Australian news, and some related international items

Gloom in the global nuclear industry – 10 reasons why – theme for May 2015

terminal-nuclear-industryThe global nuclear industry is sick, indeed, it is in palliative care.  And here are 10 good reasons why:

1. Gloom overlies the nuclear lobby, fear of this question: the next nuclear catastrophe.  NotIF it will happen, but WHEN and WHERE?

2.  Aging, dangerous nuclear reactors that are too costly to make safe. .

3. “New nuclear” is  a joke. The nuclear lobby will boast of so many “planned”, “proposed” reactors. But new ones actually being built? – just two and a half duds.

4 Discord and dissension in the nuclear camp.  Nuclear countries cannot afford new reactors, so desperately compete to sell  them to other countries.

Meanwhile nuclear companies battle it out to market their particular new gee-whiz nuclear reactor version.

5. Climate change affects nuclear reactors.

6. Nuclear weapons now out-dated. 21st Century conflict is all about smaller, targeted missile-envy
weapons, like the USA’s assassination drones.  Pride and status are now the only motives for having nuclear weapons.

7. Decline in electricity use

8 Renewable energy, both centralised and small scale, is fast being developed, and widely popular (unlike nuclear).

9. Danger – whatever kind of nuclear facility – there is always the danger of accident or terrorism –  they are  a target for terrorists.

10 Public opinion. Worldwide – people just don’t like nuclear power.

May 23, 2015 Posted by | Christina themes | 2 Comments

Greedy businessmen just can’t wait for the Royal Commission’s final report

greed copyNuclear Royal Commission urged to fast-track storage talks DANIEL WILLS STATE POLITICAL EDITOR THE ADVERTISER MARCH 03, 2015 BUSINESS has urged South Australia’s nuclear Royal Commission to fast-track consideration of hosting the nation’s first major waste dump, amid fears the state could miss out on a lucrative opportunity to take a foothold in a future storage industry.

The Federal Government has announced a new tender process for a national radioactive waste management facility and is seeking site nominations until May 5. However, South Australia’s Royal Commission is not expected to conclude until late this year or early 2016.

BusinessSA chief executive Nigel McBride – “The thing that really stands out as an opportunity is spent nuclear fuel storage,” he said.

“Maybe we need to fast track that. Maybe that’s the part of the Commission that needs to come out first. “We can’t just wait until the Commission is over. They’re calling for it now….

Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said an independent advisory panel has been established to assess nominations and advise on the suitability of applicant sites.

The Federal Government has promised “a package of benefits” for the tender winner……..

Australian Conservation Foundation nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney called for the tender to be delayed amid fears a rushed process could harm communities and the environment….

May 23, 2015 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

Nuclear business lobby geared up to make submissions to the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission

Mr Hundertmark said it was not simple to “overcome the anti-nuclear feeling” but that modern nuclear technology was far safer than older reactors, such as Fukushima in Japan


Scarce,--Kevin-glowKevin Scarce, who is in favour of a debate on nuclear and is heading up the Royal Commission, has said he was sick of hearing politicians say they’re not opposed to nuclear power then doing nothing about it.

The $20bn blueprint to create a nuclear industry in SA  TORY SHEPHERD POLITICAL EDITOR THE ADVERTISER FEBRUARY 22, 2015 A $20 BILLION blueprint to create a South Australian nuclear industry that turns around the state’s fortunes by employing tens of thousands of people has been developed by a panel of experts.

The draft plan says the project would make the state a “world centre” for nuclear energy by offering storage for radioactive waste, enriching our uranium and building nuclear reactors, creating a new industry.

SA Nuclear Energy Systems Pty Ltd, chaired by Bruce Hundertmark, comprises a range of nuclear experts and hopes to work with the US Department of Energy and other major international entities in scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINits quest to make the plan a reality.

The group, which has an office in Wayville, hopes to make a submission to the Royal Commission into a nuclear industry. Continue reading

May 23, 2015 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

Japan’s communities refused to volunteer sites, so now the government will impose them

antnuke-relevantflag-japanMETI changes tactics after search for nuclear waste host proves futile

KYODO The government will select potential areas to host nuclear dump sites instead of waiting for communities to volunteer, according to the revised policy on permanent disposal of high-level radioactive waste that was adopted by the Cabinet on Friday. Continue reading

May 23, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Japan keen to make Australia’s new submarines

Japan Security Council Approves Bid to Build Australian Submarines  DEFENSE STUDIES. FOCUS ON DEFENSE CAPABILITY DEVELOPMENT IN SOUTHEAST ASIA AND OCEANIA 22 Mei 2015 The Japanese proposal for the 4200-tonne Soryu would involve using contractors Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, with the bid competing against TKMS’s 4000-tonne Type 216 and a conventional version of DCNS’s 5000-tonne nuclear-powered Barracuda. (photo : Nosint)

Japan is to exploit the easing of its postwar ban on arms exports by entering the race to jointly develop and build a new generation of submarines for the Australian navy.

Members of Japan’s security council this week approved the country’s participation in the bidding process, months after the Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, abandoned plans to buy Soryu-class submarines from Japan under pressure from ruling party and opposition politicians.

Instead, Japan will join non-nuclear submarine developers from Germany and France in Canberra’s “competitive evaluation process” to decide who builds the Australian navy’s next fleet of submarines.

South Australian government and defence industry representatives have gone to Europe to convince companies bidding to build Australia’s next fleet of submarines to do the work in Adelaide.

Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, confirmed that the security council had decided Japanese firms should join the process “in light of the importance of defence cooperation between Japan and Australia”.

Suga told reporters that the decision was in line with Japan’s revised rules on the transfer of arms and defence technology……….

Continue reading

May 23, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Wealthy climate change sceptics funded Bjorn Lomborg’s climate action delaying Centre

antnuke-relevantThe Millions Behind Bjorn Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus Center US Think Tank DeSmogBlog  By Graham Readfearn • Tuesday, June 24, 2014 “………..The only income for the CCC in its first year in the US came in the form of a $120,000 grant from the New York-based Randolph Foundation. The foundation, seeded by money from the Richardson family’s sale of the Vick Chemical Company in 1985, gave CCCanother $50,000 in 2012.

The main trustee at Randolph is Heather Higgins, the president and CEO of Independent Women’s Voice and the chairman of its sister organisation Independent Women’s Forum. Higgins is the daughter of R. Randolph Richardson, a member of the family that sold Vick Chemical Company to Procter & Gamble for $1.2 billion.

Staff writers of both organisations regularly express scepticism about the science of human-caused climate change and cite Lomborg’s views approvingly.

Lomborg, Bjorn

A recent article from IWF senior fellow Vicki Alger claimed “a majority of scientists believe that global warming is largely nature-made” — ignoring several studies that show the vast majority of research from scientists studying climate change believe exactly the opposite.

IWF funders include the Claude R. Lambe Foundation, controlled by Charles Koch, and Donors Trust, a fund for conservative philanthropists that has pushed millions into organisations promoting climate science denial and fighting laws to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Higgins is also board member at the Philanthropy Roundtable, another route for conservative philanthropy which shares two members of personnel with Donors Trust or its partner organisation Donors Capital Fund. Also on the board of trustees at Randolph is Polly Freiss, the daughter-in-law of conservative Christian businessman Foster Freiss.

Foster Freiss put more than $2 million into Republican Senator Rick Santorum’s 2012 run for his party’s nomination for the presidency. Freiss also bankrolled conservative news outlet The Daily Caller, which regularly publishes articles supporting the views of climate science denialists.

On his personal web page, Freiss promotes climate science denial sources including Climate Depot and The Heartland Institute. Friess’s website has also promoted Lomborg’s views.Foster Freiss and his daughter Polly attended the Koch brother’s secretive 2010 strategy meeting in Aspen, along with Heather Higgins and a host of other conservative activists.

The tax records of the Kansas-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation indicate it has given the CCC two $150,000 grants — one in 2011 and another in 2012……..

DeSmog’s analysis of the tax records of not-for-profit groups and foundations donating to CCC accounts for only $520,000 of the total $4.3 million income of the CCC since it was launched in the US. The center’s new website makes no mention of its funding.

When so little is known about the funding for CCC, it is hard for anyone to know if Lomborg’s hope to find “unassailable” donors has come true……

May 23, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Billionaire venture capitalist funded Bjorn Lomborg’s Climate Action Delaying Centre

Lomborg, BjornAt a G20 side event in Brisbane last year, Lomborg appeared at an event sponsored by the world’s largest private coal company, Peabody Energy, where he again argued that the world’s poor needed fossil fuels. 

Bjorn Lomborg Think Tank Funder Revealed As Billionaire Republican ‘Vulture Capitalist’ Paul Singer, DeSmogBlog  By Graham Readfearn • Monday, February 9, 2015 A billionaire “vulture capitalist” and major backer of the US Republican Party is a major funder of the think tank of Danish climate science contrarian and fossil fuels advocate Bjørn Lomborg, DeSmogBlog has found. Continue reading

May 23, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bjorn Lomborg’s USA operation seems to break many USA rules

Lomborg, Bjorn

It is unclear that Lomborg himself is a legitimate charity anywhere, but most of the money seems under his control.  One might also wonder where income taxes are paid.

Perhaps with his new $4 million Australia Consensus Center (covered herehere, here) Bjorn Lomborg may pick a better site than a US shipping storefront, since he’ll receive much more taxpayer money, directly, courtesy of the Australian government.  That does seem simpler

Bjorn Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus Center – Real Charity Or “Foreign Conduit”? DeSmogBlog  BJohn Mashey • Sunday, April 26, 2015 Bjørn Lomborg is founder and president of the  Copenhagen Consensus CenterUSA (CCC)), a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) “public charity” whose US physical presence is shown in the image: 262 Middlesex St, Lowell MA. Lomborg and the Copenhagen Consensus Center are known to DeSmog readers for efforts to downplay the importance of addressing climate change, a subset of climate science denialism that has infected the public debate across the English-speaking world.

Despite the name, it has not been based in Copenhagen since 2011. Continue reading

May 23, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Bjorn Lomborg remains confident about his climate action delaying centre

Map-Abbott-climateCCC’s Bjorn Lomborg appears unfazed by criticisms and setbacks, The Age May 23, 2015 – Paul McGeough,  Amidst uncertainty over his planned expansion into Australia, sponsored and part-funded by Canberra, Danish climate contrarian Bjorn Lomborg​ is unapologetic over secret donor funding and his own, at times, large salary as head of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre (CCC).

Defending the donations, Lomborg doubled-back on a position he took late last year when he volunteered, in a Freakonomics​ talk in the US, “almost all” CCC donors wished to remain anonymous……

Asked if the combination of past trenchant scientific and environmentalist criticism of his “bang-for-your-buck” analysis, which underpinned the outrage at UWA, and of his willingness to accept some anonymous funding risked the credibility of his proposed Australian operation, Lomborg countered: “CCC has been recognised repeatedly as a top global think-tank – it has a strong reputation because of the excellent research that it produces with more than 100 leading economists and seven Nobel laureates.”

Yet Lomborg baulked, when asked about the intellectual hinge in his relationship with Canberra – did the Abbott government enlist him in the Australian discourse because he had always believed humans cause global warming, or because he now spent most of his waking hours articulating arguments against controversial proposals to cut carbon emissions?….

n the 2013 filings, Lomborg’s salary was reveal to be $200, 484, but in the previous year it was more than three times that amount – $US775, 000.That figure caused a rolling of eyes in some scientific and environmental corners. But unabashed, Lomborg told Fairfax Media: “My salary is assessed by a compensation committee. My position is as leader of a globally recognised, top-ranked think-tank and research funder, interacting with hundreds of the world’s top economists, opinion-makers and leaders.”

Hoping to ride out the storm over his appointment, Lomborg said in April: “We want to have this conversation in the developing world, but Imagine having it in Australia too. In a democracy we talk about what can be done in three-year election cycles, but let’s ask what could Australia do in the lifetime of the next generation.”……

May 23, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Environmental powers handed to the States – will mean falling standards

exclamation-Environmental standards face decline if all approval powers are handed to states, report finds, ABC News, By Jane Ryan, 21 May 15  Environmental standards would drop under a proposed state-based one-stop-shop environmental approval system, a new report has found.

The proposed legislation, which is before the Federal Senate, seeks to streamline environmental approval processes by giving power of approval to state governments and cutting out the Commonwealth.

But a report by the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) warns against relegating environmental approval powers to state governments, saying the environment will suffer.

EDO principal lawyer Jess Feehely said there were several areas where state legislation did not meet the standards set by Commonwealth protections……..

Ms Feehely said Tasmania would not meet international obligations on environment protection under the proposed legislation change.”There’s a real risk that matters of national environmental significance will receive less protection,” she said. “Matters of national significance include threatened species, so habitat for the Tasmanian devil, and it includes world heritage areas and endangered ecological communities.”

She said there were four main areas where the Tasmanian law fell short of the protection afforded under the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. “They don’t apply the precautionary principle, they don’t take account of our international obligations, and they don’t make it easy for people to find access to information about development decisions,” she said.

The report also commended the strong rights for public participation currently provided in many Tasmanian laws.

May 23, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

The solar revolution that is coming to Australia’s homes

Australia-solar-plugCould solar power be about to transform the electricity industry and drive prices down? Australian Broadcasting Corporation  Broadcast: 21/05/2015  Reporter: Matt Peacock A revolution driven by solar panels and cheaper batteries is transforming Australia’s electricity industry and promising to drive power prices down.


LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER:  Imagine life without that dreaded quarterly power bill. That could be around the corner for people with solar panels. Until now, solar energy couldn’t be stored efficiently and people who had it relied on the electricity grid for backup. Now, new battery technology means that could change. Matt Peacock reports. Continue reading

May 23, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | 1 Comment

AREVA, Toshiba want nuclear reactors to last 80 -100 years

antnuke-relevantAREVA,Toshiba  eye 100-year life cycle for nuclear plants  John Downey
Charlotte Business Journal May 22, 2015 Can a nuclear plant run for a century? For AREVA-Medusa1now, federal regulators allow up to 60 years of licensed energy production. But Gary Mignogna, CEO of Charlotte-based Areva Inc.(EPA:AREVA), says it’s time to consider a 100-year life cycle…..He noted that former Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers had raised questions about whether plants could operate much beyond the 20-year extension the Nuclear Regulatory Commission offers after a plant’s 40-year initial license…….

Reverse engineering Ali Azad, chief executive of Toshiba (TYO:TOSBF) America Energy Systems, also based in Charlotte, says his organization is looking now at 80 years, at least, for existing plants. He says as you prepare to recondition existing plants for extended life, getting replacement parts becomes an issue. In some cases, the original equipment companies are no longer in business, for instance, he said.

So Toshiba is working on reverse engineering to fabricate replacement parts for older plants…..

May 23, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trans Pacific Partnership undermines democracy, and must be stopped

Do we really want to tell governments all around the world, including the U.S., that if they pass logo-anti-TPPlegislation protecting the well-being of their citizens they could pay substantial fines to multi-national corporations because of the loss of future profits? What an incredible undermining of democracy! But that’s exactly what will happen if the TPP goes into effect.

The TPP MUst Be Defeated

antnuke-relevantFlag-USAdefeated_b_7352166.html?utm_hp_ref=politics  22 May 15 

Independent U.S. Senator from Vermont Congress is now debating fast track legislation that will pave the way for the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) unfettered free trade agreement. At a time when our middle class is disappearing and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider, this anti-worker legislation must be defeated. Here are four reasons why.

First, the TPP follows in the footsteps of failed trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA, Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China, and the South Korea Free Trade agreement. Over and over again, supporters of these agreements told us that they would create jobs. Over and over again, they have been proven dead wrong. Continue reading

May 23, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Funding method to help off-grid renewable energy take off in rural Australia

renewable-energy-pictureCLOSING THE GAP

Renewable energy sources (in particular, solar and wind) have a significant relevance in the off-grid setting of Australia’s remote rural and indigenous communities.

At present these communities are serviced almost exclusively by off-grid diesel and gas. While these traditional fuels haven’t yet become prohibitively expensive, they are subject to price fluctuations and, in the case of diesel, affordable only as a result of government subsidies.

Fuel subsidies are also regularly under threat of repeal; and yet renewable energy has made enormous progress in providing an environmentally-friendly alternative which is competitive in terms of price and efficiency.

Taking diesel and solar powered energy as examples: while the cost of diesel generation has remained stable at around the $220-$300/MWh mark, the cost of solar energy is now about $200-$240/MWh; drastically down from $600/MWh in 2008 and likely to get cheaper with evolving technology and economies of scale.

Combine the comparative cost with the obvious environmental benefits of solar or wind and the case for their adoption looks compelling.

Renewable energy for remote Australia – can our rural and indigenous communities go off-grid? Corrs Chambers Westgarth Australia May 21 2015


The renewable energy industry in Australia has taken more hits in recent years than a punch-drunk boxer. It may be uncharitable to say that Australia’s politicians were the only ones throwing the upper-cuts, but there’s little doubt they’ve played a significant role.

The current state of the renewable energy industry in Australia can be traced back to the repeal of the carbon price mechanism and has been further compounded by the prolonged political impasse surrounding the future of the Renewable Energy Target (RET).[1].

Running parallel to the renewable energy sector’s struggles, is the pressure on governments to reduce spending in the face of an undiminished social imperative to service the energy (and wider infrastructure) needs of remote rural and indigenous communities across the country.

In light of technological advances, off-grid renewable energy should be a key part of the solution to energy security.

In funding such a solution, debt-funded models could be a more practical way for industry to raise the capital it needs than waiting for government funding.

For government, private capital investment has long been an attractive funding solution for infrastructure projects as it allows for the deferral of upfront capital costs.

Equally, financiers benefit from the certainty that comes with government-sourced revenue streams – in this way circumventing the uncertainty that has so severely hamstrung renewable energy investment in recent years.

If a debt-funded model is to be pursued, the real question then becomes: how to structure that funding to make it attractive for all parties concerned? Continue reading

May 23, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, energy | Leave a comment

Energy retailers must take the lead, for solar and wind energy to spring back

A key element of the recent RET compromise is that the ruling Liberal coalition agreed to scrap the biennial reviews of the policy that had previously been in place.

“It removes the uncertainty factor that has been plaguing the RET for many years now,” Gemmell​ says.

Yet while the bipartisan compromise is a welcome development for the industry, the victory is still bittersweet.

“We’re both relieved and disappointed at the same time. We’re relieved in the sense that the pace of our PPA discussions and negotiations are picking up considerably. And we’ll have some clear visibility on building the first major stages of our projects,” he concludes, noting that Solar Choice may now be able to start construction at Bulli Creek at some point in 2016.

ANALYSIS: Energy retailers key after Australia RET deal Brian Publicover in Tokyo Friday, May 22 2015 The Australian legislature appears set to approve the nation’s revised Renewable Energy Target (RET) by as early as the end of June, but energy retailers will need to take the lead for solar and wind development to finally spring back to life after more than a year of uncertainty, according to industry analysts. Continue reading

May 23, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment