Australian news, and some related international items

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN): how it won the Nobel Peace Prize

“We’re calling on all countries to sign the new UN treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, which offers a powerful alternative to a world in which threats of mass destruction are allowed to prevail.

“We will work in coming months to persuade more nations to sign this landmark treaty.

“One of our priorities will be to bring the Australian government on board.

What is ICAN and how did it win this year’s Nobel Peace Prize?

So how did a campaign from Melbourne make its way to the international stage?

Key points:

  • Group honoured for “ground-breaking efforts” to achieve nuclear ban treaty
  • ICAN also awarded for drawing “attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences” of nuclear weapons
  • 215 individuals and 103 organisations were nominated for the prize

So what is ICAN?

ICAN describes itself as a coalition of non-governmental organisations in 100 countries promoting adherence to and implementation of the United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty.

That global agreement was adopted by 122 countries — but not by Australia — in New York on July 7 this year.

It has advocated at the United Nations and in parliaments around the world, bringing the stories of those impacted by nuclear testing and survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings to a world stage.

How did it form?

ICAN set up its first office in Melbourne, with disarmament campaigner Felicity Hill as the coordinator.

It officially launched in Vienna, Austria in April 2007 during the Non-Proliferation Treaty preparatory committee meeting.

ICAN campaign director Tim Wright said it was inspired by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which had played a major role in the negotiation of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, also known as the Ottawa treaty. Continue reading


October 9, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Queensland’s $12 million Queensland climate change policy dragging on in implementation

Slow progress on key $12 million Queensland climate change policy, SMH, Tony Moore , 7 Oct 17,  Progress appears slow on one of Labor’s key climate change policies to encourage coastal Queensland councils to formally adopt a 0.8-metre higher sea level to combat beach erosion and storm surge problems.

The state government cannot say how many of the 41 coastal councils in Queensland have formally adopted the higher sea level, despite two departments being given four days to answer.

However, funds from the $12 million set aside by the state government has now gone to 21 of the 41 oceanside councils to develop plans.

Gold Coast City Council last week formally adopted the higher sea level when they updated their Gold Coast City Plan last week, as part of Queensland’s Climate Adaption Strategy.

Fairfax Media believes Cairns and Townsville councils have adopted the 0.8-metre higher sea level but it remains unclear if Moreton Bay Regional Council has accepted the higher sea level.

 The policy allows coastal communities to better prepare homes and businesses for sea erosion and storm surge damage from increasingly frequent storms and cyclones as temperatures warm by 2100.

Gold Coast City Council last week formally adopted the higher sea level when they updated their Gold Coast City Plan last week, as part of Queensland’s Climate Adaption Strategy.

Maps produced by Geoscience Australia for the Australian government show localised flooding in three scenarios: a 50-centimetre sea level rise, an 80-centimetre rise and a 1.1-metre rise.

The Geoscience maps show a considerable flood impact on the Gold Coast’s northern suburbs and in the canal estates…….

Earlier this year Local Government Association president Mark Jamieson said more than 30 Queensland councils would be gradually affected by rising sea levels.

“More than half of Queensland’s 77 councils will be exposed to coastal hazards in the future,” Cr Jamieson said.

“It’s vital that local governments work together to assess risks and identify practical solutions that will help coastal communities prepare for serious issues such as storm tide flooding, coastal erosion and sea level rise.”

On Sunday evening, a Local Government Department spokeswoman said the department had provided funding to 20 of the 41 Queensland councils to begin planning how to cope with higher sea levels……

October 9, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Nobel Peace Prize Win and the work of Australian indigenous activist Karina Lester

Indigenous anti-nuclear activist tells of her personal work with Nobel Prize-winning ICAN By Karen Percy For Karina Lester 2017 has been a mixed bag — the loss of her beloved father, but a big win as part of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

Ms Lester’s anti-nuclear stance is a very personal one.

Her father was Yami Lester, an Aboriginal elder who was blinded by nuclear fallout when he was a child.

Mr Lester died just two weeks after the United Nations agreed to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons thanks to ICAN’s work, which was last night named by the Norwegian Nobel Committee as the Peace Prize winner for 2017.

He was 75 and had spent a lifetime raising awareness of the dangers of nuclear weapons, having been blinded during British weapons testing in Maralinga in South Australia in the 1950s.

“I think he’d be really pleased and very proud to know but also grateful that ICAN was able to provide that platform for us and that his story was so powerful,” Ms Lester said.

On July 7 the United Nations adopted the treaty. Mr Lester died on July 21.

Ms Lester has become as passionate about the anti-nuclear movement as her father. “It’s not a happy story, it’s quite a sad and tragic story, but ICAN has certainly been a wonderful platform for us Anangu and Aboriginal people of Australia to really talk up strongly about what happened to us back in those days,” she said.

When she was younger, she did not know what had caused her father’s blindness.

“It wasn’t until later in life that I realised it was such a sad story … with the doings of the British Government and our Australian Government as well … allowing for tests to happen in South Australia in the 1950s and 60s.

“[And] that they were responsible for taking my father’s sight.

“There were a lot of people affected by this, not only Aboriginal people, there were non-Aboriginal people, ex-servicemen and women who were exposed to this as well.”

As a representative of Indigenous voices within ICAN’s 400-strong organisations around the world, she has told her father’s story to audiences around the Asia-Pacific region, including the Japanese city of Hiroshima, which was struck by an American nuclear bomb in 1945.

A later attack on the Japanese city of Nagasaki prompted an end to World War II.

Ms Lester has also exchanged stories with the people of the Marshall Islands and Tahiti affected by nuclear testing by French authorities from the 1960s until the 1990s.

“Many tests have taken place or nuclear issues have occurred in Indigenous countries around the world, so it’s a global issue for sure,” said Ms Lester, a Western Desert Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara woman.

Her grandparents were part of efforts to prevent the establishment of a nuclear waste facility in SA.

She took her daughters to Hiroshima in November 2015 where Yami Lester’s experience was well understood.

“It’s important for us to continue on sharing that story for the next generation to know the story and [then] the next generation to know the story,” she said.

The historic treaty pushed by ICAN needs 50 nations to sign on before it will be activated.

Australia has yet to join the treaty.

October 9, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, personal stories | Leave a comment

Sri Lanka enforces the new UN resolution banning nuclear weapons

Sri Lanka enforces UN resolution on nuclear and biological weapons Colombo Gazette 7 Oct 17 The Government has issued a gazette against the use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and other related activities in line with United Nations regulations…….

Any person who or group or entity which manufactures, acquires, possesses, develops, transports, transfers or uses nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery within Sri Lanka, will be seen as committing an offence under these regulations and shall on conviction by the High Court, be liable to imprisonment of either description for a period not exceeding twenty years or a fine not exceeding five million rupees or both such fine and imprisonment.

Any person who or group or entity which participates in manufacturing, acquiring, developing, possessing, transporting, transferring or using nuclear chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery as an accomplice or assists or finances them commits an offence under these regulations and shall on conviction by the High Court, be liable to imprisonment of either description for a period not exceeding five years or a fine not exceeding one million rupees or both such fine and imprisonment.

A person shall not make available any funds, other financial assets and economic resources and financial or other related services directly or indirectly to, or for the benefit of, a person, group or entity to manufacture, acquire, develop, possess, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery or for the purposes to proliferate nuclear, chemical, and biological weapon related materials…….

There shall for the purpose of these regulations, be a Competent Authority who shall be appointed by the Minister in consultation with the Minister assigned the subject of Defence. (Colombo Gazette)

October 9, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Labor bid to power up solar profits

A QUARTER of Australian households could receive a cash surge under Labor’s plan to encourage people to sell power back to the grid....(subscribers only)

October 9, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Will thorium power be cheaper than wind power?

Windpower ,January 21, 2015 Paul Dvorak Most commentary on energy is really a commentary on the cost of energy……..In contrast, pick up an article about the promise of thorium nuclear reactors and you likely won’t see one dollar sign. What gives?  Thorium reactors may well be the power source of the future but the technology will cost something. But how much?

One way to answer the question is to Google it. A recent search pulled up this edited Best Answer from Yahoo:     Japan thinks it can make a thorium prototype reactor for $300 million. The UK estimates that the first thorium production plant would cost £1 billion. France has invested € 1 million investigating corrosion problems found when a test reactor in the U.S. was shut down in 1969 after four years of operation. Generally, it’s believed that $300 million would be enough for small thorium power plant.

We assume a small plant means about 200 MW.

Another way to get a handle on thorium-reactor costs would be to examine the cost of conventional reactors , such as the Vogtle units in Georgia….

The first two units are rated for a total of 2,400 MW. That is a large plant.

But during Vogtle’s construction, capital investment jumped from an estimated $660 million to $8.87 billion. Additional regulations and a redesign brought the jump in capital costs.

Unfortunately, the nuclear industry has a history and habit of building plants that cost much more than their original estimates. Even though lower construction costs are claimed as a thorium-reactor benefit, when the first cost figures for one make headlines multiply them by at least five for a better estimate. But you have awhile to wait.

For at least the next 10 years, natural gas and onshore wind-generated power will provide the least expensive, most reliable, and fastest-to-production source of power.

October 9, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia’s Ben Heard – fake environmentalist and pro nuclear shill

Jim Green  Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch– 9 October 17 Ben Heard is a fake environmentalist ‒ Australia’s version of Patrick Moore. Heard’s last gig was for the COAL MINING funded Minerals Council of Australia!
Before that, he took money from General Atomics ‒ which is up to its neck in drone warfare. And he’s possibly the first and hopefully the last person to ask for speaking fees from small, unfunded community groups.
Corporations can donate to Heard’s fake environment group and he “will respect the company’s right to privacy if desired”. Since he openly takes money from coal miners and murderous military corporations, I shudder to think who he’ll accept secret donations from.
This is what the stridently pro-nuclear South Australian Royal Commission said about Heard’s Gen 4 nuclear plans: “[A]dvanced fast reactors and other innovative reactor designs are unlikely to be feasible or viable in the foreseeable future. The development of such a first-of-a-kind project in South Australia would have high commercial and technical risk. Although prototype and demonstration reactors are operating, there is no licensed, commercially proven design. Development to that point would require substantial capital investment.”
Heard got a $55,000 government grant to come up with his lunatic Gen 4 proposal and, needless to say, he refused to repay one cent of the money.

October 9, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Nuclear Waste and Underground Fire: What Could Go Wrong? 

Nuclear Waste and Underground Fire: What Could Go Wrong?

October 9, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Effects of radioactive pollution rarely discussed

The idea that nuclear pollution can be rendered safe by extreme dilution has been proven wrong

radioactive materials bioaccumulate. A worm can contain 2,000 to 3,000 times higher levels than its environment. The worm is then eaten by another marine animal, which gets eating by another, and so on. At each step, the radioactive level rises. Barbey has identified reproductive defects in sea crabs, caused by radioactive contamination, and these genetic defects are passed on to future generations of crabs.

Are we to believe the same is not happening in humans, who are at the top of the food chain?

The fact of the matter is that a certain number of cancer deaths are considered acceptable in order to keep costs for the nuclear waste industry down. The question no one has the answer to is: At what point do the deaths begin to outweigh the cost-savings of the nuclear industry?

As to where such cost-benefit considerations came from in the first place, the filmmakers identify the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP)

the nuclear industry is hardly operating for the benefit of the many.

The Rarely Discussed Reality of Radioactive Pollution

Story at-a-glance

  • For decades, the common method of nuclear disposal was to dump plutonium-filled steel barrels into the ocean. Today, many if not most of these barrels have corroded and disintegrated, releasing radioactive material into the environment
  • “Versenkt und Vergessen” (Sunk and Forgotten) investigates what happened to the barrels of nuclear waste, and how radioactive material is disposed of today
  • In 1993, nuclear waste dumping into the ocean was banned worldwide, yet the ocean remains a primary dumping ground for radioactive waste
  • Instead of ditching barrels overboard, the nuclear waste industry built pipes along the bottom of the sea, through which the radioactive material is discharged directly into the open sea
  • Cancer deaths are considered acceptable to keep costs for the nuclear waste industry down. According to the International Commission on Radiological Protection, this cost-benefit consideration is part of Epicurus’ utilitarian ethics, which states that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few

By Dr. Mercola

A rarely addressed environmental problem is radioactive pollution from nuclear waste disposal. Continue reading

October 9, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

America’s intrepid anti nuclear nuns

Anti-war nuns to bring message of nuclear disarmament By DEBBIE KELLEY | The Gazette | Associated Press October 7, 2017 COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — As political tensions mount over North Korea’s ballistic missile testing, two elderly Roman Catholic nuns who have spent decades sounding the plea for peace say they are more hopeful than ever that nuclear weapons — not the world — will be annihilated.

“We trust, we believe, we know that we are well on the way to a nuclear-free world and future,” said Sister Ardeth Platte, a Dominican nun.

Platte, 81, and Sister Carol Gilbert, 69, live at the Catholic Worker-affiliated Jonah House in Baltimore. They gained attention in Colorado in the past for pouring blood on a nuclear missile silo in Weld County and anti-war civil disobedience at Colorado Springs military bases.

Fifteen years later, they are returning to deliver the message that nuclear disarmament is at hand.

“We’re in an extremely dangerous time,” Platte said. “A strike could be launched from Colorado within 15 minutes and go 7,000 miles to its target within half an hour. It would be total devastation.”

At 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 9, they’ll present to Peterson Air Force Base personnel a copy of the new United Nations’ Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

They’ll repeat the action at 2:45 p.m. Oct. 10 at Schriever Air Force Base.

“We want the citizens of Colorado to know about this treaty,” Gilbert said. “The treaty would make nuclear weapons illegal.”

“We’re coming as peacemakers and peace advocates, to teach and show our concern,” Platte said. “Our politicians could be heroes of these times, if they start working with nations rather than against nations.”

Leading up to the Colorado Springs events, Platte and Gilbert will conduct a vigil at the N-8 missile silo in Weld County, where in October 2002 they poured blood on a Minuteman III missile loaded with a 20 kiloton nuclear bomb, one of 49 high-trigger nuclear weapons stored in Colorado. Their action symbolized taking it offline.

They were convicted of sabotage and received harsh sentences: 41 months for Platte and 33 for Gilbert.

In September 2000, Platte, Gilbert and three other Catholic nuns were arrested for civil disobedience at Peterson Air Force Base and jailed. The charges were subsequently dropped. They’ve also served time in other states for nonviolent acts of civil disobedience.

Prison provided the opportunity to do their best Christian ministry, Gilbert said. “We feel it is the closest that we can be with the poor of this country because jails and prisons are warehouses for the poor,” she said. “You learn people who have nothing are so generous in sharing, you learn what a waste the prison industrial complex is.”

The work of Platte and Gilbert has been “very significant,” said Bill Sulzman, founder of Colorado Springs-based Citizens for Peace in Space, an activist group that opposes the use of space for war-related activities.

“It’s unique in the sense that it’s primarily a moral argument against nuclear weapons and the phenomenon of modern-day war,” he said. “Not supporting it is one thing, actively opposing it is another.”

As part of a non-governmental organization, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the nuns attended a United Nations conference in New York, when on July 7, 122 countries — two-thirds of the 193-member states — adopted the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Treaty. It’s the first legally binding multilateral agreement for nuclear disarmament in 20 years.

The treaty came after months of negotiations, which the United States, Russia, Great Britain, France, North Korea and other nations did not attend.

To date, 53 countries have signed the treaty, and three ratified the document, which prohibits developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, acquiring, possessing and stockpiling nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, as well as the use or threat of use of such weapons.

The treaty opened for signatures at U.N. headquarters in New York on Sept. 20; the Vatican was the first to sign and ratify the treaty. The agreement would become law 90 days after at least 50 countries ratify it.

The sisters are optimistic that the treaty is the weapon needed to abolish nuclear capability.

“I’ve been working on this issue for 50 years, and this is the greatest hope I’ve had,” Platte said. “We finally have a tool, a treaty that declares criminality to the possession and threat of using nuclear weapons.”

Even if the United States, Russia and other countries with nuclear warheads never get on board, “it won’t matter because there will be great pressure by other nations,” Platte said. “People are much wiser as we come closer and closer to nuclear holocaust.”

The tactic has worked in the past, she said. At one time there were 70,000 weapons of mass destruction worldwide, now there are 15,000-16,000, due to disarmament.

“This is just the beginning of the implementation — we have gained real momentum,” Platte said.

The atomic bombs the United States dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in August 1945 were small compared to today’s weapons of mass destruction, the sisters said.

If a nuclear war were to happen now, “that is the elimination of the planet,” Platte said.

Nuclear weapons are the only weapons of mass destruction not universally prohibited. Biological weapons, chemical weapons, land mines and cluster munitions are banned under international law.

“We believe that the way to solve nations not having nuclear weapons is the total elimination,” Platte said. “It’s time to get rid of them.”


October 9, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Electric cars fight climate change only if powered by renewable energy

Guardian 7th Oct 2017, As one of the UK’s renewable energy chiefs has pointed out, electric cars
won’t tackle climate change if they run off fossil fuels.

Matthew Wright, managing director of Dong Energy UK, said that although plug-in cars could
cut local air pollution, it would be a “pyrrhic victory” if they
increased greenhouse gases from coal and gas power stations.

“The fit between renewable energy and electric is a natural [one],” he argued.
E.ON, one of the big-six energy suppliers, agrees: its dedicated new
electric car tariff is supplied with 100% renewable power.

Put simply, the greener the electricity mix, the greener your electric car.

October 9, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

9 October REneweconomy news

  • Another blackout, another tweet, and Tesla’s Musk sets out to save another grid
    Could Tesla come to the rescue of Puerto Rico’s hurricane decimated grid with solar and battery storage? Twitter says, “let’s talk.”
  • CleanTech Index: Even the miners are supporting it now!
    Australia’s CleanTech Index outperformed the ASX in September and in Q1 of the financial year – just as it has over the last three years.
  • The case against Tesla and battery storage just hit peak stupid
    AFR’s Chanticleer column writes article about battery storage so absurd and stupid it beggars belief that it was published. Such is the state of the energy debate in Australia. It’s not just politicians and vested interests that are letting consumers down, it’s the media.
  • Coalition wrestles with internal demons on clean energy target
    Coalition had sought to dodge CET because renewables were too costly, now it is arguing they are too cheap. But Frydenberg says renewables without storage are a “costly burden.”
  • Know your NEM: Frydenberg’s election losing speech
    If a CET is abandoned, it will be NSW that will be thrown under a bus. Victoria and QLD have renewable share policies that incentivise new generation. NSW has no policy and despite being an energy importer is not getting its share of new generation investment.
  • Building and precincts to go carbon neutral
    The Turnbull Government today launched the National Carbon Offset Standard for buildings and precincts
  • World Solar Challenge is an adventure in engineering and endurance
    The World Solar Challenge begins this weekend when more than 40 solar cars brave the Australian Outback on a 3000-kilometre journey from Darwin to Adelaide.
  • S.A. tender attracts 60 proposals for “next-gen” renewables and storage
    S.A. gets 60 proposals for batteries, bioenergy, pumped hydro, thermal, compressed air and flywheel technologies in response to its tender for next-gen renewables and storage.

October 9, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Melbourne 17 October: Dirty Deals 10 Years On ‒ The story of Uranium Mining in Malawi

Dirty Deals 10 Years On ‒ The story of Uranium Mining in Malawi
Tuesday October 17, 6.30pm to 8pm
Friends of the Earth, 312 Smith St, Collingwood
Guest speaker: Reinford Mwangonde from Citizens for Justice, Malawi. 
Reinford has challenged Perth-based mining company Paladin Energy’s Kayelekera uranium mine in Malawi, the heart of Africa, since before the licence was granted in 2007. The history of the mine has been littered with worker deaths, spills and leaks, and conflict between Paladin and the surrounding community.
Now the mine has been put into care-and-maintenance and Paladin Energy has gone bust and been put into administration.
Will the Kayelekera mine site be rehabilitated ‒ or will it remain a toxic eye-sore and a testament to the appalling history of Australian mining companies operating in Africa?
Please join Friends of the Earth and Reinford Mwangonde for this important discussion.
Contact: Jim Green 0417 318 368,
Snacks and drinks provided.
Please share:

October 8, 2017 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Nuclear/Climate Newsletter Australia

The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize has just been awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).  This global campaign began in Melbourne 10 years ago, and look where it went from there! Retrieving Australia’s past reputation for work towards nuclear disarmament, ICAN’s dedicated team just kept going. Today, I can feel proud to be Australian,  despite the Australian government’s present craven record on disarmament.

Contrasting with that positive news, we have Donald Trump’s latest ominous utterance – “the calm before the storm”. Who knows what he means?  At least in the 1979 Peter Sellers film “Being There” that particular  dimwitted President knew that he was talking about gardening.


NUCLEAR.   Could Australia be the target of a North Korean missile?    Former Liberal Party leader John Hewson call on the Australian government to stop being subservient to American foreign policy, especially now in the Trump era.  Gareth Evans says Australia should not blindly follow USA on foreign policy.

Tony Abbott calls on Turnbull govt to change laws, and develop nuclear and coal power. Former Labor leader Mark Latham urges Australia to “go nuclear”.  Glamour nuclear spruiker Brian Cox – in Cumbria, then Australia.    Pro nuclear shilling group on the move in New South Wales, but Premier Gladys Berejiklian has ruled out nuclear power. Nuclear Reactor for Burrinjuck Dam – says Rob Parker of Nuclear For Climate Australia.

South Australia- lots of sick-making propaganda  from the nuclear waste gang – National Radioactive Waste Management Facility – they seem to have unlimited tax-payer money for this stuff. It’s available on their Facebook page.

CLIMATE. Australia must prepare for super-hot days. That’s if you believe the research of scientists at the Australian National University. On the other hand, that could all be nonsense, if you believe Australia’s (highly unpopular) former PM Tony Abbott. Australia’s farmers need action on climate change, and for renewable energy.  Scientists race to try to save the Great Barrier Reef.

Adani Carmichael coal mine:-Indian coal miner Adani  facing income crash – desperate to get Australian tax-payer funding    Former Indian minister sounds alarm  on Adani’s track record,  mega-mine’s viability– -Adani’s tax havens – the Queensland coal mine plan’s connection with corruptionMarket Forces list COMPANIES THAT COULD MAKE OR BREAK THE ADANI CARMICHAEL COAL PROJECT. In India, police action targeted ABC journalists researching Adani’s dubious dealings.

Minerals Council of Australia – a wealthy lobby works on behalf of foreign corporations

October 7, 2017 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

2017 Nobel Peace Prize goes to International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

Anti-nuclear campaign ICAN wins 2017 Nobel Peace PrizeNerijus Adomaitis, Stephanie Nebehay OCTOBER 6, 2017 OSLO/GENEVA (Reuters) – The Norwegian Nobel Committee, warning of a rising risk of nuclear war, awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday to a little-known international campaign group advocating for a ban on nuclear weapons.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) describes itself as a coalition of grassroots non-government groups in more than 100 nations. It began in Australia and was officially launched in Vienna in 2007.

“We live in a world where the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time,” said Berit Reiss-Andersen, the leader of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

In July, 122 nations adopted a U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, although the agreement does not include nuclear-armed states such as the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France.

“This award shines a needed light on the path the ban treaty provides toward a world free of nuclear weapons. Before it is too late, we must take that path,” ICAN said in a statement on its Facebook page.

“This is a time of great global tension, when fiery rhetoric could all too easily lead us, inexorably, to unspeakable horror. The specter of nuclear conflict looms large once more. If ever there were a moment for nations to declare their unequivocal opposition to nuclear weapons, that moment is now.” (Graphics on ‘Nobel laureates’ – here)

The Nobel prize seeks to bolster the case of disarmament amid nuclear tensions between the United States and North Korea and uncertainty over the fate of a 2015 deal between Iran and major powers to limit Tehran’s nuclear program.

The Iran deal is seen as under threat after U.S. President Donald Trump called it the “worst deal ever negotiated”. A senior administration official said on Thursday that Trump is expected to announce soon that he will decertify the pact, a step toward potentially unwinding it.

The committee raised eyebrows with its decision to award the prize to an international campaign group with a relatively low profile, rather than giving it to the architects of the Iran deal, who had been widely seen as favorites after hammering out a complex agreement over years of high-stakes diplomacy.

“Norwegian Nobel Committee has its own ways, but the nuclear agreement with Iran achieved something real and would have deserved a prize,” tweeted Carl Bildt, a former Swedish prime minister who has held top posts as an international diplomat.

The leader of the Norwegian Nobel committee denied that the prize was “a kick in the leg” for Trump and said the prize was a call to states that have nuclear weapons to fulfill earlier pledges to work toward disarmament.

“The message is to remind them to the commitment they have already made that they have to work for a nuclear free world,” Reiss-Andersen told Reuters.

The United Nations said the award would help bolster efforts to get the 55 ratifications by countries for the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to come into force.

“I hope this prize will be conducive for the entry into force of this treaty,” U.N. Chief Spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci told a news briefing.

October 7, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment