News You Missed from (or while you've been) Down Under
UPDATE Sep 13, 2009 - Cadmium in submarines 'within safe levels'
Defence Personnel Minister Greg Combet says the low levels of cadmium found during testing pose little threat to workers. The Navy says cadmium has always been used in Collins Class submarine electrical components to minimise corrosion. Mr Combet said testing had indicated airborne cadmium levels within the fleet were "well below the Australian Standard".
Note: NTP: Suspect Human Carcinogen; Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health Concentrations (IDLH): 9 mg Cd/m3 (dust concentration lowered from 50 mg Cd/m3 in March 1995 ). Source: Cadmium is an extremely toxic metal commonly found in industrial workplaces, and is also present in the manufacture of some types of batteries. Cadmium emits a characteristic brown fume (CdO) upon heating, which is relatively non-irritating, and thus does not alarm the exposed individual.
PRIOR UPDATE - [Australian] Government sat on Cadmium risk for 12 months
“The lack of seaworthy submarines is hampering recruitment and training efforts because new submariners need at least six months of sea time to qualify, and only HMAS Farncomb is currently operational.”
September 03, 2009 - The U.S. connection
THE navy's Collins-Class submarines have been ordered to undergo urgent checks for the toxic chemical cadmium. ... The toxic scare follows the fitting last year of additional components under the Replacement Combat System Upgrade, which included standard US Navy fittings later found to include cadmium.
Danger to female submariners of child-bearing age.
Sep 7, 2009 - The Australian Defence Force has identified potential heavy metal contamination in a waterway near the Amberley airbase in south east Queensland.
Preliminary tests have found mercury, cadmium and nickel in Warrill Creek near a water treatment discharge site.
Amberley, the largest airbase in Australia, is located west of Brisbane. Unlike submarine contamination, the fix is easy: "The long term fix [is] look at the sewage treatment plant."
September 10, 2009 - Brigadier backs women in combat
THE head of the [Australian] army's rapid reaction force yesterday backed women joining frontline combat units as long as they could meet the physical demands.
"We're not going to change our standards in the defence force, and we're still not going to change the requirements of the job," Brigadier Michael Krause told ABC radio. "If you need to carry an 80kg pack, you'll still have to be able to do that. These are the requirements of the
Defence Science and Personnel Minister Greg Combet said on Tuesday a decision on allowing women entry into the Special Air Service and commando units would take several years.
US Navy considering Aussie warship base
THE US Navy is considering a bid to use a Port Adelaide shipbuilding centre as a repair base for its warships. The US is in talks with the State Government over the proposal involving the $300 million Techport facility at Osborne.
"It only needs some slight political hiccup in the northern Pacific and current repair facilities in Singapore and Japan will look less attractive to the US Navy."
It is understood almost any US warship, except an aircraft carrier, is capable of being repaired at the site.
Submarines are always silent and strange.