nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Banning weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear ones – theme for September 2017

You might think that it’s naive to be talking about banning nuclear weapons, in this present climate of international tension. Yes, an international agreement to ban them is not going to get rid of nuclear weapons overnight, or indeed, anytime soon.

BUT – as things stand now, nuclear weapons, held by all the so virtuous States –  USA, Britain, France, India, China Pakistan, Israel, (- and now North Korea)  – are accepted as respectable ,  defensive, necessary

The idea of the world recognising weapons of mass destruction as unacceptable is not new.  It’s been done before.

Human beings, after all, are social animals, and their greatest successes have been achieved by co-operation. Years of co-operative effort by intelligent and thoughtful people have shed light on the humanitarian horror of mass killings, and mass sufferings of those who survived such attacks.

Under the auspices of he United Nations, the concerted efforts of so many have brought about  the recognition that mass murder is unacceptable, and has been judged to be illegal.  No, these threats have not been completely eliminated. But they have been vastly diminished, and no leader can get away with pronouncing them to be acceptable or necessary.

The United Nations Ban on  the use of chemical and biological weapons in warfare was signed in 1925, and  strengthened in 1997 in the  the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) 

The United Nations Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) came into force in 1975.

In both cases, these agreements outlawed  the development, stockpiling, acquisition, retention, and production of these inhumane weapons, and reaffirmed the 1925 ban on their use.

These bans, agreed on by 178 nations  (the BWC), 192 (the CWC) have been further developed over many years of successive conventions, the most recent being in November 2016.

There’s  a wealth of information on the effects of nuclear weapons production and use – not just the immediate effects on victim communities, but the pervasive global effect on climate, agriculture and teh world’ s food supply.

Right now, we all live under a terrible threat of nuclear war. It is surely time to make a start on removing that threat. The United Nations Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty is that start.

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September 4, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Christina's themes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Banning nuclear weapons- theme for September 2017

The 10-page treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons will be open for signatures from any UN member state on 20 September during the annual general assembly.

On 7 July, the United Nations adopted the “Nuclear Weapons Treaty” with an overwhelming majority – an epoch-making agreement that prohibits not only the development, experiment, manufacture, possession, and use of nuclear weapons, but also the “threat to use”. Nuclear and chemical weapons, and anti-personnel landmines and cluster bombs were also banned.

The U.N. decided to start negotiations for the treaty after a series of three conferences on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. It’s been a long and painstaking journey, for people of decency and good faith, from the first conference in Oslo, Norway in March 2013, to the most recent, in July 2017 when the global Treaty was adopted by 122 nations. Now, this month, nations can ratify this Treaty – a positive step in the movement towards a sane world. It is not too late for more countries to join.

August 21, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes | Leave a comment

Climate change- what is to be done? – theme for August 17

Frogs are smarter than we are?  We insult frogs when we say that they would stay in  a pot of water, to die,  as it was slowly heated to boiling point. Dr. Victor Hutchison, at the University of Oklahoma, dispelled that myth when he studied frogs’ reaction to temperature changes in water. He followed the procedure outlined for a proper frog-boiling; put a frog in cold water, and gradually warmed the water up. (He stopped well before the boiling point.) The frogs most definitely did jump out when the water got too warm for them.

So – the message to human society surely should be –  act like a frogand don’t let global warming keep on creeping up on us!

Current approaches to the  climate change crisis:

  • Some climate scientists now warn that it is probably too late.  predicts The Unibhabitable Earth
  • Some advocate geoengineering solutions.
  • Climate scientists are in agreement that actions must be taken to adapt to climate change.
  • Drastic reduction in greenhouse gases is necessary, whatever other actions are taken.

Al Gore’s controversial new film carries a powerful message of hope.I hope that he’ s right.

Meanwhile the tragic main point of climate change is that it is affecting those who least deserve this. Rural populations in India, China and Africa , who have contributed very little to the cause of climate change are already afflicted with unusual heat, and drought. Pacific islanders, and South Asian coastal communities are already experiencing sea surges, as sea levels rise.

The challenge for this 21st century is surely for environmental justice – for meeting the plight of environmental refugees with help and compassion,  rather than with barriers and conflict.

The image below is by courtesy of the artist  Ricardo Levins Morales www.RLMArtStudio.com

 

 

p.s And of course, bear in mind that nuclear power is irrelevant to climate change –   except that it takes attention, energy, money and resources away from genuine solutions.

 

 

August 4, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes, climate change | Leave a comment

Climate change- the global emergency – theme for August 17 (nuclear is irrelevant)

Climate change may now be irreversible, and is certainly at an urgent stage. While this website is dedicated to opposing the nuclear threat, we can’t ignore the reality of its twin peril – global warming.

The scientific consensus is that the Earth’s climate system is unequivocally warming, and that it is extremely likely (meaning 95% probability or higher) that this warming is predominantly caused by humans. It is likely that this mainly arises from increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as from deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels (Wikipedia)

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that warming of the climate system is ‘unequivocal’ with changes unprecedented over decades to millennia, including warming of the atmosphere and oceans, loss of snow and ice, and sea level rise.

Right now, climate experts are stressing the urgency of the situation, but offering differing ideas on what action to take. Dr Clive Hamilton, in his new book new book titled “Defiant Earth – the fate of humans in the Anthropocene.” says we will go well beyond the danger point of 2 degrees C. of warming, at least to 3 or 4 degrees. He advises that human society must adapt, and try to avoid the very worst. He warns us to avoid grandiose technological solutions.

Climate scientists agree on the need to drastically cut greenhouse has emissions, but some say that more action is needed. Paul Beckwith wants an international collaboration on further projects, to slow the warming rate – Removing excess CO2 from the atmosphere, Cooling the Arctic and saving the sea ice, Preventing Greenland Ice Sheet disintegration, Suppressing methane.

Of course, the nuclear lobby keeps promising extremely expensive solutions for the very distant future. However, nuclear reactors, of whatever type, would be far too late, even if they did combat climate change, (which they don’t).  Nuclear power is irrelevant to climate change, – except for taking resources away and thus slowing up effective measures, such as energy efficiency and renewable energy.

 

July 17, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes, climate change | Leave a comment

Russia’s Nuclear Marketing – theme for July 17

Russia has taken the lead in marketing nuclear reactors overseas –  but for how long?  Just recently,they held a nuclear marketing extravaganza in Moscow the  IX AtomExpo International Forum.  The industry propagandist World Nuclear News was ecstatic – their report would make you believe that Russia-Nuclear is taking over the world.

And Russia itself churns out joyous news of marketing success – to Turkey, Uganda, Philippines, Sudan, South Africa, Indonesia, Nigeria, India, Zambia, Kenya, Malaysia,  Tajikistan, Kuwait, Bangladesh, IndiaMyanmar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Ghana, Egypt, even Japan, Vietnam, Bolivia, Iran, Laos, Cambodia, Armenia, Britain, even USA

There was even a grand plan of partnership with USA and Saudi Arabia for a Middle East nuclear selling binge.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well, a lot. And Russia itself is waking up to the grim reality of the failing nuclear market. Ever keen to be a marketing leader, Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom is looking to renewables now.

And, just as well, for Russia’s customers are waking up to the dodgy deals offered by Russia. Russia’s much touted nuclear sales deals are not resulting in real development. Rosatom’s deals are in fact rather meaningless “memoranda of understanding” or “framework agreements.” 

Rosatom’s agreements lead to unhealthy dependency in the purchasing States,as they go into debt to Russia, which supplies the funding, expertise, and fuel for the nuclear build. Those States also risk being stuck with radioactive trash, with  lack of planning for nuclear waste processing and disposal.

 

 

 

July 9, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes, marketing, Russia | 3 Comments

Nuclear Russia – theme for July 17

It’s high time that the global nuclear-free movement turned the spotlight on RUSSIA.  THIS website, being anglophone, is continually criticising America. But it’ s not just the language problem that makes us neglect to scrutinise Russia: it is also the secrecy, media censorship, and persecution of dissidents that help Russia to avoid scrutiny.

Russia’s quite scandalous nuclear history, past and ongoing, deserves to be exposed. There are 4 main issues here:

1.Russia’s history of nuclear accidents

2. Russia’s scandalous mismanagement of its radioactive trash

3. Russia’s secrecy and cover-up of its serious nuclear problems.

4. Next week – a look at Russia’s current frenzied international nuclear marketing

 

June 22, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes, Russia | Leave a comment

The nuclear industry and endlesss growth in energy use – theme for June 2017

The nuclear lobby boasts about meeting the planet’s ever-growing need for electricity. “Innovation” is the catch phrase – supposed to be always beneficial. Well, yes, – much innovative technology is beneficial: much of it takes over arduous and monotonous work, much of it increases safety, much of it actually reduces energy use.

But not all new technology is actually beneficial, and some of it increases energy use.

Take, for example, the use of robots .  Power is used in the mining and manufacture of materials (steel, cast ironand aluminum) to make robots.  Electricity is needed for their function, for maintenance and repair. Eventually robots become wastes, like all obsolete machines, energy again used in discarding them..

Leaving aside that major argument about jobs, let’s examine, as an example,  the use of robots in health and social care. Already used in Japan, and Europe, robots provide some nursing services and  “elderly social care” that assists old people at home or in nursing homes.   Some robots, such as Japan’s “Nadine” (below) have been made “personal”. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

 

 

 

BUT – I assert here, (yes, you’re right- I don’t have any evidence) that old people, (like all people) need that human touch, that human interaction, and robots simply do not meet that need. And then, there’s the robot baby-sitter. Same thing.

So – these are examples of robots, with deeply unsatisfying results, using up electricity, that take away jobs that many workers find satisfying.

With society’s problems of increasing obesity and lack of exercise, there is surely a question about jobs, that humans do well and enjoy, and in which human energy is expended, but which are taken over by electricity-guzzling robots.

The new nukes lobby bleats about being part of an “innovation revolution”. But “innovation” is not in itself necessarily good –   not if it just means de-skilling people, increasing energy use, just in order to increase business profits.

June 4, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes, social effects | 3 Comments

Nuclear power and THE CONSUMER SOCIETY – theme for June 2017

The American nuclear front group The Breakthrough Institute has recently been in South Australia, along with South Australia’s own favourite nuclear zealot, Ben Heard, and his own nuclear front group Bright New World.  They were touting  -the gospel of the need for endless, escalating use of electricity.  The is – apart from putting across the myths of  “nuclear waste solution” “climate change solution”, “clean energy and “cheap energy” –   the theme of how Australia can be a global moral leader in helping the under-developed nations, via New Nukes.

I think that’s the biggest flaw in their mythology – that the world needs to ever consume more :”goods” and more electricity –  presumably until human society decides to spread all that further – on Mars.

Endless economic growth,  endless producing of things, endless buying of things, endless energy use, endless creation of wastes – this is the way that we humans run our lives, and our planet.

But the planet can’t take it, and neither can we.

It seemed OK, when the Western world could exploit its own indigenous areas, and the “Third World” –    the mess made by digging things up, leaving wastes, throwing stuff away – all this could go into the land and waterways of remote “undeveloped” peoples.

But we’ve run out of “undeveloped” lands and peoples. Now it’s becoming the Asian, African, South American century. They’ve become the disciples of the Western religion of materialism – now also getting cars, big houses, wanting it all, wanting more stuff.

Where do we all put the poisonous end products of our “civilised” consumption?   Into the planet’s air, waterways, land and oceans.   As we poison our planet, we poison our own life support system.

There is an alternative lifestyle – an old-fashioned one – the CONSERVER SOCIETY. It is still practised by many indigenous peoples. We’d better learn from them – and fast!

May 21, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes | 7 Comments

The nuclear industry and the concept of ENOUGH – theme for June 2017

To the nuclear industry the concept of ENOUGH is anathema. If you saw their slick advertising film “Pandora’s Promise” you would note that their major theme is endless GROWTH that will perpetually require ENDLESS ENERGY.

The nuclear industry’s shills, and there are many of them, love to portray the anti-nuclear movement as wanting to send people back to living in a “dark ages” style.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Genuine environmentalists want all people to have a life of more light, of reasonable comfort and leisure time, of enough of the good things of this world, rather than of too much.

It’s time that governments, bankers, industry leaders woke up to the reality that the world economy is threatened by growth, threatened by the accelerating destruction of this planet’s  air, water, land, and biodiversity. The destroyer is the growing human population and its growing consumption of ever more unnecessary products and unnecessary energy use.

It’s time that people stepped away from endless individualistic  consumption, and towards a reasonable life of more cooperation, of working less hours. It’s time to move from our suicidal consumer culture, to a conserver culture.

 

 

May 21, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes | Leave a comment

International politics – and nuclear issues – theme for April 2017

Most of the world is busy commending Donald Trump’s American unilateral military action against Syria, undertaken with no Congressional authority, and with no indication of what the next step might be. Trump must be basking in all this global attention.

Meanwhile, in a quieter and much less publicised process, some 123 nations were represented in the United Nations talks in New York, planning for a nuclear weapons ban treaty

Setsuko Thurlow, survivor of nuclear bombing of Hiroshima

It’s interesting to reflect on aspects of these two processes. The decision to send 50 cruise missiles to bomb a Syrian military site was taken in a room full of men of the most powerful nation in the world. There was one woman there. She got in presumably because she can speak Arabic, and none of the men could.

The careful deliberations at the UN were discussed by all those smaller, unimportant, countries. The big nuclear guys were conspicuously absent – USA, Russia, China, Britain, France, India, Pakistan,  and their dependent allies, such as South Korea, Japan, Canada, Australia .

Indeed,proceedings were led by small nations – e.g Costa Rica – which doesn’t even have an army!

If that wasn’t unusual enough – in these discussions, women took an active, even a leading, part.   Makes you ponder on just who should be running this world.

April 9, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes | 1 Comment

The nuclear industry and politics international- theme for April 2017

The United Nations has just held the first of two global summits to negotiate “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.   Sponsored by 57 nations, and with 125 nations represented. But the nuclear weapons nations did not participate.

Does this mean that the conference is meaningless? Perhaps. Yet, increasingly, public opinion supports nuclear disarmament, and those governments are being challenged, to explain their support for nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, it is something of a turbulent time in international politics, with elections in European nations, with UK and “Brexit” , with North Korea a continuing nuclear weapons worry, and with the unpredictability of USA’s President Trump, and his belligerent attitude to China. In this political climate, the risk of nuclear war continues to grow.

The other side of the nuclear story – “the peaceful nuke” is looking unsustainable. Globally, it’s in decline. Even in the nuclear poster boy China, the industry is now slowing, perhaps stalling.

Yet the somewhat frenzied promotion of nuclear power goes on. Why? Perhaps because it is uneconomic in the home country, so it’s imperative to sell it off to other countries. Perhaps because non-nuclear countries in south Asia, the Middle East, Africa, covet nuclear weapons – and “peaceful” nuclear power is the first step towards nuclear weapons.

It really is time that civil society of every country prevailed, over the militaristic leaders of nations, who are beholden to the nuclear weapons industry. Intelligent military personnel know that there will be no winners in a nuclear war. And nuclear weapons are useless against the suicidal individual terrorists, who now frighten the world.

It is time that civil society rejected the dirty dangerous, (and super expensive) “peaceful” nuclear industry, including those billionaire zealots for geewhiz “new nukes”.  Global energies, talents and funds, are needed for truly beneficial technologies in energy efficiency and clean renewables.

March 24, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes | Leave a comment

Media sucks – especially on nuclear issues – theme for March 2017

On 6   March 2017, The Daily Source, Global Social Justice News,  published Current Problems in the Media, and discussed these under a number of headings. Many of those headings can be adopted for a critique of how the media fails in covering climate, and especially, nuclear news:

High levels of inaccuracies…. Sensationalism……Poor coverage of important issues: Information on Fukushima is often so inadequate that  it amounts inaccuracy, minimising the severity of the problem. At the same time, some of the more sensational anti-nuclear stories are also inaccurate.

The media’s short attention span…..“the issue attention cycle”..”news media suddenly notice a serious problem, such as Fukushima, declare it a crisis: next they realize the problem will not be easily fixed and will be costly,….finally, they ignore the problem.

The media does not cover itself ….”journalism in America has become more slipshod and reckless, at times promiscuous…. Every journalist surely also knows that the old-time standards…have been weakened if not discarded. [This surely applies to coverage of health effects of nuclear industry]  Most of us in the business, however, stand by as mere observers….If this were happening in any other profession or power center in American life, the media would be all over the story, holding the offending institution up to a probing light. …”Sydney Schanberg

media-sucks

Focus on profit margins, not serving public………. “As a loyal American, trained as a journalist some 45 years ago, I am convinced that journalists in the U.S. feel increasingly trapped between their professional values and the marketing/profits mentality so evident now everywhere in the news industry. The old professional values urge them to dig, investigate and bring to the light of day the relevant facts and issues, while the market/profit mentality asks, ‘Is it worth it? Do enough people care?’

It seems clear enough that the market/profit mentality has won out, especially in electronic news, and to a considerable extent in the print media. ..” Margaret T. Gordon, a professor of news media and public policy at the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington

[As to nuclear issues, it must be far easier for news media to accept the sophisticated handouts prepared by the nuclear lobby, than to pay investigative journalists to do thorough research. This applies especially to covreage of new nuclear technologies]

A  ray of light.  Nonprofit media organizations rate far higher on educating the public than for-profit entities [Readers of this site must have noticed  how much more informative on nuclear issues are many not- for- profit groups, than much of the mainstream media]

March 6, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes, media | Leave a comment

Media and nuclear – theme for March 2017

Today’s news media is a smorgasbord of online blogs,Facebook. Twitter, Youtube, Linked-In and a hundred other online sites. Oh, and yes, there are still some online, and even print, newspapers. You remember those last. They employed reputable investigative journalists, who did fact-checking about their news sources.

With journalists dropping off employment like flies, anyone can write anything – no fact-checking needed. It might be fabricated.  It ‘s likely to be biased and inaccurate.
The “old media” – newspapers, radio, TV have long been vulnerable to uncritically disseminating propaganda articles from industry. Even more so, now, as they struggle financially. Industry handouts are much cheaper than real  journalism. That situation is a boon to the nuclear lobby.
social-media-1The “new media” is also a boon to the nuclear industry. They already pay lobbyists,Twitter and Facebook users, and especially Youtube-ers to daily spin out propaganda items by the hundreds. Nuclear lobbyists make use of “bots” to send  tweets in multiples, which actually come from just one software programme. At the same time, nuclear companies continue to produce glossy, expensive, sophisticated films and TV series. Their latest effort will hit the cinemas soon –  The New Fire.
As if this media revolution were not enough, the nuclear industry now receives a new bonus, the  rise of fascism, pioneered trump-twitterby Donald Trump, and perhaps soon to hit Europe and other countries. With an uncanny and Goebbels-like ability to home in on the right places in the media landscape, Trump makes brilliant use of  Twitter. Doesn’t matter if his tweets are lies – they are regurgitated across the world, and believed in by many.
Like all dictators, Trump’s first attack is on the media. Any journalism that Trump doesn’t like is “Fake Press”.  Reputable credible news sources like CNN and New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Politico, the BBC, Huffington Post and BuzzFeed News. are now “enemies of the people” , and banned from White House media briefings. Instead, Trump trump-puppet-of-weapons-makerscrony publications like Breitbart are welcomed.
What does this mean for the nuclear industry? Well. probably Trump-dominated media will be a positive for them. Let’s not forget, Donald Trump is in power, for now, under suffrance from the Republican Party on behalf of the richest industrialists.
What does it all mean for us, writers and readers who seek genuine information?
Judith Donath of CNN said it for me:

“help promote a culture that reveres veracity. Check your sources before you post anything. Support newspapers and other organizations that do good, reliable reporting. Discourage people in your own community when they promote stories that feel good to you, but are, alas, untrue. http://edition.cnn.com/2016/11/20/opinions/fake-news-stories-thrive-donath/

February 27, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes, media | 1 Comment

The economic disaster that is the nuclear industry – theme for February 2016

Tax - payers

A bunch of American billionaires is trying to save the astronomically expensive nuclear industry – by getting taxpayers to pay for even more astronomically costly “little new nukes”.

Meanwhile in China,  France UK, South Korea – and even in America, governments are desperately propping up the super costly “big old nukes’ .

In a world where charlatan Donald Trump can become USA President – the nuclear salestext-SMRsmen might well think  that any fraud can be perpetrated on the public.

But not for long.

The genuinely clean energy transition is under way world-wide, andpeaceful-nuke becoming ever cheaper.

The “peaceful” nuclear industry is intrinsically linked to the multi $billion nuclear weapons industry. Yet even the nuclear weapons industry is under threat, with the coming UN nuclear  disarmament conference.

Even if concern for the public good does not stop the toxic nuclear industry – the unaffordable economic costs eventually will

January 21, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Christina's themes | Leave a comment

Nuclear Economic realities – theme for February2017

ECONOMIC REALITIES 1The world is waking up to the unaffordable costs of the nuclear fuel chain.

Forget health, environment, safety, future generations, weapons proliferation – today’s  killer of the nuclear industry is that good old reliable thing – the exorbitant MONEY that is required

Are “developing” countries really buying the nuclear lobby’s advertising drivel?  Is China really on a nuclear build spree? Is Australia really going to “embrace” the nuclear fuel chain  and become the planet’s nuclear toilet?

The nuclear lobby , like everyone else, knows that the game is over as soon as the next radioactive catastrophe occurs. That’s predicted as 50% probability before 2050.  It could be this week.   That’s a big reason why the nuclear lobby is in such a panic to lock in contracts to buy its toxic products – while the going’s good.

Only tax-payers will fund nuclear facilities, despite the drivel from democracies about private enterprise. Russia, China are more honest about it – the State owns the nuclear companies.  And they’re all so keen to export the technology to other countries. Heck! Russia even pays for them to buy the stuff.

The nuke industry is in trouble – In USA the nuclear industry is a thing of the past. Investors flee Nordic nuclear company Vattenfall.  Finland pulls out of building Olkiluoto 4 nuclear reactor. AREVA teeters on bankruptcy.

A small number of nuclear enthusiasts, with more money than common sense, now pay journalists to advertise “new nukes’, especially Small Modular Nuclear Reactors. Of course, their plan is for taxpayers to cough up – for fleets of even more expensive nuclear gimmicks.

 

 

January 16, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes | 3 Comments