My website http://www.nuclear -news was shut down for 24 hours – very cleverly hacked, by I don’t know whom. Could it be that this modest little website is annoying the nuclear industry? I feel quite honoured.
Tony Abbott ignores the chance to benefit Australia by using the low 10-year bond rates
Climate change: The Global Catholic Climate Movement launched in Australia Quakers remove funds from 4 major banks – cannot fund uranium, nuclear weapons, coal. Despite overwhelming evidence, Australia’s government in denial about climate change . Liberal Party kids at Uni dutifully toe the Party line on fossil fuels
Uranium price rally was short-lived Lowest production for 16 years. Cameco admits that sagging uranium prices continue to be a problem. Investors are wary, as Australian miner Paladin sells uranium at way below cost of producing it
Aboriginal issues For the convenience of uranium mining, Aborigines are moved off remote homelands
Australia on USA nuclear bandwagon, to sell uranium to India, but technical problems remain
Renewable energy. Billions of dollars and associated jobs in the renewable energy sector are being lost due to Abbott government . Australian government snubs International Renewable Energy Agency congress. Australia: globally top potential for renewable energy, bottom chance in market
Still Australia has achieved quite a lot in 2014, despite the Abbott government’s war against renewables. Rooftop solar is becoming cost competitive with fossil fuel powered electricity. Clean Energy Finance Corporation is proving very successful in its 40 direct investments and 25 projects co-financed . International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reports that Australia’s solar PV highly competitive
Queensland. Labor promises to promote solar energy, if elected. Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney dismissed climate change as “a semi-religious belief”. McKinlay Shire plans solar panels for business and Council buildings
Victorian health report supports wind farms
NSW. Gunnedah Shire Council takes the solar power plunge
Western Australian Government’s plan to extinguish native title & land rights in one hit
Tasmanian government moves to restrict citizen’s power to criticise corporations
Notes on this weeks’s nuclear and climate news in Australia
Uranium. Things have gone rather quiet on this, though industry and government put up a bold front. RIO Tinto boasts about plans to sell uranium to India, and its subsidiary ERA downplays its poor record in 2014. ERA ‘s Ranger mine is closed, and even ERA is questioning the viability of the plan for a new underground mine – doing a “prefeasibility” study – not even a”feasibility” one. Much government hype about selling to India, but safety requirements are still not finalised .
Australia-India CEO forum set up, and Tony Abbott appoints Vanessa Guthrie, of uranium company Toro Energy, to head this. (they always give the difficult jobs to a woman)
Freedom of speech. Great timing since the Charlie Hebdo staff masscre – Tasmanian government wants new defamation law that will protect corporations from criticism.
However much people can achieve through individual action, in 2015 it’s a critical time for public action. In December, world leaders meet again to make a plan for climate change action.
At the same time, the failing nuclear industry is making its last, and most dangerous stand, as the nuclear lobby portrays itself as the cure for global warming. Sometimes this pitch is subtly put, touting nuclear and renewable energy as both “part of the mix”. Whether subtly or blatantly, the nuclear lobby’s agenda includes stopping the development of renewable energy and of energy efficiency.
AUSTRALIA is in a unique position as regards climate change. It is arguably the nation that will be hit most quickly and most severely by weather extremes, and rising sea levels.
Australia is also the country with the greatest potential for renewable energy – sunshine, wind, wave.
And at the moment, Australia (?) boasts a leadership role in spruiking for nuclear power. We have Professor Barry Brook, now on the international stage, leading the pack in the story that nuclear power will fix climate change. We have PM Tony Abbott, wannabee PM Julie Bishop, and the obedient Coalition sheep doing all they can to sabotage climate action and renewable energy, both nationally and internationally. Embarrassing, and dangerous, times for Australians present and future.
The Ugly Australian. Paladin uranium miner is in the news again, and for the same old reasons, alleged exploitation of Malawin – this time by discharging radioactive sludge in to Lake Malawi (source of drinking water for millions)
Trans Pacific Partnership Tony Abbott is on the point of signing this secretive Treaty, which will allow corporations to sue Australian governments for $billions. Older Liberal voters may well get a shock if they find that the Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme no longer permits cheap medications.
Renewable Energy. Powershop electricity provider way ahead of the game, is about to enter the New South Wales market. It’s already proved, in Victoria, that renewable energy sourced electricity can be cheaper. Abbot government is very keen to wreck the Renewable Energy Target before people wake up to such cheaper providers.
Capt D has pointed out how political leaders can become beholden to the nuclear lobby . So, indeed, can academics who are paid for pro nuclear views and research. So, of course, many writers are already benefiting financially from promoting nuclear power.
But it’s not that simple, especially in Australia. There are other motivations – such as being seen as important, as a leader, even if there is not, at present, any financial gain from promoting the nuclear industry. For example, I’m pretty sure that Barry Brook gains no financial return from the industry, for his extensive pro nuclear lobbying. But he does gain the importance of being almost certainly the only Australian climate scientist who devotes himself to the nuclear cause. Definitely a leader - of sorts!
Then there are the academic and other sheepies – who note all this pro nuclear stuff, and, without much scrutiny of the full issue, decide to go on the “nuclear fixes climate change” bandwagon. After all, the trend is for scientists to be concerned about climate change (and rightly so – plenty of evidence there). So they now seem to adopt the (much more dubious) trend that nuclear power is the cure for climate change.
Then there are the thorium nuclear wannabees – who like to enthusiastically jump on a new bandwagon – be part of the “latest” gee-whiz thing – again , that’s a motive that need not involve financial gain – but does involve some sort of glory by association with the new thorium nuclear companies.
Immediately after the Lima Climate Summit, there has been a spate of pro nuclear articles appearing in the media and across the Internet. In a surprising number of articles, the pro nuclear advocates are scientists, working in prestigious universities in UK, USA, and in Australia , too.
In Australia, this is orchestrated by Barry Brook, who purports to be a climate scientist, but whose agenda is clearly to promote nuclear power.
How is it that reputable scientists now fall for the propaganda for “new” small nuclear reactors – thorium reactors, which require plutonium and/or enriched uranium to function. These thorium nuclear designs are not new – they were designed and abandoned in USA decades ago. To have them in Australia would pretty well necessitate having the entire nuclear chain around our necks. They need plutonium to start with – so we’d have to import plutonium, or set up nuclear reactors to produce it. Similarly we’d have to set up uranium enrichment plants. We would need radioactive waste dumps, because, contrary to the thorium pushers’ propaganda, these reactors do produce highly toxic and long lasting radioactive wastes.
So – how come Australian and other scientists are now jumping on the nuclear thorium bandwagon? Some are simply paid by nuclear interests – like Stefan Simons and Pamela Sykes, in South Australia. Yes the nuclear industry has bought quite a few scientists internationally.
But it’s not that simple. Part of our Australian cultural cringe is that scientists are impressed by other scientists – feel that they should go along with the current tide, even if they haven’t done their homework on the issue. After all, they’re scientists, not economists or health experts, and there’s a prevailing cringing attitude that “hard scientists” i.e nuclear physicists “know best”.
Fortunately, Australia does have some scientists who do see the whole picture, and are not swayed by the present propaganda about nuclear power fixing climate change.
Radioactive trash Doncha love the way Australia’s media slants nuclear news? In USA and UK there is turmoil over where to dump radioactive trash. Communities angrily resist hosting nuclear waste dumps. But not in Australia.
The Northern Territory News seems quite jubilant about citizens being offered this wonderful “opportunity” to host nuclear trash, and seems to bemoan the bad luck of Norther Territory Land Councils that they missed out on this chance.
Solar power. While the Abbott government steadily wages war on Australia’s potential renewable energy industry, the Australian Capital Territory forges on. Now there’s a breakthrough in solar technology that is going to have Canberra’s solar panel laughing all the way to the bank, while the rest of Australians pay megabucks for their coal-generated electricity.
Climate Change. There’s some sort of a result from the Lima Summit – some sort of direction agreed on, ahead of the Paris talks in 2015 (the last chance for meaningful global decisions). The rich countries inch towards real curbing of greenhouse gas emissions. The poor countries get some (not much) hope of help in facing their climate fate. Australia is now an international pariah. Abbott, Bishop and Co. no doubt already planning how to sabotage the Paris talks, for the benefit of the coal industry.
Climate change. First the Abbott government was in denial over climate change. They sent, not the (useless anyway) Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, to the Lima Climate Summit, but coal fans Julie Bishop and Andrew Robb (Trade Minister). Clearly they were sent to defend the coal industry and promote the nuclear industry. The Australian government first refused to contribute to the UN Climate Fund to help poor countries, then did a backflip, contributing $200 million that they are taking away from foreign aid!
Abbott’s motivation is to buy back, (if possible) some international credibility, and to position himself to sabotage the Paris Climate Summit next year, in the interests of his backers, the polluting industries.
Australia well represented at Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, (though not by government)
Nuclear power. It takes a bit of delicate footwork, for Australia’s governments and corporations to switch from climate denialism to ‘need for climate action’. But this was inevitable – they now swing into action, promoting nuclear power as the cure, seeing that the Abbott government has fairly successfully completed the shutdown of renewable energy industries in Australia. Prolonged uncertainty about the Renewable Energy Target does that.
South Australia is the hub of pro nuclear lobbysim – in their pseudo climate activism (Barry Brook), in BHP, business, in academia, (funded by nuclear businesses). Daily, some prominent person, like former Governor Kevin Scarce, jumps on the nuclear propaganda bandwagon.
Uranium. Tony Abbott wants to sell uranium to Ukraine. Terrific idea? To be part of the largest nuclear power complex in Europe, in a conflict zone, in a country still not recovered from the radioactive pollution and trauma of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster?
The treaties committee in Parliament now has to assess the safeguards and conditions of Australia’s deal to sell uranium to India. Will they just rubber-stamp it, despite the warnings of John Carlson?
Renewable energy. Despite all, Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) survives and thrives
Poor South Australia! I don’t know what it is about South Australia. Such a beautiful State,with an amazing and interesting history.
And – it’ s the State that can truly boast of success in renewable energy.
It is also the hub of pro-nuclear promotion. There are the nuclear propagandists like Barry Brook, the universities infiltrated by pro nuclear proponents like Prof Simons, and the pro nuke business groups – all promoted by BHP. (Below Adelaide pro nuke promoters of nuclear power)
Now we have Senator Bob Day urging the government to develop nuclear submarines, as a recent Family First media release (3/12/14)revealed
Federal politics: Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has suddenly discovered that climate change is real, and nuclear power is the obvious cure for it. Interestingly, Australia’s top nuclear power proponent, Dr Ziggy Switkowski now thinks that renewable energy sources could be more viable than nuclear.
Renewable Energy Target (RET). Maverick Senator Jacqui Lambie’s turnabout on Renewable Energy – makes you wonder just what vested interests are pressurising her. Silence in Parliament and in the media – about changes to the RET. But Tony Abbott doesn’t need to crush the RET in any hurry – just prolonging the uncertainty is all that he needs to destroy Australia’s renewable energy industry
State politics: Victorian election. The dust has barely settled. But the Labor victory, and support for The Greens must have given the federal Abbott government a nasty shock. Labor has hardly been forthcoming on matters nuclear or climate change. Labor came out with a feeble afterthought on climate change, promising a $20 million New Energy Jobs Fund for renewable projects. “The ‘policy’ contains nothing on coal, nothing on coal seam gas, nothing on forest logging and nothing on a Victorian Renewable Energy Target”. However, Labor does promise to reintroduce emissions reduction target
The Greens, hope for one MP now in the Legislative Assembly, will promote their policies for action on climate change, and for renewable energy.
Uranium sales to India . Wikileaks reveals that Australia was pushed to nuclear deal with India, by USA strategic interests
ERA’s Ranger uranium mine at crisis point. Mirrar people are prepared to develop a different, non-uranium mining, economy in Kakadu NationaPark
Indigenous Leaders’ Summit aims to reclaim Indigenous rights agenda and representation from a few high-profile voices.
In all the delight about Julie Bishop, Australia’s Foreign Minister, promoting nuclear power, surprisingly, The Sydney Morning Herald did have a go at analysing this.
I was sorry to see that the SMH still accepts the nuclear lobby’s lie that nuclear power doesn’t emit greenhouse gases. They should know that the nuclear fuel chain, in its entirety, emits masses of greenhouse gases.
However, this article DID examine the unaffordable costs of nuclear power – it must be tax-payer funded.
And importantly – the writer, Andrew P Street, did expose the fallacy of the “base load” myth.
He thinks that Julie Bishop’s tactic was just to distract Australia from the Abbott government’s climate denialist position. Perhaps so. Or perhaps Abbott thinks it’s now timely to get on the “nuclear power cures climate change” bandwagon. (but let Julie take any flak)
In another Sydney Morning Herald article, we learn that Dr Ziggy Switkowski, Australia’s foremost proponent of nuclear power, now thinks that renewables could be ‘more viable than nuclear ‘. Ziggy’s worth watching – always the man with an eye out for the main chance
Jacqui Lambie, a failed trier for the Liberal party in Tasmania, was picked up as a member for Clive Palmer’s Palmer United Party, and was elected to the Senate in 2013.
Jacqui Lambie got only 1501 first preference votes
The PUP’s Jacqui won the seat – just short of the vote of the sex industry’s Eros Foundation. All fine and dandy. The PUP pledged to vote for keeping the Renewable Energy Target.
Now we find Jacqui Lambie potentially in a position of great power – she can do deals with Tiny Abbott – ostensibly to support soldiers’ wages and conditions. All very good. I want the soldiers to have fair wages and conditions too.
But at what price? And – Jacqui’s not over-burdened with ideas of her own – who is putting the pressure on her?
Future Fund invests in nuclear weapons, confirmed by Finance Minister Mathias Cormann
Coal Seam gas drilling by US company Halliburton is using radioactive CS-137, but this is not disclosed in the CSG projects’ Review of Environment Factors (REF) and Environmental Impact Statements, nor does it appear by name in Materials Safety Data Sheets.
Uranium industry – lots of hype about Japan deciding to restart nuclear reactors, BUT analysts warn that a small recovery in uranium price is a “dead cat bounce” Australian uranium miner Paladin continues its downward plunge. Sales to India are not imminent. Indeed Tony Abbott suggests that the trade deal with India might be ready “by the end of next year’
Aboriginal Jeffrey Lee, who donated all his land to Kakadu National Park, knocking back $millions, in order to stop uranium mining on his land at Koongarra, has still not received the house promised to him by the Australian government
Victorian election. Lacklustre politics from the major parties, but especially by the reigning Coalition, as Victoria is found to have, of all the States, the worst renewable energy policy environment. ACT and South Australia are way ahead.
Australian Government embarrasses us all, with a chorus of criticism for President Obama. Latest from Trade Minister Andrew Robb -who announced that President Obama’s statement about climate change and coral reefs was “misinformed and unnecessary”. Meanwhile Prime Minister Tony Abbott cheerfully reassured Australians about the coming hot summer (nothing to do with climate change)
Prime Minister Tony Abbott recently paid lip service to climate change. (Ironically, he was lecturing French President Hollande whose climate and renewable policies are the complete opposite of Abbott’s) Still, we should pay attention, as Tony Abbott is sure to very slowly come around to being a believer in climate change action. Abbott, being in the pocket of the polluting industries, has to keep suppressing ( through uncertainty) renewable energy ,and supporting coal – until (a) the coal industry eventually collapses, and (b) Australia has lost all opportunity to have a renewable energy technology export market. THEN, Abbott will suddenly discover the climate change problem, and its “low carbon” solution – nuclear energy. (Look out for those tell-tale weasel words – “low carbon”) Treasurer Joe Hockey is already touting this, despite his disbelief in climate change)
Last week I wrote about the IPCC latest report on Climate Change, and also about the coming G20 Summit in Brisbane. I thought at the time, that it was pretty crazy, letting a scientifically illiterate puppet of the fossil fuel and nuclear industries (I refer to Tony Abbott) dictate the agenda for this meeting of world leaders.
This week – the whole thing is turning into a farce. The G20 is no doubt costing Australia $squillions. Now who would pay all that tax-payer money to look like a fool? Alas, Abbott would.
Abbott has set agenda items like – no mention of Climate Change, – like cutting benefits to unemployed, especially those under 30 years – to get nothing for 6 months. And of course, Abbott has been spruiking coal - “good for humanity” But just as I write, comes the news that USA and China have made a deal for big cuts in carbon emissions. I charitably omit here discussion of “shirt-fronting” Putin.
The G20 looks like being, at best, a nice talkfest for the attendees. Meanwhile Indigenous people have set up their protest rally in Brisbane, and the Alternative Summit - the C20 is sounding much more sensible than the G20.
Now – to nuclear . Public comments are now closed, on the government’s plan for a national nomination process for a radioactive waste dump site. National civil society groups are urging the government to hold an independent scientific inquiry on the matter of radioactive waste management. In Western Australia citizens of Leonora joined in this call to Energy Minister Ian MacFarlane. after the Leonora Shire offered their area as a dump site.
A new project has begun, to document the the health effects from atomic bomb testing in South Australia
War – very much a media item these days. Not just the current ones in Iraq and Ukraine, but a veritable barrage of memorabilia, including militaristic propaganda about World War 1. It’s remarkable that one Melbourne woman, Geraldine Robertson, has achieved the feat of exhibiting the story of Australia’s First World War Women – Working For Peace.
Renewable energy. There’s an awful lot of media coverage of this – hard to keep up. Importantly, the Labor Party has stood fast, will not negotiate any weakening of the Renewable Energy Target. The Business Council of Australia (BCA) (a pro nuclear organisation) has offered a dodgy deal to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) – in whichARENA must include Carbon Capture and Storage as a “low carbon” technology. Hmmm – BCA also call nuclear power a “low carbon technology. The State of Victoria is soon to hold election – renewable energy is a bit of a worry for our anti-wind energy Liberal Premier Napthine – for example, in the Macedon electorate.
As Australia’s media dutifully and thoroughly covered the Spring Racing Carnival, the news on the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report just sort of slipped past us. ABC Radio National did give it ago. Also I heard a rivetting ABC radio report on health impacts of climate change, from Dr Elizabeth Hanna. I have been unable to find that report. (Is the ABC censoring itself?) Anyway, even THE AUSTRALIAN was moved to publish something about Dr Hanna.
In deference to our climate denialist Prime Minister Abbott, Brisbane Airport Corporation has stopped a poster that was urging G20 members to discuss climate change. Mustn’t have rude things like climate change mentioned, in this coal-exporting country!
The nuclear lobby is a bit hamstrung here, what with climate change being one of their main propaganda points. But that hasn’t stopped them promoting Small Modular Nuclear Reactors for Australia. (Yes, those are the ones that Westinghouse and Babcock got out of – declaring them uneconomic). In this promotion, Australia’s nuclear lobby, particularly Michael Angwin, aims to get rid of environmental law, arguing that nuclear power has no special dangers. Fukushima residents might not agree, and the insurance industry certainly doesn’t.
Uranium industry. Tony Abbott declared that Olympic Damn uranium mine expansion would go ahead, provide many jobs etc. But BHP certainly doesn’t think so, and has firmly mothballed that project.
Renewable Energy. despite well-founded fears about Abbott’s determination to smash the renewable energy industries, lots of good things are happening. Particularly interesting are the community energy initiatives.
Australian government’s ‘Direct Action’ policy. We’ll be hearing a lot more about this farcical project to hand out tax-payer money to the big polluting industries.
As the intergovernmental panel on climate change comes out with a compelling new report, Australia’s nuclear lobby renews its pressure for nuclear power. Of course, Michael Angwin and the nuclear lobby are a bit handicapped in this. Australia’s Prime Minister, puppet of both the fossil fuel and nuclear lobbies, has gone all out to please Big Coal, by promoting climate change denialism.
It wouldn’t be good form for Angwin and co to now promote nu clear power as the cure for climate change – they wouldn’t want to naysay their puppet P.M. (They’ll keep the climate change argument for later, when they feel that it has become “politically correct” – that is – when Abbott has safely destroyed renewable energy and any real climate change action.)
Still, they can lay the groundwork, with a lot of nonsense talk about Australia’s future energy needs. (Never mind that Australians are using less electricity, not more)
Part of the groundwork will be their goal to remove environmental protection – as evidenced in today’s call from Gary Johns in THE AUSTRALIAN, (strangely worded almost exactly as Michael Angwin’s letter in The Age today) : –
“……...The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, for example, states that the minister must not approve the construction or operation of a nuclear power plant. Such prohibition is unwarranted.
In its green paper, the Abbott government has promised to “review the current regulatory framework that governs nuclear and waste facilities to remove any duplication and streamline regulations”. This is not good enough. The ban on nuclear power must be lifted. These laws are based on old politics and old science. It is time that prohibition was repealed so all sources of power are on the table and assessed according o commercial and environmental risks..…”
Note the pretense here, that nuclear power’s environmental and commercial risks are no different from any other industries’
Tell that to the Japanese, and to the world’s insurance companies!