Australian news, and some related international items

Blinken Dismisses Calls for a Ceasefire, Says US Must Build Up Ukraine’s Military

The Secretary of State called for Washington to continue to put militarism before diplomacy, by Kyle Anzalone 

The US will focus its efforts on arming Ukraine and not attempting to bring the war to a negotiated settlement, America’s top diplomat said. Secretary of State Antony Blinken laid out a plan to massively expand Kiev’s military before talks begin.

In a speech delivered in Finland on Friday, Blinken stated, “The United States – together with our allies and partners – is firmly committed to supporting Ukraine’s defense today, tomorrow, for as long as it takes.” He continued, “We believe the prerequisite for meaningful diplomacy and real peace is a stronger Ukraine, capable of deterring and defending against any future aggression.”

Blinken dismissed the idea of even a temporary pause in the fighting. …………………………

The Secretary of State offered an ambitious vision of Kiev’s future military capabilities. “America and our allies are helping meet Ukraine’s needs on the current battlefield while developing a force that can deter and defend against aggression for years to come.” He added, “That means helping build a Ukrainian military of the future, with long-term funding, a strong air force centered on modern combat aircraft, an integrated air and missile defense network, advanced tanks and armored vehicles, national capacity to produce ammunition, and the training and support to keep forces and equipment combat-ready.”

It is unclear how long it would take to build the deterrence force envisioned by Blinken. American arms stockpiles are dwindling as Washington attempts to transfer Kiev enough military equipment to keep its army fighting. The US additionally has plans to significantly increase arms transfers to Taiwan.

Blinken claimed, “Our support for Ukraine hasn’t weakened our capabilities to meet potential threats from China or anywhere else – it’s strengthened them.” In November, the Wall Street Journal reported, “US government and congressional officials fear the conflict in Ukraine is exacerbating a nearly $19 billion backlog of weapons bound for Taiwan, further delaying efforts to arm the island.”

Additionally, the White House may not have the support it needs in the Capitol for such a massive military buildup in Ukraine. Blinken asserted that “in America, this support is bipartisan.” However, at the beginning of May, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said future support for Ukraine would be contingent on success in Kiev’s long-planned counteroffensive.

Since McCaul’s statement, Ukraine has slowly lost more territory to Russian forces, including Bakhmut. Zelensky committed endless resources to the city in a months-long battle despite the advice from his Western backers. The White House is now preparing for the counteroffensive to fail.

Washington’s strategy, as laid out by Blinken, calls for arming Ukraine and weakening Russia. ………..

However, Gen. Christopher Cavoli, the commander of US European Command, told Congress in April that Moscow’s ground forces are “bigger today” than before Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine last year.

……………………………………………. In April 2022, Biden administration official Derek Chollet admitted that the White House refused to negotiate with the Kremin on Putin’s core concern, Ukraine becoming a member of NATO. “We made clear to the Russians that we were willing to talk to them on issues that we thought were genuine concerns,” Chollet said, adding that the administration didn’t think that “the future of Ukraine” was one of those issues and that its potential NATO membership was a “non-issue.”

June 5, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mediterranean now a global heating hotspot

Shortly after Easter this year, in the midst of a historic, multi-year
drought, temperatures in parts of the western Mediterranean climbed a
barely believable 20C higher than seasonal norms, hitting a
record-shattering 39C in southern Spain. And that was in April.

As global heating advances, July and August in the world’s most-visited holiday
destination – pre-Covid, more than 300 million tourists a year headed to
the Med, a figure some predict could rise to 500 million by the end of the
decade – risk becoming unbearable.

The Mediterranean basin is a global
heating hotspot. While the world is now about 1.1C warmer than it was in
the 1970s, the region is already up 1.5C and on course for 3C by the end of
the century (or 5C, in a worst-case scenario). Rising temperatures and more
frequent heatwaves are not the only challenge. Most climate models agree
that in most parts of the world, warmer will also mean wetter – but not in
the Med, where rainfall is set to plunge by between 10% and 60%.

Guardian 3rd June 2023

June 5, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Increasing heat could turn ocean plankton microbes into carbon emitters

Warming climate could turn ocean plankton microbes into carbon emitters.
New research finds that a warming climate could flip globally abundant
microbial communities from carbon sinks to carbon emitters, potentially
triggering climate change tipping points. The findings are published in
Functional Ecology. 1st June 2023

June 5, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Greenland refuses to allow exploitation for uranium

Energy Transition Minerals, formerly Greenland Minerals A/S, has been
informed by Naalakkersuisut that their application for an exploitation
permit in Kuannersuisut has been refused. The ministry announced this in a
short press release on Friday afternoon. Energy Transition Minerals has
applied for permission for exploitation at Kuannersuit in Narsaq,
targeting, among other things, rare earths, zinc and uranium.

Sermitsiaq 2nd June 2023

June 5, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

June 2: Nonviolent ecumenical movements call for ratification of the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty

04.06.23 – Italy – Redazione Italia

On the occasion of June 2, Republic Day, associations and organizations from the Catholic world and spiritually based ecumenical and nonviolent movements called at a June 1 press conference for the Italian government to ratify the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as a first step in stemming the war in Ukraine and embarking on a diplomatic path to peace.

“We are in an apocalyptic scenario, today, more than ever, it is necessary that the Treaty be signed because the crest on which we are walking is very dangerous,” said Carlo Cefaloni of the Focolare Movement, opening the press conference at the Chamber of Deputies on behalf of all the movements.

“Tomorrow there will be a military parade, instead we are here to say that we don’t want war; but we really have to decide that,” said Don Renato Sacco of Pax Christi, “because in this last year 2240 billion euros have been invested in armaments; this means that you want war: [therefore] there is a need to choose peace in a strong and determined way.

Also speaking during the press conference was Enkolina Shqau of the Pope John XXIII Association; she stressed that “to say no to war and nuclear weapons is not a matter of being good but of being smart because it is not possible that we still have not learned anything from the disasters of the last century.”

Emanuela Gitto, Vice President of the Youth Sector of Catholic Action stressed that “On the occasion of the June 2 holiday, we want to remember how the Constituent Assembly decided to put the repudiation of war among the founding pillars of our Republic, which is why it is important that the call to silence the weapons and open a true dialogue towards peace starts from these rooms.

“Politics has been lacking in these months, especially a prophetic vision of politics,” said Emiliano Manfredonia, national president of the ACLI, “and so the usual traffickers, including drug and human traffickers have won. Let us commit instead to sign this treaty as a prophetic gesture, as a strong signal to start a real path of peace and to accompany Monsignor Zuppi in this mission of his in Ukraine so that he can really open the necessary paths.”

Maurizio Simoncelli, spokesman for the Italia ripensaci campaign explained that “the Treaty so far has been signed by nations that do not have nuclear production (Translator’s note: They probably mean “nuclear weapons”. Italy hosts nuclear weapons), and it would be nice if instead, Italy was the first to set a good example in this regard because we know that having nuclear weapons does not increase a country’s security, but rather the opposite.”

A number of parliamentarians were also present in the press room of the Chamber of Deputies, including Hon. Paolo Ciani, who wanted to reiterate how important the commitment of politics is “and it is not a credit to European politics that the go-ahead from Strasbourg in these hours will allow the use of PNRR (National Plan for Recovery and Resilience) funds for the production of munitions to be sent to Ukraine.” MP Nicola Fratoianni also commented on the news of the Europarliament vote, saying that “these are acts that have nothing to do with real politics and I am very happy with demonstrations like the

 one you organized today because they are necessary to make the decision-makers change direction.”

Mario Marazzitti of the Sant’Egidio Community wanted to add that “the signing of this document certainly does not serve to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, but it is a first step to lower the fever of war and this mad arms race.”

“Good politics is the one that gets us out of the logic of the market,” said Maurizio Certini of the Giorgio La Pira Foundation, “therefore out of the business related to the production of weapons because we need to make everyone understand that bombs bring insecurity.

At the end of the press conference, representatives of the associations gathered in front of the Montecitorio to display a banner that read For a Republic Free of War and Nuclear Weapons.

June 5, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s first solar thermal plant edges closer to reality as engineers named

June 5, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Draconian: South Australia just topped NSW, Tas, Victoria, Queensland with new laws penalising peaceful protesters

Michael West Media, by Wendy Bacon | Jun 3, 2023 

A bill introducing harsh penalties and extending the scope of a law applying to those who obstruct public places has been passed after an all-night sitting by the South Australian Legislative Council this week. Veteran investigative journalist (herself twice imprisoned for free speech) Wendy Bacon reports.

South Australia now joins New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria and Queensland, states which have already passed anti-protest laws imposing severe penalties on people who engage in peaceful civil disobedience. South Australia’s new law carries the harshest financial penalties in Australia.

Thirteen Upper House Labor and Liberal MPs voted for the Bill, opposed by two Greens MPs and two SABest MPs. The government faced down the cross bench moves to hold an inquiry into the bill, to review it in a year or add a defence of ‘reasonableness’.

The Summary Offences (Obstruction of Public Places) Amendment Bill 2023 was introduced into the House Assembly by Premier Peter Malinauskas the day after Extinction Rebellion protests were staged around the Australian Petroleum and  Exploration Association (APPEA) annual conference on May 17. The most dramatic of these protests was staged by 69 year old Meme Thorne who abseiled off a city bridge causing delays and traffic to be diverted.

Meanwhile the gas lobby APPEA which is financed by foreign fossil fuel companies has stopped publishing its (public) financial statements. Questions put for this story were ignored but we will append a response should one be available…………………………………………………………

The new law introduces maximum penalties of $50,000 (66 times the previous maximum fine) or a prison sentence of three months. The maximum fine was previously $750, and there was no prison penalty. If emergency services (police, fire, ambulance) are called to a protest, those convicted can also be required to pay emergency service costs. The scope of the law has also been widened to include ‘indirect’ obstruction of a public place.

This means that if you stage a protest and the police use 20 emergency vehicles to divert traffic, you could be found guilty under the new section and be liable for the costs. Even people handing out pamphlets about vaping harm in front of a shop, or workers gathering on a footpath to demand better pay, could fall foul of the laws. An SABest amendment to the original bill removing the word ‘reckless’ restricts its scope to intentional acts.

Peter Malinauskus told Radio Fiveaa yesterday that the new laws aimed to deter “extremists” who protested “with impunity” by crowd sourcing funds to pay their fines. 

In speaking about the laws, Malinaukas, Maher and their right wing media supporters have made constant references emergency services, and ambulances. But no evidence has emerged that ambulances were delayed. The author contacted SA Ambulances to ask if any ambulances were held up on May 17, and if they were delayed, whether Thorne was told. SA Ambulance Services acknowledged the question but have not yet answered.

The old ambulance excuse

Significantly, the SA Ambulance Employees Union has complained about the “alarming breadth” of  the laws and reminded the Malinauskas government that in the lead-up to last year’s state election, Labor joined Greens, SABest and others in protests about ambulance ramping, which caused significant traffic delays.  

The constant references to emergencies are reminiscent of similar references in NSW. When protesters Violet Coco and firefighter Alan Glover were arrested on the Sydney Harbour Bridge last year, police included a reference to an ambulance in a statement of facts.

The ambulance did not exist and the false statement was withdrawn but this did not stop then Labor Opposition leader, now NSW Premier Chris Minns repeating the allegation when continuing to support harsh penalties even after a judge had released Coco from prison. It later emerged that the protesters had agreed to move if it was necessary to make way for an ambulance.

…………………………………………………………. Early this year, UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutierrez declared, “2023 is a year of reckoning. It must be a year of game-changing climate action. We need disruption to end the destruction. No more baby steps. No more excuses. No more greenwashing. No more bottomless greed of the fossil fuel industry and its enablers.”

Meanwhile climate disasters mount

Since he made that statement, climate scientists have reported that Antarctic ice is melting faster than anticipated. This week, there has been record-beating heat in eastern Canada and the United States, Botswana in Africa, South East China and New Zealand. Right now, unprecedented out-of-control wildfires are ravaging Canada.

An international force of 1200 firefighters including Australians have joined the Canadian military battling to bring fires under control. Extreme rain and floods displaced millions in Pakistan and thousands in Australia in 2022. Recently, extreme rain caused rivers to break their banks in Italy, causing landslides and turning streets into rivers. Homelessness drags on for years as affected communities struggle to recover long after the media moves on. 

Is it any wonder that some people don’t continue as if it is ‘business as usual’. Protesters in London invaded Shell’s annual conference last week and in Paris, climate activists were tear gassed at Total Energies AGM. In The Netherlands last weekend, 1500 protesters who blocked a motorway to call attention to the climate emergency were water-cannoned and arrested.

On Thursday 30, Rising Tide protesters pleaded guilty to entering enclosed lands and attempting to block a coal train in Newcastle earlier this year. They received fines of between $450 and $750, most of which will be covered by crowdfunding. Three of them were Knitting Nannas, a group of older women who stage frequent protests.

This week the Knitting Nannas and others formed a human chain around NAB headquarters in Sydney. They called for NAB to stop funding fossil fuel projects, including the Whitehaven coal mine. 

Knitting Nannas, Rising Tide

Two Knitting Nannas have mounted a legal challenge in the NSW Supreme Court seeking a declaration that the NSW anti-protest laws are invalid because they violate the implied right to freedom of communication in the Australian constitution. A similar action is already been considered in South Australia.

In this context, fossil fuel industry get togethers may no longer be seen as a PR and networking opportunity for government and companies. Australian protesters will not be impressed by Federal and State Labor politicians reassurances that they have a right to protest, providing that they meekly follow established legal procedures that empower police and councils to give or refuse permission for assemblies at prearranged places and times and do not inconvenience anyone else.

June 3, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal | Leave a comment

EDITORIAL: Government turns a blind eye to lessons from nuclear disaster June 2, 2023 

It appears that the lessons learned from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster have been taken so lightly.

The government and a majority of the Diet are heavily responsible for pushing through a reversal of the nation’s nuclear policies without careful deliberation, shifting from a “reduction of dependence” on nuclear power and heading to its “maximum utilization.”

We must keep asking ourselves whether we can solve the many difficult problems plaguing nuclear power plants and whether they could end up haunting future generations.

This week, a bill related to promoting nuclear plants was passed by the Diet.

The government’s responsibilities and measures aimed at the active utilization are stipulated in the Atomic Energy Basic Law.

The new law also relaxed restrictions on nuclear reactors’ operational periods introduced after the catastrophic disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, opening a path to allowing reactors to operate beyond 60 years if certain conditions are met.

The Asahi Shimbun in its editorials has opposed the bill and called for its reconsideration.

That is because nuclear plants are plagued with a mountain of issues such as the ever-growing nuclear waste and Japan’s nuclear fuel cycle that has reached an impasse, not to mention safety and economic concerns.

And it is unacceptable for the government to reverse its stance to restarting nuclear plants without showing a path to solving the problems.

Now is the time to speed up reforms to make renewable energy a primary power source from the standpoint of the overall energy policy.

Returning to dependence on nuclear plants could lead to going down the wrong path.

The bill was also rushed along as the government adopted the new policy last year after only several months of debate.

The Diet was supposed to do everything in its power to scrutinize the bill from multiple perspectives, but no deep discussions ensued.

We can’t help but be disappointed.

Reasons cited for the about-face were the need for a stable supply of energy and the decarbonization of energy sources.

But how much of a role do nuclear plants actually play in these goals? And why is it necessary to treat them differently?

The government shied away from answering these questions head-on and repeatedly said it was important to pursue all possible options, including nuclear energy.

With several bills covering a variety of issues bundled into the legislation, discussions on concrete measures also wandered off-track.

It had been explained that the limit on the reactors’ operational periods was originally intended to reduce safety risks.

But the government claimed that it decided from the standpoint of the nation’s energy strategy, instead of safety regulations.

Although it was a major shift, the government failed to provide convincing explanations.

After all, numerous questions, including fundamental problems, were left unanswered.

If this stance continues, it will be inevitable for the government to single-mindedly devote itself to the promotion of its new polices on nuclear plants.

The latest policy shift was led by the economy ministry, seriously undermining the principle of separation between “promotion and regulation,” which is the heart of the nuclear policy introduced in light of the Fukushima disaster.

The government seems set to support the restart of nuclear plants and construction of new ones.

However, at the very least, safety procedures and economic benefits of nuclear plants must be thoroughly considered.

And, no matter how many efforts are made, inconvenient realities about nuclear plants won’t disappear.

The government and party members who voted for the bill must keep firmly in mind that they will have to face these realities sooner or later.

June 3, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Unlimited money to Ukraine is now allowed, through USA’s “Debt Sealing” arrangement.

Debt Ceiling Deal Puts No Limits on Ukraine Aid

Emergency spending that has been used to arm Ukraine is exempt and it could also be used to arm Taiwan

June 2, 2023, By Dave DeCamp /

The debt ceiling agreement reached between the White House and House Republicans places no constraints on spending on the war in Ukraine, a White House official told Bloomberg.

The $113 billion that has been authorized to spend on the war in Ukraine so far was passed as supplemental emergency funds, which is exempt from the spending caps that are part of the debt ceiling deal.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, funding “designated as an emergency requirement or for overseas contingency operations would not be constrained, and certain other funding would not be subject to the caps.” The deal suspends the nation’s debt limit through January 1, 2025.

Hawks in Congress are looking to use emergency spending to increase the $886 billion military budget that was agreed to as part of the deal. The emergency funds could go beyond Ukraine and might be used to send weapons to Taiwan or for other spending that hawks favor as part of their strategy against China.

“We are almost certainly going to need a supplemental for Ukraine, which is, in my view, one of the most pressing defense challenges we have right now,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), according to Roll Call. “And the other obligations flow from China and Taiwan on one hand and Russia and Ukraine on the other.”

Other senators said they favor using the emergency funding to raise military spending altogether. The $886 billion budget is what President Biden asked for 2024, but Republican hawks have blasted the request as “inadequate.”

“Clearly our support for Ukraine will be outside the budget, as it has been in the past, but I’d like to see additional support for our own military in emergency supplementals as well,” said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT).

The Senate passed the agreement, known as the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, on Thursday night in a vote of 63-36, sending the bill to President Biden’s desk. The legislation was passed through the House on Wednesday in a vote of 314-117.

June 3, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Panellists discuss nuclear documentary ‘Atomic Bamboozle’ and warn against return of nuclear power .

Activists show, discuss nuclear documentary ‘Atomic Bamboozle’ at Kiggins in Vancouver, Film, panelists warn against return of nuclear power,

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian staff writer, June 2, 2023,

Get used to the phrase “small modular nuclear reactor” and its abbreviation, SMR. A global debate about this old-made-new energy idea is already heating up, with big implications for the people and environs of the Pacific Northwest.

SMRs are either the cleaner, safer, cheaper future of nuclear power or the return of the same old bundle of hazards, dressed up in newly attractive camouflage.

“They’re going to make nuclear energy cool again,” said former Trump administration energy secretary Rick Perry (consistently mispronouncing the word “nuclear”) in a news clip featured in the new documentary film “Atomic Bamboozle.”

“Atomic Bamboozle” is the latest in a series of timely, social-issue documentaries directed by Jan Haaken, a retired Portland State University psychology professor. Last year, Haaken produced a film about the courtroom victories of local oil-train protesters called “Necessity: Climate Justice and the Thin Green Line,” which screened, along with a panel discussion, at Vancouver’s Kiggins Theatre.

The same will happen at a Wednesday screening of “Atomic Bamboozle” at Kiggins. Environmental activists featured in the film will discuss the potential resurgence of nuclear power in the Pacific Northwest through supposedly safe, small, factory-built nuclear plants.

Panelists are Cathryn Chudy and Lloyd Marbet of the Oregon Conservancy Foundation; Desiree Hellegers, English professor and director of the Collective for Social and Environmental Justice at Washington State University Vancouver; public interest attorney Dan Meek; Dr. Patricia Kullberg, former medical director of the Multnomah County Health Department; “Atomic Days” author Joshua Frank; and film director Haaken.

(Frank’s book about the decommissioned Hanford nuclear site in Eastern Washington, “Atomic Days: The Most Toxic Place in America,” is the Fort Vancouver Regional Library system’s “Revolutionary Reads” book for this year. Free copies of the book are available to all at library branches.)

Climate wedge

Although small modular nuclear reactors are still more blueprint than reality, they’ve become a wedge issue among some environmentalists who are desperate to beat climate change, said Chudy, who lives in Vancouver.

“SMRs sound pretty cool but there are very big problems that they don’t want to talk about,” Chudy said during a phone interview with The Columbian.

“Atomic Bamboozle” reviews the troubled history of Oregon’s only commercial nuclear power plant, Trojan, which operated from 1976 through 1992 near Rainier, just across the Columbia River from Kalama. Trojan’s cooling tower dominated the skyline until it was demolished in 2006, but problems plagued the plant throughout its short life, including construction flaws, unexpected cracks, steam leaks and discovery of previously unknown earthquake fault lines nearby.

“We had assurances the plant was safe. The public relations around Trojan were amazing,” said Chudy, a pediatric mental health therapist at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland.

Chudy said today’s youth are struggling as never before with existential worry about a world that grown-ups have failed to steward. Proposed SMRs represent an opportunity to choose wisely and safely now rather than punting complicated problems into an unknown future, she said.

“Kids don’t trust adults to make good decisions,” Chudy said. “We are all putting our lives in the hands of people we elect … but I don’t think we can rely on them to steer the ship in the right direction without all of us being involved.”

Unsolved problems

Both Oregon and Washington have adopted clean energy policies for the future, Chudy said, but both include a loophole for nuclear power because nuclear plants do not emit carbon pollution.

She argues that nuclear power is actually a big cause of carbon pollution and a driver of global warming from many sources other than operating the plants themselves, including uranium mining as well as construction, decommissioning and materials transportation.

Necessary economies of scale are another serious question about nuclear power, Chudy added.

SMR boosters like them because they’re small. But what they contain is standard, old-school nuclear technology that’s simply operating on a tiny scale, M.V. Ramana, professor of physics, public policy and global affairs at the University of British Columbia, said in the film.

Early experiments with nuclear power started small too, Ramana said, but grew huge in pursuit of financial efficiency. Nothing has changed about that, he argues in the film, and new forecasts show the productions costs of nuclear power climbing.

“All nuclear reactors used to be small. The only way the nuclear industry could figure out to reduce cost was to go to larger reactors,” Ramana said. “There’s no way small modular reactors are going to be economically competitive.”

Soaring projected costs have led some members to drop out of a consortium of Western cities now pursuing an SMR on the Snake River in Idaho, according to Reuters.

The risk of nuclear accidents always remains, Ramana said in the movie. But siting decisions are made by politicians and investors in state and national capitals, far removed from the action.

June 3, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dismay in the region over Japan’s plan for nuclear waste water

Nuclear Waste in Pacific Ocean: Japan’s Plan Triggers Controversy

Japan plans to discharge millions of metric tonnes of nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean. This wastewater has been accumulating since disaster struck the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011. Japan is running out of storage space for this wastewater, which is why it is desperately trying to dump the waste in the ocean. But Tokyo’s plan is marred with controversy, with physical protests being arranged against it as well. Watch this Vantage report to know more.

June 3, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

British anti-nuclear campaigners support Canadian counterparts over nuke dump

In an act of international solidarity, British anti-nuclear campaigners have written to the Premier of Ontario in support of fellow Canadian activists who on 30 May presented a petition to the Legislative Assembly of that state opposing the transportation and dumping of nuclear waste.The Chair of the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) English Forum, Cllr David Blackburn, was joined by co-signatories Marianne Birkby from Radiation Free Lakeland / Lakes against the Nuclear Dump; Jan Bridget from Millom against the Nuclear Dump / South Copeland against the Geological Disposal Facility; and Ken Smith from Guardians of the East Coast in making an appeal to Premier Doug Ford calling for Canadian nuclear waste to be retained at the sites at which it was generated and stored in purpose-built secure facilities coupled with constant monitoring and active stewardship, rather than trucked for thousands of miles and dumped underground.

In Canada, the Nuclear Waste Management Organisation (NWMO), established by that nation’s nuclear power plant operators, is seeking a site for a so-called Deep Geological Repository for all of Canada’s nuclear fuel waste. As 90% of the waste is held by Ontario Power Generation, a major shareholder in the NWMO, two sites in that state have been short-listed.

Campaigners here in the UK face a similar threat from a Geological Disposal Facility with government-funded Nuclear Waste Services currently investigating the possibility of locating an underground / undersea nuclear waste dump in West Cumbria or East Lincolnshire. As in Canada, many people bitterly object to the plans and have coalesced around local campaigns to oppose them. It is therefore natural that British campaigners should want to express support for Canadian colleagues facing a similar threat.

The petition was formally presented to the Assembly by three elected representatives, Lise Vaugeois, Sol Mamakwa and Mike Schreiner on behalf of the people of Ontario and ‘We the Nuclear Free North’ an alliance of people and groups opposing a nuclear waste dump, or in Canada a Deep Geological Repository, in Northern Ontario. Members of the Alliance include Indigenous Canadians from the First Nations.

Commenting Cllr David Blackburn, Chair of the NFLA English Forum, said: “Our Canadian counterparts are calling specifically for a ‘proximity principle’ to be adopted by the State of Ontario in the storage and stewardship of nuclear waste. This mirrors the position of the Nuclear Free Local Authorities and the Scottish Government that waste should be kept ‘near to the site where it was produced and on or near the surface’ so that it can be continually monitored and retrieved and repackaged in the event of an accident”.

The NWMO in Canada and Nuclear Waste Services in the UK have been liaising recently for the purposes of knowledge sharing, and anti-nuclear campaigners in both nations are now looking to set up an early meeting to discuss their own ideas for international collaboration.

June 3, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

China swelters through record temperatures. And vulnerability of old people to heat waves

Temperatures across China reached or exceeded their records for the month
of May, the country’s National Climate Centre has said. Weather stations
at 446 sites registered temperatures that were the same as, or greater
than, the highest ever recorded for the month of May, deputy director of
the National Climate Centre Gao Rong said at a press briefing on Friday. On
Monday, the Shanghai Meteorology Bureau reported that the city had recorded
a temperature of 36.1 degrees Celsius. The previous record for May was
35.7C, which occurred in 2018. Over the next three days, most of southern
China is expected to be hit by temperatures of more than 35C, with
temperatures in some areas exceeding 40C, according to national forecasters
on Friday.

 Guardian 2nd June 2023

 New heatwave warnings could miss vulnerable older people who aren’t
online. Email alerts to warn public about dangers of hot weather will be
voluntary and will give advice on how to stay cool.

 Telegraph 1st June 2023

June 3, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Female health care workers need better protection from radiation, doctors say

Finnish study showed that breast cancer rates were 1.7 times higher than expected among radiologists, surgeons and cardiologists when compared to female physicians who don’t work with radiation.

Finnish study showed that breast cancer rates were 1.7 times higher than expected among radiologists, surgeons and cardiologists when compared to female physicians who don’t work with radiation. June 2, 2023

London — A group of physicians is calling on health care employers to provide female workers who are exposed to on-the-job radiation with added protections to minimize their risk of breast cancer.

In an editorial recently published in the journal BMJ, the physicians point out that ionizing radiation is a known human carcinogen, and breast tissue is highly sensitive to radiation. “As such, there are concerns that regular exposure to ionizing radiation during image guided procedures may be linked to a higher risk of breast cancer in female health care workers.”

Although measuring occupational radiation-induced breast cancer risk is a challenge, examining the available evidence and improving personal protective equipment options can help reduce that risk for the rising number of female workers entering X-ray and imaging occupations.

PPE such as lead gowns that are used to shield the body from radiation leave the area close to the armpit exposed, the physicians write, and that area is a common site of breast cancer.

A small Finnish study showed that breast cancer rates were 1.7 times higher than expected among radiologists, surgeons and cardiologists when compared to female physicians who don’t work with radiation.

The London-based Society of Radiographers’ Ionising Radiation Regulations 2017 state that radiation levels delivered to all health care workers should be “as low as reasonably achievable.” Actions include reducing the duration of exposure, increasing distance from the source and shielding all workers with effective PPE.

Additional protection, including capped sleeves and axillary protection wings that can be worn under standard medical gowns, would protect the upper outer quadrant of the breast. Female health care workers should consider adopting this extra layer of protection, the European Society for Vascular Surgery says in its 2023 Clinical Practice Guidelines on Radiation Safety

“Providing appropriate protection is a legal requirement of an employer, who has a duty of care to all workers exposed to radiation,” the editorial states. “The female breast appears to be particularly vulnerable and it is therefore important employers invest in protective equipment that enhances the safety of all their staff.”

June 3, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Julian Assange: the plot thickens

The FBI has reopened its case against Wikileaks founder and Australian journalist Julian Assange, the SMH  reports, after agents tried to interview his ghostwriter, Andrew O’Hagan, in London.

O’Hagan refused to talk to them because he would never give a statement against “a fellow journalist being pursued for telling the truth”. Badass, particularly as O’Hagan isn’t exactly fond of Assange as a person, as he famously wrote in the London Review of Books.

Anyway, Assange’s lawyer, Stephen Kenny, was taken by surprise by the news — he says it’s been years since the indictment was issued, and he didn’t realise there was an investigation under way. What if they’re gathering evidence to clear Assange’s name, considering there are growing rumours the Albanese government is working on it, as The New Daily’s reporting indicates? It’s not impossible, Kenny says, but it would be “very unusual” if the FBI was trying to help him.

June 2, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment