Australian news, and some related international items

Dave Sweeney explains concerns on nuclear waste transport

ACF nuclear campaigner Dave Sweeney talks to RT International

October 18, 2015 Posted by | Audiovisual | Leave a comment

Nuclear Regulatory Commission blocks cancer study near nuclear stations

Instead of treating cancer as a scientific issue, the nuclear industry treats it as a PR challenge. Frequent attempts are made to trivialize the dangers of radiation. Often this involves the Radiation- Is-Everywhere tactic complete with ludicrous examples (“It’s just like eating a banana,” or “It’s just like flying to Denver”). They like to show how little radiation is in an average X-ray but they are careful not to mention that radioactive exposure is cumulative: every dose adds.

The dirty little secret of the nuclear industry is that all NPP regularly discharge radiation into the environment. Nuclear power plants cannot operate without these discharges, and the NRC sets standards for what is allowable.

The push by the nuclear industry to block cancer research demonstrates their true colors.

logo NRC bannerNRC Blocks Cancer Study Near San Onofre and other Nuclear Power Plants

By Roger Johnson October 14, 2015 Do the regular radioactive emissions from nuclear power plants (NPP) increase the risk of cancer? No one knows for sure whether living near a NPP can cause cancer, but on Sept. 8 the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) terminated a study designed to find out.  It would have been carried out by the prestigious National Academy of Sciences which spent 5 years planning the study.

One of the six locations chosen for study was our own San Onofre. The medical records of everyone living within 31 miles of San Onofre (a circle from Huntington Beach around to Solana Beach) would have been part of the study. The research proposal is entitled Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations near Nuclear Facilities.

The NRC logo is “Protecting People and the Environment” but many wonder if it should read “Protecting the Nuclear Industry and Its Profits.”

The NRC said it could not afford the $8 million, but no one swallows this since the NRC has an annual budget of over $1 billion (90 percent  of which comes from the industry it is supposed to be regulating).

The NRC also said that it already knows the answer: low-level radiation coming from NPP is harmless. It continues to cite a now thoroughly discredited study by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) which examined this issue a quarter of a century ago and failed to find cancer streaks. The nuclear industry prefers this study because it likes the results.

We now know that the NCI study failed because it studied only cancer deaths, not incidence, and it studied only where people died, not where they lived or worked. Continue reading

October 18, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

AUDIO: South Australia’s nuclear future

18 October 2015. In 1995, South Australians were dazzled by the prospect of becoming the ‘Saudi Arabia of the South’ because of the state’s large uranium deposits and the prospect of a global nuclear power renaissance. Twenty years on, national anti-nuclear campaigner, Dr Jim Green looks at how the nuclear renaissance is going, how the number of power reactors has declined and how Australia’s uranium industry today accounts for just 0.2%  of national export revenue.

The talk coincides with the start of the royal commission into the nuclear fuel cycle in Adelaide.

October 18, 2015 Posted by | Audiovisual | Leave a comment

No safety threshold for radioactive cesium exposure

butterfly pale grass fukushimaThe researchers found that caterpillars that ate radioactive leaves pupated into mutated butterflies that did not live as long, compared with caterpillars that ate non-radioactive leaves. These mutations and increased mortality were seen even in butterflies that consumed only very small doses of radioactive cesium.

 Deaths and mutations spike around Fukushima;  October 16, 2015 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer

Plants in the area around Fukushima, Japan are widely contaminated with radioactive cesium, which is Cesium-137producing mutation and death in local butterflies, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa and published in the journal Scientific Reports.

The butterflies were found to experience severe negative effects at all detectable radiation levels, even very low ones.

“We conclude that the risk of ingesting a polluted diet is realistic, at least for this butterfly, and likely for certain other organisms living in the polluted area,” the researchers wrote.

Insects hard hit

The researchers note that although the 2011 meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant released “a massive amount of radioactive materials … into the environment,” few studies have looked at the biological effects of this disaster. Researchers have, however, measured elevated radiation levels in the polluted area, and have chronicled the accumulation of radioactive material in both wild and domestic plant and animal life in the region.

Studies have also suggested that insects may be particularly hard-hit by the increased radiation. One study found an increase in morphological abnormalities (physical deformities) in gall-forming aphids. Another found that insect abundance has decreased in the affected region, particularly butterfly abundance. Continue reading

October 18, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kerang, Victoria, gets economic boost from Lalbert solar farm

victoria-solarLalbert solar farm near Kerang tipped to boost jobs as Solar Choice secures investor for $550m project  ABC News, The company behind one of the largest solar farms in Australia says it expects the project to create up to 150 jobs for northern Victoria.

Construction of the $550 million solar farm on a 526 hectare property at Lalbert, west of Kerang, should start midway through next year, after the company Solar Choice secured an investor to finance the project.

The farm will have a production capacity of 350 megawatts and has the potential to power about 220,000 homes…….

Gannawarra Shire’s Roger Griffiths said the farm was another step towards developing Kerang’s future as a centre for renewable energy investment.

“What this does is just offers that bit of diversity, it props up our rate base and it provides a lot of other benefits right throughout the community,” he said.

“So we’re more than happy to have it on board and fingers crossed that everything runs smoothly and we see a booming new industry in and around Kerang in the next five to 10 years’ time.”

October 18, 2015 Posted by | solar, Victoria | 1 Comment

Victorian Energy Compares electricity prices

text-Please-Notepower-bill-comparison-site-launched-20151016-gkaoee.html October 17, 2015 Marc Moncrief  Consumers disgruntled by their electricity providers can access an updated independent price comparison service backed by the state government.

The Victorian Energy Compare website allows users to use their own smart meter data to compare offers from electricity providers. It also compares offers from gas retailers and estimates the net position of any solar credits a home might have.

Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio​ said that, while there were other sites that compare electricity deals, they limited the offers they displayed to companies that pay.

“Unlike other websites that compare energy offers, this government website includes every single tariff,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“No other price comparison web site does that.”

She said that, particularly for an essential service like electricity, it was vital that consumers had access to every deal to be able to make informed decisions.

Karl Barratt, EnergyInfoHub project manager at the Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre, said it was “the only independent price comparison site” in the state.

“Because it’s such a complex system in Victoria, I think it’s groundbreaking that we have this available,” he said.

“The others are private operators. They have a relationship with the retailers. The private comparators will only show the narrow range that they are paid to show you.”

The launch follows the release earlier this month of a code of conduct for websites that compare utility offerings after some high-profile companies fell foul of the consumer affairs regulator.

Popular sites iSelect, Compare the Market and Energy Watch have all been pinged in the past by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for misleading their users.

October 18, 2015 Posted by | business, Victoria | Leave a comment

Josh Byrne’s 10 Star House

17 October 2015. In conjunction with a research team from Curtin University, Josh Byrne has created a ’10 Star’ house near Fremantle in WA. The house generates more power than it uses, is able to store energy generated through its solar panels and collects and uses most of its own water.

October 18, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

October 18 Energy News



¶ The Adani-owned Carmichael mine in central Queensland was approved last week by Environment Minister Greg Hunt. He said the mine would have “strictest conditions in Australian history” but environment groups say the mine, which will produce up to 60 million tonnes of coal for export a year, will be “a disaster.” [Sydney Morning Herald]

Queensland's Abbot Point, surrounded by wetlands and coral reefs, is set to become the worlds largest coal port. Queensland’s Abbot Point, surrounded by wetlands and coral reefs, is set to become the worlds largest coal port.

¶ According to the French Minister of Ecology and Energy, Segolene Royal, the government in the country is going to be extending the current program – which rewards a €10,000 bonus to those switching to an electric vehicle from a 15-year-old diesel car – to encompass diesel cars that are “only” 10 years old as well. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Indian state of Odisha has unveiled an ambitious plan to set up a…

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October 18, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment



Tesla’s Powerwall will allow us to disconnect from the grid completely, writes Vivek Wadhwa.
Most people are skeptical that we’re heading into a clean-energy future. They find it hard to believe that solar energy is fewer than 14 years away from meeting 100 per cent of today’s energy needs. They argue that today solar energy hardly provides one percent of earth’s energy needs and that we can’t effectively store sunlight — and therefore have a long way to go.
But when technologies advance exponentially as solar is doing, one percent solar means we are halfway from 0.01 percent to the goal of 100 percent. The prices of solar panels have fallen 75 per cent in the past five years and are advancing on a scale comparable to Moore’s Law, as tech guru Ramez Naam has documented. At this rate, solar energy is only six doublings away from 100 per cent…

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October 18, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment