Australia’s Aboriginal people stopped a huge uranium mining project

July 18, 2019

Leave it in the ground: stopping the Jabiluka mine, Red Flag Fleur Taylor, 15 July 2019  “…… The election of John Howard in March 1996 marked the end of 13 years of ALP government…..

Australia’s giant mining companies – major backers of the Coalition – got their wish list. Howard immediately abolished Labor’s three mines policy, and the business pages crowed that “25 new uranium mines” were likely and possible. And in October 1997, then environment minister Robert Hill blew the dust off an environmental impact statement from 1979 that said mining at Jabiluka was safe. Approval of the mine quickly followed.

The Jabiluka uranium deposit, just 20 kilometres from the Ranger uranium mine, is one of the richest in the world. The proposal was to build a massively bigger mine than that at Ranger, which would be underground and therefore more dangerous for the workers. It was projected to produce 19 million tonnes of ore over its lifetime, which would be trucked 22 kilometres through World Heritage listed wetlands.

The Liberals hoped to make a point. After all, if you could put a uranium mine in the middle of a national park in the face of Aboriginal opposition, what couldn’t you do?

The fight immediately began. The traditional owners of the area, the Mirarr, were led by senior traditional owner Yvonne Margarula and the CEO of the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, Jacqui Katona. They were supported by anti-nuclear campaigners around the country, most notably Dave Sweeney of the Australian Conservation Foundation, as well as a network of activist groups.

The most important objective was to delay construction of the mine, scheduled to begin in 1998. To do this, the Mirarr called on activists to travel to Jabiluka in order to take part in a blockade of the proposed mine site until the onset of the wet season would make construction impossible.

The blockade was immensely successful. Beginning on 23 March 1998, it continued for eight months, attracted 5,000 protesters and led to 600 arrests at various associated direct actions. Yvonne Margarula was one: she was arrested in May for trespass on her own land after she and two other Aboriginal women entered the Ranger mine site.

The blockade also attracted high-profile environmental and anti-nuclear activists such as Peter Garrett and Bob Brown. This helped signal to activists that this was a serious fight. The sheer length of time the blockade lasted created a fantastic opportunity for the campaign in the cities. Activists were constantly returning from Jabiluka with a renewed determination to fight.

The Jabiluka Action Group was key to building an ongoing city-based campaign in Melbourne, and the campaign was strongest there of any city. It held large – often more than 100-strong – weekly meetings, organised endless relays of buses to the blockade and  took the fight to the bosses and corporations that stood to profit from the mine.

We were determined to map the networks of corporate ownership and power behind the mine. But in the late 1990s, when the internet barely existed, this wasn’t as simple as just looking up a company’s corporate structure on its glossy website. It took serious, time consuming research.

A careful tracing of the linkages of the North Ltd board members showed that they were very well connected – and not one but two of them were members and past chairmen of the Business Council of Australia (BCA) – one of Australia’s leading bosses’ organisations. So our June 1998 protest naturally headed to the Business Council of Australia. We occupied their office, and the two groups of anti-uranium protesters, 3,800 kilometres apart, exchanged messages of solidarity, courtesy of the office phones of the BCA.

We were also staggered to learn that the chairman of a company that owned two uranium mines and was Australia’s biggest exporter of hardwood woodchips was also a member of the Parks Victoria board, the national president of Greening Australia and the Victorian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) board president!

The EPA, and corporate greenwashing in general, thereby became a target for the campaign. Another target was the Royal Society of Victoria, which made the mistake of inviting Sir Gus Nossal, a famous scientist and longstanding booster for the nuclear industry, to give a dinner address. We surrounded its building, and the organisers, somewhat mystified, cancelled the dinner. This action once again made headline news, helping to keep the issue of the Jabiluka mine in people’s minds.

We held regular protests at the headquarters of North Ltd on Melbourne’s St Kilda Road. On the day that Yvonne Margarula was facing court on her trespass charge, a vigil was held overnight. When we heard she had been found guilty, the protest erupted in fury. Cans of red paint – not water-based – materialised, and the corporate facade of North Ltd received an unscheduled refurbishment. The Herald-Sun went berserk.

The leadership of the Mirarr people gave this campaign a different focus from other environmental campaigns of the time. It was fundamentally about land rights, sovereignty and the right of Aboriginal communities to veto destructive developments on their land. In Melbourne, the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation appointed long-time Aboriginal militant and historian Gary Foley as their representative. Gary worked tirelessly to provoke and educate the many activists who turned up wanting to “support” or “do something” for Aboriginal people.

At a time when “reconciliation” was strongly supported by liberals and much of the left, Foley told us that reconciliation was bullshit. He argued native title (supposedly a key achievement of Keating) was “the most inferior form of land title under British law”, and that the ALP was every bit as racist as One Nation – if not worse. He insisted activists must educate themselves about sovereignty and the struggles happening right here, not just those happening 3,800 kilometres away. The way the Jabiluka Action Group activists approached this challenge was an example of how people’s ideas change. Many came into the campaign primarily as environmental activists, but almost all left as committed fighters for Aboriginal rights.

**********

When the blockade wound down at the onset of the wet season, it was an opportunity to fight on some other fronts. Representatives of the UN World Heritage Committee visited Kakadu in late 1998 and issued a declaration that the World Heritage values of the area were in danger. They called on the government to stop the mine. Yvonne Margarula and Jacqui Katona travelled to Paris to speak to the European Commission about the mine.

John Howard, at the time mired in ministerial scandals and resignations, had called an election for September 1998, and there was hope in some quarters that Labor might win and stop the mine. But Howard scraped back in on only 48.3 percent of the vote, and it was clear that the fight on the ground would have to continue.

In the meantime, an important legal loophole had been identified. North Ltd had failed to secure agreement for the Jabiluka ore to be trucked to the Ranger mine for processing. It turned out the Mirarr did have the right to refuse this, and by exercising this right they would increase the cost of the project by $200 million (the cost of building a new processing plant at Jabiluka). This, combined with the ongoing protests, became a huge problem for the company.

Something we enjoyed doing at the time was monitoring North Ltd’s share price. It started out high when the Liberals took power. But after a year of protest and controversy, it had started to sink. The slump world uranium prices were going through didn’t help. But what the share price correlated to most closely was the major protests – it showed a drop after every single one.

Fund managers everywhere had absorbed the simple message that Jabiluka meant trouble, and early in 1999 this formerly prestigious blue-chip mining stock was described as one of the year’s “dog stocks”. Encouraged by this, the campaign launched its most ambitious action to date – the four-day blockade of North Ltd, from Palm Sunday until Easter Thursday 1999. This was the beginning of the end for the mine. In mid-2000, Rio Tinto bought out the struggling North Ltd. With no appetite for a brawl, the new owners quietly mothballed the Jabiluka project, signing a guarantee with the Mirarr to that effect. The campaign had won.

**********

The Jabiluka campaign was one of those rare things – an outright victory. It was a win not just for the Mirarr people, but for every community threatened by a devastating radioactive mine. And it was a win for humanity as a whole, protected from more of this deadly substance. Our chant – “Hey, North, you’re running out of time! You’re never going to get your Jabiluka mine!” – for once came true.

The victory inspired a neighbouring traditional owner, Jeffrey Lee, single-handedly to challenge the development of the Koongarra uranium deposit, resulting in the cancellation of that entire mining lease. In Melbourne and other cities, the Mirarr resistance inspired sustained and creative campaigning from a wide variety of participants – from vegan Wiccans and revolutionary socialists to doof-doof rave organisers and corporate-philanthropist Women for Mirarr Women. The campaign was chaotic and argumentative, but united by a commitment to challenging corporate power and standing up for Aboriginal sovereignty.

It still serves as an inspiration for anti-nuclear and anti-mining campaigns, such as the brave and determined opposition of the Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners to the Adani mine. It stands as a great example of how blockades on country can nourish and inspire actions in the cities.  https://redflag.org.au/node/6839

 

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Australia – Nuclear news this week

July 16, 2019

You’ve seen the TV series, now understand that  the Chernobyl catastrophe is far from over.

It’s difficult for me to stick just to nuclear news, as the enormity of the climate crisis becomes more apparent. While extreme events might not be caused by global heating, climate change is exacerbating them and increasing their frequency. Millions of people displaced by floods – India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Tropical Storm Barry spares New Orleans but fuels fears of floods and tornadoes.  New research – climate change is worsening wildfires.

Of course, there is a nuclear connection, too. Both floods and fires are potentially disastrous to nuclear power plants. You don’t hear much about this, but the nuclear industry is very worried about floods.

“Climate distress,” “climate grief,” “climate anxiety” – psychological effects on people.

AUSTRALIA

NUCLEAR.

URANIUM. Huge volumes of water gulped by Olympic Dam uranium mine – even more with expanded mine. BIRDS VS BHP: Evaporation ponds at BHP’s Olympic Dam mine are killing hundreds of birds.     Hasty, secretive federal approval of Yeelirriee uranium project shows contempt for the scientific environmental evidence.

.CLIMATE CHANGE. Country towns close to reaching ‘day zero’, as water supplies dry up in the drought.   Australia’s military well aware of the security dangers of climate change.   Adani demands names of CSIRO scientists reviewing groundwater plans.

RENEWABLE ENERGYWind and solar cut rather than boost Australia’s wholesale electricity prices.  Wind energy sets new record output in Australia’s main grid.   Victoria government resists calls to rein in rooftop solar rebate.  Abbott era advisor  Maurice Newman re-emerges to oppose Crookwell wind farm.

INTERNATIONAL

U.S., Russia to discuss nuclear arms limits in Geneva.

Heat waves, rising seas, – climate change threatens France’s and UK’s nuclear plants.  Even the nuclear industry itself is pretty pessimistic about its futureRecycling nuclear waste still itself produces nuclear waste.

HISTORY. Cuban Missile Crisis 1962 – how close we came to World War 3

JAPAN. Fukushima – a nuclear catastrophe that continues.  Fukushima Prefecture Council election: both candidates campaign on anti-nuclear platforms.  A Fukushima Ghost Town Seeks Rebirth Through Renewable Energy.

IRAN. Iran still committed to the nuclear accord, but will decrease its commitment if other signatories cannot help.

USA.

UK.  Future of the nuclear industry in Britain is far from clear.  UK’s energy industry plans, especially nuclear, stalled while waiting for new Prime Minister.  UK’s new nuclear funding model would leave taxpayers liable for rising costs or delays. Safety breaches at Sellafield nuclear waste plant.   UK’s Sizewell C nuclear project not likely to provide many local jobs. Sizewell B nuclear plant ammonia leak closes part of beach.   Huge carbon footprint of Hinkley nuclear project, and itself threatened by climate change.   Prioritise growth, or prioritise life. We can’t do both.

MARSHALL ISLANDS. Alarmingly high radiation in soil, ocean sediments and fruits from Marshall Islands.

TAHITI. Tahitians remember atomic bomb tests and withdraw from France’s propaganda memorial project.

RUSSIA. Planetary catastrophe – was not likely from the Russian nuclear submarine accident.    Tax-payer funding absolutely critical to Russia’s nuclear industry.  The Russian Orthodox Church just might cease its blessing of nuclear weapons.   Russia’s new Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier? Just all talk?

ARMENIA. Illegal transport of thorium at Georgia’s border with Armenia.

UKRAINE.  The dangers of Chernobyl nuclear site being turned into a tourism mecca.

INDIA. India’s tigers and other endangered species now threatened by uranium mining in Amrabad Tiger Reserve.

CANADA. A generation of children were given radiation treatment without warning of cancer risks  .

ARCTIC.  Nuclear Waste In The Arctic.

TAIWAN.  Taiwan about to close second nuclear reactor.

This week in nuclear news Australia

July 9, 2019

The TV mini-series “Chernobyl” has reminded the world of something that the insurance industry fully understands: even if the probability of a nuclear accident is very small, the consequences of a nuclear accident are very big.

Two current events highlight the risks of nuclear disaster:

14 sailors died in a heroic effort to avert a planetary catastrophe, in a fire accident on a Russian nuclear submarine in the Barents Sea.

 Earthquakes in Southern California raise anxieties about the safety of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Station. The Quake That Could Make Los Angeles a Radioactive Dead Zone. What are the risks at closed San Onofre during a big earthquake?

AUSTRALIA

NUCLEAR.

CLIMATE. Australia now emitting record greenhouse gases.

RENEWABLE ENERGY Victoria rooftop solar rebate in hot demand, with July quota filled in just days. Victorian wind farm to power massive new recycling plant.

The raid on journalist’s home by armed federal police.

INTERNATIONAL

Far from stopping climate change – nuclear reactors are being stopped by climate change.

Special UN meeting to discuss Iran: Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany try to keep nuclear deal.

United Nations warns that climate crisis disasters are happening at the rate of one a week and work is urgently needed to prepare developing countries for the profound impacts. Rich countries are not immune.

Renewable energy racing ahead, close to beating nuclear power.

RUSSIA. Russia’s nuclear submarine fire: what is known so far . Local fishermen saw the Russian nuclear submarine accident.   14 Russian Sailors Killed in Fire on Nuclear Sub.   Russian commentators criticise secrecy on details of nuclear submarine accident.    Trip to check radiation after 1989 sinking of Russian sub.  Russia’s President Putin officially halts participation in nuclear treaty .

IRAN. Iran to breach nuclear deal limits:  still far from producing a nuclear weapon. Fiery Imam suggests missile attack on Israel’s Dimona nuclear power plant.  Iran’s Revolutionary Guards chief says -The world knows Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapon.

USA.

UK.  Britain’s nuclear power projects not economically viable, and adding to global warming.   £1.68bn pre-tax loss for Horizon Nuclear Power, builder for suspended Wylfa Newydd project.  Expert opinion: small nuclear reactors a very bad deal for Scotland.  Together Against Sizewell C: the battle to save UK’s Suffolk coast from nuclear development. Nuclear power – unsustainable – half Scotland’s reactors offline – but renewables supplying the load.

UKRAINE. The Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe is not over. Chernobyl radiation proves harmful to vital forest mammal . Chernobyl’s $1.7B nuclear confinement shelter finally revealed.

IRAQ. Dramatic rise in cancer rates in Basra, where depleted uranium weapons were used.

FRANCE. French government wants an independent audit of EDF’s Flamanville nuclear plant.

TURKEY. Arrests in Turkey for theft of nuclear weapons material.

JAPAN. Should Fukushima exclusion zone be widened?

SINGAPORE. Singapore plans huge 50MW floating solar project.

BELGIUM. Belgium’s green party demands review of nuclear waste storage project.

to 3rd July – nuclear and climate news

July 4, 2019

It’s hard to stay focussed on nuclear news, as the climate news really can’t be ignored. As always, non European, non anglophone, and poor countries are copping it most – Climate Change is Devastating India With Heat Waves and Water Shortages. But right now, much media focus is on the Northern hemisphere – new heat records being set across Europe, wildfires, heat records in Alaska.

Climate change problems, and effective remedies, are often ignored. Air-conditioning is both a partial remedy, but also a big cause of global warming. Energy efficiency is the single best answer to climate change, but often a neglected one.

On the nuclear theatre- well, it seems to be all theatre – with Donald Trump basking in the spotlight entering North Korea – no actual  negotiation achievement – but then the spotlight itself was the goal. More of a worry is the escaling tension and confusion over Iran, as it builds up enriched uranium, and Europe struggles to keep Iran in the nuclear agreement.

AUSTRALIA

NUCLEAR. Will Scott Morrison repeat John Howard’s mistake, and join in military action against Iran? Scott Morrison backs Donald Trump in getting tough on Iran.

A new book argues that Australia will need nuclear weapons.   Christopher Pyne – Defence Minister in May – Defence Industry Lobbyist in July.      Australia’s escalated defence spending, Christopher Pyne and his convenient advice to Ey defence consulting.

Nuclear enthusiasm from Australia’s right-wing MPs – the triumph of quackery over substance.  Industry Super Australia (ISA) hitches its wagon to the nuclear unicorn.   Energy Users Association of Australia opposes nuclear power: it’s ‘not the answer’.

CLIMATE.

RENEWABLE ENERGY. South Australia the leader in energy efficiency . States doing heavy lifting on renewables, but NSW and Queensland lag behindRooftop solar rebate reopens to “pent-up” demand in Victoria.

INTERNATIONAL

Urgent need for international diplomacy: the world facing a renewed nuclear arms race.

Bonn climate talks: Key outcomes from the June 2019 conference. Despite Donald Trump, the G20 nations (except USA) are sticking to the Paris climate agreement.

EUROPE. European Parliament excludes nuclear energy from EU’s green investment fund.

FRANCE. Nuclear reactors in France face temporary shutdown due to extreme heat.

USA.

IRAN. How Close Is Iran to a Nuclear Bomb, Really? No solution found to the nuclear issue, after European talks with Iran end.  Iran doesn’t want to leave the nuclear agreement, calls on Europe for trade help. HBO TV series ” Chernobyl” causing great interest in Iran.

UK.

UKRAINE. Chernobyl military survivor reveals secrets.  Chernobyl survivors confirm the accuracy of the TV series, about nuclear radiation.

RUSSIA. Putin talks of Russia, USA , resuming negotiations on nuclear arms reduction treaty. Russia threatens military response to any NATO action over nuclear-ready missile. NATO says it will act unless Russia destroys nuclear-ready missile.  Russia’s nuclear power station for the Arctic– a floating Chernobyl? Doubts on the “usability” of Russia’s Submarines Armed with Nuclear Drone-Torpedoes.

INDIA. India’s nuclear power programme unlikely to progress. Ocean energy is a better way.  Anxiety over Belarus nuclear reactor starting up: Lithuania buys iodine tablets.

BELARUS. Belarus nuclear physicist warns on the unsafety of new nuclear plant.

TURKEY. Turkey’s President Erdoğan admits that Sinop nuclear power plant has been halted (too costly).

JAPAN. New research identifies Fukushima reactor material in the environment.  TEPCO ordered to compensate ex-plant worker.  Voices of Fukushima power plant disaster victims strengthens call to ban nuclear energy.

The week in nuclear news

June 25, 2019

Teetering about on the edge of nuclear war –  that seems to be Donald Trump’s favoured position for the world. Or is it just that he is determined to be the dramatic centre of attention at all times? Trump has just threatened Iran with ‘obliteration’, (hardly something designed to give the Iranians confidence about peaceful negotiation). Meanwhile Trump  received a “beautiful” letter from North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, who in turn received an “excellent” letter from Trump, although actual negotiations between USA and North Korea are at a standstill.  It would be funny, if it were not so serious.

A bit of good news:  ‘Projects For Good’ – This Ingenious Website Makes it Easier to Change the World

AUSTRALIA

NUCLEAR 

Problem of Western Australia’s enormous lithium mining tailings dump.  New explorer for rare earths in W.A. – doesn’t mention processing, or radioactive wastes.

CLIMATE. Sydney Mayor Clover Moore declares city climate emergency .  Climate change bringing sea-level rise to Victoria’s low-lying towns and suburbs.  Environmental groups are now considering a legal challenge To Queensland’s approval of Adani mine.  Extinction Rebellion activists occupy four Australian cities protesting Adani.

Australian States taking the lead on energy policy, as renewable energy generates more Queensland jobs than coal does.

RENEWABLE ENERGY.     Mining industry turns to wind, solar, batteries and hydrogenRooftop solar throws massive curve ball to world’s most isolated grid. Australian Capital Territory ACT looks beyond 2020 renewables target, seals community solar off-take dealGannawarra battery-integrated solar farm – Australia’s largest – officially opened.   Beryl solar farm reaches full output after single month of commissioning.

INTERNATIONAL

The Middle East presents a dangerous nexus of nuclear reactors and violence: military action is still an option. “It’s absolutely essential to avoid any form of escalation in the Gulf” – UN Secretary-General Antonio GuterresWorld’s nuclear weapons – fewer in number, but not safer.

Nuclear power to solve climate change? Too many sound reasons against it.

Researchers Find Radioactive Particles from Fukushima or other Nuclear Disasters Could Stay in Environment, Human Lungs for Decades.

The world’s societies on the brink of unmanageable climate chaos. Worrying feedback loop between damaged ozone layer and climate change.

ASIA. Devastating future for Himalayan region, as melting of glaciers has doubled since year 2000.

ARCTIC. Nuclear wastes and other poisons are being released by melting Arctic ice.

USA. 

SAUDI ARABIA. Fears that a nuclear Saudi Arabia will destabise the region. Trump’s secret support.  UN Investigator: ‘Credible Evidence’ Ties Saudi Crown Prince, Khashoggi Death.

IRAN. Iran has NO nuclear weapons program.

ISRAEL.    Israel’s Secretive Nuclear Facility Leaking as Watchdog Finds Israel Has Nearly 100 Nukes-.  Israel’s Netanyahu ramps up the rhetoric against Iran. Pre-emptive Nuclear War: The Role of Israel in Triggering an Attack on Iran.  Concerns about the safety of Israel’s aging Dimona nuclear reactor.

RUSSIA. The worrying secrecy of Russia about the true state of its nuclear wastes. Nuclear company Rosatom on a drive to sell nuclear technology overseas.  Russia’s nuclear weapons and the religious connection.  Russian officials warn on terrorists’ plans to steal nuclear weapons.

JAPAN.  Hundreds of evacuees and their children continue to suffer from effects of Fukushima nuclear meltdown.  No Damages To Nuclear Power Plants Reported After Earthquake In Japan – Trade Ministry.  First 3 Days of 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Race Route Thru Fukushima.

UK. Danger of nuclear bomb convoys in Scotland Sizewell nuclear budget meltdown could hit taxpayers under EDF proposals.  High costs of Britain’s nuclear submarine graveyards.

FRANCE. France wants EDF to sell more nuclear power to rivals, price could increase.  France’s EDF struggling with the costs of fixing ever-delayed Flamanville EPR nuclear project.   To comply with Paris climate agreement, France could switch to 100% renewables.

GERMANY. German climate activists storm open cut coal mine.

CHINA. China’s new solar thermal power plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 350,000 metric tonnes yearly.

SWEDEN. Sweden says two aging nu Veteran of Chernobyl nuclear clean-up: HBO TV episode was very accurateclear reactors safe to run till 2028.

UKRAINE.  Latest Chernobyl Shelter Implementation Plan operating this year, at cost of nearly £2billion   Secret military facility near Chernobyl nuclear site. Veteran of Chernobyl nuclear clean-up: HBO TV episode was very accurate.

INDIA. Why India’s Hypersonic Missile Could Trigger A Nuclear War.

MARSHALL ISLANDS. No justice for Marshall islands, with rising seas and nuclear trash.

NEPAL. CT scan service shut following radiation leak.

AUSTRALIA. Australians are more likely to be scared about the costs of nuclear power, than about the Chernobyl miniseries.

“Chernobyl” is scary. The costs of nuclear power are even more scary

June 23, 2019

What’s more chilling: watching Chernobyl or cogitating on the cost of going nuclear? Michael West Investigative Journalism Jun 20, 2019,  The sudden push by the Murdoch media and Coalition right-wingers to overturn Australia’s nuclear power ban ignores the chilling economic cost —  huge public subsidies, storing radioactive waste for thousands of years, the heavy costs of decommissioning and, potentially, radiation-related health costs. Veteran nuclear writer Noel Wauchope reports on the popular TV series, Chernobyl, and the economics of nuclear power.

THE frightening TV miniseries “Chernobyl” could put a few Australians off the idea of nuclear power but nuclear economics might turn out to be the bigger scare.

It is bad news for the Minerals Council of Australia and nuclear lobbyists, that Chernobyl has now arrived on some Australian TV screens, but pro-nuclear advocates are continuing to push their campaign anyway.

The miniseries “Chernobyl” has just finished in Europe and USA, outdoing “Game of Thrones” in popularity. HBO’s Chernobyl topped film and TV database IMDB’s list of the greatest 250 TV shows of all time.  The first episode was screened on 12 June, 2019 in Australia, on Foxtel.

The series has had a big impact. It was highly praised by numerous reviewers but criticised by pro-nuclear lobbyists, and infuriated some Russian politicians. ………

The Coalition’s renewed push for nuclear power

In March this year, 11 Coalition MPs (Andrew Broad, James Paterson, Tony Pasin, Tim Wilson, Chris Back, Craig Kelly, Eric Abetz, Andrew Hastie, Warren Entsch, Bridget McKenzie and Rowan Ramsey) urged then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to put nuclear power on the table as an electricity source for Australia. That call is now repeated by  Queensland and Coalition MPs calling for an inquiry into the feasibility of nuclear power in Australia.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he is open to considering nuclear power if it can stand on its own two feet. Energy Minister Angus Taylor told The Guardianon 12 June 2019 he wouldn’t rule out revising Australia’s nuclear ban “when there is a very clear business case which shows the economics of this can work”. Two days later, Environment Minister Sussan Ley also told TheGuardian she was open to the review considering a removal of the ban.

But — are the economics of nuclear power viable for Australia?

When even Australia’s former top nuclear promoter has doubts, it doesn’t look promising……….

How viable is nuclear power elsewhere?

Nuclear economics in America is really a tale of woe. You hardly know where to start, in trying to assess how much this industry is costing communities and tax-payers. There are the attempts to save the nuclear industry via subsidies. There are the continuing and ever-increasing costs of radioactive wastes.  There are the compensation payments to workers with radiation-caused illnesses, $15.5 billion and counting, and the legal battles over where to put the wastes. Needless to say, really, America is not initiating any new nuclear “big build”. The much touted “Small Modular Nuclear Reactors” are turning out to have no market and little prospect of being economically viable……

The UK nuclear industry is in the doldrums with repeated postponement of new projects – Hinkley Point C, Wylfa Newydd, Moorside, Sizewell C, Oldbury B and Bradwell B……The 2018 forecast for future clean-up of Britain’s aging 17 nuclear power stations has blown out to £121 billion which has had to be spread across the next 120 years……

France’s Flamanville nuclear project is taking years, remains bogged down with costly problems. Electricite de France (EDF)  has financial woes but hopes to save itself by switching from nuclear to renewables. France’s former nuclear giant AREVA went bankrupt and has changed its name to Orano and Framatome — and French tax-payers are still caught up in Areva/Orano costly legal corruption scandals.

Canada is up for increasing costs for managing its nuclear wastes. Interestingly, Canada abandoned its nuclear project for producing medical radioisotopes and now leads in non nuclear production of these isotopes.

India had grand plans for nuclear power, but has cut these back, and recently cancelled 57 reactors. It continues to have problems and many outages, at its huge Kudankulam nuclear station. ….

Russia keeps offering “generous” funding to the buyer countries. But will those countries end up with big debts? Reuters reports that in China“No new approvals have been granted for the past three years, amid spiralling costs” ………. https://www.michaelwest.com.au/whats-more-chilling-watching-chernobyl-or-cogitating-the-cost-of-going-nuclear/

 

To 18 June – Nuclear News – Australia and Beyond

June 17, 2019

Nations with nuclear reactors are slowly waking up to the fact that mounting nuclear waste is a global emergency.   At the G20 meeting in Japan,  Japan proposed setting up an international framework for cooperative research into how to dispose of high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants. The first meeting on the framework is planned for October in France.

A bit of good news: First UK Supermarket Chain to Eliminate Plastic From Produce Will Save 1,300 Tons of Plastic From Landfill

AUSTRALIA

Silly talk from Sussan Ley, Australia’s Minister Against the Environment.  Pick out the anti-environment statements in Sussan Ley’s spiel!

NUCLEAR. “Chernobyl”s warning: attempts by governments to conceal and manipulate the truthEnergy Minister Angus Taylor contemplates reversing Australia’s nuclear energy ban.  In Australia, support for nuclear power is increasingly marginalised to the far-right. In pro nuclear push, Victorian Liberal Democrat David Limbrick (thick as a brick)  gets it wrong about nuclear power.    Tailings dams at Olympic Dam uranium mine are in the “extreme risk” category.

CLIMATE. Queensland can expect catastrophic heat waves (but then coal is more important than climate, isn’t it?).  Australian government’s own data shows that its greenhouse gas emissions policy is failing. Australia’s Federal and State  governments keen to frack up the land with coal, gas, nuclear. Queensland clears the way for Adani to begin work on Galilee basin “carbon bomb”. All the same, Adani coalmine: minister loses legal challenge on water pipeline assessment.   ‘Stop-Adani’ protest to go global, says Bob Brown.  Adani is not about jobs, and never really was. Australia’s governments keen to frack up the land with coal, gas, nuclear. Adani mining project: Court asks Australian govt to look into public concerns. Anti-Adani protests continue in Canberra.

RENEWABLE ENERGY. Australia has to look forward on energy, says Zibelman: “We have no choice”. South Australia’s stunning aim to be “net” 100 per cent renewables by 2030 Record wind output in South Australia, thanks to “butterfly” effect of failed coal plant. NSW promises details of solar and storage interest-free loans program soon.  Storage is key to NSW government plans, in race to clean energy . Zali Steggall issues call to arms to renewables sector .

INTERNATIONAL

Nuclear power is far from “emissions free”.

Escalating collapse of global insect populations.

Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, Journalism on trial, Scahill, Hedges, Pilger and more: the charges, the defense, what you can do.

USA.

FRANCE. Electricite de France (EDF) has financial woes, hopes to save itself by switching from nuclear to renewables?

JAPAN. Japan’s restarted nuclear reactors could be forced to shut down for safety measures to be implemented.

NORTH KOREA. Living with a nuclear North Korea: how to move beyond the impasse.

RUSSIA. Investigative journalism. How Russia’s nuclear industry co-opted religion.

KAZAKHSTAN. HBO’s Chernobyl Stokes Anti-Nuclear Mood in Kazakhstan .

UK. UK Labour’s energy policy means that nuclear energy could be prioritised over renewables.  Climate change denier makes big donations to Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt.

INDIA. VCK Chief Thol. Thirumavalavan opposes Nuclear fuel storage facility in Kudankulam plant.

UKRAINE. “Chernobyl” TV series – was drawn from the testimony of those who were there.  Chernobyl meltdown: the melted metal, with uranium and zirconium, formed radioactive lavaChernobyl ‘suicide divers‘ saved Europe from nuclear devastation.  Birth defects in the Chernobyl region.    “Chernobyl” TV series gets high rating, highly viewed in Russia and Ukraine. The clean-up of the Chernobyl nuclear wreck– the costs and international effort.  Holtec and Ukraine developing Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (dodgy underground devices)

IRAN. Iran to further scale back compliance with nuclear deal.  Japanese PM Shinzo Abe says Iran has ‘no intentions’ to make or use nuclear weapons.

LITHUANIA. Lithuanian Energy Institute scientists seriously working on nuclear decommissioning system.

Nuclear news to 13 June

June 12, 2019

Although climate change is still the monumental threat to all life on earth, I’ve decided to return, above all, to the original focus of this newsletter – nuclear news.

The nuclear issue is the perfect subject for examining how  prevailing journalism and shonky history distort genuine historiography.  And, this week, there’are fine examples of this in articles about the HBO TV min-series “Chernobyl”. There are articles claiming that the series is “inaccurate”, “exaggerated”, and quoting minimal health effects, and the area as a wildlife paradise.

In fact, series writer Craig Mazin extensively researched the subject, to faithfully retell the events of the April 1986 nuclear disaster. Historian Kate Brown thoroughly examined copious records of the huge health toll in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia and reported on this, and on its implications for the future.   Daniel Taylor discusses the accuracy of the series, and reflects on the secrecy, bureaucratic mismanagement, and the war on truth which prevails concerning the nuclear industry, both in the Soviet era, and in today’s world, whether East or West.

AUSTRALIA

Australia heads for authoritarian rule, as Federal Police under government control, threaten press freedom. Australia’s police raids on the media will silence whistleblowers. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton “knew nothing” about police raids on Australian media offices, and on a home!!  Statement by Ita Buttrose, ABC Chair, on the public’s right to know. Journalists who joined in the attack on Julian Assange may find themselves to be the next victims.

NUCLEAR. Liberal National Coalition’s “nuclear cowboys”. Despite the evidence, the Australian government refuses to accept Chronic Radiation Syndrome in nuclear test veterans. The health toll of Australia’s uranium nuclear industry.

CLIMATE. Australia’s reputation in the Pacific now trashed due to its failure to help, in climate crisis.  Adani’s flawed protections for groundwater: its Carmichael mine may dry up ancient desert springs.  Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor delayed releasing data that shows greenhouse gas levels continue to riseAl Gore – Australia is at climate crossroads, – could lead on renewable energy.  ClimateWorks to launch platform to track business pledges on zero emissions.

RENEWABLE ENERGY – AEMO to model “step change” in energy transition and major emission cuts  CEFC big solar investments pass $1 billion, with stake in Kiamal Solar Farm. Colonial backs solar and battery roll-out in major shopping centres. Sydney Catholic schools  install 1.3MW “power generator” worth of solar. Victoria’s biggest solar farm secures finance, may add huge battery.  NSW notches up 2GW of rooftop solar, as record installs continue.  Renewable hydrogen getting cheaper, Australia could lead global market.  Sydney Opera House turns to wind and solar, may add battery for perfect match.

INTERNATIONAL

Investigative journalism : Detailed history of violence of nuclear power – from start, to finish in the very very long future.

These Are the Banks and Financial Institutions Investing $748 Billion in Nuclear Weapon Producers.

Mars and travel to Mars – will kill astronauts with ionising radiation.

Global extinctions of plant species – going at a frightening rate.

A ‘P5+4’ summit could break the nuclear weapons deadlock.

AFRICA. Extreme heat and humidity a killer combination now affecting one third of the African urban population.  Solar panels all over the Sahara desert?

JAPAN. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pretending that all is well at Fukushima, using this lie to promote Olympics.  Japan’s government plans more nuclear energy, and of course increased pile of plutonium wastes. According to Japan govt’s official statistics on pediatric cancer, children cancers doubled since Fukushima. Japanese parish priests shared stories of suffering from victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.  Not a single watt of electricity, but still 1 trillion yen in basic revenue.

UKRAINE. Mini series Chernobyl unfolds the horror of radiation sickness – a warning for the future. Chernobyl miniseries could not be made in the real Chernobyl wasteland – radiation would have damaged the film kit.  Holtec’s involvement in  Ukraine’s Chernobyl’s dry store facility

USA.

UK.

CANADA. Dispute over Ottawa River nuclear waste dump: more transparency needed.

RUSSIA.  Leading Russian Journalist Detained On Apparently Trumped Up Narcotics Charges.  30 years later, a Soviet general still suffers from effects of radiation at Chernobyl nuclear disaster.  Putin warns that New START nuclear arms treaty is at risk.

KAZAKHSTAN.  Top Uranium Producer Gloomy About the Prospects for Nuclear Power.

SWEDEN. Scandinavian farmers still impacted by radioactive fallout from Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

IRAN. Germany’s foreign minister has arrived in Tehran in hopes of saving nuclear agreement.

ARGENTINA. China wants to sell nuclear technology to Argentina – but big problems plague the industry.

MARSHALL ISLANDS Marshall Islands giant clams – a delicacy – except for the plutonium.

GERMANY.  Germany’s energy plant operators as well as government are clear that nuclear station lifetimes will not be extended.

 

Australia’s Liberal-National Coalitions’s Nuclear Cowboys

June 6, 2019
Crackpot stuff’: Coalition MPs’ call for nuclear power inquiry rejected by Greens,  Guardian, Sarah Martin, 5 June 19, Sarah Hanson-Young says the Nationals who have raised nuclear energy are ‘lunatic cowboys’   The Greens have labelled Coalition MPs pushing for an inquiry into nuclear power as “lunatic cowboys”, pledging to block any move to overturn Australia’s nuclear ban in the Senate.

As conservative MPs move to establish a Senate inquiry into nuclear power when parliament returns next month, the Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young has invited the former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce to debate her in the “town he thinks it should be built”.

“Talk of overturning the ban on nuclear power in Australia is crackpot stuff,” Hanson-Young, who is the party’s environment spokesperson, said.

“Aside from being a dangerous technology, nuclear power is wildly expensive and would take a decade or more to build.

“It would be a funny joke if it wasn’t so embarrassing to have the Nationals, who are in government and who sit around the cabinet table, pushing for this.

“These people are meant to be in charge, and they’re running around like a bunch of lunatic cowboys.”

The comments from the Greens come after Queenslanders Keith Pitt and James McGrath indicated they would push for a select committee into nuclear power in the first week of parliamentary sittings in July, saying technology has changed since the country last reviewed its prospects in 2006………

The New South Wales deputy premier, John Barilaro, has also thrown his support behind the nuclear push, saying despite the debate over emissions reduction the nuclear “solution” was seen as too “politically risky”.

“Now is the right time for Australia to begin a mature and fact-filled conversation on the benefits of nuclear energy,” Barilaro said.

The Australian Nuclear Association has supported the new inquiry, saying deep cuts to emissions would be best achieved with nuclear power, with thetechnology cost competitive with coal and gas if carbon pollution is priced.

The association’s Robert Parker said removing the ban on nuclear power that currently exists in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act would enable industry to start negotiations with suppliers about building a nuclear power plant at the lowest possible cost.

But Hanson-Young said the Greens would be pushing to strengthen the EPBC Act and would fight any moves to water down the ban on nuclear.

“We need stronger environment laws that continue the ban on nuclear energy,” Hanson-Young said.

“Nuclear energy is an old technology that Australia doesn’t need and has outgrown. We are moving toward a renewable energy future. It’s happening, it’s here and the government should be enabling it, not trying to revisit a dangerous and outdated technology.”

Nuclear news, and some climate news – to 5 June

June 5, 2019

 

It is clear that the climate crisis is the greatest threat to humans and other species. This week, Dahr Jamail and others have spelled out the intensity of the effects of ever accelerating global warming. One report gives a harrowing scenario analysis of how human civilization might collapse due to climate change.

Nevertheless, at this stage, I’ve decided to focus on the original purpose of this weekly summary – nuclear news.

Why?  Two reasons:

1, I can’t keep up with the variety of climate change impacts happening, and with the overall understanding of communicators such as Dahr Jamail,   climate researcher Paul Beckwith , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9NvCwVDmFI and Radio Ecoshock.

2. The global nuclear lobby is peddling the untruth that nuclear power is essential to save the climate.  And – journalists, politicians, and other influential people are buying into this fiction, without troubling to look into the full picture. The information on the climate chaos is out there, and its effects are visible (e.g. the melting ice).   The lies about “new nuclear”, about “harmless , even benign” ionising radiation are being allowed to prevail in the media.

AUSTRALIA

Julian Assange a victim of torture: Australian government just let it happen.  Swedish court rules in favour of Julian Assange: he will not be extradited to Sweden.

Australia joins with Japan and USA in urging North Korea to return to nuclear talks.

Concerns about the safety of 5G mobile network technology.

NUCLEAR. New Labor leader Anthony Albanese supports UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty : News Corpse doesn’t like him!   Queensland National Party MPs keen for nuclear power in Australia.    Anthony Albanese keeps Mark Butler in climate and energy portfolio, as COALition  renews call for nuclear.   Australia’s uranium lobby imports a very unreliable “radiation expert” to spruik at Adelaide conference.  Vimy Resources managing director Mike Young talks up uranium industry, despite its gloomy market.

Rare Earths.  Lynas still struggling to deal with its Malaysian radioactive waste problem.

CLIMATE.

RENEWABLE ENERGY  Western Australian councils urge state to step up on clean energy . Relief as “common sense” and Supreme Court prevail over Queensland solar rule change .     Off the grid: AEMC paves way for stand alone systems to replace poles and wires. Wind energy sets new records as strong investment and windy weather combine.

Energy transition has only just begun, but solar has already changed the game.  New APVI solar tool shows daily, time-based forecast for each state.Solar farms push 2019 PV tally past 1.5GW.  Electricity emissions fall sharply as renewable energy continues heavy lifting.    AEMO pushes solar register as rooftop installations head to 56GW.   Gupta secures China EPC contract for $350 million Cultana solar farmTwo new solar farms connect to the grid in Queensland.  Queensland electric super highway will soon have 50+ EV chargers. Mirvac taps Melbourne start-up for shared solar at new apartments.

INTERNATIONAL

Nuclear industry and governments colluded to obscure the health effects of the Chernobyl nuclear accident.  “Energy for Humanity”, “Nuclear Pride” – the greenwashing of Fukushima, Chernobyl, and the global nuclear industry.  Nuclear Pride Coalition and Michael Shellenberger: Greenwash and Propaganda 2019.  Panicky nuclear lobby produces a propaganda book, desperate to win public support

Nuclear power, useless against climate change, is itself threatened by climate change‘s weather extremes.

Nuclear weapons even more risky in this age of Artificial Intelligence, Cyberattacks.

Ionising radiation in space will kill astronauts headed for Mars.

Record viewing of HBO miniseries “Chernobyl”.  Breathtaking series on Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe.   Accuracy of HBO’s “Chernobyl” mini series. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Wk9JRbTTqc

Problems in nuclear fusion, radiation risks – some active wastes, intermittency.

Continuing glum lookout for the uranium market.

Edward Snowden warns of greatest social control scheme in history .

Volcanoes not the major cause of global warming.  A new way to remove CO2 from the air – (perhaps – or too good to be true?)

JAPAN.    Hiroshima and Nagasaki protest U.S. subcritical nuclear test.   The Olympics, Fukushima and Chernobyl and The Art of the Cover-up.  Japan’s Olympic torch relay to start in Fukushima – even children are invited to carry it. Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay set to visit Fukushima nuclear complex.

USA.

CLIMATE. Study in National Academy of Sciences proceedings shows that seas are rising faster than expected.   Trump administration to create a “climate review panel” led by climate denialist William Happer. To the Trump administration, fossil fuels are “Molecules Of U.S. Freedom“.   As USA lawsuit approaches, young climate activists ready for a day of action.

UK.  3 Royal Navy sailors serving on nuclear missile ship were caught taking cocaine.      West Dunbartonshire Council supports the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.  Proposals to transport nuclear waste through Bridgwater, Somerset.  The long-lasting impact on North Wales agriculture, from Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

UK Labour’s plan for a ‘”Green Jobs” tour.Scotland the first country to set legally binding annual emission reduction targets.

EUROPE. Young voters supported Europe’s Greens – big winners in European elections.

NORTH KOREA North Korea’s nuclear envoys apparently not executed or sent to labour re-education camp, as previously reported.  South Korean Report Says That North Korea Executed and Purged Top Nuclear Negotiators. Nuclear envoys from Japan, U.S., South Korea discuss North Korea during trilateral meeting in Singapore.

FRANCE. France’s many nuclear waste locations revealed in an interactive map.

CHINA. World’s second EPR nuclear reactor starts work in China.

IRAN. IAEA Nuclear inspectors reported Iran continued adhering to its 2015 accord with world powers.

GERMANY. Merkel urges world to do all ‘humanly possible’ on climate change.

CANADA. Canada’s plans for nuclear waste disposal.

SWEDEN. Sweden’s Uppsala District Court rules against extraditing Assange to Sweden.

RUSSIA.  Investigation by IAEA finds no evidence that Russia is violating nuclear test ban.   Reading between World Nuclear News lines, did Russia’s Leningrad nuclear power plant have some safety issues?

MARSHALL ISLANDS. Radioactive shellfish – giant clams in Marshall Islands near USA nuclear dump.

UKRAINE. Chernobyl’s “liquidators” suffered acute, and long-term health effects.