Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Edward Snowden Condemns US Justice Department for Targeting Julian Assange 

 

What IS criminal is the failure of the Australian government do do a damn thing to help Julian Assange

Sputnik News, 18 Nov 18The former NSA contractor, who faces capital punishment in the US for leaking classified information on numerous US secret surveillance programmes, voiced his support for the WikiLeaks founder after it came to light that US authorities are apparently poised to indict Julian Assange.

Edward Snowden, who has been granted political asylum in Russia, has voiced his concern about the dangerous precedent for stifling press freedom which could emerge from the US Justice Department’s alleged plans to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The Freedom of the Press Foundation, where Snowden is a board member, also issued a statement condemning the possible indictment of Julian Assange, whose website published a classified Iraqi dossier revealing that the US killed civilians during the country’s 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation. Trevor Timm, executive director of Freedom of the Press Foundation, cited a profound threat to press freedom if any charges are brought against WikiLeaks for their publishing activities.

“Whether you like Assange or hate him, the theories used in a potential Espionage Act prosecution would threaten countless reporters at the New York Times, Washington Post, and the many other news outlets that report on government secrets all the time. While everyone will have to wait and see what the charges detail, it’s quite possible core First Amendment principles will be at stake in this case,” his statement reads.

Earlier this week, it came to light through what is believed to be an accident that there’s a sealed complaint against Assange, as the US Department of Justice is gearing up to prosecute the whistleblower. It is now “optimistic” about the prospect of securing his release to US authorities, a new report suggests. According to the Wall Street Journal, prosecutors have weighed several types of charges against the journalist, who has resided in self-imposed exile at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012……….https://sputniknews.com/us/201811171069890725-snowden-assange-whistleblower-prosecution/

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November 19, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, politics international | Leave a comment

Australia-UK agreement on nuclear co-operation and development after UK leaves European Union

This agreement allows the strong links between the UK and Australia in the civil nuclear sector to continue following the UK’s withdrawal from Euratom and provides the basis for future  collaboration.

International treaty Gov UK

[CS Australia No.1/2018] UK/Australia: Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy     Presented to Parliament 12 November 2018

November 17, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Radioactive pollution problems: Australia’s rare earths mine in Malaysia

Australian mining plant in Malaysia faces radioactive waste inquiry, As China, the world’s largest producer of rare earth metals, scales back its export operations, the future of Australia’s industry is under a cloud. https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australian-mining-plant-in-malaysia-faces-radioactive-waste-inquiry  By Jarni Blakkarly  30 Oct 18, The Chinese government has announced a slashing in the production of rare earth metals, a type of metal used in a range of high-tech products from mobile phones to wind turbines and electric cars.

October 29, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, rare earths | 10 Comments

As Antarctica thaws, China, Russia and others move in

October 28, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Australia losing all credibility with Pacific neighbours, as Morrison pulls out of global climate fund

October 25, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | 1 Comment

Kiribati’s Anote Tong, (slighted by Minister Melissa Price says Australia must act on climate change

‘Not happy’: Australia must act on climate, says former Kiribati leader, Anote Tong, allegedly insulted by Australian minister, says inaction means Canberra risks losing its status in Pacific region, Guardian, Kate Lyons Sat 20 Oct 2018 

October 21, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | 1 Comment

Britain’s exit from European Union- a cause for rejoicement to Australia’s uranium industry?

October 16, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics international | Leave a comment

IN New Zealand, both sides of politics agree on action against climate change

‘Jaw dropping’: New Zealand offers lessons in tackling climate change, By Peter Hannam, Brisbane Times, 13 October 2018 Scott Simpson, New Zealand’s National Party environment spokesman, stunned a trans-Tasman investment meeting last week by stating that climate action was “too important to be playing politics with”.

Or rather, it was the Australian delegates who were shocked, so used are they to the toxic debates in Canberra.

“It made my jaw drop, that’s for sure,” said Emma Herd, chief executive of the Investor Group on Climate Change.

Also well-received was Mr Simpson’s comment that it was vital “for all of us and our grandchildren that we have a [climate action] framework that is enduring”, coming as it did soon after the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had issued its latest report warning about the perils of even another half degree of warming.

That Mr Simpson hails from the centre-right opposition party roughly equivalent to our Liberal-National coalition only underscored the contrast between the nations.

New Zealand’s major parties, busy trying to thrash out a Zero Carbon Bill by year’s end, are dismayed by the absence of similar bipartisanship across the Tasman, James Shaw, climate change minister in the Labor-led government told Fairfax Media.

“We do tend to look at what’s going on in Australia politics, in particular in relation to climate policies, and we think, ‘We cannot afford to let this happen in New Zealand’,” Mr Shaw said. “It seems like a pretty strong lesson in what not to do.”……..

In government, the National Party signed up to the Paris climate accord and introduced an emissions trading scheme.

To remove the politics from the negotiations, all sides agreed to take advice on New Zealand’s targets from an independent climate commission. (Australia has a Climate Change Authority but all the original board members have been replaced since it was set up by the Gillard government and its role as an advocate for action has largely disappeared.)……

Mr Shaw (of the ruling Coalition ) said the Opposition could have exploited a potentially divisive policy – agriculture contributes half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions – but didn’t.

“They are playing an absolute straight bat,” he said. “There’s a genuine best effort to get a consensus outcome.”

New Zealanders, like Australians, have endured an increasing spate of extreme weather events, which the government attributes in part to climate change. These include a record hot year in 2016, droughts and a major forest fire last year.

“We’ve definitely had a lot more extreme rainfall events,” Nava Fedaeff, a climate scientist with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), said. These include damaging ex-tropical cyclones hitting the nation, with the average jumping from less than one a year to three over the last summer season.

Farmers, who have in the past objected fiercely to taxes on methane, appear more ready to accept the need to act. DairyNZ, for instance, has welcomed the prospect of emissions targets enshrined in legislation to give the sector “much needed certainty”.

Trish Rankin, a dairy farmer managing 440 cows for a Maori-owned co-operative near Hawera in the Taranaki region of the North Island, said climate action “needs to be apolitical – it needs to be able to last over time”.

Ms Rankin said New Zealand farmers realise their social licence depends on them being good custodians of the land, and the principle extends to curbing emissions. Open consultations with experts have also helped.

“If you know they are listening to you, you’re more likely to listen to them,” she said.

Convergence ahead?

Bill Hare, director of Climate Analytics, notes New Zealand’s existing climate policies are insufficient, but the nation appears to be “moving to a much better space”.

Steps already taken include the ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration, and in prospect are five-year interim emissions targets and a more ambitious emissions trading scheme……..

New Zealand’s climate minister, Mr Shaw, says farmers – unlike Australian coal companies – have options.

“People are still going to want to eat in 30 years’ time, so the question is what do you produce and how do you produce it – not whether or not you’re going to produce food,” he said.

“But in 30 years’ time, you can pretty much guarantee no one in the world is going to use coal for anything.”  https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/climate-change/jaw-dropping-new-zealand-offers-lessons-in-tackling-climate-change-20181012-p509di.html

October 15, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

ANSTO still dreams of nuclear power for Asia,and Australia taking back their radioactive trash

MoU for Australian and Vietnamese nuclear organisations, WNN, 10 October 2018, The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and the Vietnam Atomic Energy Agency (VAEA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to allow further collaboration between the two organisations. The agreement was signed during a visit to ANSTO by a delegation led by VAEA Director General Hoang Anh Tuan.

ANSTO CEO Adi Paterson said the MoU would give the organisations an opportunity to cooperate more closely on areas of mutual benefit. “ANSTO has worked with a variety of Vietnamese agencies for many years through multilateral fora such as the IAEA, the Regional Cooperative Agreement, and the Forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia”, he said.

Discussions were held on possible areas for cooperation including research reactor operation and utilisation, environmental monitoring of mining tails, and food provenance…………The visit, which has been facilitated by ANSTO’s International Affairs team, is part of the International Atomic Energy’s Technical Cooperation Programme. http://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/MoU-for-Australian-and-Vietnamese-nuclear-organisa

October 13, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Poor countries urge Australia to honour Green Climate Fund commitments

 UN group responds to Scott Morrison’s statement that Australia won’t be ‘throwing money’ into fund, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/10/poor-countries-urge-australia-to-honour-green-climate-fund-commitmentsGraham Readfearn  An official United Nations grouping of 47 of the world’s poorest countries has urged Australia to “honour its international commitments” after the prime minister, Scott Morrison, said the country would not be “throwing money” into a key international climate change fund.Australia has previously pledged $200m to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), set up through the UN’s climate convention to help developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and cut their own greenhouse gas emissions.

But on Monday, in the hours before a major climate report was releasedMorrison told radio presenter Alan Jones that Australia would not be “throwing money into some global climate fund”.

One international climate expert said that geopolitically it was “mildly insane” that Australia was backing out of the GCF.

In a statement to Guardian Australia, Ethiopian Gebru Jember Endalew, the chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group, said: “Funding from wealthy nations such as Australia is key to enabling an effective global response.

“LDCs and other developing countries have made ambitious plans, but these plans cannot be implemented without sufficient tools and resources being mobilised. The Green Climate Fund plays an integral role in delivering these funds and continues to be underresourced.”

The LDC Group represents 47 countries at UN climate negotiations and says its members are “specially vulnerable to climate change but have done the least to cause the problem”. African nations dominate the LDC group, alongside Pacific and East Asian countries Timor-Leste, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Tuvalu.  Continue reading

October 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Greenpeace takes legal action against Australian nuclear waste transport to Cherbourg, France.

Actu.fr 13th Sept 2018 Australian nuclear waste in Cherbourg: court hearing between Greenpeace and Orano postponed Greenpeace requested from the judge  the summary of the Cherbourg contract between ANSTO and  Orano [formerly Areva] . The case was postponed until 25 September.

Greenpeace was authorized, this Thursday, September 13, to file an interim complaint against Orano, to obtain a summary of the contract between Orano and the  Australian Agency for Nuclear Science and Technology (ANSTO).

The ship is expected this Friday. In the framework of an agreement between France and Australia signed in November 2017, the nuclear waste was loaded on board a cargo ship, BBC Austria,  – 236 spent fuel assemblies, reprocessed in four TN-MTR containers. It   left Sydney on July 29, the ship is expected Friday, September 14 in Cherbourg. Disguised storage? Greenpeace questions the legality of this contract.   It could actually be a disguised storage in France France.   https://actu.fr/normandie/cherbourg-en-cotentin_50129/dechets-nucleaires-australiens-cherbourg-laudience-entre-greenpeace-orano-reportee_18591884.html  

September 17, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics international | Leave a comment

Will France import 4 tons of nuclear waste from Australia?

Liberation 8th Sept 2018, Will France import and process 4 tons of radioactive waste from Australia?
It is spent uranium and plutonium that has been used in a research reactor.
They will be treated at the Hague and returned to Australia.
http://www.liberation.fr/checknews/2018/09/08/la-france-va-t-elle-importer-et-traiter-4-tonnes-de-dechets-radioactifs-venant-d-australie_1676296

September 10, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Australia stands to REALLY lose face on climate change at coming international summits

Morrison will face mounting pressure from the vocal band of conservatives in his party room not to commit to anything on climate change, be it symbolic or tangible.
What the government chooses to do next could have reputational repercussions for years to come.
Climate policy is clearly a threat to our domestic politics and to the job security of Australian prime ministers. With further missteps it could upend our diplomacy as well.
Lack of climate policy threatens to trip up Australian diplomacy this summit season https://theconversation.com/lack-of-climate-policy-threatens-to-trip-up-australian-diplomacy-this-summit-season-102845 Christian Downie Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow, Australian National UniversitySeptember 10, 2018 Australia has navigated a somewhat stormy passage through the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru. Scott Morrison’s new-look government faced renewed accusations at the summit about the strength of Australia’s resolve on climate policy.

Australia is neither a small nation nor one of the most powerful, but for many years it has been a trusted nation. Historically, Australia has been seen as a good international citizen, a country that stands by its international commitments and works with others to improve the international system, not undermine it.

But in recent years climate change has threatened this reputation. This is especially so among our allies and neighbours in the Pacific region, who attended this week’s Nauru summit.

With Australia’s new foreign minister, Marise Payne, attending instead of the prime minister – not a good look, albeit understandable in the circumstances – the government came under yet more international pressure to state plainly its commitment to the Paris climate agreement.

Pacific nations may be divided on many issues, but climate change is rarely one of them.

Before the meeting, Pacific leaders urged Australia to sign a pledge of support for the agreement and to declare climate change “the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing” of the region.

Australia ultimately signed the pledge, but also reportedly resisted a push for the summit’s communique to include stronger calls for the world to pursue the Paris Agreement’s more ambitious goal of limiting global warming to 1.5℃.

The government now has a chance to catch its breath before international summit season begins in earnest in November with the East Asia Summit in Singapore, followed quickly by APEC in Papua New Guinea and then the G20 summit in Buenos Aires on November 30 and December 1, not to mention the next round of UN climate negotiationsin Poland in December. Continue reading

September 10, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

Did Australia weaken language on climate change, at pacific Forum? Marise Payne plays dumb

Minister tight-lipped on claims Australia watered down climate change declaration, SBS News, 7 Sept 18 Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne is tight-lipped on claims Australia watered down language on climate change in an official Pacific Islands Forum document.  Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne has defended “robust” discussions with Pacific Island leaders about the security threat posed by climate change.

Some leaders claim Australia watered down language on climate change in an official Pacific Islands Forum joint statement this week.

Boe Declaration Press Conference (Part 1)

   Leaders capped off the 18-nation Pacific Islands Forum on Wednesday by signing a “Boe Declaration”, expanding on security themes to include the environment, cybercrime and transnational crime.

As was widely expected, the forum communique said climate change presented “the single greatest threat to the livelihood, security and well-being of Pacific people” and underscored the need for “immediate urgent action”.

Leaders also called on large emitters to fully implement national emissions mitigation targets and for the United States to return to the Paris Agreement on tackling climate change.

However, Tuvalu’s prime minister Enele Sopoaga is reported to have later told media a country whose name started with A – Australia being the only candidate – had raised concerns about some of the language around climate change during talks.

Comment has been requested from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade about whether Australia objected to parts of the declaration.

The focus on climate change recognises concerns that have been the key priority for Pacific leaders at the annual meeting.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the Boe Declaration the most significant statement on the region’s security in a generation.

“Modern-day regional security challenges include climate change, cybercrime and transnational crime,” she said.

New Zealand’s foreign ministry, in a statement, said it had supported all climate change clauses in the declaration.

The Australian Conservation Foundation said the signing of the declaration was an important recognition of the issue by the new Morrison government but needed to be followed up with policy.

“This international commitment by our nation must be matched by domestic action,” ACF chief Kelly O’Shanassy said.

“Australia’s climate pollution is rising, and we have observed another collapse of domestic policy to cut emissions from electricity generation.”

Ahead of the forum, Australian ministers tried to ease concerns among Pacific leaders about its seriousness on climate change, saying the government was still committed to its reduction targets despite the recent collapse of its planned emissions legislation.

The Australian Conservation Foundation said the signing of the declaration was an important recognition of the issue by the new Morrison government but needed to be followed up with policy.

“This international commitment by our nation must be matched by domestic action,” ACF chief Kelly O’Shanassy said.

“Australia’s climate pollution is rising, and we have observed another collapse of domestic policy to cut emissions from electricity generation.”

Ahead of the forum, Australian ministers tried to ease concerns among Pacific leaders about its seriousness on climate change, saying the government was still committed to its reduction targets despite the recent collapse of its planned emissions legislation……https://www.sbs.com.au/news/minister-tight-lipped-on-claims-australia-watered-down-climate-change-declaration

September 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Australia, New Zealand launch planes to monitor nuclear North Korea

 https://thewest.com.au/politics/defence/australia-new-zealand-launch-planes-to-monitor-nuclear-north-korea-ng-b88953280z

AAP, 6 September 2018 Australia and New Zealand are deploying maritime surveillance planes to help enforce United Nations sanctions against North Korea.

Defence Minister Christopher Pyne on Friday announced the deployment of two Australian AP-3C Orion patrol aircraft in addition to a P-8A Poseidon sent out earlier this year.

AIt is a continuation of our strong stand to deter and disrupt illicit trade and sanctions evasion activities by North Korea and its associated networks,” he said.

The planes will be based out of Japan.

Meanwhile, a New Zealand Air Force Orion P-3K2 would also be carrying out surveillance of international waters in north Asia, New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced separately.

We welcome the recent dialogue North Korea has had with the United States and South Korea,” he said.

However, until such time as North Korea abides by its international obligations, full implementation of the United Nations Security Council Sanctions resolutions will be essential.”

In particular, the aircraft would be on the look-out for ship-to-ship deliveries that may contravene Security Council resolutions, he said.

The United States has been using sanctions to put pressure on the hermit kingdom to give up its nuclear weapons program.

In August, it announced penalties against two Russian companies over what is said were transfers of refined petroleum to North Korean ships.

Since US President Donald Trump’s high-profile meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un this year, relations between their countries have cooled.

A diplomatic visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to North Korea was cancelled last month, with Mr Trump citing a lack of progress on denuclearisation.

New Zealand’s government recently agreed to replace its ageing fleet of six surveillance aircraft with four high-tech Boeing P-8A Poseidons.

Analysts said the purchase signalled New Zealand’s willingness to keep in touch with traditional allies such as the United States and Australia and showed its seriousness about military deployments in the region.

September 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment