Archive for the ‘politics international’ Category

Australia must not blindly follow USA into war

October 3, 2017

I never had any doubt about the genuineness of Hawke’s position when he said at the time that “we are not an aligned country which had to agree, or did agree, with every single aspect of US policymaking.

The ability to maintain a healthy balance in our alliance relationship seems, unhappily, to have largely evaporated since the Hawke-Keating years.

Gushing sentiment has become the norm..

The election of President Donald Trump has given a new ­urgency to restoring some real balance in the alliance relationship. We can only hope that enough cooler and wiser heads than his own will emerge to eventually dispel the worst fears generated during his campaign and in his first weeks in office.

We now have to be ready for American blunders as bad as, or worse than, in the past. We will have to make our own judgments about how to react to events, based on our own national interests.

Australian foreign and defence policy for the foreseeable future is going to have to be founded on three core principles: More self-reliance. More Asia. Less United States.

Trump era: Australia should rely less on the US, GARETH EVANS, The Australian, 

Australia’s alliance with the United States was not under­valued by the Hawke-Keating governments. But nor did we overvalue it, and we certainly did not accept that its care and maintenance demanded obeisance to all Washington’s whims and wishes.

Then, as today, there could be little doubt that the ANZUS alliance contributes hugely to our military capability, above all in the access it gives us to American intelligence and weapons systems. As self-reliant as we may be, we are by no means completely self-­sufficient, certainly when it comes to really major threat contingencies. It has been credibly estimated that without the alliance, Australia would have to triple or quadruple its defence spending, at a budgetary cost of an additional $70 billion to $100bn a year. There is, moreover, the deterrent value against potential aggressors that a close alliance with a global superpower, on the face of it, seems clearly to provide.

But the issue of deterrent value needs closer scrutiny than it usually gets. The ANZUS Treaty formally provides only that each party “will consult together whenever in the opinion of any of them the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened in the Pacific” (Article III) and that in the event of an “armed attack in the Pacific Area on any of the Parties” each “would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes” (Article IV). That is in significant contrast to the language of Article 5 of the NATO treaty, whereby “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in ­Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all” and commit to applying armed force as necessary in response. (more…)

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Considering whether Kim Jong-un would make a nuclear strike on Australia

October 3, 2017

Leonid Petrov, a leading North Korean expert, said Australia could play a much better and more viable option in the crisis.

Dr Petrov, a visiting fellow at the College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University, said it was obvious someone who served as US deputy assistant secretary of defence for nuclear and missile defence policy would recommend buying a US-made piece of equipment.

However, Dr Petrov said there was a cheaper option on the table.

“Australia can save a lot of money (and lives) by using its diplomatic channels and mediate a comprehensive peace deal, which North Korea is begging for since 1974,” he said.

North Korea missile crisis: Could Australia be targeted by Kim Jong-un? A PENTAGON adviser has warned Australia could be on the receiving end of Kim’s fury as experts say anything could happen.news.com.au  Debra Killalea@DebKillalea  2 Oct 17 

IT WAS a stunning warning that made Australia sit up and take notice.

Former Pentagon official Dr Brad Roberts said Australia needed to develop greater missile defences in the event of a North Korea missile strike.

Dr Roberts, who served as US deputy assistant secretary of defence for nuclear and missile defence policy between 2009 and 2013, also warned Australia had no say in Kim Jong-un’s decisions.

“Unfortunately, Australia doesn’t really get to choose whether or not North Korea threatens it — it’s the choice that the North Korean leader,” he told the ABC.

“His objective is to make us fearful so that our leaders will not stand up to his threats and coercion.”

But just how much of a target is Australia, and are we likely to feel the wrath of Kim?

CAN A NORTH KOREAN MISSILE HIT AUSTRALIA?

Experts warn anything is possible and hope this scenario remains an unlikely possibility. (more…)

Dr Tilman Ruff – an Australian to be proud of

September 25, 2017

“What’s your alternative?” CommonSpace talks to anti-nuclear expert Dr Tilman Ruff Ahead of the UN signing of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, CommonSpace discusses disarmament with Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist Dr Tilman Ruff

THE TREATY ON THE PROHIBITION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS was passed by the United Nations in July after being voted for by 122 countries, making it the first legally-binding international agreement to eliminate nuclear weapons.

This historic development came about amid heavy opposition from the nuclear-armed states and rising tensions between the United States of America and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, who have warned that recent sanctions will only accelerate the North Korean nuclear programme.

On 20 September, the ban treaty will be open for signature at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Once the treaty is ratified by at least 50 countries, it should come into force within 90 days.

One among many of the anti-nuclear activists who brought the treaty to this point was Dr Tilman Ruff, co-president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which collectively received a Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts towards disarmament in 1985, and founding member of the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

Following his speaking engagement in Edinburgh earlier this month at an event organised by Scrap Trident and the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (SCND), where he discussed the devastating human and ecological cost of even “limited” nuclear war, CommonSpace spoke with Dr Ruff about the treaty, the opposition its proponents have faced, and political strategies towards disarmament.

Despite the success of the treaty, Dr Ruff warns that progress is not being made quickly enough. “In the face of nuclear dangers that are clearly growing, with no real substantial progress for disarmament underway or even talked about at this point, and with flashpoints around the world where the rhetoric is becoming more aggressive and more around explicit threats to use nuclear weapons, certainly the dangers are growing,” said Dr Ruff.

He added: “So the progress we’re making is lagging badly, and really needs to escalate. It’s abundantly clear that if nuclear weapons are maintained, eventually they will be used.

“There’s some real urgency about this, but I think in some ways the hope is born out of the growing danger.”

Discussing how the treaty came about after so many years of stalled progress, Dr Ruff indicated that a change in attitude had taken place on an international scale, he said: “There’s a widespread appreciation by most of the world’s governments that nuclear disarmament is not happening.

“The nuclear armed states are not fulfilling their obligations almost half a century after the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) was concluded and formally enshrined in international law.

“There’s enormous frustration about that, and that’s certainly been a drive for the ban treaty, and I think that’s why it could be achieved so quickly and decisively.

As a world-renowned expert in his field who has been campaigning against nuclear weapons for over 30 years, Dr Ruff believes “the treaty really is quite strong. It’s a clear, categorical rejection of nuclear weapons, but it does also anticipate the desire to use this opportunity not just to create a formal legal prohibition, but to encourage and map out the path towards elimination.

‘There’s a way for every state to join this treaty. No state can say “It’s not relevant to us.” Whether you’ve had nuclear weapons, have them now, have them stationed on your soil, or are aligned with a nuclear armed state, there are pathways for you to join.”

The treaty was formulated with historical precedents in mind, Dr Ruff explained. “We’ve seen with the other weapons prohibitions, how significant their impact has been, even for the states that haven’t signed them, and how for every class of inhumane weapon, the pathway has been: prohibit, enshrine that norm in law, and then progress to elimination.

“It is very hopeful that approach is now being applied to nuclear weapons. But the harder work of using that to drive elimination is what we all face………

Describing what he knew of the pressures imposed by the nuclear-armed states, Dr Ruff said: “I’m only aware of the tip of the iceberg. Only South Africa was willing to speak up and say there had been relentless pressure, but we know many countries got very strong pressure – a division of labour amongst the nuclear-armed states, with France taking responsibility for the Francophone West African states, the US doing the same for Latin America, in particular.

“Given that the treaty now exists, the issue isn’t going away, and I hope the strong global majority that supports this – pretty much all of the states apart from the nuclear-armed ones and their allies.

“The numbers are overwhelming. Certainly, for individual governments, there may well be consequences and further pressure, but I think the cat’s out of the bag now. And there’s every indication there will be a large number of states signing on 20 September, and I think the goal of around 100 signatures by the end of this year is pretty realistic. I don’t think this is now stoppable…….

Asked whether political parties’ positions on nuclear weapons should be at the forefront of voters’ minds, Doctor Ruff answered: “I would hope it would again become so, as it was a significant factor in earlier decades.

“It’s obviously only one of the many issues people think about when they vote, but it is crucial. The impact of the treaty we can already see – for example, in the willingness of the leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Germany to come out very strongly in support of the removal of US nuclear weapons in Germany.

“The fact that’s clearly being articulated by the alternative leader in Germany is probably a direct result of the ban treaty.

“This is not just an idea now. This is a treaty. It exists – what are you going to do?

“If you say you’re serious about disarmament, what’s your alternative, irreversible, time-bound, verifiable plan for disarmament? And if you haven’t got a credible one, you should be thinking about this treaty.”https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/11741/whats-your-alternative-commonspace-talks-anti-nuclear-expert-dr-tilman-ruff

Senator Scott Ludlam probes the influence of USA on Australia’s negative approach to nuclear weapons ban treaty

June 12, 2017

Senator LUDLAM: …I want to turn to the opening day of the nuclear weapons ban treaty negotiations, 27 March this year. Having failed to prevent these negotiations occurring, the Trump administration’s ambassador to the UN held a protest outside the UN General Assembly Hall. Did Australia participate in the protest?

Senator LUDLAM: So we just stood there in mute solidarity with the Trump administration? As 130 UN member states started serious work on negotiating a nuclear weapons ban treaty, we were outside the room in a protest?

It is a shame that there will be no Australian representatives at the UN because these talks are scheduled to conclude at the end of June or early July

FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DEFENCE AND TRADE LEGISLATION COMMITTEE, UN – Nuclear Weapons Ban, 31st May 2017   http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/committees/estimate/0a6ef7dd-2f88-423a-a01b-23b5c5b4e4c0/toc_pdf/Foreign%20Affairs,%20Defence%20and%20Trade%20Legislation%20Committee_2017_05_31_5055.pdf;fileType=application/pdf

Pg- 20

Senator LUDLAM: Can I speak to someone on the UN Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons?

Senator LUDLAM: Can I speak to someone on the UN Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons?

Mr Sadleir: Yes, Senator.

Senator LUDLAM: It is good that you are here, Mr Sadleir, because I want to ask a couple of questions about a meeting that occurred between 4 and 8 July 2016 that I understand you were present at. You and Ms Jane Hardy travelled to Washington, DC to meet with a range of, I understand, quite senior State Department and National

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Security Council people to discuss what was then referred to as the UN open-ended working group on nuclear disarmament. Can you confirm for us on the record that that meeting occurred and that you were in attendance?

[Here it took an extraordinarily long time for Mr Sadleir to admit that he was at this meeting]

‘……..Senator LUDLAM: I have not asked what you discussed yet. Were you in attendance at that meeting?
Mr Sadleir

?
Mr Sadleir: I was certainly in Washington. I would need to check my diary to get the precise dates but I was certainly there around that time.

Senator LUDLAM: I think that what will happen when you check the dates is that you will come back and confirm that you were in fact there. I will let you check the record. I would appreciate that. What was the purpose of those meetings? (more…)

Just the mere $2000 for every single Australian – the cost of submarines purchase from France

May 4, 2016

text-my-money-2

4. BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE  So we spend $2,000 each. That just gets us the big lumps of steel. If you actually want to use them, you’re paying more. It could be another $2,000 to $4,000 per Australian….

OPTIONS   The great thing about the way the acquisition will work is there should be the opportunity to cut back from 12 when the inevitable delays and cost blowouts happen. From here we can’t save the whole $2000 but maybe we can save some, for better uses.

Sub standard: why the $2,000 we are each spending on submarines will probably be a terrible waste http://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/design/sub-standard-why-the-2000-we-are-each-spending-on-submarines-will-probably-be-a-terrible-waste/news-story/6922de6f6a72657c669fdc1a1248916f APRIL 30, 2016, Jason Murphy news.com.au@jasemurphy  AUSTRALIA is spending $50 billion to buy submarines. The biggest whack of money we’ve ever spent on a Defence project. It comes out at $2000 per person. And it’s probably a shocking idea.

1. STRATEGY  The strategic rationale for submarines is that an island needs trade lanes to stay open. Yep, we do. But the kind of war where a country lays siege to another whole country — think German U-Boats blockading Britain — is no longer likely at all.

Our non-nuclear submarines would have been handy in the past. And the generals are always “fighting the last war” strategically. Which is fine. But it would be better if we didn’t have to give them $2000 to do so.

2. AVAILABILITY We are buying 12 boats. Except — here’s the thing — you can’t use them all at once.   Subs need a lot of maintenance. Take the Collins Class submarines, of which we have six. Best-case scenario — if things are going splendidly — is they spend half the time in the water, half in maintenance. But those subs have big problems. Some recent years we’ve managed to have basically just one in the water on average.

 So with our very expensive new fleet, realistically you could end up with just five or six boats in the water at any time. All of a sudden the strategic value looks even dimmer.

3. COST BLOWOUTS   The Joint Strike Fighter aircraft program, which we bought into, is now many billions of dollars over Budget. Possibly hundreds of billions (reports vary). And it is hardly alone.

We consistently underestimate how complex defence equipment is because we, naturally, compare it to a vehicle. But not only is our new submarine custom-made (unlike my station wagon) it is also cutting edge technology.

It has to do many things perfectly. A submarine is a fortress, an IT hub, a weapons system, a vehicle and a temporary home all in one. Making all the things fit in together is hard. (Recently Spanish submarine builders had to send their sub back to the drawing board after they accidentally made it 75 tons too heavy and it was going to sink.)

When you face the inevitable problems you can either compromise or just spend that bit more to make it work. And if you cut corners on Defence equipment, you risk losing personnel and very expensive equipment… So of course you spend a bit more. And that’s how such laughably enormous cost blowouts happen.

4. BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE  So we spend $2,000 each. That just gets us the big lumps of steel. If you actually want to use them, you’re paying more. It could be another $2,000 to $4,000 per Australian over the next 45 years. All that maintenance is expensive. And so are the crews.

The Navy has had enormous problems actually finding and training crew for submarines. A cook on a submarine can be paid an amazing $200,000 per year. Other personnel get more. Living in a big steel tube for 80 days with only other men for company is rubbish, apparently.

5. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!  Australia is the 52nd biggest country in the world by population, 13th by size of economy, and sixth by land area. We spend 13th most on defence. And we are ramping up by $26 billion per year over the next 10 years.

It is a lot, given we have no land borders, the natural advantage of being surrounded by a giant moat, and are strategically not on the way to anywhere much (sorry NZ).

The main reason anyone would attack us is in the context of a global or regional conflict is we have a large military they might fear.

Our spending has an effect on our neighbours. Indonesia is not a rich country, but they have indicated they are also thinking about expanding their submarine fleet. Would limiting our spending help forestall a local arms race?

OPTIONS   The great thing about the way the acquisition will work is there should be the opportunity to cut back from 12 when the inevitable delays and cost blowouts happen. From here we can’t save the whole $2000 but maybe we can save some, for better uses.

Secret nuclear negotiations: UK Hinkley, and Australia’s waste import plan

March 21, 2016

 

Royal Commission bubble burstSecret deals: Australia’s nuclear waste plan and the UK’s Hinkley project, Independent Australia 21 March 2016, The South Australian Government scheme to import international nuclear waste has a major flaw in common with the UK’s Hinkley Point C project — secret contracts with foreign organisations, writes Noel Wauchope.

THESE TWO PLANS have something in common. Both the UK’s Hinkley Point C plan and South Australia’s nuclear waste plan are grandiose and very expensive to set up.

But, more than that, they both require the involvement of foreign governments and companies, in secret arrangements.

The South Australian Nuclear Royal Commission‘s plan for importing international wastes already involves confidential communications from foreign companies. Put into operation, the plan will mean secret contracts — South Australia being beholden to the provisions of foreign laws regarding disclosure, shipping and transport security, insurance and other matters relating to a client nation’s high level nuclear wastes (HLNW).

Plans have been suggested for foreign companies paying up front towards the setting up of the waste facility, in exchange for “ironclad contracts”to later set up “Generation IV nuclear reactors. With foreign governments and companies involved, South Australia is very likely to become locked in to a deal from which it cannot escape. A later decision to pull out of the scheme would certainly entail heavy compensation payments to foreign companies.

Britain’s Hinkley Point C nuclear project is thoroughly embroiled in complicated negotiations with the government-owned companies of China and France. The major backer, Electricite De France(EDF) is in grave financial trouble and its financial director Thomas Piquemal has resigned, over this Hinkley project. EDF is being bailed out by the French government, so that the £18bn plan can go ahead. UK has had to agree to a contract with EDF, amounting to about £40bn in real terms, and providing State guarantees on insurance, among other matters. The plan locks the UK in, with compensation costs in the event of it being shut down, as shown in an unpublicised departmental “minute“:…….

Professor Catherine Mitchell, an energy policy expert at the University of Exeter, comments in The Guardian:

The £22bn “poison pill” effectively reduces the risk to zero for EDF and its backers, which is great for them. But from an outside perspective, it smacks of desperation.

There could be so many reasons over 35 years that you would want to close the plant, including rising costs, changes to the UK’s energy system or loss of public confidence……..

 However, in two important ways, the Australian situation is very different from that of the UK.

Firstly, although the UK Hinkley project is big, the South Australian nuclear waste plan is ginormous. Potentially sourcing high level nuclear wastes (HLNW) from around the world – USA, Canada, Europe, Asia – would be a massive operation, many decades in the setting up, many thousands of years in carrying it out. The money involved would be not dozens of billions of dollars in costs but hundreds of billions.

Secondly, for all the millions in dollars now being spent on the Royal Commission project – the trips abroad, forums, research, public relations and so on – the plan is nowhere near the point of agreement, whereas the UK plan is well advanced…….

It is vitally important for Australia to pay attention to the Royal Commission plan and to the scrutiny of  South Australian radiation expert Paul Langley.  and others. Unlike Britain, Australia has the opportunity to prevent this plan, while it’s still only a gleam in the eyes of Royal Commissioner Kevin Scarce and the nuclear lobby. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/secret-deals-australias-nuclear-waste-plan-and-the-uks-hinkley-project,8797

South Australia Royal Commission nuclear waste import plan – dead in the water already?

February 13, 2016

Royal Commission bubble burst

Given the wildly optimistic price for waste modelled by the mid-scenario, not to mention the 56,000 tonnes of waste left over with no costed solution, and with all the uncertainties in developing the new technologies required, the simple conclusion is that this plan is simply all risk with no reward.

No-one else will line up to take advantage of this “once in a lifetime opportunity”, because the opportunity does not exist. The plan simply cannot succeed.

The impossible dream Free electricity sounds too good to be true. It is. A plan to produce free electricity for South Australia by embracing nuclear waste sounds like a wonderful idea. But it won’t work.  THE AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE Dan Gilchrist February 2016

“……NO GOOD OUTCOME The free energy utopia depends on two new, as yet unproven technologies: PRISM reactors, and cheap borehole disposal. The Edwards plan appears to rely on these technologies not only being successfully developed, but remaining entirely in Australian hands. Competition is certainly not addressed in the plan.

 It would be more realistic to assume that other countries would act on the same opportunities, if indeed they arose.
To implement the Edwards plan, Australia would need to spend around $10 billion to set up temporary storage, a reprocessing plant, and a pair of PRISMs. We would also need to import and store spent fuel.
 Furthermore, the importation of spent fuel would likely require a dedicated port and a fleet of specialised ships, and this is not costed in the plan.
The plan calls for spent fuel to begin to be imported and loaded into the dry-cask facility six years after the commencement of construction. It plans for the first PRISMs to be completed four years later. We could reasonably expect to have good data on the costs and methods of borehole storage well within this ten-year timeframe – as would any potential customers.
Having spent $10 billion (not including the cost of shipping or a new port) and ten years, and with several thousand tonnes of spent fuel in storage,42 there are, broadly speaking, two foreseeable outcomes:
1. If borehole and PRISM technologies, having been piloted commercially by Australia, are found to be as cheap and effective as hoped, other countries will have the opportunity to either use them themselves, or undercut our vast profits. It is not realistic to believe that Australia would continue to be paid five to ten times the cost of permanent storage alone. 43 Even if the hoped-for customers were nations that couldn’t use borehole or PRISM technology, a number of other countries could.
 2. If either technology is found to be too expensive for commercial deployment, or to have unforeseen safety problems, Australia will have locked itself into an expensive method of electricity generation with perhaps no longterm solution for the acquired waste.
In short: either the technology works and we face stiff competition, both from other countries and the low costs of the technologies themselves – in which case the numbers in the plan are completely wrong; or the technology doesn’t work as expected – in which case the numbers in the plan are completely wrong.
And in either case, the plan has still failed to cost a permanent solution for 56,000 tons of high-level waste – over 90 percent of the material taken in. The profits from the scheme would be spent in the early decades to subsidise the reactors and lower taxes, leaving future generations with a massive problem, and no plan or money left to deal with it.
There is no good outcome here.
Even if the technology succeeds, the business plan is fatally flawed. It is, in effect, a self-defeating plan. If it works, our customer base and commodity price dries up, killed by the very technologies we would have piloted at our own risk and at great expense.
Given the wildly optimistic price for waste modelled by the mid-scenario, not to mention the 56,000 tonnes of waste left over with no costed solution, and with all the uncertainties in developing the new technologies required, the simple conclusion is that this plan is simply all risk with no reward. No-one else will line up to take advantage of this “once in a lifetime opportunity”, because the opportunity does not exist. The plan simply cannot succeed. https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/conservationsa/pages/496/attachments/original/1455085726/P222_Nuclear_waste_impossible_dream_FINAL.pdf?1455085726

Australian uranium miner with Russian funding, set to increase radioactive pollution in Karoo, South Africa

January 19, 2016

dust from mining

Already today, the environment around Beaufort West is contaminated close to the previous mine sites. First field studies by the author show unprotected nuclear wastes with 10 to 20 times the background radiation.

Dust and Radiation – Two Deadly Impacts…… a particular direct relationship between occupational exposure to uranium and its decay products and lung diseases.Mining uranium ore in the Karoo will invariably create huge plumes of contaminated dust. Dust clouds are unavoidable during drilling, blasting and transporting.

Dust suppression by spraying water is only partially effective and creates new problems with contaminated slimes, adding to the environmental cost of groundwater abstraction

Uranium Mining Threatens the Karoo, Karoo Space, 18 Jan 16  By Dr Stefan Cramer  [Excellent] Images sourced by Dr Stefan Cramer Just as the threat of fracking seemed to recede in the Karoo, the danger of uranium mining has arisen – and it is even more frightening and more likely than shale gas extraction.

The Karoo has long been known to harbour substantial sedimentary uranium deposits. Now an Australian company [Peninsula Energy , through it’s wholly owned subsidiary Tasman Pacific Minerals Limited] with Russian funding is planning to get the radioactive mineral out of the ground on a major scale.

The company has quietly accumulated over 750 000 hectares of Karoo properties and concessions around Beaufort West and plans to set up a large Central Processing Plant just outside that town.

While the nation is still debating the pros and cons of fracking, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as the precursor to mining licences is nearing finalisation. During 2016 the Department of Mineral Resources will make a decision on the industry’s application……….

extensive studies on the risks of uranium mining over many decades are available today….yet so far there is no public debateno strategic assessment process in place in the Karoo.No advocacy groups balance the glossy claims of the industry against sobering experiences on the ground…..

According to its documents, Tasman RSA Mines today controls exclusive prospecting rights over more than 750 000 hectares in a circle of nearly 200 kilometres around Beaufort West.

About 32 000 hectares are directly owned under freehold by the company. Local farmers find it hard to resist purchase offers, as farming in this part of the Karoo is particularly difficult due to low rainfall and poor soils.

Unlike in fracking, farms are permanently damaged by uranium opencast mining………

So far the company has not indicated whether they would use in-situ-leaching’, a particularly dangerous but low-cost method. Here, large quantities of leaching agent are injected underground. The uranium is dissolved and recovered in well fields……

Already today, the environment around Beaufort West is contaminated close to the previous mine sites. First field studies by the author show unprotected nuclear wastes with 10 to 20 times the background radiation.

Dust and Radiation – Two Deadly Impacts

The devastating impacts of uranium mining on people, especially the mine workers, and the environment have been well research and documented. Several studies of large number of cases and with exposure over many years (Wismut AG in the former East Germany, theColorado-Plateau in the USA, and Saskatchewan in Canada, have established  particular direct relationship between occupational exposure to uranium and its decay products and lung diseases.

Mining uranium ore in the Karoo will invariably create huge plumes of contaminated dust. Dust clouds are unavoidable during drilling, blasting and transporting.

Dust suppression by spraying water is only partially effective and creates new problems with contaminated slimes, adding to the environmental cost of groundwater abstraction……..http://karoospace.co.za/uranium-mining-threatens-the-karoo/

 

Nuclear Issues for 2016 – Australia’s role in them

January 6, 2016

skull nuclear world

Five big nuclear issues for 2016 — and Australia’s role in them, Independent Australia  Noel Wauchope 5 January 2016Nuclear issues got next to no discussion in Australia in 2015. That is sure to change in 2016 from five explosive factors, writesNoel Wauchope.

#1: Nuclear weapons  “……….. In the event of nuclear war, Pine Gap makes Australia both a participant and a target.

What the experts call a “limited nuclear war” between India and Pakistan is always on the cards as both nations ramp up their nuclear weaponry. What does Australia do about this? The Turnbull Government, ignoring the advice of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) and pro nuclear power expert Dr John Carlson, goes ahead with insecure uranium sales to India, thus contributing to that India-Pakistan arms race.

All these considerations will matter to Australia in a number of ways in 2016. An obvious example is in the diplomatic tightrope that our Government must walk in its relations with China — Australia’s largest export market.

#2: Indigenous rights……. For 2016, governments must have learned that Indigenous Australians are a force to be reckoned with and that non-Indigenous might join in that anti nuclear struggle. State governments, particularly Western Australia, have sought to strengthen the resources industries’ power to fight Aboriginal land rights. This has to be an issue for uranium mining in 2016 — whether mining developments can continue to ride roughshod over traditional Indigenous traditional land.

#3: Energy technologies Renewable energy is here to stay. ….. Australia leads the world in rooftop solar, with the highest portion of residential buildings with rooftop photovoltaic power. Despite government policy uncertainty, important solar research continues, community solar projects are developing, large scale solar projects are taking off, for example, in New South Wales. Wind power is now also taking off and has long shown its success in South Australia.…….. The nuclear lobby would have everyone believe that nuclear energy is the answer. But even they know that this is not a practical choice for Australia. In February, the South Australia Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission will be announcing its recommendations. Its chief, Kevin Scarce, has already indicated that it is not likely to recommend nuclear power.

In 2016, Australia still has the opportunity to become a leader in truly clean renewable energy technologies, as energy storage systems become a reality…….With 2016 as an election year and with the ALP’s policy of a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, renewable energy developments form a challenging issue.

#4: Australia as the world’s nuclear waste dump…..  the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission and all that will ensue from its recommendations. Commission head, Kevin Scarce, will no doubt cover his back with worthy statements about proceeding only if there is a social licence, but we can be pretty sure that this expensive year-long Royal Commission is not going to turn its back on its central idea — importing nuclear wastes. Meanwhile, in 2016, the ALP will have to face the push within its ranks to change its existing anti nuclear policy.

#5: The propaganda war….. there will be pressure on Australia’s academic and health authorities, as well, of course, on the mainstream media……. https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/five-nuclear-issues-for-2016–and-australias-role-in-them,8544

Trouble ahead? Australian government doing nuclear deal with unstable Ukraine

December 30, 2015

Map-Ukraine-nuke-reactors

Ukraine to sign agreement on nuclear energy with Australia in 2016 http://en.interfax.com.ua/news/general/314722.html  29 Dec 15   Ukraine plans in 2016 to sign an agreement with Australia on cooperation in the field of using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, Director of the Department of Strategic Planning and European Integration at the Energy and Coal Industry Ministry of Ukraine Mykhailo Bno-Airiian has said.

“One of the main tasks for 2016 is the signing of an agreement between the government of Ukraine and Australia on cooperation in the field of using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” he said at a briefing in Kyiv.

According to the department, the agreement has been agreed with the Australian government and is currently undergoing national procedures for its signature and ratification.