Tu-95 bombers and Tu-22M long-range missile bombers, which have nuclear capability.

Video posted on social media suggests that the telltale whistle of a fighter jet or missile can be heard just before the Saratov base explosion, according to the Guardian.

Monday afternoon, several people in Crimea reported hearing explosions there, suggesting a coordinated effort.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov initially confirmed that Putin had been advised of the “situation” but did not speculate on who might be behind it, saying quite unbelievably that he had only “read about it” in the media, according to reporters at a briefing Monday.

The Kremlin later said its forces intercepted the drones, confirming the deaths of three servicemen and damage to two planes in the resulting “fall and explosion of the wreckage.”

Almost immediately after reports, air raid sirens across Ukraine heralded a barrage of missile strikes, with many targeting Zaporizhzhia, where at least two people were reported to have been killed after missiles destroyed several residential blocks. Several cities reported having no electricity or water after Russian strikes.

Roman Busargin, governor of the Saratov region where the Engels-2 base is housed, wrote on Telegram that law enforcement agencies were chasing “information about incidents at military facilities,” adding that, “No emergencies have occurred in the city’s residential areas.”

Ukraine’s interior minister Anton Gerashchenko posted images of the explosions on Telegram, suggesting they were watching closely. “Some sources report that this morning planes based on Engels and Ryazan airfields were scheduled to bomb Ukrainian energy infrastructure yet again,” Gerashchenko wrote Monday morning.

Other officials mused that Russia’s compounding losses are Ukraine’s gain. “The Earth is round—discovery made by Galileo. Astronomy was not studied in Kremlin, giving preference to court astrologers,” Volodymyr Zelensky adviser Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Telegram Monday. “If it was, they would know: if something is launched into other countries’ airspace, sooner or later unknown flying objects will return to departure point.”

December 6, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thousands rally in Rome against arming Ukraine

Trade unionists and leftists marched after the new government promised more arms for Kiev next year

https://www.rt.com/news/567650-italy-ukraine-weapons-protest/ 5 Dec 22,

Left-wing demonstrators took to the streets in Rome on Saturday, demanding higher wages and condemning the Italian government for renewing a decree allowing it to send weapons to Ukraine until 2024.

Organized by Italy’s USB trade union and backed by a number of leftist political factions, the protest saw thousands of people assemble at the Piazza della Repubblica and march behind a banner reading “guns down, wages up.”

“The Meloni government is dragging us further and further into a spiral of war with unpredictable outcomes,” the USB wrote prior to the protest. “Italy is evidently a belligerent and active country in the conflict, despite the fact that the great majority of the population is against the war and the consequent sharp increase in military spending.”

Italy’s new prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, issued a decree on Thursday allowing her cabinet to continue sending weapons to Ukraine until the end of 2023 without seeking the formal approval of parliament. Her predecessor, Mario Draghi, was a staunch supporter of Kiev and lost power after a disagreement over arms shipments split the largest party in his coalition government, the Five Star Movement.


The Italian public is split too, with 49% opposing sending weapons to Kiev and 38% in favor, according to a poll taken by EuroWeek News last month. Additionally, 49% of Italians believe that Ukraine needs to make concessions to Russia in the ongoing conflict to speed up the peace process, while only 36% want Kiev to keep fighting.

Last month, another rally in Rome calling for a peace deal to end the Ukrainian conflict drew 100,000 people, organizers said.

December 6, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘A form of self-destruction’: Japan weighs up plan to expand nuclear power

Japan’s prime minister is pushing for as many as 17 nuclear reactors to be switched back on, more than a decade on from the meltdown at Fukushima

Guardian, Justin McCurry in Onagawa, 30 Nov 22,

“…………………………………. In a sweeping change to the country’s energy policy, the prime minister, Fumio Kishida, has announced plans to build next-generation reactors and restart those left idle after the 2011 triple meltdown, in an attempt to end Japan’s dependence on imported fossil fuels and help meet its net zero target by 2050.

Kishida’s “green transformation”, which could include extending the lifespan of existing reactors beyond the current maximum of 60 years, underlines Japan’s struggle to secure an affordable energy supply as a result of the war in Ukraine and a power crunch that has triggered warnings of potential blackouts in Tokyo during this summer’s heatwave.

Most of Japan’s nuclear power plants have remained offline since the Fukushima meltdown, and previous governments indicated they would not build new reactors or replace ageing ones, fearing a backlash from a shaken and sceptical public.

Japan plans for nuclear to account for 20-22% of its electricity supply in 2030, compared with about a third before Fukushima. In 2020 the figure was less than 5%. Just 10 nuclear reactors among more than 30 have been restarted since the post-Fukushima introduction of stricter safety standards.

If Kishida gets his way though, seven additional reactors will be restarted after next summer, including the No. 2 unit at Onagawa, which sustained structural damage from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami but escaped a catastrophic meltdown despite being the closest atomic plant to the quake’s epicentre.

‘A threat to the safety of local people’

The restart has been approved by Japan’s nuclear watchdog and given “local consent” by Yoshihiro Murai, the governor of Miyagi – the prefecture where Onagawa is located.

But many residents argue that contingency plans for potential accidents would put lives at risk.

“The evacuation plans won’t work … they are a threat to the safety of local people,” says Masami Hino, one of 17 residents living within 30km of the plant who last year launched a legal action to block the restart, now scheduled for early 2024.

In the event of a serious accident, 1,000 residents living within 5km of the plant would leave immediately, while 190,000 people within a 30km radius would evacuate in stages, according to the official blueprint.

But many residents argue that contingency plans for potential accidents would put lives at risk.

“The evacuation plans won’t work … they are a threat to the safety of local people,” says Masami Hino, one of 17 residents living within 30km of the plant who last year launched a legal action to block the restart, now scheduled for early 2024.

In the event of a serious accident, 1,000 residents living within 5km of the plant would leave immediately, while 190,000 people within a 30km radius would evacuate in stages, according to the official blueprint.

“How can Tohoku Electric and the prefecture guarantee that an evacuation would go smoothly after something like a major earthquake? It’s impossible,” says Mikiko Abe, an independent member of the Onagawa town assembly who has spent 40 years campaigning for the plant’s closure.

https://a08534b52abfc87ee549e8a8e2fa5800.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-40/html/container.html

“Instead of planning for an evacuation, wouldn’t it be better to live safely in a place where there’s no need to even think about fleeing our homes?”………………………………………….

While pro-nuclear members of the Miyagi prefectural assembly have helped resist calls for a referendum, a poll in April by the local Kahoku Shinpo newspaper found that 56% of residents were “strongly” or “somewhat” opposed the restart.

“All of Japan’s nuclear power plants are on the coast … and this is a country that has earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes,” says Tsuyoshi Suda, a member of local anti-nuclear group Kaze no Kai, as he looked at the plant – complete with a newly built 29-metre high seawall – from a nearby beach.

“For Japan to keep putting its faith in nuclear power plants is like a form of self-destruction.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/nov/30/a-form-of-self-destruction-japan-weighs-up-plan-to-expand-nuclear-power

December 6, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rush to rooftop solar doubles sales for Australia’s only PV manufacturer — RenewEconomy

Tindo Solar says sales have doubled over the past two months, as consumers seek out rooftop PV as a long-term solution to soaring power prices. The post Rush to rooftop solar doubles sales for Australia’s only PV manufacturer appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Rush to rooftop solar doubles sales for Australia’s only PV manufacturer — RenewEconomy

December 6, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Who’s in charge here? Solar subsidy shakeup begins with accreditation question — RenewEconomy

Clean Energy Regulator calls for applicants to take over the role of accreditation scheme operator for the SRES from the Clean Energy Council. The post Who’s in charge here? Solar subsidy shakeup begins with accreditation question appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Who’s in charge here? Solar subsidy shakeup begins with accreditation question — RenewEconomy

December 6, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bowen says coal and gas price caps won’t derail Labor’s 82 per cent renewables target — RenewEconomy

Bowen says any move to lower prices of coal and gas supplies will not derail the federal government’s ambitions to reach 82 per cent renewables by 2030. The post Bowen says coal and gas price caps won’t derail Labor’s 82 per cent renewables target appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Bowen says coal and gas price caps won’t derail Labor’s 82 per cent renewables target — RenewEconomy

December 6, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Imperialist wars—and what could be done about them — IPPNW peace and health blog

Although all wars are not imperialist wars, it is remarkable how many imperial conquests have occurred over past centuries. Mobilizing their military forces, powerful states and, later, nations carved out vast empires at the expense of weaker or less warlike societies.  Some of the largest and best-known empires to emerge over the millennia were the Persian, the Chinese, […]

Imperialist wars—and what could be done about them — IPPNW peace and health blog

December 6, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pursuing Assange in a US court could cause even more embarrassment than the WikiLeaks’ publications. 

It’s possible that pursuing Assange in a US court could cause even more embarrassment than the WikiLeaks’ publications. As the years have passed, we have learned that a Spanish security firm recorded his every move and those of his visitors and legal counsel in the Embassy of Ecuador. This was passed to the CIA, and was used in the US case for his extradition. The trial of Daniel Ellsberg for leaking the Pentagon Papers failed because his psychiatrist’s records were stolen by investigators, and this should set a precedent for Assange.

Enough is enough for Albanese on Assange: our allies may respect us if we say this more. https://johnmenadue.com/enough-is-enough-for-albanese-on-assange-our-allies-may-respect-us-if-we-say-this-more/ By Alison Broinowski, Dec 2, 2022

The Prime Minister’s surprise revelation that he has raised the case against Julian Assange with US officials and urged that charges of espionage and conspiracy be dropped opens up many questions.

Mr Albanese thanked Dr Monique Ryan for her question on Wednesday 31 November, giving what appeared to be a carefully prepared and timed answer. The Independent MP for Kooyong sought to know what political intervention the government would make in the case, observing that public interest journalism is essential in a democracy.

The news flashed around between Assange supporters in and outside Parliament, and reached the Guardian, the Australian, SBS, and Monthly online. Neither the ABC nor the Sydney Morning Herald carried the story, even the next day. SBS reported that Brazil’s president-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva expressed support for the campaign to free Assange.

But two days earlier, on Monday 29 November, the New York Times and four major European papers had printed an open letter to the US Attorney-General Merrick Garland, deploring the assault on media freedom which the pursuit of Assange represented.

The NYT, the Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and El Pais were the papers which in 2010 received and published some of the 251,000 classified US documents provided by Assange, many revealing American atrocities in Afghanistan and Iraq.

US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning gave them to Assange, who redacted names of people he considered could be harmed by publication. A senior Pentagon serving officer later confirmed that no-one had died as a result. Manning was imprisoned, and then pardoned by Obama. Assange spent seven years in diplomatic asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador in London before British police removed him and he was imprisoned for breach of bail condition.

Assange has been in Belmarsh high security prison for three years, in poor physical and mental health. Court proceedings against him over extradition to face trial in the US have been farcical, biased, oppressive, and excessively prolonged.

In Opposition, Albanese said ‘Enough is enough’ for Assange, and he has at last done something about it in Government. What exactly, with whom, and why now, we don’t yet know. The PM’s hand may have been forced by the major dailies’ letter to Attorney-General Garland, which made Australian politicians and media appear to be doing nothing. Or he may have raised the Assange case in his recent meetings with Biden, at the G20 for example.

Another possibility is that he was talked into it by Assange’s barrister, Jennifer Robinson, who met with him in mid-November and spoke about the case at the National Press Club. When I asked if she could say if she and Albanese discussed Assange, she smiled and said ‘No’ – meaning she couldn’t, not that they didn’t.

Monique Ryan made the point that this is a political situation, requiring political action. By raising it with US officials, Albanese has moved away from the previous government’s position that Australia couldn’t interfere in British or American legal processes, and that ‘justice must take its course’. That wasn’t the approach Australia took to secure the freedom of Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert, imprisoned for espionage in Iran, or of Dr Sean Turnell from jail in Myanmar. It isn’t Australia’s approach in China either, where a journalist and an academic remain in detention.

By taking up Assange’s case, Albanese is doing nothing more than the US always does when one of its citizens is detained anywhere, or than the UK and Canada quickly did when their nationals were imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay. Australia allowed Mamdouh Habib and David Hicks to spend much longer in US custody before negotiating their release. We might gain more respect from our allies if we adopted their speedy approach to these cases, than we do by subservience to British and American justice.

It’s possible that pursuing Assange in a US court could cause even more embarrassment than the WikiLeaks’ publications. As the years have passed, we have learned that a Spanish security firm recorded his every move and those of his visitors and legal counsel in the Embassy of Ecuador. This was passed to the CIA, and was used in the US case for his extradition. The trial of Daniel Ellsberg for leaking the Pentagon Papers failed because his psychiatrist’s records were stolen by investigators, and this should set a precedent for Assange.

Even though Biden once called Assange a ‘hi-tech terrorist’, as President he is now an advocate of human rights and democratic freedoms. This might be a good time for him to put them into practice. Doing so would make both Biden and Albanese look better than their predecessors.

December 5, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics international | Leave a comment

South Australian Premier and Opposition leader enthuse about nuclear military submarines, and nuclear power, except for the costs.

Premier Peter Malinauskas says SA submarines will help ‘bust myths’ over nuclear power.

Adelaide-based submarine construction will bust “ill-founded” ideological myths about atomic safety – according to the Premier – as he opens the door to nuclear power.

Paul StarickEditor At Large, The Advertiser, December 4, 2022 .

Premier Peter Malinauskas has opened the door to nuclear power, arguing Adelaide-based submarine construction will bust “ill-founded” ideological myths about atomic safety.

In an exclusive interview with The Advertiser, Mr Malinauskas said building at least eight nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS pact would demonstrate safety concerns were based on decades-old sentiment.

Mr Malinauskas argued people dedicated to decarbonising the electricity grid to tackle global warming should be open-minded about nuclear power, but cost was a prohibitive barrier to Australia embracing the technology at this stage.

Declaring United States and United Kingdom partners had a military nuclear safety record spanning decades, Mr Malinauskas said this emphasised the critical need to ensure Australia had the technical capability to install and maintain submarine reactors, as planned under the AUKUS pact.

“(Adelaide submarine construction) will go a long way to allaying some of the fears that exist around safety. I think it’ll demonstrate that the safety concerns are more based on things from decades and decades ago,” Mr Malinauskas said.

“I think that’ll be good in terms of community sentiment, and help bust a few myths. In respect of my position on nuclear power for civil consumption, or use, I’ve always thought that the ideological opposition that exists in some quarters to nuclear power is ill-founded.

“Nuclear power is a source of baseload energy with zero carbon emissions. So, for someone like myself, who is dedicated to a decarbonisation effort, I think we should be open-minded to those technologies and I think it would be foolhardy to have a different approach.”

Mr Malinauskas said his biggest reservation about nuclear power for Australia and SA was cost.

“We are facing next year, if all the reports are true, one of the biggest price challenges in terms of energy in the history of the nation.

“It would be madness to contemplate sources of energy that are more expensive than the ones that we already have.”

Mr Malinauskas said extraordinary technological advancement would be required for nuclear power to be economic for the state and nation, because of high transmission costs for a dispersed, comparatively small population base and industrial demand.

He argued nuclear power stacked up economically in regions with large cities exceeding Australia’s entire population, with huge industrial demand for electricity.

Seeking to forge a “third-way” position on nuclear power, Mr Malinauskas declared he did not believe the vast capital cost of nuclear power would be recovered through supply volume in Australia.

“I get frustrated with a nuclear debate that has emerged in Australia recently because you’ve got people on the left who seem to be flat out opposed to nuclear power for ideological reasons, despite the fact we’ve got a climate challenge and wanting to decarbonise,” he said.

“Then we’ve got people on the right who seem to be utterly in favour of nuclear power, without any reference to the cost of it.

“It strikes me as starting to become one of these polarised debates that has been consumed by the culture wars, rather than an evidence-based discussion on what is good for decarbonisation, and what is good for price.”

At least eight nuclear-powered submarines will be built at Osborne Naval Shipyard, in Adelaide’s northwest, under the AUKUS pact forged in September last year, with details to be unveiled in March.

This was branded “one of the greatest national endeavours of the Australian story” by Defence Minister Richard Marles, who told the Sunday Mail luring workers to defence was a full-blown crisis keeping ministers “up at night”.

A joint state and federal taskforce formed in September to ensure SA-based defence projects would “have a highly skilled workforce to draw on” is expected to produce a blueprint by next October.

Declaring the nuclear-powered submarine construction would boost industrial complexity, jobs, incomes and skills, Mr Malinauskas amplified previous comments that the 10,000-job boom would make Holden car manufacturing “look like small beer”.

“Modern manufacturing history globally is full of examples where car manufacturing starts and then it stops – comes to a town, leaves the town. That’s not just true of Adelaide but with plenty of places around the world,” he said.

“But when it comes to building nuclear submarines, there is no nuclear submarine supply chain that has ever started and then stopped. They only start and keep going.

So, what we’re talking about here is something that literally could take us well into the next century, at the highest skill level. On every level, Holden pales into insignificance.”

Mr Malinauskas said he had “every confidence” the submarines would be built in Adelaide, as promised, but said he understood scepticism after the French deal to build 12 conventionally powered submarines was torn up for AUKUS.

Opposition Leader David Speirs said the state’s skills transformation for the nuclear submarine supply chain would require serious political leadership from the Premier but vowed bipartisan support, declaring this was not “an overly political thing”.

“It has the potential to be transformational, in every aspect of life in South Australia. The number of workers who will be required, the type of skills that will be needed to be exemplified by those workers and the type of a technological transformation that will be needed is the sort of change that our state would not have seen anything like this since industrialisation,” he said.

“There is an incredible opportunity here. It’s not without its risks but South Australia is well placed to grab hold of that opportunity, as long as we line up various aspects of our workforce, our skills matrix and work out what government’s role is there to drive all of this forward.”

Asked whether developing a military-based nuclear industry should result in nuclear power, Mr Speirs said he believed he and Mr Malinauskas “were quite close on this matter”.

“One of the great ironies of South Australia is that we have these huge uranium deposits, among the largest in the world, and yet we don’t have a nuclear power industry in Australia,” he said.

“There will be growth in this sector across the world. We’re going to have to get in place those skills around safety and technical expertise to have the submarine build in Australia, so there is an opportunity to extend that conversation to power production.”

December 5, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Guinea Pig Nation’- Lax rules for new reactors deliberately endanger communities

“Make no mistake about it—while NRC is doing its part to serve nuclear industry needs, we should not lose sight of the fact that it is the aggressive pro-nuclear agenda of the Biden Administration that has unleashed a juggernaut of financial and PR support for new nuclear reactors. Everything from the tens of billions of dollars allocated for new nuclear in the Infrastructure Act and the IRA [Inflation Reduction Act, which establishes a nuclear power production tax credit], to the national dog-and-pony show [the recent U.S. tour promoting nuclear power] of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, demonstrates the administration’s intentions to run roughshod over the objections of the public. We have a hard fight ahead of us.”

‘Guinea Pig Nation’ — Beyond Nuclear International NRC will weaken regulations for new “advanced” reactors says scientist
By Karl Grossman
“Guinea Pig Nation: How the NRC’s new licensing rules could turn communities into test beds for risky, experimental nuclear plants,” is what physicist Dr. Edwin Lyman, Director of Nuclear Power Safety with the Union of Concerned Scientists, titled his presentation last week.

The talk was about how the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is involved in a major change of its “rules” and “guidance” to reduce government regulations for what the nuclear industry calls “advanced” nuclear power plants.

Already, Lyman said, at a “Night with the Experts” online session organized by the Nuclear Energy Information Service, the NRC has moved to allow nuclear power plants to be built in thickly populated areas. This “change in policy” was approved in a vote by NRC commissioners in July. 

For a more than a half-century, the NRC and its predecessor agency, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, sought to have nuclear power plants sited in areas of “low population density”—because of the threat of a major nuclear plant accident.

But, said Lyman, who specializes in nuclear power safety, nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism, the NRC in a decision titled “Population-Related Siting Considerations for Advanced Reactors,” substantially altered this policy. 

The lone NRC vote against the change came from Commissioner Jeffery Baran who in casting his ‘no’ vote wrote “Multiple, independent layers of protection against potential radiological exposure are necessary because we do not have perfect knowledge of new reactor technologies and their unique potential accident scenarios….Unlike light-water reactors, new advanced reactor designs do not have decades of operating experience; in many cases, the new designs have never been built or operated before.” 

He noted a NRC “criteria” document which declared that the agency “has a longstanding policy of siting nuclear reactors away from densely populated centers and preferring areas of low population density.”

But, said Baran, under the new policy, a “reactor could be sited within a town of 25,000 people and right next to a large city. For reactor designs that have not been deployed before and do not have operating experience, that approach may be insufficiently protective of public health and safety…And it would not maintain the key defense-in-depth principle of having prudent siting limitations regardless of the features of a particular reactor design—a principle that has been a bedrock of nuclear safety.”

That is just one of the many reductions proposed in safety standards.

“The central issue,” commented Lyman in an interview following his November 17th presentation, “is that the NRC is accepting on faith that these new reactors are going to be safer and wants to adjust its regulations accordingly, to make them less stringent—on faith.”

The key motivation, he said, behind the nuclear industry’s push to significantly weaken safety standards is that the line of smaller nuclear power plants the nuclear industry is now pushing—including what it calls the “small modular nuclear reactor”— are going to be “much more expensive” than the existing light-water nuclear power plants, the most common type of nuclear power plant, which are large and are cooled by plain water. Thus, he said, these “advanced” nuclear plants would be more costly to operate than using energy alternatives, “certainly wind and solar.”

