Nuclear and Climate News This Week

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As always, the silence in Australia about nuclear issues belies the truth: the Abbott government remains firmly pro nuclear. According to Industry Minister Ian MacFarlane, nuclear energy is “off the table”. But it’s well and truly there, under the table, in the new Energy White Paper Green Paper 2014 (confusing isn’t it – that title – means that it is not the final White Paper).  And – the government has been duplicitous, pretending that Friends of the Earth Australia supports nuclear power – actually using FOE in its pro nuclear section!

Nuclear security. While pontificating about terror threats,  Abbott quietly lessens the security at Lucas Heights nuclear power plant.  As the Americans say – “Go figure!”  Police surrounded it the other day – it was a false alarm, but shows how jittery they are about the nuclear reactor as a terrorist target.

Climate change. Ha ha – climate change denialism is so rife in Australia’s Abbott government, that they’re not able to use climate change as an argument for nuclear power. (It’s  a spurious argument, but the lying and immoral nuclear lobby is using it extensively world-wide, at present – having run out of other arguments). The new Energy White Paper is just another blueprint for Quarry Australia. 

Australia distinguished itself by being the country of scorn, at the UN climate Change meeting in New York last week. Only Canada can rival us for being internationally on the nose about climate change inaction.  I admit that I had a nice moment of schadenfreude, seeing our Foreign Misnister speak her weasel words to an empty UN conference room.

On the home front, Australians participated magnificently in the global People’s Climate March ,  Melbourne kicked off first, then rallies in many cities and towns across the nation.

Renewable Energy.  Later in the week, rallies to keep the Renewable Energy Target (RET) were held in many areas, with protests embarrassing politicians right at their offices. Several highly reputable national organisations wrote to Abbott urging the importance of keeping the RET as it is.

Meanwhile, despite the lobbying success of the fossil fuel utilities to get Abbott to crush the renewables industries. – well- those industries are still happening! New solar businesses for Melbourne and Moree. Good predictions for our solar market. ANU and ClimateWorks show the way to 50% renewable energy by 2050

INTERNATIONAL

Climate Change. The People’s Climate March in New York, and in cities world-wide was a huge success. Political leaders also gathered at UN for the climate Change meeting.  BUT – a note of caution. The very powerful nuclear lobbyimmediately  used mainstream media to push nuclear as the climate solution. And – worse – President Obama’s proposed carbon rules count nuclear power as a clean, low-carbon energy option, and include subsidies, incentives and financial backstops for nuclear power.

Big businesses are becoming aware of the need for climate action. Rockefellers are dumping oil and investing in renewables.  Still the Koch brothers use their massive wealth against climate action, and the fossil fuel utilities fight back, with successful lobbying.

Japan. It‘s doubtful that Japan’s nuclear reactors will ever restart.

Fukushima. Secrecy and poor working conditions in the nuclear plant cleanup.  TEPCO dumps their failed plan for an ice wall to contain radiation. The radioactive waste problem in the prefecture persists, clean-up  is slow and very expensive.

USA. Obama raises the permissable levels of radiation in drinking water!  Is USA again using depleted uranium weapons in Middle East?

Russia  – with the Ukraine crisis, things are getting messy in regard to Russia’s nuclear export business in Europe.

Finland. doing a murky deal with Russia’s nuclear corporation Rosatom – secret, full of problems, and may never be completed.

South Africa. Lots of problems in the government’s secret nuclear deal with Russia.

New book. Crisis Without End , Much awaited report  from the 2013 New York Symposium The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe

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