Australian news, and some related international items

Ivan Quail’s Submission – a devastating fact-filled critique of the costly, dangerous unhealthy nuclear industry.

One year of operation of a single, large nuclear power plant, generates as much of longpersisting radioactive poisons as one thousand Hiroshima-types atomic bombs. There is no way the electric power can be generated in nuclear plants without generating the radioactive poisons.

France’s troubled nuclear fleet a bigger problem for Europe than Russia gas. France caps its consumer power bills – to maintain the myth of “cheap” nuclear and to protect French pride .

In 100,000 years’ time the planet would still not have recovered from Mayak, Chernobyl, Doenreagh, Hanford, Rocky flats, Marshall Islands, Montebello, Maralinga and Fukushima; to name a few.

Average life expectancy in Ukraine and Belarus has REDUCED 4 yrs to age 68. Each year 6000 babies are born with “Chernobyl Heart” Half of them die! Children born since 1986 are affected by a 200 percent increase in birth defects and a 250 percent increase in congenital birth deformities.• 85 percent of Belarusian children are deemed to be Chernobyl victims. UNICEF found increases in children’s disease rates, including 38 percent increase in malignant tumours, 43 percent in blood circulatory illnesses and 63 percent in disorders of the bone, muscle and connective tissue system.

Environment and Other Legislation Amendment (Removing Nuclear Energy Prohibitions) Bill 2022

Submission No 61 [This submission contains numerous links which are all visible on the original, but not all here]

A few words about myself on this issue. I have been studying the Uranium fuel cycle,
nuclear energy and the biological and genetic effects of radiation for over 40 years. I
have read a dozen or more books and hundreds of scientific and medical papers on
the topics.

Continue reading

March 23, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

AUKUS nuclear subs deal should torpedo Kimba radioactive waste plan

23 Mar 23, A new federal government process to identify a site for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste from future nuclear submarines should signal the end of the push for a national radioactive waste facility at Kimba on SA’s Eyre Peninsula, environmentalists say.

The Australian Conservation Foundation yesterday joined with peak state group Conservation SA to deliver a petition from 10,000 people calling on Resources Minister Madeleine King to ‘stop the double-handling and relocation of radioactive waste to a highly contested facility proposed near Kimba.’

Defence Minister Richard Marles has announced the search for a new site to store high level radioactive waste will commence next year.

“It makes no sense to have multiple federal processes in train seeking to find sites to store and dispose of radioactive waste,” said ACF nuclear policy analyst Dave Sweeney.

“The federal nuclear regulator has stated existing intermediate level waste can be securely managed at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisations (ANSTO) Lucas Heights facility for ‘decades to come’.

“This waste should be kept at ANSTO and moved only when a future site has been selected for high-level waste.

“This would avoid unnecessary duplication, cost and risk and would recognise and respect the clear opposition of the Barngarla Traditional Owners to the current waste plan.”

Federal government ministers have repeatedly said AUKUS is a game-changer. ACF is calling for the government to demonstrate this in relation to radioactive waste management by changing the present deficient and divisive waste game around Kimba.

“Against the backdrop of escalating cost and complexity associated with future AUKUS waste it makes no sense to maintain a politicised and piecemeal approach to radioactive waste management in Australia”.

Watch New Barngarla video calling for an end to the Kimba proposal:

March 23, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Some Labor and Independent members of parliament not happy with AUKUS nuclear submarine deal

Above – Labor MP Josh Wilson not happy about the nuclear submarine deal

Labor’s old guard follow Keating into the trenches over $368b submarine deal The Age, 22 Mar 23


  • Kim Carr has called AUKUS a “huge leap into the dark”, joining other high-profile Labor members in criticising the deal.
  • Labor MP Josh Wilson told Parliament that Australia is yet to solve the problem of dealing with radioactive waste.
  • Teal independents have raised concerns over nuclear proliferation and how AUKUS will be funded.

Former federal cabinet minister Kim Carr has joined Labor colleagues in raising deep concerns about the AUKUS pact after federal MPs questioned the deal in parliament and some party members sought to mobilise against the decades-long commitment.

Carr voiced doubts about the $368 billion cost of the agreement on nuclear-powered submarines as well as the strategic risk of a “forward defence” policy that he compared to the approach that drew Australia into the Vietnam War in the 1960s.

The comments intensify the row over the sweeping defence plan after former prime minister Paul Keating, former foreign minister Bob Carr and former foreign minister Gareth Evans challenged it with opinions ranging from ferocious criticism to cautious doubt.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese backed the defence policy in the regular Labor caucus meeting in Parliament House on Tuesday after three MPs raised questions about its cost, the concerns from voters about Australian sovereignty and the need for 20,000 workers to complete the task.

