Australian news, and some related international items

Wrap up of the week’s Australian nuclear news

Uranium miner Toro Energy promotes quack  scientist Doug Boreham ‘s speaking tours to preach the false gospel that low level radiation is harmless.  Medical doctors call on Toro to stop this.

South Australia grants lease for Four Mile uranium mine – which is mainly owned by nuclear weapons making company.  BHP Billiton and the Federal Government out to punish Aborignal elder Kevin Buzzacott, with legal costs for his one man battle against the planned Olympic Dam uranium mega-mine.

Northern Territory  Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) will shut down Ranger open cut mine, in the context of their financial losses, and weather problems. But they are building huge underground infrastructure in the guise of “exploration”  – as they do not have approval for underground mining.

ABORIGINAL leaders from Arnhem Land communities have threatened a revolt against the Federal Government’s Stronger Futures laws

Nuclear waste returning to Australia as contracted will join the much larger amount already stored at Lucas Heights, in  a new waste facility to be built. Sutherland Shire Mayor understandably angry, as the Shire was not consulted by ANSTO .

Queensland Premier says no plans for uranium mining, desite pressure from  Mt Isa Mayor – cum – nuclear lobbyist Tony McGrady

Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland Liberal governments fighting tooth and nail against action on climate change, against the carbon tax, renewable energy initiatives, like  the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Victoria’s draconian laws stopping new wind power, while more favourable laws promote coal projects.  Still new wind energy projects are starting up in NSW and S.A., and decentralised solar power racing ahead in all States.


May 2, 2012 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Australia’s renewed Intervention laws meet strong opposition from Aboriginal elders

NT elders fight Stronger Futures law plans, THE AUSTRALIAN AAP , May 02, 2012   ABORIGINAL leaders from Arnhem Land communities have threatened a revolt against the Federal Government’s Stronger Futures laws by refusing to participate in land lease negotiations or give the nod to mining exploration licences. Continue reading

May 2, 2012 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Global spread of nuclear radiation leads to fewer girl babies being born

 the study is ‘the most convincing documentation’ so far that radiation may lead to a gender bias in humans.

Nuclear age has led to millions of fewer baby girls being born  Study claims nuclear radiation from bomb testing and power plant leaks hits female birthrate
Japanese nuclear disaster could hit girl births in U.S. Nuclear radiation from power plant leaks and bomb tests resulted in millions fewer baby girls born worldwide, according to a new study.

Scientists noted these types of atmospheric blasts rather than on-the-ground incidents like Chernobyl, effected birth gender across the globe. Continue reading

May 2, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sutherland Shire Mayor the last to be told of nuclear waste plan

from our Sutherland Shire correspondent , 2 May 12, ANSTO did not even bother to let the local council, Sutherland Shire Council , know this was occurring [ ABC Illawarra , 97.3fm, 2.5.2012 , 7.36 to 7.40am , Peter Reily, breakfast announcer and Station Manager]. Naturally , this basic lack of common decency and lack of professional coutesy , boardering on arragoncy, did not go down well with the Mayor. She vowed to let ANSTO have a piece of her mind today at a hastily arranged meeting .

Australia should not be involved in any aspect of the nuclear cycle ; yet if we are ,ANSTO and government policy should be consultative and up-front with all members of community before we are forced to consider the policy with the nuclear waste on its way back to us.

This is the problem with this industry : some profit , while the rest of the community pays the price.

No nuclear waste store for Shire, says mayor, SMH, Matthew Moore, David Wroe May 2, 2012 SUTHERLAND Shire Council says a ”people power” campaign by residents might be the only way to stop plans by the nuclear agency to build a nuclear waste storage facility at Lucas Heights….. ANSTO said it wants to build an interim facility to store about 13 cubic metres of waste from 2015 until 2020 while a permanent facility is built, because Australia is required to repatriate its waste under the terms of an agreement made when it sent the material overseas…

. Thefederal government passed legislation earlier this year to set up a single nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory. Its preferred site is Muckaty Station, a former cattle station that is now Aboriginal freehold land under control of the Northern Land Council. However the site’s use is strongly opposed by green groups and faces a
Federal Court challenge by local Aborigines.
The temporary storage of the waste in Sydney has been welcomed by Greens and anti-nuclear campaigners. Greens senator Scott Ludlam described it a sensible way to store the waste while a longer-term solution could be found, pointing out that the Lucas Heights site already stored about 15 times as much radioactive waste. :

May 2, 2012 Posted by | New South Wales, wastes | Leave a comment

Queensland govt – no plans for uranium mining, despite uranium lobbyist Tony McGrady

No plans for uranium mining ban rethink By Stephen Smiley ABC News May 02, 2012   The State Government says it has no plans to revisit Queensland’s ban on uranium mining.

New Mount Isa Mayor Tony McGrady is advising two uranium companies and also lobbied for the former Bligh government to overturn Labor’s ban on uranium mining. Mr McGrady says he will be talking to the State Government “at every opportunity” about developing a uranium industry in the state’s north-west.

However in a statement, Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps says uranium is not among the new Government’s mining priorities.

May 2, 2012 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Wind Farms Falsely Linked to Climate Change

Wind Farms Fight Climate Change Wind Farms Falsely Linked to Climate Change. By Zoë Casey , May 1st, 2012 Media sources have today published reports claiming that wind farms can cause local temperature increases. The news, based on a study carried out on large wind farms in Texas, has been widely reported and, in some cases, falsely linked to global climate change. Continue reading

May 2, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s Renewable Energy Target driving new wind farm projects in S.A. and NSW

the first major PPA for new build wind farm for several years that has been driven by the renewable energy target

Wind energy finally taking off again in Australia, REneweconomy, By    2 May 2012 The Australia wind energy industry looks set to end its near three-year hiatus, as Origin Energy signed its largest ever power purchase agreement, Thai group Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding said it would be adding 200 megawatts of wind turbine capacity in Australia (to its existing 100MW) over the next few years, and REpower Australia prepared to launch a scaled-down version of a new wind farm in NSW. Continue reading

May 2, 2012 Posted by | New South Wales, South Australia, wind | , | Leave a comment

Australia’s State governments fervently slashing renewable energy

Not so fast to the green scheme graveyard Crikey, by Fergus Green, climate change lawyer and policy analyst, 2 May 12, Federalism of the co-operative and unco-operative variety is back in the news. As the July 1 start date for the federal government’s carbon pricing scheme looms, the uppity conservative state premiers’ league is out in force, crying foul about the “tax” and fervently slashing “redundant” and “costly” state-based climate change schemes. Meanwhile, federal programs such as the Renewable Energy Target are under the microscope, with the Coalition and big business calling for an end to this kind of “green tape”

Victoria’s Baillieu government recently accepted the recommendation of a review of the Victorian Climate Change Act to scrap the state’s 20% emissions reduction target by 2020 — the latest in a long line of anti-environmentpro-fossil fuels policy developments during its first 16 months in office. Queensland’s newly elected Newman government has opted for a more expeditious approach, axing just about every Queensland government program with a tinge of green — from the $430 million Queensland Climate Change Fund (which provides $30 million a year for climate change initiatives) to the $50 million Smart Energy Savings Program (which helps businesses improve energy efficiency).

Amid this carnage, it is worth considering just what is the appropriate role of complementary state and federal policies in tackling climate change in the context of the new carbon price……

The federal cap only covers a limited number of emissions-producing sectors – notably energy generation, industrial processes, landfill waste and fugitive emissions (for example, methane released from coalmines). Sectors not covered by the scheme include agriculture, forestry and (via changes to the fuel tax and rebate regimes) parts of transport.* Any state or federal government policies that reduce emissions in these sectors will result in abatement beyond that brought about by the federal cap. As the PC points out in its Garnaut Review submission, policies to target these sectors make sense to the extent that they would reduce the costs of achieving an overall national emissions reduction target.

Emissions embodied in the fossil fuels we export, which far exceed our domestic emissions, are not subject to the carbon price either. This gives states (which largely control mining policy) a critical role in influencing global greenhouse gas emissions.

May 2, 2012 Posted by | New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria | Leave a comment

The smart grid and renewable energy are on their way to Australia

“The current electricity system is designed for electricity to flow in one direction, but as we put more renewable energy into the system, more and more electricity will flow in the other direction

 with the level of control and intelligence provided by the smart grid, electric car batteries could store power while parked helping balance supply and demand across the network.

Welcome to the smart grid, ABC 1 May 12,  JOHN PICKRELL  “….Welcome to the world of the smart home and its sister, the smart grid.

Already across Victoria, smart meters are being fitted that tell the grid how much power you’re using, and charge a different rate at peak and off-peak times of day. Last year in the Sydney suburb of Newington, a family of human guinea pigs lived in a smart home created by electricity provider Ausgrid and Sydney Water. This house had a HAN — or energy dashboard — and tested energy- and water-saving technologies, as well as generating its own power from solar cells and a ceramic fuel cell. In this way, the family generated most of their power, some of which they stored in batteries in both the house and their Mitsubishi i-MieV electric car. (Find out more about the smart home here and here) Continue reading

May 2, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Clean energy up, nuclear energy down – Germany shows the way

A vast majority of Germans have made up their minds on the need to phase out nuclear. And what happens in Germany will be a major indicator for other countries…..  The world is watching Germany’s Energiewende.”
 Germany: Fighting Climate Change And Phasing Out Nuclear Power Are Two Sides Of The Same Coin Think Progress,   Apr 27, 2012  by Arne Jungjohann Recently, the editorial board of the Washington Post asked if the world can fight global warming without nuclear power, looking to Germany and Japan for the answer.

Both countries are known for a nuclear shutdown path. In Japan, only one of the 54 nuclear reactors currently remains in operation. Germany has closed eights reactors following the nuclear catastrophe of Fukushima in March 2011 and the remaining nine are scheduled to be closed by 2022.

That obviously must lead to rising emissions, the Post claims. …. If you look at the most recent emissions data, however, the opposite is happening. Germany reduced its carbon emissions in 2011 by 2.1 percent despite the nuclear phase out. How can that be? Continue reading

May 2, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

1.2 million solar installations already in Australia

Australia Home To More Than 1.2 Million Solar Installations Energy Matters,2 May 12

Either Australia is chock-full of tree-hugging hippies, or the average Aussie is increasingly  understanding how much money can be saved by making the switch to solar… and yes, it’s the latter.    According to statistics published by the newly-formed REC Agents Association (RAA),  665,215 solar power systems for which certificates have been registered were installed between 2001 to the end of March this year, representing an installed capacity of 1.431 gigawatts.   Add to that 574,503 solar hot water systems and throw in 149,420 air source heat pumps (arguably also a solar technology) for good measure and the total figure is actually closer to 1.4 million systems.
The RAA says 20% of Australian households that could have a PV or solar hot water system installed have done so, thanks largely to support provided under Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET), which has helped reduce the installed cost of a PV system  75% over last 5 years. Continue reading

May 2, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | | Leave a comment

Australian-owned and developed in launching Western Australia’s wave energy project

WA to launch world-first wave energy project, WA Today, Pamela Mirghani May 1, 2012 –  The first wave energy project in the Southern Hemisphere is set to commence operation in Western Australia next year, with the federal government announcing almost $10 million in funding today. Continue reading

May 2, 2012 Posted by | energy, Western Australia | Leave a comment