Nuclear news to 21st October

October 20, 2017

I know that it’s becoming a tedious subject, but, unfortunately, the risk of war, a nuclear war, is creeping up inexorably. The general consensus of expert opinion is that North Korea’s Kim Jong Un does not want, or intend to start, a war. His quite rational aim is the ability to deliver a nuclear weapon to the USA. and thus prevent an American attack, and ensure the survival of his regime.  Russia and China, have achieved this ability, and USA and the world have learned to live with this reality.

Expert opinion seems completely confused as to the real aims of USA’s Donald Trump, and this is making for a scary scene. – And, it is hard to dismiss the opinion of the 27 psychiatrists who warned  about Trump’s mental state.

2017 – a catastrophic year for the nuclear industry – downturn in China, USA, and globally.

AUSTRALIA

High Court found that Tasmanian anti-protest laws invalid on the basis they infringe the implied constitutional freedom of political communication, – Bob Brown’s legal win.

NUCLEAR. 

Remote seismic station in the Northern Territory plays critical role in monitoring North Korea’s nuclear testing.

South Australia.  Australian govt changing electoral boundaries, in effort to get support for radioactive waste dump in South Australia?

No more money for investigating nuclear waste importing – South Australian Parliamentary Committee report.   South Australian Labor commends Weatherill govt on acknowledging Citizens Jury outcome – no nuclear waste importing.

“The Advertiser’s” nuclear advertising article drew strong responses.

New South Wales.  New South Wales Senate debated the idea of a nuclear power station for Jervis Bay.

ENERGY and CLIMATE CHANGE

Turnbull Government’s New National Energy Plan dumps the Clean Energy Target for a National Energy Guarantee. – Tony Abbott warned Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull against supporting renewable energy.  Tony Abbott’s successful influence on Coalition energy policy. The new energy plan could be disaster for renewables, climate, prices.  Turnbull’s National Energy Guarantee works against battery energy storage. Does Western Australia need its own renewables target?

Turnbull lies – calling coal a “dispatchable”power source. (Dispatchable power can be turned on and off as needed – it’s the opposite to baseline power – on all the time, as with coal)

Adani coal mine plan .Greens leader Richard Di Natale says Adani’s Carmichael coalmine won’t go ahead.  Adani needs $2bn of loans for Abbot Point coal terminal: Westpac Bank may not refinance Adani.    Queensland government to take over agricultural land for Adani coal mine rail line. Townsville and Rockhampton councils could pay at least $31 million for Adani coalmine airstrip.  Rockhampton’s Mayor Strelow misrepresents Wanganand Jagalingou people. Traditional land owners Wangan and Jagalingou  people at forefront of opposition to Adani coal mine.

A futuristic family car at the World Solar Challenge. Lots of renewable energy news at http://reneweconomy.com.au/

INTERNATIONAL

The growing threat of cyber attacks on nuclear weapons systems.

North Korea’s belligerant response to USA-South Korea military drills.  South Korea developing missiles to destroy North Korea nuclear facilities.

European Union statement on the Iran nuclear Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Quitting Iran nuclear agreement would ruin 12yrs’ work, threaten nuclear war – says ICAN

JAPAN. Kobe Steel scandal and mismanagement is especially bad news for the nuclear industry. World Trade Organisation ruling on  Korea’s ban on Japanese seafood. Japan attempting to force contaminated food products onto the market.  Kansai Electric Power Co. to permanently close 2 nuclear reactors in Fukui Prefecture.  Japan’s solar powered smart communities.

Court rulings show Fukushima relief falls short of reality of victims. Robots are central to Fukushima’s highly dangerous nuclear radioactivity clean-up.

SOUTH KOREA. Secrecy surrounding meeting of World Association of Nuclear Operators in South Korea.

RUSSIA. Russia positions itself as mediator on North Korean nuclear crisis.

USA.

UK. UK Labour warns that nuclear safety laws post Brexit could damage Britain’s democracy. Hinkley nuclear white elephant: Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) warns UK govt against further loan guarantees.  Part of the giant Hinkley Point nuclear plant will have to be demolished and rebuilt. Britain’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) likely to create a new agency, after cancelling Cavendish Fluor Partnership.

SOUTH AFRICA. South Africa’s President Zuma now has a new (Nuclear) Energy Minister: David Mahlobo praises nuclear energy. Kickbacks, procurement irregularities, at EskomFatal flaws in Eskom’s plan for new nuclear power at Koeberg, South Africa.

FRANCE. In 20 French cities, Greenpeace activists highlight the vulnerability of nuclear spent fuel pools.     29 French nuclear reactors at risk, warns France’s Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN).     Nuclear wastes – a divisive problem for the French, that could mean the end of the industry.  Electricite de France (EDF) keen to market nuclear power to Asia. 100 employees evacuated from office of French nuclear station , due to mysterious package found.

CHINA.  Chinese slowdown may end nuclear’s last hope for growth.  China forced to close top skiing area, due to earthquake concerns about North Korea’s nuclear tests.  China looks to a second record breaking year in solar power installations.

UKRAINE. £1.3bn Chernobyl New Safe Confinement planned for completion this year.

CZECH REPUBLIC. Czech Republic breaking its legal obligations in building nuclear facility, with neighbouring countries not participating.

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The past week in nuclear and climate news

October 14, 2017

Unfortunately, that strange and worrying individual, Donald Trump, has yet again managed to dominate the news media, on nuclear and other issues. He has has struck a blow against the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement – in defiance of other world powers – by choosing not to certify that Tehran is complying with the deal. If Iran now leaves the deal, there’s the prospect of  a new nuclear arms race, in the Middle East. Nobel Peace Prize winner ICAN says Trump is ‘igniting new conflict rather than reducing risk of war’.

Meanwhile, there’s the escalating danger of an American nuclear first strike on North Korea.

AUSTRALIA

NUCLEAR.

CLIMATE Australia’s climate policy just like Trump’s , while Chief Scientist Alan Finkel makes last plea for Clean Energy Target.  Foreign Minister Julie Bishop slaps down Abbott’s climate speech.  Climate change is a “crap” theory – and climate change is also “doing good” – says former PM Tony Abbott. Tony Abbott’s climate outburst was intended to wreck Turnbull’s attempt at energy policy.

Sea level rise, and the plight of Australia’s island neighbours – Kiribati.

Across Australia, thousands protest against Adani Carmichael coal mine. Poll shows that 67% of Queenslanders want the Premier to veto the  $1 billion loan planned for Adani.

ENERGY.  Australian Energy Market Operator says shift to renewables is going to happen anyway.    Small-scale solar cutting $billions from electricity bills. The solar power juggernaut is catching Australia by surprise. New polling released   by The Australia Institute’s Climate & Energy Program, shows two thirds of voters would prefer to see governments increasing energy conservation rather than building new power stations. Queensland renewables tender swamped by 115 projects, 6,000MW of storage. New $400 million solar farm for Port Augusta, South Australia. More at http://reneweconomy.com.au/

INTERNATIONAL

NUCLEAR. – Nobel Peace Prize winners say that the UN Treaty is the “beginning of the end for nuclear weapons”. Global opinion poll: people want diplomacy with North Korea, not war.

Despite the hype, it’s doubtful that underground bunkers will work, in the event of a nuclear attack.

Ignoring the danger of ionising radiation: nuclear waste dumping in the sea.

CLIMATE. Wounded Tropical Forests Now Emit 425 Million Tons of Carbon Each Year — Restoration, Fossil Fuel Emissions Cuts Now Urgent.

USA.Nuclear

USA. Climate .The role of climate change in California’s wildfires.  Unlike President Trump, USA’s military are keen to prepare for climate change disruption.

NORTH KOREA. Earthquake detected near North Korea’s nuclear site – raising fears of a new nuclear test.  Satellite photos show North Korean shipyard test site. A new nuclear missile launch might be imminent.

JAPAN. Rokkasho Fuel Reprocessing Plant Faked Safety Records For 14 Years.   Japan Cleared to Re-Start World’s Largest Nuclear Plant.   Voluntary evacuees win compensation over Fukushima nuclear disaster. Fukushima District Court finds National Government and Tepco Responsible.

SWEDEN. Buildup of radioactivity in wild boars in Sweden – from eating Chernobyl area mushrooms.

SOUTH KOREA. South Korea: thyroid cancer patients say no to nuclear power plants.

UK.

FRANCE. Greenpeace protestors show poor security at French nuclear station – by breaking in!

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES.  UAE to sever ties with North Korea.

PAKISTAN. Pakistan’s new nuclear-capable submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) opens up a dangerous new era.

CHINA. Chinese government boosting storage capacity for renewable energy.

SOUTH AFRICA. Eskom gets permission to develop a new nuclear plant.

SRI LANKA. Sri Lanka enforces UN resolution on nuclear and biological weapons.

INDIA. Tamil Nadu: Union Ministry of Environment now allowing mining of thorium, uranium, in ecologically sensitive CRZ areas.

RUSSIA. A new solar farm opened in Southern Russia.

Nuclear/Climate news this week

October 7, 2017

The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize has just been awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).  This global campaign began in Melbourne 10 years ago, and look where it went from there! Retrieving Australia’s past reputation for work towards nuclear disarmament, ICAN’s dedicated team just kept going. Today, I can feel proud to be Australian,  despite the Australian government’s present craven record on disarmament.

Contrasting with that positive news, we have Donald Trump’s latest ominous utterance – “the calm before the storm”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rU62DZ_Xf0M Who knows what he means?  At least in the 1979 Peter Sellers film “Being There” that particular  dimwitted President knew that he was talking about gardening.

AUSTRALIA

NUCLEAR.   Could Australia be the target of a North Korean missile?    Former Liberal Party leader John Hewson call on the Australian government to stop being subservient to American foreign policy, especially now in the Trump era.  Gareth Evans says Australia should not blindly follow USA on foreign policy.

Tony Abbott calls on Turnbull govt to change laws, and develop nuclear and coal power. Former Labor leader Mark Latham urges Australia to “go nuclear”.  Glamour nuclear spruiker Brian Cox – in Cumbria, then Australia.    Pro nuclear shilling group on the move in New South Wales, but Premier Gladys Berejiklian has ruled out nuclear power. Nuclear Reactor for Burrinjuck Dam – says Rob Parker of Nuclear For Climate Australia.

South Australia- lots of sick-making propaganda  from the nuclear waste gang – National Radioactive Waste Management Facility – they seem to have unlimited tax-payer money for this stuff. It’s available on their Facebook page.

CLIMATE. Australia must prepare for super-hot days. That’s if you believe the research of scientists at the Australian National University. On the other hand, that could all be nonsense, if you believe Australia’s (highly unpopular) former PM Tony Abbott. Australia’s farmers need action on climate change, and for renewable energy.  Scientists race to try to save the Great Barrier Reef.

Adani Carmichael coal mine:-Indian coal miner Adani  facing income crash – desperate to get Australian tax-payer funding    Former Indian minister sounds alarm  on Adani’s track record,  mega-mine’s viability– -Adani’s tax havens – the Queensland coal mine plan’s connection with corruptionMarket Forces list COMPANIES THAT COULD MAKE OR BREAK THE ADANI CARMICHAEL COAL PROJECT. In India, police action targeted ABC journalists researching Adani’s dubious dealings.

Minerals Council of Australia – a wealthy lobby works on behalf of foreign corporations

INTERNATIONAL

NUCLEAR  Text of Nobel Peace Prize award to anti-nuclear campaign ICAN. Why Trump’s Words on North Korea Matter – normalising nuclear war.

Debunking the myths about nuclear fusion – The ITER Power Amplification Myth.

International Atomic Energy Agency predicts slowdown in nuclear power.

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) can’t compete, unless ordered en masse.

CLIMATE. Stark Evidence: A Warmer World Is Sparking More and Bigger Wildfires – Degraded Tropical Forests Now Release More Carbon Than They Store.   40 large Catholic institutions put their money where fossil fuel investment isn’t.

USA. Nuclear

CHINA. Bill Gates partners with China’s government nuclear companies to develop his small nuclear reactor dream

EUROPE. Europe plans to save Iran nuclear deal , despite Donald Trump. European States anxious about Britain’s ‘nuclear revival’ in Hinkley project. Iodine tablets for Dutch provinces near nuclear power stations. Norway grants immigration to Israeli nuclear whistleblower.

NORTH KOREA.   North Korea threatens Japan – with ‘nuclear clouds over suicidal Japan’.   North Korea’s environment paying a heavy price for Kim’s nuclear bomb tests.

SOUTH KOREA. Catastrophic outcome if North Korea were to attack Seoul and Tokyo.

IRAN. Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran is working well: Trumps is dishonest.

UK.

Brexit is mucking up Britain’s Small Modular Nuclear Reactor dreams

JAPAN. The World’s Biggest Nuclear Plant Approved to be Restarted in Japan.   Japanese opposition party will phase out nuclear power – Japan nuclear stocks down. New, unexpected way in which Fukushima is polluting the ocean. 

Japanese beaches 60 miles away have become major source of radioactivity after Fukushima. Radioactive Water “Possibly” Leaked From Reactors For Months “By Error” Says Tepco.

 Fukushima after six years and half: the forgotten victims.

CANADA. Radioactive dump plan near Ottawa River is meeting growing opposition.  Investors beware of uranium mining company Cameco.

NEW ZEALAND. Education on nuclear disarmament – New Zealand is the leader.

SWEDEN. Very high radiation levels in Europe’s wild boars: record high in boar shot in Sweden.

GERMANY. German authorities puzzled over increase in radioactive particles in air.

FRANCE. EDF wrestling with problems on the Hinkley Point nuclear power project.

INDIA. Nuclear submarine accident – India’s nuclear-powered submarine, INS Chakra, damaged. Farmers in 575 villages unite against Chutka nuclear project in Madhya Pradesh.

Persuasive pro nuclear spinner Brian Cox headed for Australia

October 4, 2017

Brian Cox is  a very personable and knowledgeable TV star and particle physics expert. He is also a promoter of the nuclear industry. He is a big fan of plutonium -powered space travel.

Currently, Cox is in Cumbria, UK, addressing schoolchildren groups, and revving up enthusiasm for science and technology. All good, yes. He enthuses about the opportunity for top jobs in high tech in Cumbria.  Good? Yes, but – where are these future jobs? Well – in the nuclear industry, which is desperately trying to get a new nuclear power station built.

Whitehaven News 29th Sept 2017, Television star Professor Brian Cox says Cumbria has a world-leading industry which warrants talent – but there’s a shortage of scientists and engineers. But he hopes to change that by helping to bring the prestigious Infinity Festival to the area and inspiring hundreds of teenagers to follow their dreams. Professor Cox was the star speaker at today’s festival which was held at West Lakes Academy in Egremont. More than 200 schoolchildren, aged 13 and 14, attended the event from schools across the whole of the county.  http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk/news/Professor-Brian-Cox-visits-Egremont-and-declares-Cumbria-is-a-world-leading-high-tech-industry-941aa057-9b77-46a5-8eac-6e92f0341783-ds

Professor Brian Cox welcomes Cumbria’s nuclear history and future http://www.itv.com/news/border/update/2014-05-30/professor-brian-cox-welcomes-cumbrias-nuclear-history-and-future/The scientist, Professor Brian Cox, has told guests at the opening of a new exhibition in Whitehaven that nuclear power should be an important source of energy in the UK.

Famous scientist argues for ‘stable’ forms of energy, The famous scientist Professor Brian Cox has told guests at the opening of a new exhibition in Whitehaven that nuclear power should be an important source of energy in the UK.

He argues that education is important for accepting nuclear energy: http://www.itv.com/news/border/story/2014-05-30/professor-brian-cox-opens-beacon-museum/

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. Read the rest of this entry »

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. Read the rest of this entry »

This week in nuclear and climate news

September 30, 2017

For a change, I digress from the usual themes.  While the media fixes on Trump’s and Kim’s nuclear threats, a lot of other things go on quietly. For example, the Trump attack on workers’ rights, –on worker safety, – on public health and environmental protection.  – on refugees,  Much as I dislike joining in the media fervor for watching Trump, it becomes almost a necessity, because we are witnessing the most extraordinary dismantling of all government policy for the public  good.  It is as if it’s all happening under the cover of our angst about North Korea.

The rise of Germany’s right wing party, adopting the Trump tactics, has brought a fascist element into the German Bundestag, and signifies the new importance of populist politics in Europe.

1461 scientists speak up for saving Australia’ oceans

AUSTRALIA

Apologies – all Australians. I cannot be  a patriot, because I’m doing this stuff now, while the FOOTEE final is on. Sacrilege!

NUCLEAR. 

CLIMATE.  Australia needs a massive switch to renewables, if it is to meet its Paris climate commitments.   As Australia’s greenhouse emissions soar, Pacific islanders despair of its backward climate policies.   Did Australian govt reject China’s climate change action initiative?    National Party President Larry Anthony runs a firm that lobbies for coal industry !  Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility likely to fund coal rail line, but not coal mine itself.

ENERGY.   Six international academics refute the attack on renewable energy by Ben Heard and others.  South Australia’s Tesla big battery switched on. Yes, Mr Prime Minister: there IS an answer to all your energy problems – it’s wind and solar. South Australia’s network of charging stations for electric cars. Some recycling of lithium already going on in Australia. For lots of news, go to http://reneweconomy.com.au/

INTERNATIONAL

NUCLEAR    International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons comes at a historic moment of brinkmanship.    Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea – the meaning of Trump’s threats.    There is a diplomatic way to resolve the North Korea nuclear crisis.  Leaders of USA and North Korea continue to trade threats and insults. North Korean threats – very good for the underground nuclear bomb shelter sales-Leukemia risk increased by radioactive iodine treatment for thyroid cancer.

CLIMATE.  Half-way to Catastrophe — Global Hothouse Extinction to be Triggered by or Before 2100 Without Rapid Emissions Cuts.    Christian leaders make the moral case for climate action. Global carbon emissions remained static in 2016 – (one bit of welcome news). Hundreds of $billions a year – the hidden costs of climate change.

USA.

NORTH KOREA.  North Korea claims “the Right to Shoot Down U.S. Warplanes“.   A worse fear? A nuclear accident in North Korea, – and it could trigger a nuclear war.

EUROPE. European Commission to invest €222 to promote Europe’s transition to clean energy.

UK.

IRAN. Iran’s foreign minister calls on Europe to support nuclear deal, and defy USA ‘s plan to sink the deal. Iran nuclear deal is best option, says Israeli general.

JAPAN. A Further Delay in the Cleanup At Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Plant. Fukushima Decontamination Work Racket Yakuza Arrested.  Chiba court recognizes nuke disaster evacuees’ ‘loss of hometown’ for first time.    Dozens of Japanese towns choosing decentralised solar energy, with microgrids.

INDIA. India-USA civil nuclear cooperation agreement is really just a weapons marketing deal.

IRAQ. Iraq wants nuclear reactors: (does that fill you with confidence?)

UKRAINE. Holtec planning to build small nuclear reactors in Ukraine.

GERMANY. New find points to Hitler’s project towards a nuclear bomb.

Michael Shellenberger, top “new nuclear” spruiker, heads for Australia

September 26, 2017

‘Michael Shellenberger  will visit Australia in Nov­ember to promote a rethink on nuclear at a minerals industry conference.

A radioactive wolf in green clothing: Dissecting the latest pro-nuclear spin https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/a-radioactive-wolf-in-green-clothing-dissecting-the-latest-pro-nuclear-spin,10735

 Noel Wauchope Michael Shellenberger is a nuclear salesman posing as a new generation environmentalist with unsubstantiated energy “solutions”, writes Noel Wauchope.

LAST WEEK, The Australian excelled itself in uncritically regurgitating nuclear lobby propaganda in the article‘Nuclear the “only option” to replace coal and gas: Michael Shellenberger’. 

To start with, they describe Shellenberger as ‘one of the world’s leading new-generation environmental thinkers‘. Well, that is sort of, a bit, right. Shellenberger is well known as the founder in 2003, with Ted Nordhaus, of The Breakthrough Institute — a nuclear front group dedicated to promoting “new generation” nuclear reactors. He is not a new generation environmentalist, as his focus is solely on the nuclear industry.

In the same opening paragraph, Shellenberger is described as ‘a former renewables advocate to Barack Obama‘. Well, Shellenberger’s advocacy consisted of lobbying Obama to promote not renewables but nuclear power. He is described as ‘now a global champion for nuclear energy’, as if he had only recently become a convert from renewables.

The Australian goes on to quote Shellenberger’s statements against renewable energy, uncritically, despite the fact that he provides no evidence for them:

“[Wind and solar] are doubling the cost of electricity and they have big environmental impacts. All existing renewable technologies do is make the electricity system chaotic and provide greenwash for fossil fuels.”

And:

“[Opposition to nuclear] is like a superstitious religious belief.”

Shellenberger was a one of Time Magazine’s ’30 Heroes of the Environment’ in 2008. True. However, he was chosen and discussed in Time by Bryan Walsh, a nuclear proponent and a member of The Breakthrough Institute. That choice was strongly disputed by genuine leading environmentalists Bill McKibben and Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club. 

Having thus established Shellenberger’s very shaky credentials as an environmentalist, The Australian gets to the gist of the story:

‘Michael Shellenberger  will visit Australia in Nov­ember to promote a rethink on nuclear at a minerals industry conference.’

We are told that Germany’s renewable energy transition is not successful and that Shellenberger believes better education about nuclear power is needed as well as ‘a leap forward in scientific literacy about radiation’.

He says:

“The reality is the death toll from Chernobyl in 1986, after 20 years, is less than 200 people.”

As we have come to expect from The Australian and from Michael Shellenberger, no references are given to back up these statements.

Also unsurprisingly, The Australian quotes Shellenberger’s conclusion without comment:

“Nuclear is the only technology that can lift everyone out of poverty and reverse human ­impact.”

As often happens, this article is followed by numerous positive comments, often glowing with praise, if somewhat lacking in information or insight. There were no negative comments. But then, only registered readers of The Australian are allowed to make comments. It is tiring but necessary to refute bald claims made by very manipulative nuclear spruikers.

Where to start?

Here are some links to thoughtful articles which address claims made in this article:

  • The cost or electricity from renewables?

Renewable energy versus nuclear: dispelling the myths about costs‘, by Mark Diesendorf, Associate Professor in Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of New South Wales.

  • Death toll from Chernobyl accident?

‘Radiation harm deniers? Pro-nuclear environmentalists and the Chernobyl death toll’, by Dr Jim Green, National Nuclear Campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia and Editor of the Nuclear Monitor.

  • Nuclear lifting the world out of poverty?  

‘Nuclear Power Cost’, from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

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

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) signs up to develop nuclear reactors

September 25, 2017

Noel Wauchope, 20 Sept 17, Now, many weeks after Australia signing up to the Framework Agreement For Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems, the public is informed of this. I found it at the bottom of page 23  of the print version of The Age today.  Why haven’t we heard about this before?

 How is it that Dr Adi Paterson of ANSTO signed up to this, in advance of Parliamentary approval, and that the whole thing can be done without any proper public consultation? Australian tax-payers are now to be supporting the development of these new dreams of nuclear power –  advanced nuclear reactors that exist now only as blueprints, and will be expensive, require government funding, and will not be commercially operational for many decades, if ever.
Surely it is time for a thorough inquiry into ANSTO’s funding and finances. The New Generation nuclear reactors are controversial, to say the least. They are in fact, part of the global nuclear lobby’s push to save itself –  its future being threatened by its dire economics, and by its connection to the nuclear weapons industry.
The Australian media is regularly used to promote ANSTO’s nuclear reactor as having as its purpose “medical research”  and “medical isotopes saving lives” – despite the fact that non nuclear production of these isotopes can be, and is, being done.  The reality is that ANSTO is part of the global nuclear industry lobby, and its reactor produces long-lasting radioactive wastes and it should be shut down.

I couldn’t find it on The Age online.  The print version, 19 Sept 17 – small article at the bottom of page 23:

Australia joins nuclear research club,  by Cole Latimer
Australia has officially joined an international group focused on developing future nuclear energy systems, The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation has been welcomed into the Generation IV International Forum Framework, which aims to develop next generation nuclear power systems, and which ANSTO calls “a potential game-changer in global energy creation”.
Although Australia joined the GIF charter last year, the event marked the  country’s official accession to the nuclear framework agreement, which is focused on six different nuclear reactor designs that provide poeer and “stringent standards in relation to safety and non proliferation”.
However, ANSTO stated that this was not about  advancing the cause of nuclear energy in Australia’s current energy mix: instead it was about utilisingAustralian skills in research and development.
“Australia has no nuclear power program, but we do have significant local expertise in next generation research, which is what this partnership is about”  ANSTO chief executive officer Adi Paterson said.
ANSTO will leverage our world class capabilities, particularly in relation to the development of advanced materials and with applications in extreme industrial environments, and of nuclear safety cases.
“This agreement will enable Australia to contribute to an international group focused on peaceful use of nuclear technology, and the international energy systems of the future”
An ANSTO spokesman said Australia was a world leader in terms of nculear safety, “due to the high levels of oversight and paperwork required” to operate.
GIF is a co-operative of 14 nations led by France, a country where nuclear power accounts for  nearly 75% of energy generation. This reliance on nuclear energy has helped the nation slash its carbon emissions.