Australian news, and some related international items

Busting the spin of Australia’s pro nuclear propagandists

A Powerful Depiction’: Chernobyl Workers Reflect On HBO Series


ABC’s Media Watch takes aim at nuclear misinformation and bias

The ABC’s Media Watch program last night took aim at Australia’s pro-nuclear propagandists and the extreme bias of Australia’s nuclear ‘debate’.

Media Watch discussed HBO’s hit miniseries ‘Chernobyl’, which tops IMDB’s list of the greatest TV shows of all time, and took aim at Andrew Bolt and others for trivialising the death toll (discussed here) and for ignoring the broader impacts of the disaster such as the permanent relocation of 350,000 people and the thousands of children who suffered thyroid cancer due to exposure to radioactive fallout.

Dr Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia, said: “Nuclear lobbyists argued that Chernobyl was a result of the dysfunctional Soviet system and that a similar disaster couldn’t happen in Western countries. That argument collapsed with the March 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan. Nuclear disasters can happen anywhere and a nuclear disaster anywhere is a nuclear disaster everywhere due to the spread of radioactive fallout. Chernobyl’s radioactive fallout contaminated the whole of Europe and Fukushima fallout reached northern Australia.”

“In addition to their other devastating impacts, nuclear disasters greatly increase the overall cost of nuclear power. The cost of the Chernobyl disaster is estimated at over one trillion dollars [US$700 billion] and the Fukushima disaster could prove to be just as expensive.”

Citing a recent expert analysis, Media Watch noted that nuclear power “doesn’t even get to first base on cost” and took nuclear lobbyists to task for failing to acknowledge the extraordinarily high cost of nuclear power (all reactors under construction in western Europe and north America are estimated to cost $14‒24 billion each while the South Carolina reactor project was abandoned in 2017 after the expenditure of at least A$12.9 billion).

Dr Green said: “Dr Ziggy Switkowski used to be Australia’s most prominent supporter of nuclear power and he led the Howard government’s nuclear review in 2006. But nuclear costs have increased four-fold since then and Dr Switkowski has acknowledged that the window for large-scale nuclear power in Australia has closed as renewables are clearly cheaper.

“John Howard was no anti-nuclear ideologue yet he had the good sense to ban nuclear power. Prime Minister Scott Morrison needs to state unambiguously that the legislation banning nuclear power in Australia will remain in place,” Dr Green concluded.

Contact: Dr Jim Green 0417 318 368  More information:  Last night’s Media Watch segment on nuclear power (video and transcript)   A recent detailed article by Dr Green, cited by Media Watch.


June 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Australia’s uranium lobby imports a very unreliable “radiation expert” to spruik at Adelaide conference

The Uranium Conference is on in Adelaide on July 4th and 5th. The conference will be addressed by

Hon Dan van Holst Pellekaan MP, South Australian Minister for Energy and Mining. The keynote speaker will be Professor Geraldine Thomas, from Imperial College . She will also speak later on Radiation: Science, Protection and Communication.

A quaint choice, for importing a “radiation expert”, as Prof Thomas is well known as the nuclear lobby’s favourite radiation propagandist, and also well known as not a reliable source for radiation knowledge.


June 3, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Support for nuclear power is support for coal: John Quiggin refutes the arguments of Australia’s pro nuclear shills

May 27, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Scott Morrison claims that the Liberal Coalition saved the Great Barrier Reef!!

M’s claim Coalition saved reef from nonexistent ‘endangered list’ condemned as ‘ridiculous’, Guardian, Lisa Cox, Mon 13 May 2019

Scott Morrison says government took reef ‘off the endangered list’ – despite no such list existing.  Scott Morrison has credited his government with having “saved” the Great Barrier Reef, a claim rejected as “ridiculous” by scientists, environmental groups and the Queensland government.

At the Liberal party’s campaign launch in Melbourne on Sunday, Morrison thanked the former environment ministers Greg Hunt and Josh Frydenberg for their work on reef issues.

“We have saved the Great Barrier Reef – well done to Greg Hunt particularly on his work when he was environment minister – taking it off the endangered list,” he said.

“We’ve invested record funds in researching and protecting its future thanks to Josh’s time as environment minister.”

Morrison’s statement contained more than one inaccuracy, including the suggestion the reef was on an “endangered list” at all.

“There is such a thing as the ‘in danger list’ for world heritage properties,” the coral reef scientist Prof Terry Hughes said. “The barrier reef was never on that list.

“If Morrison is claiming Hunt got Australia off the ‘in danger’ list, the obvious response is: it never was on it.”

In 2017, Unesco opted not to list the reef as in danger after reviewing the government’s Reef 2050 plan. But it will reassess that decision in 2020 and whichever party wins the federal election must submit an update on progress of the plan at the end of this year.

Hughes said recent surveys of the Great Barrier Reef showed the impact climate change and rising ocean temperatures were having on coral cover.

The Australian Institute of Marine Science – the government’s own agency responsible for monitoring reef health – reported in 2017-18 that trends in coral cover in the north, central and south reef showed steep decline that “has not been observed in the historical record”.

Hughes’s most recent paper found that the production of baby coral on the reef had fallen by 89% after the climate change-induced mass bleaching of 2016 and 2017.

Under the Liberal-National coalition government, Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have continued to increase, which Hughes said was “an abject failure” for the Great Barrier Reef………

May 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2019, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Busting ANSTO’s deceptive pro nuclear propaganda to the Kimba and Hawker communities

Kazzi Jai Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste In The Flinders Ranges  23 Apr 19, How many times do you have to explain this to people? In response to some of ANSTO’s propaganda directed at the rural communities targeted for nuclear waste dumping……

So you have a specific inventory of what’s in the drums do you? You must be very special then – because that is not what has yet been released to the public! You seem to assume it’s in your words “aprons and gloves” from handling radioactive objects. There is much more to it. Did they mention that it must be shielded to be handled safely? The steel drums themselves act as the shield for the Low Level Nuclear waste and must be monitored to ensure they remain intact. The proposed dump is for the PERMANENT DISPOSAL of the Low Level Nuclear Waste as an above ground dump, but covered with yet to be determined substance so that it qualifies as an “near-surface” disposal site…and must be monitored for several hundred years for safety.
No-one in their right mind would guarantee that there will not be some form of leakage during all of those hundreds of years! Steel drums…concrete….do not last forever….especially when it comes to radioactivity as well as other external factors.
And then there’s the above ground “Temporary” storage of the Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste which will be coming with it. We have been told that the proposed dump is not worth doing without the Intermediate Waste being “temporarily” stored there, from Lucas Heights – which is in fact double handling and NOT World’s Best Practise in any way shape or form! What is in the Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste shielded casks – Did they say? Did they say how long the Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste remains dangerous? Did they say how long the casks were guaranteed by the manufacturers?

Did they mention any hazards or risks? Any at all? 

IF it is so safe as they say – why was Sally’s Flat NSW not hounded to take this waste instead? Sally’s Flat is MUCH closer to Lucas Heights at 260kms – Lucas Heights is where over 90% of Australia’s nuclear waste is generated on site – and Sally’s Flat was deemed suitable as one of the six sites chosen by the Federal Government! Even Oman Ama in Qld is closer! Why transport it over 1500+kms into a prime export grain area or into the iconic world renowned Flinder’s Ranges in South Australia?

The answer is that once it is over the state border it becomes South Australia’s responsibility and liability and South Australia’s problem!
And to top it off – as the NATIONAL Nuclear Dump – not just ANSTO’s – the title of it should ring alarm bells – then all of the other states can effectively become “nuclear-free” at South Australia’s expense!

This is NOTHING to do with FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN or “green goo”. It is nothing to do with comparing it with other objects which frankly is pretty stupid because it is just a way of selling it and blurring lines of understanding! It is MUCH to do with SHAFTING nuclear waste from Lucas Heights, where it is currently safely stored and monitored, and is securely held. Lucas Heights in fact are the first to say “not in my backyard”!

Keep it all at Lucas Heights until the Intermediate Nuclear Waste can be PROPERLY dealt with! Then the Low Level Nuclear Waste can go in with that! In fact that was the intention of Lucas Heights and its enormous space all along – is that they would retain any waste they generated on site UNTIL they had found a suitable way of dealing with it once and for all and not for the next generations to have to come to deal with this man-made problem which they continue to generate! They had given themselves 80 – 100 years to find a solution. This current proposal is NOT a solution. It is simply burying the waste and abandoning it – a caveman’s solution to a 20th century problem!

South Australia is NOT the Nation’s Nuclear Dumping Ground!

NO means NO!

April 23, 2019 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Countering the pro nuclear lies of the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA)

The Minerals Council of Australia joins in the current pro nuclear propaganda push – classing nuclear power as “reliable, at a very low cost, and with zero emissions” — 22 April

Here’s my comment, which they did not publish  – surprise, surprise

Nuclear power is not all that reliable, particularly now, as climate change brings extremes of weather, for which nuclear reactors are not prepared. As they require lots of water, they are usually placed near sea or rivers, posing an increasing problem with sea level rise, and sea surges. Australia is a water short country, and should not contemplate such a water-guzzling industry.

As for nuclear being “cheap” – it’s “cheap” only where the tax-payer cops the bill – Russia, China, France etc. In USA and UK the nuclear lobby is screaming for subsidies, and the building of new reactors -Hinkley Point C, and the boondoggle in South Carolina provide a cautionary tale. As for small nuclear reactors – their only hope of being economic is if the are ordered en masse – such a risk, and consequently there are no buyers. Then there’s that little problem of radioactive trash accumulating, with no solution in sight.

Meanwhile,Australia has the opportunity to be a leader in truly clean renewable technologies, which are getting cheaper, while nuclear costs mount.

April 23, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Cory Bernardi sulks as Scott Morrison, inn election campaign, abruptly reverses his support for nuclear power

Cory Bernardi says PM got his ‘hopes up’ on nuclear power, HTTPS://WWW.2GB.COM/CORY-BERNARDI-SAYS-PM-GOT-HIS-HOPES-UP-ON-NUCLEAR-POWER/

 Senator Cory Bernardi has backed nuclear power after the Prime Minister said he is not considering the energy alternative.  Nuclear power plants are illegal in Australia but experts say    [these “experts” turn out to be the  Australian Nuclear Association] it could be the answer to Australia’s energy concerns.

Senator Cory Bernardi had introduced a bill last year to remove a ban on nuclear energy.

He tells Luke Grant he was hopeful when he heard Scott Morrison had been open to the idea.

“The Prime Minister got my hopes up when he said nuclear energy might be a part of the mix if it stacks up on its own two feet. But within 48 hours all the usual suspects come out and monster him into a position which is basically ‘oh no it’s not on the table’.

“Any idea that’s not driven by the left is outrageous and terrible and awful.”

April 20, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Australian Nuclear Association’s Rob Parker continues to make absurd pro nuclear claims

‘Safest form of power generation’: Calls for nuclear to be put back on the table, HTTPS://WWW.2GB.COM/SAFEST-FORM-OF-POWER-GENERATION-CALLS-FOR-NUCLEAR-TO-BE-PUT-BACK-ON-THE-TABLE/ 16/04/2019, NATALIE PETERS & ERIN MOLAN ,  Nuclear power plants are illegal in Australia but experts [?] say it could be the answer to Australia’s energy concerns.

Many are calling for the construction of High-Efficiency Low Emission (HELE) coal power plants, in order to avoid outages and soaring power prices.

But Australian Nuclear Association Vice President Rob Parker tells Natalie Peters and Erin Molan nuclear energy is the most environmentally friendly and cost-effective option.

“When we look at nuclear energy we find that it is established as being the safest form of power generation that we have on the planet.

“It is safer than coal, safer than oil, safer than anything, including solar and wind. “We have established that we can have a clear low carbon, low-cost, future using nuclear energy.”

April 20, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Minister Canavan incorrect in saying that terrorism risks had not been raised.

David Noonan Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA  The Minister / DIIS are not correct in claiming terrorism issues have not been raised with them – I raised conceivable terrorist attack scenarios in a formal submission to the Minister dated 09 Nov 2018 – which DIIS acknowledged but are yet to make public. Please see p.11-12 of pdf (published by FOE Aust) at:

February 28, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Avalon Airshow, a registered charity (!!) hosts weaponized planes – entertainment for kids?

War, What Is It Good For… Besides Blood Lust And The Avalon Airshow? New Matilda,  Dave Sweeney on February 26, 2019

The iconic Avalon Airshow kicks off next week. But events actually get underway today, with a special exhibition for those who like their planes weaponized for death and destruction, writes Dave Sweeney.Australians are generally lucky where it comes to the air – we have big skies and safe planes that routinely take off and land and relocate us for holidays, family re-unions and commerce.

Our airborne images are red kangaroos, flying doctors and grainy newsreels of early aviators breaking new records in old planes.

It is a world away from many other places experience of the sky as a hostile space that threatens rapid and remote destruction and death………

The Avalon Airshow is comprised of two concurrent events: the Australian International Aerospace and Defence Exposition is an industry-only trade-fest that runs for three days before merging with the co-located and more public Australian International Airshow for a further three days of ‘the ultimate family adventure’.

If websites could get breathless this one would need a respirator.

Experience the awesome power of military aviation. A high voltage array of combat aircraft takes centre stage with the thrust and grunt of the latest heavy metal. Marvel as jet fighters, strike bombers and heavy lift leviathans are joined by swarms of attack helicopters, from home and abroad, for a series of breath taking routines and simulated combat manoeuvres.

It’s free for the under-fives, Continue reading

February 28, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) using tax-payer funding to propagandise for nuclear power


This month ANSTO is opening its doors to 11 talented young people from across Australia as the two-year Graduate Program kickstarts.

Working from Lucas Heights, ANSTO’s 2019 graduates will get extraordinary insights into nuclear science, engineering and technology and how it is being applied to help achieve sustainability for our health and environment industries.

February 21, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Education | Leave a comment

The truth about Lucas Heights and the supposed medical need for the nuclear reactor


Kazzi Jai shared a link. 18 Feb 19, Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste In The Flinders Ranges

X-rays and CAT scanners (which use x-rays) in hospitals do not use radioactive sources. The films from X-rays are very valuable due to their silver content, and can be recycled if they are no longer required. There are now hospitals which are using phosphor flat plate detectors on their X-ray machines, so that a digital image is obtained and kept on hospital computer files instead of generating a film.

The disposable items such as gloves, gowns, sheets etc used in hospitals for loved ones using nuclear medicine are withheld for a period of 10 or more days, then deemed, according to safety regulations, to be safe to be discarded in normal waste.

Of the isotopes which ANSTO – Lucas Heights reactor produces, only 28% are actually used in Australian Hospitals. The rest – 72% – are sent overseas. Which is interesting as the majority of Lucas Heights reactor use is for nuclear medical isotope production!
And of that 28% which is quoted as used in Australian hospitals, the majority of those isotopes are used for nuclear medical imaging – the rest is for treatment. So in fact actual nuclear medical treatment using isotopes is very small.

Also noteworthy is that now cyclotron/imaging partnership locations are found in all of the capital cities in Australia including Darwin – only Hobart does not. This means there will be less reliance on the isotope production from Lucas Heights, as cyclotrons allow generation of isotopes for imaging on site, and do not utilize radioactive sources such as a nuclear reactor to generate them! In other words they do not produce nuclear waste!

In Adelaide you will find the cyclotron and an imaging partnership in the SAHMRI building.

And ANSTO is heavily involved in the cyclotron sector as well. They have a cyclotron in Sydney and a similar piece of equipment called a synchrotron in Melbourne. But you rarely hear about those in South Australia……..

The solution to the waste generated at Lucas Heights – and they have the majority of the nuclear waste generated in Australia by the way, because they generate it there – is to keep it at Lucas Heights!

They claim it is safe there – then keep it there, until they have found a way to properly deal with the Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste, and the Low Level Nuclear Waste can follow that!

Double handling of Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste is NOT World’s Best Practice! Neither is transporting nuclear waste over 1500+kms away from where it is generated!

And Lucas Heights has plenty of space to deal with its waste – and we have been told by DIIS and ARPANSA that should a suitable site not be found, that production of isotopes would not be affected nor Lucas Heights licensing and regulations be affected, and they would simply build more buildings to accomodate it.

Oh….and here is a link on how X-rays in hospitals (both used in X-ray machines and CAT scanners) are generated, if you are interested –


February 19, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, reference, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Nuclear Engineering company Frazer Nash increasing its pro nuclear lobbying in Australia

Steve Dale, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 11 Feb 19 
First we had UCL here lobbying for nuclear. Now we have an increased presence of “Frazer-Nash Consultancy”. Is this just another way of influencing a government from within? Is the ultimate art of lobbying when you get the target of the lobbying to pay you as a consultant? The page below is a bit of a concern – it mentions Ben Heard several times as “latest news”; it also involves the Premier and talks about the Federal “low level” nuclear dump –

“Since opening its first Australian office in 2010 Frazer-Nash has supported high-profile South Australian projects including ……. the Federal Government’s initiative to develop a low level radioactive waste disposal facility, …..”…/south-australia-premier-o…

February 10, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Australian promoters of the coal industry also promote nuclear – as a delaying tactic

Steve Dale Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, January 29    I’ve put this up a few times as a comment, but the more I think about it, its significance grows for me. It is a statement by Barnaby Joyce in Parliament. I am not picking on Joyce, in fact I thank him for revealing the normally secretive workings of nuclear lobbying in Canberra. Here it is –

Hansard: Mr. Joyce, Parliament, on the 29/3/2017 “Even today we had one of our leading energy producers, ERM, in my office saying that, if the Victorians think they are going to fix it by gas, at $10 a gigajoule the gas power price would be $100 a kilowatt-hour. He said that at that price you should look at small modular nuclear reactors because they would probably be cheaper than the solution that is being suggested.”

Why would ERM suggest using Small Modular Nuclear reactors when they don’t actually exist?

The only answer I can think of is as a delaying tactic. Don’t go to “gas” (or renewables) because around the corner will be a magical nuclear reactor to solve all problems – in the mean time, we will keep supplying profitable coal fired power to you.

How much of this secretive, manipulative nuclear lobbying of poor gullible politicians has gone on in Canberra? At least Joyce gave us a glimpse.

January 31, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Tania Constable – a new spruiker for Australia’s coal-nuclear lobby

Australia’s coal and nuclear lobbies have just recruited a new puppet, Independent Australia,  25 January 2019, Newly-appointed Mining Council CEO Tania Constable has been championing nuclear power at a time when we should be discussing renewables, writes Noel Wauchope.WHAT BAD TIMING. Only in dictatorships – Russia and China – is nuclear power thriving. In the Western world, it’s problematic due to costs and waste issues. As for coal, even China is working to phase it out.

In Australia, renewable energy is going ahead in leaps and bounds. Our coal-loving Liberal Coalition Government is so on the nose, they’ll be forgotten men within a few months.

But never mind, Australia’s fossil fuel and nuclear lobbies are on the propaganda trail and they’ve just recruited a new puppet, Tania Constable. Appointed as CEO of the Mining Councilin July last year, Ms Constable’s first job is to mouth the standard pro-coal and nuclear platitudes. Here she goes.

A headline in the 22 January edition of The Daily Telegraph reads: ‘Heatwaves proof positive Australia needs nuclear’.

In the article, Constable says:

“Energy costs are rising and renewables can’t meet all our needs but a new generation of clean reactors could.”

‘Heatwaves proof positive Australia needs nuclear’?No, Tania, proof positive that Australia needs solar air conditioners. She seems unaware of the fact that nuclear power is highly water intensive, and subject to shutdowns due to hot weather.

Ms Constable mourns that:

“The influx of part-time power sources such as wind and solar which make it more difficult for older baseload power stations to operate will likely see the early closure of a number of them well before 2030.”

So, it’s renewable energy’s fault that coal is not doing well? She goes on to enthuse about “baseload” power — coal, of course. But that’s seen as a myth, nowdays, as reliable power is no longer synonymous with coal.

She has a bash at the AEMO and CSIRO:

[They] missed a golden opportunity of lowering power prices, ensuring reliability and lowering emissions through advanced coal technology.”

She doesn’t mention the high costs of this advanced coal technology, needing government subsidy and the fact that it’s not all that clean anyway.

Now she gets to her main point – changing the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 – which happens to be due for review this year.

“The removal of four words — ‘a nuclear power plant’ — in Section 140A(1) (b) would allow nuclear industries to be considered for development in Australia.”

Ms Constable writes approvingly of nuclear power in countries around the world – not a mention of the financial problems of nuclear power development in UK and USA, and Japan, too.  Not a mention of the nuclear waste problems…..

[She goes on to praise “new nukes’ – Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, singling out Terra Power and Transatomics, – But]

First of all, Bill Gates has just had the door slammed on his TerraPower project. He’s closed it down for now, but hopes to find a country that will back it.

Secondly, Transatomic has also had a big setback. Its nuclear start-up folded, in disarray. This company was spruiked by an enthusiastic young woman, Leslie Dewan. The nuclear lobby seems to pick them for the poisoned chalice of propaganda work.,12313

January 26, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment