Nuclear, Climate, Coronavirus news to 3 August. Australia and overseas

August 3, 2020

As the anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bombing approaches, there is Psychic numbing” about the world’s suicidal nuclear weapons race.

This week there’s a striking example of how interconnected everything is. It’s Florida.  Florida is struck with two, – possibly three – awful calamities threatening this state all at once. There is Hurricane Isaias,  threatening Florida with flooding and destruction, at the same time as the state is overwhelmed with a record toll of coronavirus illnesses and deaths.

Possibly in the path of the hurricane are FPL’s two nuclear reactors 1,600-MW Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station located two miles east of Homestead, Florida, and about 25 miles south of Miami. There’s also FPL’s FPL’s 1,880-MW St. Lucie Nuclear facility located further up the Florida coast on Hutchinson Island.  Their output could be cut, or in a worse scenario, radioactive pollution could result, in the case of flooding.

California also suffers from record coronavirus deaths. At the same time, California is afflicted with wildfires, again raising the possibility of radioactive pollution at The Santa Susana site – America’s Secret Chernobyl.

So here, in two USA States, we have the conjunction of global heating effects, with increased extreme weather events, with the global pandemic’s effects, and the third, –  very real radiation risks from the nuclear industry.

A bit of good newsRenewables output outpacing coal and nuclear in USA.

AUSTRALIA

NUCLEAR. National radioactivw waste dump plan

Brief note on today’s Senate Committee hearing about the Nuclear Waste Bill.

Black lives DO matter, but not apparently, to ANSTO and Australia’s nuclear lobby. Nuclear waste dump site selection process has made the Barngarla people “aliens in their own country”.

Nuclear waste for Napandee: transport, double handling, safety? Should South Australians get a vote on this?    Doubts that a Kimba nuclear dump will really bring jobs to the area.  ABC Radio interview focused on Kimba nuclear waste dump plan.  Reflection on Jeff Baldock’s presentation to the Senate Hearing on Napandee Radioactive waste Dump plan.  Barry Wakelin speaks to the Senate Inquiry on Napandee nuclear waste dump plan.

The Australian government continues its war on the national broadcaster, the ABC.

CLIMATE

Biden presidency could put Australia back in ‘naughty corner’ over lack of climate action.   Victoria delays setting interim emissions targets, again, as Covid digs in.  Gas lobby’s leaked power grab for post Covid subsidies sparks outrage.  A student is suing the government over the financial risks of climate change.

RENEWABLE ENERGY  – for lots of news go to https://reneweconomy.com.au/

INTERNATIONAL 

The WHO says coronavirus is a once-in-a century crisis that will impact lives for decadesNext type of coronavirus may be on its way.

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement urges all nations to end the nuclear era. Never mind about Hiroshima – a nuclear arms race is on – in space!. BOOKS on The New Nuclear Threat. Hiroshima survivor,  Setsuko Thurlow, 88, continues her fight for a nuclear weapons-free world.  US-Russia launch talks in Vienna on nuclear arms control.

Global heating – “best case” scenario is a scary rise of two and a half degrees.  As sea levels rise globally, we need to start planning now.  Need for Prediction of Marine Heatwaves.

Environmental injustice is rampant around the world.

Julian Assange: Denied Lawyer Access and Failure of Transparency International –Assange appears in court, as lawyers warn case may be delayed by new US indictment.

JAPAN. Hiroshima court recognises Hiroshima “black rain” victims outside designated area as hibakusha after 75 years.  Local approval still needed, as Japan’s nuclear regulators OK fuel reprocessing plant, despite safety concerns.     Rokkasho plant should be shut down in energy policy shift.   Tohoku disaster funds spent for wining, dining company execs.  Experts propose two methods to scrap Daiichi plant.  Activist Professor Unveils English-language Video Warning of Tokyo Radiation Risk.

BANGLADESH.  Bangladesh flooding – a victim of global heating, though not a contributor to it

UK. UK is lobbying USA for a controversial new warhead for Trident missiles. Chinese minority owner of Hinkley nuclear project appoints CEO from China’s military area.  Does UK nuclear energy have any future? The industry has big doubts.

USA.

INDONESIAThorium nuclear plan with USA firm – a dubious deal for Indonesia.

MARSHALL ISLANDS.  U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard refutes the claim that Marshall Islands nuclear waste site is safe.  Marshall Islands leaders hope for better help over radioactively polluted weapons tests sites.

RUSSIA. For the nuclear industry, coronavirus is helpful, as nuclear wastes go quietly from Germany to Russia.  Gorbachev renews call to oppose nuclear weapons.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. United Arabs Emirate’s nuclear power station cut corners on safety.  United Arab Emirates new nuclear power   risks further destabilising the Gulf regionExperts wonder why Oil-rich UAE is opening the Arab world’s first nuclear power plant..

INDIA. India’s nuclear power industry – unsafe and shrouded in secrecy.

FRANCE.  French company EDF fined – it spread false information on cost of Hinkley nuclear power project.  Huge, costly, enormous effort, ITER nuclear fusion far from ready.

NORTH KOREA. Kim Jong Un says that North Korea’s nuclear weapons guarantee its freedom from attack, and war

IRAN.  Iran’s Khamenei refuses talks with U.S., says Trump wants them only for election propaganda.

CZECH REPUBLIC.  Czech Republic and CEZ sign nuclear power plant expansion agreement: require EU approval.

 

Kimba nuclear waste dump a jobs-maker for the community? Not likely!

August 2, 2020

Kimba jobs a hot topic, Whyalla News, Louis Mayfield, 29 July 20,

Debate has ensured over the federal government’s promise of bringing 45 jobs to Kimba with the establishment of a nuclear dump at Napandee, after the latest Senate inquiry revealed there is no legislative requirement to continuously staff a low-level radioactive waste facility.

The Senate Inquiry into the federal government’s Nuclear Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) met on Tuesday, with Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick reading the following statement from ARPANSA:

“There is no explicit requirement in the ARPANSA or ANSTO legislation or guidance that prescribes that a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility requires continuous presence of staff for either security or safety purposes.”

Senator Patrick was questioning the agency over whether the NRWMF at Kimba could be run remotely.

“They’re effectively saying that there’s nothing that prevents that from happening, as long as they satisfy particular criteria,” he said.

The federal government has long promised that the facility will create 45 jobs, and while Senator Patrick does not dispute the idea that the jobs will be available, he doubts they will last.

“The CEO of the site may end up being repatriated back to the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency in Adelaide, and I think some of the other roles may be pulled back and the site will turned into a remote facility two or three years down the track,” Senator Patrick said.

“Kimba locals should look at how the government is willing to shift 700 submarine jobs from Adelaide to Perth on a political whim.

“Having seen federal and state government services evaporate from country towns time after time, we know governments can’t be trusted to keep their promises.

“The writing is on the wall, and the wall hasn’t even been built yet.”

Senator Patrick believes this will be a likely course of action for the government because it’s a way to trim costs and achieve savings.

“They will look at those ARPANSA rules and say ‘this is not a bad option,'” he said……. https://www.whyallanewsonline.com.au/story/6855823/kimba-jobs-a-hot-topic/Debate/?fbclid=IwAR0KJkx1ynVTY_3MxehtRridHdfIu0G5eJYhurXHE6eunG7AdtHgbst2IOs

Barngarla continue fight against plan to dump nuclear waste on Country

July 31, 2020

“We’re basically aliens in our own Country.”

“We’re still flora and fauna to these people,” Bilney says. “They should have included us from the start. We heard about it on the news. We weren’t included in the vote.”

Barngarla continue fight against plan to dump nuclear waste on Country,    https://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2020/07/29/barngarla-continue-fight-against-plan-dump-nuclear-waste-country   Barngarla mob say they were not properly consulted by federal government for plans to store radioactive waste on Country at Kimba in SA, and that their concerns continue to be ignored. By Royce Kurmelovs, NITV News   29 July 20

Jeanne Miller smiles as she gets to the punchline of her story.

The 50-year-old Barngarla woman is talking about the enduring connection she has to Kimba when she tells how on the day she was born, her parents had been waiting for an ambulance that never came.

Forced to make their own way to the hospital, she says her mum made it as far as the tree outside before giving birth.

“So I’m born on Country,” she says.

Though she may not live there today, Jeanne says a part of her has never left. It is a detail that underscores the significance of the moment she learned Kimba was being considered as a dump for radioactive waste.

“I used to be a carer for my mum. When I first heard [about the facility], I told her. She goes: ‘no, no, no’ and got angry,” Jeanne says. “She said; ‘we don’t want it there’. She said to me: ‘you got to fight for this. You got to fight for it, we can’t have that place there. It’s a special place for us.’”

Most among the Barngarla have a similar story about the shock and confusion at learning their traditional Country was under consideration as part of a proposal to build a nuclear waste storage facility that would take in samples from 100 sites across the continent.

No one, they say, from the federal government contacted them beforehand to talk about the proposal, leaving most to find out through the news media or word of mouth.

Instead it was up to the Barngarla themselves, through the the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) to take the initiative and write to the government in April 2017 to find out what was going on.

‘Wasn’t interested in our views’

That first letter would plunge them into a fight that has so far lasted three years, until it entered a new phase in February when former Industry Minister Matt Canavan announced – a day before he resigned – that he had selected a site just outside of Kimba to situate the nuclear waste facility.

The location he chose was called Napandee, a slice of farmland about 25 kilometres west of Kimba. The precise area had been carved out of a 7500-hectare cereal and sheep property owned by the Baldock family and when built the facility promised to create 45 jobs and bring in $31 million to the community.

Over the course of its operating lifetime, the site would house low-to-intermediate level nuclear waste made up of medical waste drawn from 100 sites across the country. This material would include medical waste, but also the more serious TN81 canisters – casks of material once exposed to high levels of radiation that require containment for several hundred years.

If supporters of the proposal celebrated the financial windfall it would bring, critics worried the decision represented the thin end of a wedge that would eventually see the site expand to house higher-level toxic waste.

For the Barngarla people, however, the proposal represented something more significant: yet another decision where they have been overlooked, ignored and overruled in a process they describe as “divide and rule”.

“It’s like the government’s not listening to us,” Jeanne says. “It’s like if the government picks a place where they want to put rubbish like that, they’ll just go and do it and they don’t care what the people think. And that’s wrong. They should be listening to what the people want too.”

“I know there were people in Kimba that wanted it. We definitely know. We got the looks. We didn’t care. I didn’t care. This is something I believe in strongly and that’s why we don’t want it there, because of my strong beliefs and my family’s beliefs.”

After their early efforts to find out more, the Barngarla say they were stonewalled from the very beginning by both the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, and the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency (ARWA). That stance would become a pattern.

At first it began with the department initially dismissing the possibility that Aboriginal heritage sites may exist in the area and ignoring requests from the Barngarla for a meeting.

It took a year – until February 2020 – before the department offered to meet with the Barngarla people, though by the time the first and only meeting took place the government was already forging ahead to measure community support through a voting process.

In organising the vote, the local council limited those who could participate to ratepayers within the township, and provided a ballot with a single question: “Do you support the proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility being located at one of the nominated sites in the community of Kimba?”

Outraged by what they say was a clear act of voter suppression – a strategy common in the US where procedural tactics are used to discourage or prevent people from voting – the Barngarla took their fight to the courts.

They argued that the vote breached the Racial Discrimination Act by excluding the Traditional Owners who were openly opposed to the proposal. The matter would go all the way to the Federal Court, where it was ultimately dismissed on appeal.

Though the court found the local council had not excluded the Barngarla people on the basis of their ethnic identity, BDAC Chairperson Jason Bilney says the court did acknowledge the council had discretion about who to include in the vote, and they had deliberately chosen to exclude native title holders.

They basically created hurdles,” Bilney says. “The catchphrase was ‘rateable property’ – that’s white man’s terms ‘rateable property’. We’re the native title holders. That holds more weight than ‘rateable property’, so we should have been included.”

Around the time the Barngarla filed their lawsuit to challenge the vote, the first meeting with the department took place in August 2018 – a moment Bilney recalls with frustration.

He says Mr Canavan spoke for fifteen minutes before he left, taking all the government representatives with him.

“That’s it,” Bilney says. “He wasn’t interested in our views, he just wanted us to hear what he had to say.”

When the poll of Kimba residents was counted, it returned a result that saw 61.6 per cent of 824 participants vote in favour of the proposal.

BDAC responded by organising is own poll, asking its 209 members the same question that was asked of the broader Kimba residents.

The result would be a unanimous “No” from the 83 participants – a turnout figure explained by cultural and logistical factors that make it difficult to gather in any one place.

The Barngarla delivered the result to the department in November last year on the understanding Mr Canavan had promised to consider them together.

“Canavan said he would put the two together. He never did because if you put the two together there was clearly no broad community support,” says Bilney.

In its submissions to the senate, the department denies it agreed to incorporate the two votes, but says it only agreed to “consider” their outcomes.

Aliens in our own country’

What happens now is up to the Senate economics reference committee and a clutch of Labor, Greens and independent senators.

The Barngarla say the recent approach of the federal government – to legislate the precise location of the site – represents a new twist as it departs from the process established by the Gillard government under the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012.

Worse still, the Barngarla say the provisions of the bill will stymie their rights to seek a judicial review of the minister’s decision in the courts. The Parliamentary joint committee on human rights also raised concerns about the bill in April this year that it says may extinguish Native Title.

“In relation to any cultural and spiritual significance attaching to the land itself, it remains unclear how this would be protected once a radioactive waste facility is operational on the site. Further, it is unclear how Indigenous people will be able to access sites of cultural significance, should they be determined to exist,” the report said.

When NITV News contacted the Australia Radioactive Waste Agency for comment about the process to date, a spokesperson said in a statement the government is seeking to consult with the BDAC going forward.

“Napandee is privately owned, has no Native Title and has been used for agricultural purposes for 80 years. Preliminary assessments have identified no registered cultural heritage at the site,” the spokesperson said.

“Further ground cultural heritage surveys with Traditional Owner consultation are planned, to determine cultural heritage values at the site.

“That said, we have approached the Barngarla through BDAC numerous times during the past years to work together to identify heritage, without resolution.”

In addition, the federal government is seeking to establish a Barngarla economic plan backed by $3 million in government funding, employment opportunities at the site and a cultural heritage management plan.

The Barngarla view this as a bribe when for them it isn’t a matter of money, but one of self-determination concerning what happens on their Country, set against a much deeper history.

So far it has taken two decades for the Barngarla to have their Native Title claim to a 45,000 square kilometre stretch of the Eyre Peninsula recognised by the courts – a process during which they were once informed that they did not exist as a people.

Neither have they forgotten the horror at Maralinga when the British army tested nuclear weapons after falsely declaring there were no Aboriginal people in the area.

To the Barngarla, the government has only decided to talk after the big decisions have been made.

“We’re still flora and fauna to these people,” Bilney says. “They should have included us from the start. We heard about it on the news. We weren’t included in the vote.

“You know, the Barngarla [native title] claim was basically an unwinnable case, they said. It’s taken us 21 years. Twenty-one years to win Native Title under white man’s law. And yet we’re still classed as second-class citizens? Flora and fauna.

“We’re basically aliens in our own Country.”

Jeff Baldock, farmer who sold his land for Australia’s nuclear waste dump

July 29, 2020

Jeff Baldock is the farmer who is selling a portion of his land near Kimba, for four times its market value, to the Federal Government, for the site of a nuclear waste dump. He thinks he is benefiting the local community. He could be right, in that they will be showered by the Fed govt with services and facilities that they SHOULD HAVE GOT ANYWAY, without need of being bribed. Baldock has no concept of the long term effect, and later consequences for South Australia.

He made a brave effort at the hearing, to portray this as a community  benefit. He struggled a bit, but was helped by plenty of “Dorothy Dixer” questions from the Chairman.

Listening to Jeff Badock on the Senate Committee hearings, I am struck by the naivety and ignorance of the man. He really thinks that farming life will go on just the same in Kimba. With the guarded radioactive waste dump, with dirty great trucks under heavy police guard arriving periodically, and with roadworks, and port works at Whyalla, and the whole disruption of the area Probable loss of population, but Baldock expects a new boom in agriculture and population there. Expects big professional jobs there – hell – those will all be in Adelaide, at best – could be Sydney or Canberra!

This week’s nuclear, climate,pandemic, news – Australia and beyond

July 27, 2020

It’s hard to know what are the most important news items of the week, or the day.  The Pandemic Really Has Changed The World Forever.  Here’s what we know so far about the long-term symptoms of COVID-19.  Nurses and other healthcare workers open up about ‘terror’ of catching coronavirus.  We underestimate the long term effects of the pandemic.

Climate emergency is ‘a danger to peace’.  In 100 days, the climate emergency may be even more serious.  Latest climate study predicts disaster for oceans, coastlines and life as we know it.

The global sweep of coronavirus and climate news makes nuclear issues seem minor, or at least fade into the background a bit. But nuclear threats are always there.  This week the corruption that is rife in the global nuclear industry has been highlighted in the legal case in Ohio – a huge criminal racketeering conspiracy that orchestrated the bailout of nuclear power stations. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBx56QyrUjY&t=3s

 Some bits of good news –     The economy usually recovers quickly once pandemics end.  House Democrats just put out the most detailed climate plan in US political history.

AUSTRALIA

Coronavirus cases aren’t coming down despite Victoria’s lockdowns. Experts seek to explain why.

NUCLEAR.

Despite Minerals Council lobbying, Australia’s Environmental Law prohibits nuclear and limits uranium mining.

Radioactive Waste Management Bill Amendment. South Australian government (ignoring its own nuclear prohibition laws) joins Federal govt’s haste for nuclear waste dumpHasty new nuclear dump agency with some overseas staff, – and law for waste dump is not yet passed! New Federal radioactive waste agency flawed from day one  Spinbusting the extraordinarily inept nuclear waste media release from 3 Australian MPs.  South Australian Government must oppose the Federal government’s nuclear waste dump.

Australia should join regional nations in signing and ratifying the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

CLIMATE. More than 200 prominent Australians issue urgent call to act on climate.  Parts of Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula, Melbourne suburbs, at risk from sea level riseAll Australia’s coal generators could close by 2040 and it won’t be as big a deal as you’d think.  Central banks, including RBA, urge rapid coal phase-out to meet Paris climate goals.  Regulator rules it is misleading to claim gas is ‘cleaner and greener’.

Federal environment law review calls for independent cop, but Morrison Government rules it out. Indigenous Australians have been failed by the nation’s environmental protection laws, a review has found..

Australian govt trying to keep its $1.3bn arms purchase a secret, a dangerous precedent.

Rare earths. NT $1.1b rare earths mine could help break China stranglehold $1.1 billion Nolans mine planned for the Territory near Alice Springs .

RENEWABLE ENERGY. Lots of news, but I am short of time today. Check  https://reneweconomy.com.au/

INTERNATIONAL

Coronavirus update: US, Brazil and India lead world tally of 16 million COVID-19 cases .  Global surge in Covid-19 infections, over 600.000 deaths.

World must act now to protect wildlife in order to stop future virus crises.  With loss of biodiversity will come new pandemics.

Global heating will mean that many areas become too hot for human activities.    New research: global temperature increase will surpass 2.6 degrees Celsius: the role of clouds.  How Facebook fosters climate denial.  Crucial need to fix air-conditioning: it causes billions of tons of greenhouse gases.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Brtog4AABBg

Clear evidence of excess cancer risk from low dose ionizing radiationNew CT scan method lowers radiation exposure . The global scam: nuclear energy and the industry surrounding it.

In the event of a nuclear bombing, electromagnetic pulse would be the least of our worries.  Space archaeology, space junk and weapons, and long-lasting radioactivity.

Humans are blanketing the Earth with plastic.

Earth’s Human Population Is Not Sustainable.

 

ARCTIC.  Arctic heatwave:  temperature reach  possible all time high.  Arctic fires and sea ice melt, show need for urgent climate action.     Alaska’s permafrost degrading as summer rainfall increases.

ASIA. Global heating means more rain for Asian monsoon regionsSouth Asia floods displace millions and kill 550. Millions of children affected by devastating flooding in South Asia, with many more at risk as COVID-19 brings further challenges.  A critical situation’: Bangladesh in crisis as monsoon floods follow super-cyclone.  Flooding in Assam and Nepal kills hundreds and displaces millions .

MIDDLE EAST  Nuclear power in the Gulf.

GREECE.  Greece wildfires rage out of control .

USA.  US tops 1000 coronavirus deaths four days in a row, as experts urge the country to shut down.  Pacific Islanders in US hospitalised with Covid-19 at up to 10 times the rate of other groups.

Update on wildfires in northeast California.    Number of wildfires has soared in Maine in 2020 .   America’s choice – environmental and climate catastrophe under Trump, or some hope under Democratic rule.

UK. 

JAPAN. Robot to use brush to retrieve melted fuel at Fukushima plant. Plutonium Particles Scattered 200km From Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Site, Scientists Say. The Fukushima Daiichi Accident Chain, Part 6.

Atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 75 years ago are still claiming lives and causing sufferingVirtual tours planned at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum.  Arms Control Today interviews Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui .

FRANCE. France’s Flamanville new generation nuclear reactor “is a mess” – Energy Minister Barbara Pompili.        Takeover of UraMin – a scam linked to incompetence of leaders in the nuclear industry.

NETHERLANDS. Why the nuclear whistleblower exposing AQ Khan was ignored.

CHINA. Floods.  Will China change its policy on dams? China’s government-run nuclear institutions are experiencing a brain drain.

CANADA. Problems in planned nuclear waste dump at Chalk River.

IRAN.  Does Iran Really Want to Build Nuclear Weapons at Any Cost? Maybe Not. Cause of blast at Iran nuclear site – still shrouded in mystery.

RUSSIAWildfires in Siberia have burned down an area larger than Greece .   Russian navy to get hypersonic nuclear weapons: Putin.

SAUDI ARABIA.  Saudi Arabia could become a pawn in a proxy nuclear war.

NORTH KOREA.  North Korea declares emergency over suspected Covid-19 case.  North Korea continues policy -no denuclearization talks until the US withdraws its “hostile policy”.

Australian politicians Keith Pitt, Rowan Ramsey, and State politician van Holst Pellekaan made a confusing, embarrassing, nuclear waste media release

July 23, 2020

The joint media release is inconsistent within itself and with other previous reports and is surely an embarrassment to the two ministers while confirming the long-held partiality of the local member

Peter Remta, 22 July 2020.  Here we go again.

This is a very poorly and hastily planned and quite ill-conceived attempt to deflect from the true situation with the proposed facility at Napandee which only shows up the incompetence and lack of knowledge within the federal government as to the management of nuclear waste

The joint media release is inconsistent within itself and with other previous reports and is surely an embarrassment to the two ministers while confirming the long-held partiality of the local member It is hoped that ANSTO will not be relying on this quite meaningless release as part of its licensing submission requirements for ARPANSA which in turn should immediately as the regulatory and licensing authority require a full explanation of the reasons behind the release

ARPANSA must not on this occasion hide behind its licensing independence in refraining from strong comment as the release could be viewed to be an attempt to usurp its status and functions

I will separately comment on the different parts of the release

Time for South Australia’s Labor Party to stand up against Federal govt’s rushed nuclear waste dump plan

July 22, 2020

Friends of the Earth, 21 July 20, Today’s announcement by federal resources minister Keith Pitt that a new ‘Australian Radioactive Waste Agency’ will be established and located in Adelaide is the latest move by the federal government to impose a national nuclear waste dump in SA. The Agency will be responsible for all functions of the proposed nuclear ‘facility’including engagement with the Kimba community.

Dr. Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia, said: “‘Locating the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency in Adelaide is a cynical attempt to present the strongly contested nuclear waste dump as a done deal.

“The imposition of a nuclear waste dump is a clear breach of the SA Nuclear Waste Facility (Prohibitions) Act, legislation introduced by Liberal Premier John Olsen and strengthened by Premier Mike Rann. Yet current SA Premier Steven Marshall and energy and mining minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan support the proposed nuclear dump. That support should be reversed.”

“van Holst Pellekaan falsely claims that Kimba has ‘clearly’ expressed its willingness to be the host community. In fact, a narrow majority supported the facility, and that narrow support was won with a multi-year, multi-million-dollar federal government PR campaign including the fictitious claim that 45 local jobs will be created.

“A majority of South Australians oppose the proposed nuclear dump and there has been no consultation let alone consent along transport corridors. Barngarla Traditional Owners were excluded from the Kimba ballot and their separate ballot found unanimous opposition.

“If the results of the Barngarla ballot are included with the ballot of local Kimba residents (and out-of-town ratepayers), the overall level of support falls to just 43.8% of eligible voters (452/824 for the Kimba ballot, and 0/209 for the Barngarla ballot). That is well short of a majority and a long way short of the government’s 65% benchmark for ‘broad community support’,” Dr. Green said.

Prof. Graeme Samuel’s EPBC Interim Report released yesterday noted that the federal government’s framework environment legislation “reflects an overall culture of tokenism and symbolism, rather than one of genuine inclusion of Indigenous Australians”.

An April 2020 report by Federal Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights noted that planned changes to the National Radioactive Waste Management Act, currently the subject of a Senate inquiry, do not sufficiently protect the Barngarla’s rights and interests. The Committee found “there is a significant risk that the specification of this site will not fully protect the right to culture and self-determination”. Importantly, the Human Rights Committee’s report was unanimous and was endorsed by Liberal and National Party members.

Dr. Green said: “Shamefully, the Federal Government has acknowledged that its proposed changes to the National Radioactive Waste Management Act will deny Barngarla Traditional Owners, farmers and other interested parties a right to a judicial review of the proposed nuclear waste facility; indeed, it appears that the purpose of the legislation is to do just that.

“Prof. Samuel’s EPBC Review and the Coalition and Labor members of the federal parliament’s Human Rights Committee have found that the rights of Traditional Owners need to be strengthened, yet Premier Marshall and Minister van Holst Pellekaan are supporting the imposition of a nuclear waste dump unanimously opposed by Barngarla Traditional Owners. Their crude racism diminishes all South Australians and must be resisted,” Dr. Green concluded.

The SA Labor Party argues that Traditional Owners should have a right of veto over nuclear projects given the tragic history of the nuclear industry in South Australia. Deputy Leader of the Opposition Susan Close said that SA Labor is “utterly opposed” to the “appalling” process which led to the announcement regarding the Kimba site. The SA ALP State Conference in Oct. 2018 endorsed a resolution supporting Traditional Owners “in their current struggle to prevent a nuclear waste facility being constructed in their region.”

Another week in pandemic, climate, and nuclear news

July 20, 2020

I had vowed to leave the pandemic for everyone else to cover.  But, it’s too much. It’s too big.  I think that we are all dimly aware, now, that we’re not getting back to normal any time soon.  Today’s news – Coronavirus deaths top 600,000 worldwide as pandemic infections surge.  Amid the global pandemic, humanity still faces simultaneous existential dangers – nuclear war and climate change.

The pandemic is certainly a global crisis. Scientists call for climate change to be treated as a crisis, too. Climate change will make much of the planet too hot for humans to function.

July 16 was the 75th anniversary of the first nuclear explosion, “Trinity” in New Mexico. This anniversary was a timely reminder of the harm done to workers, and soldiers, by the nuclear weapons industry. The “Trinity” explosion was the beginning of America’s nuclear oppression of its own people.

  Some bits of good news –  Oxford coronavirus vaccine triggers strong immune response, trial shows .    The Search Engine That Plants Trees With Every Search Has Just Planted its 100-Millionth Tree.

AUSTRALIA

This post I’ve repeated, due to large interest in it from viewers:  (Video) Pine Gap – USA’s secret spy base in Australia.

NUCLEAR.  Climate change a grave threat to nuclear power, especially in Australia.

Nuclear status quo in federal environmental law review:

  • no change to nuclear power prohibition 
  • uranium to stay a “matter of national environmental significance”
  •  federal government should maintain powers to intervene in uranium mining

NSW Parliament’s State Development Committee reports on the unaffordable costs of nuclear reactors (large or small).

Radioactive waste management Bill (languishing in the Senate)    Letter to Australia’s Senators – alarm over proposed National Radioactive Waste Amendment Bill.  George Gear submits on Radioactive Waste Bill – that Kimba site is technically, indeed totally, unsuitable.

Failed politician Cory Bernardi resuscitated – renewed zeal for nuclear and “Advance Australia“.  “Advance Australia” -the extreme right wing lobby group, says that climate change is a hoax.

Remote community loses their court fight to get uranium-free drinking water.

CLIMATE.

RENEWABLE ENERGY.

INTERNATIONAL

Greta Thunberg calls for immediate action on ‘existential crisis‘ of climate emergency.   The ever-increasing threat of coronavirus, but the global heating threat is even worse.

More pandemics to come – bat research is critical for prevention.

Thanks to Botswana, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has now reached 40 states ratifying it.

Nuclear bomb testing – the cruellest legacy of environmental injustice and racism. July 16 1945 – the first nuclear bomb test – the start of many more.

Because of the pandemic, nuclear power plants have to have safety checks done by remote means.

Investigative journalismmapping uranium.

ARCTIC.  Climate change may kill off nearly all polar bears by 2100

ANTARCTICA. Antarctic glacier melting at an alarming rate.

AFRICA.  HEAT – Climate science must stop ignoring Southern Africa.

JAPAN.   Remembering the victims of the atomic bombings 75 years ago.   Particulate plutonium released from the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns.  Video Testimonies from Fukushima in 7 Languages: “We want to protect the ocean of Fukushima, for the future of the fishing industry”.   Fukushima localities speak out against dumping radioactive water in sea.    Regulator demands TEPCO clarify responsibilities.    J-pop group TOKIO to promote Fukushima goods in new TV commercials.

Investigative journalism    Being Clear-Eyed About Citizen Science in the Age of COVID-19.

8 cases of inappropriately stored nuclear waste found at northern Japan reprocessing plant.  Japanese bishops’ anti-nuclear power book available in English.

USA.

BRAZILForest fires raging over wide areas of the Brazilian Amazon,

FRANCE.  Electricite de France (EDF) ‘s new nuclear reactors not financially viable.

CANADA.  The next threat: A high-level nuclear waste dump near Lake Huron.

KAZAKHSTAN. The nuclear test health toll – cancer and birth deformities in Kazakhstan.

GREECE.  Wildfire out of control in Greece?

RUSSIA. Siberia’s heat-wave – global heating is what made this possible.   Additional resources requested for Siberian forest fire; state of emergency.  Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warns about the risk of a nuclear war .

EUROPE Radioactive Contamination of Europe.  Nuclear power is excluded from European Commission’s strategies for a Green Deal.

INDIA.  India has not committed to the great transition to nuclear power it once envisioned.

UK.

AZERBAIJAN.  Azerbaijani Defense Ministry spokesman suggests bombing Armenian nuclear power station.

CHINA.  Why did over 90 nuclear safety scientists resign en masse from an institute under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)?

Letter to Australia’s Senators – alarm over proposed National Radioactive Waste Amendment Bill

July 19, 2020

The federal government’s plans are deeply disturbing. The public has been kept in the dark, or entirely misled.

Dear Senator
When the National Radioactive Waste Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 comes before the senate in August 2020, I/we would like you to consider the serious nature of the information in this letter and to reject this Bill.

The proposed dump on a farm (Napandee) near Kimba SA has been promoted as a permanent low level waste (LLW) dump to be managed for 300 years, necessitated by nuclear medicine. This lie by omission has been repeated ad nauseam by the National Radioactive Waste Management Taskforce; government agencies tasked with dealing with the waste, namely ANSTO and ARPANSA; government ministers (state and federal); the local Liberal MHR Rowan Ramsay and business associations. This rationale for the dump has been directed to two very small rural communities, while the remainder of the state and the nation have been ignored, in spite of the repeated message that this is an issue of national significance. (The Australian Radioactive Waste Management Framework 2018 states
that the general public should be actively engaged in implementing its aims for nuclear waste disposal.)

Following the debacle of the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission 2015-2016 (RC) initiated by your colleague, then, Premier Jay Weatherill, its recommendation to more fully explore the possibility of SA becoming a dump for international high level waste (HLW) was rejected

Until then, the current national dump proposal (running in parallel with the RC and supported by it) had been overshadowed by public outrage over the RC’s recommendation re international waste. Most South Australians had no idea that, once again, SA was being primed as a dumping ground for
the nation’s waste.

In 2000, the SA Olson Liberal government enacted the Radioactive Waste (Prohibition) Act; later strengthened by the Rann Labor government, it was amended during 2015 because the RC was not in compliance with the Act! Following the conclusion of the RC, the Act was fully reinstated.

In spite of this, both Labor and Liberal state politicians overwhelmingly have remained mute, lacking the courage to either openly support the national dump plans or to criticise them. Their silence, their unwillingness to defend and uphold the Act is a betrayal of the South Australian public.

In claiming majority support for its dump plans in the Kimba vote, the federal government ignores its failure to include the Barngarla traditional owners, and the bitterly divided community which remains.

The federal government’s PR exercise has failed to satisfactorily explain the sources or composition of the waste planned for Napandee; for example the majority of the waste (by quantity) is currently stored at Woomera, much of it waiting for categorisation and repackaging, as the drums containing
it are in poor condition. This material is legacy waste; the result of research conducted during the Cold War, when Australia worked in close collaboration with UK’s nuclear weapons programme.
Currently there exists no facility at Woomera for repackaging this waste.

While endeavouring to maintain the justification for the national dump i.e. LLW waste necessitated by nuclear medicine, the planned temporary, above ground storage of reprocessed spent fuel and other sources of high level waste have been largely ignored. By labelling these wastes as intermediate level (ILW) the federal government has sought to downgrade the level of concern. IAEA advice for the final disposal of radioactive waste does not differentiate between ILW and HLW; so let us call reprocessed spent fuel for what it is – HLW.

One of the greatest concerns about the dump is the removal of HLW from temporary storage at Woomera, and in the case of reprocessed spent fuel or other high level isotopes, from temporary storage at Lucas Heights to another temporary storage site at Napandee, with NO plans for permanent disposal. Surely, this is not international best practice!

The packaging drums (TN81) for reprocessed spent fuel returning from France and the UK have an anticipated life of 40 years. Given that there are no long-term plans for this waste and that it is envisaged that management of its temporary storage could be for 100 years, it is, therefore, highly
probable that repackaging would be required. There are, however, no plans for providing repackaging facilities at Napandee.

Due to Australia’s relatively small quantities of HLW, the IAEA notes the difficulty we would face in developing a permanent, deep geological repository for its disposal. Given the lack of any long-term plan for this waste; the inability of any other country to permanently dispose of its intractable wastes; and the enthusiasm that still persists in some quarters for hosting an international waste dump, (including amongst the SA government’s top advisers) the IAEA’s comments should ring alarm
bells.

The nation’s HLW becoming stranded indefinitely at the Napandee site, where it could also become a stepping stone to an international waste dump, is not only a nightmarish scenario; it is a realistic possibility.

The federal government’s plans are deeply disturbing. The public has been kept in the dark, or entirely misled. I/We, therefore, request you consider this letter when voting on the forthcoming Bill.

40 states have now ratified the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

July 16, 2020

Thanks to Botswana, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has now reached 40 states parties. After just 10 more ratifications, it will enter into force. Botswana deposited its instrument of ratification with the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, on 15 July, the anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty of Pelindaba, which established the whole of Africa as a nuclear-weapon-free zone.

In case you missed it, our neighbouring Fiji also ratified the ban treaty last week. You can read about the significance of this step and Fiji’s long history of activism against the bomb in the Guardian, thanks to Dr Vanessa Griffen and Talei Luscia Mangioni.

The 40th ratification is a significant milestone, dispelling any doubts over the treaty’s inevitable entry-into-force. The Australian Government simply cannot ignore the ban forever.

In more good news, on Tuesday night the City of Port Adelaide Enfield became the first South Australian council to endorse the ICAN Cities Appeal. There are now 28 Australian councils that call for the federal government to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Congratulations Port Adelaide and thanks to the SA campaigners that made this happen!

Today is the 75th anniversary of the first nuclear explosion, code-named “Trinity”. This event has significance for all people impacted by nuclear weaponry worldwide, including in Australia. Nuclear explosions don’t stay in the past, the effects of radiation continue through the decades and generations. In just a couple of hours we’ll begin our special Trinity video panel with three incredible women who are fighting against the bomb.  Watch it later from the ICAN Australia Facebook page.