Australian news, and some related international items

SBS uranium documentary – mixed messages and a soft sell for nuclear lobby?

scrutiny-A Critical Look at ‘Uranium: Twisting the Dragon’s Tail’, truthdig,  Aug 9, 2015 By Stanley Heller A week or so before the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, I watched a curious documentary on PBS. It was called “Uranium: Twisting the Dragon’s Tail.” You can see it here. The presenter was a physicist named Derek Muller. What’s odd is that Muller concludes that nuclear power is not the way to go, but the way the film was edited, the message is the opposite: that nuclear power is relatively safe and that its technical problems are at the point of being solved. Continue reading

August 12, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, spinbuster | 3 Comments

Research finds gender divide on opinions on nuclear power versus solar

cartoon- emotionalMore men back nuclear, women like solar: climate change gender divide found, The Age,  August 10, 2015  Environment and immigration correspondent If the climate change debate wasn’t polarised enough, another divide has opened up: the attitudes of men versus those of women.

Climate Institute research published on Monday confirms Australian men are more likely than women to believe climate change is not happening, and to prefer nuclear and coal as energy sources. Women, meanwhile, are more inclined than men to support wind and solar power, and take the view backed by the vast majority of the world’s scientists – that climate change is real.

Ian Dunlop, a former international oil, gas and coal industry executive who is now a director of not-for-profit think tank Australia21, said gender differences were a “fundamental issue” holding back climate action.

“The male incumbency in the business and political world have not been prepared to engage with that discussion,” he said, deriding a dominant culture of “macho short-termism”. “I think women on the other hand are actually more conscious of the … world we are heading into and [that] we need to start doing something about it.”………

The United Nations has previously said women in poor nations bear the disproportionate burden of climate change, but are largely overlooked in the debate about how to address effects such as rising seas, droughts and extreme weather.

The founder of 1 million women, Natalie Isaacs, whose organisation encourages women to act on climate change through the way they live, said protecting future generations “is a hot button issue for women”. She said women made 85 per cent of consumer decisions that affect a household’s carbon footprint.

Mr Dunlop, former chairman of the Australian Coal Association and former chief executive of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, said women were more likely than men to see climate change as an “existential issue”. “The male approach to this thing is [often] saying it is all nonsense, it’s all just alarmism,” he said.

It has been argued that advocates for climate action should frame their message around defending the status quo, to encourage more men to confront the problem.

August 12, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Abbott snubs UN climate talks in December

Abbott-xmasAbbott won’t attend UN climate change talk PRIME Minister Tony Abbott won’t attend the United Nations climate change summit at the end of the year.

INSTEAD, he will send Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to Paris for the talks to nut out a post-2020 global approach to dealing with climate change.

Labor says if world leaders like US President Barack Obama can find time to attend there is no excuse Mr Abbott can’t as well.

August 12, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Nuclear power plant forced to cut back as seawater temperature rises

text-relevantRising seawater temperatures force Pilgrim to reduce power, Cape Cod Times, 11 Aug 15,  Rising temperatures in bay force reduction in power  

It was only the second summer in the nuclear plant’s 43-year history that the temperature of the water used to cool the reactor exceeded the federal limit.  

To cool its reactors, Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station draws up to 500 million gallons of saltwater a day from Cape Cod Bay through an inlet created by two breakwaters. Merrily Cassidy/Cape Cod Times File  By Christine Legere   Continue reading

August 12, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate denial and radiation denial: two sides of the same coin


Contrary to the beliefs held by radiation deniers, every major radiation study support the Linear No-Threshold concept. Graph from Dr. Ian Fairlie. A study of the effects of radiation on actual UK nuclear workers corresponds well with the expected results in the U.S. BEIR VII study–a much different result would be expected under the radiation deniers’ “hormesis” concept. Graph from Dr. Ian Fairlie.

As the world veers closer to climate catastrophe, the people of the world increasingly understand that action to prevent that catastrophe must be taken. We are seeing that understanding grow even in the U.S., which has lagged most other industrialized countries in popular support for climate action, and even whether climate change is real.

As the most recent example, voters in a poll released last week in states considered to be potential swing states in the 2016 presidential election, consider climate change to be a serious problem by margins ranging from 54% to 68%. By similar margins (55%-66%), they support the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

That the margins are…

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August 12, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

#Nuclear delusions exposed at Festival of Dangerous Ideas

  • In his book, Schlosser, who will be speaking on Nuclear Delusions at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas next month, has explored this in depth and does not believe systems can be made completely foolproof…….
  • He also thought it was possible that building a nuclear waste storage facility in Australia, which stockpiled high level waste that could be reprocessed into fuel for nuclear weapons, may make the country a target for terrorists.

    “The challenge of storing nuclear waste safely is huge,” Schlosser said, adding nuclear waste could also be used to make a dirty bomb that spread plutonium dust over a few kilometres, not just for nuclear weapons.

    “These are real concerns, I just would think … there are other ways to drive economic activity (in Australia) besides accepting nuclear waste,” he said.

Eric Schlosser exposes our Nuclear Delusions at Festival of Dangerous Ideas AUGUST 11, 2015 IT TOOK 20 years and an estimated $19 billion to build and all but the simplest of typos to shut it down.

A nuclear accident that has crippled a purpose-built waste storage facility serves as a terrifying warning to Australia.

As support for a potential nuclear power plant and waste disposal facility appears to grow in South Australia, where politicians are groping for ideas to stimulate the state’s flagging economy, investigative journalist Eric Schlosser has a cautionary tale that should make us think twice.

The US author of Command and Control has explored America’s nuclear weapons program and discovered how little errors and complacency have led to the US almost blowing itself up on a number of occasions.

An accident also occurred on Valentine’s Day last year at America’s only underground nuclear waste facility, when a radioactive drum burst open. Continue reading

August 12, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

#Nuclear lobby hypes away, but the future is renewables

Contrast the nuclear power industry’s troubles with the bright prospects for renewables and energy efficiency, and it’s clear that our future lies not with the unstable nuclear industry but with the rapidly growing clean energy sector.

Flag-USANuclear power is a losing proposition BY MICHAEL BRUNE, ANNIE LEONARD AND ERICH PICA  12 Aug 15 Americans know the clean energy economy is here and they are embracing it. More than seven out of 10 of us want more emphasis on wind and solar energy, while only about a third favor more nuclear energy, according to the latest research from the Gallup poling organization. Gallup also found that support for nuclear power dropped by 11 percentage points in the United States in the last five years.

Meanwhile, the struggling nuclear industry is trying to pitch its product as a viable low-carbon alternative to clean energy, rather than the dangerous and expensive choice that it is.

As potential climate solutions go, though, nuclear power is a losing proposition that is only getting worse. Developing clean, affordable renewable energy sources and tapping our vast energy efficiency “reserves” is a much smarter bet for America’s future.


As things now stand, the nuclear power industry is facing dark days. All five nuclear reactors now under construction in the United States are behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget — a situation that is not unique to our nation. In fact, 75 percent of reactors currently under construction worldwide are delayed and over budget. Continue reading

August 12, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Japan’s nuclear restart ignores the elephant in the room – nowhere to put wastes

flag-japanNuclear restart highlights government dilemma over lack of waste disposal sites, Japan Times BY KAYO MIMIZUKA KYODO AUG 11, 2015 With an unpopular return to nuclear power generation, Japan can no longer ignore the elephant in the room: where is the country’s highly radioactive nuclear waste going?


The reboot Tuesday of a reactor at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture comes as the government struggles to find a final disposal site for high-level nuclear waste.

Currently, around 17,000 tons is sitting in temporary storage pools across the country, and the restart means the generation of even more.

Spent fuel pools at some nuclear plants will reach their capacity in as soon as three years. Continue reading

August 12, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Japan’s nuclear waste plan not working, but govt still pursues nuclear power

It was bureaucrats who made the plan to demand each prefecture to build it. There has been no viable explanation why each prefecture has to be responsible for the solution.

This is a typical example of negative aspect of top-down style bureaucracy in Japan

No Exit for Radioactive Wastes While Government of Japan promotes nuclear policy of resuming some nuclear power plants, the people in the area suffered from radioactive materials emitted by broken First Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant are still living with great amount of contaminated soil, grass or trees. Although the government decided that those contaminated wastes should be treated by each prefecture, programs to build processing facilities are deadlocked by firm opposition by the residents. The government is facing a necessity for changing their plan.

wastes garbage

Ministry of Environment designated radioactive waste, caused by the accident in Fukushima, with 8,000 Becquerel per kilogram or more as necessary to be under control of public sector. Concerning firm opposition from Fukushima, if those waste would be concentrated to Fukushima, the ministry decided that the disseminated waste should be processed in each prefecture. Continue reading

August 12, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

South Australian Premier critical of BHP as the company cuts even more jobs

“Our strategy has always been about the diversification of the South Australian economy and I think that we’ve been working on many fronts. Whether it’s education, health industries, tourism, defence … this is an economy of many moving parts,” Mr Weatherill said.

SA Premier Jay Weatherill refuses to explain BHP Billiton’s ‘bad news’ after jobs cut announcement 891 ABC Adelaide  , 11 Aug 15, 

The South Australian Government will not explain BHP Billiton’s “bad news” again after the company revealed plans to axe 380 jobs at its Olympic Dam mine at Roxby Downs, Premier Jay Weatherill says.

Mr Weatherill said the company needed to “front the media” after its announcement this week that jobs would go at the mine, including those of technicians, scientists, engineers and supervisors.

It follows on from the loss of 230 positions in South Australia earlier this year.

Mr Weatherill defended the Government’s record on embracing the mining industry and BHP’s expansion plans for the mine. Continue reading

August 12, 2015 Posted by | business, politics, South Australia | 1 Comment

Australian govt’s emissions target is flimsy, but Abbott has no intention of meeting even that

Never mind the target – can the government actually deliver? No.

Abbott-firemanThe government plans to meet the 2030 target essentially on a wing and a prayer. There were graphs galore at today’s media conference, but the crucial one from Greg Hunt committed the government to extending Direct Action all the way out to 2030……..That’s the sort of obfuscation we’ve come to expect from the Abbott government when it comes to climate. This is a government viscerally opposed to meaningful action on climate change on any level beyond the symbolic.

To see why, judge the government not by its words, but by its actions.

Tony Abbott Has No Intention Of Reaching His Flimsy Emissions Target, New Matilda, Ben Eltham, 11 Aug 15  The combination of policies being deployed by the government will not help them achieve even the weak target announced today, writes Ben Eltham.

The news that the Abbott government has settled on an emissions reduction target for Australia out to 2030 heralds a new turn in climate politics in this country.  The target, announced by Prime Minister Tony Abbott today, is a 26 per cent reduction on 2030 levels compared to 2005. It would put Australia at the back of the international pack – offering less than Canada, the United States or Europe. Only Japan is offering a smaller target.

On the one hand, of course, this target is manifestly inadequate. Continue reading

August 12, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Rapid development of massive solar power station in China

flag-Chinaantnuke-relevantChina builds huge solar power station which could power a million homes, The Independent, ALEXANDRA SIMS, 08 August 2015  China is set to build a giant solar power station in the Gobi desert, which could generate enough energy to supply one million homes. The proposed power station will measure 10 square miles and generate 200 megawatts of solar energy.

The plans will fall in line with the Chinese government’s ambitious initiative to reduce the country’s fossil fuel energy by 20 per cent by 2030 in addition to cutting its green house gas emissions.

Construction began six years ago on the country’s first large –scale power station, according to National Geographic.Recent photos from NASA satelites show that the solar panels making up the plant cover an area roughly three times bigger than was seen three years ago. Continue reading

August 12, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Australia’s Conservation Council slams Abbott’s climate targets

SA critical of climate targets AAP AUGUST 11, 2015  THE federal government’s carbon emissions reduction target “is clinging to coal like a smoker to their last cigarette”, says the South Australian Conservation Council.

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott on Tuesday confirmed a reduction target by 2030 of 26-28 per cent, based on 2005 emissions levels.

But Conservation Council SA says that is not enough to limit global warming to two degrees, a goal that forms the basis of an expected agreement between almost 200 countries at a UN summit in December.”The Abbott government is clinging to coal like a smoker to their last cigarette,” chief executive Craig Wilkins said.”If all countries took such a weak position, the world would see three or four degrees of warming.”

The South Australian government also said the federal government’s target fell short of international and community expectations.”The prime minister’s own expert body, the Climate Change Authority, has recommended cuts of 40 to 60 per cent on 2000 levels by 2030,” SA Climate Change Minister Ian Hunter said.

“But today’s announcement falls well short, amounting to a 19 per cent reduction on 2000 levels.”

August 12, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Winda-Mara – Aboriginal success stories that we just don’t hear about

Stories like Winda-Mara’s need to be told—they show how Aboriginal communities are more than capable of creating their own forms of livelihood, if given space to do so. Winda-Mara’s diversity has been key to its success—rather than being just a “health” or “employment” program, it approaches issues holistically, asserting that cultural heritage protection and community health are fundamentally linked. Now that my eyes are open to it, I’ve realised that other Aboriginal communities across the country have similar stories. Let’s find and share these stories, and support these communities in articulating their own visions for their futures.

The Indigenous Australia We Don’t Talk About
By  on August 8, 2015 It’s not very often that most of us hear success stories from Aboriginal communities. The overwhelming majority of the mainstream media treatment of Indigenous issues focuses on the (very real) problems which affect Aboriginal people, problems which can seem so complex and entrenched that imagining solutions usually seems impossible. In a society still dominated by a collective denial of our violent past and oppressive present, a society which hides behind empty sloganeering about ‘progress’ as it continues to punish Aboriginal people whenever they articulate their desire for control over their own lives, any coverage at all can seem like a blessing. But I wonder if only ever hearing the negative stories helps to reinforce an understanding of the situation as intractable and hopeless—if it perhaps leads us away from imagining and articulating alternatives.

A couple of weeks ago, my partner and I were privileged to be able to visit Winda-Mara, an Aboriginal co-operative run by local Gunditjmara people in Heywood, south-western Victoria. Winda-Mara was established in 1991 as an Aboriginal health organisation with the aim of providing culturally appropriate healthcare to the community. Since then, the organisation has expanded to also include housing, education, employment, and environmental and cultural heritage management. Continue reading

August 12, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Victoria | Leave a comment

Solar power is top choice for Australians, nuclear is last

Solar Power Still The Preferred Energy Choice Of Australians  August 10, 2015

The Climate Institute has released Climate of the Nation 2015, its annual review of public attitudes on climate change and its solutions.Even in the face of stinging attacks from the Coalition, renewable energy has become even more popular with the Australian public – and fossil fuels less so.

Among all energy sources, solar power leads in popularity at 84 per cent, up 2 points on last year. Women turned out to be the strongest supporters of solar energy; with 86% ranking it their most preferred choice, compared to 81% of men.

Solar power is followed by wind at 69% (up 5 points on last year).

The popularity of both gas and nuclear crashed 7 points to 21 and 13 per cent respectively; making nuclear and coal tied as least preferred energy sources. Continue reading

August 12, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment