Archive for the ‘media’ Category

Adelaide Advertiser, mouthpiece of the nuclear lobby, excels itself in sycophancy

September 25, 2016
News-Limited1
I knew that The Advertiser was the mouthpiece of the nuclear lobby, anyway, but their latest effort wasreally sick-making. A rave which portrays Premier Weatherill as some kind of democratic champion, and which is pushing the soft sell that the decision on nuclear waste importing will not happen soon, but be dragged on for years.  (They  don’t say this, but in the interim, the nuke lobby has time to get secret arrangements made – and money lent to South Australia, so that ultimately, it might all be just too committed to turn back.)
A Premier with any spine might make a decision, a soon decision, and a wise one, to say no to the whole noxious scheme, – send home the business lobbyists and the propaganda spruikers like Geraldine Thomas, put the lid on the shonky Nuclear Royal Commission’s biased report, stop the silly nuke spinning Forums, and get on with running South Australia properly.   Such an opportunity that State has, as a world leader in renewable energy!
 
Lack of trust more toxic than nuclear dump notion: Daniel Wills, The Advertiser September 23, 2016   “South Australia is still at the stage where it needs reassurance about the science, as well as the competency and motivations of a government that would oversee its administration.

No site has been selected to house the world’s high-level international waste for profit, should the state choose to build one, nor any explanation of how one would be picked. The State Government is yet to overturn laws that ban public money being spent on investigating the establishment of a nuclear dump or even to pick up the phone to ask places like Japan what they would pay…….
The Finnish operators say they would jump at the chance to form an alliance with SA to build a dump here…..

Mr Weatherill is likely to confirm before Christmas that the Government will begin the serious work of developing a robust business case…….

Expect the Government to seek money from overseas to undertake a major geological survey that rules out places too unsafe for disposal to occur. At a cost of up to $1 billion, this is too expensive for SA to fund itself, but could have the benefit of doubling as a discovery tool for new mining deposits.

From there, it is likely the offer will be thrown open to communities to show an interest, and estimates made of what they could receive. Even on the most extremely rapid timeline, that point is unlikely to have been reached by the time voters head to the polls in March 2018.

This project is multi-generational, with a point of no return years away. But it is a doubtful and open question as to whether our politics are up to the job…….Mr Weatherill has framed this as a great test of our democracy’s ability to consider difficult questions and come to wise solutions. … http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/opinion/lack-of-trust-more-toxic-than-nuclear-dump-notion-daniel-wills/news-story/e927e455e6f244f35a8b6743bc791adb

An independent review clears the Australian ABC of bias

July 28, 2016

ABC cleared of ‘anti-business’ bias in independent review http://www.theage.com.au/business/media-and-marketing/abc-cleared-of-antibusiness-bias-in-independent-review-20160722-gqbp68.html Matthew KnottThe ABC has been cleared of systemic “anti-business” bias in a major review of its coverage, with former ANZ boss Mike Smith confessing he has rethought his negative perceptions of the broadcaster.

The independent editorial review, for which Mr Smith was a key adviser, has been one of the broadcaster’s most comprehensive yet. As well as analysing a week’s worth of ABC programming, the review included interviews with ABC business staff and submissions from business groups, think-tanks and unions.

Fairfax Media understands the review, which has not been released publicly, is overwhelmingly positive about the ABC’s coverage overall while making some criticisms.

Sources familiar with the review, led by longtime BBC adviser Kerry Blackburn, said they were relieved and surprised by its positive tone.  In his submission, Mr Smith writes that when he began the review, he shared the widespread view in corporate Australia that the ABC was hostile to business and that its coverage of business issues was poor.

But after examining the broadcaster’s output in detail, he came to be impressed by the rigour and balance of most of the ABC’s business reporting.

Australia’s uranium lobby’s social media campaign a flop

April 25, 2016

 

text-uranium-hypePro-uranium social media campaign’s #epicfail  Why are some still championing nuclear power when renewable energy generation has doubled worldwide over the past decade? Jim Green, SBS, 25 Apr 2016 www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/04/25/comment-pro-uranium-social-media-campaigns-epicfail

The Minerals Council of Australia launched a pro-uranium social media campaign on Wednesday. By that afternoon the twitter hashtag #untappedpotential was trending but ‒ as an AAP piece picked up by SBS and others noted ‒ contributors were overwhelmingly critical.

Nearly all contributors offered thoughts such as these: “A week away from the #Chernobyl 30-year anniversary and Minerals Council begins propaganda trip on the #untappedpotential of uranium. Huh?!” said Twitter user Jemila Rushton.

“We need to better harness the #untappedpotential of solar power”, tweeted Upulie Divisekera.

“#untappedpotential to put more communities at risk of nuclear waste dumps,” Ace Collective said.

“We concur that uranium has much #untappedpotential … for disaster, cost and time blowouts and proliferation,” Anglesea After Coal said.

No doubt the Minerals Council anticipated the negative publicity and is working on the basis that all publicity is good publicity. But what the MCA didn’t anticipate is that in recent days the uranium price has fallen to an 11-year low. Mining.com noted in an April 20 article that the current low price hasn’t been seen since May 2005. The current price, under US26/lb, is well under half the price just before the 2011 Fukushima disaster, and under one-fifth of the 2007 peak of a bubble.

Mining.com quotes a Haywood Securities research note which points out that the spot uranium price “saw three years of back-to-back double-digit percentage losses from 2011-13, but none worse than what we’ve seen thus far in 2016, and at no point since Fukushima, did the average weekly spot price dip below $28 a pound.”

Mining.com notes that five years after the Fukushima disaster only two of Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors are back on line, and that in other developed markets nuclear power is also in retreat. The last reactor start-up in the U.S. was 20 years ago. The French Parliament legislated last year to reduce the country’s reliance on nuclear power by one-third. Germany is phasing out nuclear power. The European Commission recently released a report predicting that the EU’s nuclear power retreat ‒ down 14% over the past decade ‒ will continue.

China is a growth market but has amassed a “staggering” stockpile of yellowcake according to Macquarie Bank. India’s nuclear power program is in a “deep freeze” according to the Hindustan Times (unfortunately the same cannot be said about its nuclear weapons program), while India’s energy minister Piyush Goyal said on April 20 that India is not in a “tearing hurry” to expand nuclear power since there are unresolved questions about pricing, safety and liability waivers sought by foreign companies.

Even if all of Japan’s 50 reactors are included in the count, the number of power reactors operating worldwide is the same now as it was a decade ago. Zero growth despite the endless rhetoric about a nuclear renaissance.

A decision on two planned reactors in the UK could be announced in the next fortnight and the price-tag for the reactors explains why nuclear power is stagnant worldwide and why the Minerals Council is talking about uranium’s ‘potential’ rather than its current contribution to export revenue and employment. The total price-tag for the two planned reactors is A$45 billion. If the project proceeds, the industry will be hoping it doesn’t go three times over budget, as reactor projects in France and Finland have.

South Australian academic Richard Leaver has neatly summed up the uranium industry’s tiresome rhetoric: “‘Potential’ is one of the most powerful chemicals available to the political alchemist. Any individual, firm or sector deemed to have potential is relieved of a massive and perpetual burden − the need to account for past and present achievements (or, more probably, the lack of them). The history of Australian involvement in the civil uranium industry offers an excellent example of this alchemy at work.”

Whatever the future potential of the uranium industry, it contributes next to nothing to the economy at the moment: <0.2 percent of national export revenue and <0.01 percent of all jobs in Australia. And those figures will fade further into irrelevance with the end of mining and the gradual winding down of processing at the Ranger uranium mine in the NT.

The stagnation and cost escalation of nuclear power contrast sharply with the trajectory of renewables. Driven by sharp cost reductions, renewable energy generation has doubled worldwide over the past decade and renewables now produce more than twice the amount of electricity as nuclear power. The gap is widening every day. Dr Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth, Australia.

Australia media keeps silent about Aboriginal opposition to nuclear waste dumping

December 24, 2015

heartland-2Dennis Matthews 24 Dec 15 In response to Dave Sweeney’s “good  nuclear news” – on the leadership of indigenous Australians in opposing the nuclear industry and nuclear waste dumping in South Australia

It’s correct, in December Karina and Rose Lester shared the Conservation Council of SA (Conservation SA) 2015, $1000, Jill Hudson Award for environmental protection for their opposition to the nuclear industry, but, apart from a small column in The Advertiser which didn’t mention the nuclear industry I’ve seen no mention of this important event.

I looked for a media release on the Conservation SA website but couldn’t find anything.

Perhaps someone could put the media release on this website?

