Australian news, and some related international items

The global nuclear lobby is in a bigger mess than you realised – theme for May 2015

Take heart – all who seek clean energy –  the nuclear industry is in a right mess!

Apart from the chaotic state of nuclear economics, and of security, weapons proliferation, public opposition, desperate marketing, frantic agonising over waste disposal , as well as  the drive for public amnesia about Chernobyl and Fukushima –   apart from all that – the nuclear lobby are all wrangling among themselves.


(The Spin graphic within picture is adapted from http://spinoriginal.blogspot.) )

There’s an unseemly public frenzy from all the different reactor corporations to market their respective products. This includes marketing the existing old reactors – to continue running them for many decades, despite their deterioration,- because  this is much more profitable than getting new ones.  And – also – postpones for future generations the massive costs of dealing with the reactors’ radioactive corpses.

Then there’s the drive to sell little reactors, and Thorium reactors –   an absolute nightmare of security concerns in these. And of course, the uranium industry won’t like this.

It’s quite likely that in trying to outdo each other, the nuclear industry will kill off itself faster than any anti nuclear campaigns. AREVA is already offering reactors for sale below their cost price.

May 9, 2015 Posted by | Christina themes | 1 Comment

Australia: nuclear and climate news this week

a-cat-CANNuclear waste dump Govt secretive about 4 sites volunteered in South Australia for nuclear waste storage. Beyond Nuclear Initiative (BNI) calls for Australian government transparency on nuclear waste site nominations.  Australian Labor Party to roll over on nuclear policy and become indistinguishable from Liberal

Australia at the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference 2015 – embarrassing disarmament double-speak 

South Australia’s Nuclear Chain Royal Commission released all 4 Issues Papers 

  1. First Nuclear Royal Commission Issues Paper indicates an expensive farce  
  2. Dennis Matthews exposes South Australia Royal Commission “Issues Paper 2″ spin   
  3.   Issues Paper 4 misleading and serious omissions
  4. Critique of Issues Paper 3 is being developed

Even the pro Nuclear Royal Commission admits the threat of the nuclear industry to precious groundwater

Climate changeAbbott advisor Maurice Newman has embarrassed even our climate sceptic government, by insulting Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN’s Framework on Climate Change. Figueres laughs it off.   Public and academic outcry force Uni of Western Australia to ditch Bjorn Lomborg centre. But Australia’s Education Minister Pyne seeks new home for this climate sceptic centre.  Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s hype about “Direct Action” doesn’t ring true

Politics. Magnificent Greens warrior leader Christine Milne resigns – graciously, as Bob Brown did before her. I’m sure that she will continue to be an effective voice for climate action. Richard Di Natale takes over, to continue the Greens political campaign for the health of Australians and their environment. Federal budget due on May 12. We can expect generous handouts to the big polluters. Minerals Council pushes for overturning of Australia’s environmental laws

Renewable Energy.  Abbott govt cutback to Renewable Energy Target (RET) will send solar industry backwards, cost 1000s of jobs, and freeze investment.  inclusion of native wood burning – to further wreck the RET.  Still – there are positive decvelopments:

Aboriginal land. Thousands rally across Australia against closure of Indigenous communitiesUnited Nations forum supports Kimberley Land Council’s plea to save Aboriginal communities from closure.


May 9, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Govt secretive about 4 sites volunteered in South Australia for nuclear waste storage

secret-agent-AustRemote sites in South Australia offered for nuclear dump , THE AUSTRALIAN, 9 May 15   Up to four sites in South Australia’s far north have been put forward as potential radioactive waste dumps.

The federal government, however, is officially remaining tight-lipped about the response to its call in March for voluntary site nominations for a national radioactive waste facility, which closed on Tuesday.Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane’s office refused yesterday to say how many nominations had been received or where they had originated.

“There won’t be details or a breakdown of nominated sites released­ at this early stage,” a spokeswoman said. “Information about shortlisted sites will be released after an initial assessment period and after consideration by the minister. That is expected to be completed around July.”

A preferred site is not expected to be identified until at least the middle of next year.

This week the government released a request for tender on Austender, seeking expressions of interest from “suitable companies to undertake the necessary site characterisation work”.

The request also seeks the successful tenderer to assist in the “development of a detailed business case which will inform the government’s decision as to whether to proceed with the project and its cost”.

Federal Liberal MP Rowan Ramsey said his vast electorate of Grey, in South Australia’s far north, was anRamsey,-Rowan-nuclear ideal site for a radioactive waste dump as it was remote, sparsely populated and geologically stable. He said he had tried to nominate his own 2400ha farm, but was asked not to by Mr Macfarlane because of concerns of a potential conflict of interest.

“But as a consequence my understanding is there have been a number of other properties nominated in my community. I’ve encouraged people right across the board to nominate,” Mr Ramsey said. “I understand as many as four sites have been nominated in my electorate.”

The search for a site intensified last year after the federal government failed to convince a Northern Territory community to build a facility on its land.

This comes as South Australia’s royal commission into an expansion of the state’s role in the nuclear cycle picks up pace. Among other issues, the commission will examine whether to store international radioactive waste……..

May 9, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Abbott govt’s new Renewable Energy Target ensures uncertainty for renewables

the two-yearly review of the target would ensure that doubt remained in investors’ minds. The Clean Energy Council, representing a substantial part of the sector, said on Friday night that the issue was not worth resolving if the reviews continued every two years.
Abbott-destroys-renewablesGovernment’s RET compromise guarantees uncertainty for renewables, Michelle Grattan, The Conversation 8 May 15  As the Abbott government prepares Australia’s post-2020 emissions targets for this year’s Paris conference, the chairman of the Prime Minister’s business advisory council has make an extraordinary intervention in the climate debate.

Maurice Newman, writing in the Australian, maintains it’s all a United Nations conspiracy – a power Newman,-Maurice-ideasgrab of massive proportions.“This is not about facts or logic. It’s about a new world order under the control of the UN. It is opposed to capitalism and freedom and has made environmental catastrophism a household topic to achieve its objective.” Newman claims that 95% of the climate models that we’re told prove the link between human emissions and global warming “have been found … to be in error”.

In his article he targets Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN’s Framework on Climate Change, who has been visiting Australia. Newman writes that “there is a real chance Figueres and those who share her centralised power ambitions will succeed.

“As the UN’s December climate change conference in Paris approaches, Australia will be pressed to sign even more futile job-destroying climate change treaties.”………….. Continue reading

May 9, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Weapons Over Food: India’s Nuclear Poverty

India-uranium1On the same day as Julie Bishop jubilantly announces progress in then deal to sell Australia’s uranium to India – for “peaceful purposes”  (as if that can be assured!)  – comes this report on Prime Minister Modi’s nuclear priorities.
Weapons Over Food: India’s Nuclear Poverty
 MAY 8-10, 2015, COUNTERPUNCH   by BRIAN CLOUGHLEY Voutenay sur Cure, France.In the week that US President Obama praised India’s Prime Minister Modi for his “ambitious vision to reduce extreme poverty” there were several media reports that placed Mr Modi’s laudable ambition at variance with his expenditure decisions.

First was the announcement on April 10 that India would buy 36 Rafale fighter aircraft from France at a cost of some 4 billion dollars.  The second was six days later when India test fired its nuclear-capable Agni-III ballistic missile with a range of 3,000 km and capable of carrying warheads weighing over a ton..
Nuclear missiles don’t come cheap, and of course we don’t know and will never be told the real cost of any country’s nuclear weapons’ program, but an expert estimate for India in 2011 was five billion dollars a year which is a substantial chunk of the national budget. Continue reading

May 9, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Canberra battery storage trial likely to kill the myth of “no baseload renewables power”

Battery trial could kill anti-renewable energy argument    Reporter at The Canberra Times A three-year trial of batteries to find the most effective electricity storage options could kill the anti-renewable energy argument once and for all and help households with rooftop solar choose the best products for them, the company behind the tests says.

Canberra-based renewable energy consulting company IT Power will analyse the performance of six major lithium-ion battery brands, comparing them to “old school” and advanced lead-acid batteries for use in large and small electricity grids.

logo-ARENAA testing centre will be established at the Canberra Institute of Technology for the trials to be partially funded by $450,000 from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

T Power’s managing Director Simon Troman said storage was the next step needed to help integrate renewable energy, especially solar, into electricity grids.

 “If we can nail this down it means that the value of the PV solar on the grid is no longer just in the sunshine hours, but in the whole 24-hours of the day,” he said.

battey Tesla“It kills the argument put out there by the anti-renewable mob that they’re intermittent and you can’t rely on them… and it turns intermittent renewables like solar and wind into a direct competitor for base-load power.

Rather than research new options for storage, Mr Troman said the trail will purchase batteries for
testing that are already commercially available making the impact more immediate and maintaining the independence of the data.

Electric car maker Tesla’s first foray into lithium-ion batteries for homes the Powerwall, announced last week featuring technology developed by Canberra start-up Reposit Power, could be part of the trials when it goes on the market. Continue reading

May 9, 2015 Posted by | ACT, solar | 1 Comment

America’s anti nuclear nun Megan Rice cleared of sabotage conviction

Rice,-Sister-Megan-82Nun’s sabotage conviction for nuclear facility break-in overturned by court Second ruling, for injuring government property, upheld after Sister Megan Rice and two fellow activists broke into Tennessee uranium storage facility in 2012 An appeals court has overturned the sabotage convictions of an 85-year-old nun and two fellow peace activists who broke into a facility storing much of this country’s bomb-grade uranium and painted slogans and splashed blood on the walls.

In a 2-1 opinion issued on Friday, a panel of the sixth US circuit court of appeals overturned the most serious conviction against Sister Megan Rice, 66-year-old Michael Walli and 59-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed. The court upheld a conviction for injuring government property.

On 28 July 2012, the activists cut through several fences at the Y-12 national security complex in Oak Ridge to reach the uranium storage bunker. Once there, they hung banners, prayed and hammered on the outside wall of the bunker to symbolize a Bible passage that refers to the end of war: “They will beat their swords into ploughshares.”

At issue was whether the nonviolent protest injured national security. The majority opinion of the appeals court found that it did not. “If a defendant blew up a building used to manufacture components for nuclear weapons … the government surely could demonstrate an adverse effect on the nation’s ability to attack or defend … But vague platitudes about a facility’s ‘crucial role in the national defense’ are not enough to convict a defendant of sabotage,” the opinion says.

Rice is serving a sentence of just under three years. Walli and Boertje-Obed are each serving sentences of just over five years.

Defendant’s attorney Bill Quigley said he hopes they will be re-sentenced to time served and released from prison.

The US attorney’s office for the eastern district of Tennessee did not immediately comment on the ruling Friday.

May 9, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Abbott advisor Maurice Newman has embarrassed even our climate sceptic government

the leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Richard di Natale, suggests Mr Newman’s views have Newman,-Maurice-ideasbeen influential. 

MARK BUTLER: I’ve never been particularly clear why Maurice Newman holds the position he does hold, given how central climate change is to the future economic prosperity of Australia. 

SIMON LAUDER: Mr Newman says the UN (United Nations) is not working alone, that it’s enlisted compliant academics and gullible media, including the ABC, using fear and appeals to morality to push its agenda.

Hear-This-wayAUDIO: Little support for PM’s top business adviser over UN climate conspiracy theory ABC Radio PM 8  May 15   MARK COLVIN: The Prime Minister’s top business adviser says the United Nations is trying to use the fear of climate change to orchestrate an anti-freedom, anti-capitalist new world order.

Maurice Newman chairs the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council.

In today’s edition of The Australian he urges Tony Abbott not to listen to the UN and resist attempts to get Australia to sign a climate treaty. Continue reading

May 9, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

UN top climate official Christiana Figueres sees the funny side of Abbott’s top advisor Maurice Newman

Maurice Newman’s climate conspiracy a joke: top UN climate official, The Age May 8, 2015 – Lisa Cox, Mark Kenny, Tom McIlroy Christiana Figueres who is visiting Australia to discuss progress toward a global deal said Mr Newman’s claim that climate change was an UN “hoax” designed to lead to world domination, was a joke.

Newman-Moaurice-climateMr Newman, the chair of the Prime Minister’s business advisory council, used an opinion piece in The Australian on Friday to argue scientific modelling linking human activity and climate change is wrong and the UN’s real agenda was to impose authoritarian rule.

Speaking in Canberra, Ms Figueres said the comments must have been an attempt at humour.

“I really don’t take it very seriously because it doesn’t respond to the reality or to facts,” she said.

Her comments were mirrored by senior political figures on both sides of politics with government ministers privately expressing withering contempt for Mr Newman’s views and suggesting he had become a liability.

Ms Figueres even described the Newman comments as “really good fun”.

“We live in a world of free press and free opinion and, you know, if that’s the humour in Australia then that’s the humour in Australia ………….

the Academy of Science, the Bureau of Meteorology and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change say greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are affecting the climate……

May 9, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Regulatory Capture: Canada’s Nuclear Regulator in reality a promoter of the industry

antnuke-relevantCouncil of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has said that “Stephen Harper is systematically wiping out decades of environmental protection and laws in order to promote unbridled resource extraction. No other government in the history of Canada has declared war on the environment in this way.”

See you at the ribbon cutting? Federal panel approves nuclear dump on Lake Huron  OLE HENDRICKSON | MAY 8, 2015

A federal environmental assessment panel has just released its report approving a proposal by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to bury nuclear waste on the shores of Lake Huron in a “Deep Geological Repository” (DGR). The panel’s conclusions come as no surprise to informed observers: the impartiality of the environmental assessment process had been in question for months.


The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has never been known as a friend of the environment. But when the Harper Conservatives won a majority government in 2008 they made sweeping changes to Canada’s environmental laws. One change was to remove responsibility for environmental assessment of nuclear projects from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, and put the CNSC in charge.

Instead of conducting an objective assessment of OPG’s nuclear waste burial scheme, the CNSC acted as a strong proponent. Continue reading

May 9, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Taiwan’s nuclear waste crisis – unsafe to export radioactive trash

antnuke-relevantirresponsible to ship potentially hazardous plutonium and uranium to other countries, possibly causing environmental damage or landing the material in the hands of terrorists.

Opponents of nuclear power are now asking that Taiwan not send nuclear waste overseas.

Opposition Mounts as Taiwan Plans to Ship Nuclear Waste Offshore VOA News,  Ralph Jennings May 08, 2015  TAIPEI— Taiwanese officials want to ship the island’s nuclear waste offshore as spent fuel accumulates at two older power plants, but the plan faces opposition from activists and the legislature, putting it on hold.

The two oldest of Taiwan’s three nuclear power plants are running out of space for spent fuel. The build-up of waste prompted government-run Taiwan Power Company to call in February for bids from companies overseas capable of removing the fuel, neutralizing radioactive material and helping to dispose what’s left. Firms in France, Japan, Russia and Britain are technically able to do the work, though none had tendered bids.

A month later the power company retracted its call for bids to process 1,200 bundles of spent fuel because parliament declined to approve a $367 million disposal budget. Taiwan Power spokesman Lin Te-fu said the company will try to persuade legislators again to allocate the money or risk a storage crisis at the island’s first nuclear plant…….. Continue reading

May 9, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s Education Minister Pyne seeks new home for Bjørn Lomborg climate sceptic centre

Pyne,-ChristopherChristopher Pyne vows to find new home for Bjørn Lomborg centre, Guardian,     8 May 15  Education minister and Lomborg say ‘Australia consensus centre’ will go ahead in a new home after WA university handed back $4m in funding Australia’s education minister, Christopher Pyne, has vowed to find another university to host the Bjorn Lomborg “consensus centre” and is seeking legal advice about a decision by the University of Western Australia (UWA) to hand back $4m in federal government funding awarded for it.

UWA handed back the funding and dropped its connection with Lomborg, saying that lack of support among its academics made the centre untenable….

Pyne accused the UWA academics of “shouting down” views with which they disagreed…………..

UWA academics have been vocal in their opposition to the centre anddemanded that the university sever its contract with the federal government or risk jeopardising its international reputation.

Rachel Siewert, Greens senator for WA and a UWA alumnus, told Guardian Australia that she was relieved the university had responded to pressure from its academics.

“I can now be proud of my university again,” she said…………..

May 9, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Public and academic outcry force Uni of Western Australia to ditch Bjorn Lomborg centre

climate-changeUniversity of Western Australia pulls out of Bjorn Lomborg centre, The Age  May 8, 2015 -Kate Aubusson The University of Western Australia has pulled out of its deal to create a “consensus centre” run by climate contrarian Bjorn Lomborg and partly funded by the federal government.

The decision is a blow to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, whose office drove the push to fund the centre.

UWA appears to have bowed to pressure from staff and the public following news the think tank would receive $4 million in government funding.

“I have today spoken to the federal government and Bjorn Lomborg, advising them of the barriers that currently exist to the creation of the centre and the university’s decision to cancel the contract and return the money to the government,” UWA vice-chancellor Paul Johnson said.

“The scale of the strong and passionate emotional reaction was one that the university did not predict,” Professor Johnson said on Friday evening. Continue reading

May 9, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Cutback and inclusion of native wood burning – wrecking the Renewable Energy Target

Abbott-destroys-renewablesLeigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth’s renewable energy spokesman, said: “Today, the Abbott government has agreed to cut the renewable energy target by 20%. This means less clean energy, less jobs, and less investment for Australia. This cut to the RET means 3,680 less jobs by 2020.”

[Industry Ministe MacFarlane] – we would expect that the cross-bench will support us on wood waste.” 

Australia’s renewable energy target deal hits last-minute snag over wood burning, Guardian, , 8 May 15 

Labor accuses Coalition of trying to include burning of wood waste as a renewable energy source after both sides agree to 33,000GWh target A deal to end the lengthy stand-off over Australia’s renewable energy target has hit a dramatic late hitch after Labor accused the Coalition of trying to include the burning of wood waste as a renewable energy source.

The federal government and the opposition have held on-off talks for several months over a deal to cut the renewable energy target (RET), which mandates that 41,000 gigawatt hours of Australia’s energy must come from renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2020.

Talks between Greg Hunt, the environment minister, Ian Macfarlane, the industry minister, and Mark Butler, Labor’s environment spokesman, in Melbourne on Friday agreed that the RET be cut to 33,000GWh, with exemptions for energy-intensive industries such as aluminium.

However, Labor has objected to part of the deal after claiming that the government introduced a last-minute amendment that the burning of wood waste be included in Australia’s renewables target. Continue reading

May 9, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Corporate and government corruption in USA

The real problem is the malignant, symbiotic relationship between big corporations and big government.
corruptionAmerica’s Main Problem: Corruption  The Daily Sheeple, – Government corruption has become rampantWashington’s Blog  May 8th, 2015

  • Senior SEC employees spent up to 8 hours a day surfing porn sites instead of cracking down on financial crimes

Continue reading

May 9, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment