Australian news, and some related international items

Hill End community remains resolute against radioactive waste plan

text-Please-Notetext-NoThe Hill End community is again preparing to face off with government officials at a consultation meeting about the proposed national radioactive waste dump in the vicinity.

The meeting is being held at 10am this Saturday January 30 at the Royal Hall in Hill End and will be attended by representatives from the Department of Resources as well as a representative from Federal Minister Josh Frydenberg’s office.

The Hill End (Sallys Flat) site was nominated by a local landholder without consultation with or consent from neighbours or the local community. Since being announced there has been fierce and sustained opposition with a series of public meetings and events held to build awareness.

Robyn Rayner, who runs the Pomanara Merino Stud Farm directly opposite the nominated property said the previous two government visits (one by Department officials and one by local Member John Cobb) were on weekdays during business hours, which made it very difficult for locals to attend.

“The hall was still full on both occasions, so we expect standing room only tomorrow as people are very keen to express their ongoing opposition to the project”

Mrs Rayner added “We asked Minister Frydenberg to attend rather than just hearing our views second hand from the project team. He is not coming, so I will be watching to see the representative he is sending pays very close attention.”

“The community meeting is also a chance for us to come together and build our campaign. We are asking everyone who attends to sign the petition that was written by the No Central West Nuclear Waste Dump Committee and take copies back for their family and friends to also sign.”

“We know that people in the Northern Territory spent eight years campaigning to stop the waste dump proposed there. We are also ready to be in this for the long haul if needed,” Mrs Rayner concluded.

January 28, 2016 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Why USA nuclear industry is mad keen to get Australia as nuclear waste dump

Australia nuclear toilet

Here’s an example. The State of Wisconsin has a ban on building new nuclear reactors. The nuke lobby is a-cat-CANnow trying to overturn that law.

But they are hampered because of USA’s lack of a nuclear waste dump plan.

Thirteen states have placed restrictions on the construction of new nuclear power facilities, including requiring :

  • the identification a demonstrable technology or a means for high level waste disposal or reprocessing

You can see how the nuclear industry is hamstrung in America, because

  • The disposal and storage of high-level nuclear waste remains a major unresolved issue.

You can see how that problem would be solved for the nuclear lobby, if Australia obligingly decided to take their (and indeed, everybody’s) nuclear waste.

Energy Experts Are Split On Whether Wisconsin Should Lift Ban On New Nuclear Power Plants Earlier This Month, Assembly Passed A Bill That Would Make It Easier To Bring Nuclear Facilities To State WPR, By Scottie Lee Meyers Wednesday, January 27, 2016 Energy experts are taking different sides on whether Wisconsin should pass new legislation that would allow for the construction of new nuclear power plants.

Earlier this month, the state Assembly passed a measure that would effectively lift Wisconsin’s ban on new nuclear power plants by eliminating two essential clauses. The clauses stipulate that nuclear power would be proven to be a cheaper source of energy to residents and requires a federal repository site for spent nuclear waste. ……..

energy experts like Al Gedicks, of the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council, said they would rather see the state invest in renewable energy systems. While Gedicks said he agrees that nuclear energy is better than coal, natural gas and oil in terms of overall greenhouse gas emissions, he worries that nuclear plants take years to construct and get operating — years we can’t afford to spend when faced with such devastating consequences of climate change. Moreover, he said he fears extreme weather incidents could disrupt radioactive waste stored at nuclear power plants.

Gedicks also believes the bill would open the door to Wisconsin itself becoming a federal repository site.

“If you lift the restriction on no nuclear power plants without a waste disposal site, you are setting up the state of Wisconsin to become if not the first, then certainly the second nuclear waste repository,” he said.

Wisconsin already was targeted by the U.S. Department of Energy as a potential repository site to compliment Yucca Mountain back in the 1980s, according to Gedick. But massive opposition, including from four tribal nations, eventually led for the federal agency to look elsewhere. Soon after, Wisconsin implemented the moratorium.

Gedick said Wisconsin could remain an attractive location for a waste dump site because of granite rock formations in the northern part of the state.

“Wisconsin was high on the list in the 1980s and it is still high on the list now,” Gedlick said. “We  are essentially going into this blindfolded because we haven’t had a discussion on whether this is what the citizens of Wisconsin want if they lift that nuclear power moratorium.”……

January 28, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

End for mains-only power, with solar energy storage?

The dream of households easily storing energy is being realised in a Sydney home with the first system of its kind in Australia……….. (Subscribers only)

January 28, 2016 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

Chile succeeding with solar farms in dry desert spaces

antnuke-relevantGreen Energy Boom Helps Chile Contain Surging Power Prices [excellent graphs] , Bloomberg Business,  Philip Sanders Vanessa Dezem  January 28, 2016

Chile leads Latin America in installation of solar power
Success achieved without the help of government incentives


Chile’s solar industry is proving a win win. Not only has it cut emissions of the global warming gas carbon dioxide, but it has also helped slash some of the highest electricity costs in Latin America. Those benefits have come at no expense to the government, which refused to offer any of the subsidies that drained resources in countries such as Spain and Japan. Looking ahead, the industry could even turn into a major export earner.

At an auction of electricity supply contracts in October, three solar parks offered distributors energy at $65 to $68 per megawatt-hour, while coal power was offered at $85 megawatt-hour, according to a report by Deutsche Bank. Two wind farms bid at $79 megawatt-hour. Unsurprisingly, the contracts went to renewable energy suppliers.

Just seven years earlier it was a very different story. ……..

In the Shade

Chile’s solar industry is putting the rest of the continent in the shade.

The reason for that turnaround lies in the sun baked northern desert of the Atacama, where some towns have had almost no rain in living memory. It is a natural advantage that Chile will continue to exploit. As of November last year, the Energy Minister had registered solar projects with an additional capacity of 1.3 gigawatts.

 The government is now looking into the expansion of the electricity grid, allowing the power to be exported to neighbors such Argentina, Energy Minister Maximo Pacheco says.

“We feel very proud to be a country that is leading the energetic transition in Latin America and to have reached this renewable boom without fiscal subsidies,” Pacheco told Bloomberg on Dec. 15.

January 28, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Business South Australia wants nuclear waste import, worried about public opinion.

Submission pro nuclearBUSINESS SA’s Submission to  South Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission

“South Australia’s clearest economically viable expansion opportunity in the nuclear fuel cycle will be in the form of used fuel storage and disposal” 

“South Australia must focus on what the world needs, particularly in the case of used nuclear fuel storage or disposal.”

“In order to build community confidence, it is likely that a pilot storage site would need to be constructed first and this should form part of the Royal Commission’s deliberations.”

Business South Australia’s Submission clearly promotes the nuclear industry, with a commercial argument that completely ignores the negative effects that this would have on other industries in that State.

While its main focus is on the benefits of nuclear waste importing, (as a way of creating jobs, and fixing the budget deficit), Business South Australia is in fact favouring the whole nuclear fuel chain:

“the opportunity to recycle used fuel as technology advances will be lost if South Australia only considers its complete disposal. Storing used nuclear fuel in a deep geological repository will at least enable us to take advantage of advances in areas such as Generation IV nuclear reactor design”

It supports nuclear fuel reprocessing, with touching faith that a safe method will be found, some time in the future:

“Purex technology was developed in the 1950’s and the future of re-processing through the next generation of reactors should not be overlooked on the basis of the pros and cons of this technology alone. Furthermore, there is a view that in future a different process could be used to recover all anions together, including plutonium, to reduce the risks associated with Purex.”

Their submission is  ambivalent about uranium enrichment, conversion and fuel fabrication, and  nuclear power, but keen on the idea of South Australia developing  a shipping industry geared to transporting nuclear fuels and wastes.

They are reassuring about any anxieties over safe transport of radioactive materials, especially shipping, but also about air transport:

“we request the Royal Commission to investigate the practicality of using air freight to deliver used nuclear fuel to a dedicated air strip adjoining a storage or disposal site.”

The State Government’s Industry Participation Advocate is seen to be an important aid to their case for South Australia expanding its nuclear industry role.

Business South Australia is worried about public opinion – it seems that they would like to have nuclear matters decided on by nuclear experts, rather than by the people of South Australia:

“ the Royal Commission should not be fixated on just what the general public prefers, but rather what is in the best interests of the State.”

January 28, 2016 Posted by | Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | 1 Comment

KARLALMYI WALK: 5th – 12th June 2016 anti uranium mining Western Australia

handsoffThe Karlamilyi Walk from Parnngurr to Waturarra (Kintyre) – 5th -12th June 2016 -has just gone online with registrations open. There are limited spots available.

KARLALMYI WALK: 5th – 12th June 2016 Registrations are open:

“Come with us (Martu) we’ll walk to stop the uranium mining on our country. We’ll walk through Karlamilyi, not far, across Karlamilyi river. Walk through Lullapakujarra up to Punumullara then to Puljcatja – big water, up to Desert Queen Baths and then Kintyre.”

 The walk will start at Parnngurr Community in the Karlamilyi National Park – 360km East of Newman in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The walk will end at Cameco and Mitsubishi’s proposed Kintyre uranium mine at Waturarra.  For more details about the walk dates, logistics, and background to the uranium mine issues check out the website here.


January 28, 2016 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Anti nuclear atomic physicist is South Australia’s Senior Citizen of The Year

Oliphant, Monica copyAustralia Day: Scientist Monica Oliphant powers on to realise renewable energy vision, ABC News, By Nicola Gage  25 Jan 16,  Age seems to be no barrier for pioneering scientist and South Australia’s Senior Citizen of the Year Monica Oliphant. After more than half a century dedicating her life to the renewable energy sector, she has hardly slowed down, at a time when clean energy has become very much mainstream.

“There’s no limit almost to what they can be used for,” she said. “Power generation, charging electric vehicles, charging up your mobile phone, lots of applications.”

But when the passionate physicist began working in the sector, all of those applications were just a thought bubble.

So too were women in science. In the early 60s, Ms Oliphant was the only female in her class to complete her honours in physics. That is where she met her husband Michael, the son of Australia’s pre-eminent scientist and former South Australian governor, Sir Mark Oliphant. She said her father-in-law pushed her to continue with her work.

“I was in awe of him but he did inspire me to always say your mind and to not be frightened of saying what you think,” she said.  It was advice she held on to throughout her 18 years at South Australia’s Electricity Trust, when renewables were viewed with suspicion…….

Renewable energy vision becomes mainstream

Slowly, she worked her way out of the corner, with her research helping to prove the worth of solar panels, as the sector became more financially viable.

“I would think that the big break was the German-introduced feed-in tariff,” Ms Oliphant said.

“South Australia was the first to pick up in Australia and that has helped reduce costs and it has taken off since then…….

Last year she travelled overseas to help with a renewable energy project in China.

Ms Oliphant considers herself a tree-hugger and despite beginning her career in atomic energy, she said there was no need for South Australia to invest in nuclear energy.

A royal commission is currently underway into the state’s nuclear fuel cycle.

“For South Australia, with 41 per cent of intermittent renewables on our energy mix, we just don’t need nuclear energy,” Ms Oliphant said.

She said from the beginning, she was confident renewable energy would one day move from the fringe, to the mainstream. “I was sure that it would eventually, not sure why, but I was sure and I wanted to be with it all the way,” she said….

January 28, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, South Australia | 2 Comments

Data farms consuming energy at an alarming rate

the only long-term solution to the energy problem will have to involve significant cuts to our internet use at some point in the future. This could be through some kind of tax or charge on data use – for example, imposing a fee for uploading photographs on to Facebook – or even a straightforward rationing of activity

data farm

Global warming: Data centres to consume three times as much energy in next decade, experts warn 416.2 terawatt hours of electricity world’s data centres used last year was far higher than UK’s total consumption, The Independent  Tom Bawden Environment Editor @BawdenTom 24 January 2016 The amount of energy consumed by the world’s data centres – the repositories for billions of gigabytes of information – will treble in the next decade, putting an enormous strain on energy supplies and dealing a hefty blow to efforts to contain global warming, experts say.  Continue reading

January 28, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

China halts construction of 2 nuclear reactors, due to safety concerns

safety-symbolflag-ChinaChina admits nuclear emergency response ‘inadequate’ as safety concerns halt construction of two Guangdong reactors, South China Morning Post,  Wednesday, 27 January, 2016, Stephen Chen  China admitted on Wednesday its nuclear emergency response mechanism is “inadequate” for coping with “new situations and challenges” arising from its nuclear power plants.

The central government also said it had halted construction of two new-generation nuclear reactors in Guangdong province, because of safety concerns, but vowed that they would not be abandoned……..

Concerns over nuclear safety in Hong Kong and Macau have caught particular attention of the central government. A section in the white paper was dedicated to the issue with promise to “answer public concerns in time” and “clear the doubts”.

Xu Dazhe, chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority, told a press conference on Wednesday that the construction of the two European Pressurised Reactors in Taishan, in Guangdong, had been delayed owing to safety concerns…….

State-owned nuclear companies are also trying to sell their technology and reactors to other countries, including Britain, while considering controversial projects such as building a floating nuclear power plant in the South China Sea to provide remote islands in disputed waters.

January 28, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment