Why are SOME Australian scientists jumping on the thorium nuclear bandwagon?

December 17, 2014

a-cat-CANImmediately after the Lima Climate Summit, there has been a spate of pro nuclear articles appearing in the media and across the Internet.   In a surprising number of articles, the pro nuclear advocates are scientists, working in prestigious universities in UK, USA, and in Australia , too.

In Australia, this is orchestrated by Barry Brook, who purports to be a climate scientist, but whose agenda is clearly to promote nuclear power.

How is it that reputable scientists now fall for the propaganda for “new” small nuclear reactors – thorium reactors, which require plutonium and/or enriched uranium to function.  These thorium nuclear designs are not new – they were designed and abandoned in USA decades ago.  To have them in Australia would pretty well necessitate having the entire nuclear chain around our necks. They need plutonium to start with –  so we’d have to import plutonium, or set up nuclear reactors to produce it.  Similarly we’d have to set up uranium enrichment plants.  We would need radioactive waste dumps, because, contrary to the thorium pushers’ propaganda, these reactors do produce highly toxic and long lasting radioactive wastes.

So – how come Australian and other scientists are now jumping on the nuclear thorium bandwagon? Some are simply paid by nuclear interests –  like Stefan  Simons and Pamela Sykes, in South Australia.   Yes the nuclear industry has bought quite  a few scientists internationally.

But it’s not that simple.  Part of our Australian cultural cringe is that scientists are impressed by other scientists – feel that they should go along with the current tide, even if they haven’t done their homework on the issue. After all, they’re scientists, not economists or health experts, and there’s  a prevailing cringing attitude that “hard scientists” i.e nuclear physicists “know best”.

Fortunately, Australia does have some scientists who do  see the whole picture, and are not swayed by the present propaganda  about nuclear power fixing climate change.

Meditating upon Australia’s nuclear and climate news today

December 14, 2014

a-cat-CANRadioactive trash Doncha love the way Australia’s media slants nuclear news? In USA and UK there is turmoil over where to dump radioactive trash. Communities angrily resist hosting nuclear waste dumps. But not in Australia.

The Northern Territory News seems quite jubilant about citizens being offered this wonderful “opportunity” to host nuclear trash, and seems to bemoan the bad luck of Norther Territory Land Councils that they missed out on this chance.

Solar power. While the Abbott government steadily wages war on Australia’s potential renewable energy industry, the Australian Capital Territory forges on. Now there’s  a breakthrough in solar technology that is going to have Canberra’s solar panel laughing all the way to the bank, while the rest of Australians pay megabucks for their coal-generated electricity.

Climate Change. There’s some sort of  a result from the Lima Summit – some sort of direction agreed on, ahead of the Paris talks in 2015 (the last chance for meaningful global decisions).  The rich countries inch towards real curbing of greenhouse gas emissions. The poor countries get some (not much) hope of help in facing their climate fate.  Australia is now an international pariah. Abbott, Bishop and Co. no doubt already planning how to sabotage the Paris talks, for the benefit of the coal industry.

In brief – Nuclear and Climate News

December 13, 2014

a-cat-CANAUSTRALIA

Climate change. First the Abbott government was in denial over climate change. They sent, not the (useless anyway) Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, to the Lima Climate Summit, but coal fans Julie Bishop and Andrew Robb (Trade Minister). Clearly they were sent to defend the coal industry and promote the nuclear industry. The Australian government first refused to contribute to the UN Climate Fund to help poor countries, then did  a backflip, contributing $200 million that they are taking away from foreign aid!

Abbott’s motivation is to buy back, (if possible) some international credibility, and to position himself to sabotage the Paris Climate Summit next year, in the interests of his backers, the polluting industries.

Australia well represented at Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, (though not by government)

Nuclear power. It takes a bit of delicate footwork, for Australia’s governments and corporations to switch from climate denialism to ‘need for climate action’. But this was inevitable – they now swing into action, promoting nuclear power as the cure, seeing that the Abbott government has fairly successfully completed the shutdown of renewable energy industries in Australia.  Prolonged uncertainty about the Renewable Energy Target does  that.

South Australia is the hub of pro nuclear lobbysim – in their pseudo climate activism  (Barry Brook), in BHP, business, in academia, (funded by nuclear businesses). Daily, some prominent person, like former Governor Kevin Scarce, jumps on the nuclear propaganda bandwagon.

Uranium. Tony Abbott wants to sell uranium to Ukraine. Terrific idea?  To be part of the largest nuclear power complex in Europe, in  a conflict zone, in a country still not recovered from the radioactive pollution and trauma of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster?

The treaties committee in Parliament now has to assess the safeguards and conditions of Australia’s deal to sell uranium to India. Will they just rubber-stamp it, despite the warnings of John Carlson?

Aboriginal land rights - on the way to being trashed by the Abbott government ?

Renewable energy. Despite all, Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) survives and thrives

INTERNATIONAL 

Conferences: Vienna Conference on Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.  Lima Climate Summit drags on, with rich countries reluctant to help poor.  USA delegate Adam Scheinman at Vienna used bullying tactics to oppose a nuclear weapons ban treaty

USA. Govt’s Department of Energy to give $12.5 billion Nuclear Loan Guarantee  to get new nuclear power projects going. USA resists tightening international safety rules on nuclear reactors.  No utility executive could propose a nuclear reactor ”in good conscience”says  industry executive

UK . Radioactive waste storage ponds in a shocking state of neglect at the UK’s Sellafield nuclear facility. Anglesey Council worried about lack of information on planned Wylfa Newydd power plant plant

Japan. As election day approaches, Japan’s communities deeply divided over the plan to restart nuclear power.

France. Potential for drones to carry explosive devices over nuclear reactors – not detectable by current security monitoring.

Pacific Ocean is still the sewer for the nuclear industry’s wastes

Renewable energy. Wind power success in UK, especially Scotland.  Malaysia now a world leader in producing solar energy equipment.  1,000 MW of renewable energy contracts for South Africa

Research. Study into effects of chronic exposure to radiation in food: Chernobyl wolves as an example

Nuclear lobbyists. One example of their dodgy statements – Wade Allison. 

South Australia’s pro nuclear clique gets a new member. Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce

December 13, 2014

Let’s talk nuclear, says ex-governor Kevin Scarce THE AUSTRALIAN  Verity Edwards DECEMBER 13, 2014 AFTER seven years of political silence in his role as governor of South 

AFTER seven years of political silence in his role as governor of South Australia, Kevin Scarce yesterday finally spoke out to say the state should consider developing a nuclear industry to compensate for a downturn in manufacturing……….http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/lets-talk-nuclear-says-ex-governor-kevin-
South-Aust-pro-nuke

Tony Abbott, Julie Bishop using Climate Summit to further the interests of coal (and nuclear) lobbies

December 13, 2014

The speed at which Australia has lost the respect of the  international community on global warming policy is truly embarrassing. 

This decision to raid the foreign aid budget instead of committing new funds will cause a lot of pain in aid circles, coming as it does on the $7.6 billion cut in the budget, and it may not achieve Australia’s aim of buying back credibility.

While the rest of the world has declared ‘game on’ for the 2015 climate summit in Paris, Captain Abbott is doing as little as possible in the field, because he’s not playing to win for people or the planet, he’s using tactics to fix the game in favour of the fossil fuel industries at the big end of town.

Abbott’s attempt to buy relevance at climate change talks in Lima http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2014/12/11/4146692.htm CHRISTINE MILNE Tony Abbott has tried to buy his way into relevance at the international climate change conference in Lima. But it may not work.

THE ABBOTT GOVERNMENT has finally caved in to international pressure and begrudgingly committed money to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to help developing nations deal with the impacts of global warming.

The announcement has come only days after Foreign Minister Julie Bishop echoed Prime Minister Tony Abbott in declaring Australia would not support the GCF.

I am glad they have. But why they did so is the issue.

It is clear that they have realised that they are so far on the outer that they will have no influence in the negotiations and will not be able to weaken rules or edit texts unless they contributed in some way. Read the rest of this entry »

Senator Nigel Scullion and Australia’s Federal Government betraying Aboriginals on land Rights?

December 13, 2014

Northern Land Council accuses Senator Nigel Scullion of breaking election promise on land rights, ABC News  By the National Reporting Team’s Kate Wild 11 Dec 14 Australia’s largest Aboriginal land council has accused Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Nigel Scullion of breaking a promise that the Coalition, if it won government, would not review or amend the Land Rights Act.

Holding a copy of Senator Scullion’s press release, titled No changes to NT Land Rights and dated August 14, 2013, Northern Land Council (NLC) deputy chairman John Daly accused the Minister of proposing a review of land rights legislation without the consent of traditional owners.

“Prior to him getting in as the Minister, this here says he wasn’t going to do any reviews or anything like that without the consent of traditional owners and the land council,” he said.

Really there isn’t, and hasn’t been, any conversation with Aboriginal people about the future of the Land Rights Act.

Joe Morrison, NLC chief executive

“And this is just another broken promise from this government.”

The comments were made today at a full council meeting that Senator Scullion did not attend………..

NLC’s questions are ‘pressing for the nation’

NLC chief executive Joe Morrison said council members wanted to put questions to the Minister they believed were “pressing for the nation”.

These included Federal Government plans to water down the Land Rights Act, pressure on Aboriginal towns to sign 99 year leases, and the Federal Government’s use of Aboriginal money earned from mining royalties, he said.………….

He said a stand-off between the Federal Government and land councils on who administers Aboriginal land could have a negative impact on the constitutional recognition of Aboriginal Australians.

Since the Prime Minister’s announcement in October other states had shown interest in joining the review of the administration of Aboriginal land, according to Mr Morrison.

“Really there isn’t, and hasn’t been, any conversation with Aboriginal people about the future of the Land Rights Act,” he said.

“Yet again we’re going through this discourse nationally about Land Administration arrangements when we’ve continuously proved that the Land Council system is able to deliver on leases and third party interests.”

NLC ‘disappointed’ and ‘frustrated’ by Scullion no-show

Mr Daly said the full council, which had prepared a list of pressing questions, had been told the Minister would not be attending half an hour after he was due to arrive…………..

“It’s no longer good enough for the Minister and the Prime Minister to stay away.

“We need to deal with these issues now.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-11/nlc-accuses-scullion-of-breaking-election-promise-on-land-rights/5961088

Move to make renewable energy essential in new home building

December 13, 2014

Perth council to seek mandate on renewable energy for new homes, ABC News, 10 Dec 14 720 ABC Perth  By Emma Wynne A Perth council is hoping to radically alter its planning scheme to require new homes to have their own energy supply.

Nedlands council, which covers some of Perth’s wealthiest suburbs, will apply to the WA Planning Commission to alter their planning scheme to require installation of onsite power generations, such as solar panels or wind power, in all new home building…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-10/perth-council-hopes-to-mandate-renewable-energy/5954842

Nuclear debate: the game’s over, but it’s worth discussing why

December 8, 2014

Nuclear debate: the game’s over, but it’s worth discussing why

Australia’s pro nuclear bandwagon revs up

December 7, 2014

Business groups want Government to ‘get out of the way’ of nuclear power ABC NewsBy political reporter Nick Pedley 4 Dec 2014,

A prominent business group is urging the Federal Government to “get out of the way” of nuclear power becoming a reality in Australia.The call comes after the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister reignited the debate about nuclear power in Australia. The peak business group in South Australia, Business SA, is pushing for a debate to be held on the merits of building a nuclear power reactor in the state.

The organisation’s chief executive, Nigel McBride, has welcomed the comments from senior figures within the Federal Government.

South-Aust-pro-nuke

“I do welcome what is, to me, a very important sign from the Prime Minister that this Government is not closed to what could be a significant game-changer in our fight for affordable energy,” he said.

At the moment legislation bans nuclear power from becoming a reality.

Mr McBride’s view of the legislative ban is blunt.

“What we need from Government is we need governments to get out of the way,” he said.

Business SA is pushing for a debate about building a $3 billion micro reactor known as a Prism power plant designed by General Electric and Hitachi.

nuclear-wizards

The plant converts used nuclear fuel rods and surplus plutonium into energy.

Mr McBride argued the proposal would pay its own way after five years.

He said the technology was safe and innovative and would also see nuclear nations pay Australia to take their spent fuel rods.

Tony Abbott welcomes nuclear energy ideas……….

Mr McBride has reassured the Prime Minister there would not be a push for government assistance.

“We’re not asking for subsidies,” he said.

“We’re asking for the Government to allow this to proceed.”

Engineers call for ‘simple legislation change’

The body that represents the nation’s engineers, Engineers Australia, has joined the call for Government to remove the legislative barriers to nuclear power.

Tony Irwin from Engineers Australia said the Prime Minister’s comments showed nuclear power was “seriously being considered”.

He also called for “simple legislation change”.

Mr Irwin said there were already regulators in place who could monitor the industry.

“We need a process to see how we’re going to change the legislation,” he said.

Mr Irwin is also the technical director of a company called SMR Nuclear Technology…………

He said it might be difficult to win support for the micro reactor because it was new technology and there was not enough regulatory approval in other nations for the Prism plant.

The Opposition’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, Tanya Plibersek, earlier this week dismissed nuclear power as an alternative.

“I don’t think it’s a viable option for Australia,” Ms Plibersek said.

“We know that it’s expensive.

“It takes a long time to get nuclear energy underway and in fact countries that have been relying on nuclear energy like Japan and Germany are actually retreating from the use of it.”

Senior Labor frontbencher Jenny Macklin said it was unnecessary for more nuclear energy in Australia.

She also wanted to know where the power stations would be located.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-05/governments-urged-to-embrace-nuclear-power/5945072

The nonsense pro nuclear propaganda of Wade Allison – exposed by ENE News

December 7, 2014

Oxford Professor in Japan: Well so what if Fukushima had triple meltdown? People enjoy effects of radioactive contamination; Sunshine is much more dangerous; Effect of radiation same as oxygen — Former WHO Official: “The man is dangerous… He’s a crank” (VIDEOS)

http://enenews.com/oxford-professor-japan-triple-meltdown-fukushima-people-enjoy-effects-radioactive-contamination-groundwater-sunshine-dangerous-nuclear-radiation-same-effect-oxygen-former-radiation-expert-man-dange?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

Wade Allison, Emeritus Professor of Physics at Oxford University, Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, Dec 3, 2014 (emphasis added):

  • 7:30 — Nuclear protestors have no good arguments for saying that nuclear is dangerousthis is demonstrated by what happened at Fukushima.
  • 19:30 – The scientific question is, ‘Why is radiation so safe?‘ Because it is very powerful and so that’s very surprising… That’s the job biology does… Any life form that did not look after the effects of radiation and oxygen, which does the same kind of thing, would fail.
  • 27:30 — On holiday we should take [children] around a nuclear power station.
  • 31:00 — What can we do to explain… to people and shove under their noses?
  • 39:15 – That excellent film Pandora’s Promise, anybody who hasn’t seen that should.
  • 45:00 — [Bury the used nuclear fuel] anywhere, anywhere… Fission products [have a] half-life is 30 years or so… it quickly becomes the same activity as the stuff that you dig out of the ground. You need a mine or a hole in the ground which is going to contain stuff for 500 years — but it doesn’t have to be perfect. Here in Japan, people go to Onsen, and enjoy the effects of radioactive contamination of groundwatereverybody’s very happy to do that. That’s what they do on holiday.
  • 47:30 — Triple meltdown? Where did you get those words from? Hollywood? What do you mean by a triple meltdown? So what? I’m telling you — so nothing, very muchTriple meltdown, well so what?… It wasn’t a tragedy.
  • 52:45 — The sunshine… that’s much more dangerous… than nuclear radiation.
  • 1:01:45 — We need people’s confidence. We need to talk to children in school.
  • 1:04:45 — The idea that special precautions have to be taken just doesn’t wash,nuclear is not especially dangerous. It’s not as dangerous as fire.

Allison at the Institute of PhysicsNew safety levels for human radiation exposure are suggested… 100 mSv in total in any month; 5,000 mSv as a total of whole-of-life exposure.

Keith Baverstock, head of the World Health Organization’s Radiation Protection Program for Europe (1991-2003), Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, Nov 20, 2014:

  • 20:00 — Question: My name is Hiroyuki Fujita, [inaudible] Shimbun editor/writer… According to [Dr. Wade Allison], so called low dose radiation, 100 mSv or less, not so bad for human health… all the scientific knowledge is rooted on the experience of the fruit fly.
  • 21:00 – Wade Allison, do you know what his scientific expertise is? Physics… not public health, not medicine, not biology… I did a review of [his] book… I said his book is highly entertaining… it is fiction… We don’t have to rely on fruit flies to know what the effects of radiation are. We know what they are on human health. We have a lot of epidemiological information — which he ignores. I think the man is dangerous, I think you are putting yourself in a dangerous position if you believe him… He’s a crank.

Watch Allison’s FCCJ presentation here | Watch Baverstock’s FCCJ presentation here


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