Archive for the ‘general news’ Category

Tony Abbott rushing Australia backwards on climate change

April 4, 2014

Abbott-liarChanging climate: from debate to leadership, The Age Editorial 4 April 14,  Tony Abbott’s response to this week’s international report on climate change – ”Australia is a land of droughts and flooding rains. Always has been, always will be” – is not the first time he has quoted Dorothea Mackellar. In January 2013, as opposition leader, Mr Abbott said this: ”I do make the general point that Australia is a land of droughts and flooding rains, and the ordinary business of government should include being able to cope with the sorts of natural disaster which we regularly experience in this country”.

The important distinction here is not so much what Mr Abbott said (an opinion that is essentially unchanged), but when. Early last year, and as leader of the alternative government, his view on climate change was hardly surprising and was, indeed, more contained – he was responding to a question about the possibility of restoring the flood levy in Queensland. But this week’s repetition is a different matter entirely. Tony Abbott is Prime Minister, and he was responding to a far more serious concern that goes beyond state and national borders.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, representing years of work by 309 leading global researchers, confirms that the effects of climate change are being felt across the world, and are likely to increase. The nub of the report is that these impacts are already being felt. To deal with them, therefore, requires strong commitment rather than prevarication. In other words, decisive leadership.

The Prime Minister, however, dogmatically prefers the past tense to the present indicative. He still indulges in sterile and pointless debate in the face of sustained and perhaps irreversible damage to our planet. In the process, Mr Abbott prevails against the judgment of science and the force of popular opinion. This is not true leadership: that happens when governments, sometimes taking risks for the greater good of community and country, look beyond ideological and political differences. True leadership, which emerges in times of cataclysmic disaster and times of war, should also be deployed in gauging and attempting to control the most critical environmental challenge of our time…….

Tony Abbott’s support of nuclear power a waste of time

February 4, 2014

Our last government led by Julia Gillard was publicly against nuclear power for Australia, now Tony Abbott is in favour of it.

Who says one Government wouldn’t authorize nuclear power for another one to pull the plug just like Angela Merkel?

Considering Australia’s lack of action on this front since 1969, it’s time to look elsewhere and quickly at that.

We should not start using nuclear power in Australia by James Jesson, Collision Australia , 30 Jan 14 Debate surrounding the implementation of nuclear power is a well- trodden path in Australia.  In 1969, a nuclear facility was proposed for Jervis Bay territory. Now there are no operating nuclear power sites in Australia and the concept shouldn’t be considered as the way forward for our energy needs.

The argument against nuclear power hasn’t changed since the debate started and it boils down to two key elements -danger and waste. History has shown us that humanity cannot run nuclear power plants with 100% efficiency.

The same could be said for existing fossil fuel power sources but the magnitude of a nuclear mistake has the potential to be far more catastrophic. (more…)

Personal stories of the nuclear scientists

January 10, 2013

Character before knowledge, Online Opinion, by Noel Wauchope 10 Jan 13,     Brighter than a Thousand SunsA Personal History of the Atomic Scientists, by Robert Jungk, was first published in 1956.  “Why are we interested only in what scientists do, and not in what they are? ”   This opening question informs Jungk’s entire book. Jungk conversed with many of the scientists of the early days of atomic research, and through until 1954. With the earliest conversations, Jungk was struck by ”the arbitrary and unnatural separation of scientific research from the reality of the individual personality”. To Jungk, it was this division that ”allowed the creation of such monstrosities as the atomic bomb and the hydrogen bomb”.

To this day, many nuclear scientists think of their work as purely mathematical and technical. The human results of nuclear weapons are none of their business. Others, especially after Hiroshima, suffered “their great crisis of conscience”……..

From then on, it was a rush to test the bomb, and then use it, before the Japanese surrendered. Three atomic bombs were built. The first – tested: if the test was a failure – it would be reported as a “girl” – if successful a “boy”.

For the second and third bombs, 67 Scientists petitioned the government to warn the Japanese first – a petition that was prevented by General Groves from reaching the White House. Enrico Fermi commented “Don’t bother me with your conscientious scruples! After all, the thing is superb physics!”

The $2 billion Manhattan Project would be seen as a senseless waste of money, if Japan surrendered. Truman authorised the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Oppenheimer explained later that his Interim Committee’s recommendation was “a technical opinion”.

The reactions of the scientists were conflicted……

Robert Jungk’s account of the men, and some women, too, who developed atomic weapons , is set against the background of the big events of the time, with a sympathetic attitude to the pressures and problems that surrounded these people.

From 1951 to 1955 the general attitude of atomic scientists was one of enthusiasm for the hydrogen bomb (1000 times more powerful than the first atomic bomb). Jungk muses on this: “How is one to explain such macabre enthusiasm which had swept away all the earlier scruples and objections to the Super monster?”

Pro nuclear propaganda alive and well in Australia

October 10, 2012

Why is this pro nuke spinner the keynote speaker at  All Energy Australia International, the conference for the Asia Pacific,   tomorrow in Melbourne?

Energy alternatives ABC Radio 10 Oct 12,  Ticky is joined by Professor Chris Llewellyn Smith, Oxford
University’s Director of Energy and former head of CERN.
“…….TICKY FULLERTON  we  know you’re a big fan of nuclear playing a big part in our energy future. Has the global industry moved on from Fukushima or is it still in damage control in your view?

CHRIS LLEWELLYN SMITH: I think it’s in damage control as far as public relations are concerned, but we have to put Fukushima in perspective, as one of a British journalist wrote. You take a crappy old 1960s power station, you hit it with the biggest tsunami and earthquake you can think of – actually bigger than anyone thought of, that’s one of
the problems – make every possible mistake and nobody was killed.

( Christina Macpherson’s note : Just by the way – about that mention of the crappy old 1960s power station, well – in the USA, 23 reactors operate with same flawed GE design  that failed in the triple meltdown at the Fukushima plant and released over four times the amount of cesium-137 than was released in the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. )

So we shouldn’t forget that. Nobody’s been killed and probably … maybe there will be one or two radiation deaths. …. we have to treat it with great respect, but all forms of power production are dangerous and nuclear has a very, very good safety record compared to the others.

TICKY FULLERTON: It’s got a big bill behind it though. I see a report just on Europe reactors is a $30 billion repair job?

CHRIS LLEWELLYN SMITH: Yes, I think the weak spot of nuclear at the moment may be that the new generation of nuclear power stations – which were cracked up to be as cheap as coal – they’re coming out way over budget. We don’t know if that’s just because the first ones or the costs will come down….”

Big police presence at Roxby Downs, South Australia, as anti uranium music and arts festival begins

July 14, 2012

LIZARD’S REVENGE KICKS OFF AT OLYMPIC DAM  Saturday 14th July  Protestors continue to gather for the Lizards Revenge music and arts festival at BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam uranium mine. The event officially begins today and is scheduled to run for the next five days.

The event will open with a welcome to country. At 11.00 am Uncle Kevin Buzzacott will be holding a press conference at the camp, and at 12.30 pm there will be a march to the gates of the mine. The music will start in the afternoon, featuring musicians from around the country. The event will showcase sustainable energies such as solar and wind power.

“We have full authority to be here from senior Kokatha custodians,” said Uncle Kevin Buzzacott.

“People worldwide are against the nuclear industry, especially since Fukushima. It’s in the public interest to close the mine. People need to look and learn how deadly this industry is. The sooner it stops the better. We are here to make a strong stand for country, and are fighting to save our sacred land. If people really knew what they were destroying they wouldn’t touch it,” he continued.

“Whilst the police have publicly stated that our right to protest will be upheld, policing approaches to date have set an unreasonable precedent for depriving people of their civil liberties and their right to engage in political demonstration and communication,” said Nectaria Calan.

“After key details relating to the protest have been publicly available for a number of months, those seeking to participate have arrived to discover road blocks preventing access to the site and a ‘protected area’ declaration, under the Protective Security Act, that suspends their freedom of movement, rights to privacy, and other civil liberties.”

“Protesters currently have to obtain permission to leave and enter the camp site. By barricading the main access road to the site, police are forcing attendees to be escorted through the protected area, allowing police to require people in vehicles to provide evidence of their identification.”

“This is an extraordinary infringement on civil liberties. Peaceful demonstration and political communication is not a criminal act. Such moves by the police contradict their public statements that they will respect our right to protest.”

“Despite over-policing and ongoing harassment of those travelling to the event, extending as far as road blocks in Port Augusta, numbers at camp continue to grow,” continued Ms Calan.

Uncle Kevin Buzzacott said, “If people want to learn how to love the land and make peace, they are welcome to come here and join us.” Contact: Nectaria Calan 0432 388 665 Please meet at the silver media caravan at the camp for the press conference with Uncle Kevin