PS. The first winners of the Jill Hudson award were Adnyamathanha activist Dr Jillian Marsh and ABC journalist Rose Crane. I understand that Jillian is involved in fighting attempts to put the proposed national nuclear waste dump on Adnyamathanha land.

Sophisticated pro nuclear spin – Twisting the Truth on Ionising Radiation

August 27, 2015

Muller, Derek

In Muller’s previous presentations on his YouTube show Veritasium, he has consistently confused the banana-spin
naturally occurring radioactive potassium K, with the nuclear fission produced radioactive isotopes…..Muller seems to have no understanding of the way in which bananas are used in the body

What Muller and Thomas are doing is following the script from the tobacco and asbestos industries.

This documentary “Uranium – twisting the Dragon’s Tail” is just Series One. I would love to know who helped to fund Gene Pool Productions for PBS and SBS to produce this. I’m betting that Series Two will follow before long, with a glossy and positive story about Generation IV nuclear reactors.


The half lie of the Dragon’s Tail
. Online opinion,  By Noel Wauchope  Thursday, 27 August 2015 
The documentary “Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail” is the latest glossy and highly sophisticated soft sell for the nuclear industry. It’s also, if you look at it closely, rather confusing.

I will start from the end, because that’s where the main message of this film comes out clearly “Just imagine a world where reactors can produce immense amounts of clean, safe, energy. There is no such thing as a future without uranium.” These final words are said against a background of soaring celestial choirs.

This seems to be the formula now, in nuclear promotion. The 2013 propaganda film “Pandora’s Promise” carried the same positive message – an ever rocketing energy demand to be met by ever increasing, indeed limitless, electrical energy provided by new nuclear reactors.

But, like ‘Pandora’s Promise’, this new documentary devotes the first two thirds of its series to discussing the negative aspects of the nuclear industry. Episode One covers its history, ill effects of radiation, the atomic bomb and its use. Episode Two continues this, with a sympathetic attitude to Australian Aboriginal concerns.

Unlike “Pandora’s Promise” this film does not denigrate anti-nuclear activists, and there is no attempt to ridicule Dr Helen Caldicott, as “Pandora’s Promise” did.

Indeed, the first two episodes are beautifully clear and accurate, as well as entertaining. Really, I couldn’t criticise them.

With the final episode – that’s when the message kicks in, and also when it gets confusing…….

Muller consistently mixes up “natural” radiation with ionising radiation from nuclear fission. He talks about background radiation as “natural”. There’s no mention of the increased ionising radiation in the biosphere as a result of the atomic bomb testing in the 1950s and 60s.

In Muller’s previous presentations on his YouTube show Veritasium, he has consistently confused the naturally occurring radioactive potassium K, with the nuclear fission produced radioactive isotopes, such as caesium 137 and strontium 90. As part of this confusion he constantly uses bananas as a comparison https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRL7o2kPqw0.

Cesium-137 is 12 million times more radioactive than potassium-40. Another highly-radioactive fission product, strontium-90, releases almost 20 million times more radiation per unit mass than does potassium-40. Muller seems to have no understanding of the way in which bananas are used in the body. The human species has had thousands of years of experience with bananas and other foods containing potassium 40 (K40). We have a natural trace level of K40 in our bodies. When we eat bananas, our bodies excrete the extra cesium, so by the natural process of homeostasis, our K40 level remains the same. This is not the case with the very recently created radioactive isotopes from nuclear fission; they remain….., there is absolutely no mention of the effects of internal emitters of radiation – that is, the radioactive isotopes breathed in or ingested, that can sit in a body’s organs for years, decades, emitting high dose gamma radiation..

Moving on to the Fukushima nuclear accident, we are told that the psychological effects are the serious ones. What a great piece of spin this is! Of course the psychological effects are extremely serious. Wouldn’t you be worried, if you were a pregnant woman, or if you feared that your child might later get leukaemia, because you decided to return to a radioactive environment? It is the reality of increased risk of fatal illness that accentuates the other disastrous consequences of that accident.

Prof Thomas assures us “The most important studies will be those on the mental effects”. In the context of this documentary, that just makes me envisage more documentaries like this one – with more spin about how we mustn’t worry about ionising radiation…….

The documentary appeared in Australia at a very convenient time for the South Australian Royal Commission. Dr Muller often covers his back with remarks about nuclear weapons “the most savage thing that man has ever built” and like his “feeling that renewables are going so fast – perhaps we can use alternatives”. But ultimately, his is a message of confidence in nuclear power. He says “Every year uranium saves more lives than it has ever destroyed” Really? Where are the facts to back up these kinds of statements? And all is spoken with guru like solemnity, and the backing of soaring holy choral music……..

What Muller and Thomas are doing is following the script from the tobacco and asbestos industries. They know full well that the toll of cancers, heart conditions, birth defects, from persistent exposure to ionising radiation will not become apparent for decades. They would have us believe that it will be impossible to establish ionising radiation as the cause of this toll of suffering and death…….

We are living in a strange time, where science is valued if it brings a benefit to corporations. Dr Derek Muller and Professor Geraldine Thomas are comfortably ensconced in that world. But there must be some scientists out there who are like Sir Richard Doll, and whose work is motivated by the public good.

And we desperately need those scientists.

This documentary “Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail” is just Series One. I would love to know who helped to fund Gene Pool Productions for PBS and SBS to produce this. I’m betting that Series Two will follow before long, with a glossy and positive story about Generation IV nuclear reactors.  http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=17624

Murdoch news publicises South Australian pro nuclear Senator – won’t publish Dr Helen Caldicott

April 10, 2015

News-Limited1Isn’t it interesting that when a Liberal politician, with a background in auctioneering and estate agency, produces his particular pro nuclear argument, it gets coverage from THE AUSTRALIAN?  But when Dr Helen Caldicott, an internationally regarded expert on matters nuclear offers an informed insight into the South Australian nuclear proposals – then there’s no room for that, in the same newspaper.

Liberal Senator Sean Edwards is repeating a story that sounds remarkably familiar: “We could end up with zero or low-cost power” … “The more you reprocess, the more electricity you have to get rid of.”

too-cheap-to-meter

Senator Edwards is “briefing”  Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane and Trade Minister Andrew Robb on the (non existent)Integral Fast Reactor 

Misleading pro nuclear spin on the Adelaide Advertiser

February 25, 2015

Adelaide-AdvertiserThe Editor
The Advertiser

Your correspondent Phil Day (The Advertiser, 24/2/15) is a victim of those nuclear industry spin doctors who try to use nuclear medicine to justify the use of nuclear reactors.

The nuclear waste that is being considered for dumping in South Australia does not come mainly from medical grade isotopes, it comes from nuclear power stations and from facilities for producing the fuel for nuclear power stations and nuclear weapons. The nuclear waste from medical grade isotopes is comparatively trivial.

I also hope I never need a CAT scan or X-ray because both use ionising radiation. However, neither CAT scans nor X-rays use radioactive isotopes or produce nuclear waste and hence their use to justify generating and importing nuclear waste is misleading.

Dennis Matthews

A visual history of uranium and atomic radiation in Australia

August 4, 2014

Superpit: Digging for uranium in the Australian cultural imaginary, [ excellent videos and pictures] National Sound and Film Archive, by Adam Broinowski The mining industry has been a central force in shaping Australian history in the 20th century. In fact, as is evident in the policy switch from the ‘Mining Super Profits Tax’ (Rudd/Gillard government) to ‘Open for Business’ (Abbott government)1, mining influence in Australian politics is direct and far-reaching. Any historical discussion of mining, however, should not overlook the historical relations between the Aboriginal owners and settler populations and their transnational partners…….

As the poisonous modern rituals of atomic testing were carried out (Monte Bello Island, Emu Fields, Maralinga), which included the use of Plutonium 239, both Australian and British officials repeated that the health risks were negligible, despite extensive local radioactive contamination

while some Aboriginal people from Ooldea were moved from their traditional lands to Yalata prior to the 1956–57 series of tests at Maralinga, there were still Aboriginal people using their camping grounds that passed through the Maralinga test site. As found in the Royal Commission (1975), the insufficient caution taken to ensure that all people were removed from the Area prior to tests was based on the false and negligent assumption that there were no longer people living on this land. Members of the Pitjantjantjara, Yakunytjatjara, Tjarutja, and the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta nations are said to have been exposed to radioactive contamination, whether in ‘black mist’ or other forms. Along with many Australian atomic test veterans, they developed chronic illnesses, the complications from which led to many premature deaths.

These ‘side effects’ were largely ignored as officials prioritised the plans to make Australia a ‘great power by 2000’ (such as Philip Baxter, Chair of the Australian Atomic Energy Agency)…….

In 1977, when the bid to mine one of the largest uranium deposits in the world at Ranger 1 and Nabarlek in the middle of the park was approved by the Fraser government, the Fox Report warned that mining waste would have to be stored for a quarter of a million years. Aboriginal elders also warned that mining ‘sickness country’ would lead to disaster…….

Given the ongoing damage caused by the Fukushima nuclear disaster since 11 March 2011, with the Fukushima Daiichi reactor said to have been fuelled by Australian uranium (at least in part), one wonders how many more warnings the authorities and their transnational partners need. The image in Phantom Gold of a lone European settler in the desert who hunts for gold while dying from thirst, may indeed come back to haunt us.
http://www.nfsa.gov.au/research/papers/2014/07/01/superpit-digging-uranium-australian-cultural-imaginary/.

Australian media hypes Silex uranium enrichment technology even as it is dumped!

July 31, 2014

news-nuke

GLE suspends Silex laser treatment of uranium as market bites, Optics.org Matthew Peach
29 Jul 2014
Focus switches to reduced US program after Japanese shutdown narrows market; Silex hopes for resumption when conditions pick up. Silex Systems, an Australian high-tech company developing energy and materials technologies, has announced that the Licensee for Silex’s Uranium Enrichment Technology,GE-Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment, is reducing its funding and commercialisation program of the laser treatment technology in response to “current adverse market conditions” – with the result that related operations in Australia are stopping.
GLE will consolidate its efforts on the technology development activities to its Wilmington facility in North Carolina, USA. The Silex annoncement said, “most contractor-based work on the project will be suspended, with the project facility near Oak Ridge, Tennessee to be placed in a safe storage mode, and GLE-funded activities at the laser development facility at Lucas Heights, Sydney, to cease.”………
Dr Michael Goldsworthy, Silex CEO and Managing Director, said, “the global nuclear industry is still suffering the impacts of the Fukushima event and the shutdown of the entire Japanese nuclear power plant fleet in 2011. Demand for uranium has been slower to recover than expected and enrichment services are in significant oversupply.”……..
Media speculationJust two days before the GLE announcement, Australian daily newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald suggested that “With a share price down 65 per cent in the past year, [Silex] is one of the best intelligent speculations on the ASX (Australian Stock Exchange)”, adding, “The enrichment market is expected to be worth US$10 billion by 2019.”http://optics.org/news/5/7/48

THE AUSTRALIAN newspaper caught out in false story that denied climate change

July 26, 2014

‘Considerable concern’: Oz in hot water over climate denial errors, Crikey,  by Myriam Robin, 24 July 14 The Press Council has handed down an adverse ruling against The Australian for a front-page article published in September last year that relied on a rapidly debunked Daily Mail story claiming the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had revised down the rate of global warming since 1951.

In highly unusual language for the Press Council, it says it is a matter of “considerable concern” that The Australian delayed in acknowledging its errors. Asked to explain the strong language, Press Council executive director John Pender told Crikey ”the initial error was very serious and prominent, was repeated unequivocally in a later editorial, and was not corrected with sufficient speed, clarity and prominence”.

In a September 16 article, since changed online but archived here on the Media Watch website, The Australian environment editor Graham Lloyd rehashed a British story published a week before the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC was released that claimed the report update would say the true figure of warming since 1951 had been 0.12 degrees Celsius per decade, and not the 0.2 degrees Celsius claimed in previous reports.

The Oz’s piece continued:

“Last week, the IPCC was forced to deny it was locked in crisis talks as reports intensified that scientists were preparing to revise down the speed at which climate change is happening and its likely impact.

“It is believed the IPCC draft report will still conclude there is now greater confidence that climate change is real, humans are having a major impact and that the world will continue to warm catastrophically unless drastic action is taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The impacts would include big rises in the sea level, floods, droughts and the disappearance of the Arctic icecap.

“But claimed contradictions in the report have led to calls for the IPCC report process to be scrapped.”

These reports were wrong. The Daily Mail got its numbers wrong, and The Australian repeated the error, as Media Watch anThe Guardian pointed out last year. The long-term trend in the IPCC report is 0.13 degrees of global warming a decade, and has been for some time — there was no retreat from higher figures……..http://www.crikey.com.au/2014/07/24/considerable-concern-oz-in-hot-water-over-climate-denial-errors/