Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear showdown for South Australia’s Labor Party Conference – perhaps

alp-indecision 1

Steve Dale , Nuclear Fuel Watch South Australia Watch out, there is also a group trying to delay decision making about the dump for a few months. They say they are anti-dump but the agenda is probably to defuse maritime/transport/fire/.. unions anger over this crazy plan. These unions who will have to handle this poisonous muck are rightfully angry. They should kill this plan off on Saturday unless they want their workers killed by this cancer causing poison years later.

Labor readies for tense nuclear showdown amid opposition at state meeting  Political Reporter Sheradyn Holderhead, The Advertiser October 27 2016

October 27, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Transporting nuclear wastes – a massive and dangerous process

antnuke-relevantNuclear Waste Travels With One Heck Of An Entourage  Truck Yeah, Andrew P Collins , 27 Oct 16 Do you compost? Rinse and separate your recycling? Yeah, getting rid of garbage is a pain. Unless your garbage is nuclear waste. Getting rid of that is apparently a production of epic proportions……..

October 27, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kim Mavromatis debunks Geoff Russell’s pro nuclear spiel on New Matilda

Kim Mavromatis No High Level International Nuclear Waste Dump in South Australia October 25 

My comment to a NewMatilda news article by Geoff Russell.

Why did 3,000 people attend the “No Nuclear Waste Dumps” rally in Adelaide? 10 times more than attended the state govnts “Know Nuclear” citizens jury. I expect it’s because there’s nothing more scary than trusting politicians with Nuclear Waste dumps. In the recent SA statewide blackout, some communities were without power for 3 days. The state government can’t even get electricity right so how are we supposed to trust them with Nuclear Waste Dumps?

The numbers tell a story. The SA Govnt Nuclear Royal Commission is using Onkalo as their model, the underground permanent high level nuclear waste dump, currently being built in Finland (1st in the world). Onkalo has a capacity of 5,000 to 10,000 tonnes of high level nuclear waste and will be 4-6 sq kms in size.

waste burial Olkiluoto Island

The SA Nuclear Royal Commission proposes SA import 138,000 tonnes of high level nuclear waste – 14 to 28 times the size of Onkalo, which equates to a high level nuclear waste dump in South Australia of around 100 sq kms, half a km underground.

waste burial 3

And for decades half the high level nuclear waste will be stored above ground in temporary vessels. And that’s just for the high level nuclear waste. The NRC report also proposes SA import a further 390,000 m3 of intermediate level nuclear waste and 81,000 m3 of low level nuclear waste. Impressive numbers, for one nuclear waste dump, modelled on a waste dump in Finland that hasn’t been built yet, with a capacity of 5,000-10,000 tonnes. I expect there wont just be one high level nuclear waste dump is SA, there will be many, but the SA NRC economics is modelled on building just one nuclear waste dump?

The SA NRC report doesn’t mention how big the proposed nuclear waste dump will be, so I quizzed a “Know Nuclear” expert at one of the 100 SA govnt roadshows around SA, and he couldn’t tell me either. “Know Nuclear” is the state govnt’s moto, so don’t you think, they should know?

The state govnt have already spent millions on the “Know Nuclear” circus and will need to spend a further $600 million even before they get one cent in return.

Storms and floods and earthquakes and transport accidents do happen – and when an accident happens it’s likely to be catastrophic. What are they going to say when an accident happens – blame it on the weather?

And there’s more – we aren’t just being bombarded by the state govnt, the Federal govnt has their own proposal for an intermediate and low level nuclear waste dump in South Australia. And it just so happens that an ex Liberal politician has volunteered his property in the Flinders Ranges. So kind of him. Anyone with any knowledge of the Flinders Ranges knows that it’s prone to flooding and earthquake activity – not a smart place to put a nuclear waste dump.

The Adelaide rally was held on the 63rd Anniversary of the first British Nuclear Tests on the Australian mainland at Emu Field in South Australia. Bobby Brown witnessed the bombs and the black mist and is a survivor – he tells his story, in a short film (Bobby Brown Homelands), about living with the legacy of British Nuclear testing. For all those who care to look at it, here’s the link :

And for those who care to watch a video of the Adelaide rally. Here’s a link :

By the way, I’m also a concerned filmmaker, who lives in regional SA, and was one of the 3,000 people who attended the “No Nuclear Waste Dumps” rally in Adelaide.

October 27, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Extreme heat events increase: State of the Climate report 2016

book-state-of-the-climate-report-2016State of the Climate report 2016: Extreme heat events increasing in duration, frequency and intensity By national science reporter Jake Sturmer, ABC News 28 Oct 16   The duration, frequency and intensity of extreme heat events have increased across large parts of Australia, a climate report has found.The Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO’s biennial State of the Climate report also found May-July rainfall had reduced by around 19 per cent since 1970 in the south-west of Australia.

The report offers a snapshot of how Australia’s weather has changed over the last two years. According the latest report, there has been an increase in extreme fire weather days, and a longer fire season, across large parts of Australia since the 1970s.

Temperatures in Australia — both in the air and on the sea surface — have warmed by a degree since 1910, the report said.

It may not sound like much, but according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s Karl Braganza, it is a big deal.

“It’s not significant when you think about the shift from night to day, but we’re talking about a shift in the actual climatology of Australia,” Dr Braganza said.

“If you move from one climate zone to another in Australia — where there’s only a degree or two of difference — you’ll notice quite a different environment.”

So is anything changing globally?   Last year was the warmest on record for the globe since reliable surface air temperature records began in 1880 — 15 of the last 16 years have been the hottest recorded.

Sea levels globally have risen more than 20 centimetres since the late 19th century — one third of this rise is because of ocean warming and the rest from water stored on the land and melting land ice.

It is that melting land ice that could cause a huge shift in sea levels.

Take the ice on Greenland, for example. CSIRO’s Steve Rintoul said if that melted, there would be enough ice to raise global sea level by seven metres.

What makes this even more challenging is that scientists are not sure at what level of temperature rise this melt would happen.

“It could be as low as 1.5 degrees Celsius [or] it could be as high as 3C, but once we cross that threshold we have committed ourselves to losing most of the ice on Greenland,” Dr Rintoul said.

What do we do about it?

Scientists say there is not a moment to lose and we must reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and consequently lower CO2 emissions……..

October 27, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Research indicates that exposure to low level nuclear radiation contributes to Alzheimer’s Disease


Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause for dementia in the elderly, and its global prevalence is supposed to increase dramatically in the following decade – up to 80 million patients by 2040.

– It is crucial that we investigate the potential factors behind this disease, says postdoc Stefan J. Kempf, University of Southern Denmark. His research focuses on possible connections between radiation and cognitive impairments.

In a new study, he and an international consortia involving colleagues from Italy, Japan, Germany and Denmark show that low doses of ionising radiation induce molecular changes in the brain that resemble the pathologies of Alzheimer’s. Continue reading

October 27, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How USA got rid of Australian Prime Minister Whitlam – it was all about Pine Gap

Whitlam demanded to know if and why the CIA was running a spy base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs, a giant vacuum cleaner which, as Edward Snowden revealed recently, allows the US to spy on everyone. “Try to screw us or bounce us,”the prime minister warned the US ambassador, “[and Pine Gap] will become a matter of contention”.

Victor Marchetti, the CIA officer who had helped set up Pine Gap, later told me, “This threat to close Pine Gap caused apoplexy in the White House. … a kind of Chile [coup] was set in motion.”

Pine Gap’s top-secret messages were de-coded by a CIA contractor, TRW. One of the de-coders was Christopher Boyce, a young man troubled by the “deception and betrayal of an ally”. Boyce revealed that the CIA had infiltrated the Australian political and trade union elite and referred to the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, as “our man Kerr”.


The forgotten coup – How America and Britain crushed the government of their ‘ally’, Australia
By John Pilger 23 Oct, 2014 Across the political and media elite in Australia, a silence has descended on the memory of the great, reforming prime minister Gough Whitlam, who has died. His achievements are recognized, if grudgingly, his mistakes noted in false sorrow.

But a critical reason for his extraordinary political demise will, they hope, be buried with him. Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution”.Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility. He abolished Royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported “zones of peace” and opposed nuclear weapons testing.

Although not regarded as on the left of the Labor Party, Whitlam was a maverick social democrat of principle, pride and propriety. He believed that a foreign power should not control his country’s resources and dictate its economic and foreign policies. He proposed to “buy back the farm”. In drafting the first Aboriginal lands rights legislation, his government raised the ghost of the greatest land grab in human history, Britain’s colonization of Australia, and the question of who owned the island-continent’s vast natural wealth.  Continue reading

October 27, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, politics international | Leave a comment

Jobs in a clean energy future

25 October 2016   Download file

The Australian Conservation Foundation and the Australian Council of Trade Unions have come together to show we can steer our economy to create a fair society in which all living things can thrive.

By committing to the Paris Agreement, the world recognised the need to work together to keep global warming well below 2 degrees. Around the world, other governments are embracing the opportunities of transitioning to a clean energy future. But at home, Australia’s pollution continues to rise and Australia remains as one of the biggest per capita polluters in the world. There is still no coherent national plan to transition Australia to a net zero emissions economy.

Jobs in a clean energy future updates our 2010 collaboration Creating Jobs – Cutting Pollution and demonstrates, yet again, that creating a brighter future for the Australian community and our environment go hand in hand.

This report presents a clear choice. If Australia continues with business as usual, pollution will continue to rise and the health of the people and our natural world will continue to deteriorate. If the government acts now and implements policies under a strong action scenario we can create one million more jobs by 2040. People and nature will be better off and the places we love will thrive. If we increase public transport and clean energy Australia’s cities, towns and regions will be more liveable, smarter and healthier places to live. By embracing these opportunities Australia can be a world leader and create jobs and industries that are at the forefront of the transition.

October 27, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, energy | Leave a comment

Texas groups unite to oppose “interim” nuclear waste storage facility

The groups are concerned that the “interim” storage facility may become the de facto permanent home strandedfor the highly toxic waste……. taxpayers footing the entire bill, those that generated the waste would have no incentive to ensure its safe disposal in a permanent geologic repository.

‘storage sites’ likely would create a de facto high level national waste sacrifice zone.

text-relevantFour Groups Urge NRC To Halt Review Of License Application For High-level Nuclear Waste Dump In Texas    WASHINGTON and AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 27, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ –– Opposed to an industry scheme that risks a proposed short-term nuclear waste storage site becoming a permanent site while sticking taxpayers for the bill, four leading national and Texas groups — Beyond Nuclear, Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), Public Citizen, and the Texas-based Sustainable Energy & Economic Development (SEED) Coalition — are calling on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to follow the law and terminate its review of the license application for the controversial plan by Waste Control Specialists (WCS) to construct an interim high-level nuclear waste dump in Andrews County, TX.

WCS seeks a permit to build and operate the supposedly short-term storage facility for up to 40,000 metric tons of highly dangerous nuclear waste in Andrews County, but only if the U.S. government first assumes responsibility for the waste and further agrees to ship it to the Texas site by rail. The license application is for the first 5,000 metric tons but the company’s promotional materials show they are planning on expanding the site to accommodate more than half of the estimated 75,000 metric tons of commercial nuclear waste currently in the U.S. Continue reading

October 27, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Canavan doing foreign miner Adani’s bidding

~ Wangan & Jagalingou
23 October 2016:

“Rockhampton-based Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Senator Matt Canavan
“is feigning concern for Aboriginal people while relying on misleading media stories this weekend
which attempt to discredit the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners counciland
our rejection of the proposed Adani Carmichael mine”,
said Adrian Burragubba, senior Traditional Owner and spokesperson for the W&J council.

“Mr Adrian Burragubba said,
“We are self-determined and stand independently
– and we have said ‘no’ to Adani and their Government backers more times than we should have to
and Canavan is using us to serve his own self-interest.

““Hiding behind one W&J applicant, who is named as one of seven who received funds from Adani in a deal to attempt to overturn our decisions,
shows nothing but contempt for our concerns.
We have taken our concerns to the courts in a series of current cases, to the public, and to the United Nations. … “

October 27, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Queensland | Leave a comment

Port Augusta is attracting solar energy developers

Solar energy developers attracted to Port Augusta after power station’s closure, ABC, The World Today 25 Oct 16  By Khama Reid  Solar energy developers are honing their attention on the South Australian city of Port Augusta after the community’s economy took a hit when its largest employer, Alinta Energy, closed its coal-fired power station.

For the past five years, the community has been pushing for a transition from coal to renewable energy, which is now steps closer to becoming reality.

Residents and those in the neighbouring city of Whyalla brag the region gets “300 days of sunshine” a year.

Port Augusta Mayor Sam Johnson said the tagline had become more than just a tourism slogan with solar companies getting serious about development in the region.

“Reach Solar have made an application to the State Government as recent as only a few weeks ago for a very real project here at Port Augusta using solar PV [photovoltaic],” Mr Johnson said.

We know there’s Solastor and Solar Reserve both looking at large scale solar thermal technology, both in the vicinity of $1 billion projects.”

Mr Johnson said one of the further progressed proposals was for the DP Energy Renewable Energy Park to the south of the city.

“DP Energy actually has planning approval and will be the largest wind and solar PV farm in Australia and actually the first to have not just wind but solar PV technology as well.”

Queensland and SA ‘real hot markets’ for solar

Renew Economy editor Giles Parkinson said the spike in interest was not surprising. “There’s two real hot markets for solar at the moment, that’s Queensland and South Australia and in South Australia around the Port Augusta/Whyalla area and that comes from two things,” Mr Parkinson said.

“One is the excellent sunshine, but also the high wholesale electricity prices.

“They rely so much on gas to set the price of generation, and the price of gas has gone up, so the wholesale price has gone up as well.”

Mr Parkinson said solar was becoming a more affordable investment option.

“I guess the overwhelming driver is the reduction in costs of solar PV, it’s actually falling to a point where it can actually compete with wind energy.”

He said the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) previously funded wind farm developments, but in its latest round awarded more than $91 million to solar photovoltaic projects across the country……

October 27, 2016 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australian no longer seen as a good global citizen

Australia fast losing its reputation as an outstanding global citizenPETER BOYER, Mercury October 25, 2016  Australia would rate pretty well as a citizen of the world if the sole measure of that was being open to the global market.

With protectionism on the rise, fuelled by vanishing jobs and anger about the excesses of multinational corporations, Australia gets top marks for its open economy.

That is the good news, but we are dragging our heels against other measures of global citizenship, including our response to the principle of human rights, which dictates that everyone should be treated decently.

Human rights came under a spotlight this month when three investigations, by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Amnesty International and the ABC’s Four Corners, independently targeted the heartbreaking plight of about 50 child refugees on Nauru………

The toughest measure of global citizenship is climate policy. Last year’s Paris Agreement calls on us and the other 190 signatory nations to achieve results not just for this generation, but for those to come — decades and even centuries ahead. That takes real vision.

 Australia is not short of people with vision, including some in government service. Over the past 10 years Australian diplomats and scholars have played a big part in the task of developing international carbon mitigation instruments.

One of these is Howard Bamsey, a Canberra-based academic and climate policy specialist, who has been co-chairman of the UN’s Dialogue on Long-term

Co-operative Action on Climate Change, and Australia’s climate change envoy under Kevin Rudd. A fortnight ago Bamsey landed one of the toughest gigs on the planet: executive director of the UN’s Green Climate Fund, based in South Korea. Next week the Paris Agreement comes into force, and this agency has a pivotal role in making it work.

Bamsey must ensure richer countries honour their pledges to provide $100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing countries tackle climate change. He has to get money flowing into 100-odd projects in the pipeline. So far the fund has disbursed just $5.4 million.

The European Union, the US, China and 81 other countries have ratified the Paris Agreement, which means it becomes legally binding on Friday week. The process took less than 11 months, as against nearly eight years for the Kyoto Protocol. Australia, which has not ratified, is out in the cold.

Despite Government claims, Australia’s 2030 emissions target of 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels is well below what multiple authorities, including the Climate Change Authority in 2015, contend would be a fair contribution to keeping the world below 2C.

For half a century Australia was a leading player in the UN. We backed conventions on human rights and refugees, we took in war refugees from Europe and Asia, and we were leading players in a succession of UN environmental and climate conventions.

However, that all took a hit when John Howard rejected Afghan boat people and then refused to ratify the Kyoto climate protocol. His was a vote for world-weary cynicism over youthful enthusiasm. That narrow cynicism prevails, and it is strangling the life out of our country.

October 27, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australian government considering law to stop environment groups taking legal action

legal actionCoalition can bring back green ‘lawfare’ bill if Senate supports it, says Turnbull
Prime minister floats plan to reintroduce controversial laws to limit right of conservation groups to mount court cases,
Guardian, , 24 Oct 16, The government plans to reintroduce controversial laws to limit the legal standing of conservation groups mounting court cases if it thinks the new Senate will support them, Malcolm Turnbull has revealed.

At a press conference in Sydney on Monday Turnbull expressed concern that “systematic, well-funded” environmental campaigns were targeting major projects and flagged a renewed attempt to pass the law.

In August 2015 the Abbott government announced it would remove the right of most environmental organisations to challenge developments under federal laws unless they could show they were “directly affected”.

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act allows any Australian citizen or resident who has engaged in conservation activities in the previous two years to bring a legal challenge to government environmental decisions.

The proposed changes followed a federal court decision that the then environment minister, Greg Hunt, had not properly considered all advice in his approval of Adani’s $16.6bn Carmichael coalmine.

After becoming prime minister Turnbull unexpectedly retained plans to introduce the laws limiting legal standing…….

The Greens environment spokeswoman, Senator Larissa Waters, said: “Stopping ordinary Australians from enforcing our environment laws would be a capitulation to the hard right inside the Coalition and yet another win for Tony Abbott.”

She added: “Gutting public enforcement of environmental laws is an attack on democracy and the rule of law.

“When governments fail to enforce or comply with their own laws, it falls to community groups to hold them to account.”

Waters said there were already strict rules that limit which cases go to court and frivolous or vexatious claims could be struck out.

On Tuesday a United Nations special rapporteur, Michel Forst, criticised the proposed law after a two-week visit to Australia investigating protections for human rights defenders, including environmentalists.

Forst said there were already significant obstacles to environmental litigation including complexity and the risk of a costs order if a case was unsuccessful.

An Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner, Basha Stasak, welcomed the UN rapporteur’s findings that environmental campaigners had been “vilified” for legitimate legal action.

She called on the government to “take on board the recommendations that environmental groups have a legitimate interest in decision making and in the courts” and withdraw amendments to deny them standing and deprive them of tax-deductible status.

October 27, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, politics | Leave a comment

Skin diseases spreading to new areas, because of climate change

Climate change is shifting areas of skin disease concern by Reuters, 21 October 2016 As the planet warms, many bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites can survive in areas where they haven’t been found before

By Kathryn Doyle Oct 21 (Reuters) – Climate change is bringing certain skin diseases and other illnesses to regions where they were rarely seen before, according to a recent research review.

Dermatologists should keep these changing patterns of skin diseases in mind when making diagnoses, say the authors, who analyzed specific disease shifts in North America.

As the planet warms, many bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites can survive in areas where they haven’t been found before, the review team writes.

In the U.S., for example, the incidence of the tick-borne Lyme disease increased from an estimated 10,000 cases in 1995 to 30,000 in 2013, and the area where it occurs keeps expanding from New England north into Canada as the ticks find their preferred habitat expanding.

“In places like Canada, now there are ticks that carry Lyme disease farther north than doctors would ever expect to see that,” Dr. Misha Rosenbach of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia told Reuters Health said in a phone interview.

The range of Valley Fever in the southwest U.S. is spreading in a similar way, he said.

Viruses like dengue, chikungunya and Zika are transmitted by mosquitoes originally from Africa and Asia, which have now spread widely throughout North America as the mosquitoes can survive further and further north.

“We are seeing a much wider spread northward for some of these formerly tropical diseases that are now in Texas and Florida,” Rosenbach said.

Seventeen of the warmest years on record occurred within the last 18 years, largely due to combustion of fossil fuels and destruction of rainforests, the authors write in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Water warming and flooding can also give rise to skin threats not previously typical of certain areas, the authors note. Ocean warming increases jellyfish populations, and Portuguese man-of-war now swim along the southeast U.S. coastline where they once did not, for example.

Parts of North America, particularly the Great Lakes, should expect substantially greater rainfall and therefore more outbreaks of waterborne disease as well.

Increasing temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico contribute to the increased cases of illness from consuming raw oysters.

Another skin-related consequence of climate change is skin cancer: as ozone is depleted, the risk of skin cancer goes up. A two-degree temperature increase could raise skin cancer incidences by 10 percent each year, the authors write.

The dermatologic consequences of climate change may not all be negative – you could argue that if temperatures keep rising, some mosquito habitat will be dried out due to drought and some disease ranges may shrink, Rosenbach said.

When doctors see patients with a fever and a rash, he added, “what you suspect” as the diagnosis “depends on where you are.”

“It’s important to remember that what people learned 20 years ago or 10 years ago in medical school can be subject to rapid change,” he said. “The bottom line is it’s important to keep an open mind about possible diagnoses.”

SOURCE: Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology

October 27, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Japan won’t support U.N. resolution urging nuclear weapons ban

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs


Hiroshima bombing

TOKYO — Japan has decided not to support a draft U.N. resolution urging the start of negotiations in 2017 to outlaw nuclear weapons, a senior Japanese official and other sources close to the matter said.

Japan, the world’s sole victim of atomic bombings, will consider either abstaining or voting against the draft at the General Assembly this week because it would only “further deepen the rift between nuclear and non-nuclear states and meaningful treaty negotiations cannot be expected,” the senior official said.

Although the draft is likely to be adopted by a majority vote, the United States and other states possessing nuclear weapons are expected to boycott the negotiations.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and other senior members of the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are expected to make a final decision soon on Japan’s position, the sources said.

The draft, submitted by Austria and others to the…

View original post 188 more words

October 27, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Japanese Flawed steel Components at the Center of French Nuclear Crisis – Major Questions & Implications for Japanese Reactors Safety

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

25 October 2016, Tokyo – The safety and regulation of the Japanese nuclear fleet is called into serious question by the discovery of Japanese-manufactured flawed steel components installed in operating French nuclear reactors forced to shut down last week by the French nuclear safety regulator ASN, according to a new Greenpeace report. The threat to nuclear reactor safety in Japan is due to the supply of steel components to the nuclear industry from both Japan Casting and Forging Company (JCFC) and the Japan Steel Works (JSW), according to the technical report ( released today by Greenpeace Japan, by the nuclear engineering consultancy, Large&Associates of London. Evidence of astonishingly high levels of excess carbon far outside regulatory limits with the associated loss of steel toughness and significant increase in the risk of catastrophic failure of primary containment components, have been discovered in JCFC-manufactured components installed in steam generators in 12 reactors…

View original post 1,059 more words

October 27, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment