Nuclear issues

February 6, 2015

Informational items on various aspects of the nuclear industry

nuke-hazards

Sustainability of nuclear power

December 2, 2019

Ethics, Nuclear Power, and Global Heating ,  Ethics of Nuclear Energy  Abu-Dayyeh (P.hD) Amman – H.K. of Jordan Ayoub101@hotmail.com E_case Society (President) www.energyjo.com  [Extract]   (used as post) 

4- Sustainability

Environmental Ethics is perceived as the practical dimension of ethics concerning environmental issues. It is also conceived by some as an “education for sustainability”, and “an important vehicle to transmit values, to change attitudes and to motivate commitment” (40). Therefore, sustainability is a crucial element in our moral decision over the choice of energy.

The new technologies in shale-gas extraction are expected to extend the life-time of gas reserves worldwide many folds the life span predicted for oil reserves, which are unlikely to last more than 40 years. On the other hand, uranium reserves of high concentrations (above 1000 ppm) mainly exist in Canada and Australia (41), as can be seen in Figure 2: [on original]

Therefore, considering the present consumption of uranium U3O8 per year, which stands at around 70,000 tonnes, the world reserves of around 3.5 million tonnes will not last more than 50 years. A report published in the International Journal of Green Energy in 2007 suggests that if a nuclear renaissance is expected soon, according to the myth of a nuclear renaissance which the nuclear lobbies and the IAEA are trying to promote, the uranium reserves will only be sufficient to keep the world’s nuclear reactors functioning for only 16.5 years (42). In another words, most of the reactors that are proposed now for future investment would practically be out of enriched fuel soon after they are commissioned.

The other choice out of this impasse would be to acquire fuel from reprocessing of depleted fuel and from the plutonium of nuclear warheads that has been neutralized after the cold-war. However, this industry is extremely complicated, risky and it’s environmental impact is highly controversial; two reprocessing plants had already been shut down after Fukushima, one in Japan; the Rokkasho Reprocessing Program; which economical feasibility has already been questioned by Sakurai Yoshiko and Inose Naoki. A governmental committee estimated the cost of reprocessing existing nuclear waste in Japan at 18.8 trillion yen (43); around 200 Billion US$; the second facility shut down was in the UK at Sellafield.

After the Japanese disaster at Fukushima on March 11, 2011 the maximum world capacity of fuel reprocessing at the present time has become around 20% of the total depleted fuel produced all around the world, thus causing a serious set-back; not only for providing a new source of fuel, but also to depositing depleted fuels at lower radioactive level and less segregating radioactive isotopes.

We can thus conclude that fission-fuel technology is not a sustainable source of energy for the future……

Even if the depletion of uranium is postponed much further, it remains an unsustainable source of energy per excellence, particularly if water, energy and CO2 emissions are taken into consideration as shown in Figure 3.

If we take the Olympic Uranium Project as an example we can see that more than 3402 KL of water is needed for each tonne of U3O8 mined, this number is more than doubled at the Beverley Mines. If we add the amount of water needed for all the by-products, such as enrichment of fuel, cooling the reactors, etc. we can say that huge amounts of water are consumed in the overall process. The poorer the grade of uranium ore is the more water is needed. The Australian Olympic and Beverly mines ore grade are around 640-1800 ppm, so we can postulate the much larger amount of clean water are needed for poorer quality, at 200 ppm or even less!

Each tonne also consumes more than 1700 GJ of energy and can emit more than 320 tonnes of CO2 for each tonne U3O8 produced. [table on original]

Ethics – conclusion on ethics of nuclear industry

November 30, 2019

Ethics of Nuclear Energy  Abu-Dayyeh (P.hD) Amman – H.K. of Jordan Ayoub101@hotmail.com E_case Society (Presidentwww.energyjo.com  [Extract] “………Conclusion:   It is believed that background radiation instigated evolution of our species along millions of years passed; however, mutations induced by radioactivity from the nuclear industry produce species that cannot adapt, such as the genetically damaged children of Chernobyl and the Fukushima Butterflies and other species of the rich biodiversity around us. Hitherto, we have proved that nuclear energy is neither safe, sustainable nor economic and eventually accumulates debts, poverty, water scarcity, and enmity between nations as well as it enhances environmental and health degradation for millions of years.

We have also reached a conviction that sustainability presupposes peace. Conflicts and wars over natural, unsustainable and risky resources, such as the nuclear industry and fossil fuels, present an acute danger, not only to human life but also to the integrity of the environment and the eco-system at large.

Nuclear Energy advocates are thus anthropocentric in their perception to the world; we ought to change that into a biocentric or an ecocentric perception if we seek a sustainable future for life on Earth. Our moral duty cannot accept such a diabolic source of pollution that can be avoided by using safer and more sustainable available alternatives, such as renewable clean energy solutions: solar, wind, bio-gas, geothermal and ocean energies?

We believe that Sustainable Development is only possible through the Energy of Peace: Renewable Energy; the source of energy that no one would fight over and can eventually sustain Energy Equity and Environmental Justice. No one can shade the Sun or stop the wind or monopolize ocean tidal and wave energy!!!

Is it true that our moral decisions and ethical responsibilities can play a role in decision making over serious issues, such as nuclear power?

We believe it is possible to make a difference, which is why we promised an ecosophical conclusion in the abstract. Our example comes from Germany when the report of the Ethics Commission for a Safe Energy Supply in 2011 drew the future for nuclear-free Germany in 2022. Our inspiration comes also from H. Horsburgh while reflection on the possibility of nuclear annihilation: “only the non-violent can inherit the Earth …the violent can only deny them a world to inherit” (49). We agree with Alan Carter (50) that the only ethics which can survive is Environmental Ethics.

If we thus agree that we did not inherit the world from our ancestors, but rather “we have borrowed it from our children”, then we “ought to” resort to the precautionary Principle in our moral decisions, perhaps as defined by the United Nations: 

The precautionary principle (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development 1992) holds forth that “a point can presumably be reached when human well-being and environmental health are put at risk by a large-scale human activity or man-made system over which humans have control. At such a point the problem could be identified, a course charted, and precautionary actions taken to ameliorate or prevent a potential threat to human and environmental health on behalf of current and future generations”.

Since Copenhagen`s (COP 17) 2009 behind-the-stage deal over a policy of “mitigation” we ought to continue advocating for more stringent measures if Earth is to be saved the consequences of Global Warming. It is now verified that the point of no-return for Global Warming is 450 ppm CO2 which is probably a decade away if something serious is not done right now, so why has no serious action been under way at present, particularly by China and the USA who are producing almost 42% of the world’s global emissions? Why, on the other hand, have we acted so swiftly when the Ozone Hole was discovered over the South Pole in 1985?

 Surprisingly, only two years after the discovery of the Ozone Hole, the Montreal protocol was signed, amended in 1990 in London and Copenhagen. By the year 2000 the world can no longer produce harmful products to the Ozone layer, such as CFCs, and consequently invented much less damaging replacements such as HCFCs. By 2003 recovery of the Ozone was on its way! So, why were we so efficient in dealing with the Ozone issue while GHGs are still short of a world’s consensus, although it is life threatening too?

The answer to this question we wish to leave open for further research!

(copious references on original)

Ethics of burdening developing countries with nuclear debts and nuclear wastes

November 30, 2019

Ethics of Nuclear Energy  Abu-Dayyeh (P.hD) Amman – H.K. of Jordan Ayoub101@hotmail.com E_case Society (President) www.energyjo.com  [Extract]

“…..5- Nuclear energy in the South!

If all the latter costs were reallocated to consumers, an increase in the price for electricity between €0.139 and €2.36 for each kilowatt-hour will have to be administered for a period of commitment of 100 years(45). These estimates explicate the true cost of electricity produced from nuclear sources, similar to some predictions discussed earlier in the Japanese case, and thus urge few more reflections on the issue, such as:

Can developing countries in the South afford the actual prices of each KWh?

Is it ethical to overburden these developing nations with loans and radioactive waste management for millions of years?

To what extent can developing countries afford the risk of experiencing a major nuclear accident?

If small developing nations disintegrate due to a nuclear catastrophe, does this outcome open the way to asylum seekers flocking towards the North?

If a nuclear catastrophe strikes in the South, is the North ready to accommodate environmental refugees from the South?

If the answer is still yes, we suggest reminding the North that corruption risks are much higher in the South compared to the North, which thus dooms the investment in nuclear energy a failure! Furthermore, extra load management, upgrading the electricity grid, providing cooling water, constructing desalination plants for the cooling towers and facilitating the proper infra-structure are all factors to consider. Not to mention that a higher risk of a catastrophe would be predicted in the South due to shortages in skilled labor and because of the loose ends of cultural safety values typical of under developed countries.

As for non-proliferation, each nuclear power plant of around 1000 MW produces around 200 kg of plutonium every year, which is enough to arm 20 nuclear warheads. Wouldn’t that be an incentive for some countries to plunder the resources of others by force?

Enriching uranium U235 to 3.5%, for use in nuclear reactors, produces huge amounts of U238 (depleted Uranium), enough to encase tonnes of missiles annually. Who can guarantee these lethal weapons not to be used in the future for the destruction of humanity, as it has already been used in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan?

Environmental degradation already accounts for 3-5% of GDP for some countries in the Middle East and North Africa, such as Jordan and Egypt. Uranium mining in these countries will worsen the environmental conditions which are already out of control, such as phosphate tailings in Rusaifa and Hasa in Jordan, which have bewailed the natural environment beyond recovery!

Creation of jobs is essential too when considering any investment in the South as unemployment is very high there. In a country like Namibia, were uranium mines had been utilized for a long time, the percentage of unemployment reached 51.2% in 2008(46). What about construction and operating nuclear facilities, are they labor intensive?

Energy source-jobs per tera watt hours are underlined in the following table:

Natural Gas 250 jobs / TWh
Coal 370 jobs / TWh
Nuclear 75 jobs / TWh
Wood 733 jobs / TWh
Hydro 250 jobs / TWh
Wind 918 – 2400 jobs / TWh
Photo-voltaic 29580 – 107000 jobs / TWh

Table 1: Jobs per tera watt hours of electricity production (47)

It looks quite obvious that the nuclear industry is the poorest concerning jobs per energy production. Hence, developing countries need to be motivated to resort to intensive labor energy sources, away from logging and deforestation, by promoting wind and solar energy which provide far more jobs than the nuclear industry. Renewable and clean energy jobs are both decentralized, require no high skilled labor and are safe and secure energy sources; decentralization and jobs are badly needed in the South as migration from rural areas to cities is intensifying and many skilled labor had already migrated to the North.

As for safety and security, we wonder! With the present reputation of safety and security in the South, can developing countries minimize the risks of a nuclear disaster?

Expert nuclear engineer David Lochbaum responds to our question:

It is not if we are going to have nuclear accidents but when” (48)!

If developing countries can afford nuclear accidents and can recover from such catastrophes, like what happened in Japan at Fukushima, developing countries of the South cannot for the reasons discussed earlier.,,,,,”

Economic feasibility of nuclear power

November 30, 2019

Ethics of Nuclear Energy  Abu-Dayyeh (P.hD) Amman – H.K. of Jordan Ayoub101@hotmail.com E_case Society (President) www.energyjo.com  [Extract]

“…..3- Economic feasibility:

Estimates of Chernobyl catastrophe economic damage are briefed as follows:

The human and economic costs are enormous: In the first 25 years, the direct economic damage to Belarus, Ukraine and Russia has exceeded $500 billion” (32)Has this cost been added to the price of KWh of electricity in the USSR?

Examples of some fairly costly nuclear accidents around the world are numerous, we hereby give one example from one county; the USA, since 1979:

Only these minor accidents in the United States alone had caused more than 7 billion dollars in direct damages only in the past 30 years, a fraction compared to what Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents has inflicted on theirs countries. The ethical questions that we wish to raise here are as follows:

Has the cost of short term damage and that on the long term (radioactive pollution, species mutations, etc) been added to the cost of each KW.h of electricity produced from nuclear reactors?

Is economical cost-analysis the only means to address such delicate issues concerning our moral judgment that can eventually affect the future of life on Earth?

To what extent it might be possible to reinforce a mandatory rule of multiplying the cost of nuclear power by an “Environmental Energy Factor” to account for the probable long term potential damage it can inflict on nature and the “built environment”?

Is there no value for intrinsic beauty in nature; a value for nature per se that reflects our aesthetic feeling of duty?

Accidents has proved that safety is a far-fetched dream in nuclear energy, not to mention that the nuclear energy industry has been crippled worldwide, particularly after Fukushima, except in China, Russia, South Korea and India(34). It has become obvious that these countries have given a priority for growth over health and security; severe competition and injustice over equity; profit over humanity; egoism over utilitarianism! The USA, for example, spent 7,960 US$ in 2009 on total health expenditure, double to triple the overall spending of these four countries altogether on health care per capita (S. Korea $1879, Russia $1043, China $347, India $124).

The extra safety regulations and increasing risks after Fukushima and the consequent jump in insurance rates and loan guarantees has rendered the cost of producing electricity uncompetitive compared even to the low cost gas turbine generator. Nuclear energy has already been the most expensive source of energy in 2007, as Moody illustrates in figure 1:  [on original]

A more up to date study surveyed 30 nuclear cost-analyses which showed that the industry-funded studies fall into “conflict of interest” and have illegitimately trimmed cost data; “They exclude costs of full-liability insurance, underestimate interest rates and construction times by using ‘overnight’ costs, and overestimate load factors and reactor lifetimes. If these trimmed costs are included, nuclear-generated electricity can be shown roughly 6 times more expensive than most studies claim(36).

This extra cost had been included in the cost of electricity in Japan that is why the cost of Japanese electricity per KW.h is 5 times that in the United States. Research suggests that if a full-cost pricing system for nuclear electricity is considered, Corporate Capital will leave Japan (37).

The huge capital costs and loan guarantees for nuclear power plants, as shown figure 1, were provided by governments in the past. Since the privatization of electricity companies worldwide by the turn of the century, few countries have ventured in this investment except for either military purposes or for strategic energy security.

It is not a secret that all nuclear facilities started for the purpose of producing nuclear weapons; electricity was a mere by-product then. Nowadays, it has become a profitable industry for the know-how elite, such as France, Russia and South Korea. President Lee Myung-Bak of South Korea announced that he has set a goal of exporting 80 nuclear reactors by 2030 (38); but one wonders why would oil-rich countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates venture into such high risk industry?

If alternatives to the shortly predicted depletion of fossil fuels is the reason for a nuclear era, it can still be rejected on the bases of the renewable clean sources of energy available at cheaper, safer and more sustainable solutions, particularly as uranium reserves are expected to run out at approximately the same time as fossil fuels; an issue discussed in details later. Then, there must be more of reasons to “risk” the danger!

If we would avoid discussing political motivations to answer the latter question, such as Shiaa Iran nuclear weapons versus Sunni Arab nuclear capabilities, something similar to Buddhist India versus Moslem Pakistan, and move on directly to socio-economic analysis, we then say:

Risk is seldom taken unless associated with benefit. In risk management three parties are involved: those exposed to the risk, the decision maker and the beneficiary(39). The moral stances towards the risk depend on whether one person in filling more than one position or not? If that person is both the decision maker and the beneficiary then the moral decision will be biased and the players more corrupt.

This is exactly the general case in under developed countries where individualism and instrumental reason prevail over ethical responsibility and the feeling of duty; that is why egoist ethics in the South prevails while utilitarian ethics dominates moral actions in the democratic North!….”

Health Risk Analysis of nuclear power

November 30, 2019

Ethics of Nuclear Energy  Abu-Dayyeh (P.hD) Amman – H.K. of Jordan Ayoub101@hotmail.com E_case Society (President) www.energyjo.com  [Extract]

“…..2- Health Risk Analysis

If “risk” is defined as the product of probability of an accident happening with its severity, we ought to start this title by considering first major commercial nuclear accidents of level 7 on the INES scale, as a priority in analysis, so we must consider 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe where “Emissions from Chernobyl reactor exceeded a hundredfold the radioactive contamination of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki(10).

The latest New York Academy report on Chernobyl catastrophe has published horrendous facts of more than a million causalities; the new book concludes: Chernobyl death toll: 985,000, mostly from cancer (11). A paper by Kristina Voigt and Hagen Scherb also showed that after 1986, in the aftermath of Chernobyl, around 800,000 fewer children were born in Europe than one might have expected. The overall number of “missing” children after Chernobyl could have reached about one million (12); not to mention that the researchers have not covered all countries in their count!

According to UNSCEAR (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation), adding to the latter casualties, between 12,000 and 83,000 children who lived in the vicinity of Chernobyl were born with congenital deformations, and also estimate that around 30,000 to 207,000 genetically damaged children were born worldwide (13). Amongst the interesting findings was that only 10% of the overall expected damage was actually seen in the first generation; the worse is yet to come with the offspring. A similar research on butterflies around Fukushima has yielded a similar result which will be discussed later.

As for the level 6 on the INES scale, it is classified as a serious nuclear accident that includes the accident at the Kyshtym facility in Russia in 1957, unfortunately not much research was published! on level 5, accidents with wider consequences include United Kingdom Windscale facility in the year 1957, Chalk River – Canada in 1952 and the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, after which the USA only licensed few new reactors; At present, only three nuclear reactors are being constructed in the United States: Watts Bar 2 reactor (1180 MW) which started  decades ago, and was put on hold till 2007, expected by the IAEA to commercially operate in 2015. Another two reactors; vogtle 3 and Summer 2 of 1200 MW each, are expected to operate in 2017(14).

The Fukushima-Daitii nuclear accident in Japan on March 2011 is also classified as level 5. However, nuclear accidents of level 4 with local consequences include a long list, so are levels 4,3,2 and 1; a non-ending list of accidents(15).

In one year only (2008), according to an IRSN report, 205 accidents were recorded in nuclear facilities (safety and environmental), a noticeable 56% increase compared to the accidents recorded in 2005 which accounted for 131 accidents only. A typical example of those accidents is the leakage of 20 m3 of radioactive water from Socatri facility at Tricastin – France. Some of the radioactive water followed rain water drainage into the eco-system while the rest radioactive water seeped underground polluting the soil and under-ground water aquifers (16).

Since March 2011 funds of hundreds of billions of dollars are being allocated by TEPCO, the Tokyo Electricity Company, as to cover for the direct damages of the Fukushima disaster; however, the scale of damage on biodiversity and genetic disorders is not clearly understood.

The early mutations of butterflies around Fukushima are alarming as the mutations disorders have been increasing with the offspring. Mutations caused by Fukushima disaster radiation had affected 12% of adult pale grass blue butterflies in the surrounding area two months after the March 2011 disaster. When that batch mated, it produced an offspring with an 18% mutation rate. In the following generation, mutations were found in 34% of the butterflies born. In September 2011, a new study disclosed that the adult butterflies displayed 28% mutation rate and their offspring had a whopping 58% mutation rate (17).

In a similar study on mice after 25 years of the Chernobyl catastrophe, it yielded the following outcome: “The rate of mutation amongst the field mice is one hundred thousand times higher than normal” (18).

Another environmental damage connected with the nuclear industry is thermal pollution which is basically the form of water pollution that refers to degradation of water quality by any process that changes ambient water temperature. The main cause of thermal pollution is attributed to one particular industry, or to be more precise to nuclear power plants that use water as a coolant. After this water has been used as a coolant it is returned to the natural environment at a higher temperature. This change in water temperature decreases the amount of oxygen in the water which can lead to negative ecological effects.

Less oxygen in the water can harm fish population, as it can increase the metabolic rate of fish population and other aquatic animals so that they would more likely eat a lot more food in a shorter period of time than if their environment was not changed. This change can lead to imbalance in the food chain, thus resulting in significant long-term damage to many aquatic ecosystems.

Warmer water temperatures are known to lead to reproduction problems for many aquatic animals, and can further cause huge bacteria and plant growth. Warmer waters can even lead to algae bloom resulting in a consequent loss of more oxygen in the water. However, this damage is likely to be ethically benign compared to the mutations that result from radioactivity.

As for the effects of radioactivity on humans, scientists from the universities of Moscow and Leicester examined blood samples from 79 families, the parents of who had been living within a 300 km radius of nuclear reactors. The scientists were surprised by children born between February and September 1994 as cases of mutations had doubled (19). Peter karamoskos, a nuclear radiologist, quotes the following: “There is a linear dose-response relationship between exposure to ionizing radiation and the development of solid cancers in humans. It is unlikely that there is a threshold below which cancers are not induced(20). Radiation can cause the breakdown in chromosomes, causing Down’s syndrome in babies as well as mental and physical disorders. Children exposed to radiation have a higher risk to develop leukemia (21).

Higher incidence of leukemia in UK children has been reported in the environment of the Sellafield (Windscale) fuel reprocessing facility in England (22-23), not far from the Dounreay reprocessing plant in Scotland (24-25), and also in similar children who lived within a few kilometers from the Aldermaston or Burghfield military weapons facilities in England (26). In a comprehensive survey done by Forman et al(27) and Cook-Mozaffari et al (28-29) reported excess mortality rate due to leukemia and Hodgkin’s disease particularly in young persons living in the vicinity of fourteen nuclear facilities, eight of them electricity generating nuclear plants.

In the United Kingdom, studies of populations living near nuclear power plants have yielded mixed results. Ewings et al (30) found increased incidence of leukemia and lymphoma in young persons near the Hinckley Point power station. Clap et al (31) reported an excess incidence of leukemia in men in five towns near the Pilgrim nuclear power station in Massachusetts…….”

 

Ethics of Nuclear Energy- climate change

November 30, 2019

Ethics of Nuclear Energy Ayoub Abu-Dayyeh (P.hD) Amman – H.K. of Jordan Ayoub101@hotmail.com E_case Society (President) www.energyjo.com  [Extract]

Abstract:

This paper attempts to refute the myth of “clean nuclear energy”, and discusses the unethical impact on the environment of the overall process of the nuclear energy electricity production industry, from mining to decommissioning, through the problematic framework of “health risk analysis”, “economical feasibility” and “sustainability”. It also focuses on the economic and safety fragility of developing countries in the South to deal with big loans or a possible catastrophe, not to mention managing nuclear waste for a very long period of time.

Finally, the paper diverges all the inductions of the different criteria discussed towards inferring a global categorically imperative ethical perception based on a biocentric stance that takes United Nations recommendations into consideration, such as the “Precautionary Principle”, the declarations on Human Rights and the rights of future generations to a healthy and sustainable environment, in order to settle down to an “ecosophical” conclusion.

1- Introduction: The “clean nuclear energy” myth!

Nuclear energy is still one of the options used today across the world, thought to be a clean source of energy that produces neither CO2 nor other Ozone related pollutants into the atmosphere. However, it is now been verified that the complete fuel cycle of nuclear energy production is generous in producing GHG as well as CFCs; from mining and milling to fuel enrichment, constructing and operating the nuclear facility, transportation of nuclear fuel, safety and security measures, reprocessing and recycling the depleted nuclear fuel, manufacturing by-products, encasing and burying the nuclear waste and eventually decommissioning the nuclear facility and its surrounding environment, including the contaminated soil(1).

Concerned communities in Japan who are removing contaminated soil and conducting clean up operations are using independent researchers because they have lost faith in their government: “The roots of mistrust came out after authorities issued radiation readings that often turned out to be incorrect”(2). This comes as a proof that governments don’t consider life cycle assessment mechanisms in calculating accurate GHG emissions, insurance, cost of KWh of electricity produced or genome radioactive infuriation. Most of the research is government sponsored or controlled by nuclear commissions, thus falling in “conflict of interest” controversy.

The nuclear fuel cycle is a generous CO2 emitter that can exceed 288 grams of CO2 e/KWh, or (66)g as a mean value, even when existing studies fail to consider emissions of co-products (3) which cause global warming too. Research on light water nuclear reactors showed CO2 emission up to 220 g/KWh (4), yet this value is expected to rise as uranium ore grade worldwide is deteriorating by time. The USA ore grade average, for example, dropped from 0.28% U3O8 to 0.07 – 0.11% (1100 ppm) in 40 years (5). The complete life cycle assessment mechanism considered to calculate CO2 equivalent (CO2 e/KWh) in the previous analysis can raise this value significantly!……”

How the Mirrar Aboriginal people, helped by environmentalists stopped uranium mining at Jabiluka

August 18, 2019

Leave it in the ground: stopping the Jabiluka mine, Red Flag Fleur Taylor, 15 July 2019  “…… The election of John Howard in March 1996 marked the end of 13 years of ALP government…..

Australia’s giant mining companies – major backers of the Coalition – got their wish list. Howard immediately abolished Labor’s three mines policy, and the business pages crowed that “25 new uranium mines” were likely and possible. And in October 1997, then environment minister Robert Hill blew the dust off an environmental impact statement from 1979 that said mining at Jabiluka was safe. Approval of the mine quickly followed.

The Jabiluka uranium deposit, just 20 kilometres from the Ranger uranium mine, is one of the richest in the world. The proposal was to build a massively bigger mine than that at Ranger, which would be underground and therefore more dangerous for the workers. It was projected to produce 19 million tonnes of ore over its lifetime, which would be trucked 22 kilometres through World Heritage listed wetlands.

The Liberals hoped to make a point. After all, if you could put a uranium mine in the middle of a national park in the face of Aboriginal opposition, what couldn’t you do?

The fight immediately began. The traditional owners of the area, the Mirarr, were led by senior traditional owner Yvonne Margarula and the CEO of the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, Jacqui Katona. They were supported by anti-nuclear campaigners around the country, most notably Dave Sweeney of the Australian Conservation Foundation, as well as a network of activist groups.

The most important objective was to delay construction of the mine, scheduled to begin in 1998. To do this, the Mirarr called on activists to travel to Jabiluka in order to take part in a blockade of the proposed mine site until the onset of the wet season would make construction impossible.

The blockade was immensely successful. Beginning on 23 March 1998, it continued for eight months, attracted 5,000 protesters and led to 600 arrests at various associated direct actions. Yvonne Margarula was one: she was arrested in May for trespass on her own land after she and two other Aboriginal women entered the Ranger mine site.

The blockade also attracted high-profile environmental and anti-nuclear activists such as Peter Garrett and Bob Brown. This helped signal to activists that this was a serious fight. The sheer length of time the blockade lasted created a fantastic opportunity for the campaign in the cities. Activists were constantly returning from Jabiluka with a renewed determination to fight.

The Jabiluka Action Group was key to building an ongoing city-based campaign in Melbourne, and the campaign was strongest there of any city. It held large – often more than 100-strong – weekly meetings, organised endless relays of buses to the blockade and  took the fight to the bosses and corporations that stood to profit from the mine.

We were determined to map the networks of corporate ownership and power behind the mine. But in the late 1990s, when the internet barely existed, this wasn’t as simple as just looking up a company’s corporate structure on its glossy website. It took serious, time consuming research.

A careful tracing of the linkages of the North Ltd board members showed that they were very well connected – and not one but two of them were members and past chairmen of the Business Council of Australia (BCA) – one of Australia’s leading bosses’ organisations. So our June 1998 protest naturally headed to the Business Council of Australia. We occupied their office, and the two groups of anti-uranium protesters, 3,800 kilometres apart, exchanged messages of solidarity, courtesy of the office phones of the BCA.

We were also staggered to learn that the chairman of a company that owned two uranium mines and was Australia’s biggest exporter of hardwood woodchips was also a member of the Parks Victoria board, the national president of Greening Australia and the Victorian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) board president!

The EPA, and corporate greenwashing in general, thereby became a target for the campaign. Another target was the Royal Society of Victoria, which made the mistake of inviting Sir Gus Nossal, a famous scientist and longstanding booster for the nuclear industry, to give a dinner address. We surrounded its building, and the organisers, somewhat mystified, cancelled the dinner. This action once again made headline news, helping to keep the issue of the Jabiluka mine in people’s minds.

We held regular protests at the headquarters of North Ltd on Melbourne’s St Kilda Road. On the day that Yvonne Margarula was facing court on her trespass charge, a vigil was held overnight. When we heard she had been found guilty, the protest erupted in fury. Cans of red paint – not water-based – materialised, and the corporate facade of North Ltd received an unscheduled refurbishment. The Herald-Sun went berserk.

The leadership of the Mirarr people gave this campaign a different focus from other environmental campaigns of the time. It was fundamentally about land rights, sovereignty and the right of Aboriginal communities to veto destructive developments on their land. In Melbourne, the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation appointed long-time Aboriginal militant and historian Gary Foley as their representative. Gary worked tirelessly to provoke and educate the many activists who turned up wanting to “support” or “do something” for Aboriginal people.

At a time when “reconciliation” was strongly supported by liberals and much of the left, Foley told us that reconciliation was bullshit. He argued native title (supposedly a key achievement of Keating) was “the most inferior form of land title under British law”, and that the ALP was every bit as racist as One Nation – if not worse. He insisted activists must educate themselves about sovereignty and the struggles happening right here, not just those happening 3,800 kilometres away. The way the Jabiluka Action Group activists approached this challenge was an example of how people’s ideas change. Many came into the campaign primarily as environmental activists, but almost all left as committed fighters for Aboriginal rights.

**********

When the blockade wound down at the onset of the wet season, it was an opportunity to fight on some other fronts. Representatives of the UN World Heritage Committee visited Kakadu in late 1998 and issued a declaration that the World Heritage values of the area were in danger. They called on the government to stop the mine. Yvonne Margarula and Jacqui Katona travelled to Paris to speak to the European Commission about the mine.

John Howard, at the time mired in ministerial scandals and resignations, had called an election for September 1998, and there was hope in some quarters that Labor might win and stop the mine. But Howard scraped back in on only 48.3 percent of the vote, and it was clear that the fight on the ground would have to continue.

In the meantime, an important legal loophole had been identified. North Ltd had failed to secure agreement for the Jabiluka ore to be trucked to the Ranger mine for processing. It turned out the Mirarr did have the right to refuse this, and by exercising this right they would increase the cost of the project by $200 million (the cost of building a new processing plant at Jabiluka). This, combined with the ongoing protests, became a huge problem for the company.

Something we enjoyed doing at the time was monitoring North Ltd’s share price. It start

The reason Australia doesn’t have nuclear power: the workers fought back

August 18, 2019

The movement’s real strength always depended on its grassroots – on the willingness of activists to defy the rightwingers in Labor and the unions, even to the extent of facing arrest.

The reason Australia doesn’t have nuclear power: the workers fought back https://www.theguardian.com/environment/commentisfree/2019/jun/24/the-reason-australia-doesnt-have-nuclear-power-the-workers-fought-back  Jeff Sparrow Workers have been fighting uranium mining for decades – the environment needs mass civil disobedience  @Jeff_Sparrow 24 Jun 2019 

What do Clive PalmerTony AbbottCory BernardiBarnaby JoyceMark LathamJim MolanCraig KellyEric Abetz and David Leyonhjelm have in common?

No doubt many answers will come to to mind. But whatever else unites them, they all support nuclear power.

Jim Green from Friends of the Earth Australia, which compiled the above list, says that nuclear energy now functions more as a culture war troll than a serious policy, not least because the people who want atomic solution to climate change are usually the same people (as the group above illustrates) who don’t believe climate change requires a solution at all.

Despite the best efforts of Queensland conservatives, Australia will not go nuclear. The former chair of Uranium King, Warwick Grigor, says flatly: “No one is going down that path in the foreseeable future.” Even industry boosters see nuclear power stations as feasible only if the government introduces, um, a carbon tax, a proposal to which the culture warriors would react like vampires to garlic.

Nevertheless, progressives should discuss nuclear energy and climate change, if only because the campaign we need against coal can learn from the historic struggle against a different mineral.

Upon the opening of the Rum Jungle uranium mine in 1953, Robert Menzies gushed: “We, in Australia, are lucky indeed, that we should have found, within our own boundaries, deposits of this ore which can and will undoubtedly within a measurable distance bring power and light and the amenities of life to the producers and consumers and the housewives of this continent.”

You feel that if he could have brought a lump of the stuff into parliament he probably would have done so.

Yet by the second half of the 70s, activists concerned about the environmental consequences of mining, the effects on Indigenous communities, and Australia’s role in the nuclear arms race, had made uranium mining into a national controversy.

n 1977, the Movement Against Uranium Mining collected 250,000 signatures within a few months for a moratorium on mining. Later that year 20,000 people joined rallies in both Sydney and Melbourne.

The activists then confronted the same arguments about mining and jobs we hear today about Adani’s Carmichael coalmine. Yet as historian Verity Burgmann says, organised labour was “involved in the [anti-uranium] movement from its very earliest stages”.

The key struggles were led by rank-and-file unionists, often in defiance of prominent officials.

In 1976 Jim Assenbruck, a railway worker in Townsville, refused, in accordance with the recently adopted policy of the Australian Railways Union, to load materials intended for the Mary Kathleen uranium mine.

His subsequent suspension sparked a national rail strike.

In response, Jack Egerton, the ACTU’s senior vice president and an important Labor politician, came out in support of uranium using very familiar rhetoric.

Railwaymen,” he said, “who are among the low-income earners in the community, should not be the pawn in the game of environmental politics.”

Egerton explicitly cast the rail workers as dupes when, in fact, those “low-income earners” were perfectly capable of making their own decisions – and had chosen of their own accord not to support environmental destruction.

Like many politicians who proclaim the importance of coal jobs, Egerton was not exactly an impartial commentator, given he moonlighted as a director of the Mary Kathleen mine.

In 1977 Melbourne wharfies called a 24-hour strike of the entire port after the arrival of the yellowcake laden ship Columbus Australia. The Melbourne branch of the Waterside Workers’ Federation eventually imposed a ban on that ship and all future vessels carrying uranium – and they so in defiance of their own, more conservative, federal leadership.

Obviously that was a different time.

Today unionism is far weaker, with the rank and file less active.

But that bureaucratisation makes the examples from the anti-uranium struggle particularly compelling.

Why did the Melbourne wharfies walk off the job?

In part they were inspired by the courage of anti-nuclear protesters, over 40 of whom were violently arrested in what the Australian dubbed “the wildest demo since Vietnam”.

The environmental activists’ determination in the face of “brute force” from mounted police encouraged the unionists to take action themselves – and that action then spread.

Such was the pattern of the campaign.

The momentum eventually persuaded the Australian Labor party to abandon its previous support for uranium. At the national conference of 1977, the party passed a historic resolution for an indefinite moratorium.

Unfortunately, that motion encouraged the movement to, as Burgmann writes, throw itself “wholeheartedly into supporting the Labor party to regain government” – rather in the way that Bill Shorten’s climate rhetoric led activists to back the ALP during the 2019 election campaign.

Then, as now, the reliance on Labor proved disastrous.

In 1982 the ALP overturned the 1977 position. When Bob Hawke came to power the next year, mining continued under the very government for which many anti-uranium activists had campaigned.

The movement’s real strength always depended on its grassroots – on the willingness of activists to defy the rightwingers in Labor and the unions, even to the extent of facing arrest.

In Queensland for instance, the corrupt and authoritarian regime of Joh Bjelke-Petersen tried to physically prevent the anti-uranium marches of 1977, with 418 people facing 566 charges after a single march in October, mostly for “taking part in an unlawful procession”.

Thereafter Bjelke-Petersen banned marches altogether.

Protest groups need not bother applying for permits to stage marches because they won‘t be granted …” he said. “That’s government policy now.”

The anti-nuclear cause thus became, for Queenslanders, a proxy for other issues, not least basic civil liberties.

The Brisbane rally last week of more than 700 peopleagainst the Adani coalmine recalled that history, with Greens councillor Jonathan Sri telling attendees that “mass civil disobedience” would be necessary to stop the mine.

Right now,” he said, “what we need is as many people as possible who are willing to get arrested, who are willing to put their bodies on the line. … You need to mobilise on the streets in large numbers.”

He’s right.

If Jim Assenbruck could risk his job in Townsville to oppose uranium in 1976, working-class people in rural Queensland can be convinced to oppose Adani today.

But to win them over, we need an independent grassroots movement that shows, through practice, its seriousness.

In a time of profound despair, mass civil disobedience over climate – a cause with tremendous moral weight – would provide a beacon of hope. It would be a rallying cry for everyone aghast not just at environmental devastation but at the broken political system incapable of preventing it.

Corruption in the Australian uranium industry

August 18, 2019

Radioactive Corruption Video 1

Gal Vanise, March 18, 2018 ·    PREPARE TO BE ABSOLUTELY SHOCKED ………………….Pilot Plant near Roxby 1996 . This was an elaborate Government and corporate cover up under the Lib Government of the day. If you think the mining companies are doing ALL THE RIGHT THINGS…They are not. You only need to ask anyone who works in a mine how things don’t get reported..Out of sight out of mind.

This site was later ‘repatriated’ but no one can say where the contaminated waste was taken to other than ALLEGEDLY by the truckloads carried on trucks from Roxby Downs to Port Adelaide ….through townships and urban residential areas.. I fully expect I will get in trouble for this even though I haven’t committed any free speech crimes. SHARE TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE.. NOW I ASK YOU THIS!.. WILL THIS NEW LIB GOV DO THE RIGHT THING IN REGARD TO THE PROPOSED RADIOACTIVE WASTE DUMP IRREGARDLESS OF WHERE IN SA THEY PLACE IT?.. NOT IF THESE VIDEOS ARE ANY INDICATION. THIS IS DYNAMITE… AND I WILL NEED A BLOODY GOOD LAWYER ONCE ITS OUT.

Radioactive Corruption Vid 2

Gal Vanise type in Radioactive Corruption on youtube bruz. It comes in 2 parts. otherwise here ya go… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpoNZQqXvb8https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wV101C2aDoQ&t=36s .
  • Peter Jack I worked at Roxby Downs in 1986. I got to go underground. Back then there was about 60 kilometres of roads down there. As we drove around we were shown these massive caverns some were filled with water possibly direct access to the great artesian basin and others with floor to ceiling blue plastic barrels full of yellow cake. 

    I assume they were all transported through residential areas.

     

  • Brett Burnard Stokes These unsealed radioactive sources are highly dangerous and illegal. The dust is the big issue, along with radon gas which is heavy and collects in cellars etc,   What are the longer term health impacts, you might ask.  Radon and uranium dust can cause lung cancer and other issues.
    These and other radioactive poisons cause genetic damage and more. 
  • Trevor Vivian Outta sight, outta mind is the MO of all mining the world over and in Australia the state & Federal govt’s refuse to support whistleblowers. At Mt Todd (NT) photo evidence of unbunded drill pads with waste polluting local creeks caused A Senate review(early 90’s) which shut down this disasterous destruction of Jaywon Sacred sites. The hostility from Mine managers toward bird survey whistleblowers meant never working in Australian mining ever. To me it is a badge of honour to reveal these lying thieving Global Corporate miners outta sight, outta mind operations. 
  • Gal Vanise HERE IS A QUOTE FOR THE DISBELIEVERS.. I WONT REVEAL THE WHO’s OR IDENTIFY THE PARKERS IN THE SIN BIN. I GAVE MY WORD…………………………”I was XXXXXXXXXXXX I know where it is. 198X. I was told to never tell anyone. It’s worried me ever since We dumped the unprocessed concentrate into the main tailings dam. It’s was blowing all over the place as the nylon bags had broken. Took two nights. Myself xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxboss who oversaw the job.
    A couple of days later one of those 7:30 type shows questioned the ……….. mining on tv. He denied any waste dumped.
    xxxxxxxxxx only had about xxxxxxx working for xxxxxxxxx. But after we did that job he got all the contracts.
    Really shonky. Ive never heard what happened toxxxxxxxxxxxxx but one of the older xxxxxxxxx mining blokes had to take samples from the bags.
    Mr.xxxxxxxx went off at him because his radiation tag came back high.
    He accused him of putting it in the concentrate. I never wore mine. xxxx was also a lazy buggar.
    At the same time they had a ball mill break down.
    It was going to take forever to screen the steel balls from the mill. xxxxxxxx got us to dump this as well.
    We pushed the whole lot into the water and by day light it was covered.
    We then went back and covered the pilot plant with fresh crusher dust.

    and finished just before the inspector arrived.” MY ONLY HINT TO THIS IS… WHO WAS A PROMINENT COMPANY THEN AND ISNT ANYMORE? THANK YOU ELEMENTARY FOR YOUR STORY… I HOPE YOU CAN BREATHE NOW YOU GOT IT    https://www.facebook.com/danlee67/posts/587530574936680

News Corp – a propaganda machine for the mining industries

August 18, 2019

Veneer of ‘impartiality’ no longer needed

When it was founded in 1923, News Limited concealed its mining company connections at the same time it promised the public that its news would be “independent” and “impartial”.

Lip service or not, notions of balance and the public interest were important then. This was because News Limited’s founders knew that respect was an important precondition for influence, and that newspapers had to be responsive to the communities they served in order to attract a wide audience and prosper.

News Corp’s recent behaviour suggests it now sees such notions as quaint.  

The secret history of News Corp: a media empire built on spreading propaganda https://theconversation.com/the-secret-history-of-news-corp-a-media-empire-built-on-spreading-propaganda-116992?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20May%2016%202019%20-%201310512227&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20May%2016%202019%20-%201310512227+CID_373319b1d6127aa702c8cac26d83d7d2&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=The%20secret%20history%20of%20News%20Corp%20a%20media%20empire%20built%20on%20spreading%20propaganda Sally Young
Professor, University of Melbourne, May 16, 2019, News Corp must have been startled to find itself becoming one of the major issues in this election campaign. But this is just another sign that, in recent years, the company’s ability to read the public mood has gone wildly off-kilter.

From attacking the decision of the jury in the sexual assault trial of Cardinal George Pell to last week’s Daily Telegraph attack on Bill Shorten using his deceased mother as ammunition, there are mounting signs of panic and folly at one of Australia’s largest media companies.

With the media and political landscape shifting rapidly around the company, there is a feeling akin to the last days of the Roman Empire.
Rupert Murdoch is winding back after six decades building up an Australian, and then global, media empire. The Murdoch family has retreated from buying up assets and instead become a seller, offloading, for instance, 21st Century Fox to Disney last year.

If the next generation of Murdochs starts looking to sell unprofitable assets, the Australian newspapers have reason to be concerned. Because they are no longer financially valuable to the newly slimmed down company, the Australian papers seem to be trying to prove their worth by being politically useful while they still can.

Since 2013, the News Corp papers have become more politically aggressive, with some adopting the shrill, cartoonish and openly-partisan approach of British “red top” tabloids. During the 2019 election, News Corp journalists – past and present – have spoken out against the company’s determined barracking for the return of the Coalition government.
Academic Denis Muller recently called News Corp a “propaganda operation masquerading as a news service”. Remarkably, this statement neatly encapsulates how News Corp actually began.

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