Australian news, and some related international items

Climate Institute Report recommends shutdown of coal plants, and real price on carbon

Shut down coal power, price carbon: report  APRIL 14, 2016  By Elise ScottAAP

Australia should gradually shut down all coal-fired power plants by 2035 and put a “realistic” price on carbon to avoid severe economic shocks, a new report recommends. A policy package designed to meet Australia’s global climate change obligations would also need tools to encourage renewable energy and a focus on energy efficiency.

The Climate Institute report found delaying a transition to cleaner energy until 2030 would cause sudden unemployment in some communities and drive up electricity costs. A “modest” carbon price of $40 per tonne by 2030 alone would not be enough to mitigate the need for fast, deep emission cuts, the modelling found. That price would achieve the Turnbull government’s 26 to 28 per cent target by 2030 but would also mean a 60 per cent collapse in projected clean energy growth from 2020, the report found. Continue reading

April 15, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

St Kilda, Docklands among suburbs under risk from rising sea levels, website claims

sea_levels_risingSUBURBS such as Albert Park, Docklands and St Kilda would be swamped by rising sea levels if climate change continues unabated, says new computer modelling…. (subscribers only)

April 15, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Taxpayer left with dirty legacy as coal companies go bankrupt

text-relevantFlag-USAAfter Bankruptcies, Coal’s Dirty Legacy Lives On, NYT By TOM SANZILLO and DAVID SCHLISSEL APRIL 14, 2016  THE bankruptcy filing on Wednesday by Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private- sector producer of coal, is the latest in a series of major coal company collapses that threaten to leave behind a costly legacy that will haunt taxpayers and consumers for years.

The abandonment of hundreds of mines over the years led Congress in 1977 to pass a law that requires coal companies to clean up after mining. Left untreated, these sites are more than eyesores: They create long-lingering problems including polluted drinking water.

And the problem is likely to become more pronounced in the wake of these bankruptcies. Mining companies are supposed to buy insurance to cover the cost of cleanups. But Congress has allowed some of the more financially secure coal producers to “self-bond,” promising to pay for cleanups themselves.

This arrangement made sense when the industry was healthy and had deeper pockets. But now taxpayers are at risk of having to foot the bill as mining companies either file for bankruptcy or redirect their dwindling dollars elsewhere to stay afloat — including paying obscenely generous compensation packages to executives. A recent congressional estimate puts outstanding cleanup liabilities nationally at $3.6 billion.

Perhaps the most glaring instance of self-bonding gone bad is Peabody Energy. Leading up to its bankruptcy, Peabody had been frantically trying to preserve its $1.47 billion in self-bonding agreements in states where they had been called into question by regulators.Two other major coal companies, Alpha Natural Resources and Arch Coal, recently filed for bankruptcy, leaving hundreds of millions in reclamation guarantees in limbo. A deal between Arch Coal and regulators in Wyoming suggests taxpayers will get stuck with the bulk of the cleanup costs. The company agreed toearmark at most $75 million to cover self-bonded reclamation liabilities of more than $450 million………

The recent bankruptcies of the nation’s leading coal producers are the latest benchmark in the steady decline of the coal industry. The industry’s problems are also hurting consumers, who are being hit by unnecessarily high electric rates approved by regulators to keep open coal-fired power plants that are no longer competitive with cheaper natural gas and renewables. …… electricity companies blinded by history and tradition are sticking with coal and neglecting more sensible and affordable strategies that include natural gas, renewable energy and energy efficiency……

April 15, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Young athletes, women, at risk: stop Olympics in radioactive Fukushima

Parents, Radiation Safety Experts Petition Against 2020 Olympics in Radioactive Fukushima
Young Athletes, Women, More Susceptible to Radiation Dangers


 Washington, DC — Apr 14, 2016 / ( — Washington, DC – On March 11, 2016, the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima triple nuclear meltdowns, the Japanese Olympic Minister Toshiaki Endo stated that preliminary softball, baseball and possibly other games would likely be moved from the host city of Tokyo to Fukushima Prefecture.  In fact, organizers are already far into the process of developing J Village, located 19 km (12 mi) from the devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors, into a training facility for Japan’s soccer team and possibly more uses.  J Village was used as a disaster staging and support facility during the early days of the ongoing catastrophic Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

In a stunning development in 2013, Japan’s Olympic bid was won by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when he promised the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that it (Fukushima Daiichi) “has never done, and will never do, any damage in Tokyo”.  Now, according to the Olympic Minister’s recent statements and credible news reports in Japan, the IOC and IPC will be required to use venues not only in Tokyo as originally agreed upon, but also in Fukushima Prefecture, not far from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster site.  “The Abe administration’s willingness to expose both their own population and the world’s to lethal particles in order to deny the horrendous contamination of their land, is morally reprehensible”, says Mary Beth Brangan, Co-Director of Ecological Options Network.

The person in charge of decommissioning at Fukushima Daiichi has publically stated that there is no solution in sight to the massive radioactive releases at there and appealed to the international community for assistance.  Radiation has been documented well beyond Fukushima to several areas around Japan that have been used for the past 5 years for the open storage and subsequent incineration of toxic and radioactive tsunami rubble, garbage, and more.   Continue reading

April 15, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nearly half of USA’s electricity could be supplied by rooftop solar panels

Flag-USARooftop solar panels could provide nearly half US power
Rooftop panels could supply 40% of country’s power with open spaces such as parking lots offering further potential, study shows. Conservation magazinereports
Guardian, Prachi Patel To take advantage of the sun’s energy to satisfy our ever-increasing need for electricity, Americans will have to take a fresh look at their roofs. A report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) shows that if all suitable roof areas in the United States were plastered with solar panels, they would generate about 1,118 gigawatts of solar power. That is 40% of the power that Americans consume every year.


And that isn’t the half of it. The study only estimates the solar power potential of existing, suitable rooftops, and does not look at the immense potential of ground-mounted photovoltaics (PV), said NREL senior energy analyst Robert Margolis in apress release. “Actual generation from PV in urban areas could exceed these estimates by installing systems on less suitable roof space, by mounting PV on canopies over open spaces such as parking lots, or by integrating PV into building facades. Further, the results are sensitive to assumptions about module performance, which are expected to continue improving over time.”

The new study doubles the estimate from a 2008 NREL study on US rooftop solar potential, which showed an estimate of 664 GW. Margolis and his colleagues attributed the higher numbers to increases in better-performing modules, improvements in estimation of building suitability, higher estimates of the total number of buildings, and better methods to calculate photovoltaic performance.

For the new report, which is the result of three years of research, the team used light detection and ranging (Lidar) data and geographic information system (GIS) methods to map the topography of 128 cities around the country down to the square meter. This helped them determine the total amount of roof area suitable for hosting rooftop solar panels. Then they simulated the productivity of the panels on this roof area to estimate total rooftop solar potential, and finally extrapolated that data to the whole country.

The report ranked cities with the highest capability to meet energy consumption using potential solar power capacity. Mission Viejo, California topped the charts with a 88% solar potential rating, followed by Concord, New Hampshire at 72%, and Buffalo, New York at 68%.

The six states with the highest potential to offset electricity use all have significantly below-average household energy consumption, the analysts note, indicating that any state that wants to make the most of solar incentives should also prioritize energy efficiency.

Source: Pieter Gagnon, Robert Margolis, Jennifer Melius, Caleb Phillips, and Ryan Elmore, NREL. Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Technical Potential in the United States: A Detailed Assessment.

April 15, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Mickey Mouse shaped solar farm launched by Disney

sunDisney launches new Micky Mouse-shaped solar farm 15 April 2016, source edie newsroom A 22-acre solar facility arranged in the shape of Micky Mouse’s head will provide 5MW of renewable energy at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. A total of 48,000 on-site solar panels will produce the power – which is equivalent of 1,000 residential solar rooftops systems – for the entertainment and recreation facility along with its partners such as the Four Seasons Resort and Hotel Plaza Boulevard hoteliers.

Walt Disney World Resort environmental integration director Angie Renner said: “As a company that cares about the environment, we continually take steps of varying sizes to benefit the environment and protect the planet. This new solar facility will help us in our efforts to conserve natural resources.”

The solar farm was designed by Duke Energy as part of an on-going renewable energy development project which will see the electric power holding company add up to 500MW of additional power to Florida by 2024……..

April 15, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The week in climate and nuclear news

a-cat-CANClimate news, and renewable energy news have been coming thick and fast, over the past week. By contrast, it might appear that nothing is happening on the nuclear scene. However, things are happening, while the nuclear lobby intensifies its propaganda, both in mainstream news, and with renewed emphasis on “social media”



Greens manage to put some brakes on South Australian govt’s pro nuclear promotion.  Business Council of Australia firmly in the grip of the nuclear lobby.

Michele Madigan remembers Bob Ellis and that other nuclear royal commission.  Aboriginal nuclear test survivors to join Japan’s Hibakusha in Nagasaki.

ERA’s uranium mining at Ranger ends: ERA can afford rehabilitation of site.

Australian nuclear shill Ben Heard under fire from Canadian nuclear shill Patrick Moore.

Wangan and Jagalingou people taking further legal action, against Adani coal mining leases.


