Australian news, and some related international items

One response to the recommendations of the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAIN  john jasson  09 Jun 2016
In general the report is far too insular and skewed completely in the direction of nuclear at the expense of the raft of other energy technologies that are safer, have much lower risk profiles and show far greater promise with respect to overall cost and sustainability. As a nation we should be focussing greater energy, effort, investment and research into solar, geothermal, and other sustainable energy
For the avoidance of any doubt, I am strongly opposed to the creation of a nuclear storage facility in this State or Australia for that matter excepting the storage of our own low level nuclear waste.
In regard to the recommendations in Chapter 10 of the report my comments are a s follows:
Recommendations 1, …. Strongly disagree with removal of State powers on these matters. This is contrary to the interests of South Australians
Recommendations 2,3,4…….Agree with these recommendations as they apply to mining generally.
Recommendation 5 is an absolute nonsense and I strongly disagree as it is not practical and realistically enforceable. This appears to me be a hollow and deceptive assurance to gain support for recommendations 8 through 12. The recommendation overlooks the appalling history of contamination in this State that has already occurred and can not be economically remediated.
Recommendation 6 Strongly disagree. Do not agree with removing powers on these matters at the State level. Undermines the function and purpose of State Government.
Recommendation 7 Agree subject to this activity NOT contravening the original intent and purpose of this facility. Priority should at all times support the fundamental purpose for which this facility was created.
Recommendation 8 Strongly disagree.
Recommendation 9 Agree with the intent of this recommendation but subject to the removal of Nuclear.
Recommendations 10, 11, 12 Strongly disagree.

June 15, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

Why South Australians should say NO to the nuclear waste importing plan

text don't nuclear waste Australia Penny Kleemann 08 Jun 2016 To Jay and the state Labor Party: 
As I type, I’m looking at a photo of Mike Rann celebrating with the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta when they defeated the Howard nuclear dump proposal. Do the words “Judas” and “betrayal” mean anything to you?
Do you really think South Australians are so stupid? This state dump proposal is so full of lies and so obviously about greed, money before the planet, and the rich getting richer. The bias of the Royal Commission is gob-smacking. Let’s start with Kevin Scarce:
Kevin Scarce said in a Flinders Uni lecture in 2014 that he was “an advocate for a nuclear industry”.
He appointed three nuclear advocates to the Committee and only one person who was opposed. Wow – unbiased. Sounds like the work of a nuclear lobby group to me.
This is why we should say NO: 
We are leading the country in renewables. Why touch poison when we can be clean, green?
The supposed financial benefits are based on very shakey modeling, and if it all goes wrong, it will bring the opposite of financial windfall and could bankrupt the state.
SA’s track record of “managing” nuclear waste is appalling – look at Maralinga!
And, the state Labor government embezzled 9.1 million plus of OUR public money on a Royal Commission when they could have just asked The Australia Institute to do it. For that money we could be well on the way to building our solar thermal plant at Port Augusta.
Jay, if you want to poison South Australia and take down our pristine environment, amazing tourism, outstanding wines and brilliant organic food, go right ahead. If you want to commit political suicide, that’s your choice. I certainly WON’T be voting for Tom Kenyon in my electorate again. Potential sites haven’t been announced but no surprises for guessing where they’ll be; well, we will stand shoulder to shoulder with our incredible, amazing, strong, beautiful and wise Aboriginal people of the nations of South Australia – THEY, are the true wealth of this state! Please pick the good way Jay, do the right thing, not just for us but for the generations of South Australians to come.

June 15, 2016 Posted by | South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Greens propose a more rational way to deal with Lucas Heights’ returning nuclear wastes


“The Greens policy delivers a way forward by redirecting existing funding of $30 million from the current process to a new deliberative public inquiry focused on transparency and evidence to come up with the best possible ­solutions,” South Australian Greens senator Robert Simms said.   

Federal election 2016: Greens would put nuke dump on hold JARED OWENS   The Australian,June 10, 2016  The Greens are pushing to stockpile radioactive waste in suburban Sydney, pending an independent inquiry that would expressly ­exclude evidence from anyone who might profit from a dedicated ­nuclear dump.

The party’s nuclear policy would cancel the process led by Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg that has identified farmland at Barndioota, 400km north of Adelaide, as a potential nuclear waste site, despite objections raised by some traditional owners.

Under the policy, exports of Australian nuclear medicine to overseas patients would be curbed and research would be funded to find alternatives to radiotherapy.

The proposed independent ­inquiry would be charged with recom­mending a long-term solution to storing nuclear waste — typically, used medical equipment and spent fuel rods from Sydney’s Lucas Heights reactor — without imposing a dump site on reluctant communities. Continue reading

June 15, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, election 2016, wastes | Leave a comment

Donald Trump’s response to Orlando massacre, and to nuclear weapons issues

TrumpTrump’s Gun And Nuclear Arms Race: Both Wedge Issues Clinton Could Use To Peel Away Moderate Republican
s, Huffington Post, Dave R. Jacobson  Co-Authored by Maclen Zilber, 15 June 16 “……Just imagine how the world would be if, on January 20, 2017, billionaire Donald Trump raised his right hand, took the oath of office at his inauguration, and was sworn in as America’s 45th President.

Now visualize how Trump would respond, as President, to a horrific tragedy as the one we witnessed this past weekend at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida……

Given his past comments, Trump’s answer would probably be more guns, bigger guns, “the classiest guns you’ve ever seen.”

Rather than enacting tougher laws to make it more difficult for terrorists, like Mateen, to purchase guns through additional background checks, Trump has made it clear he would like less oversight, not more, on gun purchases. He says the current background checks on the books are sufficient and also supports the use and sale of military grade weaponry, the type of weapons that are necessary to carry out such a large-scale mass shooting.

Trump sees nuclear weapons the same way he sees guns. For both, he believes more is better.

In Trump’s mind, giving more people guns will prevent further acts of carnage. At least that’s what he said after the terror attacks in Paris. Likewise, Trump believes nuclear proliferation is inevitable, and that’s why he’d prefer that more of America’s allies have nukes, rather than not. Giving them these capabilities, Trump suggests, will help to minimize the risk of nuclear war……..

Perhaps what Trump fundamentally misunderstands, is that by allowing more nations to stockpile nuclear arsenals, he will help to spur a domino effect where bordering countries of those nuclear armed nations will feel compelled to build up their own cache of nukes, thus creating a world-wide ripple effect.

……. When it comes to who voters trust to oversee America’s nuclear arsenal, according to a recent May FOX News poll, 49% of registered voters trust Clinton to do a better job of making decisions about using nuclear weapons, compared to 38% for Trump. Some of the nation’s top national security experts, such as Republican and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, have criticized Trump’s calls for more nukes around the globe……..

Trump’s failure in response to the Orlando catastrophe coupled with his spine-chilling approach to nukes are both wedge issues that can start to peel away some of the very traits that give him strength, and Hillary Clinton has every moral and political justification to begin hammering away at them. Who knows, Trump is so impulsive and rash that if he begins feeling the heat over these issues, he may well switch his position on them (one could only hope!).–nuclear-arms_b_10457068.html

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

Labor would reinstate funding to environment legal centres

logo-ALPLabor to return environment legal centres A federal Labor government would hand back taxpayer money to environment legal centres, pledging almost $11 million over four years.

Environment spokesman Mark Butler revealed Labor would reinstate federal funding to environmental defenders officers, after the Abbott government stripped the legal centres of cash in 2013.

Mr Butler also confirmed Labor would retain the federal government’s power to make environmental approvals, reversing the coalition’s policy of handing those powers to the states.

 The centres were established by Labor to hold governments and companies accountable for breaking environmental laws and provide free legal advice on new developments, pollution and other issues. Australian Conservation Foundation says the offices are a “critical part” of democracy, providing a voice for communities and the environment in the courts.

“Australians need to be able to trust the national system of environment approvals,” campaigns director Paul Sinclair said.

Labor also promised to streamline environmental assessments with states, while looking at options for an independent environment protection body.

The Wilderness Society called on the coalition to back an independent agency to work as a regulator.

“We need a new national independent environment body free from political interference,” national director Lyndon Schneiders said.

June 15, 2016 Posted by | election 2016 | Leave a comment

Artist Anohni again joins the fight of Martu people against Western Australian uranium mine

Artist Anohni completes outback trek in fight with Martu people against WA uranium mine, ABC News, By Claire Moodie , 13 June 16  Oscar-nominated transgender musician Anohni has described the proponents of a uranium mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara as “desolate souls” after taking part in a protest march to the site of the proposed project.

Anohni, formerly known as Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons, made the comments after joining the Martu people on the 110 kilometre walk from the Parnngurr community to the site of Cameco’s Kintyre project, northeast of Newman. Continue reading

June 15, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Solar change brings economic, social benefits to remote community

sunSolar change brings economic, social benefits

In the space of three months, the community’s power bill dropped by more than half, the population grew from three to 40, and local jobs and a school sprang up.

“The sun hits your solar panel, which is on the roof, and creates energy,” Mr Pratt said. “The community will either use that energy during the day, and energy that they’re not using will get stored in the batteries, and they’ll use that energy at night-time when the sun goes down.”

Indigenous Business Australia bought the Allgrid solar system and leased it to the Munungurra Aboriginal Corporation.

Graeme Smith said leasing the system saved the corporation making a large capital withdrawal and allowed the community to change along with developments in technology.

“We can go back and renew our lease upon the latest technology that comes in, so we’re not stuck with the system we’ve got,” Mr Smith said.

Income from the community’s investment portfolios will pay the leasing costs until Munungurra owns the power system outright. With the promise of cheaper power, the community transformed.

Remote community transformed after swapping diesel generator for solar panels By the National Reporting Team’s Kate Wild  Graeme Smith was mulling over a long-standing problem at the end of 2015: how to provide affordable power to his tiny, off-grid community.

Despite having freehold title to 170 square kilometres of land east of Tennant Creek and plenty of money in the bank, members of the Munungurra Aboriginal Corporation could not afford to live on their country.

The cost of providing power to such a remote location prevented them building an economy on their land.

“We originally had no power and no water, because we’re not on a grid. We put houses on it, we put generators on it. But still that wasn’t enough,” said Mr Smith, the corporation’s chief executive.

The corporation paid for two diesel generators to run power to two small communities, where two out of eight houses were permanently occupied.

“Whilst it gave people reliable power with two houses pulling off a generator, we’d be going through $600 to $700 a week in diesel,” he said.

“Because we have no employment on community, people weren’t able to pay for the diesel. So they decided to live in town, look after their kids at school, get houses in town, and just go on the dole.”

So on Mr Smith’s initiative, Munungurra Aboriginal Corporation leased a solar power system at a cost of more than $200,000 from Indigenous Business Australia (IBA), and switched off its diesel generator.

IBA is a government-funded organisation that promotes economic independence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Continue reading

June 15, 2016 Posted by | Northern Territory, solar | Leave a comment

Most Australian prioritise Great Barrier Reef over coal industry

coral bleachingYourVote: Great Barrier Reef should be prioritised over coal mining, survey shows June 14, 2016  Environment and immigration correspondent  A thumping majority of Australians want the health of the Great Barrier Reef prioritised over coal mining, according to a survey of more than 63,000 Fairfax Media readers.

People living in mining states, the lower-educated, older people and men were less likely to agree to such a trade-off.

However the result suggests neither major party has fully grasped the strength of public sentiment for protecting the natural wonder, which is suffering from declining water quality, and record coral bleaching largely caused by warming oceans.

An analysis of Fairfax Media’s YourVote tool, which gauges respondents’ beliefs to determine their political leanings, shows about 49,900 respondents – or 79 per cent – “strongly agree” or “agree” that the health of the Great Barrier Reef should be prioritised over coal mining. Continue reading

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

Parts of Philippines May Submerge Due to Global Warming

More than 167,000 hectares of coastland – about 0.6% of the country’s total area – are projected to go underwater in the Philippines, especially in low-lying island communities. …

The Philippines government has been forced to take this into consideration. The Department of Environment and National Resources has its own climate change office, which has set up various programs to educate communities in high-risk areas. …

But soon, adaptation on a local level won’t be enough. Policy makers need to convince governments to curb their emissions on a global level.

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

France’s nuclear industry in a mess: Finland worried

plants-downFinns deeply worried about French nuclear industry Richard Milne, Nordic Correspondent , 14 June 16 
One of the main international customers for a much-delayed and costly nuclear reactor has expressed deep worries over the future of France’s atomic industry amid signs of political wrangling.

Finland’s TVO was the first customer for French nuclear group Areva’s European Pressurised Reactor technology — due to also be used at the UK’s controversial Hinkley Point power station — but the project has been beset by large cost overruns and a delay of almost a decade.

The two companies had been in negotiations in recent weeks to resolve multibillion-euro legal claims by both parties, as well as pave the way for the sale of a majority stake in Areva’s nuclear reactor business to French utility EDF.

But the sudden breakdown of those talks has rattled TVO, which operates some of Finland’s nuclear power plants. Jarmo Tanhua, chief executive, told the Financial Times of his big concerns about the future of France’s nuclear industry.

“We are afraid of what is happening. One thing is we don’t really understand why we don’t proceed with the negotiations. Our understanding is that it has something to do with the restructuring in France or the politics,” he said.

Mr Tanhua added that his biggest fear was that the French could decide to run down “some parts of the industry or some know-how”, particularly in its EPR technology.

The issue is likely to be raised by Finland’s prime minister, Juha Sipila, when he visits his French counterpart Manuel Valls on Wednesday in Paris………

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

How BIG COAL funded climate denialism

corruption textBiggest US coal company funded dozens of groups questioning climate change
Analysis of Peabody Energy court documents show company backed trade groups, lobbyists and thinktanks dubbed ‘heart and soul of climate denial’,
Guardian,     and , 13 June 16, Peabody Energy, America’s biggest coalmining company, has funded at least two dozen groups that cast doubt on manmade climate change and oppose environment regulations, analysis by the Guardian reveals.

The funding spanned trade associations, corporate lobby groups, and industry front groups as well as conservative thinktanks and was exposed in court filings last month. Continue reading

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