Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s Nuclear-Free Movement – Proud and Strong – theme for March 2015

Australia’s Nuclear Free and Clean Energy Movement stands more clearly than ever, to lead this country to a positive future.


Australians live in a limbo of ignornace on ethics and science. The cringing Murdoch media pushes the agenda of greedy and self-seeking businessmen, politicians, and some academics.

Consideration of the future for our children, grandchildren and beyond, is drowned out by the hype about more money, more jobs, more material consumption.

Cutting through this dishonest and unethical hype, Australians can hear the clear voices from the clean energy movement. There are many organisations, often under the umbrella of the Australian Nuclear ANFAFree Alliance (ANFA). And many individuals such as the heroic Northern Territory Aboriginals – Yvonne Margarula, Dianne Stokes, Jeefrey Lee.  There are the world famous Dr Helen Caldicott, Senator Scott Ludlam, Dr Jim Green, Natalie Wasley, Dave Sweeney, Professor Ian Lowe, Dr Mark Deisendorf – and many others.

February 27, 2015 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

Will South Australia’s Royal Commission be genuinely independent, or just excuse for importing radioactive trash?

If the Royal Commission brings a genuine spirit of independence and rigour, and is willing to take evidence on the nuclear sector’s performance in Australia and overseas, the report will provide a valuable contribution to domestic energy and industry policy.

An inquiry into how to get to zero emissions electricity as cheaply and rapidly as possible would have made a far more timely and valuable contribution to debates over energy policy and rebooting South Australia’s manufacturing sector than another rake through the slowly cooling ashes of the nuclear dream.  Nonetheless, the lid has been lifted once again, and we can only hope that the Royal Commissioner is willing to take an unblinking look at the evidence, so that the failed hopes and broken promises of the atomic age can be set to rest once and for all

the probability that this whole exercise is designed to build the case for a national or international radioactive waste dump.

Ludlam,-Scott-1Nuclear Industry On Trial? Scott Ludlam Hopes SoNew Matilda, 26 Feb 15 The debate about nuclear power in South Australia needs to be had, if only to put the issue to bed once and for all, writes Scott Ludlam.

At first glance, the decision to call a Royal Commission into nuclear technology in South Australia seems like a curious aberration from the ‘Yes Minister’ rule of inquiries: never call one unless you know in advance what it will tell you.

At the outset of this most polarising of debates, I’d like to propose a truce; particularly with those whose pro-nuclear views are motivated by the overwhelming imperative of climate change. If we respect that not all nuclear advocates intend to contaminate the gene pool and plunge us into nuclear winter, I’d ask in return that you consider the possibility that the anti-nuclear case is based on rational assessment of risks and performance, rather than pure emotion as is sometimes asserted.

For those whose motivation is a safe climate, this is a disagreement over means, not ends. Continue reading

February 27, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Renewable energy leader Port Augusta does not need nuclear power – Mayor

Local mayor unhappy with city counterpart’s nuclear comments, The Transcontinental, 27 Feb 15  Port Augusta has been suggested as a “convenient” site for a nuclear reactor, just weeks after the state government announced it will establish a Royal Commission into nuclear power in SA.

Port Augusta mayor Sam Johnson is not happy, saying the suggestion treats those living in regional areas like Port Augusta as second-rate citizens……

Port Augusta mayor Sam Johnson said he’s open to an informed debate on nuclear power, but hit fiercely back at the Port Adelaide mayor’s comments, labelling the idea a “cop out”. (picture from The Transcontinental )


“It’s almost like [he’s saying], ‘we in Adelaide are too precious in case something goes wrong, so we’ll put it out in the regions’…and that’s an absolute cop out to everyone in regional South Australia,” Mr Johnson said.

He said there’s no reason to consider putting nuclear power in Port Augusta, given the city is already leading the way in renewable energy.

“Why in the hell would we want nuclear power in Port Augusta when we’ve done so much work on renewable energy, in particular the solar thermal plant?” Mr Johnson questioned.

“We’ve had international experts actually say to us, why isn’t the government in Australia exploring renewable energy such as solar thermal given we have the best geographical climate in the world to do it?

“If the government wants to talk about nuclear, fine, happy to talk about it – but we’re already heading down a successful path…they can go and build the nuclear power plant in Unley or Norwood for all I care.”

Repower Port Augusta chairperson Gary Rowbottom suggested nuclear power is a higher risk option than renewable energy, and doesn’t see why it’s worth exploring when there’s a better option on the table for the city.

“Our current belief is that it is simply not required to take the risks and overcome all the implementation difficulties involved in ‘going nuclear’,” Mr Rowbottom said.

“We can substitute a suite of proven and developing renewable technologies in place of any need to go down the nuclear path…the commercial, health and environmental risks of nuclear are too high to justify it.

NIMBY-nukes“It can be taken as somewhat offensive that the Port Adelaide/Enfield areas (Mr Johanson) are clearly saying that they are not prepared to have a nuclear reactor in their area but it is ideal and more convenient for Port Augusta to have one.”……

What do you think about having a nuclear reactor in Port Augusta?

Send your thoughts to the editor at

February 27, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Canada’s huge toxic nuclear waste dilemma

the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), wants to bury it in what the nuclear industry calls a Deep Geological Repository, or DGR

Finally,” says Eugene Bourgeois, whose idyllic property lies within a kilometre of the Bruce Power reactors, “it has to be impervious to the potential ignorance or delinquency of people, perhaps ‘peopleoids,’ more than a quarter-million years from now”—which is to say, peopleoids who likely will have no notion even of the languages in which the safety code and signage of the DGR were written.

At the same time, the site can’t be too remote. It must be serviced by roads and rail, so that waste can be brought in, and must have a sufficient population that the thousands of folks who will build the facility and the hundreds who will be employed there long-term will have a place to live


flag-canadaantnuke-relevantInside the race for Canada’s nuclear waste: 11 towns vie to host deep burial site Canada’s nuclear waste will be deadly for 400,000 years. What town would like the honour of hosting it? CHARLES WILKINS TheGlobe and Mail Feb. 26 2015,
……..the Western Waste Management Facility, where Ontario Power Generation stores much of its share of the 48,000 tonnes of waste that have accumulated in Canada during the past 65 years and that the company and other nuclear-power producers hope will eventually be lowered into the national DGR (Deep Geological Repository)

The ever-accumulating tonnage, which in the wrong hands could provide payloads for thousands of atomic bombs, is entombed in a thousand snow-white containers (a half-inch of steel atop reinforced concrete), each the size of, say, a Lincoln Navigator set on end and weighing 70 tonnes……..

The $24-billion cost of a deep repository—to be paid by the producers (hence ultimately their customers) out of a fund that now stands at less than $3 billion—sounds like a lot for the existing quantity of nuclear-fuel waste in the country. NWMO spokesman Mike Krizanc visualizes Canada’s 48,000-tonne waste pile as “enough to cover six NHL-sized hockey rinks to the top of the boards.”

The discrepancy is explained by toxicity. According to Gordon Edwards, a mathematician who has critiqued the nuclear industry for decades as president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, irradiated—that is, used—nuclear fuel is “millions of times more radioactive and deadly than when the unirradiated fuel was placed in the reactors.” Studies have connected the various isotopes contained in the waste to cancer, immune system damage and genetic mutation. Those six hockey rinks are enough, say nuclear detractors, that if the waste is buried in the wrong place, or in the wrong way, it could ruin our water, render the landscape useless for agriculture, or, in a darker scenario, render it useless for human habitation…… Continue reading

February 27, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Federal and State funding removed from top Northern Territory Environment Groups

End is nigh for NT environmental advocacy groups as funding runs out, ABC News 26 Feb 15  By Elliana Lawford Two environmental advocacy groups in the Northern Territory are set to close as government funding cuts announced last year start to bite.

The Environment Centre NT (ECNT) has told the ABC a number of staff were laid off last week and the centre has limited their operating hours from five to three days a week.

The organisation has led campaigns against uranium miningpollutiongas exploration and water extraction licences. ECNT chair Tony Young said he was worried there would be no-one to fight for environmental issues in the Northern Territory if the centre closed.

“If there is no independent voice to point these things out then the problems continue and they are exacerbated,” he said. “The range and complexity of the environmental problems the Northern Territory faces really deserves a properly funded, independent, science-based voice … that’s what is in danger.”

The ECNT lost $185,000 in last year’s Territory budget.

The Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) is also struggling and has announced it will close on June 30, after it lost $450,000 in Federal Government funding. EDO chair Kirsty Howey said the office could not operate without financial help.

“With the cutting of federal funding at the EDO, we are looking at shutting the doors on June 30 this year,” she said.

“We just don’t have the money to survive any longer.”

NT Environment Minister Gary Higgins said he was unperturbed by the looming closures of the ECNT and the EDO……..

Labor spokeswoman Nicole Manison said both organisations were needed in the community.

“We need to have a full and independent voice for the government out there in the community,” she said.

“They bring up some pretty tough issues for governments and a good government would actually listen to them.”

Both organisations are still trying to secure independent funding that could delay their closures.

February 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Northern Territory, politics | Leave a comment

Baby teeth study showed effects of nuclear radiation on heath

dagram-strontium-in-teethThey found that the radioactive strontium-90 levels in the baby teeth of children born from 1945 to 1965 had risen 100-fold and that the level of strontium-90 rose and fell in correlation with atomic bomb tests. 

Early results from the Baby Tooth Survey, and a U. S. Public Health Service study that showed an alarming rise in the percentage of underweight live births and of childhood cancer, helped persuade President John F. Kennedy to negotiate a treaty with the Soviet Union to end above-ground testing of atomic bombs in 1963.

St. Louis Baby Tooth Survey, 1959-1970, Washington University School of Dental Medicine   Though many members of the group were vocally against nuclear testing, CNI never took an official position for or against the testing of nuclear weapons.  Scientific facts were assembled, studied by the Committee and its Scientific Advisory Group, and then made available to the public through regular bulletins, newsletters, and a speaker’s bureau…. Continue reading

February 27, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Senator Scott Ludlam on “new generation” nuclear reactors that “emit only unicorn dust”

Nuclear Industry On Trial? Scott Ludlam Hopes SoNew Matilda, 26 Feb 15  “……The unthinkable consequences of a well-executed terrorist attack on an operating reactor or high-level waste store keep national security planners awake at night, with the potential for nuclear power plants to be used as pre-deployed radiological weapons by those with malevolent intent.

It seems likely that in the face of this evidence, the Royal Commission will see the industry play its last remaining card: an invitation to set aside the actual performance of existing reactors and imagine the potential of a new generation of nuclear technology: safe, clean, reliable, cheap, modular, proliferation-proof; reactors that consume only nuclear waste and emit only unicorn dust.

Forgive the scepticism: no-one has ever come remotely close to designing and building such a device, and commercial application of imaginary Generation IV reactors lies well over an indefinitely receding horizon; always just a few more years and decades away.

renew world 1

Perhaps more to the point, it may be that there are simpler ways to boil water or induce electrons to flow down a wire than the absurdity of plutonium-burning fission reactors cooled by liquid sodium.

Turning to face the timeless abundance of free solar energy presents a much simpler way forward. It is time that advocates of terrestrial nuclear power instead used their efforts to advocate for better use of the celestial nuclear reactor that sustains rather than threatens life on Earth.

The very qualities of scale, baseload delivery and centralisation that so appealed to energy planners of the 1950s make nuclear technology uniquely unsuited to the realities of the 21st century.

Emerging industrial economies like India, Africa and China’s rural hinterlands are vastly better served by decentralised renewable generators feeding local or regional-scale microgrids.

The plunging costs of solar, wind and micro-hydro generators are combining with cheap, decentralised energy storage technology – driven largely by developments in the IT and automotive industries – to drive the final nail into the fallen potential of nuclear power.

In March 2013 the cover and feature piece of the Economist magazine put the case succinctly: Nuclear Power – the dream that failed.

For the indefinite future, there will still be a need for reliable, dispatchable utility-scale power plants, but even here clean-technology has emerged to checkmate atomic energy: large-scale concentrating solar thermal plants have come online in Spain and the United States, paving the way for vastly more ambitious developments in South America and the Middle East combining cheap photovoltaics with heliostat fields heating overnight molten salt energy storage.


February 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australian government quietly subverting the Climate Change Authority

How the government is sneakily taking over the Climate Change Authority, Crikey, 

MARCUS PRIEST | FEBRUARY 27, 2015  (-subscribers only)

February 27, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Clean Energy Finance Corporation battles on, while Abbott governemnt determined to destroy renewable energy development

CEFC’s work was continuing, despite ongoing uncertainty over its own future.

Abbott-destroys-renewablesRET negotiations set industry back 12 years: Clean Energy Finance Corporation SMH, February 25, 2015  National political reporter The Abbott government’s efforts to scale back the renewable energy target (RET) have set the industry back 12 years, a Senate estimates hearing has heard.

And the government has told senators it will still pursue the abolition of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), despite accepting advice from the agency on achieving emissions reductions through its direct action policy. Continue reading

February 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

AUDIO: EU wants USA, China, Australia to join global climate agreement

climate-changeflag-EUAUDIO: EU pressures US and China to join global climate agreement ABC Radio, The World Today ,David Mark reported this story on Thursday, February 26, 2015 ELEANOR HALL: The European Union (EU) has ratcheted up pressure on the United States and China to join a global climate agreement.

Overnight the EU released its target for greenhouse gas reductions ahead of a meeting later this year in Paris.
It’s committing to reducing emissions by at least 40 per cent over 1990 levels by 2030 as David Mark reports.

DAVID MARK: The US and China made some commitments to greenhouse gas reduction targets at the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) meeting in Brisbane last year.

Now the EU has announced specific targets – its member countries will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 over 1990 levels.

ELEANOR HALL: The European Union (EU) has ratcheted up pressure on the United States and China to join a global climate agreement.

Overnight the EU released its target for greenhouse gas reductions ahead of a meeting later this year in Paris. It’s committing to reducing emissions by at least 40 per cent over 1990 levels by 2030 as David Mark reports.

DAVID MARK: The US and China made some commitments to greenhouse gas reduction targets at the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) meeting in Brisbane last year.

Now the EU has announced specific targets – its member countries will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 over 1990 levels……

DAVID MARK: The EU has also thrown down the gauntlet to big emitters – China, the US and the G20, which includes Australia – to make known their targets for Paris early, and once there, commit to a new protocol to cut emissions.

ERWIN JACKSON: Well, I think the momentum is towards having a core agreement in Paris which is legally binding, which does ensure that countries come forward and have national targets………

DAVID MARK: The Australian Government has said it will announce its targets for greenhouse emissions in the lead up to the Paris meeting which is being held in December.

February 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

European Union unveils climate change and energy strategy

climate-changeflag-EUEuropean Commission Unveils Draft Energy Strategy, Renewable Energy World,  David Appleyard, Contributing Editor  February 25, 2015 LONDON — The European Commission has unveiled “A Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy,” which is a key plank in the development of its plans for Europe’s energy sector through 2030.

The Framework Strategy broadly sets out five interrelated policies, and the steps to achieve its policy goals, including new legislation to redesign and overhaul the electricity market, substantially developing regional cooperation and an integrated market, and with a stronger regulated framework. Continue reading

February 27, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear power as cure for climate change does not stand up to scrutiny

Nuclear Industry On Trial? Scott Ludlam Hopes SoNew Matilda, 26 Feb 15 “…….Were it not for the immense risk posed by global warming, it seems likely that the nuclear industry would have run entirely out of friends by now. Thus, one useful service the Royal Commission could provide would be to take a hard look at the role nuclear energy can provide as climate change tightens its grip and the movement to divest and phase out fossil fuels gains welcome pace.

This is a serious question and one that should not be dismissed lightly.

Advocates point to a technology with a half-century performance record of bulk electricity generation with relatively low greenhouse gas emissions, and argue that the climate crisis demands that all low-carbon options should be on the table.

Unfortunately – for the industry at least – the case for nuclear playing a major role in the transition to a low carbon economy is shot to pieces on arguments of cost, risk, timing, competition and scale.

Nuclear energy produces a declining share of global commercial primary energy production at 4.4 per cent. Scaling up by enough to make a major impact on energy supply while closing first and second-generation plants would require the construction of thousands of large reactors in the next few decades; a construction schedule vastly in excess of anything attempted before, at astronomical cost, against a backdrop of growing global insecurity and instability and widespread community rejection of nuclear technology in favour of renewables………

February 27, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

New South Wales fight by Aboriginals to save their heritage from coal mining

Aboriginal group says it is fighting coal mine for its heritage, ABC Radio 26 Feb 15 

By Emma Brown Aboriginal people in the north-west of New South Wales say they are fighting back against a coal mine that is threatening their heritage.

At a Meet the Candidates forum in Breeza, the Gomeroi people put it to the sitting State Government member that assessments of the mine area had found 11 significant sites, but since then 10 had been disturbed or destroyed.

The Shenhua Watermark mine has been approved by the independent NSW Planning Assessment Commission and is now before the Federal Government, where the water trigger legislation may come into play.

CEO of the Red Chief Land Council, Toni Comber, said the Gomeroi people had been prevented from going on country and performing ceremony.

She said the community opposition to the mine had united farmers and Aboriginal groups…….

February 27, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Eiffel tower embraces wind power.

One of the world’s most iconic sites has become the latest high profile venue to embrace renewable energy, after the installation of two vertical axis wind turbines as part of the Eiffel tower’s high profile renovation project….

February 27, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Significant omissions from the Terms of Reference for the SA Nuclear Royal Commission



Will anyone take this Royal Commission seriously?


exclamation-Some  Significant omissions from the Terms of Reference for the SA Nuclear Royal Commission Margaret Beavis 25 Feb 15,

Focus on Mining expansion only

No mention of old mines and contaminated areas

No mention of water issues- huge supply required for reactor and risks of contamination of waterways and aquifers. SA is a dry state.

Opportunity cost of focussing on nuclear industry instead of becoming world leader in renewables

Ignores high cost of nuclear power compared to other sources

Large subsidies needed  from government preventing spending on other important issues

Lack of financial/professional conflict of interest declarations being required from all witnesses and commission members

No mention of health impacts of radiation

No provision for how state would respond to Fukushima type scenario from accident/deliberate damage

No mention of possible impacts on SA tourism, food and wine exports (especially fisheries)

Vast majority of medical waste has a very short period of radioactivity and is not the main reason for a dump.



February 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment


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