Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s ABC Radio gets “astroturfed” by the nuclear lobby

Nuclear Industry infiltrates ABC to push for an atomic AustraliaIndependent Australia , 10 Sept 11, The nuclear industry is using increasingly subtle methods to promote the development of a nuclear power and radioactive waste disposal industry in AustraliaNoel Wauchope reports.

In the ABC radio program Ockham’s Razorfirst broadcast on Sunday 4th August, Terry Krieg enthusiastically promotes the nuclear industry. This program was remarkable for two reasons:

First, Mr Krieg appeared to be not your usual expert connected with the nuclear industry. Mr Krieg, we were told, is “a retired geography and geology teacher”. Good, I thought, as it seemed that the ABC was giving an ordinary mortal a go on national radio. But was that all he was? No, alas. There was, as there always seems to be, some “astroturfing” going on.

A bit of research on the Net and we soon discover that Mr Krieg is a spokesperson for the Australian Nuclear Forum. This is an organisation dedicated, it says, to “advancing peaceful aspects of nuclear science and technology”. With that aim, the ANF provides “policy papers and information papers for schools”. Its members are “professionals with wide collective experience in nuclear science and technology”. In other words, it is a false grassroots nuclear industry lobby group.

Now, I really do think that the presenter, Robin Williams, should have told us that.  But perhaps he didn’t know. It is in the interests of nuclear astroturfers to not have people know that the information they present, far from being unvarnished, comes straight from the nuclear industry itself.

Secondly, Mr Krieg came out with what the nuclear lobby has been secretly planning for Australia — that is, to establish the full nuclear cycle in this country, including storing radioactive wastes.

For these two reasons, Krieg’s promotional spruik is important.

I hope that it kicks off a clearer, more “democratic’ discussion on the nuclear industry.  Australia so far has had only one real speaker who puts clearly the case against nuclear power: Dr Helen Caldicott. Yes, I know that she is an “expert”. But she has an unusual ability to speak plainly. Perhaps that is why she is ignored by Australia’s media and political big boys.

Anyway, Australia surely needs some plain speaking on this issue, so critical for our children and grandchildren’s future.

Terry Krieg should not be ignored. His vision for a totally nuclear South Australia is scary stuff.

On Climate Change and Renewable Energy Krieg, rather surprisingly, loses some scientific credibility right at the start, as he reveals himself as a climate-change denier….   On Germany…   On Wind power This seems to be Terry Krieg’s main target,….   On Greenhouse gas emissions….   On Australia’s nuclear future..   On South Australia’s future…

If the Australian public is not made aware of the full meaning of the nuclear lobby’s plan, in clear “ordinary” language, Terry Krieg’s vision might well come true.


September 10, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Radiation continues to leak from Fukushima nuclear reactors

Fukushima Radiation expert says outcome of nuke crisis hard to predict, warns of further dangers, Paul Langley’s Nuclear History Blog(Mainichi Japan) September 9, 2011   by Hiroaki Koide “.……. At present, I believe that there is a possibility that massive amounts of radioactive materials will be released into the environment again.

At the No. 1 reactor, there’s a chance that melted fuel has burned through the bottom of the pressure vessel, the containment vessel and the floor of the reactor building, and has sunk into the ground. From there, radioactive materials may be seeping into the ocean and groundwater…….

The government and plant operator TEPCO are trumpeting the operation of the circulation cooling system, as if it marks a successful resolution to the disaster. However, radiation continues to leak from the reactors. The longer the circulation cooling system keeps running, the more radioactive waste it will accumulate. It isn’t really leading us in the direction we need to go.

It’s doubtful that there’s even a need to keep pouring water into the No.1 reactor, where nuclear fuel is suspected to have burned through the pressure vessel. Meanwhile, it is necessary to keep cooling the No. 2 and 3 reactors, which are believed to still contain some fuel, but the cooling system itself is unstable. If the fuel were to become overheated again and melt, coming into contact with water and trigger a steam explosion, more radioactive materials will be released……

what is the point of “aiming for cold shutdown” now, when we know that fuel is no longer sound?

In the days ahead, the storage of enormous quantities of radiation-contaminated waste, including tainted mud resulting from the decontamination process, will become a major problem. ….

With Fukushima, however, there is a possibility that nuclear fuel has fallen into the ground, in which case it will take 10 or 20 years to recover it. We are now head to head with a situation that mankind has never faced before.

September 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As solar energy costs fall, Australia needs to act fast developing solar expertise

 the potential role of solar is quite impressive.  It could be a trillion dollar market or more within a decade or two, and the world’s biggest energy technology companies are jostling for position. As Mark Twidell, from the Australian Solar Institute points out, solar is the only technology where costs are falling rapidly – most others are static or rising…..

Australian solar thinks big,  Climate Spectator,Giles Parkinson, 9 Sept 11More than 100 aspiring developers of large-scale solar plants will join financiers, policy makers and NGOs in Melbourne for yet another solar summit today – anxious to learn how they can stop meeting like this and actually go out and build stuff. Continue reading

September 10, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, solar | | Leave a comment

Wind power increased three times, on smaller land area

VIDEO New Japanese Wind Turbine Triples Power Output Without Increasing Size, Triple Pundit By RP Siegel | September 9th, 2011 Necessity, as we’ve all been told can sometimes be the mother of invention. In Japan, there is a necessity for a power source that does not require fossil fuels, …

 they came up with the wind lens. What is a wind lens, you ask, and what does it do? What does any lens do? It focuses. Except instead of focusing light, a wind lens, which is an inward curving ring around the perimeter of the circle inscribed by the turbine’s blades as they rotate, focuses airflow, directing and accelerating the air as it enters the blade zone.According to team leader Professor Prof. Yuji Ohya, it consists of an inlet shroud, a diffuser and a brim. This results in a low pressure area behind the turbine which draws in more air creating even more power. Researchers claim that this approach can triple the turbine’s output while reducing noise at the same time.

Last year in the US, wind turbines provided 40,180 MW of power, or 3.2% of total demand. Tripling that would bring it quickly up to 10%. Extrapolating that out a bit: at this rate, the entire US energy demand could be met with about 20% of its wind energy potential. This would require an area of 170,000 square miles, about the size of California. Now, that’s still a pretty big area, but it’s getting smaller all the time. (Not that we ever wanted to meet all of our demand with wind, anyway.)

What is also getting smaller is the cost. This technology puts wind cost below coal and nuclear without subsidies. Growth in wind power will go hand in hand with growth in electric vehicles, which will be charging up overnight, which is when the winds are typically strongest.

Given the fact that Japan is an island nation, it has the advantage of being surrounded by water. The Kyushu researchers anticipate that the best use of these turbines will be offshore. They have designed hexagonal-shaped floating platforms to support them. The platform can be combined into a beehive-like formation. (See video)

September 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Costs of solar energy in Australia dropping, competitive with coal


  Australia, Solar Costs Actually Compete with Coal Calfinder  (USA) 9 Sept 11, Solar energy. Solar panels. Solar affordability. We’ve talked about it a lot. And for good reason—solar energy is emerging more and more into the social consciousness as a great alternative for coal and other exhaustible energy. Places all around the world are finding that the cost of solar energy is dropping. Especially in Australia.

Solar power generated by photovoltaic cells has created such a drop in cost for solar energy in Australia that the energy source has become incredibly cheap. In fact, these cells produce power for as little money as coal-derived electricity.

To find out how much solar costs in your area, click here.

Such a drop in cost, says the Australian Photovoltaic Association, has allowed solar to finally rival coal. The idea is called grid parity, where the government itself has begun to rethink pricing models and availability of solar paneling.

That’s saying a lot. But these solar panels are doing a lot. Across the country, governments are abandoning the concept of paying people for the power that their solar cells generate.

Despite the controversial feed-in tariffs, blamed largely for the country’s rapid rise in electricity costs, solar panels are generating electricity so cheaply that the solar source has become competitive with coal—even without subsidies, according to Photovoltaic Association spokeswoman Dr. Muriel Watt….

September 10, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | | Leave a comment