Australian news, and some related international items

Australian anti nuclear activist barred from entry to India

civil-liberty-2smIndia barred activist from entry: Greenpeace , Arab News 9 June 15 NEW DELHI: Greenpeace said Monday an Australian staff member had been barred from entering India despite holding a valid visa, in what it said was the latest crackdown against the group.
Aaron Gray-Block was on his way to meetings in India when immigration officials stopped him at Bangalore airport on Saturday night and put him on a flight to Kuala Lumpur without explanation, the campaign group said.
His passport was seized and only returned to him once he had landed in the Malaysian capital, the environmental group said in a statement.
“Our colleague has a valid business visa, and yet he was prevented from entering India with no reason given,” Divya Raghunandan, program director of Greenpeace India, said.
“We are forced to wonder if all international staff of Greenpeace will now be prevented from entering the country?“
Local media reports cited unnamed home ministry sources saying Gray-Block was denied entry because his name figured in an official ‘black list’.

But the activist said he had “not received any communication” from the government of being placed on such a list, demanding “an explanation to this.”
“I arrived at Bangalore Airport with a valid business visa issued by the Indian embassy in Australia… Any suggestion of wrongdoing is a farce and a smear,” Gray-Block said in a statement late Monday.
“There is no reason for me to be included in any blacklist,” he added……

In April the right-wing government withdrew the group’s foreign funding license, citing violations of rules by opening accounts for foreign donations without informing authorities.
A court last month ordered authorities to unfreeze some of Greenpeace’s accounts, handing the group a lifeline after it faced closure of its local operations.
Greenpeace has accused the government of waging a “malicious campaign” against it. Authorities prevented one of its campaigners in January from leaving Delhi after she was placed on a suspicious persons list. According to Indian media, a secret report by the main intelligence agency recently warned that delays to key development projects being sought by Greenpeace and other activist groups could knock up to three percentage points off India’s annual growth rate.

Greenpeace has been at loggerheads with the government over claims of environmental damage caused by India’s heavy reliance on coal and the impact of deforestation and nuclear projects.

June 10, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Don’t be fooled by the nuclear industry’s hype about thorium reactors

antnuke-relevantflag-UKFriends Of The Earth: Still Critical to Anti-Nuclear Movement, Jonathon Porritt, 9 June 15  “…….Using thorium as the basis for the nuclear fuel cycle solves none of the problems of high cost, nuclear weapons proliferation, nuclear waste, radioactive emissions and decommissioning. The only difference is a lower production of long-lived transuranics(like plutonium) in the waste.

And it has three huge disadvantages:

• First, the develop the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) technology favouredby thorium advocates would likely cost of the order of $100 billion;
• Second, we don’t know if a working design would ever result as there are huge engineering challenges, for example in creating materials to withstand the high temperatures and intense radiation for decades on end;
• Third, even if the project were successful, there’s no way that LFTRs could be deployed at scale for half a century – by which time, the rapid development ofrenewables that’s taking place will have made it entirely redundant.


So in my humble opinion, any idea of supporting more research into thorium reactors is plain daft. If there’s a spare $100 billion to be spent on energy research, it should go into accelerating the development of clean, green renewable technologies!……..

As the [UK’s]Government’s pro-nuclear position has become more and more extreme, it’s having a more and more disturbing impact on energy policy in general – as I’ve explained in umpteen blogs over the last few years. The renewables sector has already taken a massive hit because of the preferencing of nuclear, and energy efficiency barely gets a look-in when it comes to thinking strategically about our energy infrastructure.

………more and more people are gulled into thinking that nuclear really does have some part to play in securing our low-carbon energy future – not just in the UK but around the world. This fantasy persists in part because those who know just how ludicrous it is apparently haven’t got time to speak up and campaign against it…….

it’s foolish to think that the nuclear industry’s dreams will automatically fade away with the collapse of the Hinkley Point project. There’s an extremely aggressive campaign already under way to accelerate approval for a completely different kind of reactor at Sellafield, led by the NuGen consortium, and other sites (including Sizewell) are only too aware of being ‘next in line’……….

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Maitland-Newcastle Catholic diocese holds forum “Transitioning to Renewable Energy”

Maitland-Newcastle diocese takes up Pope Francis’ support of environmental issues June 9, 2015, The Hunter’s involvement on the transition to renewable energy will come into focus during a public environmental forum preceding a letter from Pope Francis on environmental issues. The Social Justice Council of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle will host the public forum “Transitioning to Renewable Energy” at St Pius X High School on Wednesday night.

A group of Maitland students, ­teachers and residents will attend.

The forum follows Pope Francis’ announcement that his highly anticipated encyclical letter on environmental issues to be released on June 18. Continue reading

June 10, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Australia’s big miners in tandem pushing coal and uranium industries

dirty-nuclearBig miners say they can survive push to end fossil fuels, SMH,  June 9, 2015 Tom Arup and Lisa Cox Australia’s big miners have declared they have a future despite a push to stamp out fossil fuel emissions from the global economy backed by G7 world leaders, pinning their pitch on clean coal technology and uranium……….

Overnight on Monday G7 leaders, which include United States President Barrack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, released a statement throwing their weight behind ending fossil-fuel emissions from the use of coal, gas and oil by the end of the century.

The declaration, which followed a G7 leaders’ summit in Germany, also backed emissions cuts of near 70 per cent by 2050 from 2010 levels, the upper end of recent recommendations from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)…..

Greens Leader Richard Di Natale said the G7 statement presented “big challenges” for Australia’s economy as half the country’s coal exports went to G7 countries and they were saying they did not want it anymore.

June 10, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Breast cancer rates are FIVE TIMES higher near Welsh nuclear power plant

BREAST-CANCERNuclear power station cancer warning: Breast cancer rates are FIVE TIMES higher at Welsh plant – and twice as high at Essex and Somerset sites, experts reveal

  • Studies looked at rates of various cancers in people living close to Trawsfynydd, Bradwell and Hinkley Point power stations
  • At the Welsh plant breast cancer rates were five times higher than expected
  • At Bradwell and Hinkley Point they were twice as high as UK average
  • Researchers warned their ‘very clear’ findings are ‘remarkable’  

By LIZZIE PARRY FOR MAILONLINE  9 June 2015 Women living downwind from nuclear power plants are at five times greater risk of developing breast cancer, experts have warned.

In three separate studies, a team of scientists looked at the rates of various cancers in populations living close to Trawsfynydd power station in North Wales, Bradwell in Essex and Hinkley Point in Somerset.

They discovered breast cancer rates, in particular, were higher than expected national averages at all three sites.

At Trawsfynydd, rates of the disease were five times greater than average, while in Essex and Somerset women had double the risk of developing breast cancer.  Continue reading

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia must adapt to changes in global energy sector, or fail economically

Changes in the global energy sector as well as in the global climate are underway, whether Australian policymakers like it or not, and Australia must adapt.

Opportunities beyond the Australian Energy White Paper, Nautilus Institute  by Samantha Mella and Geoff James 8 June 2015


Samantha Mella and Geoff James write “The (Australian Energy) White Paper’s framework of competition, productivity and investment provides a good platform for discussion, but a number of important issues are not addressed. These include the development of Australia’s abundant renewable energy resources, the consideration of carbon constraints, the growth in renewable energy investment overseas compared to a decline in Australia, and the potential impacts of the fossil fuel divestment movement.”

“Australia’s future prosperity is [best] served by the development of a vital, healthy renewable energy sector that competes alongside fossil fuels in a fair and open energy market.”


Opportunities beyond the Australian Energy White Paper

Australia’s Energy White Paper released in April focused on the development of fossil fuels in Australia’s domestic and export energy markets. The paper has been well received by the mineral and resources sector and some industry groups, while others have expressed dismay in its treatment of Australia’s energy and environmental future.[1] [2]  Continue reading

June 10, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Renewable energy beating nuclear, in 2014 and beyond

Overall, utility-scale solar is expected to drive growth, due to its increased cost competitiveness. In the rooftop sector, self-consumption is said to be becoming the “backbone” of distributed PV development………

Read the full SolarPower Europe report.

sun-championRenewables outpace nuclear in 2014 European power generation, PV Magazine 09. JUNE 2015 BY:  BECKY BEETZ Last year was said to be a benchmark for renewable energy, with renewables producing more power in Europe than nuclear for the first time. In yet another glittering solar industry report, SolarPower Europe further calculates cumulative solar capacity could reach 540 GW, globally, by 2020, with a record 40 GW installed in 2014. China is set to “frame global growth.

SolarPower Europe, formerly the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) has released its “Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2015-2019.” In the report, the association notes the “key” role solar has played in helping the renewable energy industry overtake nuclear power for the first time in Europe……

Price declines The “massive” price declines have help solar become a cost-competitive energy source, including a 75% drop in PV system prices in the past decade. As such, it should be viewed as a “low risk investment” by the financial community, says SolarPower Europe…….

Geographical spread Marking a significant change from just three years ago, China (10.6 GW in 2014), Japan (9.7 GW) and the U.S. (over 6.5 GW) are leading current solar industry growth, with the U.K. forging Europe’s onward path. Of the 40 GW installed in 2014, Europe accounted for just 7 GW, 2.4 of which were deployed in Britain, while Germany added just 1.9 GW and France 927 MW. Despite this, Europe still leads in terms of cumulative installed capacity, at 88 GW.

The U.K. is set to keep the European solar crown for another year – something no one would have believed just a couple of years ago. Continue reading

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mount Alexander Shire, Victoria, launches MASH (Mount Alexander Solar Homes)

Further information on MASH 2 can be viewed here.

Victoria-sunny.psdSunEdison Australia Powering MASH 2 Solar Initiativ June 9, 2015Castlemaine-based non profit group Hub Foundation has sparked a second solar revolution in Mount Alexander Shire in Victoria, Australia; in partnership with SunEdison.

Hub Foundation’s largest project so far has been MASH (Mount Alexander Solar Homes). The community solar bulk-buy program has already achieved 225 new solar PV rooftops in the area – half of all solar power systems installed in Mount Alexander Shire last year.

During the first stage of MASH, 3,000 panels were installed in total. 24% of homes in the Shire are now saving on power costs with a solar rooftop; making it equal second among Victoria’s shires. But perhaps the Shire may boost its ranking very soon, while helping even more residents to save on energy bills and reduce their CO2 emissions.

For those who missed out on the first stage of MASH, MASH 2 was launched on the 4th of June by Mayor of Mount Alexander Shire, Cr Christine Henderson. Continue reading

June 10, 2015 Posted by | solar, Victoria | Leave a comment

Uranium Energy reports 3Q loss

antnuke-relevantUranium Energy reports 3Q loss Uranium Energy posts third-quarter loss of $5.3 million
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) _ Uranium Energy Corp. (UEC) on Tuesday reported a loss of $5.3 million in its fiscal third quarter…….

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Uranium no boom – only bust

flag-S.AfricaUranium mining town hopes long turned to dust, Mail & Guardian  05 DEC 2014 PHILLIP DE WET Dominionville residents expected a boom town when Shiva Uranium foretold promises of riches, but white poverty and black despair remain years later. The people of Dominionville in North West have seen it before, and those who were not around have heard the stories. The residents tell it among themselves like a sort of fairy tale – the pre-Disney kind, full of darkness and foreboding – warning against hope.

In 2006, it was Uranium One, they say, that sold the idea that riches would return to their town. In Canada and Europe, the company sold the story of the rich shafts – almost within sight of the residents – and they sold it well.

The people of Dominionville, more than half resigned to the idea that the tide would never turn their way again, read the articles about hundreds of millions of dollars being poured into the company, and dared to dream……

That was so many years ago that the signboards for the Shiva Uranium mines have been bleached almost illegible by the sun. As yet, the money has not materialised. Dominionville barely clings on, a place of white poverty and black despair……

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Power from sunshine and seawater – applicable to Australia

sundrop-farms-David-PrattThe Sundrop Farms project is moving ahead, and has won substantial financial support from the global venture capital firm KKR in addition to its earlier support from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, as well as a contract to supply fresh produce to supermarket chain Coles over the next ten years.

The Abu Dhabi project is even more ambitious and is called “seawater farming”.

Could Australia do the same? Australia is a country with vast arid areas, copious quantities of seawater and sunshine – all the ingredients needed for a similar solar biofuel and food project.

It has a national air carrier in Qantas that has already experimented with various kinds of aviation biofuels. It has a national R&D organization in CSIRO that could organize such a project.

Desert farms could power flight with sunshine and seawater, The Conversation, John Mathews Professor of Strategic Management, Macquarie Graduate School of Management at Macquarie University, 9 June 15  “…….what if you could grow biofuels on land nobody wants, using just seawater and sunlight, and produce food at the same time?

That’s just what a new project in Abu Dhabi is seeking to do. TheIntegrated Seawater Energy and Agriculture System, or ISEAS, will grow sustainable food and aviation fuel in the desert, using seawater and sunshine, in a way that is eminently transferable to similar arid regions around the world.

The project was announced in January 2015 and is now under construction……..

Energy, water and food problems frequently compound each other, each making the others more difficult to resolve.

Examples abound: think of wasteful irrigation coming up against water limits and threatening reductions in food production. But there are some projects that turn the issue around and bring water, energy and food issues into positive relations, each strengthening the others. Continue reading

June 10, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, solar | 1 Comment

Cut price loans by NAB for solar and energy efficiency program s

piggy-ban-renewablesNAB to offer discounted energy efficiency, solar loans, Climate Spectator JOHN CONROY  9 JUN, The National Australia Bank will offer cut-price equipment loans to small and medium-sized businesses investing in energy efficiency and renewable power equipment as part of a $120m funding program backed by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

The agreement to fund energy-saving equipment or renewables generation will see NAB offer a rate 70 basis points below its standard equipment finance rate.

Finance will be offered through NAB, and will be across a diverse range of pre-approved assets including cars, irrigation systems, solar PV, building upgrades, lighting upgrades, processing line improvements and refrigeration……..

June 10, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, efficiency, solar | Leave a comment