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The American Colony of Australia

19 Feb 2021Western media portrays Australia as a beautiful nation with independent people and a close ally of the United States. But the American Empire has no allies, only vassal states. Australia became a colony of the American empire in 1975 after an Anglo-American coup. Australians noticed nothing since Australia had been an British colony since its inception and dispatches military forces when ordered to fight empire wars.

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February 3, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international | Leave a comment

Missing radioactive capsule found in Western Australia

Authorities in Australia say they have found a tiny radioactive capsule
which went missing last week. Emergency services had “literally found the
needle in the haystack”, authorities in Western Australia said. A huge
search was triggered when the object was lost while being transported along
a 1,400km (870-mile) route across the state.

Mining giant Rio Tinto
apologised for losing the device, which could have posed a serious danger
if handled. The capsule – which is 6mm (0.24 inches) in diameter and 8mm
long – contains a small quantity of Caesium-137, which could cause skin
damage, burns or radiation sickness.

Emergency services used specialised
equipment including radiation detectors during their hunt. Announcing their
find on Wednesday, the state emergency services paid tribute to
“inter-agency teamwork in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds”. The
capsule was found when a vehicle equipped with specialist equipment, which
was travelling at 70 km/h, detected radiation, officials said. Portable
detection equipment was then used to locate the capsule, which was found
about 2 metres from the side of the road, they added.

BBC 1st Feb 2023

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-64481317

Times 1st Feb 2023

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/missing-radioactive-capsule-found-australia-search-vk5crqk03

February 1, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, incidents | Leave a comment

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) sends specialist team to Western Australia in search for missing radioactive capsule

Nuclear safety agency joins radioactive capsule hunt

By Michael Ramsey, January 31 2023 https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/8067912/nuclear-safety-agency-joins-radioactive-capsule-hunt/

Federal authorities are set to join the massive search for a dangerous radioactive capsule missing in Western Australia.

The 8mm by 6mm item fell out of a density gauge while being trucked from a Rio Tinto mine in the Pilbara to Perth.

Emergency services are searching a 1400km route amid warnings the Caesium-137 in the capsule could cause radiation burns or sickness if handled and potentially dangerous levels of radiation with prolonged exposure.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) on Tuesday said it had sent a deployment team with specialised car-mounted and portable detection equipment to join the search.

Led by WA’s Department of Fire and Emergency Services, the hunt is expected to take five days with vehicles travelling at 50km/h.

Radiation services specialists and detection and imaging equipment are also being sent to WA by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.

Rio Tinto has apologised and ordered an investigation into what went wrong during the haul, which was carried out by a contractor.

Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson flagged the WA government was likely to also probe the incident.

“How these are transported does need to be looked at,” he told ABC radio.

“It does puzzle me how such a thing can fall off the back of a truck.”

Rio said a bolt that secured the capsule within the gauge appeared to have sheared off, creating a hole just big enough for the item to escape.

The truck arrived in the Perth suburb of Malaga on January 16 but it wasn’t until nine days later that a technician realised the capsule was missing.

The capsule is smaller than a 10 cent coin but the amount of radiation it emits is equivalent to receiving 10 X-rays in an hour.

Drivers have been warned it could have become lodged in their car’s tyres.

January 31, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, incidents | Leave a comment

Missing radioactive capsule: Western Australia officials admit it was weeks before anyone realised it was lost

Fire and Emergency Services official says capsule left Rio Tinto mine site on 10 January but was not found missing for 15 days

Guardian, Mostafa Rachwani, 28 Jan 23

Western Australian authorities are scrambling to find a missing radioactive capsule that is a fraction of the size of a 10c coin, conceding it was not found missing until more than two weeks after it left a Rio Tinto mine site.

The 8mm by 6mm capsule is a 19-gigabecquerel caesium 137 ceramic source, commonly used in radiation gauges, and was supposed to be contained in a secure device which had been “damaged” on a truck which travelled from the mine site north of Newman in the Pilbara to a depot in Perth.

Authorities are now searching along the 1,400km stretch of the Great Northern Highway for the capsule, which they warn can cause skin burns, radiation sickness and cancer.

At a news conference on Saturday, Darryl Ray, the acting superintendent for Western Australia’s Department of Fire and Emergency Services, said authorities were largely searching for the capsule at “strategic sites”.

He said an incident management team including the Department of Health and police had been formed.

“We have continued the search on strategic sites along the route that the vehicle had taken, concentrating on sites close to high-population areas within the metropolitan suburbs,” he said. “The search involves the use of radiation survey meters to detect the radiation levels which will help us locate the small device.

“What we are not doing is trying to find a tiny little device by eyesight. We are using the radiation detectors to locate the gamma rays, using the meters, that will help us then locate the small device.

“We have secured the GPS data from the trucking company to determine the exact route and stops that the vehicle has taken on its journey.

“We will continue to use specialist equipment to help us search the remaining known locations … in particular, the Great Northern Highway between Perth and Newman.”

The WA chief health officer, Andrew Robertson, said there were screws missing from the protective gauge holding the capsule when it was discovered missing.

“These gauges are designed to be robust and to be used in industrial settings where they may be exposed to weather and vibration, so it is unusual for a gauge to come apart like this one has,” Robertson said.

“We are conducting an investigation on all of the circumstances from when it was originally transported from the mine site, the whole of the transport route, and then its handling on arrival in Perth.”

Robertson urged anyone who found the capsule not to handle it.

“People could end up developing redness of the skin and eventually burns of the skin from the beta radiation,” he said. “If it were kept long enough and they were exposed long enough, they could also have some acute effects, including impacts on their immune system and the gastrointestinal system.”

Robertson said the capsule was “most dangerous if it is handled or if it is close to the body”.

“If you are further than five metres away from the source, certainly if you are more than 20 metres away from the source, it will pose no danger to you,” he said. “If it is closer than that, and we strongly discourage people from picking it up, certainly don’t put it in your pocket or put it in your car, don’t put it on your sideboard, it will continue to radiate.

“While you may not have immediate health effects, they can occur relatively rapidly over a short period of time if it is close to the body………………

Robertson said officials did not know the date the capsule fell off the truck.

Ray said the capsule was placed on to the pallet on 10 January at the mine site, transited and arrived at the radiation service company in Malaga on 16 January.

“It was not until the 25th, late morning, when they opened it up to reveal that the device had fallen apart, was damaged in transit, and that the actual capsule was discovered missing, which is when authorities were first notified.” ………… more https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/jan/28/missing-radioactive-capsule-wa-officials-admit-it-was-weeks-before-anyone-realised-it-was-lost

January 29, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, incidents | Leave a comment

Urgent public health warning issued over lost radioactive capsule in Western Australia

“It emits both beta rays and gamma rays so if you have it close to you, you could either end up with skin damage including skin burns,” .

“And if you have it long enough near you, it could cause acute radiation sickness.

DFES have issued a warning for people to stay at least five metres away from it if they see something that resembles the capsule.

 https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-01-27/radioactive-capsule-lost-in-wa-emergency-public-health-warning/101901472 By Cason Ho 28 Jan 23

A missing radioactive capsule lost somewhere between Perth and a Pilbara mine site over an area of 1,400 kilometres has sparked an urgent health warning.

Key points:

  • A capsule containing a radioactive substance has been lost
  • The capsule is 6mm in diameter and 8mm wide
  • People are being urged not to get close to the capsule

In an emergency press conference on Friday afternoon, WA’s chief health officer urged people to stay away from the capsule if they see it because of its radioactive properties.

The capsule is tiny – 6mm diameter by 8mm high.

The radioactive gauges are commonly used in mining. It went missing from a truck sometime after January 10.

WA radioactive substance risk alert

The radioactive capsule could be anywhere along the more than 1,400 km journey between Malaga, in Perth and Newman in WA’s remote north

Any motorists who have travelled along the Great Northern Highway between Newman and Perth since January 10 should check their tyres, in case the capsule has become lodged in them.

Chief Health Officer Andy Robertson said the capsule was lost while it was being transported, somewhere between a mine site north of Newman and Malaga, north east of Perth. 

It is believed the capsule fell through the gap left by a bolt hole, after the bolt was dislodged when a container collapsed as a result of vibrations during the trip.

Authorities are searching Great Northern Highway in a desperate effort to find the capsule, which is smaller than a 10-cent piece.

DFES said the capsule “cannot be weaponised” but are still urging caution due to potentially serious health consequences.

Radiation equivalent to 10 X-rays an hour

Mr Robertson said it does emit a “reasonable” amount of radiation.

He says the radiation emitted is equivalent to receiving 10 X-rays in one hour, if you were within one metre of it, or the amount of natural radiation a body is exposed to over a year.

The half-life of the substance is 30 years. 

“It emits both beta rays and gamma rays so if you have it close to you, you could either end up with skin damage including skin burns,” he said.

“And if you have it long enough near you, it could cause acute radiation sickness.

“Now that will take a period of time but obviously we are recommending people not be close to it or hang on to it.”

Mr Robertson advised anyone who finds the capsule not to go near it, and to rather call DFES on 133 337.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services is leading search efforts, coordinating a team involving the Department of Health, WA Police, and other subject matter experts.

DFES Country North chief superintendent David Gill said there would be “challenges” in locating such a small object.

“The start and finish of the transportation from the mine site north of Newman, and the transport depot in Perth, are among some of the locations that are searched, and being searched yesterday, but the capsule remains unfound,” he said.

“There are challenges here. It is 1,400 kilometres between the mine site … to the north of Newman, and Perth.”

DFES have issued a warning for people to stay at least five metres away from it if they see something that resembles the capsule.

People are urged to avoid coming into contact with it, and immediately contact DFES.

January 29, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, incidents | Leave a comment

Documents show no sign Australia’s Albanese government lobbied the US to bring Julian Assange home

 https://michaelwest.com.au/documents-show-no-sign-albanese-government-lobbied-the-us-to-bring-julian-assange-home/, by Rex Patrick | Jan 24, 2023

The government is hosting a media freedom roundtable yet Freedom of Information inquiries show no evidence of entreaties to the Biden administration to free Australia’s number one victim of political and media persecution, Julian Assange. Actions speak louder than words, writes Rex Patrick.

When Independent MP Monique Ryan stood up in the Parliament in late November and asked Prime Minister Anthony Albanese if his Government would intervene to bring Australian journalist Julian Assange home, those in the community that care about freedom of the press were provided with a glimmer of hope.

The PM answered: “I, some time ago, made my point that enough is enough. It is time for this matter to be brought to a conclusion. In that, I don’t express any personal sympathy with some of the actions of Mr Assange. I do say though that this issue has gone on for many years now, and when you look at the issue of Mr Assange and compare that with the person responsible for leaking the information, Bradley Manning, now Chelsea Manning, she is now able to participate freely in US society.”

He went on to say:

The government will continue to act in a diplomatic way, but can I assure the member for Kooyong that I have raised this personally with representatives of the United States government. My position is clear and has been made clear to the US administration that it is time that this matter be brought to a close.

Press protections or press protection?

When the Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus MP, KC announced on the 19th of this month that he was calling together media organisations to discuss improved protections for press freedom, Assange supporters could also reasonably crack a smile. Dreyfus pronounced:

“The Albanese Government believes a strong and independent media is vital to democracy and holding governments to account. Journalists should never face the prospect of being charged or even jailed just for doing their jobs.”

But it’s now clear there’s a big difference between saying, and doing. A set of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests has bought the Government’s Assange façade crumbling to the ground.

In response to a Freedom of Information request to the Prime Minister for all correspondence or other records of communication sent after 23 May 2022 by or on behalf of the Prime Minister, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, to United States President Joe Biden that related to Julian Paul Assange, his office has come up with nothing.  

In response to a Freedom of Information request to the Attorney General for correspondence or records of communication between him and his US counterpart Merrick Garland that relates to Assange his office also came up bare.

FOI Response from Houston Ash, Senior Adviser to the Attorney-General

It’s a response that’s left independent MP Monique Ryan disturbed. 

“The US Government’s prosecution of Australian journalist and publisher Julian Assange poses a major threat to press freedom around the world. Unfortunately, the evidence now available shows that, contrary to their statements, Prime Minister Albanese and his Ministers have done little to secure Mr Assange’s freedom. None of them has written to their US counterparts to press for the espionage prosecution to be dropped”said Ms Ryan.

She’s now rightly called on the government to disclose exactly what they have done, and will do, to secure Assange’s release.

In media statements she referred also to a further request made to Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s office for Assange related correspondence between her and United States Secretary of State Antony J Blinken. It also drew a blank.

Ms Ryan observed:

If the Albanese Government was serious about working to secure an end to the US prosecution and Mr Assange’s release, then he and his Ministers would have raised the matter formally, in writing, with their counterparts at the top levels of the US Government”, It is now confirmed that they have not done so via any formal means.”

Ms Ryan went on to highlight the Attorney’s duplicitous stand. “Last week, in announcing a forthcoming national media roundtable, Attorney-General Dreyfus declared that ‘Journalists should never face the prospect of being charged or even jailed just for doing their jobs‘.” Julian Assange is an Australian journalist who faces lifelong imprisonment for doing his job.

The Independent MP for Kooyong has signalled her intent to take the matter further. “When the Federal Parliament reconvenes in February, the Government will need to explain – in much more detail – when we can expect to see Mr Assange return to Australia”

The Albanese Government has been caught out saying something but not meaning it. They just want to appear that they’re doing something, when behind the scenes they’re doing very little, if anything much at all.  

Nothing is to be gained by the continuing prosecution of Julian Assange. The US espionage prosecution sends precisely the wrong message at a time when freedom of the press is under threat in many countries worldwide. 

The Albanese Government serve the United States better, and promotes a solid position itself, in pressing for the attack on Assange and media freedom to stop.

January 27, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international | Leave a comment

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a good step towards a nuclear-free world

 https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/8054916/nuclear-danger-is-strong-but-landmark-agreement-offers-hope/ By Marianne Hanson, Margaret Beavis, January 21 2023

January 22 marks the two-year anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), a landmark agreement that made nuclear weapons illegal on the basis of international humanitarian law.

Yet the potential for nuclear war remains as great as ever.

Fears that the unthinkable might happen were raised most clearly last year when President Vladimir Putin implied that Russia would consider using ‘all forces and means’ necessary in its fight against Ukraine.

It reminded us of the Cuban missile crisis 60 years earlier, once again bringing to the fore the prospect that nuclear war was in fact quite thinkable.

Thankfully, no nuclear weapons have been used in this war, but we cannot be complacent. Deterrence cannot be relied on forever. If Russia (or the United States) were to use even one small “tactical” nuclear weapon, a greater conflagration could easily follow.

It is not only Putin who has threatened to use nuclear weapons; nor is it the case that nuclear dangers vanished after the Cuban crisis or even after the end of the Cold War.

The leaders of every one of the nine states which possess these weapons of mass destruction – Russia, the US, France, China, Britain, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea – regularly signal that they would indeed use these weapons.

Their nuclear doctrines, the ongoing modernisation of their nuclear arsenals, their war-fighting practices and nuclear targeting all threaten the use of weapons which have the potential to kill millions and devastate the planet.

The end of the Cold War did nothing to reduce these dangers. While there was a period when goodwill between the major powers prevailed, and the US and Russia embarked on a program of reduction via the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties, in truth a window of opportunity was lost when the nuclear-armed states refused to move seriously to eliminate their nuclear arsenals completely.

At the time, Australia was at the forefront of calls for the total elimination of nuclear weapons; the Labor government’s Canberra Commission in 1996 put forward a sober and considered assessment of the utility of nuclear weapons.

Nineteen commissioners from around the world, including several military leaders from the US, Britain and elsewhere, concluded that nuclear arsenals had very little military utility, that their existence continued to threaten the world – via deliberate or accidental use – and that as long as any one state possessed nuclear weapons, other states would want them too.

As predicted, three more states have acquired these WMDs since the Cold War ended.

The Canberra Commission set out a comprehensive program to encourage the phased, balanced, mutual, and verified elimination of nuclear weapons. It did not call for unilateral disarmament, nor did it insist that this should happen overnight. But it did warn that dangers would increase if the world did not act to eliminate these most destructive of all weapons.

Several other organisations and think tanks around the world added to the Canberra Commission’s message in subsequent decades and the nuclear states made clear promises to disarm. But they have stalled in the process of disarmament and are, instead, making their existing arsenals even more destructive than they were before.

Thoroughly fed-up with this intransigence, more than 120 states at the United Nations in 2017 voted to adopt a treaty outlawing nuclear weapons. The TPNW entered into force two years ago, and now has 92 state signatures.

Formed in Melbourne, the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear weapons (ICAN) was awarded the Nobel peace prize for its work in raising awareness of nuclear dangers and its contribution towards the new treaty. This was the first and only time that an Australian-born group has been awarded the Nobel peace prize.

ICAN’s work was premised on the history of banning other weapons considered to be inhumane, unjust, and uncivilised. Landmines have been banned and are hardly used at all today, a far cry from a few decades ago. Chemical and biological weapons have been banned, and any state that attempts to use them is immediately stigmatised and reprimanded.

In the same way, the TPNW is designed to stigmatise, delegitimise, and in time lead to the elimination of nuclear weapons. ICAN, the 92 governments which have signed, and people around the world who support nuclear disarmament understand that a legal instrument banning nuclear weapons is a necessary step in the move to a nuclear weapons-free world.

It might surprise readers to know that several prominent politicians and military leaders also support this goal; Henry Kissinger and William Perry from the US are notable advocates of disarmament; so too were Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. Here in Australia, Labor promised at its 2018 and 2021 National Conferences that it will sign the TPNW when in government.

More than 100 federal parliamentarians have called on Canberra to fulfil this promise, as have hundreds more from around Australia, including in local government.

The call to eliminate nuclear weapons also finds strong support at the grassroots level in Australia; doctors and other health practitioners, environmental groups, trade unions, faith-based leaders, lawyers and others are calling on the government to sign the TPNW.

This is because banning and abolishing nuclear weapons is seen as a public health and humanitarian imperative. Our planet is worth preserving and human life should be valued. The Australian Red Cross as well as prominent Rotarians around the world are calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons, in the same way that they are working to eliminate polio and malaria.

On this second anniversary of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons’ entry into force, Australia must again take up the message of the Canberra Commissioners. Indeed, while Australia’s high-risk nuclear propelled submarine proposal clearly creates global proliferation concerns, by signing the TPNW Australia can demonstrate its non-proliferation commitments.

A nuclear-free world requires visionary and bold leadership. It is a global public good. Signing the TPNW, and playing an active role internationally for balanced, phased and verified disarmament will be an excellent start.

  • Associate Professor Marianne Hanson and Dr Margaret Beavis are co-chairs of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Nobel peace prize 2017) Australia.

January 21, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Minister Madeleine King visits Australia’s proposed nuclear waste dump site – methinks the lady doth protest too much.

Peter Remta 14 Jan 23 Minister visits Kimba to discuss Nationa Radioactive Waste Management Facility, 13 January 2023

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, the Hon Madeleine King MP, has visited Kimba to meet with local community members and view the planned site for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.

It is going to be a long wait for another 10 years

The town of Kimba, on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, has been involved in more than seven years of consultation on the location of Australia’s National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.

Still have not provided a safety case or even details of the radionuclide inventories and activity of the intermediate level waste.

Will the high-level light waste processed in France be included in the storage?

“It was a pleasure to visit Kimba for the first time as Minister for Resources and Northern Australia and meet with community members to understand their views firsthand,” Minister King said.

“I was also able to meet with representatives from the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) Board in Kimba and other Traditional Owners.”

Minister King said she was strongly committed to protecting the cultural heritage of the site.

If she is so committed why does she continue opposing the Barngarla peoples’ review litigation?

The National Radioactive Waste Management Facility will consolidate Australia’s low level radioactive waste permanently and intermediate level waste temporarily, which is currently stored in more than one hundred locations across the country.

Please correct this total lie as many of the more than one hundred locations handle their own low-level waste and in the federal government’s own previous statements it will be lucky to get 10% of that waste for disposal at the national facility.

Most of this waste comes from nuclear medicine production, which is an essential part of an advanced healthcare system like ours and one that most Australians will benefit from over their lifetimes.

Again please don’t be cute as the waste you are speaking about is the intermediate level waste generated at Lucas Heights in the course of producing nuclear medicine and that should soon be dramatically reduced as the medical profession worldwide is turning away from reactor generated medicine

“As part of my visit, I engaged with a number of local community groups and stakeholders to discuss how the social and economic benefits of the project could be maximised for the local community,” Minister King said.

None of this will in any way improve or safeguard the community from all the potential problems of the aboveground facility and the destruction of its agricultural industry.

“I understand there is a wide range of views about the project in this community and I wanted to listen to those views firsthand.”

Minister King also met members of the community at a sundowner event at the upgraded Kimba Medical Centre, which was funded under the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Community Benefit Program.

“The upgrades to the Kimba Medical Centre will drive health and social improvements in a community that sorely needs it,” Minister King said.

[Ed note: I understood that Kimba was a thriving, healthy community, a State leader in agriculture.

Are we to understand that instead, it is a sickly pathetic situation, and indeed, the radioactive waste dump’s purpose is to be the saviour of this sad place?]

The only benefit of upgrading the so-called medical centre will be hopefully to provide better care for the people who are affected by radiation – and there will be quite a few believe me with the above ground facility.

Other projects funded in previous rounds include the upgrades to the Kimba Medical Centre, resurfacing Kimba District sporting fields, as well as various mental health initiatives.

[Ed. note. I wonder how much mental health and community cohesion have been damaged by this whole nuclear waste fiasco?]

To find out more about the facility, visit: radioactivewaste.gov.au.

January 13, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Australia’s contribution to AUKUS should be a next generation conventional submarine

By Kym Bergmann, 08/01/2023  https://asiapacificdefencereporter.com/australias-contribution-to-aukus-should-be-a-next-generation-conventional-submarine/

Sherlock Holmes teaches us that when all possible explanations have been eliminated, the only remaining answer – no matter how improbable – must be correct.  As prospects are diminishing that Australia will be able to receive a nuclear-powered submarine before the 2050s, policy makers are faced with two choices: do nothing, or fast track something that will add significantly to the undersea warfare capabilities of the three AUKUS partners.

The latest development is that two US Senators – one serving and one just retired – Democratic Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee Jack Reed and his Republican predecessor Senator James Inhofe, have warned that the US does not have the capacity to build submarines for Australia.  Previously, Australian officials have dismissed any negative commentary about the nuclear submarine plan as “noise”, but this is getting hard to ignore.

Maybe the report by the nuclear-powered submarine task force due in March will prove the critics wrong, but unless it comes up with a concrete schedule with dates, legally enforceable commitments and so on, Australia needs to have a Plan B.  A document that emphasises intentions, good will, more discussions, dialog, harmonising requirements, committees, and further investigations gets us nowhere.

Even the most vocal critics of conventional submarine technology concede that they nevertheless retain some performance advantages, such as in complex, shallow water littoral environments.  They are also comparatively cheaper to build and – depending on their size and complexity – a nation can acquire at least three conventional submarines for every nuclear-powered boat.

A new generation fleet of Australian conventional submarines could see some of them permanently based in Guam – or even Japan – making an important contribution to USN-led coalition operations in areas such as the South China Sea.  Some could also travel to the UK, though what contribution they could make to joint security from there is unclear, but the gesture might be politically worthwhile.

A commitment to actually doing something to help ourselves would also go over well in Washington.  US figures are reportedly surprised and disappointed at the supine position of Australia, which seems to believe a solution for our defence needs will be handed to us on a platter.  Why should Australia expect the US to solve our submarine problems for us?  First and foremost, this a challenge to be met by the sovereign Australian government and not offshore it like some sort of strategic help line.

The quickest solution for Australia would be to forget about the Collins Life of Type Extension due to start in 2026 and fast track the local construction of the South Korean KSS-III Batch 2 design – now owned by Hanwha – which could see boats in the water from 2030.  These are long-range conventional submarines that achieve a very low indiscretion rate by using lithium-ion batteries and other advanced technologies that were never part of the cancelled Attack class program.  Their endurance could be further expanded by building a resupply base on Christmas Island – surrounded by deep water and easy to protect – that would give them an extra 25% time on station.

Another option would be a Next Generation Collins class – a larger version of the Swedish A26 submarine, similar to the one favoured to be chosen by the Netherlands to meet their need for a long-range oceanic submarine.  A Third Generation Collins in the 2050s could be nuclear-powered, with the involvement of both the US and the UK.  That’s called long term planning and is probably closer to the spirit of AUKUS because it would contribute to sovereign capability.

For all the boosters of nuclear-powered submarines, we say this: unless Australia has a highly skilled construction base, we will be condemned to forever seeking to buy them from the US or the UK – and, as we are witnessing, the chances of that ever happening are receding.  As those two nations learned from the Sea Wolf and Astute programs, without a continuous submarine construction program, the loss of skills can be catastrophic.

The only sure way to guarantee that Australia will be able to build nuclear powered submarines – other than the reactors themselves – is to be able to transition from building large, advanced conventional submarines to something with a different propulsion system. Put simply: those arguing that an interim submarine is too inconvenient are condemning to death the idea of the local build of a nuclear-powered boat.  We will need a skilled, experienced, existing workforce, existing program management and existing local supply chains.

The only sure way to guarantee that Australia will be able to build nuclear powered submarines – other than the reactors themselves – is to be able to transition from building large, advanced conventional submarines to something with a different propulsion system. Put simply: those arguing that an interim submarine is too inconvenient are condemning to death the idea of the local build of a nuclear-powered boat.  We will need a skilled, experienced, existing workforce, existing program management and existing local supply chains.

January 8, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Dear US Congress, thank you for saving Australia from itself

by Rex Patrick | Jan 7, 2023  https://michaelwest.com.au/dear-us-congress-thank-you-for-saving-australia-from-itself/

Is “bad news” out of US Congress about an AUKUS nuclear submarine deal a blessing in disguise? Former submariner and senator Rex Patrick says US politicians, though acting in the interests of the US, may save Australia from itself, and $170 billion too. 

We are concerned that what was initially touted as a ‘do no harm’ opportunity to support Australia and the United Kingdom and build long-term competitive advantages for the US and its Pacific allies, may be turning into a zero-sum game for scarce, highly advanced U. SSNs,” wrote the Democrat and Republican heads of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“Over the past year, we have grown more concerned about the state of the US submarine industrial base as well as its ability to support the desired AUKUS SSN [Nuclear Submarine] end state”.

“We believe current conditions require a sober assessment of the facts to avoid stressing the US submarine industrial base to the breaking point.”

These two Senators have nailed it. 

Scotty’s greatest marketing moment

The AUKUS submarine was a ‘brain fart’ of Prime Minister Scott Morrison who was facing disquiet within the Liberal Party ranks (I know; as a Senator and submariner, they were raising the issue with me) over the French designed Attack Class replacement submarine program.

It was an idea supported by a Defence Department which had, in the 12 years since the future submarine project had been initiated, spent five billion taxpayer dollars delivering no submarine, and more than $8.5 billon on other failed projects.

On the morning of September 16, 2021, Morrison stood up in a stage-managed announcement staring US President Biden, then UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Morrison. Apart from the fact that President Biden didn’t know Morrison’s name, it was Morrison’s greatest ‘Scotty from Marketing’ moment.

While waving a big and distracting nuclear submarine hand to the camera, his other hand was behind his back silently putting a death to the French submarine program, something that would very shortly after cause a diplomatic rift between Australia and France.

Then opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, was given a briefing on AUKUS and the new submarine plans just 24 hours prior to the announcement. In the face of the oncoming election, Albanese made the political call to give the announcement Labor’s full support. Indeed, pursuing a ‘small target’ political strategy, Labor was embarrassingly desperate to avoid a fight about national security.

Not good for Australia

It was only after the dust had settled that the right questions started to be asked; simple questions like how much, when and where?

The cost soon emerged. The French submarine program has taken an expensive $50 billion submarine program and blown out to an unaffordable $90 billion. The AUKUS submarine was to invoke a cost ‘chain reaction’, coming in at a bankrupting $170 billion. We were jumping out of the financial frying pan and into the fire.

2040 what?

The commissioning date soon emerged. 2040! Noting the rationale for the switch from a French to an AUKUS program was the rising geo-political tension in our regions, the AUKUS submarine was to be delivered even later that the French solution. In an environment where Defence itself had warned our defence procurement warning time had been reduced to less than 10 year, it made no sense to embark on a program that delivers a first capability in 20 years.

Then the build discussions started. The nuclear submarine was not to be built in Australia, rather the US. We were going to sell out Australia industry, and in particular our hard-won competent submarine sustainment industry. We were going simply export $170B, most of the jobs and a sovereign capability the taxpayer had spent billions developing.

Not good for the US either

And the US Congress is now coming to the realisation that the AUKUS program will not be good for the US either. 

Supporting Australia’s submarine program will put even more pressure on the US submarine industry trying to build 12 new Columbia Class ballistic missile submarines and meet the demands of supplying the US Navy with its own Virginia Class submarines. 

This is not surprising. The US Congressional Research Service has been issuing reports for the better part of a decade that highlight the growing pressures on and limited capacity of the two American submarine construction facilities. The industrial capacity problem is already acute. 

The old Los Angeles Class submarines are retiring faster that the Virginias can be brought online.

Now the Senate Armed Services Committee has finally realised what would be involved in supporting the AUKUS submarine.

Please help pal!

Not having built or operated nuclear submarines before, and as the only country in the world that would be operating nuclear submarines without an established nuclear power industry, Australia’s dependency on the US would be significant. Training, shipbuilding, operating and maintaining a nuclear submarine, nuclear safety … we would need a lot of help with all of it.

We are talking about nuclear reactors. The US can’t half commit to this. AUKUS nuclear submarines will be a considerable distraction to the entire US submarine enterprise at a time when they don’t need distraction.

But the public concerns of the senators only tell half the story.

China conflict looms, before the subs arrive

Conflict between the US and China is more likely to occur in the next decade, than in the 2040’s when a first AUKUS nuclear submarine would be fully operational.

A decision by the US to support an AUKUS nuclear submarine would be a decision resigning their close Asia-Pacific ally to the operating of ageing Collins class submarines in the very period a high-end submarine partnering capability was needed most.

Stupid and stupider, but political momentum

The whole AUKUS nuclear submarine thing has a political momentum about it which will bring about national security downsides for both countries. 

As indicated above, the Labor Party leadership signed up to this massive project on 24 hours’ notice and little information. Now, completely captured by the ‘Department of Largely Failed Procurement and No Accountability’, Albanese, Defence Minister Richard Marles and Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy have been supplied with a full barrel of naval Kool Aide, and they’re chugging it down.

Cold hard analysis, such as that being conducted by the US Congress, might be the only thing that saves Australia from itself.

January 8, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

US President Joe Biden warned AUKUS nuclear submarine deal could come at cost to American fleet2 B1

By defence correspondent Andrew Greene and political reporter Georgia Hitch

Two powerful US politicians have raised serious concerns about the AUKUS pact, warning President Joe Biden the proposal to help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines risked harming America’s industrial base to “breaking point”.

Key points:

  • The senators warned against selling or transferring Virginia-class submarines to Australia
  • A spokesperson for the defence minister says details of the AUKUS deal will be announced in the first half of 2023
  • Canberra’s outgoing US ambassador says “bedding down” AUKUS is biggest challenge for new representative Kevin Rudd

In a leaked letter dated December 21, first obtained by US publication Breaking Defense, the Democratic Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a former Republican colleague outline their anxieties over the ambitious project.

“Over the past year, we have grown more concerned about the state of the US submarine industrial base as well as its ability to support the desired AUKUS SSN [nuclear sub] end state.”

Committee chair, Senator Jack Reed, and Republican Senator James Inhofe warn the White House explicitly against any plan to sell or transfer Virginia-class submarines to Australia before the US Navy meets its current requirements.

“We believe current conditions require a sober assessment of the facts to avoid stressing the US submarine industrial base to the breaking point,” the Senators are quoted as saying………….

Their dramatic intervention comes just three months before the Albanese government unveils its nuclear submarine plan and is the first time members of Congress have raised major concerns about AUKUS, which enjoys bi-partisan support in Washington.

In August a senior US Navy official also warned helping Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines could be too big a burden for America’s already overstretched shipyards. ……………………………………………………… more https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-01-06/biden-warned-aukus-deal-could-imperil-us-submarines/101832468

January 7, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia to buy long-range HIMARS missile system from United States – at unknown cost (? 2 $billion)

ABC, By defence correspondent Andrew Greene, 5 Jan 2023

Australia’s Army will have an unprecedented long-range strike capability with the purchase of the US-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket (HIMARS) system, which Ukraine has praised for its devastating effectiveness against invading Russian forces.

Key points:

  • Defence officials say the use of HIMARS in Ukraine against Russia confirms why it’s needed 
  • Labor says the overall cost of the missiles is over one billion dollars
  • Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy says it “isn’t useful” to disclose the full cost to “potential adversaries” 

The Albanese government has finalised a deal to buy 20 of the truck-mounted rocket launchers by 2026, while signing another deal to acquire the Norwegian-made Naval Strike Missiles (NSM) for Australian warships next year.

Precise costs of the purchases are being kept secret for security reasons, but the government has confirmed to the ABC the overall figure is “between one and two billion dollars”.

Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy said during an October visit to the United States he held “productive discussions” with the Army and Lockheed Martin on how Australia could start producing the rockets used in HIMARS.

On New Year’s Day, a Ukrainian strike using the US-donated HIMARS system killed dozens, possibly even hundreds of Russian soldiers in the Donetsk region……………………………….

Congress was first notified of a possible sale of the Lockheed Martin-produced HIMARS to Australia seven months ago, while the NSM purchase was flagged by the Morrison government in April last year………………..

Labor says the HIMARS and NSM purchases will together cost over $1 billion, but Mr Conroy says precise details are being kept deliberately hidden.

“We won’t be disclosing the total cost of the two announcements,” he told the ABC.

“The two combined costs is between one and two billion dollars, the reason that we’re not disclosing the specific amount is that gives information to potential adversaries which isn’t useful beaming out there.”

In its notice to Congress in May, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency estimated the cost of 20 HIMARS and associated munitions and equipment at US$385 million ($561 million).  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-01-05/australia-america-himars-missile-system/101827334

January 6, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Physicists push for nuclear science education. Their environmental colleagues not so sure

‘Cherish’ the power: Physicists issue call to arms over nuclear skills gap

Associate Professor Tilman Ruff, founder of the Nobel prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, said he feared the nation’s universities were becoming “academic prostitutes” for the nuclear industry – particularly firms that make nuclear weapons.

“The organisations that have historically funded nuclear research at universities have been those with interests in either uranium mining and nuclear power, or nuclear weapons. That’s the problem. There’s not big amounts of money in the more socially constructive areas.”

 https://www.smh.com.au/national/cherish-the-power-physicists-issue-call-to-arms-over-nuclear-skills-gap-20221228-p5c92s.html By Liam Mannix, December 28, 2022

Australia’s physicists say we must learn to cherish nuclear science and invest in training a new generation of experts to run satellites, quantum computers and submarines.

But their colleagues in environmental science are wary of what such an investment might produce.

Australia’s physicists say we must learn to cherish nuclear science and invest in training a new generation of experts to run satellites, quantum computers and submarines.

Australia has committed to buying or building a fleet of American or British-designed nuclear submarines, with the first expected to be in the water late next decade.

They will probably require a crew and workforce of nuclear engineers, technicians and scientists – but Australia lacks a civil nuclear industry.

The nation is already struggling to fill key nuclear safety positions, let alone produce a new workforce, says Dr AJ Mitchell, senior lecturer in the Australia National University’s Department of Nuclear Physics and Accelerator Applications.

“The need is urgent. The captain of our first nuclear submarine is probably already in secondary school today,” he said. “This must be a sovereign capability. And it needs to start yesterday.

“We need to make people understand that ‘nuclear’ is not something to be scared of, but rather to cherish and appreciate.”

Mitchell is leading the development of a national vision for nuclear science, a project launched this month at the Australian Institute of Physics Congress in Adelaide. The strategy includes a national program of nuclear science education.

Nobel laureate and Australian National University vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt made waves last month when urged Australia not to “drag its feet” on the nuclear submarines issue.

The boats represented “one of the biggest training and workforce development challenges Australia has faced”, he said.

That warning adds to pre-existing concerns about the training of engineering and science graduates generally.

Australia has been slowly increasing its number of new engineers, but most of the workforce growth is from overseas labour, according to a report by Engineers Australia.

Fewer students are studying advanced mathematics or physics in year 12, while applications for engineering courses at university fell between 2010 and 2015. Australia has the third lowest number of engineers as a proportion of graduates among developed countries.

Changes to the way engineering courses are funded led the Group of Eight – a coalition of the country’s top research universities – to declare this year that the Australian model for the university education of engineers was “broken” and could not deliver enough skilled engineering graduates to meet the government’s infrastructure investment.

But not all scientists share a conviction that nuclear physics and engineering need investment.

“There is already controversy about the nuclear submarines deal, and anxiety in our region about some sort of arms race and nuclearisation,” said Associate Professor Peter Christoff, a climate policy researcher at the University of Melbourne and former assistant commissioner for the environment in Victoria.

“Significant funding for research into nuclear physics and engineering would send precisely the wrong signals to our regional neighbours and increase their anxieties that what we’re seeing is precisely the start of that nuclear arms race.”

Associate Professor Tilman Ruff, founder of the Nobel prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, said he feared the nation’s universities were becoming “academic prostitutes” for the nuclear industry – particularly firms that make nuclear weapons.

“The organisations that have historically funded nuclear research at universities have been those with interests in either uranium mining and nuclear power, or nuclear weapons. That’s the problem. There’s not big amounts of money in the more socially constructive areas.”

December 30, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Education | Leave a comment

Fake, dishonest ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’ group

 https://nuclear.foe.org.au/fake-greens-group/?fbclid=IwAR0HrgSSduu8dLrYSebJa7MAFIcjTWvqjewphjAGjpQI3PTswPfzm6_JN0E

The Australian Greens have strong, principled anti-nuclear policies (with some obvious allowances for the beneficial uses of nuclear technology e.g. nuclear medicine).

A group called ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy‘ has nothing to do with the Australian Greens. The spokesperson for the group, Tyrone D’Lisle, is NOT a member of the Australian Greens. He resigned as convener of the Queensland Young Greens in 2013 following behaviour which he attributed to stress and exhaustion. A Greens representative said: “Mr D’Lisle’s views do not represent Greens policies.” D’Lisle resigned from the Greens altogether in 2017.

It is unclear if there are ANY members of the Australian Greens in ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’. The group is either partially fake (it includes non-members of the Greens) or completely fake (with NO members of the Greens). We do not know if the group is breaking any state or federal laws by calling itself ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’ when some or all members of the group are not members of the Australian Greens.

We’ve only come across two people who identify as members of ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’. They may be the only two people in this group. ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’ acknowledge that they are a “relatively small group”.

Update: ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’ claim that the ‘real’ name of their group is ‘Greens for Nuclear Energy Australia’ but they can’t change their facebook group name ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’! Evidently the group has tried to change its name, an implicit acknowledgement that they have been falsely misrepresenting themselves as members of the Australian Greens and as a sub-group of the Australian Greens political party.

Furthermore, they are shifting their propaganda over to new sites called ‘Australians for Nuclear Energy’ … another implicit acknowledgement that they have been falsely misrepresenting themselves as members of the Australian Greens and as a sub-group of the Australian Greens political party.

It was only after Friends of the Earth exposed the fakery of this ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’ group that they announced that their ‘real’ name is ‘Greens for Nuclear Energy Australia’ and decided to shift their propaganda to new sites which make no mention of the Greens.

What to make of the new name ‘Australians for Nuclear Energy’? As far as we know there are only two members in the group, so it should be called ‘Two Australians for Nuclear Energy’. Or to use their own terminology, ‘A Relatively Small Number of Australians for Nuclear Energy’.

The Big Lie

‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’ lie. For example, they claim that “senior people within environmental organisations like Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth have stated they don’t want to change [their position regarding nuclear power] because they will lose funding.”

D’Lisle has been asked on countless occasions to substantiate or retract that claim but he has done neither. There is no truth to the claim. It is a fabrication. It is a lie.

D’Lisle claims he was not responsible for the lie but he refuses to say 1) who was responsible for it, 2) who else apart from him posts on facebook as ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’, and 3) whether anyone other than D’Lisle posts on facebook as ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’.

The claim about Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace is a dishonest fabrication and it is also defamatory. Perhaps that is why ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’ are concealing authorship of the lie.

Perhaps D’Lisle was responsible for the lie, in which case he has lied about Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace and then lied about lying. Or perhaps another member of ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’ was responsible for the lie, in which case D’Lisle is concealing the deceit of another member of his group.

D’Lisle acknowledged in correspondence with Friends of the Earth that he has zero evidence to support the accusation against Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. So why no public retraction and apology?

As for the contributions of ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’ to energy debates, it’s a concoction of misinformation, half-truths and outright lies:

* They claim that “civilian nuclear energy programs don’t lead to nuclear weapons programs” even though they repeatedly have.

* D’Lisle thinks “the world is going nuclear”. In fact, nuclear power has been stagnant for the past 30 years and its future is bleak, largely because nuclear power is far more expensive than renewables (including storage and transmission costs).

* They claim there were no radiation deaths from the Fukushima disaster DESPITE BEING WELL AWARE of the World Health Organization report which concluded that for people in the most contaminated areas in Fukushima Prefecture, the estimated increased risk for all solid cancers will be around 4% in females exposed as infants; a 6% increased risk of breast cancer for females exposed as infants; a 7% increased risk of leukaemia for males exposed as infants; and for thyroid cancer among females exposed as infants, increased risk of up to 70%.

* They make dishonest claims about the Chernobyl death toll. They suggest a death toll of less than 100. Blatant deceit. They ignore studies such as: the estimate of 16,000 cancer deaths across Europe in a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, and the World Health Organization’s estimate of “up to 9,000 excess cancer deaths” in Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. For a longer discussion on pro-nuclear deceit regarding Chernobyl, click here.

* ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’ trivialise Chernobyl (and other nuclear disasters) by peddling the argument that the psychological trauma was greater than the biological effects from radiation exposure. There’s no dispute that, as the World Health Organisation states, the relocation of more than 350,000 people in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster “proved a deeply traumatic experience”. How to compare that psychological trauma to estimates of the cancer death toll from radiation exposure, such as the UN/WHO estimate of 9,000 cancer deaths in ex-Soviet states or the International Journal of Cancer study estimating 16,000 deaths across Europe? They can’t be compared. Apples and oranges. Most importantly, why on earth would anyone want to rank the biological damage and the psychological trauma from the Chernobyl disaster? Chernobyl resulted in both biological damage and psychological trauma, in spades. Psychological insult has been added to biological injury. One doesn’t negate the other.

* And they make false and indefensible claims about numerous other nuclear-related topics.

December 26, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Nuclear power does not stack up for Australia – PM Albanese

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has shut down calls for the
country to consider nuclear power options despite rising electricity
prices.

The prime minister recently declared that proponents of nuclear as
a carbon-neutral energy source in Australia are wrong. His comments came
after Peter Malinauskas, the premier of South Australia, urged both sides
of politics to be more mature on the nuclear question, saying the debate
has become “consumed by culture wars” rather than based on evidence.

In response, Albanese told radio station FIVEaa on Monday that the case for
nuclear power in Australia does not stack up, citing waste storage as a key
problem.

Xinhua 6th Dec 2022

https://english.news.cn/20221206/e6558b077e90438e977ac388f850f859/c.html

December 9, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics | Leave a comment