Australian news, and some related international items

Senate committee to report by August 31 re Kimba Nuclear Waste Dump plan

[Ed. According to some reports  – “Woomera has nothing to worry about, Defence say no, so they are safe.”]

Nuclear waste push for Woomera over Kimba ‘fails pub test’, local mayor saysMichelle Etheridge, Regional Reporter, The Advertiser

A push to swap Kimba for Woomera as the site of a new radioactive waste storage site is disrespectful and “fails the pub test” following years of consultation, the local mayor says.

Kimba Mayor Dean Johnson on Monday told a Senate committee that after much debate, the district was “the best informed community in Australia when it comes to radioactive waste and how it’s handled”.

His comments follow Senator Patrick’s suggestion that the contentious storage facility, planned for farming property Napandee, near Kimba, be built at Woomera instead.

Our community has engaged and invested in the process for a really long time and to throw it in another location now, like Woomera, is just disrespectful on so many levels,” Mr Johnson said.

It’s a bad idea that fails the pub test and the common sense test.”

Senator Patrick has said Federal Parliament should be given a choice to build the dump in the remote and highly-secure Woomera Protection area, where low and intermediate level waste has been stored for decades. However, Defence has argued building the facility at Woomera would “not align with Australia’s strategic interests”.

Kimba stands to receive a $31 million funding package under the plans.

Mr Johnson said the facility would deliver a new industry for the Eyre Peninsula town, and help the area “not just survive, but thrive”.

The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation have opposed the legislation on the basis that it removes the organisation’s right to seek a judicial review of the Government’s decision to go ahead with the site.

Its chairman Jason Bilney asked the committee to consider the impacts of a decision to go ahead as planned, despite traditional landowners objecting.

What does that say to indigenous people – we’ve won our country but we still don’t have a right to say what we need to about our country? It’s very disrespectful to the community and our elders,” he said.

Kimba Council last year ran a poll on whether locals supported the waste plan, but traditional landowners not living in the area were excluded.

Meantime, No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA president Peter Woolford said the waste site should be built somewhere it posed no risk to agriculture. “The sad thing that’s been forgotten here is the impact on people – people are thinking about whether they’re going to move out because of their mental health,” he said.

We’re (also) trying to stand up for people outside of Kimba that have been denied a say.”

The Senate committee will report back by August 31.


August 4, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Racism in nuclear bomb testing, bombing of Japanese people, and nuclear waste dumping

Langston Hughes voiced the opinion that until racial injustice on home ground in the United States ceases, “it is going to be very hard for some Americans not to think the easiest way to settle the problems of Asia is simply dropping an atom bomb on colored heads there.”[25] While his statement was made in 1953, near the eighth anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, it remains equally relevant today, as we approach the 75th anniversary

Memorial Days: the racial underpinnings of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings  , Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Elaine Scarry, Elaine Scarry is the author of Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing between Democracy and Doom and The Body in Pain: the Making and Unmaking of the World. She is Cabot Profess…   By Elaine Scarry, August 3, 2020

This past Memorial Day, a Minneapolis police officer knelt on the throat of an African-American, George Floyd, for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Seventy-five years ago, an American pilot dropped an atomic bomb on the civilian population of Hiroshima. Worlds apart in time, space, and scale, the two events share three key features. Each was an act of state violence. Each was an act carried out against a defenseless opponent. Each was an act of naked racism. ……….

Self-defense was not an option for any one of the 300,000 civilian inhabitants of the city of Hiroshima, nor for any one of the 250,000 civilians in Nagasaki three days later. We know from John Hersey’s classic Hiroshima that as day dawned on that August morning, the city was full of courageous undertakings meant to increase the town’s collective capacity for self-defense against conventional warfare, such as the clearing of fire lanes by hundreds of young school girls, many of whom would instantly vanish in the 6,000° C temperature of the initial flash, and others of whom, more distant from the center, would retain their lives but lose their faces.[2] The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki initiated an era in which—for the first time on Earth and now continuing for seven and a half decades—humankind collectively and summarily lost the right self-defense. No one on Earth—or almost no one on Earth[3]has the means to outlive a blast that is four times the heat of the sun or withstand the hurricane winds and raging fires that follow………

Centuries of political philosophers have asked, “What kind of political arrangements will create a noble and generous people?” Surely such arrangements cannot be ones where a handful of men control the means for destroying at will everyone on Earth from whom the means of self-defense have been eliminated……..

When Americans first learned that the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been collectively vaporized in less time than it takes for the heart to beat, many cheered. But not all. Black poet Langston Hughes at once recognized the moral depravity of executing 100,000 people and discerned racism as the phenomenon that had licensed the depravity: “How come we did not try them [atomic bombs] on Germany…  . They just did not want to use them on white folks.”[4] Although the building of the weapon was completed only after Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945, Japan had been designated the target on September 18, 1944, and training for the mission had already been initiated in that same month.[5] Black journalist George Schuyler wrote: “The atom bomb puts the Anglo-Saxons definitely on top where they will remain for decades”; the country, in its “racial arrogance,” has “achieved the supreme triumph of being able to slaughter whole cities at a time.”[6]

Still within the first year (and still before John Hersey had begun to awaken Americans to the horrible aversiveness of the injuries), novelist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston denounced the US president as a “butcher” and scorned the public’s silent compliance, asking, “Is it that we are so devoted to a ‘good Massa’ that we feel we ought not to even protest such crimes?”[7] Silence—whether practiced by whites or people of color—was, she saw, a cowardly act of moral enslavement to a white supremacist. Continue reading

August 4, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment


The Advertiser, 3 Aug 20, An Adelaide Hills councillor is laser-focused on the threat posed by nuclear weapons. He wants his council to take immediate steps so it’s ready to provide local leadership in the event of a nuclear holocaust……. (subscribers only)

August 4, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Links between Trump administration, Falun Gong, and Australia’s government

Propaganda Wars: US state department funds anti-China news outlet in Australia

by Marcus Reubenstein | Aug 4, 2020  Office bearers of US-backed Chinese language news service Decode China are linked with Falun Gong, the spiritual group that has spent millions backing Donald Trump through fake social media accounts. The same people are on the board of the National Foundation for Australia China Relations, raising scepticism about its ability to repair fractured relationships. Marcus Reubenstein investigates US state funding of anti-China media in Australia and links to global arms dealers via ASPI.

The US State Department is quietly funding a Chinese-language news service in Australia, a move more typically associated with China’s state media propagandists.

And two of the three office bearers of the news service, Decode China, are members of a taxpayer-funded independent board advising the Australian government on engagement with China.

Corporate records show Dr Wai Ling Yeung and Maree Ma became secretary and director, respectively, of Decode China Pty Ltd just eight weeks before Foreign Minister Marise Payne appointed them to the board of the National Foundation for Australia China Relations. The NFACR replaced the Australia China Council (ACC), which was set up by the Fraser government in 1978 and later chaired by former prime minister Gough Whitlam.

The retired Curtin University academic Dr Yeung is a vocal critic of the Chinese government, while Ma is the general manager of the Falun Gong-aligned, largely anti-Chinese government Vision Times newspaper. According to journalist and former Australian Falun Gong practitioner Ben HurleyVision Times is part of the apparatus of Falun Gong media in Australia, led by The Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty Television.

The spiritual group Falun Gong is banned in China and there is substantial evidence that its mainland Chinese followers are harshly persecuted by the Chinese government.

However, former practitioners say it’s a dangerous cult, whose leaders claim to have the power of levitation and tell followers that aliens from other planets are responsible for interracial marriage and mixed-race children.

Falun Gong-aligned media affiliates in the US have been accused of pouring millions of dollars into fake social media accounts and Facebook advertising, since banned, supporting Donald Trump. A recent investigation by the ABC’s Foreign Correspondent and Background Briefing programs revealed Falun Gong-affiliated media in the US have spent more than US$11.5 million in social media advertising to promote Trump.

ASPI lurking in the background Continue reading

August 4, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

The nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki did NOT save lives and shorten World War 2

What Europeans believe about Hiroshima and Nagasaki—and why it matters , Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists   Benoît Pelopidas  Benoît Pelopidas is the founder of the Nuclear Knowledges program at the Center for International Studies at Sciences Po in Paris (formerly chair of excellence in security studies).  Kjølv Egeland, Kjølv Egeland is Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow in Security Studies at Sciences Po, focusing on strategic narratives and global nuclear order. 

By Benoît PelopidasKjølv Egeland, August 3, 2020   Did the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki shorten the war, and were they necessary to force the Japanese surrender? Many people believe the answer to both questions is yes: In dropping the Bomb, America chose the lesser of two evils.

Although historians have long challenged this narrative as wrong or misleading, a significant number of Europeans still believe it. That is the primary result of a recent survey of European views on nuclear affairs generally and the atomic bombings of Japan specifically. The survey, carried out in October 2019, involved approximately 7,000 respondents aged 18 and upward, carefully selected to ensure representative samples from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

The survey also shows that those who believe the bombings were necessary and effective at significantly shortening the war are more likely to harbor skepticism toward nuclear disarmament than those who do not. That being said, European publics remain on the whole staunch in their support for the elimination of nuclear weapons. Even in nuclear-armed France and the United Kingdom, large majorities reject the idea that nuclear weapons could ever be used morally. Although others across the world may hold similar views, to date there has been no broad survey posing these questions in the United States or elsewhere. Future surveys could investigate whether the same pattern exists beyond Europe…………

it does not appear that the US executive spent much time deliberating whether atomic weapons should be used or not.  Discussions instead focused on how, when, and where they would be employed. ………….

According to declassified documents, the US military estimated in June 1945 that a full-scale invasion of the Japanese home islands, in the worst-case scenario, could be expected to incur up to 220,000 casualties—quite far from Stimson’s “over a million.” Moreover, of the 220,000 casualties, only 46,000 were projected as fatalities. The number of people killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on the other hand, was probably at least twice as high as the “over a hundred thousand Japanese” reported by Stimson in 1947………

the idea that the US government was faced with only two options in August 1945—full invasion or atomic bombing of Japanese population centers—has little basis in reality. Alternative courses of action, not mutually exclusive, would have included negotiations, a demonstration of the atomic bomb in an uninhabited area, continued strategic bombing short of the use of atomic weapons, continued economic blockade, and waiting for the Soviets to declare war against the Japanese empire. 

it is not clear that the atomic bombs were in fact responsible for the Japanese surrender. The Japanese war cabinet had over an extended period of time been divided between a “peace party,” which argued that Japan should seek an end to the war as quickly as possible, and a “war party,” which argued the war should be continued as Japan sought good offices from the Soviet Union to negotiate a peace deal with the United States and Britain. In the view of the acclaimed historian Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, who consulted primary sources in Japanese, it was the Soviet Union’s breach of the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact and attack against Japan on August 9, 1945 that tipped the scale and forced the emperor’s decision to surrender the very next day (the final decision was formalized a few days later, following discussions within the Japanese executive). In the absence of the Soviet invasion, Hasegawa concludes, the two atomic bombs would “most likely not have prompted the Japanese to surrender, so long as they still had hope that Moscow would mediate.”

The historian John Dower concurs: The Soviet entry into war was more important than the atomic bombing in producing Japanese surrender. Once the Soviets intervened, the Japanese appear to have favored surrendering to Washington over allowing Moscow to conquer their country. At the same time, from the perspective of the Japanese government, the atomic bombings provided an opportunity to frame the Japanese military’s shattering defeat as a result not of its own incompetence, but as an outcome of the introduction of a new and revolutionary weapon by the enemy. In Dower’s words, the atomic bombings allowed the Japanese emperor to spin the capitulation as “nothing less than a magnanimous act that might save humanity itself from annihilation by an atrocious adversary.”

In fact, according to the US Air Force’s own review, finalized not long after the end of the war, Japan would likely have surrendered that same autumn even in the absence of atomic bombings or an invasion. Similarly, the Joint Chiefs of Staff expressed skepticism about the use of atomic bombs both before and after the fact.

In summary, many of the central claims on which the official story about Hiroshima and Nagasaki is founded—that the atomic bombings were necessary to end the war, that they ended a conflict that otherwise would have slogged on, and that they saved a large number of American soldiers’ lives—appear to rest on shaky ground. While certain aspects of the story stand up to scrutiny, others have been proven plain wrong, and others remain contested by scholarship. But have people caught up with the historiography? 

European views on the atomic bombings of Japan. Asked to note their agreement or disagreement with the statement that “the atomic bombings of Japan in World War II shortened the war significantly,” 23 percent of respondents to the October 2019 survey “strongly” agreed, 29 percent “somewhat” agreed, 31 percent reported no opinion, 9 percent “somewhat” disagreed, and 8 percent “strongly” disagreed. In other words, while 52 percent of respondents expressed support for the idea that the war was significantly shortened by the atomic bombings, only 17 percent pushed back against that idea.

Regarding the question of whether “the atomic bombings of Japan in World War II were necessary to bring Japan to surrender,” the survey results were more balanced. 12 percent of respondents “strongly” agreed, 19 percent “somewhat” agreed, 33 percent reported no opinion, 15 percent “somewhat” disagreed, and 21 percent “strongly” disagreed.

On the statement, “The atomic bombings of Japan in World War II saved American soldiers’ lives,” 14 percent of respondents expressed that they “strongly” agreed, 25 percent that they “somewhat” agreed, 38 percent reported no opinion, 11 percent expressed that they “somewhat” disagreed, and 13 percent expressed that they “strongly” disagreed.

Finally, asked to note their agreement or disagreement with the statement that “the atomic bombings of Japan in World War II killed innocent civilians,” 71 percent of respondents to the 2019 survey “strongly” agreed, 14 percent “somewhat” agreed, 12 percent expressed no opinion, and less than 5 percent “strongly” or “somewhat” disagreed.

The results suggest that the Stimson narrative still holds sway among Europeans, but that support might be weakening over time. On each statement, older respondents were slightly more likely than younger respondents to express agreement with Stimson’s interpretation of the atomic bombings.

Finally, it bears mentioning that British respondents stand out among the nine European populations sampled as the greatest believers in the Stimson narrative. The results unfortunately do not give further insight into the causes of this tendency, but three mutually reinforcing hypotheses are plausible. First, the shared language of the United States and the United Kingdom allows narratives and talking points to travel relatively frictionless across borders. Second, the United Kingdom was directly involved in the building of the atomic bomb through the Manhattan Project and, by extension, partly responsible for the fates of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki……..

Attitudes toward nuclear disarmament. European publics have long offered strong support for arms control and the elimination of nuclear weapons. This pattern is further corroborated by the survey data, which show consistent support for nuclear disarmament.  ……..

The support for disarmament is robust and consistent: 81 percent of respondents who strongly agreed with the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons within 25 years also offered strong support for an agreement to eliminate nuclear weapons.  …….

However, there is clear relationship between degree of faith in the Stimson narrative and support for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Respondents who said the atomic bombings shortened the war significantly, were necessary to bring about the Japanese surrender, or saved American soldiers’ lives were significantly more likely to believe that the abolition of nuclear weapons would “make the world less safe” compared to those who did not express such views. ………..

However, there is clear relationship between degree of faith in the Stimson narrative and support for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Respondents who said the atomic bombings shortened the war significantly, were necessary to bring about the Japanese surrender, or saved American soldiers’ lives were significantly more likely to believe that the abolition of nuclear weapons would “make the world less safe” compared to those who did not express such views. ……….

It is the responsibility of scholars and educators to work against such epistemic vulnerability to expose citizens to the latest advances of knowledge so that they can independently form their political views.


August 4, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Global heating is causing ‘extreme’ melting in New Zealand glaciers

August 4, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

How to build a nuclear warning for 10,000 years’ time,

to build a nuclear warning for 10,000 years’ time,   The nuclear waste buried far beneath the earth will be toxic for thousands of years. How do you build a warning now that can be understood in the far future?, BBC Future, 3 Aug 20

“This place is not a place of honor,” reads the text. “No highly esteemed dead is commemorated here… nothing valued is here. What is here was dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger.”

It sounds like the kind of curse that you half-expect to find at the entrance to an ancient burial mound. But this message is intended to help mark the site of the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP) that has been built over 2,000 feet (610m) down through stable rocks beneath the desert of New Mexico. The huge complex of tunnels and caverns is designed to contain the US military’s most dangerous nuclear waste.

This waste will remain lethal longer than the 300,000 years Homo sapiens has walked across the surface of the planet. WIPP is currently the only licensed deep geological disposal repository in operation in the world. A similar facility should also open in Finland in the mid-2020s.

When the facility is full sometime in the next 10 to 20 years, the caverns will be collapsed and sealed with concrete and soil. The sprawling complex of buildings that currently mark the site will be erased. In its place will be “our society’s largest conscious attempt to communicate across the abyss of deep time”.

vThe plan calls for huge 25ft (7.6m) tall granite columns marking the four-sq-mile (10 sq km) outer boundary of the entire site. Inside this perimeter, there is an earth berm 33ft (10m) tall and 100ft (30m) wide marking the repository’s actual footprint. Then inside the berm will be another square of granite columns.

At the centre of this monumental “Do Not Enter” sign will be a room containing information about the site. In case the information becomes unreadable, there will be another buried 20ft below, and another buried in the earth barrier itself. Detailed information about the WIPP will be stored in many archives around the world on special paper stamped with the instruction that it must be kept for 10,000 years, the rather arbitrary length of the site’s license.

The plan calls for huge 25ft (7.6m) tall granite columns marking the four-sq-mile (10 sq km) outer boundary of the entire site. Inside this perimeter, there is an earth berm 33ft (10m) tall and 100ft (30m) wide marking the repository’s actual footprint. Then inside the berm will be another square of granite columns.

Welcome to the world of nuclear semiotics. The vast landscape proposed for the WIPP is partly influenced by science fiction. Nuclear physicists, engineers, anthropologists, sci-fi writers, artists and others have come together in the very broad, esoteric field of research into the way that future humans – and anything that comes after us – might be warned of our deadly legacy

Sadly, the idea to cover the site with a forest of massive concrete thorns was not taken up, nor the idea to create a self-perpetuating atomic priesthood who would use legend and ritual to create a sense of fear around the site for generations. Linguist Thomas Sebok first used the phrase “nuclear priesthood” in 1981. …….

August 4, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

August 3 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “How To Build A Nuclear Warning For 10,000 Years’ Time” • The Waste Isolation Pilot Project, which was built over 2,000 feet down through stable rocks beneath the desert of New Mexico, is a huge complex of tunnels and caverns designed to contain the US military’s most dangerous nuclear waste. It will be […]

August 3 Energy News — geoharvey

August 4, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rooftop solar’s stunning surge to new records, as Australia installs reach 2.5 million — RenewEconomy

Defying Covid-19, Australia’s rooftop solar installs set new monthly record for July and surpasses 2.5 million total installs. The post Rooftop solar’s stunning surge to new records, as Australia installs reach 2.5 million appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Rooftop solar’s stunning surge to new records, as Australia installs reach 2.5 million — RenewEconomy

August 4, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear, Climate, Coronavirus news to 3 August

As the anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bombing approaches, there is Psychic numbing” about the world’s suicidal nuclear weapons race.

This week there’s a striking example of how interconnected everything is. It’s Florida.  Florida is struck with two, – possibly three – awful calamities threatening this state all at once. There is Hurricane Isaias,  threatening Florida with flooding and destruction, at the same time as the state is overwhelmed with a record toll of coronavirus illnesses and deaths.

Possibly in the path of the hurricane are FPL’s two nuclear reactors 1,600-MW Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station located two miles east of Homestead, Florida, and about 25 miles south of Miami. There’s also FPL’s FPL’s 1,880-MW St. Lucie Nuclear facility located further up the Florida coast on Hutchinson Island.  Their output could be cut, or in a worse scenario, radioactive pollution could result, in the case of flooding.

California also suffers from record coronavirus deaths. At the same time, California is afflicted with wildfires, again raising the possibility of radioactive pollution at The Santa Susana site – America’s Secret Chernobyl.

So here, in two USA States, we have the conjunction of global heating effects, with increased extreme weather events, with the global pandemic’s effects, and the third, –  very real radiation risks from the nuclear industry.

A bit of good newsRenewables output outpacing coal and nuclear in USA.


NUCLEAR. National radioactivw waste dump plan

Brief note on today’s Senate Committee hearing about the Nuclear Waste Bill.

Black lives DO matter, but not apparently, to ANSTO and Australia’s nuclear lobby. Nuclear waste dump site selection process has made the Barngarla people “aliens in their own country”.

Nuclear waste for Napandee: transport, double handling, safety? Should South Australians get a vote on this?    Doubts that a Kimba nuclear dump will really bring jobs to the area.  ABC Radio interview focused on Kimba nuclear waste dump plan.  Reflection on Jeff Baldock’s presentation to the Senate Hearing on Napandee Radioactive waste Dump plan.  Barry Wakelin speaks to the Senate Inquiry on Napandee nuclear waste dump plan.

The Australian government continues its war on the national broadcaster, the ABC.


Biden presidency could put Australia back in ‘naughty corner’ over lack of climate action.   Victoria delays setting interim emissions targets, again, as Covid digs in.  Gas lobby’s leaked power grab for post Covid subsidies sparks outrage.  A student is suing the government over the financial risks of climate change.

RENEWABLE ENERGY  – for lots of news go to


The WHO says coronavirus is a once-in-a century crisis that will impact lives for decadesNext type of coronavirus may be on its way.

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement urges all nations to end the nuclear era. Never mind about Hiroshima – a nuclear arms race is on – in space!. BOOKS on The New Nuclear Threat. Hiroshima survivor,  Setsuko Thurlow, 88, continues her fight for a nuclear weapons-free world.  US-Russia launch talks in Vienna on nuclear arms control.

Global heating – “best case” scenario is a scary rise of two and a half degrees.  As sea levels rise globally, we need to start planning now.  Need for Prediction of Marine Heatwaves.

Environmental injustice is rampant around the world.

Julian Assange: Denied Lawyer Access and Failure of Transparency International –Assange appears in court, as lawyers warn case may be delayed by new US indictment.

August 3, 2020 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Brief note on today’s Senate Committee hearing about the Nuclear Waste Bill, including a damaging admission

The hearing ended early

Ha ha. Just when it might get interesting – the Senate Committee on National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment Bill decided to hold the rest of the “Public” Hearing – in secret! At the request of the Dept of Industry.
The Senate Committee has decided to deal with this later in the week, given the documents were only given to them 20 minutes ago with questions previously put on notice. So stay listening – more to come later in the week!
The most important issue  discussed?   –  legislation removes possibility of judicial review of the Napandee decision.  Mayor Johnson admitted that the District Council knew that the reason for this removal was so that the whole matter would be quickly settled: “We do not want to spend next 10 years of our life debating this”The admission by the mayor is certainly damaging as it could be regarded as a further breach of te duty of care by the District Council to the community

Listening to the Kimba pro nuclear dump people, it seems clear that their motivation is to “ensure Kimba’s future”. One must wonder why all the other drought affected agricultural towns in South Australia have not clamoured to have the dump?

August 3, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Getting ready for war ijn space (Australia’s role as deputy sheriff, too?)

A nuclear arms race in space? It seems we’ve learned nothing from Hiroshima  Simon Tisdall   As the world marks the 75th anniversary of the dropping of the atom bomb on Japan, it must wake up to the new rearmament.

Russia’s apparent test-firing of an anti-satellite weapon in outer space on 15 July, as alleged by the US and Britain, could be dismissed as another of Vladimir Putin’s annoying provocations. That would be a mistake. The alleged new space weapon should be seen in the broader context of a rapidly evolving, hi-tech, high-risk international arms race involving all the major nuclear powers that, largely undiscussed, is spinning out of control.

This week sees the 75th anniversary of the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that killed over 200,000 people, but the absence of public debate or a sense of alarm about the grim advent of sophisticated new nuclear, hypersonic, cyber and space weapons is striking. In the decades after Hiroshima, noisy anti-nuclear “ban the bomb” protests by CND and others spanned the globe. Today, by comparison, an eerie silence reigns.

The battle for outer space is only getting going – yet deserves immediate attention. Russia’s alleged development of anti-satellite weapons is almost certainly matched by the US and China, and undermines past undertakings about the peaceful use of space. Christopher Ford, US assistant secretary of state for international security and non-proliferation, warned last week that Russia and China had already turned space into a “war-fighting domain”.

“What [the Russians] are doing is signalling to the world that they’re able to destroy satellites in orbit with other satellites,” Ford said. “This is the sort of thing that could get out of hand and go very badly rather quickly.” The UK called the alleged test “a threat to space systems on which the world depends” – meaning use of such weapons could, in theory, produce an instant global security and communications blackout.

Yet in relaunching US space command last year, Donald Trump also pointed to space as the next great-power battlefield. Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance will not deploy weapons in space but is obliged to defend its interests, which include 2,000 orbiting satellites. For Nato, too, space is now an “operational domain”.

New and “improved” nuclear weapons are proliferating in parallel with the race for space. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), nine states – the US, Russia, China, Israel, the UK, France, India, Pakistan and North Korea – together possess about 13,400 weapons. While the overall total is falling, “retired” warheads and bombs are being replaced by more powerful, versatile devices, such as smaller, “use-able” US battlefield nukes.

“All these states are either developing or deploying new weapon systems or have announced their intention to do so,” Sipri’s annual report said. The US and Russia each possessed about 1,550 deployed, long-range weapons, while China had about 300. Both the US and Russia were spending more and placing greater reliance on nuclear weapons in future military planning, it said, while China was rushing to catch up.

“China is in the middle of a significant modernisation of its nuclear arsenal. It is developing a so-called nuclear triad for the first time, made up of new land- and sea-based missiles and nuclear-capable aircraft. India and Pakistan are slowly increasing the size and diversity of their nuclear forces,” Sipri reported. Meanwhile, North Korea continued to prioritise its  military nuclear programme, while conducting “multiple” ballistic missile tests.

“Instead of planning for nuclear disarmament, the nuclear-armed states appear to plan to retain large arsenals for the indefinite future, are adding new nuclear weapons, and are increasing the role such weapons play in their national strategies,” a Federation of American Scientists survey said. It estimated about 1,800 warheads were kept on high alert, ready for use at short notice.

Russia claims to lead the world in developing hi-tech weaponry. Speaking in July, Putin boasted that Russia’s navy was being equipped with nuclear-powered hypersonic cruise missiles, which supposedly have unlimited range, and submarine-launched underwater nuclear drones.

Despite celebrated speeches supporting a nuclear-free world, Barack Obama authorised a $1.2tn plan to upgrade America’s nuclear triad while pursuing strategic arms reductions via the 2010 New Start treaty with Russia. Trump has doubled down, at the same time abandoning arms control pacts. His 2018 nuclear posture review proposed an extra $500bn in spending, including $17bn for low-yield, battlefield weapons.

Trump looks set to scupper New Start, which expires in February, on the spurious ground that it does not reduce China’s much smaller arsenal (which it was never intended to do). He has previously reneged on the 2015 Iran nuclear treaty, the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty, and is said to favour resumed nuclear testing in Nevada in defiance of the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban treaty.

Like Britain and other signatories, the US continues to fail to fulfil its obligation under the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty “to pursue nuclear disarmament aimed at the ultimate elimination of nuclear arsenals”. Despite its acute financial situation, Britain remains committed to replacing its Trident missile system at an estimated cost of £205bn over 30 years.

While nuclear weapons have not been used since 1945, great-power military flashpoints are increasing the risk that they might be. These potential triggers include the South China Sea, Taiwan, the India-Pakistan and India-China borders, the US-Israel-Iran conflict, North Korea and Ukraine.

Heightened international tensions and collapsing arms-control regimes only partly explain the accelerating pace of nuclear rearmament. Resurgent nationalism, authoritarian rightwing populism, revived or new territorial rivalries (as in space), the bypassing of the UN and multilateral institutions, and a shifting economic and geopolitical power balance are all aggravating factors.

But so, too, is amnesia. Seventy-five years after Armageddon was visited upon the people of Japan, the world seems to have forgotten the truly existential horror of that moment. A history lesson, and a renewed debate, are urgently needed.

August 2, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

August 2 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “‘Getting Back To Normal’ Is The Last Thing Governments Should Be Doing” • Normal is a society with 99% of the wealth owned by 1% of the people. Normal is pollution that kills more Americans each year than Covid-19. Normal is a Senate that funds fighter jets before human beings. America may not […]

August 2 Energy News — geoharvey

August 2, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Doubts that a Kimba nuclear dump will really bring jobs to the area

Kimba jobs a hot topic, Whyalla News, Louis Mayfield, 29 July 20,

Debate has ensured over the federal government’s promise of bringing 45 jobs to Kimba with the establishment of a nuclear dump at Napandee, after the latest Senate inquiry revealed there is no legislative requirement to continuously staff a low-level radioactive waste facility.

The Senate Inquiry into the federal government’s Nuclear Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) met on Tuesday, with Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick reading the following statement from ARPANSA:

“There is no explicit requirement in the ARPANSA or ANSTO legislation or guidance that prescribes that a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility requires continuous presence of staff for either security or safety purposes.”

Senator Patrick was questioning the agency over whether the NRWMF at Kimba could be run remotely.

“They’re effectively saying that there’s nothing that prevents that from happening, as long as they satisfy particular criteria,” he said.

The federal government has long promised that the facility will create 45 jobs, and while Senator Patrick does not dispute the idea that the jobs will be available, he doubts they will last.

“The CEO of the site may end up being repatriated back to the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency in Adelaide, and I think some of the other roles may be pulled back and the site will turned into a remote facility two or three years down the track,” Senator Patrick said.

“Kimba locals should look at how the government is willing to shift 700 submarine jobs from Adelaide to Perth on a political whim.

“Having seen federal and state government services evaporate from country towns time after time, we know governments can’t be trusted to keep their promises.

“The writing is on the wall, and the wall hasn’t even been built yet.”

Senator Patrick believes this will be a likely course of action for the government because it’s a way to trim costs and achieve savings.

“They will look at those ARPANSA rules and say ‘this is not a bad option,'” he said…….

August 1, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

ABC Radio interview focusd on Kimba nuclear waste dump plan

Evenings With Peter Goers  ABC radio pm ABC Radio South Australia  30 July

Peter Goer first interviewed Keith Pitt, Minister for Resources.    Pitt was confident about the Kimba nuclear waste dump plan.  He stressed that it is essential for Australia’s medical care.  He claimed strong community support for the plan, and said that it “meets all the technical requirements”. ” My advice is that the temporary waste can’t stay at Lucas Heights.”  “The Kimba facility is a critical national infrastructure”  “Necessary for people who receive cancer care”.

Peter Goer :  “Strange that you have approved this new Adelaide agency whiled the matter still being discussed in the Senate.

Keith Pitt:  “It will take time to put together the necessary team. It will take overseas and domestic research”.

Goer:   “Have you read all the submissions to the Senate Inquiry?

Pitt avoided the question, and returned to the medical theme –  “2 out of 3 of every Australian  will utilise that type of technology, will need the Lucas Heights reactor”

 Goer:  It’s the temporary storage of ILW  [Intermediate Level Waste] that worries people.

Pitt: ” Very small amounts.  If we accept that we want to use nuclear medicine, then we must manage the by-product”


Peter Goer then interviewed Eddie  Hughes, Labor federal member from South Australia

Hughes. We’ve had 3 separate Ministers. Sites that were nominated were all in the seat of Grey.  First Rowan Ramsey offered his land – conflict of interest? Then another Liberal politician offered his land, did not consult local community, nor Aboriginal groups.

Aboriginal community- Barngarla not eligible to vote.They conducted their own vote, unanimoously against.

Not essential for a  nuclear waste facility to be at this location.  Medical waste doesn’t need to be transported to a national facility.

Goers.    ILW [Intermediate Level Wastes) we are leaving that problem to our grandchildren.

Hughes. The ILW.  This process should have been discussed broadly, including Aboriginal community.

Senate Inquiry going on,, but govt is pushing ahead with this plan, Kimba is not necessarily the solution

Calls. Bob from mid-north  said that the vast majority of medical waste is very short-lived. There are also nuclear materials used in industry, universities. At Woomera there are 44 gallon drums rotting, materials transported from Fishermens Bends. Legacy waste from the cold war. Ws don’t know what is in it.

Goers – concern that this might led to importing nuclear waste.

Hughes – I don’t imagine this. Facility at Kimba is above ground, not suitable for deep geological disposal.

Jay Weatherill’s government gave  space for Aboriginal people, gave power of veto. In the present case Barngarla people have been treated with contempt.

Goers. Kimba known as a nice little town. Will become known as the “dump town’

Hughes. I understand that people see the business  activity. But I don’t think that 45 jobs will eventuate.  Some overseas dumps have much smaller number of workers.

Goer. Rural communities are shrinking. Has Kimba been bribed?

Hughes. A lot of money has been put on the table for facilities – a big effort to get people onside. Sad that the only way a town can get the needed services is to offer itself for a nuclear dump.   Federal govt hasn’t addressed the far more important issue of shortage of doctors across regional South Australia.    Medical treatment will continue whether or not the dump goes ahead

Goers. Rowan Ramsey has the view that the local people are the best educated about this. Keith Pitt has a similar view. Seems to be a distrust of anyone who’s not local to Kimba.

Hughes. This is a South Australian issue. Very arrogant to say that only local people can have an opinion.  Liberal govt ruled it out, and that legislation still stands.  We need to go back and look at this whole process.  Both those in favour or against this plan agreed that we need to deal  with radioactive wastes in a responsible way.

Many texts received.  –  Reconciliation with Aboriginals – only lip service.  Medicalisotopes can be made with cyclotrons – nuclear reactor not necessary. ANSTO could have promoted synchrotons  producing isotopes for Australian use.- instead opted for building an export business from Lucas Hreights nuclear reactor.


August 1, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment