Archive for the ‘general news’ Category

Australia! Lead the world away from nuclear power – says Naoto Kan

August 22, 2014

Former Japanese PM Naoto Kan urges Australia to wean world off uranium, focus on renewables By Kate Wild and Xavier La Canna   Japan’s prime minister during the Fukushima disaster says Australia should be trying to wean other countries away from nuclear power, not increase exports of uranium.

Naoto Kan, who was prime minister from June 2010 to August 2011 is in Australia to lobby for a greater use of renewable energy sources.

He said the world was moving away from nuclear power, and Australia should not get in the way of that.

“Rather than looking at making contributions through exporting and making it more possible for more countries to be relying on nuclear power, all countries including Australia should be making efforts to do what can be done to reduce such dependence on nuclear power,” Mr Kan said.

“I hope that Australia can be exporting not uranium or coal for example, but electricity created through renewable sources,” he said.

When he was Japanese PM, representing the Democratic party of Japan, a tsunami caused a nuclear incident in which three nuclear reactors melted down at the Fukushima nuclear power plant and forced widespread evacuations.

“We were very close to the scenario of having to evacuate people in a 250 kilometre radius,” he said.

“This would have included also Tokyo, which would mean 40 per cent of the entire Japanese population – close to 50 million people.”

His party initiated policies to see nuclear power phased out in Japan by the 2030s, but this policy was overturned by the Liberal Democratic Power, which regained office in 2012.

Australia is thought to have the world’s largest uranium resources, and mines exist in the Northern Territory and South Australia, while Queensland recently lifted a 30-year ban on uranium mining.

Western Australia is also looking to develop its uranium industry.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott will soon travel to India to finalise a deal for Australia to sell uranium to their energy-hungry economy for the first time.

International experts highlight Australia’s radioactive responsibility at Melbourne forums

August 14, 2014

14 Aug 14 In the shadow of the continuing Fukushima crisis and amid moves to fast-track Indian uranium sales two leading international commentators will highlight the risks and responsibilities of Australia’s nuclear trade in Melbourne this week.

Since Fukushima, a continuing crisis directly fuelled by Australian uranium, the future of nuclear energy in Japan is contested and uncertain. The stricken Fukushima nuclear plant remains a major hazard and the human and economic costs are mounting as the costly and complex clean-up operation continues.

Suzuki Tatsujiro, Vice-Director at the Research Centre for Nuclear Weapons Abolition at Nagasaki

University and former Vice-Chairman of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission is well placed to explore the costs and consequences of the Fukushima nuclear crisis and what this event means for energy policy and Australia.

With Tony Abbott travelling to India next month to talk uranium sales M. V. Ramana, Physicist with Princeton University’s Nuclear Futures Laboratory and author of The Power of Promise: Examining Nuclear Energy in India, has an important warning on plans to expand the Indian nuclear sector and deep concerns over proposed Australian uranium sales.

The two experts will be in Melbourne from the evening of Thursday August 14th until Saturday 16th for a series of academic presentations, civil society forums and a public meeting on Friday evening from 6:30-8pm at Melbourne City Conference Centre (see attached). Both are available for media interviews and commentary.

“In Nevil Shute’s novel On the Beach Melbourne was the radioactive end of the world”, said tour organiser Gem Romuld. “This week, with visiting experts of the calibre of these, it is centre stage. Australian uranium fuels nuclear risks and insecurity in many nations and in the wake of Fukushima there can be no nuclear business as usual. This tour and these talks are timely and vitally important”.


Harm Done / Harm to Come: Australian uranium, the Fukushima catastrophe and the dangers of Indian nuclear power

Friday 15th August 6:30pm-8pm

Melbourne City Conference Centre, 333 Swanston St, Melbourne CBD.


Richard Tanter – Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability (Melbourne University) – 0407 824 336

Gem Romuld – International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons – 0421 955 066


Australia’s precious artesian water squandered for BHP’s uranium mining

August 9, 2014

BHP Billiton’s thirst triggers an outback water fight   THE AUSTRALIAN, Sarah Martin Political Reporter Adelaide 9 Aug 14  SHANE Oldfield kicks the red rocks on his vast, dry pastoral lease north of Marree where he raises organic Angus beef for ­export.

The outback Clayton Station in northern South Australia has always been marginal farming land. With an average of 10cm of rain a year the property is dependent on water from the Great ­Artesian Basin in dry years…….. (subscribers only)


A bit of good news – an Australian holiday for Fukushima children

August 2, 2014
Fukushima children visit Australia A group of Japanese schoolchildren affected by the Fukushima Nuclear disaster has travelled to Australia this week, as part of a trip organised by charity project.   By  Helen Isbister    World News Radio 1 AUG 2014 A group of Japanese schoolchildren affected by the Fukushima Nuclear disaster has travelled to Australia this week, as part of a trip organised by charity project.

The Rainbow Stay Project is designed to give the children a chance to do things they can no longer do at home, due to the fear of radiation poisoning……..The group of children, aged between ten and sixteen, are here on a charity-sponsored trip.

It is world away from the ongoing fear of radiation which affects their daily lives back home………..

Kazuki says the threat of radiation still affects her life in many ways.

“I was really sad because everything was polluted by radioactive material. I couldn’t swim in the sea anymore and my mum told me to stay inside and not touch the soil.”

There have been several trips like this since 2011, thanks to a Japanese woman living in Sydney.

Yukiko Hirano set up a Rainbow Stay Project with the aim of giving the children new hope.

” I tried to invite the Fukushima children to come over to Sydney. Beautiful environment, and no fear of radiation earthquake. They can enjoy entire holiday, without fearing those kind of things.”……..Andrew Vickers is from the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union which helped make the trip a reality.

“They can’t eat fish from the sea, they can’t pick up plants and flowers, they can’t touch any wild animals for fear of further radiation poisoning – so it’s not just coming to another country, it’s a totally new experience”

Learn about Australia’s role in the dangerous global nuclear industry

July 26, 2014

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Australia’s former Liberal leader John Hewson backs Renewable Energy Target

July 12, 2014

Liberal veteran Hewson backs Renewable Energy Target, Sunshine Coast Daily  | 11th Jul 2014   A FORMER Liberal Party leader has urged the Abbott government not just to retain the renewable energy target, but increase it to ensure carbon emissions can be curbed.

Economist Dr John Hewson, who led the party to election defeat in 1993, on Thursday called on the government to increase the current 20% by 2020 target to at least 25% or more by the same date. He made the comments launching a new report which has found the RET will continue to reduce the cost of household electricity, even as the government reviews the target. The target is being reviewed by a government-appointed panel led by noted climate change sceptic Dick Warburton, which has received several submissions from heavy industries urging the government to abolish the target.
But Dr Hewson said the RET, likely the only specific target for reducing Australia’s emissions left once the carbon tax is removed, is doing the job. He said while the RET and other climate change policies could help to reduce emissions, in less than a week, Australia could be without any overarching policy on climate change………

Tony Abbott flounders, as he fails to crash through the repeal of Australia’s carbon tax

July 10, 2014

Milne,-Christine-1PM Abbott exposes government incompetence 10 Jul 2014  Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne says the Australian people have seen today how the Abbott government will crash in its attempts to manipulate the Senate on carbon pricing and its destructive budget.

“The only thing that is clear today is that the Prime Minister has failed. This is government by incompetence. Deals in back rooms designed to stitch up the Senate have come unstuck. Tony Abbott is a crash or crash through Prime Minister, and today he crashed,” said Senator Milne.

“This is chaotic and it shows complete contempt for the processes of the Senate. The government gagged the debate then had to filibuster when the amendments came unstuck. The whole thing came to pieces.

“This is going to characterise this whole period of government unless Tony Abbott learns to respect the Senate and give it time to be an effective house of review.

“Nobody really understands, including the government it seems, what the Palmer political party’s amendment will deliver.

“The government says it hates red tape and green tape but apparently it loves yellow tape.

“The good news today is that we still have a carbon price in Australia. We still have a price on pollution that is bringing down emissions as we speak,” said Senator Milne.

“It’s not over yet. The government can try again to repeal it, but the Greens will fight every step of the way to keep making the polluters pay.

“This is now the second double dissolution trigger the Greens have helped deliver the government, after twice saving the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Tony Abbott has threatened an early election, but is he really game to pull the trigger?”

Tony Abbott’s Bill to axe Australia’s carbon tax is voted down in the Senate

July 10, 2014

Ricky Muir and Palmer United senators vote with Greens and Labor against repeal of carbon tax, SMH, July 10, 2014 –  National political reporter The Senate has voted down the government’s third attempt to repeal the carbon tax after a chaotic morning in which the Palmer United Party backed out of its agreement to support the bills.

PUP senators and Motoring Enthusiast Party senator Ricky Muir sided with Labor and the Greens to defeat the abolition of the carbon tax, with a final vote just after 12.30pm rejecting the repeal 37 votes to 35.

The decision is a major setback for Prime Minister Tony Abbott who had expected that the scrapping of the carbon tax would be the first order of business of the new Senate. But those plans were thrown into disarray on Thursday, when PUP senators refused to back the repeal arguing an amendment drafted by the government to guarantee savings for consumers did not reflect a deal done between the two parties.

That amendment was beefed up by the PUP overnight to include stiff penalties for any company that failed to pass the full savings from the carbon tax repeal within 12 months……

In defending his party’s decision, Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer said his senators had been ”doubled crossed” by the government and as a result they abandoned the deal and sided with the opposition.

However, the government maintains that the amendment put forward by Mr Palmer was unconstitutional because it would have constituted a money bill, which by definition cannot originate in the Senate.

The Abbott government had expected to be celebrating the achievement of its long-cherished ambition to axe Labor’s price on carbon this week, but instead has found itself scrambling day by day to negotiate with an unpredictable crossbench.

Mr Palmer had earlier on Thursday confirmed that his senators would not vote for the carbon tax repeal on Thursday, saying amendments had been lodged with the Senate Clerk’s office at 8.30am.

”We asked that it be distributed and we had a violent action from government, a violent reaction I would say,” Mr Palmer said.

Appeal to release Natalie Lowrey from Malaysian gaol

June 27, 2014

Natalie Lowrey, an environmental campaigner from Australia, is being held at the Kuantan Royal Malaysian Police Headquarters in the east coast state of Pahang, Malaysia. To date, the authorities have not charged her, but are holding her under two laws, the Immigration Act and the Peaceful Assembly Act. 

Natalie was arrested along with 15 other Malaysians on Sunday, 22 June 2014, for being a part of a protest against the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) situated in Gebeng, Pahang which processes rare earths. Rare earth refining results in radioactive and acidic waste, and local community members have been concerned about the facility’s toxic legacy for future generations. Now, whileeveryone else has been released, Natalie continues to be detained in the lock up.

We therefore once again appeal to the Malaysian Government and the police to conclude the investigations quickly, not pursue any charges against Natalie and allow her to return to Australia safely.

See Jane Hutcheon’s interview with Dr Helen Caldicott on ABC’s iview

April 12, 2014
Jane Hutcheon’s interview with Dr Helen Caldicott  is available on ABC iview until 9:30 pm on 25 April 2014.
and shown at 5.30 p.m. on ABC News24  Saturday 12 April