Australian news, and some related international items

Climate change not on the agenda for US presidential debates

USA election 2016Why the silence on climate in the US presidential debates? The Conversation, October 20, 2016 As scientists become more gloomy about keeping global warming below the allegedly “safe” limit of 2℃, the issue is disappearing from the US presidential debates. There was a brief mention in the second debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton debate, with climate change treated as an “afterthought”.

Trump has previously (in 2012) suggested that climate change “was created by and for the Chinese”. Clinton has put forward a detailed climate and energy plan.

Even former Vice President Al Gore joining Clinton on at a campaign rally in Florida didn’t particularly help.

So why has climate change gone AWOL? Continue reading

October 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jim Green refute’s Geoff Russell’s pro nuclear propaganda on New Matilda

As part of an ongoing debate over the capacity of nuclear energy to tackle climate change, Friends of the Earth’s Jim Green responds to New Matilda’s recent coverage.

New Matilda editor Chris Graham writes in an October 13 editorial that those responding to Geoff Russell’s pro-nuclear articles “never seek to punch holes in a single fact or claim”. In this article I’ll take up the challenge to respond substantively to some of Russell’s pro-nuclear claims.

But first, some passing comments on the other nuclear advocates mentioned in Chris’s editorial. Chrislinks to a video of Dr James Hansen ‒ a response is posted here. Chris links to an open letter to environmentalists from 65 scientists ‒ a response is posted here. Chris links to George Monbiot ‒ a response is posted here. And Chris promotes the Pandora’s Promise film ‒ responses are posted here.

Back to Russell. One of his themes in recent years has been to downplay the Fukushima disaster. And he goes much further, arguing that nuclear critics are responsible for all of the death and suffering resulting from the Fukushima nuclear disaster and much else besides.

How does he arrive at those conclusions? One part of the intellectual contortion concerns the role of environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth. To the limited extent that environment groups influence energy policy around the world, the result is a greater role for renewables, less nuclear power and less fossil fuel usage. But for Russell, being anti-nuclear means an implicit endorsement and acceptance of fossil fuels and responsibility for everything wrong with fossil fuel burning.

That contorted logic will come as a surprise to Friends of the Earth (FoE) campaigners risking life, limb and heavy penalties in their efforts to shut down coal mines and ports; and to everyone else engaged in the fossil fuel and climate problems in many different ways. And it will come as a surprise to FoE campaigners who worked tirelessly and creatively for many years ‒ with literally zero support from nuclear lobbyists including the self-styled pro-nuclear environmentalists ‒ to achieve a recently-announced ban on unconventional gas in Victoria. Continue reading

October 20, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Donald Trump gets his facts wrong on USA-Russia Nuclear START Treaty

TrumpAP FACT CHECK: Trump gets facts wrong on START Treaty

AP FACT CHECK: Donald Trump is wrong to say that only Russia can still create warheads under the New START treaty limiting nuclear weapons A claim from the final presidential debate and how it stacks up with the facts:

DONALD TRUMP: Referring to a 2010 U.S.-Russia treaty limiting both countries to 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads, Trump said, “They create warheads. We can’t.”

The FACTS: Incorrect. The New START treaty, which Trump called “Start Up,” does not prevent either the U.S. or Russia from building nuclear warheads. It restricts each country to a total of 1,550 warheads deployed on bombers, submarines and in underground silos and requires that this limit be reached by February 2018.

Trump also said that after the treaty was signed, “They expanded and we didn’t.”

It’s true that the Russians have increased the number of their deployed warheads to 1,796, and the U.S. warhead total has dropped to 1,367. But it also is true that their total was far below that of the U.S. when the treaty went into effect in 2010. New data published by the State Department this month showed that although Russia has added to its warhead total, its inventory of missile launchers, such as underground silos, has shrunk.

 Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists, who closely tracks U.S. and Russian strategic forces, says the rise in Russian deployed warheads is temporary and is to be followed by the retirement of older nuclear weapons so that Moscow gets under the treaty limits. “Russian compliance with the treaty by 2018 is not in doubt,” he wrote recently.

October 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Direct Action” effect on greenhouse emissions would be wiped out if Adani coal mine goes ahead

coal CarmichaelMine2Adani coal mine would wipe out Direct Action gains within a year, estimates show, The Age,  Peter Hannam, 20 Oct 16, 

Carbon cuts made by the federal government’s Direct Action climate change plan by 2020 would be wiped out by pollution from a single coal mine in just over a year, new data revealed at a Senate estimates hearing shows.

Officials from the Clean Energy Regulator said that projects paid for from the first three auctions of the Emissions Reduction Fund – the backbone of Direct Action – would trim pollution by just 42 million tonnes of carbon-dioxide equivalent by 2020.

Even if all the remaining funds were spent – with a fourth auction planned for November 16 – emissions reductions are projected to total only 92 million tonnes by the year 2020, officials told senators.

By contrast, the Adani coal mine proposed for Queensland’s Galilee Basin would trigger emissions of about 79 million tonnes a year – nullifying the ERF’s pre-2020 abatement in little over a year if it proceeded……

October 20, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

France’s nuclear safety regulator calls for shutdown of 5 more reactors, due to safety risks

safety-symbolflag-franceFrance’s nuclear watchdog wants to shut down 5 reactors over failure risk 20 Oct, 2016 10: The French nuclear watchdog has called for the shutdown and inspection of five more nuclear reactors for safety checks. The reactors have a high level of carbon which could lead to various failures.

The Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) has asked nuclear power utility EDF to carry out additional inspections at Fessenheim 1,Tricastin 2 and 4, Gravelines 4 and Civaux 1 reactors, according to a press release. All these reactors are located across the whole France, close to towns and communes.

“The performance of these inspections will require shutdown of the reactors concerned,” ASN added. The watchdog wants to check “certain channel heads of the steam generators on five of its reactors, in which the steel is affected by a high carbon concentration.”

According to ASN’s analysis, “certain channel heads of the steam generators … contain a significant carbon concentration zone which could lead to lower than expected mechanical properties.”

The watchdog said that it doesn’t want to wait “for the scheduled refueling outage of these reactors” and thus demands safety checks “within three months.”

According to the Local, this abnormality could lead to failures in mechanical properties and even to leaks or explosions.

The five reactors under scrutiny are among 18 at which ASN found abnormalities in June. Continue reading

October 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian taxpayers’ funded publishing of climate denialist Bjorn Lomborg’s book

Government funded Lomborg’s ‘vanity’ book: Senate Estimates,, , Higher Education Editor Canberra @harejulie , 21 Oct 16, Taxpayers contributed $640,000 to a book edited, written and published by Bjorn Lomborg and his Copenhagen Consensus Centre which was ridiculed in Senate Estimates on Thursday as “vanity publishing”.

Lomborg, Bjorn

October 20, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Another Chernobyl or Fukushima risk plausible: Experts

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

The “flawed and woefully incomplete” public data from the nuclear industry is leading to an over-confident attitude to risk, the researchers warned.

The study, which put fresh pressure on the nuclear industry to be more transparent with data on incidents, also called for a fundamental rethink of how accidents are rated, arguing that the current method (the discrete seven-point International Nuclear Event Scale or INES) is highly imprecise, poorly defined, and often inconsistent.

For example, the Fukushima accident and the Chernobyl accident are rated 7 — the maximum severity level — on the INES scale.

However, Fukushima alone would need a score of between 10 and 11 to represent the true magnitude of consequences, the researchers said.


Catastrophic nuclear accidents like Chernobyl disaster in the US that took place in 1986 and the more recent Japan’s Fukushima disasters in 2011 may not be relics of the past. But the risk…

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October 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rainwater flood in Shika nuclear plant raises concerns at NRA

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Shika NPP Ishikawa Prefecture.jpg

The Shika nuclear plant in Ishikawa Prefecture operated by Hokuriku Electric Power Co.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority has instructed Hokuriku Electric Power Co. to further investigate and prevent a recurrence of flooding that short-circuited the emergency lighting system at its Shika nuclear plant in Ishikawa Prefecture.

The 6.6 tons of rainwater that entered the No. 2 reactor building at the Shika plant in late September also came close to drenching power batteries prepared for emergency use.

It was never imagined that such a volume of rain would flood the building,” NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said Oct. 19. “There was the possibility of losing an important safety function.”

The Shika plant is currently offline, but the flooding incident could prompt the NRA to review the screening process required before the nuclear reactor is cleared to resume operations.

Hokuriku Electric President Yutaka Kanai apologized for the incident at a special meeting…

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October 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Abe’s Nuclear Japan Goals Face More Ballot-Box Battles in 2017

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs


– Anti-nuclear candidates win in Niigata, Kagoshima prefectures

– Three gubernatorial races next year in regions facing restarts

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ambition to restart the country’s fleet of nuclear reactors may face further challenges from local elections.

The victory of an anti-nuclear gubernatorial candidate in the central prefecture of Niigata on Sunday, following a similar win in the southern Kagoshima region earlier this year, is complicating efforts by the country’s ruling party to revive Japan’s nuclear fleet. There will be at least three such elections next year in areas where utilities are vying to restart reactors.


Even as the Abe administration remains committed to including nuclear power as part of Japan’s energy mix, implementing this vision will require overcoming ever-more-dogged resistance from local communities and their representatives,” Tobias Harris, a vice president with Teneo Intelligence in Washington D.C., said in a note Monday. “The restart process will continue to…

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October 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ex-PM Koizumi: ‘Why doesn’t gov’t eliminate nuclear power?’

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs


Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi gestures as he speaks at a hotel in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, on Oct. 18, 2016

MATSUMOTO, Nagano — Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Oct. 18 commented on the victory of an anti-nuclear newcomer in the Oct. 16 Niigata gubernatorial election, asking why the government isn’t giving up nuclear power when it can.

The newly elected governor, Ryuichi Yoneyama, has expressed a cautious view on the restart of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture.

“He beat a candidate backed by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Komeito and the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, and it was an unexpected upset. I guess that the public has come to understand that nuclear power plants are dangerous, not safe,” Koizumi said during an address in the Nagano Prefecture city of Matsumoto.

He underscored the impact of the election, saying that if the opposition parties jointly field candidates…

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October 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

French and Japanese Quality Defects to Shut-down Multiple French Nuclear Reactors – Areva Le Creusot Forge and JCFC (Japan Casting and Forging) at Work

Mining Awareness +

NRC Inspection Le Creusot 2009
Notice that the above inspection was in 2009. Regulators have suspected or known about problems at French state-owned Areva Le Creusot Forge for a very long time.

According to the US NRC:
The steam generator is an integral part of the reactor coolant pressure boundary, and its integrity is important to the safe operation of the plant.

Today ASN, the French nuclear regulator, has stated that “analyses performed by EDF at ASN’s request since 2015 conclude that certain channel heads of the steam generators manufactured by Areva Creusot Forge or JCFC” [ Japan Casting and Forging Corporation] “contain a significant carbon concentration zone which could lead to lower than expected mechanical properties.” In other words, they are more likely to fail and could lead to a serious nuclear accident. An earlier ASN notice states that “in particular its resistance to crack…

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October 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Geordan Graetz, pro nuclear spruiker is a ‘Community Engagement Advisor” to South Australians

Tim Bickmore, Nuclear Citizens Jury Watch South Australia, 20 Oct 16 

graetz-geordanA player in this scene currently flying under the radar is Geordan Graetz, DPC Community Engagement Advisor.

In the past he has published opinions not only about Fukushima, but also regarding indigenous people & uranium mining: “Representatives of the Martu and Adnyamathanha communities in Western Australia and South Australia respectively have expressed confidence in the companies that have approached them with plans to develop deposits on their lands (Graetz and Manning 2011)” p3, IAIA, 2012.

As recently as 2014 he published material orientated toward removing indigenous people as an impediment to the expansion of uranium mining, albeit it thru application of inclusion under the auspices of international human rights conventions. [Journal of Cleaner production xxx 2014 1-9]

He appears to be an advocate of a ‘Nuclear Renaissance’ – or rather identifies indigenous peoples as a potential roadblock for such.

The NFCRC Final Report cites him & co-author Manning Ch6 Land Rights Section p130 notes ref 8 & again ref 11 (3 mentions).

His partner in a number of publications, Haydn Manning, is a well known pro-nuke spruiker.

There is a linkage between Graetz & the farcical Schools Nuclear Lockdown … probably instigated under his &/or Manning’s social engagement strategy…. more to come.

October 20, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Hard for South Australia’s Nuclear Citizens’ Jury to reach a consensus about importing radioactive trash

Citizens' Jury scrutinyTim Bickmore Nuclear Citizens Jury Watch South Australia, 20 Oct 16 My gut feeling is that whilst there is a high apathy coefficient within the wider community, the Nuclear Citizens’ Jury  (CJ) make-up does display the polarity that is also evident in the public sphere & which, at least in general expressions, appears to be mostly against the proposal.

At this stage of proceedings, I find it hard to see a consensus being reached.

I also think that  South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill is aware of this: hence whilst previously he would have crowed about a ‘positive’ or even ‘maybe’ outcome, now the game plan diversifies. e.g. last night I had a South Australian Govt sponsored survey cold call regarding the Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission (NFCRC) – but was excluded coz they had already reached my ‘age bracket quota’.

I wondered if that ‘quota’ was valid – are they now targeting younger folk under some misguided notion that this cohort would be more amenable to the idea? – and the quota, did that include the already received on-line & Nuclear Roadshow data? I also did not get to hear the questions – which are usually loaded in these types of things.

Also in the mix is the Senate Parliamentary  Joint Committee, & my feeling there is that, too, is not a bed of roses for Jay Weatherill.

I am still crossing my fingers that the CJ will return RED coz AMBER allows Jay a small window to change legislation – tho methinks he would need a lot more oomph other than just a CJ-AMBER outcome to really justify doing that.

If no CJ consensus is reached, does that mean an open verdict? If no verdict is reached then “as you were” [=NO] seems the logical outcome. ra ra

October 20, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Wording of question to the Nuclear Citizens’ Jury is becoming an issue

Tim Bickmore , Nuclear Citizens Jury Watch South Australia, 19 Oct 16 Apparently, the ‘traffic light’ question was not provided/created by the Weatherill Govt – but by NewDeMocracy😄 Ian Walker – who has also now been inserted into the jury to witness their deliberations.

There are still rumblings about the question being loaded.

“I asked Ian Walker who was responsible for the question at lunch on the second day. I asked him if any other options had been proposed and he said others had been considered but it was his choice as to the final question and the wording of same. I asked him if the Premier had approved the question and he began to become vague (or so it seemed to me) I was unable to establish if the Premier had approved the final wording of the question. Ian claimed the final wording was his,

With Royal Commissions the wording of the question is critically important and is framed to achieve the outcome that the instigator of the Commission desires………” [from Basecamp Blog 18/10/16] ra ra

October 20, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

Australia’s sinister nuclear history. Premier Jay Weatherill launches a new sinister phase

waste on indigenous

Ultimately, this dump is about helping the global nuclear industry. The current build-up of site-by-site waste acts as a brake on investment. They want somewhere to dump it forever so they can go on producing more of it.


South Australia to become global nuclear waste capital Sixty years ago, Maralinga went up in a mushroom cloud. The British government had been given permission to test atomic weaponry in South Australia.

That is to say, they had been given permission by the right wing Menzies government. The local Maralinga Tjarutja people had no say in it at all. Many of them were not even forewarned of the first blast. Thunderous black clouds condemned them to radiation exposure, illness and death, the survivors being driven from their homeland during the long years of British testing and fallout.

South Australia has a dark history with the nuclear industry. Maralinga remains contaminated, despite cheap clean-up efforts. Uranium tailings have leaked from BHP’s Olympic Dam mine at Roxby Downs. Fukushima’s reactors held South Australian uranium when catastrophe struck in 2011.

Today, Jay Weatherill’s state Labor government is trying to open a new radioactive chapter. He wants South Australia to construct the world’s first international high-level nuclear waste dump. This would mean no fewer than 138,000 tonnes of waste (one-third of the world’s total) being shipped from the world’s reactors into South Australian ports, to be permanently buried in Aboriginal land.

This would be history’s largest nuclear dumping operation, and make South Australia the hazardous waste capital of the world. Continue reading

October 19, 2016 Posted by | South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment