Australian news, and some related international items

Direct Inaction – Tony Abbott’s climate strategy on behalf of the coal industry

Abbott-fiddling-global-warmView from the Street: So, who lost the NSW election the most?, Canberra Times  March 29, 2015 – “…….There have been many, many, many many many many many many many criticisms of Direct Action, the non-climate-change-addressing centrepiece of the government’s climate change policy.

Some have criticised the cost – $2.5 billion – rather than the non-cost of the previous policies such as emissions trading and the carbon not-actually-a-tax; systems which relied on market forces rather than government funding – which is odd, since historically that’s been the Liberal Party’s preferred solution for just about everything esle.

There have been criticisms based on the fact that the planned handing of this public money to private polluting concerns in order that they then reduce emissions does not appear to come with any clear conditions, such as having to give that money back if they then decide to not use it to reduce emissions.

And now “Environment” Minister Greg Hunt has proposed one better: that the energy industry shouldn’t be expected to do anything like, say, reduce the amount of pollution they create in order to get their hands on the cash.

It’s an interesting take on the whole “emissions reduction” model. Climate Institute deputy chief executive Erwin Jackson expressed that more bluntly: “It’s a climate policy you have when you don’t want to reduce emissions.”

The argument from the government is that asking the energy sector to reduce emissions would be just unfair, since it might force them to use more expensive methods to generate electricity which would make power more expensive. Of course, that $2.5 billion fund was entirely designed to compensate companies for the costs of making exactly those sorts of changes, but now Hunt appears to be arguing that asking polluters to actually do something after they’d gone to the trouble of accepting all that free money would seem churlish.

And, of course, we might politely point out – yet again – that Australia could go all-renewable pretty much tomorrow if we wanted. And, of course, that we’re going to be forced to do so at some point anyway.

Still, there’s no reason to rush into doing something sensible and necessary. And hey, what have future generations ever done for Australia’s bottom line, huh?……

March 30, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry poses threats to wine industry, in USA, – and South Australia?

A 2012 report prepared for the Washington State Wine Commission indicates that the state is the “second largest wine producer in the U.S., after California.” Internationally, Washington State is the third-largest exporter of food and agricultural products, according to state officials, with leading products including fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy products, and seafood.

What is not on the Tri-Cities website, however, is a copy of the DOE report released last year that indicated trace amounts of the radioisotope tritium were found in wine samples collected near Hanford in 2013 “that could have potentially originated from the Hanford Site.” Tritium is considered one of the least-threatening radioisotopes because it generally passes from the body quickly, but it still can increase cancer risk because it releases radiation

wine threat

antnuke-relevantATOMIC WINE Wine Country’s Nuclear Threat, The Daily Beast , Bill Conroy. 03.28.15 A nuclear facility in Washington state’s prime wine country is leaching radioactive groundwater and is one natural disaster away from Fukushima 2.0. The Hanford Site, a former nuclear-weapons production facility located in southeastern Washington State near the Oregon border, is one natural disaster away from a Fukushima-like catastrophe, according to environmental groups who also claim the site—which sits near some of the state’s best vineyards—is leaking radioactive groundwater into the nearby Columbia River. Continue reading

March 30, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nothing changes. ‘Nuclear Village’ is still controlling Japan

the corruption and collusion of Japan’s nuclear village led to numerous accidents before the Fukushima disaster.

And the corruption and collusion of Japan’s nuclear village was a root cause of the Fukushima disaster itself. On that point the Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission could not have been blunter: “The accident was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and TEPCO, and the lack of governance by said parties.”

A big part of the post-Fukushima spin is that lessons were learned from the nuclear disaster and improvements made. But the real lesson from this saga is that the nuclear industry – in Japan at least – has learned nothing from its catastrophic mistakes.

As Yotaro Hatamura says, an accident will surely happen again.

After Fukushima: Japan’s ‘nuclear village’ is back in charge, Ecologist Jim Green28th March 2015 Public opposition to nuclear power in Japan remains strong, writes Jim Green, but piece by piece, Shinzo Abe’s right-wing government has been putting the country’s infamous ‘nuclear village’ back in control – boosted by draconian press censorship laws, massive interest-free loans, and a determination to forget all the ‘lessons’ of Fukushima. Is another big accident inevitable?


Public opposition to reactor restarts (and the nuclear industry more generally) continues to exert some influence in Japan.

Five to seven of the oldest of Japan’s 48 ‘operable’ reactors are likely to be sacrificed to dampen opposition to the restart of other reactors, and local opposition may result in the permanent shut down of some other reactors.

Currently, all 48 of Japan’s ‘operable’ reactors are shut down – and the six reactors at Fukushima Daiichi have been written off.

However, slowly but surely, the corrupt and collusive practices that led to the Fukushima disaster are re-emerging. The ‘nuclear village’ is back in control……..

The Basic Energy Plan approved by Cabinet in April 2014 contains nothing more than a meaningless nod to widespread public anti-nuclear sentiment, stating that dependence on nuclear energy will be reduced ‘to the extent possible’. Continue reading

March 30, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Australia needs a statesman like Harry Reid, who prevented nuclear waste importing into Nevada

Reid,-HarryThere will be a lot written about Harry’s advocacy on behalf of Nevada, and for those efforts he deserves a standing ovation. His actions will resonate for generations. Our grandchildren’s grandchildren will have been kept protected from the threats of nuclear waste. They won’t know who to thank, so on their behalf: Thank you, Harry.

 Thank you, Harry Sunday, March 29, 2015 We knew the day would come. We just weren’t certain when. Seventy-five-year-old Harry Reid has announced that just after 5 terms of representing Nevada’s finest interests in the U.S. Senate — the longest run of any senator from our state — he will retire into the waiting arms of his loving wife, Landra.

They have considerably to celebrate, and we — and our youngsters and grandchildren — have considerably to be thankful for, including a legacy that will attain far into future generations of Nevadans.

The senator’s list of accomplishments, from preserving the environment to assisting bring overall health care to millions with his championing of the Reasonably priced Care Act, will absolutely frame his legacy. But his everlasting accomplishment story will surely be his good results in staring down the nuclear power business and maintaining Nevada totally free of the highly radioactive nuclear waste that outsiders wanted to ship from distant states and bury inside Yucca Mountain. Continue reading

March 30, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nevada, like South Australia, was victim of nuclear bomb tests, and REJECTS nuclear waste dump

let’s look at how many states back in the 1980s had been willing to take the highly radioactive fuel rods off the hands of nuclear energy plant operators: zero. Not a one particular. In particular not Nevada, which currently had paid a human toll as the website of atmospheric atomic bomb detonations. No one gave much believed to the radioactivity in our sky — “don’t worry” — and, boy, had been we snookered.

The truth that two junior congressmen from Nevada would be open to filling a nearby mountain with radiation — placing not only Las Vegas’ economy, but the lives of our youngsters, grandchildren and generations of future Nevadans at threat — is beautiful.

Our delegation in Washington can definitely bicker more than other difficulties, but on Yucca Mountain, Nevadans anticipate solidarity, not betrayal, due to the fact absolutely nothing can be allowed to jeopardize our safe future.

antnuke-relevantCongressmen’s willingness to money in on Yucca Mountain endangers Nevadans, Herald Recorder , March 29, 2015   Two of our congressmen, who are the least skilled in our Capitol Hill delegation, have much to learn when it comes to watching out for the security, welfare and financial safety of Nevadans.

Cresent Hardy and Mark Amodei, a pair of Republicans, say they’d want Nevada to money in on the opening of Yucca Mountain as the final resting place for highly radioactive nuclear Yucca-Mtwaste if professionals are convinced it would be safe. If the feds and the nuclear power market genuinely want handle of Yucca Mountain, at least they can throw some money our way — perhaps to help fund education or enhance our public infrastructure.

In other words, they’re prepared to place Nevadans in harm’s way if the income is correct. In harm’s way, mainly because no one can be sure that the web site will remain safely benign when filled with this nuclear material. Hardy and Amodei definitely have signaled to Washington and the out-of-state nuclear energy industry that they’re open to bringing lethal nuclear waste to within 90 miles of Las Vegas.

We do not even know where to commence in showing how outrageous their position is…….. Continue reading

March 30, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Abbott govt’s climate paper for Paris is likely to be a disgrace

Map-Abbott-climateAustralia ‘at risk of failing’ biggest climate test in a decade say climate groups, as government releases Paris discussion paper, The Age March 28, 2015  National political reporter The Abbott government says it will be a constructive player in global climate talks, but environment groups have warned it is laying out a path that puts Australia at risk of failing the most important climate test in a decade.

The government has published an issues paper ahead of public consultation on Australia’s post-2020 emissions reduction targets ahead of a new global climate deal in Paris at the end of this year.

Australia’s targets are under review and the government has promised it will announce new targets mid-year…….the Greens said the paper puts Australia on track for a repeat of 1997 Kyoto talks, where then environment minister Robert Hill argued Australia should be made an exception because of the economy’s high dependence on coal…….. Continue reading

March 30, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Business bodies call for end to the inertia on Renewable Energy Target

Renewable energy target: Peak bodies call for end to ‘detrimental’ deadlock in open letter to politicians, ABC News 30 Mar 15  By environment and science reporter Jake Sturmer  Peak bodies representing clean energy companies and electricity users have written an open letter to Australia’s politicians urging them to resolve the renewable energy target (RET) impasse.

Last week the Government emphatically rejected a proposal from the Clean Energy Council for a compromise on the RET.

A group of peak business associations including the Business Council of Australia, Clean Energy Council (CEC) and Energy Users Association of Australia warned time was running out.

“[The CEC compromise] provides a strong basis for a speedy negotiated outcome,” the letter read.

“The uncertainty of this unresolved review is having a material and detrimental impact on the renewable energy sector, energy users, the traditional energy sector and the broader business community.

“The impact will increase significantly if the issue remains unresolved.”………Both the Coalition and Labor agreed to cut the target, but are yet to settle on how big the reduction should be.

Labor want a figure in the mid-to-high 30,000s GWh and has said there will be no deal if the Government does not lift its offer.

Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane told the ABC last week he was not considering anything above 32,000 GWh

March 30, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nevada said “Screw You” when asked to host nuclear waste dump

antnuke-relevantWashington, make an offer on Yucca Mountain LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL 29 Mar 15 Hey, Washington, make us an offer we can’t refuse.

If the government is serious about crafting a new national nuclear waste solution that involves asking states to accept and store dangerous military and commercial radioactive material, the least it can do is deliver a pitch to the state it tried to force the waste upon all those years ago.

Obviously, Washington has learned some lessons from the Yucca Mountain Project, the boondoggle to end all boondoggles, one of the most cynical exercises in political power the country has ever seen. About three decades ago, what was supposed to be an objective, scientific exercise in selecting a permanent storage site for the country’s high-level nuclear waste became a rigged game. Congress amended the Nuclear Waste Policy Act in 1987 to make Yucca Mountain, a ridge inside the Nevada Test Site about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, theonly site under study for the dump. Nevada had no political clout, so the rest of the country ganged up, scratched other potential locations from the list and said, “You’ll take our waste — and like it.” The legislation became known as the “Screw Nevada bill.”


So we did what any proud people would do. We said, “Screw you.”

March 30, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Japan’s Government’s massive financial support for TEPCO 

logo-TEPCOAfter Fukushima: Japan’s ‘nuclear village’ is back in charge, Ecologist Jim Green28th March 2015 “…….Many have called for TEPCO to be nationalised, or broken up into separate companies, but the LDP government has protected and supported the company. The government has also greatly increased financial support for TEPCO.

For example in January 2014 the government approved an increase in the ceiling for interest-free loans the Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund is allowed to give TEPCO, from 5 trillion yen to 9 trillion yen (€39.0-70.2 billion)

The government will also cover some of the costs for dealing with the Fukushima accident which TEPCO was previously required to pay, such as an estimated 1.1 trillion yen (€8.6 billion) for interim storage facilities for waste from clean-up activities outside the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

The government has also amended the Electricity Business Act to extend the period for collecting decommissioning funds from electricity rates by up to 10 years after nuclear plants are shut down. The amendments also allow TEPCO to include in electricity rates depreciation costs for additional equipment purchased for the decommissioning of the Fukushima plant………


March 30, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry is not profitable, survives only with government subsidy

scrutiny-on-costsJames Corbett: The nuclear industry is not profitable and could not exist without government subsidy.

Submitted by IWB, on March 28th, 2015 Japan: Four years after the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima, the scope of the cleanup is mind-boggling. James Corbett (starting about 15% into the clip) says the nuclear industry is not profitable and could not exist without government subsidy. Corbett, who lives in Japan, refers to the decontamination effort as ‘theater’ because the money is flowing to a corrupt construction industry, which he compares to Japanese organized crime.

$6.8 billion Great Wall of Japan: Four years after the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima, TEPCO, the company that owns the plant, is still struggling to deal with the outpouring of radioactive water. Rainwater flows downhill and through the mangled nuclear plant every day and becomes contaminated on its way to the ocean. TEPCO plans to build a wall of ice by freezing soil surrounding the facility to re-direct the water.

March 30, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Catholic Church backs science and efforts to address climate change

climate-changePapal ecology: Protecting all God’s creatures, respecting God’s plan, VATICAN LETTER  By Cindy WoodenCatholic News Service, 26 Mar 15 
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The Catholic Church supports the efforts of scientists to study the causes and effects of climate change and insists governments and businesses must get serious about specific commitments for protecting the environment.

But Pope Francis, like his predecessors, does not pretend to have a technical solution to the problem. However, he does feel a responsibility to remind Christians of their religious obligation to safeguard creation, beginning with human beings who are created in the image and likeness of God.

Clearing his calendar for a week in late March, Pope Francis rolled up his sleeves to put the final touches on an encyclical letter about the environment; building on what he and his predecessors have said, the document — planned for publication early in the summer — is expected to present ecology as the ultimate pro-life, pro-poor, pro-family issue.

For Pope Francis, like Pope Benedict XVI, safeguarding creation is not simply about protecting plants and animals, or just about ensuring the air, water and land will support human life for generations to come. Those things are part of the task……….

As often happens when things go wrong, Pope Francis has said, the poor pay the highest price for the destruction of the environment: the seas and rivers no longer provide fish; landslides send their makeshift homes tumbling down hillsides; the deserts expand, robbing sustenance farmers of even a meager diet.

Flying from Sri Lanka to the Philippines in January, Pope Francis told reporters accompanying him that Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and a team from his office had prepared drafts of the ecology document……..

March 30, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The week that was in Australian nuclear news

a-cat-CANTragic action of pilot in deliberately crashing plane in France. Raises the fearful thought of what a similarly minded person might do with a nuclear missile.


South Australia  Despite the indecently short period allowed for submissions the government still received over 1000 submissions on its Draft Terms of Reference for its Nuclear Royal Commission – overwhelmingly requesting uranium mining to be included, and safety, environmental, indigenous, historic aspects. These were to be publicised, but mysteriously vanished from the government’s website in  a day or two.

You can see one submission, from Dr Peter Burdon, Associate Professor, , Alexander Reilly, and Paul Leadbetter of the University of Adelaide, on my website. You can also read the (narrow) Terms of Reference decided on by the South Australian Government .  Nuclear lobby influence – Australian Industry Group Defence Council wants nuclear submarines. (Conflict of interest in its chairman Chris Jenkins, who is also the Australian chief of French industry giant Thales)

Western Australia. Wiluna uranium project not viable due to flooding risks? The planned pit areas for up to 100 million tonnes of uranium tailings is presently under water. Widespread opposition to the State and Federal governments’ moves to get remote Aboriginal communities off their land – conveniently for the uranium industry. The importance of connection to country – the danger of Terra Vacua. Some Good news.- new national park in W.A. - mining excluded

Queensland. Unprecedented Aboriginal stand to stop $16bn Carmichael coalmine, Australia’s largest.

New South Wales. Government  funds Byron Bay’s renewable energy trading plan.

VictoriaMildura’s solar farm – successful without a cent of government money


British report slams Australia for its polluting industries, high carbon emissions. Abbott’s “Direct Action” climate policy – a gift to the big polluters. Australian farmers lobby Abbott government for emissions trading scheme. Both Labor and Liberal happy to get donations from coal seam gas companies. Australian government downplays climate change, invites sceptic to talk on foreign aid

Vale Malcolm Fraser, who, among other fine causes,  worked tirelessly for International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Fraser had a plan for a green Australian republic

The Better Power campaign. Sponsored by GetUp and Powershop electricity retailer, this campaign urges Australians to switch from the big polluting companies Origin, AGL and Energy Australia.  I switched months ago -to Powershop , with entirely renewable energy – also greatly reducing my electricity bill.


March 28, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Wiluna uranium project not viable due to flooding risks

Lake Way flooding proves Wiluna unviable 27 Mar 15, (Good photos)  After yesterday flying over Lake Way to see the extent of flooding in the area, WA Greens spokesperson on uranium Robin Chapple MLC has expressed deep concern about the future of proposed uranium mining on the lake bed.

 Toro Energy Ltd plans to store radioactive tailings from the proposed Wiluna uranium mine – up to 100 million tonnes – in the mined-out Centipede and Millipede pits, which will also reside on the lake bed and are currently underwater.
 The company has previously cited flooding as a non-issue claiming the lake to be a natural drainage point however photographs taken by the Hon Robin Chapple MLC reveal this to be untrue.
 Mr Chapple said the extensive flooding at Lake Way raised very serious concerns about the ability of Toro Energy Ltd to effectively manage water whilst mining such a volatile mineral on a lake bed.
“I do not believe this company has properly accounted, nor planned, for potential flooding to the extent we have seen this week at Lake Way,” he said.
“Not only would flood waters of this magnitude carry radioactive material to other parts of the ecosystem but upon drying out, could potentially release large quantities of oxidised uranium – radioactive dust – into the atmosphere.
“Had this been an active mine site we would now be dealing with an environmental disaster on a large scale.”
For comment please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255.

March 28, 2015 Posted by | environment, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Australians! Join the Better Power campaign

Australia-solar-plugJoin the switch to save renewables Australia’s biggest energy companies, Origin, AGL and Energy Australia are attacking the Renewable Energy Target. They’re doing everything they can to get Tony Abbott and the Liberal Government to weaken policies critical to our clean energy future. Why? Because they want to support their vested interests in coal and coal seam gas and keep energy prices as high as possible.

The Better Power campaign is using our movement’s collective consumer power to hit the “Dirty Three” where it hurts – their profits. It’s time to leave the companies that are attacking renewable energy behind, and switch to a company backed by renewables, that’s championing our Renewable Energy Target today:

In Victoria: click on the link to switch:
In NSW: click on the link to switch:

Not in Victoria or NSW? Click here and pledge to switch when the Better Power comes to your state:

March 28, 2015 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

GetUp and Powershop join forces to switch Australia to renewable energy

logo-Powershop-1Powershop was ranked by Greenpeace as the greenest power company in Australia. As a generator, the company only produces renewable energy through its wind farms in Victoria and South Australia. It buys carbon offsets from UN-certified projects for all the electricity it creates and sells at no additional cost to the end user. It also lets consumers buy certified Green Power from projects such as the Hepburn Wind Farm (a community project in Victoria), LMS Energy (which creates gas from landfill), and CSR’s renewable energy project.

Powershop is a disruptive player because it offers customers greater visibility and control over their electricity use with no lock-in contracts.

Why GetUp activists are the new sales agents for electricity retailer Powershop Business Review Weekly Caitlin Fitzsimmons Online editor 26 March 2015 Online electricity retailer Powershop has a novel way of winning new customers – getting online activist group GetUp to do the sales and marketing for them.

Powershop Australia chief executive Ben Burge says more than 6,000 of Powershop’s 38,000 Australian customers – about 16 per cent – have come directly via GetUp to date.

“Of course it’s helpful to have someone other than the power company talking to customers about what’s a good choice of power company,” Burge says. “The great thing about working with GetUp is they are incredibly enthusiastic and that passion comes through – we don’t ever want it to be a scripted thing.”

GetUp chief executive Sam McLean says the goal is to get 50,000 people to switch before the annual general meetings of the big three power companies, Origin, Energy Australia and AGL, later this year. As of 11.30am on Thursday, GetUp’s internal figures showed it had switched 6,902 customers in total and was adding about 150 a day via both online and telesales.

The switching campaign is part of GetUp’s Better Power push to champion climate change action and renewable energy. The big three energy companies, which control 75 per cent of the energy retail market between them, are campaigning heavily to abolish or reduce the Renewable Energy Target. By contrast, Powershop strongly supported retaining the target in its submission to the recent government review. Continue reading

March 28, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment


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