Australia joins global climate action, in words, but not deeds. Since Liberal Coalition govt dumped carbon price, greenhouse emissions have soared.  Climate denialist Maurice Newman might split the Liberal Party?   As CSIRO slashes jobs, water science in South Australia a big loser.

Australian authorities covering up severity of Great Barrier Reef’s plight.  Minister Greg Hunt did not impress David Attenborough, with his uninformed comments about the Great Barrier Reef.

Australian oil and gas lobbies spent up big, to discredit science of climate change.

Carbon Disclosure Project lists Canberra as a global climate change leader.


AND ALSO.   Australia cuts aid to Africa, encourages Ugly Australian Mining Companies. Perth-based Mineral Commodities Limited (MRC) denies role in murder of South African activist.

April 15, 2016 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Greens manage to put some brakes on South Australian govt’s pro nuclear promotion

South-Australia-nuclearNuclear waste dump ‘spruiking’ with taxpayers’ money stopped by Greens‘spruiking’-with-taxpayers’-money-stopped/7325076 An attempt to change the law in South Australia to allow public money to be spent on promoting a nuclear waste dump has been stopped with the Greens claiming a victory.

A law passed in 2000 to stop public funds from being used in any activity associated with a nuclear waste facility.

The State Government had tried to amend the law to allow consultation with the community on the results of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.

Greens MLC Mark Parnell said the proposed change was too wide ranging and the Upper House had stepped in to protect taxpayers.

“The Greens do accept that we do need to have a public debate,” he said.

“We’re confident we know what the result will be but nevertheless the Government says they only want to consult, they don’t want to spruik and they don’t want to plan for a nuclear waste dump.”

He said the Government had attempted to “overreach”.

“The law now says that the Government can use public money to consult the community but they’re not to use public money for promoting or designing or even buying land for a nuclear waste dump.”

April 15, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Strong earthquake 74 miles from Japan’s Sendai nuclear plant

safety-symbolflag-japanStrong earthquake quake hits southern Japan THE AUSTRALIAN APRIL 15, 2016 

At least two people were killed and 45 injured by a magnitude-6.5 earthquake that knocked down houses and buckled roads in southern Japan on Thursday night.

Both victims are from the hardest-hit town of Mashiki, about 15 kilometres (9 miles) east of Kumamoto city on the island of Kyushu, said Kumamoto prefecture disaster management official Takayuki Matsushita.

Earlier, Japanese Red Cross Kumamoto Hospital said it had admitted or treated 45 people, including five with serious injuries.

The quake struck at 9:26pm at a depth of 11 kilometres near Kumamoto city on the island of Kyushu, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. There was no tsunami risk……

Saga said there no abnormalities at nearby nuclear facilities. The epicentre was 120 kilometres (74 miles) northeast of Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear plant, the only one operating in the country.

Most of Japan’s nuclear reactors remain offline following the meltdowns at the Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima plant in 2011 after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake triggered a huge tsunami…….

The U.S. Geological Survey measured the initial quake’s preliminary magnitude at 6.2. It upgraded its damage assessment to red, meaning extensive damage is probable and the disaster likely widespread…….

April 15, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Aboriginal nuclear test survivors to join Japan’s Hibakusha in Nagasaki

Maralinga nuclear test survivors connect with Japanese bombing survivors, ABC News, AM By Natalie Whiting 14 Apr 16, They are two communities separated by continents and culture, but connected by a terrible past.

Members of an Aboriginal community affected by nuclear bomb tests at Maralinga in the 1950s are connecting with nuclear bomb survivors in Japan.

A group of artists from Yalata in South Australia are flying to Nagasaki to unveil a sculpture for its peace park, which will be the first Australian sculpture in the memorial.

The exchange is also allowing the two groups to share stories and discuss their experiences.

Yalata community leader Russell Bryant was part of a group that last year travelled to the peace park in Nagasaki, one of the Japanese cities hit by a nuclear bomb during World War II.

“When I went there I [saw] a lot of sculpture from different places, from overseas and there’s nothing there for Australia, from our country,” Mr Bryant said.

The people from Yalata and nearby Oak Valley had stories to share with the nuclear bomb survivors in Japan.

Anangu people were forced to move to remote communities because of the British nuclear tests at Maralinga. “They didn’t know what was happening in Maralinga, when the bomb went off, some people survived, some people died,” Mr Bryant said……..

Mr Brown said one of the main aims of the project was to connect nuclear bomb survivor groups.

During the first visit to Japan the Anangu people sat down with the Japanese survivors, called hibakusha………

April 15, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Wangan and Jagalingou people taking further legal action, against Adani coal mining leases

coal CarmichaelMine2Carmichael coal mine: Wangan and Jagalingou people plan further legal action, ABC News By Jessica Van Vonderen 14 Apr 16, The Queensland Indigenous group that has waged a long fight against Australia’s largest proposed coal mine is seeking to take further legal action.Members of the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) people have filed an application in the Federal Court of Australia challenging the mining leases that were issued for Indian company Adani’s Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin.

The Queensland Government issued three mining leases for the $21 billion project earlier this month, saying it would create thousands of jobs, while also imposing strict controls to protect the environment.

W&J people spokeswoman Murrawah Johnson said they would “continue to fight against this monstrous proposal”.

“The application will seek to have heard that the leases for the Carmichael mine issued by Mines Minister [Anthony] Lynham … were not properly issued,” she said.

“We will not stand by and be bullied into accepting the inevitability of this mine.”

She slammed Mr Lynham for not waiting for the outcome of a judicial review into a Native Title Tribunal decision to allow mining leases to be issued.

‘They’re being racist’

Ms Johnson’s uncle, Adrian Burragubba, was even more scathing in his criticism.

“The State Government are basically, they’re being racist, they’re not allowing our due process,” he said…….

April 15, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Queensland | Leave a comment

Business Council of Australia firmly in the grip of the nuclear lobby

Business Council of Australia


Today THE AUSTRALIAN  quotes The Business Council of Australia (BCA) spruiking some as yet unpublished research that portrays Australia as needing nuclear power as an “insurance policy” against future surges in gas prices.

The BCA has long been in the grip of the nuclear lobby, and also told the [Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal] commission that  involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle could deliver a “significant contribution to economic growth”, and new regulations for the management, storage and disposal of nuclear waste should be developed.

April 15, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby trying to put it over the world yet again with “new nuclear”

Thorium reactors Some enthusiasts prefer fueling reactors with thorium – an element 3x as abundant as uranium but even more uneconomic to use. India has for decades failed to commercialize breeder reactors to exploit its thorium deposits.

But thorium can’t fuel a reactor by itself: rather, a uranium- or plutonium-fueled reactor can convert thorium-232 into fissionable (and plutonium-like, highly bomb-usable) uranium-233. Thorium’s proliferation [8], waste, safety, and cost problems differ only in detail from uranium’s: e.g., thorium ore makes less mill waste, but highly radioactive U-232 makes fabricating or reprocessing U-233 fuel hard and costly.


‘New’ nuclear reactors? Same old story, Ecologist, Amory Lovins 12th April 2016 The nuclear industry is forever reinventing itself with one brilliant ‘new’ idea after another, Amory Lovins wrote in this classic 2009 essay. But whether it’s touting the wonders of future SMRs, IFRs or LFTRs, the reality never changes: the reactors they are building right now are over time, over budget and beset by serious, entirely unforeseen technical problems….. Continue reading

April 15, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Solar powered vehicles for Australia – energy utilities now supportive

electric-carAustralia Could Be World Leader In Solar-Powered Electric Vehicles Claen Technica, April 12th, 2016 by   Originally published on RenewEconomy

The shift from petrol cars to electric vehicles appears to be more than a consumer-driven,Tesla-inspired phenomenon. The big utilities are also getting on board.

Origin Energy, one of country’s big three utilities, says Australia could a market leader in solar-powered electric vehicles, given the right incentives and policies that could encourage the uptake of renewable energy and force the closure of the most polluting brown coal power stations. “With an already high penetration of residential solar PV systems in Queensland and South Australia and the emergence of home battery technologies, there is an exciting opportunity for Australia to be a market leader in electric vehicles powered by solar energy,” the company says in a submission to the Climate Change Authority.

Nearly one quarter of Australian homes are equipped with rooftop solar, and Australia is seen as the likely first “mass-market” for battery storage – because of that high solar penetration and because of the country’s high electricity prices, courtesy of its high-cost grid.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that many of the early adopters of electric vehicles are already charging their EVs with their own rooftop solar, and utilities are already switching controlled loads for electric hot water systems back to the day-time from overnight to take advantage of excess solar power. Continue reading

April 15, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

French nuclear corporation EDF switching to renewables in a big way in USA

wind turbines USAEDF shows that wind makes better sense than nuclear, Ecologist Chris Goodall April 2016 EDF in the UK may be propelled by its disastrous nuclear ambitions, writes Chris Goodall. But across the Atlantic it’s another story: the company is the US’s biggest wind developer, and selling its power, profitably, for under 40% of the price it has been promised for Hinkley C, including federal tax credits…….

Across the Atlantic, it’s all go for renewables!

Within the same company, they do things very differently on the other side of the Atlantic; there EDF focuses wholeheartedly on wind and has no nuclear under development.

It has just proudly announced that it has become the largest wind developer in North America with a portfolio in 2015 of over 1 gigawatt of newly constructed wind farms. Continue reading

April 15, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment