Australian news, and some related international items

The saga of the South Australian nuclear waste import plan continues – Michele Madigan

highly-recommendedOpposition growing to SA nuclear plan https://www.eurekastreet.Madigan, Michele
Michele Madigan |  16 November 2016

We are not a dump is SA, we want to keep it beautiful’ — Umoona Community. ‘We’ve got to think about the country’ — Ceduna. The last 30 days have seen some big developments in the ongoing attempts of SA Premier Weatherill’s plan to import high-level and intermediate level radioactive waste into South Australia.

On Sunday 6 November came the surprising decision of the Premier-initiated Citizens Jury. By the end of their six day deliberations, the 350 second round jurists showed a decided shift in opinion. Their 50 page report, presented to a somewhat discomfited Premier, had a strong two thirds majority declaring the international nuclear dump was not to go ahead ‘under any circumstances’.

Contrary to expectations, my own included, the jury, realising the bias of the royal commission and other government initiated forums, had insisted on their own choice of counter experts. Continue reading

November 20, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, wastes | 1 Comment

Sunday Mail survey reveals opposition to nuclear waste dump

bad-smell-nuke A poll* commissioned by the Sunday Mail reveals that only one-third of South Australians support Premier Jay Weatherill’s plan for a high-level nuclear waste dump in SA and that public support has fallen by 14 percent in the space of just two months.

Respondents were asked to pick which nuclear facilities SA should build and they were invited to choose as many options as they liked. Of the 3702 respondents, only 35% supported an international nuclear waste repository in SA.

Dr Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said: “The Sunday Mail poll finds that just one-third of South Australians support Jay Weatherill’s plan to turn SA into the world’s high-level nuclear waste dump. The results are consistent with the findings of the Citizens’ Jury. One-third of the Jury members gave conditional support to the proposal while two-thirds concluded that SA should not pursue a high-level nuclear waste dump under any circumstances.”

“A September 2016 poll** commissioned by The Advertiser found 49 percent support for the nuclear dump. Thus public support has fallen sharply from 49 percent to 35 percent in the space of just two months. If support continues to fall at that rate, Jay Weatherill may be the only South Australian supporting a nuclear dump by the time of the next state election. Even Business SA chief Nigel McBride acknowledges that the dump plan is ‘dead’ yet the Premier keeps trying to revive it.

“A majority of South Australians and a majority of SA political parties oppose Weatherill’s waste dump. South Australians opposed to the nuclear dump will be spoilt for choice at the next state election with the Liberal Party, the Nick Xenophon Team and the Greens all strongly opposed to the plan.

“The Sunday Mail survey also found that only 39.8 percent of South Australians support the establishment of a national nuclear waste dump in SA. The Premier should abandon his efforts to turn around public opposition to an international high-level nuclear waste dump in SA. He should instead defend SA against Canberra’s plan to impose a national nuclear waste dump in the Flinders Ranges and support Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners who are fighting the plan,” Dr Green concluded.


November 20, 2016 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Scarce and his pro nuclear Royal Commission not looking credible

Scarce thanks expertsOn radio this week, Scarce denied his commission had “cooked” the numbers. There was nothing wrong with contracting pro-nuke lobbyists to do the work…….

there will be more consultation. There is also a parliamentary inquiry into the issue, due to report on November 29, which sources suggest is likely to split three-all, with Labor and Family First on one side and the Greens and Liberals on the other.

And further analysis of the royal commission’s economic calculations, received by the state parliament this week, is highly critical

SA’s citizen jury defies royal commission,  SA’s citizen jury, which rejected the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission’s pro-storage stance, reveals the democratic tension when governments open decision-making to the people while seeking a predetermined outcome. Saturday Paper 19 Nov 16  MIKE SECCOMBE

Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce, AC, CSC, RANR, calmly damned the torpedoes when he went on Adelaide radio on Tuesday morning. He wasn’t sunk yet, he insisted.

The available evidence, however, suggested he was taking a lot of water. Over more than a year the former navy man and South Australian governor had steered his royal commission into the nuclear fuel cycle towards a radioactive future. Now, six months after the release of his report recommending the state become a repository for nuclear waste, it had been badly holed.

A citizens’ jury of 350 randomly selected people had looked into the findings, had heard evidence from witnesses selected for them and from their own selected witnesses and had come down by a margin of about two-to-one against any plan to store high-level nuclear waste in the state. This was a surprise to many, including some opponents of the plan who already had put a deal of work into formulating elaborate conspiracy theories and disseminating the message that the citizens’ jury was designed as a stitch-up.

If it was – and we’ll come back to the claims – then it was very badly stitched. The jury’s opposition was absolute.

“Under no circumstances should South Australia pursue opportunity to store and dispose of nuclear waste from other countries for reasons of consent, economic, trust and safety,” the report said. Continue reading

November 20, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

Canadian government reconsidering nuclear waste dump plan

“No matter what process is followed, burying and abandoning radioactive nuclear waste in the Great Lakes Basin will always be a bad idea”  “The Trudeau government’s environmental credibility is on the line.” 


Ottawa to hold public review of new material on proposed nuclear waste dump
OPG to submit information to Canadian government in December 
By Jim Bloch For The Voice, 20 Nov 16  

Next month, Ontario Power Generation will submit to the Canadian government new information about its proposed Deep Geological Repository for low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency announced the submission goal in October.

“OPG has stated that it intends to submit the requested information in December 2016,” said the CEAA in a public announcement on Oct. 25.

 OPG’s submission will contain new details about alternative locations for the DGR, an analysis of the cumulative effects the dump could have on the environment and an updated list of OPG’s commitments to reduce “each identified adverse impact” of the DRG.

Canadian Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Katherine McKenna had been expected to make a decision on the dump, proposed for the shore of Lake Huron in the Ontario municipality of Kincardine, by March 1 of this year. Instead. McKenna made her request for more information on Feb. 18……. Continue reading

November 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Future Belongs to Decentralized Renewables

sun-championWhy the Future Belongs to Decentralized Renewables, Not Centralized Hydrogen and Giga-Scale Nuclear November 18, 2016 by Energy Post
“……….Let me develop the real reasons why conventional renewables are likely to emerge as the dominant primary energy sources in the first half of the highly-recommended21st century. The fundamental advantages of renewables, as revealed by practical experience in China as well as in industrialised countries like Germany where an energy transformation is well under way, are these.

As they scale renewable energies do not present greater and greater hazards. Instead they are relatively benign technologies, without serious riskThey are clean (low to zero-carbon); they are non-polluting (important in China and India with their high levels of particulate pollution derived from coal); they tap into inexhaustibleenergy sources; and they have close-to-zero running costs since they do not need fuel. They are also diffuse, which should be viewed as an advantage, since this means that renewable sources are decentralised, and can be harvested by both large and by small operations. So they are eminently practicable.

Some advantages of renewables are not at all obvious and need to be made explicit. Fundamentally, they are scalable. They can be built in modular fashion – one solar panel, 100 solar panels, 1000 solar panels. As they are replicated in this fashion so their power ratings continue to rise, without complexity cutting back on efficiency. This cannot be said of nuclear reactors, which have an optimal operational size – below which or above which the plant under-performs.

Moreover as they scale they do not present greater and greater hazards. Instead they are relatively benign technologies, without serious risks.


When they use hazardous materials, such as the cadmium in Cd-Te solar, the solution would be to recycle materials in order to minimise the use and waste of virgin materials. Continue reading

November 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Turnbull govt – hails climate accord while rejoicing in coal industry!

hypocrisy-scaleOn climate change policy, neither time nor Trump are on Turnbull’s side, Guardian
Lenore Taylor, 20 Nov 16  

Australia cannot hail the Paris accord as a turning point and simultaneously rejoice in a great long-term economic future for coal  

“……Abbott declared Trump’s election would “put climate change into a better perspective” and diminish the “moral panic” about global warming. Presumably the better perspective is one where we don’t do very much about it, and the “morality” not worth panicking about is the idea that we should not leave our children a world experiencing dangerous and irreversible change.

Canavan, Matt climate……… the man Turnbull has now appointed as resources minister, the Liberal National party senator Matt Canavan.

From the moment he took up the portfolio, Canavan has talked up the “uncertainties” of climate science.

And soon after Trump’s election, Canavan was hailing it as a budgetary boon for Australia, in part because coal mining would be able to continue unconstrained.

“Donald Trump is good for fossil fuels, good for steel and good for Australia,” he told the Australian.“President-elect Trump was very clear in his support for the coal mining sector, whereas President Obama had taken steps to restrict expansion of the coal industry,’’ he said.

“The newly elected president has said he’ll rescind those regulations and that’s having an effect on world markets.”

But at exactly the same time, Turnbull was announcing that Australia would go ahead and ratify the Paris agreement, despite some of his own backbenchers declaring that Trump’s victory had rendered the deal “cactus”.

The Paris pact, Turnbull declared, was “a watershed and a turning point”.

Problem is, it’s only a turning point and a watershed if nations do what they promised – that is, constrain global warming to “well below 2C”, which requires them not only to meet the greenhouse emissions reductions already pledged but also to increase them over time to actually meet that aim.

And that requires the phasing out, over time, of coal.

The latest world energy outlook from the conservative International Energy Agency shows that under the scenario necessary to meet the existing Paris targets (still not enough to limit warming to 2C), fossil fuels decline from 67% of the energy mix to 24%, and 16% of that 24% is carbon capture and storage, the viability of which remains uncertain.

A Climate Analytics report has found that developed countries will have to stop burning coal for electricity by 2030, China by 2040 and the rest of the world by mid-century in order to meet commitments made in Paris.

To underline the obvious, we really cannot simultaneously hail the Paris agreement as a turning point and rejoice in a glorious long-term economic future for the coal industry. Except that is exactly what the Turnbull government is doing…….

November 20, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Australian doctors warn about climate change and health

world-in-bedAs doctors, we are worried about climate change, The Age, Marianne Cannon and Joseph Ting, 20 Nov 16   

We are already treating the symptoms. Doctors, standing alongside nurses and other health professionals, are on the frontline in treating people with injuries and disease from severe weather events – such as droughts, bushfires and heatwaves – plus water borne illness… the list goes on.

Worse is coming and that’s why for the past 20 years, the health and medical community has tried to raise public awareness of this issue. Unfortunately, the clearly documented and growing health effects aren’t often spoken about in Australia. In part, this is due to scarce funding, a hostile political environment and the formidable size and scope of the “modelling exercise” required to begin to describe what will happen if pollution continues at current rates.

However, whilst climate change and health research in Australia is limited we only need to look to our recent history as a portent of things to come. Continue reading

November 20, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Obama moves to save Arctic ocean from new oil, gas drilling

Obama,BarackObama blocks new oil, gas drilling in Arctic Ocean, USA Today  November 18, 2016 WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administrationis blocking new oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean, handing a victory to environmentalists who say industrial activity in the icy waters will harm whales, walruses and other wildlife and exacerbate global warming.

November 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

USA is urged to save Pacific Islands from global warming

The participants also agreed the Marrakech Proclamation, a statement re-affirming the intentions of all 197 signatories to the Paris deal.Seen as show of unity on the issue in the light a possible US withdrawal, countries stated they would live up to their promises to reduce emissions. The proclamation also called on all states to increase their carbon cutting ambitions, urgently.

Some of the poorest nations in the world announced that they were moving towards 100% green energy at this meeting.

The Climate Vulnerable Forum said that the 47 member countries, including Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Yemen, would achieve this goal between 2030 and 2050. And they challenged richer countries to do the same.

Despite these steps forward there were still some areas of significant difference between the parties, especially over money. The talks will continue in 2017 with a new US delegation picked by the Trump administration.

sea level rise_mainClimate talks: ‘Save us’ from global warming, US urged 19 November 2016  The next head of the UN global climate talks has appealed for the US to “save” Pacific islands from the impacts of global warming.

Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said that the islands needed the US now as much as they did during World War Two. He was speaking as global climate talks in Marrakech came to an end.

Mr Bainimarama said that climate change was not a hoax, as US President-elect Donald Trump has claimed. Mr Trump has promised to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement and scrap all payments for UN global warming projects.

But as he accepted the role of president of the Conference of the Parties for the year ahead, the Fijian leader took the opportunity to call on to the next US president to step away from his scepticism.

“I again appeal to the President-elect of the US Donald Trump to show leadership on this issue by abandoning his position that man-made climate change is a hoax,” said Mr Bainimarama.

“On the contrary, the global scientific consensus is that it is very real and we must act more decisively to avoid catastrophe.” He also made a direct call to the American people to come to their aid in the face of rising seas, driven by global warming. Continue reading

November 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear is No Solution to Climate Change

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

The Fairewinds Crew created this special 2-minute animation to show you why building new nukes is a lost opportunity for humankind with precious time and money wasted on the wrong choice. At least $8.2 Trillion would be needed to build the 1,000 atomic reactors the nuclear industry wants – that’s 1 reactor every 12-days for 35-years. Watch the animation to see what it means and why!

If you want more information, we have issued a paper, and presented this topic at several major universities and forums , and wanted to make it more accessible to people throughout the world. Truthout published Arnie Gundersen’s summation of this project in a news analysis entitled: Nuclear Power Is Not “Green Energy”: It Is a Fount of Atomic Waste.

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November 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Global green movement prepares to fight Trump on climate change #auspol


Election of a climate sceptic as US president sparks outpouring of donations and a surge in planned protests and court challenges.

The global green movement is preparing for the fight of its life against efforts by Donald Trump to rollback action on climate change, with a surge in fundraising, planned court challenges and a succession of protests.
Environmental activists said the election of a climate change denier as US president, along with the prospect of former vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin and various oil billionaires holding senior posts, has prompted an “outpouring” of donations.
This week, comedian, John Oliver, used his show to urge viewers to give to the Natural Resources Defense Council, while EarthJustice, a specialist in environmental law, reported a “substantial increase” in donations to wage the expected legal battles ahead. The Sierra Club said it has had 9,000 new monthly donors since election day, more than they had…

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November 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment