Anti-CSG groups says use of radioactive materials should be disclosed, The Age November 24, 2014 Peter Hannam Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald Radioactive material is being used at some coal seam gas drilling sites in NSW and Queensland, raising concerns about potential health and environmental impacts.
A radiation management licence issued to US-based drilling company Halliburton shows it is permitted to use caesium-137, a radioactive isotope, for drilling by AGL at Gloucester, in the northern Hunter Valley and for Santos in the Pilliga forests near Narrabri.
Drillers deploy devices containing CS-137 to measure the composition of gas and water deep underground, with the isotope emitting gamma rays to operate like a miniature X-ray. Produced in nuclear reactors, the material is potentially deadly and among the main radiation concerns at failed power stations at Chernobyl and Fukushima…………
Environmental groups say the use of the radioactive material 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.
An anti-coal seam gas campaigner at Gloucester, Jennifer Schoelpple, said AGL had played up the use of much more benign chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing – fracking – but had downplayed the role of caesium.
“No matter how thoroughly you search ‘under your kitchen sink’ or how scrupulously you check the ingredients of your condiments and ‘household products’, you are highly unlikely to lay your hands on any CS-137 in your family home,” Ms Schoelpple said.
“If they are so transparent, why don’t they document the most dangerous thing they use?”
Vicki Perrin, from Lock the Gate in Queensland, said farmers allowing CSG drilling on their land and the neighbouring communities should be made aware of the risks: “Farmers need to know there is a radioactive source on their site.”………http://www.theage.com.au/environment/anticsg-groups-says-use-of-radioactive-materials-should-be-disclosed-20141123-11s5vp.html
Kirsten Blair, 19 Nov 14 Jeffrey Lee spoke powerfully about his work to protect Koongarra from mining at the closing plenary of the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney yesterday and received a standing ovation. People were coming up to him all day congratulating and thanking him for his efforts, he was gracious and generous as ever.
Kakadu is Australia’s largest National Park and is dual World Heritage listed for both its natural and cultural values. Encompassing tropical wetlands, extensive savannah and soaring sandstone escarpments and waterfalls this region has been sculptured and shaped by people and nature for many tens of thousands of years.
Jeffrey Lee, the Senior Traditional Owner of the Djok clan in Kakadu fought for many years to see his country at Koongarra protected from the threat of uranium mining.
In 2011 he made the long journey from Kakadu to Paris to see the World Heritage Committee include Koongarra in the World Heritage estate and in 2013 the area was formally included within Kakadu National Park and permanently protected from uranium mining.
For decades Jeffrey was pressured to allow uranium mining on his land at Koongarra and for decades he resisted – refusing millions of dollars in promised mining payments. Now he is seeking something. After generously allowing his land to be included in Kakadu National Park Jeffrey has a modest ask of the Australian Government in return: please build a house on his country.
Today Jeffrey spoke to thousands of delegates at the closing plenary of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Parks Congress in Sydney and told the story of his long fight to protect Koongarra. He concluded by calling on the Australian Government to come good on their promise to build him a house on his country.
“I have said no to uranium mining at Koongarra because I believe that the land and my cultural beliefs are more important than mining and money. Money comes and goes, but the land is always here, it always stays if we look after it and it will look after us.” said Jeffrey Lee
“While I’m down here at this Congress, I want to tell people about Koongarra and remind the Government that I did all that work to protect that country. All I’m asking is for a place to live on my country. I don’t want to wait until I’ve passed away, I want to live on my county now.
“I don’t want the Government to forget me, they came to visit me, they congratulated me on my hard work and said they will support me in this. The Government knows how hard I worked, they gave me an Order of Australia and I’m happy for that. Now I just want a commitment from them for a house so I can live on that country that I fought for.”
The Atomic Weapons Establishment Funds almost Half of UK Universitieshttp://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/the-atomic-weapons-establishment-funds-almost-half-of-uk-universities/Could this be why it appears virtually impossible to get serious academic work regarding dangers of nuclear, etc.? The buying of academia?
“Atoms For Peace: The Atomic Weapons Establishment and UK Universities
Nuclear Information Service and Medact have undertaken a two-year study to investigate research links between British universities and the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), which is responsible for designing and manufacturing the UK’s nuclear weapons. This report presents the executive summary and key findings from our study.
We found that approaching half of British universities have research links with AWE. Much of the work funded by AWE qualifies as ‘blue skies’ research which is not aimed at any particular application. However, some of the research funded by AWE may have ‘dual use’ potential – the capability to be used for both benign, peaceful purposes and military purposes contributing to the development of weapons of mass destruction.
Our study highlights the need for increased transparency over the nature of university research funded by AWE, and the need to strengthen the framework for considering the ethical implications of such work and its impact upon the research environment.
To help universities and researchers navigate ethical issues arising from participating in research work funded by AWE, Nuclear Information Service and Medact have prepared a set of model ethical guidelines which are presented in the main report for the study.” See summary report here:http://www.medact.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Atoms-For-Peace-Summary-Report-Web-Low-Res.pdf
See also, “Over fifty British universities funded by Atomic Weapons Establishment” http://nuclearinfo.org/article/awe-aldermaston/atoms-peace-investigation-int-links-between-uk-universities-and-atomichttp://nuclearinfo.org/sites/default/files/Atoms%20For%20Peace%20Ethical%20Guidelines.pdfhttp://nuclearinfo.org/sites/default/files/Atoms%20For%20Peace%20Full%20Report.pdf
Victorian election 2014: State ‘has worst renewable energy policy environment’, The Age, November 18, 2014 Richard Willingham State Political Correspondent for The Age Victoria has the worst policy environment for renewable energy in Australia, a study has found less than two weeks from the state election.
And in the wake of international plans to tackle emissions, Premier Denis Napthine said Victoria’s reliance on coal-fired power would continue for some time, while also saying alternative energy deserved more attention.
The Climate Council will release on Tuesday a comparison of each state’s renewable energy sector, which has found Victoria the worst performing state. The Brumby government set a 20 per cent emission reduction target by 2020, which was scrapped by the Baillieu government.
The Coalition also quietly abandoned a target of having 5 per cent of Victoria’s power coming from solar energy.
“Victoria now has the worst policy environment for renewables in the country,” the report says.
“Victoria’s new planning rules have cost the state an estimated $4 billion in lost investment and 3000 jobs.”
The Climate Council’s chief councillor, Professor Tim Flannery, said states had a critical role to play, especially in energy generation and some, such as Victoria and NSW, were not providing the right environment for renewable energy.
In Victoria, just one in 10 homes has solar panels, compared with South Australia where 25 per cent of homes have solar panels.
The report highlights that a coal mine can be built within 100 metres of home but there is a two kilometre veto zone around proposed wind turbines – Labor has promised to halve this zone.
Professor Flannery said Victoria had just as good conditions for wind and solar power as South Australia but was still too fixated on coal and was not providing the right regulatory conditions to encourage renewables.
With less than two weeks to go before the election Professor Flannery called on both parties to commit to a renewable energy target.
“Renewables create jobs and can reduce the cost of power as well as reducing greenhouse emissions,” he said……… : http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/victoria-state-election-2014/victorian-election-2014-state-has-worst-renewable-energy-policy-environment-20141117-11ofqh.html#ixzz3K14GKIKj
Meanwhile, wind turbine producer Senvion Portugal remains bullish about exports. Despite the slowdown and uncertainty in renewables in Australia, it still remains the company’s third largest customer behind Germany and France.
Portugal switching to greener energy with more than 50 per cent from renewable sources http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-20/portugals-rise-in-renewable-energy-market/5906758 By Emily Stewart Portugal has a population of just 11 million people but it is punching above its weight in renewable energy industries.
Almost 60 per cent of its energy needs came from renewable sources last year, a 20 per cent increase from 2012.
Carlos Pimenta is considered the country’s renewable guru. The former Portuguese and European Parliament member was a negotiator for the Kyoto protocol and with Al Gore a founder of the GLOBE organisation.
He said the energy market has changed dramatically since its liberalisation. “If you go back 10 years you have centralised gas, oil and electricity with big utilities on top and consumers on bottom paying the bill,” he said.”Nowadays you have thousands of families that produce part of their own electricity… hundreds of small wind farms, solar farms, small biomass that feed-in to the grid.”
Official Portuguese figures show the annual fossil fuel bill has been slashed by 800 million euros through the rise of renewables.
Former state energy company triples renewable energy output Continue reading
Obama climate speech “unnecessary”, says Trade Minister, The Age, 23 Nov 14 US president Barack Obama’s suggestion that Australia was not doing enough to save the Great Barrier Reef was misinformed and unnecessary, Trade Minister Andrew Robb says.
Mr Obama piled pressure on the Abbott government to act on climate change while in Brisbane for the G20, saying natural wonders like the reef were under direct threat………http://www.smh.com.au/national/obama-climate-speech-unnecessary-says-trade-minister-20141123-11s6ci.html#ixzz3K2SxQhT2
The Atomic Weapons Establishment Funds almost Half of UK Universitieshttp://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/the-atomic-weapons-establishment-funds-almost-half-of-uk-universities/
Oak Ridge National Lab Discusses Relationship Between Molten Thorium Reactor And Weapons:
“By 1954, the Laboratory’s chemical technologists had completed a pilot plant demonstrating the ability of the THOREX process to separate thorium, protactinium, and uranium-233 from fission products and from each other. This process could isolate uranium-233 for weapons development and also for use as fuel in the proposed thorium breeder reactors.
Molten-salt reactor experiments continued at the Laboratory through the 1960s and into the early 1970s. In 1969, Keith Brown, David Crouse, Carlos Bamberger, and colleagues adapted molten-salt technology to the problem of breeding uranium-233 from thorium, which could be extracted from the virtually inexhaustible supply of granite rocks found throughout the earth’s crust. When bombarded by neutrons in the molten-salt reactor, thorium was converted to fissionable uranium-233, another nuclear fuel.
In December 1960, the AEC directed the Oak Ridge Laboratory to “turn its attention to developing a molten-salt reactor and thorium breeder“.
http://web.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev25-34/chapter4.shtml (Emphasis Added)
Further, as you can see, there is nothing really “new” about molten salt thorium reactors other than marketing. As in all fashion the same old stuff gets rehashed. We need new energy innovation and investment instead.
More Reading of Interest Regarding Thorium Reactors and Weapons Proliferation: http://wmdjunction.com/121031_thorium_reactors.htmhttps://www.princeton.edu/sgs/publications/sgs/pdf/9_1kang.pdf
Northern Quebec Cree start 850 km trek to protest against uranium mining By Caroline Nepton, CBC News Nov 21, 2014 “……this weekend Iserhoff, who is the chair of the Cree Nation Youth Council, will join a group of Crees walking to Montreal to hand deliver a message to the province’s environmental protection agency’s (BAPE) commission on the uranium industry in Quebec.
The group has a message for BAPE: There will be no uranium exploration and exploitation on the Cree territory of Eeyou Istchee.
“We are the stewards of the land, therefore we have this responsibility to protect for the generations to come,” Iserhoff said.
The walkers will be leaving Mistissini this Sunday to travel over 850 kilometers to reach Montreal by Dec. 15, the last day of the BAPE’s public hearings on the uranium industry in Quebec.
They want other nations and other Quebecers to join the walk. “Innu’s are coming, Algonquins are coming and maybe Atikamekw,” Iserhoff said. ‘The Crees are only one voice and so we are seeking allies.’- Matthew Coon Come, grand chief of Cree Grand Council
The trek is one of the many strategies used by the Crees to protest against uranium mining in their territory.
The Cree Nation government firmly opposes all uranium exploration, mining and waste storage in Eeyou Istchee, Cree territory in northern Quebec. A couple of weeks ago the Cree government launched a website and a social campaign: #StandAgainstUranium. They are still asking people to take selfies with the Stand Against Uranium sign.
The government also sponsored The Wolverine: The Fight of the James Bay Cree, which was presented at the Uranium Festival in Germany last September.
“The Crees are only one voice and so we are seeking allies,” saidMatthew Coon Come, the grand chief of the Cree Grand Council.
One of the most advanced uranium projects in the province is the Strateco Resource Matoush project in Otish Mountain, north ofMistissini.
In 2013, Quebec became the third Canadian province, after Nova Scotia and British Columbia, to establish a moratorium on uranium development. In light of that moratorium, Quebec’s environment minister refused to grant Strateco the permits it had requested to go ahead with the project. http://www.cbc.ca/news/aboriginal/northern-quebec-cree-start-850-km-trek-to-protest-against-uranium-mining-1.2844050
TONY Abbott today warned of a long, hot summer as he opened a Sydney swimming pool, but steered clear of mentioning climate change.
His comments came as Sydneysiders braced for high temperatures tomorrow with the city expected to reach 35C and up to 40C forecast in the west…….
Mr Abbott’s comments about the hot summer also came after Foreign Minister Julie Bishop challenged US President Barack Obama over a climate change speech he made on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Brisbane. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/summers-hot-get-used-to-it-says-tony-abbott/story-e6frg6nf-1227131724609
At the end of the day, developers need surety that policy decisions will not affect the future financial viability of their projects. Until then they will continue to sit on the fence and wait – to the detriment of the renewable energy sector as a whole
Why has investment in renewable energy projects stalled? The Conversation, Craig Froome, 23 Nov 14, Global Change Institute – Clean Energy Program Manager at The University of Queensland
“……. An uncertain futureThe RET has come under much scrutiny in recent months as the federal government attempts to wind it back. This has also seen the government — both federal and state — take a negative approach to policy measures that promote more renewable energy in the energy system.
The result is that many proposed projects that factored in income from the RET have been put on hold, due to the uncertainty of their future income. In the shadow of this uncertainty, finding finance for projects is also a major issue as financiers become more wary. Continue reading
Back in 2012, two researchers with a particular interest in the Arctic, Rutgers’ Jennifer Francis and the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Stephen Vavrus, published a paper called “Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather in mid-latitudes.” In it, they suggested that the fact that the Arctic is warming so rapidly is leading to an unexpected but profound effect on the weather where the vast majority of Americans live – a change that, if their theory is correct, may have something to do with the extreme winter weather the US has seen lately.
In their paper, Francis and Vavrus suggested that a rapidly warming Arctic should interfere with the jet stream, the river of air high above us that flows eastward around the northern hemisphere and brings with it our weather. Sometimes, the jet stream flows relatively directly from west to east; but other times, it takes long, wavy loops, as in the image above. And according to Francis and Vavrus, Arctic warming should make the jet stream more wavy and loopy on average – some have called it “drunk” – with dramatic weather consequences.
Here’s the atmospheric physics behind the idea: Warm air expands, and naturally there is much more warm air at the equator than at the poles. Thus, the atmosphere is thicker at the equator, and the jet stream’s motion is driven by the decline in atmospheric thickness as one moves in a poleward direction – in effect, its atmospheric river flows “downhill,” in Francis’s words. However, if the Arctic is warming faster than the mid-latitudes, then the difference in thickness as you move in a poleward direction should decrease. And this should slow the jet stream, leading to more loops and turns – and consequently, weather of all types getting stuck in place for longer. There’s a nice video explanation of this by Francis here:
According to Francis, the extreme US winter of last year and now, the extremes at the beginning of this season, fit her theory. “This winter looks a whole lot like last winter, it’s a very amplified jet stream pattern,” she says. “We know that when we get these patterns, it tends to be very persistent. And it is definitely the type of pattern that we expect to see more often as the Artic continues to warm so fast.”………..
You can’t call Francis’s idea fully established. You can’t say there’s a “scientific consensus” on it. And you can’t say that the august UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change embraces it. Not yet. But it’s certainly a very serious idea and one of the most discussed theories in climate science. Call it a contender. And if it’s right, well … then we all know, already, what global warming feels like.
Aboriginal activists rallied on the steps of parliament house in Perth on November 12 to protest against the Western Australian government’s plan to close 150 remote Aboriginal communities. The rally also condemned the federal government’s plan to cut funding to 180 remote indigenous communities in Western Australia. Bropho, from the Swan Valley Nyungah community, told the rally: “Closing down these communities will only make more people homeless and [in] despair.
“The way we choose to live should be our choice. We shouldn’t have the domination of government people telling us how to live and where to live. We will fight to get our community and our land back. Our fight will continue.”
In an open letter to Colin Barnett on November 17, Nyungah activist Iva Hayward Jackson said that only a small amount of the revenue from the mining would be needed to cover the costs of maintaining these communities and other improvements and that “it’s only fair to share in the richness of the land with the idea of equality in the treatment of Aboriginal people.
“After all, Aboriginal people are the traditional ‘owners’ of the land and waterways that holds all the precious resources that made Australia a rich and wealthy country in the modern world.” Amnesty International released a statement urging the Western Australian government not to forcibly evict Aboriginal people from the communities, as demolishing houses and denying indigenous people the right to practice their culture is a breach of human rights and international law.
Tammy Solonec, a human rights lawyer working with Amnesty International, slammed the hypocrisy of Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett for admitting that closing the communities will be traumatic for the people involved, while continuing a policy that will force indigenous people to break their connections to land and culture and force them to move to larger towns where they will have greater exposure to drugs, alcohol, violence and crime……….https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/57858
Australia’s Future Fund invests in nuclear weapons development and our banks are happy to provide capital as well.
The protesters were drawing attention to the fact that the federal government’s $101 billion Future Fund invests more than $260 million in foreign companies involved in the manufacture of nuclear weapons (and that figure has increased by $33 million since last June)…….. Continue reading
The nuclear house of cards Online opinion, By Mia Pepper – Thursday, 20 November 2014 “…….. While the nuclear ideologues are charging ahead, many investors are treading carefully.
Mining journalist Dryblower this week made an interesting distinction between uranium and other minerals: “Because uranium is really not part of the pure mining industry but an arm of the nuclear industry it’s easy to understand why most investors prefer simpler metals where there is a chance that a discovery can be brought into production without incurring multiple layers of complexity.”………..
The marginal and short-term increase in uranium is hardly cause for celebration. Even from the miners’ point of view, there is little to celebrate since the current price is barely half that needed to make new mines viable or profitable.
All this excitement is really based on the hope from the industry that there will be a long-term increase in the demand for uranium. Often pointing to new build reactors in India and China, the industry is optimistic.
However according the World Nuclear Industry Status Report of 2014 there are currently 39 operating reactors that are operating over their 40 year life expectancy and due for closure. The report projects a long term decline in the number of reactors after 2020.
Likewise, in a report released last week the International Energy Agency warns of a looming “wave of retirements” of ageing reactors with almost 200 of the 434 reactors expected to be shut down by 2040. IEA chief economist Faith Bristolsaid: “I am afraid we are not well-prepared in terms of policies and funds which are devoted to decommissioning. A major concern for all of us is how we are going to deal with this massive surge in retirements in nuclear power plants.”
In the face of nuclear war, nuclear disaster, public opposition, financial struggle, and the growth and competitiveness of renewable technologies, the house of cards that is the nuclear industry is bound to collapse again. http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=16869
France’s ambitious goals for renewable energy contrast with Abbott’s plans to crush renewable energy development
France, Australia take diverging paths to renewable energy http://www.fierceenergy.com/story/france-australia-take-diverging-paths-renewable-energy/2014-11-19 November 19, 2014 | By Barbara Vergetis Lundin While France has set ambitious goals to increase the share of renewables in its energy portfolio, Australia has taken a completely opposite approach — repealing its 2011 Clean Energy Act, which established a carbon pricing mechanism, according
to an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.
France’s lower house of parliament recently set a target of 32 percent energy generation from renewable sources by 2030, as part of the approval of the country’s energy transition law. The law also aims to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels and cut fossil fuel use by 30 percent. (at left, France’s Hanwha solar farm)
In contrast, since Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott assumed power in September 2013, he has made radical changes to the country’s energy policy, including abolishing the carbon tax and reducing a goal to install one million solar roofs. “France is committed to increasing its share of renewable energy, with Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) and tradable green certificates being the main types of support. The country also has plans to decrease its nuclear power share from the current 75 percent to 50 percent by 2025,” said Pranav Srivastava, power analyst, GlobalData. “Meanwhile, Australia’s renewable energy targets that are currently under review may be significantly reduced, although the opposition Australian Labor Party is refusing to accept the level of reductions proposed. The country’s renewable policy review has severely affected the industry, as investments in the sector were low in the first half of 2014, lower than since the first half of 2001.”
Effective from July 2014, Australia’s minimum retailer FiT price has been cut from $0.076 per kilowatt hour (kWh) to $0.06/kWh, according to the analyst.
While Australia’s alternative energy space has been hit hard, France is pressing forward with plans to promote the industry.
“France plans to invest about €10 billion ($13.41 billion) in renewable energy to cut the country’s oil and gas bill and reduce its reliance upon nuclear energy,” Srivastava said. “The development of renewable power plants will help the country to create more jobs and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.”
– see this report