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Thousands join Indigenous Australians to protest nuclear waste dumping plans

Nuclear waste dump protesters bring the fight from outback South Australia to the city, By Lauren Waldhuter   http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-15/nuclear-waste-dump-protesters-bring-the-fight-to-adelaide/7935954

Traditional landowners from South Australia’s outback have brought their fight against proposed nuclear storage facilities to the steps of Parliament House.

About 3,000 people rallied against proposed nuclear waste dumps, with Aboriginal families affected by nuclear testing at Maralinga among the crowd.

protest-adelaide-16

The State Government is considering whether it should store the world’s high-grade nuclear waste at a site somewhere in South Australia.

At the same time, the Federal Government is considering building its first storage facility for Australia’s low-grade radioactive waste, having short-listed Wallerberdina station, near Hawker in the Flinders Ranges, as a preferred site.

Traditional landowner Karina Lester said many people did not want to see either proposal go ahead.

“We are starting to unite and we are starting to really think about how we’re going to fight this, because it concerns us and we have a cultural responsibility,” she said.

“People travelled from the Mid North [and] from Ceduna as well to be part of this event and it was so important that they gathered here today to say ‘enough is enough’.

“Having Yalata crew, having Ceduna crew, the Yappala crew being involved is so strong for us as Aboriginal people.”

The protest was held on the 63rd anniversary of the first bomb going off Maralinga in the Woomera Prohibited Area, as part of a national day of action against nuclear dumps.

Renowned film director Scott Hicks lent his voice to the cause, with particular concern about the high-grade dump.

“To me it’s an idea that doesn’t make sense on any level I can look at it,” he said.

“It doesn’t make economic sense. We can’t even predict the price of coal a month from now. How can we predict the price of nuclear waste 100 years from now?

“Why would we want to leave a legacy for our children’s, children’s children and beyond 100,000 years, that can never be taken away?”

What is being proposed?

Federal

  • Low-to-intermediate level radioactive waste generated in Australia stored in a purpose-built facility
  • It would include materials such as nuclear medicine by-products
  • This waste is currently stored in more than 100 sites across Australia, in metropolitan areas, regional towns and cities
  • The project promises at least 15 ongoing jobs and $10 million in funding for the host community once the facility is operational

South Australia

  • The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission found SA could store the world’s high-grade nuclear waste
  • Sealed waste would be stored 500 metres underground in a purpose-built facility
  • The facility could create up to 5,000 jobs during construction and 600 ongoing jobs
  • It is tipped to generate $5.6 billion of annual revenue for SA once established

October 15, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

When the law really IS an ass – International Court of Justice rejects Marshall Islands’ nuclear weapons case

law-an-assNuclear Standoff, CounterPunch,  OCTOBER 14, 2016 …………the Republic of the Marshall Islands has lost its case in the International Court of Justice. On a technicality, no less! Phon van den Biesen, lead attorney for the tiny island nation, which had sued the world’s nine nuclear powers — the United States, Russia, China, Great Britain, France, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea — to begin real nuclear disarmament negotiations, said the case was dismissed earlier this month on a “micro formality,” which in my layman’s grasp of the matter might be called, instead, a desperate legal cop out.

The case, which, technically, was brought against only three of the nine nuclear powers, Great Britain, India and Pakistan (because those are the only three nations that acknowledge the binding authority of the ICJ), was dismissed — in a split decision that could be called the First World against the rest of humanity — on the grounds that there wasn’t sufficient evidence of a dispute between the parties, so the court had no jurisdiction to hear the case on its merits.

Huh?

JOHN PILGER – Breaking The Silence – 2016

The ICJ’s dissenting judges (in the case against Great Britain, the verdict to dismiss was 9-7, against India and Pakistan it was 8-8), expressed as much incredulity as I did on hearing the news.

The Marshall Islands lawsuits (a second suit was also filed, specifically against the United States, in U.S. federal court, and is still pending) demanded compliance with Article VI of the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, signed by the U.S. in 1970, which reads: “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

“General and complete disarmament — do these words actually have meaning?” I asked last January. “Right now the Marshall Islands stand alone among the nations of Planet Earth in believing that they do.”

This tiny nation of islands and atolls — this former U.S. territory — with a population of about 70,000, was the scene of 67 nuclear test blasts in the 1950s, back when bigger was better. Some people’s homes were destroyed for eternity. The islanders suffered ghastly and often lethal levels of radiation and were essentially regarded, by their U.S. overlords, as human guinea pigs — a fantastic opportunity to study the effects of nuclear fallout. Eventually, the U.S. atoned for its destruction by paying the Republic of the Marshall Islands a pathetic $150 million “for all claims, past, present and future.”

Now this nation is trying to save the rest of the planet by insisting that nuclear disarmament negotiations must get underway.

In a dissenting opinion, ICJ Judge Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade of Brazil lamented that the world needed to recognize the “prevalence of human conscience” over national interests.

As Rick Wayman of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation pointed out, of the ICJ justices who voted not to hear the case on its merits, six were from nuclear-armed nations (the U.S., Russia, China, France, Great Britain and India) and the other two from nations (Japan, Italy) “deeply invested in the U.S. ‘nuclear umbrella.’”

The nations of the dissenting judges included Brazil, Somalia, Jamaica, Australia and Morocco…….. The human conscience is dismissed on a technicality……. http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/10/14/nuclear-standoff/

October 15, 2016 Posted by | Legal, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Cyber attacks on nuclear power plants “happen all the time”

NUCLEAR WARNING: Cyber risk for power plants over revelation attacks happen ‘all the time’  Express UK , By MONIKA PALLENBERG AND ZOIE O’BRIEN, 14 Oct 16,   NUCLEAR power plants across the globe are being hit by cyber attacks “all the time”, Express.co.uk can reveal, after a warning from the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Yukiya Amano revealed hack attempts are becoming “a serious threat” to the plants.

During a trip to Berlin he said a successful hack had the capability to disturb procedures and facilities, which could lead to serious consequences. Attacks on nuclear bases have a long history since many reactors, although built before computers, have been retrofitted.

The IAEA boss said attacks on security are “no imaginary danger” anymore. Mr Amano spoke about “disturbing, but not destructive” attacks, although admitted they had caused “considerable problems”.

Precautionary measures are in place at 23 Korean reactors, who have already fallen victims to data theft.

Although data was not critical, as the company Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power assured, but the security systems had to be strengthened.

However, those familiar with nuclear plants said attacks are frequent………http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/721341/Cyber-risk-nuclear-power-plants-attacks-frequent

October 15, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Japan would pay a high price, if they decided to develop nuclear weapons

Yes, Japan Could Build Nuclear Weapons (But at What Cost?), National Interest,  Nidhi Prasad  October 12, 2016 “…….Japan and South Korea are American treaty allies. Both have given up the nuclear option in exchange for protection under the US nuclear umbrella. Despite possessing the technical capacity to go nuclear, Japan hasn’t displayed intent yet. …….

If Japan did decide to go nuclear, there are five critical calculations it must keep in mind.

First, Japan would have to overrule its institutional commitment to the ‘three non-nuclear principles’ declared in 1967 by then prime minister Eisaku Sato as a response to Chinese nuclear tests. This entails that Japan will not produce, possess or position nuclear weapons on its soil. A reinterpretation of Article 9 of the constitution would also be required, which currently does not allow for the maintenance of war potential and offensive weapons.

Japan’s constitution allows for a ‘minimum level of force’ necessary for self-defense. In the past, leaders from the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan have argued in favor of producing tactical nuclear weapons for self-defense purposes. But Japan is part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). To develop an independent deterrent capability, Japan would have to instigate Article 10 of the NPT to withdraw in light of “extraordinary events.” This path would severely damage Japan’s diplomatic capital, which hinges on a rigorous pursuit of disarmament diplomacy.

Second, a Japanese shift in nuclear policy would mean backtracking from its vigorous disarmament and non-proliferation strategies. As the only country to be the victim of an atomic bombing, Japan has developed a sense of nuclear aversion that stems from a moral and political rationale. …….

Third, Japan’s development of nuclear potential would significantly impact its security alliance with the United States. In 1968 Eisaku Sato defined Japanese nuclear policy based on four pillars, which included a reliance on US extended deterrence. Japan breaking out would mean undermining the foundations of the alliance which have become hardwired into the strategic landscape of the region. Japan’s own security policy would also have to be seriously modified.

Fourth, Japan would have to factor in the political ramifications of such a decision, particularly with respect to its relationships with China and South Korea. ………

Last, the domestic consensus on Japan’s nuclear policy would lose stability. During 1968–70 and 1995 Japan conducted domestic debates on the issue, but studies revealed the expensive trade-offs involved with such a pursuit (including the lack of strategic depth). …..

The political cost of going nuclear has become more complex in the 21st century. Japan has looked towards strengthening its insurance policies such as dependence on multilateral regimes and emphasis on US extension of its deterrent when dealing with nuclear threats. Japan’s nuclear insurance against North Korea lies in the strategic assurance of the US nuclear umbrella and the multilateral regimes currently in place. http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/yes-japan-could-build-nuclear-weapons-what-cost-18019?page=2

October 15, 2016 Posted by | Japan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Indigenous forum addresses horrors of nuclear legacy in USA

waste on indigenousNuclear Standoff, CounterPunch,  OCTOBER 14, 2016 “…….This week, as if in sync with the Marshall Islanders, a group called the Native Community Action Council convened the Native American Forum on Nuclear Issues, addressing half a century of lingering horror at another nuclear testing site, in Nevada. The forum addressed such issues as abandoned uranium mines and the proposed high-level nuclear waste disposal site under Yucca Mountain, “in the heart of the Western Shoshone Nation (and) a sacred site for Shoshone and Paiute peoples,” according to the organization’s press release.

“Because of U.S. nuclear testing in Nevada, the Western Shoshone Nation is already the most bombed nation on earth’” the release continues. “They suffer from widespread cancer, leukemia, and other diseases as a result of fallout from more than 1,000 atomic explosions on their territory.”

This is the reality we ignore. We’ve been ignoring it for the last 70 years and, indeed, much longer. We’ve reached the end of our ability to treat the planet, and much of its people, as disposable. Much of humanity knows this, but its leaders are refusing to listen. The human conscience is dismissed on a technicality. http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/10/14/nuclear-standoff/

October 15, 2016 Posted by | indigenous issues, USA | Leave a comment

Energy Efficiency – not sexy – but it works against climate change

Energy Efficiency Is Key To Taking On Climate Change—Here Are The Numbers That Matter https://www.fastcoexist.com/3064550/energy-efficiency-is-key-to-taking-on-climate-change-here-are-the-numbers-that-matter

Energy efficiency needs to account for one-third of all emissions reductions by 2040.  BEN SCHILLER 10.13.16

Energy efficiency isn’t as sexy as inventing new, cleaner forms of power. But, if you care about climate change, you really ought to care about it. Efficiency will need to account for a third of emissions reductions by 2040 if we’re stay within relatively safe global warming limits, according to the International Energy Agency.

energy-efficiency

“Simply put, there are no realistic or affordable energy and climate change policy without a sizable and vigorous energy efficiency component,” the IEA says in a new report.

The good news is we are becoming smarter about energy use. Energy “intensity”—the amount of energy needed to generate a unit of global GDP—improved by 1.8% last year. That was higher than in 2014, even though energy prices have been falling, which normally encourages people to use more energy, not less.

Between 2000 and 2015, IEA countries—including the U.S. and most of Europe—improved their energy intensity by an average of 14%. That’s the equivalent of 450 million tonnes of oil, or enough to power Japan for a whole year. In all, efficiency saved $490 per person across the IEA area, or cumulative energy spending of $4 trillion.

The bad news is that even this rate isn’t enough to meet the 2040 target. The IEA calls on countries to implement more mandatory efficiency targets—likeour CAFE car efficiency standards—and to spread more efficient lighting, heating, and air conditioning technology. Best-in-class equipment could save 14% of global residential energy consumption, the report says.

See more here.

October 15, 2016 Posted by | ARCTIC, ENERGY | Leave a comment