But Kim Carr, who held portfolios such as industry and defence materiel during the Rudd and Gillard governments and left parliament at the last election, said AUKUS was a “huge leap into the dark” that depended heavily on the United States.

“The fundamental question is whether this is the best use of $368 billion of public money in defence of Australia,” he said.

“I don’t believe the question has been answered. And I am deeply concerned about a revival of a forward defence policy, given our performance in Vietnam, so there are several levels on which we should question this plan more closely.

“Given it’s 20 years since Iraq, you can hardly say our security agencies should not be questioned when they provide their assessments.”

The growing public debate highlights the unrest within the party membership and the test for Albanese in shoring up support from Labor voters who may shift support to the Greens after the smaller party came out strongly against AUKUS.

Bob Carr, who was premier of NSW for a decade before serving as foreign minister in the Gillard government, also expressed concern about the way the AUKUS agreement could take Australia into a conflict alongside the United States.

“I want upheld the notion that even under ANZUS, there should be no assumption of Australian engagement,” he said.

Last Friday, former Gillard government environment minister Peter Garrett voiced his own objections to the deal, saying in a social media post that “AUKUS stinks”……..

Western Australian Labor MP Josh Wilson aired his concerns on the floor of Parliament on Monday night by saying Australia was yet to solve the problem of low-level radioactive waste, let alone the waste from a future fleet with nuclear reactors

…………………………….. members of the crossbench expressed concerns about the implications.

“I’m concerned about the cost/benefit analysis of AUKUS and the risk of losing sovereignty over Australian defence resources,” said Zali Steggall, the member for Warringah.

Zoe Daniel, the member for Goldstein, said constituents had been in touch about the major shift in Australia’s strategic approach.

“On their behalf, I will be seeking to understand whether such an unequivocal and long-term alignment with the United States is in Australia’s best interest,” she said.

Kylea Tink, the member for North Sydney, said she was worried about nuclear proliferation and Sophie Scamps, the member for Mackellar, said she wanted more information about funding.

“The Albanese government needs to explain to the Australian people how it intends to pay for this program,” she said. “The vulnerable should not be sacrificed to pay for this additional budgetary spending.”

March 23, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Guardian Essential Poll: AUKUS support collapses, 3-in-4 oppose

The cacophony of media, think tank, and political voices cabal haven’t yet convinced the Australian public of the need to rush into war alongside the US. But if the trend in opinion on our previous disastrous policy of following the Americans is any guide it is very likely that a majority of Australians will rate a war over Taiwan as a big mistake.

Pearls and Irritations, By Noel TurnbullMar 23, 2023

Reflecting the diminishing public support for the AUKUS deal, a new Guardian Essential Poll has found that only one quarter of Australians support paying the $368bn price tag to acquire nuclear submarines.  For decades Australians were gung ho about going to war – almost any war. Today – despite the best efforts of the Nine Media (Peter Hartcher in particular) and other media – they are now far more hesitant.

Indeed, an analysis of community opinion from the start of the Vietnam war to the likelihood of war over Taiwan, shows hesitancy translates into opposition the longer the war lasts…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Now we face another possible war – this time with China – and it is worth examining what both Australians and Taiwanese think of that prospect.

In June 2021 the Lowy Institute’s annual poll showed that, for the first time, more Australians view China as a security threat than an economic partner, despite the country remaining Australia’s biggest trading partner.

In June 2022 the Lowy Institute found that the majority of Australians (56%) said China was ‘more to blame’ for the tensions than Australia while 38% said Australia and China were equally to blame. Just 4% said Australia was more to blame.

A slim majority of the 2022 respondents (52%) viewed a potential military conflict between the US and China as a critical threat to Australia’s interests over the coming decade. But the poll also showed the public wants to avoid being dragged into war. More than half those polled (57%) said that in such a conflict “Australia should remain neutral”. Some 41% said Canberra should support the US and 1% said it should support China.

The Lowy study showed the public also had strong views on our relations with the US and China policy with 77% agreeing with the statement: “Australia’s alliance with the United States makes it more likely Australia will be drawn into a war in Asia that would not be in Australia’s interests” – up eight points since 2019.

As for the US-Australian motivation for the next war, Taiwan, opinion there has been developing in strange ways. According to an Economist special report on Taiwan (11 March 2023) in 1992 only 17.3% the Taiwan population identified as Taiwanese compared with 25.5% as Chinese and 4.4% as both. By 2022 a National Chengchi University study found 61% of respondents identifying as Taiwanese, 2.7% as Chinese and 46.4% as both.

Polls indicate that more than half of Taiwanese support the status quo of de facto independence and don’t have a lot of faith in whether the US would support them against a Chinese invasion with the Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation finding that between 2021 and 2022 confidence in whether America would send troops to defend Taiwan against an invasion fell from 65% to 34.4%. They were actually more confident of Japanese support than American.

Meanwhile we wait to see what the next substantial polls say about the Albanese Government and Taiwan. We know from Vietnam to Iraq Australians start off by opposing the proposed wars; support them when troops are actually fighting; and, then begin to oppose them as the promised victory doesn’t eventuate.

This new potential war is on a scale, though, which makes Vietnam and Iraq seem insignificant.

The cacophony of media, think tank, and political voices cabal haven’t yet convinced the Australian public of the need to rush into war alongside the US. But if the trend in opinion on our previous disastrous policy of following the Americans is any guide it is very likely that a majority of Australians will rate a war over Taiwan as a big mistake.

It may also be an indicator of how attitudes to the Aukus deal might evolve. A Guardian Essential poll in 2021 disclosed Australians’ worries that the project would strain relations with China and Europe……………………..

March 23, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

PM flags nuclear prohibition treaty still on agenda despite AUKUS subs deal

Anthony Albanese has signalled Labor still plans to sign an international treaty on nuclear weapons amid concerns about the AUKUS deal.

Catie McLeod, 23 Mar 23

Anthony Albanese has signalled Labor still plans to sign a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons amid concerns the AUKUS submarine deal will breach Australia’s international obligations on the issue.

Under the trilateral security agreement with the United States and the UK, Australia will become the first non-nuclear weapon state to acquire nuclear-powered submarines by seeking an exemption from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The government has said the submarines will only use nuclear propulsion and would not have nuclear weapons.

Despite this iron-clad assurance, some countries in the Indo-Pacific have raised concerns the submarine deal is a breach of Australia’s existing nuclear non-proliferation treaty obligations, and that it might stop it from ratifying an additional treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.

Australia made a binding commitment to never acquire nuclear weapons when it ratified the international treaty on non-proliferation 50 years ago but it is yet to sign or ratify a newer treaty created in 2017 that binds member countries to outlawing nuclear weapons all together.

Labor first committed to signing and ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at its National Conference in 2018 and reaffirmed that commitment in 2022.

Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said Labor would stick with the commitment and said Australia’s clear position was that a world without nuclear weapons “would be a very good thing”.

“We don’t acquire them ourselves, we wish that they weren’t there,” Mr Albanese said after independent Goldstein MP Zoe Daniel asked him if Labor would sign the nuclear prohibition treaty.

“We will do is we will work systematically and methodically through the issues and in accordance with the commitments that were made in the national platform.”………………….

March 23, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Britain supplying depleted uranium rounds to Ukraine

The UK will send “armour piercing rounds which contain depleted
uranium” to Ukraine, for use with the tank squadron donated by the
British army. Defence minister Baroness Goldie made the admission yesterday
in response to a written parliamentary question from crossbench peer Lord
Hylton. Goldie said: “Such rounds are highly effective in defeating
modern tanks and armoured vehicles.” Russia has previously warned it
would regard the use of depleted uranium in Ukraine as a ‘dirty bomb’.

 Declassified UK 21st March 2023

 Putin threatens response over Britain’s toxic tank shells.

 Times 21st March 2023

March 23, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Iraqi children with congenital disabilities caused by depleted uranium

Iraqi Kids Test Positive for Depleted Uranium Remnants Near Former US Air Base, Ludwig, September 19, 2019  For the first time, independent researchers have found that the bodies of Iraqi children born with congenital disabilities, such as heart disease and malformed limbs, near a former United States air base in southern Iraq are contaminated with high levels of radioactive heavy metals associated with toxic depleted uranium pollution leftover from the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

The findings appear to bolster claims made by Iraqi doctors who observed high rates of congenital disabilities in babies born in areas that experienced heavy fighting during the bloody first year of the most recent Iraq war.

In 2016, researchers tested the hair and teeth of children from villages in proximity to the Talil Air Base, a former U.S. air base, located south of Baghdad and near the city Nasiriyah. They found elevated levels of uranium and of thorium, two slightly radioactive heavy metals linked to cancer and used to make nuclear fuel.

Thorium is a direct decay product of depleted uranium, a chemically toxic byproduct of the nuclear power industry that was added to weapons used during the first year of the war in Iraq. Thanks to its high density, depleted uranium can reinforce tank armor and allow bullets and other munitions to penetrate armored vehicles and other heavy defenses. Depleted uranium was also released into the environment from trash dumps and burn pits outside U.S. military bases.

Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an independent researcher based in Michigan and a co-author of the study, said that levels of thorium in children born with congenital disabilities near the Talil Air Base were up to 28 times higher than in a control group of children who were born without congenital disabilities and live much further away.

“We are basically seeing a depleted uranium footprint on these children,” Savabieasfahani said in an interview.

Using statistical analysis, the researchers also determined that living near the air base was associated with an increased risk of giving birth to a child with congenital disabilities, including congenital heart disease, spinal deformations, cleft lip and missing or malformed and paralyzed limbs. The results of the study will soon be published in the journal Environmental Pollution, where the authors argue more research is needed to determine the extent that toxins left behind after the U.S.-led war and occupation are continuing to contaminate and sicken the Iraqi population.

For years following the 2003 U.S-led invasion, Iraqi doctors raised alarms about increasing numbers of babies being born with congenital disabilities in areas of heavy fighting. Other peer-reviewed studies found dramatic increases in child cancer, leukemia, miscarriages and infant mortality in cities such as Fallujah, which saw the largest battles of the war. Scientists, Iraqi physicians and international observers have long suspected depleted uranium to be the culprit. In 2014, one Iraqi doctor told Truthout reporter Dahr Jamail that depleted uranium pollution amounted to “genocide.”

The U.S. government provided Iraq’s health ministry with data to track depleted uranium contamination but has said it would be impossible to identify all the material used during wartime. War leaves behind a variety of potentially toxic pollutants, and some researchers have cast doubt on the connection between depleted uranium and congenital disabilities, noting that Iraq has faced a number environmental problems in recent decades. However, political manipulation was suspected to have skewed results of at least one study, a survey of congenital disabilities released by the World Health Organization and the Iraqi government in 2013 that contradicted claims made by Iraqi doctors.

While the authors caution that more research is needed, by identifying the presence of thorium in the teeth and hair of Iraqi children born with congenital disabilities near the Talil Air Base, the latest studies draw direct links to depleted uranium and the U.S. military.

“Baby teeth are highly sensitive to environmental exposures,” said Savabieasfahani. “Such high levels of thorium simply suggest high exposure at an early age and potentially in utero.”

Up to 2,000 metric tons of depleted uranium entered the Iraqi environment in 2003, mostly from thousands of rounds fired by the U.S., according to United Nations estimates. Depleted uranium munitions were also fired by U.S. forces in Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf War in 1993. Researchers and veterans have long suspected that depleted uranium could be a potential cause of Gulf War syndrome, a wide range of harmful symptoms experienced by thousands of service members for years after the war.

The U.S. has also imported thousands of tons of military equipment into Iraq, including tanks, trucks, bombers, armored vehicles, infantry weapons, antiaircraft systems, artillery and mortars – some of which were coated with depleted uranium. Much of this equipment eventually found its way into military junkyards, dozens of which remain scattered near former U.S. military bases and other installations across country.

Depleted uranium was also stored at U.S. military bases and was known to leak into the environment. The Talil Air Base, which served as a focal point for the new study, is only one of dozens of sites across Iraq where the U.S. military is believed to have left a highly toxic legacy.

“What we see here, and what we imply with this study, is that we could see this very same scenario around every single U.S. military base in Iraq,” Savabieasfahani said. “The exposure of pregnant mothers to the pollutions of war, including uranium and thorium, irreversibly damages their unborn children.”

In 2013, international observers reported that between 300 and 365 sites with depleted uranium contamination were identified by Iraqi authorities in the years following the 2003 U.S. invasion, with an estimated cleanup cost of $30 million to $45 million. In some cases, military junk contaminated with depleted uranium was being sold as scrap metal, spreading the contamination further. At one scrap site, children were seen climbing and playing on contaminated scrap metal.

Savabieasfahani, who has researched military pollution across Iraq, said the violence of war continues through pollution long after the carnage ends and the troops come home. Dropping tons of bombs and releasing millions of bullets leaves toxic residues in the air, water and soil of the “targeted population,” poisoning the landscape – and the people — for generations. Of course, U.S. war making in Iraq has not ended. The U.S. military continues to train Iraqi security forces and lead a coalition that carried out airstrikes against ISIS (also known as Daesh) insurgents in Iraq as recently as last week.

“The U.S. must be held responsible and forced to clean up all the sites which it has polluted. Technology exists for the cleanup of radiation contamination,” Savabieasfahani said. “The removal and disposal of U.S.-created military junkyards would go a long way toward cleaning toxic releases out of the Iraqi environment.”

The U.N. Internal Law Commission is currently circulating 24 draft principles urging governments to protect the environment from the ravages of war. In July, an international group of scientists renewed calls for a Fifth Geneva Convention that would establish an international treaty declaring environmental destruction a war crime under international law. While a Fifth Geneva convention on environmental war crimes would be significant, it would not ensure accountability for the U.S., which routinely shields itself from international prosecution for its war crimes.

March 23, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Imperial Visits: US Emissaries in the Pacific

Australian Independent Media Binoy Kampmark 19 Mar 23

For some time, Washington has been losing its spunk in the Pacific. When it comes to the Pacific Islands, a number have not fallen – at least entirely – for the rhetoric that Beijing is there to take, consume, and dominate all. Nor have such countries been entirely blind to their own sharpened interests. This largely aqueous region, which promises to submerge them in the rising waters of climate change, has become furiously busy.

A number of officials are keen to push the line that Washington’s policy towards the Pacific is clearly back where it should be. It’s all part of the warming strategy adopted by the Biden administration, typified by the US-Pacific Island Country summit held last September. In remarks made during the summit, President Joe Biden stated that “the security of America, quite frankly, and the world, depends on your security and the security of the Pacific Islands. And I really mean that.”

Not once was China mentioned, but its ghostly presence stalked Biden’s words. A new Pacific Partnership Strategy was announced, “the first national US strategy for [the] Pacific Islands.” Then came the promised cash: some $810 million in expanded US programs including more than $130 million in new investments to support, among other things, climate resilience, buffer the states against the impact of climate change and improve food security.

The Pacific Islands have also seen a flurry of recent visits. In January this year, US Indo-Pacific military commander Admiral John Aquilino popped into Papua New Guinea to remind the good citizens of Port Moresby that the eyes of the US were gazing benignly upon them. It was his first to the country, and the public affairs unit of the US Indo-Pacific Command stated that it underscored “the importance of the US-Papua New Guinea relationship” and showed US resolve “toward building a more peaceful, stable, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.”

In February, a rather obvious strategic point was made in the reopening of the US embassy in the Solomon Islands. Little interest had been shown towards the island state for some three decades (the embassy had been closed in 1993). But then came Beijing doing, at least from Washington’s perspective, the unpardonable thing of poking around and seeking influence.

Now, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare finds himself at the centre of much interest, at least till he falls out of favour in the airconditioned corridors of Washington…………………………………………………………………………………………..

March 23, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

TODAY. Two ways of looking at the world

There is certainly a transformation going on in the media. As far as news media goes, there’s a growing chasm between the “mainstream” corporate media, and the “alternative” media.

To give the most topical example – the coverage of the Ukraine war, by the Western media. The permitted themes are – “atrocities by Russians” “Ukraine is winning”, “Zelensky is a hero”. Any more nuanced views (e.g atrocities by Ukrainians) are covered only by the alternative media.

We see and hear only the big guys (and believe me, they’re very much the guys – though wherever possible they push attractive younger women to the forefront). The result is a glorification of big corporate, military, technical, ways to deal with problems, as against more low-key approaches – stuff like negotiation, compromise, diplomacy.

This gulf is happening also in education. Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, are now not just very important (which they are), but are now accepted as pretty much the only subjects that matter. The sissy stuff – languages, literature, art, history – are now second-rate studies.

There is a trend now, for people to distrust the corporate media, because it is too close to government, the military, and industry.

Meanwhile, alternative media of all kinds are multiplying. In amongst all this, are the voices of the “smaller” people – women, indigenous , old, young – keeping alive the culture of art, humanity, hope and peace. This alternative culture is surely what we need, rather than the pompous chest-thumping of the world’s political, military, corporate, financial and media leaders.

March 22, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear safety agency silent on disposal of AUKUS radioactive waste

By Brian TooheyMar 21, 2023

At this stage there is little interest in how to dispose of the high level uranium waste from AUKUS SSNs, let alone put First Nations voices to the fore.

This is unlikely to change while the nation’s most prominent journalists see it as their job to promote the dominant military doctrine and boost the demonisation of China, while rubbishing inconvenient interlopers such as the former prime minister Paul Keating.

I recently asked Australia’s principal nuclear safety organisation, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), “What’s required to safely dispose of highly enriched uranium (over 90%) and for how long e.g. in stable underground rock formation?” Not a hard question you might suppose. However, the media officer replied, “ARPANSA is unable to provide a response in this instance”.

I then asked without success, “Why not?” This is a timid answer from an organisation supposed to provide the public and others accurate information on big issues in its field.

My question followed the defence minister Richard Marles’ announcement that Australia will take all the nuclear waste generated by the reactors in its newly acquired nuclear submarines which use highly enriched, weapons grade, uranium. Marles’ statement that the uranium waste would be kept “on” defence land shows he lacks a grip of what’s involved.

He’s not dealing with low-grade radioactive hospital waste that can be stored on the surface. At a minimum, the reactor waste will have to be kept deep underground, probably vitrified, and guarded for centuries. Marles says nothing needs to be done for 50 years. This will not be the case if Australia initially gets three to five second-hand US submarines whose high level waste will need to be dealt with much sooner.

Despite the US and the UK’s long experience with nuclear weapons, neither has a high-level underground nuclear waste repository. In these circumstances, Australia could easily be pressured into securing the waste created by the US and UK submarines’ nuclear reactors.

At this stage, it seems likely the burial site will be on land important to Australia’s indigenous population. Whatever happens, it is essential there is no repeat of the neglect of the indigenous people who were wilfully exposed to radiation during and after the British nuclear tests in the 1950s and 60s in Australia’s south and central desert areas. The case for getting nuclear submarines is already bad. They should be ruled out entirely if the indigenous population rejects the proposed waste burial sites, which need to be identified urgently, rather than at Marles’ leisurely timetable.

At this stage there is little interest in how to dispose of the high level uranium waste, let alone put indigenous inhabitants to the fore. This is unlikely to change while the nation’s most prominent journalists see it as their job to promote the dominant military doctrine and boost the demonisation of China, while rubbishing inconvenient interlopers such as the former prime minister Paul Keating. It doesn’t help either that they some are largely ignorant of the issues.

Many journalists put great faith in intelligence briefings from right wing ideologues and others about the alleged threat from China. They claim Keating can’t say anything of value because he hasn’t received an intelligence briefing in decades. On the contrary, this is a distinct advantage.

Keating’s detractors need to pay a lot more attention to the role intelligence played in the illegal invasion of Iraq. The recent 20th anniversary of the invasion, led by George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard, received little attention in Australia. This act of aggression was justified by concocted intelligence. Howard falsely claimed that at the time of the invasion his government “knew” Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Thanks largely to the much-disparaged weapons inspectors, Iraq certainly didn’t have any. Yet Howard falsely said they did and were “capable of causing destruction on a mammoth scale”.

Many Australian journalists now rely on purported intelligence and propaganda for their flimsy claims about Chinese acts of aggression, which barely rank alongside the death and destruction wrought by the US aided by Australia. Chinese journalists also rely excessively on government sources, but have almost no influence in Australia.

The White House, for example, engaged in a blatant act of propaganda when unveiling the plan for Australia to get nuclear submarines. It claimed, “For over 60 years, the UK and the US have operated more than 500 naval nuclear reactors . . . without incident or adverse effect on human health or the quality of the environment.” In fact, two US nuclear submarines, the Thresher and the Scorpion, sunk during that period with the loss of all lives on board. Mainstream Australian journalists have not treated this as a staggering falsehood that should be condemned.

Mainstream journalists also have little grasp of other issues involving submarines. One recently claimed that Keating, who opposes Australia buying nuclear submarines, didn’t understand that conventional submarines have to go close to the surface to recharge their diesels by what’s called a “snorting”, a process, where they risk detection. This journalist seemed to have no awareness that modern conventional submarines greatly reduce this risk with Air Independent Propulsion, which uses hydrogen fuel cells to operate extremely quietly for at least three weeks.  Using modern batteries can provide another three weeks, or more, of silent operation before charging the batteries in a safe location. They are also much cheaper than nuclear submarines which are detectable from a range of sources, including heat and the wake they leave on the surface at high speed. By the time Australia’s new nuclear submarines arrive around 2050 there is a high chance that advances in sensor technology and computing power will make them relatively easy to detect and destroy.

Although the public currently likes the idea of getting nuclear submarines, it doesn’t like the cost which Marles puts at $268 billion to $368 billion by 2055. The public may like it even less if they realise that the Virginia Class submarines of which we are still get up to five, have an appalling maintenance record. If we got eight, as originally intended, only two would be operationally available on average. Paying $368 billion to have two operationally available would be a scandalous result. Modern conventional submarines, such as German ones, have an exemplary maintenance record and cost about $15 billion for ten.

