Australian news, and some related international items

Australia should stop exporting uranium, and avoid danger of importing nuclear waste

Nuclear waste blow, St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, BY KATE CARR,03 May, 2012   THE news that the federal government has decided to use the ANSTO facility at Lucas Heights as a nuclear waste storage site has been met with dismay in Sutherland Shire.  …..ANSTO  chief executive Adi Paterson  said about 13.2 square metres of intermediate nuclear waste would be stored in a $30 million purpose-built facility at Lucas Heights from 2015 for a maximum of five years, while the national nuclear repository is built.

The proposed new storage facility at Lucas Heights would enable Australia to meet obligations to repatriate Australian waste being reprocessed in France.

Under arrangements established by governments in the 1990s, it is due to return to Australia by the end of 2015.

Menai MP Melanie Gibbons and Sutherland Shire mayor Carol Provan were quick to condemn the plan.

Ms Gibbons said that given the federal government was yet to decide on the location of the repository, there was a very real fear the waste could remain in the shire far longer than five years……  Councillor Steve Simpson, who spoke to the council about the need to prevent ANSTO from storing nuclear waste earlier this year, said he was shocked the shire learned of the decision through a press release.

“I feel we have been neglected,” Cr Simpson said. “Our suburb isn’t a waste dumping ground.”

Sutherland Shire Environment Centre spokeswoman Jenni Gormley said she was concerned the construction of an “out of sight, out of mind repository” could lead to Australia becoming a global dumping ground for uranium.

“Australia should instead cease the overseas exportation of uranium and avoid the need for a “remote” storage facility,” Ms Gormley said.

May 4, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

We may be underestimating the impact of low-dose ionizing radiation on reproductive health

Radiation and Sex Odds  by Paige Brown “…. a study revealed a cause-and-effect relationship between ionizing radiation and disturbed sex odds, in other words a higher number of male infants born compared to females. This study in Environmental Science & Pollution Research, performed by a group of scientists (Scherb and Voigt) in Germany, gains credibility with data from 40 different countries including the United States, and data from many millions of human births between 1950 and 2007. The sex chromosomes of fathers appear to be at higher risk from mutation due to ionizing radiation, resulting in more male and fewer female children born.

Ionizing radiation consists of energetic particles or waves that have enough energy to disturb atoms in matter, including the atoms that make up the human body. Ionizing radiation is emitted from radioactive materials, such as those materials that fuel nuclear power plants and that make atomic bombs so deadly. Scherb and Voigt suggest that, beyond disturbed sex odds, the total number of human births in general is affected by radiation released in to the atmosphere. They estimate that the number of children not born along with the number of children stillborn or impaired due to the effects of such radiation number in the millions. Sources of atmospheric radiation include atomic bombs, atomic bomb testing such as that in the U.S. prior to a ban in 1963, and nuclear plant accidents like that at Chernobyl in 1986 andFukushima in 2011. Proximity to nuclear power plants under normal operations may also pose a risk to human reproduction and ratio of male to female births. Results from the German study reveal changes in sex odds for parents living within distances of 35km from an operating plant. Although the total number of children not born or born with impairments due to ionizing radiation pales in comparison to naturally occurring pregnancy complications and diseases, this study reveals that we may be underestimating the impact of low-dose ionizing radiation on reproductive health…..

May 4, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Magical thinking – “Fukushima just a speed bump on the road to nuclear renaissance”

“Nuclear Renaissance” Back on Track   WDM Group PR Network, Business Review Australia
NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwire – May 3, 2012) – Last year the Fukushima disaster in Japan started a downward spiral for companies in the Uranium Industry. Approximately one year later the industry looks to be finally recovering….. “Fukushima put a speed bump on the road to the nuclear renaissance,” Ganpat Mani, president of Converdyn, said at
a nuclear industry summit. “It’s not going to delay the programs around the world.”

May 4, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Musicians, church leaders and 36,000 Australians oppose the “Stronger Futures” laws

Former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Fraser, the Catholic Church and Uniting Church have backed the elder’s stance.

More than 36,000 people have signed the Stand for Freedom campaign petition against the Stronger Future laws.

Musicians rally against ‘Stronger Futures’, THE AUSTRALIAN AAP May 04, 2012 AUSTRALIAN musicians Paul Kelly, Neil Murray and Archie Roach have joined Northern Territory Aboriginal leaders in rallying against the federal government’s Stronger Futures Laws. Continue reading

May 4, 2012 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Australian government Intervention laws against Aborigines contravene human rights

The government has wilful deafness on such a fundamental issue, even after critical reports on the intervention by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples. 

Intervention laws face human rights hurdle BY: PATRICIA KARVELAS  The Australian May 04, 2012   THE National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples has threatened to use “domestic and international human rights forums” to humiliate the Gillard government over the next stage of its radical intervention into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. Continue reading

May 4, 2012 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Japan’ s chance to build for a clean energy future, as all its nuclear reactors shut down

The nuclear industry is clearly terrified that if Japan sees it can live without this dangerous and expensive technology then it’s game over for them. The fantastic example being set by Japan can only encourage other countries to follow suit.

54 reactors down: Japan breaks free of nuclear power by Justin McKeating – May 4, 2012  With tomorrow’s scheduled shutdown of Japan’s Tomari nuclear power plant the country will be free from nuclear power for the first time since 1966. Can it seize this historic opportunity? Here at Greenpeace we believe it can.

All of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors will be offline. Now, the country’s government must learn from its mistakes of the past, listen to its people and scientists, keep reactors offline, and usher in Japan’s renewable and sustainable future. History is within their grasp.

There will never be a better time. Since the terrible events of March 11 last year when an earthquake and tsunami triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan has shown that nuclear power can be abandoned quickly and with an invisible impact on people’s daily lives.  The Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano has said there will be no restrictions on electricity use or rolling blackouts.   Continue reading

May 4, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Slow journey to new Kyoto climate action Protocol

the next high-level climate summit to start [ in Doha]  in November.

U.N. climate negotiators will gather on May 14-25 in Bonn, Germany, to resume talks on issues including the length and stringency of Kyoto 2 targets and the accounting of emissions from forestry.
Over 35 so-called industrialized nations pledged to sign up to a second Kyoto target at U.N. climate talks in Durban last year. The new deal will legally bind those countries to cut emissions from 2013 until either 2017 or 2020.

Australia, NZ Delay Decision On Signing Kyoto 2  03-May-12 LONDON Planet Ark,  Marton Kruppa
Australia and New Zealand have missed a deadline to set post-2012 emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol, with both governments saying they will decide whether to continue to be legally bound to cut emissions of seven greenhouse gases later this year.

Countries intending to sign up to a second round of targets under the 1997 treaty were scheduled to notify the U.N. by Tuesday. But Australia and New Zealand, both of which plan to launch emissions trading schemes and have been tipped to take on fresh legal targets from 2013, failed to meet that deadline.

The EU and several other nations have already indicated they will set a post-2012 legally-binding target, but Canada, Russia and Japan, three big emitters with current Kyoto goals, have said they will not. Australia said it will make a decision only after U.N. parties agree on how long the second Kyoto period would last and how many surplus Kyoto permits can be transferred from the first phase. Continue reading

May 4, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | | Leave a comment

Woomera,South Australia – the leading state for bomb testing and uranium mining

Vast weapons test site set for mining  By Tom Nightingale ABC Radio Sydney May 04, 2012  The Defence Department is changing access rules for mining companies in the potentially-lucrative Woomera weapons testing area.
The vast region in outback South Australia is used for sophisticated and secret weapons testing, but is also estimated to have tens of billions of dollars of uranium, copper, gold, iron ore and coal. A temporary agreement is being negotiated, while legislation for the longer term is set to go before Federal Parliament….

.. “The Gawler Craton is a geological anomaly that we think holds vast reserves of uranium, copper and gold. In terms of copper, about 70 per cent of Australia’s copper reserves are in the WPA, about 40 per cent of world’s uranium reserves are in Olympic Dam. We think there is more in WPA,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

May 4, 2012 Posted by | business, South Australia | | Leave a comment

Australia and China – a solar energy story, with more achievement to come

China’s solar story is Australia’s solar story. It is an untold story of Australian innovation and climate change action. Everywhere I went in China, I met Aussies. So many of the leaders of China’s PV industry – indeed the global PV industry – were trained in Australia, at the University of New South Wales or the Australian National University.
Suntech is just one example of Chinese and Australian innovation, action on climate change and strategic investment in solar.

The solar partnership between Australia and China is making the economics of solar persuasive, and the introduction of a carbon price, the establishment of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the continuation of the Renewable Energy Target will open up investment opportunities.

Power in numbers: Tapping the Aus-China solar alliance, REneweconomy, By John Grimes on 4 May 2012 Greg Combet’s recent visit to China for the annual Australia-China Climate Change Forum was a timely reminder of the strong action China is taking to cut its carbon pollution levels and the importance of the partnership between Australia and China in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Nowhere is that partnership more important than in the clean energy space.

As the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, largest population centre and second largest economy, China is facing the extraordinarily difficult challenge of disconnecting its rapid economic growth from soaring greenhouse emissions. China is introducing a pilot emissions trading scheme in seven provinces, with a combined population of 250 million people, before introducing a national emissions trading scheme from 2015-16. China is committed to reducing its national carbon output per unit of GDP by 17 per cent by 2015, and 40-45 per cent by 2020.

China has also made a strategic investment in renewable energy, with the unstated aim of leading the world as it moves into the next industrial revolution. China is already the world’s leading manufacturer and installer of wind turbines and is the home of seven of the world’s top ten solar PV manufacturers (up from four in 2009). It won’t be long before China takes the lead as the largest installer of PV…… Continue reading

May 4, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | | Leave a comment

Tasmanian wind farm providing jobs, while conventional farming continues, too

Premier Lara Giddings, who yesterday visited the site, said 200 jobs over 18 months was a welcome boost for an area hit hard by the forestry downturn.

Wind farm has plenty of puff   BRUCE MOUNSTER   |   May 04, 2012 YOU just have to look at the trees.. Then, says Hydro Tasmania chief executive Roy Adair, it’s easy to see why the Cape Portland property on Tasmania’s far north-east tip, is considered one of the best wind farm sites in Australia. “The configuration of the trees and the way that they are heavily leaning to one side,” he said.

The 550ha beef, dairy and former woolgrowing property is home to the 56 turbine Musselroe wind farm, now under construction after an eight year gestation. Continue reading

May 4, 2012 Posted by | Tasmania, wind | | Leave a comment