The NT is no place for Sydney’s radioactive waste: Time for evidence, not expedience, Natalie Wasley, 28 Feb 14, A plan by the NSW Government to move large volumes of radioactive waste from suburban Sydney to a proposed but non-existent dump site at Muckaty north of Tennant Creek highlights the confused and short-term thinking surrounding radioactive waste management in Australia, according to national radioactive waste watchdog the Beyond Nuclear Initiative.
BNI has condemned the suggestion by NSW Finance Minister Andrew Constance that radioactive soil from Hunter’s Hill should be transported to the proposed national radioactive waste dump at Muckaty. “The NSW Liberals’ first plan to transport contaminated soil to politically vulnerable areas of Western Sydney was strongly challenged by the community, local councils and trade unions,” said BNI coordinator Natalie Wasley.
“The latest plan – calculated to move the waste out of the sight and mind of residents in the affluent suburb of Hunter’s Hill – shows extreme contempt for Muckaty Traditional Owners who have been campaigning for almost seven years against the NT dump plan.”
“A strong alliance between Traditional Owners, health and environment groups, trade unions and social justice organisations has stymied and delayed the Muckaty plan. The Muckaty site nomination is the subject of Federal Court action set for trial in June. Any attempts to move radioactive waste there from NSW would be actively challenged by the local community and their growing national network of supporters.”
“Mr Constance’s ‘viable option’ of a 3500km road trip for 5000 tonnes of waste is a long way from international standards that call for community participation in decision making on radioactive waste storage. Transporting radioactive materials long distances presents an unacceptable risk to transport and emergency workers as well as communities along the route.”
“The NSW government clearly does not have a strategy for responsible waste management beyond attempts to find a disenfranchised community to dump it on.”
“Instead of short term dump and run politics we urgently need an independent national commission into advancing responsible radioactive waste management. Minister Constance’s proposal highlights the pressing need for this inquiry to go ahead while the Muckaty site nomination is contested in court. Instead of political plans and toxic trucks we need a genuine and evidence based assessment.”
Climate doomsday planning powers to be eroded EAN HIGGINS THE AUSTRALIAN JANUARY 30, 2014 COUNCILS in NSW will be instructed to distinguish between “clear and present dangers” of coastal erosion and flooding and “doomsday” UN scenarios of global sea-level rises under a landmark policy on coastal planning and climate change to be unveiled today.
NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard will release a draft circular aimed at stopping some coastal councils from imposing draconian planning restrictions based exclusively on UNIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predictions of what could happen a century ahead.(subscibers only)….. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/climate-doomsday-planning-powers-to-be-eroded/story-e6frg6xf-1226813428273#
Construction begins on Nyngan, Australia’s largest solar PV plant REneweconomy, By Sophie Vorrath on 28 January 2014 Construction of AGL Energy’s $300 million solar PV plant in central NSW is set to begin, with the head contractor, First Solar, going on-site on Tuesday.
The ARENA-backed Nyngan Solar Plant – with more than 1,350,000 PV modules expected to be installed on a 250 hectare site – will be the largest PV plant in Australia, and the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, once finished.
Construction is expected to take around 18 months to complete, with the 102MW plant slated to be fully operational by June 2015. Continue reading
Foundations poured for NSW biggest renewable energy projecthttp://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-24/wind-project/5216572 Fri 24 Jan 2014 Foundations have begun to be laid at the Monaro site in the New South Wales south east of what will become the State’s biggest wind farm project. Continue reading
Nuclear medicine is the nuclear lobby’s “fig leaf” – to make nuclear look good. Medical isotopes can be obtained without needing a nuclear reactor
Watpac wins $83m contract for nuclear facility http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/companies/watpac-wins-83m-contract-for-nuclear-facility/story-fn91v9q3-1226807150273# GINA RUSHTON THE AUSTRALIAN JANUARY 22, 2014
QUEENSLAND-BASED builder Watpac has won an $83 million contract from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation to design and construct the Nuclear Molybdenum-99 facility at Lucas Heights, in Sydney’s south. Continue reading
Bright sparks scoop top award for cutting cost of solar power, The Age, 20 Jan 14 Peter Hannam ENVIRONMENT EDITOR, THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD AUSTRALIA’S WORLD-LEADING EFFORTS TO DRIVE DOWN THE COST OF SOLAR ENERGY HAVE BEEN RECOGNISED WITH AN AUSTRALIA-BASED RESEARCHER TAKING OUT THE ENGINEERING EQUIVALENT OF THE OSCARS.
Professor Stuart Wenham and his team at the University of NSW won this year’s A. F. Harvey Engineering Research Prize from the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and plan to plough the $560,000 award – one of the world’s richest – back into their work. “The prizemoney is going to be very valuable for us,” Professor Wenham said. “We’re going to use that to expand one of the research areas that actually contributed to winning us the prize.”
As Fairfax Media reported in May, Professor Wenham’s team discovered methods to control hydrogen atoms to correct deficiencies in silicon, the most costly material in solar photovoltaic (PV) cells.
As a result of the new hydrogenation process, lower-quality low-cost silicon can achieve the same performance as typical commercial cells using the expensive high-purity silicon, which now convert about 17-20 per cent of the sun’s energy into electricity.”
Gullen Range wind farm starts producing renewable energy Crookwell Gazette Dec. 19, 2013, GOLDWIND Australia has celebrated a significant milestone with the first renewable energy generation from Gullen Range Wind Farm. Continue reading
Taking the wheel, Deadly Vibe, December 13, 2013 An old Native American proverb states “Only when the last tree has been cut down; only when the last river has been poisoned; only when the last fish has been caught; only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.” This statement is beginning to hit home in today’s society, and in the spirit of sustaining land, 50 Indigenous leaders flocked to Griffith for a historic forum. Continue reading
Sutherland Shire to get radioactive waste storage facility St George and Sutherland Shire Leader By Jim Gainsford and Kate Carr Nov. 29, 2013 The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency has given the green light to the controversial plan to build a nuclear waste storage facility at ANSTO.
Sutherland Shire mayor Steve Simpson said this afternoon that the council was ‘‘strongly supportive of the work ANSTO does but we are still calling on the federal government to expedite a permanent waste storage facility for nuclear waste collected throughout Australia’’………
This waste is returning from France in 2015 in accordance with agreements relating to the processing of the waste. The waste will comprise one flask of processed nuclear fuel and six smaller drums of waste. Fortunately the licence from ARPANSA will not cover waste to be returned from the UK which we’re told is due to be returned at a later date.
“The fact that the waste will end up at ANSTO as there is no National Radioactive Waste Repository is not good enough for the residents of the Sutherland Shire who are concerned about the safe transportation and storage of this nuclear waste.
“Indeed the ARPANSA approval notes that the interim storage of the waste at ANSTO is not in line with international best practice and ARPANSA stresses the need to establish a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF), as storage of nuclear waste at Lucas Heights is not an acceptable long term solution.
“The continued transportation of Intermediate Level Radioactive Waste to Lucas Heights in the form of reprocessed fuel represents an unnecessary risk to the surrounding residents and communities”….. http://www.theleader.com.au/story/1941466/sutherland-shire-to-get-radioactive-waste-storage-facility/?cs=12
Australian Solar Project Loan Funded By Citizen Donations http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4052 29 Nov 13, CORENA (Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia Inc.) has provided Tulgeen Disabilty Services an interest-free loan of $12,000 to install solar; with the loan funded entirely by donations from the public.
Two rooftop solar PV systems have been installed for Tulgeen; located in Bega, New South Wales. The Tulgeen cheese packaging facility, which employs people with disabilities, has a 4kW system that will supply 58% of its electricity needs. A 3kW solar panel array installed at the Training and Education Services day programs centre will provide 21% of that building’s requirements.
CORENA uses donations from the public to fund projects; then electricity sales and loan repayments from completed projects to help finance future projects, thus continuously recycling donated money. ”Eventually, when we have funded around 120 such projects, repayments from earlier projects will be enough to continue funding one new project per month forever, without ever needing more donations,” said CORENA spokesperson Margaret Hender.
Operating on a shoe-string budget, 100% of the money donated is spent the projects themselves. Currently the group relies on volunteers’ time for administrative functions. ”It enables everyone who wants more renewable energy now to collectively get on with the job, rather than just waiting on government action,” states the CORENA web site. Patron of the organisation is Monica Oliphant, who, among many other roles, was President of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES) in 2008/09.
Community-serving organisations are encouraged to apply for funding underCORENA’s Small Projects scheme.
Community-funded solar; both under an investment model or donation basis, has generated a great deal of interest in Australia; with dozens of communities and initiatives attempting to set the wheels in motion.
Government support for such initiatives has been scant to date, although a new ARENA-supported project due to commence early next year will delve into how to best realise the potential of community-owned renewable energy projects in Australia.
Sugar mill renewable energy plants kick started by overseas sale. ABC Rural News, 12 Nov 13 Swiss-based company Capital Dynamic has taken over two of the country’s major renewable energy assets for an undisclosed sum.The cogeneration plants at the Broadwater and Condong Sugar Mills, in northern NSW, recommenced operations last Friday processing sugar cane trash from the current harvest.
They cost the NSW Sugar Milling Co-operative $220 million to build but have been shut down while receivers looked for a buyer.David Scaysbrook, managing director of Clean Energy Infrastructure at Capital says they have had their eye on the plants for a year.
“We have a history of taking over broken assets..we’ve done similar things in the UK in gas, coal and methane assets. We are operational experts and we think we can add something to the resuscitation of the business.”…….. Capital Dynamics refers to its purchase of the two cogeneration plants as a “compelling investment”.
The company’s David Scaysbrook, managing director the Clean Energy and Infrastructure team, says their investment breathes new life into the power plant operation and the future prospects for the local community in which they operate.
He says “especially to the local sugar cane growers who are so critical to the region’s economy.”
Capital Dynamics plans to “operate the assets over the very long term, to improve them and to deliver to their investors strong financial returns from multiple revenue sources”.
Mr Scaysbrook says it is a genuine, long-term partnership model.
The company’s chief executive officer, Stefan Ammann, says their team has decades of experience in successfully investing and operating thermal plants as well as other renewables such as wind and solar.
Capital Dynamics now owns and manages more than 230 mega watt of clean energy capacity in North America, Europe and Australia, with 68 MW of those now in northern NSW. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-11/cogen-plants-sold-to-foreign-investor/5083058
MP calls for rethink on nuclear power, SMH November 4, 2013 Sean Nicholls A Liberal MP has renewed his push for serious consideration of nuclear power generation in Australia, arguing the risks are overstated and disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima can be avoided with modern technology and safety standards.
In an article for the journal Energy News state MP for Davidson, Jonathan O’Dea, says nuclear energy is a “proven supplier of secure, affordable base load power” and the issue of nuclear waste is “manageable”……
Mr O’Dea says carbon dioxide from burning coal and natural gas is “undoubtedly contributing to damage to our oceans and atmosphere…..
The comments come as Resources and Energy Minister Chris Hartcher prepares to announce which mining companies will be invited to apply for uranium exploration licences in NSW following last year’s lifting of a 26-year ban. The ban on exploration has prevented a clear understanding of potential uranium deposits in NSW but the government says it is aware they may exist around Broken Hill.
Premier Barry O’Farrell has said that despite lifting the ban the government is “not about to rush into uranium mining http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/mp-calls-for-rethink-on-nuclear-power-20131104-2wxbo.html#ixzz2jntFzRRo
Scientists warn bushfire season getting longer The Age, October 19, 2013 Craig Butt, Lara O’Toole A bushfire season that starts in spring and stretches well into autumn will be the new norm for Australia’s south-east, according to scientists.
Melbourne University research fellow in climate science Sophie Lewis said catastrophic events such as the fires in NSW should come as no surprise, due to a dry winter and the ongoing effects of climate change.
The past 12 months have been the warmest documented, while 2013 is set to go down as the hottest calendar year in Australia.
”Now is the time we need to plan for a longer fire season,” Dr Lewis said. ”It’s something we’re going to expect, looking to the future.”
O’Farrell cut climate change watchers, SMH, Peter Hannam, 21 Oct 13 Deep cuts to staff and funding by the NSW government have largely dismantled the state’s ability to investigate and prepare for the effects of climate change such as more frequent extreme fire weather, a former senior scientist with the government said.
Peter Smith, who led the state’s climate change science group until March, said his team of 10 had been slashed to just three whose work remained climate-focused. A similar cut had been made to a separate team of 10 working on climate adaptation, he said.
Dr Smith, who now works as an adviser on United Nations projects, was a contributor to peer-reviewed research reports that found Australia was already facing an increase in bushfire dangers. The shift was particularly clear in spring, with national mean temperatures rising 0.9 degrees since 1960.
”We know the [climate] science is unequivocal,” Environment Minister Robyn Parker told a Nature Conservation Council meeting on Saturday. ”It is for governments to respond. What we are doing is investing in climate change science, and so minimising the impacts of climate change on communities. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/ofarrell-cut-climate-change-watchers-20131020-2vuyr.html#ixzz2iNnGz1mI
De Bortoli to launch Oz wine industry’s largest solar system REneweconomy, By Sophie Vorrath on 15 October 2013 De Bortoli winery near Griffith NSW will launch its new solar power and hot water system on Thursday this week, having completed installation of a 230kW PV generator and 200kW solar thermal preheater – both individually the largest installed of their kind at any Australian winery to date.
The two solar power installations at Bilbul Estate are expected to save the third-generation family wine company tens of thousands of dollars a year through offset electricity and gas consumption, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the site by more than 314 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year……http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/de-bortoli-to-launch-oz-wine-industrys-largest-solar-system-49988