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AUKUS, nuclear submarines and the new dangers of weapons proliferation and war

Paul Keating has explained the folly of antagonising China, constantly provoking further militarisation. Regional countries are concerned at the heightened militarisation, and the passage of nuclear submarines through their waters. The use of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) fuel brings risks of weapons proliferation. Now the previously nuclear-free zone looks like soon to be bristling with nuclear weapons .

And the big corporations that rule USA policy, UK policy, and now Australian policy, will be rejoicing. Watch as UK’s BAE Systems and USA’s General Dynamics fight it out for the loot from Australian tax-payers.


September 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

“Having a meeting is not necessarily the same as dialogue, and if it is a one-way explanation meeting, it is no different from an online video or television”

September 21, 2021

The release of treated water into the ocean was explained 532 times in advance…

A request for information disclosure made by NHK has revealed that the government claimed to have held a total of 532 “opinion exchanges” and “briefing sessions” regarding the increasing amount of treated water at the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in the year leading up to April 2012, when it decided to release the water into the ocean.
On the other hand, even after the decision was made, there are still strong opposition to the release of radioactive materials from fishermen in the prefecture, raising questions about the nature of the discussions.

The government says that the decision to release treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the sea was made after listening to the opinions of related parties, based on the report of a national sub-committee which said that “release into the sea or the atmosphere is realistic.
However, even after the decision was made, a series of resolutions and opinion letters opposing the policy were issued by fishery groups and parliamentary assemblies in Fukushima Prefecture, claiming that there was not enough discussion.
Therefore, NHK requested the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), which is in charge of the policy, to disclose the documents showing what discussions the government had with the relevant parties before the decision was made.

In response, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) disclosed a list of the subjects and dates of “opinion exchanges” and “briefing sessions” held between January 31, 2011, when the national subcommittee compiled its draft report, and April 13, 2011, when the government decided on the policy of oceanic release.

According to the list, a total of 532 “opinion exchanges” and “briefing sessions” were held in and outside of Fukushima Prefecture over a period of more than one year and two months.
The average number of times per day is two per point, with the highest number of times per day being 14.
The breakdown of the targets, in descending order of frequency, is as follows: heads of local governments in the prefecture 83 times, fishery-related organizations 74 times, and local government councils 72 times.
On the other hand, consumers were interviewed 18 times, the tourism industry 12 times, the head of a local government outside the prefecture 23 times, and the assembly of a local government outside the prefecture 15 times.

Masahiro Matsuura, a professor at Meiji University’s Graduate School of Public Policy who is an expert on science and technology policy and consensus building, said, “It is possible that there was a lack of dialogue in the sense of gaining understanding,” and added, “Having a meeting is not necessarily the same as dialogue, and if it is a one-way explanation meeting, it is no different from an online video or television. Dialogue is only possible when the participating fishermen and the general public speak out and the explanation is given in the form of a catch-all game. Even if an opinion is received, if the bureaucrat without authority continues to say, ‘We will take it back to Tokyo for consideration,’ it is not dialogue. If the prime minister, ministers, and other people who can make substantive decisions came to the meeting and answered specific questions on the spot, it might not have been necessary to hold the meeting as many times. It will be important to evaluate the state of the debate over treated water over time,” he said.

Fishermen: “There was no discussion.
The government has held more than 70 “opinion exchanges” and “briefing sessions” with fishermen, but after the policy was decided, fishermen in Fukushima Prefecture said that the decision was unilateral.
In July 2020, the Soma Futaba Fishermen’s Cooperative Association in the northern part of the prefecture held a total of four briefing sessions for fishermen belonging to the cooperative, divided into four districts.
However, according to the fishermen who participated in the briefings, most of the briefings were about the report compiled by the subcommittee, and they rarely exchanged opinions with each other about the disposal method or reputational measures.
Mr. Masahiro Kikuchi, the vice president of the association, said, “At the time of the briefing, we hadn’t decided whether to release the waste into the ocean or into the air, and there were no concrete explanations about measures against harmful rumors. There were no further meetings, and I feel that the decision was made unilaterally. I think that if they had held monthly meetings with young fishermen, including those who will be responsible for the future of the fishery, and listened to their opinions, they would have come up with an answer that would have satisfied some, if not all, of them.

Co-op: “Not enough explanation to consumers”
More than 70 “opinion exchanges” and “briefing sessions” were held for fishermen, heads of local governments and assemblies in the prefecture, but only 18 briefings were given to consumers.
At Fukushima Prefecture’s Co-op Fukushima, where about 200,000 households in the prefecture are members, no briefing was held by the government before the policy was decided.
Shunkichi Nonaka, the general manager of the co-op, said that he feels that there was an overwhelming lack of opportunities to hear the opinions of consumers, some of whom are opposed to the release of radioactive materials into the ocean due to safety concerns.
Mr. Nonaka said, “All citizens are consumers, and I thought it was necessary to give a broad explanation to consumers, but I think the government and TEPCO did not give enough consideration to this. I think the government and TEPCO should have consulted with us before deciding on the policy of releasing radioactive materials into the ocean and asked us what we thought about it.

The government official said, “We discussed it to a great extent.
Regarding the fact that the government and related parties held more than 500 opinion exchanges and briefing sessions over a period of about one year and two months, Mr. Masato Kino, Counselor of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, said, “We have been visiting related parties who are likely to be affected by the rumors due to the disposal of the treated water, and our staff members have been working together to make a list of them. We believe that we have exchanged opinions with all kinds of people to a considerable extent. There were people who opposed the release of treated water into the ocean, but I believe we have incorporated the opinions we have heard into our decision-making process.
As for the fact that we have not gained the understanding of fishermen and others regarding our policy on the release of radioactive materials, he said, “We are doing our best to prevent rumors. I think we are still at the stage where people don’t feel safe, so our mission is to do our best. glnFBLeKhvs

September 23, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Women to bring a wake-up call to a world facing nuclear annihilation

Women To Claim Their Seat at the Nuclear Table

With women still underrepresented in nuclear policymaking and national security planning while being disproportionately impacted by nuclear weapons due to ionizing radiation from their use, testing, manufacturing, storage, and transport, Lazaroff reimagines and redefines national security with her Women Transforming Our Nuclear Legacy (WTONL) global online mentoring program.

Convinced that strong leadership demands “new thinking, not new weapons,” WTONL’s gathering of minds–with U.S. and Russian women experts and citizen diplomats reimagining security–has engaged 400 women from 40 countries including eight of the nine nuclear-armed states.

Excluding women–half of the human race–for much of the nuclear age has brought us to the brink of possible extinction,” Lazaroff advocates for a feminist foreign policy. “We need dialogue over silence, engagement over isolation, cooperation and diplomacy over conflict and war.”

After Her Nuclear Disaster Dress Rehearsal, Cynthia Lazaroff Has A Wake-Up Call For Our World As We Sleepwalk Into Nuclear Extinction Jackie Abramian ForbesWomen, 22 Sept 21, “There are nearly 13,500 nuclear warheads in current arsenals of nine nuclear-armed states. That the U.S. has more nuclear warheads than hospitals should be a wake-up call,” says award-winning documentary filmmaker, environmentalist, nuclear weapons abolition activist, Cynthia Lazaroff who having lived through a 38-minute nuclear cataclysm dress rehearsal in January 2018, hopes to wake up our world to the looming threat of sleepwalking into a nuclear disaster. 

Lazaroff’s wake-up call came on the morning of January 13, 2018, when, along with all Hawaiian residents, she received a text: “Emergency Alert: Ballistic Missile Threat Inbound to Hawaii. Seek Immediate Shelter. This is not a drill.” As the reality of the moment unfolded, she scurried about her home, as a nuclear age refugee, hastily deciding which objects to take to the security of a nearby cave–while desperately trying to reach her daughter’s cellphone to let her know, perhaps for the last time to say “goodbye and I love you.” She detailed the harrowing 38-minutes–later confirmed as a false alarm–in her Dawn of a New Armageddon, published on August 6, (Hiroshima Day) in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

The experience led Lazaroff to found NuclearWakeUpCall.Earth a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to abolishing nuclear weapons with a focus on the U.S. and Russia–which combined have over 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons. She is also on the Board of American Committee for U.S.-Russia Accord, which issued an open letter calling for a new era of diplomacy and engagement between the U.S. and Russia prior to the Biden-Putin summit. She applauds the resumed Biden-Putin dialogue and the “signs of hope”–the New START treaty extension for another five years, Secretary John Kerry’s Moscow visit and meetings with Minister of Foreign Affairs Lavrov as “realizing our shared interest to address the existential threat of climate change,” and the late July U.S.-Russia strategic stability talks in Geneva following the Summit. 

“Our demonization of Russia, N. Korea, Iran, and China is justifying the continued military buildup. In 2020, during the global pandemic, the nine nuclear-armed states spent nearly $73 billion on nuclear weapons–over $137,000 per minute, with the U.S. spending over half of this total–$37.4 billion, $70,881 per minute,” Citing Elisabeth Eaves’ article on the newly commissioned $100 billion ground based strategic deterrent (GBSD), Lazaroff underscores the “insane” might of the military industrial complex amidst layers of existential threats of climate change, the pandemic, and racial and socio-economic injustices of our world.

Another sign of hope is 122 countries adopting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) with 86 signatory states, while 55 countries have ratified the treaty which entered into force this January. The first treaty Lazaroff says, that is “based not on military law but on humanitarian law” addressing “nuclear colonialism and radioactive racism, the disproportionate impact of nuclear weapons on indigenous peoples, and on women and girls due to ionizing radiation. It is also the first providing assistance to victims of nuclear use and testing and for the remediation of contaminated environments.”

Even with everything I knew about nuclear weapons, nuclear war was unimaginable to me until I lived through those 38 minutes. Now this experience lives inside of me as a mother, as a human being, with a responsibility to wake up and transform our nuclear legacy. It’s never going to go away until we eliminate the risk 100%–I know eliminating nuclear weapons is a tall order. I have no illusions about the formidable obstacles, but we must act. We still have a chance to get this right,” Lazaroff offers a Nuclear Playbook–a 10-step action program with critical recommendations for averting a nuclear catastrophe put forth by Congressional leaders, arms control and security experts, and NGOs such as the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), William J. Perry Project, Ploughshares Fund, Global Zero, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Back from the Brink, among others…………..

Decriminalizing Diplomacy of Peace

“Part of my work is to decriminalize diplomacy with Russia, North Korea, Iran and China. It’s omnicidal behavior not to talk to your nuclear adversary. You can’t just obtain denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula without changing the relationship, without creating the conditions for peace,” says Lazaroff.

The “commercially driven millisecond news cycles,” harboring the “us vs. them” mentality fuels greater divides, “deterring alliance around shared global threats, while lacking introspection,” Lazaroff believes. She commends JFK’s 1963 American University speech, ‘Strategy of Peace’ following the Cuban Missile Crisis when JFK courageously called for ‘introspection’, not to be ‘blind to our differences,’ and addressed our common and ‘mutually deep interests’ with the Soviet Union ‘in a just and genuine peace and in halting the arms race.’

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September 23, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Women | Leave a comment

USA has conned Australia into paying for its super-costly nuclear submarine project

Last week’s AUKUS announcement was nothing more than PR stunt in Australia, with the government merely committing to spend the next 18 months deciding what to buy—which conveniently kicks any actual the decision far enough down the road to avoid the next federal election. 

Has PM put Australia on the hook to finance struggling UK, US submarine projects? Michael West Media, By Marcus Reubenstein| September 23, 2021,

“Almost comical”. Experts lambast Scott Morrison’s “crazy” AUKUS deal to buy nuclear submarine tech from parlous UK and US programs. Marcus Reubenstein finds a real prospect Australia will be used to “underwrite” the foundering foreign submarine industry.

Twenty-five years of ongoing maintenance delays for nuclear submarines, chronic shortage of both parts and skilled workers, under capacity at shipyards, and attack class submarines missing from deployments for up to nine months. These sound like potential problems for Australia’s future nuclear submarine fleet but they are actual problems right now confronting the US Navy and its fleet of 70 submarines.

The US is at the cutting edge of nuclear propulsion. It has the largest and most sophisticated submarine fleet in the world, its first nuclear submarine was commissioned 67 years ago, and the US has literally decommissioned twice as many nuclear subs as Australia is planning to buy. 

If the US cannot manage to keep its fleet in the water, how can the Morrison government commit up to $100 billion of taxpayer money to secure nuclear submarines and guarantee they will be always operational and ready for deployment?

Professor Hugh White, ANU Professor of Strategic Studies, former Deputy Secretary of Defence and an eminent figure in strategic policy, wrote in The Saturday Paper, “The old plan was to build a conventionally powered version of a nuclear-powered French submarine. It was crazy.”

“The new plan—to buy a nuclear-powered submarine instead—is worse”. 

Says White, “There is a reason why only six countries, all of them nuclear-armed, operate nuclear powered subs.”

The sales pitch is underway 

Last week’s AUKUS announcement was nothing more than PR stunt in Australia, with the government merely committing to spend the next 18 months deciding what to buy—which conveniently kicks any actual the decision far enough down the road to avoid the next federal election. 

The ripples of the announcement, however, reached British shores in double-quick time. Just two days after the AUKUS alliance UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallis announced a $320 million (£170m) grant to be shared between BAE Systems and Rolls Royce to develop technology for Britain’s next generation submarines. 

According to Department of Finance figures, In the past twelve months BAE Systems has collected $1.88 billion from Australian taxpayers. The Astute class submarine, touted as one of the two options Australia is considering, is manufactured by BAE Systems. 

US Naval analyst, and Forbes Defense columnist, Craig Hooper predicts AUKUS could give the US Navy a big shot in the arm as well. He says a deal with Australia could effectively underwrite major improvements to the US Navy’s outdated submarine maintenance facilities by supporting “America’s decade-long, $US25 billion ($34.6 billion) effort to refit the U.S. Navy’s four aging public shipyards. With yard repair costs already high, America would go to great lengths to welcome any additional bidders for shipyard capability improvements.”

US subs in dry dock In a report published six months ago, the US Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found: “The Navy’s four shipyards have experienced significant delays in completing maintenance on its submarines (all of which are nuclear-powered).” ………. Should Australia go down the nuclear sub path what choice will it have other than to outsource the fleet’s maintenance?   …..

Her Majesty’s sub optimal fleet

Britain, touted as the alternative nuclear submarine supplier to Australia, has problems of its own. The Royal Navy operates ten submarines, only four of them were designed and commissioned this century. 

Like their American nuclear counterparts there are systemic problems keeping these subs in service……

That report also indicated significant delays to the BAE Systems built Astute hunter-killer submarines, the same class of nuclear submarine being touted for Australian as part of the AUKUS deal……….

September 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, marketing, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

AUKUS, nuclear submarines, Highly Enriched Uranium and weapons proliferation

The AUKUS decision to equip Australia with SSNs not only is a fool’s errand but also could pose a grave threat to regional and international security.

Australia’s acquisition of SSNs under AUKUS could well open a Pandora’s box of proliferation with non-nuclear-weapon states such as Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea among others also going in for nuclear-powered submarines and keeping nuclear fuel (both low- and highly-enriched uranium) outside the scope of IAEA safeguards. This would weaken the IAEA safeguards (verification) system already facing challenges from new technologies and open up possibilities of diversion of nuclear material for nuclear weapons.

Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines will risk opening a Pandora’s box of proliferation, By Tariq Rauf, 22, 2021 The AUKUS decision to equip Australia with SSNs not only is a fool’s errand but also could pose a grave threat to regional and international security.

After first suffering a seeming “brain snap” to acquire a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs) some years back, at long last Australia has been promised a fleet of eight SSNs by the Biden administration under the newly minted and awkwardly named AUKUS (Australia, United Kingdom and United States) alliance against China.

Fresh from an ignominious debacle in Afghanistan that led to that bedevilled country once again falling under the repression of the murderous Taliban, the Biden administration has capped off its recent Afghan escapade by driving a stake through the global nuclear non-proliferation regime through its ill-advised decision to supply SSNs and related technology to Australia.

The problem

Nuclear-powered submarines of the United States (and the United Kingdom) reportedly are fuelled with highly-enriched uranium (HEU) of 93 per cent to 97 per cent enrichment level that can last for up to 33 years — this is the same enrichment level as for use in nuclear weapons. In contrast, French nuclear-powered submarines run on low-enriched uranium 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent enrichment level and need to be refuelled on average after about 10 years but do not need weapon-grade enriched uranium.

Nuclear ship propulsion technology and reactor design for military vessels as well as the isotopic composition and quantity of their nuclear fuel remains highly classified. When Canada was considering acquiring a fleet of SSNs in 1987, the two potential suppliers were France (Rubis/Améthyste-class) and the United Kingdom (Trafalgar-class).

In the case of the United Kingdom, Canada was informed that US Congressional approval would be required for the UK to construct and supply SSNs (with US design reactors and nuclear fuel) to Canada. The nuclear ship propulsion reactor design and nuclear fuel information would be subject to a high level of classification. With this requirement for secrecy, Canada would not have been able to provide detailed information to the IAEA under its Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) safeguards agreement (INFCIRC/164) thereby creating a loophole or gap in IAEA safeguards coverage in Canada. A certain (likely unspecified) large quantity of HEU for naval nuclear fuel would be taken out of safeguards for use in the SSNs and the spent fuel coming out the boats after 30 years or more also would be subject to secrecy. Thus the IAEA would not be able to measure the quantity or isotopic composition or to verify the HEU in naval use.

The IAEA Additional Protocol, to safeguards agreements, provides for the “broader conclusion” regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material or activities. As such, to be clear and precise, were Australia to withhold from the IAEA information on and access to its naval nuclear fuel, then the IAEA would be unable to provide a broader conclusion for Australia under its additional protocol INFCIRC/217/Add.1.

Australia and the two other AUKUS states have communicated to the IAEA director general their intention for the Royal Australian Navy to acquire a fleet of SSNs and this means that at some future time Australia would be invoking paragraph 14 of its NPT safeguards agreement to exclude significant quantities of highly-enriched uranium for naval nuclear fuel. Thus, the claim by AUKUS states “that a critical objective of this cooperation will be to maintain “the strength of both the nuclear non-proliferation regime and Australia’s exemplary non-proliferation credentials” and that they will be “engaging with the IAEA throughout the coming months” is at best an oxymoron.

It should be matter of serious concern for the IAEA board of governors that the “IAEA will engage with them [AUKUS] on this matter in line with its statutory mandate, and in accordance with their respective safeguards agreements with the agency” — as this does not make much sense in that the paragraph 14 provisions on keeping HEU naval nuclear fuel out of safeguards apply only to Australia and not to the UK and the US (the latter two being nuclear-weapon states).

The only responsible course for the IAEA board of governors should be to warn Australia regarding the deleterious effects on safeguards should it implement paragraph 14 provisions and keep large quantities of HEU for its fleet of SSNs outside of IAEA safeguards. The IAEA board would be well advised to reject any request placed before it from Australia or from any other NPT non-nuclear-weapon state to implement paragraph 14 provisions. Rather, the board should take the responsible decision to revoke application of paragraph 14 of INFCIRC/153 (Corr.) and in all related safeguards agreements, much like the board rescinded the original provisions of the Small Quantities Protocol in 2005.

Australia’s acquisition of SSNs under AUKUS could well open a Pandora’s box of proliferation with non-nuclear-weapon states such as Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea among others also going in for nuclear-powered submarines and keeping nuclear fuel (both low- and highly-enriched uranium) outside the scope of IAEA safeguards. This would weaken the IAEA safeguards (verification) system already facing challenges from new technologies and open up possibilities of diversion of nuclear material for nuclear weapons. The AUKUS decision to equip Australia with SSNs not only is a fool’s errand but also could pose a grave threat to regional and international security.

This article was first published by the Toda Peace Institute and is reproduced with permission. Tariq Rauf was formerly head of verification and security policy coordination, office reporting to the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency and previously advised Canada’s parliamentary committees on national defence and foreign affairs.

September 23, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chernobyl’s legacy recorded in trees

The twisted stems of Scots pines have been attributed to mutations caused by radiation exposure

 Exposure to radiation from the 1986 Chernobyl accident had a lasting negative legacy on the area’s trees, a study has suggested. Researchers said the worst effects were recorded in the “first few years” but surviving trees were left vulnerable to environmental stress, such as drought.

They added that young trees appeared to be particularly affected. Writing in the journal Trees, the team said it was the first study to look at the impact at a landscape scale. “Our field results were consistent with previous findings that were based on much smaller sample sizes,” explained co-author Tim Mousseau from the University of South Carolina, US.

“They are also consistent with the many reports of genetic impacts to these trees,” he told BBC News. “Many of the trees show highly abnormal growth forms reflecting the effects of mutations and cell death resulting from radiation exposure.”

 BBC 9th Aug 2021

September 23, 2021 Posted by | environment, Ukraine | Leave a comment

An incompetent threesome – Morrison, Biden; Johnson – out of their depth on nuclear submarine decision

How to lose friends and infuriate people, SMH, Niki Savva   22 Sept 21 Scott Morrison’s momentous national security announcement last week should have been a turning point for him and the government. Instead, because he delayed making one tough call, leaving himself open to accusations of backstabbing and deception from a great friend and ally, he robbed himself of a much-needed reset.

A few days later he again squibbed what should have been a straightforward decision involving a senior colleague, on a matter which goes to the heart of transparency and probity.

Both were about trust. Both provided insights into the most troubling aspects of Morrison’s character and management style. Both have left a very bad smell.

The first was the big-bang unveiling of the new Anglospheric alliance – upending decades of diplomatic endeavours in Asia – which included the planned acquisition of nuclear submarines from the US or the UK.

By waiting until the night before the announcement to advise President Emmanuel Macron (Morrison’s office refuses to answer when asked if they actually spoke) he was torpedoing the $90-billion contract with France for conventional submarines, he guaranteed they went nuclear.

The second sounded like a transmission from a parallel universe. Morrison presented Christian Porter’s resignation from Cabinet as industry minister after refusing to disclose names of anonymous donors as the action of a man upholding standards………………….

Over breakfast, Australians watched Morrison standing beside a man who could not remember his name, who looked like he should have stayed in bed, and another man who looked like he had just got out of bed.

Sleepy Joe Biden, fresh from the Afghanistan withdrawal disaster, and Boris Johnson, who has had trouble counting the number of children he has, desperately seeking to create a place for Britain in the world post-Brexit.

One of Australia’s most senior and most respected former diplomats, John McCarthy, who chafes at the overhyping of the deal while not dismissing its importance, is still mulling over its implications. But he seems sure about one thing: none of those three leaders is up to the challenges which lie ahead.

McCarthy says Morrison has limited experience and probably lacks the smarts. Biden is not a bad man but is mediocre, and if Lord North, prime minister from 1770 to 1782 during most of the American War of Independence, is the worst the UK has ever produced, then Johnson is right up there with him.

McCarthy names two leaders he believes would be capable. One, Angela Merkel, has just retired and the other – cue the French horn – is Macron.

September 23, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

French ambassador says Scott Morrison gave no warning on the nuclear submarine deal

‘Maybe we’re not friends’: French Ambassador claims ScoMo offered no warning about AUKUS deal   A powerful French official has slammed Scott Morrison, accusing the Prime Minister of one thing to do with the submarine deal. , Helena Burke, 20 Sep 21   
The former French Ambassador to Australia has ripped into Scott Morrison for his defence of the AUKUS submarine deal, claiming the Prime Minister lied about warning France about it.

Jean-Pierre Thebault, who had been the French Ambassador in Canberra since 2020, was recalled last week after France expressed outrage at being left out of the new nuclear submarine deal between the US, UK, and Australia.

Speaking to Radio National on Monday, Mr Thebault said France had been completely blindsided by Mr Morrison’s decision to accept the new deal.

“We discover(ed) through the press that the most important person in the Australian government kept us in the dark intentionally until the last minute and was not willing to at least have the decency to enter conversation about the alternative,” Mr Thebault said.

“This is not an Australian attitude towards friends.”

Maybe we’re not friends.”

Mr Morrison had previously rejected that he had not warned France about the new deal, insisting he told French President Emmanuel Macron in June that Australia might scrap its original submarine agreement,,,,

But the French Ambassador insisted France had never been warned about the potential for a new deal which would exclude them.

September 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Former submarines boss blasts ‘hocus pocus’ nuclear deal

Ohff described the centrepiece of the new AUKUS security pact as effectively “spur of the moment between Biden, Johnson and Morrison”, saying: “In the end we won’t get the subs the Government wants to procure – it’s all hocus pocus.”

In the end, the US military is unlikely to agree to the transfer of technology,” he said.

It’s almost comical – if it wasn’t so serious.

Former subs boss blasts ‘hocus pocus’ nuclear deal

A former head of ASC has blasted Australia’s “insane deal” with the US and the UK to build nuclear-powered submarines in Adelaide, deriding a “hocus pocus” announcement he says raises major issues about nuclear and defence capability. Tom Richardson @tomrichardson 

 Hans Ohff, who was managing director and CEO of the then-Australian Submarine Corporation from 1993 to 2002, says he does not believe the mooted submarine deal will materialise as planned for Australia, saying: “I believe it will be stymied because the US military establishment will not underwrite the tacit agreement made between the US President, the British and Australian PMs.”

Ohff insists “there will be no transfer of technical know-how to Australia”, arguing “the submarine propulsion train – not just the reactor – will be a black box accessible only to the US”.

In an emailed statement sent to InDaily’s Your Views, Ohff, who is also a research fellow at Adelaide University, said it was incumbent on the federal government “to inform the Australian people on the strategic, environmental, commercial, and political ramifications and consequences before deciding on the acquisition of nuclear-powered attack submarines”.

“We need to fully appreciate the issues and complexities associated with the design, assembly, operation and maintenance of nuclear submarines powered with highly enriched… weapons-grade uranium,” he said.

“We need to understand that the acquisition of HEU [Highly Enriched Uranium]-235 fissile material would challenge the spirit if not the letter of the Treaty of Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.”

Speaking to InDaily, he went further, saying the plan would have “unbelievable consequences, both here and in Europe” as well as “massive consequences for Outer Harbor”.It’s almost comical – if it wasn’t so serious… Prime Minister Morrison and his Defence Minister have blown up the bridge behind them

“There are big issues with putting highly enriched uranium reactors anywhere in Australia, let alone Outer Harbor,” he said.

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September 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New push on to expand nuclear radiation compensation in US

New push on to expand nuclear radiation compensation in US, Sep. 22, 2021 By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, The Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A bipartisan group of lawmakers is renewing a push to expand a U.S. compensation program for people who were exposed to radiation following uranium mining and nuclear testing carried out during the Cold War.

Advocates have been trying for years to bring awareness to the lingering effects of nuclear fallout surrounding the Trinity Site in southern New Mexico, where the U.S. military detonated the first atomic bomb, and on the Navajo Nation, where more than 30 million tons of uranium ore were extracted over decades to support U.S. nuclear activities.

Under legislation introduced Wednesday by U.S. Sens. Ben Ray Luján, a Democrat from New Mexico, and Mike Crapo, a Republican from Idaho, other sites across the American West would be added to the list of places affected by fallout and radiation exposure. Eligibility also would be expanded to include certain workers in the industry after 1971, such as miners.

The legislation also would increase the amount of compensation someone can receive to $150,000 and provide coverage for additional forms of cancer.

A multibillion-dollar defense spending package approved last year included an apology to New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and other states affected by radiation from nuclear testing, but no action was taken on legislation that sought to change and broaden the compensation program.

Advocates, including those who testified before Congress earlier this year, say it’s time to do so, especially because the existing provisions are set to expire next July. The legislation would extend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, or RECA, another 19 years.

Tina Cordova, a cancer survivor and co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, said she has been working on the legislation for months with other residents of places affected by radiation, from Indigenous communities in New Mexico to Gaum.

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September 23, 2021 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Already the ”nuclear for climate for COP26 ” deceitful propaganda is underway, with a ”clean energy certificate”

The scheme provides an accreditation system based on internationally recognised standards and lays the foundations for a market for trading renewable and nuclear energy attributes.

Abu Dhabi launches clean energy certificate scheme, WNN, 22 September 2021

The Abu Dhabi Department of Energy (DoE) has issued a regulatory policy for implementing a clean energy certificates scheme it says will cater to a growing appetite among businesses and consumers to contribute to the fight against climate change. The scheme provides an accreditation system based on internationally recognised standards and lays the foundations for a market for trading renewable and nuclear energy attributes.

The Regulatory Policy for Clean Energy Certificates, which was announced by the department on 29 August, is part of its commitment to drive the transition to a sustainable decarbonised energy sector. ………………………..

September 23, 2021 Posted by | spinbuster, United Arab Emirates | Leave a comment

North Korea returns to its missile diplomacy

Pushing the nuclear envelope’: North Korea’s missile diplomacy  Guardian, 

Analysis: Fear and uncertainty of the Obama years could return as Kim Jong-un revives nuclear ambitions    Reuters. Justin McCurry in Tokyo, Wed 22 Sep 2021

North Korea’s recent missile launches signal that the regime has reverted to familiar tactics to attract the attention of the US. Although the rest of the world will take little comfort from this return to “normality”, after a six-month pause Pyongyang last weekend launched what it claimed were new long-range cruise missiles capable of hitting Japan, followed hours later by the test launch of two ballistic missiles into the sea, apparently from a train.

Then came the clearest sign since its last nuclear test in 2017 that the North is not about to abandon its project to build a viable deterrent, with satellite images showing it was expanding a uranium enrichment plant at its main Yongbyon nuclear complex……….. (registered readers only)

September 23, 2021 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Interaction of Nuclear Waste With the Environment More Complicated Than Previously Thought

Interaction of Nuclear Waste With the Environment May Be More Complicated Than Previously Thought, September 22 2021
| Original story from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory  Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists and collaborators have proposed a new mechanism by which nuclear waste could spread in the environment.

The new findings, which involve researchers at Penn State and Harvard Medical School, have implications for nuclear waste management and environmental chemistry. The research is published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

“This study relates to the fate of nuclear materials in nature, and we stumbled upon a previously unknown mechanism by which certain radioactive elements could spread in the environment,” said LLNL scientist and lead author Gauthier Deblonde. “We show that there are molecules in nature that were not considered before, notably proteins like ‘lanmodulin’ that could have a strong impact on radioelements that are problematic for nuclear waste management, such as americium, curium, etc.”

Past and present nuclear activities (e.g., for energy, research or weapon tests) have increased the urgency to understand the behavior of radioactive materials in the environment. Nuclear wastes containing actinides (e.g. plutonium, americium, curium and neptunium) are particularly problematic, as they remain radioactive and toxic for thousands of years.

However, very little is known about the chemical form of these elements in the environment, forcing scientists and engineers to use models to predict their long-term behavior and migration patterns. Thus far, these models have only considered interactions with small natural compounds, mineral phases and colloids, and the impact of more complex compounds like proteins has been largely ignored. The new study demonstrates that a type of protein that is abundant in nature vastly outcompetes molecules that scientists previously considered as the most problematic in terms of actinide migration in the environment.

 “The recent discovery that some bacteria specifically use rare-earth elements has opened new areas of biochemistry with important technological applications and potential implications for actinide geochemistry, because of chemical similarities between the rare-earths and actinides,” said Joseph Cotruvo Jr., Penn State assistant professor and co-corresponding author on the paper.

The protein called lanmodulin is a small and abundant protein in many rare-earth-utilizing bacteria. It was discovered by the Penn State members of the team in 2018. While the Penn State and LLNL team has studied in detail how this remarkable protein works and how it can be applied to extract rare-earths, the protein’s relevance to radioactive contaminants in the environment was previously unexplored.

“Our results suggest that lanmodulin, and similar compounds, play a more important role in the chemistry of actinides in the environment than we could have imagined,” said LLNL scientist Annie Kersting. “Our study also points to the important role that selective biological molecules can play in the differential migration patterns of synthetic radioisotopes in the environment.”

“The study also shows for the first time that lanmodulin prefers the actinide elements over any other metals, including the rare-earth elements, an interesting property than could be used for novel separation processes,” said LLNL scientist Mavrik Zavarin.

Rare-earth element biochemistry is a very recent field that Penn State and LLNL have helped to pioneer, and the new work is the first to explore how the environmental chemistry of actinides may be linked to nature’s use of rare-earth elements. Lanmodulin’s higher affinity for actinides might even mean that rare-earth-utilizing organisms that are ubiquitous in nature may preferentially incorporate certain actinides into their biochemistry, according to Deblonde.

Deblonde GJ-P, Mattocks JA, Wang H, et al. Characterization of Americium and Curium Complexes with the Protein Lanmodulin: A Potential Macromolecular Mechanism for Actinide Mobility in the Environment. J Am Chem Soc. Published online September 20, 2021. doi:10.1021/jacs.1c07103

September 23, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Vatican concerned over deal for Australian nuclear-powered subs

Vatican’s Cardinal Parolin concerned over deal for Australian nuclear-powered subs, Sep 22, 2021 by Catholic News Service ROME — Plans by the United States and Great Britain to give Australia the technology needed for nuclear-powered submarines go counter to global disarmament efforts, said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state…….

“One cannot but be concerned” by the announcement made in mid-September by U.S. President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the cardinal said.

Parolin, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, president of the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union and Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, were speaking Sept. 22 at a conference on “Christian Values and the Future of Europe” sponsored by the European People’s Party…………..

September 23, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Iran clearly wants to return to nuclear talks

‘Very clear intent’ by Iran to return to nuclear talks, Ireland says
, By Michelle Nichols   UNITED NATIONS, Sept 22 (Reuters) – Iran’s foreign minister expressed a “very clear intent” to return to nuclear talks in Vienna, Ireland’s foreign minister said on Wednesday after meeting with his Iranian counterpart on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

“That may not happen for a number of weeks, as the new Iranian government finalizes their approach towards those negotiations. But certainly, he expressed a very clear intent to return to those negotiations,” Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign minister, told reporters.

Ireland is currently a member of the U.N. Security Council and coordinates the 15-member body’s work on a 2015 Iran nuclear deal between Tehran, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia………

In a video statement, Raisi told the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations on Tuesday that Tehran wants to resume nuclear talks with world powers that would lead to removal of U.S. sanctions.

September 23, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment