Australian news, and some related international items

Another week in nuclear and climate news in Australia

a-cat-CANThe deck chairs at the Titanic Paris Climate Talks in December include a chair for EDF the giant French nuclear company, which is a sponsor of the conference.  Meanwhile in UK, the Thorium Nuclear lobby has got itself charity status.  The global nuclear lobby is working hard to win the world to its new, though yet non-existent, technologies. It is using 3 main lies:

LIE 1  “new nuclear solves the wastes problem”. For September and have focused on that particular lie. LIE 2. “Low dose ionising radiation is harmless, even good for you” – a focus  for October. LIE 3. “nuclear solves climate change” – the focus for November.

September 26 – International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
Join the ‘Don’t Nuke the Climate’ Thunderclap!

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN NUCLEAR FUEL CHAIN ROYAL COMMISSI0ON is beavering away, holding public hearings with interested parties, and with some who must be a nuisance to it. Sept 23rd they had to put up with Professor John Quiggin, telling them that renewables are happening, and CANDU nuclear reactors just aren’t.  Rebecca Keane’s Submission didn’t help them either, spelling out South Australia’s potential as leader in renewable energy.  Electrical trades Union of Australia dispelled the hype about Generation IV Nuclear Reactors.

Those pesky Aboriginal women who stopped the last attempt to make South Australia a radioactive trash dump – are at it again – “We do not want nuclear anything on our Land “- Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Law and Culture.
Coober Pedy gets another not very impressive visit from the Royal Commission.
NATIONAL POLITICS Australia’s new Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg is a nuclear power enthusiastMalcolm Turnbull disappoints on Climate Change Policy
WESTERN AUSTRALIA . Yeelirrie Uranium project – the fight is just beginningWalkatjurra Walkabout completes 5th walk against uranium mining in West Australia.
RENEWABLE ENERGY Tesla’s new Powerwall solar-energy batteries available in Australia this year. It will disrupt Australia’s energy market.


September 25, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Professor John Quiggin dismisses the CANDU nuclear reactor at the #NuclearCommissionSAust

COMMISSIONER: You dismiss the CANDU reactor?scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAIN
PROF QUIGGIN: I can’t see that there are going to be any significant number. There are none under construction right now, to the best of my knowledge. So I can’t see how by 2025 we would have any scope……..


Prof Quiggan: “……..I think we’ll go back to carbon pricing and we’ll go down essentially a renewable (indistinct) perhaps already well-established industry. With popular acceptance – there’s obviously a little bit of objection to wind but broad 40 popular acceptance and essentially all we need is the price signal and some policy certainty and that’s the path we’ll take……..

 Social licence is part of it but I think that focuses too narrowly on the kind of what might be called the 35 NIMBY objections of people who don’t want nuclear power stations next door. Processes simply like setting up a regulatory framework are very complicated. If we look at – even assuming that there was general popular goodwill out there, we still have to have the procedure of selecting sites.
That’s something that hasn’t been done in the Western world for many decades. All the existing 40 power plants being built in the US are being built on brownfield sites next to existing nuclear power stations. So we have to have a procedure of some kind to select locations and design procedures, finding the people to do it, setting up all the things that need to be 45 thought about with a nuclear power station. That’s inevitably going to take a great deal of time, even assuming popular goodwill, which of course is a pretty heroic assumption…….
I think the majority view will be that renewables can do the job and should do the job. I think it will be hard to persuade a large proportion of the population that nuclear is superior to 10 renewables ………

Continue reading

September 25, 2015 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

Coober Pedy gets another visit from #NuclearCommissionSAust

Coober Pedy RC Sept 15 2 , Noel WauchopeThe South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission went to Coober Pedy again, on September 18th. John Bok, Regional Engagement Manager for the Commission was there to make a presentation about the Royal Commission. Bok stressed that he was there only to provide information about the Commission’s processes, and also that the Commission’s findings would be evidence based..

The meeting was held in a somewhat noisy atmosphere, at the Italian club, and Bok had a bit of trouble with the sound, at some stages. Some of the questions put to him were not easily audible, which was  a pity. as amongst the  attendees were  Sr Michele Madigan and members of the Kunga-Tjuta survivors of the British government’s atomic testing in the 1950s and 60s.
According to Jon Bok, the current series of public hearings, in Adelaide, and selected regional sites, will be informed by experts.  I couldn’t help wondering if any of those “experts” had any idea of the kind of expertise of those Aboriginal women. Earlier this year, upon hearing about the waste dump proposal, the group issued this statement:

We are the Aboriginal Women. Yankunytjatjara, Antikarinya and Kokatha. We know the country. The poison the Government is talking about will poison the land. We say, “No radioactive dump in our ngura – in our country. It’s strictly poison, we don’t want it.”

Mr Bok carried out his brief, setting out the procedures for the Royal Commission’s examination of submissions, public hearings, report writing, and eventual recommendations to the State Government.  The stock phrases of the Commission flowed fast  – risks and opportunities, evidence based – look at feasibility and viability – community consent based…. The Commission will report on feedback from communities and submissions, but these may be only communications based not evidence based. One person commented that then there’s no point, really – a one way communication. Which is pretty much my own assessment of what is really going on.
Bok’s mention of the Commission’s overseas visits was revealing more by what was omitted than anything else.  They went to France (jn fact they spent four days there, mainly with AREVA, at the exact time that this nuclear giant company was being dismantled by the French government, in order to avoid bankruptcy.) Of course, Bok didn’t mention AREVA’s disaster. Still he did shed some light on the financial realities of nuclear reprocessing at Le Hague. Bok said:
Reprocessing  takes some of the spent nuclear fuel, and processes it so that some of it can be used in nuclear reactors. But it uses only some. Even after reprocessing there is still some radioactive waste to be dealt with. At the moment it is expensive to reprocess. Many countries find it too expensive.
Mr Bok went on to discuss Commissioner Kevin Scarce’s visit to Fukushima., with the aim of trying to learn any lessons from the nuclear accident there. The take home message from Fukushima was that different engineering would have had  a different outcome. 
The reassuring message on nuclear reactors was that there are new designs, additional safeguards, and Bok gave an example of a new American design that will have water tanks included in it.
Kevin Scarce went to Canada for a comparison, and Bok stressed the similarities of Australian and Canadian conditions. He didn’t mention the notorious corruption in the Canadian nuclear industry, back in the news only today.
Scarce didn’t visit Chernobyl. And he didn’t visit any renewable energy centres.
I’m not very reassured by the Regional Engagemnet Manager’s account of the processes of the Nuclear Royal Commission.  Too many comfortable cliches about community involvement etc.  And a subtle underlying theme of the global nuclear lobby. We are not to think of nuclear waste as radioactive trash. No, it’s supposed to be a useful resource. As Jon Bok said, referring to Finland’s deep nuclear waste tomb:
 There is a thought in the broader nuclear energy community that at some time in the future we might be able to unlock the energy of these wastes … the take home message on waste storage – it’s not so much a technical issue as one of community consensus
At one point in his speech, Jon Bok did mention that renewable technology is moving so quickly that there may be no need for nuclear power.
With all its connections to the nuclear lobby, it is doubtful that the Royal Commission will come to that conclusion, even though South Australia is already  a world leader in renewable energy. But circumstances might just force them to accept that conclusion. The Aboriginal Women. Yankunytjatjara, Antikarinya and Kokatha won the nuclear waste dump battle last time. My money’s on them again.

September 25, 2015 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

We do not want nuclear anything on our Land – Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Law and Culture

APY LAW & CULTURE – CONCERNS FOR NUCLEAR WASTE, Coober Pedy Regional Times, 24 Sept 15,  Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Law and Culture is declaring its intention to move away from the APY Administration. For a long time our committee has been worried about the direction the APY Administration is taking.

On several occasions we have been told Law and Culture is a side committee, that it is second to the APY.

Law and Culture comes first. It always has. The administration needs to understand this. All Anangu know that our Law and Culture comes first, our Law and Culture must be at the heart of decision making. We have decided to stand alone. Our Law and Culture will come first. Our lives depend on it. We will source alternate funding.

One of our big concerns is the Royal Commission into Nuclear Energy. Law and Culture says no to APY Lands being used to mine uranium or dump the waste.

We won’t be silenced on this. We won’t be bought. This is our land. We do not want nuclear anything on our Land. Murray George, Chairman, Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Law and Culture
Anangu Pitjantjatjara etc

September 25, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott’s legacy – it’s not pretty

Tony Abbott’s department discussed investigation into Bureau of Meteorology over global warming exaggeration claims, FOI documents reveal

Former prime minister Tony Abbott’s own department discussed setting up an investigation into the Bureau of Meteorology amid media claims it was exaggerating estimates of global warming, Freedom of Information documents have revealed.

In August and September 2014, The Australian newspaper published reports questioning the Bureau of Meteorology’s (BoM) methodology for analysing temperatures, reporting claims BoM was “wilfully ignoring evidence that contradicts its own propaganda”.


Abbott-liarFact check scorecard: How does Tony Abbott’s record of claims and promises stack up?

ABC Fact Check was established shortly before the 2013 election, and has been checking Tony Abbott’s claims ever since.

Before the election, Mr Abbott repeatedly set a high standard for integrity, promising to lead a government that “says what it means, and does what it says”.

Mr Abbott made many claims during his tenure on a diverse range of topics, including the economy, environment, immigration and employment.

So now that his time as leader is over, how does his record of claims and promises stack up?

September 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

North Korea situation underlines need for global treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons

Australia refuses to support the position that nuclear weapons should never be used again under any circumstances. It is not among the 117 nations that have signed the Humanitarian Pledge, committing to cooperate “in efforts to stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons in light of their unacceptable humanitarian consequences”, and undertaking “to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons”.

Instead, Australia has pushed weak counter-proposals.

If we can’t stop an impoverished nation like North Korea making nuclear weapons, our Ruff,Tilmantactics are clearly wrong The Conversation,  Associate Professor, International Education and Learning Unit, Nossal Institute for Global Health, School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, 24 Sept 15  The timing of North Korea’s announcement last week that it has resumed “normal operation” of its Yongbyon nuclear reactor – along with a reaffirmation of its belligerent rhetoric against the United States – might be interpreted simply as a response to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s current US state visit.

But that is not to say that it shouldn’t be taken seriously. North Korea also announced that it was preparing the launch of a long-range rocket carrying a new observational satellite. After three failed test launches of its Taepodong-2 ballistic missile, in December 2012 North Korea successfully put a satellite into orbit using a variant of this rocket design, which has a range of 5,500km. In doing so it defied a United Nations Security Council resolution barring it from developing or testing ballistic missiles.

North Korea’s activities show how even one of the world’s most impoverished and isolated countries can dramatically raise the nuclear weapons stakes. Continue reading

September 25, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

93% of Germans see growth of renewable energy as important

antnuke-relevantGerman support for renewables still high, low for nuclear and coal  By logo-Energiewende on 24 September 2015 Energy Transition

A recent survey conducted among the German public finds continuing support for the Energiewende. Furthermore, only a third said the cost was too high. Craig Morris says a closer look also reveals that people who already have systems close by are less likely to oppose them. The average German household currently pays 18 euros per month for the renewable energy surcharge. A survey conducted in August by TNS Emnid for renewable energy organization AEE finds that only 31 percent of the participants believe that is too much, compared to 57 percent who believe that amount is acceptable and six percent who think more needs to be paid. Overall, a whopping 93 percent of those surveyed said that further growth of renewables was “important” or “very important.” Continue reading

September 25, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pope Francis fails to link population control to climate action

Book Population Bomb copy

while the scientist applauded the pope’s overall message on the environment, he said Francis had undermined his own cause by failing to acknowledge the need for birth control and reproductive choice

Pope’s climate push is ‘raving nonsense’ without population control, says top US scientist, , Guardian , 24 Sept 15 
 Scientists applauded Pope Francis’s overall message on climate but criticised his  failure to acknowledge the need for birth control. 
Paul Ehrlich writes in Nature Climate Change that Francis is wrong to fight climate change without also addressing the strain from population growth on resources One of America’s leading scientists has dismissed as “raving nonsense” the pope’s call for action on climate change – so long as the leader of the world’s 1 billion Catholics rejects the need for population control.

In a commentary in the journal Nature Climate Change, Paul Ehrlich, a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, argues that Pope Francis is simply wrong in trying to fight climate change without also addressing the additional strain on global resources from population rise. “That’s raving nonsense,” Ehrlich told the Guardian. “He is right on some things but he is just dead wrong on that.” Continue reading

September 25, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A new critical review, exposing the propaganda film “Pandora’s Promise”

Book-PandoraReportCoverThe film’s claim that nuclear is cheaper than energy from clean, renewable sources is completely false.

The film minimizes the question of what to do with high-level nuclear waste.

The very reasons not to support nuclear power are ignored by the film. The risks, economic realities, waste disposal problems, regulatory issues, and environmental and health impacts from the complete nuclear fuel chain are not addressed in “Pandora’s Promise.” Anyone who is interested is these issues should continue to ask questions and seek answers outside industry propaganda.

Don’t believe the pro nuclear hype,—  Sarah Fields, Director, Uranium Watch, text nuclear hype24 Sept 15   On Thursday, September 24, the Grand County Library and Utah Film Society will be showing the film, “Pandora’s Promise,” at Star Hall, starting at 7 p.m. The film is a one-sided and factually challenged look at nuclear power as an answer to climate change. The film’s premise is that nuclear power will provide clean energy and help developing countries end poverty. This claim is presented in interviews with several former opponents of nuclear power who have had a change of heart, and with some nuclear scientists.There were no interviews with citizens, environmentalists, legal experts, or scientists who are currently involved with the many serious and complex issues related to the production of nuclear power in the U.S.

The film neglects to discuss the environmental impacts of the whole nuclear fuel chain, from uranium mining and milling to the disposal and long-term care of low- and high-level nuclear waste. Continue reading

September 25, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

David Suzuki on Tony Abbott, solar panels and his book

Suzuki, DavidEnvironmental activist David Suzuki on Tony Abbott, solar panels and his book, Guardian, , 24 Sept 15 The Canadian environmental activist, who is in Australia next March for WOMADelaide’s Planet Talks series, speaks to Oliver Milman Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki, who was the subject of a solo Q&A broadcast in 2013, is back in Australia in March to take part in WOMADelaide’s Planet Talks series. Suzuki, a vocal advocate for action on climate change, spoke to Guardian Australia about Tony Abbott, the upcoming Paris climate talks and his new book.

What did you make of Australia’s latest change of prime minister?

I had no idea this was going to happen. I thought ‘my God, I’m not a religious man but you’ve answered my prayers.’ I know Malcolm Turnbull is not a climate denier, so that’s a step up, our prime minister [Stephen Harper] is a denier. It all depends on why Tony Abbott was booted out. Is his party committed to action on climate change?……..

So how is Australia doing?

When you’ve got nine out of 10 solar panels made in China, you have to ask what the hell is wrong with Australia, you’ve got the solar resource, you are crazy. Canadians would kill for that sunshine, you have the CSIRO, some of the top scientists in the world and you’re not taking solar seriously, what’s wrong with you?

You have Gina Rinehart, the big coal magnate, look at stuff she says! How does it get published? Continue reading

September 25, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Climate change news

climate-changeBrazil and Germany take lead in tackling climate change.
Brazil and Germany, the two largest national economies within their respective continents, are taking the lead in tackling climate change through outstanding policies and bilateral relations, according to experts.

Study shows new forests cannot take in as much carbon as predicted
As carbon emissions continue to rise, scientists project forests will grow faster and larger, due to an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, which fuels photosynthesis.

Purdue study – climate change consensus extends beyond climate scientists
A Purdue University-led survey of nearly 700 scientists from non-climate disciplines shows that more than 90 percent believe that average global temperatures are higher than pre-1800s levels and that human activity has significantly contributed to the rise.

September 25, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Renewable energy news

sun-powerNine business giants pledge to source 100 percent renewable electricity.
Some of the world’s largest businesses have today announced plans to fully transition to using renewable electricity, providing a further boost to the global renewables market

Solar power is booming in India. Will it reach the people who need it most?
As renewable energy ramps up, entrepreneurs work to bring its benefits to the 300 million citizens who lack electricity.

Mike Pope: Battery power
Efficient, rapidly re-chargeable batteries offer huge advantages to owners and users of solar energy.

September 25, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Poll shows most Australians support charity status for environmental groups

Most oppose denying environmental groups charity status, says poll, SMH, 24 Sept 15 
Voters have overwhelmingly rebuffed the government’s so-called “vendetta” on green groups, with new polling showing 70 per cent oppose any move to deny charity status to environment groups.
Voters have overwhelmingly rebuffed the government’s so-called “vendetta” on green groups, with new polling showing 70 per cent oppose any move to deny charity status to environment groups.

Removing such  groups’ charity status, first proposed by key Tony Abbott backer Andrew Nikolic,​  could cost them hundreds of millions of dollars in tax-deductible income, and severely restrict their capacity to campaign on environmental issues.

Pressure has been building on the government to abandon the proposed changes, with Labor and the Greens flagging they will oppose any moves it makes on the matter.

Environment groups believe the proposal is designed to strip them of their ability to campaign against mining projects.

Mr Abbott was particularly scathing of legal wrangling by environment groups to delay a proposal for a massive expansion of coal exports through the Great Barrier Reef.

But new polling conducted by the Australia Institute shows 68 per cent of people support the right of green groups to conduct environmental campaigns and advocate policy changes, while also claiming charity status……

September 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

French nuclear company EDF changes its tune – now investing in renewables

antnuke-relevantflag-franceShifting focus: Owner of world’s largest nuclear fleet looks to renewable energy, Fierce Energy  September 24, 2015 By William Pentland EDF, the state-controlled electric utility company based in Paris, France, is pinning its hopes for growth on renewable energy investments, including investments in markets outside of Europe. “By 2030, we want to have a significant presence in three to five countries outside of Europe, notably in solar and wind,” said Jean-Bernard Levy, chief executive officer of Electricite de France SA (EDF), in an interview with the French financial daily newspaper,Les Echos.

EDF owns and operates the world’s largest fleet of nuclear reactors. Currently, 95 percent of the French utility’s generating assets are located in either France, Britain or Italy. Levy said EDF would ramp up investments in renewable energy in these markets.

“Our objective is to double our European and French renewables fleet by 2030 from 28 to more than 50 gigawatts,” Levy said.

This strategy departs markedly from the strategy articulated by Levy’s predecessor, Henri Proglio.

While speaking at the Eurelectric conference in June 2014, Poglio said that the European Union needed to assert greater “control” over the pace of renewable energy growth………

September 25, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment