How HALEU nuclear power could lead to nuclear weapons

A recent Science paper (7/6) highlights one of the potentially disastrous risks the Dutton nuclear plan raises.

The most recent blog raised a question which media ought to ask Peter Dutton about his nuclear policy. It was “Are you aware that SMRs and proposed micro sized reactors are so inefficient that they would need HALEU (high-assay low enriched uranium) fuel to power the new stations? As this would require that, unlike traditional nuclear power stations which require only 3% to 5% enrichment, are you aware these new stations would require enrichment of 19.75% which would probably mean that a single reactor might contain enough HALUE to make a nuclear weapon?” read more

George Brandis pompously pontificates yet again

Just recently our former High Commissioner to the UK, George Brandis, pontificated in his regular Age column that Oliver Cromwell was ‘boring until he wasn’t’.

It was apropos Labour Leader and next UK Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer. For those not aware BTW – Starmer didn’t seek a knighthood as many have done with generous donations to party funds throughout English political history right up until today– it just went with his job as DPP. read more

Living in a post-truth America

“Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.”

That’s what the jury announced in answer to each of the charges against Donald Trump in New York. read more

A few problems with Dutton’s nuclear dream

In the unlikely event that Peter Dutton could manage the succession of problems with nuclear power stations – persistent massive cost overruns; State legislation banning nuclear; and NIMBY backlashes -he would still have a big problem – lack of staff to run the plants.

Currently there is an international shortage of engineers and other professionals and the nuclear power industry around the world, according to the Weekend Financial Times, is desperately trying to persuade thousands of retired staff to return to work. read more

Florida to teach Kindergarten children ‘the evils of communism’

The Murdoch media is about as renowned for irony as it is for balanced political coverage.

The Australian published an article (22/4) about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ campaign to protect the state from dangerous influences. It was an article which could be read ironically but more likely it was something The Oz approved of and probably hoped would lead to a similar policy in Australia. read more

Women voters abandon God, churches and Liberals

When Robert Menzies made his Forgotten People speech on 22 May 1942 he set in train a process which, despite his many references throughout to men, resulted in the creation of a long coalition between Menzies’ Liberal Party and women.

This coalition of Liberals didn’t start to break down until the 1970s and 1980s with a Victorian Labor researcher, Angela Jurjevik, probably being among the first people to identify the trend. read more

What’s wrong with the media?

If you are in Melbourne and travel though the CBD along Collins Street on the 109 tram you pass a nondescript building called Collins House.

It looks a bit scruffy and nowadays it is dwarfed by high rise buildings. Yet once Collins House was the centre of a sprawling empire of mining, media and other companies linked through a maze of cross shareholdings. read more

Banned books, manifestos and a new approach to reading

At last weekend’s Victorian Writers Festival three authors – two of them also bookshop owners and one of them an author and enthusiastic supporter of bookshops – talked about books and the threat to reading.

Ann Patchett and her husband own Parnassus Books in Nashville Tennessee. Lauren Groff, another novelist and her husband Clay Kallman, own a Tampa Bay Florida bookshop, The Lynx, which proudly stocks all the books Florida’s Governor Ron De Santis and Florida schools and libraries have banned. read more

Let us learn to talk to each other

In 1946 in the aftermath of World War II the German philosopher Karl Jaspers undertook a series of lectures about questions of guilt and recovery.

He argued that the most effective cleansing of Germans must consist of a profound change in their attitude towards discussion. “Germany can only return to itself when we communicate with each other,” he said. read more