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World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2021

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2021 (WNISR) was released overnight.  For nearly 30 years, these reports have provided important factual antidotes to industry promotion and obfuscation. This year’s report is the work of 13 interdisciplinary experts from across the world.

Naoto Kan, Japan’s Prime Minister at the time of the Fukushima disaster, writes in the foreword: “As Prime Minister of Japan at the time of the disaster, I now believe that the time has come for Japan and the world to end its reliance on nuclear power.”

In broad terms, nuclear power has been stagnant for 30 years. WNISR notes that the world’s fleet of 415
power reactors is 23 fewer than the 2002 peak of 438, but nuclear capacity and generation have marginally increased due to uprating and larger reactors being built.

There is one big difference with the situation 30 years ago: the reactor fleet was young then, now it is old. The ageing of the reactor fleet is a huge problem for the industry (as is the ageing of the nuclear workforce ‒the silver tsunami). The average age of the world’s reactor fleet continues to rise, and by mid-2021 reached 30.9 years. The mean age of the 23 reactors shut down between 2016 and 2020 was 42.6 years. The International Atomic Energy Agency anticipates the closure of around 10 reactors or 10 gigawatts (GW) per year over the next three decades.

Reactor construction starts need to match closures just for the industry to maintain its 30-year pattern of stagnation. But construction starts have averaged only 4.8 per year over the past five years, and
there’s no indication of looming growth. Nuclear power’s contribution to global electricity supply has fallen from a peak of 17.5 percent in 1996 to 10.1 percent in 2020 (a 4.3 percent share of global commercial primary energy consumption).

Renewables reached an estimated 29 percent share of global electricity generation in 2020, a record share. Non-hydro renewables(10.7 percent in 2020) overtook nuclear in 2019 and the gap grew in 2020.

Criminality

In addition to a vast amount of energy data, WNISR includes detailed analyses of the Fukushima and Chernobyl disasters; the vulnerabilities of nuclear power to the impacts of climate change (e.g. dwindling and warming water resources, storm impacts, sea-level rise, etc.); and a chapter on nuclear decommissioning.

WNISR details the slow and unsteady progress of small modular reactors. The report notes that “so-called advanced reactors of various designs, including so-called Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), make a lot of noise in the media but their promoters have provided little evidence for any implementation scheme before a decade at the very least.”

WNISR notes that previous reports have covered irregularities, fraud, counterfeiting, corruption, and other criminal activities in the nuclear sector. This year’s report dedicates a chapter to nuclear criminality and includes 14 case studies with serious implications (safety, public governance) that came to trial in the period 2010-2020.

The report states:

“A stunning number of revelations in recent years on irregularities, fraud, counterfeiting, bribery, corruption, sabotage, theft, and other criminal activities in the nuclear industry in various countries suggest that there is a systemic issue of “criminal energy” in the sector. …

“Although not comprehensive, this analysis offers several noteworthy insights:

* Criminal activities in the nuclear sector are not new. Some major scandals date back decades or have been ongoing for decades.

* Organized crime organizations have been supplying workers to nuclear sites — e.g. the Yakuza in Japan — for over a decade.

* Serious insider sabotage has hit major nuclear countries in recent years — like a Belgian nuclear power plant — without ever leading to arrests.

 There is no systematic, comprehensive, public database on the issue.

* In 2019, the IAEA released a report on cases of counterfeit or fraudulent items in at least seven countries since at least the 1990s.

* In Transparency International’s 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index about half of the 35 countries operating or constructing nuclear power plants on their territory rate under 50 out of 100.

* In the Bribery Payers Index (BPI, last published in 2011), seven out of the ten worst rated
countries operate or are building nuclear power plants on their territory.”

Author: Dr. Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia

 Renew Economy 29th Sept 2021

September 30, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, politics international | 1 Comment

Greta Thunberg mocks world leaders’ words at Youth4Climate

The Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, used her speech at the Youth4Climate conference in Milan to mock the words of world leaders, including UK PM Boris Johnson. The 18-year-old used soundbites from Mr Johnson, such as “expensive bunny hugging” and “build back better”, to highlight what she called the “empty words and promises” of politicians.

Later in the speech, she urged people not to give up hope, saying that change is “not only possible, but urgently necessary”. Many countries have announced ambitious targets to reduce their emissions to tackle climate change.

Analysts say some recent announcements, such as China’s statement that it would not build any more coal plants overseas and the US, EU and others pledging to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030, are signs that progress is being made. But they caution that some major challenges remain.


The UK, for example, has pledged to cut 78% of its emissions by 2035, from a 1990 baseline. But the government’s current plans are projected to deliver less than a quarter of the cuts needed to meet the goal.

 BBC 28th Sept 2021

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-58726531

September 30, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, culture and arts | Leave a comment

No, a nuclear-powered superyacht won’t save the world

Earth to CNN: No, a nuclear-powered superyacht won’t save the world, https://thebulletin.org/2021/09/earth-to-cnn-no-a-nuclear-powered-superyacht-wont-save-the-world/ By Dawn Stover | September 28, 2021 Who knew that a sexy nuclear superyacht could save us from climate catastrophe? That was the awesome news from CNN’s travel desk yesterday.

CNN wasn’t alone. ForbesBBC Science Focus Magazine, and a host of other media outlets have previously hailed the world-rescuing potential of what CNN described as “an emissions-free megaship that will pit together climate scientists and the wealthy in a daring quest to save the planet.”

“Pit together” sounds like an apt description of a would-be merger between luxury tourism and climate action. You can put those two things together in a sentence, but in the real world they mix about as easily as oil and water.

And there’s another big problem with the plan for this overhyped 300-meter-long vessel and its global research: Earth 300, as the $700 million superyacht is called, will be powered by a molten salt nuclear reactor that doesn’t exist yet and won’t be certified for at least five years. The company’s website illustrates the reactor with a scale model of an experiment done in the 1960s at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The website also says the scientists onboard Earth 300 will have the world’s first ocean-going quantum computer. But that, too, has yet to be built.

Meanwhile, the climate crisis needs immediate attention. “We really are out of time,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned this month.

While they wait for a modular nuclear reactor that might never come, the developers of Earth 300 say they will use green synthetic fuels. These are liquid fuels derived from coal or natural gas in a process that captures carbon. However, they are much more expensive than fossil fuels. Aaron Olivera, the entrepreneur behind Earth 300, told CNN he plans to “eventually” retrofit the yacht with a reactor being developed by the UK company Core Power in collaboration with TerraPower, a US nuclear engineering firm chaired by Bill Gates.

Globally, there are at least 171 motorized megayachts that are 75 meters (246 feet) or more in length. Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, is rumored to be buying a superyacht so big that it will have a dock for its own “support yacht.” Eclipse, an even bigger superyacht owned by Russian-Israeli billionaire businessman Roman Abramovich, has its own missile defense system. The largest yacht currently operating, Azzam, is 180 meters (590 feet) long and consumes 13 metric tons of fuel per hour at its top speed of 33 knots. That’s about 0.01 miles (or a little over 50 feet) per gallon.

And the customers Olivera would like to attract—the wealthiest people in the world—also tend to have the world’s largest carbon footprints, thanks in no small part to their habit of traveling aboard superyachts and private airplanes. According to calculations by two researchers at Indiana University, a superyacht with a permanent crew and helicopter pad is “by far the worst asset to own from an environmental standpoint.”

Earth 300’s luxury suites will each rent for $300,000 a day, which presumably will cover the personnel and expenses needed to operate the ship and its 22 scientific laboratories. But construction won’t begin until 2025 at the earliest, and any groundbreaking scientific discoveries or billionaire epiphanies that could help stabilize the climate are even further into the future.

Construction is already delayed on another 600-foot-long yacht that will combine climate research with charters for paying customers. Financed by Kjell Inge Røkke, a Norwegian billionaire who made his fortune in fishing and oil drilling, REV Ocean will investigate climate change and ocean acidification, plastic pollution, and overfishing, but the nonprofit project is at least three years behind schedule.

Who will be aboard these superyachts? CNN asked Olivera which famous people he’d like to host on his future ship, and he named Elon Musk, Michelle Obama, Greta Thunberg, Naomi Klein and Yvon Chouinard. Like the superyacht itself, some of those potential guests seem more aspirational than realistic.

Greta Thunberg doesn’t take airplanes or motor yachts. Elon Musk doesn’t take vacations. And Bill Gates may be hurt that he’s not on the A-list.

September 30, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, spinbuster | Leave a comment

With breathless enthusiasm, media applauds another nuclear lobby confidence trick – ”Earth 300”

Full of deceptive words and phrases – “clean” ”emissions-free” ”solutions to climate change” ”safe and sustainable atomic energy from a molten salt reactor” – journalists can hardly contain themselves as they regurgitate the propaganda from the nuclear lobby. Not so long ago, nuclear proponents were climate change deniers. Now they see that getting on the climate change bandwagon is their only chance to get taxpayers’ money, to fund their failing industry.

Tickets for this nuclear-powered superyacht will cost $3 million for VIPs and be free to scientists and students selected to help study climate change., Business Insider, APR 13, 2021,  

The striking behemoth has been dubbed Earth 300‚ with a stated mission to carry out research expeditions in order to “confront earth’s greatest challenges,” according to Jefferson. Featuring naval architecture by NED, it spans an insane 984 feet—300 meters, hence the suffix—which makes it even longer than RMS Titanic (883 feet). The majority of that real estate has been dedicated to scientific equipment and tech straight from Silicon Valley.

The vessel will reportedly be powered by nuclear tech known as molten salt reactors (MSRs). ……he project has gained a number of partners, including IBM, RINA, Triton Submarines and EYOS Expeditions. Iddes anticipates Earth 300 will launch in 2025,- Robb Report 14 Apr 21,

September 30, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Norway paid to help Russian nuclear submarine waste clean-up – but now – new submarines!


Norway celebrates 25-years paying for nuclear-dump cleanup. Russia showcases new reactor weapons

Rosatom officials and Norwegian project partners are Wednesday marking that it is 25 years since the first money check was sent from Oslo to help improve infrastructure at the ill-fated Andreeva Bay dump site for spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste accumulated from the operation of Cold War submarines.  The Barents Observer ,By Thomas Nilsen September 29, 2021

Hindered from on-site meetings due to the pandemic, today’s 25-years anniversary meeting in Andreeva Bay is long overdue. However, the meeting comes in pole position as the two countries are trying to improve bilateral relations in times of more complex geopolitics and higher tensions between NATO and Russia up north.

……. ensuring nuclear safety is another topic for good bilateral cooperation.

For the Soviet nuclear navy, the Coastal Technical Base in Andreeva Bay became the main storage site for both spent fuel assemblies from submarine reactors, as well as a site to store containers with solid radioactive waste. Focus was not on safety and after years of exposure to Arctic climate, the site became contaminated and the infrastructure started to fall apart. With Russia being broke after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the call for international action was precarious. Norwegian money, and will to solve the problem, was most welcomed……………

Success story 

More than 2 billion kroner (nearly €200 million) of Norwegian taxpayers money are spent on helping Russia secure its nuclear legacy since the mid-1990ties. The ground-breaking nuclear safety work initiated on the Kola Peninsula, only some 60 km from the border to Norway, has since been followed by many other countries and international financial grant programs.

For projects in Andreeva Bay, Norway has paid more than €30 million on things like fixing electricity, water pipelines, roads, fences, constructing a new sanitary building and improving the old pier in port with a new lifting crane. About half of the 21,000 spent uranium fuel elements originally stored in three rundown concrete tanks is so far lifted out, repacked and shipped out of Andreeva Bay. First to Atomflot in Murmansk, then by train further to Russia’s reprocessing plant at Mayak in the South Urals. Some 10,000 cubic meters of solid radioactive waste that previously was stored outdoor and exposed to snow and frost is now under roof in a new building erected at the site. Soon, also that will be transported away.

Present at the celebrations in Andreeva Bay is also representatives from the environmental NGO Bellona. It was this organization, with offices both in Murmansk and Oslo, that before the official country-to-country cooperation started, was first to uncover security breaches and the urgency to act before the entire storage site turned out to be a Chernobyl in slow-motion.

“Time has come” 

Bellona’s Aleksandr Nikitin says to the Barents Observer that the time has come for Russia to solve its own nuclear challenges, not the international community. “But first we have to complete already started international projects, like the nuclear legacy,” Nikitin says and points to the ongoing work in Andreeva Bay………….

Meanwhile, and unlike the 1990ties, Russia is now investing huge money in building new nuclear-powered submarines and other military nuclear installations. A key question is whether Moscow now is arming the country again into a nuclear age that later could cause similar radiological waste challenges as the legacy from the last Cold War created.

…….. It is a task for Russia and Rosatom. We cannot hire anymore for a rich uncle from the west to come and help again. It was a time when it was necessary, not anymore.”

Meanwhile, Aleksandr Nikitin is glad to see the solution-oriented results of the work in Andreeva Bay.

“Bellona started it, and we have to finish it,” he says………………………………….

A Norwegian intelligence official has previously expressed fears for more accidents with the reactor-powered weapons systems now under testing and development in Norway’s neighboring areas up north.

For Norway, a challenge is to balance the aid-support to nuclear safety with making sure no funding ends up in Russia’s new crazy nuclear weapons programs…………..

The “Serebryanka” dilemma  

A review made by the Barents Observer of the publicly available documents on financial aid from Norway and Sweden to equip modern communication and positioning systems on board “Serebryanka” shows that about 9 million kroner (€900,000) were spent on the project in 2013 and 2014. That was shortly before the Burevestnik testing program started. 

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, in charge of the project, says in its annual overview of Non-Proliferation cooperation for 2013 that the “Serebryanka” was the largest project initiated in the Murmansk region.

Stockholm spent 4,1 million Swedish kroner (SEK) on equipment for “Serebryanka” in 2013 and an additional 217,000 SEK in 2014.


Describing the project
, the Radiation Safety Authority writes: “This project is co-financed with Norway and the purpose is to equip the vessel “Serebryanka” with a physical protection system, as well as communications and positioning systems, in order to increase security when transporting nuclear materials and radioactive substances.”

The Norwegian share of the project was 3 million Norwegian kroner, paid as part of the Nuclear Action Plan financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Conflict-of-interests 

Asked about the potential conflicting interests, State Secretary Audun Halvorsen in Norway’s Foreign Ministry told the Barents Observer upfront of the annual meeting in the Norwegian-Russian Commission on Nuclear Safety this spring that “…. our bilateral cooperation on nuclear safety projects are related to civilian activities only, and questions regarding military activities are therefore considered outside of the scope of the commission by the Russian side.”  https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/nuclear-safety/2021/09/while-norway-celebrates-25-years-paying-cleanup-nuclear-dumpsite-russia-gives

September 30, 2021 Posted by | EUROPE, politics, politics international, Russia, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia’s nuclear submarines – a gand announcement leading to a grand shambles

Bitter truth is we will likely never get any nuclear subs, https://www.theaustralian.com.au/commentary/yes-weve-cancelled-the-french-but-now-what/news-story/99b43465c2124c01a579672d8ef19349 Greg Sheridan, 30 Sept 21, As things stand, it is unlikely Australia will ever get a nuclear submarine. All that we have done so far is cancel the French submarine. My guess is this delays any submarine at all by at least 10 years.   It fills me with regret to say this, but analytically the conclusion is inescapable that the nuclear subs under the AUKUS rubric will probably proceed the way of all our other submarine announcements. They will enjoy a brief flower of credibility before doubts creep in, critics become mobilised, the prime minister who ordered them moves on and eventually they are consigned to the dustbin for a new submarine announcement that can enjoy its brief season in the sun.

Our submarine acquisition process remains a complete shambles and the chances of anything significant emerging from it remain remote.
My colleague Dennis Shanahan reported from the recent prime ministerial trip to the US that the government was not interested in leasing a nuclear submarine from the US over the next several years. Instead it wanted to add new submarines to the allied fleet, rather than take a sub or two out of the existing US and British lines. On its own, this approach probably guarantees that nothing of consequence comes of this initiative.

It is impossible to understand why the Brits are in the mix, apart from PR. If we choose the British Astute sub and don’t modify it, that means ditching the jewel of our defence technology, the US combat system that we have on the Collins, as well as most of the US weapons we use on the Collins. So the US, at the end of all this, would be getting billions of dollars less work from us and our navies would be less integrated.
Malcolm Turnbull was savage in his National Press Club attack on the Morrison government’s decision to ditch the French subs and go nuclear. Turnbull exaggerates the diplomatic cost. However, his technical critique of the nuclear subs proposal was substantial. He drew attention to obvious contradictions in the process.
All we have done so far is cancel the French subs. As of now, we have no future submarine program at all. The Morrison government scored a diplomatic triumph in getting the Americans to agree to transfer nuclear submarine propulsion to us and in the way AUKUS was presented.

But the global reaction was based on the idea, wholly mistaken, that we would be getting the nuclear subs some time soon.In his first press conference, Scott Morrison said the subs would be built in Adelaide and he hoped we might start the build before the end of this decade and get the first one into service before the end of the next decade; that is, 2040. Here are some laws of the physical universe and the operation of logic that cannot be contradicted or transcended. If we do not lease a sub and instead make them all in Adelaide we will not get the first one before 2040. Frankly, even that date involves almost miraculous virtuosity.

Every major, complex naval build we’ve undertaken has come in way over budget and long over schedule.In the history of human habitation of this continent, nothing remotely comparable in complexity to building a nuclear submarine has ever been attempted.

Obviously, it makes no industrial or military sense to build the subs in Adelaide. Doing so will add years to the schedule and tens of billions of dollars to the cost. The French are criticised for prospective delays in their conventional subs, but we could have had them much more quickly if they were built in France.But here is a moral certainty. The dialectics of Australian politics will force both the Coalition and Labor, before the next election, to commit to building all the subs in Adelaide.

Say by some miracle the process stays on track and we actually get a boat in the water by 2040 – pretty unlikely, but not absolutely impossible – that does not mean we have our replacement submarine fleet by 2040. If we can build one nuclear sub every three years after that we will be doing very well. That means we would get our fleet of eight subs by 2061.In terms of military capability in the face of the strategic challenges we face in the next decade or two, that is truly a sick joke. It’s the three-card trick all over again.

The capability gap we have to bridge is not up to 2040 but up to, say, 2055, when we might get the sixth nuclear boat and can therefore replace, one for one, the Collins boats. Of course the nuclear subs will be much more capable than the Collins, but they’re no good at all if they don’t actually exist.

Australian submarine policy right now requires the Collins boats to remain our frontline submarine capability until at least the 2040s. No living Australian prime minister has commissioned a sub that actually got built. The last prime minister to do so was Bob Hawke. The Collins boats were commissioned in the 1980s, yet must serve into the 2040s. The frankly batshit crazy quality of our circumstances is evident in this comparison: it would be as if Britain commissioned a new weapons system under Queen Victoria in 1901 and it was still in service as the main British weapons system at the time of the Beatles in the 1960s.

It is impossible to understand why the Brits are in the mix, apart from PR. If we choose the British Astute sub and don’t modify it, that means ditching the jewel of our defence technology, the US combat system that we have on the Collins, as well as most of the US weapons we use on the Collins. So the US, at the end of all this, would be getting billions of dollars less work from us and our navies would be less integrated.

Alternatively, there is talk of choosing the Astute but putting a US combat system, US weapons and even US propulsion system into it. Dear God in heaven, if we embrace the insanity of designing a new nuclear sub just for Australia, even 2060 will be optimistic for the first boat.Or if we choose the Virginia, as we must, the Brits get nothing, yet Boris Johnson was assuring the British public that AUKUS meant hundreds and hundreds of well-paid jobs in Britain’s north. We made a mistake choosing the British Type 26 frigate, which still is not in service even in Britain and is two years behind schedule and counting. Just imagine a Brit submarine saga.

So the government has solved only the problem that its own incompetent, lazy and inexplicable failure to champion its own defence programs brought about, but so far has substituted nothing concrete for it.


The result is likely no submarine capability for us at all, except museum piece Collins boats and whatever submarine visits the Americans or Brits send along. We should have kept the French subs going, perhaps at a reduced number of six or even three, then gone nuclear in an orderly way.

Instead we have once more followed our own traditions of grand announcement leading to grand shambles.
A cynical interpretation might be that the Liberals never explained, championed or campaigned for their own choice of the French sub. Choosing Marise Payne and then Linda Reynolds as defence ministers was grotesque, by Turnbull and Morrison respectively, as neither could carry the debate or the portfolio.

So the government has solved only the problem that its own incompetent, lazy and inexplicable failure to champion its own defence programs brought about, but so far has substituted nothing concrete for it.The result is likely no submarine capability for us at all, except museum piece Collins boats and whatever submarine visits the Americans or Brits send along. We should have kept the French subs going, perhaps at a reduced number of six or even three, then gone nuclear in an orderly way.

Instead we have once more followed our own traditions of grand announcement leading to grand shambles.

September 30, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics | Leave a comment

Australia the sucker for cash-strapped U.S, and U.K submarine companies General Dynamics and BAE Systems

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is close to BAE, the UK defence contractor whose nuclear subs program is struggling. The submarine program in the US too is foundering, so the game plan by our AUKUS partners is to rope in the dopey Aussies for a hundred billion dollars-plus to finance their distressed submarine sectors.

Both US submarine builder General Dynamics and its British counterpart BAE are looking for a new income stream from Downunder.

$66 Billion Reasons: did Scott Morrison get the French submarines right? By Michael West| September 30, 2021  ….. Michael West investigates the awkward AUKUS alliance and whether Scott Morrison made the right call on French submarines.As if ……….being dead last in the developed world on climate action , Scott Morrison and his Coalition have now burnished their reputation for incompetence on the global stage.

In one fell swoop, the sudden AUKUS declaration, they have achieved a stunning betrayal of the French, further peeved our biggest trading partner China, upset half of Europe, shown the bird to New Zealand and our neighbours in the Asian region, and waved an open cheque-book at the US and the UK military industrial complex.

Yet, in their ardour to crawl back to the Mother Country and bat their debutante eyes at Washington, they appear to have got something right: axing the French submarines. Are our self-described band of “Superior Economic Managers” accidental heroes, or did they mean to get it right?

If they double down and splash $100b plus on nuclear submarines, they will have got it doubly wrong.

Defence correspondent Michelle Fahy has documented here the $90b shocker which is Australia’s deal with French shipbuilder Naval Group. Naval itself has an ugly history of corruption and there are serious questions about how the deal came about in the first place, indeed serious questions about the billions in public money smoked every year in Defence procurement.

Murder, corruption, bombings – the company at centre of Australia’s submarine deal

The arms company at the centre of a deadly criminal saga and numerous global corruption scandals, Naval Group, was selected by the Australian government to build our new fleet of submarines – a deal heralded as ‘one of the world’s most lucrative defence contracts’. How did this happen? In this special investigation Michelle Fahy discovers significant gaps in anti-bribery and corruption measures.

Yet there is upside. Scott Morrison and co have junked a deal which would have delivered a fleet of expensive, obsolete submarines 20 years too late for the war which the government’s champions in the media keep telling us we might have to fight against China. Even though a war with China is nothing more than a grotesque proposition, scaremongering by the weapons lobby and media to distract from corruption and mismanagement at home. Media war porn.

The same might be said of the F-35 Strike Fighter debacle and the BAE frigates scandal. Every large defence procurement is marred by billions of dollars in waste. But here’s the thing with the subs; there is a solid body of work which suggests submarines are already obsolete, nuclear or not. They can be tracked; they are a titanic waste of money.

The National Security College (Federal Government and ANU) published a working paper in May 2020 saying nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines will be detectable at sea.

Meanwhile, the French are complaining we owe them $US66 billion for reneging on the deal with Naval. That’s an ambit claim, to be sure. It might cost the government $5b-$10b all up, some already sunk, the rest to stave off an embarrassing court action; but the result so far is: one, no obsolete subs deal with the French, and two, only a mooted nuclear subs deal with the Brits and Americans which may never happen. Hopefully.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is close to BAE, the UK defence contractor whose nuclear subs program is struggling. The submarine program in the US too is foundering, so the game plan by our AUKUS partners is to rope in the dopey Aussies for a hundred billion dollars-plus to finance their distressed submarine sectors.

The doctrine of the gullible Aussie is getting airplay in the US press. According to war contractor expert Charles Tiefer in Forbes:

“Under the cloud of smoke around the Australian submarine deal, are the unspoken aspects of the enrichment of American military contractors. There is no public mention of which American contractors will build the expensive parts of the expensive Australian submarines.”

Both US submarine builder General Dynamics and its British counterpart BAE are looking for a new income stream from Downunder.

Should the Coalition stay true to its track record of dithering though, it may soon become evident that submarines in general are a leviathan waste of money and public money ought to be expended on something less wasteful. 

Scott Morrison might, unwittingly, have got it right. He might not have to spend much on submarines at all. The question then becomes, what has he got us into?

Back to the future

As three former prime ministers in Paul Keating, Malcolm Turnbull and Kevin Rudd have already pointed out, AUKUS puts Australians in greater danger, renders Australia a vassal to foreign power and antagonises our neighbours in the region.

Depending on how you count them, there are probably already four US bases in operation now:

  • Pine Gap near Alice Springs, Northern Territory,
  • Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt, north of the town of Exmouth, Western Australia,
  • Robertson Barracks in Darwin, Northern Territory,
  • Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station near Geraldton, WA.

However, the US military already has access to all major Australian Defence Force (ADF) training areas, northern Australian RAAF airfields, port facilities in Darwin and Fremantle, and probably future access too to an expanded Stirling naval base in Pe

Under AUKUS, this may just be the beginning. It was largely ignored during the AUKUS media blitz and the dramatic cuckolding of the French but Peter Dutton had this to say at his press conference on September 16,   

Unveiling plans for new facilities on Australian soil for US naval, air, and ground forces would entail “combined logistics, sustainment, and capability for maintenance to support our enhanced activities, including … for our submarines and surface combatants”. That is on top of “rotational deployments of all types of US military aircraft to Australia”.

If the plan is to shred Australia’s sovereignty and make us a target for China, he is succeeding with aplomb. We are about to be swamped by US military.

Forward to the past

It is poetic too, that at this very time we are striking even stronger and even more unnecessary ties with Westminster and Washington. Boris Johnson’s government is beset by the chaos which is Brexit, such chaos now that it has spawned a global energy emergency. While the EU has the wobbles on its trade deal with Australia, Boris is in the market for a friend.

It is poetic too, that at this very time we are striking even stronger and even more unnecessary ties with Westminster and Washington. Boris Johnson’s government is beset by the chaos which is Brexit, such chaos now that it has spawned a global energy emergency. While the EU has the wobbles on its trade deal with Australia, Boris is in the market for a friend…………   https://www.michaelwest.com.au/aukus-french-submarines-scott-morrison/

September 30, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Australia’s nuclear submarine deal a distraction from international climate action

the main focus of Australia’s government has remained on the continuing mining and export of fossil fuels (for reasons I’ve detailed in The Hill previously). Even while Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was in Washington his government was attempting to persuade the Australian States to adopt a “Coalkeeper” policy that seemingly would continue to protect the fossil fuel industry and constrain new renewable energy projects

Is Australia’s nuclear submarine deal a distraction from international climate action? The Hill,  BY DAVID SHEARMAN, — 09/28/21   Climate warming and environmental degradation are damaging humanity each and every day and all the decisions we make must be questioned for their human health and survival implications.

The fundamental issue at the UN climate conference COP26 is not the distant target of zero emissions by 2050 but the need to focus on the huge task of delivering emission reductions of 45 percent or more by 2030 to limit a temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Currently, the contribution of nations in the Paris Agreement will lead to an emissions rise of 16 percent and a 2.7 degree Celsius rise. 

Australia and indeed some other countries must ask themselves if nuclear submarines will be relevant to their likely plight in 2050 or whether the $90 billion (AUD) should be a small down payment on the huge ongoing costs of survival from the predicted climatic ravages which have already commenced worldwide. 

One positive has arisen from Australia’s shameful diplomatic treatment of France,  whose earlier defense deal with Australia was abruptly canceled and replaced with AUKUS. There will now be much greater scrutiny of the proposed Australia-EU trade deal to ensure Australia complies with climate and environmental needs, as well as with means to assess compliance.  Such pressure on Australia’s trading future is already having an impact on policy.

Impact on Australia’s Pacific policy

Trust and cooperation between Australia and France are essential for the needs of the Pacific Island nations. It had been expected that the French through their Pacific territories and commitment to climate change would encourage Australia to recognize its responsibilities.

Over many years, Australia has continued to dismiss the pleas of the islands for a climate policy that would help them avoid inundation. At the time of the 2019 Pacific Island Forum in low-lying Tuvalu, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack infamously said that Pacific island nations affected by the climate crisis will continue to survive “because many of their workers come here to pick our fruit.”…………

Even more shaming is Australian indifference to the needs of the Torres Strait Islanders who are the Indigenous peoples of this Australian territory. They have claimed before the UN Human Rights Committee that Australian inaction infringes their human rights. Australia has opposed their claim……… 

In 2050, conflicts will likely be within countries and between close neighbours over resources such as water and productive land — not based on nuclear threat. Defense services including those of the United States and China will be engulfed in saving lives and infrastructure from fire, flood, storm and drought.

Such conflicts are already with us and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has cited war in Syria, Mali, Yemen, South Sudan and Ethiopia due to water shortages.

Currently, Australia spends $45 billion (AUD) or 2.1 percent of GDP on defense. It has spent $130 billion on the economic recovery from COVID-19 much by increasing gas mining for export, but less than 2 percent of which has been spent on solutions to reduce emissions and even less on climate adaptation. Indeed, Australia does not have a national coordinated national adaptation policy.

The relevant questions are whether the defesnse agreement between the U.S., UK and Australia to provide nuclear submarines, dubbed AUKUS, has encouraged or coerced Australia to accept and deliver even a 2050 emission target —and how Australia can now cooperate on emission reduction within the Asian Pacific region and particularly the Pacific Island States.

Impact on Australian climate policy

The AUKUS agreement has already resulted in the re-examination of climate policy but discussion has  been distracted by worries about AUKUS compromising our sovereignty in the event of armed conflict — and by the diplomatic failure to discuss the issue with Pacific neighbours. There are also concerns about the weakness of U.S. democracy and the possible irrationalities of any future president that could lead to Australian involvement in unnecessary conflict.

However, the main focus of Australia’s government has remained on the continuing mining and export of fossil fuels (for reasons I’ve detailed in The Hill previously). Even while Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was in Washington his government was attempting to persuade the Australian States to adopt a “Coalkeeper” policy that seemingly would continue to protect the fossil fuel industry and constrain new renewable energy projects

No wonder many Australian eyebrows were raised when U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) hailed Australia as a global leader on climate change.

Currently, Australia is ranked 15 highest of 90 countries for domestic emissions and fifth or sixth if exports of fossil fuels are included. Clearly, Australia is the world’s laggard when the country has the wealth and expertise to take action.

https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/574349-is-australias-nuclear-submarine-deal-a-distraction-from

September 30, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, weapons and war | Leave a comment