Australian news, and some related international items

Warren Mundine , nuclear lobby’s Aboriginal spin doctor, enters election campaign

Christina Macpheson, 10 August 13, Australia’s uranium-nuclear lobby must be ecstatic.   After all that Aboriginal opposition to their mines, and their nuclear waste dump plans, now their very own Aboriginal stooge has stepped in.  Warren Mundine, former  National President of the Labor Party, has well and truly jumped political party ship, to head a new Liberal party  indigenous advisory council .

Warren Mundine has an impressive pro nuclear record.   He has been promoting the nuclear industry , praising  nuclear energy,saying  that it is necessary for nuclear medicine. Most alarming of all, Mundine advocates the “full nuclear cycle”.  That means Australia not only having nuclear power, but taking in nuclear waste from overseas countries.

Mundine’s nuclear lobbying activities have been documented on this website several times.  He was appointed by Queensland Premier Newman  to the uranium implementation committee.  He is co-convener of the Australian Uranium Association’s Indigenous Dialogue Group,


There’ll be  a few Aboriginal people who will,not be happy with Mundine’s latest effort.  He’s been slammed in the past by  Noongar anti-nuclear activist, Marianne McKay of the West Australian Nuclear Free Alliance.

Warren Mundine is a Director of the Australian Uranium Association

August 10, 2013 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, election 2013 | Leave a comment

Nuclear Lobby’s Warren Mundine and Tony Abbott are kindred spirits

Mundine-puppetIndigenous affairs: Tony Abbott says he and Warren Mundine are ‘kindred spirits’ CoalitionAbbott-nukemonk leader wants to work in close partnership with Mundine, who would head a new indigenous advisory council under an Abbott government  in Sydney and agencies, Saturday 10 August 2013 

The Coalition leader said there was a need to convert all the good thinking from indigenous leaders such as Mundine, Noel Pearson and Alison Anderson into practical action on the ground.

“Warren and I are kindred spirits and I’m really excited at the changes that have taken place in thinking about these issues over the last decade or so,” he told ABC radio on Saturday morning.

Abbott said he wanted to work in close partnership with Mundine, who would head a new indigenous advisory council under a Coalition government, and said the arrangement could make the difference needed to improve indigenous lives……  Mundine, the executive chairman of the Australian Indigenous Chamber of Commerce, is to spell out his vision at the Garma Festival in the Northern Territory on Saturday night. That will reportedly involve abolishing a range of indigenous governance bodies and excising townships from community-owned land to allow for private ownership of homes and businesses…..

August 10, 2013 Posted by | aboriginal issues, election 2013 | Leave a comment

“Join anti nuclear movement” – Nagasaki Mayor calls on youth

Nagasaki mayor slams Abe’s nuclear policy on atom bomb anniversary 10 Aug 13

VIDEO: Nagasaki mayor slams Abe’s nuclear policy on atom bomb anniversary (ABC News)

Nagasaki’s mayor has urged the Japanese government to take stronger action in opposing nuclear weapons, during a ceremony to mark the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city.

As tens of thousands of people gathered in Nagasaki for the anniversary, mayor Tomihisa Taue used the occasion to call for stronger anti-nuclear leadership from Tokyo.


Mr Taue says the recent failure to sign a statement rejecting the use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances was a betrayal. ”If we cannot accept the wording that usage of nuclear weapon will never be permitted, it means the Japanese government is showing that nuclear weapons can be used depending on the circumstance,” he said.

Mr Taue called on Japan’s younger generation to hear the voices of the World War II bomb survivors and remember its devastating effects. The memorial was held at Nagasaki’s Peace Park, close to the spot where the US military dropped its bomb on August 9, 1945.

Seventy-four thousand of the city’s population of 240,000 were killed immediately or were dead within a year.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also spoke at the event, reminding the audience that the Japanese are the only people to have experienced a nuclear attack. ”We have the responsibility to bring about a world without nuclear weapons and it is our duty to continue to remind the world of the inhumanity (of nuclear weapons),” Mr Abe said.

August 10, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s Silex laser uranium technology – a Faustian bargain

devil-bargainThe global implications are profound according to the American physicists’ society and non-proliferation groups who fear the
Silex technology will promote the spread of nuclear weapons.

DAVID BRADBURY, FRONTLINE FILMS: The long-term repercussions of it is that we’re going to have more uranium being enriched around the
planet, it’s going to lead to a mountain of nuclear waste for which we have not created any solution to be able to store it safely and so in
so doing it’s going to create a nightmare for present and future generations to deal with.

Nuclear Enrichment Revolution Meets Weapon Fears James M. Acton   ABC TV/RADIO BROADCAST AUGUST 1, 2013 An Australian
nuclear physicist has developed a new enrichment process and been granted approval by US regulators to develop it commercially, despite fears it could promote the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Carnegie’s James Acton talks to Australia’s ABC News.

LEIGH SALES: Two years after the disastrous meltdown of the Fukushima power plant, the Japanese people are still dealing with the fall-out
and the debate over nuclear energy is as polarised as ever. In Australia, proponents of nuclear power are stepping up their efforts
to win support. One Australian physicist has developed a revolutionary new enrichment process which has been given the go-ahead by regulators in the United States to the alarm of anti-nuclear activists. Greg Hoy reports.

GREG HOY, REPORTER: Inside Australia’s top-secret nuclear facility, Lucas Heights, in Sydney, a ground-breaking development is under way.
Australian nuclear physicist Dr Michael Goldsworthy and his company Silex are refining top-secret laser technology. While filming the real
lasers is prohibited, this technology will revolutionise enrichment of uranium for the world’s nuclear power plants, slashing costs and the
scale of production……..
TV REPORTER: Earlier this week the GE Hitachi facility in Castlemaine received federal approval to enrich uranium using laser technology,
but what exactly does that mean and what are the implications to our community? Continue reading

August 10, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Senator Ludlam asks awkward questions on Wiluna uranium mine project

Ludlam-in-SenateWILUNA URANIUM PROJECT – MINE CLOSURE PLAN Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications
Legislation Committee   Answers to questions on notice   Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities portfolio
Budget Estimates, May 2013

Topic: Wiluna uranium project – mine closure plan
Senator Ludlam asked:  But how much work around mine closure had been assessed by the minister? Presumably, something must have been done or he would not have had the confidence to give this thing the tick, even a conditional tick?
Ms Jones: Through the assessment process there were assessment documentation in draft and final form. Supplementary information was sought by the minister from the proponent on issues that cut across this matter. To give a succinct response, I would probably have to take that on notice and come back to you, Senator.
Senator LUDLAM: Maybe if you could, yes. I am interested in the degree to which the approval conditions side is open-ended. Does it have any lapse date at all, or is this an approval in eternity? If the company comes back in 20 years, will it be live, or does it have a lapse date?
The proposed action was assessed by the Western Australian Environment Protection Authority under the bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and Western Australian Government. The State assessment report addressed the issue of mine closure, including assessment of an Environmental Management Strategy for Mine Closure and Rehabilitation provided by the proponent. The Minister considered the State assessment report. The Minister also sought further information from the proponent in relation to the long-term integrity of the tailings storage facility, which was reviewed by the Supervising Scientist Division, Geoscience Australia and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency.
The approval is valid until 31 March 2043. Condition 2 of the approval states that if, at any time after five years from the date of this approval, the person taking the action has not commenced the action, then the person taking the action must not commence the action without the written agreement of the Minister.

August 10, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Tactical nuclear weapons being used against Syria?

it is awfully ironic that an inhuman weapon such as nuclear weapons and chemical weapons could be used to promote human rights and freedom in the world. 

Nuclear Strike on Syria The Genie is Out of the Bottle   By Jon Snow, 7 Aug 13

Note – This item was posted on the Channel 4 (UK) website at this location on August 05, 2013, and has since been removed. A copy can still be found at Google Cache – and has been recovered and archived below. The fight against Assad’s brutal regime has taken an unexpected turn late Thursday afternoon when a large weapons cache belonging to the so-called national protection force in Homs city, an arm of Assad’s Shabeeha, was destroyed.
The explosion was reminiscent of the attack on Qasyoon mountain, a stronghold for the Syrian army and a location said to house missiles targeting Israel.

It was first reported that the missile fueling station had blown up which seemed like a reasonable proposition especially since an ammunition depot was targeted.

But the two explosions in Homs and Qasyoon share the same property: They are both above ground air bursts according to Greg Thielmann, an expert on arms control policy whom I spoke with on Saturday at great length. I was first alerted to the connection by slow twitter chatter right after the bombing in Homs.

Needless to say I was shocked at what he told me next: “The fact of the matter is, what we are seeing in both these cases is a tactical nuclear strike, probably by cruise missiles launched from aircrafts near the borders of Syria or right off the coast in the Mediterranean.” Continue reading

August 10, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Unprecedented plan – a wall of ice to stop Fukushima leaking radioactive water to the sea

water-tanks-FukushimaCan a giant ice wall stop Fukushima radiation from leaking into the sea?  Grist, By Lisa Hymas  Aug 9, 2013   “……..So now Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, which owns the plant, has a plan to build an underground wall of frozen earth to stop the radioactive water leakage. NPR explains:

[T]o understand, you need to know the geography of Fukushima. There are three melted down reactors, and they’re all right on the coast. To the west, you have mountains. To the east, you have ocean. And so what’s happening is groundwater flows downhill. It flows down through the ruins of the plant and then flows out to the sea. …
So now, TEPCO has proposed literally creating a wall of ice around the plant. And what they’re talking about is not a wall above ground, but freezing the ground around the plant to stop water from flowing in. …

So the basic idea is that they run piping into the ground and they put coolant in the piping and that freezes the earth around the pipes, and it all sort of gradually forms together into a wall. This is something that civil engineers see sometimes, but it’s not that common. And certainly, the way they’re talking about using it in Fukushima is unprecedented. This wall will be nearly a mile around according to TEPCO. It would require more than 2 million cubic feet of soil to be frozen. But if it worked, then it may be the only way to keep water from flowing into the plant and contaminated water from flowing out.

The New York Times points out another challenge: “the wall will need to be consistently cooled using electricity at a plant vulnerable to power failures. The original disaster was brought on by an earthquake and tsunami that knocked out electricity.”…..

[The wall is] expected to cost between $300 million and $400 million.

August 10, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Conflicts of interest in UNSCEAR’s report on Fukushiam radiation

highly-recommendedShocked UNSCEAR members in Belgium protest “It even goes back behind the lessons of Chernobyl and other studies.”

 Original post: Marc Molitor
Les délégués belges indignés: “On minimise les conséquences de Fukushima” by Marc Molitor

English translation by Alex Rosen, M.D., Vice-chairman, German IPPNW Shocked UNSCEAR members in Belgium protest

“It even goes back behind the lessons of Chernobyl and other studies.”
Discussions continue in UNSCEAR, the organization of the United Nations responsible for assessing the consequences of nuclear disasters and radiation. The committee prepared a report submitted for discussion amongst experts from different countries at a recent meeting in Vienna – a report that has aroused the indignation of the Belgian delegation: “Everything seems to be written, its members say, to minimize the consequences of the Fukushima disaster. It even goes back behind the lessons of Chernobyl and other studies.”
The Belgian delegation includes several experts in the study of nuclear energy. UNSCEAR must submit its report to the General Assembly of the United Nations next fall. Continue reading

August 10, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trees show harmful effects of Chernobyl nuclear radiation

chernobylChernobyl’s legacy recorded in trees By Mark Kinver Environment reporter, BBC News Exposure to radiation from the 1986 Chernobyl accident had a lasting negative legacy on the area’s trees, a study has suggested.

Researchers said the worst effects were recorded in the “first few years” but surviving trees were left vulnerable to environmental stress, such as drought.

They added that young trees appeared to be particularly affected.

Writing in the journal Trees, the team said it was the first study to look at the impact at a landscape scale.

“Our field results were consistent with previous findings that were based on much smaller sample sizes,” explained co-author Tim Mousseau from the University of South Carolina, US.

“They are also consistent with the many reports of genetic impacts to these trees,” he told BBC News.

“Many of the trees show highly abnormal growth forms reflecting the effects of mutations and cell death resulting from radiation exposure.”…… Prof Mousseau and his team hope to follow up this study by carrying out similar work in the Fukushima region in Japan, where logging also had considerable economic importance and pine trees were widely dispersed.

August 10, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Aboriginal Cultural Landscape Rangers for Tasmania

Federal funds secure Tasmanian Aboriginal rangers to care for land Aug 9, 2013  The Federal Government has allocated almost one million dollars funding for Tasmanian indigenous rangers.

The $980,000 would be provided over three years to the Environment Department to help traditional custodians care for their land.

The money comes from an existing program. The Federal Environment Minister, Mark Butler, says the new Aboriginal Cultural Landscape Rangers would hit the ground next year.

“To ensure that there are indigenous employment opportunities connected to those values but also that there is the maximum opportunity possible to have those values explained to the broader Australian opportunity,” he said.

August 10, 2013 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Cutting Renewable Energy target would make customers pay more

dollar 2Cut to renewable target would cost power consumers  9 Aug,   Bloomberg New Energy Finance has released a study finding that cutting the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target to levels recommended by some energy retailers would increase costs to consumers by $1.3 billion.

The study analyses the effects of reducing the target from the current legislation of 41,000GWh down to 27,000GWh, which Origin Energy and Energy Australia have advocated would be consistent with 20% of Australia’s like electricity demand in 2020.

It finds that while there would be savings from retailers having to buy less renewable energy certificates, this is outweighed by an increase across all electricity sold in the wholesale market of $5 per megawatt-hour. This is because extra renewable energy supply tends to depress the overall electricity market price because of its low operating costs.

In addition Bloomberg believe that if the government were to cut the target this would heighten financiers perceptions of investment risk leading to a finance premium of 0.75%. This would increase the cost of the remaining renewable energy projects required to meet the reduced the target.

August 10, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) won’t save the nuclear industry

Thorium-pie-in-skyReport: Nuclear industry shouldn’t rely on SMRs Malia Spencer Reporter-Pittsburgh Business Times  9 August, A report this week
from the nonprofit Institute for Energy and Environmental Research asserts that relying on the development of small modular reactors “is
unlikely to breathe new life into the increasingly moribund U.S. nuclear power industry.

”…. The reasons for the critical findings? According to the report, SMRs will likely need tens of billions of purchase orders or government subsidies, will create new reliability vulnerabilities, and will raise concerns about safety and proliferation.

Westinghouse was cited in the report along with Pennsylvania as one of the companies and states that could see “major implications” if SMRs
fail to take off……

August 10, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Solar energy in Australia heading for big commercial applications?

Aust-sunSolar PV projects can be rolled out within months, not years. The experience from the Australian residential solar sector illustrates that solar PV can scaled-up very quickly.  While grid connection is a more involved process for commercial rooftop solar than residential, each system involves tens of kilowatts instead of just two or three. So it seems reasonable to expect that if the market conditions are conducive, there would be no physical constraints to commercial solar rolling out a few hundred megawatts in 2014, and a gigawatt in 2015.

There would still be a need for new wind farm development under such scenario, but it would buy time for wind farm projects to scale-up, and ensure enough supply to meet the Renewable Energy Target.

Market could blindside Origin and Energy Australia  Climate Spectator   9 Aug, “……So far Origin Energy and Energy Australia have been holding out on signing onto long-term power purchase agreements for wind farms, because they’re hoping the Coalition will water down the level of the Renewable Energy Target. AGL has also put a halt to further development concerned that it might come true.

This can create a self-fulfilling phenomenon, because waiting to develop projects makes the target more difficult to achieve. This then encourages government to intervene to water down the target.

However there’s some interesting wrinkles that could mean solar becomes a bigger player in the large-scale renewable energy target, producing substantial numbers of large-scale renewable energy certificates known as LGCs.

1) Non-traditional buyers for renewable energy certificates may emerge and the price will rise……..

2) Commercial rooftop solar developers will begin producing LGCs……..

3) Finance products are emerging to support commercial solar…………  Continue reading

August 10, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

New solar energy company opens in Sydney

sunChina’s quiet achiever makes mark on energy’s new frontier  SMH, August 10, 2013 Peter Hannam  Carbon economy editor   “…….Yingli Green Energy, has knocked Suntech off its rank as the world’s biggest producer of solar photovoltaic panels and its breakneck growth – along with an array of other Chinese firms – has driven PV prices down by about three-quarters in four years.

“He’s China’s Richard Branson,” said Daman Cole, commercial director of Yingli Solar, speaking of his boss at the opening of the company’s Australian office this week in Sydney……..

The opening of the Sydney office is also part of Yingli’s search for new markets. The company aims to grab 10 per cent of the Australian market within a couple of years, with a focus on commercial customers. Orders secured include a 1.25-megawatt deal to supply the panels for 30 buildings for the City of Sydney worth $3.4 million, while it has also signed a distribution pact with L&H Group, a major electrical wholesaler in Australia and New Zealand.

Solar-powered smartphone batteries and broader “energy solutions” with customers are expected to feature in the future……

August 10, 2013 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

Integrating solar power with diesel – an energy solution for rural areas


by integrating solar power with a diesel generator, it can extend the life of the generators and sharply cut the use of fuel.

As there is no need to use expensive batteries for storage, the cost of the system is lower and operators can recoup initial outlays in as little as five years in some countries.

Renewables: A rising power. By Pilita Clark, Environment Correspondent, 8 Aug 13 “……..Developing nations: Cheap solar could ‘leapfrog’ subsidies The plummeting cost of solar power systems is driving more than a surge in suburban rooftop panels in Bavaria and Barcelona.

It also promises to provide regular electricity to the 1.2bn people who have no access to it today. Low-cost solar panels could help them leapfrog traditional power grids in the same way parts of the developing world sidestepped fixed-line telecommunications networks and went straight to mobile phones.

An 80 per cent fall in the cost of solar panels since 2008 has opened up new business opportunities for companies such as Germany’s Donauer, which has just developed the D: Hybrid, a system that allows thousands of solar panels to be attached to the diesel generators that are a fixture in industrialising countries with rickety electricity systems. Continue reading

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