Australian news, and some related international items

South Australia’s Weatherill government conned by the nuclear industry

Weatherill,-Jay-wastesClaire Catt  From Your Say site  Since Mr. Weatherill suggests politicians should perhaps trust the people, I suggest it is high time for the State Government to stop meddling in this debate and stop pushing the nuclear industry’s agenda.
This industry has been searching for a Government stupid enough to consider such a reckless proposition for years. No country, rich or poor, has found such a proposition acceptable. No doubt the nuclear lobby is overjoyed and perhaps somewhat baffled to find South Australia is listening and falling for their outrageous claims of safe management and riches.
If we are talking about trust, well I consider our Government is grossly failing in their duty of care towards the people and yes, I’ve certainly lost trust. They have lost my vote.

October 16, 2016 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

South Australia’s Sundrop Farms – desert solar powered agriculture

Desert farm grows 180,000 tomato plants using only sun and seawater

Farms that grow food in arid deserts, without groundwater or fossil fuels, could be the future of agriculture. BRYAN NELSON October 10, 2016, No soil, no pesticides, no fossil fuels, and no groundwater. And yet, a thriving farm in the heart of the arid Australian desert. How is this possible?

An international team of scientists has spent the last six years fine-tuning a system that pipes seawater in from the ocean and desalinates it using a state-of-the-art concentrated solar energy plant. The water is then used to irrigate 180,000 tomato plants grown in coconut husks instead of soil, kept in a network of greenhouses.

sundrop-farms-David-PrattThe result is Sundrop Farms, a commercial-scale facility located just off the Spencer Gulf in South Australia that began construction in 2014. Today it’s producing an estimated 17,000 tons of tomatoes per year to be sold in Australian supermarkets.

Given the increasing demand for fresh water around the world — a problem that’s particularly apparent in the sunburned landscape of South Australia — this might just represent future of large-scale farming, especially in coastal desert regions that have previously been non-arable.

The heart of the farm is the 23,000 mirrors that reflect sunlight towards a 115-meter high receiver tower. All of that concentrated sunlight produces an immense amount of power, up to 39 megawatts. That’s more than enough to cover the desalination needs of the farm and supply all the electricity needs of the greenhouses.

The seawater, too, has other purposes besides just irrigation. During scorching hot summers, seawater-soaked cardboard lines the greenhouses to help keep the plants at optimal temperature. Seawater also has the remarkable effect of sterilizing the air, meaning that chemical pesticides are unnecessary.

All in all, the facility cost around 200 million dollars to get up and running. That might sound excessive, but in the long run the facility should save money compared to the costs of conventional greenhouses that require fossil fuels for power. It’s a self-sustaining, cost-efficient design so long as the initial investment can be provided. Facilities similar to the Australian one are already being planned for Portugal and the U.S., as well as another in Australia. Desert areas like those seen in Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates could be next in line.

“These closed production systems are very clever,” said Robert Park of the University of Sydney, Australia, to New Scientist. “I believe that systems using renewable energy sources will become better and better and increase in the future, contributing even more of some of our foods.”

October 16, 2016 Posted by | reference, solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australia’s home solar batteries- electricity provided throughout recent blackout

Market for solar storage batteries growing and competitive Craig Cook, The Advertiser October 16, 2016 

October 16, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, South Australia, storage | 1 Comment

As Syria crisis deepens, Russia prepares civilians for nuclear war

Tensions rose further following speculation that Washington was planning to launch aerial strikes against the forces of President Bashar Al-Assad in an attempt to stop ongoing assault against Aleppo and force the Syrian government to consider resuming negotiations.

Russia reacted to the speculation, warning sternly that the U.S. should consider “the possible consequences” of launching airstrikes against government forces in Syria. The Russian defense ministry threatened that it would shoot down U.S. and coalition jets attempting to launch attacks against forces of Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad.

exclamation-Putin preps Russians for nuclear war; civilians advised to check bomb shelters and prepare gas masks. INQUSITR, John Thomas Didymus, 15 Oct 16 

President Vladimir Putin of Russia is sending a clear signal to the U.S. and its Western allies that he is ready for a military showdown with the West over the ongoing clash of geostrategic interests in Syria. Following the spiraling of tensions between Moscow and Washington to their highest since the Cold War, the Russian government has been issuing instructions to civilians through the state-controlled media about what to do in the event that war breaks out with the West and the “Motherland” comes under direct attack.

The Russian authorities have directed civilians to check and familiarize themselves with the nearest bomb shelters and to prepare their gas masks, according to ABC News. Officials have also issued detailed instructions on how to prepare for a nuclear attack and what to do in the event of an attack.

The latest disquieting set of instructions to civilians and related actions in recent weeks by the Russian authorities ostensibly in preparation for war have grabbed the attention of global analysts who are scrutinizing them to decipher the underlying motives of the Kremlin.

Most analysts believe that despite Moscow’s elaborate and dramatic posturing to the rest of the world that it is preparing for a major global conflict that could involve deployment and use of nuclear arms, Putin is not actually preparing to launch a war against the U.S. and its allies. He is only engaging in tactical responses to ongoing speculation that Washington is considering seriously a plan to launch airstrikes against Syrian government forces. Continue reading

October 16, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Speculation that USA is preparing for nuclear war with Russia

exclamation-US citizens warned to prepare for NUCLEAR WAR over claims attack warning upgraded THE US could be edging ever closer to nuclear war with Russia after upgrading its attack defence readiness, it has been claimed. By VICKIIE OLIPHANT Oct 16, 2016 DEFCON is an alert system used by the US military to indicate the current threat of nuclear war.

 The system has five states of alert, increasing in severity from DEFCON 5 – the least severe – to DEFCON 1 – the highest level. Currently, the levels is understood to be at 5.

But conspiracy theorists have warned the threat has secretly been upgraded two levels to DEFCON 3 – meaning the US could mobilise troops in as little as 15 minutes. The level was last upgraded to 3 in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 – with standby ordered for a potential rise to DEFCON 2.

Now website DEFCON warning system claim it has been upgraded again in a terrifying revelation.

While there are currently no imminent threats to the US, it claimed the situation is “fluid and can change rapidly.” However it also highlighted the dying relationship between the US and Russia, citing concerns of all-out warfare between the bitter rivals. A statement posted on its website read: “Tensions between Russia and the United States have reached levels beyond the cold war in the recent week.

“The situation between Russia and the United States is extremely fluid at the moment. In all likelihood as dynamic as at times during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

“At this time, the DEFCON Warning System feels that an increase to DEFCON 3 would be a prudent move.” Russian citizens have been encouraged to find bomb shelters and gas masks today, as state-sponsored infomercials on television gave out guidelines on how people should prepare for a nuclear attack.

President Vladimir Putin meanwhile has ordered the evacuation of 40 million people in a military drill.He also transferred nuclear-capable Iskander ballistic missiles to one of its strategic Baltic regions last week, in what officials claim was part of regular military manoeuvres.

However many world leaders fear the moves are being carried out in preparation for war. The conspiracy theory site warned citizens to prepare for any potential conflict, saying: “This is a very sensitive situation which has the potential to spiral out of control.

“It is recommended that all citizens learn the steps to be taken in the event of nuclear war.”

Theorists have even claimed a move to DEFCON 2 is being muted, based on Putin’s call for Russians to return home.

Though the threat of war seems to be rising, the DEFCON level indication reported by the website is only speculation.  The US military do not share the actual DEFCON status  with the public for obvious security reasons.

October 16, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tidal energy – Australian Maritime College launches new turbine in Tamar River

tidal-power-tasmaniaAustralian Maritime College launches new tidal turbine in Tamar River Michelle Wisbey   @MichelleWisbey1  16 Oct 2016 An emerging form of renewable energy has been met with overall positive reviews from the Tamar community. 

The Australian Maritime College and Sydney-based developers MAKO have come together to install and monitor a new tidal energy turbine in the Tamar estuary near Launceston. Field experiments at a site near Reid Rock, north of the Batman Bridge, of a 2.4 metre-wide prototype have already started.

The turbine is secured beneath a floating platform and will be connected to a mooring on the east side of the estuary.

AMC project lead Irene Penesis said tidal energy was particularly exciting as it was very predictable compared with solar and wind power because of its consistent and monitorable cycles. “Through the kinetic energy of the tidal flow, we generate mechanical power and we then convert that to electricity,” Associate Professor Penesis said.

“Because tides are extremely predictable and we can predict them two years in advance, we can predict how much power we’re going to get – when you transfer that power back into the grid you know how much you’re transferring back and you can monitor that.

“It’s absolutely essential to have the community behind these types of events because if there’s an opportunity to install tidal turbines in the Tamar River, we would want those community members to have access to that power being generated.”

Owner of the nearby Tamar River Retreat Ian Stewart said after a community meeting was held to discuss the turbines last week, there was positive interest from residents and businesses in the area.

“To use tidal power to generate electricity would be absolutely fantastic,” Mr Stewart said. “I spend about $5000 a year on electricity because of my business, it’s probably my single biggest business expense, and if I can get that down even lower that would be great. “I think that a lot of people in the community want to get behind this idea and want to support it.”

October 16, 2016 Posted by | energy, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Northern Australia can expect more tropical cyclones this year

More tropical cyclones likely for Australia this year: here’s why The Conversation,  BOM, Australian Bureau of Meteorology  Manager of Climate Prediction Services, Australian Bureau of Meteorology  Climatologist, National Climate Centre, Australian Bureau of Meteorology  October 17, 2016 Northern Australia is likely to experience an average or above-average number of tropical cyclones this summer, according to the Bureau’s annual Tropical Cyclone Season Outlook, issued last week. Given current climate drivers, that means we’re likely to see 11 or more tropical cyclones in the Australian region, and typically around four of those will cross the coastline.

The season will almost certainly be more active than the last. And that means it’s time to prepare, because the likelihood of damage from a tropical cyclone is high in any season……..

As this season starts, ENSO is neutral. But a La Niña “watch” is current, meaning a La Niña certainly cannot be ruled out before the end of the year.

The latest observations show the Pacific Ocean has several indicators that have exceeded La Niña thresholds. El Niño and La Niña develop slowly, and likewise their impacts don’t appear suddenly.

With warmer water around Australia’s northern coastline – a classic La Niña-like pattern – the odds rise of an above-average tropical cyclone season.

October 16, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Digital terrorism a threat to nuclear power stations (to waste dumps and transport, too?)

cyber-attackantnuke-relevantCyber-attacks Against Nuclear Plants: A Disconcerting Threat INFOSEC Institute, Pierluigi Paganini  OCTOBER 14, 2016 A cyber-attack against critical infrastructure could cause the paralysis of critical operations with serious consequences for a country and its population.

In a worst case scenario, a cyber-attack could affect processes that in case of fault could cause serious damages and consequent losses of human lives.

Let’s think for example to a refinery or a nuclear plant, in both cases; a cyber-attack represents a threat to the infrastructure, its processes, and people that work within.

Nuclear plants are critical components of any countries; critical functions depend on their operations, and an incident could have dramatic effects on the population.

Is a cyber-attack against a nuclear plant a possible event?

Unfortunately, the response is affirmative. Continue reading

October 16, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fukushima Untreated Bypass Groundwater Dumped into the sea

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Oct 2016 Drainage water dumped.jpg

Up to October 14, 2016, Tepco has discarded 137 times Fukushima Daiichi untreated groundwater from the bypass into the sea, all totalling now 222,816 tons (58,861,760 gallons).

That not including the 300+ tons a day of untreated groundwater flowing through the plant and into the ocean 24/7 for 5.6 years now.

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October 16, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cost of pulling plug on reactors

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

4167689-A-pile-of-10000-Japanese-Yen-notes-Stock-Photo.jpgIn its latest discussions on electricity market reform, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is reportedly considering a measure to financially help major power companies with decommissioning their nuclear plants. METI is reportedly weighing having new entrants to the liberalized power retail market shoulder part of the decommissioning cost, which would be added to the electricity bills of their customers. That would be nothing less than welfare for the major suppliers that are seeing nuclear power lose its cost advantages in the face of power retail deregulation since April. The government should avoid policies that could distort the principles of electricity business liberalization.

In its discussions launched in late September, the ministry says the committee will weigh establishing a system that would have power suppliers respond to “issues of public interest,” such as investments to prepare for decommissioning nuclear plants and severe nuclear accidents amid market liberalization. That sounds…

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October 16, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

An obscure election race in Japan may decide the fate of the world’s biggest nuclear plant

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs


A visitor is silhouetted next to binoculars as he looks at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant, which is the world’s biggest, at an observatory of its exhibition hall in Kashiwazaki

NIIGATA, Japan (Reuters) – A regional election north of Tokyo between candidates most Japanese have never heard of may decide the fate of the world’s biggest nuclear plant and mark a turning point for an industry all but shut down after the Fukushima disaster.

The campaign for governor of Niigata Prefecture has boiled down to two men and one issue: whether to restart the seven-reactor Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station.

Reviving the seven-reactor giant, with capacity of 8 gigawatts, is key to saving Tokyo Electric Power, which was brought low by the 2011 Fukushima explosions and meltdowns, and then the repeated admissions of cover-ups and safety lapses after the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

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October 16, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment