Nuclear and climate news – Australian and International – this week

November 24, 2014

a-cat-CAN

AUSTRALIA

Future Fund invests in nuclear weapons, confirmed by  Finance Minister Mathias Cormann

Coal Seam gas drilling by US company Halliburton is using radioactive  CS-137, but this is not disclosed in the CSG projects’ Review of Environment Factors (REF) and Environmental Impact Statements, nor does it appear by name in Materials Safety Data Sheets.

Uranium industry – lots of hype about Japan deciding to restart nuclear reactors, BUT analysts warn that a small recovery in uranium price is a “dead cat bounce”   Australian uranium miner Paladin continues its downward plunge. Sales to India are not imminent. Indeed Tony Abbott suggests that the trade deal with India might be ready “by the end of next year’ 

Aboriginal Jeffrey Lee, who donated all his land to Kakadu National Park, knocking back $millions, in order to stop uranium mining on his land at Koongarra, has still not received the house promised to him by the Australian government

Victorian election. Lacklustre politics from the major parties, but especially by the reigning Coalition, as Victoria is found to have, of all the States, the worst renewable energy policy environment. ACT and South Australia are way ahead.

Australian Government embarrasses us all, with a chorus of criticism for President Obama. Latest from Trade Minister Andrew Robb -who announced that President Obama’s statement about climate change and coral reefs was “misinformed and unnecessary”.  Meanwhile Prime Minister Tony Abbott cheerfully reassured Australians about the coming hot summer (nothing to do with climate change)

Prime Minister Tony Abbott recently paid lip service to climate change.  (Ironically, he was lecturing  French President Hollande whose climate and renewable policies are the complete opposite of Abbott’s)     Still, we should pay attention, as Tony Abbott is sure to very slowly come around to being a believer in climate change action.  Abbott, being in the pocket of the polluting industries, has to keep suppressing ( through uncertainty) renewable energy ,and supporting coal –  until (a) the coal industry eventually collapses, and (b) Australia has lost all opportunity to have  a renewable energy technology export market.  THEN, Abbott will suddenly discover  the climate change problem, and its “low carbon” solution – nuclear energy.  (Look out for those tell-tale weasel words – “low carbon”)  Treasurer Joe Hockey is already touting this, despite his disbelief in climate change)

INTERNATIONAL

Japan disrupted by a large earthquake.with shocks near Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, with its 7 reactors, now still offline. TEPCO gives up on freezing radioactive water –   fails to halt toxic water inflow at Fukushima No. 1 trenches. Japan passes legislation to remove nuclear waste from Fukushima – but implementation will be very problematic.  Japan’s Nuclear Regulator says earthquake fault under Tsuruga nuclear reactor is active.

UK.  Top atomic energy proponent, Sir David King, calls for  renewable energy and energy storage as priority,suggests these as a better future energy source.  Shareholder crisis brings more doubts about UK’s Hinkley Point C nuclear plant’s future. UK government secretly questioning whether Hinkley Point C nuclear power project will even go ahead at all.  Delay after delay , and soaring coasts, for Britain’s new nuclear build plans. Demonstrations against transport of nuclear fuel   The nuclear weapons establishment buys academia

Iran. The tortuous, but very urgent diplomacy of reaching  a nuclear deal with Iran. 

USA. Legal action by Washington State over Hanford nuclear site vapors.  Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s chief warns that Commission is not geared for needs of decommissioning.  Nuclear power promoter Dept of Energy (DOE)  to run research into health effects of radiation?

France. Drone flights near France’s nuclear reactors raise security problems . In gloomy economic situation nuclear giant AREVA “suspends” its financial outlook for 2015 and 2016.     2015 the deadline  for EDF to start closing nuclear reactors in France. EDF’s nuclear power plants Flamanville and Olkiluoto delayed yet again.

CanadaNorthern Quebec Cree Nation run  a determined campaign against uranium exploration and mining.

Cyber security. Pro nuclear trolls are targeting anti-nuclear activists 

Climate News, Nuclear News, G20 News

November 12, 2014

a-cat-CANAUSTRALIA

Last week I wrote about the IPCC latest report on Climate Change, and also about the coming G20 Summit in
Brisbane. I thought at the time, that it was pretty crazy, letting a scientifically illiterate puppet of the fossil fuel Abbott-puppet-of-big-bizand nuclear industries (I refer to Tony Abbott) dictate the agenda for this meeting of world leaders.

This week – the whole thing is turning into a farce. The G20 is no doubt costing Australia $squillions. Now who would pay all that  tax-payer money to look like  a fool?  Alas, Abbott would.

Abbott has set agenda items like – no mention of Climate Change, – like cutting benefits to unemployed, especially those under 30 years – to get nothing for 6 months.  And of course, Abbott has been spruiking coal - “good for humanity”  But just as I write, comes the news that USA and China have made a deal for big cuts in carbon emissions.   I charitably omit here discussion of “shirt-fronting” Putin.

The G20 looks like being, at best, a nice talkfest for the attendees. Meanwhile  Indigenous people have set up theirprotest rally in Brisbane, and  the Alternative Summit - the C20 is sounding much more sensible than the G20.

Now – to nuclear . Public comments are now closed, on the government’s plan for a national nomination process for a radioactive waste dump site. National civil society groups are urging the government to hold an independent scientific inquiry on the matter of radioactive waste management.  In Western Australia citizens of Leonora joined in this call to Energy Minister Ian MacFarlane. after  the Leonora Shire offered their area as a dump site.

A new project has begun, to document the the health effects from atomic bomb testing in South Australia

War – very much a media item these days. Not just the current ones in Iraq and Ukraine, but a veritable barrage of memorabilia, including militaristic propaganda about World War 1.  It’s remarkable that one Melbourne woman, Geraldine Robertson,  has achieved the feat of exhibiting the story of Australia’s First World War Women – Working For Peace.

Renewable energy. There’s an awful lot of media coverage of this – hard to keep up. Importantly, the Labor Party has stood fast, will not negotiate any weakening of the Renewable Energy Target. The Business Council of Australia (BCA)  (a pro nuclear organisation) has offered a dodgy deal to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)  – in whichARENA must  include  Carbon Capture and Storage as a “low carbon” technology. Hmmm – BCA also call nuclear power a “low carbon technology.  The State of Victoria is soon to hold election – renewable energy is a bit of a worry for our anti-wind energy Liberal Premier Napthine – for example, in the Macedon electorate.

INTERNATIONAL

Legal matters.  Judge rules nuclear reactors causing thyroid cancers    Judge adds General Electric, EBASCO, Toshiba and Hitachi as defendants in nuclear radiation case

Fukushima: Japan has chosen to incinerate tons of radioactive waste.  TEPCO removes second canopy panel covering nuclear reactor.  Fukushima radioactivity detected of West Coast of USA.  New book Fukushima: Dispossession or Denuclearization?

Germany Anti-nuclear activists held up a train carrying uranium for conversion to nuclear fuel, and organise an international  meeting to oppose  uranium transport hosted by SOFA Münster.

Syria. Five nuclear engineers murdered – by Israel?

France. Mysterious drone flights still going on above nuclear power plants.

Iran nuclear talks struggle on – may continue beyond the deadline of November 24 . Meanwhile Russia ramps up its nuclear marketing pitch to Iran.

South Africa.  China joins the throng trying to flog off nuclear reactors to South Africa. South Africa’s nuclear dealskept secret from Cabinet and Treasury!

Bolivia. 56 prominent individuals across the globe write to oppose nuclear energy for Bolivia

USA. weakens environmental radiation safety standards.  Tax-payer money invested in dodgy new nuclear gimmick ,Power Reactor Innovative Small Module (PRISM)   Note how these days they leave out that nasty word “nuclear”.Renewable energy threatened as  Republicans take over in the Senate   Thorium – no prospects as an energy source, but China might use it for weapons

UK. Raised incidence of cancers and birth defects in families of British veterans of nuclear bomb tests

Australia has downgraded previous G20’s commitment to fairness

November 12, 2014
G20-danse-macabreG20: Australia criticised for removing commitment to ‘fair’ economic growth C20 civil society groups say Australia has downgraded the commitment of previous G20 summits to ‘inclusive growth’, political editor theguardian.com, Tuesday 11 November 2014 Australia is sidelining the idea of “fair” or “inclusive” economic growth in G20 discussions this weekend, civil society leaders have alleged.

Tony Abbott has said the first aim of the G20 is to “promote economic growth and jobs growth by strengthening the private sector” and on the weekend, leaders will unveil the “Brisbane Action Plan” which compiles the individual policies they say will increase cumulative growth in their economies by 2%.

But the co-chairs of the civil society groups advising the leaders, the so-called C20, say Australia has downgraded the commitment of previous G20 summits to “inclusive growth”.

World Vision chief executive and C20 chair Tim Costello told Guardian Australia, “It appears the language about equality and inclusive growth has been taken out and we are hearing that is at Australia’s instigation … we are hearing the Abbott government doesn’t like that language.”

Oxfam has released a report stating that in the year since Australia has held the G20 presidency (between 2013 and 2014) total wealth in the G20 nations increased by $17tn, but 36% of that amount went to the richest 1% of citizens in those countries………http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/11/g20-australia-criticised-for-removing-commitment-to-fair-economic-growth

Australian Aborigines made ill by nuclear bomb tests, never recognised, never compensated

November 6, 2014

Backgrounder: Why was Maralinga used for secret nuclear tests?SBS News 5 Nov 14  “…….

What happened to the people who lived there?

The nuclear testings lead to widespread dispersion of radioactive material in the local environment. The Anangu Aboriginal people who lived the area called it “puyu” or “black mist”.

UK servicemen, Australian soldiers and civilians, including Indigenous people, were all exposed to radiation. Illnesses reportedly included cancer, blood diseases, eye problems, skin rashes, blindness, vomitting, which are all symptoms of radioactive poisoning.

Between 1953 and 1957, two nuclear devices were detonated at Emu and seven at Maralinga, the Department of Industry reported. According to the Australian Radiationn Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) these “major trials” have largely decayed and are “no longer a significant health risk” as these nuclear devices were conducted at higher altitudes (from balloons).

However, the biggest cause of contamination was from “minor trials”, which were weapons development trials that investigated the performance of various components of a nuclear device. Although minor trials didn’t involve nuclear explosions, they did contain radioactive material.

Since contamination remains on or close to the ground surface, there is a significant health risk for locals. Three sites, Taranaki, TM100/101 (TMs), and Wewak remained highly contaminated with plutonium 40 years later……..

Were victims compensated by the British government?

Aboriginal people exposed to British nuclear tests in South Australia during the 1950s are being told they have no hope of compensation. British firm Hickman and Rose had hoped to represent more than 150 civilians, if a huge class action by 1,000 British veterans had succeeded.

But the class action was blocked – the UK Supreme Court ruling that 60 years after the event their claims were too late, the causes of their illnesses apparently unprovable. (Read the full judgment here)

The Australian Greens’ nuclear spokesman Scott Ludlam said the dangers of radiation are well known and it’s unfair to ask Aboriginal people with scant medical records to prove a direct link between exposure to fallout and subsequent sickness.

“The British courts have blocked the application from Defence personnel and Aboriginal people in central Australia by saying you can’t prove those radiations exposures are what caused your illness,” he said. “Now, we know that ionising radiation is harmful for health – we know that for a fact. The right thing for the British Government to do is make an Act of Grace payment to the people who they injured in their nuclear weapons tests.”

In response, UK Defence Personnel Welfare and Veterans Minister of State Mark Francois said: “[The] Ministry of Defence’s position with respect to paying compensation is unchanged. I am sorry to have to send a disappointing reply, but I hope I have explained the reasons for doing so.”……http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/11/05/backgrounder-why-was-maralinga-used-secret-nuclear-tests

Gathering information on health effects of Maralinga atomic bomb tests

November 6, 2014

  http://www.pozible.com/project/187985   The story of the project   At the ANFA (Australia
Nuclear Free Alliance) meeting in Oct 2014 Indigenous Elders called for documentation of the health effects from the Maralinga and other atomic bomb tests in the 1950’s and 1960’s.   See https://ausnukefreealliance.wordpress.com for the meeting statement.

First Nations people along with the rest of the population from the southern regions of Australia were subject to horrific fallout from atomic testing carried out in these remote areas.
Permission was never sort from the Aboriginal nations.
“Just remember that the fallout at Maralinga affected the whole lot of us. Black, white, brindle; we all breathe the same air, and we’re all being affected in various ways, even though that happened a long time ago. It’s still around.” Sue Coleman-Haseldine (Kokatha Mula – Ceduna)
From 1952 to 1963 atomic testing covered vast areas of South Australia including Maralinga and Emu Fields test sites.
In November 2014 there will be a 3 week road trip to archive the stories of the people from Arabuna, Walitina, Ceduna, and Yalata country to produce film, audio and digital documentaries. We will begin a data base of the families affected, the geographical distributions of fall out and detrimental health repercussions of these unconsented tests.

The project will meet with people and family members who remained in the vicinity of the testing who were exposed to the immediate effects of radiological poison; people who were transmigrated from their homelands under duress to missions including Yalata in the south west of the state and people who suffer intergenerational impacts first hand at the expense of the atomic tests.

Nuclear weapons are the most destructive, inhumane and indiscriminate weapons ever created. Both in the scale of the devastation they cause, and in their uniquely persistent, spreading, genetically damaging radioactive fallout, they are unlike any other weapons.

For more information on nuclear weapons, including an article on Yami Lester, one of the survivors of the nuclear tests in South Australia, see http://www.icanw.org/au/

Many Aboriginal people in South Australia still rely on bush foods – plants and animals sourced from land that still is contaminated. The possibility of bioaccumulation is very real. Certainly the stories of early death from cancer, thyroid disease and congenital deformities are continuing.

“I’ve lost a lot of my family members through early death – and a lot of it was through cancer, and I do blame the Maralinga fallout.”
Aunty Martha – Arabana (Lake Eyre) Contact us at:  uraniumthesilentkiller@gmail.com

Many organisations, including church groups join in Alternative G20 Summit, call for Climate Change to be on G20 Agenda

November 6, 2014

Australia: Alternative G20 ‘People’s Summit’ planned for Brisbane, Asian Correspondent, By  Nov 04, 2014  BrisCAN-G20 will stage Visioning Another World: The G20 Peoples Summit, a three-day festival packed with events. Programs include conversations, symposiums, creative activities, cultural performances, education, and peaceful demonstrations. It will take place in various locations in Brisbane, aiming to bring together local and international thinkers to collaborate on broad themes such as the economy, growth vs sustainability, environment, climate change, earth rights, dispossession decolonisation, and other issues of social justice. BrisCAN–G20 is concerned about social and economic disparities perpetuated by G20 and the systems it represents.

Various groups and NGOs will join the summit including the Friends of the Earth, OXFAM,  National Congress of Australia’s First People, International Trade Union Confederation, Australian Greens and Palm Island Community.

Church Communities call for stewardship

Church groups have also been pressing for environment to be included in the G20 summit.Eleven Brisbane ministers from five churches have formed alliance to call for the Abbott government to pay attention to one of the most pressing issues of the time.

The dean of St John’s Anglican Cathedral, Reverend Peter Catt, who also serves as the group’s spokesperson, said the government did not understand how the economy and the environment are deeply linked, and how the economy operates and how it depends on the environment. Dr Catt views the environment as the foundation of economic growth, prosperity, and “human flourishing”. Noting Christianity’s principle of stewardship, he said, “the Earth is a precious gift and that humans are called to act as stewards.” He added:

Climate change is a deep concern. The G20 leaders should be showing leadership and discussing it at the top of their agenda when they meet in our city.“It would be wonderful if a meeting held in our city led the way to sustainable life and a healthy economy.

The ministers call on the Australian Government, which has control of the agenda, to deal with climate change as a priority.  http://asiancorrespondent.com/127944/australia-alternative-g20-peoples-summit-set-in-brisbane/

Hypocrisy as Brisbane Airport allows fossil fuel company ads, but bans ads for climate action

November 5, 2014

hypocrisy-scaleFossil fuel ads approved by Brisbane airport despite political intent   Activist groups hoping to attract the attention of G20 delegates had their adverts declined – but Chevron and the controversial Reef Facts campaign were given the green light    theguardian.com, Tuesday 4 November 2014 

Three advertisements have been banned from appearing in Brisbane airport because they were deemed “too political” – but it has emerged that similar material from energy giant Chevron and the Queensland government’s controversial mining-funded Reef Facts campaign was approved.

In the run-up to the G20 meeting in Brisbane this month, activist groups tried to place adverts inside the terminal, but were rebuffed by Ooh Media, the airport’s media buyer.

As Guardian Australia revealed on Sunday, environment and development groups led by the WWF attempted to place a billboard ad depicting a farmer calling for action on climate change, featuring the words: “Action on climate change is #onmyagenda, Dear G20 leaders please put it on yours.”

The groups agreed to remove the words “Dear G20 leaders”, but Ooh Media still rejected the new advert.

On Tuesday it emerged that campaign group Transparency International had had its own billboard advertisement rejected for the same reasons – it was “too political”……..

According to Business Spectator, Brisbane airport’s head of corporate relations, Rachel Crowley, acknowledged that Chevron’s ads had a political purpose – but did not row back on the bans on the WWF, Transparency International and C20 displays…..http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/04/fossil-fuel-ads-approved-brisbane-airport-despite-political-intent

The G20’s destructive goal of endless growth

November 4, 2014

The G20 Summit will be held  on 15 and 16 November at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, South Bank. Attending will be up to 4,000 delegates and up to 3,000 domestic and international media representatives. US President Barack Obama, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK Prime Minster David Cameron will be among 26 world attending.  There will be  up to 4,000 delegates and up to 3,000 domestic and international media representatives.

The purpose of this summit is to foster economic growth.  Yes – a bigger world population, greater production of ‘goods’, greater consumption of ‘goods’ and energy.  Supposedly all this is good for business. Climate change will NOT be on the agenda – as it has no connection with the economy. Or does it?

Australia was once a leader in environmental consciousness. We understood that at the basis of a healthy economy was a healthy environment – earth, water, air.  It is ironic that Australia should be hosting this international growthfest, under the leadership of Prime Minster Tony Abbott who has absolutely no idea of environment, nor of sustainable economics.

The nuclear connection is an underlying one. The nuclear industry, as shown by its advertisement film “Pandora’s Promise” . depends on the world accepting the need for endless growth and consumption, with ever increasing energy use – supplied by nuclear power. And – make no mistake – the Abbot government, (and its wimpy weak Labor opposition) has bought this idea – or more correctly, have been bought by the polluting industries.

G20-danse-macabre

There is a new philosophy emerging – but not from these so-called leaders, – the philosophy of the Conserver Society, as against the Consumer Society . This is well expressed by  Frank Rotering in his concept of “Contractionism” 

any-fool-would-know

 

That we cannot go on as a species plagueing the planet, trashing it, and thinking that somehow humans can start it all over again on another planet. There must be  a radical change in economic thinking, and as  Frank Rotering suggests, this could well be led by business – by real leaders, who see that it makes financial sense to be truly conservative -

Nuclear lobby attacks Australia’s Environmental Protection Law

November 4, 2014

a-cat-CANAs the intergovernmental panel on climate change comes out with a compelling new report, Australia’s nuclear lobby renews its pressure for nuclear power.   Of course, Michael Angwin and the nuclear lobby are a bit handicapped in this. Australia’s Prime Minister, puppet of both the fossil fuel and nuclear lobbies, has gone all out to please Big Coal, by promoting climate change denialism.

It wouldn’t be good form for Angwin and co to now promote nu clear power as the cure for climate change – they wouldn’t want to naysay their puppet P.M. (They’ll keep the climate change argument for later, when they feel that it has become “politically correct” – that is – when Abbott has safely destroyed renewable energy and any real climate change action.)

Still, they can lay the groundwork, with  a lot of nonsense talk about Australia’s future energy needs. (Never mind that Australians are using less electricity, not more)

Part of the groundwork will be their goal to remove environmental protection – as evidenced in today’s call from Gary Johns in THE AUSTRALIAN, (strangely worded almost exactly as Michael Angwin’s letter in The Age today) : -

“……...The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, for example, states that the minister must not approve the construction or operation of a ­nuclear power plant. Such prohibition is unwarranted.

In its green paper, the Abbott government has promised to “review the current regulatory framework that governs nuclear and waste facilities to remove any duplication and streamline regulations”. This is not good enough. The ban on nuclear power must be lifted. These laws are based on old politics and old science. It is time that prohibition was repealed so all sources of power are on the table and assessed according o commercial and environmental risks..…”

Note the pretense here, that nuclear power’s environmental and commercial risks are no different from any other industries’

Tell that to the Japanese, and to the world’s insurance companies!

Stifling calls for climate change on theG20 agenda – Tony doesn’t want it

November 4, 2014

Abbott-fiddling-global-warmBrisbane G20: Airport vetoes #onmyagenda climate change billboard, Brisbane Times November 3, 2014  brisbanetimes.com.au senior reporter Brisbane Airport Corporation has vetoed a “political” billboard asking for climate change to be added to this month’s G20 conference.

The billboard – backed by nine national and international conservation groups – was planned for Brisbane International Airport.

A second billboard is being unveiled in Peel Street at South Brisbane on Monday.

The groups wanted world leaders and their delegates to see the billboard as they arrived in Brisbane. The #onmyagenda campaign encourages people to tweet G20 leaders asking them to include climate change as a stand-alone item on the G20 agenda.

Climate change issues have been on the agendas at eight previous eight G20 summits.

It is not on the agenda in Brisbane.

G20-censorship

The decision comes as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Sunday released its most recent report on the impact of climate change.

The report found that the world must stop almost all greenhouse gas emissions through a phased elimination of fossil fuels by 2100 if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged companies to disinvest from fossil fuel-based industries.

In broad terms, the UN IPCC report finds there are “multiple pathways” available to keep global warming below two degrees.

All of these pathways require “substantial” cuts to greenhouse gas emissions over the next few decades, and “near zero” emissions by the end of the century, the report’s authors concluded.

BAC told Fairfax Media the billboards were rejected last Wednesday because they were  deemed to be “political”.http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/brisbane-g20/brisbane-g20-airport-vetoes-onmyagenda-climate-change-billboard-20141103-11fzdm.html#ixzz3I9Xt6bP9


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