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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Nuclear news this week, and news on Julian Assange

It’s not exactly ”nuclear” news. In fact, not at all. I heard that Julian Assange supports nuclear power, but that’s not the point. But what’s happening to Julian Assange is a frightening precedent for anyone who dares to publicise American military atrocities . Actually, it’s not all that new.  Now forgotten – Wilfred Burchett, the Australian journalist, was the first to visit, photograph, and report on the sufferings of the Hiroshima atomic bomb victims. Burchett was censored, persecuted, and his character smeared by the USA  government and its faithful vassal, the Australian government.

Meanwhile – back at the subject –   the West beats the drums of war, over Ukraine.

Coronavirus; Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Weekly Epidemiological Update.Climate change:  EXTREME: We Just Left the Old Climate Behind

Some bits of good news –  Largest Farm to Grow Crops Under Solar Panels Proves to Be a Bumper Crop for Agrivoltaic Land Use.
   Hundreds of Solar Farms Built Atop Closed Landfills Are Turning Brownfields into Green Fields      Once Biologically Dead, London’s River Thames Rebounds – With Seahorses and Seals

Even when he is silenced, immobilized, locked up and hidden from public view, Julian Assange continues to shine a light on the abusive mechanisms of power. The latest court case for Australian Julian Assange – and the death of democracyAppeal to UK’s Supreme Court will just lengthen Julian Assange’s legal torment.

FIRES OF WAR Biden is pushing us to brink of NUCLEAR WAR over Ukraine in chilling echo of Cuban missile crisis, Russia claims.

What happened at COP26? Six compelling arguments why nuclear energy is spectacularly unfit to power a just transition. Nuclear can’t deliver on climate .    Buyer beware: greenwashing is becoming more sophisticated 

Japan’s upcoming nuclear waste dump.

UKRAINE. Who’s Telling the ‘Big Lie’ on Ukraine? Russia Angered by Senator Roger Wicker’s Nuclear Strike Remarks on UkraineUkraine Is a Problem Only as Long as the West Makes It One.

EUROPE. U.S. European Command, NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Command Europe leaders meet to “improve warfighting readiness”. European Union passes sustainable taxonomy law, but postpones decision about nuclear power. President of the European Commission to have the final say on whether Europe considers nuclear power to be ”clean” and ”green”?

CHINA. Inside information from China could sink the French nuclear flagship EPRTaishan Problems. An investigation is still under way into leaks at nuclear power plant. China Wants to Join Southeast Asia’s Nuclear-Free Zone.

JAPAN. Japan PM to push for progress at NPT meet to scrap nuclear weapons. A lonely evening at home for Fukushima man retracing past.

MIDDLE EAST. Nuclear reactors in the Middle East are vulnerable to missile strikes.  Push for a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East, BUT Israel is the elephant in the room.

IRANIran nuclear talks pulled back from the brink as Tehran shifts stance. Iran slams Europeans over nuclear deal stance. Tough talks ahead for Iran nuclear deal.

USA. 

UK. 

FRANCE. “Nuclear power has no future inFrance“.

GERMANY. The shutdown of Germany’s last nuclear power plant could enable the North to cover 160% of its electricity needs with renewablesNuclear exit to unleash wind power in Northern Germany,

TURKEY. Turkey’s nuclear plans threaten Eastern Mediterranean ecosystems.

AUSTRALIA. Assange facing extradition to US: where is the outragePM under pressure to end Assange ‘lunacy’. Australian government urged to push UK and US to free Julian Assange. Independent MP Andrew Wilkie implores the Prime Minister to pick up the phone to the US president and UK prime minister to end the prosecution of Julian Assange.   

How the military-industrial complex has captured Australia’s top strategic advisory body

December 13, 2021 Posted by | Christina's notes | 2 Comments

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie implores the Australian Prime Minister to pick up the phone to the US president and UK prime minister to end the prosecution of Julian Assange.

MP urges PM to pick up phone over Assange,  https://www.mandurahmail.com.au/story/7548246/mp-urges-pm-to-pick-up-phone-over-assange/?cs=9397Dominic Giannini   

MP urges PM to pick up phone over Assange,  https://www.mandurahmail.com.au/story/7548246/mp-urges-pm-to-pick-up-phone-over-assange/?cs=9397

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has implored the prime minister to pick up the phone to the US president and UK prime minister to end the prosecution of Julian Assange.

The former intelligence analyst said the prosecution of Mr Assange has always been political which meant it could be solved politically by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“The reality is this has always been an intensively political matter and it can be solved politically by Scott Morrison picking up the phone to Joe Biden and Boris Johnson,” Mr Wilkie told the ABC.

It comes after reports the 50-year-old WikiLeaks founder suffered a stroke in prison in October.

“Jail is killing Julian Assange,” Mr Wilkie said.

“There is no way he will survive continued incarceration in the UK.”

Mr Assange has just suffered a legal blow after the UK High Court ruled he could be extradited to face charges in the US.

Mr Assange’s lawyers say they intend to appeal the decision in the UK’s highest court.

December 13, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties, politics | Leave a comment

Ukraine Is a Problem Only as Long as the West Makes It One

President Biden has the opportunity to re-direct US policy on Ukraine in a peaceful direction,

But it will take serious, steadfast courage. We don’t know how compromised he is by his previous dealing in Ukraine, or his son’s. We don’t know if he has the clarity of mind to see the obvious. And we don’t know if he has the strength to wage peace.

Ukraine Is a Problem Only as Long as the West Makes It One

https://www.rsn.org/001/ukraine-is-a-problem-only-as-long-as-the-west-makes-it-one.html
by William Boardman10 December 21,

Since the fall of the Soviet Union thirty years ago, US policy on Ukraine has been an ugly mix of inconsistency, quiet aggression, fear-mongering and stupidity. Now President Biden is recklessly intensifying the same failed tactics while expecting a different outcome and risking a confrontation of the world’s two major nuclear-armed states.

What could possibly go wrong?

What passes for conventional wisdom nowadays is expressed by the cover headline of the November 29 issue of The Nation magazine, of all places:

Ukraine: The Most Dangerous Problem in the World

That is such hogwash. The Nation’s knows better. But the fear-mongering leads, even though the magazine’s sub-head is: “But there’s already a solution.” Author Anatol Lieven argues persuasively that the essence of a solution for Ukraine issues have already been outlined in the so-called “Minsk II” agreement of 2015, reached by leaders of France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine. The agreement was endorsed unanimously by the United Nations Security Council. Despite their formal assent to Minsk II, three US administrations have supported Ukraine in refusing to implement the agreement. Nor have they proposed any better idea. This is an example of foreign policy guided by denial of reality.

Ukraine remains a “dangerous problem” only as long as the US and Ukraine insist on making it one. (It’s hardly “the most dangerous,” given climate change, or US provocation of China, or the US-led nuclear arms race, or the self-gutting of US democracy.)

With the Soviet Union gone in 1991, US President Bush assured Russian leaders that NATO would not expand to include former Soviet states. Whether this was a lie or a broken promise hardly matters. 

NATO expanded. Russia was confronted with the prospect of an avowedly hostile military alliance approaching its borders along the same invasion route followed by Napoleon and Hitler. As long as Ukraine remained unaligned, Russian historical memory could rest quietly. Ukraine puts almost 1,000 miles between Russia and NATO member Poland. Ukraine’s population of about 45 million ranges from very pro-western to virtually Russian. The country has long been deeply corrupt with a quasi-functional democracy (an opportunistic playground for the likes of Paul Manafort and Hunter Biden). All in all, from a geopolitical perspective, Ukraine was (and still is) a combustible potential best left undisturbed.

In 2013, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych put NATO and European Union membership in play, then reversed course under Russian pressure. In November 2013, he cancelled an EU association agreement just days before it was to take effect. With US connivance, pro-western Ukrainian forces launched the Maidan Revolution that lasted into the spring of 2014. Elected president Yanukovich was forced out of office (shades of Iran 1953) and the country entered a period of chaos. Russia took advantage of this to walk into Crimea unopposed and to annex it, as voted by the Crimean parliament, despite objections from the West. These objections have continued to the present, together with economic sanctions and military provocations from the Black Sea.

The US and NATO have justified their hostile actions by claiming Russia was also about to invade eastern Ukraine, which still hasn’t happened. Eastern Ukraine, the Donbas, has been a war zone since March 2014 when separatist Ukrainian forces in Donetsk and Luhansk started fighting for independence from the central government in Kiev. This is a civil war between the self-declared People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk against the Ukraine government. The People’s Republics comprise about 6,200 square miles (bigger than Connecticut) with almost 4 million people, mostly Russian-speaking, whose currency is the ruble. Russia has supported the People’s Republics, but short of introducing its own troops. Likewise, the US and NATO have supported Kiev, but short of introducing their own troops into the Donbas. The fighting has been intense in the past, with some 10,000 killed on both sides, but the conflict in recent years has been limited to trench warfare along a 400-mile front, with most casualties coming from sniper fire. Neither side has made significant advances in years.

In 2014, Russia and Ukraine met under the auspices of the European Union and signed the first Minsk Protocol in an ultimately ineffective effort to reach a ceasefire. The following year, five parties signed a second Minsk Protocol – Ukraine, Ukraine Separatists, Russia, France, and Germany – which led to reduced fighting but no lasting solution. Through all of this, the US under President Obama, played no useful role in resolving the issues or assuring anything like a stable peace.

The US remains gripped, apparently, by a reflexive Cold War rigidity which requires that Russia be to blame for anything we don’t like, such as the results of the US-sponsored coup in Ukraine in 2014. The new Cold War is manifested by the expansion of NATO, needlessly threatening Russia on the basis of a paranoid Western sense of threat.

Another manifestation of Cold War thinking is Biden’s choice of Victoria Nuland as his current special ambassador to Russia to discuss Ukraine. Nuland was notoriously involved in efforts to manipulate the 2013 Madan uprising and supporting the coup against Yanukovich. When apprised of European desires to proceed cautiously, Nuland was recorded on cell phone saying, “Fuck the EU.” Such assertions of American exceptionalism continue to make the world a more dangerous place.

What could Biden do now to make the world a safer place?

Biden could ease sanctions over Crimea, acknowledging that its return to Russia is a done deal with strong historic and geo-political justifications. Biden could also stop US nuclear-capable bombers from probing Russia in the Black Sea region. It’s hard to see how continuing such provocative flights can have a calming effect.

Most importantly, Biden could assure Russia (as the US did once before in 1992) that NATO would not expand to include Ukraine. In his recent conversation with Putin, Biden did the opposite, making it all but non-negotiable. That has the obvious effect of continuing the conflict, asserting the right to hold a knife to another’s throat.

This particular knife was forced into NATO’s hands in April 2008 by the illegitimate President Bush against the will of the majority of NATO members. The issue came up at NATO’s North Atlantic Council meeting in Bucharest. NATO members easily accepted the future membership of Albania and Croatia, but balked at approving Ukraine or Georgia. Instead, in the Bucharest Summit Declaration, members approved a compromise article drafted by the British with intentional imprecision, paragraph 23 of 50, that began:

ATO welcomes Ukraine’s and Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for

membership in NATO. We agreed today that these countries will become

members of NATO….

The paragraph continues with generalizations about the countries’ contributions to the war in Afghanistan, their promised democratic reforms, and so on. But there is no date for membership, no process for achieving membership (as distinct from Albania and Croatia), and actual approval is only anticipated at some unknown future date. This paragraph in the Bucharest Declaration is essentially a throwaway line, putting off to an indeterminate future the clearly divisive and dangerous issue of relating to Russian border states.

ATO welcomes Ukraine’s and Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for

membership in NATO. We agreed today that these countries will become

members of NATO….

The paragraph continues with generalizations about the countries’ contributions to the war in Afghanistan, their promised democratic reforms, and so on. But there is no date for membership, no process for achieving membership (as distinct from Albania and Croatia), and actual approval is only anticipated at some unknown future date. This paragraph in the Bucharest Declaration is essentially a throwaway line, putting off to an indeterminate future the clearly divisive and dangerous issue of relating to Russian border states.

The Alliance will continue to support, as appropriate, these efforts as guided by regional priorities and based on transparency, complementarity and inclusiveness, in order to develop dialogue and cooperation among the Black Sea states and with the Alliance. [paragraph 36]

The Bucharest Declaration does not express an alliance seeking confrontation with Russia, for all that George W. Bush wanted it.

The Bucharest Declaration treats NATO’s war in Afghanistan as a success and expresses the need for possible future military actions against Iran and North Korea (but no mention of China). There is no hint of anyone wondering why something called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization thinks it has any legitimate business operating in landlocked Afghanistan.

More than a decade later, four American presidents have turned Afghanistan into a world class disaster. America has turned its back on mass starvation there. And still there is no sense of national responsibility or shame as Biden and the US governing elite stumble provocatively toward new looming catastrophes with Iran, China, climate change, public health, and functioning democracy itself.

Ukraine is a wholly American-made pseudo crisis in which the US national interest is close to zero. The US forced NATO to put Ukraine in play in 2008 by breaking the earlier US pledge not to put Ukraine in play. Now our obtuse leadership poses as acting on principle by refusing to break the pledge that broke the first pledge, even though that is the most obvious, effective de-escalation available: guarantee Russia a border with no more NATO threats and negotiate (as others have done) in good faith to defuse the rest of the Ukrainian mishmash.

When Secretary of State Anthony Blinken says that “one country trying to tell another what its choices should be, including with whom it associates, that’s not an acceptable proposition,…” what we’re hearing is a US official ignoring reality and denying what the US does every day. And when former US ambassador Michael McFaul tweets: “Putin invented this ‘crisis’ single-handedly. Nothing changed in Ukraine. Nothing changed regarding NATO policy” – he’s just lying.

Worse, the blind rigidity of the likes of Blinken and McFaul serves to enable the truly mindless warmongers like US Senator Roger Wicker, R-MS, who doesn’t have the sense not to invite nuclear war when he tells Fox News:

Military action could mean that we stand off with our ships in the Black Sea, and we rain destruction on Russian military capability. It could mean that. It could mean that we participate, and I would not rule that out, I would not rule out American troops on the ground. We don’t rule out first use nuclear action.

President Biden has the opportunity to re-direct US policy on Ukraine in a peaceful direction,

But it will take serious, steadfast courage. We don’t know how compromised he is by his previous dealing in Ukraine, or his son’s. We don’t know if he has the clarity of mind to see the obvious. And we don’t know if he has the strength to wage peace.

December 13, 2021 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine | 2 Comments

Nuclear can’t deliver on climate —

Nuclear power can’t save us before climate tipping point

Nuclear can’t deliver on climate — Beyond Nuclear International
Nuclear energy can­not meaningfully contribute to a climate-neutral energy system say German scientists  https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/3712941667 By Ben Wealer et al., Scientists for Future 13 Dec 21,
In light of the accelerating climate crisis, nuclear energy and its place in the future energy mix is being debated once again. Currently its share of global electricity ge­n­eration is about 10 percent. Some countries, international organizations, private businesses and scientists accord nuclear energy some kind of role in the pursuit of climate neutrality and in ending the era of fossil fuels. The IPCC, too, includes nuclear energy in its scenarios.

On the other hand, the experience with commercial nuclear energy generation acquired over the past seven decades points to the significant technical, economic, and social risks involved. This paper reviews arguments in the areas of “technology and risks,” “economic viability,” ’timely availability,” and “com­patibility with social-ecological transformation processes.”

Technology and risks: Catastro­phes involving the release of radioactive material are always a real possibility, as il­lustrated by the major accidents in Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. Also, since 1945, countless accidents have occurred wherever nuclear energy has been deployed. No significantly higher reliability is to be expected from the SMRs (“small modular reactors”) that are currently at the plan­ning stage. Even modern ma­thematical techniques, such as probabilistic security analyses (PSAs), do not adequa­tely reflect important factors, such as deficient secu­rity arrangements or rare natural disasters and thereby systematically underestimate the risks.

Moreover, there is the ever-present proliferation risk of weapon-grade, highly enriched uranium, and plutonium. Most spent fuel rods are stored in scarcely protected surface containers or other interim solutions, often outside proper con­tainment structures. The safe storage of highly radioactive material, owing to a half-life of individual isotopes of over a million years, must be guaranteed for eons. Even if the risks involved for future generations cannot be authoritatively determined to­day, heavy burdens are undoubtedly externalized to the future.

Nuclear energy and economic efficiency: The commercial use of nuclear energy was, in the 1950s, the by-product of military programmes. Not then, and not since, has nuclear energy been a competitive energy source. Even the continued use of existing plants is not economical, while investments into third generation reactors are pro­jected to require subsidies to the tune of billions of $ or €. The experience with the development of SMR con­cepts suggests that these are prone to lead to even higher electricity costs.

Lastly, there are the considerable, currently largely unknown costs involved in dismant­ling nuclear power plants and in the safe storage of radioactive waste. Detailed ana­lyses confirm that meeting ambitious climate goals (i. e. global heating of between 1.5° and below 2° Celsius) is well possible with renewables which, if system costs are consi­dered, are also considerably cheaper than nuclear energy. Given, too, that nuclear power plants are not commercially insurable, the risks inherent in their operation must be borne by society at large. The currently hyped SMRs and the so-called Generation IV concepts (not light-water cooled) are techno­logically immature and far from commercially viable.

Timely availabilityGiven the stagnating or – with the exception of China – slowing pace of nuclear power plant construction, and considering furthermore the limited innovation potential as well as the timeframe of two decades for planning and con­struction, nuclear power is not a viable tool to mitigate global heating. Since 1976, the number of nuclear power plants construction starts is declining. Currently, only 52 nuclear power plants are being built. Very few countries are pursuing respective plans. Traditional nuclear producers, such as Westinghouse (USA) and Framatome (France) are in dire straits financially and are not able to launch a significant num­ber of new construction projects in the coming decade. It can be doubted whether Russia or China have the capacity to meet a hypothetically surging demand for nuclear en­ergy but, in any event, relying on them would be neither safe nor geopolitically de­sirable.

Nuclear energy in the social-ecological transformationThe ultimate challenge of the great transformation, i. e. kicking off the socio-ecological reforms that will lead to a broadly supported, viable, climate-neutral energy system, lies in overcoming the drag (“lock-in”) of the old system that is dominated by fossil fuel interests. Yet, make no mistake, nuclear energy is of no use to support this process. In fact, it blocks it. The massive R&D investment required for a dead-end technology crowds out the devel­opment of sustainable technologies, such as those in the areas of renewables, energy storage and efficiency.

Nuclear energy producers, given the competitive en­viron­ment they operate in, are incentivized to prevent – or minimize – investments in renewables. For obvious technical as well as economic reasons, nuclear hydrogen – the often-proclaimed deus ex machina – cannot enhance the viability of nuclear power plants. Japan is an exhibit A of transformation resistance. In Germany the end of the atomic era proceeds, and the last six nuclear power stations will be switched off in 2021 and 2022, but further steps are still needed, most importantly the search for a safe storage facility for radioactive waste.

By way of conclusion: The present analysis reviews a whole range of arguments based on the most recent and authoritative scientific literature. It confirms the assessment of the paper Climate-friendly energy supply for Germany – 16 points of orien­tation, pub­li­shed on 22 April 2021 by Scientists for Future (doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4409334) that nuclear energy can­not, in the short time re­maining before the climate tips, meaningfully contribute to a climate-neutral energy system. Nuclear energy is too dangerous, too expensive, and too sluggishly deploy­able to play a significant role in mitigating the climate crisis. In addition, nuclear en­ergy is an obstacle to achieving the social-ecological transfor­mation, without which ambitious climate goals are elusive.

This article is the English language summary of the findings of the German report by Scientists for Future (S4F) International. S4F supports the global climate movement by providing facts and materials based on reliable and accepted scientific data to activists, politicians, decision makers, educators and the general public.

December 13, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Japan’s Upcoming Nuclear Waste Dump

Wikimedia Commons. Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station, ABWR. (Japan) Photo Credit: Tokyo Electric Power Co., TEPCO. Currently the world’s largest nuclear power plant, with a net capacity of 7,965MW. Source: https://www.power-technology.com/

07.12.21 – Los Angeles, USA – Robert Hunziker

Nuclear waste is an interminable curse that eternally haunts the future of civilization for hundreds/thousands of years.

“The challenge of making nuclear power safer doesn’t end after the power has been generated. Nuclear fuel remains dangerously radioactive for thousands of years after it is no longer useful in a commercial reactor.” (Source: Nuclear Waste, Union of Concerned Scientists, April 22, 2016)

There are 440 nuclear power plants in the world, all of which use nuclear fission, prompting one simple question: Is the process of generating heat via nuclear fission with a byproduct of extremely toxic radioactive waste lasting hundreds, or more, years for purposes of simply “boiling water” the epitome of human stupidity?

In April 2021, the Japanese government announced its decision to discharge nuclear waste from Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean via a sub-seabed pipeline. At least 1.2 million tons of tritium-laced toxic water will be discharged.

As it happens, nuclear powers of the world regularly dump nuclear waste into the ocean in violation of the London Convention (1972) and the London Protocol (1996), which are the two principal international agreements against dumping nuclear waste into the oceans. But, they get around the rules by dumping under the cover of “detailed environmental impact assessments.”

The last known “deliberate nuclear waste dumping into the ocean,” outside of the “good graces” of what the industry refers to as “detailed environmental impact assessments” that somehow (questionably, mysteriously, are you kidding me!) seem to justify dumping toxic nuclear waste was October 1993 when the Russian navy illegally dumped 900 tons of nuclear waste into international waters off the coast of Vladivostok near Japan and Korea. Moscow claimed they were running out of storage space and that “radioactive waste is not hazardous and the dumping would be according to international norms.” Sound familiar?

In 1993 Japan called the Russian dumping “extremely regrettable.” Yet, at the time, Tokyo Electric Power Company was itself discharging radioactivity into the ocean. At the time, Japanese power stations were allowed to dump nuclear waste into the ocean-based upon “detailed environmental impact assessments.” (OMG is this real?) (Source: Nuclear Dumping at Sea Goads Japan Into Action, NewScientist, November 6, 1993)

“Jinzaburo Takagi, a physicist working with the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Centre in Tokyo, says: ‘If the Russians had done an impact assessment for their dumping, it would have proved safer than the Japanese power plants.’ He says local authorities in Japan have measured elevated levels of radionuclides in shellfish and seaweed near the nuclear plants. If the Japanese criticize Russian dumping, says Takagi, ‘then they will have to abandon the option of dumping nuclear waste,” Ibid.

The abovementioned series of conflicting events surrounding the disposal of nuclear waste brings to mind the complexity and hypocrisy that runs throughout the nuclear industry. It stems from the hideous fact that the industry does not know what to do with radioactive waste, which is the most toxic material on the face of the planet; they do make up weird excuses and protocols to actually dump the toxic material into international waters. Not only that but, as mentioned in the quoted article above, “local authorities in Japan have measured elevated levels of radionuclides in shellfish and seaweed near the nuclear plants.” That’s a prime example of human insanity at work. And, that was 30 years ago, but it’s a safe bet that it’s the same today.

The bitter truth is that the citizens of the world are stuck with nuclear power and its offbeat craziness and its horrific potential destructiveness because the major powers have it and want to keep it.

Greenpeace has experts with “boots-on-the-ground” at Fukushima since the beginning. Here’s Greenpeace’s take on the situation, as of recent: “There are many technical and radiological reasons to be opposed to discharging Fukushima wastewater into the Pacific Ocean. And Greenpeace East Asia has reported on these and continues to investigate. But the decision also affects you on a fundamental level. It should rightly trigger an outrage. In the 21st century, when the world’s oceans are already under the most severe threats including climate and biodiversity emergencies, a decision by any government to deliberately contaminate the Pacific with radioactivity because it’s the least cost/cheapest option when there are clear alternatives seems so perverse. That it is Japan, given its historical role in securing the prohibition on nuclear dumping in the London Convention and London Protocol, makes it all the more tragic.” (Shaun Burnie, The Japanese Government and the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster – History Repeating Itself? Greenpeace, November 17, 2021)

Further to the point of the future impact of dumping toxic radioactive water from TEPCO’s storage water tanks into the Pacific Ocean: Tsinghua University analyzed the diffusion process of the treated Fukushima contaminated water to be discharged into the ocean from 2023 onward. The results show that the tritium, which is the main pollutant, will spread to the whole of the North Pacific in 1200 days. (Source: Tracking Contaminated Water From The Fukushima Nuclear Accident, Phys.org, December 2, 2021)

The Tsinghua University analysis went on to discuss the risks, stating: “Large amounts of radionuclides can affect marine biological chains and adversely influence marine fisheries and human health. The global effects of Fukushima discharge, which will last 30 to 40 years, remain unknown.”

As stated by Tsinghua, the pollutants will reach as far as the coast of North America to the east and as far as Australia to the south. Eventually, the South Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean (2400 days) will be affected. On day 3600 the pollutants will cover almost the entire Pacific Ocean.

According to a UN news release d/d April 2021: “Three independent UN human rights experts expressed deep regret on Thursday over Japan’s decision to discharge potentially still radioactive Fukushima nuclear plant water into the ocean, warning that it could impact millions across the Pacific region.”

The experts call the decision by Japan “very concerning,”

Moreover, according to the UN: “While Japan said that the tritium levels are very low and do not pose a threat to human health, scientists warn that in the water, the isotope organically binds to other molecules, moving up the food chain affecting plants and fish and humans.”

“Moreover, they say the radioactive hazards of tritium have been underestimated and could pose risks to humans and the environment for over 100 years.”

Japan’s Upcoming Nuclear Waste Dump

December 13, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

“Nuclear power has no future inFrance”.

MAXPPP OUT Mandatory Credit: Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (10695784ad) French President Emmanuel Macron takes part in a working session during the G5 Sahel Summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania, 30 June 2020. The leaders of the G5 Sahel West African countries and their ally France are meeting to confer over their troubled efforts to stem a jihadist offensive unfolding in the region, six months after rebooting their campaign in Pau, southwestern France. G5 Sahel Summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania – 30 Jun 2020

 Thierry Gadault gave a conference on French nuclear power on December 3,
2021 in Orleans with a shocking title: “Nuclear power has no future in
France”. This independent journalist who has been investigating the atom
for ten years is the co-author of the book Nuclear, immediate danger (2018,
Flammarion) and the TV documentary Nuclear, the end of a myth broadcast on
Public Senate in 2018. He granted at Magcentre an exclusive interview.

 Magcentre 8th Dec 2021

December 13, 2021 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

Editorial: No, California shouldn’t extend the life of its last nuclear plant. There are better ways to fight climate change  

We can and should curb the dangers of fossil fuel combustion and nuclear fission at the same time, not use the threat of one to prop up the other.

Editorial: No, California shouldn’t extend the life of its last nuclear plant. There are better ways to fight climate change     https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2021-12-12/diablo-canyon-nuclear-closure BY THE TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD, DEC. 12, 2021 

California is approaching an energy crossroads. In three years, its last nuclear plant will begin to power down and the state will lose its largest single source of emissions-free electricity.

A 2018 law requires state regulators to “avoid any increase in greenhouse gases” as a result of closing the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant on the Central Coast. But if they don’t move more quickly to replace its electricity with renewable energy from wind, solar and geothermal, the void will almost certainly be filled by burning more natural gas, which increased last year to account for nearly half of California’s in-state electricity generation.

California can’t allow the retirement of Diablo Canyon’s nuclear reactors to prolong its reliance on gas plants or increase planet-warming and health-damaging emissions. But the state’s preparations for shutdown of an around-the-clock power source that supplies more than 8% of California’s in-state electricity generation have not inspired confidence; there have been no assurances that an uptick in carbon emissions will be avoided.

That uncertainty has created an opening for a new push to extend Diablo Canyon’s life. A recently launched campaign, whose supporters include former U.S. Energy secretaries Steven Chu and Ernest Moniz, and fashion model and nuclear influencer Isabelle Boemeke, wants California to abruptly reverse course and keep Diablo Canyon operating for another 10 or even 20 years.

Proponents say this would reduce climate pollution, bolster grid reliability and buy time during a crucial period in the state’s transition toward solar, wind and other renewable energy sources, citing a recent report by Stanford University and MIT scientists that lends support to the idea. The Biden administration has chimed in receptively, with Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm suggesting in a recent interview that California might reconsider closing the facility to avoid losing an always-on source of clean electricity.

But the idea is misguided, and at this point remains largely divorced from reality. The plant’s closure should instead serve as an impetus for California do more to accelerate the shift to renewable energy and set a realistic course to meet the state’s target of getting 100% of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2045

Those floating the idea of keeping Diablo Canyon open seem to ignore many practical considerations, including how to address seismic risks, the ecological harm of using seawater for cooling, and what to do with spent nuclear fuel. The cooling system and earthquake safety upgrades that would be required for the facility to keep operating after 2025 are so extensive they would likely exceed $1 billion, according to the Public Utilities Commission.

The plant’s operator, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., agreed in 2016 not to pursue license renewal, in part because closing the plant and replacing it with other zero-carbon energy sources and storage would cost less than keeping it open. The utility has shown no interest in reconsidering, nor has the Public Utilities Commission received any proposals to revisit its 2018 decision to allow the plant to shut down.

Still, the pro-nuclear camp is right in pointing out that the urgency of fighting global warming has only increased in the five years since the decision to close Diablo Canyon. Wildfires and other climate impacts are worsening at an alarming clip. Last year, California experienced its first rolling blackouts in nearly two decades thanks to climate-fueled heat waves that forced the state to burn more planet-warming gas to keep the power on. And the recent global climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, showed that world leaders aren’t yet acting with the urgency needed to avert catastrophic warming.

But there are good reasons to eschew nuclear power as a solution. The world is still dealing with repercussions from the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters, which rendered huge zones uninhabitable and spread radioactive isotopes across the globe; and closer to home, the cleanup of the 1959 partial nuclear meltdown at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory near Simi Valley. Because the United States has no designated repository for high-level radioactive waste, spent nuclear fuel is stored on site at power plants across the country, posing ongoing risks. We can and should curb the dangers of fossil fuel combustion and nuclear fission at the same time, not use the threat of one to prop up the other.

December 13, 2021 Posted by | climate change, safety, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. government struggles with the ever-accumulating nuclear waste problem

Government launches push that may remove Maine Yankee’s nuclear waste from Wiscasset

The U.S. Department of Energy wants to know whether communities would be willing to store nuclear waste temporarily while the government finds a permanent solution.

BY KATHLEEN O’BRIEN, TIMES RECORD, 2 Dec 21,    The federal government has taken the first step in an effort to move the nation’s spent nuclear fuel, like the 542 metric tons of nuclear waste at the long-decommissioned Maine Yankee facility in Wiscasset, but a Maine Yankee official said that waste likely isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

On Nov. 30, the U.S. Department of Energy released a request for information on a consent-based effort to move the nation’s spent nuclear fuel to other communities willing to hold onto it until the government finds a permanent storage solution for the waste. The DOE is collecting feedback from stakeholders on the effort until March 4, 2022, at 5 p.m

This action is considered long overdue because the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 required the federal government to remove the radioactive waste from sites including Maine Yankee by 1998, but that commitment was never fulfilled.

Maine Yankee operated from 1972 to 1996 when the company’s board voted to cease operations rather than invest in fixing expensive safety-related problems to keep the plant running. The plant was fully decommissioned in 2005. Since then, the nuclear waste has sat there, waiting for the government to remove it.

Maine Yankee’s spent nuclear fuel is housed in 64 dry storage casks, which stand on 16 3-foot-thick concrete pads. Each concrete cask is comprised of a 2.5-inch-thick steel liner surrounded by 28 inches of reinforced concrete. The site takes up 820-acres on Wiscasset’s Bailey Point.

Maine Yankee Public and Government Affairs Director Eric Howes said moving the nuclear waste elsewhere will be a years-long process, but this movement is, “a positive development, but much more needs to be done to resolve the spent nuclear fuel issue.”

…….. “It’s going to be difficult to get a community willing to be an interim storage facility because what does interim mean?” Howes said. “What’s meant by interim when, at this point, there is no plan for a permanent geologic repository?”………..

Kathryn Huff, principal deputy assistant secretary for nuclear energy at the Department of Energy, said the department recognizes it needs to take responsibility for the 86,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel in sites across the country.

……….  Huff said it needs to be removed because “the communities that have that spent nuclear fuel never agreed to host the material long-term.”

“We cannot continue to defer the problem for future generations to figure out,” Huff said during a public information session Tuesday. “Inaction on this issue has already cost U.S. taxpayers nearly $9 million on settlements and judgements.”…………

Howes says it costs Maine Yankee roughly $10 million annually to store the nuclear waste safely while waiting for the government to remove it. He said the company pays to store it with funds won in lawsuits against the DOE.

Maine Yankee and its two sister sites, Connecticut Yankee and Yankee Rowe in Mass., have collectively won about $575.5 million in lawsuits and is now in its fifth round of litigation with the department. The money the government concedes in those lawsuits, however, comes from The Judgement Fund, which is funded by U.S. taxpayers………… https://www.pressherald.com/2021/12/12/government-launches-push-that-may-remove-maine-yankees-nuclear-waste-from-wiscasset/

December 13, 2021 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Six compelling arguments why nuclear energy is spectacularly unfit to power a just transition

Six compelling arguments why nuclear energy is spectacularly unfit to power a just transition  https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2021-12-12-six-compelling-arguments-why-nuclear-energy-is-spectacularly-unfit-to-power-a-just-transition/ By Makoma Lekalakala  Makoma Lekalakala is the director of Earthlife Africa and a board member of Natural Justice. She was the joint recipient, with Liz McDaid, of the 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa and the SAB Environmentalist of the year 2018.

All evidence shows that renewables create more jobs than nuclear. Depending on the technology and the job measurement, up to six times more. Moreover, not only do renewables create more jobs, they also create a wider variety of jobs, across more flexible locations.

A just transition is the only way out of the multiple crises we face — the climate emergency, the collapse of life systems the world over, and growing political and social discontent. Over the past year, we have seen some argue that not only is nuclear the best way to “green” our economies, but we have also seen nuclear being framed as a technology that will be good for “workers”.

However, the publication by Dr Neil Overy and the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Neither Climate Nor Jobs: Nuclear Myths About the Just Transition, offers a comprehensive account of why nuclear will be detrimental to our collective capacity to transform our energy systems in a way that leaves no one behind — #LeaveNoOneBehind.

Here are six reasons why nuclear energy is spectacularly unfit to power a just transition, in a way that leaves no one behind:

1 Just transitions require stable electricity supplies in the face of extreme weather. It is widely claimed that nuclear power is reliable but, over the past five years, French nuclear power plants have had to shut down for up to 7,000 hours due to climate events. In fact, nuclear energy’s reliance on water for cooling makes it particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The causes for these have ranged from floods to droughts and dramatic temperature increases. Earlier this year, we saw that in the Texas snowstorm, nuclear plants had to be shut down because water in pump stations froze.

It is also argued that a green energy system would require nuclear for “baseload”, but technology has moved far beyond this. It is outdated thinking such as this that keeps us from doing what must be done to keep temperatures below 1.5°C, even though it has been shown that smart grids can draw from a mix of renewable energy sources to provide a constant energy supply.

2 Even in the unlikely case that nuclear power stations are in locations that are not affected by temperature changes, storms, sea level rise or water scarcity, the lengthy time lag between planning to operation of new plants (a decade in the best cases, which are the exception rather than the rule) means that new nuclear will be of little help in mitigating emissions in the crucial decade leading up to 2030. In comparison, utility-scale solar and wind plants are completed on average in around half the time — two to three years from planning to operation.

There will be no just transition if we fail to decarbonise in this decade, in the lead-up to 2030. The IPCC is clear that unless we cut emissions by half until 2030, we will miss the 1.5°C target. We all know that those most vulnerable to the climate emergency are those who are already marginalised and who we cannot afford to leave behind.

3 Even as a technology that could potentially reduce GHG emissions after 2030 compared to fossil fuels, nuclear costs are prohibitively expensive and make for anti-poor policies. Even before accounting for the nuclear waste management expenses, a new nuclear power plant costs about four times more than renewable utilities.

Such fantastic expenses mean that:

  • Efforts to address and eliminate energy poverty will fail. In fact, energy poverty will most likely be exacerbated;
  • Precious resources will be diverted from public services like health and education — services relied on, again, by those who we cannot leave behind;
  • It will not be possible to make the investments required for a Just Transition — investments in skills development, industrial programmes, small business support programmes and a stronger social safety net — precisely when these will be needed most; and
  • We have also seen how the exorbitant costs of nuclear crowd out investments in renewables.

All evidence shows that renewables create more jobs than nuclear. Depending on the technology and the job measurement, up to six times more. Moreover, not only do renewables create more jobs, they also create a wider variety of jobs, across more flexible locations. This means that job profiles are accessible to a wider array of people and can be located where they are needed most. And then, despite its enormous expense, the economic stimulus that nuclear creates is less than that created by renewables.

5 Even if we ignore all the above — cost, time, jobs, economic impact, supply reliability risks — nuclear energy still provides inferior environmental outcomes. The median carbon footprint of nuclear power is at least two to four times more than that of renewables — and that is still an underestimate. It also creates an intergenerational toxic waste crisis.

6 History shows us that the social and economic consequences of a serious accident occurring at a nuclear power station are devastating to both workers and society at large. Such outcomes can hardly be justified by the few jobs nuclear creates.

These last two points suggest that nuclear is spectacularly unfit to power a just transition. And not only will the jobs it creates go to a few highly skilled elites, nuclear energy’s economic stimuli will affect lesser industries and its costs will likely result in austerity policies.

Nuclear power is not, has never been, and will never become a viable means to generate electricity, especially within the context of the worsening climate emergency. It is obvious, via any metric, that renewable energy is a far better option if we are to meaningfully address carbon emissions to avert a climate catastrophe.

Renewables will do so while safeguarding decent livelihoods and rolling back inequality. DM

This article is based on Makoma Lekalakala’s speech at the COP26 launch of Dr Neil Overy’s reportNeither Climate Nor Jobs: Nuclear Myths About the Just Transition.

December 13, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Are We Forever Captives of America’s Forever Wars? This is what needs to be done to finally end our forever wars.

Are We Forever Captives of America’s Forever Wars? This is what needs to be done to finally end our forever wars.
KAREN GREENBERG December 10, 2021 by TomDispatch   As August ended, American troops completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan almost 20 years after they first arrived. On the formal date of withdrawal, however, President Biden insisted that “over-the-horizon capabilities” (airpower and Special Operations forces, for example) would remain available for use anytime. “[W]e can strike terrorists and targets without American boots on the ground, very few if needed,” he explained, dispensing immediately with any notion of a true peace. But beyond expectations of continued violence in Afghanistan, there was an even greater obstacle to officially ending the war there: the fact that it was part of a never-ending, far larger conflict originally called the Global War on Terror (in caps), then the plain-old lower-cased war on terror, and finally—as public opinion here soured on it—America’s “forever wars.”

As we face the future, it’s time to finally focus on ending, formally and in every other way, that disastrous larger war. It’s time to acknowledge in the most concrete ways imaginable that the post-9/11 war on terror, of which the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan was the opening salvo, warrants a final sunset.

True, security experts like to point out that the threat of global Islamist terrorism is still of pressing—and in many areas, increasing—concern. ISIS and al-Qaeda are reportedly again on the rise in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa.

Nonetheless, the place where the war on terror truly needs to end is right here in this country. From the beginning, its scope, as defined in Washington, was arguably limitless and the extralegal institutions it helped create, as well as its numerous departures from the rule of law, would prove disastrous for this country. In other words, it’s time for America to withdraw not just from Afghanistan (or Iraq or Syria or Somalia) but, metaphorically speaking at least, from this country, too. It’s time for the war on terror to truly come to an end.

With that goal in mind, three developments could signal that its time has possibly come, even if no formal declaration of such an end is ever made. In all three areas, there have recently been signs of progress (though, sadly, regress as well).

Repeal of the 2001 AUMF

First and foremost, Congress needs to repeal its disastrous 2001 Authorization for the Use of Force (AUMF) passed—with Representative Barbara Lee’s single “no” vote—after the attacks of 9/11. Over the last 20 years, it would prove foundational in allowing the U.S. military to be used globally in essentially any way a president wanted.

That AUMF was written without mention of a specific enemy or geographical specificity of any kind when it came to possible theaters of operation and without the slightest reference to what the end of such hostilities might look like. As a result, it bestowed on the president the power to use force when, where, and however he wanted in fighting the war on terror without the need to further consult Congress. Employed initially to root out al-Qaeda and defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan, it has been used over the last two decades to fight in at least 19 countries in the Greater Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Its repeal is almost unimaginably overdue…………….

At the moment, some efforts towards repeal again seem to be gaining momentum, with the focus now on the more modest goal of simply reducing the blanket authority the authorization still allows a president to make war as he pleases, while ensuring that Congress has a say in any future decisions on using force abroad……………..

Closing Gitmo

A second essential act to signal the end of the war on terror would, of course, be the closing of that offshore essence of injustice, the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba (aka Gitmo) that the Bush administration set up so long ago. …………

some progress is being made, but as long as Gitmo remains open, our own homemade version of the war on terror will live on.

Redefining the Threat

Another admittedly grim sign that the post-9/11 war on terror could finally fade away is the pivot of attention in this country to other far more pressing threats on a planet in danger and in the midst of a desperate and devastating pandemic. Notably, on the 20th anniversary of those attacks, even former President George W. Bush, whose administration launched the war on terror and its ills, acknowledged a shift in the country’s threat matrix: “[W]e have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders, but from violence that gathers within.”

some progress is being made, but as long as Gitmo remains open, our own homemade version of the war on terror will live on.

Redefining the Threat

Another admittedly grim sign that the post-9/11 war on terror could finally fade away is the pivot of attention in this country to other far more pressing threats on a planet in danger and in the midst of a desperate and devastating pandemic. Notably, on the 20th anniversary of those attacks, even former President George W. Bush, whose administration launched the war on terror and its ills, acknowledged a shift in the country’s threat matrix: “[W]e have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders, but from violence that gathers within.”

Each of these potential pivots suggest the possible end of a war on terror whose casualties include essential aspects of democracy and on which this country squandered almost inconceivable sums of money while constantly widening the theater for the use of force. It’s time to withdraw the ever-expansive war powers Congress gave the president, end indefinite detention at Gitmo, and acknowledge that a shift in priorities is already occurring right under our noses on an ever more imperiled planet. Perhaps then Americans could turn to short-term and long-term priorities that might truly improve the health and sustainability of this nation. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/12/10/are-we-forever-captives-americas-forever-wars

December 13, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

 Radionuclides found from Hinkley nuclear mud Bristol Channel Citizens Radiation Survey .

 

 Radionuclides found…! Bristol Channel Citizens Radiation Survey, Tim Deere-Jones, Stop Hinkley C. A new survey has concluded the spread of man-made radioactivity from reactor discharges into the Bristol Channel is far more extensive and widespread than previously reported.

The research has also detected a high concentration of radioactivity in Splott Bay, which could be linked to the controversial dumping of dredged waste off the Cardiff coast in 2018.The survey was undertaken over the summer by groups from both sides of the Bristol Channel after EDF Energy refused to carry
out pre-dumping surveys of the Cardiff Grounds and Portishead sea dump sites where they have disposed of waste from the construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant.

The survey found that shoreline concentrations of two radio nuclides (Caesium 137 and Americium 241)
typical of the effluents from the Hinkley reactors and indicators of the presence of Plutonium 239/240 and 241, do not decline significantly with distance from the Hinkley site as Government and Industry surveys had previously reportedOverall, the study found significant concentrations of Hinkley derived radioactivity in samples from all 11 sites, seven along the Somerset coast and four in south Wales and found unexpectedly high concentrations in sediments from Bristol Docks, the tidal River Avon, the
Portishead shoreline, Burnham-on-Sea and Woodspring Bay.

 Public Enquiry 11th Dec 2021

Research finds ‘significant concentrations’ of radioactivity in
samples taken from across the Somerset and south Wales coast. Nation Cymru 9th Dec 2021

December 13, 2021 Posted by | oceans, radiation, Reference, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia Arms Sale Is One of Biden’s Many Militaristic Actions in First Year.

Saudi Arabia Arms Sale Is One of Biden’s Many Militaristic Actions in First Year, Khury Petersen-SmithTruthout, 12 Dec 21,

Given the brutish approach of his predecessor, many expected President Joe Biden to shift away from the worst practices in U.S. foreign policy and at the border in the previous four years. Indeed, in the first weeks of his presidency, the Biden administration signaled changes. In Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s first press briefing, the State Department announced that it was reviewing weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — which have led the catastrophic war on Yemen with essential U.S. partnership.

A week later, Biden declared in his first foreign policy address as president that “We are ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales.”

Regarding its practices at the border, Biden administration officials promised a shift away from Trump’s practices of separating families and caging children, calling them a “moral failing.” He said that the new White House would “deal with immigration comprehensively, fairly, and humanely.”

As 2021 comes to a close, however, we are seeing the latter part of a trajectory that settles into familiar, disastrous militarism.

The U.S. is selling Saudi Arabia $650 million worth of missiles and providing $500 million worth of maintenance for U.S.-made aircraft, training and other support for its military operations.

These arrangements come as Saudi Arabia is escalating its devastating bombing in Yemen. In November, Saudi forces carried out the largest number of air strikes since Trump’s last year in office.

These bookends — Biden’s early announcement of an end to U.S. support for the war in Yemen and his subsequent robust material support of that war — capture the set of practices that the Biden White House is settling into, not only in Yemen, but also in the realm of war and imperialism more broadly.

Consider the White House’s approval of a $23 billion weapons sale to the U.A.E., which provides the Emirates with attack drones and F-35 fighter jets. The arrangement was negotiated under the Trump administration as the prize for the U.A.E.’s role in leading the normalization of diplomatic relations between Israel and itself, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, despite Israel’s deepening violence against Palestinians.

The Biden administration embraced the normalization agreements, along with Trump’s other actions meant to consolidate U.S. support and extend legitimacy to Israel in a time when Palestinian protest presents a steady challenge to Israeli apartheid, and global Palestine solidarity campaigns have gained more traction than ever……………………. https://truthout.org/articles/saudi-arabia-arms-sale-is-one-of-bidens-many-militaristic-actions-in-first-year/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=4190f671-99bd-42a7-a84d-db9a6d698398

December 13, 2021 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australian government urged to push UK and US to free Julian Assange.

Australian government urged to push UK and US to free Julian Assange, SBS , 12 Dec 21,

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says officials have raised issues of due legal process and access to proper medical care for Julian Assange with officials in the UK and the US.  By Alexander Britton

The Australian government has been urged to weigh in on the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as supporters vowed to continue to fight against his extradition……………..

Senator Rex Patrick told SBS News the Australian government has not placed enough pressure on the US and UK governments about the case but was hopeful “common sense will prevail”.

He said: “We have a Deputy Prime Minister (Barnaby Joyce) who spoke in support of Julian Assange while on the backbench who is in Washington in quarantine.

“He could be using his time pushing his views, speaking to the (US) Secretary of State.

“The Deputy Prime Minister was very clear as to what the Government should be doing, but has remained quiet since he rejoined the cabinet.”

‘Dangerous and misguided’   

In a statement, Mr Joyce said: “My position remains the same….In regards to the current UK proceedings, I note he was not in the US at the time of the action he is accused nor was he a US citizen at the time so should not be bound to US laws.”

The US said the release of the classified information put lives in danger, but Mr Assange’s backers say the case is retaliation for his exposing of wrongdoing in overseas conflicts.

His fiancee, Stella Moris, said his legal team would appeal against the decision and said Friday’s verdict at the Royal Courts of Justice in London was “dangerous and misguided”.

“This goes to the fundamentals of press freedom and of democracy. We will fight,” she said outside the court. 

“Every generation has an epic fight to fight, and this is ours because Julian represents the fundamentals of what it means to live in a free society, of what it means to have press freedom.”

The ruling has been the subject of criticism from a range of campaign groups, as well as a number of politicians in Australia.

Labor MP Julian Hill said the Australian government “must stand up to the US and the UK and stop this extradition”.

In a series of tweets, he said: “Julian Assange, an Australian citizen is fighting for his life in London, as the USA seeks his extradition to face an effective death sentence.

“This Australian, who exposed US war crimes, is treated worse than a war criminal. He’s NOT receiving a fair trial.

“There will never be a legal solution to Julian Assange’s case. It is an inherently political witch-hunt.

“The Australian Government must stand up to the US and the UK and stop this extradition.”

Federal Independent MP Andrew Wilkie urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to “end the lunacy” and demand the release of Mr Assange.

“The PM must end this lunacy, pick up the phone to his counterparts in the US and UK, and urge them to release Mr Assange immediately and allow him to return to Australia. He is a hero, not a villain, and journalism is not a crime.”

Greens senator Janet Rice added: “Julian Assange’s prosecution has always been political. It’s going to need a political response from our government to get justice for him.”

And MP George Christensen, who introduced a private bill to address the illegal detention of journalists last month, titled “free Julian Assange”, called on US President Joe Biden to drop the case.

He wrote on Facebook: “A foreign court just ruled that an Australian journalist – Julian Assange – should be extradited to another foreign nation to face trumped-up charges of hacking and espionage. 

“This is an affront to freedom of speech and Australian sovereignty.”

Concerns about Assange’s health………..

The legal wrangling will go to the Supreme Court, the United Kingdom’s final court of appeal.

Amnesty International’s Europe Director Nils Muižnieks said the decision was a “travesty of justice”.

“The US government’s indictment poses a grave threat to press freedom both in the United States and abroad.”

While Nils Melzer, the UN’s special rapporteur on torture, noted the court’s decision came on the same day as Human Rights Day and expressed concerns about Mr Assange’s health.

He said: “It’s just like a car crash happening in slow motion and every now and then someone asking you to comment on what you’re seeing.

“Well it’s still a car crash happening in slow motion, we know exactly what’s at the end of this.

“At the end, Julian Assange is crushed as a person and our rights have been done away with.”……………..

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said they have made available consular assistance and continue to monitor the case. [ed note: a fat lot of good that will do!]………….. https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australian-government-urged-to-push-uk-and-us-to-free-julian-assange_1/057ebae4-4cc9-40ba-9536-f6a2b74cf6e7

December 13, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties, politics | Leave a comment

Assange facing extradition to US: where is the outrage?

How can it be fair, how can it be right, how can it be possible, to extradite Julian to the very country which plotted to kill him?”

Assange facing extradition to US: where is the outrage?   https://redflag.org.au/article/assange-facing-extradition-us-where-outrageTom Gilchrist11 December 2021

The US government has won its appeal against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, with the UK’s High Court overturning an earlier decision to block Assange’s extradition to the US. The case will now be sent back to the Magistrates Court with instructions to allow the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to approve or deny the extradition request.

This is a massive blow to press freedom. Assange faces one charge of conspiracy and 17 espionage charges, begun by the Trump administration but continued by the Biden administration. These 17 espionage charges relate to the publication and release of secret government documents, a crucial right for serious journalists trying to hold governments to account. As a statement from Wikileaks in response to the ruling puts its, Assange is “accused of publishing true information revealing crimes committed by the US government in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and details of CIA torture and rendition”.

For telling the truth about these war crimes Assange has faced a decade long campaign of persecution. As Amnesty International’s Europe Director Nils Muižnieks said in response to the High Court decision: “The US government’s indictment poses a grave threat to press freedom both in the United States and abroad. If upheld, it would undermine the key role of journalists and publishers in scrutinising governments and exposing their misdeeds, and would leave journalists everywhere looking over their shoulders.” Muižnieks has labelled the decision a “travesty of justice”.

In the earlier decision in January which blocked Assange’s extradition, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that the harsh conditions of the US prison system would put Assange at an unreasonable risk of suicide. The High Court has allowed the appeal against this decision on the basis of various “assurances” given by the US government to Assange. These included assurances that he would not be subjected to Special Administrative Measures which restrict contact with the outside world, and that he would be allowed to serve his sentence in Australia if the Australian government made such a request.

These assurances, however, come with caveats. The US government has said that they must be allowed to hold Assange in these restrictive conditions if they fear he could be responsible for a “breach” of “national security”. As Muižnieks argues “The fact that the US has reserved the right to change its mind at any time means that these assurances are not worth the paper they are written on”.

Earlier this year an investigative report from Yahoo! News revealed that leading figures in the US government had discussed the possibility of kidnapping or assassinating Assange during the seven years he was taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Over the last decade it has subjected Assange to a campaign of persecution which Nils Melzer, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, says amounts to psychological torture. The idea that this same government is now able to give assurances that it cares about the health and safety of Assange is absurd. As Stella Moris, Assange’s partner, says “How can it be fair, how can it be right, how can it be possible, to extradite Julian to the very country which plotted to kill him?”

Moris is a part of Assange’s legal team and says they will be appealing the decision. Such an appeal would be heard by the UK Supreme Court. Assange, meanwhile, remains imprisoned indefinitely in a maximum-security UK prison.

As one of the world’s most high-profile political prisoners, and an Australian national, the Australian media and government might be expected to be up in arms over the plight of Assange. But the shameful lack of concern about his fate persists. Loyalty to the US empire, and willingness to cover up its many crimes, comes first for Australian capitalism.

December 13, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties | Leave a comment

UK’s Hinkley B nuclear power station to shut down permanently next summer.

Hinkley Point B to start final run of producing electricity before
shutting down next summer. Hinkley Point B is about to start its final run
of producing electricity before it shuts down for good next summer. The
nuclear power station on the West Somerset coastline has been operating for
over 45 years and it’s expected that many members of staff will stay on to
help with de-fuelling and decommissioning.

 ITV 11th Dec 2021

https://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/2021-12-11/hinkley-point-b-power-station-to-start-final-run-before-shutting-down

December 13, 2021 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | 2 Comments