Australian news, and some related international items

What they REALLY said about children and radiation – United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR)

It is not recommended to use the same generalizations used for adults when considering the risks and effects of radiation exposure during childhood,”

infants and children have smaller body diameters, and their organs are less shielded by overlying tissues, with the same exposure the doses to their internal organs is higher than that to an adult. 

text ionisingEffects of radiation exposure of children, relief web 25 Nov 13 Report from UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation Published on 25 Oct 2013 — View Original Publication of Volume II of the UNSCEAR 2013 Report Risk following exposure to radiation differs for adults and children, says UNSCEAR report Vienna 24 October 2013 (UN Information Service) – “Doses received by children and adults from the same source of ionizing radiation can have differing impacts, and therefore, should be considered separately in order to predict risk following exposure more accurately for children,” was the main thrust of the report “Effects of radiation exposure of children” presented today at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

The report, which has been prepared by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), has been in preparation over the last two years (since 2011) and was presented today to the UN General Assembly as part of the Report of the 60th session of UNSCEAR to the General Assembly. “Because of their anatomical and physiological differences, radiation exposure has a different impact on children compared with adults,” said Dr. Fred Mettler, Chair of the Expert Group on the UNSCEAR Report on Effects of Radiation Exposure of Children.

He presented the report as a valuable resource for the international medical and scientific community, because as such, children are generally assessed along with adults in epidemiological studies and comprehensive overviews of the effect of radiation on children are generally unavailable. The report highlights some important issues. For instance, for a given radiation dose, infants and children are more at risk than adults of developing a variety of tumours. This risk is, generally, not always immediate but extends later into life. Continue reading

November 28, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Citizen donations fund New South Wales solar energy project

logo-CorenaAustralian Solar Project Loan Funded By Citizen Donations 29 Nov 13,  CORENA (Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia Inc.) has provided Tulgeen Disabilty Services an interest-free loan of $12,000 to install solar; with the loan funded entirely by donations from the public.

Two rooftop solar PV systems have been installed for Tulgeen; located in Bega, New South Wales.  The Tulgeen cheese packaging facility, which employs people with disabilities, has a 4kW system that will supply 58% of its electricity needs. A 3kW solar panel array installed at the Training and Education Services day programs centre will provide 21% of that building’s requirements.

CORENA uses donations from the public to fund projects; then electricity sales and loan repayments from completed projects to help finance future projects, thus continuously recycling donated money.  “Eventually, when we have funded around 120 such projects, repayments from earlier projects will be enough to continue funding one new project per month forever, without ever needing more donations,” said CORENA spokesperson Margaret Hender.

Operating on a shoe-string budget, 100% of the money donated is spent the projects themselves. Currently the group relies on volunteers’ time for administrative functions. “It enables everyone who wants more renewable energy now to collectively get on with the job, rather than just waiting on government action,” states the CORENA web site. Patron of the organisation is Monica Oliphant, who, among many other roles, was President of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES) in 2008/09.

Community-serving organisations are encouraged to apply for funding underCORENA’s Small Projects scheme.
Community-funded solar; both under an investment model or donation basis, has generated a great deal of interest in Australia; with dozens of communities and initiatives attempting to set the wheels in motion.

Government support for such initiatives has been scant to date, although a new ARENA-supported project due to commence early next year will delve into how to best realise the potential of community-owned renewable energy projects in Australia.

November 28, 2013 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

Americans support the new nuclear deal with Iran

diplomacy-not-bombsWar-weary Americans back Iran nuclear deal by 2-to-1 margin The Raw Story, By Agence France-Presse Thursday, November 28, 2013 Americans back a newly brokered nuclear deal with Iran by a two-to-one margin and are very wary of the United States resorting to military action against Tehran even if the historic diplomatic effort fails, a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday showed.

According to the survey, 44 percent of Americans support the interim deal reached Sunday between Iran and six flag-Iranworld powers in Geneva, and 22 percent oppose it. The findings come as good news for President Barack Obama, whose approval ratings have dropped in recent weeks, largely due to the botched rollout of his flagship healthcare reform law, the Affordable Care Act.  Even if the Iran deal fails, 31 percent think the U.S. should launch further diplomacy, while 49 percent would want to then increase sanctions. Only 20 percent would want U.S. military force to be used against Iran.

The survey’s results suggest that a war-weary U.S. public could help bolster Obama’s push to keep Congress from approving new sanctions that would complicate the next round of negotiations for a final agreement with Iran.

While indicating little trust among Americans toward Iranian intentions, the survey also underscored a strong desire to avoid new US military entanglements after long, costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “This absolutely speaks to war fatigue, where the American appetite for intervention — anywhere — is extremely low,” Ipsos pollster Julia Clark said. “It could provide some support with Congress for the arguments being made by the administration.”……

November 28, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australians must learn from Aboriginal culture, to survive in this land

there can never be a return to the pre-1788 situation, his cry is that we must redouble our efforts to understand it and learn from it 

We have a continent to learn. If we are to survive, let alone feel at home, we must begin to understand our country. If we succeed, we might one day become Australian’. 

book-biggest-EstateThe answer to burning questions, Online opinion, By Roger Underwood, 29 Nov 13 “…………The Biggest Estate on Earth, subtitled How Aborigines Made Australia is a large and beautifully presented book. The author, Bill Gammage, is well-known in historical and literary circles, regarded by many as the foremost historian of Australian participation in the First World War. Gammage’s capacity for painstaking research and careful scholarship, formerly directed at military history, has now been turned to the Australian landscape and Aboriginal land management. The result is compelling.

He rejects the view that Aboriginal people were backward and uncivilised, or that they were people who “trod lightly on the ground” as a minor component of the ecosystem. Instead, he argues that Aboriginal people were skilful, determined and experienced land managers who were active across the breadth of the Australian continent and Tasmania, operating to a strict set of rules (‘The Law’) about what areas must be burned, when, how, for what purpose, and by whom. They not only knew how to manipulate the Australian landscape and biota to optimise their food resources, but they knew how to sustain pleasing and safe living conditions, and to facilitate their comfortable life style and their spiritual demands. Continue reading

November 28, 2013 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Resources | Leave a comment

Largest native title area – South Australia win for Aboriginal people

Native title recognised after 18-year legal battle ABC Indigenous News, November 28, 2013  South Australia’s largest native title determination will be granted to Aboriginal people in the state’s far west next week. The claim covers 80-thousand square kilometres of land from the Western Australian border, to Tarcoola in the north and Streaky Bay in the south.

The recognition comes after nearly 18 years of struggle by the Wirangu, Kokatha, Mirning and Anangu people. The groups’ connection to the land will be formally recognised at a special Federal Court hearing at Lake Pidinga, north of Yalata, next Thursday……..

National Park gets new name Last year, the Arabana people were granted native title over 70,000 square kilometres of land in the state’s far north, including Lake Eyre. Lake Eyre National Park has now been officially renamed to include the traditional Aboriginal name for the landmark. At the request of the newly-formed Arabana Parks Advisory Committee, the park will now be known as Kati Thanda – Lake Eyre National Park. The park is co-managed between the State Government and Arabana people.

November 28, 2013 Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia | Leave a comment

Egypt to get nuclear power – is this a GOOD idea?

The site was overrun by residents stripped of ownership of their land for the project after a 10-day sit-in there in January 2011. Part of the plant’s equipment was destroyed to protest the lack of compensation for the land that was expropriated to build the plant.

However, the new political administration in Egypt, which came to power after June 30, struck a deal with the locals that safeguarded the continuity of the project….They were promised that a coastal tourist city would be built for their benefit as a gift from the Egyptian armed forces at a cost of 1 billion Egyptian pounds (about $145.2 million).

Egypt moves ahead with nuclear plant to address electricity crisis ALMONITOR,  AYAH AMAN Egypt Pulse Ayah Aman 29 Nov 13, CAIRO — The Egyptian government is taking new steps to implement its ambitious program to use nuclear energy for the generation of electricity. This comes after the project had been halted due to security, political and economic reasons as well as popular opposition…….

A source at the EAEA told Al-Monitor that the government expected to receive offers from 30 international companies for the execution of the project. The actual competition has been limited to 10 companies from six countries: Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, the United States and France…….


“The government will meet the $4 billion financing through grants from companies that it will pay back in installments,” the same source clarified. “However, the Egyptian government has yet to receive any offers for financing or assistance.” He brushed off criticism that external financing constituted a violation of sovereignty, “as it is the only option available to expedite the completion of the project.”

A delegation from the international consulting firm WorleyParsons visited Cairo in early November and met with experts on nuclear safety……… The Supreme Council of Energy is scheduled to hold a meeting next week, chaired by Mansour, to discuss the nuclear dossier and review the steps being considered to hold the tender to build nuclear power plants. Continue reading

November 28, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The power of suggestion in attitudes to wind power and health

fearThe results showed that the experience of symptoms and mood during exposure to audible windfarm sound and infrasound was influenced by the type of expectations provided before exposure periods.

The onus falls on the media to report on health fears about wind farms cautiously, particularly given strong evidence that it is the discussion itself that may be creating and perpetuating health complaints.

wind-farm-evil-1Wind turbines don’t make you feel sick or healthy, but spin can  Fiona Crichton  PhD candidate in psychological medicine at University of Auckland 29 Nov 13

Despite at least 19 reviews of the scientific evidence universally concluding that exposure to wind farm sound doesn’t trigger adverse health effects, people continue to report feeling unwell because they live near wind turbines.

We’ve known for some time that exposure to negative messages about wind farms makes people more likely to report feeling sick after exposure to turbines. And new research, published by my colleagues and I this week in the journal Health Psychology, shows positive messages about wind farms may have the opposite effect – improve perceptions of health.


Speculation in the media and on the internet often attributes the symptoms to sub-audible sound produced by operating wind farms (infrasound). But the reality is that infrasound (sound below 16 hertz) is consistently present in the environment and is caused by wind, ocean waves and traffic. Importantly, research demonstrates there is nothing unusual about the levels of infrasound produced by wind farms. Continue reading

November 28, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, wind | Leave a comment

Abbott government’s spin against renewable energy

Abbott-destroys-renewablesThe document rightly sheets home the blame for most of the electricity price rises on network costs, but how it spins that tale is a different matter.

Canberra’s new energy mantra: Renewables bad, demand good (excellent graphs) By  on 28 November 2013  The apparent antipathy of the new Australian government towards renewable energy, and its attachment to the centralised generation model, is betrayed in an unusual document on electricity prices published recently.

The “Facts on Electricity Prices” document, posted by the Department of Resources and Energy (now part of the Industry portfolio), purports to explain to consumers the reason for recent electricity price rises, and what they, and the government, can do about it.

That’s a fair enough proposition. But it is the unusual language, selective information and outdated data that raises suspicion that this document serves another purpose. Continue reading

November 28, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Rundown on Australian nuclear news for the week

a-cat-CANUranium.   Toro Energy holds its AGM in Perth today.  As other uranium companies cut back on spending, in some cases closing, and exploration ceasing this one company forges ahead with expansion plans. I wonder if their shareholders understand the true situation. Or even if their new CEO Vanessa Guthrie, understands what she’s been caught up in. Investment advisers are waking up to the poor outlook for uranium markets

Muckaty nuclear waste dump plan. Traditional owners are determined to fight this – now awaiting a meeting with Minister Ian Macfarlane. (Will he bother to meet them, or just give them the brush off in the style of notorious former Minister martin Ferguson?)

Wind Energy. While the Victorian government  (inexplicably) clings to its anti wind legislation, The Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) approves the new Cherry Tree wind farm, near Seymour. VCAT accepted the findings of New South Wales and Victorian state health bodies, and federal departments that wind farms are not harmful to health.  Meanwhile in South Australia the EPA study finds no evidence that wind farm noise is impacting residents

Climate Change:  The Abbott government presses on doggedly in its course to demolish all effective action – now readying for the costly task of getting rid of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, despite the CEFC’s success so far. Senator Xenophon points out that the government just hasn’t bothered to do any modelling at all on the relative costs of its “Direct Action” policy on carbon emissions

UV RADIATON.  Yeah – I know it’s not ionising radiation, but it’s close –  and it’s so important.  This is scary stuff.  Australia (with Egypt and Libya) has the world’s highest rate of UV radiation from te sun. Now they’re finding that the rare, and usually fatal, Merkel’s skin cancer is increasing, in Queensland – and now it’s thought to be caused by UV radiation.


November 28, 2013 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Uranium under pressure means tough times for Toro

bull-uncertain-uraniumToro Energy – the company seeking to open WA’s first uranium mine – will be the focus of critical attention from local residents, Traditional Owners and State and National environment groups at its annual meeting in Perth today.

Opponents of the company’s uranium mining plans will greet Toro executives and shareholders with an independent report casting doubt on the economic viability of the company as well as the broader nuclear industry.
A theatrical performance outside the AGM will also demonstrate that the nuclear industry’s vital signs are ‘flat lining’.

“Toro have expanded their proposal from one risky and unviable uranium mine in Wiluna, to a series of equally small and risky deposits in the region” said CCWA campaigner Mia Pepper. “What they won’t tell shareholders is that this expansion plan will represent more delays, more costs, more environmental problems, and more community opposition.”

“Toro have failed to fully disclose the complexity, risk and lack of formal approval for its long term plans.”
“CCWA and the Australian Conservation Foundation oppose the current proposal and will actively contest the company’s plan for seven uranium mines across 200km and 2 lake systems which will involve a doubling of water use and radioactive mine waste”.

“Toro’s shareholders will have a very long wait before this company will be profitable, if ever. The conditional approval granted for the Wiluna mining proposal prohibits the company from doing any other preparatory works for a mine until thirty six conditions are met and further management plans are approved.”

“Financial problems have dogged the uranium sector with low uranium prices, high operating costs and a lack of investor confidence following the global decline in nuclear power post Fukushima,” said Ms Pepper.

“While some companies are cutting their losses Toro is on track for tough times ahead”.

November 28, 2013 Posted by | business, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

World Bank will invest in renewable energy, but says NO to Nuclear

World-BankWorld Bank says no nuclear investment  November 28, 2013 The World Bank and United Nations have appealed for billions of dollars to provide electricity for the poorest nations but say there will be no investment in nuclear power.

‘We don’t do nuclear energy,’ said World Bank president Jim Yong Kim on Wednesday, as he and UN leader Ban Ki-moon outlined efforts to make sure all people have access to electricity by 2030. Kim said $US600-800 nuke-salesmanSm($A659-878) billion a year will be needed to meet the campaign target of universal access to electricity, doubling energy efficiency and doubling the share of renewable energy by 2030. In some countries, only 10 per cent of the population has electricity.

So far, the campaign has a pledge of one billion US dollars from the OPEC Fund for International Development, Bank of America has raised $US500 million through the world’s first ‘green bond’ and Norway has committed to spend two billion krone (US$325 million) on renewable energy efforts in 2014.

Kim said the World Bank is preparing energy plans for 42 countries that would be ready in June, but said any money raised would only go to new power sources. ‘Nuclear power from country to country is an extremely political issue,’ Kim told reporters.

‘The World Bank Group does not engage in providing support for nuclear power. We think that this is an extremely difficult conversation that every country is continuing to have. ‘And because we are really not in that business our focus is on finding ways of working in hydro electric power in geo-thermal, in solar, in wind,’ he said.

‘We are really focusing on increasing investment in those modalities and we don’t do nuclear energy.’

Kim highlighted private financing for power expansion in Nigeria and Ivory Coast and said efforts were being made to launch a similar deal for Myanmar, where the government has launched major reform efforts. ‘We are working and moving very quickly to try to ensure that Myanmar experiences a clear democracy dividend,’ Kim said. The World Bank chief said it had been difficult to find long term capital for poorer countries but insisted: ‘We will show investors that sustainable energy is an opportunity they cannot afford to miss.’

November 28, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Uranium stocks are a no-go as a long-term investment.

nuke-salesmanOf course, the nuclear lobby is well-heeled and has its silver-tongued apologists who will do their best to discredit such stories. Beyond the despicable aspects of this, you should consider, from an investment point of view, the risk that the industry loses control of the public relations battle as more stories emerge – and legal consequences ensue……uranium stocks are a no-go as a long-term investment. 

Meltdown Coming? The Uranium Story You Haven’t Heard Money Morning 27 November 2013 by Chris Mayer “……You remember the nuclear disaster at Fukushima? It was a horrible human tragedy that is still playing out – and in ways I am sure you will be surprised to learn.

burial.uranium-industryThe disaster also set back the so-called nuclear renaissance that was then in swing. Uranium prices fell like a piano tumbling down a flight of stairs, only recently crashing down to five-year lows and laying waste to uranium stocks.

But it’s been over two years since the meltdown at Fukushima, and memory is short. Here is Barron’s over the weekend, on its optimistic appraisal of Cameco, the world’s largest publicly traded producer of uranium:

Cameco shares recently rallied after stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings, but are still flat for the year. They fetch just 15.2 times what the company has earned, well below its decade median of 24 times, and the low-cost producer generated net profit margins near 22% even when uranium prices slumped. Improving prices can only energize the stock.

Among the ‘reasons for optimism‘, Barron’s included ‘gradual progress toward the cleanup in Japan‘.

Barron’s piece inspired me to write to you today. As a long-term investor, I am not tempted – at all – by the apparent bargain in uranium stocks. Continue reading

November 28, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Japan’s new secrecy law – the road to a fascist State

secret-agent-Sm the withholding of radiation data after the Fukushima disaster showed the Japanese government was predisposed to hiding information from its citizens and this law would only make things worse.

Secrecy law approved in Japan — AP: Prison for ‘inappropriate reporting’ — Official: We’re on path to be censorshipfascist state — Fear Fukushima cover-ups to worsen

flag-japanAssociated Press, Nov. 26, 2013: Japan’s more powerful lower house of Parliament approved a state secrecy bill late Tuesday […] Critics say it might sway authorities to withhold more information about nuclear power plants […] The move is welcomed by the United States […] lawyer Hiroyasu Maki said the bill’s definition of secrets is so vague and broad that it could easily be expanded to include radiation data […] Journalists who obtain information “inappropriately” or “wrongfully” can get up to five years in prison, prompting criticism that it would make officials more secretive and intimidate the media. Attempted leaks or inappropriate reporting, complicity or solicitation are also considered illegal. […] Japan’s proposed law also designates the prime minister as a third-party overseer.

BBC,  Nov. 26, 2013: Japan approves new state secrecy bill to combat leaks […] The bill now goes to the upper house, where it is also likely to be passed.

The Australian, Nov. 25, 2013: Japanese press baulks at push for ‘fascist’ secrecy laws […] Taro Yamamoto [an upper house lawmaker] said the law threatened to recreate a fascist state in Japan. “This secrecy law represents a coup d’etat by a particular group of politicians and bureaucrats,” he told a press conference in Tokyo. Continue reading

November 28, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A win for local communities as Tribunal finds wind farms are not harmful to health

windmills-and-hayWind farm ruling a win for communities: Clean energy group ABC Rural  By Babs McHugh The Clean Energy Council says the latest rejection of claims of negative health effects of wind farms is adding more certainty to the future of the industry for investors.

The Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has approved a 16-turbine wind farm at Trawool, north of Melbourne, after finding there’s no evidence they have adverse effects on health and well being. Director of policy with the Clean Energy Council, Russell Marsh, says he wasn’t surprised by the findings. “Pretty much every wind farm that’s been proposed in recent years has been opposed on grounds of adverse health effects.

“What we’ve seen in the last 24 hours is that there’s yet more evidence to show that those claims are unfounded. “New South Wales and Victorian state health bodies, and federal departments also, have found there’s no scientific evidence to back up claims of ill- health effects, physical and psychological.

“And this is backed up by a noise study for the Waterloo wind farm released yesterday by the South Australian Environmental Protection Agency. “That found the noise from the wind farm fell below the thresholds set under the planning conditions.

“Also, the rumbling noise that some residents complained about (in diaries they were asked to keep) was present at times when the wind farm was switched off.” Mr Marsh says it’s not only wind farm operators who these findings benefit. “It is a significant win for the industry, but also for communities who live near wind farms. “Yet again, this is showing that when these adverse health (claims) are tested, they don’t stack up.

“So communities shouldn’t be concerned about a wind farm being located near them.”

November 28, 2013 Posted by | Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

South Australian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) finds Wind Farm Not Harming Residents

Map-South-Australia-windEPA study finds no evidence wind farm noise impacting residents ABC News, 27 Nov 2013,  A study into the Waterloo Wind Farm, south-east of Clare, has found there is no evidence linking noise from the farm to any adverse effects on local residents.

The study was undertaken by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) during April and June.

It has found noise produced does not breach authority guidelines and that low frequency infrasound levels are below internationally-accepted thresholds for perception.

The authority also says in some situations there was no association between events described by residents in noise diaries with audio records and data.

The authority’s Peter Dolan says he cannot say why local residents are complaining about health effects…….

November 28, 2013 Posted by | South Australia, wind | Leave a comment