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No-one can get finance to build a uranium mine in Australia.

NO-ONE CAN GET FINANCE TO BUILD A URANIUM MINE IN AUSTRALIA   https://www.ccwa.org.au/no_finance_toro?utm_campaign=nuclear_news172&utm_medium=email&utm_source=ccwa
BY K-A GARLICK JULY 26, 2021  
 CCWA nuclear-free campaigner Kerrie-Ann Garlick attended last week’s Toro meeting to raise concerns that the company’s most recent uranium proposal differs from its currently approved plan.

Toro Energy’s general meeting last Friday heard the death toll sounding on WA’s uranium hopefuls.

Toro Chair Richard Homsany told the meeting that no one can get finance to build a uranium mine in Australia. He also acknowledged that Toro’s conditional environmental approval for its stalled Wiluna project expires on January 9, 2022. From this date, Toro will not be able to mine without making project changes that would require further state government scrutiny and approval.

In 2017 the McGowan Labor government introduced a policy ban on uranium mining in WA but inherited four uranium mine proposals with existing approvals granted by the former Barnett government. By the end of January 2022, the current Ministerial approvals for all four of the states proposed uranium mines will expire if they do not commence mining.

Approval for Cameco’s Kintyre expired and was not renewed in March 2020, Vimy Resources Mulga Rock project approval expires in December 2021 and both Yeelirrie (Cameco) and Wiluna (Toro) are set to expire in January 2022. If any of these companies want to mine they will need to seek approval for amendments to Ministerial conditions. This may trigger a new assessment or a suite of other conditions being applied.

CCWA nuclear-free campaigner Kerrie-Ann Garlick attended last week’s Toro meeting to raise concerns that the company’s most recent uranium proposal differs from its currently approved plan. “Toro is now focused on developing a JV uranium project at Lake Maitland. This is completely separate from the existing approval for the Wiluna project and would require a whole new environmental assessment. It is our view that this could not be advanced because of the existing policy ban on uranium mining in WA.”

“The Wiluna uranium mine proposal is uneconomic and they don’t have the funding to develop it. There is almost no scenario in which the Wiluna uranium mine could be developed ahead of the approval expiry in January 2022”

“It is refreshing that the Toro Board are realistic about the current highly negative market conditions for uranium. No one is financing uranium mines and that is unlikely to change by January. It is increasingly likely that we will reach a point in January 2022 where there are no operating mines and no active approvals for uranium mining in WA,” Ms Garlick concluded.

July 29, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs | Leave a comment

Nuclear colonialism

An Australian artist has accused a group of Conservative councillors of
using “bullying strategies” to silence and censor her work after an
installation she created to highlight Britain’s “identity as a colonial
nuclear state” was removed from a park in Essex. The councillors
threatened to “take action against the work” if it was not removed,
according to Metal, the arts organisation that commissioned and then
removed the installation from Gunners Park in Southend.

 

Guardian 17th July 2021

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2021/jul/17/not-in-this-town-artwork-about-britains-nuclear-colonialism-removed

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July 19, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

US and Allies’ military machine – out of Afghanistan (where it’s needed) and into the Pacific – against its new enemy – The Great Barrier Reef

War games on despite pandemic, threat to Great Barrier Reef  https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/war-games-despite-pandemic-threat-great-barrier-reef, Kerry SmithJuly 16, 2021  Lurking off the coast of China’s eastern seaboard now are three United States aircraft carrier battle groups (each with about 30 support vessels).

They will be joined by a British aircraft carrier group and Australian and Canadian warships as part of biennial military exercises, which start on July 18 and last until the end of the month.

Talisman Sabre 2021 (TS21) will involve a US expeditionary strike group from the USS America, the amphibious assault ship based at Sasebo Naval Base in Japan, and 17,000 Australian, US and foreign troops in combined land, sea and air war exercises.  

According to Stars and Stripes, for the first time, there will be live-fire training: the US Army will fire a Patriot missile defense system from Shoalwater Bay in Queensland at a pair of drone targets on July 16.

This is within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and other environmentally and culturally significant areas.

The war games will also take place in Darwin in the Northern Territory and Evans Head, New South Wales. 

All are thousands of kilometres away from their home base, and provocatively close to the new declared enemy — China.

Forces from Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea will take part and Australia-based personnel from India, Indonesia, France and Germany will observe.

Meanwhile, the ABC’s “defence correspondent” hyperventilated on July 14 that a solitary Chinese military ship, outside Australian territorial waters, poses a threat to national security.

The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) is concerned about both the war games and its impact on environmentally and culturally significant sites.

“TS21 will involve amphibious assaults, movement of heavy vehicles, use of live ammunition as well as the use of U.S. nuclear-powered and nuclear-weapon capable vessels,” IPAN spokesperson Annette Brownlie said.

“These activities are incompatible with the protection of the environment and, in particular, the Great Barrier Reef.

“During Talisman Sabre 2013, the US jettisoned four unarmed bombs on the Great Barrier Reef when they had difficulty dropping them on their intended target, Townshend Island,” Brownlie said.

The objective of Talisman Sabre is to further integrate the Australian military with the US — now ranked among the world’s worst polluters.

IPAN said the ADF did not engage in a Public Environment Report process for TS21 and has yet to release an environmental assessment for the areas in which TS21 will take place.

However, the Department of Defence did produce an environmental awareness video for visiting troops that promotes the military use of the Great Barrier Reef. The video reminds troops to consider the reef and not to litter.

“Talisman Sabre is a threat to the reef and to the environment. Putting out a video is a completely inadequate response,” Brownlie said.

This comes as federal environment minister Sussan Ley is lobbying to keep the Great Barrier Reef off the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Committee’s “in danger” list.

Despite a global pandemic, about 1800 foreign military personnel have arrived in Darwin to participate.

July 17, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, OCEANIA, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia’s weapons lobby drumming up fear of nuclear attack by China, against all logic

Those in Australia beating the “drums of war” point to Taiwan as the flashpoint for the next major global conflict. To what end does a first strike on Australia achieve China’s goals in relation to Taiwan?

War with China: zero logic yet the weapons lobby has 42% of Australians believing it   Michael West Media, by Marcus Reubenstein | Jul 16, 2021  Incredibly, a survey finds 42% of Australians believe China will attack Australia, this despite exports to China surging 36% over in the last six months, and despite there being no logical rationale for war with China, or an attack by China. Marcus Reubenstein analyses the ludicrous position of Australia’s China hawks and the mainstream media pushing their agendas. 

“Cry ‘Havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of war.”

William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar Act 3, Scene 1

China is a rapidly growing economic power, seeking to exert considerable influence in its region and beyond. And like every great power it is a bully which tries to entice, cajole or intimidate other nations into adopting its view of the world.

How is this such a difficult concept for Australians to embrace?

Since Federation we’ve tied our fortunes to two great powers, the declining British Empire then the rising, and rising even more, US global hegemony……….

Who is threatening whom?

new report from the Australia Institute begins with the following words:

“In April this year, Australians were warned by no less an expert than the former Minister for Defence, Christopher Pyne, that they may need to engage in a ‘kinetic’ war with China in the next five to ten years.”

Perhaps, in the realm of China policy, ‘no lesser expert’ better describes his authority on the subject.

The same Pyne, famously discussed his role as a defence industry consultant with EY whilst he was a sitting member of the Federal Cabinet, a matter which prompted a Senate investigation.

He still works for EY, sits on the board of defence contractor XTEC, is Chair of the Advisory Board of another defence contractor NIOA, and in June last year Arawa Capital announced him as Chair of its Advisory Board and Investment Committee for a fund investing in weapons systems.

In heralding that appointment Arawa specifically referred to the, still unsubstantiated, Scott Morrison announcement of a malicious cyber attack by an unnamed “state-based” actor. Arawa trumpeted Pyne has “unrivalled knowledge of the cyber, intelligence and national security landscape.”    

With Pyne on board, Arawa said it “anticipates closing out the initial $50mil capital raising swiftly.” It transpired there was a swift “closing out”, ASIC records show six months later Arawa Capital Pty Ltd was deregistered as a company.  

According to research from Michael West Media’s “Revolving Doors” series, Pyne’s numerous board memberships and consultancies put him in direct, or indirect, contact with more than a dozen weapons makers and contractors.

Clearly, talking up a war with China is of no financial benefit to these companies.

Why would China attack Australia?

Should Australia go to war with China in defence of Taiwan? is the title of the Australia Institute report and 42% of its six hundred respondents think China is poised to attack Australia.

How and why?

Those in Australia beating the “drums of war” point to Taiwan as the flashpoint for the next major global conflict. To what end does a first strike on Australia achieve China’s goals in relation to Taiwan?


If Australia has something China wants, it is many times cheaper and easier to buy it than to send your army half way around the world to steal it.              

China’s current leadership is presiding over a great deal more diplomatic disasters than triumphs but, if nothing else, the Chinese are pragmatic.

Australia’s rabid China hawks will no doubt dismiss such assessments, saying China doesn’t need to deploy military assets it would simply launch a nuclear strike on a target—which they ignore is home to 1.2 million ethnically Chinese people.

My counter argument?

The policy wonks in Washington, who made you their lapdogs, didn’t throw you a bone because they thought you were smart, they threw you the bone because they knew you were dumb enough to catch it!

This survey’s inconvenient truth

The same number of respondents were polled in Taiwan and only a few more (49 percent) expressed fears of an attack from the mainland. Bear in mind the Taiwanese are of the same Han ethnicity as the majority of Chinese, who moved over from the mainland in the 1680s; the PRC has never given up its claim to what was once part of China; and the island sits just 161 kilometres off the coast of China.

That four in ten Australians should think Beijing—a mere 9,000 kilometres from Canberra—is gearing up for invasion is staggering.

Report author Allan Behm noted, “Given Australia and Taiwan’s historical and geographical differences, it is astounding that Australians could be more fearful than Taiwan in anticipating an attack from China.”

This anticipation is undoubtedly fuelled by Australia’s China hawks, all with close ties to US-funded research groups and patronage from US weapons makers.

However, they should not be too smug in thinking their “drums of war” are resonating.

73 percent of Australians regard the United States as an aggressive nation, while only six in ten Australians believe the US would come to our aid in the event of war with China.

Given Australia has followed the United States into 100 percent of its wars, that Australians would only rate America a 60 percent chance of leaping to our defence is a sobering statistic.

Totally at odds with Prime Minister Morrison and Foreign Minister Maris Payne’s unquestioned support of the US antagonism towards China, 75 percent of Australians think it is in our interests that China and the US “work together towards world peace”. Of concern to the spin merchants inside the government an even higher number of coalition supporters, 79 percent, think peace with China is a good idea.

Despite the US, and Morrison’s, rhetoric of Taiwan being a like-minded democracy of shared values, 76 percent of Taiwanese rate America as an aggressor. Should the US come to Taiwan’s aid in a war with China, only 18 percent of Taiwanese people think they would win.

How reliable are drummers?

By any sensible strategic logic, the dogs of war should remain in their box. Let the drums of war continue to drum up business for the China threat industry and their death-merchant patrons.  …..

 https://www.michaelwest.com.au/war-with-china-zero-logic-yet-the-weapons-lobby-has-42-of-australians-believing-it/  

July 17, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australian Members of Parliament from right and left parties call on US President Biden to drop charges against Julian Assange,

Australian MPs call on US President Biden to drop charges against Assange,   https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/australian-mps-call-on-us-president-biden-to-drop-charges-against-assange-20210629-p585a1.html By Rob Harris, June 30, 2021 Former security analyst turned federal Labor MP Peter Khalil has joined a group of Australian politicians directly lobbying the United States to drop an appeal over a British court’s ruling against the extradition of the WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange.

In a video message to US President Joe Biden released on Wednesday evening Australian time, 11 federal MPs from across the political spectrum have also appealed to Washington to drop its espionage charges against the Australian citizen and for the British government to allow him to return home.

Before entering politics Mr Khalil, the member for the Victorian seat of Wills, was director of National Security Policy of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. As a national security adviser to former prime minister Kevin Rudd, he was personally named in diplomatic cables sent to Washington by the US Embassy, which were later released by Wikileaks.

While he has previously criticised Mr Assange’s actions in helping obtain and leak classified information on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Mr Khalil said the case was “not just about one individual”.

“In an era where rising authoritarian regimes are denying and attacking freedom of the press, such as the shut down of Hong Kong’s Apple Daily by the Chinese Community Party, it is more important than ever that when it comes to condemning the denial of press freedom the rhetoric of liberal democracies is actually matched with substantive actions to protect the right of journalists and the media to do their work freely to hold governments to account,” Mr Khalil said.

He said while the Obama administration had clearly chosen not to indict Mr Assange because it would set a damming precedent against journalistic practice and behaviour, the Trump administration aggressively pursued the case.

“Therein lies the problem. These charges are so broad-based that if successful they would go well beyond this individual case – they would impact investigative journalism and open up prosecutions of countless media doing this journalism, they would have a chilling effect on all journalists reporting on national security and foreign affairs matters,” he said.

The 49-year-old Mr Assange has been in Belmarsh Prison since April 2019 trying to avoid extradition to the US to face charges on multiple counts of conspiring with and directing others, from 2009 to 2019, to illegally obtain and release US secrets.

In doing so he aided and abetted hacking, illegally exposed confidential US sources to danger and used the information to damage the US, according to the charges. If convicted on all counts he faces a prison sentence of up to 175 years.

In 2012 Mr Assange sought asylum at the Ecuadorean embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden on a rape allegation that he denied. An investigation into the 2010 rape allegation has since been dropped by Swedish prosecutors.

He was awarded a Walkley award, Australian journalism’s highest honour, in 2011 for a “most outstanding contribution to journalism” for his “brave, determined and independent stand for freedom of speech and transparency”.

In March this year Nationals MP George Christensen, Independent Andrew Wilkie and Labor’s Julian Hill personally met with the US embassy’s charge d’affaires, Michael Goldman, arguing that Mr Assange should be allowed to return home.

A 24-member parliamentary group established to support Mr Assange’s bid to return home contains members from all major parties, including now Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in January Mr Assange would be allowed to return to Australia if all charges were dropped. He said consular support had consistently been offered to Mr Assange, but made clear the government were “not parties to those set of proceedings”. 

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July 10, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Maralinga nuclear bomb tests – British and Australian governments’ callous cruelty to First Nations people.

Australia’s Chernobyl: The British carried out nuclear tests on Indigenous land. It will never heal.   https://www.mamamia.com.au/maralinga-nuclear-testing/ CHELSEA MCLAUGHLIN, JULY 5, 2021  For tens of thousands of years, the Aṉangu people lived on the warm, red earth of their country.

The land provided them with food, water and shelter as they travelled around an area we now know as outback Far North South Australia.

But after colonisation, they were moved off their land: forcibly removed, sent into missions across the region and displaced by train lines linking Australia’s east and west that impacted their water supply. 

Much of the information around the tests was highly classified, and some information remains so.

For tens of thousands of years, the Aṉangu people lived on the warm, red earth of their country.

The land provided them with food, water and shelter as they travelled around an area we now know as outback Far North South Australia.

But after colonisation, they were moved off their land: forcibly removed, sent into missions across the region and displaced by train lines linking Australia’s east and west that impacted their water supply. 

Much of the information around the tests was highly classified, and some information remains so.

Thirty per cent of the British and Australian servicemen who were exposed during these tests died of cancer, though a Royal Commission in 1984 was not able to reach a conclusion linking their health issues directly to the blasts. 

Similarly, many locals died prematurely, went blind and suffered from illness that may have been linked to radiation.

British nuclear scientists, wanting to determine the long-term effects of the tests on Australia and its citizens, ordered the testing of dead Australian infants and children for radiation contamination.

Between 1957 and 1978 in hospitals around Australia, bones were secretly removed from 21,830 bodies. They were reduced to ash and sent away to be analysed for the presence of Strontium 90, a radioactive isotope produced by nuclear fission.

Unsurprisingly, none of the First Nations people of the region were told about the tests and many of the bones were taken without permission.

Associate professor Liz Tynan, the author of Atomic Thunder: The Maralinga Story, told Mamamia‘s The Quicky First Nations people were still in the area during the periods of testing, and this led to disastrous consequences.

Tynan said the Milpuddie family – Charlie, Edie, two kids and their dogs – were found by British service personnel in 1957, camped on the crater left by the bomb Marcoo soon after it had been detonated. 

They were rounded up and most of the family, not Edie, but most of them, were given showers. Edie didn’t wish to have a shower,” Tynan explained.

“They were tested for radioactivity and the geiger counters did detect radioactivity, particularly on the young boy Henry. Anyway, there were rather insensitively treated I suppose, given showers, had clothes put on them and then take off down south to a mission.”

Their dogs were shot in front of them. Edie was pregnant at the time, and she later lost her child.

“It was a tragic story and indicative of the callous approach to Indigenous people that was displayed by both the British government and their officials that were conducting the tests, and by the Australian government as well,” Tynan said.

Following the testing, many Aṉangu people returned to the area, but the lands that had previously sustained and protected them were now poison.

We still don’t know the truth impact of the bombs at Maralinga, as well as nearby Emu Fields and the Montebello Islands off the coast of Western Australia.

“The South Australian Department of Health commissioned a fairly extensive study, [but] that study was hampered by the fact there was no base-line data from which to understand the general health of the population before the tests,” Tynan said.

The study did show an increase in various cancers, but most of the findings were inconclusive due to a lack of information. Indigenous Australians were not counted in the census at the time and there was very little known about the health of the populations.

In 1964, a limited cleanup of the Maralinga site, named ‘Operation Hercules’, took place. 

A year after a 1966 survey into the level of contamination at the site, a second clean-up titled ‘Operation Brumby’ filled 21 pits with contaminated equipment and covered them with 650 tonnes of concrete.

Tynan said it was later found the survey data was drastically wrong, and the contamination was 10 times worse than thought.

It wasn’t until decades later, with the help whistleblowers and scientists, that the government began to realise the true, horrifying extent of the damage done to the land at Maralinga.

Under an agreement between the governments of the United Kingdom and Australia in 1995, another clean-up took place. And while this was more thorough than the previous, it still came with issues.

Whistleblower Alan Parkinson, who wrote the 2007 book Maralinga: Australia’s Nuclear Waste Cover-up, exposed the unsatisfactory methods.

The plan had been to treat several thousand tonnes of debris contaminated with plutonium by a process called situ vitrification. Against the advice of Parkinson, the government extended the contract of the project manager, even though that company had no knowledge of the complex process of vitrification.

Parkinson was let go from the project.

The government and the project manager then embarked on a hybrid scheme in which some pits would be exhumed and others treated by vitrification. After successfully treating 12 pits, the 13th exploded and severely damaged the equipment. The government then cancelled the vitrification and simply exhumed the remaining pits, placed the debris in a shallow pit and covered it with clean soil.

Parkinson told The Quicky another, complete clean-up of Maralinga could take place, but it was unlikely because of the cost and the courage it would take to admit the previous attempts were insufficient.

Around the same time as the 90s clean up was the Australian government push for a nuclear waste dump to be located nearby. 

Fearing even further poisoning of their country, First Nations woman Eileen Wani Wingfield co-founded the Coober Pedy Women’s Council to campaign against the proposal.

The plan was eventually abandoned, but has popped up again in many forms over the decades. Currently, the Coalition is amending a bill that could see a site set up near Kimba.

Glen Wingfield, Eileen’s son, has spent his life working and learning from his parents’ tireless campaign for protection of their country.

The theme of NAIDOC Week 2021 is Heal Country! but as Wingfield told The Quicky, much of the Aṉangu lands in and around Maralinga are beyond healing.

“A lot of the Aboriginal communities that live in and around that area, they just will not and do not go back near that country. I think that’s a word, healing, that we can’t use in the same sentence with that area.”

Tynan agreed, saying there are parts of the area that will be uninhabitable for a quarter of a million years.

“There are parts of the site that you can’t go to, that are still very dangerous,” she said.

“The real problem at Maralinga was the plutonium which was detonated in a series of trials… The particular type of plutonium they used, plutonium 239, has a half-life of 21,400 years which takes hundreds of thousands of years for that radioactivity to diminish.”

Wingfield said the broken connection between these people and their lands is “just downright disgraceful and horrible”.

“No amount of conversation will ever cover what’s been done for people in and around. The lasting effects of health issues on people have been passed through people who were there to generational abnormalities… I think when you talk compensation and stuff, I don’t think we’ll ever get close.”

July 6, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, indigenous issues | Leave a comment

Australia’s collective voice should silence the ‘drums of war’

Australia’s collective voice should silence the ‘drums of war’ Independent AustraliaBy Barbara Hartley | 24 June 2021,  With Australia raising its hand to be part of joint naval exercises in the South China Sea, its departure from the G7 in Cornwall continues the “down-under” tradition of following U.S. foreign policy.

Although the beat of war drums is currently more muffled, anti-China rhetoric still echoes down the chilly halls of Federal Parliament as the winter sitting takes place.

In 2003, without parliamentary oversight, Australia followed the U.S. into Iraq. The given purpose was to initiate action against what then-U.S. President George W. Bush called the “axis of evil”: initially Iraq, Iran and North Korea, and later expanded to Cuba, Libya and Syria. This axis was in fact quite shaky.

One consequence of that unconscionable invasion was the toll on young Australian defence personnel, and others such as journalists, in terms of moral injury and stress. The compulsive loop of the Federal Government supporting U.S. wars with no direct relation to Australia – Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan – and those wars damaging Australian lives, has played non-stop since its entry into the ANZUS agreement.

Some, especially weapons trade profiteers and their political lackeys, want conflict with China to continue that unhappy pattern.

It is imperative that the now muted “drums of war” are silenced once and for all.

Readers are therefore urged to respond to the People’s Inquiry for a Peaceful and Independent Australia being conducted by the Independent Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN).

The inquiry’s purpose is to examine the impact of involvement in U.S.-led wars and the U.S.-Australia Alliance on everyday Australians. The current obsession with China and the inexplicable desire to face off with the world’s greatest military power is arguably a result of our alliance with the U.S.

The Inquiry Chairperson is Kelly Tranter, one of Australia’s leading authorities on the growing influence of weapons manufacturers on government policy in Australia.

There are also several panels addressing the various ways in which involvement in U.S.-led wars impacts our lives.

In addition, an IPAN website questionnaire can be completed in a very short time. Both submission and questionnaire suggestions will inform the Inquiry’s final report. Possible submission talking points are raised below………………………….. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/australias-collective-voice-should-silence-the-drums-of-war,15219

June 24, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia is in denial over one-way relationship with U.S.

Australia is in denial over one-way relationship with U.S. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/australia-is-in-denial-over-one-way-relationship-with-us,15171#.YMBaWGL2H14.twitter By Bruce Haigh | 9 June 2021,  Tensions with China resulting in economic sanctions are the result of Australia’s blind allegiance to the USA that began decades ago, writes Bruce Haigh.

AFTER THE AMERICAN defeat by the Japanese in the Philippines, it needed a base from which to regroup, resupply and take the fight back through the Pacific. Australia was a bread bowl, training camp and aircraft carrier. Its north was intersected with airfields used by American bombers and fighters in attacks against Japanese bases and  shipping on and around Papua New Guinea, the Solomons and other nearby Islands.

Australia was fearful of attack by the Japanese after their rapid advance through south Asia and the Pacific. The Americans arrived as the Japanese were advancing over PNG toward Port Moresby. The Australian Army had been conducting a successful fighting retreat in order to shorten their supply line, extend that of the Japanese and organise a major offensive. Douglas MacArthur, the arrogant American general in command, sacked a number of Australian generals and ordered the retreat to stop.

Instead of being angry with MacArthur, the average Australian thought he was a hero. The myth was born that America had saved Australia, whereas America came to Australia purely for self-interest.  Australians were impressed with American largesse and technology. Many bought into the American “dream”. This was the point at which America could do no wrong. The ANZUS Treaty came into being at the time of the Cold War and hostilities in Korea. America was seen by Australians as the protector against Russian and Chinese expansionism.

Australia was also seduced by American consumerism, Hollywood, Nashville and Detroit. A common language facilitated the absorption of American culture. Military, academic and business exchanges grew. However, it was largely a one-way street, although that went mostly unnoticed in Australia given the sycophantic nature of the relationship. Australians were in awe of American power and wealth.

They undertook no foreign policy initiatives without first checking with the Americans. The exception being the recognition of China by the Whitlam Government in 1972, which many junior diplomats welcomed with pride and pleasure.   Australia bought into the American line on the civil war in Viet Nam, much to its subsequent but unacknowledged regret. That did not stop the “provincial” Prime Minister, John Howard, from buying into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a favour to the equally limited George Bush.

Australia bought military hardware from the Americans, under pressure, to increase U.S. force structure in the region. We bought the F-111 which took forever to iron out the cracks (pun intended), the single screw FFGs, the next to useless Abrams tanks, the F35 flying lemon and to boost the alliance, Australia has ordered 12 submarines from the French which it does not need.

America has a highly sophisticated spy base, Pine Gap, in the Northern Territory, but from which Australia is excluded from sharing sensitive information. They have access to Tindal Airbase from which B52s, in theory, could bomb submarine pens in Sanya and they have established a military base in Darwin for 10,000 American marines.

None of this offers any advantage for Australia, although the Americans have convinced the conservative governing establishment that it does. They believe that no matter what, Australian interests are best served by remaining in lockstep with American interests. The Australian Government lacks emotional intelligence and courage. They are “provincial” politicians who know and understand very little of the wider world. To illustrate the point, the Government does not believe in climate change, at least insofar as believing in the efficacy of fossil fuels.

As products of the Howard-era Prime Ministers, Tony AbbottMalcolm Turnbull and, most recently, Scott Morrison have all demonstrated blind faith in the American alliance. They have placed a great deal of trust in the word of Americans. Morrison has possibly been the most naive and gullible. He took Trump at his word — a big mistake. Trump fired up Morrison over China and convinced him that not only did the COVID-19 virus originate in Wuhan, but he should unilaterally make a demand that an international investigation take place. Morrison took Australia way out in front with an unsustainable and undiplomatic demand — the U.S. and Trump stood in the background and grinned.

Australia refused to back down and apologise, so China imposed sanctions on a range of Australian imports in order to obtain a change of attitude on the part of Australia. The loss of income has not been felt because of unprecedented levels of borrowing by Australia to meet the economic challenges of COVID-19. And Australia has allowed itself to be lulled into a false sense of security by words of reassurance from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who guaranteed that America had Australia’s back.

It does not and it never did. America acts purely in self-interest. Australia, because of its long love affair with the U.S. and its inferiority complex, is in denial. Australia seems blind to the fact that the U.S. has stepped in to supply China with many of the goods denied through trade sanctions.

China does not seem to understand the extent of the incompetence and naivety of the Australian leadership. Thinking people and intellectuals in Australia are appalled at Morrison and his Government. However, tough Chinese sanctions and harsh words have only given Morrison the domestic ammunition he needs to bolster his claims that China is aggressively expansionist and seeks to dominate the region. Bruce Haigh is a political commentator and retired diplomat.

June 10, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international | Leave a comment

Australian government’s scandalous silence on the Japanese plan to release Fukushima nuclear waste water into the Pacific Ocean

Christina Macpherson <christinamacpherson@gmail.com>1:30 PM (6 minutes ago)
to me

Morrison Government needs to act on Japan’s Fukushima waste decision, Independent Australia, By Nullah Goodes | 4 June 2021  The Morrison Government hasn’t given any public response to the Japanese Government’s decision to dump radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea, writes Nullah Goodes.

ON 13 APRIL, the Japanese Government formally announced a Cabinet decision that it would dump more than 1 million tonnes of radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea. This plan will be implemented in two years…………

On 15 April, three independent U.N. human rights experts expressed deep concern over Japan’s decision, warning that it could impact millions across the Pacific region: 

“The release of one million tonnes of contaminated water into the marine environment imposes considerable risks to the full enjoyment of human rights of concerned populations in and beyond the borders of Japan,” said Marcos Orellana, Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights, Michael Fakhri,  Special Rapporteur on Right to Food and David Boyd, Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment in a joint statement.

Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace, said the claim by the Japanese Government was “clearly false”:

“The water in the tanks is indeed treated, but it is also contaminated with radioactivity. The Japanese Government has been deliberately seeking to deceive over this issue, at home and abroad.”

The Japanese Government insists that the wastewater is treated and safe. However, it still has radioactive elements.
Although most of the radioactive elements can be filtered out by a system known as the A.L.P.S. (Advanced Liquid Processing System), tritium, a mildly radioactive form of hydrogen, cannot be removed.

Nigel Marks, an Associate Professor of physics and astronomy at Curtin University in Perth, said:
“It takes around 60-100 years to completely convert into harmless helium. In the spectrum of radioactive elements, tritium is at the mild end.”

Greenpeace suggested carbon-14, a radioactive isotope of carbon, might also remain in the water.

In addition to tritium and carbon-14, more dangerous isotopes with longer radioactive lifetimes, such as rutheniumcobaltstrontium and plutonium, sometimes slip through the A.L.P.S. process, which was acknowledged by TEPCO in 2018. These additional nuclides are now confirmed present in 71 per cent of its radioactive wastewater tanks at Fukushima.

Ken Buesseler, a marine chemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said:

“These radioactive isotopes behave differently than tritium in the ocean and are more readily incorporated into marine biota or seafloor sediments.”

According to a previous study by Germany’s GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, once being dumped into the sea, the Fukushima contaminated nuclear wastewater will pollute half of the Pacific Ocean in 57 days and in three years, Canada and the U.S. will be affected by the nuclear radiation pollution. Since all the oceans are interconnected, Australia will inevitably be impacted in the long term.

Despite all the above facts and concerns, the Morrison Government hasn’t given any response or taken any action like it doesn’t care about the fishery industry’s livelihood, Australians’ well-being and the health of the ocean ecosystem. There are few discussions on Australian media outlets as though people don’t even know about this. That’s odd and shocking.

The Morrison Government needs to take action. Firstly, raising concerns over the decision of the Japanese Government. Secondly, doing scientific research about any potential impacts of the contaminated water if dumped into the sea. And thirdly, developing an appropriate crisis response plan for multiple scenarios. As Prime Minister, Scott Morrison must do the best to protect Australians’ wellbeing and benefits which should always be a PM’s priority. 

Nullah Goodes is a community worker from Cape York Peninsula. His community has been living on Torres Strait Fisheries since a long time ago. He has been devoting himself to Indigenous people’s rights and livelihood.   https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/morrison-government-needs-to-act-on-japans-fukushima-waste-decision,15154

June 5, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, oceans | Leave a comment

Australia’s nuclear waste policy shambles

In developing this plan, ANSTO had the option of choosing a different process.

They had the option of disposing of the wastes from O.P.A.L. to the USA, providing a cheaper alternative for ANSTO:

Australia’s nuclear waste policy shambles https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/australias-nuclear-waste-policy-shambles,15146B  2 June 2021 The Government is scrambling to figure out a solution to Australia’s nuclear waste problem with a new bill  before the Senate, writes Noel Wauchope.

TO BE FAIR, Australia is not alone in having a shambolic policy on nuclear wastes. Russia, China, India and even France and the UK are secretive about all aspects of the nuclear fuel chain. But the USA, the first and biggest of the nuclear countries, has openly described its struggles with this problem.

I’ve always thought that America summed up its nuclear waste policy best in its Nuclear Waste Confidence Rule — first promulgated in 1984 and upgraded several times since. This rule, charmingly optimistic, stated that a permanent nuclear waste disposal solution would be found (no details, they didn’t know where, didn’t know when). But therefore, the nuclear industry could confidently continue to make radioactive trash.

It’s no surprise that Australia, too, is struggling with its relatively small amount of nuclear waste.

Indeed, as Griffith University Professor Ian Lowe has pointed out, Australia dodged a bullet in not having nuclear power:

“We were just lucky to avoid having nuclear power stations with mountains of accumulated waste, for which there is no effective permanent solution.”

Still, Australia’s one nuclear reactor, run by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) at Lucas Heights, Sydney, is now mired in problems about what to do with its nuclear waste.  

Continue reading

June 3, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, wastes | Leave a comment

New research highlights need for international standards to safeguard against plutonium ”hot” particles.

New study delves into issues relating to soils around Maralinga region,  https://www.portlincolntimes.com.au/story/7262167/study-shows-radioactive-particles-from-nuclear-testing-persist-at-maralinga, Luca Cetta,  

A new study has highlighted the first international standards needed to safeguard against contamination from nuclear testing, and a Kokatha Elder says the impact of nuclear testing at Maralinga cannot be forgotten.

More than 100 kilograms of highly toxic uranium and plutonium was dispersed in the form of tiny ‘hot’ radioactive particles after nuclear tests were conducted by the British in remote areas of South Australia, including Maralinga.

Scientists have new evidence these radioactive particles persist in soils to this day, more than 60 years after the detonations.

The British detonated nine nuclear bombs and conducted nuclear tests in South Australia between 1953 and 1963.

There had previously been limited understanding in how plutonium was released from the particles into the environment for uptake by wildlife around Maralinga.

The new study, published in Nature’s Scientific Reports, led by Monash University researchers, warns the hot particles are more complex and varied than previously thought.

Currently, there are no international best practice standards for the environmental impact or risk assessment of plutonium and uranium-rich hot particles released during nuclear testing.

This study provides the first mechanism for future modelling to predict the environmental life cycle of plutonium from hot particles, including how they are slowly broken down in the environment over a long period, and potentially exposed to animals and humans through inhalation, soil or ground water.

“The resulting radioactive contamination and cover-up continues to haunt us,” lead study author from Monash University’s School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment Dr Megan Cook said.

“The results of our study profoundly changes our understanding of the nature of hot particles at Maralinga – despite the fact that those were some of the best studied particles anywhere in the world.”

Sue Haseldine, who grew up in the Koonibba district in the 1950s and 1960s, has long campaigned against nuclear testing and weapons.

She has been part of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), an organisation awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017, and has spoken about her experience growing up in the shadow of nuclear testing at Maralinga.

Ms Haseldine said the people in the area had long-suspected there were health issues deriving from those tests.

“Experts would tell you that radiation will not last for 60 years, nor 60,000, but for a long, long time, and it is still causing troubles today,” she said.

“The old ladies told me these cancers and illnesses were not around before the bomb and over the years I have seen the rates go up.

“There are a lot more younger people with heart problems – it is known that radiation problems can cause heart diseases – and it is coming down through the generations.”

Ms Haseldine said the testing and fallout from Maralinga was not spoken about enough and that was why her campaigning with ICAN was so important.

“It is important to let people know what the government’s legacy is to us through their testing and we have to keep the past alive to protect the future, so they don’t do it to future generations,” she said.

“I grew up in the Koonibba district, but the radiation didn’t just stay in the Maralinga area.”

Study co-author professor Joël Brugger said the study invited a revisit of the implications of earlier results for the fate of plutonium at Maralinga.

“Understanding the fate of hot particles in the arid environment setting of the Australian outback is critical for securing Australia in case of nuclear incidents in the region, and returning all the native land affected by the British tests to the traditional Anangu owners of the Maralinga Tjarutja lands.”

The research team used synchrotron radiation at the Diamond Light Source near Oxford in the United Kingdom to decipher the physical and chemical make-up of the particles.

At Monash, they dissected some of the hot particles using a nano-sized ion beam, and further characterised the complex make-up of these particles down to the nano-size.

“It’s a major breakthrough,” study co-author associate professor Vanessa Wong said.

“Our observations of the hot particles from Maralinga provide a clear explanation for the complex and variable behaviour of different hot particles with respect to the chemical and physical weathering that has hindered predictive modelling to this day.

“This study provides a mechanistic foundation for predicting the future evolution of hot particles from high-temperature nuclear events and the likely exposure pathways.”

The researchers demonstrated the complexity of the hot particles arose from the cooling of polymetallic melts from thousands of degrees Celsius in the explosion cloud during their formation.

“We found that the particles contained low-valence plutonium-uranium-carbon compounds that are typically highly reactive – which is unexpected for particles that survived for over 30 years in the environment,” corresponding author Dr Barbara Etschmann said.

May 27, 2021 Posted by | - plutonium, AUSTRALIA, environment | Leave a comment

Particle accelerators likely to take over from nuclear reactors, for production of medical radioisotopes.


Greg Phillips , Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch Australia, 14 May 21

Lest we forget. The majority of the radioactivity they want to send to South Australia/Kimba is from the production of medical isotopes using a method that should be replaced by much cleaner/safer/reliable accelerator/cyclotron methods:”Pallas’s original business case was mainly based on the production of technetium-99m, which is obtained from molybdenum-99 via a generator. Despite the initially favorable forecasts for this reactor isotope, the business case ultimately did not hold up. This is partly due to the rise of the cyclotron, the linear particle accelerator (linac), and the advent of new large-scale production techniques, based on systems or reactors driven by particle accelerators, such as SHINE.

In the current market, the major role of research reactors is mainly determined by the production of technetium-99m, a SPECT isotope and by far the most widely used medical isotope in radiodiagnostics. But new suppliers will soon be entering the market, including SHINE, producers with cyclotrons, and a series of suppliers with linacs.More important than the future production of technetium-99m is the amazing innovative power of the accelerator technology.

For example, the PET isotope rubidium-82 has been marketed fairly recently for measuring the blood flow in the heart muscle. However, this treatment will soon face competition from the even more efficient PET drug fluorine-18 Flurpiridaz.

Although these treatments are more expensive than traditional technetium-99 (SPECT) treatment, they can compete because the imaging is very accurate and takes place in “real time”. This means that one treatment suffices, saving costs.

Pallas’ latest business case focuses mainly on the production of therapeutic isotopes for the treatment of cancer and tumors, with beta-emitter isotopes such as lutetium-177 and yttrium-90 in particular determining the picture in this growing market. But here too the question applies: can Pallas really withstand the innovative power of accelerator technology? Then it is not so much about SHINE, which can certainly become a formidable competitor of reactor manufacturers for the production of lutetium-177 (and later also yttrium-90), but mainly about the advance of new generations of therapeutic accelerator isotopes. For example, alpha emitters, and a new class of beta emitters, will conquer an increasing part of the current beta emitter market. …” more https://www.technischweekblad.nl/opinie-analyse/pallas-versus-de-innovatiekracht-van-versnellertechnologie?fbclid=IwAR2T6Ns_xt27fPBsbTHP0BkNG6x0Xk3x-nbaSJshNSQrZ2W5Q21C4GdvwY0  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052

  

May 15, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, health | Leave a comment

Australia risks bringing on a nuclear war with China. Urgent need to change foreign policy.

Nuclear’: Grim prediction for what war with China would look like, Yahoo News. Brooke Rolfe· News Reporter, Sat, 8 May 2021  

Australia’s escalating rift with China could see the hypothetical prospect of war swiftly become a reality if the government doesn’t urgently rethink its approach, according to Hugh White, a leading expert on Australia’s strategic defence………..

Now our government has begun, with disconcerting nonchalance, to talk of war,” he wrote in The Saturday Paper.

“And yet our government seems to have no idea how serious, and dangerous, our situation has become, and has no viable plan to fix it. This must count as one of the biggest failures of statecraft in Australia’s history.”………..

“It would be a war the US and its allies would have no clear chance of winning. Indeed, it is not even clear what winning a war with a country such as China means. And it would very likely become a nuclear war,” he wrote. 

Recent reports from the government saying Australia’s troops should be ready for a military conflict suggest Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Defence Minister Peter Dutton are prepared to go to war with China, Prof White noted. 

He urged against any notion of heated conflict and implored the Federal Government to rethink its relationship with China from the ground up. 

China’s inevitable rise needs to be accepted, combined with “a new order in Asia” which includes the rise of India and Indonesia.

“Australia must conceive a new relationship with China, one that takes account of this reality and works to balance and protect the full range of our interests … this would require hard work, deep thought and subtle execution. It would mean a revolution in our foreign policy.”…….

He urged against any notion of heated conflict and implored the Federal Government to rethink its relationship with China from the ground up. 

China’s inevitable rise needs to be accepted, combined with “a new order in Asia” which includes the rise of India and Indonesia.

“Australia must conceive a new relationship with China, one that takes account of this reality and works to balance and protect the full range of our interests … this would require hard work, deep thought and subtle execution. It would mean a revolution in our foreign policy.” https://au.news.yahoo.com/nuclear-grim-prediction-for-what-war-with-china-would-look-like-051637841.html

May 10, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, China, politics international | Leave a comment

Nobel prize winner Beatrice Fihn urges Australia to join the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, as public support for it grows

Australian government urged to heed public support for treaty banning nuclear weapons. Nobel prize-winning anti-nuclear campaigner Beatrice Fihn says ‘change is not only possible, it’s inevitable’    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/may/06/australian-government-urged-to-heed-public-support-for-treaty-banning-nuclear-weaponsDaniel Hurst Foreign affairs and defence correspondent@danielhurstbne Thu 6 May 2021

The Australian government is being urged to rethink its opposition to a new international treaty banning nuclear weapons, with a leading campaigner warning of the “indiscriminate destructiveness” of such arms.

Beatrice Fihn, the head of the Nobel prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican), will use a speech in Tasmania on Thursday to implore the government to heed strong public support for joining the treaty.

“Change is not only possible; it’s inevitable,” Fihn will say when she presents the annual Red Cross Oration at the University of Tasmania.

The Australian government has not joined the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, a relatively new agreement that requires parties not to develop, test, produce, acquire, possess, stockpile, use or threaten to use nuclear weapons.

So far, the treaty has been signed by 86 countries, of which 54 have formally ratified it – but it has been snubbed by the nuclear weapons states including the US, Russia and China.

“Australia does not support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on Wednesday.

The Australian government argues the new treaty “would not eliminate a single nuclear weapon” because none of the nuclear weapons states have signed it and because it “ignores the realities of the global security environment”.

The government also says the treaty would be inconsistent with its US alliance obligations. However, campaigners point out that several US allies, such as New Zealand, Thailand and the Philippines, have already ratified the treaty.

Fihn, who is based in Geneva and will be addressing the University of Tasmania via video link, will call on the government to act on the “strong and growing support that exists in Australia for this crucial new piece of international law”.

According to prepared remarks provided to Guardian Australia in advance, she will describe the treaty as an “incredible step forward towards a world without nuclear weapons”.

Fihn will say the countries that have joined the treaty are “leading the way forward to a world without nuclear weapons”.

“Meanwhile, in countries that have not yet joined the treaty, including Australia, people are speaking up against nuclear weapons and calling on their countries to join,” she will say.

“Cities around the world, including Berlin, Paris and Washington DC are adopting resolutions calling on their governments to join. In fact, the very first city to sign our Cities Appeal was Melbourne, followed soon after by Sydney – and we’re delighted that the City of Hobart is also on board.”

Polling commissioned by Greenpeace in 2017 found 72.7% of 1,669 Australians surveyed said they supported a ban on nuclear weapons as a step towards the elimination of all nuclear weapons.

“From Australia to Canada, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom, polls show that the majority of people want their government to join,” Fihn will say.

“Thousands of parliamentarians have pledged to work to bring their respective countries on board. In Australia, 88 of the current members of parliament have taken Ican’s pledge.”

The Ican pledge commits parliamentarians “to work for the signature and ratification of this landmark treaty by our respective countries”.

The federal MPs and senators who have signed up are mostly Labor politicians, including the opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, who has been campaigning against nuclear weapons since early in his political career.

The list also includes the Greens leader, Adam Bandt, and crossbenchers. The Liberal National party MP for Flynn in central Queensland, Ken O’Dowd, has also signed up.

In Thursday’s speech, Fihn will also emphasise the need to “amplify the voices of First Nations peoples in Australia and the Pacific who continue to suffer the horrendous impacts of nuclear tests carried out on their lands and in their waters by the United Kingdom, the United States and France”.

More than 75 years after the US bombing of the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945, she says, nuclear-armed states are spending billions of dollars each year to build new weapons and to keep the 13,000 existing weapons.

But Fihn says nuclear-armed states “do not prepare for what comes next, after the bombs are dropped”, citing reports that about 80% of hospitals were destroyed in Hiroshima. Out of 300 doctors in the city, 270 died or were injured; out of 1,780 nurses, 1,654 were killed or injured.

“They do not prepare for the hundreds of thousands of burn victims, for the blasted hospitals, for the injured and dying medical professionals left to heal an entire city,” Fihn says.

“The trauma of overwhelmed hospitals and overburdened doctors and nurses around the world who are struggling to meet the needs of patients during the Covid-19 pandemic shows just how impossible it would be for medical infrastructure to respond to even one nuclear weapon detonation.” The Australian government and other non-signatories are being encouraged to send officials to attend, as observers, the first meeting of parties in Vienna early next year.

Guardian Australia understands Australia will consider attendance closer to the event.

May 6, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

French nuclear giant EDF unveils first wind and battery project in Australia — RenewEconomy

French nuclear giant EDF buys 280MW wind project in central Queensland, the first of a major pipeline of wind, solar and storage projects in Australia. The post French nuclear giant EDF unveils first wind and battery project in Australia appeared first on RenewEconomy.

French nuclear giant EDF unveils first wind and battery project in Australia — RenewEconomy

May 3, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, France, renewable | Leave a comment