Holiday season ending with climate and nuclear anxieties.

January 27, 2017

a-cat-CANMuch as I hate joining the throng paying attention to that global narcissist, I must admit the fact that Donald Trump’s statements and actions are provoking reactions in America and around the world. On many important issues, such as torture, and religious discrimination, people are responding with alarm. Equally worrying are his policies on  climate and nuclear matters, and his attacks on science and journalism.

I am reminded of a kindergarten teacher, explaining the real message of a child’s bad behaviour “How bad to I have to be before somebody stops me”

I did get some macabre amusement from this news item- Under Trump, nuclear lobby to dump the argument about climate change.

AUSTRALIA

NUCLEAR.   Federal nuclear propaganda group to visit proposed nuclear dump towns in South Australia. Federal govt announces bribes to these communities.      Dishonest spin from ANSTO and government, about Spain’s nuclear waste program.  Good riddance to the Trans Pacific Partnership: it could have furthered nuclear waste import plans.

CLIMATE Malcolm Turnbull’s doublespeak on climate change.  So-called “Environment Minister” Josh Frydenberg approves coal mine expansion.  Climate Change has stalled Australian Wheat Yields.

ENERGY

INTERNATIONAL

Thanks to Donald Trump, the Doomsday Clock ticks closer to apocalypse

Strong business case to go 100 % renewable – leading global companies

Sea level rise more rapid than expected.

EUROPE. Europe and northern hemisphere warming fast: Europe faces droughts, floods

USA.

JAPAN. Plans to remove nuclear fuel at Fukushima N° 3 reactor delayed again.  Radiation Measured 16μSv/h at Ground Level in Namie-cho, Fukushima. On February 14, Toshiba will reveal extent of U.S. nuclear business writedown.

UK. Another British nuclear mishap kept secret – the Scottish cold war nuclear submarine collision.  Theresa May kept quiet, but SHE KNEW about the test missile mishap. With election coming, British government covered up serious missile test incident.Trident whistleblower tells RT he ‘witnessed 4 unreported missile test failures

Nuclear energy corporation EDF lobbies UK govt to weaken safety rules. Toshiba desperately seeking funding for UK nuclear project, seeks tax-payer subsidy.

CHINA. China’s new nuclear missile deployment – in response to Donald Trump?    China deploys nuclear missiles to the Russia-China border in the northeast Heilongjiang province.

PAKISTAN. Pakistan test-fires nuclear missile capable of hitting multiple targets

FRANCE. Closure of Fessenheim nuclear plant approved by EDF

SOUTH KOREA. South Koreans alarmed about nuclear weapons – uncertainty about Donald Trump.

CHILE. Chilean Wildfires are Worst to Ever Strike the Country

Australian government confused about nuclear waste- as extracts from Hansard show

January 21, 2017
 Australian environmental watchdog activists are studying  the tired old arguments rehashed in Parliament   since the 1950s. Here’s  a sample of their findings on nuclear waste .
Steve Dale  Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia From 2006 – “We need to know what sort of fuel we are talking about, and it is important that we understand this. It is not physically Australian waste material that will be returned.
If you listen to the government, you would say we are getting a neat package of fuel sent back to us after it has been reprocessed. This is simply not the case. What we will get back will be a proportion of the by-product of spent fuel from every country that sends its waste to France for reprocessing, divided between the contributing countries.
Each country of origin of the waste will receive a proportion of different elements from the reprocessing of the fuel. The main elements are vitrified fission product—high-level waste compacted residues, the hulls and end pieces from the metallic casings—and also high-level waste uranium and plutonium.” Mr Snowden, 19 October 2006. Found with search terms “nuclear vitrified high”
  In various places it was mention that radioactive waste would be “safe” after 300 years. Members were obviously being told that by their advisors. The intense Gamma from Cesium-137 would be gone after 300 years, but the Plutonium etc. will be there for hundreds of thousands of years – I really got the impression that the members of Parliament were not being told the complete truth by their advisors/lobbyists.
diagram-waste-levels
 
Is vitrified waste from La Hague High Level? Back in 1997 the government thought so – “(2) The high-level radioactive waste being carried by the Pacific Teal is in a vitrified form,…… ” – Senator Hill 24 March 1997 and “(3) The waste being carried by the Pacific Teal is high-level radioactive waste (HLW), consisting of mixed fission products resulting from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. The waste is in a vitrified form ….” Senator Hill 4 March 1997.   https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/

“Environmentalists” Ben Heard and Barry Brook now openly spruiking for nuclear reprocessing in South Australia

January 21, 2017

logo-bright-new-worldThese two nuclear spruikers have been at it for decades – promoting the nuclear industry under the cover of pretending to be environmentalists.

Now they’re at least ‘coming out’ about being nuclear lobbyists.   It is surprising that  the Australian National University is publishing  (in the Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies journal)  their claims about recycling nuclear waste as a multi $billion windfall for South Australia. They even claim that nuclear waste reprocessing for South Australia would have ‘significant environmental benefits’!

Ben Heard enthuses that South Australia can ‘commercialise leading technology’ Ben Heard worked on this with former Liberal Senator Sean Edwards.

They’re trying to make a mark on the international scene with their new project “Bright New [Nuclear] World”.   But this is their new project’s first foray into the Australian scene.

To 19 January – climate and nuclear news

January 21, 2017

a-cat-CAN19 Jan 17 As I write, there’s  a sort of an anxious lull in climate and nuclear news. Indeed, in other news, too. The media world seems to be waiting for the next event, on January 20, concerning a certain narcissistic American. I’ve decided to leave him out of this week’s newsletter, except, perhaps, for a picture (attached).

The exception in all this is Fukushima. Not that you find anything about this in the mainstream media. However, the news is getting out in alternative, and some Japanese media: workers’ cancers:  Thyroid Cancer Patient Group :  Designation of radioactive waste lifted: Fukushima ‘voluntary’ evacuees: Fukushima foodstuffs.

AUSTRALIA

CLIMATE.    90% of rural Australians say their lives are already affected by climate change. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation picks climate sceptic for Western Australian election. Australian Resources Minister Matt Canavan’s fantasy about “low emission” coal.

RENEWABLE ENERGY. Some considerations about Australia’s clean transition to renewable energy.   Tony Abbott calls for ditching Renewable Energy Target: PM Turnbull disagrees.  Smarter, cheaper solar plants are halving Australian solar farm capital intensity.  Utility scale investment marks the surge in wind and solar power in Australia. Potential of Queensland solar farm– to make this State the energy capital of Australia. Melbourne trams to be powered by solar energy by end of 2018.

NUCLEAR.  

South Australia.

Federal waste dump plan. Scrutiny on Hansard reveals the Australian government’s confusion about nuclear wastes.Australian government’s pro nuclear propaganda to South Australia’s Barndioota residents. Flinders Ranges Community survey – 79% do NOT want the Federal nuclear waste dump.

State nuclear waste import planBen Heard and Barry Brook spruik for nuclear reprocessing at Port Augusta. Old nuclear spruikers never give up – Bob Hawke, Ron Walker, Hugh MorganSouth Australian Liberal leader stresses that the Royal Commission nuclear waste import plan was economically risky.Derek Abbott explodes the Royal Commission proposal for a nuclear waste dump.

Western Australia. In an act of ?religious faith, Western Australian govt backs uneconomic uranium industry. Aboriginal Traditional Owners speak out against Yeelirrie uranium mining approval.

TasmaniaTasmania’s Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom speaks out for nuclear weapons ban.

INTERNATIONAL.

As climate deniers move into White House – Guardian news focus on climate change.

USA.

JAPANCrash in Toshiba shares as nuclear financial crisis deepens. Shimane nuclear power plant found to have dangerous corroded holes in air ducts inside the No. 2 reactor. 7 Times More Leukemia in 2015 than 2014, 80% in Eastern Japan.

CHINA. Nuclear weapons should be completely prohibited – Chinese President Xi Jinping.

BELGIUM. Netherlands, Luxemburg and Germany want Belgium’s dangerous nuclear reactors to be closed.

PAKISTAN. Pakistan vows nuclear retaliation if India attacks.

U K. Political row over proposed west Cumbria nuclear plant.  Greens Party running anti nuclear platform in UK by-election. Prince Charles writes a book on climate change (That’s torn it: they won’t let HIM be king)

NORTH KOREA. North Korea may be preparing for a new missile test-launch.

UKRAINE. Russia stops agreement with Ukraine on nuclear power plant construction

SAUDI ARABIA. Saudi Arabia’s $US50bn clean energy plan focusses on solar and wind

The past week in climate and nuclear news

January 14, 2017

a-cat-CANA week away from Donald Trump taking over the USA Presidency, and it’s anybody’s guess as to how bad the repercussions of that will be, for climate action, nuclear safety, and the public good. If there happen to be some accidental unintended benefits for they public good, I doubt that these will compensate for the world’s most powerful nation being run by the lead bully boy for corporate America. Barack Obama retires graciously, claiming that “we did”. Perhaps more accurately “we tried”.

Don’t for one minute think that nuclear power is in any way “green“.

Record loss of sea ice in 2016-both Arctic and Antarctic.

Alexei Yablokov, grandfather of Russian environmentalism, dies at 83

AUSTRALIA

Australian not-for-profit, the Alternative Technology Association (ATA) installs solar household systems in East Timor villages.

Loss of Great Barrier Reef will be part of major collapses of ocean ecosystems.

Australia and USA trail behind in renewable energy, as China and India lead.

ACT. Australian Capital Territory prepares for role as clean energy hub and exporter of renewable technology

South Australia. Pro nuclear former Senator Sean Edwards to run for South Australian Parliament, considers leadership of S.A. Liberals . Prominent wealthy nuclear industry fans back former Senator Sean Edwards.

Western Australia. W.A. govt approves Toro Energy’s Wiluna uranium mine, as uranium prices continue to decrease. Western Australia leads the world in wave energyHeat records smashed in 2016 in many Western Australian towns.

Queensland. Queensland Government moving fast towards its renewable energy target. Great solar energy potential for Queensland, but Australia’s Minister For Coal denies this.

Northern TerritoryDarwin’s hottest year on record.

Tasmania. Tasmania needs to be better prepared for climate change and weather extremes.

INTERNATIONAL

CLIMATE   NOAA– Atmospheric CO2 Increased by 2.77 Parts Per Million During 2016. Copernicus organisation says 2016 ‘hottest on record’ in new sign of global warming.  Greenland Ice Melt might cause Atlantic Circulation to Collapse.

ENERGY  Bleak future for nuclear revival, with solar and wind costs continuing to fall.  Rapid rise in Global Photovoltaic Installation Market is predicted by Transparency Market Research.

USA.

CANADA. Canada’s government releases carbon pricing plan

UKRAINE. Giant solar farm to be built on Ukraine’s land contaminated by Chernobyl radiation.

NETHERLANDS. Trains 100% wind powered for Netherlands, by 2018.

FRANCE. France’s desperate move to save nuclear company AREVA.

RUSSIAAlexei Yablokov, Russia’s environmental conscience, dies at 83 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo2cyS1YUqo

UK. China to build ANOTHER nuclear reactor in Britain – concern for nuclear regulator. Wales introduces solar ‘eco hamlet‘ – the first of many?

CHINA. China’s $493 billion plan for renewable energy.

TAIWAN. Taiwan will end nuclear power generation by 2025.

JAPAN.  ‘Monju was not worth dying for’ – says wife of top nuclear official, who suicided.   Toshiba’s $billions loss raise questions about costs for new nuclear power. Coral bleaching kills 70 percent of Japan’s biggest coral reef. Japanese Government hides contamination from Fukushima nuclear disaster while sending evacuees home .

NORTH KOREA. North Korea’s greatly increased plutonium stockpile

Nuclear lobby’s confidence tricks – film “THE NEW FIRE”

January 1, 2017

film-the-new-fire

The “New Nuclear” lobby is kicking off its New Nuclear propaganda for 2017 with its favourite tactic – FILM.

They started this method with great success in 2013 with a very glossy and quite seductive advertisement calld “Pandora’s Promise”  That has now been rehashed many times, e.g on Youtube. It pretends to be a documentary about c limate change, but is really a hymn to new nuclear “Generation IV” technology, especially Small Nuclear Reactors, and to endless consumption of electricity.

Then came the even more sophisticated and glossier television series, “Twisting the Dragon’s Tail”,  a subtle nuclear advertisement promotion that featured Australia quite strongly. Cleverly introducing the negative aspects of the nuclear industry, it finishes with that same message for boundless energy consumption via New Nuclear.

These  so-called “independent documentaries” are  quite lavishly and expensively produced. Who pays for them?  That is a well-kept secret. Do  presenters like Derek Muller (Dragon’s Tail) understand how they are being used?

“The New Fire” is currently under production, using, as those other ads did, very capable media professionals. We have no idea who is behind this project, but, with billionaires now in the Small Nuclear Reactor business, we can suspect those in the nuclear front group “Breakthrough Energy Coalition” 

The theme of those first two nuclear propaganda films was about the “need for ever-rocketing
electricity consumption, and how new small nuclear reactors will meet that need.”

Thee theme of this 2017 nuclear advertisement will be that “only via new nuclear power can the world be saved from climate change”  It will focus on the new smart young people who reject the boring old people’s anxiety about nuclear power.

THE NEW FIRE  – “is an independent documentary that will introduce audiences to young nuclear engineers who are developing next-generation reactors which they hope will provide clean and safe solutions to the world’s future energy needs. Could these audacious innovators be the agents of change the world has been waiting for? With unprecedented access to key people, places and events, award-winning filmmaker David Schumacher has traveled the globe to capture a powerful, eye-opening story that needs to be told now—before it’s too late.” 

My climate and nuclear predictions for 2017

December 31, 2016

fortune-teller

Here are my predictions for 2017 . They are not all that cheerful. But I am comforted by that fact that I usually predict most unreliably. I pronounced that Hillary Clinton would win the US presidency by a landslide.

But – here goes, anyway :

CLIMATE news. The anthropocene is here with a vengeance, and will be evidenced by continued weather extremes – droughts in Africa, India and other places, floods elsewhere, the continued creeping sea level rise, affecting island nations, and low-lying ones, like Bangladesh.  Most worrying of all, the continuance of extraordinary changes in temperature in the Arctic, with effects on ocean currents.

With climate-denying politicians in power, at the national level, action on climate change will be stalled, to some degree. However, at the level of states, local councils, and cities, increased adoption of renewable energy will mean that meaningful climate action goes on with renewed vigour.  At the grassroots level, more homes and businesses will adopt solar and wind technologies, as well as smart energy conservation – a trend already apparent in Australia, and parts of Europe and USA, as well as in developing countries, where off-grid energy becomes  a boon to millions. Public disillusion with climate denying leaders will rise.

NUCLEAR news. The world will limp on, avoiding nuclear war by a whisker, especially in relation to India and Pakistan.   However, there will be encouraging developments in the international nuclear disarmament movement, with an impressive conference in March.

In America, more nuclear power stations will close, due to their diseconomics. Nuclear power development in China will continue to slow down, for reasons of cost, water shortage, and even public opposition.  India’s growing solar energy success will threaten its nuclear development. Britain, however,  will be  a focus, as France, China, South Korea, even Russia will push desperately for Hinkley, Moorside, Bradwell nuclear projects, which will have to be subsidised by taxpayers.

Fukushima will continue to be a running sore with no cure in sight, while Japan and the world happily look forward to the 2020 Olympics.

The nuclear waste problem will continue to dog USA, and efforts to even trial new solutions like deep bore drilling will meet public opposition, even without any radioactive trash. Some countries, e.g. France, with existing nuclear power stations will look to closing them down. At the same time, there’ll be  a continuing frenzy to try to market nuclear power to non nuclear countries.

The proponents of “New Nuclear”, particularly of Thorium and of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors will continue to pretend that they help Big Nuclear by supposedly dealing with the waste problem. But in reality, they’ll be rejoicing at the plight of Big Nuclear, and toting their still non existent new gimmicks to governments. In particular, they’ll want America to weaken its safety regulations.

Above all, the nuclear lobbyists and publicists will hammer their lie that nuclear power can stop climate change. Not only is that not true, but also, that claim becomes increasingly irrelevant as climate change races ahead. – simply no time for that “solution” anyway.

But that won’t stop the “New Nuclear”  lobby. They’ll bring out a film – THE NEW FIRE glossy, expensively made, sophisticated – to push the new gee whiz nuclear kids on the block. Their various front groups, e.g Weinberg Next Nuclear , “Breakthrough Energy Coalition”  and  Australia’s “Bright New World” will continue to pose as charities, and gain tax exempt status.

I’d love to think that journalists and academics will see through the spin. But I am not optimistic, following a year when spin brought Brexit and Donald Trump’s rise.  (Even if Trump gets bored, and chucks the job in to run a personal media circus, the USA will still be run by climate denying Republicans. )

Journalists and academics will continue to spout the nuclear lies – about low dose ionising radiation being OK , and above all, keep hammering the message of nuclear being “clean” and “low carbon” . They know where the money is. The public at large will believe them, despite the efforts of the anti nuclear movement, and of a few brave, outspoken journalists and academics.

Arrest of top Lucas Heights nuclear security official, over ‘official secrets’ and illegal gun possession

December 26, 2016

secret-agent-AustLucas Heights security boss Anthony Haddad charged over ‘official secrets’, gun SMH, 24 Dec 16, Eamon Duff. A security consultant who held a “top secret” government clearance inside Australia’s only nuclear facility has been arrested and charged with the
illegal possession of “official secrets” and an unauthorised weapon.

Until February last year, Anthony Rami Haddad was manager of security and operations at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, safeguarding the site against theft, diversion and sabotage.

However, following  a stint in the Middle easrt where he worked on another nuclear security project, he returned hom eto Sydney, and last month became entangled in an unrelated investigation being run by the Australian Federal Police’s fraud and anti-corruption team.

A fortnight ago, Haddad appeared before Sydney’s Downi8ng Centre Local court, where he pleaded guilty to unauthorised receipt of official secrets under the Commonwealth crimes Act.

He has yet to enter a plea for a second charge, ppossessing an unauthorised prohibited firearm. His barrister, Nikolaos Siafakas, will apply to have the outstanding matter dealt with under section 32 of teh Mental Health Act……..

According to ANSTO documents, Haddad’s many responsibilities at Lucas Heights included the “mamagement of security operations” at the onsite Little Forest radioactive waste dump and its “seamless integration” into the facility’s “wider” protective security systems.

Haddad will reappear in court on February 7  http://www.smh.com.au/national/lucas-heights-security-boss-anthony-haddad-charged-over-official-secrets-gun-20161223-gthdwv.html

The past year in climate and nuclear news

December 24, 2016

a-cat-CAN2016 brought  a new word – the Anthropocene. It has been the year in which many of us realised that the planet has been irrevocably changed- by the human species. Of the wide-ranging effects of human activities, climate change is the one that has now become the most terrible threat.  People  around the world are trying to change our destructive ways: individuals, town councils, city mayors, states, and, to a much lesser degree, national governments work to conserve energy and promote renewable energy generation.

Countering that, the polluting industries have used their think tank front groups, and mainstream media, to confuse the public, and deny the science.

In November 196 countries participated in the  United Nations Climate Change Conference in Marrakesh, to develop agendas for carrying out the  the Paris Agreement of 2015. But international action was hampered by the presence of fossil fuel companies, and even more, by the election of climate sceptic Donald Trump to the USA presidency.

The nuclear disarmament movement was boosted on October 27, when—by a vote of 123 for, 38 against, and 16 abstaining—the First Committee of the UN agreed “to convene in 2017 a United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.”

Nuclear power issues focussed on both the decline of the nuclear power industry, and the desperate efforts of the industry to survive. Notably in Britain, a clearly uneconomic pro nuclear programme has been pushed, with the gigantic Hinkley white elephant in the lead. In America, subsidising of nuclear power is a contentious issue.

Meanwhile. nuclear countries, unable to make the nuclear industry profitable, and unable to deal with its toxic wastes, have persisted in their marketing drive to export nuclear technology. The target countries are many, but South East Asia is a prime example. That campaign for SE Asia suffered a setback when South Australians rejected an ill-advised government push to commercially import nuclear wastes – a plan that was intended to solve the problem for new nuclear stations in South East Asia.

Within the nuclear lobby, a quiet battle has gone on between the conventional Big Nuclear Reactor industry, and the campaigners for Small Nuclear Reactors. The latter reactors do not exist, but their hype is everywhere, particularly led by Bill Gates and various nuclear front groups. Unfortunately, Gates has bought into the nuclear lobby’s deception about nuclear fixing climate change.

So – we end the year with climate change not just looming, but already here, endangering us and other species. The extraordinary attention given to Donald Trump and his impact on global climate and nuclear policy leaves us with very worrying questions.

Arrest of Lucas Heights nuclear security consultant

December 24, 2016

secret-agent-AustWhy is this article , from The Age print version, not published on the Internet version?

The Age, 24 Dec 16, Eamon Duff. A security consultant who held a “top secret” government clerance inside Australia’s only nuclear facility has been arrested and charged with the
illegal possession of “official secrets” and an unauthorised weapon.

Until February last year, Anthony Rami Haddad was manager of security and operations at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, safeguarding the site against theft, diversion and sabotage.

However, following  a stint in the Middle easrt where he worked on another nuclear security project, he returned hom eto Sydney, and last month became entangled in an unrelated investigation being run by the Australian Federal Police’s fraud and anti-corruption team.

A fortnight ago, Haddad appeared before Sydney’s Downi8ng Centre Local court, where he pleaded guilty to unauthorised receipt of official secrets under the Commonwealth crimes Act.

He has yet to enter a plea for a second charge, ppossessing an unauthorised prohibited firearm. His barrister, Nikolaos Siafakas, will apply to have the outstanding matter dealt with under section 32 of teh Mental Health Act……..

According to ANSTO documents, Haddad’s many responsibilities at Lucas Heights included the “mamagement of security operations” at the onsite Little Forest radioactive waste dump and its “seamless integration” into the facility’s “wider” protective security systems.

Haddad will reappear in court on Februaty 7. No link available. I couldn’t find this on the Internet