Australian news, and some related international items


BUSTING the NUCLEAR SPIN – theme for May 2011

In 2011 pro nuclear spin has taken on a new, urgent, and desperate turn. The Fukushima nuclear disaster has changed the global nuclear energy scene.

Now well-paid nuclear lobbyists, and others in the nuclear establishment are working overtime to neutralise the information coming out of  the Japanese catastrophe.

Let’s examine some of the present urgent issues for the Nuclear Establishment:

1. Ionising Radiation.   They are all out to downplay its health effects. And in doing this, they can call on some big guns.   Take the World Health Organisation.

Why does the World Health Organisation hide the truth? WHO is theoretically responsible for the health of people worldwide and has authority over the member states. It should, according to its Constitution, be independent of any commercial interest. However, on 28 th May 1959, it signed an agreement with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), which states that neither of these agencies are able to take a public position that could harm the interests of the other (Agreement WHA 12-40). Of course, the IAEA was established in 1957 for the purpose of promoting the civil nuclear industry.

From Japan,of course, comes limited and confusing information, on the continuing leakage of radiation. The Japanese government has blocked Greenpeace from monitoring seawater in the Fukushima area. Meanwhile Japan changes the rules on what level of radiation is “acceptable”for nuclear workers and for children.

2. Ever expanding need for energy, and discrediting renewable energy and energy efficiency.  This two spin topics go hand in hand.

The nuclear lobby relentlessly pushes the public need for the “consumer culture” to use more and more energy. Fear is engendered:  “The lights will go out without nuclear”    Meanwhile there is a small, but strong and growing global movement towards a sustainable lifestyle.

China is the often touted example of unbridled growth in energy use, requiring lots of nuclear power.  Yet China is predicted to reach its peak energy within a few years. And China is very actively developing renewable energy

3. Costs    The nuclear industry avoids including cleanup costs in its estimates.  As for Fukushima, well , Victor Gilinsky, a former member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission  said that the Fukushima cleanup would cost more than the $100 -$130 billion  planned to clean up Washington State’s Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Ukraine is struggling to get donations from abroad to try to stop the continuing radiation and danger from Chernobyl.

The costs of new nuclear plants are clearly prohibitive. The costs of maintaining, securing, existing plants are underestimated. The spin game is now to obscure these costs by passing them on to the taxpayer. This is easier where the State runs the nuclear program.  Nuclear costs are quite obscure for China, Russia, France.

4. Nuclear as solution to global warming.  (The nuclear lobby has a bit of trouble with this one, as many ardent nuclear supporters are at the same time ardent Climate Change Deniers.)   “To meet the indispensable goal of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to a level of 40 percent below what they are today, and to rely on nuclear power for achieving that goal, would mean that 2500 additional 1000 MW atomic reactors would be needed. That is equivalent to more than one new reactor each week for the next fifty years!”

And that is not counting the huge greenhouse gas emissions from uranium mining, facility building, fuel transport, and cleanup works.

5. Safety.  Here’s where nuclear spruikers are in their glory, as they tout all the coming stuff – new new nuclear – Generation 3,  Generation 4, Thorium reactors.  Oh dear – Fukushima just shows how much safer all these are.   (And Thorium reactor wastes last for only the bare 300 years! ) Never mind that they are untested – the message is that you poor ignorant peasants just don’t understand the technicalities – so don’t worry about it – the nuclear experts have safety in hand.

While those 5 issues are favourite ones for the Nuclear establishment’s spin machine there are several others.  Some of them are generally placed in the “too hard basket”. Notably the question of the ever mounting dangerous nuclear wastes, of uranium mining’s environmental and health effects, of increasing risks of nuclear weapons proliferation.

On the whole – those issues are either not mentioned at all, or the nuclear spin doctors just tell lies about solutions that do not, in fact, exist at all.

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