And the NRC is complying with the nuclear industry.

It’s a demonstration of one of the alternatives for the acronym for the NRC—Nuclear Rubberstamp Commission.

The list of proposed safety reductions in the PowerPoint portion of Lyman’s presentation under “Cutting corners on safety and security to cut costs,” and what the nuclear industry “wants” in what the NRC calls its “Part 53” assemblage of changes, included, in addition to the already completed alteration of

siting criteria:

  • Allowing nuclear power plants to have a “small containment—or no physical containment at all.” Containments are the domes over nuclear plants to try to contain radioactive releases in an accident.
  • “No offsite emergency planning requirements.” The NRC has been requiring emergency planning including the designation of a 10-mile evacuation zone around a nuclear power plant.
  • “Fewer or even zero operators.” The nuclear industry would like advanced nuclear plants to operate “autonomously.”
  • Letting the plants have “fewer” NRC “inspections and weaker enforcement.”
  • “Reduced equipment reliability reporting.” 
  • “Applications” for an advanced reactor “should contain minimal information.”
  • “The NRC’s review standards should be lenient.”
  • Letting the plants have “fewer inspections and weaker enforcement.”
  • “Fewer back-up safety systems.”
  • “Regulatory requirements should be few in number and vague.”
  • “Zero” armed security personnel to try to protect an advanced nuclear power plant from terrorists. 

What the industry wants

from Part 53

  • Regulatory requirements should be few in number and vague. – details should go in non-binding guidance.
  • Applications should contain minimal  detail. 
  • The NRC’s review standards should be lenient. 
  • Fewer inspections and weaker enforcement.

The Nuclear Energy Information Service’s summary of his presentation stated: “Under the direction of Congress, the NRC is developing new regulations to facilitate licensing of experimental reactors by relaxing safety security standards and by relying on safety demonstrations that utilize computer simulations rather than experimental data. The major focus of this effort, known as ‘Part 53,’ is being written with an unprecedented level of industry involvement. If ‘Part 53’ is enacted, first-of-a kind reactors would be located in densely populated urban areas without any promise for emergency evacuation, planning, without security forces to protect against terrorist attack, and without highly trained operators—and all without meaningful opportunities for public input.”

These “are sometimes referred to as ‘advanced reactors.’ However, that is a misnomer for most designs being pursued today…largely descend from those proposed many decades ago,” the report continued.  

“In part,” it went on, “the nuclear industry’s push to commercialize NLWRs is driven by its desire to show the public and policymakers that there is a high-tech alternative to the static, LWR-dominated status quo: a new generation of ‘advanced’ reactors. But a fundamental question remains: Is different actually better? The short answer is no. Nearly all of the NLWRs currently on the drawing board fail to provide significant enough improvements over LWRs to justify their considerable risks.”

In the report, Lyman extensively examines issues involving each of the NLWR (Non Light Water Reactors) or “advanced” reactors. 

David Kraft, director of the Chicago-based Nuclear Energy Information Service, after Lyman’s talk said in an interview: “Dr. Lyman warns us all once again how largely beholden to the nuclear industry the NRC is. NRC is willing to twist and contort even reasonable safety regulations in ways that cater to nuclear industry desires to a degree that would rival a toy balloon-dog at a children’s party. It is this kind of almost institutionalized acquiescence to industry wants that has led many to believe that NRC stands for Not Really Concerned.”

Kraft continued: “Make no mistake about it—while NRC is doing its part to serve nuclear industry needs, we should not lose sight of the fact that it is the aggressive pro-nuclear agenda of the Biden Administration that has unleashed a juggernaut of financial and PR support for new nuclear reactors. Everything from the tens of billions of dollars allocated for new nuclear in the Infrastructure Act and the IRA [Inflation Reduction Act, which establishes a nuclear power production tax credit], to the national dog-and-pony show [the recent U.S. tour promoting nuclear power] of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, demonstrates the administration’s intentions to run roughshod over the objections of the public. We have a hard fight ahead of us.”

Founded in 1981, Nuclear Energy Information Service is among the safe-energy, anti-nuclear organizations that are challenging the NRC’s effort to change its “rules” and “guidance” to boost “advanced” nuclear plants. It plans to soon post through its website a recording of Lyman’s Zoom presentation.

December 5, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment