Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Prestigious scientist Martin Rees says NO to tax-payer funding for space travel

Interview:  Martin Rees: ‘Climate change is a doddle compared with terraforming Mars’, Guardian

The astronomer royal and risk specialist on cyber-attacks, pandemics, Brexit and life on Mars, Martin Rees is a cosmologist and astrophysicist who has been the astronomer royal since 1995. He is also a co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, Cambridge. His most recent book, On the Future: Prospects for Humanity, is published by Princeton.

Martin Rees……. science is not just a venture for academics – most of our life depends on how it’s applied.
…….. One consequence of modern technology is that the world is more interconnected. It’s possible for small groups or even individuals to produce an effect that cascades very widely, even globally.
Ian Tucker..The climate crisis is another area where international agreements have had limited impact. There is a strong grassroots movement led by Greta Thunberg and others, yet we have populist presidents in the US and Brazil who are climate-change deniers and reneging on agreements… 

Martin Rees Politicians don’t prioritise things when the benefits are diffuse and in the far future. They will only take action if the voters are behind them. That’s why it’s very important to sustain these campaigns.

We want to make sure that these issues of climate stay on the agenda. For instance, the 2015 papal encyclical on climate change. The pope has a billion followers from Latin America, Africa, East Asia and this helped towards consensus at the Paris conference……

The need for sending people into space has evaporated. If you were building the Hubble telescope now, you wouldn’t send people to refurbish it, you would send robots. I hope human space flight will continue, but as a high-risk adventure bankrolled by private companies. If I were American, I wouldn’t support taxpayers’ money going on Nasa’s manned programme.  …..

it is a delusion to think we can solve Earth’s problems by relocating to Mars. I completely disagree with Musk and with my late colleague Stephen Hawking on that, because dealing with climate change on Earth is a doddle compared with terraforming Mars. ….https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/aug/18/martin-rees-astronomer-royal-interview-brexit

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August 20, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Iceland holds funeral for first glacier lost to climate change

Iceland holds funeral for first glacier lost to climate change

Nation commemorates the once huge Okjokull glacier with plaque that warns action is needed to prevent climate change  Guardian Agence France-Presse 19 Aug 2019 ,

August 20, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

A very dangerous folly, if Trump tears up the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START)

If Trump ends another nuclear treaty, it will be the height of folly, by Michèle Flournoy and Kingston Reif, August 19, 2019  Michèle Flournoy is co-founder and managing partner of WestExec Advisors. She served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from February 2009 to February 2012. Kingston Reif is the director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy at the Arms Control Association.

(CNN)During his first two and a half years in office, President Donald Trump and his administration have laid waste to numerous international agreements originally designed to strengthen US security, bolster US alliances, and constrain US adversaries. The toll has been particularly high with respect to deals concerning nuclear arms control and nonproliferation.

Over the past 14 months, the administration has withdrawn from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and abandoned the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Both of these valuable agreements have been discarded without a viable plan to replace them.

Now the administration is signaling that it might jettison yet another nuclear pact, the2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia. Doing so would be the height of folly and would deal a significant blow to US national security. With the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty having just taken effect on Aug. 2, New START will be the only remaining agreement constraining the size of the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals. Were New START to disappear, for the first time in nearly half a century there would be no legally binding limits on American or Russian nuclear stockpiles. The risk of unconstrained US-Russian nuclear competition, and of even more tense bilateral relations, would grow.

New START is one of the few remaining bright spots in the US-Russian relationship. The treaty requires each side to reduce long-range nuclear forces to no more than 1,550 deployed warheads, 700 deployed long-range missiles and bombers, and 800 deployed and non-deployed missile launchers and bombers by Feb. 5, 2018—a deadline that both countries met.

New START also includes a comprehensive monitoring and verification regime to ensure compliance. But the agreement is set to expire on Feb. 5, 2021. Under its terms, it can be extended by up to five years if both presidents agree.

In an appearance before an activist group this summer, however, US National Security Advisor John Bolton, who before joining the administration calledNew START an “execrable deal,” said that while no decision has been made, he thinks an extension is “unlikely.”

The decision to extend New START should be a no-brainer from both a security and budget perspective.
The treaty caps the size of Russia’s deployed nuclear arsenal and provides the US with information about Russia’s forces that cannot be gained in any other way. This reduces the Russian threat to the US and greatly aids American military and intelligence planning……. https://edition.cnn.com/2019/08/19/opinions/flournoy-reif-if-trump-ends-another-nuclear-treaty-it-will-be-the-height-of-folly/index.html

August 20, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Britain faces shortage of skilled workers for nuclear projects. (Australia would, too)

Welder Shortage Threatens Boris Johnson’s U.K. Nuclear Revival,Bloomberg, By 

  • Brexit will reduce the flow of skilled workers from Europe
  • Lack of workers will make delivering new plants more difficult

Britain’s plan to revitalize its aging nuclear energy infrastructure is likely to take a hit if Brexit jeopardizes a crucial supply of welders.

The skilled workers have been in short supply for years, a strain that will likely worsen as new nuclear projects are built. About 13% of Britain’s welders come from other countries in the European Economic Area, according to the Migration Advisory Committee, which keeps a list of occupations with a shortage of workers…. (subscribers only)  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-19/welder-shortage-threatens-boris-johnson-s-u-k-nuclear-revival

August 20, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Problems of safety from radiation and heat at the Tokyo Olympics

Controversy over radiation and heat surrounding Tokyo Olympics, HANKYOREH

By Kim Chang-geum, staff reporter : Aug.14,2019


  “…… Safety from radiation and heat at the Tokyo Olympics

Most of the issues related to the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, which are now only a year away, boil down to safety concerns over radiation and extreme heat. Some baseball and softball matches are scheduled to be held in a stadium located close to the Fukushima nuclear reactor that took direct damage during the 2011 earthquake. Korean civic groups have also pointed out that the Japanese government has failed to properly control water contaminated by radiation from the reactor. Plans to source some of the rice and ingredients for the Tokyo Olympics Athletes Village from Fukushima are adding to these concerns. Although the level of radiation measured in such rice is within the acceptable standards in Japan, it is believed to exceed Korean standards.


Extreme heat is another potential issue. After an open water test competition in Odaiba Seaside Park, Tokyo, on Aug. 11, Sports Nippon reported, “Many athletes complained about a foul odor and the high water temperature, and one male athlete made the shocking claim that it ‘smelled like a toilet.’” Although the Olympic Committee did not reveal the water temperature on that day, it has been reported that the temperature was 29.9 degrees Celsius at 5am. The International Swimming Federation (FINA) cancels events if the water temperature reaches 31 degrees Celsius. There have also been warnings about road races. On August 8, Yusuke Suzuki, Japan’s star race-walker and world record holder in the men’s 20km, stated, “I tried training on the Tokyo Olympics race-walking course. There was no shade, so it could cause dehydration.”
Tokyo Olympics delegation heads meeting from Aug. 20-22It appears that the issue of safety from radiation and concerns about food ingredients will be conveyed during the upcoming three-day meeting with the leaders of each country’s delegation in Tokyo on Aug. 20-22, and a request will be made to the Japanese Olympic Committee to change the name of Dokdo used on maps. If the representatives from each country do raise the radiation issue, the IOC will have no choice but to intervene. The Korean Sport & Olympic Committee is also considering providing separate Korean food to Korean athletes through specially prepared meals or lunchboxes.  …. http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/905758.html

August 17, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Russian Doctors Say They Weren’t Warned Patients Were Nuclear Accident Victims

Russian Doctors Say They Weren’t Warned Patients Were Nuclear Accident Victims
One doctor was reportedly later found to have a radioactive isotope in their muscle tissue.   https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/08/16/exclusive-russian-doctors-say-they-werent-warned-patients-were-nuclear-accident-victims-a66896

August 17, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Mystery of evacuation ordered, – coverup over Russian explosion ?

Russian military orders village evacuation, then cancels it, following explosion that killed five nuclear scientists, Secrecy surrounding an explosion that killed five nuclear scientists and caused a spike in radiation levels has sparked fears of a cover-up in Russia, with authorities backflipping on orders to evacuate a nearby village.https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-14/russian-nuclear-explosion-mystery/11411470

Key points:

  • Medics who treated victims of an accident have been sent to Moscow for medical examination
  • Russia’s state weather service said radiation levels spiked in Severodvinsk by up to 16 times
  • Many Russians spoke angrily on social media of misleading reports reminiscent of Chernobyl

The explosion took place on Thursday at a naval weapons range on the coast of the White Sea in northern Russia.

State nuclear agency Rosatom said the accident occurred during a rocket test on a sea platform.

The rocket’s fuel caught fire after the test, causing it to detonate, it said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.

Two days later, after a spike in radiation levels was reported, Rosatom conceded the accident involved nuclear materials.

On Tuesday (local time), the Russian military ordered residents of the small village of Nyonoksa to temporarily evacuate, citing unspecified activities at the nearby navy testing range.

But a few hours later, it said the planned activities were cancelled and told the villagers they could go back to their homes, said Ksenia Yudina, a spokeswoman for the Severodvinsk regional administration.

Local media in Severodvinsk said Nyonoksa residents regularly received similar temporary evacuation orders, usually timed to tests at the range.

Russia’s state weather service said radiation levels spiked in the Russian city of Severodvinsk, about 30 kilometres west of Nyonoksa, by up to 16 times following the explosion.

Emergency officials issued a warning to all workers to stay indoors and close the windows, while spooked residents rushed to buy iodide, which can help limit the damage from exposure to radiation.

‘People need reliable information’

Many Russians spoke angrily on social media of misleading reports reminiscent of the lethal delays in acknowledging the Chernobyl accident three decades ago.

US experts said they suspected the cause was a botched test of a nuclear-powered cruise missile commissioned by President Vladimir Putin.

Boris L Vishnevsky, a member of the St. Petersburg City Council, told the New York Times that dozens of people had called asking for clarification about radiation risks.

“People need reliable information,” Mr Vishnevsky told the Times.

“And if the authorities think there is no danger, and nothing needs to be done, let them announce this formally so people don’t worry.”

The five scientists that died in the explosion were buried Monday in the closed city of Sarov — which houses a nuclear research facility and is surrounded by fences patrolled by the military.

While hailing the deceased as the “pride of the atomic sector”, Rosatom head Alexei Likhachev pledged to continue developing new weapons. “The best tribute to them will be our continued work on new models of weapons, which will definitely be carried out to the end,” Mr Likhachev was quoted as saying by RIA news agency.

Medics who treated victims sent to Moscow

Medics who treated the victims of an accident were sent to Moscow for medical examination, TASS news agency cited an unnamed medical source as saying on Tuesday.

The medics sent to Moscow have signed an agreement promising not to divulge information about the incident, TASS cited the source as saying.

US President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Monday the United States was “learning much” from the explosion and the United States had “similar, though more advanced, technology”.

He said Russians were worried about the air quality around the facility and far beyond, a situation he described as “Not good!”

But when asked about his comments on Tuesday, the Kremlin said it, not the United States, was out in front when it came to developing new nuclear weapons.

“Our president has repeatedly said that Russian engineering in this sector significantly outstrips the level that other countries have managed to reach for the moment, and it is fairly unique,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.Mr Putin used his state-of-the nation speech in 2018 to unveil what he described as a raft of invincible new nuclear weapons, including a nuclear-powered cruise missile, an underwater nuclear-powered drone, and a laser weapon.

Tensions between Moscow and Washington over arms control have been exacerbated by the demise this month of a landmark nuclear treaty.

August 15, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The 2020 Japan Olympics – a propaganda ploy for the nuclear industry

August 15, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

$48.4 million, regularly for Adelaide’s beaches – but only $31 million dollars one-off for nuclear waste dump community

August 15, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Small nuclear reactor blew up in deadly accident

Russia says small nuclear reactor blew up in deadly accident,  The Age, By Jake Rudnitsky and Stepan Kravchenko

August 13, 2019  The failed missile test that ended in an explosion killing five scientists last week on Russia’s White Sea involved a small nuclear reactor, according to a top official at the institute where they worked.
The institute is working on small-scale power sources that use “radioactive materials, including fissile and radioisotope materials” for the Defence Ministry and civilian uses, Vyacheslav Soloviev, scientific director of the institute, said in a video shown by local TV.
The men, who will be buried on Monday, were national heroes and the “elite of the Russian Federal Nuclear Centre,” institute Director Valentin Kostyukov said in the video, which was also posted on an official website in Sarov, a high-security city devoted to nuclear research less than 400 kilometers east of Moscow.
The blast occurred on August 8 during a test of a missile that used “isotope power sources” on an offshore platform in the Arkhangelsk region, close to the Arctic Circle, Russia’s state nuclear company Rosatom said over the weekend. The Defence Ministry initially reported two were killed in the accident, which it said involved testing of a liquid-fuelled missile engine. The ministry didn’t mention the nuclear element.
Rosatom declined to comment on the incident on Monday and a spokeswoman for the Sarov institute couldn’t immediately be reached.
Russian media have speculated that the weapon being tested was the SSC-X-9 Skyfall, known in Russia as the Burevestnik, a nuclear-powered cruise missile that President Vladimir Putin introduced to the world in a brief animated segment during his state-of-the-nation address last year.
The incident comes after a series of massive explosions earlier last week at a Siberian military depot killed one and injured 13, as well as forcing the evacuation of 16,500 people from their homes. Russia’s navy has suffered numerous high-profile accidents over the years. In July, 14 sailors died in a fire aboard a nuclear-powered submarine in the Barents Sea in an incident on which officials initially refused to comment. A top naval official later said the men gave their lives  preventing a “planetary catastrophe.”
Russia’s worst post-Soviet naval disaster also occurred in the Barents Sea, when 118 crew died on the Kursk nuclear submarine that sank in after an explosion in August 2000. https://www.theage.com.au/world/asia/russia-says-small-nuclear-reactor-blew-up-in-deadly-accident-20190813-p52gfm.html

August 13, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Evidence Grows That Russia’s Nuclear-Powered Doomsday Missile Was What Blew Up Last Week 

there is the possibility that the “isotope power source” in question may have been a radioisotope thermoelectric generator or a small nuclear reactor for use on satellites or other spacecraft.
This, in principle, would give the weapon virtually unlimited range and a maximum flying time measured in days or weeks.
Evidence Grows That Russia’s Nuclear-Powered Doomsday Missile Was What Blew Up Last Week https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/29380/evidence-grows-that-russians-nuclear-powered-doomsday-missile-was-what-blew-up-last-week, BY JOSEPH TREVITHICK, AUGUST 12, 2019
, Seven personnel from a major nuclear weapons research laboratory died in the mysterious incident at a test site in northwestern Russia.   Rumors and speculation continue to swirl around a radiological accidentlast week at a missile test site in northwestern Russia even as officials held a memorial service today for those who died in the incident. The Kremlin has now acknowledged that the incident killed at least seven scientists and other personnel from a major state nuclear research laboratory, who were working on a system that included a small nuclear reactor at the time. This same lab is linked to the development of a nuclear-powered cruise missile called Burevestnik and U.S. intelligence officials are reportedly increasingly of the view that one of these weapons, or a test article related to it, exploded in this mishap.
 
Late on Aug. 11, 2019, Valentin Kostiukov, the director of the Russian Federal Nuclear Center-All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Experimental Physics, also known by the acronym RFNC-VNIIEF, along with the institute’s scientific director Vyacheslav Solovyev and deputy scientific director Aleksandr Chernyshev, held a televised press briefing regarding the accident. RFNC-VNIIEF falls under Russia’s top nuclear Corporation, Rosatom, which first admitted its involvement in the incident at the Nyonoksa missile test site in the country’s Arkhangelsk region and that the explosion had occured during work on a system that included a nuclear “isotope power source,” on Aug. 9, 2019. Continue reading

August 13, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

American religious anti-war activists face 25 year gaol term

August 13, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Russia’s radiation leak “clearly a bigger issue than the Russians are letting on”.

Russia nuclear leak: Mysterious footage of hazmat officials escalates radiation panic https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1164125/Russia-nuclear-leak-radiation-Putin-iodine-hazmat

CHILLING footage from Russia has intensified fears of a nuclear radiation accident after ambulances were spotted lined with protective chemical sheets and hospitals workers were seen wearing hazmat suits.

By OLI SMITH, Sun, Aug 11, 2019  Russian President Vladimir Putin has remained silent, amid growing speculation that a nuclear missile accident has caused a dangerous radiation leak at a naval base. The Kremlin have confirmed that a “rocket engine explosion” at the Archangelsk base in northern Russia killed five people and injured three. Last night, Russia’s nuclear energy agency Rostam admitted that they had been involved in the aftermath of the incident, raising concern of a radiation leak.

Rostam added that the explosion took place during the testing of an “isotope power source”.

The official said five of its employees had died as a result of the accident and three more were being treated for burns.

However, the extent of the incident and threat of radiation  has not been disclosed, amid growing global concern.

The Archangelsk naval base has been placed under emergency lockdown for a month, with the nearby White Sea also closed to commercial shipping.

sudden radiation spike detected in the region following the explosion prompted the initial speculation that the incident was related to a nuclear missile test.

The radiation level was recorded as 20 times higher than the normal level in the nearby city of Severodvinsk.

This has been reinforced by chilling footage filmed in the aftermath of the incident.

One video showed hospital workers wearing hazmat suits while they loaded the injured into an ambulance. Another terrifying video revealed a security escort of ambulances transporting the injured to Moscow.

In this footage, one of the ambulance is clearly coated in a chemical protection film.

A defence ministry source said that the worker’s clothes had been burned as soon as they were hospitalised with suspected radiation. Experts have linked the incident to the testing of the new nuclear-powered cruise missile Burevestnik mentioned during a speech by Vladimir Putin last year.

Local people have reportedly been urged to take precautions against radiation, with children from local kindergartens taken indoors after the blast.

There has also been a rush to buy iodine in Russia’s far north.

Russian expert Dr Mark Galeotti said the incident was “clearly a bigger issue than the Russians are letting on”.

He told the BBC: “Despite what the Kremlin have said, there must have been some sort of radiation leak – and they want people to not just stay out of harm’s way, but also don’t want people coming to the site with Geiger Counters.”

August 12, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s radioactive water storage approaching full capacity – what next?

IN THREE YEARS, FUKUSHIMA COULD OVERFLOW WITH RADIOACTIVE WATER,    https://futurism.com/the-byte/fukushima-overflow-radioactive-water    AUGUST 9TH 19__DAN ROBITZSKI_

Ticking Clock

The effort to safely decommission Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant just got hit by a looming deadline.

In about three years, the plant will run out of space for the massive quantities of treated but still-radioactive water that officials have been storing there, according to The Associated Press. While a government panel came up with a few possible courses of action, the most feasible one at the moment is to simply dump the water into the Pacific — a bleak sign for nuclear disasters in the future.

Maximum Capacity

At the moment, Fukushima has over 1 million tons of water stored in almost 1,000 on-site tanks, the AP reports. Plans are in place to build enough to store nearly 1.4 million more tons, but that even those will reach capacity by mid-2022.

Local fishers and residents of the area say that dumping the water would devastate the area’s fishing and agriculture industry, per the AP. Other options considered by the panel include vaporizing the radioactive water or injecting it deep underground.

“When we talk about Fukushima’s reconstruction, the question is if we should prioritize the decommissioning at the expense of Fukushima people’s lives,” University of Tokyo professor of disaster social science Naoya Sekiya told the AP. “The issue is not just about science.”

August 12, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

India and Pakistan on the nuclear brink over Kashmir?

Hair-Trigger Nuclear Alert Over Kashmir, Common DreamsIndia and Pakistan, where people starve in the streets, waste billions on military spending because of the Kashmir dispute. Now some of India’s extreme Hindu nationalists warn they want to reabsorb Pakistan, Bangladesh, and even Sri Lanka into Mother India.  by Eric Margolis  11 Aug 19

Two of the world’s most important powers, India and Pakistan, are locked into an extremely dangerous confrontation over the bitterly disputed Himalayan mountain state of Kashmir. Both are nuclear armed.

Kashmir has been a flashpoint since Imperial Britain divided India in 1947. India and Pakistan have fought numerous wars and conflicts over majority Muslim Kashmir. China controls a big chunk of northern Kashmir known as Aksai Chin.

In 1949, the UN mandated a referendum to determine if Kashmiris wanted to join Pakistan or India. Not surprisingly, India refused to hold the vote. But there are some Kashmiris who want an independent state, though a majority seek to join Pakistan……

What makes this confrontation so dangerous is that both sides have important tactical and nuclear forces arrayed against one another. These are mostly short/medium-ranged nuclear tipped missiles, and air-delivered nuclear bombs. Strategic nuclear weapons back up these tactical forces. A nuclear exchange, even a limited one, could kill millions, pollute much of Asia’s ground water, and spread radioactive dust around the globe – including to North America. ….https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/08/11/hair-trigger-nuclear-alert-over-kashmir

August 12, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment