Australian news, and some related international items

Today’s Royal Commission Hearings – on financial viability of nuclear operations

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINToday’s royal commission hearings are about the financial viability of enrichment, electricity and a waste dump.

Details here and video and transcripts will be available.
The most important one, the waste dump is at 10:30
Quantitative Analyses and Business Case for Radioactive Waste Storage and Disposal Facilities in South Australia (10:30am)
Quantitative analyses will be undertaken to determine engineering, procurement, construction and lifecycle operating and maintenance costs associated with the possible development of four different types of radioactive waste management facilities in South Australia. The scenarios to be considered are a surface/near-surface low level waste management facility, a tunnel low and intermediate level waste management facility, a centralised dry cask spent fuel storage facility and a deep geological disposal facility.
Presentation to be given by:
Mr Tim Johnson, Jacobs Engineering Group
Mr Nigel Sullivan, Jacobs Engineering Group

October 5, 2015 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission | Leave a comment

South Australia as radioactive trash dump our best nuclear bet – Kevin Scarce

Scarce blahNuclear power option years away: royal commissioner Kevin Scarce
OCTOBER 5, 2015 Michael Owen SA Bureau Chief Adelaide There is a decade of regulatory and legislative change required before any real work can begin on establishing a nuclear energy ­industry in Australia, royal commissioner Kevin Scarce says.

Those changes would ­require federal and state bipartisanship, meaning tangible economic benefits of expanding nuclear activity would not be ­apparent until at least 2030. We need to be realistic about what the opportunities will be,” Mr Scarce, a former South Australia governor, told The Australian. “If we do decide to participate (in the nuclear cycle), you’d want to grow some jobs, some ­expertise, and grow the technical know-how to go into other elements of ­nuclear — it has to have some economic benefits, and part of this royal commission is to look 10-15 years into the future and see what else is being developed to see if there is a need for nuclear in our power-generation mix.”

The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission was established by Labor Premier Jay Weatherill to look at South Australia’s ­involve­ment in the mining, enrichment, energy and storage ­phases in the life cycle of nuclear fuel, given the state has one of the world’s biggest uranium deposits and has been involved in uranium production for more than 25 years.

Mr Weatherill’s government is grappling with the worst unemployment rate of any state amid the decline of manufacturing. The Premier is keen to explore the economic benefits of a deeper ­involvement in the nuclear ­sector.

Mr Scarce said it might be that, given Australia’s energy ­demand was decreasing, coupled with an abundance of renewables, ­nuclear generators were not necessary. This would leave a ­nuclear waste dump as the most likely source of economic benefit.

toilet map South Australia 2

Mr Scarce said it was “absolutely” the case that there was a decade of bipartisan legislative and regulatory change that had to occur before any nuclear industry could be up and running. “One should not think that if we turn the switch on at the end of this royal commission after the government has had a look at it that benefits will be delivered within the decade — they won’t be,” he said.

“In order to provide the investment certainty that would be ­required, because of the length and cost of this industry, if you don’t have bipartisan support at both the state and federal level, an industry will not go anywhere.”

Mr Scarce said the state opposition had been very supportive, as had the government, which ­established the inquiry. However, there could be major hurdles under any future federal Labor government. A ­decision to change the ALP national platform opposing a ­nuclear industry has been delayed until after the release of the commission’s report, due on May 6.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has said there was no need for Australia to pursue nuclear energy because of the nation’s large coal and gas ­reserves, ­although he said nuclear energy would help cut carbon pollution.

Mr Scarce, who has visited several countries on fact-finding missions this year, will begin 30 days of public hearings until December.

October 4, 2015 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission | Leave a comment

#NuclearCommissionSAust – An Aboriginal group slams its processes

monetary compensation via Native Title is not the solution – don’t insult us by simply hying to buy our consent and silence our concerns


Extract  Why we are not satisfied with the way this Royal Commission  has been conducted:  Yaiinidlha Udnyu ngawarla wanggaanggu, wanhanga Yura Ngawarla wanggaanggu?
always in English, where’s the Yura Ngawarla (our first language)?
The issues of engagement are many. To date we have found the process of engagement used by
the Royal Conuuission to be very off putting as it’s been run in a real Udnyu (whitefella) way.

The lack of an intelpreter service means we are forced to try  and engage using English (or rely on the goodwill of caring community members), and often this means we cannot be part of the engagement process. Even a Plain English summary of the four papers would have been helpful, and more opportunity for people to give oral submissions in their first language with a translator to interpret. We say that govemment and industry have a moral and ethical obligation to include us as citizens of Australia, and as Traditional Owners of our Country. We suspect that many other Australians would have benefited from a Plain English version of the papers and this was suggested by many people who went to the first lot of community meetings held by Kevin Scarce and his team. Not everyone has good English literacy.

Requiring a JP’s signature is a barrier to participation and suggests that ordinary people cannot
be trusted; not everyone has easy access to a JP, and the timeline puts pressure on people to do
this. We feel this is likely to intimidate people and discourage many from participating.We strongly recommend that the Royal Commission do more work on the following issues:

  • Provide the public with better understanding of the health, cultural, and social impacts in other
    countries of an expanding nuclear industry (including public anxiety, contaminated areas, effects 0n public health);
  • Provide adequate resources to enable all Australians to be part of an informed process – put
    people before profit;
  • The lack of advertising, and very short notice on several occasions suggests that government and
    industry and not serious about wanting to engage with public opinion and don’t value our input.
  • Many people think this suggests the proposal is ‘a done deal’ and that it will go ahead anyway.
  • Timelines are short, information is hard to access, there is no interpreter service available, and
    the meetings have been very poorly advertised.
  • Engagement opportunities need to be fair and equitable (readily available to all people) and the Native Title interest is no more important than the wider community.
  • A closed and secretive approach makes engagement difficult for the average person on the street, and near impossible for Aboriginal people to participate.
  • Government continue to use an assimilatory process; they ignore us by refusing to translate
    information into our first language, and they make no effort to understand our views in our
    languages as the First Australians. The lack of a well-thought out engagement strategy tells us that our views are not important, that government and industry will do what they want regardless of public wishes.
  • Develop a compensation package for the likely economic impacts from the negative associations of nuclear industry on local and regional economy – ego Loss of prices in crops, housing, land, as a result of contamination threats, accidents and breaches of EPA regulations;
  • Develop actual measures to counter threats from terrorist organisations re: protection to avoid nuclear site attacks, and local capacity to deal with emergency situations;
  • Tell the public what risk management plans need to be developed for communities impacted by transportation along the travel routes – for example, who will respond to a truck accident and are they equipped to deal with it; Informed awareness among communities that live along the designated travel routes so they can make decisions about their future.
  • The nuclear industry must find ways to show respect for the rights of Traditional Owners who are concerned about or opposed to the nuclear industry – monetary compensation via Native Title is not the solution – don’t insult us by simply hying to buy our consent and silence our concerns;
  • water-radiationProvide means for ongoing and independent monitoring of dangerous levels of airbome and water-based contaminants in groundwater, along transportation routes, after accidents, and among food sources used by Aboriginal people ego Nguri, urdlu and warratyi varlu, awi. We have a right to measure and monitor levels of radiation like other people do in countries such as the USA. We know from the Kakadu mine in NT that there is a major problem there with water management that is yet to be resolved.

October 4, 2015 Posted by | Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | Leave a comment

Coming refugee crisis as sea levels rise on Pacific Islands

antnuke-relevantFiji PM Warns Of Syria-Style Refugee Crisis If Rich Nations Don’t Do More On Climate, Thom Mitchell,  New Matilda, 2 Oct 15  Frank Bainimarama has taken aim at advanced nations for ignoring the plight of Pacific Islanders in pursuit of short-term economic growth. Thom Mitchell reports.

The Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has hit out at developing nations for their “unacceptable” progress in reducing carbon emissions as part of a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, in which he warned of a humanitarian refugee crisis on the scale of the current migration out of Syria if more is not done.

The talks come as Foreign Minister Julie Bishop seeks a place for Australia on the UN Security and Human Rights Councils, but Bainimarama warned that developed nations like Australia are not listening to the voice of Pacific Island nations, whose human rights are threatened by rising seas and hostile weather patterns.
Kiribati 15
“It is simply not acceptable for advanced economies to build a high standard of living on the degradation of the earth and the seas,” Bainimarama said.

The choices we face may be politically difficult in the short run, but the consequences we are already seeing – environmental degradation, unbearable heat, drought, powerful tropical storms and unpredictable weather patterns – are simply unacceptable,” he said.

“[Fiji] plans to move some 45 villages to higher ground, and we have already started.

“We have committed to resettle people from other low-lying, South Pacific Island States that face the prospect of being swallowed up by the rising ocean and falling inexorably to oblivion.

“Should that happen, the people of those Island States would be refugees as desperate and lost as the hundreds of thousands fleeing conflict in Syria and Iraq,” he said.

As New Matilda reported in June, experts in migration law, like those at the University of New South Wales’Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, are already warning that the “disasters on steroids” climate change will bring is likely to create a need for special refugee visas.

It is clear by now that international pledges nations have made through the United Nations climate change process will not be enough to keep the global rise in temperature to less than two degrees, which is the level accepted as ‘safe’ by Australia and around 200 other nations:

October 2, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Dr Arjun Makhijani explains why Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) are doomed to fail


Excerpt “…….the core idea of an SMR is that you have smaller reactors. Of course you lose the economies of scale, reactors are big because cost of  materials goes according to surface area, and power production goes according to volume, and the larger the reactor the smaller the material needed per kilowatt.

That is the theory and that is why there were small reactors in the fifties, they were proposed and we went to bigger reactors because they were cheaper, all other things being equal. So you go back to smaller reactors, the underlying technology will tell you that the costs per kilowatt, in terms of materials and labour, the number of wells you need per kilowatt, the amount of steel you need per kilowatt will all go up.

The proposal is that all of these costs would be offset by assembly line manufacturing. So you won’t have to set it up on site. And in theory it is a fair idea to evaluate and you ask what is the size of the assembly line you need? And who is going to create this assembly line and the required supply chain, the vessels and the pumps and valves and all of it? So if you look at what the Department of Energy has said, what the industry itself has said is that you can’t – so you are really displacing the heavy capital cost upstream from the reactor sites……

so now instead of having a 10 billion dollar problem, you have got a 50 or a 100 million dollar problem because to .SA Nuclear 01.10.15 P-431 Spark and Cannon set up a supply chain for say 100 or 150 reactors a year, you need that scale of investment……

you need a supply chain investment that is about the same order of kind of an assembly line for airbuses or (indistinct) So it’s very, very huge. So who is 5 going to make all of these orders that will cause some private party to make that investment in the assembly line? With airbuses we know they get advance orders of hundreds of aircraft and they set up their assembly lines. The answer to that question is, no one other than governments…….

SMRs Australia

How you would handle such a system from a regulatory point of view is 15 mysterious to me because when you have assembly lines, as I note in my paper, you have recalls. Today we have got an 11 million car recall, one of the most reputable companies from perhaps the most technologically reputable country in the world, Germany. What are we going to do if we have 2,000 assembly line reactors that are found to have a fault through design? By design I mean 20 as not properly conceived, or through some cover up, like what happened with Volkswagen. How are we going to deal with it? Are we going to shut them down? Are we going to send them to the manufacturer? Are we going to – it’s unclear…..

the fine 25 print of small module reactors is much, much more complicated economically and in terms of the risks and investments, than their performance have led you to believe. That’s why they’re not – I mean I think – at least two of the four companies that are embarked on it, are already not pursuing it in the United States. Fallen apart before anything was built…. ”

October 2, 2015 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission | 1 Comment

The pro nuclear front group Breakthrough Institute joins push for nuclear power in South Australia

The Breakthrough Institute (BI) was notorious for its attacks on Al Gore and climate scientists.It has a long history of trying to   discredit renewable energy, in particular, attacking Germany’s Energiewende. More recently, BI has discovered climate change, as that is a useful tactic in their long-running promotion of new nuclear technology

the promoters of new nuclear reactors for South Australia certainly include idealistic and altruistic people, some of whom have bought the BI’s message. 

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINWho wants to be a nuclear billionaire? Independent Australia, 1 Oct 15  Noel Wauchope navigates the complex web of ambiguity behind submissions to South Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission.Some promoters of nuclear industry expansion have very altruistic motivations.

Just who are the people who want South Australia to be a nuclear industry hub?  The submissions to the Royal Commission give some indications, though it is not easy to work this out……

The pro nuclear submissions on the whole, come from interested parties, where a commercial or career motive can be discerned: that is often clearly shown, but sometimes is not apparent. There are also some pro nuclear submissions that are quite cautious about promoting development, and a few who are inclined towards sitting on the fence.

Of the 94 pro nuclear submissions published, 46 come from companies or organisations connected with the nuclear industry. But who knows how many nuclear companies really did send in submissions, as theirs were allowed to not be published, due to ‘commercial in confidence’?

….most favoured topic, as with the organisations, was Issues Paper 3, “ELECTRICITY GENERATION”…

Their  backgrounds?  20 of the [pro nuclear] 48 individuals are now, or were formerly, employed in a nuclear or nuclear-related company, government or university department.(1)  In some cases they state this clearly, in other cases it is not apparent…..

Then there are the 2 career politicians, Sen Sean Edwards and MP Tom Kenyon, who have hitched their political future to the nuclear star.

Then there are nuclear publicists, who are not necessarily engineers or involved in the nuclear industry, but who have become well known for their pro nuclear articles or lobbying.  There are only 4 listed names that could be described as pro nuclear publicists (2)

….the majority of the pro nuclear  submissions enthuse about new nuclear reactors – “Generation IV” Small Modular Reactors” “Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors”.

When you add those individual submissions to the 46 from nuclear-related organisations, it looks as if the overwhelming support for new nuclear reactors comes from interested parties –  nuclear related companies, or individuals connected to the industry, who seek  profit or career advancement. Continue reading

October 2, 2015 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission | 2 Comments

Australia’s uranium industry looks to Paris Climate Conference to save it

a-cat-CANRead between the lines, as BHP makes some of  the right noises about climate change, in its oh so worthy portfolio analysis of climate change. BHP warns about the need for action and supports carbon pricing.  It says it supports renewable energy, and does indeed support carbon capture and storage. 

BHP says little about uranium – but I suspect that this is the main game.

However, it is interesting that BHP makes a quite revolutionary statement, for a nuclear company, in for the first time, publicly acknowledging that the next nuclear disaster might be a damaging blow to the industry.

Perth Now reported, Oct 1 : 

“Mining giant BHP Billiton said this week it expected uranium would be the biggest winner in its portfolio, as the world comes under pressure to cut carbon emissions and limit global warming to two degrees celsius.

Australia holds the largest share of uranium resources globally. The ongoing South Australian royal commission into the nuclear fuel cycle is an important opportunity for Australia to review its contribution towards development of nuclear power, Dr Guthrie told mining industry executives in Sydney.”

BHP released a Climate Change portfolio analysis
“In a 2°C world, we believe there is a likelihood of upside for uranium, high-quality metallurgical coal and iron ore.”
“We are investing in the development of low-emissions technologies and supporting market mechanisms that provide financial incentives for emissions reductions and sustainable development. ….”
” a more diverse energy supply mix prevails, with significantly increased use of nuclear energy and renewables”
“Critical uncertainties impacting demand for BHP Billiton’s commodities in a 2°C world:

October 2, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Western Australian Wiluna uranium project in the doldrums for the forseeable future

thumbs-downWA’s first uranium mine likely to be delayed as Toro Energy puts Wiluna on hold WESTERN Australia’s first new uranium mine is likely to be delayed due to the ongoing downturn in demand and prices, Perth Now, 1 Oct 15 

Toro Energy has put its Wiluna uranium project on hold as it waits for market conditions to improve. The company began drilling at the project in 2014 and had expected to start operations in 2017.

“We will get to build Wiluna when we get the price that makes Wiluna economic. We are not seeing that price today,” managing director Vanessa Guthrie told AAP.

Wiluna, 960 kilometres northeast of Perth, is the first new uranium mine in WA to receive federal Guthrie poisoned-chalice-3government approval since the lifting of a ban on uranium mining in 2008.

The project will require prices between $60 and $70 a pound to make money, Dr Guthrie said.

Long term uranium prices currently hover around $45 per pound, almost half the levels of five years ago. Prices are expected to dip further because of large stockpiles……..

Global uranium production has stalled in the past two years as depressed uranium prices have curtailed exploration activities and the opening of new mines……

October 1, 2015 Posted by | business, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Report shows opportunity for clean energy jobs worth $370 bn

Australian clean energy jobs could be worth $370 bn in 10 years   By  on 29 September 2015 Australia’s renewable energy industry could generate $370 billion worth of jobs over the next 10 years using current technology, a new report has found. The report, released on Tuesday by Beyond Zero Emissions, aims to illustrate how Australia can transition from coal-fired power to renewables, shifting the economy along with it.

“Our research with Melbourne University into energy generation in Australia shows that we can create $370 billion of green energy jobs with current technology, instead of using coal-fired power stations,” said Beyond Zero Emissions CEO Stephen Bygrave.


When you add to this smart homes and buildings, as well as low-carbon land use, high speed rail and electric vehicle options, the green jobs climb towards $1 trillion dollars in value, Dr Bygrave says.

The report’s findings coincide with a new policy proposal from the Greens that calls for a levy to be imposed on coal mining companies to help pay for the transition away from fossil fuels, including for the rehabilitation of retired mines and retraining workers for clean energy jobs.

BZE is also set to launch a new book on October 2, at the Smart Future Cities Conference showing how easily existing Australian homes can be retrofitted to eliminate electricity and gas bills – a follow-up to its Zero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan, that was researched over 3 years.

“The Buildings Plan showed that all residential and commercial buildings in Australia could be converted to generate as much energy as they consumed, creating $270 billion of green jobs in the construction industry,” Bygrave said.

“The new book, The Energy Freedom Home, shows how every home can produce more energy than it consumes. And with rising electricity and gas prices and falling rooftop solar prices, Australian households can affordably revolutionise the way they power their homes.

“Our research shows that millions of ordinary Australian homes can be transformed to be high performing, comfortable and cheaper to run. The transformation is easy since 1.4 million homes already have rooftop solar.”

To illustrate their theory, BZE along with the University of Newcastle have retrofitted a brick veneer family home in North Lambton, Newcastle, that was originally built in 2000.

The retrofits, which began in 2009 and are based on the guidelines provided by the Energy Freedom Home program now save the household $1,200 a year on power bills, with credits during the year. By 2013 the house was transformed into a comfortable, passive solar house, generating more energy from the PV system in the year than it uses.

“We removed the gas systems for health, safety and cost reasons, and have found we use less energy now than when we had both electricity and gas,” said the house’s owner, who monitors it for energy, water, temperature and humidity.

As part of the Smart Future Cities conference, the home in North Lambton will be open on 10am and at 10:30am on Saturday 3rd October for free limited tours.

October 1, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, employment, energy | Leave a comment

Australian govt to promote battery storage, through ARENA and CEFC

Parkinson-Report-Coalition to accelerate battery storage in Australian households. By  on 1 October 2015

The Australian government has announced that it wants to accelerate the deployment of battery storage in Australian households, chiefly as a means to reduce huge peaks in demand and reduce costs for consumers, but also to cut emissions.

Environment minister Greg Hunt says he wants the two institutions that have been brought within his department – the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) – to bring forward the widespread deployment of battery storage. “Australia has the highest rate of household solar in the world,” Hunt said in emailed comments toRenewEconomy. “This makes Australia an ideal place to develop storage and battery technology.”

Indeed, the battery storage market in Australia is widely tipped to take off in the next year. One of the triggers will be the arrival of the first Tesla Powerwall products in Australia in the next two months, although other international manufacturers such as Panasonic, LG, and Kokam already have products in the market.

Next week, Enphase will launch its “plug and play” battery storage product into Australia. Like Tesla, Enphase is targeting Australia because of the unique nature of its markets – high electricity prices driven by soaring grid costs, particularly to meet “peak” demand, the world’s biggest penetration of rooftop solar, and lots of sun. Continue reading

October 1, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, storage | Leave a comment

#NuclearCommissionSAust paying lip service only to renewable energy as “low carbon’ option

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINSouth Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission seems to be focused on electricity generation from low carbon sources, but is paying lip service only to renewable energy, Noel Wauchope 30 Sept 15 
The Commission is currently holding public hearings in Adelaide.  They run from 9th September through to 8th October. These hearings are devoted to 6 topics :
  1.  Climate Change and Energy Policy
  2. National Electricity Market
  3. Geology and Hydrogeology of South Australia,
  4. Low Carbon Energy Generation Options,
  5. Estimating Costs and benefits of Nuclear Activities
  6. Environmental Impact: Lessons Learnt from Past SA Practices
At the same time, the Commission is going through the submissions that it received from the public, and publishing these on its website  under 4 topic headings:
I have been laboriously reading through these submissions. The Commission’s numbering method is haphazard, as they will sometimes count one person’s numerous submission. Also they don’t publish all the submissions.  The Commission’s present total of submissions published is 454.
I counted the submissions differently, instead, just counting how many individuals and organisations put in submissions. My total is only 173, as many individuals put in several submissions.
However, there is one point on which both the Commission and I agree. The topic of greatest interest is No. 3 ELECTRICITY GENERATION. Especially in the case of submissions in favour of nuclear electricity generation, that is the most popular  topic. Many of the 94 pro nuclear submitters included that topic, while  29 of them were concerned solely with that topic. When we consider that nuclear companies did not have to have their submissions published (commercial in-confidence), we can assume that there were quite a few more of these.
At the same time, the Commission’s favourite topic for the public hearings seems to be LOW CARBON ENERGY GENERATION OPTIONS.
So I conclude that electricity generation from low carbon sources is the major theme in this Royal Commission.
I’ve also studies the speeches given by Royal Commissioner Kevin Scarce, both in regional meetings, and in reporting back from overseas trips. When it comes to “low carbon’ energy options, he always addresses the question of renewable energy in the same way. His stock phrase seems to be “The Commission will be looking at renewable energy”, and then returns to the nuclear subject.
But where do they look?
On their overseas trips the Commission spent much time at nuclear electricity generation locations – notably in France, at AREVA, Le Hague, and in Canada. I have yet to hear of any visit to a solar or wind generating plant.
When it comes to the public hearings, the Commission is devoting 3 days to LOW CARBON ENERGY GENERATION OPTIONS, but generally only 1 or 2 to the other topics.  These LOW CARBON hearings will be held in Adelaide on 29th September and 1st and 2nd October. The speakers will be:
  • Mr Donald Hoffman,  President and CEO of EXCEL Services Corporation, which provides specialist advice and support services to nuclear facilities in the US and internationally. Mr Hoffman served as President of the American Nuclear Society from 2013-2014. He currently provides presentations on the benefits of nuclear science and technology to the US Congress and is chairing a committee to support all the US Governors on implementing the US Clean Energy Act and addressing the Climate Control Acts.
  • Mr Andrew Stock,  director of energy companies Horizon Oil Limited and Alinta Holdings, and past director of Silex Systems, Geodynamics, Transform Solar and Australia Pacific LNG
  • Mr Arjun Makhijani, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, President of the IEER and holds a Ph.D. in Engineering, specialising in nuclear fusion
  • Dr Keung Koo Kim and Dr Kyun S. Zee, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute . The Institute (KAERI) has a history of over 50 years of research and development in nuclear energy. . Dr Kim is the Director of   Advanced Reactor Development.
  • Mr Thomas Marcille, of Holtec (US)  Holtec International is an energy technology company with a focus on carbon-free power generation, specifically commercial nuclear and solar energy. Mr Marcille is Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer at Holtec International and is involved in the development of Holtec’s small modular reactor, the SMR-160. He has provided nearly three decades of service in senior engineering positions in the nuclear industry in the US.
Four of these speakers are nuclear experts. The fifth,  Andrew Stock has experience in large oil and gas projects, and renewables. He and  Arjun Makhijani should provide some balance. Still, it seems to me to be well weighted in favour of new nuclear projects, and the low carbon option of renewable energy barely gets a look-in.
hypocrisy-scaleA while back, nuclear power was being touted as “renewable”. That was patently untrue, and the phrase went out of fashion as far as nuclear power was concerned. It seems that it has been replaced now by “low carbon”. The nuclear lobby still quite often condemns renewable energy as inadequate, as “not a base load source”, as too expensive, etc. However, nuclear promotion today is more sophisticated, and will include renewable energy, along with nuclear, as “part of the energy mix”. So “low carbon” is the preferred term for nuclear promotion, and it looks to me as if this is the way in which the Royal Commission is using that term, and paying only lip service to renewable energy. .

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby aiming to overturn an Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act ban

The first target of the lobbying push is to overturn an Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act ban on the nuclear development process.

Jim Green, an anti-nuclear campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said it was unlikely that nuclear would ever be feasible in Australia. “We don’t need a bridge from fossil fuels to renewables, we just need renewables. It’s viable and affordable. There is a lot of rhetoric around a nuclear renaissance, but not much else.”

nuke-spruikersSmNuclear industry to push for Australia to adopt ‘clean, affordable power’
Australian Nuclear Association plans to lobby Turnbull government to embrace the technology ‘to create jobs and economic opportunity’
  , Guardian, 29 Sept 15 The nuclear industry will lobby for nuclear energy in Australia, saying the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, should embrace the technology as a way to slash greenhouse gas emissions.

The Australian Nuclear Association (ANA) will accompany Danny Roderick, chief executive of the leading US nuclear technology firm Westinghouse, to talk to government ministers and business leaders in Canberra and Sydney next week.

Roderick said nuclear power could help produce “clean, reliable, affordable electricity for more people”.
“We’d like to help Australia explore ways to create jobs and economic opportunity that are also good for the environment,” he said. South Australia’s nuclear inquiry is ‘a gale of commonsense’, Tony Abbott says

The ANA is optimistic that the change in Australia’s prime ministership will mean nuclear will be looked at “on its merits”.

The move is the latest attempt to overturn legal obstacles to nuclear energy generation in Australia.

Federal environmental law bans building nuclear reactors, and an attempt by the Family First senator, Bob Day, to scrap a separate law that blocks building reactors and uranium enrichment plants was halted in August by the Tony Abbott government……..

The ANA says nuclear is a better option to cut emissions from electricity than renewable sources such as solar and wind…….

Parker denied that nuclear was prohibitively expensive, estimating that Australia could build 29 reactors for $160bn with companies such as Westinghouse “lining up” to invest.

He also claimed “strong community support” for nuclear despite the Fukishima disaster in Japan…… Continue reading

September 30, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

At least Turnbull is getting rid of Maurice Newman as govt adviser

Climate sceptic Maurice Newman not reappointed as government adviser, Guardian
Newman, whose term as chairman of PM’s business advisory council has expired, repeatedly questioned climate science in columns for the Australian 
 29 Sept 15 Outspoken climate sceptic Maurice Newman’s term as chairman of the prime minister’s business advisory council expired last week and he has not been reappointed, a spokesman for prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed.


Former prime minister Tony Abbott appointed Newman as one of his first acts after winning government in 2013.

Newman has used a weekly column in the Australian to expound private views on climate change, including that the world was ill-prepared for a period of global cooling and that the United Nations was using debunked climate science to impose a new world order under its own control.

He also called for a government-funded review of the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) to “dispel suspicions of a warming bias” in its temperature record-keeping, something freedom of information documents have recently revealed was under consideration by the prime minister’s department.

Turnbull’s spokesman said the new prime minister, who has strong personal links to the business community, was still considering whether he needed a formal business advisory council. He said Newman had not been reappointed.

The two-year terms of the other 11 members of the council expire in December because they were appointed by Abbott after he had named the chairman…….

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

Australia’s Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg will help Adani’s coal mine with tax-payer money

exclamation-Frydenberg signals $5 billion taxpayer frolic with Adani’s unwanted fossil flop,8193

 Sophie Vorrath 24 September 2015, In a shock interview yesterday, the Turnbull Government’s new energy and resources minister, Josh Frydenberg, signalled that taxpayers would be stumping up funds for Adani’s unpopular Carmichael coal mine.Renew Economy’s Sophie Vorrath reports.

IF AUSTRALIA’s new Prime Minister and refreshed front bench are showing signs of being more progressive about renewable energy investment and R&D, it looks like they are also going to be far more candid about coal, and their plans to invest heavily there, too.

In an interview with Fairfax media on Wednesday, the newly sworn in energy and resources minister Josh Frydenberg was crystal clear on the government’s intent to use taxpayer money from its $5 billion Northern Infrastructure Fund to help get the Adani-owned Carmichael coal mining project off the ground.

And he was equally clear that the Turnbull Government’s attitude to developing new coal projects – despite the smart money being on all untapped fossil fuel resources staying in the ground, and despite the fact that most banks and institutional investors won’t touch the Galilee Basin project with a 10 foot barge pole – remains the same as the Abbott Government’s. Frydenberg told the AFR, repeating the mantra of his former boss:

[Carmichael coal mine is] a very important project, which will see significant investment in Australia and provide electricity to millions of people in the developing world,”

Anti-development activism can create major delays in projects and send investment offshore, and you have to be very conscious of that when there are such large time frames involved and we are competing internationally for investment in this country.

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

AUDIO: Australia world top in household solar panel installations

Hear-This-wayAUDIO: Australia leads world in household solar panel installations, ABC RadioThe World Today By Samantha Donovan Australia has the highest rate of household solar panel installation in the world, according to a new report from the Energy Supply Association of Australia.

“We’re clearly leading the world in rooftop solar,” said the association’s chief executive, Matthew text-people-power-solarWarren.

“There’s literally daylight [coming in] second.”

The report found about 15 per cent of Australian homes had solar panels………Installation rates are highest in South Australia and Queensland, and in some Brisbane and Adelaide suburbs more than half of all homes have solar panels.

Mr Warren attributed that to more generous schemes in those states.

“South Australia has 25 per cent of dwellings, which is the highest in the world, and Brisbane’s not far behind with 23 per cent, and then Perth and WA at 18 per cent.”

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

But the report found lower rates of solar panel installation in affluent suburbs. “It’s very popular with retirees,” Mr Warren said. “It’s more popular with mortgage-belt consumers who are probably more price conscious. “It hasn’t been in the trendy inner-city suburbs. There’s not much roof space and there are more renters, but it just hasn’t appealed to that demographic.”

Australia lags with large-scale solar projects

While Australians are taking to small-scale solar projects enthusiastically, the report found large-scale solar projects are less common than in other countries……..

September 30, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment


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