March 22, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wastes | Leave a comment

Australia’s oldest gas power company urges customers to go electric — RenewEconomy

AGL Energy has launched a website to simplify the process of quitting gas and accessing the benefits of a more electric and energy efficient home. The post Australia’s oldest gas power company urges customers to go electric appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Australia’s oldest gas power company urges customers to go electric — RenewEconomy

March 22, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UN calls on OECD nations to quit coal by 2030, reach net zero by 2040 — RenewEconomy

In case they missed the message from the IPCC, UN chief delivers the cold hard facts on climate and fossil fuels, and calls for a Solidarity Pact. Who’s in? The post UN calls on OECD nations to quit coal by 2030, reach net zero by 2040 appeared first on RenewEconomy.

UN calls on OECD nations to quit coal by 2030, reach net zero by 2040 — RenewEconomy

March 22, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ray Tauss Submission – for health, safety, and future generations’ well-being – Australia’s nuclear bans should NOT be repealed

Submission No 67 to: Committee Secretary, Senate Standing Committees on Environment and
Communications Re: Senate inquiry into nuclear power

Nuclear power begins with uranium mining
Nuclear power generation uses uranium. Mining of uranium produces wastes. Wastes can be used for the
extraction of radioactive material. 300,000 years is how long the wastes must be safeguarded before they can be relatively safe for fauna and people. The wastes need to be safeguarded against emitting radiation to the
atmosphere and environment, and safeguarded against theft and safeguarded against being used for terrorism
and safeguarded against war.

Nuclear power plants
Nuclear power plants are vulnerable to sabotage, bombing, implosion, explosion, fire, loss of coolant, earthquake and asteroid impact.
I submit that neither nuclear power nor other nuclear energy should be produced or used in Australia.

Personnel working or volunteering in the nuclear sector

Workers in the nuclear industry (including mining radioactive ores, mining waste storage, nuclear power plant
products and radioactive wastes) are subject to corruption, dishonesty, bribery, persuasion, blackmail and illegal dealings. Any single one of these attributes compromises the safety of a nuclear plant, and compromises the integrity of protection from misuse of nuclear waste products.

I submit that removal of prohibitions on production of nuclear energy is deleterious to safe and healthy futures for people in Australia in this century and beyond and that prohibitions on production of nuclear energy must be maintained.

Management of wastes from nuclear power production
Nuclear wastes are subject to use in terrorist acts, in war, and in the production of energy and other outputs.
Nuclear wastes impose high storage and safe maintenance costs on the country where the wastes are. Wastes
from nuclear power production need to be guarded for some 300,000 years. Wastes carry the potential for
accidental and deliberate acts that can have catastrophic outcomes on human health, environmental health, and
public and private infrastructure.

I submit that hazards and risks associated with nuclear wastes would be exacerbated by production of nuclear
power in Australia and that those hazards and risks should be avoided by maintaining a total prohibition on
production of nuclear energy in Australia. I also submit that nuclear power should be prohibited in any country,
land area, sea area and terrestrial or non-terrestrial air space controlled or owned by Australia.

Risk to future generations
Radioactive products from mining of radioactive and uranium ores, and products of nuclear power generation
retain radioactivity at levels unsafe for human health as well as for human and animal environments for some
300,000 years. Dealing, storing, and safeguarding those ores, ore products, and the wastes from nuclear power
production will confer risks and costs on future generations of people and those hazards, costs, health and
environmental risks would be an wholly unreasonable imposition of all current and future generations.

I submit that the hazards, risks and safety costs imposed on future generations by any removal of prohibitions on nuclear energy creation and production would be unreasonable and inequitable for all future generations of

I submit that the following Sections of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 should not be repealed:
Section 10
I submit that the following parts or Sections of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 should not be repealed:
Section 37J
Section 140A
Section 146M
Paragraph 305(2)(d)

March 21, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Greg Chapman Submission – Nuclear power is dirty and its fallout lasts forever.

Submission no 66. To Senate Estimates Committee against Environment and Other Legislation Amendment (Removing Nuclear Energy Prohibitions) Bill 2022

How many times do we have to remind ultra-conservative politicians that Australia doesn’t
need or want nuclear power stations or nuclear powered war machines?

Australia has more than enough sustainable renewable energy without having to resort to
dangerous and world-shattering atomic energy.

I live near Darwin River Dam – the water supply for Darwin. On the other side of the Dam is
Rum Jungle Uranium site. It is still radioactive after hundreds of millions of dollars of
remediation since it closed in 1971. Darwin Dam water is tested daily before it reaches city
taps. My bore water is never tested. Over 17,000 people down here have untested water
bores. I’ve had friends who died from unexplained cancers. This is the legacy of being
colonised by the UK and US for their militaries to make nuclear weapons.

Australia has several nuclear bomb testing sites still giving off high levels of radioactivity
because of our unequal ‘alliances’ with the UK and US.

Why does it seem to be that these ultra-conservatives want to make us part of the nuclear
industry and lobby for ‘clean’ nuclear energy when Australian governments make
arrangements with the UK/US to buy nuclear submarines and house B52s with nuclear
weapon capabilities?

Nuclear power is not clean or sustainable. It’s dirty and its fallout lasts forever.

Let’s say we agree to have nuclear energy. We would need to:
 Consult fairly, openly and accountably with individuals and communities likely to be
 Arrange constantly assessed assurance and insurance agreements locally, nationally
and internationally – including jurisdictional arrangements between the
Commonwealth and states/territories;
 Provide occupational health and safety to a yet to be trained Australian workforce and
educate workers and their families on the dangers of reactor workers taking work
 Australia can’t depend on overseas workers to fill highly sophisticated scientific and
technical officer jobs. After 40 years of educational neglect, we can’t rely on other
countries to supply such employment skills and needs;
 Have highly secure sites for nuclear facilities;
 Allocate huge amounts of water for cooling and preventing meltdown;
 Connect power infrastructure to the grid without jeopardising other energy

Provide extremely safe transport for nuclear materials with warnings and signs
everywhere possible on the transport vehicles and roads used;
 Safely decommission reactors – also requiring a huge, well-trained workforce and a
huge and well-trained public service to oversee this;
 Be able to do what no other nuclear nation has yet done: safely manage and store
nuclear waste for thousands of years, and
 Reassure our non-nuclear neighbours

Australia has colonised and ignored the basic needs and communal responsibilities of our
first nation people – as well as making war on other nations not toeing our white, mainstream
liberal dream of private, individual ownership. Can we really be trusted to use nuclear energy
for the social good of the world? How do we reconcile commissioning volatile reactor
stations in a highly unpredictable atmosphere of climate change? Will another Chenobyl help
us achieve a circular economy and zero waste in the near future – or ever?

Where we even put these monsters? Not in my backyard – that’s for sure!

March 21, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear power costs prohibitive

Michael Chamley, The Entrance MARCH 21, 2023

It seems any mention of cheap, clean renewables gets the dander up some areas, whether they be advocates for more coal and gas burning or, over the past two Forums, nuclear power plants.

Had Blind Freddy (hereafter “Fred”) been able to see, he could have referred his fellow acolytes to the failure of nuclear power plants at Three Mile Island in the USA, Chernobyl in the Ukraine and Fukushima in Japan, all frightful results.

However, almost as frightening is the misinformation these Forum inputs contained about the general use of nuclear power.

Firstly, generating costs: The UK has nine operational nuclear power plants, and 11,000 offshore wind turbines (not a reliable comparison place for solar).

In 2021 the cost per MW  hour for wind generation was 37 pounds (A$67); the cost to generate a MW hour of electricity using nuclear was 100 pounds (A$181).

Cost to build: The UK’s latest nuclear power plant; Hinkley Point C; remains incomplete having started construction in 2017, with completion expected (after delays) in 2028.

The cost to date has been 32.7 billion pounds (A$67B), with costs having risen from the initial cost of 22 billion pounds (A$40B).

In the UK experts on energy are saying this station will produce the most expensive UK electricity ever.

Further, there is the added necessity for the power plants to be shut down for maintenance for extended periods. sometimes one-two weeks or more, when their generating capacity is offline, much like coal and gas generators now.

Of course the letters did not include this in their analysis of “intermittency”.

Large wind/solar farms are constructed in two-three years and wind farms cost $2-4M per MW hours.

I also refer Fred to the 2021-2022 Gencost report completed by the CSIRO and AEMO.

In it they stated that wind and solar was the cheapest form of electricity generation (as anyone with rooftop PV will attest), even when taking into account costs associated with storage (batteries or pumped hydro) and related transmission upgrade costs.

The cost of nuclear power would be the most expensive form of power at $16,000 per KwH to produce (Small modular reactors SMR’s Gencost report), with wind and solar under $2000 per KwH.

One of the parties at the coming election is advocating SMR’s for a street near you.

Gencost stated of SMR’s: “Following extensive consultation with the Australian electricity industry, report findings do not see any prospect of domestic projects this decade, given the technology’s commercial immaturity and high cost.

“Future cost reductions are possible but depend on its successful commercial deployment overseas.”

By that time, Australia will be powered by renewables by a mixture of wind, solar, pumped hydro/storage, hydro electric and battery storage – all clean, all sustainable and no radioactive byproducts to dispose of.

March 21, 2023 Posted by | business, Queensland | Leave a comment