Australian news, and some related international items

Mulga Rock uranium plan faces serious opposition

handsoff Environment groups and Traditional Owners have vowed to fight the proposed Mulga Rock uranium mine, 260 kilometres north-east of Kalgoorlie, despite today’s recommendation by the state EPA that the Environment Minister approve the mine.

Environment groups and Traditional Owners said the mine threatened the pristine environmentally and culturally significant area.

Bruce Hogan from the Council of Tribal Elders and Chair of Pilanguru Native Title Group said “We use to go out there with our Elders. We can’t see how this mine could go ahead. The seven sister’s tjukupa (dreaming) goes through there and the two wadis (lore men) went through that area too. The elders use to take us there for cultural practice, they would leave us there for a few days and then come back to pick us up. We don’t want that mine to go ahead. We will fight against that mine at Mulga Rock.”

Conservation Council Nuclear Free Campaigner Mia Pepper said “Conservation groups will be lodging an official appeal against this recommendation by the EPA.

“The Mulga Rock uranium proposal is unsafe and unwanted. The company has continually dismissed the cultural values and importance of the area and has failed to properly consult with Traditional Owners.”

“The Mulga Rock area is a rare and significant environment and part of the Yellow Sandplain Priority Ecological Community. The planned mine threatens a number of rare and endangered species. Taking this unique and pristine desert ecosystem and turning it into a polluted, radioactive uranium mine is not a proposal that should ever be entertained” Ms Pepper concluded.

“The planned mine does not enjoy bi-partisan state political support, broad social license or favourable market conditions,” said ACF campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“Vimy Resources faces many hurdles and roadblocks. Today’s EPA recommendation is a long way from a green light for mining yellow cake at Mulga Rock.”

August 15, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Liz Tynan on the secret history of Maralinga

Hear-This-wayABC Conversations interview: Liz Tynan on the secret history of Maralinga British nuclear testing on Australian ground: cover-ups, aftershocks and contamination. Dr Liz Tynan is a science writer, and senior lecturer at the James Cook University Graduate Research School.

In the 1950s and 60s, Australia’s then Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, agreed to provide land and support to the British nuclear test program.

At Maralinga in South Australia, the British exploded seven mushroom cloud bombs (the ‘major trials’).By doing so, they became the world’s third nuclear power, and created some of the most contaminated land on the planet.

Elements of the program were shrouded in secrecy. Prior to 1978, most people had never heard of Maralinga.

Then whistle-blowers and journalists began to expose the extent of the environmental and human costs of the program.

Listen now or download podcast at: (49min 21sec audio.)

August 15, 2016 Posted by | Audiovisual | Leave a comment

Dr Stan Grant. From Reconciliation to Rights: Shaping a Bigger Australia

Stan Grant Wallace Wurth Lecture: From Reconciliation to Rights ~ UNSWTV, YouTube

Dr Stan Grant delivers the Wallace Wurth Lecture at UNSW Sydney,  a powerful and emotive speech entitled “From Reconciliation to Rights: Shaping a Bigger Australia.’

“The speech comes in the wake of damning allegations about the treatment of Indigenous childrenin the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Australia’s Northern Territory.

The Australian Government immediately called a Royal Commission.

“Dr Grant, however, argues the need for a national truth and reconciliation commission  “a full reckoning of our Nation’s past that may set loose the chains of history that bind this country’s first and today most miserably impoverished people.”

“He also calls for a treaty with Indigenous Australians, similar to those in New Zealand, the United States.”

Important questions are posed for all Australians to consider including the need to look to the examples of New Zealand, the United States and Canada and negotiate a treaty with the Indigenous population.

“What a damning state of affairs,” he said, “to be the only Commonwealth nation not to enshrine the sovereign rights of its first peoples.”





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

Renewable energy cheaper, nuclear costlier – the end for Britain’s nukes?

poster renewables not nuclearflag-UKUK nuclear sunset?, Times of Malta, August 14, 2016, by Anne Zammit “……..The international race toward universal grid parity may see an unsubsidised tipping point next year.
Frontrunner Australia is expected to achieve a renewable energy scenario which is cheaper than conventional supply, says a recent report from Deutschebank.

Viewed as covert factories for materials to build apocalyptic weapons, nuclear power stations also face resistance from groups such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. As pointed out by CND-UK the cost of nuclear power has continued to rise as the cost of renewable energy has fallen sharply.

A 2006 review by the Office of Nuclear Regulation, which led to assessment of reactor designs ahead of choosing sites, was challenged in court by Greenpeace as “seriously flawed”. Key details of the economics of nuclear power were not published until well after the review was final.

Hinkley Point nuclear power station has undergone a number of reincarnations since the first phase was built in 1956. Reactors on Hinkley Point ‘A’ were shut down permanently after an inspectorate found defects too expensive to fix in 1999. De-commissioning of a successor, Hinkley Point ‘B’ (built 1967) should have happened this year but has been extended to 2023.

The Hinkley Point C proposal by Électricité de France (EDF) and Chinese investors commits British consumers to pay more for nuclear-generated electricity than it costs to buy electricity from offshore windfarms.

Yet a study by Britain’s National Audit Office published last month cited calculations from the National Infrastructure Commission which show that if five per cent of current peak demand were met by demand flexibility then power saved would be equal to a new nuclear power station.

Households and businesses could use electricity more flexibly, using less during times of peak demand and more during times of low demand. Cutting down on use of electricity at peak times reduces the megawatt capacity needed.

The NAO also noted that the expected subsidy for Hinkley Point C has doubled to £37 billion in the past three years……

Corporate finance leader at EY Global Power & Utilities and RECAI editor Ben Warren believes that the time has come for policymakers to shift their focus to clean energy. “Market access, fair play, technology improvements and cost curves will lead to a level of renewables deployment not even imagined,” says Mr Warren……. 

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

Neither Trump nor Clinton have a safe policy regarding nuclear weapons

USA election 2016Trump, Clinton and our nuclear wake-up call By Kingston Reif, August 13, 2016 (CNN) The possibility of Donald Trump winning the presidential election this November has renewed media and public interest in one of the most important responsibilities of the president: commanding America’s massive nuclear arsenal and averting nuclear war.


Yet what has been lost in the angst that Mr. Trump might soon have the authority to launch nuclear weapons is the equally unnerving reality that the U.S. nuclear posture is already unnecessarily dangerous and redundant. Neither Trump nor Hillary Clinton have explained how they would seek to put U.S. doctrine on a safer footing and reduce global nuclear weapons risks……

What kind of destructive power would a President Trump have at his fingertips? Continue reading

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

Cutting clean energy supplement will hit the poor hardest

Axing clean energy supplement has barely caused a ripple, but it should, Guardian , 13 Aug 16   Although the amounts appear insignificant, the cuts in payments to new welfare recipients will hit hard for the most disadvantaged Australians For many people, $4.40 a week is a small sum – trivial even. A cup of coffee on the way to work, the parking change in the car console.

But for those Australians set to lose between $4.40 and $7.05 a week in one of the 45th parliament’s first legislative acts, many of them living below the poverty line, those small sums will make the dire choices of subsistence budgeting even more desperate. Continue reading

August 15, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | 1 Comment

Taiwan planning to develop nuclear waste dump on its offshore Orchid Island

text-cat-questionDoesn’t sound as if Taiwan will be wanting to be a customer for Weatherill’s nuclear waste dump

Tsai to visit Orchid Island to discuss nuclear waste storage,
Focus Taiwan, 
antnuke-relevant2016/08/14  Taipei, Aug. 14 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is scheduled to visit Taiwan’s offshore Orchid Island on Monday to discuss the issue of nuclear waste storage with the local people, the Presidential Office said Sunday.

The president will meet with a senior member of the indigenous Tao tribe and visit a kindergarten. She will also attend a forum during which she will address such issues as nuclear waste storage and garbage disposal on the island, the office said……..

Before finding a permanent solution for the nuclear waste, Tsai said her government will provide the Tao tribe with appropriate compensation.

Local residents had received over NT$2.1 billion (US$66.9 million) in payments as of the end of May 2016 from state-run utility Taiwan Power Co. and the Atomic Energy Council since a low-level nuclear waste storage facility was built on Orchard Island in 1982.

During her visit Monday, Tsai will again apologize to the indigenous people, sources said…….

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

Donald Trump dismisses climate change concerns

USA election 2016Trump: Climate change won’t be ‘devastating’ Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Thursday “there could be some impact” from a changing climate, “but I don’t believe it’s a devastating impact.”

In an interview with The Miami Herald, Trump reiterated he’s “not a big believer in manmade climate change,” and while he acknowledged problems such as rising sea levels, he attributed them to “a change in weather patterns, and you’ve had it for many years.”

 “I would say it goes up, it goes down, and I think it’s very much like this over the years,” he said. “We’ll see what happens. I mean, we’ll see what happens. … Certainly, climate has changed.”

Trump has long said he doesn’t believe in the science behind climate change, even though there is broad agreement among researchers that human activity has contributed to the phenomenon.

Florida is expected to struggle with rising sea levels induced by climate change, and Miami recently undertook a $500 million push to prepare for it. Asked about that effort, Trump said, “That’s probably not the worst thing I’ve ever heard.” But he said local governments should take the lead in preparing for climate change, not federal officials who have looked to regulate the underlying causes of it.

“[We] have so many environmental regulations that, you go to other countries, where they don’t have that, it puts us at a tremendous disadvantage,” he said.

Trump’s position on climate change is in direct contrast to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. She told a Florida audience this week that “we’ve got to stand against the deniers” and work to prevent climate change in the future.

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

Trump’s energy plan, big for coal, oil, gas, ignores renewable energy jobs

USA election 2016What Trump gets wrong about energy in America , WP, By Chris Mooney August 8 2016 In his economic speech in Detroit Monday (transcript here), Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump laid out a series of energy proposals that, in stark contrast to those of Hillary Clinton or the Obama administration, would try to shore up traditional industries centered on coal, oil, natural gas.

The most striking thing about the plan is that it seems premised on a world in which these energy sources don’t have this major environmental drawback called climate change. Trump himself has told The Washington Post he is “not a big believer in man-made climate change,” and the divide between himself and Clinton on this matter is one of the sharpest policy differences of the present campaign, clearly wider than the  split in views between Obama-McCain (2008) or Obama-Romney (2012)…..

although Trump says coal jobs have been lost, he never mentions that vast numbers of clean energy jobs have been gained, and indeed, this has been part of the whole goal of Obama energy policies.

According to the Solar Foundation, for instance, the solar industry has added 115,000 jobs over the past six years. A recent study in Energy Policy similarly found that while coal lost 50,000 jobs between 2008 and 2012, wind and solar added 79,000 and natural gas added over 94,000……

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

USA Federal Court upholds Obama’s climate change accounting

highly-recommendedFlag-USACourt backs Obama’s climate change accounting  By Timothy Cama – 08/09/16 12:38 PM EDT

A federal appeals court is upholding the Obama administration’s accounting of the costs of greenhouse gas emissions as applied to a Department of Energy (DOE) regulation. In a unanimous decision late Monday, the Chicago-based 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rejected an industry-backed request to overturn a 2014 rule that set energy efficiency standards for commercial refrigerators.

 In doing so, the court specifically backed the so-called social cost of carbon, President Obama’s administration-wide estimate of the costs per metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere — currently $36.

The DOE used the carbon cost in its cost-benefit analysis, justifying the rule in part because of the amount of climate change regulators believe it would avoid.

It’s the first time a court has considered the legality of the carbon accounting, according to the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University, which supports the policy and filed a brief backing the DOE in the case. Congressional Republicans, business interests and energy companies have criticized the accounting as bad math and improper forecasts.

The court said the carbon cost is entirely within the DOE’s discretion to use.

“To determine whether an energy conservation measure is appropriate under a cost‐benefit analysis, the expected reduction in environmental costs needs to be taken into account,” the judges wrote. “We have no doubt that Congress intended that DOE have the authority under the [Energy Policy and Conservation Act] to consider the reduction in SCC.”

They went on the say that the industry challengers were incorrect in stating that the carbon cost is “irredeemably flawed,” concluding instead that “DOE’s determination of SCC was neither arbitrary nor capricious.”

The Institute for Policy Integrity said the ruling is significant for including climate change in cost-benefit analyses.

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