Uranium. Toro Energy holds its AGM in Perth today. As other uranium companies cut back on spending, in some cases closing, and exploration ceasing this one company forges ahead with expansion plans. I wonder if their shareholders understand the true situation. Or even if their new CEO Vanessa Guthrie, understands what she’s been caught up in. Investment advisers are waking up to the poor outlook for uranium markets
Muckaty nuclear waste dump plan. Traditional owners are determined to fight this – now awaiting a meeting with Minister Ian Macfarlane. (Will he bother to meet them, or just give them the brush off in the style of notorious former Minister martin Ferguson?)
Wind Energy. While the Victorian government (inexplicably) clings to its anti wind legislation, The Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) approves the new Cherry Tree wind farm, near Seymour. VCAT accepted the findings of New South Wales and Victorian state health bodies, and federal departments that wind farms are not harmful to health. Meanwhile in South Australia the EPA study finds no evidence that wind farm noise is impacting residents
Climate Change: The Abbott government presses on doggedly in its course to demolish all effective action – now readying for the costly task of getting rid of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, despite the CEFC’s success so far. Senator Xenophon points out that the government just hasn’t bothered to do any modelling at all on the relative costs of its “Direct Action” policy on carbon emissions
UV RADIATON. Yeah – I know it’s not ionising radiation, but it’s close – and it’s so important. This is scary stuff. Australia (with Egypt and Libya) has the world’s highest rate of UV radiation from te sun. Now they’re finding that the rare, and usually fatal, Merkel’s skin cancer is increasing, in Queensland – and now it’s thought to be caused by UV radiation.
Yesterday Australians of all ages gathered in their thousands to support government and public action for carbon pricing and renewable energy development. They want full funding the business-friendly Australian Renewable Energy Agency, (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) They want the Abbott government to act in concern for our children and grandchildren, not just in concern for the multinational corporations that pay for the Liberal – National Coalition’s campaigns.
In Melbourne there was an anti nuclear presence at the climate rally, and an obvious interest from people attending the rally. We must not forget that:
- Even a “limited” nuclear war would bring virtually instant climate change across the planet.
- With climate change, nuclear facilities become ever more dangerous – vulnerable to sea level rise, storm surges, floods, extreme heat, water shortages, earthquakes.
- The lying nuclear lobby has only recently discovered their latest spin – having previouslyignored or denied climate change, they now pose virtuously as the saviour – ”nuclear power is the solution to climate change”. (this is complete rubbish - even if nuclear power could be effective against climate change, it would require thousands of nuclear reactors to be set up – taking decades to achieve. There just isn’t time.)
This week the Murdoch Press further glorified nuclear power by publishing a rave review of the filmic nuclear advertisement “Pandora’s Promise”. They used the dishonest argument that “environmentalists really favour nuclear power but are afraid to speak out”. So they imply that there’s some sort of “environmental mafia”?
However – as to that filmic ad – there are indeed many reviews that show Pandora’s Propaganda up in its true light.
Robert Stone and “Pandora’s Promise”http://noelwauchope.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/robert-stone-and-pandoras-promise/
Beyond Nuclear: Pandora’s False Promises Download 38-page report here: http://charlottesierraclub.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/aug23_2013_pandoras-false-promises.pdf Pandora’s Promise, is a new pro-nuclear propaganda documentary released theatrically in the US in July 2013. It is funded in part by individuals with a vested interest in seeing the development of new reactors and is seemingly a vehicle by which to raise the profile of the anti-environmental Oakland think tank, The Breakthrough Institute, whose personnel feature prominently in the film. Despite the film’s premise and early claim that it features “a growing number of leading former anti-nuclear activists” who now support nuclear energy, no one in the film ever led the anti-nuclear movement. Nor was any credible, independent scientific or medical professional with expertise in the areas covered in the film consulted or featured. Beyond Nuclear has bird-dogged the film from the beginning, and has produced numerous critiques. We have also published a definitive report - Pandora’s False Promises: Busting the pro-nuclear propaganda - and a two-page synopsis. These documents address virtually all of the myths, lies and omissions typically found in pro-nuclear rhetoric and are intended to address these long after Pandora’s Promise fades into deserved oblivion.
Download the 2-page synopsis at: http://www.beyondnuclear.org/storage/pandoras-false-promises/Pandora_Two-Pager_Handout_July2013.pdf
Download 38-page report Pandora’s False Promises: Busting the pro-nuclear propaganda at:
Analysis: ‘Pandora’s Promise’ one-sided Anderson Cooper gets reaction to the CNN Films special “Pandora’s Promise” and talks with the director. http://edition.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/bestoftv/2013/11/08/ac-later-pandoras-promise-reaction-one-sided.cnn.html More commentary & film excerpts available here: http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/world/cnn-films-pandoras-promise/index.html?iid=article_sidebar
Scientist: Film hypes the promise of advanced nuclear technology Editor’s note: Edwin Lyman, a physicist, is a senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington. For more of his critique of Pandora’s Promise, see his blog post, ”Movie Review: Put Pandora’s Promise Back in the Box.” http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/07/opinion/lyman-nuclear-pandora/index.html
Sierra Club: Nuclear power irrelevant The director of “Pandora’s Promise,” Robert Stone, debates the merits of nuclear power with The Sierra Club’s Mike Brune. http://edition.cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2013/11/07/newday-pandora-promise-brune-stone-nuclear-debate.cnn&video_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fedition.cnn.com%2FSPECIALS%2Fworld%2Fcnn-films-pandoras-promise%2Findex.html%3Fiid%3Darticle_sidebar
Renewable Energy Generation Hits All Time Highs in Denmark and Germany .http://www.permaculture.co.uk/news/1511134008/renewable-energy-generation-hits-all-time-highs-denmark-and-germany
South African solar plant connects to the grid three months ahead of schedule, Renewable Energy Magazine, Robin Whitlock Friday, 15 November 2013 The 75MW Kalkbult solar plant will generate 135 million kilowatt hours per year and displace 115,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions A solar plant built by Scatech Solar in cooperation with local partners has become the first utility-scale renewable energy facility to supply electricity to South African public utility Eskom after connecting to the country’s electricity grid three months ahead of schedule.
Mena solar energy market gears for growth Most of demand expected to originate from Turkey and Saudi Arabia Gulf news, By Sarah Diaa, Staff Reporter November 15, 2013 Dubai: With an expected combined output of 10 gigawatts by 2017, the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) solar energy sector is gearing for significant growth, experts said…… http://gulfnews.com/business/general/mena-solar-energy-market-gears-for-growth-1.1255473
Renewables get big boost as 50MW solar plant to be built Ghana Web 15 Nov 13 . http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=292098
Senate motion; the indefatigable Senator Ludlam brings a motion (14 November) in Parliament to call on the government to assess the situation (removal of nuclear fuel rods from Unit 4) at Fukushima, and evaluate, advise the Senate on the risks and radioactive pollution of the Pacific Ocean.
Radioactive trash. Warning to Western Australia on chance of it being selected, if Muckaty nuclear waste dump plan falls through. WA is the only state with a dedicated low-level nuclear waste storage facility. The trash is not medical, as the government would have us believe, but wastes from the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor. (and perhaps the precursor to importing other countries’ radioactive trash)
Uranium. As USA’s nuclear power plants shut down, falling like ninepins, Australia’s uranium mines look like following the trend. The Ranger mine in the Northern territory is closed. Now the Honeymoon mine in South Australia is closing. Uranium explorers are getting nervous. Thundelarra sells its Hayes Creek uranium asset
Climate change: the Australian government snubbed the United Nations climate change talks in Warsaw, by for the first time in 16 years, not sending a Minister there. Meanwhile Tony Abbott talked with Alan Jones on radio, repeating misconceptions about wind energy, and renewable energy in general. Abbott begins the new Parliament with a determination to remove carbon pricing.
Australia refuses to join new UN Green Climate Fund that is set up to help poor countries deal with climate change. World Meteorological Association declares 2013 to be becoming the seventh hottest year on record, and singles out Australia as a country most affected.
Well, it’s amazing what terrific access the pro nuclear lobby has to Australia’s mainstream media. We hear little about the precarious situation at Fukushima nuclear plant, or about the deplorable economics of nuclear power as evidenced right now in the UK, or the European Union wanting mandatory disaster insurance for nuclear power plants. … But I digress.
What Australians do hear about is the call by Tom Wigley, of Adelaide University, for nuclear power as the solution to climate change. Wigley is a member of the pro nuclear lobby group – Breakthrough Institute. (They’re the people who brought you that glossy nuclear advertising film “Pandora’s Promise”) Wigley thinks that climate change is a severe problem (which puts him at odds with the prevailing public position of the Liberal Party) And NSW Liberal MP Jonathon O’Dea came out with the same pro nuclear argument.
I’d say that Wigley and O’Dea got in just a bit too soon. They really needed to wait until the Abbott government had demolished all effective action to combat climate change. Then, we will all be allowed to believe in climate change again, even the Liberals, as they need a reason to promote nuclear power.
But now – there’s John Howard, arising from the political dead, to: (a) pour scorn on the “alarmist” scientific consensus on global warming in a speech to a gathering of British climate sceptics, comparing those calling for action on climate change to religious zealots. And (b) promote nuclear power. – “as it becomes more economic to have nuclear power, we should entertain it.” (Howard thinks that nuclear will get cheaper!)
Media. The ABC did show Mark Willacy’s low key, but very touching video on people of Fukushima. Much more radical will be John Pilger’s new film “Utopia” - on Australia’s Aboriginal people - to be shown on Invasion Day - sorry, I mean Australia Day 26 January.
Other news – Paladin Energy in trouble, as usual – losses, never any dividends. Trans Pacific Partnership under secret negotiations with Abbott government. Anti wind farm group trying every strategy to delay feasibility study on wind farm for King Island.
True, all mining has problems, and in fact, all mining does release some radioactive particles into the environment.
However, that pales into insignificance compared with the health and environmental problems of uranium mining. The only other mining of exceptionally serious health danger - is asbestos mining, and that is now long banned in Australia. Uranium mining should be banned, too.
Uranium mining leaves a legacy of radioactive tailings, of radioactively polluted waterways – problems that last long long after the mining company has disappeared from the scene, and from the responsibility.
Uranium mining is also completely involved in teh dangerous nuclear industry, and in catastrophes such as the Fukushima nuclear accident. It is also an essential part of the nuclear weapons industry.
It is a backward step for Australians to accept the idea that uranium mining is a “normal” industry, to be merged and hidden within the general mining scene.
! AUSTRALIAN URANIUM ASSOCIATION TO BE INTEGRATED INTO MINERALS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA (FED)
7 Nov 13, National mining industry advocacy is to be further strengthened through the integration of the Australian Uranium Association (AUA) and the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA). The decision to integrate the two organisations has been taken by member companies of both organisations. The move will enhance the uranium sector’s advocacy, reinforce its position in the mining industry.
The Australian Liberal Party is soon to ‘discover” that human induced climate change is real. Well they have to, as the push for nuclear power in Australia heats up, and the Liberals will eventually have to come up with a reason for backing nuclear power, (other than just being sycophantic stooges for USA military industrial complex)
But I was quite surprised to find A new South Wales Liberal MP coming out with this position quite so early, as Jonathon O’Dea has.
Really – Australian Liberals should be a bit more careful about this. The official Liberal line is that we really do nothing much about climate change, because, well, it’s not a big deal at all, and certainly nothing to do with Australia’s weather extremes and bushfires. Mr Abbott and Mr Hunt have made this clear.
And secondly – it’s just not a great time to be advocating new nuclear power. Theoretically, Japan might be starting the most perilous exercise at Fukushima as soon as Friday 8th November. A nuclear fuel rods’ cooling pool sits precariously atop the damaged nuclear reactor No 4, with the building unsteadily sinking gradually into the ground. There have been 2 earthquakes in the neighbourhood only very recently. So those fuel rods gotta be removed ASAP, in an operation of unprecedented risk. One slip and the whole of Tokyo would need to be evacuated. It’s a dodgy time to be advocating nuclear power!
At times I feel like completely changing this website – to one dedicated to action on climate change. Australians, under the “leadership” of Tony Abbott, appear to be sleep-walking towards disaster. It is no comfort that Abbott will be remembered as this nation’s most disastrous Prime Minister – hated for leading us, without a qualm, into the horror of extreme bushfires, flood, and sea level rise – and the repression of Pacific Islands’ climate change refugees
Global warming, climate change – this is an international emergency. Sure – cutting our carbon emissions is not going to fix that.
BUT – action on climate change (and on refugees) shows Australia to be part of civilised world society. Nations are going to need to help each other – and on climate change – Australia used to be a leader.
Still – as climate change creeps up on us, (perhaps roars up on us) we must keep in mind that a nuclear war or disaster could bring almost instant climate change upon us, as well as other horrors. That threat is real.
The failing nuclear industry tries to con Australians that it has the solution to climate change, We must resist their lies, lest we invite upon ourselves another catastrophe on top of the climate change peril.
For these reasons – this website will stay “ANTINUCLEAR”.
Climate change and bushfires. This topic has divided Australia. On one side, there are our government leaders – PM Tony Abbott and Environment Minister Greg Hunt. Abbott has declared that any link between the two is “complete hogwash” and dismissed the United Nations’ expert climate negotiator Christiana Figueres as “talking through her hat”. While the Greens’ Christine Milne deplored these statements, the Labor leader Bill Shorten was curiously silent. He said that he “didn’t want to speculate on the fires while people’s homes were still on the line” . Sadly, it is probable that a majority of Australians, fed by the Murdoch media, agree with them. Apparently the Labor Opposition agrees with the Liberal government that the bushfires are irrelevant to climate change and that it’s bad taste to talk about any link.
Greens’ MP Adam Bandt thought it was worse taste to just ignore climate change, Many others, including Victoria’s Country Fire Authority take the link seriously. Clearly one can’t identify a particular bushfire as caused by climate change. However, climate change has brought conditions of more intense heat, dryer vegetation, and bushfire seasons of earlier onset and longer duration.
Nuclear power. As Australia’s Liberal government determinedly pursues a climate denial agenda, the nuclear lobby is publicly fairly silent. Australia’s nuclear lobby bides its time, until the fuss subsides. Once all effective climate action has been dismantled by the government, it will no doubt become politically correct to again believe in climate change. Then the nuclear lobby can swing into action – promoting nuclear. power as the solution. The Liberal government will be all for it, Labor Senators Gary Gray, Mark Bishop and Alex Gallacher are among the Labor pro nuclear faction. We’ll need to watch Bill Shorten, who is likely to even weaker on Labor’s anti nuclear policy than he is on Labor’s climate action. The ALP’s 2011 policy platform expressly forbids “the establishment of nuclear power plants and all other stages of the nuclear fuel cycle in Australia”.
And what is the Abbott government doing about climate change? The Climate Commission has been abolished. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation will be abolished. We no longer have a Department of Climate Change. On October 14, the draft legislation to repeal the carbon price mechanism, to be the first item of business for the 44th Parliament, was revealed.
The planetary crisis of climate change surely shows us that it requires planetary, internationally co-operative solutions. Australia was a leader in climate action – but look at us now - an international disgrace?
Uranium. Toro Energy holds it AGM today, amid accusations that it has misled shareholders by pretending that a new uranium deposit in Western Australia has gained regulatory approval, when it in fact, has not.
- First part of the film: – established 4 or 5 speakers who all claim to have previously been anti nuclear, and shows the major nuclear accidents, faults etc. Sets up the bad things about nuclear power, and shows anti nuclear activists to be idealistc, but emotional and uninformed. Subtly denigrates and makes fun of anti nuclear activists, uses female speaker Gwyneth Craven a lot. Subtle put down of women – “brains hard wired to protect babies” Film’s protagonists changed their minds after learning from experts.
- Second part:Disillusion with environmental movement – rubbishing Kyoto Protocol, rubbishing renewable energy, rubbishing energy conservation. Stresses need for growing energy use. Harm from coal. (some good arguments here) Rubbishes fear of radiation – very poor information given here – inaccurate about radiation. repeats the “banana myth”. Misrepresents what WHO has said. Minimises Chernobyl, Fukushima’s health effects.
- Third part – safety and wastes History lesson on how USA nuclear power progress was stalled by politics, Democratic administrations. Integral Fast Reactors (Gen 1V) delayed by politics. IFRs so safe – they can use wastes as fuel, so in the meantime, Gen 3 reactors can go on, producing valuable fuel.
- Concluding part Present situation – nuclear France – hugely successful, Germany using more coal emitting more greenhouse gases. Nuclear is costly upfront, but will be much more economical than solar or wind. Nuclear wastes a valuable resource, nuclear warheads turned to fuel forreactors. especially exciting, Small Modular Reactors. Future energy needs for modern high energy resource rich lifestyle .
- inaccurate portrayal of anti nuclear people - all shown to be uninformed, anti science, pro coal, and non-expert.
- not at all up to date on renewable energy development – inaccurate picture of France today, and especially of Germany
- wrong information on ionising radiation – ?deliberate ignorance on this.
- no mention whatsoever of terrorism risks - to nuclear reactors, nuclear waste fuel pools, transport of “valuable” wastes to feed reactors
- glosses over weapons proliferation risks
- almost completely ignores economics - no mention of costs of security, eventual waste disposal from Gen 1V reactors.
- good presentation of climate change danger, and of health dangers of coal
- interesting presentation – at times amusing (though at times this is at the expense of anti nuclear people)
- music well used for emotional impact – dramatic at times, sentimental when showing happy Chernobyl residents.
AUSTRALIA and INTERNATIONAL
This week I chanced upon a website that made me think, and reminded me that everything is inter-connected. The nuclear issue is just one part of the web of global social and environmental issues . This website is “Project New World: Let’s co-operate “ I think it originates in Germany – but anyway, it can be read in many languages, and it links up all sorts of issues.
This idea is timely, as now there’s an Australian in gaol in Russia, for protesting against oil drilling in the Arctic. OK – it’s oil not nuclear. In fact, the Russians have dumped so much radioactive trash in the Arctic, that this drilling may well be very connected.
In America, 83 year old Sister Megan Rice remains in a prison cell, awaiting what could be a 30 year sentence for her anti nuclear action.
The one bright spot is that the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s wheels of process for re-licensing nuclear power plants have ground to a halt, along with much else, due to the USA government shut-down. Also, for Australia and others, it might be just that bit harder for the secretive Trans Pacific Partnership to get signed up, seeing that Obama has had to cancel his Asian visit.
In Australia, Robert Stone is showing his nuclear advertising film “Pandora’s Promise”, and getting mainstream media coverage, of course. In Melbourne, there will be a protest at the launching of the film. Cinema -goers will be handed leaflets explaining what the film carefully leaves out.
The nuclear advertising film ‘ Pandora’s Promise’ will be showing around Australia, and in Edinburgh and London in the next couple of weeks. It is largely funded by people from the pro nuclear Breakthrough Institute, including people like Bill Gates, who has his own nuclear power company Terra Power. It is directed by passionate nuclear enthusiast, Robert Stone, who does Q and A afterwards, and over-talks any critical questioners.
Weaknesses of this film include the way that it:
- mocks anti nuclear opinions as a bunch extremists and zealots. It makes no effort to portray any sensible opposing opinion.
- minimises the health effects of ionising radaiation with downright untruths, for instance, telling us only that Chernobyl killed 56 people. It leaves out that a United Nations World Health Organization agency predicts 16,000 more will die from Chernobyl cancers and that the European Environment Agency estimates 34,000 more. It omits that non-fatal thyroid cancer struck another 6,000, mostly children
- does not mention the crippling economics that is now closing nuclear plants in USA (Florida, Wisconsin and California), nor the imperative for tax-payer subsidy
- does not mention insurance: the nuclear industry, alone among industries is exempt from risk through USA’s Price Anderson Act, as well as every home owner’s insurance policy stating that this policy does not compensate you for any radiation damage from a nuclear power plant.
- avoids the economics of Small Nuclear reactors (SMRs) Even under the best of circumstances, there will be no SMR prototype for as long as a decade or more. There are serious questions over the economics of mass producing these, over their safety, and the huge costs of maintaining security over thousands of little nuclear reactors scattered around the land. None of this is discussed in the film.
- promotes Integral Fast Reactors (IFRs) – fast breeder reactors. but doesn’t mention the past failure of these, in USA , France (Super Phoenix) Japan (Monju), and their enormous cost.
- Dishonestly minimises the nuclear waste problems of IFR’s. Film does not explain that the final wastes, while smaller in volume, are far more radioactive and dangerous than existing nuclear wastes, and therefore require the same amount of storage space and security.
Nuclear news has gone very quiet at the moment – seeing that for Australia nuclear’s big argument was that it’s “the cure” for climate change. (But now it is not politically correct to worry about climate change?)
Uranium. Energy Resources of Australia is touting its latest method to to treat radioactive water. ERA will go out of business if it doesn’t get a new mining operation going at Ranger. Not a great prospect – with its history of spills and revenue losses.
CLIMATE CHANGE has dominated the news this week. Or, more correctly, what Australia is NOT going to do about climate change.
Tony Abbott has:
- abolished the Science Ministry
- appointed as head of his Business Advisory Council - Maurice Newman, who very recently attacked the CSIRO, the weather bureau and the “myth” of anthropological climate change.
- abolished the Climate Change Commission, – sacking its chief, Tim Flannery
- appointed as Environment MInister – Greg Hunt, who abandoned decades of personal commitment to addressing climate change in order to save his political skin. He now tacitly supports climate scepticism, and has given false information on climate change and carbon emissions
- through Greg Hunt approved a brief to begin drafting a Bill to repeal the Climate Change Authority (this requires an Act of Parliament)
- through Treasurer Joe Hockey has ordered the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to cease operations. However, this order is not lawful, it is obliged to continue to operate until the Coalition passes legislation abolishing the CEFC (that needs an Act of Parliament)
To abolish the Climate Change Authority and the CEFC Abbott’s Bills would have to pass both Houses of Parliament, This can’t happen until after July 2014, as until then Abbott would not have a majority in the Senate.
Not Surprisingly, Former Labor Energy Minister Martin Ferguson has applauded the Liberal government’s attack on renewable energy. In the Labor cabinet, Ferguson had a hard time pretending to support renewable energy. Look out for Ferguson getting a nice little job with the polluting industries?