Australian news, and some related international items

ANSTO’s problem of mounting radioactive wastes at Lucas Heights

text-wise-owlANSTO staves off nuclear waste squeeze AFR  by Christopher Jay  28 May 15, The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation ANSTO) will use a slab of this year’s $193 million budget allocation to extend and retrofit two existing nuclear waste storage facilities, to stave off a critical shortage of storage space which will otherwise materialise by 2017.Another $26.8 million over four years has been allocated to pack, ship and return Australian high level waste being reprocessed in the UK Sellafield plant no earlier than mid-2019. EPA Continue reading

May 30, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, wastes | Leave a comment

Britain’s nuclear power programme grinds to a halt, with AREVA’s unmanageable problems

antnuke-relevantUnfair state aid  The new British government is already facing legal challenges from Austria and Luxembourg and from various renewable energy groups for unfair state aid for this nuclear project.

[Britain]  has not developed renewables as fast as Germany and other European neighbours—claiming that new nuclear build would fill the gap.

It now looks as though the government will urgently need to rethink its energy policy

terminal-nuclear-industryNew Energy Policy Needed as Nuclear Giants Take a Hit, TruthDig May 29, 2015 By Paul Brown, Climate News Network LONDON—The European nuclear industry, led by France, seems to be in terminal decline as a result of the cancellation of a new Finnish reactor, technical faults in stations already under construction, and severe financial problems.

The French government owns 85% of both of the country’s two premier nuclear companies  Areva, which designs the reactors, and Électricité de France (EDF), which builds and manages them. Now it is amalgamating the two giants in a bid to rescue the industry.

Even if the vast financial losses involved in building new nuclear stations can be stemmed, there is still a big question mark over whether either company can win any new orders…………. Continue reading

May 30, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Florida residents don’t want new nuclear reactors near State parks

antnuke-relevantDoes Florida need more nuclear reactors near state parks?   By Daniel Vasquez “..
Florida Power & Light has plans to add two new nuclear reactors at Turkey Point. Now, some people are still afraid of nuclear reactors. They don’t want them in their backyards. What happens if one of them melts?

FP&L, which generates and sells much of the electricity sucked up by homeowners and businesses in South Florid, tells us there is nothing to worry about…

But not everyone is convinced FP&L is doing so great with the two reactors now at Turkey Point.

The Sun Sentinel’s South Florida 100 member Katy Sorenson, president of the Good Government Initiative at the University of Miami says this: Continue reading

May 30, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear power deal between USA and India stagnates

Buy-US-nukesflag-indiaLittle progress on nuclear deal after ‘breakthrough’ NARAYAN LAKSHMAN 29 May 15 More than four months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Barack Obama announced a “breakthrough understanding” to resolve a long-standing impasse in the bilateral civil nuclear energy agreement, forward movement has apparently ground to a standstill and neither the government nor the private sector here antnuke-relevantheld out hope for a speedy resolution.

Responding to queries from The Hindu this week a State Department spokesperson said that there was “nothing new to announce on the civil nuclear deal at this time.” Continue reading

May 30, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Solar testing laboratory: CSIRO helps investor confidence in large-scale solar

sunCSIRO establishes solar testing laboratory  JOHN CONROY MAY 30, 2015

CSIRO is set to increase confidence in large-scale solar by more accurately predicting how different solar photovoltaic (PV) systems will perform on Australian shores.

Over the course of a 32-month project supported by $1.3 million Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) funding, CSIRO successfully established unique indoor and outdoor testing capabilities that are now accessible to PV researchers and industry.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said these new facilities would allow different solar panels and cells to be scrutinised, assessing how they respond to Australian conditions and predicting their output over time.

“Accurately predicting the energy output of a solar PV power plant is critical throughout its lifecycle, from forecasting future revenue and determining commercial viability to day-to-day operation on the electricity grid,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“Effective forecasting is particularly important for investor confidence and risk mitigation as the cost of new plants is mostly up-front.

Continue reading

May 30, 2015 Posted by | solar | Leave a comment

Clean Energy Finance Corporation helping irrigators to buy renewable energy

Aust-sunFunding for irrigators to buy renewable energy made available through Clean Energy Finance Corporation ABC Rural  By Sarina Locke , 29 May 15 Irrigators, furious with power price rises, are pushing hard to install renewable energy on their farms.

To date the financial backing from banks has been largely missing.

Now the Government backed Clean Energy Finance Corporation is poised to announce a partnership with a major bank, to help irrigators invest in more efficient energy. It is just the tip of renewable energy projects in agriculture, worth $3 billion that will need financial assistance from the Corporation in future……..

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is responding. It has a program with the Commonwealth Bank, called the energy efficient loan for mid-sized companies, available nationwide. It offers small loans of $100,000 up to $5 million plus.

But the CEFC is poised to rollout more programs with other banks offering a similar product for irrigators. Continue reading

May 30, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, efficiency, energy | Leave a comment

Germany’s coal power production has continued to decline, despite nuclear exit

text-renw-GermanyZero German coal plants as a reaction to Fukushima, Energy Transition, [excellent diagrams]  27 May 2015   by   Reading headlines like “Germany’s nuclear cutback is darkening European skies” makes Craig Morris despair over the state of journalism……

..there has been no surge in coal power during the nuclear phase-out. In fact, total coal power production (both lignite and hard coal) fell by six percent last year alone. ……….

We are left with no coal plants in the pipeline as a reaction to Fukushima accident and Germany’s nuclear phase-out. Nor has there been a boom in new coal plants and coal electricity generation in Germany since the Fukushima accident. All of this information is publicly available,……Craig Morris (@PPchef) is the lead author of German Energy Transition. He directs Petite Planète and writes every workday for Renewables International

May 30, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The ANZ Bank’s first green bond issuance a resounding success

piggy-ban-renewablesAustralian investors lap up ANZ green bonds THE AUSTRALIAN JOHN CONROY MAY 28, 2015 The ANZ Bank’s first green bond issuance – and Australia’s largest – has been a “resounding success”, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation said, with the CEFC not needing to provide the $75m it had committed to back the issuance.

The $600m ANZ green bond issuance – which has been certified by the Climate Bonds Initiative  – was fully subscribed by private sector investors and will back investment in utility-scale wind and solar as well as green buildings.

About 40% of the green bond funds will go into green building projects in Australian and New Zealand, as well as some parts of Asia, with the remaining 60% to be invested in renewable energy, largely wind and solar, The Fifth Estate reports, with Australian institutional investors making up the majority of subscribers.

The five-year fixed rate bond had a coupon of 3.25% and was rated AA-, the website said. The Fifth Estate also quotes CBI as saying the issuance was actually oversubscribed, at $725m. CEFC CEO Oliver Yates said the “high quality” bonds would expand and diversify the investor base for clean energy.

“Green bonds provide investors with a unique opportunity to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency through a low-risk, high quality fixed-income product. At the same time, green bonds support long term investment in important low carbon infrastructure projects which can benefit the broader economy,” he said.

He said investors were increasingly seeking additional benefits, such as an environmental or social return……..


May 30, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, energy | Leave a comment

An international Treaty that has saved lives – the Montreal Protocol

highly-recommendedOzone treaty ‘prevented skin cancer deaths’ Anna Salleh
The ozone hole over the Antarctic would have been 40 per cent bigger in 2013 if the Montreal Protocol hadn’t curbed the production of CFCs, according to a new study.

In this scenario, Australia and New Zealand would have experienced greater UV radiation, which in turn would have increased the rate of skin cancer, say the authors of a new paper today in Nature Communications.

The paper also shows that, by 2011, ozone depletion would have become a northern hemisphere problem too.

“There would have been an Antarctic-like ozone hole in the Arctic over populated regions,” says co-author Dr Richard McKenzie, an atmospheric physicist at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand.

In the mid-1980s scientists discovered a hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica, and in 1987 the world agreed to the Montreal Protocol, which limited the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

Despite this, the concentration of CFCs continued to rise until 1993, and even today the ozone hole reappears each spring, and this contributes to an increase in cancer-causing UV radiation in Australia and New Zealand.

But without the Montreal Protocol it could have been so much worse, say the researchers. Continue reading

May 30, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

Tour of French art – Aboriginal life before colonisation

Rare French paintings of Tasmanian Aboriginal life before colonisation to tour Australia, ABC News, By Sam Ikin 19 May 2015, A collection of 19th century French illustrations depicting Indigenous life in Tasmania and around mainland Australia before British colonisation will go on show in the state for the first time next year.

The drawings and sketches were done in early 1802 during Nicholas Baudin’s exploration of Australia.

The French explorer’s artists, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur and Nicholas-Martin Petit, meticulously documented their meetings with local Aboriginal people when they landed in Tasmania.

The pictures are owned by France’s Museum of Natural History in La Havre and will tour the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG), Launceston’s Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, the National Museum of Australia in Canberra and several other Australian galleries next year and in 2017………The French museum’s director Cedric Cremiere said he was proud to be able to show the works in Australia.

“It is wonderful that after that first French encounter with Australia more than 200 years ago, we can share these discoveries and sense of wonder with Australian audiences.” he said.

Tasmanian Arts Minister Vanessa Goodwin said the artworks were of huge importance to Tasmania.

“This partnership will allow audiences across Tasmania to see depictions of early Tasmanian life which are of enormous significance to the Tasmanian Aboriginal people and the Tasmanian community in general,” she said.

May 30, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Other investors are likely to follow Norwegian fund’s move out of coal-based investments

antnuke-relevantNorway fund could trigger wave of large fossil fuel divestments, say experts, Guardian, , 29 May 15  Other investors are likely to follow Norwegian fund’s move out of coal-based investments, due to its size as the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund Norway’s decision to dump all coal-focused investments from its $900bnsovereign wealth fund could unleash a wave of divestment from other large funds, according to investment experts. The fund, the largest in the world, is one of the top 10 investors in the global coal industry.

The move, agreed late on Wednesday, is one of the most significant victories to date for a fast-growing and UN-backed fossil-fuel divestment campaign. It will affect $9bn-$10bn (£5.8-£6.5bn) of coal-related investments, according to the Norwegian government.

“Investments in coal companies can have both a climate risk and a future financial risk,” said Svein Flaatten of the governing Conservative party, which made a cross-party agreement to implement the selling of coal investments.

A series of analyses have shown that the world’s existing reserves of fossil fuels are several times greater than can be burned while keeping the temperature below the 2C safety limit agreed by the world’s governments. Furthermore, authorities such as the World Bank and Bank of England have warned that fossil fuel reserves will be left worthless if the action needed to cut carbon emissions kicks in…….

Organisations that have cut or curbed coal investments recently include insurance giant Axa, the Church of England and Oxford University. The Guardian, which is running a campaign asking the world’s biggest health charities to divest, is owned by the Guardian Media Group, which announced it would divest its £800m fund from all fossil fuels in April.

May 30, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment