Why We Will Never Make A Nuclear Fusion Reactor As Good As The Sun, Business Insider, JESSICA ORWIG OCT 17 2014 “…………..combine four hydrogen atoms and you get a burst of energy that can destroy entire islands and did on Nov. 1, 1952. That day the US tested the first hydrogen bomb on the now-nonexistent Pacific island, Elugelab.……… Clean, limitless energy is the real holy grail. Combine that desire with the awesome power we first saw with the< H-bomb, and we’ve been dreaming of a way to harness nuclear fusion of the sun as a source of clean, endless energy.
For about the last 70 years, we’ve slowly developed ways of producing the extreme pressure and heat necessary for nuclear fusion. Today, the most promising methods use containment vessels called tokamaks that can sustain hot plasmas that produce nuclear fusion but require lots of energy and space to function. The other way is using powerful lasers to fuse hydrogen atoms together.
Both of these methods, however, still have a long way to go despite what you might read from the occasional headlines on the latest breakthroughs in new nuclear fusion technology………http://www.businessinsider.com.au/we-will-never-have-sun-like-nuclear-fusion-2014-10
Fossil fuel divestments are putting the Abbott government on notice Christine Milne theguardian.com, Saturday 18 October 2014 ANU’s decision to end investment in fossil fuels is democracy up against crony capitalism The decision by the Australian National University to end its investment in fossil fuels is a bellwether moment for Australia. It’s democracy up against crony capitalism, science up against ideology and renewable energy against the old polluting industries.
Tony Abbott’s derision of ANU as “stupid” is a raw ideological refusal to face three key facts:
1. If we are to constrain global warming to less than two degrees, Australia’s remaining fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned. Not by any country, not ever.
2. Australians are already experiencing the effects of climate change, through more frequent and intense extreme weather events. We must stop it getting worse.
3. People can take control of their power bills, take control of their money, and they don’t need to wait for governments.
While climate policy is being torn apart and emissions that came down under the carbon price are going up again, it’s heartening to see that thousands of Australians already know they can take the power back. National Divestment Day events are underway today in Hobart, Lismore, Ballina, Geraldton, Maroochydoore and Darwin, with more tomorrow in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Coffs Harbour.
The divestment movement is putting the Abbott government on notice. People are voting with their wallets – as are churches like the Uniting Church and the Perth diocese of the Anglican Church, and super funds like Local Government Super – all moving their money out of companies that profit from fossil fuels. Now the option is there, students can even invest their minds and fees in a uni that shares their values.
People are changing the direction of our economy, but Abbott’s only response has been to call them stupid and declare that “coal is good for humanity”. What a desperate statement from a man exposed as governing for the big end of town…….
What Abbott’s efforts amount to is “economic suicide,” to quote an adviser to the German Chancellor. The divestment movement proves that Australians won’t be left behind, even if our government is determined to cling to the age of fossil fuels. It’s a bellwether moment and the pendulum is swinging away from the Abbott government, towards restoring our democracy, towards science and towards a clean energy future. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/18/fossil-fuel-divestments-are-putting-the-abbott-government-on-notice
Ngiyani-ga nganbinganbi baluwaal miinba-y nginu-ngay, giirr wangaarrama-li! (We are in this together, never allow yourself to be beaten).
Enough is enough – It’s time to act by supporting the call for our true leaders The Stringer by Dr Woolombi Waters October 19th, 2014 The national call by community leaders Tauto Sansbury, Geoff Clark and Michael Mansell among others for a National Summit of legitimate First Nations leaders has the potential to change a generation. We are talking of the same influence of the Freedom Marches back in the ’60’s, the establishment of the Tent Embassy in ’72 and the Bark Petition in 1963.
But it will only change a generation if we embrace this movement as our own and realise the time for change has come. We can all be a part of history or we can continue to be victims of history. By calling for a National Gathering we are not excluding any people who share in the very real concerns of our mob, our identity and our Culture.
Very few will be given the opportunity to change history during their lives but by each and every one of us standing together we can start a movement to overcome … as together we work towards change.
We have all been called to the same stomping ground and it has come time to act. Continue reading
Graph of the Day: Australia’s renewable energy generation, REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 20 October 2014 “…………As RenewEconomy has noted on many occasions, South Australia has the highest level of variable renewable energy in Australia – quite possibly the world (in major economies), with an average 43 per cent wind generation in July, and days in September when wind and solar provided all of the state’s electricity demand, and more.
The AEMO study says that the SA power system can operate securely and reliably with a high percentage of wind and PV generation, including in situations where wind generation comprises more than 100 per cent of SA demand, as long as one of the following two key factors apply:
a) The Heywood Interconnector linking SA and Victoria is operational.
b) Sufficient synchronous generation is connected and operating on the SA power system.
The AEMO study notes that South Australia already has the highest wind and PV generator penetration of any NEM region. As the graph shows, it has 1,470 MW of installed wind generation and 540 MW of PV generation. This represents about 50 per cent and 17 per cent of total installed wind and PV capacity in the NEM respectively.
In terms of residential rooftop PV installations, SA leads the NEM with a penetration rate of almost one in four of all rooftops. And the rate of penetration is likely to grow: the AEMO says that under favourable market and policy scenarios, it is projected that at least 1,000 MW of wind and 500 MW of PV capacity will be added in SA by 2020 – doubling the amount of rooftop solar, and lifting the amount of wind by two-thirds.
The AEMO notes that these developments are a “benefit” to both SA and the NEM. But it also underlines the importance of a strong interconnector with the rest of the NEM – for obvious reasons. Without it, the state would have issues with the required controls to ensure system security. (The report does not address this issue, but Germany is rolling out battery technologies that assume the role of “synchronous” generators and could usurp the primacy of fossil fuel generation. AEMO says the chance of a disconnection is so low is it rated as a “non-credible” event – but just in case ….http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/graph-of-the-day-australias-renewable-energy-generation-88841
Iran acts to comply with interim nuclear deal with powers: IAEA Yahoo News, By Fredrik Dahl VIENNA (Reuters) 20 Oct 14 – Iran is taking further action to comply with an interim nuclear agreement with six world powers, a monthly U.N. atomic agency report showed, a finding the West may see as positive ahead of a November deadline for clinching a long-term deal.
The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), seen by Reuters, made clear that Iran is meeting its commitments under the temporary deal, as it and major powers seek to negotiate a final settlement of a decade-old nuclear dispute.
It said Iran had diluted more than 4,100 kg of uranium enriched to a fissile concentration of up to 2 percent down to the level of natural uranium. This was one of the additional steps Iran agreed to undertake when the six-month accord that took effect early this year was extended by four months in July……..http://news.yahoo.com/iran-acts-meet-terms-extended-nuclear-deal-powers-163649048.html
JEREMY BENDER OCT 18 2014 India has successfully conducted a test-launch of a nuclear-capable cruise missile that has a range of over 620 miles…….http://www.businessinsider.com.au/india-has-successfully-tested-a-nuclear-capable-cruise-missile-2014-10/
Vladimir Putin ups the ante with reminders Russia is a nuclear power October 18, 2014 – Peter Hartcher Sydney Morning Herald political and international editor “……..jokes about nuclear weapons are an uneasy genre of humour. Russia’s nuclear arsenal is the ultimate reality of its power. It sits at the back of every conversation and calculation about Russia….. Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, has put his country’s 5000 nuclear warheads at the forefront. Three times in the past two months, he has raised the spectre of nuclear war as he confronts the West.
Most recently, he did it overnight Thursday Australian time while he was en route to a summit of 50 nations, the annual Asia-Europe Meeting, in Milan. “He’s again threatened the West with nuclear weapons,” says John Besemeres, a Russia expert at the ANU……..
Russian missiles do have the range to strike NZ. Or Australia.
“There is a low probability that Russian nuclear weapons are aimed at Australia, with one possible exception,” says Peter Jennings, formerly head of strategy at the Australian Defence Department and now head of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
“That would be the joint facilities” – the US-Australian satellite tracking bases at Pine Gap and Nurrungar from which US spy satellites over eastern Russia are controlled. “The joint facilities are the only thing that may be relevant to the US ability to launch an attack on Russia.”
Soviet officials bluntly told Australian defence officials during the Cold War that warheads were aimed at the joint facilities.
And today, “they are certainly on the Russian target list,” says O’Neil, who is knowledgeable on Russian nuclear policy……….
Analysts have remarked in recent weeks that Putin seems to be seeking to re-engage with the wider world. With Western sanctions biting Russia’s economy and NATO indignation finally roused, Putin was thought to be looking to ease the pressure.
There are signs he is. By choosing to attend the Asia-Europe summit, he signalled diplomatic re-engagement. This leads to the expectation he will attend the G-20 summit in Brisbane.
And, by announcing the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine, he seemed to be conceding to NATO pressure………http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/vladimir-putin-ups-the-ante-with-reminders-russia-is-a-nuclear-power-20141017-117pzr.html
A backward move for Australia’s environment: Federal govt abandons regulation to South Australia’s control
As part of its broadly criticised ‘One Stop Shop’ agenda the Federal Government has announced that its Assessment Bilateral Agreement with South Australia has been finalised and signed by both parties. The Bilateral Agreement will come into force 30 days after execution, on or about 24 October.
The Agreement allows the Commonwealth to now rely on South Australian environmental impact assessment processes in assessing ‘matters of national environmental significance’ defined under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. This change has been widely criticised. There is significant doubt as to whether existing State regulations can actually be brought up to meet the standards required under the EPBC Act. There is also concern about whether the cash-strapped states are likely to make effective champions of our environmental assets when at the same time they are under increasing pressure to jettison environmental safeguards in order to pump through development and replenish state coffers.
IAEA reports no long-term plan for Lynas waste, Malaysian Insider 17 October 2014 The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Friday gave a passing safety grade to a controversial Malaysia rare earths plant, but raised concerns that there was no long-term plan for properly disposing of the plant’s potentially radioactive waste.
The rare earths processing plant in the state of Pahang has generated opposition from green groups who fear radioactive contamination and have accused authorities and Lynas of overriding public concern.
In a report, the IAEA said it saw little risk of contamination due to the low-level radiation involved, and that its investigators were “not able to identify any instances of non-compliance” with international standards. “Lynas needs to demonstrate that the disposal of solid waste can be carried out in a safe manner over the long-term,” the report said.
It recommended that Malaysian authorities require Lynas to come up with a plan.
“There is a lack of a plan for managing the waste from the decommissioning and dismantling of the plant at the end of its life,” it said……
However, it also appeared to underscore environmentalists’ concerns that Australian miner Lynas Corp has no long-term plan for the disposal of waste from the plant.- http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/iaea-teams-says-lynas-plant-generates-low-level-radioactive-waste-bernama#sthash.JEFk1poD.dpuf
Japan’s nuclear restart unlikely this year, local vote expected in December http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/72335 16-Oct-14 JAPAN Kentaro Hamada As Japan pitches an unpopular nuclear restart to residents near Kyushu Electric Power Co’s Sendai plant, local politicians say approval is unlikely until December, delaying an already fraught process to revive the country’s idled reactors.
More than three years after the nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima, the worst disaster since Chernobyl, Japan’s nuclear plants remain offline nationwide even as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pushes to restart reactors that meet new safety guidelines set by an independent regulator.
The focus has switched to townships located near the Sendai reactors, the nation’s first to receive safety clearance from regulators. The debate over restarts pits host communities that get direct benefits from siting reactors against other nearby communities that do not reap the benefits but say they will be equally exposed to radioactive releases in the event of a disaster. Continue reading
Residents to declare Dartmoor and Drumborg in Victoria ‘gas field free’ http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/residents-to-declare-dartmoor-and-drumborg-in-victoria-gas-field-free/story-fnkfnspy-1227093367623 CIMARA DOUTRÉ WEEKLY TIMES NOW OCTOBER 17, 2014
TWO Western Victorian communities will today declare themselves ‘gas field free’.
A number of minor and micro party politicians will attend the events at Dartmoor and Drumborg.
It takes the number of Victorian communities to have declared themselves as gas field free to 31.
Dartmoor farmer Michael Greenham said the response to invitations was heartening.
“Unfortunately several of the major party representatives for Lowan, South Coast and Western Victoria are not able to attend, but some minor party and independent candidates will be there,” Mr Greenham said.
“In talking with them, everyone is on the same side of the see-saw on this issue of shale gas fracking — it’s just a matter of how far along the seat they sit.
“Our communities just want to make sure prospective parliamentarians keep moving down our ‘total ban’ end, to ensuring there is no budging when the heavyweights of the unconventional gas mining companies start jumping up and down on the other end. “
The Victorian Government has a moratorium on all onshore gas exploration and fracking in place until July next year.
This week, Energy Minister Russell Northe unveiled a new website to allow landholders to search for mining licenses that cover their property.
we cannot ignore it, because the sheer volume of land ice on Earth is enormous – equivalent to more than 65m of global sea level rise; Greenland alone accounts for 6 to 7m, West Antarctica for some 5-6m, and East Antarctica for the remainder. These melting ice sheets will dominate major sea level changes for centuries to come.
Why ice sheets will keep melting for centuries to come, Skeptical Science By Eelco Rohling, University of Southampton 17 Oct 14 Ice sheets respond slowly to changes in climate, because they are so massive that they themselves dominate the climate conditions over and around them. But once they start flowing faster towards the shore and melting into the ocean the process takes centuries to reverse. Ice sheets are nature’s freight trains: tough to start moving, even harder to stop. Continue reading
Funding woes delay new Chernobyl cover, DW 17 Oct 14 The casing around the ruined nuclear reactor at Chernobyl is crumbling, causing a renewed radioactive contamination risk. A new cover for the site is under construction – but the project is running out of funding. “There’s no precedent for this anywhere in the world,” Jochen Flasbarth said. “Of course there is uncertainty.”
The German Ministry of the Environment’s senior civil servant was talking about the New Safe Confinement – a new protective cover that is to be built over the stricken reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine: 100 meters high, 165 meters long, built at a safe distance from the still radioactive ruin.
The cover will slide over the reactor on rails. It will be three times as large as St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome – if it is finished. But at the moment there is no money – that’s the “uncertainty” Flasbarth was talking about.
There will be a shortfall of 600 million euros by the end of the year. Construction is proving to be more expensive than expected, and funding more difficult to obtain. A Ukrainian government construction freeze now threatens the project. Continue reading
Agency: Fukushima workers urgently trying “to prevent groundwater from leaking into ocean” — Levels of nuclear waste surge next to sea — Strontium-90 shatters previous record by over 5 Billion Bq/m3 — Now 25 million times EPA limit http://enenews.com/agency-fukushima-workers-urgently-trying-prevent-groundwater-leaking-ocean-levels-nuclear-waste-skyrocket-next-sea-strontium-90-shatters-previous-record-5-billion-bqm3?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
Jiji Press,Oct. 14, 2014: Cesium Level Rises in TEPCO Plant Well — [TEPCO] on Tuesday reported a sharp rise in cesium levels in water collected from an observation well near the sea [on] Monday [with] a record 251,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium per liter, 3.7 times the cesium level… [last] Thursday… Monday’s reading was the highest level… from any of these wells… The samples in question also contained 7.8 million becquerels of beta particle-emitting radioactive substances, such as strontium-90, per liter, also a 3.7-fold increase.ITAR-TASS (Russian News Agency), Oct. 14, 2014 (emphasis added): Highest radiation inground water at Japan’s NPP after nuclear disaster… The highest radiation level was registered in subsoil water taken from a technical well at 1st and 2nd power units at Fukushima-1.., [TEPCO] said on Tuesday. The underground water sample was taken on October 13… Company’s experts said that a surge in radiation was linked with the impact of a typhoon raging in the locality, when heavy rain triggered spread of radiation-contaminated particles in underground water. Now nuclear plant’s specialists are pumping out ground water urgently to prevent it from leaking into the ocean.
Kyodo News, Oct 14, 2014 (Google translation): … record high values of cesium, the influence of the typhoon in Fukushima first nuclear power plant… from the water of the well in the seawall of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant Units 1 and 2 [cesium is 251,000] becquerels per liter… manganese 54 is… 700… cobalt 60 [is 3,600]… [TEPCO] found under the influence of typhoon No. 18 earlier this month, contaminated water that has accumulated in the piping has been spreading. Both record high values in groundwater…
Note that the most recent stontium-90 test results for well No. 1-6 published by Tepco on Oct. 1show that levels of Sr-90 are virtually equal to Gross Beta. This means the Oct. 13 Sr-90 levels are near 7,800,000 Bq/L — 26,000,000 times the EPA limit for Sr-90 in water (0.3 Bq/L).
Man Booker Prize winner Richard Flanagan ‘ashamed to be Australian’ over Tony Abbott’s coal comments ABC News 15 Oct 14 Tasmanian author Richard Flanagan, winner of the prestigious 2014 Man Booker literary award, says Tony Abbott’s comments that “coal is good for humanity” make him “ashamed to be Australian”.
Flanagan took out the 50,000-pound ($88,000) prize, announced in London, for his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North…….
Flanagan a better ambassador than PM: Bob Brown
Former Australian Greens leader Bob Brown said Flanagan had become the ambassador for Australia the Prime Minister had failed to be.
“Tony Abbott’s ‘shirtfronting’ approach to global diplomacy is a matter of shame for many, many Australians, but Flanagan restores our pride in Australia.
“He’s the… thoughtful, far-visioned, compassionate intellect that our Prime Minister isn’t,” he said…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-15/richard-flanagan-ashamed-to-be-australian-after-man-booker-win/5816750